Allegories of Union in Irish and English Writing, 1790-1870: Politics, History, and the Family from Edgeworth and to Arnold

By Mary Jean Corbett | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER TWO
Allegories of prescription: engendering Union in Owenson
and Edgeworth

When some members of the Irish parliament proposed in 1773 to tax Irish landholders living in England, Edmund Burke opposed the plan. 1 Writing to an Irish peer in his “Letter to Sir Charles Bingham” (1773), Burke speaks of “the happy communion” that should obtain between England and Ireland, and the proposed levy as an affront to it: “What is taxing the resort to and residence in any place, but declaring, that your connexion with that place is a grievance? Is not such an Irish Tax, as is now proposed, a virtual declaration, that England is a foreign country, and a renunciation on your part of the principle of common naturalization, which runs through this whole empire[?]” 2 In Burke's view, for the Irish to tax English absentees means to treat them as aliens rather than as fellow subjects under the united imperial crown; acting as if “England is a foreign country” denies it the status of kin. Burke's objective, by contrast, is to stress the identity of interests between the two, as in the analogous rhetoric of family and marriage, rather than their differences or conflicts. He thus masks structural inequality between Ireland and England by emphasizing the commonality among the constituent parts of Great Britain.

Burke's further objections to the proposed tax are based on its pragmatic consequences, “because it does, in effect, discountenance mutual intermarriage and inheritance; things, that bind countries more closely together, than any Laws or Constitutions whatsoever”:

If an Irish heiress should marry into an English family, and great property in both countries should thereby come to be united in this common issue, shall the descendant of that marriage abandon his natural connexion, his family interests, his publick and his private duties, and be compelled to take up his residence in Ireland? Is there any sense or any justice in it, unless you affirm, that there should be no such intermarriage and no such mutual inheritance between the Natives? (Writings and Speeches 491)

His example underscores the political function of marriage as a means

-51-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Allegories of Union in Irish and English Writing, 1790-1870: Politics, History, and the Family from Edgeworth and to Arnold
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 228

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?