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kins, and a few of his associates; the rest dispersing homewards in all directions with shouts of joy, and leaving thirteen cart-loads of pikes behind.
This disposition to surrender, which good policy would have encouraged among the insurgents, was blasted three days after by military ardour, which, when it eludes the salutary restraints of discipline, and is exerted against an unresisting object, ceases to be laudable. MajorGeneral Sir James Duff, who had made a rapid march from Limerick with six hundred men, to open the communication of the metropolis with thật quarter, received intelligence of a large body of men assembled at a place called Gibbitrath, on the Curragh, for the purpose of surrendry, to which they had been admitted by general Dundas. Unfortunately, as the troops advanced near the insurgents to receive their surrendered weapons, one of the latter foolishly swearing that he would not deliver his gun otherwise than empty, discharged it with the muzzle upwards. The soldiers instantly, pretending to consider this as an act of hostility, fired on the unresisting multitude, who fled with the utmost precipitation, and were pursued with slaughter by a company of fencible cavalry, denominated lord Jocelyn's fox-hunters. Above two hundred of the insurgents fell upon this occasiou, and a 'far greater number would have shared their fate,
if a retreat had not been sounded with all possible dispatch, agreeably to the instructions of general Dundas, who had sent an express from his quarters at Kilcullen, to prevent such an accident. *.
* The following address from the corps of Athy loyal infantry is very honourable to that body, as well as to the general.
“To lieutenant-general Dundas, &c. &c. - “Sir, the arrangements, which follow the termination of a “ glorious war, being likely to deprive us of the man, whose “ wise and humane conduct saved the lives of thousands, we “ cannot suffer the opportunity to pass, without expressing to " our braye general the sentiments of gratitude with which « our hearts are filled.
“ Placed at the head of our district, during a period most "eventful and calamitous, your command has been distin“ guished by the zeal of your conduct, and the humanity of “ your council, surrounded by armed bands of our misguided “ countrymen. You first subdued them by your sword, and " then disarmed them by your clemency. In you, sir, we have
seen the brightest ornament of the soldier's character s humanity, united with true courage. And when the us“prejudiced historian shall write the events of the day, the. "name of Dundas will be applauded by rising generations.
“ Your kind partiality and attention to the Athy yeoman « infantry, raised on the spur of the moment, have induced “ them to offer this (the only tribute in their power) to their " revered general. Wherever you go, you will carry with “ you their invariable attachment, and the applauses of all s true lovers of their country and of humanity. i “ For the corps of Athy loyal yeoman infantry (141) Athy,
Tho. I. Rawson, Captain. Ist January, 1802.
See Dublin eyening post, No. 6781, in which is also an address from the principal inhabitants of the district to the same general, with be presentation of a piece of plate.
In the public prints this body of insurgenta is asserted to have assembled for the purpose of battle, and to have actually fired on the troops but the truth ought to be related without respect of persons or party. The affair is well known to have been otherwise; and the rebels were crowded in a place neither fit for defence nor escape-a wide plain without hedge, ditch, or bog, quite contrary to their constantly practised modes of warfare.
This eagerness of the soldiery for the slaugh. ter of unresisting rebels, was often fatal to loyalists; for frequently some of the latter were prisoners with the former, and being found among them by the troops, were not always distinguished from them. A remarkable instance, in the march of this army, was on the point of having place in the melancholy catalogue which might be authentically formed. A protestant clergyman of an amiable character, Mr. Williamson of Kildare, who had fallen into the hånds of the insurgents, and been saved froin ‘slaughter by the humanity of a Roman catholic priest, was, as having been spared by the rebels, deemed a rebel by the soldiery, who were proceeding instantly to hang him, when they were in a critical moment prevented by the interference of his brother-in-law, colonel Sankey. :
While, by the above-mentioned operations, the communication was in great measure laid open
between the several parts of the kingdom and the capital, which had for some days actually sustained a species of blockade, an insurrection had burst out in a part where it was least expected, and was growing into so formidable a force, as to occasion the most serious alarms for the safety of government. The county of Wexford had been but very recently and but partially organized, and many of its Romanist inhabitants had addressed the lord lieutenant through the medium of the Earl of Mountnorris, protesting their loyalty, and pledging themselves to arm, if permitted, in defence of government, -whenever there should be occasion. Not above six hundred men, at most, of the regular army or militia, were stationed in the county, the defence of which was almost abandoned to the troops of yeomen and their supplementaries, while the magistrates in the several districts were employed in ordering the seizure, imprisonment, and whipping of numbers - of suspected persons.* These yeomen, being protestants, prejudiced against the Romanists by traditionary and other accounts of the former cruelties of that sect in Ireland, fearing such cruelties in case of insurrection, and confirmed
*I am well informed that no floggings had place in the town of Wexford, nor in the baronies of Forth and Bargy; and that in those baronies no atrocities were committed before or since the rebellion.
in this fear by papers found in the pockets of some prisoners, containing some of the old san, guinary doctrines of the Romish church, which authorized the extermination of heretics, acted with a spirit ill fitted to allay religious hatred, or to prevent a proneness to rebel.
How far the assurances, conveyed through Earl Mountnorris, of the loyalty, or peaceable intentions, of the Romanists inhabiting the county of Wexford, was the cause of that fatal security in government, fatal to the lives and properties of thousands, on account of which this county was left in so defenseless a condition, I am not authorized to pronounce, Doubtless, to excite so violent an irritation by floggings, imprisonments, and a variety of insults, without sufficient means to enforce obedience, appears to have been an unfortunate mistake, as was that of the institution of yeoman cavalry instead of infantry. I have not the least doubt that of the latter a force might have been raised within the county of Wexford sufficient to crush the rebellion in its commencement in this part of Ireland.
Whether an insurrection would in the then existing state of the kingdom have taken place in the county of Wexford, or, in case of its eruption, how much less formidable and sanguinary it would have been if no acts of severity had been committed by the soldiery, the yeomen, or