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undertaker system. For many years the English administration in Dublin castle kept control of the Irish Parliament by reaching agreements with leading Irish borough patrons, who ‘undertook’ to construct a government majority and see through business. In exchange they received extensive patronage. Lord Townshend, appointed lord-lieutenant in 1767, resolved to end the system, but was unable to do more than shuffle the personnel. The concessions which he made, including the Octennial Act, paved the way for legislative independence and Grattan's Parliament. The influence of undertakers was not fully removed until the Union of 1801.
J. A. Cannon