John Kells Ingram

1823-1907; b. 7 July, Temple Carne rectory, Co. Donegal, ed. Newry, Co. Down, and TCD. Schol.; grad. 1843, fellow 1846; fnd. Philosophical Society, appt. to Erasmus Smith chair oratory and English Lit., 1852; appt. regius prof. Greek, 1866, librarian 1879; and ultimately senior lecturer, 1887; D.Litt, 1891; wrote the political ballad “The Memory of the Dead” [‘Who Fears to Speak of ’98’], printed in The Nation (1 April 1843), but not acknowledged by him until 1900; MRIA, 1847; started Hermethena, 1874; National Library trustee, 1881; contrib. articles on political economy and slavery to Encyclopaedia Britannica (9th edn.); his History of Political Economy ( 1888) was trans. into 10 languages; other positivist works after Comte; distrusted Parnell; d. 1 May; there is a Kells Ingram Bequest fund for purchase of books at TCD Library; there is a portrait by Sarah Purser. PI DBIV DIB DIW MKA KUN ODQ DUB OCIL

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Considerations on the State of Ireland (Dublin: Ponsonby 1864); History of Political Economy (Edin: Black 1888); A History of Slavery and Serfdom (London 1895); Love and Sorrow (Dublin, priv. 1897); Outlines of the History of Religion ([London] 1900); Sonnets and other Poems (London: A & C Black 1900); Human Nature and Morals According to Auguste Comte (London 1901); Practical Morals, A Treatise on Universal Education (London 1904); The Final Transition, A Sociological Study (London 1905).

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T. W. Lyster, W. K. Ingram: A Bibliography, in An Leabharlann, Vol. III, No. 1 (1909), 46pp. [var. 1907-08]; C. L. Falkiner, Memoir of John Kells Ingram (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers 1907); Who Was Who 1897-1916 (1920) and Irish Book Lover, Vol. 17.

See also Peter Gray, ‘Nassau Senior, the Edinburgh Review and Ireland 1843-49’, in Tadhg Foley and Seán Ryder, Ideology and Ireland in the Nineteenth Century (Dublin: Four Courts Press 1998), p.130-42; G. K. Peatling, ‘Who fears to speak of politics?: John Kells Ingram and Hypothetical Nationalism’, in Irish Historical Studies, Vol. XXXI, No. 122 (November 1998) [q.pp.].

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Justin McCarthy, ‘Ireland’s Cause in England’s Parliament’ (1904), writes: ‘“Who fears to speak of Ninety-Eight?” Not surely any of the descendants of the men who flung their souls into that gallant cause, and gave to it their generous blood, not surely any of the descendants of the Englishmen whose wise and noble policy would have prevented Ninety-eight, by conceding to justice and right those national claims which King George and his ministers rejected with scorn.’ (Extract in McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature, Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904, p.2,166.)

Very Rev. Canon Murphy, DD, PP, Pres. of Maynooth, Two Irish Parliaments: A Contrast (CTS 1909, 32pp.) pillories inter al. Dr. Ingram’s Two Chapters of Irish History as an intending ‘to prove that James’s Parliament was an assembly of brigands without sense of justice or humanity’.

Joseph Lee, The Modernisation of Irish Society, 1973, p.24, In 1864 Professor John Kells Ingram, one of the most luminous Irish intellects of his generation, proposed the introduction of outdoor relief, on the model of the English Poor Law, on the fatuous assumption that this would encourage the Irish small farmer to surrender his holding and become a day labourer, secure in the knowledge that the revised poor law would help him keep body and soul together during his periods of unemployment as a labourer! Ingram devoted intense study to the functioning of the English poor law without it apparently occuring to him to acquaint himself with the attitude of Irish small farmers.

Dominic Daly, The Young Douglas Hyde (1974), Admitting the authorship of ‘Memory of the Dead’ (Nation, 1 Apr 1843) in his 1900 ed., Sonnets and other Poems J. K. Ingram wrote that it was his only contribution to the journal, and that he is reprinting it, though different in character from the rest of the collection, since some people affect to believe that he is ashamed of having written it. ‘Those who know me need not be told that this idea is without foundation. I think the Irish race should be grateful to the men who in other times, however mistaken may have been their policy, gave their lives for their country. But I have nosympathy with those who preach sedition in our own day when all the circumstances are radically altered.In my opinion no real popular interest can be furthered by violence.’ [Chap. IV; n.6, p.209]

Cyril Pearl, Three Lives of Charles Gavan Duffy (Dublin O’Brien Press 1979), tells that Charles Gavan Duffy sent Ingram a copy of My Life in Two Hemispheres (1898), and received the a comment: ‘Intellectually they [the Irish] appear in it incapable of discerning character [...] and morally, very deficient in steadiness of purpose, and prone to discord and division. Critics from without have always attributed thjese failings to them, and it would seem not without good ground [...]’ (Pearl, op. cit, p.29). Pearl further quotes Ingram on the approaching hostilities in S. Africa: ‘I am still hopeful that in spite of appearances the mad and wicked war with which we have been threatened will be prevented.’ (ibid., p.230.)

W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; 1984), JK Ingram, in Hermathena i (1874), p. 409, a brief appreciation of Ferrar’s work by his successor as comparative philologist in TCD, mention the influence of a local German scholar, Prof. R. Siegfried. Ingram argues for ‘comparative grammar’ as a kind of master subject in advance of classical instruction. For Ingrams’s own work see the obit. in TCD, A College Miscellany for 8 May 1907, and Classical Review (1887), p.116.

Tadhg Foley, ‘Praties, Professors, and Political Economy’ (Irish Reporter, Third Quarter 1995), pp.6-7, By the end of the 1850s, even its [political economy] most doughty defenders such as Neilson hancock were submitting it to a vigorous moral critique, a process of historicising which culminated in the work of two notable Irish practitioners, Cliff Leslie and John Kells Ingram who became the leading proponents of the historical school in the English-speaking world.//A newer version of political economy, suitable to Irish conditions, hospitable to state intervention, small-scale agriculture, and tended to be opposed to the commodification of land, to contract, and to the sanctification of the market ... was prpoagated in different was by Leslie, Ingram, and others as well as by Cairnes. By the 1881 Irish Land Act, Matthew Arnold was abble to write that a ‘radical change’ had come about, a divided ownership had been established, ‘full of political consequences’ wich ‘disturbed the accepted and ordinary constitutive characters of property.//The Irish Famine played no small part in the Copernican revolution.’ (p.7)

J. F. Deane calls John Kells Ingram’s “Utinam Viderem” the ‘first Irish poem to urge a complete humanism [...] from a sonnet sequence stirred by the positivism of Auguste Comte’ (Deane, ed., Irish Poetry of Faith and Doubt, Wolfhound Press 1991, Introduction, p.12.)

Thomas A. Boylan & Timothy P. Foley, Political Economy and Colonial Ireland, the Propagation and Ideological Function of Economic Discourses in the 19th Century (London: Routledge 1992), p.190, report that Kettle remarked on the methodological disciple of Ingram’s ‘National Economics’, speaking of ‘the identity of human reality’ behind the poem “Who Fears to Speak?”, as well as Ingram’s ‘methodological admonition’ [sic, Kettle] of the English political economy, for, as always, Ingram voiced the ‘revolt of the small nations against the Czardom, scientific, and political, of the great’ (quoted from The Day’s Burden, Talbot 1937, p.138).

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Donagh McDonagh, ed., The Golden Treasury of Irish Verse (1930) incls. this Note (p.326): ‘I have been requested to publish the following note on “The Memory of the Dead”: ‘The poem entitled “The Memory of the Dead” was published in the Nation newspaper in April 1843 when I was in my twentieth year [ ...] Some persons have believed, or affected to believe, that I am asharned of having written it, and would gladly, if I could, disown its authorship. Those who know me do not need to told that this idea is without foundation. I think the Irish race should be grateful to men who, in evil times, however mistaken may have been their policy, gave their lives for their country. But I have no sympathy with those who preach sedition in our own day, when all the circumstances are radically altered. In my opinion no real popular interest can now be furthered by violence.’ John K. Ingram. Dublin, 1900.

Brian McKenna, Irish Literature, 1800-1875: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research Co. 1978) cites Thomas W. Lyster, ‘W. K. Ingram: A Bibliography’ (Dublin: Cumann na Leabharlann 1907-08), p. 203.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 1, p.1288: Ingram met Carlyle in 1849 and travelled to France to meet Comte in 1855 and declared himself a Comtean positivist, later editing selection of Auguste Comte’s letters; fnd Statistical Soc. of Ireland [with Whateley], and sometime Pres. RIA; articles in 9th ed. of Encyclopaedia Britannica and Palgrave’s Dict. Political Economy; first English trans. of Thomas a Kempis’s Imitation of Christ (1892) from Cambridge MSS; d. in Dublin [1299-1300]. DIL cites Sonnets and Other Poems (London: A & C Black 1900).

Belfast Public Library holds C. L. Faulkner, Memoir of JKI, LL.D. (1907); Sonnets and other Poems (1900). Belfast Linenhall Library holds Memoir of John Kells Ingram, by C. L[itton] Falkiner; Bibliography of his works complied for Cumann na Leabharlann (Dublin 1907-08) [This work by Thomas W. Lyster (See McKenna, Irish Lit., 1978, p. 203)].

Who fears to speak
of Ninety-Eight?/Wh blushes at the name?/When cowards mock the patriot’s fate/Who hangs his head for shame?/He’s all a knave or half a slave/Who slights his coutry thus:/But a true man like you, man,/Willfill your glass with us.’

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Leopold Bloom alludes mentally to “Who Fears to Speak ...?” in Joyce’s Ulysses (‘Wandering Rock’): ‘Fine poem that is: Ingram. They were gentlemen. Ben Dollard does sing that ballad touchingly. Masterly rendition.’ (Bodley Head Edn., p.309.)

Thomas Carlyle knew J. K. Ingram to be author of “True men like you men”, a Repeal song [sic], but evidently meant “Who Fears to Speak ..”. (See Carlyle, and FDA, supra.)

Portrait: There is a portrait of J. K. Ingram by Sarah Purser. See Anne Crookshank, ed. & intro., An Exhibition of Portraits of Great Irish Men and Women (1965).

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