Wright, Thomas (1760?–1812), army surgeon, medical writer, and United Irishman, was the second son in the family of eight sons and five daughters of Thomas Wright (1728–86) and his wife Eleanor (1736–1809), youngest daughter of Dr Thomas Bell (1683–1768), an army surgeon of Athlone and Dublin. The elder Thomas Wright is described by W. Ball Wright, historian of the Wright family, as a gentleman of Lowan, Co. Kilkenny, and afterwards of Grenan (in the parish of Attenagh), Queen's Co. Trained under his uncle, Sir Thomas Bell, a Dublin physician, the younger Thomas Wright became (by 1787) a licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Entering the army (‘attached to the 60th regiment’, states Cameron) as a surgeon's mate, he served (by his own account) in the American war (1779), being present at Charlestown and Yorktown and (according to Cameron) saving the life of Lord Cornwallis (qv). His health suffering and his regiment being reduced, he returned home to practise as a surgeon in Dublin, first at 112 Francis St., later at 7 Great Ship St. With another future United Irishman, William Lawless (qv), he was appointed by the RCSI as a superintendent of dissections (13 October 1789). Wright had dissecting rooms in Ship St. and later in Longford St. in which he taught a large class.
At the beginning of 1792 he joined the Dublin Society of United Irishmen; he acted as secretary (August–October 1792) and after the arrest of William Jackson (qv) proposed a committee ‘to inspect the character and conduct’ of members of the society and others ‘who profess patriotism’. He gave evidence for the defence in the trial of William Drennan (qv). During the rebellion of 1798 he was elected a United Irish captain (May); he supplied money and materials; he later claimed to have treated over 500 wounded belligerents; during the following months he was one of those attempting to reorganise the United Irish in Dublin; his house was used for an important meeting (15 October); he became, with Robert Emmet (qv), a member of a new executive committee (11 February 1799). On 28 April 1799, on information given by James McGuckin (qv), he was arrested. Released on condition that he inform from time to time, he at once identified Emmet as a conspirator. Undetected by his peers and unable or unwilling to give evidence in open court, he was still informing in 1804.
Later he served as a surgeon in India under the East India Co., in the West Indies and was with British forces at Walcheren. Thomas Wright wrote A concise history of the human muscles (1791), was elected MRIA (28 January 1797) and later wrote History of the Walcheren remittant (1811). He died of yellow fever on 19 October 1812 at Carthagena on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. He and his wife Susan, daughter of Major Arnott Squire of the 61st regiment, had four sons, of whom one, Thomas (1785–1850), was also a surgeon and was a founder of the Dublin Mendicity Institution. The youngest son was George Newenham Wright (qv).