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Thomas D'Arcy McGee

A very little reflection will enable us to judge, even at this day, the magnitude of the contest in which O'Connell was the great popular leader, during the reign of George IV. In Great Britain, a very considerable section of the ancient peerage and gentry, with the Earl Marshal at their head, were to be restored to political existence, by the act of Emancipation; a missionary, and barely tolerated clergy were to be clothed, in their own country, with the commonest rights of British subjects - protection to life and property.

The city of Kilkenny, which had become the capital of the Confederacy, was favourably placed for the direction of the war in Leinster and Munster.

Saint Ruth, with absolute powers, found himself placed at the head of from 20,000 to 25,000 men, in the field or in garrison, regular or irregular, but all, with hardly an exception, Irish.

Half measures of justice may satisfy the generation which achieves them, but their successors will look with other eyes, as well on what has been won as on that which is withheld. The part in possession will appear to their youthful sense of abstract right and wrong far less precious than the part in expectancy, for it is in the nature of the young to look forward, as it is of the old to turn their regards to the past. The very recollection of their fathers will stimulate the new generation to emulate their example, and will render them averse to being bound by former compromises.

Sir Henry Sidney, in writing to his court, had always reported John O'Neil as "the only strong man in Ireland." Before his rout at Lough Swilly, he could commonly call into the field 4,000 foot and 1,000 horse; and his two years' revolt cost Elizabeth, in money, about 150,000 pounds sterling "over and above the cess laid on the country" - besides "3,500 of her Majesty's soldiers" slain in battle.

While the Confederate delegates, reverently uncovered, and Ormond, in hat and plume, as representing royalty, were signing "the cessation" at Castlemartin, the memorable Monroe, with all his men, were taking the covenant, on their knees, in the church of Carrickfergus, at the hands of the informer O'Connolly, now a colonel in the Parliamentary army, and high in the confidence of its chiefs.

From the date of the treaty of Limerick, William was acknowledged by all but the extreme Jacobites, at least de facto - King of Ireland. The prevailing party in Ulster had long recognized him, and the only expression of the national will then possible accepted his title, in the treaty signed at Limerick on the 3rd of October, 1691. For three years Ireland had resisted his power, for twelve years longer she was to bear the yoke of his government.

The close of the year 1795 saw France under the government of the Directory, with Carnot in the cabinet, and Pichegru, Jourdain, Moreau, Hoche, and Buonaparte at the head of its armies. This government, with some change of persons, lasted from October, 1795, to November, '99, when it was supplanted by the Consular Revolution. Within the compass of those four years lie the negotiations which were carried on and the three great expeditions which were fitted out by France and Holland, at the instance of the United Irishmen.

Queen Elizabeth, when writing to Lord Sussex of a rumoured rising by O'Neil, desired him to assure her lieges at Dublin, that if O'Neil did rise, "it would be for their advantage; for there will be estates for them who want." The Sidney policy of treating Ireland as a discovered country, whose inhabitants had no right to the soil, except such as the discoverers graciously conceded to them - begat a new order of men, unknown to the history of other civilized states, which order we must now be at some pains to introduce to the reader.

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