Isaac Butt (1813-79)


Life
b. 6 Sept., Glenfin, Stranorlar, Co. Donegal; ed. Royal School, Raphoe, and TCD; English and Irish bar; trans. Georgics of Virgil (1833) and Fasti of Ovid (1834); co-fnd. Dublin University Magazine, Jan. 1833, calling for ‘a repeal of the literary union’; acted as third editor of the DUM, 1834-38 - and hosted, in association with the Sullivan brothers, a climate of anti-Catholic vitriol; contrib. stories such as “The Bribed Scholar” to Dublni University Magazine, 1834-37, later collected as Chapters of College Romance (1863), and dealing with ‘the romance of truth’; accused Robert Peel of ‘lack of purpose’ in 1835, and responded to the latter’s cancelled subscription with warning that only the Dublin University Magazine could reconcile Irish Tories to his policy;
 
ed. “Gallery of Illustrious Irishmen” from Jan. 1836; succceeded Longfield as Whately Prof. Political Economy, 1836-41, inaugurated with Introductory Lecture delivered before the University of Dublin (Dublin 1837), extending concept of wealth to immaterial goods; called to Irish bar, 1838; delivered Protection to Home Industry (1840; pub. 1846), greeted by John Mitchel as a repeal essay; published a novel, Irish Life in the Castle, the Courts and the Country (1840), centred on the Davis-like character of O’Donnell; fnd. The Protestant Guardian, Dublin;
 
his political views were altered by the Famine; much affected by Carleton's story “La Dhu” (The Fawn of Springvale [...] and Other Tales, 1841); contrib. A Voice for Ireland: Famine on the Land (April 1847), orig. at 40pp.-length in Dublin University Magazine, calling the absence of a proper poor law the ‘moral crime’ of England and warning that current famine administration would cause anti-British coalition in Ireland (‘a little more treating of Ireland as a conquered country … and he would be a bold man who would promise many years continuance of Union’); defended William Smith O’Brien, 1848;
 
wrote a public letter to Lord Roden, April 1849; deeply influenced by William Carleton’s story, ‘The Black Day’; evolved Federalist solution of the Irish Question; MP for Harwich, 1852; MP for Youghal, 1852-65; Inner Temple and English bar, 1859; reputedly caught in flagrante delicto with Lady Wilde (acc. Yeats); appeared as a barrister against the Wildes in the Travers libel case of Dec. 1864; defended Fenians in the high court, 1865-69; returned to Ireland, 1865; President [chairman] of Amnesty Association, 1869; proposed united Nationalist party in The Nation, Nov. 1869;
 
held founding meeting of Home Government Association at Bilton’s Hotel, attended by with Sir John Barrington, King Harman, Major Knox (Irish Times) and others, 19 May, 1870; elected MP for Limerick, 1871, and served in that capacity up to his death; launched the Home Rule Confederation [var. League], 8 Jan. 1873, being credited with inventing the phrase ‘‘Home Rule’’; leader of a 56-strong parliamentary Home Rule contingent at Westminster, 1874;
 
proposed that the ‘Irish party will […] exhaust all the forms of the house to attain their just and righteous object’ in answer to the Coercion Bill, but professed disapproval of the ‘obstruction’ tactics of Joseph Biggar and others; lost leadership of Home Rule Confederation to Charles Stewart Parnell, 1877; he was criticised at the Home Rule Conference of 1878 for promoting an alliance with the Conservative govt.; subjected to further attacks from the Home Rule League, Feb. 1879;
 
iss. wrote historical tracts and works incl. The History of Italy from the Abdication of Napoleon (2 vols. 1860); Land Tenure in Ireland: A Plea for the Celtic Race (1866); The Power and the Land (1867); and Irish Federalism (1870); d. 5 May 1879; bur. Stranorlar; Butt, though a life-long Protestant, had a devotion to the Blessed Virgin and the rosary. CAB JMC ODNB DIB DIH MKA FDA RAF OCIL

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William Carleton’s dedication to Butt prefix to the 1867 ‘general issue’ of Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry (London: Tegg 1867)

To
Isaac Butt, Esq., LL.D., M.R.I.A.
Barrister at Law.
and one of the Aldermen of the City of Dublin.

If there is anything that takes from the satisfactin I feel in dedicating to you this new and general issue of all my works, it is a regret that they are not more worthy of having such a name as yours prefixed to them, - a name even already singularly distinguished in both literature and eloquence - and which promises to shed a lustre upon your profession and your country, unsurpassed by that which emanated from those great and brilliant spirits whose intellect eminence reflets such glory upon ireland.

With sentiments of the highest esteem and admiration for your genius and principles,

Believe me to be, my dear Butt,
               Most faithfully and sincerely yours,

W. CARLETON.
Dublin.
Ded. Isaac Butt

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Works
Fiction
  • Chapters of College Romance (London: C. J. Skeet 1863) [instalments began in Dublin University Magazine, IV, 23, pp.486-501, Nov. 1834, under pseudonym of ‘Edward Stevens O’Brien’, appearing irregularly until Nov. 1837, Dublin University Magazine, X, 59, pp.499-520];
  • Irish Life: In the Castle, the Courts, and the Country, 3 vols. (London: How & Parsons 1840);
  • The Gap of Barnesmore: A Tale of the Irish Highlands and the Revolution of 1688, 3 vols. (London: Smith, Elder [ &c.] 1848).
Short fiction incls. ‘The Murdered Fellow’, in Dublin University Magazine (March 1835), pp.322-52; ‘The Man in the Cloak’, in Dublin Univ. Magazine, XII (Nov. 1838), pp.552-68.
Political writings
  • A Voice for Ireland: The Famine in the Land; What has been Done and What is to be Done (Dublin: McGlashan 1847), viii, 59pp. [see detailed review of same, in Dublin University Magazine, XIX, 172 (Apr. 1847), pp.501-40];
  • Protection to Home Industry: Some Cases of Its Advantages Considered (Dublin 1846);
  • The Rate in Aid: A Letter to Lord Roden (Dublin 1849);
  • The Irish People and the Irish Land: A Letter to Lord Lifford with Comments on the Publication of Lord Dufferin and Lord Rosse (Dublin: Falconer 1867), 298pp.
Pamphlets
  • Address Delivered before the College Historical Society on the evening of Monday June 24 at the close of the Session by Isaac Butt, Schol., at Trinity College, Pres. of the Society (Dub, printed for the society by J. S. Folds, Bachelor’s Walk 1833), 31pp.
See also Richard Bagwell, A Plea for National Education, in Answer to Mr. Butt’s proposal for its destruction (Dublin: Hodges, Foster & Co. 1875), 35pp. [in answer to “The Problem of Irish Education”].

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See also ‘The Past and Present State of Irish Literature’, in Irish Monthly Magazine, 1, 5 (Sept. 1832), an article attributed to Butt in Margaret Kelleher, ‘Prose Writing and Drama in English; 1830-1890 […]’, Cambridge History of Irish Literature, ed. Kelleher & Philip O’Leary (Cambridge UP 2006), Vol. 1, p.451 [as infra].

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Criticism
  • Terence de Vere White, The Road to Excess: A Biography of Isaac Butt (Dublin: Browne & Nolan 1946) [stand. biog.];
  • David Thornley, Isaac Butt and Home Rule (London 1964);
  • W. J. McCormack, ‘Isaac Butt and the Inner Failure of Protestant Home Rule,’ in Worsted in the Game: Losers in Irish History, ed. Ciaran Brady (Dublin: Lilliput 1989).

See also Brendan Ó Cathaoir, ‘Federalism in Irish History’ [2-pt. ser. on Butt], Part 1, The Irish Times 1 Sept. 1975, p.12); Joseph Spence, ‘“The Great Angelic Sin”: The Faust Legend in Irish Literature, 1820-1900’, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 1, 2 (Autumn 1994), pp.47-58 [espec. p.52]; Joseph Spence, ‘Isaac Butt, Nationality and Irish Toryism, 1833-1852’, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 2, 1 (Summer 1995), pp.45-60.

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Commentary

Samuel Ferguson addressed a sonnet to Butt, adverting to his rejection by the Irish party: ‘Isaac, the generous heart conceives no ill, / From frank repulse. The marriage suit denied / Turns love to hatred only when ’tis Pride, / not true Love, woos … Lovely she stands, though she has said thee nay, / And sad expectance clothes her brow in gloom, / While guardians tyrannous withhold her dower; / Now shows her soul’d magnanimous assay, / And when her day in that High Court shall come, / Plead in your old love’s cause with double power.’ (Poems, ed., A. P. Graves [n.d.; 1916], p.103.)
 
See Also George Sigerson’s elegy on the death of Butt, noticed by Graves in his Introduction (ibid., xxv.)

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Roy Foster, ‘Varieties of Irishness’ [1989], Paddy and Mr. Punch (London: John Lane 1993), questioning supposition that defending the Fenians turned Butt to nationalism, and esp. criticising the supposition in Thornley’s ‘supposedly definitive study’ (1964) that only the subject was a nationalist destined to miss the nationalist boat, well-meaning but stranded by his background: ‘settlement and Irish culture. “Victorian Ireland” could be middleclass, English-speaking and non-separatist in its politics, but no less “Irish” for that. Samuel Ferguson is the figure most often instanced here; but his friend and colleague on the Dublin University Magazine, Isaac Butt, might be taken as another example. Recent research into Butt’s early writings and career 8 has brilliantly queried the idea that defending the Fenians in 1867 somehow converted Butt to his peculiar and (to some of us) sympathetic brand of nationalism. It is, in fact, a presumption that assumes the pure milk of the separatist tradition is the only sustenance that can produce an Irish nationalist worthy of the name. Actually, the preconditions of Butt’s nationalism were set long before, in the “national” preoccupations of the D.U.M. cliques of the 1830s, stimulated by their impatience with the shortcomings and incompetence of the English government, and most of all by the experience of the mismanagement of the Famine (Butt was, after all, also a political economist who swam against the current of the day) . David Thornley’s supposedly definitive study of Butt assumes throughout that he was somehow destined to miss the nationalist boat; however well-meaning, his background left him stranded on the shore. I’d rather see him as someone with a Protestant, even Orange, pedigree who shared in and helped create a sense of Irishness that accepted historic English influence while claiming realistic autonomy, and required no apology for its credentials at all’ Bibl., PhD. thesis by Joseph Spence, ‘The Philosophy of Irish Toryism, 1833-1852’, due for publication by OUP. (The above prev. as Foster, ‘Varieties of Irishness’ [Inaugural lecture], in Maurna Crozier, ed., Cultural Traditions in Northern Ireland [Proceedings of the Cultural Traditions Group Conference, Belfast: IIS 1989, pp.5-24; p.10.) Note that Butt is also cited in Foster, Words Alone: Yeats and His Inheritances (OUP 2011).

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D. George Boyce, Nationalism in Ireland (London 1982; 1991), p.192: ‘Once Butt came to question the nature of the existing union betwen Great Britain and Ireland it was natural and logical for him to postulate that an Irish Parliament, subordinate in certain respects to the British Government, would provide a workable alternative; he sought “the restoration to Ireland oof that right of domestic legislation, without which Ireland can never enjoy real prosperity or peace.’ (p.193 & seq.)

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Tadhg Foley, ‘Praties, Professors, and Political Economy’ (Irish Reporter, Third Quarter 1995), pp.6-7, ‘The only academic economist in Britain or Ireland who opposed orthodoxy was Isaac Butt, a former Whately professor, whose Protection to Home Industry, first delivered as lectures in 1840, was published in 1846; this critique of ‘free trade’ was enthusiastically received by The Nation, was distributed to repeal reading rooms, and was the subject of a eulogistic lecture by Mitchel. (p.7.)

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Joseph Spence, ‘Isaac Butt, Nationality and Irish Toryism, 1833-1852’, in Bullán, 2, 1 (Summer 1995), pp.45-60: (On Irish Life [ … &c.]:) Noting reveals the ambivalence of nationally-minded Tory’s position in Ireland so well as the case of Isaac Butt in 1840: increasingly disillusinoed withthe Union, yet still fearful of throwing off any of the habiliments of Protestant ascendancy; promoting economic nationalism at TCD, while defending the old Corporation as a fortress for the protection of the Union at the bar of the House of Lords. .. Unsprurisingly, the novel, like its author, veered between idealism and pessimism’ (p.53.)

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Margaret Kelleher, ‘Prose Writing and Drama in English; 1830-1890 […]’, in Cambridge History of Irish Literature, ed. Kelleher & Philip O’Leary (Cambridge UP 2006), Vol. 1 [Chap. 11]: Butt is the supposed author of ‘The Past and Present State of Irish Literature’, in Irish Monthly Magazine, 1, 5 (Sept. 1832) - an article in which the case is made that ‘if national literature means the capability of a people to write, and the establishment of a system to publish what is written for the instruction and entertainment of the community [then Ireland’s] very existence as a nation possessing a separate literature of her own, must be denied’ (p.333; here p.451.) [Cont.]

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Margaret Kelleher, ‘Prose Writing and Drama [...] 1830-1890’ (2006) - cont: cites W. J. McCormack as the origin of the ascription of the said article to Butt However, an article of the same name is shortly afterwards quoted and identified by her with the Dublin University Magazine (March 1837, p.371), with additional remarks in a footnote indicating that its attribution to Butt is the work of McCormack, editor of the relevant section of The Field Day Anthology - viz., ‘The Intellectual Revival, 1830-1850’, ed. McCormack, in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Derry/NDU 1991, Vol. 1, pp.1173-1300; p.1200. The possibility of a bibliographical confusion is intensified by the fact that the title of the article is quoted in the body-text on the first occasion and in the notes of Kelleher’s chapter on the second. [Cont.]

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Margaret Kelleher, ‘Prose Writing and Drama [...] 1830-1890’ (2006) - cont: incls. passing remarks on Butt: ‘[…] The coherence and extent of such a tradition may be overstated […] yet the Gothic mode with its distinctive anxieties is a significant form in nineteenth-century Irish writing. Other Irish examples of the genre deserve some attention: the DUM, for example, published between 1834 and 1837 an eight-part series entitled Chapters of College Romance which included various sensationalist plots and Faustian themes. Published as the work of one ‘Edward S. O’Brien’, the stories were identified in 1840 as the work of Isaac Butt, editor of the magazine.’ (p.472; see longer full text version in RICORSO Library > “Critical Classics”, via index or direct.)

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Quotations
Address [to] TCD Hist. (1833): The speech is in praise of oratory: ‘I believe, Gentlemen, that there is very little fear that oratory will ever be employed in the maintenance of tyranny. Oratory implies an appeal to the judgement of the many … oratory implies discussion ..’ [17]. ‘We shall yet send forth a Grattan to represent her [this society] in the senate - a Curran to shed the blaze of eloquence upon her bar - and a Kirwan to redeem her pulpit taste. And I will not - I cannot believe that betters days are not in store for my unhappy, but still loved, my native land. this may not b the place to give utterance to my feelings but I cannot help it. I see good for Ireland. An orator shall yet arise whose voice shall teach her people wisdom, and whose efforts shall procure for him the epithet of the father of his country … when I think [how] through the instrumentality of this society, my country may be blessed, my soul rises to the grandeur of the vision … this ennobling contemplation.’ [End.] (Date: end-papers show that Caesar Edward Otway was elected Vice-President for the ensuing year.)

Thistle & shamrock: ‘The Scotsman cultivates his thistle in his garden; the Irishman wears his shamrock till it withers on his bosom, or he drowns it.’ (The Gap of Barnesmore; quoted in R. F. Foster, Words Alone: Yeats and His Inheritances, 2011; reviewed by Kevin Kiely in Books Ireland (Oct. 2011), p.185.

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The Gap of Barnesmore: A Tale of the Irish Highlands and the Revolution of 1688 (1848) - Preface: ‘Not content with the daring step of laying our scene in Ireland, we have gone to the most remote extremity of the island, as if to remove ourselves as far as possible from the effeminacy of fashionable romance [and may hope] our style and sentiments may be as remote from it as our locality.’ Further: ‘The man who knows the North of Ireland in 1847 knows what it was in 1688 [with respect to the unchanging Protestant character; but, on ‘the other side’] … the wild Irish kern has degenerated into a half civilised boor; the haughty Irish chieftain has settled down into a discontented peasant; and while the characteristics of religious devotion are common enough, the attachment of the Roman Catholic population to the cause of the faith is, perhaps, in Ulster, the only remnant of the chivalry which once belonged to the adherents of James.’ Text: Spenser: ‘You do us English colonists an injustice; we are as warmly attached to Ireland as you.’ Fr. Martin: ‘Enlarge this narrow patriotism into a circle wide enough to embrace all; fling from you your prejudices become of the soil, coalesce with the people, and then see whether you will either be or feel yourselves aliens in your native land.’ […] Fr. Martin: ‘Let Ireland be a nation, embracing all its people; let Protestants and Roman Catholics have the weight in that nation to which there relative positions entitle them; and I will trust the God of Truth for the success of his Church and his religion.’

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College Romance (London 1863), incl. “The Billiard Table”, ‘the billiard tables that infest every city are but, as it were, so many entrances to the hell of infamy’; Edmund Connor; on Historical Society, ‘I had made one or two foolish speeches in the Historical Society of which a favourable account had been carried to the Jephsons [who] immediately set me down as a fellow of College and Lord Chancellor of Ireland’; refers to ‘a fluke’ [idiom]; ‘studying, I have even then formed the habit in which I found amusement - that of studying human nature in every modification of circumstances and character under which I might have the opportunity’. On poor girl attending the dying Thomas Wilson, gambler, ‘her scanty stock of clothing hardly supplied the wants of decency and even with all her care to make the handkerchief meet, its scanty dimensions exposed a bosom of the most delicate whiteness.’ Laetitia marries Sir Henry Disney who abuses her; Edmund becomes a bad tempered lawyer.

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Famine in Ireland: ‘In a country that is called civilised, under the protection of the mightiest monarchy upon earth, and almost within a day’s communication of the capital of the greatest and richest empire in the world, thousands of our fellow-creatures are each day dying of starvation, and the wasted corpses of may left unburied in their miserable hovels, to be devoured by the hungry swine; or to escape this profanation, only to diffuse among the living the malaria of pestilence and death.’ (Dublin University Magazine, XXIX, 172, April 1847, pp.501-540; pp.501-02; quoted in Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, Vol. 1, 1980.)

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The Rate in Aid: A Letter to Lord Roden (April 1849), ‘And after all we feel, that let acts of parliament declare what they will, Antrim and Cork ARE parts of the same nation, Mayo and Kent are NOT [… . A]fter half a century's experience of the Union, we still feel that Ireland is a separate country. Those who have spoken of the English exchequer, and proposed an Irish national rate in aid, have unequivocally proclaimed their conviction that it is so’ (Quoted by Joseph Spence, ‘Isaac Butt, Nationality and Irish Toryism, 1833-1852’, in Bullán, 2, 1, Summer 1995, p.51.)

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Emigration is the hemiplegia that wastes the vigour of Irish manhood today.’ (Cited in Thomas Kettle’s Introduction to [his own trans. of] Paul Du Bois’s Contemporary Ireland (Maunsel, 1911), p.xi.)

 

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Nationality has been his object; and if […] any remarks may appear to bear too severely upon any particular class, body or profession, the Author begs most respectfully to discalim amy feelings of an acrimonious nature’ (Pref., Irish Life in the Castle, the Courts and the Country, 1840, pp.vi-vii; cited in Spence. op. cit., 1995, p.53.)

Occupants of the soil: ‘The present position of the occupancies of the soil of Ireland is at present that of serfs, without any security for their tenure or the fruits of their industry. They are dependent for their very means of existence on the will of their landlord, while the amount of that which is called rent is regulated, not by any economic law, but by the disposition of the landlord to extrot, and their own ability to pay … The only remedy that can be appleid to this lamentable and miserable state of things, is … giving him fixity of tenure […]’ (The Irish Querist, Dublin: Falconer, 1867 [q.p.]; cited in Thomas E. Jordan, ‘The Quality of Life in Victorian Ireland, 1831-1901’, New Hibernian Review/Iris Éireannach Nua, 4, 1 (Spring 2000), p.104.NOTE, Justin McCarthy, History of Our Own Times [1877], ‘it is certain that Butt was not a prudent man … but it is certain that he was politically honest’.

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References
Dictionary of National Biography cites literary works, Ovid’s Fasti, trans. (Curry, 1833); The Georgics of Virgil, trans. (Curry 1834); Irish Life, In the Castle, the Courts, and the Country (London 1840); The Gap of Barnesmore, A Tale of the Irish Highlands and the Revolution of 1688 (London 1848); Berkeley, Afternoon Lectures on English Literature (1848). Edited Dublin PI lists 4 novels, Irish Life in the Castle, The Courts, and the Country (3 vols., London 1840); The Gap of Barnesmore, 3 vols. (London 1848); Chapters of College Romance (London 1863); and, Children of Sorrow, a title described as first fiction in Irish Times obituary but not traced by Brown in BML; the third includes stories published in Dublin University Magazine from 1834 [as supra].

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Justin McCarthy, ed., Irish Literature (Washington: Catholic Univ. of America 1904), gives extracts, ‘On Land Tenure,’ and ‘A Scene in the South of Ireland’ from The Irish People and the Irish Land. IF, as supra.

Patrick Rafroidi, Irish Literature in English, The Romantic Period, Vol. 2 (1980), bio-bibl. as [as supra]. Rafroidi cannot trace Children of Sorrow, cited by Fr. Stephen Brown (Ireland in Fiction, 1919).

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R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland (London: Allen Lane 1988), bio-note, p.305: co-fnd. Dublin University Magazine, the organ of Irish Toryism, in 1833; Prof. Pol. Econ., TCD, 1836-40; defended Protestant Dublin Corporation at bar of House of Lords, 1840; leading opponent of O’Connell in Repeal debates in reformed Corporations, 1843; prose fiction and economic tracts expressed depth of national feeling in 1840s, though remaining an Orange Tory in politics; defended Smith O’Brien and T. F. Meagher, 1848, and Fenians, 1865-68; Tory MP for Youghal, 1852-65; Pres. of Amnesty Assoc., 1869; fnd. Home Government Assoc., 1879; Home Rule MP for Limerick, 1871-79. Great and flawed … a ‘beautiful sinner.’ His death marked the end of constitutional nationalism.

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day Co. 1991), Vol. 1: 1297-98, BIOG: son of Protestant rector, ed. TCD and King’s Inns; bar 1838; initially involved in conservative politics; defended nationalist prisoners, 1848; Harwich MP in 1852; English bar, 1859; defended Fenians after 1860, sought amnesty; founded Home Government association in 1870; d. Dundrum, Dublin, 1879; m. Elizabeth Swanzy [also biog., FDA2 305n]; Isaac Butt’s ‘Past and Present State of Literature in Ireland’, an early effort to define Anglo-Irish literature, printed here completely ‘in order to allow Butt’s conservative-radical analysis to emerge intact, with all its hesitations, regrets and recognitions. [FDA1 1220] FDA, COMM [as supra], Selects Past and Present State of Literature in Ireland (1837), conjecturally identified as his, and appearing in Dublin University Magazine; remarks that The Gap of Barnesmore was printed anonymously. FDA2 selects A Voice for Ireland, The Famine in the Land [161-65]; The Parliamentary Policy of Home Rule (speech to electors of Limerick, 23 Sept. 1875) [223-24]; Land Tenure in Ireland; A Plea for the Celtic Race [224-28; Irish Federalism [228-33; and notes, Butt’s conversion from extreme Unionism to the policy of Irish federalism, and thence to Home Rule [caused by Ireland’s treatment in the Famine], 209; (same view attributed to him as in Lecky’s Leaders of Public Opinion, 214); Michael Davitt, The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland, 1904, Chap. VII, ‘Home Rule and Land Reform, Isaac Butt’ [‘ … the amnesty movement, led by Mr. Butt, for the release of the Fenian prisoners … in the person of Isaac Butt, a compendium of honest compromise … the one-time Irish conservative, now a converted nationalist [thought out and projected] a programme which was to seek a solution of the Anglo-Irish question by the means of a Federal Home Rule Parliament in Dublin … Butt’s programme of the three F’s’ … a joint evolution of Fenianism and Home Rule’], 276; and the like [277]; refs. in Charles Stewart Parnell’s hostile account of Gladstone’s Guildhall speech, in his own speech at Wexford, 9 Oct. 1881 (& bio-political note) [305]; incidental ref. in T. P. O’Connor’s account of events in Committee Room 15, from Memoirs of an Old Parliamentarian (1929) [324]; in Frank Hugh O’Donnell, A History of the Irish Parliamentary Party (1910) [335]; in William O’Brien, The Downfall of Parliamentarianism (1918) [349]; cited by Thomas MacDonagh as Anglo-Irish orator, within his sense of the term, in Literature in Ireland (1916) [990]. Note that Michael Davitt claimed that Butt’s Land Tenure in Ireland; A Plea for the Celtic Race (1866), ‘became textbooks for Land League speakers and writers’ [FDA2 224].

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day Co. 1991), Vol. 3: ‘As early as 1847 Isaac Butt, the first professor of political economy at TCD and a fervent supporter of the Union, pointed out the central political flaw in the British response to the crisis [of the famine]. If the Union meant anything at all, it should be able to provide, for any one stricken part of the United Kingdom, the consolidated support of the whole of that kingdom. Yet Ireland was being treated as though it was a separate political entity … It was this recognition which led Butt finally to sponsor the idea of a federal system as a modification of the Union. His pamphlet of 1847, The Famine in the Land, is one of the first signs of the immense repercussions of the Famine on the ways that Irish people regarded the constitutional relationship between the two islands. later to be founder of the Home Rule League, Butt was taking the first steps towards a conclusion that Parnell and Davitt were to govern [sic]. (p.116.) ‘As Butt pointed out, the cess levied on Irish landlords for the relief schemes should, in all consistency, have been levied on the whole of the United Kingdom.’ (p.117.)

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Ulster libraries: University of Ulster Central Library holds Irish People, Irish Land, a letter to Lord Lifford … comments on the publications of Lords Dufferin and Rosse (1867) [cf. G. T. Dalton, Irish Peers and Irish Peasants, an Answer to Lord Dufferin and the Earl of Rosse]; Irish Federalism, its Meaning, Objects, Hopes … (1874); David Thornley, Isaac Butt and the Home Rule (1964; rep. 1976); Terence de Vere White, Road to Excess (Dublin [1946]) Belfast Central Public Library holds fictions, Chapters of College Romance; The Gap of Barnesmore (3 vols., 1848). Belfast Linenhall Library holds Irish People and Irish Land, a letter to Lord Lifford [John Hewitt] (1897).

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Cathach Books (1996-97) lists Irish People and Irish Land, Letter to Lord Lifford (Dublin 1867) [Cathach Bks. 12]. Protection of Home Industry: Some cases of its advantages considered; the substance of two lectures delivered before the University of dublin in 1840, to which is added an appendix, containing dissertations on some points. [n.d.]; The Rate in Ireland: A Lwetter to the Rt. Hon the Earl of Roden, KP, by Isaac Butt (Dublin: McGlashan 1849), 73pp.

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Notes
William Carleton: Butt was the recipient of the dedication of William Carleton’s new edition of Traits & Stories (2 vols. in 1; c.1853). See also Irish Book Lover, 3, 4, 5. there is a chalk portrait by J B Yeats [NGI].

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W. B. Yeats relates that Butt was caught in flagrante delicto with Lady Wilde; see Joseph Spence, ‘“The Great Angelic Sin”: The Faust legend in Irish Literature, 1820-1900’, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 1, 2 (Autumn 1994), ftn.35, p.58.

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Land Commission, 1841: Butt quoted the remark of a Land Commissioner in 1841 during a Westminister debate on 29 March 1876: ‘The Repeal of the Irish Act of Settlement by the Parliament of James II [in 1685] gave the Protestant proprietors a fright from which they have not properly recovered even to this day … They seem to think that they only garrison their estates, and therefore they look upon the occupiers - I cannot call them tenants - as persons ready to eject them on a favourable opportunity.’ (Hansard, H.C. Debates, 3rd ser.., Vol. 228, col. 771; cited in Robert Kee, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1972, p.17.)

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Joyce Connection: Note that Butt is alluded to as a standard of Irish eloquence along with others in “Aeolus” episode: ‘Where have you a man now at the bar like those fellows, like Whiteside, like Isaac Butt, like silver-tongued O’Hagan?’ (under heading ‘Clever, Very’, in James Joyce, Ulysses, Bodley Head Edn., p.175).

Kith & Kin: Beatrice Mary Butt is the author of Eugénie (1877) and Elizabeth and Other Sketches (1889) - both listed in the catalogue of Richard Beaton [24 Highdown Rd., Lewes, E. Sussex - online; accessed 31.08.2011].

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