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their own want of subordination to their chiefs, the pikemen of the rebels were prevented from coming into action; while no more, I am credibly informed, than five hundred and sixty of their gun-men were engaged. Yet the combat was long doubtful. In the short space of three weeks, an undisciplined and unorganized mob had arrived at some degree of military skill, and acquired much resolution in battle:-a lesson to governments to lose no time in taking the most efficacious means in their power to extinguish rebellion in its first blaze! I am assured, however, by respectable witnesses, that great numbers in this rebel army manifested much fear and reluctance in their march to the field of battle, frequently halting to kneel, and pray, and receive the benedictions of the clergy, till Father Roche at length lost all patience, and asked them with a hearty curse did they think that they had nothing to do but pray? And was it not time to think of fighting? The plan of Roche, who seems to have been intended by nature for a military man, is supposed to have been to surprise the town of Ross with one part of his army, while the other was engaged with general Moore; which plan was frustrated by the irregularity of his men.
Joined by two regiments under lord Dalhousie, the army took post on the field of battle; and on the morning of the 21st was proceeding to
Taghmon, when captain M‘Manus, of the Antrim, and lieutenant Hay, of the North-Cork militia, who had been prisoners with the rebels, arrived with proposals from the inhabitants of Wexford to surrender the town, and to return to their allegiance, provided that their lives and properties should be guaranteed by the coms manding officer. To these proposals, which were forwarded to his superior commander, na answer was returned by general Moore; but, instead of proceeding to Taghmon, he immediately directed his march to Wexford, and stationed his army within a mile of that town.
The loyalists of Wexford, like those of Enniscorthy, had, since the place had fallen into the hands of the insurgents, been in a state of woe and incessant fear. Of a vast number of protestants assembled in this place, inhabitants of the town, and refugees and prisoners from several parts of the country, two hundred and sixty were confined in the goal, and other places of imprisonment; the rest were prisoners in their houses, under perpetual apprehensions of being shot, piked, or starved to death. Among the latter, was the Rev. John Elgee, rector of Wexford, whose life was saved by the gratitude of some of the lowest of the people, for the Christian charity which he had on all occasions manifested to unfortunate wretches committed to the public prison, The Rev. William East,
wood, rector of Killan, who was fully entitled to the same gratitude on the same account, had the good fortune to escape to Wales without hazarding a trial of this virtue in the rebels. Great numbers were saved by the humane endea-, vours of the chiefs, whose influence, though very far from 'controuling the furious rabble in all cases, had so far an effect as to prevent the miassacres of Wexford, (which were, however,
horribly atrocious) from equalling in extent · those of Enniscortly. The chiefs themselves,
particularly those few among them who had been educated in the protestant religion, were in perpetual danger of death, or violence at least, from the ungovernable multitude, whom they had unwisely hoped to command. A strong instance of this was, that captain Keugh, who had been appointed governor of Wexford by the rebels, was one day, as he was sitting in committee with a number of other chiefs, arrested by a common fellow, by the authority of the rabble, as a traitor in league with orange-men; and when the arrest was resisted by the members of the committee, the infuriate multitude without, who were crowded together in thousands in the streets, roared with horrid vehemence to those who stood most convenient for the purpose, to drive out the committee, and pull down the house. This alarming tumult was appeased by the address of Keugh, who, in a speech from a window,
displayed on the occasion no despicable talent of eloquence.
As I am fully persuaded that most, I hope all, of the rebel officers, who had received the education of gentlemen, most certainly those who were protestants, would have prevented massacres, if it had been in their power, so I have reason to believe that some low-bred persons, chosen to this rank by the rebels, rather instigated than restrained the sanguinary disposition of the rabble. Of the latter description appears to have been Thomas Dixon, who from a captain, and in part owner, of a trading vessel, became captain in the rebel arny; a man who, like Robespierre, and other unfeeling monsters in the French revolution, would probably, in case of success on the side of the rebels, have endeavoured to raise himself to eminence by exciting the lowest of the rabble, ' under the mask of zeal for their cause, to the murder, not only of all those who had not
acceded to their party, but also of the then · existing chiefs of the insurrection. Orange
furniture being found by the wife of this man in the drawing-rooi of Mr. Le Hante, four miles from Wexford, particularly two firescreens, with emblematical figures, Dixon informed the mob that this room had been the meeting place of orange-men, and that the figures denoted the manner in which the Roman
eatholics were to be put to death by these conspirators; that they were to be first deprived of their sight, and then burned alive, without the exception even of children; and particularly that the seamen of this communion were to be roasted to death on red-hot anchors. Le Hunte, who had hitherto been permitted to remain with little molestation in a private house in the town, was instantly dragged into the street by the rabble, who would soon have torn him in pieces, if he had not been saved by the exertions of two of the chiefs, Edward Hay,* and Robert Carty, who hurried him into the gaol, under pretence of bringing him to trial, and parried in the crowd the thrusts of the pikes, two of which, in spite of their endeavours, wounded him slightly in the back.
In so perturbed a state of affairs, among a mob so absurdly credulous, so imflammable and ferocious, a general massacre might justly be apprehended ; and if partial massacres had frequently taken place we could not be surpriseil. On the 6th of June, the day after the battle of Ross, perhaps as an immolation to the departed souls of Romanists killed in that bloody encounter, ten men were selected for execution by a rebel guard sent for that purpose from Enniscorthy.
* I am convinced that Mr. Hay had no command among the rebels, and exerted himself only to save lives and properts. See appendix, No. 9.