John's brother George inherited the estates on the death of George
1 of Moorehall. Previous to this his main interests seem to have
been literary and historical. He mixed with the literary figures
of London and wrote a history of the French Revolution.
He married Louisa Browne - a marriage his nationalist-minded descendants
never quite forgave. Louisa appears to have been the managing
type of woman.
George read, wrote and dreamt his life out in the library in Moorehall
- a library he added to until it was one of the best private collections
in Ireland. All was destroyed in the fire of 1923 including a
manuscript copy of Annála Ríoghachta Éireann or as it is more
popularly known "The Four Masters".
John Moore passed out of life and out of mind, for a century and
a half. His brother George occupies a minor niche in the development
of historical research. The next Moore George Henry is of more
importance by far. George ( and Louisa Browne had three sons.
George Henry, John and Augustus. John was inj ured in a riding
accident and died in 1829 at the age of eighteen.
George Henry ,born in 1810, played about in Moorehall and having
been educated up to the age of nine by various governesses was
sent to Oscott, an English Roman Catholic school near Birmingham
in 1819. Here he remained until 1827. He then went up to Cambridge,
but from letters between himself, his mother and their banker
he seems to have been a keener student of racing form than of
He left Cambridge in 1829. Daniel O'Connell's campaign for Catholic
Emancipation was at its height but he does not appear to have
been moved to any particular stand on the issues involved. Some
time in 1829 or early 1930 he went to London and studied or pretended
to study law, but it appears that the gambling bug had bitten
him badly and he was soon heavily in debt and in addition deeply
involved in a love affair with a married woman. All efforts to
trace who this woman was have failed. It has been surmised that
she was (a) a former Miss Browne, a relation of Lord Kilmaine
or (b) a Miss Bell of Streamstown, Claremorris (Bellfield).
There is a long correspondence between George Henry and his mother,
her letters usually very plaintive and George's always restrained.
In 1833 George started a tour that covered Southern Russia, Turkey,
Syria and Palestine and he left an interesting diary. The original
was burned in 1923 but much of it is contained in "An Irish Gentleman".
On his return in 1837 he seems to have taken very little interest
in anything but hunting and racing. He was joined in these activities
by Augustus who had left Cambridge and a promising career as a
mathematician. Rowan-Hamilton considered Augustus to be the coming
mathematician of his day.
George II died in 1840 and is buried in Kiltoom.
From 1840 to 1845 George Henry and Augustus continued to devote
themselves wholly to racing and hunting. They were not given to
heavy drinking, and chasing women does not appear to have been
one of their pastimes as it was with some of their fellow landlords
of the day.
Then in 1845 Augustus Moore died as a result of a fall from "Mickey
Free" in the Grand National. After this George never rode in a
This tragedy seems also to have directed Georges mind to more
serious things. The potato failure of 1846 coincided with a great
win for George with "Coranna" in the Chester Cup. Between stakes
and bets George won £9,000. He immediately sent home over £1,000
for relief. The correspondences regarding the allocation of this
money alerted George to the real seriousness of the situation
and in August of that year he returned home. He spent over £9,000.00
in direct relief and in providing employment when this was possible.
In addition he and Fr. Conway of Partry set up two relief committees.
By Spring 1847 Trevelyan's measures were to some extent in operation
but they were completely inadequate and whole families were wiped
out. Of Moore's tenants not one died of hunger. He gave complete
rent remission (which continued until 1849) to all tenants of
£5.00 rent or less. 75% to those £5-10.00, 50% £10-20.00. Over
80% of the rents were under £5.00
How badly the relief schemes worked is illustrated by a letter
from Fr. James Browne P.P. of Carnacon describing conditions in
the north end of the parish. None of the other local landlords
appear to have done very much at this period.
Much of the work was hampered by delays in the bureaucracy. As
today, official paper-throwing by indifferent officials caused
much unnecessary hardship, but Moore's part in the work of relief
in Mayo was greater than any other single person's, and in histories
is inexplicably ignored, as indeed are his later activities in
Moore was at this time a confirmed opponent of the Union but the
Repeal Movement of O'Connell had by now become a party of place-hunters
who lived a grubby life of jobbery with whatever party happened
to be in power in Britain. Moore regarded with sympathy the ideals
of Davis, Mitchel and Gavan Duffy but regarded them as inept and
impractical in their political method.
He offered himself as Independent candidate in the 1846 election
but was beaten by Joe Mór McDonnell, the official Repealer, who
had a large amount of patronage.
When Russell called a general election in 1847 Moore went forward
and topped the poll. The second seat was won by Robert Dillon
Browne and Joe Mór was defeated.
In February 1848 he outlined his proposals for independent opposition
in a letter to Archbishop MacHale. When Dillon Browne died in
1859 Isaac Butt was defeated by Ouseley Higgins another placeman
but in the following year the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill provided
a common cause to which Moore, Duffy, Lucas, Sharman, Crawford,
Sadlier and Keogh rallied. By playing the Tories against the Whigs,
the Independent opposition of Ireland - the first "Home Rule"
party - learned the tactic later employed with success by Butt
,Parnell and John Redmond.
In the election that followed the resignation of Russell's Government
all the Irish Brigade (or "Pope's Brass Band" ) were returned.
Moore now had as his aim the formation of a real Home Rule Party
to replace the now moribund Repeal Association. He knew that the
"Brigade" had many doubtful friends of Irish Independence in its
ranks. His first target was Tenants' Rights with the ultimate
aim of Repeal of the Union.