Vol. 2: McMinn, Joseph.

Type: Article

McMinn, Joseph. ‘A Weary Patriot: Swift and the Formation of an Anglo-Irish Identity’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 2 (1987), pp 103-113.

This article discusses the literary career of Jonathan Swift from 1720-1730 and his role as an Irish pamphleteer, which would “define and dramatize the constitutional identity of ‘the Protestant nation’”. McMinn examines The Story of the Injured Lady (1707), Drapier’s Letters (1724), Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufacture (1720), and A Modest Proposal (1729), and draws on similarities between Swift’s rhetoric and that of William Molyneux in The Case of Ireland Stated (1698). “Molyneux and Swift were arguing for a system of political harmony based on a voluntary contract….crucial to the political security and economic well-being of protestants in Ireland.” McMinn discusses Swift and Molyneux’s appeal to the ‘myth of the ancestral constitution’ and the Anglo-Irish claim as representing the ‘true Irish nation’. He concludes that Swift’s idealization of the Protestant middle class did little to restore the protestant patriot’s dignity and that “the balance between change and authority wearied Swift” and forced him into political silence.