Obrazy na stronie

Esq., and of Catherine FitzGerald, daughter of Sir John FitzGerald, of Clonglish, Bart., and had issue John and William Sheehy, Esqs. of Spittal. The said John married Honoria O'Sullivan, maternal grand-daughter to MacBrien, of Bally Sheehan, and had issue one son and two daughters, viz. William Sheehy, Esq., of Bawnfowne, County Waterford, and Eleanor and Ellen. (Here there is an omission of any mention of William Sheehy's marriage.) The said Eleanor married William Cranick, of Galbally, Esq., and had issue, Ellen, who married Timothy Quinlan, Esq., of Tipperary. Edmund Sheehy,* Esq., son of the above-named William Sheehy, and brother to Eleanor and Ellen, married Margaret O'Sullivan, of Ballylegate, and had issue Robert and James Sheehy, and two daughters, Ellen and Mary. The said Ellen married Edmond Power, Esq., of Curragheen, in the County of Waterford; and had issue, Anne, who died in her tenth year; Michael, who died a Captain in the 2nd West India Regiment at St. Lucia, in the West Indies; Marguerite, who married, firstly, Captain St. Leger Farmer, of the 47th Regiment, who died in 1817, and secondly, the Earl of Blessington; Ellen, who married John Home Purves, Esq., son of Sir Alexander Purves, Bart., of Purves Hall, in the County of Berwick, and secondly, to Viscount Canterbury; Robert, who entered the army young, and left it a Captain in the 30th Regiment of Foot, in 1823. The said Robert married Agnes Brooke, daughter of Thomas Brooke, Esq., first member of council at St. Helena; and Mary Anne, married in 1831, to Count de St. Marsault."+

[In the Appendix will be found a detailed account of the persecutions of several members of the Sheehy family in 1765

* Executed in 1766 for alleged rebellion. Edmund Sheehy was called Buck Sheehy, and lived at Bawnfowne,, County Waterford.

Here ends the genealogical account of the Sheehy family, given me by Lady Blessington.-R. R. M.

and 1766. It commenced with the prosecution, conviction, and execution of a priest, Father Nicholas Sheehy, who was a cousin of Edmond Sheehy, the grandfather of Lady Blessington.

If ever affrighted justice might be said to "swing from her moorings," and, passion-driven, to be left at the mercy of the winds and waves of party violence, it surely was in the iniquitous proceedings against the Sheehys; for innocence, it might indeed be affirmed, there was no anchorage in the breast of a jury, in those times packed as it usually was for the purpose of conviction, or in the sanctuary of a court, surrounded by a military force to overawe its functionaries, and to intimidate the advocates and witnesses of the accused. The unfortunate Father Sheehy was found guilty of the murder of a man named John Bridge, and sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered, and the sentence was carried into execution at Clonmel. The head of the judicially murdered priest was stuck on a spike, and placed over the porch of the old gaol, and there it was allowed to remain for upwards of twenty years, till at length his sister was allowed to remove it.

The next victim of the Sheehy family was the cousin of the priest, Edmond Sheehy, the grandfather of Lady Blessington; and he, equally innocent, and far less obnoxious to suspicion of any misprision of agragrian outrage, was put to death a little later than his relative.

Edmond Sheehy, the maternal grandfather of Lady Blessington, who perished on the scaffold in May, 1766, and was buried in Kilronan church-yard, left four children, Robert, James, Ellen, and Mary. His eldest son Robert was murdered on his own property in 1831, at Bawnfowne, in the parish of Kilronan; his eldest daughter, Ellen, married Edmond Power, Esq. of Curragheen, in the county of Waterford. This lady was not in anywise remarkable for her intel


lectual qualities. She was a plain, simple woman, of no pretensions to elegance of manners, refinement or gracefulShe died in Dublin, upwards of twenty years ago. The second son, James, went to America at an early age, and was never afterwards heard of. The youngest daughter, Mary, married a Mr. John Colins, the proprietor of a newspaper in Clonmel.

Robert Sheehy, who was murdered in 1831, left a son (Mr. John Sheehy, first cousin of Lady Blessington), whom I knew about two years ago in Clonmel, filling the situation of Master of Workhouse, (named Keyward Auxiliary Workhouse). Shortly after his marriage, Mr. Power removed to Knockbrit, a place about two miles from Cashel; and there, where he resided for many years, all his children, with the exception of the youngest, were born.]

"Beauty, the heritage of the family, was, in her early youth, denied to Marguerite; her eldest brother and sister, Michael and Anne, as well as Ellen and Robert, were singularly handsome and healthy children, while she, pale, weakly, and ailing, was for years regarded as little likely ever to grow to womanhood; the precocity of her intellect, the keenness of her perceptions, and her extreme sensitiveness, all of which are so often regarded, more especially among the Irish, as the precursive symptoms of an early death, confirmed this belief, and the poor, pale, reflective child was long looked upon as doomed to a premature grave.

"The atmosphere in which she lived was but little congenial to such a nature. Her father, a man of violent temper, and little given to study the characters of his children, intimidated and shook the delicate nerves of the sickly child, though there were moments-rare ones, it is true-when the sparkles of her early genius for an instant dazzled and gratified him. Her mother, though she failed not to bestow the tenderest maternal care on the health of the little sufferer,

was not capable of appreciating her fine and subtle qualities, and her brothers and sisters, fond as they were of her, were not, in their high health and boisterous gaiety, companions suited to such a child.

During her earliest years, therefore, she lived in a world of dreams and fancies, sufficient, at first, to satisfy her infant mind, but soon all too vague and incomplete to fill the blank within. Perpetual speculations, restless inquiries, to which she could find no satisfactory solutions, continually occupied her dawning intellect; and, until at last accident happily threw in her way an intelligence capable of comprehending the workings of the infant spirit, it was at once a torment and a blessing to her.

This person, a Miss Anne Dwyer, a friend of her mother's, was herself possessed of talents and information far above the standard of other country women in those days.

"Miss Dwyer was surprised, and soon interested by the reflective air and strange questions which had excited only ridicule among those who had hitherto been around the child. The development of this fine organization, and the aiding it to comprehend what had so long been a sealed book, formed a study fraught with pleasure to her; and while Marguerite was yet an infant, this worthy woman began to undertake the task of her education.

"At a very early age, the powers of her imagination had already begun to develop themselves. She would entertain her brothers and sisters for hours with tales invented as she proceeded; and at last so remarkable did this talent become, that her parents, astonished at the interest and coherence of her narrations, constantly called upon her to improviser for the entertainment of their friends and neighbours, a task always easy to her fertile brain; and, in a short time, the little neglected child became the wonder of the neighbourhood.



"The increasing ages of their children, and the difficulty of obtaining the means of instruction for them at Knockbrit, induced Mr. and Mrs. Power to put into practice a design long formed, of removing to Clonmel, the county town of Tipperary. This change, which was looked upon by her brothers and sisters as a source of infinite satisfaction, was to Marguerite one of almost unmingled regret. To leave the place of her birth, the scenes which her passionate love of nature had so deeply endeared to her, was one of the severest trials she had ever experienced, and was looked forward to with sorrow and dread. At last, the day arrived, when she was to leave the home of her childhood; and sad and lonely, she stole forth to the garden, to bid farewell to each beloved spot.

Gathering a handful of flowers to keep in memory of the place, yet fearing the ridicule of the other members of the family, she carefully concealed them in her pocket; and with many tears and bitter regrets, was at last driven from Knockbrit, where, as it seemed to her, she left all happiness behind her."

The removal of the Powers from Knockbrit to Clonmel must have been previously to the year 1796 or 1797. Their house in Clonmel, which I lately visited, is a small incommodious dwelling, near the bridge leading to the adjoining county of Waterford, at a place called Suir Island.]

"At Clonmel the improving health of Marguerite, and the society of children of her own age, gradually produced their effect on her spirits; and though her love of reading and study continued rather to increase than abate, she became more able to join in the amusements of her brothers and sisters, who, delighted at the change, gladly welcomed her into their society, and manifested the affection which hitherto they had little opportunity of displaying.

"But soon it seemed as if the violent grief she had expe

« PoprzedniaDalej »