United Irishmen 1797

Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Pat Purcell Papers

From the Bunbury Papers

United Irishmen


By kind permission of Michael Purcell

The following is abbreviated transcription of 1797 Document. Confessionalist (Informer), William Kelly makes a Statement in October, 1797, before Robert Cornwall of Myshall, Carlow. The Document is from the Bunbury Papers in the P.P.P. I believe the original is preserved in The National Archives in Dublin. A copy of this Statement was published in 1998 by the "Myshall 1798 Committee" in a booklet commemorating the Rising of 1798.

Michael Purcell Oct 2008

County of Carlow to witt...



The Voluntary Confession on Oath of William Kelly of Templepeter in said County, Carman, taken before Robert Cornwall Esq. one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace.~~~~~~




Saith that in the months of June and July last, he was first applied to , to become an United Irishman by Daniel Doyle of Tullow, Jobber. Saith he refused to join, but said Doyle thereupon took a solemn Oath that if he did not join he would meet destruction to himself and property, that under such threats the Confessionalist was induced to agree to accept the Oath of Secrecy to the United men, which was thereupon administered to him on the highway at Ballynunnery at about four of the clock in the afternoon by said Daniel Doyle. Saith that about the beginning of September last he was ordered to attend a meeting of United Irishmen by Patrick Halligan pursuant to orders from the Committee at the house of said Patrick Halligan on the lands of Kellistown --the he accordingly attended said meeting --

That there were present several persons as Committee men for Several Districts, amongst which number he recollects that Patrick Fenlon residing near Myshall attended as a Committee man from that neighbourhood --that Darby Reddy also attended --that a person of the name of ---- Nowlan of Connyberry attend as a Committee man from Ballon and Ahade -- that a man of the name of Murphy or Byrne -- a young man about 18 years of age, of a florid complexion, rather fat and a member of the Borris Cavalry attended as a Committee from the district of Borris and acted as secretary to said meeting --

That Owen Cummins of Moanmore and several other persons were present --- that Confessionalist not having taken the United Oath, he was not permitted to act at said meeting, but heard the said person who acted as secretary propose several rules and orders for the regulating of said meeting and the future conduct to be observed by the United Men -- which rules and orders were proposed by the said secretary and a Question put on each and agreed to ---

That about the hour of Ten O' Clock at night said meeting adjourned and appointed to meet again at Carlow -- that the reckoning was paid by said Committee. That being on his return from Dublin about six weeks ago he was met on the high road near Dumbohall in the County of Wicklow by a person who said his name was Donovan and lived in Dublin at the Coal Quay Bridge, (by trade as he behaves a Carpenter ) who asked the Confessionalist if he was up --- to which he replied he was ---said Donovan then asked how long ---and was answered by Confessionalist ---since morning ---which was the usual ( secret ) answer for distinguishing United men --- that said Donovan then informed Confessionalist that he was an United Man and a delegate from them , employed to distribute papers etc. for them in the Counties of Kildare , Wicklow, Wexford and Carlow, except about Myshall, where he was afraid to appear, being in dread of Cornwall who was so great a hunter of United Men.

Further saith that said Donovan and Confessionalist stopped that night at the house of one Doyle, a publican at Dumbohall, where they drank very freely -- that said Donovan mentioned that Cornwall's name was well known through all the Kingdom as a persecutor of the United Men but that he should soon be put out of the way for that a reward of 20 had been offered by the United men, to be paid out of their Treasury in Dublin to any person who should kill Cornwall --that they found it impossible to get at him in the country, but that two men on the Blind Quay, Dublin, had undertaken to do the business in Dublin, with an assassinating tool in the streets, or under the pretence of seeking advice on Law, to get into Cornwall's office in Dublin where they would instantly dispatch him, turn the key in the door and make off ---

Donovan then asked the Confessionalist if Cornwall was still at Myshall, and was answered that he was --that Donovan had a large bundle of papers to distribute throughout the Country and was on his way to Kilkenny for that purpose but would not go to Myshall for fear of Cornwall. Donovan then asked Confessionalist if he knew John Feltus of Hollybrook --to which he answered that he did --- That said Donovan read a letter which he said was from Lord Edward Fitzgerald, which mentioned that as soon as the nights grew long and dark the French would be here, and that most of the Army and Militia were already members of the United Men and that Pansai the Coiner was a principal of the party in Dublin and had been at Blare's camp on business.

That he had known of several meetings that Peter Ivers, a Rush-Mat maker, from the Quarries in Carlow is one of the leaders and a distributor of papers. and Henry Heydon of Tullow Street is another leader at whose house Confessionalist has heard that several nightly Committees are held of said men --- that --- Wright of Tullow Street acts as Treasurer for the Barony of Carlow, that Dooley, a Blacksmith who lives in Rathoe has been engaged to make pikes and that he is to be furnished with Iron and Steel from Carlow. Donovan got himself much intoxicated and went to bed ---Confessionalist and Donovan slept in the same room together that night -- -

Donovan had a large purse filled with gold and silver, which he said he had got from the United Treasury in Dublin. That Confessionalist, before the day got up , took one of the said papers out of the pocket of Donovan, which is now in his possession and then left said house and returned home.

That he knows of a number of persons who have taken the Oath to the United Men and among others ; John Eustace of Boherduff, Ciaran Eustace, his son. James Garrett, Esq. Edward Eustace Esq, one of his Majesty's justices of the Peace, Silvester Coghlan and Edward Coghlan both of Rathoe, the Kelly's of Ballymurphy and several others whose names Confessionalist does not now recollect -- Saith the last return of the number of United men in this County made to the General Committee in Dublin amounted to 2,800 --Saith he makes this Confession from a motive of public Justice without any reward or promise of any reward or other gratuity ---

Sworn before me this 3rd day of October 1797.
(signed) William Kelly.
(signed) Robert Cornwall.

The above is a true and accurate transcript of the original document.
This document was transcribed by Michael Purcell
Pg 18 Pg 19 Pg 20

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