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Definition: Grattan, Henry from Philip's Encyclopedia

Irish statesman. He entered the Irish Parliament in 1775. A compelling orator, he became leader of the Patriotic Party. In 1782, Grattan helped to obtain legislative independence. He strongly opposed the Act of Union (1801), which merged the Irish and British Parliaments. As a member of the Westminster Parliament (1805-20), Grattan fought for Catholic Emancipation.

Summary Article: Grattan, Henry
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Irish politician. He entered the Irish parliament in 1775, led the patriot opposition, and obtained free trade and legislative independence for Ireland in 1782. After failing to prevent the Act of Union of Ireland and England in 1800 (effective 1801), he sat in the British Parliament and championed the cause of Catholic emancipation.

After graduating from Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied classics, Grattan embarked on a career in law, joining the Middle Temple, London, in 1767. In 1772 he was called to the Irish Bar, but three years later entered politics when he was elected as member for the borough of Charlemont. Ireland was then suffering from the loss of markets as a result of Britain's war against the American colonists, and also from trade restrictions dating back to the reign of William III; Grattan succeeded in having all the restriction acts repealed in 1779. Three years later, the nominal independence he secured for the Irish Parliament earned him a grant of £50,000 from his grateful compatriots, but Grattan continued to press for genuine reform. Further measures of his to win greater Irish independence included support for Pitt's proposal to establish free trade between Britain and Ireland (1785), securing an act that extended the franchise to Roman Catholics (1792), and introduction of a wider Reform Bill (1794). However, these moderate reforms only served to fuel more extreme attitudes, and the country drifted into rebellion (see Wolfe Tone). Though Grattan retired from Parliament in 1797, he returned to take his seat for Wicklow in the final session of the Irish Parliament, when he unsuccessfully opposed the Union Bill. He was returned as member for Malton, Yorkshire, in 1805 and for Dublin in 1806. He was buried in Westminster Abbey beside Charles James Fox.


Grattan, Henry

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