« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
THE question asked cannot in the slightest degree impeach our traveller's authenticity. He merely records what he heard, which he guardedly states to be “ according to the calculation of the Protestants.” But the Abbé MacGeoghegan claims attention in this controversy. (Histoire d'Irlande, p. 670.) “ It is impossible to determine with exactness the number of the unfortunate who perished during the twelve years that this barbarous scene lasted, with more or less violence. Protestant authors endeavouring to charge the Catholics with the infamy of this massacre ; the extravagant and romantic list produced by Sir John Temple, and some other authors of the same stamp, of three hundred thousand Protestants massacred in a single province are not only ridiculous, but altogether impossible. Mr. Hume draws a frightful picture, and at the same time less faithful, of the massacre which occurred in Ireland, 1641. He lays the charge on the Irish alone; all that he says is but a recital of what the republican and fanatic authors had so many times repeated after Sir John Temple, and which had been so frequently answered."
Now, no such assertion as Sir John Temple is here twice represented to have made, and which charge is repeated even to satiety against that historian, can be even inferred from any construction of his words. Sir John Temple says, that in “ not full two years after” the breaking out of the hostilities of 1641, "above three hundred thousand British and Protestants (were] cruelly murdered in cold blood, destroyed some way or other (that is, in the course of warfare, by want of food, exposure to the weather, fright, or other causes], or (mark the or,] expelled out of their habitations." These are the precise words of Sir John Temple, which Catholic writers have distorted by a sweeping assertion into an actual massacre of the total number, including therein all those who suffered even inconvenience by removal of abode; and thus is Sir John Temple popularly stigmatised in Ireland as having written “as many lies in a manner as lines in his romantic legend of the Irish rebellion, on purpose to blacken the people, and exasperate the Republicans of England against them, and against the King too, upon the account of the murders he pretends to have been committed.”
This quotation is made from the last edition of “ The Impartial History of Ireland,” or “ The Genuine History of Ireland,” by Hugh Reily, of which the reprints of 1782 and 1833 for popular circulation, lie before me. Reily's impartial history, it should be observed, is nothing more than a political pamphlet, written to prove the justice of resuming the Roman Catholic estates forfeited under Elizabeth and Cromwell. The writer observes:—“ Before I proceed any further, 'tis necessary to examine what I heartily wish for the credit of both parties could be buried in eternal oblivion, that is, the many outrages and barbarous murders committed on both sides during the unhappy war.” [To this I heartily subscribe.] “ Neither party can be excused, but those to be sure are more to blame who began the tragedy. 'Tis certain," continues Reily, that “ each of them has laboured to throw the first scene upon the other ; but upon the whole matter, I think, it is very plain, that the Protestants were the first actors upon the stage, who immediately upon the discovery of the plot in Dublin, finding there were not many concerned in the Northern insurrection but men of desperate fortunes, and apprehending that few estated natives would willingly engage in a rebellion, took what measures they could to provoke and frighten them into it. [?] In order to which design they sent out several parties, as well in remote places as round about Dublin, who murdered a great many without distinction of age or sex ; particularly at Santry, Clontarf, and Bullock, all within three or four miles of the city, where they massacred in the beginning of November, 1641, near upon four score of the poor country people; as the garrison of Carrickfergus some days before butchered in one night all the inhabitunts of the country called Island Magee, to the number of two or three thousand men, women, and children.
The like feats were done by Lord Broghill, late Earl of Orrery, in the counties of Cork, Waterford, and parts adjacent; by Sir Charles Coote, in his expedition into the County of Wicklow; by Captain Peasely Brown and others, in the county of Tipperary; and in fine, because it was a general contrivance by most of the Protestant garrisons of any strength all over the kingdom.”
Reily, after a paragraph upon which there is not space to comment here, thus proceeds:—“ Tis not yet known how many were thus sacrificed on either side ; but too many they were, be they never so few. Sir John Temple’s romantic legend, where he draws up his muster roll of two or three hundred thousand of English Protestants massacred in one province, is not only incredible, but most ridiculous and absolutely imp ossible For (to omit that some hundreds said to have been there slain, were living for many years after, and some of them lived to see the Restoration,) all informed men must own, there was not half that number of Protestants in the whole kingdom in the summer of 1641, as the aforesaid author of the Catholic Apology, an English person of honour, who generously took some pains to examine this aspersion, has proved not only from good reasons, but even from Protestant writers; and concludes upon the whole matter, that all these hundreds of thousands said to have been murdered in the North could not exceed three thousand. And Sir William Petty, an Englishman and a Protestant too, who was Clerk to the Usurper's Council, and Surveyor General of the lands in Ireland, an ingenious inquisitive person, affirms that upon the exactest scrutiny there were not above thirty-six thousand on both sides killed in the field, or murdered in cold blood during the whole war."
Now all this, so far as regards Sir John Temple’s assertions, is combatting with a shadow which the writer's fancy has conjured up. Sir William Petty's statement is, no doubt, that nearest the truth ; but Sir John Temple's authority has been most unfairly assailed, as “a romantic legend,” by those who assert that two or three thousand men, women, and children were “ butchered” (here there can be no mistake about the expression) in one night in the island of Magee.
Mr. MacSkimin, the ingenious author of the History of Carrickfergus, has investigated the question of the massacre in the island of Magee with so much research, and has bestowed so much able and cool investigation on the subject, that his statement merits the serious attention of all interested in the history of Ireland, and who feel that history is no party question.
“ The earliest account,” says MacSkimin, “ in which the Protestants are charged as being the aggressors in the barbarities of 1641-2, appears in an anonymous pamphlet, entitled “The Politician's Catechism,' by R. S., printed and published in London in 1662 ; twenty-one years after the events are said to have happened, which it pretends to describe. A short paragraph in this tract has been the basis of all the gross misrepresentations that have been published on this subject. It is as follows :- About the beginning of November, 1641, the English and Scotch forces in Knockfergus murdered in one night all the inhabitants of the territory of Island Magee, in number above three thousand, men, women, and children, all innocent persons, in a time when none of the Catholics of that country were in arms or rebellion. To this article is added the following note. “This was the first massacre committed in Ireland, on either side.' Here we plainly perceive gross mis-statements, it being notorious that the rebellion began on the twenty-third of the previous October, and that the twenty-fourth of that month was marked on the part of the Roman Catholics by all the sanguinary atrocities of the period in question.
“ It is worthy of remark, that the season chosen for the publication of this slanderous and anonymous pamphlet was truly auspicious; the tide was turning fast from Puritanism to Popery ; the Roman Catholics were a considerable body at Court, and both the King and the Duke of York had by several acts evinced their partiality for that faith.
“Some years after the publication of this pamphlet by R. S., it was bound up as an Appendix to Lord Clarendon's