The following is an exerpt from the History of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland,
1916. While this section may not present a family mystery, it does, however, provide a bit
of color on one of the more illustrious County Clare Cullinan families.
SIR FRANCIS WILLIAM SMITH, KNT.
"Sr. F.W. Smith was born in Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin,
in 1809. He was the son of Joshua Smith, barrister, by his wife, Maria, youngest daughter
of Sir Parker Steele, Bart., of Merrion Square, Dublin. Sir. F.W. Smith's family had bene
settled in Ireland since the Commonwealth. On the 11th April, 1822, he was apprenticed to
Abraham Colles, and he studied in the College School during five years, and was a pupil at
Steevens' Hospital. He graduated in the University as B.A. in 128, and as M.A., and M.B.
in 1831. On the 13th April, 1831, he obtained the Licence, and on the 15th August, 1835,
the Membership of the College.
In 1833, Smith was appointed Lecturer on Medicine in
the School of Medicine, 27 Peter Street. In 1836, he went abroad for some time, and whilst
at Florence made the acquaintance of Lord Mulgrave (afterwards created Marquis of
Normanby), who was sruck with Smith's performances in some amateur theatricals. When Smith
returned to Dublin he settled down to practice, and took the house 25 Baggot Street. Lord
Normanby, who was appointed Viceroy in 1835, made Smith his physician, and soon afterwards
conferred knighthood upon him. In 1839, after the departure of the Marquis from Dublin,
Sir Francis removed to Paris, where he soon attained a good practice amongst the British
residents and visitors. He died ont he 16th December, 1840, from scarlet fever, after an
illness of three day's duration, in the Rue Royale. His wife (née Sophia Hackett) survived
him for many years.
In 1835 Sir Francis published in Dublin a pamphlet on 'A
Peculiar Disease of the Caecum."
Whilst a student in Steevens' Hospital, Smith fought a
duel with Mr. P. Maxwell Cullinan, a fellow-student. About 1828 Mr. Richard Chenevix
visited Dublin for the purpose of giving demonstrations in mesmerism. he visited Steevens'
Hospital for this purpose, and Mr. J.W. Cusack directed Mr. Cullinan, his apprentice, to
select from amongst the pupils some eligible subjects for the demonstrations. This being
done, about eight students--including the late Charles Lever, the novelist, who at the
time was a resident pupil in the hospital--assembled in Mr. Cullinan's room to witness the
performance. Mr. Chevenix requested that the number of spectators should be reduced to
two, in order to maintain that quietness which was an essential element in the success of
his performances. Mr. Cullinan requested the withdrawal of those whose attendance at a
lecture about to be delivered was not necessary, in order that those who were required to
attend it should first have the opportunity of witnessing the performance. Mr. Smith
refused to leave, and an unpleasant altercation having ensued, Mr. Cullinan requested Mr.
Smith to go out into the corridor with him. Mr. Cullinan, under the influence of strong
emotion, became very pale, which being noticed by Mr. Smith, he exclaimed
loudly--"How pale the cowardly fellow is." Mr. Cullinan thereupon struck him
with his open hand upon his face, saying--"That is the only answer I can give your
observation." In a few minutes the hospital porter brought Mr. Cullinan a note from
Mr. Smith, challenging him to a hostile meeting. Charles Lever was successively solicited
by both belligerents to act as a second, but declined. At this time Mr. Cullinan was a
Scholar of T.C.D., and as the statutes of the College provided for the expulsion of
students who fought duels, he was anxious to keep the Board of T.C.D. in ignorance of the
intended rencontre. Meeting Mr. Smith on his way to lecture, he
stopped and requested him not to mention the proposed duel in such a way that the Board
might obtain cognizance of it, whereupon Mr. Smith said that he was a very impertinent
fellow to address him. Next morning at six o'clock the "affair" came off in the
Phoenix Park, Capt. Cruikshank acting as "second" to Mr. Smith, and Capt. Beatty
said that he was not, as his principal had been insulted by Mr. Smith fater that gentleman
had delivered his challenge. Ultimately hostilities terminated on Mr. Smith expressing
regret for having insulted Mr. Cullinan, and apologising for his conduct.
Mr. Cullinan, in due time became M.D., F.R.C.S.I., J.P.
He long resided at Ennis."