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Connaught Journal; Jan 6, 1825; Ousely at Kilrush

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL Galway, Thursday, January 6, 1825 LATE AFFAIR AT KILRUSH. OUSELY!! Ousely, the itinerant preacher - a soi distant retailer of Holy Writ
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 20 4:04 PM
      Galway, Thursday, January 6, 1825

      Ousely, the itinerant preacher - a soi distant retailer of Holy Writ
      without note or comment - has been lately labouring in his vocation at
      Kilrush, and the result of his labour has been, very nearly, what he and his
      confreres through the country are so anxious to bring about - the spilling
      of Catholic blood. This Reverend person (we wonder from whom he received
      orders) set about preaching in the public streets, and in a few moments got
      together a tolerable good congregation, who flocked round him, not for the
      purposes of edification, but just to hear what he was saying - to amuse
      themselves for an hour or so as they might with any other maniac. But in the
      most pertinent part of the preacher's harangue, and probably in one of his
      most felicitous threats at the Catholic Priesthood and Religion, some two or
      three schoolboys set upon him with mud and clods. This cruel prosecution,
      for a moment, confounded the HOLY ONE; but nothing ?, he resulted his task,
      and although having lost the thread of his discourse, he essayed with great
      might, assisted in his call by eleven of the Police, who, with himself,
      PRESENTED to the people an unsightly an Apostolic body as was ever yet let
      loose upon them. When rhetoric failed, Ousely (who is now compared to St.
      Stephen) and his eleven followers had recourse to more convincing logic.-
      They ran on the people with fixed bayonets and if it had not been for the
      peaceable spirit existing in Kilrush, there is no doubt but the twelve
      polemical Evangelists would have been sent to preach the Word amongst the
      fishes in the Shannon. However, they have been suffered to continue their
      pious labors on terra firmis, but so much we may be allowed to say, that
      Major Warburton should suspend eleven of his Reverend Police, and by
      depriving them of their orders, (the gun and bayonet,) allow them that
      instead of assisting, they should take up Ousely, the mad preacher, and
      every person of his description who may be prowling about the country;
      irritating and insulting its inhabitants - forcing the Bible down their
      throats with a firelock and bayonet - abusing their holy religion in the
      name of the Lord God, and preaching Christian charity and moral forbearance,
      at the same moment they are reviling the Catholic Priests as hypocrites and
      knaves - proving to the world how amply they themselves deserve the titles
      of hypocrites and knaves, or any other odious epithet they make use of.
      The Rev. Mr. Corbett, the exemplary Parish Priest of Kilrush,
      perceiving that the Magistrates met for the purpose of investigating the
      occurrence (who in doing so, without any notice, took the people unawares)
      repaired to the Court, and respectfully addressing the Bench, explained the
      situation of his parishioners, and procured an adjournment. For this, he has
      been, of course, abused. There is scarcely an Orange Priest, great or small,
      throughout the Kingdom, that has not contributed to his vitoperation -they
      have stopped at nothing. But Mr. Corbett has gained his object - he has
      proved that he was right; and with such a reflection, he may treat as idle
      wind the ? of the Orange portion of the Irish Press.

      To The Editor of the Connaught Journal
      Sir - I beg you will have the kindness, through the medium of your excellent
      and extensively circulated Journal, to give the REAL TRUTH of an occurrence
      with which I have been connected in the town of Kilrush. I should not have
      given you this extraordinary trouble, but that I have been precluded from
      doing so in the County of Clare, by the bigotry of the silly Journal which
      is established in Ennis, from which the incendiary Prints of the Metropolis
      have taken their date in maligning a man, whose loyalty is disinterested,
      and whose attachment to the existing authorities cannot be shaken, even by
      the proscription of his religion. You will please to observe that I have
      given a mere statement of facts, for which I vouch my character as a
      Clergyman; and it will give me little uneasiness indeed, whether this vile
      vehicles of late legance or sedition assail me with the language of public
      abuse or personality. The Western Herald, of Tralee, the Clare Journal, of
      Ennis, and the other Orange Prints, have been quite unsparing of both; and I
      send you a plain statement of facts, in order to give the people of your
      great Catholic Town and Country an insight into the affair at Kilrush.
      On Saturday, the 11th of December, it was announced through the streets
      of this town, by the bellman, that the celebrated travelling preacher, Mr.
      Ousely, would hold forth the next day in the public street. Thus, the public
      was invited on the market day to come on Sunday to be insulted, sabred, as
      the event will show, under pretence of being instructed and converted.
      Accordingly, the zealous, and, no doubt, learned Divine, appeared before a
      mixed multitude of Catholics and Protestants, at the meeting of the two
      streets, by which both congregations come from their respective Temples. His
      subject, it appears, was ill abuses, and his language was gross. The
      Protestant boy and the Catholic lad threw some random clods, potatoes and
      apples at him, though surrounded in a kind of semicircle by three of the
      Police, with their side-arms. A despatch was immediately sent to the police
      barracks for a reinforcement. In an instant two more Policemen arrived,
      with reversed bayonets, and by their own authority widened the circle to
      what extend they pleased, nor were they resisted or molested, till one of
      them, named Price, was knocked down, in the very act of thrusting at an
      inoffensive and well-conducted young man. I would beg to call Major
      Warburton's attention to the conduct of those men who volunteered to go
      fight and kill the Catholics in defence of a ? Swaddler, whose life or
      person was not attempted, and whose absence by removal alone was sought by
      all present. Some time after arrived three Policemen, who had so much good
      sense as to consult the Magistrate, who desired that the brawler should be
      removed, as the cause and promoter of a riot. I request Major W. will please
      to hear from me the conduct of this last reinforcement. - In place of
      delivering the Magistrate's command in an audible voice, and to the hearing
      of the people, they only whispered it into the ear of a third person, who
      seemed to be acting as Mr. Ousley's clerk, that he may give the preacher a
      gentle hint. I will observe, that the preacher had gone some steps away from
      his stage at the time the second party of Police arrived, and would have
      there desisted had he not been encouraged by the presence, perhaps by the
      voice, of the Police. I have written, in a private letter, to Major W. a
      statement of the conduct observed by some of his Police on this occasion,
      and I have no doubt he will pay it every attention. The Police, Sir, showed
      a spirit of party on this occasion and behaved in a manner very provoking to
      the people; accordingly, a flying battle ensued, and the Police and Preacher
      were beaten away.
      The Police complained to the Magistrates at Petty Sessions on the
      following Tuesday, the 14th. The people were not duly summoned to attend;
      they were totally unprepared - vast numbers had gone out of town that day in
      a funeral procession. In a word, none were prepared but the complainants and
      Magistrates. On being informed of the proceedings, which, I confess did not
      seem to be fair, I repaired to the Court-house, represented to the Bench
      that the people were taken unawares, requested to have the investigation
      adjourned until even the next day and promised that I would satisfy the
      Court and the public, that the Preacher and Police were the violators of the
      law, and that they, not the peoples, should and ought to be visited with the
      punishment justly due to such infraction. I succeeded, after a considerable
      time, & repeated applications, in obtaining so reasonable a request. On the
      next day I attended with my people, and those of the Protestants, also, who
      were engaged in the affray; took on myself, at their request, the office of
      advocate or counsel, (if the liberal Journals will have it so), knowing that
      a bad counsel in a good cause is better than a good one in a bad cause.
      Having obtained leave to address the court, I stated the transaction in
      plain and uncompassioned language, expressed my readiness to go into the
      enquiry, and my confidence in the Bench that it would discharge its duties
      with impartiality. I concluded by moving for three separate informations
      against Mr. Ousley's agent and the two Policemen who had formed the second
      reinforcement, as the real rioters and breakers of the peace. The preacher's
      zeal, it seems, had cooled before this time, as he ignominiously slunk away
      the very morning of the enquiry, and thus realised the character of the
      hireling, who is not a good and faithful shepherd, but flies when his flock
      is in danger. After the examination of two Policemen, their complaint was
      dismissed, even on their own shewing. I consequently withdrew my complaint
      against the Police, in the full confidence that my clemency would be duly
      estimated by a discerning public, and in the hope that Major Warburton would
      institute an enquiry into the conduct of his men, and by removing or
      otherwise punishing them who shewed so high a party feeling, on that justice
      to the people of Kilrush, which he always manifested as eagerness to
      distribute and which disposition in him they repaid by kindness, good wishes
      and gratitude.
      I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
      M. CORBETT
      3d January, 1825.

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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