ABSTRACT

This chapter argues that the Irish currency debate spanned 1803 and into 1804, whereas the maximum depreciation of the Irish pound against gold, and the greatest exchange depreciation of the Irish pound, occurred in 1816. The Irish currency debate circa 1803 is revealed to have been motivated by, and underwritten by, the pursuit of group power relativities after the Act of Union with Ireland. Once Irish officials’ salaries were paid at Irish parity, rather than English parity, such that the equity between landlords’ remittances and officials’ salaries had been re-established, debate ceased—despite worsening depreciation. Bullionists defined money narrowly, focusing on currency, while anti-bullionists defined it broadly: currency, bills of exchange. David Ricardo was the most bullionists in both stylistic and substantive terms, because he amongst his peers was the most factionally committed to the individualist way of life.