from 1785 to 1800, made the laws for Ireland. In that time the country advanced like a released giant. Lord Clare said in 1798: "No country in the world has advanced like Ireland, in trade, manufacture, and agriculture, since 1782."
Then England began to fear the Irish revival, and the demands of the English mercantile, manufacturing, and shipping classes were marvels of cowardly and jealous feeling. (See Lecky, "Public Life in England in the Eighteenth Century.") They demanded that Ireland be destroyed as a competing power. "Make the Irish remember that they are conquered," were the words of one petition to the English Parliament.
The rebellion of '98 was fomented by the English Government, and a fearful slaughter of fifty thousand Irishmen ensued. This was the pretext wanted. The English colony in Ireland were instructed to raise the cry of "Our lives and religion in danger!" A majority of the Anglicans who composed the "Irish Parliament" were bought off by Castlereagh, who paid them, as the Irish red and black lists show, nearly £3,000,000 for their votes; and so the union with England was carried.
Three years later another rebellion broke out, organized and led by a Protestant gentleman, Robert Emmet, who was "hanged, drawn, and quartered," and the dogs lapped his blood, as an eye-witness relates, from the gallows-foot in Thomas Street.
Then the pall was pulled over the face of Ireland, and she lay down in the ashes and abasement of her loneliness and misery. She had no earthly friends; she was weak to death from struggle, outrage, and despair. Even God had apparently forgotten her in the night.
But a new voice called to her in the darkness, and she listened—Daniel O'Connell, a strong man, full of courage and purpose. After thirty years of agitation he won with his minority. He had trained them superlatively. He won the franchise for the Catholics.
For eighteen years more he worked to get the Act of Union repealed; but England, when he touched that point, arrested and imprisoned him. This stopped the agitation. The people had no leader and no outside moral support. It was O'Connell and the Irish people; not the Irish people and O'Connell.
The Young Ireland party in 1848, impatient, maddened, broke into premature rebellion—were crushed, condemned, banished.
Then the famine, and the swelling of the Irish emigration stream into a torrent! Thousands died on the soil, and literally millions fled to other countries—to England, Scotland, America, Canada, Australia, South Africa, the Argentine Republic.
Twenty years later, 1865-67, the first warning movement of the exiles—Fenianism; a marvelous crystallization of sentiment, heroism, and sacrifice.