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Biographical entry Madden, Richard Robert (1798 - 1886)

MRCS Feb 10th 1829; FRCS Dec 13th 1855; LSA 1829.

22 August 1798
5 February 1886
Colonial official and General surgeon


Born on Aug 22nd, 1798, the youngest son of Edward Madden, silk manufacturer, by his second wife, Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Thaddeus Forde. He was educated privately in Dublin and studied medicine in Paris, Naples, and St George's Hospital, London. In 1823 he made the acquaintance of Lady Blessington and her circle. Between 1824 and 1827 he travelled in the Levant, and in 1828 he returned to England. He obtained the diploma of MRCS in 1829 and began to practise as a surgeon in Curzon Street, Mayfair. He visited Jamaica in 1833 as one of the special magistrates appointed to administer the statute abolishing slavery, but resigned in November, 1834, having become embroiled with the planters. In 1836 he was a superintendent of liberated slaves and judge arbiter in the mixed court of commission at Havana. There he remained until 1840, when he went with Sir Moses Montefiore on a philanthropic mission to Egypt. In 1841 he was employed on the West Coast of Africa to inquire into the administration of the British Settlements, and from 1843-1846 he lived at Lisbon and acted as Special Correspondent to the Morning Chronicle. He was Colonial Secretary of Western Australia in 1847, and did somewhat to protect the rights of the aborigines. He resigned his office in 1850, and became Secretary to the Local Fund Board at Dublin Castle, a post he held until 1880.

He died at his house in Vernon Terrace, Booterstown, on Feb 5th, 1886, and was buried as a devout Roman Catholic in the graveyard at Donnybrook. He married in 1828 Harriet (d 1888), youngest daughter of John Elmslie, of Jamaica, and left his widow, three sons and two daughters.

Madden was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Corresponding Member of the Society of Medical Science and Gremio Academy, Lisbon.

Madden was a prolific writer, best known by The United Irishmen, their Lives and Times, 7 vols., 8vo, 1848-6, and by The Literary Life and Correspondence of the Countess of Blessington, 8vo, London, 1855.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Dict Nat Biog, sub nomine et auct ibi cit].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England