Concerning the Society of United Irishmen or United Men

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Date April 24, 1798
Author Name James McHenry (primary)
Recipient Name Leander Neale (primary)
Summary Regarding the activities of a Catholic priest named Madgit, believed to be a spy in the employment of the Directory. Substance of information by the superior of the Roman Catholic clergy in Philadelphia. A Catholic priest had lately arrived at New York, who had been a spy in France for Pitt. Had escaped by means of gold in Paris of the new order. Had acted in Ireland as a spy for Pitt. Had to take sudden departure from London. Is presently at Philadelphia; brought letters from some persons in New York to members of Society of United Irishmen. Is moderately tall, wears a queue, is every day at the coffee shop, and attends service at St. Marys. Full evidence of criminality not expected. Not called United Irish, but United Men, because men of every country admitted as members. Principal object of society is to watch government of United States. Mentions O'Regan as a kind of doctor; lodges somewhere southward [Southwark]. Mentions person as being connected with United Men and insurrection; to watch and oppose U.S. government.
Document Format Draft Letter
Document Notes Partially illegible
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups James McHenry; Leonard Neale; O'Regan; Directory; Catholic; clergy; priest; spy; agent; William Pitt; Society of United Irishmen; Madgit; French; citizen; British; Irish; United Men; United Men; Society of United Irishmen, Roman Catholic clergy, British spies; French spies.;
Related Places Philadelphia; New York; France; Paris; Ireland; coffeehouse; St. Marys; England; Britain; London; Southwark; ;
Keywords Queue; coffee; vessel; gold; ;
Key Phrases [not available]
Transcription

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April 26th 1798
Substance of information by the Superior of the Roman Catholic Clergy in Philad. received this evening of the 25th inst.
That one Madgit , a friend of Roman Catholic priest, had lately arrived at New York, had been a spy in France for Pitt, was twice, while there on the point of being guillotined, but escaped by means of gold or at the intercession of his uncle a priest in Paris of the new order. That Madgit had acted in Ireland & London, as a spy for Pitt;that about twelve months ago he was obliged to take a sudden departure from London. That he is now in this city, and bought letters from some persons in New York, to a member or members of the society of United Men in Philadelphia.
Madgit is a moderately tall well looking man, wears a queue, is every day at the Coffee house, and attends service regularly at St. Marys. He came in a vessel to New York which had been taken by the French, and afterwards retaken by the crew. That he has endeavoured to claim some merit in that event, but has none.
[Stamped: Photocopied from original in William L. Clemente Library, University of Michigan. Permission of Library Director required for reproduction, use, or publication. Deposit of this copy in other institutions is strictly prohibited.]
That his occupation under W Pitt in France in England and Ireland, joined to his sudden departure from London and about twelve months ago & his appearance rose at this juncture, affords [illegible] to suspect, that he is still labouring in the same vocation as a spy not for Pitt but for the Director
His Superior [Denied??} that in such cases, full evidence of [?] a City could not be expected, but that from this mans connections & mode of life, and his information respecting him in which he had no doubt. he had thought it to be his duty, as a citizen of the U. S. and lover of its government, and one under obligations, for the freedom of worship which it permitted to his church, to apprise me of what he knew, and what the nature of the obligations of his profession would admit of this communicating.
That he knew that none exists in their city a combination of men, called United Men, that the city is divided into three districts, and that there is a head in each district [a gent?] of whose duty is to watch over the conduct of members within his district. These men have meetings and are bound to each other and to secrecy by an oath. You
[Stamped: Photocopied from original in William L. Clemente Library, University of Michigan. Permission of Library Director required for reproduction, use, or publication. Deposit of this copy in other institutions is strictly prohibited.]
will understand, that what is said is the result of free conceptions within its members other than he discharged any often are facititious and what I may also divulge are [undecipherable] conversations.
The members of this society do not call themselves United Irish, but United Men, because Men of every country are admitted to be members. A principal object of the society is to watch the government of the U. States, which they have been taught to consider as travelling the same course as the British government did in regard of Ireland and to resist it, whenever a fit occasion presents. "O Regan" said to him, you are under a delusion. This government deserves all our love and protections &c &c.
[O Regan, I understand is a kind of a Doctor and lodges somewhere in Southwark.]
Upon the whole, it was to be collected, that Madgit, was here upon a project connected with the schemes of the United Men, and insurrection. That the
[Stamped: Photocopied from original in William L. Clemente Library, University of Michigan. Permission of Library Director required for reproduction, use, or publication. Deposit of this copy in other institutions is strictly prohibited.]
United Men have in view to watch & oppose that government of the U States, wherever they thought it oppressive or not answerable to their views & as it had already appeared of this complete and to [undecipherable] or aid, in effecting the proposed object. and tho at [illegible] his discussion it believed government to be extremely [illegible] out them a particular [pretense?]
Who has & does act as Agent for the United Irish Men with the Directory.
[right margin: Leand Neale
April 24, 1798
[Stamped: Photocopied from original in William L. Clemente Library, University of Michigan. Permission of Library Director required for reproduction, use, or publication. Deposit of this copy in other institutions is strictly prohibited.]