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and by the insurrection act, which enabled the same magistrates, if they choose, under colour of law, to act anew the same abominations. Nothing, it was contended, could more justly excite the spirit of resistance, and determine men to appeal to arms, than the insurrection act; it punished with death the administering of oaths, which in their opinion were calculated for the most virtuous and honourable purposes. The power of proclaiming counties, and quieting them by breaking open the cabins of the - peasants between sunset and sunrise, by seizing the inmates, and . sending them on board tenders, without the ordinary interposition of a trial by jury, had, it was alledged, irritated beyond endurance the minds of the reflecting, and the feelings of the unthinking inhabitants of that province. It was contended, that even according to the constitution and example of 1688, when the protection of the constituted authorities was drawn from the subject, allegiance, the reciprocal duty, ceased to bind; when the people were not redressed, they had a right to resist, and were free to seek for allies wherever they were to be found. The English revolutionists of 1688 called in the aid of a foreign republic to overthrow their oppressors. There had sprung up in our own time a much more mighty republic, which, by its offers of assistance to break the chains of slavery, had drawn ou itself a war with the enemies of our freedom, and now particularly tendered us its aid. These arguments prevailed, and it was resolved to employ the proffered assistance for the purpose of separation. We are aware it is suspected that negociations between the United Irishmen and the French were carried on at

an earlier period than that now alluded to, but we solemnly de

clare such suspicion is ill-founded. In consequence of this determination of the executive, an agent was dispatched to the French directory, who acquainted them with it, stated the dispositions of the people, and the measures which caused them. He received fresh assurances that the succours should be sent as

soon as the armament could be got ready.

- - - About



About October, 1796, a messenger from the republic arrived, who, after authenticating himself, said he came to be informed of the state of the country, and to tell the leaders of the United Irishmen of the intention of the French to invade it speedily with 15,000 men, and a great quantity of arms and ammunition; but neither mentioned the precise time, nor the place, doubting, we suppose, our caution, or our secrecy.— Shortly after his departure, a letter arrived from a quarter, which there was reason to look on as confidential, stating that they would invade England in the spring, and positively Ireland.— The reason of this contradiction has never been explained; but the consequences of it, and the messenger not having specified the place of landing, were, that when the armament arrived in December, 1796, at Bantry Bay, they came at a time, and in a port we had not foreknown.

After the intended descent had failed, it occurred to some of the members of the association, and their friends in the city, and to some of the most considerate of the United Irishmen, that one more attempt should be made in favour of parliamentary reform. They hoped that the terrible warning which had been given by the facility of reaching our coasts, and if the armament had landed, the possibility at least of its succeeding, would have shewn the borough proprietors the necessity of conceding to the popular wish. The storm had dispersed a cloud big with danger, but it might again collect, and the thunder of republic and revolution again roll, and burst over their heads. This was then judged the best moment to persuade them, in the midst of their fears, to a measure strictly counter-revolu


We think it but right to state, that no greater connexion ever subsisted between any of the members of the opposition and the United Irishmen, except in this instance, and for the accomplishment of this purpose. In consequence of these joint - efforts

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efforts a meeting was held at the exchange, which declared in
favour of reform, and a proposal of that nature was submitted
to parliament. If in the course of that effort for reform it had
not become evident that success was hopeless, it was the wish of
many among us, and we believe the executive would have gladly
embraced the occasion of declining to hold any further intercourse
with France, except sending a messenger there to tell them that
the difference between government and the people had been ad-
justed, and that they would have no business a second time to
attempt a landing. In fact, no attempt or advance was made
to renew the negociation till April, 1797, when an agent was
sent. In the May following, the well known proclamation of
General Lake appeared. This very much encreased the ferment
of the public mind, and the wish for the return of the French,
to get rid of the severities of martial-law. It did more—it
goaded many people of the north to press the executive to an

insurrection, independent of foreign aid.

About this time a letter arrived, which assured us the French would come again, and requesting that a person should be sent over to make previous arrangements. The eagerness of those in the north, who were urgent for insurrection, was checked by making known this communication to them, and entreating for delay; it was resisted likewise by some of the most sober and reflecting among themselves, who were of opinion they were, not yet sufficiently prepared for the attempt; those considerations prevailed, particularly as, in order to enforce them, an advantage was taken of the wish expressed by their enemies, that the peo

ple might rise.

The impatience, however, which was manifested on this occasion, and the knowledge that it was only controled by the expectation of speedy and foreign assistance, determined the executive to send an agent speedily to France in answer to the letter. This person departed in the latter end of June, 1797. D d - - By



By both these agents, rather a small number of men, with a great quantity of arms, ammunition, artillery and officers were required; a small force only was asked for, because the executive, faithful to the principle of Irish independence, wished for what they deemed just sufficient to liberate their country, but incompetent

to subdue it.—Their most determined resolution, and that of

the whole body, being collected as far as its opinions could be taken, always has been in no event to let Ireland come under the dominion of France, but it was offered to pay the expences of the expedition. The number required was 10,000 men at the most, and at the least 5,000. The executive inclined to the larger number; but even with the smaller, the general opinion among them was, there could be no doubt of success. As to the quantity of arms, by the first messenger 40,000 stand were specified, but by the second, as much more as could be sent; the dif. ference arose from the disarming that had gone on in the north, and the encreasing numbers who were ready to use them. The executive also instructed its agents to negotiate for a loan of money, if it could be had in France; if not, to negociate with Spain—the sum was half a million. Our second agent, on his arrival at Hamburg, wrote a memorial containing those and other details, a copy of which some way or other, we perceive the government has obtained, and therefore refer to it. He then proceeded to Paris, to treat further on the business, where he presented a second memorial; the object of this was to urge motives arising out of the state of affairs, which would induce constant the directory not to postpone the invasion. We cannot precisely state the whole of its contents, as, according to the ... practice already mentioned, no copy of it has been preserved; but it went to demonstrate that the disposition which then existed in the Irish mind was in no future contingency to be expected, nor in any subsequent rupture between Great Britain

and the French republic; that his majesty's ministers must see

Ireland would infallibly become the seat of war, if they did

not previously remove those grievances, the existence of which


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would naturally invite, and prove a powerful auxiliary to the
enemy. Such a rupture, it was observed, must be in the
contemplation of the British cabinet, as several of its most lead-
ing members declared that they considered the existence of the
British monarchy incompatible with that of the republic. Con-
ciliation, then, according to every rule of policy and common
sense, would be ultimately adopted; and though it should fall
short of the wishes of the people, it was asserted, if once pos.
sessed of a reasonable share of liberty, they would not be
brought to run the chance of a revolution in order to obtain a

more perfect system of freedom.

‘Our second agent, while at Paris, and pending the negocia-
o P § g
tion at Lisle, was told by some of the persons in power in

France, that if certain terms, not specified to him, were offered .

by the English, peace would certainly be made. However, af.
ter the negotiation was broken off, he received positive assurance
that the Irish never should be abandoned until a separation was
effected, and that they should be left entirely at their own option
to choose their own form of government,

About this time a person came over, informing us that a con

siderable army was ready, and embarked at the Texel, destined
for Ireland, and only waiting for a wind. The troops after.
wards disembarked, but we are ignorant of the reason why they

never sailed, except perhaps that the wind continued so long ad

verse, that the provisions were exhausted—and that in the mean
time disturbances broke out in the French government. It may
be proper to remark, that in none of the communications or
negotiations with France, did the government of that country
ever intimate the place they would land, or, except in the first,
the force they would bring.

Sometime in the beginning of the year, a letter was received
from France, stating that the succours might be expected in
April. Why the promise was not fulfilled, we have never
D d 2 learned.

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