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‘A Nation of Beggars’?Priests, People, and Politics in Famine Ireland, 1846–1852$
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Donal A. Kerr

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207375.001.0001

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Endowment or Independence? Russell’s ‘Great Settlement’ Foiled, 1848–1849

Endowment or Independence? Russell’s ‘Great Settlement’ Foiled, 1848–1849

(p.166) 6 Endowment or Independence? Russell’s ‘Great Settlement’ Foiled, 1848–1849
‘A Nation of Beggars’?


Oxford University Press

For a Church that sees its task as a mission to a large population, the provision of clergy is a priority; the Irish Catholic Church, with its highly developed sacramental system, needed a numerous clergy to administer its rites and preach the Christian gospel. Yet in the early years of the nineteenth century it was failing in this requirement. A great measure for Ireland was the Encumbered Estates Act. Russell’s general plan involved the establishment of a Catholic parson and a Catholic squire working in harmony with the state. The Encumbered Estates Act of 1848, however, proved abortive and had to be amended, along lines suggested by Peel, in a new Act in 1849. Russell’s expectations from it were not fulfilled. Furthermore, since his scheme to endow the clergy never got off the ground, by 1849 his great plan for Ireland had stalled.

Keywords:   assimilation, Irish Church, Christian gospel, John Russell, Encumbered Estates

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