Billeder på siden

and the order given for my liberation, with both my hands, against whoever should dare to stop me; and that, without giving the government the trouble of interfering in the least. I do not know whether this note was pleasing or otherwise, but I heard no more of the matter; and, by my brother's desire, I seldom went out afterwards but in a carriage, and that towards dinner hour, although I was at liberty for near two months, during which time I made, as you will see, four unsuccessful attempts to leave my enemies behind me.

It is incredible how much I suffered during the greatest part of the months of October and November. Four different times I went to sea, and was as often driven back by furious gales of wind into the same harbor. The ves.. sel was very small and deeply laden. In the cabin I could not be upright, and on the deck it was always wet. This with the sea sickness and my habitual ill health, brought me back each time to my family more like a spectre than a living man. At length I was utterly unable to proceed; and it was, but not without much harshness, agreed that I should wait a few days for another vessel going out to Oporto. This was a brig called the Lovely Mary. The Lovely Peggy went the fifth time without me, and was captured by the Spaniards.

During all this season the weather was so tempestuous, that our coasts were covered with wrecks.

There was an interval of some days between the quitting of the Peggy and embarking in the Mary, that I spent in peace in the bosom of my family. But the genius of persecution could not tolerate this: and the town-major, Mr. Sirr, was sent by lord Castlereagh to inform me, that I

back to bridewell. The vessel was at this time

must go

ready and only waiting for a wind. At the moment that this officer entered, armed with a case of pistols and a dagger stuck in his girdle, I was in the act of making up my trunks to embark. My wife was lending her assistance, and my children were playing on the floor. This major Sirrt is a gentleman by no means celebrated for delicacy or gentleness in the city from which he derives his office. But I will do him the justice to say, that on this occasion he seemed to have some feelings of compunc. tion for the mission he was charged with. He consented and even proposed to wait until I should write to the cas. tle, and state that I was already preparing to go on board the ship. It was necessary to send twice, the person to whom my first letter was addressed being absent: and all that time he remained standing in a window, as for some reason or other he refused to sit down. An answer came directed to him from lord Castlereagh, and he only asked me to pledge my word that I would go on board that evening, and took his leave.

I accordingly went to live on board this vessel, but the wind continued unfavorable, and the weather so tempestuous, that several ships were driven ashore, even in the harbor. During this time I had no other means of conversing with my wife, than by stealing up at night, and returning before day light on board; and this not without risque, as one night a man was assassinated by the military on the road where I had to pass. Such was the proceeding of that government which was so unwilling te resort to painful steps!"

† For a better account of him, see Mr. Curran's speech on the trial of Hevey; he is now high sheriff of the city of Duben lin !!!

At length, on the 24th. October, as well as I can recol, lect, the captain was ordered against his will to sea, and on the 27th. We were stranded on the coast of North Wales, on the extreme point of Carnarvonshire, near the small port of Pullhelly.

Having got so far, give me leave again to pause; that you may have some time to repose, and I be the better able to resume my story.


Ancient Britons-Duke of Portland.

BY a curious whim of fortune, the soil on which I was now to look for hospitality was the identical country of those ancient Britons, who had been made the blind instruments of so many crimes against the Irish, and which they finally expiated with their lives. They had been taken from their mountains and their ploughs, and enflamed by every artifice against their unfortunate fellow-subjects in Ireland, with whom they could possibly have no quarrel. For it is worthy of note, that besides the faction in our own country, the principal part of those employed in making war upon the Irish, were the mountaineers of Scotland and Wales, and also Hessians; who, not knowing the English language nor the ancient language still spoken by many of the Irish, were inaccessible to all remonstrance and less liable to be softened by complaint, or enlightened by expostulation, or in any way made sensible of the cru

[ocr errors]

elties they were committing. Perhaps also their lives were held in less estimation than those of the English, and they were preferred in that service.

So gross were the arts used to inflame these poor people, that one of the stories circulated among them was, if I have not been much deceived, that the Irish were coming to eat them with a horn of salt.This, I confess, appears an absurdity almost incredible. But the proofs I had to my own senses of the credulity of the people of this district, rendered me less difficult on that head. I will give you an instance of this. Of late years they have formed very numerous associations in nature of a religious sect, of which the principal and characteristic act of de.votion is jumping; and therefrom they are denominated jumpers. To this end they have built a vast number of chappels by voluntary subscription, where they preach by self-inspiration. The preachers are of all sexes and all ages and start forth spontaneously from among the congregation; so that I havo seen a great number running about at a time preaching and sobbing and shedding tears, and wringing each others hands; whilst the lookers on seemed to catch in a fainter degree the same inspiration. As they preached in their vernacular tongue, I could not judge of their sermons otherwise than by their effects. I have seen many actually in convulsions; and old men on their knees making wry faces, and knawing the heads of their sticks and biting, in a kind of extacy, like a cat tickled on the crupper. The more young and vigorous jump up in the air, with their hands up clutching at the invisible Lamb of the Lord. But particularly, I was told, at certain solemnities and stated times of the year, they assemble in the towns and villages, and in the fields, and on

the high roads. This is probably towards the festival of Easter, and then the whole country is engaged in the act of jumping; each as the caprice strikes, or sometimes altogether like fry in the sea. I understand, since I have been in France, that this sect is much more extended than I then had any idea: and that it prevails equally in South as in North Wales. It was from a little girl that was sent from an hospitable farmer's house, to conduct me to the road, that I first learned the meaning of their jumping. I had gone into the cottage to ask my way and was without further introduction, invited to accept of country fare; and this little girl, who alone had learned English, served as my interpreter, and afterwards as my guide.

I was charmed on this as on every other occasion, with the hospitality of this people: for it is but justice to say, that they, like my own countrymen, possess that noble virtue in a high degree. I wished to make some little compliment to the child, and as we walked along towards the great road I asked her if she ever came to Pullhelly, and if she would come and see me there? She answered that she came twice a week to the preaching, and that she would call and enquire for me at Mr. Jones's. I asked her then if she was a jumper? and she said she was. I finally ventured to ask her what she jumped for, for in my country we had not yet learned that? And she replied with great simplicity, that she jumped for the Lamb. Would to God that so many of those poor people had been let to remain until this day jumping for the Lamb, instead of being brought over full of ignorant fury, of which they were hardly to be called guilty, to burn the wretched cottages of the poor Irish, to torture, violate and murder, and in the end to pay the forfeit with their lives. Good God! will there never be a pe

« ForrigeFortsæt »