John FitzGibbon, Earl of Clare: Protestant Reaction and English Authority in Late Eighteenth-century Ireland
Few men have risen to prominence more rapidly or spectacularly than John Fitzgibbon. Entering parliament in 1778, he was Attorney General within five years, Lord Chancellor in 1789. In 1794 he advanced to the rank of Viscount of Limerick and, in 1795, he attained the Earldom of Clare. A fervent advocate of the current governmental philosophy who freely expressed his contempt for Irish Catholicism, the period of his tenure saw Ireland descend into a state of economic entropy and social chaos. A man of enormous power, who inspired hatred and fear in equal measure, Fitzgibbon was described thus by Sir Jonah Barrington: Authoritative and peremptory in his address, commanding, able and arrogant in his language, a daring contempt for public opinion was the fatal principle which misguided his conduct and Ireland became divided between the friends of his patron, the slaves of his power, and the enemies of his tyranny.
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Antecedents and Early Years 16001776
Youthful Patriot 17761780
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