A collection of correspondence of George Fitz-Hardinge Berkeley,
|Main Creator:||Berkeley, G. F.-H. (George Fitz-Hardinge), 1870-1955|
|Citation:||National Library of Ireland. Department of Manuscripts.|
The collection contains a few letters from Berkeley, but mainly letters sent to him, some of which he annotated. Much of the material concerns Berkeley's research for his book about the Irish Brigade in the Papal Army in 1860. There are drafts of newspaper advertisements seeking information, as well as letters from former members of the Brigade or letters giving him information about such men. He appears to have employed a J.D. Hackett of 66 Jamaica Avenue, Flushing, New York, to make contact with, and interview, on his behalf, some of those former Brigade members who had emigrated to the United States. He also used other intermediaries, who supplied him with information gathered from conversations with veterans, or else gave him names of individuals who might be of assistance. There are two letters from Berkeley to Molly Childers (items MS 50,073/129 and MS 50,073/130).
George Fitz-Hardinge Berkeley was born in Dublin and educated in Britain, where he spent much of his life, residing at Hanwell Castle, Oxfordshire. He was a committed Irish nationalist and was a Training Officer with the Irish Volunteers. He was on the committee of Irish Volunteers who met in London in 1914 to organise funds for the Howth gun-running, and in 1920/1921 was involved with the Peace with Ireland Movement. Berkeley also saw service in the British Army during the First World War. He wrote several books, mainly about Italy and Italian history, among them the 1929 publication 'The Irish battalion in the Papal army of 1860'. In writing this book he wished to preserve the first-hand accounts of the men who were there, and to redeem the reputation of the Irish members of the Papal Army, who, he felt, were unfairly treated in some previous histories.
In 1860 a call was made to Catholics to go to Rome to help defend the Papal States from the forces of the Risorgimento. About 1,000 Irishmen joined a newly formed Irish Papal Brigade and travelled to Italy, although it was illegal for them, as British subjects, to enlist in a foreign army. On arrival in Italy they were disappointed when they were not allowed to form their own brigade, but were dispersed amongst units from other countries. In addition food, clothing and equipment were inadequate. In these circumstances some of the men went home, but most stayed to fight bravely at various battles until the Papal Army was defeated. Many of the survivors of this campaign subsequently went to America and fought in the Civil War there.
Physical description: 11 folders (165 items).
|Call Number||View in||Collection|
|MS 50,073/1-165||Manuscripts Reading Room Special Access||Manuscripts|
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