Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

army, he was in great distress, thinking it the most critical and dangerous time of the whole; for he supposed, that on the entrance of the soldiers, they would consider that every man whom they found alive in coloured clothes was a rebel, and consequently would put him to death. As he was walking up and down one of the upper front rooms of his house, he heard voices in the street, and, looking out, saw some soldiers carrying a wounded man, supposed to be an officer, and seeking a place of safety in which to deposit their charge, The Friend, opening the window, told them they might bring him into his house. On hearing his voice, one of the soldiers looked up, and, seeing the Friend, exclaimed, That is a Quaker, we may safely go in there,' which they did, with their wounded comrade; and, when the main body of the army entered, seeing soldiers in the house, they went in without fear, and without injuring the place." pp. 71, 72.

On the dangers to which the Society of Friends were exposed in the attendance upon their meetings, Doctor Hancock has given various interesting narratives, and recorded several instances of extraordinary deliverances from perils of the most serious and painful appearance. We shall quote a few passages on these and other points, as illustrative of the blessedness of the peace-makers, and we scruple not to add of the merciful providence of God towards those who, in the conscientious exercise of principles of benevolence, self-denial, and faith in his promises, place themselves as it were under his most especial protection. In saying this, it is not necessary that we should be convinced of the soundness of the principle which forbids self-defence. Of offensive war our respected author cannot think more harshly than we do; but we are not, therefore, persuaded of the duty of passive submission to the hostilities of others, when perhaps the lives of those dearest to us are at stake. There is no fear, however, that the principles of passive endurance will ever spread too widely; and we are therefore most ready to quote from this pacific and Christian volume, a few illustrations of the merciful providence of God to his servants in the hour of affliction. Those who may not

be prepared to go to the full length of the more particular application of the volume, will be edified if only they can learn to feel more powerfully its general truth; so that whether it be in reference to this specific question, or in whatever exigency, to put their trust in God. One point, however, is very clear, that conduct and example are most potential in their influence; so that we doubt not but the habit of a conscientiously pacific, self-denying, and benevolent body of men, has a strong tendency to restrain hostile incursion, nay, to secure involuntary respect and esteem, just, as has been often shewn, a truly virtuous and religious community, far from suffering in the end by their just conduct, might gradually gain a powerful mastery over those who were most opposed to their principles; nay, become the moral masters of the world. But we proceed to the facts before us, stringing together a few anecdotal details.

"The militia were preparing to hang some suspected persons, for not deliver. ing up their weapons, and to fasten pitch caps on the heads of others. A 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 involve 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 pitch, he had the courage to refuse to sell what was intended to torme ment or destroy a fellow-creature. The articles were accordingly taken by force; and though payment was offered, he re

fused 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." pp. 59, 60.

"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 this society, in any way exposed to the contending parties." pp. 65, 66.

"During the continuance of the struggle, the houses of Friends appeared to be marked out for places of entertainment. They were almost constantly full, day and night and it was matter of surprise that their provisions held out as they did to the end of the conflict. The members of the society, and some of the then oppressed party, sometimes conveyed provisions to one another privately. The united men sometimes offered part of their own stock; but, when it was known to be plunder, or, as it was called, the spoils of war, the friends declined to accept it; and it was evident, that such refusal was mostly taken in the light of an offence. Indeed, the united men often discovered their chagrin because they could not prevail upon the members of the society to unite with them in their requisitions.

From the number of united men, who came to lodge almost every night in the Friends' houses, these were in continual danger of falling a prey to the king's army, if it should make an attack on the town: and, on the other hand, the Friends were continually threatened by the pike-men for not turning out the poor fugitive Protestant women and their children, who had taken shelter under their roofs. But although they appeared to be in danger, according to human apprehension, from both parties, they were in fact alternately protected by both." pp. 67, 68.

"Some of the rebels came one morning to a Friend, and told him, his house was to be burned that day, in consequence of his refusal to turn out the Protestant women that were in it. He replied, that if they did so, he could not help it; but that as long as he had a house, he would keep it open to succour the distressed; and, if they burned it for that reason, he must only turn out along with them and

share in their affliction.' It so happened that this was the regular day on which the meeting for worship of the society, in that quarter, was to be held, about a mile from Ferns; and, notwithstanding the alarming denunciation, he considered it his duty to take his family with him to meeting, leaving his home with a heavy heart, as he expected soon to be without an habitation as well as the means of present support. On his return to Ferns, however, he was rejoiced to see his dwelling entire; and his heart was filled with praises and thankfulness to the good Providence that had preserved it. Whatever might have been the reason that prevented them from executing the threat, their evil disposition towards him on that account seemed to be changed; for they did not make any requisition of the kind afterwards. Throughout the calamity, it was his uniform experience, that the more he attended to what he conceived to be right in his own conduct, the more he seemed to be respected by them; even when he expostulated with them on account of the cruelties committed by their party, as at Vinegar Hill. Wexford, and Scullabogue. They quietly listened to his remonstrance, and frequently acknowledged the wrong.

"A party of the king's army stationed in Newtown-barry, came to Ferns to disperse the United Irishmen who held possession of the place. The latter at first made some demonstrations as if they would risk a battle; but seeing that the regular troops opposed to them were provided with cannon, they fled away from the town. On hearing that the army were coming in, the Friend stood at his own door, lest he should be suspected of being an enemy. When the military came near his door, one of the soldiers, stepping out of the ranks, presented a gun at his breast, and was on the point of drawing the trigger, when the Friend called to him 'to desist from murder.' The soldier, like one struck with amazement, immediately let the gun fall from his shoulder; and presently his officers interfered for the Friend's protection; whose life was thus preserved, as on the right hand and on the left.

"Some of the inhabitants of this village, who were found unarmed in the houses, being made prisoners by the soldiers, they pleaded their innocence; but, in such a state of things, they could not easily prove it. The commanding officer therefore desired, that if there were any Quakers in the town, they would get certificates of good behaviour from them; which, he added, he would be willing to accept, and then to liberate them. The same Friend was accordingly applied to on behalf of several, and procured their liberation. Had he been put to death by the hand of the hasty soldier, it is easy to see that those who obtained their release afterwards by his means, would probably have

1829.1

Review of Hancock's Principles of Peace.

shared the same fate, for want of credible testimonials; and thus one sacrifice would have been added to another, and death would have multiplied its victims without any regard to their innocence." pp. 68

-71.

A chapter is devoted to the dangers to which the society of Friends were exposed in their attendance at their meetings, and of the merciful providence of God in delivering them. The following are illus trations :

"It may now be proper to say a few words as to the situation of the Friends, with respect to the performance of their religious duties. In the county of Wexford, notwithstanding some of the members of the same meeting were several miles distant from each other, they did not suffer their perplexities at home to interfere with the sacred duty of religious worship abroad, or to prevent them from traversing the country, filled with armed men, amidst dangers, if possible, still greater than those they had left, in order that they might assemble together for this solemn purpose." pp. 73, 74.

[ocr errors]

"A great number of united men being in the street, and conversing about the society, one of them said, it was the last time the Quakers should ever go that road.' After the latter had passed the croud, a shot was fired apparently to alarm them. The horse took fright and broke the traces; an inconvenience they remedied as well as they were able, and afterwards proceeded quietly to their meeting-place." p. 75.

"Some of the members of the society, having been observed by the united men to persevere in attending their pleae of religious worship, notwithstanding the threats and opposition they experienced, became objects of this party's displeasure, and were apprised, that, if they persisted, they should be taken to the altar of a neighbouring chapel, and suffer the penalty of their obstinacy. One family, in particular, received notice, that, unless they gave up the attendance of meetings, and united in the Roman Catholic forms of worship, they should individually be put to death, and their house should be burned. As the following was to be the day of public worship, the heads of the family were brought under deep mental exercise, accompanied with fervent prayers, that they might be enabled to come to a right determination, in this conflict between their religious duty on one side, and apprehensions for the safety of their family, on the other.

“On collecting the individuals together, with a degree of humble confidence that best direction might be afforded,after a little solemn retirement, they laid the matter before their children. The noble and in

CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 329.

313

trepid language of the eldest son, then a
very young man, on this memorable oc-
casion, is worthy of being recorded;
Father,' he said, 'rejoice, that we are
His parents
found worthy to suffer.'
were much affected, and their minds so
much strengthened in consequence, that
they immediately concluded to attend their
meeting the next day. In the morning,
they proceeded to the place of worship
accordingly, without seeking to avoid the
armed insurgents by going through the
fields; but, keeping the public high road,
they were permitted to accomplish their
purpose in safety, and expressed the sa-
tisfaction they felt in having thus fulfilled
what they considered to be their duty.
They were not then apprised of the cir-
cumstance, which had in the mean while
occurred, viz. that the king's army had
entered that part of the country; and it
so disconcerted the plans of the insurgents,
that they were prevented from carrying
their wicked designs into execution." pp.
75-77.

"Notwithstanding individuals and whole families were thus threatened, in different places, few were deterred from the steady pursuit of what they considered to be the path of religious duty: and the fact is to be recorded as a monument, not to their praise, but to the mercy of that Providence, which watches over the weakest of his children who trust in him, that all the machinations and evil designs of their enemies were signally confounded." pp. 79, 80.

In relating the dangers to which the members of the society of Friends were exposed, for refusing to conform to the ceremonies of the Church of Rome, Dr. Hancock mentions several remarkable incidents; observing generally, that

"Friends were made prisoners, from different parts of the county, and were taken to the camp at Vinegar-hill, where they underwent a sort of trial; but, nothing being alleged against them, they were set at liberty. Their liberation was not a little remarkable, as many other persons were put to death, against whom no charge of enmity was brought, nor any ground of accusation, except that they were Protestants." pp. 85, 86.

Our author gives an interesting journal of events that occurred in the village of Ballitore, kept by a Friend residing there, who had the care of a large establishment for the education of youth, chiefly of the society, and who steered a course of humanity and benevolence, which enabled him to interpose his good offices with effect on several occa

2 T

314

Review of Hancock's Principles of Peace.

sions, for the preservation of those who were in imminent danger from their enemies. We have not space to quote much from the good schoolmaster's narrative. The atrocities on all sides were terrible; but the poor peaceful Quakers escaped

amidst all.

"In order to effect their purposes of coercion, the government had fallen on a gradation of punishment:-First, putting soldiers on private houses; secondly, allowing them free quarters there, so that many poor people left their beds to the soldiers and lay upon straw; thirdly, burning their houses, on intimation of disaffection, or proof of concealed arms; fourthly, whipping, which was conducted with such severity, that many said they would prefer to be shot at once than to be thus tormented to death; and many were actually taken out of their houses and put to immediate death.

"Things were in this state; the government requiring the people to bring in concealed arms, to entitle them to protection; with which multitudes complied; but still many were concealed; when the alarm came to Colonel Campbell, commanding in the county of Kildare, that on this day there would be a general rise." Pp. 100, 101.

"Large bodies of men now collected in different places armed with pikes and pitchforks, with a few swords, muskets, and bayonets, some of which had been forced or stolen from the soldiery. The insurgents waylaid the troops, and in some places killed a few of them; but became themselves at last the victims of slaughter. It were in vain, as it is unimportant, to describe the flying engagements which took place in several places on this day." p. 102.

"In the evening, the captain of the insurgents collected his forces of pikemen, &c., in the plain between Narramore and Ballitore, to the number of two or three hundred, and marched them down to take possession of Ballitore, which was this morning evacuated by the soldiers. Our poor neighbours, fearing pillage of property, now began to flock to our house; so, as my school was small, we had room to accommodate about one hundred persons, men, women, and children; who day and night collected up and down in our houses. The school-house, a large room, was given up to them; so that, what with the people seeking an asylum, and the men under arms, we had very little quiet, or scarcely any thing we could call our own.

"The insurgents entered my house about six o'clock, with pistols, to bring me out (as they said) to fight with them. They took me out, and two honest men with

[MAY,

me, then my guests, and said that we should stand in front of the battle; if we would not fight, we should stop a bullet. They the road; our people following us with took us beyond the bridge, to the side of their eyes, and tender affection. I told the men, that, as to myself I felt quite against them who did it ignorantly; that undisturbed, and I had no displeasure they might put me to death, as I was in suade me to use any act of violence against their hands; but they would never perpersuaded to liberate us.' my fellow-men. At length they were

pp. 102-105.

terror, and much fruitless negociaAfter many days of disorder and tion, the rebels yielded; but some mistake or treachery arising about sending the hostages, Colonel Campbell set fire to the town, and great numbers of the people were shot.

"Thus, having suffered the woe of rebellion first, we fell under the greater woe afflicting sight for the poor people to beof vindictive punishment. Here was an hold-all their little stock reduced to future wants; for some of them had not ashes! the little provisions for their removed their goods; others, more wisely, had foreseen the threatened calamity. Yet the survivors (so sweet is life!) consoled themselves that they were alive, and now only sought about to find what they could do to avert a repetition of the visit which might deprive them of life." pp. 115, 116.

From Westmeath, a member of the society writes:

ed principles of peace, were marvellously "All those in this quarter, who professing in solitary places surrounded by that spared from extreme suffering; some livclass who were very generally in a state of rebellion. O! the heart-rending scenes bours, running hither and thither with some such have witnessed; their neightheir families and goods, and calling upon me to flee from certain destruction! Yet some were favoured with faith and paously adhering to the revealed law of their tience to abide in their lots, conscientiGod; and thus did experience, to their humbling admiration, the name of the Lord to be a strong tower in which they and praise, relate some marvellous delifound safety. I could, with wonder, love, when surrounded by numerous, and at verances mercifully vouchsafed to me other times, by smaller bodies of armed being of any other description was near; men in open rebellion, and when no human yet, through Divine aid, and that alone, was I enabled to refuse to take up arms or take their oaths, or join them, assigning as a reason that I could not fight nor ened, they pondered,-they debated,— swear for or against them. They threat

1829.]
Review of Hancock's
marvelled, and ultimately liberated me,
though they said I was in the power of
many thousands then assembled."
123, 124.

pp.

The scenes at Antrim were very fearful; but the Friends, by their uniformly peaceable conduct, escaped destruction.

"The rebels had gained possession of the town, having obliged the regiment of cavalryto retreat, after a verydeadly encounter, in which about one third of the regi

ment, in the short space of a few minutes,
was either killed or severely wounded; but
it was not long before a reinforcement of the
Monaghan and Tipperary militia entered
the town; and, seeing the rebels begin-
ning to yield, they acted with great cruel-
ty, neither distinguishing friends nor ene-
mies, but destroying every one who appear-
ed in coloured clothes. In a very short time
they dispersed the insurgents, and retook
the town. Numbers, who were not in
any way concerned, lost their lives, for
the soldiers shewed pity to none: they
fired into the houses of the inhabitants
and killed many; those who took refuge
in the fields suffered severely.

"A number of soldiers came to the
door of a Friend's house, knocked furi-
ously at it, and demanded entrance imme-
diately, insisting that the family should all
come forward and shew themselves, in
order that it might be known whether
there were any strangers in the house.
The door was opened accordingly, and
they were immediately surrounded by a
great number of soldiers. Their appear-
ance was very frightful; they were just
come from the heat of the battle; their
faces besmeared with gunpowder, and the
expression of their countenances corres-
ponding with the work of death in which
their hands had just been engaged. One
of them said he wanted to see if he ap-
peared devil-enough-like:' he looked
at his face in the glass, and observed
'he thought he did appear quite enough
so.' They inquired, if all the individuals
of the family were present, and if any
strangers were in the house. Some of
them were going up stairs to search: but
an officer who lived near told them, they
should not make any search: that the
Quakers were people that would not tell
a lie-that their words might be taken-
and, therefore, if any strangers were in the
house, that they would not be denied.'

"The town presented an awful appear-
ance after the battle: the bodies of men

and horses were lying in the blood-stained
streets; and the people were to be seen
here and there saluting their neighbours
-like those who survived a pestilence
or an earthquake-as if they were glad
to see each other alive, after the recent
calamity.

"The same night nearly a troop of

Principles of Peace.

315

soldiers came to the door to let the family
know they need not at all be alarmed,
for that they should be protected-that
the soldiers would be riding through the
streets all night, and would take care they
pp. 130-133.
should not be molested.'
"Notwithstanding the officer's com-
mands, the army seemed disposed, many
times afterwards, to plunder their house;
but the neighbours always interfered, say-
ing, They were inoffensive people, not
p. 135.
connected with any party.'

The general result throughout
the country, as respected the so-
ciety of Friends, was as follows.

64

The society of Friends is scattered over three provinces of Ireland. In these, viz. Ulster, Leinster, and Munster, many of its members were brought into immediate contact with one or both of the hostile parties, in towns, villages, and retired country places... But the Epistle from the Yearly Meeting held in Dublin in 1801, states, that It was cause of grateful acknowledgment to the God and Father of all our mercies, that in retrospection to that gloomy season, when, in some places, Friends did not know but that every day would be their last, seeing and hearing of so many of their neighbours being put to death, that no member of our society fell a sacrifice in that way but one young man.' ... This young man, apprehending that his life was in danger, and that he could find no protection but by outward means of defence, took up the resolution accordHe told his ingly to put on a military uniform, and to associate with armed men. connexions that they would all be murdered if they remained in such a defenceless state in the country; and, taking with him some papers of consequence, he fled to a neighbouring garrison-town. it so happened, that the very town he chose as a place of refuge was attacked and taken by the insurgents: it appears that, when the contest was over, and he was wantonly firing out of a window upon them, the door of the house was forced open by the enraged enemy; and in terror of his life, he sought to conceal himself in an upper chamber, where he was soon discovered, and put to death." pp. 143 -146.

But

On the causes, the progress, or the general circumstances of these dreadful scenes of horror, we shall not now expatiate; wishing to confine ourselves wholly to the particular point inmediately before us. It is with sincere joy we reflect that one chief cause of the widely-spread disaffection of Ireland is now removed; and we would confidently trust, that such scenes will never We anticipate brighter

return.

2 T2

« AnteriorContinuar »