Historic Anecdotes and Secret Memoirs of the Legislative Union, between Great Britain and Ireland.
London. Published by G. Robinson, 1st Sept. (J. Moyes, Printer, London). 1809. Soft cover. thick folio, 35cm, first edition, xlii,302pp., engraved frontis portrait (the Author), engraved title-page vignette, 32 engraved portrait plates, 3 tipped-in facsimile letters, 2 tipped-in errata leaves, in later half calf, gilt ruled raised bands, gilt spine title on crushed green morocco label, blind decorations in the panels, t.e.g., some scattered foxing and some toning else a very good to fine copy of the rare complete first edition. Author's Presentation Copy. With a one page signed ms. letter laid in, from the author to his publisher; Sirs. Give Mr. (Hu?and) a large paper copy of my book and his choice of proof prints. J. Barrington. . . Provenance: In faint pencil on the bottom margin of the above letter: Purchased by me at Hatairds (?), John Hare. The printer colophon is on the bottom edge of the first text page. National Library Ireland online catalogue cites 1 copy. There is only 1 complete copy (of 6 listings) on WorldCat, at University Kansas Libraries. "Originally announced to be in 10 parts but apparently suppressed after 5 parts (see below) were published. A new edition was issued in London, by Henry Coburn & R. Bentley. 1835, in 2 vols, 4to, with 36 portrait plates. Presumably from parts left over from the first edition. Sir Jonah Barrington, (1760-1834), Irish politician, was appointed an Admiralty Court Judge in 1798. This is an important book for the era covering the subjects of the 1798 Rebellion, The Volunteers and The Union. Barrington's character was called into question but he also on occasions acted with principal. He campaigned against the Union and lost his position when he voted against it. He had helped the government get votes in its favour by bribery. When he lost his seat in 1803 the government made him a judge. The first part of the present work was published in 1809 causing great alarm because of its uncompromising content and style. It is thought he was induced to delay later parts as the government shrank from exposure of its conduct in carrying out the Act of Union. Financial irregularities forced his removal from the bench but the threat of these memories apparently meant that he was allowed to reside in France from 1815 and act as a judge by deputy until 1830. Contrary to some biographical sources, despite similarities, this is not the same work as his Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation. "Barrington could have been Solicitor-General if he had agreed to vote for the Union. He gives himself and perhaps deserves great credit for this renunciation, but his political manoeuvres of the period of 1801-2 were far from simple. Between 1805 and 1810 his debts led him to misappropriate court funds and he was finally brought to account for this in 1830. . All his books are valuable documents for the social and political life of 18th century Ireland. He has been much frowned on by puritan critics but he was simply a politician of his time whose chief fault was to be found out. It is absurd to condemn him for not sharing the high standards of modern Irish political life". - Brady & Cleeve. The broad collection of portraitures were engraved by James Heath and include Barrington, Edward Fitzgerald, Francis Rawdon, Henry Grattan, Henry Flood, Charles Cornwallis, and others involved in the machinations over Irish Legislative Union. Item #40213