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HISTORY OF BANDON
[Pages 500-519] THE FIRST ROMAN CATHOLIC CHAPEL IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF BANDON - THE FRENCH AT BANTRY BAY - THE EXECUTION OF THE FOUR UNITED IRISHMEN AT INNOSHANNON - WHY THE H----S BECAME PROTESTANTS - OUR FIRST GLASS SHOP-WINDOW - THE OLD BLACK BULL - FROM BANDON, BUT NO IRISHMAN.
1796- William Ponsonby, a major in the army, was elected to represent the town in place of Lodge Morris, "who hath accepted a place of profit under the crown."
On the 21st of October the Bandon corps of yeomanry cavalry were called out. Lord Bandon was appointed captain, Rodger Hedges, lieutenant, and Arthur Beamish Bernard, cornet. It was unanimously resolved by the corps, that they would serve without pay, and, in addition provide their own clothing; but that they would accept accoutrements and arms from the government. The Rev. Ambrose Hickey was their chaplain, Richard Laone, surgeon, Edward Cotter, junr., secretary, Timothy Deasy, junr., Henry Bowen Browne, and John Hawkes, sergeants; and Thomas Browne, Samuel Hawkes, John Sweete, and Willliam Pophma, corporals.
The foundation-stone of the Roman Catholic chapel on Gallow's Hill was laid on the 28th of April. The ground was given gratuitously by the Earl of Bandon, who, in addition, subscribed liberally towards its erection, as also did many of the Protestant inhabitants. When the rebellions were over, and when many of those who were possessed of a feverish anxiety for revolt and bloodshed had left the country, or had turned to peaceful pursuits, the necessity for maintaining the Penal Laws in their rigour-laws which the English colonists had been compelled to enact in their self-defence, in order to save themselves from being not only overwhelmed, but exterminated by the Irish enemy-had gradually become less and less. The Roman Catholics saw this, and soon their places of worship began to arise again.
The first chapel within the walls of the people in this neighbourhood used to assemble was at Kilhassen,* where a site was given them by Mr. Poole, of Mayfield. In this remote place, which is several miles to the west of Bandon, a small building, thirty feet long by twelve broad, was raised, and covered with straw. The materials of which this edifice was constructed were of the rudest kind; the stones being for the most part taken out of ditches, and collected off fields, and out of dykes; and the rafters were pine trees, roughly shaped, to support the thevauns or laths upon which rested the thatch. Even the altar was nothing more than a pile of undressed stones put together by unskillful hands, and bedded in clay mortar. An addition of fifteen feet by twelve, was made to the castern side of this building of this building by Father Daniel Quinlan, but he was unable to roof it. Consequently, when the wind blew from the east, the congregation were exposed to its biting effects. To avoid this, he built an altar on the western side of the western gable, so that when his people were unable to worship at the eastern side they could at the western.
* So thickly overgrown with trees was this locality so late as 1750, that, it is said, a man could pass from Butler's Cross to the Bandon river without touching his foot to the ground.
The distance of Kilhassen from Bandon rendered it desirable that the Roman Catholic place of worship should be nearer the town. Accordingly, Father Dan Neville-one of Quinlan's successors-obtained a piece of ground from Mr. Travers, of Roundhill. where he erected a spacious building, around which grew the hamlet now known as the Old Chapel. This structure stood in a field near the mill at the north side of the road. The last priest who was appointed to this chapel was Father Shinnick; and he continued to celebrated mass in it until the completion of the new chapel at Gallow's Hill. During the erection of the latter, several of the most respectable and influential of our Protestant townsmen took a warm interest in it. Amongst the rest, the Rev. Henry Hewett, the Protestant vicar of the parish, who acted as treasurer to a fund collected from among his own congregation in aid of the building. This chapel, in course of time, being found too limited for the comfortable accommodation of the congregation, the founding-stone of a spacious and elegant structure was laid on the 17th of March, 1858. It is dedicated to St. Patrick, and although not perfectly finished, divine service has been performed in it for some years.
The French fleet arrived in Bantry Bay towards the close of December. A letter written by a Bandon man to his brother, in a few weeks afterwards, gives us an opportunity of seeing matters as they were-or, at least, as they then presented themselves to one who was there, and saw them at that eventful period. After alluding to the journey of a friend and himself from Limerick, he says:- "When we came to Bandon, there was nothing there buy the appearance of war and hunger. I could not get as much bread in town as would do me for my breakfast. Bread was so scarce that the bakers were obliged by the provost to bake on Christmas-day, to supply the wants of the great number of soldiers that were in the town; and which were increasing, for they were coming from all parts of the kingdom, with artillery and cannon continually rolling in. The churches, meeting-house, and preaching-house, were filled with soldiers. The chapel was formed into a horse-barrack, so that our town was dressed in all the horrors of war. All the little towns and country were thronged with militia. Express hourly arriving from Bantry." Again:- "Many of the moneyed people here took their flight from Cork and Dublin, to embark for England. Lord Bandon sent off his family with all his valuable effects. The ladies and married people are greatly in dread. Many of them had their money at interest, and those were tortured by double fears. Thus were the holidays spent in Bandon, and for seven days after, until the Lord arose a mighty wind that drove them from the bay, and damaged their shipping, so that they could never muster after."
1797- Broderick Chinnery, of Annes' Grove, county Cork, and the Hon. William O'Callaghan, of Shanbally, were elected to represent Bandon in the last Parliament that was to be held in Dublin.
Private Dominick Giligan, Rosecommon militia, and Corporal Drumgold, Westmeath militia, were tried by court-martial at Bandon, on the 10th of July in this year (1797); and Corporal McAuliffe, and William Larracy (both of the Second Fencible Dragoons), on the 20th of July, also at Bandon; "for beginning, exciting, causing, or joining in a mutiny or sedition in the corps to which they belong, by having taken unlawful, munitions, or seditious oaths, or being instrumental in their being taken; as also for being present at a mutiny or sedition, or intended mutiny or sedition, and not using their utmost endeavours to suppress the same; or coming to the knowledge of a mutiny, or intended mutiny, and not, without delay, giving information thereof to their commanding officer."
From the evidence given by John Daly, it appears that Giligan was the agent of the United Irishmen at the camp at Mammoor. He also swore that another soldier, named MacDonald, told him "that they put a coal of fire to the wagon-stores, which was found and put out by a dragoon who had stables near it; and that they were waiting for a letter from Fermoy camp, and when they received that, they would place the cannon on the 30-th Regiment's barracks to keep them in, as they could not depend on them."
Patrick Dangan, of the Galway Light Infantry, deposed:- "That about three months before, Corporal McAuliffe and John Purcell, of the same regiment, took him up Cork-road, and told witness, if he would do as they desired, he would never want a friend, a shilling, or a drink while a brother could give it to him. That McAuliffe sent Purcell for Larracy, who asked them what news? They said good news; and then Larracy said he always thought witness a sober, settled fellow, and believed he (the witness) would become a brother. That Denis Callaghan, the slater, coming up, asked if witness was a brother. He was told that he meant to become one. Callaghan then shook hands with him, and then took him inside a ditch, where he swore him to keep secret what he should see or hear. They all then went to Murphy's public house' and after getting some liquor, Callaghan read the articles-which were to be true to a brother, and ever to see one of them want so long as he would have twopence-halfpenny, and that he was to join the French when they'd come. At the bottom of the paper were two hearts and a tree, apparently done with silk. Callaghan said he got them from a Mr. O'Conner, in the west, and that the tree denoted liberty. They then showed him signs with the hand, of love and liberty; McAuliffe and Larracy often repeating them to him; and Callaghan taught him a catechism by which he'd know a brother. They all told him that they intended to rise about the 1st of July, to seize the cannon and the camp, to murder the officers and all who would not join them; and that even if the French did not come, they thought they would be able to march through the kingdom themselves."
It was principally upon the evidence of a man named Riely that Corporal Drumgold was convicted.
In addition to the evidence we have just given in reference to the prisoners, there was other evidence given concerning them and their accomplices, from which we extract that of John Hargrove, who deposed:- "That, about a month before, he was walking by the river, near Mammoor camp, when he was called by seven or eight men of the Meath, county Limerick, Wexford, and Waterford; when he was told by one of them-a man named Allen-that they intended writing to the North and other parts of the kingdom, to inform them that they would go on with their intentions on the 1st of July; and then to have the kingdom on fire on both ends, and in the middle; and then, with what friends Mr. O'Brien, near Bandon, could send them, and what friends they had in the camp (about four hundred), that they intended first taking the cannon, and then the bell-tents, with the small arms (which they would give the country-people that would be sent by Mr. O'Brien), and then put General Coote to death, and as many officers as they could, and then retreat to Bandon, and take possession of the battery, and keep it, if possible, until the French would land.
The prisoners were found guilty, and sentenced to be shot. The day after they received their sentence, they were brought in two carriages from the camp of Mammoor, through Bandon, and down to a field midway between Bandon and Innoshannon. Giligan and Drumgold were accompanied by Father Haly; and McAuliffe and Larracy, of the Second Fencible Dragoons, by Father Shinnick. All the troops in Bandon and at Mammoor camp were drawn up, so as to form the three sides of a square, the fourth being reserved as the place of execution. The unhappy men being brought forward, their sentence was again read to them, after which they were pinioned and placed kneeling upon their coffins. The firing party having moved forward, they were ordered to make ready. At the word "present!" the men levelled their pieces at the accused, and kept them poised in that position, awaiting the next order. The suspense for a few seconds was agonizing, and then the suppressed feelings, unable to bear the strain on them any longer, gave way, and one simultaneous "oh!" burst from the thousands of spectators who had assembled to witness this sad scene. "Fire!" and the loud report which ran along the green hill side told its own story. When the smoke had cleared away, it was found that Giligan, McAuliffe, and Larracy, were shot dead, but that Drumgold was untouched. Upon this, the provost-sergeant leisurely marched up to him, and placing the muzzle of his pistol against his right temple, deliberately blew out his brains, The four bodies were then coffined, and buried in the graveyard of Innoshannon.
For a long time afterwards-indeed up to a few years since-four large mounds of stone marked the place of execution; but the utilitarian spirit of the age has removed even these, and the last time we saw this place de greve, a good crop of turnips concealed beneath their luxuriant leaves all traces of an event, the like of which we hope this locality will long be a stranger to.
According to some patriotic poetaster, who has committed this affair to verse, and whose lucubrations we now give, they were innocent-that is, according to an interpretation often given to that term in this country, however guilty they may have been, they ought not to be punished; and their lives were taken away by traitors, who falsely swore. Nevertheless, he honestly tells us, that General Coote offered to pardon them "if they'd make discovery." But that they instantly refused, and told him to his teeth that they would prove constant; and, besides, that they were united, and that they hoped to be rewarded for it hereafter.*
"Assist me all ye muses, and give me no excuses,
Concerning these few verses, I mean for to relate,
On the laws of extirpations, and bribed perjurations,
Which caused great desolations in this country of late.
"To make a just inspection, it would hazard no reflection,
To treat on that horrid action, done at the camp Mammoor-
By the laws of General Coote, I dare not tell the truth,
Of this perpetual murder, would be treasons, I am sure.
"There's McAuliffe, Larracy, and his noble brave Drumgold,
Giligan, we learn, is the subject of my theme;
To the time of all duration, and to its consumation,
With grief and great vexation, I moralize on their fame.
"No heroes could be braver, they were lads of good behaviour,
Until Curran, Reily, and Daly swore their lives away;
For the sake of golden ore, the traitors falsely swore,
And left them in their gore at Innoshannon that day.
"Bandon may remember, these heroes once in splendor.
In all their pomp and grandeur, a-glittering from afar;
Light infantry advancing, and cavalry a-prancing,
And shining armour glancing, all in the pomp of war.
"The hills and dales were crowed, and all parts beshrouded,
The streets were strongly guarded, most shocking for us to see;
Drums and trumpets rattle, as of veterans going to battle,
And these heroes to be slaughtered for the sake of liberty.
"The appointed ground they arrived at, their lives to be deprived of,
Then off their garments stripped, and fro them flung away;
Their arms being unbounded, with numerous bands surrounded,
And the trumpets loudly sounded, their valour to display.
"They held a consultation, to find out the combination,
And in an exultation the general he did say:-
'By me you'll be remembered, and your guilt you'll not be charged with,
And besides, you'll be pardoned, if you make discovery.'
"They stood awhile amused, their senses being confused,
And instantly refused, and made him this reply:-
'We know the laws which arm, and your threat don't us alarm;
Our souls you cannot harm-we have but once to die.
"Although we are young and tender, to you we won't surrender,
But like Hibernia's defender, most constant we will prove;
And, besides, we are united, and of death we're not affrighted,
And we hope we'll be requited by He who rules above.
"There is the noble Father Haly, attended the infantry,
And the noble Vicar Schinnick, the cavalry did attend,
Placed in a hollow square, well guarded front and rear,
The guards did prepare to cause their fatal end.
"The peace, boys, it will restore throughout the Irish shore;
We'll be present here no more-we'll die for liberty.
The guns they were presented, and their gently breast were entered-
Thousands of souls lamented to see such cruelty.
"To see those lovely four, a-weltering in their gore,
And their breeched all dyed o'er with this barbarity.
To the coffins they were hurried; to Innoshannon carried;
And instantly were buried-a dreadful sight to see!"
* This is what is called a treasonable song, and is never sung unless the doors are closed, and a watch kept lest some myrmidon of the law should be eavesdropping, and get the singer and his auditory into trouble.
On the 19th of June, the Westmeath regiment of militia, consisting of upwards of seven hundred men, under the command of Colonel Sir Hugh O'Reilly, marched from Clonakilty, where they had been some time quartered, for Bandon. When they had reached within a short distance of Balliniscarthy, several hundreds of the insurgents, armed chiefly with pikes, hastened to meet them. Sir Hugh called a halt, formed his men, and gave the word to load. The order they obeyed, and rammed down cartridges in due form, but without the balls: these they bit off, and dropped upon the road. The rebels still pressing on, the section on the right of the column was ordered to fire; but the harmless discharge only produced merriment. Anticipating little injury after this friendly reception, the insurgents now boldly came up. Some of them shook the soldiery by hand, and familiarly addressed them by name. More of them slapped them on the back, and swore the day was their own. Others bestrode the cannon; and one huge fellow, named Teig-an-Astna, more audacious-than his fellows, actually walked up, and seized the colonel's charger by the bridle. But a sergeant, who was in the ranks, and one of the few who had loaded with ball, stepped a pace or two to the front, and, levelling his piece at Teige, shot him dead; but he did not live long to congratulate himself upon his loyalty, for his rear-rank man, taking aim, discharged his musket through his back, but he fell in agony upon the ground. There were a few rank and file scattered throughout the ranks of the same way of thinking as poor Cummings; and now they began to grow uneasy for their lives, and well they might. Some of their comrades, with whom they had never once interchanged an angry work, now pushed intentionally against them; others spat in their faces, and in a short time, in all probability, they would have shared the sergeant's fate, had not a strong company of the Caithness Legion, under Major Jones, opportunely made its appearance.
This little force had been sent out to reconnoitre, and to keep the Westmeath in check, information as to the premeditated disloyalty of that corps having been received in Bandon the night before. Their unexpected arrival produced a magical effect upon the disaffected. The most turbulent amongst them became instantly silent. They fell into the ranks without even waiting for the word of command; and, when the ordered to march, they set forward with alacrity. Meanwhile the Caithness continued to advance, and having got between the rear of the Westmeath and the enemy's front, they faced to the latter; then, suddenly opening out their ranks, they discharged their two field-pieces at them with much effect. Accompanying this with a volley of musketry, they soon sent them scampering off to the hills.
The bodies of the two men were taken in a cart to Clonakilty. That of Teig-an-Astna was ignominiously flung into a pool of water in the Strand, called Crab Hole; but the remains of Sergeant Cummings were buried with full military honours in the graveyard attached to the the parish church of the town.
1880- The following humorous extract from a letter, dated Bandon, July 10th, shows that the new century opened out with the old state of things:-
"The loyalty of this town never appeared more conspicuously than on the glorious 1st of July. The windows were decked out with green boughs, variegated with flowers and orange lilies, and appeared at a distance as so many hanging gardens; while the mind was awfully impressed with the sight of those royal culprits, King James and Queen Mary, who were hanged, shot at, and consigned to the flames, as they ought to be. The spectators beheld, with pleasing astonishment, King William placed on a spire of one of the churches, majestically moving in the air, riding over a salmon, painted orange colour, and with purple fins. The battle of the books was nothing to the real battle that took place between the caps. In the beginning, the country-women, who were accustomed to pluck sheep, had by far the advantage, when a reinforcement coming down to the Orange girls, victory was soon decided in their favour, when caps, ribbons, and hair were plentifully distributed about."
We ought not to be surprised that many Roman Catholics, who believe in that unchristian dogma of their communion, which pronounces inevitable damnation against all those who are not members of the Papal church, should entertain inimical feelings towards their Protestant fellow-subjects; but these feelings are mildness itself, when compared to the hostility-in fact, the dire hatred-entertained by them towards those who have renounced their faith and become Protestants. They won't believe, or they affect not to believe, in the sincerity, of their conversion-"it was for lucre they turned." In addition to the repugnance with which they see the number of the faithful diminishing, in their case, there is another reason. When one of them becomes a member of the Reformed church, in their eyes, he ceases to be a Celt, and becomes a Saxon. Instead of being one of the oppressed, he is now among the oppressors. Instead of howling with his quondam fellows after that which belongs to others, he will be expected to tell them that they ought to work vigorously and crate something for themselves; and, henceforward, his interests and his aspirations will be wholly Saxonized. Hence, a man when he became a Protestant never had a day's luck. If his pig took the meazles, or his cow shortened in her milk, or his horse wanted shoes, it would be:- "Yerra! how could he have luck, and to turn!"
In addition to the reasons assigned by Protestants for conversions to their faith, such as the study of the scriptures, &c., the following is the strangest, we have met with yet, and is assigned as the reason why the H---s became Protestants.
Old H----, said our informant, was a strong farmer, who scraped together a considerable sum of money by dint of hard industry, and he kept it together by dint of not spending it. His wife was also very saving, and was the very counterpart of old H---- himself. They had only one child-a son-a smart, intelligent fellow, who scarcely ever entered the neighbouring town without bringing home a book of some sort with him, and with the contents of which he made himself familiar. This annoyed the old people, who thought that a book was all very well in its way, and that it was a nice thing on a Sunday, when one had nothing to do, to be turning over the leaves, and be looking at pictures; but to be wasting week-days in reading it, was thing not to be listened to. Pat, his father, would often say to him, "twould be fitter for you to go out and see if the cows eat all their hay, or to bruise a kitch of furze for the house, or to throw a handful of bran into the troughs to the pigs, than to be idiling your day in larning larning." "I never saw much good come of books," would chime his old mother; "and it must be bad larnin' is in the books you read, Pat a gillah, when they'd make you go walking about the fields of a Sunday, instead of going to prayers."
In due time the old man died, and young Pat became owner of a well-stocked farm, and a good round sum in hard cash. A short time after the funeral, Father Dan, the parish priest, went to condole with the old woman, and to ask the son when he was going to have masses said for the purpose of his poor father's soul.*
* Cardinal Mazzarin was asked one time how may masses it would take to save a soul? :"As many snow-balls as it would take to heat an oven," was the significant reply.
"If I thought they'd do him any good," said the son, "I wouldn't begrudge him dozens of them; but as I don't believe they would, I won't pay for any."
"Oh, that will do!" said Father Dan, walking off in a huff, and muttering something which Pat could not make out.
Pat thought no more about the matter, but went on as usual, save that he looked after the farm much more carefully than he used previous to his father's death, now that the duty of doing so solely devolved upon him; and when his farming work was over, he spent the rest of his time either by his own fire-side, in his favourite pastime, reading, or he strolled over to some neighbouring farmer's house, where a well-to-do young bachelor was by no means an unwelcome guest among the unmarried girls. He was returning from a visit of this kind one night, when a frightful apparition stood before him. It had the head and horns of a bull; the body was also that of a bull, whom it resembled in almost every particular, save that it stood on two legs instead of four.
"In God's name!" said Pat, "who are you?" as the bull sauntered out of the dike near the ditch, and walked leisurely to the middle of the road.
"Boo! boo! boo!" said the ghost, "I'm your poor father's sowl!"
"Yerra! then are you?" said Pat, as a strong suspicion of an attempt to play him a trick entered his mind.
"I am!" said the spirit; "the poor sowl that you wouldn't lose a farthing by to get out of purgatory!"
"Yerra! I thought," said Pat, "that' twas only wicked people went there?"
"Every one goes there," said the ghost.
"By gor! thin, if that's the case," says Pat, "a fellow might as well take his whack out of this world while he's in it, as he must put in an appearance at limbo, whether he's good or bad. At all events," continued he, "I'll speak to Father Dan, and if he does them for nothing----"
"Oh!" interposed the spirit, "wouldn't you lose a penny by me, after all the money I left you?"
"But," says Pat, "if the masses are said, what is it to you whether the priest did them for nothing, or was paid for them?"
"Ah, Pat," said his father, emphatically, and shaking his head in a knowing manner, "that wouldn't do at all. They wouldn't give a trawneen for a mass in the other world unless 'twas paid for!"
"And how do the Protestants manage, father?" says Pat; "sure there's never a mass at a said for one of them."
"Boo! boo! boo! the heretics, the heretics!" said his father.
"By gor! 'tis they're the lucky heretics," says Pat; " 'tis they get all the crame, and the skim-milk is for the faithful. Yerra! if you see a grand carriage rowlin over the big bredge, drawn by grand grey horses, and every bast of them striking his hoof agen the ground-by gor! as if he was a king-ax who owns them, and you'll find 'tis a Protestant; or if you see a great house, with a window in it for every week in the year, and hundreds of trees-that you'd think grew big on purpose to plaze them-all round it, to keep the cowld from it, ax who owns it, and 'tis sure to be a Protestant. Ax yourself who did you pay rint to, and who all your neighbours and friends pay rint to, and you'll find 'tis a Protestant; and sur God wouldn't be always rewarding thim if they were wrong-eh, father?"
"Boo! boo! boo! again, said his father, "that's in this world," says he; "Boo! boo! boo! and he was very vexed.
"But, by gor! there twice as well off in the next," said Pat; "and signs on, who ever heard of one of thim turning back' and standing on tkhe public road of a cowld night, begging to have some one pay for masses for his poor sowl! eh, father?"
"Boo! boo! boo! boo! I suppose I may be off now!" said the ghost.
"Be off! is it?" said Pat. "Yerra! shure you wouldn't think of going all the way back again, without stepping up and having a shawn-a-mone with my poor mother, and she so fond of you? The devil from me, father!" said he, "but you wouldn't know yourself at all, if you were to hear he talking about you. 'Oh! wisha, 'twas he was the dacent, honest man, entirely; she'd say, and she swaying hither and over upon the little stooleen, up by the fire, as if she was going to Ameriky in a row-boat, 'and may the heavens be his bed this night!' little thinking, father, that you put heaven out of your head altogether; and that you thought you'd be doing mightly well if you hadn't to put up with a shake down in limbo."
"I won't go! said the ghost.
"Excuse me for contradicting you, father," said the son, "but you must!"
"But I say I won't!" said the ghost, and he boo'd awfully.
"Walk up before me there at once!" said Pat, taking the bull with a whack of the whip across the calves of his legs, that made him screech for all the world like a Christian. "Walk up this very instant, or I'll soon persuade you that the pains of purgatory arn't fit to hold a candle to the licking I'll give you! Walk up'! said he, as he struck him three or four times about the region of the tail, just to show him he was not joking at all.
"Well, let me off this time, Pat, alleah," coaxingly said the ghost, "and I'll never trouble you again."
"No, father, up you must go!" said the son, and he gave him a very rough push. He then drove him before him like a pig on his way to the slaughter-house, until he got him safe and sound inside his own kitchen, where the servant-boy sat waiting up for him; then rousing up the whole house, he told them all that his farther's ghost had come to see them.
Meanwhile the ghost got into a dark corner, with his face to the wall, and he would not say a word. "He never asked after the old woman; or if the potatoes were getting black; or if pork was riz; or how was corn. No! bad luck to the word he'd say at all, at all!" said Pat; :there wasn't even a boo out of him, and I to tell him that there was my mother to the 'fore, and to tell her what he had to say about the masses."
At last, seizing the bull by the horns, and giving his skin a sharp tug or two in the front, he pulled the hide off his poor father's spirit, and before them stood * * *
H---- went openly to church on the following Sunday, and on the roll of the clergy of the church of England the name of more than one of his descendants may be seen; and those that bear it have never been accused of a want of knowledge of the holy scriptures, or a lack of zeal in the performance of the duties of their sacred calling.
1802- On the 30th of July, Sir Broderick Chinnery, of the city of Bath, was elected to represent Bandon in the new Parliament to be held at Westminster, on the 31st of August.
1803- Additional accommodation for two thousand men was taken this year in Bandon. Cornwall's brewery, Bigg's mills, Dowden and Wheeler's stores, Kingston's buildings-in fact, nearly all the large concerns in the town-were rented by the authorities.
All the shop-windows in Bandon up to this year were unglazed. They consisted merely of a timber-frame-work, in which two or three shelves were placed; these were equi-distant from one another, and were parallel to the pavement. Samples of the various wares to be had inside were piled upon them, with the intent that their alluring aspect would attract customers. Now, for the first time, a townsman, who lived at least half a century ahead of his fellows, introduced a glass window. The old people, who had as much respect for novelty as the devil is said to have for holy water, crowded around it, and showered sarcasm on the unfortunate innovator, unsparingly.
"Haw! Yerra, Bill, I suppose the shop that was there before you wasn't good enough for you! Wisha, dhe vora dheerig!"
"Well, by jingo! says another, "the dust won't be able to get on Dolly's purty face, and how!"
"I suppose he'll turn Papist next!" soberly remarked a third.
"I am afraid, friend William, thou hast done a dangerous thing!" said Tommy Weldon-an old Quaker, who was recognized as the sense-carrier of the community for the previous forty years. "William," continued the old man, "if thy door happeneth to ger closed, won't thou and thy household be smothered?"
This never struck bewildered Bill before. He never saw his danger until now. He became terrified, and looked as ghastly as if a pan of charcoal was on the floor smouldering away his last moments, as tranquilly as if he had selected that method of gliding from this world to the next. "Your right, sir!" said the panic-stricken man, as he demolished the panes in the lower sash with as much vehemence and indignation as if he had just discovered a plot to take his life.
Many of our peasantry are proud of running up their pedigree to some famous Protestant in "the ould times;" and the worst he would appear to us now-a-days, the better they would like him, and the prouder they are of him. A short time since, we overtook a poor man returning from mass; and , in the course of conversation, he mentioned his name. We remarked that it was the name of a very old Protestant family that formerly lived in Bandon. "Why," said he, "my grandfather was a Protestant; and he was none of your wake-tay or staggering-bob Protestants; but a fine, rale ould illigant black bull. Oh!" continued he, "he was so fine and black in himself, that he wouldn't say, 'God save all here!" if there was a Papist present."
The "old black bull" was generally a member of that rigid and uncompromising sect of religionists, the Presbyterians. Socially, he was as playful as a kitten, and as harmless as an old horse; but he was a man of strong prejudices, and so honest was he in the advocacy of what he thought right, that flung toleration, respect for his opponent's convictions, and other results of an advanced civilization, to the winds. John Knox he looked upon as a hero, as well as an apostle. Of the high Episcopalians, he thought, "The least said, the soonest mended." "The high church," he used to say, "is on the high road to Rome." In his eyes, there was scarcely a difference between the Prelacy and the Papacy. The clergy of both churches wore vestments, and claimed power to absolve penitent people from their sins; the confessions were the same, one merely repeating in Latin what the other repeated in English; the baptismal service was the same, ever to marking the newly initiated members of the church with the sing of the cross; and the intolerant and persecuting spirit which always characterized the one was not wanting in the other. Concerning the latter, he would never forger that, in the reign of the second Charles, several thousands of the best men of the nonconformists were flung into prison, with nothing more laid to their charge than that of refusing to adopt the tenets and ritual of the Church of England. But, great as was his aversion to the Prelacy, it was exceeded by his horror of Popery. His Puritanical abhorrence of the latter had been transmitted to him through generations. Indeed, it was often the only legacy his fathers had to bequeath. With it spiritually he had nothing to do. He knew well that the humble Roman Catholic, who told his beads upon his knees, had the same right to think that he had, and was as sincere in his devotion as he was himself. It was against the political Papacy that the strongest feelings of his nature were directed-his very instinct recoiled from it-he could never be prevailed upon to give it credit even for good intentions. When he looked at those who exercised such peremtory powers in religious matters, carry the same spirit which produced them into temporal affairs; and when he saw those under their sway, who ventured to express an opinion not sanctioned by by them, reproved by the thumb-screw, and their arguments silenced by the Inquisition-he did not believe them when they shouted fro liberty of conscience. But his dislike to the Papacy by no means extended itself to its professors. His ear was ever open to the wail of woe, regardless from whence it came; and his hand was out-stretched with charity, without heeding whether the applicant looked for divine truth among the unadorned worship-houses of the nonconformists, or amidst the gorgeous colonnades of Rome. He was ever foremost to help a poor neighbour; and, should death enter the humble cabin and remove its provider, amongst the readiest to step forward, catch the little orphan by the hand, and share with him the comforts of his own home, was the "old black bull."
These are some specimens of the taurus antiquus niger still in being. Not long since, we happened to be present when a friend of ours, who sought the representation of his native town upon principles more in vogue than those previously advocated, called upon one of those.
"Well, Dick, my old boy,: quoth the candidate for senatorial honours, "I know you'll stand to an old neighbour and an old friend."
Dick raised his eyes, and observing a Roman Catholic gentleman, who formed one of the deputation, surily growled out, "I don't like your company."
Upon this, we all addressed Richard blandly, some reminding him of interesting incidents connected with their mutual childhood; others told him humorous little anecdotes, and spoke as softly, and handled him as gently, as a young mother would her first babe. In course of time, we thought we made some impression upon his obdurate heart; and even one or two of the most sanguine amongst us fancied we could discern a faint streak or two of a smile flitting about his upper lip. Again our chief led the attack:-
"Well, Dick?" Ah! I knew I could always count upon your vote and interest."
Dick, thus challenged, again raised his head, and ran his eyes over the Protestant portion of us fairly enough; but when they alighted on the admirer of the triple tiara, oh, the scowl! 'twas as black and deep as a thunder cloud, and every bit as dangerous. He hissed like a cobra de capella, made a rush for his hammer, and we-why we ran, of course. Would you blame us?
The Bandon Protestants may fairly be divided into three classes-the positive, the comparative, and the superlative; or fair, brown, and black. Of these, the positive or fair Protestant is a rational being, and may be classed with the Liberal Conservatives or moderate Whigs of our own day; the second think, that when Victor Emanuel hold his court at the Vatican, and the Pope reduced to the position of a big parish priest upon small dues, things may mend; but as for the superlative or black Protestant, the following anecdote will help illustrate the nature of this undying hatred at all times, and in a place where it is to be hoped none of our readers will ever be found, to Popery and everything connected with it.
A good many years ago, there lived here one Dick C----. Dick was one of the superlatives, and he hated Pope and Popery with as much, if not more, intensity than he did Satan himself, and his fell domains. Notwithstanding all his virtues-and he had many-Dick had one vice. Who is there that has no his weal point? He was not a teetotaller, so far as abstaining from intoxicating liquors was concerned. On the contrary, he was often teetotally the other way, and used indulge in what was known in those days as a rookawn. On one of these occasions-whether it was in order to obtain proper ventilation when he was asleep. or that his locus standi glided from under his feet and left him there, or that his powers of locomotion had come to a stand-still, we do not pretend to say-at all events, he was found by an acquaintance lying in the channel outside his door, and as blind as a bat. Another acquaintance of his coming up shortly after, the two held a consultation, and they struck upon a plan for terrifying the discomforted Bacchananlian who lay snoring at their feet into sobriety for the unexpired term of his -sub-lunary demise. Raising him up, they carried him between them into an adjoining outhouse, and stripping him to his shirt and stockings, they wrapped him up in a sheet. To a short rope, which they hung round his neck, they tied a rosary, which they borrowed from an old woman who kept an apple-stall in a gateway at the opposite side of the street; then laying him on some boards on the floor, they placed a wisp of straw and some shavings under his head, to serve for a pillow. One of those who helped him in then went away; but the other, who sometimes went rookawning himself, and who suggested the plot, remained behind. In course of time, Dick awoke, and feeling queer, and everything on every side of him appearing strange and odd, he hurriedly sat up, and eagerly asked, "Where am I?"
"In hell," said a ghastly figure in a deep sonorous tone.
"Ah, that's a bad job," said poor Dick, scratching his head: "a very, very bad job indeed." His eye suddenly rested on the obnoxious beads which were dangling against his orthodox breast-bone, and which had escaped his notice until now. "Oh, good God," said he, nervously catching the rosary between his forefinger and thumb, and holding it up to the light as to make sure of what it was, then letting it go as if it was a rattlesnake, and wiping his fingers in his shroud as if to rub off the slime. "Oh, good God," he continued, "to go to hell is bad enough, and, I suppose, I deserve it; but, of Father of mercy, to die a Papist!"
Then appalled by the magnitude of his punishment, he buried his face in his hands, and sobbed aloud in the agony of his soul. The ghost could hold out no longer; throwing aside his winding-sheet, he ran over to the unfortunate sinner, and slapping him with his open hand between the shoulders, swore out he was true-blue to the backbone. He then explained the entire of the contrivance to him; and when he had handed Dick his clothes, and when the latter had put them on, the two worthies adjourned to and hostelry in the neighbourhood, and there, over many a refreshing cup, they sung the "Boyne Water," and drank over and over again to the glorious. pious, and immortal memory of the great and good King William, who, amongst a crowd of other evils, saved us from brass money, Popery, and wooden shoes.
The old Bandonians were most indignant when they were called Irish, and indeed there was a broad line of demarcation between them and the Irish Celt. They spoke in different tongue-they professed a different religion. In the eyes of the Bandon man, the Irishman was an idolater. In the eyes of the Irishman, the Bandon man was a heretic. Their instincts, their prejudices, their, their aspirations, were as widely apart as the poles. Up to about a century and a half since, the two nationalities in Ireland were recognized as such by every writer of the day. There was the English as opposed to the Irish; the Englishry in contradistinction to the Irishry; the British colonists, and not "the mere Irish;" the plantees and the Cromwellians, in contrariety to the natives and the old Irish.
It is seldom that the inhabitants of a nation superior in strength and civilization adopt the habits and customs of the inferior people whom they have conquered or settled amongst, much more assume their name-the Greeks, for instance, who colonized Marseilles never called themselves Gauls. Bearing in mind that Bandon was founded by Englishmen-many of who were accustomed to all the comforts and pleasantries of London life; and that they established their colony in a wild barbarous country, where wolves roamed about unmolested, and where humankind was represented by a few half-nude barbarians, who strayed in there from the territory of some Carbery chieftain; but principally by some marauding woodkern, who instinctively made their own of all they could lay their hands upon, and then escaped to the swamps and woods of Kinalmeaky, to save themselves from the skean or the rope.
Bearing all this in mind, their distaste can be accounted for. They greatly prided themselves upon "being well bred and born in Bandon." One who first opened his eyes within the wall of the ancient and loyal borough, trod the earth with as lordly an air, as if he was lineally descended from on of those iron-plated barons who came over with William of Normandy, or could claim half a county as his estate.
A good many years ago, a poor fellow, who was obliged to leave Bandon owing to want of employment, made his way to London, where he resided a long time fighting for his daily bread in the great battle of life. At length he lay on a dying bed. A clergyman was sent for, who lost no time in coming to his bedside, and administering those religious consolations which help to smooth the rugged road leading form this world to the next. Lingering awhile in the humble chamber, the clergyman, who was an Irishman, said, in reply to an observation of the sick man:-
"I perceive you're and Irishman, like myself."
"I'm no Irishman," said the dying man.
The divine was amazed. Even the very accent in which he asserted he was no Irishman was redolent of the Emerald Isle.
"And what country are you from? Are you from France? -are you from Russia?
"No," interrupted the old man, "I'm from Bandon."
"And isn't Bandon in Ireland" said the clergyman, "and therefore, are you not an Irishman?"
"Tell me sir," said the old Bandonian,, whose "no surrender" spirit swelled against the taunt: "tell me sir," said he, as he struggled to raise himself in the bed-for he was weak, and the shadow of the out-stretched hand of the grim King of Terrors was already upon him- "wer'nt the Israelites four hundred years in Egypt?"
"They were," mildly replied the divine.
"And were they Egyptians?"
The knowledge of some of our old townsmen was limited to the town itself. Either they did not care to trouble themselves about what lay outside the walls, or they may have thought that when they knew what was inside of them they knew what was quite sufficient for any ordinary man. A poor soldier was mortally wounded at the siege of Cicudad Rodrigo. On being removed to the temporary hospital, he enquired for a Bandon gentleman-an officer in a regiment quartered near him. The officer came to see his fellow-townsman as soon as he could; and, among other questions, asked him what part of Bandon he was born in.
"I was born on the other side,"* was the odd reply.
Those born in the suburbs were not looked upon with near the same favour as those fellows who were born in the town itself.
"Ar'nt you an old Bandonian?" he enquired of the old man
"No sir," replied the old man, with a melancholy air, "I was born at Gallow's Hill."
* That is the northern side of the town.
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