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mode of avenging the fate of his kinsman, who was generally beloved. He brought the man out of gaol, upon his own sole authority, and conducted him down to the bull-ring, where he obliged three revenue officers, who were then prisoners, and whom he brought out along with him, to shoot him, and afterwards bear his body to the quay and throw it into the water. This execution took place, with all its shocking circumstances, while most of the town's people were at prayers, and was utterly unknown to the principal inhabitants.
It has unaccountably been so keen a study of some historiographers of this period of Irish history to represent the Catholic clergy in general, and particularly Dr. Caulfield, the Catholic bishop of Ferns, and others of his clergy in that diocese, as aiding and fomenting the rebellion, that it becomes necessary to notice the circumstances, as a point interesting and important to Irish history. Sir Richard Musgrave has left no stone unturned, that he thought would affix blame and obloquy upon that prelate and the Catholic clergy of his diocese. Dr. Caulfield has truly observed in the Preface to his reply to the misrepresentations of Sir Richard Musgrave," that if one tenth part of what is asserted by Sir Richard Musgrave were founded "in fact, the parties would not at this day be alive to refute his "calumnies."*
Waving every idea of controversy about the conduct of Dr Caulfield in these calamitous scenes it suffices to state two letters written to Dr. Troy by Colonel Littlehales, secretary to Lord Cornwallis, after the heat of the ferment had subsided, after the publication of Sir Richard Musgrave's Memoirs, and a still more embittered pamphlet, most improperly called Veridicus, in which the baronet bas employed his whole store of bile and rancour to criminate the bishop: these letters are vouchers, that government considered the subject of them in a light widely different from that, in which he has been attempted to be represented by Sir Richard Musgrave. They are official testimonies of his loyalty, and sanction the continuance of the fair historical narrative, regardless of the false statements, judgments, and inferences of the baronet and his female
Dublin Castle, May 11th, 1800.
" SIR, "IN answer to the honour of your letter of the 9th instant, which "I have laid before my lord lieutenant, I am to assure you, that government "will give to Dr Caulfield that protection, which, from his conduct and char"acter as a loyal subject, he appears justly to merit.
"I have the honour to be,
"YOUR letter of the 28th current having reached me, with its
" enclosure from Dr. Caulfield, I have stated their contents to my lord lieute
From the breaking out of the rebellion, the number of Catholic priests in the town of Wexford was greatly augmented beyond the resident and officiating clergymen of that town. Many, who lived in the neighbourhood,* immediately fled into the town to avoid being dragged to the camps, or forced at the point of the pike, as they were often threatened by the rebels: some for a time lurked in the rocks on the coast, and others abandoned their dwellings, and slept (if they could sleep) in ditches, hedges, or brakes of furze, to avoid the shame, the disgust, and the horrors of the camps, and the impious insults of the parties, who were frequently sent in search of them. These latterly also took refuge in the town. In defiance of a very strong bias from a certain quarter to inculpate the Roman Catholic clergy in this unhappy contest, it is notorious, that in the diocese of Wexford not one of those who had a flock, not one parish priest was implicated, or had any concern in fomenting, encouraging, or aiding the rebellion: but had they possessed that degree of authority or influence generally attributed to them, there would have been no rebellion in that county: or if they retained or obtained such influence after the rebellion broke out, their respective flocks would have laid down their arms, and returned to their respective homes, and to their allegiance to their king. Whilst Dr. Caulfield was endeavouring to prevail on a party of rebels, who were plundering the house of his next door neighbour, Mr. Matt. Kavannah, to desist and retire, they told him in a most insulting and menacing tone, that they had information against his house; they instantly rushed into it, and searched for what they called Orange men, bad men, &c. In vain did the Rev. Mr. Corrin, who was then in the house, endeavour to remonstrate and exhort them; they treated him with equal insolence.
So radically had the infernal spirit of rebellion extinguished all sense of duty in the misguided wretches in this temporary phrenzy, that it became a service of as much danger to dehort them from their wicked purposes, as to hoist an orange cockade, or to threaten to flog, strangle, or piquet them.
Lord Kingsborough (now Earl of Kingston), the colonel of the North Cork regiment of militia, was in Dublin when the
“nant, who desires me to say, that his excellency has no cause whatsoever to "alter the opinion he has imbibed of the loyalty and proper deportment of Dr. "Caulfield, whose letter I return.
"I have the honour to be,
"Your most obedient and faithful servant,
"The most Rev. Dr. Troy, &c. &c. &c.
North King Street."
* Caulfield's Rep. p. 4.
town was taken possession of by the rebels: but disbelieving the report of this disaster, he set out under that fatal incredulity to join his regiment: he travelled by land to Arklow, and thence proceeding by sea to Wexford, was taken prisoner with two officers of his own regiment off the harbour of that town.* The capture of Lord Kingsborough was considered by the rebels as an incident of peculiar importance to them, not only on account of his situation in life, but more especially as his lordship had ever been prominently forward in promoting the system of rigour and coercion so obnoxious to the United Irishmen. They had also further views upon his importance as an hostage, in case of their being driven to any terms of capitulation.
The monster Dixon, who retained with all his sanguinary ferocity a surprising influence over the lowest of that infuriate rabble, had amongst other means of inflaming them, the opportunity of a public house or inferior inn in the town, where his bloody satellites held their orgies.
On the 19th of June, General Edward Roche, and such of the insurgents of his neighbourhood as were at Vinegar Hill, were sent home to collect the whole mass of the people for general defence. By the march of the royal army in all directions, towards Vinegar Hill and Wexford, a general flight of such of the inhabitants as could get off took place.
The alarm was now general throughout the whole country; ail men were called to attend the camps; and Wexford became
* Sir Richard Musgrave gives the following account of his detention. "For "two days his lordship was lodged at the house of General Keugh; he was "then removed to an inferior kind of inn, called the Cape of Good Hope, "thence to the prison ship, where he remained but eight hours, having been "afterwards lodged in a private house, where a guard was placed over him. "Keugh asked him, how he thought government would treat him and his "party, if they had them in their power? Lord Kingsborough replied, 'That they would hang every one of them.' On which Keugh observed, 'We know that we fight with halters round our necks.' The day of his lordship's “ arrival, Bagenal Harvey set out for the camp at Carrickburn, where the "rebel army that attacked Ross was stationed. Keugh told Lord Kingsbo"rough, that he would permit him to write to Lord Castlereagh, the lord lieutenant's secretary; but he said, he expected he would inform him how well he and his fellow prisoners were treated;' and he added, that he expected his friends Messrs. Sheares, Bond, Emmett, Jackson, M'Cann, &c. would receive similar treatment.' He informed Lord Kingsborough, that "the members of the Irish Union had no confidence in the opposition party in "the Irish parliament, because they considered them as insincere, and that "they had propounded Catholic emancipation, and reform of parliament, "merely to promote their own ambitious designs.
"Mrs. Snowe, the wife of Captain Snowe, of the North Cork regiment, inform“ed me, that Lord Kingsborough asked her soon after his capture, 'whether she thought the rebel chieftains would have put him to death?' she replied, she was sure they would not, because they regarded him as a very good hostage, should they enter into any stipulations for their own safety; and that by preserving his life they might conciliate him, and obtain his influence and interest to secure their own."
the universal rendezvous of the fugitives, who reported, with various circumstances of horror, the progress of the different armies approaching in every direction, marking their movements with terrible devastation. Ships of war were also seen off the coast, and gun-boats blocked up the entrance of the harbour and from the commanding situation of the camp at the Three Rocks, on the mountain of Forth, the general conflagration, which was as progressive ss the march of the troops, was clearly perceivable. On the approach of the army, great numbers of countrymen, with their wives and children, and any little baggage they could hastily pack up, fled towards Wexford as to an asylum, and described, according to their fears, the plunder and destruction of houses, the murders and outrages of the soldiery let loose and encouraged to range over and devastate the country. General Moore, who advanced with a part of the army, did all in his power to prevent these atrocities, and had some of those outragers immediately put to death; but his humane and benevolent intentions were greatly baffled by the indomitable ferocity and revenge of the refugees returning home. Wexford regretted that general's being almost immediately ordered to Wicklow, where his conciliatory conduct and humanity were conspicuous, and will ever be remembered with gratitude by the people, who most eagerly flocked to his standard for protection.
While the principal inhabitants of Wexford were in consultation, to which they were now summoned, upon the best mode of self-preservation and defence, the order for all the armed men to appear in camp by break of day became imperious; and the outcry was so loud against the backwardness of the Wexford men, that several set off immediately. Captain Dixon, although booted, spurred, equipped, and accoutred for battle, refused to obey the orders of the commander in chief to attend at the Three Rocks. He was at the time in the act of sending whiskey to about 70 countrymen, whom he had posted in the barrack, and there detained for his abominable purpose of a general massacre. These he had also reinforced by some thousands of the most dastardly and unruly, and therefore the most savage and cruel of the mob, who refused to march to the camp. These men he also rendered the more savage and ferocious with liquor, and with these auxiliaries he undertook the horrid work of blood.
The victims were conducted in successive parcels, of from ten to twenty, with horrible solemnity, each parcel surrounded by its guard of butchers, and preceded by a black flag marked with a white cross, to the place of execution, where they were variously put to death, one after another, but mostly each by four men at once, who standing two before and two behind the victim, thrust their pikes into the body, and raising it from
the ground, held it suspended, writhing with pain, while any signs of life appeared. Some were slaughtered at the gaol, some at the market house, but the great butchery was on the bridge. A multitude of wretches, the greater part women, assembled to behold it, and rent the air with savage shouts of exultation at the arrival of each fresh parcel of victims at the fatal spot.
When 97 according to some or 35 according to other accounts had thus been butchered, the slaughter, which had commenced at two o'clock in the afternoon, was stopped at seven by the interference of Father Corrin, and the annunciation of the alarming intelligence, that the post of Vinegar Hill was beset by the king's troops, and that reinforcements were required in that quarter. Father Corrin having vainly supplicated the assassins to desist, commanded them to pray before they should proceed farther in the work of death, and having thus caused them to kneel, dictated a prayer, that God would shew the same mercy to them, which they should shew to the surviving prisoners. The respite thus procured would probably have been short, if the exhortations of the priest had not been aided by the news of danger, which was announced aloud by some person, said to be Richard Monagan, or Monck, arriving hastily in the town, and which caused the multitude of spectators immediately to disperse. The surviving captives at the bridge were after a short pause reconducted to prison by their guard, with denunciations of a general mrssacre of all the Protestants the next day. The atrocity of these inhuman butcheries was aggravated by the mockery of justice, with which the monster Dixon attempted to sanction them. By the exertions of Mr. Edward Hay and some others, Dixon had been foiled in his particular vengeance against the life of Mr. Turner and Mr. Gainsford, whose blood the mob loudly called for, as they had led out the army against them on Whitsunday, and had burned several of their houses. A summary court of seven sat immediately upon those two gentlemen, and four of them being for their acquittal, the impetuous Dixon was about to retire in disgust and indignation, at being thus thwarted in his career of blood. But unfortunately at that critical moment, one Jackson, an Englishman, a carver and gilder, (the narrator of the Wexford cruelties) and one O'Connor, an organist, threw themselves on their knees to Captain Dixon, acknowledged themselves Orangemen, and ready to give every information, provided their lives might be spared. Dixon greedily availed himself of their proposal, as it afforded a new prospect of perpetrating his infernal designs. He instantly addressed the people assembled before the gaol, stating, that two Orangemen had become informers, and that proceeding to trial was therefore unnecessary, as the evidence of these