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tion, which is putting forth all its influence; It is possible that circumstances might force and it is mighty in England—the power- him, now and then, to advance a step, but ful exertions made at the registries——the verily, for one step forward, there would be loss of a Carlow—the determined opposition two backward ; there would be under such a of the Lords—the sledging of a Brougham, leader, a game, as the Scotch say, of “ jewkwho has been, like Pericles, “ thundering, ery-pawkery,” but the aim would always be lightning, and confounding all Greece,"—and “ the good old times;" the ceasing not, above all the weakness of the ministry until they had planted their flag, “super caused by their half-and-half conduct,—ail antiquas vias.” seem tending to the one thing, the ousting Locke in his treatise on civil government of the present possessors of Downing-street, has aptly illustrated the precise case under and the incoming of Sir Robert, whose plau- consideration. In such a case, he says, sible conduct in the house—whose apparently “How can a man anymore hinder himself liberal sentiments at times, when he is not from believing in his own mind, which way forced into some act of true Toryism, against things are going, or from casting about how his better judgment, are calculated to do to save himself, than he could from believing much mischief. So that we doubt not, the captain of the ship he was in was carrythey are insensibly inducing many liberal ing him and the rest of his company to minded men, imposed upon by his adroit Algiers, when he found him always steering management, and gulled by his skilful re- that course, though cross winds, leaks in his cognitions of popular power, thrown out on ship, and want of men and provisions did various occasions, into a belief that a go- often force him to turn his course another vernment with Sir Robert Peel at the head way for some time, which he steadily reof it, would be a reforming government, turned to again, as soon as the winds, could not be worse than the present finality weather, and other circumstances would let one, and would be the means of preventing him.” the recurrence of such scenes as those at Such we feel confident would be precisely Newport.
the case of a Tory ministry at the present This apparent liberality of Sir Robert time. Peel is a thing to be guarded against, with We sincerely hope that the public will the utmost cautiousness. It is, for all prac. ponder well on these things, and act accordtical purposes, only apparent. No doubt ingly; that they will seriously consider the unthe man is at heart a reformer, and were it seemly conduct of the Tories to their Queen; not for his distinguishing characteristic of calling her the Queenof a faction, because she • leting I dare not wait upon I would,” he will not have them as her advisers--the darwould have been, where his natural prompt- ing disloyalty of the Canterbury revellersings pointed at the head of the liberals of the haughty demands of the high Church party England for the last decade of years. But on the Education question—the monstrousatwhile such men as Newcastle, Roden, Lynd- tempt to disfranchise an entire people. We hurst, Buckingham and Londonderry in trust they will consider these things as the the Lords-- Knatchbull, Inglis, Gladstone, true marks of what Toryism has been, is 110w, Jackson and Litton in the Commons, exist; and ever shall be, and that they will not suffer while the Orange party in Ireland, and the themselves to be deceived by the plausibilities Church party in England, continue in their of the wily Sir Robert. Ifihey do--we hope present rabid state, Sir Robert, as minister,' better things—but if they do, we can only dares not, if he would, be liberal.
say in the words of Laocoon, Instead of professing to further and widen reforms, his inarch would be a retrograding “O miseri, quæ tanta insania, cives? to "the good old times.” For his party
Creditis avectos hostes ? aut ulla putatis
Dona carere dolis Danaum? Sic notus Ulysses ?" “Nisi quæ terris remota, suisque Temporibus defuncta videt, fastidit et odit."
THE WEXFORD RETREAT.
AN EPISODE IN THE HISTORY OF 'XCVIII.
BY A COTEMPORARY.
In the autumn of 1829, I resolved on an ship with this benevolent gentleman, was of a excursion into Leinster, determined after a singular, if not romantic character. It was non-intercourse of many years, on paying near the close of an eventful crisis ; a period a long contemplated visit to an old and memorable in the annals of our country, -and respected friend in Meath-a gentleman at a moment of yet high political excitement. of the true Milesian caste, whose mansion Need I apprise my reader, that I allude was the seat of hospitality ; but whose for- to the disastrous era of 'NINETY-EIGHT ? tune owed little to the worldly prudence of Our views in life were opposite : our poa proprietor, who, in the spirit of his ances- litical positions equally so—and yet it was tors, had been ever more disposed to the to him I was indebted for the hospitality enjoyment of the present than speculations of the domestic hearth, and the sympathy for the future. His horses, his hounds, the of a friend in the hour of emergency. A adventurous companions of his morning period of many years had since intervened, chase, or the more selected friends of his and important changes had taken place in evening board, formed no unimportant ap- the political world. A sanguinary war had pendages to the enjoyments of an ever active laid the foundation for a peaceful revolulife-chastened by the benevolent dispensa- tion; and, in the progress of events, the tion of those duties, to which the helpless influence of moral power bad effected what and the indigent, he conceived, had a pre- physical force had failed to achieve. When scriptive claim. And thus years glided on now about to renew my long suspended with scarcely a shade of variation. But intercourse with this old and valued friend, the political hemisphere became clouded I felt a strong desire to avail myself -and e'er the impending storm had burst, of the favourable opportunity, which that which divided kindred and fellow-com- circumstance presented, for revisiting some trymen under adverse banners, in that short of those scenes, which from their relation but blighting contest, my friend became with past occurrences, however painful the enrolled, with others of his locality, in retrospect,-ever afford me subject of intethe service of the crown. Whatever senti- resting remembrance. Besides, I entertained ments he might subsequently have enter- the further view of investigating, in their retained, as to the expediency or the policy spective localities, the particulars of certain of those measures, to which the Government transactions of those tiines : and from the of that day had recourse, it is not my pro- personal knowledge of my intelligent friend, vince to investigate. But this I can assert, I anticipated facilities, important to the that in the sterner duties of the soldier he object of my research. never compromised the nobler qualities of The season which I selected for my long the man. Cruelty and oppression were contemplated excursion, was peculiarly inforeign to his nature, and love of country viting. It was that period of the year, when, and of kind were the strongest sentiments of in the diversified colouring of nature, the his heart. But I am not writing the history scenery of our midland districts is viewed to of this individual, whose life might not per- the highest advantage ; and that quarter haps be devoid of interest :- I shall merely through which I had to pass, may perhaps advert to such passages as are relevant to be regarded as the fairest, if not the most the subject before me, under the title pre- fertile, within the ancient principality of Meath. fixed to my present review.
The reader, if he be an admirer of the beauThe circumstance which introduced me to tiful and picturesque, who has only once jouran early acquaintance and subsequent friend- veyed through that romantic section of the
Province, which marks on the north and south twenty thousand British troops, occupied the course of the river Boyne, needs not to the several posts which his Majesty's forces be reminded of the richness and variety of had previously been constrained to abandon. the scenery, which on either hand is pre- Wexford was at this moment the principal sented to his view. Here the expanding depot of the British army in Ireland : and waters, swelling beyond the boundaries which we may estimate the importance attached to nature seems to have designed for their the subjugation of that county, by reference limits, glide in placid course over the allu- to the military force employed on the occavial plain, glittering with the gently spread- sion. * ing current. At intervals, they are seen The several popular leaders, who, on the rushing, dark and deep, beneath high shelv- faith of Lord Kingsborough's treaty,t reing banks, dense with the loftiest trees of tired from the field, soon paid, in the forfeithe forest.
ture of their lives and the sequestration of The rich meadow grounds and pasture their properties, the “penalty of their politifields, teeming with herds, or flocks of the cal offences." Those who preferred the finest fleece, display the generous gifts of fortune of war to the faith of the victor, nature to a soil unrivalled in its excellence : retained their arms: and making rapid inwhile the gently undulating hills rising to cursions into some of the neighbouring the north, and either crowned with pe- counties, averted for a time the fate that rennial verdure, or the fruitful reward of awaits the unsuccessful in civil contests. industrious husbandry, present a grateful *** when no longer able to maintain variety to the eye, and form a delightful his ground in Wexford, associating himself contrast with those dark and towering moun- with Fitzgerald of Newpark, whom Sir John tains in the more distant west, which seem Moore designated the “ Intrepid and Huto form an interminable line of demarca- mane,” retreated * Kildare; where, with the tion, and, as it were, an impenetrable barrier, residue of their rces, who had survived the of the confines of Ulster-a province not Wexford co iign, they formed a junction more interesting to the philosophical en- with the ever active and enterprising Aylmer, quirer in the variety of its localities, than who still held an imposing position in that to the political, in the diversity of its section of Leinster. It was there, after one fortunes.
or two unsuccessful attempts to surprise Notwithstanding the long interval which some of the royal posts in that district, that had passed since I had last visited this quar- the Wexford chiefs formed the daring design ter of Leinster; and that the lapse of years, of relieving their native county, by making with the improving hand of man, had pro- a diversion to the North, with the view of duced considerable change in the general attracting the attention of the enemy to a aspect of the country; I could trace at once new position, and a fresh warfare on the the scenes of events, which now struck as southern confines of Ulster. vividly on my mind as an occurrence of only the evening before. It was through this fair
* The following is taken from the official returns, and fertile district, in the same season of the as published by the Irish Secretary, Lord Castleyear, and thirty summers anterior to the pre- reagh, with the names of the officers of superior sent, that *** and Fitzgerald led their rank, who were opposed to the United Irish forces, hardy followers on their disastrous expedition in the county of Wexford, in the actions of the to the north; and where circumstances which 20th and 21st June, 1798.
Lieutenant General Lake, Commander in chief. it can interest none now to learn, afforded me Lieut. General Dundas. a transient opportunity of witnessing the Major Generals: Sir James Duff, Sir Charles daring conduct of those adventurous chiefs, Asgill
, Needham, Johnson, Eustace, Cradock, in one of the boldest military movements
Brigadier Gen. Moore. contemplated during the insurrectionary Lords: Ancram, Roden, Blayney, Glentworth, warfare of ’NINETY-EIGHT. But this forms Loftus, Dalhousie. a subject of history, too ample here to be | This treaty, negociated between Colonel Lord retraced : I shall therefore briefly advert to Kingsborough and certain influential inhabitants of such points, for the more general information Wexford, where his Lordship for some time preof the reader, as will serve to elucidate the had placed the Town of Wexford in Lord Kings
viously was prisoner to the United Irish forces-views entertained by the insurgent leaders borough's hands, on the
“ Guarantee of his on their incursion into Meath.
Honour, for the general security of life and proThe decisive battles of the 20th and 21st perty;" This treaty was submitted to the Comof June had re-established the royal autho- ratify it after the success of his Majesty's arms
mander-in-chief, General Lake, who refused to rity in Wexford ; and General Lake, with at Vinegar Hill.
The overwhelming pressure of the British field or stall, no man scrupled to exchange army in Wexford, the military judgments his weak or wearied steed for a fresh and hourly executed on the most influential of vigorous charger; and of yeomanry horses, its inhabitants, and the unrestrained outrages on occasions, rapid was the transfer froin to which the subjugated and defenceless po- the Loyal to the Rebel ranks. For the yeopulation were a prey, counterbalanced in the manry troops, the Wexford men entertained estimation of those leaders, the worst conse- an avowed hostility, with the most marked quences which might possibly result, even in contempt. Indeed the latter feeling was at the failure of their enterprise. Hopeless as times displayed in the mere indulgence of the success of that enterprise might have those humourous propensities which are so appeared to spirits less ardent, the measure congenial with the Irish character, and often was not perhaps beyond the reach of attain- evinced under circumstances of the gravest ment, if aided by those resources on which import. the leaders had calculated. They con- Whatever interruption the leaders might ceived that by producing an insurrectionary have had reason to apprehend from a renmovement in Meath—being also favoured by counter with their yeomanry opponents, it apassive, if not an insurgent spirit in Louth,— does not appear that they were at any time they could gain possession of the important over cautious to avoid the contact. The fastnesses on the north of that county, and whole line of their march was intersected by thereby be enabled to maintain at least a those military stations or divisional depots, defensive warfare; until Wexford and the of which in general the local yeomanry concontiguous districts, relieved from the inter- stituted the garrison; the regular troops nal pressure of the enemy's troops, should occupying the more important towns. be afforded an opportunity of retrieving the On the borders of the metropolitan county, ground they had lost in the late sanguinary a permanent post of observation had been campaign; for though Wexford was inter- established, which, from its situation, was nally subdued, the spirit of her people was considered a station of some importance. not extinct ; and the recent struggle had This post was on a commanding eminence made every peasant familiar with the duties at the junction of two roads, running in a of a soldier. Animated with these hopes, nearly parallel direction for some miles, and and impatient for the enterprise, *** and terminating in one great leading thoroughFitzgerald marshalled their bands; and se- fare, to which it might not inaptly be terined parating from the confederate forces of Kil- the key. It was in the direct line of the dare—at the head of sixteen hundred bold Wexfordmen's route; and from this promiand tried companions in arms, they marched nent position, the advance of a force was for the North.
early descried by the immense clouds of dust The advance of the Wexford column was which enveloped the column on its march. rapid, as the object of their march was bold Nothing further, however, could be ascerand adventurous. The arrangement of the tained; for nearer and nearer as the diviforce, the novelty of the equipment, with a sion approached, it was still concealed musketeer and a pikeman mounted on each from view, and the formidable movernent horse—and notwithstanding all this, the no otherwise discernible than by the dense celerity of their movement, seemed to have curling current which darkened the atinosso paralysed the more loyal inhabitants of phere around. It was evident, however, the country through which they passed, that from the rapidity of their motion, that the the fearful armament, on the moment, was troops were cavalry; but whether English, pronounced irresistible. The leaders, too, Scotch, or German auxiliaries, the most were versed in insurrectionary warfare, had practised military eye could not discover. the address to avail themselves of every But of all rational conjectures, the last to circumstance favourable to the object of their be entertained was the advance of an enemy! expedition. The weather was inost oppres- The Wexford campaign had closed. The sively hot-it was the sultry summer of royal cause had triumphed; and to the ’ninety-eight. This, with the burthen of an north of Kildare there was not a rebel in extra rider, rendered a frequent change of arms. horses a measure of the first consideration ; The gallant squadron (as presumed,) now and the means of procuring such relief were returning with “ well earned laurels from the resorted to, with little delicacy or reserve. hard fought field,” claimed respect from The rich pasture grounds of Dublin and the loyal and the brave; and the comMeath afforded, at that period of the year, mander of the depot was not the man to a reasonable supply : but whether from forego one point of military etiquette in the
pompous display of a soldierly reception, and with a bold show of confidence and for which so favourable an opportunity was soldier-like bearing, it had taken up a proafforded. The bugle sounded-the garri- minent position, apparently well disposed son turned out—the troops formed in order; to maintain the 'vantage ground it occupied; and at the head of the imposing line, the and from the direct line of which, the enecourteous commander awaited to receive my could not, and as it appears, was not with military honours, “bis brothers in inclined to diverge. The excellent dearms !”
scription of the public roads, which, even The column mean time kept sweeping in that period of less general improveforward with rapid course- -the men chant- ment, opened to the northern province, ing, in merry mood, their favourite airs, afforded greater facility for the compact and · rounding the chorus with thrilling order in which the Wexford division now cheers for the “ Baronial sons of Shel- advanced; and from the apparently limited malier and Forth.”* This was not the space of ground it covered on its march, characteristic deportment of British troops the armament appeared in the distance -neither did the diversified habiliments of less formidable to the opposing troops. the insurgent band, now emerging from But as the hostile band neared the position the dusty cloud, correspond with the glit- of their well appointed, but too confident tering uniforms of the royal forces. opponents, the fearful display of double
The astounding discovery was as the an- numbers, with the alternate arrangement of nouncement of fate !-And neither courtesy a musket and a pike, gave a new and more nor hostility being suited to the emergency imposing aspect to the scene. of the moment, both yielded to the impe- The commander of the royal party was rious law of necessity; and a timely aban- not deficient in personal courage; and the donment of the post preserved the prudent urbanity of his manners had attached to him garrison from the fearsul encounter with a the good feeling and confidence of his men,
rebel foe.” Hasty and promiscuous was --important considerations; but, however the retreat; while the advancing division, desirable under ordinary circumstances, not in taunting enjoyment of the disorderly sufficient in the present, to warrant the scene which its unlooked-for presence had hazard of an unequal contest with produced, pursued its course. As the hopes foe, schooled, if not in a lengthened, at least of their enterprise rested on the promptness in a bloody campaign. " We can never of the execution, a moment of time was stand this, boys !” exclaimed the commander never wasted by the Wexford leaders, of of the royal squadron. “Zounds! we whom it has been observed, that their march might as well think of stopping the mounmore resembled the sweeping blast of a tain torrent.” “On! Shelmalier and Forth ! whirlwind, than the regular advance of a Down with man and horse !” was now the military force. But the intelligence of loud and audible cry vociferated from the their approach had outrun the velocity of van of the Wexford column; and as the their own movements. The fugitive garri- thrilling sound penetrated the adverse ranks, son had sounded the alarm, and troops were hearts were appalled by fear, which, but a now to be seen collecting from every quar- little while before, displayed a manly firmter to impede the march of the invader.
“ It is all in vain,” repeated the comAmongst the several divisions that had mander, eyeing this corps with a mingled hastily taken their ground-for scarcely a feeling of compassion and dismay,—“it is village or hamlet, at this period, was without all in vain !" and, while each man gazed on its divisional guard—was a yeomanry squad- his fellow in mute amazement,–* quick,". ron, which, from the better quality of the said he, addressing the trumpeter, “quick! men, and the superior description of the sound a retreat. The terrified musician horses, was proverbially termed "a crack applied the brazen instrument to his lips; corps ;” and certainly, in both these points, it was mute ! “Sound ! fellow," reiterated together with its general equipment, it was his commander, “ sound !" “I cannot not undeserving the appellation.
sound, please your honour; I have not a It is not to be presumed that a corps so blast to blow.' “ Then run! dn ye, high in the estimation of others, should be run!" No order was ever more promptly altogether insensible to its own merits; obeyed. Magh go Bragh! and away fled
man and horse; the distance in the disorThe baronies of Shelmalier and Forth, in the derly files encreasing with the spur of the county of Wexford, were peculiarly distinguished rider, and the fleetness of his steed. by the zeal and intrepidity of the inhabitants in the insurrectionary warfare of Ninety-eight,
On the second morning of their march