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Barrington’s The Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation, 1833

What is inside?

The tenor of the publication the Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation may be gained from its subtitle: A Full Account of the Bribery & Corruption by which the Union was carried; The Family Histories of the Members of Voted Away the Irish Parliament; With an Extraordinary Black List of the Title, Places, and Pensions which they Received for their Corrupt Votes. Published in 1833 by James Duffy & Co., Sir Jonah Barrington, KC, LL.D's Rise & Fall of the Irish Nation details the machinations that led to the passing of the Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland. As a participant in the events he records, Barrington is a far from impartial observer, and the time of his publication, as Repeal of the Act of Union was again being muted was perhaps no coincidence. Barrington's Rise & Fall of the Irish Nation minutely details the events of the Irish legislature from the success of Henry Grattan in 1782 until the passing of the Act of Union between Great Britain in Ireland in 1800. As King's Counsel and Judge of the Admiralty, Barrington was well-placed, both as observer and participant, to record the machinations on both sides of the debate and probably provides as much intimate knowledge of the true events of 1799-1800 as some of the main protagonists such as Lord Castlereagh, Baron Nicholas Plunket and Henry Grattan. Perhaps the most interesting portion of Barrington's publication appears in the last handful of pages, despite appearing in his lengthy title. Here he publishes his so-called Red and Black Lists, the author appearing on the former. The Red List accounts for every member of the Irish Parliament that voted against the Act of Union and the Black List, every member that voted for Union. The annotations besides the majority of those that voted for Union are salacious to say the least and Barrington obtusely records the patronage, titles and monies received by many of those that voted for the Union. Republished in full-searchable digital format, covering some 200 pages, this republication is a must for anyone interested in the intimate, albeit rather one-sided, machinations surrounding the passing of the Act of Union. 

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