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The following pages contain the results of an attempt to collect and arrange the materials for an account of Handel's visit to Ireland. Excepting the researches of Dr. Burney, the results of which are given in the fourth volume of his History of Music, I am not aware that any other inquiry into evidence existing in Ireland on the subject, was ever instituted. Dr. Burney never could have seen the pages of Faulkner's Journal, which he cites as authority for his inaccurate account of the musical transactions of Handel in Dublin. His expression is, not that he had consulted them himself, but " Faulkner's Journal for 1741 and 1742 have been consulted," &c. So industrious and faithful a chronicler, had he consulted these records himself, would have avoided the errors into which he was led, on the information of some other person. It will be seen, however, that on one important point, namely, the first performance of the Messiah, the additional evidence here adduced, confirms the conclusion at which Dr. Burney arrived.
I was first led into these inquiries, by the circumstance of my friend, George Finlayson, Esq., Barrister-at-law, having in the year 1849) invited my attention to the advertisements of Handel's performances in Faulkner's Journal, which I had never seen before, and which he had examined already, in order to obtain evidence on the long-debated question of where the Messiah was first performed. Mr. Finlayson's previous investigations had detected, in the columns of Faulkner, the statement, that Handel had composed the oratorio of the Messiah for a charity in Dublin. On Mr. Finlayson pointing out to me, at Marsh's library, the paragraph containing this statement, I was surprised that so interesting a fact should have lain concealed in the pages of Faulkner, for more than a century, unknown to the biographers of Handel, and not elicited even by the inquiries of Dr. Burney. The interest I felt in anything relating to Handel, induced me to prosecute the train of inquiry suggested by Mr. Finlayson's discovery; and the result of my labours is here offered to the public.
The Dublin newspapers of the last century, from which I have derived material information, are be
come very scarce. The only copy which I have seen, of the volume of Faulkner's Journal for the years 1741 and 1742, is the one already alluded to, preserved, with other volumes of Faulkner, in Archbishop Marsh's library, adjoining St. Patrick's Cathedral. The set of Faulkner, in the library of Trinity College, wants this volume. For an opportunity of consulting an imperfect volume of the Dublin News-Letter of that date, I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Bussell, of Westmorlandstreet. The other old Dublin journals from which I have quoted, are in the library of Trinity College.
The extracts from the books of Mercer's Hospital appear for the first time in print, drawn from the seclusion in which they had lain for upwards of a century.
The notices, compiled from the pages of Sir John Hawkins, Dr. Burney, Dr. Busby, Mr. Hogarth, and other eminent writers, concerning the life of Handel before and after his residence in Ireland, could not be omitted in a work which professes to give an account, not merely of the transactions of Handel during his visit to Ireland, but of the circumstances which led to that event, and of its consequences. They were necessary also, in order to give some idea of the character of Handel,
without which, to some minds, the mere narrative would be comparatively uninteresting.
It is my pleasing task to acknowledge the valuable assistance with which I have been favoured. I am indebted to the Right Hon. the Earl Howe, for his lordship's very obliging response to my request, that he would favour me with copies of Handel's letters to his lordship's ancestor, Mr. Jennens, relating to his visit to Ireland, from the originals in his lordship's possession—for his permission to insert them in this work, and for his kind and unsolicited communication of the remarkable extract from a letter of Mr. Jennens, which appears in these pages; to the Hon. and Very Rev. the Dean of St. Patrick's and of Christ Church, for his permission to search the books of both cathedrals ; to the Rev. Richard Barton, Precentor of Christ Church, and to S. P. Lea, Esq., Registrar to the Dean and Chapter of St. Patrick's, for their attention to my inquiries ; to Dr. Osborne, for his permission to consult the records of Mercer's Hospital ; to Dr. Corrigan, for allowing me to search the books of the Infirmary in Jervis-street; to Edward F. Rimbault, Esq., L.L.D., for valuable assistance, and for his attention to my inquiries; to W. C. Quin, Esq., for allowing me to insert in this publication, from the