of the United Irishman
THE RIGHT HON.
The Earl of Clarendon,
Englishman ; calling himself
HER MAJESTY’S LORD LIEUTENANT GENERAL AND
GENERAL GOVERNOR OF IRELAND.
LORD, To you, as the official representative of foreign dominion in our
enslaved island, I mean to address a few plain words upon the aim and
this new journal, THE UNITED IRISHMAN: with which your Lordship
Lordship’s masters and servants are to have more to do than may be
either to you or to me.
words shall be so very plain, that even if your Lordship vouchsafe to
them, I count upon your being unable (because you are a Whig and a
to understand them in their simple meaning. I am going to mystify “the
Government” and the lawyers by telling the naked truth, whereof they
hereby to take notice.
the, THE UNITED IRISHMAN newspaper has been undertaken by men
that the sway of your nation here is drawing near its latter day—who
all its splendid apparatus of glittering soldiers and conciliating
all its obscure and obscene lower world of placemen, place-beggars,
place-jobbers, spies, special jurors, informers, and suborners—that is
weak imposture, an ugly night-mare lying on the breast of our sick
it is made up of prestige, and maintained by “striking terror,” and
charm of Truth, a few true words spoken, a few bold deeds done—and the
hideous brood will vanish like foul fiends at cock-crow.
indeed; these men believe full surely that they, even they, young men,
undistinguished men, without arms in their hands, money in their purse,
party at their back, are more than a match for the British Government
Ireland; can abolish the prestige and that præternatural terror
shake men’s souls more than the substance of ten thousand soldiers);
then, almost without an effort, grasp the monster by the throat and
strangled, forth from his enchanted “Castle.”
now, in order the better to confound your politics, going to give you a
account of the means we intend to use, and of the rules, signs, and
of our new United Irish Society Lodge A. 1.—They are so simple that you
never believe them.
exact half-century has passed away since the last Holy War waged in
island, to sweep it clear of the English name and nation. And we differ
the illustrious conspirators of Ninety-Eight, not in principle—no, not
iota—but as I shall presently shew you, materially as to the mode of
Theirs was a secret conspiracy,—ours is a public one. They had not
charm of open, honest, outspoken resistance to oppression: and through
secret organization you wrought their ruin ;—we defy you, and all
informers and detectives that British corruption ever bred. No
tell you more than we will proclaim once a week on the house-tops.
desire to have a Castle detective employed about THE UNITED IRISHMAN
Office in Trinity-street I shall make no objection, provided the man be
and honest. If Sir GEORGE GREY or Sir WILLIAM SOMERVILLE would like to
correspondence, we make him welcome for the present,—only let the
forwarded without losing a post. So that you see we get rid of the
whole crew of
informers at once.
to our positive action—Your Lordship, I believe, has read the
Prospectus of our
journal—in fact, I know you have:—Well, we count upon a great
this weekly sheet of ours, amongst the industrious classes both in town
country all Ireland over; and we do really intend to preach and enforce
various principles there set down, to follow the same to all their
consequences, and to point out in plain language the directest means of
them into practice. Just take our third axiom, that the Life of a
as scared as the Life of a nobleman—why it seems a truism, and yet
denied and set at nought by all your “laws,” as you call them. But
what follows from that truth; consider all its practical bearings, and
once apprehended and laid to heart by the people, it is likely to be
think of the collateral questions involved—”if there be a surplus, who
surplus ?”—”the hard-working or the idle ?”—”surplus once
how to be got rid of?” and the like; and then imagine how these
likely to find solution amongst “an excitable peasantry.” Yet they are
legitimate questions, nay, pressing, life-or-death questions:and we
mean in the
columns of this UNITED IRISHMAN to argue, discuss, illustrate,
possible, determine them.
will do the like by the other maxims in our Prospectus :— That
constitutional agitation in Ireland is a delusion :— That every man
(except a born slave, who aspires only to beget slaves and die a
to have ARMS and to practise the use of them :—
shall not insult your Lordship’s excellent understanding by pointing
out to you
all the manifest consequences that follow from these plain truths. But
people are not so acute—they need to have every one of these matters
for them one by one, and set in all possible points of view; for indeed
are a simple and credulous people, and have had much base teaching.
been taught, for instance, that “patience and perseverance” in rags and
starvation is a virtue—that to eat the food they sow and reap is a
that “the man who commits a crime [this sort of crime] gives strength
enemy. They were not taught by these bad teachers to avoid real crimes,
boasting, cringing, rearing up their children as beggars, taking their
children’s bread and giving it unto dogs. None of all this they learned
but please God they shall.
against the “law” it seems, to preach all this ; and your Lordship
“law-officers,” I have heard say, will overwhelm me with an
indeed I am told the worthy Chief Justice, at Clonmel lately, (where he
“striking terror” into Tipperary), on seeing the programme of this
roll his eyes like a carnivorous ogre, and then and there christened it
Queen’s Bench Gazette; never doubting that he would make a meal of it
in his den at Inn’s-quey.
of course you will prosecute before long; in self-defence, I hope, you
must ;—that you will bid the sheriff to bid Mr. PONDER (that, I
the gentleman’s name) not to pack the jury. A high-minded English
conciliatory and ameliorative nobleman, so gracious at Lord Mayor’s
condescending at Antient Concerts, so blandly benignant at reunions of
persons,—surely such a nobleman as this will not play with loaded dice,
marked cards, to juggle away an accused man’s liberty or life. No, I
I have only to mention the circumstance in order to make you hasten to
this point with the worthy sheriff.
lest there should be any mistake, I will tell you what I shall do—there
be no secrets from you. I intend, then, to pay special regard to the
lists, to excite public attention continually to the jury arrangements
city; and, above all, to publish a series of interesting lectures on
office and duty of jurors,” more especially in cases of sedition, where
“law” is at one side, and the liberty of their country at the other.
say no more. You must now perceive that this same anticipated
one of the chief weapons wherewith we mean to storm and sack the
Castle. For be it known to you, that in such a case you shall either
boldly, notoriously, pack a jury, or else see the accused rebel walk a
out of the Court of Queen’s Bench—which will be a victory only less
rout of your Lordship’s redcoats in the open field. And think you that
of such a victory, I will not repeat the blow? and again repeat
the world shall see that England’s law dose not govern this nation?
you will pack? You will bravely defy threats and bullying, and insolent
opinion, and do your duty? You will have up THE UNITED IRISHMAN
twelve of your Lordship’s lion-and-unicorn tradesmen who are
to supply some minor matters for the viceregal establishment? Will you
and carry your conviction with a high hand? I think you will, nay, I
must, if you and your nation mean to go on making even a show of
then, I will have other men ready to take up my testimony—ready and
Oh, Porsena CLARENDON! to thrust their hands into the blazing fire
until it be
extinguished. But you will ask for additional “powers?” You will resort
courts-martial, and triangles, and free quarters? Well, that, at last,
the end of “constitutional agitation,” and Irishmen will then find
front to front with their enemies, and feel that there is no help in
franchises, in votings, in spoutings, in shoutings, and toasts drank
enthusiasm—nor in any thing in this world save the extensor and
muscles of their right arms, in these and in the goodness of God above.
issue the “condition of Ireland question” must be brought.
trust you are now aware of all our open secret. In plain English, my
the deep and irreconcileable disaffection of this people to all British
lawgivers, and law-administrators shall find a voice. That holy Hatred
foreign dominion which nerved our noble predecessors fifty years ago,
dungeon, the field, or the gallows, (though of late years it has worn a
nisiprius gown and snivelled somewhat in courts of law and on spouting
still lives, thank God! and glows as fierce and hot as ever. To educate
holy Hatred, to make it known itself, and avow itself, and at last fill
full, I hereby devote the columns of the UNITED IRISHMAN,
I have the honor to be,
12th February, 1848.