October Books 19) The Uncrowned King of Ireland

19) The Uncrowned King of Ireland: Charles Stewart Parnell – His Love Story and Political Life, by Katherine O’ Shea (Mrs Charles Stewart Parnell)

This is the ultimate primary source for the private life of one of the towering figures of nineteenth-century Ireland. Parnell, for those of you who need reminding, built a coalition between parliamentarians and terrorists to force the British government of the day to improve the conditions of Ireland’s tenant farmers, and had managed to get Gladstone to promise Home Rule – an autonomous government for Ireland – when his leadership of Irish nationalism suddenly collapsed after it was revealed that he had been the lover, for ten years, of the wife of one of the MPs representing his party. They married after her divorce, but he died suddenly only three months later, at the age of 45.

This is her story. Katherine was the daughter of an ordained baronet; her brother won a VC; her mother and sister wrote novels; she gives a rather entrancing picture of her childhood and courtship by William O’ Shea. Their marriage quickly went sour, but he had meantime introduced her to his party leader, and it is implied that they became lovers while she was nursing him in 1880, during a convalescence from one of his frequent illnesses. (One of the great questions of Irish history is "What if Parnell had lived thirty years longer?" – but on the evidence here that would have been very unlikely.)

She doesn’t go into much intimate detail about her life with Parnell – there is a lovely moment of frolicking on the beach at Eastbourne, and a poignant death scene – but does reproduce a very large number of Parnell’s letters and telegrams to her, and goes into enough detail about her own role as an intermediary between Parnell and Gladstone in the early to mid 1880s to make it clear that Gladstone knew full well of their relationship, and that his publicly expressed shock when it came to light in 1890 was pretty bogus. She also gives some of her correspondence from her first husband, Captain O’ Shea, in which he appears completely self-obsessed and very unpleasant; a stark contrast with Parnell’s tenderness towards her combined with a political single-mindedness.

Anyway, you wouldn’t want to read this as a jumping-off point to this period of Irish history, but if you already have a background knowledge of the main events it’s pretty fascinating. Incidentally one of the popular pubs near my office in the European Quarter of Brussels is called Kitty O’Shea’s after the author; she herself always went by "Katie" to friends and family (and, mysteriously, was called "Dick" by her first husband), but popular lore remembers her differently.

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October Books 17) The Shore of Women

17) The Shore of Women, by Pamela Sargent

Classic feminist sf, or at least that is how it is usually labelled: women live in hi-tech urban enclaves, while men are consigned to a nasty, brutish, short life of scrabbling in the wilderness, worshipping the female principle, as punishment for having caused the (unspecified) world-wrecking disaster centuries ago.

It’s not that different from Sherri S. Tepper’s The Gate to Women’s Country. Sargent’s characters are more three-dimensional, but her plot and setting rather less elaborate. I wondered where all the food for the women’s cities was coming from; I also speculated a bit about the robustness of the  command-and-control mechanism by which the women unleash deadly force on men when they get uppity.

The most extreme example of Sargent’s rather inconsistent world-building is, oddly enough, in her erotic passages, where Hero gets it on with Heroine; they are raunchily written yet don’t completely fit what we know of the environment – we are told that both of them have had same-sex physical relationships in the past, so the overtones of virginal discovery somehow aren’t quite appropriate.

Anyway, I’ve read it now.

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October Books 16) Alternate Worldcons

16) Alternate Worldcons, ed. Mike Resnick

Not really a lot to say: a short anthology of very short stories about fantasised Worldcons. Also a moving poem about fans in a war zone by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A couple of recurring themes: the impact of Star Trek is given grudging acceptance in two stories, and Mike Resnick and the (presumably fictional) Jerry Phipps are recurring characters. Picked it up cheap at Octocon and probably got my money’s worth.

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October Books 15) Blind Voices

15) Blind Voices, by Tom Reamy

Picked this up two years ago at Worldcon after very much enjoying Reamy's collection, San Diego Lightfoot Sue and Other Stories, and to be honest there's something tragically compelling about the story of the talented up-and-coming writer who died suddenly, thirty years ago next week, just before his first novel was published.

Blind Voices is set in the same fictional Kansas town that forms the background to several of the short stories, but it doesn't really matter for continuity purposes: a travelling freak show comes to town, and brings sex and death in its wake. Some people have described it as Bradburyesque, but I think Reamy actually does better than Bradbury in some respects – in particular, the tone of horror is more gripping where Bradbury sometimes risks becoming twee. The book was apparently not completely finished at Reamy's death, but this was not obvious to me; there's a little unevenness of pacing, but I'd put that down to it being a first novel. Gripping and memorable.

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John Henry Whyte, of Loughbrickland, Co. Down, b. 30 April, 1928, educ. Ampleforth, and Oriel Coll., Oxford (B.A. 1949, B.Litt. 1951, M.A. 1953). 

Lineage – The following is derived partly from a pedigree registered in Ulster Office, 1765: (Gen. Off. Dublin Castle MS. 165 Reg. Peds. Vol. II, pp. 14-20). 

Walter Whyte, with several of his brothers, accompanied Strongbow on his expedition to Ireland in 1170 and was knighted by Henry II in Dublin, 1171.He accompanied John de Courcy to Downpatrick in 1177 and having taken a leading part in the subsequent conquest of Ulster was rewarded with large grants of land on the west shore of Strangford Lough. He was one of the five barons of Ulster created by de Courcy as Earl Palatine of Ulster. His descendants were known as the Lords of the Duffryn and built castles at Ballymorran, Killinchy, Raynhaddye and Ringdufferin. [The Malta manuscripts add to this fanciful origin further fanciful details, derived from the imaginative Sir James Ware. Supposedly the family descends from Witegarde, a nephew of Hengist and Horsa, who occupied the Isle of Wight in the 5th century AD, hence its name. One Ethelbert de Whyte was “Grand Justiciar of South Wales” under Henry I, and Walter, knighted in 1771, was his son.] His eldest son, 

Sir James Whyte, served under Richard I in the Holy Wars, 1191-92. said to have married Amicie de Beaumont, daughter of the Earl of Leicester (but this lady married Simon de Montfort – see Burke’s Dormant and Extinct Peerages), and had issue, 

Sir Balthazar Whyte who supported King John during his expedition to Ireland when the king stayed at Ballymorran Castle in July 1210. He had issue, 

Sir James Whyte, [presumably mid-thirteenth century] who had issue, 

Maurice Whyte, [presumably late thirteenth century] m. a de Lacy of Lecale, and had issue, 

Walter Whyte who with his brother Wadenus and his kinsmen the de Lacys joined Bruce in his invasion of Ireland, 1315-1318. He m. the sister of John de Mandeville, of Killyleagh Castle, and had, with other issue, 

Nicholas Whyte, who, with his brothers John and Richard, fought at the battle of Mullingar, 1329 [according to Malta manuscripts was killed there]. He had issue, 

Dominic Whyte, [presumably mid-fourteenth century] who had issue, 

  1. Nicholas Whyte, of whom presently,
  2. Robert, Treasurer of Ulster 1388 and Prior of Kilmainham, 1399.

The elder son, 

Nicholas Whyte, [presumably late fourteenth century] m. a daughter of the 3rd Earl of Ormonde, and had issue, 

Sir Maurice Whyte, who served in France under Henry IV and Henry V where at the siege of Rouen he led 2,000 Irish, and later made Governor of Montaire under Henry VI. He was called “The Lancastrian”, having served under three kings of the House of Lancaster. He m. a Fitzgerald and had issue, 

  1. Bartholomew, of whom presently.
  2. Patrick, Seneschal of Lecale, 1469
  3. William, Recorder of Waterford, 1485

The eldest son, 

Bartholomew Whyte, m. Anne Cusack, and had issue, 

  1. Nicholas, of whom presently.
  2. Maurice, ancestor of the Whytes, of Imokilly, Co. Limerick (cr. Bts. In 1677, and Marquesses d’Albaville).

The elder son, 

Nicholas Whyte, of King’s Meadows, Co. Waterford, m. Elizabeth, dau. of — Power, of King’s Meadows, and had issue, a son, 

James Whyte, Seigneur of King’s Meadows, Co. Waterford, and founder of Whyte’s Hall, nr. Knocktopher, Co. Kilkenny in 1518. Henry VII granted him a lease of the Rectory of Dunkitt, Co. Kilkenny 1540. He served in Scotland with James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormonde; on their return to London, they and 16 others died of poisoning after a banquet at Ely House, Holborn, 1546.  He m. Margaret Walsh, of Co. Waterford and had issue, a son, 

Sir Nicholas Whyte, of Leixlip, Seneschal of Co. Wexford, and of Whyte’s Hall, Gov. of Castle of Wexford, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, 1572, m. — Sherlock, and had issue, a son, 

Andrew Whyte, of Leixlip, m. Margaret, dau. of Patrick Finglass, and d. 31 July, 1599, leaving issue, a son, 

Sir Nicholas Whyte, of Leixlip, aged 16 in 1599, m. Ursula, dau. of 1st Viscount Moore (see Burke’s Peerage, Drogheda, E.), and d. 1654. [earlier editions of Burke’s add the following children of this Sir Nicholas Whyte: 
1.    Nicholas of the Dufferin, MP for Kildare 1642-44, died unmarried 1664 
2.    Arthur, MP for Swords, died unmarried 
3.    Thomas, officer in the French service 
4.    Charles, see below 
1.    Frances, married 1635 to Thomas, 4th Viscount Dillon 
2.    Mary, married Theobald Taaffe, 2nd Viscount Taaffe of Corran and Ballymote and first Earl of Carlingford 
3.    Eleanor, married 1st Sir Arthur Aston, who as Governor of Drogheda was killed in Cromwell’s attack in 1649; married 2ndly Edward Butler, 2nd Viscount Galmoyle 
4.    Anne, married 1636 Christopher Fagan of Feltrim Co Dublin, whose daughter Elizabeth married Lord Strabane in 1659]

His 4th son,  

Charles Whyte, of Leixlip, Col. in Spain, mentioned in a letter to Charles II from Emperor Leopold I 1693, afterwards Gov. of Co. Kildare 1689, M.P. for Naas, m. 2ndly, Mary, 5th dau. of Sir Thomas Newcomen, of Sutton, Co. Dublin, by his wife Frances, dau. of Sir William Talbot, Bt., of Cartown, Co. Dublin, and had issue, a son, 

John Whyte, of Leixlip, m. 1704, Mary, dau. of Nicholas Purcell, Baron of Loughmoe, Co. Tipperary, by his wife Rose, dau. of Mark Trevor, Viscount Dungannon, and d. 1741, leaving issue, a son, 

Charles Whyte, of Leixlip, b. 1714, m. 24 Dec. 1751, Anastatia, dau. of Francis Wyse, of the Manor of St. John, Waterford (see that family), and d. 29 Nov. 1784, leaving issue, 

  1. John, of whom presently,
  2. Nicholas (Sir), Knight of Malta.
  3. Margaret, m. 24 Oct. 1776, John Roche, of Limerick.
  4. Rose.

The elder son, 

John Whyte, of Leixlip, b. 1752, m. 15 Feb. 1776, Letitia, dau. of Hom. Thomas de Burgh, son of 9th Earl of Clanricarde (see Burke’s Peerage, Sligo, M.), and d. 4 Jan. 1814, leaving issue, eight sons and two daus.,

  1. Charles John, Capt. 85th Regt., b. 1777, m. 1794, Anna, eldest dau. of John Ross-Lewin, of Fort Fergus, Co. Clare, by his wife Eleanor, dau. of George Stacpoole, of Edenvale, Co. Clare (see that family), and d. Nov. 1803, leaving issue,

      Charles John, of Strandfield House, Co. Clare, Capt. 95th Regt., b. posthumously, 12 Feb. 1804, m. 1stly, 1 Sept. 1832, Rose (d. 1864), widow of John Reeves, of Charleville, Co. Cork, and 2nd dau. of George Dartnell, of Limerick, and  had issue [7 sons and 3 daughters]. He m. 2ndly, 23 Oct. 1873, Susan Isabella, eldest dau. of Humphrey Graham, W.S., Edinburgh, and d. 18 Nov. 1885.

      [sister who was the lover of Sir Henry de la Beche]

  1. Thomas, b. 1778; k. in action in Spain, 1813, unm.
  2. John, E.I.C.S., b. 1781; d.s.p. 1814
  3. Francis, in the Army, b. 1782; d. unm. in the West Indies, 1808.
  4. Nicholas Charles, of whom presently.
  5. Edward, Capt R.N., m. Mary (d. 1861), dau. of Capt. Sober Hall, of Durham, and d. 1837, leaving issue,
    1. John Charles, Barrister-at-Law, Actg. Judge at Hong Kong, d. unm. 1870.
    2. Edward (rev) S.J., b. 20 Nov. 1827; d. 26 Jan. 1904.
    3. William, Adm., b. 1829, m. 1880, Katherine Mary, yr. dau. of Thomas Segrave (see 1912 Edn., Segrave of Cabra), and d. 9 Sept. 1912, leaving issue [2 sons and 1 daughter]
    4. Henry, m. 1859, Mary, dau. of Thomas Comyn, and d. 1883, leaving issue [2 sons and 3 daughters]
    1. Catherine Margaret, m. 31 May, 1839, George Ryan, of Inch House, Co. Tipperary (see that family), and d. 1884, leaving issue.
    2. Letitia.
    3. Frances, d. unm.
    4. Ellen, m. 1865, E. Gorman, of East Bergholt, Suffolk, and d. 1867
  1. Marcus, Vice-Consul at Lima.
  1. Henry, R.N., d. in the West Indies.
  2. Letitia, m. Charles Whyte Roche, of Ballygran, Co. Limerick.
  3. Margaret, m. Col. Charles O’Ferrall, of Ballyna, Co. Kildare, Equerry and Chamberlain to the King of Sardinia (see that family).

The fifth son, 

Nicholas Charles Whyte, of Loughbrickland, Co. Down, D.L., J.P., High Sherriff 1830, Capt. R.N., b. 18 Jan. 1784, educ. St. Edmund’s Coll., Old Hall, Ware. m. 10 June, 1825, Mary Louisa (d. 29 June, 1877) dau. of Thomas Segrave, of Dublin (see 1912 Edn., Segrave of Cabra), and d. 1844, leaving issue,

  1. John Joseph, of whom presently.
  2. Nicholas, d. unm. 1863.
  3. Edward, Major 100th Regt., [presumably the one who arrived at Ampleforth in 1855] m. 1stly, 1863, Jessie (d. 1877), dau. of E. Rutherford, of Hamilton, Canada, and had issue,
    1. William, d. young.
    1. Clare, m. 17 March, 1919, Antonius Schulze Berndt, of Roxew, Hanover, and d. 23 Nov. 1953.

    He m. 2ndly, 1878, Katherine (d. 1909), dau. of F. Codd, of Dublin, and d. 1904, having by her had issue

    1. Gladys, m. 25 Sept. 1907, Robert Thomas Clarke, I.C.S., and has issue. He d. 23 March, 1953
    2. Norah, m. 11 March 1917, C. MacLeod Carey, and d. 2 Aug. 1954
    3. • Muriel, m. 1stly, Major Sydney Killick, S. Lancs. Regt., and has issue. He d. of wounds received in action, 1917. She m. 2ndly, 4 June, 1920, Neil Seward Killick, and has further issue. He d. a prisoner of war of the Japanese, 1945.
  1. Anna Maria, a nun.
  1. Letitia, a nun.
  2. Louisa, m. 1861, Charles Philip Roche, of Ballygran (see 1912 Edn.) and had issue.

The eldest son, 

John Joseph Whyte, of Loughbrickland, Co. Down, D.L., J.P., High Sheriff 1862, b. 4 Sept. 1826, educ. Oscott, and Ampleforth, m. 1stly, 1855, Ellen Mary (d. 1857), only surv. dau. of Thomas Laffan Kelly, of Dublin, and had issue,

  1. Mary Jane Elizabeth, m. 9 June 1892, Lt-Col. Robert Martin Blount, 20th Regt., yr. son of Michael Henry Mary Blount, D.L., J.P., of Maple Durham, Oxon. (see Burke’s L.G., 1952 Edn., Riddell of Cheeseburn Grange), and d. 1934. He d. 15 April, 1902.

He m. 2ndly, 2 Oct. 1862, Caroline Letitia (d. 1923), dau. of George Ryan, of Inch House, Co. Tipperary (see that family), and d. 9 Aug. 1916, having by her had issue,

  1. John Nicholas, D.S.O., Major Lancs. Fus., b. 24 Dec. 1864; educ. Stonyhurst Coll., d. unm. 29 April, 1908.
  2. Charles Edward, b. 1866; d. 1883
  3. George Thomas, of whom presently.
  4. Henry Marcus, b. 1869, d. 1880.
  5. Thomas Aloysius, s. his brother
  6. Edward Joseph, b. 1878, educ. Stonyhurst, and St. Edmund’s Old Hall, d. 1894
  7. William Henry, s. his brother, Thomas.
  8. Marcus Francis, Lieut. 62nd Punjabis, b. 18 Jan 1883; d. unm. 8 Jan. 1905
  9. Maurice Ignatius, Capt. R.A., b. 1888, educ. Stonyhurst [listed there in 1901 census], m. Dec. 1921 Ethel, dau. of E. Fitzgerald, of Dalkey, Co. Dublin, and d. 28 Jan. 1956.
  10. Caroline Mary, m. 10 Oct. 1894, Charles Edward MacDermot, The MacDermot (see that family), and has issue. He d. 8 May, 1947.
  11. Letitia Mary, m. 5 Jan., 1898, Major Stephen Eaton Lamb, of West Denton, Northumberland (see Burke’s L.G., 1952 Edn.), and d. 19 May, 1938, leaving issue. He d. 27 May, 1928.
  12. Anna Mary, m. 26 April, 1908, Louis William Corbally, yr. son of Matthew James Corbally, Rathbeale Hall, Co. Dublin (see that family), and d. 21 May, 1954, leaving issue. He d. 1914.
  13. Kathleen Mary.

The third son, 

George Thomas Whyte, of Loughbrickland, Capt. R.A.M.C., served in World War I, b. 23 April, 1868, educ. Stonyhurst, m. 7 Nov. 1916, Magda, dau. of Stephen Grehan, of Clonmeen, Co. Cork (see that family), and d. 9 June, 1919, leaving issue,

       Esther Theresa Mary, m. 22 Nov. 1946, Major Dennis Simonds, Duke of Wellington’s Regt., and has issue.

His brother, 

Thomas Aloysius Whyte, of Loughbrickland, Major, R.A., served in World War I, b. 5 April, 1876, educ. Stonyhurst, d. unm. 13 May, 1931, and was s. by his brother, 

William Henry Whyte, D.S.O. (1918), of Loughbrickland House, Co. Down, formerly Royal Dublin Fus., served in S. African War, 1901-02, in World War I 1914-18 (dispatches three times, wounded three times), Cmdt. Penang and Province Wellesley  Vol. Corps 1921-24, had Order of the White Eagle of Serbia, b. 10 March, 1880, educ. Stonyhurst, and St. Edmund’s Coll., Old Hall, Ware, m. 4 Aug. 1927, Dorothy Gordon, dau. of Henry Deming Hibbard, of Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.A., and d. 6 Jan. 1949, leaving issue,

      John Henry, of whom we treat,

      • Ursula Anne Letitia, b. 22 Jan. 1939. 

Arms (U.O.) – Arg., a chevron engrailed between three roses gu. seeded or barbed vert. Crest – a demi-lion rampant gu. holding between the paws a flagstaff ppr., a flag arg. thereon the cross of St. George. Motto – Uchiel y goring. 

Seat – Loughbrickland House, Co. Down.

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WHYTE, JOHN, Esq. of Loughbrickland, со. Down, J.P., high sheriff 1862, m. 1st, 1855, Ellen-Mary, last surviving dau. of Thomas-L. Kelly, Esq. of Dublin, and by her (who d. 1857) has an only dau., Mary-Jane-Elizabeth. He m. 2ndly, Oct, 1862, Caroline-Letitia, dau. of George Ryan, Esq. of Inch House, со. Tipperary.

WALTER WHYTE, son of Ethelbert Whyte, lord chief justice of South Wales, accompanied Strongbow in his expedition and conquest of Ireland, having brought over, and supported at his own expense, a considerable troop. In reward for his courage and allegiance, he was made a knight by HENRY II, in 1171. He m. a relative
of Strongbow’s, and had a son, JAMES WHYTE, Knt., who m. Amicie, dan. of the Earl of Leicester, and was father of BALTHAZAR WHYTE, Knt , who commanded under King John, in 1220. His son, JAMES WHYTE, also a knight, was father of MAURICE WHYTE, whose son, WALTER WHYTE, m. a dau. of Mandeville, and had issue. His 2nd son, NICHOLAS WHYTE, was father of DOMINIC WHYTE, who had a son, NICHOLAS WHYTE, who m. the sister of Thomas Butler, prior of Kilmainham, and a knight hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem, and by her was father of MAURICE WHYTE, the Lancastrian, so called from his having served under the three kings of the House of Lancester. In 1418, Maurice, with the prior of Kilmainham, led 2,000 Irish to assist at the siege of Rouen, and was afterwards governor of Montaire, under HENRY VI. His son, BARTHOLOMEW WHYTE, was father of NICHOLAS WHYTE, seigneur of King’s Meadows, со. Waterford, who m. Elizabeth, dau. of N. Power, Esq. of со. Waterford, and had a son, JAMES WHYTE, seigneur of King’s Meadows, and of Whyte’s Hall, со. Wexford, who (by his wife, Margaret, dau. of N. Walsh, Esq. of со. Waterford) was father of Sir NICHOLAS WHYTE, of Leixlip, grand seneschal of со. Wexford, where he founded the place called Whyte Hall. He was also governor of the Castle of Wexford, and became master of the Rolls of Ireland in 1572. By his wife, a dau. of Sherlock, Sir Nicholas, who d. in England, left a son,

ANDREW WHYTE, of Leixlip, who m. Margaret Finglas, and d. 31 July, 1599, leaving a son,

SIR NICHOLAS WHYTE, of Leixlip, aged 16 A.D., 1599; inq. p. m ; he m. Ursula Moore, dau. of Garret Moore, Viscount Drogheda, and d. in 1654. His 4th son,

CHARLES WHYTE, Esq. of Leixlip, col. in Spain, and afterwards governor со. Kildare, 1689. By his 2nd wife, Mary, dau. of Sir Thomas Newcomen, Bart, of Moorstown, со. Longford, and Frances his wife, dau. of Sir William Taibot, Bart, of Cartown, со. Dublin, he left a son,

JOHN WHYTE, Esq. of Leixlip, who m. Mary, dau. of Nicholas Purcoll, Baron of Loughmoe, со. Tipperary, by Rose his wife, dau. of Viscount Dungannon, and granddau. of John Purcell, Baron of Loughmoe, and Elizabeth his wife. dau. of Thomas Butler, 1st Lord Ormond. By this lady Mr. Whyte left a son,

CHARLES WHYTE, Esq. of Leixlip, who m. Anastatia, dau. of Edward Dunne, Esq. of Brittas, by Margaret his wife, dau. of Frank Wyse, Esq., son of Robert Wyse, Esq. of Waterford, and left issue,

  • JOHN, his heir.
  • Nicholas (Sir), knight of Malta.
  • Margaret, m. to John Roche, Esq. of Limerick.
  • Rose.

The elder son and heir,
JOHN WHYTE, Esq. of Leixlip, m. 15 Feb. 1776, Letitia, dau. of the Hon. Thomas De Burgh, uncle of the late Marquess
of Clanricarde, and had eight sons and two daus.,

  1. CHARLES-JOHN, capt. in the army, &. 1777 ; m. 1794, Anna, eldest dau. of John Ross-Lewin, Esq. of Fortfergus, co. Clare ; and d. 1803, leaving a son,
    • CHARLES-JOHN, of Strandfield House, со. Wexford, b. 12 Feb. 1804 ; m. l Sept. 1832, Rose, relict of John Reeves, Esq. of Charleville, со. Cork, and 2nd dau. of George Dartnell, Esq. of Limerick, and has issue,
      • John, b. 12 June, 1833.
      • George Lewis, 6. 22 Aug. 1834, of the 55th regt. ; m. Frances, only dau. of the late Henry Whitcomb,lieut. R.N.
      • Charles, 6. 21 Aug. 1836, of the 6th royal rept.
      • Edward Henry, b. 16 Feb. 1839, B.N., late H.M.’s ship “Leander,” was at Balaklava at the taking of Sevastopol
      • Joseph, b. 12 Oct. 1840, R.N., H.M.’s ship ” Sappho.”
      • Benjamin-de Burgh, 6. 8 July, 1850.
      • Frederick, b. 5 July, 1852.
      • Rose.
      • Letitia-Adelaide.
      • Anna, m. George Sandos, Esq., со. Kerry.
  2. John, E.I.C.’s service, d.s. p.
  3. Thomas, killed in action, in Spain, unm.
  4. Francis, in the army, d. unm. in the West Indies.
  5. NICHOLAS-CHARLES, of whom presently.
  6. Edward, capt. R.N., m. Mary, dau. of Capt. Sober Hall, of Durham, and by her (who d. 1861) left, at his decease, in 1837, four sons and four daus., viz.,
    1. JOHN CHARLES, barrister-at-law ;
    2. Edward, in holy orders of the Church of Rome ;
    3. William, capt. R. N. ;
    4. Henry, m. 1859, Mary, dau. of Thomas Comyn, and has issue;
    1. Catherine-Margaret, m. George Ryan, Esq. of Inch House, co. Tipperary ;
    2. Letitia :
    3. Frances, unm. ; and
    4. Ellen.
  7. Henry, R. N., d. in the West Indies.
  8. Marcus, vice-counsel of Lima, deceased.
  1. Letitia, m. Charles-Whyte Roche, Esq. of Ballygran, со
  2. Margaret, m. Col. Charles O’Feirall. of Ballyna, cо. Kildare, equerry and chamberlain to the King of Sardinia

The 5th son, NICHOLAS-CHARLES WHYTE, Esq. of Loughbrlckhna, J p and D.L., capt. B.N., 6. 18 Jan. 1783; m. 10 June, 1805, Mary-Louisa, dau. of Thomas Segrave, Esq. of Cabra, Co. Dublin, and had issue,

  • JOHN, now of Loughbrickland.
  • Nicholas.
  • Edward, royal Canadian rifles.
  • Anna-Maria.
  • Letitia.
  • Louisa, m. 1861, to Charles-Whyte Roche, Esq.

Capt. Whyte served as high sheriff, со. Down ; d. 1815. Arms—Arg., a chev., engr., between three roses, gu. Crest—A demi-lion, rampant, holding a flag, ensigned with a cross. Motto—Echel Coryg. Seat—Loughbrickland, со. Down

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October Books 13) A Time of Gifts and 14) Between the Woods and the Water

13) A Time of Gifts, by Patrick Leigh Fermor
14) Between the Woods and the Water, by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Two brilliant, brilliant books of travel writing: the first describes Leigh Fermor’s journey on foot through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia in the winter and spring of 1933 and 1934; the second takes him on through Hungary and Romania. They were written respectively forty and fifty years after the events described; the second volume ends with the promise “to be concluded”, but it seems now unlikely that Leigh Fermor himself will finalise the account of his journey to Constantinople. (He is 92.)

The two books struck me slightly differently. I know the territory of the first one much better – as a teenager I explored Cologne, had an exchange with a family near Wiesbaden, went on a student visit to Heidelberg, and worked for a few months near Heilbronn, plus occasional explorations of Austria and business visits to Vienna, Prague and Bratislava in more recent years. In the second book the only place I have in common with him is Budapest (plus the two towns of Estergom and Szentendre to its north), though he does gaze from across the Danube at the fortress of Golubac, where the photograph I use for my standard user icon was taken.

Also over the course of the narrative, the style of Leigh Fermor’s journey shifts – really from about two-thirds of the way through A Time of Gifts, when he finds the knack of staying with local nobility rather than dossing down in barns or police cells, which gives him a much more diverse though frankly aristocratic insight into his surroundings. This is particularly true in the Slovakian and Transylvanian passages, where he tends to end up talking to ethnic Hungarians or members of the other formerly privileged minorities, coming to terms with the new order. Another theme is the gathering historical storm, signalled by his passage through freshly-Nazified Germany and subsequent news bulletins as the situation worsens. He describes cities like Rotterdam and Ulm which would be flattened within a decade.

But there’s a sense of maturing as well: the eighteen-year-old fleeing a succession of personal failures in England becomes a keen absorber of local lore and (discreetly described) a lover of local women as he travels. The passage of decades allows Leigh Fermor to poke fun at his younger self occasionally, but also to overlay the narrative with what he has learned since, including occasional updates on what has happened to the principal characters in the story. Much, of course, has changed, and the very last chapter mourns the submerging of much of the Danube valley as a result of the building of the Iron Gates Dam.

Anyway, these are both very highly recommended.

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October Books 12) Writers of the Future vol XIX

12) L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future volume XIX, ed. Algis Budrys

I bought this way back when Jay Lake’s story “Into the Gardens of Sweet Night” got its well-deserved Hugo nomination a couple of years ago, but have only now got around to reading the rest of the fourteen pieces of short fiction in the book, all of which are given a single illustration by an up-and-coming artist. Lake’s is the jewel of the collection, and several others show promise though there was none that quite grabbed me in the same way. There is a rather odd inclusion of a short piece on writing by Hubbard himself, and an even shorter piece on illustrating sf by Will Eisner, as well as a retrospective by Sean Williams on what it meant to be included in an earlier volume.

I was really struck at the time that “Into the Gardens of Sweet Night” came only fourth in the Hugo votes, despite getting the most first preferences (and nominations) by far. In the transfers for determining the winner, Swanwick’s “Legions in Time” picked up 217 votes, and Lake’s story only 50; in the run for second place, “The Empire of Ice Cream” literally doubled its tally from 163 to 326, and Lake’s story gained only 65; “Nightfall” got third place by nearly doubling its first prefs from 167 to 330, while “Into the Gardens of Sweet Night” gained only 38 preferences. It’s a really nice story, and there is no reason on its own merits for it to be so transfer-repellent. I wonder if voters had deliberately avoided reading it simply because of its provenance being so closely linked to Hubbard?

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October Books 11) Steppenwolf

11) Steppenwolf, by Herman Hesse

I woke this morning feeling very groggy, and gradually realised that I was not even going to make it late to the office; so managed to read this (recommended to me by way way back) between naps. It’s fundamentally a depressing German psychological-mystical novel, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to. I was very much drawn into the narrator’s story of reconciling what he imagines to be the two sides of his own nature, and coming to terms with music, dancing and sex while remaining true to himself. The ending is a bit peculiar but that is in keeping with the tone of the rest. As I look back at my entries about Nobel prize-winners I see that I’ve ended quite a lot of them with the feeling that I might read more by that author, but this time I really mean it!

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October Books 10) Stardust

10) Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

A very enjoyable fairy tale by Gaiman. As ever I find myself spotting similarities with Sandman (in this case, the supernatural siblings, and the half-human heir), but I felt he had rung the changes here rather effectively, and the story combines lovely incidental detail with a good sound (if traditional) plot. Great fun. (Wonder if I will get to see the film.)

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October Books 9) MMR: Science & Fiction: Exploring the Vaccine Crisis

9) MMR: Science & Fiction: Exploring the Vaccine Crisis, by Richard Horton

Got this at the recommendation of

, and it’s obviously on a subject in which I have a personal interest. Richard Horton (at least, this Richard Horton) is the editor of the Lancet, which published the 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield linking autism with the MMR vaccine. No other credible evidence has been found for the link, and Wakefield’s failure to disclose his personal conflicts of interest caused Horton and the Lancet to retract the relevant research in 2004 (Wakefield remains defiant).

Horton presents the book as “something of a personal exorcism”; he attempts to use the MMR affair as a lens through which to examine justice, truth and the public perception of science. I don’t think he completely succeeds, and it was rather ambitious of him to try in 170 pages knocked off in four months. He has a couple of policy recommendations for diverting and channeling public discourse around health research into safer channels, which I think are wholly unrealistic. He calls for science to develop its public image, and to engage more professionally with journalists, and here I think he is on surer ground: indeed, dealing with the media and the public ought to be a basic point of training for any researcher today (though I think Horton is monstrously unfair in casually discounting the contributions of Robert Winston and – for once I shall be positive about him – Richard Dawkins).

He has a fascinating chapter on the extent of state funding for research on autism in the USA. A few weeks ago, Anne and I were gripped by The Stackhouse Filibuster, the 2001 West Wing episode where a senator forces Congress and the President to approve the creation of “five centers of excellence in universities around the country to help scientists coordinate their research, three special units for autism epidemiology at the CDC, and a centralized facility for gene and brain banking” – I was astonished to discover from Horton’s book that this is more or less what was actually legislated in the Children’s Health Act in 2000; though I guess in real life less heavy-handed methods were used to get the bill passed. Apparently autism research in the UK is way underfunded by comparison, and I would not be astonished to find that the rest of Europe is in the same place. I would have to say that, as far as we can tell anecdotally, Belgium’s care provisions for children with autism and their families are way ahead of Britain’s.

Pulling back the focus a bit, I was interested by Horton’s more philosophical discussion of how truth is established, and struck by the contrast with my own field of work, which is also the subject of academic research but where the truths that matter operationally, in terms of deciding what political decisions are made, are determined not by academe but by professionals elsewhere. Science doesn’t seem to recognise a distinction between practitioners and policy-makers, or at least the dynamic is wholly different. If I ever take some time off to look further into the concept of epistemic communities, this is a contrast that will bear further investigation.

I was, however, disappointed by Horton’s reluctance to make the obvious moral judgements about Wakefield, or to defend his own unwillingness to do so. His book concludes:

Wakefield was guilty of naïveté, of relying on flawed intuition, of equating instinct with evidence, and of allowing his beliefs to drive a series of public statements that cracked the foundation stone of one of Britain’s most important programmes for protecting the health of its children. For some people, these were irresponsible acts which could never be forgiven. For others, myself included, they threw into sharp relief more systematic failings of a medical and public health system that was and remains poorly designed to meet the needs of today’s more questioning, sceptical and inquiring public.

I’ve blogged about Wakefield before; I find it impossible not to form a negative judgement of him, for all the reasons Horton lists in the first sentence quoted above, combined with the fact that he has expressed no contrition except for the inconvenience he caused his fellow researchers. I could go on, but the subject makes me too angry.

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October Books 8) Vineland

8) Vineland, by Thomas Pynchon

Sorry, this just doesn’t do it for me. Writing style too convoluted, characters wacky in a rather uninteresting way, plot non-existent. One or two flashes of good description among the plodding.

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Dear Jeremy Paxman

“Unity” is in fact the same as “one” or “100%”, at least if asking what the terms in a binomial add up to.

(Liverpool were a much more charming team, but I accept that this was the second last question and they were already well stuffed.)

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Agreement and dissent

I’ve been a member of the Lib Dems since they were founded, and before that was in the Liberal Party from my arrival in Cambridge in 1986. I’m likely to stick with them unless my views or theirs fundamentally change; I think they have it fundamentally right on electoral reform, education, the environment, and most recent foreign policy issues, in a way which the other two main parties have not, and I feel that philosophically social liberalism is where I am coming from, and that the party has on the whole stuck to that perspective.

However, just because you are a member of a party doesn’t mean you have to sign up to every element of its policy programme. This post is sparked in part by the current leadership contest and in part by the fact that I’ve been doing some telephone canvassing for a friend who is seeking a European Parliament nomination this weekend. I’m listing here six elements of current Lib Dem policy with which I disagree. I am probably in a minority in the party on all of these, with my position getting more and more at odds with the rest of the party as we go down the list, and I think it’s most unlikely that any leadership candidate in the near future will agree with me on any of them.

But I guess doing this flushes the issues from my mind, as well as ensuring that I myself don’t go for any internal party contests any time soon…

1) The UK nuclear deterrent. The party’s policy is not so much wrong as hopelessly wishy-washy – to cut Trident by half and put off difficult decisions about replacing it. In reality the British nuclear weapons capacity is an expensive joke. The minority on the party’s working group (see here, p. 26) had it right. Even more so

 (see here).

2) Nuclear power. The party’s policy appears to be one of clear opposition to any new nuclear power stations.

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Trivia answer

I asked:

So, what covered Venezuela for just over half of the twentieth century, and returns this month (or possibly at the end of December) after more than forty years?

  got it right. The answer is:

The UTC -4:30 Time Zone.

This was Venezuela’s official time zone from 1912 to 1964; since then it has been on UTC -4 hours, the same as much of the Caribbean, Paraguay, Chile, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and most of Labrador. But now the clocks are to change by half an hour – though there has been some confusion about exactly when that will happen.

Though I must say that some of the other answers you suggested were pretty funny.

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Trivia question

So, what covered Venezuela for just over half of the twentieth century, and returns this month (or possibly at the end of December) after more than forty years?

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October Books 7) A Load of Old BoSh

7) A Load of Old BoSh: serious scientific talks by Bob Shaw

As a fan of Shaw’s writing who never actually met him, I remember reading David Langford’s obituary back in 1996 with sadness, but also with considerable curiosity; I deeply regretted never having heard him give one of his “Serious Scientific Talks”. It’s good that the then Eastercon got this collection of ten of his talks published in time for him to read, less than a year before he died. And they are pretty funny even on the printed page; the jokes are laboured, some of them are repeated, but they are hilarious, especially read out loud. One can well believe , the Eastercon chair of the day who contributes a foreword, that in the transcription process she sometimes found herself laughing so hard that she was physically unable to type.

Presumably sound recordings must exist of some of Shaw’s talks? Is there any chance of their becoming available on-line?

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October Books 6) Pile: Petals from St. Klaed’s computer

6) Pile: Petals from St. Klaed’s computer, by Brian Aldiss, illustrated by Mike Wilks

A rather peculiar conjunction of Aldiss (writing in verse for once) and Wilks (later famous for The Ultimate Alphabet) supplying a superb depiction of the crazed architecture of the city of Pile (and its mirror image Elip), plus the power-hungry prince Scart. Aldiss fan though I am, the gorgeous illustrations score over the written narrative. My copy had a 1979 Worldcon souvenir bookplate signed by both Aldiss and Wilks; I got it at the David Stewart memorial auction last weekend.

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October Books 5) The Kalahari Typing School for Men

5) The Kalahari Typing School for Men, by Alexander McCall Smith

This is the fourth I’ve read, and the fourth in the series, though I have been reading them out of sequence. As usual, the homely wisdom of the old ways wins out, sins are expiated rather than necessarily exposed, and everyone is back in the right place at the end; but McCall Smith has brought some darker elements in here as well, including a child with AIDS. A decent quick read.

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An appropriate use of this icon, for once

It has been widely reported that Al Gore is the first person to win both an Oscar and Nobel prize in the same year, though apparently this is technically incorrect (as the Oscar did not go to him personally). Here is a Youtube clip of the one person who indisputably did win both an Oscar and a Nobel Prize, speaking at a dinner to introduce Albert Einstein, on 27 October 1930, in the type of Dublin accent that one really doesn’t hear any more:

Napoleon and other great men of his type, they were makers of empire. But there is an order of men who get beyond that. They are not makers of empire, but they are makers of universes.

And when they have made those universes, their hands are unstained by the blood of any human being here on earth.

Ptolemy made a universe that lasted 1400 years. Newton, also, made a universe which has lasted three hundred years. Einstein has made a universe, and I can’t tell you how long that will last.

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Versions of Mack the Knife on YouTube

I was going to do a serious post about the new EU reform treaty, and how the UK’s political discourse around it is totally absurd and lopsided. But then I decided to write about this important topic instead (I have been brewing this post for almost three years, since

 inspired me). I hope these entertain you as much as they entertained me.


Ernst Busch, 1931. Everything else has to be measured against this.

The original Lotte Lenya. Illustrated with only still photos of her and Weill, and her on her own, but aurally gripping.

Ute Lemper. At least, she sings in the background while a couple in Ghent have an argument.

SLUT, 2006. This Bavarian indie band just get it so absolutely right, converting the Brecht/Weill original into at 21st century idiom.

Brazilian musicians, 2006. Valiant attempt to create a proper 1930s feel, riffing off other great Weill tunes in the process.

Other languages

Miloš Kopecký, 1964. My God, this is superb. (In Czech.) For other languages, see also Hebrew and Italian.

English (apart from Liberace)

Nick Cave, 1997. This is the performance of a tortured artist who loves this song. If it had been directed by someone prepared to rein him in, it would have been fantastic. As it is, it is memorable but painful.

Liberace, 1960s. Much better than I had expected – almost variations on a theme of Weill. No singing, just piano.

The Achordants, 2007. 15 blokes doing the male voice choir thing. Works rather well.

The Cotton Club of Hungary, recently. An arresting performance, by three men and two women singers.

Dinah Shore and Pearl Mae Bailey, 1960. Hilarious.

Bobby Darin, 1959. Very much a fifties “big band” style production. Joyous to listen to, but to be honest a little embarrassing to watch. Inspired many others, including:

Louis Armstrong, 1962. The performance that inspired a hundred imitators, none of whom could match either Armstrong’s trumpet-playing or his more understated menace.

Ella Fitzgerald, 1965. Cuddly Ella sings a nice song which shows off her superb voice very well. (We’ll just forget that it’s about murder, rape and violence, OK?)

The Jimmy Smith trio, 1962. Adventurous. Almost works.

Robbie Williams – at least not offensively bad.

Westlife, 2006. Certainly the worst of the performances in terms of getting the song. Although they are in tune, they seem to be reading the lines of the autocue at various points. The rolling subtitles of trivia about Westlife’s personal history add extra shallowness to what is already a superficial performance.

Blake Lewis, 2007. Out of tune and just horrible.

A rather hilarious compilation including some of the above and some others. Audio, with still photos. Another compilation, from the same source.

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October Books 4) Wintersmith

4) Wintersmith

The latest Terry Pratchett to appear in paperback, continuing his Tiffany Aching series after A Hat Full of Sky. This is a tremendously accomplished novel. Thirteen-year-old Tiffany’s struggles with her own imminent adulthood are beautifully contrasted with the Wintersmith’s attempt to become human, and with Tiffany’s rival Annagramma’s attempts to become a real witch. As ever, Pratchett’s basic message is a very human and compassionate one.

This is all combined with his usual firecracker wit, and although there are also plenty of vignettes from the characters in the previous books of his Witches sub-sequence, I think even a reader who had read none of the previous Discworld novels would enjoy this.

The Colour of Magic | The Light Fantastic | Equal Rites | Mort | Sourcery | Wyrd Sisters | Pyramids | Guards! Guards! | Eric | Moving Pictures | Reaper Man | Witches Abroad | Small Gods | Lords and Ladies | Men at Arms | Soul Music | Interesting Times | Maskerade | Feet of Clay | Hogfather | Jingo | The Last Continent | Carpe Jugulum | The Fifth Elephant | The Truth | Thief of Time | The Last Hero | The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents | Night Watch | The Wee Free Men | Monstrous Regiment | A Hat Full of Sky | Going Postal | Thud! | Wintersmith | Making Money | Unseen Academicals | I Shall Wear Midnight | Snuff | Raising Steam | The Shepherd’s Crown

Facebook in my work

A couple of people today (including Tony Keen) have linked to this article in the Independent about Facebook, academics and students.

The Independent should not be surprised that it is a popular phenomenon in universities – after all, that is what it was designed for. But I am struck that Facebook is becoming part of my own working environment too. Well over half of my Facebook friends list are professional contacts, mostly people of my age and below (including a group of my former interns). In the last few months, I have found myself arranging meetings with British parliamentarians, Scandinavian diplomats, and European Union officials via Facebook.

I suspect there is one particularly attractive feature that Facebook has for those of us working in international policy. It presents the illusion of a relatively secure communications environment. Emails can easily be forwarded, deliberately or accidentally, from one person to another, as we all know to our cost. Your Facebook correspondence is in its own secure space, and while one can always take screenshots or otherwise cut-n-paste, it takes much more determination to leak.

At a time when, we are told, more and more people are moving off email and onto the social networks for their basic leisure on-line communication, Facebook seems to be in the lead for professional networking as well.

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Lib Dem Leadership: The (Facebook) scores on the doors

These are the current levels of support for the likely Lib Dem candidates on Facebook.

Nick Clegg for Lib Dem Leader: 299
The Nick Clegg Appreciation Society: 97.
Nick Clegg is more of a hottie than David Cameron any day: 24.
Nick Clegg for Lib Dem Leader [duplicate title]: 2.

Chris Huhne This Time: 125.
Im [sic] Backing Chris Huhne for leader: 72.

Steve Webb for Lib Dem Leader: 97.
The Steve Webb Appreciation Society: 82.
Steve Webb for liberal leader: 9.

Charles Kennedy for Prime Minister: 79.
(A satirical group on the same lines): 15.
Bring Back Charles Kennedy: 2.

John Hemming for Lib Dem Leader: 12.
John Hemming for Lib Dem Leader!: 11.

Vince Cable deserves to be Prime Minister: 16.

Donald Kennedy for leader: 8.

NB the following important points:

  • Some of these groups may not be entirely serious.
  • Many people will be in more than one group (possibly even supporting more than one candidate).
  • As far as I can see, there are no declared groups supporting any of the other candidates whose names have been mentioned.
  • Charles Kennedy says it is “highly unlikely” that he will stand.
  • Vince Cable has ruled himself out.
  • Donald Kennedy, Charles Kennedy’s two-year-old son, is not eligible.

It is interesting that a) the front-runner is already so clearly established, despite the fact that we are in very early days yet, and b) that Steve Webb is so close behind Chris Huhne for second place.

Myself, I haven’t made my mind up yet. I voted for Huhne last time, but the two other likely serious candidates (Clegg and Webb, not Hemming) both seem to me to share his strengths, weaknesses and policy preferences. I’m willing to be educated, of course.

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