New Acquisition: a play by an Irish traitor

>Every year we receive a small bit of money from the Rhode Island Foundation especially for the Irish collection. Last year I spent it on one very nice book by W. B. Yeats (see this blog posting:; this year I managed to acquire several. The first of these is a 1785 play (comedy) by Leonard MacNally (1752-1820), a grocer, lawyer, playwright, and spy (not necessarily in that order). During the Gordon riots ( he risked his life to rescue the Lord Chancellor’s brother (a Catholic) from a Protestant mob. MacNally also edited the Public Ledger for a number of years, fought a number of duels, wrote political pamphlets, and acted in sympathy with revolutionaries (defending them in court) while secretly betraying them to the government (which was not discovered until after his death).

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