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The status of the Dublin Weekly Journal, however, deserves more than a passing notice. It was edited, printed and sold by a small band of Ulster-Scots, whose avowed aim was to raise the morale of the kingdom. It was the only Irish journal of its day containing original articles. Its chief Editor, James Arbuckle, a young lame Student, a native of Belfast or "Scoto-Hibernius" as he is called in the Register of Glasgow University where he had just graduated M.D. (1724), is said to have- built up a respectable practice in Dublin, and enjoyed the friendship of Swift, by whom, being lame and sprightly, he was nicknamed "Wit upon Crutches." In July, 1734, he was appointed Clerk of the Quit Rent Office in Dublin, and retained that position until he died on 17th January, 1741-42, aged 41. Associated with Arbuckle, as one of the principal writers of articles for this paper, was Francis Hutcheson, the famous philosopher, who had just come from Glasgow University to set up a school in Dublin, which, however, he relinquished in january, 1729-30, upon being appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy in his Alma Mater. Among other contributors to the newspaper were: Dean Swift; Rev. Samuel Boyse, the well known Presbyterian Divine; and the Poets, James Sterling and Rev. Thomas Parnell, afterwards Archdeacon of Clogher. The paper was printed by James Carson, so well-known in Dublin as the "facetious Jemmy Carson." It was sold by William Smith and his nephew John Smith, two other Belfast men of Scottish extraction, who had just set up as booksellers on the Blind-Key, Dublin; but the uncle having dropped out of the partnership was succeeded by William Bruce, a member of another Ulster-Scot family well known for their literary ability.
We give these particulars, because the Dublin Weekly Journal has a particular interest for the Irish Craft as being the first newspaper to publish an account of our Grand Lodge in 1725. Further, it seems probable from a passage in one of Arbuckle’s essays, published 26th February, 1725-26, that he was himself a Member of the Order; and if we accept this hypothesis, the long account of the proceedings on St. John’s Day in the Summer of 1725, when the Earl of Rosse was elected and installed Grand Master, may almost certainly be ascribed to his pen.

Source: History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, John Heron Lepper and Philip Crossle. vol i. Dublin : Lodge of Research. CC , 1925 542p. p. 42.


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