Kelly, George (DNB00)

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KELLY, GEORGE (fl. 1722–1747), Jacobite conspirator, born in 1688 in Connaught, was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, graduated B.A. in 1706, and took deacon's orders. About 1718, after preaching at Dublin a sermon in favour of the Pretender, he was threatened with a prosecution and retired to Paris, where he became a successful adventurer in Law's Mississippi scheme. He went by the alias of James Johnson, and Atterbury employed him as an amanuensis in his correspondence with the Pretender. He subsequently came to London, and was arrested at his lodgings there in Little Ryder Street (21 May 1722), on suspicion of treasonable practices against the government. He contrived to burn his papers, and as it was feared by his friends that his conviction would compromise Atterbury, every effort was made to defeat the prosecution. On 3 May 1723, upon the third reading of the bill of pains and penalties against Kelly in the House of Lords, a rider allowing him to depart his majesty's dominions on giving security not to return again without license. This was rejected by 83 votes to 38. The third reading was then passed by 79 votes to 41. Kelly's speech in his defence was printed, and went through four editions. He was ordered to be imprisoned in the Tower during the king's pleasure. There he became a great favourite, and was allowed much freedom. He thus managed to escape on 26 Oct. 1736.

In 1724 Kelly printed by subscription a translation of Castelnau's ‘Memoirs of the English Affairs during the Reigns of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth,’ 1724, fol.. He also translated from the French of J. Morabin ‘The History of Cicero's Banishment,’ 8vo, London, 1725; 2nd edit. 1742. It was also issued in 1736 as ‘An Inquiry into the Life and Writings of Cicero,’ in order to draw a parallel between the case of Atterbury and that of Cicero. In 1729 Kelly issued proposals for printing by subscription a translation, by himself and two friends, of Cicero's ‘Letters to Atticus’ in two quarto volumes.

[Life published by Curll; Dublin Graduates, 1869; Cobbett and Howell's State Trials, xvi. 323; Lords' Protests (Rogers); Parl. Hist. viii. 245, 268.]

G. G.