Anti-Catholicism and the Rhetoric of Slavery in Irish Writing, c. 1690–1730

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Anti-Catholicism was, in the words of one historian, the ‘single most salient feature’ in the mindset of eighteenth-century Ireland’s Anglican ruling class. This chapter traces one aspect of its expression in Ireland’s Anglophone literary culture. Throughout the period discussed in this chapter, anti-Catholicism was routinely and repeatedly articulated through opposition to ‘slavery’. From William King’s denunciation in 1691 of the ‘Slavery and Destruction designed against the Kingdom and Protestants of Ireland’ by James II to Jonathan Swift’s description of the country as a ‘land of slaves’ in 1727, the association was constant. Concentrating on the period between the defeat of James II in 1690 and Irish House of Lords’ ‘Report on the State of Popery’ in 1731, this chapter examines what exactly was meant by ‘slavery’ in such contexts and why it was rhetorically and conceptually intertwined with Catholicism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnti-Catholicism in Britain and Ireland, 1600–2000
Subtitle of host publicationPractices, Representations and Ideas
EditorsClaire Gheeraert-Graffeuille, Geraldine Vaughan
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-42882-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-42881-5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 25 Aug 2020

Publication series

NameHistories of the Sacred and Secular, 1700-2000
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


  • Ireland
  • William King
  • Jonathan Swift
  • Robert Molesworth
  • George Farquhar
  • Slavery
  • Anti-Catholicism


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