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known. Some of the persons so arrested were , establishment of a secret system of direction,
mittee to have been greaily endangered by After these acquittals, Henry Redhead, alias this step; so exactly resembling that which Yorke, who had been committed at the same fifteen years before had nearly led to the detime on a charge of high treason, was brought struction of the metropolis: and your comto trial at York, in July 1795, upon an indict- mittee are decidedly of opinion, that the ment for a seditious conspiracy; in which shameful and highly criminal outrages which Joseph Gale, the printer of a news-paper at soon after took place on the first day of the Shefield, and Richard Davison, of Sheffield, session, are, in a great degree, to be ascribed both of whom had fled from justice, were in to the influence of these inflammatory procluded. Upon the trial of Yorke on this in- ceedings, and of this public and open violadictment, he was found guilty, and sentenced tion of the laws. It is not without regret, to two years imprisonment.
that your comunittee feel themselves obliged Sect. 5.–Farther proceedings subsequent horrid and sacrilegious attempt against His
to recall to the recollection of the House, the to the Arrests in 1794.
Majesty's person, with which those outrages The disclosures made upon these trials; the were accompanied. detentions already mentioned; and the pow. This alarming proof of the dreadful and ers vested in government by the “Act to em- desperate consequences which meetings and power His Majesty to secure and detain such proceedings of such a description naturally Persons as His Majesty shall suspect are con- tend to produce, made a deep impression on spiring against His Person and Government,” | the minds of the public, and necessarily enwhich received the royal assent on the 23rd gaged the attention of parliament. On a full of May 1794 ; broke, for a time, all the mea- consideration of all the circumstances, the lesures which had bean concerted by the disaf- gislature, by salutary laws, strengthened the fected, and obliged them to proceed with more authority of the magistrate for the repression caution and reserve. But they never appear of sedition and tumult; provided fresh checks for a moment to have relinquished their ori- against meetings of a dangerous tendency, and ginal design; and the nature and constitution of a description unknown in the history and of the Corresponding Society, which still sub. constitution of this country; increased the sisted, peculiarly qualified it seeretly to con- penalties of obstinate and repeated guilt; and tinue its machinations, and to extend and dif- added a fresh safeguard to the sacred person fuse its pernicious principles among the lower of his majesty: orders of the people. The plan of this consti- One of the immediate effects of these meatution, as originally proposed, not having been sures was, to put a stop to a practice, which stated in the reports before referred to, is in- had too long been suffered in the metropolis, serted in the Appendix (No. 2.). It is evi- to the disgrace of all order and governmentdent that the overthrow of every part of the the open and regular delivery of public lecgovernment and constitution of this kingdom, tures, inculcating the doctrines of sedition was in the immediate contemplation of those and treason; inciting the hearers to follow the by whom this plan was formed; and that it example of France, and animating them to was contrived with the view of being applied the commission of the most atrocious crimes. to the most extensive purposes, if they had This practice has not since been revived in succeeded in that object, and of enabling the the same shape ; but many of the debating conspirators, after the overthrow of the exist- societies, which subsist at the present time, ing government, to usurp and exercise an un- appear, to your committee, to be, in a great. controlled authority over the whole kingdom. measure, directed to the same pernicious obIt does not appear that this plan was ever for-jects, and to require farther animadversion mally adopted; but so much of it as led to the and correction. “Some check was also given
to the licentiousness of the press, which had, of your conduct in the generous missions till then, been in a great measure unrestrain which you and your fellow deputies now take 'ed. That licentiousness has furnished, in upon yourselves.” every part of Europe, one of the most dan- Notwithstanding this disposition to resist gerous instruments in the hands of conspira- and evade the effect of these bills, yet the tors. The industry with which every species seasonable and effectual check thus, for a seof inflammatory and seditious libels had been cond lime, given to the progress of sedition disseminated, applying to the various passions and treason, averted immediate danger; and and prejudices of every class of society, but if it did not extinguish the hopes of the conparticularly of that which is the least informed, spirators, at least deterred them, from the and therefore the most open to seduction, is public avowal and pursuit of their projects. an unanswerable proof, both of the extent and But the attempt to poison the minds of the of the zeal of the conspiracy in this country. lower orders of the people, and to prepare the
After the passing of these bills, the London means which might be resorted to on any faCorresponding Societies sent their delegates vourable occasion, was pursued with unabating into the country, to point out the method of perseverance. evading them, and for the purpose of feeling During the remainder of the year 1796, the the disposition of the people. Two persons, system continued to operate silently and sein this character, Jobu Binus and John Gale cretly; but, in the beginning of the following Jones, were sent, by the Londou Correspond year, its contagious influence was found to ing Society to Birmingham, where they were have extended to a quarter, where it was the 'arrested. They were found addressinga meeting least to be suspected, and produced effects, of persons in that town. Upon the person of which suddenly threatened the dearest interJones were found two papers;one a letter of cre- ests and immediate safety of the country with dence from the Society, signed by John Ashley, the most imminent danger. their secretary, introducing Binns and Jones as The mutiny which took place in the fleet, their accredited delegates; and the other, the if considered in all its circumstances, will be instruction of the society for the conduct of these traced to an intimate connexion with the prindelegates; both which papers your committee ciples and practices described by your comhave inserted in the Appendix (Nos 3 and 4). | mittee, and furnishes the most alarming They wish particularly to notice, that after di- proof of the efficacy of those plans of secrecy rections given to the delegates, to persuade and concert, so often referred to, and of the the people whom they were to address, that | facility with which they are applied for inthe sole object of the society was parliamen- flaming and heightening discontent, from tary reform, and that the bills last referred to, whatever cause it proceeds, and for converting need not prevent their continuing to meet; what might otherwise produce only an hasty the seventh article of the instructions, is in and inconsiderate breach of subordination these words, “The design of the above articles and discipline, into the most settled and sysis to remove misapprehensions relative to the tematic treason and rebellion. These princisafety of our association under the new laws. ples and this concert could alone have proThis part of your mission being effected, you duced the wide extent of the mutiny, and the are to strain every power of your mind to uniformity of its operation, in so many and awaken the sleeping spirit of liberty; you are such distant quarters. The persons princito call upon our fellow citizens to he ready pally engaged in it, even in its early stages, with us to pursue our common object, if it were many of them United Irishmen. The must be, to the scaffold, or rather (if our ene- mutineers were bound by secret oaths to the mies are desperate enough to bar up every perpetration of the greatest crimes. An atavenue to enquiry and discussion) to the field, tempt was made to give to the ships in muat the hazard of extermination; convinced tiny, the name of “The Floating Republic,” that no temper less decided than this, will and this attempt was countenanced both by suffice to regain liberty from a bold usurping papers published in France, and by a paper faction. But, to the end, that we may succeed here, called “ The Courier," which has, on by the irresistible voice of the people, you are many occasions, appeared almost equally deto excite, in every society, the desire which voted to the French cause. In some instances animates our bosoms to embrace the nation a disposition was manifested to direct the as brethren, and the resolution to bear every efforts of the mutineers to the object of comrepulse from passion and prejudice which fails pelling the government of this country to to deprive us of the sure grounds of argument.” conclude a peace with the foreign enemy, and And in the 13th article are the following ex. they at length even meditated betraying the pressions:-" In a word; you are always to ships of his majesty into the hands of that reflect, that you are wrestling with the ene-enemy. All these circumstances combine to mies of the human race, not for yourselves impress your committee with a firm persuamerely, for you may not see the full day of sion, that whatever were the prelences and liberty, but for the child hanging at the misrepresentations employed to seduce from breast; and that the question, whether the their duty a brave and loyal body of men; next generation shall be free, or not, may yet a spirit, in itself so repugnant to the habits greatly depend on the wisdom and integrity and dispositions of British sailors, must have [VOL. XXXIV.]
had its origia in those principles of foreign Your Committee has thus traced the chief growth, which the societies of the conspirators transactions which took place in this country, have industriously introduced into this coun. connected with the general design of the contry, and which they have incessantly laboured spiracy nearly to the period when its effects to disseminate among all descriptions of men : were manifested in their most dreadful and but especially among those whose fidelity and formidable shape in Ireland, by the atrocious steadiness is most important to the public and unexampled rebellion which broke out in safety.--A striking instance of the desperate the beginning of the last summer. About extent to which these principles were carried, this time, either with a view to that very appears in the proceedings of a court martial, rebellion, or in consequence of it, the societies held in the month of June 1797 ; an abstract | in this country entered into siill closer conof which your Committee have thought it nexion with the society of United Irishmen, right to insert in the Appendix (No. 17). and assumed a shape, more similar than beThe opinion stated by your Committee, will fore to that extraordinary combination, the be still more confirmed by the repeated and nature and effects of which have been al. atrocious attempts (bearing still more evi- ready fully described. It will therefore be dently the character of those principles in necessary for your Committee, in this place, which they originated) which have been shortly to review the progress of this society, made, in a great number of instances, since and of the steps by which it gradually the general mutiny was suppressed; and of prepared the way for all the recent miseries which it will be necessary for your committee and calamities which have been experienced hereafter to take notice. At the period now in Ireland. referred to, these systematic attempts made to seduce both the sailors and soldiers from their Sect. 6. Progress of the Society of United duty and allegiance, to incite them to mutiny,
Irishmen in Ireland till the period of the
Rebellion; its intercourse with France, and and to engage them in plans for the subversion of government, had become so appa
with leading Members of Societies in this rent and frequent, as to attract the immediate
country. notice of the legislature. Among these at. The transactions of the conspirators in that tempts, that made by a person of the name of country are so fully detailed in the different Fellows, convicted at Maidstone, in July reports of the two Houses of the Irish 1797, deserves particular attention. The parliament, that your Committee do not think seditious hand-bill, which he was proved to it necessary to state them at length; and will have distributed among the soldiers, is in only call the attention of the House to such serted in the Appendix (No. 5); and it ap- parts of them as prove, from the subsequent pears from a letter (also there inserted) (No. I conduct of the conspirators, the falsehood of 6), written by him to Evans and Bone, two of the early pretences by which they attempted the most active members of the London Cor- to disguise their real views, as well as the inresponding Society, and who have successively tercourse kept up by them with the French filled the office of secretary to that so. Directory, chiefly through England, and the ciety, shortly before his arrest, that he communication between leading members of had gone to Maidstone for the purpose the society of United Irishmen, and those of circulating seditious papers, as well as of of similar societies in Great Britain. making reports of the society at Maidstone. As early as in the year 1793, hopes and In
consequence of the prevalence of these expectations were held out of French assisdangerous practices, two acts of parliament tance; prayers were publicly offered up, at were passed in the year 1797 ; one inflicting Belfast, from the pulpit, for the success of tht severe penalties on any person guilty of incit- French arms; military associations were ening any of his majesty's forces by sea or land tered into without any legal authority; and to mutiny; the other for more effectually repeated attempts were made to seduce the preventing the administering or taking of un soldiery from their duty. lawful oaths. The propriety and necessity of In February 1994, Jackson, an Irish clergyboth these acts, was farther evinced shortly man, passed from France, through England, after. A person of the name of Fuller, was into Ireland, for the purpose of carrying
on a detected two days after the passing the first, treasonable correspondence with a view to an act, in attempting to seduce a soldier belong- invasion of both kingdoms. He was particuing to the Coldstream regiment of guards, larly recommended to some of the leading was found guilty at the following sessions of members of the English societies; and he the Old Baily and sentenced to death; and transmitted to the French government, both one Charles Radcliffe, prosecuted under the from London and from Dublin, papers on the second act, at the last court of session held subject of his mission, which had been previfor the county palaline of Chester, was found ously communicated to other persons in each guilty of administering the oath or test of the kingdom * society of United Englishmen. The paper In April 1794 he had many confidential found
upon Fuller, and which formed the chief ground of his conviction, is inserted in • Vide Jackson's and Stone's Trial, and the appendix (No. 7), and 'deserves-parti- Report of Commons in freland. cular attention.
oonversations at Dublin, on this subject, with, came from Hamburgh, in which further arHamilton Ruwan, a leader of the United rangements were made for the intended invaIrishmen, before mentioned; who was then sion. in prison, and since his escape has been at- The arrest of several persons in Ireland, tainted for high treason; with Wolfe Tone, and the night of others : and the memorable also a leading member of the same society, defeat, by lord Duncan, of the fleet intended who was lately taken on board the French to protect the expedition fitted out from Hol. ship the Hoche, in the actual attempt to in- land, again disconcerted the projects of the vadle Ireland; and with Lewins, now the conspirators. After this event, the French resident envoy from the United Irish at government appears to have repeatedly urged Paris.
the leaders of the Irish Union to immediate Although the trials of Jackson and Stone, insurrection; but the more cautious amongst and the arrest and fight of Hamilton Rowan them were unwilling to act, until the French and Tone, checked these projects for a time, should actualliy have landed: and their opinion the Society of United Irishmen pursued their for a time prevailed. measures with unabating activity, the go- The correspondence was in the mean time vernment of Ireland acquired information re- continued: the projects of rebellion and invaspecting the conduct of particular persons sion were ripening; and at this period the whom they had even at that time sufficient hopes of the Irish conspirators derived fresh ground to consider as chiefly engaged in this encouragement from reports of the progress treasonable conspiracy; particularly Lewins, of new societies in Great Britain, formed on above referred to; Henry and John Sheares, the same plan with themselves. A regular since convicted of high treason, and executed; communication was kept up between the Oliver Bond, and Wolfe Tone, convicted of Irish and English committees, through Arthur the same crime, and both since dead, the lat- O'Connor, who had come from Ireland to ter by his own hands, to escape the punish - England early in January 1798; and in the ment due to his crimes; lord Edward Fitzge- reports transmitted by the English societies rald, who died in prison in consequence of the to Ireland, the force of the United Englishmen wounds he received in resisting the officers of (a society which had been recently formed on justice, and has been since attainted of high the model of the United Irish, and of which a treason; and Arthur O'Connor, M' Nevin, more particular account will be given hereafter) and Emmett, whose individual guilt, as well was represented to be considerable, though as that of the whole conspiracy, is sufficiently your committee have reason to beleive that proved by their own confessions,
there was much exaggeration in these reports. It is stated, in the confessions of the three Arthur O'Connor *, in a letter to his brother persons last named, that the first communi- dated London, 13th February 1798, and cation which came to their knowledge between seized in lord Edward Fitzgerald's apartments the Irish and the French Directories, was an at Leinster House, states, “ that Scotland is offer made by the latter, in the year 1796, to Irish all over; that the people here give no send a French army to Ireland to the assist- opinion, though it is easy to learn they look ance of the republicans; but the committee for a change." of the House of Lords in Ireland have stated At a provincial meeting in Ireland, held on it as their opinion, that Lewins had been dis- the first of February 1798, it was stated to the patched to France, in the summer of 1795, to meeting, by a person just arrived from Dubrequest this assistance; and your Committee lin, that," the French were going on with are convinced, from secret intelligence which the expedition, and that it was in a greater has been laid before them, that this opinion state of forwardness than was expected; but was well founded.
what was more flattering, three delegates The invasion of Ireland, which was at- had been sert from the United Britons to the tempted in December 1796, was arranged at Irish National Committee, and from that moan interview which took place on the frontier ment the Irish were to consider England, of France between lord Edward Fitzgerald, Scotland, and Ireland, all as one people, acting Arthur O'Connor, and General Hoche, in the for one common cause." An address was summer of that year. After the failure of at the same time produced, which it was this attempt, the solicitations of the Irish Di- stated the delegates of Britain had brought rectory, were renewed; a proposal, which ar- with them to the Irish National Committee. rived from France early in 1797 was accepted, It was also stated, that the priest O'Coigly and an answer transmitted, through England, was one of the delegates mentioned to have by the means of Arthur O'Connor; Lewins been lately returned from France; and it was was dispatched to Paris in April, and M-Nevin added that he, and another priest who had in June. Both were employed in urging the Aed from Ireland, were the principal persons invasion of Ireland ; and in counteracting the who had opened the communication with the négociation for peace with the French repub- United Britons. lic; which his majesty's minister was then At another provincial meeting, held on carrying on at Lisle. A conference was held the 27th February 1798, it appears to bave in the same summer, in London, between lord Edward Fitzgerald and a French agent who
Vide Trial of O'Connor,
been stated, “ that a delegate had arrived | set forth in the Appendix (No. 10); clearly defrom France; that the French were using monstrating the traitorous views of those who every endeavour to have the expedition for formed the address, and were instrumental Ireland completed : and that the Irish dele- in the attempt to transmit it to France. gate came home to cause the United Irish to It appears also to your committee, both put themselves into a state of organization to from previous and subsequent information; join them, as the Directory positively assured that Arthur O'Connor, who had been, to the the Irish dclegates, that the expedition would moment of leaving Ireland, one of the mem : set out for Ireland the end of April or the be- bers of the Irish Directory, was not only going ginning of May.” It was also stated, that there to France in the confidence that, when there, had been a meeting of all the delegates in he should be considered and received as an England and Scotland held in London ; but accredited agent, but was confidentially emthat their resolutions could not be obtained ployed by the remaining members of that Di. till the next provincial meeting, to be held rectory, who were at that time dissatistied on the 25th of March.
with the conduct of Lewins. The address, which the delegates of United Sect. 7. Further intercourse between the Britons were so stated, at the provincial meeting of the 1st of February 1798, to have
United Irishmen, the French Governbrought with them to the Irish national com
ment, and the British Societies; formation * mittee, your committee have inserted in the
of new Societies, and their Proceedings. Appendix(No.8). About the same time a most At the meetings of the London Correspondseditious paper, sent from the London Corres- ing Society, for above two years before this ponding Society to the Society of United Irish- time, it had been avowed, that the object of men, signed J. T. Crossfield, president; | the society was to form a republic, by the asThomas Evans, secretary; dated 30th January sistance of France. Reforın in parliament, or 1798 (also inserted in the Appendix, No. 9). was even annual elections, or universal suffrage, published in Ireland, in a paper, called “ The were therefore no longer mentioned. Your Press," and the original seized in March 1798, i committee have abundant reason to believe, in consequence of the apprehension of Arthur | from the information laid before them, that O'Connor in England.
a person of the name of Ashley (one of the The priest O'Coigły, referred to in these persons arrested in 1794) and who had, for a transactions, and who has since been con- long time, been secretary to this society, was victed and executed at Maidstone, was a na- now acting as their agent at Paris, and had tive of Ireland, and went from that country recently given them hopes of the succour of a to Cuxhaven in 1797 with another Irishmani, French army. Mectings were held, to conwho was obliged to Ay from Ireland, and trive the means of procuring arnis, to enable passed into Holland, at the time when the them to co-operate with a French force, in Dutch fleet, under admiral de Winter was case of an invasion. The leading members of about to sail, with a large body of troops, on the disaffected societies were also in the habit an expedition destined against Ireland. When of frequenting an occasional meeting, which that Heet had sailed without the troops, was held at a cellar in Furnival's Inn, and O'Coigly and his companion went to Paris, was first formed for the purpose of reading the where, finding themselves thwarted by the libellous and treasonable publication, called jealousy of the resident envoy from the Irish “ The Press.” This place gradually became Union, O'Coigly returned to England about the resort of all those who were engaged the the middle of December 1797, and went to most deeply in the conspiracy. It was parti Ireland in January 1798. Whilst in Ireland, cularly atiended by Arthur O'Connor and he appears to have had interviews and corres- O'Coigly, previous to their attempļ to go over pondence with lord Edward Fitzgerald, and to France; and by the persons chiefly instruothers of the Irish conspirators; and he re- mental in carrying on correspondence with turned to England about the middle of Fe- the Irish conspirators; and secret consultabruary 1798.
tions were repeatedly held there, with a view Intelligence was conveyed to government to projects, which were thought too dangerof this man's designs, and particularly of his in- ous and desperate to be brought forward in tention to pass into France, for the purposes, any of the larger societies. Among these · which afterwards appearedto be the object of his plans, was that of effecting a general insurmission; he was therefore narrowly watched; rection, at the same moment, in the metrupo ‘and on the 28th of February 1798, he was, lis and throughout the country, and of directtogether with Arthur O'Connor, John Binns, | ing it to the object of seizing or assassinating Allen and Leary, taken into custody at Mar- the king, the royal family, and many of the gate, in the attempt to obtain a passage to members of both Houses of parliament. An France. The particular circumstances attend-officer, of some experience in his majesty's ing these attempts, are detailed in the evi- service, was selected as their military leader; dence on his trial. One of the papers, seized and sanguine hopes were entertained, that by the officers who apprehended him, was an they could command a sufficient force to effect address from “ the Secret Committee of Eng. their desperate purpose, in the first instance, land to the Exeeutive Directory of France," by surprise. But although the apprehension