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“ To what number were they assembled ?-Forty or fifty, according to the population of the district.
“ Have they been armed ?-In no instance have they been armed when taken at such meetings; since the Insurrection Act has been in force, they do not meet.”-H. L., 1824,
pp. 106, 107.
M. Barrington, Esq. :
" Are they governed by any committees ?—I could never find out any, except in one instance at Doneraile ; but there are oaths administered, and there are heads of parties, the most desperate character generally being the head or leader.” -H. C. 1832, No. 25.
Wm. W. Despard, Esq. :
“Have they any system of management, any committees ? -Yes, they have, amongst themselves; they meet in publichouses.
“Do they investigate the cases, and decide what house they will attack, or what individual they will ill-treat ?--Yes, they decide it some days previously to the attack.
“When there is an attack made upon a man to give up his land, is it the result of an investigation of the case, and the decision of the committee, and an order that the person shall be turned out of his land ?-Yes, that is decided at a meeting of the committee previously concerted some days.
“ Can you give a history of those Whitefeet as they proceed ? You have spoken of the committees, can you say how they concert the attack of a house ?_When a house is to be attacked, the man who gets up the attack will go off eight or nine miles or further; he will go to his brother Whitefeet; they know each other by signs; he brings this party or sends this party; he would be known himself; he sends that party to that house, and they attack the man's house, or take his arms, or beat him, or murder him, or shoot at him.
" They arrange this through a meeting of the committee ? It is arranged, I know; they generally meet.
“Do you mean to say that they are so combined they will be ready to go any distance to get a party to come and murder a man for a particular individual grudge of their own?—Yes, most certainly; they have done it.”—H. C., 1832, Nos. 533-5, 547-9.
John Dillon, Esq. :
“ Do you think that this organization which exists in Queen's County is carried on under any general system, under any organized leaders, or is merely an ebullition of different portions of the county resisting their grievances ?— I think it is the ebullition of different portions of the county on account of local grievances; there is no general organization in the county; the oath taken in one part of the county frequently differs from that taken in the other parts of it.”-H. C., 1832, No. 2480.
Rev. Nicholas O'Connor :
“ Are these Whitefeet managed by any committees ?-No, there are no committees among them; if they find a grievance, they communicate it to others, and strangers come, sometimes by night, to execute their vengeance, but of late most of the outrages, and the worst of them, have been committed by day.
“ Have they any concert or plan of acting ?- None, but what they devise amongst themselves on the spur of the moment."--H. C., 1832, No. 3190-1.
Notwithstanding the numerous and powerful motives which we have described as inducing the Irish peasant to join the Whiteboy combinations, yet when an occasion arises for an assertion of the terrors of this code, it seems that the bulk of the peasantry are unwilling to be personally concerned, and that the system is chiefly propagated by intimidation.
The means used for this purpose are, in the first instance, the administration of a secret oath, binding
the party sworn to lend his assistance when called on, for furthering the objects of the confederacy. The following very detailed account by Major Warburton furnishes an instance of a more systematic proceeding than probably has often occurred.
“Have you ever known any instances in which these illegal oaths have been administered through entire parishes and considerable districts in one night, by individuals not known to the parties taking those oaths ?-A part of the system was, that a certain number went into one parish and swore a certain number; and the first part of the oath was that the person so sworn was to go into the adjoining parish and swear an additional number; it was pushed on in that way in the instance of the county of Galway; and when it first came into the county of Clare, from that county.
“ In performance of that obligation they did proceed on the subsequent night, in the manner you have described ?—They did.
“Were the persons who first swore the parish known to those who took the obligation?—They were not.
“Were they not in very small numbers ?— The persons who appeared on those occasions were very few, they were generally accompanied by others, who held back; persons, I suppose, merely recruited on those occasions, and who might have been known if seen, but the parties exposed to those they came to swear were very few in number.
“Have you known an instance of a parish expecting, with great anxiety, the visits of those persons, and soliciting assistance and protection against it?—I have known that to have occurred in several instances.
" Have you not known the inhabitants leave their houses and lie out at night in the fields, to avoid these nocturnal visits ? I have known that to occur.
“Did it not happen to a considerable extent in the eastern part of the county of Clare, in 1819.20 ?—It did, certainly.
“ In what numbers did those persons go about, who com
pelled the inhabitants to take those illegal oaths ?— The numbers were variously described to me; sometimes three and four, seldom more than six went into a house at any place; I have heard there were more voices outside the door, but the people generally said they were in those numbers.
“Can you state to the Committee what extent of country may have been sworn in one night by those bands ?- I think, in one instance, there was an extent of country of three or four miles sworn in one night.
“Can you state to the Committee whether the mode in which this is done is not so regular and systematic that it would appear
that the line of march for those bodies was laid down by some authority and direction, in consequence of its never being transgressed, or passed over in a particular line?I know we considered it so at the time the swearing took place, that it was done with a great deal of order, a great deal of system.
“ Can you state an instance, in which the line appeared so distinctly marked, that it would appear that the swearing was performed in consequence of some systematic orders that those bands had received ; and if you recollect such an instance, will you state it ?-I think I recollect an instance, when they came in by Rock Forest, in the county of Clare, in which that occurred, that they appeared to go in a certain direction, and swear all the young men in the houses in that certain direction, and they were met the night following, in consequence of following up that system.
“How were they met ?—They were met by the magistrates, in consequence of following up that line, and some of them were taken.
“ From whence did they appear to come ?--From the county of Galway
“Was the county of Galway much disturbed at that time? -Exceedingly disturbed at that time. “ In a state of open war almost ?—Yes
. “ Does not that confirm your opinion, that the disturbances in the counties of Ireland are generally spread by the circum
“ How many
stances of the adjacent counties being also disturbed ?-Generally speaking, that is the case.
Although the same causes which may have produced insurrection in one, may not have produced it in the adjacent county?-Yes.
“Will you state any other instance, in the year 1819-20, in which the swearing of parishes, by union bands at night, took place, to a great extent ?—In the parish of Scariff and the barony of Tullagh, I recollect a district being sworn, in which the road appeared to be the line of demarcation, and no person was sworn, except on one side of the road in that particular direction.
do you suppose were sworn in the line which you describe, of about four miles, that was effected in one night ?—The population were not sworn, generally speaking; they swore only some individuals; the adults and rather the young men; I suppose that the night I allude to, there could not have been less than from 150 to 200; I cannot speak with accuracy, but I know there was a considerable number.
“ As far as you recollect, did it not appear to you, that the swearing in the two baronies on the eastern side of the county of Clare, the barony of Bunratty, and the barony of Tullagh, was effected by individuals who were strangers to the county, and, in general, to the population ?-It certainly was, from everything I could learn on the subject.
“ Did you not find, that from whatever motive it might have been, the population were extremely reluctant to take the obligations imposed upon them ?—At that time they certainly reluctant to be sworn,
I understood from the local magistracy, apprized them and asked their protection; but we also found, that as soon as they were sworn, they were completely ranked in the system, and that they ceased, either to apprehend any consequence from it, or to communicate with those that they had before spoken to upon the subject.
“ Have you not found, in general, that those who had, by any means, endeavoured to avoid being sworn, became, when sworn, the ready instruments of introducing others into the