Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, historian supreme, charming, an inspired scholar, erudite, far-famed, iconic, magical, charismatic, profound, of panache, a right boyo and above all else—wily, that wily boy from beside the mine pits. The wonder grows that my small head can carry all that I know. As I always say, if it is true, it ain’t bragging.
The Free Press reported on April 23rd 1927 that Thomas Audley, ex-Sergeant R. I. C. had died on April 13th 1927 at 63 Ulsterville Gardens, Belfast. He was son of the late William Audley, Bannow. Do any of my readers know of the Audleys of Bannow?
In this extract from the speech of Tom Boyse supporting a resolution of Lord Killeen at a meeting in Kilkenny in October 1828 is manifest a deficiency in Tom Boyse’s style of address—an overuse of words plus entangled clauses and arcane diction that becomes obscurantist to his intended meaning; a very important meaning:–
“But I feel that better things are at hand, better feelings are becoming prevalent, and such sentiments as are represented by a newspaper, which I hold in my hand to have avowed at a late meeting of the Protestants of the County of Tyrone, are not now, I believe, generally entertained in any part of Ireland—Shall I be permitted to read to the meeting a short extract from the speech to which I allude? (Cries of read, read). Exhibiting a summary of the speaker’s views for the management, or for what he very significantly terms the pacification (laughter) of Ireland. By the way, your good blood-spiller is like Shakespeare “if” “a wonderful peacemaker”. (Great laughter). The gentleman is represented to have thus expressed himself:–
“But how shall the scenes be described when these atrocities are requited by a numerous, irritated and triumphant host? I can conceive that all that is recorded of past severities shall be light compared with what then will be inflicted. I can conceive that the alternative of Connaught may not be left as a refuge to the fugitives (Cheers). But that an indignant nation giving loose to its resentment and measuring punishment only by provocation, may rid the country of them altogether and rescue it from the cruel necessity of chastising them again. “Oh then for your King and for your God.”
[Cromwell was reputed to have said that the Catholics of Ireland would have either go to Connaught or go to Hell! The Tyrone clergyman was saying that the Protestants would impose an even greater punishment on the Catholics than even Cromwell did, either their banishment from Ireland or their extermination] Tom Boyse continued:–
“This then it is, that a man calling himself a Christian Priest, a man using the sanctimonious prefixion of “Reverend” to his name, and professing to be the minister of the Gospel of peace, coldly—shall I say commercially speculates upon the wholesale massacre, on the root-and-branch extermination of a people! And why? Because they seek their rights in a manner not merely permitted but prescribed by the constitution (Hear, hear, hear). Gracious God! Is it possible that language such as this can have been used and cheered? Can any man who hears me believe that either intolerance, bigotry, fanaticism or any anomalous perversement of temperament, except insanity, or the mere base ill-disguised love of pounds, shillings and pence can thus have converted the accents of a being formed at least in the similitude of man into the blood-howl of a she-wolf (Hear, hear), ravening, mangling in anticipation the unoffending and defenceless victims of its insatiate and truculent voracity? (Loud cheering). “Oh for your King and your God!” Why, my Lord, the King of this blasphemous exterminator, of this Reverend blood-monger (Hear, hear) cannot surely be the King of England? My Lord, his God shall not be my God. (The impressiveness and solemnity, with which this sentence was uttered, produced an electric effect on the meeting and drew forth long continued manifestations of applause).”
On occasions, as a rhetorical ploy, Tom Boyse at major meetings, produced a newspaper and read from it an extract from what he regarded as an outrageous speech by an opponent. Newspapers were an exciting novelty in the nineteenth century; they were present in the previous century but of very limited space, and giving little real news. They became an instrument of political control and change in the nineteenth century. They enabled views to be propagated quickly and widely and they reported things which their authors—or orators!—would prefer were not heard about! I suspect that the Tyrone clergyman was rabble rousing and into demagoguery—saying things to excite his audience. The reporting of such views would inevitably cause alarm, especially among the authorities in Dublin Castle and in London. Boyse was ensuring that the gruesome words of the Tyrone clergyman would be massively amplified.
When Tom Boyse, in a superb piece of personal drama, proclaimed that the clergyman’s God was not his (Boyse’s) God, he was signifying the emergence of progressive strands of Protestant theology. Unfortunately, other strands of Protestant theology were regressing into medieval darkness and belligerence. The Orange Order, in the Co. Wexford in this period was led by men who enunciated the most alarming plans to deal with the Catholic Church and its faithful. The paradigm of a Protestant tenantry on every estate was the great fixation of Phayre of Killoughram Forest, Caime and there were repeated letters in The Wexford Independent in the mid 1830s that John Rowe of Ballycross, Kilmore had both established an Orange Lodge and was seeking to replace Catholic tenants and workers with Protestant ones. John Rowe’s agent Irvine married John Rowe’s sister; Irvine was an appalling man, a fanatic Orangeman who caused the one of the worst controversies of that era. At Ballymenane near Gorey, where John Rowe had ownership of tithes, there was a public auction conducted by Mr Reade, of goods seized in lieu of unpaid tithes due to John Rowe. The auction inevitably failed and Irvine, acting as Rowe’s agent, burned a stack of corn. He sought to destroy the rest of the produce but the chief of the Irish Constabulary restrained him. The burning of corn in the context of a famished peasantry and labouring classes, was without precedent and grotesque. John Rowe quickly disassociated himself from Irvine’s action; despite his Orange convictions there was a basic decency in John Rowe and besides he rightly read the mood of outrage at Irvine’s action.
The Lord Lieutenant Mulgrave was incandescent with rage at Irvine and there arose a new controversy. Mulgrave refused to permit the appointment of Francis Leigh of Rosegarland for two reasons. Firstly he had received a report that Mr Leigh was a covert member of the Orange Order and secondly he was associated with Mr Reade, who conducted the failed auction at Ballymenane. Francis Leigh vigorously denied the charge that he was a member of the Orange Order and Mulgrave in a statement to Parliament acknowledge Mr Leigh’s denial and felt that he might have over-reacted to the report made to him about Mr Leigh. Mr Reade may have been wrongly blamed for the Ballymenane fiasco—he was merely the auctioneer.
Mulgrave proscribed or banned the Orange Order and would allow none of its adherents to hold public service posts. It is difficult to see how he could have done otherwise: the speeches of its leading exponents reeked of medieval savagery and were utterly incompatible with any modern civilisation.
The Wexford Independent on September 2 1835 reported on Tom Moore’s visit to Bannow; for some peculiar reason I feel that I should quote this extract:–
“ All the addresses having been read and answered, a young man named Martin M’Donald Doyle [Mc Donald Doyle in modern spelling], of the parish of Tintern, was introduced to Mr Moore by his friend and neighbour, Mr John M’Brien, as an humble follower, in the train of Pierian Maids.
Mr M’Brien said:–Sir, I beg you, as one of this deputation, to introduce to your attention, an amiable and humble Irish youth and a scion of promise. It is unnecessary for me here to expatiate on his merits—your honourable friend and his kind patron (pointing to Mr Boyse) who knows how to appreciate them, will speak to you of him as he deserves,
The modest aspirant to Parnassian laurels then stepped forward and addressed his immortal prototype, in the following vigorous strain, recited with great emphasis and feeling:–
To Thomas Moore Esq.,
While thus on Bannow’s favor’d shore
Ten thousand tongues together pour
“Cead mille failthe”, Tommy Moore,
Among the rest,
May I, who’ve rhym’d some rhymes before
Rhymes one request?
‘Tis this—that he whose magic song
Warms, burns, o’er every heart and tongue
Whose fame enthron’d the Heavens above
Will just take time
(If chance he think it not too long
To hear this rhyme.”
I will not quote the entire poem written by Martin M’Donald Doyle but this is the concluding stanza:–
“Oh! long shall Bannow’s unborn race
As countless ages roll along
In Bannow rural records trace
This visit of “The Child of Song”
Then pardon this untutored lay
And deign t’accept his humble thanks
Who rhyming in his brainsick way
Thus welcomes, thee, to Bannow’s banks.
The production of the youthful minstrel was listened to with profound attention and rewarded with the most gratifying applause and approbation of all present. Mr Moore immediately took him by the hand, shook it with great heartiness and said:–“I am happy to meet such a brother poet here; it is the first time that we have met, it must not be the last.”
In his address to Tom Moore, Mr Boyse jested:–
“He is, I repeat, from top to toe, an Irishman—(Renewed Excitement)—Aye! every inch an Irishman, although, to be sure, his inches may not be very many—(Great laughter and cheering).”
This extract from the report of Moore’s visit is intriguing:–
“On the forenoon of the Friday he walked with Miss Boyse and the family of the Grange, attended by Mr Martin Day, the architect, to an eminence near their residence, where he performed the ceremony, with all due solemnity, of laying the first stone of a tower, intended to commemorate his visit to “Bannow’s unborn race”, until the “Irish Melodies” should die, that is, till the language of England be forgotten.
We regretted to learn that the honest and enlightened proprietor of Bannow, Samuel Boyse, was confined to his bed during the whole of Mr Moore’s visit, by a severe and painful malady. He was prevented by it from participating in the universal happiness diffused over his neighbourhood on this joyous occasion.”
Is there any remnant or sign of this memorial extant?
On May 25th 1836 the Lord Lieutenant Mulgrave in Parliament outlined his explanation of his handling of the case of Francis Leigh of Rosegarland; Mulgrave refused to appoint him at Sheriff of the County Wexford. I am not sure if he had been Sheriff of Co. Wexford before Mulgrave’s advent; John Reade had been an assistant to Mr Leigh. John Reade had presided at the auction of goods seized in lieu of tithes at Ballymenane, near Gorey, in the spring of 1836; after the failure of the auction the dreaded Orangeman Irvine of Ballycross, Kilmore burned a stack of the corn, causing outrage. The authorities and the Lord Lieutenant Mulgrave were incensed at the scenario of burning corn in the context of a famished people. Anyway this is part of what Mulgrave said:–
“He now came to the individual case of Mr Leigh. In his petition, that gentleman had stated that he had been appointed to the office of sheriff with his (Earl of Mulgrave’s) consent. Such was not the fact. It had been publicly known that Mr Leigh was to be appointed sheriff and from information which he had received through memorials from different parts of the county of Wexford, it appeared that there were three grounds of objection taken to his nomination. (Hear and cheers). The first was that he was believed to be an Orangeman; the second was that he was a strong political partisan; and the third that he had no property in the county. With respect to the last ground of objection, he believed the fact was stated to be that Mr Leigh was a younger brother, living in the house of his father, upon whose death he must cease to have any connexion, so far as property was concerned with the county and for this reason, that though his elder brother died, he left children which would be entitled to his property. With respect to the objection on the score of property he (Earl Mulgrave) declined to entertain it when it was urged in the memorials to which he had before alluded, inasmuch as the time had elapsed when it should have been taken into consideration. Now with respect to the objection of political partisanship, Mr Leigh stated in his petition to their Lordships that he was neither an Orangeman nor a man who entertained any strong party views. All he could say was that a person of such a description was exactly the person to whom he was desirous to entrust the duties of Sheriff;… The Lord Lieutenant continued:–
“However, he stated in reply to the assertion concerning Mr Leigh, that “he was believed to be an Orangeman”, that it was impossible for him to act upon any such hearsay evidence. So that up to the day before that on which the lists were to be published in the Gazette, it was his intention, notwithstanding the allegations against Mr Leigh, to which he had referred, to appoint him sheriff. At that period he had received from the Solicitor-General for Ireland information which induced him not to select Mr Leigh for the office of sheriff. The learned gentleman (the Solicitor-General) told him that he had heard through another gentleman whose name he was, also, at liberty to mention, that Mr Leigh was the master of a lodge, established under what was called the new system and that was the last gentleman to whom he alluded knew the lodge to which Mr Leigh belonged. This occurred on the day before that on which it was necessary that the list should be published; and having no reason to doubt the authority on which the statement was made, he certainly did think it was his duty, under the circumstances and acting on the belief that Mr Leigh was an Orangeman, to pass over his name in the list, which it was then necessary to have made out. (Hear). The gentleman he did name was a person in every way qualified to fulfil the duties of the office. He was out of the country at the time he was appointed.”
Mr Leigh would deny that he was a Orangeman, would he not? I have no evidence that he was and Mulgrave seemed to grudgingly accept his denial. His politics were severely conservative. The gothic and savage speeches by representatives of the Orange Order in the Co. Wexford would leave any Lord Lieutenant with no option but to prohibit the appointment of such men to public positions—they were not fit to be gate-keepers in Hell.