« PreviousContinue »
FROM THE PERIOD OF THE ENGLISH
INVASION TO THE PRESENT TIME,
FROM THE PERIOD OF THE ENGLISH INVASION
TO THE YEAR 1810.
ONE circumstance of calumniatiòn, brought forward by Leland and Hume against the unfortunate Shane O'Neil, was forgotten in the preceding numbers. “ Such was his rage against every thing English, that he hung one of his followers for eating English biscuit.” That is not probable. 'Tis much more likely, that he was executed for holding treacherous correspondence with the enemy, of which his possession of English biscuit afforded presumptive proof; for how could he, on examination, account otherwise for the fact, since only English soldiers could give it to him? But to return to the Irish war.
Maguire, aided by O'Donnell, laid siege to his castle of Enniskillen; to the relief of which the deputy hastened with his forces, but on the way he learned that he was too late. The English garrison had already surrendered. The troops, detached against the besiegers, were totally defeated by O'Donnell; and the garrison, reduced to extremity of distress, surrendered, and were massacred by the angry victors, who thus
only retaliated the cruelty practised by Bingham on his taking the castle from its original owner, Maguire. O'Donnell knew how to take advantage of his victory; and, with his wonted rapidity, followed up his blow. He pierced into Connaught, harassed the quarters of the enemy, besieged the fort of Belleek, cut off a detachment sent to its relief, and gave English measure to the garrison. To complete his triumph, O'Donnell established one of the De Burgos, his associate, chieftain of his district, under the name of Mac-William, while Bingham, the queen's president of Connaught, was obliged to shrink from the conflict.
The queen and her ministry were justly alarmed at the intelligence of such a succession of defeats, received from enemies they were accustomed to undervalue, and saw the necessity of greater efforts in warring against the northern Irish. Their first endeavour was, to tamper with O'Donnell, in order to detach him from Tyrone, considered as the most powerful of the Irish chieftains; one without whose secret approbation the spirited opposition of O'Donnell, Maguire, &c. to the forementioned outrages, practised on them and their people, would scarcely have taken place. Not caring to rely too much on the success of their intrigues with O'Donnell and other chieftains, an army of veterans, distinguished by their service in Britanny, with a new levy raised in England, were dispatched under the command of Sir John Norris, a general of reputation. Tyrone justly dreaded, that these great prepara