Archibald Hamilton Rowan and Tone’s Life

Published in Issue 2 (March/April 2016), Letters, Volume 24

Sir,—Archibald Hamilton Rowan could very well have read the select writings of Theobald Wolfe Tone, including his diary, as they were first published as his Life in Washington in the early summer of 1826, and not 1831 as is stated by Fergus Whelan (HI 24.1, Jan./Feb. 2016, ‘The seditious library of Archibald Hamilton Rowan’). Furthermore, the Dictionary of Irish Biography cites 1834 as the year of Rowan’s death, not 1832 as given in the article. Rowan—who would have addressed his fellow United Irishman and exile as ‘Tone’, and not by the posthumous construct ‘Wolfe Tone’—most probably had heard of the ‘leaks’ in a London journal in 1824 and 1825 of extracts from an ‘autobiography’, unauthorised by Tone’s widow and son. The Life was advertised in Dublin papers by November 1826 . . . and the rest is history, it being one of the most inspirational reads in Irish collective memory.—Yours etc.,

Dublin 18


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