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during all that time we did not know but that he had remeined with the french & perhaps had fallen in the action. two more french Officers had fled to us from Newport & they & the commandant became one family with us prisoners—we got down to the drawing Room on the second floor & began to breathe the fresh air by walking in the garden-our captivity became less irksome & we would have waited with some degree of patience for the Issue of the business had it not Been for the insolence & threats of the Rebels who daily appeared in greater numbers than before: they became vociferous for arms of which there were none left to give them they then demanded a requisition of all the Iron in the county to make pikes, cut down the Bishops trees for handles & set all the smiths & carpenters in the place to work -hundreds of those formidable weapons were made before our eyes in his Lordships yard where his forge & workshop were, his Own smith & carpenter forced to work; the commandant proposed arming the few prodestants in the town to enable them to protect their properties against the midnight depredations of this rebellious crew-but it was so violently Opposed by them that they poor Prodestants got intimidated, & Declined the commandants proposition declaring they would trust themselves to the protection of the Patrole.
What a night of alarm but it passed off pritty well—the wonderfull resolution, coolness & courage of those Three french officers still kept the rabble in awe-the commandant particularly was a man of temper & discretion & on him all our hopes of safety rested-he sat up many nights to watch us & to enable any who would attempt it to take a little rest—we certainly owe our lives to him & the Other two Officers—latterly they wished for the arrival of the inglish army as much as we did—for they rebe began to murmar at their favouring the prodestants treathened to be no longer governed by them in short our situation was truly pitiable, the plunder & devastations committing a round us was shocking, not a day that they people of the country were not flocking in to the Castle to request the Bishop would represent their tale of woe to the Commandant-he did all that was possible for them By Issueing proclamations against it& treathned Death to the offenders—but it was in vain.
Were I to enumerate instances of this sort-it would swell my narative to a most enormous packet-we heard that the french army had marched towards Sligo- & that they were pursued by
an army of twenty one thousand English commanded by Lord Cornwallis in person—we felt it a critical moment of danger to us Between the withdrawing of one government from us & the Approach of another—the roman Catholics Effected to be mad with Apprehension that they prodestants would murder them & wished to put it out of their power by being guilty of the act first -but miraculously was their fury at all times restrained however we were in a sad fright-the newspapers both inglish & Irish have so fully stated the battle of Colooney & our decisive victory at Ballinamuck that I need say nothing on that subject-flying reports reached us of both from straggling rebels who had fled from each place—the commandant in confidence to the Bishop acquainted him with the truth of it, & it was mutually agree'd between them that a profound silence on the subject should be preserved lest they rebels becoming desparate at the defeat of their allies & the slaughter of their Brethren should retaliate by murdering us, who were in their possession-their principal leader had before made the Castle his head quarters & Occupied the best Bedchamber in the house-it was on the same floor with the drawingroom-where we then messed-so that we became subject to the interuption of him & his colleagues whenever they pleased-all was liberty & equality. ...
Figure to your self My Dear Aunt our situation in this agreeable medley. But we women determined we would not leave our gentlemen--we fancied that our presence kept up a little order & it prevented drinking so that we were always certain of having our Men sober—the opposite party towards night were always the reverse—but we never felt any inconvenience from it—accept noise & bustle to which from custom we became so reconciled that we did not mind it latterly at all; we by this time got a very agreeable addition to our gentlemen-Mr Fortescue member for the county Louth.
he had come from Ballina to enquire for his brother (the Clergyman who I mentioned in the former part of my letter was mortally wounded) he did not know of his Death having known the defeat of the french he expected to find the poor prisoners all at liberty. Judge the suprise of this Mr Fortescue when he was taken prisoner himself & sent by the Officer of Ballina under a guard to our commandant-to be examined as a spy-however he easily proved the pious errand that brought him & related the defeat of the french which he coroaborated by a description of the persons of the french officers which he had
met prisoners going to Dublin-we all felt Enterested for one in distress—as he appeared much grieved for his brother—the Bishop asked the commandant to allow him to remein prisoner at Killala enstead of Ballina to which he consented & Mr Fortescue became an Acquisition ; particularly so to the Bishop as he Spoke french fluently-which in a great measure relieved his Lordship--who was worried to death as an enterpreter—this gentleman was a fortnight in captivity & when he came to the Castle he did not think it in the nature of things but that we should see an inglish force before twenty four hours come to our relief-But Alass we were left there-tho not forgetting-by the world forgotten--we often discry'd vesels in the Offing with aching hearts—for our enimies would allways have French or spanishsometimes we would indulge the delusive hope that they were inglish coming to our relief.
One evening we were on tiptoe beholding a Considerable fleet pass by us—towards Sligo, one frigate of which cast anchor in our bay--we continued in a painfull state of doubtfull anxiety as to what country she belonged—till we saw her send boats to · distroy two trading vesels that were in possission of the french & pressently afterwards we had the awfull spectacle of seeing them on fire & burning a long time even to the waters edgeit was the most delightfull sight I ever saw—the effect of the great column of fire thro' the trees of the grove that fronted the sea was beautifull beyond descreption-Often have we been terrified to Death—with the Idea of the town being bombarded from some of those ships which constantly appeared, for reports of the kind were daily probagated—I am sure for the purpose of frightening us—as there was a great quantity of gunpowder belonging to the french stor'd in the offices of the Castle—latterly it was buried in a great hole in the garden & hid under the arched corn stands to preserve it from the rebels.
The french Officers certainly did everything possible for our safety & to those three brave fellows we owe the Preservation of our lives—there was one at Ballina & tho the newspapers gave him equal merit with the other three-yet he was a very different Character. Personally we knew nothing about himBut Charost Buda & Donsoe were indeed gentlemen & men of honor-they amply supply'd us with Provissions for every atom the worthy Bishop had was completedly eat up the first five days—every thing within doors wine & liquors all his fat sheep
& Cattle-his hay old & new-his years turf & every potatoe he had in ground—his old oats & all his corn & ground distroyed by the cattle driven into his demesne to be slaughtered by the Rebels-in short he had nothing but his Milch Cows—which were protected by the french officers in pitty to our poor Children—whose chief food was potatoes & milkfor flour we could not get to buy & what the french supply'd us with was scarce & very bad—but these devastations were not so particular to the Bishop-for every person who had anything to lose lost it--the rebels were not to be refused : our protectors were losing their Authority-and the pikemen who for the last forthnight-assembld in thousands treathned distruction to them as well as us.
The worthy family I was with as if not equal sufferers themselves, would try to comfort me-indeed the example of the Bishop & Mrs Stock was enough to chase fear away-& inspire all around them with fortitude & submission—they were more like Celestial than mortal beings-& to them they inhabitants of Killala are indebted for every act of benevolence—charity & love—their house their hearts their purse were open to the sufferers of every Description, as far as they were able they fed the hungry Clothed the naked adminstered to the rich, dressed the wounded & poured the balsam of consolation into the Bosom of the afflicted.
Latterly (every day) new modes of death for the prodestants were proposed—burning us in the Cathedral, fireing at us thro' the windows & starving us to death were the plans severally started—but the blood thirsty wreches not agreeing still Deferred the execution of their diabolical plot—they argued as a plea for their sanguinary intentions that the rebel Prisoners at Castlebar were treated with great cruelty & why should they longer defer retaliating on us who were in their power-An awfull Crisis you must allow. it was debated that an Ambassidor should be sent from each party to enquire into the truth; the Bishop thought it a good expedient as we should at least gain Forty eight hours reprieve by it & in the intermediate time the army might come to our relief-think My Aunt upon the situation of your poor unfortunate niece when her beloved husband was the person bed on by the rebels to go on this errand; no other person
hey agree to; my soul died within me on their Issueing date, & life had very nighly taken flight, when the almighty
inspired me with courage & resolution-& instead of restreining I urged the immediate departure of all my soul held Dear.
He set off attended by a rebel chief—who was not to lose sight of him for a minute till they returned—the Bishop wrote to the general merely to make the enquiry required—& I was, I did suppose the most miserable wrech on earth-human nature could not have Supported what I felt—but for the tenderness & unremitted care of those about me—even the french officers looked at me with pitty & I have seen the tear start in the Commandants eye—when he has met mine.
The ambassadors returned the following evening--the joy that took place on the arrival of the Dean made us all forget our past misery & every body clung about him as their guardian Angel - he brought back an answer from the general that pleased they rebels- & his companion seemed very well pleased with his Embassy-we slept in some degree of peace that night-after hearing him relate his adventures—he had met multitudes of rebels all along the road chiefly-pike men—he was suffered to Pass unmolested, as his errand was made known to them all-on his arrival in Castlebar joy was visible on every countenance & the eagerness of the people to hear all about the Killala prisoners, made them almost tear him off his horse—however he got up to the generals quarters accompanied by his companion Captain McGuire where he delivered his dispatches & then went to receive the carresses of his family-you may judge what a meeting it was the joy of the moment was soon lost in a torrent of anguish at the uncertainty of what might be our fate on his return.
Immediately on his entrance into Castlebar the rage of the multitude was such that they wanted to hang Captain McGuire imediately. But the Dean declared they should hang him first for that his honor was at stake for his safe return & independent of that our lives at Killala must inevitably be the forfeit If anything happen'd the Captain. I believe the poor Devil was a good deal frightened-however he was treated with great kindness & attention at my brother in laws Tom & he slept in one room with a guard upon them of two Officers—the Captain's cares were soon lost in a sound sleep—& my poor Tom then found means to make known the misery of our situation & to implore the general to hasten a force to relieve us or we must inevitably fall a sacrifice - he left him in full possession of our situation & of the situa