Historical Context in A Modest Proposal - Owl Eyes
Events from the year in Ireland. Contents. 1 Events; 2 Arts and literature; 3 Births; 4 Deaths; 5 References. Events. February 3 – the foundation stone is . In Swift broke nearly 20 years of silence to develop rapidly into the . that by England had contrived, with the help of Irish venality, to. Shuttling back and forth between Ireland and England with some regularity, The complicated nature of his own relationship with England may have left him published in in response to worsening conditions in Ireland, is perhaps the .
Catholics could not bear arms or exercise their religion publicly. In the early part of the 18th century, these Penal Laws were augmented and quite strictly enforced, as the Protestant elite were unsure of their position and threatened by the continued existence of Irish Catholic regiments in the French army committed to a restoration of the Jacobite dynasty.
Historical Summary - Ireland
From time to time, these fears were exacerbated by the activities of Catholic bandits known as rapparees and by peasant secret societies such as the Whiteboys. However, after the demise of the Jacobite cause in Scotland at Culloden inand the Papacy's recognition of the Hanoverian dynasty inthe threat to the Protestant Ascendancy eased and many Penal Laws were relaxed or lightly enforced.
In addition, some Catholic gentry families got around the Penal Laws by making nominal conversions to Protestantism or by getting one family member to "convert" to hold land for the rest of his family, or to take a large mortgage on it.
From Catholics favoured reform of the existing state in Ireland. Their politics were represented by the " Catholic Committees " — a moderate organisation of Catholic gentry and Clergy in each county which advocated repeal of the Penal Laws and emphasised their loyalty. Reforms on land ownership then started in and — Theobald Wolfe Tone -United Irish leader Tone was captured in the Rebellion of and committed suicide before he could be executed "Grattan's Parliament" and the Volunteers[ edit ] Main article: The Patriots, led by Henry Grattan agitated for a more favourable trading relationship with England, in particular abolition of the Navigation Acts that enforced tariffs on Irish goods in English markets, but allowed no tariffs for English goods in Ireland.
From early in the century, Irish parliamentarians also campaigned for legislative independence for the Parliament of Irelandespecially the repeal of Poynings' Law that allowed the English Parliament to legislate for Ireland.
Many of their demands were met inwhen Free Trade was granted between Ireland and England and Poynings' Law was amended. Instrumental in achieving reform was the Irish Volunteers movement, founded in Belfast in This militia, up tostrong, was formed to defend Ireland from foreign invasion during the American Revolutionary Warbut was outside of government control and staged armed demonstrations in favour of Grattan's reforming agenda.
For the "Patriots", as Grattan's followers were known, the " Constitution of " was the start of a process that would end sectarian discrimination and usher in an era of prosperity and Irish self-government. Conservative loyalists such as John FosterJohn Fitzgibbon and John Beresfordremained opposed to further concessions to Catholics and, led by the 'Junta', argued that the "Protestant Interest" could only be secured by maintaining the connection with Britain.
Partly as a result of the trade laws being liberalised, Ireland went through an economic boom in the s. Dublin's granite-lined quays were built and it boasted that it was the 'second city of the empire'. Corn laws were introduced in to give a bounty on flour shipped to Dublin; this promoted the spread of mills and tillage.
Cornwallis in Ireland Further reforms for Catholics continued towhen they could again vote, sit on grand juries and buy freehold land. However they could neither enter parliament nor become senior state officials. Reform stalled because of the French warbut, as the French republicans were opposed to the Catholic Church, in the government assisted in building St.Ireland- 1729
Patrick's College in Maynooth for Catholic seminarians. Some in Ireland were attracted to the more militant example of the French Revolution of Ina small group of Protestant radicals formed the Society of the United Irishmen in Belfastinitially to campaign for the end to religious discrimination and the widening of the right to vote.
1729 in Ireland
However, the group soon radicalised its aims and sought to overthrow British rule and found a non-sectarian republic. In the words of Theobald Wolfe Toneits goals were to "substitute the common name of Irishman for Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter" and to "break the connection with England, the never failing source of all our political evils".
The United Irishmen spread quickly throughout the country. Republicanism was particularly attractive to the Ulster Presbyterian community, being literate, who were also discriminated against for their religion, and who had strong links with Scots-Irish American emigrants who had fought against Britain in the American Revolution. Many Catholics, particularly the emergent Catholic middle class, were also attracted to the movement, and it claimed overmembers by The United Irishmen were banned after Revolutionary France in declared war on Britain and they developed from a political movement into a military organisation preparing for armed rebellion.
The Volunteer movement was also suppressed. However, these measures did nothing to calm the situation in Ireland and these reforms were bitterly opposed by the "ultra-loyalist" Protestant hardliners such as John Foster. Violence and disorder became widespread. Hardening loyalist attitudes led to the foundation of the Orange Ordera hardline Protestant grouping, in The United Irishmennow dedicated to armed revolution, forged links with the militant Catholic peasant society, the Defenderswho had been raiding farmhouses since These efforts bore fruit when the French launched an expeditionary force of 15, troops which arrived off Bantry Bay in Decemberbut failed to land due to a combination of indecisiveness, poor seamanship, and storms off the Bantry coast.
Battle of Vinegar Hill 21 June -"Charge of the 5th Dragoon Guards on the insurgents — a recreant yeoman having deserted to them in uniform is being cut down" — William Sadler — Thereafter, the government began a campaign of repression targeted against the United Irishmen, including executions, routine use of torture, transportation to penal colonies and house burnings.
As the repression began to bite, the United Irishmen decided to go ahead with an insurrection without French help. Their activity culminated in the Irish Rebellion of When the central core of the plan, an uprising in Dublin, failed, the rebellion then spread in an apparently random fashion firstly around Dublinthen briefly in Kildare, Meath, Carlow and Wicklow.
County Wexford in the southeast then saw the most sustained fighting of the rebellion, to be briefly joined by rebels who took to the field in Antrim and Down in the north.
The rebellion lasted just three months before it was suppressed, but claimed an estimated 30, lives. Being the largest outburst of violence in modern Ireland, looms heavily in collective memory and was commemorated extensively in its centennial and bicentennial anniversaries. The Republican ideal of a non-sectarian society was greatly damaged by sectarian atrocities committed by both sides during the rebellion.
The British response was swift and harsh: Largely in response to the rebellion, Irish self-government was abolished altogether from 1 January by the provisions of the Acts of Union The Catholic Bishops, who had condemned the rebellion, supported the Union as a step on the road to further Catholic Emancipation. Culture[ edit ] Jonathan Swift Some historians argue that there were two cultures existing side by side in 18th century Ireland, which had little contact with each other.
In this period, there continued to be a vibrant Irish language literature, exemplified by the Aisling genre of Irish poetry. These were dream poems, typically featuring a woman representing Ireland who pleaded with the young men of Ireland to save her from slavery and oppression. He once remarked, "We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
- History of Ireland (1691–1800)
In any case we shall have to limit ourselves here to sketching only a few facts in order hopefully to at least suggest the tangle of frustrations which nearly strangled that country. Some twelve years before, the Protestants had found--at what great cost we shall see--legal means to deprive Catholics of any right to serve in Parliament or administration.
The hierarchy of the Roman Church was banished, along with all priests who would not swear that they no longer recognized the claims of the Catholic Stuarts to the two thrones.
Catholics were excluded from practicing law and forbidden to purchase land or even to hold a valuable lease. In there were denied the right to vote. However, the suppression of Catholics was practically the only issue capable of pulling together the Protestant Dissenters, most of whom had come from Scotland a century earlier to make Ulster a center of zealous Presbyterianism, and the Church of Ireland, the Irish arm of the English Establishment Church.
Economic and doctrinal motives, along with a Tory English administration, enabled the establishmentarians in to exclude dissenters from civil and military position, though not from Parliament. Indeed this act is of special interest for the light it throws on the priorities of the dissenters themselves: It was not repealed until Finally the dissenters as well as the Catholics were required by law to furnish financial support to the "episcopal curate" see n.
So far then, it might seem that the country belonged to the so-called "Anglo-Irish," people of English descent who lived in Ireland and for the most part supported the Established Church--Swift himself was an example. But this group found itself continually at odds with the government administration in Dublin, the posts of which were largely filled with English appointees of whatever political party happened to be in power, hence in debt to certain supporters, whom it repaid with offices in which irresponsibility and incompetence would not be politically costly but which offered opportunities for accepting comfortable bribes.
But snobbery and corruption were not the most forceful goads to Irish resentment of the English presence and policy. Ever since the reign of Henry VII "Poyning's Law" had ordained that the Irish Parliament could be convened only by decree of the English King through his lord lieutenant and could pass no law without the approval of the Kind and his Privy Council, to whom it send "Heads of Bills" for deletion, addition or outright rejection with full discretion.
If a bill were returned, the Irish Parliament was empowered only to accept it with whatever changes the Privy Council had worked on it or to reject it in full.
Nor is this all. Irish Protestant properly had been threatened by the Catholic uprising in the wake of England's "Glorious Revolution" of see n. Many of them--including the young Swift, who was then on the verge of taking his MA at Trinity College--crossed over to England in When they returned after the defeat of the Pretender's forces at Limerick inthey refused to cooperate with the clemency of William III's treaty with the rebels. Instead they pressed for revenge against the Catholics, whose revolutionary Parliament had in provided for a sweeping redistribution of land.
English permission for legislation to disable the Catholics was dearly bought, however: And it even allowed the English Parliament to impose that oath denying the doctrine of transubstantiation as a prerequisite for membership in the Irish Parliament.