Thomas Wyse

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Sir Thomas Wyse KCB (24 December 1791 – 16 April 1862), an Irish politician and diplomat, belonged to a family claiming descent from a Devon squire, Andrew Wyse, who is said to have crossed over to Ireland during the reign of Henry II and obtained lands near Waterford, of which city thirty-three members of the family are said to have been mayors or other municipal officers.

Devon County of England

Devon, also known as Devonshire, is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north east, and Dorset to the east. The city of Exeter is the county town. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, and West Devon. Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 and its population is about 1.1 million.

Squire historical profession

Starting in the Middle Ages, a squire was the shield- or armour-bearer of a knight. At times, a squire acted as a knight's errand runner.

Henry II of England 12th-century King of England, Duke of Aquitaine, and ruler of other European lands

Henry II, also known as Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and Lord of Ireland; at various times, he also partially controlled Scotland, Wales and the Duchy of Brittany. Before he was 40 he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France—an area that would later come to be called the Angevin Empire.



From the Reformation the family had been consistently attached to the Catholic Church. Wyse was educated at Stonyhurst College and at Trinity College Dublin, where he distinguished himself as a scholar. After 1815 he passed some years in travel, visiting Italy, Greece, Egypt and Palestine. In 1821 he married Princess Letizia Bonaparte (1804–1871), daughter of Lucien Bonaparte, and after residing for a time at Viterbo he returned to Ireland in 1825, having by this time inherited the family estates.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Stonyhurst College coeducational Roman Catholic independent school in Lancashire, England

Stonyhurst College is a coeducational Roman Catholic independent school, adhering to the Jesuit tradition, on the Stonyhurst Estate, Lancashire, England. It occupies a Grade I listed building. The school has been fully co-educational since 1999.

Trinity College Dublin Sole college of the University of Dublin, founded 1592

Trinity College, officially the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, is the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin, a research university located in Dublin, Ireland. The college was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother" of a new university, modelled after the collegiate universities of Oxford and Cambridge, but unlike these other ancient universities, only one college was ever established; as such, the designations "Trinity College" and "University of Dublin" are usually synonymous for practical purposes. The college is legally incorporated by "the Provost, Fellows, Foundation Scholars and other members of the Board" as outlined by its founding charter. It is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, as well as Ireland's oldest surviving university. Trinity College is widely considered the most prestigious university in Ireland and amongst the most elite in Europe, principally due to its extensive history and unique relationship with both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. In accordance with the formula of ad eundem gradum, a form of recognition that exists among the three universities, a graduate of Oxford, Cambridge, or Dublin can be conferred with the equivalent degree at either of the other two universities without further examination. Trinity College, Dublin is a sister college to St John's College, Cambridge and Oriel College, Oxford.

He now devoted his great oratorical and other talents to forwarding the cause of Catholic emancipation, and his influence was specially marked in his own county of Waterford, while his standing among his associates was shown by his being chosen to write the address to the people of England.

Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, and later the combined United Kingdom in the late 18th century and early 19th century, that involved reducing and removing many of the restrictions on Roman Catholics introduced by the Act of Uniformity, the Test Acts and the penal laws. Requirements to abjure (renounce) the temporal and spiritual authority of the pope and transubstantiation placed major burdens on Roman Catholics.

Waterford City in Munster, Ireland

Waterford is a city in Ireland. It is in County Waterford in the south east of Ireland and is part of the province of Munster. The city is situated at the head of Waterford Harbour. It is the oldest and the fifth most populous city in the Republic of Ireland. It is the eighth most populous city on the island of Ireland. Waterford City and County Council is the local government authority for the city. According to the 2016 Census, 53,504 people live in the city, with a wider metropolitan population of 82,963.

In 1830, after the passing of the Catholic Relief Act 1829, he was returned to parliament for the Tipperary constituency, and he attached himself to the Whig Party and voted for the great measures of the reform era. But he was specially anxious to secure some improvement in the education of the Irish people, and some of his proposals were accepted by Edward Stanley, later 14th Earl of Derby, and the government, he was chairman of a committee which inquired into the condition of education in Ireland, and it was partly owing to his efforts that provincial colleges were established at Cork, Galway and Belfast.

Tipperary, also known as Tipperary County, was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, which from 1801 to 1885 returned two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby British Prime Minister

Edward George Geoffrey Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, was a British statesman, three-time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and, to date, the longest-serving leader of the Conservative Party. He was known before 1834 as Edward Stanley, and from 1834 to 1851 as Lord Stanley. He is one of only four British prime ministers to have three or more separate periods in office. However, his ministries each lasted less than two years and totalled three years and 280 days.

County Cork County in the Republic of Ireland

County Cork is a county in Ireland. It is the largest and southernmost county of Ireland, situated in the province of Munster and named after the city of Cork, Ireland's second-largest city. The Cork County Council is the local authority for the county. Its largest market towns are Mallow, Macroom, Midleton, and Skibbereen. In 2016, the county's population was 542,868, making it the third-most populous county in Ireland. Notable Corkonians include Michael Collins, Jack Lynch, and Sonia O'Sullivan.

His work as an educational pioneer also bore fruit in England, where the principles of state control and inspection, for which he had fought, were adopted, and where a training college for teachers at Battersea was established on lines suggested by him. From 1835 to 1847 he was MP for the Waterford City constituency, from 1839 to 1841 he was a Lord of the Treasury, from 1846 to 1849 he was Secretary to the Board of Control, and in 1849 he was sent as British minister to Greece. In that capacity he was a major figure in the notorious Don Pacifico Incident. He was very successful in his diplomacy, and he showed a great interest in the educational and other internal affairs of Greece. In 1857 he was made a KCB, and he died at Athens on 16 April 1862.

Battersea area of the London Borough of Wandsworth, England

Battersea is a district of South West London, England, within the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is located on the south bank of the River Thames, 2.9 miles (4.7 km) south west of Charing Cross.

Waterford City was a United Kingdom parliamentary constituency, in southeast Ireland.

The Secretary to the Board of Control was a British government office in the late 18th and early 19th century, supporting the President of the Board of Control, who was responsible for overseeing the British East India Company and generally serving as the chief official in London responsible for Indian affairs. During part of 1834 and from 1835 the post was held by Joint Secretaries. The position was abolished in 1858 with the abolition of the East India Company. It was succeeded by the new position of Under-Secretary of State for India.

Wyse wrote Historical Sketch of the late Catholic Association of Ireland (London 1829), Education reform or the necessity of a national system of education (London 1836), An Excursion in the Peloponnesus (1858, new ed. 1865), and Impressions of Greece (London 1871).

His two sons shared his literary tastes: They were Napoleon Alfred Bonaparte-Wyse (1822–1895) and William Charles Bonaparte-Wyse (1826–1892), a student of the dialect of Provence. The marriage to his wife Letizia, thirteen years younger than him and only sixteen years old when the wedding took place, did not last. After an especially violent fight in 1824 (so fierce that their carriage rocked on its springs), she fled to a convent and asked for a separation. Wyse and Letizia got a papal order of seclusion in the convent. After eight months, when Wyse threatened to leave Italy without her, she submitted and travelled to Ireland with him.

Provence Historical province in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the Italian border to the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It largely corresponds with the modern administrative region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and includes the departments of Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, as well as parts of Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse. The largest city of the region is Marseille.

However the arguments continued and in May 1828 they agreed to a separation. Letizia threw herself in a suicide attempt into the Serpentine and was rescued by Captain Studholme John Hodgson (1805–1890), a British Army officer who became her lover. They had three children who survived to adulthood: the writer Marie Laetitia Bonaparte-Wyse (1831–1902, called secretly Studholmina-Maria) who was known as Princess Marie de Solms in her first marriage; Adeline (1838–1899), who married in 1861 the Hungarian general István Türr; and the explorer Lucien Napoléon Bonaparte-Wyse (1845–1909). All of them married and left issue; all the children of Captain Hodgson and Princess Letizia used the surname Bonaparte-Wyse. [1]

Wyse was the subject of a biography written by James Auchmuty, Sir Thomas Wyse, 1791–1862: the life and career of an educator and diplomat, London 1939.

Family and issue

Wyse married Princess Letizia Bonaparte, daughter of Lucien Bonaparte and his second wife Alexandrine de Bleschamp, in 1821. Their children were:

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  1. D. G. Paz, 'Wyse, Sir Thomas (1791–1862)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 7 Nov 2011


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