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North Cork militia, took post with his men on the Windmill hill above the town, at day break on the following morning, the 30th, with resolution to march against the enemy on the arrival of general Fawcett's army.
That general had marched according to his promise, on the evening of the 29th ; but halting at Taghmon, seven miles from Wexford, he had sent forward a detachment of 88 men, includ. ing 18 of the artillery, with the howitzers, under the command of captain Adams, of the Meath militia." This detachment was intercepted early in the morning of the 30th, by the rebels under the Three Rocks, which they had occupied as a military station, being about three miles from Wexford : the howitzers were taken and almost the whole party slain.* The dismay and confusion that took place in Wexford is more easily imagined than described.
Colonel Maxwell, informed of the destruction of captain Adams's detachment, by two officers who had escaped the slaughter, advanced immediately with what forces he could collect towards the enemy, with design to retake the howitzers, and cooperate with general Fawcett, of whose retreat he had no suspicion, but observing his left flank exposed by the retreat of some of the Taghmon cavalry, and the enemy making a motion to sur. round him, he retired to Wexford, with the loss of lieutenant colonel Watson killed, and two privates wounded.
Every thing now wore the aspect of a gloomy desperate consternation. Some yeomen and supplementaries posted nearly opposite the gaol, were heard continually to threaten to put all the prisoners to death, which so roused the attention of the gaol. er to protect his charge, that he barricaded the door, and delivered up the key to Mr. Harvey. This gentleman was, indeed, so apprehensive of violence, that he had concealed himself in the chimney, and it was not without great difficulty that some magistrates were admitted to see Mr. Harvey in the gaol, and, at their most urgent entreaties, he wrote the following notice to the insurgents.
" I have been treated in prison with all possible humanity, and « am now at liberty. I have procured the liberty of all the pri.
• The following official account was given of this affair.
“ DUBLIN Castle, June 2d, 1798.
" ACCOUNTS have been received from major general u Eustace at New Ross, stating that major general Fawcett having marched " with a company of the Meath regiment from Duncannon fort, this small “ force was surrounded by a very large body between Taghmon and Wex. * ford, and defeated : general Fawcett effected his retreat to Duncannon « fort.”
66 soners. If you pretend to christian charity, do not commit “ massacre, or burn the property of the inhabitants, and spare
your prisoners lives. “ Wednesday, 30th of May, 1798. B. B. HARVEY.”
This note was undertaken to be forwarded by one Doyle, a yeoman of the Heathfield cavalry, who volunteered this hazard. ous service in coloured clothes ; but when ready to set off he was discovered to be a Roman Catholic, and therefore reflected upon, for so the whisper went about, “how could a Papist be “ trusted ?" The yeoman, finding his zeal meet with a reception so contrary to his expectation, again put on his unisorm, and retreated with his captain; counsellor Richards with his brother then undertook to announce the surrender of the town to the insurgents, whose camp they reached in safety, though clad in full uniform. Scarcely had these deputies set out upon their mission, when all the military corps, a part of the Wexford infantry under captain Hughes only excepted, made the best of their way out of town in whatever direction they imagined they could find safety, without acquainting their neighbours on duty of their intentions. The principal inhabitants, whose services had been accepted of for the defence of the town were mostly Catholics, and, according to the prevalent system, were subject to the greatest insults and reflections. They were always placed in front of the posts, and cautioned to behave well, or that death should be the consequence. Accordingly persons were placed behind them to keep them to their duty, and these were so watchful of their charge, that they would not even permit them to turn about their heads. Thus were the armed inhabitants left at their post, aban. doned by their officers, and actually ignorant of the flight of the soldiery, until all possible means of retreating were cut off. Upon the approach of the insurgents, the confusion and dismay were excessive, the few remaining officers and privates ran confusedly through the town, threw off their uniforms, and hid themselves wherever their fears suggested. Some ran for boats to convey them off, and threw their arms and ammunition into the water. Some from an insufficiency of men's clothes assumed female attire for the purpose of disguise. Extreme confusion, tumult, and panic were every where exhibited. The North Cork regiment on quitting the barracks had set them on fire, but it was soon after put out.
In the mean time, Mr. Richards having arrived at the Three Rocks, made it known to the rebel chiefs, that they were deputed to inform the people, that the town would be surrendered to them, on condition of sparing lives and properties; these terms, they were informed, would not be complied with, unless the arms and ammunition of the garrison were also surrendered. Mr. Loftus Richards was therefore detained as a hostage, and coun. sellor Richards and Mr. Fitzgerald were sent back to the town, to settle and arrange the articles of capitulation; these gentlemen on their arrival, to their astonishment found the place abandoned by the military. A rebel multitude was just ready to pour in and take unconditional possession of the town. It was therefore thought necessary to treat with them, in order to prevent the consequences apprehended from such a tumultuary influx of people. Doctor Jacob, then mayor of the town and captain of the Wex. ford infantry, entreated Mr. Fitzgerald to announce to the peo. ple rushing in, that the town was actually surrendered ; and to use every argument, that his prudence might suggest, to make their entry as peaceable as possible. Mr. Fitzgerald complied, and instantly after this communication, thousands of people poured into the town, over the wooden bridge, shouting and ex. hibiting all the marks of extravagant and victorious exultation. They first proceeded to the gaol, released all the prisoners, and insisted that Mr. Harvey should become their commander. All the houses in town, not abandoned by the inhabitants, now became decorated with green boughs, and other emblematic sym. bols of insurgency. The doors were universally thrown open, and the most liberal offers made of spirits and drink, which however were not as freely accepted, until the persons offering them had first drank themselves, as a proof that the liquor was not poisoned, a report having prevailed to that effect. This circum. stance prevented more rapid intoxication, and perhaps many lamentable excesses. .
The insurgents being in possession of the town, several of the yeomen, having thrown off their uniforms, affected with all the signs and emblems of the United Irishmen, to convince them of their unfeigned cordiality and friendship; those who did not throw open their doors with offers of refreshment and accommodation to the insurgents, suffered by plunder, their substance be. ing considered as enemy's property. The house of captain Boyd was a singular exception. It was, though not deserted, pillaged, and underwent all the effects of popular hatred and revenge.
These troops who had fled from Wexford, signalized themselves in their retreat by plundering and devastating the country; by burning the cabins and shooting the peasants in their progress; and thus they augmented the number and rage of the insurgents. These excesses were seen from the insurgents’ station at the Three Rocks, and it was with extreme difficulty, that the enraged multitude were hindered by their chiefs from rushing down upon Wexford and taking summary vengeance of the town and its inhabitants.
The turn of this rebellion now rendered both sides ferocious, even to their associates. When Gorey could be no longer de fended by the small garrison of thirty of the North Cork militia and some undisciplined yeomen, though reinforced by a detache ment of the Antrim militia on the 27th of May, orders were given to evacuate the town on the next morning at five o'clock, and retire to Arklow. This retreat was a melancholy scene of confusion, fear, and desperation : the reception the fugitives found at Arklow was ill suited to relieve their calamitous situation. Fainting with hunger, thirst, fatigue, and the want of sleep, they were denied admittance into the town, and forced to seek rest and refuge under the neighbouring hedges ; some of the bet. ter sort were by favour admitted, on condition of quitting the town in half an hour. Those that entered, were obliged to deliver their arms at the gate of the barrack to the guard, who promised to restore them ; instead of which, they were afterwards formed into a pile in the yard of the barrack and burned. One man scrupling to surrender his arms, was shot by the guard. No refreshment could be procured by money for man or horse ; the hearts of the inhabitants were hardened. As the rebels had bent their course to the south, Gorey ,remained unmolested, though destitute of defence, and filled with a variety of goods brought thither for safety ; but the pilfering of the lower class of the towns-folk was prevented by the better sort of Catholics, who formed themselves into guards to protect the houses of their Protestant neighbours. On the 30th and 31st of May, the greater part of the fugitives returned from about Arklow to their homes, and the militia and yeomanry, who had abandoned Gorey, on the 28th resumed their station.
END OF THE FOURTH VOLUME.
Printed and Published, by W. F. M'Laughlin,
and Bartholomew Graves, Philadelphia.
THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS WAS PRESENTED TO THE LORD
December 27, 1791. To his Excellency John Earl of WESTMORELAND, Lord Lieute.
nant General, and General Governor of Ireland. WE, the undernamed, his majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, Roman Catholics of the kingdom of Ireland, desirous at all times to declare unequivocally our sentiments of loyalty to our most gracious sovereign, and our attachment to the constitution, disclaiming every word or act which can directly or indirectly tend to alarm the minds of our brethren, or disturb the tranquil. lity of this country, have, in order to prevent misrepresentation, or misconception of our sentiments, thought it necessary now to lay before your excellency the resolutions hereunto annexed.
We confide in your excellency's goodness, that you will be pleased to represent us to our most gracious sovereign such as we really are, grateful for the mild and benevolent disposition he has been always graciously pleased to shew towards us.
We rely with confidence on our past, as a pledge for our future conduct: and as we feel most strongly the benefits that have arisen, not only to us in particular, but to this kingdom in general, from the indulgence, which through the wisdom of the legislature, we have already received; so we look with respectful confi. dence to its wisdom, liberality, and benevolence for a further extension of its favours.
Resolved, That application be made to the legislature, during the next session of parliament, for a further repeal of the laws af. fecting the Roman Catholics of Ireland.
Resolved, That grateful for former concessions, we do not presume to point out the measure or extent to which such repeal should be carried, but leave the same to the wisdom and discre. tion of the legislature, fully confiding in their liberality and bene