United Irishmen upon duty

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United Irishmen upon duty. A night scene with a waning moon. United Irishmen burn and plunder. On the left is the corner of a farm house with flames pouring from a casement window. A ruffian wearing a military coat, tricolour cockade and green branch in his hat, seizes the burly farmer by the neck-cloth and raises a sword to strike. The dripping blade is inscribed 'Liberty,' and a mastiff lies dead beside him. Immediately behind, in a doorway, another ruffian seizes a woman round the waist. An infant lies on the ground. A man holding a dagger is disappearing into the house, another comes out with a bundle on his head. Behind are the flames of the burning house. Over the thatched lintel is a dove-cote from which birds are escaping. Three other men hurry off laden with plunder towards a road which leads to a camp flying a tricolour flag inscribed 'Equality.' The nearest (right) holds a sow on his back by the hind legs (her little pigs run after her) and a goose hangs from his belt. A bare-legged man with a dagger in his belt pushes a wheelbarrow laden with trunks. In the background, other plunderers proceed along the road. A man prods a cow with his spear. The road is crowded with sheep. In the distance is a burning town (BM). / An exaggerated picture of the horrors which attended, or rather which were expected to attend, the sanguinary Rebellion of 1798. French revolutionary principles are here brought into full play, in the shape of plunder, rape, and murder, and every description of outrage and devastation (Wright/Evans). Artist: Gillray, James, 1756-1815. Date: June 12, 1798. Sourced from Digital Commonwealth website.

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