Matthew Carey

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Carey, Matthew, brother of preceding, author and publisher, was born in Dublin, 28th January 1760. He was apprenticed to the printing business; and at eighteen he published a pamphlet on the wrongs endured by Irish Catholics. It was denounced as treasonable, and he was obliged to fly to Paris, where he was employed for a time by Franklin in his private printing office. Returning to Dublin, he commenced in 1783 The Volunteer's Journal, and again incurring the hostility of Government, he was imprisoned in Newgate. Disguised as a woman, he escaped on board an American vessel, and landed at Philadelphia in November 1784. Lafayette, with whom he had become acquainted in France, advanced him money, and in the January after his arrival he commenced the Pennsylvania Herald. His reports of the debates in the Assembly assured its success. About 1791 he entered on the business of bookselling, in which he was eminently successful.

A strenuous advocate of protection, he issued fifty-nine works bearing upon that question, besides many other books and pamphlets on social and economic subjects. He advocated a system of internal improvements, by which Pennsylvania was much benefited. In 1819 appeared his able work, Vindiciae Hiberniae, an examination and refutation of the charges against his countrymen with regard to the War of 1641-'52. He accumulated a large fortune; and "as a practical philanthropist, brave, munificent, and discreet, his adopted country is under lasting obligations to him. He was an untiring advocate of popular education, and a bold reformer of municipal abuses — labouring effectually to carry out the greatest good of the greatest number." [39] The accidental overturning of his carriage hastened his death, 15th September 1839, aged 79. Allibone speaks of him as one to whom "the citizens of the United States will ever owe . . a debt of gratitude for his invaluable labours as a citizen, a politician, and a philanthropist." Henry C. Carey, his son, born in Philadelphia, continued his father's fame as a writer and publisher. Allibone devotes nearly two pages to a review of his works.

Sources

16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859-'71.

39. Biographical Dictionary, Imperial: Edited by John F. Waller. 3 vols. London, N.D.

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