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received the thanks of parliament for their loyalty, patriotism, and zeal. But the confederation considered itself formed for the good of the country, and therefore did not limit its views to repelling an invader. It aimed to obtain the redress of Ireland's wrongs.
Delegates from its several portions met in Dublin in November, 1783. They marched in procession, with an imposing military display, to open their deliberations in the Rotunda, and continued their assembly for several weeks. By their spirited discussions and resolves, they obtained from the legislature, then sitting, (and of which body not a few of them were members,) several measures favorable to the trade and independence of the country. By degrecs, however, fears arose in some quarters that the convention was going too far. The tide turned and ebbed. Yet numbers remained firm in purpose for achieving what they accounted the complete emancipation of their own, their native land." They were encouraged by the recent example of the United States. The French Revolution gave increased power to their movements. The members of the body were for the most part Roman Catholics; but with them others sympathized in seeking the abolition of civil penalties for religious opinions. A degree of relief was granted to the Roman Catholics, in 1793. Three years more had not expired when societies of United Irishmen were formed in all parts of the country. Separation from England and the establishment of a Republican government was projected. Thousands upon thousands were being
privately drilled and disciplined to the use of arms in the metropolis and elsewhere. It is said that their numbers amounted to half a million. The leaders, disappointed of aid from France, and perhaps finding discouragement, if not desertion, arising in the masses, thought it wise to delay the crisis no longer, and May the 23d, 1798, 'was fixed for a general insurrection.
Of this purpose the government were apprised some months before, and in March took their steps accordingly. Many persons were arrested : among others, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, who died of the wounds he received in the struggle at his capture. The city was placed under martial law. “Throughout the capital, against which the first fury of the insurgents was to be directed, and where, from its extent, there could never be a certainty that the attack had not already begun, the consternation was universal. The spectacle of awful preparation, which promised security, gave no tranquillity. In the panic of the moment, the measures for security became so many images of danger. The military array and bustle in some streets-the silence and desertion of others—the names of the inhabitants registered on every door --the suspension of public amusements, and almost of private intercourse--the daily proclamations—prayers put up in the churches for the general safety--families flying to England-partings which might be final--every thing oppressed the imagination that a great public convulsion was at hand. The parliament and the courts of justice, with a laudable attention to the forms
of the constitution, continued their sittings; but the strange aspect of senators and advocates transacting civil business in the garb of soldiers, reminded the spectator that the final dependence of the state was upon a power beyond the laws. In Dublin, the domestics of the principal citizens had disappeared, and gone off to join the insurgents; while those who could not be seduced to accompany them became the more suspected from this proof of their fidelity: they remained, it was apprehended, for the sole purpose of being spies upon their masters, and coöperators in their intended destruction; and thus, to the real dangers of a general design against the government, were added all the imaginary horrors of a project of individual vengeance.?
The writer of the above, Mr. H. J. Curran, in the Life of his father, the celebrated John Philpot Curran, states further :-"Upon the appointed day, the explosion took place. The shock was dreadful. The imagination recoils from a detail of the scenes that followed.” “After a short and sanguinary struggle, the insurgents were crushed.
The numbers of them who perished in the field, or on the scaffold, or were exiled, are said to have amounted to fifty thousand: the losses upon the side of the Crown have been computed at twenty thousand lives.
Upon the rebellion of 1798 followed the Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland, a measure which encountered strenuous opposition in and beyond the parliament of the latter country, but was at length carried; and on the
27th of March, 1800, the Houses of Lords and Commons waited on the Viceroy at the Castle with the “Articles of Union.” The bills passed in College Green and St. Stephen’s for consummating it received the royal assent; and thus, in all due form, the two islands came to have thenceforth only one legislature, as they had for centuries been subject to one crown. May they, not merely linked together by law, but influenced by the fear of God and the faith of his gospel, strive in all integrity and good-will, with wisely directed and unceasing endeavor, to become, according to their respective capabilities, blessings to each other, and, as of one heart and of one soul, an agency for multiplying blessing to the world!
DUBLIN SINCE THE UNION WITH GREAT BRITAIN TO THE YEAR EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY.
On the 1st day of January, 1801, “The Imperial United Standard was first displayed upon Bedford Tower, Dublin Castle, in consequence of the Act of Legislative Union becoming an operative Law."
Widely contrasted were the feelings with which persons recognized the flag on that memorable morning, according as they were favorable or otherwise to the new relative position which it symbolized as existing between Ireland and Great Britain.
Great as may be the aggregate benefits of the “Union” to the two countries, it was unavoidable that Dublin itself should suffer by the abolition of the Irish parliament. The measure was to the metropolis what absenteeism is to the country. According to Dr. Walsh, Dublin, before the Union, was the constant or occasional residence of 249 temporal peers, 22 spiritual peers, and 300 members of the House of Commons. This unquestionably created and sustained for the city a large amount of business, which was