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proper officers in the Irish administration. By this Chap. act the hereditary revenue became confounded with Uy«/, the additional supplies which were voted annually by parliament.
Some other popular bills also received the sanction of laws, by which a trade to India was permitted under specified restrictions, encouragement was given for the improvement of barren land, and an explanation was offered for the removal of doubts injuries in cases of libel. The sum of two hundred thousand pounds was also voted for the security of a loan to that amount, engaged by the bank, at five per cent interest, to some mercantile houses, for the restoration of commercial credit, which had received a rude shock in both the British kingdoms, since the commencement of the war against the French commonwealth, particularly in Dublin, where the streets were crowded' with starving weavers. The ministry, whose conciliatory conduct appears to have mollified in some degree the force of opposition, procured without difficulty the enaction of two bills of a coercive nature; one "To prevent the importation of arms, gunpowder and ammunition into this kingdom, and the removing and keeping of gunpowder, arms, and ammunition, without licence;" that those who might entertain rebellious designs should be barred from supplies of warlike stores: the other "To prevent the election, or other appointment, of conventions or other unlawful assemblies, under pretence of preparing or presenting public petitions, or other addresses, as to
Chap, his Majesty or parliament." By this was defeated *—^—J the dangerous project formed by the leaders of the United Irish of a national convention to be held at Athlone in the following September, or some other time. To enquire into the causes of the disturbances which had some time prevailed in several parts of the kingdom, a secret committee of the house of lords had been appointed early in the session, whose report related chiefly to a description of insurgents called Defenders, and to the proceedings of United Irishmen in Belfast and Dublin. Defenders. To a private quarrel between two peasants is attributed the origin of a feud, which so early as the year 1785 distracted a part of the county of Armagh, and thence, in succeeding years, having assumed a religious complexion, extended into several of the neighbouring counties. Bands of presbvterians, denominated Pcep-of-day hoys, disarmed, and otherwise maltreated, the catholics in the night, and dispersed at the dawn. Numbers of catholics, assuming the title of Defenders, as acting in selfdefence, associated against their adversaries, and seem to have been regularly organized in the year 1789. Some affrays with bloodshed took place between parties of these mutually hostile religionists, and some murders were committed with premeditated design, particularly one of a most atrocious nature at Forkhill, in the county of Armagh, where, in 1791, a protestant schoolmaster, named Barclay, with his wife and brother-in-law, was mutilated in a manner absolutely horrible. Though repeatedly
edly checked, the Defenders, who had long be-1 Chap. come aggressors, forcing into the houses of pro- Wvw testants, and despoiling them, at first only of their arms, afterwards of their valuable effects, had extended their associations through the counties of Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, and the adjacent territories, at the time when the secret committee of lords made its report concerning them. Also in the same year, 1795, disturbances arose of unorganized mobs, quickly suppressed, in some parts of the south, particularly about the collieries in the county of Kilkenny, and in some districts of the county of Wexford. These belonged rather to the class of Right Boys than Defenders. Oaths were administered by the leading rioters at catholic chapels, and other places of public assembly, for the enforcement of certain regulations, particularly the curtailing of tythes; and violence was used for compulsion to the reluctant. A body of about two thousand insurgents attacked the town of Wexford with the ostensible design of liberating some prisoners; but were repulsedwiththelossof aboutahundred of their number by the fire of thirty-five soldiers, on whose side fell the brave major Vallotton, hideously wounded with a blade of a scythe affixed to a pole. Since by authority of the catholic committeesunu i«ied
. from catho
great sums were levied on persons 01 that com-lic*. munion, apprehensions were entertained that at least a part of this money might be applied to the encouragement of defenderism, and to this idea the
Chap, report made by the secret committee of the lords iX*" , appeared calculated to give countenance. In defence against such aspersions, a committee of six was appointed to examine the accounts, and to publish a report of the receipts and disbursements of this money. The sum of five thousand two hundred pounds was acknowledged to have been received, and nearly five thousand five hundred disbursed, of which above two thousand three hundred had been paid for bis agency to a son of Edmund Burke. By another committee of twenty-two, appointed to examine into the honourable engagements of the catholic body to individuals, report was made that fifteen hundred pounds, with a gold medal of thirty guineas value, should be presented to Theobald Wolfe Tone, agent of the catholic committee; five hundred pounds to the honourrable Simon Butler; five hundred to William Todd Jones, beside a sum of the same amount already paid to him, and five hundred more unless the funds should prove insufficient; and that two thousand pounds should be expended in the erection of a statue to the king. The sum acknowledged to have been collected from the catholic body appeared extremely small to those who had observed the collections in some parts of the country. Tone declared to some gentlemen who are still in Dublin, that he never re, ceived more than five hundred pounds, yet the assertion is positively made that the whole sum of fifteen hundred was given him.
CHAP. CHAP. XLI.
Ml for the raising of a militia—Attempts for parliamentary reform—Prosecutions and flights—Fitzivilliam's viceroyalty—Camden's administration— Disturbances—New system of United Irishmen— Coercive acts—Disorders of soldiery—Violences of Orange-men—Armed yeomanry—French expedition to Bantry— Violence of United Irish—Severities of administration—Organization of United Irishmen —Their military organization—Extension of the Union—Declaration of Orange-men—Hussey's pastoral epistle—Parliamentary transactions—Antiministerial attempt.
The discontents of the lower classes in Ireland Chap.
were much augmented by an act of parliament for ^^ the raising of a militia on the English plan, an army Militi»biUof sixteen thousand for internal defence, enlisted only for four years. This mode of recruiting, the compulsion of every man of the military age, on whom the lot fell, of whatsoever circumstances, to enlist, to find a substitute at great expence, or to pay a heavy fine, was not only very unjust, but also quite unnecessary, in a country which abounds in a Vol. U. Z class