Front Page Titles (by Subject) Consequences of the Insurrection of 1798.— The Union. - Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1
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Consequences of the Insurrection of 1798.— The Union. - 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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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.”)
[*]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.