TONE, William Theobald Wolfe. Ed. by. Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone, Founder of the United Irish Society, and Adjutant General and Chef de Brigade in the service of the French and Batavian Republics. Written by himself, and continued by his Son;


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With his Political Writings, and Fragments of his Diary, whilst Agent to the General and Sub-committee of the Catholics of Ireland, And Secretary to the Delegation who presented their Petition to his Majesty George III. His mission to France. With a complete Diary of his Negotiations to procure the aid of the French and Batavian Republics, for the Liberation of Ireland; of the Expeditions of Bantry Bay, the Texel, and of that wherein he fell. Narrative of his Trial, Defence before the Court Martial, and Death. Edited by his son, William Theobald Wolfe Tone: with a brief account of his own Education and Campaigns under the Emperor Napoleon. Portrait frontispiece. Two volumes. Washington: Printed by Gales & Seaton, 1826. pp. (1) vii, 565, (2) [ii], 674. Modern half morocco, titled in gilt. Occasional light foxing. A very good set.
Very scarce.

Theobald Wolfe Tone, Patriot, United Irishman and Radical, was born in Dublin, 20th June, 1763. His father carried on
a coach-building business, his grandfather owned property at Bodenstown, Co. Kildare. Early in his life, Irish affairs
were to dominate his philosophy, and he formed decided opinions that shaped his future life: “I made speedily what was
to me a great discovery, though I might have found it in Swift or Molyneux, that the influence of England was the
radical vice of our Government, and consequently that Ireland would never be either free, prosperous, or happy, until
she was independent, and that independence was unattainable whilst the connection with England existed ... This theory
... has ever since unvaryingly directed my political conduct.”
Tone is widely regarded as the father of Irish Republicanism, and every year a commemoration is held by Sinn Féin and
others at his grave in Bodenstown Churchyard. His reputation owes much to the engaging personality revealed in his
posthumously published journals and autobiography, and to his dramatic and ultimately tragic career. The year 1792,
was the busiest in Tone’s political career. In the course of a few months he journeyed three times to Belfast, to effect
the union between the Catholics and Dissenters, in which he succeeded; besides several other journeys to Galway,
Mayo and elsewhere to rally the Catholics in the common cause. During the same period he formed the first clubs of the
United Irishmen. Towards the close of that year he had replaced Richard Burke (Edmund’s son) as Secretary of the
Catholic Committee, which was originally formed to give formal representation to Catholic interests. From 1791 a more
militant group led by John Keogh and Edward Byrne seized control of the Committee provoking the secession in
December, 1791 of a conservative faction led by Lord Kenmare.
The Convention was held at the Tailors’ Hall and opened on the 3rd of December, 1792, attended by 233 delegates
from all over the country, with all the forms of a legislative assembly, popularly known as the ‘Back Lane Parliament’,
and declared itself “the only power competent to speak the sense of the Catholics of Ireland.’“ It then went into
committee to discuss the petition to the King. Each paragraph was approved unanimously, until the last, spelling out
their demands. Luke Teeling, a linen merchant from Lisburn, proposed that nothing short of complete emancipation
should be demanded. It must have proved gratifying to Tone to find that it was the very counties of Galway and Mayo
which had proved so difficult to convert that summer, which grasped the nettle and proposed bypassing the detested
Irish administration altogether and presenting the petition directly to the King.
The political thinking of Tone was strongly influenced by the democratic principles of the French revolutionary leaders.
He was becoming an ardent Republican, and convinced that if Ireland was ever to become free and independent she
must try: “To subvert the tyranny of our execrable government, to break the connexion with England, the never-failing
source of our political evils, and to assert the independence of my country - these were my objects. To unite the whole
people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissensions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman in

place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter - these were my means. To effectuate these great
objects, I reviewed the three great sects. The Protestants I despaired of from the outset, for obvious reasons. Already in
possession, by an unjust monopoly, of the whole power and patronage of the country, it was not to be supposed they
would ever concur in measures, the certain tendency of which must be to lessen their influence as a party, how much
soever the nation might gain. To the Catholics, I thought it unnecessary to address myself, because, that as no change
could make their political situation worse, I reckoned upon their support to a certainty; besides, they had already begun
to manifest a strong sense of their wrongs and oppressions; and finally I well knew that, however it might be disguised
or suppressed, there existed in the breast of every Irish Catholic an inextirpable abhorrence of the English name and


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