The Half Century: Its History, Political and Social

Front Cover
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Feb 1, 2012 - 374 pages
Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: them, through innumerable channels, of the treasures destined to be blown from the cannon's mouth, or to feed the men who were themselves to fatten the foreign soil on which they fell. William Pitt had surpassed his predecessors in political profligacy. Walpole bribed the Commons into servility? but Pitt corrupted two great classes of the nation into iniquitous oppression of the poor and of posterity. Close at our side, rebellion and invasion were threatening. Ireland had been virtually in its own possession since the American war, when an army of volunteers was established. That formidable body had extorted from the Government such concessions to the Catholics as the repeal of the laws excluding them from the franchise, the universities, and the bar; but a large amount of disaffection still existed, excited to fierce and sanguine activity by the example and promises of the French. Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Arthur O'Connor, and Wolf Tone, were at the head of an extensive conspiracy to effect a rebellion and an affiliation with the Republic, whose rulers engaged to assist them with an army under Hoche. More than the proverbial indiscretion of their countrymen appears to have characterised the leaders of the United Irishmen. Delegates authorized to negotiate with the Directory are said to have boasted of their mission in public conveyances. Treacherous confederates divulged their secrets to the infamous agents of Government, and arrests anticipated insurrection. Fitzgerald killed one of his captors, and received a mortal wound himself. Wolf Tone was taken in a French ship, and committed suicide to avoid hanging. O'Connor was banished. In lieu of Hoche and his irresistible army, said to have been promised by Carnot, the French Minister of War, less tban a thousand men landed when...

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