William Parnell (1780-1821)


Life
[later Parnell-Hayes], b. Avondale; ed. Cambridge; g-father of Charles Stewart Parnell, he adopted the Hayes name in view of his father inheriting the estate from the Hayes family; appt. Deputy Lieutenant of Co. Wicklow, 1817, 1819-20; elected liberal MP for Wicklow, 1817-21; he opposed the Act of Union, and was regarded as good landlord;
 
he issued An Inquiry into the Causes of Popular Discontents in Ireland (1804); An Historical Apology for the Irish Catholics (1807); Sermons (1816), and Maurice and Bergetam, or The Priest of Rothery (1818), a novel; also Notes on the Need for Government Grants for Educating [the] Catholic Poor (1820); among his antiquarian interests, he restored the church at Glendaloug. ODNB DIW DIH

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Works
Fiction
Maurice and Bergetam, or The Priest of Rothery (1818).
 
Miscellaneous
  • Inquiry into the Causes of Popular Discontents in Ireland, by ‘An Irish Gentleman’ (1804; another edn. 1805) [see under Quotations, infra];
  • An Historical Apology for the Irish Catholics ([Printed for J. Harding] 1807), 190pp.;
  • Notes on the Need for Government Grants for Educating [the] Catholic Poor (1820).
 
Also, a dedicatory poem addressed to Mrs. [Mary] Tighe, in William Smyth, [1765-1849], English Lyricks (Dublin: printed by Hugh Fitzpatrick 1806), [2], iv, [2], 79pp., [1]p., 1 plate, 8vo., 17.8cm. [see infra].

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Commentary
Roy Foster, Paddy and Mr Punch (John Lane/Penguin 1993), His works characterised as ‘amateur histories [written] between prospecting for antiquities and restoring the 7th c. church at Glendalough […]’, p.4. Further, Inquiry into the Causes of Popular Discontents [&c] violently attacks the Union: ‘You can tell us to interest ourselves in the glory of the English government; we tell you we cannot. Why? Because we cannot love our stepmother as our mother […] Give us, then, back our independence […] we might yet be a happy and a wealthy people […] (Foster, op. cit., p.52). See also Foster, Charles Stewart Parnell: The Man and His Family (Brighton 1976), Pt. 1, Chap. 2.

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Claire Connolly, ‘Irish Romanticism, 1800-1839’, in Cambridge History of Irish Literature (Cambridge UP 2006), Vol. I [Chap.10], writes: ‘The legal formula employed in legislatively joining Ireland to Britain was, according to liberal Wicklow MP William Parnell (1780-1821), one of the Act’s critics, an aggravating trick of rhetoric: “the Union is a name, a sound, a fiction; there is no Union; the nominal Union is the nominal Union is only an additional source of discord.”’ (Enquiry into the Cause of Popular Discontents in Ireland [2nd edn.] London & Dublin 1805, p.72; Connolly, p.409.)

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Quotations
An Enquiry into the Causes of Popular Discontents in Ireland (1804): ‘A horde of tyrants exist in Ireland, in a class of men that are unknown in England, in the multitude of agents of absentees, small proprietors, who are the pure Irish squires, middle men who take large farms, and squeeze out a forced kind of profit by letting them in small parcels; lastly, the little farmers themselves, who exercise then same insolence they receive from their superiors, on those unfortunate beings who are placed at the extremity of the scale of degradation - the Irish Peasantry!’ ([N.p.] quoted in Sydney Owenson, The Wild Irish Girl: A National Tale, 1806, Letter III; for digital version, see RICORSO Library, “Irish Classics”, copy attached.)

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An Enquiry into the Causes of Popular Discontents in Ireland (1804): ‘Are these men supposed to have no sense of justice, that, in addition to the burthen of supporting their own establishment exclusively, they should be called on to pay ours; that, where they pay sixpence to their own priest, they should pay a pound to our clergyman; that, while they can scarce afford their own horse, they should place ours in his carriage; and that when they cannot build a mass-house to cover their multitudes, they should be forced to pray under a shed!’ — Inquiry into the Causes of Popular Discontents, &c. &c. page 27.)

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An Inquiry into the Causes of Popular Discontents in Ireland (1804): ‘[I]maginations […] have been worked up to such a degree of agitation, by poor Sir Richard Musgrave’s Tales of terror [i.e., Memoirs of the Different Rebellions].’ (Quoted in Claire Connolly, ‘Writing the Union’, in Acts of Union: The Causes, Contexts and Consequences of the Act of Union, ed. Dáire Keogh & Kevin Whelan, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001, p.183; and see Connolly, remarks and further quotation, supra.)

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Irish press: The Dedication [attached to] a poem by Parnell addressed to Mrs. [Mary] Tighe prefaced to William Smyth’s English Lyricks [4th edn.] (Dublin: Hugh Fitzpatrick 1806), speaks of ‘the destruction of the business of printing’ in Ireland by the Act of Union and addresses calls ‘the present work […]a small effort towards restoring the Irish press to some degree of consequence’ (See further under William Smyth, q.v.).

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