portation of Irish woollen manufactures to England or elsewhere—one of the worst Acts of oppression of the many that England has perpetrated against Ireland —led Molyneux to write this book, in which he contends for the constitutional right of Ireland to absolute legislative independence. As the political relationship between the two countries—a relation now of pure force on one side, and of subjection on the other—is still a matter of contention, it will not be out of place to devote a few lines to a brief summary of his argument.
Before 1641 no law made in England was of force in Ireland without the consent of the latter, a large number of English Acts not being received in Ireland till they had been separately enacted there also. At the so-called conquest of Ireland by Henry II., the English laws settled by him were voluntarily accepted by the Irish clergy and nobility, and Ireland was allowed the freedom of holding parliaments as a separate and distinct kingdom from England. So it was that John was made King (or Dominus) of Ireland even in the lifetime of his father, Henry II., and remained so during the reign of his brother, Richard I. Ireland, therefore, could not be bound by England without