(c.1761–1826), Catholic activist and radical. Born into a propertied Catholic family in Co. Wexford, Hay studied in France and Germany and was active in the campaign that secured the Catholic Relief Act of 1793. His brother JohnHay, a former officer in the French army, was a rebel commander in the insurrection of 1798. Edward Hay was also tried for treason but acquitted; modern accounts conclude that he was in fact involved in the insurrection. He was later active in Catholic politics and served as secretary to the revived Catholic Committee (later Catholic Board) until dismissed following a dispute in 1819. His History of the Insurrection in the County of Wexford (1803) is now treated with caution, as one of several subsequent accounts that seek to play down the element of active disaffection in 1798, and to exculpate both the United Irish leaders and the Catholic clergy, by emphasizing official repression as the main cause of the outbreak.
From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: European History.