Monday 14 July 2014

Emergency Law in Ireland: The Proclamations of Ireland, 1660 - 1820

The Irish Manuscripts Commission recently published the 5-volume The Proclamations of Ireland, 1660 – 1820 under the editorship of James Kelly with Mary Ann Lyons. The Kelly edition contains the full text of all surviving proclamations, covering across the five volumes some two thousand and five hundred proclamations and allied documents issued in Ireland between 1660 and 1820. The proclamations follow the successive reigns of Charles II, James II, William III, Anne, George I, George II and George III. The proclamations were originally promulgated by being published in a contemporary newspaper such as the Ennis Chronicle and Clare Advertiser as well as being publically declaimed, for example, at Sunday divine service.

The proclamations acted as an instrument of governmental and administrative power and coercion and were issued under authority of the Lord Lieutenant, the Lord Justice or the Privy Council. Many were restricted in terms of geographical extent and usually issued for a limited time-span. They addressed a wide range of issues, including anti-Popery decrees in the seventeenth century, transplanted persons and land settlement, tories, robbers and rapparees in different counties, local militias and policing matters through to proclamations against secret agrarian organisations and local outrages in the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century.

Particular County Clare content includes amongst other matters transplanted lands in Connacht and Clare, 1678; shipwrecks off Miltown Malbay in 1702 (the Betty Galley, out of London) and 1726; a case of abduction and marriage before ‘a Popish friar’ in 1707 during the Penal Laws; the apprehension of those who resisted the High Sheriff in giving possession of lands in County Clare in 1777; reward for the apprehension of those who resisted the Sheriff of County Clare (Ballymorris, Cratloe, Meelick areas) in 1779; an outrage against Luke Wall of Springmount in 1780; a proclamation requiring named individuals to surrender for resisting the enforcement of the law in 1789; and an 1802 reward for the apprehension of those responsible for a murderous assault in County Clare (John Hynes and Patrick Gleeson seriously assaulted between Killaloe and Broadford on 1st February 1802). Personal names and place names are frequently given in the proclamations.

Copies of the Proclamations are available at Clare County Library in the Sean Lemass Public Library in Shannon and the Local Studies Centre in Ennis.

No comments: