Vol. 3: O’Brien, Gerard

Type: Article

O’Brien, Gerard ‘Illusion and Reality in Late Eighteenth-Century Irish Politics’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 3 (1988), pp 149-155.

This article discusses two contributions from Eighteenth-Century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr 2 (1987): W.J. McCormack’s “Vision and Revision in the Study of Eighteenth-Century Irish Parliamentary Rhetoric” (pp. 7-35) and Joseph McMinn’s “A Weary Patriot: Swift and the Formation of an Anglo-Irish Identity” (pp. 103-113). O’Brien responds to criticisms presented by McCormack and McMinn regarding of one of O’Brien’s earlier essays, “The Grattan Mystique”, Eighteenth-Century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr 1 (1986) :177-194. O’Brien reiterates his argument that, “the rhetoric of Henry Grattan reflects both the illusion and reality of his time”. O’Brien again calls into question the authenticity of Grattan’s famous 16 April 1782 speech, providing evidence that the speech was later re-written and published by Grattan Jr. in 1822 with the inclusion of the words: ‘Spirit of Swift, spirit of Molyneux, your genius has prevailed; Ireland is now a nation’. Discussed are Hercules Langrishe and Patrick Duigenan, who despite being Grattan’s political opponents, “cultivated an illusion that Grattan was the doctrinal and political descendant of Molyneux and Swift”. Also discussed are Molyneux’s Case of Ireland and Swift’s Drapier’s Letters.