Division of the Irish Confederation - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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effect, and piled in the police offices. The Lord Lieutenant to quarter on the district as many additional police, inspectors, detectives, and sub-inspectors, as he might think fit;—offer such rewards to informers as he might think fit;—and charge all the expense upon the tenantry, to be levied by rates,—no part of these rates to be charged to the landlords;—constabulary to collect them at the point of the bayonet;—and these rates to be in addition to poor-rates, cess, tithes, rent, and imperial taxes.

The story is now brought down to the point at which the "Irish Confederation,"—the only body in Ireland which gave the enemy the slightest apprehension,—became divided. And here it is needful that I speak somewhat more particularly of myself. I had been one of the founders of that Confederation, and had for two years written nearly all the political articles in the Nation. I had watched the progress of the Famine-policy of the Government, and could see nothing in it but a machinery, deliberately devised and skilfully worked, for the entire subjugation of the island,—the slaughter of a portion of its people, and the pauperization of the rest. Therefore, I had come to the conclusion that the whole system ought to be met with resistance at every point; and the means for this would be extremely simple; namely, a combination amongst the people to obstruct and render impossible the transport and shipment of Irish provisions; to refuse all aid in its removal; to destroy the highways; to prevent every one, by intimidation, from daring to bid for grain or cattle if brought to auction under "distress" (a method of obstruction which had put an end to church tithes before); in short, to offer a passive resistance universally; but occasionally, when opportunity served, to try the steel. To recommend such a course would be extremely hazardous, and was, besides, in advance of the revolutionary progress made up to that time by Mr Duffy, proprietor of the Nation. Therefore, in the beginning of December, I announced that I would write in the Nation no more. My friend, Devin Reilly, abandoned it also on the same day.

We still remained connected with the Confederation; and in the Clubs and Committee made no scruple to promulgate our views, and to recommend that the people should be advised not to give up their arms, but, on the contrary, provide more, especially pikes, for any contingency; seeing they might well be assured the Government sought to disarm them for the same reason that a highway robber disarms his victim.

Mr Smith O'Brien earnestly remonstrated against this course. ...continue reading »

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