COX, Sir Richard. The Proceeding of the Honourable House of Commons of Ireland, in Rejecting the Altered Money-bill, on December 17, 1753, Vindicated by Authorities taken from the Law and Usage of Parliament.
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Dublin: Printed for Peter Wilson, in Dame-street, 1754. First edition. Octavo. pp. 95, . Modern green buckram, titled in gilt. A fine copy.
Goldsmiths’ 8937. ESTC N46868.
Anonymous. By Sir Richard Cox.
Sir Richard Cox, (1702-66), 2nd baronet, improving landlord, and politician, was born probably on his father’s estate at Dunmanway, Co. Cork, eldest son among three sons and a daughter of Richard Cox and his first wife, Susannah, daughter of James French of Cork. His grandfather was Sir Richard Cox (d. 1733) and his uncle was Michael Cox. His father, who had had a military career and was MP for Tallow (1703-17) and Clonakilty (1717-25), died on 15 April 1725. Thus, at his grandfather’s death (1733) Richard Cox succeeded as 2nd baronet and as the senior member of a prominent family which may have included Nicholas Cox (1724-94), an army officer, lieutenant governor of the district of Gaspé in Canada, and one of several prominent Cork men in America at the time. Richard Cox entered St John’s College, Oxford, in 1720. He married Catherine, daughter of George Evans of Bulgaden Hall, Co. Limerick, in 1725.
After early and somewhat limited efforts to improve his estate, from about 1745 he worked with an entrepreneur from the north of Ireland, and together they developed a successful strategy. The landlord granted long leases to encourage the development of agriculture and of the linen industry, and offered slated houses and an elaborate and costly system of premiums on settlement and production to encourage protestants – even from as far away as the north of Ireland – to move to Dunmanway. He imported flaxseed to sell at cost to tenants, so that local flax production would provide raw material; he established a controlled market for yarn and cloth at Dunmanway, and a spinning school, both of which improved the supply of linen thread for the weaving industry. Dunmanway increased in size and was practically rebuilt during Cox’s lifetime; between 1747 and 1749 the number of occupied houses rose from eighty-seven to 117, and seventeen houses were being built in 1749. His methods were copied by other local landlords – for example, in the industrial villages established at Inishannon, Co. Cork, and Villierstown, Co. Waterford, and on estates at Doneraile and Clonakilty, Co. Cork – and his ideas had still wider currency when he published a letter addressed to Thomas Prior as a pamphlet in 1749. Cox was a cogent and persuasive writer, and even after thirty years, a Scottish landlord acknowledged in the 1780s that his efforts to improve Laurencekirk in Kincardineshire had been inspired by Cox’s work in Cork. Cox’s pamphlet provide important information for economic historians, one of whom estimates that there was in the late 1740s and 1750s an annual output of cloth on the Dunmanway estate worth over £1,300 to the local economy. Cox was a founder member of the Dublin Society in 1731 and received the freedom of Kinsale in 1735.
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