The Formation of the "United Irishman" Newspaper - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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United Irishman, a weekly paper established and owned by me. For contributors I had not only Reilly, but Father Kenyon (a good Tipperary priest, and one of the most accomplished scholars in Ireland); John Martin, and James Clarence Mangan: Catholics, Protestants, and Pagans, but all resolute Revolutionists.

The British Government had watched all these proceedings in the Confederation with some interest. They feared nothing in the world but pikes and rifles, and knew that so long as the Confederates confined themselves to "constitutional" operations, British dominion was safe. The first number of the United Irishman startled them a little; especially when they learned that the press, working night and day, could not keep pace with the demand; and that single copies were freely purchased at five times their cost. Lord Stanley (Earl Derby) brought up the first number into the House of Lords; and I may be pardoned for extracting a passage from his lordship's speech. After reading large extracts, he continues—

"This paper was published at 5d, but, as I am informed, when the first number appeared, so much was it sought after, that, on its first appearance, it was eagerly bought in the streets of Dublin at 1s 6d and 2s a number. With the people of Ireland, my lords, this language will tell—(hear)—and I say it is not safe for you to disregard it. These men are honest; they are not the kind of men who make their patriotism the means of barter for place or pension. They are not to be bought off by the government of the day for a colonial place, or by a snug situation in the customs or excise. (Hear, hear). No; they honestly repudiate this course; they are rebels at heart; and they are rebels avowed, who are in earnest in what they say and propose to do. My lords, this is not a fit subject, at all events, for contempt. My belief is, that these men are dangerous;—my belief is, that they are traitors in intent already, and if occasion offers, that they will be traitors in fact."

In calling us "rebels," his lordship was right; but traitors we were not. ...continue reading »

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