Vol. 6: Geoghegan, Vincent.

Type: Article

Geoghegan, Vincent. ‘A Jacobite History: The Abbé MacGeoghegan’s History of Ireland’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 6 (1991), pp37-55.

This article examines the political theories behind Abbé James MacGeoghegan’s History of Ireland and looks at possible sources to shed light on his political thinking. MacGeoghegan’s beliefs in divine right, indefeasible hereditary right and patriarchal monarchy are discussed in relation to the text’s Jacobite bias and its themes of the historic relationship between Ireland and England, the Irish rebellion, the Stuarts’ legitimacy in Ireland, land possession, and nobility. MacGeoghegan often faced contradictions within his beliefs and the article looks at ways in which he attempted, not always convincingly, to reconcile these in his History of Ireland. For example, MacGeoghegan “has the problem of combining fidelity to the Stuart dynasty with a belief that the crown of England has been an unmitigated disaster for Ireland over the centuries”. The article also looks at MacGeoghegan’s biographical background, his education in France, his ties to Jacobitism, and the problems he faced with censors in his attempts to publish History of Ireland. It refers also to the Charles O’Conor’s praise of the text to John Curry and the poor reception of the book by Enlightenment intellectuals in France.