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the single county of York, or the loyal and wellregulated town of Birmingham.”*
Mr. Goldwin Smith, who, perhaps, rather disparages the other United Irish leaders, thus describes Tonet :—“The only man of real mark in the party was Wolfe Tone; he was not a firstclass man of action ; but he was a first-rate man of the second class—brave, adventurous, fertile in resource, buoyant under misfortune, warm-hearted, and capable of winning, if not of commanding, men. Though his name is little known among Englishmen, he was near being almost as fatal an enemy to England as Hannibal was to Rome. Mainly through the perseverance, insinuation, and address of this obscure envoy, the French Directory were induced to send forth the great armament of Hoche, which appeared in Bantry Bay, and would certainly have effected a landing but for the obstacles of wind and weather, such as steam has now annulled.”
* Tone's Memoirs, edited by his son.
About two centuries before, the English poet Spenser (who died in 1599) thus describes the natural advantages of Ireland in a somewhat similar manner, though with a very different object:—“Sure it is yet a most beautiful and sweet country as any is under heaven, being stored throughout with many goodly rivers, replenished with all sorts of fish most abundantly, sprinkled with very many sweet islands and goodly lakes, like little inland seas, that will carry ever ships upon their waters, adorned with goodly woods, even fit for building of houses and ships, so commodiously as that if some princes in the world had then they would soon hope to be lords of all the seas, and ere long of all the world ; also full of very good ports and havens opening upon England, as inviting us to come into them to see what excellent commodities that country can afford; besides, the soil itself most fertile, fit to yield all kind of fruit that shall be committed thereunto, and lastly, the heavens most mild and temperate,” &c.— View of Ireland.
of Irish History and Character, p. 166.
No Protestant Government ever did or could show greater enmity to Roman Catholicism than the French republicans displayed in France and Italy during the last century.
While throughout Europe they declared themselves the implacable and vehement foes of the Papacy, in Ireland alone they were received and welcomed as the rescuing champions of the very cause they were endeavouring to destroy.
In fact, by publicly abolishing religious worship in France and banishing the Pope, they had apparently succeeded in doing more injury to the Papacy than any Protestants had been able to do. Their avowed sentiments in Ireland quite agreed with their previous language and conduct in France and Italy. Either they
were utterly ignorant of Irish feeling and principle, or purposely ignored them. The latter reason for their behaviour seems more probable, considering Tone's long residence in France as the accredited envoy of the “United Irishmen” to the French Republic, and the frequent intercourse maintained between the French revolutionary Government and the Irish disaffected.
The loyalist historian Maxwell,* quotes the following proclamation to the Irish people of the French general Kilmaine, copies of which, he says, were abundantly distributed in Ireland, though the general himself never landed. The feelings of the Irish Catholic clergy may be imagined at reading such sentiments heralding the approach of their liberating allies with the Protestant leader, Wolfe Tone, and freely spread among their parishioners :
“ Health and Fraternity to the People of Ireland.—The great nation [France] has sent me to you with a band of heroes to deliver you from the bonds of tyrants. Property is a common right belonging to the valour that seizes it. Fly to our standard, and we will free you from spiritual as well as temporal subjection; we will free you from the fetters of religion and the frauds of priestcraft. Religion is a bondage intolerable to free minds. We have banished it from our own country, and put down that grand impostor, the Pope, whose wealth we have sacrificed on the Altar of Reason,' &c.*
* History of the Irish Rebellion, p. 224.
Tone states in his memoirs that he was on most intimate and friendly terms with General Kilmaine, whose important manifesto, therefore,
* “ With respect to foreign states and countries the French Revolution has produced a protracted religious war of twenty-one years, for it was such not only from its origin, but from its revolutionary and destructive character, and from its fanatic opposition to everything holy. There was a fixed principle at the bottom of this modern Paganism. It was political idolatry, and it mate ters little what may be the immediate object of this idolatry—what the idol of the day, whether a Republic and the goddess of Reason, the grande nation, or the lust of conquest and the glory of arms—it is still the same demon of political destruction—the same anti-Christian spirit of government, which wishes to mislead the Age and control the World.”—Schlegel's Philosophy of His. tory, Bohn's edition, pp. 493-4.
The English poet, Coleridge, in 1793, thus wrote on