LEWIS, George Cornewall Esq. Local Disturbances in Ireland; and on the Irish Church Question. 141 London: Fellowes, 1836. First edition. pp. xii, 458. Errata on p. xii. Contemporaty half calf on marbled boards, title in gilt on black morocco label on spine. Armorial bookplate on front pastedown. Previous owners signatures on front flyleaf. A very good copy. Very scarce. “George Cornewall Lewis was born in London. He was educated at Eton College and at Christ Church, Oxford, where in 1828 he earned a first-class in classics and a second-class in mathematics. He then entered the Middle Temple, and was called to the bar in 1831. After holding subordinate office in various administrations, Lewis became a poor-law commissioner, and was made a baronet in 1846.
In 1833 he undertook his first public work as one of the commissioners to inquire into the condition of the Irish poor. In 1834 Lord Althorp included him in the commission to inquire into the state of church property and church affairs in Ireland. To this fact we owe this work on ‘Local Disturbances in Ireland; and on the Irish Church Question’, in which he condemns the existing connection between church and state, proposes a state provision for the Catholic clergy, and maintains the necessity of an efficient workhouse organization.
This sociological study deals with the condition and character of the Irish peasantry from 1760 to 1835, viz., their disposition to organised crime and disturbance and the causes which have led to the existence of the Whiteboys, the Rightboys, the Oakboys, the Steelboys, Peep o’ Day Boys, and the Orangemen and Ribbonmen movements.
It still remains the best and most detailed investigation on the subject.” 1836 LEWIS, George Cornewall