Constabulary in Disturbed Districts during the Irish Famine - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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to death, and longed to see blood flow, if it were only to show that blood still flowed in Irish veins.

The enemy began to take genuine alarm at these violent doctrines, especially as they found that the people were taking them to heart; and already in Clare county, mobs were stopping the transport of grain towards the seaports. If rents should cease to be levied, it was clear that not only would England lose her £5,000,000 sterling per annum of absentee rents, but mortgagees, fund-holders, insurance companies, and the like, would lose dividends, interest, bonus, and profits.

There was then in England a gentleman who was in the habit of writing able but sanguinary exhortations to Ministers, with the signature "S. G. O." His addresses appeared in the Times, and were believed to influence considerably the counsels of Government. In November, '47, this "S. G. O." raised the alarm, and called for prompt coercion in Ireland. Here is one sentence from a letter of his reverence; for "S.G.O." was a clergyman:—

"Lord John may safely believe me, when I say that the prosperity, nay, almost the very existence, of many insurance societies, the positive salvation from utter ruin of many, very many mortgagees, depends on some instant steps to make life ordinarily secure in Ireland; of course I only mean life in that class of it in which individuals effect insurances and give mortgages."

In short, his reverence meant high-life. Lord Clarendon, as Parliament was not then sitting, issued an admonitory address, wherein he announced that—

"The constabulary will be increased in all disturbed districts (whereby an additional burden will be thrown upon the rates), military detachments will be stationed wherever necessary, and efficient patrols maintained; liberal rewards will be given for information," &c.

In the meantime, large forces were concentrated at points where the spirit of resistance showed itself; for a sample of which I take a paragraph from a Tipperary paper:—

"A large military force, under the civil authority, has seized upon the produce of such farms in Boytonrath, as owned rent and arrears to the late landlord, Mr Roe, and the same will be removed to Dublin, and sold there, if not redeemed within fourteen days. There are two hundred soldiers and their officers garrisoned in the mansion-house at Rockwell."—Tipperary Free Press.

Whereupon, in the Nation, I urged the people to begin calculating whether ten times the whole British army would be enough to act as bailiffs and drivers, everywhere at once; or whether, if they did, the proceeds of the distress might answer expectation. In fact, it was obvious that if the enemy should be forced to ...continue reading »

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