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Patriots and politics in Navan, 1753–5

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2016

David A. Fleming*
Affiliation:
Department of History, University of Limerick

Extract

The structure and nature of the electoral system in Hanoverian Ireland remains an under-explored aspect of Irish political history. A number of older works remain influential, partly because they have not been superseded by modern studies. Of these, Edward and Annie Porritt’s The unreformed House of Commons stands out. In a section on the parliamentary representation in Ireland, the Porritts examined the differences between the British and Irish systems, contrasting the more open and generally progressive British system to that of a closed and restricted Irish one, where the Protestant political elite maintained a firm grip on local power and preferment. While now superseded for England, the Porritts’ thesis remained -and to some extent remains - popular among Irish historians.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Irish Historical Studies Publications Ltd 2009

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References

1 Porritt, Edward and Porritt, A. G., The unreformed House of Commons: parliamentary representation before 1832 (2 vols, Cambridge, 1909), ii, 185529.Google Scholar

2 For England, see O’Gorman, Frank, Voters, patrons and parties: the unreformed electorate of Hanoverian England, 1734–1832 (Oxford, 1989)Google Scholar; McCracken, J. L., ‘Irish parliamentary elections, 1727–68’ in I.H.S., v, no. 19 (Mar. 1947), pp 209-30Google Scholar; Whyte, J. H., ‘Landlord influence at elections in Ireland, 1760–1885’ in E.H.R., lxxx (1965), pp 740-60CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Johnston-Liik, E. M. (ed.), History of the Irish parliament, 1692–1800 (6 vols, Belfast, 2002).Google Scholar

3 Kelly, James, ‘The politics of the “Protestant ascendancy”: County Galway, 1650–1832’ in Moran, Gerard (ed.), Galway: history and society (Dublin, 1996), pp 229-70Google Scholar; Milne, Kenneth, ‘The corporation of Waterford in the eighteenth century’ in Nolan, William and Power, T. P. (eds), Waterford: history and society (Dublin, 1996), pp 331-50Google Scholar; Hill, J. R., From patriots to unionists: Dublin civic politics and Irish Protestant patriotism, 1660–1840 (Oxford 1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Beaumont, D. M., ‘The gentry of King’s and Queen’s Counties: Protestant landed society, 1690–1760’ (Ph.D. thesis, T.C.D., 1999)Google Scholar; Fleming, D. A., ‘The government and politics of provincial Ireland, 1691–1761’ (D.Phil, thesis, Oxford Univ., 2006).Google Scholar

4 Malcomson, A. P. W., ‘Election politics in the borough of Antrim, 1750–1800’ in I.H.S., xvii, no. 65 (Mar. 1970), pp 3257Google Scholar; idem, ‘The Newtown act of 1748: revision and reconstruction’ in ibid., xviii, no. 71 (Mar. 1973), pp 313–44; idem, ‘The politics of “natural right”: the Abercorn family and Strabane borough, 1692–1800’ in G. A. Hayes-McCoy (ed), Historical Studies, x (Dublin, 1976), pp 43–90; idem, ‘The parliamentary traffic of this country’ in Bartlett, Thomas and Hayton, D. W. (eds), Penal era and golden age: essays in Irish history, 1690–1800 (Belfast, 1979), pp 137-61Google Scholar; idem, Archbishop Charles Agar: churchmanship and politics in Ireland, 1760–1810 (Dublin, 2002), pp 92–133; idem, Nathaniel Clements: government and the governing élite in Ireland, 1725–75 (Dublin, 2005), pp 320–35.

5 Hayton, D. W., ‘Voters, patrons and parties: parliamentary elections in Ireland, c. 1692–1727’ in Jones, Clyve, Salmon, Philip, and Davis, R. W. (eds), Partisan politics, principles and reform in parliament and the constituencies, 1689–1880: essays in memory of John A. Phillips (Edinburgh, 2005), pp 4370.Google Scholar

6 Barnard, T. C., The abduction of a Limerick heiress: social and political relations in mid-eighteenth-century Ireland (Dublin, 1998)Google Scholar; idem, ‘Considering the inconsiderable: electors, patrons and Irish elections, 1659–1761’ in Parliamentary History, xx (2001), pp 107–27.

7 Lecky, W. E. H., A history of Ireland in the eighteenth century (5 vols, London, 1892), i, 467Google Scholar; Connolly, S. J., Religion, law and power: the making of Protestant Ireland, 1660–1760 (Oxford, 1992), p. 315.Google Scholar

8 This dispute occurred in 1724 when a patent was granted to William Wood, an English manufacturer, to mint copper coin for Ireland, which upset Irish political and mercantile interests. After much popular and parliamentary pressure, the British government withdrew the patent. See McNally, P., Parties, patriots and undertakers: parliamentary politics in early Hanoverian Ireland (Dublin, 1997), pp 12730.Google Scholar

9 Magennis, Eoin, ‘Patriotism, popery and politics: the Armagh by-election of 1753’ in Hughes, A. J. and Nolan, William (eds), Armagh: history and society (Dublin, 2000), pp 485504Google Scholar; Goodall, David, ‘“All the cooking that could be used”: a County Wexford election in 1754’ in The Past, xii (1978), pp 322.Google Scholar

10 Fleming, ‘Government & polities’, pp 307–8.

11 Magennis, Eoin, The Irish political system, 1740–1765: the golden age of the undertakers (Dublin, 2000), p. 69.Google Scholar

12 Harris, Bob, Politics and the nation: Britain in the mid-eighteenth century (Oxford, 2002), pp 192235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

13 Magennis, Irish political system, pp 78–83; O’Donovan, Declan, ‘The Money Bill dispute of 1753’ in Bartlett, & Hayton, (eds), Penal era & golden age, pp 5587Google Scholar; McCracken, J. L., ‘The conflict between the Irish administration and parliament, 1753–6’ in I.H.S., iii, no. 10 (Sept. 1942), pp 15979.Google Scholar

14 Statement of Edmund Sexton Pery to the duke of Bedford, 1757 (H.M.C. 8th rep., p. 176); The King’s business’: letters on the administration of Ireland, 1740–1761, from the papers of Sir Robert Wilmot, ed. Walton, James (New York, 1996), pp xxiiixxviii.Google Scholar

15 ‘Observations on the different interests in the Irish house of Commons’ [1755] (N.L.I., O’Hara papers, mie. p. 1576).

16 Report from commissioners appointed to inquire into the municipal corporations, Ireland, 7, H.C. 1835, xxvii, 227.

17 A letter from a burgess of Monaghan to the parish-clerk of Ardbraccan (Dublin, 1754), p. 13.

18 Universal Advertiser, 15 Dec. 1753, 12 Jan. 1754.

19 Thomas Adderley to Charlemont, 29 Dec. 1753 (H.M.C., Charlemont, i, 188–91).

20 Faulkner’s Dublin Journal, 29 Dec. 1753.

21 Affidavit of Mathew Stewart (Report from the committee of privileges and elections, touching the election for the borough of Navan in the county of Meath … 1755 (Dublin, 1755, henceforth Elections cttee rep.), pp 73-5)Google Scholar; Navan corporation book, 1739–1808 (N.L.I., MS 11,980, pp 66–7 (henceforth corp. bk)).

22 Universal Advertiser, 12 Jan. 1754.

23 Ibid., 19 Jan. 1754.

24 Hill, From patriots to unionists, pp 79–123; Fleming, ‘Government & polities’, pp 213–33.

25 Corp. bk, pp 67–8.

26 Ibid.; affidavit of Mathew Stewart (Elections cttee rep., pp 76–7).

27 Edward Noy to Thomas Taylor, 26 Mar. 1754 (N.L.I., Special List 238).

28 Thomas Nevin to Henry Hatch, 11 Apr. 1754 (N.L.I., ‘Report on private collections’, no. 288, x, 2, 238–9Google Scholar).

29 Corp. bk, p. 72.

30 Faulkner’s Dublin Jn., 4 May 1754 (original emphasis).

31 Universal Advertiser, 4 May, 13 July 1754; corp. bk, p. 76.

32 The Prestons expected Pentland’s support on the basis of the freehold lease that he held from them, but this would not have given him the right to vote in Navan.

33 Universal Advertiser, 13 July 1754 (original emphasis).

34 Ibid., 13 July 1754 (original emphasis).

35 Ibid., 4 June 1754.

36 Barry to Hatch, 13 May 1754 (N.L.I., ‘Rep. priv. coils’, no. 288, x, 2, 240).

37 Elections cttee rep., p. 4.

38 Ibid., pp 34, 68–9.

39 Universal Advertiser, 4 June 1754.

40 Barry to Hatch, 23 June 1754 (N.L.I., ‘Rep. priv. coils’, no. 288, x, 2, 240).Google Scholar

41 Faulkner’s Dublin Jn., 30 Apr., 29 June 1754.

42 Universal Advertiser, 13 July 1754.

43 John Preston to James Haslewood, 1 July 1754 (Elections cttee rep., pp 59–60); Peter Ludlow to Anthony Foster, 11 July 1754 (P.R.O.N.I., Foster-Massereene papers, D/562/1092); Barry to Hatch, 23 June 1754 (N.L.I., ‘Rep. priv. coils’, no. 288, x, 2, 240Google Scholar).

44 Henry Meredyth to Sir Thomas Taylor, 13 July 1754 (N.L.I., Sp. List 238).

45 Abp Stone to Lord George Sackville, 1 Aug. 1754 (H.M.C., Stopford-Sackville, i, 222).

46 Universal Advertiser, 27 July 1754.

47 Ibid., 20 July 1754.

48 John Lyons to Sackville, 27 July 1754 (H.M.C., Stopford-Sackville, i, 219); Waite to Wilmot, 12 Sept. 1754 (P.R.O.N.I., Wilmot papers, T/3019/2406).

49 Elections cttee rep., p. 64; Universal Advertiser, 20 Aug. 1754.

50 Universal Advertiser, 3 Aug. 1754.

51 Ibid., 20 Aug. 1754.

52 Thomas Wilson to John Stratford, 1 Aug. 1754 (P.R.O.N.I., Foster-Massereene papers, T/2519/4/229).

53 Universal Advertiser, 10 Aug. 1754.

54 Faulkner’s Dublin Jn., 31 Aug. 1754.

55 Sackville to Thomas Waite, 3 Sept. 1754 (P.R.O.N.I., Wilmot papers, T/3019/2399).

56 Waite to Sir Robert Wilmot, 10 Sept. 1754 (ibid., T/3019/2402).

57 Elections cttee rep., p. 5.

58 Corp. bk, p. 86.

59 Faulkner’s Dublin Jn., 21 Sept. 1754.

60 Corp. bk, pp 63, 88; Universal Advertiser, 24 Sept. 1754; Faulkner’s Dublin Jn., 21 Sept. 1754.

61 Universal Advertiser, 24 Sept. 1754.

62 Ibid., 17 Sept. 1754.

63 Ibid., 16 Sept. 1755.

64 Ibid., 24 Sept. 1754.

65 Ibid., 28 Sept. 1754.

66 Harris, Politics & the nation, p. 210; Hill, Jacqueline, ‘“Allegories, fictions, and feigned representations”: decoding the money bill dispute, 1752–6’ in Eighteenth-Century Ireland, xxi (2006), pp 6688.Google Scholar

67 A parson’s letter to a parish clerk; with the clerk’s answer (Dublin, [1754]).

68 A letter from a burgess of Monaghan to the parish-clerk of Ardbraccan (Dublin, 1754).

69 Ibid., pp 6–7.

70 Ibid., pp 8–10.

71 Ibid., pp 14–15.

72 Ibid., p. 15.

73 A letter concerning prerogative addressed to C[hristophe]r Nficholsojn, Esq. (Dublin, 1755).

74 Ibid., pp 35–45.

75 Ibid., pp 48, 69.

76 Untitled address to the freemen of Navan (Granard papers at Castle Forbes, Co. Longford, J/4/2). I am grateful to Dr A. P. W. Malcomson for providing a transcript of the address.

77 Universal Advertiser, 12 July 1755.

78 Hill, ‘“Allegories, fictions, & feigned representations”’, p. 87.

79 ‘An account of the proceedings at the election of a portreeve for Navan the 13th day of September 1754, in a letter from a gentleman of the country to his friend in Dublin’ (N.L.I., Sp. List 238); Phillips, J. W., Printing and bookselling in Dublin, 1670–1800 (Dublin, 1998), pp 70, 266–7.Google Scholar

80 ‘A sequel to the proceedings at the election of a portreeve for Navan …’ (N.L.I., Sp. List 238).

81 Malcomson, A. P. W., John Foster: the politics of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy (Oxford, 1978), pp 116-17.Google Scholar

82 The pro-Preston Faulkner’s Dublin Jn., 1 Oct. 1754, gave Nicholson and Meredyth 83 votes.

83 Universal Advertiser, 1, 5 Oct. 1754.

84 Gurrin, B. F., ‘The union of Navan in 1766‘ in Ríocht na Midhe, xiv (2003), pp 144-69Google Scholar; idem, ‘Navan, Co. Meath, in 1766’ in ibid., xv (2004), pp 83–100.

85 21 Geo. II, c. 10 [Ire.] (1747).

86 Corp. bk, p. 100.

87 Universal Advertiser, 5 Oct. 1754.

88 Ibid., 21 Dec. 1754.

89 Magennis, Irish political system, pp 93–109.

90 Elections cttee rep., p. 5.

91 List of the freemen and burgesses of the borough of Navan, Co. Meath, c. 1761 (P.R.O.N.I., D/562/14,640).

92 The others were for the boroughs of Augher and Dungannon (Co. Tyrone), Belturbet (Co. Cavan), Carrick-on-Shannon (Co. Leitrim), Clonmel and Fethard (Co. Tipperary), Downpatrick (Co. Down), Fethard (Co. Wexford), Kildare and Co. Louth.

93 List of the freemen and burgesses of the borough of Navan, Co. Meath, c.1761 (P.R.O.N.I., D/562/14,640).

94 John Preston to William Finlay, 9 Feb. 1755 (Elections cttee rep., pp 67–8).

95 Ibid., p. 6.

96 Commons’jn. Ire., v, 231; Elections cttee rep., pp 5–6.

97 Commons’jn. Ire., v, 308; Abp Ryder to Sir Dudley Ryder, 15 Dec. 1755 (P.R.O.N.I., Harrowby papers, T/3228/1/73).

98 Of the 13 elections held between October and December 1755, four were contested in parliament, of which three members were unseated through the majorities secured by Boyle, Carter and Malone.

99 Universal Advertiser, 16 Dec. 1755 (original emphasis); Abp Ryder to Sir Dudley Ryder, 7 Oct. [1755] (P.R.O.N.I., T/3228/1/71).

100 Universal Advertiser, 16 Dec. 1755

101 Lady Scarbrough to the duke of Newcastle, 23 Sept. 1755 (Devonshire papers, in the possession of the duke of Devonshire and the Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, 420/0).

102 Faulkner’s Dublin Jn., 30 June 1753.

103 Lady Scarbrough to Newcastle, 23 Sept. 1755 (Devonshire papers, 420/0).

104 Belfast Newsletter, 21 Oct. 1755.

105 Anthony Foster to Lord Ludlow, 25 June 1761 (P.R.O.N.I., D/562/1007); Report from commissioners appointed to inquire into the municipal corporations, Ireland, 7, H.C. 1835, xxvii, 232.

106 Corp. bk, pp3, 30, 61,88.

107 List of the freemen and burgesses of the borough of Navan, Co. Meath, c.1761 (P.R.O.N.I., D/562/14,640).

108 Thomas Barry to Henry Hatch, 18 Sept. 1757 (N.L.I., ‘Rep. priv. coils’, no. 288, x, p. 2246).

109 Corp. bk, p. 53.

110 Ibid., p. 91.

111 Thomas Barry to Henry Hatch, 4 Sept. 1756 (N.L.I., ‘Rep. priv. coils’, no. 288, x, p. 2244).Google Scholar

ll2 Corp. bk, pp 109–11, 118, 128.

113 Freeman’s Journal, 21 Oct. 1763, 12 Apr., 7 May 1768; Fugitive pieces of Irish politics, during the administration of Lord Townshend (London, 1772), p. 57; Belfast Newsletter, 19 Nov. 1773.

114 Belfast Newsletter, 22, 29 Aug. 1775.

115 Freeman’s Journal, 2 Apr. 1768.

116 This sort of manipulation was evident in both Ireland and Britain. See Harris, Politics & the nation, pp 192–3; O’Gorman, Voters, patrons & parties, pp 261–2.

117 Eleven writs were issued on the resumption of parliament in September 1755. Two more, for Maryborough, Queen’s Co., and Gowran, Co. Kilkenny, were issued in October.

118 Universal Advertiser, 22 Jan., 30 June, 2, 9, 24 Feb., 10, 17 Aug., 1 Oct. 1754, 25 Jan., 22 Apr., 4, 28, Oct., 4 Nov. 1755; Goodall, ‘“All the cooking that could be used”’, pp 3–22.

119 Magennis, ‘Patriotism, popery & polities’, pp 493–6.

120 Malcomson, Clements, pp 321–2; idem, Agar, pp 97-8.

121 I am grateful to Dr T. C. Barnard, Dr John Logan and Dr A. P. W. Malcomson for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

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