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Thomas D'Arcy McGee

The reign of Queen Anne occupies twelve years (1702 to 1714. The new sovereign, daughter of James by his first marriage, inherited the legacy of William's wars, arising out of the European coalition. Her diplomatists, and her troops, under the leadership of Marlborough, continued throughout her reign to combat against France, in Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands; the treaty of Utrecht being signed only the year before her majesty's decease.

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.

We must continue to read the history of Ireland by the light of foreign affairs, and our chief light at this period is derived from Spain. The death of Don Sebastian concentrated the thoughts of Philip II. on Portugal, which he forcibly annexed to the Spanish crown. The progress of the insurrection in the Netherlands also occupied so large a place in his attention, that his projects against Elizabeth were postponed, year after year, to the bitter disappointment of the Irish leaders.

The Nuncio, elated by the great victory of O'Neil, to which he felt he had personally contributed by his seasonable supplies, provoked and irritated by Ormond's intrigues and the King's insincerity, rushed with all the ardour of his character into making the war an uncompromising Catholic crusade.

The close of the second reign from the siege of Limerick imposes the duty of casting our eyes over the map of Europe, in quest of those gallant exiles whom we have seen, in tens of thousands, submitting to the hard necessity of expatriation.

It is no longer matter of assertion merely, but simple matter of fact, that the English and Irish ministers of George III. regarded the insurrectionary movement of the United Irishmen as at once a pretext and a means for effecting a legislative union between the two countries. Lord Camden, the Viceroy who succeeded Lord Fitzwilliam in March, '95 - with Mr. Pelham as his Chief Secretary, in a letter to his relative, the Hon.

In pursuing to its close the war in Munster, we were obliged to omit the mention of an affair of considerable importance, which somewhat consoled the Catholics for the massacre at Smerwick and the defeat of the Desmonds. We have already observed that what Aharlow was to the southern insurgents, the deep, secluded valley of Glenmalure was to the oppressed of Leinster. It afforded, at this period, refuge to a nobleman whose memory has been most improperly allowed to fall into oblivion.

An actor was now to descend upon the scene, whose character has excited more controversy than that of any other personage of those times. Honoured as a saint, or reprobated as a hypocrite, worshipped for his extraordinary successes, or anathematized for the unworthy artifices by which he rose - who shall deal out, with equal hand, praise and blame to Oliver Cromwell'? Not for the popular writer of Irish history, is that difficult judicial task.

The most formidable insurrection, indeed the only really formidable one, broke out in the county of Wexford, a county in which it was stated there were not 200 sworn United Irishmen, and which Lord Edward Fitzgerald had altogether omitted from his official list of counties organized in the month of February. In that brief interval, the Government policy of provocation had the desired effect, though the explosion was of a nature to startle those who occasioned it.

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