Wakefield’s Account of Ireland.

A footnote
from p 331 , ” The Irish Rebellion ” by W H Maxwell
(1891), adds a comment from :”Wakefield’s Account of

” Having
traced out the leading events of this unfortunate
business, it is necessary to call the attention of the
reader to the Presbyterians of the north, who may be
considered as the chief instigators to rebellion. The
Roman Catholics, so far from being the original movers of
insurrection, were mere instruments in the hands of these
people, who intended to employ them in effecting a
complete revolution. The accomplishment of this scheme
was, however, attended with difficulty. How was the
business to be managed ? How were they to be gained over ?
and when gained, how brought into action? Was it by
holding out the hopes of nominal emancipation from the
restraining acts which still hung over them ? Such an
offer, I am convinced, would not have produced the least

No sooner,
however, had a third, although apparently small party,
appeared, than they manifested a disposition favourable to
the views of those who were desirous to employ them as
instruments for the execution of their nefarious designs.
It was the imprudent conduct of the Orangemen, their
excesses, and bacchanalian exultation in the exercise of
power that enabled the republicans to rouse the feelings
of the Roman Catholics, and excite them to rebellion. The
Catholics, therefore, raised an immense army, which wanted
nothing to render it formidable but. officers and
ammunition. The leaders of these people were the bigoted,
discontented priests, whose object was power, not freedom
; not a desire to improve the condition of their flocks,
but the hope of hierarchal dominion. Under such leaders,
who can be surprised that the war carried on by the
Wexford mob exhibited every mark of the rancorous spirit
with which they had been Inspired ?

The views
of the Presbyterians were quite different. The scenes
which took place soon convinced them that a government,
established on the principles avowed by the Catholic
leaders, would be more tyrannical and insufferable than
that against which they had conceived so implacable a
hatred. Those, therefore, who had laid the train for the
intended explosion, began, in their turn, to be alarmed ;
and, instead of assisting in the struggle which they had
provoked, shrunk back from the contest, and became the
secret supporters of government. By this desertion of the
Presbyterians the constitution was saved, and the misled
Catholics left to maintain the conflict, or retreat in the
best manner they could. The southern Catholics, therefore,
had to encounter, not only the army, but the whole
population of Ulster.

Such was
the state of things towards the end of the rebellion. The
consequence was, that an enmity arose between these sects,
which still remains unabated. “