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on the next morning to Athlone, which is above sixty miles from Castlebar. Fourteen pieces of artillery were lost on this occasion. However, it ought to be mentioned that some serious grounds appeared afterwards for suspecting treachery: most of those who had been reported 'missing,' on this first battle, having been afterwards observed in the ranks of the enemy, where it is remarkable enough, (or perhaps it argues that not being fully relied on by their new allies, they were put forward on the most dangerous services,) all of these deserters perished to a man. Meantime, the new Lord Lieutenant, having his foot constantly in the stirrup, marched from Dublin without a moment's delay. By means of the grand canal, he made a forced march of fifty-six English miles in two days; which brought him to Kilbeggan on the 27th. Very early on the following morning he received the unpleasant news from Castlebar. Upon this he advanced to Athlone, meeting every indication of a routed and panic-struck army. Lord Lake was retreating upon that town, and thought himself so little secure, even at this distance from the enemy, that the road from Tuam was covered with strong patrols. Meantime, in ludicrous contrast to these demonstrations of alarm, the French had never stirred an inch from Castlebar. On the 4th of September, Lord Cornwallis was within fourteen miles of that place. Humbert, however, had previously dislodged towards the county of Longford. His motive for this movement was to cooperate with an insurrection in that quarter, which had just then broken out in strength. He was now, however, hemmed in by a large army of perhaps 25,000 men, advancing from all points, a few moves were all that remained of the game, played with whatever skill. Colonel Vereker, with about 300 of the Limerick militia, first came up with him, and skirmished very creditably,
(September 6,) with part, or (as the Colonel always maintained) with the whole of the French army. Other affairs of trivial importance followed; and at length on the 8th of September, General Humbert surrendered with his whole army, now reduced to 844 men, of whom 96 were officers, having lost, since their landing at Killala, exactly 283 men. The rebels were not admitted to any terms; they were pursued and cut down without mercy. However, it is pleasant to know, that from their agility in escaping, this cruel policy was defeated: not much above 500 perished and thus were secured to the Royal party the worst results of vengeance the fiercest, and clemency the most undistinguishing, without any one advantage of either. Some districts, as Laggan and Eris, were treated with martial rigor: the cabins being burned, and their unhappy tenants driven out into the mountains for the winter. Rigor, therefore, there was; for the most humane politicians, erroneously as I conceive, believed it necessary for the army to leave behind some impressions of terror amongst the insurgents. It is certain, however, that under the counsels of Lord Cornwallis, the standards of public severity were very much lowered, as compared with the previous examples in Wexford.
The tardiness and slovenly execution of the whole service, meantime, was well illustrated in what follows:
Killala was not delivered from rebel hands until the 23d of September, notwithstanding the general surrender had occurred on the 8th, and then only in consequence of an express from the Bishop to General Trench, hastening his march. The situation of the Protestants was indeed critical. Humbert had left three French officers to protect the place, but their influence gradually had sunk to a mere shadow. And plans of pillage, with all its attendant horrors, were daily debated. Under these circumstances, the
French officers behaved honorably and courageously. 'Yet,' says the Bishop, 'the poor commandant had no reason to be pleased with the treatment he had received immediately after the action. He had returned to the castle for his sabre, and advanced with it to the gate, in order to deliver it up to some English officer, when it was seized and forced from his hand by a common soldier of Fraser's. He came in, got another sword, which he surrendered to an officer, and turned to re-enter the hall. At this moment a second Highlander burst through the gate, in spite of the sentinel placed there by the General, and fired at the commandant with an aim that was near proving fatal, for the ball passed under his arm, piercing a very thick door entirely through, and lodging in the jamb. Had we lost the worthy man by such an accident, his death would have spoiled the whole relish of our present enjoyment. He complained and received an apology for the soldier's behavior from his officer. Leave was immediately granted to the three French officers [left at Killala] to keep their swords, their effects, and even their bed-chambers in the house.'
So terminated the Irish civil war of 1798; or, with reference to its local limitation, the Civil War of Connaught. But in the year 1798, Ireland was the scene of two rebellions; one in the autumn, confined to Connaught, -it is this which I have been circumstantially retracing, and another in the latter end of spring, which spent its rage upon the county of Wexford. These two had no immediate connection: that in Connaught was not the product of its predecessor; each, in fact, resting upon causes however ultimately the same, had its own separate
occasions and immediate excitements; and each had its own separate leaders and local agents. The one was a premature explosion of the great conspiracy conducted for
the last five years by the Society of United Irishmen: the other was an unpremeditated effort in support of an abrupt and ill-timed foreign invasion. The general predisposing causes to rebellion were doubtless the same in both cases: but the exciting causes of the moment were different in each. And, finally, they were divided by a complete interval of two months.
One very remarkable feature there was, however, in which these two separate rebellions of 1798 coincided: that was - the narrow range, as to time, within which each ran its course. Neither of them outran the limits of one lunar month. It is a fact, however startling, that each, though a perfect civil war in all its proportions, frequent in warlike incident, and the former rich in tragedy, passed through all the stages of growth, maturity, and final extinction, within one single revolution of the moon. For all the rebel movements, subsequent to the morning of Vinegar Hill, are to be viewed not in the light of manœuvres made in the spirit of military hope, but as mere efforts of desperation, in the spirit of self-preservation, with the single purpose of reaching some ground having elbow-room sufficient, and other advantages, for general dispersion.
The Connaught campaign,- because I myself, by residence on its central positions, and by daily excursions, knew all its scenery and their exact limits, and because the alliance of a powerful nation raised it into more distinction as a chapter in civilized warfare, I have dwelt upon at some length. The other though, philosophically speaking, a much more interesting war, and worthy of a very minute investigation, I shall crowd into a single page; taking my excuse from the fact that I know the ground imperfectly, and only as a hasty traveller; but, in reality, shrinking from a subject which caused me grief even at
age, and which causes me humiliation even yet. For all parties were then deep delinquents: and the Government, that should have been so paternal and so willing to lead back its erring flock to the fold, as the first and the bloodiest in provocation, was the worst delinquent of all. Doubtless there are, as against such a government there ought to be, great calumnies afloat. But, when allowance has been made for all, there will still remain enough on record to establish this horrible fact, that the Government, in its immediate executive agents, seemed bent upon finding matter for punishment; and to such an excess that, when these agents did not find it, they proceeded systematically to create it by provocation, by irritation, by torture not denied, but avowed, proclaimed, rewardedand finally, for I reserve this as the consummation of the climax, by inflictions of personal degradation of a nature almost to justify rebellion.
A few words will recapitulate this civil war, but each of these words may be taken as representing a chapter. The war of American separation it was which touched and quickened the dry bones that lay waiting as it were for life through every part of Christendom. The year 1782 brought that war to its winding up; and the same year was which called forth Grattan and the Irish volunteers. That Ireland saw her own case dimly reflected in that of America, and that such a reference was moving in the national mind, appears from a remarkable fact in the history of the year which followed. In 1783, a haughty petition was addressed to the throne on behalf of the Roman Catholics, by an association styling itself a Congress. No man could suppose that a designation so ominously significant, had been chosen by accident; and by the Court of England it was received, as it was meant, for an insult and a menace. What came next? The French