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Daniel Owen Madden, The Speeches of the Right Hon. Henry Grattan, 1854

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Published in Dublin in 1854 by James Duffy, printer and publisher of the works the emanated from the Young Irelanders, this second edition of Daniel Owen Madden's collection of the The Speeches of the Right Honourable Henry Grattan include Grattan's 'letter on the Union' in addition to a useful 'Memoir of Henry Grattan'. Republished here and containing some 470 pages, the speeches of Henry Grattan have entered into the pantheon of Irish history standing for freedom and the right to self rule and many have been quoted and even plagiarised by Irish nationalists, not least the Young Ireland Movement of the 1840s, of who Daniel Owen Madden was associated. Henry Grattan was born on Dublin in 1746 to eminent parents: his father James was Chief Recorder for Dublin and the father of his mother Mary Marlay was Chief Justice of Ireland. Grattan was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, a distinguished scholar he was in 1772 called to the Irish Bar. Grattan never seriously practised law, but was rather drawn into politics and entered Parliament under the sponsorship of Lord Charlemont in 1775, quickly becoming leader of the national party in the Irish parliament. As leader of the national party and later the Patriot Movement the Irish House of Commons was, in 1782, granted its legislative freedom from Britain to which Grattan said: "I watched over her with a paternal solicitude; I have traced her progress from injuries to arms, and from arms to liberty. Spirit of Swift, spirit of Molyneux, your genius has prevailed! Ireland is now a nation!" The British House of Commons confirmed Ireland's political independence in 1783 with the following infamous words: "Be it enacted that the right claimed by the people of Ireland to be bound only by laws enacted by his Majesty and the Parliament of that kingdom, in all cases whatever shall be, and is hereby declared to be established and ascertained for ever, and shall at no time be questioned or questionable." The decade and a half that followed has become known as 'Grattan's Parliament', where Grattan sought to pass mild legislative reform through the Irish Parliament, but was stymied at every turn by the Irish executive that were still appointed from England. The outbreak of the French Revolution and the refusal of the British Government to contemplate Catholic Emancipation meant that by 1797 sections of Ireland were being driven towards revolution themselves and even Grattan's mild proposals were rejected out of hand by Britain forcing Grattan to retire from parliament and attack the government in his some would say treasonable Letter to the citizens of Dublin. There followed the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland and the inevitable Act of Union with Britain. Grattan remained out of politics until 1805, but sat as an MP for Malton from then until his death in 1820. The Speeches of the Right Honourable Henry Grattan include some of the most famous oratory from probably the greatest Irish political orator, the majority of which concern Irish freedoms: religious, political and economic and it is for these reasons that despite Grattan's belief that only an Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, be it Catholic or Protestant, had a right to govern Ireland he and his speeches have been viewed as the prelude to Irish independence. 

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