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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 10, page 139 [newspaper clipping], 1859

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Identifier: DX03313142

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 10, page 139 [newspaper clipping], 1859

Description: Newspaper clipping written by Shelton Mackenzie for the Constellation, regarding the rumor that Fitz James O'Brien is the heir to an Irish baronetcy.


Have we an Irish Baron Among Us?

THE question "have we an Bourbon among us?" which agitated the thinking and inquisitive people of this country, when Putnam's Magazine was first published, six years ago, is completely eclipsed by a similar speculation, the hero [Fitz James O'Brien] of which is a small penny-a-liner, from the Emerald Isle, who sometimes has reached the dignity of writing for some of the magazines, who contributed to Harper's Weekly the remarkable articles "By a Man about Town," who used to praise his own little dramatic effusions, (disinterrestedly, of course,) in the Saturday Press, and whose story of "the Diamond Lens," in the Atlantic Monthly excited no special wonder, until Mr. Augustus Maverick, of the Daily Times, came forward with proofs, circumstantial and positive, that the idea and plot had been originated with the late William North who had read his story to the literary conveyancer and had never published it himself.

There landed on these shores, in this city, some seven years ago, a young "man of letters," who was chiefly remarkable for his personal resemblance to Louis Napoleon—even down to the shortness of his legs. Napoleon, however, has something of a chin, while nature has left this emigrant almost minus that feature. A "cousin to Smith O'Brien," he was taken up here, and floated, for a time, (through favor of Mr. Brown, the inviting Sexton of Grace Church,) on the outskirts of that "best society" of which Mrs. Haight—we mean Mrs. Potiphar is the queen. Curiously engrafting an imitation of the English accent upon an Irish tongue as thick as a November fog, (a brogue so tangible that one could almost cut it with a knife!) this imminent character would talk glibly of his "English proclivities," which, he said, prevented his sympathising with the politics of his "distinguished relative," Smith O'Brien. But, after Thomas Francis Meagher coldly told him, when the relationship was mentioned, that he knew that Smith O'Brien had no relative named FITZ JAMES DE COURCY O'BRIEN, there was nothing further heard of the relationship.

The hero of this article was one of the staff of the Daily Times for two or three years, writing "smart" articles, and translating freely from the French. He contrived to get out of this engagement, and has since written very little in the Daily Times. He wrote upon the New York Fortune Tellers, after Doesticks [Mortimer Thomson] had exhausted the subject, but it was Doesticks-and-water. We think that we recognised his "fine Italian hand" the other day, in the Daily Times, in a letter from Boston, signed "Jack Robinson." We think so—though the letter, strange to say, never once alluded to his armorial bearings, because the Boston Transcript had gratified the world, a few days before, by intimating that he had arrived in Boston, and had cut New York. No wonder! He had not been well used here. Too sharp to be done, he was dunned. Besides, his person had not been spared. Mr. George Wilkes had actually violated the sanctity of his person. In fact, shut out from the Century Club and the Bees, in this city, he has shaken the dust off his feet, and gone to Boston. The world at large have been accustomed to consider Charles Frederick Briggs, Esquire, sub-editor of the Daily Times, as a gentleman with a cynical nature. As a lively humorist, his warmest friend or bitterest enemy—if such an amiable and conciliatory gentleman can have made an enemy—never did regard him, though, (overflowing as he is with as much milk of human kindness as might be worked up into a large family's supply of. . . .

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1859

Type(s): Clipping, Newspaper

Maker/Creator: Mackenzie, R. Shelton (Robert Shelton), 1809-1880

Subjects: Diaries
Aristocracy (Social class)


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