An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 eBook

Mary Frances Cusack
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 779 pages of information about An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800.

[577] Sway.—­An important instance of how the memory or tradition of past wrongs excites men to seize the first opportunity of revenge, if not of redress, has occurred in our own times.  It is a circumstance which should be very carefully pondered by statesmen who have the real interest of the whole nation at heart.  It is a circumstance, as a sample of many other similar cases, which should be known to every Englishman who wishes to understand the cause of “Irish disturbances.”  One of the men who was shot by the police during the late Fenian outbreak in Ireland, was a respectable farmer named Peter Crowley.  His history tells the motive for which he risked and lost his life.  His grandfather had been outlawed in the rebellion of ’98.  His uncle, Father Peter O’Neill, had been imprisoned and flogged most barbarously, with circumstances of peculiar cruelty, in Cork, in the year 1798.  The memory of the insult and injury done to a priest, who was entirely guiltless of the crimes with which he was charged, left a legacy of bitterness and hatred of Saxon rule in the whole family, which, unhappily, religion failed to eradicate.  Peter Crowley was a sober, industrious, steady man, and his parish priest, who attended his deathbed, pronounced his end “most happy and edifying.”  Three clergymen and a procession of young men, women, and children, scattering flowers before the coffin, and bearing green boughs, attended his remains to the grave.  He was mourned as a patriot, who had loved his country, not wisely, but too well; and it was believed that his motive for joining the Fenian ranks was less from a desire of revenge, which would have been sinful, than from a mistaken idea of freeing his country from a repetition of the cruelties of ’98, and from her present grievances.

[578] Sufferer.—­Plowden, Hist. p. 102.

[579] Sanction.—­His son says:  “His estimate of the people led him to appreciate justly the liveliness of their parts.  But while he knew their vices, and the origin of them, he knew that there was in their character much of the generosity and warmth of feeling which made them acutely sensitive when they were treated considerately and kindly.  His judgment of the upper classes of society, and of the purity and wisdom of the government, was less favorable.  He saw that the gentry were imperfectly educated; that they were devoted to the pursuits of pleasure and political intrigue; and that they were ignorant or neglectful of the duties imposed on them as landlords, and as the friends and protectors of those who depended on them for their existence.”—­Memoir of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, p. 72.

[580] All.—­Lord Holland says, in his Memoirs of the Whig Party:  “The fact is incontestable that the people of Ireland were driven to resistance, which, possibly, they meditated before, by the free quarters and excesses of the soldiery, which are not permitted in civilized warfare, even in an enemy’s country.”  The state prisoners declared the immediate cause of the rising was “the free quarters, the house-burnings, the tortures, and the military executions.”

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An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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