Sivut kuvina


this inconvenience could be obviated, he was not easy to cloak the real cause of objection with any disguise or subterfuge. Considering, therefore, that this was a fit opportunity to lift up the standard of peace and to bear his testimony against war, he honestly told the commander, “ that the apartment he requested was occupied

a store room, - but besides, that the purposes for which it was wanted were such as he could not unite with, having a conscientious scruple against war, and every thing connected with it.” Upon this, the Earl of M

grew very angry, and desired the soldiers who were with him to afford the Friend no protection, in case any disturbance should arise. To this observation the latter replied, that “he hoped he should not trust to or apply for military protection.” The commander went away greatly displeased, and seemed to mark out this Friend as a disaffected person ; indeed he did not know how soon a prison might be his lot; especially as one of the militia-men, who was quartered at his house for many weeks, being entertained at free cost, propagated many false reports of him, with respect to political matters ; so that his situation became increasingly perilous.

Some months after this, the military began to act with great rigour towards those that were suspected of being United Irishmen, *. burning their houses and stacks of corn, &c. and fastening caps besmeared with pitch upon their heads. They were preparing to burn a house of this description in the village of Ferns: and the same Friend, feeling pity for the man's wife and children, who would thus be deprived of a habitation, was induced to intercede with the *commanding officer of the militia on their behalf ; stating that he did not come to intermeddle between him and the suspected man ; but, pitying the poor wife and children, he thought it would be hard treatment to deprive them of shelter and the means of subsistence, when the man was fully in his power ; adding, though he might be criminal, probably they were innocent of his crime.” During this expostulation, the officer became very warm in his temper, and charged the Quakers with meddling, in some cases, to prevent the

• Those who opposed the Insurgents were sometimes called Loyalists, Orangemen, Protestants, Yeomen.--The Insurgents were also termed Pike. men, United Irishmen, Rebels, and sometimes they were even termed Roman Catholics, as chiefly consisting of that class, at least in the South of Ireland

execution of justice, when, in others, they would give no assistance to the government.

A short time after this, when the United Irishmen got the ascendency in the town, this Friend was enabled to render the officer some important services; and, from the grateful acknowledgments expressed by the latter in return, he had the satisfaction of thinking, that the prejudice of the officer was not only removed, but exchanged for a feeling of friendship. This occurrence afforded an interesting example of the blessed fruits of a peaceable conduct; the same individual using his influence alternately with both parties whilst in power,--an influence which nothing but an undeviating course of benevolence towards all his fellow-creatures could give him—to intercede for the depressed and afflicted.

On another occasion, the militia were preparing to hang some suspected persons, for not delivering up their weapons, and to fasten pitch caps on the heads of others. The Friend was fearful of being applied to for ropes, which he had for sale, as he could not be easy to sell them for that purpose : and yet he saw that refusal might in. volve him in some danger ; as martial law had been proclaimed, and life and property were subjected to military discretion. However, when some of the military came to buy ropes and linen, he had the courage to refuse to sell what was intended to torment or destroy a fellow-creature. The articles were accordingly taken by force : and though payment was offered, he refused it.

This occurrence took place a little before the general rising of the United Irishmen in that part of the country, and he had reason to believe that, under the direction of Providence, it contributed to the preservation of himself and his family, at that juncture.

For, the Rebels having received information that he refused to sell ropes to the military for the purpose of hanging them, and pitch to put on the caps to torment them, placed a sentry at his door, the day they entered the town, to protect his house from destruction. And, a short time after this, when the army was approaching, and the United Men were about to Ay from the place, some of the latter told him that, when the soldiers entered, they would consider every house that was not damaged as belonging to a Rebel or disaffected person ; and, in order to preserve his house from destruction by the military, and probably to save the lives of the inhabitants, they would break the windows before they took leave of him; which they accordingly did, and his house was not attacked by the soldiers.—This fact, however, is a little beyond the date of the narrative.

To return, therefore, to the order of events, the same Friend observing that on the eve of the insurrection a melancholy silence prevailed, he inquired of a person if there was any thing more than usual in prospect, and was told that the country people were collecting in large bodies.

At this intelligence, a cloud of darkness, as he described it, overspread his mind, and he was brought to a state of unutterable distress. He knew, indeed, that he had endeavoured to place his dependence on an Almighty Protector. But the feelings natural to every human being possessed of a Christian, peaceable disposition, at the prospect of the gulph that was opening to thousands of his misguided fellow-creatures, of the ruin and desolation about to fall upon his country, and of imminent danger to himself and his family, produced for some hours a conflict, of which he found it impossible to convey an adequate idea, and almost beyond what he seemed able to endure.

At midnight the town was filled with consternation : guards and divisions of the army were placed in different quarters ; and the Protestant inhabitants were in continual terror.

He prevailed upon his family to retire to bed; but they could not sleep; yet they endeavoured to attain that solemn retirement of soul in which it is best prepared to meet the calamities of life, and to rely on the mercy and power of Omnipotence.

Early in the morning, while he was in much anxiety as to the event, a person, whom he supposed to be one of the United Irishmen, came into the house, and said, Let who may be killed, the Quakers will be spared.” These words, trifling as they might appear, seemed to him, at the time, like the intimation given to Gideon, when he was listening to the man in the Midianites' camp telling his dream to his fellow, which tended to dissipate his fears, and to confirm his confidence. He then felt his mind somewhat encouraged to hope that their lives would be preserved.

On that morning, the scene was very awful : the houses and haggards of corn were in flames in every direction around them, some being set on fire by the yeomanry, and others by their enemies ; so that between the two parties, total devastation seemed to be at hand;—the Protestant inhabitants were fleeing into the towns and villages for safety, and the military guards under arms in all quarters ;- persons flying into town, having escaped from the hands of murderers in the country ; some of them wounded, and bringing the news of others that were slain. Property was then of little account; for it was every one's concern to escape with his life.

Being informed that some of the fugitive Protestants were exceedingly in want of something to eat, the same Friend had victuals prepared, and sent to invite them to allay their hunger ; but it so happened that none of them came to avail themselves of his benevolence.

The scene now became changed, though the prospect was still gloomy. For, in the evening the military left the town, and marched to Enniscorthy; and, together with the army, not only the Protestants who came into Ferns for safety, but those who resided in the village.

He was not aware of their departure till he observed that the place was almost depopulated. A state of things so opposite, though it was accompanied with marks of desolation, gave, however, a little time to contrast the quiet of peace with the alarms of war : and though short, this interval of calm was looked upon as a favour.

But in regard to the issue, his mind was still occupied with painful suspense, which continued till the next morning, when the town and neighbourhood became filled with an undisciplined and ungovernable multitude, consisting of many thousands of the United Irishmen, following the footsteps of the army to Enniscorthy, and demolishing the houses of those called Loyalists and Orangemen; for their owners were fled.

His house was soon filled with these people: when, to his astonishment and humbling admiration, instead of the massacre he and his family had dreaded, they were met by caresses and marks of friend. ship; the Insurgents declaring that they intended them no injury, but would fight for them, and protect them, and put them in their bosoms ; adding, that they required nothing but provisions. They seemed, indeed, to be in extreme want of something to eat, and the victuals which had been prepared for those they called enemies, were now ready for them: when they had therefore consumed what was provided, they proceeded on their route to Enniscorthy.

Soon after, in the direction of this town, which was about six

miles distant, the columns of smoke could be seen rising from the burning houses ; and in the evening some of the United Men returned, with tidings that Enniscorthy was in their possession, and that their camp was fixed on Vinegar-hill over the town.

The next day, a man with a malicious expression of countenance, and having a long spit in his hand, came to the Friend and threatened to kill him for some alleged offence, saying, “ I have killed Turner,” (meaning a neighbouring magistrate,) "and have burned him in his own house, and now I will rack* you as I please." He endeavoured to convince the man of his mistake; and, being joined by the persuasions of a neighbour, with much difficulty prevailed upon him to be quiet ; so that at length he parted in friendship.

The day after Enniscorthy was taken by the Insurgents, several of the poor distressed Protestants, mostly women, returned homeward to the village, which they had deserted when the army left it. Two females, servants to the Bishop of Ferns, and a woman whose husband was killed the day before, came, with the children of the latter, to the Friend's door, as persons that had no dwelling-place. They stood in the street, looking up and down in all the eloquence of silent distress. Though he had but small accommodation, his heart and his house were both open to the afflicted : and, notwithstanding the severe threatenings he received from the then ruling party, for entertaining those to whom they were hostile, he and his family endeavoured to accommodate all they could without distinction. Even of the United Irishmen, such as staid in the town, and as many of their wives and families as could find room, used to come to his house at night to lodge, supposing themselves more secure than in their own habitations.

This was also the case in the houses of most other members of the Society, in any way exposed to the contending parties. And, in such a state of anarchy, when all laws were disregarded, and every man acted according to his own will, however perverse, it was not surprising that instances of ingratitude should now and then appear ; one of these may be mentioned :—Previously to the breaking out of the rebellion, the military had destroyed the habitation

The term Rack was in common use during the Rebellion, to denote the entire demolition of the interior of the houses of those who were considered enemies.

IX.- Part I.

« EdellinenJatka »