NOTES

(1) A copy of this very rare work is in the author's possession.

(2) That the above statements are wholly unexaggerated may be gathered from the debates in the British House of Lords, November 22, 1797, on a motion by Lord Moira to petition his Majesty for the intervention of the Crown in the affairs of Ireland. "My Lords," declared the speaker, "I have seen in Ireland the most absurd as well as the most disgusting tyranny that any nation ever groaned under. There is not one man, my Lords, in Ireland, who is not liable to be taken out of his house at any hour, either of the day or night, to be kept in rigorous confinement, restricted from all correspondence with the persons who have the management of his affairs, be treated with mixed severity and insult, and yet never know the crime with which he is charged, nor the source from whence the information against him proceeded. Your Lordships have, hitherto, detested the Inquisition. In what did that horrible institution differ from the system pursued in Ireland? Men, indeed, have not been put to the rack in Ireland, because that horrible engine was not at hand. But I do know instances of men being picketed in Ireland till they fainted; when they recovered, picketed again till they fainted; recovered again, and again picketed till they fainted a third time; and this in order to extort from the tortured sufferers a confession, either of their own guilt, or of the guilt of their neighbors. But I can even go farther: men have been half hanged and then brought to life, in order, by fear of having that punishment repeated, to induce them to confess the crimes with which they have been charged.. . He who states these things should be prepared with proofs. I am prepared with them.". . .

(3) This Dutch fleet fell a prey to Lord Duncan and his heavy "seventy-fours," in the memorable action off Camperdown, October 11, 1797.

(4) Narrative of What Passed at Killala.

(5) Adjutant-General Louis Octave Fontaine, for instance, estimates the British force at two hundred men.—Notice Historique, p. 7.

(6) This interesting episode is gleaned from the account of an eyewitness published in the Dublin Penny Journal of 1833. The name of the hero is unfortunately not mentioned, but the man was probably Henry O'Keon, one of the prominent Irish members of the expedition.

(7) See Didot's Biographie Universelle, Paris, 1852; Michaud's Biographie Universelle, Paris. 1848; Le Bas' Encyclopedie Biographique, Paris, 1853.

(8) The weight of evidence is in favor of Rouveroye as the birthplace of Humbert.

(9) A Narrative of What Passed at Killala. By an Eye-witness.

(10) Fontaine's Notice Historique.

(11) These figures are from Sir Richard Musgrave's Memoirs and other authentic sources. However, according to Fontaine, Humbert's adjutant-general, the total strength amounted to but 1,032 men, viz.: the second battalion of the 70th Half-Brigade, 45 Chasseurs à Cheval belonging to the Third Regiment, 42 coast-guard gunners, and 50 officers. See Fontaine's Notice Historique, page 2.

(12) These particulars are from a periodical entitled The Philosopher, edited by Sarrazin himself while an exile in London some years later.

(13) He swindled Bishop Stock out of twelve guineas and took away with him from Dublin another man's wife.—Narrative of What Passed at Killala.

(14) Jones' Narrative (Am. reprint), page 282.

(15) Here is Adjutant-General Fontaine's reflection on this subject (See his Notice Historique, page 6): "Nous avions à bord des provisions à bouche, c'est-à-dire, quelques sacs de biscuits, et une pipe d'eau-de-vie. On jugera par ce détail exact que nous nous étions plus occupés de la gloire que des moyens d'assurer notre existence."

(16) Jesus hominum Salvator.

(17) Two towns of Leinster in which horrible atrocities were committed by the rebels during the outbreak of '98.

(18) Narrative of What Passed at Killala.

(19) The author of this sketch considers it incumbent upon him to point out that very serious discrepancies exist" in the different accounts of these preliminary military operations following upon the landing of the French. Humbert, for instance, in his report to the Directory, distinctly refers to two skirmishes having occurred north of Ballina, one on the 6th Fructidor (23d of August), and the other on the following day, as narrated above.

Fontaine, on the other hand, speaks of three different engagements as having taken place between the capture of Killala and the final occupation of Ballina. The first fight was the result of a reconnoissance undertaken by General Sarrazin and Captain Huet and a body of grenadiers. The enemy was "four hundred strong and was easily dispersed." The second engagement occurred on the 7th Fructidor (August 24th), and its details as given by Fontaine tally with Humbert's report. The third engagement took place on the morning of the 25th under the walls of Ballina, the British numbering "1,300 infantry and 700 cavalry!" This last affair is evidently a product of the writer's vivid imagination.

According to Bishop Stock's account, there was but one engagement, which he describes as follows: He (Humbert) sent on the next morning (August 23d) toward Ballina a detachment, which, retreating from some piquet guards or reconnoitring parties of loyalists, led them to a bridge under which lay concealed a sergeant's guard of French soldiers. By a volley from these, a clergyman who had volunteered on the occasion and two carabineers were wounded, the first mortally The clergyman was the Rev. George Fortescue, rector of Ballina The French, advancing to this town, took possession of it in the night, the garrison retreating to Foxford, leaving one prisoner, a yeoman, in the hands of the enemy.

In view of these discrepancies, the author has deemed it best to accept Humbert's official report as the correct version, and the more so as it is corroborated in the main by Sir Richard Musgrave, the Tory authority.

(20) Musgrave's Memoirs, page 577, and Jones' Narrative, page 289.

(21) Savary, in his letter to the Minister of Marine a month later, declared his sudden departure from Killala to have been caused by a fear of impending tempestuous weather.

(22) Humbert's Official Reports to the Directory, dated from Castlebar.

(23) Musgrave's Memoirs, page 583.

(24) These reëforcements comprised the troops mentioned by Cornwallis in his letter of August 25th to the Duke of Portland ''Several regiments," he wrote, "were moving from the southeast part of the island toward Connaught before we heard of the landing of the French."

(25) Jones' Narrative, page 290.

(26) Reverend J. Gordon's History of the Rebellion.

(27) This statement is included in the Correspondence of the Marquis of Cornwallis.

(28) Here is what Plowden incidentally remarks: "It must ever remain an humiliating reflection upon the lustre and power of the British arms that so pitiful a detachment as that of 1,100 French infantry should, in a kingdom in which there was an armed force of above 150,000 men, have not only put to rout a select army of 6,000 men prepared to receive the invaders, but also provided themselves with ordnance and ammunition from our stores, taken several of our towns," etc.

(29) Jones' Narrative, page 326.

(30) General Hutchinson's statement, Sept. 21, 1798.

(31) An insignificant and indecisive skirmish fought July 4, 1806, in Calabria. It figures as a great victory in English history.

(32) C. H. Teeling's Personal Narrative, p. 216.

(33) "Croppy" was a term of opprobrium applied by the king's troops to the rebels. It originated from the fact that the latter wore their hair cropped close to their heads.

(34) Contemporaneous descriptions of the physique and morale of the contending forces form an interesting contrast. Of the French, Bishop Stock says: "Intelligence, activity, temperance, patience, to a surprising degree, appeared to be combined in the soldiery that came over with Humbert, together with the exactest obedience to discipline; yet, if you except the Grenadiers, they had nothing to catch the eye. Their stature for the most part was low, their complexion pale and sallow, their clothes much the worse for wear; to a superficial observer they would have appeared incapable of enduring almost 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 cover but the canopy of heaven."

Speaking of Lake's men, the Under Secretary for Ireland, in his letter to William Wickham, Aug. 31, 1798, remarks that they are "fine regiments in appearance, fine men and well drilled, capable in point of body, youth and agility, and habilité to face any troops." Correspondence of the Marquis of Cornwallis, page 393.

(35) Reverend J. Gordon's History of the Rebellion, page 285.

(36) Correspondence of the Marquis of Cornwallis, page 393.

(37) Fontaine's Notice Historique, page 17.

(38) Jones' Narrative of the Insurrection.

(39) Fontaine's Notice Historique, page 20.

(40) C. H. Teeling's Personal Narrative, etc., pages 217-220.

(41)Plassey and Quebec.

(42) Fontaine says: "This victory at Castlebar cost us forty dead, and we also had a hundred and eighty wounded." But he does not explain whether the losses of the Irish allies are included in this estimate. The probability is that they are not.

(43) Sir Jonah Barrington is the authority for this incident.

(44) Jones' Narrative, p. 296.

(45) Jones' Narrative, page 301.

(46) Musgrave's Memoirs, page 596.

(47) Musgiave's Memoirs, page 601.

(48) Though revolutionary, the spirit of the insurgents was far from being republican, if the following proclamation, which was found posted on a church at Westmeath, may be taken as a sample of their ideas: "Take notice, heretic usurpers, that the brave slaves of this island will no longer lie in bondage; the die is cast, our deliverers are come, and the royal brute who held the iron rod of despotic tyranny is expiring, nor shall one govern. Our holy old religion shall be established in this house, and the earth shall no longer be burthened with bloody heretics who, under the pretence of rebellion (which they themselves have raised), mean to massacre us!"

"The Fleur de lis and harp we will display

While tyrant heretics shall mould to clay

Revenge! Revenge! Revenge!"

Musgrave's Memoirs, Appendix, page 165.

(49) Jones' Narrative, pages 306, 307.

(50) Jones' Narrative, page 322.

(51) General Lake's Letter to Colonel Taylor, Sept. 8, 1798.

(52) These figures are from Vereker's report. No French account of this engagement is in existence.

(53) Vereker afterward became Viscount Gort, and was permitted to adopt as his motto the word "Colooney."

(54) Jones' Narrative, page 324.

(55) See Cornwallis' letter to the Duke of Portland, September 9, 1798.

(56) C. H. Teeling's Personal Narrative, etc., page 227.

(57) An eye-witness of these events, whose letter appears in Saunders' Newsletter, Dublin, in September, 1798, declares that this volley was fired by a body of Irish rebels whom Craddock, in his kindness of heart, was urging to throw down their arms and flee, well knowing that no mercy would be shown to them by the vindictive Lake.

(58) Sir Jonah Barrington's Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation.

(59) Fontaine's Notice Historique.

(60) See Appendix for the letter in full.

(61) Jones' Narrative, page 303.

(62) Musgrave's Memoirs, page 629.

(63) Affidavits of William Stenson, John Armstrong and Robert Atkinson. Musgrave's Memoirs, Appendix, page 164.

(64) Extracts from General Trench's letters, dated Killala, Sept. 24th and 26th, 1798.—Jones' Narrative, page 285.

(65) See page 133.

Read this book at your leisure

The French Invasion of Ireland in '98

Read The French Invasion of Ireland in '98 at your leisure and help support this free Irish library. It is available as a properly formatted ebook download in .mobi format for Kindle, .epub format (suitable for most other e-readers), and as a .pdf.

View details »


Library Ireland Facebook