Statement of the Penal Laws Which Aggrieve the Catholics of Ireland


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Item#: 100476 price:$2,500.00

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[SCULLY, Denys]. A Statement of the Penal Laws, Which Aggrieve the Catholics of Ireland; with Commentaries. Dublin: H. Fitzpatrick, 1812. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter calf, marbled boards. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $2500.

First edition of this examination of the prejudicial laws against Catholics in effect in Ireland at the turn of the 19th century, in contemporary binding.

The author, Denys Scully (1773-1830) was a prolific writer in the cause of Irish emancipation. He is best known for this work, which did not bear his name for reasons of safety. The publisher, FitzPatrick, was fined £200—an immense sum at the time—and jailed for 18 months for refusing the divulge the name of his author. This is Part I, as stated on the title page; the second part was printed the same year and issued separately, as stated on the final leaf: "The second and concluding part of this statement is now in the press." This first part covers laws affecting Catholic clergy, laws preventing Catholics from sitting in Parliament, laws excluding Catholics from offices in cities and towns, from professions, from army and naval offices and various other official positions. From 1809 on Scully and Daniel O'Connell were leaders of the popular party, opposed to any form of government veto on the nomination of bishops. "While O'Connell steadily established his ascendancy, Scully… worked mainly behind the scenes. Only in 1811–12 did he achieve momentary fame with his Penal Laws, published at the height of an agitation which he himself had fomented by convoking an assembly of elected delegates to test the 1793 Convention Act in the courts. Discouraged by repeated failure at Westminster, and distracted by family litigation over his father's will, he became less active after 1817" (ODNB). Armorial bookplate.

Text clean, some minor rubbing and wear to binding. A very nice copy in contemporary calf and marbled boards.

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