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Theobald Wolfe Tone
Born (1763-06-20)June 20, 1763
Died 19 November 1798(1798-11-19) (aged 35)
Place of birth Dublin, Ireland
Place of death Provost's Prison, Dublin, Ireland
Allegiance Society of United Irishmen (Co-founder)
Years of service 1791–1798
Rank Adjutant General
Spouse(s) Matilda Fanning

Theobald Wolfe Tone, posthumously known as Wolfe Tone (20 June 1763 – 19 November 1798), was a leading Irish revolutionary figure and one of the founding members of the United Irishmen and is regarded as the father of Irish republicanism. He was captured by British forces at Lough Swilly in Donegal and taken prisoner. Before he was to be executed, Wolfe Tone attempted suicide and subsequently died from his wounds eight days after the attempt, thus avoiding being hanged as a convicted traitor to the British Crown for his involvement in the 1798 Irish Rebellion.

Early life

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Theobald was born in Dublin, the son of a Church of Ireland coach-maker, Peter Tone, who had a farm near Sallins, County Kildare. His mother came from a Catholic merchant family who converted to Protestantism after Theobald was born.[1]

He was baptised as Theobald Wolfe Tone in honour of his godfather, Theobald Wolfe of Blackhall, County Kildare, a first cousin of Arthur Wolfe, 1st Viscount Kilwarden. However, it was widely believed that Tone was the natural son of Theobald Wolfe.

In 1783 Tone found work as a tutor to Anthony and Robert, younger half-brothers of Richard Martin (M.P.) of Galway, a prominent supporter of Catholic Emancipation. He had an affair with Martin's wife, in his townhouse in Galway, now Tigh Neachtain Pub, and narrowly escaped a duel with Martin. During this period he briefly considered a career in the theatre as an actor.[2]

He studied law at Trinity College, Dublin, where he became active in the debating club, the College Historical Society, and was elected Auditor in 1785. He qualified as a barrister from King's Inns at the age of 26 and attended the Inns of Court in London. As a student, he eloped with Martha Witherington, daughter of William Witherington of Dublin, and his wife, Catherine Fanning. She would go on to change her name to Matilda, on Wolfe Tone's request.


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Disappointed at finding no support for a plan to found a military colony in Hawaii that he submitted to William Pitt the Younger, Tone turned to Irish politics. A 1790 pamphlet attacking the administration of the Marquess of Buckingham brought him to the notice of the Whig club; in September 1791 he wrote an essay by "A Northern Whig," 10,000 copies of which were said to have been sold.

Ireland at this time – and especially among the Presbyterians of Ulster – had started to embrace with eagerness the principles of the French Revolution. Two months before the publication of Tone's essay, a meeting had taken place in Belfast, where the drinking of republican toasts and a resolution in favour of the abolition of religious disqualifications gave the first signs of political sympathy between the Roman Catholics and the Protestant dissenters ("Whigs") of the north. "A Northern Whig" emphasised the growing breach between Whig patriots like Henry Flood and Henry Grattan, who aimed at Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform without severing the tie to England, and those who desired a separate Irish republic. Tone expressed contempt for the constitution Grattan so triumphantly extorted from the British government in 1782; himself an Anglican, Tone urged co-operation between the different religions in Ireland as the only means of obtaining redress of Irish grievances.

One of the inscribed flagstones on the steps leading to the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone

In October 1791 Tone converted these ideas into practical policy by founding, in conjunction with Thomas Russell (1767–1803), Napper Tandy and others, the Society of the United Irishmen. This society aimed originally at no more than the formation of a political union between Roman Catholics and Protestants, with a view to obtaining a liberal measure of parliamentary reform. Only when it became obvious that this was unattainable by constitutional methods did the majority of the members adopt the more uncompromising opinions which Wolfe Tone held from the first, and conspired to establish an Irish republic by armed rebellion.

Tone himself admitted that with him hatred of England had always been "rather an instinct than a principle", though until his views should become more generally accepted in Ireland he was prepared to work for reform as opposed to revolution. But he wanted to root out the popular respect for the names of Charlemont and Henry Grattan, transferring the leadership to more militant campaigners. Grattan was a reformer and a patriot without democratic ideas; Wolfe Tone was a revolutionary whose principles were drawn from the French Convention. Grattan's political philosophy allied itself with that of Edmund Burke; Tone was a disciple of Georges Danton and Thomas Paine. Paine was a roommate of Tone's compatriot, "Citizen Lord" Edward FitzGerald, in Paris; and Paine's famous themes of the "rights of man" and "common sense" appear in the opening paragraph of the Declaration of the United Irishmen.

Note the importance of the use of the word "united". This particularly alarmed the British aristocracy in Westminster, as they saw the Catholic population as the greatest threat to their power in Ireland. Catholics had additional concerns of their own, usually involving having to pay the tithe bill to the Anglican Church of Ireland and the rent necessary to lease land from the Protestant Ascendancy. Eighteenth century Ireland was a sectarian state, ruled by a small Anglican minority, over both a majority Catholic population (most of whose ancestors had lost their land and their political power in the 17th-century Plantations of Ireland), as well to the exclusion of Presbyterian and dissenting Christians from high political office. The religious dividing-lines in part also marked ethnic divisions, the Catholics and Presbyterians descending from native Irish, Normans, "Old English", and Scottish settlers, and the "Protestants" (Church of Ireland) more often from English settlers (as in the case of Tone's family). In this era and place, importantly, "Protestant" referred specifically to the state-sanctioned (Anglican) church, rather than to what today would be broadly referred to as "Protestantism"; many of what would be today called "Protestants" (but not Episcopalian/Anglican/Church of Ireland) would have then referred to themselves as "dissenters".

Existing sectarian animosity did threaten to undermine the United Irishmen movement: two secret societies in Ulster fought against each other, the Peep O'Day Boys, made up mostly of Protestants, and the Defenders, comprising Catholics. These two groups clashed frequently from 1785 and sectarian violence worsened in the county Armagh area from the mid-1790s. Sectarianism was deliberately fostered[by whom?] to undermine Wolfe Tone's movement, as it suggested that Ireland couldn't be united and that religious prejudices were too strong. In addition, the British authorities could mobilise the militant Protestant groups – including the newly founded Orange Order – against the United Irishmen. However these groups were largely based in Ulster, and the underlying reason for their conflicts was the growing demand for rented land, not religion per se.

However, democratic principles had started gaining ground among the Catholics as well as among the Presbyterians. A quarrel between the moderate and the more "advanced" sections of the Catholic Committee led, in December 1791, to the secession of sixty-eight of the former, led by Lord Kenmare; and the direction of the committee then passed to more violent leaders, most prominently to John Keogh, a Dublin tradesman, known as "Gog". The active participation of the Catholics in the movement of the United Irishmen gained strength with the appointment of Tone as paid secretary of the Roman Catholic Committee in the spring of 1792. Despite his desire to emancipate his fellow countrymen, Tone was a freethinker who sought to remove the Christian religion fron Ireland, and thus had very little respect for the Catholic faith (a view shared by many subsequent Irish republicans). When the government questioned the legality of the Catholic Convention in 1792, Tone drew up for the committee a statement of the case on which a favourable opinion of counsel was obtained; and the Convention voted to Tone a sum of £1500 with a gold medal when it dissolved itself in April 1793. A petition was made to the king early in 1793 and that year the re-enfranchisement of Catholics was enacted, if they had property as "forty shilling freeholders". They could not, however, enter parliament or be made state officials above grand jurors. Burke and Grattan were anxious that provision should be made for the education of Irish Roman Catholic priests in Ireland, to preserve them from the contagion of Jacobinism in France; Wolfe Tone, "with an incomparably juster forecast", as Lecky observes, "advocated the same measure for exactly opposite reasons".[citation needed] He rejoiced that the breaking up of the French schools by the revolution had rendered necessary the foundation of St Patrick's College, Maynooth, which he foresaw would draw the sympathies of the clergy into more democratic channels.

Revolutionary in exile

Statue of Wolfe Tone, Bantry, County Cork

In 1794 the United Irishmen, persuaded that their scheme of universal suffrage and equal electoral districts was not likely to be accepted by any party in the Irish parliament, began to found their hopes on a French invasion. An Irish clergyman, the Reverend William Jackson, who had taken in revolutionary opinions during his long stay in France, came to Ireland to negotiate between the French committee of public safety and the United Irishmen. Tone drew up a memorandum for Jackson on the state of Ireland, which he described as ripe for revolution; the memorandum was betrayed to the government by an attorney named Cockayne, to whom Jackson had imprudently disclosed his mission; and in April 1794 Jackson was arrested on a charge of treason.

Also in 1794 the society became a sworn association, using oaths that were clearly designed to overthrow the state. Given that France and Britain had been at war since early 1793, administering or making such oaths turned the society into something more than a liberal pressure group. Several of the leading United Irishmen, including Reynolds and Archibald Hamilton Rowan, immediately fled the country; the papers of the United Irishmen were seized, and for a time the organisation was broken up. Tone, who had not attended meetings of the society since May 1793, remained in Ireland until after the trial and suicide of Jackson in April 1795. Having friends among the government party, including members of the Beresford family, he was able to make terms with the government, and in return for information as to what had passed between Jackson, Rowan and himself, he was permitted to emigrate to the United States, where he arrived in May 1795. Before leaving, he and his family travelled to Belfast, and it was at the summit of Cavehill that Tone made the famous Cavehill compact with fellow United Irishmen, Russel and McCracken, promising "Never to desist in our efforts until we subvert the authority of England over our country and asserted our independence". Living in Philadelphia, he wrote a few months later to Thomas Russell expressing unqualified dislike of the American people, whom he imagined to be no more truly democratic in sentiment and no less attached to authority than the British; he described Patriot hero George Washington as a "high-flying aristocrat," and he found the aristocracy of money and achievement in America still less to his liking than the European aristocracy of birth. Tone also lived briefly in West Chester, Pennsylvania and Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

"Wolf Tone was sent to France to claim the support of the Directory, under the express condition that the French should come to Ireland as allies, and should act under direction of the new government, as Rochambeau had done in America. With this view, Tone had frequently conferences at Paris with Hoche; and the Directory finally determined to send from Brest a fleet of forty-five sail, with an army of fifteen thousand men, under the charge of this able general, December 15, 1796. England was saved by a violent tempest."[3]

Tone did not feel himself bound by his agreement with the British government to abstain from further conspiracy; and finding himself at Philadelphia in the company of Reynolds, Rowan, and Tandy, he went to Paris to persuade the French government to send an expedition to invade Ireland. In February 1796 he arrived in Paris and had interviews with De La Croix and Carnot, who were impressed by his energy, sincerity, and ability. A commission was given him as adjutant-general in the French army, which he hoped might protect him from the penalty of treason in the event of capture by the British; though he himself claimed the authorship of a proclamation said to have been issued by the United Irishmen, enjoining that all Irishmen taken with arms in their hands in the British service should be instantly shot; and he supported a project for landing La Legion Noire in England, who were to burn Bristol, England and commit other atrocities.[4] He drew up two memorials representing that the landing of a considerable French force in Ireland would be followed by a general rising of the people, and giving a detailed account of the condition of the country.

Hoche's expedition and the 1798 rebellion

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In End of the Irish Invasion ; — or – the Destruction of the French Armada (1797), James Gillray caricatured the failure of Hoche's expedition.

See also Irish Rebellion of 1798

The French Directory planned a military landing in Ireland in support of the coming revolution foretold by Tone.[5] The Directory possessed information from Lord Edward FitzGerald and Arthur O'Connor confirming Tone, and prepared to despatch an expedition under Louis Lazare Hoche. On 15 December 1796, the expedition, consisting of forty-three sail and carrying about 14,450 men with a large supply of war material for distribution in Ireland, sailed from Brest.[6] Tone accompanied it as "Adjutant-general Smith" and had the greatest contempt for the seamanship of the French sailors, who were unable to land due to severe gales. They waited for days off Bantry Bay, waiting for the winds to ease, but eventually returned to France. Tone served for some months in the French army under Hoche, who had become the French Republic's minister of war after his victory against the Austrians at the Battle of Neuwied on the Rhine in April 1797. In June 1797 Tone took part in preparations for a military expedition to Ireland from the Batavian Republic, a puppet-state created during the Batavian Revolution in the Lowlands. However, the Batavian fleet under Dutch Vice-Admiral Jan de Winter was delayed in the harbour of Texel island that summer by unfavourable easterly winds and from mid-August by a British North-Sea fleet blockade. It eventually put to sea in the first week of October only to be immediately crushed by Admiral Adam Duncan in the Battle of Camperdown. Tone then returned to Paris. General Hoche, once tasked with an Irish expeditionary force, died of consumption on 19 September 1797 at Wetzlar after returning to his command on France's Rhine frontier.

Meanwhile in Ireland the membership of the United Irish had reached perhaps 300,000 but a vicious counter-insurgency campaign in 1797 weakened the organisation considerably and forced the leadership to launch a rising without French aid. Napoleon Bonaparte, with whom Tone had several interviews about this time, was much less disposed than Hoche had been to undertake in earnest an Irish expedition; and when the rebellion broke out in Ireland in 1798 he had started for Egypt. When, therefore, Tone urged the Directory to send effective assistance to the Irish rebels, all that could be promised was a number of small raids to descend simultaneously on different points of the Irish coast. One of these under General Humbert succeeded in landing a force near Killala, County Mayo, and gained some success in Connacht (particularly at Castlebar) before it was subdued by Lake and Charles Cornwallis. Wolfe Tone's brother Matthew was captured, tried by court-martial, and hanged; a second raid, accompanied by Napper Tandy, came to disaster on the coast of Donegal; while Wolfe Tone took part in a third, under Admiral Jean-Baptiste-François Bompart, with General Hardy in command of a force of about 3000 men. This encountered an English squadron at Buncrana on Lough Swilly on 12 October 1798. Tone, on board the ship Hoche, refused Bompart's offer of escape in a frigate before the battle of Tory Island, and was taken prisoner when the Hoche surrendered.


Grave of Wolfe Tone, Bodenstown

When the prisoners were landed a fortnight later, Sir George Hill recognised Tone in the French adjutant-general's uniform. At his trial by court-martial in Dublin on 8 November 1798 Tone made a speech avowing his determined hostility to England and his intention "by frank and open war to procure the separation of the countries".[7] Recognising that the court was certain to convict him, he asked "... that the court should adjudge me to die the death of a soldier, and that I may be shot...". Reading from a prepared speech, he defended his view of a military separation from Britain (as had occurred in the fledgling United States), he explained his motives:

I entered into the service of the French republic with the sole view of being useful to my country. To contend against British Tyranny, I have braved the fatigues and terrors of the field of battle; I have sacrificed my comfort, have courted poverty, have left my wife unprotected, and my children without a father. After all I have done for a sacred cause, death is no sacrifice. In such enterprises, everything depends on success: Washington succeeded – Kosciusko failed. I know my fate, but I neither ask for pardon nor do I complain. I admit openly all I have said, written, and done, and am prepared to meet the consequences. As, however, I occupy a high grade in the French army, I would request that the court, if they can, grant me the favor that I may die the death of a soldier." After a long silence, interrupted by some expressions of admiration, he was told that his request should be submitted to the lord-lieutenant. Thinking, however, that there was but little prospect, he committed suicide in prison. With Wolfe Tone, terminated the insurrection of 1798. He was the prime mover of it, and was its last victim...[8]

He also lamented the outbreak of mass violence:

Such are my principles such has been my conduct; if in consequence of the measures in which I have been engaged misfortunes have been brought upon this country, I heartily lament it, but let it be remembered that it is now nearly four years since I have quit Ireland and consequently I have been personally concerned in none of them; if I am rightly informed very great atrocities have been committed on both sides, but that does not at all diminish my regret; for a fair and open war I was prepared; if that has degenerated into a system of assassination, massacre, and plunder I do again most sincerely lament it, and those few who know me personally will give me I am sure credit for the assertion.[9]

Earlier version of Headstone from 1945

To the people, he had the following to say from the dock:

I have laboured to abolish the infernal spirit of religious persecution, by uniting the Catholics and Dissenters. To the former I owe more than ever can be repaid. The service I was so fortunate as to render them they rewarded munificently; but they did more: when the public cry was raised against me—when the friends of my youth swarmed off and left me alone—the Catholics did not desert me; they had the virtue even to sacrifice their own interests to a rigid principle of honour; they refused, though strongly urged, to disgrace a man who, whatever his conduct towards the Government might have been, had faithfully and conscientiously discharged his duty towards them; and in so doing, though it was in my own case, I will say they showed an instance of public virtue of which I know not whether there exists another example.[10]

His eloquence was in vain, and his request to be shot was denied. On 10 November 1798, he was found guilty and was sentenced to be hanged on 12 November. Before this sentence was carried out, he attempted suicide by slitting his throat. The story goes that he was initially saved when the wound was sealed with a bandage, and he was told if he tried to talk the wound would open and he would bleed to death. He responded with the statement 'so be it'. He died on 19 November 1798 at the age of 35 in Provost's Prison, Dublin, not far from where he was born. He is buried in Bodenstown, Co. Kildare and his grave is in the care of the National Graves Association.

Support from Lord Kilwarden

Wolfe Tone (1967) by Edward Delaney

A long-standing belief in Kildare is that Tone was the natural son of a neighbouring landlord at Blackhall, near Clane, called Theobald Wolfe. This man was certainly his godfather, and a cousin of Arthur Wolfe, Lord Kilwarden, who warned Tone to leave Ireland in 1795. Then when Tone was arrested and brought to Dublin in 1798, and facing certain execution, it was Kilwarden (a senior judge) who granted two orders for Habeas Corpus for his release. This was a remarkable act, given that the rebellion had just occurred with great loss of life, and one that could never be enlarged upon as Kilwarden was unlucky enough to be killed in the riot starting Emmet's revolt in 1803. The suggestion is that the Wolfes knew that Tone was a cousin; Tone himself may not have known. As a pillar of the Protestant Ascendancy and notorious at the time for his prosecution of William Orr, Kilwarden had no motive whatsoever for trying to assist Tone in 1795 and 1798. Portraits of Wolfes around 1800 arguably show a resemblance to the rebel leader .[11] If true, Tone would have been a first cousin of the poet Charles Wolfe, who also had a prominent nose.

Emily Wolfe (1892–1980), the last of the Wolfes to live in Kildare, continued her family tradition of annually laying flowers at Tone's grave until her death.[12]


"He rises," says William Lecky the 19th century historian, "far above the dreary level of commonplace which Irish conspiracy in general presents. The tawdry and exaggerated rhetoric; the petty vanity and jealousies; the weak sentimentalism; the utter incapacity for proportioning means to ends, and for grasping the stern realities of things, which so commonly disfigure the lives and conduct even of the more honest members of his class, were wholly alien to his nature. His judgement of men and things was keen, lucid and masculine, and he was alike prompt in decision and brave in action."[13]

His journals, which were written for his family and intimate friends were published after his death by his son, William Theobald Wolfe Tone (1791–1828), who was educated by the French government and served with some distinction in the armies of Napoleon, emigrating after Waterloo to America, where he died, in New York City, on 10 October 1828 at the age of 37. His mother, Matilda (or Mathilda) Tone also emigrated to the United States, and she is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

Tone has been adopted by the Young Ireland movement of the 1840s as an iconic figure, -the "father of Irish republicanism". Modern republicans often quote him:

"To subvert the tyranny of our execrable government, to break the connection with England, the never failing source of all our political evils, and to assert the independence of my country—these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissentions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in the place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic, and Dissenter—these were my means."

"To unite Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter under the common name of Irishmen in order break the connection with England, the never failing source of all our political evils, that was my aim".

"If the men of property will not support us, they must fall. Our strength shall come from that great and respectable class, the men of no property".

Every summer, Irish Republicans of various political and paramilitary groupings hold commemorations at Tone's grave in Bodenstown, County Kildare.

An attempt on 17 June 1934 by Protestant Republican Congress members from Belfast to join in the commemoration march was prevented by IRA stewards. The marchers were stoned and 'scuffles broke out'.[14] This was later portrayed by some commentators as sectarianism, that republicans had abandoned Tone's aim to unite Irishmen by ignoring their religious differences, paying tribute only to his anti-British republicanism.[15] However, Brian Hanley's history of the IRA from 1926–1936 concludes that the trouble arose because they were seen as "communist", and not for sectarian reasons.[16]


Of Tone's four children, three died prematurely. His eldest child, Maria (b. 1786 in Dublin, d. 1803 in Paris) and his youngest child, Francis Rawdon (1793-1806) both died of tuberculosis. Another son, Richard, b. 1787/89, died in infancy.

Only his son William Theobald Wolfe Tone survived to adulthood. Raised in France by his mother after Tone's death, William was appointed a cadet in the Imperial School of Cavalry in 1810 on Napoleon's orders. He was naturalised a French citizen on 4 May 1812. In January 1813 he was made sub-lieutenant in the 8th Regiment of Chasseurs and joined the Grand Army in Germany (his nom de guerre was the punning le petit loup, or the little wolf). He was at the battles of Löwenberg, Goldberg, Dresden, Bauthen, Mühlberg, Aachen and Leipzig. He received six lance wounds at the Battle of Leipzig, was promoted to lieutenant and aide-de-camp of General Bagneres and was decorated with the Legion of Honour. After the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, he emigrated to the United States, where he was commissioned a Captain in the United States Army and died there on 11 October 1828. He was survived by his only child, a daughter called Grace Georgina. Through her, there are still living descendants of Wolfe Tone in the United States.

In popular culture

Several Gaelic Athletic Association clubs in Ireland are named in honour of Wolfe Tone. These include, in Armagh, Wolfe Tone GAC, Derrymacash; in Clare, Wolfe Tones Na Sionna; in Derry, Bellaghy Wolfe Tones GAC; in Meath, Wolfe Tones GAA, and in Tyrone, Drumquin Wolfe Tones GAC and Kildress Wolfe Tones GAC. In Britain, Lancashire has a Wolfe Tones CLG in Liverpool. In Australia, there is a Wolfe Tones GAC in Victoria. In the US, there is the Chicago Wolfe Tones GFC in Illinois, and other Wolfe Tones clubs in Boston and Detroit. Canada has the Edmonton Wolfe Tones.

In 1963 Brian Warfield, Noel Nagle, Tommy Byrne, and Derek Warfield formed The Wolfe Tones, an Irish rebel music band deeply rooted in Irish traditional music.

A minor character named Wolfe Tone O'Rooney appears in Thomas Pynchon's 2006 novel Against the Day.

A cast of Tone's death mask is open to public viewing in the vaults of St. Michan's Church, Dublin.


  1. McGarry,S.,Irish Brigades Abroad (Dublin 2013) p.175
  2. Herr p.26
  3. Regnault, Eugene (1843). The Criminal History of the English Government from the First Massacure of the Irish, to the Poisoning of the Chinese, Translated from the French, with Notes by an American. New York: J.S. Redfield, Clinton Hall. pp. 37. 
  4. Tone, Theobald Wolfe; William Theobald Wolfe Tone (1831). The Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone. London: Whittaker, Treacher and Arnot. pp. 213–214. Retrieved 30 July 2008. 
  5. Lefebvre, Georges (1967). The Directory. New York: Vintage. p. 77. OCLC 1015771. 
  6. Ian McBride, Eighteenth century Ireland, (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2009) p.367
  7. "Speech of Theobold Wolf Tone, To the Court-Martial, assembled to pass sentence on his life in Memoirs of William Sampson". 1817. Retrieved 8 April 2007. 
  8. Regnault, Eugene (1843). The Criminal History of the English Government from the First Massacre of the Irish, to the Poisoning of the Chinese, Translated from the French, with Notes by an American. New York: J.S. Redfield, Clinton Hall. pp. 44–45. 
  9. cited by Marianne Eliot, p. 393
  10. Seán Ua Ceallaigh (ed.), Speeches from the Dock, or Protests of Irish Patriotism (Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son, 1953), pp. 34–35.
  11. C. Costello, A Class Apart The Gentry Families of County Kildare (Nonesuch, Dublin 2005) p98.
  12. W. Nolan (ed.), Kildare History and Society (Geography, Dublin 2006) p.395. ISBN 978-0-906602-57-7.
  13. History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Centuryvol 5, by W. E. H. Lecky, Longmans, Greens and Co. (London), Pg.79 (cabinet ed., 5 vols., London, 1892).
  14. Durney J. (2001) On the one road', Naas, p176.
  15. Irish Times 28 February 2006, p16.
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. Encyclopædia Britannica Cambridge University Press 


  • Seán Ua Ceallaigh (ed.), Speeches from the Dock, or Protests of Irish Patriotism (Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son, 1953).
  • Herr, Cheryl. For the Land They Loved: Irish Political Melodramas, 1890–1925. Syracuse University Press, 1991.

Further reading

  • Stephen McGarry, Irish Brigades Abroad (Dublin, 2013) (softback).
  • T.W. Moody, R.B. McDowell and C.J. Woods (eds.), The Writings of Theobald Wolfe Tone 1763–98, Volume I: Tone's Career in Ireland to June 1795 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).
  • T.W. Moody, R.B. McDowell and C.J. Woods (eds.), The Writings of Theobald Wolfe Tone 1763–98, Volume II: America, France, and Bantry Bay, August 1795 to December 1796 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
  • T.W. Moody, R.B. McDowell and C.J. Woods (eds.), The Writings of Theobald Wolfe Tone 1763–98, Volume III: France, the Rhine, Lough Swilly and Death of Tone, January 1797 to November 1798 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
  • Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone by himself, continued by his son, with his political writings, edited by W.T. Wolfe Tone (2 volumes, Washington, 1826).
  • Thomas Bartlett, (ed.), Life of Theobald Wolfe Tone Memoirs, Journals and political writings, compiled and arranged by William T.W. Tone, 1826 (Dublin, 1998) [softback].
  • Autobiography of Theobald Wolfe Tone, edited with introduction by R. Barry O'Brien (2 vols., London, 1893);
  • Lives of the United Irishmen by R.R. Madden, (7 vols., London, 1842);
  • Compendium of Irish Biography by Alfred Webb (Dublin, 1878);
  • History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, by W. E. H. Lecky, vols. iii., iv., v. (cabinet ed., 5 vols., London, 1892).
  • "Wolfe Tone's Provost Prison", by Patrick Denis O'Donnell, in The Irish Sword, no. 42, Volume XI, Military History Society of Ireland, Dublin, 1973.
  • "Wolfe Tone: Suicide or Assassination", by Patrick Denis O'Donnell, in Irish Journal of Medical Science, no. 57, Dublin, 1997 (with T. Gorey)
  • "By fair and open war to procure the separation of the two countries," Footsteps in Time by Kevin McCarthy, published by CJ Fallon.
  • Chapter 13 "Theobald Wolfe Tone and County Kildare" by C.J. Woods; in Kildare History and Society (Geography Press, Dublin 2006) pp. 387–398. ed. by Nolan, W. & McGrath, T.
  • Elliott, Marianne (1989). Wolfe Tone: Prophet of Irish Independence. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Elliott, Marianne (2012), Wolfe Tone, 2nd edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Memoirs by Jonah Barrington (1828)
  • [1]
  • The Year of the French by Thomas Flanagan
  • 'A Rough Guide to Revolutionary Paris: Wolfe Tone as an accidental tourist’, by Sylvie Kleinman, in History Ireland 16:2 (2008) 34–39.
  • ‘Un brave de plus’: la carrière militaire de Theobald Wolfe Tone, héros du nationalisme irlandais et officier francais, 1796–1798' by Sylvie Kleinman, in Revue Historique des Armées France-Irlande n°253/2008, 55–65.
  • "Ambassador incognito and Accidental Tourist: Cultural Perspectives on Theobald Wolfe Tone’s Mission to France, 1796-8", by Sylvie Kleinman, in Michael Brown and Rosalyn Trigger (eds), Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies, 'The Auld Alliance: Irish & Scottish Connections with France since 1500', Volume 2: Issue 1, September 2008 (University of Aberdeen), pp101–122.

  • "Un brave de plus: Theobald Wolfe Tone, alias Adjudant-general James Smith, French officer and Irish patriot adventurer, 1796-8", by Sylvie Kleinman, in Nathalie Genêt-Rouffiac & David Murphy (eds.), Franco-Irish Military connections, 1590–1945. Proceedings of the Vincennes Conference (Sept. 2007), Dublin: Four Courts, 2009, pp163–188.
  • ‘Tone and the French Expeditions to Ireland, 1796-1798: Total War, or Liberation?’, by Sylvie Kleinman, in Pierre Serna, Antonino De Francesco & Judith Miller (eds.), Republics at War, 1776-1840 Revolutions, Conflicts, and Geopolitics in Europe and the Atlantic World (Basingstoke, 2013). 83-103.
  • Regnault, Eugene (1843). The Criminal History of the English Government from the First Massacre of the Irish, to the Poisoning of the Chinese, Translated from the French, with Notes by an American. New York: J.S. Redfield, Clinton Hall. 

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