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The Irish Whiteboys

Monday, 24.--l went with two friends to see one of the greatest natural wonders in Ireland--Mount Eagle, vulgarly called Crow Patrick. The foot of it is fourteen miles from Castlebar. There we left our horses and procured a guide. It was just twelve when we alighted; the sun was burning hot, and we had not a breath of wind. Part of the ascent was a good deal steeper than an ordinary pair of stairs. About two we gained the top, which is an oval, grassy plain, about a hundred and fifty yards in length and seventy or eighty in breadth. The upper part of the mountain much resembles the Peak of Teneriffe. I think it cannot rise much less than a mile perpendicular from the plain below. There is an immense prospect on one side toward the sea, and on the other over the land. But as most of it is waste and uncultivated, the prospect is not very pleasing.

Monday, June 14.--I rode to Cork. Here I procured an exact account of the late commotions. About the beginning of December last, a few men met by night near Nenagh, in the county of Limerick, and threw down the fences of some commons, which had been lately inclosed. Near the same time the others met in the county of Tipperary, of Waterford, and of Cork. As no one offered to suppress or hinder them, they increased in number continually and called themselves Whiteboys, wearing white cockades and white linen frocks. In February, there were five or six parties of them, two or three hundred men in each, who moved up and down, chiefly in the night; but for what end did not appear. Only they leveled a few fences, dug up some grounds, and hamstrung some cattle, perhaps fifty or sixty in all.

One body of them came into Cloheen, of about five hundred foot and two hundred horse. They moved as exactly as regular troops and appeared to be thoroughly disciplined. They now sent letters to several gentlemen, threatening to pull down their houses. They compelled everyone they met to take an oath to be true to Queen Sive (whatever that meant) and the Whiteboys; not to reveal their secrets; and to join them when called upon. It was supposed that eight or ten thousand were now actually risen, many of them well armed and that a far greater number were ready to rise whenever they should be called upon. Those who refused to swear, they threatened to bury alive. Two or three they did bury up to the neck, and left them; these would quickly have perished had they not been found in time by some traveling by. At length, toward Easter, a body of troops, chiefly light horse, was sent against them. Many were apprehended and committed to gaol; the rest of them disappeared. This is the plain, naked fact, which has been so variously represented.

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