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Jonathan Swift’s Allies

The Wood’s Halfpence Controversy in Ireland, 1724–1725. Second revised and augmented edition


Edited By Sabine Baltes-Ellermann

The patent for coining copper money granted by King George I to the English manufacturer William Wood aroused nationwide protest in Ireland. It led to the publication of Jonathan Swift’s «Drapier’s Letters», in which the Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, attacked both the patent and England’s Irish policy. But this is not the whole story. This annotated edition contains more than 100 pamphlets, declarations, poems, and songs that were published during the dispute. Most of the reproduced texts are extremely rare and have hitherto lain dormant in various libraries. They illustrate that the protest was in fact carried on by the Irish population at large, who regarded the coinage scheme as a severe intrusion into the nation’s circulating cash which threatened to ruin the country’s economy.

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Biographical Index


Abercorn, James Hamilton, 6th Earl of (1656–1734): soldier and politician; champion of the Irish interest in the House of Lords.

Ashton, Robert (fl. 1725–28): Dublin shoemaker and versifier.

Bindon, David (c. 1690–1761): son of David Bindon (c. 1650–1733), MP for Ennis, Co. Clare; brother of the painter and architect Francis Bindon (c. 1690–1765); author of several pamphlets relating to coin and economic affairs.

Brodrick, St John (c. 1685–1728): son of Alan Brodrick, Viscount Midleton; MP for Co. Cork and leader of the opposition in the Irish Parliament, especially to any administration favouring his father's rival, Speaker William Conolly.

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