Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

Let us Pre

months ago, an article to an unqualified eulogy of the force of argument and closeness of reasoning which THE SIEGE OF DUNCANNON. marked the oratory of the late eminent Lord Plunket, “ the consummate orator," as Lord Brougham In the number immediately preceding this, we devotel termed him in bis inaugural address before the Social a considerable space to the biography of Father BonaScience Congress; and, with characteristic inconsis- venture Baron, who, we need hardly repeat, must ever tency, at the next breath sneers at Hibernian logic, rank

among the most distinguished of our Irish writers, aud heaps ridicule on an honorable member, by ob- whether we regard the multiplicity of his published serving that he spoke in "perfectly good Irish" works or the profound erudition which they exhibit. wilfully ignorant, perhaps, of the incontrovertible fact, In fulfilment, therefore, of our promise, we now submit that the English language is more correctly spoken in to our readers an English version of the learned father's this country than in England. But the theory of the Times diary of the siege and capture of the fort of Duncando, is, that nothing good can come out of the Irish Nazareth. a most memorable incident in the military history of There are at present on the English Bench four Irishmen, Ireland during the seventeenth century. second to none of their learned brethren—Baron mise, however, that Father Baron was indebted to some Martin, Mr. Justice Willes, Mr. Justice Hill, and friend who assisted at the operations for the diurual Mr. Justice Keatinge. he lamented Phillips and narrative which he turned into Latin, and of which he Sergeant Murphy were Commissioners of the English published two editions, one dedicated to the supreme Insolvent Court. Sir Hugh Cairns, the Solicitor- council of the Confederates, and another (that now be. General of England under the ministry of the Earl fore us) which, after being reprinted at Wurtzburgh in of Derby, is acknowledged to be one of the first equity 1666, he dedicated to his friend, Sir Patrick O'Mulleds, lawyers at the Bar, and one of the most powerful and then Spanish ambassador at the court of Charles the accomplished debaters in the House of Commons. The Second of England. The value of this Diary will

, high reputation of the Irish School of Medicine was doubtless, be heightened in the estimation of our readers, also upheld by the representative sent to London in the when we state, that the fall of Duncannon placed the person of the late deeply--regretted Dr. Robert Bentley Confederates in possession of one of the most important Todd, F.R.S., the distinguished son of a distinguished strongholds then in Ireland, commanding as it did the enfather. His practice in the great metropolis, in the midst trance to the ports of Waterford and Ross, and enabling of so many eminent physicians and surgeons, was ex- them to carry on diplomatic and commercial relations tensive. His valuable contributions to medical litera- with the shores of Franee, Spain, and Holland, whence ture, the result of great experience and erudition, are a they received from to time large supplies of money, arms, self-erected monument more enduring than brass. And and ammunition. Two very remarkable men- 1-General though last, not least, at the higher competitive exami- Preston and Lord Esmonde—are brought prominently nations, Irish students from Irish educational institu- before us in this opusculum or minor work of Father tions have carried off more than their sbare of valuable Baron, and it may not be amiss to say a few words appointments. That their education is sound and gen- respecting those rival commanders.

Preston, had eral can be seen by reference to the reports of the Com- distinguished himself in the Low Countries, where missioners. They stood twice at the head of the list bis noble desence of Louvain ranked him among the at the Indian Civil Service Examinations, were on one most celebrated military leaders of his time; but as for occasion first in Mathematics, Classics, the Mental Esmonde, who commanded the fort of Duncannon for Sciences, Italian, French and German, English Litera- the Parliament, it would be hard to find in the history ture, and the Oriental languages.

of any country a man of more unscrupulous or treacheIf the entrance examinations were made a searching rous character. An apostate from the religion of his test of thorough preliminary classical teaching, they forefathers, a repudiator of the woman who was sup. would react most beneficially on the schools, and by posed to be his lawful wife, a remorseless suborder of raising the standard of education, enable students from perjurers, a rapacious plunderer of the Catholics of this country to compete with still more success.

Wicklow; and, in fine, a traitor to the unfortunate This is a pardonable digression naturally suggested Charles the First, he stands out in strong relief among by the foregoing remarks. The public then, is a the most flagitious villains of a period when rascality

grasping, grinding" animal, which demands the pound and impious cant may be said to have culminated. of flesh at any sacrifice, and is never satisfied; but those Esmonde's death, as Father Baron informs us, oco discontented mortals who are wont to exclaim, “there curred soon after the taking of Duncannon, nor should is nothing in the papers,” may be more charitable, when we omit to state that the success of the Irish was in made aware of the outlay of money and wear and tear great measure owing to the supplies of money and muof human life, requisite to produce that nothing daily nitions sent to them by Pope Urban VIII., throngh for their edification.

Father Scarampo, then Papal, minister to the Confederates. For particulars of the life of this truly great man, the friend and patron of Oliver Plunket, we remit the reader to the admirable biography which the Rev. Dr. Moran has given us of the martyred Primatea work in

[ocr errors]

was

every respect worthy of highest commendation, and ab

ter against the wind and severity of the winter. solutely necessary for all those who desire to be inti- Early in the morning the general ordered the soldiers mately acquainted with one of the most dismal and, at to prepare for work, and he also sent a detachment to the same time, most glorious episodes in our chequered take possession of the wind-mill, (then in ruins,) which history. Having stated so much, by way of introduc- standing on an elevated site, commanded an extensive tion, we now proceed to give Father Baron's parrative view of the low grounds. of the siege of Duncannon, by the Confederated Catho- Next morning (Jan. 21st,) the English opened fire lics, under General Preston, subjoining various incidents on our men, and made a sortie with a view to reconrelating to the history of the fort itself at subsequent noitre our strength, but they were soon driven back over periods.

the narrow intervening space by our engineers, who

armed only with their spades repulsed, them gallantly. • Eleven miles south-east of the city of Waterford During the remainder of the forenoon the enemy kept up near where the sister rivers, the Suir, Nore, and Bar- a brisk fire from their ramparts, till seeing that they row, fall into the sea, stands the fort of Duncannon, on were only wasting their powder, they deemed it wiser a site so elevated that it commands all ships approach- to desist. Next morning, however, they renewed their ing either Waterford or Ross. Hence when the Spaniards fire immediately after sunrise, and then hoisted their threatened a descent on our shores in 1588,

vari-coloured ensigns-a very pompous display, indeed; thought worth while to strengthen the fortifications of but warned by their previous defeat, they did not venthe place. From the fort a narrow neck of land runs out ture to interrupt us any further. into the sea, and on it there is a tall, slender tower or Towards nightfall the general ordered our engineers to light-house,* said to have been erected by the merchants erect a battery near the mouth of the harbonr, from of Ross, in the days of their commercial prosperity. which he could cannonade the enemy's ships ; for the The fort itself covers an area of about three acres, and latter lay so near the land that they could easily pitch on the face looking seawards it is defended by three their balls and bombs amongst us. Our engineers batteries, while on that opposite the land it is pro

therefore, commenced throwing up works, to protect us tected by a deep dry ditch; behind this there was against all such eventualities, while other detachment, a massive and precipitous rampart hollowed out of of the same arm carried on the approaches most industhe living rock, and on it were two watch towers. triously, the darkness of the night aiding them beyond There were also two sally.ports, and between them our expectations. Next morning (Jan. 23), the enea draw-bridge, wbich could be raised or lowered as oc- my's ships fired on us, in order to demolish all the casion might require. Behind the latter the English con- works we had thrown up during the preceding night, but structed another rampart, parallel to the first ; and close their balls fell so wide of the mark that most of them to the citadel of the fort they raised a third (rampart), passed over the camp. As soon as the English perfaced with earth, and amply furnished with all appli- ceived this they got together sixty men, and made a ances for making a vigorous defence. In fact, the fort sortie from the sally-ports on our lines, but were rewas provided with every requirement, for the English pulsed, and had to run for their lives. During the had resolved to hold it to the last, when they discovered whole of the following night our engineers toiled indethat we were bent on taking it; and, indeed, it was well fatigably in completing the ship-battery, and, indeed, worth taking, for its site, as we bave said, was com- considering the difficulties with which they had to conmanding, its structure solid, and whosoever was master tend, nothing could exceed the earnestness and alacrity of it, must also be master of the neighbouring seaports, with which they worked. and the entire circumjacent territory.

Next morning (Jan. 24), that battery directed its As soon therefore as the supreme council of the Con- fire on the enemy's ships, and with such effect that federates bad made every preparation for the siege, Captain Bell (the commander of the squadron) was and appointed two of their own body, Galfrid Baron, compelled to cut his cables, and make for the open sea, and Nicholas Plunkett, to act as commissioners during without raising his anchor ; three other ships, also the operations, they ordered General Thomas Preston under his command, were obliged to adopt the same to proceed with the forces destined for the expedition. course, losing their anchors, and affording our men a He therefore marched from Waterford after the feast of most agreeable spectacle; for at that moment a light the Epiphany, at the head of twelve hundred infantry, breeze springing up and the tide rising, prevented the most of which were draughted from the regiment of vessels from getting off, and exposed them to our musRichard Butler, Lord Mountgarret, and others from that keteers, whose steady and well-directed fire seriously of the Wexford regiment commanded by Colonel Sinnott. damaged the yards, tackle, and hull of the commander's A troop of horse numbering eighty, belonging to Robert ship, so much so that the very beautiful epsign of the Talbot's cavalry, accompanied this little army, which Parliament was literally shot away in a moment. Durappearing before Dancannon on Monday, January 20th, ing this action two young sailors went aloft to hoist the lost no time in pitching tents within musket shot Irish Harp, but they were compelled to retrace their of the fort, where the cavity of the valley afforded shel- steps, and were actually precipitated from the sbrouds

to the deck. At length, Captain Bell, availing him+ Hooke-tower

self of a favourable wind, got off beyond our reach, and cast anchor in safe moorings. Meanwhile a de- refused the proposal, but, contrary to all military usage, tachment from the fort itself attacked our men in the caused his men to fire on the drummer. trenches, but they were beaten off instantly.

During the following three days a continuous fire was Two days afterwards, Sunday (Jan. 26th), the enemy's kept up on both sides, till, as it were to add to tte flag-ship, so terribly crippled in the late action, umable enemy's consternation, a storm arose which swept the to weather the rough sea, went down with all on thatch off many of their hits. Astonished at this, thy board.

were hardly able to reply to our guns; and their case On the following day (Jan. 27th), our engineers had was rendered still more desperate by one of our bomos, worked with such good will and emulation at the ap- which, falling on some inflammable matter, set fire io proaches that all access to the fort, on the land side, three or four of their houses, the thatch of which they was blocked up; so much so that the besieged could were obliged to tear off and fling into the sea. not receive supplies of food or water.

The enemy's guns, though loaded with light shot, On Tuesday (Jan 28th), three of the ships already prevented our engineers from completing the approaches, mentioned, sailed with the early tide for Milford, to the more so as the stony nature of the soil retarded the announce how roughly they had been handled by our zealous efforts of our men in the trenches. As for the people. This we learned from a Frenchiman, who besieged, they were in high spirits, deeming themselves escaped in a boat from the flag-ship, and was picked safe in the fort, and calculating on supplies from Eusup close to our battery. Ile told General Preston that land, although they must have known that our batterisi our fire had done incredible damage to said ship, were ready to open on their transports. and that ten of its men had been killed, and many On Wednesday (Feb. 19) five ships hove in sight. others wounded by the falling of the spars and the balls

and cast anchor at Creden Head. This, indeed, vass of our gunners and musketeers.

most welcome spectacle to the besieged, but the vessels Next morning there was a continuous firing on both durst not approach the fort lest they might be sunk bs sides, the English thundering from the fort, and we from

the fire of our gnns. our works, where one of our gins was struck on the Seeing this, Preston ordered some boats to be mancarriage by an iron stake over four fect long.

ned for the purpose of boarding the said ships ; but the We were now in the beginning of February, a month

dense darkness of the night frustrated the gallant geneof incessant rains, which proved a great obstacle to the ral's design. The enemy, nevertheless, with the aid of progress of our field works. On Sunday (Feb. 1st), torches and other lights, contrived to throw a quantity towards nightful, the besieged made a sortie on our of provisions into the fort, that is to say, thirty or forty nearest approach, but they were repulsed, after losing barrels of salted meat, a large supply of English ani five men killed, and we two.

Dutch cheese, together with some tobacco, etc., etc. The remainder of the week was spent in carrying on This grieved the minds of our men over much; for if the works, notwithstanding the intensity of the coli, they liad had a sufficient number of boats they never and the strong winds which marred our progress. In

would have allowed the said supplies to be throw the meanwhile General Preston had recourse to an into the place. Nevertheless, heaven was pleased to admirable stratagem; for he ordered four of his men turn this circumstance to our advantage. to proceed at nightfall to the gate of the fort with a Two days afterwards the enemy made another atlarge, heavy chest, pretending that they were deserters, tempt to beat our men out of the approaches, but they and begging to be let in, our men firing blank cartridge failed to do so, and we concluded that their courage after them. Being refused admittance, they laid down was not increased by the recently received supplies. their burden, and then hasteved back to our lines.

On the 26th, however, they made another and more Next morning (Feb. 10th,) a considerable number serious attack on us, but they met a resistance for which of the enemy, seeing the chest, came out to seize they were not prepared; for after a hand-to-hand 6g: it, and, indeed, they had reason to rue their rashi- they were repulsed, the loss on either side being equal

. ness; for, after carrying the heavy load into tlie fort, Towards sunset we made an attempt on their outer w3l, they proceeded to break it open, and thus, in their and drove a strong body of their men right into their hot haste, caused it to explode; for Laloe, the chief sally-ports. In this affair they lost a considerable nun. of our engineers, had filled it with powder and greber of men and a goodly quantity of arms. nades. Many of the enemy were blown to atoms On the 1st of March Preston despatched a second in an instant, and, as for the chest itself, it was reduced drummer with a letter to Esmonde, demanding the surto a heap of charcoal and ashes.

render of the fort for the king's use and service, as also Towards mid-day the enemy sallied out to attack our for the safety of the kingdom. The general in said letter camp, but they were driven back with loss by our peo- informed Esmond that if he did not yield on the favourple, who watched all their motions incessantly,

able terms which were offered to him, ho(Preston) woul Early on the following morning we opened a heavy be obliged to proceed to extremities. To this Esmonde fire on the works of the fort, which so shook the walls replied, that “he deemed it unworthy of him to treat that our general thought it time to ser

a drum

with such a man—that he held the fort for the king's the governor, Lord Esmonde, demanding the surrender majesty, and the maintenance of the Protestant religion, of the place. Esmonde, however, not only indignantly and that the king had already proclaimed Preston and

to

[ocr errors]

all his abettors to be rebels. “My honour and my con- and mount into the tower which the enemy had descience," continued Esmonde, “ revolt at the idea of serted. After maintaining themselves in that perilous surrender, and I would fain learn what letters you can position for upwards of an bour, they were obliged to produce to show that you have been authorized to de. make the best of their way out of it, driven back by a mand possession of the place, which I am resolved to shower of balls and iron stakes, which cost us the loss of hold to the last.” On the following Tuesday a fierce fourteen killed, and twenty-five dangerously wounded. tempest arose, which did serious damage to the ships, The very women and children in the fort took part in but towards evening it grew calm, and the vessels were this bloody contest. As for the enemy, they too lost a enabled to take up safe moorings.

considerable number of their men, and among others a March 13, the enemy came out from the sally-ports, Captain Russell, the deputy governor of the fort, who intent on beating down our gabions, but our men re- succeeded Captain Lurken, killed five days before. As pulsed them valiantly, many of them smashing their for Esmoude, he was then in very weak health and very lances on the enemy's cuirasses. Next day Esmonde deaf. despatched a drummer with a letter to our general, Next day Preston demanded a suspension of hosstating “ that he wondered much at his conduct, the tilities, in order that both parties might bury their dead; more so, as be (Preston) professed loyalty to the king. and the enemy consented to this on condition that our Take heed,” ran the letter, " Test you incur the guilt of general would allow the corses to be carried out of the high treason; but if you can show any instrument an- fort. fle, however, would not listen to such terms, as nulling the patents by which I hold the fort, let me all the ground outside the place was now in his power, see it, and I will surrender the place without further but on reconsideration of the matter, the enemy adopted delay.” To this Preston retnrned answer, “ that al- his view, and the remainder of the day was passed in though the king's Irish Catholic subjects had agreed to peace a cessation of hostilities with Lord Ormond, his ma- Meanwhile the enemy, seeing their garrison diminjesty's lieutenant, they had no notion of making terms ishing day by day, and knowing that they had no with the parliamentary forces then in possession of chance of getting further supplies of provision, began Duncannon.” He further reminded him (Esmonde) to lose heart; so much so that they soon afterwards that, not satisfied with dismissing Major Capron and demanded a parley, which being granted, Esmonde deothers who were loyal to the crowd, he had also re- spatched a drummer with a letter to Preston, requiring ceived supplies from the rebel parliament, and concluded bim to name those whom he would give as hostages by telling him that “by surrendering the place he might till the articles of surrender were perfected-he (Esclear his name of the aspersion of disloyalty, and that monde) proposing to give a like number. "Our general if he would not do so, he (Preston) had ample means instantly named Father Oliver Darcy, * prior of the Doto compel bim.

minican Convent of Kilkenny, and Captain Dungan; Saturday and Sunday (March 15, 16) were spent by and Esmonde sent as his securities his nephew Richard, us in completing the trenches, which gave us command and the deputy governor of another furt. On the next of the enemy's ramparts, and also in laying a mine right night both parties subscribed the following articles :under the northern sally-port, which being fired on the That Esmonde should, on the 19th of March, surfollowing morning, caused a wide breach in the wall. render to General Preston the fort of Duncannon for Seeing this, our men rushed out of the trench, and en- the king's service. Secondly, That the garrison would be gaged in a hand-to-hand conflict with the

enemy,

who allowed to march out with baggage, and colours unfolded; fought very valiantly, many falling on both sides. thirdly, that each of the common soldiers would be alLaloe, the chief of our engineers, however, plied the lowed to retain the third part of a lance, and the besieged so vigorously with balls and bombs, that their officers all the insignia of their rank; fourthly, that granaries and thatched huts were set on fire, and burrit all of them should be provided with a safe conduct down, notwithstanding the efforts which were made to to proceed to Dublin or Youghal. Finally, that Preston save them. This fight was maintained by besieger3 should hold Duncannon against all enemies of the king's and besieged for three hours, till our general, seeing his majesty. Of the garrison forty expressed a wish to be men overpowered by the shower of stone balls which conducted to Youghal, one hundred and twenty to the guns of the fort discharged at them, caused the re- Dublin, and the remainder to Wexford, whence they treat to be sounded, after we had lost ten gallant fellows were shipped to England. In the interval Esmonde in that fierce conflict. Preston now pushed his brass remained in the fort awaiting a carriage to take him to and iron guns to the very brink of the ditch, and bat- Dublin, and on its arrival he set out, but had not protered down the tower which lay nearest to the inner gate ceeded far on his journey when he died, and was buried of the fort. This occurred on the festival day of Ire- near bis manor of Limerick (county Wexford). land's patron saint; and no sooner was the tower de. On the day agreed upon Preston took possession of molished than Preston commanded a detachment of one the fort, where we found a great store of arms, twentyhundred and forty choice men to dash into the ditch with two battering guns and some of brass, one of which was scaling ladders and hurdles covered with hides. Some so heavy that the English could not move it to the emof them were shot down as they hastened onwards, but

* Afterwards made Bishop of Dromore at the instance there were not wanting stont fellows to take their places of Rinuccini,

brasure, from which it might have galled us severely. Of powder there was not much, but there was abundance of corn, checse, and tobacco. We found little or no wine, for as the besieged could not cook their meat in sea water, they used the wine for that purpose.

During the siege we lost one very brave officer, who distinguished himself on various occasions ; one lieutenant-colonel, three captains and twenty-six common soldiers. We expended during the operations 176 iron balls, 19000 pounds of powder, and 162 stone balls. The enemy's loss, as they themselves admitted, was very great. This memorable siege commenced on the 2d of January, terminated gloriously for us on the 19th of March 1645, owing to the valour and skill of General Thomas Preston, who learned the art of war in Flanders—that far-famed academy of Mars, where he won. renown as a brave and experienced commander."

guns of this fort the San Pietro,—the frigate which conveyed him to Ireland, rode securely at anchor for tbree years, and when he was forced to retire from the scene of his luckless diplomacy, the garrison of Duncannon, grateful for former favours, sent the same ship round to Galway, † where the nuncio bade adieu to a land which was about to fall a victim to its own parricidal dissensions.

At length, in 1649, a more terrible enemy than Preston sat down to leaguer Duncannon—we mean Ireton, with whose stern, merciless features Cooper's pencil and Hatbraken’s engraving have familiarised us. Repulsed, or rather surprised by a clever piece of strategy, planned by Lord Castlehaven, and boldly carried out by Colonel Wogan, then commanding the fort, Ireton was obliged to raise the siege, after sustaining severe loss; but no sooner had Cromwell taken Waterford, than Wogan was obliged to surrender Duncannon to the parliamentary forces.

Nearly half a century after the occurrence of the events which we have been summarising, the unfortunate James the Second, retreating southwards from the Boyne, took refuge in Duncannon, while waiting for a vessel to carry him off; and a ledge of rock, north of the fort, commonly called “the King's Rock," is still pointed out as the spot from which that imbecile monarch embarked for the shores of France.

SEPTEMBER.

Immediately after its surrender, Preston was appointed Governor of Duncannon, and a very beautiful plan of the siege was engraved at Kilkenny, by Gasper Hubert, chief of the engineers, who came with the successful general from the Low Countries. This rare diagram represents the fort as it was during the operations with its thre towers facing the land—the trenches of the besiegers, the quarters of Butler, Synnott, Warren, and other officers who acted under Preston, of whom it also gives a very finely-engraved medallion likeness. Hubert dedicated this fine specimen of art to his chief with the following legend :-Illustrissimo nobilissimoque Domino D. Thomae Preston, Lageniensis exercitus in Ilibernia generali,arcis Duncannon expugnatori gubernatorique.

From the time of its capture by Preston till it was finally reduced by Ireton, that is to say, for a period of over five years, Duncannon was held by the Confederate government, and during this interval it was on more than one occasion the head-quarters of the nuncio Rinuccini, who expended a considerable sum in strengthening its fortifications. He himself tells us that French, Bishop of Ferns, advised him to fix his residence in Duncannon, (in 1648,) when the Confederacy was split into two hostile factions; and in the same year we find him there, waiting the arrival of his Dean with despatches from Rome-anxiously watching every sail that appeared on the horizon, till at length he beheld, "from a window of the fort," the long-expected ship entering the harbour of Waterford, after a very narrow escape from. the Parliamentary cruisers.* In the report which lic presented to Innocent X., the nuncio makes a very affecting allusion to Duncannon, and tells his Holiness that during his sojourn in Ireland there was no place in the whole island more devoted to the Holy See. “So much so," continues he, “that I never refused to furnish it with supplies of money and ammunition, fancying that religion never could be wholly lost in Ireland as long as we maintained that strong hold, standing on the mouth of the river Barrow, and commanding the principal approach to the Irish coast.” Under the

* Nunziatura, p. 301.

SUMMER for thee her varied riches hoards,
September ! fairest daughter of the year.
May's freshness and June's glowing beauty blend
With August's ripened splendour in thy face ;
Zephyr for thee as well wafts odours sweet,
From the far-hidden shrines wherein repose,
The ever-living spirits of the flowers.
For thee as well, her many-tonéd harp,
Old nature strings, with “no uncertain sound."
Her song for thee is many-voiced as that
Chorus divine, thy prouder sisters heard,
Borne continual from the leafy woods
And mountain solitudes :-to thee she gives
Besides of charms peculiar; in thine air
A tender softness breathes we never feel,
Until thou con’st ; upon thy morning smiles
The sun with rosier lustre, and at eve,
Tinges the curtains of his aerial couch
With more resplendent dyes; thy twilight to
A calm more mystic, and a deeper hush
Pervades, as if forebodings of the gloom
And desolation urto which, alas,
Thy glories and thy charms must soon succnmb.
We hail thee joyful, fairest of the twelve,
Mindful of by-gone pleasures, with thy reiga
Coincident, and hopeful that new joys
Await us now.

H. NICHOLSON LEVINGE.

+ Ibid, p. 430.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »