Ninety-eight and the Union

Justin McCarthy
Chapter IX

TWO great events in the world's history successively brought their influence to bear on the fortunes of Ireland. These were the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. The revolt of the American Colonies against the domination of England gave Grattan a signal opportunity for carrying to success his efforts for the independence of the Irish Parliament, and the outbreak of the French Revolution brought about in Ireland the rebellion of 1798. The Irish Parliament was still under the subjection of Poynings' Law when the American Revolution began. All available English troops were needed to carry on the struggle in America. The coasts of the British Islands were threatened and even harassed by Paul Jones and other American privateers. Ireland was left open to the incursions of any foreign Power hostile to England.