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The manifesto of the privisional government, drawn up by Robert Emmet, and found at the Depot in Marshalsea-lane, was produced on the trial of Edward Kearney. Lieutenant Coltman, of the 9th Regiment, proved that several bundles of this document were found in the Depot “quite wet from the press. Extracts from the documents have been published, and the entire manifesto that was produced on Kearney's trial is given in Ridgeway's Report, but knowing the unscrupulous conduct of the government agents of that day with respect to such documents, I thought it desirable to give an exact copy of the original paper, the authenticity of which might be depended on. I am indebted to Miss M'Cracken for the copy of that document, and of the proclamation annexed to it, which were found amony Russell's papers.
“ THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT TO THE
PEOPLE OF IRELAND.
“You are now called upon to show the world that you are competent to take your place among nations ; that you have a right to claim their recogizance of you, as an independent country; by the only satisfactory proof you can furnish of your capability of maintaining your independence, your wresting it from England with your own hands.
“In the development of this system, which has been organized within the last eight months ; at the close of internal defeat, and without the hope of foreign assistance, which has been conducted with a tranquillity mistaken for obedience,
which neither the failure of a similar attempt in England has retarded, nor the renewal of hostilities has accelerated ; in the development of this system you will show the people of England, that there is a spirit of perseverance in this country beyond their power to calculate or repress ; you will show to them that as long as they think to hold unjust dominion over Ireland, under no change of circumstances can they count on its obedience, under no aspect of affairs can they judge of its intentions ; you will show to them that the question which it now behooves them to take into serious consideration, is not whether they will resist a separation, which it is our fixed determination to effect, but whether or not they will drive us beyond separation, whether they will by a sanguinary resistance create a deadly national antipathy between the two countries, or whether they take the only means still left of driving such a sentiment from our minds, by a prompt, manly, and sagacious acquiescence in our just and reasonable determination. If the secrecy with which the present effort has been conducted, shall have led our enemies to suppose that its extent must have been partial, a few days will undeceive them. That confidence which was once lost by trusting to external support, and suffering our own means to be gradually undermined, has been again restored. We have been mutually pledged to each other to look only to our own strength, and that the first introduction of a system of terror, the first attempt to execute an individual in one county, should be the signal of insurrection in all. We have now, without the loss of a man, with our means of communication untouched, brought our plans to the moment when they are ripe for execution, and, in the promptitude with which nineteen counties will come forward at once to execute them, it will be found that neither confidence nor communication are wanting to the people of Ireland.
“In calling on our countrymen to come forward, we feel ourselves bound, at the same time, to justify our claim to their confidence by a precise declaration of our views. We therefore solemnly declare that our object is to establish a free and independent republic in Ireland, that the pursuit of this object we will relinquish only with our lives; that we will never, unless at the express call of our country, abandon our posts, until the acknowledgment of its independence is obtained from
England, and that we will enter into no negociation (but for exchange of prisoners) with the government of that country while a British army remains in Ireland. Such is the declaration on which we call first on that part of Ireland which was once paralysed by the want of intelligence, to show that to that cause only was its inaction to be attributed ; on that part of Ireland which was once foremost in its fortitude in suffering ; on that part of Ireland which once offered to take the salvation of the country on itself ; on that part of Ireland where the flame of liberty first glowed ; we call upon the North to stand up and shake off their slumber and their oppression.
Men of Leinster ! stand to your arms ; to the courage which you have already displayed is your country indebted for the confidence which truth feels in its own strength, and for the dismay with which our enemies will be overcome, when they find this effort to be universal. But, men of Leinster, you owe more to your country than the having animated it by your past example, you owe more to your own courage than the having obtained protection by it. If six years ago you rose without arms, without plan, without co-operation, with more troops against you alone, than are now in the country at large, you were able to remain six weeks in open defiance of the government, and within a few miles of the capital, what will you now effect, with that capital, and every other part of Ireland, ready to support you ? But it is not on this head we have need to address you. No ! we now speak to you, and, through you, to the rest of Ireland, on a subject dear to us, even as the success of our country_its honour. You are accused by your enemies of having violated that honour by excesses, which they themselves had in their fullest extent provoked, but which they have grossly exaggerated, and which have been attributed to you. The opportunity for vindicating yourselves by actions is now, for the first time, in your power, and we call upon you to give the lie to such assertions, by carefully avoiding all appearance of intoxication, plunder, or revenge, recollecting that you lost Ireland before, not from want of courage, but from not having that courage rightly directed by discipline. But we trust that your past sufferings have taught you experience, and that you will respect the declaration we now make, which we are determined by every means in our power to enforce.
The nation alone has the right, and alone possesses the power of punishing individuals, and whosoever shall put another to death, except in battle, without a fair trial by his country, is guilty of murder. The intention of the Provisional Government of Ireland, is to claim from the English government such Irishmen as have been sold or transported by it for their attachment to freedom, and, for this purpose, it will retain as hostages, for their safe return, such adherents for that government as shall fall into its hands. It therefore calls upon the people to respect such hostages, and to recollect that, in spilling their blood, they would leave their own countrymen in the hands of their enemies.
“The intentions of the Provisional Government is to resign its functions as soon as the nation shall have chosen its delegates, but, in the mean time, it is determined to enforce the regulations hereunto subjoined ; it, in consequence, takes the property of the country under its protection, and will punish with the utmost rigour any person who shall violate that property, and thereby injure the resources and future prosperity of Ireland.
“Whosoever refuses to march to any part of the country he is ordered, is guilty of disobedience to the government, which alone is competent to decide in what place his service is necessary, and which desires him to recollect that in whatever part of Ireland he is fighting, he is still fighting for its freedom. Whoever presumes, by acts or otherwise, to give countenance to the calumny propagated by our enemies, that this is a religious contest, is guilty of the grievous crime, that of belying the motives of the country. Religious disqualifications are but one of the many grievances of which Ireland has to complain. Our intention is to remove not that only, but every other oppression under which we labour. We fight that all of us may have our country, and, that done, each of us shall have our religion.
“We are aware of the apprehensions which you have expressed, that, in quitting your own counties, you leave your wives and your children in the hands of your enemies, but on this head have no uneasiness ; if there are still men base enough to persecute those who are unable to resist, show them by your victories that you have the power to punish, and, by your obedience, that you have the power to protect, and we
pledge ourselves to you, that these men shall be made to feel that the safety of every thing they hold dear depends on the conduct they observe to you. Go forth theu with confidence, conquer the foreign enemies of your country, and leave to us the care of preserving its internal tranquillity ; recollect that not only the victory, but also the honour of your country is placed in your hands : give up your private resentments, and show to the world that the Irish are not only a brave, but also a generous and forgiving people.
“Men of Munster and Connaught, you have your instructions, you will execute them. The example of the rest of your countrymen is now before you, your own strength is unbroken ; five months ago you were eager to act without any other assistance, we now call upon you to show what you then declared you only wanted, the opportunity of proving that you possess the same love of liberty, and the same courage with which the rest of your countrymen are animated.
We turn now to that portion of our countrymen whose prejudices we had rather overcome by a frank declaration of our intentions, than conquer in the field ; and, in making this declaration, we do not wish to dwell on events, which, however they may bring ten-fold odium on their authors, must still tend to keep alive in the minds, both of the instruments and victims of them, a spirit of animosity, which it is our wish to destroy. We will enter into no detail of the atrocities and oppressions which Ireland has laboured under, during its connection with England ; but we justify our determination to separate from that country, on the broad historical statement, that, during six hundred years, she has been unable to conciliate the affections of the people of Ireland ; that, during that time, five rebellions were entered into, to shake off the yoke ; that she has been obliged to enter into a system of unprecedented torture in her defence ; that she has broken every tie of voluntary connection, by taking even the name of independence from Ireland, through the intervention of a parliament notoriously bribed, and not representing the will of the people; that in vindication of this measure, she has herself given the justification of the views of the United Irishmen, by declaring, in the words of her ministers, 'That Ireland never had, and never could enjoy, under the then circumstances, the benefits of British connection ; that it necessarily must happen,