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"ments under God of softening the unruly multitude into for"bearance.
"It is obvious that Lord Kingsborough might have been " spared or saved, for reasons or circumstances that did not "operate for others, or for any other individual. He was a "nobleman of interest and consequence, an important hostage,
a military man treating with military commanders for fa"vourable terms for the rebels; these circumstances and "considerations did not attend or attach to other individuals, " and which must have weight with even a rebel in his serious "and cool senses, particularly in so perilous a situation. Hence "I think it fair to say, that his lordship might have been spared, "though others had suffered. But, thank God, the truth is, no "one suffered on that day or occasion."*
Lord Kingsborough certainly was considered by the rebel chiefs as a valuable hostage; and perhaps if they had fully
The Rev. Mr. Gordon is called upon by Dr. Caulfield in his reply (p. 19) if he cannot deny with effect, which he defies him to do, the statement which he solemnly declared to be the absolute truth, that he would change or withdraw his hypothetic argument and invidious conclusion; probably alluding to the supposed or assumed possibility of preventing the massacres, at two o'clock, by the persons who had influence enough to stop them at seven. Mr. Gordon in his 2d edition says, (p. 186) “ I have apparently no right, and therefore no "inclination to deny the Doctor's (Caulfield) statement." He then refers to his own Appendix, No. 5, which contains a letter from Dr. Caulfield to a Magistrate, which appeared much in his favour, and which may also be seen in the Appendix to this work, No. CXVI. Upon this subject Mr. Gordon had thus argued (p. 183) which had dissatisfied Dr. Caulfield: Much has been "written in the accusation and defence of the Romish clergy of Wexford, who "are said to have refused to interfere until five hours of butchery had elapsed, "and the news of the menacing movements of the king's forces arrived; though " their influence might be supposed as powerful at two o'clock, when the "massacre commenced, as at seven. I must confess myself incompetent to "form an accurate judgment in this controversy: to attempt to stop the "slaughter of real or supposed rebels, where the loyalists were victorious, "would have been not only altogether fruitless in a Protestant clergyman, but " even extremely dangerous to his personal safety. Certainly the influence of the "Romish clergy over their followers (which, however, seems at present in a "state of decline) is beyond all comparison greater than that of the Protestant "over theirs; yet to what extent that influence might, among so infuriate a "rabble have been safely or successfully exerted; or how far constitutional
timidity, or well grounded fear, may be justly admitted as a plea, I cannot "pretend to determine. Dr. Caulfield, the Romish bishop, succeeded, with "apparently extreme difficulty, in his endeavours to rescue from the assassins, "Lord Kingsborough, Colonel of the North Cork regiment of militia, who had "rendered himself particularly an object of hatred, at least, to the rebels, by "actions, concerning the utility of which to the loyal party I shall not pre"sume to give judgment, but leave the decision to the loyalists of Wexford, "who saw the example which he set, and the discipline which he maintained "in the regiment. The limitation of the Doctor's interference to a person of "high rank, who might in reverse of fortune repay the service, has with seem
ing justice been deemed by some a proof of interested conduct; and his success, in favour of so obnoxious a subject, an irrefragable argument of "his ability to save many others."
availed themselves of this advantage, some terms might have been obtained in their favour; thou h of the lives of hostages no account seems to have been made by many of the commanders of his majesty's troops. The offers of surrender transmitted by Captain M Manus, and forwarded by general Moore to his superior, were disdainfully rejected by General Lake, who returned for answer, that no terms could be granted to rebels in arms, but that the deluded multitude might have peace and protection when their arms and leaders should have been delivered into his hands.
Ensign Harman of the North Cork, who was sent with Mr. Carthy by Lord Kingsborough on a second mission to General Moore, was intercepted and shot, almost as soon as he had quitted the town, by one Timothy Whelan, a furious maniac, who having shot Ensign Harman, snapped a pistol at Mr. Carthy, who instantly returned into town. This ruffian afterward had the audacity, to attempt the life of Lord Kingsborough, in order to put an end at once to all accommodation; he would have been ordered for instant execution by the chiefs, but for fear of irritating the great body of the populace, too ready in such perturb ed times to mistake desperation for heroism, and to substitute instant vengeance upon the unresisting for zeal and prowess in the general cause.
After the evacuation of Wexford by the main body of the rebels, Father Philip Roche, accompanied by three gentlemen of that denomination, met in his way out of town four men from the neighbourhood of Enniscorthy, who said, that they were going into Wexford to put the prisoners to death, since others had not the courage to do it, while Roche with a drawn sword commanded them to turn back without entering the town, and one of them presented a blunderbuss at him, and swore that none should prevent them: the three gentlemen of Roche's company fled, leaving him to contend alone with the four murderers. After a furious altercation the matter was compounded. The murderers took a solemn oath (and the low Irish consider an oath to a priest as peculiarly binding) that they would merely take a little refreshment, and immediately quit the town without the perpetration of any mischief. It cannot therefore be said, that the dreadful apprehensions of a general massacre by the rebels before they evacuated the town, were altogether without reason and grounds; though not founded either in the conduct or principles of the leaders, or the system or regular orga nization of their discipline, as appears from the before mentioned proclamations.
The insurgents were at length prevailed on, by the incessant entreaties and exertions of their chiefs, to quit the town. They divided themselves into two bodies: one under the command
of the Reverend Philip Roche, marched into the barony of Forth, and encamped that night at Sledagh; the other, under the conduct of Messieurs Fitzgerald, Perry, and Edward Roche, proceeded over the bridge to Peppard's Castle, where they took their station for that night.
General Moore, availing himself of the retreat of the rebels, and having been informed by Captain Bourke of the peaceable disposition of the Wexford people, had approached within two miles of the town, when Captain Boyd, the representative of Wexford (now returning home in General Moore's train) made many cautious and minute inquiries, from Captain Bourke, who had been come recently from that town, and having himself, from the commanding elevation of the road, observed the retreat of the insurgents over the bridge, entered the town attended with eight yeomen, almost with as much precipitancy, as he had formerly abandoned it; loudly declaring the army at his heels. The face of the town was instantly changed: persons, who but the moment before appeared anxious to demonstrate their friendship for the rebels, instantaneously changed sides, and vied with each other in exhibiting symptoms of their loyalty. General Moore, on consultation with Lord Kingsborough, thought it most advisable not to let his troops into the town, which it had previously been determined to annihilate before the negociation had been proposed; so that it required the utmost precaution to prevent its being plundered, sacked and destroyed. General Moore took his station on the Windmill Hills, which completely commanded the town. A sloop of war, and three gun-boats were so stationed, that Wexford was thoroughly invested both by land and water. No sooner had the army entered the town, than all the wounded men in the hospital were put to the sword, and some of the sraggling inhabitants lost their lives, notwithstanding the most express orders of General Moore, that no kind of excess should be committed.
Relying on the faith of Lord Kingsborough's promises of complete protection of persons and properties, several remained in the town of Wexford, unconscious of any reason to apprehend danger; but they were soon taken up and committed to gaol. The Reverend Philip Roche had such confidence in these assurances, and was so certain of obtaining similar terms for those under his command, that he left his force at Sledagh, in full hopes of being permitted to return in peace to their homes, and was on his way to Wexford unarmed, coming, as he thought, to receive a confirmation of the conditions, and so little apprehensive of danger, that he advanced within the lines, before he was recognized. He was instantly dragged from his horse, and in the most ignominious manner taken up to the Camp on the
Windmill Hills, pulled by the hair, kicked, buffeted and at length hauled down to the gaol in such a condition as scarcely to be recognized. The people whom he had left, in expectation of being permitted to return quietly home, waited his arrival, but at last being informed of his fate, they abandoned all idea of peace, and set off under the command of the Reverend John Murphy to Fook's Mill, and so on, through Scollaghgap, into the county of Carlow.
From the encampment at Ballenkeele, commanded by General Needham, detachments were sent out to scour the country. They burned the Catholic chapel of Ballemurein, besides several houses in the neighbourhood. The principal of these were that of Newpark, the seat of Mr. Fitzgerald, and that of Mr. Edmund Stafford, mistaking it for the dwelling of General Edward Roche. In short, death and desolation were spread throughout the country, which was searched and hunted so severely, that scarcely a man escaped: the old and harmless suffered whilst they who had the use of their limbs and were guilty, had previously made off with the main body of the people. *The dead bodies scattered about, with their throats cut across, and mangled in the most shocking manner, exhibited scenes exceeding the usual horrors of war. The soldiery on this occasion, particularly the dragoons of General Ferdinand Hompesche, were permitted to indulge in such ferocity and brutal lust to the sex, that must perpetuate hatred and horror of the army to generations.
The northern part of the county of Wexford had been almost totally deserted by all the male inhabitants on the 19th, at the approach of the army under General Needham. Some of the yeomanry, who had formerly deserted it, returned to Gorey on the 21st, and on finding no officer of the army as was expected to command there, they, with many others, who returned along with them, scoured the country round, and killed great numbers in their houses, besides all the stragglers they met, most of whom were making the best of their way home unarmed from the insurgents, who were then believed to be totally discomfited. These transactions being made known to a body of the insurgents, encamped at Peppard's Castle, on the 22d, they resolved to retaliate, and directly marched for Gorey, whither they had otherwise no intention of proceeding. The yeomen and their associates, upon the near approach of the insurgents, fled back with precipitation: and thence accompanied by many others, hastened toward Arklow, but were pursued as far as Coolgreney, with the loss of forty-seven men. The day was called bloody Friday. The insurgents had been exaspe
* Hay's History of the Insurrection in the county of Wexford, p. 245.
rated to this vengeance by discovering through the country as they came along, several dead men with their skulls split asunder, their bowels ripped open, and their throats cut across, besides some dead women and children: they even met the dead bodies of two women, about which their surviving children were creeping and bewailing them! These sights hastened the insurgent force to Gorey, where their exasperation was considerably augmented by discovering the pigs in the streets devouring the bodies of nine men, who had been hanged the day before, with several others recently shot, and some still expiring.
After the return of the insurgents from the pursuit, several persons were found lurking in the town, and brought before Mr. Fitzgerald, particularly Mr. Peppard, sovereign of Gorey; but from this gentleman's age and respectability, he was considered incapable of being accessary to the perpetration of the horrid cruelty, which provoked and prompted this sudden revenge, and he and others were saved, protected, and set at liberty. At this critical time the news of the burning of Mr. Fitzgerald's house, on so trying an occasion were remarkable; forgetful of such great personal injury, he exerted his utmost endeavours to restrain the insurgents, who vociferated hourly for vengeance for their favourites, and succeeded in leading them off from Gorey; when after a slight repast, they resumed their intended route, rested that night at the White Heaps on Croghan mountain, and on the 23d set off for the mountains of Wicklow.
In the midst of these scenes of blood and slaughter, it must not be forgotten, that the Marquis Cornwallis arrived in Dublin on the 20th of June, 1798, with a plenitude of power exceeding that of his predecessor, by the supremacy of the military command having been superadded to the civil government of the country. This appointment in this critical juncture appears under providence to have been the immediate salvation of Ireland, not only by putting an immediate check upon the uncontrolled ferociousness of the soldiery, by stopping military executions, suspending the sentences of courts martial till he had himself revised the minutes, by converting the system of coercion and terrorism into that of conciliation, by gaining the affections of the people, by drawing upon himself the hatred of the Orangemen, by bringing to bear the incorporate Union with Great Britain, as the efficient means of redressing popular griev ances and crushing the seeds of perpetual feuds and acrimony kept up chiefly by the subsistence of Orangism. Immediately upon his arrival, he assumed the reins of government. In the first days of his administration the old system was completely acted upon in the final settlement of the Wexford rebellion.