Page images
PDF
EPUB

These acts of apparent perfidy had an injurious effect. His followers, as soon as they were made acquainted with his fate, regarding their case as desperate, marched away to the county of Carlow, under the conduct of John Murphy, the priest who had first raised the flag of insurrection in the county of Wexford. i

The great system of rebellion, however, as it it had been originally organized was now broken up, and though a few skirmishes took place between the insurgents and the royal troops, and many barbarities were committed especially by the former, nothing like a general or vigourous course of operations was proceeded upon. Reduced in their numbers, and hunted in every quarter by various bodies of royal troops, they made a flying march in the counties of Kildare, Meath, Louth, and Dublin, skirmishing with such parties of the king's forces as overtook or intercepted them, and bearing the various hardships of their peculiar warfare with an amazing strength of body, and a vigour of mind well worthy of a better cause. With the final dispersion of the Wexfordian insurgents the rebellion was terminated; but the fatal consequences to those concerned in it, did 10t so soon end. "...: .. Le

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Lord Cornwallis succeeds Earl Canden as riceroy~Change of measures introduced-An act of amnesty passed-Many of the chief conspira;

tors admitted to a capitulation with government ; -Acts of attainder 48 zinst Lord E. Fitzgerald,

Cornelius Grogan, and Bagenal Harvey-Incasion of Ireland by the French-Land at Killala-Account of their proceedings Frustrated in their hopes --- Parliament prorogued --- Increase of the Orange system, and by what means, . i : : ;

IT was thought necessary by the government at home, that some change should be adopted in the administration of the affairs of Ireland at this imminent and perilous crisis. Earl Camden was therefore recalled, and succeeded by the Marquis Cornwallis, who assumed the civil government and supreme military command (a union which it was found requisité to make in the same individual) on the 21st June, 1798.-" This appointment,” says Mr. Plowden," was under Providence the salvation of Ireland.”. It was a special instruction to his lordship to put down the rebellion by moderation, and to check the ferocity of the Orange system by firmness. On the 28th of June General Lake was recalled from Wexford, and General Hunter appointed in his stead. The first prominent act of the marquis, to close the systein of blood and terror which had been hitherto acted upon, was a proclamation authorising his majesty's generals to give protection to such insurgents as, being simply guilty of rebellion, should surrender their arms, abjure all unlawful engagements, and take the vath of allegiance to the king. The full sanction of law was given to this measure by a 'message from his excellency to the house of commons on the 17th July, signifying his majesty's pleasure to that effect; and an act of amnesty was accordingly passed in favour of all engaged in the rebellion, who had not been leaders, who had nog committed manslaughter except in the heat of battle, and who should comply with the conditions mentioned in the proclamation *. : ; :

His arriyal, however, could, not immediately close the system. Trials by court-martial, and executions in the usual manner, proceeded at Wexford immediately after its surrendering, and several men suffered as leaders of rebellion. Their pames and sufferings need not be recorded.. ., - The act of amnesty being passed, the surviving chief leaders were admitted to a capitulation by government, partly through the interference of

* James Napper Tandy and about thirty others, mostly fugitives in France, were excluded from the benefit of this

.:: Disclosures made by the conspirators." 281 Counsellor Dobbs. That gentleman was a mem ber of parliament, and he went, along with the sheriff, to the prison in which Mr. Arthur O'Connor was confined, on the 24th July. He had with him a paper signed by 70 state prisoners, purs porting to give 'such information as was in tneir power, of arms, ammunition, their schemes of warfare, the internal regulations, and foreign negotiations of the united Irishmen, provided the lives of Messrs. Bond and Byrne should be spared. The paper or contract further engaged, that they were not to implicate any person whatever by name or description; that they should emigrate to some country particularised by mutual agreement; and that they should give security for their not passing into the territories of any state at war with Great Britain, and for their not returning to Ireland without the permission of government. Oliver Bond, though under sentence of death, was included in this capitulation, but he died of an apoplexy in prison. Several principals of the union, particularly O'Connor, Emmett, M-Nevin, and Samuel Nelson, gave details on oath, in their examinations before the secret committee of both houses of parliament, in whose Reports, published by authority of government, is contained a mass of information concerning the conspiracy. Whatever were the original terms of the contract, or by whatever subsequent events the contractors were influenced or affected, 15 principal conspişators were detained in prison during the conti

nuance of the war with France; and in a pamphlet, styled a Letter from Arthur O Counor to Lord Castlereagh, dated from prison, Jan. 4, 1799, that minister is directly charged with a violation of the contract. The truth or falsehood of this charge, as it has never been repelled by the accused, must be determined by the probabilities of the thing itself, and the degree of credit due to the testimony of the writer. : Notwithstanding the disastrous state of the country, the parliament continued to sit from time to time, as exigencies required. On the 27th of July the attorney-general brought forward a bill for the attainder of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Cornelius Grogan, and Beauchamp Bagepal Harvey, deceased; for which purpose several witnesses were heard at the bar. Similar proceedings were also had in the house of lords. This act of severity and supplementary vengeance upon the unoffending widow and orphan appeared to many rather the posthumouş, issue of the late, than the genuine offspring of the present system *. A bill also passed for granting compensation to such of bis majesty's loyal subjects as had sustained losses in their property in consequence of the late rebellion, and comunissioners were named for carsying it into effect. The sum total of the claims

* Curran was heard at the bar of the commons in behalf of the widow of Lord E. Fitzgerald, (a daughter of the Duke • of Orleanss) and part of his pathetic appeal may be seen in

Appendix, Ny. V m i nigris !

« PreviousContinue »