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Tone, Theobald Wolfe (1763–1798)

Karen Sonnelitter


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Theobald Wolfe Tone was an Irish nationalist and political writer. He was born in Dublin on June 20, 1763 into a wealthy middle-class family, but its fortunes declined with a downturn in his father's coach-building business in the late 1770s. Theobald entered Trinity College in 1781, was suspended briefly for dueling, and graduated in 1786 before going on to train as a barrister. In 1785 he married Matilda Witherington, eloping with her to the disapproval of her family. His career as a barrister commenced in 1789, and in 1790 he began writing pro-Whig political pamphlets. At about that same time, Tone became friends with Thomas Russell, who asked him to compile resolutions for a political club that radical Dissenters (Presbyterians) planned to establish in Belfast on July 14, 1791, the second anniversary of the fall of the Bastille . Tone's resolutions were initially rejected because they included the demand for Catholic emancipation . In response he wrote An Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland , a persuasive tract that led the Dissenters to drop their objections and invite Tone to Belfast for the founding of the Society of United Irishmen . Tone thereafter gained a reputation as a political writer for both the United Irishmen and the Catholic Committee. In 1794 Tone's radicalization deepened through political collaboration with William Jackson, an agent of revolutionary ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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