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take care of them, for I die in a good cause.” He suffered on the 7th of September, without derogating from his previous demeanour,
In the Connaught counties, the trials were not as numerous in proportion as in Leinster. Lord Carhampton had gone down to quell the insurrections, and after he had succeeded, thinking perhaps that legal proceedings were tedious and sometimes uncertain in their issue, he delivered the gaols of most of their inhabitants, by taking such as he thought fit, and sending them, without form of trial, or other warrant but his own military order, to serve on board the fleet. In this manner, nearly 1300 persons were transported, not by their own connivance, nor as a kind of voluntary commutation of what they might suffer if rigorously prosecuted. On the contrary, it was not even pretended, that those selected were accused of the most serious crimes, or the most likely to meet conviction before a jury; nor was the act attributed by the inhabitants of the country, to a misjudging lenity. Indeed the objects of this summary measure were frequently seen tied down on carts, in the bitterest agonies, crying out incessantly for trial, but crying in vain. This conduct marked his lordship's attachment to government too strongly, not to have its imitators. Magistrates, therefore, without military commissions, but within the influence of his example, assumed to themselves also the authority of transporting without trial.
In the province of Ulster, the county of Armagh and its borders exhibited a scene of more melancholy disturbances, and more abominable oppressions than afflicted or disgraced the rest of Ireland. The religious animosities that had raged so violently in 1793, appeared to have been subdued by the combined efforts of liberal catholics and dissenters, by the unremitting exertions of the United Irishmen of that day, and by the conciliatory sentiments which flowed from the press, as far as it was in the same interests. The press, however, was subsequently reduced almost
to silence; and the recent coercive statutes had nearly annihilated all public efforts by united, or even liberal Irishmen, on any subject of general politics, except during the transitory administration of Lord Fitzwilliam. The barriers to the revival of those animosities being thus broken down, they again desolated the country with augmented fury. The peep-'o'-day-boys, who originally pretended only to enforce the popery laws, by depriving catholics of their arms, now affected more important objects. They claimed to be associated for the support of a protestant government, and a protestant succession, which they said were endangered by the encreased power of the catholics in the state, and they therefore adopted the name of Orange-men, to express their attachment to the memory of that prince to whom they owed those blessings. With this change of name, they asserted they had also gained an accession of strength ; for the peep-o'day-boys only imagined they were supported by the law of the land, in their depredations on their catholic neighbours; but the Orange-men boasted a protection greater than even that of law— the connivance and concealed support of those who were bound to see it fairly administered. Thus emboldened, and as they alledged, reinforced, they renewed their ancient persecutions : but not content with stripping catholics of arms, they now went greater lengths than they had ever done before, in adding insult to injury sometimes by mocking the solemnities of their worship, and at others, even by firing into the coffins of the dead, on their way to sepulture.
The catholics were by no means inclined to submit with tameness to these outrages. The defender system had nearly included all of that persuasion in the lower ranks, and scarcely any others were to be found in the neighbourhood. They seized some opportunities of retaliating, and thus restored to defenderism, in that part of the country, its original character of a religious feud. These mutual irritations still encreasing, at length produced open hostilitics. An affray near Lough Brickland,
on the borders of the counties of Down and Armagh, and another at the fair of Loughgall, preceded and led to a more general engagement, in the month of August, at a place called the Diamond, near Portadown, in the county of Armagh. For some days previous to this, both parties had been preparing and collecting their forces; they seized the different passes and roads; had their advanced posts, and were in some measure encamped and hutted. No steps, however, were taken by the magistrates of the country; nor, as far as can be inferred from any visible circumstances, even by government itself, to prevent this religious war, publicly levied and carried on, in one of the most populous, cultivated and highly improved parts of the kingdom; nay more, the party which provoked the hostilities, and which the event has proved to have been the strongest, boasted of being connived at, for its well known loyalty and attachment to the
whatever may have been the motives for this inaction, certain it is, that both parties assembled at the Diamond, to the amount of several thousands. The defenders were the most numerous, but the Orangemen had an immense advantage in point of preparation and skill, many of them having been members of the old volunteer corps, whose arms and discipline they still retained, and perverted to very different purposes, from those that have immortalized that body. The contest, therefore, was not long or doubtful; the defenders were speedily defeated, with the loss of some few killed and left on the field of battle, besides the wounded, whom they carried away. After this, in consequence of the interference of a catholic priest and of a country gentleman, a truce between both parties was agreed upon, which was unfortunately violated in less than twenty-four hours. The two bodies that had consented to it, for the most part dispersed; the district, however, in which the battle was fought, being entirely filled with Orangemen, some of them still remained embodied, but the catholics returned . home
home. In the course of next day, about seven hundred defenders from Keady, in a remote part of the county, came to the succour of their friends, and ignorant of the armistice, attacked the Orangemen, who were still assembled. The associates of the latter being on the spot, quickly collected again, and the defenders were once more routed. Perhaps this mistake might have been cleared up, and the treaty renewed, if the resentment of the Orangemen had not been fomented and cherished by persons to whom reconciliation of any kind was hateful. The catholics, after this transaction, never attempted to make a stand, but the Orangemen commenced a persecution of the blackest die. They would no longer permit a catholic to exist in the county. They posted up on the cabins of those unfortunate victims this pithy notice, “to hell or Connaught;” and appointed a limited time in which the necessary removal of persons and property was to be made. If after the expiration of that period, the notice had not been entirely complied with, the Orangemen assembled, destroyed their furniture, burnt the habitations, and forced the ruined family to fly elsewhere for shelter. So punctual were they in executing their threats, that after some experiments, none were found rash enough to abide the event of non-compliance. In this way, upwards of seven hundred catholic families in one county, were forced to abandon their farms, their dwellings, and their properties, with. out any process of law, and even without any alledged crime, except their religious belief be one.
While these outrages were going on, the resident magistrates were not found to resist them, and in some instances were even more than inactive spectators. The arm of government too, seemed palsied; or its strength exhausted by its efforts in Connaught to restrain the subdued insurgents, and by the vigilant activity of the commander in that province, to transport the suspected without trial. The county of Armagh, however, and its neighbourhood, were not destitute of military force, able able and willing to repress those outrages. The Queen's county militia, consisting mostly of catholics, was there, and exceedingly incensed at the unresisted, unrestrained, and even unnoticed, persecution against that religion, which it was forced to
But though the protecting hand of government, or of the magistracy, was not held forth to the oppressed, they were not utterly abandoned. The United Irishmen endeavoured to allay the animosities by conciliatory efforts, as well as to bring to punishment the most daring violators of the law, and the magistrates, from whose suspicious inactivity they derived most succour. This, it was hoped, would produce many advantages. The United Irishmen would convince those forlorn people of their sincerity in seeking for the entire abolition of all religious distinctions, and perhaps induce them, by gratitude and interest, to enter into the union. If redress was to be obtained, or the protestant persecution to be checked, the catholics would owe to their exertions, at least a temporary relief from immediate sufferings, until the fulness of time should arrive for decisive remedies; but if the alledged connivance and support of magistrates and higher authorities should succeed in frustrating legal prosecutions, at least the horrible atrocities themselves would be exposed beyond the possibility of concealment or denial; and from the failure of the experiment, it was expected the proscribed would at last conclude, that their protection was not to be found
in perverted laws, or delusive tribunals.
Prosecutions were therefore commenced and carried on by the executive, at the desire of the provincial committee of the United Irishmen, against some of the most notorious offenders, and some of the most guilty magistrates; but that measure appeared only to redouble the outrages. Many of those who attempted to swear examinations, were killed or forced to fly, and others compelled by the fears of death, to retract or contradict the