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Thomas D'Arcy McGee

The second period of the era of independence may be said to embrace the nine years extending from the dissolution of the last Volunteer Convention, at the end of 1784, to the passage of the Catholic Relief Bill of 1793. They were years of continued interest and excitement, both in the popular and parliamentary affairs of the country; but the events are, with the exception of the last named, of a more secondary order than those of the previous period.

The fond tenacity with which the large numbers of the Irish people who have established themselves in foreign states have always clung to their native country; the active sympathy they have personally shown for their relatives at home; the repeated efforts they have made to assist the Irish in Ireland, in all their public undertakings, requires that, as an element in O'Connell's final and successful struggle for Catholic Emancipation, we should take a summary view of the position of "the Irish abroad."

The plan agreed upon by the Confederates included four main features. I. A rising after the harvest was gathered in, and a campaign during the winter months, when supplies from England were most difficult to be obtained by their enemies. II. A simultaneous attack on one and the same day or night on all the fortresses within reach of their friends. III. To surprise the Castle of Dublin, which was said to contain arms for 12,000 men. IV. Aid in officers, munitions, and money from abroad.

The armies now destined to combat for two kings on Irish soil were strongly marked by those distinctions of race and religion which add bitterness to struggles for power, while they present striking contrasts to the eye of the painter of military life and manners. King James's troops were chiefly Celtic and Catholic. There were four regiments commanded by O'Neils, two by O'Briens, two by O'Kellys, one each by McCarthy More, Maguire, O'More, O'Donnell, McMahon, and Magennis, principally recruited among their own clansmen.

The Jacobite party in England were not slow to exaggerate the extent of William's losses before Athlone and Limerick. The national susceptibility was consoled by the ready reflection, that if the beaten troops were partly English, the commanders were mainly foreigners. A native hero was needed, and was found in the person of Marlborough, a captain, whose name was destined to eclipse every other English reputation of that age.

Before relating the consequences which attended the spread of French revolutionary opinions in Ireland, it is necessary to exhibit the new and very important position assumed by the Roman Catholic population at that period.

At the beginning of the year 1821, O'Connell, during the intervals of Ms laborious occupations in court and on circuit, addressed a series of stirring letters to "the People of Ireland," remarkable as containing some of the best and most trenchant of his political writings. His object was to induce the postponement of the annual petition for Emancipation, and the substitution instead of a general agitation for Parliamentary reform, in conjunction with the English reformers. Against this conclusion - which he ridiculed "as the fashion for January, 1821" - Mr.

From the Earliest Period to the Emancipation of the Catholics

by Thomas D'Arcy McGee

How a tumultuous insurrection grew into a national organization, with a senate, executive, treasury, army, ships, and diplomacy, we are now to describe. It may, however, be assumed throughout the narrative, that the success of the new Confederacy was quite as much to be attributed to the perverse policy of its enemies as to the counsels of its best leaders. The rising in the midland and Munster counties, and the formal adhesion of the Lords of the Pale, were two of the principal steps towards the end.

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.

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