Aftermath and Conclusion

Aylmer?s surrender effectively ended the rebellion which had begun almost two months previously, in May, except for the bands of desperadoes under Holt and Dwyer in the Wicklow mountains. The arrival of the French at Killala in August failed to stir Kildare to action, as Perry and Kearns had failed in July. Their rebellion had ended long before. Some like Michael Doorly Followed in the footsteps of Holt and Dwyer and continued a bandit campaign. Considering the fate of his brother John and the hardships endured by himself and his family this was understandable. He retained a sense of commitment and marched to Emmet's aid in 1803.

Violence continued into the autumn months as the county began to rebuild itself, blessed with a fabulous harvest. Despite the ultras indignation at a negotiated settlement many believed Cornwallis had saved Ireland from a more terrible fate. The unexpected support of lord Clare had helped push the amnesty through Parliament and rebels not guilty of murder or outrage could take advantage of its protection. With the retirement of the Kildare troops from the field the military force of the Union ceased to be operative, and that was as important for Cornwallis as his humanitarianism.

The intended mass, national rising did not happen and in Kildare the rebellion quickly degenerated into a plundering. Defenderist, bandit war, though more ominous and potent than the scavenger tactics of the previous year. Thousands of Kildaremen had risen, goaded to rebellion by military repression and the fear of Orange retribution. Personal and local grievances and loyalties bore the mark of the political dream, of United organisation inspired by French republicanism, but the reality was a military shambles. For the masses of pikemen who knew the realities of the King?s canon, political talk was cold comfort and any such delirium quickly faded.

Loyalist reasoning that the masses were deluded was substantiated by many of those examined but the actuality of the pikes and other arms proved the perfidy of those involved. A closer examination of the rebellion papers provides a greater understanding of this collage of Defenders and United men.


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