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Sullivan, Richard Joseph (DNB00)


SULLIVAN, Sir RICHARD JOSEPH (1752–1806), miscellaneous writer, born on 10 Dec. 1752, was the third son of Benjamin Sullivan of Dromeragh, co. Cork, by his wife Bridget, daughter of Paul Limric, D.D. His eldest brother, Sir Benjamin Sullivan (1747–1810), was from 1801 till his death puisne judge of the supreme court of judicature at Madras. The second brother, John Sullivan (1749–1839), was under-secretary at war from 1801 to 1805, and married Henrietta Anne Barbara (1760–1828), daughter of George Hobart, third earl of Buckinghamshire.

Through the influence of Laurence Sullivan, chairman of the East India Company, and probably his kinsman, Richard Joseph was early in life sent to India with his brother John. On his return to Europe he made a tour through various parts of England, Scotland, and Wales. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 9 June 1785 (Gough, Chronological List, p. 40), and a fellow of the Royal Society on 22 Dec. following (Thomson, Hist. of Royal Society, App. p. lix). On 29 Jan. 1787, being then described as of Cleveland Row, St. James's, London, he was elected M.P. for New Romney in place of Sir Edward Dering, resigned. He was returned for the same constituency at the general election on 19 June 1790. He lost his seat in 1796, but on 5 July 1802 was elected, after a sharp contest, for Seaford, another of the Cinque ports. On 22 May 1804, on Pitt's return to office, Sullivan was created a baronet of the United Kingdom. He died at his seat, Thames Ditton, Surrey, on 17 July 1806.

He married, on 3 Dec. 1778, Mary, daughter of Thomas Lodge, esq., of Leeds; she died on 24 Dec. 1832. Their eldest son died young in 1789, and the title devolved on the second son, Henry (1785–1814), M.P. for the city of Lincoln (1812–14), who fell at Toulouse on 14 April 1814. He was succeeded as third baronet by his brother, Sir Charles Sullivan (1789–1862), who entered the navy in February 1801, and eventually became admiral of the blue (cf. Gent. Mag. 1863, i. 127).

His works are: 1. ‘An Analysis of the Political History of India. In which is considered the present situation of the East, and the connection of its several Powers with the Empire of Great Britain’ (anon.), London, 1779, 4to; 2nd edit., with the author's name, 1784, 8vo; translated into German by M. C. Sprengel, Halle, 1787, 8vo. 2. ‘Thoughts on Martial Law, and on the proceedings of general Courts-Martial’ (anon.), London, 1779, 4to; 2nd edit. enlarged, with the author's name, London, 1784, 8vo. 3. ‘Observations made during a Tour through parts of England, Scotland, and Wales, in a series of Letters’ (anon.), London, 1780, 4to; 2nd edit., 2 vols., London, 1785, 8vo; reprinted in Mavor's ‘British Tourists.’ 4. ‘Philosophical Rhapsodies: Fragments of Akbur of Betlis; containing Reflections on the Laws, Manners, Customs, and Religions of Certain Asiatic, Afric, and European Nations,’ 3 vols., London, 1784–5, 8vo. 5. ‘Thoughts on the Early Ages of the Irish Nation and History, and on the Ancient Establishment of the Milesian Families in that Kingdom; with a particular reference to the descendants of Heber, the eldest son of Milesius,’ 1789, 8vo. Of this curious work two editions of one hundred copies each were privately printed. 6. ‘A View of Nature, in Letters to a Traveller among the Alps, with Reflections on Atheistical Philosophy now exemplified in France,’ 6 vols., London, 1794, 8vo; translated into German by E. B. G. Hebenstreit, 4 vols., Leipzig, 1795–1800, 8vo.

To Sullivan have been inaccurately assigned two anonymous pamphlets: ‘History of the Administration of the Leader in the Indian Direction. Shewing by what great and noble efforts he has brought the Company's affairs into their present happy situation,’ London [1765?], 4to; ‘A Defence of Mr. Sullivan's Propositions (to serve as the basis of a negociation with government), with an answer to the objections against them, in a Letter to the Proprietors of East India Stock,’ London, 1767, 8vo.

[Burke's Peerage, 1896, p. 1385; Foster's Baronetage, 1882, p. 599; Gent. Mag. 1786 i. 45, 1806 ii. 687, 871, 896, 1832 ii. 656; Lit. Memoirs of Living Authors, 1798, ii. 287; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 2545; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ix. 51; Reuss's Register of Authors, ii. 366, Suppl. p. 389; Watt's Bibl. Brit. s.n. ‘Sulivan.’]

T. C.