|Born a Protestant
in 1746, Gratton grew up in Dublin to become M.P.
for Charlemount in the Irish Parliament of 1772.
By 1775 he was leader of the opposition party.
The American Revolution (1776-82) sparked a
resurgence of Irish national feeling, the cause
of American indepenence echoing in the hearts of
Lead by Gratton Irish
polititicians demanded reform and formed a
‘Patriot Party’ for an Irish parliament
independent of Westminster. Countrywide over one
hundred thousand Irishmen pledged their support.
The English government
responded by removing restrictions on Irish trade and
allowing Catholics to buy land freely for the first time
in nearly a century. Finally, in 1782 Westminister
renounced its claim to legislate for Ireland directly and
Gratton claimed his greatest political victory.
"Ireland is now a nation. In that new character I
hail her!" he proclaimed.