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gerous progress of the treason, and the active preparations of the enemy for the invasion of this kingdom, were announced in the speech from the throne. Bills were immediately brought in and passed without delay for suspending the Habeas Corpus ad, as also for the' establishment of the yeomanry ;-meafures to which your Committee feel themselves justified in attributing the salvation of the country, and which being taken immediately subsequent to the formal alliance concluded between the Executive of the Union and the French Directory, at once prove the vigilance of Government, as also their well-founded confidence in thus entrusting the defence of the kingdom and its conftitution to the loyalty of its inhabitants.
Your Committee have to observe with great fatisfa&ion, that the estinate for the yeomaniy as first laid before Parliament was for a number not exceeding twenty thousand men—that in the course of six months about thirty-seven thousand were arrayed; and that the zeal of the country had so risen with its difficulties, that during the late rebellion the yeomanry force exceeded fifty thousand men, and might have been increased to a much greater extent. It is unnecessary to recall to the recollection and gratitude of Parliament and of the country, the services they have performed during the unhappy struggle in which we have been engaged ; sharing all the hardships and dangers, and performing all the duties in common with the King's regular and militia forces.
The next ineasure to which your Committee beg leave to point the attention of the House is, the proclamation of the Lord Lieutenant and Council, bearing date the 6th of November 1796, issued in consequence of the disaffected having adopted a practice of marching in military array, and assembling in large bodies, in some instances to the number of several thousands, under the pretence of saving corn and digging potatoes; but in fact 10 terrify the peaceable and well-disposed, and to compel them to enter into their treasonable associations.
The same system has since frequently been had recourse to by the United Irithmen in other parts of the kingdom under various pretences, such as funerals, foot-ball meetings, &c. with a view of displaying their strength, giving the people the habit of aflembling from great distances upon an order being issued, and making them more accustomed to show themselves openly in support of the cause.
The next measure to which the Government was driven by the traitorpus excesses of the United Irishmen, and to which your Committee beg leave to advert, is the proclamation of Lieutenant-general Lake, then commanding in Ulster, issued on the 13th of March, in consequence of a letter addressed to him by the Lard Lieutenant's secretary, Mr. Pelham.
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The disorders which called for this interposition of military authority are sufficiently set forth in the body of the letter ; and your Committee have only to observe, that in carrying Lieutenant-general Låke's proclamation into effect, no acts of severity whatever were used by the military towards persons concealing or refusing to give up their arms; but that, on the contrary, the search for the arms of the disaffected was conducted with all poflible mildness; and that where persons voluntarily brought in their arms, certificates were granted by the magistrates, and arsurances given to the people that their arms would be returned as foon as the country was restored to tranquillity. It must however be observed, that in June following, when a general insurrection was decided on by the party, and upon the point of breaking out in the province of Ulster, more vigorous means of compelling the surrender of arms were had recourse to, under the authority of the proclamation of the 17th of May: -a measure absolutely indispensable to the public security, and, under the circumstances of the case, strictly defensive.
Of the quantity of arms which appeared by their own report to be in the hands of the disaffected, comparatively few were ob. tained by the search then made in Ulfter by General Lake's or. ders; and it is also to be observed, that previously to, and during the circuit which took place in the month of April 1797, acts of violence of every defcription became more frequent, and were at the same time so systematically directed, with a view to stop the course of criminal justice against the United Irishmen, that the Crown prosecutions in the disturbed counties proved from their failure an encouragement rather than a restraint upon the reason. able projects of the party.
The Report of the Secret Committee was followed by the proclamation of the 17th of May 1797, which after reciting many acts of outrage and rebellion that had been committed, and offering pardon with certain exceptions to all perfons guilty of the laid offences who should surrender within the period of a month, and give security for their future good behaviour, declared that the civil power had proved ineffectual, and that it became necessary to employ the military force for the immediate suppreflion of such rebellious attempts.
It appears to your Committee, that not withstanding this measure of mercy and warning to the disaffected, in the latter end of the same month, as will be more fully explained hereafter, a general insurrection in Ulster was decided on, and the plan of ato , tack for each county arranged.
The intention transpired, and was defeated by the active exertions of the army ; notwithstanding which, a partial rising did take place near the mountains in the county of Down, where the insurgents, finding themselves unsupported, foon dispersed. Vol. VII.
The effect of the measures then adopted was immediately felt; the arms of the disaffected by necessary acts of coercion were collected throughout the province in great numbers: the loyal were encouraged to declare themselves such as had been milled, came in in crowds to take the benefit of the proclamation of pardon, which was extended for another month; outrage ceased, and pub. lic confidence was so far restored throughout Ulfter in the course of the months of July and August, that the laws were administered with effect in the different counties during the autumn circuit, and the manufacturing industry of the country was restored to its usual vigour during the remainder of that year. Your Committee think it peculiarly incumbent on them to state, that during and subsequent to the aflizes of the said circuit, the civil authority was found throughout Ulfter fully adequate to the preservation of the public peace, and that all military interference was generally discontinued from that period.
It appears to your Committee, that the inferior societies of United Irishmen, in general, discontinued their meetings; that the people applied themselves to their ordinary occupations;'and though some of the higher committees were kept alive by the active leaders in the treason, yet it will appear from an inspe&tion of the authentic reports of their proceedings, that for several months only a proportion of the counties of Ulster were represented in the provincial committee; that the others refused to send relegates; that little money was collected; that they could not succeed in reviving the inferior societies; and that although they encouraged each other in the hopes of bringing the lower orders of the people again into action in case the enemy should land, they were not able to make any impression of consequence, till the insurrection in Leinster was on the point of breaking forth ; and your Committee feel themselves warranted in stating, that the beneficial consequences arising from the measures adopted in the year 1797, in the north, were strongly exemplified in the feebleness of the late insurrection in that quarter, and in the spirit displayed on that occasion by the yeomanry and loyal inhabitants of the province of Ulster.
It appears to your Committee, that the leaders of the treason, apprehensive left the enemy might be discouraged from any further plan of invasion, by the loyal disposition manifested throughout Munster and Connaught on their former attempt, deterınined to direct all their exertions to the propagation of the system in those provinces which had hitherto been but partially infected. With this view emissaries were sent into the south and west in great numbers, of whose success in forining new societies, and administering the oaths of the Union, there were, in the course of a few months, but too evident proofs in the introduction of
the the same disturbances and enormities into Munster with which the northern province had been so severely visited.
In May 1797, although numbers had been sworn both in Munster and Leinster, the strength of the organization, exclufively of Ulster, lay chiefly in the metropolis and in a few neighbouring counties, namely, Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, and the King's County.
It is observable, that the counties in which defenderism had prevailed easily became converts to the new doctrines; and in the summer of 1797, the usual concomitants of the treason, namely, the plundering houses of arms, the fabrication of pikes, and the murder of those who did not join their party, began to appear in the midland counties.'
In order to engage the peasantry in the southern counties, para ticularly in the counties of Waterford and Cork, the more eagerly in their cause, the United Irithmen found it expedient, in urging their general principles, to dwell with peculiar energy on the supposed oppressiveness of tithes (which had been the pretext for the old White-boy insurrections). And it is observable, that in addition to the ačts of violence usually resorted to by the party, for the furtherance of their purposes, the ancient practice of burning the corn and houghing the cattle of those against whom their resentment was directed was revived, and very generally practised in those counties.
With a view to excite the resentment of the Catholics, and to turn their resentment to the purposes of the party, fabricated and false tests were represented as having been taken to exterminate Catholics, and were industriously disseminated by the emissaries of the treason throughout the provinces of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught.-Reports were frequently circulated amongst the ignorant of the Catholic persuasion, that large bodies of men were coming to put them to death. This fabrication, however extravagant and absurd, was one among the many wicked means by which the deluded peasantry were engaged the more rapidly in the treason.
In addition to the above arts practised to excite the people, and to turn local prejudices to the furtherance of their purpose, the party did not fail to avail themselves, to the fullest extent, of the most wicked and licenrious abuse of the press. In the sum. mer of 1797, an infamous paper called the Union Star was privately printed and circulated, inculcating the principles of insurrection and assassination in direct terms, and containing a description of those persons by name (particularly magistrates and such as had served on juries), who were to be held out to the party as obje&s of aflaflination, on account of their active loyalty, or a conscientious discharge of their duty. Towards the end of the same year, a newspaper called the - 3 B 2
Press was established, lately published in the name of Mr. A. O'Connor, as proprietor thereof, who has admitted before your Committee, that he was for more than a year a member of the Executive Directory of the Irish Union, and who, as it appears to your Committee from various channels of information, was a molt active and confidential leader of their treason in its principal departments both at home and abroad, which conveyed periodical exhortations to all manner of outrage and insubordination. Every species of misrepresentation and sophistry was made use of to vilify the government, to extend the Union, to shake the connexion with Great Britain, to induce the people to look to French affistance, to exaggerate the force and numbers of the disaffected, and systematically to degrade the administration of justice in all its departments. This paper, conducted on principles still more licentious than the Northern Star (which had contributed so largely to the extension of treason in the north), was distributed throughout all parts of the kingdom, and, from the activity of its partisans, had immediately a more extensive circulation than any paper long established.
The measures thus adopted by the party completely succeeded in detaching the minds of the lower classes from their usual habits and pursuits, insomuch that, in the course of the autumn and winter of 1797, the peasantry in the midland and southern coun. ties were sworn, and ripe for insurrection. Pikes were fabricated in such numbers, that in the single county of Kildare, in consequence of the measures adopted by Government, twelve thousand have been surrendered ; and your Committee have every reason to believe, that a still greater portion was retained : and that the preparation of arms in other counties by the disaffected was nearly as extensive as the organization itself, will appear as well from the numbers seized in different parts of the kingdom, amounting in the whole to above one hundred and twenty-nine thousand of different descriptions, as from the fact, that wherever the insurrection broke out, the mass of the people were universally armed either with muskets or pikes.
While they were thus maluring their design, and secretly acquiring the strength and consistency of a revolutionary army, they omitted no artifice by which they could hope either to weaken or embarrass the government of the country. So early as the year 1792, the seduction of the foldiery made a part of their system. They imagined that the season was now arrived for its accomplishment, and no means which wicked subtlety could suggest were left unemployed. Printed papers were industriously circulated amongst the privates and non-commissioned officers, urging them to infubordination and revolt, and holding out the most tempting offers of preferment to such as should desert their colours. The atrocious crimes to which they were incited will best