Disarming Laws - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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circle of young Irishmen of all religions and of none, who afterwards received the nick-name of "Young Ireland." Their head-quarters was the Nation office; and their bond of union was their proud attachment to their friend.

O'Connell knew well, and could count, this small circle of literary privateer repealers; he felt that he was receiving, for the present, a powerful support from them—the Nation being by far the ablest organ of the movement; but he knew also that they were outside of his influence, and did not implicitly believe his confident promises that repeal would be yielded to "agitation"—nor believe that he believed it; that they were continually seeking, by their writings, to arouse a military spirit among the people; and had most diligently promoted the formation of temperance bands with military uniforms, the practice of marching to monster meetings in ranks and squadrons, with banners, and the like; showing plainly, that while they helped the Repeal Association, they fully expected that the liberties of the country must be fought for at last. O'Connell, therefore, suspected and disliked them; but could not well quarrel with them. Apparently, they worked in perfect harmony; and during all this "Repeal Year" few were aware how certainly that alliance must end. Personally, they sought no notoriety; and the Nation was as careful to swell O'Connell's praise, and make him the sole figure to which all eyes should turn, as any of his own creatures could be. O'Connell accepted their services to convert the "gentry," and the Protestants—they could not dispense with O'Connell, to stir and wield the multitudinous people.

Here, then, was the array and the whole force at one side.

When Ministers came down to Parliament, and pledged themselves to maintain the Union, even by civil war, they had on their side these following powers and agencies:

First.—A million and a half of Protestants, most of them English or Scottish by descent; and bound to England by having been for ages maintained in a position of superiority over the Catholics. Five hundred thousand of these were Presbyterians, nearly all in the northern province of Ulster. The rest belonged to the Established Church; and in the hands of these last was almost all the landed property of the island. This gave them the power of life and death over the tenantry.

Second.—A regular army of between thirty and forty thousand men, disposed in barracks and fortresses, at the principal strategic positions in the island.

Third.—Another regular force of eleven thousand armed and ...continue reading »

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