(1746–1802), proprietor of the Freeman's Journal, which he transformed from a radical to a government paper. His origins are obscure, and traditional accounts are coloured by the lurid account of trickery and deceit published in 1789 by a rival editor, John Magee of the Dublin Evening Post, against whom Higgins subsequently won a legal action. The label ‘the sham squire’, bestowed by the judge in an earlier prosecution for fraud, was frequently used. A magistrate until he resigned (or was dismissed) shortly after irregularities in the papers on the Magee case came to light, Higgins throughout the 1790s kept the government supplied with a flow of secret intelligence, not always reliable, on the activities of Dublin radicals.
From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: European History.