Ireland in the 1790s

sarrazinSome material on attempts to launch a revolution, in imitation of the French example, in Ireland during the 1790s. The Irish revolutionaries were active in Paris before Ireland rose in revolt in the summer of 1798. This interview between one of the emissaries, Theobald Wolfe Tone, and General Napoleon Bonaparte, shows something of the difficulties in getting the French to focus on Ireland, Once the Irish rebellion began, however, some support was forthcoming. The main fleet, sailing out of Brest, and carrying Wolfe Tone and thousands of soldiers, was defeated before it could lands its martial passengers, but a smaller expedition did arrive in Ireland, although, unfortunately for the Irish, it was too late to offer much support. This small French invasion was led by General Humbert, and landed in August 1798. Subsequent attempts to send reinforcements included a rather bizarre one under Napper Tandy. Here is a broad account of Humbert’s landing I did a few years ago:

A general account of the French invasion of 1798

It covers General Humbert’s landing, the battle at Castlebar, and the ultimate defeat of the little expeditionary force. Humbert would end up in Texas, most of his Irish recruits on the gallows. To supplement this I have just published General Humbert’s own account of the expedition. By and large this blames others for the lack of success, and probably with good reason.

I have recently added an eyewitness account by the wife of the Dean of Killala. She was caught up in the invasion and has much to say on events in Killala in the summer of 1798.

Finally, I translated Louis Octave Fontaine’s matter-of-fact account of the invasion. He is inclined to exaggerate French success, but is more reliable than his colleague Sarrazin.