IRELAND – WOLFE TONE, TEELING AND THE RISING OF 1798 Files of documents, kept by George Hewett, Adjutant-General of the British Army in Ireland 1791-99 and Commander-in-Chief of Ireland, 1813-16

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Lot 17
IRELAND – WOLFE TONE, TEELING AND THE RISING OF 1798
Files of documents, kept by George Hewett, Adjutant-General of the British Army in Ireland 1791-99 and Commander-in-Chief of Ireland, 1813-16; 'I HAVE ATTEMPTED TO ESTABLISH THE INDEPENDENCE OF MY COUNTRY; I HAVE FAILED IN THE ATTEMPT; MY LIFE IS IN CONSEQUENCE FORFEITED & I SUBMIT' – papers of George Hewett, prior to and during the French invasion of 1798 and campaign for Irish independence fought by Adjutant-General Theobald Wolfe Tone, including a printed proclamation headed 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Union and speeches by Bartholomew Teeling and Wolfe Tone.

Sold for £ 11,312 (US$ 14,344) inc. premium
IRELAND – WOLFE TONE, TEELING AND THE RISING OF 1798
Files of documents, kept by George Hewett, Adjutant-General of the British Army in Ireland 1791-99 and Commander-in-Chief of Ireland, 1813-16, comprising:

(i) Printed proclamation headed 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Union' with drop-head title 'The General, Commanding the French Army, to the People of Ireland', issued by General Jean Hardy, opening: 'Irishmen!/ You have not forgotten Bantry bay! you know the effects to assist you which France has already made; her affection for you, her desire to avenge your wrongs and assure your independence, remain still the same./ At length, after various attempts, you see Frenchmen among you...', with wood-cut vignette at head showing clasped hands beneath a liberty bonnet, above masonic dividers and eye at centre from which expand the sun's rays, 3 pages, on a bifolium, originally folded into a smaller packet, some very slight time-staining especially to first page, very small stain at foot of lower margin, but overall in fine, unpressed original condition, 8vo (186 x 120mm.) [EST T230253, one other copy recorded, in the National Library of Ireland], [Dublin, 1796?]

(ii) Memorandum on the defence of Ulster [by General John Knox, Commander-in-Chief, County Tyrone, and submitted to Adjutant-General Hewett], opening: "The Experience of this year has proved that the body of the people of Ulster are inimical to Government, & are ready to rise into rebellion whenever an opportunity presents itself. The Salutary measures of Government & the exertions of the military have checked the people of Ulster in their Career of treason: but the opinions of men are not to be changed by Violence, &, although the People may return to their old manner, Servility must not be mistaken for attachment..."; and going on to list troop deployments and the like, 7 pages, some dust-staining etc., 4to, Derry, 25 September 1797, docketed by Hewett "Mem[orandum]/ Ulster – 25th Sepr. 97"

(iii) Memorandum, seemingly autograph and signed, by General John Knox, Commander-in-Chief, County Tyrone, on the defensive possibilities of Lough Swilly, opening: "In the Memoir on the Defence of Ulster, that I lately had the Honor to transmit to you, I observed that the landing Places on the Shores of Lough Swilly were so many, that it would be to throw away Guns to establish regular Batteries to prevent an Enemy from landing – The Garrison of Derry, I mentioned, should give every Annoyance in its Power, without however committing itself..."; headed "Lough Swilly"; docketed by Hewett "Nov.r 1st 1797/ Lough Swilly", 4 pages, on paper watermarked with Britannia within crowned shield and 'I Sullivan', some dust-staining, especially where folded for delivery and filing, folio, Derry, 1 November 1797

(iv) File of contemporary transcripts relating to French plans to invade Ireland, prior to the '98, comprising the "Report of the Citizen Director Carnot, made to the Executive Directory – 11th Brumaire 5th Year &c" with attached "Summary of two plans of attack upon England & Ireland, & the means of uniting them" by Barras, 9 pages, originally folded into a packet, stitched, folio, [1 November 1796]; 'Adjutant General T.W. Tone, dit Smith, au general Hardy, commandant en chef l'armée françois expeditionnaire", marked "copy", 1 page, plus integral blank, paper watermarked 'G Taylor/ 1794' with crowned Britannia, folio, 16 Brumaire an 6 [6 November 1797]; "Le Ministre de la Marine & des Colonies au General de Brigade Humbert", 4 pages, watermarked 'A Blackwell/ 1796' and with crowned Britannia, folio, Paris, 1 thermidor an 6 [19 July 1798]

(v) Bartholomew Teeling's intended speech from the dock (which he was prevented from delivering), docketed "Teeling to the Court" and "Teeling's Speech", 2 pages, with integral blank, Whatman paper watermarked 1794, 4to [c.24 September 1798]

(vi) File of contemporary transcripts of letters by Wolfe Tone and other United Irish leaders from the '98, and related material, comprising a copy of the deposition sworn before Captain Shearman's on the capture of Napper Tandy, 4 pages, paper watermarked Buttanshaw/ 1794, 4to, Enniskillen, 17 September [1798]; Wolfe Tone, to General Hardy of the French invasion force, in French, 1 page, 4to, Derry Gaol, 12 brumaire [2 November] 1798; bifolium bearing transcripts of Wolfe Tone's letter from Derry Prison to General Lord Cavan, protesting at his treatment as a French officer after his arrest, and Cavan's reply; marked "Copy", 3 pages, 4to, Derry Prison, 3 November 1798, and Buncrana, 3 November 1798; Wolfe Tone to the commissioner for the exchange of prisoners, in French, 2 pages, on the same stock of Whatman paper watermarked 1794, 4to, Dublin Gaol, 19 brumaire [9 November] 1798; Wolfe Tone to the French Directory, in French, 2 pages, 4to, 19 brumaire [9 November] 1798; Wolfe Tone, to the French Minister of Marine, in French , 2 pages, 4to, 19 brumaire [9 November] 1798; Wolfe Tone's covering letter to "My Lord" sending copies of the three previous letters, marked at the head "copy", 2 pages, 4to, Provost Dublin Barracks, 9 November [1798]

(vii) Wolfe Tone's speech from the dock, opening: "It is not my intention to give the Court any trouble: I admit the charge against me in its fullest extent; what I have done I have done, and I am prepared to stand the consequences...", 4 pages, on Whatman paper watermarked 1794, 4to, [10 November 1798]

(viii) Filing slip, docketed by Hewett: "French/ Papers respecting/ Irish Invasion. Rebellion/ T W Tone/ Napper Tandy/ Teelings speech/ Col Knoxs Mem.m"

(ix) Letter of instruction by Frederick, Duke of York, Commander-in-Chief, issued to Lieutenant-General Sir George Hewett, Bt., on his being given "Command of the Army in Ireland" by HRH the Prince Regent ("...In regard to the general System of Defence of the Country, whether connected with the prospect of Invasion from the Enemy, or that of Interior Commotion, it is recommended to you, in the first Instance, to pursue the Plan, which has been so ably laid down by Lord Cornwallis..."), docketed: "The last sheet with the signature given to the Miss Carey's – 2nd December 1827", 10 pages, in two bifolia, on Whatman paper watermarked 1811, blue silk ties, folio, Horse Guards, 25 September 1813

(x) Heavily revised autograph draft of a memorandum by Hewett on the state of military preparation in Ireland in the event of invasion, with separate sections for individual districts, 23 pages, with inlays, etc., on paper watermarked with a crowned lion within a circle, J Budgen/ 1813, folio, [June 1815]

(xi) Fair copy of the foregoing comprising a memorandum with accompanying "Remarks on the present Distribution of the Force in Ireland with reference to Invasion", divided into sections for the Northern District, Western District, Lower Shannon, South West, South East, Centre and Eastern; with neat revisions made to the text, especially troop numbers and the like, through scraping-out and additions written in darker ink, 38 pages in two gatherings, plus blanks, stitched with blue silk ribbon, on paper with the crowned encircled lion watermark, Ruse & Turner/ 1813, folio, Royal Hospital, 22 June 1815

Footnotes

  • 'I HAVE ATTEMPTED TO ESTABLISH THE INDEPENDENCE OF MY COUNTRY; I HAVE FAILED IN THE ATTEMPT; MY LIFE IS IN CONSEQUENCE FORFEITED & I SUBMIT' – papers of George Hewett, kept while Adjutant-General of the British army in Ireland, prior to and during the French invasion of 1798 and campaign for Irish independence fought by Adjutant-General Theobald Wolfe Tone.

    The original documents, such as the two memoranda submitted by General John Knox concerning the defence of Lough Swilly (which indeed transpired to be the French landing place), are of self-evident importance; as is the material pertaining to his period as Commander-in-Chief in Ireland at the end of the Napoleonic War. As is the printed proclamation issued by the invading army, of which we have found record of only one other copy. The papers of Wolfe Tone and his fellow United Irishmen, although present here as government transcripts, are also of significance; not only in showing the state of British intelligence (and their preparedness for invasion), but in cases where the originals may have disappeared in providing substantive records of some of the foundation texts of the present-day Republic of Ireland.

    A notable example is the celebrated speech of Bartholomew Teeling, which he had intended making from the dock after his condemnation but was forbidden, with its peroration anticipating the words that Robert Emmet was to deliver four years later: 'If to have been active in endeavouring to put a stop to the blood-thirsty policy of an oppressive Government has been treason, I am guilty. If to have endeavoured to give my native country a place among the nations of the earth was treason, then I am guilty indeed'. In the received text, this peroration follows on from the following: 'The same Tribunal which has condemned me -- Citizens, I do not speak to you here of the constitutional right of such a Tribunal, -- has stamped me a traitor' (R.R. Madden, United Irishmen, 1846, 3rd series). Our text preserves a reference to the Irish language that appears to be otherwise unrecorded. It is also something of a muddle; raising the intriguing possibility that its syntactical incoherence reflects the muddle of an original draft: "The same Tribunal which has condemned me Citizens (I dont speak to you here of the Constitutional right of such a Tribunal Constitution and being exploded the Irish Language) I say— has stamped me a traitor".

    Most famous of all, of course, is the speech that Wolfe Tone made, or intended to make, from the dock, ending (in our text): "I will not detain you longer, in this world success is every thing; I have attempted to follow the same line in which Washington succeeded & Kosciusko failed; I have attempted to establish the independence of my country; I have failed in the attempt; my life is in consequence forfeited & I submit; the Court will do their duty & I shall endeavour to do mine".

    The original does not survive, and ours must be considered a primary source. The speech has a complicated publication history. He was about a third of the way through when he was told to desist, and the court ordered a passage to be struck out; one considered incendiary as in it he states that "I have laboured to abolish the infernal spirit of religious persecution by uniting the Catholics & Dissenters". This passage was only restored in 1849 when Cornwallis's papers were published. Our text had been scored through near this point. Marianne Elliott describes its further textual history: 'The full text of Tone's speech was not published at the time. "It has not been circulated," wrote Cornwallis's secretary, transmitting a copy of the speech to London; "treat it as a private communication"... copies of it made by Dublin Castle have survived, although they have never been published. Most works use the version which appears in the Howells' State Trials (1809-28), taken largely from a contemporary pamphlet. Versions taken down in shorthand at the trial differ considerably from copies of the original. Most offend by elaborations which rob the original of that simplicity of style which was Tone's hallmark. Later versions go further. In the one which appears in his son's edition of his journals, the calm dignity and resignation, which contemporaries noted particularly in Tone's demeanour, is replaced by a more confrontational, more crusading style' (Wolfe Tone, second edition, 2012, pp.380-81). The presence of this speech amongst Hewett's papers confirms their status and significance.
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IRELAND – WOLFE TONE, TEELING AND THE RISING OF 1798 Files of documents, kept by George Hewett, Adjutant-General of the British Army in Ireland 1791-99 and Commander-in-Chief of Ireland, 1813-16
IRELAND – WOLFE TONE, TEELING AND THE RISING OF 1798 Files of documents, kept by George Hewett, Adjutant-General of the British Army in Ireland 1791-99 and Commander-in-Chief of Ireland, 1813-16
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