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from Mofe ? R&F.Jobsloy the Jum of fit pounds die berg mi pull for the ammual Repito of 7161 Kü 30 day of Merah.1962
Family and Birth of Mr. Burke - The Nagles - Castletown
Roche School-master - Ballitore - Anecdotes — Studies, and Poetical Exercises at College-Literary Society in Dublin First Political Writings-Entry at the Middle Temple.
EDMUND BURKE, the most extraordinary man perhaps of an age fertile in extraordinary men, and in many respects the greatest whom Ireland has produced, was descended from a respectable family long settled in the county of Galway,* whence it removed to the county of Limerick, and once had possession of a considerable estate in the latter, but which became forfeited during one of those civil convulsions that have so often caused property to change possessors in that country. This took place some time in the troubled period between 1641 and 1653.
The Burkes, or Bourkes, though now thickly strewed over the whole of Ireland, particularly the southern part of it, were not an aboriginal, or, as their English invaders termed them, a mere Irish family; but descended from the Norman Burghs, or De Burghs, of which Burke is merely a corruption, who went thither as adventurers under Strongbow, in the reign of Henry II.; not as temporary marauders whose visitations might soon be over, but to conquer an inheritance, to seize upon such pos
The late Earl of Clanricarde, John Smyth de Burgh, (a Galway family) frequently addressed Mr. Burke as Cousin.'
sessions as their strength would permit, and permanently to hold what they had thus seized.
An ancestor of Mr. Burke's family is said to have been Mayor of the city of Limerick in 1646, when it was occupied by a native military force, which seeming disinclined to receive either the parliamentary army, or that under the Marquis of Ormond who aimed at securing it for Charles I. in whose interest the Irish army professed to be, the Mayor exerted himself vigorously in favour of the royal cause. A popular riot however ensued, instigated by the intrigues of the Papal Nuncio, who, though professing devotion to the same cause, had some other ambitious purposes to answer; and Burke was not only roughly handled at the moment, but lost much of his property, was deposed from his office and imprisoned, his place being filled by a Monk, who led on the rioters.
The great grandfather of Edmund possessing some property in the county of Cork, retired thither, and subsequently settled near to the village of Castletown Roche, the seat of the Roche family, prettily situated, and distinguished in the civil wars for having been defended in 1649 by Lady Roche against the parliamentary forces; which, with other offences of a similar kind by her husband, caused his outlawry, and the forfeiture of the family estates. The village stands about four or five miles from Donneraile, five or six from Mallow, and nearly about the same distance from the ruined old castle of Kilcolman, the residence, for a considerable time, of the poet Spenser, where he was frequently visited by Sir Walter Raleigh, and other eminent characters,
of the reign of Elizabeth, connected with Ireland, and where he wrote the whole or the greater part of the “ Fairy Queen.” To the abode of the poet in this district of legends and tales, may be attributed some of the beauties of that great work; the innumerable superstitions and romantic traditions of the surrounding country unquestionably supplying him with numberless hints for that purpose; and to which, in more than one part of his writings, he indirectly alludes.
This property continuing in the Burke family, came into the possession of Edmund in 1765 on the death of his elder brother Garret, who died on the 27th April in that year, and lies buried on the spot. It was sold by him in 1792 or 1793 for something less than 40001.: the annual value at that period was under 3001., but of late it has produced above 7001. per annum.
His father Richard Burke, or Bourke,* as it was often indiscriminately spelt, was a Protestant, and educated for an attorney. Removing from Limerick, where he resided for some time, to Dublin, he took a house on Arran Quay, then a fashionable part of the town, and soon obtaining extensive practice, continued for several years in the first rank of his profession in that city. At an early period, he had become attached to a juvenile acquaintance, a Miss Nagle, of the respectable family of that name, still existing near Castletown Roche, and descended
* Many families still use the latter orthography, particularly that of the Earls of Mayo, the founder of which, also a Richard Bourke and LLD. died in 1727.
from the Attorney General to James II. To this lady he was married, at Mallow, about the year 1725 or 1726, and by her became the father of fourteen or fifteen children, all of whom died young except Garret, Edmund, Richard, a daughter, named Juliana, baptized in 1728,* and married to a Mr. French, a gentleman of respectability in the county of Galway. This lady possessed no ordinary talents. In the words of a gentleman (a member of the Irish Bar), who knew her long and intimately, to the writer, “ Mrs. French, had nature destined her for the other sex, would have been as great an orator as her brother Edmund. In her conversation there was so much of elegance as well as of ability, that I often remarked it would have been difficult to transpose a word to advantage.” Educated in the belief of her mother, as is commonly the case with females in Ireland where the parents are of different religious persuasions, she was a rigid Roman Catholic, exemplary in her duties, and kind and charitable to her poorer neighbours. On Christmas Day, in every year, she was accustomed to invite the halt, maimed, blind, and distressed of every description in the vicinity to a plentiful repast, in which she waited on them herself as a servant. “ It is right,” said she, “ to humble ourselves now and then, and what day so appropriate for this duty as the anniversary of that on
The following is a copy of the Church Register, Castletown Roche Parish, diocese of Cloyne :
“ Juliana, daughter of Richard and Mary Burke, baptized 1728.—God-father Edw. Fitton-God-mothers Mary Dunworth, Mary Nayler."