Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER II.: THE FRENCH REVOLUTION—ITS EFFECTS IN IRELAND. - Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1
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CHAPTER II.: THE FRENCH REVOLUTION—ITS EFFECTS IN IRELAND. - Gustave de Beaumont, Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1 
Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, ed. W.C. Taylor (London: Richard Bentley, 1839). Vol. 1.
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THE FRENCH REVOLUTION—ITS EFFECTS IN IRELAND.
The French revolution found an immense echo in the miseries and passions of Ireland; it introduced new elements of reform into that country.
Until then, the chiefs of the popular party, that is to say, the Whigs, having at their head Grattan and Lord Charlemont,* pursued liberty, such as it is understood by the English, that is to say, feudal liberty, claimed and obtained as a privilege and under the name of concession.
When the influence of France made itself felt, the liberals of Ireland invoked liberty as a right—a right natural, general, and imprescriptible. The radical who demanded reform in the name of Magna Charta, henceforth claimed it as part of the rights of man.
Irish reform thus assumed a philosophical character, which it had hitherto completely wanted; its circle was enlarged, it had higher aims, and it advanced farther. All those who were embued by this philosophical spirit, could not comprehend the refusal to Catholics of the rights recognised as belonging to Protestants; all men being equal, they ought to share equally in the benefits of the constitution, and hence universal suffrage followed as a necessary consequence.
All minds were then seized with an ardent fever of general innovation. Society was to be made anew; all reforms were to be proposed at once; social reform, political reform, religious reform. Everybody had his system, and everybody had speculated on the plan of a new constitution.*
The French revolution agitated all nations; but there was not a country in the world to which the impulse was communicated so quickly and so faithfully as Ireland.
Henceforth Irishmen had their eyes fixed on France, and everything which passed in that country excited their deepest sympathy. The cause of France was, in their eyes, that of all enslaved nations who aspired to freedom. “Right or wrong,” said Wolf Tone, who only gave vent to sentiments generally felt, “right or wrong, success to the French. They are fighting our battles, and if they fail, adieu to liberty in Ireland for another century!”
Not only did Ireland sympathise with France and assume its passions, but it even adopted its manners, its language, the style of its laws, and all its new revolutionary allurements.
The volunteers of Dublin assumed the name of a national guard, (but a proclamation was issued against their meeting, and they never assembled on parade). The triumph of French liberty was annually celebrated at Dublin and Belfast. The anniversary of the capture of the Bastile became a national festival. In public assemblies the cap of liberty was substituted for the Irish harp. Orators at clubs and meetings styled themselves citizens of the world.
The following toasts were given at civic banquets, (in 1792,) “The sovereignty of the people,” “The rights of man,” “May philosophy illuminate all nations and people, and make them one great family.” At a national festival, a flag, bearing the goddess of liberty, was displayed with the inscription, “To our sister of Gaul. She was born the 14th of July, 1789,—we are yet in embryo.”
Ireland rejoiced in all the triumphs of France, and grieved at her reverses. A victory obtained by the French on the Rhine was celebrated by a general illumination in Dublin. The press shared the imitation of French language: patriotic letters bore the signature of “A Liberty Boy;”* friends gave each other the title of “Citizen,” and United Irishmen raised the cry of “Long live the Nation!”
When a French expedition, sent in 1798 to revolutionise Ireland, landed in Killala bay, on the western coast, the following song was widely circulated through the country.
A SONG OF THE UNITED IRISHMEN.*
Sometimes Irish patriotism blundered in its adoption of French language and symbols; thus, in one song the Fleur-de-lys appears to have been mistaken for a symbol of republican France.
But it is to the French revolution that we must especially attribute the immense change which took place in the feelings and principles of the Irish Volunteers. Liberal as the volunteers were, they did not cease to be Protestants, and they sought for themselves only the liberties and privileges of which, either from prejudice or religious passion, they believed the Catholics unworthy. They had, it is true, claimed for them some modifications of the penal laws, but they rather sought an abatement of persecution than a return to justice. Their liberalism was never entirely free from a sectarian spirit. They treated the Catholics as inferiors, even when they lent them aid, and exercised over them a sort of patronage; but in 1792, in order to unite all ranks and parties, they took the name of United Irishmen.*
This new union between Protestants and Catholics was not only manifested by political acts, it was manifested in the minor details of social life. A patriotic dinner was given at Belfast, where Protestants and Catholics sat side by side in token of their harmony. The metamorphosis of the volunteers into United Irishmen is one of the most remarkable facts of this epoch, and deserves especially to fix the attention of the reader.
And, in the first place, the principal trait in the character of the United Irishmen was, that they derived the greater part of their inspiration from France. We see in Tone’s Memoirs, that one of the principal objects of the committee was, to verify and publish everything of importance which occurred in France. This was a new starting-point for Irish freedom. Until then, the Irish revolutionist had been chiefly inspired by American genius; now he invoked at the same time the names of Washington and Lafayette, of Franklin and Mirabeau.
The military organisation of the United Irishmen was entirely modelled on that of the volunteers, but their principles were not the same. The volunteers of Ireland were associated to protect Ireland from an invasion of the enemies of England. The United Irishmen were openly friends to France, and bargained with her for an invasion. But what especially characterises the transformation of the volunteers into United Irishmen was the sudden and fundamental change wrought in their political principles.
They suddenly exhibited a violent hatred of the Whigs, and a thorough contempt for the slow and regular progress of reform. Hitherto they endeavoured to obtain the abolition of oppressive statutes, and the enactment of good laws from the English government and their own parliament; they now required an entire change of system. They wanted either a complete, absolute reform, or to have nothing altered. We find from his Memoirs that Tone was grieved because a partial emancipation (1793) might give the Catholics some satisfaction. “The English yoke must be shaken off!”—“The connexion with England, the source of all Ireland’s woes, must be broken!”—“To ameliorate the condition of the people, a vile and odious aristocracy must be humbled.”—“In emancipating Ireland, the right arm of England must be cut away.” Such were the wishes, the sentiments, and the new principles of the Irish reformers.
In proportion as republican France advanced in revolutionary paths, they followed her. The doctrine that “the end justifies the means” was established in Ireland, and ardent friends of their country and of freedom were seen using their utmost endeavours to produce a French invasion. Here is the order of their ideas: “Ireland must be delivered from the English yoke; she is too weak to emancipate herself; there is consequently a necessity for asking assistance from a stranger.” All the ardent patriots eagerly invoked the aid of the French armies. “Ten thousand men would suffice to separate Ireland from England,” said Tone, in 1793. And what will be done when the government is overthrown? Terrible dreams of vengeance and extermination presented themselves to the minds of some of the reformers. “The aristocrats,” said Tone, “have no mercy, and deserve none.”
Still, in the midst of these revolutionary meditations, Wolf Tone, the head of the United Irishmen, who came to France to negociate for an invasion with the Directory, was brought into connexion with General Hoche, the head of the intended expedition, who, in a private conversation with the Irish patriot, used the following memorable words: “When you guillotine a man, you get rid of an individual, it is true, but then you make all his friends and connexions for ever enemies to the government.” Struck by this language, Wolf Tone adopted the opinion, that, in case of a revolution, it would be better to avoid sanguinary retaliation.
Other Effects of the French Revolution. Abolition of Penal Laws.
England, hearing the echoes of the French revolution in Ireland, in order to calm the popular passions, hastened to make some of the concessions loudly demanded by the reformers.*
In the first place, the bar was opened to Catholics; the right of taking more apprentices than two was conceded to Catholic merchants and artisans; the law which prohibited marriages between Catholics and Protestants was abolished.†
Other concessions were soon added to these. At the beginning of the war with France in 1793, the English government, feeling the necessity of tranquillising Ireland, abolished the most severe laws which still pressed on the Catholics. Thus the law of conformity to the Anglican rites was abolished; the penalties against Catholic instruction were removed; the elective franchise was given to Catholics; but they were not yet made eligible to parliament.* Finally, with a few reservations, they were admitted to all civil and military employments in the state and the municipal corporations.†
The preceding reforms compose what is sometimes called the third emancipation of Ireland, or the emancipation of 1793. The first was produced by the American war; the second by the independence of the Irish Parliament; and the third emanated directly from the French revolution.
Other Consequences of the French Revolution.—Re-action.
After this exaggerated, and in some cases stupid imitation of French revolutionary movements in Ireland, excesses of infamous memory sullied the cause of liberty in France, and a re-action fatal to reform soon appeared in Ireland. The Protestants, who had reluctantly embraced the Catholic cause, seized this opportunity for abandoning it, and many of the Catholics, disgusted by French infidelity, rejected every reform that came from such a source. The republic, which henceforth appeared a blood-stained phantom, terrified the world, and dissension appeared in the body of United Irishmen.
The Parisian massacres of September (1792) are a remarkable epoch in the history of Ireland. Until that time, republican principles spread rapidly in Ireland; but they then stopped short—re-action commenced. In August, 1792, the Whig leaders were still on terms with the party of the United Irishmen. At the same epoch (August 7th, 1792,) the Catholic clergy made common cause with them; and their union with the Catholic proprietors was still unbroken.
The year 1793 arrived, and the patriot party of Ireland was struck to the heart; the public mind suddenly changed; the dreams of progress were dissipated, and the illusions of liberty vanished. The great Burke, whose talents had been devoted to the Irish cause, withdrew from it. From the month of October, 1792, the Catholic clergy separated in a body from the reformers; and when the question of universal suffrage was proposed in the House of Commons, Grattan, the chief of the Whigs, resisted it with all his might. “Compare,” says Tone in his memoirs, “our committee in 1793 with what it was in 1792.”
The most ardent Irish democrats, when they heard of the fatal days of September, could not avoid feeling some degree of terror. Tone comforted himself by considering the Irish character. “In France,” said he, “the people assassinate, and do not plunder: an Irish mob would do just the contrary; it would rob everybody, and kill nobody.”
The English government, long alarmed by the agitations of Ireland, eagerly seized an opportunity of striking a mortal blow at the revolutionary spirit. Without encountering any formidable opposition from the Irish people, it dissolved and suppressed the volunteers, forbade the formation of armed bodies without the authority of the executive power, disarmed the citizens, sent strong garrisons into the towns, prevented public discussions at clubs or meetings, prohibited the sale of munitions of war, and finally passed a law (the Convention Act) which prohibited every assembly of delegates for deliberating on public affairs. These energetic measures were everywhere put into execution; they were resisted nowhere but in Belfast, and there the laws were easily enforced by the strong arm of power.
Ireland, hitherto so agitated, was paralysed. It was almost ready to become a republic; but it now murmured at the very name of liberty. Still, notwithstanding the decay of public spirit, some isolated but ardent patriotic passions survived in Ireland.
Deprived of all public means of action, the reformers sought others. The association of United Irishmen still subsisted; but, as it was menaced by law, it acted in the shade instead of the open day. It attacked the government previously at meetings and through the press, or in national conventions, but now it conspired secretly. Formerly, free to consult the nation, it received its instructions from the people, and was more or less obliged to conform to them; now, forced to act secretly, the leaders of the United Irishmen received no mandate but from themselves, and conducted Ireland according to their personal views and passions. The Irish people could no longer dictate to its agents when and how reform should be effected; the leaders were to determine both the moment and the means. Now the chiefs of the popular party, seeing that the nation had fallen again under the yoke, and was too much humbled to rise, believed that Ireland could not effect a revolution by herself. Consequently they resolved to invite a foreign army into Ireland to deliver the country from its fetters. Hence three attempts to invade Ireland were made by France between 1796 and 1798, in consequence of negociations between the Directory and the head of the United Irishmen. Hence arose the fatal insurrection of 1798, and hence, finally, the parliamentary union between England and Ireland, which was completed in 1800.
French Invasion of Ireland. Insurrection of 1798.
Tone’s Memoirs contain the most interesting account of this insurrection, and of the three French expeditions. The Irish insurrection and the French invasion were to be so combined as to afford each other mutual aid; and Wolf Tone had been accepted by the Directory as a general of brigade, though he was in reality only the diplomatic agent of the United Irishmen with the French government. Tone, Irish to the heart’s core, an enthusiast by nature, an ardent partisan of French and republican ideas, displayed extreme zeal and rare intelligence in engaging the Directory to send an expedition to Ireland. He cleverly dispelled the fixed notion of all the French politicians of the time, which was a descent upon England, and succeeded in persuading the members of the French government that England could be best attacked through Ireland.
We see in his Memoirs, that at the close of the year 1796, an expedition commanded by General Hoche was prepared, and that the fleet separated by a storm from the vessel that carried the general; it was compelled to return to Brest, from whence it had started, without even attempting a debarkation.
If we believe Tone’s Memoirs, it depended on a mere trifle, whether Napoleon might not have made an expedition to Ireland instead of a campaign in Egypt. Two reasons prevented him; he was reluctant to execute an enterprise which Hoche had planned; and secondly, he displayed at this time a singular repugnance for the French Jacobins, with whom the United Irishmen had formed very close connexion.
Hoche’s expedition failed from a concourse of unfortunate circumstances; a thousand other events retarded the execution of French designs on Ireland. Still the French were expected in that country, and the plan of a vast insurrection was prepared without relaxation. This insurrection was immediately to follow the landing of the French troops; but such was the dominion of events, that the insurrection took the lead. After a thousand successive adjournments, which could not be renewed without the greatest peril to most of the conspirators, the insurrection exploded.
It had been too long uncertain and languishing for the people to have faith in it; badly concerted, badly directed, received with coldness by some, and with terror by others—guided by men divided amongst themselves, some of whom wished for reform, and others for revolution—rejected by the aristocracy in a body,* and even by the middle classes themselves—reduced to support itself solely on the lowest of the people—composed of the most heterogeneous elements, of Presbyterians fighting for a republic, and Catholics contending for the freedom of their creed† —mutual enemies associated by surprise in a common course, though they aimed at different ends. Guided by such chiefs, sustained by such a base, the insurrection could not succeed. It might be said to have died before it was born: its only effect was to bring from the British government the most atrocious and sanguinary measures of repression.
The recital of the horrors committed during this fatal crisis would of itself be a long and mournful history; luckily for the author, the limits of this summary do not allow him to discuss the details of this terrible epoch.*
I do not know if the sanguinary annals of Ireland exhibit war in a more horrible aspect; I speak not here of the acts of barbarity committed in the heat of action, and by which the insurgents and their opponents were equally sullied. What civil and religious war is there that does not bring frightful violence, murder, pillage, devastation, and flame? I mean to speak of the cruelties committed in cold blood by the victorious party.
Perhaps one sentence will suffice to show all the miseries of Ireland at this moment; even after the war, the country was delivered over to the mercy of the soldiery.† In the middle of the insurrection, martial law was proclaimed; when the revolt was subdued military justice was not withdrawn; and the English army, after having struck down the enemy on the field of battle, pursued them still with sentences of death pronounced by courts-martial. A few examples will suffice to show the proceedings of this soldier-justice, stimulated by passion and unrestrained by rule.
Lord Charlemont declares in his Memoirs, that suspected and accused persons were, without any form of trial, tortured, flogged, and half hanged, in order to extort confessions.* A gentleman of eminent merit, Sir Edward Crosbie, had declared himself favourable to reform in parliament; the military judge concluded that he was a republican, and had him brought to the bar. At the trial, “Protestant loyalists, witnesses in favour of the accused, were forcibly prevented by the bayonets of the military from entering the court.”† This was not all: “Catholic prisoners had been tortured by repeated floggings, to force them to give evidence against him, and were promised their lives upon no other condition than that of his condemnation.” Notwithstanding these and other violent measures, no charge was proved; of which the members of the court-martial who sentenced him to death were so sensible, that, in defiance of an act of parliament, the register of the proceedings was withheld as a secret from his wife and family. The court was irregularly constituted, and illegal, destitute of a judge advocate. The execution of the sentence was precipitate, at an unusual hour, and attended with atrocious circumstances, not warranted even by the sentence. After he was hanged, his body was abused, his head severed from it, and exposed on a spike.* The president of the court was an illiterate man, unable to write the most common words of English without mis-spelling.
In the course of this savage administration of justice, every art was employed to accumulate proofs of guilt; even proofs of innocence were used for the purpose. Who would believe it? It was a grave subject of charge before these military tribunals to have rescued Protestants from the fury of the rebels; for this influence over the insurgents was deemed a proof of attachment to their party. “I thank my God that no person can prove me guilty of saving any one’s life or property!” was the sudden exclamation of a Catholic gentleman in a company where the notoriety of the practice was the subject of conversation. These, and many similar facts, are recorded by the Rev. Mr. Gordon, a clergyman of the Established Church, all whose sympathies were in favour of the men whom impartiality forced him to condemn.
In a short time two hundred victims fell by the hand of the executioner. The legal punishment of the condemned did not always satisfy the passions by which it had been procured. When the sentences pronounced by the court-martial at Wexford were executed, the bodies of the victims were mutilated, insulted by a thousand indignities, and thrown into the river, after their heads had been severed and spiked on the walls of the court-house. Sometimes, after the victim was turned off, he was lowered on his feet until he recovered; he was then again suspended, and thus the tortures of strangulation were multiplied at pleasure.*
The deep wounds which Ireland received from these dreadful measures of repression long remained open and bleeding. The English army destroyed all the harvests on its march, and the consequence to the people of Ireland was a general famine, which lasted two years. The number of individuals slain on both sides during this calamitous period has been estimated at thirty thousand men, and the destruction of property during the continuance of the civil war, at 2,000,000l.
The insurrection was suppressed in Ireland when two French divisions arrived. The first, amounting to about one thousand men, sailed from Rochelle, under the command of General Humbert, and, on the 22d of August, 1798, landed in Killala bay, on the coast of Connaught. After gaining a victory at Castlebar, it was met by Lord Cornwallis, the viceroy, who took the command in person, with an army twenty times its strength; it was defeated and made prisoner. The armament, consisting of three thousand men, embarked in a ship of the line and eight frigates, sailed from the bay of Camaret, on the 20th of September, 1798, and on the 10th of the following October reached the entrance of Lough Swilly, in the province of Ulster. Preparations for landing were made, when a superior fleet, under the command of Sir John Borlase Warren, appeared, and, after a terrible engagement, the French squadron was compelled to surrender. Wolf Tone shared in this expedition; he was taken, recognised,* tried, and condemned to death.
Such was the sad and fatal termination of those attempts at invasion from which some ardent spirits expected the regeneration of Ireland, but which were to her only the cause, or the pretext, for new and terrible persecutions.
Consequences of the Insurrection of 1798.—The Union.
After the insurrection of 1798, England, holding Ireland under her hand as a vanquished rebel, punished her without reserve or pity. Twenty years before, Ireland had entered into possession of her political liberties. England preserved a better recollection of this success of Ireland, and hastened to profit by abasement to place her again under the yoke.
The Irish parliament, after the recovery of its independence, became a subject of annoyance to England; to become its master, required an endless care of corruption, notwithstanding which, opposition was occasionally experienced; the opportunity seemed favourable for its suppression, and England resolved to abolish it altogether.
At this news poor Ireland was agitated, as a body about to be deprived of life still moves under the irons by which it is mutilated and torn. Out of thirty-two counties, twenty-one protested energetically against the destruction of the Irish parliament. This parliament, from which an act of suicide was demanded, indignantly refused, (in 1799,) and voted the maintenance of its constitutional existence.
Indignant at the servility demanded from the body of which he formed a part, Grattan vehemently denounced the ministerial proposition. But all resistance was vain. The only serious obstacle to England was, the reluctance of the Irish parliament to vote its own annihilation. Hitherto its acts were bought, but now its death was to be purchased. Corruption was immediately practised on a large scale; places, pensions, favours of every kind, peerages, and sums of money, were lavishly bestowed; and the same men who had rejected the Union in 1789, adopted it in 1800 by a majority of 118 to 73. It has been calculated, that out of the 118 votes, 76 were pensioners or placemen.* One of the greatest difficulties arose from the number of boroughs belonging to rich proprietors, who made a lucrative traffic of seats in parliament. To silence these complaints, every rotten borough was valued at 15,000l., and this sum was proffered as an indemnity to all those who by the Act of Union would lose their political privileges.* The engagement was kept, and the total indemnity amounted to 1,260,000l.
Thus was completed the self-destruction of the Irish parliament, an act imposed by violence and sustained by corruption; but it was not effected without rousing in Ireland all that remained of national feeling and patriotic sentiment.
When Lord Castlereagh moved “that the bill should be engrossed,” Mr. O’Donnell moved as an amendment, “that the bill should be burned:” to which Mr. Tighe also moved as an amendment, “that it should be burned by the hands of the common hangman.” (But these were vain exhibitions of the “iræ leonum vincla recusantium.”)
Constitutional and Political Effect of the Union.
Nothing is more common than to mistake the real effect of this measure, and the error arises from taking the word union sometimes in a moral sense, and sometimes in too extensive a political sense.
If by union we understand the concord and sympathy of two nations formerly divided, we must confess that this term is quite unsuited to the act under consideration; for England and Ireland were, perhaps, never more hostile to each other than after the union of 1800.
It would also be a great error to suppose that the act of 1800 identified England and Ireland, so as to make this latter a province, subject in all points to the same government, the same police, and the same laws.
Before the act of union, Ireland had its own institutions; it preserved them after the union, with the single exception of its parliament.
When England added Ireland to herself, she did not resolve that Ireland should for the future be governed by the laws and principles of the English constitution; she did not and could not do any such thing. The English constitution is not a charter in a hundred articles which may be granted hastily to a nation in urgent want of a government. It is especially composed of usages, traditions, habits, and a multitude of statutes, connected with the usages from which they cannot be separated, whether they annul or confirm them. Now, though the observance of a law may be prescribed to a people, a usage or custom cannot be so enjoined: a custom is a complex fact, the result of a thousand preceding facts; it is consecrated, not imposed; were it possible to remove its prescriptions to a people with whom it had not originated, it would be impossible to transfer its spirit. What, then, did England do, when she proclaimed the union with Ireland? She declared that for the future all laws necessary to the two countries should be made in a common parliament, to which each should send representatives; but whilst providing for the future, she left the past untouched; and Ireland, united to England, remained in possession of all her laws and usages, except that which assigned her a separate parliament.*
Thus, after the act of union, there was always an Ireland; in the terms of this act, the three kingdoms form a single empire, under the title of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. After the union with England, Scotland lost its name, but Ireland kept hers; and she will still longer keep her national habits and passions.
[*]The following character of this distinguished nobleman is taken from Grattan’s reply to Lord Clare’s pamphlet:—
[*]The very able sketch of the state of the public mind in Ireland during the French revolution, given by M. de Beaumont, will be recognised as perfectly accurate by all acquainted with the publications of that period. The principal authorities quoted by M. de Beaumont are Tone’s Memoirs, Hardy’s Life of Lord Charlemont, and a collection of detached papers called Belfast Politics, published at Belfast, 1794. The mention of these authorities here will supersede the necessity of further reference.—Tr.
[*]This is a cant phrase in Dublin, and not an imitation of the French; part of Dublin is called “The Liberty.”—Tr.
[*]This song was found on the mother of Dogherty, a United Irishman, who was killed at Delgany, in the county of Wicklow, in the autumn of 1798.—From Mulgrave’s Irish Rebellions, Second Edition, p. 78 of Appendix.
[*]This name was first proposed by T. W. Tone.
[*]In 1792, the Catholic petition was rejected with the greatest contumely; in 1793, more favours than that petition sought were granted.
[†]1792, 32 Geo. III. ch. xxi.
[*]1793, 33 Geo. III. ch. xxi. These concessions would have been more full and complete, had not a portion of the Catholic aristocracy declared themselves satisfied with a part when so much was still due. To this dereliction of their own rights and those of their countrymen may be attributed no small amount of the subsequent evils of Ireland.—Tr.
[†]The clauses admitting the Catholics to municipal offices were clogged by subsequent provisos which neutralised their effects. The corporations took advantage of the legislative blunder, and, in spite of the manifest design of the law, Catholics are, in many places, practically excluded to the present hour.—Tr.
[*]With one splendid exception, Lord Edward Fitzgerald. The life of this amiable and unfortunate young nobleman, by Moore, is, perhaps, the most interesting piece of biography in any language. It unites all the charms of romance to the importance of truth.
[†]In some cases, no doubt, for its supremacy; they had been taught the lesson of exclusion by the ascendency, and had they succeeded, they would have in all probability proved themselves apt scholars.—Tr.
[*]The most impartial history of the Irish insurrection yet published is that by the Rev. Mr. Gordon, a Protestant clergyman.—Tr.
[†]A soldiery, be it remembered, so totally demoralised, that General Abercromby declared it to be “formidable to everybody but the enemy.”—Tr.
[*]On this repulsive subject it is not necessary to enlarge; but it is sufficient to say, that the torture of the suspected was made the subject of boast in public, and was even vindicated in pamphlets.—Tr.
[†]See Gordon, vol. ii. p. 393. See also Curran’s speech in the case of Heavey versus Sirr.
[*]The rank of the unfortunate baronet rendered it impossible to conceal the iniquity of his fate; but there were many other victims to brutal ignorance invested with power, whose cases were not less atrocious, but for obvious reasons they may now be permitted to rest in oblivion.—Tr.
[*]Prisoners were sometimes strangled by being suspended from the shoulders of tall men; an officer in his Majesty’s army, for his services in this way, was honoured with the title of “the walking gallows.”—Tr.
[*]The British naval officers were willing that Tone should escape, and affected to believe that he had fallen in the action, but he was recognised and denounced by Sir George Hill, who had been his fellow-student in the Dublin University.—Tr.
[*]Their names are given in Mr. O’Donnell’s remarkable amendment, that the Address to the Lord Lieutenant should be presented by the pensioners and placemen. (See Grattan’s Speeches, vol. iv. p. 5.)—Tr.
[*]A most extraordinary claim for compensation was made by the Bishop of Ossory; his petition averred, that his predecessors had got promotion in consequence of their influence in the borough of St. Canice: he therefore claimed to be remunerated for having his chances of promotion diminished by the disfranchisement of the borough.—Tr.
[*]By the eighth Article of the Union, it is enacted, “That all laws in force at the time of the union, and all the courts of civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction within the respective kingdoms, shall remain now as by law established.”