« ZurückWeiter »
be impossible for me to do; however I shall endeavour to give you an idea of what we went through and of the very great surprise the unexpected landing of the french occasiond to the peaceable inhabitants of Killala—My little family & I had very nearly been separated—thank God it was not the case for I would never have outlived it-on the 27th August I was to have gone to Sligo to be with my sister in law at her lying in-Eliza was to have gone
the Dean and his son Thomas was to have reméined at Killala and my two younger boys I was to have sent home to Castlebar my plans were arranged accordingly as I was to have sent away all my female servants, (except an old woman) Tom wished to give a take leave enterteinment to all our neighbours and on the 22nd had a number of them to dine with usthree ships had been seen early in the morning But as they hoisted inglish coulours no danger was apprehended – I looked at them from an eminence through a glass and thought them a beautifull sight with all their white sails up the day was remarkably fine; two of the Bishop's sons and another gentleman went out in the kings Boat to take a nearer view of the vessels—they were to have been part of our company and we waited dinner for them till near six OClock—but on their not returning at that hour it was generally agreed that they had been kept to dine aboard by the inglish officers particularly as some fishermen asserted they had sold fish to the vessels and they Certainly were inglish we went to Dinner without having the remotest Idea of fear of any kind—but enjoying the thoughts of all the news we should have on the return of our gentlemen.
Just as the ladies and I retired to the drawingroom we heard a bustle in the street I ran to the window to see what it was, every body was runing to and fro in the greatest confusion so much so that no person heard my repeated calls to know what was the matter; upon which I ran into the street myself and then learned that the french were actually marching along the shore into the town—I flew into the parlour and told the gentlemen who unconscious of danger were cheerfully taking their bottle you may suppose every thing was upset--the Captain of the yeomanry etc etc-a Captain Tills who commanded a party of the prince of Wales fenceables that had quartered there but two days were part of our eompany-Tom sent out for his horses and desired me to prepare to be off instantly-I collected my Children flew with them through a private way which the Bishop had made
for our accomodation through the gardens of both houses to the castle happily for me that was the way I went—for had I went the street way I must have been shot as the french were in the town my strenght failed me and I fell almost lifeless with my youngest child in my arms—the other three clinging to me rending the air with their cries—fortunately one of the Bishop's sons came that way to see what was become of us--and Assisted me—but soon as I got into the friendly and hospitable mansion of his Father my senses forsook me and for several hours I knew not what happened.
When returning reason resumed her seat-I felt and saw the horror of our situation. the French in full possesion of the Castle-we prisoners with all the family—and a number of Others in the upper story & nothing to be heard but the din of armshowever I found consolation in finding my husband and Children about me fellow was only anxious for me in the midst of the tumult—however I got better and through the assistance of that invaluable family was enabled to bear my situation with some degree of composure-We sat up the whole night indeed it was impossible to do Otherways for there was scarcely room to sit much less to lye down in the four rooms on that floor; all the rest of the house was Occupy'd by the invaders who found it neat and elegant for their reception etc—Two beds in each bedchamber preparatory to the Bishops visitation which was to have been held the following day—and as it was his first every thing was laid out in the handsomest manner—the drawingroom was furnished with beautiful cotton-which the wreches afterwards made shoe rubbers and saddle clothes of.
I learned that the yeomanry forty in number and the prince of Wales Only twenty headed by their officers had turned out against the enemy-weak force indeed and soon repulls'd two yeomen were killed on the spot more fled--but the greatest N° and the fenceables and their officers were taken prisoners and marched to the gates of the Castle where the french general demanded admittance some of the clergy that were there had fled among the rest our friend Seymour—those that remained joined by a few Other gentlemen from the town and the Bishops domesticks were mad enough to intend Opposition and armed themselves for that purpose—but his Lordship and the Dean remonstrated against the folly of such an attempt & our enimies were soon in possession after seizing all the horses they meet in their way
among the rest five of ours; the two men Servants that had been sent out for them never returned they wisely made the best of their way to Castlebar which we did not know untill we came home-imediately on entering the Castle the general called for the Bishop and addressd him in a very polite manner with an offer of an handsome establishment under the new governmentfor that they had not a doubt of effecting a revolution in a few days that there were 25000 french then landing in Donegal and different parts of the kingdom and that they then looked upon themselves as Masters of Ireland where they came for the purpose of restoring Liberty and peace and making an Oppressed people happy.
The Bishop civilly rejected the offer coolly replying that he had taken too many Oaths to the present government to find the breaking of them so easy to his conscience and that he felt himself bound by the most sacred ties to his king and country—the general called him a man of honor-told him he intended making that house his head quarters and requested everything might be ordered accordingly; Supper and wine were instantly laid and every domestick in the house employed in striving to supply their innumerable wants. Beds in every Apartment were already prepared and the entire house (except the upper floor) Offices and yard were instantly occupied by our invaders—they ordered light in every window during the whole night and desired every person to give up their arms on pain of instant death in case here after any should be found upon them—the same mandate was issued in the town where every house was occupied by our new acquaintances-our house was full and those that took possession felt themselves perfectly at home for while the provisions, wine and liquors lasted they ordered it just as they pleased—we had two faithfull Servants that never left the house —but endeavoured to preserve our clothes little plate etc etc which by degrees they stole down to the Castle to us Otherways my poor Children & I should have been naked.
Poor Cap Tills and his men were put aboard the french vesel and in three days after sailed for france—they also sent off 14 or 15 of the best horses they took some of them beautifull hunters belonging to the Bishops sons—for three days after they landed we saw nothing but repeated bodies of the french their arms & baggage coming from the ships—which had anchored about two miles from the town—a requisition of everything they
wanted was made to the Bishop-and the generals conduct became extremely outrageous whenever his orders could not be Obeyed-at one time he demanded fifty boats-to bring up their amunition etc etc from the ships—on their not being procured he marched our Bishop off with an intention to send him prisoner to france-however when he found the worthy man was not to be frightened by his treats to do what was impossible he marched him back again-Judge of our situation at these periods—for indeed it is not to be described—they planted their standard in the court yard; and put up the most inflammatory proclamations which soon drew forth the deluded wreches by hundreds and thousands who at all hours day and night marched in triumphantly-what a scene we from the windows of our prison beheld the arming and clothing of five thousand five hundred of these ruffiens scarcely a man of inferior rank in or about Killala that did not join them and some of the respectabillity in the neighborhood-Captain O'Dowd that was hanged at Ballinamuck had five hundred per year in that county, was a yeoman in that corps and voluntarly took the oath of allegiance to the Bishop a day or two before the french landed—the titular Bishops Brother was an active general he was banged at Killala.
The day after they landed they took Ballina a pritty town about six miles from Killala there was an opposition but it did not avail. Mr Fortescue (a Clergyman) was mortally wounded & one or two yeomen badly wounded but have recovered-they made Col Kings house at Ballina headquarters & were soon joined there by Croppies innumerable some of them returned flushed with success to Killala & began to prepare busily for their further progress-On Tuesday the 26th they marched for Castlebar and on the morning following to the astonishment of the whole Kingdom since they had possession of that town not withstanding the strong force of our army three to one as I have been informed; it was a bloody engagement—the french general said he had not seen so Obstinate a one even at La Vendée-In five minutes what a glorious victory should we have gained but for the retreat of our army, for the french were absolutely going to surrender at the instant the unfortunate race began & left them Masters of the field & all our cannon.
Never shall I forget the revelling & joy that took place at Killala on the arrival of this pews the insolence of victory was
scarce to be borne in the insurgents who flocked in tenfold—what a night of horror to us—who did not know but that all we held dear in that town had fallen in the action-Doctor Ellison & my brother-in-law prisoners with us, you may suppose what their feelings were--not knowing how their familys or propertys were disposed of—for all communication was cut off from the loyalists —and we did not know what passed in any part of the worldaccept the miserable Spot we were confined in—the accounts brought in by the french rebels we could not depend on-my brother & Doctor Ellison solicted leave to go home as they would be equally their prisoners in one place as an Other-it was granted them and they were taken to Castlebar by two different parties on different days-Mr Ellison contrived to let us know of his safe arrival & that all our friends were living-a great relief that. From that day which was the 28th August untill the 20th Sep we never had a word from any person belonging to us we heard Castlebar had been retaken & that peace & quiet were reastablished there—however our Apprehensions for its safety were soon awakened again by wittnessing the vigorous preparations of the Rebels for an attack on that townwe reckoned 750 pikemen march from their camp in the Bishops demesne besides those bodies armed with fire arms—they were joined by numbers beyond calculation all along the road-untill they reached the environs of the town where happily—the yeomen & loyal inhabitants of Castlebar repulsed and beat them back it was a glorious defeat for there were not more than fifty military in the town to repulse them if they had made good their entrance.
The french Before this period had left Castlebar & those at Killala were gone also to join the main boddy—except one Officer who was to remein with two hundred Irish Recruits to protect the town-you may judge how we liked such protectors as the united men-as the officer commandant staid behind solely for the purpose of defending us and thereby ran the risque of losing his own liberty-he thought it but reasonable that one of the Bishops sons should go with the french troops to Castlebar as an hostage for his person in case of the inglish becoming again Masters of Killala—to this there could be no Objection made & his third son (a fine lad) was sent off with the army-however they did not take him on to Ballinamuck he remeined at my brotherinlaws house untill he came down with the inglish to take Killala