Speeches from the Dock, Part I

Part 2 out of 5

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 AEneas 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


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