Musgrave: Memoirs of the Different Rebellions in Ireland

Pdf Musgrave, Richard. Memoirs of the Different Rebellions in Ireland, Volume I. Dublin: Robert Marchbank, 1802.
Size: 55.1M bytesModified: 25 May 2009, 13:01
Pdf Musgrave, Richard. Memoirs of the Different Rebellions in Ireland, Volume II. Dublin: Robert Marchbank, 1802.
Size: 50.5M bytesModified: 25 May 2009, 13:02

Sir Richard Musgrave (1746-1818) was born into a Protestant gentry family in Co. Waterford. While nothing of his political career as an MP was particularly remarkable it is his political ideology that has garnered a great deal of interest. The region where Musgrave grew up suffered a great deal of agrarian unrest, in the form of the Whiteboys and Rightboys, between the 1760s and the 1780s.This unrest would come to influence Musgrave’s political views including his position on the Catholic population of Ireland.

While he wrote a number of tracts condemning the French Revolution during the 1790s, it is his writing on the Irish Rebellion of 1798 that is his most noteworthy work.

His Memoirs of the various rebellions in Ireland (1802) is recognised as a seminal history of the 1798 Rebellion. It argues, controversially, that the Rebellion was an attempt by Catholics, under the influence of the clergy, to eliminate the Protestant ‘heresy’ in Ireland by eliminating the Protestant population. For his work Musgrave collated a large number of Protestant testimonies from the rebellion, most relating to the vicious treatment of Protestants by Catholic insurgents. Described as a work of anti-Catholicism and of ultra-Protestantism, it is one of the most influential sources dealing with the Rebellion.

It is its portrayal of Irish Protestant sectarian ideology, including its strong opposition to the prospect of Catholic Emancipation, which makes the work of particular interest. The implications are particularly significant when viewed in relation to the subsequent political history of British and Irish Protestantism.

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