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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

John Thomas Troy
10 May 1739 – 11 May 1823

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John Thomas Troy

John Thomas Troy received his early education at Liffey Street, Dublin, after which he joined the Dominican Order and proceeded to their house of St. Clement, at Rome. Amenable to discipline, diligent in his studies and talented, he made rapid progress, and while yet a student was selected to give lectures in philosophy. Subsequently he professed theology and canon law, and finally became prior of the convent in 1772.

When the Bishop of Ossory died, in 1776, the priests of the diocese recommended one of their number, Father Molloy, to Rome for the vacant see, and the recommendation was endorsed by many of the Irish bishops. But Dr Troy, who was held in high esteem at Rome, had already been appointed Bishop of Ossory. He arrived at Kilkenny in August, and for the next nine years he laboured hard for the spiritual interests of his diocese. They were troubled times. Maddened by excessive rents and tithes, and harried by grinding tithe-proctors, the farmers had banded themselves together in a secret society called the “Whiteboys”. Going forth at night, they attacked landlords, bailiffs, agents, and tithe-proctors, and often committed fearful outrages. Bishop Troy grappled with them and frequently and sternly denounced them. He had no sympathy with oppression, but he had lived long in Rome, away from the poor Catholic masses.

He was therefore ready to condemn all violent efforts for reform, and had no hesitation in denouncing not only all secret societies in Ireland, but also “our American fellow-subjects, seduced by specious notions of liberty”. This made him unpopular. He was zealous in correcting abuses in his diocese and in promoting education. So well was this recognized at Rome that in 1781, in consequence of some serious troubles which had arisen between the primate and his clergy, Dr. Troy was appointed Administrator of Armagh. This office he held till 1782. In 1786 he was appointed Archbishop of Dublin. At Dublin, as at Ossory, he showed his zeal for religion, his sympathy with authority, and his distrust of popular movements, especially when violent means were employed; in 1798 he issued a sentence of excommunication against all those of his flock who would join the rebellion. He was also one of the most determined supporters of the Union.

In 1799 he agreed to accept the veto of government, on the appointment of Irish bishops; and even when the other bishops, feeling they had been tricked by Pitt and Castlereagh, repudiated the veto, Dr Troy continued to favour it. The last years of his life were uneventful.

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