Conclusion: Politics, Consumption and Union

  • Martyn J. Powell


The imposition of union would completely alter the relationship between politics and consumption in Ireland by ending the vibrant social season that accompanied the parliamentary winter in Dublin. Maria Edgeworth wrote at the close of Castle Rackrent: ‘It is a problem of difficult solution to determine, whether an Union will hasten or retard the melioration of this country. The few gentlemen of education, who now reside in this country will resort to England; they are few, but they are in nothing inferior to men of the same rank in Great Britain. The best that can happen will be the introduction of British manufacturers in their places.’1 In some ways the focal point of Edgeworth’s The Absentee – the Irish elite living beyond their means in London – can be read as a warning of one of the more pernicious consequences of union.2


National Bank Commercial Life Royal Irish Academy Public Subscription Political Consumption 
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© Martyn J. Powell 2005

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  • Martyn J. Powell

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