THE PERIOD FROM THE UNION UNTIL THE REJECTION OF THE FIRST HOME RULE BILL.
As soon as the Union had become law, the opposition to it died down rapidly. All the members who had voted for it who became candidates for the Imperial Parliament were elected, and Irish orators soon began to make their mark in the greater Assembly. In 1805, however, there was another slight rebellion, led by Robert Emmett. It never had a chance of success; the mass of the people, thoroughly tired of anarchy, refused to take part in it; and though the rebels succeeded in committing a few murders, the movement was speedily quelled, mainly by the yeomen of Dublin. At the trial of Emmett, Plunket, who had been a vehement opponent of the Union, was counsel for the prosecution, and in his speech bitterly denounced the conduct of those men who, having done their utmost to oppose the Irish Parliament, now made the abolition of that Parliament the pretext for rebellion. “They call for revenge,” said he, “on account of the removal of the Parliament. These men, who, in 1798, endeavoured to destroy the Parliament, now call upon the loyal men who opposed its transfer, to join them in rebellion; an appeal vain and fruitless.”
It will be observed from statements already quoted, that the Nationalists of to-day claim that they are the successors of Emmett; he is counted amongst the heroes who fell in the cause of Ireland—thus making it all the more clear how wide is the gulf between the Parliamentary opponents of the Union and the modern Nationalists.