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were the sailors about? Where was Lord Howe, who had swept the Frenchmen from the sea at Ushant last June twelvemonth? Where was Admiral Jervis, who turned them out of the West Indies, neck and crop, the year before ? And that new man, Nelson, folks talked so much about, where was he? There must have been sad mismanagement somewhere, or these murderous villains would never have dared to scuttle ships under Hillsboro Hill. At all events they were gone now, and seemed to be steering for Tenby, or mayhap Milford Haven, to give the Welshmen a turn.

An old sailor, by name Thomas Williams, had settled down on a little farm called Trelythin, about half-way between St. David's and the sea, where he had prospered, and eventually blossomed into a justice of the peace. This good man was taking his walks abroad on Wednesday the 22nd of February, about ten o'clock in the forenoon, and, as was his wont, had one eye on the sea, the other on his crops, when he caught sight of a lugger and three men-of-war passing the North Bishops. So near were the vessels to the shore that Mr. Williams made out a number of troops on board. English colours were flying ; but the old sea-dog was not to be gulled by that stale device. At a glance he recognised the craft to be Frenchmen, and immediately sent off a farmboy on horseback to rouse the St. David's men. Numbers of these came running down to Trelytbin, and followed Williams along the coast until they came to Pencaer, keeping the enemy well in sight all the while.

About 2 P. M. the Frenchmen dropped anchor, and for some little time there was a lull in the proceedings. At 4 o'clock a sloop, The Britannia (Owen, master), bound for Fishguard with a cargo of culm for Colonel Knox of Llanstinan, came by. The frigates signalled that she should heave to. This she did, and was at once boarded and brought to anchor. Williams then sent a messenger into Fishguard, and an officer (most likely of the coast-guard) ran to the fort, and fired a salute to the British flag. Then the most incredulous

onlooker was convinced, for the English colours were struck, and the French ensign run up in their place.

By this time the whole population of Fishguard had turned out, and when they recognized the tricolour a general scare resulted. Every beast of burden and every vehicle in the little town was brought into requisition ; messengers were packed off in all directions, with orders to raise the country as they went; the possessors of carts and wheelbarrows crammed them with their worldly goods, while the less fortunate carried off their gear pickaback.

The enemy, numbering 1,400 men and two women, effected a landing on Carrig Gwastad Point without opposition. Nearly all of them disembarked on the evening of the 22nd, and the remainder reached the shore early the next morning. They had seventeen boats in all; but one, laden with ammunition, was upset in the surf, and the contents lost. However, they brought safely to shore forty-seven barrels, ten hampers, and a large sheet full of ball-cartridges, twelve boxes of hand-grenades, but no field-pieces nor artillery of any sort. It was no light task to land what they had in a ,

rolling surf, and then carry it up the steep and slippery cliff. Twenty determined men might have stopped the way. The force consisted of 600

regulars . and 800 convicts. They were commanded by a Wexford man named Tate, who called himself an American, and held a commission as general in the French army.

Mr. Mortimer, of Trehowel Farm, was one of those who had insisted that the frigates were King George's ships, and, like a good fellow, prepared an excellent supper for the officers. Perceiving his mistake in time, be escaped on horseback, carrying with him his money and papers; and his maidservant, Anne George, secured the silver spoons by putting them in her pocket; but the supper, a pipe of wine, and plenty of cwrw-da were left behind. The Hiberno-Franco-American General Tate seems to have been instinctively attracted by this good cheer; and so well contented was he with the supper that he constituted Trehowel the headquarters of the French army of occupation. The sailors who came on shore with Tate looted an eight-day clock; and as their kits were in need of replenishment, cut open

the beds, turned out the feathers, and converted the ticking into duck-trousers. But although the supper was conceived in the most hospitable spirit, it proved insufficient for 1,400 men; so when the General and his staff had taken the edge off their own appetites, they directed both rank and file to investigate the resources of the larders in the neighbourhood. The following is a list of the houses visited :


Brestgarn Lanverran

Llanunda Tregeddulan
Trefauwn Trelimmin
Crimcoed St. Nicholas

Tresissillt vach Trehelin
Penyrhiw Pantyrig
Tresinwen Penysgwarn


Llanwnda and St. Nicholas Church were also examined, and the Communion plate from the former looted. This, however, was eventually recovered. Wonderfully little mischief, and scarcely any violence was done : indeed, when we remember that more than half of the invading force were “the sweepings of the jails, convicts who bore the marks of chains on wrists and legs”, their conduct leads us to suppose that the occupants of French prisons towards the end of the last century were an eminently respectable class of men. For instance, at a farm called Cotts, a poor woman who had recently been confined was abandoned by her cowardly husband. . When the Frenchmen entered the house, in her despair she held up her baby in her arms, and implored mercy. As soon as they comprehended the situation, having soothed her fears as well as they could, they left her in peace.

Mr. Thomas of Mathry went to his relative's house


at Penrhew, which, to his astonishment, he found filled with plundering Frenchmen, who requisitioned his watch, silver knee-buckles, and money which he had secreted in his shoes and stockings, and then took him as a prisoner to Trehowel. Tate was exceedingly angry at the treatment Thomas had received, and requested him to point out the offenders. This the Welshman was afraid to do, so he was dismissed minus his watch and buckles.

The worst case was that of Mary Williams of Carlem. She, while running away, was first wounded with a gunshot, and then maltreated, probably by drunken

However, even she, poor soul, did not make a bad bargain, for she received a pension of £10 per annum, which she was still enjoying when the narrative from which my story is taken was written, forty-five years after the invasion.

Near Carlem two Welshmen summoned two Frenchmen to surrender ; but they showed fight, and one of the foreigners was killed ; the other yielded, giving up his musket to his captors, with which one of them hit him over the head. He then drew his bayonet, killed them both, and escaped.

The Welsh altogether lost only these two men, and Mary Williams and a sailor were the only wounded. Three Frenchmen in all were killed (one of whom fell over the cliff), three were reported wounded, and two died either of wounds or disease. The plunder taken consisted chiefly of eatables. The invaders seem espe

ally to have affected poultry; and tales used to be told of how they boiled geese in melted butter, and washed them down with huge draughts of port wine, large quantities of which were to be found in all the houses, as a Portuguese vessel had lately been wrecked, and the cargo stolen by the country folk.

After gorging goose and guzzling port wine all night, the invaders were scarcely in a condition to meet the force which had assembled to oppose them, though it was nothing more than a mob of rustics armed with

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fowling-pieces, scythe-blades fixed on poles, and the like. The citizens of St. David's stripped the lead off their Cathedral to make bullets : a proceeding which vexed the righteous souls of Dean and Chapter, but does not appear to have inflicted any injury on the French.

Mr. Whitesides, a Liverpool contractor, who was engaged in the erection of the Smalls Lighthouse, raised the sailors of Solva. Five of these engaged five Frenchmen, one of whom they killed, two they wounded, and two ran away.

One Welsh sailor was wounded in the foot, for which he received a pension. The field where this fight took place is called “ French Park”, and in it the foreigner was buried.

Lord Cawdor, who was at Stackpole, did not hear of the invasion until “ the middle of Wednesday night, when he immediately set off ; Lord Milford, the LordLieutenant of the county, having desired him to take command of the troops, being too infirm to do so himself”, though he (Lord Milford) made his way to Fishguard with the rest. The troops consisted of the Castlemartin Yeomanry Cavalry, the Cardiganshire Militia, the Cardiff Militia (which was then stationed in Pembrokeshire), Colonel Knox of Llanstinan, and Major Ackland of Llannion, with their respective companies of fencible infantry; some sailors under Lieutenants Mears and Perkins : in all, 750 men. It happened that with the other gentlemen who had assembled and offered their services, there was one Captain William Davies, a veteran who had seen service, having, indeed, fought at Bunker's Hill.

Lord Cawdor had great confidence in his judgment, and requested him to draw up the troops so as to deceive the French as to their real number. This was most successfully managed. The ill-natured declare that the women in their high hats and red “whittles” assisted him considerably by their resemblance to regiments of the line.

At noon on Thursday both French and English were astounded to see the French frigates weigh anchor and

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