MARTIN, R. M. Ireland Before and After the Union with Great Britain. AUTHOR’S PRESENTATION COPY.
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With folding statistical table. London: J.B. Nichols & Dublin: McGlashan, 1848. Demy octavo. Third edition, with additions. pp. xl, , 424, . Green blind-stamped cloth, title in gilt on spine. Inscription on titlepage ‘With the Author’s Compliments’. Armorial bookplate of Peirce Mahony on front pastedown. Rear endpapers strengthened. A good copy. [L3 MBC 2C TVR 1A / 3C]
Robert Montgomery Martin (c.1801-1868) author and civil servant was born in Dublin into a Protestant family, the son of John Martin and Mary Hawkins. He trained as a doctor but joined the English Civil Service and was the first Colonial Treasurer of Hong Kong from 1844 to 1845. He was a founding member of the Statistical Society of London, the Colonial Society and the East India Association. Martin became a writer; according to his own account in 1840 he had for ten years been studying colonial questions. In the preface to this work he argues the case for maintaining the Union: “whatever injury Great Britain might experience from that severance, the far greater injury which Ireland would suffer is beyond comparison ... There can be no doubt that Great Britain could exist and flourish independent of Ireland .... Granting, for the sake of argument, that the Union had caused the evils alleged, the wiser and more practical course would be to endeavour to correct those evils, and to make the Union beneficial”. He argues that “Not withstanding the loss of the potato crop, on which three-fourths of the labouring class were unhappily dependent for subsistence, the general prosperity of the middle classes had not been interrupted”. Martin demonstrates all these facts with a series of statistical graphs on commerce, trade and manufacturers.
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