Spirit of Swift – spirit of Molyneux

I am now to address a free people. Ages have passed away , and this is the first moment in which you could be distinguished by that appelation. I have spoken on the subject of your liberty so often, that I have nothing to add, and have only to admire by what heaven-directed steps you have proceeded, until the whole faculty of the nation is braced up to the act of her own deliverance. I found Ireland on her knees – I watched over her with an eternal solicitude, and have traced her progress from injuries to arms, and from arms to Liberty. Spirit of Swift – spirit of Molyneaux – your genius has prevailed – Ireland is now a nation – in that new character I hail her; and bowing to her august presence, I say, Esto perpetua.

Printed version of the speech of Henry Grattan, 16th April 1782 in the event of the Irish Parliament gaining legislative independence. (It’s likely the invocation of William Molyneux and Jonathan Swift was not in the original spoken version.) Eighteen years later “Grattan’s Parliament” ended with the Act of Union.

(Biography of Henry Grattan, information on politics and administration in Ireland 1770-1815, via UCC. )

2 thoughts on “Spirit of Swift – spirit of Molyneux”

  1. I am interested in William Molyneaux .I am trying to find out where the family papers are archived.If you could help I would be most greatful.
    The branch of the family were based in Co Roscommon

    • The William Molyneux mentioned here was born in Dublin, the son of Samuel Molyneux (Master Gunner) and Margaret Dowdall, heiress to a Dublin merchant. William’s father bought an estate in Armagh, Castle Dillon and this line of the family (via William’s brother Thomas) lived there. (This auction catalogue outlines the family history.)

      There are papers belonging to William Molyneux and Thomas Molyneux in Trinity College Dublin, but they seem to concentrate on scientific notes rather than family papers.

      There is a note on the Landed Estates website that Samuel Molyneux bought land in Roscommon, and that S. J. Molyneux had an estate in the parish of Taghmaconnell in the 1830s. I’m afraid I have no further information but I hope that will be of some assistance. The best of luck in your search!


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