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lord Kingsborough's capitulation, death was regard- c H A P. ed as the consequence of surrendry. After this v' * were the chief devastations committed, apparently in revenge, in the county of Wicklow, by the peasants, and in their incursion into the counties of Carlow and Kilkenny. The calamities, occasioned by this incursion, were much augmented by the royal troops, who deprived of life or property numbers no way guilty of rebellion. From the battle of Kilcomny the rebels were destitute of cannon; nor had such engines been used by any insurgents except the Wexfordians and those of Ulster. Their great deficiency was the want of ammunition, a main cause to the insurgents of Wexford, of a failure in their enterprizes. This they had in vain attempted to remedy. Small round stones and hardened balls of clay were sometimes the substitutes of leaden bullets; and, by the mixing and pounding of the materials in small mortars, they fabricated a species of gunpowder, which exploded not, except when immediately recent, and even then with little force. They found means to manage instantly, doubtless in an aukward manner, the cannon taken from the army, sometimes applying wisps of hay or straw instead of matches. In battle they mostly availed themselves of hedges, and other such kind of shelter, to screen themselves from the shot of their adversaries; and they generally arranged their lines in such order as to suffer very little from the fire of the artillery, which they sometimes also

Chap, seized by a furious and rapid onset. In the beginv__l/ ning of their insurrection they aimed so high as mostly to miss their opponents; but before the end of it they learned to level their guns with fatal effect. Their onsets with the pike might have been truly formidable, if well executed, particularly in the darkness of night; but the Wexfordians fought only in the light of day. As they acted spontaneously in battle without regular command, each feared the desertion of his associates, and his capture by an enemy who never gave quarter. They, therefore, would not confide one in another for a nocturnal attack, where complete opportunity was afforded for such desertion.

Conformably to their plan of open warfare, hills of a commanding prospect were always chosen for their stations. These posts they styled camps, though destitute of tents, except a few for their chiefs. The multitude remained in the open air, both sexes promiscuously, some covered at night with blankets, some only with their ordinary clothes. This mode of campaigning was favoured by such a continuance of dry and warm weather as is very unusual in. Ireland, a boon of Providence, regarded by each of the contending parties as conferred on itself. The irregularity of these encampments, where, among a licentious rabble, all commanded and none obeyed, is not easily described. This may be instanced in their cookery. They cut to pieces their* carcases of cattle at random, without flaying, and generally left 2 the

the head, sometimes parts of the body, to rot on c H A P.

XL IV.

the surface of the ground. Contagion must have ^ *' followed a longer continuance of such practice.

That, except three towns on its outline, Bun-Remarks clody, Ross, and Duncannon, the county of Wex-uinon.

1798

ford should have so long remained in the hands of a disorderly mob, unofficered, and miserably armed, in defiance of the royal power, must appear not a little strange, especially when we consider that this mob was composed of none other than the inhabitants of this county alone. In every successful attempt within its limits they were totally unaided from abroad. Either their numbers must have been mistaken by several calculators, or they amounted to at least forty thousand men. Hence we must infer a numerous population, if we add a few thousand who joined not their hosts. In a populace unrestrained by human law, too little acquainted with the purity of the divine to be guided by its precepts, and ill-directed by the law of reputatiori where deeds of violence might be most applauded, observations might be made on the nature of man, perhaps not to its honour, yet not totally useless.

That, when once insurrection took place, it should be attended with devastation and massacre, might be naturally expected in a peasantry ungoverned, and previously exasperated. Yet to suppose that the insurgents were all alike sanguinary, would be

far

Chap, far from the truth. Many of even the lowest were" xuv. . .

men of humanity; but amid so wild a commotion,

the modest and feeble voice of pity was drowned by the arrogant and loud clamour of revenge on the bloody Orange dogs! The greatest cowards, and those who were the most scrupulously observant of the bare ceremonial of religion, were the most addicted to a6ts of cruelty. Superstition, cowardice, and inhumanity are all congenial with littleness of soul. For another fact we cannot so easily account. Those who had been the boldest in fighting with the cudgel at fairs and other popular assemblies, were uncommonly backward in battle with fire-arms or pikes; and in general were comparatively not mischievous or cruel. The men who had been most quiet and industrious in times of peace, were generally found the most resolute and steady under arms in war. Such in particular were the people of Bargy and Forth baronies. Those habits of order, the concomitants of industry, on which the civil prosperity of a state so much depends, are the best preparatives to form an efficient soldiery for its defence.

That some massacres were committed, particularly on Vinegar-hill, from religious rancour, and that others arose from a spirit of revenge, seems hardly to admit a doubt. By the royal troops were great numbers put to death without any apparent act of rebellion. Men imprisoned from private information, suspicion, malice, affectation of loyalty, or caprice, were sometimes indiscriminately slaughtered tered, without the least form of trial or inquiry, by Chap. licentious dastards of the military denomination, \^^ji who dared never to face the rebels in battle. Many more such massacres would have had place, if they had not been prevented by men of bravery. Atro-1 cities were perpetrated on both sides, but the chastity of the fair sex was respected by the rebels. I have not been able to ascertain one instance to the contrary in the county of Wexford, though many beautiful young women were long absolutely in their power. One consideration may diminish the wonder, but not annihilate the merit of this conduSt. They were every where accompanied by numbers of women of their own party, who, in the general dissolution of regular government, and the joy of imagined victory, were perhaps less scrupulous than at other times of their favours. The want of such an accompaniment to the royal troops may in some degree account for an opposite behaviour. Whenever they gained possession, the female peasantry of both parties, without distinction, suffered with respect to chastity, many in respect of health. The Irish peasantry, howsoever great may be their bigoted superstition, and other defects, are possessed of some amiable qualities, a simple politeness, or civility of manners, perhaps not exceeded by gentlemen of some other countries, and a spirit of gallantry, or respectful attention to the fair sex, not every where common to people of their class. Of superstitious credulity they afford in this rebellion a powerful

instance.

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