A History of England in the Eighteenth Century - Vol. 8

A History of England in the Eighteenth Century - Vol. 8

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A History of England in the Eighteenth Century - Vol. 8

A History of England in the Eighteenth Century - Vol. 8

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The United Irish Society had, as we have seen, passed through several distinct phases since its foundation at Belfast in October 1791. It was originally a perfectly legal society consisting of men who pledged themselves 'in the presence of God' to use all their influence to obtain 'an impartial and adequate representation of the Irish nation in Parliament,' and, as a means to this end, to endeavour to secure the co-operation of Irishmen of all religious persuasions; and although some of its leaders undoubtedly aimed from the first at separation, the real objects of many, and the ostensible objects of all, were merely Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform. After the suppression of the society in 1794 it had been reconstructed on a new basis, and became distinctly treasonable. An oath was substituted for the original test, and it comprised an obligation to secrecy and fidelity. The mention of Parliament in the declaration of aims was suppressed; a very elaborate organisation was created consisting of a hierarchy of committees, each committee except the lowest being formed by election from the subordinate sections; and the whole was directed by a General Executive Directory of five members, elected by ballot from the Provincial Directories, and sitting in Dublin. In 1795 the society appears . . .

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