Online Encyclopedia

SIR THOMAS WYSE (1791—1862)

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 879 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIR THOMAS WYSE (1791—1862), Irish politician, belonged to a family claiming descent from a Devon man, 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. From the Reformation the family had been consistently attached to the Roman Catholic Church. Thomas 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 Laetitia (d. 1872), daughter of Lucien Buonaparte, and after residing for a time at Viterbo he returned to Ireland in 1825, having by this time inherited the family estates. He now devoted his great oratorical and other talents to forwarding the cause of Roman 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. In 183o, after the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Act, he was returned to parliament for county Tipperary, and he attached himself to the Liberal 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 Mr E. G. Stanley, afterwards 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. 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 M.P. for the city of Waterford arid 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. 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 K.C.B., and he died at Athens on the 16th of April 1862. \Vyse wrote Historical Sketch of the late Catholic Association of Ireland (1829); An Excursion in the Peloponnesus (1858, new ed. 1865); and Impressions of Greece (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.
End of Article: SIR THOMAS WYSE (1791—1862)
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