Grattan, Henry (17461820)

Grattan, Henry, great Irish patriot and orator, born in Dublin, and by birth a Protestant; studied at Trinity College, where he stood high in classics; was called to the Irish bar in 1772, and entered the Irish Parliament three years after, where he distinguished himself as the champion of legislative freedom, by maintaining that the crown had no right to legislate on matters affecting Irish interests, and particularly Irish commercial interests, without consulting the Irish Parliament, and by securing thereby in a measure the legislative independence of Ireland; on the question of Irish Parliamentary reform he quarrelled with his compatriots, and he confined his own efforts to Catholic emancipation; in 1798 he retired from public life, but came forth as an opponent of the Union in 1800, though, on its accomplishment, he represented first Malton in Yorkshire, and then Dublin in the United Parliament, devoting the rest of his life to the political emancipation of his Catholic fellow-subjects; before the rupture referred to fell out, he received a grant of £50,000 from the Irish Parliament; in private as in public life, he was a man of irreproachable character, while as an orator he ranks among the foremost of his time (17461820).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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