1795 – Lord Gosford, Governor of Armagh declares the Orange Order a “lawless banditti”.

The rationale for the 1798 Rebellion and the logic behind the cause of the United Irishmen can be seen in a document signed by Lord Gosford, Governor of Armagh who railed against anti-Catholic discrimination in a document dated on this day in 1795

“It is no secret that a persecution, accompanied with all the circumstances of ferocious cruelty which have in all ages distinguished this calamity, is now raging in this country; neither age, nor sex, nor even acknowledged innocence, is sufficient to excite mercy or afford protection. The only crime which the unfortunate objects of this persecution are charged with, is a crime of easy proof indeed; it is simply a profession of the Roman Catholic faith. A lawless banditti have constituted themselves judges of this species of delinquency, and the sentence they pronounce is equally concise and terrible; it is nothing less than a confiscation of all property and immediate banishment—a prescription that has been carried into effect, and exceeds, in the number of those it consigns to ruin and misery, every example that ancient or modern history can supply. These horrors are now acting with impunity. The spirit of justice has disappeared from the country; and the supineness of the magistracy of Armagh has become a common topic of conversation in every corner of the kingdom.”

lord-gosford

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