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Octennial Act

Octennial Act, 1768. Until 1768 the Irish Parliament existed for the lifetime of the king and general elections were therefore infrequent. A radical campaign in the 1760s demanded a Septennial Act and the institution of habeas corpus. In 1768 the English government gave way and accepted an Octennial Act, though refusing habeas corpus. Though the Act contributed to the vigour of Irish parliamentary life in the later 18th cent., its effect was mitigated by the unreformed electoral system and, with the Act of Union of 1801, it ceased to apply.

J. A. Cannon

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