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leaders of talent or influence. Yet, nevertheless, the insurrection broke out fiercely in the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Carlow, and Wexford. The stoppage of the mail-coaches was the pre-arranged signal for a general rebellion, which the previous arrests of its chief leaders rendered only partial.* The Belfast, Galway, and Cork mails were, however, stopped and burned. The southern rebels were headed by Messrs. Bagenal Harvey, of Bargy Castle, Wexford, Keogh, and Colclough. The first was a Protestant and a Wexford landlord, but their followers mostly Roman Catholics.
As might have been foreseen, when once the ignorant peasantry were in armed revolt, without able or influential leaders, the principles of United Irishmen, probably never quite understood, except by their imprisoned chiefs, now, in their absence, vanished
* “Four days after Lord Edward's arrest three out of thirty-two counties rose, and to extinguish even that partial revolt cost the Government twenty-two million pounds and twenty thousand men.”—Fitzpatrick's Sham Squire, p. 119. These figures are probably exaggerated.
completely, and the old religious feuds between Catholics and Protestants turned the rebels against each other, even before the British troops and loyal yeomanry crushed their combined efforts at revolution.*
During the two previous wars with England, the Irish had many secret partisans or avowed allies throughout Great Britain. In the campaign of Sir Phelim O'Neill, in 1641, against the British republicans, some of the English believed that the Irish were really fighting to restore the British monarchy.† This design was denied, it is said, by O'Neill just before his execution by Cromwell's followers, but it was never entirely disproved. In 1689 the native Irish were the last of James II.'s subjects who fought for him, and certainly had the entire sympathies of the defeated Jacobites both in England and Scotland.
* “ When the northern rebels heard of the cruelties perpetrated on their Protestant brethren in other parts of Ireland by the Roman Catholic insurgents, they threw down their arms in disgust and indignation.”-Reid's Presbyterian Church in Ireland, vol. iii.
+ Carte's Life of Ormond.
But the Irish republican insurgents of '98 apparently obtained neither sympathy nor support from any party throughout Great Britain. Their close alliance with France, the historical foe of England, may partly explain this fact, while their republican friends in America seem to have given them far less assistance than they have furnished of late years, to encourage Irish enmity to British rule.
It is unfortunate for the cause of historical truth that rebel atrocities are almost alone detailed or mentioned by the loyalist writers, Maxwell and Musgrave, and in the former's history are often illustrated by Mr. Cruikshank's able pencil. The artist, besides portraying many rebel atrocities, certainly invests all the rebel visages with expressions more diabolical than human, while the loyalist excesses are rarely mentioned by either historian, and never made subjects for pictoria illustration.
On the other hand, Plowden, Dr. Madden, and Harwood made very little allusion to any atrocity committed by the rebels, while eloquently describing their wrongs and sufferings, as if they were injured innocents incapable of giving much provocation.
Many later historians have displayed nearly as much ardent “party spirit ” as if they wrote amid the passionate excitement of civil war or revolution.* From all accounts, however, it would seem to an impartial reader that the original design of the “ United Irishmen” had at least one noble object—the reconciliation of the divided and conflicting Irish people, Catholic and Protestant, with each other.
A short time before the outbreak this good end seemed nearer attainment than ever before in Ireland's history, and Protestants, Presby. terians, and Roman Catholics had begun to talk and think in friendly concert for the good of their common country. Unfortunately, however, the improvement of British legislation, instead of being the first object of this new alliance, was soon utterly repudiated by it, and the result might have been foreseen. Many Roman Catholics distrusted Protestant rebels allied with them against a Protestant Government. Most of their clergy viewed with dread a movement headed by professed Protestants and allied with French infidels, and this distrust soon became hatred.
* For instance, Mr. Froude writes : “The combination of fiendish malignity with pretensions to piety are the peculiar growth of the Church of Rome.”—English in Ireland, vol. i. p. 434. It is probable that no historian holding such sentiments could write fairly about Irish politics or Irish warfare.
The revolutionary alliance once destroyed, the British troops and Irish loyalists soon triumphed. But the suppression of the '98 rebellion left the Irish peasantry more mutually embittered and thoroughly disunited than ever since the fall of Limerick in 1691. Such was the final and practical result of the “United Irish” Society, which at first promised so differently.
This complete and shameful destruction of all his hopes apparently broke the heart of the high-spirited Wolfe Tone, reducing his vehement enthusiasm to equally vehement despair. His longing for death displayed the last gleam of that ardent spirit which had pursued its designs with such fiery energy throughout an eventful