Wind that Shakes the Barley - SEEDS of BRITISH RULE in IRELAND

The Library of Congress has materials from the time, in the 18th century (and before), that Ireland was under the thumb of the British (not the Irish) Parliament. We learn more about this treatise from the Library’s curators:

“Longstanding dissatisfaction with British rule in Ireland was the subject of this influential treatise published in 1725 by William Molyneux.  The author argued ‘that Ireland should be bound by acts of Parliament made in England is against reason, and the common rights of mankind,’ and concluded ‘it [is] highly inconvenient for England to assume this authority over the Kingdom of Ireland [and] to do that which may make the Lords and People of Ireland think that they are not well used, and may drive them to discontent.  Molyneux equated the Irish nation largely with the ‘great Body of the present People of Ireland [who] are the Progeny of the English and Britains, that from time to time have come over into this kingdom.’  Yet his natural-rights liberalism and his defense of the right to live under laws to which one had given consent had broader, if unintended, implications in a country where Catholics, a majority of the population, were banned from sitting in Parliament until 1829.” Click on the image for a better view.


Ireland had long been dominated by Britain, but things did not start out that way.

Before the reign of Henry VIII, British people lived in Ireland (they had since the 12th century) but did not control Irish affairs. Life, however, changed dramatically for the Irish when Henry VIII was king (1509-1547). He wanted to rule Ireland.

In order to actualize his objective, Henry VIII sent English Protestants to Ireland. Their mission was to “colonize” an already established, largely Catholic country. Elizabeth I continued her father's efforts with a more audacious plan: establish English plantations throughout Ireland. She achieved even more dramatic results than her father.

Declaring that all newly established plantations belonged to England, Elizabeth forced the Irish people to rent the very land they had once owned. This effort to “colonize” Ireland was very successful, especially in the areas around Dublin and in the province of Ulster.

The town of “Derry” became “Londonderry.” The Irish Parliament, which had so effectively managed the daily affairs of Ireland, became “Irish” in name only. England had taken control of the “Emerald Isle.”

Whenever the Irish were fed up, and attempted to regain their independence, British forces defeated them. These dark centuries became known as the time of “Protestant Ascendancy.”  Wolfe Tone, whose family was Irish Protestant, was born during the time of this “Ascendancy.”

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2006

Updated Last Revision: Jun 28, 2019

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"SEEDS of BRITISH RULE in IRELAND" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 01, 2006. Feb 27, 2020.
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