AbstractsPolitical Science

'In the Moment of Trial' : the Irish Parliament and the 1798 rebellion

by Mette Lindberg

Institution: University of Oslo
Year: 1000
Keywords: VDP::070
Record ID: 1275425
Full text PDF: https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/23281



The Irish Rebellion of 1798 is one of the most dramatic and tragic events in Irish history, and one of several late 18th century revolutions. It was described as a time of destiny, a critical period and a ‘moment of trial’ with the examples of America and France frequently referred to. This thesis describes the development of parliamentary politics and influential factors of the period 1792-1798. Historians and researchers into the 1798 rebellion have tended to define the development of the organisation of the United Irishmen, its French influences, and the military measures implemented by the British government as providing the foundation for the rebellion. I wish to designate a more active role to the Irish Parliament and to discuss how the decisions made in Parliament during this important period were major contributors to the subsequent events. Both internal and external critics accused M.P.s of corruption, claiming that the Lord Lieutenant and the Dublin Castle administration used bribery to secure parliamentary support for their measures. Irish parliamentary politics of the 1790s took the form of an increasingly negative spiral culminating in the 1798 rebellion. One direct consequence of the legislation from the late 1790s was the provision of the legal framework for the military intervention during the years 1796-99, moving from a civil to a military legislation. This has been described by contemporaries as the crucial factor which inspired the political opponents to rebel against the authorities and the political system. I have looked into how the process of transfer of official power from Parliament to the Lord Lieutenant could happen, describing the changing priorities of the House of Commons as manifested through the parliamentary debates and contemporary sources.