9781856351638 / 1856351637

Grace's Card: Irish Catholic Landlords 1690-1800


Publisher:Irish Amer Book Co, 1998



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About the book:

This is a political history of Irish Catholic landlords from 1690 to 1800. Many had lost part of their estates under Queen Elizabeth, and most lost all under Cromwell. Those who supported James II against William of Orange - and most did so - lost what they had recovered under the Restoration, except for about 800 who were allowed by the Articles of the Treaty of Limerick (1690) to keep their land. The British and Irish governments, and the legal profession, respected Catholic rights in this matter. The 18th-century Penal Laws were a dishonest and dishonourable attempt by the Irish Parliament (entirely Protestant) to renege on the Treaty of Limerick. Parliament's intention was to discourage, without actually banning, Catholicism; and, more importantly, to deny to Catholics all political power, which then depended entirely on land ownership. But the Penal Laws were far less effective than those who framed them intended. They were laxly enforced, and Catholics were able to hold, throughout the 18th century, many large estates. This they did with the connivance of trusty Prostestant friends and relations, and by adroit use of the law for there were ways round most of the Penal Laws if one could find them. How they contrived to do so, how their younger, landless sons fared and how the Penal Laws were eventually repealed is the theme of this book.

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