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Theobald Mathew
Birth: Oct. 17, 1790
Death: Dec. 8, 1856

Religious Figure. An Irish Roman Catholic priest, he was known as "The Apostle of Temperance." He was born at Thomastown Castle, near Cashel in County Tipperary, and was educated at St. Canice's Academy in Kilkenny and at Maynooth. In 1808, he joined the convent of Franciscans in Dublin, and was ordained by Archbishop Murray on Easter Sunday 1814. After a year as a priest in Kilkenny, he was transfered to Cork, where he spent twenty-four years before beginning his campaign for temperance. During this long period, he founded a free school for boys and a school for poor girls and, during the cholera epidemic of 1832, took a long lease of the Botanic Gardens as a cemetery for the poor of all denominations. On April 10, 1838, he presided over the first meeting of the Cork Total Abstinence Society and signed the pledge with the words, "Here goes Theobald Mathew in the name of God." In less than six months, 130,000 people in Cork followed his example, and he spent the next few years travelling around Ireland and enrolling converts to temperance. It has been claimed that his disciples numbered nearly half the adult population of Ireland, and duties on Irish spirits fell from 1,434,573 in 1839 to 852,488 five years later. William Makepeace Thackeray met him at this time, and wrote, in his "Sketch Book": "He is almost the only man that I have met with in Ireland who, speaking of public matters, did not talk as a partisan. It was impossible on hearing him to know whether he was Whig or Tory, Catholic or Protestant." In 1843, he visited England; and, within three months, 600,000 had signed the pledge. Shortly after his return to Ireland, the potato blight had destroyed the crop. Father Mathew stopped the building of his own church and gave the funds to charity, spending 600 per month on relief. In 1847, he was nominated by the clergy for the vacant Bishopric of Cork, but this was not ratified by the Vatican. Two years later, he visited America where, during a stay of two and a half years, he encouraged more than 500,000 to sign the pledge. He dined at the White House with Zachary Taylor, and was admitted within the bar of the Senate; an honour which had, previously, been given only to Lafayette. On his return to Ireland in December 1851, Archbishop Cullen told Father Mathew that the Pope was now prepared to make him a Bishop, but he was now in poor health and was allowed to decline the honour. He died at Queenstown and is buried in the centre of the cemetery, beneath a plain cross. On 1October 10, 1864, a bronze statue by John Henry Foley was unveiled in Cork; and, in 1890, a marble statue, by Mary Redmond, was erected in O'Connell Street in Dublin, to commemorate Father Mathew's centenary. (bio by: Iain MacFarlaine) 
Saint Joseph's Cemetery
County Cork, Ireland
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Iain MacFarlaine
Record added: Apr 06, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10730339
Theobald Mathew
Added by: MFPS
Theobald Mathew
Added by: Iain MacFarlaine
Theobald Mathew
Added by: Iain MacFarlaine
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