Teeling, Charles Hamilton (1778–1848), United Irishman, linen merchant and journalist, was the second son of Luke Teeling (qv), a linen merchant at Lisburn, Co. Antrim, and his wife Mary (née Taaffe). He was a younger brother of Bartholomew Teeling (qv). It appears that in the mid 1790s he was living at Lisburn, Co. Antrim, engaged with his father in the linen trade. Politically aware like his father and brother, he put effort into reconciling members of the Defenders, a radical catholic secret society, with other Ulster catholics and uniting them with the United Irishmen; he was one of the small number of democrats to bid farewell to Theobald Wolfe Tone (qv) in Belfast (June 1795) and he was one of eight men recommended by Tone to John Aherne (qv) as trustworthy (April 1796). His activities brought his arrest, aged only 17, with several others for high treason (16 September 1796), but he was released on bail the following year without being brought to trial, remaining free during and after the United Irish rebellion (1798). In an attempt to clear his name, he wrote telling the lord lieutenant, Lord Cornwallis (qv) on 4 November 1798, ‘I neither acted nor aided in the late rebellion’ (NLI, MS 17863 (10)). He set up a bleach-green at the Naul, north Co. Dublin (1799), where he had a lease of 60 acres of good land and where, in the wake of the rebellion led by Robert Emmet (qv), he was arrested and held in Kilmainham prison on a charge of ‘treasonable practices’ (11 November–24 December 1803). His arrest was probably due to his past activities and perhaps to the recent activities of his brother George, held briefly in Kilmainham (8–12 November).
More inclined to politics than to trade or farming, Charles Teeling became later a political organiser and journalist. He edited a short-lived monthly, the Ulster Magazine (Belfast, 1830–31), and then started or took over a weekly newspaper, the Northern Herald (Belfast), edited partly by Thomas O'Hagan (qv), the future Baron O'Hagan, which survived somewhat longer (1833–6). His memoirs of the politics of his youth appeared in three parts: History of the Irish rebellion of 1798: a personal narrative (1828), Sequel to Personal narrative of the Irish rebellion of 1798 (1832) and Observations on the History and consequences of the Battle of the Diamond (1838). Though often cited, they are circumspect, imprecise and disappointing on important questions; in Observations he holds that he went to the scene of the battle of the Diamond (September 1795) not as a partisan but to preserve ‘public tranquillity’ (Obs., p. 59). Charles Hamilton Teeling was said to be ‘late of Belfast’ when he died on 14 August 1848.
He married (1802) Margaret Carolan, who belonged to a family at Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, engaged in distilling and involved in catholic politics; they had seven sons and two daughters. The elder daughter, Mary (d. 1868), married (1836) Thomas O'Hagan; the younger daughter, Alicia or Adelaide, married George Waters (b. 1827), a barrister and QC who was MP for Mallow (1870–72). Teeling's eldest son, Bartholomew Teeling (d. 1844), a linen factor who was called to the bar (1835), wrote for R. R. Madden (qv) a memoir of his namesake-uncle. The second son, Charles George Teeling (qv), followed a military career. Charles George's eldest son, Charles McCarthy Teeling, may have been the Charles Teeling (d. c.1913?) who was president of the Young Ireland Society (1884) and known for appearing on a white horse at Fenian-organised public meetings. Charles George's youngest son, Luke Alexander Teeling (1856–1943), was accountant-general of the Dublin supreme court (1896–1921) and married (1898) Margaret Mary Burke, only daughter and heiress of William Joseph Burke (1825–95) of Ower, Co. Galway. Their son was Sir William Burke Teeling (1903–75), Conservative MP for Brighton (1944–69), who had a home at Lucan, Co. Dublin, and seems to have been the source of the invaluable Teeling pedigree in Burke (1958).