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John, was found a proclamation, intended to be Chap. published after the capital should have been in the v^^/ possession of the insurgents. In this manifesto, which had not been quite finished, very sanguinary sentiments were expressed, incongruous, as I have reason to believe, with the natural disposition of these gentlemen: but to sacrifice the feelings of humanity to expedience may be a maxim with revolutionists: and, in fact, the severe measures, to which government, for the preservation of its existence, had been obliged to have recourse, and which had been carried by ignorant or designing aaors far beyond the original design, must have naturally excited a cruel spirit of revenge in the mal-content faction. Yet the former members of the directory had intended to avoid bloodshed as much as possible; to seize as hostages men of property; and, on the accomplishment of a revolution, to banish those who should prove disafie&ed to the new government, allowing to their wives and children a maintenance out of their properties.
The night of the twenty-third of May had been pian ofin. fixed for the time of insurreaion. The plan was'uneaion" to commence with an attack on the camp of Lehaunstown or Laughlinstown, seven miles to the south of Dublin. Another party was to seize the artillery stationed at Chapelizod, two miles to the west of the same, in an hour after. Later by an hour and a half was to be, the simultaneous entrance of the two parties into the metropolis to
Chap, co-operate with a third, by whom the castle was to xi.li. .
UyJ be surprised. The stoppage of the mail coaches,
on the northern, western, and southern roads, was to be the signal to the members of the union in other parts of the kingdom to rise in arms. As the whole was known to government, the plot was announced on the twenty-first by a letter to Thomas Fleming, lord mayor of Dublin, from lord Castlereagh the secretary; and on the twentysecond to both houses of parliament, by a message from the chief governor. To prevent its execution, the troops of the line, militia, and yeomanry, were disposed under arms in what Were supposed to be the most advantageous positions.' But the brave and accomplished Abercrombie had resigned the command; disgusted with an army, which the plans of administration permitted him not to reduce under salutary discipline, and whose licentiousness was completed by living at free quarter. Proceedings The new parliament had been assembled this year xnent.ra on the ninth of January, and the commons had re-elected Foster, their former speaker. Grattan had, according to his declaration, declined the acceptance of a seat, and the oppositionists had dwindled to a quite inconsiderable number. Yet some unavailing efforts had been made to repress or moderate the system of coercion, and to persuade the adoption of conciliatory measures. To this purpose the earl of Bective had spoken on the fifteenth of January; and on the fifth of March, Sir Laurence Parsons, seconded by lord Caulfield, had made a
motion motion that a committee should he appointed " to Chap. enquire into the state of the country, and to suggest Wy-^/ such measures as were likely to conciliate the popular mind." But when the chief governor's message was received on the twenty-second of May, an address was voted without opposition "to assure his excellency, that the intelligence filled them with horror and indignation, while it raised in them a spirit of determined resolution and energy; that they relied on the vigilance and vigour of his excellency's government, which, they trusted, woidd continue unabated, until the conspiracy, which so fatally existed, should be utterly dissolved." To present this address in a manner the most solemn, the commons went on foot in procession to the castle, in two files, attended by all the officers of their house, and preceded by the speaker.
'Commcnccnlent of the rebellion—Surprize of Pros* parous—Engagement at Kaas and Kilcullen—Pro* cldmdtions— Attack of Cartow — Death of Sir Edward Crosbie-^-Various operations—Surrendry at the Currdgh—State of the county of Wexford —irisurreBion—Actions at Mtthomas and Oiddri— Attack of Enniscorthy—Capture of Wexford— Proceedings at Gorey—Attack of Bunclody—Proceedings at Gorey—Battle of Clough—Attack of Ross—Massacre of Scullaboguc—Proceedings of the rebels at Slyeeve-Keelter and Lacken—Their proceedings at Gorey—ConduM at Arklow—Retreat of the garrison—Battle of Arklow—Conduct of Skerrett.
Chap. 1 He prime conductors of the conspiracy were in
v—-v~J prison; the metropolis proclaimed as in a state of t,mTMf"£" insurrection, and so guarded at every post as to prevent a possibility of surprize; the troops throughout the country stationed for like purpose; the companies of yeomen strengthened by the addition of new levies without uniform, called supplementaries; and the system of the Irish union so disorganized, that rebellion seemed to be stifled in its birth. Yet
so deeply laid had been the plan of insurrection, Chap. that its fires, though generally extinguished or ^—^—J smothered, could hot easily be prevented from partial explosion. The peasants in the districts around the city of Dublin, without leaders, with scarcely any ammunition, or other amis than clumsy pikes and k few guns in bad order, rose at the time appointed, the night of the twenty-third of May, and fco far acted on the original- scheme as to attempt, by simultaneous onsets, the surprizal of the military posts, 'and the preclusion of the capital from external succour. The mail coaches were destroyed in their progress from Dublin, at a few miles distance, to give notice to their confederates of hostilities commenced; and in that night and the following day several skirmishes had place with small parties of the royal troops, and several towns were attacked near the seat of government. That assassination had not been a part of the original system of the Irish union has been observed in Mr. Plowden's historical view of Ireland. Otherwise murders in families by servants And labourers, previously to the departure Of these to their places of assembly, would have been the first acts of the long intended rebellion. Acts enough of this kind were afterwards committed by the ferocity of a mob, or individual malignity.
In all the skirmishes the insurgents were defeated, except at Dunboyne and Barretstown, where small Prosperous. escorts were surprized, Of the Reay fencibles at the former, of th'e Suffolk fencibles at the latter. They were also - rep ulsed in their attempts on the several * c c 2 towns