Peter Finnerty

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Finnerty, Peter, one of the ablest reporters of his time, was born at Loughrea in 1766. At an early age he sought his fortune in Dublin, and became a printer. In 1797 he was printer and editor of the Press, the organ of the United Irishmen, to which both Curran and Moore are said to have contributed. On 22nd December 1797 he was tried for a libel on the Government concerning the trial and execution of Orr, and, refusing to disclose the name of the author, was sentenced to stand in the pillory, pay a fine, and suffer imprisonment for two years.

Arthur O'Connor, Lord Edward FitzGerald, and others of his party, attended him at the pillory in Green-street. At the expiration of the sentence he removed to London, and procured an engagement as reporter on the Morning Chronicle. He sailed as an army reporter with the Walcheren expedition in 1809. Two years afterwards he was committed to Lincoln jail for eighteen months, for a libel on Lord Castlereagh. In the course of his defence on his trial, he made a false quantity in a Latin quotation, and was set right by Lord Ellenborough, whereupon he rejoined: "Pronounce it as you like, my lord, isn't the English of it the same." He memorialized the House of Commons against the treatment he received, and in the several discussions on the subject he was highly spoken of by Brougham, Romilly, Burdett, and Whitbread. He died at Westminster, 11th May 1822, aged 56.

Sources

96. Curran and his Contemporaries: Charles Phillips. Edinburgh, 1850.

110. Dublin, History of the City: John T. Gilbert. 3 vols. Dublin, 1854-'9.

254. Notes and Queries (2). London, 1850-'78.
O'Callaghan, John C., see No. 186.

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