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themselves, apparently with design to co-operate with the conductors of the general associations, who were endeavouring with all their influence to root out religious distinctions, and to unite zealously their countrymen into one great political phalanx. The protestants, alarmed at this bold and determined measure of Byrne, in issuing writs for electing a popish convention, were encouraged by the conduct of government to enter into strong · Tesolutions condemning it in severe terms; and strenuously declared that they would uphold the constitution, as it then stood, against all attacks from the democratic or republican principles then aiming at its overthrow. The catholics, meanwhile, retorted with much acrimony of invective on the resolutions of the protestants, and assembling in many counties, districts, and towns, defended Byrne's elective plan with great spirit and resolution. On the seventeenth of September they submitted to two barristers a case on the legality of the measure, and obtained from them their opinions in the affirmative. This they circulated with the greatest industry in the public prints, in order to inspire with confidence their adherents, and to encourage their agents in all parts of the kingdom to fresh exertions in stirring up the seeds of disaffection among the people.

The Catholic Convention, however, was so disgraced by the intemperate and illiberal proceedings of many of its own body, as to cause near seventy of its members, among whom were lords Kenmare and Fingall, together with many other gentlemen of rank and respectability, whose names would have confered lustre and added weight to their deliberations, to secede with disgust. It continued, notwithstanding, to direct with absolute sway, the affairs of by far the greater part of the catholic body of Ireland.

After having prepared a petition to the king, and nominated nine of their number to form a permanent committee for the management of the projected plans, the convention closed its session. Sir Thomas French, Christopher Bellew, James E. Devereux, Edward Byrne, and John Keogh, esquires, the delegates appointed to convey this petition to the king, having proceeded to Belfast, on their way to London, were received there with every mark of attention and respect. Immediately on their arrival at the Donegal Arms being known, a number of respectable inhabitants waited on and breakfasted with them. They remained in town about two hours, and on departing, were drawn in triumph, not by that class of people usually employed on such occasions, but by a party of the Belfast volunteer artillery, all persons in good circumstances, who had in the mean time assembled, and fixed the drag-ropes of their fieldpieces to the carriage of the delegates, amidst an astonishing crowd of spectators. In this manner were they drawn quite through the town and along the bridge on the road to Donaghadee, where the horses were again put to, amidst continued acclamations from the surrounding multitude, who repeatedly cheered the travellers with shouts of " success attend you !"(6 union !”-“equal laws !"--and “ down with the ascendancy!” The delegates politely returned thanks for the generous treatment they had experienced, and declared their determination to promote and maintain, by every means in their power, that union which formed the strength and security of Ireland. When one of them offered a sum of money to be distributed among the populace, it was peremptorily refused even by the poorest of the people. • Since you refuse any gratuity,” said the person who offered it, “ should your delegates arrive in “ Dublin, on any similar occasion, we shall give them a pull ó also;" which was returned by a general shout of " Union ! “ union !-May we be always found to pull together!” and the carriage moved on amidst reiterated cheerings and huzzas, This is a remarkable instance of the total extinction of all religious animosities in that part of the kingdom, where little more than a century ago, the most horrid atrocities were reciprocally committed by both catholics and protestants on the persons and properties of each other. Now, delegates from the catholic body, dispatched for the purpose of obtaining the entire emancipation of their sect, while passing through a large and populous protestant town, are received with the utmost applause, and considered, not as men possessing different reli, gious sentiments, and therefore unworthy of confidence and support, but as fellow countrymen, engaged in forwarding the happiness and prosperity of their country,ếan unequivocal and irrefragable proof, amongst many others, that the protestants, at least, had no object in view but the diffusion of a more liberal · and extensive system of civil liberty.

In consequence of the petition from the Romanists, his mą. jesty, in seventeen hundred and ninety-three, was pleased to recommend to parliament to take their situation into consideration ; and, in compliance with this injunction, the whole of the restrictive laws were repealed, except those by which they were excluded from sitting in parliament, and from holding about thirty great offices of state, which are immediately concerned in the confidential department of the executive government. This apparent lenity of the administration, however, was merely a continuation of that detestable system of policy, with regard to the affairs of Ireland, which first began to exert itself in the reign of Elizabeth, to foment the internal disunion of the Irish; that so they might be kept in a state of greater weakness, and thus their dependancy on England be more secure. But an effectual bar to the meeting of conventions, or other assemblies, was enacted by a bill styled the “ convention " bill,” proposed by the Lord chancellor, Fitzgibbon, earl of Clare, professing to “ prevent the election or other appoint“ment of conventions, or unlawful assemblies, under pretence " of preparing or presenting public petitions, or other addresses, " to his majesty or the parliament.” A national assembly, intended to have been convened in the month of September, was thus prevented from meeting; the proceedings of which, at that time, might have been attended with the most formidable consequences.

Had the protestant conductors of the Society of United Irishmen, towards the close of the year seventeen hundred and ninety-two, succeeded in their attempt to overawe the government by their intended ostentatious display of strength at the appointed general muster of the national guards, which appeared to be the object they had then most immediately in view, and thence to proceed by slow and cautious, but bolder and bolder measures to effect a revolution, the principles of the Romanists, who were also members of that association, would have had opportunity to put in execution their own scheme whatever it might be. Be that as it may, the lower class of Romanists appear evidently to have aimed at nothing less than the

exclusive establishment of their own system of religious worship. Enraptured by the hopes of so desirable a change, they could not conceal their sentiments. An alarming ferment rapidly prevailed. Songs, scurrilously abusive of the protestant religion, were publicly sung in the streets, and by tiplers in public houses. In seventeen hundred and ninety-three, a considerable body of insurgents, with a design to liberate some prisoners confined in the goal of Wexford, assembled and tumultuously attacked that town. Though they were in number about two thousand, and though they were opposed by the fire of about only thirty-five soldiers, yet, so little had they been used to meet an armed enemy, so grossly deficient were they in military skill, that they were repulsed with considerable slaughter. In this futile attempt major Vallotton, a brave and worthy soldier, was slain on the part of the king's troops. Several other trifling insurrections, particularly about the collieries in the counties of Kilkenny and Wexford, were suppressed with

ease.

Many of the heads of the Romanists are said to have regretted the loss of this opportunity of striking home by a general insurrection, when government was not prepared for the blow. In the year seventeen hundred and ninety-five, however, an ample field was opened to their hopes of success. By order of their permanent committee, petitions, on a model by them prescribed, were addressed by the whole body to parliament, demanding the complete emancipation of the catholics. Earl Fitzwilliam, the lord lieutenant, an associate of Edmund Burke, was a bitter enemy to the French republicans ; and though the Romanists of Ireland chiefly depended on them for assistance in a revolution for the establishment of their church ; yet by a strange infatuation (unless we suppose he himself to have been tinctured with papacy) was he strenuously attached to the latter. Before, however, he could gratify their wishes, he was superseded by the earl of Camden as lord lieutenant. The discontents were consequently rapidly augmented; many seditious speeches and resolutions, by authority of the committee, were published; the Ramanists were invited to assemble at a chapel in Dublin, and disturbances every where increased.

Such was the disappointment of the Romanists, and such the implacable resentment with which the lower classes among them were inspired against their protestant fellow-subjects, and the government by which they conceived themselves so grievously oppressed, that they proceeded immediately to plunge into the greatest excesses. The destructive rage of a party calling themselves defenders, in particular, manifested itself by the desolation of many parts of the kingdom, especially in the counties of Dublin, Meath, Westmeath, Kildare, King's and Queen's Counties, Louth, Armagh, Monaghan, Cavan, Derry, Donegal, Roscommon, Letrim, Longford, Sligo, and part of that of Down. The houses of protestants were plundered for the purpose of procuring arms, often burned ; and not unfrequently such of their inmates as made any resistance were slain. Such of their aggrieved countrymen as dared to prosecute, or to assist the civil magistracy in the execution of the laws, were barbarously massacred. The cattle were most {imprudently and inhumanly houghed or destroyed, and letters, threatning these and other most direful effects of their resentment, were wrote to compel persons to comply with their requisitions. The peaceable inhabitants were compelled to abandon their houses, in many of the disturbed districts, and to fly, in all the wildness, trembling, and agony, of affright and consternation, to their respective county towns, or to the metropolis for refuge.

On the arrival of lord Camden as governor [April, 1795.) he was immediately waited on by the officers of state, and by many of the nobility and gentry. But on the return of the lord chancellor, his carriage was tumultuously attacked by the mob. The machine was nearly battered to pieces by repeated vollies of stones, and it was with the utmost difficulty his lordship escaped, after receiving a severe contusion on the forehead. After assaulting the primate in the same outrageous manner, the same party proceeded with alacrity to the house of Mr. John Claudius Beresford, nephew to the marquis of Waterford, which they vigorously attacked. One of them, however, being killed by a shot, the remainder fled with precipitation.

During this universal agitation, the United Irishmen were assiduously employed in bringing 'over to their views persons of activity and literary talents throughout the kingdom; in dis

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