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honour, however, of the marquis Comwallis was expressly declared unirapeached by the writer.
This viceroy, vested with powers much beyond those of his predecessor, the supremacy of the military, as well as civil administration, and invigorated with a spirit superior to the influence of faction, made exertions in various ways to mitigate the effects of sanguinary persecution. He had commanded military licence to cease, and the sentence of each court-martial to remain suspended until, by an inspection of its minutes, he could form an opinion of its justice. By this a multitude of lives were saved; for, by necessary exceptions, an ample field lay open still, not only for the merited punishment of the guilty, but also for the indulgence of revenge, avarice, and sycophancy, in the involving of the innocent. No means of conviction were neglected. Strange as it may seem, a6is of humanity were considered as proofs of guilt. Whoever could be proved to have saved a loyalist from assassination, his house from burning, or his property from plunder, was pronounced to have had influence among the rebels, consequently a rebel commander. Thus men of active compassion suffered, while others were shielded by a different conduct. "I thank my God that no person can prove me guilty of saving any one's life or property!" was, the sudden exclamation of a catholic gentleman in a company where the notoriety of the practice was the subject of conversation. At Wexford the spirit of prosecution was carried to its height. Here for the
purpose purpose was formed a committee of six, at whose Chap. head was the right honourable George Ogle. Of <^lL/ their proceedings, a dreadful account is given by Edward Hay in his history of the insurrection of the county of Wexford. A refutation by .hese gentlemen, for the honour of themselves, the Irish protestants, and of human nature, ought, if practicable, to be exhibited.
The summary punishment of real or imagined re-Banditt;. bels, by killing without trial, could not at once be completely stopped. The practice had for a time augmented the rebel hosts. Its continuance must have tended to depopulate the country. It would have doubtless come sooner to an end, if a desperate remnant of insurgents, reinforced by deserters from • some Irish regiments of militia, had not continued in arms in the mountains of Wicklow, and the dwarf woods of Killaughrim, near Enuiscorthy. The latter, scoured by the army, were after some time cleared of their predatory inhabitants, who had ludicrously styled themselves Babes of the Wood, and caused much terror in the neighbouring country. The party in the mountains, whose range was much more extensive, and haunts less accessible, were, under two chiefs named Holt and Hacket, enabled longer to defy the laws. Their manner was to issue suddenly from their fastnesses, and to retire, after the perpetration of burnings and massacres, before troops could arrive to intercept them. Holt was a protestant, who, like too many others, had been forced into rebellion by the violence of men named 1 loyalists.
loyalists. But his followers were catholics, and their outrages were committed on protectants. Their deeds of murder were retaliated, not on themselves, as that was impra6ticable, but on the catholics of the neighbMi.fhood, where these deeds had been perpetrated. Harrassed by incessant pursuits, while the dreary mountains affofded no shelter in the winter season, these banditti diminished every day, and at length quite disappeared, when Hacket was killed by Thomas Atkins, a brave young gentleman, who had been a yeoman officer, and Holt surrendered to the earl of Powerscourt for transportation. •
Dwastati- The ravages of these desperadoes added to the
ons of the .
rebellion, desolation already caused by the rebellion in the counties of Wexford, Wicklow, and the neighbouring parts. Beside the destruction of houses of various description in the open country, the towns of Carnew, Tinnehely, Hacketstown, Donard, Blessington, and Killedmond, were ruined by fire. Partial devastation affected other towns, particularly Ross and Enniscorthy, in the former of which above three hundred houses> mostly cabins, were consumed. Great part of the damage was committed by the soldiery, who plundered without distinction of loyalist or insurgent."1 In this the Hessians of baron Hompesch were notoriously eminent; and many loyalists, who had effecTed their escape from the rebels were put to death by these foreigners, The employing of such troops argued either an ignorance of the country, or a disregard for the lives
of of its loyal people. Diametrically opposite in con- Chap. duct to these, were the Scottish Highlanders in the v^^LLs marquis of Huntley's regiment, who would not accept of even so small a trifle as a drink of buttermilk, without payment of its full value. Before the arrival of this regiment at the post of Gorey, the country in that quarter had been miserably ravaged by the troops under general Needham. The absence of its respectable gentry, particularly the earl of Courtown, an honest and judicious man, left room for sycophants to operate on that commander, or his dependants. Such men, affecting a mighty zeal, a cover of disloyalty or cowardice, were the advocates of cruelty, and would gladly draw suspicion on genuine loyalists. That he was not still more misled by such base personages, when he condescended to admit them under the system of espionage, may argue, perhaps, much merit in this commander.
General Skerrett, whose conduct at Arklow, as colonel of the Durham fencibles, had been so highly meritorious, succeeded the marquis of Huntley in the post of Gorey, where he maintained so strict a discipline, that nothing more of military excesses was heard. He exerted himself also with great success in the restoration of the country to its former state of industry and order. For this purpose he commanded that the horses, which had been seized by the yeomen and soldiery, should be returned to the owners. This rule became general for the reinstatement of agriculture. But though,
Chap, by change of system, the royal troops were become s^.^^/ the proteclors, instead of pillagers, of the people, the country was afflicted all the ensuing winter by nocturnal marauders; all, at first, of the denomination of loyalists, afterwards partly composed of others. The catholics, however, were alone the objects of pillage, as being unarmed. The wretched sufferers were not even allowed the sad consolation, of complaint; menaced with death and house-burning if they should dare to give information. Many houses were fired in the course of this melancholy winter, the inhabitants hardly escaping from the flames, and the cattle sometimes consumed alive. How some survived the hardships of a season uncommonly severe, deprived of provisions and covering, seems hardly accountable. The magnitude of the evil produced at length its remedy, by rousing the exertions of some gentlemen, particularly captain Hawtrey White already mentioned. One species of mischief was more puerile than cruel, extremely dishonourable to the lower classes of protestants, the burning of Romish chapels, a practice not entirely discontinued for some time after. „ . , To form a probable estimate of the detriment
Estimate of *
dttrimcnt. sustained by the country, in consequence of the united conspiracy, would not be an easy task. Some idea of it may be conceived from the claims of compensation for their losses, made to government by suffering loyalists, according to an act of parliament which marks very strongly the amiable nature of our political constitution. Soon after the