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white horse, and that a man walked by his side, bearing a black flag ; that when he came to the Bridewell door, he said," bring out the prisoners; and as they are shot we will pile them against the dead wall of the gaol."-I shall give the reader an account of this tragical affair, as related to me by some respectable persons, who resided in Mr. Hatchel's house, very near the bridge, where it was perpetrated, and were eye witnesses
“ Between the hours of ten and eleven o'clock, on the morning of the twentieth of June, we saw a body of rebels coming over the bridge, bearing a black flag, with a cross, and the letters M. W. S. inscribed on it ia white, which were supposed to mean--"' murder without sin ; " and on the other side a red cross. After having made a procession through part of the town, they fixed that woeful harbinger of death on the Custom-house quay, near the fatal spot where so much blood was soon after shed, and where it remained flying for about two hours before the butchery began.
“Soon after they arrived on the quay, they seemed to disperse; however, many of them remained there, and repaired to one particular place, where drink was given to them, and where a Priest was very busy in distributing it, and who, they believed, remained there till they left the quay, shouting—" to the gaol, to the gaol!" when they all disappeared, but returned, about four o'clock, to the bridge, with a number of prisoners, whom they massacred. They thus continued, till about seven o'clock, to convey parties of prisoners, from ten to twenty, from the gaol, and the market house, where many of them were confined, to the bridge, where they butchered them. Every procession was preceded by the black flag, and the prisoners were surrounded by ruthless pikemen, as guards, who often insultingly desired them to bless themselves.
“The mob, consisting of more women than men, expressed their savage joy on the immolation of each of the victims by loud huzzas.
“ The manner, in general, of putting them to death, was thus: two rebels pusbed their pikes into the breast of the victim, and two into bis back, and in that state (writhing with torture) they held him suspended, till dead, and then ibrew him over the bridge into the water.
“ After they had massacred ninety-seven prisoners in that manner, and before they could proceed further in the business, an express rode up in great haste, and bid them beat to arms, as Vinegar. hill was beset, and reinforcements were wanting. There was immediately a cry, " To camp! to camp!" The rebels seemed in such confusion, that the massacre was discontinued.
" In the moment of confusion, the Rev. Mr. Corrin, parish priest of Wexford, arrived on the bridge, to divert them from their sanguinary designs, and which is said he did to the utmost of his power ; soon after his arrival, he knelt down on the very spot where the blood had been spilled, and said some prayers; after which the rebels rose from their knees, and exclaimed" Come on, boys, in the name of God, to the camp! Thank God, we have sent these souls to hell." They then accordingly set out
for the camp.
“ It is remarkable that the savage pikemen knelt down, lifted up their hands, and prayed apparently with devotion, before they proceeded to do any of the murders.
“A lady who was in Mr. Hatchel's house, near the bridge, where this sanguinary scene took place, describes it thus, in her diary (which I quoted before).-" About three o'clock, Captain Dixon came to the quay, call. ing out, “To the gaol !" He was followed up the Custom-house lane by numbers. They returned some time after to the bridge. I thought some alarm induced them to leave the town, and sat eagerly watching, till I beheld, yes, I saw, absolutely saw, a poor fellow cry for life, and was then most barbarously murdered. To give an account of this hellish scene is beyond my strength, nor could any person desire to hear it. No savages ever put their prisoners to more deliberate tortures. I saw a boat go to the prison-ship, and bring my friends and acquaintances, who, on landing, passed by our door to torture and death. I saw the borrid wretches kneel on the quay, lift up their hands, seeming to pray with the greatest devotion, then rise and join, or take place of other murderers. Their yells of delight at the sufferings of their victims will ever, I believe, sound in my ears.
“ To describe what we all suffered would be impossible. I never shed shed a tear, but felt all over in the utmost bodily pain, , We expected life only till the prisons and the ships were emptied; when an express came to say the army were marching against Vinegar-hill camp, and that if they did not reinforce it immediately, all was lost. The town priests then,* AND NOT TILL Then, made their appearance. The leader of the murderers called to his men, in these words, which I distinctly heard :“ Come, my lads! we will now go; blessed be God, we have sent some of their souls to hell !" They went off really as if they had been performing a praiseworthy and religious action.
“ Mr. James Goodhall, who had been taken out of the prison-ship, and conveyed to the bridge to be murdered, but was saved by the interse
During these horrid scenes, there were fifteen or sixteen priests in Wexford, and none of them, except Father Corrin, ever interfered to prevent them, Even Dr. Caul. field, the Roman Catholic bishop, was applied to, to interfere, but he refused, saying “ That thc people must be gratified.".
repce of Roche, the lay General, declared upon oath, on bis trial, “that the assassins on the bridge were like a pack of starving hounds rushing on their game."
“ There were two hundred and sixty prisoners confined in different parts of the town of Wexford ; ninety-seven were piked upon the bridge, on the 20th of June; the rest fortunately escaped by the providential apo pearance of the King's troops, and the consequent evacuation of Wexford by the rebels.
“ Further instances of horrid cruelty and savage barbarity would only shock and disgust the reader. Sufficient have been adduced to confidce him that the Irish Papists consider the blackest and the foulest crimes as venial, in the prosecution of their favourite design, -the extirpation of heretics ; and that the idea off the exclusive occupation of Ireland for themselves, and the establishment of their own, as the sole religion, will urge them on to the violation of all laws, both human and divine.
“ I shall now conclude these " Extracts," with the memorable words of Sir Hercules Langrish, the warm advocate of the Papists in 1792, and which I think peculiarly applicable to the conduct of the Papists of the present day.-"Notwithstanding my prepossessions in favour of the Roman Catholics, I was checked for some time in my ardour to serve them, by reading of late a multitude of publications and paragraphs in the news. papers and other public prints, circulated with the utmost industry, purporting to convey the sentiments of the Catholics. What was their import? They were oxhortations to the people, never to be satisfied at any concession till the state itself was conceded; they were precautions against public tranquillity; they were invitations to disorder, and covenants of discontent; they were ostentations of strength, rather than solicitations for favours ; rather appeals to the powers of the people, tban applications to the authority of the State; they involved the relief of the Catholic, with the revolution of the Government; and were dissertations for democracy, rather than arguments for toleration."
+ There can be but little doubt but that this idea is still fondly cherished.
CONCEALMENT OF CONFESSIONS.
Mr. EDITOR,—Although I may congratulate you, and all friends, to our constitution in Church and State, on the late decision of the Roman Catholic question, in the House of Commons, and thank you, with them, for
your efforts in the common cause ; yet, we are not to suffer any vain hope of security, from what has been done, to relax our diligence, in what remains to be done, so long as the turbulent spirit, on the other side of the water, is not laid. The following fact, which I am about to give you, and you may depend upon its authenticity,—may, therefore, be thought, by you, to be worthy of publicity and record. It will serve to. shew what is, in these days of effulgence in Christian knowledge, the feeling, about oaths, in the conscience of, I believe, a very respectable Roman Catholic Priest.
Soon after a horrid assassin attempted, in order to elude the punishment of the law for his atrocious crime, to destroy himself; a near relative of the murdered, most estimable and most lamented, persons, moved by Christian benevolence towards their murderer, re. quested an intimate friend, who was with him, (having learnt that the man was a Roman Catholic) to go to town, in search of a Priest, and to bring him to the dying man, that he might bave all the consolation derivable from his peculiar religion. The ecclesiastic, who was procured for this purpose, had not long been seated in the carriage, with the gentleman who had been dispatched to find him, and who accompanied him to the house of the deceased, before he said, " Sir, I hope you are
aware, that whatever confession the man may make to me, as a Priest, -" I shall not be able to divulge it; if he makes any confession to me, as a
man, the case will be different; it will be the same as a confession made to
any other man : moreover, Sir, if he were to confess the crime, of “ which he is suspected, to me, as a Priest, and I were to be called upon " afterwards, to give evidence upon his trial, I should swear that he had « not confessed it; because the confession would not, in this case, be “ made to me, but to Jesus Christ 1" These were, to the best of the recollection of the gentlemen, the very words of the ecclesiastic; and he took occasion to repeat them, in substance, even to the third time.
I had intended, Mr. Editor, to offer you a few remarks upon this extraordinary fact; but I know, that your pages may, already, be more usefully engaged ; and that brevity is an essential article, in communications for a periodical work like your's. I will only add, that the Roman Catholic Priest, upon his arrival, was assured that no advantage should be taken of
Vol. I. (Prot. Adv. September 1813.)
any thing that might pass between him and his patient; and that he should not be called upon, judicially, to give any account of it.
From the same authentic source of intelligence I learn, that there is not the smallest foundation for a report, which has gone abroad, that the man was actuated by any religious zeal, or by any sentiment of revenge, in the perpetration of the horrid deed; but that there is rational grounds for sopo posing, that robbery was his first purpose,-murder only his second, ia case of his being detected and resisted. 10th July 1813.
*** The poor wretch, whom we saw in the House of Correction in ColdBath Fields, has been tried and executed, and the restraint under which we lay is now removed.--We cannot enter into the force of that refined distinction mentioned between confessing to the man and confessing to the Priest ; for the man in question was also a Priest, and could not divest him. self of his office and order. If a culprit should confess his crime, and that felony or treason (petty), to Jesus Christ, the man who was witness to the confession must himself approach very near to the commission of a crime, viz, that of misprision of felony or treason, should he not divulge it. The word crime was used, if our correspondent states the language of the ecclesiastic correctly ;--now society has cognizance of crimes ; a man is answerable for sins at an higher tribunal than this world possesses. A Priest has received “ power and commandment to declare and pronounce to" a sincere " penitent, the absolation and remission of" his sin : but we cannot subscribe to the doctrine that the Priest has any thing to do with crime beyond any other man.-- Whatever may have been the real motive of the murderer, we feel convinced that no adequate motive to his horrible deed has as yet been disclosed. He never touched the property of his victims He spoke of a sudden impulse which he felt in his mind, on starting from sleep after intoxication ;--" as God is in Heaven, it was a momentary thought." He did not, however, fall instantaneously on the perpetration of murder. He undressed himself ;-he took a sheet from his bed ;-he wrapt it about him by way of disguising his person ;-he armed himself with a poker ;-and, with a light in his hand, proceeded to the apartment of his master and mistress, which was at a considerable distance from the place where he awoke (as he said) out of sleep. That momentary thought seems to have been a determined purpose ;- be prepared himself for an assault, and the conflict with his master lasted a long while. No adequate motive has yet been assigned-one was mentioned-we are unwilling to repeat it; but we cannot drive from our recollection the murder of Miss Smith in Ireland, by a domestic servant, in the night, after baving sung, in his hearing, the song of “ croppies lie down" in the course of the pree ceding evening.