Within the extended Kearney family tree we found an early involvement in politics. Michael Kearney, a kinsman and probably older brother, of Joseph Kearney, entered the Guild of Barber Surgeons and Periwigmakers
in 1717, and was entered as a Capillamentarius (i.e. a hair dresser) in the Freemens Rolls in 1718.
As a Freeman of Dublin City, he had the right to practice his trade and conduct business in Dublin City, and he had a vote in elections for the city council. What follows was taken from the Guild of Barber Surgeons and Periwigmakers Minute Book 1706-57, held in TCD Library Manuscripts Dept. Ms. 1447/8/1.
Michael Kearney was very active within the politics of his trade guild. In 1720 within three years of joining he was elected house warden. In 1724, he was openly critical of the master and warden of his guild, and led a petition against them. Although he was suspended at that time, clearly he had the support of his fellow guild members, and within two years in 1726, Michael Kearney was elected master of the Guild of Barber Surgeons. We actually found the number of votes for each candidate and he won the election hands down: the voting was Michael Kearney 44 votes; Mr. Cauliff 5 votes; Mr. Wetherall 2 votes.
The Guild Minute Books also alerted us to a pamphlet written against Michael Kearney in 1726, shortly after his election. We found a copy of this pamphlet in Early Printed Books, in the Trinity College Library. The 1726 pamphlet Hue and Cry is written in fairly typical 18th Century political invective. It is scurrilous, scabrous and slanderous, great fun to read but to be taken with a large pinch of salt.
Hue And Cry, After M-K, late Master to a Corporation in the City of Dublin.
by the Author of Namby Pamby.
His head is still running
on tricking and cunning
But he mayn’t escape let me tell you
For the Fox has been caught
And pay’d dear at last
For the Geese he had put in his Belly’
Click on the thumbnail to see a copy of this pamphlet.
In the 1750s, when the aristocracy tried to gerrymander ( manipulate) elections to Dublin City Council to put in their own candidates, Michael Kearney was prominent among the Dublin Guildsmen [the business leaders of their day] in opposing them.
Michael Kearney remained prominent in the Guild of Barber Surgeons until
his death in 1762.