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Ireland 1800-1845: A Chronology.

Posted October 14th, 2015 at 11:03 AM by Gile na Gile
Updated October 20th, 2015 at 02:00 PM by Gile na Gile


- 6 Feb. Majority vote in favour of Union amidst record-breaking bribes and a 'lavish distribution of favours'. Office of Lord Lieutenant would be bogged down for several years after attempting to honour 'union engagements'. Hardwicke would oft complain of this 'heavy mortgage' which tied his hands in distributing Castle largesse. Fully half of Irish MP's would make no recorded speech in Westminster between 1801 and 1820.
- Summer. Fears of a new French invasion imminent.
- Maria Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent


- Jan 1st. Act of Union becomes law on that day 'and for ever'.
- 3 Feb. Pitt resigns following George III's attack of constitutional scruples. The king would not consent to any removal of the remaining legal disabilities imposed on Catholics contrary to what the PM had been led to believe.
- Feb. Suspension of Habeas Corpus and Act for the Suppression of Rebellion in Ireland still in force. In previous 4 months 63 men convicted, 34 sentenced to death and 21 actually executed under the provisions of the former.
- March. The United Britons, formed from the remnant of English and Irish radical republicans gains strength in Lancashire and Yorkshire.
- May. Cornwallis, a key figure in Pitt's intended Catholic relief plans is withdrawn as Lord Lieutenant and replaced by Phillip York, Earl of Hardwicke.
- June. Govt. secures continuation of Coercion Acts.
- Sir Richard Musgrave's Memoirs of the Different Rebellions in Ireland.
- Aug. Preliminary articles of peace signed between France and Great Britain.


- March. Definitive peace treaty with France. Military presence in Ireland reduced from 60,000 yeomanry, militia and regular troops to a standing army of 20,000.
- June. United Irish prisoners taken from Fort George, Scotland to Hamburg where they were released.
- In an attempt to reign in disaffection, the regium donum, a grant paid to Presbyterian clergy is increased.
- 16 Nov. Bow Street Runners raid the Oakley Arms, Lambeth, arresting thirty, many Irish. Colonel Edward Marcus Despard of Irish extraction, leading militant in the London Corresponding Society and key figure behind attempts to forge alliances between United Irishmen and English radicals is among the captured.


- Feb. Despard and six others hanged for treason.
- Rev. James Gordon's History of the Rebellion in Ireland.
- 24 July. Rebellion of Robert Emmett. 22 men executed in the following weeks and between 2,000 and 3,000 detained.
- Aug. Bank of Ireland moves into the vacated Parliament House on College Green.
- Aug. Lord Pelham resigns as Irish Home Secretary over powers of the Lieutenancy, replaced by Charles Yorke, Hardwicke's brother.
- Aug, Irish Legion created in the French army.
- Dec. Michael Dwyer surrenders on terms after committal of thousands of British troops and the building of several barracks in the Wicklow mountains.


- Pitt back as PM.
- John Foster becomes Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer and First Lord of the Treasury. Acc. to Redesdale (NHI pg.4) he was 'head of the junto who are always endeavouring to govern Ireland in England by degrading the office of the LL and to draw to himself all the power of the country'.


- Henry Grattan elected MP for Malton, Yorkshire, first speech defends the rights of Catholics.
- Pitt allocates Irish patronage without consulting Hardwicke. Clashes ensue.
- Aug. Wolfe Tone's father buried in Naas, Co. Kildare; 'great numbers of the peasantry assembled and lamented the sufferings of the family' (NHI pg.18)
- Oct. Thomas Addis Emmett leaves France for America due to clashes with Arthur O' Connor who was increasingly seen by the French authorities as the sole spokesperson for United Irish exiles.


- Lady Morgan's Wild Irish Girl
- Anti-Union protests by the guilds and Dublin City Commons over economic distress and high war-time taxation which also welcomed some support from Catholic quarters.
- Threshers outbreaks begin in Connaught agitating on tithes, priest's fees, wages and land prices.


- William Parnell's Historical Apology for the Irish Catholics
- First appearance of Walter (Watty) Cox's Irish Magazine and Monthly Asylum for Neglected Biography. "I had often known Cox's magazine to be read to a crowd of villagers on a Sunday evening and the people swallowed down every word and imbibed every principle" CoI clergyman William Shaw Mason. (NHI, pg.19)


- Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies & Corruption, and Intolerance: Two Poems addressed to an Englishman by an Irishman (publ. anony).


- Duke of York forced to resign as Commander-in-Chief of the Irish army after allegations that his mistress had accepted money in exchange for her influence in securing commissions and promotions.


- The Catholic Board created after government sponsored raids on the meetings of the Catholic Committee.


- Edward Wakefield complains that the Presbyterians remain 'republicans in principle' and that their quietness 'is the quietness of expediency alone'. (NHI. pg 21)


- House of Commons agrees 'on principle' to Catholic Emancipation but only with strong securities, an understanding which gives a boost to the arguments of the vetoists led by Richard Lalor Shiel.

- Presbyterians in the Synod of Ulster pass a motion in favour of Catholic Emancipation. Otherwise silent on political issues as energies were usually absorbed debating the theory of the Trinity and the divine nature of Christ. By the 1820's they would become avowedly hostile to the idea.


- Matthew Carey's Vindiciae Hibernicae


- William Conyngham Plunkett's Emancipation Bill brought forward & opposed by Peel. Won in the Commons by six votes but defeated in the Lords after an ultra-Tory speech by the Duke of York, who was expected to succeed George IV. This defeat of a vetoist bill brought power to the O' Connell camp who now organised a campaign of grass-roots Catholic pressure.

- King's 'conciliatory visit' to Ireland. Plunkett made Attorney General in place of the anti-Catholic William Saurin. Marquis of Wellesley, more in hope than in expectation, described by O' Connell as the 'harbinger of Emancipation' appointed the new Lord Lieutenant.

- The (not wholly accurate) census of this year gives a population of 6,801, 827 but the numerical preponderance of Catholics starkly outlined for the first time provides a powerful political tool for the Catholic interest.


- Lord Lieutenant prevents the Orange Order from decorating a statue of William III in College Green; demonstrations and arrests follow but Orange jury leads to acquittals.


- Unlawful Oaths Act targets secret societies including the Orange Order which in the face of parliamentary criticism decides to dissolve and reconstitute itself.

- Pro-Emancipationist Colonel Henry White elected for Dublin County after much Catholic mobilising. Shiel won over to O' Connell's tactics and Catholic Association founded after negotiations with Catholic gentry and middle-class leaders.

- Sept, 1823. Controversy over Catholic burials exploited by O' Connell. Sexton of St. Kevin's churchyard refused to allow the De Profundis performed over a Catholic parishioner. This was a nominal right seldom enforced as all church burial yards lay in Protestant hands.


- Annual Twelfth of July parade cancelled by the Grand Orange Lodge in Dublin.


- 'Penny a month' Catholic Rent introduced with collection aided by local clergy hugely boosts the war chest of the Catholic Association.

- March. A new Emancipation Bill introduced by British radical Francis Burdett & Plunkett with securities or 'wings' (agreed to by O' Connell but opposed by a group led by John Lawless) incl. the disfranchisement of the forty shilling freeholders & the state payment of the Irish Catholic clergy. House of Lords rejected it by 48 votes.

- Catholic Association suppressed along with the Orange Order.


- Landmark defeat of the Tory 'Bloody Beresfords' by the O' Connellite candidate Villiers Stuart in the Waterford seats of the General Election. Catholic Rent now used to compensate Catholic freeholders victimised by Protestant landlords for voting against their interests.


- Jan. Duke of Wellington becomes PM.
- Marquis of Anglesley (nominated before the Duke took office) & perceived to be sympathetic to Catholic claims, replaces Wellesley as Lord Lieutenant.
- Test and Corporation Acts repealed allowing Dissenters to become government officeholders.
- 8 May Burdett moves another Bill in favour of Emancipation.
-12 May small majority of six in favour of Burdett's Bill.
- May, Wellington reshuffles his cabinet to produce an anti-Catholic majority.
- 24 June, O' Connell announces his candidature for the Clare by-election against Wellington's choice of William Vesey Fitzgerald to join the cabinet as President of the Board of Trade, a manoeuvre which required his re-election.
- Sept. 'Honest' Jack Lawless threatens to invade Protestant towns at the head of thirty thousand Catholics.


- Catholic Emancipation Bill passed.


- November. Earl Grey's Whig administration takes office.
- O' Connell makes joint cause with the British Radicals. A Member of Brooke's and the Reform Club he supports abolition of slavery, recodification of the law, universal (?) manhood suffrage, annual parliaments, secret ballot, repeal of the corn laws and abolition of army flogging.


- O' Connell momentarily abandons Repeal in favour of reform agitation.

- Sept. Grant for the Kildare Place Society is transferred to a new body, the Commissioners of National Education.

- Oct. Edward Stanley, Chief Secretary for Ireland announces his intention to create a national system of education free from sectarianism and proselytising.


- Modest ecclesiastical reform bill introduced on foot of fierce countrywide tithe agitation.

- British and Irish Reform Acts passed. Irish Act only gives five extra seats and doesn't restore the vote to the forty shilling freeholders.


- Jan. Reactionary Dublin University Magazine founded to stem the tide of emancipation and democracy. Protestant, Tory and Unionist in outlook. Otway, Lover, Ferguson, Butt, Stanford, the O' Sullivans, Le Fanu, Carleton, Anster, Stanford etc.


- O' Connell's Repeal Bill defeated by 523 votes to 38.


- March. Lichfield House Compact. Combination of Whigs, Radicals and O' Connellites forced Peel to resign ushering in the re-appointment of Melbourne as PM.

- First report of the Irish Poor Law Commission.


- August, George Nicholls, an English Poor Law Commissioner begins his nine month whistle stop tour of Ireland in preparation for a report which would provide the backbone of the Irish Poor Law.


- Tithe Commutation Bill; eliminated the proctor and aggregated tithes with rent payable directly to landlord; tithe arrears of 1834-37 written off while poorer class of tenants rendered exempt.

- Matthew Carey's Letters on Irish Immigrants and Irishmen Generally


- Municipal Reform Act finally passed after six parliamentary sessions of rancorous, bitter debate cleaving in the main on sectarian divides rather than any notion of an overall public good being advanced.

- April, Repeal Association set up by O' Connell in Dublin.

- Charles Lever's Charles O' Malley, the Irish Dragoon, lampoons stereotypical Orange bigotry in the comical figure of Billy Crow.


- General Election, Tories returned. In Ireland, Repealers won only 18 seats, Whigs 47, Tories 40.

- November, O' Connell elected Lord Mayor of Dublin.


- Robert Kane's The Industrial Resources of Ireland. Strongest case yet for economic self-sufficiency. Appropriately lauded by Davis in the pages of the Nation.
- Count Camillo Cavour's Ireland: Its Present and its Future. The maker of Italian Unification, Cavour lauded the Act of Union but diagnosed the agrarian system and the religious and social polarisation as the country's main ills.
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