An Irish Proclamation

From the Nashville Clarion, December 17, 1814

WHEREAS George Phelps, commonly called the Prince Regent of Great Britain, son and heir-apparent of George the III. the bulwark of our holy religion the protector of our rights, and redresser of our wrongs–who once was so simple as to be ignorant of the manner, in which an apple got into a dumpling:  Not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being instigated by the devil; did in Anno Domini, 1814, publish and declare by  his royal edict or proclamation that all his liege subjects, whether English, Irish or Scotch, who were serving in the armies of the United States, fighting for free trade and sailors rights, and every blessing dear to freemen, should suffer death without benefit of clergy, when captured by the British or savages of the forest, their allies in war, and their brothers in peace.–And whereas there are millions of denizens, in the United States, who emigrated from the land of their fathers, to avoid the innumerable indignities, and injuries, they at all times were subject to, by those beings, who were exalted above them by the laws of their country–known and distinguished from the balance of their fellow men, by being honored with the star and garter, which gave them the exclusive privilege of filching from the poor the little pittance, the product of their industry, and the sweat of their brow, which was designed by Heaven to illuminate their humble cottages with smiles and plenty.

And whereas there are hundreds of thousands of the true born sons of Erin, now landed on these delightful shores, who have become denizens, and have taken to themselves companions for life; and have raised families of healthy and robust children, the pride of their fathers, and glory of their mothers, useful to the great American family:  and who are distinguished for their peaceful, industrious and innocent habits.

And whereas the said George the III.  the (bulwark aforesaid) did not long since, land a numerous army of the basest ruffians, and inhuman monsters, that ever disgraced humanity, on Erins unhappy shores, for the express purpose of pikeing, bayoneting, hanging, and murdering, by every means their ingenious cruelty could devise, thousands of men celebrated for their knowledge of science, the fine arts, and their love of country.–And whereas those monsters, did but too well fulfill the object of their mission, by tearing the husband from the arms of his wife, the wife from the bosom of her husband, and the child from the breast of its mother; the ruffian, whose sword or bayonet was deepest reddened with human gore; him who by force could pollute the innocent female, blast her honour, and destroy her life; him who could rip the bowels from the tender infant, and while yet quivering in life, extend it on his bloody bayonet, was cheered by his companions as the greatest hero of the infamous band:  many of their leaders are now battening on the spoils of that unhappy country, and are raised to immortal honour, viz. the star and garter by this self same George the III.

And whereas the same George, or his hopeful son, not satisfied with causing the rivers of Europe to run with blood, not satisfied with directing their poisonous wrath against the old world like the fiend of man their footsteps are again traced in blood, in this once happy country, the last refuge of oppressed humanity.

Now know all you who have taken refuge on Columbia’s shores, whether aliens or denizens, that I Teddy O’Flaherty, a true born son of hibernia, do pronounce (and that is sufficient) that the Americans are right, in fighting the British, and that it is the duty of every Irishman to fight for them:  for at the same time he is doing himself a bit of kindness, for he is fighting his own battles; he is fighting for the rights of his children, (which is the delight of an Irishman ) he is fighting for generations yet unborn.  And also know ye, that if any Irishman should demur in so just a cause, I hereby decree him a horse-pond for his bed, and a hackle for his pillow, and that if ever I Teddy should come across him, I will tip him the wink, with my oaken shelaly, and bring him again to his right senses.  Och! not fight for the Americans, who received us in distress; who adopted us as brothers; who gave us new life, and with God’s blessing made men of us.  The British say they have a bit of a rope in soak for us, but to the Devil I pitch it; now my dear countrymen, no matter whether English, Irish or Scotch, know ye, that I Teddy, am just a going to sit down in my neat little cabin, by my cheerful fire-side, and take to myself a bit of a tune on my old harp–once the emblem of my country’s glory.

Signed at the Cabbin of Happiness, in the vicinity of Nashville, this 19th Dec. 1814.



About the Author

Mary Bowden is a researcher working at the Texas Collections Deposit Library at the University of Texas. A little-known but invaluable treasure of U.S. history and the history of American journalism is archived in the collection of bound United States’ Newspapers at the University of Texas at Austin. The collection began more than a century ago and has been stored in recent years in the Texas Collections Deposit Library on the campus of the University of Texas. The sizeable archive is currently in the early stages of being digitized before being moved to a more climate-controlled environment at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus of the University, on the north side of Austin.

Mary Bowden