Parnell, William (DNB00)


PARNELL, WILLIAM, afterwards PARNELL-HAYES (d. 1821), controversialist, was third son of Sir John Parnell [q. v.] by Letitia Charlotte, second daughter and coheiress of Sir Arthur Brooke of Cole-Brooke, co. Fermanagh (Burke, Landed Gentry, 5th edit. ii. 1052). He was opposed to the union, and, though a protestant, had a warm admiration for the Roman catholic clergy. He was also in favour of catholic emancipation. He was elected M.P. for co. Wicklow on 12 Aug. 1817, on 29 June 1819, and on 17 March 1820. He was a magistrate and deputy-lieutenant of co. Wicklow, and, as a resident and liberal landlord, he was greatly esteemed among his tenantry. Parnell succeeded his father in the property of Avondale, Rathdrum, co. Wicklow, which his father had inherited in 1796 under the will of Samuel Hayes. Parnell thereupon assumed the additional name of Hayes. He died on 2 Jan. 1821, at Castle Howard, co. Wicklow, the seat of Colonel Howard (Scots Mag. 1821, pt. i. p. 191). By his marriage in 1810 to Frances (d. 1813), daughter of the Hon. Hugh Howard, he had issue John Henry Parnell (1811–1859), and Catherine Parnell, who married in 1835 George Vicesimus Wigram.

His brother, Henry Brooke Parnell, Lord Congleton, and his grandson, Charles Stewart Parnell, are separately noticed.

Parnell, who is represented as being an amiable, cultured man, was an intimate friend of Thomas Moore (cf. Moore, Memoirs, vii. 109), and of Mrs. Henry Tighe, the poetess, who addressed a sonnet to him. His writings are: 1. ‘An Enquiry into the Causes of Popular Discontents in Ireland. By an Irish Country Gentleman,’ 8vo, Dublin, 1805, with a satirical ‘preface and notes’ by a ‘friend to the Constitution.’ 2. ‘An Historical Apology for the Irish Catholics,’ 8vo, Dublin, 1807 (3rd edit., London, 1808), dedicated to the Duke of Bedford. He alleged persecution to be the real cause of disaffection among the Irish Roman catholics, and advocated the removal of their grievances. His arguments received the approbation of Sydney Smith in the ‘Edinburgh Review’ for July 1807, pp. 299–306. 3. ‘Sermons, partly translated, partly imitated, from Massillon and Bourdaloue,’ 8vo, London, 1816, which he designed for the use of country schools in Ireland. 4. ‘Maurice and Berghetta; or the Priest of Rahery: a Tale’ (anon.), 12mo, London, 1819 (reprinted in London with the author's name on the title-page as ‘The Priest of Rahery’ in 1825). It is dedicated to the ‘Catholic Priesthood of Ireland,’ and has a long introduction detailing the miserable condition of the Irish peasantry. The book was condemned by the ‘Quarterly Review’ (xxi. 471–86) as ‘at once mischievous and absurd.’ Parnell protested vigorously against such criticism in ‘A Letter to the Editor of the “Quarterly Review,”’ 8vo, Dublin, 1820, which was responded to in the next number of the ‘Quarterly Review’ (xxiii. 360–73).

[Gent. Mag. 1821, pt. i. p. 86; Johnston's Parnell and the Parnells, London, 1888; Allibone's Dict. of Authors, ii. 1511.]

G. G.