Rev. William Hickey (Martin Doyle), 1787-1875

From The Cabinet of Irish Literature, Volume 2, edited by Charles A. Read

The Rev. William Hickey is perhaps better known as "Martin Doyle," the nom de plume under which he published the greater number of his works. He devoted his pen principally to works with the praiseworthy view of helping to raise the material condition of his poorer fellow-countrymen. A clergyman himself, and the son of a clergyman, he also deserves praise for having avoided in his works subjects which might tend to excite religious animosities; and in the discharge of his parochial duties he was equally careful in avoiding matters of controversy. The exact date of his birth is uncertain, probably it took place about the year 1787. He was the son of the Rev. Ambrose Hickey, rector of Murragh, county Cork. He graduated at St. John's College, Cambridge, and he also took the degree of M.A. in Trinity College, Dublin. Ordained in 1811, he ministered in succession in Dunlecky, county Carlow; Bannow, Kilcormick, Wexford, and Mulrankin, to the last of which he was appointed in 1834; there, too, he remained for the rest of his life. He was prominent in founding societies for the encouragement of agriculture, and as early as 1817 began to employ his pen in promoting the same cause. His first work was on the State of the Poor in Ireland. There followed a large number of works on kindred subjects: Hints to Small Farmers; Common Things of Everyday Life; Irish Cottagers; Plea for Small Farmers; The Agricultural Labourer Viewed; Hints on Emigration to Canada, &c. He also translated a volume of Monod's sermons from the French. He contributed regularly to Blackwood's Agricultural Magazine, Chambers's Journal, and other periodicals. Notes and Gleanings of the County Wexford was his last work. The Royal Dublin Society awarded him a gold medal in recognition of his services, and he had a pension from the Literary Fund. He died on October 24, 1875, in his eighty-seventh year. This brief sketch is taken from the memoir in Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography.