A change of Tone


A chara, – It was most welcome to read the coverage of Whyte’s upcoming Eclectic Collector Auction, and a relief to think that Bono’s shades may draw readers into the catalogue (“Mary Queen of Scots’ prayer book, Bono’s shades and Wolfe Tone’s papers in summer sales”, July 18th).

The astonishing Lot 33, an unknown second original of Theobald Wolfe Tone’s speech from the dock, reawakens the memory of Ireland’s first true revolutionaries, overlooked in 2016. You state that his speech is “watermarked 1794”. The paper is, but the speech was delivered on November 10th, 1798, the day of his court martial and eve of his death sentence, as per the background I was commissioned to research.

Lest readers flock to Collins Barracks, may I correct an error that slipped into the piece: there is no “official copy” there of Tone’s speech in the Palatine Room. I wrote that it is assumed Tone’s court martial took place there, above the National Museum’s café.

Perhaps we can look forward to a small exhibition there on the speech and its context, as the new normal cautiously progresses. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 2.