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tacle, so opposed to all precedent and all lessons and ideas of the past, of the British monarchy, defended by Irish Roman Catholics against a revolutionary union of British and Irish Protestants.
These allies summoned their king's son-inlaw, Prince William of Orange, without yet calling him their sovereign, to head their revolt against the lawful descendant of their long line of kings. Their firm resolution and united skill and bravery soon placed their victorious leader on the throne of the deposed monarch, who, with his infant son, were banished and proscribed.
- None but the Irish Catholics will stand · by me now,”* finally exclaimed the lawful heir of all the English conquerors of Ireland. His words proved true. His reign beheld a spectacle not only different from, but opposed to all historical precedent in the adhesion of the native Irish to an English king banished and deposed by English subjects. The claims and interests of the divided Christian
* Macaulay's History.
faith in this memorable instance overcame all historical aspirations for Irish independence. Thus, chiefs of ancient family, some of royal descent, now attended the levées of the English Catholic Viceroy, Tyrconnel, in Dublin, offering their services to a Saxon king, though at the price of the restitution of all lands granted to that king's fellow-countrymen, to be held in obedience to his regal supremacy. To this demand James—though, it is said, unwillingly --consented.
The paramount influence of their common Roman Catholic faith, now assailed by different sects of allied Protestants, mainly caused this extraordinary treaty between the native Irish princes, as they still considered themselves, and the regal descendant and representative of their hereditary foes.
The Irish Catholics, hitherto implacable and hereditary enemies of England, were now transformed into the English king's last army. Their defeat at the Boyne river and at Limerick decided the fate of the British sovereign in Ire. land ; and the new Government, established by revolution, assumed supreme power, and now
treated opponents as rebels to its sole and lawful authority.
After the fall of Limerick, in 1691, there ensued, according to Macaulay, a long peace in Ireland, which continued almost unbroken till 1798. He writes :* “ All this time hatred, kept down by fear, festered in the hearts of the children of the soil. They were still the same people who had sprung to arms in 1641 at the call of Phelim O'Neill, and in 1689 at the call of Tyrconnel. At length, after a hundred years of servitude, endured without one vigorous or combined struggle for emancipation, the French revolution awakened a wild hope in the bosoms of the oppressed. The spirit of Popery and the spirit of Jacobinism, irreconcilable antagonists everywhere else, were for once mingled in an unnatural and portentous union. Their joint influence produced the third and last rising up of the aboriginal population against the colony. The Celt again looked impatiently for the sails which were to bring succour from Brest, and the Saxon was again backed by the whole power of England. Again the victory
* History of England, vol. iv. ch. xvii.
remained with the well-educated and well-organized minority. But happily the vanquished people found protection in a quarter from which they would once have had to expect nothing but implacable severity. By this time the philosophy of the 18th century had purified English Whiggism."*
* Earl Russell, in his preface to Moore's Life, mentions the '98 rising as “so wickedly provoked, so rashly begun, and so cruelly crushed,” thus apparently confirming Macaulay's words. To prove, however, what effect“ purified English Whiggism” produced on the Irish revolutionary spirit, it may be instructive to quote the opinions of John Mitchel, the convicted revolutionist of 1848, upon both these distinguished Whigs—the Prime Minister and the historian. Mr. Mitchel (History of Ireland, vol. ii. p. 417), after stating that, during the Irish famine of '47, the ver. dict of wilful murder was returned against Lord Russell, then Premier, by several coroners' juries, observes : “ The verdict was perfectly justifiable, and the crime quite mani. fest; but, as there was no power to bring the criminal over to Ireland for trial, and as there would have been no use in arraigning him before an English jury, he was never brought to justice.” Mr. Mitchel was transported in ’48 as a felon, together with Messrs. Smith O'Brien and Meagher, by a Whig Government, when Lord Clarendon was Viceroy, whom Mr. Mitchel usually termed the Butcher-General of Ireland. These facts surely prove that he and his party thought their rebellion of ’48 quite as “ wickedly provoked,” if not as “cruelly crushed,” by the Whig Ministers, Russell and Clarendon, as that of '98 by the Tory statesmen, William Pitt and Lords Camden and Cornwallis. In his Irish History, vol. ii., Mitchel bitterly censures Lord Clarendon for “packing juries” for his own trial, and in the first page censures Macaulay as one “who, of all modern historians, has uniformly exhibited the most inveterate malignity against the Irish nation.” No impartial student of Macaulay would probably take this view. But it is instructive to know the impression which his truly English Liberal opinions produced on a man like John Mitchel, whose talents, ardour, and sincerity certainly gave him, although a Unitarian in creed, great influence even over the disaffected Irish Roman Catholics. His History of Ireland, though prejudiced and one-sided, is written with remarkable animation.
These words of Macaulay may considerably mislead readers not familiar with Irish history.
The '98 Rebellion cannot fairly be termed a “ rising up of the aboriginal population against the colony.” Such an idea would have horrified its chief leaders, and destroyed all their hopes, plans, and expectations. *
That it would eventually have caused this
* “ There has seldom been a national commotion in which religion was so little concerned; the Society of United Irishmen was professedly based upon the extinction of all theological animosities.”—Reid's Presbyterian Church in Ireland, vol. iii. ch. 30.