Obrazy na stronie

with considerable slaughter, and not without some loss on the other side. By the evolutions of the soldiery, and the rebels' want of subordination to their chiefs, their pikemen were prevented from coming into action; so that no more than five hundred and sixty of their gun-men were really engaged. Yet the combat was long doubtful.

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 their lives and properties should be guaranteed by the commanding officer. To these proposals, which were forwarded to his superior commander, no 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.

We left Wexford contaminated with the butchery of some unfortunate prisoners, to which Father Corrin had, by his exertions, put a stop for that day. It has been the constant assertion or assumption of most writers upon these scenes, that on the next day every drop of Protestant blood in Wexford was to have been spilled. True it may be, that the ferocious

* Mr. Edward Hay, who was an eye-witness and a principal actor in many of the most important transactions at Wexford, has given the following account of the extent of this bloody scene on the 20th of June (p. 220.)

"Dreadful and shocking events are most subject to misrepresentations, as individuals will imagine excesses according to their several feelings; and al though it is confidently asserted, that ninety-seven were put to death on the bridge, I have good reason to believe that thirty-five was the number that suf fered. Among the various occupations assumed by different persons in the course of this melancholy catastrophe, one man, in a most audible voice, counted the victims one by one, as they were put to death; and I have further reason to believe, that thirty-five was the exact number of sufferers on the bridge, and one at the gaol door; amounting in all, that day in Wexford, to thirty-six; as on most particular enquiry, even with the help of the lists published, as well as from personal knowledge, I am enabled to know, that several who are stated to have been sacrificed on the bridge that day, suffered not then, nor there, or at all in Wexford; so that I hope humanity will induce a future retraction of the lists alluded to, not only as the assertors have been evidently imposed upon, but as also their publication must help to keep up those animosities, which they profess they do not wish to encourage. But, if writers will persist in publishing those lists, why not, for the sake of general and true in. formation, publish the number of the killed and wounded, by whatever means, on both sides; since it must stamp the character of a partisan to detail but one side of the question? On that ever-to-be-lamented day, there are many, who ran great risque of personal safety in becoming advocates for the unfortu nate: I wish I could learn of as many, who exhibited equal proof of sincerity in favour of the hapless and ill-fated people! Were this the case, I verily believe I should not have to relate the dreadful desolation in the county of Wexford,"

Dixon, who, with his assassins intoxicated with revenge, fury and whiskey, had let out so much innocent blood on that day, had not been satiated, and that they vociferated their infernal project of continuing the immolations on the next day. But suffice it for the historian faithfully to narrate the facts that have existed. Although it be allowed on all hands that Father Corrin put a stop to these inhuman butcheries, about seven o'clock in the evening, it has appeared to many persons, that the *Roman Catholic clergy cannot be exculpated from the imputation at least of not preventing these massacres, as it is natural to conclude, that their influence upon the rebels must have been as great at two as it was at seven of the clock of the same day. The reply of Dr. Caulfield to the misrepresentations of Sir Richard Musgrave, not only contains much historical information, but furnishes the only species of refutation, which the strictest historical justice can require. The evidence of the party will have its weight with the candid public, according to the credit it deserves. This writer (Sir Richard Musgrave) proceeds, and quotes from Mr. George Taylor's History of the Rebellion, in the county of Wexford: "That while this work was going on, "a rebel captain, being shocked at the cries of the victims, ran "to the Popish bishop, who was then drinking wine, with the "utmost composure, after dinner: and knowing that he could stop the massacre sooner than any other person, entreated "him, for the mercy of God, to come and save the prisoners. "He in a very unconcerned manner replied, it was no affair "of his; and requested the captain would sit down and take a glass of wine with him,' adding, that the people must be gratified: the captain refused," &c. &c.



To this public, solemn, and hateful charge, Dr. Caulfield thus publicly, solemnly, and pointedly replies:

"Now I solemnly declare to God and man, that no such captain or man came or applied to me; and that any captain "or man (or even Mr. Taylor himself) who gave such information, gave a false and unfounded one.

[ocr errors]

More faith may perhaps be given to what Charles Jackson relates of others than of himself, particularly as to the means of saving his own life: his testimony of the conduct of the Roman Catholic clergy is very explicit. "The conduct of the Roman Catholic clergy of Wexford cannot be too much commended. The titular Bishop Caulfield, Father Corrin, Father Broe, and indeed the whole of the priests and friars of that town, on all occasions, used their interest and exerted their abilities in the cause of humanity. Every Sunday, after mass, they addressed their audiences, and implored them in the most earnest manner not to ill treat their prisoners, and not to have upon their consciences the reflection of having shed innocent blood. When they heard of executions going forward, they flew to the spot, and by every entreaty endeavoured to rescue the victims from destruction. Sometimes they succeed. ed; and, when they failed, they shewed sufficiently how sensibly they felt for the unhappy persons they could not save. The gallant Lord Kingsborough owed his life to the resolute interposition of the Catholic bishop."

"Then comes on: Mrs. O'Neil, went to the doctor to "complain of the murder of her nephew, Mr. Turner, on the

bridge; he was one of the first persons taken out of the prison"ship; yet Dr. Caulfield did not interfere, nor did Mr. Corrin, "though he was present, until Mr. Kellet sent a messenger "for him; and there were many persons massacred in the in"terval between Mrs. O'Neil's complaint, and the deliverance "of Mr. Kellet.' The real fact is, that Mrs. O'Neil only la"mented the actual previous murder of her nephew, Edward "Turner, but did not mention the death, the murder, or mas

sacre of any other individual, much less a general massacre. "She was not many minutes gone, when a messenger came to "Mr. Corrin from Mr. Kellet, who, he said, was then on the bridge: Mr. Corrin went out to speak to the messenger, and "returned in great fright and horror to tell me the message, "and ran off speedily: nor did this messenger, in his hurry, "mention any other to be killed, or in danger, but Mr. Kellet "alone. So that I can with a clear conscience repeat what I "said before; and now solemnly protest and declare in the pre"sence of Almighty God, my awful judge, and of the court of "heaven, that I was absolutely ignorant of that massacre being "intended, or perpetrated, until some hours after it had ceased. "Nor did I see or hear of a * black flag that day, however in"credible it may appear to Sir Richard, for I kept mostly in (6 my own house (and particularly that day), except when I was sent for by some Protestant neighbour; and my residence is "adjoining the town wall, and shut in from the street, of which "I have no view, nor of the town, except of the tops of a few "houses, and even them, for the most part, outside the town: ་ so that as I am seldom out, I seldom know what passes in the 26 street or town, until I am informed by others."t

• Mr. Hay, p. 222. gives the following account of the black flag: "The "black flag that appeared in Wexford on that day is, among other things, "talked of with various chimerical conjectures, and its notoriety as denounc "ing massacre has been confidently recorded; notwithstanding that it is an "absolute fact, that this identical black flag was, throughout the whole insur"rection, borne by a particular corps, and the carrying of banners of that co"lour was by no means a singular circumstance during that period, as flags of "that and every other hue, except orange, were waved by the insurgents; and "from their different dyes ingenious conjectures, however groundless, for the "maintenance of prejudice, may be made as to the several dispositions of the "bodies who moved under them, as little founded in fact or intention, as was "the original destination of the black ensign in question."

This statement of Dr. Caulfield is confirmed by the following oath of Mr. Corrin..... For some other oaths and declarations upon this subject, vide Appendix, No. CXV.

County of Wexford to wit.]....Rev. John Corrin, of Wexford, came before me this day, and made a voluntary and solemn oath on the Holy Evangelists, that Dr. Caulfield dined at home in his own house on Wednesday the 20th of June, 1798, and this deponent dined with him there on the same day: that this de

The following historical account is given by Dr. Caulfield himself of the transactions of the 21st of June; which, abstracting from the personal respectability of his character, cannot be supposed to have been falsely given with so much solemn notoriety in defiance of thousands of eye-witnesses amongst whom he was to continue, as he still does, to abide, with the solace and support of unimpeachable veracity and honour....


"Having received a most pressing message from Lord "Kingsborough and Captain Keugh, early on the morning of "Thursday the 21st of June, 1798, I hastened to them, to the "house of Robert Meyler, where Lord Kingsborough was still 66 a prisoner. On my arrival, Captain Keugh told me, he had "that morning given up the government of the town to Lord "Kingsborough, and the mayoralty to Dr. Jacob; they both "told me the rebels were beaten and routed everywhere, and were pouring into the town by thousands, from all quarters; "that if they continued any time in the town, they would pro"ceed to murder all the prisoners, as they had declared the day "before; and that if the troops should overtake them in town, "they would make a general slaughter of them, and perhaps "indiscriminately of the inhabitants, and reduce the town to "ashes that the only means of preventing these shocking "disasters, was to get the rebels out of town; that a strong re"presentation of their own danger, and of Lord Kingsborough's "negociations with the military commanders and government, "would have more weight with the rebels than any exhorta❝tions or consideration of duty. They then called on and conjured me to exert myself, and to call the rest of the clergy to help me to prevail on the rebels, as they came in, to leave the "town, for their own and the general safety.



[ocr errors]

"In this state of things, I did not skulk or fly (as perhaps I might), I immediately sent to the clergy; they came to assist ponent verily believes, that Doctor Caulfield was not apprized of the massacre perpetrated on the bridge of Wexford on that day, until it had ceased: that he would have prevented that and all other murders and atrocious acts committed during the late horrid rebellion, had he the power to do so. This deponent further swears, that being out of town on duty, that day, from twelve o'clock to a quarter past four in the evening, he was not apprized of any one having been murdered on that day, until some time after his return Mrs. Catherine O'Neil, alias Goodhall, came to Dr. Caulfield's, and told the doctor and him, that her nephew, Edward Turner, had just been killed, without mentioning any general massacre, which this deponent had no knowledge of, until receiving a pressing message from Mr. Kellet, he hastened to the bridge, where he perceived several devoted victims, who, after this deponent had on his knees with tears and entreaties addressed the furious rabble, were all by Divine Providence spared."

Sworn before me this 10th day of April, 1801.


Report, p. 15.

“ me, and not only they, but many or most of the Roman Ca "tholic inhabitants of Wexford, loyal men, (though some to save themselves had been obliged to appear as rebels) nay 66 even real professed rebels aided us. Mr. Perry, the notable ་་ Captain Dixon, &c. helped us; we did our utmost from nine or "ten in the morning to the going down of the sun, and under "God, we succeeded in prevailing on the rebels to leave the "town; and thereby prevented all the mischief and misfortunes, which might and probably would attend and follow "from their remaining in it. There was no prisoner put to "death, no Protestant murdered, no houses burnt, (though se"veral of the rebels threatened, and some of them attempted "to set fire to the town) no disaster took place, all was saved, "prisoners, protestants, inhabitants, and the town were "safe.


"When the occasion, the only one, and the circumstances "occurred in which I thought I could act with some effect, I "set out with all the energy of my mind and body, regardless "of my own life, (which was repeatedly in imminent danger) "or of any other consideration than that before me, the common "safety. I traversed many thousand rebels on that day, exhorting, beseeching, sometimes standing in a wood of pikes, "or striving to walk through them, and sometimes on my knees, "conjuring them to depart; those who came in latest were the 46 most obstinate, sanguinary, and infuriate, on whom we could "hardly make any impression; so that from constant and ve"hement speaking, I got quite hoarse, and from unremitted "exertion I became so exhausted, so languid and faint, that I "despaired of effecting my purpose, and would have given it up, "were it not that the people of the town and many rebels of "more humanity and reason still pressed me to continue. I "did so until the square, the streets, the town was cleared of "rebels, except that a few stragglers might have lurked in pri"vate houses. Such was my conduct on that memorable and "fortunate day.

"The transaction, to which I here refer, was public and "notorious. I call upon any person who can, to controvert the "truth of my statement. Before I close this narrative, I must "add, that the representations made so successfully by the "clergy, upon this occasion, would have produced little effect "whilst the rebels entertained sanguine hopes of success, much "less whilst they were elated and rendered confident by an appearance of victory. When we addressed them, they were "routed, and their force broken by disasters; applying our"selves to them at that critical moment, and holding out to them a prospect of pardon, which was the only hope they "could indulge in such circumstances, we were the instru


« PoprzedniaDalej »