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‘from education, from duty, and from principle’: Irish Catholic loyalty in context, 1829-1874

  • Richard A. Keogh (a1)
Abstract

The passage of the Emancipation Act in 1829 presented an opportunity for Catholics to reimagine their loyalty as equal subjects for the first time under the union between Great Britain and Ireland. This article explores the way Catholic loyalty was conceived in the decades that followed the act of 1829 through to the mid 1870s, when there was renewed focus on the civil allegiance of Catholics following the declaration of Papal infallibility. Historians are increasingly exploring a range of social, political and religious identities in nineteenth century Ireland, beyond the rigid binary paradigm of Catholic nationalisms and Protestant loyalisms that has dominated Irish historiography. However, Catholic loyalty in particular remains an anachronism and lacks sufficient conceptual clarity. Our understanding of a specifically Catholic variant of loyalty and its public and associational expression, beyond a number of biographical studies of relatively unique individuals, remains limited. By providing an exposition of episodes in the history of Catholic loyalty in the early and mid-Victorian years this article illuminates the phenomenon. It demonstrates that Irish Catholic loyalty took on different expressive forms, which were dependent on the individuals proclaiming their loyalty, their relationship to the objects of their loyalty, and its reception by the British state and Protestant establishment.

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The author wishes to thank Dr Ciaran O’Neill, and the anonymous reviewers of British Catholic History for their comments on an earlier draft of this article.

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1 Weekly Waterford Chronicle (25 April 1829).

2 See, for example: Best G. F. A., ‘The Protestant Constitution and its Supporters, 1800-1829’ in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Fifth Series, 8 (1958): 105-127 ; Colley Linda, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992); Paz D. G., Popular Anti-Catholicism in Mid-Victorian England (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992); Allan Blackstock, Loyalism in Ireland, 1789-1829 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2007), p. 24.

3 Dublin Evening Post (14 April 1829).

4 Ibid.

5 Loughlin James, The British Monarchy and Ireland, 1800 to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 59 .

6 Hempton David, Religion and Political Culture in Britain and Ireland: From the Glorious Revolution to the Decline of Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 82 .

7 Allan Blackstock ‘The Trajectories of Loyalty and Loyalism in Ireland, 1793-1849’ in Allan Blackstock and Frank O’Gorman, eds. Loyalism and the Formation of the British World, 1775-1914 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2014), 103.

8 Joseph Ruane and Jennifer Todd provide a concise overview of this discussion in The Dynamics of Conflict in Northern Ireland: Power, Conflict and Emancipation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 40-3.

9 Reid Colin, ‘“An Experiment in Constructive Unionism”: Isaac Butt, Home Rule and Federalist Political Thought During the 1870s’, English Historical Review 129 (2014): 333 .

10 Murphy James H., Abject Loyalty: Nationalism and Monarchy in Ireland During the Reign of Queen Victoria (Cork: Cork University Press, 2001); Loughlin James, Monarchy and Ireland ; Kenny Mary, Crown and Shamrock: Love and Hate Between Ireland and the British Monarchy (Dublin: New Island Books, 2009).

11 For example, John Bew has demonstrated the existence of a liberal and progressive civic unionism that did not exclude Catholics, as evidenced by the Belfast-native, and the first Catholic Lord Chancellor of Ireland since the reign of James II, Thomas O’Hagan: John Bew, The Glory of Being Britons: Civic Unionism in Nineteenth-Century Belfast (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2009), 172-3.

12 Blackstock ‘Trajectories of Loyalty’, 104.

13 Potter Matthew, William Monsell of Tervoe, 1812-1894: Catholic Unionist, Anglo-Irishman (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2009); McConnel James, ‘John Redmond and Irish Catholic Loyalism’, English Historical Review 125 (2010): 92-93 ; Kelly Matthew, ‘Providence, Revolution and the Conditional Defence of the Union: Paul Cullen and the Fenians’ in Dáire Keogh and Albert McDonnell, eds. Cardinal Paul Cullen and His World (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011), 311 ; Keogh Richard A., ‘“Nothing is so bad for the Irish as Ireland alone”: William Keogh and Catholic Loyalty’, Irish Historical Studies 38 (2012): 234-235 , 240; Richard A. Keogh and James McConnel, ‘The Esmonde Family of Co. Wexford and Catholic Loyalty’ in Oliver Rafferty, ed. Irish Catholic Identities (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), 279; Kehoe S. Karly, ‘Accessing Empire: Irish Surgeons and the Royal Navy, 1840-1880’, Social History of Medicine 26 (2013): 207 .

14 Bickford-Smith Vivian, ‘African Nationalist or British Loyalist? The Complicated Case of Tiyo Soga’, History Workshop Journal 71 (2011): 77 .

15 Kleinig John, On Loyalty and Loyalties: The Contours of a Problematic Virtue (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 138 .

16 Ibid, 13.

17 Keogh and McConnel , ‘Esmondes’, 284; McConnel James has explored the so-called loyalty of Irish Parliamentary Party MPs in depth in ‘Redmond and Irish Catholic Loyalism’ and in The Irish Parliamentary Party and the Third Home Rule Crisis (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013), 242-268 .

18 Amherst William J., S. J. The History of Catholic Emancipation and the Progress of the Catholic Church in the British Isles (Chiefly in England) from 1771 to 1820, 2 vols (London, 1886), 1:15-6.

19 Ibid, 1:11.

20 Kleinig, Loyalty and Loyalties, 126-7.

21 Weekly Waterford Chronicle (20 March 1829).

22 Blackstock, Loyalism, 206.

23 Morning Post (9 January 1830).

24 Donald M. MacRaild and Kyle Hughes, ‘Anti-Catholicism and Orange Loyalism in Nineteenth- Century Britain’ in Blackstock and O’Gorman, Loyalism and the Formation of the British World, 64.

25 Murphy, Abject Loyalty, 13.

26 Protestant Principles, Exemplified in the Parliamentary Orations, of Royal Dukes, Right Rev. Prelates, Noble Peers, and Illustrious Commoners; With the Constitutional Declarations of Irish Protestants Against the Roman Catholic Claims. To Which is Prefixed An Address to the Protestants of Great Britain and Ireland (London, 1827), 58.

27 Kinealy Christine, The Great Irish Famine: Impact, Ideology and Rebellion (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2001), 182 .

28 Biggs-Davison J. and Chowdharay-Best G., The Cross of Saint Patrick: The Catholic Unionist Tradition in Ireland (Bourne End: Kensal Press, 1984), 143-145 .

29 Bew Paul, Ireland: The Politics of Enmity, 1789-2006 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 143-153 .

30 Standard (2 March 1836).

31 Murphy, Abject Loyalty, 20.

32 Bew, Ireland, 147.

33 Loughlin, Monarchy and Ireland, 48-50.

34 Jenkins Brian, Irish Nationalism and the British State: from Repeal to Revolutionary Nationalism (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2006), 43 .

35 Murphy, Abject Loyalty, 21, 27; Jenkins, Irish Nationalism, 43.

36 Tablet (4 September 1841).

37 Loughlin, Monarchy and Ireland, 51.

38 Murphy, Abject Loyalty, 23.

39 Graham to De Gray, 28 Apr. 1843 cited in Kanter Douglas, The Making of British Unionism, 1740-1848: Politics, Government and the Anglo-Irish Constitutional Relationship (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2009), 259 .

40 Kanter, British Unionism, 261-2.

41 Lord Ffrench. Copy of a Letter Written by Direction of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Relating to the Dismissal of Lord Ffrench as a Magistrate for the County of Galway. H.C. 1843 (358) LI.

42 Loughlin, Monarchy and Ireland, 54.

43 Tablet (29 January 1842).

44 Hansard, 3 (H.C.), vol. 71, 1 August 1843, 151-2.

45 Murphy, Abject Loyalty, 33.

46 Tablet (19 April 1845).

47 Murphy, Abject Loyalty, 58.

48 Blackstock, ‘Trajectories of Loyalty’, 103.

49 Hansard 3, (H.L.), vol. 100, 21 July 1848, 639.

50 Brian Jenkins makes a similar point in The Fenian Problem: Insurgency and Terrorism in a Liberal State, 1858-1874 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2008), 10: ‘Although O’Connell was careful to assert the Repeal Association’s loyalty to the Crown, there was no disguising the large measure of national self-determination he sought. If vitriolic assaults on the “English Parliament” and bitter criticism of the “Saxon” heightened ethnic consciousness and threatened to inflame racial antipathy, this divisive rhetoric created common ground between the Liberator and a new generation of nationalists.’

51 Murphy, Abject Loyalty, 76.

52 Loughlin James, ‘Allegiance and Illusion: Queen Victoria’s Irish visit of 1849’, History 87 (2002): 491-513 .

53 Times (6 August 1849).

54 Loughlin, ‘Allegiance and Illusion’, 512.

55 Bew, Ireland, 229.

56 Quinn Dermot, Patronage and Piety: The Politics of English Roman Catholicism, 1850-90 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993), 5 .

57 MacRaild and Hughes, ‘Anti-Catholicism’, 62.

58 McConnel James, ‘Remembering the 1605 Gunpowder Plot in Ireland, 1605-1920’, Journal of British Studies 50 (Oct. 2011): 865 .

59 Freeman’s Journal (hereafter FJ) (11 November 1850).

60 FJ (28 November 1850).

61 Whyte J. H., The Independent Irish Party, 1850-9 (London: Oxford University Press, 1958), 20 , cited in Biggs-Davison and Chowdharay-Best, Cross of Saint Patrick, 171.

62 Lubenow William C., Liberal Intellectuals and Public Culture in Modern Britain, 1815-1914 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2010), 159 .

63 Walter Ralls, ‘The Papal Aggression of 1850: A Study in Victorian Anti-Catholicism’ Church History 43 (1974): 242-256.

64 Caledonian Mercury (20 February 1851).

65 FJ (13 March 1851).

66 Standard (11 February 1851); FJ (30 April 1851); FJ (9 June 1851); Daily News (15 March 1852).

67 Daily News (11 March. 1851).

68 Miller David W., Queen’s Rebels, Ulster Loyalism in Historical Perspective [reprinted with new introduction from John Bew] (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2007).

69 FJ (19 March 1851).

70 See Whyte, Independent Irish Party; Knowlton S. R., Popular Politics and the Irish Catholic Church: the Rise and Fall of the Independent Irish Party, 1850-1859 (London: Garland Publishing, 1991).

71 Murphy, Abject Loyalty, 109; Potter, William Monsell, 196.

72 Comerford R. V., ‘Ireland 1850-1870: Post Famine and Mid-Victorian’ in W. E. Vaughan (ed.), A New History of Ireland 5: Ireland Under the Union 1801-1870 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 373 .

73 Hansard 3 (H.L.), vol. 125, 18 April 1853, 1329.

74 Ibid., 1336.

75 Leighton C. D. A., ‘Gallicanism and the Veto Controversy: Church, State and Catholic Community in Early Nineteenth-Century Ireland’ in R. V. Comerford, et al., eds. Religion, Conflict and Coexistence in Ireland, Essays Presented to Monsignor Patrick J. Corish (London: Gill and Macmillan, 1990), 139 .

76 Turner Michael, ‘The French Connection with Maynooth College 1795-1855’, An Irish Quarterly Review 70 (1981): 85 .

77 P.J. Corish, ‘Gallicanism at Maynooth: Archbishop Cullen and the Royal Visitation of 1853’, in Art Cosgrove and Donal McCartney, eds. Studies in Irish History: Presented to R. Dudley Edwards (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 1979), 176-89; Michael Turner, ‘Maynooth College’, 77-87; Criticism of the Gallican nature of the teachings at Maynooth continued well beyond the 1840s, for example see Tablet (15 November 1879).

78 Sack James J., ‘The Grenvilles’ Eminence Rise: The Reverend Charles O’Conor and the Latter Days of Anglo-Gallicanism’, Harvard Theological Review 72 (1979): 124 .

79 Larkin Emmet, ‘The Devotional Revolution in Ireland, 1850-75’, The American Historical Review 77 (1972): 625-652 .

80 Turner, ‘Maynooth College’, 83.

81 Daniel O’Connell felt they had undermined the independence of the Church and called for ‘no Castle Bishops’ and ‘no Castle Religion’. He was in turn characterised as a ‘great imposter … who thought himself entitled to raise against his spiritual leader’. Hampshire Advertiser and Salisbury Guardian (28 December 1844).

82 Connolly Sean J., Religion and Society in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (Dundalk: Dundalgan Press, 1985), 14 .

83 Nation (16 December 1854).

84 Glasgow Herald (15 December 1854); Royal Cornwall Gazetteer (15 December 1854).

85 Quinn, Patronage and Piety, 36.

86 Ibid., 37.

87 The Irish Republican Brotherhood grew from the failure of constitutional politics in the 1850s. For a classic account see Comerford R. V., The Fenians in Context: Irish Politics and Society 1848-1882 (Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1985) and more recently Jenkins, The Fenian Problem; McConnel James and McGarry Fearghal, eds. The Black Hand of Republicanism: Fenianism in Modern Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2009); Gant Jonathan, Irish Terrorism in the Atlantic Community, 1865-1922 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

88 Norman E. R., The Catholic Church and Ireland in the Age of Rebellion, 1859-1873 (London: Cornell University Press, 1965), 106 .

89 Irish People (28 November 1863).

90 Kelly Matthew, ‘Irish Nationalism’ in David Craig and James Thompson, eds. Languages of Politics in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke, 2013), 201 .

91 Irish People (28 November 1863).

92 Irish People (24 September 1864) cited in Murphy, Abject Loyalty, 149.

93 The same was true of many Catholics in the dominions. For example, Thomas D’arcy McGee, a former Young Irelander. See David A. Wilson, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Volume 1: Passion, Reason, and Politics, 1825-1857 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2008) and Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Volume 2: The Extreme Moderate, 1857-1868 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2012).

94 Kelly, ‘Cullen and the Fenians’, 328; J. H. Whyte also noted that ‘Cardinal Cullen was a unionist on ecclesiastical grounds’ in ‘Bishop Moriarty on Disestablishment and the Union, 1868’, Irish Historical Studies 10 (1956): 194.

95 Kelly, ‘Cullen and the Fenians’, 312.

96 See Keogh and McDonnell, Cullen and His World; Patrick J. Corish, ‘Cardinal Cullen and the National Association of Ireland’ in Alan O’Day (ed.) Reactions to Irish Nationalism (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1987), pp. 117-165; Desmond Bowen, Paul Cardinal Cullen and the Shaping of Modern Irish Catholicism (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1983).

97 Pall Mall Gazette (20 February 1867); Moriarty was similarly dismissive of the constitutional Home Rule movement in later years. Whyte, ‘Bishop Moriarty’, 193.

98 Whyte, ‘Bishop Moriarty’, 195.

99 Ibid., 198.

100 Manchester Guardian (24 May 1867).

101 Roantree Dermot, ‘William Monsell and Papal Infallibility: The Workings of an Inopportunist’s MindArchivium Hibernicum 43 (1988): 120 .

102 Quinn, Patronage and Piety, 4.

103 Potter, Monsell of Tervoe.

104 David Moriarty to W. E. Gladstone, 28 November 1868 (British Library, Add.MS 44416 ff 273-8), cited in Roantree, ‘Monsell and Papal Infallibility’: 120-1.

105 Parry Jonathan, The Politics of Patriotism: English Liberalism, National Identity and Europe, 1830-1886 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 29 .

106 Standard (27 March 1868).

107 Spectator (27 June 1868).

108 Loughlin, Monarchy and Ireland, 130.

109 See Colin Barr ‘An Irish Dimension to a British Kulturkampf?’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 56 (2005): 473-95 and The European Culture Wars in Ireland: The Callan Schools Affair, 1868-81 (Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2010).

110 Jenkins Hilary, ‘The Irish Dimension of the British Kulturkampf: Vaticanism and Civil Allegiance, 1870-1875’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 30 (July 1979): 366 .

111 Matthew Kelly has asked whether O’Keefe ‘might be located within that little-noticed strand of Irish catholic loyalty evident throughout the period of the union’. Matthew Kelly, review of The European Culture Wars: The Callan Schools Affair, 1868-1881 by Colin Barr, Irish Historical Studies 147 (2011): 491-2.

112 The respective loyalties of these groups are identified concisely in Anne Kane, Constructing Irish National Identity: Discourse and Ritual During the Land War, 1879-1882 (Basingstoke, 2012), 42-4

113 Standard (28 May 1888).

114 Morning Post (29 April. 1868).

115 Belfast News-Letter (1 December 1866).

116 Bowen, Paul Cardinal Cullen, 157.

117 Adelman Juliana, Communities of Science in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (London: Routledge, 2016), 68-69 .

118 Graphic (4 March 1871).

119 L. Perry Curtis Jun., ‘Corrigan, Sir Dominic John, First Baronet (1802–1880)’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/6353, accessed 10 Nov 2016]

120 Jenkins, ‘Irish Dimension of the British Kulturkampf’, 376.

121 Bew, Politics of Enmity, 293.

122 Gladstone W. E., The Vatican Decrees in Their Bearing on Civil Allegiance: A Political Expostulation (London, 1874), 36 .

123 Ibid., 32.

124 Ibid., 43.

125 Ibid., 24.

126 FJ (9 November 1874); Observer (8 November 1874).

127 Manchester Guardian (12 November 1874).

128 Tablet (2 October 1875).

129 Glasgow Herald (28 November 1874).

130 Blackstock ‘Trajectories of Loyalty’, 123-4.

131 Amherst, Catholic Emancipation, 19.

132 Ibid., 13-4.

133 Keogh and McConnel, ‘Esmondes’, 284; McConnel, ‘Redmond and Irish Catholic Loyalism’; McConnel, Irish Parliamentary Party, 242-68.

* The author wishes to thank Dr Ciaran O’Neill, and the anonymous reviewers of British Catholic History for their comments on an earlier draft of this article.

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British Catholic History
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