« PreviousContinue »
lives if he should be convicted by their means. Still, notwithstanding these infamous and arbitrary measures, adopted with evident intention to overwhelm an innocent man, no charge could be proved against him; but yet, to the indelible disgrace of those concerned in this iniquitous procedure, he was condemned and executed with circumstances of particular atrocity. The court by which he was tried was moreover irregularly constituted and illegal, being destitute of a judgeadvocate. The sentence was executed at an unusual hour, and so sensible were his judges of their own injustice, that in defiance of a special act of parliament, a copy of the proceedings was refused to his widow and family. After perusing actions such as these, we view with indignation the shameful accounts of atrocities committed by the rebels, written by men who support the proceedings of another party, and basely prostitute their talents to exalt every action of the loyal troops and subjects, however reprehensible their conduct; whilst the proceedings of their opponents are painted with every eppearance of brutal ferocity that rancour and prejudice can suggest. · It is not our intention to specify individually all the atrocities
and murders committed by the inferior actors in the rebellion. Many of these were undoubtedly the result of private antipathies; others dictated by the ferocity of ungovernable mobs; and are all of them, perhaps, what would have taken place in similar circumstances amongst the most enlightened and humane peo, ple on earth. Of this the revolution in France affords á me. lancholy example. Popular resentment, once roused, cannot be restrained within due bounds, or directed only against proper objects; and such is the want of subordination in tumultuary assemblies of armed men, that even their leaders are often compelled to yield to the torrent, and to suffer themselves to be hurried away by the impetuous passions of the mass. · Mr. Elliot, going from Carlow, after the repulse of the rebels, to visit his house three miles from town, saw a number of peasants assembled in the road at the end of his avenue. He was advancing without apprehension of danger, when observing two guns levelled at him, he gallopped away and escap
ed both shots. On his returning soon after with a body of yeomen, the peasants fled to places of concealment. When this gentleman, however, quite contrary to their expectations, rested satisfied with dispersing the insurgents, instead of burning their cabins and inflicting on them any severe punishment, as was usual, they returned to their habitations, and continued to remain perfectly quiet instead of being driven by desperation to join the rebel armies.
The Queen's County rebels were to have joined those of the county of Carlow at Graigue-bridge; but having heard that there were two pieces of cannon posted there, they changed their route ; and, headed by two leaders of the names of Redmond and Brennan, who had been yeomen, they burned several houses, belonging to protestants, in the village of Ballyckmoiler; and attacked the house of the Rev. John Witty, a protestant clergyman, near Arles, about five miles from Carlow; but it was bravely defended by himself and eleven friends, who kept up a constant fire, killed twenty-one rebels, and baffled all their attempts to storm or to burn it. The conflict continued from three till six o'clock in the morning.
On the 30th of May, a number of rebels, headed by one Ca. sey, attacked and burned the charter-school at Castlecarberry, after having plundered all the property of Mr. Sparks, the maś. ter, which was considerable. The school had been defended by a party of fencibles till the 24th of May; but when they were withdrawn, Mr. Sparks and his family were obliged to abandon it; and the children took refuge in the Bog of Allen, and in some neighbouring cabins.
On the same day that the charter-school was attacked, a great number of rebels encamped on an island in the bog of Timahoe, and at Mucklin and Drihid; and for some time continued to plunder the houses of protestants, and carried off all the horses and cattle they could find. Government having received intelligence of these proceedings, sent General Champagne, on the 5th of June, to attack the enemy with the following forces :-a detachment of the Limerick militia, commanded by colonel Gough; the Canal Legion, by lieutenant Williams; the Coolestown Cavalry, by captain Wakely; the Clor
nard Cavalry, by lieutenant Tyrell; and the Ballina Cavalry, by captain OʻFerrall.
The general disposed the cavalry so as to surround the bog, while the infantry attacked the camp on the island. The contest lasted some time, as there were but a small number of infantry; however they at last forced the camp and dispersed the rebels; of whom great numbers were slain in their flight by the cavalry.
A detachment of the Limerick, the Coolestown, the Canal Legion, and a party of Northumberland fencibles, attacked about six hundred rebels, who were posted on Foxes-hill; and whom they entirely routed with considerable slaughter.
No where did the rebels shew more fully their want of prudence, and their vain confidence, than in the attack which they made upon Hacketstown in the county of Carlow, fortyfour miles from Dublin. On their approach to the town, the garrison, which consisted of a detachment of the Antrim militia, under lieutenant Gardiner, and a body of yeomen under captain Hardy, marched out to meet them; but terrified by their numbers (about three thousand) they retreated and took shelter in the barrack. Exulting at their imaginary victory, the rebels raised a triumphant shout, and rushed forward with impetuosity, but in the utmost confusion. In this situation they were dexterously charged by captain Hume, who most fortunately arrived at that instant with thirty of his yeomen, completely routed and dispersed, with the loss of two hundred men. Lieutenant Gardiner received a violent blow on the breast with a stone ; and only one soldier was hurt. : On the morning of the twenty-fourth, the officers of the Navan cavalry, John Preston, Esq. captain, dispatched intelligence by letter to the officer commanding the garrison at Kells, to request he would send them such troops as he could spare for their protection; as they had been informed of the insurrections at Dunboyne and Dunshaughlin, and that the rebels had planted the tree of liberty at the latter. Captain Molloy, immediately on receipt of this intelligence, marched the yeomen infan try and cavalry to their assistance; but on his arrival, finding that the town was not in immediate danger of an attack, he returned to Kells for the protection of its inhabi.
tants, and of a large depot of ammunition there, which was endangered by his absence. A detachment was then ordered to proceed towards Dunshaughlin, and to reconnoiter the enemy. As they returned with information that the mass of the people were in arms, Mr. Barry, lieutenant of the Navan troop, dispatched the following notice to captain Molloy at Kells :
“Sir, Prepare your yeomanry immediately, as an insurrec“ tion has appeared from Dublin to Dunshaughlin, and numbers " have been murdered. Communicate this to all the other o officers.”
Of this intelligence captain Molloy apprized the different yeomen officers; and strenuously recommended to them to hold themselves in readiness for action. Captain Preston of the Navan cavalry, understanding that the Rea fencibles were to be in Navan on the night of the twenty-fifth of May, resolved to obtain their assistance in an attack upon the rebel station at Dunshaughlin. His demand of co-operation having been agreed to, and all the yeomanry in the adjacent country having joined them, they proceeded at day-break on the twenty-sixth to Dunshaughlin; which, however, the rebels had previously abandoned, and strongly posted themselves on the hill of Tarah in the county of Meath, eighteen miles northward of Dublin, an eminence well adapted for defence against an attacking foe; but so situated as to be extremely unfavourable to a retreating army, especially if pursued by cavalry. The hill is very steep, surrounded at the top by three circular Danish forts, with ramparts and fosses ; and on the summit is the church-yard, enclosed by a high wall. The king's troops, consisting of two hundred and ten of the Rea fencibles, with a battalion gun, lord Fingall's troop of yeoman cavalry, those of captain Preston, lower Kells, and captain MolJoy's company of yeoman infantry, amounted in all to about four hundred men. The rebels, who were perhaps about three thousand in number, no sooner perceived the king's troops adyancing, than they uttered loud shouts of exultation, and immediately began the attack, firing briskly as they advanced. The royal infantry, with the cavalry on their flanks, retained their fire till within about fifty yards of the enemy, when a desperate conflict ensued. The rebels made three furious onsets, in the last of which, with daring resolution, they seized upon the can
non, but before they could completely surround her, the officer who commanded had applied the match, and the succeeding discharge destroyed ten or twelve of the assailants and dispersed the remainder. The whole body of rebels, by the steadiness and valour of the king's troops, were at length routed in all directions, with the loss of about four hundred in killed and wounded, and three hundred horses captured; together with all their arms, ammunition, baggage, and provisions. The victors lost about forty men, and had expended their whole ammunition before the rebels were put to flight. In the pockets of some of the killed were found popish prayer-books, beads, rosaries, crucifixes, pious, ejaculations to Christ and to the Virgin Mary, and a variety of republican songs.
This signal victory laid open the communication betwixt the capital and the northern parts of the kingdom, as that at Rathangan did betwixt it and the western. Discouraged by these and other defeats, many of the rebels began to wish for leave to retire in safety to their houses, and to return to their peaceable occupations. General Dundas, on the twenty-eighth of May, received at his head-quarters at Naas, by Thomas Kelly, Esq. a magistrate, a message from a rebel chief named Perkins, who commanded a body of two thousand men at Knochawlin-hill, on the border of the Curragh of Kildare, a plain twenty-two miles south westward of Dublin, expressing a readiness to surrender their arms, provided they were allowed to retire unmolested to their respective houses, and that Perkins' brother, then in the jail of Naas, should be liberated. The general not considering himself authorised to conclude a treaty with the rebels, sent to Dublin for instructions; and having received permission, proceeded to Knockawlin on the thirty-first; where, after he had received the personal surrendry of Perkins and a few of his associates, he granted pardon to the rest, who immediately dispersed with shouts of joy, leaving behind them thirteen cartloads of pikes.
This peaceable disposition, however, was unfortunately blasted three days afterwards by military licentiousness and want of that strict attention to discipline, so indispensibly requisite when . a country is in a state of insurrection. In order to open the communication betwixt Dublin and Limerick, major-general