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HISTORY OF BANDON
[Pages 314-330] CAPTAIN JOHN NASH (ALIAS SHANE DEARG) - THE SUGAN - PRIEST HUNTING - THE BLACK CAT - A NEW PARLIAMENT - BACHELORS TAXED - NUCE'S BYE-LAW - THE GREAT AUCTION OF FORFEITED ESTATES.
1691- Mr. John Nash, a captain* in the Bandon militia, was provost of the town this year. Although the battle fought at the Boyne virtually decided the contest between James and William for the possession of this Kingdom, yet the friends of the former continued to disturb the country for years afterwards. It is true that every succeeding year saw them get weaker and weaker. Those who were soldiers in 1690 and 1691 became Tories in 1692 and 1693, and common thieves from that out.
At this period the state of the country could not have been worse. Skirmishing between armed parties, attacks on military out-posts-even sieges-were not uncommon; whilst so infested was this neighbourhood with deserters from Sarsfield's division-whilst it lay in Cork awaiting transports-and disbanded desperadoes let loose upon society by the surrender of Limerick, that those living in the country parts could not count on being alive in twenty-four hours; and their property was not in reality worth the trouble of protecting it.
Should an outlying settler require anything from the neighbouring market-town, he would do without it, or wait until an armed caravan passed his door; and then either accompany it, or get some one to execute his orders for him. Whilst so afraid was he of his cattle being carried off, that he used to guard them to his own dwelling-house, and barricading the doors and windows, he and the members of his family hoped, by keeping a constant watch all through the night, to protect them form some rapparee or Tory who may covertly make his way through the thatch, or gain admission in some other unceremonious fashion.
To grapple with this desperate state of things, Captain Nash was armed with strong powers by Governor Cox. He was aware of what he was to do, and he was aware of how to do it. A desperate case he well knew required a desperate remedy. A rough customer could appreciate rough usage; but rose-water usage would be thrown away upon him. Treat him kindly, and he would persuade himself you were afraid of him. Show him mercy, and it was because you felt he was your superior.
Captain Nash was one of those men whom the exigencies of those times created. A flaw in an indictment, a misnomer, hair-drawn distinctions, and other minutiæ which a microscopically-eyed lawyer may be able to discover, he pooh-poohed altogether.
If Teige Carthy was charged with a robbery, which he felt persuaded he committed, he did not think him innocent of it because his christian name was spelt with two G's in it instead of one; or if Dermot Crowly was guilty of murder, he could not understand why he should be pronounced "not guilty." because he was described as of a certain place, whereas he lived somewhere else. He believed when a fellow committed a robbery, or a murder, he ought to be hanged, and he hanged him accordingly.
He set to work vigorously; and such havoc did he make amongst the outlaws and rapparees, and such terror did his numerous executions inspire, that the neighbouring peasantry still shudder at the very mention of his name. The children lie motionless in their cots. And "If you don't be good, I'll send for Shane Dearg!" is a threat well known to nurses in a district in our neighbourhood to terrorize the most unruly piece of juvenile humanity into quietness.
* Captain Nash was also provost the preceding year(1690), from the 16th of July, when the corporation of James was deposed; and was the provost elect for 1688, but was obliged to give place to Teige McCarthy, who produced the new charter and initiated a new policy. He was subsequently provost in 1703, when Nuce's bye-law was revived and a preamble prefixed, beginning with:-"Whereas, several Papists and other loose persons have presumed to bring their families into the corporation of Bandon-bridge." In 1711 he again filled the office; again in 1723; and lastly in 1724. He took a great interest in the welfare of his native town, and was one of the four who signed the articles of peace on behalf of the Bandonians with General McCarthy; upon which occasion he and others made themselves personally responsible for the large sum of money borrowed on account of the town, and for which some had their effects seized, and others were imprisoned. To a fund for the payment of these liabilities he contributed the emoluments of his provostship more than once. He took a very active part, too, in getting a market-house erected at the south-side; and throughout the entire of the thirty-six years he was connected with the corporation, there was no member of it more anxious to promote its success or increase the prosperity of those entrusted to its care.
Amongst the Irish he was known by a great many names. He was Ould Jack, Jack the Devil, Hanging Jack, and Ould Nash; but he was most familiarly known as Shane Dearg (pronounced Shawn Dhorrig), or Red Jack-red, as some say, in reference to all the blood he spilt; whilst others contend it was owing to the colour of his hair.
In his day there were but few gaols, and certainly no reformatories. So that when a prisoner was brought before a country justice of the peace, that functionary had scarcely an alternative between letting him go or hanging him; and the latter presented many advantages to which the former could lay no claim. If he was let go he could commence a fresh career of crime, and it may be difficult, if not impossible, to lay hands on him again; but if he was hanged, he would but do any more harm, and the militia need not turn out to give him chase. Therefore, if he was guilty, putting a rope round his neck and swinging him from the next tree was considered the shortest and the most economical mode of disposing of him.
At first it was customary for Mr. Nash to try the accused, to investigate all the evidence pro and con., and ascertain if the prisoner was really, or even probably, guilty of what he was charged with. But as time wore on, and as their numbers increased, he gradually became convinced that every one caught wandering about the country was either a Tory, a rapparee,* or a thief.
* A little after ten o'clock one morning, a rapparee-a big, burly fellow-walked into the house of a man named Merry, who lived at Clancoole, about a mile from the town; and, drawing a stool to the fires, sat down, and demanded his breakfast. There was no one in the house but Merry's wife; and she knowing it would be useless for her to try and dislodge such a formidable intruder by force of arms, resolved to effect it by stratagem. Accordingly she put on a pleasant face, set a bowl of new-milk on the table alongside of him, and banding him a good-sized piece of oaten cake, she bid him eat away, and welcome. When she perceived his meal was drawing to a close, she went into the yard and brought in some bundles of hay, and began to make a sugan, "Yerra, couldn't you help me with this?" said she to her unbidden guest. He readily rose up to do so; and taking the outstretched stick from her, he began to twist. As the rope lengthened-she, meanwhile, feeding it from the hay on the floor-he pushed back and back, and passing over the threshold, he continued twisting away. As soon as she found that he was some distance outside the door, she suddenly sprang forward, and slapping it out, she hastily bolted it; and then securing it effectually, she ran up stairs, and opening the window, roared murder and fire. In short time her husband and sons, who were in the neighbourhood, came running to her assistance; and the rapparee taking to his heels, made off as fast as he could. This exploit of Mrs. Merry's is preserved in an Irish song, and may be occasionally heard in the chimney-corner of some cabin in the vicinity of where it occurred.
From this time out he became content with a very superficial examination, and sometimes with none at all. And at length became so callous, as to issue his orders in such a careless manner, or to speak so unintelligible, as to be often misunderstood.
A rapparee, who had been captured by a sergeant's guard of the Bandon militia, who brought before him one day. In reply to some queries put to him, the prisoner stated that he was poor weaver on his way to Bandon in quest of employment.
Upon hearing this, one of the guard stepped forward, and said he could prove the accused was no weaver.
"Oh, never mind, never mind!" said Old Jack, "we'll soon know all about that!" Taking a piece of string from his desk, and walking up to him:-"Come, my good man!" said he, "tie a weaver's-knots for me with this, and I'll let you go."
The unfortunate man was dumb-founded. He was no weaver, and knew no more about a weaver's-knots than he did of what was discussed at the last cabinet council held at Kensington; so he held down his head and was silent. Old Nash returned to his desk and resumed his pen.
Some time after, the sergeant, who had made several ineffectual attempts to catch his worship's attention, at last called out in a rather impatient tome:-"Well, sir, what am I to do with the prisoner?"
"Oh, hang him!" said he. "Take him out of that, and don't bother me with him!"
The sergeant possibly misunderstood him. However, true to the letter of his instructions, he did take him out of that, and strung him up forthwith.
The place of execution at that time was North-gate, from a beam across the arch-way of which the condemned underwent their doom.
On the very next morning his worship was out taking his customary walk, and happening to pass through North-gate, observed the body of the rapparee suspended from the fatal beam.
"Gatekeeper!" shouted he, "who is that fellow? and what brought him here?'
The gatekeeper explained to him that he was the man who was hanged the evening before by his orders. He paused for awhile, in all likelihood reflecting upon the dreadful mistake that had been committed.
"Well, well," said he, "if he didn't deserve it this time, he probably did at another!" He then quietly resumed his walk.
On another occasion a man was brought before him just as he was about sitting down to dinner.
"Is this a rapp?" quoth Old Jack to the non-commissioned officer in charge.
"Yes, sir!" was the reply.
"Well," said he, "you can hang him now, and by the time you think dinner is over come back, and I'll enter the particulars!"
In these two instances, however, the prisoners were accused of being rapparees; but in the following the unfortunate man was not even guilty of being accused. He was put to death not for what he did, but for what he could do.
"Take that fellow up," cried Jack, "and hang him!" pensively remarking, "if that chap was vexed, he could do mischief!"
The man* was seized, marched into Bandon, and hanged the same evening at North-gate.
He had even the temerity to hang a priest-Father Sheehan-a piece of indiscretion, we need scarcely say, which no statesman of our day would heave the hardihood to attempt. And so anxious was he lest by any means he should be balked of his clerical prey, that he did not even wait until he would arrive at his favourite North-gate, but hung him up at the very first cross-road he came to.
* Previous to his execution he admitted he had been a soldier, and as such served within the walls of Limerick.
Such terror prevailed amongst the class to whose radical reformation the ministerial labours of Old Nash were devoted, that when any of them were captured, their first inquiry was before whom they were to be brought; and on learning it was Shane Dearg, "Oh! may the Lord have mercy on us now!" was the usual exclamation of these unhappy men-well knowing that when brought before him their existence in this world might be computed by the time they occupied in marching from his worship's presence to the gallows.
Incredible as these stories may appear, yet they are devoutly believed in this locality. And we have heard them from such a variety of sources-all corroborating each other by abundant testimony in every particular-that we have no doubt as to their general truth. The peasantry in our neighbourhood to this day believe that he was capable of any atrocity.
Not long ago we encountered an old fellow who was sunning himself on the side of the road; and having heard that he knew a great deal about the old people, we were very glad to make his acquaintance. After a few preliminary queried as to our friend's health, the prospect of the approaching harvest, the probability of pig's being up, &c., we proceeded to business.
"Tim, " we inquired, "did you ever hear of Shane Dearg?"
"Oh!" cried Tim, rousing himself a bit, and looking eagerly at us, "is that the fellow that used to hang all the people long ago?"
We replied that it was.
"Wisha, by gonnies!" said he, "I did so."
We then asked him why it was he used to hang all the people.
"By gor!" said he, "for being Papists."
We could not help reflecting on the enormity of hanging a poor fellow because he could only believe up to the orthodox mark, and no further. However, we continued.
"But, suppose a man said he was no Papists." Here we thought we had old Tim.
"Och, by gorra." said he, "that wouldn't do him either; for then he'd have him hanged for telling a lie!"
The apparent necessity for such severe measures having passed away, and every disaffected person being either hanged off or otherwise disposed of, Old Jack turned his attention to the no less secular, but yet more irreverent pursuit of priest-hunting.
By an act of the Irish Parliament it was ordered that the Roman Catholic clergy should appear before the authorities at stated times, and have their names and residences duly registered; whilst those who refused to comply with these injunctions were proclaimed, and rewards offered for their apprehensions.*
* One hundred pounds were offered for the apprehension of a bishop or a priest, and prosecution same for saying mass.
In these pastoral pursuits, Red Jack was one of the most successful sportsmen of the day. There was no follower the clergy had who more closely adhered to them. He was always at their heels. And there was scarcely a day that he did not pounce upon some sacerdotal delinquent-either catching him before he broke cover from the sheltering roof of some poor peasant, who risked his life in giving him a night's lodging, or else running him right down through sheer exhaustion. At all events he was scarcely ever without a pries or two to his credit.
He was at last, however, cured of this propensity of clinging to the skirts of the clergy in a manner so singular and efficacious, that not only did he give up hunting priests, but he absolutely used to secrete them in his own house.
He asked a large party to dinner one day, amongst whom were some of the neighbouring gentry, several Protestant clergymen, and a poor priest-then in his safe custody, and to whom a good dinner in those bad times was a rarity.
After the covers were removed, the host commenced carving the leg of mutton which lay before him, and soon threw a piece to a large Tom cat that had taken his accustomed seat by his master's side. His reverence happening to look that way caught the pussy's eye.
"Holy Moses!" said he, "look at that cat!" and immediately rose from the table, telling his host, at the same time, that he must excuse his remaining any longer.
The guests were greatly amazed, and anxiously inquired of each other what was the matter.
"Oh! that hell cat!" cried the priest, looking daggers at black Tommy.
"Why man," said Mr. Nash, "that cat is domesticated in the family these many years, and he is very fond of me!"
"I don't wonder at his being fond of you," quoth his reverence, "for a good right he has;" deliberately adding, "I assert that cat to be none other than the devil!"
At this Old Nash became very indignant, and after swearing a great deal, concluded by telling the priest he'd make him prove what he stated.
"That I will readily do," said the latter, "and in a very short time, too, if you will allow me to send for my stole and books."
This was assented to; and the messenger having speedily returned with the necessary articles, his reverence put on his vestments and began to read. As he did so, it was observed that the cat began to swell. The priest read on, and the cat swelled on, until at last black Tom grew a large as a two-year old heifer; and then, at a sign from his reverence, suddenly appeared in his own proper person.
There could be no mistake about him. Old Clooty was there, with his orthodox appendages in extremis. There were his horns, his tail, and his cloven foot.
The priest then-in order to afford the company a better opportunity of inspecting the latter-ordered his up on the table, and made him shew his hoof all around.
The devil most uncourteously took advantage of this elevation, and gave all the company a long lecture upon the evils arising from heresy and schism; but addressing himself particularly to the clergymen present, he told the, that as regarded the high-church party he wouldn't say a word against them, that as he could see but little difference between them and the real clergy, but as for those low-church fellows, and those vagabond Puritans, if any of them were ever sent to his dominions, he'd----------!
Here he became so excited that the good priest interfered, and changed the subject.
He then went through a variety of interesting manoeuvres, and concluded by speaking in seven different tongues, and displaying a proficiency in the acquisition of ancient and modern languages truly wonderful.
"Whisha, puss!" said Old Nash, who could scarcely persuade himself that his old favourite was in reality the dreaded personage he now appeared to be, "is it possible you're the devil?"
"Wisha, by jabers!" said puss, scratching his head, and familiarly addressing his old master, "there no use in denying it any longer, Shane Dearg," said he, "I am!"
Old Jack made a rush at him, and if he could have only laid hands on him North-gate would have been his inevitable doom. Being unable to catch him, he could only vent his vengeance in abuse-which he did unsparingly, and with a right-good will. But the devil was more than his match. He scolded him horribly in return; and after hurling at him in all the obnoxious terms he could muster, he wound up by telling him that he was as cruel ad Nero, not a bit better than Cromwell and almost as unfeeling as an attorney.
Nash, of course, was greatly annoyed, and obliged to seek the assistance of the priest to have him removed; and although the latter and his fraternity owed no debt of gratitude to him, yet-kind and forgiving man as he was-he readily assented, and black Tom was ordered not only to quit the house, but also the parish, and never to put his foot within its precincts again. He obeyed-in fact, tradition furnishes many instances where the devil bows to the decision of the Roman Catholic clergy without a murmur-and rushing up the chimney in a volume of smoke, like Luther, he disappeared.
So pleased were all the company with the forbearance and Christian disposition showed by the poor priest, that a subscription was immediately entered into for putting a roof upon his chapel at Moviddy; whilst so overjoyed was old Nash, that there and them, before them all he vowed that he would never raise a finger, or say an angry word, to a priest again.
We by no means wish to be considered as guaranteeing the authenticity of the last story; but we might just as well think of denying the infallibility of the Pope as to seem for one moment to doubt its truth. The peasantry in our neighbourhood believe every word of it devoutly, and they would look with no small share of mistrust upon any one who would hesitate to give it full credence.
After giving up priest-hunting, he took to the less arduous duty of burning houses. It was enjoined on all people to be in their dwellings from nine at night until five in the morning; or, if not found within, or a satisfactory reason given for absence, they were themselves liable to be punished and their homes burned.
It was often very difficult to catch the offenders, but their houses were always to be found; and although in our day it would seem a burning shame to ser fire to a poor man's house for any offence, yet old Nash made light enough of it.
Whilst on one of these fiery excursions, he saw a poor peasant digging potatoes in a field adjoining the road. He called the man to him; and seeing he had on a new sheep-skin breeches, he ordered him to take it off and exchange it for an old broken one with on of his men.
"Now, Dermod," said he, "you can keep that well-aired garment; for you looked so over-heater in the other, I was greatly afraid lest you should catch cold!"
There are numberless other stories concerning him still floating about in our neighbourhood, but we have given enough to show the exceptional man, which exceptional times, for exceptional purposes, may be expected to produce.
He died in 1725, in the seventy-fifth year of his age; and so much was he detested by the Irish, that their malignity followed him even beyond the grave.
It was extensively reported-and is believed by many even now-that after death he went to a certain place; and the devil, seeing him approach, cried out to some of his imps:-"Run, run, heap more coals on the fire, here is old Nash!"
He was buried in Bandon; and underneath an almost illegible tombstone, and a few feet outside the southern transept of Kilbrogan Church, reposes all that is mortal of the renowned and celebrated Shane Dearg.
1692- On the 23rd March a proclamation was issued, announcing that the war was over. This was exactly twenty-two months from William's landing at Carrickfergus.
In Elizabeth's time the insurrection lasted fifteen years, and the great rebellion of 1641 took no less than twelve years to suppress; and yet this was more extensive than either of the others, the Irish having possession of cities-such as Cork and Dublin-and forts and garrisons, which they never once occupied in the great revolt last referred to.
On the 5th of October a new Parliament assembled at Chichester House, Dublin. The members for Bandon were Sir William Moore, Rosscarbery, and Edward Riggs, Esq., Riggsdale. Of our senior member we can discover nothing in the journals of the House, save that he obtained permission to go into the country on private affairs; and of our junior representative we scarcely know more, except that he sat on a committee of grievances.
1693- On the 28th of February, Tom Dennis, an attorney practising in our corporation court, was not only prohibited from appearing before the court again, but "was also committed to goal for evil words spoken.
From all we can gather from the MSS. in this matter, it seems that Tom had a most outrageous temper. For aught we know, he might have been strung into a fury by the opposite attorney; perhaps taunted with talking nonsense buy the bench, or so inflated with illusory notions of his own greatness as to forger his duty to his betters. Be that as it may, he attacked Mr. James Dixon-one of the burgesses-in open court, and called him "and old rogue, an old knave, and an old rascal; and that, were it not for his grey-hairs, he (the said Ton Dennis) said he would break his (the said old Dixon's) pate." Of course such evil words, even from such a privileged individual as an attorney, could not be endured for a moment-particularly as they were addressed to one of the most honourable dignitaries of the judicial seat. Accordingly the provost, free-burgesses, and commonalty assembled in solemn conclave, and by mutual assent an consent they put Tom out of court and into the Marshalsea.
1695- A new Parliament assembled in Dublin on the 27th August. Our Bandon representatives were Edward Riggs, Esq., Riggsdale, and Francis Bernard, Esq., Castle-Mahon. There were a great number of bills and petitions introduced during the several sessions through which this Parliament extended, amongst which were:-
A Bill for taking away the Writ de heretico comnurendo.
A Bill to fix the value of brass money at the time same was borrowed during the late troubles.
The Petition of Margaret Maxwell-poor distressed widow-on behalf of herself and four small children, praying the House to take her sad and deplorable condition into consideration; her husband being tried and executed fro treason in the late King James's government, for no other reason but for endeavouring with others to defend themselves against the rapparees.
The Petition of Folliott Sherighly, praying the House to consider the services done by him in securing the muster-roll and books of entry of the Irish army after the rout at the Boyne, whereby the commanding officers who served in the Irish army were known and outlawed.
A Bill to prevent Protestants turning Papists, or intermarrying with them.
A Bill to prevent Papists becoming solicitors.
A Petition from the inhabitants of Bandon, setting forth their grievances under King James, &c.
Bachelors were taxed this year. We really hope some member of our legislature will introduce a measure on the all-important subject of bachelor taxation. Of what earthly use is he-the snarling, selfish, cold-hearted piece of unfeeling humanity? He does not help to increase the subjects of our gracious Queen, as all good people are in duty bound to do, and thereby produce additional consumers of the various excisable articles in daily use; and in this way contribute his share toward the relief of the state, and towards paying the very policemen who interposes his baton between him and the honest indignation of the fair sex.
Although we approve of the principle of free-trade, and will candidly admit that every man ought to be allowed to dispose of himself as he may deem fit, yet there are exceptional cases, and where legislative interference amounts to a positive necessity. Why should the executive-which we entrust with unlimited powers for increasing the weal of our fellow-countrymen-suffer one of them to be dismally moping his way through the streets, with his coat buttoned probably over his buttonless shirt, and his cold , blue nose and his lustreless eyes turned up to the wet clouds, as if he-wretched outcast!-expected to find sympathy there, when he may have a comfortable wife for the asking? and , in due time, if he had only ordinary luck, he may have a dozen or so of interesting little children-all striving, perhaps, at the same time, to make a horse of his paternal knee, and running up various accounts for edibles, clothes, boots, shoes, pinafores, &c.-that would do any parent's eyes good to behold.
We would undoubtedly place a confiscating tax upon all such odd and singular fellows, and would consider ourselves amply borne out by the jurisprudence of our own day. Have we not an act on the the statute-book interfering with the liberty of the subject, and that to such an extent as to impose fine and imprisonment upon him for attempting to terminate his miseries and his existence at the same time? And yet no one cries out against it. If then the legislature is justified in interfering to keep a man miserable, how much the more is it justified in laying hold of a wretch by the collar, shaking all the crumbs of bread and bits of string out of his pocket, and saying:-"Sir, you must-you shall-we'll force you to be happy!"
1697- The Quakers were at this time pretty numerous in Bandon. We have seen an interesting relic of their presence in out town in this year, to wit-a marriage certificate; and as we are aware that anything connected with this respectable body during their stay here will interest our local readers, were readily lay it before them.
Society of Freinds.
"John Ferishe was born the sixteenth day of ninth month, 1676, in ye town of Malverton, Sommerset, England. Joan Taylor (his wife), was born ye tenth day of eleventh month, 1674, in ye town of Banbury, Devonshire. They were married in ye Friend's meeting-house, at Bandon, the twenty-fourth day of sixth month, 1697."
1698- In this year there were only one hundred Roman Catholic clergymen in the county and city of Cork; and of these, before the year ended, seventy-five emigrated-their expenses being defrayed by the government.
At the General Sessions of the Peace held here, it was found by the Grand Jury that Teige Dash had a harper playing in his house on the sabbath-day, contrary to the act; also that Will Barrett is a common swearer and blasphemer.
1702- Captain Nash became provost for the third time. Nuce's bye-law, prohibiting Roman Catholics from following any occupation in the town, or even living there, was revived and amplified this year. This interesting relic of the policy pursued when political and religious animosities filled the contending parties with a rancour so fierce that it was implacable, and created a thirst for vengeance in either side which nothing but the utter prostration of its opponent could appease, we now give:-
|Borough of Bandon-Bridge||}||"At a general assembly of the provost, free-burgesses, and commonalty, met together in the Thorsel or courthouse, situate on the north-side of the said borough, the fourth day of February instant, Ano Domi, 1702/3. After debate|
|had between them, concerning the removing of all Irish Papists out our the said borough and liberties thereof, it was, by the general and mutual assent and consent of the said provost, free-burgesses, and commonalty, consented and agreed upon in manner and form following (that is to say)-That we, the provost, free-burgesses, and commonalty of this borough, being very sensible that it had been, time out of mind, a custom within the borough that no Irish Papist should inhabit within the liberties thereof; yet, notwithstanding, there had of late several such Irish Papists crept in, and do still inhabit within the liberty of this borough. For remedy whereof, we, the said provost, free-burgesses, and commonalty do resume our ancient privilege, and make it a bye-law: That if any Irish Papists, now inhabiting within the liberties of this borough, being warned to depart and remove out of the said liberties aforesaid, upon pain of forfeiting whatsoever the present provost shall think fit, provided it be under three pounds six shillings and eight-pence (£3 6s. 8d.) sterling, he, or they, or any, or all of them having first due notice given them, and a time to remove, not exceeding ten days after such notice. And if any one of them shall, after such due notice given as aforesaid, to the same aforesaid, presume to remain and inhabit within this borough, that then their goods shall be answerable to pay any such sum as shall by the provost be laid on him or them, for his or their contempt; which said sum or sums so levied shall be for the use of the said corporation, to be laid out as the said provost shall see occasion. And if, for the future, any who is or shall become a freeman of this borough shall let or set a house, or houses, to any such said Irish Papists, within the liberties aforesaid, any such freeman shall forfeit three pounds six shillings and eight-pence sterling; to be levied by order of the provost for the time being, when any freeman shall presume to set or let a house to any such Irish Papists, and being so levied shall be for the use of the corporation. And if any one who is a freeman of the said borough that shall or will oppose the turning out of any such said Irish Papists, out of the liberties thereof, according to the ancient custom aforesaid, and will refuse to join in turning out the said Irish Papists, or any of them, shall be thought and looked upon as enemies to the borough, and for ever be adjudged incapable of being either provost, burgess, or freeman of the commonalty within the borough of Bandon-Bridge, as aforesaid."|
By way of giving this additional significance, the following was added:-
"The contents of the within bye-law is the full and general assent and consent of the whole court assembled this fourth day of February, Ano Domi, 1702/, to which they have subscribed their names as followeth.
And further, that this bye-law be, by counsel-at-large, put into due form of law.
|Samuel Browne||James Dixon|
|Isaac Browne||Christopher Grinway|
|Andrew Langton||Thomas Polden|
|Abraham Savage||Saul Bruce|
|Attiwell Wood||James Martin|
|Thomas Linscom||William Bull|
|Daniel Conner||John Nash, provost|
All the members of the corporation present signed the above document, with two exceptions-William Bull and Abraham Batten; and, so indignant were the provost, free-burgesses, and commonalty with them, "for wilfully refusing" to affix their names to the bye-law, that a court immediately sat to expel them.
There was another bye-law also passed, beginning with:-
"Whereas several Papists and other loose persons have presumed to bring their families into the corporation of Bandon-Bridge, and the liberties thereof, without the knowledge and consent of the provost, free-burgesses, and commonalty of the said borough." &c., &c.
1703- A new Parliament assembled in Dublin. The representatives for Bandon were Francis Bernard, Castle-Mahon, and Colonel Richard Georges,* Kilbrew, county Meath. Both our representatives served on a great many committees, and were two of the most active members of the House. The importance of encouraging trade seems to have engaged the attention of the House. Amongst the various measurers introduced with this intent were:-
A Bill to encourage the making of earthenware in this kingdom.
To encourage the importation of iron and staves.
To prevent the destruction of the fry of herring, salmon, and other fish.
To oblige all persons in this kingdom to bury in woollen garments.
To improve the hempen and flaxen manufactures in this kingdom, &c.
There were a number of petitions presented, with various objects in view. There was one from the sovereign, burgesses, and commonalty of Kinsale, praying "that the lighthouse at the Old Head near Kinsale may have light continued on it as formerly." From the poor people of the baronies of Muskerry, complaining that the high and petty constables of said baronies made them pay twice over the taxes laid upon them. And one from a number of young gentlemen, complaining of the several frauds and abuses committed on them by one Timothy Salter, who keeps the Royal Oak Lottery.
A great portion of the estates confiscated in consequence of the late rebellion were disposed of this year, in pursuance of an act passed in the English Parliament (11th and 12th William the Third), entitled:- "An Act for granting an aid to his Majesty, by sale of the forfeited and other estates and interest in Ireland, and by a land tax in England, for the several purposes therein mentioned."
* Colonel Georges-subsequently a lieutenant-general-was for a long time quarter-master of the army in Ireland. In this Parliament he was elected for Ratoath and Coleraine as well as for Bandon, but preferred to sit for the latter.
I was enacted that all the honours, manors, lands, possessions, and hereditaments within the realm of Ireland-whereof any person or persons who stood convicted or attainted of treason since the 13th day February, 1688; or who should be convicted of treason before the last day of Trinity term, 1701; or who had been slain in actual rebellion since the 13th of February, 1688; or who at that time were seized, or possessed, or entitled to, on said day, or at any time since, of estates and interests, &.; or of any person or persons who possessed in trust for them, or for any of them, on the 13th of February, or at any time since; or whereof the late King James the Second, or any in trust for him, or to his use, was seized or possessed, or interested in at the time of his accession to the crown of England-should be invested in Francis Annesley, James Hamilton, &c., &c., to the end that the same might be sold and disposed of, to and for such uses as are expressed and declared by the said act.
At the great auction, which commenced in March and ended in June, an immense number of estates were disposed of. The average of a life interest was six year's purchase; and of a fee, thirteen years.
Amongst the principal purchasers in this county were:-Alderman John Newenham, of Cork, who purchased some townlands forfeited by Ignatius Gould; Sir John Meade became the owner of Michael Casey's estate; Sir Richard Cox, of Dunmanway, was the purchaser of a part of the estates of King James; Piercy Freke, of Rathbarry, was the successful bidder of another portion of King James's estate, and also for that of Edmund Galway; Daniel Conner, of Bandon-Bridge, bought a portion of Justin McCarthy's property, and also of Ignatius Gould's' Francis Bernard, of Castle-Mahon, bought several thousand acres which had belonged to Lord Clancarthy; and "the governor and company for making hollow sword-blades in England," who were by far the largest purchasers in this county, on the 23rd of June,1703, became owners of no less that 55,000 acres-a portion of the vast estate of the unfortunate nobleman whose name we have just mentioned.
The wholesale destruction of woods about this time was much complained of. It is said that on Lord Clancarthy's estate alone no less than £27,000 worth of timber was wantonly destroyed. Full-grown trees could be bought for six-pence; and when purchasers could not be found for them at that trifling sum, they were allowed to rot, as no one would take the trouble to remove them.
Up to this time the country, which was well-timbered, presented a park-like appearance. Barren mountains and valueless lands were covered with tall, stately trees-a portion of the primeval forest that was allowed to remain-but now they were all cut down, and the hills and valleys were stripped of the graceful foliage which had been their pride and their protection centuries before Strongbow and his audacious adventurers cast covetous eyes on this green isle; and this district had ever since exhibited that naked look for which it is noted to the present day.
Two reasons are assigned for this reckless waste. One is that the purchasers of the escheated estates were afraid they would be dispossessed in case the Pretender ascended the throne, and that they were eager to repay themselves as much of their purchase-money out of the lands as fast as they could. The other was that they were felled lest they should afford protection to the Tories and rapparees.
In the next chapter we give all the particulars we have been enable to collect of our famous townsman- a man to whom England is in some measure indebted for the possession of the renowned key of the Straits.
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