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soriacum,] in Arles, [Arelata,] or in Marseilles, [Massilia.] Now, the old Irish nobility that part I mean which might be called the rural nobility — stood in the same relation to English manners and customs. Here might be found old rambling houses, in the style of antique English manorial chateaux, ill planned, as regarded convenience and economy, with long rambling galleries, and 'passages that lead to nothing,' windows innumerable, that evidently had never looked for that severe audit to which they were summoned by William Pitt; not unfrequently with a traditional haunted bed-chamber; but displaying, in the dwelling-rooms, a comfort and 'coziness' not so effectually attained in modern times. Here were old libraries, old butlers, and old customs, that seemed all alike to belong to the era of Cromwell, or even an earlier era than his; whilst the ancient names, to one who was tolerably familiar with the great events of Irish history, often strengthened the illusion. Not that I could pretend to be familiar with Irish history as Irish; but as a conspicuous chapter in the difficult policy of Queen Elizabeth, of Charles I., and of Cromwell, nobody who had read the English history could be a stranger to the O'Niells, the O'Donnels, the Ormonds, [i. e. the Butlers,] the Inchiquins, or the De Burghs. I soon found in fact that the aristocracy of Ireland might be divided into two great sections the native Irish- those who might be viewed as territorial fixtures; and those who spent so much of their time and revenues at Bath, Cheltenham, Weymouth, London, &c., as to have become almost entirely English. It was the former whom we chiefly visited; and I remarked that, in the midst of hospitality the most unbounded, and the amplest comfort, some of these were in the rear of the English commercial gentry, as to modern refinements of luxury. There was, at the same time, an apparent
strength of character, as if formed amidst turbulent scenes, and a raciness of manner, which interested me profoundly, and impressed themselves on my recollection.
In our road to Mayo, we were often upon ground rendered memorable not only by historical events, but more recently by the disastrous scenes of the rebellion, by its horrors or its calamities. On reaching W- House, we found ourselves in situations and a neighborhood which had become the very centre of the final military operations, which had succeeded to the main rebellion, and which, to the people of England, and still more to the people of the Continent, had offered a character of interest wanting to the inartificial movements of Father Roche and Bagenal Harvey. About two months after the great defeat and subsequent dispersion of the rebel army, amounting, perhaps, to 25,000 men, with a considerable though small artillery, at Vinegar Hill, a French force of about 900 men had landed on the western coast, and again stirred up the Irish to insurrection. Had the descent been in time to co-operate with the insurgents of Wexford, Kildare, and Wicklow, it would have organized the powerful materials of revolt, in a way calculated to distress the Government, and to perplex it in a memorable degree. There cannot be a doubt, considering the misconduct of the royal army, in all its branches, at that period of imperfect discipline, that Ireland would have been lost for a time. Whether the French Government, considering the feebleness and insufficiency of the Directory, would have improved the opportunity, is doubtful. It is also doubtful whether, under a government of greater energy, our naval vigilance would not have intercepted or overtaken any expedition upon a sufficient scale. But it is certain that, had the same opening presented itself to
the energy of Napoleon, it would have been followed up at whatever sacrifice of men, shipping, or stores.
I was naturally led, by hearing on every side the conversation reverting to the dangers and tragic incidents of the era, separated from us by not quite two years, to make inquiries of everybody who had personally partici pated in the commotions. Records there were on every side, and memorials even in our bed-rooms, of the visit of the French; for they had occupied W House in some strength. The largest town in our neighborhood was Castlebar, distant about eleven Irish miles. To this it was that the French addressed their very earliest efforts. Advancing rapidly, and with their usual style of affected. confidence, they had obtained at first a degree of success which was almost surprising to their own insolent vanity, and which was long afterwards a subject of bitter mortification to our own army. Had there been at this point any energy at all corresponding to that of the enemy, or commensurate to the intrinsic superiority of our own troops as to real courage, the French would have been compelled to lay down their arms. The experience of those days, however, showed how deficient is the finest composition of an army, unless when its martial qualities have been developed by practice; and how liable is all courage, when utterly inexperienced, to sudden panics. This gasconading advance, which would have foundered entirely against a single battalion of the troops which fought in 1812-13 amongst the Pyrenees, was here completely successful.
The Bishop of this See, Dr. Stock, with his whole household, and, indeed, his whole pastoral charge, became on this occasion prisoners to the French. The headquarters were fixed for a time in the Episcopal Palace : the French Commander-in-chief, General Humbert, and
his staff, lived in the house, and maintained a daily intercourse with the Bishop; who thus became well fitted to record (which he soon afterwards did in an anonymous pamphlet) the leading circumstances of the French incursion, and the consequent insurrection in Connaught, as well as the most striking features in the character and deportment of the Republican officers. Riding over the scene of these transactions daily for some months, in company with the Dean of F—, whose sacred character had not prevented him from taking that military part which seemed, in those difficult moments, a duty of elementary patriotism laid upon all alike, — I enjoyed many opportunities for correcting or verifying the statements of the worthy Bishop, and of collecting anecdotes of interest. The small body of French troops, which undertook this remote service, had been detached in one-half from the army of the Rhine; the other half had served under Napoleon in his first foreign campaign— the brilliant one of 1796, which accomplished the conquest of northern Italy. Those from Germany showed, by their looks and their meagre condition, how much they had suffered; and some of them, in describing their hardships, told their Irish acquaintance that, during the siege of Mentz, which had occurred in the previous winter of 1797, they had slept in holes made four feet below the surface of the snow. One officer declared solemnly that he had not once undressed, further than by taking off his coat, for a period of twelve months. The private soldiers had all the essential qualities fitting them for a difficult and trying service intelligence, activity, temperance, patience to a surprising degree, together with the exactest discipline.' This is the statement of their truly candid and upright enemy. Yet,' says the Bishop, with all these martial qualities, if you except the grenadiers, they had nothing
to catch the eye. Their stature, for the most part, was low, their complexion pale and yellow, their clothes much the worse for wear; to a superficial observer, they would have appeared incapable of enduring any hardship. These were the men, however, of whom it was presently observed, that they could be well content to live on bread or potatoes, to drink water, to make the stones of the street their bed, and to sleep in their clothes, with no covering but the canopy of heaven.'
It may well be imagined in what terror the families of Killala heard of a French invasion, and the necessity of immediately receiving a republican army. Sansculottes, as these men were, all over Europe they had the reputation of pursuing a ferocious marauding policy; in fact they were held little better than sanguinary brigands. In candor, it must be admitted that their conduct at Killala belied these reports; though, on the other hand, an obvious interest obliged them to a more pacific demeanor in a land which they saluted as friendly and designed to raise into extensive insurrection. The French army, so much dreaded, at length arrived. The General and his staff entered the palace; and the first act of one officer, on coming into the dining-room, was to advance to the sideboard, sweep all the plate into a basket, and deliver it to the Bishop's butler, with a charge to carry it off to a place of security.
The French officers, with the detachment left under their orders by the Commander-in-chief, stayed about one month at Killala. This period allowed opportunities enough for observing individual differences of character, and the general tone of their manners. These opportunities were not thrown away upon the Bishop; he noticed with a critical eye, and he recorded on the spot, whatever fell within his own experience. Had he, however, hap