Troy, John Thomas (DNB00)

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TROY, JOHN THOMAS (1739–1823), Roman catholic archbishop of Dublin, was born at Porterstown, a village near Dublin, on 10 May 1739. At fifteen he left Ireland to study at Rome, where he joined the Dominican order in 1756. He passed several years at Rome, and became rector of St. Clement's in that city. In 1776 Troy was appointed to succeed Dr. De Burgh as bishop of Ossory, and was consecrated at Louvain by the archbishop of Mechlin. From the commencement of his episcopate Troy proved himself the steady friend of the constituted authorities, and in 1779 and 1784 issued circulars to his clergy condemning Whiteboyism, and pronouncing excommunication against those in his diocese who should join the Whiteboy societies—a service for which he received the thanks of the lord lieutenant. In 1784, on the death of Dr. Carpenter, Troy was translated to the archbishopric of Dublin, where he maintained the same attitude towards all unconstitutional and treasonable movements, and was on terms of friendly co-operation throughout his episcopate with the authorities at Dublin Castle. Though his circular, issued on 15 March 1792, disavowing the authority of any ecclesiastical power to absolve subjects from their allegiance, is believed to have influenced the concession in that year of the relaxations embodied in Langrishe's Act, and the extension of the franchise to Roman catholics in 1793, he declined to associate himself with John Keogh (1740–1817) [q. v.] and the catholic reformers in their demands for further relief, reminding his flock that they owed their improved position to a ‘most gracious king and most wise Parliament,’ and holding that further concessions would be won more readily by loyal submission than by agitation. In 1795 he publicly denounced defenderism throughout his archdiocese, and, though he was said to have joined the United Irish organisation, there is no authority for this statement, which is quite inconsistent with his policy. In 1798, in a pastoral read in all the churches, he spoke of the clerical organisers of the rebellion as ‘vile prevaricators and apostates from religion, loyalty, honour, and decorum, degrading their sacred character, and the most criminal and detestable of rebellious and seditious culprits.’ Troy's action at this time appears to have endangered his life; but the influence he had acquired with the government enabled him to moderate the repressive measures taken by the authorities. Believing that catholic emancipation could never be conceded by the Irish parliament, Troy warmly supported the proposal for a union in 1799, and his active assistance greatly smoothed the passage of the act of union in the following year. For his services to government in this connection he received a pension from the government.

Like most of the Roman catholic clergy educated abroad before the French revolution, Troy viewed with great disapprobation and alarm the growth of popular principles, and entered heartily into the policy of educating the priesthood at home, to which the foundation of Maynooth College was due. He likewise promoted a scheme for the endowment of the Roman catholic clergy, and in 1799 concurred in a series of resolutions of the catholic hierarchy calling for a measure of this kind, and recognising the principle of government intervention in the appointment of catholic clergy.

In 1809, in consequence of failing health, Daniel Murray [q. v.] was appointed his coadjutor, with the right of succession to his see, but Troy continued for many years to fill his office. In April 1815 he laid the foundation-stone of the pro-cathedral at Marlborough Street, Dublin, where, on his death on 11 May 1823, he was interred. He died very poor, leaving scarce sufficient to pay for his burial, and Moore notes in his diary the contrast between ‘the two archbishops who died lately—him of Armagh (William Stuart), whose income was 20,000l. a year, and who left 130,000l. behind him; and Troy, the Roman catholic archbishop of Dublin, whose annual income was 800l., and who died not worth a ten penny.’ In the administration of his diocese and in his private life Troy was eminently zealous, pious, and charitable; and although his cordial relations with the government exposed him to many suspicions and accusations, there is no ground for questioning the integrity of his motives and conduct, which were inspired by his views of the interest of his church. He fully shared that distrust of revolutionary tendencies in civil affairs which dominated the ecclesiastical policy of the Vatican throughout his career.

[D'Alton's Lives of the Archbishops of Dublin; Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography; Bishop Doyle by Michael McDonagh; Castlereagh Correspondence; Cornwallis Correspondence; Lecky's Hist. of England in the Eighteenth Century; Froude's English in Ireland; Wyse's Historical Sketch of the Catholic Association, i. 163; Diary and Correspondence of Lord Colchester; Wills's Lives of Illustrious Irishmen.]

C. L. F.