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MY DEAR FRIEND : Sinclair attends at Dungannon, but it will be too late for you to communicate with him, as we expect the business will be finished on Saturday. The proceedings there and the resolutions from every quarter of the province are the only answers necessary to any person who doubts the Presbyterians. Here many of the Aristocrats propagate doubts respecting the Catholics, but no person cherishes them, and though ignorant of the steps they are taking, we have the fullest reliance on them, and depend they are doing right.
R. S. February 13, 1793.
MY DEAR FRIEND: I was at Dungannon, and do not dislike the resolutions so much as you seem to do. I wish I saw any thing like them, or even half like them, from the other provinces. As to the third resolution, take it with the commentary, and I fancy, on reflection, you will not disapprove of it. But what signifies resolutions? They will never recover to the people their long lost rights. Or what is more? What signify the united exertions of four or five spirited counties, who aim at rational liberty, without money, without arms, without ammunition, opposed to an armed force of thirty thousand men ; to a secret divan, who have the disposal of £ 32,000,000 annually, and as much more as they choose to borrow, backed by one of the most powerful nations in Europe?-I say what signifies such exertions, against such opponents, when not supported by the people ? In such a situation they become of the nature of sedition; and when against the implied sense of the nation, should terminate. It is true, a few honest men, by going forward, may sacrifice themselves as victims; but is the state of the people bettered by all this? I cannot see how. And I will add, that when a nation does not express a wish to be free, it ought not to be made so, contrary to its will. We have now in this town, one regiment; in Lisburn, five companies and two troops of horse; in Lurgan, two companies and two troops of horse ; in Hillsborough, one company and two troops of horse; accompanied in the whole by eight brass fieldpieces and two howitzers, with their proportion of men. These are strong arguments against the people, and in our present state irresistible. If, however, the rest of the nation was ready, this country would not be deficient in spirit. We
complain that you give us no account of the proceedings in Dublin; no opinion on the plans of Government; no information how the Catholics relish Hobart's bill ; no intelligence of their views respecting reform ; in short, that you leave us completely in the dark, at a time when a storm is obviously collecting round our devoted heads. Remember I am a plain honest man, and like to talk my mind without reserve, to those I can confide in. Two persons of indifferent character have been summoned before the Star Chamber from this town. Pray what does this court tend to, or to what point are their views directed? Why do you not inform us on all these points, when you call for news from this sterile corner, where we make all our proceedings public to the world? I wrote to Keogh last night a similar letter, and stated to him that he would probably look upon it as peevish. I dare say you will do the same. Be it so; peevishness itself is gratified by expression, and I feel myself the better for baving given it utterance.
P. S. You are in a mistake about the French war. It was uncommonly reprobated at Dungannon by a strong resolution.
February 28, 1793.
DEAR SIR: I dare say you will have heard much of disturbances here. I think it my duty from friendship and fellow-citizenship to state the facts to you. On Saturday four troops of the 17th dragoons, came here from two neighboring towns; at six in the evening about thirty of them burst out from their lodgings, and with drawn sabres, accompanied by about six or eight artillerymen, proceeded to demolish several signs of Dumourier, Mirabeau, Franklin, Washington, &c. From this they proceeded to the houses of several individuals, McCabe, &c. and broke windows, shutters, &c. cutting and abusing every person they met with in the street, in a most unmerciful manner. This military mob reigned for about an hour. The empire of the laws began then to be restored. The officers and magistrates were at length found. The volunteers began to assemble, and the depredators soon took to their heels. Some were secured, but afterwards liberated by their officers. The volunteers mounted guard
all night. Yesterday the town met, appointed a committee to inquire and report, and the volunteers reassembled in the evening, filled the houses that were suspected to be attacked, and formed two reserves, in all about four hundred and fifty to five hundred. This turned the scale; the military took the alarm, bowed and begged pardon, and this day the whole regiment of horse were ordered to leave town in fifteen minutes warning by General White, whose conduct has been highly proper. Tranquillity is perfectly restored ; we have forgiven the troop and permitted the offenders to depart with their corps; and we remain, standing to our arms, without having offended or given cause of offence to a single military man.
SAM. NEILSON. March 11, 1793.
MY DEAR FRIEND: Saturday night presented a new scene to the inhabitants of Belfast. A military mob for a while reigning in all their glory. About one o'clock of that day four troops of dragoons arrived in this city, and about half after six, the greatest part of them, with a few artillerymen and a few of the 55th regiment, (quartered here,) began their career by demolishing a sign on which Dumourier was drawn, and breaking the windows of the house. They then proceeded to another ale house which had the sign of Mirabeau ; this was treated in the same way; and not a whole pane left in the front of the house. During these exploits every inhabitant that either attempted to approach them, or was passing accidentally, was assaulted, and some of them wounded severely. They then proceeded down North street, destroying a number of windows on their way, till they came to our friend M•Cabe's. This and the adjoining shop, belonging to a Mr. Orr, a zealous volunteer, were attacked with the utmost fury, and parties of them went on to destroy a house which had the venerable Franklin for a sign, and to a milliner's shop, who had trimmed the helmets of the volunteer light horse. But the magistrates and officers of the regiment in town, now appearing, they dispersed, after several of them were taken prisoners. Fortunately for them they did so, for the volunteers began to assemble and would soon have finished them. During this business, the dragoons were repeatedly observed to read a card
with the names of houses which they were to assault, amongst which were M.Cabc's, Neilson's, Hasliffs, Kilburne's, and the Star office, with some others not remembered by the persons who heard them. The two corps of volunteers each mounted a guard of sixty men, and the town remained quiet during the night. For a short while on Sunday there was a calm ; but it was of short duration ; those military savages, parading the streets in great numbers with haughty demeanor, and often using threats. General White arriving in town about two o'clock, restored calm by ordering them to their barrack. At three a meeting of the inhabitants took place, where a committee was appointed, consisting of the magistrates and sixteen other inhabitants, who were to inquire and report the cause of the riot, and take such steps as they might think necessary for the peace of the town. General White promised, on his part, to take every step that was proper to keep the military quiet, and ordered the troops to stable duty an hour earlier than usual. However, it was observed that during the town meeting, parties of them were going through the town, and marking some houses. This alarmed the inhabitants, and about five the volunteers began to assemble. In a short time they were above four hundred strong. The mob also gathered in great force, and began to threaten vengeance, and the military in their turn to tremble. A kind of negotiation took place between General White and the committee, the result of which was that the General pledged himself for the peaceable demeanor of the military, and the committee engaged that the volunteers should go home. This took place; the town remained quiet during the night, and this day, on a requisition from the committee, the dragoons were ordered out of town. Thus ended a matter which might have involved the whole kingdom in bloodshed; for, had the riots continued, the whole of the neighboring volunteers would have come to town. It is beyond a doubt that this plan was laid in Hillsborough, and that some of the officers were abettors and encouragers of it. The sentiments contained in your large packet are perfectly similar to what are entertained here, and we are as much on our guard as you could wish.
Note of the Editor.---This scene was only a preliminary symptom of the new spirit of the Irish administration, and of that reign of terror and mili
To RICHARD McCORMICK, Esq.
Dear Sir : Will you excuse an unfortunate persecuted northern incendiary, the liberty of asking once more his reputed countryman and friend, one simple question. Is Ireland abandoned? I mean by those who have the necessary abilities and confidence to lead the great majority of the Catholics: If so, let us all join in the act. We once united, or appeared to unite, in an effort to rescue our common country. She has not been rescued. Where lies the cause? Who are in fault? Each party is apt to exculpate itself, but I suppose the fault must be laid at our door, especially if the old adage, that what every person says must be true, is to be relied upon. Every man who has a part in governing this country, blames us ; every man who fattens on church and state, blames us; almost every Protestant out of Ulster, blames us ; every man of landed property throughout all Ireland, blames us; and, strange to tell, those men who stimulated us to action, those men who pledged themselves to risque all in the common cause; those men who alone have benefitted by our exertions—in one word, the Catholics of Ireland, if we are to suppose that their representatives know any thing of their sentiments, are decided in condemning us. For, not to speak of their refusal to include us among their friends, when they were concluding their business as a convention, they could not, when assembled the other day in a festive capacity, omit insulting this Province. Yes! I will repeat it, the meeting at Dely's insulted the Province of Ulster; because, when ransacking the very dregs of royalty, aristocracy, and pseudopatriotism for toasts, they tacitly condemned one-fourth of their tary license by which they determined to drive the people to insurrection. Is it wonderful, that, against such a Government, and such a system, they should rise and seek foreign aid, when the king and people of England gave them up, and even assisted their tyrants ?
M'Cabe, the chief sufferer on this occasion, was a man admirably calcu. lated to resist oppression, and full of opposition stuff. He had all the stub. bornness of a Hampden in his disposition. As soon as the riot was over, he hung up a new sign post, with the words “M'Cabe, an Irish slave." He would never allow his windows to be repaired, but kept them in their shattered state as a monument. The magistrates of the city begged in vain to restore them at their expense : one pane alone had escaped the soldiers fury. On the king's approaching birth day, when orders were given for a general illumination, he stuck that pane full of candles, but let the broken ones remain; observing that the military could do nothing more to them.