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Alumni Dublinenses: Preface

The idea of publishing the Admission Registers of Trinity College was suggested to me by that learned genealogist the Rev. William A. Reynell some twenty years ago. After his death the late John Ribton Garstin, M.R.I.A., who had at one time copied a portion of the earliest Register with a view to publication, urged me to undertake the work, and, thus encouraged, I discussed the matter with Mr G. D. Burchaell, Deputy Ulster King of Arms. We decided to collaborate in printing the volumes, and, the project having the warm approval of the then Provost Sir John P. Mahaffy, I undertook to have the work of transcription accomplished, while Mr Burtchaell agreed to supply more than three hundred names of students during the period 1593-1637 (for which no register exists) culled by him from the Patent Rolls, Ecclesiastical Visitations, Fiants of Elizabeth and James I., Calendars of State Papers, Lists of Wards, Chancery and Exchequer Inquisitions, Funeral Entries, and The Particular Book, as the earliest record of College Accounts is denominated. At a later stage Mr Burtchaell, probably the most accomplished genealogist Ireland has known, enriched many of the entries with valuable notes. It is sad to think how much more complete the volume would have been had he lived to continue his labours, for he was accidentally killed while crossing a Dublin street when scarcely a third of the book was in type.

The scope of the work, as far as the actual Registers are concerned, is limited to the period 1637 to 1846, the latter date marking the close of a volume. When we began our labours, it was believed that these Registers, kept by the Senior Lecturer, were exhaustive, but as time went on it was found that serious gaps existed, particularly about the years 1688, 1711, 1750, 1770, 1803, and 1824. We have endeavoured to make up for these de?ciencies by reference to the invaluable Alumni Cantabridgienses, now being brought out by Messrs Venn, Alumni the printed Inns of Court Registers, and the manuscript admission papers of The King's Inn, Dublin, as well as to the various books kept by the College Bursar, all of which it has not been possible to examine. The fault for these omissions must not always be laid on the Senior Lecturer, for it is evident that men became members of the University without submitting to the Entrance Examination. To this category belong those who were examined privately for entrance, as, for example, Lord Caulfeild (afterwards 2nd Earl of Charlemont) in 1791, and Freshmen of other universities who were allowed – a practice common from 1820 to 1840-to take the same rank as they had held elsewhere, like Grantham Munton Yorke, afterwards Dean of Worcester, admitted from Queens' College, Cambridge, in 1834.

Generally speaking, however, the records were accurately kept, and careless reference has too often been the cause of unjust criticism. A recent writer on John Mitchel, the Irish agitator, declared that on looking up the account of his matriculation in 1830 he found that particulars of his age, parentage, and birth place were all incorrect. But he had accepted the date of entrance as given by the Dictionary of National Biography and looked up the wrong man, the object of his inquiry having entered on July 4, 1831.

In referring to the work there are certain points which should be constantly remembered. To begin with, the original entries are in Latin throughout. As will be seen, these, save as regards the description of the father, have been translated. But with certain Christian names a difficulty arises, Johannes being used for John and Jonathan ; Jacobus for James and Jacob ; Lucas, or Lucius, for Luke, Lucas, and Lucius ; Marcus for Mark and Marcus '; Audoenus, or Eugenius, for Owen and Eugene; Hugo for Hugh and Hugo. Again, where a man had more than one Christian name, the second is often merely denoted by an initial, which, it must be explained, is the initial of the Latin form, thus a name appearing as Thomas G. Young is possibly for Thomas William (Gulielmus), or Walter (Gwalterus), since the initial of a Christian name cannot be rendered in English until the Latin equivalent is known.

The eccentric spelling of names, due no doubt to phonetic rendering, must always be guarded against. Where possible, we have added the recognised form, inserting the version found in the Matriculation Book in parentheses. But in some cases-snch, for instance, as Bailey, which appears also as Bailie, Baillie, Baly, Baily, Bayly, Bayley, and Baylee-reference to the various forms of spelling should be made.

Most of the students entered as Pensioners, the word originally meaning one who paid a ?xed sum annually, and not, as now, the recipient of such. They ranked above the Sizars, who were allowed free education in consideration of performing certain, at one time menial, duties, and below the Fellow Commoners (Socii Comitates), who paid double fees and enjoyed several privileges, including that of ?nishing the College course in three years instead of four.

In the eighteenth century many of the aristocracy came from Westminster, where the 1st Viscount Sackville, 4th Viscount Molesworth, Thomas Barnard, F.R.S., Bishop of Limerick, and some of the Beresfords were educated. Dr Thompson of Kensington (not to be confused with Thompson of Leixlip, the master of Earl Macartney) was the preceptor of many young men of fashion, including Edward Stratford, 2nd Earl of Aldborough, F.R.S., known as "the Irish Stanhope," whose name is perpetuated in Stratford Place, London. Now and then there were Winchester boys, but the majority of those stated to have been educated there were not pupils at the famous foundation of William of Wykeham, but at Hyde Abbey School, Winchester, under Dr Richards, who sent us Charles Wolfe the poet, Sir Edward Grogan, Bart, and several others during the period 1779-1832. Boys from Harrow School, among whom were Power Le Poer Trench, Archbishop of Tuam, and the 3rd Earl of Massereene, do not appear till 1761, while there are none from Charterhouse till 1783, when the entrance is recorded of Henry King, afterwards so well known in literary and social circles in London as "Harry Luttrell," and whose poetry the late Mr Austin Dobson endeavoured to rescue from oblivion. In the early part of the nineteenth century more than one student credited with an Eton education was in fact a pupil of Mr Eaton at Galway Grammar School. Confusion might also arise from the frequent mention of Luxembourgh as a school in the period 1820-46. Such an entry does not necessarily imply a German education, for the then outstanding Dublin school was "The Luxembourgh" (originally Aldborough House), carried on by Professor Von Feinaigle. The date of admission is a matter deserving of comment. In the early years of the entrance register the names were chronologically entered, if sometimes in a haphazard manner. A change was made in 1669, when it was decreed that the academic year should commence on 9th July. This practice, which lasted till 1770, has been the cause of endless confusion. Thus the Dictionary of National Biography tells us that Edmund Burke entered Trinity College in 1743, when the date should be 1744; again, that Oliver Goldsmith entered on June 11, 1744, when it was really 1745. Of course, with entries later in the year than 9th July no difficulty arises. To simplify matters, we have endeavoured to rectify this error throughout by giving the actual date, and, with regard to dates before 1751, we have given when necessary both the old and new style, though in respect to degrees it has frequently not been possible to do so.

With regard to the student's age, it has been found, particularly in the early Registers, to be sometimes overstated. There was a tendency to give the age next Birthday which was perhaps in accordance with "Annum Agens," 'as the column for these particulars was headed. Is it possible that our ancestors computed the ages of their sons as we do those of our horses, and described the undergraduate as "rising sixteen"?

In discussing the accuracy of the parentage, it must be remembered that the Registers as we ?nd them were not always compiled direct from the student's own statement. What happened in the seventeenth century we cannot now say but certainly from 1740, and probably earlier, the volumes have been written up by the Senior Lecturer from slips of paper, on which particulars of each student were set down in English. It would seem that a good deal of carelessness existed about 1740-1770, for the name of the parent is sometimes wrongly stated, and from 1758-68 wholly omitted. From 1750-58 the Registers overlap, so that by comparing entries we may often ascertain the true -facts. From about 1790 an intermediate process was introduced, the entries being written out in volumes in English (denoted as Matriculation Books in Appendix A) before being reproduced in Latin in the Registers. Now it will be readily seen that so much transcription led to errors. These were either from the use of abbreviations, Eques read… Epis, the abbreviated form of Episcopus ; Nicholas for Richard, John for James, Joshua for Joseph ; or from failing to decipher handwriting, Lightburne rendered as Lighthorn, Bewsher as Bewser, Till as Hill, French as Trench, etc. In the ?rst volume, 1637-1725, which is in itself a transcript, the likelihood of mistake becomes increased, though, as far as we can check the entries, as in the case of Oxford and Cambridge students, its accuracy has been vindicated to a remarkable extent.

As already mentioned, we have left the description of the father in the original Latin, partly owing to the frequent difficulty of discovering the meaning of words manufactured to suit an un-classic -profession, and partly because, with regard to seventeenth and early eighteenth century entries, the then English equivalent no longer conveys the idea intended. Cultor, Agricola, and Colonus are used alike for a farmer of few acres and a country squire of great possessions. Nummularius , Argentarius, Mensarius, Trapezita, each denote a Banker, a Usurer, a Money- changer. And whatever the writer had in his mind the descendant of the student will assuredly insist on the most aristocratic translation, though perhaps not so extravagantly as Horne Tooke, whose father is chronicled in the Register of St. John's College, Cambridge, as Pullarius (a Poulterer), but was declared by the son to have been "an eminent Turkey Merchant." A list of the more commonly used terms, with translations, will be found in Appendix B.

The birthplace of the student is an important item. When not the father's Home it is frequently, especially in the case of an eldest son, that of the maternal Grandfather. Foster in his Alumni Oxonienses assumed that the birthplace was always the boy's home, and therefore described the father in each case as if he resided at what was merely his son's birthplace, thus causing much confusion. In the seventeenth century the children of the wealthy were frequently born in Dublin, or the nearest town where medical advice could be obtained. No entries as to religion appear before March 18, 1794. It was assumed that all students belonged to the then Established Church, but there can be no doubt that for some years previously quite a number of those of other persuasions did actually matriculate. It frequently happened that a student's religious persuasion, even after 1794, was not always set down, so that the absence of the letters R.C. does not necessarily imply that the boy was a Protestant. In fact, even Michael Slattery, afterwards Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cashel, is not so designated.

When the names of all the students - over 35,000 - had been duly arranged in alphabetical order, it became necessary to apportion the various degrees. This proved a slow process. Students of the same name frequently graduated within a year of each other ; as already mentioned, some of those entered are not to be found in the Registers; and, again, honorary and eundem degrees had to be taken into consideration. The task was further complicated and delayed by the discovery that the Catalogue of Graduates, published in 1866 by Dr James Henthorn Todd, contained an amazing number of errors, both in names and dates. Far be it from me to asperse in the slightest degree the profound learning of that great Celtic scholar; I am glad to be able to add that the work was completed when he was suffering from failing sight with the result that the proof-sheets were never properly revised. Added to these difficulties, when a boy's Christian name was the same as his father's, he was often known by a second or even third Christian name, under which he would be duly chronicled at entrance. When, however, he attained the dignity of a degree he signed his full name. Thus, for example, William Richard Vincent Lane (son of William Lane), entering as Richard only in 1817, is in danger of being credited with the degree which really should belong to another Richard Lane who entered in 1818.

Owing to the kind help of various correspondents, and by diligently studying signatures in the Degree Book, We have been able to ?x with certainty the identity of many graduates about whom some confusion existed; and the discovery of a Book of Testimoniums, 1711-45, unknown to Dr Todd, has enabled us to add a number of degrees conferred during that period. But a young man's signature is not necessarily the form that he will adopt in after life. Thus, Chief Justice Bushe signs when graduating in 17 87 Charles Kendall, whereas he is known to history as Charles Kendal ; two brothers named Duck afterwards altered their surname to Duke; while Charles Wolfe Dickinson, on Nov. 26, 1844, changed his name to Charles John Dickinson.

In reviewing the labours of nine years, it is easy to overlook much useful assistance. Of those that have passed away, I owe much to Mr John Ribton Garstin and the late Provost Sir J. P. Mahaffy. Mr J. A. Venn, one of the editors of the monumental Alumni Cantabrigienses, has given me constant help in tracing Dublin men at Cambridge. Mr W. G. Strickland, Sir William Ridgeway, Henry Drury, M.D., Mr Justice Samuels, Col. G. H. Johnston, Professor W. F. Trench, Mr R. A. Austen-Leigh, Mr H. J. B. Clements, and Rev. H. L. L. Denny have afforded me many genealogical items, for which I am deeply grateful. I am also particularly indebted to Rev. H. B. Swanzy for the deep and sustained interest he has taken in the work, including the labour of reading through the typed transcript of the Registers, and in supplying a list of scholars omitted by Dr Todd; and to the Rev. James B. Leslie, whose unrivalled knowledge of the Irish clergy has saved me from many pitfalls. For invaluable help and advice in dif?culties, I have to thank the Right Hon. and Most Rev. Bishop Bernard, the present Provost, at whose instance the Board of Trinity College subscribed for one hundred copies of the volume. Dr Louis C. Purser, S.F.T.C.D., Mr Robert Russell, F.T.C.D., and Mr Shaw, the Registrar, have also assisted my endeavours in freely giving me access to the documents in their custody. In conclusion, I must not omit to acknowledge the great kindness of the Hon. Sir Charles Parsons in allowing the work to be dedicated to him.


Preface to the 2nd Edition

This volume follows on the lines of the first edition, with a further list of matriculation from 1846-1860, and corrigenda to the original list (1593-1846) which will be found to supply the parentage of quite a number of students. The preface to the former edition an attempt was made to set out the various records dealing with matriculations, still preserved at Trinity College, to consider questions arising there from and to assist the reader generally. Unfortunately, there was an important omission, since no explanation was supplied as regards names in the printed text of the book marked with an asterisk. They denote entrances before 1637, too early to be found in the first matriculation volume, the details of which were collected by the late Mr. Burtchaell from contemporary records.

The great difficulty in editing a work of this nature lies in identifying individuals. Thus on one day the entrance is recorded of two persons bearing the name Arthur Pyne O'Callaghan. If it were a mere list of students, surely with such a distinctive name one would suspect repetition. But no, for the register reveals that the two boys had not the same father, and it has since been ascertained that they were cousins John Read Hunter and John Allen Johnson are other instances which quite correctly in duplicate. There might in fact have been three entries to the latter name, since the Eton Register reveals a third John Allen Johnson, also an Irish boy, at about the same period. It should be pointed out that in entries in the supplemental list where dates of degree only are given, the particulars of matriculation will sometimes be found before 1846. If these particulars are absent, it must be inferred that the Senior Lecturer of the day had neglected to enter them.

When dealing with cross-references to Foster's "Alumni Oxonienses," it should remembered that names like La Barte and La Touche are indexed by him under Bart and Touche. As in the former edition, I am under deep obligation to many friends for valuable assistance. In particular I must mention my friend, the late Revd. H. B. Swanzy, Dean of Dromore, an enthusiastic collaborator for many years who was most painstaking in the work of tracing early scholars and correcting Errors in Todd's "Catalogue of Degrees." I have also to thank T. P. C. Kirkpatrick, Esq. M.D., for help with the recipients of medical degrees, and the Revd. J. C. Leslie, Chancellor of Armagh, who has given me unstinted assistance in the identification of ecclesiastical dignitaries. Through the kindness of the Right Hon. Lord Russell of Killowen, Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, I am able to reproduce the portrait of his distinguished father, formerly Lord Chief Justice of England. Nor must I forget the generous action of the Board of Trinity College in voting a substantial grant from the Madden Fund, to assist me in the expensive work of transcribing the matriculation books. In conclusion I must express my great regret at the long delay in publication. The actual prospectus was sent out as far back 1930 but owing to circumstances wholly beyond my control the original publisher was unable to ful?l his contract and after months of waiting I had to place the order in the capable hands of Alexander Thom & Co., Ltd.

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