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result is likely enough, had the rebellion succeeded. But the " United Irish," theoretically and practically, comprised men of all religions. Their revolt was essentially different from the two former Irish wars with which Macaulay classes them. The historian does not even mention authorities for his allusions to the '98 rebellion. British readers, ignorant of Ireland, have doubtless read and believed these statements, and consequently formed erroneous ideas about this insurrection.
It has been often admitted and deplored by Englishmen of sense and education how ignorant they were of Ireland when dealing with its political government or social feelings. This ignorance is less surprising when even learned historians write about it without sufficient authority for the conclusions they both form for themselves and convey to others. Macaulay's comparison of the '98 revolt with the two previous Irish wars is a remarkable proof of the superficial manner in which even this illustrious writer indulges when dealing with the grave and delicate subject of Irish disaffection, the importance of which the progress of this century has increased rather than diminished.
It is, indeed, of practical consequence that the designs, motives, and principles of the '98 rebellion should be rightly understood in England, for it certainly explains all subsequent Irish disaffection more clearly than any former rebellion can be expected to do. The wars of 1641 and '89 were each closely connected with - the British revolutions of these periods, hence the probable reason why they are both comparatively well known to British readers.
Cromwell and William III., the champions or principal foes of contending English parties, headed armies in Ireland, and, wherever their names appear, British attention and interest follow them. No famous prince or general appeared during the '98 revolt. The movement was confined to Ireland, and no party in Great Britain had apparently much sympathy with it. France, the ancient historical foe of England, was its chief external aid and promoter. The anti-English feeling, for centuries prevalent there, was eagerly appealed to and utilised by the "United Irish" leaders, no longer to recall a past time—the avowed and cherished object of all previous Irish wars— but to create a completely new one, not to restore the political supremacy of the old faith, or the territorial power of hereditary chiefs, but to utterly repudiate the ascendency of any form of religion, the political influence of any particular class, and, above all, the monarchical principle itself.
This extreme republican spirit, far less moderate than that of America, was_ first known_in_ Ireland during '98. It has been, however, encouraged ever since, both by French and American sympathisers to the present time.
Previous to '98, the republican spirit was unknown in Ireland, except when it animated Cromwell's fierce soldiery against the native Irish, and even against some Protestant Royalists. Religious enthusiasm animated the Irish against England both in 1641 and 1689. The native chief, Sir Phelim O'Neill, and the English Catholic Viceroy, Tyrconnel, alike appealed to it and fully shared it. But this was a sentiment specially denounced by the " United Irish" leaders, who exhorted all inhabitants of Ireland —Protestant and Catholic—to unite against England, and establish a Republic after the French model, under which no religious denomination was to have the least ascendency.
Despite Macaulay's comparison, therefore, an attentive student of the "United Irish" Rebellion of '98 will perceive that, instead of being directed against the colony, this revolution was chiefly planned and conducted by British descended and Protestant colonists. The objects of the two previous Irish wars, headed by Sir Phelim O'Neill in 1641, and stared up by James II.'s loyal Viceroy, Tyrconnel, in 1689, were : ihe first, to regain the former independence of the, Irish chiefs, under, perhaps, the nominal autho-j rity of Charles I.; the^ second, to maintain the Roman Catholic House of Stuart on the Irish throne, by uniting the national and religious enmity of the native Irish against the British nation and colony, likewise united by religion and race.
The '98 insurrection was a remarkable contrast to both these wars. Neither the restoration of independent Irish chieftains, nor the supremacy of Roman Catholicism, were its avowed objects, but were, on the contrary, alike incompatible with them. Its real design was, indeed, clearly stated to be the establishment of a Republic, composed of Irishmen of all religious persuasions, closely allied with the Jacobin Republic recently established in France. But no idea of either extirpating or banishing British Protestant colonists was ever entertained by the "United Irish" leaders, whose chosen name, indeed, excluded any such project.