Britain and Ireland in the Eighteenth-Century Crisis of by Martyn J. Powell (auth.)

By Martyn J. Powell (auth.)

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61 By the autumn of 1754 the British government had been forced to consider a change in Irish government as the only realistic solution to this Irish crisis. The pacification of the country and an alteration in the fortunes of the Castle administration now seemed to depend on the removal of Dorset and Sackville. Moreover, the instability in British politics created by the death of Henry Pelham and the deterioration of diplomatic relations between Britain and France made the restoration of peace in Ireland a necessity.

13 However, Dorset was unwilling to risk exposing the government’s precarious position in the Commons on this matter. Ultimately, Nevill Jones was given at best half-hearted support by the Castle administration. He was forced to pay personally for any defects found in the recently constructed barracks; a form of punishment that would allow further scrutiny of the affair if the opposition needed an excuse to embarrass Dorset’s administration. The Castle suffered two further Commons defeats before the end of the session.

The few British politicians who were interested in Irish affairs were concerned with improving imperial control. 37 The Irish opposition, bolstered by patriotic public opinion, had come to view the alteration of Irish bills, permitted by Poynings’ Law, as an infringement on the rights of their parliament. Consequently on 17 December 1753 the money bill was rejected by 122 votes to 117. A total of twenty office-holders had voted against the government; others had absented themselves from parliament.

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