Molyneux, Swift, and MacCurtin
THE last part of the seventeenth century and the first two decades of the eighteenth century are marked by no specific works pertinent to our study. But the activities of two men-- William Molyneux and Jonathan Swift--during these years should be noted. Both had a profound and direct influence on Irish nationalism, and when a land is swept by a wave of nationalism its people instinctively turn to a study and idealization of their country's past.
Molyneux ( 1656-98) was born in Dublin and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1675. He was of the gentleman class and had enough money to gratify his varied interests. In 1680 he published in London an English translation of Descartes' Meditations. Of direct concern here, he "was instrumental in forming [in 1683] a Society in Dublin similar to the Royal Society in London, of which he was an illustrious member . . but . . . the distracted state of the kingdom dispersed [the society] as soon as 1688."53 The society formed by Molyneux was known as the Dublin Philosophical Society and had as its purpose inquiries into the antiquities of Ireland. Molyneux' contributions were mainly scientific;54 other members, however, read papers from time to time dealing with certain aspects of ancient Ireland. The society renewed its activity in 170755 for a____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Irish Poetry, from the English Invasion to 1798. Edition: 2nd. Contributors: Rusell K. Alspach - Author. Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press. Place of publication: Philadelphia. Publication year: 1959. Page number: 75.
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