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taken from respectable houses in the country.”—H. L., 1824, Nos. 4050-51.
Mr. Keogh, the parish priest of Abbeyleix, having stated that he had delivered eight stand of arms to Lord De Vesci, is asked,
“Were they in a serviceable state ?—No, they were not; they were of no use whatever. “ None of them ?—None, except a pistol, which was in
very good order.
“ Are there many arms in the hands of the common people now?-I do not think there are.
“Were they arms that could be traced to the persons that they had been taken from ?-Yes; I knew the houses they had been taken from.
“What distance of time was there from the taking of the arms to their being returned to you ?--The first arms were taken more than a year before, and the last not more than a month.
“ Were they in good order when they were first taken ? No, I believe not.”—H. C., 1832, Nos. 4627-32*.
The strict regulations with regard to the sale of gunpowder in Irelandt, likewise make it difficult for the Whiteboys to use their fire-arms even when they have got them. It not unfrequently happens that their guns or pistols are loaded with the coarse powder used in blasting rocks, and that accordingly they miss fire. The most effective weapon which they use in waylaying persons doomed to destruction is stones, with which they take a deadly aim, and which are considered as
* In 1775 a body of Whiteboys, said to be 200 in number, attacked a house in Ballyragget, in which were fifteen armed men; and they were repulsed, with considerable loss. “It should however be observed (says
thur Young) that they had but few arms, in bad order, and no cartridges.” Tour in Ireland, p. 77, 4to., and see above, p. 32.
of See 4 and 5 Will. IV.c. 50.
preferable to fire-arms, because they make no noise, and consequently give no alarm. For attacking houses, however, guns are necessary; they are likewise often discharged at night, in order simply to intimidate : bonfires are sometimes also lighted on heights for the same purpose. It may
be remarked that the surrender of arms by the peasantry is one of the first and surest signs of returning tranquillity.
Mr. John Cahill, Queen's County :
* This state of your county must have been very injurious to property in general?—It was; but now peace is returned, and tranquillity is restored everywhere, so far as about twenty miles round.
“Do you think that is likely to last ?-I should think it is. All the arms have been collected ; the clergyman of my parish collected one hundred and ten stand of arms; I saw sixty stand of arms myself going over to the officer commanding a division of troops within a mile of me.
“Within what period of time?—Something about between three weeks or a month past; I saw them going to be delivered up to the officer.
“ Were they serviceable arms ?—They were guns. “Were they serviceable ? — They were.
“Were they all of them good ?—Pretty good; some bad arms; a good many blunderbusses, a good many pistols, and a good many carbines; and among the rest was a clergyman's arms, by the name of Trench.
“Do you attribute that at all to the special commission, or to the interference of the clergy ?—Í should think to the interference of the clergy. Doctor Doyle went through the collieries, preached there different days, and the clergymen have all exerted themselves much within the last five or six weeks. The people have declined going on legislating, as they generally have done, and have returned to their industry. I find
that a great many labourers, whom I was in the habit of employing, are cheerfully coming round to me now, whom I could not get last winter."-H. C., 1832, Nos. 7516-22.
When the Whiteboys have possessed themselves of the means of enforcing their law, they proceed to administer it in form. This is effected by serving a written notice on the party who has infringed it, commanding him to do, or forbear from, some specified act. Mr. Despard, being asked in what
the Whiteboys make themselves formidable, so as to enforce their schemes, says, —
• They generally first serve the person who has land that they do not wish him to have, with a notice pasted on his door, or put in through his window, and if the person does not comply with what is in that notice, they then come, in a short time afterwards, and beat him, and sometimes there are murders committed.
I have known murders take place in consequence of not obeying their orders.”—H.C., 1832, No. 401.
Rev. Nicholas O'Connor :
“Do they endeavour by force and by intimidation to obtain what they wish to have done ?- They generally first serve à notice, and if that is not obeyed, violence follows; this notice is accompanied generally with a picture of a coffin, or some emblem of death, and they write, that if they do not do what they require within a certain time, to prepare their coffin.
"Are not the punishments they inflict in case of disobedience to their orders of the greatest atrocity, assassination, &c. ? Yes, generally beating, which sometimes ends in death."H. C., 1832, Nos. 3194-6.
These mandates are often written in a style resem'bling that of a legal notice *, and are, for the most part, signed by some imaginary name, such as Captain
* See above, p. 102.
Right, Captain Rock, Captain Starlight, Captain Dreadnought, Lady Clare; under which appellations (like Jacques Bonhomme, adopted by the French peasantry) the Irish Whiteboys are considered to be impersonated*. The following are some examples of these notices, many of which contain an expression of the feeling, that the individual is brought under the operation of a general law, and that his disobedience will be punished as an example to others :
“ Mr. Luke, you are to take notice to resign your holding that you have lately possessed, and to do as usual, or if not, by the contents of this, I will finish your existence. Dated this 29th day of December.”
“James Redmond, you are hereby to take notice, that the proceedings you are going to take against your neighbours are directly opposite to the regulations and laws of Mr. John M-Robinson, Captain Killproctor Routmaster, who intends that all lands out of lease shall main three years on the head landlord's hands, or be given to the former tenant. These are, therefore, to let you know, that if you do not stop your career, you shall undergo the scene of being consumed to ashes, with all your family, as an example of future punishment to you and all others concerned.”—H. L., 1824.
6. Take Notice,
“ From this day forward, that no man will be allowed to work in any boat without having regular wages, 10s. per week. Any person or persons daring to violate this notice, will be visited by night by those people under the denomination of Whitefeet,
* Some of the letters and incentives to revolt circulated by the insurgents in Wat Tyler's rebellion were signed by Jack Milner, Jack Carter, Jack Trueman, which, Lingard observes, were probably feigned names. Vol. iv. p. 239, note. Swing, the name adopted by the poor-law incendiaries in the south of England a few years ago, is a fictitious name of the same kind.
or Terry Alts. Any man putting us to the necessity of paying him a visit will be sorry: therefore any man who has not the above wages, let him not to attempt to leave Athy. . “I remain your humble servant,
“ County of Kildare, Take notice, That we will no longer to wit.
bear the oppression of paying double rent to farmers for land, and the gentlemen so favourable to the poor. Therefore all farmers will be obliged to return their under-tenants to the head landlord, at the same rates and acre for which they hold the land themselves. And we trust the gentlemen will not allow them any longer to tyrannize over the poor of this impoverished nation. Any farmer demanding rent from his under-tenants, or any under-tenants paying rent to the farmers, either party so violating this notice shall be used with the utmost severity imaginable, and We their cause forsake in every measure.
“ So I remain your most humble servant,
“Terry's Mother t." "Remarke the concequence Thomas Wardren dant pay
the tithe far if you do you may prepare your coffin you may be assured that you will loose your life either at hame or abraad.
“Captain Rock1 “No Tithes " No Tithes • No Tithes."
“ Notice. “Take notice, John Kelly, you are hereby required to quit and depart out of the townland of Killmokulla, where you now
* H.C., 1832, Appendix, p. 10.
+ H. C., 1832, Appendix, p. 9. This notice was in print, and was posted in different parts of the county of Kildare.
First Commons Report on Tithes in Ireland,