German Travel Writers’ Narratives on Ireland from Before the 1798 Rising to After the Great Famine- Texts Edited, Translated and Annotated by Eoin Bourke
16 Johann Martin Lappenberg (1836)
Johann Martin Lappenberg (1794-1865) of Hamburg became interested at an early age in the close commercial and cultural connections between the Hanse- atic city and Great Britain. He spent the years 1813 to 1815 in London and Edinburgh before studying law and history at the universities of Berlin and Göttingen and then being appointed to the position of city archivist in Ham- burg. He made an extensive journey to England and Ireland in the year 1836. One of the fruits of this trip was an article of over 100 densely printed pages on Ireland published in 1845 in the Universal Encyclopedia of Sciences and Arts largely based on library and archival research carried out in London and Dublin. His younger colleague Reinhold Pauli described it as “one of the best works on Ireland, its history, statistics, language and literature, on many things that usually fall by the wayside – a really invaluable treasure trove” (Pauli 1, vol. 17, 711). Although Lappenberg was of solidly Protestant background, his liberal values outweighed his religious allegiances in his treatment of Irish history. On the subject of the Penal Laws he wrote: While in England the principles of regulated liberty were understood more and more thoroughly and enhanced steadily, their identification with Protestantism had an increasing- ly deleterious effect on the Irish nation. Religion became the smokescreen for the most out- rageous acts of oppression that have ever been practised in a Christian state and have de- graded an intelligent and courageous people to...
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