London, Chapman and Hall, 1845. First edition. pp. (1) 318, , (2) 306, 24 (publisher’s catalogue). Publisher’s blind-stamped cloth. New endpapers, spine professionally rebacked. A very good copy of an exceedingly scarce item with the half-titles.
Loeber H26. Brown 689. Not in Wolff. Only 7 copies located in COPAC.
Anna Maria Hall (1800-1881), a native of Dublin, grew up in Wexford, where she lived and mixed a good deal with the country people until the age of fifteen, when she was taken to London by her mother. In 1824 she married Samuel Carter Hall (from Cork), who collaborated with her on many works. She wrote plays, sketches, short stories and novels and her works were immensely popular both in England and Ireland. First issued in four parts. This is Mrs S.C. Hall’s first Irish or national novel, the central theme of which is the relationship between landlords and tenants in Ireland. In 1822, during the height of the Whiteboy agrarian protests, a young Englishman, Mr Spencer, comes to Ireland to take possession of his estate. He is intent on not choosing sides and wants to improve the condition of the peasants who work for him. Both the tenants and the landlords claim him as favouring their cause, and it requires great strength of character on Spencer’s part not to be usurped by either party. He succeeds, and together with his Irish wife bestows many improvements on his tenants. In the end of the book Spencer expresses the opinion that Catholic emancipation is the first step toward righting Ireland’s wrongs. A play, The White Boy; or, MacArty’s Fate, based on this novel, was performed in New York in 1848
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