The controversy about Wood’s Halfpence between 1722 and 1725 was an exceptional instance of Irish defiance of England’s imperial authority. In a heated public dispute, more than 100 pamphlets and broadsides in prose and verse protested against the English Government’s granting a patent for coining copper money for Ireland to an English manufacturer. Castigating the project in economic and constitutional terms, they revealed an indebtedness to traditional arguments for Ireland’s status as a free kingdom, whose people enjoyed the same liberties as the people of England. The pamphlets thus render a representative picture of Irish political thought and of the country’s relationship with its closest neighbour, and most powerful rival, England, in the early eighteenth century.
The Author: Sabine Baltes studied English Language and Literature, Modern History, and Economics at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, and at the University of Ulster at Coleraine / Northern Ireland. From 1997 to 1999, she worked at the Institut für Buchwissenschaft und Textforschung, in 2000 at the Labor für Biophysik, and in 2002 at the Ehrenpreis-Institut für Swift Studien at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster.