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'United Irishmen upon Duty', 1798

Coloured engraving by James Gillray, published by H Humphrey, 1798.

This portrayal of volunteers of the Society of United Irishmen, a republican nationalist group fighting for Irish independence, depicts them as thieves perpetrating atrocities against innocent farmers rather than as a serious political force. The work, playing as it does on the fears of property-holders, was aimed at encouraging loyalists in Ireland to join the militia. The arrest of several leaders of the United Irishmen in 1798 caused a revolt which was brutally suppressed by government troops, including militia units, with more than 20,000 lives lost.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1962-11-5-8


National Army Museum, London


National Army Museum, Army At Home gallery

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