Vol. 4: Kelly, James.

Type: Article

Kelly, James. ‘The Anglo-French Commercial Treaty of 1786: The Irish Dimension’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 4 (1989), pp 93-111.

This article discusses the constitutional, political and commercial significance of the 1786 Anglo-French treaty in Ireland. Kelly analyses the correspondence between Dublin and London during treaty negotiations and examines the diplomatic exchanges between Dublin, London and Paris. Of particular importance is the Irish linen industry, which figured prominently in the negotiations, to the extent of threatening the treaty. Also discussed are prime minister William Pitt’s provisions for Irish interest and the extent to which the interests of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy influenced the British negotiations. Kelly concludes that: “Clearly the message of the treaty for Irish protestants was that while London was undeniably concerned with preserving a close connection with Ireland, it was not equally preoccupied with the interest of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy”; however, “in order to preserve the existing constitutional and commercial connection with Ireland, it was necessary that the kingdom be consulted and its interests safeguarded”.