By Standish O'Grady
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Extra resources for The story of Ireland
A considerable number were absentees living in Britain off their Irish rents. Absenteeism probably aggravated the social and economic dimension of the Irish question. Although it was not always the case, resident landlords were more likely to be interested in the quality of agriculture on their estates and the good of their tenants. It is difficult to prove that absentees were not as humane as residents, but they did deny to Ireland income derived from their property, thus hampering the development of domestic trades and industries.
Thomas Paine bolstered his democratic faith and led him away from orthodox Christianity to Deism. Adam Smith 34 From Colony to Nation-State made him an advocate of laissez-faire. Although O’Connell eventually recovered his Catholic faith, he never rejected his commitment to human rights, democracy, religious tolerance, freedom of conscience, separation of church and state, and economic individualism. During the 1830s and 1840s he argued those causes in the British Parliament. In Dublin, O’Connell became grand master of a Masonic lodge, visited the Irish Parliament, projected himself as a Catholic version of Henry Grattan liberating his people, and dabbled with the Society of United Irishmen, while at the same time drilling with a lawyer’s yeoman corps organized to defend law and order.
Among their police duties, soldiers assisted in tithe collection and escorting electors to the polls in hotly contested elections. In Irish nationalist mythology and in British reformism, Irish landlords were the arm of British economic and social colonialism and the source of rural discontent and misery. As in Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent, some landlords were reckless, improvident, and indifferent to the welfare of their estates. A considerable number were absentees living in Britain off their Irish rents.
The story of Ireland by Standish O'Grady