identification with the people as a whole. In Ireland, they faced the different but equally pressing challenge of living alongside each other as a Protestant minority in a predominantly Roman Catholic country.
The United Kingdom was created by the Acts of Union between England (and Wales) and Scotland in 1707 and between Great Britain and Ireland in 1800. In 1815 the constitutional position of the national churches had changed little since 1688. In England, Ireland and Wales the established church was Anglican; in Scotland it was Presbyterian. In terms both of numbers and of effective power, Anglicanism was the dominant religious tradition in the United Kingdom as a whole. The four Welsh dioceses were fully part of the Church of England, and as a corollary of the Union of the Dublin and Westminster parliaments implemented on 1 January 1801, the Church of England and the Church of Ireland were brought into closer association. Convocation, the church's own assembly, had been suspended since the early eighteenth century, and parliament legislated for the church alongside its other more secular business. The church's interest in parliament was represented by the presence in the Lords of all the English and Welsh bishops and four elected Irish ones. In the Commons until 1828 all members (except Scottish Presbyterians) were in theory nominally Anglican, although in practice indemnity acts allowed Protestant Nonconformists to take seats. Hence the Commons was perceived as a representative assembly of Anglican laymen, and the legitimate body for overseeing the church's affairs. Similarly intermingled roles were evident at local level, where the parish, run by the vestry meeting, was the basic unit of civil as well as ecclesiastical government, and numerous clergy served as magistrates.5 These arrangements were reflected in the constitutional theory that, as Edmund Burke said in 1792, 'in a Christian commonwealth the Church and the State are one and the same thing, being different integral parts of the same whole'.6 Above all national religious identity was perceived as embodied in the monarch, 'in whom', according to a preacher on the death of George III in 1820, 'was centered the well-being both of Church and State'.7 It was a patriotic consensus with which even Protestant Dissenters could identify, provided they themselves were accorded toleration and freedom of worship.8 In Ireland, on the other hand, such definition of state and nation in Anglican terms was inevitably divisive, given the minority status of
5 Cf.Brown, The national churches, pp. 1-15.
6 Quoted in Clark, English society, p. 250.
7 W Carus-Wilson, A sermon . . . on occasion of the death of. . . George HI (Preston, 1820), pp. 5-6.
8 See for example J. Morison, Patriotic regrets for the loss ofagood king (London, 1820), p. 20.
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