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Title: Speeches from the Dock, Part I
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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or, Protests of Irish Patriotism

Speeches Delivered After Conviction,



   "Freedom's battle, once begun,--
   Bequeath'd from bleeding sire to son,--
   Though baffled oft, is ever won."





Little more than a year ago we commenced an undertaking never previously
attempted, yet long called for--the collection and publication, in a
complete form and at a low price, of the Speeches of Irish Patriots,
spoken from the dock or the scaffold.

The extraordinary success which attended upon our effort was the best
proof that we had correctly appreciated the universal desire of the
Irish people to possess themselves of such a memorial of National
Protest--protest unbroken through generations of martyrs.

The work was issued in weekly numbers, and reached a sale previously
unheard of in Irish literature. In a few months the whole issue was
exhausted, and for a long time past the demand for a Second Edition has
been pressed upon us from all sides. With that demand we now comply.

The present issue of "Speeches from the Dock" has been carefully revised
and considerably improved. With it, as Part I. of a series, we have
bound, as its sequels, Parts II. and III.--each Part, however, complete
in itself--bringing the list of convict patriot orators down to the
latest sentenced in 1868. It may be that even here the sad array is not
to close, and that even yet another sequel may have to be issued, ere
the National Protest of which these Voices from the Dock are the
utterances, shall be terminated for ever. Even so, our faith will be all
unshaken in the inevitable triumph of the cause for which so many
martyrs have thus suffered; and we shall still await in Faith and Hope
the first strains of that Hymn of Deliverance which shall yet resound
through the valleys of Emancipated Ireland.


_November_, 1868.


To the lovers of Ireland--to those who sympathize with her sufferings
and resent her wrongs, there can be few things more interesting than the
history of the struggles which sprang from devotion to her cause, and
were consecrated by the blood of her patriots. The efforts of the Irish
race to burst the fetters that foreign force and native dissensions
imposed on them, and elevate their country from bondage and degradation
to a place amongst free nations, fill a page in the world's history
which no lover of freedom can read without emotion, and which must
excite wonder, admiration, and regret in the mind of every man with whom
patriotism is not a reproach, and who can sympathize with a cause
ennobled by fidelity and sacrifice, and sanctified by the blood and
tears of a nation. "How hands so vile could conquer hearts so brave," is
the question which our National Poet supposes to arise in the mind of
the stranger, as he looks on the spectacle of Ireland in her decay; but
another question will suggest itself to those who study the history of
our country: it is, how a feeling so deeply rooted as the love of
independence is in the hearts of the Irish people--an aspiration so
warmly and so widely entertained--which has been clung to with so much
persistency--which has survived through centuries of persecution--for
which generations have arisen, and fought, and bled, and dashed
themselves against the power of England with a succession as unbroken as
that of the waves upon our shores--a cause so universally loved, so
deeply reverenced, and so unflinchingly supported by a brave and
intrepid race, should never have attained the blessing of success. A
more signal instance than that which Ireland can supply of the baffling
of a nation's hope, the prolonged frustration of a people's will, is not
on record; and few even of those who most condemn the errors and
weakness by which Irishmen themselves have retarded the national object,
will hesitate to say that they have given to mankind the noblest proof
they possess of the vitality of the principles of freedom, and the
indestructibility of national sentiment.

It is for us, however, Irish of the Irish, that the history of the
struggle for Ireland's rights possesses most attractions. We live amidst
the scenes where the battles against the stranger were fought, and where
the men who waged them lived and died. The bones of the patriots who
laboured for Ireland, and of those who died for her, repose in the
graveyards around us; and we have still amongst us the inheritors of
their blood, their name, and their spirit. It was to make us free--to
render independent and prosperous the nation to, which we belong--that
the pike was lifted and the green flag raised; and it was in furtherance
of this object, on which the hearts of Irishmen are still set, that the
men whose names shine through the pages on which the story of Ireland's
struggles for national existence is written, suffered and died. To
follow out that mournful but absorbing story is not, however, the object
aimed at in the following pages. The history of Ireland is no longer a
sealed volume to the people; more than one author has told it truthfully
and well, and the list of books devoted to it is every day receiving
valuable accessions. Nor has it even been attempted, in this little
work, though trenching more closely on its subject, to trace the career
and sketch the lives of the men who fill the foremost places in the
ranks of Ireland's political martyrs. In the subjoined pages little more
will be found than a correct report of the addresses delivered, under
certain peculiar circumstances, by the group of Irishmen whose names are
given on the titlepage. A single public utterance from the lips of each
of these gentlemen is all that we have printed, though it would be easy
to supplement them in nearly every case by writings and speeches owning
a similar authorship, equally eloquent and equally patriotic. But the
speeches given here are associated with facts which give them peculiar
value and significance, and were spoken under circumstances which lend
to them a solemn interest and impressiveness which could not otherwise
be obtained. They reach us--these dock speeches, in which nobility of
purpose and chivalrous spirit is expressed--like voices from the tomb,
like messages from beyond the grave, brimful of lessons of dignity and
patriotism. We can see the men who spoke them standing before the
representatives of the government whose oppression had driven them to
revolt, when the solemn farce of trying them for a crime which posterity
will account a virtue had terminated, and when the verdict of "guilty"
had gladdened the hearts of their accusers. The circumstances under
which they spoke might well cause a bold man to falter. They were about
parting for ever from all that makes life dear to man; and, for some of
them, the sentence; which was to cut short the thread of their
existence, to consign them to a bloody and ignominious death, to leave
their bodies mutilated corpses, from which the rights of Christian
burial were to be withheld--which was to assign them the death of a dog,
and to follow them with persecuting hand into the valley of death--was
about to fall from the lips of the judges whom they addressed. Against
others a fate less repulsive, perhaps, to the feelings of humanity, but
certainly not more merciful, and hardly less painful and appalling, was
about to be decreed. Recent revelations have thrown some light on the
horrors endured by the Irish political prisoners who languish within the
prison pens of England; but it needs far more than a stray letter, a
half-stifled cry from the dungeon depths, to enable the public to
realize the misery, the wretchedness, and the degradation attached to
the condition to which England reduces her political convicts. Condemned
to associate with the vilest of the scoundrels bred by the immorality
and godlessness of England--exposed, without possibility of redress, to
the persecutions of brutal, coarse-minded men, accustomed to deal
only with ruffians than whom beasts are less ferocious and
unreclaimable--restricted to a course of discipline which blasts the
vigour of the body, and under whose influence reason herself totters
upon her throne--the Irish rebel against whom the doom of penal
servitude has been pronounced is condemned to the most hideous and
agonizing punishments to which men of their class could be exposed. It
was with such terrors staring them in the face that the men whose words
are recorded in this little work delivered their speeches from the dock.
It is surely something for us, their countrymen, to boast of, that
neither in their bearing nor in their words was there manifested the
slightest trace of weakness, the faintest exhibition of any feeling
which could show that their hearts were accessible to the terror which
their situation was so well calculated to inspire. No cheek grew pale,
no eyes lost their light--their tones were unbroken, and their manner
undaunted as ever, as these men uttered the words we purpose recording.
Their language tells of minds which persecution could not subdue, and
for which death itself possessed no sting; and the manner in which it
was expressed showed that, in their case, elevation of sentiment was
allied with unconquerable firmness and resolution. Never were lessons so
noble more boldly preached. It is in courts of justice, after all,
declares a great English authority, that the lessons of morality are
best taught; and in Ireland the truthfulness of the assertion is
established. But it is not from the bench or the jury-box that the words
have fallen in which the cause of morality and justice has been
vindicated; venality, passion, and prejudice have but too often swayed
the decisions of both; and it is to the dock we must turn when we seek
for honour, integrity, and patriotism.

We owe it to the men who suffered so unflinchingly in the cause of our
country, and who have left us so precious a heritage in the speeches in
which they hurled a last defiance at their oppressors, that their names
should not be forgotten, or the recollection of their acts suffered to
grow cold. The noblest incentive to patriotism, as it is the highest
reward which this world can offer those who dare and suffer for
fatherland, is the gratitude, the sympathy, and the applause of the
people for whom they laboured. We owe it to the brave men whose
patriotism is attested in the addresses comprised in this volume, that
the memory of their noble deeds shall not pass away, and that their
names shall remain enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen. They
failed, it is true, to accomplish what they attempted, and the battle to
which they devoted themselves has yet to be won; but we know that they,
at least, did their part courageously and well; and, looking back now
upon the stormy scenes of their labours, and contrasting the effects of
their sacrifices with the cost at which they were made, the people of
Ireland are still prepared to accept the maxim that--

   "Tis better to have fought and lost,
   Than never to have fought at all."

While such men can be found to suffer as they have suffered for Ireland,
the ultimate triumph of her aspirations cannot be doubted, nor can the
national faith be despaired of while it has martyrs so numerous and so
heroic. It is by example that the great lessons of patriotism can best
be conveyed; and if the national spirit burn brightly to-day in
Ireland--if the spirit of her children be still defiant and
unsubdued--if, at home and in the far West, the hearts of the Irish
people still throb with the emotions that prompted Emmet and Wolfe
Tone--if their eyes are still hot to see the independence of their
country, their arms still ready to strike, and their spirit ready to
sacrifice for the accomplishment of that object, we owe the result
largely to the men whose names are inscribed in this little work, and
whose memory it is intended to perpetuate.

We have commenced our series with the speech of Theobald Wolfe Tone, and
our record stretches no further back than the memorable insurrection of
1798. If our object were to group together the Irishmen who are known
to have struggled for the independence of their country, and who
suffered for their attachment to her cause, we might go much farther
back into history, and indefinitely increase the bulk of this
publication. We fix the insurrection of '98 as the limit of our
collection, chiefly because it was at that time trials for high treason
in Ireland assumed the precise meaning and significance which they now
possess, and there is consequently, in the speeches which follow, such a
unity of purpose and sentiment as renders them especially suitable for
presentation in a single volume. Only seventy years have elapsed since
Wolfe Tone spoke to the question why sentence should not be pronounced
on him--only two-thirds of a century since Emmet vindicated the cause of
his country from the Green street dock, and already what a host of
imitators and disciples have they had! There is not a country in Europe,
there is not a nationality in the world, can produce such another
collection as that which we to-day lay before the people of Ireland. We
live under a government which claims to be just, liberal, and
constitutional, yet against no other government in Christendom have the
same number of protests been made within the same space of time. Not
Poland, not Hungary, not Venetia, can point to such an unbroken
succession of political martyrs. The pages of history contain nothing to
compare with the little volume we to-day place in the hands of our
countrymen; and we know of no more powerful and eloquent condemnation of
the system on which Ireland is governed, than that contained in the
simple fact that all those speeches were spoken, all those trials
carried-out, all those sentences decreed, within the lifetime of a
single generation. It is idle to think of subduing a people who make so
many sacrifices, and who are undaunted still; it is vain to think of
crushing a spirit which survives so much persecution. The executioner
and the gaoler, the gibbet, the block, and the dungeon, have done their
work in the crusade against Irish Nationality, and we know what the
result is to-day. The words of the last political convict whose name
appears in these pages are as uncompromising and as bold as those of the
first of his predecessors; and, studying the spirit which they have
exhibited, and marking the effect of their conduct on the bulk of their
countrymen, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion, that so much
persistent resolution and heroism must one day eventuate in success, and
that Ireland, the country for which so many brave men have suffered with
such unfaltering courage, is not destined to disprove the rule that--

   "Freedom's battle once begun,--
   Bequeath'd from bleeding sire to son--
   Though baffled oft, is ever won."

       *       *       *       *       *


No name is more intimately associated with the national movement of 1798
than that of Theobald Wolfe Tone. He was its main-spring, its leading
spirit. Many men connected with it possessed, as he did, brilliant
talents, unfailing courage and determination, and an intense devotion to
the cause; but the order of his genius raised him above them all, and
marked him out from the first as the head and front of the patriot
party. He was one of the original founders of the Society of United
Irishmen, which was formed in Belfast in the year 1791. In its early
days this society was simply a sort of reform association, a legal and
constitutional body, having for its chief object the removal of the
frightful oppressions by which the Catholic people of Ireland were
tortured and disgraced; but in the troubled and portentous condition of
home and foreign politics, the society could not long retain this
character. The futility of seeking a redress of the national grievances
by parliamentary means was becoming apparent to every understanding. The
system of outrage and injustice towards the Catholics, unabating in its
severity, continued to exasperate the actual sufferers and to offend all
men of humane feelings and enlightened principles; and, at the same
time, the electric influence of the American War of Independence and the
French Revolution was operating powerfully in every heart, evoking there
the aspiration for Irish freedom, and inspiring a belief in its possible
attainment. In the midst of such exciting circumstances the society
could not continue to stand on its original basis. In the year 1794,
after a debate among the members, followed by the withdrawal of the more
moderate or timid among them from its ranks, it assumed the form and
character of a secret revolutionary organization; and Tone, Thomas Addis
Emmet, Samuel Neilson, Thomas Russell, James Napper Tandy, with a number
of other patriotic gentlemen in Belfast, Dublin, and other parts
of the country, soon found themselves in the full swing of an
insurrectionary movement, plotting and planning for the complete
overthrow of British power in Ireland. Thenceforward, for some time, the
organization went on rapidly extending through the province of Ulster,
in the first instance, and subsequently over most of the midland and
southern counties.

[Illustration: THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. _From a Portrait by his
Daughter-in-law, Mrs. Sampson Tone._]

Such was the state of affairs when, in the early part of 1794, an
emissary from the French government arrived in Ireland, to ascertain to
what extent the Irish people were likely to co-operate with France in a
war against England. This individual was the Rev. William Jackson, an
Irish Protestant clergyman, who had for some years been resident in
France, and had become thoroughly imbued with Democratic and Republican
principles. Unfortunately, he was not one of the most prudent of envoys.
He revealed his mission to an acquaintance of his, an English attorney,
named Cockayne, who repaid his confidence by betraying his secrets to
the government. Cockayne was immediately employed as a spy upon
Jackson's further proceedings, in which capacity he accompanied his
unsuspecting victim to Ireland, and acquired cognizance of most of his
negotiations. On the 28th of April; 1794, Jackson was arrested on a
charge of high treason. He was brought to speedy trial, was found
guilty, but was not sentenced, for, on the day on which the law's award
was to have been announced to him, he contrived, before entering the
court, to swallow a dose of poison, from the effects of which he expired
in the dock. Tone, with whom Jackson was known to have been in
confidential communication, was placed by those events in a very
critical position; owing, however, to some influence which had been made
with the government on his behalf, he was permitted to exile himself to
America. As he had entered into no engagement with the government
regarding his future line of conduct, he made his expatriation the means
of forwarding, in the most effective manner, the designs he had at
heart. He left Dublin for Philadelphia on the 20th of May, 1795. One of
his first acts, after arriving, was to present to the French Minister
there resident a memorial on the state of Ireland. During the remaining
months of the year letters from his old friends came pouring in on him,
describing the brightening prospects of the cause at home, and urging
him to proceed to the French capital and impress upon the Directory the
policy of despatching at once an expedition to ensure the success of the
Irish revolutionary movement.

Tone was not the man to disregard such representations. He had at the
time a fair prospect of securing a comfortable independence in America,
but with the full concurrence of his heroic wife, who had accompanied
him across the Atlantic, he sacrificed those chances and resumed the
perilous duties of an Irish patriot. On the 1st of January, 1796, he
left New York for Paris to try what he could do as a diplomatist for the
cause of Ireland. Arrived at the French capital, he had his business
communicated to the Directory through the medium of an Irish gentleman,
named Madgett, and also by memorial, representing always that the
landing of a force of 20,000 men in Ireland, with a supply of arms for
the peasantry, would ensure the separation of Ireland from England. Not
satisfied with the slow progress he was thus achieving, he went on the
24th of February direct to the Luxemburg Palace, and sought and obtained
an interview with the War Minister, the celebrated Carnot, the
"organizer of victory." The Minister received him well, listened
attentively to his statements, discussed his project with him, and
appeared much impressed with the prospects it presented. The result was
that on the 16th of December in the same year, a splendid expedition
sailed from Brest for Ireland. It consisted of seventeen sail of the
line, thirteen frigates and fifteen transports, with some smaller craft,
and had on board 15,000 troops, with a large supply of arms for the
Irish patriots. Tone himself, who had received the rank of
Adjutant-General in the French service, was on board one of the vessels.
Had this force been disembarked on the shores of Ireland, it is hardly
possible to doubt that the separation of this country from England would
have been effected. But the expedition was unfortunate from the outset.
It was scattered on the voyage during a gale of wind, and the Admiral's
vessel, with Hoche, the Commander, on board, was separated from the
others. A portion of the expedition entered the magnificent Bay of
Bantry and waited there several days in expectation of being rejoined by
the vessel containing the Admiral and Commander; but they waited in
vain. Tone vehemently urged that a landing should be effected with the
forces then at hand--some 6,500 men--but the officers procrastinated,
time was lost, the wind which had been blowing from the east (that is
out the harbour) rose to a perfect hurricane, and on the 27th and 28th
of the month the vessels cut their cables and made the best of their way
for France.

This was a terrible blow to the hopes of the Irish organizer. Rage and
sadness filled his heart by turns as the fierce storm blew his vessel
out of the bay and across the sea to the land which he had left under
such favourable auspices. But yet he did not resign himself to despair.
As the patient spider renews her web again and again after it has been
torn asunder, so did this indefatigable patriot set to work to repair
the misfortune that had occurred, and to build up another project of
assistance for his unfortunate country. His perseverance was not
unproductive of results. The Batavian or Dutch Republic, then in
alliance with France, took up the project that had failed in the Bay of
Bantry. In the month of July, 1797, they had assembled in the Texel an
expedition for the invasion of Ireland, nearly, if not quite, as
formidable in men and ships as that which had left Brest in the previous
year. Tone was on board the flag ship, even more joyous and hopeful than
he had been on the preceding occasion. But again, as if by some
extraordinary fatality, the weather interposed an obstacle to the
realization of the design. The vessels were ready for sea, the troops
were on board, nothing was wanted but a slant of wind to enable the
fleet to get out. But for five weeks it continued to blow steadily in
the adverse direction. The supplies ran low; the patience of the
officers, and of the government, became exhausted--the troops were
disembarked and the project abandoned! The second failure in a matter
of such weight and importance was a heavy blow to the heart of the brave
Tone. Elaborate and costly efforts like those which had ended so poorly,
he felt could not often be repeated; the drift of the war was cutting
out other work for the fleets and armies of France and her allies, and
the unwelcome conviction began to settle darkly on his mind that never
again would he see such a vision of hope for dear Ireland as that which
had shone before him on those two occasions, and vanished in doubt and

Yet there was no need to despair. Assurances reached Tone every day that
the defeat and humiliation of England was a settled resolve of the
French Government, one which they would never abandon. And for a time
everything seemed to favour the notion that a direct stroke at the heart
of England was intended. In the latter part of 1797 the Directory
ordered the formation of "The Army of England," the command of which was
given to General Buonaparte. Tone's heart again beat high with hope, for
now matters looked more promising than ever. He was in constant
communication with some of the chief officers of the expedition, and in
the month of December he had several interviews with Buonaparte himself,
which however he could hardly consider of a satisfactory nature. On the
20th of May, 1798, General Buonaparte embarked on board the fleet at
Toulon and sailed off--not for Ireland or England, but for Egypt.

On the Irish leaders at home these repeated disappointments fell with
terrible effect. The condition of the country was daily growing more
critical. The government, now thoroughly roused and alarmed, and
persuaded that the time for "vigorous measures" had arrived, was
grappling with the conspiracy in all directions. Still those men would,
if they could, have got the people to possess their souls in patience
and wait for aid from abroad before unfurling the banner of
insurrection; for they were constant in their belief that without the
presence of a disciplined army on Irish soil to consolidate their
strength and direct it, a revolutionary effort of the Irish people
could end only in disaster. But the government had reasons of their own
for wishing to set an Irish rebellion afoot at this time, and they took
measures to precipitate the rising. The arrest of the delegates at the
house of Oliver Bond in Dublin, and the capture of Lord Edward
Fitzgerald contributed to this end; but these things the country might
have peacably endured if no more dreadful trial had been put upon it.
What could not be endured was the system of riot and outrage, and
murder, to which the unfortunate peasantry were then given over. Words
fail to describe its cruelty and its horrors. It was too much for human
nature to bear. On the 23rd of May, three days after Buonaparte had
sailed from Toulon for Alexandria, the Irish insurrection broke out. The
news of the occurrence created the most intense excitement among the
Irish refugees then in Paris. Tone rushed to and fro to the Directory
and to the generals, pleading for the despatch of some assistance to his
struggling countrymen. Various plans were suggested and taken into
consideration, but while time was being wasted in this way, the military
forces of the British Government were rapidly suppressing the
insurrection of the unarmed and undisciplined Irish peasantry. In this
condition of affairs a gallant but rash and indiscreet French officer,
General Humbert, resolved that he would commit the Directory to action,
by starting at once with a small force for the coast of Ireland. Towards
the middle of August, calling together the merchants and magistrates of
Rochelle, "he forced them to advance a small sum of money, and all that
he wanted, on military requisition; and embarking on board a few
frigates and transports with 1,000 men, 1,000 spare muskets, 1,000
guineas, and a few pieces of artillery, he compelled the captains to set
sail for the most desperate attempt which is, perhaps, recorded in
history." Three Irishmen were on board the fleet--Matthew Tone, brother
to Theobald, Bartholomew Teeling, and Sullivan, an officer in the French
service, who was enthusiastically devoted to the Irish cause, and had
rendered much aid to his patriotic countrymen in France. Humbert landed
at Killala, routed with his little handful of men a large force of the
royal troops, and held his ground until General Lake, with 20,000 men
marched against him. After a resistance sufficient to maintain the
honour of the French arms, Humbert's little force surrendered as
prisoners of war. The Irish who had joined his standard were shown no
mercy. The peasantry were cruelly butchered. Of those who had
accompanied him from France, Sullivan, who was able to pass as a
Frenchman, escaped; Teeling and Matthew Tone were brought in irons to
Dublin, tried, and executed. The news of Humbert's expedition and the
temporary success that had attended it created much excitement in
France, and stirred up the Directory to attempt something for Ireland
more worthy of the fame and power of the French nation, and more in
keeping with their repeated promises to the leaders of the Irish
movement. But their fleet was at the time greatly reduced, and their
resources were in a state of disorganization. They mustered for the
expedition only one sail of the line and eight small frigates, commanded
by Commodore Bompart, conveying 5,000 men under the leadership of
General Hardy. On board the Admiral's vessel, which was named the Hoche,
was the heroic Theobald Wolfe Tone. He knew this expedition had no
chance of success, but he had all along declared, "that if the
government sent only a corporal's guard, he felt it his duty to go along
with them." The vessels sailed on the 20th of September, 1798;
it was not till the 11th October that they arrived off Lough
Swilly--simultaneously with an English squadron that had been on the
look out for them. The English ships were about equal in number to the
French, but were of a larger class, and carried a much heavier armament.
The French Admiral directed some of his smaller craft to endeavour to
escape by means of their light draught of water, and he counselled Tone
to transfer himself to that one of them which had the best chance of
getting away. The Frenchmen, he observed, would be made prisoners of
war, but for the Irish rebel a worse fate was reserved if he should fall
into the hand of his enemies. But to this suggestion the noble-hearted
Tone declined to accede. "Shall it be said," he replied, "that I fled
while the French were fighting the battles of my country." In a little
time the Hoche was surrounded by four sail of the line and one frigate,
who poured their shot into her upon all sides. During six hours she
maintained the unequal combat, fighting "till her masts and rigging were
cut away, her scuppers flowed with blood, her wounded filled the
cockpit, her shattered ribs yawned at each new stroke, and let in five
feet of water in the hold, her rudder was carried off, and she floated a
dismantled wreck on the water; her sails and cordage hung in shreds, nor
could she reply with a single gun from her dismounted batteries to the
unabating cannonade of the enemy." During the action Tone commanded one
of the batteries "and fought with the utmost desperation, as if he was
courting death." But, as often has happened in similiar cases, death
seemed to shun him, and he was reserved for a more tragic fate.

The French officers who survived the action, and had been made prisoners
of war, were, some days subsequently, invited to breakfast with the Earl
of Cavan, who commanded in the district in which they had been landed.
Tone, who up to that time, had escaped recognition, was one of the
party, and sat undistinguished among them, until Sir George Hill, who
had been a fellow-student of his in Trinity College, entered the room
and accosted him by his name. This was done, not inadvertently, but with
the intention of betraying him. In a moment he was in the hands of a
party of military and police who were in waiting for him in the next
room. Seeing that they were about to put him in fetters, he complained
indignantly of the offering of such an insult to the uniform which he
wore, and the rank--that of Chef de Brigade--which he bore in the French
army. He cast off his regimentals, protesting that they should not be so
sullied, and then, offering his limbs to the irons, exclaimed--"For the
cause which I have embraced, I feel prouder to wear these chains, than
if I were decorated with the Star and Garter of England." He was hurried
off to Dublin, and though the ordinary tribunals were sitting at the
time, and the military tribunals could have no claim on him, as he had
never belonged to the English army, he was put on his trial before a
court-martial. This was absolutely an illegal proceeding, but his
enemies were impatient for his blood, and would not brook the chances
and the delays of the ordinary procedure of law. On the 10th of
November, 1798, his trial, if such it might be called, took place in one
of the Dublin barracks. He appeared before the Court "dressed," says the
_Dublin Magazine_ for November, 1798, "in the French uniform: a large
cocked hat, with broad gold lace and the tri-coloured cockade; a blue
uniform coat, with gold-embroidered collar and two large gold epaulets;
blue pantaloons, with gold-laced garters at the knees; and short boots,
bound at the tops with gold lace." In his bearing there was no trace of
excitement. "The firmness and cool serenity of his whole deportment,"
writes his son, "gave to the awestruck assembly the measure of his
soul," The proceedings of the Court are detailed in the following
report, which we copy from the "Life of Tone," by his son, published at
Washington, U.S., in 1826:--

   The members of the Court having been sworn, the Judge Advocate called
   on the prisoner to plead guilty or not guilty to the charge of having
   acted traitorously and hostilely against the King. Tone replied:--

   "I mean not to give the court any useless trouble, and wish to spare
   them the idle task of examining witnesses. I admit all the facts
   alleged, and only request leave to read an address which I have
   prepared for this occasion."

   Colonel DALY--"I must warn the prisoner that, in acknowledging those
   _facts_, he admits, to his prejudice, that he has acted
   _traitorously_ against his Majesty. Is such his intention?"

   TONE--"Stripping this charge of the technicality of its terms, it
   means, I presume, by the word traitorously, that I have been found in
   arms against the soldiers of the King in my native country. I admit
   this accusation in its most extended sense, and request again to
   explain to the court the reasons and motives of my conduct."

   The court then observed they would hear his address, provided he kept
   himself within the bounds of moderation.

   Tone rose, and began in these words--"Mr. President and Gentlemen of
   the Court-Martial, I mean not to give you the trouble of bringing
   judicial proof to convict me legally of having acted in hostility to
   the government of his Britannic Majesty in Ireland. I admit the fact.
   From my earliest youth I have regarded the connection between Great
   Britain and Ireland as the curse of the Irish nation, and felt
   convinced that, whilst it lasted, this country could never be free
   nor happy. My mind has been confirmed in this opinion by the
   experience of every succeeding year, and the conclusions which I have
   drawn from every fact before my eyes. In consequence, I was
   determined to employ all the powers which my individual efforts could
   move, in order to separate the two countries. That Ireland was not
   able of herself to throw off the yoke, I knew; I therefore sought for
   aid wherever it was to be found. In honourable poverty I rejected
   offers which, to a man in my circumstances, might be considered
   highly advantageous. I remained faithful to what I thought the cause
   of my country, and sought in the French Republic an ally to rescue
   three millions of my countrymen from--"

   The President here interrupted the prisoner, observing that this
   language was neither relevant to the charge, nor such as ought to be
   delivered in a public court.

   A Member said it seemed calculated only to inflame the minds of a
   certain description of people (the United Irishmen), many of whom
   might be present, and that the court could not suffer it.

   The JUDGE ADVOCATE said--"If Mr. Tone meant this paper to be laid
   before his Excellency in way of _extenuation_, it must have quite a
   contrary effect, if the foregoing part was suffered to remain." The
   President wound up by calling on the prisoner to hesitate before
   proceeding further in the same strain.

   TONE then continued--"I believe there is nothing in what remains for
   me to say which can give any offence; I mean to express my feelings
   and gratitude towards the Catholic body, in whose cause I was

   PRESIDENT--"That seems to have nothing to say to the charge against
   you, to which you are only to speak. If you have anything to offer in
   defence or extenuation of the charge, the court will hear you, but
   they beg you will confine yourself to that subject."

   TONE--"I shall, then, confine myself to some points relative to my
   connection with the French army. Attached to no party in the French
   Republic--without interest, without money, without intrigue--the
   openness and integrity of my views raised me to a high and
   confidential rank in its armies. I obtained the confidence of the
   Executive Directory, the approbation of my generals, and I will
   venture to add, the esteem and affection of my brave comrades. When I
   review these circumstances, I feel a secret and internal consolation
   which no reverse of fortune, no sentence in the power of this court
   to inflict, can deprive me of, or weaken in any degree. Under the
   flag of the French Republic I originally engaged with a view to save
   and liberate my own country. For that purpose I have encountered the
   chances of war amongst strangers; for that purpose I repeatedly
   braved the terrors of the ocean, covered, as I knew it to be, with
   the triumphant fleets of that power which it was my glory and my
   duty to oppose. I have sacrificed all my views in life; I have
   courted poverty; I have left a beloved wife unprotected, and children
   whom I adored fatherless. After such a sacrifice, in a cause which I
   have always considered--conscientiously considered--as the cause of
   justice and freedom, it is no great effort, at this day, to add the
   sacrifice of my life. But I hear it said that this unfortunate
   country has been a prey to all sorts of horrors. I sincerely lament
   it. I beg, however, it may be remembered that I have been absent four
   years from Ireland. To me these sufferings can never be attributed. I
   designed by fair and open war to procure the separation of the two
   countries. For open war I was prepared, but instead of that a system
   of private assassination has taken place. I repeat, whilst I deplore
   it, that it is not chargeable on me. Atrocities, it seems, have been
   committed on both sides. I do not less deplore them. I detest them
   from my heart; and to those who know my character and sentiments I
   may safely appeal for the truth of this assertion; with them I need
   no justification. In a case like this success is everything. Success,
   in the eyes of the vulgar, fixes its merits. Washington succeeded,
   and Kosciusko failed. After a combat nobly sustained--combat which
   would have excited the respect and sympathy of a generous enemy--my
   fate has been to become a prisoner, to the eternal disgrace of those
   who gave the orders. I was brought here in irons like a felon. I
   mention this for the sake of others; for me, I am indifferent to it.
   I am aware of the fate which awaits me, and scorn equally the tone of
   complaint and that of supplication. As to the connection between this
   country and Great Britain, I repeat it--all that has been imputed to
   me (words, writings, and actions), I here deliberately avow. I have
   spoken and acted with reflection and on principle, and am ready to
   meet the consequences. Whatever be the sentence of the court, I am
   prepared for it. Its members will surely discharge their duty--I
   shall take care not to be wanting in mine."

   The court having asked if he wished to make any further observation,

   TONE said--"I wish to offer a few words relative to one single
   point--the mode of punishment. In France our _emigrees_, who stand
   nearly in the same situation in which I now stand before you, are
   condemned to be shot. I ask that the court shall adjudge me the death
   of a soldier, and let me be shot by a platoon of grenadiers. I
   request this indulgence rather in consideration of the uniform I
   wear--the uniform of a Chef de Brigade in the French army--than from
   any personal regard to myself. In order to evince my claim to this
   favour, I beg that the court may take the trouble to peruse my
   commission and letters of service in the French army. It will appear
   from these papers that I have not received them as a mask to cover
   me, but that I have been long and _bona fide_ an officer in the
   French service."

   JUDGE ADVOCATE--"You must feel that the papers you allude to will
   serve as undeniable proof against you."

   TONE--"Oh, I know they will. I have already admitted the facts, and
   I now admit the papers as full proof of conviction."

   [The papers were then examined; they consisted of a brevet of Chef de
   Brigade from the Directory, signed by the Minister of War, of a
   letter of service granting to him the rank of Adjutant-General, and
   of a passport.]

   General LOFTUS--"In these papers you are designated as serving in the
   army of England."

   TONE--"I did serve in that army, when it was commanded by Buonaparte,
   by Dessaix, and by Kilmaine, who is, as I am, an Irishman; but I have
   also served elsewhere."

   The Court requested if he had anything further to observe.

   He said that nothing more occurred to him, except that the sooner his
   Excellency's approbation of the sentence was obtained the better.

This is Tone's speech, as reported in the public prints at that time,
but the recently-published "Correspondence" of Lord Cornwallis--Lord
Lieutenant in those days--supplies a portion of the address which was
never before published, the Court having forbade the reading of it at
the trial. The passage contains a noble outburst of gratitude towards
the Catholics of Ireland. Tone himself, as every reader is aware, was a
Protestant, and there can have been no reason for its suppression except
the consideration that it was calculated to still more endear the
prisoner to the hearts of his countrymen. We now reprint it, and thus
place it for the first time before the people for whom it was written:--

   "I have laboured to create a people in Ireland by raising three
   millions of my countrymen to the rank of citizens. I have laboured to
   abolish the infernal spirit of religious persecution, by uniting the
   Catholics and Dissenters. To the former I owe more than ever can be
   repaid. The services I was so fortunate as to render them they
   rewarded munificently; but they did more: when the public cry was
   raised against me--when the friends of my youth swarmed off and left
   me alone--the Catholics did not desert me; they had the virtue even
   to sacrifice their own interests to a rigid principle of honour; they
   refused, though strongly urged, to disgrace a man who, whatever his
   conduct towards the government might have been, had faithfully and
   conscientiously discharged his duty towards them; and in so doing,
   though it was in my own case, I will say they showed an instance of
   public, virtue of which I know not whether there exists another

The sad sequel of those proceedings is soon told. The request of the
prisoner to receive a military execution was refused by the Viceroy,
Lord Cornwallis, and Tone was sentenced to die "the death of a traitor"
within forty-eight hours from the time of his conviction. But
he--influenced, it must be confessed, by a totally mistaken feeling of
pride, and yielding to a weakness which every Christian heart should be
able to conquer--resolved that, rather than allow his enemies to have
the satisfaction of dangling his body from a gibbet, he would become his
own executioner. On the night of the 11th of November he contrived,
while lying unobserved in his cell, to open a vein in his neck with a
penknife. No intelligence of this fact had reached the public when, on
the morning of the 12th, the intrepid and eloquent advocate, John
Philpot Curran, made a motion in the Court of King's Bench for a writ of
_Habeas Corpus_, to withdraw the prisoner from the custody of the
military authorities, and transfer him to the charge of the civil power.
The motion was granted immediately, Mr. Curran pleading that, if delay
were made, the prisoner might be executed before the order of the Court
could be presented. A messenger was at once despatched from the court to
the barrack with the writ. He returned to say that the officers in
charge of the prisoner would obey only their military superiors. The
Chief Justice issued his commands peremptorily:--"Mr. Sheriff, take the
body of Tone into custody--take the Provost Marshal and Major Sandys
into custody,--and show the order of the Court to General Craig." The
Sheriff sped away, and soon returned with the news that Tone had wounded
himself on the previous evening, and could not be removed. The Chief
Justice then ordered a rule suspending the execution. For the space of
seven days afterwards did the unfortunate gentleman endure the agonies
of approaching death; on the 19th of November, 1798, he expired. No more
touching reference to his last moments could be given than the following
pathetic and noble words traced by a filial hand, and published in the
memoir from which we have already quoted:--"Stretched on his bloody
pallet in a dungeon, the first apostle of Irish union and most
illustrious martyr of Irish independence counted each lingering hour
during the last seven days and nights of his slow and silent agony. No
one was allowed to approach him. Far from his adored family, and from
all those friends whom he loved so dearly, the only forms which flitted
before his eyes were those of the grim jailor and his rough
attendants--the only sounds which fell on his dying ear the heavy tread
of the sentry. He retained, however, the calmness of his soul and the
possession of his faculties to the last. And the consciousness of dying
for his country, and in the cause of justice and liberty, illumined like
a bright halo his later moments and kept up his fortitude to the end.
There is no situation under which those feelings will not support the
soul of a patriot."

Tone was born in Stafford-street, Dublin, on the 20th of June, 1764. His
father was a coachmaker who carried on a thriving business; his
grandfather was a comfortable farmer who held land near Naas, county
Kildare. In February, 1781, Tone entered Trinity College, Dublin; in
January, 1787, he entered his name as a law student on the books of the
Middle Temple, London, and in 1789 he was called to the bar. His mortal
remains repose in Bodenstown churchyard, county Kildare, whither parties
of patriotic young men from the metropolis and the surrounding districts
often proceed to lay a green wreath on his grave. His spirit lives, and
will live for ever, in the hearts of his countrymen.

       *       *       *       *       *


Twelve months before Wolfe Tone expired in his prison cell, one of the
bravest of his associates paid with his life the penalty of his
attachment to the cause of Irish independence. In the subject of this
sketch, the United Irishmen found their first martyr; and time has left
no darker blot on the administration of English rule than the execution
of the high-spirited Irishman whose body swung from the gallows of
Carrickfergus on the 14th of October, 1797.

William Orr was the son of a farmer and bleach-green proprietor, of
Ferranshane, in the county of Antrim. The family were in comfortable
circumstances, and young Orr received a good education, which he
afterwards turned to account in the service of his country. We know
little of his early history, but we find him, on growing up to manhood,
an active member of the society of United Irishmen, and remarkable for
his popularity amongst his countrymen in the north. His appearance, not
less than his principles and declarations, was calculated to captivate
the peasantry amongst whom he lived; he stood six feet two inches in
height, was a perfect model of symmetry, strength, and gracefulness, and
the expression of his countenance was open, frank, and manly. He was
always neatly and respectably dressed--a prominent feature in his attire
being a green necktie, which he wore even in his last confinement.

One of, the first blows aimed by the government against the United
Irishmen was the passing of the Act of Parliament (36 George III.),
which constituted the administration of their oath a capital felony.
This piece of legislation, repugnant in itself to the dictates of reason
and justice, was intended as no idle threat; a victim was looked for to
suffer under its provisions, and William Orr, the champion of the
northern Presbyterian patriots, was doomed to serve the emergency.

He was arraigned, tried, and convicted at Carrickfergus on a charge of
having administered the United Irishman's oath to a soldier named
Wheatly. The whole history of the operations of the British law courts
in Ireland contains nothing more infamous than the record of that trial.
We now know, as a matter of fact, that the man who tendered the oath to
Wheatly was William M'Keever, a well-known member of the society, who
subsequently made his escape to America. But this was not a case, such
as sometimes happens, of circumstantial evidence pointing to a wrong
conclusion. The only evidence against Orr was the unsupported testimony
of the soldier Wheatly; and after hearing Curran's defence of the
prisoner there could be no possible doubt of his innocence. But Orr was
a doomed man--the government had decreed his death before hand; and in
this case, as in every other, the bloodthirsty agents of the crown did
not look in vain for Irishmen to co-operate with them in their infamy.

At six o'clock in the evening the jury retired to consider their
verdict. The scene that followed in the jury room is described in the
sworn affidavits of some of its participators. The jury were supplied
with supper by the crown officials; a liberal supply of intoxicating
beverages, wines, brandy, &c., being included in the refreshments. In
their sober state several of the jury-men--amongst them Alexander
Thompson, of Cushendall, the foreman--had refused to agree to a verdict
of guilty. It was otherwise, however, when the decanters had been
emptied, and when threats of violence were added to the bewildering
effects of the potations in which they indulged. Thompson was threatened
by his more unscrupulous companions with being wrecked, beaten, and "not
left with sixpence in the world," and similar means were used against
the few who refused with him to return a verdict of guilty. At six in
the morning, the jury, not a man of whom by this time was sober,
returned into court with a verdict of guilty, recommending the prisoner
at the same time in the strongest manner to mercy. Next day Orr was
placed at the bar, and sentenced to death by Lord Yelverton, who, it is
recorded, at the conclusion of his address burst into tears. A motion
was made, by Curran in arrest of judgment, chiefly on the grounds of the
drunkenness of the jury but the judges refused to entertain the
objection. The following is the speech delivered by William Orr after
the verdict of the jury had been announced:--

   "My friends and fellow-countrymen--In the thirty-first year of my
   life I have been sentenced to die upon the gallows, and this sentence
   has been in pursuance of a verdict of twelve men, who should have
   been indifferently and impartially chosen. How far they have been so,
   I leave to that country from which they have been chosen to
   determine; and how far they have discharged their duty, I leave to
   their God and to themselves. They have, in pronouncing their verdict,
   thought proper to recommend me as an object of humane mercy. In
   return, I pray to God, if they have erred, to have mercy upon them.
   The judge who condemned me humanely shed tears in uttering my
   sentence. But whether he did wisely in so highly commending the
   wretched informer, who swore away my life, I leave to his own cool
   reflection, solemnly assuring him and all the world, with my dying
   breath, that that informer was foresworn.

   "The law under which I suffer is surely a severe one--may the makers
   and promoters of it be justified in the integrity of their motives,
   and the purity of their own lives! By that law I am stamped a felon,
   but my heart disdains the imputation.

   "My comfortable lot, and industrious course of life, best refute the
   charge of being an adventurer for plunder; but if to have loved my
   country--to have known its wrongs--to have felt the injuries of the
   persecuted Catholics, and to have united with them and all other
   religious persuasions in the most orderly and least sanguinary means
   of procuring redress--if those be felonies, I am a felon, but not
   otherwise. Had my counsel (for whose honorable exertions I am
   indebted) prevailed in their motions to have me tried for high
   treason, rather than under the insurrection law, I should have been,
   entitled to a full defence, and my actions have been better
   vindicated; but that was refused, and I must now submit to what has

   "To the generous protection of my country I leave a beloved wife, who
   has been constant and true to me, and whose grief for my fate has
   already nearly occasioned her death. I have five living children, who
   have been my delight. May they love their country as I have done, and
   die for it if needful.

   "Lastly, a false and ungenerous publication having appeared in a
   newspaper, stating certain alleged confessions of guilt on my part,
   and thus striking at my reputation, which is clearer to me than life.
   I take this solemn method of contradicting the calumny. I was applied
   to by the high-sheriff, and the Rev. William Bristow, sovereign of
   Belfast, to make a confession of guilt, who used entreaties to that
   effect; this I peremptorily refused. If I thought myself guilty, I
   would freely confess it, but, on the contrary, I glory in my

   "I trust that all my virtuous countrymen will bear me in their kind
   remembrance, and continue true and faithful to each other as I have
   been to all of them. With this last wish of my heart--nothing
   doubting of the success of that cause for which I suffer, and hoping
   for God's merciful forgiveness of such offences as my frail nature
   may have at any time betrayed me into--I die in peace and charity
   with all mankind."

Hardly had sentence of death been passed on William Orr, when
compunction seemed to seize on those who had aided in securing that
result. The witness Wheatly, who subsequently became insane, and is
believed to have died by his own hand, made an affidavit before a
magistrate acknowledging that he had sworn falsely against Orr. Two of
the jury made depositions setting forth that they had been induced to
join in the verdict of guilty while under the influence of drink; two
others swore that they had been terrified into the same course by
threats of violence.

These depositions were laid before the viceroy, but Lord Camden, the
then Lord Lieutenant, was deaf to all appeals. Well might Orr exclaim
within his dungeon that the government "had laid down a system having
for its object murder and devastation." The prey was in the toils of the
hunters, on whom all appeals of justice and humanity were wasted.

Orr was hung, as we have said, in the town of Carrickfergus on the 14th
of October, 1797. It is related that the inhabitants of the town, to
express their sympathy with the patriot about being murdered by law, and
to mark their abhorrence of the conduct of the government towards him,
quitted the town _en masse_ on the day of his execution.

His fate excited the deepest indignation throughout the country; it was
commented on in words of fire by the national writers of the period, and
through many an after year the watchword and rallying cry of the United
Irishmen was--


       *       *       *       *       *


Among the many distinguished Irishmen who acted prominent parts in the
stormy events of 1798, and whose names come down to us hallowed by the
sufferings and sacrifices inseparable in those dark days from the lot of
an Irish patriot, there are few whose fate excited more sympathy, more
loved in life, more honored in death than the brothers John and Henry
Sheares. Even in the days of Emmet and Wolfe Tone, of Russell and
Fitzgerald, when men of education, talent, and social standing were not
few in the national ranks, the Sheareses were hailed as valuable
accessions to the cause, and were recognised by the United Irishmen as
heaven-destined leaders for the people. It is a touching story, the
history of their patriotic exertions, their betrayal, trial, and
execution; but it is by studying such scenes in our history that
Irishmen can learn to estimate the sacrifices which were made in bygone
days for Ireland, and attach a proper value to the memory of the
patriots who made them.

Henry and John Sheares were sons of John Sheares, a banker in Cork, who
sat in the Irish Parliament for the borough of Clonakilty. The father
appears to have been a kindly-disposed, liberal-minded man, and numerous
stories are told of his unostentatious charity and benevolence. Henry,
the elder of the two sons, was born in 1753, and was educated in Trinity
College, Dublin. After leaving college he purchased a commission in the
51st Regiment of foot, but the duties of a military officer were ill
suited to his temperament and disposition, and the young soldier soon
resigned his commission to pursue the more congenial occupation of law
student. He was called to the bar in 1790; his brother John, his junior
by three years, who had adopted the same profession, obtained the rank
of barrister-at-law two years previously. The brothers differed from
each other widely in character and disposition. Henry was gentle in
manners, modest and unassuming, but firmly attached to his principles,
and unswerving in his fidelity to the cause which he adopted; John was
bold, impetuous, and energetic, ready to plan and to dare, fertile of
resources, quick of resolve, and prompt of execution. To John the elder
brother looked for guidance and example, and his gentle nature was ever
ruled by the more fiery and impulsive spirit of his younger brother. On
the death of the father Henry Sheares came in for property to the value
of £1,200 per annum, which his rather improvident habits soon diminished
by one-half. Both brothers, however, obtained large practice at their
profession, and continued in affluent circumstances up to the day of
their arrest.

In 1792 the two brothers visited Paris, and this excursion seems to have
formed the turning point of their lives and fortunes. The French
Revolution was in full swing, and in the society of Roland, Brissot, and
other Republican leaders, the young Irishmen imbibed the love of
freedom, and impatience of tyranny and oppression, which they clung to
so faithfully, and which distinguished them so remarkably during the
remainder of their lives. On returning to Ireland in January, 1793, the
brothers joined the ranks of the United Irishmen. John at once became a
prominent member of the society, and his signature appears to several of
the spirited and eloquent addresses by which the Dublin branch sought
from time to time to arouse the ardour and stimulate the exertions of
their compatriots. The society of United Irishmen looked for nothing
more at this period than a thorough measure of parliamentary reform,
household suffrage being the leading feature in their programme; but
when the tyranny of the government drove the leaguers into more violent
and dangerous courses, when republican government and separation from
England were inscribed on the banners of the society instead of
electoral reform, and when the selfish and the wavering had shrunk
aside, the Sheareses still remained true to the United Irishmen, and
seemed to grow more zealous and energetic in the cause of their country
according as the mists of perplexity and danger gathered around it.

To follow out the history of the Sheareses connection with the United
Irishmen would be foreign to our intention and to the scope of this
work. The limits of our space oblige us to pass over the ground at a
rapid pace, and we shall dismiss the period of the Sheareses' lives
comprised in the years between 1793 and 1798, by saying that during that
period, while practising their profession with success, they devoted
themselves with all the earnestness of their nature to the furtherance
of the objects of the United Irishmen. In March, 1798, the affairs of
the organization became critical; the arrest of the Directory at Oliver
Bond's deprived the party of its best and most trusted leaders, besides
placing in the hands of the government a mass of information relative to
the plans and resources of the conspirators. To fill the gap thus
caused, John Sheares was soon appointed a member of the Directory, and
he threw himself into the work with all the ardour and energy of his
nature. The fortunes of the society had assumed a desperate phase when
John Sheares became its ruling spirit. Tone was in France, O'Connor was
in England, Russell, Emmet, and Fitzgerald were in prison. But Sheares
was not disheartened; he directed all his efforts towards bringing about
the insurrection for which his countrymen had so long been preparing,
and the 23rd of May, 1798, was fixed on by him for the outbreak. He was
after visiting Wexford and Kildare, and making arrangements in those
counties for the rising, and was on the verge of starting for Cork on a
similar mission, when the hand of treachery cut short his career, and
the gates of Kilmainham prison opened to receive him.

Amongst all the human monsters who filled the ranks of the government
informers in that dark and troubled period, not one appears to merit a
deeper measure of infamy than Captain Warnesford Armstrong, the
entrapper and betrayer of the Sheareses. Having obtained an introduction
to John, he represented himself as a zealous and hard-working member of
the organization, and soon wormed himself completely into the confidence
of his victims. He paid daily visits to the house of the Sheareses in
Baggot-street, chatted with their families, and fondled the children of
Henry Sheares upon his knee. We have it on his own testimony that each
interview with the men whose confidence he was sharing was followed by a
visit to the Castle. We need not go through the sickening details of
this vile story of treachery and fraud. On the 21st of May the Sheareses
were arrested and lodged in prison, and on the 12th of the following
month Armstrong appeared against them in the witness-box. The trial was
continued through the night--Toler, of infamous memory, who had been
created Attorney-General expressly for the occasion, refusing Curran's
request for an adjournment; and it was eight o'clock in the morning of
the 13th when the jury, who had been but seventeen minutes absent,
returned into court with a verdict of guilty against both prisoners.

After a few hours' adjournment the court re-assembled to pass sentence.
It was then that John Sheares, speaking in a firm tone, addressed the
court as follows:--

   "My Lords--I wish to offer a few words before sentence is pronounced,
   because there is a weight pressing on my heart much greater than that
   of the sentence which is to come from the court. There has been, my
   lords, a weight pressing on my mind from the first moment I heard the
   indictment read upon which I was tried; but that weight has been more
   peculiarly pressing upon my heart when I found the accusation in the
   indictment enforced and supported upon the trial. That weight would
   be left insupportable if it were not for this opportunity of
   discharging it; I shall feel it to be insupportable since a verdict
   of my country has stamped that evidence as well founded. Do not
   think, my lords, that I am about to make a declaration against the
   verdict of the jury or the persons concerned with the trial; I am
   only about to call to your recollection a part of the charge at which
   my soul shudders, and if I had no opportunity of renouncing it before
   your lordships and this auditory, no courage would be sufficient to
   support me. The accusation of which I speak, while I linger here yet
   a minute, is that of holding out to the people of Ireland a direction
   to give no quarter to the troops fighting for its defence! My lords,
   let me say thus, that if there be any acquaintances in this crowded
   court--I do not say my intimate friends, but acquaintances--who do
   not know what I say is truth, I shall be reputed the wretch which I
   am not; I say if any acquaintance of mine can believe that _I_ could
   utter a recommendation of giving no quarter to a yielding and
   unoffending foe, it is not the death which I am about to suffer that
   I deserve--no punishment could be adequate to such a crime. My lords,
   I can not only acquit my soul of such an intention, but I declare, in
   the presence of that God before whom I must shortly appear, that the
   favourite doctrine of my heart was, _that no human being should
   suffer death but when absolute necessity required it_. My lords, I
   feel a consolation in making this declaration, which nothing else
   could afford me, because it is not only a justification of myself,
   but where I am sealing my life with that breath which cannot be
   suspected of falsehood, what I say may make some impression upon the
   minds of men not holding the same doctrine. I declare to God I know
   of no crime but assassination which can eclipse or equal that of
   which I am accused. I discern no shade of guilt between that and
   taking away the life of a foe, by putting a bayonet to his heart when
   he is yielding and surrendering. I do request the bench to believe
   that of me--I do request my country to believe that of me--I am sure
   God will think that of me. Now, my lords, I have no favour to ask of
   the court; my country has decided I am guilty, and the law says I
   shall suffer--it sees that I am ready to suffer. But, my lords, I
   have a favour to request of the court that does not relate to myself.
   My lords, I have a brother whom I have even loved dearer than myself,
   but it is not from any affection for him alone that I am induced to
   make the request. He is a man, and therefore I would hope prepared to
   die if he stood as I do--though I do not stand unconnected; but he
   stands more dearly connected. In short, my lords, to spare your
   feelings and I my own, I do not pray that that _I_ should not die,
   but that the husband, the father, the son--all comprised in one
   person--holding these relations dearer in life to him than any other
   man I know--for such a man I do not pray a pardon, for that is not in
   the power of the court, but I pray a respite for such time as the
   court in its humanity and discretion shall think proper. You have
   heard, my lords, that his private affairs require arrangement. When I
   address myself to your lordships, it is with the knowledge you will
   have of all the sons of our aged mother being gone. Two have perished
   in the service of the King--one very recently. I only request that,
   disposing of me with what swiftness either the public mind or justice
   requires, a respite may be given to my brother, that the family may
   acquire strength to bear it all. That is all I wish; I shall remember
   it to my last breath, and I shall offer up my prayers for you to that
   Being who has endued us all with the sensibility to feel. That is all
   I ask. I have nothing more to say."

It was four o'clock, p.m., when the judge proceeded to pass sentence,
and the following morning was appointed for the double execution. At
mid-day on Saturday, July 14th, the hapless men were removed to the room
adjoining the place of execution, where they exchanged a last embrace.
They were then pinioned, the black caps put over their brows, and
holding each other by the hand, they tottered out on the platform. The
elder brother was somewhat moved by the terrors of his situation, but
the younger bore his fate with unflinching firmness. They were launched
together into eternity--the same moment saw them dangling lifeless
corpses before the prison walls. They had lived in affectionate unity,
inspired by the same motives, labouring for the same cause, and death
did not dissolve the tie. "They died hand in hand, like true brothers."

When the hangman's hideous office was completed, the bodies were taken
down, and the executioner, in accordance with the barbarous custom of
the time, proceeded to sever the heads from the bodies. It is said,
however, that only on the body of Henry Sheares was that horrible act
performed. While the arrangements for the execution were in progress,
Sir Jonah Barrington had been making intercession with Lord Clare on
their behalf, and beseeching at least a respite. His lordship declared
that the life of John Sheares could not be spared, but said that Henry
might possibly have something to say which would induce the government
to commute his sentence; he furnished Sir Jonah with an order to delay
the execution one hour, and told him to communicate with Henry Sheares
on the subject. "I hastened," writes Sir Jonah, "to Newgate, and arrived
at the very moment that the executioner was holding up the head of my
old college friend, and saying, 'Here is the head of a traitor.'" The
fact of this order having been issued by the government, may have so far
interrupted the bloody work on the scaffold as to save the remains of
the younger Sheares from mutilation. The bodies of the patriots were
interred on the night of the execution in the vaults of St. Michan's
church, where, enclosed in oaken coffins, marked in the usual manner
with the names and ages of the deceased, they still repose. Many a pious
visit has since been paid to those dim chambers--many a heart, filled
with love and pity, has throbbed above those coffin lids--many a tear
has dropped upon them. But it is not a feeling of grief alone that is
inspired by the memory of those martyrs to freedom; hope, courage,
constancy, are the lessons taught by their lives, and the patriotic
spirit that ruled their career is still awake and active in Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *


In all Irish history there is no name which touches the Irish heart like
that of Robert Emmet. We read, in that eventful record, of men who laid
down their lives for Ireland amid the roar and crash of battle, of
others who perished by the headsman's axe or the halter of the hangman,
of others whose eyes were closed for ever in the gloom of English
dungeons, and of many whose hearts broke amid the sorrows of involuntary
exile; of men, too, who in the great warfare of mind rendered to the
Irish cause services no less memorable and glorious. They are neither
forgotten nor unhonoured. The warrior figure of Hugh O'Neill is a
familiar vision to Irishmen; Sarsfield expiring on the foreign
battle-field with that infinitely pathetic and noble utterance on his
lips--"Would that this were for Ireland"--is a cherished remembrance,
and that last cry of a patriotic spirit dwells for ever about our
hearts; Grattan battling against a corrupt and venal faction, first to
win and then to defend the independence of his country, astonishing
friends and foes alike by the dazzling splendour of his eloquence; and
O'Connell on the hill-sides pleading for the restoration of Ireland's
rights, and rousing his countrymen to a struggle for them, are pictures
of which we are proud--memories that will live in song and story while
the Irish race has a distinct existence in the world. But in the
character of Robert Emmet there was such a rare combination of admirable
qualities, and in his history there are so many of the elements of
romance, that the man stands before our mental vision as a peculiarly
noble and loveable being, with claims upon our sympathies that are
absolutely without a parallel. He had youth, talent, social position, a
fair share of fortune, and bright prospects for the future on his side
when he embarked in the service of a cause that had but recently been
sunk in defeat and ruin. Courage, genius, enthusiasm were his, high
hopes and strong affections, all based upon and sweetened by a nature
utterly free from guile. He was an orator and a poet; in the one art he
had already achieved distinction, in the other he was certain to take a
high place, if he should make that an object of his ambition. He was a
true patriot, true soldier, and true lover. If the story of his
political life is full of melancholy interest, and calculated to awaken
profound emotions of reverence for his memory, the story of his
affections is not less touching. Truly, "there's not a line but hath
been wept upon." So it is, that of all the heroic men who risked and
lost everything for Ireland, none is so frequently remembered, none is
thought of so tenderly as Robert Emmet. Poetry has cast a halo of light
upon the name of the youthful martyr, and some of the sweetest strains
of Irish music are consecrated to his memory.

[Illustration: ROBERT EMMET.]

Robert Emmet was born on the 4th of March, 1778. He was the third son of
Doctor Robert Emmet, a well-known and highly respectable physician of
Dublin. Thomas Addis Emmet, already mentioned in these pages, the
associate of Tone, the Sheareses, and other members of the United Irish
organization, was an elder brother of Robert, and his senior by some
sixteen years. Just about the period when the United Irishmen were
forming themselves into a secret revolutionary society, young Emmet was
sent to receive his education in Trinity College. There the bent of the
lad's political opinions was soon detected; but among his fellow
students he found many, and amongst them older heads than his own, who
not only shared his views, but went beyond them in the direction of
liberal and democratic principles. In the Historical Society--composed
of the _alumni_ of the college, and on whose books at this time were
many names that subsequently became famous--those kindred spirits made
for themselves many opportunities of giving expression to their
sentiments, and showing that their hearts beat in unison with the great
movement for human freedom which was then agitating the world. To their
debates Emmet brought the aid of a fine intellect and a fluent
utterance, and he soon became the orator of the patriot party.

So great was the effect created by his fervid eloquence and his
admirable reasoning, that the heads of the college thought it prudent on
several occasions to send one of the ablest of their body to take part
in the proceedings, and assist in refuting the argumentation of the
"young Jacobin." And to such extremities did matters proceed at last
that Emmet, with several of his political friends, was expelled the
college, others less obnoxious to the authorities were subjected to a
severe reprimand, and the society, thus terrorised and weakened, soon
ceased to exist. Our national poet, Thomas Moore, the fellow-student and
intimate friend of young Emmet, witnessed many of those displays of his
abilities, and in his "Life and Death of Lord Edward Fitzgerald," speaks
of him in terms of the highest admiration. "Were I," he says, "to number
the men among all I have ever known who appeared to me to combine in the
greatest degree pure moral worth with intellectual power, I should,
among the highest of the few, place Robert Emmet." "He was," writes the
same authority, "wholly free from the follies and frailties of
youth--though how capable he was of the most devoted passion events
afterwards proved." Of his oratory, he says, "I have heard little since
that appeared to me of a loftier, or what is a far more rare quality in
Irish eloquence, purer character." And the appearance of this greatly
gifted youth, he thus describes: "Simple in all his habits, and with a
repose of look and manner indicating but little movement within, it was
only when the spring was touched that set his feelings, and through them
his intellect in motion, that he at all rose above the level of ordinary
men. No two individuals indeed could be much more unlike to each other
than was the same youth to himself before rising to speak and after; the
brow that had appeared inanimate and almost drooping, at once elevating
itself to all the consciousness of power, and the whole countenance and
figure of the speaker assuming a change as of one suddenly inspired."

The expulsion of Emmet from the college occurred in the month of
February, 1798. On the 12th of the following month his brother, Thomas
Addis Emmet, was arrested. The manner in which this noble-hearted
gentleman took the oath of the United Irish Society, in the year of
1795, is so remarkable that we cannot omit mention of it here. His
services as a lawyer having been engaged in the defence of some persons
who stood charged with having sworn in members to the United Irish
organization--the crime for which William Orr was subsequently tried and
executed--he, in the course of the proceedings, took up the oath and
read it with remarkable deliberation and solemnity. Then, taking into
his hand the prayer book that lay on the table for the swearing of
witnesses, and looking to the bench and around the court, he said

"My Lords--Here, in the presence of this legal court, this crowded
auditory--in the presence of the Being that sees and witnesses, and
directs this judicial tribunal--here, my lords, I, myself, in the
presence of God, declare I take this oath."

The terms of the oath at this time were, in fact, perfectly
constitutional, having reference simply to attainment of a due
representation of the Irish nation in parliament--still, the oath was
that of a society declared to be illegal, and the administration of it
had been made a capital offence. The boldness of the advocate in thus
administering it to himself in open court appeared to paralyse the minds
of the judges. They took no notice of the act, and what was even more
remarkable, the prisoners, who were convicted, received a lenient

But to return to Robert Emmet--the events of 1798, as might be supposed,
had a powerful effect on the feelings of the enthusiastic young patriot,
and he was not free of active participation with the leaders of the
movement in Dublin. He was, of course, an object of suspicion to the
government, and it appears marvellous that they did not immediately take
him into their safe keeping under the provisions of the _Habeas Corpus_
Suspension Act. Ere long, however, he found that prudence would counsel
his concealment, or his disappearance from the country, and he took his
departure for the Continent, where he met with a whole host of the Irish
refugees; and, in 1802, was joined by his brother and others of the
political prisoners who had been released from the confinement to
which--in violation of a distinct agreement between them and the
government--they had been subjected in Fort George, in Scotland. Their
sufferings had not broken their spirit. There was hope still, they
thought, for Ireland; great opportunities were about to dawn upon that
often defeated, but still unconquerable nation, and they applied
themselves to the task of preparing the Irish people to take advantage
of them.

At home the condition of affairs was not such as to discourage them. The
people had not lost heart; the fighting spirit was still rife amongst
them. The rebellion had been trampled out, but it had been sustained
mainly by a county or two, and it had served to show that a general
uprising of the people would be sufficient to sweep every vestige of
British power from the land. Then they had in their favour the
exasperation against the government which was caused by that most
infamous transaction, the passage of the Act of Union. But they found
their chief encouragement in the imminence of another war between France
and England. Once more the United Irishmen put themselves into
communication with Buonaparte, then First Consul, and again they
received flattering promises of assistance. Robert Emmet obtained an
interview with that great man, and learned from him that it was his
settled purpose on the breaking out of hostilities, which could not long
be deferred, to effect an invasion of England. Full of high hopes, Emmet
returned to Dublin in October, 1802; and as he was now in very heart of
a movement for another insurrection, he took every precaution to avoid
discovery. He passed under feigned names, and moved about as little as
possible. He gathered together the remnants of the United Irish
organization, and with some money of his own, added to considerable sums
supplied to him by a Mr. Long, a merchant, residing at No. 4
Crow-street, and other sympathisers, he commenced the collection of an
armament and military stores for his followers. In the month of May,
1803, the expected war between France and England broke out. This event
of course raised still higher his hopes, and gave a great stimulus to
his exertions. To and fro he went from one to another of the depots
which he had established for the manufacture and storage of arms in
various parts of the city, cheering, directing, and assisting his men at
their work. Pikes were got ready by the thousand, and ingeniously stowed
away until they should be wanted; rockets, hand-grenades, and other
deadly missiles were carefully prepared; but an accidental explosion,
which occurred on the 16th of July, in one of these manufactories
situate in Patrick-street, was very near leading to the discovery of the
entire business, and had the effect of precipitating the outbreak. The
government at this time had undoubtedly got on the scent of the
movement, and the leaders considered that no time was to be lost in
bringing matters to a crisis. Emmet now took up his abode in the
Marshalsea-lane depot, snatching his few hours of sleep "on a mattress,
surrounded by all the implements of death." There he made a final
arrangement of his plans, and communicated his instructions to his
subordinates, fixing the 23rd of July as the date for the rising.

The history of that unfortunate attempt need not here be written.
Suffice it to say that the arrangements miscarried in nearly every
particular. The men in the numbers calculated upon did not assemble at
the appointed time or in the appointed places, and the whole force that
turned out in Thomas-street for the attack on the Castle did not number
a hundred insurgents. They were joined by a riotous and noisy rabble;
and their unfortunate leader soon perceived that his following was, as
had previously been said of the king's troops, "formidable to every one
but the enemy." They had not proceeded far on their way when a carriage,
in which were Lord Kilwarden, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, his
daughter, and his nephew, the Rev. Mr. Wolfe, drove into the street. The
vehicle was stopped, and the Chief Justice was immediately piked by a
man in the crowd whose son he had some time previously condemned to
execution. The clergyman also was pulled out of the carriage and put to
death. To the lady no violence was offered, and Emmet himself, who had
heard of the deplorable tragedy, rushing from the head of his party,
bore her in his arms to an adjoining house. No attack on the Castle took
place; the insurgent party scattered and melted away even before the
appearance of military on the scene, and in little more than an hour
from the time of his setting out on his desperate enterprise, Robert
Emmet was a defeated and ruined man, a fugitive, with the whole host of
British spies and bloodhounds employed to hunt him to the death.

Yet he might have foiled them and got clear out of the country if his
personal safety was all on earth he cared for. But in that noble heart
of his there was one passion co-existent with his love of Ireland, and
not unworthy of the companionship, which forbade his immediate flight.
With all that intensity of affection of which a nature so pure and so
ardent as his was capable, he loved a being in every way worthy of
him--a lady so gentle, and good, and fair, that even to a less poetic
imagination than his own, she might seem to be a fitting personification
of his beloved Erin; and by her he was loved and trusted in return. Who
is it that has not heard her name?--who has not mourned over the story
of Sarah Curran! In the ruin that had fallen on the hopes and fortunes
of the patriot chief, the happiness of this amiable lady was involved.
He would not leave without an interview with her--no! though a thousand
deaths should be the penalty. The delay was fatal to his chances of
escape. For more than a month he remained in concealment, protected by
the fidelity of friends, many of whom belonged to the humbler walks of
life, and one of whom in particular--the heroic Anne Devlin, from whom
neither proffered bribes nor cruel tortures could extort a single hint
as to his place of abode--should ever be held in grateful remembrance by
Irishmen. At length on the 25th of August, the ill-fated young
gentleman was arrested in the house of a Mrs. Palmer, at Harold's-cross.
On the 19th of September he was put on his trial in the court-house,
Green-street, charged with high treason. He entered on no defence,
beyond making a few remarks in the course of the proceedings with a view
to the moral and political justification of his conduct. The jury,
without leaving their box, returned a verdict of guilty against him;
after which, having been asked in due form why sentence of death should
not be pronounced upon him, he delivered this memorable speech, every
line of which is known and dear to the hearts of the Irish race:--

   "MY LORDS--I am asked what have I to say why sentence of death should
   not be pronounced on me, according to law. I have nothing to say that
   can alter your predetermination, nor that it will become me to say,
   with any view to the mitigation of that sentence which you are to
   pronounce, and I must abide by. But I have that to say which
   interests me more than life, and which you have laboured to destroy.
   I have much to say why my reputation should be rescued from the load
   of false accusation and calumny which has been cast upon it, I do not
   imagine that, seated where you are, your mind can be so free from
   prejudice as to receive the least impression from what I am going to
   utter. I have no hopes that I can anchor my character in the breast
   of a court constituted and trammelled as this is. I only wish, and
   that is the utmost that I expect, that your lordships may suffer it
   to float down your memories untainted by the foul breath of
   prejudice, until it finds some more hospitable harbour to shelter it
   from the storms by which it is buffetted. Was I only to suffer death,
   after being adjudged guilty by your tribunal, I should bow in
   silence, and meet the fate that awaits me without a murmur; but the
   sentence of the law which delivers my body to the executioner will,
   through the ministry of the law, labour in its own vindication, to
   consign my character to obloquy; for there must be guilt somewhere,
   whether in the sentence of the court, or in the catastrophe, time
   must determine. A man in my situation has not only to encounter the
   difficulties of fortune, and the force of power over minds which it
   has corrupted or subjugated, but the difficulties of established
   prejudice. The man dies, but his memory lives. That mine may not
   perish, that it may live in the respect of my countrymen, I seize
   upon this opportunity to vindicate myself from some of the charges
   alleged against me. When my spirit shall be wafted to a more friendly
   port--when my shade shall have joined the bands of those martyred
   heroes who have shed their blood on the scaffold and in the field in
   the defence of their country and of virtue, this is my hope--I wish
   that my memory and name may animate those who survive me, while I
   look down with complacency on the destruction of that perfidious
   government which upholds its domination by blasphemy of the Most
   High--which displays its power over man, as over the beasts of the
   forest--which sets man upon his brother, and lifts his hand, in the
   name of God, against the throat of his fellow who believes or doubts
   a little more or a little less than the government standard--a
   government which is steeled to barbarity by the cries of the orphans,
   and the tears of the widows it has made."

   [Here Lord Norbury interrupted Mr. Emmet, saying--"that the mean and
   wicked enthusiasts who felt as he did, were not equal to the
   accomplishment of their wild designs."]

   "I appeal to the immaculate God--I swear by the Throne of Heaven,
   before which I must shortly appear--by the blood of the murdered
   patriots who have gone before me--that my conduct has been, through
   all this peril, and through all my purposes, governed only by the
   conviction which I have uttered, and by no other view than that of
   the emancipation of my country from the superinhuman oppression under
   which she has so long and too patiently travailed; and I confidently
   hope that, wild and chimerical as it may appear, there is still union
   and strength in Ireland to accomplish this noblest of enterprises. Of
   this I speak with confidence, of intimate knowledge, and with the
   consolation that appertains to that confidence. Think not, my lords,
   I say this for the petty gratification of giving you a transitory
   uneasiness. A man who never yet raised his voice to assert a lie,
   will not hazard his character with posterity, by asserting a
   falsehood on a subject so important to his country, and on an
   occasion like this. Yes, my lords, a man who does not wish to have
   his epitaph written until his country is liberated, will not leave a
   weapon in the power of envy, or a pretence to impeach the probity
   which he means to preserve, even in the grave, to which tyranny
   consigns him."

   [Here he was again interrupted by the court]

   "Again I say, that what I have spoken was not intended for your
   lordship, whose situation I commisserate rather than envy--my
   expressions were for my countrymen. If there is a true Irishman
   present, let my last words cheer him in the hour of his affliction."

   [Here he was again interrupted. Lord Norbury said he did not sit
   there to hear treason.]

   "I have always understood it to be the duty of a judge, when a
   prisoner has been convicted, to pronounce the sentence of the law. I
   have also understood that judges sometimes think it their duty to
   hear with patience, and to speak with humanity; to exhort the victim
   of the laws, and to offer, with tender benignity, their opinions of
   the motives by which he was actuated in the crime of which he was
   adjudged guilty. That a judge has thought it his duty so to have
   done, I have no doubt; but where is the boasted freedom of your
   institutions--where is the vaunted impartiality, clemency, and
   mildness of your courts of justice if an unfortunate prisoner, whom
   your policy, and not justice, is about to deliver into the hands of
   the executioner, is not suffered to explain his motives sincerely and
   truly, and to vindicate the principles by which he was actuated? My
   lords, it may be a part of the system of angry justice to bow a man's
   mind by humiliation to the purposed, ignominy of the scaffold; but
   worse to me than the purposed shame, or the scaffold's terrors, would
   be the shame of such foul and unfounded imputations as have been laid
   against me in this court. You, my lord, are a judge; I am the
   supposed culprit. I am a man; you are a man also. By a revolution of
   power we might change places, though we never could change
   characters. If I stand at the bar of this court, and dare not
   vindicate my character, what a farce is your justice! If I stand at
   this bar and dare not vindicate my character, how dare you calumniate
   it. Does the sentence of death, which your unhallowed policy inflicts
   on my body, condemn my tongue to silence and my reputation to
   reproach? Your executioner may abridge the period of my existence;
   but while I exist I shall not forbear to vindicate my character and
   motives from your aspersions; and, as a man, to whom fame is dearer
   than life, I will make the last use of that life in doing justice to
   that reputation which is to live after me, and which is the only
   legacy I can leave to those I honor and love, and for whom I am proud
   to perish. As men, my lords, we must appear on the great day at one
   common tribunal; and it will then remain for the Searcher of all
   hearts to show a collective universe, who was engaged in the most
   virtuous actions, or swayed by the purest motives--my country's
   oppressor, or"-----

   [Here he was interrupted, and told to listen to the sentence of the

   "My lords, will a dying man be denied the legal privilege of
   exculpating himself in the eyes of the community from an undeserved
   reproach, thrown upon him during his trial, by charging him with
   ambition, and attempting to cast away for a paltry consideration the
   liberties of his country? Why did your lordships insult me? Or
   rather, why insult justice, in demanding of me why sentence of death
   should not be pronounced against me? I know, my lords, that form
   prescribes that you should ask the question. The form also presents
   the right of answering. This, no doubt, may be dispensed with, and so
   might the whole ceremony of the trial, since sentence was already
   pronounced at the Castle before the jury were empanelled. Your
   lordships are but the priests of the oracle, and I insist on the
   whole of the forms."

   [Here Mr. Emmet paused, and the court desired him to proceed.]

   "I am charged with being an emissary of France. An emissary of
   France! and for what end? It is alleged that I wished to sell the
   independence of my country; and for what end? Was this the object of
   my ambition? And is this the mode by which a tribunal of justice
   reconciles contradiction? No; I am no emissary; and my ambition was
   to hold a place among the deliverers of my country, not in power nor
   in profit, but in the glory of the achievement. Sell my country's
   independence to France! and for what? Was it a change of masters? No,
   but for my ambition. Oh, my country, was it personal ambition that
   could influence me? Had it been the soul of my actions, could I not,
   by my education and fortune, by the rank and consideration of my
   family, have placed myself amongst the proudest of your oppressor. My
   Country was my Idol. To it I sacrificed every selfish, every
   endearing sentiment; and for it I now offer up myself, O God! No, my
   lords; I acted as an Irishman, determined on delivering my country
   from the yoke of a foreign and unrelenting tyranny, and the more
   galling yoke of a domestic faction, which is its joint partner and
   perpetrator in the patricide, from the ignominy existing with an
   exterior of splendour and a conscious depravity. It was the wish of
   my heart to extricate my country from this doubly rivetted
   despotism--I wished to place her independence beyond the reach of any
   power on earth. I wished to exalt her to that proud station in the
   world. Connection with France was, indeed, intended, but only as far
   as mutual interest would sanction or require. Were the French to
   assume any authority inconsistent with the purest independence, it
   would be signal for their destruction. We sought their aid--and we
   sought it as we had assurance we should obtain it--as auxiliaries in
   war, and allies in peace. Were the French to come as invaders or
   enemies, uninvited by the wishes of the people, I should oppose them
   to the utmost of my strength. Yes! my countrymen, I should advise you
   to meet them upon the beach with a sword in one hand, and a torch in
   the other. I would meet them with all the destructive fury of war. I
   would animate my countrymen to immolate them in their boats, before
   they had contaminated the soil of my country. If they succeeded in
   landing, and if forced to retire before superior discipline, I would
   dispute every inch of ground, burn every blade of grass, and the last
   entrenchment of liberty should be my grave. What I could not do
   myself, if I should fall, I should leave as a last charge to my
   countrymen to accomplish; because I should feel conscious that life,
   any more than death, is unprofitable when a foreign nation holds my
   country in subjection. But it was not as an enemy that the succours
   of France were to land. I looked, indeed, for the assistance of
   France; but I wished to prove to France and to the world that
   Irishmen deserved to be assisted--that they were indignant at
   slavery, and ready to assert the independence and liberty of their
   country; I wished to procure for my country the guarantee which
   Washington procured for America--to procure an aid which, by its
   example, would be as important as its valour; disciplined, gallant,
   pregnant with science and experience; that of a people who would
   perceive the good, and polish the rough points of our character. They
   would come to us as strangers, and leave us as friends, after sharing
   in our perils and elevating our destiny. These were my objects; not
   to receive new taskmasters, but to expel old tyrants. It was for
   these ends I sought aid from France; because France, even as an
   enemy, could not be more implacable than the enemy already in the
   bosom of my country."

   [Here he was interrupted by the court.]

   "I have been charged with that importance in the emancipation of my
   country, as to be consided the key-stone of the combination of
   Irishmen; or, as your lordship expressed it, 'the life and blood of
   the conspiracy.' You do me honour over much; you have given to the
   subaltern all the credit of a superior. There are men engaged in this
   conspiracy who are not only superior to me, but even to your own
   conceptions of yourself, my lord--men before the splendour of whose
   genius and virtues I should bow with respectful deference, and who
   would think themselves disgraced by shaking your blood-stained hand."

   [Here he was interrupted.]

   "What, my lord, shall you tell me, on the passage to the scaffold,
   which that tyranny (of which you are only the intermediary
   executioner) has erected for my murder, that I am accountable for all
   the blood that has and will be shed in this struggle of the oppressed
   against the oppressor--shall you tell me this, and must I be so very
   a slave as not to repel it? I do not fear to approach the Omnipotent
   Judge to answer for the conduct of my whole life; and am I to be
   appalled and falsified by a mere remnant of mortality here? By you,
   too, although if it were possible to collect all the innocent blood
   that you have shed in your unhallowed ministry in one great reservoir
   your lordship might swim in it."

   [Here the judge interfered.]

   "Let no man dare, when I am dead, to charge me with dishonor; let no
   man attaint my memory, by believing that I could have engaged in any
   cause but that of my country's liberty and independence; or that I
   could have become the pliant minion of power, in the oppression and
   misery of my country. The proclamation of the Provisional Government
   speaks for our views; no inference can be tortured from it to
   countenance barbarity or debasement at home, or subjection,
   humiliation, or treachery from abroad. I would not have submitted to
   a foreign oppressor, for the same reason that I would resist the
   foreign and domestic oppressor. In the dignity of freedom, I would
   have fought upon the threshold of my country, and its enemy should
   enter only by passing over my lifeless corpse. And am I, who lived
   but for my country, and who have subjected myself to the dangers of
   the jealous and watchful oppressor, and the bondage of the grave,
   only to give my countrymen their rights, and my country her
   independence, am I to be loaded with calumny, and not suffered to
   resent it? No; God forbid!"

   Here Lord Norbury told Mr. Emmet that his sentiments and language
   disgraced his family and his education, but more particularly his
   father, Dr. Emmet, who was a man, if alive, that would not
   countenance such opinions. To which Mr. Emmet replied:--

   "If the spirits of the illustrious dead participate in the concerns
   and cares of those who were dear to them in this transitory life,
   oh! ever dear and venerated shade of my departed father, look down
   with scrutiny upon the conduct of your suffering son, and see if I
   have, even for a moment, deviated from those principles of morality
   and patriotism which it was your care to instil into my youthful
   mind, and for which I am now about to offer up my life. My lords, you
   are impatient for the sacrifice. The blood which you seek is not
   congealed by the artificial terrors which surround your victim--it
   circulates warmly and unruffled through the channels which God
   created for noble purposes, but which you are now bent to destroy,
   for purposes so grievous that they cry to heaven. Be yet patient! I
   have but a few more words to say--I am going to my cold and silent
   grave--my lamp of life is nearly extinguished--my race is run--the
   grave opens to receive me, and I sink into its bosom. I have but one
   request to ask at my departure from this world, it is--THE CHARITY OF
   ITS SILENCE. Let no man write my epitaph; for as no man who knows my
   motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance
   asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace; and my
   tomb remain uninscribed, and my memory in oblivion, until other times
   and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes
   her place among the nations of the earth, _then_ and _not till then_,
   let my epitaph be written. I have done."

This affecting address was spoken--as we learn from the painstaking and
generous biographer of the United Irishmen, Dr, Madden--"in so loud a
voice as to be distinctly heard at the outer doors of the court-house;
and yet, though he spoke in a loud tone, there was nothing boisterous in
his manner; his accents and cadence of voice, on the contrary, were
exquisitely modulated. His action was very remarkable, its greater or
lesser vehemence corresponded with the rise and fall of his voice. He is
described as moving about the dock, as he warmed in his address, with
rapid, but not ungraceful motions--now in front of the railing before
the bench, then retiring, as if his body, as well as his mind, were
spelling beyond the measure of its chains. His action was not confined
to his hands; he seemed to have acquired a swaying motion of the body
when he spoke in public, which was peculiar to him, but there was no
affectation in it."

At ten o'clock, p.m., on the day of his trial, the barbarous sentence of
the law--the same that we have so recently heard passed on prisoners
standing in that same dock, accused of the same offence against the
rulers of this country--was passed on Robert Emmet. Only a few hours
were given him in which to withdraw his thoughts from the things of this
world and fix them on the next. He was hurried away, at midnight, from
Newgate to Kilmainham jail, passing through Thomas-street, the scene of
his attempted insurrection. Hardly had the prison van driven through,
when workmen arrived and commenced the erection of the gibbet from which
his body was to be suspended. About the hour of noon, on the 20th of
September, he mounted the scaffold with a firm and composed demeanour; a
minute or two more and the lifeless remains of one of the most gifted of
God's creatures hung from the cross beams--strangled by the enemies of
his country--cut off in the bloom of youth, in the prime of his physical
and intellectual powers, because he had loved his own land, hated her
oppressors, and striven to give freedom to his people. But not yet was
English vengeance satisfied. While the body was yet warm it was cut down
from the gibbet, the neck placed across a block on the scaffold, and the
head severed from the body. Then the executioner held it up before the
horrified and sorrowing crowd that stood outside the lines of soldiery,
proclaiming to them--"This is the head of a traitor!" A traitor! It was
a false proclamation. No traitor was he, but a true and noble gentleman.
No traitor, but a most faithful heart to all that was worthy of love and
honour. No traitor, but a martyr for Ireland. The people who stood
agonized before his scaffold, tears streaming from their eyes, and their
hearts bursting with suppressed emotion, knew that for them and for
Ireland he had offered up his young life. And when the deed was
finished, and the mutilated body had been taken away, and the armed
guards had marched from the fatal spot, old people and young moved up to
it to dip their handkerchiefs in the blood of the martyr, that they
might then treasure up the relics for ever. Well has his memory been
cherished in the Irish heart from that day to the present time. Six
years ago a procession of Irishmen, fifteen thousand strong, hearing
another rebel to his grave, passed by the scene of that execution, every
man of whom reverently uncovered his head as he reached the hallowed
spot. A few months ago, a banner borne in another Irish insurrection
displayed the inscription--


Far away "beyond the Atlantic foam," and "by the long wash of
Australasian seas," societies are in existence bearing his name, and
having for their object to cherish his memory and perpetuate his
principles. And wherever on the habitable globe a few members of the
scattered Irish race are to be found, there are hearts that are thrilled
by even the faintest allusion to the uninscribed grave-stone and the
unwritten epitaph.

       *       *       *       *       *


When Emmet was dead, and the plan to which he devoted his fortune, his
talents, and his life, had sunk in failure, the cause of Irish
independence appeared finally lost, and the cry, more than once repeated
in after times, that "now, indeed, the last bolt of Irish disaffection
has been sped, and that there would never again be an Irish rebellion,"
rung loudly from the exulting enemies of Ireland. The hearts of the
people seemed broken by the weight of the misfortunes and calamities
that overwhelmed them. The hopes which had brightened their stormy path,
and enabled them to endure the oppression to which they were subjected
by expectations of a glorious change, flickered no longer amidst the
darkness. The efforts of the insurgents were everywhere drowned in
blood; the hideous memories of '98 were brought up anew; full of bitter
thoughts, exasperated, humiliated, and despondent, the people brooded
over their wretched fate, and sullenly submitted to the reign of terror
which was inaugurated amongst them. Little had the Irish patriots to
look forward to in that dark hour of suffering and disappointment. A
nightmare of blood and violence weighed down the spirits of the people;
a stupor appeared to have fallen on the nation; and though time might be
trusted to arouse them from the trance, they had suffered another loss,
not so easily repaired, in the death and dispersion of their leaders.
Where now should they find the Moses to lead them from the land of
captivity? Tone, Fitzgerald, Emmet, Bond, M'Cracken, the Sheareses--all
were dead. M'Nevin, Neilson, and O'Connor were in exile. Heavily and
relentlessly the arm of vengeance had fallen on them one by one; but the
list was not even then completed. There was yet another victim to fall
before the altar of liberty, and the sacrifice which commenced with Orr
did not conclude until Thomas Russell had perished on the gallows of

The importance of the part which Thomas Russell fills in the history of
the United Irishmen, the worth of his character, the purity and nobility
of his sentiments, and the spirit of uncompromising patriotism displayed
in his last address, would render unpardonable the omission of his name
from such a work as this. "I mean to make my trial," said Russell, "and
the last of my life, if it is to close now, as serviceable to the cause
of liberty as I can," and he kept his word. To-day, we try in some
slight way to requite that fidelity which endured unto death, by
rescuing Thomas Russell's name from oblivion, and recalling his services
and virtues to the recollection of his countrymen.

He was born at Betsborough, Dunnahane, in the parish of Kilshanick,
county Cork, on the 21st November, 1767. His father was an officer in
the British army, who had fought against the Irish Brigade in the
memorable battle of Fontenoy, and who died in a high situation in the
Royal Hospital at Kilmainham. Thomas, the youngest of his three sons,
was educated for the Protestant Church; but his inclinations sought a
different field of action, and at the age of fifteen he left for India
as a volunteer, where he served with his brother, Ambrose, whose
gallantry in battle called down commendation from the English king.
Thomas Russell quitted India after five years' service, and his return
is ascribed to the disgust and indignation which filled him on
witnessing the extortions, the cruelties, the usurpations, and
brutalities, which were carried out and sanctioned by the government
under which he served. He left Ireland burdened with few fixed political
principles and little knowledge of the world; he returned a full grown
man, imbued with the opinions which he never afterwards abandoned. He
was then, we are told, a model of manly beauty, one of those favoured
individuals whom we cannot pass in the street without being guilty of
the rudeness of staring in the face while passing, and turning round to
look at the receding figure. Though more than six feet high, his
majestic stature was scarcely observed, owing to the exquisite symmetry
of his form. Martial in his gait and demeanour, his appearance was not
altogether that of a soldier. His dark and steady eye, compressed lip,
and some what haughty bearing, were occasionally strongly indicative of
the camp; but in general the classic contour of his finely formed head,
the expression of sweetness that characterised his smile, and the
benevolence that beamed in his fine countenance, seemed to mark him out
as one that was destined to be the ornament, grace, and blessing of
private life. His manners were those of the finished gentleman, combined
with that native grace which nothing but superiority of intellect can
give; he was naturally reserved and retiring in disposition, and his
private life was distinguished by eminent purity and an unostentatious
devotion to the precepts of religion.

Such was Thomas Russell when he made the acquaintance of Theobald Wolfe
Tone in Dublin. There is no doubt that the views and opinions of Tone
made a profound impression on young Russell; it is equally certain, on
the other hand, that Tone learned to love and esteem his new friend,
whose sentiments were so much in accordance with his own. Throughout
Tone's journal we find constant references to Thomas Russell, whom he
always places with Thomas Addis Emmet at the head of his list of
friends. Early in 1791 Russell proceeded to Belfast to join the 64th
Regiment, in which he had obtained a commission; before leaving Dublin
he appears to have become a member of the Society of United Irishmen,
and in Belfast he soon won the friendship and shared the councils of the
patriotic men who were labouring for Ireland in that city.

While in Belfast, Russell fell into pecuniary embarrassments. His
generous and confiding nature induced him to go bail for a false friend,
and he found himself one morning obliged to meet a claim for £200, which
he had no means of discharging except by the sale of his commission.
Russell sold out and retired to Dungannon, where he lived for some time
on the residue of the money thus obtained, and during this period he was
appointed a Justice of the Peace for the county of Tyrone. After a short
experience of "Justices' justice" in the North, he retired from the
bench through motives alike creditable to his head and heart. "I cannot
reconcile it to my conscience," he exclaimed one day, "to sit on a bench
where the practice exists of inquiring what religion a person is before
investigating the charge against him." Russell returned, after taking
this step, to Belfast, where he was appointed to a situation in the
public library of the town, and where he became a regular contributor to
the organ of the Ulster patriots, the _Northern Star_.

In 1796 he was appointed by the United Irishmen to the supreme military
command in the county Down, a post for which his military experience not
less than his personal influence fitted him, but his political career
was soon afterwards interrupted by his arrest on the 26th of September,
1796. Russell was removed to Dublin, and lodged in Newgate Prison; his
arrest filled the great heart of Tone, who was then toiling for his
country in France, with sorrow and dismay. "It is impossible," he says
in his journal, "to conceive the effect this misfortune has on my mind.
If we are not in Ireland in time to extricate him he is lost, for the
government will move heaven and earth to ensure his condemnation. Good
God!" he adds, "if Russell and Neilson fall, where shall I find two
others to replace them?" During the eventful months that intervened
between the date of his arrest and the 19th of March, 1799, poor Russell
remained chafing his imprisoned soul, filled with patriotic passion and
emotion, in his prison cell in Kilmainham. On the latter date, when the
majority of his associates were dead, and their followers scattered and
disheartened, he was transferred to Fort George in Scotland, where he
spent three years more in captivity. The government had no specific
charge against him, but they feared his influence and distrusted his
intentions, and they determined to keep him a prisoner while a chance
remained of his exerting his power against them. No better illustration
of Russell's character and principles could be afforded than that
supplied in the following extract from one of the letters written by him
during his incarceration in Fort George:--"To the people of Ireland," he
writes, addressing an Irish friend and sympathiser, "I am responsible
for my actions; amidst the uncertainties of life this may be my
valedictory letter; what has occasioned the failure of the cause is
useless to speculate on--Providence orders all things for the best. _I
am sure the people will never abandon the cause; I am equally sure it
will succeed_. I trust men will see," he adds, referring to the infidel
views then unhappily prevalent, "that the only true basis of liberty is
morality, and the only stable basis of morality is religion."

In 1802 the government, failing to establish any distinct charge against
Russell, set him at liberty, and he at once repaired to Paris, where he
met Robert Emmet, who was then preparing to renew the effort of
Fitzgerald and Wolfe Tone. Time had not changed, nor suffering damped,
the patriotic impulses of Thomas Russell; he entered heartily into the
plans of young Emmet, and when the latter left for Ireland in November,
1802, to prosecute his hazardous enterprise, it was with the full
understanding that Russell would stand by his side in the post of
danger, and with him perish or succeed. In accordance with this
arrangement, Russell followed Robert Emmet to Dublin, where he arrived
so skilfully disguised that even his own family failed to recognise
him. Emmet's plans for the outbreak in Dublin were matured when Russell,
with a trusty companion, was despatched northwards to summon the Ulster
men to action. Buoyant in spirit, and filled with high expectation, he
entered on his mission, but he returned to Dublin a week later prostrate
in spirit and with a broken heart. One of his first acts on arriving in
Belfast was to issue a proclamation, in which, as "General-in-Chief of
the Northern District," he summoned the people of Ulster to action.

The North, however, refused to act. It was the old, old story. Belfast
resolved on waiting "to see what the South would do," and the South
waited for Belfast. Disgusted and disappointed, Russell quitted the
Northern capital and proceeded to Antrim, where at least he thought he
might expect to find cordial co-operation; but fresh disappointments
awaited him, and with a load of misery at his heart, such as he had
never felt before, Russell returned to Dublin, where he lived in
seclusion, until arrested by Major Sirr and his myrmidons on the 9th of
September, 1803. A reward of £1,500 had been offered for his
apprehension. We learn on good authority that the ruffianly town-major,
on arresting him, seized the unfortunate patriot rudely by the
neck-cloth, whereupon, Russell, a far more powerful man than his
assailant, flung him aside, and drawing a pistol, exclaimed--"I will not
be treated with indignity." Sirr parleyed for a while; a file of
soldiers was meanwhile summoned to his aid, and Russell was borne off in
irons a prisoner to the Castle. While undergoing this second captivity a
bold attempt was made by his friends to effect his liberation by bribing
one of the gaolers; the plot, however, broke down, and Russell never
breathed the air of freedom again. While awaiting his trial--that trial
which he knew could have but one termination, the death of a
felon--Russell addressed a letter to one of his friends outside, in
which the following noble passage, the fittest epitaph to be engraved on
his tombstone, occurs:--"I mean to make my trial," he writes, "and the
last of my life, if it is to close now, as serviceable to the cause of
liberty as I can. _I trust my countrymen will ever adhere to it:_ I know
it will soon prosper. When the country is free," he adds--that it would
be free he never learned to doubt--"I beg they may lay my remains with
my father in a private manner, and pay the few debts I owe. I have only
to beg of my countrymen to remember that the cause of liberty is the
cause of virtue, _which I trust they will never abandon_. May God bless
and prosper them, and when power comes into their hands I entreat them
to use it with moderation. May God and the Saviour bless them all."

Russell was taken to Downpatrick, escorted by a strong force of cavalry,
where he was lodged in the governor's rooms, preparatory to being tried
in that town by a Special Commission. While in prison in Downpatrick he
addressed a letter to Miss M'Cracken, a sister of Henry Joy M'Cracken,
one of the insurgent leaders of 1798, in which he speaks as follows:
"Humanly speaking, I expect to be found guilty and immediately executed.
As this may be my last letter, I shall only say that I did my best for
my country and for mankind. I have no wish to die, but far from
regretting its loss in such a cause, had I a thousand lives I would
willingly risk or lose them in it. Be assured, liberty will in the midst
of those storms be established, and God will wipe the tears from all

The sad anticipations expressed by Russell were but too fully borne out.
There was short shrift in those days for Irishmen accused of treason,
and the verdict of guilty, which he looked forward to with so much
resignation, was delivered before the last rays of the sun which rose on
the morning of the trial had faded in the gloaming. It was sworn that he
had attended treasonable meetings and distributed green uniforms; that
he asked those who attended them, "if they did not desire to get rid of
the Sassanaghs;" that he spoke of 30,000 stands of arms from France, but
said if France should fail them, "forks, spades, shovels, and pickaxes"
would serve that purpose. It was useless to struggle against such
testimony, palpably false and distorted as it was in some parts, and
Russell decided on cutting short the proceedings. "I shall not trouble
my lawyers," he said, "to make any statement in my case. There are but
three possible modes of defence--firstly, by calling witnesses to prove
the innocence of my conduct; secondly, by calling them to impeach the
credit of opposite witnesses, or by proving an _alibi_. As I can resort
to none of those modes of defence without involving others, I consider
myself precluded from any." Previous to the Judge's charge, the prisoner
asked--"If it was not permitted to persons in his situation to say a few
words, as he wished to give his valedictory advice to his countrymen in
as concise a manner as possible, being well convinced how speedy the
transition was from that vestibule of the grave to the scaffold." He was
told in reply, "that he would have an opportunity of expressing
himself," and when the time did come, Russell advanced to the front of
the dock, and spoke in a clear, firm tone of voice, as follows:--

   "Before I address myself to this audience, I return my sincere thanks
   to my learned counsel for the exertions they have made, in which they
   displayed so much talent. I return my thanks to the gentlemen on the
   part of the crown, for the accommodation and indulgence I have
   received during my confinement. I return my thanks to the gentlemen
   of the jury, for the patient investigation they have afforded my
   case; and I return my thanks to the court, for the attention and
   politeness they have shown me during my trial. As to my political
   sentiments, I shall, in as brief a manner as possible (for I do not
   wish to engross the time of the court), say a few words. I look back
   to the last thirteen years of my life, the period with which I have
   interfered with the transactions of Ireland, with entire
   satisfaction; though for my share in them I am now about to die--the
   gentlemen of the jury having, by their verdict, put the seal of truth
   on the evidence against me. Whether, at this time, and the country
   being situated as it is, it be safe to inflict the punishment of
   death upon me for the offence I am charged with, I leave to the
   gentlemen who conduct the prosecution. My death, perhaps, may be
   useful in deterring others from following my example. It may serve,
   on the other hand, as a memorial to others, and on trying occasions
   it may inspire them with courage. I can now say, as far as my
   judgment enabled me, I acted for the good of my country and of the
   world. It may be presumptuous for me to deliver my opinions here as
   a statesman, but as the government have singled me out as a leader,
   and given me the appellation of 'General,' I am in some degree
   entitled to do so. To me it is plain that all things are verging
   towards a change, when all shall be of one opinion. In ancient times,
   we read of great empires having their rise and their fall, and yet do
   the old governments proceed as if all were immutable. From the time I
   could observe and reflect, I perceived that there were two kinds of
   laws--the laws of the State and the laws of God--frequently clashing
   with each other; by the latter kind, I have always endeavoured to
   regulate my conduct; but that laws of the former kind do exist in
   Ireland I believe no one who hears me can deny. That such laws have
   existed in former times many and various examples clearly evince. The
   Saviour of the world suffered by the Roman laws--by the same laws His
   Apostles were put to the torture, and deprived of their lives in His
   cause. By my conduct I do not consider that I have incurred any moral
   guilt. I have committed no moral evil. I do not want the many and
   bright examples of those gone before me; but did I want this
   encouragement, the recent example of a youthful hero--a martyr in the
   cause of liberty--who has just died for his country, would inspire
   me. I have descended into the vale of manhood. I have learned to
   estimate the reality and delusions of this world; _he_ was surrounded
   by everything which could endear this world to him--in the bloom of
   youth, with fond attachments, and with all the fascinating charms of
   health and innocence; to his death I look back even in this moment
   with rapture. I have travelled much, and seen various parts of the
   world, and I think the Irish are the most virtuous nation on the face
   of the earth--they are a good and brave people, and had I a thousand
   lives I would yield them in their service. If it be the will of God
   that I suffer for that with which I stand charged, I am perfectly
   resigned to His holy will and dispensation. I do not wish to trespass
   much more on the time of those that hear me, and did I do so an
   indisposition which has seized on me since I came into court would
   prevent my purpose. Before I depart from this for a better world I
   wish to address myself to the landed aristocracy of this country. The
   word 'aristocracy' I do not mean to use as an insulting epithet, but
   in the common sense of the expression.

   "Perhaps, as my voice may now be considered as a voice crying from
   the grave, what I now say may have some weight. I see around me many,
   who during the last years of my life have disseminated principles for
   which I am now to die. Those gentlemen, who have all the wealth and
   the power of the country in their hands, I strongly advise, and
   earnestly exhort, to pay attention to the poor--by the poor I mean
   the labouring class of the community, their tenantry and dependents.
   I advise them for their good to look into their grievances, to
   sympathize in their distress, and to spread comfort and happiness
   around their dwellings. It might be that they may not hold their
   power long, but at all events to attend to the wants and distresses
   of the poor is their truest interest. If they hold their power, they
   will thus have friends around them; if they lose it, their fall will
   be gentle, and I am sure unless they act thus they can never be
   happy. I shall now appeal to the right honourable gentleman in whose
   hands the lives of the other prisoners are, and entreat that he will
   rest satisfied with my death, and let that atone for those errors
   into which I may have been supposed to have deluded others. I trust
   the gentleman will restore them to their families and friends. If he
   shall do so, I can assure him that the breeze which conveys to him
   the prayers and blessings of their wives and children will be more
   grateful than that which may be tainted with the stench of putrid
   corpses, or carrying with it the cries of the widow and the orphan.
   Standing as I do in the presence of God and of man, I entreat him to
   let my life atone for the faults of all, and that my blood alone may

   "If I am then to die, I have therefore two requests to make. The
   first is, that as I have been engaged in a work possibly of some
   advantage to the world, I may be indulged with three days for its
   completion; secondly, that as there are those ties which even death
   cannot sever, and as there are those who may have some regard for
   what will remain of me after death, I request that my remains,
   disfigured as they will be, may be delivered after the execution of
   the sentence to those dear friends, that they may be conveyed to the
   ground where my parents are laid, and where those faithful few may
   have a consecrated spot over which they may be permitted to grieve. I
   have now to declare, when about to pass into the presence of Almighty
   God, that I feel no enmity in my mind to any being, none to those who
   have borne testimony against me, and none to the jury who have
   pronounced the verdict of my death."

The last request of Russell was refused, and he was executed twelve
hours after the conclusion of the trial. At noon, on the 21st of
October, 1803, he was borne pinioned to the place of execution. Eleven
regiments of soldiers were concentrated in the town to overawe the
people and defeat any attempt at rescue; yet even with this force at
their back, the authorities were far from feeling secure. The interval
between the trial and execution was so short that no preparation could
be made for the erection of a scaffold, except the placing of some
barrels under the gateway of the main entrance to the prison, with
planks placed upon them as a platform, and others sloping up from the
ground, by which it was ascended. On the ground hard by, were placed a
sack of sawdust, an axe, a block, and a knife. After ascending the
scaffold, Russell gazed forward through the archway--towards the
people, whose white faces could be seen glistening outside, and again
expressed his forgiveness of his persecutors. His manner, we are told,
was perfectly calm, and he died without a struggle.

A purer soul, a more blameless spirit, than Thomas Russell, never sunk
on the battle-field of freedom. Fixed in principles, and resolute in
danger, he was nevertheless gentle, courteous, unobstrusive, and humane;
with all the modesty and unaffectedness of childhood, he united the zeal
of a martyr and the courage of a hero. To the cause of his country he
devoted all his energies and all his will; and when he failed to render
it prosperous in life, he illumined it by his devotion and steadfastness
in death. The noble speech given above, and the passages from his
letters which we have quoted, are sufficient in themselves to show how
chivalrous was the spirit, how noble the motives of Thomas Russell. The
predictions which he uttered with so much confidence have not indeed
been fulfilled, and the success which he looked forward to so hopefully
has never been won. But his advice, so often repeated in his letters, is
still adhered to; his countrymen have not yet learned to abandon the
cause in which he suffered, and they still cherish the conviction which
he so touchingly expressed--"that liberty will, in the midst of these
storms be established, and that God will yet wipe off the tears of the
Irish nation."

Russell rests in the churchyard of the Protestant church of Downpatrick.
A plain slab marks the spot where he is laid, and there is on it this
single line--


       *       *       *       *       *

We have now closed our reference to the portion of Irish history
comprised within the years 1798 and 1803, and as far as concerns the men
who suffered for Ireland in those disastrous days our "Speeches from the
Dock" are concluded. We leave behind us the struggle of 1798 and the men
who organized it; we turn from the records of a period reeking with the
gore of Ireland's truest sons, and echoing with the cries and curses of
the innocent and oppressed; we pass without notice the butcheries and
outrages that filled the land, while our countrymen were being sabred
into submission; and we leave behind us, too, the short-lived
insurrection of 1803, and the chivalrous young patriot who perished with
it. We turn to more recent events, less appalling in their general
aspect, but not less important in their consequences, or less
interesting to the present generation, and take up the next link in the
unbroken chain of protests against British rule in Ireland with the
lives and the fortunes of the patriots of 1848. How faithfully the
principles of freedom have been handed down--how nobly the men of our
own times have imitated the patriots of the past--how thoroughly the
sentiments expressed from the Green-street dock nineteen years ago
coincide with the declarations of Tone, of Emmet, and of Russell--our
readers will shortly have an opportunity of judging. They will see how
all the sufferings and all the calamities that darkened the path of the
martyrs of '98 were insufficient to deter others, as gifted, as earnest,
and as chivalrous as they, from following in their footsteps; and how
unquenchable and unending, as the altar light of the fire-worshipper,
the generous glow of patriotic enthusiasm was transmitted through
generations, unaffected by the torrents of blood in which it was sought
to extinguish it.

The events of our own generation--the acts of contemporary patriots--now
claim our attention; but we are reluctant as yet to turn over the page,
and drop the curtain on the scenes with which we have hitherto been
dealing, and which we feel we have inadequately described. We have
spoken of the men whose speeches from the dock are on record, but we
still linger over the history of the events in which they shared, and of
the men who were associated with them in their endeavours. The patriots
whose careers we have glanced at are but a few out of the number of
Irishmen who suffered during the same period, and in the same cause, and
whose actions recommend them to the admiration and esteem of posterity.
Confining ourselves strictly to those whose speeches after conviction
have reached us, the list could not well be extended; but there are many
who acted as brave a part, and whose memories are inseparable from the
history of the period. We should have desired to speak, were the scope
of our labours more extended, of the brave Lord Edward Fitzgerald, the
gallant and the true, who sacrificed his position, his prospects, and
his life, for the good old cause, and whose arrest and death contributed
more largely, perhaps, than any other cause that could be assigned to
the failure of the insurrection of 1798. Descended from an old and noble
family, possessing in a remarkable degree all the attributes and
embellishments of a popular leader, young and spirited, eloquent and
wealthy, ardent, generous, and brave, of good address, and fine physical
proportions, it is not surprising that Lord Edward Fitzgerald became the
idol of the patriot party, and was appointed by them to a leading
position in the organization. Lord Edward Fitzgerald was born in
October, 1763; being the fifth son of James Duke of Leinster, the
twentieth Earl of Kildare. He grew up to manhood, as a recent writer has
observed, when the drums of the Volunteers were pealing their marches of
victory; and under the stirring events of the period his soul burst
through the shackles that had long bound down the Irish aristocracy in
servile dependence. In his early years he served in the American War of
Independence on the side of despotism and oppression--a circumstance
which in after years caused him poignant sorrow. He joined the United
Irishmen, about the time that Thomas Addis Emmet entered their ranks,
and the young nobleman threw himself into the movement with all the
ardour and energy of his nature. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of
the National forces in the south, and laboured with indefatigable zeal
in perfecting the plans for the outbreak on the 23rd of May. The story
of his arrest and capture is too well known to need repetition.
Treachery dogged the steps of the young patriot, and after lying for
some weeks in concealment, he was arrested on the 19th day of May, 1798,
two months after his associates in the direction of the movement had
been arrested at Oliver Bond's. His gallant struggle with his captors,
fighting like a lion at bay, against the miscreants who assailed him;
his assassination, his imprisonment, and his death, are events to which
the minds of the Irish nationalists perpetually recur, and which,
celebrated in song and story, are told with sympathising regret wherever
a group of Irish blood are gathered around the hearth-stone. His genius,
his talents, and his influence, his unswerving attachment to his
country, and his melancholy end, cast an air of romance around his
history; and the last ray of gratitude must fade from the Irish heart
before the name of the martyred patriot, who sleeps in the vaults of St.
Werburgh, will be forgotten in the land of his birth.

In less than a fortnight after Lord Edward expired in Newgate another
Irish rebel, distinguished by his talents, his fidelity, and his
position, expiated with his life the crime of "loving his country above
his king." It is hard to mention Thomas Russell and ignore Henry Joy
M'Cracken--it is hard to speak of the Insurrection of '98 and forget the
gallant young Irishman who commanded at the battle of Antrim, and who
perished a few weeks subsequently, in the bloom of his manhood, on the
scaffold in Belfast. Henry Joy M'Cracken was one of the first members of
the Society of United Irishmen, and he was one of the best. He was
arrested, owing to private information received by the government, on
the 10th of October, 1796--three weeks after Russell, his friend and
confidant, was flung into prison--and lodged in Newgate Jail, where he
remained until the 8th of September in the following year. He was then
liberated on bail, and immediately, on regaining his liberty, returned
to Belfast, still bent on accomplishing at all hazards the liberation of
his country. Previous to the outbreak in May, '98, he had frequent
interviews with the patriot leaders in Dublin, and M'Cracken was
appointed to the command of the insurgent forces in Antrim. Filled with
impatience and patriotic ardour, he heard of the stirring events that
followed the arrest of Lord Edward Fitzgerald; he concentrated all his
energies in preparing the Northern patriots for action, but
circumstances delayed the outbreak in that quarter, and it was not until
the 6th of June, 1798, that M'Cracken had perfected his arrangements for
taking the field, and issued the following brief proclamation, "dated
the first year of liberty, 6th June, 1798," addressed to the Army of

"To-morrow we march on Antrim. Drive the garrison of Randalstown before
you, and hasten to form a junction with your Commander-in-Chief."

Twenty-one thousand insurgents were to have rallied at the call of
M'Cracken, out not more than seven thousand responded to the summons.
Even this number, however, would have been sufficient to strike a
successful blow, which would have filled the hearts of the gallant
Wexford men, then in arms, with exultation, and effected incalculable
results on the fate of Ireland, had not the curse of the Irish cause,
treachery and betrayal, again come to the aid of its enemies. Hardly had
the plans for the attack on Antrim been perfected, when the secrets of
the conspirators were revealed to General Nugent, who commanded the
British troops in the North, and the defeat of the insurgents was thus
secured. M'Cracken's forces marched to the attack on Antrim with great
regularity, chorusing the "Marseillaise Hymn" as they charged through
the town. Their success at first seemed complete, but the English
general, acting on the information which had treacherously been supplied
him, had taken effective means to disconcert and defeat them. Suddenly,
and as it seemed, in the flush of victory, the insurgents found
themselves exposed to a galling fire from a force posted at either end
of the town; a gallant resistance was offered, but it was vain. The
insurgents fled from the fatal spot, leaving 500 of their dead and dying
behind them, and at nightfall Henry Joy M'Cracken found himself a
fugitive and a ruined man. For some weeks he managed to baffle the
bloodhounds on his track, but he was ultimately arrested and tried by
court-martial in Belfast, on the 17th July, 1798. On the evening of the
same day he was executed. We have it on the best authority that he bore
his fate with calmness, resolution, and resignation. It is not his fault
that a "Speech from the Dock" under his name is not amongst our present
collection. He had actually prepared one, but his brutal judges would
not listen to the patriot's exculpation. He was hung, amidst the sobs
and tears of the populace, in front of the Old Market place of Belfast,
and his remains were interred in the graveyard now covered by St.
George's Protestant church.

Later still in the same year two gallant young officers of Irish blood,
shared the fate of Russell and M'Cracken. They sailed with Humbert from
Rochelle; they fought at Castlebar and Ballinamuck; and when the swords
of their French allies were sheathed, they passed into the power of
their foes. Matthew Tone was one of them; the other was Bartholomew
Teeling. The latter filled the rank of Etat-major in the French army;
and a letter from his commanding officer, General Humbert, was read at
his trial, in which the highest praise was given to the young officer
for the humane exertions which he made throughout his last brief
campaign in the interest of mercy. "His hand," he said, "was ever raised
to stay the useless effusion of blood, and his protection was afforded
to the prostrate and defenceless." But his military judges paid little
heed to those extenuating circumstances, and Teeling was condemned to
die on the day of his trial. He perished on the 24th September, 1798,
being then in his twenty-fourth year. He marched with a proud step to
the place of execution on Arbour Hill, Dublin, and he died, as a soldier
might, with unshaken firmness and unquailing mien. No lettered slab
marks the place of his interment; and his bones remain in unhallowed and
unconsecrated ground. Hardly had his headless body ceased to palpitate,
when it was flung into a hole at the rere of the Royal Barracks. A few
days later the same unhonoured spot received the mortal remains of
Matthew Tone. "He had a more enthusiastic nature than any of us," writes
his brother, Theobald Wolfe Tone, "and was a sincere Republican, capable
of sacrificing everything for his principles." His execution was
conducted with infamous cruelty and brutality, and the life-blood was
still gushing from his body when it was flung into "the Croppy's Hole."
"The day will come," says Dr. Madden, "when that desecrated spot will be
hallowed ground--consecrated by religion--trod lightly by pensive
patriotism--and decorated by funeral trophies in honour of the dead
whose bones lie there in graves that are now neglected and unhonoured."

There are others of the patriot leaders who died in exile, far away from
the land for which they suffered, and whose graves were dug on alien
shores by the heedless hands of the stranger. This was the fate of Addis
Emmet, of Neilson, and of M'Nevin. In Ireland they were foremost and
most trusted amongst the gifted and brilliant throng that directed the
labours and shaped the purposes of the United Irishmen. They survived
the reign of terror that swallowed up the majority of their compatriots,
and, when milder councils began to prevail, they were permitted to go
forth from the dungeon which confined them into banishment. The vision
of Irish freedom was not permitted to dawn upon them in life; from
beyond the sandy slopes washed by the Western Atlantic they watched the
fortunes of the old land with hopeless but enduring love. Their talents,
their virtues, and their patriotism were not unappreciated by the people
amongst whom they spent their closing years of life. In the busiest
thoroughfare of the greatest city of America there towers over the heads
of the by-passers the monument of marble which grateful hands have
raised to the memory of Addis Emmet. In the centre of Western
civilization, the home of republican liberty, the stranger reads in
glowing words, of the virtues and the fame of the brother of Robert
Emmet, sculptured on the noble pillar erected in Broadway, New York, to
his memory. Nor was he the only one of his party to whom such an honour
was accorded. A stone-throw from the spot where the Emmet monument
stands, a memorial not less commanding in its proportions and
appearance, was erected to William James M'Nevin; and the American
citizen, as he passes through the spacious streets of that city which
the genius of liberty has rendered prosperous and great, gazes proudly
on those stately monuments, which tell him that the devotion to freedom
which England punished and proscribed found in his own land the
recognition which it merited from the gallant and the free.

[Footnote: The inscriptions on the Emmet monument are in three
languages--Irish, Latin, and English. The Irish inscription consists of
the following lines:--

   Do mhiannaich se ardmath
     Cum tir a breith
   Do thug se clu a's fuair se moladh
     An deig a bais.

The following is the English inscription:

   _In Memory of_

   Who exemplified in his conduct,
   And adorned by his integrity.
   The policy and principles of the

   "To forward a brotherhood of affection,
   A community of rights, an identity of interests, and a union of power
   Among Irishmen of every religious persuasion,
   As the only means of Ireland's chief good,
   An impartial and adequate representation

   For this (mysterious fate of virtue) exiled from his native land,
   In America, the land of Freedom,
   He found a second country,
   Which paid his love by reverencing his genius.
   Learned in our laws, and in the laws of Europe,
   In the literature of our times, and in that of antiquity,
   All knowledge seemed subject to his use.
   An orator of the first order, clear, copious, fervid,
   Alike powerful to kindle the imagination, touch the affections,
   And sway the reason and will.
   Simple in his tastes, unassuming in his manners,
   Frank, generous, kind-hearted, and honourable,
   His private life was beautiful,
   As his public course was brilliant.
   Anxious to perpetuate
   The name and example of such a man,
   Alike illustrious by his genius, his virtues, and his fate;
   Consecrated to their affections by his sacrifices, his perils,
   And the deeper calamities of his kindred,
   His sympathising countrymen
   Erected this Monument and Cenotaph.]

       *       *       *       *       *


Subsequent to the melancholy tragedy of 1803, a period of indescribable
depression was experienced in Ireland. Defeat, disaster, ruin, had
fallen upon the national cause; the power on whose friendly aid so much
reliance had been placed was humbled, and England stood before the world
in the full blaze of triumph and glory. Her fleet was undisputed
mistress of the ocean, having swept it of all hostile shipping, and left
to the enemy little more than the small craft that sheltered in narrow
creeks and under the guns of well-defended harbours. Her army, if not
numerically large, had proved its valour on many a well-fought field,
and shown that it knew how to bring victory to light upon its standards;
and, what was not less a matter of wonder to others, and of pride to
herself, the abundance of her wealth and the extent of her resources
were shown to be without a parallel in the world. Napoleon was an exile
on the rock of St. Helena; the "Holy Alliance"--as the European,
sovereigns blasphemously designated themselves--were lording it over the
souls and bodies of men by "right divine;" the free and noble principles
in which the French Revolution had its origin were now sunk out of
sight, covered with the infamy of the Reign of Terror and the
responsibility of the series of desolating wars which had followed it,
and no man dared to speak for them. Those were dark days for Ireland.
Her parliament was gone, and in the blighting shade of the provincialism
to which she was reduced, genius and courage seemed to have died out
from the land. Thousands of her bravest and most devoted children had
perished in her cause--some on the scaffold, and others on the field of
battle--and many whose presence at home would have been invaluable to
her were obliged to seek safety in exile. So Erin, the crownless Queen,
sat in the dust with fetters on her limbs, her broken sword fallen from
her hand, and with mournful memories lying heavy on her heart. The
feelings of disappointment and grief then rankling in every Irish
breast are well mirrored in that plaintive song of our national poet,
which open with these tristful lines:---

   "'Tis gone, and for ever, the light we saw breaking,
     Like heaven's first dawn o'er the sleep of the dead,
   When man, from the slumber of ages awaking,
     Looked upward and blessed the pure ray ere it fled.
   'Tis gone, and the gleams it has left of its burning
     But deepen the long night of bondage and mourning,
   That dark o'er the kingdoms of earth is returning,
     And darkest of all, hapless Erin, o'er thee."


In this gloomy condition of affairs there was nothing for Irish
patriotism to do except to seek for the removal, by constitutional
means, of some of the cruel grievances that pressed on the people.
Emancipation of the Catholics from the large remainder of the penal laws
that still degraded and despoiled them was one of the baits held out by
Mr. Pitt when playing his cards for the Union; but not long had the
Irish parliament been numbered with the things that were, when it became
evident that the minister was in no hurry to fulfil his engagement, and
it was found necessary to take some steps for keeping him to his
promise. Committees were formed, meetings were held, speeches were made,
resolutions were adopted, and all the machinery of parliamentary
endeavour was put in motion. The leaders of the Catholic cause in this
case, like those of the national cause in the preceding years, were
liberal-minded Protestant gentlemen; but as time wore on, a young
barrister from Kerry, one of the old race and the old faith, took a
decided lead amongst them, and soon became its recognised champion, the
elect of the nation, the "man of the people." Daniel O'Connell stood
forth, with the whole mass of his Catholic countrymen at his back, to
wage within the lines of the constitution this battle for Ireland. He
fought it resolutely and skilfully; the people supported him with an
unanimity and an enthusiasm that were wonderful; their spirit rose and
strengthened to that degree that the probability of another civil war
began to loom up in the near future--inquiries instituted by the
government resulted in the discovery that the Catholics serving in the
army, and who constituted at least a third of its strength, were in full
sympathy with their countrymen on this question, and could not be
depended on to act against them--the ministry recognised the critical
condition of affairs, saw that there was danger in delay, yielded to the
popular demand--and Catholic Emancipation was won.

The details of that brilliant episode of Irish history cannot be told
within the limits of this work, but some of its consequences concern us
very nearly. The triumph of the constitutional struggle for Catholic
Emancipation confirmed O'Connell in the resolution he had previously
formed, to promote an agitation for a Repeal of the Union, and
encouraged him to lay the proposal before his countrymen. The forces
that had wrung the one measure of justice from an unwilling parliament
were competent, he declared, to obtain the other. He soon succeeded in
impressing his own belief on the minds of his countrymen, whose
confidence in his wisdom and his powers was unbounded. The whole country
responded to his call, and soon "the Liberator," as the emancipated
Irish Catholics loved to call him, found himself at the head of a
political organization which in its mode of action, its extent, and its
ardour was "unique in the history of the world." Every city and great
town in Ireland had its branch of the Repeal Association--every village
had its Repeal reading-room, all deriving hope and life, and taking
direction from the head-quarters in Dublin, where the great Tribune
himself "thundered and lightened" at the weekly meetings. All Ireland
echoed with his words. Newspapers, attaining thereby to a circulation
never before approached in Ireland, carried them from one extremity of
the land to the other--educating, cheering, and inspiring the hearts of
the long downtrodden people. Nothing like this had ever occurred before.
The eloquence of the patriot orators of the Irish parliament had not
been brought home to the masses of the population; and the United
Irishmen could only speak to them secretly, in whispers. But here were
addresses glowing, and bold, and tender, brimful of native humour,
scathing in their sarcasms, terrible in their denunciations, ineffably
beautiful in their pathos--addresses that recalled the most glorious as
well as the saddest memories of Irish history, and presented brilliant
vistas of the future--addresses that touched to its fullest and most
delicious vibration every chord of the Irish heart--here they were being
sped over the land in an unfailing and ever welcome supply. The peasant
read them to his family by the fireside when his hard day's work was
done, and the fisherman, as he steered his boat homeward, reckoned as
not the least of his anticipated pleasures, the reading of the last
report from Conciliation Hall. And it was not the humbler classes only
who acknowledged the influence of the Repeal oratory, sympathised with
the movement, and enrolled themselves in the ranks. The priesthood
almost to a man, were members of the Association and propagandists of
its principles; the professional classes were largely represented in it;
of merchants and traders it could count up a long roll; and many of the
landed gentry, even though they held her Majesty's Commission of the
Peace, were amongst its most prominent supporters. In short, the Repeal
Association represented the Irish nation, and its voice was the voice of
the people. The "Monster Meetings" of the year 1843 put this fact beyond
the region of doubt or question. As popular demonstrations they were
wonderful in their numbers, their order, and their enthusiasm.
O'Connell, elated by their success, fancied that his victory was as good
as won. He knew that things could not continue to go on as they were
going--either the government or the Repeal Association should give way,
and he believed the government would yield. For, the Association, he
assured his countrymen, was safe within the limits of the law, and not a
hostile hand could be laid upon it without violating the constitution.
His countrymen had nothing to do but obey the law and support the
Association, and a Repeal of the Union within a few months was, he said,
inevitable. In all this he had allowed his own heart to deceive him;
and his mistake was clearly shown, when in October, 1843, the
government, by proclamation and a display of military force, prevented
the intended monster meeting at Clontarf. It was still more fully
established in the early part of the following year, when he, with a
number of his political associates, was brought to trial for treasonable
and seditious practices, found guilty, and sentenced to twelve months'
imprisonment. The subsequent reversal of the verdict by the House of
Lords, was a legal triumph for O'Connell; but nevertheless, his prestige
had suffered by the occurrence, and his policy had begun to pall upon
the minds of the people.

After his release the business of the Association went on as before,
only there was less of confidence and of defiance in the speeches of the
Liberator, and there were no more monster meetings. He was now more
emphatic than ever in his advocacy of moral force principles, and his
condemnation of all warlike hints and allusions. The weight of age--he
was then more than seventy years--was pressing on his once buoyant
spirit; his prison experience had damped his courage; and he was haunted
night and day by a conviction--terrible to his mind--that there was
growing up under the wing of the Association, a party that would teach
the people to look to an armed struggle as the only sure means of
obtaining the freedom of their country. The writings of the
_Nation_--then a new light in the literature and politics of
Ireland--had a ring in them that was unpleasant to his ears, a sound as
of clashing steel and the explosion of gunpowder. In the articles of
that journal much honour was given to men who had striven for Irish
freedom by other methods than those in favour at Conciliation Hall; and
the songs and ballads which it was giving to the youth of Ireland--who
received them with delight, treasuring every line "as if an angel
spoke"--were bright with the spirit of battle, and taught any doctrine
except the sinfulness of fighting for liberty. The Liberator grew
fearful of that organ and of the men by whom it was conducted. He
distrusted that quiet-faced, thoughtful, and laborious young man, whom
they so loved and reverenced--the founder, the soul, and the centre of
their party. To the keen glance of the aged leader it appeared that for
all that placid brow, those calm grey eyes and softly curving lip of
his, the man had no horror of blood-spilling in a righteous cause, and
was capable not only of deliberately inciting his countrymen to rise in
arms against English rule, but also of taking a foremost place in the
struggle. And little less to be dreaded than Thomas Davis, was his
friend and _collaborateur_, Charles Gavan Duffy, whose sharp and active
intellect and resolute spirit were not in the least likely to allow the
national cause to rest for ever on the peaceful platform of Conciliation
Hall. Death removed Davis early from the scene; but in John Mitchel, who
had taken his place, there was no gain to the party of moral force. Then
there was that other young firebrand--that dapper, well-built,
well-dressed, curled and scented young gentleman from the _Urbs
Intacta_--whose wondrous eloquence, with the glow of its thought, the
brilliancy and richness of its imagery, and the sweetness of its
cadences, charmed and swayed all hearts--adding immensely to the dangers
of the situation. O'Brien, too, staid and unimpulsive as was his
character, deliberate and circumspect as were his habits, was evidently
inclined to give the weight of his name and influence to this "advanced"
party. And there were many less prominent, but scarcely less able men
giving them the aid of their great talents in the press and on the
platform--not only men, but women too. Some of the most inspiriting of
the strains that were inducing the youth of the country to familiarize
themselves with steel blades and rifle barrels proceeded from the pens
of those fair and gifted beings. Day after day, as this party sickened
of the stale platitudes, and timid counsels, and crooked policy of the
Hall, O'Connell, his son John, and other leading members of the
Association, insisted more and more strongly on their doctrine of moral
force, and indulged in the wildest and most absurd denunciations of the
principle of armed resistance to tyranny. "The liberty of the world,"
exclaimed O'Connell, "is not worth the shedding of one drop of human
blood." Notwithstanding the profound disgust which the utterance of such
sentiments caused to the bolder spirits in the Association, they would
have continued within its fold, if those debasing principles had not
been actually formulated into a series of resolutions and proposed for
the acceptance of the Society. Then they rose against the ignoble
doctrine which would blot the fair fame of all who ever fought for
liberty in Ireland or elsewhere, and rank the noblest men the world ever
saw in the category of fools and criminals. Meagher, in a brilliant
oration, protested against the resolutions, and showed why he would not
"abhor and stigmatize the sword." Mr. John O'Connell interrupted and
interfered with the speaker. It was plain that freedom of speech was to
be had no longer on the platform of the Association, and that men of
spirit had no longer any business there--Meagher took up his hat and
left the Hall, and amongst the crowd that accompanied, him, went William
Smith O'Brien, Thomas Devin Reilly, Charles Gavan Duffy, and John

After this disruption, which occurred on the 28th of July, 1846, came
the formation of the "Irish Confederation" by the seceders. In the
proceedings of the new Society Mr. Mitchel took a more prominent part
than he had taken in the business of the Repeal Association. And he
continued to write in his own terse and forcible style in the _Nation_.
But his mind travelled too fast in the direction of war for either the
journal or the society with which he was connected. The desperate
condition of the country, now a prey to all the horrors of famine, for
the awfully fatal effects of which the government was clearly
responsible--the disorganization and decay of the Repeal party,
consequent on the death of O'Connell--the introduction of Arms' Acts and
other coercive measures by the government, and the growing ardour of the
Confederate Clubs, were to him as signs and tokens unmistakable that
there was no time to be lost in bringing matters to a crisis in which
the people should hold their own by force of arms. Most of his political
associates viewed the situation with more patience; but Mr. Mitchel was
resolved that even if he stood alone, he would speak out his opinions to
the people. In the latter part of December, 1847, he withdrew from the
_Nation_. On the 5th of February, 1848, at the close of a debate, which
had lasted two days, on the merits of his policy of immediate resistance
to the collection of rates, rents, and taxes, and the division on which
was unfavourable to him, he, with a number of friends and sympathisers
withdraw from the Confederation. Seven days afterwards, he issued the
first number of a newspaper, bearing the significant title of _The
United Irishman_, and having for its motto the following aphorism,
quoted from Theobald Wolfe Tone: "Our independence must be had at all
hazards. If the men of property will not support us, they must fall; we
can support ourselves by the aid of that numerous and respectable class
of the community, the men of no property."

The _Nation_ had been regarded as rather an outspoken journal, and not
particularly well affected to the rulers of the country. But it was
mildness, and gentleness, and loyalty itself compared to the new-comer
in the field of journalism. The sudden uprising of a most portentous
comet sweeping close to this planet of ours could hardly create more
unfeigned astonishment in the minds of people in general than did the
appearance of this wonderful newspaper, brimful of open and avowed
sedition, crammed with incitements to insurrection, and with diligently
prepared instructions for the destruction of her Majesty's troops,
barracks, stores, and magazines. Men rubbed their eyes, as they read its
articles and correspondence, scarcely believing that any man in his
sober senses would venture, in any part of the Queen's dominions, to put
such things in print. But there were the articles and the letters,
nevertheless, on fair paper and in good type, published in a duly
registered newspaper bearing the impressed stamp of the Customs--a sign
to all men that the proprietor was bound in heavy sureties to the
government against the publication of "libel, blasphemy, or
sedition"!--couched, moreover, in a style of language possessing such
grace and force, such delicacy of finish, and yet such marvellous
strength, rich with so much of quiet humour, and bristling with such
rasping sarcasm and penetrating invective, that they were read as an
intellectual luxury even by men who regarded as utterly wild and wicked
the sentiments they conveyed. The first editorial utterance in this
journal consisted of a letter from Mr. Mitchel to the Viceroy, in which
that functionary was addressed as "The Right Hon. the Earl of Clarendon,
Englishman, calling himself her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant-General and
General Governor of Ireland." The purport of the document was to
declare, above board, the aims and objects of the _United Irishman_, a
journal with which, wrote Mr. Mitchel, "your lordship and your
lordship's masters and servants are to have more to do than may be
agreeable either to you or me." That that purpose was to resume the
struggle which had been waged by Tone and Emmet, or, as Mr. Mitchel put
it, "the Holy War, to sweep this island clear of the English name and
nation." "We differ," he said, "from the illustrious conspirators of
'98, not in principle--no, not an _iota_--but, as I shall presently show
you, materially as to the mode of action." And the difference was to
consist in this--that whereas the revolutionary organization in
Ninety-Eight was a secret one, which was ruined by spies and informers,
that of Forty-Eight was to be an open one, concerning which informers
could tell nothing that its promoters would not willingly proclaim from
the house-tops. "If you desire," he wrote, "to have a Castle detective
employed about the _United Irishman_ office in Trinity-street, I shall
make no objection, provided the man be sober and honest. If Sir George
Grey or Sir William Somerville would like to read our correspondence, we
make him welcome for the present--only let the letters be forwarded
without losing a post." Of the fact that he would speedily be called to
account for his conduct in one of her Majesty's courts of law, the
writer of this defiant language was perfectly cognizant; but he declared
that the inevitable prosecution would be his opportunity of achieving a
victory over the government. "For be it known to you," he wrote, "that
in such a case you shall either publicly, boldly, notoriously _pack a
jury_, or else see the accused rebel walk a free man out of the court of
Queen's Bench--which will be a victory only less than the rout of your
lordship's red-coats in the open field." In case of his defeat, other
men would take up the cause, and maintain it until at last England would
have to fall back on her old system of courts-martial, and triangles,
and free quarters, and Irishmen would find that there was no help for
them "in franchises, in votings, in spoutings, in shoutings, and toasts
drank with enthusiasm--nor in anything in this world, save the
_extensor_ and _contractor_ muscles of their right arms, in
these and in the goodness of God above." The conclusion of this
extraordinary address to her Majesty's representative was in the
following terms:--

   "In plain English, my Lord Earl, the deep and irreconcilable
   disaffection of this people to all British laws, lawgivers, and law
   administrators shall find a voice. That holy Hatred of foreign
   dominion which nerved our noble predecessors fifty years ago for the
   dungeon, the field, or the gallows (though of late years it has worn
   a vile nisi prius gown, and snivelled somewhat in courts of law and
   on spouting platforms) still lives, thank God! and glows as fierce
   and hot as ever. To educate that holy Hatred, to make it know itself,
   and avow itself, and, at last, fill itself full, I hereby devote the
   columns of the _United Irishman_."

After this address to the Lord Lieutenant, Mr. Mitchel took to
addressing the farming classes, and it is really a study to observe the
exquisite precision, the clearness, and the force of the language he
employed to convey his ideas to them. In his second letter he supposes
the case of a farmer who has the entire produce of his land in his
haggard, in the shape of six stacks of corn; he shows that three of
these ought, in all honour and conscience, be sufficient for the
landlord and the government to seize upon, leaving the other three to
support the family of the man whose labour had produced them. But what
are the facts?--the landlord and the government sweep _all_ away, and
the peasant and his family starve by the ditch sides. As an illustration
of this condition of things, he quotes from a southern paper an account
of an inquest held on the body of a man named Boland, and on the bodies
of his two daughters, who, as the verdict declared, had "died of cold
and starvation," although occupants of a farm of over twenty acres in
extent. On this melancholy case the comment of the editor of the _United
Irishman_ was as follows:--

   "Now what became of poor Boland's twenty acres of crop? Part of it
   went to Gibraltar, to victual the garrison; part to South Africa, to
   provision the robber army; part went to Spain, to pay for the
   landlord's wine; part to London, to pay the interest of his honour's
   mortgage to the Jews. The English ate some of it; the Chinese had
   their share; the Jews and the Gentiles divided it amongst them--and
   there was _none_ for Boland."

As to the manner in which the condition and fate of poor Boland were to
be avoided, abundant instructions were given in every number. The
anti-tithe movement was quoted as a model to begin with; but, of course,
that was to be improved upon. The idea that the people would not
venture on such desperate movements, and had grown enamoured of the
Peace policy and of "Patience and Perseverance," Mr. Mitchel refused to
entertain for a moment:--

   "I will not believe that Irishmen are so degraded and utterly lost as
   this. The Earth is awakening from sleep; a flash of electric fire is
   passing through the dumb millions. Democracy is girding himself once
   more like a strong man to run a race; and slumbering nations are
   arising in their might, and 'shaking their invincible locks.' Oh! my
   countrymen, look up, look up! Arise from the death-dust where you
   have long been lying, and let this light visit your eyes also, and
   touch your souls. Let your ears drink in the blessed words, 'Liberty!
   Fraternity! Equality!' which are soon to ring from pole to pole!
   Clear steel will, ere long, dawn upon you in your desolate darkness;
   and the rolling thunder of the People's cannon will drive before it
   many a heavy cloud that has long hidden from you the face of heaven.
   Pray for that day; and preserve life and health that you may worthily
   meet it. Above all, let the man amongst you who has no gun sell his
   garment and buy one."

So Mr. Mitchel went on for some weeks, preaching in earnest and exciting
language the necessity of preparation for an immediate grapple with "the
enemy." In the midst of his labours came the startling news of another
revolution in France, Louis Philippe in full flight, and the
proclamation of a Republic. Yet a few days more and the Berliners had
risen and triumphed, only stopping short of chasing their king away
because he conceded all they were pleased to require of him; then came
insurrection in Sicily, insurrection in Lombardy, insurrection in Milan,
insurrection in Hungary--in short, the revolutionary movement became
general throughout Europe, and thrones and principalities were tumbling
and tottering in all directions. Loud was the complaint in the _United
Irishman_ because Dublin was remaining tranquil. It was evident,
however, that the people and their leaders were feeling the
revolutionary impulse, and that matters were fast hurrying towards an
outbreak. John Mitchel knew that a crisis was at hand, and devoted all
his energies to making the best use of the short time that his newspaper
had to live. His writing became fiercer, more condensed, and more
powerful than ever. Lord Clarendon was now addressed as "Her Majesty's
Executioner General and General Butcher of Ireland," and instructions
for street warfare and all sorts of operations suitable for an insurgent
populace occupied a larger space than ever in his paper. But the
government were now resolved to close with their bold and clever enemy.
On Tuesday, the 21st of March, 1848, Messrs. O'Brien, Meagher, and
Mitchel were arrested, the former for seditious speeches, uttered at a
meeting of the Confederation held on the 15th of that month, the latter
for three seditious articles published in the _United Irishman_. All
were released on bail, and when the trials came on, in the month of May,
disagreements of the jury took place in the cases of O'Brien and
Meagher. But before the trial of Mr. Mitchel could be proceeded with, he
was arrested on a fresh charge of "treason-felony"--a new crime, which
had been manufactured by Act of Parliament a few weeks before. He was,
therefore, fast in the toils, and with but little chance of escape.
Little concern did this give the brave-hearted patriot, who only hoped
and prayed that at last the time had come when his countrymen would
launch out upon the resolute course of action which he had so earnestly
recommended to them. From his cell in Newgate, on the 16th of May, he
addressed to them one of his most exciting letters, of which the
following are the concluding passages:--

   "For me, I abide my fate joyfully; for I know that, whatever betide
   me, my work is nearly done. Yes; Moral Force and 'Patience and
   Perseverance' are scattered to the wild winds of heaven. The music my
   countrymen now love best to hear is the rattle of arms and the ring
   of the rifle. As I sit here and write in my lonely cell, I hear, just
   dying away, the measured tramp of ten thousand marching men--my
   gallant confederates, unarmed and silent, but with hearts like bended
   bow, waiting till _the time_ comes. They have marched past my prison
   windows, to let me know there are ten thousand fighting men in
   Dublin--'felons' in heart and soul.

   "I thank God for it. The game is afoot at last. The liberty of
   Ireland may come sooner or later, by peaceful negotiation or bloody
   conflict--but it is _sure_; and wherever between the poles I may
   chance to be, I will hear the crash of the downfall of the
   thrice-accursed British Empire."

On Monday, May 22nd, 1848, the trial of Mr. Mitchel commenced in the
Commission Court, Green-street, before Baron Lefroy. He was eloquently
defended by the veteran lawyer and uncompromising patriot, Robert
Holmes, the brother-in-law of Robert Emmet. The mere law of the case was
strong against the prisoner, but Mr. Holmes endeavoured to raise the
minds of the jury to the moral view of the case, upon which English
juries have often acted regardless of the letter of the Act of
Parliament. With a jury of Irishmen impartially chosen it would have
been a good defence, but the Castle had made sure of their men in this
case. At five o'clock on the evening of the 26th, the case went to the
jury, who, after an absence of two hours, returned into court with a
verdict of "Guilty."

That verdict was a surprise to no one. On the day the jury was
empanelled, the prisoner and every one else knew what it was to be. It
was now his turn to have a word to say for himself, and he spoke, as was
his wont, in plain terms, answering thus the question that had been put
to him:--

   "I have to say that I have been found guilty by a packed jury--by the
   jury of a partizan sheriff--by a jury not empanelled even according
   to the law of England. I have been found guilty by a packed jury
   obtained by a juggle--a jury not empanelled by a sheriff but by a

This was touching the high sheriff on a tender place, and he immediately
called out for the protection of the court. Whereupon Baron Lefroy
interposed, and did gravely and deliberately, as is the manner of
judges, declare that the imputation which had just been made on the
character of that excellent official, the high sheriff, was most
"unwarranted and unfounded." He adduced, however, no reason in support
of that declaration--not a shadow of proof that the conduct of the
aforesaid official was fair or honest--but proceeded to say that the
jury had found the prisoner guilty on evidence supplied by his own
writings, some of which his lordship, with a proper expression of horror
on his countenance, proceeded to read from his notes. In one of the
prisoner's publications, he said, there appeared the following passage
"There is now growing on the soil of Ireland a wealth of grain, and
roots, and cattle, far more than enough to sustain in life and comfort
all the inhabitants of the island. That wealth must not leave us another
year, not until every grain of it is fought for in every stage, from the
tying of the sheaf to the loading of the ship; and the effort necessary
to that simple act of self-preservation will at one and the same blow
prostrate British dominion and landlordism together." In reference to
this piece of writing, and many others of a similar nature, his lordship
remarked that no effort had been made to show that the prisoner was not
responsible for them; it was only contended that they involved no moral
guilt. But the law was to be vindicated; and it now became his duty to
pronounce the sentence of the court, which was--that the prisoner be
transported beyond the seas for a term of fourteen years. The severity
of the sentence occasioned general surprise; a general suspiration and
low murmur were heard through the court. Then there was stillness as of
death, in the midst of which the tones of John Mitchel's voice rang out
clearly, as he said:--

   "The law has now done its part, and the Queen of England, her crown
   and government in Ireland are now secure, pursuant to act of
   parliament. I have done my part also. Three months ago I promised
   Lord Clarendon, and his government in this country, that I would
   provoke him into his courts of justice, as places of this kind are
   called, and that I would force him publicly and notoriously to pack a
   jury against me to convict me, or else that I would walk a free man
   out of this court, and provoke him to a contest in another field. My
   lord, I knew I was setting my life on that cast, but I knew that in
   either event the victory should be with me, and it is with me.
   Neither the jury, nor the judges, nor any other man in this court
   presumes to imagine that it is a criminal who stands in this dock."

Here there were murmurs of applause, which caused the criers to call out
for "Silence!" and the police to look fiercely on the people around
them. Mr. Mitchel resumed:--

   "I have shown what the law is made of in Ireland. I have shown that
   her Majesty's government sustains itself in Ireland by packed juries,
   by partizan judges, by perjured sheriffs."

Baron Lefroy interposed. The court could not sit there to hear the
prisoner arraign the jurors, the sheriffs, the courts, and the tenure by
which Englands holds this country. Again the prisoner spoke:--

   "I have acted all through this business, from the first, under a
   strong sense of duty. I do not repent anything that I have done, and
   I believe that the course which I have opened is only commenced. The
   Roman who saw his hand burning to ashes before the tyrant, promised
   that three hundred should follow out his enterprise. Can I not
   promise for one, for two, for three, aye for hundreds?"

As he uttered these words, Mr. Mitchel looked proudly into the faces of
the friends near him, and around the court. His words and his glance
were immediately responded to by an outburst of passionate voices from
all parts of the building, exclaiming--"For me! for me! promise for me,
Mitchel! and for me!" And then came a clapping of hands and a stamping
of feet, that sounded loud and sharp as a discharge of musketry,
followed by a shout like a peal of thunder. John Martin, Thomas Francis
Meagher, and Devin Reilly, with other gentlemen who stood close by the
dock, reached over it to grasp the hand of the new made felon. The
aspect of affairs looked alarming for a moment. The policemen laid
violent hands on the persons near them and pulled them about. Mr.
Meagher and Mr. Doheny were taken into custody. Baron Lefroy, in a high
state of excitement, cried out--"Officer! remove Mr. Mitchel!" and then,
with his brother judges, retired hurriedly from the bench. The turnkeys
who stood in the dock with Mr. Mitchel motioned to him that he was to
move; he took a step or two down the little stairs under the flooring of
the court-house, and his friends saw him no more.

He was led through the passages that communicated with the adjoining
prison, and ushered into a dark and narrow cell, in which, however, his
detention was of but a few hours' duration: At four o'clock in the
evening of that day--May 27th, 1848--the prison van, escorted by a large
force of mounted police and dragoons, with drawn sabres, drove up to the
prison gate. It was opened, and forth walked John Mitchel--_in fetters_.
A heavy chain was attached to his right leg by a shackle at the ankle;
the other end was to have been attached to the left leg, but as the
jailors had not time to effect the connexion when the order came for the
removal of the prisoner, they bade him take it in his hand, and it was
in this plight, with a festoon of iron from his hand to his foot, he
passed from the prison into the street--repeating mayhap to his own
heart, the words uttered by Wolfe Tone in circumstances not
dissimilar:--"For the cause which I have embraced, I feel prouder to
wear these chains, than if I were decorated with the star and garter of
England." Four or five police inspectors assisted him to step into the
van, the door was closed after him, the word was given to the escort,
and off went the cavalcade at a thundering pace to the North-wall, where
a government steamer, the "Shearwater," was lying with her steam up in
readiness to receive him. He clambered the side-ladder of the steamer
with some assistance; on reaching the deck, the chains tripped him and
he fell forward. Scarcely was he on his feet again, when the paddles of
the steamer were beating; the water, and the vessel was moving from the
shores of that "Isle of Destiny," which he loved so well, and a sight of
which has never since gladdened the eyes of John Mitchel.

The history of Mr. Mitchel's subsequent career, which has been an
eventful one, does not rightly fall within the scope of this work.
Suffice it to say that on June the 1st, 1848, he was placed on board the
"Scourge" man-of-war, which then sailed off for Bermuda. There Mr.
Mitchel was retained on board a penal ship, or "hulk," until April 22nd,
1849, when he was transferred to the ship "Neptune," on her way from
England to the Cape of Good Hope, whither she was taking a batch of
British convicts. Those convicts the colonists at the Cape refused to
receive into their country, and a long struggle ensued between them and
the commander of the "Neptune," who wished to deposit his cargo
according to instructions. The colonists were willing to make an
exception in the case of Mr. Mitchel, but the naval officer could not
think of making any compromise in the matter. The end of the contest was
that the vessel, with her cargo of convicts on board, sailed on February
19th, 1850, for Van Dieman's Land, where she arrived on April 7th of the
same year. In consideration of the hardships they had undergone by
reason of their detention at the Cape, the government granted a
conditional pardon to all the criminal convicts on their arrival at
Hobart Town. It set them free on the condition that they should not
return to the "United Kingdom." Mr. Mitchel and the other political
convicts were less mercifully treated. It was not until the year 1854
that a similar amount of freedom was given to these gentlemen. Some
months previous to the arrival of Mr. Mitchel at Hobart Town, his
friends William Smith O'Brien, John Martin, Thomas F. Meagher, Kevin
Izod O'Doherty, Terence Bellew MacManus, and Patrick O'Donoghue, had
reached the same place, there to serve out the various terms of
transportation to which they had been sentenced. All except Mr. O'Brien,
who had refused to enter into these arrangements, were at that time on
parole--living, however, in separate and limited districts, and no two
of them nearer than thirty or forty miles. On his landing from the
"Neptune," Mr. Mitchel, in consideration of the delicate state of his
health, was allowed to reside with Mr. Martin in the Bothwell district.

In the summer of the year 1853, a number of Irish gentlemen in America,
took measures to effect the release of one or more of the Irish patriots
from Van Dieman's Land, and Mr. P.J. Smyth sailed from New York on that
patriotic mission. Arrived in Van Dieman's Land, the authorities, who
seemed to have suspition of his business, placed him under arrest, from
which he was released after three days' detention. The friends soon
managed to meet and come to an understanding as to their plan of future
operations, in conformity with which, Mr. Mitchel penned the following
letter to the governor of the island:--

   "Bothwell, 8th June, 1853.

   "SIR--I hereby resign the 'comparative liberty,' called
   'ticket-of-leave,' and revoke my parole of honour. I shall forthwith
   present myself before the police magistrate of Bothwell, at his
   police office, show him this letter, and offer myself to be taken
   into custody. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


On the next day, June the 9th, Mr. Mitchel and Mr. Smyth went to the
police office, saw the magistrate with his attending constables; handed
him the letter, waited until he had read its contents, addressed to him
a verbal statement to the same effect, and while he appeared to be
paralyzed with astonishment, and uncertain what to do, touched their
hats to him and left the office. Chase after them was vain, as they had
mounted a pair of fleet steeds after leaving the presence of his
worship; but it was not until six weeks afterwards that they were able
to get shipping and leave the island. On the 12th of October, 1853, Mr.
Mitchel was landed safe in California--to the intense delight of his
countrymen throughout the American States, who celebrated the event by
many joyful banquets.

Since then, Mr. Mitchel has occupied himself mainly with the press. He
started the _Citizen_ in New York, and subsequently, at Knoxville,
Tennessee, the _Southern Citizen_. As editor of the _Richmond Examiner_
during the American civil war, he ably supported the Southern cause, to
which he gave a still stronger pledge of his attachment in the services
and the lives of two of his brave sons. One of these gentlemen, Mr.
William Mitchel, was killed at the battle of Gettysburg; the other,
Captain John Mitchel, who had been placed in command of the important
position of Fort Sumter, was shot on the parapet of that work, on July
19th, 1864. Shortly after the close of the war, Mr. John Mitchel was
taken prisoner by the Federal government; but after undergoing an
imprisonment of some months his release was ordered by President
Johnson, acting on the solicitation of a large and influential
deputation of Irishmen. In the latter part of the year 1867, turning to
the press again, he started the _Irish Citizen_ at New York, and in that
journal, at the date of this writing, he continues to wield his
trenchant pen on behalf of the Irish cause. To that cause, through all
the lapse of time, and change of scene, and vicissitude of fortune which
he has known, his heart has remained for ever true. He has suffered much
for it; that he may live to see it triumphant is a prayer which finds an
echo in the hearts of all his fellow-countrymen.

We have written of Mr. Mitchel only in reference to his political
career; but we can, without trenching in any degree on the domain of
private life, supply some additional and authentic details which will be
of interest to Irish readers. The distinguished subject of our memoir
was born at Camnish, near Dungiven, in the county of Derry, on the 3rd
of November, 1815. His father was the Rev. John Mitchel, at that time
Presbyterian Minister of Dungiven, and a good patriot, too, having
been--as we learn from a statement casually made by Mr. Mitchel in
Conciliation Hall--one of the United Irishmen of 1798. The maiden name
of his mother, who also came of a Presbyterian and county Derry family,
was Mary Haslitt. At Newry, whither the Rev. Mr. Mitchel removed in the
year 1823, and where he continued to reside till his death in 1843,
young John Mitchel was sent to the school of Dr. David Henderson, from
which he entered Trinity College, Dublin, about the year 1830 or 1831.
He did not reside within the college, but kept his terms by coming up
from the country to attend the quarterly examinations. Though he did not
distinguish himself in his college course, and had paid no more
attention to the books prescribed for his studies than seemed necessary
for passing his examinations respectably, John Mitchel was known to his
intimate friends to be a fine scholar and possessed of rare ability.
While still a college student, he was bound apprentice to a solicitor in
Newry. Before the completion of his apprenticeship, in the year 1835, he
married Jane Verner, a young lady of remarkable beauty, and only sixteen
years of age at the time, a daughter of Captain James Verner. Not long
after his marriage he entered into partnership in his profession, and in
conformity with the arrangements agreed upon, went to reside at
Banbridge, a town ten miles north of Newry, where he continued to
practice as a solicitor until the death of Thomas Davis in 1845. He had
been an occasional contributor to the _Nation_ almost from the date of
its foundation; its editors recognised at once his splendid literary
powers, and when the "Library of Ireland" was projected, pressed him to
write one of the volumes, suggesting as his subject the Life of Hugh
O'Neill. How ably he fulfilled the task is known to his countrymen, who
rightly regard the volume as one of the most valuable of the whole
series. When death removed the amiable and gifted Thomas Davis from the
scene of his labours, Mr. Duffy invited John Mitchel, as the man most
worthy of all in Ireland, to take his place. Mr. Mitchel regarded the
invitation as the call of his country. He gave up his professional
business in Banbridge, removed with his wife and family to Dublin, and
there throwing himself heart and soul into the cause, fought it out
boldly and impetuously until the day when, bound in British chains, "the
enemy" bore him off from Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *


When the law had consummated its crime, and the doom of the felon was
pronounced against John Mitchel, there stood in the group that pressed
round him in the dock and echoed back the assurances which he flung as a
last defiance at his foes, a thoughtful, delicate looking, but resolute
young Irishman, whose voice perhaps was not the loudest of those that
spoke there, but whose heart throbbed responsively to his words, and for
whom the final message of the unconquerable rebel possessed a meaning
and significance that gave it the force of a special revelation.
"Promise for me, Mitchel," they cried out, but he had no need to join in
that request; he had no need to intimate to Mr. Mitchel his willingness
to follow out the enterprise which that fearless patriot had so boldly
commenced. On the previous day, sitting with the prisoner in his gloomy
cell, John Martin of Loughorne had decided on the course which he would
take in the event of the suppression of the _United Irishman_ and the
transportation of its editor. He would start a successor to that
journal, and take the place of his dear friend at the post of danger. It
was a noble resolve, deliberately taken, and resolutely and faithfully
was it carried out. None can read the history of that act of daring, and
of the life of sacrifice by which it has been followed, and not agree
with us that while the memories of Tone, of Emmet, and of Russell, are
cherished in Ireland, the name of John Martin ought not be forgotten.

A few days subsequent to that memorable scene in Greenstreet
court-house, John Martin quitted his comfortable home and the green
slopes of Loughorne, separated himself from the friends he loved and
the relatives who idolized him, and entered on the stormy career of a
national leader and journalist, at a time when to advocate the
principles of nationality was to incur the ferocious hostility of a
government whose thirst for vengeance was only whetted by the
transportation of John Mitchel. He knew the danger he was braving; he
knew that the path on which he entered led down to suffering and ruin;
he stood in the gap from which Mitchel had been hurled, with a full
consciousness of the perils of the situation; but unflinchingly and
unhesitatingly as the martyr goes to his death, he threw himself into
the thinning ranks of the patriot leaders; and when the event that he
anticipated arrived, and the prison gates opened to receive him--then,
too, in the midst of indignities and privations--he displayed an
imperturbable firmness and contempt for physical suffering, that showed
how powerless persecution is to subdue the spirit that self-conscious
righteousness sustains.

His history previous to the conviction of his friend and school-fellow,
John Mitchel, if it includes no events of public importance, possesses
for us all the interest that attaches to the early life of a good and
remarkable man. John Martin was born at Loughorne, in the lordship of
Newry, Co. Down, on the 8th of September, 1812; being the eldest son of
Samuel Martin and Jane Harshaw, both natives of that neighbourhood, and
members of Presbyterian families settled there for many generations.
About the time of his birth, his father purchased the fee-simple of the
large farm which he had previously rented, and two of his uncles having
made similar investments, the family became proprietors of the townland
on which they lived. Mr. Samuel Martin, who died in 1831, divided his
attention between the management of the linen business--a branch of
industry in which the family had partly occupied themselves for some
generations--and the care of his land. His family consisted of nine
children, of whom John Martin--the subject of our sketch--was the second
born. The principles of his family, if they could not be said to possess
the hue of nationality, were at least liberal and tolerant. In '98, the
Martins of Loughorne, were stern opponents of the United Irishmen; but
in '82, his father and uncles were enrolled amongst the volunteers, and
the Act of Union was opposed by them as a national calamity. It was from
his good mother, however, a lady of refined taste and remarkable mental
culture, that young John derived his inclination for literary pursuits,
and learned the maxims of justice and equality that swayed him through
life. He speedily discarded the prejudices against Catholic
Emancipation, which were not altogether unknown amongst his family, and
which even found some favour with himself in the unreflecting days of
boyhood. The natural tendency of his mind, however, was as true to the
principles of justice as the needle to the pole, and the quiet rebuke
that one day fell from his uncle--"What! John, would you not give your
Catholic fellow-countrymen the same rights that you enjoy yourself?"
having set him a thinking for the first time on the subject, he soon
formed opinions more in consonance with liberality and fair play.

When about twelve years of age, young Martin was sent to the school of
Dr. Henderson at Newry, where he first became acquainted with John
Mitchel, then attending the same seminary as a day scholar. We next find
John Martin an extern student of Trinity College, and a year after the
death of his father he took out his degree in Arts. He was now twenty
years old, and up to this time had suffered much from a constitutional
affection, being subject from infancy to fits of spasmodic asthma.
Strange to say, the disease which troubled him at frequently recurring
intervals at home, seldom attacked him when away from Loughorne, and
partly for the purpose of escaping it, he took up his residence in
Dublin in 1833, and devoted himself to the study of medicine. He never
meditated earning his living by the profession, but he longed for the
opportunity of assuaging the sufferings of the afflicted poor. The air
of the dissecting-room, however, was too much for Martin's delicate
nervous organization; the kindly encouragement of his fellow-students
failed to induce him to breathe its fetid atmosphere a second time, and
he was forced to content himself with a theoretical knowledge of the
profession. By diligent study and with the assistance of lectures,
anatomical plates, &c., he managed to conquer the difficulty; and he had
obtained nearly all the certificates necessary for taking out a medical
degree, when he was recalled in 1835 to Loughorne, by the death of his
uncle John, whose house and lands he inherited.

During the four years following he lived at Loughorne, discharging the
duties of a resident country gentleman as they are seldom performed in
Ireland, and endearing himself to all classes, but particularly to the
poor, by his gentle disposition, purity of mind, and benevolence of
heart. In him the afflicted and the poverty-stricken ever found a
sympathising friend, and if none of the rewards which the ruling faction
were ready to shower on the Irishman of his position who looked to the
Castle for inspiration, fell to his share, he enjoyed a recompense more
precious in the prayers and the blessings of the poor. The steps of his
door were crowded with the patients who flocked to him for advice, and
for whom he prescribed gratuitously--not without some reluctance,
however, arising from distrust of his own abilities and an unwillingness
to interfere with the practice of the regular profession. But the
diffidence with which he regarded his own efforts was not shared by the
people of the district. Their faith in his professional skill was
unbounded, and perhaps the confidence which they felt in his power,
contributed in some measure to the success that attended his practice.

In 1839 Mr. Martin sailed from Bristol to New York, and travelled thence
to the extreme west of Upper Canada to visit a relative who had settled
there. On that occasion he was absent from Ireland nearly twelve months,
and during his stay in America he made some tours in Canada and the
Northern States, visiting the Falls, Toronto, Montreal, Philadelphia,
New York, Washington, Pittsburg, and Cleveland. In 1841 he made a brief
continental tour, and visited the chief points of attraction along the
Rhine. During this time Mr. Martin's political ideas became developed
and expanded, and though like Smith O'Brien, he at first withheld his
sympathies from the Repeal agitation, in a short time he became
impressed with the justice of the national demand for independence. His
retiring disposition kept him from appearing very prominently before the
public; but the value of his adhesion to the Repeal Association was felt
to be great by those who knew his uprightness, his disinterestedness,
and his ability.

When the suicidal policy of O'Connell drove the Confederates from
Conciliation Hall, John Martin was not a silent spectator of the crisis,
and in consequence of the manly sentiments he expressed with reference
to the treatment to which the Young Ireland party had been subjected, he
ceased to be a member of the Association. There was another cause too
for his secession. A standing taunt in the mouth of the English press
was that O'Connell pocketed the peoples' money and took care to let
nobody know what he did with it. To put an end to this reproach Mr.
Martin asked that the accounts of the Association should be published.
"Publish the accounts!" shrieked the well-paid gang that marred the
influence and traded in the politics of O'Connell: "Monstrous!" and they
silenced the troublesome purist by suppressing his letters and expelling
him from the Association. In the ranks of the Confederates, however,
Martin found more congenial society; amongst them he found men as
earnest, as sincere, and as single-minded as himself, and by them the
full worth of his character was soon appreciated. He frequently attended
their meetings, and he it was who filled the chair during the prolonged
debates that ended with the temporary withdrawal of Mitchel from the
Confederation. When the _United Irishman_ was started he became a
contributor to its columns, and he continued to write in its pages up to
the date of its suppression, and the conviction of its editor and

There were many noble and excellent qualities which the friends of John
Martin knew him to possess. Rectitude of principle, abhorrence of
injustice and intolerance, deep love of country, the purity and
earnestness of a saint, allied with the kindliness and inoffensiveness
of childhood; amiability and disinterestedness, together with a perfect
abnegation of self, and total freedom from the vanity which affected a
few of his compatriots--these they gave him credit for, but they were
totally unprepared for the lion-like courage, the boldness, and the
promptitude displayed by him, when the government, by the conviction of
Mitchel, flung down the gauntlet to the people of Ireland. Hastily
settling up his worldly accounts in the North, he returned to Dublin to
stake his fortune and his life in the cause which he had promised to
serve. The _United Irishman_ was gone, but Martin had undertaken that
its place in Irish Journalism should not be vacant; and a few weeks
after the office in Trinity-street was sacked he reoccupied the violated
and empty rooms, and issued there-from the first number of the _Irish
Felon_. There was no halting place in Irish Journalism then. The
_Nation_ had already flung peace and conciliation and "balmy
forgiveness" to the winds, and advocated the creed of the sword. The
scandalous means used to procure a verdict of guilty against Mitchel
tore to tatters the last rag of the constitution in Ireland. It was idle
to dictate observance of the law which the government themselves were
engaged in violating, and the _Nation_ was not the journal to brook the
tyranny of the authorities. With a spirit that cannot be too highly
praised, it called for the overthrow of the government that had sent
Mitchel in chains into banishment, and summoned the people of Ireland to
prepare to assert their rights by the only means now left them--the
bullet and the pike. And the eyes of men whose hearts were "weary
waiting for the fray," began to glisten as they read the burning words
of poetry and prose in which the _Nation_ preached the gospel of
liberty. It was to take its side by that journal, and to rival it in the
boldness of its language and the spirit of its arguments, that the
_Irish Felon_ was established; and it executed its mission well. "I do
not love political agitation for its own sake," exclaimed Martin, in
his opening address in the first number. "At best I regard it as a
necessary evil; and if I were not convinced that my countrymen are
determined on vindicating their rights, and that they really intend to
free themselves, I would at once withdraw from the struggle and leave my
native land for ever. I could not live in Ireland and derive my means of
life as a member of the Irish community, without feeling a citizen's
responsibilities in Irish public affairs. Those responsibilities involve
the guilt of national robbery and murder--of a system which arrays the
classes of our people against each other's prosperity and very lives,
like beasts of prey, or rather like famishing sailors on a wreck--of the
debasement and moral ruin of a people endowed by God with surpassing
resources for the attainment of human happiness and human dignity. I
cannot be loyal to a system of meanness, terror, and corruption,
although it usurp the title and assume the form of a 'government.' So
long as such a 'government' presumes to injure and insult me, and those
in whose prosperity I am involved, I must offer to it all the resistance
in my power. But if I despaired of successful resistance, I would
certainly remove myself from under such a 'government's' actual
authority; that I do not exile myself is a proof that I hope to witness
the overthrow, and assist in the overthrow, of the most abominable
tyranny the world now groans under--the British Imperial system. To gain
permission for the Irish people to care for their own lives, their own
happiness and dignity--to abolish the political conditions which compel
the classes of our people to hate and to murder each other, and which
compel the Irish people to hate the very name of the English--to end the
reign of fraud, perjury, corruption, and 'government' butchery, and to
make, law, order, and peace possible in Ireland, the _Irish Felon_ takes
its place amongst the combatants in the holy war now waging in this
island against foreign tyranny. In conducting it my weapons shall
be--_the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me
God_!" Such "open and avowed treason" as this could not long continue
to be published. Before the third number the _Felon_ saw the light, a
warrant for Mr. Martin's arrest was in the hands of the detectives, and
its fifth was its last. On Saturday, July 8th, Mr. Martin surrendered
himself into custody, having kept out of the way for a few days to
prevent his being tried, under the "gagging act," at the Commission
sitting when the warrant was issued, and which adjourned until
August--the time fixed for the insurrection--in the interim. On the same
day, Duffy, Williams, and O'Doherty were arrested. Martin was imprisoned
in Newgate, but he continued to write from within his cell for the
_Felon_, and its last number, published on July 22nd, contains a
spirited letter signed with his initials, which formed portion of the
indictment against him on his trial. In this letter, Martin calls on his
countrymen in impassioned words to "stand to their arms!" "Let them
menace you," he writes from his dungeon, "with the hulks or the gibbet
for daring to speak or write your love to Ireland. Let them threaten to
mow you down with grape shot, as they massacred your kindred with famine
and plague. Spurn their brutal 'Acts of Parliament'--trample upon their
lying proclamations--fear them not!"

On Tuesday, August 15th, John Martin's trial commenced in Green-street
court-house, the indictment being for treason-felony. "Several of his
tenantry," writes the Special Correspondent of the London _Morning
Herald,_ "came up to town to be present at his trial, and, as they
hoped, at his escape, for they could not bring themselves to believe
that a man so amiable, so gentle, and so pious, as they had long known
him, could be"--this is the Englishman's way of putting it--"an inciter
to bloodshed. It is really melancholy," added the writer, "to hear the
poor people of the neighbourhood of Loughorne speak of their benefactor.
He was ever ready to administer medicine and advice gratuitously to his
poor neighbours and all who sought his assistance; and according to the
reports I have received, he did an incalculable amount of good in his
way. As a landlord he was beloved by his tenantry for his kindness and
liberality, while from his suavity of manner and excellent qualities, he
was a great favourite with the gentry around him."

At eight o'clock, p.m., on Thursday, August 17th, the jury came into
court with a verdict of guilty against the prisoner, recommending him to
mercy on the grounds that the letter on which he was convicted was
written from the prison, and penned under exciting circumstances. On the
following day, Mr. Martin was brought up to receive sentence, and
asked--after the usual form--whether he had anything to say against the
sentence being pronounced? The papers of the time state that he appeared
perfectly unmoved by the painful position in which he was placed--that
he looked round the courthouse in a calm, composed, dignified manner,
and then spoke the following reply in clear unfaltering tones:--

   "My lords--I have no imputation to cast upon the bench, neither have
   I anything to charge the jury with, of unfairness towards me. I think
   the judges desired to do their duty honestly as upright judges and
   men; and that the twelve men who were put into the box, as I believe,
   not to try, but to convict me, voted honestly, according to their
   prejudices. I have no personal enmity against the sheriff,
   sub-sheriff, or any of the gentlemen connected with the arrangement
   of the jury-panel--nor against the Attorney-General, nor any other
   person engaged in the proceedings called my trial; _but, my lords, I
   consider that I have not been yet tried_. There have been certain
   formalities carried on here for three days regarding me, ending in a
   verdict of guilty: _but I have not been put upon my country_, as the
   constitution said to exist in Ireland requires. Twelve of my
   countrymen, 'indifferently chosen,' have not been put into that
   jury-box to try me, but twelve men who, I believe, have been selected
   by the parties who represent the crown, for the purpose of convicting
   and not of trying me. I believe they were put into that box because
   the parties conducting the prosecution knew their political
   sentiments were hostile to mine, and because the matter at issue here
   is a political question--a matter of opinion, and not a matter of
   fact. I have nothing more to say as to the trial, except to repeat
   that, having watched the conduct of the judges, I consider them
   upright and honest men. I have this to add, that as to the charge I
   make with respect to the constitution of the panel and the selection
   of the jury, I have no legal evidence of the truth of my statement,
   but there is no one who has a moral doubt of it. Every person knows
   that what I have stated is the fact; and I would represent to the
   judges, most respectfully, that they, as upright and honourable men
   and judges, and as citizens, ought to see that the administration of
   justice in this country is above suspicion. I have nothing more to
   say with regard to the trial; but I would be thankful to the court
   for permission to say a few words in vindication of my character and
   motives after sentence is passed."

   Baron Pennefather--"No; we will not hear anything from you after

   Chief Baron--"We cannot hear anything from you after sentence has
   been pronounced."

   Mr. Martin--"Then, my lords, permit me to say that, admitting the
   narrow and confined constitutional doctrines which I have heard
   preached in this court to be right, _I am not guilty of the charge
   according to this act_. I did not intend to devise or levy war
   against the Queen or to depose the Queen. In the article of mine on
   which the jury framed their verdict of guilty, which was written in
   prison, and published in the last number of my paper, what I desired
   to do was this--to advise and encourage my countrymen to keep their
   arms, because that is their inalienable right, which no act of
   parliament, no proclamation, can take away from them. It is, I
   repeat, their inalienable right. I advised them to keep their arms;
   and further, I advised them to use their arms in their own defence,
   against all assailants--even assailants that might come to attack
   them, unconstitutionally and improperly using the Queen's name as
   their sanction. My object in all my proceedings has been simply to
   assist in establishing the national independence of Ireland, for the
   benefit of all the people of Ireland--noblemen, clergymen, judges,
   professional men--in fact, all Irishmen. I have sought that object:
   first, because I thought it was our right--because I think national
   independence is the right of the people of this country; and
   secondly, I admit that, being a man who loved retirement, I never
   would have engaged in politics did I not think it was necessary to do
   all in my power to make an end of the horrible scenes that this
   country presents--the pauperism, starvation, and crime, and vice, and
   hatred of all classes against each other. I thought there should be
   an end to that horrible system, which, while it lasted, gave me no
   peace of mind; for I could not enjoy anything in my native country so
   long as I saw my countrymen forced to be vicious--forced to hate each
   other--and degraded to the level of paupers and brutes. That is the
   reason I engaged in politics. I acknowledge, as the Solicitor-General
   has said, that I was but a weak assailant of the English power. I am
   not a good writer, and I am no orator. I had only two weeks'
   experience in conducting a newspaper until I was put into jail; but I
   am satisfied to direct the attention of my countrymen to everything I
   have written and said, and to rest my character on a fair and candid
   examination of what I have put forward as my opinions. I shall say
   nothing in vindication of my motives but this--that every fair and
   honest man, no matter how prejudiced he may be, if he calmly
   considers what I have written and said, will be satisfied that my
   motives were pure and honourable. I have nothing more to say."

Then the judge proceeded to pass sentence. In the course of his remarks
he referred to the recommendation to mercy which came from the jury,
whereupon Mr. Martin broke in. "I beg your lordship's pardon," he said,
"I cannot condescend to accept 'mercy,' where I believe I have been
morally right; I want justice--not mercy." But he looked for it in vain.

"Transportation for ten years beyond the seas" is spoken by the lips of
the judge, and the burlesque of justice is at an end. Mr. Martin heard
the sentence with perfect composure and self-possession, though the
faces of his brothers and friends standing by, showe signs of the
deepest emotion. "Remove the prisoner," were the next words uttered, and
then John Martin, the pure-minded, the high-souled, and the good, was
borne off to the convict's cell in Newgate.

Amongst the friends who clustered round the dock in which the patriot
leader stood, and watched the progress of his trial with beating hearts,
was Mr. James Martin, one of the prisoner's brothers. During the three
long weary days occupied by the trial, his post had been by his
brother's side listening to the proceedings with the anxiety and
solicitude which a brother alone can feel, and revealing by every line
of his countenance the absorbing interest with which he regarded the
issue. The verdict of the jury fell upon him with the bewildering shock
of an avalanche. He was stunned, stupified, amazed; he could hardly
believe that he had heard the fatal words aright, and that "guilty" had
been the verdict returned. _He_ guilty! he whose life was studded by
good deeds as stars stud the wintry sky; _he_ guilty, whose kindly heart
had always a throb for the suffering and the unfortunate, whose hand was
ever extended to shield the oppressed, to succour the friendless, and to
shelter the homeless and the needy; _he_ "inspired by the devil," whose
career had been devoted to an attempt to redress the sufferings of his
fellow-countrymen, and whose sole object in life seemed to be to
abridge the sufferings of the Irish people, to plant the doctrines of
peace and good-will in every heart, and to make Ireland the home of
harmony and concord, by rendering her prosperous and free. It was a lie,
a calumny, a brutal fabrication! It was more than his sense of justice
could endure, it was more than his hot Northern blood could tolerate.
Beckoning a friend, he rushed with him into the street, and drove direct
to the residence of Mr. Waterhouse, the foreman of the jury. The latter
had barely returned from court, when he was waited upon by Mr. Martin,
who indignantly charged him with having bullied the jury into recording
a verdict of guilty--an accusation which current report made against
him--and challenged the astonished juryman to mortal combat. Mr.
Waterhouse was horror-struck by the proposal, to which he gasped out in
response, a threat to call in the police. He never heard of anything so
terribly audacious. He, a loyal Castle tradesman, who had "well and
truly" tried the case according to the recognised acceptance of the
words, and who had "true deliverance made" after the fashion in favour
with the crown; he whose "perspicuity, wisdom, impartiality," &c., had
been appealed to and belauded so often by the Attorney-General, to be
challenged to a hostile meeting, which might end, by leaving a bullet
lodged in his invaluable body. The bare idea of it fairly took his
breath away, and with the terrible vision of pistols and bloodshed
before his mind, he rushed to the police office and had his indignant
visitor arrested. On entering the Green-street courthouse next day, Mr.
Waterhouse told his woeful story to the judge. The judge was appalled by
the disclosure; Mr. Martin was brought before him and sentenced to a
month's imprisonment, besides being bound over to keep the peace towards
Mr. Waterhouse and everyone else for a period of seven years.

A short time after Mr. John Martin's conviction, he and Kevin Izod
O'Doherty were shipped off to Van Diemen's Land on board the
"Elphinstone," where they arrived in the month of November, 1849.
O'Brien, Meagher, MacManus, and O'Donoghue had arrived at the same
destination a few days before. Mr. Martin resided in the district
assigned to him until the year 1854, when a pardon, on the condition of
their not returning to Ireland or Great Britain was granted to himself,
O'Brien, and O'Doherty, the only political prisoners in the country at
that time--MacManus, Meagher, O'Donoghue, and Mitchel having previously
escaped. Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Martin sailed together in the "Norna" from
Melbourne for Ceylon, at which port they parted, Mr. O'Brien turning
northward to Madras, while Mr. Martin came on _via_ Aden, Cairo,
Alexandria, Malta, and Marseilles to Paris, where he arrived about the
end of October, 1854. In June, 1856, the government made the pardon of
Messrs. Martin, O'Brien, and O'Doherty, unconditional, and Mr. Martin
then hastened to pay a visit to his family from whom he had been
separated during eight years. After a stay of a few months he went back
to Paris, intending to reside abroad during the remainder of his life,
because he could not voluntarily live under English rule in Ireland. But
the death of a near and dear member of his family, in October, 1858,
imposed on him duties which he could only discharge by residence in his
own home, and compelled him to terminate his exile. Living since then in
his own land he has taken care to renew and continue his protest against
the domination of England in Ireland. In January, 1864, acting on the
suggestion of many well-known nationalists, he established in Dublin a
Repeal Association called "The National League." The peculiar condition
of Irish politics at the time was unfavourable to any large extension of
the society; but notwithstanding this circumstance the League by its
meetings and its publications rendered good service to the cause of
Irish freedom. Mr. Martin has seen many who once were loud and earnest
in their professions of patriotism lose heart and grow cold in the
service of their country, but he does not weary of the good work.
Patiently and zealously he still continues to labour in the national
cause; his mission is not ended yet; and with a constancy which lapse of
years and change of scene have not affected, he still clings to the
hope of Ireland's regeneration, and with voice and pen supports the
principles of patriotism for which he suffered. The debt that Ireland
owes to him will not easily be acquitted, and if the bulk of his
co-religionists are no longer to be found within the national camp, we
can almost forgive them their shortcomings, when we remember that,
within our own generation, the Presbyterians of Ulster have given to
Ireland two such men as John Martin and John Mitchel.

Mr. Martin's name will re-appear farther on in another portion of this
work, for the occasion of which we have here treated was not the only
one on which his patriotic words and actions brought upon him the
attention of "the authorities," and subjected him to the troubles of a
state prosecution.

       *       *       *       *       *


Loudly across the dark flowing tide of the Liffey, rolled the cheers of
welcome and rejoicing that burst from Conciliation Hall on that
memorable day in January, '44, when William Smith O'Brien first stood
beneath its roof, and presided over a meeting of Repealers. Many a time
had the walls of that historic building given back the cheers of the
thousands who gathered there to revel in the promises of the Liberator;
many a time had they vibrated to the enthusiasm of the Irishmen who met
there to celebrate the progress of the movement which was to give
freedom and prosperity to Ireland; but not even in those days of monster
meetings and popular demonstrations had a warmer glow of satisfaction
flushed the face of O'Connell, than when the descendant of the Munster
Kings took his place amongst the Dublin Repealers. "I find it
impossible," exclaimed the great Tribune, "to give adequate expression
to the delight with which I hail Mr. O'Brien's presence in the
Association. He now occupies his natural position--the position which
centuries ago was occupied by his ancestor, Brian Boru. Whatever may
become of _me_, it is a consolation to remember that Ireland will not be
without a friend such as William Smith O'Brien, who combining all the
modern endowments of a highly-cultured mind, with intellectual gifts of
the highest order, nervous eloquence, untiring energy, fervid love of
country, and every other high qualification of a popular leader, is now
where his friends would ever wish to see him--at the head of the Irish
people." Six weeks before, a banquet had been given in Limerick to
celebrate O'Brien's adhesion to the national cause, and on this
occasion, too, O'Connell bore generous testimony to the value and
importance of his accession. "His presence," said the Emancipator, in
proposing Mr. O'Brien's health, "cannot prevent me here from expressing
on behalf of the universal people of Ireland, their admiration and
delight at his conversion to their cause. Receive the benefactor of
Ireland, as such a benefactor should be received. It is certain that our
country will never be deserted as long as she has William Smith O'Brien
as one of her leaders."


There was much to account for the tumult of rejoicing which hailed Smith
O'Brien's entry within the ranks of the popular party. His lineage, his
position, his influence, his stainless character, his abilities, and his
worth, combined to fit him for the place which O'Connell assigned him,
and to rally round him the affection and allegiance of the Irish people.
No monarch in the world could trace his descent from a longer line of
illustrious men; beside the roll of ancestry to which he could point,
the oldest of European dynasties were things of a day. When the towering
Pyramids that overlook the Nile were still new; before the Homeric
ballads had yet been chanted in the streets of an Eastern city; before
the foundations of the Parthenon were laid on the Acropolis; before the
wandering sons of Æneas found a home in the valley of the Tiber, the
chieftains of his house enjoyed the conqueror's fame, and his ancestors
swayed the sceptre of Erie. Nor was he unworthy of the name and the fame
of the O'Briens of Kincora. Clear sighted and discerning; deeply endowed
with calm sagacity and penetrating observance; pure minded, eloquent,
talented and chivalrous; he comprised within his nature the truest
elements of the patriot, the scholar, and the statesman. Unfaltering
attachment to the principles of justice, unswerving obedience to the
dictates of honour, unalterable loyalty to rectitude and duty; these
were the characteristics that distinguished him; and these were the
qualities that cast their redeeming light round his failings and his
errors, and wrung from the bitterest of his foes the tribute due to
suffering worth. If nobility of soul, if earnestness of heart and
singleness of purpose, if unflinching and self-sacrificing patriotism,
allied to zeal, courage, and ability, could have redeemed the Irish
cause, it would not be left to us to mourn for it to-day; and instead of
the melancholy story we have now to relate, it might he given to us to
chronicle the regeneration of the Irish nation.

William Smith O'Brien was born, at Dromoland, County Clare, on the 17th
of October, 1803. He was the second son of Sir Edward O'Brien, and on
the death of his kinsman, the last Marquis of Thomond, his eldest
brother became Baron of Inchiquin. He was educated at Harrow and Trinity
College, Cambridge; but his English education, however much it might
have coloured his views during boyhood, did not seriously affect his
innate love of justice, or warp the patriotic feelings which were
developed in his earliest years. The associations into which he was
cast, the tone of the society in which he moved, the politics of his
family, and the modern traditions of his house, combined to throw him
into the ranks of the people's enemies; and that these influences were
not altogether barren of results is proved by the fact that O'Brien
entered Parliament in 1826 as an Anti-Repealer, and exerted himself to
prevent the return of O'Connell at the memorable election for Clare. But
O'Brien was no factious opponent of the national interests; even while
he acted thus, he had the welfare of his country sincerely at heart; he
steered according to his lights, and when time and experience showed the
falseness of his views, he did not hesitate to renounce them. To this
period of his political career Mr. O'Brien often adverted in after life,
with the frankness and candour that distinguished him. "When the
proposal to seek for a Repeal of the Act of Union was first seriously
entertained," said O'Brien, "I used all the influence I possessed to
discountenance the attempt. I did not consider that the circumstances
and prospects of Ireland then justified the agitation of this question.
Catholic Emancipation had been recently achieved, and I sincerely
believed that from that epoch a new course of policy would be adopted
towards Ireland. I persuaded myself that thenceforth the statesmen of
Great Britain would spare no effort to repair the evils produced by
centuries of misgovernment--that the Catholic and Protestant would be
admitted to share on equal terms in all the advantages resulting from
our constitutional form of government--that all traces of an ascendancy
of race or creed would be effaced--that the institutions of Ireland
would be gradually moulded so as to harmonise with the opinions of its
inhabitants, and that in regard of political rights, legislation for
both kingdoms would be based upon the principle of perfect equality."

Fourteen years had elapsed from the date of Catholic Emancipation, when
O'Brien startled the aristocrats of Ireland by renouncing his allegiance
to their party, and throwing himself heart and soul into the vanguard of
the people. He told his reasons for the change in bold convincing words.
He had seen that his expectations of justice were false and delusive.
"The feelings of the Irish nation," he said, "have been exasperated by
every species of irritation and insult; every proposal tending to
develop the sources of our industry--to raise the character and improve
the condition of our population, has been discountenanced, distorted, or
rejected. Ireland, instead of taking its place as an integral portion of
the great empire, which the valour of her sons has contributed to win,
has been treated as a dependent tributary province; and at this moment,
after forty-three years of nominal union, the affections of the two
nations are so entirely alienated from each other, that England trusts
for the maintenance of their connection, not to the attachment of the
Irish people, but to the bayonets which menace our bosoms, and the
cannon which she has planted in all our strongholds."

The prospects of the Repeal movement were not at their brightest when
O'Brien entered Conciliation Hall. In England, and in Ireland too, the
influence of O'Connell was on the wane, and with the dispersion of the
multitudes that flocked on that Sunday morning in October, 1843, to
listen to the Liberator on the plains of Clontarf, the peaceful policy
which he advocated received its death blow. Over O'Connell himself, and
some of the most outspoken of his associates, a State prosecution was
impending; and the arm of the government was already stretched out to
crush the agitation whose object they detested, and whose strength they
had begun to fear. The accession of O'Brien, however, the prestige of
his name, and the influence of his example, was expected to do much
towards reviving the drooping fortunes of the Association. Nor was the
anticipation illusory. From the day on which O'Brien became a Repealer,
down to the date of the secession, the strongest prop of the
Conciliation Hall was his presence and support; he failed indeed to
counteract the corrupt influences that gnawed at the vitals of the
Association and ultimately destroyed it; but while he remained within
its ranks, the redeeming influence of his genius, his patriotism, and
his worth, preserved it from the extinction towards which it was

At an early date the penetrating mind of O'Brien detected the existence
of the evil which was afterwards to transform Conciliation Hall into a
market for place hunters. "I apprehend," said he, in a remarkable speech
delivered in January, '46, "more danger to Repeal from the subtle
influence of a Whig administration, than from the coercive measures of
the Tories." And he was right. Day by day, the subtle influence which he
dreaded did its blighting work; and the success of those who sought the
destruction of the Repeal Association through the machinery of bribes
and places was already apparent, when on the 27th of July, 1846,
O'Brien, accompanied by Mitchel, Meagher, Duffy, and others arose in
sorrow and indignation, and quitted the Conciliation Hall for ever.

Six months later the Irish Confederation held its first meeting in the
Round Room of the Rotundo. Meagher, Mitchel, Doheny, O'Brien, O'Gorman,
Martin, and McGee were amongst the speakers; and amidst the ringing
cheers of the densely thronged meeting, the establishment was decreed of
the Irish Confederation, for the purpose--as the resolution
declared--"of protecting our national interests, and obtaining the
Legislative Independence of Ireland by the force of opinion, by the
combination of all classes of Irishmen, and by the exercise of all the
political, social, and moral influence within our reach." It will be
seen that the means by which the Confederates proposed to gain their
object, did not differ materially from the programme of the Repeal
Association. But there was this distinction. Against place-hunting, and
everything savouring of trafficking with the government, the
Confederates resolutely set their faces; and in the next place, while
prescribing to themselves nothing but peaceful and legal means for the
accomplishment of their object, they scouted the ridiculous doctrine,
that "liberty was not worth the shedding of a single drop of blood," and
that circumstances might arise under which resort to the arbitration of
the sword would be righteous and justifiable. In time, however, the
Confederates took up a bolder and more dangerous position. As early as
May, 1846, Lord John Russell spoke of the men who wrote in the pages of
the _Nation_, and who subsequently became the leaders of the
Confederation, "as a party looking to disturbance as its means, and
having separation from England as its object." The description was false
at the time, but before two years had elapsed its application became
more accurate. A few men there were like Mitchel, who from the birth of
the Confederation, and perhaps before it, abandoned all expectation of
redress through the medium of Constitutional agitation; but it was not
until the flames of revolution had wrapped the nations of the Continent
in their fiery folds--until the barricades were up in every capital from
Madrid to Vienna--and until the students' song of freedom was mingled
with the paean of victory on many a field of death--that the hearts of
the Irish Confederates caught the flame, and that revolution, and
revolution alone, became the goal of their endeavours. When Mitchel
withdrew from the Confederation in March, 1848, the principles of
constitutional action were still in the ascendancy; when he rejoined it
a month later, the cry "to the registries," was superseded by fiery
appeals summoning the people to arms. In the first week of April, the
doctrine which John Mitchel had long been propounding, found expression
in the leading columns of the _Nation_:--"Ireland's necessity," said
Duffy, "demands the desperate remedy of revolution." A few weeks later,
the same declaration was made in the very citadel of the enemy's power.
It was O'Brien who spoke, and his audience was the British House of
Commons. With Messrs. Meagher and Hollywood, he had visited Paris to
present an address of congratulation on behalf of the Irish people to
the Republican government; and on taking his seat in the House of
Commons after his return, he found himself charged by the Ministers of
the Crown, with having gone to solicit armed intervention from France on
behalf of the disaffected people of Ireland. O'Brien replied in a speech
such as never was heard before or since within the walls of the House of
Commons. In the midst of indescribable excitement and consternation, he
proceeded to declare in calm deliberative accents--"that if he was to be
arraigned as a criminal, he would gladly endure the most ignominious
death that could be inflicted on him rather than witness the sufferings
and indignities he had seen inflicted by the British legislature on his
countrymen. If it is treason," he exclaimed, "to profess disloyalty to
this House and to the government of Ireland, by the parliament of Great
Britain--if that be treason, I avow it. Nay, more, I say it shall be the
study of my life to overthrow the dominion of this Parliament over
Ireland." The yells and shouts with which these announcements were
received shook the building in which he stood, and obliged him to remain
silent for several moments after the delivery of each sentence; but when
the uproar began to subside, the ringing tones of O'Brien rose again
upon the air, and with the stoicism of a martyr, and the imperturable
courage of a hero, he proceeded. "Irish Freedom," he said, "must be won
by Irish courage. Every statesman in the civilized globe looks upon
Ireland as you look upon Poland, and upon your connection as entirely
analogous to that of Russia with Poland. I am here to-night to tell you,
that if you refuse our claims to legislative independence, you will have
to encounter during the present year, the chance of a Republic in

O'Brien returned to Ireland more endeared than ever to the hearts of
his countrymen. And now the game was fairly afoot. Government and people
viewed each other with steady and defiant glare, and girded up their
loins for the struggle. On the one side the Confederate clubs were
organized with earnestness and vigour, and the spirit of the people
awakened by a succession of stirring and glowing appeals. "What if we
fail?" asked the _Nation_; and it answered the question by declaring
unsuccessful resistance under the circumstances preferable to a
degrading submission. "What if we _don't_ fail?" was its next inquiry,
and the answer was well calculated to arouse the patriots of Ireland to
action. On the other hand the authorities were not idle. Arm's Bills,
Coercion Acts, and prosecutions followed each other in quick succession.
Mitchel was arrested, convicted, and sent to Bermuda. Duffy, Martin,
Meagher, Doheny, O'Doherty, and M'Gee were arrested--all of whom, except
Duffy and Martin, were shortly afterwards liberated. Duffy's trial was
fixed for August, and this was the time appointed by the Confederates
for the outbreak of the insurrection. There were some who advocated a
more prompt mode of action. At a meeting of the Confederates held on
July 19th, after the greater portion of the country had been proclaimed,
it was warmly debated whether an immediate appeal to arms should not be
counselled. O'Brien and Dillon advocated delay; the harvest had not yet
been reaped in; the clubs were not sufficiently organized throughout the
country, and the people might easily conceal their arms until the hour
arrived for striking a decisive blow. Against this policy a few of the
more impetuous members protested. "You will wait," exclaimed Joe
Brennan, "until you get arms from heaven, and angels to pull the
triggers." But his advice was disregarded; and the meeting broke up with
the understanding that with the first glance of the harvest sun, the
fires of insurrection were to blaze upon the hill tops of Ireland, and
that meanwhile organization and preparation were to engross
the attention of the leaders. On Friday, July 21st, a war
directory--consisting of Dillon, Reilly, O'Gorman, Meagher, and Father
Kenyon was appointed; and on the following morning O'Gorman started for
Limerick, Doheny for Cashel, and O'Brien for Wexford, to prepare the
people for the outbreak.

It was war to the knife, and every one knew it. The forces of the
government in Ireland were hourly increased in Dublin--every available
and commanding position was occupied and fortified. "In the Bank of
Ireland," says one who watched the progress of affairs with attentive
gaze, "soldiers as well as cashiers were ready to settle up accounts.
The young artists of the Royal Hibernian Academy and Royal Dublin
Society had to quit their easels to make way for the garrison. The
squares of old Trinity College resounded with the tramp of daily
reviews; the Custom House at last received some occupation by being
turned into a camp. The Linen Hall, the Rotundo, Holmes' Hotel,
Alborough House, Dycer's Stables, in Stephen's-green--every institution,
literary, artistic, and commercial, was confiscated to powder and
pipe-clay. The barracks were provisioned as if for a siege; cavalry
horses were shod with plates of steel, to prevent their being injured
and thrown into disorder by broken bottles, iron spikes, or the like;
and the infantry were occupied in familiarizing themselves with the art
of fusilading footpaths and thoroughfares. Arms were taken from the
people, and the houses of loyal families stocked with the implements of

But the national leaders had calculated on the preparations of the
government; they knew the full measure of its military power, and were
not afraid to face it; but there was one blow which they had not
foreseen, and which came on them with the shock of a thunderbolt. On the
very morning that O'Brien left for Wexford, the news reached Dublin that
a warrant had been issued for his arrest, and that the suspension of the
_Habeas Corpus_ Act was resolved on by the government. "It appears
strangely unaccountable to me," was Meagher's reflection in after years,
"that whilst a consideration of our position, our project, and our
resources was taking place; whilst the stormy future on which we were
entering formed the subject of the most anxious conjecture, and the
danger of it fell like wintry shadows around us; it seems strangely
unaccountable to me that not an eye was turned to the facilities for the
counteraction of our designs which the government had at their disposal;
that not a word was uttered in anticipation of that bold astounding
measure--the suspension of the _Habeas Corpus_ Act--the announcement of
which broke upon us so suddenly. The overlooking of it was a fatal
inadvertance. Owing to it we were routed without a struggle, and were
led into captivity without glory. We suffer not for a rebellion, but a

The few of the Confederate leaders at large in Dublin at the
time--Duffy, Martin, Williams, and O'Doherty were in Newgate--held a
hurried council, and their plans were speedily formed. They were to join
Smith O'Brien at once, and commence the insurrection in Kilkenny. On the
night of Saturday, July 22nd, M'Gee left for Scotland to prepare the
Irishmen of Glasgow for action; and Meagher, Dillon, Reilly, M'Manus,
O'Donoghue, and Leyne started southwards to place themselves in
communication with O'Brien. A week later the last of the national papers
was suppressed, and the _Nation_ went down, sword in hand as a warrior
might fall, with the words of defiance upon its lips, and a prayer for
the good old cause floating upwards with its latest breath.

O'Brien was in bed, when Meagher and Dillon arrived at Balinkeele where
he was stopping. The news of the suspension of the _Habeas Corpus_ Act,
and of the plans formed by the Confederates were speedily communicated
to him. O'Brien manifested no surprise at the intelligence. He quietly
remarked that the time for action had arrived; and that every Irishman
was now justified in taking up arms against the government; dressed
himself, and set out without losing an hour to inaugurate his hazardous
enterprise at Enniscorthy. As the train drove along, the three friends
occupied themselves with the important question where should they begin
the outbreak. Wexford was mentioned, but the number of Confederates
enrolled there were few, and the people were totally unprepared for a
sudden appeal to arms; New Ross and Waterford were ruled against,
because of the effectual assistance the gunboats stationed in the river
could render the garrison of those towns. Against Kilkenny none of those
objections applied; and the more they discussed the subject the more
convinced did they become that the most fitting cradle for the infant
genius of Irish liberty was the ancient "city of the Confederates."
"Perfectly safe from all war steamers, gunboats, and floating batteries;
standing on the frontiers of the three best fighting counties in
Ireland--Waterford, Wexford, and Tipperary--the peasantry of which could
find no difficulty in pouring to its relief; possessing from three to
five thousand Confederates, most of whom were understood to be armed;
the most of the streets being narrow, and presenting on this account the
greatest facilities for the erection of barricades; the barracks lying
outside the town, and the line of communication between the powerful
portions of the latter and the former being intercepted by the old
bridge over the Nore, which might be easily defended, or, at the most,
very speedily demolished; no place," says Meagher, "appeared to us to be
better adapted for the first scene of the revolution."

Towards Kilkenny they therefore took their way, haranguing the people in
soul-stirring addresses as they proceeded. At Enniscorthy and at
Graigue-na-mana their appeals were responded to with fervent enthusiasm;
they called on the people to form themselves into organized bodies, and
prepare to co-operate with the insurgents who were shortly to unfurl
their banner beneath the shadow of St. Canice's; and the crowds who hung
on their words vowed their determination to do so. But in Kilkenny, as
in every town they visited, the patriot leaders found the greatest
disinclination to take the initiative in the holy war. There as
elsewhere the people felt no unwillingness to fight; but they knew they
were ill prepared for such an emergency, and fancied the first blow
might be struck more effectively elsewhere. "Who will draw the first
blood?" asked Finton Lalor in the last number of the _Felon_; and the
question was a pertinent one; there was a decided reluctance to draw it.
It is far from our intention to cast the slightest reflection on the
spirit or courage of the nationalists of 1848. We know that it was no
selfish regard for their own safety made the leaders in Wexford,
Kilkenny, and elsewhere, shrink from counselling an immediate outbreak
in their localities; the people, as well as the men who led them, looked
forward to the rising of the harvest moon, and the cutting of their
crops, as the precursors of the herald that was to summon them to aims.
Their state of organization was lamentably deficient; anticipating a
month of quiet preparation, they had neglected to procure arms up to the
date of O'Brien's arrival, and a few weeks would at least be required to
complete their arrangements. In Kilkenny, for instance, not one in every
eight of the clubmen possessed a musket, and even their supply of pikes
was miserably small. But they were ready to do all that in them lay; and
when O'Brien, Dillon, and Meagher quitted Kilkenny on Monday, July 24th,
they went in pursuance of an arrangement which was to bring them back to
the city of the Nore before the lapse of a week. They were to drive into
Tipperary, visit Carrick, Clonmel, and Cashel, and summon the people of
those towns to arms. Then, after the lapse of a few days, they were to
return at the head of their followers to Kilkenny, call out the clubs,
barricade the streets, and from the Council Chambers of the Corporation
issue the first Revolutionary Edict to the country. They hoped that a
week later the signal fires of insurrection would be blazing from every
hill-top in Ireland; and that the sunlight of freedom, for which so many
generations of patriots had yearned, would soon flood glebe and town,
the heather-clad mountains, and pleasant vales of Innisfail. _Diis
aliter visum_; the vision that glittered before their longing eyes
melted away with the smoke of the first insurgent shot; and instead of
the laurel of the conqueror they were decked with the martyr's palm.

On arriving in Callan the travellers were received with every
demonstration of sympathy and welcome. The streets were blocked with
masses of men that congregated to listen to their words. A large
procession, headed by the temperance band, escorted them through the
town, and a bonfire was lit in the centre of the main street. They told
the people to provide themselves at once with arms, as in a few days
they would be asked to march with the insurgent forces on Kilkenny--an
announcement that was received with deafening applause. After a few
hours' delay the three compatriots quitted Callan, and pursued their
road to Carrick-on-Suir, where they arrived on the some evening and
received a most enthusiastic reception. They addressed the excited
multitude in impassioned words, promised to lead them to battle before
many days, and called on them to practice patience and prudence in the
interval. On the following day they quitted Carrick, and took their way
to Mullinahone, where the people gathered in thousands to receive them.
The number of men who assembled to meet them was between three and four
thousand, of whom about three hundred were armed with guns, pistols, old
swords, and pitchforks. The gathering was reviewed and drilled by the
Confederates; and O'Brien, who wore a plaid scarf across his shoulders,
and carried a pistol in his breast pocket, told them that Ireland would
have a government of her own before many weeks.

On the evening of Tuesday, July 25th, the Confederate leaders arrived in
Mullinahone, where they slept. On the following morning they addressed
the people, who flocked into the town on hearing of their arrival. And
here it was that O'Brien himself dealt the death blow of the movement.
The peasantry, who came from their distant homes to meet him, were left
the whole day long without food or shelter. O'Brien himself gave what
money he had to buy them bread; but he told them in future they should
provide for themselves, as he could allow no one's property to be
interfered with. Hungry and exhausted, the men who listened to him
returned at night to their homes; they were sensible enough to perceive
that insurrection within the lines laid down by their leaders was
impossible; the news that they were expected to fight on empty stomachs
was spread amongst the people, and from that day forward the number of
O'Brien's followers dwindled away.

On July 26th, O'Brien and his party first visited the village of
Ballingarry, where he was joined by M'Manus, Doheny, Devin Reilly, and
other prominent members of the Confederation. They took a survey of the
village and its neighbourhood; addressed the crowd from the piers of the
chapel gate, and slept in the house of one of the village shopkeepers.
Next day they returned to Mullinahone and thence to Killenaule, where
they were received with every demonstration of welcome and rejoicing.
Bouquets fell in showers upon O'Brien; addresses were read, and the
fullest and warmest co-operation was freely promised by the excited
crowds that congregated in the streets.

The exact position which the Confederates had now assumed towards the
Crown and government, is deserving of a moment's attention. Up to the
last they carefully distinguished between resisting the acts of the
government and disputing the sovereignty of the queen. They regarded the
suspension of the _Habeas Corpus_ Act as unconstitutional in itself; and
when O'Brien told her Majesty's Ministers in the House of Commons, that
it was they who were the traitors to the country, the Queen, and the
Constitution, he did but express the opinions that underlay the whole
policy of the Confederation. Even the passing of the _Habeas Corpus_
Suspension Act was not quite sufficient to exhaust their patience; in
order to fill the measure of the government's transgressions and justify
a resort to arms against them, it was necessary in the opinion of
O'Brien and his associates, that the authorities should attempt to carry
into operation the iniquitious law they had passed; the arrest of
O'Brien was to be the signal for insurrection; meanwhile, they were
satisfied with organizing their forces for the fray, and preparing for
offering an effective resistance to the execution of the warrant,
whenever it should make its appearance. It was therefore that when at
Killenaule, a small party of dragoons rode up to the town they were
suffered to proceed unmolested; at the first notice of their coming, the
people rushed to the streets and hastily threw up a barricade to
intercept them. Dillon commanded at the barricade; beside him stood
Patrick O'Donoghue, and a young man whose career as a revolutionist, was
destined to extend far beyond the scenes in which he was then sharing;
and whose name was one day to become first a terror to the government of
England, and afterwards a by-word and a reproach amongst his countrymen.
O'Donoghue and Stephens were both armed, and when the officer commanding
the dragoons rode up to the barricade and demanded a passage, Stephens
promptly covered him with his rifle, when his attention was arrested by
a command from Dillon to ground his arms. The officer pledged his honour
that he did not come with the object of arresting O'Brien; the barricade
was taken down; and the dragoons passed scatheless through the town.
Another opportunity had been lost, and the hearts of the most resolute
of O'Brien's colleagues sunk lower than ever.

On Friday, O'Brien and his followers returned to Ballingarry, where they
held a council on the prospects of the movement. It was clear that the
case was a desperate one, that the chance of successful resistance was
inevitably lost, and that nothing now awaited them--should they persist
in their enterprise--but ruin and death. Only a couple of hundred men,
wretchedly armed or not armed at all, adhered to their failing fortunes;
and throughout the rest of the country the disaffected gave no sign. But
O'Brien was unmovable; he would do his duty by his country, let the
country answer for its duty towards him.

The collision came at last. On Saturday morning, July 29th, the
constabulary of Thurles, Kilkenny, Cashel, and Callan received orders to
march on the village of Ballingarry, for the purpose of arresting Smith
O'Brien. On the previous day the government had issued a proclamation,
declaring him guilty of treasonable practices, by appearing in arms
against the Queen, and offering a reward of £500 for his apprehension;
on the same day, £300 was offered for the arrest of Meagher, Dillon,
and Doheny. Fired with the ambition of capturing the rebel party with
his own forces, and winning for himself a deathless fame, Sub-Inspector
Trant marched out in hot haste from Callan, at the head of forty-six
policemen, and directed his steps towards Ballingarry, where it was
known to him that O'Brien was still stopping. Between twelve and one
o'clock they arrived at Farrenrory, within three miles of the village of
Ballingary. On arriving at this point the police found that effective
measures had been adopted to dispute their further progress. Across the
road before them a barricade had been thrown up, and behind it was
arrayed a body of men, numbering from three to four hundred. Fearing to
face the insurgent forces, the police turned off to the right, and
rushed towards a slate house which they saw in the distance. The people
saw the object of the movement, and at once gave chase; but the police
had the advantage of a long start, and they succeeded in reaching the
house and barring the door by which they entered, before their pursuers
came up.

The die was cast, and the struggle so long watched for, and sighed for,
had come at last. But it came not as it had been depicted by the tribune
and poet; the vision that had flashed its radiancy before the eager eyes
that hungered for the redemption of Ireland, differed sadly from the
miserable reality. The serried ranks of glittering steel, the files of
gallant pikemen, the armed columns of stalwart peasants, pouring through
gap and river course, the glimmering camp fires quivering through the
mist, the waving banners, and the flashing swords--where were they now?
Where were the thousands of matchless mould, the men of strength and
spirit, whose footfalls woke the echoes one month before in a hundred
towns as they marched to the meetings at which they swore to strike down
the oppressor? Only a few months had passed since two thousand
determined men had passed in review before O'Brien at Cork; scarcely six
weeks since, similar sights were witnessed from the city of the Shannon
to the winding reaches of the Boyne. Everywhere there were strength,
and numbers, and resolution; where were they now in the supreme hour of
the country's agony? A thousand times it had been sworn by tens of
thousands of Irishmen, that the tocsin of battle would find them
clustered round the good old flag to conquer or die beneath its shadow.
And now, the hour had come, the flag of insurrection so often invoked
was raised; but the patriot that raised it was left defenceless: _he_ at
least kept his word, but the promises on which he relied had broken like
dissolving ice beneath his feet.

Around O'Brien there clustered on that miserable noontide, about four
hundred human beings--a weak, hungry, and emaciated looking throng for
the most part; their half naked forms, browned by the sun, and hardened
by the winter winds--a motley gathering; amongst whom there were scores
of fasting men, and hundreds through whose wretched dwellings the, wind
and rain found free ingress. They were poor, they were weak, they were
ignorant, they were unarmed! but there was one, thing at least which
they possessed--that quality which Heaven bestowed on the Irish race, to
gild and redeem their misfortunes. Of courage and resolution they had
plenty: they understood little of the causes which led to the outbreak
in which they participated; of Smith O'Brien or his associates few of
them had heard up to their appearance at Ballingarry; but they knew that
it was against the forces of the British government and on behalf of
Ireland's independence they were called on to fight, and in this cause
they were ready to shed their blood. Such was the party whom O'Brien
gazed upon with a troubled mind on that eventful day. Even the attached
companions who had so far attended him were no longer by his side;
M'Manus, O'Donoghue, and Stephens were still there; but Meagher, Dillon,
Doheny and O'Gorman had left at break of day to raise the standard of
insurrection in other quarters. Of the men around him not more than
twenty possessed firearms, about twice that number were armed with pikes
and pitchforks; the remainder had but their naked hands and the stones
they could gather by the wayside.

On the other side were forty-seven disciplined men splendidly armed,
and ensconced moreover in a building possessing for the purpose of the
hour the strength of a fortress. It stood on the brow of a hill
overlooking the country in every direction; it consisted of two storeys
with four windows in each, in front and rere; each gable being also
pierced by a pair of windows. There were six little children in the
house when the police entered it. Their mother, the Widow M'Cormick
arrived on the spot immediately after the police had taken possession of
her domicile, and addressing O'Brien she besought him to save her little
ones from danger. On O'Brien's chivalrous nature the appeal was not
wasted. Heedless of the danger to which he exposed himself he walked up
to the window of the house. Standing at the open window with his breast
within an inch of the bayonets of the two policemen who were on the
inside, he called on them to give up their arms, and avoid a useless
effusion of blood. "We are all Irishmen, boys" he said, "I only want
your arms and I'll protect your lives." The reply was a murderous volley
poured on the gathering outside. Some half drunken person in the crowd
it appears had flung a stone at one of the windows, and the police
needed no further provocation. The fire was returned by the insurgents,
and O'Brien seeing that his efforts to preserve peace were futile,
quitted the window and rejoined his companions. For nearly two hours the
firing continued; the police well sheltered from the possibility of
injury fired in all about 220 rounds, killing two men and wounding a
number of others, amongst them James Stephens who was shot in the thigh.
Long before an equal number of shots were fired from without, the
ammunition of the insurgents was exhausted, and they could only reply to
the thick falling bullets with the stones which the women present
gathered for them in their aprons. It was clear that the house could not
be stormed in this way; and M'Manus, with half-a-dozen resolute
companions, rolled a cartload of hay up to the kitchen door with the
intention of setting fire to it and burning down the house. But O'Brien
would not permit it; there were children in the house, and their
innocent lives should not be sacrificed. In vain did M'Manus entreat him
for permission to fire his pistol into the hay and kindle the ready
flames, O'Brien was inexorable; and the first and last battle of the
insurrection was lost and won. The Rev. Mr. Fitzgerald, the priest of
the parish, and his curate, Father Maher now appeared on the spot, and
naturally used their influence to terminate the hopeless struggle, a
large force of constabulary from Cashel soon after were seen
approaching, and the people, who now saw the absolute uselessness of
further resistance broke away to the hills. The game was up; the banner
of Irish independence had again sunk to the dust; and O'Brien, who had
acted throughout with preternatural coolness, and whose face gave no
more indications of emotion than if it had been chiseled in marble,
turned from the scene with a broken heart. For a length of time he
resisted the entreaties of his friends and refused to leave the spot; at
last their solicitations prevailed, and mounting a horse taken from one
of the police he rode away.

From that fatal day down to the night of Saturday, August 5th, the
police sought vainly for O'Brien. He slept in the peasant's hut on the
mountain and he shared his scanty fare; a price which might well dazzle
the senses of his poverty-stricken entertainers was on his head, and
they knew it; over hill-side and valley swarmed the host of spies,
detectives, and policemen placed on his track; but no hand was raised to
clutch the tempting bribe, no voice whispered the information for which
the government preferred its gold. Amongst those too who took part in
the affray at Ballingarry, and who subsequently were cast in shoals into
prison, there were many from whom the government sought to extract
information. Bribes and promises of pardon were held up before their
eyes, menaces were freely resorted to, but amongst them the government
sought vainly for an informer. Many, of them died in captivity or in
exile; their homes were broken up; their wives and children left
destitute and friendless; but the words that would give them liberty
and wealth, and terminate the sufferings of themselves and their
families were never spoken. Had O'Brien chosen to escape from the
country like Doheny, O'Gorman, Dillon and other of his friends, it is
probable he might have done so. He resolved however on facing the
consequence of his acts and sharing the fate of the Irish rebel to the
bitter end.

The rain fell cold and drearily in the deserted streets of Thurles on
the night which saw the arrest of William Smith O'Brien. Away over the
shadowy mountains in the distance, the swimming vapours cast their
shroud, wrapping in their chilling folds the homes of the
hunger-stricken prostrate race that sat by their fireless hearths. The
autumn gale swept over the desolate land as if moaning at the ruin and
misery that cursed it, and wailing the dirge of the high hopes and
ardent purposes that a few short weeks before had gladdened the hearts
of its people. Calmly and deliberately with folded arms O'Brien walked
through the streets, and entered the Thurles Railway Station. He wore a
black hat, a blue boat cloak, in which he was rather tightly muffled,
and a light plaid trousers; in his hand he carried a large black stick.
He walked to the ticket office and paid his fare to Limerick; then
wrapping himself up in his cloak and folding his arms, again he walked
slowly along the platform awaiting the arrival of the train. He had
resolved on surrendering himself for trial, but he wished to pay one
last visit to his home and family. That gratification however was denied
him, he was recognised by an Englishman named Hulme, a railway guard; in
an instant he was surrounded by police and detectives, and torn of with
brutal violence to gaol. That same night an express train flashed
northwards through the fog and mist bearing O'Brien a prisoner to
Dublin. In the carriage in which he was placed sat General M'Donald, a
Sub-Inspector of Constabulary and four policemen. On entering the train
a pistol was placed at O'Brien's head, and he was commanded not to speak
on peril of his life. Disregarding the injunction, he turned to M'Donald
and asked him why he was so scandalously used. The General "had a duty
to perform," and "his orders should be obeyed." "I have played the game
and lost," said O'Brien, "and I am ready to pay the penalty of having
failed; I hope that those who accompanied me may be dealt with in
clemency; I care not what happens to myself."

On Thursday, September 28th, he was arraigned before a Special
Commission on a charge of high treason at Clonmel. The trial lasted ten
days, and ended in a verdict of guilty. It excited unprecedented
interest throughout the country, and there are many of its incidents
deserving of permanent record. Amongst the witnesses brought forward by
the crown was John O'Donnell, a comfortable farmer, who resided near
Ballingarry. "I won't be sworn," he said on coming on the table, "or
give evidence under any circumstances. You may bring me out and put a
file of soldiers before me, and plant twenty bullets in my breast, but
while I have a heart there I will never swear for you." He expiated his
patriotism by a long imprisonment. Nor was this a solitary instance of
heroism; Richard Shea, a fine looking young peasant, on being handed the
book declared that "he would not swear against such a gentleman," and he
too was carried off to pass years within a British dungeon. But their
sacrifices were unavailing; of evidence there was plenty against
O'Brien; the police were overflowing with it, and the eloquence and
ability of Whiteside were powerless to save him from a verdict of

The papers of the time are full of remarks on the firmness and
self-possession displayed by O'Brien throughout the trial. Even the
announcement of the verdict failed to disturb his composure, and when
the usual question was asked he replied with calmness and deliberation:

   "My lords, it is not my intention to enter into any vindication of my
   conduct, however much I might have desired to avail myself of this
   opportunity of so doing. I am perfectly satisfied with the
   consciousness that I have performed my duty to my country--that I
   have done only that which, in my opinion, it was the duty of every
   Irishman to have done; and I am now prepared to abide the
   consequences of having performed my duty to my native land. Proceed
   with your sentence."

A deep murmur, followed by a burst of applause filled the court as the
noble patriot ceased speaking. Stepping back a pace, and folding his
arms on his breast, O'Brien looked fixedly at the judge, and awaited the
sentence of the court. Amidst the deepest sensation, Chief Justice
Blackburne proceeded to discharge his task. O'Brien was sentenced to be
hanged, beheaded, and quartered. "During the delivery of the sentence,"
says a writer of the period, "the most profound agitation pervaded in
the court; as it drew towards the close, the excitement became more
marked and intense; but when the last barbarous provisions of the
sentence were pronounced, the public feeling could only manifest itself
by stifled sobs and broken murmurs of sympathy for the heroic man, who,
alone, was unmoved during this awful scene, whose lips alone did not
quiver, whose hand alone did not tremble, but whose heart beat with the
calm pulsation of conscious guiltlessness and unsullied honour."

Nine months later (July 29th, 1849), the brig "Swift" sailed from
Kingstown harbour, bearing O'Brien, Meagher, M'Manus, and O'Donoghue
into exile. In the month of November the vessel reached Hobart Town,
where "tickets of leave" were offered to those gentlemen on condition of
their residing each one within a certain district marked out for him,
and giving their parole to make no attempt at escape while in possession
of the ticket. Messrs. Meagher, M'Manus, and O'Donoghue accepted these
terms; Mr. O'Brien refused them, and was consequently sent to an island
off the coast called Maria Island, where he was placed in strict custody
and treated with great severity. The news of the indignities and the
sufferings to which he was subjected, outraged the feelings of the Irish
people in the neighbouring country, and ere long his sympathisers in
Tasmania laid a plan for his escape. They hired a vessel to lie off the
coast on a particular day, and send a boat on shore to take off the
prisoner, who had been informed of the plot, and had arranged to be in
waiting for his deliverers. This design would unquestionably have
succeeded but for the treachery of the captain of the ship, who, before
sailing to the appointed spot, had given the government information of
the intended escape and the manner of it. What occurred on the arrival
of the vessel we shall relate in the words of Mr. Mitchel, who tells the
story in his "Jail Journal" as he heard it from Mr. O'Brien himself:

"At last as he wandered on the shore and had almost given up all hope of
the schooner, the schooner hove in sight. To give time for her approach
he walked into the woods for a space, that he might not alarm his
guardian constable by his attention to her movements. Again he sauntered
down towards the point with apparent carelessness, but with a beating
heart. San Francisco was to be his first destination; and beyond that
golden gate lay the great world, and home, and children, and an
honourable life. The boat was coming, manned by three men; and he
stepped proudly and resolutely to meet them on the shore. To be sure
there was, somewhere behind him, one miserable constable with his
miserable musket, but he had no doubt of being able to dispose of that
difficulty with the aid of his allies, the boatmen. The boat could not
get quite close to the beach, because they had to run her into a kind of
cove where the water was calm and unencumbered with large tangled weeds.
O'Brien, when he reached the beach, plunged into the water to prevent
delay, and struggled through the thick matted seaweed to the boat. The
water was deeper than he expected, and when he came to the boat he
needed the aid of the boatmen to climb over the gunwale. Instead of
giving him this aid the rascals allowed him to flounder there, and kept
looking to the shore, where the constable had by this time appeared with
his musket. The moment he showed himself, the three boatmen cried out
together, 'We surrender!' and invited him on board; where he instantly
took up a hatchet--no doubt provided by the ship for that purpose, and
stove the boat. O'Brien saw he was betrayed, and on being ordered to
move along with the constable and boatmen towards the station, he
refused to stir--hoping, in fact, by his resistance, to provoke the
constable to shoot him. However, the three boatmen seized on him, and
lifted him up from the ground, and carried him wherever the constable
ordered. His custody was thereafter made more rigorous, and he was
shortly after removed from Maria Island to Port Arthur station."

To this brief narrative the following "note" is appended in the work
from which we have just quoted:--

"Ellis, the captain of the schooner, was some months after seized at San
Francisco by Mr. M'Manus and others, brought by night out of his ship,
and carried into the country to undergo his trial under a tree,
whereupon, if found guilty, he was destined to swing. M'Manus set out
his indictment; and it proves how much Judge Lynch's method of
administering justice in those early days of California excelled
anything we know of law or justice in Ireland--that Ellis, for want of
sufficient and satisfactory evidence then producible, was acquitted by
that midnight court, under that convenient and tempting tree."

Port Arthur station, to which Mr. O'Brien was removed from Maria Island,
was a place of punishment for convicts who, while serving out their
terms of transportation, had committed fresh offences against the law.
After a detention there for some time, Mr. O'Brien, whose health was
rapidly sinking under the rigours of his confinement, was induced, by
letters, from his political friends to accept the ticket-of-leave and
avail of the comparative liberty which they enjoyed. The government, on
his acceptance of their terms, placed him first in the district of New
Norfolk, and subsequently in that of Avoca, where he remained until the
conditional pardon, already mentioned in these columns, was granted in
1854. He then left Australia, went on to Madras, where he made a stay of
about a month; from thence he went to Paris and on to Brussels, where he
was joined by his wife and children. He next made a tour in Greece, and
was in that country when the unconditional pardon, which permitted him
to return to his native land, was granted in the month of May, 1856,
immediately after the close of the Crimean war. On Tuesday, July 8th,
1856, Mr. O'Brien stood once more upon his native soil after an exile of
eight years. The news of his arrival was joyfully received by his
fellow-countrymen, who welcomed him with every mark of respect and
affection whenever he appeared among them. Thence-forward Mr. O'Brien
took no active part in Irish politics, but he frequently offered advice
and suggestions to his countrymen through the medium of letters and
addresses in the _Nation_. In February, 1859, Mr. O'Brien made a voyage
to America, and during the ensuing months travelled through a great
portion of that country. After his return to Ireland he delivered, in
November, 1859, an interesting series of lectures on his tour, in the.
Mechanics' Institute, Dublin. On July 1st, 1863, he lectured in the
Rotundo, Dublin, for the benefit of a fund which was being raised for
the relief of the wounded and destitute patriots of the Polish
insurrection. In the early part of the year, 1864, the health of the
illustrious patriot began rapidly to fail, and he was taken by his
friends to England for a change of air. But the weight of many years of
care and suffering was on him, and its effects could not be undone. On
the 16th of June, 1864. at Bangor, the noble-hearted patriot breathed
his last. His family had the honoured remains brought to Ireland for
interment in the old burial-ground of his fathers. On Thursday morning
at an early hour they reached Dublin on board the "Cambria" steamer. It
was known that his family wished that no public demonstration should be
made at his funeral, but the feelings of the citizens who desired to pay
a tribute of respect to his memory could not be repressed. In the grey
hours of the morning the people in thousands assembled on the quays to
await the arrival of the remains, and two steamers, which had been
chartered for the purpose, proceeded, with large numbers on board, some
distance into the harbour to meet the approaching vessel. All along the
way, from the North Wall to the Kings-bridge railway station, the hearse
bearing the patriot's body was accompanied by the procession of
mourners, numbering about 15,000 men. At various stages of the journey
similar scenes were witnessed. But the end was soon reached. In the
churchyard of Rathronan, Co. Limerick, they laid him to rest. The green
grass grows freshly around the vault in which he sleeps, and has long
filled up the foot-prints of the multitude who broke the silence of that
lonely spot by their sobs on the day he was buried; the winter gales
will come and go, and touched by the breath of spring, the wild flowers
will blossom there through succeeding years; but never again will a
purer spirit, a nobler mind, a patriot more brave, more chivalrous, or
more true, give his heart to the cause of Ireland, than the
silvered-haired, care-burthened gentleman whom they bore from Cahirmoyle
to his grave on the 24th day of June, 1864.

       *       *       *       *       *


Early in 1846, when the Repeal Association was still powerful and great,
and ere yet the country had ceased to throb to the magic of O'Connell's
voice, there rose one day from amongst those who crowded the platform of
Conciliation Hall, a well-featured, gracefully-built, dark-eyed young
gentleman, towards whom the faces of the assembly turned in curiosity,
and whose accents when he spoke, were those of a stranger to the
audience. Few of them had heard of his name; not one of them--if the
chairman, William Smith O'Brien be excepted--had the faintest idea of
the talents and capacities he possessed, and which were one day to
enrapture and electrify his countrymen. He addressed the meeting on one
of the passing topics of the day; something in his manner savouring of
affectation, something in the semi-Saxon lisp that struggled through his
low-toned utterances, something in the total lack of suitable gesture,
gave his listeners at the outset an unfavourable impression of the young
speaker. He was boyish, and some did not scruple to hint conceited; he
had too much of the fine gentleman about his appearance, and too little
of the native brogue and stirring declamation to which his listeners
had been accustomed. The new man is a failure, was the first idea that
suggested itself to the audience: but he was not; and when he resumed
his seat he had conquered all prejudices, and wrung the cheers of
admiration from the meeting. Warming with his subject, and casting off
the restraints that hampered his utterances at first, he poured forth a
strain of genuine eloquence, vivified by the happiest allusions, and
enriched by imagery and quotations as beautiful as they were
appropriate, which startled the meeting from its indifference, and won
for the young speaker the enthusiastic applause of his audience. O'Brien
complimented him warmly on his success, and thus it was that the orator
of Young Ireland made his debut on the political platform.

Meagher was not quite twenty-three years of age when his voice was first
heard in Conciliation Hall. He was born in Waterford of an old Catholic
family, which through good and ill had adhered to the national faith and
the national cause; his school-boy days were passed partly at
Clongowes-wood College, and partly under the superintendence of the
Jesuit Fathers at Stoneyhurst in Lancashire. His early years gave few
indications of the splendid wealth of genius that slumbered within his
breast. He took little interest in his classical or mathematical
studies; but he was an ardent student of English literature, and his
compositions in poetry and prose invariably carried away the prize. He
found his father filling the Civic Chair in Waterford, when he returned
from Stoneyhurst to his native city. O'Connell was in the plenitude of
his power; and from end to end of the land, the people were shaken by
mighty thoughts and grand aspirations; with buoyant and unfaltering
tread the nation seemed advancing towards the goal of Freedom, and the
manhood of Ireland seemed kindling at the flame which glowed before the
altar of Liberty. Into the national movement young Meagher threw himself
with the warmth and enthusiasm of his nature. At the early age of twenty
we find him presiding over a meeting of Repealers in his native city,
called to express sympathy with the State Prisoners of '43, and he
thence-forward became a diligent student of contemporary politics. He
became known as an occasional speaker at local gatherings; but it was
not until the event we have described that Meagher was fairly launched
in the troubled tide of politics, and that his lot was cast for good or
evil, with the leaders of the national party.

Up to the date of secession Meagher was a frequent speaker at the
meetings of the Repeal Association. Day by day his reputation as a
speaker extended, until at length he grew to be recognised as the orator
of the party, and the knowledge that he was expected to speak was
sufficient to crowd Conciliation Hall to overflowing. When the influence
of the _Nation_ party began to be felt, and signs of disunion appeared
on the horizon, O'Connell made a vigorous effort to detach Meagher from
the side of Mitchel, Duffy, and O'Brien. "These young Irelanders," he
said, "will lead you into danger." "They may lead me into danger,"
replied Meagher, "but certainly not into dishonour."

Against the trafficking with the Whigs, which subsequently laid the
Repeal Association in the dust, and shipwrecked a movement which might
have ended in the disinthralment of Ireland, Meagher protested in words
of prophetic warning. "The suspicion is abroad," he said, "that the
national cause will be sacrificed to Whig supremacy, and that the
people, who are now striding on to freedom, will be purchased back into
factious vassalage. The Whigs calculate upon your apostacy, the
Conservatives predict it." The place beggars, who looked to the Whigs
for position and wealth, murmured as they heard their treachery laid
bare and their designs dissected in the impassioned appeals by which
Meagher sought to recall them to the path of patriotism and duty. It was
necessary for their ends that the bold denouncer of corruption, and the
men who acted with him, should be driven from the association; and to
effect that object O'Connell was hounded on to the step which ended in
the secession. The "peace resolutions" were introduced, and Meagher
found himself called on to subscribe to a doctrine which his soul
abhorred--that the use of arms was at all times unjustifiable and
immoral. The Lord Mayor was in the chair, and O'Brien, John O'Connell.
Denis Reilly, Tom Steele, and John Mitchel had spoken, when Meagher rose
to address the assembly. The speech he delivered on that occasion, for
brilliancy and lyrical grandeur has never been surpassed. It won for him
a reception far transcending that of Shiel or O'Connell as an orator;
and it gave to him the title by which he was afterwards so often
referred to--"Meagher of the Sword." He commenced by expressing his
sense of gratitude, and his attachment to O'Connell, "My lord," he

   "I am not ungrateful to the man who struck the fetters off my limbs
   while I was yet a child, and by whose influence my father, the first
   Catholic that did so for two hundred years, sat for the last two
   years in the civic chair of my native city. But, my lord," he
   continued, "the same God who gave to that great man the power to
   strike down one odious ascendency in this country, and who enabled
   him to institute in this land the laws of religious equality--the
   same God gave to me a mind that is my own, a mind that has not been
   mortgaged to the opinion of any man or set of men, a mind that I was
   to use and not surrender."

Having thus vindicated freedom of opinion, the speaker went on to
disclaim for himself the opinion that the Association ought to deviate
from the strict path of legality. But he refused to accept the
resolutions; because he said "there are times when arms alone will
suffice, and when political ameliorations call for 'a drop of blood,'
and for many thousand drops of blood." Then breaking forth into a strain
of impassioned and dazzling oratory he proceeded:--

   "The soldier is proof against an argument--but he is not proof
   against a bullet. The man that will listen to reason--let him be
   reasoned with. But it is the weaponed arm of the patriot that can
   alone prevail against battalioned despotism.

   "Then, my lord, I do not condemn the use of arms as immoral, nor do I
   conceive it profane to say that the King of Heaven--the Lord of
   Hosts! the God of Battles!--bestows his benediction upon those who
   unsheath the sword in the hour of a nation's peril. From that evening
   on which, in the valley of Bethulia, he nerved the arm of the Jewish
   girl to smite the drunken tyrant in his tent, down to this our day,
   in which he has blessed the insurgent chivalry of the Belgian priest,
   His Almighty hand hath ever been stretched forth from His throne of
   Light to consecrate the flag of freedom--to bless the patriot's
   sword! Be it in the defence, or be it in the assertion of a people's
   liberty, I hail the sword as a sacred weapon; and if, my lord, it had
   sometimes taken the shape of the serpent, and reddened the shroud of
   the oppressor with too deep a dye, like the anointed rod of the High
   Priest, it has at other times, and as often, blossomed into celestial
   flowers to deck the freeman's brow.

   "Abhor the sword--stigmatize the sword? No, my lord, for in the
   passes of the Tyrol it cut to pieces the banner of the Bavarian, and,
   through those cragged passes, struck a path to fame for the peasant
   insurrectionists of Inspruck! Abhor the sword--stigmatize the sword?
   No, my lord, for at its blow a giant nation started from the waters
   of the Atlantic, and by its redeeming magic, and in the quivering of
   its crimsoned light the crippled colony sprang into the attitude of a
   proud Republic--prosperous, limitless, and invincible! Abhor the
   sword--stigmatize the sword? No, my lord, for it swept the Dutch
   marauders out of the fine old towns of Belgium--scourged them back to
   their own phlegmatic swamps--and knocked their flag and sceptre,
   their laws and bayonets, into the sluggish waters of the Scheldt.

   "My lord, I learned that it was the right of a nation to govern
   itself, not in this hall, but on the ramparts of Antwerp; I learned
   the first article of a nation's creed upon those ramparts, where
   freedom was justly estimated, and where the possession of the
   precious gift was purchased by the effusion of generous blood. My
   lord, I honor the Belgians for their courage and their daring, and I
   will not stigmatize the means by which they obtained a citizen-king,
   a chamber of Deputies."

It was all he was permitted to say. With flushed face and excited
gesture John O'Connell rose, and declared he could not sit and listen to
the expression of such sentiments. Either Mr. Meagher or he should leave
the Association; O'Brien interceded to obtain a hearing for his young
friend, and protested against Mr. O'Connell's attempts to silence him.
But the appeal was wasted, O'Brien left the hall in disgust, and with
him Meagher, Duffy, Reilly, and Mitchel quitted it for ever.

Meagher's subsequent career in Ireland is soon told. He was a regular
attendant at the meetings of the Confederation, of which he was one of
the founders, and the fame of his eloquence, his manly appearance, and
the charms of his youthful frankness contributed immensely towards the
growth of the new organization. He always acted with O'Brien, whom he
loved in his inmost soul, but he was respected and admired by every
section of nationalists, the Mitchelites, the Duffyites, and we might
even say the O'Connellites. When the country began to feel the influence
of the whirlwind of revolution which swept over the continent,
overturning thrones and wrecking constitutions as if they were built of
cardboard, Meagher shared the wild impulse of the hour, and played
boldly for insurrection and separation. He was one of the three
gentlemen appointed to present the address from Ireland to the French
Republican government in 1848; and in the speech delivered by him at the
crowded meeting in the Dublin Music Hall before his departure, he
counselled his countrymen to send a deputation to the Queen, asking her
to convene the Irish parliament in the Irish capital. "If the claim be
rejected," said Meagher, "if the throne stand as a barrier between the
Irish people and the supreme right--then loyalty will be a crime, and
obedience to the executive will be treason to the country. Depute your
worthiest citizens to approach the throne, and before that throne let
the will of the Irish people be uttered with dignity and decision. If
nothing comes of this," he added, "if the constitution opens to us no
path to freedom, if the Union be maintained in spite of, the will of the
Irish people, if the government of Ireland insist on being a government
of dragoons and bombadiers, of detectives and light infantry, then," he
exclaimed in the midst of tumultuous cheering, "up with the barricades,
and invoke the God of Battles!"

While the Republican spirit was in full glow in Ireland, Meagher
astonished his friends by rushing down to Waterford and offering himself
as a candidate for the post left vacant in parliament by the resignation
of O'Connell. By this time the Confederates had begun to despair of a
parliamentary policy, and they marvelled much to see their young orator
rush to the hustings, and throw himself into the confusion and turmoil
of an election contest. _Que le diable allait il faire dans cette
galere_ muttered his Dublin friends. Was not the time for hustings
orations, and parliamentary agitation over now? Meagher, however,
conceived, and perhaps wisely, that he could still do some good for his
country in the House of Commons. He issued a noble address to the
electors of his native city, in which he asked for their support on the
most patriotic grounds. "I shall not meddle," he said, "with English
affairs. I shall take no part in the strife of parties--all factions are
alike to me. I shall go to the House of Commons to insist on the rights
of this country to be held, governed, and defended by its own citizens,
and by them alone. Whilst I live I shall never rest satisfied until the
kingdom of Ireland has won a parliament, an army, and a navy of her
own." Mitchel strongly disapproved of his conduct. "If Mr. Meagher were
in parliament," said the _United Irishman_, "men's eyes would be
attracted thither once more; some hope of 'justice' might again revive
in this too easily deluded people." The proper men to send to parliament
were according to Mitchel, "old placemen, pensioners, five pound
Conciliation Hall Repealers." "We have no wish to dictate," concluded
Mitchel in an article on the subject, full of the lurking satire and
quiet humour that leavened his writings, "but if the electors of
Waterford have any confidence in us, we shall only say that we are for

"Costello" was defeated, however, but so was Meagher. The Young Ireland
champion was stigmatized as a Tory by the Whigs, and as a rebel by the
Tories; if _the people_, as Mitchel remarks had any power he would have
been elected by an overwhelming majority, but the people had no votes,
and Sir Henry Winston Barren was returned. Meagher went back to Dublin
almost a convert to Mitchel's views, leaving Whig, Tory, and West Briton
to exult over his discomfiture.

We have already seen what Meagher did when the guage of battle was
thrown down, and when "the day all hearts to weigh" was imagined to have
arrived, we have seen how he accompanied O'Brien in his expedition from
Wexford to Kilkenny, and thence to Tipperary; and how on the morning of
July 29th, 1848, he left O'Brien at Ballingarry, little dreaming of the
tragedy which was to make that day memorable, and expecting to be able
to bring reinforcements to his leader from other quarters before the
crisis came. He failed however in his effort to spread the flames of
insurrection. The chilling news of O'Brien's defeat--distorted and
exaggerated by hostile tongues--was before him everywhere, and even the
most resolute of his sympathisers had sense enough to see that their
opportunity--if it existed at all--had passed away. On the 12th day of
August, 1848, Meagher was arrested on the road between Clonoulty and
Holycross, in Tipperary. He was walking along in company with Patrick
O'Donoghue and Maurice R. Leyne, two of his intimate friends and
fellow-outlaws, when a party of police passed them by. Neither of the
three was disguised, but Meagher and Leyne wore frieze overcoats, which
somewhat altered their usual appearance. After a short time the police
returned; Meagher and his companions gave their real names on being
interrogated, and they were at once arrested and taken in triumph to
Thurles. The three friends bore their ill fortune with what their
captors must have considered provoking nonchalance. Meagher smoked a
cigar on the way to the station, and the trio chatted as gaily as if
they were walking in safety on the free soil of America, instead of
being helpless prisoners on their way to captivity and exile.

Meagher stood in the dock at Clonmel a week after O'Brien had quitted it
a convict. He was defended by Mr. Whiteside and Isaac Butt, whose
magnificent speech in his defence was perhaps the most brilliant display
of forensic eloquence ever heard Within the court in which he stood. Of
course the jury was packed (only 18 Catholics were named on a jury-panel
of 300), and of course the crown carried its point. On the close of the
sixth day of the trial, the jury returned into court with a verdict of
"guilty," recommending the prisoner to mercy on the ground of his youth.

Two days later he was brought back to the dock to receive sentence. He
was dressed in his usual style, appeared in excellent health, and bore
himself--we are told--throughout the trying ordeal, with fortitude and
manly dignity. He spoke as follows:--

   "My lords, it is my intention to say a few words only. I desire that
   the last act of a proceeding which has occupied so much of the public
   time, should be of short duration. Nor have I the indelicate wish to
   close the dreary ceremony of a state prosecution with a vain display
   of words. Did I fear that hereafter, when I shall be no more, the
   country I tried to serve would speak ill of me, I might, indeed,
   avail myself of this solemn moment to vindicate my sentiments and my
   conduct. But I have no such fear. The country will judge of those
   sentiments and that conduct in a light far different from that in
   which the jury by whom I have been convicted have viewed them, and by
   the country the sentence which you, my lords, are about to pronounce,
   will be remembered only as the severe and solemn attestation of my
   rectitude and truth. Whatever be the language in which that sentence
   be spoken, I know that my fate will meet with sympathy, and that my
   memory will be honoured. In speaking thus, accuse me not, my lords,
   of an indecorus presumption in the efforts I have made in a just and
   noble cause. I ascribe no main importance, nor do I claim for those
   efforts any high reward. But it so happens, and it will ever happen
   so, that they who have lived to serve their country--no matter how
   weak their efforts may have been--are sure to receive the thanks and
   blessings of its people. With my countrymen I leave my memory, my
   sentiments, my acts, proudly feeling that they require no vindication
   from me this day. A jury of my countrymen, it is true, have found me
   guilty of the crime of which I stood indicted. For this I entertain
   not the slightest feeling of resentment towards them. Influenced as
   they must have been by the charge of the Lord Chief Justice, they
   could perhaps have found no other verdict. What of that charge? Any
   strong observations on it I feel sincerely would ill-befit the
   solemnity of this scene; but I would earnestly beseech of you, my
   lord--you who preside on that bench--when the passions and the
   prejudices of this hour have passed away, to appeal to your own
   conscience, and ask of it, was your charge what it ought to have
   been, impartial and indifferent between the subject and the crown? My
   lords, you may deem this language unbecoming in me, and perhaps it
   may seal my fate; but I am here to speak the truth, whatever it may
   cost--I am here to regret nothing I have ever done, to regret nothing
   I have ever said--I am here to crave with no lying lip the life I
   consecrate to the liberty of my country. Far from it. Even
   here--here, where the thief, the libertine, the murderer, have left
   their foot-prints in the dust--here, on this spot, where the shadows
   of death surround me, and from which I see my early grave in an
   unanointed soil open to receive me--even here, encircled by these
   terrors, that hope which first beckoned me to the perilous sea on
   which I have been wrecked, still consoles, animates, and enraptures
   me. No; I do not despair of my poor old country--her peace, her
   liberty, her glory. For that country I can do no more than bid her
   hope. To lift this island up--to make her a benefactor to humanity,
   instead of being, as she is now, the meanest beggar in the world--to
   restore to her her native powers and her ancient constitution--this
   has been my ambition, and this ambition has been my crime. Judged by
   the law of England, I know this crime entails upon me the penalty of
   death; but the history of Ireland explains that crime and justifies
   it. Judged by that history, I am no criminal, you (addressing Mr.
   M'Manus) are no criminal, you (addressing Mr. O'Donoghue) are no
   criminal, and we deserve no punishment; judged by that history, the
   treason of which I stand convicted loses all its guilt, has been
   sanctified as a duty, and will be enobled as a sacrifice. With these
   sentiments I await the sentence of the court. I have done what I felt
   to be my duty. I have spoken now, as I did on every other occasion
   during my short life, what I felt to be the truth. I now bid farewell
   to the country of my birth--of my passions--of my death; a country
   whose misfortunes have invoked my sympathies--whose factions I sought
   to quell--whose intelligence I prompted to a lofty aim--whose freedom
   has been my fatal dream. To that country I now offer as a pledge of
   the love I bore her, and of the sincerity with which I thought and
   spoke, and struggled for her freedom, the life of a young heart; and
   with that life, the hopes, the honours, the endearments of a happy, a
   prosperous, and honourable home. Proceed, then, my lords, with that
   sentence which the law directs--I am prepared to hear it--I trust I
   am prepared to meet its execution. I shall go, I think, with a light
   heart before a higher tribunal--a tribunal where a Judge of infinite
   goodness, as well as of infinite justice, will preside, and where, my
   lords, many many of the judgments of this, world will be reversed."

There is little more for us to add. Meagher arrived with O'Brien,
O'Donoghue, and M'Manus in Van Dieman's Land in October, 1849, and
escaped to America in 1852. He started the _Irish News_ in New York,
which he enriched by personal recollections of the stirring scenes in
which he participated; but his career as a journalist closed abruptly
with the outbreak of the war of Secession, when he raised a Zouave
Company to join Corcoran's 69th Regiment, with which he fought gallantly
at Bull's Run. Every one remembers how the gallantry of the Irish
regiment in which Meagher served, saved the Federal forces from
annihilation on that field of disaster. Subsequently he raised and
commanded the Irish Brigade, which won imperishable laurels throughout
the hard-fought campaigns that ended with the capture of Richmond. When
Mr. Johnson became President of the United States, he appointed Meagher
to the position of Governor of Montana Territory, in the far West, a
post which he held until his death.

His end was sad and sudden. One dark wild night in July, 1867, a
gentleman suddenly disappeared from the deck of the steamer on which he
was standing, and fell into the great Missouri, where it winds its
course by the hills of Montana. The accident was too sudden for availing
assistance. A sudden slip, a splash, a faint cry, a brief struggle, and
all was over; the hungry waters closed over him, and the rapid rolling
current swept away his lifeless corpse. The finished scholar, the genial
friend, the matchless orator, the ardent patriot was no more. Thomas
Francis Meagher was dead.

       *       *       *       *       *


Another bold, clever, and resolute opponent of British rule in Ireland
was torn from the ranks of the popular leaders on the day that Kevin
Izod O'Doherty was arrested. Amongst the cluster of talented and able
men who led the Young Ireland phalanx, he was distinguished for his
spirit and his mental accomplishments; amongst the organizers of the
party his ready words, manly address, and ceaseless activity gave him a
prominent position; amongst its journalists he was conspicuous for
fearlessness, frankness, and ability. Over the surging waves of the
excitement and agitation that convulsed the country during the period
which ended with the affray at Ballingarry, and through the haze which
time has cast over the attempted revolution of '48, his figure looms up
in bold proportions, suggestive of mental capacity, fortitude of soul,
and tenacity of purpose. For him, as for many of his brilliant
associates, the paths of patriotism led down to proscription and pain;
but O'Doherty fulminating the thunderbolts of the _Tribune,_ or sowing
the seeds of patriotism amongst the students of Dublin, was not one whit
more self-possessed or undaunted than when standing a convict in the
Greenstreet dock, he awaited the sentence of the court.

Kevin Izod O'Doherty was born of respectable Catholic parents in Dublin,
in June, 1824. He received a liberal education, by which he profited
extensively, showing even in his school-days strong evidences of natural
ability, and talents, of more than average degree. He directed his
attention to the medical profession on completing his education, and was
in the full tide of lectures and hospital attendance when the
development of the national sentiment that pervaded the year '48 drew
him into the vortex of public life. He became a hard working and
enthusiastic member of the Young Ireland party, and was one of the
founders of the Students' and Polytechnic Clubs, which were regarded by
the leaders in Dublin as the _elite_ of the national force in the
capital. When Mitchel was struck down and his paper suppressed,
O'Doherty was one of those who resolved that the political guidance
which the _United Irishman_ was meant to afford, should not be wanting
to the people. In conjunction with Richard Dalton Williams--"Shamrock"
of the _Nation_--he established the _Irish Tribune_, the first number of
which saw the light on the 10th of June, 1848. There could be no mistake
about the objects of the _Tribune_, or the motives of its founders in
establishing it. The British government could ill afford to endure the
attacks on their exactions and usurpations thundered forth weekly in its
articles. Its career was cut short by the mailed hand of authority at
its fifth number, and on the 10th of July, '48, Kevin Izod O'Doherty was
an inmate of Newgate prison.


On the 10th of August he was placed at the bar of Green-street
court-house, and arraigned on a charge of treason-felony, and a vigorous
effort was made by the crown to convict him. The attempt, however, was a
failure; the jury-panel had not been juggled as effectively as usual,
and a disagreement of the jury was the consequence. The crown, however,
had no idea of relaxing its grasp of its victim; after John Martin's
conviction O'Doherty was put forward again, and a new jury selected to
try him. Again were the government defeated; the second jury like the
first refused to agree to a verdict of guilty, and were discharged
without convicting the prisoner. A third time was O'Doherty arraigned,
and this time the relentless hatred of his persecutors was gratified by
a verdict of guilty. The speech delivered by Mr. O'Doherty after
conviction was as follows:--

   "My lords--I did hope, I confess, that upon being placed in this dock
   for the third time, after two juries of my fellow-citizens had
   refused to find a verdict against me, that while my prosecutors would
   have been scrupulous in their care in attempting to uphold their law,
   they would not have violated the very spirit of justice."

   Judge Crampton.--"I have a great difficulty in preventing you from
   making any observations that may occur to you to be of service; but
   if you mean to cast imputations of obloquy upon the law officers of
   the crown, the court cannot permit that."

   Mr. O'Doherty--"I only wish to mention a matter of fact. The
   Attorney-General stated that there were only three Roman Catholics
   set aside on my jury."

   Judge Crampton again interposed, and requested the prisoner not to
   pursue this line of observation.

   Mr. O'Doherty.--"I would feel much obliged if your lordship would
   permit me to mention a few more words with reference to my motives
   throughout this affair.

   "I had but one object and purpose in view. I did feel deeply for the
   sufferings and privations endured by my fellow-countrymen. I did wish
   by all means, consistent with a manly and honourable resistance to
   assist in putting an end to that suffering. It is very true, and I
   will confess it, that I desired an open resistance of the people to
   that government, which, in my opinion entailed these sufferings upon
   them. I have used the words open and honourable resistance, in order
   that I might refer to one of the articles brought in evidence against
   me, in which the writer suggests such things as flinging burning
   hoops on the soldiery. My lords, these are no sentiments of mine. I
   did not write that article. I did not see it, or know of it until I
   read it when published in the paper. But I did not bring the writer
   of it here on the table. Why? I knew that if I were to do so, it
   would be only handing him over at the court-house doors to what one
   of the witnesses has very properly called the fangs of the
   Attorney-General. With respect to myself I have no fears. I trust I
   will be enabled to bear my sentence with all the forbearance due to
   what I believe to be the opinion of twelve conscientious enemies to
   me, and I will bear with due patience the wrath of the government
   whose mouthpiece they were; but I will never cease to deplore the
   destiny that gave me birth in this unhappy country, and compelled me,
   as an Irishman, to receive at your hands a felon's doom, for
   discharging what I conceived--and what I still conceive to be my
   duty. I shall only add, that the fact is, that instead of three Roman
   Catholic jurors being set aside by the Attorney-General, there were
   thirteen; I hold in my hand a list of their names, and out of the
   twelve jurors he permitted to be sworn there was not one Roman

Mr. O'Doherty was sentenced to transportation for ten years. He sailed
for Van Dieman's Land in the same ship that bore John Martin into exile.
In the course of time he, like Martin and O'Brien, was set at liberty on
condition of his residing anywhere out of "the United Kingdom." He came
on to Paris, and there resumed his medical studies. He paid, however,
one secret and hurried visit to Ireland. He came to wed and bear away
with him, to share his fortune in other lands, a woman in every way
worthy of him--one whose genius and talents, like his own, had been
freely given to the cause of Ireland, and whose heart had long been his
in the bonds of a most tender attachment. "Eva," one of the fair
poetesses of the _Nation_, was the plighted wife of O'Doherty. Terrible
must have been the shock to her gentle nature when her patriot lover was
borne off a convict, and shipped for England's penal settlements in the
far southern seas. She believed, however, they would meet again, and she
knew that neither time nor distance could chill the ardour of their
mutual affection. The volumes of the _Nation_ published during his
captivity contain many exquisite lyrics from her pen mourning for the
absent one, with others expressive of unchanging affection, and the most
intense faith in the truth of her distant lover. "The course of true
love" in this case ended happily. O'Doherty, as we have stated, managed
to slip across from Paris to Ireland, and returned with "Eva" his bride.
In 1856 the pardons granted to the exiles above named was made
unconditional, and in the following year O'Doherty returned to Ireland,
where he took out his degrees with great _eclat_; he then commenced the
practice of medicine and surgery in Dublin, and soon came to be ranked
amongst the most distinguished and successful members of his profession.
After remaining some years in Ireland, Mr. O'Doherty sailed far away
seawards once again, and took up his abode under the light of the
Southern Cross. He settled in a rising colony of Australia, where he
still lives, surrounded by troops of friends, and enjoying the position
to which his talents and his high character entitle him.

       *       *       *       *       *


The excitement caused by the startling events of which this country was
the scene in the summer of 1848 extended far beyond the shores of
Ireland. Away beyond the Atlantic the news from Ireland was watched for
with glistening eyes by the exiles who dwelt by the shores of Manhattan
or in the backwoods of Canada. Amongst the Irish colony in England the
agitation was still greater. Dwelling in the hearts of the monster towns
of England, the glow of the furnace lighting up their swarthy faces;
toiling on the canals, on the railways, in the steamboats; filling the
factories, plying their brawny hands where the hardest work was to be
done; hewers of wood, and drawers of water; living in the midst of the
English, yet separated from them by all the marks of a distinctive
nationality, by antagonistic feelings, by clashing interests, by jarring
creeds; such was the position of the men who carried the faith, the
traditions, the politics, and the purpose of Ireland into the heart of
the enemy's country. With their countrymen at home they were united by
the warmest ties of sympathy and affection. In London, in Manchester, in
Birmingham, in Leeds, Confederate Clubs were established, and active
measures taken for co-operating with the Young Ireland leaders in
whatever course they might think proper to adopt. In Liverpool those
clubs were organized on the most extensive scale; thousands of Irishmen
attended their weekly meetings, and speeches rivalling those delivered
at the Rotundo and at the Music Hall in fervour and earnestness were
spoken from their platforms. Amongst the Irishmen who figured
prominently at these gatherings there was one to whom the Irish in
Liverpool looked up with peculiar confidence and pride. He was young, he
was accomplished, he was wealthy, he filled a highly respectable
position in society; his name was connected by everyone with probity and
honour; and, above all, he was a nationalist, unselfish, enthusiastic,
and ardent. The Irishmen of Liverpool will not need to be told that we
speak of Terence Bellew M'Manus.

The agitation of 1848 found M'Manus in good business as a shipping
agent, his income being estimated by his Liverpool friends at ten or
twelve hundred a year. His patriotism was of too genuine a nature to be
merged in his commercial success, and M'Manus readily abandoned his
prospects and his position when his country seemed to require the
sacrifice. Instantly on discovering that the government were about to
suspend the _Habeas Corpus_ Act in Ireland, he took the steamer for
Dublin, bringing with him the green and gold uniform which he owned in
virtue of being a general of the '82 Club. In the same steamer came two
detectives sent specially to secure his arrest in Dublin. M'Manus drove
from the quay, where he landed, to the _Felon_ Office. He discovered
that all the Confederate leaders out of prison had gone southwards on
hostile thoughts intent; and M'Manus resolved on joining them without a
moment's hesitation. Having managed to give the detectives the slip, he
journeyed southwards to Tipperary and joined O'Brien's party at
Killenaule. He shared the fortunes of the insurgent leaders until the
dispersion at Ballingarry, where he fought with conspicuous bravery and
determination. He was the first to arrive before the house in which the
police took refuge, and the last to leave it. The Rev. Mr. Fitzgerald,
P.P., an eye witness, gives an interesting account of M'Manus' conduct
during the attack on the Widow M'Cormack's house. He says:--

   "With about a dozen men more determined than the rest, was M'Manus,
   who indeed throughout the whole day showed more courage and
   resolution than anyone else. With a musket in his hand, and in the
   face of the enemy, he reconnoitered the place, and observed every
   accessible approach to the house, and with a few colliers, under
   cover of a cart-load of hay, which they pushed on before them, came
   up to the postern-door of the kitchen. Here with his own hand he
   fired several pistol-shots, to make it ignite, but from the state of
   the weather, which was damp and heavy, and from the constant
   down-pour of rain on the previous day, this attempt proved quite
   unsuccessful. With men so expert at the use of the pickaxe, and so
   large a supply of blasting powder at the collieries, he could have
   quickly undermined the house, or blown it up; but the circumstance of
   so many children being shut in with the police, and the certainty
   that, if they persevered, all would be involved in the same ruin,
   compelled him and his associates to desist from their purpose."

When it became useless to offer further resistance, M'Manus retired with
the peasantry to the hills, and dwelt with them for several days. Having
shaved off his whiskers, and made some other changes in his appearance,
he succeeded in running the gauntlet though the host of spies and
detectives on his trail, and he was actually on board a large vessel on
the point of sailing for America from Cork harbour when arrested by the
police. His discovery was purely accidental; the police boarded the
vessel in chase of an absconding defaulter, but while prosecuting the
search one of the constables who had seen M'Manus occasionally in
Liverpool recognised him. At first he gave his name as O'Donnell, said
he was an Irish-American returning westward, after visiting his friends
in the old land. His answers, however, were not sufficiently consistent
to dissipate the constable's suspicion. He was brought ashore and taken
handcuffed before a magistrate, whereupon he avowed his name, and boldly
added that, he did not regret any act he had done, and would cheerfully
go through it again.

On the 10th of October, 1848, he was brought to trial for high treason
in Clonmel. He viewed the whole proceedings with calm indifference, and
when the verdict of guilty was brought in he heard the announcement with
unaltered mien. A fortnight later he was brought up to receive sentence;
Meagher and O'Donoghue had been convicted in the interim, and the three
confederates stood side by side in the dock to hear the doom of the
traitor pronounced against them. M'Manus was the first to speak in reply
to the usual formality, and his address was as follows:--

   "My lords--I trust I am enough of a Christian and enough of a man to
   understand the awful responsibility of the question which has been
   put to me. Standing upon my native soil--standing in an Irish court
   of justice, and before the Irish nation--I have much to say why the
   sentence of death, or the sentence of the law, should not be passed
   upon me. But upon entering into this court I placed my life--and what
   is of more importance to me, my honour--in the hands of two
   advocates, and if I had ten thousand lives and ten thousand honours,
   I should be content to place them all in the watchful and glorious
   genius of the one, and the patient zeal and talent of the other. I
   am, therefore, content, and with regard to that I have nothing to
   say. But I have a word to say, which no advocate, however anxious
   and devoted he may be, can utter for me. I say, whatever part I may
   have taken in the straggle for my country's independence, whatever
   part I may have acted in my short career, I stand before you, my
   lords, with a free heart and a light conscience, to abide the issue
   of your sentence. And now, my lords, this is, perhaps, the fittest
   time to put a sentence upon record, which is this--that standing in
   this dock, and called to ascend the scaffold--it may be to-morrow--it
   may be now--it may be never--whatever the result may be, I wish to
   put this on record, that in the part I have taken I was not actuated
   by enmity towards Englishmen--for among them I have passed some of
   the happiest days of my life, and the most prosperous; and in no part
   which I have taken was I actuated by enmity towards Englishmen
   individually, whatever I may have felt of the injustice of English
   rule in this island; I therefore say, that it is not because I loved
   England less, but because I loved Ireland more, that I now stand
   before you."

In 1851, M'Manus escaped from captivity in Van Dieman's Land, and he
soon after settled in California where he died. His funeral was the
greatest ever witnessed upon earth. From the shores of the Pacific
thousands of miles away, across continents and oceans they brought him,
and laid his ashes to rest in the land of his birth. On the 10th day of
November, 1861, that wonderful funeral passed through the streets of
Dublin to Glasnevin, and those who saw the gathering that followed his
coffin to the grave, the thousands of stalwart men that marched in
solemn order behind his bier will never forget the sight. A silent slab
unlettered and unmarked shows the spot where his remains were interred;
no storied urn or animated bust, no marble column or commemorative
tablet has been consecrated to his memory, but the history of his life
is graven in the hearts of his countrymen, and he enjoys in their
affectionate remembrance, a monument more enduring than human hands
could build him.

       *       *       *       *       *


Looking along the course of Irish history, it is easy to point out
certain periods in which England could have found an opportunity for
making terms with the Irish nation, healing some of the old wounds and
mitigating in some degree the burning sense of wrong and the desire of
vengeance that rankled in the hearts of the Irish race. There were lulls
in the struggle, intervals of gloomy calm, occasions when the heart of
Ireland might have been touched by generous deeds, and when the offer of
the olive branch, or even a few of its leaves, would have had a blessed
effect. But England never availed of them--never for an instant sought
to turn them to good account. She preferred when Ireland was defeated,
prostrate, and forlorn, to taunt her with her failure, scoff at her
sufferings, and add to her afflictions. Such was her conduct during the
mournful time that followed on the attempted insurrection of 1848.

It was an appaling time, in whose death-laden atmosphere political
action was impossible. The famine had made of the country one huge
graveyard. A silence fell upon the land, lately so clamorous for her
rights, so hopeful, and so defiant. The Repeal organization spoke no
more; the tramp of the Confederate Clubs was no longer heard in the
streets; O'Connell was dead; the Young Ireland leaders were fugitives or
prisoners; and the people were almost bewildered by a sense of their
great calamity. Then, if England had stooped to raise her fallen foe,
offered her some kindly treatment, and spoken some gracious words, the
bitterness of the old quarrel might have been in some degree assuaged,
even though its cause should not be entirely obliterated. But England
did not choose to take that politic and Christian course. She found it
much pleasanter to chuckle over the discomfiture of the Irish patriots,
to ridicule the failure of their peaceable agitation, to sneer at their
poor effort in arms, to nickname, and misrepresent, and libel the
brave-hearted gentleman who led that unlucky endeavour; and above all to
felicitate herself on the reduction that had taken place in the Irish
population. That--from her point of view--was the glorious part of the
whole affair. The Irish were "gone with a vengeance!"--not all of them,
but a goodly proportion, and others were going off every day. Emigrant
ships clustered in the chief ports, and many sought their living
freights in those capacious harbours along the Atlantic coast which
nature seemed to have shaped for the accommodation of a great commerce,
but where the visit of any craft larger than a fishing smack was a rare
event. The flaming placards of the various shipping-lines were posted in
every town in Ireland,--on the chapel-gates, and the shutters of closed
shops, and the doors of tenantless houses; and there appeared to be in
progress a regular breaking up of the Irish nation. This, to the English
mind, was positively delightful. For here was the Irish question being
settled at last, by the simple process of the transference of the Irish
people to the bottom of the deep sea, or else to the continent of
America--nearly the same thing as far as England was concerned, for in
neither place--as it seemed to her--could they ever more trouble her
peace, or have any claim on those fruits of the Irish soil which were
needed for the stomachs of Englishmen. There they could no longer pester
her with petitions for Tenant Right, or demands for a Repeal of the
Union. English farmers, and drovers, and labourers, loyal to the English
government, and yielding no sort of allegiance to the Pope, would cross
the Channel and take possession of the deserted island, which would
thenceforth be England's in such a sense as it never was before. O
magnificent consummation! O most brilliant prospect, in the eyes of
English statesmen! They saw their way clear, they understood their game;
it was to lighten in no degree the pressure which they maintained upon
the lives of the Irish people, to do nothing that could tend to render
existence tolerable to them in Ireland, or check the rush of emigration.
Acting in conformity with this shallow and false estimate of the
situation, they allowed to drift away unused the time which wise
statesmen would have employed in the effectuation of conciliatory and
tranquilising measures, and applied themselves simply to the crushing
out from the Irish mind of every hope of improved legislation, and the
defeat of every effort to obtain it. Thus when the people--waking up
from the stupefaction that followed on the most tragic period of the
famine--began to breathe the breath of political life again, and,
perceiving the danger that menaced the existence of the peasant classes,
set on foot an agitation to procure a reform of the land-laws, the
government resolutely opposed the project; defeated the bills which the
friends of the tenantry brought into parliament; and took steps, which
proved only too successful, for the break up of the organization by
which the movement was conducted. And then, when Frederick Lucas was
dead, and Mr. Duffy had gone into exile, and the patriot priests were
debarred from taking part in politics, and Messrs. John Sadlier and
William Keogh were bought over by bribes of place and pay, the
government appeared to think that Irish patriotism had fought in its
last ditch, and received its final defeat.

But they were mistaken. The old cause that had survived so many
disasters was not dead yet. While the efforts of the Tenant Righters in
Ireland were being foiled, and their party was being scattered, a couple
of Irishmen, temporarily resident in Paris, fugitive because of their
connexion with the events of '48, were laying the foundations of a
movement more profoundly dangerous to England, than any of those with
which she had grappled since the days of Wolfe Tone and Lord Edward
Fitzgerald. Those men were John O'Mahony and James Stephens.

Since then their names have been much heard of, and the organization of
which they were the originators has played an important part in Irish
history. But at the period of which we are now writing, the general
public knew nothing of O'Mahony or of Stephens beyond the fact that they
were alleged to have taken some part in the recent insurrectionary
demonstrations. Stephens, who was then a very young lad, had been
present at the Ballingarry attack, and had been severely wounded by the
fire of the police. He managed to crawl away from the spot to a ditch
side, where he was lost sight of. A report of his death was put into
circulation, and a loyal journal published in Kilkenny--the native town
of the young rebel, who in this instance played his first trick on the
government--referred to his supposed decease in terms which showed that
the rule _de mortuis nil nisi bonum_ found acceptance with the editor.
The following are the words of the obituary notice which appeared in the
_Kilkenny Moderator_ on or about the 19th of August, 1848:--

   "Poor James Stephens, who followed Smith O'Brien to the field, has
   died of the wound which he received at Ballingarry whilst acting as
   aide-de-camp to the insurgent leader. Mr. Stephens was a very
   amiable, and apart from politics, most inoffensive young man,
   possessed of a great deal of talent, and we believe he was a most
   excellent son and brother. His untimely and melancholy fate will be
   much regretted by a numerous circle of friends."

It is said that his family very prudently fostered this delusion by
going into mourning for the loss of young James--the suggestion of which
clever ruse probably came from the dear boy himself. A short time
afterwards he managed to escape, disguised as a lady's maid, to France.
As one may gather from the paragraph above quoted, the family were much
respected in the locality. Mr. Stephens, father of the future C.O.I.R.,
was clerk in the establishment of a respectable auctioneer and
bookseller in Kilkenny. He gave his children a good education, and sent
young James to a Catholic seminary with a view to his being taught and
trained for the priesthood. But circumstances prevented the realization
of this design, and before any line of business could be marked out for
young Stephens, the political events above referred to took place and
shaped his future career.

John O'Mahony was a different stamp of man. He belonged to the class
known as gentlemen-farmers, and of that class he was one of the most
respected. His family owned a considerable tract of land in the southern
part of the County of Tipperary, of which they had been occupants for
many generations. He was well educated, of studious habits, and
thoroughly imbued with patriotic feeling, which came to him as a
hereditary possession. When the Young Ireland leaders were electrifying
the country by their spirited appeals to the patriotism and bravery of
the Irish race, and the population in all the chief centres of
intelligence were crystalizing into semi-military organizations,
O'Mahony was not apathetic or inactive. One of the strongest of the
Confederate clubs--which were thick sown in the contiguous districts of
the Counties of Cork, Waterford, and Tipperary--was under his
presidency; and when in July, 1848, the leaders of the movement
scattered themselves over the country for the purpose of ascertaining
the degree of support they would receive if they should decide on
unfurling the green banner, his report of the state of affairs in his
district was one of their most cheering encouragements.

A few days afterwards the outbreak under O'Brien occurred at
Ballingarry. The failure of that attempt, and the irresolute manner in
which it was conducted, had disheartened the country, but the idea of
allowing the struggle to rest at that point was not universally
entertained by the leaders of the clubs; and John O'Mahony was one of
those who resolved that another attempt should be made to rally the
people to the insurrectionary standard. He acted up to his resolution.
On the night of the 12th of September there were signal-fires on the
slopes of Slievenamon and the Comeragh mountains, and the district
between Carrick-on-Suir and Callan was in a state of perturbation. Next
day the alarm was spread in all directions. The gentry of the disturbed
districts rushed into the nearest towns for protection; police from the
outlying barracks were called in to reinforce the threatened stations,
and troops were hastily summoned from Dublin and the neighbouring
garrisons. Meanwhile parties of the insurgents began to move about. One
proceeded to the police station at the Slate-quarries, and finding it
deserted--the policemen having retired on Piltown--burned it to the
ground. Another attempted the destruction of Grany bridge, to delay the
advance of the soldiery. A third proceeded to attack the Glenbower
station. The defenders of the barracks were in a rather critical
position when another party of police, on their way from the
Nine-Mile-House station to Carrick, came upon the spot, and the combined
force speedily put their half-armed assailants to flight, with a loss to
the latter of one man severely wounded and one killed. An attack was
made on the barrack at Portlaw, but with a like result; two men were
stricken dead by the bullets of the police. The people soon afterwards
scattered to their homes, and the soldiery and police had nothing to do
but hunt up for the leaders and other parties implicated in the
movement. John O'Mahony narrowly escaped capture on three or four
occasions. He lingered in the country, however, until after the
conviction of the state prisoners at Clonmel, when it became clear to
him that the cause was lost for a time; and he then took his way to
Paris, whither several of his fellow outlaws, for whose arrest the
government had offered large rewards, had gone before him.

In that famous centre of intellect and of intrigue, the focus of
political thought, the fountain-head of great ideas, John O'Mahony and
James Stephens pondered long over the defeat that had come upon the
Irish cause, and in their ponderings bethought them that the reason of
the failure which they deplored was to be found in the want of that
quiet, earnest, secret preparation, by means of which the Continental
revolutionists were able to produce from time to time such volcanic
effects in European politics, and cause the most firmly-rooted dynasties
to tremble for their positions. The system of secret conspiracy--that
ancient system, "old as the universe, yet not outworn"--a system not
unknown in Ireland from the days of the Attacots to those of the
Whiteboys--the system of Sir Phelim O'Neill and of Theobald Wolfe
Tone--that system, as developed, refined, and elaborated by the most
subtle intellects of modern times, those two men proposed to propagate
among the Irish race at home and abroad. They divided the labour between
them. O'Mahony took the United States of America for his field of
action, and Stephens took the Old Country.

It was in the year 1858 that the first symptoms indicative of the work
to which James Stephens had set himself made their appearance in the
extreme south-west of Ireland. Whispers went about that some of the
young men of Kenmare, Bantry, and Skibbereen were enrolled in a secret
sworn organization, and were in the habit of meeting for the purpose of
training and drilling. Indeed the members of the new society took little
pains to conceal its existence; they seemed rather to find a pride in
the knowledge which their neighbours had of the fact, and relied for
their legal safety on certain precautions adopted in the manner of their
initiation as members. When informed firstly by well known nationalists
in a private manner, and subsequently by public remonstrances addressed
to them by Catholic clergymen and the national journals, that the
government were on their track, they refused to believe it; but ere long
they suffered grievously for their incredulity and want of prudence. In
the early days of December, 1858, the swoop of the government was made
on the members of the "Phoenix Society" in Cork and Kerry, and arrests
followed shortly after in other parts of the country. The trials in the
south commenced at Tralee in March, 1859, when a conviction was obtained
against a man named Daniel O'Sullivan, and he was sentenced to penal
servitude for ten years. The remaining cases were adjourned to the next
assizes, and when they came on in July, 1859, the prisoners put in a
plea of guilty, and were set at liberty on the understanding that if
their future conduct should not be satisfactory to the authorities, they
would be called up for sentence. Amongst the Cork prisoners who took
this course was Jeremiah O'Donovan (Rossa), whose name has since then
been made familiar to the public.

Those events were generally supposed to have extinguished the Phoenix
conspiracy. And many of Ireland's most sincere friends hoped that such
was the case. Recognising fully the peculiar powers which a secret
society can bring to bear against the government, they still felt a
profound conviction that the risks, or rather the certain cost of
liberty and life involved in such a mode of procedure, formed more than
a counterpoise for the advantages which it presented. They were
consequently earnest and emphatic in their endeavours to dissuade their
countrymen from treading in the dangerous paths in which their steps
were dogged by the spy and the informer. The Catholic clergy were
especially zealous in their condemnation of secret revolutionary
societies, urged thereto by a sense of their duty as priests and
patriots. But there were men connected with the movement both in America
and Ireland, who were resolved to persevere in their design of extending
the organization among the Irish people, despite of any amount of
opposition from any quarter whatsoever. In pursuit of that object they
were not over scrupulous as to the means they employed; they did not
hesitate to violate many an honourable principle, and to wrong many an
honest man; nor did they exhibit a fair share of common prudence in
dealing with the difficulties of their position; but unexpected
circumstances arose to favour their propagandism, and it went ahead
despite of all their mistakes and of every obstacle. One of those
circumstances was the outbreak of the civil war in America, which took
place in April, 1861. That event seemed to the leaders of the Irish
revolutionary organization, now known as the Fenian Brotherhood, to be
one of the most fortunate for their purposes that could have happened.
It inspired the whole population of America with military ardour, it
opened up a splendid school in which the Irish section of the people
could acquire a knowledge of the art of war, which was exactly what was
needed to give real efficacy to their endeavours for the overthrow of
British dominion in Ireland. Besides, there appeared to be a strong
probability that the line of action in favour of the Southern States
which England, notwithstanding her proclamation of neutrality, had
adopted from an early stage of the conflict, would speedily involve her
in a war with the Federal government. These things constituted a
prospect dazzling to the eyes of the Irishmen who had "gone with a
vengeance." Their hearts bounded with joy at the opportunities that
appeared to be opening on them. At last the time was near, they
believed, when the accumulated hate of seven centuries would burst upon
the power of England, not in the shape of an undisciplined peasantry
armed with pikes, and scythes, and pitchforks, as in 1798--not in the
shape of a half famished and empty-handed crowd, led to battle by
orators and poets, as in 1848, but in the shape of an army, bristling
with sharp steel, and flanked with thunderous cannon--an army skilled in
the modern science of war, directed by true military genius, and
inspired by that burning valour which in all times was one of the
qualities of the Irish race. Influenced by such hopes and feelings, the
Irish of the Northern States poured by thousands into the Federal ranks,
and formed themselves into regiments that were at the same time so many
Fenian circles. In the Southern army, too, there were many Irishmen who
were not less determined to give to their native land the benefit of
their military experience, as soon as the troubles of their adopted
country should be brought to an end. Fenianism, with that glow of light
upon it, spread like a prairie-fire through the States. The ranks of the
organization swelled rapidly, and money contributions poured like a tide
into its treasury. The impulse was felt also by the society in Ireland.
It received a rapid development, and soon began to put on a bold front
towards the government, and a still more belligerent one towards all
Irishmen who, while claiming the character of patriots, declined to take
part in the Fenian movement or recommend it to their countrymen. In
November, 1863, the brotherhood started the _Irish People_ newspaper in
Dublin, for the double purpose of propagating their doctrines and
increasing the revenues of the society. James Stephens was the author of
this most unfortunate project. The men whom he selected for working it
out were Thomas Clarke Luby, John O'Leary, and Charles Joseph Kickham.

From the date of its establishment up to the mouth of September, 1865--a
period of nearly two years--the _Irish People_ occupied itself in
preaching what its editors regarded as the cardinal doctrines of the
society, which were:--That constitutional agitation for the redress of
Ireland's grievances was worse than useless; that every man taking part
in such agitation was either a fool or a knave; that in political
affairs clergymen should be held of no more account than laymen; and
that the only hope for Ireland lay in an armed uprising of the people.
These doctrines were not quite new; not one of them was absolutely true;
but they were undoubtedly held by many thousands of Irishmen, and the
Fenian society took care to secure for the journal in which they were
advocated, a large circulation. The office of the _Irish People_ soon
came to be regarded as, what it really was, the head quarters of the
Fenian organization in Ireland. To it the choice spirits of the party
resorted for counsel and direction; thither the provincial organisers
directed their steps whenever they visited Dublin; into it poured weekly
from all parts of the country an immense mass of correspondence, which
the editors, instead of destroying after it had passed through their
hands, foolishly allowed to accumulate upon their shelves, though every
word of it was fraught with peril to the lives and liberties of their
friends. In their private residences also they were incautious enough to
keep numerous documents of a most compromising character. There is but
one way of accounting for their conduct in this matter. They may have
supposed that the legal proceedings against them, which they knew were
certain to take place at one time or another, would be conducted in the
semi-constitutional fashion which was adopted towards the national
journals in 1848. If the staff of the _Irish People_ had received a
single day's notice that they were about to be made amenable to the law,
it is possible that they would have their houses and their office
immediately cleared of those documents which afterwards consigned so
many of their countrymen to the horrors of penal servitude. But they saw
no reason to suppose that the swoop was about to be made on them. On the
fifteenth day of September, 1865, there were no perceptible indications
that the authorities were any more on the alert in reference to Fenian
affairs then they had been during the past twelve months. It was Friday;
the _Irish People_ had been printed for the next day's sale, large
batches of the paper had been sent off to the agents in town and
country, the editors and publishing clerks had gone home to rest after
their week's labours--when suddenly, at about half-past nine o'clock in
the evening, a strong force of police broke into the office, seized the
books, manuscripts, papers, and forms of type, and bore them off to the
Castle yard. At the same time arrests of the chief Fenian leaders were
being made in various parts of the city. The news created intense
excitement in all circles of society, and more especially amongst the
Fenians themselves, who had never dreamed of a government _coup_ so
sudden, so lawless, and so effective. The government had now thrown off
the mask of apathy and impassiveness which it had worn so long, and it
commenced to lay its strong hand upon its foes. Amongst the men who
filled the prison cells on that miserable autumn evening were John
O'Leary, Thomas Clarke Luby, and Jeremiah O'Donovan (Rossa). Before the
crown was ready to proceed with their trial, the third editor of the
paper, Charles J. Kickham, was added to their company, having been
arrested with James Stephens, Edward Duffy, and Hugh Brophy, on the 11th
November, at Fairfield House, near Dublin.

On Monday, November 27th, 1865, the state trials commenced before a
Special Commission in the Courthouse, Green-street--the scene of so many
a previous grapple between British law and the spirit of Irish
patriotism. Mr. Justice Keogh and Mr. Justice Fitzgerald were the
presiding judges. There was a long list of prisoners to be tried. James
Stephens might have been honoured with the first place amongst them,
were it not that two days previously, to the unspeakable horror and
surprise of the government and all its friends, he had effected his
escape, or rather, we might say, obtained, by the aid of friendly hands,
his release from Richmond prison. In his regretted absence, the crown
commenced their proceedings by placing Thomas Clarke Luby in the dock to
answer to a charge of treason-felony.

He stood up to the bar, between the jailors that clustered about him, a
quiet-faced, pale, and somewhat sad-looking man, apparently of about
forty years of age. A glance around the court-house showed him but few
friendly faces--for, owing to the terrors felt by the judges, the crown
prosecutors and other officials of the law, who dreaded the desperate
resolves of armed conspirators, few were admitted into the building
except policemen, detectives, and servants of the crown in one capacity
or another. In one of the galleries, however, he recognised his
wife--daughter of J. De Jean Fraser, one of the sweetest poets of the
'48 period--with the wife of his fellow-prisoner, O'Donovan Rossa, and
the sister of John O'Leary. A brief smile of greeting passed between the
party, and then all thoughts were concentrated on the stern business of
the day.

There was no chance of escape for Thomas Clarke Luby or for his
associates. The crown had a plethora of evidence against them, acquired
during the months and years when they appeared to be all but totally
ignorant of the existence of the conspiracy. They had the evidence of
the approver, Nagle, who had been an employè of the _Irish People_
office and a confidential agent of James Stephens up to the night of the
arrests, but who during the previous eighteen months had been betraying
every secret of theirs to the government. They had the evidence of a
whole army of detectives; but more crushing and fatal than all, they had
that which was supplied by the immense store of documents captured at
the _Irish People_ office and the houses of some of the chief members of
the conspiracy. Of all those papers the most important was one found at
the residence of Mr. Luby, in which James Stephens, being at the time
about to visit America delegated his powers over the organization in
Ireland, England, and Scotland to Thomas Clarke Luby, John O'Leary, and
Charles J. Kickham. This, which was referred to during the trials as the
"executive document," was worded as follows:--

   "I hereby empower Thomas Clarke Luby, John O'Leary and Charles J.
   Kickham a committee of organization, or executive, with the same
   supreme control over the home organization, England, Ireland, and
   Scotland, as that exercised by myself. I further empower them to
   appoint a committee of military inspection, and a committee of appeal
   and judgment, the functions of which committee will be made known to
   every member of them. Trusting to the patriotism and abilities of the
   executive, I fully endorse their actions beforehand. I call on every
   man in our ranks to support and be guided by them in all that
   concerns the military brotherhood.


Not all the legal ingenuity and forensic eloquence of their talented
counsel, Mr. Butt, could avail to save the men who, by the preservation
of such documents as the foregoing, had fastened the fetters on their
own limbs. The trial of Mr. Luby concluded on the fourth day of the
proceedings--Friday, December 1st 1865--with a verdict of guilty. The
prisoner heard the announcement with composure, and then, in response to
the question usual in such cases, addressed the court as follows:--

   "Well, my lords and gentlemen, I don't think any person present here
   is surprised at the verdict found against me. I have been prepared
   for this verdict ever since I was arrested, although I thought it my
   duty to fight the British government inch by inch. I felt I was sure
   to be found guilty, since the advisers of the Crown took what the
   Attorney-General was pleased the other day to call the 'merciful
   course.' I thought I might have a fair chance of escaping, so long as
   the capital charge was impending over me; but when they resolved on
   trying me under the Treason-Felony Act, I felt that I had not the
   smallest chance. I am somewhat embarrassed at the present moment as
   to what I should say under the circumstances. There are a great many
   things that I would wish to say; but knowing that there are other
   persons in the same situation with myself, and that I might allow
   myself to say something injudicious, which would peril their cases, I
   feel that my tongue is to a great degree tied. Nothwithstanding,
   there are two or three points upon which I would say a few words. I
   have nothing to say to Judge Keogh's charge to the jury. He did not
   take up any of the topics that had been introduced to prejudice the
   case against me; for instance, he did not take this accusation of an
   intention to assassinate, attributed to my fellow-prisoners and
   myself. The Solicitor-General in his reply to Mr. Butt, referred to
   those topics. Mr. Barry was the first person who advanced those
   charges. I thought they were partially given up by the
   Attorney-General in his opening statement, at least they were put
   forward to you in a very modified form; but the learned
   Solicitor-General, in his very virulent speech, put forward those
   charges in a most aggravated manner. He sought even to exaggerate
   upon Mr. Barry's original statement. Now, with respect to those
   charges--in justice to my character--I must say that in this court,
   there is not a man more incapable of anything like massacre or
   assassination than I am. I really believe that the gentlemen who have
   shown so much ability in persecuting me, in the bottom of their
   hearts believe me incapable of an act of assassination or massacre. I
   don't see that there is the smallest amount of evidence to show that
   I ever entertained the notion of a massacre of landlords and priests.
   I forget whether the advisers of the crown said I intended the
   massacre of the Protestant clergymen. Some of the writers of our
   enlightened press said that I did. Now, with respect to the charge of
   assassinating the landlords, the only thing that gives even the
   shadow of a colour to that charge is the letter signed--alleged to be
   signed--by Mr. O'Keefe. Now, assuming--but by no means admitting, of
   course--that the letter was written by Mr. O'Keefe, let me make a
   statement about it. I know the facts that I am about to state are of
   no practical utility to me now, at least with respect to the judges.
   I know it is of no practical utility to me, because I cannot give
   evidence on my own behalf, but it may be of practical utility to
   others with whom I wish to stand well. I believe my words will carry
   conviction--and carry much more conviction than any words of the
   legal advisers of the crown can--to more than 300,000 of the Irish
   race in Ireland, England, and America. Well, I deny absolutely, that
   I ever entertained any idea of assassinating the landlords, and the
   letter of Mr. O'Keefe--assuming it to be his letter--is the only
   evidence on the subject. My acquaintance with Mr. O'Keefe was of the
   slightest nature. I did not even know of his existence when the
   _Irish People_ was started. He came, after that paper was established
   a few months, to the office, and offered some articles--some were
   rejected, some we inserted, and I call the attention of the legal
   advisers of the Crown to this fact, that amongst the papers which
   they got, those that were Mr. O'Keefe's articles had many paragraphs
   scored out; in fact we put in no article of his without a great deal
   of what is technically called 'cutting down.' Now, that letter of his
   to me was simply a private document. It contained the mere private
   views of the writer; and I pledge this to the court as a man of
   honour--and I believe in spite of the position in which I stand,
   amongst my countrymen I am believed to be a man of honour, and that
   if my life depended on it, I would not speak falsely about the
   thing--when I read that letter, and the first to whom I gave it was
   my wife, I remember we read it with fits of laughter at its
   ridiculous ideas. My wife at the moment said--'Had I not better burn
   the letter?' 'Oh no,' I said, looking upon it as a most ridiculous
   thing, and never dreaming for a moment that such a document would
   ever turn up against me, and produce the unpleasant consequences it
   has produced--mean the imputation of assassination and massacre,
   which has given me a great deal more trouble than anything else in
   this case. That disposes--as far as I can at present dispose of
   it--of the charge of wishing to assassinate the landlords. As to the
   charge of desiring to assassinate the priests, I deny it as being the
   most monstrous thing in the world. Why, surely, every one who read
   the articles in the paper would see that the plain doctrine laid
   down there was--to reverence the priests so long as they confined
   themselves to their sacerdotal functions; but when the priest
   descended to the arena of politics he became no more than any other
   man, and would just be regarded as any other man. If he was a man of
   ability and honesty, of course he would get the respect that such men
   get in politics--if he was not a man of ability there would be no
   more thought of him than of a shoemaker or any one else. This is the
   teaching of the _Irish People_ with regard to the priests. I believe
   the _Irish People_ has done a great deal of good, even amongst those
   who do not believe in its revolutionary doctrines. I believe the
   revolutionary doctrines of the _Irish People_ are good. I believe
   nothing can ever save Ireland except independence; and I believe that
   all other attempts to ameliorate the condition of Ireland are mere
   temporary expedients and make shifts----"

   Mr. Justice Keogh--"I am very reluctant to interrupt you, Mr. Luby."

   Mr. Luby--"Very well, my lord, I will leave that. I believe in this
   way the _Irish People_ has done an immensity of good. It taught the
   people not to give up their right of private judgment in temporal
   matters to the clergy; that while they reverenced the clergy upon the
   altar, they should not give up their consciences in secular matters
   to the clergy. I believe that is good. Others may differ from me. No
   set of men I believe ever set themselves earnestly to any work, but
   they did good in some shape or form."

   Judge Keogh--"I am most reluctant, Mr. Luby, to interrupt you, but do
   you think you should pursue this!"

   Mr. Luby--"Very well, I will not. I think that disposes of those
   things. I don't care to say much about myself. It would be rather
   beneath me. Perhaps some persons who know me would say I should not
   have touched upon the assassination charge at all--that in fact I
   have rather shown weakness in attaching so much importance to it.
   But, with regard to the entire course of my life, and whether it be a
   mistaken course or not will be for every man's individual judgment to
   decide--this I know, that no man ever loved Ireland more than I have
   done--no man has ever given up his whole being to Ireland to the
   extent I have done. From the time I came to what has been called the
   years of discretion, my entire thought has been devoted to Ireland. I
   believed the course I pursued was right; others may take a different
   view. I believe the majority of my countrymen this minute, if,
   instead of my being tried before a petty jury, who, I suppose, are
   bound to find according to British law--if my guilt or innocence was
   to be tried by the higher standard of eternal right, and the case was
   put to all my countrymen--I believe this moment the majority of my
   countrymen would pronounce that I am not a criminal, but that I have
   deserved well of my country. When the proceedings of this trial go
   forth into the world, people will say the cause of Ireland is not to
   be despaired of, that Ireland is not yet a lost country--that as long
   as there are men in any country prepared to expose themselves to
   every difficulty and danger in its service, prepared to brave
   captivity, even death itself if need be, that country cannot be
   lost. With these words I conclude."

On the conclusion of this address, Judge Keogh proceeded to pass
sentence on the prisoner. The prisoner's speech, he said, was in every
way creditable to him; but the bench could not avoid coming to the
conclusion that, with the exception of James Stephens, he was the person
most deeply implicated in the conspiracy. The sentence of the court was
that he be kept in penal servitude for a term of twenty years. Mr. Luby
heard the words without any apparent emotion--gave one sad farewell
glance to his wife and friends, and stepping down the little stairs from
the dock, made way for the next prisoner.

       *       *       *       *       *


While the jury in the case of Thomas Clarke Luby were absent from the
court deliberating on and framing their verdict, John O'Leary was put
forward to the bar.

He stepped boldly to the front, with a flash of fire in his dark eyes,
and a scowl on his features, looking hatred and defiance on judges,
lawyers, jurymen, and all the rest of them. All eyes were fixed on him,
for he was one of those persons whose exterior attracts attention and
indicates a character above the common. He was tall, slightly built, and
of gentlemanly deportment; every feature of his thin angular face gave
token of great intellectual energy and determination, and its pallid hue
was rendered almost death-like by contrast with his long black hair and
flowing moustache and beard. Easy it was to see that when the government
placed John O'Leary in the dock they had caged a proud spirit, and an
able and resolute enemy. He had come of a patriot stock, and from a part
of Ireland where rebels to English rule were never either few or
faint-hearted. He was born in the town of Tipperary, of parents whose
circumstances were comfortable, and who, at the time of their decease,
left him in possession of property worth a couple of hundred pounds per
annum. He was educated for the medical profession in the Queen's
College, Cork, spent some time in France, and subsequently visited
America, where he made the acquaintance of the chief organisers of the
Fenian movement, by whom he was regarded as a most valuable acquisition
to the ranks of the brotherhood. After his return to Ireland he
continued to render the Fenian cause such services as lay in his power,
and when James Stephens, who knew his courage and ability, invited him
to take the post of chief editor of the Fenian organ which he was about
to establish in Dublin, O'Leary readily obeyed the call, and accepted
the dangerous position. In the columns of the _Irish People_ he laboured
hard to defend and extend the principles of the Fenian organization
until the date of his arrest and the suppression of the paper.

The trial lasted from Friday, the 1st, up to Wednesday, the 6th of
December, when it was closed with a verdict of guilty and a sentence of
twenty years' penal servitude--Mr. Justice Fitzgerald remarking that no
distinction in the degree of criminality could be discovered between the
case of the prisoner and that of the previous convict. The following is
the address delivered by O'Leary, who appeared to labour under much
excitement, when asked in the usual terms if he had any reason to show
why sentence should not be passed upon him:--

   "I was not wholly unprepared for this verdict, because I felt that
   the government which could so safely pack the bench could not fail to
   make sure of its verdict."

   Mr. Justice Fitzgerald--"We are willing to hear anything in reason
   from you, but we cannot allow language of that kind to be used."

   Mr. O'Leary--"My friend Mr. Luby did not wish to touch on this matter
   from a natural fear lest he should do any harm to the other political
   prisoners; but there can be but little fear of that now, for a jury
   has been found to convict me of this conspiracy upon the evidence.
   Mr. Luby admitted that he was technically guilty according to British
   law; but I say that it is only by the most torturing interpretation
   that these men could make out their case against me. With reference
   to this conspiracy there has been much misapprehension in Ireland,
   and serious misapprehension. Mr. Justice Keogh said in his charge
   against Mr. Luby that men would be always found ready for money, or
   for some other motive, to place themselves at the disposal of the
   government; but I think the men who have been generally bought in
   this way, and who certainly made the best of the bargain, were
   agitators and not rebels. I have to say one word in reference to the
   foul charge upon which that miserable man, Barry, has made me

   Mr. Justice Fitzgerald--"We cannot allow that tone of observation."

   Mr. O'Leary continued--"That man has charged me--I need not defend
   myself or my friends from the charge. I shall merely denounce the
   moral assassin. Mr. Justice Keogh the other day spoke of revolutions,
   and administered a lecture to Mr. Luby. He spoke of cattle being
   driven away, and of houses being burned down, that men would be
   killed, and so on. I would like to know if all that does not apply to
   war as well as to revolution? One word more, and I shall have done. I
   have been found guilty of treason or treason-felony. Treason is a
   foul crime. The poet Dante consigned traitors to, I believe, the
   ninth circle of hell; but what kind of traitors? Traitors against
   king, against country, against friends and benefactors. England is
   not my country; I have betrayed no friend, no benefactor. Sidney and
   Emmet were legal traitors, Jeffreys was a loyal man, and so was
   Norbury. I leave the matter there."

One hour after the utterance of these words John O'Leary, dressed in
convict garb, his hair clipped, and his beard shaved off, was the
occupant of a cell in Mountjoy prison, commencing his long term of
suffering in expiation of the crime of having sought to obtain
self-government for his native land.

       *       *       *       *       *


In one of the preceding pages we have mentioned the fact that at the
Cork Summer Assizes of 1859, a conviction was recorded against Jeremiah
O'Donovan (Rossa) for his complicity in the Phoenix conspiracy, and he
was then released on the understanding that if he should be found
engaging in similar practices, the crown would bring him up for
judgment. It is characteristic of the man that with this conviction
hanging like a mill-stone about his neck, he did not hesitate to take an
active and an open part with the promoters of the Fenian movement. He
travelled through various parts of Ireland in furtherance of the objects
of the society; he visited America on the same mission, and when the
_Irish People_ was started he took the position of business manager in
that foredoomed establishment.

He was brought into the dock immediately after John O'Leary had been
taken from it; but on representing that certain documents which he had
not then at hand were necessary for his defence, he obtained a
postponement of his trial for a few days. When he was again brought up
for trial he intimated to the court that he meant to conduct his own
defence. And he entered upon it immediately. He cross-examined the
informers in fierce fashion, he badgered the detectives, he questioned
the police, he debated with the crown lawyers, he argued with the
judges, he fought with the crown side all round. But it was when the
last of the witnesses had gone off the table that he set to the work in
good earnest. He took up the various publications that had been put in
evidence against him, and claimed his legal right to read them all
through. One of them was the file of the _Irish People_ for the whole
term of its existence! Horror sat upon the faces of judges, jurymen,
sheriffs, lawyers, turnkeys, and all, when the prisoner gravely informed
them that as a compromise he would not insist upon reading the
advertisements! The bench were unable to deny that the prisoner was
entitled to read, if not the entire, at any rate a great portion of the
volume, and O'Donovan then applied himself to the task, selecting his
readings more especially from those articles in which the political
career of Mr. Justice Keogh was made the subject of animadversion. Right
on he read, his lordship striving to look as composed and indifferent as
possible, while every word of the bitter satire and fierce invective
written against him by Luby and O'Leary was being launched at his heart.
When articles of that class were exhausted, the prisoner turned to the
most treasonable and seditious documents he could find, and commenced
the reading of them, but the judges interposed; he claimed to be allowed
to read a certain article--Judge Keogh objected--he proposed to read
another--that was objected to also--he commenced to read another--he was
stopped--he tried another--again Judge Keogh was down on him--then
another--and he fared no better. So the fight went on throughout the
live-long day, till the usual hour of adjournment had come and gone, and
the prisoner himself was feeling parched, and weary, and exhausted.
Observing that the lights were being now renewed, and that their
lordships appeared satisfied to sit out the night, he anxiously inquired
if the proceedings were not to be adjourned till morning. "Proceed,
sir," was the stern reply of the judge, who knew that the physical
powers of the prisoner could not hold out much longer. "A regular
Norbury," gasped O'Donovan. "It's like a '98 trial." "You had better
proceed, sir, with propriety," exclaimed the judge. "When do you propose
stopping, my lord?" again inquired the prisoner. "Proceed, sir," was the
reiterated reply. O'Donovan could stand it no longer. He had been
reading and speaking for eight hours and a half. With one final protest
against the arrangement by which Judge Keogh was sent to try the cases
of men who had written and published such articles against him, he sat
down, exclaiming that, "English law might now take its course."

Next day the jury handed down their verdict of guilty. The
Attorney-General then addressed the court, and referred to the previous
conviction against the prisoner. O'Donovan was asked, what he had to say
in reference to that part of the case? and his reply was that "the
government might add as much as they pleased to the term of his sentence
on that account, if it was any satisfaction to them." And when the like
question was put to him regarding the present charge, he said:--

   "With the fact that the government seized papers connected with my
   defence and examined them--with the fact that they packed the
   jury--with the fact that the government stated they would
   convict--with the fact that they sent Judge Keogh, a second Morbury,
   to try me--with these facts before me, it would be useless to say

Judge Keogh proceeded to pass sentence. "The prisoner," he said, "had
entertained those criminal designs since the year 1859;" whereupon
O'Donovan broke in with the remark that he was "an Irishman since he was
born." The judge said, "he would not waste words by trying to bring him
to a sense of his guilt;" O'Donovan's reply was--"It would be useless
for you to try it." The judge told him his sentence was, that he be kept
in penal servitude for the term of his natural life. "All right, my
lord," exclaimed the unconquerable rebel, and with a smile to the
sympathising group around him, he walked with a light step from the

The court was then adjourned to the 5th of January. 1866; and next day
the judges set off for Cork city, to dispose of the Fenian prisoners
there awaiting trial.

       *       *       *       *       *


On Wednesday, December 16th, the trial of O'Donovan (Rossa) was brought
to a conclusion in Dublin. Next morning, away went judges, crown
lawyers, spies, detectives, and informers for the good city of Cork,
where another batch of men accused of conspiring against British rule in
Ireland--"the old crime of their race"--were awaiting the pronouncement
of British law upon their several cases. Cork city in these days was
known to be one of the _foci_ of disaffection; perhaps it was its chief
stronghold. The Metropolis may have given an absolutely larger number of
members to the Fenian organization, but in proportion to the number of
its population the Southern city was far more deeply involved in the
movement. In Dublin, the seat of British rule in Ireland, many
influences which are but faintly represented in other parts of the
country, are present and active to repress the national ardour of the
people. Those influences are scarcely felt in the city of Saint Finbar.
Not in Ireland is there a town in which the national sentiment is
stronger or more widely diffused than in Cork. The citizens are a
warm-hearted, quick-witted and high-spirited race, gifted with fine
moral qualities, and profoundly attached to the national faith in
religion and politics. Merchants, traders, professional men,
shopkeepers, artizans, and all, are comparatively free from the spells
of Dublin Castle, and the result is visible in their conduct. The crown
looks dubiously and anxiously upon a Cork jury; the patriot, when any
work for Ireland is in hand, looks hopefully to the Cork people. The
leaders of the Fenian movement thoroughly understood these facts, and
devoted much of their time and attention to the propagation of their
society among men so well inclined to welcome it. Their labours, if
labours they could be called, were rewarded with a great measure of
success. The young men of Cork turned into the organization by hundreds.
There was no denying the fact; every one knew it; evidences of it were
to be seen on all sides. The hope that was filling their hearts revealed
itself in a thousand ways: in their marchings, their meetings, their
songs, their music. The loyal party in the neighbourhood grew alarmed,
and the government shared their apprehensions. At the time of which we
write, the opinion of the local magistracy and that of the authorities
at Dublin Castle was that Cork was a full-charged mine of "treason."

Thither was the Commission now sped, to carry terror, if the "strong arm
of the law" could do it, into the hearts of those conspirators "against
the royal name, style, and dignity" of her Majesty Queen Victoria. As no
one in the Castle could say to what desperate expedients those people
might have recourse, it was thought advisable to take extraordinary
precautions to ensure the safety of the train which carried those
important personages, her Majesty's judges, lawyers, witnesses and
informers, through the Munster counties and on to the city by the Lee.
"Never before" writes the special correspondent of the _Nation_, "had
such a sight been witnessed on an Irish railway as that presented on
Thursday along the line between Dublin and Cork. Armed sentries paced
each mile of the railway; the platforms of the various stations through
which the trains passed were lined with bodies of constabulary, and the
bridges and viaducts on the way were guarded by a force of military,
whose crimson coats and bright accoutrements stood out in bold relief
from the dark ground on which they were stationed, against the grey
December sky. As a further measure of precaution a pilot engine steamed
in advance of the train in which their lordships sat, one carriage of
which was filled with armed police. And so, in some such manner as Grant
or Sheridan might have journeyed along the Petersburgh and Lynchburg
railway while the flag of the Confederacy floated in Richmond, the two
judges travelled down in safety to the head-quarters of Fenianism in

Immediately on their arrival in Cork, the judges proceeded to the
court-house and formally opened the business of the Commission. Next day
Charles Underwood O'Connell and John M'Afferty were placed in the dock.
These two men belonged to a class which formed the hope of the Fenian
organization, and which the government regarded as one of the most
dangerous elements of the conspiracy. They were Irish-American soldiers,
trained to war, and inured to the hardships of campaigning in the great
struggle which had but recently closed in America. They were a sample of
the thousands of Irishmen who had acquired in that practical school the
military knowledge which they knew was needed for the efficient
direction of an insurrectionary movement in Ireland, and, who were now
burning for the time and opportunity to turn that knowledge to account.
It was known that many of these men were, as quietly and secretly as
might be, dropping into Queenstown as steamer after steamer arrived from
the Land of the West, and were moving about through the Southern
counties, inspiriting the hearts of the Brotherhood by their presence
and their promises, and imparting to them as much military instruction
as was possible under the circumstances. To hunt down these "foreign
emissaries" as the crown lawyers and the loyal prints were pleased to
call them, and to deter others from following in their footsteps, was
naturally a great object with the government, and when they placed
Charles Underwood O'Connell and John M'Afferty in the dock they felt
they had made a good beginning. And these were representative men in
their way. "It was a strange fate," says the writer from whom we have
already quoted, "which had brought these men together in a felon's dock.
They had been born in different lands--they had been reared thousands of
miles apart--and they had fought and won distinction under different
flags, and on opposing sides in the American war. M'Afferty, born of
Irish parents in Ohio, won his spurs in the Confederate army. O'Connell,
who emigrated from Cork little more than two years ago, after the ruin
of his family by a cruel act of confiscation and eviction, fought under
the Stars and Stripes, and, like M'Afferty, obtained a captain's
commission as the reward of his services. Had they crossed each others
path two years ago they would probably have fought _a la mort_, but the
old traditions which linger in spite of every circumstance in the hearts
of Irishmen were strong in both, and the cause of Ireland united them,
only alas, that they might each of them pay the cost of their honest, if
imprudent enthusiasm, by sharing the same prison in Ireland, and falling
within the grasp of the government which they looked on as the oppressor
of their fatherland."

M'Afferty however was not fated to suffer on that occasion. Proof of his
foreign birth having been adduced, the court held that his arrest on
board the steamer in Queenstown harbour, when he had committed no overt
act evidencing a treasonable intent, was illegal, and his trial was
abandoned. The trial of Underwood O'Connell was then postponed for a few
days, and two men reputed to be "centres" of the organization in Cork,
were brought to the bar.

They were Bryan Dillon and John Lynch. Physically, they presented a
contrast to the firm-built and wiry soldiers who had just quitted the
dock. Dillon was afflicted with curvature of the spine, the result of
an accident in early life, and his companion was far gone in that
blighting and fatal disease, consumption. But though they were not men
for the toils of campaigning, for the mountain march, and the bivouac,
and the thundering charge of battle, they had hearts full of enthusiasm
for the cause in which they were engaged, and heads that could think,
and plot, and plan, for its advancement.

We need not here go through the sad details of their trials. Our purpose
is to bring before our readers the courage and the constancy of the
martyrs to the cause of Irish nationality, and to record the words in
which they gave expression to the patriotic sentiments that inspired
them. It is, however, to be recollected that many of the accused at
these commissions--men as earnest, as honest, and as devoted to the
cause of their country as any that ever lived--made no such addresses
from the dock as we can include in this volume. All men are not orators,
and it will often occur that one who has been tried for life and liberty
in a British court of law, on the evidence of spies and informers, will
have much to press upon his mind, and many things more directly relevant
to the trial than any profession of political faith would be, to say
when called upon to show reason why sentence should not be passed upon
him. The evidence adduced in these cases is usually a compound of truth
and falsehood. Some of the untruths sworn to are simply blunders,
resulting from the confused impressions and the defective memory of the
witnesses, others are deliberate inventions, made, sworn to, backed up,
and persevered in for the purpose of insuring a successful result for
the prosecution. Naturally the first impulse of the accused, when he is
allowed to speak for himself, is to refer to these murderous falsehoods;
and in the excitement and trouble of those critical moments, it is all
that some men can venture to do. Such criticisms of the prosecution are
often valuable to the prisoner from a moral point of view, but rarely
have they any influence upon the result of the trial. All things
considered, it must be allowed that they act best who do not forget to
speak the words of patriotism, according to the measure of their
abilities, before the judge's fiat has sealed their lips, and the hand
of British law has swept them away to the dungeon or the scaffold.

"Guilty" was the verdict returned by the jury against Bryan Dillon and
John Lynch. The evidence against them indeed was strong, but its chief
strength lay in the swearing of an approver named Warner, a callous and
unscrupulous wretch, from whose mind the idea of conscience seemed to
have perished utterly. If there was any check upon the testimony of this
depraved creature, it existed only in some prudential instinct,
suggesting to him that even in such cases as these a witness might
possibly overdo his work, and perhaps in a caution or two given him in a
private and confidential manner by some of the managers of the
prosecution. Warner's evidence in this case was conclusive to the minds
of all who chose to believe it; and therefore it was that those
prisoners had not long been occupants of the dock when the question was
put to them what they had to say why sentence should not be passed on
them. In reply Bryan Dillon said:--

   "My lords, I never was for one minute in Warner's company. What
   Warner swore about me was totally untrue. I never was at a meeting at
   Geary's house. The existence of the Fenian organization has been
   proved sufficiently to your lordships. I was a centre in that
   organization; but it does not follow that I had to take the chair at
   any meeting, as it was a military organization. I do not want to
   conceal anything. Warner had no connexion with me whatever. With
   respect to the observation of the Attorney-General, which pained me
   very much, that it was intended to seize property, it does not follow
   because of my social station that I intended to seize the property of
   others. My belief in the ultimate independence of Ireland is as fixed
   as my religious belief--"

At this point he was interrupted by Judge Keogh, who declared he could
not listen to words that were, in fact, a repetition of the prisoner's
offence. But it was only words of this kind that Bryan Dillon cared to
say at the time; and as the privilege of offering some remarks in
defence of his political opinions--a privilege accorded to all prisoners
in trials for treason and treason-felony up to that time--had been
denied to him, he chose to say no more. And then the judge pronounced
the penalty of his offending, which was, penal servitude for a term of
ten years.

John Lynch's turn to speak came next. Interrogated in the usual form, he
stood forward, raised his feeble frame to its full height, and with a
proud, grave smile upon his pallid features, he thus addressed the

   "I will say a very few words, my lords. I know it would be only a
   waste of public time if I entered into any explanations of my
   political opinions--opinions which I know are shared by the vast
   majority of my fellow-countrymen. Standing here as I do will be to
   them the surest proof of my sincerity and honesty. With reference to
   the statement of Warner, all I have to say is, and I say it honestly
   and solemnly, that I never attended a meeting at Geary's, that I
   never exercised with a rifle there, that I never learned the use of
   the rifle, nor did any of the other things he swore to. With respect
   to my opinions on British rule in this country--"

   Mr. Justice Keogh--"We can't hear that."

   The Prisoner--"All I have to say is, that I was not at Geary's house
   for four or five months before my arrest, so that Warner's statement
   is untrue. If, having served my country honestly and sincerely be
   treason, I am not ashamed of it. I am now prepared to receive any
   punishment British law can inflict on me."

The punishment decreed to this pure-minded and brave-spirited patriot
was ten years of penal servitude. But to him it was practically a
sentence of death. The rigours and horrors of prison life were more than
his failing constitution could long endure; and but a few months from
the date of his conviction elapsed when his countrymen were pained by
the intelligence that the faithful-hearted John Lynch filled a nameless
grave in an English prison-yard. He died in the hospital of Woking
prison on the 2nd day of June, 1866.

When Bryan Dillon and John Lynch were removed from the dock (Tuesday,
December 19th), two men named Jeremiah Donovan and John Duggan were put
forward, the former charged with having been a centre in the Fenian
organization, and the latter with having sworn some soldiers into the
society. Both were found guilty. Donovan made no remarks when called
upon for what he had to say. Duggan contradicted the evidence of the
witnesses on several points, and said:--

   "I do not state those things in order to change the sentence I am
   about to receive. I know your lordships' minds are made up on that. I
   state this merely to show what kind of tools the British government
   employ to procure those convictions. I have only to say, and I appeal
   to any intelligent man for his opinion, that the manner in which the
   jury list was made out for these trials clearly shows that in this
   country political trials are a mere mockery."

At this point the judge cut short the prisoner's address, and the two
men were sentenced, Donovan to five years and Duggan to ten years of
penal servitude.

The trial of Underwood O'Connell was then proceeded with. It concluded
on December 21st, with a verdict of guilty. In response to the question
which was then addressed to him he spoke at considerable length,
detailing the manner of his arrest, complaining of the horrible
indignities to which he had been subjected in prison, and asserting that
he had not received a fair and impartial trial. He spoke amidst a
running fire of interruptions from the court, and when he came to refer
to his political opinions his discourse was peremptorily suppressed.
"The sentiments and hopes that animate me," he said, "are well known."
"Really we will not hear those observations," interposed Mr. Justice
Keogh. "It has been brought forward here," said the prisoner, "that I
held a commission in the 99th regiment--in Colonel O'Mahony's regiment.
Proud as I am of having held a commission in the United States service,
I am equally proud of holding command under a man--." Here his speech
was stopped by the judges, and Mr. Justice Keogh proceeded to pass
sentence. In the course of his address his lordship made the following

   "You, it appears, went to America; you entered yourself in the
   American army, thus violating, to a certain extent, your allegiance
   as a British subject. But that is not the offence you are charged
   with here to-day. You say you swore allegiance to the American
   Republic, but no man by so doing can relieve himself from his
   allegiance to the British Crown. From the moment a man is born in
   this country he owes allegiance, he is a subject."

Hearing these words, and remembering the great outcry that was being
made by the friends of the government against the Irish-American Fenians
on the ground that they were "foreigners," the prisoner interposed the
apt remark on his lordship's legal theory:--

   "If that is so, why am I charged with bringing over foreigners--John
   O'Mahony is no foreigner?"

To that remark Judge Keogh did not choose to make any reply. It
overturned him completely. Nothing could better exhibit the absurdity of
railing against those Irishmen as "foreigners" in one breath, and in the
next declaring their allegiance to the British Crown perpetual and
inalienable. His lordship may have winced as the point was so quickly
and neatly brought home to him; but at all events he went on with his
address and informed the prisoner that his punishment was to be ten
years of penal servitude. Upon which, the comment of the prisoner as he
quitted the dock, was that he hoped there would be an exchange of
prisoners before that time.

In quick succession four men named Casey, Began, Hayes, and Barry, were
tried, convicted, and sentenced. Each in turn impugned the evidence of
the informer Warner, protested against the constitution of the juries,
and attempted to say a few words declaratory of their devotion to the
cause of Ireland. But the judges were quick to suppress every attempt of
this kind, and only a few fragments of sentences are on record to
indicate the thoughts to which these soldiers of liberty would have
given expression if the opportunity had not been denied to them.

John Kennealy was the next occupant of the dock. He was a young man of
high personal character, and of great intelligence, and was a most
useful member of the organization, his calling--that of commercial
traveller--enabling him to act as agent and missionary of the Society
without attracting to himself the suspicion which would be aroused by
the movements of other men. In his case also the verdict was given in
the one fatal word. And when asked what he had to say for himself, his
reply was in these few forcible and dignified sentences:--

   "My lord, it is scarcely necessary for me to say anything. I am sure
   from the charge of your lordship, the jury could find no other
   verdict than has been found. The verdict against me has been found by
   the means by which political convictions have always been found in
   this country. As to the informer, Warner, I have only to say that
   directly or indirectly I never was in the same room with him, nor had
   he any means of knowing my political opinions. As to my connexion
   with Mr. Luby, I am proud of that connexion. I neither regret it, nor
   anything else I have done, politically or otherwise."

On the conclusion of this trial, on Saturday, January 2nd, 1866, two
other cases were postponed without option of bail; some other persons
were allowed to stand out on sureties, and we read that "John McAfferty
and William Mackay, being aliens, were admitted to bail on their own
recognizance, and Judge Keogh said that if they left the country they
would not be required up for trial when called." We read also, in the
newspapers of that time, that "The prisoners McAfferty and Mackay when
leaving the courts were followed by large crowds who cheered them loudly
through the streets."

The Cork Commission was then formally closed, and next day the judges
set off to resume in Dublin the work of trying Irish conspirators
against the rule of England over their native land.

       *       *       *       *       *


In the year 1825, in the village of Mullinahone, County. Tipperary,
Charles J. Kickham first saw the light. His father, John Kickham, was
proprietor of the chief drapery establishment in that place, and was
held in high esteem by the whole country round about for his integrity,
intelligence, and patriotic spirit. During the boyhood of young Kickham
the Repeal agitation was at its height, and he soon became thoroughly
versed in its arguments, and inspired by its principles, which he often
heard discussed in his father's shop and by his hearth, and amongst all
his friends and acquaintances. Like all the young people of the time,
and a great many of the old ones, his sympathies went with the Young
Ireland party at the time of their withdrawal from the Repeal ranks. In
1848 he was the leading spirit of the Confederation Club at Mullinahone,
which he was mainly instrumental in founding; and after the _fiasco_ at
Ballingarry he was obliged to conceal himself for some time, in
consequence of the part he had taken in rousing the people of his native
village to action. When the excitement of that period had subsided, he
again appeared in his father's house, resumed his accustomed sports of
fishing and fowling, and devoted much of his time to literary pursuits,
for which he had great natural capacity, and towards which he was all
the more inclined because of the blight put upon his social powers by an
unfortunate accident which occurred to him when about the age of
thirteen years. He had brought a flask of powder near the fire, and was
engaged either in the operation of drying it or casting some grains into
the coals for amusement, when the whole quantity exploded. The shock and
the injuries he sustained nearly proved fatal to him; when he recovered,
it was with his hearing nearly quite destroyed, and his sight
permanently impaired. But Kickham had the poet's soul within him, and it
was his compensation for the losses he had sustained. He could still
hold communion with nature and with his own mind, and could give to the
national cause the service of a bold heart and a finely-cultivated
intellect. Subsequent to the decadence of the '48 movement he wrote a
good deal in prose and verse, and contributed gratuitously to various
national publications. His intimate acquaintance with the character and
habits of the peasantry gave a great charm to his stories and sketches
of rural life; and his poems were always marked by grace, simplicity,
and tenderness. Many of them have attained a large degree of popularity
amongst his countrymen in Ireland and elsewhere, and taken a permanent
place in the poetic literature of the Irish race. Amongst these, his
ballads entitled "Patrick Sheehan," "Rory of the Hill," and "The Irish
Peasant Girl" are deserving of special mention. To these remarks it
remains to be added that as regards personal character, Charles J.
Kickham was one of the most amiable of men. He was generous and kindly
by nature, and was a pious member of the Catholic Church, to which his
family had given priests and nuns.

Such was the man whom the myrmidons of the law placed in the dock of
Green-street court-house, when on January 5th, 1866, after the return of
the judges from Cork, the Commission was re-opened in Dublin. His
appearance was somewhat peculiar. He was a tall, strong, rough-bearded
man, with that strained expression of face which is often worn by people
of dim sight. Around his neck he wore an india-rubber tube, or ear
trumpet, through which any words that were necessary to be addressed to
him were shouted into his ear by some of his friends, or by his
solicitor. His trial did not occupy much time, for on the refusal of the
crown lawyers and judges to produce the convict Thomas Clarke Luby, whom
he conceived to be a material witness for his defence, he directed his
lawyers to abandon the case, and contented himself with reading to the
court some remarks on the evidence which had been offered against him.
The chief feature in this address was his denial of all knowledge of the
"executive document." He had never seen or heard of it until it turned
up in connexion with those trials. Referring to one of the articles with
the authorship of which he was charged, he said he wondered how any
Irishman, taking into consideration what had occurred in Ireland during
the last eighty-four years, could hesitate to say to the enemy--"Give us
our country to ourselves and let us see what we can do with it."
Alluding to a report that the government contemplated making some
concession to the claims of the Catholic bishops, he remarked that
concessions to Ireland had always been a result of Fenianism in one
shape or another, and that he believed the present manifestation of the
national spirit would have weight, as former ones had, with the rulers
of the country. As regards the landed class in Ireland, the _Irish
People_, he contended, had said nothing more than was said by Thomas
Davis, whose works every one admired. That eminent Irishman, afflicted
and stung to the heart by witnessing the system of depopulation which
was going on throughout the country, had written these words:--

   "God of Justice, I sighed, send your Spirit down
     On those lords so cruel and proud,
   And soften their hearts, and relax their frown,
     Or else, I cried aloud,
   Vouchsafe Thy strength to the peasant's hand
   To drive them at length from out the land."

He had not gone farther than the writer of these lines, and now, he
said, they might send him to a felon's doom if they liked.

And they did send him to it. Judge Keogh, before passing sentence, asked
him if he had any further remarks to make in reference to his case. Mr.
Kickham briefly replied:--

   "I believe, my lords, I have said enough already. I will only add
   that I am convicted for doing nothing but my duty. I have endeavoured
   to serve Ireland, and now I am prepared to suffer for Ireland."

Then the judge, with many expressions of sympathy for the prisoner, and
many compliments in reference to his intellectual attainments, sentenced
him to kept in penal servitude for fourteen years. His solicitor, Mr.
John Lawless, announced the fact to him through his ear trumpet. Charles
J. Kickham bowed to the judges, and with an expression of perfect
tranquility on his features, went into captivity.

[Illustration: GENERAL THOMAS F. BURKE.]

       *       *       *       *       *


The year of grace, 1867, dawned upon a cloudy and troublous period in
Irish politics. There was danger brewing throughout the land; under the
crust of society the long confined lava of Fenianism effervesced and
glowed. There were strange rumours in the air; strange sounds were heard
at the death of night on the hill-sides and in the meadows; and through
the dim moonlight masses of men were seen in secluded spots moving in
regular bodies and practising military evolutions. From castle and
mansion and country seat the spectre of alarm glided to and fro,
whispering with bloodless lips of coming convulsions and slaughter, of
the opening of the crater of revolution, and of a war against property
and class. Symptoms of danger were everywhere seen and felt; the spirit
of disaffection had not been crushed; it rode on the night wind and
glistened against the rising sun; it filled rath and fort and crumbling
ruin with mysterious sounds; it was seen in the brightening eyes and the
bold demeanour of the peasantry; in the signals passing amongst the
people; in their secret gatherings and closely guarded conclaves. For
years and years Fenianism had been threatening, boasting, and promising,
and now the fury of the storm, long pent-up, was about to burst forth
over the land--the hour for action was at hand.

Between the conviction of Luby, O'Leary, and Kickham, and the period at
which we are now arrived, many changes of importance had taken place in
the Fenian organization. In America, the society had been
revolutionized--it had found new leaders, new principles, new plans of
action; it had passed through the ordeal of war, and held its ground
amidst flashing swords and the smoke of battle; it had survived the
shocks of division, disappointment, and failure; treachery, incapacity
and open hostility had failed to shatter it; and it grew apace in
strength, influence, and resources. At home Fenianism, while losing
little in numerical strength, had declined in effectiveness, in
prestige, in discipline, and in organization. Its leaders had been swept
into the prisons, and though men perhaps as resolute stepped forward to
fill the vacant places, there was a loss in point of capacity and
intelligence, and to the keen observer it became apparent that the
Fenian Society in Ireland had attained to the zenith of its power on the
day that the _Irish People_ office was sacked by the police. Never again
did the prospects of Fenianism, whatever they might then have been, look
equally bright; and when the brotherhood at length sprang to action,
they fought with a sword already broken to the hilt, and under
circumstances the most ominous and inauspicious.

The recent history of the Fenian movement is so thoroughly understood
that anything like a detailed account of its changes and progress is, in
these pages, unnecessary. We shall only say that when James Stephens
arrived in America in May, 1866, after escaping from Richmond Prison, he
found the society in the States split up into two opposing parties
between whom a violent quarrel was raging. John O'Mahony had been
deposed from his position of "Head Centre" by an all but unanimous vote
of the Senate, or governing body of the association, who charged him and
his officials with a reckless and corrupt expenditure of the society's
funds, and these in turn charged the Senate party with the crime of
breaking up the organization for mere personal and party purposes. A
large section of the society still adhered to O'Mahony, in consideration
of his past services in their cause; but the greater portion of it, and
nearly all its oldest, best-known and most trusted leaders gave their
allegiance to the Senate and to its elected President, William R.
Roberts, an Irish merchant of large means, of talent and energy, of high
character and unquestionable devotion to the cause of his country. Many
friends of the brotherhood hoped that James Stephens would seek to heal
the breach between these parties, but the course he took was not
calculated to effect that purpose. He denounced the "senators" in the
most extravagant terms, and invited both branches of the organization to
unite under himself as supreme and irresponsible leader and governor of
the entire movement. The O'Mahony section did not answer very heartily
to this invitation; the Senate party indignantly rejected it, and
commenced to occupy themselves with preparations for an immediate
grapple with British power in Canada. Those men were thoroughly in
earnest, and the fact became plain to every intelligence, when in the
latter part of May, 1866, the Fenian contingents from the various States
of the Union began to concentrate on the Canadian border. On the morning
of the 1st of June some hundreds of them crossed the Niagara river, and
took possession of the village of Fort Erie on the Canadian side. They
were soon confronted with detachments of the volunteer force which had
been collected to resist the invasion, and at Limestone Ridge they were
met by the "Queen's Own" regiment of volunteers from Toronto, under the
command of Colonel Booker. A smart battle ensued, the result of which
was that the "Queen's Own" were utterly routed by the Irish under
Colonel John O'Neill, and forced to run in wild confusion for a town
some miles distant, Colonel Booker on his charger leading the way and
distancing all competitors. Had the Irish been allowed to follow up this
victory it is not unlikely that they would have swept Canada clear of
the British forces, and then, according to their programme, made that
country their base of operations against British power in Ireland. But
the American government interfered and put an effectual stopper on their
progress; they seized the arms of the Irish soldiers on the frontier,
they sent up large parties of the States soldiery to prevent the
crossing of hostile parties into British territory, and stationed
war-vessels in the river for the same purpose. Reinforcements being thus
cut off from them, the victors of Limestone Ridge found themselves under
the necessity of re-crossing the river to the American shore, which they
did on the night of the 2nd of June, bringing with them the flags and
other trophies which they had captured from the royal troops.

The first brush between the Fenian forces and the Queen's troops
inspired the former with high hopes, and with great confidence in their
capacity to humble "the English red below the Irish green," if only they
could start on any thing like fair terms. But now that the American
government had forbidden the fight in Canada, what was to be done? James
Stephens answered that question. He would have a fight in Ireland--the
right place, he contended, in which to fight _for_ Ireland. The home
organization was subject to his control and would spring to arms at his
bidding. He would not only bid them fight, but would lead them to
battle, and that at no distant day. The few remaining months of 1866
would not pass away without witnessing the commencement of the struggle.
So he said, and so he swore in the most solemn manner at various public
meetings which he had called for the purpose of obtaining funds
wherewith to carry on the conflict. The prudence of thus publishing the
date which he had fixed for the outbreak of the insurrection was very
generally questioned, but however great might be his error in this
respect, many believed that he would endeavour to make good his words.
The British government believed it, and prepared for the threatened
rising by hurrying troops and munitions of war across to Ireland, and
putting the various forts and barracks in a state of thorough defence.
As the last days and nights of 1866 wore away, both the government and
the people expected every moment to hear the first crash of the
struggle. But it came not. The year 3867 came in and still all was
quiet. What had become of James Stephens? The astonished and irate
Fenians of New York investigated the matter, and found that he was
peacefully and very privately living at lodgings in some part of that
city, afraid to face the wrath of the men whom he had so egregiously
deceived. We need not describe the outburst of rage and indignation
which followed on the discovery; suffice it to say that the once popular
and powerful Fenian leader soon found it prudent to quit the United
States and take up his abode in a part of the world where there were no
Fenian circles and no settlements of the swarming Irish race.

Amongst the men who had rallied round James Stephens in America there
were many whose honesty was untainted, and who had responded to his call
with the full intention of committing themselves, without regard to
consequences, to the struggle which he promised to initiate. They
believed his representations respecting the prospects of an insurrection
in Ireland, and they pledged themselves to fight by his side and perish,
if necessary, in the good old cause, in defence of which their fathers
had bled. They scorned to violate their engagements; they spurned the
idea of shrinking from the difficulty they had pledged themselves to
face, and resolved that come what may the reproach of cowardice and bad
faith should never be uttered against them. Accordingly, in January,
'67, they began to fend in scattered parties at Queenstown, and spread
themselves through the country, taking every precaution to escape the
suspicion of the police. They set to work diligently and energetically
to organize an insurrectionary outbreak; they found innumerable
difficulties in their path; they found the people almost wholly unarmed;
they found the wisest of the Fenian leaders opposed to an immediate
outbreak, but still they persevered. How ably they performed their work
there is plenty of evidence to show, and if the Irish outbreak of '67
was short-lived and easily suppressed, it was far from contemptible in
the pre-concert and organization which it evidenced.

One hitch did occur in the accomplishment of their designs. On
Wednesday, February 13th, the exciting news was flashed throughout the
land that the Fenians had broken into insurrection at Kerry. The news
was true. The night of the 12th of February had been fixed for a
simultaneous rising of the Fenians in Ireland; but the outbreak had been
subsequently postponed, and emissaries were despatched to all parts of
the country with the intelligence of the change of date. The change of
date was everywhere learned in time to prevent premature action except
at Cahirciveen, in the west of Kerry, where the members of the
Brotherhood, acting upon the orders received, unearthed their arms, and
gaily proceeded towards Killarney to form a junction with the insurgents
whom they imagined had converged from various parts of the county in
that town. Before many hours had elapsed they discovered their
mistake--they heard before arriving at Killarney that they were the only
representatives of the Irish Republic that had appeared in the field,
and turning to the mountains they broke up and disappeared.

Short-lived as was their escapade, it filled the heart of England with
alarm. In hot haste the _Habeas Corpus_ Suspension Act, which had been
permitted to lapse a month before, was re-enacted; the arrests and
police raids was renewed, and from the Giant's Causeway to Cape Clear
the gaols were filled with political prisoners. Still the
Irish-Americans worked on; some of them were swept off to prison, but
the greater number of them managed to escape detection, and spite of the
vigilance of the authorities, and the extraordinary power possessed by
the government and its officials, they managed to carry on the business
of the organization, to mature their plans, and to perfect their
arrangements for the fray.

We do not propose to write here a detailed account of the last of the
outbreaks which, since the Anglo-Norman invasion, have periodically
convulsed our country. The time is not yet come when the whole history
of that extraordinary movement can be revealed, and such of its facts,
as are now available for publication, are fresh in the minds of our
readers. On the night of the 5th of March, the Fenian bands took the
field in Dublin, Louth, Tipperary, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Clare.
They were, in all cases, wretchedly armed, their plans had been betrayed
by unprincipled associates, and ruin tracked their venture from the
outset. They were everywhere confronted by well-armed, disciplined men,
and their reckless courage could not pluck success for the maze of
adverse circumstances that surrounded them. The elements, too,
befriended England as they had often done before. Hardly had the
insurgents left their homes when the clear March weather gave place to
the hail and snow of mid-winter. The howling storm, edged by the frost
and hail, swept over mountain and valley, rendering life in the open air
all but impossible to man. The weather in itself would have been
sufficient to dispose of the Fenian insurgents. Jaded and exhausted they
returned to their homes, and twenty-four hours after the flag of revolt
had been unfurled the Fenian insurrection was at an end.

Amongst the Irish officers who left America to share in the expected
battle for Irish rights, a conspicuous place must be assigned Thomas F.
Burke. He was born at Fethard, county Tipperary, on the 10th of
December, 1840, and twelve years later sailed away towards the setting
sun, his parents having resolved on seeking a home in the far West. In
New York, young Burke attended the seminary established by the late
Archbishop Hughes, where he received an excellent education, after which
he was brought up to his father's trade--that of house painter. For many
years he worked steadily at his trade, contributing largely to the
support of his family. The outbreak of the war, however, acted in the
same manner on Burke's temperament as on thousands of his
fellow-countrymen. He threw aside his peaceful avocation and joined the
Confederate army. He served under General Patrick Cleburne, who died in
his arms, and he fought side by side with the son of another
distinguished exile, John Mitchel. When the war had closed, he returned
a Brevet-General, northwards, with a shattered limb and an impaired
constitution. In June, 1865, he joined the Wolfe Tone Circle of the
Fenian Brotherhood in New York, and was appointed soon afterwards to act
as organizer in the Brotherhood for the district of Manhattan. He filled
this post with great satisfaction to his associates, and continued to
labour energetically in this capacity until his departure for Ireland,
at the close of 1866.

Tipperary was assigned to Burke as the scene of his revolutionary
labours in Ireland. He arrived in Clonmel early in February, where he
was arrested on suspicion, but was immediately discharged--his worn
appearance and physical infirmity giving strong corroboration of his
assertion, that he had come to Ireland for the benefit of his health. On
the night of the insurrection he placed himself at the head of the
Fenian party that assembled in the neighbourhood of Tipperary, but he
quickly saw the folly of attempting a revolution with the scanty band of
unarmed men that rallied round him. On the evening of the 6th his
followers were attacked by a detachment of soldiers at Ballyhurst Fort,
about three miles from Tipperary; Burke saw the uselessness of
resistance, and advised his followers to disperse--an injunction which
they appear to have obeyed. Burke himself was thrown from his horse and
captured. He was conveyed to the jail of Tipperary, and was brought to
trial in the Greenstreet court-house, in Dublin, on the 24th of April
following. He was convicted of high treason, and sentenced to death in
the usual form. The following speech delivered by him after conviction
is well worthy of a place in the Irish heart:--

   "My lords--It is not my intention to occupy much of your time in
   answering the question--what I have to say why sentence should not be
   passed upon me? But I may, with your permission, review a little of
   the evidence that has been brought against me. The first evidence
   that I would speak of is that of Sub-Inspector Kelly, who had a
   conversation with me in Clonmel. He states that he asked me either
   how was my friend, or what about my friend, Mr. Stephens, and
   that I made answer and said, that he was the most idolised man that
   ever had been, or that ever would be in America. Here, standing on
   the brink of my grave, and in the presence of the Almighty and
   ever-living God, I brand that as being the foulest perjury that ever
   man gave utterance to. In any conversation that occurred the name of
   Stephens was not mentioned. I shall pass from that, and then touch on
   the evidence of Brett. He states that I assisted in distributing the
   bread to the parties in the fort, and that I stood with him in the
   waggon or cart. This is also false. I was not in the fort at the
   time; I was not there when the bread was distributed. I came in
   afterwards. Both of these assertions have been made and submitted to
   the men in whose hands my life rested, as evidence made on oath by
   these men--made solely and purely for the purpose of giving my body
   to an untimely grave. There are many points, my lords, that have been
   sworn to here to prove my complicity in a great many acts it has been
   alleged I took part in. It is not my desire now, my lords, to give
   utterance to one word against the verdict which has been pronounced
   upon me. But fully conscious of my honour as a man, which has never
   been impugned, fully conscious that I can go into my grave with a
   name and character unsullied, I can only say that these parties,
   actuated by a desire either of their own aggrandisement, or to save
   their paltry miserable lives, have pandered to the appetite, if I may
   so speak, of justice, and my life shall pay the forfeit. Fully
   convinced and satisfied of the righteousness of my every act in
   connection with the late revolutionary movement in Ireland, I have
   nothing to recall--nothing that I would not do again, nothing for
   which I should feel the blush of shame mantling my brow; my conduct
   and career, both here as a private citizen, and in America--if you
   like--as a soldier, are before you; and even in this, my hour of
   trial, I feel the consciousness of having lived an honest man, and I
   will die proudly, believing that if I have given my life to give
   freedom and liberty to the land of my birth, I have done only that
   which every Irishman and every man whose soul throbs with a feeling
   of liberty should do. I, my lords, shall scarcely--I feel I should
   not at all--mention the name of Massey. I feel I should not pollute
   my lips with the name of that traitor, whose illegitimacy has been
   proved here--a man whose name even is not known, and who, I deny
   point blank, ever wore the star of a colonel in the Confederate army.
   Him I shall let rest. I shall pass him, wishing him, in the words of
   the poet:--

   "'May the grass wither from his feet;
   The woods deny him shelter; earth a home;
   The dust a grave; the sun his light:
   And heaven its God!'

   "Let Massey remember from this day forth that he carries with him, as
   my able and eloquent counsel (Mr. Dowse) has stated, a serpent that
   will gnaw his conscience, will carry about him in his breast a living
   hell from which he can never be separated. I, my lords, have no
   desire for the name of a martyr; I seek not the death of a martyr;
   but if it is the will of the Almighty and Omnipotent God that my
   devotion for the land of my birth shall be tested on the scaffold, I
   am willing there to die in defence of the right of men to free
   government--the right of an oppressed people to throw off the yoke of
   thraldom. I am an Irishman by birth, an American by adoption; by
   nature a lover of freedom--an enemy to the power that holds my native
   land in the bonds of tyranny. It has so often been admitted that the
   oppressed have a right to throw off the yoke of oppression, even by
   English statesmen, that I do not deem it necessary to advert to the
   fact in a British court of justice. Ireland's children are not, never
   were, and never will be, willing or submissive slaves; and so long as
   England's flag covers one inch of Irish soil, just so long will they
   believe it to be a divine right to conspire, imagine, and devise
   means to hurl it from power, and to erect in its stead the God-like
   structure of self-government. I shall now, my lords, before I go any
   further, perform one important duty to my learned, talented, and
   eloquent counsel. I offer them that which is poor enough, the thanks,
   the sincere and heartfelt thanks of an honest man. I offer them, too,
   in the name of America, the thanks of the Irish people. I know that I
   am here without a relative--without a friend--in fact, 3,000 miles
   away from my family. But I know that I am not forgotten there. The
   great and generous Irish heart of America to-day feels for me--to-day
   sympathises with and does not forget the man who is willing to tread
   the scaffold--aye, defiantly--proudly, conscious of no wrong--in
   defence of American principles--in defence of liberty. To Messrs.
   Butt, Dowse, O'Loghlen, and all the counsel for the prisoners, for
   some of whom I believe Mr. Curran will appear, and my very able
   solicitor, Mr. Lawless, I return individually and collectively, my
   sincere and heartfelt thanks.

   "I shall now, my lords, as no doubt you will suggest to me, think of
   the propriety of turning my attention to the world beyond the grave.
   I shall now look only to that home where sorrows are at an end, where
   joy is eternal. I shall hope and pray that freedom may vet dawn on
   this poor down-trodden country. It is my hope, it is my prayer, and
   the last words that I shall utter will be a prayer to God for
   forgiveness, and a prayer for poor old Ireland. Now, my lords; in
   relation to the other man, Corridon, I will make a few remarks.
   Perhaps before I go to Corridon, I should say much has been spoken on
   that table of Colonel Kelly, and of the meetings held at his lodgings
   in London. I desire to state, I never knew where Colonel Kelly's
   lodgings were. I never knew where he lived in London, till I heard
   the informer, Massey, announce it on the table. I never attended a
   meeting at Colonel Kelly's; and the hundred other statements that
   have been made about him. I now solemnly declare on my honour as a
   man--as a dying man--these statements have been totally unfounded and
   false from beginning to end. In relation to the small paper that was
   introduced here, and brought against me as evidence, as having been
   found on my person in connexion with that oath, I desire to say that
   that paper was not found on my person. I knew no person whose name
   was on that paper. O'Beirne, of Dublin, or those other delegates you
   heard of, I never saw or met. That paper has been put in there for
   some purpose. I can swear positively it is not in my handwriting. I
   can also swear I never saw it; yet it is used as evidence against me.
   Is this justice? Is this right? Is this manly? I am willing if I have
   transgressed the laws to suffer the penalty, but I object to this
   system of trumping up a case to take away the life of a human being.
   True, I ask for no mercy. I feel that, with my present emaciated
   frame and somewhat shattered constitution, it is bettor that my life
   should be brought to an end than that I should drag out a miserable
   existence in the prison dens of Portland. Thus it is, my lords, I
   accept the verdict. Of course my acceptance of it is unnecessary, but
   I am satisfied with it. And now I shall close. True it is there are
   many feelings that actuate me at this moment. In fact, these few
   disconnected remarks can give no idea of what I desire to state to
   the court. I have ties to bind me to life and society as strong as
   any man in this court can have. I have a family I love as much as any
   man in this court loves his family. But I can remember the blessing I
   received from an aged mother's lips as I left her the last time. She,
   speaking as the Spartan mother did, said--'Go, my boy, return either
   with your shield or upon it.' This reconciles me--this gives me
   heart. I submit to my doom; and I hope that God will forgive me my
   past sins. I hope also, that inasmuch as He has for seven hundred
   years preserved Ireland, notwithstanding all the tyranny to which she
   has been subjected, as a separate and distinct nationality, He will
   also assist her to retrieve her fallen fortunes--to rise in her
   beauty and majesty, the Sister of Columbia, the peer of any nation in
   the world."

General Burke, as our readers are well aware, was not executed. The
government shrank from carrying out the barbarous sentence of the law,
and his punishment was changed to the still more painful, if less
appalling fate, of penal servitude for life. Of General Burke's private
character we have said little; but our readers will be able to
understand it from the subjoined brief extracts from two of his letters.
On the very night previous to his trial he wrote to his mother from
Kilmainham Prison:--

   ... "On last Easter Sunday I partook of Holy Communion at a late
   mass, I calculated the difference of time between this longitude and
   yours, for I knew that you and my dear sisters were partaking of the
   sacrament at early mass on that day, as was your wont, and I felt
   that our souls were in communion together."

We conclude with the following letter from General Burke, which has
never before been published, and which we are sure will be of deep
interest to our readers. It is addressed to the reverend gentleman who
had been his father confessor in Clonmel:--


   "_4th, Month of Mary._


   " ... I am perfectly calm and resigned, with my thoughts firmly
   centered with hope in the goodness and mercy of that kind Redeemer,
   whose precious blood was shed for my salvation; as also in the
   mediation and intercession of His Blessed Mother, who is my Star of
   Hope and Consolation. I know, dear father, I need not ask you to be
   remembered in your prayers, for I feel that in your supplication to
   the Throne of Mercy I have not been forgotten.... I have only one
   thought which causes me much sorrow, and that is that my good and
   loving mother will break down under the weight of her affliction,
   and, oh, God, I who loved her more than the life which animates the
   hand that writes to be the cause of it! This thought unmans and
   prostrates me. I wrote to her at the commencement of my trial, and
   told her how I thought it would terminate, and spoke a long and last
   farewell. I have not written since; it would break my heart to
   attempt it; but I would ask you as an especial favour that you would
   write to her and tell her I am happy and reconciled to the will of
   God who has given me this opportunity of saving my immortal soul. I
   hope to hear from you before I leave this world."

   "Good-bye, father, and that God may bless you in your ministry is the
   prayer of an obedient child of the church."


       *       *       *       *       *


It is not Irish-born men alone whose souls are filled with a chivalrous
love for Ireland, and a stern hatred of her oppressor. There are amongst
the ranks of her patriots none more generous, more resolute, or more
active in her cause than the children born of Irish parents in various
parts of the world. In London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham,
Glasgow, and all the large towns of Great Britain, throughout the United
States, and in the British colonies, many of the best known and most
thorough-going "Irishmen" are men whose place of birth was not beneath
the Irish skies, and amongst them are some who never saw the shores of
the Green Isle. One of these men was Captain John M'Afferty. He was born
of Irish parents in the State of Ohio, in the year 1838, and at their
knees he heard of the rights and wrongs of Ireland, learned to
sympathise with the sufferings of that country, and to regard the
achievement of its freedom as a task in which he was bound to bear a
part. He grew up to be a man of adventurous and daring habits, better
fitted for the camp than for the ordinary ways of peaceful life; and
when the civil war broke out he soon found his place in one of those
regiments of the Confederacy whose special duty lay in the
accomplishment of the most hazardous enterprises. He belonged to the
celebrated troop of Morgan's guerillas, whose dashing feats of valour so
often filled the Federal forces with astonishment and alarm. In the
latter part of 1865 he crossed over to this country to assist in leading
the insurrection which was then being prepared by the Fenian
organization. He was arrested, as already stated in these pages, on
board the steamer at Queenstown before he had set foot on Irish soil;
when brought to trial at Cork, in the month of December, the lawyers
discovered that being an alien, and having committed no overt act of
treason within the Queen's dominions, there was no case against him, and
he was consequently discharged. He then went back to America, took an
active part in some Fenian meetings, made a speech at one of them which
was held at Jones's Wood, and when the report of the proceedings
appeared in print, he, with a sense of grim humour, posted a copy
containing his oration to the governor of Mountjoy Prison, Dublin. In
the latter part of 1866, when James Stephens was promising to bring off
immediately the long-threatened insurrection, M'Afferty again crossed
the ocean, and landed in England. There he was mainly instrumental in
planning and organizing that extraordinary movement, the raid on
Chester, which took place on Monday, 11th of February, 1867. It is now
confessed, even by the British authorities themselves, that but for the
timely intimation of the design given by the informer Corridon,
M'Afferty and his party would probably have succeeded in capturing the
old Castle, and seizing the large store of arms therein contained.
Finding their movements anticipated, the Fenian party left Chester as
quietly as they had come, and the next that was heard of M'Afferty was
his arrest, and that of his friend and companion John Flood, on the 23rd
of February, in the harbour of Dublin, after they had got into a small
boat from out of the collier "New Draper," which had just arrived from
Whitehaven. M'Afferty was placed in the dock of Green-street
court-house for trial on Wednesday, May 1st, while the jury were absent
considering their verdict in the case of Burke and Doran. On Monday, May
the 6th, he was declared guilty by the jury. On that day week a Court of
Appeal, consisting of ten of the Irish judges, sat to consider some
legal points raised by Mr. Butt in the course of the trial, the most
important of which was the question whether the prisoner, who had been
in custody since February 23rd, could be held legally responsible for
the events of the Fenian rising which occurred on the night of the 5th
of March. Their lordships gave an almost unanimous judgment against the
prisoner on Saturday, May 18th, and on the Monday following he was
brought up for sentence, on which occasion, in response to the usual
question, he spoke as follows:--

   "My lords--I have nothing to say that can, at this advanced stage of
   the trial, ward off that sentence of death, for I might as well hurl
   my complaint (if I had one) at the orange trees of the sunny south,
   or the tall pine trees of the bleak north, as now to speak to the
   question why sentence of death should not be passed upon me according
   to the law of the land; but I do protest loudly against the injustice
   of that sentence. I have been brought to trial upon a charge of high
   treason against the government of Great Britain, and guilt has been
   brought home to me upon the evidence of one witness, and that witness
   a perjured informer. I deny distinctly that there have been two
   witnesses to prove the overt act of treason against me. I deny
   distinctly that you have brought two independent witnesses to two
   overt acts. There is but one witness to prove the overt act of
   treason against me. I grant that there has been a cloud of
   circumstantial evidence to show my connection (if I may please to use
   that word) with the Irish people in their attempt for Irish
   independence, and I claim that as an American and as an alien, I have
   a reason and a right to sympathise with the Irish people or any other
   people who may please to revolt against that form of government by
   which they believe they are governed tyrannically. England
   sympathised with America. She not only sympathised, but she gave her
   support to both parties; but who ever heard of an Englishman having
   been arrested by the United States government for having given his
   support to the Confederate States of America and placed on his trial
   for high treason against the government? No such case ever has been.
   I do not deny that I have sympathised with the Irish people--I love
   Ireland--I love the Irish people. And, if I were free to-morrow, and
   the Irish people were to take the field for independence, my sympathy
   would be with them; I would join them if they had any prospect
   whatever of independence, but I would not give my sanction to the
   useless effusion of blood, however done; and I state distinctly that
   I had nothing whatever to do, directly or indirectly, with the
   movement that took place in the county of Dublin. I make that
   statement on the brink of my grave. Again, I claim that I have a
   right to be discharged of the charge against me by the language of
   the law by which I have been tried. That law states that you must
   have two independent witnesses to prove the overt act against the
   prisoner. That is the only complaint I have to make, and I make that
   aloud. I find no fault with the jury, no complaint against the
   judges. I have been tried and found guilty. I am perfectly satisfied
   that I will go to my grave. I will go to my grave like a gentleman
   and a Christian, although I regret that I should be cut off at this
   stage of my life--still many an noble Irishman fell in defence of the
   rights of my southern clime. I do not wish to make any flowery speech
   to win sympathy in the court of justice. Without any further remarks
   I will now accept the sentence of the court."

Mr. Justice Fitzgerald then in the "solemn tone of voice" adopted on
such occasions proceeded to pass sentence in the usual form, fixing the
12th day of June as the date on which the execution should take place.

The prisoner heard the sentence without giving the slightest symptoms of
emotion, and then spoke as follows:--

   "I will accept my sentence as becomes a gentleman and a Christian. I
   have but one request to ask of the tribunal, and that is that after
   the execution of the sentence my remains shall be turned over to Mr.
   Lawless to be by him interred in consecrated ground as quietly as he
   possibly can. I have now, previous to leaving the dock, once more to
   return my grateful and sincere thanks to Mr. Butt, the star of the
   Irish bar, for his able and devoted defence on behalf of me and my
   friends. Mr. Butt, I thank you. I also return the same token of
   esteem to Mr. Dowse, for the kind and feeling manner in which he
   alluded to the scenes in my former life. Those kind allusions recall
   to my mind many moments--some bright, beautiful, and glorious--and
   yet some sad recollections arise of generous hopes that floated o'er
   me, and now sink beyond the grave. Mr. Butt, please convey to Mr.
   Dowse my grateful and sincere thanks. Mr. Lawless, I also return you
   my thanks for your many acts of kindness--I can do no more."

He was not executed however. The commutation of Burke's sentence
necessitated the like course in all the other capital cases, and
M'Afferty's doom was changed to penal servitude for life.

       *       *       *       *       *


On the day following that on which M'Afferty's sentence was pronounced,
the trial of three men, named John Flood, Edward Duffy, and John Cody
was brought to a conclusion. When they were asked what they had to say
why sentence should not be passed on them, Cody denied with all possible
earnestness the charge of being president of an assassination committee,
which had been brought against him. Flood--a young man of remarkably
handsome exterior--declared that the evidence adduced against himself
was untrue in many particulars. He alluded to the Attorney-General's
having spoken of him as "that wretched man, Flood." "My lords," said he,
"if to love my country more than my life makes me a wretched man, then I
am a very wretched man indeed." Edward Duffy, it might be supposed by
anyone looking at his emaciated frame, wasted by consumption, and with
the seal of death plainly set on his brow, would not be able to offer
any remarks to the court; but he roused himself to the effort. The
noble-hearted young fellow had been previously in the clutches of the
government for the same offence. He was arrested with James Stephens and
others at Fairfield House, in November, 1865, but after a brief
imprisonment was released in consideration of the state of his health,
which seemed such as would not leave him many days to live. But, few or
many, Duffy could not do otherwise than devote them to the cause he had
at heart. He was re-arrested at Boyle on the 11th of March, and this
time the government took care they would not quit their hold of him. The
following is the speech which, by a great physical effort, he delivered
from the dock, his dark eyes brightening, and his pallid features
lighting up with the glow of an earnest and lofty enthusiasm while he

   "The Attorney-General has made a wanton attack on me, but I leave my
   countrymen to judge between us. There is no political act of mine
   that I in the least regret. I have laboured earnestly and sincerely
   in my country's cause, and I have been actuated throughout by a
   strong sense of duty. I believe that a man's duty to his country is
   part of his duty to God, for it is He who implants the feeling of
   patriotism in the human breast. He, the great searcher of hearts,
   knows that I have been actuated by no mean or paltry ambition--that I
   have never worked for any selfish end. For the late outbreak I am not
   responsible; I did all in my power to prevent it, for I knew that,
   circumstanced as we then were, it would be a failure. It has been
   stated in the course of those trials that Stephens was for peace.
   This is a mistake. It may be well that it should not go
   uncontradicted. It is but too well known in Ireland that he sent
   numbers of men over here to fight, promising to be with them when the
   time would come. The time did come, but not Mr. Stephens. He remained
   in France to visit the Paris Exhibition. It may be a very pleasant
   sight, but I would not be in his place now. He is a lost man--lost to
   honour, lost to country. There are a few things I would wish to say
   relative to the evidence given against me at my trial, but I would
   ask your lordships to give me permission to say them after sentence.
   I have a reason for asking to be allowed to say them after sentence
   has been passed."

   The Chief Justice--"That is not the usual practice. Not being tried
   for life, it is doubtful to me whether you have a right to speak at
   all. What you are asked to say is why sentence should not be passed
   upon you, and whatever you have to say you must say now."

   "Then, if I must say it now I declare it before my God that what
   Kelly swore against me on the table is not true. I saw him in
   Ennisgroven, but that I ever spoke to him on any political subject I
   declare to heaven I never did. I knew him from a child in that little
   town, herding with the lowest and vilest. Is it to be supposed I'd
   put my liberty into the hands of such a character? I never did it.
   The next witness is Corridon. He swore that at the meeting he
   referred to I gave him directions to go to Kerry to find O'Connor,
   and put himself in communication with him. I declare to my God every
   word of that is false. Whether O'Connor was in the country or whether
   he had made his escape, I know just as little as your lordships; and
   I never heard of the Kerry rising until I saw it in the public
   papers. As to my giving the American officers money that night,
   before my God, on the verge of my grave, where my sentence will send
   me, I say that also is false. As to the writing that the policeman
   swore to in that book, and which is not a prayer-book, but the
   'Imitation of Christ,' given to me by a lady to whom I served my
   time, what was written in that book was written by another young man
   in her employment. That is his writing not mine. It is the writing
   of a young man in the house, and I never wrote a line of it."

   The Lord Chief Justice--"It was not sworn to be in your handwriting."

   "Yes, my lord, it was. The policeman swore it was in my

   The Lord Chief Justice--"That is a mistake. It was said to be like

   "The dream of my life has been that I might be fighting for Ireland.
   The jury have doomed me to a more painful, but not less glorious
   death. I now bid farewell to my friends and all who are dear to me.

   "'There is a world where souls are free,
     Where tyrants taint not nature's bliss;
   If death that bright world's opening be,
     Oh, who would live a slave in this.'

   "I am proud to be thought worthy of suffering for my country; when I
   am lying in my lonely cell I will not forget Ireland, and my last
   prayer will be that the God of liberty may give her strength to shake
   off her chains."

John Flood and Edward Duffy were then sentenced each to fifteen years of
penal servitude, and Cody to penal servitude for life.

Edward Duffy's term of suffering did not last long. A merciful
Providence gave his noble spirit release from its earthly tenement
before one year from the date of his sentence had passed away. On the
21st of May, 1867, his trial concluded; on the 17th of January, 1868,
the patriot lay dead in his cell in Millbank Prison, London. The
government permitted his friends to remove his remains to Ireland for
interment; and they now rest in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, where
friendly hands oft renew the flowers on his grave, and many a heartfelt
prayer is uttered that God would give the patriot's soul eternal rest,
and "let perpetual light shine unto him."

       *       *       *       *       *


The connexion of Stephen Joseph Meany with Irish politics dates back to
1848, when he underwent an imprisonment of some months in Carrickfergus
Castle, under the provisions of the _Habeas Corpus_ Suspension Act. He
had been a writer on one of the national newspapers of that period, and
was previously a reporter for a Dublin daily paper. He joined the Fenian
movement in America, and was one of the "Senators" in O'Mahony's
organization. In December, 1866, he crossed over to England, and in the
following month he was arrested in London, and was brought in custody
across to Ireland. His trial took place in Dublin on the 16th of
February, 1867, when the legality of the mode of his arrest was denied
by his counsel, and as it was a very doubtful question, the point was
reserved to be considered by a Court of Appeal. This tribunal sat on May
the 13th, 1867, and on May the 18th, their decision confirming the
conviction was pronounced. It was not until the 21st of the following
month, at the Commission of Oyer and Terminer that he was brought up for
sentence. He then delivered the following able address to show "why
sentence should not be passed on him":--

   "My lords--There are many reasons I could offer why sentence should
   not--could not--be pronounced upon me according to law, if seven
   months of absolute solitary imprisonment, and the almost total disuse
   of speech during that period, had left me energy enough, or even
   language sufficient to address the court. But yielding obedience to a
   suggestion coming from a quarter which I am bound to respect, as well
   indeed as in accordance with my own feelings, I avoid everything like
   speech-making for outside effect. Besides, the learned counsel who so
   ably represented me in the Court of Appeal, and the eminent judges
   who in that court gave judgment for me, have exhausted all that could
   be said on the law of the case. Of their arguments and opinions your
   lordships have judicial knowledge. I need not say that both in
   interest as in conviction I am in agreement with the constitutional
   principles laid down by the minority of the judges in that court, and
   I have sufficient respect for the dignity of the court--sufficient
   regard to what is due to myself--to concede fully and frankly to the
   majority a conscientious view of a novel and, it may be, a difficult

   "But I do not ask too much in asking that before your lordships
   proceed to pass any sentence you will consider the manner in which
   the court was divided on that question--to bear in mind that the
   minority declaring against the legality and the validity of the
   conviction was composed of some of the ablest and most experienced
   judges of the Irish bench or any bench--to bear in mind that one of
   these learned judges who had presided at the Commission Court was one
   of the most emphatic in the Court of Criminal Appeal in declaring
   against my liability to be tried; and moreover--and he ought to
   know--that there was not a particle of evidence to sustain the cause
   set up at the last moment, and relied upon by the crown, that I was
   an 'accessory before the fact' to that famous Dublin overt act, for
   which, as an afterthought of the crown, I was in fact tried. And I
   ask you further to bear in mind that the affirmance of the conviction
   was not had on fixed principles of law--for the question was
   unprecedented--but on a speculative view of a suppositious case, and
   I must say a strained application of an already over-strained and
   dangerous doctrine--the doctrine of constructive criminality--the
   doctrine of making a man at a distance of three thousand miles or
   more, legally responsible for the words and acts of others whom he
   had never seen, and of whom he had never heard, under the fiction, or
   the 'supposition,' that he was a co-conspirator. The word
   'supposition' is not mine, my lords; it is the word put forward
   descriptive of the point by the learned judges presiding at my trial;
   for I find in the case prepared by these judges for the Court of
   Criminal Appeal the following paragraph:--

   "'Sufficient evidence was given on the part of the crown of acts of
   members of the said association in Ireland not named in the
   indictment in promotion of the several objects aforesaid, and done
   within the county of the city of Dublin, to sustain some of the overt
   acts charged in the indictment supposing them to be the acts of the
   defendant himself.'

   "Fortified by such facts--with a court so divided, and with opinions
   so expressed--I submit that, neither according to act of parliament,
   nor in conformity with the practice at common law, nor in any way in
   pursuance of the principles of that apocryphal abstraction, that
   magnificent myth--the British constitution--am I amenable to the
   sentence of this court--or any court in this country. True, I am in
   the toils, and it may be vain to discuss how I was brought into them.
   True, my long and dreary imprisonment--shut away from all converse or
   association with humanity, in a cell twelve feet by six--the
   humiliations of prison discipline--the hardships of prison fare--the
   handcuffs, and the heartburnings--this court and its surroundings of
   power and authority--all these are 'hard practical facts,' which no
   amount of indignant protests can negative--no denunciation of the
   wrong refine away; and it may be, as I have said, worse than
   useless--vain and absurd--to question the right where might is
   predominant. But the invitation just extended to me by the officer of
   the court means, if it means anything--if it be not like the rest, a
   solemn mockery--that there still is left to me the poor privilege of
   complaint. And I do complain. I complain that law and justice have
   been alike violated in my regard--I complain that the much belauded
   attribute 'British fair play' has been for me a nullity--I complain
   that the pleasant fiction described in the books as 'personal
   freedom' has had a most unpleasant illustration in my person--and I
   furthermore and particularly complain that by the design and
   contrivance of what are called 'the authorities,' I have been brought
   to this country, not for trial but for condemnation--not for justice
   but for judgment.

   "I will not tire the patience of the court, or exhaust my own
   strength, by going over the history of this painful case--the
   kidnapping in London on the mere belief of a police-constable that I
   was a Fenian in New York--the illegal transportation to Ireland--the
   committal for trial on a specific charge, whilst a special messenger
   was despatched to New York to hunt up informers to justify the
   illegality and the outrage, and to get a foundation for any charge. I
   will not dwell on the 'conspicuous absence' of fair play, in the
   crown at the trial having closed their cases without any reference to
   the Dublin transaction, but, as an afterthought, suggested by their
   discovered failure, giving in evidence the facts and circumstances of
   that case, and thus succeeding in making the jury convict me for an
   offence with which up to that moment the crown did not intend to
   charge me. I will not say what I think of the mockery of putting me
   on trial in the Commission Court in Dublin for alleged words and acts
   in New York, and though the evidence was without notice, and the
   alleged overt acts without date, taunting me with not proving an
   _alibi_, and sending that important ingredient to a jury already ripe
   for a conviction. Prove an _alibi_ to-day in respect of meetings held
   in Clinton Hall, New York, the allegations relating to which only
   came to my knowledge yesterday! I will not refer with any bitter
   feeling to the fact that whilst the validity of the conviction so
   obtained was still pending in the Court of Criminal Appeal, the Right
   Hon. and Noble the Chief Secretary for Ireland declared in the House
   of Commons that 'that conviction was the most important one at the
   Commission'--thus prejudicing my case, I will not say willingly; but
   the observation was, at least, inopportune, and for me unfortunate.

   "I will not speak my feeling on the fact that in the arguments in the
   case in the Court for Reserved Cases, the Right Hon. the
   Attorney-General appealed to the passions--if such can exist in
   judges--and not to the judgment of the court, for I gather from the
   judgment of Mr. Justice O'Hagan, that the right hon. gentleman made
   an earnest appeal 'that such crimes' as mine 'should not be allowed
   to go unpunished'.--forgetful, I will not say designedly forgetful,
   that he was addressing the judges of the land, in the highest court
   of the land, on matters of law, and not speaking to a pliant Dublin
   jury on a treason trial in the court-house of Green-street.

   "Before I proceed further, my lords, there is a matter which, as
   simply personal to myself I should not mind, but which as involving
   high interests to the community, and serious consequences to
   individuals, demand a special notice. I allude to the system of
   manufacturing informers. I want to know, if the court can inform me,
   by what right a responsible officer of the crown entered my solitary
   cell at Kilmainham prison on Monday last--unbidden and
   unexpected--uninvited and undesired. I want to know what
   justification there was for his coming to insult me in my solitude
   and in my sorrow--ostensibly informing me that I was to be brought up
   for sentence on Thursday, but in the same breath adroitly putting to
   me the question if I knew any of the men recently arrested near
   Dungarvan, and now in the prison of Kilmainham. Coming thus, with a
   detective dexterity, carrying in one hand a threat of sentence and
   punishment--in the other as a counterpoise and, I suppose an
   alternative, a temptation to treachery. Did he suppose that seven
   months of imprisonment had so broken my spirit, as well as my health,
   that I would be an easy prey to his blandishments? Did he dream that
   the prospect of liberty which newspaper rumour and semi-official
   information held out to me was too dear to be forfeited for a
   trilling forfeiture of honour? Did he believe that by an act of
   secret turpitude I would open my prison doors only to close them the
   faster on others who may or may not have been my friends--or did he
   imagine he had found in me a Massey to be moulded and manipulated
   into the service of the crown, or a Corridon to have cowardice and
   cupidity made the incentives to his baseness. I only wonder how the
   interview ended as it did; but I knew I was a prisoner, and
   self-respect preserved my patience and secured his safety. Great, my
   lords, as have been my humiliation in prison, hard and heart-breaking
   as have been the ordeals through which I have passed since the 1st of
   December last, there was no incident or event of that period fraught
   with more pain on the one hand, or more suggestiveness on the other,
   than this sly and secret attempt at improvising an informer. I can
   forget the pain in view of the suggestiveness; and unpleasant as is
   my position here to-day, I am almost glad of the opportunity which
   may end in putting some check to the spy system in prisons. How many
   men have been won from honour and honesty by the stealthy visit to
   the cell is more of course than I can say--how many have had their
   weakness acted upon, or their wickness fanned into flame by which
   means I have no opportunity of knowing--in how many frailty and folly
   may have blossomed into falsehood it is for those concerned to
   estimate. There is one thing, however, certain--operating in this way
   is more degrading to the tempter than to the tempted; and the
   government owes it to itself to put an end to a course of tactics
   pursued in its name, which in the results can only bring its
   humiliation--the public are bound in self-protection to protect the
   prisoner from the prowling visits of a too zealous official.

   "I pass over all these things, my lords, and I ask your attention to
   the character of the evidence on which alone my conviction was
   obtained. The evidence of a special, subsidized spy, and of an
   infamous and ingrate informer.

   "In all ages, and amongst all peoples, the spy has been held in
   marked abhorrence. In the amnesties of war there is for him alone no
   quarter; in the estimate of social life no toleration; his
   self-abasement excites contempt, not compassion; his patrons despise
   while they encourage; and they who stoop to enlist the services
   shrink with disgust from the moral leprosy covering the servitor. Of
   such was the witness put forward to corroborate the informer, and
   still not corroborating him. Of such was that phenomenon, a police
   spy, who declared himself an unwilling witness for the crown! There
   was no reason why in my regard he should be unwilling--he knew me not
   previously. I have no desire to speak harshly of Inspector Doyle; he
   said in presence of the Crown Solicitor, and was not contradicted,
   that he was compelled by threats to ascend the witness table; he may
   have had cogent reasons for his reluctance in his own conscience. God
   will judge him.

   "But how shall I speak of the informer, Mr. John Devany? What
   language should be employed in describing the character of one who
   adds to the guilt of perfidy to his associates the crime of perjury
   to his God?--the man who eating of your bread, sharing your
   confidence, and holding, as it were, your very purse-strings, all the
   time meditates your overthrow and pursues it to its accomplishment?
   How paint the wretch who, under pretence of agreement in your
   opinions, worms himself into your secrets only to betray them; and
   who, upon the same altar with you, pledges his faith and fealty to
   the same principles, and then sells faith, and fealty, and
   principles, and you alike, for the unhallowed Judas guerdon? Of such,
   on his own confession was that distinguished upholder of the British
   crown and government, Mr. Devany. With an affrontery that did not
   falter, and knew not how to blush, he detailed his own participation
   in the acts for which he was prosecuting me as a participator. And is
   the evidence of a man like that--a conviction obtained upon such
   evidence--any warrant for a sentence depriving me of all that make
   life desirable or enjoyable?

   "He was first spy for the crown--in the pay of the crown, under the
   control of the crown, and think you he had any other object than to
   do the behests of the crown?

   "He was next the traitor spy, who had taken that one fatal step, from
   which in this life there is no retrogression--that one plunge in
   infamy from which there is no receding--that one treachery for which
   there is no earthly forgiveness; and, think you, he hesitated about a
   prejury more or less to secure present pay and future patronage? Here
   was one to whom existence offers now no prospect save in making his
   perfidy a profession, and think you he was deterred by conscience
   from recommending himself to his patrons? Think you that when at a
   distance of three thousand miles from the scenes he professed to
   describe, he could lie with impunity and invent without detection, he
   was particular to a shade in doing his part of a most filthy bargain?
   It is needless to describe a wretch of that kind--his own actions
   speak his character. It were superfluous to curse him, his whole
   existence will be a living, a continuing curse. No necessity to use
   the burning words of the poet and say:--

   "'May life's unblessed cup for him
   Be drugged with treacheries to the brim.'

   "Every sentiment in his regard of the country he has dishonoured, and
   the people he has humbled, will be one of horror and hate. Every sigh
   sent up from the hearts he has crushed and the homes he has made
   desolate, will be mingled with execrations on the name of the
   informer. Every heart-throb in the prison cells of this land where
   his victims count time by corroding his thought--every grief that
   finds utterance from these victims in the quarries of Portland will
   go up to heaven freighted with curses on the Nagles, the Devanys, the
   Masseys, the Gillespies, the Corridons, and the whole host of
   mercenary miscreants, who, faithless to their friends and recreant to
   their professions, have, paraphrasing the words of Moore, taken their
   perfidy to heaven seeking to make accomplice of their God--wretches
   who have embalmed their memories in imperishable infamy, and given
   their accursed names to an inglorious immortality. Nor will I
   speculate on their career in the future. We have it on the best
   existing authority that a distinguished informer of antiquity seized
   with remorse, threw away his blood-money, 'went forth and hanged
   himself.' We know that in times within the memory of living men a
   government actually set the edifying and praiseworthy example of
   hanging an informer when they had no further use of his valuable
   services--thus _dropping_ his acquaintance with effect. I have no
   wish for such a fate to any of the informers who have cropped out so
   luxuriantly in these latter days--a long life and a troubled
   conscience would, perhaps, be their correct punishment--though
   certainly there would be a consistent compensation--a poetic
   justice--in a termination so exalted to a career so brilliant.

   "I leave these fellows and turn for a moment to their victims. And, I
   would here, without any reference to my own case, earnestly implore
   that sympathy with political sufferers should not be merely
   telescopic in its character, 'distance lending enchantment to the
   view;' and that when your statesmen sentimentalize upon, and your
   journalists denounce far-away tyrannies--the horrors of Neapolitan
   dungeons--the abridgement of personal freedom in Continental
   countries--the exercise of arbitrary power by irresponsible authority
   in other lands--they would turn their eyes homeward, and examine the
   treatment and the sufferings of their own political prisoners. I
   would, in all sincerity, suggest that humane and well-meaning men,
   who exert themselves for the remission of the death-penalty as a
   mercy, would rather implore that the doors of solitary and silent
   captivity should be remitted to the more merciful doom of an
   immediate relief from suffering by immediate execution--the
   opportunity of an immediate appeal from man's cruelty to God's
   justice. I speak strongly on this point because I feel it deeply. I
   speak not without example. At the Commission at which I was tried
   there was tried also and sentenced a young man named Stowell. I well
   remember that raw and dreary morning, the 12th March, when handcuffed
   to Stowell I was sent from Kilmainham Prison to the County Gaol of
   Kildare. I well remember our traversing, so handcuffed, from the town
   of Sailing to the town of Naas, ancle deep in snow and mud, and I
   recall now with pain our sad foreboding of that morning. These in
   part have been fulfilled. Sunday after Sunday I saw poor Stowell at
   chapel in Naas Gaol drooping and dying. One such Sunday--the 12th
   May--passed and I saw him no more. On Wednesday, the 15th, he was, as
   they say, _mercifully_ released from prison, but the fiat of mercy
   had previously gone forth from a higher power--the political convict
   simply reached his own home to die, with loving eyes watching by his
   death-bed. On Sunday, the 19th May, he was consigned to another
   prison home in Glasnevin Cemetery. May God have mercy on his
   soul--may God forgive his persecutors--may God give peace and
   patience to those who are doomed to follow.

   "Pardon this digression, my lords, I could not avoid it. Returning to
   the question, why sentence should not be pronounced upon me, I would
   ask your lordships' attention to the fact showing, even in the
   estimate of the crown, the case is not one for sentence.

   "On the morning of my trial, and before the trial, terms were offered
   to me by the crown. The direct proposition was made through my
   solicitor, through the learned counsel who so ably defended me,
   through the Governor of Kilmainham Prison--by all three--that if I
   pleaded guilty to the indictment, I should get off with six months'
   imprisonment. Knowing the pliancy of Dublin juries in political
   cases, the offer was, doubtless, a tempting one. Valuing liberty, it
   was almost resistless--in view of a possible penal servitude--but
   having regard to principle, I spurned the compromise. I then gave
   unhesitatingly, as I would now give, the answer, that not for a
   reduction of the punishment to six hours would I surrender
   faith--that I need never look, and could never look, wife or
   children, friends or family, in the face if capable of such a selfish
   cowardice. I could not to save myself imperil the safety of others--I
   could not plead guilty to an indictment in which six others were
   distinctly charged by name as co-conspirators with me--one of those
   six since tried, convicted, and sentenced to death--I could not
   consent to obtain my own pardon at their expense--furnish the crown
   with a case in point for future convictions, and become, even though
   indirectly, worthy to rank with that brazen battalion of venal
   vagabonds, who have made the Holy Gospel of God the medium of barter
   for their unholy gain, and obtained access to the inmost heart of
   their selected victim only to coin its throbbing into the traitor's
   gold and traffic on its very life-blood.

   "Had I been charged simply with my own words and deeds I would have
   no hesitation in making acknowledgement. I have nothing to repent
   and nothing to conceal--nothing to retract and nothing to
   countermand; but in the language of the learned Lord Chief Baron in
   this case, I could not admit 'the preposterous idea of thinking by
   deputy' any more than I could plead guilty to an indictment which
   charge others with crime. Further, my lords, I could not acknowledge
   culpability for the acts and words of others at a distance of three
   thousand miles--others whom I had never seen, of whom I had never
   heard, and with whom I never had had communication. I could not admit
   that the demoniac atrocities, described as Fenian principles by the
   constabulary-spy Talbot, ever had my sanction or approval or the
   sanction or approval of any man in America.

   "If, my lords, six months' imprisonment was the admeasurement of the
   law officers of the crown as an adequate punishment for my alleged
   offence--assuming that the court had jurisdiction to try and
   punish--then, am I now entitled to my discharge independent of all
   other grounds of discharge, for I have gone through seven months of
   an imprisonment which could not be excelled by demon ingenuity in
   horror and in hardship--in solitude, in silence and in suspense. Your
   lordships will not only render further litigation necessary by
   passing sentence for the perhaps high crime--but still the untried
   crime--of refusing to yield obedience to the crown's proposition for
   my self-abasement. You will not, I am sure, visit upon my rejection
   of Mr. Anderson's delicate overture--you will not surely permit the
   events occurring, unhappily occurring, since my trial to influence
   your judgments. And do not, I implore you, accept as a truth,
   influencing that judgement, Talbot's definition of the objects of
   Feminism. Hear what Devany, the American informer, describes them to
   be. 'The members,' he says, 'were _pledged by word of honour_ to
   promote love and harmony amongst all classes of Irishmen and to
   labour for the independence of Ireland.' Talbot says that in Ireland
   'the members are _bound by oath_ to seize the property of the
   country and murder all opposed to them.' Can any two principles be
   more distinct from each other? Could there be a conspiracy for a
   common object by such antagonistic means? To murder all opposed to
   your principles may be an effectual way of producing unanimity, but
   the quality of love and harmony engendered by such a patent process,
   would be extremely equivocal. Mr. Talbot, for the purposes of his
   evidence, must have borrowed a leaf from the History of the French
   Revolution, and adopted as singularly telling and appropriate for
   effect the saying attributed to Robespiere: 'Let us cut everybody's
   throat but our own, and then we are sure to be masters.'

   "No one in America, I venture to affirm, ever heard of such designs
   in connexion with the Fenian Brotherhood. No one in America would
   countenance such designs. Revolutionists are not ruffians or
   rapparees. A judge from the bench at Cork, and a noble lord in his
   place in parliament, bore testimony to that fact, in reference to the
   late movement; and I ask you, my lords--I would ask the country from
   this court--for the sake of the character of your countrymen--to
   believe Devany's interpretation of Fenianism--tainted traitor though
   he be--rather than believe that the kindly instincts of Irishmen, at
   home and abroad--their generous impulses--their tender
   sensibilities--all their human affections, in a word--could
   degenerate into the attributes of the assassin, as stated by that
   hog-in-armour, that crime-creating Constable Talbot.

   "Taking other ground, my lords, I object to any sentence upon me. I
   stand at this bar a declared citizen of the United States of America,
   entitled to the protection of such citizenship; and I protest against
   the right to pass any sentence in any British court for acts done, or
   words spoken, or alleged to be done or spoken, on American soil,
   within the shades of the American flag, and under the sanction of
   American institutions. I protest against the assumption that would in
   this country limit the right of thought, or control the liberty of
   speech in an assemblage of American citizens in an American city. The
   United States will, doubtless, respect and protect her neutrality
   laws and observe the comity of nations, whatever they may mean in
   practice, but I protest against the monstrous fiction--the
   transparent fraud--that would seek in ninety years after the
   evacuation of New York by the British to bring the people of New York
   within the vision and venue of a British jury--that in ninety years
   after the last British bayonet had glistened in an American sunlight,
   after the last keel of the last of the English fleet ploughed its
   last furrow in the Hudson or the Delaware--after ninety years of
   republican independence--would seek to restore that city of New York
   and its institutions to the dominion of the crown and government of
   Great Britain. This is the meaning of it, and disguise it as you may,
   so will it be interpreted beyond the Atlantic. Not that the people of
   America care one jot whether S.J. Meany were hanged, drawn, and
   quartered to-morrow, but that there is a great principle involved.
   Personally, I am of no consequence; politically, I represent in this
   court the adopted citizen of America--for, as the _New York Herald_,
   referring to this case, observed, if the acts done in my regard are
   justifiable, there is nothing to prevent the extension of the same
   justice to any other adopted citizen of the States visiting Great
   Britain. It is, therefore, in the injustice of the case the influence
   lies, and not in the importance of the individual.

   "Law is called 'the perfection of reason.' Is there not danger of its
   being regarded as the very climax of absurdity if fictions of this
   kind can be turned into realities on the mere caprice of power. As a
   distinguished English journalist has suggested in reference to the
   case, 'though the law may doubtless be satisfied by the majority in
   the Court of Appeal, yet common sense and common law would be widely
   antagonistic if sentence were to follow a judgment so obtained.'

   "On all grounds then I submit, in conclusion, this is not a case for
   sentence. Waving for the purpose the international objection, and
   appealing to British practice itself, I say it is not a fair case for
   sentence. The professed policy of that practice has ever been to give
   the benefit of doubt to the prisoner. Judges in their charges to
   juries have ever theorized on this principle, and surely judges
   themselves will not refuse to give practical effect to the theory. If
   ever there was a case which more than another was suggestive of
   doubt, it is surely one in which so many judges have pronounced
   against the legality of the trial and the validity of the conviction
   on which you are about to pass sentence. Each of these judges, be it
   remembered, held competent in his individuality to administer the
   criminal law of the country--each of whom, in fact, in his
   individuality does so administer it unchallenged and unquestioned.

   "A sentence under such circumstances, be it for a long period or a
   short would be wanting in the element of moral effect--the effect of
   example--which could alone give it value, and which is professedly
   the aim of all legal punishment. A sentence under such circumstances
   would be far from reassuring to the public mind as to the
   'certainties' of the law, and would fail to commend the approval or
   win the respect of any man 'within the realm or without.' While to
   the prisoner, to the sufferer in chief, it would only bring the
   bitter, and certainly not the repentant feeling that he suffered in
   the wrong--that he was the victim of an injustice based on an
   inference which not even the tyrant's plea of necessity can
   sustain--namely, that at a particular time he was at a distance of
   three thousand miles from the place where he then actually stood in
   bodily presence, and that at that distance he actually thought the
   thoughts and acted the acts of men unknown to him even by name. It
   will bring to the prisoner, I repeat, the feeling--the bitter
   feeling--that he was condemned on an unindicted charge pressed
   suddenly into the service, and for a constructive crime which some of
   the best authorities in the law have declared not to be a crime
   cognizable in any of your courts.

   "Let the crown put forward any supposition they please--indulge in
   what special pleadings they will--sugar over the bitter pill of
   constructive conspiracy as they can--to this complexion must come the
   triangular injustice of this case--the illegal and unconstitutional
   kidnapping in England--the unfair and invalid trial and conviction in
   Ireland for the alleged offence in another hemisphere and under
   mother sovereignty. My lords, I have done."

       *       *       *       *       *


Captain John M'Clure, like Captain M'Afferty, was an American born, but
of Irish parentage. He was born at Dobb's Ferry, twenty-two miles from
New York, on July 17th, 1846, and he was therefore a mere youth when,
serving with distinguished gallantry in the Federal ranks, he attained
the rank of captain. He took part in the Fenian rising of the 5th March,
and was prominently concerned in the attack and capture of Knockadoon
coast-guard station. He and his companion, Edward Kelly, were captured
by a military party at Kilclooney Wood, on March 31st, after a smart
skirmish, in which their compatriot the heroic and saintly Peter
Crowley lost his life. His trial took place before the Special
Commission at Cork, on May 22nd and 23rd, 1807. The following are the
spirited and eloquent terms in which he addressed the court previous to
sentence being pronounced on him:--

   "My lords--In answer to the question as to why the sentence of the
   court should not now be passed upon me, I would desire to make a few
   remarks in relation to my late exertions in behalf of the suffering
   people of this country, in aiding them in their earnest endeavours to
   attain the independence of their native land. Although not born upon
   the soil of Ireland, my parents were, and from history, and
   tradition, and fireside relations, I became conversant with the
   country's history from my earliest childhood, and as the human race
   will ever possess these God-like qualities which inspire mankind with
   sympathy for the suffering, a desire to aid poor Ireland to rise from
   her moral degradation took possession of me. I do not now wish to say
   to what I assign the failure of that enterprise with which are
   associated my well-meant acts for this persecuted land. I feel fully
   satisfied of the righteousness of my every act in connexion with the
   late revolutionary movement in this country, being actuated by a holy
   desire to assist in the emancipation of an enslaved and generous
   people. I derive more pleasure from having done the act than from any
   other event that has occurred to me during my eventful but youthful
   life. I wish it to be distinctly understood here, standing as I do
   perhaps on the brink of an early grave, that I am no fillibuster or
   freebooter, and that I had no personal object or inclination to gain
   anything in coming to this country. I came solely through love of
   Ireland and sympathy for her people. If I have forfeited my life. I
   am ready to abide the issue. If my exertions on behalf of a
   distressed people be a crime, I am willing to pay the penalty,
   knowing, as I do, that what I have done was in behalf of a people
   whose cause is just--a people who will appreciate and honour a man,
   although he may not be a countryman of their own--still a man who is
   willing to suffer in defence of that divine, that American
   principle--the right of self-government. I would wish to tender to my
   learned and eloquent counsel, Mr. Heron and Mr. Waters, and to my
   solicitor, Mr. Collins, my sincere and heartfelt thanks for the able
   manner in which they have conducted my defence. And now, my lords, I
   trust I will meet in a becoming manner the penalty which it is now
   the duty of your lordship to pronounce upon me. I have nothing more
   to say."

       *       *       *       *       *


On the same occasion the prisoner Edward Kelly delivered the following
soul-stirring address:--

   "My lords--The novelty of my situation will plead for any want of
   fluency on my part; and I beg your lordships' indulgence if I am
   unnecessarily tedious. I have to thank the gentlemen of the jury for
   their recommendation, which I know was well meant; but knowing, as I
   do, what that mercy will be, I heartily wish that recommendation will
   not be received. Why should I feel regret? What is death? The act of
   passing from this life into the next. I trust that God will pardon me
   my sins, and that I will have no cause to fear entering into the
   presence of the ever-living and Most Merciful Father. I don't
   recollect in my life ever having done anything with a deliberately
   bad intention. In my late conduct I do not see anything for regret.
   Why then, I say, should I feel regret? I leave the dread of death to
   such wretches as Corridon and Massey--Corridon, a name once so
   suggestive of sweetness and peace, now the representative of a
   loathsome monster. If there be anything that can sink that man,
   Corridon, lower in the scales of degradation, it is--"

   The Chief Justice--"We cannot listen to any imputation on persons who
   were examined as witnesses. Strictly speaking, you are only to say
   why sentence of death should not be passed upon you; at the same time
   we are very unwilling to hold a very strict hand, but we cannot allow
   imputations to be made on third persons, witnesses or others, who
   have come forward in this trial."

   Prisoner--"Well, my lord, I will answer as well as I can the question
   put to me. The Irish people through every generation ever since
   England has obtained a footing in Ireland, have protested against the
   occupation of our native soil by the English. Surely that is answer
   enough why sentence of death should not be passed upon me. In the
   part I have taken in the late insurrection, I feel conscious that I
   was doing right. Next to serving his Creator, I believe it is a man's
   solemn duty to serve his country. [Here the prisoner paused to
   suppress his emotion, which rendered his utterance very feeble, and
   continued]--my lords, I have nothing more to say, except to quote the
   words of the sacred psalmist, in which you will understand that I
   speak of my country as he speaks of his:--'If I forget thee, O
   Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten, let my tongue cleave to my
   jaws if I do not remember thee: if I make not Jerusalem the beginning
   of my joy. Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of
   Jerusalem: who say, raze, raze it, even to the foundation thereof. O
   daughter of Babylon, miserable: blessed be he who shall repay thee
   thy payment which thou hast paid us.' In conclusion, my lords, I
   wish to give my thanks to my attorney, Mr. Collins, for his untiring
   exertions, and also to my counsel, Mr. Heron, for his able defence,
   and to Mr. Waters."

       *       *       *       *       *


In the evidence adduced at the Cork Summer Assizes of 1867, on the
trials of persons charged with participation in the Fenian rising of
March 5th, the name of Captain Mackay frequently turned up. The captain,
it would appear, was a person of influence and importance in the
insurrectionary army. He had taken part in many councils of the Fenian
leaders, he was trusted implicitly by his political friends, and much
deference was paid to his opinion. But more than all this, he had taken
the field on the night of the rising, led his men gallantly to the
attack of Ballyknockane police barrack, and, to the-great horror of all
loyal subjects, committed the enormous offence of capturing it. This,
and the similar successes achieved by Lennon at Stepaside and
Glencullen, county Wicklow, were some of the incidents of the attempted
rebellion which most annoyed the government, who well knew the influence
which such events, occurring at the outset of a revolutionary movement,
are apt to exercise on the popular mind. Captain Mackay, therefore, was
badly "wanted" by the authorities after the Fenian rising; there was any
money to be given for information concerning the whereabouts of Captain
Mackay, but it came not. Every loyal-minded policeman in Cork county,
and in all the other Irish counties, and every detective, and every spy,
and every traitor in the pay of the government, kept a sharp look out
for the audacious Captain Mackay, who had compelled the garrison of one
of her Majesty's police barracks to surrender to him, and hand him up
their arms in the quietest and most polite manner imaginable; but they
saw him not, or if they saw, they did not recognise him.

So month after month rolled on, and no trace of Captain Mackay could be
had. The vigilant guardians and servants of English law in Ireland, then
began to think he must have managed to get clear out of the country, and
rather expected that the next thing they would hear of him would be that
he was organizing and lecturing amongst the Irish enemies of England in
the United States. There, however, they were quite mistaken, as they
soon found out to their very great vexation and alarm.

On the 27th day of December, 1867, there was strange news in Cork, and
strange news all over the country, for the telegraph wires spread it in
every direction. The news was that on the previous evening a party of
Fenians had entered the Martello tower at Foaty, on the north side of
the Cork river, made prisoners of the gunners who were in charge, and
had then taken possession of, and borne away all the arms and ammunition
they could find in the place! Startling news this was undoubtedly. Loyal
men stopped each other in the streets, and asked if anything like it had
ever been heard of. They wanted to know if things were not coming to a
pretty pass, and did not hesitate to say they would feel greatly obliged
to anyone who could answer for them the question "What next?" For this
sack of the Martello tower was not the first successful raid for arms
which the Fenians had made in that neighbourhood. About a month
before--on the night of November 28th--they had contrived to get into
the shop of Mr. Richardson, gunmaker, Patrick-street, and abstract from
the premises no fewer than 120 revolvers and eight Snider rifles,
accomplishing the feat so skilfully, that no trace either of the weapons
or the depredators had since been discovered. This was what might be
called a smart stroke of work, but it shrunk into insignificance
compared with the audacious act of plundering one of her Majesty's
fortified stations.

The details of the affair, which were soon known, were received by the
public with mingled feelings of amusement and amazement. The Fenian
party, it was learned, had got into the tower by the usual means of
entrance--a step-ladder, reaching to the door, which is situate at some
height from the ground. One party of the invaders remained in the
apartment just inside the entrance door, while another numbering five
persons, proceeded to an inner room, where they found two of the
gunners, with their families, just in the act of sitting down to tea. In
an instant revolvers were placed at the heads of the men, who were told
not to stir on peril of their lives. At the same time assurances were
given to them, and to the affrighted women, that if they only kept quiet
and complied with the demands of the party no harm whatever should befal
them. The garrison saw that resistance was useless, and promptly acceded
to those terms. The invaders then asked for and got the keys of the
magazine, which they handed out to their friends, who forthwith set to
work to remove the ammunition which they found stored in the vaults.
They seized about 300 lbs. of gunpowder, made up in 8 lb. cartridges, a
quantity of fuses, and other military stores, and then proceeded to
search the entire building for arms. Of these, however, they found very
little--nothing more than the rifles and sword bayonets of the two or
three men who constituted the garrison, a circumstance which seemed to
occasion them much disappointment. They were particularly earnest and
pressing in their inquiries for hand-grenades, a species of missile
which they had supposed was always kept "in stock" in such places. They
could scarcely believe that there were none to be had. Some charges of
grape-shot which they laid hands on might be, they thought, the sort of
weapon they were in quest of, and they proceeded to dissect and analyse
one of them. Grape-shot, we may explain to the unlearned in these
matters, is "an assemblage, in the form of a cylindrical column, of nine
balls resting on a circular plate, through which passes a pin serving as
an axis. The balls are contained in a strong canvas bag, and are bound
together on the exterior of the latter by a cord disposed about the
column in the manner of a net." This was not the sort of thing the
Fenian party wanted; grape-shot could be of no use to them, for the
Fenian organization, to its great sorrow, was possessed of no artillery;
they resolved, therefore, to leave those ingeniously-constructed
packages behind them, and to retire with the more serviceable spoils
they had gathered. While the search was proceeding, the Fenian sentries,
with revolvers ready in their hands, stood guard over the gunners, and
prevented anyone--young or old--from quitting the room. They spoke
kindly to all however, chatted with the women, and won the affectionate
regards of the youngsters by distributing money among them. One of these
strange visitors became so familiar as to tell one of the women that if
she wished to know who he was, his name was Captain Mac--a piece of
information which did not strike her at the time as being of any
peculiar value. When the party had got their booty safely removed from
the building, this chivalrous captain and his four assistant sentries
prepared to leave; they cautioned the gunners, of whom there were three
at this time in the building--one having entered while the search was
proceeding--against quitting the fort till morning, stating that men
would be on the watch outside to shoot them if they should attempt it.
So much being said and done, they bade a polite good evening to her
Majesty's gunners and their interesting families, and withdrew.

The heroic garrison did not venture out immediately after they had been
relieved of the presence of the Fenian party; but finding that a few
charges of powder were still stowed away in a corner of the fort, they
hurried with them to the top of the building and commenced to blaze away
from the big gun which was there _in situ_. This performance they meant
as a signal of distress; but though the sounds were heard and the
flashes seen far and wide, no one divined the object of what appeared to
be nothing more than an oddly-timed bit of artillery practice. Next
morning the whole story was in every one's mouth. Vast was the amusement
which it afforded to the Corkonians generally, and many were the
encomiums which they passed on the dashing Irish-Americans and smart
youths of Cork's own town who had accomplished so daring and clever a
feat. Proportionally great was the irritation felt by the sprinkling of
loyalists and by the paid servants of the crown in that quarter. One
hope at all events the latter party had, that the leader in the
adventure would soon be "in the hands of justice," and one comforting
assurance, that never again would the Fenians be able to replenish their
armoury in so easy and so unlawful a manner.

Four days afterwards there was another "sensation" in Cork. The Fenian
collectors of arms had made another haul! And this time their mode of
action surpassed all their previous performances in coolness and daring.
At nine o'clock in the morning, on the 30th of December, eight men, who
had assumed no disguise, suddenly entered the shop of Mr. Henry Allport,
gunmaker, of Patrick-street, and producing revolvers from their pockets,
covered him and his two assistants, telling then at the same time that
if they ventured to stir, or raise any outcry, they were dead men. While
the shopmen remained thus bound to silence, five of the party proceeded
to collect all the rifles and revolvers in the establishment, and place
them in a canvas sack which had been brought for the purpose. This sack,
into which a few guns and seventy-two splendid revolvers of the newest
construction had been put, was then carried off by two men, who, having
transferred the contents to the safe-keeping of some confederates,
returned with it very quickly to receive and bear away a large quantity
of revolver cartridges which had been found in the shop. This second
"loot" having been effected, the guards who stood over Mr. Allport and
his men, lowered their weapons, and after cautioning all three not to
dare to follow them, quitted the shop in a leisurely manner, and
disappeared down one of the by-streets. As soon as he was able to
collect his scattered wits, Mr. Allport rushed to the nearest police
station, and gave information of what had occurred. The police hastened
to the scene of this daring exploit, but of course "the birds were
flown," and no one could say whither.

Needless to say how this occurrence intensified the perplexity and the
rage of the government party in all parts of the country. There was
surely some fierce swearing in Dublin Castle on the day that news
arrived, and perhaps many a passionate query blurted out as to whether
police, detectives, magistrates, and all in that southern district were
not secretly in league with the rebels. In fact, a surmise actually got
into the papers that the proprietors of the gunshops knew more about the
disappearance of the arms, and were less aggrieved by the "seizure" than
they cared to acknowledge. However this might be, the popular party
enjoyed the whole thing immensely, laughed over it heartily, and
expressed in strong terms their admiration of the skill and daring
displayed by the operators. The following squib, which appeared in the
_Nation_ at the time, over the initials "T.D.S.," affords an indication
of the feelings excited among Irish nationalists by those extraordinary


       Oh, the gallant Cork men,
       Mixed with New York men,
   I'm sure their equals they can't be found,
       For persevering
       In deeds of daring,
   They set men staring the world around.
       No spies can match them,
       No sentries watch them,
   No specials catch them or mar their play,
       While the clever Cork men
       And cute New York men
   Work new surprises by night and day.

       Sedate and steady,
       Calm, quick, and ready,
   They boldly enter, and make no din.
       Where'er such trifles
       As Snider rifles
   And bright six-shooters are stored within.
       The Queen's round towers
       Can't baulk their powers,
   Off go the weapons by sea and shore,
       To where the Cork men
       And smart New York men
   Are daily piling their precious store.

       John Bull, in wonder,
       With voice like thunder,
   Declares such plunder he roust dislike,
       They next may rowl in
       And sack Haulbowline,
   Or on a sudden run off with Spike.
      His peace is vanished,
       His joys are banished,
   And gay or happy no more he'll be,
       Until those Cork men
       And wild New York men
   Are sunk together beneath the sea.

       Oh, bold New York men
       And daring Cork men,
   We own your pleasures should all grow dim,
       On thus discerning
       And plainly learning
   That your amusement gives pain to _him_.
       Yet, from the nation,
       This salutation
   Leaps forth, and echoes with thunderous sound--
       "Here's to all Cork men,
       Likewise New York men,
   Who stand for Ireland, the world around!"

But Captain Mackay, skilful and "lucky" as he was, was trapped at last.

On the evening of the 7th of February, 1868, he walked into the grocery
and spirit shop of Mr. Cronin in Market-street--not to drink whiskey or
anything of that sort, for he was a man of strictly temperate habits,
and he well knew that of all men those who are engaged in the dangerous
game of conspiracy and revolution can least afford to partake of drinks
that may unloose their tongues and let their wits run wild. He called
for a glass of lemonade, and recognising some persons who were in the
shop at the time, he commenced a conversation with them.

Only a few minutes from the time of his entrance had elapsed when a
party of police, wearing a disguise over their uniforms, rushed into the
shop, and commanded the door to be shut.

The men inside attempted to separate and escape, but they were
instantly grappled by the police. One of the force seized Captain Mackay
by the collar, and a vigorous struggle between them at once commenced.
The policeman was much the larger man of the two, but the Fenian Captain
was wiry and muscular, and proved quite a match for him. They fell, and
rose, and fell, and rose again, the policeman undermost sometimes, and
at other times the Fenian Captain. They struggled for nearly twenty

"Dead or alive, I'll take you," said the policeman, as he drew his
revolver from his pocket.

"I have but one life, to lose, and if it goes, so be it," replied Mackay
drawing a weapon of the same kind.

In another instant there was a clash as of striking steel, and a
discharge of one of the weapons.

"Good God! I'm shot!" exclaimed Constable Casey from, the end of the
room, and he fell upon the floor.

Captain Mackay's revolver had gone off in the struggle, and the ball had
struck the constable in the leg, inflicting on him a serious wound.

By this time several parties of police had arrived in the street and
stationed themselves so as to prevent the formation of a crowd and deter
the people from any attempt at rescue. A reinforcement having turned
into the house in which the struggle was going on, Captain Mackay and
others who had been in his company were made prisoners, and marched off
in custody.

Some days afterwards, the wounded constable, who had refused to submit
to amputation of the wounded limb, died in hospital.

On the 10th of March, 1868, at the Cork Assizes, Judge O'Hagan
presiding, Captain Mackay was put on his trial for murder. The evidence
established a probability that the discharge of the prisoner's revolver
was not intended or effected by him, but was a consequence of its having
been struck by the revolver of the policeman who was struggling with
him. The verdict of the jury therefore was one of acquittal.

But then came the other charge against him, the charge of
treason-felony, for his connexion with the Fenian Brotherhood, and his
part in the recent "rising." For this he was put on trial on the 20th
day of March. He was ably defended by Mr. Heron, Q.C.; but the evidence
against him was conclusive. To say nothing of the testimony of the
informers, which should never for a moment be regarded as trustworthy,
there was the evidence and the identification supplied by the gunners of
the Martello tower and their wives, and the policemen of Ballyknockane
station and the wife of one of them. This evidence while establishing
the fact that the prisoner had been concerned in the levying of war
against the crown, established also the fact that he was a man as
chivalrous and gentle as he was valorous and daring. Some of the
incidents proved to have occurred during the attack which was made,
under his leadership, on the police barrack, are worthy of special
mention in any sketch, however brief, of the life and adventures of this
remarkable man. After he, at the head of his party, had demanded the
surrender of the barrack in the name of the Irish Republic, the police
fired, and the fire was returned. Then the insurgents broke in the door
and set fire to the lower part of the barrack. Still the police held
out. "Surrender!" cried the insurgents; "_You want to commit suicide,
but we don't want to commit murder._" One of the policemen then cried
out that a little girl, his daughter, was inside, and asked if the
attacking party would allow her to be passed out? Of course they would,
gladly; and the little girl was taken out of the window with all
tenderness, and given up to her mother who had chanced to be outside the
barrack when the attack commenced. At this time a Catholic clergyman,
the Rev. Mr. Neville, came on the spot. He asked the insurgent leader
whether, if the police surrendered, any harm would be done to them?
"Here is my revolver," said Captain Mackay, "let the contents of it be
put through me if one of them should be injured." Well did Mr. Heron in
his able speech, referring to these facts, say, "Though they were rebels
who acted that heroic part, who could say their hearts, were not
animated with the courage of Leonidas, and the chivalry of Bayard."

On the second day of the trial the jury brought in their verdict,
declaring the prisoner guilty, but at the same time recommending him to
the merciful consideration of the court, because of the humanity which
he had displayed towards the men whom he had in his power. The finding
took no one by surprise, and did not seem to trouble the prisoner in the
faintest degree. During the former trial some shades of anxiety might
have been detected on his features; the charge of "murder" was grievous
to him, but when that was happily disposed of, the world seemed to
brighten before him, and he took his treason-felony trial cheerily. He
knew what the verdict on the evidence would be, and he was conscious
that the penalty to be imposed on him would be no trivial one; he felt
that it was hard to part from faithful comrades, and dear friends, and,
above all, from the young wife whom he had married only a few short
months before; but then it was in Ireland's cause he was about to
suffer, and for that he could endure all.

And yet, Ireland was not his native land. He was born in Cincinnatti,
Ohio, in the year 1841. But his parents, who were natives of
Castle-Lyons, near Fermoy, in the County Cork, were true children of
Erin, and they taught their son to love, even as they did themselves,
that green isle far away, from which a hard fate had compelled them to
roam. Patriotism, indeed, was hereditary in the family. The
great-grandfather of our hero suffered death for his fidelity to the
cause of Ireland in the memorable year 1798; and a still-more remarkable
fact is that Captain Mackay--or William Francis Lomasney, to call him by
his real name--in leaving America for Ireland in 1865 to take part in
the contemplated rising, merely took the place which his father wished
and intended to occupy. The young man induced him, to remain at home,
and claimed for himself the post of danger. Well may that patriotic
father be proud of such a son.

When called upon for such remarks as he might have to offer on his own
behalf, Captain Mackay, without any of the airs of a practised speaker,
but yet with a manner that somehow touched every heart and visibly
affected the humane and upright judge who sat on the bench, delivered
the following address:--

   "My lord--What I said last evening I think calls for a little
   explanation. I then said I was fully satisfied with the verdict--that
   it was a fair and just one. I say so still, but I wish to state that
   I consider it only so in accordance with British law, and that it is
   not in accordance with my ideas of right and justice. I feel that
   with the strong evidence there was against me, according to British
   law, the jury could not, as conscientious men, do otherwise. I feel
   that. I thank them again for their recommendation to mercy, which, I
   have no doubt, was prompted by a good intention towards me, and a
   desire to mitigate what they considered would he a long and painful
   imprisonment. Still, I will say, with all respect, that I feel the
   utmost indifference to it. I do so for this reason--I am now in that
   position that I must rely entirely upon the goodness of God, and I
   feel confident that He will so dispose events that I will not remain
   a prisoner so long as your lordship may be pleased to decree. The
   jury having now found me guilty, it only remains for your lordship to
   give effect to their verdict. The eloquence, the ability, the clear
   reasoning, and the really splendid arguments of my counsel failed, as
   I knew they would, to affect the jury. I feel, therefore, that with
   my poor talents it would be utterly vain and useless for me to
   attempt to stay the sentence which it now becomes your lordship's
   duty to pronounce. I believe, my lord, from what I have seen of your
   lordship, and what I have heard of you, it will be to you a painful
   duty to inflict that sentence upon me. To one clinging so much to the
   world and its joys--to its fond ties and pleasant associations, as I
   naturally do, retirement into banishment is seldom--very
   seldom--welcome. Of that, however, I do not complain. But to any man
   whose heart glows with the warmest impulses and the most intense love
   of freedom; strongly attached to kind friends, affectionate parents,
   loving brother and sisters, and a devotedly fond and loving wife, the
   contemplation of a long period of imprisonment must appear most
   terrible and appalling. To me, however, viewing it from a purely
   personal point of view, and considering the cause for which I am
   about to suffer, far from being dismayed--far from its discouraging
   me--it proves to me rather a source of joy and comfort. True, it is a
   position not to be sought--not to be looked for--it is one which, for
   many, very many reasons there is no occasion for me now to explain,
   maybe thought to involve disgrace or discredit. But, so far from
   viewing it in that light, I do not shrink from it, but accept it
   readily, feeling proud and glad that it affords me an opportunity of
   proving the sincerity of those soul-elevating principles of freedom
   which a good old patriotic father instilled into my mind from my
   earliest years, and which I still entertain with a strong love, whose
   fervour and intensity are second only to the sacred homage which we
   owe to God. If, having lost that freedom, I am to be deprived of all
   those blessings--those glad and joyous years I should have spent
   amongst loving friends--I shall not complain, I shall not murmur, but
   with calm resignation and cheerful expectation, I shall joyfully
   submit to God's blessed will, feeling confident that He will open the
   strongly locked and barred doors of British prisons. Till that glad
   time arrives, it is consolation and reward enough for me to know that
   I have the fervent prayers, the sympathy and loving blessings of
   Ireland's truly noble and generous people, and far easier, more
   soothing and more comforting to me will it be to go back to my
   cheerless cell, than it would be to live in slavish ease and
   luxury--a witness to the cruel sufferings and terrible miseries of
   this down-trodden people. Condemn me, then, my lord--condemn me to a
   felon's doom. To-night I will sleep in a prison cell; to-morrow I
   will wear a convict's dress; but to me it will be a far nobler garb
   than the richest dress of slavery. Coward slaves they lie who think
   the countless sufferings and degradation of prison life disgraces a
   man. I feel otherwise. It is as impossible to subdue the soul
   animated with freedom as it will be for England to crush the resolute
   will of this nation, determined as it is to be free, or perish in the
   attempt. According to British law, those acts proved against
   me--fairly proved against me I acknowledge--maybe crimes, but
   morally, in the eyes of freemen and the sight of God, they are more
   ennobling than disgraceful. Shame is only a connexion with guilt. It
   is surely not a crime to obey God's law, or to assist our fellow-men
   to acquire those God-given rights which no men--no nation--can justly
   deprive them of. If love of freedom and a desire to extend its
   unspeakable blessings to all God's creatures, irrespective of race,
   creed, or colour, be a crime--if devotion to Ireland, and love of its
   faithful, its honest, its kindly people be a crime, then I say I
   proudly and gladly acknowledge my guilt. If it is a disgrace, all I
   can say is I glory in such shame and dishonour; and, with all respect
   for the court, I hold in thorough and utmost contempt the worst
   punishment that can be inflicted upon me, so far as it is intended to
   deprive me of this feeling, and degrade me in the eyes of my
   fellow-men. Oh, no, it is impossible, my lord; the freeman's soul can
   never be dismayed. England will most miserably fail if she expects by
   force and oppression to crush out--to stamp out, as the _Times_
   exclaimed--this glorious longing for national life and independence
   which now fills the breasts of millions of Irishmen, and which only
   requires a little patience and the opportunity to effect its purpose.
   Much has been said on these trials, on the objects and intentions of
   Fenianism. I feel confidently, my lord, as to my own motives. I shall
   not be guilty of the egotism to say whether they are pure or
   otherwise. I shall leave that to others to judge. I am not qualified
   to judge that myself; but I know in my soul that the motives which
   prompted me were pure, patriotic, and unselfish. I know the motives
   that actuate the most active members of the Fenian organization; and
   I know that very few persons, except such contemptible wretches as
   Corridon, have profited by their connexion with Fenianism. My best
   friends lost all they ever possessed by it. Talbot and Corridon, I
   believe, have sworn on previous trials that it was the intention of
   the Fenians to have divided the lands of Ireland amongst themselves
   in the event of success. Though an humble member of the organization,
   I have the honour and satisfaction of being acquainted with the great
   majority of the leaders of Fenianism on both sides of the Atlantic,
   and I never knew one of them to have exhibited a desire other than to
   have the proud satisfaction of freeing Ireland, which was the only
   reward they ever yearned for--the only object that ever animated
   them. As to myself, I can truly say that I entered into this movement
   without any idea of personal aggrandisement. When, in 1865, I bade my
   loving friends and parents good-bye in America, and came to Ireland,
   I was fully satisfied with the thought that I was coming to assist in
   the liberation of an enslaved nation; and I knew that the greatest
   sacrifices must be endured on our parts before the country could be
   raised to that proud position which is so beautifully described by
   the national poet as--

           "'Great, glorious, and free,
   First flower of the earth, first gem of the sea.'

   "Well, it was with that only wish, and that only desire I came to
   Ireland, feeling that to realize it were to an honest man a greater
   reward than all the honours and riches and power this world could
   bestow. I cannot boast of learning, my lord; I have not had much
   opportunity of cultivating those talents with which Providence may
   have blessed me. Still I have read sufficient of the world's history
   to know that no people ever acquired their liberty without enormous
   sacrifices--without losing, always, I may say, some of the purest,
   bravest, and best of their children. Liberty, if worth possessing, is
   surely worth struggling and fighting for, and in this struggle--of
   which, although the crown-lawyers and the government of England think
   they have seen the end, but of which I tell them they have not yet
   seen the commencement--I feel that enormous sacrifices must be made.
   Therefore, my lord, looking straight before me now, I say I was
   determined and was quite ready to sacrifice my life if necessary to
   acquire that liberty; and I am not now going to be so mean-spirited,
   so cowardly, or so contemptible as to shrink from my portion of the
   general suffering. I am ready, then, for the sentence of the court,
   satisfied that I have acted right, confident that I have committed no
   wrong, outrage, or crime whatever, and that I have cast no disgrace
   upon my parents, my friends, upon my devoted wife, or upon myself. I
   am, with God's assistance, ready to meet my fate. I rest in the calm
   resignation of a man whose only ambition through life has been to
   benefit and free, not to injure, his fellow-men; and whose only
   desire this moment is to obtain their prayers and blessings. With the
   approval of my own conscience, above all hoping for the forgiveness
   of God for anything I may have done to displease Him, and relying
   upon His self-sustaining grace to enable me to bear any punishment,
   no matter how severe, so long as it is for glorious old Ireland. I
   had intended, my lord, to refer to my notes which I took at the
   trial; but I feel that was so ably done by my counsel, it would be a
   mere waste of time for me to do so, but I just wish to make an
   explanation. Sir C. O'Loghlen made a statement--unintentionally I am
   sure it was on his part--which may or may not affect me. He said I
   sent a memorial to the Lord Lieutenant praying to be released from
   custody. I wish to say I sent no such thing. The facts of the matter
   are these:--I was liberated in this court because in reality the
   crown could not make out a case against me at the time; and as I
   could, at the same time, be kept in prison until the next assizes, I,
   on consultation with my friends and with my fellow-captive, Captain
   M'Afferty, consented, as soon as I should receive a remittance from
   my friends in America, to return there. On these conditions I was set
   at liberty, understanding, at the same time, that if found in the
   country by next assizes I would be brought up for trial. I did not
   want to give annoyance, and I said I would go to America. I honestly
   intended to do so then--not, however, as giving up my principles, but
   because I saw there was no hope of an immediate rising in Ireland.
   While agreeing to those conditions, I went to Dublin, and there met
   M'Afferty, and it was on that occasion I made the acquaintance of
   Corridon. I met him purely accidentally. He afterwards stated that he
   saw me in Liverpool, but he did not see me there. I went over with an
   object, and while there I was arrested by anticipation, before the
   _Habeas Corpus_ Act was really suspended. I defy the government to
   prove I had any connexion with Fenianism from the time I was released
   from Cork jail until February, 1867. I was afterwards removed to
   Mountjoy prison, and, while there, Mr. West came to me and said he
   understood I was an American citizen, and asked why I did not make
   that known. I said I had a double reason--first, because I expected
   the crown would see they had broken their pledge with me in having
   been so soon arrested; and also that I expected my government would
   make a general demand for all its citizens. By Mr. West's desire I
   put that statement in writing; and I do not think that there is a
   word in it that can be construed into a memorial to the Lord
   Lieutenant. One of the directors of the prison came to me and asked
   me was I content to comply with the former conditions, and I said I
   was. I was liberated upon those conditions, and complied with them;
   but there was no condition whatever named that I was never to return
   to Ireland nor to fight for Irish independence. At that time I would
   sooner have remained in prison than enter into any such compact. Now,
   with reference to Corridon's information. He states he met me in
   Liverpool after the rising, and I stated to him that somebody 'sold
   the pass' upon us--to use the Irish phrase. Now, it is a strange
   thing, my lord, that he got some information that was true, and I
   really was in Liverpool, but not with the informer. The fact is, the
   month previous to that I knew, and so did M'Afferty, that Corridon
   had sold us. We left instructions at Liverpool to have him watched;
   but owing to circumstances, it is needless now to refer to, that was
   not attended to, and he came afterwards to Ireland and passed as a
   Fenian, and the parties here, not knowing he had betrayed them, still
   believed in him. But I knew very well that Corridon had betrayed that
   Chester affair, and so did Captain M'Afferty; and if I had met him at
   that time in Liverpool I don't think it would be him I would inform
   of our plans. I only want to show, my lord, how easily an informer
   can concoct a scene. I never in my life attended that meeting that
   Corridon swore to. All his depositions with respect to me is false. I
   did meet him twice in Dublin, but not on the occasions he states. I
   wish to show how an informer can concoct a story that it will be
   entirely out of the power of the prisoner to contradict. With
   reference to the witness Curtin, whom I asked to have produced--and
   the crown did produce all the witnesses I asked for--your lordship
   seemed to be under the impression that I did not produce him because
   he might not be able to say I was not in his house that night. Now,
   the fact is that, as my attorney learned the moment Mr. Curtin was
   brought to town, he knew nothing whatever about the circumstance, as
   he was not in his own tavern that night at all. That was why I did
   not produce the evidence. But I solemnly declare I never was in
   Curtin's public-house in my life till last summer, when I went in
   with a friend on two or three occasions, and then for the first time.
   That must have been in June or July, after the trials were over in
   Dublin. So that everything Corridon said in connection with my being
   there that night was absolutely false. I solemnly declare I was never
   there till some time last summer, when I went in under the
   circumstances I have stated. In conclusion, my lord, though it may
   not be exactly in accordance with the rules of the court, I wish to
   return your lordship my most sincere thanks for your fair and
   impartial conduct during this trial. If there was anything that was
   not impartial in it at all, I consider it was only in my favour, and
   not in favour of the crown. This I consider is the duty of a judge,
   and what every judge should do--because the prisoner is always on the
   weak side, and cannot say many things he would wish, while the crown,
   on the other hand, have all the power and influence that the law and
   a full exchequer can give them. I must also return my sincere and
   heartfelt thanks to my able and distinguished counsel, who spoke so
   eloquently in my favour. As for Mr. Collins, I feel I can never
   sufficiently thank him. He served me on my trial at a great sacrifice
   of time and money, with noble zeal and devotion, such as might be
   more readily expected from a friend than a solicitor. There are many
   more I would like to thank individually, but as this may not be the
   proper time and place to do so, I can only thank all my friends from
   the bottom of my heart. I may mention the name at least of Mr. Joyce,
   who, in the jail, showed a great deal of kind feeling and attention.
   And now, my lord, as I have already stated, I am ready for my
   sentence I feel rather out of place in this dock [the prisoner here
   smiled gently]. It is a place a man is very seldom placed in, and
   even if he is a good speaker he might be put out by the circumstance
   of having to utter his remarks from this place. But speaking at all
   is not my _forte_; and there are such emotions filling my breast at
   this moment that I may be pardoned for not saying all I would wish.
   My heart is filled with thoughts of kind friends--near at hand and
   far away--of father and mother, brothers and sisters, and my dear
   wife. Thoughts of these fill my breast at this moment, and check my
   utterance. But I will say to them that I am firmly convinced I will
   yet live to see, and that God will be graciously pleased in His own
   good time to order, the prosperity and freedom of this glorious
   country. I would only repeat the powerful, touching, and simple words
   of Michael Larkin, the martyr of Manchester, who, in parting from his
   friends, said, 'God be with you, Irishmen and Irishwomen,' and the
   burning words of my old friend Edward O'Mara Condon, which are now
   known throughout Ireland and the world, 'God save Ireland!' And I,
   too, would say, 'God be with you, Irishmen and women; God save you;
   God bless Ireland; and God grant me strength to bear my task for
   Ireland as becomes a man. Farewell!' [A sound of some females sobbing
   was here heard in the gallery. Several ladies in court, too, visibly
   yielded to emotion at this point. Perceiving this the prisoner
   continued:--] My lord, if I display any emotion at this moment, I
   trust it will not be construed into anything resembling a feeling of
   despair, for no such feeling animates me. I feel, as I have already
   said, confidence in God. I feel that I will not be long in
   imprisonment; therefore I am just as ready to meet my fate now as I
   was six weeks ago, or as I was six months ago. I feel confident that
   there is a glorious future in store for Ireland, and that, with a
   little patience, a little organization, and a full trust in God on
   the part of the Irish people, they will be enabled to obtain it at no
   distant date."

During the concluding passages of this address many persons sobbed and
wept in various parts of the court. At its close the learned judge in
language that was really gentle, considerate, and even complimentary
towards the prisoner, and in a voice shaken by sincere emotion, declared
the sentence which he felt it to be his duty to impose. It was penal
servitude for a term of twelve years.

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