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The Life and Adventures of Captain Freney

The Life and Adventures of Captain Freney

Written by Himself

James Freney was a notorious Irish highwayman of the 18th Century. Known as "Captain" Freney because he was the leader of a gang, who terrorised the roads and robbed the houses of the well-to-do in County Kilkenny and Waterford for five years in the 1740's. His exploits and daring escapes from the lawmen made him a folk hero, but the net was closing in on him in 1749. So he made a deal with the authorities where he would betray all his associates in return for clemency and a subsidy to emigrate. The gang were all hanged, and the clemency was forthcoming, but the subsidy was not. In order to make alittle money, he published his memoirs which were extremely popular in Ireland for many years. They were a standard text for teaching English in the hedge schools; William Thackeray was highly entertained by them during a wet day in Galway. The ballad of Bold Captain Freney-O, featuring his encounter with a tailor whom he disdained to rob, is still popular.


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