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life, which, after capture, was ended by determined suicide.*
Dr. Madden,f after giving a list of the chief United Irish leaders, among whom it seems that Arthur O'Connor and Napper Tandy were Protestants, says of "the organizing leaders" that the Protestants and Presbyterians, compared with Roman Catholics, were in proportion of about four to one, and adds—" There never was a greater mistake than to call this struggle a Popish rebellion. The movement was preeminently a Protestant one." On the other hand, Mr. FroudeJ says :—" French Jacobin doctrines were confined to the clubs of Dublin and Belfast, and had but a faint existence among the rebel bands in the held. The '98 rebellion was neither Jacobin nor Catholic; it was the revival of Irish nationality, and because the religion of the Irish was cemented so closely with the national spirit, the rebellion, like every other Irish rising since the Reformation, as
* Maxwell's Irish Rebellion.
sumed a Catholic aspect. The aspirations of the native race had been quickened into life by the fantastic pretensions of the Protestant colony to independence."
Mr. Froude dwells much on the fact of the Catholic priests, John Murphy and Philip Roche, heading armed rebels ;* but these priests were among a few exceptional instances, the majority abstaining from the contest, while the Catholic bishops all opposed the insurrection. Its ablest and most active promoters were certainly Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Thomas Emmet, the brothers Sheares, and Wolfe Tone, all Protestants, whose ultimate objects were, of course, very different from those of the majority among the Catholic insurgents. A very few Presbyterian clergymen also joined the rebellion, but
* "Flood, Grattan, Wolfe Tone, O'Connor, Edward Fitzgerald, these all in their way had seemed to pass for representative Irish patriots. But here was the real thing. The politicians were but shadows; Father John was the substance. With pistols in his holsters, his sword at his side, and a large crucifix in his arms, he rode at the head of his army, the true and perfect representative of Catholic and Celtic Ireland."—English in Ireland, vol. iii.
failed to induce the majority of their coreligionists to follow their example.* Thus both revolutionary Catholic priests and Presbyterian ministers were evidently a very small minority of their respective classes.
The eloquent, enthusiastic young Protestant laymen, the real chiefs of the rebellion, were, like their admired French republican allies, vehemently opposed to any clerical influence whatever. It was, therefore, with good reason, derived from European knowledge, that the Irish Catholic nobility and chief prelates unanimously opposed the '98 rebellion.
The Catholic Lords Fingal and Tara actually served in the Government army. Yet any student of Irish history might have expected these men to head a revolt against England, rather than Protestants of British descent like Fitzgerald, Tone, the Emmets, Sheareses, Harvey, &c. The state of continental Europe,
* "Many of the Presbyterians were no doubt implicated in the movement; but they were acting in opposition to the authority of the Church to which they belonged."—Eeid's Presbyterian Church in Ireland, vol. iii.
where republicanism was then allied with avowed atheism, chiefly explains the strange position of parties in Ireland during this ,extraordinary revolution. A population mostly Roman Catholic appeared in open revolt against British Protestant rule, yet headed chiefly by British descended Protestants, allied with French republicans, who alike despised and ridiculed those very religious principles for the triumph -of which the rebel majority was in arms! It is beyond all doubt that most of the rebel leaders, though not professed, and, perhaps, not really atheists, were utterly opposed to those deep and all-influencing religious feelings which so eminently distinguish the Irish character, whether ,Catholic or Protestant.
The majority of the insurgents thus differed completely in their ultimate designs from those aspiring to lead and represent them. When wounded or under sentence of death they were usually most anxious to see their clergy, and to receive spiritual consolation from them. Among the Irish loyalists massacred by the rebels the same earnest religious feelings were consistently shown. But Tone, the brothers Sheares, Robert Emmet, &c, seem, like the pagan heroes of antiquity, to have devoted their last words and thoughts to their worldly reputation, to the apparent exclusion of all other anxiety.
This is, of course, a subject about which no writer can be absolutely certain, but from all external evidence there certainly existed a complete difference between the "United Irish" leaders and their followers in this respect. Wolfe Tone, the Sheares brothers, and the two Emmets, the ablest of all the rebel leaders, were, perhaps, greater contrasts to their Irish adherents than nny of the others. Lord Edward Fitzgerald, a brave, practical soldier, probably resembled, despite his rank and Protestantism, many ardent, dashing young Irish rebels in reckless courage, and in love of daring and adventure. But intellectual theorists, like the other chief leaders, devoted to republican systems, and practically ignorant of Irish character, were never thoroughly understood in Ireland except by each other. They avowedly opposed all clerical influence, and had, therefore, no real hold on the confidence of their Catholic followers. Hatred to British rule formed the