Debates Relative to the Affairs of Ireland in the Years 1763 and 1764

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by Sir James Caldwell

Debates Relative to the Affairs of Ireland in the Years 1763 and 1764

Title page from Debates Relative to the Affairs of Ireland in the Years 1763 and 1764, volume two, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Sir James Caldwell
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Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: [s.n.]
Date 1766
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language English
Volumes 2 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. 8vo (20 cm.)
Location Shelf B-1
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Sir James Caldwell (c. 1720-1784), was deeply involved in the economic and political affairs of Ireland. "He maintained a wide correspondence with a great variety of public Žfigures in Ireland and Britain and wrote some twenty-five pamphlets on aspects of the political, economic and military affairs of Ireland."[1] Debates Relative to the Affairs of Ireland in the Year 1763 and 1764 is a prime example of Caldwell's "considerable ability" as an author.[2] He kept excellent records due in part to "his unrelenting, but unsuccessful pursuit of an Irish peerage":[3]

"...I now suffer the anguish of disappointment and stand exposed as the Dupe of Sport or artifice, an insignificant retainer of state, cajoled and neglected, flattering myself with importance like the fly upon the wheel, officiously busy to render service that is despised and ridiculously elated with the hope of reward that never was intended to be conferred..."[4]

Caldwell was posthumously recognized for his widely acclaimed work on the debates of the Irish House of Commons. It is considered an important book on the primacy of parliamentary literature, in part because it was written from Caldwell's memory of his attendance of the sessions.[5]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Ordered by Wythe from John Norton & Sons in a letter dated August 3, 1769. Records indicate the order was fulfilled.[6] Also listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "'Irish Debates. 2.v. 8vo." and given by Thomas Jefferson to his son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph. Later appears on Randolph's 1832 estate inventory as "'[Irish] Debates' (2 vols., $1.00 value)." In her 1958 [[1] on the George Wythe House, Mary R. M. Goodwin merely lists the title Debates of the Parliament of Ireland without providing supporting bibliographical information.[7] Dean's Memo[8] suggests the 1689 publication, A True Account of the Whole Proceedings of the Parliament in Ireland, beginning March 25, 1689. The other two Wythe Collection sources, Brown's Bibliography[9] and George Wythe's Library[10] on LibraryThing, include the 1766 publication by Sir James Caldwell, Debates Relative to the Affairs of Ireland in the Years 1763 and 1764, as the probable title owned by Wythe. The Wolf Law Library concurred with their identification and purchased a copy of this set.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in original calf with title in gilt on spine. Purchased from Kennys Bookshop and Art Galleries, Ltd. Bookseller obtained the set from the library of Judge Francis Murnaghan.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

See also


  1. Mervyn Busteed, "Sir James Caldwell, c.1720-84: An Anglo-Irish Landlord in the Age of Improvement," Irish Studies Review 9, no. 3 (2001): 320.
  2. David O'Donoghue, The Geographical Distribution of Irish Ability (Dublin: O'Donoghue and Co., 1906), 142.
  3. Busteed, "Sir James Caldwell," 321.
  4. J.B. Cunningham, Castle Caldwell and its Families (Belleek: Water Gate Press, 1980), 81.
  5. John Almon, Biographical, Literary and Political Anecdotes of Several of the Most Eminent Persons of the Present Age (London: Printed for T.N. Longman, and L.B. Seeley ..., 1797), 1:20.
  6. Frances Norton Mason, ed., John Norton & Sons, Merchants of London and Virginia: Being the Papers from their Counting House for the Years 1750 to 1795 (Richmond, Virginia: Dietz Press, 1937), 101. The letter is endorsed "Virga. Aug. 3d 1769/ George Wythe / recd. Octo. 18th pr. Brilliant / Ans. the March 1770 / pr. Brilliant."
  7. Mary R. M. Goodwin, The George Wythe House: Its Furniture and Furnishings (Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, 1958), XLVII.
  8. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 7 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  9. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  10. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on June 28, 2013.

External Links

Read volume one of this book in Google Books.