Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

ordinary carriers,' he gave it to a

it to a gentleman going to Tralee to post in the general office there.

Superfluous caution often creates the mischief which it seeks to avoid. The gentleman, whose name was Wall, suspecting that the letter contained something unusual, took the liberty of reading it. He too, like every one else in the county, was interested in keeping the smugglers undisturbed. Instead of taking it to Tralee, he carried it to the smugglers' agents in the town, and Sullivan was in a worse scrape than before. Copies of the letter were circulated about Killarney. The women howled at him as an informer. The boys threw stones at him if he showed in the street. One day a certain 'Pat Kelly’ the schoolmaster, who was one of Donell Mahony's Fairies, fell upon him with a club, and meant to kill him. Providence, however, and his sacred blood once more stood his friend. Some ladies passing by, ‘moved with compassion for one who was of antient and valuable extraction in the county,' begged the Fairy to spare him, and again he escaped with a beating.

1 Other accounts confirm Sulli- to the O'Donoghue and their clan ; van's account of the state of Kil- Mr. Griffin is almost a single man, larnev.

and often from home. These jusThe O'Donoghue was Donell tices, as well as the other ProtestMahony's son-in-law. Richard ants, are in terror of their persons. Hedges, writing in 1714 to Secre- I'll give you two instances. Old tary Dawson, says, “The Protest- O'Donoghue told Mr. Griffin to his ants in Killarney (besides those face, that he hoped soon to see the linked to the O'Donoghue) don't time that he and his would pull exceed a dozen. Four of them are in out his throat, and often brags that the county adjacent. The justices he has 500 men at his command. of the peace in these parts are Doc- George Eager, having committed tor Bland, Francis Brewster, and an affray in Killarney, was sent for Wm. Griffin, Esq. Dr. Bland by Dr. Bland and another justice, lives in a thatched house (a security who, ndmonishing him for his breach for his good behaviour); Mr. of the law, he replied to the other Brewster in Glenflesk is neighbour justice that if 'twere not for the

1

BOOK
III.

1728

Unable to leave Killarney from his lameness, Sullivan now applied for protection to the magistrates. He found the magistrates either unable to help him, or too much implicated with the smugglers themselves to be willing to interfere. So making the best of a bad matter, he pretended repentance, addressed himself to Pat Kelly, whom he offered to assist in his school, and being a Sullivan he was at last forgiven, and taken into partnership.

Killarney at this time was the Catholic University of Ireland. The law which forbade the Catholics to open schools was observed as little as the law for the expulsion of the regular clergy; but it was most conveniently defied in counties like Kerry, where law was in abeyance altogether, and Protestants and Catholics were combined, from reasons of their own, to manage the administration on independent principles.

There was a person holding an important office at this time in the neighbourbood of Killarney, who will be heard of again, a character who deserves the particular attention of the student of Irish history.

The Rev. Francis Lawder was Vicar General of

respect he had to some of the com- substance shall be taken away in one pany, he would beat him with a night by persons that carry skenes great cudgel he brandished in his and pocket pistols always about hand as long as his stick would last, them. These persons are continually and called him many opprobrious in riots, and frequently fire numbers names.' Mr. Eager was soon after of pistols in the night time in Kilmade high constable.R. Hedges larney. But though I have heard to Secretary Dawson, August 14, this myself, yet I could not find a 1714. MSS. Dublin Castle. man that would help me to bring

In 1729, the year after Sullivan these lawless people to justice, they was in the town, Lord Fitzmaurice being all Papists that carry these writes from Ross Castle:

weapons of offence, as well as those • The robberies that are daily whose assistance I asked. All these committed in the neighbourhood of persons are protected by different this place on persons of all ranks are clans here.' - Ibid. so extravagant, that a man's entire

CHAP.

II.

1728

the diocese of Limerick, and the chief judge in the Bishop's Consistory Court. This gentleman had given the smuggling transactions his most careful attention. He was himself deeply concerned in the trade. He had studied the conditions under which it could be made to thrive in greatest security. According to Sullivan's story, he had not only winked at, but encouraged, the establishment of the Killarney Catholic schools, to prevent the intrusion of English ideas, and to strengthen the system under which the affairs of the county were carried on. The education being his peculiar province, his eye was soon drawn on Sullivan. He recognized him as a dangerous person of whom it was desirable to rid the neighbourhood, and was already casting about for means to dispose of him. Finding himself in the

very hotbed of the contraband trade which he had come to Ireland to expose, Sullivan, notwithstanding his danger, seems to have determined to stick to Killarney, and to gain favour at the Castle by real service. It is hardly conceivable, notwithstanding the sore leg, that he could not have left it if he had wished. But his game was an extremely dangerous one. safe on one side by connecting himself with the Fairies; but the Vicar General was an antagonist of another creed. The Vicar General who saw through him, could order his arrest as a teacher in a Catholic school. To meet attack on this side he presented himself in the parish church of Killarney as a convert from Popery, and was formally received into the Establishment. He was unaware as yet that the Vicar General and the Fairies were such close allies as he found them. Donell Mahony himself had become a nominal Protestant to qualify himself to hold the Shelburne lease.

He was

BOOK
III.

.'

at.

1728

[ocr errors]

Protestantism of this kind was understood and laughed

But Sullivan was mistaken in supposing that his own conformity would be endured as easily. No sooner was it announced that he had changed his religion, than the rage of the town burst out again. Pat Kelly, his partner, waylaid him in the street with

an unmerciful cutlass,' and threatened to run him through the body. He pretended that he dared not leave the town for fear he should be followed and killed. If he stayed he was like to fare no better. He did not venture a second appeal to the magistrates, for the magistrates, he had learnt already, were in league with the wool runners.

To complete the absurdity of the picture, in the midst of all this lawlessness there was a garrison of soldiers at Ross Castle, not a mile distant from the town, under the command of Lord Fitzmaurice, the eldest son of the Earl of Kerry. To Lord Fitzmaurice, as his last chance, Sullivan now applied, and declared that he was in danger of his life from Pat Kelly and his cutlass. Fitzmaurice was one of the Protestants who, for the odd reasons' alluded to by the Castle Secretary, were not much to be relied on. He looked his visitor sternly in the face, and told him that 'Kerry did not love informers. At last, with much difficulty, he issued a warrant for Kelly's arrest. The High Constable, Mr. George Eager (who had recommended himself for his office by threatening to break his cudgel on a magistrate's back in his own court) insisted that the warrant could not be executed. Mr. Donell Mahony appeared on the scene immediately after, with all Killarney howling at his back, and offered bail for Kelly, which Fitzmaurice at once accepted. The unfortunate Sullivan was turned out of Ross

II.

Castle

among the mob, who received him with yells CHAP. of spy and informer, hunted him to his house, and serenaded him from below his window with execra- 1728 tions and blasphemies against the Church of England and its ministers.' The blood of the O'Sullivans had so far saved him from the worst extremity. Now, however, he says it was decided that he must die. . The execution of a descendant of a noble Irish house was only to be performed by a Milesian of equal rank ; and MacCartymore, the landless chief of the Mac Carties, an outlaw given in his bankrupt condition to drink, already liable to hanging for other crimes, and to whom an extra sin would be of no consequence, was pitched upon to put him out of the world.

Either MacCarty could not be brought to the point, or Fitzmaurice gave the smugglers to understand that Sullivan, being an emissary of Government, they must stop short of extremities, and the idea of murder was postponed till other methods had first been tried. One night, when he was in his bed, Pat Kelly and the Fairies broke in, seized him, tied him hand and foot, and bore him off to a lonely house outside the town.

His pocket book, with Walpole's pass in it, was taken from him; and the next morning he was carried before a bench of magistrates, consisting of the Rev. Francis Lawder, Sir Maurice Crosby of Ardfert, Lord Fitzmaurice's brother-in-law, and David Barry, seneschal of the Ross Manor Court.' Mr. Lawder took the charge of the case, and addressed the prisoner with meritorious frankness.

'You rogue,' he said; do you think to get justice against the county of Kerry gentlemen who are all of a knot, and bafile the very judges on the circuit ? You are mistaken. Our words are taken by the

« PreviousContinue »