The Penal Laws were in the process of being relaxed during the eighteenth century and by the end of which, Catholics could legally vote and attend church. However, they could still not hold the higher offices in the judiciary or the army and most were subservient to their landlords. The Rebellion of 1798 took place between May and June, mostly in the eastern part of the country. On August 22nd of that year the French General Humbert landed near Killala Bay, County Mayo and quickly recruited 1,000 Irish troops to add to his 1,100 French soldiers to reignite the rebellion. After initial success, they proceeded to Castlebar and won a famous battle known as ‘The Races of Castlebar’, signifying the speed of the British retreat. It has been called one of the most ignominious defeats in British military history. The victory was celebrated in the Linen hall and for a short time a Republic of Connaught was declared with Castlebar as its capital. John Moore was given the title of President but lasted little more than three weeks as Humbert was defeated at Ballinamuck in Longford and brought an end to the uprising and Castlebars attempt to cast off colonial rule.