6

PATTERNS OF NATIONALISM, 1842-1870

The identification of the Irish nation with the Catholic people of Ireland did not create fully segregated political communities in Ireland, nor did it divide its inhabitants into two completely distinct groups. The Protestants, however much they protested their loyalty to the Union and the British connection, were still very conscious of themselves as Irish; they could use that term as an adjective, even if they could no longer employ it as a collective noun. Moreover, the eighteenth century tradition of Protestant nationalism did not entirely disappear; just as there had been Protestant emancipationists, so were there Protestant repealers; and out of O’Connell’s thirty-nine members in the parliament of 1832 thirteen were Protestants. 1 The Protestant repealers, it is true, made no significant impact on the O’Connellite movement; but they did demonstrate that Tone’s idea of the common name of Irishman was not wholly spurious. There were Protestants, however, who sought to give a new meaning to that concept by searching for some cultural ingredients that might provide the stuff of a close relationship between Irishmen of differing religious and political faiths; for, whereas O’Connell could rest content in the knowledge that the Catholics were the majority, and were therefore the Irish nation—a nation of course which non-Catholics were welcome to join, provided they accepted the Catholic nation’s politics, and acknowledged its religion as a ‘national church’—Protestants could feel no such sense of assurance. Protestants whose blood was still fired with nationalism could not afford to rest their ideology on the soft sands of political complacency; and in 1842, when O’Connell was pressing forward with his repeal campaign, a small but influential group of nationalists, inspired by the young Irish Protestant Thomas Davis, made a bid to recreate Irish nationalism in their own image, and thus inaugurated a debate on the character of the nation that was renewed in the closing decade of the nineteenth century, but has long since passed into oblivion.

Davis was born in 1814 at Mallow, Co. Cork. His father, of a Buckinghamshire family which originally hailed from Wales, served in the Peninsular war with the rank of inspector general of hospitals, and his mother was the descendant of a Cromwellian settler. ‘I myself was brought up High Tory and Episcopalian protestant’, he wrote; 2 but

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Nationalism in Ireland
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Contents 5
  • Preface to the Third Edition 6
  • Preface to the Second Edition 8
  • Preface 9
  • Introduction: Nationalism and Ireland 15
  • 1 - Colony and Nation 25
  • 2 - Intimations of Nationalism in Tudor Ireland 46
  • 3 - For God, King and Country 68
  • Notes 91
  • 4 - From English Colony to Irish Nation: the Protestant Experience 94
  • 5 - The Irish, Properly So Called 123
  • 6 - Patterns of Nationalism, 1842-1870 154
  • Notes 187
  • 7 - The Making of Parnellism and Its Undoing 192
  • 8 - The Battle of Three Civilizations 228
  • 9 - What Home Rule Stood For, 1891-1918 259
  • 10 - Nationalism, Socialism and the Irish Revolution 295
  • 11 - State and Nation in Modern Ireland 339
  • Notes 370
  • Conclusion: Ireland and Nationalism 375
  • Epilogue: History, Politics and Nationalism 391
  • Appendix: the Downing Street Declaration , 15 December 1993 433
  • Maps 438
  • Bibliography 443
  • Supplementary Bibliography 477
  • Index 488
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