Musgrave as Reviewer

  • Stuart Andrews


The principal riposte to Musgrave’s Memoirs of the different rebellions in Ireland was Francis Plowden’s Historical Review of the State of Ireland, published in 1803. The barrister author, brother of a Catholic priest, dedicated his work to the Prince of Wales, claiming it was ‘intended as an act of justice to the Irish nation’. Its more limited aim was ostensibly to promote acceptance of the Union: ‘We are now one people, and that we may ever be one in affection as well as interest was the motive for undertaking the work.’1 But Plowden’s parallel propaganda purpose soon becomes clear. Excusing himself for referring to ‘remote periods of Irish history’, like the pontificate of the English Pope Adrian and the events of Henry II’s reign, Plowden expects the reader to learn

that the native diffidence, jealousy and hatred which the Irish showed for so many centuries towards the English, originated not in the difference of religion; for even in the heat of the last two centuries, they never were mounted to a higher pitch, and never were acted upon more uninterruptedly than during that long period of nearly 400 years, during which both nations professed the same religion.2


Monthly Review Catholic Priest Irish Nation Irish History Rebellious Conduct 
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  1. 1.
    F. Plowden, Historical review of the state of Ireland, from the invasion of that country under Henry II to its union with Great Britain on the 1st January 1801 2 vols [vol. 2 in two parts] (1803) i pp. iii–iv.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    F. Plowden, A postliminious preface to the historical review of Ireland, containing a statement of the author’s communications with the Right Hon. Henry Addington, and some of his colleagues upon the subject of that work, some strictures upon the falsities of the British Critic… (1804) in MR 47 (June 1805) pp. 159–60.Google Scholar
  3. 35.
    [R. Musgrave], Strictures upon an historical review of the state of Ireland by Francis Plowden, Esq., or a justification of the conduct of English government of that country from the reign of Henry II to the union of Great Britain and Ireland (1804).Google Scholar
  4. 47.
    F. Plowden, The case stated…occasioned by the Act of Parliament lately passed for the relief of the English Roman Catholics [1791].Google Scholar
  5. 50.
    Sir John Davies, A discoverie of the true cause of why Ireland was never entirely subdued, nor brought under obedience to the crown of England, until the beginning of his Majestie’s happie reign (1612) 3rd edn (Dublin, 1666) p. 8.Google Scholar
  6. 65.
    See preface to F. Plowden, History of Ireland from its invasion under Henry II to its union with Great Britain, edited, printed and published by E. Andrews (1831).Google Scholar

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© Stuart Andrews 2006

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  • Stuart Andrews

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