Sunday 27 November 2011

Bartholomew Teeling. 1798. (part 2)



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Some Extracts from "Sequel to Personal Narrative of the Irish Rebellion" of 1798, by Charles Hamilton Teeling, 1832.

(Charles H. Telling was a brother of Bartholomew, and participated in the Rebellion.)

Of the several armaments equipped by the French Republic for Ireland, the only force destined to make a landing on her shores was that small veteran band stationed at Rochelle, under General Humbert.

Impatient of delay, and without waiting the co-operation of others, he hurried his slender expedition to sea, and on the 22nd day of August, 1798, anchored in the Bay of Killalla.

The whole force of this invading army, which spread consternation throughout the British realm, consisted of about 1,000 men, a few pieces of light artillery, with an extra quantity of arms and ammunition.

Humbert selected as his aide-de-camp in the present expedition a young officer, an Irishman Bartholomew Teeling. He was a refined scholar, and the mildness of his manners and his patrician bearing, as the French minister expressed it, formed a pleasing contrast to the blunt and soldier like deportment of the Republican general. Two other Irishmen accompanied this expedition -- Captain Matthew Tone, brother to the celebrated Theobald Wolfe Tone, and O'Sullivan, a gentleman from the South of Ireland, who had the good fortune to escape the fatality of the campaign.

From Killalla Humbert marched on the following morning with a small detachment to Ballina, leaving the main body of his troops to receive and arm the peasantry of the country who flocked to his standard. The celerity of his approach and the terror, which his landing had inspired procured him an easy conquest. After some opposition the garrison, a portion of which consisted of veteran cavalry, fled; and Humbert, leaving a small force to maintain possession of the town, returned to his headquarters at Killalla.

Humbert from Ballina proceeded to Castlebar, which he captured, and on taking possession of the town despatched his aid-de-camp, Teeling, with an escort and flag, bearing proposals of capitulation to the commander of the British troops. Refused access to General Lake, he was compelled to accompany the British army for many miles in its retreat, and frequently threatened with death for daring to be the bearer of any commission from the enemy to the commander of his Majesty's forces.

At length presented to General Lake, addressing that officer in English, he communicated to him his message, viz.:-- "Humbert, General-in-chief, actuated by the desire of stopping the effusion of blood, offers honourable terms of capitulation to General Lake, and the British officers and soldiers under his command." Lake received the message with sullen displeasure, and expressed his resentment for the language in which it was conveyed. "Such is the language of my General," was the reply; "and if even less courteous, it would be my duty to convey it." General Lake hastily rejoined, "You, sir, are an Irishman; I shall treat you as a rebel -- why have you been selected by General Humbert on this occasion?" "To convey to you, sir, his proposal in a language which, presumes, you understand. As to your menace -- you cannot be ignorant that you have left with us many British officers prisoners at Castlebar." Lake hastily retired. In a little time General Hutchinson came forward, and apologising for the conduct of the British troops, requested that it might not be unfavourably represented to General Humbert. He added that General Lake was much concerned at the occurance, and begged it might be attributed to the true cause, the laxity of discipline in a moment of much excitement; that General Humbert's officer was now at liberty to retire, with an escort in attendance to convey him beyond the British lines.

"I can excuse, for the reasons assigned," replied Teeling, "the personal rudeness I have experienced; but I cannot suppress my abhorrence of the atrocious and cold-blooded massacre of my escort. I shall return to General Humbert, but not without my flag."

The flag was restored, but the acceptance of the escort declined.

General Humbert received his aid-de-camp with the warmest expressions of satisfaction at his return.

The fiery temper of Humbert's mind was not at all times easy to control, and on this occasion he gave vent to his feelings in no very qualified terms of indignation. He spoke of reprisals for the murder of his escort, and the insult offered to an officer of his staff. "No, General." replied, Teeling, "it is by your magnanimity you must take revenge on our enemies." The generous rebuke struck at once on the feelings of the fiery Humbert. Embracing his officer, he exclaimed, "You have preserved my life more than once to-day! . . . Select of our prisoners whom you please, and send them to their runagate commander." This concession was cheerfully embraced, and several British officers, on the moment, were permitted to retire fro Castlebar.

The victory of Castlebar placed in the hands of Humbert a large supply of military stores, arms, standards, and cannon, with a vast number of prisoners, many of whom joined his ranks. So rapid was his success that in the course of six days after his landing he was in the possession of the towns of Killalla, Ballina, Castlebar, Newport, Westport, Foxford, and Ballinrobe.

On the night of the 7th September Humbert halted at Cloon, refreshed his troops, and indulged them with two hours' repose.

He then pushed vigorously forward, and took up his position for action on the field of Ballinamuck, Colooney, near Sligo.

Humbert supported to the last the high reputation of a soldier. Not desiring to survive the disaster of the day, he determined never to make personal surrender. Turning to his aid-de-camp, who fought hand to hand by his side, "Allons, mon brave camarade," he exclaimed, "Nous mourrons ensemble!" -- and it was not until this intrepid soldier was actually borne from his saddle by the British dragoons who surrounded him that his brave companion in arms, Bartholomew Teeling, surrendered his sword. The French troops, were admitted prisoners of war -- the Irish received no quarter.

Teeling was removed to Dublin to be tried by court martial. Matthew Tone, who had been arrested the day after the battle, was also recognised as an Irishman detained for trial, and hanged about September 27th. Theobold Wolfe Tone was captured on board the French man-of-war Hoche, and committed suicide in prison on the 11th November, 1798.

On the 20th of September Teeling was brought to trial at the royal barracks in Dublin, before a court-martial.

Mr. William Coulson, an inhabitant of his native Town (Lisburn), was produced to identify the person of the prisoner; to prove that he was a natural born subject of the King, and had assumed a different name. It was customary in the French armies to assume a "nom de guerre," in conformity with which Teeling, on entering the service, adopted the name of Biron. The proposed information was rendered unnecessary by the candid declaration of Teeling, who at once avowing his native country and his name, protested against any desire of concealment, or of resorting to any measure incompatible with the open and manly line of defence which ha conceived it his duty to adopt.

When called on to enter on his defence, he stepped forward with the same serene and unruffled countenance, the same dignity of deportment and self-possession which he had evinced throughout the trial.
"Sir," said he, "I am accused of high treason, inasmuch as being a subject of these realms I was found in alliance with the enemies of the King. I admit, as have already done, that I was born an Irishman. But circumstances forced me from the land of my birth. I became a subject of France. I embraced the profession of soldier, and entered the service of that country which afforded me its protection. It is scarcely necessary to observe to this honourable court that as a soldier and a man of honour it was my duty to obey the orders of my superiors without privilege of inquiry; and that disobedience of them must have been followed by infamy and death. In obedience to such an order I repaired to La Rochelle, embarked with my general as his aid-de-camp, and was landed in Ireland. You will decide, sir, whether I can fairly be considered as an Irish subject deliberately rebelling against the State of which he was a member, or joining an invader as a traitor against that State. That I acted as a French officer I admit; nor do I fear that it can prejudice my case in a court of soldiers to say that I did my duty to the utmost of my power. I did what I conceived my duty. I did not desert my post. I did not endeavour as a conscious traitor to save myself by flight. I did not endeavour to waste unnecessary blood by fruitless resistance. I surrendered upon the confidence of being treated as a prisoner of war. To the privilege of the conquered the general under whom I served, and to whom I immediately belong, has put in a claim on his own and in my behalf; and to that privilege permit me to repeat my pretensions.
"One word more, sir, and I have done. The witness who supported the prosecution has borne evidence to what he terms my humanity, in a manner which seemed to have produced an influence on the court. Perhaps it scarcely becomes me to claim any merit upon such a ground. Certainly I did not pursue it under the influence of any selfish impression allianced with future consequences. I was merciful for mercy's sake, and from the conviction that it should ever influence the conduct and the decisions of power.
"Sir, I shall trouble this court no further. I feel grateful for the candour and indulgence which I have experienced. I know the high character of the great personage in whose breast my fate may perhaps find its final decision. To you, sir, and to him, if it shall so happen, I do submit that fate; and, let the issue be life or death, I shall await it with the confidence which becomes a man who has no doubt that his case will quit this court accompanied by every advantage which it can derive from a just and generous consideration."
The trial closed. The court, after some deliberation, pronounced sentence of death, and the sentence was finally approved by his excellency the Marquis Carnwallis.

On the 24th September, at two o'clock, Bartholomew Teeling, in the twenty-fourth year of his age, suffered death on Arbour Hill, and conducted himself on the awful occasion with a fortitude impossible to be surpassed, and scarcely to be equalled. Neither the intimation of his fate, nor the near approach of it, produced on him any diminution of courage. With firm step and unchanged countenance he walked from the Prevot to the place of execution, and conversed with an unaffected ease while the dreadful apparatus was preparing. With the same strength of mind and body he ascended the eminence. He then requested permission to read a paper which he held in his hand; he was asked by the officer, whose immediate duty it was, whether it contained anything of strong nature? He replied that it did; on which permission to read it was refused, and Mr. Teeling, silently acquiesced in the restraint put on his last moments.

It is not for us in the present day to hazard a conjecture whether strict justice be always and under all circumstances true policy; but we will suppose, for so far we may suppose safely, that the severity of Teeling's fate was rendered necessary by the peculiar state of the times.

Luke Teeling, father of Bartholomew, was imprisoned for four yearn, first on board the Posilethwaite Tender, and afterwards at Belfast and Carrickfergus. He was a United Irishman and a prominent leader amongst his co-religionists. He appears to have suffered great privations, both in health and fortune, and was released early in 1802. See detailed account in the "Sequel to Personal Narrative," "Madden's United Irishmen," and "Musgrave's Irish Rebellions."

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NAPPER TANDY -- 1740-1803

Extracts from the "Recollection's of Hugh M'Call."

Napper Tandy, who was a prominent United Irishman, figures in Paris in 1790 and for some years afterwards. He was the son of James Tandy, a linen manufacturer, who lived in Bridge Street, in a house on the south side, and near the entrance to Market Lane. He was called "Croppie" Napper Tandy.

The fashion at the close of the eighteenth century was to wear the back hair very long, and tie a portion of it with a black silk ribbon, the "queue," as it was called, hanging over the coat collar. The united Irishmen cut off the queue, hence the origin of the term "Croppie."

A portrait of Harry Munro shows that he continued to wear his queue even to the day of his execution in June, 1798.

In "Ireland and Her Staple Manufactures." 1865, Mr. M'Call refers to the Tandy family:--
The Lisburn troop of Volunteers numbered in its ranks many of the principal merchants and traders. There were Harry Munro, Thomas Ward, William Coulson, R. Carleton, George Tandy, brother of the famous James Napper Tandy, B. Teeling, and many other merchants. The Volunteers were suppressed in 1793.
What evidence Mr. M'Call may have had for claiming Napper Tandy as a native of Lisburn is not now known. Other authorities quote Dublin as the city of his nativity.

It is quite evident, however, that a branch of the Tandy family was long resident in Lisburn and neighbourhood, and occupied a position of some social and mercantile prominence.

In 1635 a Philip Tandy conducted a school in Lisburn. About 1658 Major Rawdon, writing from Hillsborough, says:--
Dr. Jeremy Taylor preached excellently this morning. Mr. Tandy is also considered a rare preacher, and is liked in the parish.
Tandy joined in a charge against Dr. Taylor, which is thus referred to:--
I fear my time in Ireland is likely to be short, for a Presbyterian (Tandy) and a madman have informed against me as a dangerous man to their religion and for using the sign of the Cross in baptism.
Bowden in "A Tour Through Ireland," 1791, writes:--
I was also introduced in Lisburn to Councillor Dunn, to a Mr. Tandy, brother of the celebrated patriot in Dublin, and to several other public-spirited gentlemen, to whose obliging attention I am infinitely indebted.
In the Record Office, Dublin, is to be seen the will of George Tandy, 1798, Lisburn.

The Hearth-Money Rolls, Lisburn Town and Parish, 1669, record the name of Mrs. Tandy as paying tax on six hearths.

Authorities -- Wills' "Irish Nation," Musgrave's "Irish Rebellions," Madden's "United Irishmen," Teeling's "Personal Narrative," and Leckey and Froule, the English historians.

Chambers Biographical Dictionary, 1897.

James Napper Tandy -- 1740-1803 -- born in Dublin, became a prosperous merchant there. A Presbyterian, he took an active part in corporation politics, and was the first secretary of the Dublin United Irishmen. In 1792 he challenged the Solicitor-General for his abusive language, and was proclaimed by the Viceroy. For distributing a "seditious" pamphlet against the Beresfords he was about to be tried in 1793, when the Government learned that he had taken the oath of the "Defenders." He fled to America, crossed to France in 1798, shared in the ill-fated invasion of Ireland, and at Hamburgh was handed over to the English Government. In February, 1800, he was acquitted at Dublin. Again put on trial, April, 1801, at Lifford, for the treasonable landing at Rutland Island, he was sentenced to death, but permitted to escape to France, and died at Bordeaux.

The Dictionary of National Biography

states that he owed the name of Napper either to his mother or to the connection that had for many years subsisted between his father's family and that of Napper, of County Meath. In 1695 the lands of the Tandy and Napper families in that county adjoined each other.

In 1775 Napper Tandy declared himself warmly on the side of the American colonies in revolt, and tried to institute in Ireland a boycott of goods of English manufacture. He threw himself heart and soul into the Volunteer movement of 1780, and had command of a small volunteer corps of artillery. On May 27, 1782, when Parliament met in Dublin to receive the decision of the Ministry touching to legislative independence, the duty of guarding the approaches to the house was assigned to Tandy and his corps of artillery. He also took an equally prominent part in the Volunteer Convention, November 10, 1783, when the Bishop of Derry and a large muster of the Volunteers proceeded through the streets of Dublin on their way to the Rotunda.

With the decline of the Volunteer movement his influence began to wane. His enthusiasm for the principles of the French Revolution was unbounded. In later life he gave way to the lure of drink, and it is stated that when with the French force invading Ireland "Tandy, after being on shore about eight hours, was carried back to his ship in a disgusting state of intoxication." Sir Jonah Barrington, who knew him personally, in his "Historie Memoirs" thus estimates his character:--
His person was ungracious, and his language neither graceful or impressive but he was sincere and persevering, and though in many instances erronous and violent, he was considered to be honest. His private character furnished no grounds to doubt the integrity of his public one, and, like many of those persons who occasionally spring up in revolutionary periods, he acquired celebrity without being able to account for it, and possessed an influence without rank and capacity.
The posthumous fame he acquired as the hero of the popular ballad, "The Wearing of the Green," was remarkable.
I met with Napper Tandy, and he took me by the hand.
And he said, "How's poor old Ireland, and how does she stand?"
'Tis the most distressful country, for it's plainly to been seen
They are hanging men and women for the wearing of the green.

(Next Week: A. T. Stewart.)

(This article was originally published in the Lisburn Standard on 30 November 1917 as part of a series which ran in that paper each week through 1917 and into 1918. The text along with other extracts can be found on my website Eddies Extracts.)

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