Military Excesses

To the Tyrone militia were now added the Suffolk fencibles; and the Ancient Britons, dressed in blue with much silver lace - a very pretty dress - came from Athy, seized the smith's tools to prevent them from making pikes, and made prisoners of the smiths themselves. I could not see without emotion poor Owen Finn and his brother, handcuffed and weeping, as they walked after the car containing those implements of industry, which had enabled them to provide comfortably for the family. Several of these were whipped publicly to extort confessions about the pikes. The torture was excessive, and the victims were long in recovering; and in almost every case it was applied fruitlessly. Guards were placed at every entrance into the village, to prevent people from entering or leaving it. The village once so peaceful exhibited a scene of tumult and dismay, and the air rang with the shrieks of the sufferers and the lamentations of those who beheld them suffer. These violent measures caused a great many pikes to be brought in: the street was lined with those who came to deliver up the instruments of death.

A party of military from Naas entered Ballitore, and took prisoners twelve of our neighbours, whom they removed to Naas gaol. Most of the villagers stood outside their doors to see them depart. They looked composed for the most part, though followed by their weeping wives and children. One child, with his cries of, 'O father! father!' excited great compassion. Six yeomen were taken prisoners to Dunlavin. I was walking in our garden when they passed on a car, with their coats turned inside out, and one of their guards, a mere boy, cried out to me in a tone of insulting jocularity. We, who did not understand this case, were only qualified to see one side, and, though we forbore audibly expressing our disapprobation, our looks betrayed the depression of our minds. This excited jealousy of us. How ill-founded ! for who could expect us to rejoice at the misery and degradation of our fellow creatures and neighbours, or even to behold them unmoved? These unfortunate yeomen were shot! There was too much exultation in the military; they were not aware, perhaps, how deeply an insult is felt and resented, and that an injury is sometimes more easily pardoned.

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