Justin McCarthy (1830-1912)

[Justin Huntley McCarthy] b. 22 Nov. 1830, Cork; ed. priv.; journalist connected with Cork Examiner before he moved to Liverpool, 1853; worked on Liverpool Northern Times; worked for Morning Star as parliamentary reporter, then foreign editor, and finally editor in chief, 1864-69; politician, historian and novelist; well-received on American visit; leader writer Daily News from 1871; elected Longford MP, 1879, unopposed; elected Derry City MP, 1886-92;
acted as intermediary in meeting of Parnell and Carnavon, arranged by C. G. Duffy, 1885; chairman anti-Parnellite nationalist party, 1890-96, yet said to have retained Parnell’s friendship and made no enemies within Parliament; also published novels incl. A FAir Saxon (1873) the chronicles of an English girl's love for Maurice Tyrone, a the radical Irish MP, with a Fenian sub-plot; also Dear Lady Disdain (1875), Miss Misanthrope (1878), Donna Quixote (1880), Mononia (1901), and others, some including verses;
ultimately best known for his immensely successful History of Our Own Times (1879-80) [var. 1877]; left public life in 1900, but wrote by dictation until 1911; allowed his name to be used as gen. editor of Irish Literature, 10 vols. (1904), with Charles Welch, Maurice Francis Egan et al. acting as the real editors and editorial essays by W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, Douglas Hyde, et num. al.; d. 24 April, Folkestone; a sister, Ely McCarthy, translated George Sand for a London journal; his son Justin Huntly McCarthy, sometimes confused with him, was also an author and a proponent of Irish language revival. ODNB PI DIB DIW DIH SUTH FDA OCIL DIL

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See full text version of ...
Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (P. J. Collier 1904), 10 vols.
Vol. 1: C. F. Alexander to R. F. Burton online   Vol. 6: Samuel Lover to William Molyneux online
Vol. 2: W. F. Bulter to George Darley online   Vol. 7: J. S. B. Monsell to P. S. Payne online
Vol. 3: W. D. O'Neill to Alice Furlong online   Vol. 8: George Petrie - Street Songs, &c. online
Vol. 4: Mary Furlong to Douglas Hyde online   Vol. 9: Street Songs to W. B. Yeats online
Vol. 5: J. K. Ingram to Samuel Lover online   Vol. 10: The Gaelic Writers online
Irish literature (1904) - Sects. II & III: Charles Lever & Samuel Lover
Sect II: Works of Lever - The Knight of Gwynne (Pt. 1) online
Sect. II: Works of Lever - The Knight of Gwynne (Pt. II)
Sect. III: Sel. from Lover - Vol. VIII: The Would Be Gentleman (Pt. II) online
Sect. III: Sel. from Lover - Vol IX: Rory O'More (Pt. I) online
... all available at Internet Archive..

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  • Paul Massie, 3 vols (London: Tinsley Brothers 1866), 334pp. [18.9cm; printed by Robson and Son, London - available at Internet Archive online], and Do. [undated American edn.; as infra].
  • The Waterdale Neighbours (1867).
  • My Enemy’s Daughter (1869).
  • Lady Judith (1871).
  • Comet of a Season (1871).
  • A Fair Saxon (1873).
  • Linley Rochford (1874), and Do. [another edn.] (London: Chatto & Windus 1890), 398pp.
  • Dear Lady Disdain (1875), and Do., [another edn.] (1910).
  • Miss Misanthrope (1877).
  • Donna Quixote, 3 vols. (London: Chatto & Windus 1879) [Vol. 3 - online], and Do. [another edn.] 2 vols. (Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz 1881) [imperfect copy in TCD Library].
  • Doom! An Atlantic Episode (1886).
  • Maid of Athens (1883, 1884).
  • Camiola: A Girl with A Fortune (1885).
  • The Dictator (London: Chatto & Windus 1895) [available at Gutenberg Project - online].
  • Mononia: A Love Story of the ’Forty-Eight (Boston: Small, Maynard 1901).
Note: Michael Mulcahy (of Quercus Rare Books, Calif.) gives notice of Paul Massie by Justin McCarthy in a 1st American Edition with no publication date; not listed in Library of Congress; 3 copies of the UK edition, dated 1866, are to be found in COPAC - one of which cites R. L. Wolff, Nineteenth-Century Fiction (entry 4263).
  • ed. & intro., The Settlement of the Alabama Question: The Banquet Given at New York to Her Britannic Majesty’s High Commissioners by Mr. Cyrus W. Field: A Report (1871).
  • A History of Our Own Times 4 vols. (London: Chatto & Windus 1879) [see details]; Do. [another edn.], with copious index and an introduction for American readers [four vols. in two] (Chicago & NY: Belford, Clarke & Co. 1884) [Vol. II available at Internet Archive - online].
  • The Life of Sir Robert Peel (1891).
  • The “Daily News” Jubilee: A Political and Social Retrospect of Fifty Years of the Queen’s Reign (1896).
  • Pope Leo XIII [Public Men of Today: An International Series] (London: Bliss, Sands, & Foster 1896), 260pp., with port. [of Leo XIII]; another edn. (NY: Frederick Warne & Co. [q.d.; available at Internet Archive - online].
  • A History of the Four Georges and of William IV, 4 vols. (London: Chatto & Windus 1884-1901).
  • The French Revolution, 4 vols. (London: Chatto & Windus 1890-97), and Do. [another edn.] (1906).
  • Charing Cross to St. Paul’s: Notes by Justin McCarthy and vignettes by Joseph Pennell (London: Macmillan 1893), num. ills.; and Do. [rep. edn.] (1898 [var. 1899]).
  • The Epoch of Reform, 1830-1850 [1882] (London: Longmans 1902).
  • gen. ed. [ed.-in-chief], Irish Literature, 10 vols. (NY; Bigelow, Smith & Co.; for The Catholic University of America 1904) [see details].
  • The Reign of Queen Anne (1902, rep. 1905).
  • Ireland and Her Story (1903).
  • An Irishman’s Story (London: Macmillan 1905), autobiography ded. to 'another Irishman my son Justin Huntley McCarthy; in which Chap. XIX is “Committee Room Fifteen” [available at Internet Archive - online].
  • A Short History of Our Times (1908).
  • The Story of Gladstone (London: Adam & Charles Black 1910), 449pp. + index [Pref. to 1st edn. 1897; Pref. of 2nd edn. 24 May 1898 - available at Internet Archive - online]; Do. [another edn as] The Story of Gladstone's Life (NY: Macmillan 1899) [availa ble at Internet Archive - online].
  • Con Amore [q.d.], essays.
  • Ireland’s Cause in England’s Parliament [q.d., pamph.].
  • Our Book of Memories: Letters to Mrs Campbell Praed (1912).
  • Reminiscences 2 vols. (London: Chatto & Windus; NY: Harper 1899).
  • [Short autobiography, with 33 others] in In The Days of My Youth, ed. & intro. by T. P. O’Connor (London 1901).
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Bibliographical Details
A History of Our Own Times
: From the Accession of Queen Victoria to the Berlin Congress (London: Chatto & Windus 1879); From the Accession of Queen Victoria to the General Election of 1880 (London: Chatto & Windus 1881, 1882, 1897); ., From the Accession of Queen Victoria to the Diamond Jubilee, 1897 (London: Chatto & Windus 1897, 1898, 1900); From the Diamond Jubilee 1897 to the Accession of King Edward VII (London: Chatto & Windus 1905, 1908, 1909, 1911). [Formats vary from 4 vols. to 1 vol. with 567pp.]

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Irish Literature, [gen.] ed. Justin McCarthy, 10 vols. (NY; Bigelow, Smith & Co.; for The Catholic University of America 1904), with Charles Welsh of Notre Dame [as] Mgr. Ed.; editorial board formed by Maurice Francis Egan of the Catholic University Washington, Lady Gregory, Douglas Hyde, Stephen Gwynn, Standish O’Grady, W. P. Ryan, and John Redmond, and others; and with ‘special articles’ and ‘biographical notices and literary appreciations’ by Douglas Hyde, W. B. Yeats, George Sigerson, “AE” [George Russell], W. P. Ryan, T. W. Rolleston, G. A. Greene, J. F. Taylor, D. J. O’Donoghue, Standish O’Grady, Austin Dobson, and Lionel Johnson.. An editorial essay and a tables of contents appear at the commencement of each ‘volume’, e.g., Vol. VII-VIII, pp.[vii]-xxxv, 2465-2878, pp.[i]-xxxii, 2879-3298. The whole series concludes with a Glossary (pp.4031-39) and an Index, listing authors, titles, subject dealt with, source of library extracts by title, first lines of poetry (pp.4041-4126).

[Note: The 10 vols. of Irish Literature (var. edns. 1904) are available at Internet Archive - search. In addition, Irish Literature - Section 2 (?1904) is devoted to the works of Charles Lever.

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  • William White [1807-1882], The Inner Life of the House of Commons (1897).
  • Thomas Sexton, The Land League Vindicated: A Speech Delivered in the House of Commomns, on February 15th, 1882, in Support of the Amendment Moved by Justin McCarthy, to the Reply to the Address from the Throne (1882).
  • Eugene J. Doyle, Justin McCarthy [for Historical Assoc. of Ireland; Life and Times ser., No. 7] (Dundalk: Dundalgan Press 1997), 67pp.; rep. edition (Dublin: UCD Press 2012), xix, 108pp; James H. Murphy, Catholic Fiction and Social Reality in Ireland, 1873-1922 (Conn: Greenwood Press 1997), Part I: ‘Upper Middle-Class Fiction 1873-1890’, pp.69.

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Stephen Gwynn, Irish Literature and Drama (1936), ‘Justin McCarthy ... gentle nature ... peacably acquired reputation by his History of our Own Time ... suavity and simplicity of exposition which recall Goldsmith’s best hackwork, and his many novels are pervaded by the charm of a very quiet humour. ... forced into prominence that he never desired, as leader of the majority which left Parnell rather than break with Gladstone ... never embittered the savage controversy.’ (p.113.)

F. S. L. Lyons, Ireland Since the Famine (London: Fontana 1971), notes that Gladstone met McCarthy on 24 Nov. 1890 to tell him that Parnell must retire from politics (p.190). Further, a majority of forty-five went with vice-chairman McCarthy in the split (p.192); McCarthy was replaced in 1896 by John Dillon (p.197). [See further allusions passim.]

James H. Murphy, Catholic Fiction and Social Reality in Ireland, 1873-1922 (Conn: Greenwood Press 1997), Part I: ‘Upper Middle-Class Fiction 1873-1890’, pp.69: that McCarthy’s Mononia (1901) concerns the sister of Maurice Desmond, a Young Irelander, who refuses her hand to the sympathetic Englishman Mr. Woodward because he is ‘a steady Englishman, proud of his country’ while she remains ‘a rebel in her heart’, while Kathleen Fitzgerald throws Desmond over for an English officer’ though milotantly pro-rebellion, the novel, paradoxically, retains the upper middle-class yearning, if not to conciliate, then at least to explain English and Irish differences’; quotes a character opining that if the example of Woodward were followed, ‘there would be little question of conflicting nationalities in these islands of ours.’ (Mononia, 1901, p.367; here p.69.)

Margaret Kelleher, ‘Prose Writing and Drama in English; 1830-1890 [...]’, in Cambridge History of Irish Literature, ed. Kelleher & Philip O’Leary (Cambridge UP 2006), Vol. 1 Chap. 11], notes that McCarthy critical account of the Fenian movement in A Fair Saxon (1873). (Kelleher, op. cit., p.479.)

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D. J. O’Donoghue, Poets of Ireland (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1912), notes that wrote verse in the Irishman, 1849; also Cork Magazine, 1847; Con Amore, collection of essays, containing translations of Freiligrath, eight of which appear in the Tauchnitz edition of Freiligrath (Leipzig 1869) which was edited by McCarthy’s dg., Mary Stanislaus McCarthy, author of Songs of Zion (Dublin 1897), ed., ‘Birthday Book of our Dead’, &c.; also Michael Francis McCarthy, f. of Justin, and ed. of Poems of J J Callanan, and much verse in Cork papers. [BIOG as above].

Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), supplies biog.: b. Cork, 1830; MP and Chairman of the IPP, 1890-96; A Fair Saxon (1873; US title, Maurice Tyrone); Mononia (1901). See also Irish Book Lover 1, 2, 4.

Donald Torchiana, Backgrounds for Dubliners (1986), cites the Story of Gladstone’s Life (Toronto 1898) [sic for England under Gladstone?], prob. by Justin McCarthy.

Roy Foster, Modern Ireland (London: Allen Lane 1988), biog, joined Cork Examiner, 1847; Liverpool-based Northern Daily Times, 1859; contrib. Westminster Review; ed. Morning Star, 1864-8; considered settling in America; Home Rule MP for Longford, IPP vice-chairman, 1879; led majority in split of 1890; remained friendly with Parnell; retired 1900; civil list pension 1903; a leading popular novelist, biographer, and historian of his day [p.367].

Henry Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography [rev. edn.] (Gill & Macmillan 1988), give biog.: b. near Cork 22 Nov. 1830, legal plans frustrated by poverty, journalism, Cork Examiner; joined Northern Daily Times, Liverpool, 1854; ed. London Morning Star, 1864; novels; returned from US in 1871; leader-writer Daily News and Parnell supporter; History of Our Own Times (1879); MP Co. Longford 1879; vice-chairman IPP; led anti-Parnell group at split, but avoided personal recriminations; almost blind in 1897; dictated novels in retirement after 1900 till 1911; civil pension list 300, at instance of Balfour; d. Folkestone, 24 April 1912; Dear Lady Disdain (1875) and Mononia (1901) depict Munster life in his youth.

John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Longmans 1988; rep. 1989), cites The Waterdale Neighbours (1867); Dear Lady Disdain (1875), with an unpromisingly scornful heroine, and Miss Misanthrope (1878), on the same lines, stand out as superior works; Mononia (1901), heroine-title, retrospective and autobiographical; Lady Judith, melodrama of London 1851; A Fair Saxon (1873), his best Irish novel, chronicles the love of an English girl for a radical Irish MP, Maurice Tyrone, with Fenian sub-plot; wrote three novels with Mrs Praed, e.g., The Right Honorable (1886) [sep. entry, infra]; The Ladies Gallery (1888), enjoying considerable popularity.

See also Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (1989 rep. edn.) - separate entry on The Right Honorable (1886): written in collab. with Mrs Campbell Praed, a novel set in Australia and England which broadly hints at a sexual relationship between its authors; deals with the love between Sandham Morse, a rising politician, and Koorali Middlemist, a politician’s dg; they re-encounter one another after her marriage when he has become leader of a radical party on the verge of power, they admit to loving one another but resolve to the ‘whiteness’ of their relationship; here husband attempts to blackmail them; Morse offers to elope and she returns to England rather than risk the destruction of his career.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2 , notes, Justin McCarthy, the first leader of the anti-Parnellites, 1-6 Nov 1890 [sic; but recte 26 Nov-6 Dec, being the inclusive dates of the meetings in Committee Room 15], 311; On 28 Nov 1890 Parnell read a manifesto to a number of his loyal followers at a London apartment. Justin McCarthy, whom Parnell had expressly invited to the meeting, objected as soon as the document had been read. Challenged by Parnell to specify what exactly made it ‘all objectionable ... offensive to our English allies’ in McCarthy’s eyes, the latter instanced the phrase ‘English wolves’. According to R. Barry O’Brien ... Parnell was equally insistent that these words were not removable [Seamus Deane, ed.], 312; Michael Davitt, The Fall of Feudalism (1904), McCarthy quoted Grattan in his fine expression, ‘No man can be lavish with his honour, or woman with her virtue, or country with its liberty’ [Speech of 1 April 1780], to which Parnell’s contemptuous rejoinder was ‘You elected me unanimously ...’, 320; Gladstone informed McCarthy that Parnell was no longer acceptable to the Liberal[s] ... McCarthy could not persuade Parnell of this and when Gladstone published an account of his position, McCarthy ... led the withdrawal of the members of the party from Committee Room 15, 320n.; Substantial accounts of events at the Split, on Dec 6, 1890, McCarthy led out 44 members, leaving Parnell with 27 (from T. P. O’Connor, Memoirs of an Old Parliamentarian, 1929); McCarthy characterised in Tim Healy’s view [by ed.] as the best representative of the very gentlemanly set, and endlessly civil and boring (acc. Tim Healy); ‘At six o’clock, Parnell having refused to put any question touching his disposition, Justin McCarthy rose to announce our wthdrawal. Forty-four colleagues followed him out. Many of us shook hands with those from whom we were separating ... (Healy, Letters and Leaders of My Day, 1928); [322-333 passim]; Douglas Hyde regards the revival of spoken Irish as more important than whether Mr Redmond or Mr McCarthy lead the largest wing of the Irish party at the moment, in The Necessity, &c (1892), 532-33.

Libraries & Booksellers

Belfast Public Library holds Comet of a Season (1871); The Daily News Jubilee (1896); Doom! An Atlantic Episode (1886); A History of Our Own Times (1897); Ireland and Her Story (1903); Irish Recollections (n.d.); Modern England (1899) My Enemy’s Daughter (1869); Our Book of Memories: Letters to Mrs Campbell Praed (1912); Reminiscences (1899); A Short History of Our Times (1908); Sir Robert Peel (1891); The Story of an Irishman (1904); Wearing of the Green (n.d.). MORRIS holds Irish Literature, 10 vols. in 5 (1904). NOTE mixed titles therein for the two authors above under McCarthy, J.

Eggeley Catalogue (No 44) holds Julian Revelstone (London: Chatto & Windus 1909), 2nd imp. (viii), [1]-316pp. [not listed in COPAC].

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Irish Literature’ [introduction], in Irish Literature, gen. ed. Justin McCarthy (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), pp.vii-xvi: ‘Ireland was occupied or colonised in the early parts first by an invasion, or perhaps it might better be called a settlement, from the Far East, an afterwards by an adventurous visitation from the shores of Greece. One of the names given to the Irish people as it developed from this later settlement carries with it and must every carry the proclamation of its Greek original. There is indeed in the early literature of Ireland much that still illustrates that Hellenic character.’ (viii.)

‘No conqueror ever made more resolute attempts to suppress and to extirpate this national sentiment than have been made by the Normans, by the Anglo-Saxons, and by the English masters who have held possession of Ireland since the birth of Christianity.’ (viii). ‘Ever effort was made at one time by the English conquerors to stamp out the use of the Gaelic tongue, but no efforts and no power could change the mould of the Irish mind.’ (ix.)

‘[N]o such pertinacity of effort on the part of the ruling power was ever made to suppress the language of Wales as that which was employed, even up to comparatively modern times, for the suppression of the language of Ireland. Yet ... the literature of Ireland remains from first to last distinctively Irish.’ (xv.)

On EDMUND SPENSER: ‘[S]ome of the finest passages of his poems seemed to have caught their inspiration from the scenery and atmosphere of that noble river ... Avondhu, which of the Englishmen is called Blackwater ..’ (ix).

On JONATHAN SWIFT: ‘Swift never, to my way of thinking, developed in his own ways of thought and feeling any of the genuine characteristics of Ireland’s national temperament.’ (x.)

On CHARLES LEVER: ‘[...] with his broad, bright, comic humour, his rattling descriptions of the drolleries and the contrasts of Irish life among the landlord and the peasant class alike. I do not desire to say a word of disparagement [... &c.]’ (xii.)

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To My Buried Rifle” (from Mononia, 1901)

‘Deep, deep in the earth you must lie, my old friend,
Though I once fondly hoped for a test of your worth.
But alas for our hopes! they are all at an end,
All gone like the smoke you so often sent forth.
Your barrel whose radiance I used to admire;
But be not ashamed, though down in the dust;
’Twas not my old rifle, but we who hung fire.’

Yet call us not cowards, the spirit was strong,
But famine our weakness too sorely had tried;
And our arms had been cramped by the shackles so long
They could only hang powerless down by our side.
It may have but needed one brave upward bound, –
Our limbs were too feeble to compass it then
For you know that to lie very long in the ground,
Corrodes the best metal in rifles or men.’

Yet our masters, all crushed as we are, should beware!
They have tired us too long, we may rally at length;
There are wrongs that man’s patience could never bear;
There are insults tahat change the slaves weakness to strength;
I know by experience your barrel is strong ...

A bright day is coming, old rifle of mine ...
God never made nations in serfdom to pine
Men never made rifles to life in the earth ...
Prepared for our country to do or to die.
So till that bright moment, for you and for all,
Dear trusty old rifle I bid you good-bye’.

—Given in Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), pp.2172-73; see also note on Mononia/Monomia - as infra.;

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Michael Davitt: In his foreword to Francis Sheehy Skeffington, Michael Davitt, Revolution-ary, Agitator, and Labour Leader (London: T. Fisher Unwin 1908), speaks of his friendship with Davitt, and identifies his policy as ‘the restoration of the Irish people to the right of national self-government as a will partner in the Imperial confederation’ [xix].

History of Our Own Times, comments [inter al.] on Isaac Butt; Sir Charles Napier [of Sinde]; Darwin, Spencer, and Tyndall; Froude, Meredith, Lorna Doone, &c.1st vols. 1 & 2 appeared in 1875; completed by additions, 1897 [cf. supra 1879-80], and intermediate vols. 3 & 4, incl. an account of Committee Room 15; the last vol. shows satirical animus against English taxation in Ireland, which rested disproportionately on tobacoo and whiskey.

W. P. Ryan, The Irish Literary Revival (1894). notes that Justin McCarthy lectured to the Irish Literary Society in London on 21st Sept 1887, addressing the topic ‘The Literature of ’48’, [with] Sir Charles Gavan Duffy in the chair (Ryan, op. cit. p.26.). Ryan further notes that he was a member of the Irish Society of East Anglia, est. Aug. 1890.

McCarthy v Yeats: Justin McCarthy praised Griffin’s Collegians as ‘the real masterpiece of Irish Romance’ though spoiled by Boucicault’s successful drama’ (Irish Literature, 1904, Vol. 1, Introduction, p.xiii). For W. B. Yeats in his Introduction to Representative Irish Tales (1891), this is the mark of a class whose ‘main hindrances are a limited and diluted piety, a dread of nature and her abundance, a distrust of unsophisticated life.’ (See Representative Irish Tales, ed. Mary Helen Thuente, 1979 edn., p.31; also under Griffin, q.v.)

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MP Derry: On winning a seat in Derry/Londonderry (1886-92), McCarthy declared that he ‘did not despair by any means’ of having Protestant and Orange friends even yet on their [the Nationalist] side’, claiming that his election victory showed that ‘they were very near levellling the old walls of ascendancy in Derry’ and that ‘the time was approaching when the city of Derry would be given to the Irish cause’. (Longford Independent, 10 July 1886; quoted in D. George Boyce, Nationalism in Ireland, London: Routledge 1982; 1991 Edn., p.220-21.)

Sir James Caldwell, A Brief Examination of the Question Whether It Is Expedient ... to Pass an Act to Enable Papists to Take Real Securities for Money Which They May Lend (1764), instances a rich Catholic in Cork called Justin McCarthy who, he alleges, had so many Protestants debtors that the popery laws had not been put in force for several years (p.2-3). (See Maureen Wall, Catholic Ireland in the 18th c., ed. Gerard O’Brien (1989), p.189, n.47.)

Mononia (recte, and so cited in Brown, Ireland in Fiction, 1919; ditto Boylan, Dictionary of Irish Biography (1988). The title is given as ‘Monomia’ [sic] in Irish Literature, gen. ed. Justin McCarthy (Washington & NY 1904) suggesting that the editorial work was conducted by Charles Welch or Maurice Egan rather than the nominal editor and author of the poem, McCarthy himself.

Donald Torchiana, Backgrounds for Dubliners (1986), lists also Life of Leo XIII (London: Bliss [q.d.]), which indicates that Leo expressed public distaste for the physical reaction against landlords like Captain Boycott (Torchiana, op. cit., p.215).

Caveat lector: Library catalogues (viz., COPAC) commonly list this author as Justin Huntly McCarthy (1830-1912) presumably confusing him with Justin Huntly McCarthy (1860-1936).

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