Ireland, Alexander, 1810-1894

Variant names

Hide Profile

Alexander Ireland (1810–1894) was a Scottish journalist, man of letters, and bibliophile, notable as a biographer of Ralph Waldo Emerson as well as a friend of Emerson and other literary celebrities, including Leigh Hunt and Thomas Carlyle, and the geologist and scientific speculator Robert Chambers. His own most popular book was The Book-Lover's Enchiridion, published under a pseudonym in 1882.

Ireland was born at Edinburgh on 9 May 1810; his father was a businessman. As a young man he had as friends Robert Chambers, William Chambers and John Gairdner. His friendship with Gairdner led to his acquaintance with Ralph Waldo Emerson, who in 1833 came to Edinburgh: theirs was a lifelong friendship.

In 1843 Ireland moved to Manchester as representative of a Huddersfield firm. In the same year Robert Chambers gave him a confidential task, to have the later highly controversial Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation published anonymously. The secret was well kept until 1884, when everyone else involved in it was dead, and Ireland revealed it in a preface to the twelfth edition.

In 1846 Ireland succeeded Edward Watkin as publisher and business manager of the Manchester Examiner, a paper founded the year before by Watkin, John Bright, and William McKerrow to compete with the Manchester Guardian, on behalf of the Anti-Cornlaw League. The first editor was Thomas Ballantyne. Soon the Examiner absorbed the Manchester Times of Archibald Prentice, and as the Manchester Examiner and Times lasted for 40 years.

In 1847 and 1848 Emerson made his second visit to England, encouraged by Ireland, who made the arrangements for Emerson's lectures. On Emerson's recommendation, Ireland took on the poet Henry Septimus Sutton for the Examiner in 1849. In 1851 Ireland was a member of the committee that organised the Manchester Free Library, where many books of his own later went. He cultivated the friendship of Thomas Carlyle and Leigh Hunt.

Eventually Liberal support swung from the Examiner to the Guardian when the latter's editorial line came down in favour of William Ewart Gladstone's Irish Home Rule proposals in 1886. The Examiner became unprofitable, passed into other hands, and was closed down. Ireland remained active as a writer in the press. He died on 7 December 1894 at Mauldeth Road, Withington.

A medallion portrait was engraved for Threads from the Life of John Mills (1899). A collection of Ireland's books was presented in 1895 to the Manchester Free Reference Library by Thomas Read Wilkinson, and a catalogue was issued in 1898. Ireland had possessed a fine library, rich in editions of the Anatomy of Melancholy; but much of it had had to be sold.

Ireland prepared a bibliography of Leigh Hunt's writings, with a similar list of William Hazlitt's, and printed in a limited edition in 1868. In 1889 he edited a selection from Hazlitt's works, prefaced by a memoir. On Emerson's death in 1882 he published a biography of him, with his own recollections; it was enlarged and reissued within a year as Ralph Waldo Emerson: His Life, Genius, and Writings. In the same year he published at Manchester Recollections of George Dawson and His Lectures in Manchester in 1846-7. A well-known publication was The Book-Lover's Enchiridion, a collection of passages in praise of books selected from a wide range of authors. It was published in 1882 under the pseudonym of "Philobiblos", and went through five editions.

Ireland was twice married: first, in 1839, to Eliza Mary, daughter of Frederick Blyth of Birmingham, who died in 1842. Annie Elizabeth Nicholson, Ireland's second wife, whom he married in 1866, was the sister of Henry Alleyne Nicholson. She was the biographer of Jane Welsh Carlyle (1891), and the editor of her correspondence with Geraldine Jewsbury (1892); her recollections of James Anthony Froude were published posthumously in the Contemporary Review. She died on 4 October 1893. Alexander and Annie Ireland had five children, the youngest being John Nicholson Ireland the composer. Another son was W. Alleyne Ireland.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn James Russell Lowell additional papers, 1736-1951. Houghton Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCCXXVII (ff. 334). Jan.-2 July 1891.Sir Isaac Pitman, inventor of modern shorthand: Letter to W. E. Gladstone: 1891.includes:ff. 4, 30, 107, 294 Léon Séché, French writer: Letters to W. E. Gladstone: 1877-1892.: Fr. ff. 6, 109 Margot Asquith... British Library
referencedIn Vol. VIII (ff. 117). 1885,1886.includes:ff. 1, 12 John Duke Coleridge, 1st Baron Coleridge: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1884, 1885. ff. 3, 4, 39, 49, 68, 104 Reverend James Augustus Hessey, Headmaster of Merchant Taylors' School: Letters to W. C. Hazl..., 1885-1886 British Library
creatorOf Ireland, Alexander, 1810-1894. Letter to F. Holland Day. Southport, Eng. 1889 Nov. 20. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Sarah Orne Jewett correspondence, 1861-1930. Houghton Library
referencedIn Vol. IV (ff. 419). 1870-1873.Thomas Carew: Letters rel. to W. C. Hazlitt's; edition of his poems: 1870.Henry Huth, bibliophile: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1867-1878.John Payne Collier: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1863-1874, n.d.Alexander Ireland, writer..., 1870-1873 British Library
referencedIn Newman, Francis William, 1805-1897. Francis William Newman collection, 1847-1885. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, Baron, 1809-1892. Album, 1853-1898. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Vol. III (ff. 482). 1868, 1869.Robert Herrick, poet: Letters rel. to W. C. Hazlitt's edition of his works: 1869.Reverend Thomas Warton, the younger: Letters ref. to W. C. Hazlitt's edition of his History of English Poetry: 1868.William Browne, poet: ..., 1868-1869 British Library
creatorOf Horne, R. H. (Richard H.), 1802-1884,. Autograph letter signed from R.H. Horne, Fitzroy Park, Highgate, to A. [Alexander] Ireland [manuscript], 1845 November 29. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Avebury, John Lubbock, 1st Baron, 1834-1913. Avebury Papers. B. Correspondence relating to Lord Avebury's collections and publications; 1866-1911, n.d. Vol. XLI B (ff. 202). The Pleasures of Life, 1887-1889; 1887-1909, n.d. H-P. British Library
referencedIn Ralph Waldo Emerson letters from various correspondents, ca. 1814-1882. Houghton Library
referencedIn Vol. II, ff. 306, H-O.includes:ff. 1, 5 Sir Francis Seymour Haden, etcher and surgeon: Letters to C. W. and C. D. Sherbom: 1880, 1902. f. 7 Louis Haghe, lithographer and painter: Letter to W. Jerdan: 1848. f.8 Louis Haghe, lithographer and painter:... British Library
creatorOf Hunt, Leigh, 1784-1859. [Letters] / Leigh Hunt. Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Ireland, Alexander, 1810-1894,. Collection of James Russell Lowell letters, 1880-1884. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Vol. II (ff. 509). 1866, 1867.Henry Huth, bibliophile: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1867-1878.John Payne Collier: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1863-1874, n.d.Alexander Ireland, writer: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1866-1887.includes:ff. 1, 18, 28, 228, 461 Wi..., 1866-1867 British Library
creatorOf Cobden, Richard, 1804-1865. Autograph letter signed : Midhurst, to Alexander Ireland, 1859 Jan. 18. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882. Papers, 1822-1930 (bulk: 1830-1877). University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. (James Orchard), 1820-1889,. Autograph letters signed from James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, West Brompton, London, to Alexander Ireland [manuscript], 1866 January 13-17. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Leigh Hunt manuscript material : 332 items, 1801-1859 The New York Public Library. Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle.
referencedIn Lowell, James Russell, 1819-1891. Additional papers, 1767-1898. Houghton Library
referencedIn James Russell Lowell papers, 1835-1919. Houghton Library
creatorOf Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892. Drafts of a short prose excerpt entitled "A Connecticut Damon and Pythias," and a letter to Alexander Ireland, 1876. Newberry Library
creatorOf Forster, W. E. (William Edward), 1818-1886. Letter [1882] Bradford [Eng.] to [Alexander] Ireland, Bowdon [Eng.]. University of Michigan
creatorOf 33,516. SONNET by John Keats, beg. "This pleasant Tale is like a little copse." Autograph, and subscribed "J. K. Feb. 1817." Written in a blank space at the end of ", The Floure and the Leafe " in vol. xii. (p. 104) of The Poetical Works of Geoff: Ch..., approximately 1817 British Library
creatorOf Ireland, Alexander, 1810-1894. Letter to Mrs. Francis Bennoch. Southport, Eng. 1890 Jul. 13. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Vol. CCCCXXII (ff. 232). June-Sept.1889.includes:f. 1 Sir Spencer Walpole, KCB; historian: Letters to W. E. Gladstone: 1882-1897.ff. 3, 6, 10, 39, 57, 59, 82, 109, 120 Mary Mackay, alias 'Marie Corelli'; novelist: Letters to W. E. Gladstone: 188... British Library
creatorOf Lowell, James Russell, 1819-1891. Autograph letter signed : to Alex. Ireland, 1882. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Ireland, Alexander, 1810-1894. A. Ireland letter to My dear Conway, 1881 Apr. 17. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882. Letters to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1761-1904 (bulk 1820-1888) Houghton Library
referencedIn Gladstone papers, correspondence: Vol. CCCCXXVI British Library
referencedIn James Russell Lowell papers, 1835-1919. Houghton Library
creatorOf Hone, William. Autograph letter signed : London, to Alexander Ireland, 1831 Aug. 29. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Vol. VI (ff. 195). 1879-1882.includes:ff. 1, 11, 24, 40, 72, 153, 185 Island of Mauritius: Letters rel. to: 1869-1884. ff. 1, 24, 72, 125, 194 William Hazlitt, of Mauritius: Letters to his cousin W. C. Hazlitt: 1861-1884. ff. 6, 29, 53, 98 Alexande..., 1879-1882 British Library
referencedIn Emerson family papers, 1699-1939. Houghton Library
creatorOf Ireland, Alexander, 1810-1894. Letter, 1870 Aug. 7, Bowdon [Eng.] to J.C. Hotten [n.p.]. University of Michigan
referencedIn Autograph File, I, 1730-1978. Houghton Library
creatorOf Ireland, Alexander, 1810-1894. Autograph letter signed : Inglewood [House, near Ledsham], Cheshire, to an unidentified recipient, 1886 Jan. 29. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Ireland, Alexander, 1810-1894. Letters, to Moncure Daniel Conway and to Mrs. Conway, 1866-1886, 1893. University of Michigan
creatorOf Forster, John, 1812-1876. John Forster letters, 1866 and undated. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Vol. CCCCXXIII (ff. 292). Oct.-Dec. 1889.includes:f. 1 Fanny Mary Beere, d 1915 actress; married 2ndly: (1876) Bernard Beere, of Ostend; and 3rdly (1900) A C S Olivier: Letters to W. E. Gladstone: 1882-1889. f. 3 Baron Carl von Malortie,; German wr... British Library
creatorOf DYKES CAMPBELL LETTERS. Vol. V (ff. 273). Letters, etc., to Campbell, with a few to his wife, to F. J. Furnivall, and others; 1859-1894, n.d. A letter of George Bernard Shaw, 5 May 1884 (f. 38), is printed in his Collected Letters, 1874-1897, ed. Dan..., 1859-1894 British Library
creatorOf Papers of Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1813-1904. Clifton Waller Barrett Library
creatorOf Bennoch, Francis, 1812-1890. Correspondence, 1838-1886. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Newman, Francis William, 1805-1897. Francis William Newman collection, 1847-1885. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Ollier, Edmund, 1827-1886. Letter to Alexander Ireland. London, Eng. 1882 June 11. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Correspondence of Leigh Hunt; 1807-1859. Paper; ff. 411.Charles Ollier, publisher: Letters to Leigh Hunt: 1815-1858, n.d.includes:f. 1 Charles Sneyd Edgeworth: Letter to Leigh Hunt: 1842. ff. 3-356 passim John Forster, biographer: Letters to Leigh H..., 1807-1859 British Library
creatorOf Hunt, Leigh, 1784-1859. Leigh Hunt manuscript material : 327 items, 1801-1859 New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Avebury, John Lubbock, 1st Baron, 1834-1913. Avebury Papers. A. General Correspondence, 1855-1911. Vol. XIII (ff. 191). 1887. British Library
creatorOf Ireland, Alexander, 1810-1894. Autograph letter signed : Inglewood, Bowdon, Cheshire, to N.H. Wales, 1886 Dec. 12. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Fuller, Margaret, 1810-1850. Letter to Alexander [?] Ireland : Adelphi : ALS, 1846 Aug. 17. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Ireland, Alexander, 1810-1894. Alexander Ireland letter : Manchester, England, to W.H. Dixon : ALS, 1868 Feb. 27. California Digital Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCCXXXIII (ff. 298). Jan.-July 1894.includes:f. 1 Walter Severn, d 1904 artist; son of Joseph Severn: Letters to W. E. Gladstone: 1877-1894. f. 3 Tobias Kirby, Rector of the Irish College, Rome: Letters to W. E. Gladstone: 1869-1894. f. 5 Schom... British Library
creatorOf Riddell, Charlotte Cowan, 1832-1906. Letters, 1873-1900, of Riddell and three other Victorian British women authors [manuscript]. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Macready, William Charles, 1793-1873,. Autograph letters signed from William Charles Macready to various recipients [manuscript], 1817-1866. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Eleanor M. Tilton Papers, 1770-1991 Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn A. AUTOGRAPH POEMS, etc., of James Henry Leigh Hunt, viz. :-1. " A Calendar of Observers, or Specimens of the greater or less enjoyment which people derive from the world they live in, according to the number and healthiness of their perceptions in p..., 1818-1867 British Library
referencedIn Books from the library of Amos Bronson Alcott, 1579-1893. Houghton Library
referencedIn Emerson family correspondence, ca. 1725-1900. Houghton Library
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company contracts, 1831-1979 (inclusive) 1880-1940 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Vol. V (ff. 286). 1874-1878.Alexander Smith, of Glasgow: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1869-1880.Robert Dodsley, bookseller, of London: Letters rel. to W. C. Hazlitt's edition of his Old Plays: 1874.Henry Huth, bibliophile: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1867..., 1874-1878 British Library
creatorOf Carr, Frank, 1834-1894. Letter to Alexander Ireland. [s.l.]. 1891 Mar. 3. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn James Russell Lowell additional papers, 1802-1898. Houghton Library
creatorOf Ruskin, John, 1819-1900. Autograph letter signed : Brantwood, Coniston, to Alexander Ireland, 1886 May 26. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn John F. Glaser collection of historical autograph letters and manuscripts, 1739-1933. Houghton Library
creatorOf Ruskin, John, 1819-1900. Autograph letter signed : Brantwood, Coniston, to Alexander Ireland, [18]83 Feb. 9. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Avebury, John Lubbock, 1st Baron, 1834-1913. Avebury Papers. A. General Correspondence, 1855-1911. Vol. XII (ff. 153). 1886. British Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCXCII (ff. 340). Oct.-Nov. 1882.includes:ff. 1, 24, 43 William Bright, DD; Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Oxford University: Letters to W. E. Gladstone: 1858-1882.f. 4 Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet; RA: Letters to W. E. Glad... British Library
referencedIn Boswell's Life of Johnson : including Boswell's Journal of a tour to the Hebrides and Johnson's Diary of a journey into North Wales, edited by George Birkbeck Hill, extra-illustrated, 1464-1897 (inclusive), 1724-1874 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCCVIII (ff. 295). Nov.-Dec. 1885.includes:f. 1 Poetry ENGLISH: Lord Tennyson, "Vastness": 1885.: Printed, with autogr. notes.f. 1 Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson; Poet Laureate: Vastness: 1885.: Printed, with autogr. notes.f. 1 Alfr... British Library
creatorOf Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870. Autograph letter signed : [London], to Alexander Ireland, 1868 May 30. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Vol. XI (ff. 161). 1885.includes:f. 1 Hermann Heinrich Ploss, German anthropologist: Letter to Sir J. Lubbock: 1885: Germ. ff. 3, 6, 12, 19, 24, 118, 146, 148 Leonard Henry Courtney, 1st Baron Courtney of Penwith: Letters to Lord Avebury,: 1883-1907...., 1885 British Library
referencedIn Tilton, Eleanor M. (Eleanor Marguerite), 1913-. Papers, 1770-1991. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Oliver Wendell Holmes letters from various correspondents, 1820-1894 Houghton Library
referencedIn Vol. VII (ff. 118). 1883,1884.includes:ff. 1, 4, 45 William Carew Hazlitt, bibliographer and man of letters: Correspondence with his father W. Hazlitt, the younger: 1843-1885, n.d. ff. 1, 4, 45 William Hazlitt, the younger, Registrar of the Court of..., 1883-1884 British Library
referencedIn Thomas De Quincey papers, 1794-1904. Houghton Library
referencedIn Vol. IX (ff. 128). 1887-1890.includes:f. 1 George Bullen, FSA; Keeper of Printed Books, British Museum: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1871, 1887. f. 2 H-? Rigg, schoolmaster, of Manchester: Letter to W. C. Hazlitt: 1887. ff. 3, 36 Reverend Samuel Savag..., 1887-1890 British Library
referencedIn Martin, Helena Faucit, 1814-1898,. Autograph letters signed from Helena Faucit Martin to various recipients [manuscript], 1837-1894. Folger Shakespeare Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Walt Whitman to Alexander Ireland, 13 June 1876 Walt Whitman Archive
Relation Name
associatedWith Alcott, A. Bronson (Amos Bronson), 1799-1888 person
associatedWith Bennoch, Francis, 1812-1890. person
associatedWith Bennoch, Margaret, person
correspondedWith Boswell, James, 1740-1795 person
associatedWith Carlyle, Thomas, 1795-1881. person
associatedWith Carr, Frank, 1834-1894. person
associatedWith Cobden, Richard, 1804-1865. person
associatedWith Conway, Ellen Davis Dana, d. 1897. person
associatedWith Conway, Moncure Daniel, 1832-1907, person
associatedWith Day, F. Holland (Fred Holland), 1864-1933, person
associatedWith De Quincey, Thomas, 1785-1859 person
associatedWith Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870. person
associatedWith Emerson (Family : Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882) family
associatedWith Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-1882. person
associatedWith Forster, John, 1812-1876. person
associatedWith Forster, W. E. (William Edward), 1818-1886. person
associatedWith Froude, James Anthony, 1818-1894. person
associatedWith Fuller, Margaret, 1810-1850. person
correspondedWith Glaser, John F., collector. person
associatedWith Glazier, Henry S., person
correspondedWith Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. (James Orchard), 1820-1889, person
associatedWith Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864. person
associatedWith Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894 person
associatedWith Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1841-1935. person
associatedWith Hone, William. person
correspondedWith Horne, R. H. (Richard H.), 1802-1884, person
associatedWith Hotten, John Camden, 1832-1873. person
correspondedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Hunt, Leigh, 1784-1859. person
associatedWith Hunt, Marianne Kent, b. 1787. person
associatedWith Hunt, Thornton Leigh, 1810-1873. person
associatedWith Ireland, Annie Elizabeth Nicholson, d. 1893. person
correspondedWith Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909 person
correspondedWith Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882 person
associatedWith Lowell, James Russell, 1819-1891. person
correspondedWith Macready, William Charles, 1793-1873, person
correspondedWith Martin, Helena Faucit, 1814-1898, person
associatedWith Newman, Francis William, 1805-1897. person
associatedWith Ollier, Edmund, 1827-1886. person
associatedWith Riddell, Charlotte Cowan, 1832-1906. person
associatedWith Ruskin, John, 1819-1900. person
associatedWith Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832. person
associatedWith Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, Baron, 1809-1892. person
associatedWith Tilton, Eleanor M. (Eleanor Marguerite), 1913- person
associatedWith Wales, N. H., person
correspondedWith Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Edinburgh SCT GB
Manchester ENG GB
Subject
Book collectors--Correspondence
Journalists--Correspondence
Occupation
Writer
Journalist
Biographers
Activity

Person

Birth 1810-05-09

Death 1894

Male

Scots

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w69t2ggq

Ark ID: w69t2ggq

SNAC ID: 85550504