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numerous and powerful, and a thou- a rather later date, which Wilbersand times more ferocious. These force used to tell. men have saved the country, but they now take the lead in rapine and “I was with Pitt in the House of murder. The Irish militia, with few Lords, when Lord Clare replied to a officers, and those chiefly of the worst charge of cruel practices, approaching kind, follow closely on the heels of torture, for the discovery of concealed the yeomanry in murder and every arms. Well, suppose it were so; but kind of atrocity; and the Fencibles take surely,' &c. I shall never forget a share, tho' much behind-hand, with Pitt's look. He turned round to me the others. The feeble outrages, with that high indignant stare which burnings, and murders, which are sometimes marked his countenance, still committed by the rebels, serve and stalked out of the House." 2 to keep up the sanguinary disposition on our side; and as long as they tur- A week before the rebellion nish a pretext for our parties going in broke out, Buonaparte had sailed quest of them, I see no prospect of his Egyptian expedition, amendment. The conversation of

and though Wolfe Tone the principal persons of the country all tends to encourage this system of urging immediate action on the blood; and the conversation even at Directory, the chance was missed. my table, where you will suppose I Scarcely, however, had the rebeldo all I can to prevent it, always turns lion been suppressed, when Ireland on hanging, shooting, burning, &c., was alarmed by another French in&c.; and if a priest has been put to vasion, this time on a smaller scale. death, the greatest joy is expressed On the 22d of August, General by the whole company. So much for

landed Ireland and my wretched situation." Humbert, with 1100° men,

at Killala Bay, in County Mayo. For this spirit of clemency- He was joined by many Irish, and though accompanied by abundant a few days after defeated General firmness in his treatment of proved Lake in a fight, which, from the offenders—he, like Lord Canning conduct of the Irish militia, was afterwards, was fiercely attacked called the Castlebar races. Cornin England, and with still more wallis, however, speedily collected violence in Ireland. He was, how- a large force, and in less than three ever, gallantly supported in his weeks from the landing of the moderation by the British Cabinet, French, had defeated and taken and especially by Mr Pitt, who, prisoner the whole

whole expedition. as Wilberforce tells us in his diary, Small as was the scale of this in“resented and spurned the bigoted vasion, it illustrates two thingsfury of Irish Protestants."

the danger which would have arisen In Ireland the most moderate of if the forces of the Crown had been the ruling classes were those who in less competent hands than those most receive the credit of severity, of Cornwallis, and the worthlessthe Chancellor and Lord Castle- ness of the Irish militia. Writing reagh. Nevertheless, the Irish to Pitt a few weeks after, Cornrebels would have been in bad case wallis describes them as “a militia if they had been abandoned to the on which no dependence whatever mercies of even the most moderate can be placed, and which Aberof their fellow-countrymen. The cromby too justly described by difference in the attitude of En- saying they were only formidable glish statesmen, from even the best to their friends.": 3 of the Irish, is shown by a story of In a private letter written at

1 Marquis Cornwallis to Major-General Ross, Cornwallis Corr., ii. 368.
3 Wilberforce's Lise, ii. 327.

3 Cornwallis, ii. 413.

the same time he says, “ The Irish the miraculous good fortune of militia, from their repeated misbe- Great Britain, and not to any fithaviour in the field, and their ex- ness of Ireland for defence. Buonatreme licentiousness, are fallen into parte would soon return from the such universal contempt and abhor- East. Buonaparte might be relied rence, that when applications are on to see as clearly as the Directory made for the protection of troops, the weak spot of his enemies, and it is often requested that Irish chance could not be relied on for militia may not be sent." i Lan- the sixth time. It was true that guage such as this proves the im- rebellion had been suppressed by possibility which Cornwallis felt the combined moderation and firmof maintaining order in Ireland ness of Cornwallis, but the causes from Irish sources and with Irish of disaffection had not been reforce.

moved. Passions were too deeply. Yet another small invasion took stirred to appeal to an Irish Parliaplace the same autumn by a French ment to remove them, or to trust squadron, which reached Lough to Irish statesmen to hold the balSwilly, in County Donegal, on the ance with justice. The Chancellor Toth October. It was, however, and Lord Castlereagh, as Cornattacked and defeated the next wallis often declared, were the most day, before any landing could be moderate of Irish statesmen; but made, by a British squadron under as he emphatically stated a few Sir John Warren. Neither of these months laterinvasions were large enough to be

“If the British Government place :: formidable by themselves; either of their confidence in any Irish faction them, if they had appeared a little all will be ruined. The Chancellor earlier on the scene, would have and many of our most able friends multiplied tenfold the difficulty of are blinded by passion and prejudice, suppressing the rebellion.

and would drive the country into re

Lord Castle This then was the condition of bellion in six months. Ireland. It was torn in pieces by reagh is by far the best

, but I doubt the bitterest animosities. Its rival to control the violent representations

whether he would yet have firmness parties were only prevented from of his countrymen; and I trust when flying at each other's throats by the I retire that some Englishman may be superior force of Great Britain. Its sent over who will be at the trouble Parliament had formerly hindered of acting for himself, and will not and hampered the Government in submit to be governed." 2 their desires of reform and their Neither was there any other efforts to draw closer the bonds of party in Ireland to whom Corncommercial relationship, and now wallis could turn. Grattan had, encouraged and pressed them on to of course, been opposed to all severities and "vigour beyond the measures of violence; but Grattan, law.” It was the vulnerable point with most of the parliamentary of the empire, exposed to continual opposition, imitating the example invasion. It required a huge of Fox at Westminster, had secedBritish garrison, since the native ed in consequence of the severities forces that should have defended which succeeded on the failure of it had proved themselves worse Hoche's invasion. The party had than useless.

It was

true that at no time been considerable in five threatened invasions had been numbers, but at the general elecaverted, but this due to tion of 1797 Grattan declined re


i Cornwallis, ii. 414.

2 Cornwallis to Ross, iii. 250.






The task which I have undertaken regard as a precious possession in the present article is to describe the good fame of the statesmen of the events which led up to the previous generations, to whatever legislative union, on the first day of political party they may have bethis century, between Great Britain longed. and Ireland. These events form a But the Unionist case may be part of the Unionist case, upon placed much higher than this. which Unionists have been too There is nothing in the conduct apt to let judgment go by default, of Pitt and Cornwallis to be while their opponents have been ashamed of. What blackguardpressing the historical argument ism and baseness is to be found, with all possible force.

lies not in the conduct of those

who forced on the Union, but of “I am amazed at the deadness of vulgar opinion to the blackguardism those who extorted the highest and baseness—no words are strong

possible price for falling in with enough—which befoul the whole his it. The reasons that led to the tory of the Union."

Union were honourable and suffi

cient. The Act of Union put an So Mr Gladstone has written, in

end to a state of things that was a phrase which he has since told meant for publi

a disgrace and a peril to the em

Its enactments must be cation.

read, as Professor Dicey in his “Unspeakably criminal, I own, were recent admirable work declares, the means by which the Union was " in the lurid light cast upon brought about, and utterly insufficient them by the rebellion of 1798." were the reasons for its adoption."

They must be read also in view This is the more decorus though of the death-struggle with France scarcely less emphatic language of that was absorbing all the strength his latest manifesto.

As many frivolous Now, Unionists have been un- and wicked motives have been duly apt to take these views of ascribed to Mr Pitt as, in later history for granted. They have times, to Mr Gladstone himself. been for the most part content to But the memoirs and private correply what is perfectly true), that respondence of the time are now the historical argument has very open to the world, and from these little to do with the matter. The the truth shines out. case of the Union must be judged, Pitt and Cornwallis were guided not according to the motives or by two motives—the necessity of actions of the men who supported securing the country against French it nearly a century ago, but by invasion, and the desire to protect the standard of the welfare of the Irish Roman Catholics against the British Empire to-day. This argu- fury of Irish Protestants. These ment is cogent, but the position were the motives which they laid is not satisfactory to those who before the country ; these, as we are proud of the honour and the see from their most private utterhistory of their country, and who ances were the motives that actu

of the country.

i History of an Idea, p. 6.


ated themselves. The course which Nowadays, such restrictions are they took appeared to the country seen to do harm to the subject to be right and necessary; and country quite incommensurate with looking back from this distance of the advantage to the superior countime, it is hard to see that the try; but a hundred and fifty years country was wrong. Such is the ago it was a new idea to the Deview that I wish to present in this pendencies themselves that any article.

other relationship was possible, and In the first place, short sketch nothing was

hopeless-as of the salient features of the events Burke experienced at Bristolwhich led up to the Union contro- than to persuade a commercial versy will make the situation intel- audience that the freedom of Ireligible. During the first three- land could fail to be the ruin of quarters of the eighteenth century, England. Ireland lay under the weight of But the revolt of the American the severest penal laws against Colonies against commercial reCatholics, and the heaviest com- strictions of a similar nature roused mercial restriction on her indus- Ireland from sleep. The Irish felt try. When we look back upon at once that the cause of the Conthose laws, they appear altogether tinental was their own. The iniquitous. The marvel seems to Presbyterians of the north, in parbe that Ireland remained as tran. ticular, sympathised most strongly quil and peaceable under them as with them. Irish emigrants fought she did. But Ireland was not sin- in the armies; and when the Congular in regard to either of them. tinentals received hitherto unheardIn England and Scotland there of commercial freedom, the Irish existed penal laws against Catho- began to urge very strongly their lics even

more savage than those case for similar remissions. In of Ireland. It is true they were 1777 came that great British disasnot enforced ; but the furious ter, the surrender of Burgoyne at Edinburgh and Glasgow riots of Saratoga, and in the next year folJanuary 1779, and the more cele- lowed the first considerable relaxabrated Gordon riots of 1780, tion of the commercial restrictions caused by attempts to slighty re- and of the penal laws of Ireland. lax them, showed how fully they In the same year began the great had the sanction of the more igno- Volunteer movement, the first rant public opinion. Again, the symptoms and expression of indewhole theory of the British Em- pendent vigour in the country. pire was, that the commercial in. The city of Belfast was threatened terests of every part were to yield with a visit from three or four to those of Great Britain. Irish- privateers. British arms men are apt to talk as if the pro- reduced, that the only defence hibitions on wool and the other which the Lord Lieutenant found commercial restrictions on Irish himself able to offer consisted of trade were imposed out of some “a troop or two of horse, or part special hatred of Ireland ; but Ire- of a company of invalids.” Under land was merely put in the same these circumstances the inhabiposition as any of the Colonies or tants took up arms to defend Dependencies. Scotland did not themselves, and from this begin. obtain commercial freedom till the ning sprang a great national moveUnion; Ireland at the same price ment, giving Ireland a unity and obtained similar freedom.

a conscious force which carried with bilities. Within a week Flood





her far in the path of national life. the inscription, “Free Trade or Few bodies have been the subject this.” In the winter of 1779-80 of more extravagant laudation; of this imperious and just demand few is it harder to form a just was conceded, and complete free opinion. Perhaps the fairest tes- trade was granted by Lord timony on the subject is that of North. In the autumn of 1781 Lord Clare, who, at any rate, had came the final blow of the Amerno undue bias in their favour. In ican war, in the surrender of his great speech in support of the Lord Cornwallis, the only efficient Union, he says :

British general, with his army

at York Town. This was follow“On the old Irish volunteers I desire to be understood not to convey

up by the volunteers of the anything like censure. Their con

Dungannon Convention of Febduct will remain a problem in his- ruary 1782, formed by delegates tory; for without the shadow of from all the Ulster corps, and remilitary control, to their immortal presenting a force of 23,000 armed honour it is known, that from their

men. After grave and decorous first levy till they disbanded them- debate, this assembly declared that selves, no act of violence or outrage « The claim of any body of men, was charged against them; and they certainly did-on every occasion other than the King, Lords, and where their services were required— Commons of Ireland, to make laws exert themselves with effect to main- to bind this country, is unconstitain the internal peace of the country. tutional, illegal, and a grievance." The gentlemen of Ireland were all in After a series of resolutions upon their ranks, and maintained a decided all the burning questions of the influence upon them. But I shall

day, they concluc'ed, Protestant as never cease to think that the appeals made to that army by the angry poli- they were, by affirmingticians of that day were dangerous and ill-judged in the extreme ; and

“ That we hold the right of private that they established the precedent judgment in matters of religion to be for rebellion, which has since been equally sacred in others as in ourfollowed up with full success.”ı selves. That as men and as Irishmen,

as Christians and as Protestants, we In 1779 this force had grown rejoice in the relaxation of the penal to very large dimensions, and was laws against our Roman Catholic fel. variously estimated at from 40,000 low-subject, and that we conceive the to 100,000 strong. They were a measure to be fraught with the hapvehemently loyal and wholly Pro- piest consequence to the union and testant body. They devoted their prosperity of the inhabitants of Ire

land.” 2 full strength to political agitation. Their aims were free trade in the It is to be observed in passing, first place, and constitutional lib- that this resolution as to the erty in the second. Their de-Catholics is simply retrospective. mands for free trade were couched It rejoices in the relation of the in no measured terms. At the cele- penal laws which had already bration in Dublin of the birthday taken place, but by no means imof William III., among the most plies a desire for the removal of prominent features in the demon- all the remaining Catholic disastration were two

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1 Speech of Lord Clare in the Irish House of Lords, ioth Feb. 1800, p. 21– republished by the Irish Loyal and Patriotic Union.

2 Mitchell, History of Ireland, vol. i. p. 138.

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