O'Sullivan, Mortimer (DNB00)

O'SULLIVAN, MORTIMER (1791?–1859), Irish protestant divine, second son of a schoolmaster of Clonmel, co. Tipperary, was born there in 1791 or 1792. He was educated with his elder brother Samuel (see below) and his friend Dr. William Phelan [q.v.] at the Clonmel endowed school. The headmaster, Dr. Richard Carey, an intimate friend of the elder O'Sullivan, was an earnest protestant, while the O'Sullivans were catholics. Carey was much revered by his pupils, and the remark of a priest — that Carey could not be saved — first led Mortimer to 'reason himself into the belief of the right of private judgment, and out of the church of Rome.' He entered as a protestant scholar at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1813, and proceeded B.A. in 1816, M.A. 1832.

After six or seven years at the university O'Sullivan returned to the south, and became second master of the Tipperary endowed school, and curate of the parish of Tipperary. He was the first master of the Royal School at Dungannon, near Killyman, and was also in Waterford for a time. He was chaplain of St. Stephen's chapel, Dublin, and on Dec. 1827 was collated to the prebend of St. Audoen's in St. Patrick's Cathedal, Dublin. This office he resigned on 24 Aug. 1830 on being presented to the rectory of Killyman, co. Armagh, at the death of William Phelan (15 June).

At a very early age O'Sullivan became interested in the relations between the catholic and protestant churches in Ireland. In 1824, in reply to Thomas Moore's 'Captain Rock,' he wrote 'Captain Rock Detected, or the Origin and Character of the Recent Disturbances, and the Causes, both moral and political, of the present alarming condition of the South and West of Ireland, fully and fairly considered and exposed, by a Munster Farmer,' London, 1824. Here O'Sullivan boldly attacked the landlords and the land system, while defending the Irish church and clergy (cf. Blackwood's Mag. July 1824, p. 97).

O'Sullivan gave evidence before the select committee of lords and commons on the state of Ireland, 26 April and 27 May 1825. The results were published by himself and Dr. Phelan in 'A Digest of Evidence on the State of Ireland in 1824–5,' &c., 2 vols. London, 1826. Ten years later, on 26 May 1835, when summoned to give evidence before the select committee on orange lodges, O'Sullivan stated that the orange societies were of importance in preserving the peace of Ulster. In the same year O'Sullivan was sent with the Rev. Charles Boyton as a deputation to England and Scotland from the Irish clergy to make known the condition of their church. O'Sullivan described with native eloquence and passion the insecurity of the Irish protestant clergy and the injustice of the tithe system in Exeter Hall, London, on 20 June and 11 July 1835, and in many provincial towns. On his return to Ireland in October 1835 he engaged in a controversy with Dr. Daniel Murray [q. v.], the catholic archbishop of Dublin, who charged him with misreporting his words before the lords' committee on the circulation of the bible among the laity. The correspondence was published. In September 1836 O'Sullivan was again in Glasgow, and on 27 May 1837 a fifth enthusiastic meeting was held in Exeter Hall. Full reports of all, with correspondence, were published by O'Sullivan and the Rev. Robert McGhee in 'Romanism as it rules in Ireland,' &c., 2 vols. London and Dublin, 1840. In 1851 O'Sullivan was Donellan lecturer at Trinity College, and in 1853 he was made rector of Tanderagee, near Ballymore. During the latter years of his life he resided in Lower Gloucester Street, Dublin, and officiated as chaplain to the Earl of Carlisle, the lord- lieutenant, and to the Duke of Manchester. He died in Dublin on 30 April 1859, and was buried on 3 May in Chapelizod churchyard.

Besides the works noted and many separate sermons and tracts, O'Sullivan wrote: 1. 'A Guide to an Irish Gentleman in his Search for a Religion,' Dublin, 1838; in defence of the established church, upon the publication of Moore's 'Travels of an Irish Gentleman in Search of a Religion,' 2 vols. London, 1833. It was answered anonymously in 'A Lanthorn for the Rev. Mortimer O'Sullivan's Guide to an Irish Gentleman in his Search for a Religion. From the Latin and German of Dr. Martin Luther,' Dublin, 1833. 2. 'The Case of the Protestants of Ireland stated, with Notes,' London, 1836. 3. 'Of the Apostasy predicted by Saint Paul,' pt. i. Dublin, 1841; pts. i. and ii. together, Dublin, 1842. 4. 'Theory of Developments in Christian Doctrine applied and tested,' London and Dublin, 1846; a reply to Cardinal Newman's 'Apologia.' 5. 'The Hour of the Redeemer,' a series of discourses preached in the chapel of Trinity College, Dublin, 1853.

O'Sullivan, Samuel (1790–1851), divine, elder brother of the above, born at Clonmel on 13 Sept. 1790, was educated with Mortimer at the Clonmel endowed school; attended protestant services with his school-master, and was powerfully attracted by the liturgy. When he obtained a scholarship at Trinity College, Dublin (1814), he was entered as a member of the church of England. He graduated B.A. in 1818, and M.A. in 1825. He was an active member of the university historical society, and carried off the medal for the best speaker in debates. Taking holy orders in the established church, he was first curate of St. Catherine's, Dublin, and at the same time chaplain of the Marshalsea, Dublin. In 1827 he succeeded Dean Le Fanu as chaplain to the Royal Hibernian Military School in Phoenix Park. His life was chiefly devoted to literary pursuit*. His first work, 'The Agency of Divine Providence manifested in the principal Transactions, religious and political, connected with the History of Great Britain from the Reformation to the Revolution in 1688,' Dublin, 1816, displayed a philosophic temper remarkable in a man of twenty-five. He contributed regularly to 'Blackwood's Magazine' and to 'Fraser's.' Some of the earliest papers in the 'Dublin University Review and Quarterly Magazine,' Dublin, No. 1, January 1833, were from his pen. He died on 6 Aug. 1851, and was buried on the 9th in the churchyard at Chapelizod, Dublin. His wife, with a son, Henry R. M. O'Sullivan, and a daughter, survived him. At the time of his death he had completed the 'Catechism of the United Church of England and Ireland explained and confirmed, with References to Holy Scripture,' Dublin, 1850. A volume of 'Remains, containing articles left by him in manuscript, was published by the Rev. J. C. Martin, D.D., and Mortimer O'Sullivan, Dublin, 1853, 3 vols.

[For both brothers: works above mentioned, including Remains; Dublin Univ. Mag. October 1851, pp. 504-8; Life of Phelan, 1832, pp. 5, 6, 7, 11; Dublin Morning Express, 1 and 2 May 1859; Gent. Mag. October 1851, ii. 438; Cat. of Graduates, Trin. Coll. Dublin. For Mortimer alone: see Blackwood's Mag. xxxvi. 210, 214, xxxix. 157; Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hib. ii. 144, v. 208; Moore's Memoirs, v. 224.]

C. F. S.