The Dock and the Scaffold

Part 2 out of 2

administering the consolations of religion, and exhorting them to
firmness to meet the last dreadful ordeal. The convicts, at this
time," continues the English reporter, "manifested a remarkable
fortitude. Not one of them flinched in the least."

The same eye-witness describes as follows the last act of the tragedy,
with a brief general sketch of which we commenced this narrative:--

"At a quarter to eight o'clock the interior court of the gaol
presented a strange and striking spectacle. Behind the wall in New
Bailey-street was erected the long staircase leading to the scaffold,
and by its side were platforms for the use of the military. The fog
was so dense, that objects could be but faintly distinguished at a
distance of thirty yards. Suddenly the words of military command
were heard, and a company of the 72nd Highlanders marched round
the Roundhouse, and took up a position in line at the foot of the
staircase. Simultaneously, small detachments of the same regiment
ascended to the platform, and crouched there, with their loaded rifles
slightly projecting over the prison wall. At almost the same moment
the heads of a line of soldiers arose above the parapet of the railway
viaduct. A line of warders was formed in the gaol court. The sentries
on duty ceased their walk; magistrates and reporters stood aside, and
a dead silence prevailed for a few moments, as a signal was given from
the corner of the Roundhouse. At three minutes past eight o'clock the
solemn voice of a minister repeating the litany of the Catholic Church
was heard, and the head of the procession became visible through a
thick fog, about thirty yards from the foot of the staircase. The
Rev. Canon Cantwell walked first by the side of Allen. The convict
was deadly pale; his eyes wandered alternately from the priest to the
individuals standing round, and then he uplifted his gaze, in a vain
endeavour to pierce the dense canopy which hung above him. He walked
with a tolerably steady step, and uttered the response, 'Lord, have
mercy upon us,' in a firm voice."

Next to him came Larkin, in whose appearance confinement and anxiety
of mind had wrought a striking change. His physical strength seemed
shaken, and he required to be assisted by one of the warders in
ascending the long wooden stair that led to the scaffold. Last of
all came O'Brien, whose noble, firm, and dignified bearing won the
approbation of everyone who beheld him. A partition running in the
line of the wall divided the scaffold into an outer and an inner
platform, a small door opening between them. Allen and O'Brien, and
their attendants, having reached the top of the stair, waited on the
inner platform until Larkin and the rest of the attendant warders and
officials came up. Then, all being ready, the door was flung open,
and the boy-martyr was first led out upon the drop. His face, which
was deathly pale, appeared working with the effects of strong mental
agony. The high priest of English rule over Irishmen, Calcraft, came
forward, placed the treacherous noose around Allen's neck, pulled a
thin white cap over his ashen face, and then stooped, and securely
tied his feet together. The pinioning of the arms, which had been done
in the cell, allowed his hands, from the elbows downward, sufficient
freedom to clasp on his breast a crucifix, which ever and anon, as he
spoke aloud the responses of the litany, the poor young fellow seemed
to press closer and closer to his heart.

Next O'Brien was led forth. On his fine manly face the closest
scrutiny could not detect a trace of weakness. He looked calmly
and sadly around; then, stepping up to where Allen stood capped and
pinioned, he clasped him by the hand, and kissed him affectionately on
the cheek, speaking to him a word or two not overheard. Then O'Brien
himself was placed by Calcraft on the drop, the rope was fixed upon
his neck, the cap was drawn on his face, and his feet were securely

Larkin was now brought out, and led directly to his place on the
left hand of O'Brien, who was in the middle. The sight of his two
brother-martyrs capped and pinioned, and with the fatal cord around
each neck, seemed to unman the poor fellow utterly. He stumbled on
touching an uneven plank on the scaffold, so that many thought he had
fainted; but it was not so, though he unquestionably was labouring
under intense agony of mind. O'Brien, firm and unshrinking to the
last, turned and looked at him encouragingly, and to him also spoke
a few words in a low tone.

Calcraft now disappeared from view, and the three men stood for a
moment before the multitude, their voices ringing out clearly in the
still morning air, "Lord Jesus, have mercy on us." Suddenly the click
of the bolts was heard; the three bodies sunk through the traps;
England's three halters strained, and tugged, and twitched
convulsively for a few moments, and the deed was done--her vengeance
was accomplished.

That afternoon, her functionaries bore to three grave-pits in the
prison-yard three lumps of lifeless clay, that a few short hours
before had been three of God's noblest creatures. Like carrion, they
were flung into those unconsecrated pits, and strewed with quicklime.
For this was British law. The wolf and the tiger leave some vestiges
of their victims; but a special ordinance of English law required even
the corpses of those martyred Irishmen to be calcined.

They had purposed addressing the crowd from the scaffold, but were
prevented from so doing by order of the government! They had each one,
however, committed to writing, as already mentioned, a last solemn
message to the world. These declarations of the dying men were
entrusted to the care of their confessor, who eventually gave them up
for publication. They created the most intense and painful sensation
in Ireland. They made more and more clear the, dreadful fact that
the hapless men had been cruelly sacrificed. Standing, as it might
be said, in the presence of their God and Judge, they one and all
protested their innocence, and declared the falseness of the evidence
on which they had been convicted. But not in querulous repining or
denunciation were these truths proclaimed, but in language and with
sentiments worthy of men who professed the faith preached by the
Crucified on Calvary. Every line breathed the purest humility, the
most perfect resignation, and the most intense devotion to God,
mingled with the most fervent love of country. Those men were all of
humble circumstances in life, and, with the exception of O'Brien, had
but slight literary advantages; yet the simple pathos, beauty, and
eloquence of their dying messages moved every heart. Poor Larkin was,
of all three, the least endowed with education, yet his letter has
been aptly described as "a perfect _poem_ in prose." here append those
memorable documents:--


I wish to say a few words relative to the charge for which I am to
die. In a few hours more I will be going before my God. I state in
the presence of that great God that I am not the man who shot Sergeant
Brett. If that man's wife is alive, never let her think that I am the
person who deprived her of her husband; and if his family is alive,
let them never think I am the man who deprived them of their father.

I confess I have committed other sins against my God, and I hope He
will accept of my death as a homage and adoration which I owe his
Divine Majesty, and in atonement for my past transgressions against

There is not much use in dwelling on this subject much longer; for by
this time I am sure it is plain that I am not the man that took away
the life of Sergeant Brett.

I state this to put juries on their guard for the future, and to have
them inquire into the characters of witnesses before they take away
the lives of innocent men. But then, I ought not to complain. Was
not our Saviour sold for money, and His life sworn away by false
witnesses? With the help of the great God, I am only dying to a world
of sorrow to rise to a world of joy. Before the judgment seat of God
there will be no false witnesses tolerated; everyone must render an
account for himself.

I forgive all the enemies I ever may have had in this world. May God
forgive them. Forgive them, sweet Jesus, forgive them! I also ask
pardon of all whom I have injured in any way.

In reference to the attack on the van, I confess I nobly aided in the
rescue of the gallant Colonel Kelly and Captain Deasey. It is well
known to the whole world what my poor country has to suffer, and how
her sons are exiles the world over; then tell me where is the Irishman
who could look on unmoved, and see his countrymen taken prisoners, and
treated like murderers and robbers in British dungeons?

May the Lord have mercy on our souls, and deliver Ireland from her
sufferings. God save Ireland!



Men of the World--I, as a dying man, going before my God, solemnly
declare I have never fired a shot in all my life, much less the day
the attack was made on the van, nor did I ever put a hand to the van.
The world will remember the widow's son's life that was sworn away,
by which he leaves a wife and four children to mourn a loss. I am
not dying for shooting Brett, but for mentioning Colonel Kelly's and
Deasey's names in the court. I am dying a patriot for my God and my
country, and Larkin will be remembered in time to come by the sons and
daughters of Erin.

Farewell, dear Ireland, for I must leave you, and die a martyr for
your sake. Farewell, dear mother, wife, and children, for I must leave
you all for poor Ireland's sake. Farewell, uncles, aunts, and cousins,
likewise sons and daughters of Erin. I hope in heaven we will meet
another day. God be with you. Father in heaven, forgive those that
have sworn my life away. I forgive them and the world. God bless



I have only to make these few remarks. I did not use a revolver or
any other firearm, or throw stones, on the day that Colonel Kelly and
Captain Deasey were so gallantly rescued. I was not present too, when
the van was attacked. I say this not by way of reproach, or to give
annoyance to any person; but I say it in the hope that witnesses may
be more particular when identifying, and that juries may look more
closely to the character of witnesses, and to their evidence, before
they convict a person to send him before his God. I trust that
those who swore to seeing me with a revolver, or throwing stones,
were nothing more than mistaken. I forgive them from my heart, and
likewise, I forgive all who have ever done me or intended to do me
any injury. I know I have been guilty of many sins against my God; in
satisfaction for those sins I have tried to do what little penance I
could, and having received the sacraments of the Church, I have humbly
begged that He would accept my sufferings and death, to be united
to the sufferings and death of His innocent Son, through whom my
sufferings can be rendered acceptable.

My Redeemer died a more shameful death, as far as man could make it,
that I might receive pardon from Him and enjoy His glory in Heaven.
God grant it may be so. I earnestly beg my countrymen in America to
heal their differences, to unite in God's name for the sake of Ireland
and liberty. I cannot see any reason, even the slightest, why John
Savage should not have the entire confidence of all his countrymen.
With reference to Colonel Kelly, I believe him to be a good, honorable
man, unselfish, and entirely devoted to the cause of Irish freedom.


So ends the story of the memorable events which gave three new names
to the list of Ireland's martyrs; so closes the sad and thrilling
record which tells how Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien died. Over the
neglected plot in which their calcined remains are lying no stone
stands inscribed with their names--no emblem to symbolize their
religion or their nationality. But to that gloomy spot the hearts of
the Irish people will ever turn with affectionate remembrance; and the
day will never come when, in this the land that bore them, the brave
men whose ashes repose within it will be forgotten.

* * * * *


There was wild commotion among the Irish people in America, when, on
the 6th of March, 1867, the Atlantic cable flashed across to them
the news that on the previous night the Fenian circles, from Louth
to Kerry, had turned out in arms, and commenced the long promised
rebellion. It was news to send a thrill of excitement through every
Irish heart--to fire the blood of the zealous men, who for years had
been working to bring the Irish question to this issue; and news to
cause profound and anxious thought to that large class of Irishmen
who, deeply occupied with commercial and professional pursuits, are
less energetic than the members of the Fenian Brotherhood in their
political action, but who scarcely differ from them in principle. It
was, for all who had Irish blood in their veins and Irish sympathies
in their hearts, a serious consideration that once again the banner
of insurrection against English rule had been unfurled in Ireland,
and that on many a spot of Irish earth the organized forces of England
were in conflict with the hastily collected, ill-supplied, and almost
unarmed levies of Irish patriotism.

The question whether the cause of Ireland would be advantaged or
injured by the struggle and its inevitable results, was differently
answered by different minds. Some saw in the conflict nothing but
defeat and suffering for the country--more, gyves and chains--more,
sorrow and humiliation for her sons, and a fresh triumph for the proud
and boastful power of England. Others, while only too well convinced
that the suppression of the insurrectionary movement was sure to be
speedily accomplished, viewed the position with a certain fierce and
stern satisfaction, and discerned therein the germ of high hopes for
the future.

But to certain of the Fenian leaders and Fenian circles in America,
the news came with a pressing and a peculiar interest. They were
largely responsible for the outbreak; the war was, in a manner, their
war. Their late head-centre, James Stephens, was chargeable with it
only in a certain degree. He had promised to initiate the struggle
before the 1st of January of that year. Conscious that his veracity
was regarded in somewhat of a dubious light by many of his followers,
he reiterated the declaration with all possible passion and vehemence,
and even went the length of swearing to it by invocations of the Most
High, before public assemblies of his countrymen. When the time came
for the fulfilment of his pledges he failed to keep them, and was
immediately deposed from his position by the disappointed and enraged
circles which had hitherto trusted him. But in the meantime, relying
on his engagement to lead off an insurrection in Ireland, those
circles had made certain preparations for the event, and a number of
their members, brave Irishmen who had had actual experience of war in
the armies of America, had crossed the Atlantic, and landed in England
and Ireland, to give the movement the benefit of their services. To
these men the break-down of James Stephens was a stunning blow, an
event full of shame and horror; they felt their honour compromised
by his conduct; they considered that they could not return to America
with their mission unattempted, and they resolved to establish their
own honesty and sincerity at all events, as well as the courage
and earnestness of the Fenian Brotherhood in Ireland, by taking the
desperate course of engaging forthwith in open insurrection. It was
in conformity with their arrangements, and in obedience to their
directions, that the rising took place on the night of the 5th of
March, 1867.

The ill success which attended the attempted insurrection was reported
in America almost as soon as it was known in Ireland, by the agency
of the Atlantic telegraph. But, whoever believed the statements of its
speedy and utter collapse, which were forwarded through the cable, the
Fenian circles certainly did not. They felt certain that the truth was
being withheld from them, that the cable, which was an instrument in
the hands of the British Government, was being employed to mislead
them, and that when it reported all quiet in Ireland, and no movement
afoot save that of the British troops employed in "scouring" the
mountains of Cork and Tipperary, there was, in reality, a guerilla
warfare being waged over a great extent of the country, and many
a tough fight being fought in pass, and glen, and wood, amidst the
picturesque scenery of the Munster counties. Their incredulity was but
natural. They had no reason whatever to rely on the truthfulness of
the cable messages. If there had been Fenian successes to report, it
is very likely that no fair account of them would have been allowed
to pass by that route. Still, as day after day went by, and brought
no news of battles lost or won by any party, the conviction began to
force itself on the minds of the American Fenians that the movement
in Ireland was hanging fire, and that it was going hard with the brave
men who had committed themselves to it at the outset. It was necessary
that something should be done, if those men were to be sustained, and
the outbreak developed into a struggle worthy of the cause, and of the
long years of preparation, the bold threats and the glowing promises
of the Fenian Brotherhood, the risks they had incurred, and the
sacrifices they had made.

What was to be done? What was most needed to give force and power to
the insurrectionary uprising in Ireland? They knew the answer. Arms
and officers were wanted. To supply them, at least in some measure,
was, therefore, the great object that now presented itself to their
minds. How they sought to accomplish it is known to the public--if the
Attorney-General and his witnesses, at the opening of the Commission
in Dublin, in November, 1867, told a true story.

Any references we shall here make to that particular subject, that is,
to the alleged voyage of a Fenian cruiser conveying men and arms from
New York to Ireland, shall be derived entirely from the statements
made in open court on that occasion, with an extract or two from a
document otherwise published. We shall add nothing to them, neither
shall we vouch for the authenticity of all or any of them, for, at
the time of our writing, "the Crown," as the government lawyers call
themselves, are not yet done with some of the cases arising out of
this alleged expedition. But, taking the narrative as we find it
in the newspaper reports of the trials of Colonel John Warren and
Augustine E. Costello, and in the lecture delivered in America, under
the auspices of the Fenian Brotherhood, by Colonel S.R. Tresilian,
John Savage, Esq., C.E.F.B. in the chair, reported in the _Irish
People_, New York, and in other journals, we summarise briefly, as
follows, its chief particulars.

It appears, then, that at the time to which we have referred, when the
necessity of transmitting a quantity of arms, and sending a number of
military leaders to Ireland for the sustainment of the insurrectionary
movement had impressed itself on the minds of the Fenian leaders
in America, they resolved on an attempt to supply, to some extent,
those requirements. Two ways were open to them of setting about this
difficult and hazardous undertaking. One was to avail of the ordinary
mail steamers and trading ships between the two countries, send the
men across as ordinary passengers, and ship the arms as goods of
different kinds. Much had been done in that way during the previous
three or four years, but it was plainly too slow and uncertain a
process to adopt on the present occasion. The other course was to
procure a vessel for this special purpose, freight her with the men
and arms, place her under the command of a skilful and experienced
captain, and trust to his skill and luck for landing the entire in
safety somewhere on the west coast of Ireland.

This was the course adopted. How it was carried out, the
Attorney-General, with whatever degree of authority may attach to his
words in such a case, has thus described:--

On the 12th of April, 1867, a party of forty or fifty men,
almost all of whom had been officers or privates in the
service of the American government, went down from New York to
Sandyhook, in a steamer, a distance of about eighteen miles.
There they found a brigantine of about 200 tons burden, which
had been purchased for the expedition, and in that brigantine
these men embarked, and sailed for Ireland. She was called the
"Jacknell," and she sailed without papers or colours. For the
purpose of keeping their movements as free from observation
as possible, these men embarked without luggage--a rather
extraordinary thing in men the great majority of whom had
been officers in the American service. The commander of the
expedition was named John F. Kavanagh, and he had filled the
office of brigadier-general in the American army, and was at
one time a member of the American Congress. These men had on
board a very large quantity of arms, packed in piano-cases,
cases for sewing machines, and wine barrels, in order to
conceal them effectually; and the parcels were consigned to
a merchant firm in Cuba. The ship steered for one day towards
the West Indies, in order to avoid suspicion, and then shaped
her course towards Ireland. Vessels occasionally came in
sight, and when they did English colours were hoisted. Nothing
remarkable occurred until Easter Sunday, April 29th, nearly
nine days after they had sailed from New York. The parties
determined to celebrate that day as a festival, and they
hoisted the green flag with a sunburst, fired a salute, and
changed the name of the vessel, calling her "Erin's Hope."
Kavanagh then produced Fenian commissions, and distributed
them, and also produced sealed orders, from which it appeared
that he was to sail to Sligo Bay, and there land his men and
arms; and if he found it impracticable to land them there,
he was to proceed to some other place in Ireland. Some days
after this, they came in sight of the coast of the county
of Limerick, and then they sailed towards Sligo; but they
overshot the mark, and arrived off the coast of Donegal. They
then turned back, and arrived at Sligo Bay on the 20th of May.

The learned gentleman then went on to describe certain occurrences
alleged to have taken place on board the vessel, while she remained
in and about Sligo Bay. He said that on one evening a hooker came
alongside, from which a man, who appeared to be a gentleman, got on
board the brigantine. This person went down into the cabin, conversed
with the officers, and told them the landing could not be effected at
Sligo, after which he returned on board the hooker, and sailed for the
shore. The Attorney-General said:--

About the 26th of May the ship left the Sligo coast. On the
1st of June she arrrivcd at Dungarvan. During the voyage
councils were held on board. Provisions were running short,
and they could not remain much longer at sea. These matters
were made the subjects of discussion. Some were for going to
America, and some for landing; and at last the conclusion was
arrived at that the majority of the officers should be landed,
and that the others should go either to America or to the
Western Isles--the Hebrides. They hailed a large fishing boat,
and offered the man on board L2 to put two men on shore. He
went on board the brigantine, and when he did so, twenty-eight
men who were hitherto concealed, rushed on board his ship. He
asked them if he would land them at Helwick Point, and they
said no, because there was a coastguard station there. They
were eventually landed about two miles from that point, and
they were compelled to wade through water three-and-a-half
feet deep to the shore.

So far the learned gentleman, her Majesty's Attorney-General for
Ireland. His statement was supported by the informations and
the evidence of an informer, Daniel J. Buckley, the Judas of the
expedition. He, however, represented Kavanagh as the captain of
the vessel, and General James E. Kerrigan as chief of the military
expedition. As to the armament on board, they had, he said, "some
Spencer's repeating rifles, seven-shooters, and some Enfield rifles,
Austrian rifles, Sharp's and Burnside's breech-loaders, and some
revolvers. There were about 5,000 stand of arms on board, and three
pieces of artillery, which would fire three-pound shot or shell. With
these pieces the salute was fired on the occasion of hoisting the
sunburst on Easter Sunday. As regards ammunition, there were about a
million-and-a-half rounds on board."

Colonel S.R. Tresilian, in the lecture already alluded to, gave the
following facetious account of the warlike stores which were on board
the vessel:--

We found the cargo to consist of 5,000 rat-tail files, of
different sizes and descriptions. Then there were several
smaller files that mechanics carry in their pockets; then
again there was the flat file, in respectable numbers, that
are used for cutting on either edge, and that are carried
in sheathes, to prevent the mechanics from cutting their
neighbours' fingers. These files were to be distributed to the
paupers in Ireland, to enable them to sharpen their teeth, so
that they could masticate animal food at the grand barbecue
that was to be given on the landing of our vessel. Another
portion of the cargo was 200,000 puff-balls and sugar-plums,
for gratuitous distribution among our English friends and
brethren in Ireland.

It surely was a daring venture to run that craft, freighted as she
was, across the ocean, and sail her for days along the coast of
Ireland. The lecturer gave the following account of her voyagings:--

The craft made three landings in Ireland, and one in England,
and they were very near being captured several times. At no
time were they over twelve miles from a British man-of-war,
a frigate, ram, or gun-boat, and were continually annoyed by
pilots. They were at sea 107 days; 38 days from America to
Ireland, in which, they sailed 3,565 miles; 24 days round
the coast of Ireland and England, 2,023 miles; 47 days from
Ireland to America, 3,577 miles; making a grand total of 9,205

As regards the return voyage, the lecturer gave the following

On the return trip they had, in starting from the coast of
Ireland, one barrel sound bread, one barrel mouldy bread,
one rice, pork 6 lbs., one box fish, one barrel of beef, one
bushel of beans, two quarts of molasses, one-half lb. sugar,
tea and coffee in sufficient quantities, one-third rations
of water. They ran out of everything except bread and water
before reaching the Banks of Newfoundland, where they received
assistance from a fishing-smack, and again, off Boston, from
a vessel bound to San Francisco. They succeeded in landing the
entire cargo safely in America, and it is now in the hands of
the Fenian Brotherhood.

It is a strange story altogether. The voyage of the vessel to and fro,
and along the well-watched coast of Ireland, unchallenged by a British
ship, is a fact of no small significance, even if it be not quite
conclusive as regards the argument of the lecturer, that the Fenian
Brotherhood of America can, when they please, land large supplies, men
and arms, in Ireland. Then the interest of the narrative is greatly
enhanced by some of its romantic incidents, more especially by the
remarkable scene stated to have occurred on Easter Sunday morning.

News of the landing which had been effected near Dungarvan was
quickly spread amongst the coastguards and the police, and a few
hours afterwards some twenty-seven men were under arrest, charged with
having come into the country under suspicious circumstances. Amongst
them were two whose trials for having formed part of an armed
expedition destined to aid a rebellion in Ireland, have since been
had at the Commission which opened in Dublin on the 28th of November,
1867, and whose spirited defence of themselves in the dock it is our
purpose to record in these pages. They were Colonel John Warren, of
the American army, and Augustine E. Costello.

The trial of the first-named of those gentlemen is likely, owing
to the spirited and statesmanlike course which he adopted on the
occasion, to become memorable for all time, and to have a prominent
place in the histories of two great nations, England and America. One
of its results, now actually in progress, is an alteration in the law
of America, on a point of great importance to both countries; and this
alteration will necessitate a corresponding change, if not in the law,
at least in the practice, of the English courts. From these changes
will ensue consequences of the utmost gravity to England, but of
unquestionable advantage to the Irish people, and the cause which they
have at heart; for all which the name of Colonel Warren will long be
held in honour and in grateful remembrance among his countrymen.

[Illustration: COLONEL WARREN]

Colonel Warren, who is a native of the town of Clonakilty, in the
county of Cork, and of respectable parentage, emigrated to the United
States some twelve years ago, and in due course of time, like most
of his countrymen who transfer their domicile to that free and great
country, he took out papers of naturalization, and became one of its
adopted citizens. That act of naturalization is the declaration of
a contract between the American government, on the one hand, and
the new-made citizen on the other, whereby the latter formally and
solemnly transfers his allegiance to that government, and withdraws
it from any other which might previously have had a claim on it; and
whereby the government, on its part, in exchange for that allegiance,
engages to extend to him all the liberties and rights possessed by its
native-born subjects--the benefit of its laws, the full scope of its
franchises, the protection of its flag. In this way many hundreds
of thousands of men, hunted by British law and British policy out of
Ireland, have, during recent years, been added to the number of brave
and devoted citzens possessed by the United States. But yet, it
seems, the law of England affords no recognition to this transfer of
allegiance, expressly denies the legality of any such act, and claims
as subjects of the British crown, not only all persons born within
British jurisdiction, but also their sons and grandsons, wherever
their domicile and their place of birth may be. Between the
British law on the subject of allegiance and the American system of
naturalization, there is, therefore, an irreconcilable discrepancy;
and the course taken by Colonel Warren, on his trial, was to bring
this question of law between the two governments to a direct issue.
He took his stand on his American citizenship; he claimed to be tried
as an alien, and, on the bench refusing to accede to his demand, he
abandoned all legal defence, directed his counsel to withdraw from
the case, and put it upon his government to maintain the honour and
vindicate the laws of America, by affording him the protection to
which he was entitled.

Other Irishmen, naturalized citizens of America, had previously been
tried and sentenced for Fenian practices, including acts done and
words spoken by them in America, which would not have come within the
cognizance of the court had they been tried otherwise than as British
subjects; and in their addresses to the court they had made reference,
proudly and hopefully, to the fact that they were adopted sons of
that great country; but none of them had struck upon a course so well
calculated as that taken by Colonel Warren to raise the international
question, and necessitate a distinct and speedy solution of it. He
had a good case to go before the jury, had he allowed himself to be
legally defended, and he was perfectly aware of that fact; but he
clearly perceived that, by taking the other course, whatever might
be the consequences to himself, he would be able to render better
service, both to his adopted country and his native land. He took that
course, and it is, therefore, that he is to-day in a British convict
prison, far away from his home and friends, from his wife and his
children, subject to all the restraints and indignities imposed by
England on the vilest and meanest of her criminals, and with a term of
fifteen years of such treatment decreed to him. Let us be able to say
at least, that his countrymen are not unmindful of the sacrifice.

In the course of the trial, which was had before Chief Baron Pigot
and Mr. Justice Keogh, in the Commission Court, Dublin, Colonel Warren
offered some few remarks on the evidence, and put some questions to
the witnesses, all of which showed considerable acumen on his part,
and were thoroughly _ad rem_. He complained particularly of the manner
in which his identification was obtained. Gallagher, who had piloted
the "Erin's Hope" around the west coast of Ireland, swore to his
identity as one of the party who were on board; but the prisoner
contended that Gallagher's knowledge of him was acquired, not on board
that vessel, but in Kilmainham gaol, where Gallagher had been his
fellow-prisoner for some weeks, during which time he had abundant
opportunities of learning his, Colonel Warren's, name, and the
charge against him. But it was a vain thing, as far as the jury were
concerned, to indulge in such criticisms of the evidence. There were
times in Irish and in English history, when juries could rise above
the panic of the hour, and refuse to minister to the passion of the
government, but we have fallen upon other times, and, now-a-days, to
be accused of a political crime means to be convicted.

A verdict of "guilty" against Colonel Warren was returned as a
matter of course. On Saturday, November the 16th, he, with two other
prisoners, was brought up for sentence. On the usual interrogatory
being put to him, the following proceedings took place:--

I claim the privilege established by precedent. I have had no
opportunity of making any remarks on my case, and I would now
wish to say a few words.

THE CHIEF BARON--Just state what you have to say; we are ready
to hear you.

WARREN--I desire, in the first place, to explain, while
ignoring the jurisdiction of this court to sentence me,
and while assuming my original position, my reasons for
interfering in this case at all. I can see beyond my present
position, the importance of this case, and I was desirous
to instruct the jury, either directly or indirectly, of
the importance of their decision, while never for a moment
deviating from the position which I assumed. I submit that
I effectually did that. They incautiously, and foolishly for
themselves and the country of which they claim to be subjects,
have raised an issue which has to be settled by a higher
tribunal than this court.

PRISONER--I propose to show that the verdict is contrary to

THE CHIEF BARON--I must again tell you that you are not at
liberty to do that.

PRISONER--I propose to answer briefly the question why the
sentence of the court should not be pronounced upon me. Do I
understand you to refuse me that privilege?

THE CHIEF BARON--Certainly not; but I am bound in point of law
to refuse to hear you upon any matter respecting the verdict.
We are bound by that verdict just as much as you are. That is
the law.

PRISONER--What position do I stand in now, my lord? I have
been indicted with a number of parties, one of whom had been
identified in America. I have been tried and convicted. What
position do I stand in now? Am I convicted on the evidence of
Corydon, who swears that I belonged to the Fenian Brotherhood
in 1863? Does that prove that I belonged to it in 1867?

The Chief Baron then explained that what he left to the jury was,
that if they believed upon the evidence that on the 5th of March the
prisoner belonged to the Fenian confederacy, having for its object the
deposition of the Queen, he would be answerable for the acts done by
his confederates, whether he was present or absent at the time.

PRISONER--You instructed the jury, at the same time, that
the fact of my holding the position of a colonel in '63 was
sufficient corroboration of the evidence that I belonged to it
in 1867.

THE CHIEF BARON--I told the jury that holding the rank of
colonel was evidence for their consideration, upon which
to determine whether you previously belonged to the Fenian
confederacy. I told them they were at liberty to consider
whether you would have got that rank if you then joined for
the first time.

PRISONER--Precisely the same thing, but in different
phraseology. Am I to understand that I have not liberty to
address the court as to why sentence should not be pronounced
upon me?

THE CHIEF BARON--You are not so to consider. You are at
liberty to address the court, but you are not at liberty to
comment upon the evidence to show that the verdict was wrong.

PRISONER--What can I speak on? To what can I speak, if not to
something connected with my case? I am not here to refer to a
church matter or any political question.

THE CHIEF BARON--I have informed you what we are bound to

PRISONER--Then I state, my lord, that as an American citizen,
I protest against the whole jurisdiction of this court, from
the commencement of my arraignment down to the end of my
trial. I protest against being brought here forcibly, and
against my being convicted on the evidence of a man whom you
yourselves designated a man of the most odious character.
You instructed the jury pointedly on one occasion, and
subsequently you said that no respectable jury could act on
his evidence, and that it was a calamity for any government,
to have to resort to the evidence of such a man. I do not wish
to say anything disrespectful to this eourt, but I think I may
say that if I stand here as a convicted felon, the privilege
should be accorded to me that has been accorded to every other
person who stood here before me in a similar position. There
is a portion of the trial to which I particularly wish to
refer. That is, in reference to the oath which it was stated
the pilot was forced to take on board the vessel. Much
importance was attached to this matter, and therefore I wish
to ask you and others in this court to look and to inquire if
there is any man here who could suppose that I am scoundrel
enough and ignorant enough to take an ignorant man, put a
pistol to his face, and force him to take an oath I ask you,
in the first place, not to believe that I am such a scoundrel,
and in the second that I am not such an idiot. If I were at
this moment going to my grave, I could say that I never saw
that man Gallagher till I saw him in Kilmainham prison. These
men, although they have been, day after day, studying lessons
under able masters, contradicted each other on the trial, and
have been perjuring themselves. Gallagher, in his evidence,
swore that his first and second informations were false, and
that he knew them to be false. It is contrary to all precedent
to convict a man on the evidence of a witness who admits
that he swore what was false. In America I have seen judges,
hundreds of times, sentencing men who were taken off the
table, put into the dock, and sent to prison. In this case,
this poor, ignorant man was brought into Kilmainham gaol on
the 1st of July. He knew my name, heard it called several
times, knew of the act of which I was suspected, and, on the
2nd of August he was taken away. On the 12th of October he
is brought back, and out of a party of forty or fifty he
identifies only three. If that man came on board the vessel,
he did so in his ordinary capacity as a pilot. He did his
duty, got his pay, and left. His subsequent evidence was
additions. With respect to the vessel, I submit that there was
not a shadow of evidence to prove that there was any intention
of a hostile landing, and that the evidence as to the identity
of the vessel would not stand for a moment where either law
or justice would be regarded. Now, as to the Flying Dutchman
which it is said appeared on the coast of Sligo and on the
coast of Dungarvan, in Gallagher's information nothing is said
about the dimensions of the vessel. Neither length, breadth,
or tonnage is given, but in making his second information he
revised the first.

The prisoner then proceeded to argue that there was nothing to show
that the vessel which had appeared in Sligo harbour was the same with
that which had appeared off Dungarvan, except the testimony of the
informer, Buckley, of which there was no corroboration. He also denied
the truth of Corydon's evidence, in several particulars, and then went
on to say--

As to the position in which I am now placed by British law,
I have to repeat that I am an American citizen, and owe
allegiance to the government of the United States. I am a
soldier, and have belonged to the National Militia of America.
Now, if war had broken out between the two countries, and that
I had been taken prisoner, the English government, according
to English law, would hold me guilty of high treason. I would
not be treated as an ordinary prisoner of war, but would be
liable to be strung up at the yard arm. See then the position
of England towards the United States. The Crown should not be
in such haste to act thus. It was hardly a judicious policy.
Andrew Johnson was the grandson of an Irishman; Mr. Seward was
the son of an Irishwoman; General Jackson was the son of an
Irishman; General Washington and Benjamin Franklin lived
and died British subjects, if this law be correct. There is
another point to which I wish to refer--it is to the manner in
which my government has acted in this matter--

THE CHIEF BARON--We cannot allow you to enter into remarks on
the conduct of any government. We have simply to sit here to
administer the law which we are called upon to discharge.

THE PRISONER--I wish simply to call your attention to one
point. On the 3rd of August I wrote to my government--

THE CHIEF BARON--I cannot allow you to refer to that.

THE PRISONER--The President of the United States, on a report
submitted to him--

THE CHIEF BARON--I cannot allow you to proceed with any
reference to what has been done by any government. We have
nothing to do with the conduct of any government We are only
here to administer the law which we are sworn to administer.

THE PRISONER--I was simply going to state that while the vile
officials of your government--.

THE CHIEF BARON--We have nothing to do with the conduct of any
government. We are here to dispense justice according to
law, and whatever the officials of our government or of
the American government have done cannot have the slightest
influence upon our judgment. It can neither affect us
favourably or unfavourably to the prisoner or to the Crown. We
stand indifferently between both.

THE PRISONER--I beg simply to call your lordship's attention
to the correspondence--

THE CHIEF BARON--We cannot allow you to do so. We cannot allow
you to refer to the correspondence between the officials of
one government and the officials of another.

THE PRISONER--If America does not resent England's conduct
towards me, and protect that allegiance to her government
which I proudly own is the only allegiance I ever
acknowledged, I shall call on thirteen millions of Irishmen--

THE CHIEF BARON--I cannot allow you to use the position in
which you stand there as the arena for those observations.

PRISONER--I must then state, in conclusion, that while I
protest against the jurisdiction, I am confident that the
position which I take will be sustained. I know that the
verdict of the jury will be reversed, and while returning you,
my lord, thanks for your kindness during the trial, I must
say you have taken from me the privilege I am entitled to
get. I am sure that I shall live longer than the British

* * * * *


After the verdict had been returned against Colonel Warren, Augustine
E. Costello was put on his trial, charged with the same offence--that
of having formed cne of the invading party who landed from the "Erin's
Hope," in the neighbourhood of Dungarvan. He, too, was an adopted
citizen of the United States, and he declared that he was anxious to
follow the course that had been taken by his friend, Colonel Warren,
in reference to his trial; but, deferring to the strongly-expressed
wish of his counsel, he would leave his case in their hands. An able
defence was made for him by Messrs. Heron and Molloy, Q.C., instructed
by Mr. Scallan, Solicitor; but it was all in vain. When he was called
on to say why sentence should not be pronounced on him, he delivered
the following address in a loud tone of voice, his fresh young
face glowing with emotion as he spoke, and his manner showing deep
excitement, but withal a fearless and noble spirit:--

In answer to the question put to me by the Clerk of the Court,
I will speak a few words. I don't intend to say much, and I
will trespass on foibidden ground but as little as possible.
I am perfectly satisfied that there has not been one fact
established or proved that would justify a conscientious and
impartial jury in finding me guilty of treason-felony. There
is an extreme paucity of evidence against me;--that everyone
who has been here while this case has been proceeded with
will admit frankly and candidly. We need no stronger proof of
this fact than that the first jury that was empanelled to try
me had, after a long and patient hearing of the case, to be
discharged without having found me guilty of treason-felony.
Ah! there were a few honest men on that jury. They knew that
Augustine E. Costello was not guilty of the crime trumped up
against him. They knew I was not guilty. Mr. Anderson, sitting
there, knows that I am not a felon, but that I am an honest
man; that as such I stand here in this dock, where Robert
Emmett stood, where Robert Emmett spoke from; and the actions
and the words of that Emmett have immortalized him, and he now
lies embalmed in the hearts of the world.

The LORD CHIEF BARON--I cannot allow you to proceed in that

COSTELLO--I can say to those assembled here, and who are now
listening to me, that I stand here, branded, as I am, a felon,
but with a clear conscience. No one can point the finger of
scorn against me, and say I have sold my brother and committed
perjury. Can every man in this court house lay his hand on his
heart and say the same? Answer me, Mr. Anderson. Answer me,
Governor Price.

The LORD CHIEF BARON--You are again transgressing. You had
better stop for a moment or two; you seem to be excited.

COSTELLO--My lord, as you truly remark. I have allowed my
feelings to run away with my discretion; but it is hard for
a man to stand here, satisfied as I am of innocence, knowing
full well that I have committed no wrong; it is hard for a
man in the bloom of youth, when the world looks fair and
prosperous to him--when all he loves is in that world--it is
hard that a man should be torn from it, and incarcerated in a
living tomb. My lords, I am an humble individual; I claim no
rights but the rights that emanated from a Godhead--the rights
that were given to me at the hour of my birth. That right is
my inalienable liberty, and that no government, no people,
has a right to take from me. I am perfectly satisfied to stand
before a British tribunal to answer for acts or words of mine,
if I break any of the laws of the country; but, my lords,
you must admit that I have transgressed no law. His lordship,
Judge Keogh--I must now candidly admit that I have heard
a great deal about that gentle nan that was not at all
complimentary to him--but I say for myself that his lordship,
Judge Keogh has dealt with me in the fairest manner he could
have done. I have nothing to say against the administration of
the law, as laid down by you; but I say a people who boast of
their freedom--hold up their magnanimous doings to the world
for approval and praise--I say those people are the veriest
slaves in existence to allow laws to exist for a moment which
deprive a man of liberty.

The LORD CHIEF BARON--It is impossible for a Court
administering the law, to allow you to speak in such terms
against such law.

[Illustration: Augustine E. Costello.]

COSTELLO--I speak under correction, my lord. You must, if you
please, be assured that I do not attribute any wrong to
your lordships--far be it from me; I acknowledge and again
reiterate that. So far as the law is concerned, I have had a
dose that has almost killed me; but if there was a little--a
very little--justice mixed in that law, I would not be now
addressing your lordships. Of the law I have had sufficient,
but I have come to the conclusion that justice is not to be
found inside a British courthouse. My lords, I complain, and
grievously, of what my friend Colonel Warren and my friend
General Halpin complained of--of being tried in this Court
as a British subject; and I think your lordships will not
reprimand me much for that expression. I left the shores of my
native land--Ireland is the land of my birth, and I am proud
to own it. I am proud to say that I am an Irishman, but I am
also proud and happy to state that I am an adopted citizen of
the United States; and while true to the land of my birth, I
can never be false to the land of my adoption. That is not
an original phrase, but it expresses the idea which I mean to
convey. Now, my lords, my learned and very able counsel, who
have conducted my case with the greatest ability and zeal, and
of whom I cannot speak in terms of sufficient praise, demanded
for me a jury half alien. I was refased it. I was born in
this country, and I was, while breath remained in my body, a
British subject. In God's name--if I may mention His holy name
without sufficient reasons--what affection should I have for
England? You cannot stamp out the instincts that are in the
breast of man--man will be man to the end of time--the very
worm you tread upon will turn upon your feet. If I remained in
this country till I descended to the grave, I would remain in
obscurity and poverty. I left Ireland, not because I disliked
the country--I love Ireland as I lovs myself--I left Ireland
for the very good and cogent reason that I could not live in
Ireland. But why could I not live here? I must not say; that
would be trespassing. I must not mention why I was forced to
leave Ireland--why I am now placed in this dock. Think you,
my lords, that I would injure a living being--that I would,
of my own free accord, willingly touch a hair upon the head
of any man? No, my lords; far would it be from me; but that
government which has left our people in misery--

The LORD CHIEF BARON--I cannot allow you to trespass on
political grievances.

COSTELLO--I am afraid I am occupying the time of the court
too much, but really a man placed in such a position as I now
occupy, finds it necessary to make a few observations. I know
it savours of a great deal that is bad and foul to be mixed
up with Fenian rebels, assassins, and cut-throats. It is
very bad; it is not a very good recommendation for a young
man. Even were that fact proved home to me--that I were a
Fenian--no act of mine has ever thrown dishonour on the name.
I know not what Fenian means. I am an Irishman, and that is

The prisoner then proceeded to criticise the evidence against him
at considerable length. He declared emphatically that one of the
documents sworn to be in his handwriting was not written by him. He
thus continued:--

Your lordships are well aware that there are many
contradictions in the informers' testimony, and now here is
a matter which I am going to mention for the first time.
Corydon. in his first information at Kilmainham, swears that
he never knew me until he saw me at a Fenian pic-nic, and this
he modifies afterwards by the remark, that any man would be
allowed into these pic-nics on the payment of a certain sum.
I did not pay much attention to what the fellow was saying
about me, as I thought it did not affect me in the least; but
this I can distinctly remember, that Mr. Anderson, jun.--and
he is there to say if I am saying anything false--said that
the evidence of Corydon did not affect any one of the six
prisoners put in this dock but another and myself. It _is_
very strange if that was said by Mr. Anderson. He knew
that there was nothing more to be got out of Corydon,
the informer--that he had told everything he knew in his
information, but on pressure there was found to be a little
left in the sponge. They refreshed his memory a little, and
he comes to think that he saw Costello at a meeting in
814 Broadway I think he gives it. And here is a singular
occurrence--that Devany, who never swore an information
against me, comes on the table and swears that he also saw me
at 814 Broadway Here is one informer striving to corroborate
the other. It is a well-known fact that these informers speak
to each other, go over the evidence, and what is more likely
thin that they should make their evidence to agree--say, "I
will corroborate your story, you corroborate mine." By this
means was it that the overt acts of the 5th of March, which
took place at Stepaside, Glencullen, and Tallaght, were
brought home to Costello--a man who was 4,000 miles away,
and living--and I say it on the word of a man, a Christian
man--peaceably, not belonging to that confederation. I did
not belong to the Fenian Brotherhood for twelve months before
I left America, if I did belong to it at any other time, so
help me God! God witnesses what I say, and he records my words
above. It is a painful position to be placed in. I know I am
a little excited. Were I to speak of this matter under other
circumstances, I would be more cool and collected. Were I
conscious of guilt--did I know that I merited this punishment,
I would not speak a word, but say that I deserved and well
merited the punishment about to be inflicted upon me. But,
my lords, there never was a man convicted in this court more
innocent of the charges made against him than Costello. The
overt acts committed in the county of Dublin, admitting
that the law of England is as it was laid down by your
lordship, that a man, a member of this confederacy, if
he lived in China, was responsible for the acts of his
confederates--admitting that to be law, I am still an innocent
man. Admitting and conceding that England has a right to try
me as a British subject, I still am an innocent man. Why do I
make these assertions? I know full well they cannot have any
effect in lessening the term of my sentence. Can I speak for
the sake of having an audience here to listen to me? Do I
speak for the satisfaction of hearing my own feeble voice? I
am not actuated by such motives. I speak because I wish to
let you know that I believe myself innocent; and he would be
a hard-hearted man, indeed, who would grudge me those few
sentences. Now, my lord, I have observed I did not belong to
the Fenian confederacy in March of this present year. I did
not belong to the Fenian confederacy anterior to the period
that Corydon and Devany allege that they saw me act as centre
and secretary to Fenian meetings; that, anterior to that
period, I never took act or part in the Fenian conspiracy up
to the period of my leaving America. Does it do me any good to
make these statements? I ask favours, as Halpin said, from
no man. I ask nothing but justice--stern justice--even-handed
justice. If I am guilty--if I have striven to overthrow the
government of this country, if I have striven to revolutionize
this country, I consider myself enough of a soldier to
bare my breast to the consequences, no matter whether that
consequence may reach me on the battle-field or in the cells
of Pentonville. I am not afraid of punishment. I have moral
courage to bear all that can be heaped upon me in Pentonville,
Portland, or Kilmainham, designated by one of us as the modern
Bastile. I cannot be worse treated, no matter where you send
me to. There never was a more infernal dungeon on God's earth
than Kilmainham. It is not much to the point, my lord. I will
not say another word about it. I believe I saw in some of the
weekly papers that it would be well to appoint a commission to

The LORD CHIEF BARON--I cannot allow you to proceed with that

COSTELLO--I will not say another word. I will conclude now.
There is much I could say, yet a man in my position cannot
help speaking. There are a thousand and one points affecting
me here, affecting my character as a man, affecting my life
and well-being, and he would be a hard-hearted man who could
blame me for speaking in strong terms. I feel that I have
within me the seeds of a disease that will soon put me into
an early grave, and I have within my breast the seeds of a
disease which will never allow me to see the expiration of my
imprisonment. It is, my lord, a disease, and I hope you will
allow me to speak on this subject, which has resulted from
the treatment I have been subjected to. I will pass over it as
rapidly as I can, because it is a nasty subject--Kilmainham.
But the treatment that I have received at Kilmainham--I will
not particularize any man, or the conduct of any man--has
been most severe, most harsh, not fit for a beast, much less
a human being. I was brought to Kilmainham, so far as I know,
without any warrant from the Lord Lieutenant. I was brought on
a charge the most visionary and airy. No man knew what I was.
No one could tell me or specify to me the charge on which I
was detained. I asked the magistrates at Dungarvan to advise
me of these charges. They would not tell me. At last I drove
them into such a corner as I might call it, that one of them
rose up and said, with much force, "You are a Fenian." Now, my
lords, that is a very accommodating word. If a man only breaks
a window now he is a Fenian. If I could bring, or if I had
only the means of bringing, witnesses from America, I would
have established my innocence here without a probability of
doubt. I would have brought a host of witnesses to prove that
Costello was not the centre of a circle in 1866. I would
have brought a host of witnesses to prove that he was not
the secretary of a circle--never in all his life. My lords, I
speak calmly, and weigh well, and understand every word that
I say. If I speak wrong, time will bring the truth to the
surface, and I would sooner have fifteen years added to my
sentence than that any man might say I spoke from this dock,
which I regard as a holy place, where stood those whom I
revere as much as I do any of our saints--

The LORD CHIEF BARON--I cannot suffer you to proceed thus.

COSTELLO--I would not speak one word from this dock which I
knew to be other than truth. I admit there is a great deal of
suspicion, but beyond that there are no facts proved to bring
home the charge against me. What I have stated are facts,
every one of them. Now, my lords, is it any wonder that I
should speak at random and appear a little bit excited. I am
not excited in the least. I would be excited in a degree were
I expressing myself on any ordinary topic to any ordinary
audience. It is my manner, your lordships will admit, and
you have instructed the jury not to find me guilty, but to
discharge me from the dock, if they were not positive that
I was a Fenian on the 5th March. I believe these are the
instructions that his lordship, Justice Keogh, gave to the
jury--if I were not a Fenian on the 5th March, I was entitled
to an acquittal. Well I was not a Fenian at that time. I say
so as I have to answer to God. Now, to conclude. I have not
said much about being an American citizen. For why? I am not
permitted to speak on that subject. Now, as Colonel Warren
remarked, if I am not an American citizen, I am not to be held
responsible, but to the American Government. I did not press
myself on that government. They extended to me those rights
and those privileges; they said to me, "Come forward, young
man; enrol yourself under our banner, under our flag; we
extend to you our rights and privileges--we admit you to the
franchise." I came not before I was asked. The invitation
was extended to me. I had no love then, and never will have,
towards England, and I accepted the invitation. I did forswear
allegiance to all foreign potentates, and more particularly
I forswore all allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain. Your
lordships say that the law of the land rules that I had no
right to do anything of the kind. That is a question for the
governments to settle. America is guilty of a great fraud if I
am in the wrong.

The LORD CHIEF BARON--I cannot allow you to proceed in that
line of argument.

COSTELLO--I will take up no more of your time. If I am still a
British subject, America is guilty.

The LORD CHIEF BARON--I cannot allow you to refer either to
the American people or to the American government.

COSTELLO--Would you allow me to state they enticed me from my
allegiance to England; therefore she (America) is guilty of
high treason?

The LORD CHIEF BARON--We cannot allow you to speak on that

COSTELLO--I will conclude, then. I have nothing to say further
than to thank your lordships for the latitude you have given
me in these few remarks, and also to thank your lordships for
your kindness during my trial. I know you have done me every
justice; you did not strain the law against me; you did
everything that was consistent with your duty to do, and
I have nothing to complain of there. I must again thank my
learned and able counsel for the able, zealous, and eloquent
manner in which they defended me. I am at a loss for words
to express the gratitude I owe to each and every one of those
gentlemen who have so ably conducted my case. Now, my lords,
I will receive that sentence which is impending. I am prepared
for the worst. I am prepared to be torn from my friends, from
my relations, from my home. I am prepared to spend the bloom
of my youth in a tomb more dark and horrible than the tomb
wherein the dead rest. But there is one consolation that
I will bring into exile, if I may so call that house of
misery--a clear conscience, a heart whose still small voice
tells me that I have done no wrong to upbraid myself with.
This is the consolation that I have,--that my conscience
is clear. I know it appears somewhat egotistical for me to
speak thus, but it is a source of consolation for me that I
have nothing to upbraid myself with, and I will now say in
conclusion, that if my sufferings can ameliorate the wrongs or
the sufferings of Ireland. I am willing to be offered up as a
sacrifice for the good of old Erin.

* * * * *


At the same Commission, before the same judges who had tried the cases
of Colonel Warren and Augustine E. Costello, General William Halpin
was put on his trial for treason-felony. It was alleged that he was
one of the military officers of the Fenian organization, and, had been
appointed to take command, in the Dublin district, in the rising which
had taken place on the 5th of March; and this it was sought to prove
by the evidence of the informers, Massey, Corydon, Devany, and others.

General Halpin employed no counsel, and undertook the conduct of his
case himself. The considerations that had induced him to take this
course he thus explained to the jury:--

Two reasons operated on my mind, and induced me to forego
the advantage I would derive from having some of the able and
learned counsel that plead at this bar. The first reason is,
that if you, gentlemen, are a jury selected by the Crown,
as juries are known to be selected heretofore in political
cases--if you are, in fact, a jury selected with the express
purpose of finding a verdict for the Crown--then, gentlemen,
all the talent and ability that I could employ would avail
me nothing. If, on the other hand, by any chance the
Attorney-General permitted honest men to find their way into
the box, then, gentlemen, lawyers were equally unnecessary for

Not an inaccurate view of the case, perhaps; the experience of the
Fenian trials, from first to last, certainly goes to support it.

The general set about his work of defending himself with infinite
coolness and self-possession. He was supplied with a chair, a small
table, and writing materials in the dock. When he had any notes to
make, he sat down, cleaned and adjusted his spectacles, and wrote out
what he wanted. When he wished to cross-examine a witness, he removed
his glasses, came to the front of the dock, and put his questions
steadily and quietly, without a trace of excitement in his manner,
but always with a close application to the subject in hand. One could
almost refuse to believe, while listening to him, that he had not been
educated and trained for the bar; and undoubtedly many of those who
wear wigs and gowns in her Majesty's courts, are far from exhibiting
the same degree of aptitude for the profession. But it was in his
address to the jury that the remarkable talents of the man were most
brilliantly revealed. It was an extraordinary piece of argument and
eloquence, seasoned occasionally with much quiet humour, and enriched
with many passages that showed a high and courageous spirit. His
scathing denunciations of the system of brutality practised towards
the political prisoners in Kilmainham gaol, and his picture of Mr.
Governor Price as "the old gorilla," will long be remembered. One
portion of his remarks ran as follows:--

The whole conduct of the Crown, since my arrest, has been such
as to warrant me in asserting that I have been treated
more like a beast of prey than a human being. If I had been
permitted to examine witnesses, I would have shown how the
case had been got up by the Crown. I would have shown them
how the Crown Solicitor, the gaolers, the head gaoler and the
deputy gaolers of Kilmainham, and the Protestant chaplain
of that institution, had gone in, day and night, to all\
the witnesses--to the cells of the prisoners--with a bribe
in one hand and a halter in the other. I would have shown
how political cases were got up by the Crown in Ireland. I
would have shown how there existed, under the authority of
the Castle, a triumvirate of the basest wretches that ever
conspired to take away the lives and liberties of men. One of
these represented the law, another the gibbet in front of
the gaol, and another was supposed to represent the Church

Here the Chief Baron interposed; but the prisoner soon after reverted
to the subject, and said that every opportunity was taken in that gaol
to wrong and torture the men incarcerated there on political charges.
Every petty breach of discipline was availed of to punish them,
by sending them down to work the crank, and reducing their scanty
rations. For the crime of not saluting Mr. Governor Price, they were
placed upon a dietary of seven ounces of what was called brown bread
and a pint of Anna Liffey, in the twenty-four hours. Brown, indeed,
the article was, but whether it deserved the name of bread, was quite
another question. The turf-mould taken from the Bog of Allen was the
nearest resemblance to it that he could think of. For his own part, he
did not mean to complain of his rations--he could take either rough
or smooth as well as most men; but what he would complain of was, the
system of petty insults and indignities offered by Mr. Price and his
warders to men of finer feelings than their own, and whom they knew to
be their superiors. He concluded his address in the following terms:--

I ask you if I have not thoroughly and sufficiently explained
away the terror, if I may use the term, of these papers, which
were taken from walls and other places, to be brought against
me here. I ask you, gentlemen, us reasonable men, if there
be a shadow of a case against me? I ask you if I have been
connected by an untainted witness with any act, in America or
Ireland, that would warrant you in deciding that I was guilty
of the charge with which I stand accused? Is there one single
overt act proved against me; or have I violated any law for
the violation of which I can be made amenable in this court?
I ask you if, in these letters which have been brought up
against me--one found in Thomas-street, another in the pocket
of a fellow-prisoner--there is anything that can affect me?
Recollect, gentlemen of the jury, that I speak to you now
as men imbued with a spirit of justice. I speak to you,
gentlemen, believing that you are honest, recognising your
intelligence, and confident that you will give in a verdict
in accordance with the dictates of your conscience. If you are
the jury that the Attorney-General hopes you are, gentlemen
of the jury, I am wasting time in speaking to you. If you are,
gentlemen, that jury which the Attorney-General hopes to make
the stepping-stone to the bench--for; gentlemen, I do not
accuse the Attorney-General of wishing to prosecute me for
the purpose of having me punished; I believe he is above any
paltry consideration of that sort--but, gentlemen, all men are
influenced by one motive or another, and the Attorney-General,
though he is the first law officer of the Crown in Ireland,
is human like ourselves; he is not above all human frailty,
but like other men, doubtless, likes office, and likes
the emolument which office brings. But, gentlemen of the
jury, it will be your fault if you make your shoulders the
stepping-stone for the Attorney-General to spring upon the
bench. I say these words to you in sober, solemn earnestness.
You are now trying a man who has lived all his life-time in
a country where freedom is venerated and adored. You may
believe, gentlemen, that you have the speech of freedom here;
but I claim, gentlemen, that the real spirit of freedom has
fled these shores many a century ago--has sped across the
Atlantic, and perched upon American soil; and, gentlemen, it
ought to be your wish and desire--as I am sure it is, for I am
unwilling to believe that you are the men the Attorney-General
deems you to be--to do me justice, and to prove that Dublin
juries do not on all occasions bring in a verdict at the
dictation of the Crown. Gentlemen, the principle of freedom
is at stake. Every man that is born into this world has a
right to freedom, unless he forfeits that right by his
own misdemeanour. Perhaps you have read the Declaration of
American Independence. In that declaration, drawn up by one
Thomas Jefferson, it is stated that every man born into this
world is born free and equal; that he has the right--the
inalienable right--to live in liberty and the pursuit of
happiness. These are the cardinal principles of liberty. I
claim these rights, unless I have forfeited them by my own
misconduct. I claim there is not one particle, one scintilla,
of evidence to warrant you in finding a verdict for the Crown.
I have not conspired with General Roberts or any of these
other generals. There is no evidence to show you anything
about any such conspiracy, as far as I am concerned. With
these facts before you, I ask you, as reasonable men, is
there one particle of evidence to show that I am guilty of
the charges preferred against me? I shall simply conclude
by repeating the words with which I commenced--that I leave
it between your conscience and your God to find a verdict
according to the evidence and, the truth. I leave it to you
in the name of that sacred justice which we all profess to
venerate, and I ask you not to allow your passion or your
prejudices to cloud your judgments--not to allow the country
to say that the Dublin juries are in the breeches-pocket of
the Attorney-General. Never let it be said that a prisoner,
forced into your country, carried off from the steamer which
was bearing him away from yours to his own, has been found
guilty on the evidence of perjured witnesses. Never let the
world say that a Dublin jury are not as honest as any other.
Do not allow those acrimonious feelings which unfortunately in
this country difference of sect engenders, to have anything to
with your verdict. As far as I am concerned, I ask no favour
from you. I ask no favour from any man that lives in the
world. I have always, gentlemen, adhered to my own principles,
and will do so while I am able. If you consent to send me
for my life to a penitentiary you will not make the slightest
impression on me. I am pleading for life and liberty--I am
pleading in the cause of justice, and I leave it in your
hands. I demand that you should exercise your best judgement
to render a verdict before the Omnipotent Creator of the
universe, who is looking into your hearts as well as mine--to
render a verdict for which you will be sorry--to render a
verdict that your countrymen will cheer--to render a verdict
that will make you venerated and admired im the land of your
birth while you live on this earth.

The jury, however, found not for the prisoner, but for the Crown.

When General Halpin took his place in the dock with, his fellow
"convicts," Colonel Warren and Augustine E. Costello, to receive his
sentence, he appeared calm and uuimpassioned as ever. The question why
sentence should not be passed on him having been put--

The Prisoner said that before he spoke to the question put
him by the Clerk of the Crown, he wished to say a few words on
another topic. The day before yesterday he was handed by the
governor of Kilmainham a letter which had come from America,
and enclosed a draft. The draft the governor refused to give
up, and also refused to state what disposition he intended
to make of it. The deputy governor had other moneys of his,
and he requested that those, as well as the draft, should be
restored to him.

The Attorney-General, in an undertone, having addressed some
observations to the bench.

The Lord Chief Baron said that the prisoner, having been
convicted of felony, his property was at the disposal of the
authorities, and that any representation he had to make on the
subject should be made to the government.

Halpin said he wished that the money might be transferred to
the governor of whatever gaol he was to be imprisoned in,
so that he might have the use of it to purchase necessaries
should he require them.

LORD CHIEF BARON--If you desire to make any representation it
must be through the government.

PRISONER--I don't wish to make any representation to the
government on the subject. I will permit the government to add
robbery to perjury.

The Prisoner, in reply to a question asked by the Clerk of the Crown,
said that justice had not been dealt out to him as he thought it might
have been. He had been prevented by the Crown from getting witnesses
for his defence, and from seeing his witnesses, while the Crown had
taken four months to get their witnesses properly trained, and to
ransack all the Orange lodges of Dublin for jurors. He complained of
the rules of the gaol, and of the law that permitted them to be in
force, and said:--

I deny the jurisdiction of this court in common with Colonel
Warren. I owe no allegiance to this country, and were I a
free man to-morrow I would sooner swear allegiance to the
King of Abyssinia than give half-an-hour's allegiance to the
government of this country--a government that has blasted
the hopes of half the world and disgusted it all. I am not, I
suppose, permitted to speak of the verdict given against me by
the jury. It was entirely unnecessary for the Crown to produce
one single witness against me. The jury had their lesson
before they came to the box.

THE CHIEF BARON--It is impossible for me to allow you to
proceed with this line of observation.

HALPIN--I wish to simply say that the jury exhibited an
extreme anxiety to find a verdict against me before I had
even said a word to them. I saw their anxiety. I knew from
the moment they were put into the box that a verdict of guilty
would be returned against me. I knew it from looking at the
conduct of the jury in the box.--I knew it from the way the
jury were empanelled, and I knew the Attorney-General relied
upon the jury for a verdict when he set three citizens aside.
I therefore conclude, and rightly, that all the eloquent
talent that ever pleaded at this bar would be entirely useless
to me whilst such a jury was in the box. The Crown, in order
to give some colour to the proceedings, thought proper to
produce several witnesses against me. Eleven witnesses
were examined, and out of these no less than nine committed
absolute, diabolical, and egregious perjury.

THE CHIEF BARON--You are transcending the limit within which
the law confines you.

HALPIN--I do not blame you for enforcing the law us it stands.
By no means. I have to thank your lordship for your kindness
during the progress of my trial. I do not blame you, because
the law stands as it does, but what I say is--that the law is
absurd in taking me and trying me as a British subject whilst
I am a citizen of the United States, without a particle of
evidence to show that I was born under the jurisdiction of
the British Crown. I must say that I look to another place,
another government, and another people to see that justice
shall be done me.

THE CHIEF BARON--Here again you are transcending the limits
which the law allows. We could not deal with any consideration
connected with what any government will do.

HALPIN--I am aware that it is not within your province to deal
with the acts of another government, but I may be permitted to
say this--that the outrages offered me and those gentlemen who
claim, like me, to be citizens of the United States will be
gladly submitted to if they only have the effect of making the
sword of Brother Jonathan spring from its scabbard.

THE CHIEF BARON--I cannot suffer you to proceed with this line
of observation. I cannot suffer to make this a place of appeal
to persons in this country or in America.

HALPIN--I am not making any appeal to any man. Although I was
found guilty by a jury of this court I deem my conduct above
reproach. I know how I have been convicted, and will still
assert that the first gun fired in anger between this country
and America will be a knell of comfort to my ears.

THE CHIEF BARON--I will be compelled to remove you from where
you are now if you proceed with this line of observation.

HALPIN--Well, then, if I am not permitted to say that,--

CHIEF BARON--You are not permitted to make any observation
upon what any government of any country may do.

HALPIN--I think the reference has not anything to do with any
government or any country. It refers to a fact that will
come to pass, and when I shall hear the death-knell of this
infamous government.

The CHIEF BARON--I will not allow you to proceed.

HALPIN--Well, I cannot be prevented thinking it. Now, I will
refer to a subject which I may be allowed to speak upon. You
will recollect that I had addressed a letter to Mr. Price,
asking him to furnish me, at my own expense, with two of the
morning papers--the _Irish Times_ and _Freeman's Journal_. I
believe they are both loyal papers; at least they claim to be
loyal, and I have no doubt they are of the admitted character
of loyalty registered in the principles of Dublin Castle. The
reason why I wanted these papers was, that I believed that
the best reports of the trials since the opening of the
Commission, would be found in them. I said to Mr. Price that
it was important that I should see all the evidence given by
the informers who were to be produced against me, to enable me
to make up my defence. I was denied, even at my own expense,
to be furnished with these papers, and that I complain of as
a wanton outrage. Perhaps Mr. Price was governed by some rule
of Kilmainham, for it appears that the rules of Kilmainham
are often as far outside the law of the country as I have been
said to be by the Attorney-General. In fact, Mr. Price stated
when giving his testimony, that he was not governed by any law
or rule, but that he was governed solely and entirely by his
own imperial will.

CHIEF BARON--That I cannot allow to be said without at once
setting it right. Mr. Price said no such thing. He said that
with respect to one particular matter--namely, the reading of
prisoners' correspondence, he was bound to exercise his own
discretion as to what he would send out of the gaol, and what
he would hold. This is the only matter in which Mr. Price said
he would exercise his own discretion.

PRISONER.--I think, my lord, you will allow your memory to go
back to the cross-examination of Mr. Price, and you will find
that when I asked him by what authority he gave the letters he
suppressed into the hands of the Crown to be produced here,
he stated he had no other authority than his own will for so

CHIEF BARON--You are quite right with respect to the

PRISONER--I say he violated the law of the land in so doing,
and I claim that he had no right to use those letters written
by me in my private capacity to friends in America, asking
for advice and assistance, and the very first letter
that he read was a letter written to a man named Byrne.
That, you may recollect, was put into the hands of the
Attorney-General--kept by him for four months. That was the
first intimation I had of its suppression or of its production
here by the Crown. Now, the letter was addressed to a friend
in New York, asking him to look after my trunk, which had been
taken away without my consent by the captain of the vessel in
which I was arrested. Mr. Price never told me he suppressed
that letter, and I was three months waiting for a reply,
which, of course, I did not receive, as the letter never went.
Mr. Price suppressed another letter yesterday. It was written
to a friend of mine in Washington, in relation to my trial and
conviction, and asking him to present my case to the President
of the United States, detailing the case as it proceeded in
this court. Mr. Price thought proper to suppress that letter,
and I ask that he be compelled to produce it, so that, if your
lordships think fit, it may be read in court.

THE CHIEF BARON--I cannot do that. I cannot have a letter of
that character read in open court.

HALPIN--Am I entitled to get the letter to have it destroyed,
or is Price to have it, to do with it as he pleases?

THE CHIEF BARON--I can make no order in the matter.

HALPIN--Then Price is something like Robinson Crusoe--"Monarch
of all he surveys;" monarch of Kilmainham; and when I ask if
he is to be controlled, I find there is no law to govern him.

THE CHIEF BABON--you have now no property in these letters,
being a convict.

THE PRISONER--I will very soon be told I have no property in
myself. I claim to have been arrested on the high seas, and
there was then no case against me, and the Crown had to wait
four months to pick up papers and get men from Stepaside, and
arrange plans between Mr. Price and his warders to fill up any
gap that might be wanted. I was arrested out of the _habeas
corpus_ jurisdiction, without authority, and detained four
months in gaol until the Crown could trump up a case against
me. Have I not a right to complain that I should be consigned
to a dungeon for life in consequence of a trumped-up case? I
am satisfied that your lordships have stated the case as it
stands, but I am not satisfied that I have been convicted
under any law. I have been four months in durance vile, and
vile durance it has been. The preachers tell us that hell is a
very bad place, and the devil a very bad boy, but he could not
hold a candle to old Price.

THE CHIEF BARON--You are trespassing very much upon a very
large indulgence. I must adopt a more decisive course if you

HALPIN (laughing)--Well, my lord, I will say no more about the
old gorilla. The Crown officers have laid much stress upon
the fact that I have travelled under different names, and
therefore I was guilty of a great crime. I have precedent for
it when I read in the papers that some continental monarchs
travel under an assumed name, and I hear that the Prince of
Wales does so also when he thinks proper to go the London

At this point the Court cut short his address, and Chief Baron Pigot
proceeded to pass sentence on the three prisoners.

* * * * *


After some share of preliminary remarks, the Chief Baron announced the
sentence of the court. It was for

John Warren, 15 years' penal servitude.

William Halpin, 15 years' penal servitude.

Augustine E. Costello, 12 years' penal servitude.

The prisoners heard the announcement without manifesting any emotion.
General Halpin remarked that he would take fifteen years more any day
for Ireland. Colonel Warren informed the Court that he did not think
a lease of the British Empire worth thirty-seven-and-a-half cents; and
then all three, followed by a _posse_ of warders, disappeared from the

And thus were three men of education and ability added to the hundreds
who are now rotting their lives away in British dungeons, because of
the love they bore to their country, and their hatred of the misrule
which makes her the most afflicted and miserable land on earth. It is
hard for Ireland to see such men stricken down and torn from her upon
such an accusation; yet, looking at the noble bearing of that long
list of devoted men when confronted with the worst terrors to which
their enemies could subject them, she has something which may well
cause the light of pride to glisten in her eyes, even while the tears
of love and pity are falling from them. And we would say to her in
the noble words of a French writer, one of the many generous-hearted
foreigners, whose affectionate admiration has been won by her
sufferings and her constancy, the Rev. Adolphe Perraud, Priest of the
Oratory, Paris:--

"Take heart! your trials will not last for ever; the works of iniquity
are passing and perishable: 'Vidi impium super exaltamum et elevatum
sicut cedros Libani, et ecce non erat!' (Ps. xvxvi.) Patience, then,
even still! Do not imagine that you are forsaken: God forsakes not
those that believe in Him. The day of retribution will come--to teach
men that no struggle against right is rightful, that probation is not
abandonment; that God and conscience have unimagined resources against
brutal spoliation and the triumphs of injustice; and that if men are
often immoral in their designs and actions, there is still in the
general course of history a sovereign morality, and judgments the
forerunners of the infallible judgment of God."


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