“The rich will always betray the poor.” –Henry Joy McCracken
Henry Joy McCracken was a cotton manufacturer and industrialist, Presbyterian, radical Irish republican, and a founding member, along with Theobald Wolfe Tone, James Napper Tandy, and Robert Emmet, of the Society of the United Irishmen.
McCracken was born in High Street, Belfast on 31 August 1767. Proud to belong to two important Belfast Presbyterian families, he always used his full name. His father, John McCracken, was an entrepreneur and associated with many of Belfast’s leading philanthropic ventures; his maternal grandfather, Francis Joy, owned important paper mills and was the founder of The Belfast News-Letter. The Joys – of Huguenot descent – were also a public-spirited family. Henry was early interested in radical politics and used his position as owner of a cotton mill, of which he was put in charge at the age of 22, to travel extensively, making political…
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