W. E. H. Lecky (1838-1903)

[William Edward Hartpole Lecky; pseud. ]; b. Newtown Park, Co. Dublin [Blackrock/Monkstown]; son of John Hartpole Lecky, a landownder; ed. Armagh, Cheltenham College, and TCD; read Divinity (grad. BA 1859; MA 1863); m. Elizabeth van Dedem in 1871 and settle in Hounslow Gardens, Kensington; issued volume of poems (Friendship and Other Poems, by “Hibernicus”, 1859); issued The religious Tendency of the Age (1860); Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland (1861, enl. 1871, rep. 1903), essays on Swift, Flood, Grattan, Daniel O’Connell [in the latter edition he felt obliged to substitute ‘Irish Protestants’ for ‘the Irish people’]
issued an essay, ‘The Declining Sense of the Miraculous’ (1863), later embodied as 2 chaps. of The History of Rationalism (1865); issued History of European Morals (1869); issued History of England in the Eighteenth Century (Vols. 1 & 2 in 1878; Vols. 3 & 4 in 1882; Vols. 5 & 6 in 1887; Vols. 7 & 8 in 1890), and Do., in Cabinet Edition, 12 vols. (1892 &c. reps.), of which the last five are devoted to History of Ireland (1892-96) - being aimed at refuting Froude’s calumnies for fear that Froude’s racist attack on the Irish would make the position of liberal Unionists in Ireland harder to maintain; incls. chap. section on ‘the Emigration of the more energetic Irishmen’ (Protestant and Catholic) in the 18th century; contrib. to letters in the over contrib. to letters in Freeman’s Journal occasioned by R. B. O’Brien’s list of The Best Hundred Irish Books: Introductory and Closing Essays by “Historicus” and Letters, 1886, advocating Emily Lawless’s Hurrish to be met with strong objections from nationalist writers;
offered a chair at Oxford and declined; was consulted and gave assistance in the changing of the law that restricted plays in Dublin to licensed theatres in favour of the Irish literary theatre, fnd. 1899; elected Unionist MP for Dublin Univ. in a bye-election, 1895-1903 (Unionists), in tandem with Edward Carson; privy councillor 1897; supported Catholic University scheme and Horace Plunkett’s co-op. movement; Democracy and Liberty (1896); The Map of Life (1899), and Historical and Political Essays (1908); contrib. introduction to Bohn Edn. of Works of Swift (1897-1910), adding to his account of Swift in Leaders of Public Opinion (1861); m. Elizabeth, Baroness de Dedem, dg. of Baron de Dedem, a general in the Dutch Army - herself a historian, 1871.
elected a Fellow of the British Academy and awarded the newly-created Order of Merit in 1902; d. 27 Oct., London; bestowed his library on TCD and endowed a Chair of History; LLD from Dublin, St. Andrews, and Glasgow; DCL Oxon.; D.Litt. Camb.; there is a marble bust of Lecky in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin; portraits by G. F. Watts and Sir John Lavery, the latter purchased from the artist by the National Gallery in 1905; the Lecky Chair of History was established at TCD in 1913, with an endowment from his widow. CAB PI JMC DBIV DIB DIW DIH DIL OCEL FDA DUB OCIL WJM

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Historical works
  • Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland (Saunders 1861; rev. ed. Longmans, Green & Co. 1871; new [rev.] edn. 1903; another edn., 2 vols., 1912) [see Thoemmes facs. reprint, details].
  • History of the Rise and Influence of Rationalism in Europe (Longmans 1865).
  • History of European Morals and Augustus to Charlemagne (Longmans 1869), and Do. [2 vols. in 1] (London: Longmans 1911).
  • A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, 8 vols. (London: Longmans 1878-90).
  • A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, 4 vols. (London: Longmans 1892-96; abridged with intro. by L. P. Curtis Jnr., Chicago UP 1972) [see extracts].
  • The Political Value of History (London: E. Arnold 1892).
  • Democracy and Liberty (London: Longmans 1896).
  • The Map of Life: Conduct and Character (London: Longmans 1899).
  • Historical and Political Essays, ed. E. Lecky (London: Longmans 1908) [incl. his anti-Home Rule essay “Ireland in the Light of History”].
  • Friendship and Other Poems, by “Hibernicus” (1859), iv., 86pp. - rep. as. Poems (London: Longmans 1891), ix, 108pp. [large paper edn.; 113 copies]

Thoemmes facs. reprint - Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland, 2 vols. [rep. of 1903 edn.; 1st edn. 1861] (London: Thoemmes Press [2000]), Vol. 1 [332pp] & 2 [346pp.]. The first volume is devoted to Grattan and Flood by turn; the second entirely to Daniel O’Connell [€242.00]. Note: This early work of Lecky’s, originally published in 1861, was radically altered in 1871 and again in 1903. This last and best edition excised a chapter on Swift and vastly expanded the essay on Daniel O’Connell to occupy a second volume. Henry Flood and Henry Grattan are the subjects of the first volume, and these essays make up perhaps the best and most balanced account of its kind. It is a valuable companion to, and continuation of, Lecky’s History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century. (See Kennys Books rep. of Thoemmes notice.)

Note: In 1903 Lecky published a revised and enlarged edition of Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland (2 vols.) with the essay on Swift omitted and that on O’Connell expanded into a complete biography. ("W. E. H. Lecky", in Wikipedia - online; accessed 26.01.2024.)

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J. J. Auchmuty, Lecky: A Biographical and Critical Essay (Dublin: Hodges Figgis 1946); H. Montgomery Hyde, ed., A Victorian Historian: Private Letters of W. E. H. Lecky 1859-1878 (London 1947); Donal McCartney, ‘Lecky’s Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland’ in Irish Historical Studies, XIV, No. 54 (Sept 1964), pp.119-94; Donal McCartney, W. E. H. Lecky, Historian and Politician 1838-1903 (Dublin: Lilliput Press 1993), 352pp., ill., and with appendix by W. J. McCormack.

See also Donal McCartney, ‘W. E. H. Lecky: Lost Leader of Public Opinion in Ireland’ (PhD thesis, NUI 1970) [publ. Lilliput 1993]; Helen Mulvey, ‘The Historian Lecky: Opponent of Irish Home Rule’, in Victorian Studies, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Jun., 1958), pp.337-51 [available at JSTOR - online; accessed 06.12.2020.

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Sean O’Faolain (The Irish, 1947): ‘It is all very well for Lecky to say that the rise of Liberalism has declared the union of politics and theology an anachronism by pronouncing their divorce. The priest does not recognise divorce. For him the two worlds are inseparable; the kingdom of earth is but a battle-ground for the kingdom of heaven, and he will advance ad retreat on that ground just like a soldier. No Irish priest, for example, objects to lay-control of education on principle - there is no such theological principle: when he thinks about the laity what he considers is the quality of its thought in the political temper of its times. [&c.]’ (p.116.) [See Lecky’s remarks on the Irish priests in History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century (1892) - as attached.]

Daniel Corkery [on the relation of his work to Lecky]: ‘It will not in any way replace Lecky’s study of the same century; that book it will rather supplement, inasmuch as its province is that side of Irish life, the Gaelic side, which to him and his authorities was dark.’ (The Hidden Ireland, p.6; quoted in Patrick Walsh, MA Thesis, UUC 1993, p.67.)

Richard Kain, Dublin in the Age of William Butler Yeats and James Joyce (Oklahoma UP 1962; Newton Abbot: David Charles 1972): ‘The historian Lecky, reflecting the supercilious attitude of Anglican Ireland, once exclaimed to Lady Gregory, “What silly speeches your Celtic people have been making!” - Yet Lecky did subscribe to the support of the Irish theatre. Other Trinity professors were less amenable, and the opposition of the college to the rising Irish movement continued, with both political and religious motivations - Lecky himself resigned in protest against the nationalistic activities of Moore Martyn, and Yeats.’

Cf. Lady Gregory, in Our Irish Theatre (Putnam 1913) - ‘Mr. Lecky, who had served us well in getting the law passed that made these dramatic experiments possible, publicly repudiated us because of Mr. Yeats’s letter on the Queen’s visit ....’ (p.49.)

Maureen Wall, Catholic Ireland in the 18th c., ed. Gerard O’Brien (1989), Lecky remarked, ‘In truth the Catholics and Protestants [...] had one inestimable advantage in the competition of creeds. The English government had no control over the appointment of their clergy.’ [60] Further: Lecky accepts Charlemont’s explanation for the passing of the Catholic relief act of 1778 in the basis of increasing liberalism towards Catholics, fiscal debt to Catholics, and the conversion of some Catholic to protestantism hence becoming members of the house. (See Lecky, Ireland &c., ii. 208-09). Wall however shows that no such liberal sentiment was abroad in the patriotic party, while even Grattan - regarding whom Lecky accepts Charlemont’s statement (in Charlemont MSS), that his ‘transcendent abilities’ played ‘an effectual part’ in the legislation - used his influence to curtail some of the provisions of the measure. [126]

Conor Cruise O’Brien, Edmund Burke: The Great Melody - A Commented Biography (Sinclair-Stevenson 1992): ‘W. E. H. Lecky, of Scottish descent, born near Dublin, educated at TCD, was one of the most generous-minded of Irish historians. He is perhaps best remembered for his five-volume History of England in the Eighteenth Century (London 1878-92), one purpose of which was to refute what he described as the anti-Irish calumnies of Froude; portions of this work were later published as History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century (1892).’ [54n.]

R. F. Foster, Paddy and Mr Punch (London: Allen Lane/Penguin 1993), remarks: ‘Lecky wrote against Froude, not for nationalist reasons, but because, as an Anglo-Irish Unionist, he feared that Froude’s distortions by their very exaggeration would support the case being made by the nationalists for Home Rule. [...] He was also worried by the unintended effect of his own leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland, and opposed what would have been a very profitable reprint; Lecky believed that ‘the secularisation of politics is the cihief measure and condition of political progress’, Private Letters, ed., Montgomery Hyde, 1947, p.41). (Foster, p.9-10); further quotes preface to History of Ireland on Irish history, ‘so steeped in party and sectarian animosity that a writer who has done his utmost to clear his mind from prejudice, and bring together with impariality the conflicting statements of partisans, will still, if he is a wise man, always doubt whether he ahs succeeded in painting with perfect fidelity the delivate gradations of provocation, palliation and guilt’ (Foster, p.9); with bibl., A. Wyatt, ‘Froude, Lecky, and the Humblest Irishman’, Irish Historical Studies, vo. 14, no. 75 (1975), pp.267-85.

R. F. Foster, review of Donal McCartney, W. E. H. Lecky, Historian and Politician 1838-1903 (Lilliput 1993), in Times Literary Supplement, 29 Aug. 1994, refers the treatment of Lecky as the 18th-century historian par excellence in Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies; gives account of decline of Lecky’s reputation, beginning with Namier’s debunking, relegating him to the mauseleum of Whig-Victorian history. Quotes: ‘By a natural and insensible process I passed into the habit it of examining opinions mainly from a historical point of view, investigating the circumstances under which they grow up; their relation to the general conditions of their time; the direction in which they naturally develop; the part, whether for good or ill, which during long spaces of time they have played in the world’ (‘Formative Influences’). Irish contemporaries considered him soft on Roman Catholicism since he admired Newman; youthful inclinations towards Young Ireland but thought extremists like John Mitchel were ‘quacks with one remedy, bleeding’. Unlike Mitchel and Butt, he drew no lessons from the Famine; became and remained a private gentleman-scholar; small Co. Carlow estate; m. aristocratic Dutchwoman attached to court; believing in secularisation, he nevertheless faced up to sectarianism as the motor force of Irish history; growing respect for Burke; dislike of Rousseau’s absolutism. He was one one of the first to present the connection between religious dogmatism and political demagoguery; brought into historical narrative newspapers, theatre, &c.; emphasis on Methodism as transforming social force. McCartney argues convincingly that the Irish sections of his Eighteenth Century history was prob. conceived as the core of the work; counted among ‘forces of retrogression’ the militarising policy of the govt., and the betrayal of Catholic Emancipation; provided primer for Liberal Home Rulers, notably Gladstone; the great missed chance of Grattan’s parliament; iniquitous provocation of 1798; thought that Grattan would have been stout unionist if he returned; misinterpreted Irish Land War as communism; nationally conscious but not conventionally nationalist; an early support of Yeats/Gregory theatre; resigned when Yeats denounced Boer War; confronted implications of nationalist conception that insisted on Catholicism as essential qualification. Foster sees Lecky, ‘A Sardonic Liberal’, as mentor of O’Faoláin, Hubert Butler, Conor Cruise O’Brien and refers to a brand-new history of United Irishmen by Nancy Curtin [?1994]; cites John Burrow’s A Liberal Descent; Stefan Collini’s Public Moralists; and Jeffrey von Arx, Progress and Pessimism as ‘studies that pass him by’.

Brian Girvin, ‘Making Nations, O’Connell, Religion and The Creation of Political Identity’, in Daniel O’Connell, Political Pioneer, ed. Maurice R O’Connell (Inst. Publ. Relations 1991), pp.13-34, Lecky at the end of the century, though in some doubt as to the future of nationalism, concluded it had transformed the stae system as well as the domestic politics of most European states. Lecky’s main concern is with liberty and he approvingly cites the existence of religious toleration in the Anglo-Saxon states as a good example of the extension of such rights. however, he adds that if nationalism and religion are linked then liberty will be in danger, ‘No attentive observer can have failed to notice how frequently it displays itself in a desire to unify the national type, andand to expel all alien and uncongenial elements. Religion more than any other single influence perpetuates within a nation distinct types and consolidates distinct interests.’ (Democracy and Liberty, London 1896, p. 463.) Lecky adverts to the general possibility that nationality and religion if fused would not be conducive to social peace and progress. [24]

Luke Gibbons, ‘“Some Hysterical Hatred”: History, Hysteria and the Literary Revival’, in Irish University Review (Spring/Summer 1997), pp.7-23: cites Lecky’s History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe as probable source for Freud’s interest in hysteria. (p.20); further, Gibbons calls Lecky ‘no stranger to the threat of popular Catholic resurgence [in whose works Freud] encountered discussions of earlier physicians who had attempted to explain medieval witchcraft in terms of mental illness.’

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The Penal Laws and all that ...

‘[Pure fanaticism] does not appear ever to have played a dominant part in this legislation. The object of the Penal Laws, even in their worst period, was much less to produce a change of religion than to secure property and power by reducing to complete impotence those who had formerly possessed them.’ (Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland, I, p.20; quoted in Thomas Flanagan, The Irish Novelists 1800-1850, Columbia UP 1959, p.12. Flanagan remarks that Lecky is following Burke and Grattan.)

‘[Ireland is a nation] in which the divisions between rich and poor, between landlord and tenant, between governor and governed in every grade coincided with a difference of religion [...] race and language.’ (Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland, London 1912, p.268; quoted in Patrick Sheeran, “The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Realism”, Ph.D., UCG 1972, p.143.)
‘It would be difficult indeed to conceive a national condition less favourable than that of Ireland to a man of energy and ambition.’ (The History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, 1892-96, q.p.)
Cf. remarks on Tudor rule
[Lecky concluded that the ferocity with which the Tudors dealt with the resistance from Old English and Gaelic Irish] ‘has seldom been exceeded in the pages of history.’ (The History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, 1892-96, Vol. I, p.5; quoted in Robert Kee, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1972, p.11.)

A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century [Cabinet Edition] (1892) - extracts. I stated in the concluding volume of the English portion of this history that the outbreak of the great French War in 1793 appeared to me the best and most natural termination of a History of English in the eighteenth century, and that it is not my intention to carry my narrative beyond this limit. For the Irish portion, however, a different limit must be assigned, and in order to give it any completeness or unity, it is necessary to describe the rebellion of 1798, the legislative Union of 1800, and the defeat or abandonment of the great measures of Catholic conciliation which Pitt had intended to be the immediate sequel of the Union. In consequence to the addition of these eventful years my Irish narrative has assumed a somewhat disproportionate length, and I have often been obliged to treat Irish affairs with a fulness of detail which was not required in other parts of my work. I have had to deal with a history which has been very imperfectly written, and usually under the influence of the most furious partisanship. There is hard a page of it which is not darkened by the most violently contradictory statements. It is [v] marked by obscure agrarian and social changes, by sudden, and sometimes very perplexing, alterations in popular sentiment, which can only be elucidated and proved by copious illustration. It comprises also periods of great crimes and great horrors, and the task of tracing their true causes, and measuring with accuracy and impartiality the different degrees of provocation, aggravation, palliation, and comparative guilt is an extremely difficult one. [...] It is only by collecting and comparing many letters, written by men of different opinions and scattered over wide areas, that it is possible to form a true estimate of the condition of the country, and to pronounce with real confidence between opposing statements. Such a method of inquiry tends greatly to lengthen a book and to impair its symmetry and its artistic charm; but it is, I believe, the one method of arriving at truth; it brings the reader in direct contact with the original materials of Irish history, and it enables him to draw his own conclusions very independently of the history.’ (pp.v-vi; for longer extracts, see attached.)

Dangers of Irish history: ‘so steeped in party and sectarian animosity, that a writer who has done his utmost to clear his mind from prejudice, and bring together with impartiality the conflicting statements of partisans, will still, if he is a wise man, always doubt whether he has succeeded in painting with perfect fidelity the delicate gradations of provocation, palliation, and guilt.’ (Preface to separate ed. of History of Ireland; cited in R. F. Foster, Paddy and Mr. Punch, 1993, p.9.)

Irish civilisation: ‘I leave it to the professed antiquaries to discuss how far the measure of civilisation, which had undoubtedly been attained in Ireland before the English conquest, extended beyond the walls of the monasteries. That civilisation [...] produced not a little in architecture, in illuminations, in metal-work, and in music, which, considering its early date, exhibits a high degree of originality and beauty; [but it was not sufficient to repress the disintegrating tendencies of the clan system, or to mould the country into one powerful and united whole. England owed a great deal of her Christianity to Irish monks who laboured among her people before the arrival of Augustine [...].’ (Quoted in F. C. McDermott, Taking the Long Perspective: Democracy and ‘Terrorism’ in Ireland, Glendale ?1991; cited in Books Ireland, March 1992 [review]; note that reviewer quotes Lecky as a writer above suspicion of any sympathy with traditional Irish nationalism.)

National division: ‘The nation is divided into two classes who are engaged in virulent, unceasing and uncompromising strife. Differences of race, that would otherwide have long since been effaced, are sterotyped by being associated with differences of belief. Rancour, that would naturally have passed into the domain of history exhibits a perpetual and undiminished energy; for of all methods of making hatred permanent and virulent, perhaps the most effectual is to infuse a little theology into it. The representatives of the Protestants scarcely disguise their anti-national feelings. They have cut themselves off from all the traditions of Swift, of Grattan and of Curran. They have adopted a system of theology the most extreme, the most agressive and the most unattractive. They have made opposition to the Roman Catholics the grand object of their policy and denunciation of the Maynooth grant (which they stigmatise as sinful) the most prominent exhibition of their policy. There is scarcely an article that appears in the Times newspaper, ridiculing Ireland and the Irish, that is not reproduced with applause by a large section. the Protestant Journals.’ (Clerical Influences, ed. W. C. E. Lloyd & F. Cruise O’Brien, Dublin 1940, pp.13-14; quoted in Patrick Sheeran, “The Novels of Liam O’Flaherty: A Study in Romantic Realism”, Ph.D., UCG 1972, pp.146-47.)

National talent: ‘That proportion of the national talent and scholarship which ought in every country to be devoted to elucidating the national history, has in Ireland not been so employed. Irish history has passed to a lamentable extent into the hands of religious polemics, of dishonest partisans, and of half-educated and uncritical enthusiasts.’ (Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, Vol. ii, vi, quoted by A. G. S. Canning [q.source.].)

Penal Laws: ‘The law did not suppose the existence of an Irish Roman Catholic, nor could they even breathe without the contrivance of government.’ (Lecky, Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, I, 246; quoted in Catholic Encyclopedia. In the passage quoted there, Lecky goes on to quote Edmund Burke:

‘[...] For over a hundred years before the Cromwellian era Ireland had been distracted by the frequent invasions of the English under desperate and unscrupulous leaders, whose professed purpose was to re-establish English supremacy in Ireland, and to force the new religion of Henry VIII upon her clergy and laity. The old religion which the nation as a whole had cherished for over a thousand years was proscribed, and her churches, monasteries, and other shrines of religion plundered. The lands attached to them were confiscated by the Crown, and parcelled out among the greedy adventurers, whose success in despoiling the true owners of their property meant their own enrichment. The adherents of the old Faith, comprising as they did much more than five-sixths of the population, were made outlaws, their homes destroyed, their estates forfeited and their liberties and life itself were the price they had to pay for their refusal to conform to the new religion. In aid of the policy of exterminating the Catholic Irish (of which no concealment was made) a system of penal laws was put into force, under which they were disfranchised, disqualified from acquiring or holding property, compelled to remain illiterate, fined, imprisoned, and many of them tortured with every refinement of cruelty. Their bishops and priests were classed as felons, a price set on their heads, and an incredible number of both clergy and people who adhered loyally to the religion of their forefathers were either put to the sword or hanged, drawn, and quartered. So cruel and atrocious was this code that Edmund Burke described it as “a truly barbarous system; where all the parts are an outrage on the laws of humanity and the laws of nature; it is a system of elaborate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, imprisonment and degradation of a people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man”. “The law”, says another writer, “did not suppose the existence of an Irish Roman Catholic, nor could they even breathe without the contrivance of government”.’ (Lecky, Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, I, 246) [online].

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Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904) gives extract, ‘Dublin in the 18th century’, from History of England; also two extracts from Morals.

R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland (London: Allen Lane 1988), p.85, his History of Ireland was aimed at refuting the calumnies of J. A. Froude upon his countrymen. And NOTE, ex Abbey NTRY, he was an original donor to the Irish Literary Theatre (1898).

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, selects from Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland the essay, ‘Clerical Influences, An Essay on Irish Sectarianism and English government’ [215-23], not reprinted in later eds.; the title given by W. E. G. Lloyd and F. Cruise O’Brien who published it for Irish Self-government Alliance in 1911, aiming to destroy ‘sectarian ill-feeling’; and note, the last five vols. of History of England devoted to [...] a description of the culture that might have emerged from the 18th c. experience [Deane, ed.]. Other references & remarks, the great unionist historian epitomises an imperial and cosmopolitan view [Terence Brown, ed.], 517; anonymous Public Opinion, highly suggestive revision of Anglo-Irish view of 18th c. [WJ McCormack, ed.], 883; ascendancy interpretations of the past [Luke Gibbon, ed.], 954; according to de Blacam, Corkery ‘shewed as little sympathy for the Anglo-Irish as Lecky shewed for the Gael’ [quoted by Gibbon, ed.] 955; [MacDonagh, 990]; Corkery’s Hidden ireland ‘challenges that version of late Irish history which was set forth by lecky, and followed by almost all later writers, at home and abroad; In effect, it said, Lecky described only the shell of Ireland; he ignored the real national life and culture; from him the real Ireland was hidden; he saw only the Ascendancy’ (Aodh de Blacam, from Studies 1934), 1013,and ftn., [Lecky’s] 5-vol. History of Ireland &c (1892) looked at Irish history mainly from Anglo-Irish viewpoint [Gibbon, ed.]; de Blacam [op. cit.] quotes Lecky as saying that for nearly three quarters of a century emigration drained the most energetic of the Ulster Protestants, 1015; 366, BIOG, b. Newtown Park, Co. Dublin; ed. Cheltenham and TCD; Dublin Univ. MP, 1895-1903; opposed Home Rule and supported Horace Plunkett; declined Oxford chair in 1892; his liberal history of Ireland a rebuttal of Froude; Works & Commentary [as supra].

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991) [Vol. 3?], Lecky was Corkery’s bête noire [566]; Yeats quotes Lecky, ‘No people, says Lecky at the opening of his Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, have undergone greater persuction’ [666]; quoted by Fr. Michael O’Riordan in the ‘Catholicity of Progress’, contra Horace Plunkett [698].

British Library Cat. (1959)
  • [1] A biographical and critical essay [With a portrait.]. pp. 134. Hodges, Figgis & Co.: Dublin; Longmans, Green & Co.: London, 1945. 8o.
  • [2] Problems of nineteenth century biography: Wyse-Acton-Lecky, etc.. Melbourne, 1964. pp. 33-43. 24 cm.
  • [3] A Colloquy on the Utilitarian Theory of Morals presented in Mr. W. E. H. Lecky’s ‘History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne’. pp. 159. Simpkin, Marshall & Co.: London, 1873. 8o.
  • [4] ‘Infamous Publications’: who wrote them? An Answer to Mr. Leckie [sic] and Mr. Fitzgibbon. Reprinted from the Irish Ecclesiastical Record. [Another copy.] ‘Infamous Publications’: who wrote them?, etc.. pp. 42. W. B. Kelly: Dublin, 1872. 8o. Dublin, 1872. 8o.
  • [5] Christianity and Rationalism in their relations to Natural Science: being a protest against certain principles advocated in Mr. Lecky’s History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe.. pp. 26. James Parker & Co.: Oxford & London, 1867. 8o [6] A Life spent for Ireland. Being selections from the journals of the late W. J. O’Neill Daunt. Edited by his daughter [i.e. Alice I. O’N. Daunt]. [With a prefatory letter by William E. H. Lecky, and a portrait.] (Popular edition.). pp. xx. 420. T. Fisher Unwin: London, 1896. 8o. pp. xx. 420. T. Fisher Unwin: London, 1896. 8o.
  • [7] Friendship, and other poems. By Hibernicus [pseud. for WEH Lecky]. pp. iv. 86. Saunders, Otley & Co.: London, 1859. 12o..
  • [8] A History of England in the eighteenth century. Second edition, revised. [Another copy.] Third edition, revised. New edition.. 8 vol. London, 1878-90. 8o. London, 1879-87. 8o. Longmans and Co.: London, 1883-87. 8o. 7 vol. Longmans and Co.: London, 1892. 8o.
  • [9] A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, etc.. 7 vol. Longmans, Green & Co.: London, 1918-25. 8o.
  • [10] A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century ... New edition. [Another copy.] A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, etc.. 5 vol. Longmans & Co.: London, 1892. 8o. London, 1892. 8o.
  • [11] A history of Ireland in the eighteenth century. Abridged and with an introduction by L. P. Curtis, Jr.. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, 1972. ISBN 0 226 46994 8 pp. lii, 513. 23 cm..
  • [12] A Survey of English Ethics. Being the first chapter of Mr. Lecky’s ‘History of European Morals’ edited with introduction and notes by W. A. Hirst. pp. li. 180. Longmans & Co.: London, 1903. 8o.
  • [13] A Victorian Historian. Private letters of W. E. H. Lecky, 1859-1878, edited with an introduction and notes by H. Montgomery Hyde. [With plates, including a portrait.]. pp. 90. Home & Van Thal: London, 1947. 8o.
  • [14] Clerical Influences. An essay on Irish sectarianism and English Government ... Edited with an introduction by W. E. G. Lloyd and F. Cruise O’Brien. pp. 53. Published for the Irish Self-Government Alliance by Maunsel & Co.: Dublin, 1911. 8o.
  • [15] Democracy and Liberty. New edition.. 2 vol. Longmans & Co.: London, 1896. 8o 2 vol. Longmans & Co.: London, 1899. 8o.
  • [16] Geschichte des Geistes der Aufklärung in Europa ... Volks-Ausgabe nach der vierten Auflage ... übersetzt von Dr. Immanuel Heinrich Ritter.. pp. xvi. 456. Berlin, 1874. 8o.
  • [17] Geschiedenis van de opkomst en den invloed van het Rationalisme in Europa ... vertaald door J. G. ten Bokkel.. pp. xxviii. 638. Amsterdam, 1894. 8o.
  • [18] Historical and Political Essays.. pp. 324. Longmans & Co.: London, 1908. 8o.
  • [19] Historical and Political Essays ... New edition. pp. 296. Longmans & Co.: London, 1910. 8o.
  • [20] History of European Morals, etc.. 2 vol. Watts & Co.: London, 1911. 8o.
  • [21] History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne ... Authorised copyright edition.. 2 vol. Longmans & Co.: London, 1911. 8o.
  • [22] History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne. Third edition.. 2 vol. London, 1869. 8o. 2 vol. London, 1877. 8o.
  • [23] History of the rise and influence of the spirit of rationalism in Europe ... Authorised edition. (Reprinted.). London, etc.: Longmans, Green & Co., 1910. 2 pt. 19 cm..
  • [24] History of the Rise and Influence of the spirit of Rationalism in Europe.. 2 vol. Watts & Co.: London, 1910. 8o.
  • [25] History of the rise and influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe. Second edition. Fourth edition.. 2 vol. London, 1865. 8o. 2 vol. London, 1865. 8o. 2 vol. London.
  • [1869.] 8o.
  • [26] Introduction to Democracy and Liberty ... Reprinted from the cabinet edition.. pp. lv. Longmans & Co.: London, 1899. 8o.
  • [27] Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland ... Authorised edition.. 2 vol. Longmans & Co.: London, 1912. 8o.
  • [28] Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland ... New edition.. 2 vol. Longmans & Co.: London, 1903. 8o.
  • [29] Moral Aspects of the South African War.. pp. 8. [1900.] 8o.
  • [30] Moralische Ansichten über den Krieg in Südafrika.. Edinburg: Druck von R. & R. Clark, [1900?]. pp. 15. 22 cm..
  • [31] Moralische Gesichtspunkte des südafrikanischen Krieges.. London: gedruckt bei Aug. Siegle, 1900. pp. 16. 19 cm..
  • [32] Old-Age Pensions ... Reprinted from ’The Forum.’. pp. 24. Longmans & Co.: London, 1908. 8o.
  • [33] Poems. L.P [WEH Lecky]. pp. ix. 108. Longmans & Co.: London, 1891. 8o.
  • [34] The Empire, its value and its growth. An inaugural address, delivered at the Imperial Institute, etc.. pp. 48. Longmans & Co.: London, 1893. 8o.
  • [35] The Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland. [By W. E. H. Lecky] New edition, revised and enlarged.. London, 1871. 8o.
  • [36] The Map of Life ... New impression.. pp. xiv. 353. Longmans & Co.: London, 1901. 8o.
  • [37] The Map of Life: conduct and character.. pp. xv. 328. Longmans & Co.: London, 1899. 8o.
  • [38] The Political Value of History. (A presidential address ... Reprinted with additions.) [Another copy.] The Political Value of History.. pp. 57. E. Arnold: London, 1892. 8o. pp. 57. E. Arnold: London, 1892. 8o.
  • [39] The Political Value of History, etc.. pp. 20. Birmingham, [1892.] 8o.
  • [40] W. E. H. Lecky’s vier historische Essays. Swift-Flood-Grattan-O’Connel ... Übersetzt von Dr H. Jolowicz.. Posen, 1873. 8o.
  • [41] A Memoir of the Right Hon. William Edward Hartpole Lecky.. pp. xiii. 379. Longmans & Co.: London, 1909. 8o.
  • [42] Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. A sketch by A. L. Lee. Abridged ... from ‘The Life of Stratford Canning’ by S. Lane-Poole. With an introduction by W. E. H. Lecky [and a portrait by G. Richmond].. pp. xiii. 88. Nisbet & Co.: London, 1897. 8o.
  • [43] Speeches and Addresses ... Selected and edited by Sir T. H. Sanderson and E. S. Roscoe. With a prefatory memoir by W. E. H. Lecky, etc. [Another copy.]. 2 vol. Longmans & Co.: London, 1894. 8o.
  • [44] The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D. [edited by Temple Scott, etc.] with a biographical introduction by W. E. H. Lecky. (Vol. XII. Essays on the Portraits of Swift by Sir Frederick Falkiner and on Swift and Stella by ... the Dean of St. Patrick’s (J. H. Bernard). Bibliography of Swift’s Works by W. Spencer Jackson, and a general index.). 12 vol. 1897-1908..
  • [45] The Religious Tendencies of the age. [By W. E. H. Lecky.]. pp. 320. London, 1860. 8o History of European morals from Augustus to Charlemagne by William Edward Hartpole Lecky 12th edn., London: Longmans, Green and Co. 1897.

Ulster Libraries: BELFAST PUBLIC holds Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland 2 vols. (1912); Introduction to Democracy and Liberty (1899); Hist. of Irel. in the 18th century (1892); The Empire (1893) - but not Rationalism, Morals etc. Also, A Memoir of the Rt. Hon. William Edward Hartpole Lecky (1908), by E. Lecky. LINENHALL (Belfast) & UNIV. OF ULSTER (Morris Collection) hold History of Ireland in the 18th century, 5 vols. (1892).

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Borrowed clothes: In Public Opinion (1861 & edns.), Lecky employs a title that had already been employed in a work of Mary Leadbeater.

Edward Martyn attributed his conversion to nationalism to his reading of Lecky’s History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, which he called ‘that terribly sober indictment of England’s policy in Ireland’. (Cited in J. C. M. Nolan, ‘The First President of Sinn Féin: Edward Martyn’, Irish Studies Review, No. 15, Summer 1996, pp.27-33; p.27.)

J. J. Abraham recalls TCD students ‘ragging’ Lecky by pushing him in a wheelbarrow up Grafton St., ‘his long legs sticking over the front of the barrow, with the élite of Dublin looking lightly puzzled but rather amused. He was nearly sixty at the time, must have hated it, and probably was in some danger of being injured; but looking back on it now I remember he showed no sign of discompusure whatever.’ (Surgeon’s Journey, 1957, p.64.)

Calumnies: Lecky’s phrase ‘calumnies on the Irish people’, which he employed in A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, 4 vols. (London: Longmans 1892-96), is part of a discourse that goes back to Keating and forward to W. B. Yeats.

Portrait: there is an oil portrait by Sir John Lecky of which one reviewer has said: ‘ The great historian William Lecky peers superciliously down on the viewer in another oil painting by Lavery, his lips drawn distastefully downwards, his strong nose splendidly haughty, the whole head posed somewhere between embattled arrogance and lonely nobility.’ (See Terry Eagleton, review of Conquering England: Ireland in Victorian London [exhibition], in Times Literary Supplement, 1 April 2005 , q.p.)

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