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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 10, page 140 [newspaper clipping continued], 1859

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Identifier: DX03313956

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 10, page 140 [newspaper clipping continued], 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.


It is a curious fact that a cousin of Mr. [Fitz James] O'Brien's, Mr. Edmund Burke Roche, succeeded a few years since in reviving the ancient and long-extinct Irish Barony of Fermoy in his own person, the title of which he now enjoys.

If this be a quiz upon poor Mr. O'Brien, it is in bad taste, because it does not require an Irishman to disprove every statement in it. If it be a canard, it is an amusing one. We can prove its want of truth in all respects.

When William O'Bryen, Marquis of Thomond and Baron of Inchiquin, in Ireland, and Baron Tadcaster in the peerage of England, died in 1835, without a child, his Irish Marquisate and English Barony became extinct, and he was succeeded, in his Irish Barony of Inchiquin, by Sir Lucius O'Brien, his kinsman, who then, as nearest male relative, became thirteenth Baron Inchiquin. Whoever will consult Burke's Peerage for the present year will find a copious article about this identical Lord Inchiquin. Now, who edits or compiles this peerage? Who but Sir Bernard Burke, who has been the recognized and legal heraldic authority of Ireland, since 1853, when he was appointed Ulster King of Arms, who actually supervised the legal proofs of Sir L. O'-Brien's right to this title,—and who has since received his vote at each election of Irish Representative Peers since 1855. More than this, the Crown has no "authority" whatever over a man's succeeding to a title by lineal descent,—the Herald's College in England has nothing to do with this Irish peerage, —and there is no Herald's College in Ireland. Lastly, there never was any "order from the Crown" prohibiting the present Lord Inchiquin "from appearing at court under any title but that of Sir Lucius O'Brien."

Here, at one blow from the hammer of fact, tumbles down this fabric of falsehood.

No member of the Thomond family, within two degrees of relationship as near as Sir Lucius O'-Brien's ancestors stood, could have emigrated to Holland a century ago. Simply—because there was none. That any Count Otto O'Brien ever existed we greatly doubt,—the only Count in Fitz James's circle is called dis-count.

Fitz James's father, as we are informed and believe, was simply a petty attorney in a small country town on the borders of Cork and Kerry. When Mr. W. E. Burton, the manager, was compelled to quarrel with Fitz James, he generally proclaimed that he had no right either to the Norman "Fitz" nor the Melesian "O," and that he had been known, when a paragraph writer in the London newspapers, merely as "Jimmy Bryan." Here for a time, he was said to have been Editor of the London Times, an officer in the Household Guards of England, (in which a man needs $25,000 a year besides his pay,) and, we have, heard, an eminent Professor of—Dancing.

Count Otto left documents behind him, (says Briggs,) "which are said fully to establish Mr. O'Brien's claim to the title." So, after all the great flourish, a mere on dit is the sole authority—uness some emigrant Hollanders in this country, who are duly invited, will make or find evidence:

Finally, Edward Burke Roche, of Trabolgan and Kilshannic, whose relationship with Fitz James is as strong as it is with the reader of these lines, and no stronger, was descended from only a junior branch of Lord Fermoy's family, and, representives of the senior branch being alive, did not succeed in reviving the peerage he now holds It was a new creation, in 1855, and the "curious fact" about it is, that the Queen's right to make him an Irish peer (he was not thought enough of to be made an English peer, which would put him in the House of Lords) was. . . .

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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