Ogle, George (1742-1814) (DNB00)
OGLE, GEORGE (1742–1814), Irish statesman, born 14 Oct. 1742, was the only child of George Ogle (1704–1746) [q. v.] He was brought up at Rossminoge, near Camolin, co. Wexford, under the care of one Miller, vicar of the parish, and was imbued through life with strong protestant feeling. But he had literary tastes, and composed, while at Rossminoge, two songs which are still popular. The earlier, called ‘Banna's Banks,’ beginning ‘Shepherds, I have lost my love,’ was said to be inspired by Miss Stepney, of Durrow House, Queen's County, afterwards Mrs. Burton Doyne of Wells. The second, ‘Molly Asthore,’ was written to celebrate the charms of Mary Moore, whose sister Elizabeth, daughter of William Moore of Tinrahan, co. Wexford, subsequently became his wife. Burns, writing to Thomson 7 April 1793, described Ogle's ‘Banna's Banks’ as ‘heavenly,’ and ‘certainly Irish;’ but it was included in Wood's ‘Songs of Scotland,’ 1851. A gentleman of wealth and fashion, Ogle appears to have been a frequent visitor at Lady Miller's assemblies at Bath, and he contributed to the volume, ‘Poetical Amusements at a Villa near Bath,’ published by that lady's admirers in 1775 [see Miller, Anna]. Some songs by him appear in Crofton Croker's 'Popular Songs of Ireland' and in Samuel Lover's 'Poems and Ballads,' where there is assigned to him the fine lyric known as 'Banish Sorrow.' He declined to publish any of his poems himself.
In 1768 Ogle was elected to the Irish parliament as member for Wexford county, and he sat for that constituency till 1796. A brilliant speaker, he delighted in 'splendid superlatives and figurative diction, whilst the spirit and energy of his manner corresponded to the glowing warmth of his expressions' (Review of the Irish House of Commons). He joined the whig party, and, although in favour of extending to Ireland popular rights and a legislative independence, he was opposed to catholic emancipation, and was a staunch upholder of the established church. Before 1778 he was challenged to a duel by Barney Coyle, a whisky distiller and member of the catholic board, on the ground that he had publicly said that' a papist could swallow a false oath as easily as a poached egg.' Eight shots were exchanged, but the combatants remained unhurt. Ogle declared that the remark which led to the encounter had been misreported, and he had referred not to 'papists,' but to 'rebels.' Shortly afterwards he publicly stated that 'some newspapers had misrepresented his sentiments on a former debate, on bringing in a bill to relax the popery laws, and had put words into his mouth which he never said, particularly that he hated an Irish papist, which was foreign to his thoughts. He hated no man on account of his faith' (Hibernian Journal, 1 June 1778). In 1779 he attacked Fox and the opposition in England for not resisting with greater vivacity Lord North's coercive policy in Ireland. Fox wrote to the Duke of Leinster explaining the difficulties of the parliamentary situation at Westminster, and expressed especial regret at Ogle's dissatisfaction, 'because I have always heard that he is a very honest man and a good whig' (Charlemont Papers in Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. x. 370). In 1779 Ogle joined the association called the Monks of St. Patrick. In 1782 he became a colonel in the Irish volunteers, actively supported that movement, and strongly asserted the claim of Ireland to legislative independence. But when the national convention assembled at Dublin under Lord Charlemont's presidency, in November 1783, Ogle is said to have delivered a message purporting to come from Lord Kenmare to the effect that the catholics of Ireland were satisfied with the privileges they had already obtained, and desired no more (England, Life of O'Leary, p. 109). Kenmare at once denied that he ad authorised the delivery of such a message. According to later accounts, Sir Boyle Roche was responsible for the incident, but the contemporary reports saddle Ogle alone with the responsibility for the ruse. In 1783 Ogle was admitted to the Irish privy council, and in the following year obtained the patent place of registrar of deeds at Dublin, at a salary of 1,300l. a year. The step was taken ' from some disarrangement of his family affairs, as it is supposed,' but his constituents were content, and no difference appeared in his political action. His zeal for wise reform was not diminished ; and in April 1786, when the relations of landlords and protestant clergy to the tenants were under discussion, he described the landlords as 'great extortioners' (Froude, English in Ireland, ii. 469). In 1789 he opposed the English government's proposals for a regency. In February 1793 he denounced Hobart's Catholic Relief Bill, and prophesied that the admission of catholics to political power must lead either to separation or to a legislative union (Lechy, vi. 568). In 1796, when he became governor of Wexford, he retired from the House of Commons and lived mainly on his estate, Bellevue, co. Wexford. But in the disturbed period of 1798 he consented to reenter parliament as member for Dublin. Although he voted against the legislative union in 1800, he was returned to the united parliament of 1801 as the representative of Dublin, and finally retired in 1804. He died at Bellevue, co. Wexford, on 10 Aug. 1814. A statue to his memory, by John Smyth, was placed in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, at a cost of 130/. He had no children.
His will, dated 26 Sept, 1798, and witnessed by John Hely-Hutchinson and John Swift Emerson, bequeaths his body to the churchyard of Ballycarnew, to repose beside his late wife. He named as executor his nephew, George Ogle Moore, afterwards M.P. for Dublin in 1826 and 1830, who inherited his property.
[Plowden's Hist, of Ireland ; Croker's Songs of Ireland; Lover's Poems ; Duffy's Ballad Poetry; original will, Record Office, Dublin; O'Donoghuo's Poets of Ireland ; Sir Jonah Barrington's Personal Sketches; information kindly supplied by Miss Ogle Moore; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ii. 49; Hardy's Earl of Charlemont; A Review of the Irish House of Commons, London, 1795; Sketches of Irish Political Characters, London, 1799; CornwallisCorrespondence; Fitzpatrick's Secret Service under Pitt; Froude's History of the English in Ireland ; Lecky's Hist, of Ireland.]