Wakefield's Account of Ireland.

A footnote from p 331 , " The Irish Rebellion " by W H Maxwell (1891), adds a comment from :"Wakefield's Account of Ireland."

" Having traced out the leading events of this unfortunate business, it is necessary to call the attention of the reader to the Presbyterians of the north, who may be considered as the chief instigators to rebellion. The Roman Catholics, so far from being the original movers of insurrection, were mere instruments in the hands of these people, who intended to employ them in effecting a complete revolution. The accomplishment of this scheme was, however, attended with difficulty. How was the business to be managed ? How were they to be gained over ? and when gained, how brought into action? Was it by holding out the hopes of nominal emancipation from the restraining acts which still hung over them ? Such an offer, I am convinced, would not have produced the least effect.

No sooner, however, had a third, although apparently small party, appeared, than they manifested a disposition favourable to the views of those who were desirous to employ them as instruments for the execution of their nefarious designs. It was the imprudent conduct of the Orangemen, their excesses, and bacchanalian exultation in the exercise of power that enabled the republicans to rouse the feelings of the Roman Catholics, and excite them to rebellion. The Catholics, therefore, raised an immense army, which wanted nothing to render it formidable but. officers and ammunition. The leaders of these people were the bigoted, discontented priests, whose object was power, not freedom ; not a desire to improve the condition of their flocks, but the hope of hierarchal dominion. Under such leaders, who can be surprised that the war carried on by the Wexford mob exhibited every mark of the rancorous spirit with which they had been Inspired ?

The views of the Presbyterians were quite different. The scenes which took place soon convinced them that a government, established on the principles avowed by the Catholic leaders, would be more tyrannical and insufferable than that against which they had conceived so implacable a hatred. Those, therefore, who had laid the train for the intended explosion, began, in their turn, to be alarmed ; and, instead of assisting in the struggle which they had provoked, shrunk back from the contest, and became the secret supporters of government. By this desertion of the Presbyterians the constitution was saved, and the misled Catholics left to maintain the conflict, or retreat in the best manner they could. The southern Catholics, therefore, had to encounter, not only the army, but the whole population of Ulster.

Such was the state of things towards the end of the rebellion. The consequence was, that an enmity arose between these sects, which still remains unabated. "

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