1798 - Free Quarters

Houses were now searched for fire-arms. proving the wisdom of our friends in banishing all such weapons from theirs. Notices were put up demanding the arms taken by the 'United men' to be restored, on pain of allowing the military to live at free quarters, for many nightly incursions had been made by these robbers to plunder houses of whatever arms they contained. A detachment of the King's County militia was t this time sent here from Athy, where Sandford Palmer, an old Ballitore boy, was stationed as their captain. The men were very well liked; perhaps it was for that reason they were so soon removed, the villagers escorting them on their way with tears and lamentations; and when my husband, from his fields, saw them departing, he sent his workmen to join the procession. Perhaps these painful, feelings sprung from an unconscious presentiment, for if those men had remained here, Ballitore might have escaped its subsequent distresses. They were replaced by the Tyrone militia, mostly composed of professed Orangemen, wearing the ribbon of their party.

Hitherto the soldiers were quartered in our houses, but found themselves in provisions; the threat respecting free quarters was now put into execution; foraging parties went into the country, shops and private houses were searched for whisky, which was ordered to be spilled; and seditious papers were sought for. On the day of this search I was not at home, else I suppose I should have opened my desk in the security of conscious innocence, quite forgetting that I had thrown into it one of the squibs then privately circulated, which in very tolerable poetry avowed disloyal sentiments. I started at the danger it was so near bringing upon us, and thankfully flung it into the fire. Account was taken of the stock and provisions in the village, that none should be sent away; and six cwt. of bacon which was being sent to Dublin by one of the villagers was seized by the yeomen. Robert Bayley was pursued because he attempted to take away one of his own horses; his horse was captured, and himself made a prisoner. Ephraim Boake?s house was plundered and he very narrowly escaped personal injury.

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