Sham squire

In Aeolus Professor MacHugh mocks Myles Crawford, the editor of the Evening Telegraph: "And here comes the sham squire himself!" The reference is to a highly disreputable former owner of the Freeman's Journal, Francis Higgins (1745-1802), who steered that paper away from its nationalist mission toward accommodation of the British government. Higgins also acted as an informer for Dublin Castle at the time of the 1798 United Irishmen rebellion, betraying "lord Edward Fitzgerald" to the authorities. He probably began informing on nationalist patriots years earlier. Crawford responds to the mocking salutation with gruff familiarity of his own: "Getonouthat, you bloody old pedagogue!"

John Hunt 2018

Early 19th century caricature of Francis Higgins titled "Belphegor or the Devil turned Esq.," a print held in the National Library of Ireland. Source:

Frontispiece and title page of Fitzpatrick's The Sham Squire and the Informers of 1798. Source: