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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

Chapter 2 - John Johnstone and the Possibilities of Irishness, 1783–1820

from Part I - Representations and Resistance

Summary

In a study of some of the more prosperous middle-class Irish migrants to London in the eighteenth century, Craig Bailey has argued that it is important to emphasise ‘the possibilities rather than the limits of Irishness’ and that ‘Irish identity was far too important for most middle-class Irish to jettison’.1 The largest population of middle-class Irishmen outside of Ireland was resident in London in the eighteenth century, but, says Bailey, ‘scholars have mistaken the identity of middle-class migrants by making poverty the touchstone of Irishness, and by presuming that visible Irish characteristics such as language, accent and name necessarily had negative meanings’.2