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THE information concerning Charles Wolfe, the Marshall Hoax, and Father Prout's eccentricities, has been obtained from that valuable periodical Notes and Queries, and has been used by consent of the Editor. The opportunity of consulting this work and many others has been furnished by the Stuckey-Lean Reference Library, College Green, Bristol. The value of Mr. Stuckey-Lean's munificent bequest, and the courteous treatment readers experience from its lady guardians, are still unknown to many fellow-citizens.



September 19th, 1908.



"The Burial of Sir John Moore"


THERE is no poem in the English language more often quoted in speech or printed in books, no poem about whose authorship there has been more controversy, none which grips more firmly both the mind of a child and the intellect of a cultivated scholar, than the immortal threnody,“ The Burial of Sir John Moore.” The purpose of this pamphlet is to endeavour to prove that the ode was not written by the Rev. Charles Wolfe, but by a soldier of the 9th Regiment, named Joseph Wolfe, who was one of the party that actually dug Moore's grave. This necessarily involves the charge that the Rev. Charles Wolfe was an impostor.

A wish has been expressed that a full statement of the evidence of Charles Wolfe's claim should be printed. For eighty years the discussion of his pretensions has been waged in the literary press,



sometimes fiercely, sometimes languidly. It has ever been the opinion of men fit to judge that Charles Wolfe could not have written the ode, and the furthest they can go is to say that if he did write it it was an extraordinary freak of genius.

Charles Wolfe was born at Blackhall, County Kildare, 14th December, 1791. He was one of a

a family of eleven children, and the youngest of eight

His father was Theobald Wolfe, first cousin of Wolfe, Viscount Kilwarden. His father died when Charles was eight years old. Charles was educated first at Bath, then at the Abbey High School, Manchester. He matriculated in 1809 at Trinity College, Dublin, obtained a scholarship in 1812, and graduated B.A. in 1814. He took Orders in November, 1817, being ordained a curate of Ballyclog, County Tyrone. After a few weeks he exchanged for Donoughmore, County Down. Wolfe died of consumption at Cork in 1823, at the age

of 32.

There is indisputable evidence that Wolfe claimed to be the author of the poem. First there is his own letter, dated September 9th, 1816, yet bearing the postmark of September 6th, 1816, in which he states : “I have completed • The Burial of Sir John Moore,' and will here inflict it on you. You have none but yourself to blame for praising the two stanzas that I told you so much.” This letter was found amongst the effects of the brother of Dr. Luby in 1844, and addressed to Mr. Taylor. It is open to

some suspicion. The letter is now preserved in the Law Library in Dublin.

Mr. John Sydney Taylor, to whom this letter was addressed, writes to the Morning Chronicle of October 29th, 1824, that “ Wolfe was his earliest and dearest friend. Wolfe read to him the first and last verses of the poem, and had no intention at first of any others. The thought was inspired by reading an account of Marcellus at Corunna in some periodical work. He showed it to him completed some time in 1814."

Mark Perrin, Prebendary of Taghsaxon, Diocese of Tuam, writes on August 22nd, 1877 : "One morning, in the year 1816, I was with my friend Samuel O'Sullivan at the room No. 26, Trinity College, when he showed me some pretty verses of Charles Woulfe's. I gave them to Mr. Steward, editor of the Newry Telegraph. Woulfe looked on them as an unconsidered trifle, not worthy to be offered to the public.”

Bishop Dickenson writes to Archdeacon Russell, August 28th, 1841: "I distinctly remember I read to Hercules Graves, Charles Wolfe's poem in my room No. 5 in college. This must have been between March, 1812, and December, 1815. I think his sermons present more of poetic fire than even this ode."

Archdeacon Russell, who wrote his life, under date March 11th, 1826, says: “I assure you that Mr. Wolfe did actually declare to me that the poem

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