Saturday, April 17, 2010

Arthur Wolfe, Viscount Killwarden. Chief Justice of the King’s Bench Ireland. Engraving by J. Heath. London: G. Robinson, 1811

In May of 1796, just shy of his twenty-first birthday, Daniel moved to Dublin. The city was controlled by wealthy, but generally benign Protestants. Through several Catholic Relief Acts (1782, 1792 & 1793), restrictions had been eased. Catholics of a certain social standing were given the right to occupy property as freeholders, and to vote. The oath to uphold the Protestant Faith still kept them out of official positions. However, among Catholics there was hope for more change. The odd-men-out were the Presbyterians of Belfast and the northern counties. They tended towards republicanism, approved of both the French (including the Reign of Terror) and the American Revolutions, were not part of the Ascendancy, and were in favor of giving ‘respectable’ male adults a vote. This marginalized group often produced rural terrorists who burned barns, shot landlords, and stole from people perceived as oppressors. Occasionally, urban riots erupted.
One such insurrection, led by Robert Emmet, occurred in Dublin in July 1803. It resulted in several deaths: most prominently, the Chief Justice of the King’s Bench for Ireland, Viscount Killwarden.

LC 27 2

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