CELT document E703001-006

Letters from Colonel William Wolseley, 1690. Pursuit of Irish Tories

William Wolseley

Edited by John T. Gilbert


Letters from Colonel William Wolseley, 1690. Pursuit of Irish Tories


From their majesties' camp near Mullingar, August 0, 1690.

Honoured sir, — Upon Monday last, I left lieutenant-general Douglas four miles from Thurles, and four miles from thence I had an account from one of the country of eleven Toryes. I immediately detached a party who met with them, and after the exchanging some shot on both sides, the Toryes quitted their horses and took the bog, which I having advice of marched up with the grenadiers, and sent them into the bog, who took two of them. One was a captain, his name Jo Meagher, a notorious ringleader of the rogues, and one that had done great mischief in the country. I carried him and his comrade to Maryborough, and there hanged them. I found that country full of English Protestants and Irish Toryes, and therefore left a garrison of forty foot and ten dragoons for to secure these parts, and also at Philipstown fifty foot and twenty horse; from whence, I marched yesterday and encamped at Tyrrell's pass (but in my way had advice from colonel Babington that two thousand of the enemy were got together at this place). Within half an hour after I was encamped, my scouts brought me word the enemy were within a mile of the camp; whereupon I drew my men to their arms, and went out with two squadrons to view the enemy, who were advanced within half a mile of us, with about one hundred and twenty horse, who our men charged and broke and pursued them near two miles, and there we met another body of about two hundred, and routed them, and drove them into this place, which so alarmed the rest of the party that they betook themselves to flight, and every man shifted for himself. The night came upon us, or else we had done great execution upon them; but, as it was, we killed between eighty and one hundred, and have taken prisoners three of the chiefest and the greatest rogues among them, viz., Andrew Tuite, James Ledgwich, Redmond Mullady, late sheriff for king James. They are no soldiers, nor have any commission for what they do, and therefore I conceive are not to be treated other ways than  p.259 Toryes and highwaymen; and therefore I have a great mind to hang them, if his majesty will either give orders for it, or say nothing but leave me to myself, for I am well assured that an Irishman is to be taught his duty only by the rod. Tuite's father holds out a garrison now in an island within two miles of this place. I conceive the whole number of this party was about one thousand; one Nugent, the present sheriff for king James, headed them. I have enclosed sent you some papers that were taken out of the prisoners' pockets, and also captain Meagher's confession, which was taken upon him, by which you may judge what his life and conversation has been.

I am only uneasy here with the disorders of our own men, which has been so great in our march, to all without distinction, that it is a shame to speak of it, and it was not in my power nor the other colonels' to prevent it, having neither bread nor money to give them, which had I had, I would have hanged them to the last man, but I would have reclaimed them.

—I am, honoured sir, your most faithful and obedient servant,— William Wolseley.
Just now bread and ammunition is come from Dublin.
I forgot in my letter to acquaint you that the day before I came hither, my lord Granard had been treating with these people, and advised them to submit and lay down their arms; but their answer was that they would die before they would submit to king William's government. Yours, — William Wolseley.

Addressed: For the honourable sir Robert Southwell, his majesty's principal secretary of state for Ireland, at the camp near Limerick, these. The officer that commands at Philipstown is desired to send this forward by the troopers that lie there, with all speed.


From their majesties' camp near Mullingar, August 11th, 1690.

Honoured sir—I hope you will receive my last before this comes to you. I send this to give you an account of the designs of the raparees I met with here. The chief man among them was one Gerald Nugent, the present sheriff for king James for the county of Westmeath, and Molady (who is prisoner). They summoned in all the  p.260 country last Thursday to appear at this town, upon pain of death and to have their houses burned, declaring they would die before they would submit to king William's government, and when they came so near my camp at Tyrrell's pass they knew nothing of my being there, but were marching a party round that way to come behind colonel Babington, who lay with his regiment at Kinnegad; and having forced that pass, they intended to have marched towards Dublin and have pillaged and burned the country; so that I came in good time. I find sir Anthony Molady is deeply engaged in this business, and was with them upon Thursday when they sent out the summons to the country to join them. The Papists come in hourly to me for protection, but not one of them will own they have arms when required to bring them in. I am of opinion that fair means will never oblige these people to a true submission to his majesty William III.. I have sent a garrison to Longford castle and Bellimore, Forbis castle having men in it that came from Belturbet; but these detachments make the regiments very thin. I wish his majesty would send some of the provoes hither, for no part of the army has so much need of them as have. Those raparees have stripped the whole country of all the sheep and cattle, so that we are like to have no provisions but what we have out of the stores. I do not find but that this rabble are all dispersed, but the bogs and woods are full of small parties of them, which I hope in small time to suppress. I was ordered to send a garrison to Rathcline, but the enemy are possessed of it.

I am, honoured sir, your most faithful humble servant,—
William Wolseley. Addressed: For his majesty's service. For the honourable sir Robert Southwell, his majesty's principal secretary of state for Ireland, at the head quarters, these. Free.

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Title (uniform): Letters from Colonel William Wolseley, 1690. Pursuit of Irish Tories

Author: William Wolseley

Editor: John T. Gilbert

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Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber and Janet Crawford

Edition statement

2. Second draft.

Extent: 1634 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of the History Department, University College Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland — http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2005

Date: 2010

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E703001-006

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

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Manuscript source

  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 24, G 5, nos. 41, 42.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Letters from Colonel William Wolseley, 1690. Pursuit of Irish Tories’ (1971). In: A Jacobite narrative of the war in Ireland‍. Ed. by John T. Gilbert. (First published 1892). Shannon: Shannon University Press, pp. 258–260.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {John T. Gilbert},
  title 	 = {Letters from Colonel William Wolseley, 1690. Pursuit of Irish Tories},
  booktitle 	 = {A Jacobite narrative of the war in Ireland},
  address 	 = {Shannon},
  publisher 	 = {Shannon University Press},
  date 	 = {1971},
  note 	 = {(First published 1892)},
  pages 	 = {258–260}


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Creation: by Colonel William Wolseley

Date: 1690

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  • The text is in English. (en)

Keywords: political; prose; 17c; Jacobite War; letter

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  1. 2019-06-05: Changes made to div0 type. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2010-05-03: Conversion script run, header updated; encoding improved; new wordcount made; file parsed; new SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2008-09-24: Keywords added; file validated. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2005-08-25: Normalised language codes and edited langUsage for XML conversion (ed. Julianne Nyhan)
  5. 2005-08-04T14:21:15+0100: Converted to XML (conversion Peter Flynn)
  6. 2005-07-14: Header created, file parsed, HTML file created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  7. 2005-07-12: File proofed (2), more content markup applied. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  8. 2005-05: First proofing of the text; structural and some content markup applied. (ed. Janet Crawford, Co. Tipperary)
  9. 2005-05: Text scanned in. (text capture Benjamin Hazard)

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