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Unusual SuspectsPitt's Reign of Alarm and the Lost Generation of the 1790s$
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Kenneth R. Johnston

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657803.001.0001

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‘Let Irishmen remain sulky, grave, prudent and watchful’

‘Let Irishmen remain sulky, grave, prudent and watchful’

William Drennan (1754–1820)

Chapter:
(p.145) 8 ‘Let Irishmen remain sulky, grave, prudent and watchful’
Source:
Unusual Suspects
Author(s):

Kenneth R. Johnston

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657803.003.0008

Parliamentary reform groups in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales were persecuted more ruthlessly than those in England. William Drennan was an Irish obstetrician educated in Scotland. The example of the American Revolution inspired him to seek liberal reforms for his native country. His Letters of an Irish Helot of 1785 led Charles James Fox to offer him a post in the Whig opposition, but he declined. He was one of the organizers of the United Irishmen, and the author of its secret oath. Informers gave a copy of his address to the Irish Volunteers to the government, and he stood trial for sedition in Dublin in 1794. Acquitted thanks to his lawyer, John Philpot Curran, Drennan withdrew from political activity, married a rich English lady, became a minor sentimental poet, and confined his political observations to his correspondence with his sister and brother-in-law, valuably collected as The Drennan Letters (1931, 1999).

Keywords:   William Drennan, Constitutional conventions, The British Convention, Scottish Martyrs, Irish independence, Irish Volunteers and Defenders, United Irishmen, 1800 Act of Union

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