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Full text of "Meagher of the sword : speeches of Thomas Francis Meagher in Ireland, 1846-1848 : his narrative of events in Ireland in July 1848, personal reminiscences of Waterford, Galway, and his schooldays"

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Thomas Francis Meagher 
(1846) 



MEAGHER OF THE 
SWORD 

Speecbes of Xtbomas ffrancis /IDeaflber in Jrelanb 

1840«1848 



His Narrative of Events in Jrelattd in July, 1848, 

Personal Reminiscences of Waterford, Galway, 

and his Schooldays 



EDITED BY 

ARTHUR GRIFFITH 



WITH A PREFACE, APPENDICES, INDEX AND 
ILLUSTRATIONS 



2>ul)liti 
M. H. GILL & SON, LTD. 

50 UPPSR O'CONNELL STREET 
1916 

u 



PRINTICD AND BOUND 




BY 



M. H. GILL & SON, LTD. 
DUBLIN 

3 



PREFACE 

THE Penal Laws enacted against the Catholics 
of Ireland in violation of the Treaty of 
Limerick had some results unforeseen by 
the English dominion. One was the growth of 
a wealthy and spirited mercantile class among 
the members of the penalised religion. Debarred 
from the liberal professions and emplo5mients, and 
from all part in the conduct of public affairs, 
industrious and enterprising Catholic townsmen 
who would neither recant their faith nor forsake 
their country turned naturally to trade and com- 
merce, and built up a mercantile interest whose 
spokesmen held a manlier language to the English 
Oppression of their country and their religion than 
it had been wont to hear from the spiritless Catholic 
aristocrats who begged for the right to worship 
according to their faith as for a favour. This 
manly class sprang from dire oppression. The 
destruction of Irish legislative independence and 
the opening of the English Parliament and patron- 
age to the ambition of Irish Catholics undermined 
its strong but not established structure. After 
the passage of the Emancipation Act, a perverted 
and denationalised social pride in wealthy Catholic 
circles destined the son to quit the counting-house 
of his father and assert Catholic equality in the 



iv MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Four Courts or the English senate. It was held 
a Catholic triumph when a Catholic mounted the 
Bench whence he was to sentence to transportation 
and to death men who essayed to recover the 
plundered liberties of their country, and True 
Equality was read in the gazetting of a Catholic 
Irishman to a commission in an army intended 
to despoil some hapless people of its lands or its 
treasures. So the Catholic office-holder and the 
Catholic office-seeker multiplied, but the Catholic 
merchant, sturdy and opulent, dwindled and 
passed away, till a legend grew that modern com- 
merce and industry in Ireland had been the ad- 
mirable creation and permanent possession of 
Englishmen and the sons of Englishmen. 

Richard O'Gorman, of Dublin, and Thomas 
Meagher, of Waterford, were two of the last of the 
great class of Catholic merchants of which Sweet- 
man, Keogh and Byrne were the old types. 
Thomas Meagher, whose ships carried freights 
between Waterford and America, married the 
daughter of another Waterford merchant — Quan — 
and Thomas Francis Meagher, their eldest son, 
was born in that city on the 3rd of August, 1823. 
Regarding Trinity College as anti-Irish and anti- 
Catholic, his father sent him to Clongowes and 
Stonyhurst for his education. In the first in- 
stitution he was bred in ignorance of his country 
and all that related to it — ^in the second his pre- 
ceptors, with some success, laboured to overcome 
what was termed his " horrible Irish brogue," and 
succeeded in sending him back to his own country 



PREFACE V 

with an Anglo-Irish accent which grated on the 
ears of his countrymen when he addressed them 
from the tribune, until the eloquence and native 
fire of the orator swept the gift of the English school 
from their jarred consciousness. Meagher returned 
to Ireland in 1843 with vague plans for a soldier's 
career in the Austrian army, to which the traditions 
of the Bradies, Taaffes, Nugents and other Irish 
families united Irish sympathy ; but he discovered 
his country, whose history had been debarred 
in his education, and whose very accent had been 
pronounced vulgar to him, swaying in a new passion 
of national vigour. The Nation had relit fires 
of patriotic pride in the people and O'Connell, 
stimulated by Davis, was sweeping the country 
with the slogan of " Repeal." Meagher found 
himself when he found his country. He became 
the centre around which the young Nationalists of 
Waterford rallied, and his youthful eloquence sent 
his fame abroad. This eloquence and enthusiasm 
carried away O'Connell on his first meeting with 
Meagher and caused him to exclaim, " Bravo, 
Young Ireland ! " Afterwards O'Connell was to 
seek to use " Young Ireland " as an epithet of 
opprobrium. 

In 1844 Meagher came to Dublin with the in- 
tention of studying for the Bar. There he met the 
writers of the Nation and became, like each of them, 
one of the workers in the Repeal movement, in 
which the real labour of the committees was mainly 
discharged by Davis and his comrades. His 
eloquence at the public meetings in Conciliation 



vj MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Hall quickly made him celebrated in the capital, 
and any announcement that Meagher would speak 
crowded the Hall; for his was an eloquence that 
before was not heard within its walls, where there 
was no lack of trained and accomplished speakers. 
Passion and poetry transfigured his words, and he 
evoked for the first time in many breasts a manly 
consciousness of national right and dignity. As 
handsome and chivalrous as he was eloquent, he 
became something of a popular idol and as eagerly 
sought after in the social circles of Dublin as his 
colleague, John Pigot. But he disliked Dublin 
society for, as he wrote afterwards, " its pre- 
tentious aping of English taste, ideas and fashions, 
for its utter want of all true nobility, all sound 
love of country, and all generous or elevated senti- 
ment." 

In June, 1846, the English Tory Ministry of 
Sir Robert Peel fell, and the Liberals under Lord 
John Russell returned to power. O'Connell simul- 
taneously attempted to swing the Repeal movement 
into support of English Liberalism. The agitation 
which had been carried on for four years was to 
be damped down in return for a profuse dis- 
tribution of patronage through Conciliation Hall, 
and a promise of remedial measures. Aware of 
the intrigue, Meagher and the other Young Ire- 
landers vehemently denounced from the platform 
of Conciliation Hall any discrimination in the 
attitude of the Repeal movement towards English 
Whig or Tory, so long as Repeal was denied. The 
people approved, and the " Tail," — as the corrupt 



PREFACE vii 

gang of politicians who fawned on O'Connell and 
hoped for English Government places, was nick- 
named — decided that the Young Irelanders must be 
driven out of Conciliation Hall and represented 
to the country as Factionists, Revolutionaries, 
and Infidels. For this purpose resolutions were 
introduced to which no honest and intelligent 
man could subscribe and retain his self-respect — 
resolutions which declared that under no circum- 
stances was a nation justified in asserting its 
liberties by force of arms. It was in opposition 
to these resolutions Meagher delivered the speech 
that caused him to be afterwards known as 
Meagher of the Sword. He had carried the 
audience, at first semi-hostile, towards his side, 
and the plot against the Young Irelanders was in 
peril of defeat when O'Connell's son, observing the 
danger, intervened to declare that either he or 
Meagher must leave the hall, and thus compelled 
the secession of the men who had made the Repeal 
movement a reality. 

As the Young Irelanders refused to accept 
defeat, their opposition to the resolution which 
assured England that no physical resistance would 
ever be offered to any measure she took against 
Ireland or the Irish was represented by the 
O'Connellite orators and journalists as an attempt 
to turn the Repeal Association into a revolutionary 
movement. The leaders of Young Ireland were 
denounced as infidels secretly conspiring to sub- 
vert religion, and as traitors in receipt of " French " 
and " Castle "- gold— devices familiar since the 



viii MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

days of the Volunteers in English-controlled Irish 
politics, and not yet outworn. O'Connell made a 
special effort to detach Meagher from Young 
Ireland, for he realised the power of Meagher's 
eloquence and he was personally attached to the 
generous and gallant young Irishman. But 
although Meagher was careless and even weak of 
will in many matters, he was adamant on questions 
of national principle. 

The Conciliation Hall machine failed to ruin the 
Nation newspaper and erase its writers. A sturdy 
minority of the people stood firmly by Young 
Ireland, and when the hurricane of calumny had 
exhausted itself, and men returned to reflection, a 
steady stream of recruits flowed towards the 
maligned Irishmen. The Irish Confederation was 
founded to receive them, and rally the country 
against the barter of the National movement to 
the English Liberal Government. In 1847 a 
vacancy occurred in the representation of Galway 
in the English Parliament, and the Confederation 
decided to send Mitchel, Meagher, and other of its 
leaders to oppose the Government nominee, Mona- 
han. Conciliation Hall was obliged to affect a 
virtue which it had decried and follow the example 
of the Young Irelanders. Monahan was returned 
by a few votes, to afterwards pack Mitchel's jury 
and become a judge of what is termed the High 
Court of Justice in Ireland ; but the battle so well 
begun against the English nominee and the Irish 
placehunter reacted on the other constituencies, 
and the Alliance between the O'Connellites and 




Thomas Francis Meagher 
(From Professor Gluckmanii's daguerreotype) 



PREFACE ■ i^. 

the English Liberals was in danger of destruction, 
when the death of Daniel O'Connell plunged the 
island in grief. The Whigs and corruptionists who 
controlled Conciliation Hall turned the event to 
their profit by inventing the story that the Young 
Irelanders were responsible for O'Connell's death, 
and fanatical mobs attacked some of the Young 
Ireland leaders. Physical menace failed, equally 
with moral intimidation, to deflect the chiefs of the 
Irish Confederation from their campaign against 
English Whiggery in Irish National politics, but 
another event led to divided counsels in the Young 
Ireland ranks. 

This event was the Blight that fell upon the 
potato crop in Western Europe in the autumn of 
1845, and continued to destroy the crop to a lesser 
or a greater extent for five years. Wurtemburg 
and other Continental states seriously affected, 
closed their gates to the export of corn until it 
was ascertained that the destruction of the potato 
would not involve famine or hunger to their people. 
In Ireland, apart from the potato crop, corn and 
cattle were raised annually on the soil sufficient to 
provide for a population of some sixteen millions 
of people. The population of Ireland at the time 
was under eight and one-half millions. The Young 
Irelanders demanded that, as in the case of 
Wurtemburg, the ports should be closed to the 
export of corn until the people of the country 
had been succoured. The demand was ignored. 
A series of Acts was passed, under the guise of 
relief measures, which accentuated the Famine it 



8 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

was ostensibly designed to alleviate. The fanner 
who accepted relief was obliged to surrender his 
lands and himself become a pauper. Hundreds of 
petty Government offices were created where 
Famine functionaries waxed fat while the people 
perished. The corn and cattle of Ireland were 
annually drafted away to cheaply feed the people 
of England, and while the sustenance of twelve 
minions of people was borne out of the Irish 
harbours, ships laden with food from abroad to 
succour the producers sailed into these harbours 
to be discharged under the supervision of the 
English Government and in some cases to have 
their charitable cargoes stored to rot, lest the 
purpose of the benevolent foreigners might be 
fulfilled and the Irish population be maintained at 
its dangerous ratio to the population of England. 

A Mansion House Committee, composed of all 
political sections, was formed with Lord Cloncurry 
as its chairman, which pointed out that the pro- 
hibition of the export of the oat crop alone would 
keep in the country sufficient food to provide for 
aU. The Committee was ignored, but an English 
Liberal Government sent over the chef of its Reform 
Club — M. Soyer — to show the starving Irish how 
to live on a soup containing three ounces of solid 
food to one quart of water. M. Soyer boiled his 
soup on a public platform erected above the pit 
at Arbour Hill in Dublin wherein the bodies of '98 
insurgents were rudely buried by their executioners, 
and he distributed his elixir of Irish life from 
chained ladles to those who supplicated, while an 



PREFACE xi 

English military band discoursed music and the 
Union Jack waved triumphant above the scene. 
The Viceregal Court graced the opening of the 
Government soup-ladles with its presence, and 
the English newspapers published leading articles 
for transmission abroad on the general topic of 
English benevolence and Irish ingratitude, with 
particular reference to the strenuous exertions 
England was making to preserve the Irish from the 
evils of a famine for which Irish improvidence 
and Celtic laziness were responsible. 

At the end of 1847 a Coercion Act, under which 
it was made felony at the pleasure of the Lord 
Lieutenant for an Irishman in Ireland to be out- 
side his own house between dusk and morning, 
was passed through the English Parliament. Mitchel 
abandoning faith in the Confederation policy of a 
union of classes — which he held in the circumstances 
unfeasible, since the landlord class had encouraged 
the passing of the new Coercion Act — proposed a 
pohcy of passive resistance, culminating in armed 
insurrection and potential revolution. His policy 
was rejected after debate by 317 votes to 188. 
The majority of the Young Ireland leaders spoke 
against the proposal and the speech of Meagher 
powerfully influenced the vote. Mitchel with- 
drew from the Confederation and established 
the United Irishman, in which he preached his 
policy week by week. Meagher, adhering to the 
Confederation, went to Waterford to contest the 
Parliamentary representation of the .city as an 
opponent of all English parties and Governments 



xii MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

in Ireland. The vacancy was caused by the ap- 
pointment of O'Connell's son, Daniel, to a Govern- 
ment post, and the O'Connellites nominated as his 
successor a Kilkenny solicitor named Costello, 
notorious as a placebeggar. Mitchel, with grim 
humour, wrote that he was " for Costello," for 
" Mr. Meagher's return to the British Parliament 
would do that Parliament too much honour and 
bring it too much credit. We cannot bear to think 
of our strongest and most trusted men being, one 
after another, sent to flatter the pride of our enemies 
— shorn Samsons making sport for the Philistines 
or toiling ' at the mill as slaves ' — tongues of fire 
sent down by Providence to kindle a soul within 
our people employed in pyrotechnic performances 
for the pleasure of the foreign tyrant. Think of 
Shell ! In short we desire to bring that Parliament 
into contempt in Ireland and to put an end to the 
'jnoral force ' system by the process known as 
redudio ad absurdam. And we have but little 
fear on the present occasion ; we have confidence 
in Alderman Delahunty and the organised corrup- 
tion of Waterford." 

Meagher was defeated, and so was Costello, Sir 
Henry Winston Barron being elected. The French 
Revolution next startled Ireland and in the wave 
of enthusiasm for the overthrow of the European 
despotism erected by the Treaty of Vienna, Mitchel's 
policy was acclaimed by most of those in the Con- 
federation who had been its opponents. Meagher, 
O'Brien and Hollywood were despatched to Paris 
to congratulate the French nation in the name of 



PREFACE xiii 

Ireland. Lamartine received them courteously but 
coldly. He had been threatened by the British 
Government with the possible breaking-off of 
diplomatic relations if he offered encouragement 
to Ireland and he was, of all the French statesmen 
of the time, the most susceptible to English 
pressure. Ledru-RoUin, Cavaignac and Louis 
Napoleon were not uns3anpathetic. After the 
return of the deputation to Dublin, Meagher was 
prosecuted for sedition, but owing to an over- 
sight, by which the prosecution permitted one 
independent citizen to be sworn on the jury, the 
Government failed to secure a conviction. An 
attack was shortly afterwards essayed on Meagher, 
Mitchel and O'Brien while they were attending a 
banquet in Limerick, the life of Mitchel being par- 
ticularly aimed at, but the objective was missed. 
At the end of May, Mitchel was arraigned for the 
new crime of Treason-Felony, invented to meet 
his case, and condemned to penal transportation 
for fourteen years. The Dublin Confederates de- 
sired to rise in arms, barricade the streets, and 
attempt a rescue. They were persuaded by the 
other Young Ireland leaders, including Meagher, 
not to do so. The reasons advanced were strong 
and they were sincerely put forward by men of 
undoubted personal courage on whose shoulders 
responsibility for the movement rested. In the 
light of after years Meagher acknowledged the 
advice he gave had not been justified. 

Six weeks after the transportation of Mitchel, 
Meagher was arrested at his father's house in 



xiv MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Waterford on a second charge of sedition, and 
brought to Dublin by a troop of cavalry and three 
companies of infantry. The people of Waterford 
rose in the streets and barricaded the bridge with 
the intention of rescuing him from his captors, but 
he peremptorily forbade them to do so and obliged 
them to remove the barricades. He was released 
from custody in Dublin on giving recognisances to 
appear at the assizes in Limerick, in which county 
the sedition was charged. On the following Sun- 
day, with Doheny, he addressed a great hosting 
on Slievenamon, after which he returned to Water- 
ford, whence he came to Dublin again, as he relates 
in the Personal Narrative published in the present 
volume, and embarked on his insurgent career. A 
proposal of Joseph Brenan's involving the beginning 
of the insurrection in Dublin was rejected and the 
final scenes took place in Tipperary. 

The insurgent leaders made a fatal error when 
they retreated from Carrick-on-Suir and fell back 
on rural districts where there were neither organisa- 
tion, armament, nor knowledge of their identity 
among the people. The last hope was quenched 
by O'Brien's refusal at the Council of War held in 
Ballingarry on the 28th of July to permit the 
necessary supplies for his followers to be comman- 
deered and to offer farms rent-free, in the event of 
victory to all who joined the insurgent standard. 
Meagher, M'Manus, O'Donoghue, Dillon, O'Mahony, 
Doheny, Stephens, James Cantwell,^ Devin Reilly, 

* A Dublin Confederate leader and hotel proprietor. He 
died in 1875. 



PREFACE XV 

Cavanagh.i Wright,* Cunningham* and Leyne,* 
took part in the council, and on its conclusion 
Meagher, Doheny, Leyne, Stephens, and some 
others, left to attempt to rally and organise forces 
at Slievenamon and in the Comeraghs with which 
to threaten the garrison of Clonmel. The affair 
at Ballingarry, however, the next day disarranged 
their plans and after a fortnight's wanderings in 
Tipperary, Meagher, Leyne and O'Donoghue were 
arrested at Rathgannon, near Thurles, and brought 
to Dublin where they were confined in Kilmain- 
ham Jail with O'Brien and, subsequently, with 
M'Manus, until the opening, in October, of a special 
Commission at Clonmel, presided over by Chief 
Justices Blackburne and Doherty. Four well- 
packed juries convicted O'Brien, M'Manus, O'Donog- 
hue, and Meagher of high treason, and they were 
sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered." 

* Afterwards an officer in the American army. He was 
slain in the American Civil War. 

' Afterwards a successful New York lawyer. 

' Afterwards well known as an American journalist. 

•Maurice Leyne, whose mother was a daughter of Daniel 
O'Connell, was the only member of the O'Connell family who 
identified himself with Young Ireland. Owing to the failure 
of a Crown witness to identify him, the Government abandoned 
the prosecution against him. He afterwards joined Gavan 
Duffy on the staff of the revived Nation, and died prematurely 
in 1854. 

• One Catholic, a Unionist, was permitted on Meagher's 
Jury. The jurors were : Jas. Willington of Castle Willington ; 
Augustus Hartford of Willington Lodge ; Samuel Ryan of 
Anna Villa; Thos. Lyndsley of Lindville ; Benjamin Hawkshaw, 
Falleen ; Benjamin Hawkshaw, Knockane ; Edward Chad- 
wick, Ballinard ; Richard Kennedy, Knockballjrmaher ; Richard 
Mason, Clonkenny ; Richard Hamersley, Bansha House ; 
Thomas Heirden, Summerhill ; and Nicholas Greene, Knockan- 
aspie. 



xv-i MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

However, General Sir Charles N'apier had in his 
possession a letter dated June 25, 1832, sent from 
the Home Office in London at the direction of some 
of the men who constituted the government of 
England in 1848, nominating him to take com- 
mand of the Birmingham section of an English 
insurrection planned by the English Liberals in 
that year. He was subpoenaed to produce it at 
the trials in Clonmel, but the Judges refused to per- 
mit it to be received. Thereupon it was published 
in the press and its publication made the carrying 
out of the death-sentence impossible to Lord John 
Russell and his Government colleagues who had 
planned ten years before to commit High Treason 
against the Constitution of their own country. 
The sentences were changed to transportation for 
life, and Meagher, in January, 1852, succeeded in 
escaping to America, where he was received with 
enthusiasm, and where the remainder of his event- 
ful life was spent. In turn orator, journalist, lawyer, 
explorer, and soldier, he raised the celebrated Irish 
Brigade which under his gallant leadership in 
the American Civil War enhanced the military 
reputation of Ireland. " Meagher," wrote the 
Confederate Commander, General Lee, " though 
not equal to Clebufne in military genius, rivalled 
him in bravery and in the affection of his soldiers. 
The gallant stand which his bold brigade made on 
the heights of Fredericksburg is well known. Never 
were men so brave. They ennobled their race by 
their splendid gallantry on that desperate occasion." 

In founding the brigade Meagher had hope of 



PREFACE xvii 

returning at its head to Ireland, for the relations 
between the Northern States and England were 
strained and on the arrest of the Confederate 
envoys, Mason and Slidell, when sailing under 
the British flag, by a Federal cruiser, he wrote 
exultantly to his Brigade that war with England 
was imminent and that the Irish-American soldiers 
would be the first chosen to land in Ireland. But 
war did not ensue, and his bright hope of returning 
to Ireland at the head of an Army of Deliverance 
was quenched. 

At the conclusion of the war Meagher was 
appointed Secretary and subsequently Acting- 
Governor of Montana. In that position he incurred 
the hostility of the professional politicians who 
lost some of their profits by his upright administra- 
tion. Threats were muttered against him. One 
July evening he arrived at Fort Benton on official 
duty and went aboard a moored river steamer to 
rest for the night. A few hours later a cry was 
heard and Meagher disappeared down the river. 
His death was generally attributed to accident. A 
few years ago a man named Miller confessed to 
having murdered him for hire, but subsequently 
withdrew his confession. Whether accident or an 
assassin's hand ended the life of Thomas Francis 
Meagher is not likely to be ever ascertained, 

Meagher has appealed to the popular imagina- 
tion in Ireland more warmly than any other 
Irish patriot of the nineteenth century except 
Robert Emmet. Chivalrous, eloquent, generous, 
ardent and handsome he inspired personal affection 



xviii MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

and public trust. In the Young Ireland movement 
he was not of the greatest men. In strength of 
intellect and character he did not stand on the 
plane with men such as Davis and Mitchel. But 
he was the most picturesque and gallant figure of 
Young Ireland and he stands above all his colleagues, 
and indeed above all Irishmen of his century as 
the National Orator. In the speeches he delivered 
in Ireland from 1846 to 1848 he will live for ever. 
They are the authentic and eloquent voice of Irish 
Nationalism. Save Emmet's Speech from the 
Dock no modem oratory has rung so true to the 
Irish Nation as the oratory of Meagher. The Young 
Ireland movement had its philosophers, its poets, 
its statesmen, but without Meagher it would have 
been incomplete. In him it gave to Ireland the 
National Tribune. It gave to Ireland, too, in 
Thomas Francis Meagher a knightly exemplar for 
young Irishmen, one who never forgot or forsook 
the cause of his native land, or doubted its ultimate 
victory. "God speed the Irish Nation to liberty 
and power," was the last prayer written by 
" Meagher of the Sword." 

Arthur Griffith. 



CONTENTS 



On the Union .... 

English Liberal Government in Ireland 

Irish Youth and English Whiggery 

The O'Connell-Whig Alliance 

The Sword 

Ireland and America . 

The O'Connellites 

Union with England . 

Whiggery and Famine 

Irish Slaves and English Corruption 

National Politics 

Placehunting . 

The Citizen and the Mob 

The Ulstermen 

Mitchel's Policy 

A Reply to the Placehunters 

Repeal or a Republic 

Famine and Felony 

John Mitchel . 

A Personal Narrative of 1848 

Narrative of the Penal Voyage to Tasmania 

The Boyhood of Meagher 

Recollections of Waterford 

The Galway Election . 

Appendices 

List of Contemporaries 

Index 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING PAGE 



Thomas Francis Meagher, 1846 . frontispiece 
Thomas Francis Meagher {from Professor Gluck 

mann's daguerreotype) 
The Music Hall, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin, 1848 
A Meeting in the Music Hall 
A Letter from Meagher . 
Autographs of the State Prisoners in Clonmel Gaol 
William Smith O'Brien ... 
Terence Bellew MacManus 
Patrick O'Donoghue 

Michael Kavanagh, Joseph Brenan {America) 
John Mitchel .... 
Kilmainham Gaol in 1848 
Ormonde Castle, Kilkenny 
Meagher as a Boy {from a pencil sketch) . 
Thomas Francis Meagher {Brig.-Gen. of the Irish 

Brigade, 1861-64. 



vm 

xxiv 

16 

48 

64 

96 

112 

144 

160 

192 

208 

256 

272 

288 



Meagher's Irish Brigade Flag of the 6gih Regiment 304 



SPEECHES ON IRELAND 
1846-1848 



On the Union 

Speech in Conciliation Hall, February i6th, 1846 

Sir, we have pledged ourselves never to accept the 
Union — to accept the Union upon no terms — ^nor any 
modification of the Union. It ill becomes a country 
like ours — a country with an ancient fame — a country 
that gave light to Europe whilst Europe's oldest State 
of this day was yet an infant in civilisation and in arms 
— a country that has written down great names upon 
the brightest page of European literature — a country 
that has sent orators into the senate whose eloquence, 
to the latest day, will inspire free sentiments, and dictate 
bold acts — a country that has sent soldiers into the 
field whose courage and whose hofiour it will ever be 
our duty to imitate — a country whose sculptors rank 
high in Rome, and whose painters have won for Irish 
genius a proud pre-eminence even in the capital of the 
stranger — a country whose musicians may be said to 
stand this day in glorious rivalship with those of Italy, 
and whose poets have had their melodies re-echoed 
from the most polished courts of Europe to the loneliest 
dwellings in the deep forests beyond the Mississippi — it 
ill becomes a country so distinguished and respectable 
to serve as the subaltern of England, qualified as she 
is to take up an eminent position, and stand erect 
in the face of Europe. It is hers to command, for she 
possesses the materials of manly power and stately 
opulence. Education is abroad, and her people are 
being tutored in the arts and virtues of an enlightened 
manhood. They are being taught how to enjoy, and 



2 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

how to preserve, the beatitude of freedom. A spirit 
of brotherhood is ahve, and breathing through the 
land. Old antipathies are losing ground — ^traditional 
distinctions of sect and party are being now effaced. 
Irrespective of descent or creed, we begin at last to 
appreciate the abilities and virtues of all our fellow- 
countrymen. We now look into history with the 
generous pride of the nationalist, not with the cramped 
prejudice of the partisan. We do homage to Irish 
valour, whether it conquers on the walls of Derry or 
capitulates with honour before the ramparts of Limerick ; 
and, sir, we award the laurel to Irish genius, whether 
it has lit its flame within the walls of old Trinity or 
drawn its inspiration from the sanctuary of Saint 
Omer's. Acting in this spirit, we shall repair the 
errors and reverse the mean condition of the past. If 
not, we perpetuate the evil that has for so many years 
consigned this country to the calamities of war and 
the infirmities of vassalage. " We must tolerate each 
other," said Henry Grattan, the inspired preacher of 
Irish nationality — ^he whose eloquence, as Moore has 
described it, was the very music of Freedom — " We 
must tolerate each other, or we must tolerate the common 
enemy." After years of social disorder, years of de- 
testable recrimination, between factions, and provinces, 
and creeds, we are on the march to freedom. A nation, 
organised and disciplined, instructed and inspired, 
under the guidance of wise spirits, and in the dawning 
light of a glorious future, makes head against a powerful 
supremacy. On the march let us sustain a firm, a 
gallant, and a courteous bearing. Let us avoid all 
offence to those who pass us by ; and, by rude affronts, 
let us not drive still further from our ranks those who 
at present decline to join. If aspersed, we must not 
stop to retaliate. With proud hearts let us look forward 



ON THE UNION 3 

to the event that will refute all calumnies — that will 
vindicate our motives and recompense our labours. 
An honourable forbearance towards those who censure 
us, a generous respect for those who differ from us, 
will do much to diminish the difficulties that impede 
our progress. Let us cherish, and, upon every occasion, 
manifest an anxiety for the preservation of the rights 
of all our fellow-countrymen — their rights as citizens— 
their municipal rights — the privileges which their rank 
in society has given them — the position which their 
wealth has purchased or their education has conferred 
— and we will in time, and before long, efface the im- 
pression that we seek for Repeal with a view to crush 
those rights, to erect a Church-ascendancy, to injure 
property, and create a slave-class. But, sir, whilst we 
thus act towards those who dissent from the principles 
we profess, let us not forget the duties we owe each 
other. The goodwill it becomes us to evince towards 
our opponents, the same should we cultivate amongst 
ourselves. Above all, let us cherish, and in its full 
integrity maintain, the right of free discussion. With 
his views identified with ours upon the one great 
question, let us not accuse of treason to the national 
cause the associate who may deem this measure ad- 
visable or that measure inexpedient. Upon subordinate 
questions — questions of detail — ^there must naturally 
arise in this assembly a difference of opinion. If views 
adverse to the majority be entertained, we should- 
solicit their exposition, and meet them by honest 
argument. If the majority rule, let the minority be 
heard. Toleration of opinion will generate confidence 
amongst all classes, and lay the sure basis of national 
independence. But, sir, whilst we thus endeavour 
wisely to conciliate, let us not, to the strongest foe, 
nor in the most tempting emergency, weakly capitulate. 



4 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

A decisive attitude — ■an unequivocal tone — ^language 
that cannot be construed by the English press into the 
renunciation or the postponement of our claim — these 
should be the characteristics of this assembly at the 
present crisis, if we desire to convince the opponents 
of our freedom that our sentiments are sincere and our 
vow irrevocable. Let earnest truth, stern fidelity to 
principle, love for all who bear the name of Irishmen, 
sustain, ennoble, and immortalise this cause. Thus 
shall we reverse the dark fortunes of the Irish race, 
and call forth here a new nation from the ruins of the 
old. Thus shall a parliament moulded from the soil, 
racy of the soil, pregnant with the sympathies and 
glowing with the genius of the soil, be here raised up. 
Thus shall an honourable kingdom be enabled to fulfil 
the great ends that a bounteous Providence hath 
assigned her — ^which ends have been signified to her in 
the resources of her soil and the abilities of her sons. 



English Liberal Government in 
Ireland 

Speech in Conciliation Hall, June 15TH, 1846, 
UPON the Accession of the Whigs to Office. 

We are told, sir, by the London papers, that the 
days of the Conservative ministry are numbered. 
The seals of office, it is said, will soon be held by a 
Whig Premier, and with the change of power, it is 
surmised, that a change of policy with regard to Ireland 
will take place. Whether that surmise be true or false, 
I know not ; but this I know, that whatever statesmen 
rule the empire, whatever policy prevails, the principles 
of this Association are immutable, and, amid the clash 
and shiftings of the imperial factions, will remain un- 
shaken. Sir, I state this boldly ; for the suspicion is 
abroad that the national cause will be sacrificed to 
the Whigs, and that the people, who are now striding 
on to freedom, will be purchased back into factious 
vassalage. The Whigs, themselves, calculate upon 
your apostacy — the Conservatives predict it. They 
cannot believe that you are in earnest — at least it 
seems difficult to convince them of your truth. On 
the hustings you must dispel their incredulity, read 
them an honest lesson, and vindicate your characters. 
On their return to power, the Whigs, I trust, shall find, 
that in their absence, you have become a reformed 
people — that you have abjured the errors of faction, 
and have been instructed in the truths of patriotism. 
They shall find, I trust, that a new era has here com- 



6 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

menced — that you have been roused to a sense of your 
inherent power, and, with the conviction that you 
possess an abihty equal to the sustainment of a bold 
position, you have vowed never more to act the Sepoy 
for English faction. To their reproach, sir, it must be 
said, that the people of this country have been too 
long the credulous menials of English Liberalism — dedi- 
cating to foreign partisanship those fine energies which 
should have been exclusively reserved for the duties 
of Irish citizenship. Till now you have had no faith 
in the faculties of your country. You implored from 
reform clubs in London that which a free senate in 
your old capital could alone confer. Upon the hustings 
your tone was English, not Irish. You stood by the 
promises of Russell — ^you foreswore the principles of 
Grattan. You shouted for municipal reform — ^you 
forgot your manufactures. You cried out for free 
trade — having no very important exchange of com- 
modities to promote. You petitioned for a supply of 
franchises, that Irish Radicalism might grow strong, 
when you should have demanded back those rights 
which would have made the Irish nation great. The 
aristocrat of Bedford marshalled you against the 
plebeian of Tamworth, when, lifting up a distinct flag, 
you should have marched and struck against them both. 
Sir, it was full time that this should cease, and that 
the spirit of the country should manifest itself in an 
independent policy. Let me not be told that the 
Whigs were our benefactors, and deserve our gratitude. 
They were, indeed, the benefactors of " moderate " 
Catholics and " liberal " Protestants, but the Catholic 
democracy and the Protestant aristocracy were alike 
neglected and insulted by them. What memorial, 
may I ask, have they left behind them that claims our 
respect, and would win us to their ranks ? It is true 



ENGLISH LIBERAL GOVERNMENT 7 

their appointments were, for the most part, judicious. 
There were honourable men elevated to the bench during 
their administration — ^honorable men, I grant you — ^but 
men " whose overtopping eminence," as our illustrious 
friend, Thomas Davis, has written, " was such as made 
their acceptance of a judgeship no promotion." And I 
believe, sir, there are few, if any, instances on record of 
partisan prejudices mingling with the dispensation of 
justice whilst they held office. Upon this question, 
however, I will not dwell, for it is a debatable question 
in this country, and, if discussed, might revive the 
antipathies of party. But I look beyond the Queen's 
Bench, beyond the court of petty sessions, beyond the 
police barrack, beyond the glebe house, and I demand, 
what was the condition of the people, what was the 
condition of the country, during the reign of the late 
Whig government ? Your commerce, did that thrive ? 
— your manufactures, were they encouraged ? — ^your 
fisheries, were they protected ? — your waste lands — 
they are 2,000,000 acres — ^were they reclaimed ? How 
fared the Irish artisan — how fared the Irish peasant ? 
The one pined, as he yet pines, in your beggared cities 
— ^the other starved, as he yet starves, upon your 
fruitful soU. Catholic barristers, who made reform 
speeches at Morpeth dinners, and quoted the Earl 
Grey and the Edinburgh Review, at anti-Tory demon- 
strations — ^these gentlemen came in for silk gowns, and 
other genteel perquisites ; but you — ^you, the sons of 
toil, " the men of horny hand and melting heart " — 
you, the thousands, knew no change, Poorlaw com- 
missioners were appointed — they were Englishmen and 
Scotchmen, for the most part. They came in for large 
salaries, and grew opulent upon their mission of charity. 
In this case, the indigence of Lazarus was the very 
making of Dives. The poorhouses were built, and were 



8 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

soon stocked with vermined rags, and broken hearts — 
with orphaned childhood, fevered manhood, and 
desolate old age. Whilst these coarse specimens of 
the Tudor Gothic were being thus filled, your Custom- 
house was drained ; atid now it stands upon your silent 
quay, like one of those noble merchant houses that 
crumble to the shores of the Adriatic, telling us that — 

" Venice lost and won, 
Her thirteen-hundred years of freedom done, 
Sinks, like a sea-weed, into whence she rose." 

Sir, I have been told that the Marquis of Normanby 
was a true nobleman. I have been told that he was 
a man of enlightened views and generous impulses — 
that he was just, benevolent, and chivalrous. Were we 
English, and were Ireland the predominant power, I 
might, perhaps, desire no other viceroy. We being 
Irish — this land being Ireland — I demand an Irish 
viceroy for the Irish court. The Geraldines have an 
older title to the Castle than the House of Phipps. 
Associated with the name of Normanby, I know there 
are many brilliant reminiscences. Beauty and Fashion, 
deputy-lieutenants who propose Whig candidates at 
county elections, a swarm of expectant barristers, 
perhaps a solicitor or two — men of " moderate " politics 
and " enlightened " tendencies — ^would vote him back 
again. In his time there were gala days at the Castle 
— many a gay carnival — many a dazzling dance in St. 
Patrick's Hall. But were there bright eyes, and happy 
hearts, and busy hands in the tenements of the Liberty ? 
Society — the perfumed society of your squires ! — ^was 
happy in those days, and loved the amiable Whig 
government, and would, no doubt, in gratitude for the 
viceregal balls at which it flounced and whirled, vote 
for Whig candidates to-morrow. But, sir, the spciety 



ENGLISH LIBERAL GOVERNMENT 9 

that is not exempted from the primeval curse — the 
society that wears out strong sinews to earn the 
privilege of bread — the society that knows no day of 
rest, no day of joy, but God's own hohday — that day 
on which He bids the toiler go forth and soothe his 
sorrows amid the glories of His creation — that day on 
which many a worn hand may wreathe a garland of 
flowers that has been weaving a crown of thorns the 
live-long week — the society that decks out fashion, 
that rears up the mansions of the rich, and by which 
alone, if there was danger on the coast to-morrow, this 
land could be furriished with a stalwart guard for its 
defence — this, the elder, the stronger, the nobler society, 
has no such memories — no such incentives to sub- 
serviency. Roused from the slumber into which the 
insidious eloquence and plausible philosophy of liberalism 
had lulled them, the people have started up ; and now, 
for the first time, see before them a country of which 
they had not dreamt, and a new destiny revealing itself 
to them, like the sun from behind their old hills, and 
that destiny expanding into glory, as it mounts the 
heaven, and settles high above the Island. No, sir, 
the people of Ireland can never more be duped into 
subserviency by assurances of sympathy, and promises 
of redress. We have become incredulous of party — 
we distrust, despise, denounce it. We recognise, at 
last, the truth of a maxim uttered many years ago by 
Swift, that " party is the madness of the many for the 
gain of the few ; " and we have learned to regard a 
Whig government in Ireland as little else than a state 
relief committee for political mendicants, most of 
whom are political impostors. Nor do we forget the 
Ebrington manifesto. Sir, that was a coarse insult to 
the manhood of the country, and the manhood of the 
country must resent it — ^resent it by being honest, for 



10 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

honesty deals sweeping vengeance on the Whigs. You 
recollect that attempt of theirs to purchase up, in the 
market of the Castle, the fresh strength, the glowing 
genius, the bold enthusiasm of the country. They did 
not address themselves to the old men of Ireland — to 
those whose faltering footsteps were waking the echoes 
of the grave, and who, in a few years, at most, would 
be laid to rest among their fathers. No, they addressed 
the youth of Ireland, knowing well that the youth of 
a country are the trustees of her prosperity — ^the 
praetorians of her freedom. To them they held out the 
golden chalice of the Treasury corruptionists, that so 
the young, free soul of Ireland might drink, and having 
drunk, sink down for ever, a diseased and pensioned 
slave. " Young men," said they, " a long life is before 
you — ^the luxuries of office — the privileges of place. 
To taste the former, to acquire the latter, you must 
qualify by recreancy, and befit yourselves by servitude. 
Renounce, then, the manly duties, reject the pure 
honours of honest citizenship — cease to be the unpaid 
servants of your country — ^become the hirelings of 
party. You are young Irishmen, and have read the 
history of your country. Disclaim, then, the doctrines 
of Grattan, the integrity of Flood ; accept the maxims, 
emulate the perfidies of Castlereagh and Fitzgibbon. 
You are scholars, and have read the history of Greece 
and Rome. From the story of Sparta learn nothing 
but the obedience of the Helots. From the pictured 
page of Livy learn, if you like, the ambition of the 
Caesars, but shun the stern incorruptibility of the 
Gracchii. Thus will you climb to power, gain access 
to the viceregal table, and be invited to masquerades 
at Windsor. Thus, if your ambition be parliamentary, 
will you qualify for Melbourne Port, or some other 
convenient Whig borough ; and when, at length. 



ENGLISH LIBERAL GOVERNMENT ii 

removed from that comitry whose wretchedness would 
have been to you a constant pang, and whose politics 
would have been an incessant drain upon your resources, 
and when mingling in the lordly society of London, or 
sitting on the Treasury bench beside your patrician 
benefactors, oh ! you will bless the Government that 
patronised servility, and thank your God that you 
have had a country to sell." But, sir, it is said that a 
great change has taken place in Enghsh poUtics, and 
that the Whigs have been converted to the cause of 
Ireland. A very recent conversion, it must be ad- 
mitted, if it has occurred, for I hold in my hand the 
letter addressed by Viscount Melbourne to the secretary 
of the Association a few weeks since. It is well to 
read it now : — 

" South Street, 

February 24th, 1846. 
" Sir, — I beg leave to acknowledge your letter of 
the 20th tnst., and to inform you, in reply, that it is 
my decided opinion that the measure now before the 
House of Lords, which has for its object the more 
effectual prevention and the more certain discovery of 
the frightful crimes which prevail in many parts of 
Ireland, has clearly been delayed too long, and cannot 
now be pressed with too much celerity. 

" I remain, sir, your faithful and obedient servant, 

" Melbourne. 
" To the Secretary of the 
Loyal National Repeal Association, Ireland." 

Forget those sentiments if you can — forgive them if 
you like — ^breathing, as they do, a spirit of the most 
dogged despotism, and then believe that the rumoured 
conversion of the Whigs is sincere. Believe it, and 
forget that, in the House of Commons, Lord John 



12 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Russell and his colleagxies voted for the first reading of 
the Coercion Bill — ^voted against the liberty of Ireland, 
to comply with " the usual custom of the house." 
BeUeve it, and forget, that this time last year their 
most eloquent confederate announced from his seat in 
parliament that the price of your independence should 
be a civil war. But, sir, I have to apologise. After 
all, this is not the tone in which I should address a 
people who have vowed, before man and God, to raise 
up a nation here in these western waters, and to make 
that nation as free as the freest that now bears a flag 
upon the sea, and guards a senate upon the land. It 
was not to recede and apostatise that you advanced so 
far, and believe in a new fate. It was not for this that 
you evoked the memories of a great event — ^that you 
looked back to the church of Dungannon, and embraced 
the principles, though you could not unsheathe the 
swords of the patriot soldiers of '82. It was not for 
this that you gathered in thousands upon the hill of 
Tara, and hailed your leader upon the Rath of Mullagh- 
mast, as the Romans did Rienzi in the Palace of the 
Capitol. There you swore that Ireland should be called 
once more a " free nation " — that she should have a 
senate to protect — a commerce to enrich her. After 
this, associate with the Whigs ; lend them your voices 
— " your most sweet voices ; " let your demands 
dwindle down to their powers of concession ; unite 
with them in their oppression of the Orangemen, who 
are your brothers ; give over your notions about self- 
government — those notions are very absurd ; go back 
to Precursorship — it's just the thing — it's very genteel ; 
don't say a word about Irish artists and the encourage- 
ment of Irish genius ; back the poor law commissioners, 
and sustain the new police ; be practical — ^that is, be 
partisan ; be sensible — that is, cease to be honest ; be 



ENGLISH LIBERAL GOVERNMENT 13 

rational — that is, conceive a very poor opinion of your 
country ; fall as Athens fell, whose soul 

" No foreign foe could quell, 
Till from itself it fell- 
Till self-abasement paved the way 
To villain bonds and despot sway." 

Thus will your country win the eloquent sympathies 
of Whig orators, and, " when the times improve," the 
kind consideration of Whig statesmen ; but, mind you, 
America will indict her as a swindler, and France placard 
her as a coward. As I said before, I should not pursue 
this strain, knowing, as I do, your determination, 
knowing that you would repel the man who, in this 
Hall, would vote a compromise, and beat down the 
traitor, whoever he might be. I would not have done 
so but the report was abroad that our demands would 
moderate with the advent of the Whigs, and that the 
spirit of this Association would be affected by the 
transition of patronage from one English faction to 
another. Our future acts, I have no doubt, will teach 
our opponents the error of this report, and prove to 
them that we are in earnest, that we mean what we 
say, and that out of this contest we will not back, 
come what may. The next elections will prove to 
them that we have gone into this struggle with a firm 
purpose to fight it out to the last, and make a good 
end of it, with the help of God. The cry upon the 
hustings must be " Repeal," and nothing else. The 
members of this Association, the people of Ireland, are 
pledged to nothing else ; and from those hustings, I 
trust, there will be heard many an honest shout of 
" Down with the Whigs — down with corruption." Let 
the people look out, select their representatives in time, 
and be assured they are true men. They have been 



14 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

deceived before. At former elections men have not 

hesitated to take pledges which they had no intention 

to redeem — men who, even in the English Commons 

have been the eloquent advocates of that measure 

which they now do not blush to designate a " splendid 

phantom." Beware of Whig candidates. Accept no 

man in whose integrity you do not place full reliance, 

and whose heart, you may have reason to suspect, is 

not thoroughly in the cause he professes to uphold. 

Demand from those gentlemen who solicit your votes 

the most explicit declaration — plain, straightforward, 

conclusive declarations. Vote for no man who is not 

an enrolled member of this Association, and who will 

not pledge himself to you to work here in this Hall, 

and vote hereafter in the English Commons, for the 

unconditional Repeal of the Legislative Union. I know, 

sir, that to pursue this line of conduct manfully, a 

sacrifice of personal interest — more than all, a sacrifice 

of private feeling — may be required from some of us. 

But the cause is worthy of the most severe sacrifice 

which men could undergo. I tell you candidly, if my 

father was in parliament, and had up to this period 

refused to join this Association, were he at the next 

election to present himself to his constituency and ask 

their votes again, I would be the first to vote against 

him. It is better that the hearts of a few should be 

pained, than that the great heart of the nation should be 

broken. Hereafter, for whatever we may endure — 

and as yet we have suffered nothing — ^we shall receive 

an ample recompense. For myself, and for those with 

whom I most associate, I can answer to the country. 

If we, who have beeii suspected for our honesty, and 

censured for our. zeal — we, who will love the country, 

though the country may not love us — if we be not 

called away in the morning of our life, hke our illustrious 



ENGLISH LIBERAL GOVERNMENT 15 

friend, Thomas Davis, our prophet and our guide — ^he 
whose integrity we shall ever strive to emulate though 
his labours we may not equal — he whom it is but just 
to number amongst those of whom a glorious poet has 
written — 

" That as soon 
As they had touched the earth with native flame, 
Fled back like eagles to their living noon — " 

If we be not called away like as he has been — if it be 
our fate to live and witness the triumph, toiling for 
which he died, then shall we receive our recompense 
— a free, young nation will look upon us in her glory, 
and bid us be glad of heart amongst her free sons — 
and when, at length, our time hath come, we shall 
sleep not in the Desert, but in the Promised Land. 



Irish Youth and EngUsh Whiggery 

Speech in Conciliation Hall, June 22nd, 1846. 

Sir, I do not apologise to the meeting for taking part 
in the discussion that has arisen. The observations I 
consider it my duty to make will be few, for my friends 
who preceded me have left me little to say. The 
principles they maintain, the opinions they hold, have 
been defended by them with courage and ability. I 
have embraced those principles — I profess those opinions. 
The defence which my friends have made is my defence. 
That it was no weak defence your applause sufficiently 
attests. That it was called for, no one will deny who 
heard the speech that was delivered by Mr. Fitzpatrick^ 
at the commencement of our proceedings this day. 
That gentleman reproached us with " the elaborate 
preparation of our speeches," and he did so in a speech 
that was evidently prepared. If it is a fault to speak 
with premeditation — if it is a fault so to train our 
thoughts and frame our language that we may appear 
before this assembly in a manner worthy of its character ; 
if this be censurable, then is Mr. Fitzpatrick not exempt 
from blame. In uttering these taunts he impairs his 
own title to forensic fame. He preaches against a 
practice in which, for the last few days, he must have 
been most sedulously engaged. He is a scholar, I 

* Leader of the attack upon the Young Irelanders. After- 
wards rewarded by the English Government with a Colonial 
Law-Officership. 

16 



ENGLISH WHIGGERY 17 

believe, and in this instance will not consider the quota- 
tion inappropriate : — 

" Clodius accusat moechus.'' 

Sir, this gentleman, inspired, no doubt, with the zeal 
of a true patriot, rose to denounce past differences 
and he gave effect to his denunciation by provoking 
new dissensions. He was not present at the last 
battle — ^he had no opportunity of evincing his courage 
or of testing his skill — therefore, for his own especial 
benefit, he should get up a fresh one to-day. He 
repudiates disunion, but the result is discord. He 
preaches peace, and preaches it so forcibly as to provoke 
a war. The attack has been begun — ^we have been 
struck, but from our position we will not flinch. The 
imputations with which we have been insulted, the 
charges with which we have been aggrieved, we shall 
meet, and boldly meet. That we suspect the integrity 
of our leader, we deny. That we have assailed him, 
let the people decide. You have our assurance that, 
in denouncing the Whigs, we designed no attack upon 
the leader of this Association. Accept that assurance, 
or reject it as you may find reason to do. If you 
believe us to be men of truth, accept it. If you believe 
us to be false, reject the assurance, and denounce our 
acts. But we have been told that in denouncing the 
Whigs, we insulted the people. In warning the people 
against the Whigs, we are told that we implied a 
corrupt tendency in the people. Sir, we remembered 
what the Whigs had done in other times, and were 
prompted by the recollection to warn those whom they 
deceived before. If to warn be to insult, then do we 
plead guilty, and we await the penalty. Did I con- 
sider the defence of the Whigs that has been made here 
this day of such a nature as to induce you to look 



i8 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

upon them with more favorable eyes than you did a 
few days since, I should not hesitate to restate my 
opinions upon the policy of that party. But I know 
your truth, and feel assured that the most eloquent 
advocate they could purchase would fail to effect a 
compromise of the national question — fail to induce 
your acceptance of the most " liberal measure " they 
can concede as an equivalent for the independence you 
are ambitious to restore. Perhaps this sentiment 
ought not to have escaped me. We are young men, 
" juvenile orators," and should not venture to speak 
on your behalf. Mr. O'Connell, in his letter, alludes 
to our youth — ^Mr. Fitzpatrick reproves it. If youth 
be a fault, it is a fault we cannot help. Each day 
corrects it, however, and that is a consoling reflection. 
If it be an intrusion on our parts to come to this Hall, 
to aid your efforts and to propagate your principles, I 
can only say it is an intrusion which your applause 
has sanctioned. For myself, I think it right to say, 
that when I came to Dublin this winter I did not 
expect that I should have had the honour of sustaining 
so conspicuous a part as I believe I have done in your 
couricils. It was not my intention to have assumed 
this part. It was forced upon me, and, to the entreaty 
of my friends, I was induced to yield. Believe me, 
whatever a young man may gain by successful displays 
in public, he incurs much by these displays that pains 
and depresses him. If he wins the paneg57ric of some 
he is sure to excite the envy of others. He is pained 
by suspicions, secret rumours, direct attacks. His 
motives are impugned, his acts condemned ; these are 
the penalties attached to youth. More than this, if 
he suffers from the malice of his foes, he must submit 
to the sarcasm of his elder friends. In replying to the 
charges that have been made against us, we feel that 



ENGLISH WHIGGERY 19 

we labour under a serious disadvantage. Youth is a 
season of promise more than of retrospect. We cannot 
rest upon the memory of past services — ^we cannot 
appeal to your gratitude. Upon our principles alone 
we take our stand — in your patriotism we place our 
trust. Mr. Fitzpatrick congratulates himself upon the 
" five millions " that back him, and regrets that we 
can only muster " five." An error in his political 
arithmetic, no doubt. The " five millions " are not 
against the five — ^perhaps it is not too much to say 
the " five millions " are with the " five." One 
thing I know, that those who are familiar with us are 
aware that we do not speak in public what we do not 
speak in private — that between our public and our 
private sentiments there is no discrepancy — that we 
do not sneer in private at the men whom we eulogise 
in public. We do not make Repeal a jest, for we have 
made it a vow. As we have acted, thus we shall 
continue to act. You may exclude us from this Hall. 
I say you may exclude us from this Hall, but you will 
not separate us from the country. Your applause did 
not call forth our love of country — your denunciation 
will not repress it. Exclusion from this Hall will not 
affect our sentiments, our principles, our resolves. 
On the contrary, there are many things in a popular 
agitation that tend rather to enervate than strengthen 
sentiments of a generous nature. There are many 
things in the depths of a political society that repel, 
offend, disgust. Removed from these, our hearts are 
pure, and our minds are free. Beyond these walls 
we have many incentives to love our country, and to 
serve her well. Her lofty mountains, her old ruins, 
full of a glorious history — ^her old music — the memories 
of her soldiers, her statesmen, and her poets — ^these 
you cannot deprive us of. So long as we possess these. 



20 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

so long shall Ireland inspire our love and claim our 
service. Nor can I believe that you will forget our 
names. Least of all will you forget the men who gave 
to you a new literature. You will not forget the men 
who have given to you those songs that have cheered 
the heart of the old man and have kindled into fire 
the thoughts of youth — those songs which the peasant 
may teach the echo on the moimtain, and which ^may 
yet be heard upon a field of triumph. This, sir, is 
certain, we shall leave this Hall as we entered it — the 
unpaid servants of our country. We shall leave it 
with our honour unimpaired, though our influence 
may be crushed — ^we shall leave it asserting the right 
of free opinion, and our determination to defend it — 
and if, hereafter, you regret the step you may have 
taken against us, and once more require our aid, though 
you may have acted towards us as the citizens of Rome 
once did towards Coriolanus of Corioli, we will not 
imitate his recreant revenge — ^we will not go over to 
the Volsci — ^but return to your ranks, and fight beneath 
the flag from which you drove us. 



The O'Connell-Whig Alliance 

Speech in Conciliation Hall, July 13TH, 1846. 

I beg leave, my Lord Mayor, to say a few words 
upon the report that has been brought' up from the 
committee by Mr. O'Connell, relative to the Dungarvan 
election. Mr. O'Connell has stated that the report 
was unanimously adopted. I wish to explain what 
occurred in the committee. I spoke against the 
resolution that was adopted — I urged a contest. It is 
true that when the question was put from the chair 
I did not express my dissent. That was a mistake 
I assure you. I did not assent to that report — I could 
not do so in conscience. No candidate appeared, that 
is true — ^no candidate was put forward, I believe. That 
. fact, I conceive, was the only one that justified the 
decision that was made by the committee — ^it is the 
only one that can justify the Association in giving its 
sanction to that report. My lord, I sincerely regret 
that no effort was made to procure a candidate, and 
that a different course was not advised by the committee. 
I regret exceedingly that the battle for Repeal was 
not fought upon the hustings of Dungarvan, against 
all odds, and in the teeth of every risk. The influence 
of the Duke of Devonshire has been alluded to. If 
the fear of ducal influence, my lord, is to deter us from 
the assertion of our rights, farewell, then, say I, to 
public honour, to public virtue, to public liberty in 
Ireland. If in the Cavendishes there lies a stronger 
spell than in the banner of Repeal, our cause, in truth, 

2t 



22 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

is hopeless. Had we won the battle, the result is 
obvious. A new impulse would have been given to the 
country, and a spirit have been evoked that might 
have prompted the less resolute constituencies of the 
country to the firm assertion of the national principle. 
Had we sustained a defeat, even then, my lord, we 
would have gained not a few advantages. In the first 
place, we would have convinced the opponents of 
Repeal that we were thoroughly in earnest, and have 
rescued the Association from the aspersions of its 
enemies. This done, the ground on which we stand 
would have been strengthened by a more implicit 
belief in our sincerity. In the next place, a defeat 
might have proved a serviceable lesson to the Repealers 
of Dungarvan, teaching them the nature and extent of 
their resources, and how far those resources should be 
improved, so that a second defeat might be impossible. 
Above all, my lord, a contest in Dungarvan, however 
it might have eventuated, would have taught the Whigs 
that the heart of Ireland was bent upon Repeal, and 
that, even in the most adverse circumstances, it would 
not permit the promises of a party to obviate the 
principles of a people. A contest would have taught 
the Whigs that we are here organised not to serve them, 
but to emancipate ourselves. It would have taught 
them that we look beyond the boons, the sympathies, 
the appointments which an English political school may 
acquire the temporary power to distribute, and that 
we aspire to the wealth, the influence, the independence 
which an Irish parliament sitting in this the Irish capital, 
composed exclusively of Irish citizens, and wholly 
exempt from-English control, would have the permanent 
ability to confer. My lord, I ffear that the election of 
Richard Shell, unopposed, as it has been, will cast a 
stain upon the records of this Association. That is 



THE O'CONNELL-WHIG ALLIANCE 23 

my opinion, and by that opinion I will abide. If 
another exception be made — if another constituency 
be exempted from the Repeal test, then I frankly tell 
you, I must say that a gross injustice has been done 
in the cases of Cork and Cashel to Serjeant Murphy 
and to Serjeant Stock. The constituencies of those 
places made great sacrifices to assert the national 
principle. Serjeant Stack was a man of sound abihty 
and stern integrity. Against him there was never 
uttered a complaint by his constituents. Serjeant 
Murphy was a scholar, a gentleman, and a patriot. He 
was an ornament to the Irish representative body ; 
and, my lord, I know not whether the electors of Cork 
conferred a greater honour upon Serjeant Murphy by 
selecting him as their representative, than Serjeant 
Murphy conferred upon the electors of Cork by repre- 
senting them. In making these remarks, my lord, I 
trust I shall not be misconceived. I do not urge a 
factious resistance to the Whigs. I do not say that 
we should not sanction the measures they propose 
for the amelioration of the country. On the contrary, 
I say that we are bound to sanction those measures, 
and to aid in their promotion. But what I mean to 
convey is this, that we ought not, and on principle 
we cannot, manifest more favour towards the Whigs 
now that they are in office, than during the late adminis- 
tration we felt it our duty to manifest towards the 
Conservatives. During the late administration we 
gave our support to the Conservatives when they 
brought forward measures that were deemed beneficial 
to the interests and the institutions of this country. 
The Irish members voted with them on the Maynooth 
grant — voted with them on the corn question. On 
these occasions your conduct was wise, but it was not 
partisan. Act, then, towards the Whigs precisely as 



24 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

you have acted toivards the Conservatives. Thus, my 
lord, will this Association sustain its independent 
character ; and whilst it acquires a few benefits, it 
will not compromise a great principle. Then, my lord, 
it seems to me that, in giving our support to the Whigs 
whenever we may be called upon to give that support, 
we should be most careful lest we narrow the basis 
of this Association. What, may I ask, is the nature of 
that basis ? It is broad and comprehensive — as broad 
and comprehensive as the island, the national liberties 
of which it is our ambition to erect upon it. It was 
made thus so that all sects and parties in the country 
might here confederate, linked together in one common 
sentiment for the achievement of one great compre- 
hensive object. It was not limited to Whig dimensions 
— it was not limited to Conservative dimensions — it 
was not limited to Protestant dimensions — ^it was not 
limited to Catholic dimensions — ^it was made broad and 
comprehensive, as I said before, so that every Irish 
citizen might come here, no matter what his politics 
might be — no matter what his theology might be — no 
matter what his lineage might be — and win back for 
Ireland the right of self-government — a right, my lord, 
that is common to every party, and which, if justly 
exercised, will serve every interest in the state. . If we 
do not act towards the Whigs precisely as we have 
acted towards the Conservatives — if we do not 
preserve a strict impartiality between both parties — 
if we do not maintain an independent position — if, 
on the contrary, we permit this Association to assume a 
Whig aspect, and be guided by a Whig spirit, then we 
narrow the basis on which we now stand ; we shall 
exclude the Irish Conservatives — ^we may exclude the 
Irish Radicals. The Manchester League has been 
frequently referred to in this Hall. It is a guiding model, 



THE O'CONNELL-WHIG ALLIANCE 25 

as it is an inspiring hope. That great confederacy was 
organised for one purpose, and one purpose only ; it 
was based upon one broad principle ; it was the auxiliary 
of no party ; it included men of all parties, I believe. 
I recollect a speech delivered by Mr. Cobden, at a 
meeting in Gloucester, previous to the meeting of 
parliament. In that speech the great champion of 
Free Trade observed that in the League thousands were 
associated, having but one common sentiment to com- 
bine them — that, for instance, his friend, Mr. Bright, 
and he differed upon a number of questions — ^perhaps 
upon no other question but the corn laws did their 
opinions coincide. Such was the basis of the Manchester 
League, now a great historic memory — such do I con- 
ceive the basis of this Association to be — such would 
I have it to remain. Besides, my lord, it appears to 
me that, if the Whig government is sincere in the pro- 
fessions it has made, and if, as it has been asserted, it 
can command a great legislative power, the good 
measures which have been promised by them will be 
carried without our special aid, I trust. The measures 
of the present minister will be passed, I hope, without 
any wavering on his part — ^without any compromise 
on ours. The concession of privileges that have been 
long withheld — the enactment of laws that have been 
long denied, will not, I hope, produce in Ireland the 
result the Whigs predict. It is true, my lord, that 
some men may desert from the national ranks, take 
place, abandon Repeal, and violate the national vow. 
It is the curse of society that from principles the most 
sacred there have ever been apostates. I consider 
that Repeal is not an open question — I conceive that 
any Repealer taking office under the present govern- 
ment would be an apostate from the cause. My lord, 
for this cause I haye no ie?iv, I trust in the growing 



26 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

spirit of the country — in the thoughtful and truthful 
spirit of a new mind. I will conclude now by referring 
to an observation made by the honourable member 
for Kilkenny^ — ^namely, that any person not concurring 
in the repudiation of physical force should cease to be 
a member of the Association. I agree that no other 
means should be adopted in the Association but moral 
means and peaceful means ; but, my lord, whilst I am 
prepared to co-operate with you and the other members 
of the Association in carrying out the present policy — 
and I will do so until that policy either succeed, or that 
you determine that it is futile — I say if you determine 
that it is futile and that Repeal cannot be carried by 
such means, then I am prepared to adopt another 
policy — a policy no less honourable though it may be 
more perilous — a. policy which I cannot disclaim as 
inefficient or immoral, for great names have sanctioned 
its adoption, and noble events have attested its efficiency. 

[This speech] was continually interrupted by O'Connell 
and his supporters]. 



John O'Connell. 



The Sword 

The Secession Speech on the " Peace Resolu- 
tions " AND THE Exclusion of the " Nation " 
Newspaper from the Repeal Association, 
July 26th, 1846. 

My Lord Mayor, I will commence as Mr. Mitchel 
concluded, by an allusion to the Whigs. I fully concur 
with my friend that the " most comprehensive meas- 
ures " which the Whig minister may propose, will 
fail to lift this country up to that position which she 
has the right to occupy, and the power to maintain. 
A Whig minister, I admit, may improve the province — 
he will not restore the nation. Franchises, " equal 
laws," tenant compensation bills, " liberal appoint- 
ments," in a word, " full justice " (as they say) may 
ameliorate — they will not exalt. They may meet the 
necessities — ^they will not call forth the abilities of the 
country. The errors of the past may be repaired — ^the 
hopes of the future will not be fulfilled. With a vote 
in one pocket, a lease in the other, and " full justice " 
before him at the Petty Sessions, in the shape of a 
" restored magistrate," the humblest peasant may be 
told that he is free ; but, my lord, he will not have the 
character of a freeman — his spirit to dare, his energy 
to act. From the stateliest mansion, down to the poorest 
cottage in the land, the inactivity, the meanness, the 
debasement which provincialism engenders will be 
perceptible. These are not the crude sentiments of 

27 



28 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

youth, though the mere commercial poUtician, who 
has deduced his ideas of self-government from the 
table of imports and exports, may satirise them as 
such. Age has uttered them, my lord, and the ex- 
perience of eighty years has preached them to the 
people. A few weeks since, and there stood up in the 
Court of Queen's Bench an old and venerable man,^ to 
teach the country the great lessons he had learned in 
his youth beneath the portico of the Irish Senate 
House, and which, during a long life, he had treasured 
in his heart as the costliest legacy which a true citizen 
could bequeath the land that gave him birth. What 
said this aged orator ? " National independence does 
not necessarily lead to national virtue and happiness ; 
but reason and experience demonstrate that public 
spirit and general happiness are looked for in vain 
under the withering influence of provincial subjection. 
The very consciousness of being dependant on another 
power for advancement in the scale of national 
being weighs down the spirit of a people, manacles 
the efforts of genius, depresses the energies of virtue, 
blimts the sense of common glory and common good, 
and produces an insulated selfishness of character, the 
surest mark of debasement in the individual, ' and 
mortality in the State." My lord, it was once said by 
an eminent citizen of Rome, the elder Pliny, that " we 
owe our youth and manhood to our country, but we 
owe our declining age to ourselves." This may have 
been the maxim of the Roman — it is not the maxim of 
the Irish patriot. One might have thought that the 
anxieties, the labours, the vicissitudes of a long career 
had dimmed the fire which burned in the heart of the 
illustrious old man whose words I have cited ; but 
now, almost from the shadow of death, he comes forth 
• Robert Holmes. 



THE SWORD 29 

with the vigour of youth and the authority of age, to 
serve the country, in the defence of which he once bore 
arms, by an example, my lord, that must shame the 
coward, rouse the sluggard, and stimulate the bold. 
These sentiments have sunk deep into the public mind. 
They are recited as the national creed. Whilst those 
sentiments inspire the people, I have no fear for the 
national cause — I do not dread the venal influence of 
the Whigs (here much interruption occurred, which 
being suppressed Mr. Meagher proceeded). I am glad 
that gentlemen have thought proper to interrupt me, 
for it gives me an opportunity of stating, that it is my 
determination to say every word I think fit — the more 
especially as I conceive that the issue, which the honour- 
able member for Kilkenny so painfully anticipates, is 
at hand, and that, perhaps, this is the last time I may 
have the honour of meeting you in this Hall, and ex- 
pressing to you the opinions which I hold, and to which 
I shall ever firmly adhere. I was speaking of the 
true sentiments which should animate the people. 
Inspired by such sentiments, the people of this country 
will look beyond the mere redress of existing wrongs, 
and strive for the attainment of future power. A good 
government may, indeed, redress the grievances of an 
injured people ; but a strong people alone can build 
up a great nation. To be strong a people must be 
self-reliant, self-ruled, self-sustained. The dependency 
of one people upon another, even for the benefits of 
legislation, is the deepest source of national weakness. 
By an unnatural law it exempts a people from their 
first duties — ^their first responsibilities. When you ex- 
empt a people from these duties, from these responsi- 
bilities, you generate in them a distrust in their own 
powers — thus you enervate, if you do not utterly destroy, 
that bold spirit which a sense of these responsibilities 



30 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

is sure to inspire, and which the exercise of these duties 
never fails to invigorate. Where this spirit does not 
actuate, the country may be tranquil — ^it will not be 
prosperous. It may exist — it will not thrive. It may 
hold together — it will not advance. Peace it may 
enjoy, for peace and serfdom are compatible. But, my 
lord, it will neither accumulate wealth nor win a 
character. It will neither benefit mankind by the 
enterprise of its merchants, nor instruct mankind by 
the examples of its statesmen. I make these ob- 
servations, for it is the custom of some moderate 
politicians to say, that when the Whigs have ac- 
comphshed the " pacification " of the country, there 
will be little or no necessity for Repeal. My lord, there 
is something else, there is everything else, to be done 
when the work of " pacification " has been accompUshed 
— and here I will observe, that the prosperity of a 
country is, perhaps, the sole guarantee for its tran- 
quillity, and that the more universal the prosperity, 
the more permanent will be the repose. But the 
Whigs will enrich as well as pacify ! Grant it, my 
lord. Then do I conceive that the necessity for Repeal 
will augment. Great interests demand great safe- 
guards, and the prosperity of a nation requires the 
protection of a national senate. Hereafter a national 
senate may require the protection of a national army. 
So much for the prosperity with which we are threatened ; 
and which, it is said by gentlemen on the opposite shore 
of the Irish Sea, will crush this Association, and bury 
the enthusiasts, who clamour for Irish nationality in a 
sepulchre of gold. And yet, I must say, that this pre- 
diction is feebly sustained by the ministerial programme 
that has lately appeared. On the evening of the 
i6th, the Whig premier, in answer to a question that 
was put to him by the member for Finsbury, Mr. 



THE SWORD 31 

Duncombe, is reported to have made this consolatory 
announcement : " We consider that the social grievances 
of Ireland are those which are most prominent — and to 
which it is most likely to be in our power to afford, 
not a complete and immediate remedy, but some 
remedy, some kind of improvement, so that some kind 
of hope may be entertained that some ten or twelve 
years hence the country will, by the measures we 
undertake, be in a far better state with respect to the 
frightful destitution and misery which now prevails in 
that country. We have that practical object in view." 
After that most consolatory announcement, my lord, 
let those who have the patience of Job and the poverty 
of Lazarus, continue in good faith " to wait on Provi- 
dence and the Whigs " — continue to entertain " some 
kind of hope " that if not " a complete and immediate 
remedy," at least " some remedy," " some improve- 
ment," will place this country in " a far better state " 
than it is at present, " some ten or twelve years hence." 
After that, let those who prefer the periodical boons of 
a Whig government to that which would be the abiding 
blessing of an Irish parliament — ^let those who deny to 
Ireland what they assert for Poland — let those who 
would inflict, as Henry Grattan said, an eternal dis- 
ability upon this country, to which Providence has 
assigned the largest facilities for power — let those 
who would ratify the " base swap," as Mr. Shell once 
stigmatized the Act of Union, and who would stamp 
perfection upon that deed of perfidy — ^let those 

" Plod on in sluggish misery, 
Rotting from sire to son, from age to age. 
Proud of their trampled nature." 

But we, my lord, who are assembled in this Hall, 
and in whose hearts the Union has not bred the slave's 



32 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

disease — we have not been imperialised — we are here 
to undo that work, which, forty-six years ago, dis- 
honoured the aricient peerage, and subjugated the 
people of our country. My lord, to assist the people 
of Ireland to undo that work I came to this Hall. I 
came here to repeal the Act of Union — ^I came here for 
nothing else. Upon every other question I feel myself 
at perfect liberty to differ from each and every one of 
you. Upon questions of finance ; questions of a 
religious character ; questions of an educational cha- 
racter ; questions of municipal policy ; questions that 
may arise from the proceedings of the legislature : 
upon all these questions I feel myself at perfect liberty 
to differ from each and every one of you. Yet more, 
my lord, I maintain that it is my right to express 
my opinion upon each of these questions, if necessary. 
The right of free opinion I have here upheld : in the 
exercise of that right I have differed, sometimes, from 
the leader of this Association, and would do so again. 
That right I will not abandon ; I will maintain it to 
the last. In doing so, let me not be told that I seek 
to undermine the influence of the leader of this Associa- 
tion, and am insensible to his services. My lord, I 
will uphold his just influence, and I am grateful for his 
services. This is the first time I have spoken in these 
terms of that illustrious Irishman, in this Hall. I did 
not do so before — I felt it was unnecessary. I hate 
unnecessary praise : I scorn to receive it — I scorn to 
bestow it. No, my lord, I am not ungrateful to the 
man who struck the fetters off my arms, whilst I was 
yet a child ; and by whose influence my father — ^the 
first Catholic who did so for two hundred years — sat, 
for the last two years, in the civic chair of an ancient 
city. But, my lord, the same God who gave to that 
great man the power to strike down an odious ascendancy 



THE SWORD 33 

in this country, and enabled him to institute, in this 
land, the glorious law of religious equahty — the same 
God gave to me a mind that is my own — a mind that 
has not been mortgaged to the opinions of any man or 
any set of men ; a mind that I was to use, and not 
surrender. My lord, in the exercise of that right, 
which I have here endeavoured to uphold — a right 
which this Association should preserve inviolate, if 
it desires not to become a despotism — in the exercise 
of that right I have differed from Mr. O'Connell on 
previous occasions, and differ from him now. I do 
not agree with him in the opinion he entertains of my 
friend, Charles Gavan Duffy — that man whom I am 
proud indeed to call my friend, though he is a " con- 
victed conspirator," and suffered for you in Richmond 
Prison. I do not think he is a " maligner " ; I do not 
think he has lost, or deserves to lose, the public favour. 
I have no more connection with the Nation than I 
have with the Times. I, therefore, feel no delicacy in 
appearing here this day in defence of its principles, 
with which I avow myself identified. My lord, it is 
to me a source of true delight and honest pride to speak 
this day in defence of that great journal. I do not 
fear to assume the position. Exalted as it be, it is 
easy to maintain it. The character of that journal is 
above reproach ; and the ability that sustains it has 
won a European fame. The genius of which it is the 
offspring, the truth of which it is the oracle, have 
been recognised, my lord, by friends and foes. I care 
not how it may be assailed ; I care not howsoever 
great may be the talent, howsoever high may be the 
position of those who now consider it their duty to 
impeach its writings : I do think that it has won too 
splendid a reputation to lose the influence it has ac- 
quired. The people, whose enthusiasm has been kindled 



34 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

by the impetuous fire of its verse, and whose sentiments 
have been ennobled by the earnest purity of its teaching, 
will not ratify the censure that has been pronounced 
upon it in this Hall. Truth will have its day of triumph, 
as well as its day of trial ; and I do believe that the 
fearless patriotism which, in those pages, has braved 
the prejudices of the day, to enunciate new truths, will 
triumph in the end. My lord, such do I believe to be 
the character, such do I anticipate will be the fate of 
the principles that are now impeached. This brings 
me to what may be called the " question of the day." 
Before I enter upon that question, however, I will 
allude to one observation which fell from the honourable 
member for Kilkenny, and which may be said to refer 
to those who have expressed an opinion that has been 
construed into a declaration of war. The honourable 
gentleman said, in reference, I presume, to those who 
dissented from the resolutions of Monday, that those 
who were loudest in their declaration of war, were 
usually the most backward in acting up to those 
declarations. My lord, I do not find fault with the 
honourable gentleman for giving expression to a very 
ordinary saying ; but this I will say, that I did not 
volunteer the opinion he condemns : to the declaration 
of that opinion I was forced. You left me no alterna- 
tive — I should compromise my opinion, or avow it. 
To be honest I avowed it. I did not do so to brag, as 
they say. We have had too much of that " bragging " 
in Ireland — I would be the last to imitate the custom. 
Well, I dissented from those " peace resolutions," as 
they are called. Why so ? In the first place, my 
lord, I conceive there was not the least necessity for 
them. No member of this Association advised it. No 
member of this Association, I believe, would be so 
infatuate as to do SO, In the existing circumstances 



THE SWORD 35 

of the country an incitement to arms would be senseless, 
and, therefore, wicked. To talk, now-a-days, of re- 
pealing the Act of Union by the force of arms, would 
be to rhapsodise. If the attempt were made, it would 
be a decided failure. There might be riot in the street 
— ^there would be no revolution in the country. Our 
esteemed under-secretary, Mr. Crean, wiU more effect- 
ively promote the cause of Repeal by registering votes 
in Green Street, than registering fire-arms in the Head- 
Police Office. Conciliation Hall on Burgh Quay is 
more impregnable than a rebel camp on Vinegar Hill ; 
and the hustings at Dundalk will be more successfully 
stormed than the magazine in the park. The registry 
club, the reading-room, the hustings, these are the 
only positions in the country we can occupy. Voters' 
certificates, books, reports, these are the only weapons 
we can employ. Therefore, my lord, I do advocate 
the peaceful policy of this Association. It is the only 
policy we can adopt. If that policy be pursued with 
truth, with courage, with fixed determination of purpose, 
I firmly believe it will succeed. But, my lord, I dis- 
sented from the resolutions before us, for other reasons. 
I stated the first — ^now I come to the second. I dis- 
sented from them, for I felt that, by assenting to them, 
I should have pledged myself to the unqualified re- 
pudiation of physical force in all countries, at all times, 
and in every circumstance. This I could not do ; for, 
my lord, I do not abhor the use of arms in the vindica- 
tion of national rights. There are times when arms 
will alone suffice, and when political ameliorations call 
for a drop of blood, and many thousand drops of blood. 
Opinion, I admit, will operate against opinion. But, 
as the honomrable member for Kilkenny observed, 
force must be used against force. The soldier is proof 
against an argument, but he is not proof against a 



36 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

bullet. The man that will listen to reason, let him be 
reasoned with ; but it is the weaponed arm of the 
patriot that can alone avail against battalioned despot- 
ism. Then, my lord, I do not disclaim the use of arms 
as immoral, nor do I beheve it is the truth to say, 
that the God of heaven withholds his sanction from the 
use of arms. From that night in which, in the valley 
of Bethulia, He nerved the arm of the Jewish girl to 
smite the drunken tyrant in his tent, down to the hour 
in which He blessed the insurgent chivahry of the 
Belgian priests, His Almighty hand hath ever been 
stretched forth from His throne of light, to consecrate 
the flag of freedom — ^to bless the patriot sword. Be 
it for the defence, or be it for the assertion of a nation's 
liberty, I look upon the sword as a sacred weapon. 
And if, my lord, it has sometimes reddened the shroud 
of the oppressor — ^like the anointed rod of the high 
priest, it has, as often, blossomed into flowers to deck 
the freeman's brow. Abhor the sword ? Stigmatise 
the sword ? No, my lord, for in the passes of the 
TjTTol it cut to pieces the banner of the Bavarian, and 
through those cragged passes cut a path to fame for 
the peascmt insurrectionist of Innsbruck. Abhor the 
sword ? Stigmatise the sword ? No, my lord, for 
at its blow, and in the quivering of its crimson light 
a giant nation sprang up from the waters of the 
Atlantic, and by its redeeming magic the fettered 
colony became a daring, free Republic. Abhor the 
sword ? Stigmatise the sword ? No, my lord, for it 
swept the Dutch marauders out of the fine old towns 
of Belgium — swept them back to their phlegmatic 
swamps, and knocked their flag and sceptre, their 
laws and bayonets, into the sluggish waters of the 
Scheldt. My lord, I learned that it was the right of 
a nation to govern itself — not in this Hall, but upon 



J HE SWORD 37 

the ramparts of Antwerp. This, the first article of a 
nation's creeds I learned upon those ramparts, where 
freedom was justly estimated, and where the possession 
of the precious gift was purchased by the effusion of 
generous blood. My lord, I honour the Belgians, I 
admire the Belgians, I love the Belgians for their 
enthusiasm, their courage, their success, and I, for 
one, will not stigmatise, for I do not abhor, the means 
by which they obtained a Citizen King, a Chamber of 
Deputies. [Here John O'Connell interposed to prevent 
Meagher being further heard, and the Young Irelanders 
in a body quitted Conciliation Hall for ever]. 



Ireland and America 

Speech at the Banquet to the Officers of the 
American Relief Ships, 1846. 

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, — I almost hesitate to 
thank you for the high honour you have conferred upon 
me, in requesting me to speak to the health of the Ladies 
of America, for in doing so, you have imposed upon me 

a very serious task. This I sincerely feel 

In this assembly, every political school has its teachers 
— every creed has its adherents — and I may safely say, 
that this banquet is the tribute of United Ireland to the 
representative of American benevolence. Being such, 
I am at once reminded of the dinner which took place 
after the battle of Saratoga, at which Gates and Bur- 
gojme — ^the rival soldiers — sat together. Strange scene ! 
Ireland, the beaten and the bankrupt, entertains 
America, the victorious and the prosperous ! Stranger 
still I The flag of the Victor decorates this hall — 
decorates our harbour — ^not, indeed, in triumph, but 
in sympathy — ^not to commemorate the defeat, but to 
predict the resurrection, of a fallen people ! One thing 
is certain — ^we are sincere upon this occasion. There 
is truth in this compliment. For the first time in her 
career, Ireland has reason to be grateful to a forergn 
power. Foreign power, sir ! Why should I designate 
that country a " foreign power," which has proved 
itself our sister country ? England, they sometimes 
say, is our sister coimtry. We deny the relationship — 
we discard it. We claim America as our sister, and 

38 



IRELAND AND AMERICA 39 

claiming her as such, we have assembled here this 
night. Should a stranger, viewing this brilliant scene, 
inquire of me, why it is that, amid the desolation of 
this day — ^whilst famine is in the land — ^whilst the 
hearse-plumes darken the summer scenery of the 
island — whilst death sows his harvest, and the earth 
teems not with the seeds of life, but with the seeds of 
corruption — should he inquire of me, why it is, that, 
amid this desolation, we hold high festival, hang out 
our banners, and thus carouse — I should reply, ' Sir, 
the citizens of Dublin have met to pay a compliment 
to a plain citizen of America, which they would not 
pay — ' no, not for all the gold in Venice ' — ^to the minister 
of England." Piorsuing his inquiries, should he ask, 
why is this ? I should reply, " Sir, there is a country 
lying beneath that crimson canopy on which we gaze 
in these bright evenings — a country exulting in a 
vigorous and victorious youth — a coimtry with which 
we are incorporated by no Union Act — a country from 
which we are separated, not by a little channel, but by 
a mighty ocean — and this distant coimtry, finding that 
our island, after an affiliation for centuries with the 
most opulent kingdom on earth, has been plunged into 
the deepest excesses of destitution and disease — and 
believing that those fine ships which, a few years since, 
were the avenging angels of freedom, and guarded its 
domain with a sword of fire, might be entrusted with a 
kindlier mission, and be the messengers of life as they 
had been the messengers of death — guided not by the 
principles of political economy, but impelled by the 
holiest passions of humanity — ^this young nation has 
come to our rescue, and thus we behold the eagle — 
which, by the banks of the Delaware, scared away the 
spoiler from its offspring — we behold this eagle speeding 
across the wave, to chase from the shores of Old Dun- 



40 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

leary the vulture of the Famine." Sir, it is not that 
this is an assembly in which all religious sects and 
political schools associate — ^it is not that this is a 
festive occasion in which we forget our differences, and 
mingle our sympathies for a common country — it is 
not for these reasons that this assembly is so pleasing 
to me. I do not urge my opinions upon any one. I 
speak them freely, it is true, but I trust without offence. 
But I tell you, gentlemen, this assembly is pleasing to 
me, because it is instructive. Sir, in the presence of 
the American citizens, we are reminded by what means 
a nation may cease to be poor, and how it may become 
great. In the presence of the American citizens, we 
are taught, that a nation achieving its liberty acquires 
the power that enables it to be a benefactor to the 
distressed communities of the earth. If the right of 
taxation had not been legally disputed in the village of 
Lexington — if the Stamp Act had not been constitu- 
tionally repealed on the plains of Saratoga — America 
would not now possess the wealth out of which she 
relieves the indigence of Ireland. The toast, moreover, 
to which you have invited me to speak, dictates a noble 
lesson to this country. The ladies of America refused 
to wear English manufacture. The ladies of America 
refused to drink the tea that came taxed from England. 
If you honour these illustrious ladies, imitate their 
virtue, and be their rivals in heroic citizenship. If 
their example be imitated here, I think the day will 
come when the Irish flag will be hailed in the port of 
Boston. But if, in the vicissitudes to which all nations 
are exposed, danger should fall upon the great Republic, 
and if the choice be made to us to desert or befriend 
the land of Washington and Franklm, I, for one, will 
prefer to be grateful to the Samaritan, rather than be 
loyal to the Levite. 



The O'Connellites 

Speech in the Rotunda, December 2nd, 1846. 

Sir, it is a righteous duty to instruct the slave, but 
it is a proud privilege to address the freeman. That 
privilege I now enjoy, I avail myself of it to vindicate 
my character, that I may hereafter be of service to my 
country. With that view my friends have come here 
to-night, and I trust not in vain. Here, in this splendid 
hall, on the first anniversary of the Richmond im- 
prisonment, did we assemble, clad in the uniform of 
the Irish nation ; and here, before the civic repre- 
sentatives of our chief cities, and the patriot members 
of the legislature, did we vow that we would never 
desist from seeking a Repeal of the Legislative Union 
by all peaceable, moral and constitutional means, 
until a parliament was restored to Ireland. That is 
the vow of the Rotunda. Public men have charged 
us with the violation of that vow. We have met here 
to answer the charge. Weak, indeed, would be our 
efforts to serve this land, if suspicion rested on those 
efforts, and if the people whom we ambition to emanci- 
pate, we tutored to distrust us. Slanders imanswered 
become destructive. The silence of the slandered gives 
them force and currency, and in time they are accepted 
as truths because they have not been denounced as 
falsehoods. Submit to the slander and you fall — ^meet 
it boldly, beat it back with a strong hand and you save 
your character and preserve your influence. Anxious 
for the confidence of the country, that we may be able 
to act efficiently with the country — for where there is 

41 



^2 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

no trust there will be no co-operation — ^we state our 
opinions distinctly that the country, thinking for 
itself, may judge us rightly. For my part I consider 
myself exceedingly fortunate in being thus permitted 
to resume my interrupted speech. I hope we are not 
going to have a similar interruption here to that in 
Conciliation Hall. Some say I have much to answer 
for. The guilt of the physical force debate has been 
exclusively attached to me. Mr. Lawless, for instance, 
at a meeting of his constituents, shortly after his 
election, censured me for having introduced it. What 
are the facts ? On the 13th of July the " peace 
resolutions " were moved by Mr. O'ConneU. The same 
day the report on the Dungarvan Election was brought 
up. I spoke to that report — I did not speak to the 
resolutions. I merely stated that as they embodied 
an abstract principle of which I could not approve, I 
was compelled to dissent from them. They were then 
put from the chair and carried. The following Monday 
there was not the slightest controversy upon the 
question of the " forces." The meeting passed over 
quietly. I made a few observations, I recollect, to 
the effect that although there were some letters read 
that day which were most offensive to me personally, 
and to those with whom I had been identified, I would 
prove my anxiety for the cause by not replying to them 
as they deserved, and join my friend Mr. Mitchel in 
his earnest prayer that all dissensions in that Hall 
should from thenceforth cease. Mr. O'Neill cordially 
concurred in those sentiments and stated he was 
convinced that no member of the Association intended 
to advocate the insane principle of physical force. 
On the 23rd July, Mr. John O'ConneU arrives from 
London for the express purpose as stated on the follow- 
ing Monday, the 27th, of bringing the matter to an 



THE O'CONNELLITES 43 

issue. Mark this. The question that was decided by 
the Association on the 13th is re-opened by Mr. John 
O'Connell on the 27th, for the express purpose of 
drawing a " marked distinction between Young and 
Old Ireland." Sir, that line has been too deeply 
drawn and this meeting attests the fatal success of 
those who felt it to be their duty to divide. Mr. John 
O'Connell entered fully into the question of the " forces " 
and provoked discussion, if he did not invite it. To 
justify his abhorrence of the sword as an agent of 
political amelioration he cited the social disorders of 
America, of France, of Belgium, the liberties of which 
countries had been won by the sword. I fully con- 
curred in his condemnation of the sword, as an instru- 
ment unfitted to achieve the independence of Ireland. 
I stated this distinctly. But, recollecting that it had 
been destructive of despotism in other lands, I refused 
to join him in the sweeping condemnation he had made, 
and was proceeding to justify my dissent — ^passionately, 
I will admit, for who can recount the triumphs of liberty 
and not speak in the language of passion ? — ^when Mr. 
John O'Connell declared that my sentiments imperilled 
the Association and that either he or I should leave 
that Hall. Mr. Smith O'Brien protested against this 
interruption as an attempt to check the legitimate 
expression of an opinion to which he stated, I was not 
merely invited, but compelled. Mr. John O'Connell 
persisted, usurped the authority of the Chairman, 
declared that my language was seditious and insisted 
on my not being heard. We had no alternative but to 
leave the Hall. We left it— left it in the possession of 
those who had invoked the spirit of freedom but to 
assail it, who had provoked a discusssion but to violate 
the first principle of discussion, who had driven us to 
the avowal of our opinions but to misrepresent and 



44 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

abuse those opinions. We left the Hall, sir, convinced 
that independent men would not any longer be permitted 
to remain there, and trusting to the intelligence of the 
country for the vindication of our conduct. We 
thought, too, that the Association would in time re 
verse the policy which, still continuing, has now arrayed 
against it the intellect and the integrity of the country. 
With this hope we refrained from the condemnation of 
that policy. The Nation, speaking for the seceders, 
adopted the language rather of conciliation than 
rebuke. Week after week we anxiously waited in 
silence for the adjustment of those differences which 
had shattered the national assembly and thrown it in 
fragments at the feet of the Whig Minister. This 
wise adjustment we were led to expect from the speech 
delivered by Mr. John O'Connell after we had been 
compelled to leave the Hall : " It is no source of 
joy to me that we have witnessed this departure. 
There cannot be a feeling of triumph — there cannot be 
a single pleasurable feeling in my heart at witnessing 
the loss to the Association of such a man as Smith 
O'Brien, at witnessing the departure of those excellent 
men from amongst us. This is not a time to speak, 
it is a time to weep. Let us then retire from this 
Hall to mourn over the loss we have sustained. Let 
us not think of meeting till Monday next when I hope 
Mr. O'Connell will be here to repair the breach that 
has inevitably occurred." Mr. O'Connell arrives in 
town during the week and on Monday, October 5th, 
instead of endeavouring to " repair the breach," from 
his place in Conciliation Hall he arraigns us as traitors 
to Repeal. We are denounced as revolutionists and 
charged with having opposed the peace policy of the 
Association. How is this charge sustained ? It is 
sustained by the language of Mr. O'Gorman, who stated, 



THE O'CONNELLITES 45 

on the 13th of July in the presence of Mr. O'Connell, 
that " in order that there should be no misconception 
on the subject so far as he (Mr. O'Gorman) was con- 
cerned he would at once say that he was not at all an 
advocate for the use of physical force. As a member 
of the Association he was bound by its laws and regula- 
tions. One of these was, that its object was not to 
be attained by the use of physical force but by moral 
means alone." Is the charge sustained by the language 
of Mr. Mitchel who stated on the same day in the 
presence of Mr. O'Connell that " this is a legally organised 
and constitutional society seeking to attain its objects, 
as all the world knows, by peaceable means, and none 
other. Constitutional agitation is the very basis of it, 
and nobody who contemplates any other mode of 
bringing about the independence of the country has 
any right to come here or to consider himself a fit 
member of our Association. I believe, sir, the national 
legislative independence of Ireland can be won by 
these peaceful means if honestly, boldly and steadily 
carried out, and with these convictions I should certainly 
feel it my duty, if I knew any member who, either in 
this Hall or out of it, either by speaking or writing, 
should attempt to incite the people to arms or violence 
as a method of obtaining their liberty, while this 
Association lasts, to report that member to the com- 
mittee and move his expulsion." Is the charge sus- 
tained by the language of Mr. Barry, who stated on 
the 7th Jime, " that it was perfectly plain to all that 
it was the determination of the Association to work 
out its object by means of moral force and that alone ? " 
Is the charge sustained by the language which I used 
on the 28th of July when I distinctly stated that " I 
do advocate the peaceful policy of the Association ; it 
is the only policy we can and should adopt. If that 



46 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

policy be pursued with truth, with courage, with 
stern determination of purpose, I do firmly believe 
that it will succeed." Sir, over and over again we 
pledge ourselves to the peace policy of the Association 
and are ready to do so again if necessary. But it is 
in vain. We are opposed to a Whig alUance. We 
demand that the Association should pursue the same 
policy under the Whig as it did under the Conservative 
administration. We insist upon Repeal and not upon 
" eleven measures," and are therefore denounced as 
revolutionists. Sir, it is my sincere conviction and I 
believe it is the growing conviction of the country, 
that the leaders of the Association had determined 
upon driving us from Conciliation Hall, and that, had 
we assented to the " peace resolutions," others would 
have been introduced to which we could not with 
commonsense subscribe. For instance, they might 
have brought in a resolution declaring it contrary to 
" faith and morals " to visit the Sultan and rank 
apostacy to smoke a chibouc. And if in opposing this 
resolution I had ventured to glance at the minarets 
of St. Sophia or the legends of the Koran, I would 
surely have been voted a renegade from the faith of 
my fathers, since for having alluded to the passes of 
the Tyrol and the ramparts of Antwerp I have been 
arraigned as a rebel. Depend upon it, if we had not 
been proclaimed as insurrectionists, we would have 
been anathematised as Mussulmen. If the object were 
not to drive us from the Hall I can see no other object 
in bringing forward those resolutions. It became 
necessary, they say, to restate the fundamental rules 
of the Association. If this were so, why not restate 
them as they were originally framed ? Had this been 
done there could have been no dissent. But an abstract 
principle is introduced to which we cannot conscien- 



THE O'CONNELLITES 47 

tiously subscribe, and then confounding the new principle 
with the old rule, they charge us with a violation of 
the fundamental rule of the Association. Observe 
then, how the wise decrees of the Repeal Committee 
swell the ranks of the revolutionists. Mr. M'Gee 
writes to Mr. Ray for his card, states that he fully 
concurs in the principles and policy of moral force and 
will say nothing about physical force, as he dislikes 
meddling with abstract principles. Mr. Ray forth- 
with addresses Mr. M'Gee, " that it appears that he 
is not and cannot be a member of the Repeal Associa- 
tion." Mr. Haughton whose sympathies are with us, 
for I believe they are ever with the cause of truth, 
of justice, and of freedom, totally dissents from the 
opinions of Young Ireland upon the abstract of physical 
force, but disapproves of the mode adopted to repress 
those opinions. He has been since convicted of Young 
Irelandism, and " by order of the committee " enrolled 
in the category of revolution. Three Repeal wardens 
of Cappoquin write to Mr. Ray on the 12th of November 
stating that having abandoned all hope of a reconcilia- 
tion, " in consequence of the language used by Mr. 
O'Connell towards Smith O'Brien," they beg to resign 
all connection with the Association. Mr. Ray replies 
to these gentlemen and intimates to them the loyal 
delight of the Association at parting with men who 
unquestionably contemplate a resort to arms. ' ' Masters, 
I charge you," says Dogberry to the Watchmen — " I 
charge you in the prince's name, accuse these men." 
" This man said, sir, that John Don, the prince's brother, 
was a villain." " Prince John a villain ! why, this is 
flat perjury, to call a prince's brother a villain." " I'm 
for freedom of discussion," says Mr. SheaLawlor ; " This 
is physical force ! " exclaims the committee. " I'm 
for the publication of the accounts," intimates Mr. 



48 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Martin ; " You oppose the peace policy," rejoins Mr. 
Ray. " I protest against placehunting," writes Mr. 
Brady from Cork ; " Sir, you contemplate a resort to 
arms," rejoins the Secretary from Dublin. " We can't 
get on without a good cry," hints Mr. Taper to Mr. Tad- 
pole. For a dissolution without a cry, as Mr. DTsraeli 
observes in the " Taper Philosophy," " was the world 
without a sun." Sir, I trust I shall be excused for thus 
trifling with the " peace resolutions " and the subsequent 
decrees of the Association. But it is as difficult, after 
all, to treat these topics seriously as to describe the 
characters of a farce with sublimity, and yet there is 
true reason to be serious. Through a fatal policy the 
most powerful confederacy that ever yet was organised 
to win a nation's freedom is broken up, its treasury 
exhausted, its influence blasted. Look to the national 
movement. Where is the disciplined nerve, the earnest 
integrity, the rapid enthusiasm of '43. Look back to 
that year — ^your sight is dazzled with the flame— survey 
the present, and you shiver before the cloud. What 
did we then behold ? a zeal that was almost precipitate 
— a pride of country that almost swelled into pre- 
sumption. What do we now deplore ? a " peace 
policy " that degenerates into indolence, a tameness 
that verges on debasement. Whence this relapse, 
whence this fall ? It dates from the Hustings of 
Dungarvan. Where shall it cease ? Here. So say 
we all of us here in the Rotunda — a spot ennobled 
by the convention of 1783, sanctified by the vow of 
1845. Sir, we impeach the present policy of the 
Association, and we impeach it not because we have 
become seceders, but because we continue to be Re- 
pealers. In doing so we are accused of ingratitude 
to an old and illustrious benefactor. The accusation 
is a slander. The Catholic Emancipator has secured 



4^ 



Ci5 



/ .«^ 



/ 



y 



;^:?^ 






^#^^^.^/ 



A Letter from Meagher 



THE O'CONNELLITES 49 

our gratitude. The Leader of the Repeal Association has 
forfeited our allegiance. This is just, I say. Gratitude 
to a benefactor should never degenerate into sub- 
serviency, and it is servitude and the worst of servi- 
tudes to co-operate when convictions do not coincide. 
Catholic Emancipation was indeed too dearly purchased 
if the forfeiture of free opinion was the price. The 
confederates of the great emancipator we were proud 
to be — ^his vassals, never. We ambition to work for 
our covmtry, but we shall not work for it in chains. 
The nobility of the cause suffers from the debasement 
of the advocate. And though he, who was once our 
leader, may arraign us for treachery to the country 
and use his influence to make that country our assailant, 
he shall still command our respect, while the country 
shall have our love — 

Men and brothers 1 we loved this land 

For its beauty, but more for its grief ; 
We offered the homage of heart and of hand 

To it and its chosen chief. 
We offered our hearts with their fiery heat, 

Our hands with their youthful glow ; 
But never to slavishly lie at his feet 

Or be spurned from your ranks as a foe. 

Sir, great emergencies demand severe sacrifices, and 
the laws of nations, not to say the injimctions of leaders, 
have been disobeyed when they stood in the way of 
liberty. Be it yours to imitate the example of one 
whom the historian has immortalised and the true 
patriot most reveres. Two thousand years since, 
Pelopidas and Epaminondas stood accused for dis- 
obedience of the public orders. Pelopidas with craven 
soul, bowed before his accusers, confessed his guilt 
and hardly obtained forgiveness. Epaminondas — ^how 



50 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

brilliant, how inspiring is the contrast — exulting in 
the act for which he was arraigned, confronted his 
accusers and declared he was ready to meet his death 
if on his monument would be inscribed — " He wasted 
Laconia, the territory of the enemy — ^he united the 
Arcadians — ^restored liberty to Greece — and did so 
against his country's will." Which of these two men 
shall be your model. I should not inquire. I do not 
fear that a spirit of servile sycophancy will win you to 
the imitation of the former, for I know that a spirit 
of heroic honesty will prompt you to the emulation of 
the latter. Demanding the independence of your 
country you will act the part of independent men — 
insisting upon her freedom you will preserve your own. 
In this spirit, sir, we impeach the present policy of the 
Association and we impeach it because it conflicts with 
the policy of '43. We impeach that policy because 
it assails the liberty of the press and violates the first 
principles of discussion. We impeach that policy 
because it affiliates the Repeal Association to an English 
faction, and forms an alliance that must vitiate the 
energies of the former. The Association encourages 
its members to become the stipendiaries of the minister, 
and we oppose a license that tends to give strength 
to the minister, and produces weakness in the people. 
The servant of the minister will cease to be the con- 
federate of the people. The hand that has once clutched 
the gold of the Treasury will never again be clenched 
against the usurpations of the minister. The glare of 
the Castle ball-room blinds men to the sins of the 
executive. The tongue that has lisped compliments 
at the viceregal table will be slow to utter condemnation 
from the tribvme of Conciliation Hall. Why, I ask, 
is not the minister denounced ? The people starve, 
and the career of the minister in this country is tracked 



THE O'CONNELLITES 51 

by peasants' graves. He patronises the pampered 
merchant of his own splendid country — he heeds not 
the famished beggar of the bankrupt land. The ships 
of the rich London citizen, like winged demons, bear 
away on each swelling tide the food of the island, as 
if Death had chartered them to drive his ghastly trade, 
and yet the minister is not denounced. Is this the 
minister with whom we are called upon to coalesce — ^is 
this the minister in whose pay it is honourable for the 
Irish Nationalist to serve ? Forbid it, Heaven ! Better, 
far better, be the poorest artisan that earns his bread 
by honest drudgery, than the wealthiest subordinate 
of such a minister. Sir, this old system must come 
down. Claiming public liberty, we must cultivate 
public virtue, and it shall be so. A new generation 
begins to act in Ireland — a generation pledged against 
aU English alliances, a generation pledged to make 
this island a free nation and pledged to do so in 
the most clear, straightforward, righteous way. The 
events of the day invite us to proceed. Nations that 
had for centuries lost their freedom are breaking through 
their fetters, and we behold them resuming with youth- 
ful vigour their old positions. Italy ! Italy awakes 
to a new destiny and from her sculptured sepulchre 
Europe hails her dazzling resurrection. The bayonet 
of the Austrian will no longer intimidate where once 
the sceptre of the Csesars swayed. In the Church of 
Saint John Lateran, a wiser and a holier Rienzi has 
appeared, and the Roman citizen blesses the new 
Tribune as he goes forth from the Vatican to regenerate 
and free. On the summit of the Aventine the Temple 
of Liberty shall again be reared — ^the laurel shall replace 
the ivy on the fragments of the Forum, and whilst the 
scholar rears his genius beneath the shadow of its 
ancient glories, the future statesmen of this our island 



52 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

will learn from the mitred ruler the purest lessons of 
liberality — the wisest measures of reform. Sir, Italy 
has ceased to be the mere guard-house of the Austrian 
trooper — Ireland must cease to be the fee-farm of the 
English jobber. " To God and man we made oath, 
that we would never cease to strive until an Irish nation 
stood supreme upon this island." These are the solemn 
words of one whose noble heart is mouldering beneath 
the shroud in the cemetery of Mount Jerome, but the 
cold vault has not imprisoned his passionate spirit, 
nor shall the glorious mission which he preached to 
the young men of Ireland be unfulfilled by us. His 
genius breathes and bums beyond the grave, and as it 
inspires the present so shall it illuminate the future. 
Like him through good report and ill, we will work 
on to win the freedom and exalt the character of our 
country ; , and though that country may be taught to 
curse us for a day — ^though slander be awhile the penalty 
which our integrity may incur, and though the aged 
hand that ought to beckon us to advance may strive 
to beat us back, we shall still press on — faithful, come 
what may, to the vow we plighted in this Hall. Death 
alone shall crush us — despotism, be it foreign or domestic, 
shall not. 



Union with England 

Speech in the Rotunda at the Opening of the 
Irish Confederation, January 13TH, 1847. 

Sir, there was a levee at the Castle this morning. 
Gentlemen went there to pay their respects to the 
representative of royalty : we have met here, this 
night, to testify our allegiance to liberty. I will not 
inquire which is the more honourable act ; but I think 
the latter more useful. Where a court resides a parlia- 
ment should sit. A court, without a senate, can do 
little for the public good ; it may do much for the 
public harm. The court of the province may distribute 
favours, and teach a propriety of demeanour. The 
senate of the free nation distributes blessings, and in- 
spires the community with virtue. Little did the poet 
hero of Missolonghi, when he passionately rebuked the 
homage that was paid a sceptred profligate in this 
city, twenty-five years since — ^little did he imagine 
that at this day his words would be so disastrously 
fulfilled— 

" The Castle still stands, tho' the senate's no more, 

And the Famine that dwells on her freedomless crags 
Is extending its steps to her desolate shore." 

Sir, the Castle has been preserved, whilst the senate 
has been destroyed, and the blood and poison in which 
it was destroyed have given birth to a hideous famine. 
When the English minister introduced the Act of 
Union into the English Commons, he did not venture 

53 



54 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

to justify his scheme upon the inability of a domestic 
parliament to legislate beneficially for Ireland. The 
prosperity of the nation — to which Lord Clare, Mr. 
Pliuiket, Mr. Grattan, and several other members 
bore testimony in the Irish Commons, and to which 
Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Burdett bore testimony in the 
English Commons — this prosperity was so obvious, 
and so distinctly traceable to the efficient legislation 
of the Irish parliament, that some other argument, 
besides that of incapacity, should be urged for its 
destruction. The minister admitted the good that 
had been done — admitted the comnierce that had 
thriven, the arts that had flourished, the eminent 
position that had been attained by the country, with 
the wise assistance of her parliament. He did not 
charge that parliament with incapacity, for the 
evidences of capacity met him in the face. He did 
not charge that parliament with the corruption of its 
last moments, for his was the hand that planted death 
where once the sword of the volunteer had infused 
vitality. He did not charge that parhament with 
those grievous defects which impaired its character, 
but which, we must assert, were rather the defects of 
the age than the defects of the institution. No ; he 
advanced a more serious charge, and appealed from the 
virtue to the avarice of the people. The Irish parha- 
ment was arraigned for standing between the people of 
Ireland and the blessings of English connection. " You 
have prospered," said the minister, " under a native 
parliament. Accept a foreign parliament, and your 
prosperity will amaze. Incorporate the countries, and 
you incorporate their interests. Participate in the 
imperial labours, and you participate in the imperial 
profits. Recognise London as your chief city, and 
your nobility will be identified with the proudest 



UNION WITH ENGLAND 55 

patricians in Europe. Consolidate the exchequers, 
and in the periods of distress which, through the 
dispensations of heaven, await all nations, you will 
experience the munificence of the empire. ConsoUdate 
the exchequers, and you will revel in the treasures 
of the colonies. Consolidate the exchequers, and you 
will feast with us upon the spoils of India. You now 
stand alone. You require a guardian. The ambition 
of France will drive her bayonets against your shore, 
and the Island will be gazetted as the property of the 
stranger. Unite with us, and you may defy the Corsican 
— ^unite with us, and you may defy the world — unite 
with us, and as we ascend to a height on which the 
Roman soldier never trod, from which the Spanish 
merchant never gazed, you will accompany us in our 
flight, and the states that will bend in recognition of 
our power, will admire your wisdom, and be dazzled 
with your wealth." Sir, in what year, since the 
enactment of the Union, will the disciples of William 
Pitt find the fulfilment of that promise ? In 1801, 
when the English parliament visited this country with 
an Insurrection Act ? In 1803, when that parliament 
imposed a martial law ? In 1807, when the Insurrec- 
tion Act of 1801 is renewed, continuing in force until 
1810 ? In 1814, when, for a third time, the Insurrec- 
tion Act of 1801 is renewed, and inflicted up to 1824 ? 
In 1836, when the Lord High Chancellor of England 
spurns you as aliens in language, in religion, and in 
blood ? In 1839, when you claimed equal franchises 
with the people of England, and are denied them by 
the Whig Secretary for Ireland ? In 1843, when a 
minister of the crown declares that concession has 
reached its limits, and an assassin proclamation 
proscribes your right of petition ? In 1846, when the 
Coercion Bill is levelled against your liberties, and the 



56 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Arms' Act is re-introduced by the Whigs ? Tell me-— is 
it fulfilled in 1847, when the Treasury confiscates the 
Island, and famine piles upon it a pyramid of coffins ? 
A lie ! exclaims the broken manufacturer. A lie ! 
protests the swindled landlord. A he ! a lie ! shrieks 
the skeleton from the putrid hovels of Skibbereen. 
" Depend upon it," said Mr. Bushe, speaking of the 
Act of Union, in the Irish Commons — " depend upon 
it, a day of reckoning will come — posterity will over- 
haul this transaction." Sir, the day of reckoning has 
come^-posterity overhauls the base transaction ! The 
right which national pride had not the virtue to 
dictate — ^the right which national enterprise had not 
the spirit to demand — a national calamity has now 
the fortunate terror to enforce. Heretofore, the right 
of self-government was claimed as an instrument to 
ameliorate ; now it is claimed as an instrument to 
save. Heretofore, it was claimed that the people 
might be gifted with the franchise ; now it is claimed 
that the people may have the privilege of bread. We 
demand from England this right. We demand the 
restoration of our parliament, and we demand it, not 
as a remote, but as an immediate measure. It is the 
only true measure of relief. The pestilence came from 
heaven, but the inability of the country to mitigate 
that pestilence we ascribe to the avarice of man. 
England, in her lust of empire, has deprived us of 
those large means, that social wealth, that manufacturing 
capital, which would have enabled our country to meet 
the necessities of this dark crisis. The Union, as you 
have been often told, has wrought the ruin of your 
trade, your manufactures, your arts. It has sanctioned 
if it has not compelled, absenteeism. It has beggared 
the mechanic. It now starves the peasant. It has 
destroyed your home market. It has taken from you 



UNION WITH ENGLAND 57 

the power to devote the resources of the country to 
the wants of the people. You have no control over 
these resources. They are forbidden fruit. You dare 
not touch them. If this be not so, why is your export 
trade so flourishing, whilst your import trade expires ? 
If this be not so, how comes it that the absentee crams 
his coffer, whilst the sexton fills the churchyard ? 
If this be not so, how comes it that your city quays 
are thronged, whilst the village street is desolate ? 
If this be not so, how comes it that whilst the merchant 
ship bears away the harvest from your shore, the parish 
bier conveys the reaper to his grave ? Sir, England 
has bound this Island hand and foot. The Island is 
her slave. She robs the Island of its food, for it has 
not the power to guard it. If the Island does not break 
its fetters England will write its epitaph. Listen to 
a few facts. I hold in my hand a statement of Irish 
exports from the ist of August to the ist of January. 
From this statement you will perceive that England 
seizes on our food, whilst death seizes on our people : 
Total export of provisions from the ports of Waterford, 
Cork, Limerick, and Belfast, from ist August, 1846, 
to the 1st January, 1847 = Pork, barrels, 37,123 ; 
bacon, flitches, 222,608 ; butter, firkins, 388,455 ; hams, 
hhds., 1,971 ; beef, tierces, 2,555 ; wheat, barrels, 
48,526 ; oats, barrels, 443,232 ; barley, barrels, 12,029 ; 
oatmeal, cwts., 7,210 ; flour, cwts., 144,185 ; pigs, 
44,659 ; cows, 9,007 ; sheep, 10,288. Yet, this is 
what the English economist would designate the 
prosperity of Ireland. From this table Lord Monteagle 
would expatiate upon the benefits of English connection. 
From this table- Mr. Montgomery Martin would prove, 
with the keenest precision, the advantages to Ireland 
of the legislative Union. From this table Mr. Macaulay 
—who threatened us with a civil war in the name of 



58 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

the Whigs, and was answered by the honourable 
member for Limerick, as a man who threatened 
despotism should be always answered — from this table 
Mr. Macaulay would surely conclude that Irish prosperity 
was a sound reality — that Irish famine was a factious 
metaphor. But, sir, I shall dwell no longer upon this 
dismal theme. For a moment let us forget the famine 
— " if it be possible, let this bitter cup pass away." It 
is difficult, indeed, to close our eyes to the horror. Go 
where you will, and you must face it. Go to the church 
— in the pulpit it stands beside the priest, and recounts 
to him its havoc. Go to the social board, and there it 
sits, and chiUs the current of the soul. Amid the 
radiant scenery of my native South its shadow faUs 
and scares you from the motmtain and the glen. But 
you have vowed to win the freedom of your country, 
and you must wail no more. The voice of Ireland has 
been too sad. Had it been more stern, it would have 
been obeyed long since. For the future we must not 
supplicate, but demand — ^we must not entreat, but 
enforce. We must insist upon the right of this coimtry 
to govern itself, with the firmness which the importance 
of the right demands, and which the power of our 
opponent necessitates. Urge that right on higher 
grounds than those on which it has been hitherto 
implored. Demand it, not merely to redress wrongs, 
but to acquire power. Demand it as the right which 
a nation must possess if it ambitions fortune, and 
aspires to station. Deprived of this right, the nation 
is destitute of self-reliance. Destitute of this great 
virtue, the nation has no inward strength, no inherent 
influence. Through the bounty of the ruling state it 
may exist ; but a nation thus sustained, is sustained 
by a hand from without, not by a soul from within. 
Should it derive prosperity from this source, the nation. 



UNION WITH ENGLAND 59 

I maintain, is yet more enslaved. It loses all faith in 
its own faculties, and is soothed and pampered into 
debasement. The spirit of the freeman no longer acts* 
— ^the gratitude of the slave destroys it. Sustained by 
the bounty — participating in the civic rights of the 
predominant country, it may become a useful appendage 
to that country — ^waste its blood for the supremacy of 
a Union Flag — gild an Imperial Senate with its pur- 
chased genius — ^be visited by the Sovereign, be flattered 
by the minister, be eulogised in the journals of the 
empire ; but, sir, such a country will have no true 
prosperity — ^will occupy no high position — will exhibit 
no fine virtues — ^will accomplish no great acts ; it may 
fatten in its fetters — it will write no name in history. 
" To depend upon the honour of another country, is 
to depend upon her will ; and to depend upon the will 
of another country, is the definition of slavery." This 
was the doctrine of Henry Grattan — ^let it be our motto. 
Union with England, for no purpose — union with 
England, for no price — union with England, on no 
terms ! Let them extend the franchise — reclaim the 
waste lands — promote the coast fisheries — ^improve their 
drainage acts — ay, let them vote their millions to check 
the starvation with which we charge them — ^the Union 
Act must be repealed. No foreign hand can bestow 
the prosperity which a national soul has the power to 
create. No gift can compensate a nation for its liberty. 
This was the sentiment of Mr. Foster, who declared 
that if England could give up all her revenue, and all 
her trade to Ireland, he would not barter for them the 
free constitution of his country. This was the senti- 
ment of Mr. Plunket when he denounced the Union as 
a barter of liberty for money, and pronounced the 
nation that would enter into such a traffic, for any 
advantage whatsoever, to be criminal and besotted. 



6o MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

This was the sentiment of Mr. O'Connell, in 1800, when, 
.speaking for the Cathohcs, he declared, that if emancipa- 
tion was offered for their consent to the measure, they 
would reject it with prompt indignation — that if the 
alternative were offered them, of the Union, or the 
re-enactment of the penal code in all its pristine horrors, 
they would prefer the latter, without hesitation, as 
the lesser and more sufferable evil. Sir, we must act 
in the spirit of these sentiments. We must rescue the 
country from the control of every English minister. 
It was our boast, in 1843, that Ireland was the difficulty 
of Sir Robert Peel. Let us be just in 1847, ^^^ make it 
the difficulty of Lord John Russell. It is time for us 
to prefer the freedom of our country to the patronage 
of the crown. I firmly believe that Ireland has suffered 
more from the subserviency of her sons than from 
the dictation of her foes. " Liberal appointments " 
have pleased us too much. Amongst us, the Tapers 
and the Tadpoles have been too numerous a class — 
the patriots who believe that the country will be saved 
if they receive from £600 to £1,200 a year. Give me a 
resident nobihty, a resident gentry, an industrious 
population. Give me a commerce to enrich the country, 
and a navy to protect that commerce. Give me a 
national flag, to inspire the country with a proper pride, 
and a national militia to defend that flag. Give me, 
for my country, these great faculties, these great at- 
tributes, and I care not who wears the ermine in the 
Queen's Bench — I care not who officiates in the Castle- 
yard — I care not who adjudicates in the Police Office — 
I care not who the high sheriff of the county may be — 
I care not who the beadle of the parish may be. If 
there be social evils in the country, there will be a 
national legislature to correct them ; and even if that 
legislature has not the power to correct those evils, 



UNION WITH ENGLAND 6l 

the blessings which it is sure to confer will more than 
counteract them. The resolution I propose will pledge 
us to an absolute independence of all English parties, 
and exclude from the Irish Confederation any member 
of the council who will accept or solicit an office of 
emolument under any government not pledged to 
Repeal. It gives me sincere delight to move this 
resolution. I know you will adopt it — I am confident 
you will act up to it boldly. Public men have said 
that the cause of Repeal is strengthened by Repealers 
taking places. I maintain that the cause is weakened. 
The system decimates the ranks. In 1843 where were 
the Repealers who assumed the ofi&cial garb after the 
movement of 1834 ? Repealers, occupying office, may 
not abandon their opinions, but they withdraw their 
services. You cannot serve the minister who is pledged 
to maintain the Union, and serve the people who are 
pledged to repeal it. Will a report on the financial 
grievances, inflicted by the Union, accompany a Treasury 
minute from London ? Will a Repeal pamphlet issue 
from the Board of Works ? The Trojans fought the 
Greeks, through the streets of Troy, in Grecian armour. 
Will the Repealers fight the Whigs, upon the hustings, 
with Whig favours in their pockets ? Recollect the 
Union was carried by Irishmen receiving EngUsh gold. 
Depend upon it, the same system will not accelerate 
its repeal. Sir, we must have an end of this place- 
begging. The task we have assumed is a serious one. 
To accomplish it well, our energies must have full 
play. The trappings of the Treasury will restrict 
them more than the shackles of the prison. State 
liveries usually encumber men, and detain them at 
the Castle gates. Not a doubt of it, sir, we shall work 
the freer when we wear no royal harness. To the 
accomphshment of this great task we earnestly invite 



63 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

all ranks and parties in the country. It is not the 
cause of Radicalism. It is not the cause of Sectarian- 
ism. It is the cause of Ireland — a noble cause ! a 
cause in which the Irish peer should feel as deeply 
interested as the Irish peasant — in which the Irish 
Protestant should associate with the Irish Catholic — in 
which the Irish Conservative should co-operate with the 
Irish Radical. Sir, I will not appeal to the Irish 
peer, for I am not his equal. Yet I will tell him, that 
to act as the hereditary peer of this ancient kingdom 
would be a more honourable distinction than to serve 
as an elected peer in the parliament of that country 
which has usurped his ancestral right. In England, 
where there resides the proudest nobility in the world 
— a nobility that would not yield to the Cojitarini of 
Venice, to the Colonna of Rome, to the Montmorenci 
of France — the Irish peer is a powerless subordinate. 
In Ireland, his native land, he would have no superior 
in rank ; if he had virtue and ability, he would have 
no superior in power. I will not appeal to the Irish 
landlord, for I have no land, yet I will tell him, that 
he has too long sacrificed the interests of Ireland, 
little knowing that by so doing he sacrificed his own, 
and that now, to save his property, he must save the 
country — ^to save the country he must assert her 
freedom. But, sir, I will appeal to the Irish Pro- 
testant who stands aloof, for I am his brother. Let 
not the altar stand between us and our freedom. Let 
not the history of the past be the prophecy of the 
future. Even in that history his eye will glance on 
brighter chapters than those which record the defence 
of Derry, or the triumph of Aughrim. On the 4th day 
of November, 1779, the Protestant Volunteers of this 
city and county met in College Green and piled their 
arms round the statue of King Wilham. They met 



UNION WITH ENGLAND 63 

round the statue of that king whom the Irish Pro- 
testant has been vainly taught to worship, and the 
Irish Catholic wantonly to execrate — they met round 
that statue, not to revive the factions of the Boyne — 
not that the waters of that river should sweep away 
again the shattered banner of the Catholic — but that 
those waters might float for ever the commerce of a 
free nation. Protestant citizens ! cultivate the fine 
virtues of that period ; embrace the faith of which 
Molyneux was the bold apostle ; renounce the supremacy 
of England ; abjure the errors of provincialism. Let 
not the dread of Catholic ascendancy deter you. If 
such an ascendancy were preached, here is one hand 
at least that would be clenched against it. Yes, here 
are four thousand arms to give it battle. And now I 
will appeal to the young men of Ireland — for I am one 
of that proscribed class. A noble mission is open to 
them — ^let them accept it with enthusiasm, and fulfil 
it with integrity. If they do so, the independence of 
the nation will be restored, and they themselves shall 
win a righteous fame. A free nation will vote them to 
her senate in their maturer years, and when they die, 
upon their tombs will be inscribed that nation's gratitude. 
Let not the sneers of those in whose hearts no generous 
impulse throbs, in whose minds no lofty purpose dwells, 
deter them from the task. Men who have grown selfish 
amid the insincerities of society, who have grown 
harsh from the buffets of the world, will bid them mind 
their business — ^their profession. Sir, our coimtry is 
our dearest object — to win its freedom is our first 
duty. It is not the decree of heaven, I believe, that 
the syinpathies of the young heart, the abihties with 
which most young minds are gifted, should be narrowed 
to the trade we follow, the profession we pursue. These 
sympathies are too large, these abilities too strong, to 



64 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

be narrowed to the purposes of a sordid egotism. 
These sympathies, these abilities, were so conferred 
that they might embrace the Island, and be the ramparts 
of its liberty. To us the God of heaven has thus been 
good, not that we should " crawl from the cradle to 
the gr^ve," doing nothing for mankind, but that we 
should so act as to leave a memory behind us for the 
good to bless, and the free to glorify. Sir, were I to 
rely upon the effect which my words might have, I 
should indeed despair. Youth, which brings with it 
an energy to act, seldom confers authority ; and if the 
appeals which its enthusiasm dictates sometimes have 
the fortune to move, it more frequently happens that 
the rashness, of which it is susceptible, has the effect 
to deter. But the revolution of opinion, which now 
shakes society in Ireland, gives me true hope. " I 
believe that Ireland will soon be called upon to govern 
herself," said Mr. Delmege in the Music Hall. " Ireland 
shall govern herself " — so insists this meeting. Sir,^ 
you who are the descendant of an Irish king — go to 
the English Commons, and tell the English Commons 
what you have seen this night — ^tell the English Commons, 
that in this Hall — a spot sacred to the people of Ireland, 
for here, in 1783, the Convention sat, with a mitred 
reformer at its head — sacred to them, for here, in 1845, 
their civic chiefs made solemn oath that the independence 
of this country should be restored — sacred to them, for 
here, in 1847, has been estabUshed the sanctuary of 
free opinion ; tell the English Commons, sir, that here 
four thousand citizens assembled on this night to decide 
the destiny of the Union. Tell the English Commons, 
that these citizens decide that the destiny of the Union 
shall be the destruction of the Union. Should the 
minister ask you why is this, tell the minister that the 
1 Smith O'Brien. 











•V- 



y^^'^^f^!^ /^>9^!5«ie=' y^S^Ulf^^^^:^ 



5^ 



^ 



Autographs of the State Prisoners in Clonmel Gaol 



UNION WITH ENGLAND 65 

Union sentences the country to ruin, and that the 
country will not submit to the sentence. Should the 
minister assure you, that, for the future, there shall be 
a fair Union, and not a false Union — " a real Union, 
and not a parchment Union " — tell the minister that 
we shall have no Union, be it for better or for worse. 
Tell the minister, sir, that a new race of men now act 
in Ireland — men who will neither starve as the victims, 
nor serve as the vassals of the British Empire. Have 
I spoken your sentiments — ^have I announced your 
determination truly ? Yes, the spirit that nerved the 
Red Hand of Ulster — the spirit that made the walls 
of Limerick impregnable, and forced the conquerors 
of the Boyne to negotiate by the waters of the Shannon 
— ^the spirit that dictated the letters of Swift and the 
instructions of Lucas — the spirit that summoned the 
armed missionaries of freedom to the altar of Dun- 
gannon, and gave to Charlemont the dignity which his 
accomplishments would never have attained — the 
spirit that touched with fire the tongue of Grattan, and 
endowed his words with the magic of his sword — ^the 
spirit that sanctified the scaffold of the Geraldine, and 
bade the Ijrre of Moore vibrate through the world — 
the spirit that called forth the genius of Davis from the 
cloisters of Old Trinity, and which consecrates his 
grave — ^the spirit that at this day, in the city of the 
Pontiff, unfurls the flag of Sarsfield, and animates the 
Irish sculptor as he bids the marble speak the passion 
of the Irish Tribune — the spirit which defied at Mallow, 
and vowed at Mullaghmast — ^this spirit which the 
bayonet could not drive back — ^which the bribe could 
not satiate — ^which misfortune could not quell — ^is 
moving vividly through the land. The ruins that 
ennoble, the scenes that beautify, the memories that 
illuminate, the music that inspires our native land. 



66 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

have preserved it pure amid the vicious factions of the 
past, and the venal bargains of later years. The 
visitation that now storms upon the land has stung 
into generous activity. Did public virtue cease to 
animate, the Senate House which, even in its desecrated 
state, lends an Italian glory to this metropolis, would 
forbid it to expire. The temple is there — ^the creed 
has been announced — ^the priests will enter and oihciate. 
It shall be so. The spirit of Nationality, rooted in 
our hearts, is as immovable as the altar of the Druid, 
pillared in our soil. 



Whiggery and Famine 

Speech at the Galway Election, Feb. 12th, 1847. 

Gentlemen, I have come here to protest against the 
government of England, for which government you 
have • been solicited to vote this day» The struggle 
ijegun this morning upon the hustings of your old 
town, is not a struggle between two men — ^it is a struggle 
between two countries. On the one side — ^the side of 
the Whig candidate — Changs the red banner, beneath 
which your senate has been sacked, your commerce 
has been wrecked, your nobility have been dishonoured, 
your peasantry have been starved. On the other side 
— ^the side of the Repeal candidate — floats the green 
flag, for which the artillery of 1782 won a legitimate 
respect — ^beneath which your senate sat, your commerce 
thrived, your nobility were honoured, your peasants 
prospered. Until the last three years that flag has 
been deserted by us. With the tameness of slaves 
we submitted to its proscription. We saw it torn 
from our merchant ships, and whilst we lacked the 
ability to guard it upon the seas, we had not the virtue 
to guard it upon the hustings. Everywhere the 
supremacy of the red flag was recognised by us — 
recognised by us, whether it was borne by the military 
or the political agent of England. What difference, I 
will ask, did it make that it was sometimes decorated 
with the insignia of the Whigs ? Decorated with the 
blue ribbon of the Pitt or the buff ribbon of the Fox 
school, it ^yas still the same cursed testimony of foreign 
mastership — still the same crimson scrpll on which our 

67 



68 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

incapacity for business was set forth, and the terms of 
our base apprenticeship were engrossed. Year after 
year were we content to be the sutlers of Enghsh 
faction — content to echo back the cant and clamour of 
English Radicalism. At one time blessing a Reform 
Bill, as if it gave us political power ; at another time 
rushing after the glittering equipage of a Whig viceroy, 
as if his smiles were productive of manufactures, and 
his liberal appointments had been the precursors of 
national institutions. All this time we forgot, that, 
for the nation to exist, the nation should have its arts, 
its fisheries, its manufactures, its commerce ; and that 
a franchise bill, corporate reform acts, liberal appoint- 
ments, and so forth, are of very little importance com- 
pared to bread for the million. Doubtless, there were 
some excellent innovations at the Castle about this 
time, for St. Patrick's Hall was no longer shut to the 
Catholic barrister. The ermine, too, had ceased to 
be the sacred monopoly of Protestantism. The Catholic 
and Protestant became equally entitled to it, and, 
with the police uniform, it was made common to both. 
The hall of the Four Courts rang with the praises of 
Normanby, and the statue of Justice which decorates 
that hall was pronounced by the best judges to be the 
very image of Russell. Public dinners were frequently 
held, and the people of Ireland were congratulated on 
the tranquillity of the country, and the promotion of 
able demagogues to power. The people heard the 
toasts that were shouted at those dinners — heard the 
selfish canticles of faction — heard that the salvation of 
Ireland was identical with the liberal disposal of silk 
gowns — heard that the elevation of Ireland would be 
accomplished by the elevation of noisy democrats to 
office — ^the people heard these things, and believed that 
their freedom was at hand. They believed so, for they 



WHIGGERY AND FAMINE 69 

had not as yet looked well into the country, and saw 
what was really wanting there. But 1843 came, and a 
voice from Tara bade the people organise for liberty. 
On the site of the Irish monarchy, the spell of a factious 
vassalage was broken — ^provincialism was abjured — 
nationality was vowed. In that year, you, the citizens 
of Galway, pledged yourselves to devote every effort 
to the attainment of Irish independence. You organised 
— and in your foremost rank shone the coronet of the 
Ffrenches, with the mitre of St. Jarlath's. You con- 
tributed to the exchequer of the movement ; your 
merchants opened their coffers ; your artisans — and I 
see many of them here to-night — coined the sweat of 
their brows into gold, and offered it up as the ransom 
of our liberties. Then came the 30th of May, 1845, 
and you sent your Town Commissioners to the Rotunda, 
where the chiefs of the national movement received the 
homage of the people. That was no false homage — it 
was sincere — for the men who offered it aspired to 
freedom. On that day your representatives pledged 
themselves on your behalf — now mark the words ! — 
that corruption should not seduce, nor deceit cajole, 
nor intimidation deter you from seeking the attainment 
of a national legislature. Gentlemen, the time has 
come to redeem that vow. This struggle will test 
your truth, your purity, your heroism. Your honour 
is at stake — ^your integrity is in question— your character 
is on trial. Vows can be easily made. Expediency 
may advise them — enthusiasm may dictate them. 
The difficulty and the virtue is to fulfil them. When 
that vow was made, did you not hear the jeering 
prophecy, that it would eventuate in a solemn false- 
hood ? Did you not hear it said that you had neither 
the intention nor the integrity to redeem that vow — 
that you might threaten, but dare not strike ? It was 



70 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

said so in London — it was said so in Chesham Place — 
it was said so in Dublin : let me tell you it is so written 
in the predictions of the Castle. Will you vilely verify 
the anticipations of Chesham Place — ^will you basely 
authenticate the predictions of the Castle ? Re- 
nounced by Cashel — ^threatened in Wexford — supplanted 
in Dundalk — ^routed from Mayo — ^What 1 shall the 
refugees of Whiggery find in Galway a spot where, at 
last, the gold of the Cabinet will contaminate the virtue 
of the people ? I ask you, what will be the result of 
this election ? Shall Galway be a slave market ? 
Shall this ancient Irish town be degraded into an English 
borough ? — and will you, its citizens, sacrifice your 
principles and your name, embrace provincialism, and 
henceforth exult in the title of West Britons ? I 
should apologise for thus addressing you — or rather, 
you should bid me cease, and indignantly assert that, 
come what may, no Whig official shall ever testify 
your recreancy in the Senate House of England. Why 
should it be otherwise ? Since 1845, your opinions, 
surely, have not changed ? If so, what has changed 
them ? The famine ? The prompt ' benevolence of 
the English government ? The generosity of the 
English Commons ? What imperial proselytiser has 
seduced you from the cause, in the defence of which, 
in 1843, you would have passionately bled? The 
prompt benevolence of the Enghsh government ? 
How has this been manifested ? In the timely suspen- 
sion of the navigation laws ? In the establishment of 
corn depots ? In the prohibition of the export of 
Irish produce ? By the summoning of parliament in 
November ? Bear this in mind — ^whilst the peasants 
have perished, without leaving a coin to purchase a 
winding sheet, the merchants have bought their purple 
and fine linen with their famine prices, for the English 



WHIGCERY AND FAMINE 71 

market should be protected — thus, the English econo- 
mists have ruled it. In the blasted field, beneath the 
putrid crop, the merchant has sunk a shaft and found 
a gold mine, for the English minister would not in- 
convenience the trade of Liverpool and London. And 
is it the servant of this minister whom you will support ? 
If you prefer a bribe to freedom — if you prefer to be 
the Swiss guard of a foreign minister, rather than be 
the National guard of a free kingdom, vote for him, and 
be dishonest and debased. Vote for the Whig candidate, 
and vote for provincialism. Vote for the Whig candi- 
date, and vote for alien laws. Vote for the Whig 
candidate, and vote for a civil war before Repeal — for 
that is the Whig alternative. Vote for the Whig candi- 
date, and vote for economy and starvation. Vote for 
him — ^vote for him — and then cringe back to your homes, 
and there thank God that you have had a country to 
sell ! Have you nerved your souls for this crime ? 
Beware of it ! I will not tell you that the eyes of the 
nation — ^the eyes of Europe are upon you. That is 
the cant of every hustings. But this I tell you, there 
are a few men yet breathing in Skibbereen, and their 
death-glance is upon you. Vote for the Whig candi- 
date, and their last shriek will proclaim that you have 
voted for the pensioned misers who refused them 
bread. There is a place, too, called Schull, in the coimty 
Cork, the churchyard of which place — as a tenant told 
his landlord the other day — ^is the only red field in the 
wide, wide county. There are eyes, wild with the 
agonies of hunger, looking out from that fell spot upon 
you, and if you vote against your native land, the 
burning tongue of the starving peasant will froth its 
curse upon you, and upon your children. Gentlemen, 
I have now done, and I fear not for you, nor for the 
country. I believe there is in Galway the virtue to 



72 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

preserve the honour of its citizens — the virtue to 
assert the liberty of the country. What, though it 
cost you even serious sacrifices — ^what though you gain 
nothing, at this moment, by your honest votes, save 
the blessing of a tranquil conscience and a proud heart 
— still be true to the faith and glory of Henry Grattan. 
Fling aside — trample under foot — the bribes and 
promises of Russell. Be true to the principles of 1782 
— ^be true to the resolutions of 1843 — ^be true to the 
vow of 1845 — and with pure hands, with hands un- 
stained by the glittering poison of the English Treasury, 
amid the graves and desolation of 1847, ^^.y the founda- 
tions of a future nation. 



Irish Slaves and English Corruption 

Speech Delivered at the Galway Election, 
February 14TH, 1847. 

Gentlemen, you saw the men who voted for the 
Whig candidate on Saturday. Did they advance to 
the hustings like men who felt they had a country, 
and were conscious that their votes would be recorded 
for her liberty ? No, they went there like slaves — in- 
sensible to the dictates of patriotism — insensible to its 
thrilling invocations for redress. The troops, under 
the armed guardianship of which they were driven to 
utter sentence against the independence of their 
country, proclaimed the cause for which their venal 
franchise was compelled. Did not the proud escort 
that attended the tenants of Lord Clanricarde to the 
courthouse proclaim that to the supremacy of England 
those venal tenants sacrificed their souls ? The troops 
that were arrayed against your right to petition upon 
the field of Clontarf were fit companions indeed for the 
slaves who were herded together to vote against your 
right to legislate. Those men might as well have 
voted in manacles. But if their hands were free, 
their souls were fettered ; and if they wore not the 
garb of convicts, they exhibited all the debasement of 
criminals. Yet these men had illustrious models of 
depravity — models selected from the brightest page of 
Irish history, as some Whig orator would designate 
the narrative of the Union. They had Fitzgibbon— 
they had Castlereagh — the titled miscreants who pur- 

73 



74 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

chased English coronets by the destruction of the Irish 
Senate. Castlereagh purchased something else — an 
English grave. This, at least, was a privilege to 
Ireland — to be exempt from the contamination of the 
dust which, when breathing, had drenched our Senate 
with corruption and our land with blood. Let England 
still claim such treasures, and let no Irish traitor — 
no tenant of Clanricarde — rot beneath the soil in which, 
the bones of Swift, of Tone, and Davis, have been 
laid to rest. Turn from this soiled and revolting 
picture, and contemplate the reverse. You saw the 
men who voted for the Repeal candidate. Did they 
register their votes under the sabres of hussars ? No ; 
they voted for their country, and, were, therefore, 
under no obligation to the liveried champions of the 
English flag. They went up to the hustings like honest 
citizens, and were protected, not by the musket of the 
soldier, but by the arm of the God of Hosts. Their 
souls were as imtrammelled as their limbs, and, recording 
their votes, they were distinguished for the manliness 
which men who love freedom can alone exhibit. They 
voted like men who knew well that the scheme of the 
Whigs is to soothe this country into degradation, and 
they looked like men who scorned to be soothed for 
that purpose — scorned the vile scheme that would 
prostrate this country by patronage — scorned the vile 
scheme that would perpetuate the Union by making it 
prolific in small boons. Men of Galway, to the hustings 
on the morrow, in the same gallant spirit. Show no 
mercy to these Whigs t Swamp them before the sun 
sets, and let the night fall upon the broken flag-staff 
and baffled cohorts of the English Minister 1 Let the 
Minister hear of his defeat on Wednesday morning, 
and curse the virtue that had no price. There must 
be no jubilee in Chesham Place at the expense of Irish 



ENGLISH CORRUPTION 75 

liberty. There must be no delegate from Galway 
authorised to sustain the dictation of the English 
Commons — authorised to sustain the dictation that 
has been assumed to coerce, to enslave, to starve this 
country. What will the Commons say when the 
SoHcitor-General for Ireland takes his seat on the 
Treasury Bench as the Whig member for this borough ? 
Will they say that the threat uttered by the Paymaster 
of the Forces has forced you to capitulate ? No ; I 
do not think they will chargfe you with cowardice, but 
I am sure they will arraign you for corruption. They 
will say that venality has accomphshed what battalions 
could not achieve, and that the money-bags of the 
Mint can do more for the English interest in Ireland than 
all the batteries of Woolwich. And, let me tell you, 
these money-bags have been flung across the Channel 
into Galway. Trust me, the Whig Government will 
fight this battle to the last farthing. This I sincerely 
believe — this I deliberately avow. I am justified in 
this belief, for it is notorious that the favourite weapon 
of the Whig Government is corruption. It is the boast 
of these Whigs that they alone can govern Ireland — 
that they can mesmerise the Irish beggars ! Prove to 
them that this boast is a falsehood — prove to them 
that you will not be governed by them, and that Ireland 
shall be their difiiculty and their scourge. What 
claims have these Whigs upon us ? None save what 
corruption constitutes. Their liberal appointments ? 
How do these appointments serve the country ? How 
much wealth flows into Ireland by the member for 
Dungarvan ^ being Master of the Mint ? Recollect this, 
the Whigs voted twenty millions to emancipate the 
Africans — ^they refuse to sanction a loan of sixteen 
millions to employ the Irish. Vote for their nominee, 
' Richard Lalor Sheil, 



76 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

and you will vote against the noble proposition of the 
Protectionist leader. And has it come to this that 
you will vote for non-employment — for starvation — for 
deaths by the minMte, and inquests by the hour. Will 
you vote for this Government of economists — this 
Government of misers — this Government of grave- 
diggers ? Before you do so, read the advertisement 
on the walls of the Treasury — " Funerals supplied to 
all parts of the country." That is the true way to 
tranquillise the country ! That is the true way to 
hush the tumult of sedition ! That is the true way to 
incorporate the countries, and make the Union binding ! 
If we do not beat those Whigs out of Galway — if we do 
not fight them for every inch of Irish ground — if we do 
not drive them across the Channel — they will starve 
this country into a wilderness, and, at the opening of 
the next session, they will bid their royal mistress 
congratulate her assembled Parliament upon the success- 
ful government and the peace of Ireland. And they 
insist, too, that the executive of this wilderness shall 
be a chief of police, a poor-law commissioner, and a 
commissary-general. Will you submit to this ? Do 
you prefer a soup-kitchen to a custom house ? Do 
you prefer graveyards to corn-fields ? Do you prefer 
the Board of Works to a national senate ? Do you 
prefer the insolent rule of Scotch and English officials 
to the beneficent legislation of Irish Peers and Irish 
Commoners ? Heaven forbid that the blight which 
putrified your food should infect your souls ! Heaven 
forbid that the famine should tame you into debase- 
ment, and that the spirit which has triumphed over 
the prison and the scaffold should surrender to the 
corruptio^ist at last 1 I asked you, a moment since, 
how much wealth flows into Ireland by the member 
for Dungarvan being Master of the Mint ? I must 



ENGLISH CORRUPTION yy 

tell you this : there is a little stream of it always 
dropping through the Castle Yard ; but sometimes 
there are extraordinary spring-tides — just about election 
times — and then that tide swells and deepens, and 
rises so high, and rushes so rapidly, that it frequently 
sweeps away the votes of the people— sweeps away 
their placards — sweeps away their banners — sweeps 
away their committee rooms — and, in the end, throws 
up a Whig official upon the white shore of England. 
Beware of this spring-tide ; it is sweeping through 
Galway this moment — through lane and street. Its 
glittering waters intoxicate and debase. The wretches 
who drink them fall into the current and are whirled 
away — the drenched and battered spoils of England. 
And is this the end of all you have vowed and done ? 
And has it come to this, that after the defiances, the 
resolutions, the organisation of 1843, England shall 
plant her foot upon the neck of Ireland and exclaim : 
" Behold my bribed and drunken slave ! " I do not 
exaggerate. The battle of Ireland is being fought in 
Galway. If the Whigs take Galway — Ireland falls. 
Shall Ireland fall ? Incur defeat and you shall have 
her bitter curse. Win the battle and you shall have 
her proud blessing. Your virtue and your victory 
will fire the coward and regenerate the venal — your 
example will be followed — the Whigs will be driven 
from Wexford, from Waterford, from Mallow, from 
Dungarvan ; their bribes will be trampled in the dust, 
their strongest citadels be stormed ; the integrity of 
the people shall prevail against the venality of the 
faction, the Union Act shall share the fate of the Penal 
Code, and mankind shall hail the birth, the career, 
the glory of an Irish nation. 



National Politics 

Speech in the Music Hall, April 7th, 1847, at 
THE Third Meeting of the Irish Confederation. 

The proceedings of this night, sir, will, no doubt, 
incur the censure of those gentlemen who maintain that 
politics have nothing to do with the state of the country. 
It will be said by them, that it is heartless to talk about 
Repeal when the people require reUei It will be said 
by them, that the doctrines of nationality should not 
be preached whilst the nation is on its knees, begging 
for its bread. Sir, these gentlemen would adjourn the 
question of Irish independence, to criticise the " boil 
and bubble " of a French cook. They would turn 
their backs upon the old parliament house, in College 
Green, to dive into the mysteries of the soup kitchen at 
Kingsbridge. Yet, sir, I agree with these gentlemen 
to a certain extent. Party politics have nothing to 
do with the state of the country. " Who is in, and 
who is out — ^who has this, and who has that ? " — 
these questions have nothing to do with the state of 
the country. But national politics have everything 
to do with the state of the country, and these we 
shall guard and propagate. Gentlemen who tell us 
to postpone the question of Repeal, whilst the famine 
• is on the wing, dictate a course that would perpetuate 
the disease and beggary of the land. They advise a 
step that would make the Union Act, in truth, " a 
final settlement." They recommend a policy that 
\yould violate our vow, disband our forces, and let in 
the enemy. Once down, England would keep us down. 

78 



NATIONAL POLITICS 79 

Sir, there must be no pause, no adjournment, no truce. 
Repeal is now a question, not so much of political 
power, as of actual physical existence. Self-government 
has become a question of self-preservation. A national 
parliament is the only efificient relief committee that 
can be organized — the only one that can have the 
wisdom to devise, and the power to carry out, any 
measures calculated to save the life and improve the 
prospects of this country. The famine has already 
done enough for England. It shall not do more. It 
shall not do its worst — it shall not force us to capitulate. 
What has the famine done for England ? The famine 
has been her best recruiting sergeant — it has purchased 
thousands into her brilliant and licentious legions. The 
famine has been her best miner — it has discovered gold 
mines for her merchants in bankrupt cities and de- 
populated villages. The famine has been her best 
swordsman — it has cut down thousands of her peasant 
foes. But there is one spot where this powerful agent 
of English lust must halt — one spot where it shall 
purchase no recruits — one spot where it shall plant 
no cypress and rear no trophy — one spot where it 
shall cease to do the business and the butchery of 
England. It shall halt — it shall be powerless and 
paralysed — ^where the Confederation sits. What say 
they in England now ? What says the Times, the 
eloquent and mighty organ of English opinion ? " Ire- 
land is now at the mercy of England. For the first 
time in the course of centuries England may rule 
Ireland, and treat her as a thoroughly conquered 
country." Ay, Ireland is now at the mercy of England ! 
Ireland is now a thoroughly conquered country ! 
England has won her crowning victory ! The war of 
centuries is at a close ! The archers of Strongbow 
have failed — ^the Ironsides of Cromwell have failed — 



8o MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

the spies and yeomen of Castlereagh have failed— 
the patronage and proscriptions of Ebrington have 
failed — ^the proclamations and state prosecutions of 
De Grey have failed — the procrastinations and economy 
of Russell have triumphed ! Let a thanksgiving be 
preached from the pulpit of St. Paul's — ^let the Lords 
and Commons of England vote their gratitude to the 
victorious economist — ^let the guns of London Tower 
proclaim the triumph which has cost, in past years, 
coffers of gold and torrents of blood, and in this year 
a wholesale system of starvation to achieve. England ! 
your gallant impetuous enemy is dead — ^your " great 
difficulty " is at an end. Ireland, or rather the remains 
of Ireland, are yours at last. Your red ensign flies — 
not from the Rath of Mullaghmast, where you played 
the cut-throat — ^not from Limerick wall, where you 
played the perjurer — ^not from the senate-house, where 
you played the swindler — not from the custom-house, 
Where you played the robber — ^but it flies from her 
thousand graveyards, where the titled niggards of your 
cabinet have won the battle which your soldiers could 
not terminate. Celebrate your victory ! Bid your 
Scourge steamer, from the western coast, convey 
some memorial of your conquest, and, in the hall 
where the flags and cannons you have captured from 
a world of foes are grouped together, let a shroud, 
stripped from some privileged corpse — for few have 
them now — ^be for its proper price displayed. Stop 
not here ! Change your war-crest. America has her 
eagle — let England have her vulture ! What emblem 
more fit for the rapacious power, whose statesmanship 
depopulates, and whose commerce is gorged with 
famine prices ? That is her proper signal. It will 
commemorate a greater victory than that of Agincourt, 
than that of Blenheim, than that of Moodkee. It will 



NATIONAL POLITICS 8l 

commemorate the victories of SchuU, of Skibbereen, of 
Bantry. But, sir, this is a false alarm. Whatever the 
monarch journaUst of Europe may say, Ireland, thank 
God ! is not down yet. She is on her knees ; but 
her withered hand is clenched against the giant, and 
she has yet the power to strike. Last year, from the 
Carpathian heights, we heard the shout of the PoHsh 
insurrectionist — " There is hope for Poland whilst in 
Poland there is a life to lose." Sir, there is hope for 
Ireland whilst in Ireland there is a life to lose. True 
it is, thousands upon thousands of our people have 
been swept down, but thousands upon thousands 
still survive, and the fate of the dead should quicken 
the purpose of the living. The stakes are too high for 
us to give up the game, until the last card has been 
played — ^too high for us to fling ourselves in despair 
upon the coffins of our starved and swindled partners. 
A peasant population, generous and heroic, is at stake. 
A mechanic population, intelligent and upright, is at 
stake. These great classes — that form the very nerve 
and marrow of a nation — ^without which a nation cannot 
be saved — ^without which there is, in fact, no nation to 
be saved — without which a professional class is so much 
parchment and powdered horsehair — and a nobility a 
mere glittering spectre — these great primary classes 
are at stake. Shall these, too, be the spoils of Eng- 
land ? Has she not won enough aheady ; has she 
not pocketed enough of your money ? And what 
she has got, is she not determined to keep ? You 
have seen a letter from Mr. Grogan, a few weeks 
since, to the Lord Mayor. It appears that England 
will ship off the Irish beggars from Liverpool ; she 
will not ship off the Irish absentees- from London. 
And, tell me, has she not eaten enough of your food, 
and has she not broken down enough of your manufac- 



82 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

tures, and has she not buried enough of your people ? 
Recount for a moment, a few of your losses. The cotton 
manufacture of Dublin, which employed 14,000 opera- 
tives, has been destroyed. The 3,400 silk-looms of 
the Liberty have been destroyed. The stuff and serge 
manufacture, which employed 1,491 operatives, has 
been destroyed. The calico-looms of Balbriggan have 
been destroyed. The flannel manufacture of Rath- 
drum has been destroyed. The blanket manufacture 
of Kilkenny has been destroyed. The camlet trade 
of Bandon, which produced £100,000 a year, has been 
destroyed. The worsted and stuff manufactures of 
Waterford have been destroyed. The rateen and 
frieze manufactures of Carrick-on-Suir have been 
destroyed. One business, alone, survives ! One busi- 
ness, alone, thrives, and flourishes, and dreads no 
bankruptcy ! That fortunate business — which the 
Union Act has not struck down, but which the Union 
Act has stood by — ^which the absentee drain has not 
slackened, but has stimulated — ^which the drainage 
acts and navigation laws of the Imperial Senate have 
not deadened, but invigorated — ^that favoured, and 
privileged, and patronised business, is the Irish coffin- 
maker's. He, alone, of our thousand tradesmen and 
mechanics, has benefitted by the Union — ^he, alone, 
is safe from the general insolvency — he, alone, has 
reason to be grateful to the Imperial Senate — he, alone, 
is justified in voting, at the next election, for the 
accomplices of the Whig minister of England. Sir, 
the fate which the prophet of the Lamentations an- 
nounced, three thousand years ago, to the people of 
Israel, has come to pass this year in this island of faith, 
of genius, and of sorrow : " And I will bring a nation 
upon you from far — an ancient nation — a nation of 
mighty men, whose quiver is like to an open sepulchre ; 



NATIONAL POLITICS 83 

and they shall eat up thine harvest and thy bread, 
which thy sons and daughters should eat ; and thy 
vines and fig trees ; and they shall eat up thy flocks 
and thy herds, which thy sons and daughters should 
eat ; and they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, 
wherein thou trusted." Yet, sir, out of this tribulation 
and this woe, there is a path to a brighter fate and a 
happier land. The God of Israel and of Ireland never 
yet sent a scourge, that He did not send the means 
whereby its evils might be alleviated. The same voice 
that bid the fiery serpents to the desert, ordained that 
an image should be erected there for the chastised to 
look to, and be saved ; and the same tongue that 
uttered the prophecy I have recited to you, promised 
that " the city should be built up — ^that the vines 
should grow again upon the mountains of Samaria — 
that the song should be heard once more from the 
height of Zion — and they who were in captivity and 
mourning should sing again with gladness, and shout 
among the chief of the nations." Sir, out of our 
captivity and mourning we shall surely go forth, if 
we truly love this land, and act with the courage which 
true love inspires. We must have nothing to do with 
these whining counsellors who bid us sound a truce, 
retire from the field, visit the sick, and bury the dead. 
The minister has committed too many crimes against 
this country to have an hour's repose. In this very 
hall, a few days since, an honest and an able fellow- 
citizen of yours, Mr. Fitzgibbon, distinctly proved, 
in a speech of great argumentative power, and great 
statistical research, that the present desperate con- 
dition of the country was to be ascribed, not to the 
ignorance, not to the negligence, not to the mistake of 
the minister, but to a downright and deliberate com- 
pact of his with the mercantile interest of England, 



84 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

by which the lives of the Irish people were mercilessly 
surrendered to the cupidity of the British merchants. 
Sir, I know not when, or where the scourge inflicted 
by this minister will cease to devastate. Those whom 
the famine has spared are flying to the emigrant ships, 
and rushing, panic-struck, from the land where Eng- 
land has lodged the foundations of her despotism in 
the graves of the people. I hold in my hands returns 
of the number of emigrants from the ports of Dublin, 
Waterford, Limerick, and Cork, for the present season. 
Now, it appears from these returns, that, although 
the season has only just somewhat commenced — ^that, 
although, in fact, one month only of the emigration 
season has expired — the number of emigrants from 
the above-mentioned ports is nearly treble the number 
that left during the entire season in '46. Again, I 
must observe that these returns are imperfect — the 
emigrants that have sailed from Liverpool, and other 
English ports, not being included in them. And the 
worst of it all is, that it is not the mere bone and 
sinew we are losing in this way, but the only current 
capital of the country. Yet, sir, it is almost selfish to 
deplore this emigration. Why should we grudge our 
generous and heroic peasantry a better home, in a 
new country ? Why should we grudge them their 
emancipation from English rule ? Why should we 
grudge them their hfe, their bread, their liberty ? The 
sun, each evening as he passes over the graves of their 
fallen brothers, beckons them to follow him, in his 
golden track, across the waves, to a land of freedom. 
Let them go 1 For a while, at least, let them leave 
this island, where England has planted her own beggars, 
in the shape of chief secretaries, and poor-law com- 
missioners, and archbishops. Let them go to the land 
where English law was flung to the four winds— where 



NATIONAL POLITICS 85 

a young stripling of a colony sprang up, and dashed 
an old and sturdy empire to the earth. There they 
will be safe from English law, and, therefore, safe 
from beggary, from starvation, and from pestilence. 
But, sir, we have vowed to remain here, and meet 
whatever fate is coming. And now, that thousands 
have rotted into the earth which gave them birth — 
and now, that thousands are flying from our shores, 
that they hiay not tempt the scourge to strike them 
— ^we are bound to work the harder — to do double 
duty — ^that, at least, the remnant of an old and honour- 
able nation may be saved. Sir, we must adopt a policy 
suited to these times. We have now to struggle, not 
merely against adverse opinions, but against death 
itself. The desperate condition of the country demands 
a bold and decisive policy. From this hour, sir, let 
us have done with the English parliament — on this 
very night, sir, let us resolve to close our accounts 
with that parliament. Send no more petitions across 
the Channel. For fifty years you have petitioned, and 
the result has been 500,000 deaths. Henceforth, be 
that parliament accursed ! Spurn it as a fraud, a 
nullity, a usurpation. Spurn it as such on the authority 
of Saurin, who declared that the Union Act was not 
obligatory on conscience ; that, in the abstract, re- 
sistance to it was a duty ; and the exhibition of that 
resistance a mere question of prudence. Spurn it as 
such on the authority of Plunket, who declared the 
incompetency of parliament to pass the Act of Union 
— declared that if such an act should pass it would be 
a nullity, and no man in Ireland would be bound to 
obey it. Spurn it as such, on the authority of Grattan, 
who declared that the competency of parliament to 
pass the Act of Union, was the competency of delin- 
quency, the competency of abdication, the competency 



86 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

of treason 1 Confederates of Dublin ! you know that 
this Imperial Parliament is a fraud, a nullity, a usurpa- 
tion. You know it is worse than all this. You know 
that it is a curse — a penalty — a plague. You are 
knaves if you do not speak your conviction — ^you are 
cowards if you do not act as your conviction bids you 
act. If you adopt petitions send them to the Queen. 
She has a right to wear an Irish crown. We shall 
assert that right. She has a right to summon her 
Irish Parliament to sit in this city, and, spite of the 
disloyal and defrauding minister — spite of the disloyal 
and defrauding Commons, who would suspend the 
royal functions— we shall boldly and loyally assert 
that right. The Irish crown must no longer be a cipher. 
The Irish sceptre, and the Irish flag, must cease to be 
mere figures of speech — ^they must become empowered 
and recognised realities. The members of your Council 
have determined, by a recent resolution, to support at 
the hustings no candidate for representative honours 
who will not pledge himself to an absolute independence 
of all English parties — ^who will not pledge himself, 
against taking or soliciting, for himself or others, any 
office of emolument under any English government 
whatsoever. Some gentlemen may say, this is going 
too far. I contend it does not go half far enough ; and 
I am delighted to find you agree with me in the opinion. 
The fact is, we must go much farther. At our next 
meeting — I am speaking my own sentiments very 
frankly to you, and, of course, no one is responsible 
for them but myself — at our next meeting, I think it 
would be most advisable for us to adopt a resolution 
to this effect : That the members of the Irish Con- 
federation shall support, at the hustings, no candidates 
for representative honours who will not pledge them- 
selves to stay at home, and deliberate in this city and 



NATIONAL POLITICS 87 

in no place else, upon the best means to save this king- 
dom. One circumstance, at least, is favourable to 
our pohcy, and assures us of success — the power of the 
Whigs is at an end in Ireland. No man now dare 
stand up, in an assembly of Irish citizens, to recommend 
the " paternal Whigs " to the filial confidence of the 
Irish people. The country, thank God, is done with 
them for ever. Their patronage will no longer save 
them with the people. Their jail deliveries will no 
longer save them with the people. Nothing, sir, will 
save them with the Irish people. They may have 
their command nights at the theatre and they may 
bow, and kiss hands, to an enchanted dress circle, and 
a gazing pit — ^they may dine at the Mansion House — 
take wine, all round, with the Sword Bearer, the Water 
Bailiff, the City Marshal, the Town Councillors and 
Aldermen of the Reformed Corporation, and drink 
the " Prosperity of Old Ireland " to the tune of " Rule, 
Britannia, Rule ! " — on the same day that the new 
docks at Birkenhead are opened by Lord Morpeth, 
they may graciously open, on the Irish side of the 
Channel, a Grand Metropolitan Head Soup-Kitchen — 
they may furnish a select party of the blind, the crippled, 
and the dumb of the Mendicity, with a " guard of 
honour," during their experimental repast — ^they may 
embellish the beggary of the nation with all the elegance 
of the Castle, and all the pageantry of the barrack — 
they may make a most glittering display of our most 
sickening degradation, and the bugles of their garrison 
may summon the fashion of the squares, and the 
aristocracy of the clubs, to the coronation of Irish 
pauperism, and the final consummation of the Union 
— ^nought will avail them. Their fate is decided — 
there is a sentence written against them, in the blood 
of the people, upon the walls of their council chamber. 



88 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

and many other inquests, besides that of Galway, 
have found them guilty of the wilful murder of the 
people. And now that we are done with these Whigs — 
now that we fully understand what their " compre- 
hensive measures " mean — ^what their " ameliorations " 
mean — ^what their " political economy " leads to — ^what 
their "reductions of 20 per cent." accomplish — ^now 
that we are fully convinced that they are the most 
complimentary and the most conscienceless — ^the most 
promising and the most prevaricating — ^the most 
patronising, and the most perfidious — ^the most paternal, 
and the most _ murderous — of our English enemies — 
now that we have broken, from henceforth and for ever, 
from all English parties — now that we shall pest them 
no longer with our petitions, nor rack them with our 
prayers — now that we hold their Commons, as far as 
we are concerned, to be a fraud, a nullity, and a usurpa- 
tion — now that we scout it as a penalty, and loathe it 
as a plague — ^now, indeed, that, in our souls, we firmly 
and passionately believe, that 

" Our hope, our strength, is in ourselves alone," 

let us look, with all the anxiety and earnestness which 
a last struggle should inspire, into our own country, 
and see what power we have there to save its life and 
win its freedom. Let us see if we cannot give a few 
practical answers to a few of Bishop Berkeley's queries. 
Let us see, in fact, if we cannot devise some mode by 
which the quiver of this mighty foe, that has come 
upon us, shall cease to be like an open sepulchre ; 
by which this nation shall keep to itself the harvest, 
and the bread, and the flocks, and the herds, which 
her sons and daughters should eat, and by which our 
fenced cities shall not be impoverished. Sir, I desire 
to have this done, not by the isolated power of one 



NATIONAL POLITICS 89 

great section, but by the aggregate power of all sections 
of the Irish community. I desire that the Irish nation 
should act, not in divisions, but in one solid square. I 
am one of the people, but I am no democrat. I am for 
an equality of civil rights — ^but I am no republican. 
I am for vesting the responsibilities and the duties of 
government in three estates. I think that, in a free 
state, an aristocracy is a wise — an ennobling institution. 
Like all human institutions, it has its evil suscepti- 
bilities ; and the history of aristocracy, like all other 
histories, has its chapters of crime and folly. But I 
can conceive no state complete without it. It is the 
graceful and pictured architrave of the great temple, 
sacred to law and freedom, of which the people are the 
enduring foundations and the sustaining pillars. Whilst 
the peasant tills the land, in which the law should 
recognise his right of proprietorship, as it is in France, 
as it is in Prussia — ^whilst the mechanic plies his craft, 
from which the law should keep aloof the crushing 
influences of foreign competition, as it is in Germany, 
as it is in Belgium — whilst the merchant supplies the 
deficiencies of the soil with the superfluities of other 
lands, and drives a princely trade beneath the auspices 
of a native flag — ^whilst the priest protects the purity 
of the altar, and the scholar vindicates the reputation 
of the schools — ^let the noble — residing amongst those 
who enrich his inheritance by their toil, or contribute 
to his luxury by their skill — ^be the patron of those 
pursuits in which the purer genius of a nation lives — 
.pursuits which chasten and expand a nation's soul — 
which lift it to what is high, and prompt it to what is 
daring — ^which infuse the spirit of immortality into the 
very ruins of a nation, and which, even when the 
labours of a nation are at a close — ^when its commercial 
energies are dead — ^when its mechanic faculties have 



90 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

ceased to act, bids it live — as Athens lives, as Florence 
lives, as Venice lives — in the lessons of the historian, 
and the raptures of the poet. Thus, sir, with each 
of the several classes of the community fulfilling its 
distinct mission, and, in a separate sphere, contributing 
to the peace, and wealth, and vigour of the entire 
state, do I desire this island to advance in a righteous 
and an eminent career — sustained by its inherent 
strength — ^governed by its native wisdom — ennobled 
by its native genius — ^thankful for its sustenance to no 
foreign sympathiser — thankful for its security to no 
foreign soldier — a model, rather than a warning, a 
blessing, rather than a burden, to the nations that 
surround her — no longer exciting their pity by the 
spectacle of its infirmities, but commanding their 
respect by the exhibition of its powers. But, sir, a 
time comes when the people can wait no longer for the 
aristocracy. There is a time when the titles of the 
nobility must give way to the charter of the people. 
There is a time when the established laws of the land 
forfeit their sanctity and become a curse. The time 
when these titles of the nobility must give way — 
when these " established laws of the land " must cease 
to act — ^is when a nation's life is quivering on its lip. 
Standing in this assembly of the people, I, who have 
sprung from the people ; I, who have no honours to 
boast of, save those honours which the people have 
conferred upon my father ; I, who never sat at the 
table of a lord, and am as thoroughly indifferent to 
the compliments of the order as I am thoroughly 
anxious for their co-operation in this struggle ; standing 
in this assembly of the people, in the name of the people, 
I now make this last appeal to the aristocracy of Ireland. 
I do so, that in our day of triumph, we may lead no 
fellow-countryman in chains, nor scout him as an ahen 



NATIONAL POLITICS 91 

from our ranks. There is not an hour — no, not an 
instant to be lost. Every grave that opens to receive 
a victim of English rule, widens and deepens the chasm 
that has, for years, divided the two great classes of 
the country. Sir, it is useless to argue it — the people, 
without the aristocracy, when driven to the last ex- 
tremity, have the power to win their freedom. One 
thing, at least, is certain — ^the people will not consent 
to live another year in a wilderness and a graveyard, 
I alone do not say so. The bold historian of the crimes 
and victories of Cromwell has said so. Lords and 
Commons of Ireland ! hear his words, and be instructed 
by them — " And when the general result has come to 
the length of perennial, wholesale starvation, argument, 
extenuation, logic, pity, and patience on that subject 
may be as considered as drawing to a close. All just 
men, of what outward colour so ever in politics or 
otherwise, will say — ' This cannot last. Heaven dis- 
owns it — ^Earth is against it. Ireland will be burnt into 
one black, unpeopled field of ashes rather than this 
should last.' " 



Placehunting 



Speech Delivered in the Music Hall, July 7th, 
1847, Against the Solicitation and Acceptance 
OF Places, Salaries, etc., from the English 
Government. 

I have the honour, sir, to second the resolution 
proposed by Mr. O'Gorman. The advice to which 
it refers, and which this meeting is called upon to 
sanction, has been censured. I am prepared to defend 
it ; and, I trust, this meeting will have reason to 
declare that it is wise, expedient, just. Reviewing 
the poUtical movements that have taken place in Ireland 
for some years past, it seems to me, sir, that in this 
country those principles of public virtue have been 
systematically decried which give to a people their 
truest dignity and their surest strength. At different 
times, in other countries, when the people found it 
necessary to recover or augment their rights, we have 
seen the finest attributes of the heart and mind called 
forth, and society present the most brilliant instances 
of morality and heroism which mankind could furnish. 
In such countries the progress of liberty has been the 
progress of virtue. Thus has the history of freedom 
become the second gospel of humanity — an inspiration 
to those who suffer — an instruction to those who 
struggle. True it is, there have been faults, there 
have been errors, there have been crimes in the revolu- 
tions to which I now advert, which fling a shadow 
across the epitaph of many an honoured grave. But, 

92 



PLACEHUNTING 93 

high above these errors and these crimes, ascends the 
genius and the virtue of these revolutions — ^pure, 
brilliant, and imperishable. Let us consult the star. 
If we read not the destiny of our country in its glory, 
in its purity we read the virtues that qualify for freedom, 
and ennoble the citizen even in his chains. We read 
that truth, generosity, self-sacrifice, have been the 
virtues of the true patriot, and the strongest weapons 
of his success. It has not been so in Ireland for many 
years. Truth has been frittered away by expediency — 
generosity has been supplanted by selfishness — ^self- 
sacrifice has been lampooned as an ancient foUy, which, 
in these less classic, but more philosophic times, it 
would be downright lunacy to imitate. But what is 
the character of our cause ? It is wise, generous, and 
heroic. Wise, for the necessities and interests of our 
country- dictate it. Generous, for it includes the rights 
of all — ^the rights of the democracy, the priesthood, the 
nobility. Heroic, for it inspires the loftiest ambition — 
suggesting schemes the boldest that the courage of a 
nation could attempt — ^the grandest that the ability 
of a nation could accomplish. The genius of Ireland 
has been its apostle — the chivalry of Ireland has been 
its champion. Triumphant in the brightest period of 
our history — encircled with the dazzling memories of 
an Irish senate, an Irish commerce, an Irish army — it 
is the noblest cause, sir, in which an Irish citizen could 
have the ambition to serve, or the heroism to suffer. 
Forty-seven years have passed by since that cause was 
sold for place and pension, and in the very hall where 
Henry Grattan impeached the corruption of the minister, 
and the perfidy of the placeman, we hear this day the 
clank of gold, which bids us still remember the base 
bargain that was ratified within its walls. Let it clank 
and glitter still ! It will be a warning to the people. 



94 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

It will remind them of the vice that led to vassalage, 
and which — still prevailing, still greedy, still rapacious 
— degrades the character of the country, effeminates 
its power, and repels its liberty. Not by the perr 
petuation of this vice, but by its utter extinction, will 
the national cause — the cause of Swift, of Charlemont, 
and of Grattan — advance and triumph. This doctrine, 
we are told, is exceedingly erroneous. To Repeal the 
Union, it is essential that Repealers should take places 
— that is the correct doctrine ! To give the minister 
a decisive stroke, it is expedient to equip the patriot 
hand with gold ! Strenuously oppose the minister, you 
must, first of all, beg of the minister, then be his very 
humble servant, and, if possible, conclude with being 
his much obliged servant ! The financial statement 
between the two countries cannot be properly made 
out until some Repeal accountant has had a friendly 
intercourse with the Treasury, and a propitious ac- 
quaintance with the Mint ! Absenteeism has been 
enormously increased by the Union, and, therefore, it 
is that our peaceful Repealer procures a colonial ap- 
pointment, and, exemplifying in his person all the 
evils of the system, administers British law, beyond the 
seas, upon strictly Repeal principles ! Impoverished 
by the Union — ^beggared by the Union — driven to the 
last extremity of destitution by the Union — ^it is ad- 
visable that we should prove all this to the minister 
and the parliament with our pockets full of salaries, 
and our family circumstances in full bloom ! De- 
noimcing the rapacity of England, we are to share her 
spoils. Impeaching the minister, we are to become 
his hirelings. Claiming independence, shouting for 
independence, foaming for independence, we are to 
crawl, betimes, to the Castle, and there crave the 
luxuries and the shackles of the slave. Thus we are 



PLACEHUNTING 95 

told to act ! Thus we are implored to agitate ! This 
is the great, peaceful, moral, and constitutional doctrine ! 
This, the true way to make us the noblest people on 
the face of the globe, and restore Ireland to her place 
amongst the nations of the earth ! Mean, venal, and 
destructive doctrine ! teaching the tongue to cool and 
compliment, that has burned and denounced. Mean, 
venal, and destructive doctrine ! teaching the people, 
on their march to freedom, to kneel and dance before 
the golden idol in the desert. Mean, venal, and destruc- 
tive doctrine ! teaching whining, teaching flattery, 
teaching falsehood. Scout it, spurn it, fling it back to 
the Castle from whence it came — there let it lie amongst 
the treasured instructions of tjnranny, and the precious 
revelations of treason ! Sir, we oppose Mr. John 
O'Connell because he is the advocate of this system. 
We oppose him, because he has positively declared 
that he will soHcit places from the English government 
for his friends. We oppose him, because we con- 
scientiously believe that he sustains a system which 
enervates the national strength, and therefore imperils 
the national cause. This we sincerely believe, and ex- 
perience justifies the belief. Look back to the year 
1833 — note the conspicuous Repealers of that year. 
Mark down those amongst them who took Place after 
the memorable debate in April, '34. Run through the 
newspapers of the last ten or thirteen years, and tell 
me, in what political position do you detect these price- 
less patriots ? In the chair of Conciliation Hall — in 
the committee box — ^in the reserved seats for strangers — 
on Tara, with the gallant peasantry of Kildare and 
Meath — on the Green of Donnybrook, with the bannered 
and battalioned trades of Dublin — ^in the Rotunda, on 
the 30th of May, 1845, where citizenship received 
the honours of monarchy, and was invested with more 



96 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

than its legitimate authority ? Why, sir, you might 
as well inquire if these gentlemen had left a card in 
the moon, or had been at a pic-nic in the bowels of 
Vesuvius. The porter outside the Chief Secretary's in 
the Upper Castle Yard, will tell you where they have 
been. The butlers in the Viceregal Lodge will teU you 
where they have been. The poUceman on the beat 
at Chesham Place will tell you where they have been. 
The coiners in the Mint will tell you where they have 
been. The clerks of the Board of Trade may let you 
know something concerning their mercantile anxieties. 
I hold in my hand a book, entitled " The Voice of the 
Nation." I beg leave to read the following extract 
from it : " When the last agony of the Whigs was 
approaching, great was the desire to conciUate and 
make friends. . . . Notice had been taken at the 
Castle of the immense number of applications pressing 
in from those who, throughout various localities in 
Ireland, had been ' leaders of the people ' in former 
agitations. These applications were carefully registered 
and noted ; and when the list was found to contain 
the names of a large majority of such persons, the 
' declaration ' was made as a proclamation and warning 
to them, and made with only too shameful success. 
Nearly all those leaders were silenced. They did, 
indeed, 

' Fall down, 
And foul corruption triumphed over them I ' 

Corruption, that other arm of England, whenever she 
seeks to strike down the rising liberties of Ireland ! 
Force, when we give her the excuse for using it ! Cor- 
ruption, when she cannot provoke us to give her that 
excuse ! " Who wrote this ? A jealous and em- 
bittered Conservative ? A vehement and vicious re- 




William Smith O'Brien 



PLACEHUNTING 97 

volutionist ? A discarded Orangeman ? A flippant 
and sarcastic infidel ? A Chartist Repealer, gentlemen ? 
No — it was the honourable member for Kilkenny — ^he 
who, in the very death-chamber of his father, snatches 
at the vacant crown, and strives to balance in his 
little hand the massive sceptre which the colossal king 
alone could wield ! Out of his own mouth do we con- 
demn the apologist of place-begging. We arm our- 
selves with its written sentence against corruption, and 
with that sentence we give him battle on the hustings. 
Sir, we have seen the result of this system in the first 
agitation for Repeal, and, whatever it may cost, we 
shall oppose it in the second. Sanction this system, 
and you set the seeds of venality in that body, which, 
to be formidable, must be exempt from all impurities. 
Sanction this system, and you entice men to the national 
lists, who, but for the golden apples scattered along the 
course, would never join you in the race to freedom. 
Thus it is that gentlemen will appear upon the hustings 
as Repeal candidates, who do not in truth ambition 
the independence of the country, but avail themselves 
of the cry to extort from the minister a compensation 
for their presumed apostacy. Lamartine, in his history 
of the Girondists, has said of Danton that " he merely 
threatened the court to make the court desirous of 
buying him — ^that he only opened his mouth to have 
it stuffed with gold." Sir, there have been, there are, 
and there will be, hundreds of Repealers to whom this 
description will precisely apply, and, if we do not 
utterly break up the system that produces them, we 
will propagate the contaminating race, until the whole 
manhood of the country has become diseased and 
powerless. And, sir, with God's good blessing, whilst 
we have nerve and voice, we will urge this war against 
corruption, and the people will back us, I am confident. 



§8 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

They must be heartily sick of the system that has 
exacted so many sacrifices from them, whilst it has 
contributed exclusively to the benefit of their leaders. 
Cork has done its duty in this respect. The citizens 
of the southern capital have met, and they declare that 
this venahty shall cease. I trust sincerely, that the 
example will be followed, and that the pledge, which 
was exacted in Cork, will be exacted in Limerick, in 
Mayo, in Dimdalk, in Kilkenny, in Dungarvan, in every 
borough, and in every county, where a Repeal candidate 
presents himself. As to Waterford, my father is one 
of the Repeal candidates for that city. Now, proud as 
I would be to see my father represent his native city^ 
proud as I would be to share with him the fatigue and 
the vexation of the contest — ^proud as I would be to 
see him triumph over the ministeriaUst who at present 
represents that city — ^proud as I would be to stand by 
him on the hustings when the people hailed him as the 
successful opponent of an insolent imperiaUsm — ^proud 
as, I know, I would then feel, with the thought that I 
had done my utmost to level the Whig power at the 
feet of my fellow-citizen — ^yet I do sincerely tell you that 
if he does not subscribe to the pledge of the Confedera- 
tion — ^though I know he hates Whiggery from his 
heart — ^though I know that he would scorn to ask the 
slightest favour of any faction — ^yet I will feel bound 
in conscience not to vote for him. But, sir, we are 
told, that soliciting places for others is quite a different 
thing from the representative soliciting place or pension 
for himself. I admit there is a difference. In my mind, 
however, the difference consists in the latter being the 
more injurious and discreditable case. For, in the 
former case, the representative gets his place, or what- 
ever else it may be, and we are sure to have done with 
him. Like the great Athenian, he is seized with an 



PLACEHUNTING 99 

excessive hoarseness the moment he grasps the cup of 
Herpalus, and, owing to the bandage round his neck, 
cannot possibly harangue against the Macedonian ! 
But, in the former case, the representative remains 
amongst us — day after day multiplying his obligations 
to the government by a series of golden links — day 
after day stimulating amongst the people a gross 
appetite for the dregs and droppings of a foreign court, 
when he should expand their ambition, and bid them 
seek in the prosperity of their country, and in that 
alone, the purest and most unfailing source of private 
happiness. Sir, once for all, we must have an end of 
this money-making in the public forum. The pursuit 
of liberty must cease to be a traffic. Let it resume 
amongst us its ancient glory — ^let it be with us a pas- 
sionate heroism. Fear not dissension. Dissension is 
good where truth is to be saved. Repeal does not 
triumph, I contend, where the repeal prmciples of 
Concihation Hall prevail. Repeal does not incur 
defeat where these principles are swamped by Whiggery 
or Conservatism. In the former case it is Whiggery, 
masked and muffled, that succeeds — ^in the latter it is 
Whiggery, masked and muffled, that is beaten. Dis- 
daining, then, the calumnies of the public writer, and 
the invectives of the public orator ; however bitter 
society may sneer ; however coarsely a section of the 
multitude may curse ; assert this righteous principle. 
Rescue the cause of Ireland from the profanation of 
those who beg, and the control of those who bribe. 
Ennoble the strife for liberty, and be it here, as it has 
been in other countries, a gallant sacrifice — ^not a 
vulgar game. Conform to one precept of the English 
parliament — depend upon your own resources. De- 
manding independence, be thoroughly independent. 
Be as independent of this Russell, the English minister. 



100 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

as of Metternich of Vienna, or Guizot of Paris. Cherish 
in its full integrity this fine virtue, without which there 
will be no true liberty amongst you, whatever be your 
institutions. Bereft of it, the heart of the nation will 
be cold, and cramped, and sordid. Bereft of it, the 
arts will have no enduring impulse, and commerce 
no invigorating soul. Bereft of it, society degenerates, 
and the mean, the frivolous, and the vicious triumph. 
The idler, the miser, and the coward, may laugh at 
these sentiments. The worms of the Castle, I know, 
would eat them from the hearts of the young, the 
generous, and the gifted. The old champions of 
faction — in whose withered souls all that is pure and 
generous in our nature has rotted out — may drive their 
poisoned pens, and ply their tainted tongues, in their 
profane crusade against them. Then, too, may come 
the dull philosopher of the age to rebuke our folly, 
our want of sense, our indiscretion ; and proclaim that 
patriotism, a wild and glittering passion, has died out 
— ^that it could not coincide with civilization, the 
steam-engine, and free trade. It is false ! The virtue 
that gave to Paganism its dazzling lustre — to barbarism 
its redeeming trait — ^to Christianity its heroic form, 
is not dead. It still lives to preserve, to console, to 
sanctify humanity. It has its altar in every clime — 
its worship and festivities. On the heathered hills 
of Scotland, the sword of Wallace is yet a bright 
tradition. The genius of France, in the brilliant 
literature of the day, pays its enthusiastic homage 
to the piety and heroism of the young maid of Orleans. 
In her new senate hall, England bids her sculptor 
place,' among the effigies of her greatest sons, the 
images of her Hampden and her Russell. In the gay 
and graceful capital of Belgium, the daring hand of 
Geefs has reared a monument, full of glorious meaning, 



PLACEHUNTING loi 

to the three hundred martyrs of the revolution. By 
the soft, blue waters of Lake Lucerne stands the chapel 
of William Tell. On the anniversary of his revolt and 
victory, across those waters, as they glitter in the 
July sun, skim the light boats of the allied cantons. 
From the prows hang the banners of the republic, and 
as they near the sacred spot, the daughters of Lucerne 
chant the hymns of their old, poetic land. Then 
bursts forth the glad Te Deum, and heaven hears 
again the voice of that wild chivalry of the mountains 
which, five centuries since, pierced the white eagle 
of Vienna, and flung it bleeding on the rocks of Uri. 
At Innsbruck, in the black side of the old cathedral, 
the peasant of the Tyrol kneels before the statue of 
Andreas Hofer. In the defiles and valleys of the 
Tyrol, who forgets the day on which he fell within 
the walls of Mantua ? It is a festive day all through 
his quiet, noble land. In that old cathedral his in- 
spiring memory is recalled amid the pageantries of 
the altar — ^his image appears in every house — ^his 
victories and virtues are proclaimed in the songs of 
the people — and when the sun goes down, a chain 
of fires — in the deep, red light of which the eagle 
spreads his wings and holds his giddy revelry — ^pro- 
claim the glory of the chief, whose blood has made his 
native land a sainted spot in Europe. Sir, shall we 
not join in this glorious worship, and here in this 
Island — anointed by the blood of many a good and 
gallant man — shall we not have the faith, the duties, 
the festivities of patriotism ? You discard the weapons 
of these heroic men — do not discard their virtues. 
Elevate the national character, and serve the national 
cause with generous hearts and stainless hands. You 
have pledged yourselves to strive in this Confederation 
for the independence of your country, within the limits 



102 MEAGHm OF THE SWORD 

of the Constitution. Keep within the Constitution, 
but do not compromise the virtue of the state. Con- 
front corruption wherever it appears — ^scourge it from 
the hustings — scourge it from the public forum — and 
whilst proceeding with the noble task to which you 
have vowed your lives and fortunes, let this proud 
thought enrapture and invigorate your hearts, that in 
seeking the independence of your country you have 
preserved its virtue from the seductions of a powerful 
minister and the infidelity of bad citizens. 



The Citizen and the Mob 

July 15TH, 1847. 

[The Confederation, defying the threats of the O'Connellite 
mob in Dublin, continued to hold its usual public meetings, 
after. t e cry was raised that " the Young Irelanders had killed 
O'Connell." On the night of July 15th, Meagher presided at 
a public meeting of the Confederation in the Music Hall, Abbey 
Street, which was surrounded by a furious rabble. After the 
conclusion of the meeting, Meagher, Mitchel, O'Gorman and 
the other Young Ireland leaders were attacked in Abbey Street 
and O'Connell Street by the mob, one member of which at- 
tempted to stab Meagher. The Confederates, thereafter 
organised a body of 400 of their members, chiefly skilled 
artisans and clerks, who acted as a bodyguard for the Young 
Ireland leaders on their way to and from the public meetings 
of the Confederation and in a few weeks the attempt to suppress 
freedom of speech in Dublin was sternly ended.] 

Gentlemen, I sincerely thank you for the honour 
you have now conferred upon me. At any time I 
would esteem it an enviable privilege to occupy the 
chair of the Irish Confederation. On the present 
occasion I consider it a very eminent distinction. We 
have met here this night for a special reason. We have 
met here this night to maintain the privileges of the 
Citizen against the despotism of the Mob. The right 
to meet in public council we are prepared to vindicate 
in defiance of every threat — ^in the teeth of every peril. 
That right we would not surrender to the minister 
though he came to demand it commissioned by the 
Parliament and backed by the army. Neither shall we 
surrender it to the rabble, though they come to extort 
it with their blows and steep it in our blood. This 
time last year the secession took place. Since then we 
have stood erect in spite of the most vicious enmity. 

103 



104 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Misrepresentations were tried and they have failed. 
Indictments for high treason were tried and they have 
failed. Charges of infidelity were tried and they have 
done us very little harm. Charges of intriguing with 
the Castle were placarded about the town, and they 
have served to amuse the public, to sell a paper — and 
that is all. In private as in public the venal tongue 
for the last twelve months has been busy at its task 
of defamation. Every effort that malice could suggest, 
that depravity could patronise, that penury could be 
bribed to perfect, has been made to crush us beneath 
the feet of the people amongst whom we had dared to 
preach the true principles of freedom. Upheld by a 
sense of right, strengthened by the sympathies of the 
upright and intelligent portion of the commimity, we 
battled through the winter and maintained the position 
we thought it our duty to assume. But malice had not 
done its utmost, it appears. There was yet another 
arrow in the quiver, and that should take the lives of 
those whom falsehood and invective had not struck 
down. Gentlemen, the attempt has been made to put 
us down by brute force — it was made on the last night 
of meeting, and because it was made we are here this 
night. Let the coarse enemies of Conciliation Hall 
renew the attempt. Against them, to the death, we 
shall maintain the right of Citizens to meet, wherever 
and whenever they think best, to consult upon the 
public interests. No power shall deprive us of that 
right whilst we have life to worship and to guard it. 
The sceptre shall not deprive us of that righ.t— neither 
shall the bludgeon. But this is what we had just 
reason to expect. It has been the fate of many better 
men who have preceded us, and thus it will be to the 
end of time. The career of truth is through a crowd of 
perils, and freedom is not so much the gift of fortune 



THE CITIZEN AND THE MOB 105 

as it is the reward of suffering. Nerved by these 
attacks, proceed as you have begun. Confederates of 
Dublin, remember the proud title that has been con- 
ferred upon you. When you came forth in November 
last, two thousand strong, to make war against a policy 
that had debauched and diseased the political power of 
your country, you were styled the pioneers of Irish 
freedom. The intelligence of the country hailed you 
as such, the virtue of the country blessed you as such, 
the enthusiasm of the country worshipped you as such. 
Sustain the title and keep the van. Depend upon it, 
the nation will in time fall in, and the march to the old 
Senate house will be made along the road which it 
will have been your heroic achievement to have opened. 
It is quite true that your enrolled associates are few. 
Do not conceal it — avow it manfully — ^your organised 
forces are not numerous. But each day brings a new 
conscript to your ranks, for the principles of the Con- 
federation are becoming the principles of the country. 
You were the first to pronounce against place-begging. 
From this hall went forth the decree that the repre- 
sentatives of the people should not beg from the Govern- 
ment of England ; that in doing so the representatives 
of the people impaired the character, diseased the 
strength, imperilled the liberty of Ireland ; therefore 
that the representatives who become the beggars of 
the minister would be guilty against the country and 
should be declared its enemies. The provinces ratify 
the decree. Cork affirms that it is wise, virtuous, 
and essential. Limerick affirms that it is wise, virtuous, 
and essential. Galway affirms that it is wise, virtuous, 
and essential. Everywhere the people have hailed 
this decree — ^have read, have studied and have sanctioned 
it. Thus it is, that whilst you have not as yet acquired 
the power to emancipate the country, you have in- 



io6 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

spired the virtue that prevents it from being sold. 
You have saved the country from being for the second 
time the renegade sutler of the Whig faction. You 
have snatched the ilag that flew at Mullaghmast from 
the hands of those who would have delivered it to the 
minister, and it is owing to your virtue that it does not 
fly to-day beneath the Union Jack from the walls of 
Woburn Abbey. You did not support — ^you did not 
even tolerate this minister. You are free from the 
guilt of his policy — you did not leave Repeal " an 
open question " with him, to be minced by him into 
scraps and instalments of " justice." This time last 
year this minister took office. He passed from the 
Opposition to the Ministerial benches and amid the 
cheers of the EngUsh Radicals and the greedy chatterings 
of the Irish Liberals, undertook to govern Ireland without 
the assistance of an Arms Bill. What was then the 
condition of Ireland ? It was poor, but it was not 
bankrupt. It was himgry, but it was not famished. 
It was worn with misery, but it was not rotten with 
the plague. It had its damp, dark cabins, but it had 
not its reeking fever-sheds. It had its acres of waste 
lands, but it had not its acres of graves. There were 
eight millions in Ireland on that day — ^there are now 
two millions of them dead. Do not these two million 
victims cry for vengeance ? Will you tolerate the men 
whose policy has been more sweeping than the blast — 
more scathing than the lightning ? Will you tolerate 
the men who " tried " them, excused them, begged 
from them. Perish two millions more, if such be your 
lameness and debasement. Meet these Whigs upon 
the hustings — ^meet them boldly — ^meet them resent- 
fully, meet them to crush them. Show no mercy to 
them — they have shown no mercy to the people. Leave 
them to their resources as they have left you to your 



THE CITIZEN AND THE MOB 107 

resources. Down with these ministers and down 
with their colleagues of Conciliation Hall. Whilst hfe 
is left us they shall have a foe. Not till they have 
beaten us to the earth and trampled on us in the public 
streets shall we desist. Then let them hold their jubilee. 
Then let them celebrate the triumph of their pure, 
their peaceful, their bloodless policy. Then let them 
enumerate the political victories they have won without 
the effusion of one drop of blood. Then let them point 
in ecstasy to their sacred banner, and with tongues 
that uttered words of vengeance against their fellow- 
citizens, let them reiterate their favourite maxim that 
" He who commits a crime gives strength to the enemy." 
Fearless of these men, continue to act as you have done 
— continue to be the friends of truth and enemies of 
corruption. Be assured of this : that they whom you 
have stood by so manfully — ^these whose youth has 
been no obstacle to your confidence — ^wiU stand by 
you to the last — ^proud to share the calumnies with 
which you are sure to be assailed — ^proud to share the 
trials it will be your destiny to endure — proud to share 
the dangers that may await you from within and from 
without — elated with the dazzling hope that burns 
above the ruins of the island, that having worked 
steadfastly, intelligently, honestly together, though the 
lives of some amongst us may be short, we may celebrate 
together the inauguration of the Irish Senate. 



The Ulstermen 

Speech Delivered in the Music Hall, Belfast, 
November i5th, 1847. 

Citizens of Belfast, I appear before you as the 
advocate of those principles, with the resolute assertion 
of which the proudest reminiscences of Ulster have 
been identified. I appear before you as the disciple 
of that creed which, a few years since, was preached 
from the pulpit of Dungannon Church, and which 
the armed apostles that issued from it delivered to the 
nation. If I am wrong, blame your fathers — ^blot 
their names from the records of the north — burn their 
banners, on which " free trade " was written — ^brand 
their arms, which saved the nation, and restored the 
senate. Blame them — they have taught me the 
principles which you impeach as treason. Blame 
them — ^they have taught me the creed which you 
anathematise as heresy. Blame them — ^they have 
taught me to love the frank, bold voice of freedom — to 
shun the lazy sanctity of servitude. The sentiments 
they cherished, I would labour to diffuse. The attitude 
they assumed, I would have their sons assume. The 
position to which they raised this kingdom, I would 
urge this kingdom to regain. Therefore, I demand 
the Repeal of the Act of Union ; and that this act 
may be repealed, I invoke the spirit of the North. 
Not for vote by ballot — ^not for an extension of the 
franchise — ^not for corporate reform amendment acts — 
not for " eleven comprehensive measures " — do I demand 

ipS 



THE ULSTERMEN 109 

Repeal. These are not the grounds upon which an 
Irish citizen should claim for his country the restitution 
of her legislative power. The grievances of a class, 
the defects of an institution, may be, in time, removed 
by that parliament, the legislation of which has, for 
so long a period, been conservative of error and abuse. 
Political reform is a question common to both countries ; 
and you must bear this in mind, that many politicians 
in England believe that an assimilation of the franchises, 
and various political institutions, of the two countries, 
will confirm rather than disturb the control which 
England maintains at present over the taxes, the 
produce, and the energies of Ireland. On higher 
groimds — on grounds that are immutable — on grounds 
that are common to all parties in the state — I take 
my stand, and beckon the nation to a new career. 
That the taxes of this island may be levied and appHed, 
by its own decrees, for its own particular use and 
benefit ; that the produce of the soil may be at our own 
free and full disposal, and be dealt with precisely as 
the national necessities require ; that the commerce 
of the island, protected by native laws, may spring 
into a strenuous activity, and cease to be a mere 
Channel trade ; that the manufactures of our towns, 
encouraged by the premiums which a native parliament 
would not hesitate to grant, may revive, and, with a 
generous supply, meet the demand which a resident 
gentry, and all the public of&ces connected with the 
seat of legislation, would be sure to create ; that, in 
fact, the whole property of this island — the food that 
sustains — the skill that clothes — the enterprise that 
enriches — ^the genius that adorns — ^may belong, per- 
manently and absolutely, to itself, and cease to be the 
property of any other people : on these grounds, sir, 
we insist that Ireland shall be exempt from foreign 



no MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

rule. Against this project, what objection have you 
to urge ? Is what we advocate tainted with sectarian- 
ism ? Is it distempered with Whiggery ? Does it 
predict the fall of Protestantism ? Does it threaten 
the rights of property ? I know that many of you 
are the enemies of Repeal. I know full well, that, in 
the North, Repeal has been identified with Popery, 
whilst the Union'has been identified with Protestantism. 
I know full well, that, on this side of the Boyne, it has 
been declared antagonistic to Orangeism, and that, 
with the principles of 1688, a legislative disconnection 
from England has been judged incompatible. Your 
fathers did not say so. On the ist of July, 1779, the 
Volunteer companies of Belfast held a different opinion. 
On that day the Orange cockades were glittering in 
their hats, and the same guns that backed the Declara- 
tion of Irish Rights, poured forth their volleys 'in com- 
memoration of the great victory you still so vehemently 
celebrate. Why have you foresworn the faith of which 
your fathers were the intrepid missionaries ? I will 
not urge this question deceitfully. You are frank, 
blunt men, in Ulster, and speak your opinions boldly. 
You like to hear the plain truth, and shall have it. 
That there have been circumstances, connected with 
the Repeal movement, which justify in a great measure 
your hostility to Repeal, I candidly admit. Until 
very lately, the movement has worn the features of 
the Catholic movement of 1827. Exclusions of Catholics 
from the jury box — exclusion of Catholics from govern- 
ment oflfiices, infidel colleges. Propaganda rescripts. 
Bequest Acts, Maynooth grants — questions which could 
not be discussed without provoking sectarian strife, 
and which could not be decided without originating 
factions — these, and similar questions, were frequently 
introduced at Repeal meetings, giving to them the 



THE ULSTERMEN in 

complexion of the meetings that preceded the Act of 
1829. Instead of keeping to the one plain question 
— ^the question upon which, in 1782, the advocate of 
Catholic claims and the advocate of Catholic disabilities 
concurred — the question upon which, in 1799, the 
Catholic Committee and the Orange Lodge pronoimced 
the same opinion — instead of keeping to this one plain 
question, the leaders of the movement constantly 
diverged into those topics, jipon which, as I have just 
said, division was inevitable, and from the discussion 
of which in a populcir assembly, I conceive, the fiercest 
antipathies must arise. Besides, sir, it seems to me 
that a predominance in the movement was conceded 
to the Catholic priests, which the Protestant portion 
of the community could not recognise, and which, I 
maintain, it would be an abdication of their civil 
liberty for Protestants to tolerate. " The Priests and 
the People " — that was the motto of the Repeal Associa- 
tion. " The Citizens of Ireland " — ^this is the motto of 
the Irish Confederation. And by this we mean, the 
peer, the priest, the merchant, the peasant, the mechanic 
— every class, trade, creed, race, profession — all the 
elements that move and act within this island— sustain- 
ing its existence, and directing its career. Will you 
adopt that motto ? But, first of all, tell me, do you 
believe the Union is essential to Irish interests ? Do 
you believe that we cannot get on through life unless 
we are bound by an act of parliament to England ? 
Do you believe that we have been gifted with no in- 
herent strength, and that, without the help of a neigh- 
bouring state, we must limp, and stagger through the 
world ? Is that your faith ? and if it be, whence comes 
it ? Is it the result of inspiration, or the result of 
teaching ? Inspiration ! What — the secret tutorship 
of God ! What — the instruction which the soul re- 



112 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

ceives amid the mysteries of nature, which comes to 
it borne upon the black pinion of the wave, and bids 
it go forth and bring a new world into contact with 
the old — ^which comes to it along the burning pathways 
of the stars, and bids it utter those mighty thoughts 
which shall echo through all ages — ^which comes to it, 
even at this day, across the waste and desolation of 
the desert — ^wakes an outcast tribe into brilliant 
heroism, and gives them sti;pngth and skill to cope with 
the cross and sword of the Christian civiliser ! Inspira- 
tion ! Utter not the word. No craven faith ever 
came from thence. Taught from thence, you would 
Spurn the menial's garb, and snap the vassal's fetter. 
Taught from thence, you would boldly dare, and nobly 
consummate. Taught from thence, you would find no 
enterprise too perilous, no eminence too giddy for your 
ambition to attempt. Taught from thence, you would 
step from height to height, bearing aloft your country's 
flag, imtil you had reached the summit, whence 
your voice would be heard, and your glory witnessed, 
from the furthest confine of the earth. From false 
teaching your timid faith has come. Look to it, and 
see if it be not false. You cannot do without the aid 
of England — the Union Act is your stoutest main-stay ! 
This you have been taught to say. And how is this 
sustained ? Mr. Pitt assured you that the Union was 
essential to the local interests of Ireland. In his 
speech, on the 31st of January, 1799, he declared, that 
the measure " was designed and calculated to increase 
the prosperity, and ensure the safety of Ireland." He 
declared, moreover, that he wished for it " with a 
view of giving to Ireland the means of improving all 
its great national resources, and of giving to it its 
due weight and importance, as a great member of the 
empire." Is it not absurd to ask the question — Where 




Terence Bellew MacManus 



THE ULSTERMEN 113 

are the evidences of increased prosperity, and how 
has the safety of Ireland been ensured ? Thel andlord 
swamped — ^the tradesman bankrupt — ^the farmer in 
the poorhouse — are these the evidences of increased 
prosperity? And tell me is it by the scourge or 
famine that the safety of Ireland has been ensured ? 
I do not enter into the details of ruin which the history 
of the Union contains. Were I to do so, I should have 
to detain you for many hours ; and, besides, it is an 
inquiry that can be more instructively pursued in 
private than in public. The Council of the Confedera- 
tion will take care to have pamphlets and tracts dis- 
tributed throughout the country, in which these de- 
tails will be fully given ; for we desire that from a 
conviction of its necessity, and from that alone, you 
should unite with us in the demand for self-government. 
An intelligent concurrence of opinion is the only sure 
basis for a firm political combination. The accession 
to a political society of men who do not imderstand 
its object — who have not been convinced of the utility 
of that object, and the practicability of its attainment 
— such an accession, in my mind, is utterly worthless. 
Hence, I say, that the meetings of 1843 failed to promote 
Repeal. There was no mind at work within those 
gigantic masses. There was faith, trust, heroism. But 
that which outlives the tumult of a meeting — ^that 
which dies not with the passion the orator has evoked 
— that which survives, though the arm may shrivel, 
and the heart grow cold — a free, intelligent opinion 
was wanting. What, then, do we propose ? Nothing 
more than this — ^that the question of Repeal should 
be honestly considered by the country, and that if 
the result of this consideration be a conviction of its 
necessity, the country should demand Repeal as the 
condition of its allegiance. That the country will be 



114 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

in time, and in a very short time, convinced of the 
necessity of Repeal, I entertain no doubt. That it is 
already the growing conviction of many minds, hitherto 
opposed most decisively to Repeal, I firmly believe. 
What is the meaning of the Irish Council, sitting in 
the Rotunda, if it be not this — that the affairs of 
Ireland having been mismanaged by the parliament 
of England, the citizens of Ireland have been, at 
length, compelled to assemble, as an Irish parliament 
would do, to overlook those affairs, and advise upon 
them ? In that council many of our best citizens 
deliberate. What does it report ? That the Union 
must be repealed ? No ; but that the Union has 
been an experiment, of which the utter prostration of 
the national interests attests the terrible fatality. Do 
you refuse to authenticate this report ? Doctor 
Boyton must be esteemed an authority in the North. 
He was a zealous opponent of Catholic claims, and a 
powerful champion of ultra-Conservatism. In 1835 
there was a great Protestant meeting at Morrisson's 
Hotel, Dublin, and at that meeting. Doctor Boyton 
delivered an anti-Union speech, from which I will 
read to you the following extract : — 

" The exports and imports, as far as they are a 
test of a decay of profitable occupation — so far as 
the exports and imports are supplied from the parlia- 
mentary returns — exhibit extraordinary evidences of 
the condition of the labouring classes. The importa- 
tion of flax seed (an evidence of the extent of a most 
important source of employment) was — In 1790, 
339.745 barrels ; 1800, 327.721 barrels ; 1836, 469,458 
barrels. The importation of silk, raw ajid thrown, 
was — In 1790, 92,091 lbs. ; 1800, 79,060 lbs. ; 1830, 
3,190 lbs. Of vmwrought iron — In 1790, 2,271 tons ; 
in 1800, 10,241 tons ; in 1830, 871 tons. Formerly 



THE ULSTERMEN 115 

we spun all our own woollen and worsted yarn. We 
imported in 1790, only 2,294 ^s. ; in 1800, 1,880 lbs. ; 
in 1826, 662,750 lbs. — an enormous increase. There 
were, I understand, upwards of thirty persons engaged 
in the woollen trade in Dublin, who have become 
bankrupts since 182 1. There has been, doubtless, an 
increase in the exports of cottons. The exports were 
— In 1800, 9,147 yards ; 1826, 7,793,873. The exports 
of cotton from Great Britain were — In 1829, 402,517,196 
yards, value £12,516,247, which will give the value of 
our cotton exports at something less than a quarter 
of a million — poor substitute for our linens, which in the 
province of Ulster alone exceeded in value two millions 
two hundred thousand pounds. In fact, every other 
return affords unequivocal proof that the main sources 
of occupation are decisively cut off from the main 
body of the population of this coimtry. The export 
of live cattle and of corn has greatly increased, but 
these are raw material ; there is little more labour in 
the production of an ox than the occupation of him 
who herds and houses him ; his value is the rent of 
the land, the price of the grass that feeds him, while 
an equal value of cotton, or linen, or pottery, will require 
for its production the labour of many people for money. 
Thus the exports of the country now are somewhat 
under the value of the exports thirty years since, but 
they employ nothing like the number of people for 
their production ; employment is immensely reduced — 
population increased three-eighths. Thus, in this tran- 
sition from the state of a manufacturing population to 
an agricultural, a mass of misery, poverty, and dis- 
content is created." 

Thus have Mr. Pitt's predictions been verified ; 
thus has the prosperity of Ireland increased ; thus 
have its local interests been protected ; and thus its 



ii6 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

due weight and importance, as a great member of the 
empire, has been established ! Mr. Staimton, in his 
able essay — an essay which, for its statistical informa- 
tion, I know would be highly prized in the North — 
has quoted an opinion of the late O'Conor Don, in 
which the weight and importance of Ireland, as a 
great member of the empire, is very respectfully set 
forth. The opinion is simply this — ^that " any five 
British merchants waiting upon the minister, to urge 
on his attention any public subject, would have more 
weight than the whole body of Irish representatives." 
In this opinion is it erroneous to coincide ? Do you 
really believe that Ireland is a great member of the 
British Empire ? You might as well say that the boy 
Jones was a great member of the royal family. He 
had no right to the privy purse, and you have no 
claim to the Imperial Exchequer. So you may boast 
of your English connection, but you'll get nothing by 
it. Get nothing by it ? No ; but depend upon it, 
you will lose everything you have to lose. See what 
you have lost already. You have lost your manu- 
factures. You have lost your foreign trade. You 
have lost several public institutions. The Board of 
Customs has been transferred to London. So have the 
Revenue and Excise Boards. The Board of Ordnance, 
within the last few weeks, has been ordered off. And is 
it not the fashionable news of the day, that Lord 
Clarendon will be the last of the English Proconsuls, 
and that the Castle will be given up to the Board of 
Works, of whose genius for mischief, upon every road 
in the country, there have been deposited the most 
embarrassing testimonials? Depend upon this — ^the 
English people love old England, and to make her rich 
and powerful they will exact from you every treasure 
you possess, and then commit you, most piously, to 



THE ULSTERMEN 117 

Providence and your own resources. Like proper 
men of business, they mind their own affairs, and 
will not entrust them to the Diet of Hungary, or the 
French Chamber of Deputies. And, in doing so, of 
course, they will pay very little attention to the affairs 
of Ireland, or any other despicable province. Thus it 
is, that the grant in aid of your linen manufacture 
has been withdrawn. Thus it is, that the grant in aid 
of the deep-sea fisheries has been withdrawn. Thus 
it is, that the protective duties -have been repealed, in 
spite of the remonstrance of the principal manufacturers 
of Ireland. Thus it is, that for the reclamation of your 
five million acres of waste land, they have refused to 
vote an adequate advance. Thus it is, as Mr. Grey 
Porter has stated, in the first pamphlet which he 
published, that, since the Union Act came into opera- 
tion, only fifteen local acts have passed for Ireland, 
whilst four hundred and forty-five local acts have 
passed for Great Britain. I might proceed with these 
facts, if you did not interrupt me with the exclamation 
— " Look to Belfast, if you pleaSe ; we have thriven 
here in spite of England— the industry of the people 
can thwart the injustice of the parliament — cease your 
spouting — go to work — Cleave the old parliament house 
with the bankers — the cashier's ofiice is just as good as 
a Treasury bench — ^build the factory — ^build the ware- 
house — ^learn this, that industry is true patriotism, and 
that for a nation to be prosperous it must cease to be 
indolent." Now, sir, this is most excellent advice, 
and I congratulate Belfast upon its miraculous ex- 
emption from the ruin in which every other town in 
Ireland has been embedded. Your fate has been as 
singular as that of Robinson Crusoe ; and your ingenuity, 
in making the most of a desert island, has been no less 
remarkable. But, in ascribing the indigence of the 



Ii8 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

country to the indolence with which you charge it, 
how do you explain this fact, that, previous to the 
enactment of the Union, in thousands of factories, now 
closed up, there were so many evidences of an in- 
dustrious disposition ? I cannot run through all them 
— ^but, take one or two. Dublin, with its ninety-one 
master manufacturers in the woollen trade, employing 
4,938 hands ; Cork, with its forty-one employers in 
the same trade, giving employment to 2,500 hands ; 
Bandon, your old southern ally, with its camlet trade, 
producing upwards of £100,000 a year ; were these no 
proofs of an active spirit, seeking in the rugged paths 
of labour for that gold out of which a nation weaves 
its purple robe, and moulds its sceptre ? I cite those 
towns — I could cite a hundred other towns — ^Limerick, 
Roscrea, Carrick-on-Suir, Kilkenny — I cite them against 
the Union. You cite Belfast, and because Belfast has 
prospered, the Union must be maintained ! Is that 
your argument ? I do not deny, that whilst Belfast 
has been industrious, the other places I have mentioned 
have been inert. But how does this admission serve 
the Unionist ? He admits the existence of an in- 
dustrious energy, prevailing all through the country, 
previous to the Union. In the English Commons, it 
was asserted by Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Burdett, and, I 
believe, also by Mr. Tierney. Mr. Pitt himself bore 
testimony to it, but said there was room for improve- 
ment. What then ? The indolence of the country 
dates from the passing of the Union ; and the fact is 
indisputable, that whilst the Union has grown old, 
the country has grown decrepid. How could it be 
otherwise ? In the history of all nations, you will 
find that, with the decline of freedom the decay of 
virtue has been contemporaneous. Restrict the powers 
— restrict the functions of a nation — ^and you check 



THE ULSTERMEN 119 

the passions that prompt it to what is noble. The 
nation that does not possess the power to shape its 
own course, will have no heart, no courage, no ambition. 
Like the soul, in which a sense of immortality has been 
extinguished, it will not look beyond to-day — it will do 
nothing for the morrow. All its acts will be little, and, 
for the future, it will have no generous aspiration, and, 
therefore, no heroic effort. Argue you as you please, 
the plain fact is this — a nation will be indolent, sluggish, 
slothful, unless it has a security for its outlay, and this 
security exists solely in the power to protect, by laws 
and arms, the riches which its industry may accumu- 
late. Do you dispute the fact ? Have you no faith 
in freedom ? If so, let the Northern Whig supplant 
the gospel of Dungannon. Go into the churchyard — 
write " Fool " upon every tombstone that commemorates 
a Volunteer — and thank your God that you live in an 
age of commonsense. Whig philosophy, and starvation. 
Ay, write the sarcasm upon the tombstone of the 
Volunteer. It may be sacrilege — ^but it is common- 
sense. The citizen soldier of 1782 was a fool 1 He 
did not sign petitions for out-door relief, but labelled 
his gun with " free trade." He did not drive to the 
Castle to beg " justice for Ireland," but drew his 
sword in College Green, under the statue of King 
William ; took the oath of independence, and com- 
pelled the Castle to do homage to the Senate. He 
insisted upon a final settlement between the two 
countries—declared that Ireland should not be an 
integral portion of a monopolising empire — declared 
that Ireland should be an independent sovereignty 
— ^and, until that settlement was concluded, he " put 
his trust in God, and kept his powder dry." I am 
much mistaken if you do not ambition to imitate this 
" fool." I believe that you desire to have this country 



120 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

occupy an honourable position, and that of its abilities 
to be great you have formed no mean conception. 
But as I have already said, you dread Repeal, which 
means the restoration of the Constitution of 1782, 
and you cling to the Union, which is an abdication of 
that Constitution — an abdication by the country of 
all control over her resources, her revenue, and her 
existence. The Union Act, you say, is the great charter 
of Irish Protestantism. But has that chsirter been 
held inviolate ? Have those ancient privileges been 
preserved, which, a few years since, gave to Irish 
Protestantism an authority so supreme ? The cor- 
porations — once the citadels of the Williamites — ^have 
been surrendered to the Radicals ; and though, as 
yet, the civic chain has never shone as a trophy upon 
the altar of the Catholic, how often, let me ask you, 
does it glitter in the Protestant pew, for which its 
brilliancy has been so fastidiously reserved ? The 
Castle, too, has slipped from your hands. The sleek 
Catholic slave is a greater favourite in that quarter, 
now-a-days, than an alderman of Skinner's Alley. 
The Oremge flag is designated by a Conservative 
minister the symbol of vagabondism — ^your processions 
are prohibited — and, when you declaim against the 
spread of Popery, and pray for the repeal of the Emanci- 
pation Act, they knock ten mitres of the Established 
Church into " kingdom come," and vote £26,000 a 
year to Majmooth. What say you now to the great 
charter of Protestant supremacy ? What said Dr. 
Maunsell, in the Dublin Corporation, in 1844, when 
his motion in favour of rotatory parliaments was 
under discussion ? Speaking upon this very subject, 
he asked the following question : " What is now the 
position, and what may be the reasonable expectations 
of Irish Protestants ? Two institutions — and two only 



THE ULSTERMEN 121 

— ^in which they have a special interest, have been 
suffered to remain — ^the University and the Church. 
Now, I ask any reflecting man will he engage that the 
Protestant University will not, within a year, be thrown 
as a sop to the monster of agitation ? On this matter 
the handwriting of the Premier has but recently ap- 
peared upon the wall. The question is no longer a 
mooted one : the days of the University of Dublin, as 
an exclusively or special Protestant institution, are 
numbered ; and I will again ask, when the University 
shall have been sacrificed, how long do Irish Protestants 
suppose their Church, as a national establishment, will 
survive ? Surely, if the history of the last fifteen 
years be remembered, no one, not the most sanguine 
truster in statesmen, can in his sober moments fail to 
see that this establishment is already doomed — ^that 
the purses of the great Enghsh proprietors of Irish 
soil gape for the remnant of the patrimony of the 
Church, to the appropriation of which they have 
already made a first step, by converting it from an 
actual property in the Icind to a stipendiary rent- 
charge ? No ; let no one hope that a minister whose 
mind is trained in manoeuvres for tiding over political 
shoals will hesitate to slip these the two only remaining 
anchors of Irish Protestantism, as a national establish- 
ment, if doing so will enable him to escape official 
wreck, even if it were but for a session." Such were 
the prospects of Protestantism in 1844 ; and, since 
then, have those prospects been improved ? Alderman 
Butt is an authority upon this subject, and wherever 
integrity is prized, his opinion must have weight. 
At the second meeting of the Irish Council he delivered 
a most powerful speech upon the condition of Ireland, 
and in alluding to that establishment, of which he has 
been for so many years the gifted champion, he made 



122 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

the following remarks : " Take any of those interests 
for which party has contended. Where will they be 
when the country is gone ? Let us take the question 
of the Church establishment — a question, perhaps, 
which has excited much of angry discussion. I am one 
of those who thought — I still think — that the Protestant 
establishment of Ireland ought to be maintained. I 
see gentlemen in this room who have differed with me 
honestly and sincerely, I am sure, upon this question. 
We have contended about this, and what is the result ? 
The question will be settled without the decision of 
our disputes. The poor-rate has swallowed up the 
income of the clergy ; and in many districts the Pro- 
testant Church has suffered that which you, its most 
determined opponents, never proposed. The present 
incumbents will be left, by the operation of the present 
pauperism of Ireland, without the means of actual 
support. Thus, while we have been contending about 
the Church, the Church is sharing the ruin of the country. 
Need I refer to other instances to prove that, struggle 
as we will for party interests, no. party interest can 
survive our country ? There are gentlemen here who 
have been advocates of the voluntary system — ^who 
have applauded that system, as carried out in Ireland, 
in the support of the clergy of the Church of Rome. 
I inquire not now into the reasonableness of your 
opinions ; but are not these clergy now in many 
districts reduced to actual destitution with the misery 
of their flocks ? What interest, I ask again, for which 
party was intended, can outlive the ruin of our native 
land ? " This is the declaration of one of the most 
eminent of the Irish Protestants. Is this declaration 
false, and do you still maintain that the Union Act is 
your great charter ? Beggary, insult, the sneers of 
English prelates, tithe reductions of twenty per cent. — 



THE ULSTERMEN 123 f 

are these your ancient privileges ? If so, stand to the 

Union, and kiss the hand that has given you gall and 

wormwood to drink ! If so, stand to the Union, and 

be the history of Irish Protestantism henceforth the 

history of debasement ! If so, stand to the Union, 

and let the spires of your churches mark the way by 

which slaves may crawl, like bruised and bleeding 

worms, to the grave ! In the summer of 1845 there 

was a purer blood rushing through your veins ; and, 

from the hills of the south, there were eyes that strained 

and glistened, day after day, from the rising to the 

setting of the sun, as they looked towards that river, 

into which your forefathers knocked the crown of a 

craven king, for there a splendid spectacle had been 

predicted. Do you forget the prediction ? Do you 

forget the menace which the Evening Mail flung in 

the face of England, when her Prime Minister was 

warned that " a hundred thousand Orangemen, with 

their colours flying, might yet meet a hundred thousand 

Repealers on the banks of the Boyne, and, on a field 

presenting so many_ solemn reminiscences to all, sign 

the Magna Charta of Ireland's independence ? " Why 

has that rapturous menace been withdrawn ? Repeal 

would deliver you into the hands of the priests — a 

penal code would exclude the Protestant from the 

privileges of the citizen — the Union has made him a 

beggar, but Repeal would make him a slave ! You 

might as well predict that there will be a Smithfield 

fire in College Green, and a Spanish Inquisition in the 

House of Lords, where your victories of Aughrim and 

the Boyne are worked in gorgeous tapestry upon the 

walls. I say here, what I said in Cork — and I am the 

more anxious to repeat it, because it has been censured 

— I say, that there is a spirit growing up, amongst 

the young Catholics of Ireland, which will not bend to 



124 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

any clerical authority beyond the sanctuary — a spirit 
which will not permit the priesthood of any religion 
to hold a political power greater than that which any 
other class of citizens possess — a spirit which would 
raise the banner of revolt against the pulpit, if the 
pulpit preached intolerance to the people — a spirit 
which would level the altar to the dust, before the bigot 
had stained it with the sacrifices of the scaffold. Catholic 
ascendancy 1 It is a ghost that frightens you, and, 
whilst you stand trembling before it, the Union, which 
is no ghost, is playing the thief behind your back. 
The Unionist tells you not to trust the Catholic, and, in 
your panic, you forget who robbed you of the ten 
mitres and the corporations. Away with the evil 
coimsellor ! In Rome, the Jew and Christian have 
embraced. There is a creed which includes all other 
creeds — a creed common to the synagogue, the cathedral, 
and the mosque. The genius of the poor weaver of 
Belfast, whose lyrics are the brightest treasures you 
possess, has annoimced it to you : — 

" And though ten thousand altars bear 
On each for Heaven a different prayer, 
By light of moon, or Ught of sun. 
At Freedom's we must all be one." 

This is the creed which we profess — and the place- 
beggar calls it " infidehty." The place-beggar — ^that 
figure with two faces — like the Marquis of Rockingham, 
described by Grattan — one face turned towards the 
Treasury, and the other presented to the people, and, 
with a double tongue, speaking contradictory languages. 
You disapprove- of place-begging, I understand. And 
why not ? This country can never be independent, 
whilst it is a recruiting depot for the English Whigs, 
or any other English faction, that frets and fights for 



THE ULSTERMEN 125 

salary behind the benches of St. Stephen's. Orange- 
men of Ireland ! — stand to your colours — keep up your 
anniversaries— but do not damn the Pope at the skirts 
of England. Burn Guy Fawkes, but in the flames let 
not the writings of Molyneux be consumed. Radicals 
of Ireland ! — claim the ballot — claim the household 
suffrage — claim annual or triennial parliaments — ^but 
claim them from a native parliament. Of the House 
of Russell scorn to be the scavengers. Imitate, in this 
respect, that nation from whose corn-law majorities, 
sugar-bill majorities, coercion-bill majorities, we struggle 
to emancipate ourselves. Be antagonists in religion — 
be antagonists in the science of legislation — ^but com- 
bine for the common right — combine for self-govern- 
ment. Is this absurd ? Is this impracticable ? Con- 
sult the oracles of Exeter Hall — consult the oracles of 
the Catholic Institute. High above them both flies 
the ensign of St. George, and though the war of sects 
is waged beneath, no hand is ever raised to tear it 
down and fling it to a foreign foe. Interrogate the 
cotton lord of Manchester — interrogate the corn monopo- 
list of Buckinghamshire — and see if they would not link 
their forces — artisans and farmers — if a camp, like that 
of 1803, threatening an invasion, were descried from 
the cliffs of Dover. A union of parties, then, in the 
name of national independence, is not impracticable. 
But the acquisition of independence is impossible. 
What ! the public opinion of Ireland is a feather in the 
scales of the British Constitution !, Is that the con- 
clusion you have come to ? Have you tried your 
weight at all ? You have not ; and before you assert 
that you are not up to the mark, you are bound to make 
the experiment. In God's name, then, let the experi- 
ment be made ! To raise this kingdom to the position 
of an independent state should be the passionate 



126 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

ambition of all its citizens. Gifted, as she has been, 
with fine capacities for power, it is a crime to tolerate 
the influence by which those capacities are restrained. 
In the profusion of its resources, the will of heaven, 
that this land should be blessed with affluence, has 
been nobly signified. Nor have the intimations of 
that will been less distinctly traced in the character 
of its people. The generous passion, the vivid intellect, 
the rapturous faith, are visible through aU their 
vicissitudes, their errors, and their vices. For a 
destination the most exalted, we behold, in every 
arrangement, facilities the most adequate. Shall the 
dispensations of Providence be contravened, through 
the timorous inactivity of man ? In a sluggish 
acquiescence to the sword of conquest, and the law of 
rapine, are we to witness the profane rejection of that 
charter, which, through these dispensations, instructs 
us to be free, and empowers us to be great ? A right 
noble philosophy has taught us, that God has divided 
this world into those beautiful systems, called nations, 
each of which, fulfilling its separate mission, becomes 
an essential benefit to the rest. To this Divine arrange- 
ment will you alone refuse to conform, siurrendering the 
position, renouncing the responsibility, which you have 
been assigned ? Other nations, with abilities far less 
eminent than those which you possess, having great 
difficulties to encounter, have obeyed, with heroism, 
the commandment — from which you have swerved — 
maintaining that noble order of existence, through 
which even the poorest state becomes an instructive 
chapter in the great history of the world. Shame 
upon you ! Switzerland — ^without a colony, without a 
gun upon the seas, without a helping hand from any 
court in Europe — ^has held, for centuries, her footing 
on the Alps ; spite of the avalanche, has bid her little 



THE ULSTERMEN 127 

territory sustain, in peace and plenty, the children to 
whom she has given birth ; has trained those children 
up in the arts that contribute most to the security, 
the joy, the dignity of life ; has taught them to depend 
upon themselves, and for their fortune to be thankful 
to no officious stranger ; and, though a blood-red 
cloud is breaking, even whilst I speak, over one of her 
brightest lakes, whatever plague it may portend, be 
assured of this, the cap of foreign despotism will never 
gleam again in the market-place of Altorff. Shame 
upon you ! Norway — ^with her scanty population, 
scarce a million strong — has kept her flag upon the 
Categat ; has reared a race of gallant sailors to guard 
her frozen soil ; year after year has nursed upon that 
soil a harvest to which the Swede can lay no claim ; 
has saved her ancient laws, and, to the spirit of her 
frank and hardy sons, commits the freedom which she 
rescued from the allied swords, when they hacked her 
crown at Frederichstadt. Shame upon you ! Greece 
— " whom the Goth, nor Turk, nor Time, hath spared 
not " — ^has flung the crescent from the Acropolis ; has 
crowned a king in Athens, whom she calls her own ; 
has taught you that a nation should never die ; that 
not for an idle pageant has the blood of heroes flowed — 
that not to vex a school-boy's brain, nor smoulder in 
a heap of learned dust, has the fire of heaven issued 
from the tribune's tongue. Shame upon you ! Holland 
— with the ocean as her foe — from the swamp in which 
you would have sunk your graves, has bid the palace, 
and the warehouse, costlier than the palace, rear their 
ponderous shapes above the waves that battle at their 
base ; has outstripped the merchant of the Rialto ; 
has threatened England in the Thames ; has swept 
the Channel with her broom ; and though, for a day, 
she reeled before the bayonets of Dumouriez, she 



128 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

sprang to her feet again, and with the cry — " Up, up 
with the House of Orange ! " — struck the Tricolour 
from her dykes. And you — ^you, who are eight million 
strong ; you, who boast, at every meeting, that this 
island is the finest which the sun looks down upon ; 
you, who have no threatening sea to stem — ^no avalanche 
to dread ; you, who say that you could shield along 
your coast a thousand sail, and be the princes of a 
mighty commerce ; you, who by the magic of an 
honest hand, beneath each summer sky, might cull a 
plenteous harvest from your soil, and with the sickle 
strike away the scythe of death ; you; who have no 
vulgar history to read ; you, who can trace, from field 
to field, the evidences of a civilisation older than the 
conquest — ^the relics of a religion more ancient than the 
gospel ; you, who have thus been blessed, thus been 
gifted, thus been prompted to what is wise and generous, 
and great ; you will make no effort ; you will whine, 
and beg, and skulk, in sores and rags, upon this favoured 
land ; you will congregate in drowsy councils, and, 
when the very earth is loosening beneath your feet, 
respectfully suggest new clauses and amendments to 
some blundering bill ; you will strike the poor-rate — 
ay, fifteen shillings in the pound ! — and mortgage the 
last acre of your estates ; you will bid a prosperous 
voyage to your last grain of corn ; you will be beggared 
by the million ; you will perish by the thousand ; and 
the finest island which the sun looks upon, amid the 
jeers and hootings of the world, will blacken into a 
plague-spot, a wilderness, a sepulchre ! God of Heaven ! 
shall these things come to pass ? What say you, 
yeomen of the north ? Has the Red Hand withered ? 
Shall the question be always asked at Innishowen — 
" Has the time come ? " — and shall no heroic voice 
reply — " It has. Arise ! " Swear that the rule of 



THE ULSTERMEN 129 

England is unjust, illegal, and a grievance. Swear it, 
that, henceforth, you shall have no lawgivers, save the 
Queen, the Lords, and Commons of the kingdom. 
Swear it, that, as you have been the garrison of England 
for years, from this out you will be the garrison of 
Ireland. Swear it, that the flag which floats next 
summer from the battlements of Derry shall bear the 
inscription of Dungannon. Swear it, that you shall 
have another anniversary to celebrate — ^that another 
obelisk shall cast its shadow on the Bojme — ^that, here- 
after, your children, descending to that river, may say 
— " This is to the memory of our fathers ; they were 
proud of the victory which their grandsires won upon 
these banks, but they ambitioned to achieve a victory 
of their own ; their grandsires fought and conquered 
for a king ; our fathers fought and conquered for a 
nation — ^be their memories pious, glorious, and im- 
mortal ! " 



Mitchel's Policy 



Speech in the Pillar Room of the Rotunda, 
ON THE Policy of the Irish Confederation, 
February, 1848. 

Sir, I beg leave to say a few words upon the question 
before the chair. They shall be very few indeed, for 
I find myself engaged in this debate quite unexpectedly. 
I arrived from England at rather a late hour this 
morning, and it was not until my arrival here that I 
was made acquainted with the proceedings of the last 
two evenings. Such being the case, I now speak under 
very unfavourable circumstances, for I speak without 
that preparation which the importance of the question 
requires. Previous to my going into the question at 
issue, however, I beg to express — and I do so sincerely 
— the same sentiment as that to which Mr. Reilly, in 
the commencement of his speech, gave utterance. I 
trust that we who are about to conclude this discussion, 
may not, by any mishap, disturb the good feelings 
that have prevailed all through it ; and I fervently pray, 
that, in this conflict of opinions, we shall preserve those 
feelings which have so long united us in a sincere and 
devoted companionship. Now, as to the question 
before us, I think that Mr. Mitchel has brought it, 
most conveniently for me, into the smallest possible 
space. The real question (he says) which we have to 
decide is, whether we are to keep to constitutional and 
parliamentary agitation or not ? Precisely so ; you 

130 



MITCEEL'S POLICY 131 

have to decide nothing less, and nothing more than 
this — ^whether " constitutional agitation " is to be given 
up, or to be sustained. This is the one, simple point 
that we are to determine ; for, upon all other points, 
connected with the policy and action of the Con- 
federation, there appears to be, amongst us all, perfect 
concurrence of opinion. At all events, whatever de- 
cision you may come to, with regard to the utility of 
our pursuing, any further, a constitutional course of 
action, I believe that, by this time, we have become 
quite agreed, that all this vague talk should cease, 
with which your ears have been vexed for so long a 
period. All this vague talk about a " crisis is at 
hand " — " shouts of defiance " — " Louis Philippe is 
upwards of seventy " — " France remembers Waterloo " 
— " the first gun fired in Europe " — all this obscure 
babble — all this meaningless mysticism — must be swept 
away. Ten thousand guns, fired in Europe, would 
announce no glad tidings to you, if their lightning 
flashed upon you in a state of disorganisation and 
incertitude. Sir, I know of no nation that has won its 
independence by an accident. Trust blindly to the 
future — ^wait for the tide in the affairs of men which, 
taken at the flood, may lead to fortune — envelop 
yourselves in the mist — ^leave everything to chance — 
and be assured of this, the most propitious opportvinities 
will rise and pass away, leaving you still to chance — 
masters of no weapons — scholars of no science — in- 
competent to decide — irresolute to act — ^powerless to 
achieve. This was the great error of the Repeal 
Association. From a labjnrinth of difficulties, there 
was no avenue opened to success. The people were 
kept within this labyrinth — ^they moved round and 
round — ^backwards and forwards — ^there was perpetual 
motion, but no advance. In this bewilderment are 



132 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

you content to wander, until a sign appears in heaven, 
and the mystery is disentangled by a miracle ? Have 
you no clear intelligence to direct you to the right path, 
and do you fear to trust your footsteps to the guidance 
of that mind with which you have been gifted ? Do 
you prefer to substitute a driftless superstition in 
place of a determined system — groping and fumbling 
after possibilities, instead of seizing the agencies 
within your reach ? This, indeed, would be a blind 
renunciation of your powers, and thus, indeed, the 
virtue you prize so justly — the virtue of self-reliance 
— ^would be extinguished in you. To this you will 
not consent. You have too sure a confidence in the 
resources you possess to leave to chance what you 
can accomplish by design. A deliberate plan of action 
is, then, essential — something positive — something 
definite. Now, there are but two plans for our con- 
sideration — ^the one, within the law : the other, without 
the law. Let us take the latter. And I will, then, 
ask you — is an insurrection practicable ? Prove to 
me that it is, and I, for one, will vote for it this very 
night. You know well, my friends, that I am not 
one of those tame moralists who say that liberty is 
not worth a drop of blood. Men who subscribe to 
such a maxim are fit for out-door relief, and for nothing 
better. Against this miserable maxim, the noblest 
virtue that has served and sanctified humanity, appears 
in judgment. From the blue waters of the Bay of 
Salamis — from the valley, over which the sun stood 
still, and lit the Israelite to victory — from the cathedral, 
in which the sword of Poland has been sheathed in the 
shroud of Kosciousko — from the convent of St. Isidore, 
where the fiery hand that rent the ensign of St. George 
upon the plains of Ulster, has crumbled into dust — 
from the sands of the desert, where the wild genius of 



MITCHEL'S POLICY 133 

the Algerine so long had scared the eagle of the 
Pyrennees — from the ducal palace in this kingdom, 
where the memory of the gallant Geraldine enhances, 
more than royal favour, the nobility of his race — ^from 
the solitary grave which, within this mute city, a dying 
request has left without an epitaph — oh ! from every 
spot where heroism has had a sacrifice or a triumph, a 
voice breaks in upon the cringing crowd that cheers 
this wretched maxim, crying out — " Away with it, 
away with it." Would to God that we could take 
every barrack in the island this night, and with our 
blood purchase back the independence of the country ! 
It is not, then, a pedantic reverence for common law 
— ^it is not a senseless devotion to a diadem and sceptre 
— it is not a whining solicitude for the preservation of 
the species — that dictates the vote I give this night in 
favour of a constitutional movement. I do so, not 
from choice, but from necessity. Gentlemen, I support 
this constitutional policy, not from choice, but from 
necessity. My strongest feelings are in favour of the 
policy advised by Mr. Mitchel. I wish to heavens 
that I could defend that policy. It is a policy which 
calls forth the noblest passions — it kindles genius, 
generosity, heroism — ^it is far removed from the tricks 
and crimes of politics — for the young, the gallant, and 
the good, it has the most powerful attractions. In 
the history of this kingdom, the names that burn 
above the dust and desolation of the past — ^like the 
lamps in the old sepulchres of Rome — shed their glory 
round the principles, of which a deep conviction of 
our weakness compels me this night to be the opponent. 
And in being their opponent, I almost blush to think, 
that the voice of one whose influence is felt through 
this struggle more powerfully than any other, and 
whose noble lyrics will bid our cause to live for ever — 



134 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

I almost blush to think, that this voice, which speaks 
to us in these glorious lines — 

" And the beckoning angels win you on, with many a radiant 
vision, 
Up the thorny path to glory, where man receives his crown — " 

should be disobeyed, and that, for a time at least, 
we must plod on in the old course, until we acquire 
strength, and discipline, and skill — discipline to steady, 
skill to direct, strength to enforce the claim of a united 
nation. To an insurrectionary movement, the priest- 
hood are opposed. To an insurrectionary movement, 
the middle classes are opposed. To an insurrectionary 
movement, the aristocracy are opposed. To give effect 
to this opposition, 50,000 men, equipped and paid by 
England, occupy the country at this moment. Who, 
then, are for it ? The mechanic and the peasant 
classes, we are told. These classes, you will tell us, 
have lost all faith in legal agencies, and, through such 
agencies, despair of the slightest exemption from their 
suffering. Stung to madness — day from day gazing 
upon the wreck and devastation that surround them, 
until the brain whirls like a ball of fire — ^they see but 
one red pathway, lined with gibbets and hedged with 
bayonets, leading to deliverance ! But will that 
pathway lead them to deliverance ? Have these 
classes, upon which alone you now rely, the power 
to sweep, like a torrent, through that pathway, dashing 
aside the tremendous obstacles which confront them ? 
You know they have not. Without discipline, without 
arms, without food — ^beggared by the law, starved by 
the law, diseased by the law, demoralised by the law — 
opposed to the might of England, they would have 
the weakness of a vapour (A voice, " No, no "). Yes, 
but you have said so ; for what do you maintain ? 



MlTCHEL'S POLICY 135 

You maintain that an immediate insurrection is not 
designed. Well, then, you confess your weakness ; 
and, then, let me ask you, what becomes of the ob- 
jection you urge against the policy we propose ? The 
country cannot afford to wait until the legal means 
have been fully tested — that is your objection. And 
yet, you will not urge an immediate movement — ^you 
will not deal with the disease upon the spot — you will 
permit it to take its course — ^your remedy is remote. 
Thus, it appears, there is delay in both cases — so, 
upon this question of time, we are entitled to pair 
off. But, at no time, you assert, will legal means 
prevail — ^public opinion is nonsense — constitutional 
agitation is a downright delusion. Tell me, then, was 
it an understanding, when we founded the Irish Con- 
federation, this time twelvemonth, that if public 
opinion failed to Repeal the Act of Union in a year, 
at the end of the year it should be scouted as a " hum- 
bug ? " When you established this Confederation in 
January, 1847 — ^when you set up for yourselves — did 
you agree with " public opinion " for a year only ? 
Was that the agreement, and will you now serve it 
with a notice to quit ? If so, take my advice and 
break up your establishment at once. You have no 
other alternative, for the house will fall to pieces with 
a servant of more unruly propensities. After all, look 
to your great argument against the continuance of a 
parliamentary or constitutional movement. The con- 
stituencies are corrupt — ^they will not return virtuous 
representatives — the tree shall be known by its /fruits ! 
The constituencies are knaves, perjurers, cowards, on 
the hustings — they will be chevaliers, sans peur et sans 
reproche, within the trenches ! The Thersites of the 
polling-booth, will be the Achilles of the bivouac ! 
Your argument comes to this, that the constituencies 



136 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

of Ireland will be saved "so as by fire " — they will 
acquire morality in the shooting gallery — and in the 
art of fortification, they will learn the path to paradise. 
These constituencies constitute the eliie of the de- 
mocracy ; and is it you, who stand up for the democracy, 
that urge this argument ? To be purified and saved, 
do you decree that the nation must writhe in the 
agonies of a desperate circumcision ? Has it not felt 
the knife long since ? And if its salvation depended 
upon the flow of blood, has it not poured out torrents 
— into a thousand graves ! — deep enough, and swift 
enough, to earn the blessing long before our day ? 
Spend no more until you are certain of the purchase. 
Nor do I wish, gentlemen, that this movement should 
be a mere democratic movement. I desire that it 
should continue to be what it has been, a national 
movement not of any one class, but of all classes. 
Narrow it to one class — decide that it shall be a demo- 
cratic movement, and nothing else — ^what, then ? 
You augment the power that is opposed to you — the 
revolution will provoke a counter-revolution — Paris 
will be attacked by the Emigrants, as well as by the 
Austrians. You attach little importance to the instance 
cited by Mr. Ross — Poland is no warning to you. The 
Polish peasants cut the throats of the Polish nobles, 
and before the Vistula had washed away the blood, 
the free city of Cracow was proclaimed a dimgeon. 
So much for the war of classes. But, there is the 
French Revolution — the revolution of Mirabeau, of La 
Fayette, of Vergniaud. There, you say, is democracy, 
triumphant against the aristocracy, wiiming the liberty 
of the nation ! How long did that triumph last ? 
Madame de Genlis took the present King of France, 
when he was only eighteen years of age, to see the 
ruins of the Bastile. To read him the lessons of liberty 



MITCH EL'S POLICY 137 

she brought him there. And did the son of Philippe 
Egalite learn the lessons of liberty from those great 
fragments, upon which the fierce hand of the French 
democracy had left its curse ? He learnt a very 
different lesson — he learnt to rebuild the prison — he 
learnt to plant his throne within the circle of a hundred 
bastiles — and it is thus that the democracy of -the 
revohition has triumphed. No ; I am not for a demo- 
cratic, but I am for a national movement — not for a 
movement like that of Paris in 1793, but for a move- 
ment like that of Brussels in 1830 — ^like that of Palermo 
in 1848. Should you think differently, say so. If you 
are weary of this " constitutional movement " — if you 
despair of this " combination of classes " — declare so 
boldly, and let this night terminate the career of the 
Irish Confederation. Do not spare the Confederation, 
if you have lost all hope in constitutional exertion. If 
you despair of the middle classes and the aristocracy, 
vote its extinction — renounce the principles you have 
so long maintained — precipitate yourselves into an 
abyss, the depth of which you know not — and let the 
world witness the spectacle of your death — a death 
which shall be ignominious, for it shall have been self- 
designed and self-inflicted ! Yet, upon the brink of 
this abyss, listen, for a moment, to the voice which 
speaks to you from the vaults of Mount Saint Jerome ; 
and if you distrust the advice of the friend who now 
addresses you — one who has done something to assist 
you, and who, I believe, has not been unfaithful to 
you in some moments of difficulty, and, perhaps, of 
danger — if you do not trust me, listen, at least, to the 
voice of one who has been carried to his grave amid 
the tears and prayers of all classes of his countrymen, 
and of whose courage and whose truth there has never 
yet been uttered the slightest doubt : "Be bold, but 



138 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

wise — ^be brave, but sober — ^patient, earnest, striving, 
and untiring. You have sworn to be temperate for 
your comfort here and your well-being hereafter. Be 
temperate now for the honour, the happiness, the 
immortality of your country — act trustfully and truth- 
fully one to another — ^watch, wait, and leave the rest 
to God." 



A Reply to the Placehunters 

Speech at the Waterford Hustings, March 4TH, 
1848. 

Mr. Sheriff and gentlemen, electors of the city of 
Waterford, I stand before you convicted of a most 
serious crime. I have claimed the representation of 
my native city ; and, my opponents tell me, I have 
claimed it with an effrontery which can never be for- 
given. I, who have stretched out my hand to the 
Orangemen of Ulster, and from that spot, where the 
banner of King James was rent by the sword of William, 
have passionately prayed for the extinction of those 
feuds which have been transmitted to us through the 
rancorous blood of five generations. — ^I, who have 
presumed to say, that the God, by whose will I breathe, 
has given to me a mind that should not cringe and 
crawl along the earth, but should expand and soar, 
and, in the rapture of its free will, exultingly pursue 
its own career. — I, who have dared to assert the 
sovereignty of this mind, and, ambitious to preserve in 
it the charter and inheritance I had from heaven, 
have disdained to be the slave of one, whom, were it 
not an impious perversion of the noblest gift of God, it 
might have been no ignominy to serve. — I, who have 
been spurned from the hearse of the Catholic emanci- 
pator, and am stained with the blood which his retinue, 
with such a decent resentment, have filched from his 
coffin and dashed in my face.^— I, who have rushed 
through this career of criminality, and have thus 

139 



140 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

been soiled and stigmatised, have had the daring to 
stand here this day, and claim, through your suffrages, 
an admission to the senate of empire ! This act of 
mine has been pronounced to be without parallel in 
the records of the most intemperate presumption, has 
been so pronounced by those eminent politicians of our 
city, who so long have swayed its destinies to their own 
account. Should their censure fail to extinguish me, 
is there not, in other quarters, an envious ability at 
work with which I have not strength sufficient to 
compete ? Has not the Loyal National Repeal 
Association declared against me ? And is it possible 
— ^possible ! — that you will be so degenerate and 
seditious as to spurn this attempt to tamper with your 
votes ? What, then, inspires me to proceed ? Against 
this sea of troubles, what strength have I to beat my 
way towards that bold headland, upon which I have 
sworn to plant the flag I have rescued from the wreck ? 
JWeak, reckless, bewildered youth ! — ^with those clouds 
breaking above my head — ^with cries of vengeance 
ringing in my ears — ^what sign of hope glitters along 
the waters ? There is a sign of hope — the people are 
standing on this headland, and they beckon me to 
advance ! Yes, the people are with me in this struggle, 
and it is this that gives nerve to my arm, and passion 
to my heart. Whilst they are with me, I will face the 
worst — I can defy the boldest — I may despise the 
proudest. You who oppose me, look to the generous 
and impetuous crowd, in the heart of which I was 
borne to the steps of this hcill ; and tell me — in that 
crowd, do you not find some slight apology for the 
crime of which, in your impartial judgments, I stand 
convicted ? Does not that honest thrift, that bold 
integrity, that precipitate enthusiasm, plead in my 
defence, and, by the decree of the people, has not my 



REPLY TO THE PLACEHUNTERS 141 

crime become a virtue ? By this decree, has not the 
sentence against the culprit, the anarchist, the infidel, 
been reversed ? By this decree, I say, have not these 
infamous designations been swept away ? and here, 
asserting the independence of the Island, shall I not 
recognise, in the justice of the people, their title to 
accept an eminent responsibility — ^their ability to attain 
an exalted destination ? You say " no," to all this — 
you gentlemen of the Corporation and the Repeal 
news-room. Ah ! you are driving the old coach still. 
You will not give way to modern improvements — ^you 
are behind your time most sadly — conservative of error, 
intolerant of truth. Is it not so ? Is not your cry 
still the hackneyed cry—" You have differed with 
O'Connell — you have maligned O'Connell." You meet 
me, gentlemen, with these two accusations, and to 
these accusations you require an answer. The answer 
shall be concise and blunt. The first accusation, that 
I have differed with O'Connell, is honourably true. 
The second accusation, that I have maligned O'Connell, 
is malignantly false. It is true that I differed with 
Mr. O'Connell, and I glory in the act by which I for- 
feited the confidence of slaves, arid won the sanction 
of independent citizens. I differed with him, for I 
was conscious of a free soul, and felt that it would be 
an abdication of existence to consign it to captivity. 
Was this a crime ? Do you curse the man who will not 
barter the priceless jewel of his soul ? To be your 
favourite — ^to win your honours — must I be a slave ? 
What ! was it for this that you were called forth from 
the dust upon which you trample ? What ! was it for 
this you were gifted with that eternal strength, by 
which you can triumph over the obscurity of a plebeian 
birth — ^by which you can break through the conceits 
and laws of fashion — ^by which you can cope with the 



143 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

craft of the thief and the genius of the tyrant — ^by 
which you can defy the exactions of penury, and rear 
a golden prosperity amid the gloom of the garret, and 
the pestilence of the poorhouse — ^by which you can 
step from height to height, and shine far above the 
calamities with which you struggled, and from which 
you sprung — ^by which you can traverse the giddy 
seas, and be a light and glory to the tribes that sit in 
darkness and the shadow of death — ^by which you can 
mount beyond the clouds, and sweep the silver fields, 
where the stars fulfil their mysterious missions — ^by 
which you can gaze, without a shudder, upon the 
sc3^he and shroud of death, and, seeing the grave 
opened at your feet, can look beyond it, and feel that 
it is but the narrow passage to a luminous immortality. 
What ! was it to cramp, to sell, to play the trickster 
and the trifler with this eternal strength that you were 
called forth to walk this sphere — to be, for a time, the 
guest of its bounty and the idolater of its glory ? 
Gentlemen, from this ground I shall not descend, to 
seek, in little details, the vindication of my difference 
with Mr. O'Connell. It was my right to differ with 
him, if I thought him wrong ; and upon that right, in 
the name of truth and freedom, I take my stand. Let 
no man gainsay that right. It is stamped upon the 
throne of the everlasting hills, and the hand that strives 
to blot it out conspires against the dignity of man and 
the benevolence of God. And yet, were it my desire 
to play a petty part upon this day — ^my desire to 
vindicate the conducj, in which I glory, upon low 
and shifting grounds— ^I might tell you, gentlemen of 
the old school, that in the career of Mr. O'Connell it is 
easy to find a justification of the " insubordination " 
you impugn. The Rev. Mr. O'Shea, who I am very 
happy to perceive in the " omnibus box " on my right 



REPLY TO THE PLACEHUNTERS 143 

— he told you, at the meeting in the Town Hall, on last 
Monday week, that I had just as much right to differ 
with Mr. O'Connell, as Mr. O'Connell had to differ with 
Mr. Grattan. The difference between Mr. 'O'Connell 
and Mr. Grattan occurred in July, 18 13. What was 
Mr. O'Connell at that time ? He was a young man — 
a man who had done little or no service to his country, 
and he had certainly advanced a very short way towards 
that commanding position in which we beheld him a 
few months since. But what of Henry Grattan ? 
Henry Grattan, at that time, was venerable for his 
years and services. His grey hairs were encircled with 
a crown of glory, and, as he sat in the Senate Hall of 
England, men gazed upon him with a noble pity ; for 
in his weak, and pale, and shrivelled form, they beheld 
the shadow of that power by which, in 1782, the dead 
came forth, and the sepulchre was clad in beauty — by 
which the province became a kingdom, and, stirred by 
his rushing genius, rose from her bed in the ocean, and 
got nearer to the sun. And did the young O'Conjiell 
blast his prospects by his difference with the great Irish 
citizen ? On this account did vulgar tongues — did 
poisoned pens assail the daring Catholic ? For this, 
was he scoffed at as an infidel — hooted as a traitor to 
his country — outlawed as the murderer of her deliverer ? 
No. I tell you, gentlemen — you, who are in that in- 
convenient corner there, and think you represent the 
city — I tell you this, that public men were more just 
and chivakous in the days o'f Grattan than they are 
in yours ; and if in the war of parties there might 
have been a keener enmity, there was assuredly less 
falsehood, and less cant. I am now done with this 
accusation, and being done with it, I beg leave to tell 
you, that this is the last time I shall apologise for having 
refused to be a slave. Call it vanity— call it ingratitude 



144 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 



call it treachery— -call it, as your prototype, Justice 
Dogberry, would have called it — call it house-breaking 
or flat perjury — call it by any name you please — from 
henceforth I shall but smile at the intolerant dictation 
that will utter, and the mischievous credulity that will 
cheer, an accusation so preposterous and fictitious. Nor 
is it my intention to touch, in the slightest degree, 
upon the other counts in the indictment that has been 
preferred against me. The first count is the only one 
for which I entertain the least respect, so that I deeply 
sympathise with the reverend gentleman who has taken 
such profane and profitless trouble to provoke me. 
However, if he really desires that I should satisfy him 
upon those points to which, with such priestly decorum, 
he has so vehemently referred — I may, perhaps, console 
him by the assurance that, in the statement of the 
grounds upon which I seek the representation of this 
city, that satisfaction may be gained. This statement 
will be very brief. I am an enemy of the Legislative 
Union — an enemy of that Union in every shape and 
form that it may assume — an enemy of that Union 
whatever blessing it may bring — an enemy of that 
Union whatever sacrifice its extinction may require. 
Maintain the Union, gentlemen, and maintain your 
beggary. Maintain the Union, and maintain your 
bankruptcy. Maintain the Union, and maintain yolir 
famine. Tolerate the usurpation which the EngUsh 
parliament has achieved, and you tolerate the power 
in which your resources, your energies, yom: institutions 
are absorbed. Tolerate the rigour of the EngUsh Con- 
servatives — ^their proclamations and state prosecutions 
— ^tolerate the English Whigs — ^their smiles and compli- 
ments — ^their liberal appointments, and modified coercion 
bills — and you tolerate the two policies through which 
the statesmen of England have alternately managed. 




Patrick O'Donoghue 



REPLY TO THE PLACEHUNTERS 145 

ruled, and robbed this country. On the morning of 
the i8th of October, in the year 1172, upon the broad 
waters of our native Suir, the spears and banners of a 
royal pirate were glittering in the sun. Did the old 
city of the Ostmen send forth a shout of defiance as 
the splendid pageant moved up the stream, and flung 
its radiance on our walls ? No ; from these walls no 
challenge was hurled at the foe ; but, from the tower 
of Reginald, the grey eye of a stately soldier glistened 
as they came, and whilst he waved his hand, and showed 
the keys of the city he had won, the name of Strongbow 
was heard amid the storm of shouts that rocked the 
galleys to and fro. He was the first adventurer that 
set his heel on Irish soil in the name of England ; and 
he — the sleek the cautious, and the gallant Strongbow 
— ^was the type and herald of that plague with which 
this Island has been cursed for seven desolating 
centuries. The historian Holinshed has said of him, 
that " what he could not compass by deeds, he won by 
good works and gentle speeches." Do you not find in 
this short sentence an exact description of that despot- 
ism which has held this Island from the day? of Strong- 
bow, the archer, down to our own — the days of Claren- 
don, the green-crop lecturer. By force or fraud — ^by 
steel or gold — by threat or smile — ^by liberal appoint- 
ments or speedy executions — ^by jail deliveries or 
special commissions — by dinners in the Park or massacres 
at Clontarf — by the craft of the thief or the genius of 
the tyrant — they have held this Island ever since that 
morning in October, 1172 ; seducing those whom they 
could not terrify — slaying those whom they could 
neither allure nor intimidate. Thus may the history 
of the Enghsh connection be told — a black, a boisterous 
night, in which there shone but one brief interval of 
peace and lustre ! Friends and foes ! — you who cheer, 

10 



146 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

and you who hiss me (Cries from the Old Ireland party 
— " No one hissed you."). Well, then, you who cheer, 
and you who curse me — sons of the one soil — inheritors 
of the one destiny — look back to that interval, and, 
for an instant, contemplate its glory. Now, you who 
quake and quiver when I insist upon the right of this 
country to be held, governed, and defended by its own 
citizens, and by them alone — ^you who are so industrial 
in your projects, and so constitutional in your efforts 
— what do you say to your fathers, the actors in that 
scene ? Conservatives of Waterford, who were the 
officers in the Irish army that occupied our Island on 
the i6th of April, 1782 ? Call the muster-roll, and at 
the head pf the regiments levied in Waterford, the 
Alcocks, the Carews, the Boltons, the Beresfords, will 
appear. And will you, gentlemen — the grand jmrors 
of the city and the county — forswear the right of 
which they were the champions ? Will that which 
was loyalty in the fathers be sedition in the sons ? 
Time does not change virtue into vice. Do not scruple, 
then, to revive the sentiments of those whose name 
you bear, and to whose principles — if you have any 
pride of ancestry — you should ambitiously adhere. 
You have stood aloof too long from the people, of whose 
integrity in this contest you have had so startling an 
attestation ; and deterred by vague fears and vaguer 
prejudices, you have leant most cringingly upon 
England, instead of trusting manfully to yourselves. 
Identify yourselves with the hopes, the ideas, the 
labomrs of your country ; make the .country your own, 
and make it worthy of your pride. Form for the future 
no mean estimate of its powers ; assign to it no narrow 
space for its career ; open to it the widest field — con- 
ceive for it the boldest destiny. Repealers of Water- 
ford — ^you who oppose me — is your resentment towards 



REPLY TO THE PLACEHUNTERS 147 

me (Great confusion, in which the rest of the sentence 

was lost). Well, then, is "Old Ireland" still your 
cry ? Old Ireland, indeed 1 I am not against Old 
Ireland : but I am against the vices that have made 
Ireland old. The enmity I bear to the Legislative 
Union is not more bitter than the enmity I bear to 
those practices and passions from which that Union 
derives its ruinous vitality. Impatient for the inde- 
pendence of my country — ^intolerant of every evil 
that averts the blessing — I detest the bigot, and despise 
the place-beggar. Who stands here to bless the bigot 
or to cheer the place-beggar ? They are the worst 
enemies of Ireland. The rancour of the one, and the 
venality of the other, constitute the strongest forces 
by which this Island is fettered in subjection. Down 
with the bigot ! he who would sacrifice the nation to 
the supremacy of his sect. Down with the bigot ! he 
would persecute the courage which had truth for its 
inspiration, and had humanity for its cause. Down 
with the bigot ! he would banish the genius which, in 
the distribution of its fruits, was generous to all creeds ; 
and in the circle of its light would embrace every altar 
in the land. Down with the place-beggar ! he would 
traffic in a noble cause, and beg a bribe in the name of 
liberty. Down with the place-beggar ! he would fawn 
in private on the men whom he scourged in public, and 
with his services sustain the usurpation his invectives 
had assailed. Down with the place-beggar ! he would 
thrive by traitorism ; and, in the enjoyment of his 
salary, he would spurn the people upon whose shoulders 
he had mounted to that eminence, from which he had 
beckoned to the minister, and said — " Look here — a 
slave for hire — a. slave of consequence — a valuable 
slave — the people have confided in me." You have 
now some notion of the principles upon which I stand. 



J48 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Do you scout, detest these principles ? Do you think 
them intolerant, profane, and impure ? Declare your 
opinion, and decide my fate. If you declare against 
my principles, you declare against the claim I have this 
day urged. I can borrow no great name to hide my 
own insignificance ; I have been the servant of no 
government — the follower of no house. Without any 
of those great influences to assist me, upon which 
public men usually depend, I flung myself into this 
struggle, trusting to the power of truth and the en- 
thusiasm of the people. It was a daring act, yet there 
is a wisdom sometimes in audacity. There was a bold 
spirit slumbering amongst you — ^it required but one 
bold act alone to startle it into a resolute activity. I 
am guilty of that act, and I await the penalty. Punish 
me, if you desire to retain your past character. Pre- 
serve the famous motto of our ancient municipality 
free from stain. As it was won by a slavish loyalty, 
so maintain it by a sordid patriotism. Spurn me ! I 
have been jealous of my freedom, and in the pursuit 
of liberty I have scorned to work in shackles. Spurn 
me ! I have fought my own way through the storm of 
politics, and have played, I think, no coward's part 
upon the way. Spurn me ! I loathe the gold of England, 
and deem them slaves who would accept it. Spurn 
me ! I will not beg a bribe for any of you — ^I will negotiate 
no pedlar's bargain between the minister and the people. 
Spurn me ! I have raised my voice against the tricks 
and vices of Irish politics, and have preached the attain- 
ment of a noble end by noble means. Spurn me ! I 
have claimed the position and the powers which none 
amongst you, save the tame and venal, will refuse to 
demand, and in doing this I have acted as became a 
free, unpehsioned citizen. 



Repeal or a Republic 

Speech in the Music Hall, March iith, 1848, at a 
Meeting of the Irish Confederation, in Moving 
THE Adoption of an Address to the Citizens 
of Dublin.! 

Citizens of Dublin, I move the adoption of that 
address. In doing so, I will follow the advice of my 
friend, Mr. M'Gee. This is not the time for long 
speeches. Everything we say here, just now, should 
be short, sharp, and decisive. I move the adoption 
of that address, for this reason — the instruction it 
gives you, if obeyed, will keep you in possession of 
that opportunity which the revolution of Paris has 
created. The game is in your hands, at last ; and you 
have a partner in the play upon whom you may depend. 
Look towards the southern wave, and do you not find 
it crimsoned with the flame in which the throne of 
the Tuilleries has been consumed ? — and, borne upon 
that wave, do you not hail the rainbow flag, which, a 
few years since, glittered from the hills of Bantry ? 
Has not France proclaimed herself the protectress of 
weak nations, and is not the sword of the Republic 
pledged to the oppressed nationalities which, in Europe, 
and elsewhere, desire to reconstruct themselves ? The 
feet that have trampled upon the sceptre of July 
have trampled upon the Treaty of Vienna. Hence- 
forth the convenience of kings wiU be shghtly 
consulted by France, where the necessities of a people 

1 At this meeting an address to the French Provisional 
Government was also adopted ; and the address, which 
Meagher moved, called upon the people not to be led into a 
premature rismg on the 17th of March, for which the Govern- 
inent were formidably prepared. 

149 



150 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

manifest themselves. But do not wait for France. Do 
not beg the blood which, on the altar of the Madeleine, 
she consecrates to the service of humanity. Do not 
purchase yomr independence at the expense of those 
poor workmen, whose heroism has been so impetuous, 
so generous, so tolerant. It is sufficient for us, that 
the Republic — ^to use the language of Lamartine — 
shines from its place upon the horizon of nations, to 
instruct and guide them. Listen to these instructions 
— accept this guidance — and be confident of success. 
Fraternise ! — I will use the word, though the critics 
of the Castle reject it as the cant of the day — I will 
use it, for it is the spell-word of weak nations. 
Fraternise ! — as the citizens of Paris have done ; 
and in the clasped hands which arch the colossal car 
in that great funeral procession of the 4th of March, 
behold the sign in which your victory shall be won. 
Do you not redden at the thoughts of your contemptible 
factions — ^their follies — and their crimes ? Do you not 
see, that every nation with a sensible head and an 
upright heart, laughs at the poor profligate passion 
which frets and fights for a straw in this parish — a 
feather in that barony — a bubble in that river ? Have 
you not learned by this, that, whilst you have been 
fighting for those straws and bubbles, the country has 
been wrenched from beneath your feet, and made over 
to the brigands of the Castle ? And what enables 
these sleek and silken brigands to hold your country ? 
Have you fought them ? Have you struck blow for- 
blow, and been worsted in the fight ? Think of it — 
you marched against them a few years back, and when 
you drew up before the Castle gates, you cursed and 
cuffed each other — and then withdrew. Withdrew ! 
For what ? To repair the evil ? To reunite the 
forces ? Ah, I will not sting you with these questions 



REPEAL OR A REPUBLIC 151 

— I will not sting myself. Let no Irishman look into 
the past. He will be scared at the evidences of his 
guilt — evidences which spring up, like weeds and 
briars, in that bleak waste of ruins. Between us and 
the past, let a wall arise, and, as if this day was the 
first of our existence, let us advance together towards 
that destiny, in the light of which this old Island shall 
renew itself. Citizens — I use another of the " cant 
phrases " of the day, for this, too, is a spell-word with 
weak nations — I speak thus, in spite of circumstances 
which withm the last few days — I allude to the addresses 
from the University and the Orange Lodges — ^have 
darkened the prospect of a national union. I speak 
thus, in spite of that squeamish morality which decries 
the inspiration of the time, and would check the lofty 
passion which desires to manifest itself in arms. But, 
I will not despair of this union, whoever may play the 
factionist. The people will act for themselves, and in 
their hands, the liberty of the country will not be com- 
promised. At this startling moment — ^when your 
fortunes are swinging in the balance — ^let no man dictate 
to you. Trust to your own intelligence, sincerity, and 
power. Do not place your prerogatives in commission 
— ^the sovereign people should neither lend nor abdicate 
the sceptre. As to the upper classes — respectable 
circles of society — ^genteel nobodies — ^nervous aristocrats 
— ^friends of order and starvation — of pestilence and 
peace — of speedy hangings and green-cropping — as to 
these conspirators against the life and dignity of this 
Island, they must no longer be courted. They are 
cowards, and when they know your strength, they will 
cling to you for protection. Do I tell you to refuse this 
protection ? Were I base enough to do so, you would 
remind me that the revolution of Paris has been 
immortalised by the clemency of the people. In my 



152 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

letter, last week, to the Council of the Confederation. 
I stated it was not my wish to urge any suggestion as 
to the course we should now pursue. Upon reflection, 
however, I think I am called upon to declare to you my 
opinion upon this question, for it would not be honour- 
able, I conceive, for any prominent member of the 
Confederation to shield himself at this crisis. And I 
am the more anxious to declare my opinion upon this 
question of ways and means, since I had not the good 
fortune of being present at your two previous meetings, 
and, perhaps, my absence may have occasioned some 
suspicion. I think, then, that from a meeting — con- 
stituted, as the Repealers of Kilkenny have suggested, 
of delegates from the chief towns and parishes — a 
deputation should proceed to London, and, in the 
name of the Irish people, demand an interview with 
the Queen. Should the demand be refused, let the 
Irish deputies pack up their court dresses — as Benjamin 
Franklin did, when repulsed from the court of George III 
— and let them, then and there, make solemn oath, 
that when they next demand an admission to the 
throne room of St. James's, it shall be through the 
accredited ambassador of the Irish Republic. Should 
the demand be conceded, let the deputies approach 
the throne, and, in firm and respectful terms, call upon 
the Queen to exercise the royal prerogative, and summon 
her Irish parliament to sit, and advise her, in the city 
of Dublin. Should the call be obeyed — ^should the 
sceptre touch the bier, and she " who is not dead, but 
sleepeth," start, at its touch, into a fresh and luminous 
existence — then, indeed, may we bless the Constitution 
we have been taught to curse ; and Irish loyalty, 
ceasing to be a mere ceremonious affectation, become, 
with us, a sincere devotion to the just ruler of an 
independent State. Should the claim be rejected — 



REPEAL OR A REPUBLIC 153 

should the throne stand as a barrier between the Irish 
people and their supreme right — ^then loyalty will be 
a crime, and obedience to the executive will be treason 
to the country. I say it calmly, seriously, and de- 
liberately — it will then be our duty to fight, and 
desperately fight. The opinions of Whig statesmen 
have been quoted here to-night — I beg to remind 
you of Lord Palmerston's language in reference to the 
insurrection at Lisbon, last September — " I say that 
the people were justified in saying to the government, 
If you do not give us a parliament in which to state 
our wrongs and grievances, we shall state them by 
arms and by force." I adopt those words, and I call 
upon you to adopt them likewise. Citizens of Dubhn, 
I know well what I may incur by the expression of 
these sentiments — I know it well — ^therefore, let no 
man indulgently ascribe them to ignorance or to idiotcy. 
Were I more moderate — as some Whig sympathiser 
would say — more sensible — as he might add, without 
meaning anything personal, of course, — more practical 
— as he would further beg leave to remark, without 
at all meaning to deny that I possessed some excellent 
points — in fact, and in truth, were I a temperate trifler, 
a polished knave, a scientific dodger — I might promise 
myself a pleasant life, many gay scenes, perhaps no 
few privileges. Moderate, sensible, practical men, are 
sure to obtain privileges just now. Paid poor-law 
guardianships are plentiful, now-a-days, and the invita- 
tions to the Castle are indiscriminate and innumerable. 
But, I desire to be, neither moderate nor sensible, 
neither sensible nor practical, in the sense attached to 
these words by the polite and slavish circle, of which 
his Excellency is the centre. It is the renunciation of 
truth, of manhood, and of country — the renunciation 
oi the noblest lessons with which the stately genjus 



154 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

of antiquity has crowned the hills of Rome, and 
sanctified the dust of Greece — ^the renunciation of all 
that is frank, and chivalrous, and inspiring — it is the 
renunciation of all this which makes you acceptable 
in the eyes of that meagre, spectral royalty, which 
keeps " open house " for reduced gentlemen upon the 
summit of Cork Hill. Better to swing from the gibbet, 
than live and fatten on such terms as these. Better 
to rot within the precincts of the common jail — ^when 
the law has curbed your haughty neck, young traitor 1 
— ^than be the moderate, sensible, practical villain, 
which these Chesterfields of the Dublin promenades 
and saloons would entreat you to be, for the sake of 
society, and the success of the Whigs. But the hour 
is on the stroke when these conceits and mockeries 
shall be trampled in the dust. The storm which dashed 
the crown of Orleans against the Column of July, has 
rocked the foundations of the Castle. They have no 
longer a safe bedding in the Irish soil. To the first 
breeze which shakes the banners of the European 
rivals they must give way. Be upon the watch, and 
catch the breeze ! When the world is in arms — ^when 
the silence, which, for two and thirty years, has reigned 
upon the plain of Waterloo, at last is broken — then be 
prepared to grasp your freedom with an armed hand, 
and hold it with the same. In the meantime, take 
warning from this address — " do not suffer your sacred 
cause to be ruined by stratagem or surprise." Beware 
of the ingenuity, the black art, of those who hold your 
country. By your sagacious conduct, keep them 
prisoners in their barracks on the 17th. There must be 
no bloody joke at your expense amongst the jesters 
and buffoons in St. Patrick's Hall upon that night. 
Citizens of Dublin, you have heard my opinions. These 
opinions may be very rash, but it would not be honest 



REPEAL OR A REPUBLIC 155 

to conceal them. The time has come for every Irish- 
man to speak out. The address of the University 
declares, that it is the duty of every man in the kingdom 
to say, whether he be the friend, or the foe, of the 
government. I think so, too, and I declare myself 
the enemy of the government. But if I am rash — it 
was Rome, it was Palermo, it was Paris, that made 
me rash. Vexed by the indiscretion — ^the fanaticism — 
of these cities, who can keep his temper — dole out 
placid law — and play the gentle demagogue ? When 
the sections of Paris were thickening, like the clouds 
of a tempest, round the Tuilleries, in 1793, Louis XVI 
put on his court dress, and, in his ruffles and silk 
stockings, waited for the thunderbolt. Is it thus that 
you will wait for the storm now gathering over Europe ? 
Shall the language of the nation be the language of 
the Four Courts ? Will the revolution be made with 
rose-water ? Look up ! — look up ! — and behold the 
incentives of the hour. By the waves of the Mediter- 
ranean the Sicilian noble stands, and presents to you the 
flag of freedom. From the steps of the Capitol, the 
keeper of the sacred keys unfurls the banner that was 
buried in the grave of the Bandieras, and invites you 
to accept it. , From the tribune of the French Republic 
where that gallant workman exclaimed — " Respect the 
rights of property ! — the people have shown that they 
will not be ill-governed — let them prove they know 
how to use properly the victory they have won " — 
frorn this tribune, where these noble words are uttered, 
the hand of labour — ^the strong hand of God's nobility 
— ^proffers you the flag of independence. Will you 
refuse to take it ? Will you sneak away from' the noble, 
the pontiff, and the workman ? Will you shut your 
eyes to the splendours that surround you, and grope 
your way in darkness to the grave ? Ah, pardon me 



156 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

this language — it is not the language which the awaken- 
ing spirit of the country justifies. Taught by the 
examples of Italy, of France, of Sicily, the citizens of 
Ireland shall, at last, unite. To the enmities that 
have snapped the ties of citizenship, there shall be a 
wise and generous termination. Henceforth, the power 
of the Island shall be lodged in one head, one heart, 
one arm. One thought shall animate, one passion 
shall inflame, one effort concentrate, the genius, the 
enthusiasm, the heroism of the people. Thus united — 
to repeat what I have said, before — ^let the demand for 
the reconstruction of the nationaUty of Ireland be con- 
stitutionally made. Depute your worthiest citizens 
to approach the throne, and, before that throne, let 
the will of the Irish people be uttered with dignity and 
decision. If nothing comes of this — if the constitution 
opens to us no path of freedom — if the Union will be 
maintained in spite of the will of the Irish people — ^if 
the government of Ireland insists upon being a govern- 
ment of dragoons and bombardiers, of detectives and 
light infantry — ^then, up with the barricades, and 
invoke the God of Battles ! Should we succeed — oh ! 
think of the joy, the ecstasy, the glory of this old 
Irish nation, which, in that hoiir, will grow young and 
strong again. Should we fail — ^the country will not be 
worse than it is now — ^the sword of famine is less 
sparing than the bayonet of the soldier. And if we, 
who have spoken to you in this language, should fall 
with you — or if, reserved for a less glorious death, we 
be flung to the vultures of the law — then shall we 
recollect the words of France — ^recollect the promise 
she has given to weak nations — and standing upon 
the scaffold, within one heart's beat of eternity, our last 
cry upon this earth shall be — " France ! France ! 
revenge us I " 



Famine and Felony 

Speech at the Soiree, Given by the Confederates 
OF Limerick to Messrs. O'Brien, Meagher, 
AND Mitchel, Previous to their Trials for 
Sedition, May, 1848. 

Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen, the occur- 
rences of this evening do not dishearten me. I am 
encouraged by your sympathy, and can, therefore, 
forgive the rudeness of a mob. Nor do I conceive 
that our cause is injured by these manifestations of 
ignorance and immorahty. The mists from the marshes 
obscure the sun — they do not taint — they do not ex- 
tinguish it. Enough of this. The wrongs and perils 
of the country must exclude from our minds every 
other subject of consideration. From the summer of 
1846 to the winter of 1847, the wing of an avenging 
angel swept our soil and sky. The fruits of the earth 
died, as the shadow passed, and they who had nursed 
them into life read in the withered leaves that they, 
too, should die ; and, dying, swell the red catalogue 
of carnage in which the sins and splendours of that 
empire — of which we are the prosecuted foes — ^have 
been immortalised. And, whilst death thus counted 
in his spoils by the score, we, who should have stood 
up between the destroyer and the doomed — ^we, who 
should have prayed together, marched together, fought 
together to save the people — ^we were in arms ! — drilled 
and disciplined into factions ! — striking each other 
across the graves that each day opened at our feet, 
instead of joining hands above them, and snatching 

157 



158 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

victory from death ! The cry of famine was lost in the 
cry of faction, and many a brave heart, flying from 
the scene, bled as it looked back upon the riotous 
profanation in which the worst passions of the country 
were engaged. You know the rest — you know the 
occurrences of the last few weeks. At the very hoiu: 
when the feud was hottest, a voice from the banks of 
the Seine summoned us to desist. That voice has 
been obeyed — ^we have trampled upon the whims and 
prejudices that divided us — and it is this event that 
explains the sedition in which we glory. The sudden 
re-construction of that power which, in 1843, menaced 
the integrity of the empire, and promised liberty to 
this island, dictated the language which has entitled 
us to the vengeance of the minister, and the confidence of 
the people. Nor this alone. It is not in the language of 
the lawyer, or the police magistrate, that the wrongs and 
aspirations of an oppressed nation should be stated. 
For the pang with which it writhes — for the passion 
with which it heaves — for the chafed heart — the burning 
brain — the quickening pulse — ^the soaring soul — ^there 
is a language quite at variance with the grammar and 
the syntax of a government. It is bold, and passionate, 
and generous. It often glows with the fire of genius — 
it sometimes thunders with the spirit of the prophet. 
It is tainted with no falsehood — ^it is polished with no 
flattery. In the desert — on the mountain — ^within the 
city — everywhere — ^it has been spoken, throughout all 
ages. It requires no teaching — it is the inherent and 
imperishable language of humanity ! Kings, soldiers, 
judges, hangmen, have proclaimed it. In pools of 
blood they have sought to cool and quench this fiery 
tongue. They have built the prison — ^they have 
launched the convict-ship — they have planted the 
gallows tree — to warn it to be still. The sword, the 



FAMINE AND FELONY 159 

■sceptre, the black cap, the guillotine— all have failed. 
Sedition wears the crown in Europe on this day, 
and the scaffold, on which the poor scribes of royalty 
had scrawled her death-sentence, is the throne upon 
which she receives the homage of humanity, and 
guarantees its glory. Therefore, it is, I do not blush 
for the crime with which I have been charged. There- 
fore, it is, you have invited a traitorous triumvirate to 
your ancient and gallant city, and have honoured 
them this evening. In doing so, you have taken your 
stand against the government of England, and I know 
of no spot in Ireland where a braver stand should be 
made than here, by the waters of the Shannon, where 
the sword of Sarsfield flashed. Whilst that old Treaty 
stone, without the Thomond gate, attests the courage 
and the honour of your fathers, the nerve and faith 
of Limerick shall never be mistrusted. No, there 
could be no coward born within those walls, which, 
in their old age, instruct so thrillingly the young hearts 
that gaze upon them with reverence — whispering to 
them, as they do, memories that drive the blood, in 
boiling currents, through the veins — telling those 
young hearts, not to doubt, not to falter, not to fear 
— ^that in a sunnier hour the Wild Geese shall yet return 
from France. These sentiments are, no doubt, seditious, 
and the expression of them may bring me within the 
provisions of this new Felony Bill — ^the bill, mind you, 
that is to strike this nation dumb ! Yes, from this 
day out, you must lie down, and eat your words ! 
Yes, you — you starved wretch, lying naked in that 
ditch, with clenched teeth aiid staring eye, gazing 
on the clouds that redden with the flames in which 
your hovel is consumed — what matters it that the 
claw of hunger is fastening in your heart — ^what matters 
it that the hot poison of the fever is shooting through 



i6o MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

your brain — ^what matters it that the tooth of the lean 
dog is cutting through the bone of that dead child, of 
which you were once the guardian — ^what matters it 
that the lips of that spectre there, once the pride and 
beauty of the village, when you wooed and won her as 
your bride, are blackened with the blood of the youngest 
to whom she has given birth — ^what matters it that the 
golden grain, which sprung from the sweat you squan- 
dered on the soil has been torn from your grasp, and 
Heaven's first decree to fallen man be contravened by 
human law — ^what matters it that you are thus pained 
and stung — thus lashed and maddened — hush ! — ^beat 
back the passion that rushes from your heart — check 
the curse that gurgles in your throat — die ! — die 
without a groan ! — die without a struggle ! — die without 
a cry ! — for the government which starves you, desires 
to live in peace ! Shall this be so ? Shall the con- 
quest of Ireland be this year completed ? Shall the 
spirit which has survived the pains and penalties of 
centuries — ^which has never ceased to stir the heart of 
Ireland with the hope of a better day — ^which has de- 
fied the sword of famine and the sword of law — ^which 
has lived through the desolation of the last year, and 
kept the old flag flying, spite of the storm which rent 
its folds — ^what ! shall this spirit sink down at last — 
tamed and crippled by the blow with which it has 
been struck — muttering no sentiment that is not loyal, 
legal, slavish, and corrupt ? Why should I put this 
question ? Have I not been already answered by that 
flash of arms, which purifies the air where the pestilence 
has been ? Have I not already caught the quick 
beating of that heart, which many men had said was 
cold and dull, and, in its strong pulsation, have we not 
heard the rushing of that current, which, for a time, 
may overflow the lemd — overflow it, to fertilise, to 



FAMINE AND FELONY i6i 

restore, and beautify ? The mind of Ireland no longer 
wavers. It has acquired the faith, the constancy, the 
heroism of a predestined martyr. It foresees the 
worst — ^prepares for the worst. The cross — as in 
Milan — ^glitters in the haze of battle, and points to 
eternity 1 We shall no longer seek for liberty in the 
bye-ways. On the broad field, in front of the foreign 
swords, the soul of this nation, grown young and 
chivalrous again, shall clothe herself, like the Angel 
of the Resurrection, in the white robe, and point to 
the sepidchre that is void ; or shall mount the scaffold 
— ^that eminence on which many a radiant transfigura- 
tion has taken place — and bequeath to the crowd below 
a lesson for their instruction. 



John Mitchel 



Speech in the Music Hall, June, 1848, at a Meeting 
OF THE Irish Confederation, upon the Trial 
AND Transportation of John Mitchel. 

Citizens of Dublin, since we last assembled in this 
Hall, an event has occurred which decides our fate. 
We are no longer masters of our lives. They belong 
to our country — to liberty — ^to vengeance. Upon the 
walls of Newgate a fettered hand has inscribed this 
destiny — ^we shall be the martyrs or the rulers of a 
revolution. " One, two, three — ay, hundreds shall 
follow me," exclaimed the glorious citizen who was 
sentenced to exile and immortality upon the morning 
of the 27th of May. Such was his prophecy, and his 
children will live to say it has been fulfilled. Let no 
man mistrust these words ; 'whilst I speak them I am 
fully sensible of the obligations they impose. It is an 
obligation from which there is no exemption but 
through infamy. Claiming your trust, however, I 
well know the feeling that prevails amongst you — 
doubt — depression — shame ! Doubt, as to the truth 
of those whose advice restrained your daring. De- 
pression, inspired by the loss of the ablest and the 
boldest man amongst us. Shame, excited by the ease, 
the insolence, the impunity with which he was hurried 
in chains from the island to whose service he had 
sacrificed all that he had on earth — all that made 
life dear, and honourable, and glorious to him — ^his 
home, his genius, and his liberty. In those feelings 

I§2 



JOHN MITCHEL 163 

of depression and shame I deeply share ; and from 
the mistrust with which some of you, at least, may 
regard the members of the late Council, I shall not 
hold myself exempt. If they are to blame, so am I. 
Between the hearts of the people and the bayonets of 
the government, I took my stand, with the members 
of the Council, and warned back the precipitate de- 
votion which scoffed at prudence as a crime. I am 
here to answer for that act. If you believe it to have 
been the act of a dastard, treat me with no delicacy, 
treat me with no respect — ^vindicate your courage in 
the impeachment of the coward. The necessities and 
perils of the cause forbid the interchange of courtesies. 
Civihties are out of place in the whirl and tumult of 
the tempest ; and do not fear that the forfeiture of 
your confidence will induce in me the renunciation of 
the cause. In the ranks — ^by the side of the poorest 
mechanic — I shall proudly act, under any executive 
you may decree. Summon the intellect and heroism 
of the democracy, from the workshop, the field, the 
garret — ^bind the brow of labour with the crown of 
sovereignty — place the sceptre in the rough and 
blistered hand — and, to the death, I shall be the sub- 
ject and the soldier of the plebeian king. The address 
of the Council to the people of Ireland — the address 
signed by William Smith O'Brien — ^bears witness to 
your determination ; it states that thousands of con- 
federates had pledged themselves that John Mitchel 
should not leave these shores but through their blood. 
We were bound to make this statement — ^bound in 
justice to you — Abound in honour to the country. 
Whatever odium may flow from that scene of victorious 
defiance, in which the government played its part 
without a stammer or a check, none falls on you. You 
would have fought, had we not seized your hands, and 



i64 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

bound them. Let no foul tongue, then, spit its sar- 
casms upon the people. They were ready for the 
sacrifice ; and had the word been given, the stars 
would burn this night above a thousand crimsoned 
graves. The guilt is ours — let the sarcasms fall upon 
our heads. We told you in the clubs, four days previous 
to the trial, the reasons that compelled us to oppose 
the project of a rescue. The concentration of 10,000 
troops upon the city — the incomplete organisation of 
the people — the insufficiency of food, in case of a 
sustained resistance — the uncertainty as to how far the 
country districts were prepared to support us — ^these 
were the chief reasons that forced us into an antagonism 
with your generosity, your devotion, your intrepidity. 
Night after night we visited the clubs, to know your 
sentiments, your determination — and to the course we 
instructed you to adopt, you gave, at length, a reluctant 
sanction. Now, I do not think it would be candid 
in me to conceal the fact, that the day subsequent to 
the arrest of John Mitchel, I gave expression to senti- 
ments having a tendency quite opposite to the advice 
I have mentioned. At a meeting of the Grattan Club, 
I said that the Confederation ought to come to the 
resolution to resist by force the transportation of 
John Mitchel, and if the worst befel us, the ship that 
carried him away should sail upon a sea of blood. I 
said this, and I shall not now conceal it. I said this, 
and I shall not shrink from the reproach of having 
acted otherwise. Upon consideration, I became con^ 
vinced they were sentiments which, if acted upon, 
would associate my name with the ruin of the cause. 
I feel it my duty, therefore, to retract them — ^not to 
disown, but to condemn them — not to shrink from the 
responsibility which the avowal of them might entail, 
but to avert the disaster which the enforcement of 



JOHN MITCHEL 165 

them would ensure. You have now heard all I have to 
say on that point ; and, with a conscience happy in the 
thought that it has concealed nothing, I shall ex- 
ultingly look forward to an event, the shadow of 
which already encircles us, for the vindication of my 
conduct, and the attestation of my truth. Call me 
coward — call me renegade. I will accept these titles 
as the penalties which a fidelity to my convictions has 
imposed. I will be so for a short time only. To the 
end I see the path I have been ordained to walk, and 
upon the grave which closes in that path I can read 
no coward's epitaph. Bitterly, indeed, might the 
wife and children of our illustrious friend lament the 
loss they have sustained, if his example failed to excite 
amongst us that defiant spirit which, in spite of pains 
and penalties, will boldly soar to freedom, and from 
the dust, where it has fretted for a time, return in 
rapturous flight to the source from whence it came. 
Not till then — ^not till the cowardice of the country 
has been made manifest^let there be tears and mourning 
round that hearth, of which the pride and chivalry have 
passed away. I said, that in the depression which his 
loss inspired, I deeply shared. I should not have said 
so. I feel no depression. His example — ^his fortitude 
— ^his courage — forbid the feeling. All that was perish- 
able in him — ^his flesh and blood — are in the keeping of 
the privileged felons who won his liberty with their 
loaded dice. But his genius, his truth, his heroism — 
to what penal settlement have these immortal influences 
been condemned ? Oh ! to have checked the evil 
promptly — ^to have secured their crown and govern- 
ment against him and his teachings — to have done 
their treacherous business well, they should have 
read his mission, and his power, in the star which 
presided at his birth, and have stabbed him in his 



i66 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

cradle. They seized him thirty years too late — they 
seized him when his steady hand had lit the sacred 
fire, and the flame had passed from soul to soul. Who 
speaks of depression, then ? Banish it ! Let not the 
banners droop — ^let not the battalions reel — when the 
young chief is down. You have to avenge that fall. 
Until that fall shall have been avenged, a sin blackens 
the soul of the nation, and repels from our cause the 
sympathies of every gallant people. For one, I am 
pledged to follow him. Once again they shall have to 
pack their jury box — once again, exhibit to the world 
the frauds and mockeries — the tricks and perjuries — 
upon which their power is based. In this island, the 
English never — ^never, shall have rest. The work 
begxm by the Norman never shall be completed. Genera- 
tion transmits to generation the holy passion which 
pants for liberty — ^which frets against oppression ; and 
from the blood which drenched the scaffolds of 1798, 
the " felons " of this year have sprung. Should their 
blood flow — ^peace, and loyalty, and debasement may 
here, for a time, resume their reign — ^the snows of a 
winter, the flowers of a summer, may clothe the pro- 
scribed graves — ^but from those graves there shall 
hereafter be an armed resurrection. Peace, loyalty, 
and debasement, forsooth 1 A stagnant society ! — 
breeding, in its bosom, slimy, sluggish things, which 
to the surface make their way by stealth, and there, 
for a season, creep, cringe, and glitter in the glare of 
a provincial royalty. Peace, loyalty, and debasement ! 
A mass of pauperism ! — shovelled off the land — stocked 
in fever sheds and poorhouses — shipped to Canadian 
swamps — ^rags, and pestilence, and vermin. Behold 
the rule of England ! — and in that rule, behold humanity 
dethroned, and Providence blasphemed. To keep up 
this abomination, they enact their laws of felony. To 



JOHN MITCHEL 167 

sweep away the abomination, we must break through 
their laws. Should the laws fail, they will hedge the 
abomination with their bayonets and their gibbets. 
These, too, shall give way before the torrent of fire 
which gathers in the soul of the people. The question 
so long debated — debated, years ago, on fields of blood 
— debated latterly in a venal senate, amid the jeers 
and yells of faction — the question, as to who shall be 
the owners of this island, must be this year determined. 
The end is at hand, and so, unite and arm ! A truce 
to cheers — to speeches — ^to banquets — to " important 
resolutions " that resolve nothing, and " magnificent 
displays," which are little else than preposterous de- 
ceptions. Ascertain your resources in each locality — 
consolidate, arrange them — substitute defined action 
for driftless passion — and in the intelligent distribution 
and disciplined exercise of your powers, let the mind 
of the country manifest its purpose, and give per- 
manent effect to its ambition. In carrying out this 
plan, the country shall have the services of the leading 
members of the Council, and from this great task — 
the organisation of the country — ^we shall not desist 
until it has been thoroughly accomplished. When it 
is accomplished, the country may resume its freedom 
and its sovereignty. To the work, then, with high 
hope and impassioned vigour. There is a black ship 
upon the southern sea this night. Far from his own, 
old land — far from the sea, and soil, and sky, which, 
standing here, he used to claim for you with all the 
pride of a true Irish prince — far from that circle of 
fresh young hearts, in whose light, and joyousness, and 
warmth, his own drank in each evening new life and 
vigour — far from that young wife, in whose heart the 
kind hand of heaven has kindled a gentle heroism, 
sustained by which she looks with serenity and pride 



i68 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

upon her widowed house, and in the children that girdle 
her with beauty behold the inheritors of a name which, 
to their last breath, will secure for them the love, the 
honour, the blessing of their country — far from these 
scenes and joys, clothed and fettered as a felon, he is 
borne to an island where the rich, and brilliant, and 
rapacious power, of which he was the foe, has doomed 
him to a dark existence. That sentence must be 
reversed — reversed by the decree of a free nation, 
arrayed in arms and in glory. Till then, in the love 
of the country, let the wife and children of the illustrious 
exile be shielded from adversity. True — ^when he stood 
before the judge, and with the voice and bearing of a 
Roman, told him that three hundred were prepared 
to follow him — true it is, that, at that moment, he 
spoke not of his home and children — ^he thought only 
of his country — and to the honour of her sons bequeathed 
the cause for which he was doomed to suffer. But, in 
that one thought, all other thoughts were embraced. 
Circled by the arms and banners of a free people, he 
saw his home secure — ^his wife joyous — ^his children 
prosperous. This was the thought which forbade his 
heart to blench when he left these shores — ^this the 
thought which calls up to-night, as he sleeps within that 
prison ship, dreams full of light and rapturous joy — 
this the thought which will lighten the drudgery, and 
reconcile his proud heart to the odious conditions of 
his exile. Think 1 oh, think ! of that exile — the hopes, 
the longings, which will grow each day more anxious 
and impatient. Think ! oh, think ! of how, with 
throbbing heart and kindling eye, he will look out 
across the waters that imprison him, searching in the 
eastern sky for the flag that will announce to him his 
liberty, and the triumph of sedition. Think 1 oh, 
think ! of that day, when thousands and tens of thousands 



JOHN MITCHEL 169 

will rush to the water's edge, as a distant gun proclaims 
his return — ^mark the ship as it dashes through the 
waves and nears the shore — ^behold him standing there 
upon the deck — the same calm, intrepid, noble heart — 
his clear, quick eye runs along the shore, and fills with 
the light which flashes from the bayonets of the people 
— a moment's pause ! — and then, amid the roar of 
cannons, the fluttering of a hundred flags, the pealing 
of cathedral bells, the cheers of millions — ^the triumphant 
felon sets his foot once more upon his native soil — 
hailed, and blessed, and welcomed as the first citizen 
of our free and sovereign state ! 



Sentenced to Death 

Speech in the Dock at Clonmel, October, 1848. 

My Lords, it is my intention to say only a few words. 
I desire that the last act of a proceeding which has 
occupied so much of the public time, shall be of short 
duration. Nor have I the indelicate wish to close the 
dreary ceremony of a State prosecution with a vain 
display of words. Did I fear that hereafter when I 
shall be no more, the country which I have tried to 
serve would think ill of me, I might indeed avail myself 
of this solemn moment to vindicate my sentiments and 
my conduct. But I have no such fear. The country 
will judge of those sentiments and that conduct in a 
light far different from that in which the jury by which 
I have been convicted have viewed them ; and, by the 
country, the sentence which you, my Lords, are about 
to pronoimce, will be remembered only as the severe 
and solemn attestation of my rectitude and truth. 
Whatever be the language in which that sentence be 
spoken, I know my fate will meet with sympathy, and 
that my memory will be honoured. In speaking thus, 
accuse me not, my Lords, of an indecorous presumption. 
To the efforts I have made, in a just and noble cause, I 
ascribe no vain importance, nor do I claim for those 
efforts any high reward. But it so happens, and it 
will ever happen so, that they who have tried to serve 
their country, no matter how weak the efforts may 
have been, are sure to receive the thanks and blessings 
of its people. With my country then I leave my 
memory — my sentiments — ^my acts — ^proudly feeling 

170 



SENTENCED TO DEATH 171 

that they require no vindication from me this day. A 
jury of my countrymen, it is true, have found me guilty 
of the crime of which I stood indicted. For this I 
entertain not the slightest feeling of resentment towards 
them. Influenced, as they must have been, by the 
charge of the Lord Chief Justice, they could have 
found no other verdict. What of that charge ? Any 
strong observations on it, I feel sincerely, would ill 
befit the solemnity of the scene ; but, earnestly beseech 
of you, my Lord, you who preside on that bench, 
when the passions and the prejudices of this hour 
have all passed away, to appeal to your conscience 
and ask of it, was your charge, as it ought to have 
been, impartial, and indifferent between the subject 
and the Crown ? 

My Lords, you may deem this language unbecoming 
in me, and perhaps it might seal my fate. But I am 
here to speak the truth, whatever it may cost. I am 
here to regret nothing I have done — ^to retract nothing 
I have ever said. I am here to crave with no l5dng 
lip, the life I consecrate to the liberty of my country. 
Far from it ; even here — ^here, where the thief, the 
libertine, the murderer, have left their foot-prints in 
the dust — ^here on this spot, where the shadows of 
death surround me, and from which I see my early 
grave, in an unanointed soil open to receive me — even 
here, encircled by these terrors, the hope which has 
beckoned me to the perilous seas upon which I have 
been wrecked still consoles, animates, and enraptures 
me. No, I do not despair of my old country, her peace,_ 
her glory, her liberty ! For that country I can do no 
more than bid her hope. To lift this island up — to 
make her a benefactor to humanity, instead of being 
the meanest beggar in the world — ^to restore her to her 
native power and her ancient constitution — this has 



172 , MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

been my ambition, and my ambition has been my 
crime. Judged by the law of England, I know this 
crime entails the penalty of Seath ; but the history of 
Ireland explains this crime, and justifies it. Judged 
by that history I am no criminal — you [addressing 
MacManus] are no criminal — ^you [addressing O'Dono- 
ghue] are no criminal : I deserve no punishment— we 
deserve no punishment. Judged by that history, the 
treason of which I stand convicted loses all its guilt ; 
is sanctified as a duty, will be ennobled as a sacrifice ! 
With these sentiments, my Lords, I await the sentence 
of the court. Having done what I felt to be my duty — 
having spoken what I felt to be truth, as I have done 
on every other occasion of my short career, I now bid 
farewell to the country of my birth, my passion, and 
my death — the covintry whose misfortunes have in- 
voked my sympathies— whose factions I have sought 
to still— whose intellect I have prompted to a lofty 
aim — ^whose freedom has been my fatal dream. I offer 
to that country, as a proof of the love I bear her, the 
sincerity with which I thought, and spoke, and struggled 
for freedom — the life of a young heart, and with that 
life all the hopes, the honour, the endearments of a 
happy and an honourable home. Pronounce then, my 
Lords, the sentence which the law directs— I am pre- 
pared to hear it. I trust I shall be prepared to meet 
its execution. I hope to be able, with a pure heart, 
and perfect composure, to appear before a higher 
tribimal — a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, 
as well as of justice, will preside, and where, my Lords, 
many — many of the judgments of this world will be 
reversed. 



A Personal Narrative of 1848 

[This narrative was written by Meagher in Richmond Prison, 
Dublin.'in 1849, and addressed to Gavan Duffy, who published 
it subsequently in the Nation. It is incomplete.] 

On Sunday evening, July the i6th, I came down from 
Slievnamon, and remained at home until the following 
Thursday, superintending the organisation of the Water- 
ford Confederates. 

The Thursday I refer to brought us the proclamation 
of the Arms Act ; copies of which, during the early 
part of the day, were posted upon the walls of my 
native city. 

Not wishing to act upon my own judgment — ^which, 
at such a moment, it would have been assuming too 
serious a fesponsibility to do — I resolved to leave at 
once for Dublin, with a view to ascertain there the in- 
tentions of the principal Confederates, so that the pro- 
claimed districts might act in concert. Previous to niy 
leaving, I issued a counter-proclamation, exhorting the 
people to firmness, and entreating them to complete 
the organisation of the Clubs. 

In several places, this proclamation was posted over 
the Government manifesto ; and wherever the latter 
was not superseded in this way, it was torn down and 
flung about the streets. 

In the evening, between seven and eight o'clock, I 
ordered a covered car ; intending to drive to Kilkenny, 
sleep the night there, and take the first coach to Carlow 
in the morning ; so that I might arrive in Dublin, by 
three o'clock in the afternoon of Friday, the 21st of 

July- 

173 



174 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Whilst the car was getting ready, I ran up to the 
drawing-room, where my father and aunt were sitting 
at the time to wish them good-bye. I put on my tri- 
colour sash — green, white and orange — ^buckled on my 
sword-belt, cross-belt, cartouche-box — and flourishing 
a very handsome old sword, which belonged to a grand- 
uncle of mine in the days of the Merchant Corps of the 
Waterford Volunteers, gave myself up to the gay 
illusion of a gallant fight, a triumphal entry, at the 
head of armed thousands, into Dublin, before long 1 

I was full of liveliness and hope at that moment, and 
welcomed the struggle with a laughing heart. But, I 
recollect it well, my father was far otherwise. He 
seemed to me mournfully serious, and impressed with 
the saddest anticipations. In the Confederate Move- 
ment, however, he never had the slightest faith. More 
than once — ^particularly when I met him in London, on 
my way, with Eugene O'Reilly, O'Gorman, and Holly- 
wood, to present the congratulatory address to its 
Provisional Government of the French Republic, in 
the month of April — he warned me against being led 
away, by the success of the Continental Revolutionists, 
to trust the fortunes of our cause to the desperate 
chances of insurrection. 

That evening — ^Thursday, July the 20th, 1848 — I saw 
my home for the last time. 

The car having come, I drove off to Kilkenny, and 
arrived there a few minutes before midnight. 

Very early next morning, I sent a messenger to 

with a note requesting him to step over to me with as 
little delay as possible. Shortly afterwards he met me 
in Walshe's Hotel, where I was staying, and, whilst I 
was at breakfast, we had an anxious conversation upon 
the subject of the contemplated rising. 

He was strongly adverse to any move being made, 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 175 

for several weeks to come ; urging the fact, that it was 
within the last few weeks only the country parts had 
caught the flame from Dublin : hence, that it would 
take a considerable time to have the provincial Clubs 
organised, disciplined, and equipped ; and that, to 
give the signal before this time had expired, would be 
to rush, with naked hands, upon the bayonets of the 
police and soldiery. 

He further added — ^indeed, he urged this considera- 
tion more earnestly than any other — ^that, as yet, the 
Catholic Priests had not given their sanction to the 
movement, and that, so long as they stood aloof, the 
people, outside of Dublin, would make no vigorous, 
hearty effort. 

I could not but assent in great measure to these 
views ; yet, in parting from my friend, I stated to him 
my conviction, that, in the face of every difficulty, we 
would be driven to the last plank before many weeks, 
and would have to fight for it. 

At six o'clock I left by the day mail for Carlow, and 
arrived in Dublin between two and three o'clock, p.m. 

From the railway station I drove to the Nation office, 
and there met Dillon, O'Gorman, and Smyth, with 
whom I proceeded to the Coimcil Rooms. 

Having stated the reason which induced me to hurry 
up to Dublin, I learned from them that the Delegates 
of the Clubs had met in D'Olier Street, the day before, 
and had come to the resolution of offering no active 
resistance to the carrying out of the provisions of the 
Arms Act ; that, however, the members of the Clubs, 
and the people generally, had been instructed to con- 
ceal their arms and ammunition, and hold themselves 
in readiness for any collision which might take place. 
"Being so far satisfied, I told them I had pledged 
myself to be back in Waterford next morning, and 



176 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

should, therefore, leave Dublin that night. They 
pressed me to remain until the morning, insisting it 
was of importance I should attend a meeting of the 
Club Delegates, to be held that evening, for the pur- 
pose of electing an Executive Committee of Five. My 
presence, they added, was the more necessary at this 
meeting, since, in consequence of some misrepresenta- 
tions, a want of confidence had been expressed, or, 
rather, murmured, against O'Brien, Dillon, and 
O'Gorman. 

I consented to stay, and at five o'clock went down to 
Richard O'Gorman's house on Merchant's Quay, where, 
with the exception of those who were in Newgate, I 
met all the members of the late Council of the Con- 
federation. 

The conversation during dinner turned, of course, 
upon the movement ; our progress, difficulties, and 
prospects of success. So confident were we upon this 
occasion — the last upon which we met each other, and 
drank prosperity to the good old Irish Cause ! — so 
confident were we, that we had some three or four 
weeks more to devote to the organisation of the coimtry, 
and so little did we suspect that we should be taken 
imawares, and be driven to the field before our plans 
had been matured, that, during dinner, O'Gorman 
determined upon leaving, by the mail train, for Limerick 
with a view to superintend the formation of the Clubs 
in Limerick and in Clare. 

O'Brien, too, little dreaming that a special warrant 
was at that very moment prepared for his arrest, 
announced his intention of starting early next morning 
for Wexford, and, in shaping out the course of his 
excursion through the country, fully calculated upon a 
month of uninterrupted agitation. 

The opening of the Commission at Newgate was 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 177 

fixed for the 8th of August. On that day, Duffy, 
Martin, Williams, and O'Doherty, were certain to be 
brought up for trial. 

Now, in calculating the time that still remained to 
us for the organisation of the clubs, we counted up to 
the 13th of August, and for this reason : — 

In case one or more of our friends were brought to 
trial on the 8th of August, five days would be allowed 
for pleading to the indictment, and four days, at least, 
were sure to elapse before the trial could terminate. 
Hence you will perceive, that the arrangements we made 
upon this evening of July the 21st had direct reference 
to the Confederates in Newgate. 

Whatever opinions might have been previously ex- 
pressed elsewhere, there existed but the one determina- 
tion amongst the leading members of the Confederation 
at this, our last, meeting ; the determination, that not 
one of the Political Prisoners, in case of an adverse 
verdict and sentence of transportation, should be 
permitted to leave the country, without an attempt 
being made to resist the execution of the sentence. 

It is true, we felt convinced it would be much wiser 
to wait until the cutting of the harvest, the time 
originally proposed. But, a consideration of the serious 
extent to which the spirit and reputation of the country 
would be affected by the loss of another leading man, 
forced us to the determination I have just stated. 

And yet, this was no rash and hopeless conclusion ; 
though none of us subscribed to it without feeling it 
was hazcirdous in the extreme. 

In coming to it, however, we derived confidence 
from an anticipation of the excitement which another 
conviction, similar to that of Mitchel's, was calculated 
to produce, and felt ourselves sustained by the deep 
persuasion, that, in such an event, the passions of the 

13 



178 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

people would compensate for any deficiency which might 
exist in their organisation and equipment.^ 

At eight o'clock, O'Gorman left us for the Dublin 
and Cashel Railway. It was the last time I saw him. 
When wishing him good-bye that evening, I was far 
from thinking it would have been for ever. 

O'Brien, at the same time, returned to his lodgings 
in Westland Row. He did not attend the meeting in 
D'Olier Street, being, in some measure, opposed to the 
election of an Executive Committee for the Clubs, and 
having, moreover, to make preparations for his departure 
to the South next morning. 

Within a few mmutes of nine o'clock, Dillon and I 
arrived at the Confederation rooms. About thirty of 
the Club Delegates were assembled there. 

This, you will recollect, was the meeting sworn to 
by the spy, Dobbyn ; who, by-the-bye, I did not 

• After Mitchel's transportation, a few of the leading Con- 
federates thought the cause had received such an impetus by 
the rage against jury-packing, which sprung up universally in 
the country, that another victim ought to be offered to the 
Government. " There is no tribune," they exclaimed, " like 
the dock of Green Street ; let us keep it occupied." The 
principal advocate of this course profiered himself as the next 
Felon. But cooler heads warned them that the result would 
disappoint their expectations ; that the people would become 
accustomed to the transportation of their leaders, as they had 
become accustomed to murder by famine, till, in the end, the 
Government, might make a battue of Confederates with impunity. 
Let there be no seekmg of martyrdom, they said ; on the con- 
trary, wherever it can, with honour, let it be shunned, till the 
harvest is ripe : for the next victim must not be yielded without 
a struggle. This counsel was finally adopted. Accordingly, 
when a warrant was issued against John Martin, he evaded it 
for some days, for the express purpose of postponing his trial 
for an entire commission. He succeeded, but, nevertheless, 
his trial, and that of Mr. Duffy, and Messrs. Williams and 
O'Doheriy, were fixed for a period much earlier than the Council 
contemplated, when they resolved not to yield another victim. 
It was, however, a period four months nearer the harvest than 
Mitchel's trial. — [Charles Gavan Dufiy.] 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 179 

recognise once during the proceedings ; who, in fact, 
I never saw, until he kissed the Gospel, before me, in 
the Court House of Clonmel ; although he swore I 
shook hands with him, and wished him good-night. In 
the main, however, his swearing tallied with the facts ; 
and my belief is, he must have been present at the 
meeting. 

The object of the meeting was, as I have already 
intimated, the formation of a Directory or Committee, 
the members of which, being chosen by ballot, should 
be entrusted with the control and guidance of the 
Clubs in and about Dublin. 

The necessity for the formation <Jf such a body arose 
from the fact that the Clubs were now left to them- 
selves, and had no source of instruction to look to in 
the difficulties which were thickening roimd them. 

After the first meeting of the Irish League, the 
Council of the Irish Confederation had been dissolved. 
Now, the Council of the Confederation, up to the time 
I allude to, had acted as the Executive of the Clubs. 
This Executive having ceased to act, it became necessary 
to appoint another. 

The new one was to succeed the old, in the same 
place, but with a more serious responsibility, and with 
larger powers. With the Executive Committee of 
Five was to rest the responsibility of giving the signal 
for insurrection, or withholding it, just as it appeared 
most fit ; the proceedings were to be strictly secret, 
and the instructions issued from it were to be obeyed 
implicitly. , 

The authority of the Executive Committee, in short, 
was declared wholly irresponsible and absolute ; was 
declared so by the several Delegates present at the 
meeting, on behalf of their respective Clubs ; and 
these same Delegates pledged themselves, moreover, 



i8o MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

that the obedience of the Clubs, to the orders of the 
Executive, would be prompt, strict, and zealous. 

Dillon was in the chair. A resolution, after a little 
discussion, passed, to the effect, that the new Council 
should consist of five, and be entitled the Executive 
Council of Five. 

The balloting then took place. Previous to it, how- 
ever, I stated to the Delegates, that O'Brien, having 
conceived some objection to the appointment of the 
new Cotmcil, it would be useless to vote for him ; the 
more particularly, since he was to start in the morning 
for the South, where, for a few weeks, he would be 
engaged in the organisation and inspection of the 
Munster Clubs. 

I have no recollection of a word being said in 
reference to the Rev. Mr. Kenyon, or any other priest. 
Of this I am certain, that the spy, Dobbyn, swore a 
falsehood, when he stated that an objection was raised 
to the election of any priest whatever. Indeed, I do 
not hesitate to tell you, that a very strong desire 
existed quite the other way. We were sensible enough 
to perceive, that a Roman Cathohc clergyman, sitting 
in the Executive Council of Five, would have more 
power over the people than twenty or fifty laymen, 
and be enabled to lead them to acts of daring, more 
surely and irresistibly, than the bravest and most 
sagacious soldier. " Oh ! if you had seen them "— 
said Dillon to me, the evening I met him on the Commons 
of Boulagh — " if you had seen them when the old 
priest blessed them, you'd have thought they could 
have swept the country from sea to sea, and done the 
business with a blow." 

The following were elected members of the Executive 
Council of Five. I give the names in the same order 
as they were announced by the Tellers — ^Thomas 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 18I 

Francis Meagher, Rev. John Kenyon, John B. Dillon, 
Thomas D. Reilly, Richard O'Gorman, Jun.^ 

When the balloting had taken place, MacD., addressing 
the meeting, declared, that, since there were one or two 
upon the Council in whom he had but little confidence, 
he would, previous to assuring his obedience to it, 
exact from each member of it a distinct pledge to 
the effect, that in or about the harvest there should 
be an insurrection. I stepped forward when he had 
concluded, and replied, that, for my part, I would reject 
any such pledge ; that it was a pledge which the 
Executive Council could not adopt, since it was not in 
their power to guarantee its fulfilment ; that five men, 
however gifted or authoritative they might be, could 
not make an insurrection ; that such a business was 
for the entire people, or, at all events, for a considerable 
portion of the people, to decide upon ; the Executive 
Council could only urge them to it, and, if taken in 
hand, superintend its execution. Yet, I felt it my duty 
to add that as far as I could exercise any influence, 
nothing should be left undone by me to get the country 
under arms before the cutting of the harvest. 

1 The spy swore that a letter was read, before the election, 
from Mr. Duffy, then a prisoner in Newgate, recommending 
that three priests should be put on the Executive Council of 
Five, and that the discussion arose out of this circumstance. 
What gives some probability to his statement is the fact, that 
Mr. Dufify did write a letter, enclosing five names unanimously 
adopted by the political prisoners in Newgate, to be recommended 
by them as an Executive, and that one of them was a priest. 
The names so recommended .were those of John B. Dillon, 
Thomas Francis Meagher, Rev. John Kenyon, T. D. M'Gee, 
and T. D. Reilly. These were the five actually elected, with 
the exception that the Rev. John Kenyon was left off, and 
either Richard O'Gorman, or James Fintan Lalor (we believe 
the latter) substituted. Meagher's list is therefore erroneous 
in including Mr. Kenyon, and omitting Mr. M'Gee. 

— [Charles Gavan Duffy] . 



i82 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

MacD. expressed himself satisfied at this, and, after 
some further conversation, the meeting broke up. 

It now appears strangely unaccountable to me, that 
at this meeting — the most serious, perhaps, of any that 
was held in connection with the national movement of 
1848 — ^whilst a consideration of our position, our pro- 
ject, and resources, was taking place — ^whilst the stormy 
future, upon which we were entering, formed the subject 
of the most anxious conjecture, and the dangers of it 
fell like wintry shadows round us — it seems strangely 
unaccoimtable to me, that not an eye was turned to 
the facilities, for the coimteraction 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 next day, so suddenly ; driving us, headlong and 
bewildered, into a system of resistance for which the 
country was very far from being sufficiently prepared. 

I seek not to exculpate the leaders of the Confedera- 
tion from the responsibility of this grievous mistake. 
The Suspension of the Habeas Corpus was a resource 
in the hands of the English Government which should 
have entered prominently into the consideration of 
the question which, for three years, we had laboured 
to explain and illustrate, and the- settlement of which, 
at this time, we ambitioned, at any cost and sacrifice, 
to effectuate. 

The overlooking of it was a fatal inadvertence. 
Owing to it, we were routed without a struggle, and 
have been led into captivity without glory. We suffer 
not for a rebellion, but for a blunder.^ 

1 Some leading members of the Council, of whom Meagher 
was one, had repeatedly urged the necessity of providing against 
all contingencies, by being prepared for action. But some of 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 183 

When the meeting was over, I drove out with my 
old friend and school-fellow, Smyth, to his father's 
house. Mount Brown, Old Kilmainham, and slept there 
that night. Before going to my room, I desired him to 
call me in time for the eight o'clock train, so as to enable 
me to arrive in Waterford early next evening. 

The following morning, however, owing to the fatigue 
of the previous day, I felt too sleepy to get up as early 
as I had wished, and remained in bed until twelve 
o'clock nearly, when Smyth came in to me with the 
Freeman's Journal, and read for me the announcement 
of the intended Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, 
and the report of a special warrant having been issued 
from the Home Office for the apprehension of Smith 
O'Brien. 

Death itself could not have struck me more suddenly 
than this news. I had fully calculated — and so had 
O'Brien, O'Gorman, Dillon, and the rest of us, the 
evening before — that nothing would occur, for three or 
four weeks at least, to precipitate a rising ; and I had 
reckoned, with certainty, upon so much time, for the 
fmrther extension and arming of the Clubs in Dublin 
and throughout the country. 

their honestest and bravest colleagues had a strange reluctance 
to commit themselves prematurely to the necessary measures. 

Accordingly, it is said, that when was despatched 

across the Atlantic, his credentials were signed only by four of 
the leaders of the Confederation ; two of whom are now in 
Van Dieman s Land, one in America, and one in Ireland. And 
it is even believed, in well-informed quarters, that so late as 
the day before Mr. Duffy's arrest, when Mitchel was transported, 
and a warrant out for Martin, a motion to despatch an accredited 
agent to France was defeated in the Council, by a majority of 
one, as " a premature measure." This reluctance to take the 
necessary means to the end contemp'ated was one of the greatest 
moral impediments to success. How the same agent was 
huddled off on his mission, when it was too 'ate, Meagher tells 
in a subsequent part of his memoir. — [Charles Gavan Duffy.] 



l84 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Now I saw we were driven, by a master-stroke, to 
the last point upon the board : and that, either we must 
surrender without a parley, or fight without arms and 
arrangement. " We are driven to it " — I said to 
Smyth " there is nothing for us now but to go out ; 
we have not gone far enough to succeed, and yet, too 
far to retreat." He thought so too, and at once made 
up his mind to share the worst with me. 

After a hurried breakfast, we drove rapidly into 
town. We called, first of all, at Merchant's Quay, and 
learned from Richard O'Gorman, Sen., that the news 
of the Suspension Act was confirmed by a private 
letter he had received that morning from England, in 
which it was positively stated that the special warrant 
for the apprehension of Smith O'Brien had been issued 
from the Home Office. 

Nothing could be more embarrassing than the 
position in which I found myself at this moment. I 
was left completely to myself ; deprived of all com- 
panionship and advice. O'Brien had started, five hours 
previously, for Wexford. O'Gorman had gone down to 
Limerick the night before. Doheny was in Cashel. 
Duffy, Martin, Williams, and O'Doherty, were shut 
up in Newgate ; and any access to them, except by 
their immediate relatives, was strictly prohibited. 

Dillon cind Reilly, however, were in town ; and, in 
the hope of finding them, I drove down to the Nation 
office, and from thence to the Council Rooms, in 
D'Olier Street. In neither place did I find them ; and 
what was still worse, could learn no tidings of them. 

Having consulted with Halpin — ^who was then acting 
as Corresponding Secretary to the Clubs — I hurried off 
to Merrion Street, with the hope of finding Dillon. 

I was passing up the east side of Merrion Square, 
when Dillon beckoned to me from a covered car. I 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 185 

ran over, and found Charles Hart and John Lawless, 
Secretary of the Sandymount Club, with him. They 
had been in search of me, and were on their way to the 
Council Rooms, at the moment I fell in with them. 

Having got into the car, Dillon proposed that he and 
I should start by the night mail for Enniscorthy, and 
on then, without delay, to Ballinkeele, the residence of 
Mr. John Maher, where Smith O'Brien had purposed 
to remain a few days ; and that, in case O'Brien con- 
ceived the time had come for making a stand, we should 
throw ourselves into Kilkenny, call the people to arms, 
barricade the streets, and proclaim the separation of 
the countries. 

In reply to a question I put to him, he told me that, 
a day or two before I came up from Waterford, the 
leading men of the Dublin Clubs had determined upon 
not making Dublin the head-quarters of the insurrec- 
tion ; the garrison in the city — exceeding 11,000 men 
— being thought too formidable a body to contend with ; 
whilst the number of inhabitants, well-affected towards 
the Government, or disinclined, at all events, to join 
the people, was calculated, in their opinion, to counteract 
or, in great measure, weaken the efforts of the 
latter. 

That the Dublin Clubs would have fought with courage 
and enthusiasm, not one of us ever doubted. In none 
of the Continental cities, from the citizens of which, 
during the course of a most eventful year, we had 
received so many lessons of exalted heroism, I sincerely 
believe, would there have been displayed an amount of 
bravery greater than that which the Dublin Clubs were 
prepared to exhibit, had they been called upon to pile 
the barricades in the streets of their noble city, and 
sack the English Castle. 

Acting amongst them for upwards of two years ; 



i86 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

knowing them familiarly ; knowing them, man for 
man ; I have good reason to speak of them with con- 
fidence, and, I may truly add, with the most affectionate 
admiration. 

Honest, intelligent, high-minded, they had conceived 
a proud notion of what their country's destiny should 
be ; and having weighed well the labours and the 
sacrifices it was necessary to undergo, to the end that 
this high destiny might be attained, they remained 
faithful, in the face of much calumny and persecution, 
to their convictions, at a time when a majority of their 
countrymen were of a different way of thinking ; and 
subsequently trod, with a step that never faltered 
and a heart that never quailed, the dangerous path to 
\yhich we led them ; exulting in the thought, as they 
fearlessly hastened on, that by such paths have all 
brave nations mounted to their freedom and become 
immortal. 

The Dublin Clubmen were, in fact, the very pick and 
pride of the population, and I shall never cease to pray 
that Ireland may be made worthy of them. Nothing 
could pain me more deeply than to think that they 
supposed, for an instant even, we had the slightest 
reason to distrust them. It was far otherwise. In 
their quick, generous, courageous nature, our faith was 
deeply fixed. 

But the power immediately opposed to them was too 
ponderous ; too skilfully disposed ; and, withal, too 
heartily supported by the adherents of the Castle, to 
justify us in committing them against it. The blood 
which would have flowed from so terrible a collision, 
appeared to us too costly a treasure to account for. 

By commencing the insurrection elsewhere — com- 
mencing it in some town or district, where a force less 
considerable than that which was distributed through 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 187 

Dublin happened to be stationed — it seemed to us that 
the chances of success would be greatly increased. 

In the first place, it struck us that the smallest 
victory, however unimportant it might be — con- 
sidering merely the position won, or the numbers 
overcome — ^would have a very great influence upon the 
spirit of the country at large — kindling it, as it surely 
must have done, into the brightest hopefulness, and 
tempting it to still more daring exploits. 

In the next place, an outbreak, in a thinly garrisoned 
district — and the more especially, a successful outbreak 
— ^would have surely led to the diminution of the 
larger garrisons, and, in this way, enabled the Con- 
federates of Dublin, of Cork, of Limerick, of Water- 
ford, and other towns, to rise with effect, and make 
good their ground. 

These were the views which principally induced the 
leading men of the Confederation to abandon the 
design of commencing the revolution in Dublin, and in 
these views I fully concurred. Since the events of 
July, 1848, I have seen nothing, I have heard nothing, 
that was calculated to convince me those views were 
wrong. On the contrary, the more I have reflected 
upon the events of that time, the more deeply impressed 
have I become with the correctness of those views, and 
the propriety of having acted in compliance with them. 

Not a doubt of it ; had we taken a different course, 
a desperate fight would have been made in the streets 
of Dublin ; as desperate a fight as that of the Rue St. 
M^ry, in the Parisian insurrection of 1831 ; but in like 
manner, it would have been stifled in a pool of squandered 
blood. This, iudeed, our generous and heroic followers 
might not have deplored. But it is one thing to offer to 
the cause of liberty the tribute of our own life, and 
another, to exact the lives of others. To justify the 



i88 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

exaction, there must be clear grounds for the belief, 
that the outlay will be repaid by an equivalent result. 

And what is the equivalent of a nation's blood ? 
The gratification of a just revenge ? The vindication 
of the public spirit ? The attainment of heroic fame ? 

I recollect well the dreary evening I put these ques- 
tions to a fond and gallant friend, who had followed me 
from Dublin, and was at that moment sharing with me 
the fortunes of an outlaw's life. Calmly, seriously, and 
I can sincerely say, in the most truthful, conscientious 
spirit, we discussed them ; for a circumstance had just 
occurred to force them, in the most urgent and im- 
pressive manner, upon our attention. 

What this circumstance was, I shall mention in the 
proper place. Here, it is sufficient for me, so far, to 
anticipate the order of my little narrative, as to say, we 
came to the conclusion, that, not for the gratification of 
a just revenge, not for the vindication of the public 
spirit, nor for the attainment of heroic fame, would we 
be justified, as Christian men, in demanding the blood 
of the smallest section of the people ; that, for the 
liberty of our island — ^that is, for the power which 
would enable her to shape her own course through 
the world, and build up an honourable renown and 
fortune out of her own soil and genius — ^for this, and 
this alone, would we be justified in requiring so great a 
treasure ; and that, not even for this high and sacred 
purpose would so solemn a requirement be authorised, 
unless it appeared clear, to our inmost consciences, that 
the probabihties were in favour of such a purpose being 
wholly or to a great extent fulfilled. 

Thus much I have written in explanation of the 
motives which governed us in transferring, at the 
outset, the scene of our revolutionary proceedings from 
the capital to the Southern counties. 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 189 

Part II 
When we reached the Council Rooms, we found 



and M'Gee there, and, after a short conversation with 
them it was arranged that the former should leave in 
the evening for Paris, put himself immediately into 
communication with the most influential Irishmen 
residing in that city, and leave nothing undone to pro- 
cure a military intervention, in the event of the in- 
surrection we contemplated taking place. 

In a few hours he sailed from Kingstown '; and I 
have lately heard, from a trusted source, that the 
duties he undertook were performed by him with 
great ardour, intelligence, and success ; that, in fact, 
owing to his earnest representations, the armed inter- 
vention of the French Government would have taken 
place, had we made a good beginning, and shown our- 
selves worthy of so honourable an assistance. 

As for M'Gee, he volunteered to start that same 
evening for Belfast, cross over to Glasgow, and lie con- 
cealed there until he heard from Dillon. Should he 
receive any favourable information, he was to summon 
the Irish population of that city to rise and attack 
whatever troops were entrusted with its defence. In 
case of these troops being overpowered, he should 
seize two or three of the largest merchant steamers 
lying in the Clyde ; with pistols at their heads, compel 
the engineers and sailors to work them out ; steer 
round the north coast of Ireland ; and, at the head of 
two thousand men, or more, if he could get them, 
make a descent on Sligo ; fight his way across the 
Shannon, and join us in Tipperary. 

This project may now appear a monstrously absurd 
one. At the time, however, many circumstances con- 
curred to give it a rational, sober, practicable character, 



igo MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Adventurous, bold, dangerous in the highest degree, 
it certainly was, to the individual who proposed and 
ventured to conduct it. But, once taken in hand by 
our countrymen in Glasgow, no doubt could have 
been entertained of its accomplishment. Not alone, 
that the Irish there numbered several thousands ; not 
alone, that Chartism was on the watch there, and pant- 
ing for an outbreak ; but the city was almost wholly 
defenceless ; the troops of the line had been drafted 
off to other places ; and, as a substitute, an awkward 
Militia force had been hastily patched up, and strapped 
together. 

The project, however — ^whether it was good or bad — 
did not originate exclusively with M'Gee. In pro- 
posing it to us, he was acting in obedience to the wishes 
of three Delegates who had arrived in Dublin the 
previous evening, and had been instructed by a large 
body of Irishmen, resident in Glasgow, to lay the pro- 
ject in question before the chief men of the Clubs, and 
urge them to sanction, encourage, and direct it. 

That evening, M'Gee started for Belfast ; and, next 
day, crossed over to Scotland ; where, I have since 
learned, from a Catholic clergyman of high integrity and 
intellect, he went through the difficult and perilous 
business he had undertaken, with singular energy, tact, 
and firmness ; and, for several days, stood fully pre- 
pared to carry out the views just stated, had Dillon or 
I sent him word to do so. 

Why we failed to communicate with him will be 
easily learned from the sequel of this letter. 

Yet, upon a moment's reflection, I think it may be 
more satisfactory for me to state at once, that, in 
consequence of no decisive blow having been struck in 
Tipperary, we felt we would not be justified in bringing 
our friend, and the men under him, into collision with 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 191 

the Government. He was to take the field in the event 
of our establishing a good footing in the South ; and, 
this not having been accomplished, it would have been 
treacherous on our part to have written a line directing 
him to explode the conspiracy he had organised. 

Having parted with ■ and M'Gee, Dillon and 

I went upstairs to the room used for private committees, 
took down the large map of Ireland which hung there, 
and folding it up, with the intention of bringing it with 
us to the cotmtry, returned to the room in which Halpin 
and his assistants were at work. 

We desired the former to let Duffy, Martin, and the 
other Confederates in Newgate, know of our going to 
the country, and our resolution of commencing the 
insurrection, if possible, in Kilkenny.^ 

We further desired him to communicate, in the course 
of the evening, with the officers of the Clubs ; inform 
them of our intentions ; and desire them to be in 
readiness to rise, and barricade the streets, when the 



1 If Meagher does not mistake the person to whom he 
gave this charge, it raises a serious imputation against Mr. 
Halpin. For he communicated no such message to the State 
Prisoners. Not a syllable of it. On the contrary, he was 
despatched by them to the south, two days afterwards, to 
ascertain from O'Brien what was about to be done there. For 
several days he sent them no communication. At length he 
returned to Dublin (having been sent back by Meagher on a 
special mission) ; but the first thing the prisoners heard of 
his arrival was a letter he published in the newspapers on some 
personal subject. The same morning he was arrested. They 
instantly sent a professional gentleman to him to afford him 
every necessary advice or assistance, and to get his report 
from the South. The professional gentleman (who was a Con- 
federate) was also arrested ; and the prisoners never received 
a word from Mr. Halpin on the subject of his mission. These 
facts are not irreconcilable with his perfect fidelity, if Meagher 
entrusted him with no such message as he states ; but, ii he 
did, the non-delivery of it is a serious fact, and must give a 
colour to all the rest. — [Charles Gavan Duffy.] 



192 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

news of our being in the field should reach them ; and 
when, as an inevitable result, three or four regiments 
from the Dublin garrison had been drawn off to rein- 
force the troops of the Southern districts. 

We had wished good-bye to Halpin, and were going 

out, when young R H and Smyth came up. 

We told them the arrangements we had made ; en- 
treated them to go round to the different Clubs that 
evening — state openly to the members what we purposed 
doing — communicate to them our wishes ; and exhort 
them to observe a calm, patient attitude, until the 
moment we designed for their coming into action had 
arrived. 

They promised faithfully to do so. 

We arrived at the Kingstown Railway Station, just 
in time to catch the five o'clock train. 

The carriages were crowded, and the conversation 
very noisy about the Suspension Act. I retain a vivid 
picture of one gentleman in particular ; a very stiff, 
cold, sober gentleman, with red whiskers and a gam- 
bouge complexion ; who took occasion to remark, in 
quite a startling and fragmentary style, that " the 
Government had done the thing — the desirable thing — 
at last — time for them — should have been done long 
ago — country had gone half-way to the devil already — 
Whigs always infernally slow — ^had given those 
scoundrels too much rope — ^but — they'd hang themselves 
— ^he'd swear it — that he would." 

I nudged Dillon at the conclusion of these consoling 
observations. He threw a quiet, humorsome look at 
the loyal subject with the red whiskers and gambouge 
complexion, and burst out laughing. He was joined by 
some gentlemen, and two or three ladies, who recognised 
us, but little suspected, I should say, the errand we 
were on. 




John Mitchel 
(Paris, 1861) 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 193 

At Kingstown we got upon the Atmospheric "Railway, 
and rattled off to Dalkey. Half an hour after, we were 
at dinner in Druid Lodge, Killiney, where Mrs. Dillon 
was staying at the time. 

I should have mentioned, before this, that whilst 
Dillon and I were at the Council Rooms, in D'Olier 
Street, Lawless went to the office of the Wexford Coach, 
and engaged for us two inside seats, as far as Ennis- 
corthy, in that night's mail ; leaving word with the 
clerk, that the gentlemen, for whom he had engaged 
the seats, were to be taken up at Loughlinstown ; a 
little village, seven miles from Dublin, and little more 
than two from Druid Lodge, 

The places were taken in the name of Charles Hart, 
with a view to conceal our departure from the Police, 
who were on the alert ; picking out, in every nook and 
corner, information relative to our movements. 

At half past eight, we left Druid Lodge for Loughlins- 
town. We did not enter the village, however ; but 
drew up at the tree, opposite, I believe, to Sir George 
Cockburn's demesne. 

There, underneath that fine old tree, we remained for 
above twenty minutes, until the coach came up ; and, 
whilst we were standing in silence imder it, surrounded 
by the darkness, which the deepening twilight, mingling 
with the shadow of the leaves, threw round us, I could 
not but reflect, with something of a heavy heart, upon 
the troubled future, within the confines of which I had 
set my foot, never to withdraw it. 

The evening, which was cold and wet, the gloom and 
stillness of the spot, naturally gave rise to sentiments 
of a melancholy nature. But, above all, a feeling, 
which, for many days, had more or less painfully 
pressed upon my mind, and which, in some of the most 
exciting scenes I had lately passed through, failed not 

13 



194 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

• 
to exercise a saddening influence upon my thoughts 

and language — the feeling that we were aiming far 
beyond our strength, and launching our young re- 
sources upon a sea of troubles, through which the 
Divine Hand alone could guide and save them ; this 
feeling, more than all, depressed me at the moment of 
which I speak, and I felt far from being happy. 

At that moment, I entertained no hope of success. 
I knew well the people were unprepared for a struggle ; 
but, at the same time, I felt convinced that the leading 
men of the Confederation were boimd to go out, and offer 
to the coimtry the sword and banner of Revolt, whatever 
consequences might result to themselves for doing so. 

The position we stood in ; the language we had 
used ; the promises we had made ; the defiances we 
had uttered ; our entire career, short as it was, seemed 
to require from us a step no less daring and defiant 
than that which the Government had taken. 

Besides, here was an audacious inroad upon the 
liberty of the subject ! The utter abrogation of the 
sacred personal inviolability, guaranteed by sound old 
law, to all people linked by rags or golden cords to the 
Brunswick Crown ! Was it not the choicest ground of 
quarrel, upon which a people, provoked and wronged 
like the Irish people had been for years and years, 
could fling down the gage of battle ? 

Was it not said, too, by the most peaceable of our 
Repealers, that the moment the Constitution was 
invaded, they would soimd the trumpet, and pitch 
their tents ? Was it not said, over and over again, 
by these sensitive, scrupulous, pious, poor men — ^by 
these meek, forbearing, mendicant Crusaders — ^that 
they would stand within the Constitution ? On both 
feet, within it ? But that, the very instant the soldier 
or the lawyer crossed it, they would unsheathe the 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 195 

sword of Gideon, and, with a mighty voice, call upon 
the Lord of Hosts, and the Angel of Sennacherib ! 

I hold that the leaders of the Confederation were 
bound to give these men an opportunity to redeem 
their pledges ; bound to give the people, who honestly 
and earnestly desired to change their condition, an 
opportunity to attempt such a change, if it so happened 
that all they required was the opportunity to make the 
attempt ; "bound at all events, and whatever might be 
the result to themselves, to mark, in the strongest and 
most conclusive manner, their detestation of an act 
which left a great community to be dealt with, just as 
the suspicions of a police magistrate, a detective, or a 
Viceroy, might suggest. 

And what is the befitting answer of a people to the 
Parliaments, the Cabinets, or Privy Councils, that 
deem it " expedient " to brand the arms, and gag the 
utterance of a nation ? There is but one way to reply 
to them, and that is, by the signal-fire of insurrection. 

Then again, had we not gone out upon the Suspension 
Act, and written our protest against that measure upon 
the standard of Rebellion, the English officials would 
have been led to believe that the privileges of Irish 
citizens might be abused, not only with perfect impunity, 
but without one manly symptom of resentment. We 
preferred risking omr lives, rather than suffer this con- 
temptuous impression to go abroad. 

Thoughts such as these crossed my mind — as hastily 
and irregularly as I have now written them — ^whilst we 
were waiting for the coach. In giving them to you, I 
have made no effort to mould them into anything hke 
an accurate and graceful form. Yet, misshapen as 
they are, you may, perhaps, glean from them the 
motives that prompted me to an enterprise which I 
felt convinced would fail, and learn the views I took, 



196 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

at the last moment, of our position and its duties,, the 
difficulties by which it was surrounded, and the sacrifices 
which it exacted. 

At nine o'clock the coach came up ; and, having 
wished Charles Hart, who had accompanied us from 
Druid Lodge, an affectionate farewell, Dillon and I 
took our places ; the guard sung out " All right ! " 
and, in a second or two, we were dashing away, in 
gallant style, along the road to Bray. 

We were the only inside passengers, and we had the 
good fortune not to be interrupted until we came to 
Enniscorthy. 

At Rudd's hotel we dismounted, and ordered a car 
for Ballinkeele. It was little more than five o'clock, 
and the morning was bitterly cold. A clear, bright 
sun, however, was melting the thin frost which had 
fallen in the night, and changing into golden vapour the 
grey mist which arched the gentle current of the Slaney. 
Not a soul was stirring in the streets ; the hotel itself 
was dismally quiet ; the fowls in the stable yard, and 
the gruff old dog, beside the soft warm ashes of the 
kitchen fire, were all at rest. 

Whilst the car was getting ready, I sat down before 
the fire, and taking out the last number of the Felon, 
read for Dillon the beautiful, noble appeal — ^written, as 
I have imderstood since, by James Fintan Lalor — 
which ended with this question : " Who will draw the 
first blood for Ireland ? Who will win a wreath thai shall 
be green for ever ? " 

Passing out of the town, the first object which struck 
us was Vinegar Hill, with the old dismantled windmill, 
on the summit of it, sparkling in the morning light. 
You can easily imagine the topic upon which our con- 
versation turned, as we passed it by. 

Alas ! it is a bitter thought with me, whilst I write 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 197 

these lines — more bitter far, a thousand times, than the 
worst privations of prison life — ^that, unlike those 
gallant Wexfordmen of '98, we have left behind us no 
famous field, within the length and breadth of our old 
country, which men could point to with proud sensation, 
and fair hands strew with garlands. 

After an hour's drive we arrived at Ballinkeele, and, 
having asked for Smith O'Brien, were shown, by the 
servant, to his room. 

We found him in bed. He did not seem much sur- 
prised at the news we told him, and asked us what we 
proposed to do ? DiUon replied, there were three 
courses open to us. The first to permit ourselves to 
be arrested. The second, to escape. The third, to 
throw ourselves upon the country, and give the signal 
of insurrection. 

O'Brien's answer was just what we had expected. 

As to effecting an escape, he was decidedly opposed 
to it ; whatever might occur, he would not leave the 
country ; and as to permitting ourselves to be arrested, 
without first appealing to the people, and testing their 
disposition, he was of opinion we would seriously com- 
promise our position before the public were we to do 
so. The Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act was an 
event, he conceived, which should excite, as it would 
assmredly justify, every Irishman in taking up arms 
against the Government — at all events, he felt it to be 
our duty to make the experiment. 

I told him we had come to the same conclusion 
previous to oixr leaving Dublin, and were prepared to 
take the field with him that day. 

He then got up, and having sent for Mr. Maher, 
informed him of the news we had brought. It was 
arranged we should breakfast immediately, and leave 
Ballinkeele with as Uttle delay as possible. 



198 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

At ten o'clock we were seated in Mr. Maher's carriage, 
and on our way back to Enniscorthy. Whilst we drove 
along, different plans of operation were discussed, of 
which the one I now state to you was, in the end, con- 
sidered to be the best. 

From all we had heard, we were of opinion it would 
not be advisable to make our first stand in Wexford ; 
very few Confederates having been enrolled from that 
county, and our political connection with it, conse- 
quently, being extremely slight. Indeed, there was 
scarcely a single man of influence in the county, with 
whom we could put ourselves in communication ; 
and, without taking other circumstances of an un- 
favourable nature into consideration, it appeared to 
us, that, this being our first visit amongst them, it was 
too much to expect that the Wexfordmen would rally 
round us with the enthusiasm which the people, in 
other parts of the country, where we were better known, 
would be sure to exhibit. It was absolutely necessary 
to commence the insurrection with heart and vigour, 
and, at a glance, we saw, that, in Waterford, in Kil- 
kenny, in Tipperary, we might calculate upon the 
manifestation of the warmest and boldest spirit. 

At first, O'Brien was strongly in favour of going to 
New Ross. I was opposed to this, and argued against 
it with no little anxiety ; urging upon him the serious 
disadvantage it would be to us — ^in case the people of 
New Ross responded to our appeal — ^to commence the 
fight in a town so helplessly exposed to the fire of 
the war-steamers then lying in the Barrow, and the 
number of which, in little more than two hours, would 
certainly be increased by a contingent from the larger 
ones which were anchored in the Suir, abreast of 
Waterford. 

The like objection prevailed against our selection of 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 199 

the latter place ; and we finally determined upon 
making for Kilkenny. The same plan, in fact, which 
Dillon and I thought of, the day before, was agreed to 
by O'Brien. 

It seemed to him, as it had seemed to us, that Kil- 
kenny was the very best place in which the insurrection 
could break out. Perfectly safe from all war-steamers, 
gunboats, floating batteries ; standing on the frontiers 
of the three best fighting counties in Ireland — ^Water- 
ford, Wexford, and Tipperary — ^the peasantry of which 
could find no difficulty in pouring in to its relief ; 
possessing from three to five thousand Confederates, 
the greater number of whom we understood to be 
armed ; most of the streets being extremely narrow, 
and presenting, on this account, the greatest facility 
for the erection of barricades ; the barracks lying out- 
side the town, and the line of communication, between 
the principal portions of the latter and the former, 
being intercepted by the old bridge over the Nore, 
which might easily be defended, or, at the worst, very 
speedily demolished ; no place, it appeared to us, 
could be better adapted for the first scene of the revolu- 
tion, than this, the ancient " City of the Confederates." 

In making this selection, there were one or two con- 
siderations, of temporary interest, which influenced us 
to some extent. 

The railway from Dublin was completed to Bagnals- 
town only, leaving fourteen miles of the ordinary coach 
road still open between the latter place and Kilkenny. 
The thick shrubberies and plantations ; the high 
bramble fences, and at different intervals, the strong 
limestone walls which flank this road ; the sharp 
twists and turns at certain points along it ; the alterna- 
tions of hill and hollow, which render a journey by it so 
broken and diversified ; its uniform narrowness, and 



200 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

the steep embankments, which, in one or two places, 
spring up where its width measures scarcely sixteen 
feet ; everything was in favour of its being converted, 
by an insurgent population, with almost perfect security 
and ease, to the most successful enterprises. Along 
this road, as they left the station house at Bagnalstown 
and marched upon Kilkenny, whole regiments, drafted 
off from Dublin and Newbridge garrisons, might have 
been surprised and cut to pieces, had the country once 
been up. 

Then, the Royal Agricultmral Society was on the 
eve of holding its annual Cattle Show in Kilkenny ; 
specimens of the choicest beef and mutton had already 
arrived, and, in full clover, were awaiting the inspection 
of the highest nobles and the wealthiest commoners of 
the land. Many, too, of these proud gentlemen had 
themselves arrived ; and carriages might have been 
met, each hour, along the different avenues to the 
town, freighted with the rank, the gaiety, and fashion 
of the surrounding coimtry. In case of a sustained 
resistance, here was a creditable supply of hostages 
and provisions for the Insurgents ! 

With some hundred head of the primest cattle in 
the island, we could have managed admirably behind 
the barricades for three or four days ; whilst with a 
couple of Earls, from a half a dozen to a dozen baronets, 
an odd marquis, or " the only duke " himself, in 
custody, we might have found ourselves in an excellent 
position to dictate terms to the Goveniment. 

We arrived in Enniscorthy between eleven and 
twelve o'clock. Dillon and I drove up to the chapel, 
just as Mass was commencing. 

After Mass, we were joined by O'Brien and the Rev. 

Mr. 1 A large crowd collected round us in a few 

» Father Parle. 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 201 

minutes, and, placing ourselves at the head of it, we 
proceeded to the house of one of the Confederates. 

Here we had a long conversation respecting the 
number of men enrolled in the local Clubs, and the 
extent to which they were armed. The information 
we received upon both these points, confirmed us in 
the resolution we had come to, of not attempting any 
insurrectionary movement in Wexford, at the outset. 

We were assured, however, by the Rev. Mr. , that, 

in case an attempt were made by the police to arrest 
us, the people, ill-prepared as they were, would certainly 
resist it. 

We left the house then ; and mounting the car which 
was to take us to Graigue-na-mana, spoke a few words 
to the people. We told them the time had come 
when they should determine whether it were better 
to give in quietly to England, or go out, like men, and 
make a stand against her, once for all. And having 
asked them, would they pledge themselves to take the 
field, in case they heard of the people of any neighbouring 
county doing so, they replied, with a ringing shout : 
" ihat they would / and with God's blessing, too ! " 

This pledge having been given, we told them to 
lose no time in providing themselves with arms and 
ammunition, and making every other arrangement for 
turning out ; so that, the moment they heard of 
fighting going on in Kilkenny, in Tipperary, or else- 
where, they might be prepared to strike a blow in their 
own county ; and, by this means, keeping the Govern- 
ment forces employed at different points, prevent them 
from concentrating to any formidable extent, upon 
any one town or district. 

Of course, I do not mean to give lengthened " re- 
ports " of what we said to the people along our route. 
The topics we touched upon, the sentiments we ex- 



202 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

pressed, the appeals we made, you can very easily 
conceive. 

The versions of our Speeches, produced upon the 
trials in Clonmel, and sworn to by the police, have in 
them a large degree of truthfulness ; though, what 
with bad grammar, bewildered metaphors, sentences 
prematurely cut off, or wedged into one another, 
without the slightest regard to commonsense, the 
rules of rhetoric, or poetic euphony, it is no easy task 
to make out their meaning. An eloquent speech is 
enough, of itself, to disorganise the police force of 
Ireland. A metaphor brings on giddiness of the brain ; 
an allusion to the shield of Achilles, or the trumpet of 
Alecto, induces the worst symptoms of suffocation ; 
blank verse bogs them ; an antithesis starts a sinew ; 
and as for an apostrophe ! it is sure to give them sciatica, 
or the lock-jaw. 

It wanted but a few minutes of one o'clock when we 
started from Enniscorthy. Two hundred of the Club- 
men, marching in column, four deep, escorted us beyond 
the town. A car, containing five more of them, drove 
on before us, keeping about a quarter of a mile in 
advance. This was done with the view of preventing 
any party of police coming upon us by surprise. There 
was not much fear of this, to be sure ; O'Brien, however, 
thought it better to adopt the precaution. 

The day was exceedingly cold, and frequently heavy 
falls of rain compelled us, at different intervals, to take 
shelter in the cabins along the road. Whenever this 
occurred, we made it a point to enter into conversation 
with the poor people who owned them ; and though 
not in as direct a way as we might have done, yet 
sufficiently so for our purpose, we asked them various 
questions, with a view to elicit their feeling respecting 
the " great rising," concerning which we perceived, in 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 203 

every instance, a vague impression floating through 
their minds. 

It depressed us sorely, to observe amongst them but 
little inclination to welcome and support it. And here, 
at the very outset, we had evidence of the truth which a 
short time afterwards we learned to estimate more 
clearly, more painfully, and with hearts less able to 
bear up against it bravely — the truth, that cold and 
nakedness, that hunger and disease, to the last ex- 
tremity, had done their work ; had not only withered 
up the flesh and pierced the marrow in the bone ; had 
not merely preyed upon the physical resources of the 
man, until they wore away his substance and his form, 
leaving him, beside his poor turf fire, with sunken eye 
and wrinkled arm, with faltering tongue and crouching 
gait, the flickering shadow of what he was ; but worse 
than all — oh ! worse, a thousand times, than death by 
the bayonet, or the gibbet — had eaten their way into 
the soul itself, killing there the most sensitive, the most 
powerful and vital of all instincts ; that instinct, which, 
even in the poor worm, the lowest of all God's creatures, 
teaches it to turn upon the foot by which its humble 
life is perilled. 

Hunger, I had thought, would break through gates 
of brass and walls of granite ; would rush through 
fire, or like the bayed tiger in his last desperate 
extremity, spring upon the spears which hemmed it 
in! 

Nor was I altogether wrong. For the hunger, which, 
like the earthquake, or the whirlwind, hath been sent in 
sudden wrath upon a people, has done these things, and 
done them with the fury of the fiercest elements that 
bend the pillars of the sky or shake the foundations of 
the sea. 

But the hunger of the Irish land was no such visita- 



204 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

tion. It had not come yesterday ; nor a week ago ; 
nor yet, for the first time, in the autumn of '45. 

On the greyest headstone, in the loneliest and oldest 
churchyard, the spectre had sat down, years and years 
before ; and from thence had looked out, with cold and 
bloodless eyes, upon the land, over the homes and 
fruits of which it had been made supreme. Years 
upon years — years upon years — ^it had walked the land ; 
some few blessing it as a serene angel, sent by God to 
chastise and purify ; the multitude cursing it as a foul 
fiend, yet falling down before it — acknowledging it 
lord and master 1 

Years ago, amid the fruits and flowers of radiant 
summer, the destroyer had stood concealed, watching 
the young soft hands that worked garlands for the pride, 
beauty, and gallant boyhood of the land — muttering to 
himself, that the flowers would shortly fade, and the 
fruits decay, and that all that pride, and beauty, and 
gallant boyhood would soon be his — and his, for many 
a long day to come ! 

Years ago, from the peak of the loftiest moimtain in 
the South, at an hour when the heavens canopied the 
island with their white and azure banners, and that 
peak glittered beneath them like a crown of virgin 
gold, the phantom had looked down upon the life, and 
sweetness, and glory, at his feet — ^boasting like the 
devil of the wilderness, that all was his, and delivered 
imto him 1 

Years ago, in the golden fields of a most joyous 
harvest time, he had stood amongst the reapers; 
smiling at the thought, that the curse which had ac- 
companied the fall was at length revoked, and that the 
children of Adam should no longer eat their bread by 
the sweat of their brows, as it had been promised ! 

Everywhere for years and years ; in the valley ; 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 203 

on the mountain ; amid the roses and the violets of 
many a radiant summer ; in the golden fields of many a 
joyous harvest-time ; on the hearth-stone, by the side 
of the wrinkled and the silver-haired, mumbling to her 
words of abject resignation, and pointing to the grave, 
so that it were not wet with blood as the sweetest 
home beneath the heavens ; everywhere, for years and 
years, hunger had been upon our soil ; had ceased, a 
generation or two ago, to be a stranger ; was no longer 
shvmned ; no longer fought with ; no longer cursed ; it 
was the eternal destiny of the land, and heaven's will 
be done ! 

It was, indeed, a sweet relief to us, when, the rain 
passing off, and the warm sun shining down upon its 
track, enabled us to leave these poor cabins, and pursue 
our journey. 

We arrived in Graigue-na-mana about three o'clock, 
and drove to the little hotel, a few hundred yards above 
the bridge, in the main street. Though none of us had 
been there before, we were recognised almost im- 
mediately. Some of the lightermen, whose boats were 
lying in the Barrow close at hand, and who had seen 
me frequently in Waterford identified me as I stood 
looking out of one of the windows, and the news of our 
arrival spread at once from one end to the other of the 
town. 

A large crowd collected before the hotel at Graigue- 
na-mana ; the chapel bell was set a-ringing ; cheers 
broke out in wild, glad chorus with it ; girls and women, 
from doors and windows, waved handkerchiefs and 
green boughs ; old men hobbled out, and propped 
themselves against the walls, to listen to the speeches ; 
old women shook their aprons, clapped their hands, 
and prayed aloud for God's blessing upon the scene. 

We presented ourselves to the people ; stated to 



eo6 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

them the object of our visit ; and were borne with 
loud hurrahs to the residence of the parish priest. 

He was not at home. His curate, however, was 
within ; and having expressed a wish to see him for a 
few minutes, we were shown into the parlour where he 
was seated. 

O'Brien told him we had come with the hope of 
meeting the parish priest, conceiving it our duty to 
state to him, personally the purport of our visit. He 

then communicated to the Rev. Mr. M ; that, if I 

mistake not, was the name of the cmrate — ^the news of 
the Suspension Act, and our intention, if the country 
would support us, to make that act the immediate 
cause and justification of the armed rising. 

O'Brien added, that he and his friends were deeply 
sensible of the necessity there existed for having the 
sanction and co-operation of the Catholic priests in 
such an undertaking, and expressed to the Rev. Mr. 

M his apprehension, that imless the priests concurred 

with us, any attempt at insurrection, for the present, 
would prove abortive. 

The Rev. Mr. M said very little, and that little 

was of so indecisive a nature as to be somewhat dis- 
couraging. The most conclusive sentence we could 
eUcit from him, was simply this : " That the whole affair 
was a very difficult subject to decide upon." 

O'Brien changed the conversation ; and asked about 
the crops. Dillon inquired the amount of the population 
in Graigue-na-mana, and wished to know whereabouts 

General Clooney lived. The Rev. Mr. M pointed 

to the house, with evident sensations of relief; and 
shook hands with us, complacently, at parting. 

During this interview, the people were waiting for 
us in the street, and anxiously expecting the result. 
Our looks conveyed it to them. The frank and merry 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 207 

smile upon every face before us, changed in an instant — 
as though a black cloud were crossing it — into a dull, 
cold, sullen gloom. 

O'Brien must have marked the change, for, as he 
moved in amongst them, he exclaimed — " Now, boys, 
to the old General of '98 ! " 1 

There was kindling simshine, there was kindling music, 
in those words. The frank and merry smile broke out 
afresh ; the glad, wild hurrah rang, clear and heartily, 
through the air once more ; the bell pealed forth anew, 
with strokes as wild and glad as that hurrah ; and in the 
warm heart of that gallant throng, we were carried to 
the house of the venerable, dear old man, who still 
enjoys upon this earth the homage and the title won, in 
earliest manhood, beneath the insurgent flag of Ireland. 

The image of this old man ; his venerable looks ; his 
words ; his manner towards us, on that day ; all are 
vivid to my mind, and I think of him at this moment, 
as I beheld him then, with feelings of tender, tearful, 
loving admiration. 

The moment O'Brien approached him, he threw his 
arms round his neck, and embracing him with all the 
fondness of a father, dropped warm tears upon his 
cheek. He then took Dillon and me by the hands, and 
affectionately welcomed us to his house. 

We entered with him ; sat down for a few minutes ; 
explained to the old General what had occurred, and 
what we purposed doing. ^ 

The conversation over, we went out to the doorway, 

1 General Clooney. 

' It will be sad news to Meagher and his fellow-exiles, that 
the noble old man is in his grave. We had the satisfaction of 
meeting him a year after the events described above. His 
heart was heavy ; two failures such as he had shared (with half 
a century between them) quenched the light of hope ; and, 
perhaps, life itself, which cannot exist without it. — [Duffy.] 



208 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

and from thence addressed the people, who, by this 
time, had considerably increased in numbers, and were 
occupying the gardens in front of the house, the streets 
outside, the walls, and trees and windows all about. 

We told them we were on our way to Kilkenny, 
where we expected to be able to make a stand ; and 
that, in case we succeeded in doing so, the men of 
Graigue-na-mana should be prepared to act in our 
support by cutting up the roads in the neighbourhood, 
knocking down bridges, intercepting, in every possible 
way, the passage of the police and soldiers through 
the country. 

We entreated them to lose no time in shaping them- 
selves into something like organised bodies ; to form, 
for instance, one or two Clubs ; to procure any and 
every description of arms ; and at once elect the most 
intelligent and daring men of the place, as their leaders. 

Here, as in Eimiscorthy, our appeals were responded 
to with evident sympathy and enthusiasm ; and, I 
firmly believe that had the Graigue-na-mana men 
been called upon, that moment, to follow us to Kil- 
kenny, or any other place, they would have armed 
themselves with stones, scythes, pitchforks and any- 
thing else they could lay their hands upon, and have 
tramped the road, whithersoever it might have led, 
with the gladdest heart, and the stoutest spirit. 

As we drove off, two hundred of them accompanied, 
and saw us a mile or two upon our road. Most of them 
were boatmen, and finer fellows I have seldom seen. 
Square-built, light-limbed, muscular ; they seemed to 
me, as it were, cut out and rigged for the roughest 
work, and were just the sort of men to have com- 
menced the business with. 

^ But, it was a weary drive to the city of the Butlers I 
A cold, wet, dismal drive I Far pleasanter, to have 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 209 

been mounted in the stirrups, dashing away, along the 
splashing road, at the head of a hundred young and 
gallant horsemen ; and, as the vesper-bell was ringing 
out from old St. Canice, to have crossed the Nore, and 
cleared our course, with flashing sabres, to the aisles, 
where burgher, priest, and noble, once held high con- 
ference in armed and bannered splendour ! ^ 

Some place along the road, between Gowran and 
Kilkenny— I forget exactly where— O'Brien, having 
learned that a peurish priest resided there, suggested 

*The question, whether the movement should begin in 
Kilkenny or Dublin, had long agitated the Confederate counsels. 
One section declared for Dublin, af&rming that it was only in 
the vital parts a single blow was mortal, and that the seat of 
Government was the brain of the system. The opportunity 
of seizing upon the mails, and disseminating the first proclama- 
tion of the Provisional Government over the whole country in 
a single day, was insisted upon ; and it was affirmed that the 
position of Dublin, lying between the Grand and Royal Canals, 
was a complete military fortification. The other section main- 
tained that Dublin could not be won at a blow, choked as it 
was with the troops and the friends of the Government ; that 
the Irish Movement did not resemble the French Revolution 
either in its ways or means, and must not, like it, aim exclusively 
at the capital. That, for success, some Authority, which the 
people would respect and obey, was essential, and that with 
this view the Council of Three Hundred must be called together, 
representing the whole country. That each member selected 
should be required to have for his constituency a certain number 
of men (say, a thousand), regimented into Clubs, and to bring 
with him a certain sum of money (say ^loo, a shilling from each 
man enrolled). In this way, it was contended, a fund of thirty 
thousand pounds (or some approach to it) would be secured — ■ 
and the will of three hundred thousand armed and organised 
men be consolidated in one Council — ^which could negotiate 
with the Crown with authority, or give the signal for insurrecr 
tion with effect. Kilkenny or Limerick, it was contended, was the 
proper place to assemble this Council, in the midst of a friendly 
population — and the former was generally preferred. This con- 
troversy had turned attention on Kilkenny from the beginning. 
But when it was hastily chosen for the last act of the drama, 
the previous acts, which would have made the selection judicious, 
were all wanting. — [Charles Gavan Duffy.] 

'4 



210 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

to Dillon and me the propriety of pajnng him a visit. 
We saw no necessity for it, and little impropriety in 
leaving it undone ; we yielded, however, to O'Brien's 
wish. 

At the furthest corner of the field which faced the 
house, we observed three priests, taking their evening^ 
walk. As we approached, one of them came to mejit, 
US. 

He was a very old, feeble, venerable man ; his walk 
was slow and timid ; his voice, faint, gentle, alm6st 
sorrowful ; his eyes Ut up with a soft, tranquil, modest 
kindliness. He had entered upon the last hour of the 
evening of life, and the clouds and stillness of the 
longest night v^ch poor mortality shall know were 
closing and deepening round him. Yet, one could 
catch a glimpse of the Eternal Light behind those 
clouds, and the repose of the Good and Blessed was in 
that deepening stillness. 

He seemed to take little interest in what O'Brien 
said ; indeed, seemed hardly sensible of anything 
around him. He was gliding softly towards another 
land, and leaving the struggles and the sorrows of this 
injured one of ours behind him, a long, long way. 

I felt glad when we parted from him. My heart was 
sad and heavy whilst I gazed upon him ; for it was a 
cruelty, I thought, thus to call him back from the 
tranquil, shaded path, through which he was descending 
to the grave, and ask him to take part in the cares and 
tumults of living men. What his name was, I have 
never learned. 

We arrived in Kilkenny about eight o'clock, and 

stopped at the house of oiu: friend. Mrs. met us 

in the hall, and gave us the warmest welcome. Her 
husband, she told us, was out, attending a meeting of 
one of the Clubs, but would shortly return. O'Brien 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 211 

thought it better to see him at once, and asked the 
eldest son — a fine, sprightly, handsome boy — ^to go to 
where the Club was sitting, for his father. He did so, 
and returned with him in a few minutes. 

O'Brien, Dillon and I went up then with him to the 
drawing-room, and, for half an hour, and upwards, were 
engaged in conversation with him. To the plan we laid 
before him, he hesitated to assent. He did not consider 
it. advisable to commence in Kilkenny ; at all events, 
not for a few days. The Clubs, he informed us, were 
insufficiently armed ; miserably so, indeed. The Club 
with which he was connected, for instance, out of five 
hundred members, had but one hundred armed. 

The result, however, of the conversation was an 
\mderstanding, that O'Brien, Dillon and I were to leave 
Kilkenny the next morning ; drive into Tipperary ; 
visit Carrick, Clonmel, and Cashel ; summon the people 
of those towns to arms ; and, in three or four days, 
return to Kilkenny — at the head of an armed force, if 
possible — call out the Clubs, barricade the streets, and, 
from the Council Chamber of the Corporation, issue 

the first Revolutionary Edict to the country. was 

also obliged to leave Kilkenny in the morning, having 
been subpoenaed to attend on an important trial at 
the Cork assizes. 

Whilst we were engaged in this deliberation, the 
people, hearing of our arrival, had flocked from all 
parts of the city, and were now blocking up the entire 
length of William Street. O'Brien, having been 
enthusiastically called for, went to the Citizens' Club- 
house, from the balcony of which he delivered a noble 
speech. 

As at Enniscorthy and Graigue-na-mana, he told the 
people the time had come for an appeal to arms, and 
that he appeared amongst them, to share, with the 



212 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

poorest of his countrymen, the perils and the honours 
of a righteous war. 

In concluding his speech, he begged of the Clubmen 
not to lose a moment in procuring arms, since it was 
more than probable, that, before the lapse of five days, 
they would be called upon to test their strength with the 
English Government. This annotmcement they hailed 
with deafening cheers, and cries of : " We'll stand to 
you ; We'll die for you I " 

Neither Dillon nor I spoke. We felt too much 
fatigued to do so. Two or three local gentlemen, how- 
ever, addressed the crowd ; but what they said, I 
altogether forget. 

The following morning we breakfasted at eight 
o'clock; after which, O'Brien went out, and paid a 

couple of visits. had started, some hours 

previously, for Cork. Dillon and I remained within, 
and had an interview with five or six of the principal 
Confederates. They were the Presidents, and Vice- 
Presidents, and Secretaries of the different Clubs. We 
stated to them the resolution we had come to, the 
night before. They approved of it heartily, and 
promised to work, day and night, to procure and dis- 
tribute arms among the Clubmen, so as to be fully 
prepared to support us on our return from Tipperary. 

We then arranged with them the streets that were to 
be barricaded ; the houses that were to be occupied ; 
the number of men to be stationed on each barricade ; 
the proportion of pikemen to each musketeer ; and 
several other details. A complete programme, in fact, 
was sketched out and determined upon. The men 
with whom we held the interview were yovmg, in- 
telligent, active fellows ; evidently in thorough down- 
right earnest, and full of ardour. So much so, indeed, 
that Dillon and I parted from them in the highest 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 213 

spirits, and with the beHef that, by the end of the 
week, the " faire citie " would be in the hands of her 
own brave people, and the Green Flag flying, in defiance 
to all strangers, from the walls of Ormond Castle 1 

At one o'clock we left Kilkenny for Callan. On 
entering this town, we were surprised to find a large 
concourse of people, headed by the Temperance Band, 
waiting to receive us. We learned afterwards, that 

in passing through on the Cork mail, had told 

them we were coming. 

A large bon-fire blazed in the centre of the main 
street. The door-ways of the houses were decked out 
with laurel boughs ; whilst, from many of the windows, 
small green flags, decorated with flowers and ribands, 
were flying gaily. As we drove a little further on, 
hundreds of fine young fellows rushed towards us, 
waving their hats, cheering to the top of their voices, 
and passionately grasping us by the hands. Lively, 
handsome girls — ^with flashing black eyes and cheeks 
of the brightest bloom — ^bounded through the crowd, 
threw their arms about our necks, and kissed us, amid 
the smiles and merry loud applause of their own 
brave boys. 

The latter compelled us to dismount, and fall in 
behind them. The band struck up " The White 
Cockade," and with a light step, and hearts as light, we 
swept on to the Market house. 

Arriving at this place, we found it occupied by a 
party of the 8th Hussars ; a troop of which had come in 
that morning from Fethard, and were on their way, 
with the rest of the regiment, to Newbridge from 
Ballincollig. 

At the moment we entered, they were busy cleaning 
their bridles, saddles, carbines, sword-belts, and other 
accoutrements. Seeing the crowd approach the Market- 



214 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

house, some of them were for starting off, at first, and 
leaving the position in the hands of the " enemy." 
Just as I made my appearance at the door, a tall 
Englishman, with a shirt speckled all over with blue 
miniature-likenesses of Jenny Lind, was on the point 
of bolting down the stone steps which led from the top 
room to the street ; having managed to coil his saddle 
girths, saddle-cloth, and every other appurtenance — 
round one arm, whilst from the other, as from a pro- 
jecting show-rod over the door-way of a Jew's shop, 
there dangled a variety of articles, in an aggregate of 
the most complicated disorder. There was, for instance, 
a cloak, a pair of short boots, a shako, a brown pocket- 
handkerchief, and a glazed stock of the most suffocating 
inflexibility. Most of his comrades were Irish, and 
biu'st out laughing at him. One fine lad wanted to 
know " where the blazes Jim was flying to in that 
helter-skelter style, as if a mine had knocked the feet 
from under him." 

I told them there was no necessity for their leaving 
the building ; that no advantage would be taken of 
them ; that their arms were just as safe there as they 
would be in Dublin Castle ; perhaps more so. 

" We know that, sir," replied the young corporal, 
" we know well you wouldn't take an unfair advantage 
of the poor soldiers ; at any rate, you wouldn't do it 
to the Irish Hussars." 

" Three cheers," I cried, going to the door, and 
calling upon the people, " three cheers, boys, for the 
8th Royal Irish Hussars I " 

The tall Englishman with the Jenny Lind shirt, who 
was standing close to me, grasped his traps again, and 
swore he'd stand it no longer, but be off. Upon con- 
sideration, however — seeing, I presume, it would be no 
easy matter to cut his way through the crowd which 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 215 

surrounded the Market-house — he adopted, with strong 
reluctance apparently, the alternative of remaining 
where he was. 

During the entire time we were addressing the 
people the Hussars stood behind us, inside the door-way, 
and listened to us, with deep interest and satisfaction. 
Dillon told me, that whilst I was speaking, he was 
particularly struck by the appearance of the corporal ; 
" His eye was full of fire ; his lips set ; his clear, frank 
features, lit up with a glow of pleasure and enthusiasm, 
betrayed the gallant treason of his heart ; and when," 
continued Dillon, " alluding to the police — ^who were 
scattered, here and there, all through the crowd — ^you 
told them, that ' in a day or two, you were to moimt 
the Green yourself," he looked as if he would have 
leaped down amongst the people, and pledged his love 
and courage to their cause." 

Here, too — as we had already done in Enniscorthy, 
in Graigue-na-mana, and Kilkenny — ^we called upon the 
people to provide themselves at once with arms, for we 
had come to the determination, if the country would 
support us, to bring, at length, the old quarrel between 
England and Ireland to an issue, and, it was probable, 
that, before the close of the week, a thousand Tipperary- 
men would be in full march, along that road, upon 
Kilkenny. 

Had you heard the thrilling cheer with which this 
announcement was received, you would have believed 
with us, that no rash experiment was on the eve of 
being made ; you would have believed that the spirit 
of the country had been stirred from its most secret 
depths, and that a torrent, which would sweep all 
before it, had been struck from the rock, and was 
bounding through the land ! 

With this belief we left the little town of Callan on 



2l6 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

that day — Monday, July the 24th — and pursued our 
road to Carrick. 

At Nine-mile-house we stopped to change horses ; 
and whilst we were waiting for the fresh relay, twenty 
or thirty of the country people, who happened to be 
about the place at the time, flocked round us. We 
entered, of course, into conversation with them ; told 
them the business we were on ; the resolution we had 
come to ; the plan of operations we proposed to carry 
out ; and asked them could we depend upon that part 
of the country ? Were the people, about there, favour- 
able to a rising ? Were they armed ? To what extent ? 
Had any Clubs been formed in the neighbourhood ? 
How were the priests disposed ? 

In answer to all these questions, except the last, we 
received the most encouraging assurances. 

We might depend upon them ; there wasn't a man 
among them that wasn't true ; they were long expecting 
it would come to this, and a pity it hadn't been done 
five year ago, when Mr. O'Connell had the people and 
the priests at their head ; they were armed well enough ; 
if they all hadn't guns, they had their hooks, and their 
spades, and their forks, at any rate ; and though they 
weren't as smart as the guns, they'd stand to them well 
enough when 'it came to close quarters. As for the 
Clubs, there were one or two in the neighbourhood, 
and the people a-bouts were enrolling themselves as 
fast as they could. But as for the priests — ^there was 
only an odd one or two up to the mark ; and they 
could not do much, owing to their being the curates, 
and the parish priests were agin them intirely ; yet if 
they had a priest, at all, at all, it wasn't much matter 
about the rest, for the people were tired of keeping so 
quiet, and dying from day to day. 
' After this copversation, we dpsjred twp or three foie 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 317 

young fellows, whose appearance greatly struck us, and 
whose earnestness and enthusiasm it was impossible 
not to detect in every look, and word, and gesture — ^we 
desired them to disperse through the adjoining country 
that night, and let the people know we had determined 
upon taking the field ; and it was more than probable 
we would be marching, at the head of an armed body, 
by that very place, before the end of the week ; and, 
if this should be the case, it would be well we were met 
at Nine-mile-house by the Clubs and peasantry of the 
neighbourhood ; indeed, it was absolutely necessary 
we should be reinforced at every town, village, and 
house along the road, since our project was to attack 
and take possession of Kilkenny. 

The moment we had given them these instructions, 
they started off ; and, a few days afterwards, I learned, 
that, the whole of that night, these three young peasants 
were on foot, traveUing from house to house, from cabin 
to cabin, passing, in every direction, within a circuit 
of seven miles and more, the word we gave them — ^never 
once resting, never taking a drop to drink, nor a bit to 
eat, until the morning woke. 

I forget what hour it was when we reached Nine-mile- 
house. It could not have been, however, very far from 
our usual dining hour, for we felt extremely hungry ; 
the consequence of which was that, previous to our 
starting for Carrick, O'Brien proposed we should have 
some dinner. 

If I remember rightly, there are only two public- 
houses at this place ; and into one of them — ^the one 
on the right-hand side of the road, as you come up 
from Carrick — ^we made our way forthwith. The good- 
humoured-looking woman behind the counter made "a 
courtesy as we entered, and asked us wouldn't we walk 
into the parlour and sit down ^-whjle ? O'Brien 



2i8 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

thanked her, and said that, as we were anxious to 
leave for Carrick with as little delay as possible, we 
preferred taking anything she had, in the way of dinner, 
where we were. 

" Oh, then, dinner, indeed ! " she replied, " it's a 
poor dinner we can give you ; all we have are a few 
hard eggs, a little salt butter, some bread, and a cup 
of new milk, if you won't have the spirits." 

" That will do admirably," said O'Brien ; " we must 
learn to put up with worse before long, I expect." 

" Indeed, then," rejoined the poor woman, " it's the 
best they've got you'll have from the people at any 
rate, wherever you go, your honour ; and proud they'll 
be, if you take it ; little as it'll be, God help them ! " 

The eggs and the milk and the salt butter and the 
bread, were laid out upon the counter, and we set to 
work with great heart and the keenest appetite ; our 
good, kind hostess blushing very hard all the time, 
and now and then exclaiming, as she turned away her 
head, and pretended to be very busy looking for some- 
thing on the shelves behind the coimter, that " Sure 
it was a pity and a shame to see such gentlemen taking 
such fare, and they with their own comfortable homes." 

When we had done, I went out to see that the luggage 
was all right, and settle with the driver who had brought 
us from Kilkenny. 

A number of policemen were lounging about the car, 
and one of them, on my moving towards him, touched 
his cap, and expressed a hope " that Mr. Meagher was 
in good health, and wouldn't come to any trouble, as 
he knew his family well." 

I asked him, " How was that ? Was he ever in 
Waterford ? " 

" Yes, sir," he said, " I was in Waterford, but a long 
time ago ; not for these twenty years, or more." 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 219 

" Well," I replied, "if so, you could hardly have 
seen me." 

" That's true enough," he continued to observe, 
" that's true enough. I never seen yourself till now ; 
but I seen your father and the rest of the family, at 
your grandfather's funeral — ^that is, your mother's 
father's funeral — and a splendid funeral it was — it 
covered the length of the Quay." 

This was no other than the respectable old sergeant of 
police, of whose evidence Mr. Whiteside, upon cross- 
examination, made so much fun that the solemn Chief 
Justice, was obliged to interpose, and threaten to have 
the court-house cleared if another laugh was heard. I 
recollect the scene well. 

" You say, sir," inquired Mr. Whiteside, " that you 
had a conversation with Mr. Meagher at the Nine-mile- 
house ? " 

" Yes." 

" Well, sir, pray may I ask you, if it is not intruding 
too much upon your confidence, what may have been 
the purport of that conversation ? " 

" Why, nothing at all," replied the poor sergeant, 
" only I told him I was at his grandfather's funeral." 

" Then, sir," resumed Mr. Whiteside, " the sum total 
of your connection with Mr. Meagher amounts to this, 
and this only — ^that you were at his grandfather's 
funeral ? " 

A perceptible suppression of violent convulsions here 
took place. 

" Why then," said the sergeant, " that's all ; and I 
agree with the learned Counsel, that same is not much." 

Here the convulsions broke out, and were threatening 
to put an end, for the rest of the day, to everything like 
order and sobriety, when, as I have already mentioned, 
the inexorable Chief of the Queen's Bench vigorously 



220 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

interposed— instructing the High Sheriff to clear the 
court, in case any such improper levity occurred for 
the future. 

Finding that the sergeant had nothing else of im- 
portance to communicate, I wished him good-bye, and 
took my seat on the car. O'Brien and Dillon were 
already seated ; so, we took off our hats to the poor 
fellows who were standing round us, and joining in the 
cheers they gave for " The Green above the Red," 
dashed away for Carrick. 

I think it was within five miles of the latter place, 
that, seeing some men working in a field, we pulled up, 
and beckoned them to come to us. There were cross- 
roads, at all events, where we stopped ; and this cir- 
cumstance will serve to indicate the distance we were 
from Carrick, at the time I speak of, should you ever 
pass along our line of road, and feel a curiosity to 
ascertain the different points at which any particular 
incidents connected with our movement occurred. 

The men threw down their spades, and, running across 
the field, leaped the ditch by the road-side, and came up 
to us immediately. O'Brien introduced himself, first 
of all, to them ; and then introduced Dillon. In my 
case, no introduction was required. They knew me 
beforehand. 

" You're welcome 1 You're welcome, Mr. Meagher I " 
they exclaimed ; " and we hope your honour has been 
well since you were on SUevenamon with us ? " 

I asked them had they been at the great meeting 
there ? 

" Faith, then, we were," they said, " and we'll be up 
there again if you want us." 

O'Brien intimated it was probable we would, and 
that they could easily guess the reason we had called 
them over frojn thejr work, 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 221 

" Well, sure enough, we might," one of them replied, 
" for there's talk this morning in Carrick — so they tell 
us — about the Government arresting you ; and if they 
do, you may depend upon us. We let them know a bit 
of our minds the other day, when there was a report of 
Father Byrne's being arrested." 

" Oh ! " said O'Brien, " I heard something of that 
before, but I should like to hear something more about 
it." 

" Why, the short and the long of it is, that, when the 
report spread, the chapel-bell was set ringing, and all the 
people of the town turned out, most of them with pikes ; 
and when the news came out here, why, there wasn't a 
man nor a boy of fifteen that didn't take the road ; but, 
it so happened, there was no truth in the report, and 
Father Byrne quieted the people, and we came back, 
when we were within a couple of mile of the place, for, 
your honour, there was nothing for us to do in Carrick ; 
and that's all about it." 

" Then," resumed O'Brien, " I conclude we may 
reckon upon you, in case we are compelled to take the 
field ? " 

" Indeed, then, you may," they replied, " and upon 
himdreds besides, round about here ; for we have two 
Clubs in the neighbourhood, and Mr. O'Mahony — as 
noble a young gentleman as ever you laid your eyes 
upon — ^is President of one of them." 

" Does Mr. O'Mahony," inquired Dillon, " live near 
here ? " 

" Quite convanient, your honour," was the reply, 
" and one of us will run up and fetch him down, if 
you'd like to see him." 

" Certainly," said O'Brien, " by all means ; he is 
just the man we want to see." 

Away went one of them, then, up one of the cross- 



222 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

roads ; and whilst he was absent, O'Brien, Dillon, and 
I. mingled with the country people who had collected 
round the car, and quietly conversed with them. 

There were some noble-looking girls in the little 
group, and the enthusiasm with which they spoke of the 
coming fight I shall never forget. It had no terrors for 
them ; it wore, in their frank and beautiful eyes, no 
fiendish aspect. Far otherwise, indeed ! 

Encircled with a wreath of crimson light, crowned 
with the sweet wild flowers and the golden fruitage of 
their native soil, the armed spirit of the nation's liberty 
approached them as a warrior angel, and they hailed 
the vision with blessings, and songs of welcome ! 

Think not that I write this in a mood of idle, driftless 
exaggeration, and that such sentiments have no deeper 
birth than those meaningless, insincere, and wanton 
compliments, with which our public men, at dinners, 
soirees, and meetings, consign to contempt and pro- 
fanation some of the finest sensibilities, and one of the 
loftiest adorations of the human heart. Sickened at 
this disfigurement of a noble theme, I have, at all 
times, in my speeches and my writings, abstained from 
giving expression to sentiments such as it is now my 
pride to vindicate, lest, failing to utter them with due 
delicacy and decorum, I should myself participate in 
the vulgar impropriety I here condemn. 

But, my mind would feel ill at ease, indeed, if in this 
little narrative — graceless and unstudied as it is — I 
refrained from uttering one poor, simple, word in 
recognition of that pure, sweet, earnest, dauntless spirit, 
which, during the course of the proceedings I relate, 
shone out, and, even in the cloudiest seasons of our 
misfortune, clothed in radiant loveliness the daughters 
of our native land. 

Should these pages ever come to light, let no frivolous, 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 223 

dull, or withered heart ; let no heart whose blood has 
turned to gall amid the insincerities and cruelties of the 
world, or whose diviner aspirations — driven back by 
the cold and jewelled hand of a faithless and irreverent 
society — ^have died, in paltriest cowardice, within the 
field of that rich nature from whence they sprung ; let 
no such heart scan with distrust, with levity, or scorn, 
this, the humble tribute I have offered up to the fond, 
brave sisterhood of our sad old island. 

In the proudest moments of our career, when 
thousands stood around us, and the chivalrous passion 
of our country arose and burned, like a signal-fire 
upon the hills, at the bidding of our invocation ; in 
the darkest and most desolate moments of our outlaw's 
life, when house and hearth were barred against us, 
and we knew not where to lay our heads ; in the loneliest 
and most abject moments of our imprisonment, when 
not a ray of hope or honour flickered above our cells ; 
when the pimps and scribes of our triumphant foe were 
busy with their jibes and sarcasms, and slander showered 
her venom upon our acts, our failure, and our sacrifice ; 
when treachery broke loose beneath us, and those whom 
we had thought would have had the decency to be 
silent, since they had not the courage to befriend us, 
stood up amongst our enemies, and fawned upon them ; 
when vulgar Pharisees, garbed in civic ermine, voted 
from their Council-rooms thanks to the special provi- 
dence of the English Castle, which had, to use their 
silken dialect, " with so much sagacity, and above all, 
with so much leniency," averted the event they had 
themselves not shunned, not fought against — ^not they, 
the Loyalists ! — ^but had urged on, by Repeal Debates, 
and Rotunda Levees, and congratulatory addresses to 
the Government of France, and the coming of which 
they had hailed, and panted for so greedily in the 



224 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

recesses of their hearts, and the veiled sanctuaries of 
their dwelling-places ; when the public voice was 
hushed, and the honest heart could find no vent for 
all its anguish but through muttered throbbings ; in 
this, as in every vicissitude of our career — in the saddest 
as in the brightest — ^we were cheered, inspired, ennobled, 
by the sympathy of that fair, courageous, faithful 
sisterhood. 

Oh ! whilst the songs and sympathies of a choir so 
glorious vibrate through these skies of ours let no 
true son of the Irish land despair ! From such a choir 
will come the Brides of a gallant soldiery — ^the mothers 
of another Grachii ! 

We had not been more than twenty minutes in con- 
versation with this little group, when the clatter of 
horse's hoofs was heard. On looking up the cross- 
road to our right, we saw a tall, robust, gallant-looking 
fellow, mounted on a strong black horse, coming at 
full speed, towards us. 

This was O'Mahony — one of the noblest young 
Irishmen it has been my pride to meet with during the 
course of my short public life. 

His square, broad frame ; his frank, gay, fearless 
look ; the warm, forcible, headlong earnestness of his 
manner ; the quickness and elasticity of his move- 
ments ; the rapid glances of his clear, full eye ; the 
proud bearing of his head ; everjrthing about him, 
struck us with a brilliant and exciting effect, as he 
threw himself from his saddle, and, tossing the bridle 
on his arm, hastened to meet and welcome us. 

At a glance, we recognised in him a true leader for 
the generous, passionate, intrepid peasantry of the 
South. As we clasped his hand, the blood dashed in 
joy and triumph through our veins ; for a moment, 
every sensation, approaching to disquietude or despon- 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 225 

dency, vanished from our minds ; and, in a dazzling 
trance of exultation, we became sensible, in his presence, 
of no emotions, save those of the most joyous 
confidence. 

Strange it is, the influence which a man of a fine and 
soldierly appearance, flinging himself into a revolu- 
tionary movement, has upon the feelings of the most 
utter stranger. I had never seen O'Mahony previous 
to this interview ; had heard of him but once before, 
and that in a very slight way indeed ; yet, I greeted 
him at this moment with a warmth of expression, 
which, I had thought, would have escaped me only in 
conversation with the oldest and most trusted com- 
panion. 

A thousand glowing pictures, too, flashed across my 
mind, as I looked into his open, manly, well-traced 
features, and read there the force and daring of his 
courageous heart. 

They are still before me : — 

Armed columns of the peasantry, pouring down 
through gap and river-course, scaring, with their tramp 
and shout, the eagle from his solitude, and waking the 
echoes from their enchanted sleep in the shadowy 
mountains far off 

Camp-fires, quivering through the mist and star- 
Hght, along the hills the rude challenges of the out- 
posts ^the signal-shots and pass-words of the scouts. 

The grey morning breaking, cind the flag of the 
proud old Irish race flying out from rath and round 
tower, from bridge and belfry, kindling into rapture the 
morning-hymn of many a young and gallant spirit 

Then, the red ensign, in some lone defile ^hedged 

in by lines of crossed and matted steel ^bending, and 

splitting, and scattering into scorched and blackened 
shreds, beneath the volleying clouds, which, from tree 

IS 



226 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

and rock, swept down, and broke, in thunder peals, 
around it ! 

With somewhat of a firm hand I have traced them 
here ; yet, with how mournful a light do the lingering 
recollections of such visions abide with me, in these 
clouded days of solitude, silence, and captivity ! How 
vain, senseless, and boyish, as they say, must seem 
these visions to you ; now that the summer warmth 
from which they expanded into glory hcis departed, 
and a bleaksome winter has come upon the land ! 

Willingly, in truth, would I draw a black veil over 
these beautiful, sunlit pictures ; concealing them from 
every eye, until the splendour descending from the 
uplifted forehead of our transfigured nation, should 
beautify and render them immortal prophecies. 

But, I am not confining myself to a recital of mere 
incidents. 

As far as my memory enables me, I am telling you 
sincerely what I thought, and felt ; what hopes, affec- 
tions, fears, crossed my mind, almost in every scene we 
passed through ; and, anxious as I am, that you should 
know the whole truth, I think it would be uncandid — 
weak and timorous it would be, certainly — ^to make, 
with regard to my conjectures — ^nay, even with regard 
to my infatuations — ^the slightest reservation. 

From what I have already said, you will easily con- 
ceive that our conversation with O'Mahony was fTill 
of hopefulness. 

He represented to us that the country all about 
Carrick, on towards Clonmel, and along the Suir on 
the Tipperary side, was thoroughly alive, and ready to 
take the field at once. 

Producing a couple of leather-covered books from his 
pocket, he ran over the names of the Clubmen of whom 
he was the President ; enumerated the sections into 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 227 

which he had divided them ; mentioned who the 
captains of the sections were ; the number that were 
armed ; and then, entered into larger details, as to the 
prevalence of the insurrectionary spirit, and the zeal 
with which the people, in his neighbourhood, were 
providing themselves with pikes, and every other 
description of arms. 

Never, never, can I forget the enthusiasm of this 
gallant, glorious fellow, as he spoke to us, and ran 
through these details. It was the enthusiasm of a 
heart, which, fearless itself of danger — panting to meet 
and grapple with the deadliest peril — lost sight of every 
difficulty ; and, borne aloft upon its own impetuous 
faith, exultingly believed that the country had but to 
strike to prove herself invincible. 

The plan of action we had adopted in Kilkenny — and 
which had been stated openly to the people in Callan 
and at the Nine-mile-house — ^we communicated, of 
course, to O'Mahony. Though strongly of opinion 
we should commence, that very night in Carrick, he 
gave way to our suggestions, and promised to meet us, 
at the head of his Club, and any number of peasantry 
he could collect in the meantime, at any place, day, and 
hour we specified. 

We then drove off, and, in little more than half an 
hour, entered Carrick. 

I know not how to describe the scene we witnessed 
on entering this town. 

Though many months have passed away since, I am 
still as perplexed about that strange scene as when I 
stood in the midst of it, and felt myself up-borne by 
the mighty passions it disclosed. It was then more 
like a chream to me than an actual occurrence ; and it 
now seems to me the same. 

A torrent of human beings, rushing through lanes 



228 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

and narrow streets; surging and boiling against the 
white basements that hemmed it in ; whirling in dizzy 
circles, and tossing up its dark waves, with sounds of 
wrath, vengeance, and defiance ; clenched hands, darting 
high above the black and broken surface, and waving 
to and fro, with the wildest confusion, in the air ; eyes 
red with rage and desperation, starting and flashing 
upwards through the billows of the flood ; long tresses 
of hair — disordered, drenched, and tangled — streaming 
in the roaring wind of voices, and, as in a shipwreck, 
rising and falling with the foam ; wild, half-stifled, 
passionate, frantic prayers of hope ; invocations, in 
sobs, and thrilling wailings, and piercing cries, to the 
God of Heaven, His saints, and the Virgin Mary ; 
challenges to the foe ; curses on the red flag : scornful, 
exulting, delirious defiances of death ; all wild as the 
winter gusts at sea, yet as black and fearful, too ; this 
is what I then beheld — these the sounds I heard — such 
the dream which passed before me ! 

It was the Revolution, if we had accepted it. 

Why it was not accepted, I fear I cannot with 
sufficient accuracy explain. For, as I have already 
said, of that whole scene I remember nothing clearly, 
save the passion, the confusion, and the tumult. 

As a dream it came ; and so it passed before me. As 
such, alone, I now remember it. 

Would to heaven ! that with these words, I could 
here lay down my weary pen, and write no more of 
that mournful past, amid the wreck of which — amid 
the trampled laurels, the soiled and torn banners, the 
broken shields, the drooping plumes, the extinguished 
lamps, the cold and crownless altar-stones of which — I 
sit imprisoned ! 

But this cannot be ! The love I bear my country ; 
the proud . love with which I recognise, assert, and 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 229 

worship, her ancient name, descent, and glory ; the 
jealous love with which I sit in sorrow by her tomb, 
awaiting the morning of her resurrection ; this love 
will not exonerate me from the task I have undertaken. 

I must resume, then — distasteful and dispiriting as 
it is — the line of my broken story. 

Extricating ourselves from the immense crowd which 
hemmed us in on every side, we made our way to the 

house of Mr. P ; which house, if I recollect rightly, 

is situated somewhere about the middle of the main 
street, opposite to Shannahan's hotel. 

It was from one of the front windows of this house 
that, on the Sunday week previous, I addressed upwards 
of 15,000 people, on my coming down from Slievena- 

mon. Mr. P had been for some time an ardent 

Confederate, and having, on many occasions, given 
very striking evidence of his earnest sympathy with 
our movement, we did not hesitate to select his house 
as the fittest one for any consultation it might be 
necessary for us to hold. 

On entering the hall, we met several of the more 
prominent members of the Carrick Clubs, and two or 
three gentlemen, residing in the vicinity of the town, 
whose identification with us, in purpose as well as sen- 
timent, was well known, and to be relied on thoroughly. 

I missed, however, the Rev. Mr. Byrne, one of the 
Catholic Curates of the town ; a young and gallant 
clergyman, who had, from the commencement, shown 
a. bold front in the national movement. He was too 
good a man to be absent. As the trusted guide and 
leader, too, of the local Clubs, I conceived it was his 
duty to be with us at so critical a moment ; and that, 
whether it declared for peace or war, his opinion 
should be sought for. 

Having learned that he was at the residence of the 



230 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

parish priest, the Very Rev. Dr. Connolly, I sat down 
and wrote him a note, earnestly begging of him to come 
over, and give us the benefit of his honest and affec- 
tionate advice. 

Whilst waiting for the answer, we remained in the 
drawing-room, anxiously conversing with the officers 
of the different Clubs, of which, in this little town, there 
had been organised, within the last six weeks, no less 
than twelve. 

A confused and distracted conversation it was, as 
well as a truly anxious one ! 

Everyone was giving his favourite opinion ; setting 
forth, with boisterous impetuosity, his own peculiar 
views; urging, with broken phrases and impatient 
utterance, a plan of action, isolated from, and, in the 
end, utterly hostile to and contradictory of all the rest. 

One was for commencing there and then. Another 
proposed that the night should be spent in preparation, 
and that the morning should be ushered in with the 
volleying of guns and the gleaming of pike-heads. A 
third suggested — altogether overlooking the Suspension 
Act — that the elections for the Council of Three Hundred 
should take place with as little delay as possible, and 
that thft Delegates should proceed, immediately upon 
their election, to the Rotunda, each escorted by one 
thousand armed men, selected from the constituents 
of his electoral division. A fourth was in favour of a 
camp on Slievenamon. A fifth for taking to the 
loughs and glens of the Commeragh, and there holding 
out until the country had armed herself more formidably. 
There was a sixth proposition, too, and a seventh, and 
an eighth ; and, for all I remember to the contrary, 
there may have been as many as the First Book of 
Euclid contains. 

Never did I behold so perplexing and bewildering a 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 231 

tumult ! Never did there occur to me a scene less 
susceptible of repose, of guidance, of any clear, steady, 
intelligible control ! 

Within, there was this confusion and uproar of 
tongues ; without, there was the tossing and surging 
of the mighty throng, whose deep vibrations shook 
the walls of the house in which we were assembled. 
Add to this, that himdreds were blocking up the stair- 
case ; crowding and crushing on the landing-places ; 
crowding and crushing round the table at which we 
sat ; pressing down upon us, in their hot anxiety to 
see and hear us ; and, for this very reason, and urged 
on by this same vehernent and generous passion, were 
overpowering every exertion we strove to make — • 
drowning completely every word we uttered — ex- 
hausting our strength, and rendering us incapable of 
guiding with a firm hand the elements that swept and 
roared around us. 

Note by Gavan Duffy 

The history of what was done, and omitted to be 
done, at Kilkenny, has been an earnest subject of 
inquiry with us. A Kilkenny Confederate, perfectly 
familiar with the entire business, furnished this account 
of O'Brien's visit, which throws additional light on 
Meagher's narrative : — 

" Kilkenny was ill prepared to begin so important a 
struggle, and one wherein it was of the most para- 
moimt consequence that the first blow should not be a 
failure. There were four Clubs, one in each of the 
parishes of Kilkenny, but they were not Confederate 
Clubs, and had never been in union with the Confedera- 
tion. They were Clubs of what were called ' United 
Repealers.' That is, l^ung and Old Irelanders blended 



232 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

under a new name ; and the officers of some of them were 
strictly Old Irelanders. These Clubs were only newly 
formed, and, as Clubs, were neither drilled nor armed. 
Within the previous week they had given in their ad- 
hesion to the ' Irish League,' then formed, which they 
joined in a body, numbering seventeen hundred. Now 
in the report of the League meeting, the seventeen 
hundred were returned in the Freeman newspaper as 
seventeen thousand ; and this error was copied by all 
the papers, so that Kilkenny was thus reputed to have 
had enrolled in its Clubs tenfold the number that 
really were in those associations. Then again, this 
seventeen hundred included old men and mere boys, 
as well as adults, so that the real affective strength of 
the Clubs might have been somewhere about six hundred 
men. 

" Of these, not one-third were armed, and not one- 
sixth armed with guns, while the quantity of powder 
and ball was most meagre indeed, and the remainder 
of the arms consisted of bayonets, swords, and pike 
heads without handles. In fact, there was no ex- 
pectation of an immediate outbreak, and matters were 
far removed from being in a state of readiness to meet 
so prompt a call. The bulk of the shop-keepers had 
not joined the movement at all, so the Clubs consisted 
chiefly of tradesmen, operatives and labourers. There 
was no means within reach for the immediate arming 
of the people. There were four arms' shops in the town 
but they would not supply above sixty stand of arms 
of the range of carbines or muskets. 

" The garrison consisted of one thousand infantry, 
with two troops of cavalry and some slight ordnance. 
The wall surrounding the garrison was ten feet high, 
well looped, supplied inside with ' banquets,' and ad- 
mirably fitted to resist an attac^ from a body of three 



NARRATIVE OF 1848 233 

or four thousand infantry. Unless with cannon to make 
a breach in its walls, it would be most difficult to take it. 

" When O'Brien, Meagher and Dillon reached Kil- 
kenny, they were of opinion that that city was the 
ground to begin on, and that a rapid surprise of the 
garrison would succeed. The true state of Kilkenny's 
strength was laid before them, with the certainty of 
the failure of such an attempt. Cannon there was 
none ; and neither men nor arms sufficient for such a 
fight ; an escalade was, therefore, out of the question ; 
a street barricade to tempt the military out was equally 
impossible, the more especially as the houses along the 
lines of street were mostly those of neutrals — nay, of 
enemies, few of friends. 

" John Dillon, who weighed all with the coolness of 
a practised and calculating soldier, offered to attempt 
the garrison, if five hundred armed men would be got 
to follow him. But this was out of the question, 
though Meagher, with that gallantry so markedly his 
own, offered to start instantly for Waterford, and by 
morning to return with one hundred armed men, and 
whom he proposed to bring up in cars ; but it was 
considered, that even this addition, supposing it was 
able to leave Waterford and reach Kilkenny without 
interruption, would not make a force adequate to so 
bold a blow. 

" Kilkenny being impracticable, attention was now 
turned to Carrick-on-Suir, where it was stated there 
were two thousand Clubmen nearly all armed, mostly 
men of desperate enterprise, and with a garrison in 
the town of only two hundred soldiers — ^where men and 
arms were vastly more numerous on the side of the 
Confederation than on that of the army — in fine, where 
matters were in the inverse condition of Kilkenny, and 
where if the people moved they must have succeeded. 



234 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Thus the gain would have been not merely victory, 
but the prestige of the first blow being victorious, 
which would have lit all Ireland ; whereas, the failure 
of the first blow would have ruined everything. And 
that then, having succeeded at Carrick, they might 
march from thence upon both Clonmel and Kilkenny, 
both of which would be sure to fall into the hands of 
the national army, they would be able to lead from 
Carrick ; and that, when that army reached Kilkenny, 
the Clubs would respond effectively to their call. 

" There were present at this discussion two Presidents 
of Kilkenny Clubs, and on the following morning, 
previous to O'Brien and his friends leaving Kilkenny, 
several of the most determined of the Clubmen waited 
on them. 

" While Dillon and Meagher were for immediate and 
prompt attack, O'Brien was most desirous that arrest 
or attempt at arrest, and then rescue, should precede 
actual war, and that when so rescued they should head 
the people. However, he offered no opposition to the 
views of his associates." 



Narrative of the Penal Voyage to 
Tasmania. 

[This narrative of Meagher's was contained in a letter to 
Gavan Duffy written from Campbell Town in February, 1850.] 

On Saturday, October 28th, 1849, between eight 
and nine o'clock in the evening, we reached our destina- 
tion. The voyage was what they call an average one, 
having been accomplished in a hundred and some odd 
days. The weather, during it, was, generally speaking, 
extremely fine. From Kingstown Harbour to the Cape 
not more than a fortnight's rain occurred ; and that, 
not all at once, but at intervals ; three days at a time 
being the longest succession of wet weather with which 
we were troubled. 

The passage across the Indian Ocean, however, was, 
on the whole, exceedingly unpleasant. Heavy falls of 
rain, accompanied by the wildest gales, frequently 
occurred ; the latter driving us considerably to the 
south, and introducing us — at a distance, to be sure, 
but unmistakably enough — ^to the white bergs and 
icebergs of the bleak Antarctic. Add to this, that, 
for the six weeks we were fighting through these cold, 
wild waves, not a sail appeared, nor had we the faintest 
glimpse of land. 

Yet, what with our little library, and pens, and 
logbooks — ^M'Manus's backgammon box, and other 
harmless resources — ^the time went by less irksomely 
than you might suppose, and left us nothing very 
serious to complain of. Indeed, somehow or other-^in 

235 



236 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

sunshine and in storm — ^running before the wind, ten 
knots an hour — or rocking sluggishly in a calm — ^in all 
weathers, and with every motion of our little ship, we 
managed to keep alive most cheerfully, and bid de- 
fiance to all the shades of Tartarus, 

Occupations like these served in great measure to 
relieve the monotony of our sea-life, and render it 
something more than endurable. Were it not for them, 
indeed, the voyage would have been most tiresome and 
insipid. Except in the coasting-trade, or for an odd 
cruise in the Mediterranean, I would not be a sailor 
for all the world. The sameness of the life would be 
my death before long. "As to the sea," observed 
Mr. Solomon Gills to his nephew, " that's well enough 
in fiction, Wally, but it don't do in fact : it won't 
do at all." 

With regard to our accommodations on board, 
nothing could have been better. We had an excellent 
saloon, in which we breakfasted, dined, took tea, read, 
wrote, and got through a variety of other agreeable 
pursuits. Our berths ran along two sides of it, and 
were shut off from the saloon by means of sliding-doors 
and panellings of open work. 

The regulations laid down for our observance were 
but few, and far from being strict. 

In the first place, we were forbidden to have any 
intercourse with the ship's company, save and except 
with the captain and the surgeon. In the next -place, 
only two of us, at a time, were permitted to be on 
deck together. At nine o'clock, p.m., we were obliged 
to retire to our berths ; at which hour the sergeant of 
marines extinguished the lamp in the saloon, saw that 
we were all safe and four in number, then locked the 
door of the saloon on the outside, and reporting " All 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 237 

right/' delivered the key to the captain. Outside of 
our quarters, a marine was stationed, night and day, 
whose duty it was to report our presence every four 
hours, and cut off all communication between the 
aforesaid quarters and the rest of the lower deck. 
Another marine was appointed to wait on us, and 
perform a variety of domestic duties ; so that, in a 
peculiar way, and to a certain extent, he became a 
modern edition of Proteus ; assuming different cha- 
racters, presenting various appearances, and exhibiting 
divers accomplishments and faculties in the course of 
every four-and-twenty hours ; passing, with eistonishing 
facility through the most startling transitions — ^from 
cook to butler, and from butler to chambermaid. He 
was an honest, active, respectable, good man, and his 
name was Spriggs. 

As for the Swift herself — she was a sprightly, hand- 
some, little brig — as steady as a rock, but as graceful 
as a swan. I wish you could have seen her in a storm : 
at no other time did she look to such advantage. With 
a broken, scowling sky above her, and a broken, scowling 
sea beneath, she gallantly dashed on. Glancing down 
the steepest valleys, she seemed to gather fresh force 
and daring from the steepness of the fall ; then breasting 
the highest waves, she would top them with a bound, and 
flinging their white crests in sparkling atoms, right and 
left before her, spring further on — her beautiful light 
spars quivering like lances in the gale. 

As for the officers, they were fine, generous, gallant 
fellows. Owing to the restrictions imposed by the 
Home Office, our intercourse with them, as you may 
easily suppose, was extremely limited ; but, limited 
as it was, we soon were led to conceive the truest esteem 
for them. England may well feel proud as long as she 



238 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

has such brave, upright, noble hearts to serve her. 
Their frank, generous, warm nature — ^their manly, 
gallant bearing — form a striking contrast, indeed, to 
the cold, cramped rigidity of some of the officials here. 

The captain was a most courteous, gentle, amiable, 
good man ; strict, to be sure, in carrying out, in our 
regard, the instructions he had received ; but never, 
in the slightest degree, inquisitive, exacting, or officious. 
Far from it. Wherever it was in his power to be so — 
wherever his instructions left him to his own discretion 
— ^we found him always willing and anxious to grant 
us any little indulgence we asked for. I do not think 
that a better man could have been selected to discharge 
the painful duty with which he was entrusted. 

Very probably, you may have heard, long before this, 
that we were not permitted to remain more than a 
few hours at the Cape. On the evening of Wednesday, 
September nth, between seven and eight o'clock, we 
dropped anchor in Simon's Bay ; but had hardly 
done so, when orders came from Commodore Wyvil, 
the officer in command of the station, directing us to 
be off about our business next day, at twelve o'clock 
precisely ; and, furthermore, prohibiting the slightest 
communication between the Swift and the shores. 

These orders were issued in consequence of the storm 
which was raging at Cape Town, and which threatened 
to sweep Sir Harry Smith, his government and house- 
hold, mounted riflemen and all, right into the sea, 
should any convict, political or otherwise, be permitted 
to set foot within the immaculate territory of the 
Hottentot and Boer. The result of which, so far as 
we were concerned, was simply this, that, next day, 
precisely at twelve o'clock, we were running out to 
sea again, in a very disconsolate condition, indeed ; 
having a very scanty supply of fresh provisions on 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 239 

board, and ten weeks' accumulation of soiled linen in 
our poitmanteaus and bags. 

From that day, September 12th, until Saturday, 
October 27tli, we saw no land ; not so much as would 
sod a lark, as they say at home. It is true, we should, 
by right, have passed between St. Paul's and Amster- 
dam, two volcanic islands, inhabited by wild goats 
and pigs, lying midway between the Cape and Van 
Diemen's Land, and included in the dependencies of 
the Mauritius. The gale, however, which took us out 
from Simon's Bay, bore us so far astray from the 
direct course that we were obliged to leave the more 
southerly of these islands sixty miles to the north. 

Well, so much for the Swift, and our voyage out ; of 
which, as you cannot help remarking, I have said 
little. It would, however, have been difficult for me 
to have said much more. One day's sailing is just the 
same as a three months' voyage, and from a sketch of 
one an excellent outline of the other may be easily 
conceived. Breakfast — ^tea, without milk, dry biscuit, 
and brown sugar ; dinner — salt-beef, preserved potatoes, 
bottled porter, a joint of mutton, perhaps, and a bowl 
of pea-soup ; shifting of sails — yarn-spinning, rope- 
splicing, hands-to-quarters, hammock-scrubbing, sing- 
ing, drumming, dancing, fifing at the forecastle ; the 
first watch, lights extinguished — there's a complete 
history of a voyage round the world ! so far, at all 
events, as my experience enables me to decide. 

But, for all the dreariness of those six weeks, in our 
passage up the Derwent we enjoyed a delightful com- 
pensation. Nothing I have seen in other countries — 
not even in my own — equals the beauty, the glory, of 
the scenery through which we glided up from Tasman's 
Head to Hobart Town. 

To the left were bold cliffs, conipact and straight- 



240 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

built as the finest masonry, springing up, full two 
hundred feet and more, above the surface of the water, 
and bearing on their broad and level summits the 
forests of the gum-trees. To the right, eight miles 
away, lay the green lowlands of Tasman's Peninsula, 
sparkling in the clear, sweet sunshine of that lovely 
evening. 

Then, as the little ship glanced quietly and gracefully 
along, a signal-tower, with the red flag floating from it, 
appeared in an open space among the trees. Still 
further on, a farmhouse, with its white walls and green 
verandah shone out from some cleft or valley close at 
hand ; and the fresh, rich fragrance of flowers, and 
ripening fruits, and waving grass, came floating to us 
through the blue, bright air. By-and-bye, the trees 
became more scarce, and handsome houses rose up in 
quick succession, and, forming into graceful terraces, 
told us, by many a sign of life and comfort, that the 
town was near at hand, and that we should be soon at 
rest. Last of all. Mount Wellington, a majestic 
mountain, towering to the height of four thousand 
feet behind the town, and wearing a thin circlet of snow 
upon its head, disclosed itself in all its greatness, 
grandeur and solemnity. 

These were the principal features of the scenery — 
the beautiful, glorious scenery — ^within the shade of 
which we passed up to Hobart Town. You can easily 
imagine the delight they inspired, and the influence 
they had upon us. Gazing at them, we lost sight of 
our misfortunes, and the dull, cold destiny which at 
that moment, like the deepening twilight, fell upon our 
path. Gazing at them, we forgot for the while we were 
prisoners, destined for life to sojourn in a land in the 
growth of which we could take no interest — ^the 
prosperity of which would claim from us no proud 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 241 

congratulation — ^the glory of which could never stir 
within our hearts one glad emotion, nor win from our 
lip or hand the faintest recognition. 

It was nearly nine o'clock when we cast anchor. 
The night had fallen, and all we could see of Hobart 
Town were the lamplights — ^up there, a lonely couple — 
down there, a misty group — along there, a twinkling 
line — ^beyond there, an odd one, flickering like a candle 
in a wine-vault, and doing its best to keep in. 

Through the darkness, however, there came a variety 
of sounds. Now, the clatter of a bell ; a moment after, 
a voice exclaiming, " Peter, where are you ? " then a 
chorus of loud laughs, shrill whistlings, and the cracking 
of whips ; all round us, the soft sighs and murmurings of 
the river, the creaking of cordage, the dip and splash 
of oars ; by-and-bye, the bugle-call, filling the 9alm 
night with clear, strong notes, and the crashing of the 
drums in the barrack-square. 

Next morning, when we went on deck? the stin was 
shining warmly ; and in its soft radiance, the town, 
the noble mountain close behind it, the ships and boats, 
the trees, the gardens, cottages and villas all about, 
looked charming in the extreme. It was a beautiful, 
bold picture ; and, it being Simday, there seemed to 
be a sweet tranquillity diffused all through it, which 
rendered it still more enchanting. 

For a good part of the day, we amused ourselves 
with the glasses, making the most minute observations, 
and curiously inspecting every object within sight. 
Horses, cabs, policemen, bonnets, soldiers, sign-boards, 
sailors, warehouses, chimney-tops, street-door knockers, 
wheel-barrows, church spires, flower-pots — ^nothing was 
omitted in our search. The smallest trifle became the 
subject of the deepest interest ; and even the poor dog 
we caught playing amongst the bales and baulks, the 

16 



242 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

casks and spars, upon the wharf in front of us, was 
followed through all his windings, tumblings, twists, 
and twirls, with the keenest curiosity. 

The whole of this day, we had the Swiff, I may say, 
to ourselves ; most of the officers, and, towards evening, 
most of the men, being ashore, enjoying themselves in 
every direction ; as well they might, poor fellows ! 
after their four months' weary work. 

Of course, no communication of an official nature was 
made to us this day. The following morning, however, 
the Assistant-Comptroller, accompanied by a clerk, 
arrived in a whale-boat, and shortly after their arrival, 
we were requested to attend the captain in our saloon. 
Here we found the fashionable arrivals ; and, as an 
indispensable part of the lugubrious ceremony of 
transportation, we were introduced to them in due 
rotation by Captain Aldham. Whereupon the chairs 
were taken, and Mr. Nairn, the Assistcint-Comptroller, 
in a smooth, neat speech, opened the proceedings. 

First of all, he disengaged a yard or so of thin red 
tape from a bundle of long, thick wove, blue paper ; 
and in so doing exhibited an easy dexterity of finger, 
and a deep-water placidity of look. Having separated 
the papers, and placed them in a line along the table, 
one after the other, just as if he were arranging a set of 
dominoes, he gently fixed his elbows upon the docu- 
ments, and joining his hands in a meek and devotional 
manner before him, begged leave to observe : — 

" That he was directed by his Excellency, Sir William 
Denison, to communicate with William Smith O'Brien, 
Thomas Francis Meagher, Terence Bellew M'Manus, 
and Patrick O'Donoghue, prisoners of State on board 
her Majesty's sloop-of-war, the Swift. The object of 
his visit was to inform the aforesaid prisoners, that 
Sir William Denison had received certain instructions 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 243 

relative to them from the Secretary of State for the 
Home Department ; that, by these instructions, Sir 
William Denison was authorised to grant ' tickets-of- 
leave ' to each and aU the aforesaid prisoners, pro- 
vided that, in the first place, the Captain under whose 
charge they had been during the voyage was enabled 
to speak favourably of their conduct, ^d that, in the 
second place, they pledged their honour to not make 
use of the comparative liberty which ' tickets-of-leave ' 
conferred, for the purpose of escaping from the colony." 

Mr. Nairn begged leave to add : — 

" He was happy to inform us, that Captain Aldham 
had reported favourably of our conduct, and, such 
being the case, it only remained for him now to receive 
our parole not to attempt an escape from the colony." 

This speech being ended, a profound silence ensued, 
during which the Assistant-Comptroller delicately 
fiddled with his documents, and glided off into a serene 
abstraction. 

I never met, in gaol or in courthouse, in the Queen's 
Bench or the Henry Street Police Office^, so sleek, so 
tranquil, so elaborate an official. His motions were 
most delicately adjusted, even to the opening of an 
eye-lid, or the removal from his forehead of a fly. 
His voice flowed richly and softly from his hps, 
like a glass of Cura^oa into an India-rubber flask. 
His fingers appeared to have been formed for the 
express purpose of writing with the finest steel pen, 
pressing the clearest-cut official seal, and measuring 
out, for despatches on the public service, the neatest 
and narrowest red tape. The knot of his neck-tie was 
an epitome of the man. It struck one as having been 
put on by means of the most minute and exquisite 
machinery. To have accomplished such a knot by 
^A Police Court existed in Henry Street, Dublin, in 1848. 



244 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

the aid of manual labour seemed at first sight im- 
possible. 

The silence was broken by O'Brien, who begged to 
state that he, for one, was not prepared to accept a 
" ticket-of-leave " on the conditions specified by the 
Assistant-Comptroller ; he certainly had little or no 
intention of escaping, but felt strongly disinclined to 
pledge his word to the observance of an arrangement 
which would preclude his availing himself of any 
opportunity to escape that might occur hereafter. 

I took a different view of the matter. It appeared 
to me that, whether we pledged our honour to the 
fulfilment of the conditions proposed by the Govern- 
ment or withheld it, an escape was out of the question. 

In the former case, our parole, of course, would bind 
us more firmly than the heaviest irons to the island. 
In the latter case, it was clear, the authorities would 
adopt such measures as to render it absolutely im- 
practicable. It seemed to me, then, that the point 
at issue resolved itself simply into a choice between 
two evils. Our detention, in either case, being certain, 
I thought it much more desirable to accept a small 
amount of liberty, fettered only by my word of honour, 
than surrender myself to the confinement of a prison, 
and the vexatious surveillance" of turnkeys and con- 
stables. 

Moreover, the condition annexed to our holding 
" tickets-of -leave " appeared to me a fair and an 
honourable one ; it exacted no compromise of conduct 
or opinion ; exacted no hypocrisy, no submission ; it 
simply required of us not to make use of certain privileges 
for the purpose of effecting an escape ; and going thus 
far, and no farther, I felt convinced, that in pledging 
myself to the fulfilment of it, I would do no unworthy 
act. In other countries, better and nobler men have 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 245 

not hesitated, as pnsoners-of-war, to accept and fulfil 
a similar condition. 

O'Donoghue and M'Manus took the same view, and 
we three, consequently, agreed to pledge ourselves to 
remain in the colony so long as we retained the " ticket- 
of-leave." 

Having come to this determination, the Assistant- 
Comptroller requested us to put our opinions in writing, 
in the shape of letters addressed to him. " It would 
be his duty," he observed, in conclusion, " to lay them 
before Sir William Denison, and receive his Excellency's 
reply in reference to them." 

I accepted the " ticket-of-leave," on the condition 
proposed to us, for six months only. I was unwilling 
to pledge myself for an indefinite period ; so that, at 
the expiration of the six months, I would be at hberty 
to surrender myself as a prisoner, or renew the contract. 

M'Manus and O'Donoghue wrote letters to the same 
effect. 

Two hours later, Mr. Nairn returned, and informed 
us that his Excellency had been pleased to grant 
" tickets-of -leave " on the condition hereinbefore 
specified to Thomas Francis Meagher, Terence Bellew 
M'Manus, and Patrick O'Donoghue ; that the official 
papers Authorising this arrangement would be sent on 
board next day ; and that William Smith O'Brien was 
to be sent to the probation-station of Maria Island, 
and be there detained, in strict custody, during the 
pleasure of his Excellency. 

Having made this announcement, the Assistant- 
Comptroller drew in his lips, economised a smile, 
slightly bowed, and, drawing back his hat as he inclined 
his head, withdrew. 

Hardly had he disappeared, when another official 
came on board, and solicited the pleasure of our com- 



246 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

pany. This gentleman was no less a personage than the 
Assistant-Registrar, and his business was to take an 
inventory of our respective heights, ages, pursuits, and 
families ; also, the shape of our noses, the complexion 
of our cheeks, the colour of our eyes and hair, the 
character of our chins, and our general appearance as 
human beings. " A delicate, a very delicate business," 
he whispered to me as I entered, " and one, which, 
considering our position in society, he wished to get 
through as delicately as possible." 

Whereupon he begged of me to see that the door was 
shut, and in a very mild manner — the mildest manner 
possible — commenced his observations. One would 
have thought we were made of down or gossamer, he 
looked so gently at us ; and then he noted down the 
results of his inspection so softly, that one might have 
also imagined he wrote upon velvet. While this was 
going on, I could not help remarking to O'Donoghue 
that it forcibly reminded me of Mr. Pickwick's intro- 
duction to the Fleet, and the bewilderment with which 
he sat in the armchair whilst his portrait was 
taken. 

The likeness finished, the Assistant-Registrar shut 
up his portfolio, expressed his regret at having troubled 
us so much, and backing to the door with two or three 
scrapes — expressive, no doubt, of high consideration 
and esteem — ^betook himself to the wharf, and from 
thence to his office, there to make out and distribute 
copies of the performance he had so nimbly and ex- 
peditiously completed. 

The rest of the evening we had to ourselves. And a 
lovely evening it was. There we were, pacing the 
quarter-deck, disconsolately gazing at the poor little 
Swift, which had been unrigged and dismantled in the 
morning, and now lay like a mournful wreck upon the 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 247 

breast of the calm and noble river. Oftentimes we 
looked out far ahead, watching every sail that made 
up towards us, for the news had just reached us that 
the Emma, from Sydney, with O'Doherty and Martin 
on board, was hourly expected. At other times we 
turned our eyes to the shore, and found, in the passing 
to-and-fro of sailors, cabs, and waggon-loads, and a 
hundred other things, a pleasant relief from the monotony 
of our wooden walls. 

The following day we received our instructions. I 
was directed to proceed next morning at half-past 
three o'clock, by coach, to Campbell Town — the princi- 
pal town of the district which had been assigned me. 
M'Manus was to start at a later hour for New Norfolk. 
O'Donoghue was to leave in the course of the day, and 
take up his quarters in Hobart Town. O'Brien was to 
be ready to sail for Maria Island by seven o'clock. 

This was Tuesday, the 30th of October. After night- 
fall, just as we had retired to our berths, the Emma 
dropped up the river and cast anchor close beside us. 

Next morning at three o'clock, the guard-boat came 
alongside the Swift ; and having wished good-bye to 
O'Brien, M'Manus, O'Donoghue, and the officer on 
watch, I got into it, and was soon on dry land once 
more. I arrived at the hotel as the coach was on the 
point of starting, and five minutes after was rattled 
away at a magnificent pace from the town ; of which, 
owing to the darkness at the time, I saw little more 
than half-a-dozen lamplights, two or three constables, 
and the sentry-box of the Government House. 

As the morning dawned, the fresh and beautiful 
features of the country gradually disclosed themselves. 
One by one they seemed to wake up, and, shaking off 
the dew and mist, scatter smiles and fragrance all 
along our road. There was the river, breaking into 



248 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

sparkling life, and flowing cheerfully away, as if it had 
been pent up and worried all the night, and was glad to 
feel the warm sun once more. There were farm-houses, 
cozy hay-ricks close behind them, and fowls spreading 
out their wings, and, with many a light and nimble 
effort, shaking off their drowsiness. There was the 
green corn waving, and the grey clouds melting in the 
silver sunshine along the hills before us. There were 
handsome villas next, like those we had seen coming 
up the Derwent, with their gardens and verandahs, 
and the blue smoke rising from their chimney tops. 
There was, by-and-bye, a waggon, painted blue and 
red, with its ponderous market-load, its fine team of 
horses, and a large white dog chained to the axle-tree 
of the hind wheels, rumbling past us, and leaving, in 
the yellow dust, broad deep tracks, and straws behind 
it. There was, just a few yards ahead, a clean white 
turnpike, and the keeper tumbling out to open it, with 
his woollen nightcap on, and his braces clattering at 
his heels. Then came carts, and cows, and shepherds, 
with their kangcuroo-skin knapsacks on their backs, 
and the night-coach, with the windows up, and a thick 
steam upon them, hindering the faintest sight of the 
cramped and stifled passengers within. At last, there 
was the heart of the country itself, with its beautiful 
hills, rising in long and shadowy tiers one above the 
other, and the brown foliage of its woods, and the 
blackened stumps of many a tough old tree, and mobs 
upon mobs of sheep, and the green parrots, and the 
wattle birds, and broad lagoons, and broader plains, 
and ten thousand things besides I 

For a long, long time I was in raptures with my 
drive, and almost forgot I was hurrying away still 
further from my own poor cotmtry, and journeying amid 
the scenes of a land in the fate of which I coulcj take 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 249 

no interest — for the glory of which I could breathe no 
prayer. 

About three o'clock I arrived in Campbell Town, and 
was set down at the hotel " where the coach dined," 
along with my portmanteau and hat-case. After dinner, 
I strolled out to inspect the institutions of the place, 
and make myself acquainted in a general way, with its 
various attractions and resources. 

Twenty minutes rendered me fully conversant with 
the subject of my inquiry. A glance, indeed, was suffi- 
cient to inform me that this celebrated town consisted 
of one main street, with two or three dusty branches to 
the left ; and, at right angles with these, a sort of 
boulevard, in which the police-office, the lock-up and 
the stocks are conveniently arranged. 

The main street has one side to it only. The ribs of 
this side consist of four hotels ; a warehouse ; a board- 
and-lodging house, with Napoleon upon a green lamp, 
just as you go in ; half-a-dozen private residences, 
furnished with a ground floor and a back and front 
entrance ; a jeweller's shop ; butcher's stall ; a sign 
post ; and two sheds. Opposite to this line of edifices, 
and parallel with it, at an interval of fifty feet, runs a 
wooden paling, which, mid-way up the town, is broken 
by three cottages, a hay rick and the post-office. Aloof, 
at the uttermost extremity in a straight line with the 
paling at the post-office and the hay rick, stands the 
Established Church — a gaunt structure, compiled of 
bricks, with facing of white stone. 

Having seen so much, I thought I might as well go 
to bed. To bed, then, I went, and dreamed all night 
of Eden. Not the Eden of the Scriptures, but that 
social and stirring Eden so agreeably described in the 
history of " Chuzzlewit." 

Three days having elapsed, I woke up, gave a great 



250 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

yavm, and drove off to Ross — a little apology of a town, 
seven miles nearer than Campbell Town to the seat of 
Government. 

The visit I paid it, short as it was, convinced me that 
Ross was a far more preferable place to take up my 
quarters in than Campbell Town ; the latter place 
has too much of the vulgar, upstart village in it ; con- 
tains too much glare, dust, and gossip, and it would be 
hard, I think, to do anything else than yawn, catch 
flies, and star-gaze in it. Here one can be more to 
himself ; therefore, more free ; consequently, more 
happy. 

To Ross, then, I removed in all haste, and lost no 
time in looking out for a little cottage, or half a one, if 
a whole one was impracticable. 

I was not long in fixing upon the one in which I now 
write this letter. The appearance of it was most pre- 
possessing and the interior arrangements singularly 
inviting. Just fancy a little lodge, built from head to 
foot with bright red bricks ; two flower-beds, and a 
neat railing in front ; a laburnum bush in each bed ; a 
clean smooth flagway, eighteen inches across, from the 
outer gate to the halldoor ; two stone steps to the 
latter ; a window, containing eight panes of green glass, 
on each side of the same ; and then, four rooms inside, 
each fourteen feet by twelve, and an oven in the kitchen ; 
just fancy all this, and you will have a pretty correct 
picture of the establishment in which, with a domestic 
servant of all work, and a legion of flies, I have now the 
happiness to reside. 

At first, I had only the two front rooms. At present 
I have the whole house to myself, and the use of a 
cultivated plot of ground in the rear, where a select 
circle of cabbages, a few sprigs of parsley, a score of 
onions, and a stone of potatoes, with a thistle or two. 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 251 

get on very well together, and have no one to touch 
them. 

My landlady is a devout Wesleyan, an amiable 
female of stupendous proportions, and proportionate 
loquacity — her husband is a Wesleyan too, a shoe- 
maker by trade, and a spectre in appearance ; so much 
so, indeed, that the wife may be styled, with the 
strictest geometrical propriety, his " better half " and 
three-quarters. Upon coming to terms with them in 
the first instance — ^that is, when I had the two front 
rooms, and they the two back ones — an agreeable 
dialogue took place, of which the following may be 
considered a fair report : — 

" Sir," said Mrs. Anderson, sticking a pin into the 
sleeve of her gown, and spreading down her apron 
before her. 

" Well, ma'am," said I. 

" Why, sir," says she. " You see as how it is, me 
and my husband be Wesleyans, and we don't like 
a-cooking on Sundays, and so if it don't matter to 
you, sir, we'd a soon not dress you any meat a that 
day, for we're commanded to rest and do no work 
upon the Sabbath, and that you see, sir, is just how it is." 
" As to that," I replied, " I don't much mind having 
a cold dinner upon Sundays, but then, there are the 
potatoes ! Potatoes, you know, Mrs. Anderson, are 
very insipid when cold." 

This was a difficulty of great magnitude. Mrs, 
Anderson paused, and swelled up immensely. When 
the swelling subsided a little, she cast an inquiring 
glance at her husband, as if to implore him for a text, 
a note or a comment, to help her out of a difficulty, in 
which, like a sudden deluge, the conflicting ideas of a 
boiled potato and the day of rest had involved her. 
The glance had the desired effect. Mr. Anderson 



252 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

took off his spectacles, held them with crossed hands, 
reverently before him ; threw back his head ; threw 
up his eyes, and fixing them intently upon a remarkable 
constellation of flies, close to a bacon hook above him, 
seemed to inquire from it, in the absence of the stars, 
a solution of the difficulty. 

A moment's consultation sufficed — a new light 
descended upon Mr. Anderson, and yielding to the 
inspiration of the moment, he pronounced it to be his 
opinion, that a boiled potato would not break the 
Sabbath,, and " in that, or any other way, he'd be 
happy to serve the gen'l'm'n." 

Well, in this little cottage I manage to get through 
my solitary days cheerfully enough. It costs me an 
effort, however, to do so ; for, I am sure, nature never 
intended me for an anchorite, and often and often, I 
am as companionless and desolate here as Simon 
Stylites on the top of his pillar. Only one human 
being, for instance, has passed by my window to-day ; 
he was a pedlar, with fish and vegetables, from Laimces- 
ton, and wished to know as he was passing, if I wanted 
any fresh flounders for dinner. 

On the whole, I must say, the Government have 
acted towards us, ever since our conviction, in a fair, 
mild, honourable spirit. Sending us out so many 
thousand miles away from our homes and friends, to 
this cheerless penal settlement, was, to be sure, a measure 
of great severity ; yet, it would be hard to say they 
could have done less. As a Government, holding 
themselves to a very large extent responsible to the 
people of England, and, for the most part, shaping 
their councils and acting in accordance with the known 
opinion of that people, it would have been difficult 
for them to adjudge a lesser punishment to those, 
against whom, in England, the public sentiment ran 



THE PENAL VOYAGE ^53 

so high and so determinedly. For my part, though I 
feel sorely, I conceive it would be unmanly and unjust 
to complain of it with bitterness. We played for a 
high stake — ^the highest that could be played for ; we 
lost the game by a wretched throw, and with a willing 
heart and a ready hand, we ought, like honourable 
men, to pay the forfeit, and say no more about it. 

I write thus frankly to you, my dear Duffy, upon the 
subject, for it often pained me to observe the querulous- 
ness and spite with which the Government were abused 
in Ireland, whenever they adopted measures to repress 
the spirit which aimed and struck at their existence. A 
fairer and a nobler feeling would more gratefully befit 
a nation whose soul is in arms against a rule which 
humbles her attitude before the world, and proscribes 
her flag. Calmly to foresee, and, with patient generous 
courage, to accept the sacrifices which defeat imposes — 
to bear the Cross with the same loftiness of soul as she 
would wear the Laurel Crown — this should be the study 
and ambition of our country ; and if it were so, believe 
me, her struggle would assume a grander aspect, and 
excite, through the world at large, deeper and more 
enduring sympathies than those which have hitherto — 
in our time, at all events — attended her. 

So far then, you see, I have no complaint to make 
with regard to our present fate — dull and bleak, and 
wearisome as it is. But, I do complain, that, having 
separated us by so many thousand miles of sea, from 
all that was dear, consoling, and inspiring to our hearts, 
they should have increased the severity of this punish- 
ment by distributing us over a strange land in which 
the most gratifying friendships we could form would 
compensate so poorly for the loss of the warm famiUar 
companionship we so long enjoyed. There is M'Manus 
away in New Norfolk, O'Donoghue in Hobart Town, 



254 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

O'Doherty in Oatlands, Martin in Bothwell, Meagher 
in Campbell Town, O'Brien off there in Maria Island ! 
Each has a separate district, and out of that district 
there is no redemption. 

Now, generally speaking, a " district " is about the 
size of a respectable country parish at home. Mine, 
for instance, extends from thirty to thirty-five miles 
in length, and varies from ten to fifteen in breadth. At 
the end of a fortnight I came to the conclusion, that 
between a prison and a " district " there was just 
about the same difference as exists between a stable 
and a paddock. In the one you are tied up by a halter 
— in the other you have the swing of a tether. 

Within the last five weeks, however, Martin, 
O'Doherty, and I have discovered a point, common 
to our three respective districts, at which, without a 
breach of the regulation prohibiting any two or more 
of us from residing together, we can meet from time 
to time. 

This fortunate point is on the edge of a noble lake, 
twenty-four miles from Ross, up in a range of mountains, 
known as the " Western Tier." O'Doherty has to ride 
twenty miles to it, and Martin five-and-twenty. Monday 
is usually our day of meeting, and eleven, or thereabouts, 
the hour at which we emerge from three different 
quarters of the Bush, and come upon the ground. 

The point itself is a small cozy, smoky bit of a log- 
hut, inhabited by a solitary gentleman named Cooper.^ 
The hut is fifteen feet by ten, and high enough to admit 
in an upright position, of any reasonable extension of 
legs, spine, hat and shirt-collar. The furniture consists 
of a something to sleep on — I don't know what to call 
it ; a table, very weak in the extremities ; two stools ; 
a block for splitting chops upon ; a shelf, three feet in 
iSee Mitchel's "Jail Journal." 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 255 

length, and furnished with a couple of pewter plates ; 
a gunpowder flask, full of pepper ; three breakfast cups ; 
a carving knife ; a breakfast knife ; forks to match ; 
a tract upon Foreign Missions, and two columns of a 
Sunday Observer, bearing a remote date. 

Here we dine, and spend the evening up to half-past 
five o'clock, when we descend the " Tier," and betake 
ourselves to our respective homes. Whilst the prepara- 
tions for the dinner are going on — ^whilst Mr. Cooper 
is splitting chops, shelling peas, washing onions, and 
melting himself away in a variety of labours by the 
log-wood fire — ^we are rambling along the shores of 
the lake, talking of old times, singing the old songs, 
weaving fresh hopes among the old ones that have 
ceased to bloom. 

You cannot picture to yourself the happiness which 
the days we have spent by that lonely, glorious lake 
have brought us. They have been summer days, all 
of them ; and through the sunshine have floated the 
many-coloured memories, the red griefs, the golden 
hopes of our sad, beautiful old country. 

Oh ! should hearts grow faint at home, and, in the 
cold, dark current of despair, or grief, fling down the 
hope they once waved, like a sacred torch, on high ; 
tell them that here, in this strange land, and in the 
loneliest haunts and pathways of it — here, by the 
shores of a lake, where as yet no sail has sparkled, and 
few sounds of human life as yet have scared the wild 
swan or startled the black snake from its nest — ^tell 
them that here, upon a lone, lone spot in the far Southern 
Seas, there are prayers, full of confidence, and faith, 
and love, offered up for Ireland's cause ; and that the 
belief in her redemption and her glory has accom- 
panied her sons to their place of exile, and there, like 
some beautiful and holy charm, abides with them ; 



256 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

filling the days of their humble solitude with calm light 
and joyous melodies and visions of serene and radiant 
loveliness. 

Previous to the discovery of this celebrated point — a 
point, by-'the-bye, which would have done credit to the 
ingenuity of Sir Colman O'Loghlen — O'Doherty and 
I used to meet at another place. 

His district adjoins mine, about seven miles from 
Ross, at a convict station called Tunbridge. A river, 
known by the name of the " Blackman's," forms the 
boundary of the two districts at this point, and over it, 
close to the convict station, a pretty bridge has been 
lately built. 

One half of the Blackman's being in the Campbell 
Town district, and the other half belonging to that of 
Oatlands, the middle pier of the bridge in question 
was, of course, our point of contact ; and here, conse- 
quently, we " hung out " four or five Mondays suc- 
cessively, and spent a few hours with the utmost 
hilarity. At our second interview, we christened the 
point of jimction. The ceremony, as you may well 
suppose, was divested of all solemnity ; but, in a 
very copious libation, we toasted " The Irish Pier ! " 
enthusiastically receiving from each other the highly 
constitutional sentiment that the Peerage of the 
Blackman's might long continue to resist the current 
which opposed it, and, standing erect amid the worst 
of storms, guarantee to us, for many days to come, the 
right of public meeting ! 

A few hundred yards above the bridge, on 
O'Doherty' s side of the river, there happens to be an 
inn. This inn is built of timber, and washed over with 
a pale salmon colour. It is a very, very old establish- 
ment indeed ; and with all the scars and bruises left 
by a long life-struggle exhibits, likewise, all the cranki- 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 257 

ness and extreme debility of age. When the slightest 
breeze comes by it, whines, and groans, and growls, 
in the most dismal manner ; and rattling the windows, 
as if they were so many teeth set loosely in it? aching 
head, shakes from head to foot, and threatens to wind- 
up and settle its last account at once. 

Old, weak, infirm as it is — spite of all its ailments — a 
portion of sound life remains within it still ; and with 
that residue of life, many good qualities to recommend 
it to the public favour. On our several days of meeting 
it furnished us, for instance, with first-rate dinners. 
To be sure, the passage through the air, for upwards of 
five hundred yards or so, condensed the steam of the 
potatoes, and soHdified the gravy somewhat ; but the 
old salmon-coloured inn was not to blame for that. In 
all these cases, the Home Office spoiled the cooking. 

One very hot day — ^the bed of the river being almost 
quite dry — ^we dined under the bridge ; having, first 
of all, erected something like a Druid's altar, on the 
top of which we laid the cloth. The seats were con- 
structed much after the same fashion ; and, the hamper 
which brought the ale, the plates, and cheese, being 
emptied, kicked over, and turned up-side-down, served 
in the capacity of a very respectable dumb waiter. 

So much then, for O'Doherty and Martin, both of 
whom are in excellent health. Now for the rest. 

M'Manus, as I have already mentioned, is in New 
Norfolk, and, in consequence of his not having been 
able to start any business there, employs himself from 
morning till night, shooting, fishing, and riding. You 
will be delighted to hear he is as stout as ever, and 
though he has little or no society, his spirits appear to 
have lost not a particle of their vivacity and heartiness. 

O'Donoghue was permitted to remain in Hobart 
Town in consequence of his having represented to Sir 

17 



258 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

William Denison that unless he was permitted to stay 
there he would find it impossible to support himself — 
his livelihood being dependent upon his professional 
labours exclusively. 

At first he had hopes of getting into some barrister's 
or solicitor's office, but there was no opening for him ; 
and so, as a last resource, and with the view of realising 
an honest maintenance, he started a weekly newspaper, 
a few weeks ago. It is called the Irish Exile, and, 
from all I hear, appears to be succeeding extremely 
well. 

When he first thought of it, Martin and I tried to 
dissuade him from the project. Martin urged several 
objections to it, I believe ; and I gave it as my opinion 
that whilst we were in such a colony as Van Diemen's 
Land, we ought not to mix in politics. Standing aloof 
from them in such a place I conceived would be the 
most dignified line of conduct we could pursue ; and 
if it would not promote, would at all events protect 
from mockery and slander the cause of our Native Land. 

There are no sympathies here to which one could 
appeal in behalf of the Irish nation. I do not mean to 
say there are no kind, generous, gallant hearts to be 
found in this colony. Far from it. Of such hearts — 
and they are EngUsh, too — I have felt the warm throb. 
But these are few, indeed ; and in a community, three- 
fourths of which consist of convicts and officials, their 
influence would be completely lost. Before the leering 
eyes of such a community I would rather die than 
unveil the bleeding figure of our poor country, and for 
her wounds and agonies beseech a single tear. 

Strongly influenced by this feeling, I urged O'Donoghue 
not to go on with the Exile. In replying to my letter 
— as also in replying to Martin's — he admitted, almost 
fully, the justness and propriety of our objections, but 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 259 

still maintained that since there was only this one 
channel open to him for the realisation of an honourable 
livelihood, he was bound to avail himself of it, regard- 
less of all other considerations. Well, this was a view 
of the matter which could not be effectually opposed, 
which could not certainly be opposed with any degree 
of delicacy or kindness. I therefore wish O'Donoghue 
the best success, and will use my utmost influence to 
procure him subscribers. 

Further than this, however, I feel the deepest re- 
pugnance to act in support of his paper. I cannot 
bring myself to write a word for a public amongst 
whom, if it were in my power to leave this evening, I 
would not remain another day. And most painfully 
does this repugnance act upon my heart, for it would 
delight me to assist O'Donoghue, and, by ever so slight 
an effort, conduce to the success of his fair and manly 
enterprise. Martin, however, is contributing a series 
of papers upon the Repeal movement. 

Having written thus far upon the subject of our 
engaging in colonial politics, it is unnecessary for me 
to contradict the report which appeared in one of the 
South Australasian papers — the absurd report, that I 
had assumed the management of one of the Catholic 
colonial journals ! I did not trouble myself to contra- 
dict it here, being perfectly indifferent what became of 
it at this side of the Equator, whether it sank or floated, 
having made up my mind to be quite composed, and, 
in either case, to repress the slightest emotion. 

But I did feel uneasy lest it might be believed in 
Ireland. Not that I consider it would be in any degree 
discreditable to assume the management of such a 
paper ; but I feel it would be somewhat unworthy of 
me. Unworthy, for in this case I should have to turn 
my thoughts from Ireland, and devote them to a 



26o MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

subject, or rather, to a number of subjects, none of 
which could interest me hke the former ; and in dealing 
with which, I could work, I am sure, with no greater 
heart than a dull, plodding, fagged mechanic. Be 
assured of it, I shall never tie myself down to such a 
tame, insipid business. 

For Ireland alone — for the liberty she has prayed, 
and struck, and bled for, year after year — for the 
glory which in many a bright creation of her genius 
she has seen, and sung, and prophesied — ^for this alone 
wiU I write, and speak, and act. In the morning of 
my life, whatever gifts of mind and heart Heaven had 
blest me with I dedicated to this beautiful, righteous, 
noble service ; and in this service, until death leads 
me to another world, they shall faithfully abide. 

In consequence of O'Brien refusing to pledge his 
word not to escape, the " ticket-of-leave," as I have 
already mentioned, was withheld from him ; and he 
was conveyed to Maria Island, there to remain in close 
confinement during the pleasure of his Excellency, Sir 
William Denison. The restrictions imposed upon him 
were most stringent and severe. More than this — ^they 
were cruel to an excess. 

He was confined to a little cottage, and suffered to 
take no exercise beyond that which a miserable plot 
of ground attached to this cottage, would permit. He 
was denied the use of a servant, had to light his own 
fire, make his own bed, and perform every other menial 
duty that was necessary. He was denied all inter- 
course, forbidden to exchange a word with any person 
on the island, save and except the Protestant chaplain. 
He was dogged, night and day by constables, who had 
to report his presence, every four hours, to the Super- 
intendent of the Station. He was denied permission 
to receive a few little luxuries, in the way of sugar. 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 261 

rice, and raisins, which he had requested a gentleman 
in Hobart Town to forward to him. In a word, he 
was detained imder these and other restrictions, he 
was obUged to submit to these and other privations, 
until, at last, his health gave way, and the medical 
officer of the station pronounced it no longer safe to 
enforce the discipline to which he had been subjected. 

On January i6th, I received from our dear and 
noble friend, a letter, from which I give you the 
following extract : — 

" A new phase has occurred in the arrangements 
adopted with respect to me. The doctor of the Station 
(Doctor Smart) having reported that my health was 
giving way under the system prescribed by Dr. Hampton, 
I was allowed yesterday to take a little exercise, attended 
by a keeper. Until I had an opportunity of testing 
my powers, I had no idea how much my strength had 
been reduced. I am now convinced that, had no 
change taken place. Sir William Denison would have 
had very little trouble with his prisoner at the expiration 
of another fortnight. Hereafter these proceedings may 
become a subject of inquiry, and, in case I should be 
prematurely extinguished, it will be right to inquire, 
whether Dr. Dawson, the principal medical officer of 
the colony, did, or did not, after his visit to this island, 
represent to the Governor and to Dr. Hampton, the 
Comptroller-General, that the course of treatment 
adopted towards me would most probably be injurious 
to my health." 

Upon receipt of this I felt bound to bring the state- 
ment it contained under the notice of the local govern- 
ment; and if that did not produce any desirable 
resialt, to lay the matter before the public, through the 
colonial papers. 

Fortunately, the very day I received it, I met 



262 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

O'Doherty and Martin at the lakes, and had the 
advantage of their advice. It was agreed, then, I 
should write a respectful remonstrance to Sir William 
Denison, stating the facts I had heard with regard to 
O'Brien's health, and praying for such alterations in 
the treatment adopted towards him as would avert 
the fatal consequences it was bringing on. In case no 
alteration took place, it was further agreed upon, 
we should throw up our " tickets-of -leave," and no 
longer bind ourselves, by any honourable engagement, 
to a Government that could act in so unmanly and 
cruel a manner. 

In consequence of this arrangement, I wrote the 
following letter : — 

" Hope's Hotel, Ross, Jan. 17, 1850. 

" May it please Your Excellency. 

" Sir, — I feel called upon to inform you respectfully, 
that I have received a letter, dated January nth, from 
Mr. Smith O'Brien ; who, as your Excellency must be 
aware, is at present under close confinement in the 
probation station of Maria Island. 

" In this letter Mr. O'Brien mentions, that, in conse- 
quence of the restrictions which have been imposed 
upon him, and the privations to which he is subjected, 
his strength has been greatly weakened, and his health 
in general very seriously impaired. 

" From what I know of Mr. O'Brien — and I have 
the honour and the happiness to know him well — I feel 
convinced that the treatment in force against him must 
have produced very injurious effects, indeed, to induce 
the avowal he has made, and which — ^whatever be his 
wishes to the contrary — I conceive it my duty to lay 
before your Excellency. 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 263 

" I write without having ascertained the feelings of 
Mr. O'Brien with regard to the step I now take ; I 
write, indeed, with the conviction, that, had he been 
apprised of my intention in this respect, he would have 
condemned it strongly, and have urged me to renounce 
it. There are times, however, when friendship is best 
evinced in disobedience to the wishes of those for whose 
health and happiness one has been led to cherish an 
anxious and a deep desire. 

" For my part, I could have no peace, no enjoyment, 
no repose — a thorn would rankle in my heart, and 
excite within me the most painful emotions — were I 
to be silent in this matter. 

" With these sentiments, I respectfully, but urgently 
entreat, that your Excellency will be pleased to institute 
an inquiry into the treatment pursued towards Mr. 
Smith O'Brien, and the state to which, in consequence 
of tliis treatment, his health has been reduced. 

" I am assured that, upon ascertaining the truth of 
the statement I have now put forth, your Excellency, 
influenced by a sense of common justice and humanity, 
will direct such relaxations to be made in the discipline 
to which he is subject as will restore the health, and 
guarantee the life of my pure-hearted and noble- 
minded friend. 

" I have the honour to be, 

" Your Excellency's obedient servant, 
" Thomas Francis Meagher. 

" To his Excellency, Sir W. Denison, Knt., 
Lieut.-Governor of Van Diemen's Land, 
etc., etc., etc." 

To this communication I received the following note, 
from the Office of the Convict Department :— 



264 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

" The Comptroller-General has been directed to ac- 
knowledge the receipt of the communication addressed 
to the Lieutenant-Governor, by Thomas Francis 
Meagher, dated the 17th ult." 

The envelope of this note measured eight inches in 
length, and on the back exhibited a plaster of red wax, 
pretty nearly as broad as the seal on the mouth of a 
bottle of anchovies. This elegant adhesion bears some 
elaborate device, which, as yet, I have not had sufficient 
leisure to examine. 

On the other side, I found the subjoined inscription : 

" On Public Service only. 
" Thomas Francis Meagher, 
" Hope's Hotel, 
" Ross. 
" Convict Department, 22nd January, 1850." 

The information it contained, you will admit, was not 
very satisfactory ; limited, as it was, to the simple 
announcement that my letter had arrived safe. The 
morning it arrived, however, I received a letter from a 
friend of mine, assuring me that the treatment I had 
complained of had been considerably modified. Four 
or five days subsequently, I received one from O'Brien 
himself, from which I make an extract or two ; for, I 
am sure, they will afford you greater satisfaction than 
any statement, borrowed from them, of my own : — 

" I am happy to be able to relieve your anxiety 
with respect to my health, by assuring you that I have 
felt better to-day than upon any day for several weeks, 
and that I have every reason to believe I shall soon be 
in a condition to undergo another of Dr. Hampton's 
experiments upon the strength of my constitution. 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 265 

" My letter to you of the nth was written under 
the impulse of vehement indignation, excited by the 
discovery that I had been very much enfeebled by 
confinement and solitude. When first I was shut up 
in solitary confinement, after Dr. Hampton's visit to 
this island, I could not help feeling that, in the case of 
nineteen men out of twenty, a strict enforcement of 
his regulations would destroy reason or life ; but still I 
was in hopes that I should be able to bear it without 
injury, as my constitution is naturally a very strong 
one. I found, however, that after I had been in con- 
finement for a few weeks, I became constantly.oppressed 
by a palpitation of the heart — a sensation I never 
before experienced, not even at Clonmel — and it is 
my firm conviction, that if the restrictions had not 
been somewhat relaxed, I would have fallen a victim 
to what certainly has worn all the appearance of a 
deliberate design to shorten my life. 

" Since the nth, I have been allowed as much oppor- 
tunity of exercise as I could reasonably expect. I 
ramble about in the neighbourhood of the station, 
attended by a keeper, so upon this head, there is no 
longer, at present, any ground for complaint. 

" With regard to the request which I made, that you 
would not mention anything about my health in your 
letters home, the reasons for such an admonition no 
longer exist, as I have thought it right to /et my own 
friends know, both that my confinement has been 
relaxed in consequence of its having proved injurious 
to my health, and also, at the same time, that there is 
no longer any reason for alarm." 

So far, then, so good. But, is it not sickening to 
think that the treatment which brought on his illness 



266 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

was enforced for no other reason than this — ^that he 
declines to give his word not to escape, and, forthwith, 
he is subjected to the most harassing privations and 
indignities ; is shut out from all society ; is gagged, 
and cramped, and half-stifled in a hut ; is buried alive, 
in fact, upon a scrap of an island ; and from all this, 
knows no exemption until his life is perilled ! 

Ah ! the race of Hudson Lowes is not extinct ; and 
there are other rocks in the ocean besides that famous 
one of St. Helena — sweet, secluded spots — ^remote, 
snug nooks — ^just large enough for gaolers to test their 
skill and venom on, in foul experiments upon a noble 
hfe. 

I have now said everything — everything that could 
be said, I believe, about ourselves, our voyage, and the 
circumstances in which we are placed. A few words, in 
conclusion, about the Colony. 

With regard, then, to the Colony : It is a beautiful, 
noble island. In most, if not all, those features which 
constitute the strength, the wealth, and grandeur of a 
country, it has been endowed. The seas which en- 
compass it, the lakes and rivers which refresh and 
fertilise, the woods which shadow, and the genial 
sky which arches it — all bear testimony to the excellence 
of the Divine Hand, and with sounds of the finest 
harmony, with signs of the brightest colouring, pro- 
claim the goodness and munificence of heaven in its 
behalf. 

The climate is more than healthful. It is in- 
vigorating and inspiring. Breathing it, manhood pre- 
serves its bloom, vivacity, and vigour, long after the 
period at which, in other countries, those precious 
gifts depart, and the first cold touch of age is felt. 
Breathing it, age itself puts on a glorious look of health, 
serenity, and gladness, and, even when the grey hairs 



THE PENAL VOYAGE 267 

have thinned, seems able to fight a way through the 
snows, and storms, and falling leaves of many years to 
come. Breathing it, many a frail form which the 
Indian sun had wasted acquires fresh life ; the dim 
eye lights up anew ; to the ashy paleness of the sunken 
cheek succeeds the sparkling blush of health ; the 
heart resumes its youthful action, and drives the 
blood once more in clear and glowing currents through 
the frame ; whilst the mind that was sinking into 
gloom and forgetfulness, touched, as it were, by a 
miraculous hand, starts into light and playfulness, and 
breaking far away from the shadows of death that were 
closing round it, exults in the consciousness of a new 
existence. 

Oh ! to think that a land so blest — so rich in all 
that makes life pleasant, bountiful, and great — so 
formed to be a refuge and a sweet abiding-place, in 
these latter times, for the younger children of the old, 
decrepid, worn-out world at home — to think that such 
a land is doomed to be the prison, the workhouse, and 
the grave, of the Empire's outcast poverty, ignorance, 
and guilt ! This is a sad, revolting thought : and the 
reflections which spring from it cast a gloom here over 
the purest and happiest minds. Whilst so black a 
curse is on it, no heart, howsoever pious, generous, and 
benignant, could love this land, and speak of it with 
pride. 



The Boyhood of Meagher 

Clongowes College 

The dear old college stood very nearly in the centre 
of a circle of ancient towns. There was Clane, some- 
thing like two miles off ; Kilcock, between five and six, 
Celbridge, pretty much the same ; Naas, not a perch 
further ; Prosperous, within four ; Majmooth, in the 
opposite quarter, about the same distance. Very old 
and ragged, with very little life stirring in them, they 
seemed to have gone asleep many years ago, and to 
have at last waked, half suffocated, shivering, and 
robbed of the best of their clothes. In the brightest 
day of the summer, they impressed one with this notion. 
In the drenching black rain of December, their miserable 
appearance chilled the blood of the fattest stranger who 
chanced to pass through them, and to the imaginative 
mind suggested the ruins of Baelbec. In short, there 
wasn't a decent town in Kildare, nor on the Kildare 
borders of Dublin. 

Clane was one street. The street numbered a hundred 
houses, more or less. Every second one was a shebeen, 
or tavern, dedicated, as the sign-board intimated, to 
the entertainment of Man and Beast. I recollect that 
on one sign-board, next to the post office, the Cat and 
Bagpipes rampantly figured ; whilst on another, a red 
coffin, with three long clay pipes crossed upon the lid, 
and a foaming pot of porter pressing down the pipes, 
at the point of intersection, gave the public to under- 
stand that the wakes of the neighbourhood would be 

268 



THE BOYHOOD OF MEAGHER 269 

" convaniently " supplied. There was a police-barrack, 
of course, with a policeman perpetually chewing a 
straw outside on the doorstep, rubbing his shoulder 
against the white-wash of the door post, and winking 
and spitting all the day long. There was a Protestant 
church — and that, too, of course, right opposite the 
police barrack — with its gaunt angular dimensions, fat 
tower in front, sheet iron spire, and gilt weathercock 
on top. There was a low-sized, most modest, low- 
roofed, little Catholic chapel, back from the street a 
few yards, with a convent, sheltering three Sisters of 
Mercy, on the right hand side coming down from Dublin, 
and on towards the South. 

At the southern end of the street, a quarter of a mile 
from the houses, drooped off the beautiful brown Liffey, 
deepening into gurgling pools, spreading thinly and 
sparklingly over beds of sand and pebbles, threw itself 
imder the arches of the quaintest, queerest, crookedest, 
most broken-backed bridge that ever flung shadows on 
the flashing path of the speckled trout and red salmon, 
rushing away, with many a round of caprice and tur- 
moil, through green rushes, sandbanks alive with 
martins, sedges rustling with otters, into the copper- 
hued darkness of Irishtown Wood. 

Oh ! what a river is that exquisite wild Liffey ! 
How it tumbles ; glides away ; buries itself darkly in 
pools of fabulous depths ; leaps over rocks ; deepens, 
as it were, thoughtfully, under ruins and raths ; plunges 
down into valleys ; ripples and whispers under willows, 
the close leaves of the strawberry, and the purple-ivied 
basements of church-tower, country-mansion, and 
castle ; running the wildest, most ruinous, and grandest 
frolic imaginable, until it frowns and grows sulky a 
little above the King's Bridge, of Dublin, and in a 
turbid thick stream washes the granite walls of the 



270 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

quays, over which the Four Courts and Custom House 
rear their stately porticoes and domes. 

In a yellowish, dry, worm-eaten manuscript, in the 
Krundelian Library of Stonyhurst, I glanced one day 
on a passage glowingly eulogistic of Clane. The manu- 
script contains an account of the Sjmods held, at 
different periods, in Ireland. This poor dribbling 
village of Clane was the favoured scene of one of them, 
six hundred years back ; and, apropos to it, the 
chronicler, whoever he was, styled it the hortus ange- 
lorum — the Garden of Angels. It is now a paradise in 
ruins. The broken walls of an abbey, matted with 
ivy, shadowing a confused crowd of tombstones and 
tablets, the inscriptions of which no casual eye can 
decipher, alone remain to bear out the panegyric put 
on parchment recording its saintliness and glory. 

One tomb especially, within those broken grey walls, 
ever attracted me, bringing me close to it, and urging 
me with a silent impulse back into the dim paths of 
the past. It was that of a Crusader. So I thought. 
So every one who visited it thought. So the whole 
neighbourhood, for miles roimd, and for generations, 
decided. Within the last week, I have been looking 
over one of the beautiful Tracts of the Celtic Union, 
entitled " The Traces of the Crusaders in Ireland," and 
whilst I find in its bright pages vestiges of this 
chivalrous Knighthood near Clonegall, in Carlow, and 
on the Mourne, three miles south of Mallow, and at 
Toomavara, near the ruins of Knockbane, and in the 
parish of Temple-Michael, in the barony of Clashmore 
and Clashbride, and at Ballyhack, close to the estuary 
of the Suir, I am cast adrift from Clane, where the 
chain-clothed legs and turtle-breasted body of a Templar, 
burst out, as if with an incompressible leprosy, from 
the dockweeds, the nettles, the rank grass, the daffodils. 



THE BOYHOOD OF MEAGHER 271 

the nightshade, and blackberry bushes with which it is 
hemmed in, overshadowed, and dismally margined. 

That's the faiilt I find with Clongowes. They 
talked to us about Mount Olympus and the Vale of 
Tempe ; they birched us into a flippant acquaintance 
with the disreputable gods and goddesses of the golden 
and heroic ages ; they entangled us in Euclid ; turned 
our brains with the terrestrial globe ; chilled our 
blood in dizzy excursions through the Milky Way ; 
paralysed our Lilliputian loins with the shaggy spoils 
of Hercules, bewildered us with the Battle of the Frogs 
and Mice, pitched us precipitately into England, 
amongst the impetuous Normans and stupid Saxons ; 
gave us a look, through an interminable telescope, at 
what was doing in the New World ; but, as far as Ire- 
land was concerned, they left us, like blind and crippled 
children, in the dark. 

They never spoke of Ireland. Never gave us, even 
what is left of it, her history to read. Never quickened 
the young bright hfe they controlled, into lofty con- 
ceptions and prayers by a reference to the martyrdoms, 
the wrongs, the soldiership, the statesmanship, the 
magnificent memories, and illuminating hopes of the 
poor old land. 

All this was then to me a cloud. Now I look back to 
it, shake my hand against it, and say it was a curse. 

The last, I have stated. The reason of it — at least 
what appears to me to be the reason of it — I may, in a 
little time, explain. 

What true scholars and patriots they might have 
made, those old Jesuits of Clongowes, had they taken 
their pupils to the battle-fields of WilUam Aylmer's 
army — skirting the Bog of Allen — or to the Geraldine 
ruins of Maynooth, or the grave of Wolfe Tone in 
Bodenstown churchyard, or to the town of Prosperous, 



272 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

where Dr. Esmohde buried the Red Cross under the hot 
ashes of his insurgent torch, or to the woods and man- 
sion of Rath-Coffey, where Hamilton Rowan once lived, 
where the bay of his famous bloodhounds still echoed 
in my time, and where an old man — ^lean, shrivelled, 
skinny, with wiry, thin locks — still mumbled and shuffled 
along the decayed avenue, showing the worn pike at 
the end of his staff, which he had charged with against 
the North Cork in Maynooth — ^what true scholars and 
patriots. Irishmen in nerve and soul, might they have 
made us had they taken us to these sites, instead of 
keeping us within the pillars of the Parthenon, or the 
forum and shambles of the Tiber ? 

I write this, not that they kept us aloof from these 
places of national interest ; not that they actually 
imprisoned us within the routine range of the classics, 
and shut the gates on us, as if there were no chastity or 
illumination without ; but that we wandered with 
them, day after day, miles upon miles, over these fields 
and localities, without a finger to mark them on our 
memories, or a syllable to mingle them with our 
joyousness, our poetry, and rhetoric. Ireland was the 
last nation we were taught to think of, to respect, to 
love and remember. 

It is an odd fiction which represents the Irish Jesuits 
as conspirators against the stability of the English 
empire in Ireland. With two or three exceptions, they 
were not O'Connellites even. In that beautiful, grand 
castle of theirs, circled by their fruitful gardens and 
grain-fields, walled in by their stately dense woods of 
beech trees, walnut, and firs, they lived and taught 
— so it seems to me now — rather as hostages and aliens, 
than freemen and citizens. 

But, I can't bear to say anything against Clongowes, 
It is to me a dear old spot. Long may that old tree, 




Meagher as a boy 

(From a pencil-sketch) 



THE BOYHOOD OF MEAGHER 273 

on which I've carved my name, put forth its fragrant 
blossoms, multiply its fruit, lift its aged head to Heaven, 
and receive thereon the dews which fertilise, and the 
golden beams that propagate ! 

Midway between Clane and Maynooth — ^just ofE the 
road skirting the domain of the College — ^lived one 
Father Kearney, the parish priest of the united parishes 
of Clane and Rath-Coffey. He was a great friend of 
the College ; was always on hand there, whatever 
ceremony or pastime, high mass or funeral, academical 
exercise or collegiate symposium, was to take place. 
With short black trousers, tight black gaiters, skimpy 
black dress coat, rumpled white cravat, sandy scant 
hair — at the tail of the plough, in the pulpit, abreast 
of the altar, in the chair of the study hall, examining 
the boys, or mixing his punch — ^he was ever the same, 
grotesque, unique, and attractive. 

He had nothing to do with the college, but somehow 
or other, the old gentleman was constantly there. The 
Jesuits had a gala day once a month. The boys had 
football or handball, fishing or skating. They had an 
extra allowance of meat, whatever it was, and tart 
varying from apple to rhubarb, and from rhubarb to 
gooseberry, as the season permitted. The Jesuits had 
a choice banquet in one of those frescoed halls I have 
already described. 

To this banquet came all the neighbours. The 
Aylmers, Gerald and William, nephews of the noble 
old rebel I have mentioned, were never missed from 
this monthly feast, during my time, and for fifteen or 
twenty years before it. They did right. Were I living 
near old Clongowes — close to it as they were — I'd dine 
there, not only every month, as they did, but every 
day, if possible. 

From this monthly table, too. Father Kearney was 

18 



274 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

never absent. The boys used to say — ^though his 
cottage was two miles off — ^he smelt the dinner, and, 
in dressing himself, timed his toilet by the perfume, 
which came to him from the chimney-top of the college 
kitchen, across the woods, the fields, and the marshy 
bottoms. For upwards of thirty years. Father Kearney, 
in his short breeches, tight black gaiters, clumsy 
rumpled cravat, and carroty scant hair, was at that 
feast. On the Academical or Commencement day, 
year after year, he examined a certain class in the 
Third Book of Caesar, asked the same questions, and 
found the same faults. In Christmas week he visited 
the theatre, sat alongside of the President, snuffed 
himself plenteously, hemmed and hawed mightily, 
perpetually pulled his nose and his waistcoat, brushed 
his breeches over his knees, and sat there, snuffing and 
puffing, the venerable Sphinx of the scene. 

His cottage was known by the name of Snipe Lodge. 
It was a thatched cottage, with a clay floor, naked 
rafters, and four panes of green glass — each of them 
with an enormous bull's eye — to let the light through. 
He had a housekeeper named Biddy, and a butler 
named Jim. Between Biddy and Jim, it was hard to 
keep the place clean. The calf was for ever opening 
his Reverence's door, upsetting the chairs, and the 
turf in the corner. There was a blackguard parcel of 
dogs incessantly scampering about, biting the legs of 
the poor who came with their sores and their crutches 
for alms, and frightened the hens from their roost. 

As for the hens, they had, at last, to take refuge on 
the smoked rafters, under the roof. Elsewhere, they 
had neither immunity nor peace. There, night and 
day, they used to crowd up, shake their wings, shut and 
open their eyes, and make themselves comfortable. 
Below was the hard floor of black clay, mixed with 



THE BOYHOOD OF MEAGHER z^< 

lime. All round, on four sides, were the walls, built 
thickly of mud, and whitewashed within. Overhead 
were black rafters, crowded with hens, flapping their 
wings, pecking their leggings and breasts, and making 
themselves indecently at home. 

A few weeks after the consecration of the Right Rev. 
Dr. Nolan, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Father 
Kearney gave a grand dinner in the one room of Snip* 
Lodge. It was the great event of Biddy's existence. 
She had never anything but a few eggs and a cut of 
bacon to fry, before this. Now she had a pair of 
chickens to roast and another pair to boil, and a beautiful 
ham to dress and serve up with young cabbage, besides 
having the biggest potful of potatoes (pink eyes) to 
look after, and a cupful of fresh mustard to mix. It 
was a great day with Jim, by the same token. He had 
to lay a clean cloth, scrub the year's rust out of the 
knives and forks, borrow three or four chairs from the 
neighbours all round, and keep the hens off the rafters, 
and the table immediately under them. This was the 
worst trouble of all. For though Jim, now and then, 
took the sweeping brush to them, and occasionally his 
Reverence's blue cotton umbrella — opening and shutting 
it suddenly, to frighten the birds from their roost — 
and though in these efforts he was assisted by Biddy, 
who took the basting-spoon to help the umbrella, it 
was all to no purpose. The hens would keep to the 
rafters, flapping their wings, dropping their spare 
feathers, and, whenever Jim turned his back, and 
Biddy was bent over the pot on the fire, popping down 
straight on his reverence's clean table-cloth, to have a 
crumb or two from the loaf which lay there, on a blue- 
rimmed dinner-plate, waiting for the chicken, potatoes 
and bacon to come on. Father Kearney himself used 
sometimes to look in, and whisk his yellow silk pocket 



276 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

handkerchief at the obstinate fowls which overlooked 
the scene of his feast. But the fowls didn't mind him. 
As Biddy observed, they didn't care a straw for his 
reverence, and she wouldn't be surprised if they mis- 
behaved before the bishop himself ! 

" You might as well," Biddy used to say to her master, 

turning round from giving the roasting chickens a turn, 

•her face and hands pouring over with gravy, " you might 

as well lave them alone, for the devil's in them 

to-day." 

The company arrived. Father O'Connor, the Procu- 
rator of Clongowes, was the first on the ground. Next 
came the Aylmers, William and Bob, the latter the 
best horseman that ever crossed a ditch from the Boyne 
to the Barrow. Then came Father Kearney's curate 
from Clane, and Father Dignan, of Clongowes, and Dr. 
Walsh, all the way from Naas, and the parish priest of 
Prosperous, and two Professors from Maynooth, and 
Dr. O'Flannigan, the comfortably-fed druggist and 
doctor from Celbridge. 

O'Flannigan, by-the-by, was the physician in ordinary 
to the College of Clongowes. He visited it once a week 
— every Tuesday, if I recollect rightly — ^walked through 
the Infirmary, felt pulses, knocked against chests, fixed 
his castor-oil eyes upon tongues, muttered mono- 
syllabically to Judy, the head nurse and matron of 
the Infirmary, wrote something in a book which Judy 
kept in her cupboard, along with her tea, sugar, prayer- 
books, and two or three withered, inflexible lemons. 

His invariable prescription was senna and salts. The 
boys called it " black draught." It made no difference 
what ailed you, that dose was prescribed. Toothache, 
neuralgia, constipation, scarlatina, pleurisy, lumbago, 
ringworm, lockjaw, or softening of the brain — for every- 
thing, the most trivial or most desperate, that " black 



THE BOYHOOD OF MEAGHER 277 

draught" was Dr. O'Flannigan's corrective. It was 
with him that same " sweet obUvious antidote which 
cleansed the stuff' d bosom of that perilous stuff which 
weighs upon the heart," and purged it to a " sound and 
pristine health." 

His assistant was a lay brother of the College, one 
Philip O'Reilly, of whom I propose to write more fully 
in the course of these grateful recollections. Judy 
always administered the dose. She mixed it, stirred 
it with a teaspoon, forced it inexorably on the patient, 
piously ejaculating : " Take it now, for the poor souls 
in Purgatory ! " When it was swallowed, she gave 
the patient the quarter of a dry apple, recommending 
him just to take the taste off his mouth, and not to 
eat it all. 

Close upon the heels of Surgeon O'Flannigan, Major 
Rind, a Protestant neighbour, came in. Then some- 
body from near Bishop's Court, Lord Ponsonby's place, 
where O'Connell tumbled D'Esterre. The bishop came 
last. 

The dinner was laid. The roast chickens were put 
at the foot, and the boiled at the head, and the ham at 
the side, right under Bob Aylmer's magnificent scimitar- 
shaped nose, and the potatoes ever3^where around. 
Father Kearney carved the boiled chickens, with the 
Bishop on his right, and Major Rind on his left. Jim 
bustled about with a new apron, and a clean napkin 
tmder his arm, doing everything wrong, with Biddy, 
as red as the poppy and as hot as a hob, standing at 
the kitchen door — it opened into the parlour — and 
ordering him to do this, and do that, and bewildering 
him wholly. 

" Sure, I can't, if you tell me," he used to cry out, 
turning upon Biddy, with a plate full of fowl, or a cut 
of the loaf on the top of a knife. 



278 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

By-the-by, Jim had an idea that, for everything, the 
plates should be warm. If Dr. O'Flannigan asked for a 
little bread, Jim ran into the kitchen, snatched a plate 
from the plate-warmer, cut a slice of the loaf, and 
handed it on the hot plate to the doctor. If Father 
O'Connor, the huge Procurator, asked for the mustard, 
Jim pushed Biddy aside, snatched up another blazing 
hot plate, and planting the mustard pot on it, ran it 
in to the Procurator. Old Bob Aylmer asked him one 
time for a corkscrew. Jim brought it to him on a hot 
plate. The hot plate was his absorbing idea. 

The dinner was pleasant — indeed, it was jovial. The 
company forgot the clay floor they were sitting on, and 
the black rafters overhead, where the harpies were 
roosting. The sherry had gone roimd half a dozen 
times at least. The port, too, had more than once 
circled the board. 

" Let's have the champagne," said Father Kearney. 
" Jim, hand roimd the champagne." 

Jim made a dart for the kitchen for a hot plate. 
Biddy stopped him, however, spreading her check 
apron before him, and so bringing him quick to a halt, 
like the Roman race-horses pulling up in a sheet on 
the Corso. 

" You omadhawn," says she, " what do you want ? " 

" A warm plate, Biddy," says he. 

" The divil warm ye," says she, " can't ye have 
betther manners before his blessed lordship the 
bishop ? " 

With this reproof, Jim came to his senses, and 
twisted the wire off a silver-crowned bottle. Then he 
drew a carving knife across the veins of the throat, 
and up went the crowned head — ^neck and all — ^with a 
flash. At the same instant, frightened out of their 
wits by the report, and one of them being hit by the 



THE BOYHOOD OF MEAGHER 279 

cork in the wing, down came the harpies with a rush, 
and a flap, and a spatter — three of them straight on 
the table — one of them into the potato-dish — another 
on Dr. O'Flannigan's wig — another into the good 
bishop's lap — ^whilst the cock made for the one pane of 
glass behind his lordship, and darting through it, went 
fluttering and splashing, all fuss and feathers down the 
dirty boreen which led from Snipe Lodge to the high 
road. It was some time before order was restored. 
It was some time before Biddy and Jim succeeded in 
dislodging the harpies. It was a very long time before 
Dr. O'Flannigan of Celbridge composed his offended 
feelings, and straightened out his wig. 

" Gerald," Father Kearney calls out to Bob Aylmer's 
brother, " stick your hat through the window, and 
keep the cold from the back of the bishop." 

Father Kearney of Snipe Lodge never entertained 
after that day. Biddy, I believe, died of a rush of 
blood to the head. Jim, disgusted with the world, 
went to Moimt Melleray, and was there clothed with 
the gown and cowl of La Trappe. Poor old Bob Aylmer 
has shouted his last Tally-ho. Dr. O'Flannigan still 
dispenses senna and salts, though Judy, his beautiful 
Ganymede, has returned to dust. The guest of the 
feast sleeps beneath the pavement of Carlow Cathedral, 
and the host is troubled no more with obstreperous 
fowl, and the affairs of Snipe Lodge. 

He put together a large sum of money. His will 
broke it up and distributed it amongst the sweetest 
and noblest charities of the country. Two months 
after his death, it was all found in a tin box, under the 
thatch, over the front door of Snipe Lodge. 



Recollections of Waterford 

On board the old steamer William Penn I came up 
the Suir, the second morning of Easter week in 1843. I 
had wished good-bye to Stonyhurst. My College days 
were over, my life in the world had begun. It was a 
stormy year. O'Connell had opened it with a shout for 
a Repeal. The Repeal debate in the Dublin Corpora- 
tion had taken place. It was a splendid controversy. 
Vivid eloquence on both sides of the house ; a manly 
spirit of fair play ; a chivalrous love of Ireland ; in- 
telligence, courtesy and patriotism characterised the 
event. The interest of the people was awakened — 
their enthusiasm excited. They had been inert, sluggish, 
listless. No people could have been more so. But the 
true chord once struck, everything was restored. Hope, 
delight, ecstasy, defiance — a tumultuous life leaped to 
the summons. The great meeting at Navan had taken 
place. Limerick, too, had poured out thousands through 
her ancient gates to meet the Liberator. The first 
waves of the vast sea coming on, had struck the beach. 
It was at such a moment I returned to my native city. 

A bright sun was lighting up the dingy walls of Dun- 
cannon Fort as we paddled under them. There was 
Cheek Point on the left, towering grandly over the 
woods of Faithlegg. Further on, at the confluence of 
the Barrow and the Suir, were the ruins of Dunbrody 
Abbey — an old servant, with torn livery, at the gateway 
of the noble avenue. Further on, the grounds and 
stately mansion of Snow Hill, the birthplace of Richard 
Shell. Then the Little Island, with its fragment of 
Norman castle and its broad corn fields and kingly 

380 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 281 

trees. Beyond this Gaul's Rock, closing in upon and 
overlooking the old city. Last of all, Reginald's Tower 
— a massive hinge of stone connecting the two great 
outspread wings, the Quay and Mall, within which lay 
the body of the city — ^Broad Street, the cathedral, the 
barracks, the great chapel, the jail, the Ballybrlcken 
Hill, with its circular stone steps and bull-post. 

The William Penn stopped her paddles, let off her 
steam, hauled in close to the hulk, and made fast, I 
was at home once more. Twelve months had passed 
since I bid good-bye to it. Everything was just as I 
had left it. The same policeman, chewing a straw, 
was dawdling up and down the flag-way opposite where 
the steamer came to anchor. The same old Tramore 
jingle was lazily jingling by. The good old Dean of 
the Protestant Cathedral, in his black knee-breeches 
and long black gaiters, his episcopal hat and ebony 
cane, was still pattering and puffing along the smooth 
broad side-walk, from the Mayor's office to Mrs. 
M'Cormac's confectionery, and back again. The same 
casks, the same bales of soft goods, the same baulks 
of timber I had seen there ten years ago, were still 
lying on the Quay, between the river and the iron 
chains and the pillars. The same rueful, wild haggard 
face seemed to be pressed against the rusty bars of the 
second window from the basement of the Ring Tower 
— ^the same I had seen as I drove past in her Majesty's 
mail coach on my way to Dublin the summer before. 
And there was the spire of the cathedral right up against 
me ; and there was Cromwell's Rock right behind me ; 
and the Abbey church ; and Grubb's steam-mills ; 
and White's dockyard ; and the glorious wooden 
bridge, built by Cox, of Boston, a mile up the river 
from where I stood ; and the shipping ; and the big 
butter market ; and the shops, and stores along the 



282 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Quay — an awkward squad of various heights and 
uniforms, several hundred yards in length. Waterford 
never appeared to me to change. For a century at 
least, it has not gained a wrinkle nor lost a smile. In 
every season, and for a thousand seasons, it has been, 
and will be, the same old tree. If no fresh leaf springs, 
no dead leaf drops from it. The Danes planted it ; 
Strongbow put his name and that of Eva, his Irish 
bride, deep into its bark : and King John held court 
beneath its boughs ; James the Second hid his crown 
into the crevices of its roots, and fled from it to France. 
It has witnessed many other events, many other 
familiarities have been taken with it. Many worse 
blows have been given it, since the Earl of Pembroke 
hacked it with his sword. But it has suffered nothing. 
The dews, and the storms, and the frost, and the summer 
heat come and pass away, hurting nothing ; improving 
nothing ; leaving it, at the end of ages, the same, old, 
dusty, quiet, hearty, botmteous, venerable tree. Heaven 
bless it ! And may the sweet birds long fill its shady 
trellisses with music ; and the noble stream with full 
breast nourish the earth where it has root ! 

But a great change had taken place in Waterford 
since I had last been in it, though appearance gave 
no intimation of it. The old corporation or city council 
had been displaced and a new one, installed in the 
ancient seats, had been talking and voting, and in a 
small way governing for the last six months. The 
former — an irresponsible, self-elected, self-conceited, 
bigotted body — closed its existence amid the jeers, 
and jokes, and groans of the people. The Bill of parlia- 
ment under which this change took place like every 
other Bill of remedial tendency emanating from the 
same place was illiberal and grievously defective. It 
authorised the election of the city council by the people. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 283 

but curtailed its powers. It was the enunciation of a 
principle — the principle of a popular government — ^with 
careful provisions annexed so that the clauses should, 
defeat the preamble. It was a fair skin with the cancer 
below it. 

It looked well. Apparently wojked well. It was a 
glorious thing, the people thought, to see some of their 
own sort in possession of the Town Hall ; to see the 
Mayor going to Mass ; to see him presiding at a public 
dinner given to O'Connell ; to see Larry MuUowney, 
the Repeal Warden from Mount Misery, an Alderman ; 
to see some other political friend and favourite constable 
of the fish market. It was a blessed thing, they thought, 
to have the repairing of the streets, of nuisances, and 
the government of the Holy Ghost and Leper hospitals, 
all in their own hands ; and sure they never thought 
they'd see Felix the basketmaker, the bitterest Orange- 
man of them all, carrying the white wand before his 
Catholic Worship, as his Worship, with the gold chain 
about his neck, went up to Ballybricken to preside at 
Petty Sessions. 

All this was deeply gratifying to the masses of the 
people. But, in the surprise and delight it excited, the 
restrictions on the popular power, which accompanied 
the municipal honours, were altogether overlooked. 
Hence the reform in the city government was estimated 
far more highly than it should have been, and from the 
orators of the democracy called forth congratulations so 
profuse and ostentatious for the advantage conferred. 
In Ireland it has always been so. Generous and 
credulous to excess, the people give the largest credit 
on the smallest security, and repay the poorest favours 
with a prodigal measure of thanks. So it was when 
George the Fourth set his corpulent majesty on the 
granite beach of Dalkey. He wore a clump of shamrocks 



284 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

on his breast, shook hands with some country gentlemen 
in the Phoenix Park, and promised to drink their healths 
in whiskey punch. Whereupon there was a roar of joy, 
and Dublin went mad with loyalty. So it was when 
Catholic Emancipation was achieved. On every hill a 
bonfire, in every window a lamp or candle, in every 
chapel a thanksgiving ; throughout the country the 
wildest merriment, as though the land were free, as 
though each man had his vote, gun and acre ; as though 
the conquest had been repealed ! Shelley, the poet of 
Republicanism, wrote tridy when he wrote these 
words : — 

" Catholic disqualification affects the law. The sub- 
jection of Ireland to England affects the thousands. 
The one disqualifies the rich from power, the other 
impoverishes the peasant, adds beggary to the city, 
famine to the country, multiplies abjectness, whilst 
misery and crime play into each other's hands, under 
its withering auspices." 

Catholic Emancipation has enabled a few Catholic 
gentlemen to sit in parliament, and there concur in 
the degradation of their country. It has brought a 
handful of slaves from the field, and gives them ap- 
pointments in the master's house. The privileged class 
but wear the livery of the proprietorship which compels 
the obedience of an entire country, exacts its labour, 
and appropriates its profits. As it was with the King's 
visit, and with Catholic Emancipation, so it was, as I 
have said, a balloon handsomely painted, which carried 
up a boat-load of gentlemen a little higher in the world 
than they had been before. The people cheered as 
the balloon ascended : and, carried away with their 
enthusiasm, fancied that they themselves went with it. 

In this ecstatic mood I found my fellow-townsmen 
on my return from college. My father was sitting in 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 285 

the curule chair. Chief Magistrate of the city, he 
parsided at the meetings of the city council, and the 
bench of borough justice. Amongst the aldermen and 
town councillors, were the most conspicuous politicians 
of the place. Men who had poured out their souls in 
fiery streams upon the shackles of the Catholic and 
the ruins of Ireland for years and years, and who 
would have fallen in ashes but for the fresh fuel supplied 
them constantly from Dublin — these men were now 
seated at the red table in the assembly room — a senate 
on the scale of a dwarf, with the limp of a cripple, and 
the look of a beggar. The few faculties they possessed, 
and these faculties for the most part hampered — the 
fact of their not being able to borrow the smallest sum 
for the improvement of the city without permission 
of the Lords of the Treasury and their being allowed 
to apply their own funds only to a few purposes, and 
these not the most useful — circumstances such as these 
justify the language of contempt in speaking not only 
of the municipal government of my own city, but every 
city or borough town in Ireland. Indeed, to call it a 
government, is to indulge in a courtesy which borders 
on a sarcasm. The sheriffs of the city were appointed 
by the Lord Lieutenant. The police were under the 
control of the commissionership in Dublin. 

The day after I had arrived, the trades of the city 
held a public meeting to petition parliament for the 
Repeal of the Union. The meeting took place at the 
Town Hall. There was a dense crowd. The en- 
thusiasm was vehement — the rhetoric still more so. 
The speakers rose with the occasion, and from the 
loftiest clouds flung hail and lightning on the listeners. 
Two of these soared far above the rest. Strikingly 
different in their " physique " and speech, the one 
impersonated the Iron age, the other the age of Gold. 



286 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

The one was an alderman and draper ; the other was 
a schoolmaster, and earned his bread by dispensing 
the fruit of knowledge. James Delahunty was the 
alderman's name. James Nash was the schoolmaster's 
name. 

James Nash. 
The schoolmaster was full of humour, full of poetry, 
full of gentleness and goodness : he was a patriot from 
the heart and an orator by nature. Uncultivated, 
luxuriant, wild, his imagination produced in profusion 
the strangest metaphors, running riot in tropes, allegories 
analogies, and visions. Of ancient history, and books 
of ancient fable, he had read much, but digested little. 
He was a Shiel in the rough. Less pretentious than 
Phillips, he was equally fruitful in imagery and diction, 
and more condensed in expression. His appearance 
was in keeping with the irregularity and strangeness of 
his rhetoric. That he had a blind eye was a circum- 
stance which, at first sight, forcibly struck one. The 
other was crooked, birt evidently gifted with a wonderful 
ubiquity of vision. It was everywhere. In a crowd, it 
took in every visible point ; and, though revolving on 
an eccentric axis, impartially diffused its radiance all 
round. He had a comical face. Every conceivable 
emotion and mood was blended there in an amusing 
enigma, the exact meaning of which it was most difficult, 
if not impossible, to solve. Addressing an audience, 
his attitude excited the highest merriment, whilst his 
sound sentiments and capital hits called forth the 
loudest cheers. His usual attire was an old claret- 
coloured coat, buttoned to the neck. What his trousers 
consisted of, or looked like, I nearly forget ; but it 
would be no great mistake to say, they were of drab 
cloth, hung very voluminously about the ankles, and 
were deeply stained. The hat — as comical an affair as 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 287 

the face — ^was cocked on one side of his head, and 
suggested a devil-may care defiance of the world. 

" Mr. Mayor and fellow citizens," it was thus he 
addressed the meeting the morning I returned to 
Waterford, " I came to attend this meeting, driving 
Irish tandem — ^that is one foot before the other." With 
exuberant adjectives he then went on to compliment 
the distinguished people who were present at the meet- 
ing. The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the city was 
in the chair. The Right Rev. Dr. Foran, the Catholic 
Bishop, was on the platform. " Patriotism," exclaimed 
Nash, " flashes from the mitre of the one, and burns in 
the civic bosom of the other." Then he proceeded, in 
an amazing medley of facts, and metaphors, and figures 
of arithmetic, to enumerate the evils which legislative 
union had produced. " What has been the upshot of it 
all ? " he asked, " Why it comes to this, they haven't 
left us a pewter spoon to run a railroad with through a 
plate of stirabout." The threats of coercion uttered 
by the government next claimed his notice. He 
despised them ; repelled them ; haughtily flung them 
back. He defied the government ; he defied them to 
come on. " Let them come on," he exclaimed, " let 
them come on ; let them draw the sword ; and then 
woe to the conquered ! — every potato field shall be a 
Marathon, and every boreen a Thermopylae." 

Three summers after this, I was one morning walking 
out the old road to Tramore — a famous watering place, 
most beautifully situated, six miles from Waterford. 
Hearing footsteps behind me, I turned round — it was 
Nash. I had never spoken to him ; never had an 
opportunity of doing so. I was resolved not to lose the 
present, and I wished him good morning. Rapidly 
turning that ubiquitous eye of his on me, and giving 
his hat an extra jerk on one side, he returned the salute. 



288 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

He did not know who I was, and I pretended not to 
know him. Our conversation was,, consequently, the 
more familiar. The secession of the Yoimg Irelanders 
from the Repeal Association had very recently occurred. 
We reverted at once to the event. Nash was a great 
O'Connellite. He thought him immaculate — ^incapable 
of error. Not wholly approving of the step'taken by 
the Young Irelanders, he was willing to admit there 
was much to provoke it. Whilst, on the one hand, he 
would have wished them to have been more ductile and 
subordinate to the Liberator — ^holding the opinion that 
it would have been more wise and gracious of them to 
have been so — ^he could not deny but that in the recent 
policy the Liberator had advised, and the general tone 
and management of Conciliation Hall, there was a great 
deal that was repulsive to the hot blood of youth and 
irreconcilable with the honour of a people. Nash was 
just to Young Ireland despite the fanaticism of his 
devotion to O'Connell, and very sensible in his remarks 
on all such topics, notwithstanding the riehness and 
riotousness of his imagination. He spoke of The Nation 
newspaper in superlatives of praise. It was the greatest 
paper published ! Nothing could transcend the sub- 
limity of its teachings ! The prose left the Dream of 
Plato in the background, and the poetry eclipsed the 
Iliad ! " Just before I die," said Nash, " my last 
request shall be, to have the last number of The Nation 
stitched about me as a shroud, so that when I appear 
hereafter I may have something national about me." 
In this manner he went on for an hour or so, until we 
came to the bridle-road, when, shaking me by the hand, 
he wished me good-bye. " My school is below there," 
he said, " and I flog the boys every morning aU round, 
to teach them to be Spartans." 
Of a class now almost extinct in Ireland — the Irish 




Thomas Francis Meagher 
(As Brigadier-General of the Irish Brigrade, 1861-4) 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 289 

schoolmasters — ^he was the finest specimen I ever saw. 
Had Carleton seen him, he would have immortalised 
him in t5rpe. As it is, he is dead, buried in some 
Potter's Field. Like all the poor, honest, gifted men — 
the rude bright chivalry of the towns and fields — ^who 
thought infinitely more of their country than of them- 
selves — ^he died in utter poverty, companionless, and 
nameless. Yet, should anyone give me a file of the 
Waferford Chronicle from 1826 to 1847, there would be 
in my possession the materials of an epic, of which poor 
Nash, with his headlong honesty and reckless genius, 
should be the hero. He was a conspicuous figure, in 
the political action of Waterford, for more than twenty 
years. During the days of the Catholic Rent, he was 
conspicuous. In Stuart's election, which broke down 
the prestige and power of the Beresfords, he was con- 
spicuous. In the elections of 1830 and 1832, he was 
equally so. In 1843 he emerged from his classic 
seclusion — for a season gave over flogging his boys and 
making them Spartans — and appeared once more as a 
Demosthenes on the hill of Ballybricken, the Acropolis 
of Waterford. 

The last time I saw Nash was the day of my father's 
election as representative of Waterford, in the month of 
July, 1847. It was about five o'clock in the evening. 
The polling was nearly at a close. Sir Henry Winston 
Barron and Mr. Wyse were sadly beaten. The excite- 
ment of the people was intepse. For years they had 
longed for this victory ; and at last, in a fuller measure 
and with a more precipitous speed than they expected, 
it had come. They hated these gentlemen, for these 
gentlemen were aristocrats in social life and imperialists 
in politics. They were not of the people, nor among 
them, nor for them. Both would lord it over them. 
The one from vulgar affectation ; the other instigated 

19 



290 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

by the haughtiness of superior intellect. For a long 
time they had kept their seats, not with the assent of 
the people, but favoured by circumstances and a 
temporising policy, dictated by the leaders of the 
people. Circumstances were changed— radically 
changed — and the temporising policy, before the 
breath of the national spirit, was impetuously swept 
away. Hence the defeat of these Whigs — ^both of 
them respectable men, and one of them an eminent 
scholar — ^who had so long misrepresented in the supreme 
political convention of the empire the heart and mind 
of the chief city of the Suir. 

A huge crowd was before the Town Hall The Mall 
was impassable. The windows on both sides of the 
thoroughfare were filled with eager and excited gazers. 
The doorsteps, the lamp-posts, the leads and skylights 
of every house within sight or hearing of the Town 
Hall, were densely thronged. A troop of dragoon 
guards, coming down Beresford Street in double file, 
pushed their way through the enormous crowd, and 
suddenly facing about formed line in front of the Town 
Hall, in the centre of the Mall, thereby cutting the crowd 
in two. At this moment Nash made his appearance in 
one of the front windows of the Town Hall immediately 
facing and looking down on the dragoons. His queer 
eye played through the multitude for a moment. Then 
giving his hat, as was usual with him on all such occasions, 
a jerk on one side, he turned up the cuffs of his coat, 
unbuttoned his shirt sleeves, took a bite of an orange, 
and commenced his harangue. 

" Men of Waterford ! — The day is ours. Barron is 
beaten. Wyse is beaten. The boys are with us. The 
girls are with us. The soldiers are with us — aren't ye, 
boys? 

There was a tremendous cheer at this. Many of the 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 291 

dragoons seemed pleased. Their captain, however, be- 
came highly incensed. Banners and green boughs, and 
scarfs, and handkerchiefs, and hats, and bonnets, were 
flung out and shaken to and fro, up and down, in 
tumultuous delight. The horses of the dragoons be- 
came restless. They champed their bits impatiently, 
flinging flakes of froth here and there upon the crowd. 
They pranced a little, and shied a little, and backed a 
little. The cheering still went on. In the midst of 
all, at that window in the Town Hall, with his crooked 
eye in full play, and his hat still on one side, stood 
Nash, with the most comical complacency, waiting for 
the excitement to subside. It did subside a little, and 
he went on to say that he loved a soldier's life, and would 
be a dragoon before long. The only objection he had 
to the service was the red jacket. Why shouldn't it 
be green ? 

" Why shouldn't it, boys ? " he exclaimed, addressing 
himself to the dragoons, " why shouldn't it be green — 
our own immortal green ? " 

There was another tremendous cheer when this was 
asked, and the dragoons gave way to the good nature 
and enthusiasm of the crowd. They laughed out loud, 
and some of them cheered, and not a few of them waved 
their swords. 

" Do you see that ? " cried Nash, and he dashed his 
hat about, and tore his coat wide open, and hurrahed 
with all his might. But the captain, a handsome young 
snob, with sleepy eyelashes, and the daintiest mustachios, 
looking down the line, gave his men the order to move 
off, which they did amidst the loudest cheers — poor 
Nash all the time twisting his eye, and shouting as 
before with all his might. That was the last time I 
saw him. His object was to remove the dragoons ; 
and the speediest way to do so was to appeal to their 



392 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

patriotism. He thought so, and his calculations were 
right. The dragoons were ordered off ; and Nash and 
his audience had it all to themselves. The day was 
their own. 

The Stuart Election. 

My recollections of Waterford for the most part refer 
to political events and personages. The earliest I retain 
is that of Stuart's election, when the pride of the house 
of Curraghmore was humbled to the dust. In one huge 
mass the country rose against the Beresfords, and drove 
them from the haughty domination they had so long and 
with so much terror and prestige- maintained. To the 
sagacity of the Right Rev. Dr. Kelly, the Roman 
Catholic Bishop of Waterford, this triumph of Demo- 
cracy must be ascribed. At a public dinner given in the 
Trinitarian Orphan House, by the managers of that 
institute, the Bishop had statistically exposed the 
relative strength of the Catholics and Protestants of 
that county. A preponderance so very decided ap- 
peared in favour of the former that a trial of their 
strength with the champions of the Protestant Ascend- 
ancy was enthusiastically resolved. A parliamentary 
election coming on shortly after, the trial took place, 
William Villiers Stuart — ^now Lord Stuart de Decies, 
Lord Lieutenant of the county, and Colonel of the 
Waterford Militia Artillery — ^was put forward by the 
Catholics. Lord George Beresford at the head of the 
Tory landlords and the Orange squireens and parsons, 
a vast and ruthless army in which all the police, tax 
gatherers, bailiffs, sheriffs' deputies, gangers, and all 
the garbage of the foreign government were included — 
entered the field, his crest dripping with the blood of 
'98, the stalwart Front-de-Bceuf of the Established 
Church and garrison, Stuart was a Protestant, but a 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 293 

chivalrous friend of the Catholics. Young, wealthy, 
accomplished, handsome, he was endowed with almost 
all the gifts which attract the multitude, securing 
popularity for their possessor, and imparting eclat to 
the cause he personates. Nor was he wanting in 
eloquence. He could speak fluently, though with a 
subdued grace, which had the appearance of timidity. 
Backed, however, by a crowd of dauntless orators — all 
of them experienced and famous in their art — ^his de- 
fects made no impression. Whatever they were, they 
were lost sight of in the blaze and tumult which burst 
around him from the pedestals on which those inex- 
haustible apostles of the people stood. 

There was Dr. Peter Kenny, whose tongue was like a 
sabre — ^bright and flexible, and strong — flashing whilst 
it wounded, and wounding whilst it had a foe to strike. 
The Doctor had been a volunteer in the Venezuelan 
expedition under Devereux. He had worn the green 
and gold in the Republican cause of Bolivar, and into 
the political campaigns of a cooler climate infused the 
impetuosity and fire, the brilliant abandon and reckless- 
ness of his tropical adventures. Shiel writes glowingly 
of him in his sketch of the Clare election. Shiel himself, 
if I recollect rightly, was in Waterford the time I speak 
of. O'Cormell certainly was. Wyse in his History of 
the Catholic Association, describes his appearance in 
the city during the election, and quotes a memorable 
joke of his. A steamboat had been sent up the Black- 
water to bring down a large body of the Beresford 
tenantry to the poll. O'Connell heard of it — went out 
in great haste on the balcony of Shannon's hotel — 
announced the circumstance with a burst of alarm, and 
wanted to know " if the wives would let their husbands 
trust their lives to an old kettle of boiling water ? " 
The steamboat was then a mysterious novelty to the 



294 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

country people. They did not understand it, and their 
fears respecting it were easily excited. The question 
put to them with so much anxiety and alarm, and in 
language which most forcibly conveyed their own 
notion of the danger, had the desired effect. The 
steamboat returned without a voter. 

But of the local celebrities in that contest, the most 
prominent and powerful was the Rev. John Sheehan, 
the parish priest of St. Patrick's. I speak of him as " a 
local celebrity." To his fame the phrase is a great 
injustice. He was known to the country. He was 
known far beyond it. He was one of the few whose 
strong voices reached the highest places where a stupid 
royalty secluded itself from the people, the wrongs they 
felt, and the truth they spoke. " Father John's 
speeches," a distinguished member of the Munster bar 
said to me one day, " shook St. James's." An expert 
controversiahst, an eloquent preacher, an experienced 
divine, he was a light of the sanctuary and a pillar of 
the Church. Pious as he was, his social tastes were 
genial. He was fond of fashionable society. He 
cultivated the acquaintance of the titled and persons 
of distinguished birth. There were few families of any 
eminence in the social scale in England or Ireland with 
whose history he was not acquainted. On heraldry he 
was a copious authority. No one could better trace 
a genealogical tree through all its roots and branches. 
The older the tree the more clearly and nimbly he swept 
through it ; but if he paid court to fashionable people, 
to people of high birth, to people of distinction — if he 
was glad to be asked to their tables and thought it an 
honour to be seen in their carriages, he seldom disguised 
and never compromised his political opinions to gratify 
them. Privately and publicly he boasted he was a 
Democrat. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 295 

On the repeal question, however, he was precarious. 
In 1843 he attended repeal meetings, and made repeal 
speeches. In 1847 he voted against the repeal candi- 
dates. His inconsistency was susceptible of one excuse, 
and he did not fail to urge it with effect. The repeal 
movement in Waterford was in the hands of the illiterate 
and vulgar demagogues. The Alderman I have men- 
tioned was the chief of them. Educated men grew 
intolerant of such coarse dictatorship, and asserting 
their freedom, imconsciously compromised their in- 
tegrity. This was the case with the Rev. John Sheehan. 
In the days of Catholic agitation, however, he had no 
offensive dictation to repel, and every step he took was 
consistent with his convictions and his words. 

Stuart's election, of course, is to me a misty scene. It 
is a phantom rather than one of the distinct realities of 
memory. I was a child, and not exceeding three years 
old — ^when it took place. The incidents and figures of 
the scene have left upon my mind no visible impression. 
The men who conspicuously figure in it, and most of 
whom I have mentioned, were introduced to me at a 
much later day. They were old men, and dying men, 
the day I first appeared in public life. But the sound of 
the hot strife is buzzing in my ears, and my eyes grew 
dim in the glare which burst from it, amid the swaying 
to and fro of gaudy banners, and the discharge of 
cannon. 

The result of the election was the defeat of the Beres- 
fords. It was a sweeping defeat. It was the annihila- 
tion of their political consequence. They never re- 
covered it. The enormous expense it entailed so 
thoroughly disgusted the present Marquis of Waterford 
— gave him so fearful an intimation of the penalties of 
public life — ^that nothing could ever induce him to set his 
foot within its frontiers. He has scrupulously kept 



296 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

aloof from politics. Not even the Mastership of the 
Buckhounds would he accept, though offered to him at 
the cordial suggestion of Prince Albert. What was the 
gain to the people ? What power accrued to them in 
the overthrow of the house of Curraghmore ? The 
power to return fat noodles and rich stupidities in the 
name of religious freedom and Tenant Right to parlia- 
ment. Pusillanimity succeeds to bigotry, and bloated 
inactivity to aristocratic domination. There's the 
victory, and then there's the gain. One acre of land, 
good against all claims, ensured to him for ever, were 
better to the Irishman by a thousand times than a 
thousand of such triumphs. It would make him richer, 
freer, happier, nobler. That one acre, would have more 
wealth and virtue in it, than a catacomb stuffed with 
Emancipation Acts. With that one acre to take his 
stand on, a legion of Beresfords would be no more to 
him than a pyramid of mummies. 

Social Life and Snobbery. 

I have said that my recollections of Waterford refer, 
for the most part, to political events and personages. 
Of other events and personages there was a dearth. 
Social life was at an ebb in the old city. There were 
very few gaieties. A ball in the Assembly room, two 
or three dinner parties, a picnic in summer — these 
were the only events that enlivened the sobriety of the 
twelve months. The fashionable circle was very small. 
Composed principally of these who had enjoyed municipal 
honours and emoluments under the old Tory reign, it 
had no affinity with the people. It was stiff with 
illiterate conceit. Socially selected from, it was politic- 
ally hostile to, the great body of the citizens. The 
Conservative candidate for parliamentary honours 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 297 

always had its sympathies. If the Whig, or pseudo- 
Liberal, was sometimes favoured with them, it was 
owing to the aristocratic acquaintances and tastes he 
cultivated. Mr. Wyse was esteemed by this dainty 
society of noodles less for his eloquence and scholarship, 
than for his being a favourite guest in London at the 
tables of distinguished Whig noblemen. One evening 
discussing the chances of Mr. Wyse's defeat in the 
parliamentary contest of 1847, an amiable authority of 
this select circle I speak of — a kind old soul, who no 
doubt imagines there are velvet cushions and loimges 
in heaven for all those who have been " respectable " 
on earth, and bare benches only for those who have 
sat in the " lower classes " below — this kind old soul, 
his mouth running over with excitement, and black 
rapee, told me of a visit he had recently paid Mr. Wyse, 
at his residence, Walton Terrace, London. " The 
table," he said, " was literally covered with invitations 
from the highest nobility in England. There was an 
invitation from the Marquis of Lansdowne to supper. 
There was another from the Earl of Shrewsbury to 
limch. Another from the Earl of EUesmere. Another 
from Baron Brunow, the Prussian ambassador. A 
dozen or two from such men as Lord Morpeth, Viscount 
Mahon and the Duke of Cleveland. And is it such a 
man — a man who receives such invitations as those — 
is it him you are going to turn out of parliament ? " 
This was the logic, the philosophy, the patriotism of 
the municipal nobility, the genteel, broken-down old 
fogyism of Waterford. With the loss of the city treasury 
and town hall, they lost their importance, and the 
consciousness of the deprivation was visible in the 
penitential sobriety of their features. In this con- 
dition the people seemed to regard them with a pity 
slightly adulterated with contempt. 



298 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

The first thing which struck me, and that which 
roused my imagination most on returning to my native 
city, was to find a number of admirable men — ^men in 
various departments of business, and building up their 
fortunes with skill and honour — occupying socially an 
obscure position. These men never had their dinner 
parties, their balls, their festive gatherings. The city 
fathers, seated in the town hall, alone indulged in such 
plays. So haughtily did they indulge in them, no other 
people, not even their betters, presumed to be con- 
vivial. A worthy tobacconist of Patrick Street, though 
eminently entitled to do so by his good presence, 
courtesies, and fair circumstances, would as soon have 
thought of committing sacrilege as of making his 
appearance in the same room, though it were a public 
one, where Alderman Babcock and his daughters, or 
Sheriff Gillott and his showy wife, or Captain Yellow- 
wig and his enchanting niece, were figuring on the 
floor. A strong disdain for men in business was active 
in these gentlemen. The feeling was not confined to 
Waterford. It prevailed all over the country. The 
lower classes, as they called them, were diseased with 
it as well as the higher. The bitterest thing that could 
be said against a public man, was that his father made 
boots, was successful as a tailor, or tanned the best 
leather. No young fellow, sure of an income of £200 
a year, or less, ever thought of going into business. 
They entered their names, perhaps, at the Queen's 
Inns, and ate the prescribed number of dinners, to 
qualify them for admission to the bar. It was con- 
sidered genteel to be a member of the bar, the celebrities 
of the profession constituting, with the officers of the 
army, and the retinue of the Castle and other public 
establishments, the only aristocracy of the Irish 
metropolis. Besides, it was the main road to political 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 299 

preferment. A barrister of six years' standing, whether 
he practised or not, was eligible to a colonial salary, or 
some berth at home, and was sure to receive the one or 
the other, provided he was valuable enough to be 
bribed. 

The Waterford Club. 

Yet with all their conceit and pretensions, there were 
good souls amongst the old Tory fashionables of Water- 
ford. I was a member of the County and City Club, 
and had many opportunities afforded me of learning 
their worth, and conceiving a genial fondness for them. 
The Marquis of Waterford, the Earl of Huntingdon, 
Lord Carew, Sir Joshua Paul, Sir Henry Barron, Sir 
Nugent Humble, were members of it. Purely a social 
club — a club for pleasant intercourse and merry 
meetings — politics were rigorously excluded from its 
walls. No one entered with his Repeal button or 
Orange sash. Both were- left in the umbrella stand at 
the outside door. Whatever they were without — ^how- 
ever widely they differed in the streets, within all were 
Irish gentlemen, cordial, generous and jovial. Very 
nearly three-fourths of the club were Conservatives or 
Tories. Only two or three were Repealers. I had the 
honour to be one of the latter. Politically considered, 
it was a desolate minority. But so true were the 
members to the fundamental principle of the Club, that 
they might all have been Repealers for anything 
offensive ever heard to the contrary. The majority 
were loyalists to the marrow, and never lost an oppor- 
tunity to assert the fact. They were sincerely so. 
Truthful, high-toned, gallant, their loyalty won my 
respect, though it failed to invite my concurrence. 
Loyal as they were, however, they were friendly and 
affectionate to the Rebel. Inwardly condemning his 



300 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

insubordination to the Queen, they openly loved him 
for his fidelity to the Club. A staunch friend of the 
pleasant institution they knew me to be. Of the 
principle on which it was established they knew I 
warmly approved. They knew that in public, over 
and over again, I had prayed for that tolerant, genial, 
generous brotherhood amongst Irishmen, of the feasi- 
bility and beauty of which, in a little sphere, they 
themselves had furnished such delightful evidence, and, 
to the last moment, for these reasons, I believe I con- 
tinued to be their favovirite. Well do I remember how 
cordially they used to drink my health and cheer my 
stammering speeches at their dinners. Well do I 
remember the jovial welcome and the shuffling of chairs 
round the fireplace, every night I came in. Early or 
late — ^the later the better — ^they always had a chair 
and a cheer for me. 

Well, too, do I remember the kind importunity with 
which many of them endeavoured, as the fatal time 
drew near, to dissuade me from the enterprise, the 
failure of which, they predicted, would remove me from 
the old house on the Adelphi for ever and a day. Some 
of them a few days before my arrest in July, 1848, met 
me at dinner at a friend's of mine, close to the Lunatic 
Asylum on John's Hill, and urged me to withdraw from 
the movement. 

" There's no use — ^you'll fail — ^you'll lose everything." 

" Must stand my ground," I said, 

" Oh, nonsense ! " they replied, " quit it, and come 
with us." 

" Where to ? " I asked. 

" To Italy — ^to Greece — to Egypt ! " they exclaimed. 
The invitation was a tempting one. A party of honest, 
cheerful, spirited fellows, full of life, intelligence, and 
the best good nature, to ramble with from the Suir, 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 301 

through the Mediterranean, to the Nile, was a prospect 
almost too enchanting to resist. Struck with it I felt 
my patriotism relax. Had it not been of iron, it would 
have melted in the warmth of such friendship and the 
seductions which it breathed. The iron may have 
rusted but it is iron still. 

Of this club and all belonging to it I cherish the 
liveliest remembrance. Many a time do the bid faces 
I so often saw there re-appear to me, sparkling and 
laughing, grinning or frowning, darkening into horror 
at some catastrophe, or bursting into boundless mirth 
at some rich joke, as they used to do, night after night, 
in that magic circle round the fireplace in the smoking 
room. Many a time, as I sat on deck on my way to 
the world's end in her Gracious Majesty's sloop-of-war, 
the Sieift, have I travelled back through the waves, 
the sea birds and the clouds, through boisterous and 
dismal scenes of all sorts to that big weather-slated' 
house, looking out over the Adelphi across the Suir to 
the Abbey Church and Cromwell's Rock, and there 
forgetting everything else but the club house, though 
the trade winds were in our sails and the southern stars 
were shining clear and full and fresh above us, and the 
albatross swept down and wheeled about us, in his 
majestic plenitude of wing — have I read the papers 
and eaten my anchovy toast and smoked till midnight, 
gossiping and joking over the occurrences of the day 
with my old friends in that snug and dusky room, right 
opposite the timber yard of Jacob Penrose, one of the 
most sedate and estimable quakers of the Urhs Intacta. 

It was, indeed, a pleasant thing to drop in there about 
nine or ten o'clock at night. A little while after you 
opened the door, you could discern nothing plainly. T?he 
smoke was dense, filling the four corners. The group 
about the fireplace was but a darker cloud. As you 



302 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

approached, it resolved itself into several distinct frag- 
ments. Each fragment was a gentleman. The gentle- 
man had his cigar, his short clay pipe, his manilla, or 
his chibouque. Night after night, for the twelvemonth, 
it was the same. For the last twenty or thirty years it 
had been the same. The habitues of that cozy and 
capacious fireplace formed a stock company of the 
pleasantest performers on the provincial stage of life. 
An unctuous laziness kept them at home. Had they 
moved abroad, their good qualities and wit would 
have shone as brightly in a broader sphere. Neither 
the Kildare Street Club, in Dublin, nor the Carlton nor 
the Athenaeum, in London, would have been too am- 
bitious a theatre for many of them to have figured in. 
Endowed by nature and improved by art — ^by travel, 
reading, constant intercourse with endless varieties of 
people — they were well qualified to shine, draw down 
applause, and be the favourites wherever they chose 
to stay. 

One was an attorney — a wild-looking, big-boned, dis- 
orderly dressed gentleman — ^whose ideas and language 
partook strongly of the excitement of his appearance. 
His anecdotes were voluminous, and his speculations 
interminable. Profuse and incongruous, his descrip- 
tions of scenery bewildered himself as well as his hearers. 
I was present one night he described a storm at Killamey. 
His hair flew about in every direction from the top and 
back of his head. His waistcoat unbuttoned — ^his 
neckerchief wriggled and danced, like an eel, about his 
neck. With hands wide open, and the fingers standing 
violently apart, his arms swept the air, up and down, 
right and left, to and fro, here and there, and every- 
where — a pair of condor's wings in the ecstasies of 
plunder. 

Mangerton was hid in one enormous cloud ; the Reeks 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 303 

and the Toomies had disappeared ; the waves were 
leaping up and pouring over Ross Castle — the thousands 
of bones and skulls in Muckross Abbey were tumbling 
and dashing about and splitting each other to splinters 
with the wind ; " And," he exclaimed, his eyes ready 
to burst, and his hair tearing itself out from the roots, 
and his long wild arms jumping away from their sockets, 
" and the wind and the water, and the woods and the 
mountains, were all, my dear Keating, on fiire ! " 

Immediately after such an effort as this, the poetic 
attorney struck by the aspect of increduUty all roimd, 
would compose himself a little, and put the question, 
" Don't you think it was so ? " It matters not whether 
he was answered in the affirmative or otherwise. 
Having put the question he concluded he was perfectly 
understood, and subsided for a time into less riotous 
enjoyment. He filled his pipe. If I remember rightly, 
it was an old black pipe — ^very short and very dirty — 
the ugliest dwarf of an old dudeen. Crossing his legs, 
he lit his pipe, buttoned a button of his waistcoat, and 
silenced himself in smoke. Still, however, the big 
brown eye glared upon the company, flashing back the 
red coal which filled the grate. From his momentary 
trance he was sure to wake up with a jerk, to inflict a 
rhapsody of science on the survivors of his original 
audience. He was better than the Riot Act for dispers- 
ing a crowd. No crowd could withstand his delirious 
vocabulary an hour. 

A convivial soul, unconsciously pouring over with the 
strangest fun, he was a bewildered theorist and a pre- 
carious politician. In his profession alone could one 
depend on him. There he was steady, intelligible, 
reliable, decidedly successful. At one time he was pro- 
prietor of the Waierford Chronicle, and vehemently 
insisted on Repeal. His editor was an eccentric and 



304 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

fruitful genius, used a copious pen, and used it boldly. 
Though he died very dismally, and few followed him to 
the grave, poor Quarry Barron will not be forgotten in 
and around Waterford for many a year to come. His 
speeches, less startling in their imagery than those of 
Nash, were more sohd in their matter and subtle in 
their wit. He died a Repealer. His employer, the 
incongruous attorney, the proprietor of the Chronicle, 
lives happily as a Whig in improved business as Queen's 
prosecutor at Quarter Sessions. Unworthy of an 
epitaph commemorative of patriotism, I trust he shall 
have one reminding the readers of his tombstone, that 
with all his vagaries in public life his good-fellowship in 
private was consistent, whilst the sobriety of the attorney 
made ample amends for the madness of the poet. 

Another member of the Club of whom I preserve a 
durable impression, was old Bell of the Manor. He 
had served in the Waterford militia long before the 
peace of 1815, and in civihan dress ever after kept up 
the consequence of the periodical profession. I forget 
whether he was Captain Bell, or Major Bell, or Colonel 
Bell. It is of little importance. Whatever his military 
distinction may have been, he was a great old Bell, 
with a hard, old-soldier face, bushy black whiskers, a 
white cravat, having a comical tie ; always a big dinner 
coat of a very dark shade ; big, baggy trousers, a little 
top short ; white stockings, loose shoes, a purple wig, 
an overshadowing hat, a pair of brown worsted or 
leather gloves, and a stupendous umbrella of brown 
cotton. It was refreshing to see the old soldier, shoulder- 
ing his inseparable umbrella, with his shoes freshly 
blackened, turning out of his house, opposite to 
Harry Downes' extinct distillery, and calmly moving 
through the tumult and perils of the Tramore car-stand, 
into Beresford Street, along the footpath under the 




Meagher's Irish Brigade Flag of the 69th Regiment 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 305 

Bishop's wall, of a morning to the Club. Calmly, 
silently, solidly, he moved along, disturbed by nothing 
vmder heaven, on his way to read the papers. Having 
got through the papers, he returned as he set out, 
complacently and slowly, with an unruffled countenance, 
a rigid face, and a fearless gait. What became of him 
the rest of the day, the public never knew. About 
eight o'clock in the evening, however, he was down again 
to the Club. As before, he came along by the Tramore 
car stand, through Beresford Street, tmder the wall of 
the Bishop's garden, with his heavy umbrella across 
his shoulder, with a steady conscience and a measured 
step, without a word, without a quiver of the lip. 
Silent, erect, large, old-fashioned, sombre somewhat, 
and almost grim, Bell carefully stacked his umbrella 
in some safe nook, and, without a syllable, took his 
accustomed seat amongst the smokers. His seat was 
on the left hand side of the fireplace. There was a 
handy little shelf, midway up close to the chimney- 
piece, projecting from the wall. It was fitted with a 
brass hinge, and could be let up or down like the leaf 
of a table. The first thing old Bell did at the fireplace, 
was to take a chair. It was usually an armchair. The 
second thing he did, was to call for a glass of grog — 
brandy and cold water. The third thing he did, was to 
set this glass of grog upon the old shelf beside him at 
his elbow. The fourth, to draw out his pipe from the 
breast pocket of his dinner-coat. The pipe, invariably, 
was a clean, white pipe, with a pretty^ong shank, and 
a thin, smooth coating of red sealing-wax at the top. 
Obviously, pipes were his only expense. The fifth 
thing Mr. Bell did was to cut a pipe-full of tobacco. 
The sixth, to fiU his pipe. The seventh, to Ught it well. 
The eighth and last, to smoke it to the bottom of the 
bowl. All this was done in deep silence. The veteran 
20 



30 6 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

hardly raised his eyes once during the deliberate pro- 
ceeding. If spoken to, he lifted one eye-lid and eye- 
brow a little, smiled perhaps, and then relapsed. Forced 
to speak, he spoke economically, with a small expenditure 
of breath, using the shortest syllables. Bell was an 
Orangeman, a staunch, bluff, inveterate worshipper 
of William of pious memory. More hateful to him 
than Beelzebub, the Pope was his perpetual dread. 
With all the kindness of his nature, he was ever more or 
less suspicious of his Catholic acquaintances, and looked 
upon them as people rather to be tolerated than trusted. 
He would not hang, but would keep a keen watch on 
them. He would not, perhaps, deprive them of a 
vote, but would never give them a gun. He could 
never forgive them the Gunpowder Plot or the Spanish 
Armada. When the statue of King William was blown 
up in College Green, he flourished his umbrella, swore 
the militia must be called out, and the Emancipation Act 
instantly repealed. As for Daniel O'Connell — ^no fate 
was too bad for that monstrous disturber of the peace. 

I know not if the big cotton umbrella is at rest. I 
know not if the last white pipe, in the cozy corner I 
have spoken of, has been smoked. But if the worst 
has come, if the bells have tolled for Bell — if Bell 
sleeps in the same sweet earth with those he feared in 
life — then peace and happiness and glory be to him ! 
He was a true and gentle soul, imobtrusive, yet un- 
compromising. Slow but sure. A Cromwell in his 
way, but a Cromwell with more heart than brains. 

That the evenings at the club to which such men 
resorted were pleasant in the extreme need not be said. 
In my native city — in that old city of the Suir — social 
unity was sadly wanting. In Ireland — all through 
Ireland — it was wanting, too. This social unity is a 
ground-work of a unity yet more stable, yet more con- 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WATERFORD 307 

spicuous and fruitful in great events and blessings. 
The unity which the army of Lord Charlemont, despite 
of the weakness of its leadership, and the defectiveness 
of its enterprise, with ineffable brilliancy portrayed. 
The unity for which Wolfe Tone — the clearest, boldest 
spirit sprung from Irish soil — studied, toiled, travelled, 
begged, organised, moved the military genius of a 
colossal empire, manned a noble fleet, fought, bled, was 
manacled, and in his dungeon died. The unity, to 
accomplish which the young scholar, historian, poet, 
orator — known to us as Thomas Davis — sprang to light, 
struck the harp, burned the midnight oil, thought, and 
sang, and rambled ; thought like a grey-haired saint of 
old ; sang, like a feudal bard of old, 'mid lifted spears, 
and flowing horn cups, and clashing swords and spurs ; 
rambled for, like the hunted outlaw, over moor and 
river, through bog and glen, by rath and cairn, and 
chapel, plucking flowers, and golden relics, and laurels 
bathed in blood, and offerings from every race settled 
by conquest or misfortune in the land, all for the crowning 
of the future nation, rising from the dead, and with 
liberty to be made immortal ; and so thinking, singing, 
rambling, toiling — ^wasting brain and heart — ^was struck 
to earth with the splendour of the vision — died delirious 
with the destiny in the full blaze of which, with lion 
heart and eagle-wing, he soared. 

With all their childishness, with all their folly, with 
all their indolence, with all their incentives to driftless 
gaiety and frolic, with all their loyalty to England and 
her King or Queen — the darkest turpitude of all — ^may 
the social institutions flourish which bring Irishmen 
together, make them know each other, trust each other, 
love each other, and, in convivial circles, teach them 
they are brothers all ! This done, there is a family. 
From a family comes a camp. From a camp a Nation. 



The Galway Election 

The Connemara pony galloped us into Loughrea in 
less than no time, the boy on the box shouting the 
whole of the way, at the top of his voice, for O'Flaherty, 
Repeal and ould Ireland. The streets were crowded as 
if it were a fair day. Detachments of the 8th hussars, 
slowly riding up and down in front of Kilroy's Hotel, 
up and down before the Courthouse, and round and 
round Eyre Square, threw a variety of brilliant touches 
into what would otherwise have been a very sombre 
picture. The day was dull. A thaw had set in. The 
ground, covered with a soft crust, was inclined to be 
muddy. An ashy sky arched the old Spanish houses, 
the quaint, solemn look of which deepened the gloom- 
iness of the scene. Everyone, except the hussars 
appeared to me to have been out all night on Lough 
Corrib, and to have come into town in wet clothes. 
The hussars themselves, with all the swinging finery 
about them, and the fire and beauty of their horses, 
were not wholly free from the damp and mouldiness 
which seemed to prevail. The fur on their jackets 
looked moist — ^looked like a brown rabbit would after 
being dragged out from under a heap of wet leaves. 
The mulberry nose of a sinewy, broad-shouldered 
sergeant sitting calmly in his saddle, close to the back 
door of the Courthouse, was covered with something 
resembling a very cold dew. The white sheets of calico, 
with O'Flaherty's name and patriotic sentiments in 
lamp-black upon them, shared the general depression. 
Tacked to the dreariest bare poles, they dangled from 
the window-sills of houses that looked as if they never 

308 



THE GALWAY ELECTION 309 

knew what a good fire or a laugh was. The banners 
were on the outer walls, but were all the worse for 
being so. Lifeless, colourless, and clammy, they were 
calculated rather to depress than to excite the en- 
thusiasm of the City of the Tribes. Patriotic sentiments 
were never before so destitute of drapery. The under- 
taker must have been the painter, costumier, upholsterer, 
and decorator to the Repealers of Galway on this 
slovenly and dismal day. 

The dulness, however, was all outside. It was 
superficial gloom and stupidity. There was life enough, 
a little way out of sight, behind those dead banners. 
Galway was piled up, and crushed within four walls 
that day. They were the walls of the Courthouse. 
Every man who had a heart, an arm, or a kick in him, 
was there. Every man with a shirt on his back was 
there. Every man who could shout for Repeal was 
there. Every man who could boast of a roof over his 
head, a penny in his pocket, or a crust for his breakfast 
was there. Landlords of every description were there. 
The tyrant of the field, the swindling sportsman, the 
beggar in fine linen and broadcloth, the sneaking 
supplicant for Government favours, the political traitor 
making a joke of his perfidy, the vulgar toady of the 
great house whose owner he knew would have a 
coronet on his coffin when carried to the toads and 
leeches — all were there, jumbled up together, flushed, 
disordered, sweltering, tossing hats and handkerchiefs 
about, now and then fiercely shaking fists, shouting, 
crushing one upon another, many of them foaming at 
the mouth, all heightening the turbulent and stormy 
scene with the wildest excess of words, threats, cheers, 
oaths and gestures. 

Mitchel and I looked down from the grand jury 
gallery upon the tumult. Stunned by the terrific 



310 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

shouts, our eyes swam in the hot, suffocating haze 
through which thousands of arms and legs and heads 
— ^most of them in rags, many of them bleeding, all of 
them coated with dust, whitewash, and dishevelled — 
flung themselves frantically to and fro, aloft and every- 
where. Under a canopy of red maroon, in the middle 
seat of the judge's bench, sat the high sheriff of the 
borough, Michael B. Browne, Esq. A thin white wand, 
which he nervously held fast to, denoted his official 
rank. Had it been a magic wand he might have stilled 
the tumultuous wave of the black sea beating at his 
feet. As it was, he sat hke Canute rebuking the flood, 
but incompetent to compose its fury, or resist its en- 
croachments. Mr. Browne was a genteel spectacle of 
powerless dignity, exciting a polite pity, which his 
smile of resignation and urbanity deepened. In the 
corner on his right, in a compact pillar of shining white 
teeth, aristocratic noses, proud flesh, and superfine 
cloth, were bundled the supporters of the Government 
nominee, James Monahan, the Solicitor-General. The 
L5mches were there ; so were the Blakes ; so were the 
Burkes, Martins, Gregories, St. Georges, and every 
other silken and scented slave of the neighbourhood 
in the interest of England. In front of them stood 
Monahan. In front of them — but with head stooped 
and eyes steadily spying about him, exhibiting in- 
stinctively all the cowardly caution and cunning of a 
practitioner in the lowest grade of his profession, and 
the humility of the unpolished parvenu in the presence 
of his patrons. The parvenu in this boisterous scene 
seemed deeply conscious of the debt of gratitude, 
deference and homage he owed to his patrons. The 
patrons glowed with the vain thought of the mischief 
and noise they were making with so plebeian a client. 
Shabbily dressed, with a sallow skin, mottled with the 



THE GALWAY ELECTION 311 

blue refuse of his coarsely shaved beard, with inches of 
crumpled, soiled linen lapping over his necktie and 
puffing out from under his cuffs, he stood there, in gait, 
costume, and look, the veriest varlet and hack which 
the worst Government, or the meanest aristocracy 
subject to the worst Government, could hire to do their 
jobs within Parliament, under the blind eyes of Justice, 
in the outhouses and at the back-door of the Castle. 
A large, wide-drawn, heavy mouth, perpetually twitch- 
ing and hardening between the firmness due to his. 
offtce and the trepidation which men of coarse natures 
and sudden success experience, he shufSed, twisted, 
and shrugged himself before the crowd which hooted 
and cursed him in that Courthouse, the very image of 
the night-bird to which Devin Reilly, with his pic- 
turesque power and truthfulness, likened him. Of the 
humblest origin, the Irish people, who have a proud 
reverence for the princely old stock, spurned him as a 
■mushroom, the spongy growth of a night. Sullen in 
his features, awkward in his gait, stinted in blood and 
muscle, having nothing whatever grand, or gallant, or 
gentlemanly even, in his aspect or address, he failed 
to exercise the influence which handsome features and 
a chivalrous air in many instances command, where 
morals are suspicious, or birth is dubious, or genius 
is deficient. The driest pedagogue in the school of 
law — ^with a mind originally rude and barren, rendered 
still more sterile by the dead knowledge he heaped upon 
it, and which he disposed of as a phrenologist does his 
skull, shoulder blades, and hip joints — ^without a flower 
of poetry to beautify, or a solitary pyre-gleam of 
philosophy to illuminate his studies, social conversa- 
tion, or professional discourse — selfish, calculating, 
crafty, mean in heart as he was in look — ^ungrammatical, 
illiterate, inarticulate for the most part, slovenly and 



312 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

insipid — ^he had none of those radiant gifts, none of 
that intellectual fire which melts down prejudices and 
fuses the speaker and the audience into one glowing 
mass, and which, beating down with a sword fashioned 
of simbeams, as it were, the conceits which frown upon 
the cradle of the poor, wins from Plantagenet and 
Tudor — from the lordliest brat who struts the stage of 
life in the wardrobe of some dead plunderer — the Cross 
of Honour, and in the majestic cathedral of history 
wears it till the sun grows cold. 

On the left of the sheriff were many of the sturdy 
honest merchants of the town, the Irelands, MacLogh- 
lans, Mangans ; representative men of the trades, such 
as Mahon and Barnacle ; young, spirited, professional 
men ; some few of the landed proprietary, such as 
Cummins, French, and Foster ; several of the Catholic 
priests, amongst the latter the Rev. Messrs. Roche emd 
Daly. In the body of the hall, blocking up every 
avenue leading to it, hanging on the piUars of the 
gallery, clinging to window-sills, swinging out of iron 
brackets in the walls, thrust upon each other's backs, 
surging and struggling, gaping with the heat and 
violent pressure, yet flinging up their brawny arms with 
an enthusiasm almost delirious, and cheering with all 
their might — cheering until their eyes started, grew 
red and flashed, and the veins in their foreheads filled 
with burning blood — ^were the " rabble," as the dainty, 
sleek aristocrats on the right of the High Sheriff called 
the poor, the ragged, the unpurchasable honesty, the 
impetuous patriotism which, living on crusts, were 
content still to live, so that they could see the Green 
Flag flying and their country free. 

With considerable difficulty we made our way past 
that calm, mulberry-nosed sergeant of hussars, on 
guard at the back door, up the stone steps of the Court- 



THE GALWAY ELECTION 313 

house to the lobby of the grand jury room, and from the 
lobby to the gallery. At the entrance of the gallery, 
Michael Joseph Barry met us. 

" We'll have to fight," he said. 

" Fight ! " exclaimed Mitchel. 

" Fight ! " I re-echoed. 

" Yes," said Barry, somewhat hurriedly, but distinctly, 
" Monahan's party will drive us to it— O'Gorman goes 
out in half an hour." 

This was agreeable news to hear the moment we got 
into Galway. What a hurry we were in to be shot ! 
Mitchel and I looked earnestly at Barry, then at each 
other, and then back at the steps up which we had 
rushed. Mitchel steadied his countenance, smiled for a 
moment, twisted a lock of his hair, jerked himself back, 
stood straight before Barry, and burst into laughter. 

It was a fierce contest. Night and day the com- 
batants were at work. For more than a week they 
fought. From dawn to sundown, the battle surged 
and thundered within the courthouse. From sundown 
to dawn the theatre, the lanes, the streets, some of the 
oldest houses in the city, the suburbs, the roads all 
round, were scenes of furious action. 

The theatre was a ridiculous old building. The walls 
inside were salmon-coloured. The paint, here and there 
and everywhere, had been rubbed off. Occasionally 
some gashes appeared. The white underground shone 
through these. Monstrous noses, boldly delineated 
with burnt stick, revealed themselves in swelling curves 
upon the walls. Cobwebs were plentiful. They were 
there by the yard, the perch, the mile. They were 
there in pocket-book editions and the folio size. They 
were there as small as a snuff-box and as huge as a 
bale. It was a warehouse of cobwebs. 



314 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Two or three of the side scenes were standing. One 
was a stricken oak. Another a dingy pilaster with an 
Ionic volute. A third represented an abutment of 
sandstone, with an iron ring hanging out of it — a large 
black pudding describing a circle on the door of a kitchen. 
The gas footlights seemed very little better off than the 
rest of the furniture. They were dismally out of repair. 
Most of them were no better than rush-lights. A few 
of them did too much. Extravagant beyond control, 
they went literally to blazes. The rest of them, choked 
with dust, and otherwise incapacitated, were not a 
spark of use. 

Nothing more favourable can be said of the stage. 
Full of holes ; with a trap-door now and then giving 
way ; with a scene-roller at intervals breaking loose 
from the ropes, or the ropes snapping ; with the 
scantiest allowance of light bare wall on either side, 
and a bare wall in the rear ; it was the most disreputable 
platform any patriot could have the infatuation to 
stand on. For years no tragic step had made it creak. 
For years no ghost had risen through the shifting 
apertures from the musty regions underneath. For 
years no death by bowl or dagger had provoked the 
approving thunders of the soapless gods. 

Seven o'clock, every evening of the contest, saw that 
paintless, lustreless, dishevelled temple of the drama 
in possession of the stormiest crowd. Pit, boxes, 
galleries, every seat, every standing place, from floor 
to ceiling, were black with people. The orchestra 
didn't escape. The first into the theatre, the moment 
the front door opened, had that. Instead of trombones 
and fiddles, bassoons and kettle-drums, we had devoted 
Repealers who beat time with their heels, and, previously 
to the chair being taken, enthusiastically whistled 
" Garryowen " with variations. One of these per- 



THE GALWAY ELECTION 315 

formers was a man of huge limbs, upwards of six feet 
in height. His shoulders were broad enough to carry 
a dray, whilst the girth and shape of his arm realised 
what has been told us of the colossal pugilist of Crotona. 
This famous Italian carried a young bullock over forty 
yards, and then killed it with one blow of his fist. Our 
friend in the orchestra might easily have accomplished 
a similar feat. He was the image of Hugh in the story 
of " Barnaby Rudge." Every inch as sinewy and 
large, he was as wild and shaggy in appearance, and 
almost as desperate in his onslaughts. During the 
election his exploits were terrific. In the courthouse, 
the day of the nomination, he seized four men round the 
neck with his right arm, and crushed them together as 
if they were walnuts and he himself was a nutcracker. 
Another time he pulled a big sergeant of hussars clean 
off his horse — saddle, saddle-cloth, and all — ^with one 
jerk at the spurred heel of the trooper. 

About twelve o'clock one night he called on one of 
the Confederates- Creeping inch by inch softly into 
the room on tiptoe, he stood — ^with his broken hat in 
his hand, his brown mass of hair strewed about his 
face and shoulders, and his coarse shirt, spattered with 
mud, torn open from the throat — the very picture of a 
Rapparee outlaw. 
" I'm done for," says MuUin. 
" How so — ^what's the matter now ? " 
" Done for," says Mullin. 
" Let us know how." 
" It's up with me entirely," says he. 
" But what's the matter ? " asks his friend the Con- 
federate. 

Mullin straightens himself up, twirls his hat twice, 
throws back with his left hand a dozen brown flakes 
off his face, and leaning over towards the table where 



316 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

his confidential adviser was sitting, in a dismal whisper 
informs him that he's had no less than eleven petty 
sessions notices served on him for assault and battery 
since morning. 

" Now what's to be done ? " said he. 

" Make them a dozen," was the prompt reply of his 
counsel. 

MuUin, without saying a word, but with a comical 
shrug of one shoulder, walked out. Slowly and heavily 
he descended the stairs, plaintively wWstling as he 
went, but making up his mind to make it the dozen. 
He did so. 

MuUin was the terror of Monahan. He was the terror 
of every man of the Government party. The latter 
would have been beaten to rags were it not for the sabres 
of the hussars and the bayonets of the police. Mullin 
would have done it. Alone he'd have fluttered the 
Volsces in Corioli. 

A Uttle after seven the chair in the theatre was 
usually taken. The chair was a picturesque piece of 
stage furnitiure. Made entirely of the plainest wood, 
with a high arched back, and no opening between the 
legs, it was painted to harmonise with the colour of 
the walls. It had been the judgment-seat of the Doge 
in the " Merchant of Venice," had also supported in 
their dying moments several dynasties of kings and 
queens, and, with its back to the audience, and the help 
of a little black and white canvas, had served for the 
rostrum from which Mark Antony, more than once, 
poured out his eloquent sorrows over the senseless 
body of Caesar. It was all that was left of the gorgeous 
palaces, temples, villas, banquet halls, and solemn 
courts of justice, which had collapsed and withered 
into cobwebs. 

One evening the orators and committee were half 



TEE GALWAY ELECTION 317 

an hour late. The people, grown utterly impatient, 
and despairing of the usual performance, resolved on 
having something by way of a change. 

It was very near eight o'clock, when a few of us 
entered the green-room. From the door opening on 
to the stage, we beheld the chair planted close to the 
foot-Ughts, and a number of legs and arms, with a 
head and a pretty big stick, flashing from it on all 
sides. They were evidently keeping time to a rollicking 
song:— 

"I'm a ranting roving blade, 
Of never a thing was a ever afraid ; 
I'm a gentleman born, I scorn a trade. 
And I'd be a rich man if my debts were paid. 
Right fal lal de lal lal." 

This was the sentiment of the singer, and in this 
sentiment, in ranting roving chorus, the tumultuous 
theatre seemed to concur. They had voted some 
frolicsome vagabond into the chair, and this bright 
lad, with his hat tipped on three hairs, and the wrists 
of his coat turned up, was flourishing a beautiful knobby 
bit of blackthorn in the handsomest style, striking out 
with his elbows and fists and handling his legs with 
bewildering ease and rapidity. Now and then, when he 
chanced to do something perfectly marvellous — ^when 
the blackthorn gave an extra twist or twirl, or his 
elbows and toes seemed to strike one another and knock 
fresh music out of his throat — there was a roar of 
applause, during which the shillelagh and legs worked 
away as if the boy were possessed. 

The committee having arrived, we moved towards 
the vocalist. A shout, lusty enough to sweep every 
cobweb, the toughest and blackest, from the walls, 
greeted our entrance on the stage. Again and again 



3i8 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

and again it broke out. The ranting roving blade, 
carried away with the enthusiasm of his art, infatuated 
with the beUef that it was all meant for him, redoubled 
his efforts and continued his song. We came closer. 
The shouts grew louder. The blackthorn frantically 
swept the air, the elbows shot out right and left, the 
legs fairly flew asunder. Closer stiU. Up to the chair. 
Deafening shouts ! The roving blade was one blaze 
of musical and gymnastic insanity ! 

In the midst of the next chorus he saw it all. One 
sudden glance to the left disclosed to him the committee 
and Dublin deputations, Tom Steele at their head. 
The stick fell from his grasp. His head fell back. His 
hat fell off. His legs shot out, and quivered at full 
length. 'Twas all over with him. The thought stunned 
him. Recovering a little, he leaped headlong from the 
salmon-coloured chair into the densely packed orchestra, 
and disappeared for the rest of the contest. I never 
saw him after that night. I never heard that anyone 
else did. Indeed, I never heard that he was seen in 
Galway again. His hat and favoiurite blackthorn, left 
behind on the surface as he vanished with a plvmge, 
were charitably fished up by the treasurer of the 
committee, carried away as trophies, and deposited 
in the library of that gentleman. 

The speeches in the theatre can be easily imagined. 
They were philippics against the Whigs. They were 
panegyrics on Repeal. The servility of the landlords — 
the Marquis of Clanricarde especially — swelled many 
an indignant period. From the graves with which the 
famine had crowded the land, flowers of the darkest 
hue sprang up. With the hard, stem facts which 
years of vicious government had set one upon another 
these flowers were woven. It was the ruin and the 
ivy-^ Both had their roots in the soil strewed with 



THE GALWAY ELECTION 319 

wreck and consecrated to the dead. The history of 
the Whigs, in connexion with the popular party in 
Ireland, was l|id open with the boldest hand. Tom 
Steele denounced them as the deadliest enemies of 
Repeal. The Rev. Mr. Roche spoke with a thrilling 
emphasis of the " cruel and criminal policy of the Whig 
Government." That the people were reduced to 
starvation ; that all the corn and Indian meal stored 
in Galway was permitted to rot ; that the gain of the 
English merchants was preferred to the very lives of 
the people ; that coroner's inquests daily and hourly 
took place, whilst the storehouses and granaries were 
overflowing ; these, he said, and many other evils, 
were the rank fruit of the policy maintained by that 
heartless Government. Richard O'Gorman, Michael 
Joseph Barry, and Michael Doheny, shook that old 
building with an eloquence which would have saved 
Galway the disgrace of being beaten by the public 
prosecutor of the British Government, if eloquence 
could have prevailed against the power of a corrupt 
Government, backed by a servile aristocracy, and 
hundreds of tenants reduced to serfdom. 



APPENDICES 

I 

The Night of the Conviction 
[From " The Nation."] 

There were heavy hearts in Clonmel Gaol, on Saturday 
evening, October 22nd, 1848. Thomas Meagher was 
in the dock, awaiting the verdict of the jury who had 
tried him. The large cell, at the top of the building, 
which was the sleeping apartment of M'Manus, O'Donog- 
hue, and Leyne, and the common saloon, during the 
day, of some twenty others, was silent and cheerless. 
The central table was covered with a miscellaneous 
equipage of carousal — glasses of all shapes and sizes, 
cups, mugs, jugs, and contraband black bottles, con- 
taining specimens of Irish Resources, proscribed by 
the Board, but seditiously introduced for the comfort 
and jollification of a very boisterous gang of Irish 
rebels. Ordinarily, at the hour, Meagher presided at 
our evening festivity. And such a capital president 
as he made ! He was the life of our circle — so frank, 
gifted, and beloved. His humour, his eloquence, which 
stirred us even there, and his intrepidity, were the 
sunshine that made the old walls seem brighter than a 
palace. Oh ! around that board I have had as glorious 
visions, and felt as riotously happy, as if no cloud were 
resting upon Ireland — as if no chain were clanking at 
my feet. Many a grand old Irish song was sung there ; 
many a gallant sentiment was uttered ; many an 
inspiring ballad recited ; many a broken-voiced lament 
whispered for the failure ; and many a prophecy of 
future success rapturously applauded. Within the four 

21 321 



322 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

seas, there was not, at times, so disorderly a body of 
criminals, mad with merriment ; and, when the fit had 
passed, oh ! but there were deept and earnest com- 
munings on the past, and conjectures of the future, of 
our dear Ireland. On one night wc Ustened to fiery 
speeches, full of the old spirit and burning eloquence 
that had roused the heart of the nation, the words 
falling like the fiery tongues on the Apostles. On 
another, we masqueraded at a concert, Meagher leading 
the band on his clarionet, accompanied by twenty 
manly voices, and every variety of sound that could 
be extracted from accordions, kettles, tins, and tongs. 
On the next, we fought at the barricades. A heavy 
table used to be placed in the centre of the room, and 
taken possession of by half the detachment ; the 
other moiety stormed the garrison. We fought with 
pillows — very formidable and destructive weapons, if 
properly handled. Such charges, such shouts, such 
blows, such defences, such drubbings ! I think I 
should be invaluable as a barricade-man, after that 
warm practice and invigorating discipline. I would 
engage to tumble the most stalwart member of the 
" B " detachment, if I had choice of my weapon — a 
short, hard-crammed pillow, or symmetrical bolster, 
that would swing like Boadicea's flail. The contest 
lasted till we could fight no more. 

To a spectator, the meetings roimd that mess table 
would have worn the appearance of the festive gathering 
of an insurgent camp, not the poor prison revels of 
conquered rebels. Lord ! how we frighted the gaol 
from its propriety. And then, as the approach of one 
of the prison officers was heard, all the evidences of 
seditious enjoyment used to disappear with miraculous 
celerity, and on the entrance of the grave governor 
(who was a good fellow at heart), one-half of us would 
be found buried in books, the other devoted to the 
innocent and improving combinations of the profound 
science of backgammon. The remonstrance of the 
governor, or his noble-souled, generous deputy, would 



APPENDICES 323 

be listened to in affected respect and hypocritical 
silence. On his disappearance, good zealous man, 
convinced that he had converted us to " peace, law, 
and order," the revolutionary mania would break forth 
again, and Clonmel Gaol be changed into a " Model 
Prison " according to our contumacious notions of 
" physical " enjoyment. Ah, these hours of prison life 
had their own joys ! They bore flowers that for some 
of us shall ever bloom. They ripened friendships 
which the cold artificial world of intrigue and fashion 
knows not, with all its rigid formalities and genteel 
stupidities. 

This Saturday night there are no revels. Meagher's 
place is vacant. But he is in all our thoughts. We 
canvass the chances of his escape ; and every now and 
then one of us approaches a window, which overlooks 
the street, and communicates with a secret sentinel, 
who brings news from the Courthouse. How eagerly 
we speculate on every report that reaches us — on the 
character, position, and, alas ! religion, of each jury- 
man — on the delay in the finding of the verdict. The 
table and its stores are deserted. O'Donoghue, who, 
with O'Brien and M'Manus, had been already convicted, 
lies on his bed, in an agony of suspense for the issue of 
the night. He idolised — he absolutely lived but to 
think of him. M'Manus, erect as a rifleman on parade, 
strides vehemently up and down the apartment, mutter- 
ing now and again sopie impetuous aspiration, or 
trying to inspire others with the confidence he feigns 
to feel. Anthony O'Ryan and Leyne sit with folded 
arms, side by side, in a remote corner, speaking not a 
word. The others are variously disposed. Some read- 
ing Madden's " United Irishmen " ; others transcribing 
ballads from the " Library of Ireland ; others sketching 
portraits of Meagher, Mitchel, O'Brien, and Duffy ; 
and one or two drawing pikes of formidable proportions 
on the whitened walls, with the original crayon, a 
charred stick. 

It was a solemn hour. The fate of the most beloved 



324 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

of brothers trembled in the scale ; the fate of him, for 
whose restoration we would have died with bounding 
joy. Suddenly the preconcerted signal is given from 
below ; and the message deUvered to us that " the 
jury had disagreed." Not a sound for a moment, and 
then such a thrilling uproarious shout of joy arose as 
never issued from mortal voices, since the angels sung 
the world's birth-hynm. Alas 1 our deUrium was but 
short-lived. Another signal below, and this the message 
of doom : " The report was false. He is convicted. 
They are bringing him from the Court ! " I shall not 
seek to paint the change that fell like the announcement 
of eternal woe to us poor disenchanted mourners. 
Then came bursts of sorrow and imprecations of rage. 
We had borne up against every reverse and discomfiture. 
We had seen three others torn from us, and doomed by 
the law. But while Meagher remained, we scarcely 
knew a regret, certainly had not utterly despaired. 
But, now — now ! 

They did bring him from the Court. We received 
him at the end of the corridor, and through the iron 
gateway grasped his hand. We had not the usual 
welcome for him this night. He laughed gaily when 
he met us ; " Good night, boys ! Here I am, and found 
guilty ; and glad, too, that they did convict me, for if 
I had been acquitted, the people might say I had not 
done my duty. I am guilty, and condemned for the 
old country. . . . Come in, come in to the cell, and let 
me have my dinner." We accompanied him to the 
cell. Some of us could not remain. Lejme stood on 
the corridor, weeping bitterly. O'Donoghue was spell- 
bound, at the doorway. M'Manus, shaking with agita- 
tion, held Meagher in his arms. The young convict 
was deeply affected by these evidences of grief and 
affection. But he soon recovered composure, and 
coming into the passage drew into the room — " Come 
in — come in — I'm starved. Let us have one hour's 
fun." His spirit infected us as by magic. We sat 
around him, and heard the details of his trial given with 



APPENDICES 325 

inimitable humour and mimicry. He had us all laugh- 
ing at his drollery in a few minutes. I shall never 
forget the merriment M'Manus evoked by asking in 
his fiercest tone, when Meagher had finished his recital : 

" I say, Meagher, did you say anj^hing to the d 

scoundrels when the verdict was read ? " Meagher 
shrieked with delight. 

We had an hour's fun. As Davis has sung of another 
gathering : — 

" With bumpers and cheers we did as he bade, 
For Tom Meagher was loved by the Irish Brigade 1 " 

We drank to O'Brien and Butt. We toasted " the 
Convicted Traitors " ; " Gavan Duffy and the Prisoners 
in Newgate and Kilmainham " ; and we pledged a 
brimming glass to " The Irish RepubUc." Meagher, 
O'Donoghue, and Leyne, spoke speech after speech. 
And the last sang Duffy's noble song : " Watch and 
Wait ! " to a chorus that made the old walls reel 
again. How rapturously we thundered the concluding 
key-verse : — 

" Brother, if this day should set, 

Another yet must crown our freedom ; 
Thai will come with roll of drum, 
And tramping files, with Men to lead them. 
Who can save 
Renegade or slave ? 
Fortune only twines her garlands 
For the Brave 1 " 

" Gintlemin," observes an intrusive turnkey, poking 
his head inside the door — " the governor has heard the 
shoutin', an' he's comin' up, flamin' mad." 

" Oh, the D 1 take all governors to-night ! Hurra, 

boys, hurra ! — 

" Who can save 
Renegade or slave ? 
Fortune only twines her garlands 
For the Brave I " 

" Hurra, again ! " Poor turnkey stands aghast. 
Enter governor, looking " bolts and bars." " Gentle- 



326 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

men, to your cells. This is most improper conduct. I 
shall report to the Board, and have you separately 
confined." Meagher intercedes. " The fault is his. 
He is the head and cause of the irregularity. But as 
he is going to be hanged, he hopes the Board will not 
sentence him to solitary confinement, in addition to 
that decisive discipline." Loud laughter from governor, 
corps of turnkeys, and rebels. Exeunt omnes, in good 
humour, shaking hands fiercely. 

This was the celebration of the Conviction. There 
was no shrinking within the gaol. Three days before, 
the prison oificers had been seen, by some of our com- 
rades, examining " the drop," preparing the scaffold 
for the sacrifice of the genius, the hope, the forsaken 
chivalry of the trembling country. The appointed 
victims knew this. And still the love of Ireland, which 
had been their pure and glorious incentive, made them 
rejoice to mount the bloody platform of execution, 
carpetted with the torn banners of Ireland. 

Oh ! often in loneliest solitude, in that old cell, when 
I alone remained of the gang of Rebels in Clonmel Gaol, 
have I thought of the heroism and intrepidity of the 
Traitors. When hope was wild in their hearts, in the 
first days of the revolt ; when they seemed within a 
bound of success and glory ; when, a short week after, 
they were himted outlaws, stealing through the country 
by night, hiding by the day in woods and on hiU-sides, 
crouching in the sanctuary of the village chapel, con- 
cealed in the rude shieling of the peasant, or nursed by 
the warm hospitality of the gentleman-farmer ; flying 
from the police patrols, and the recreants from Dublin, 
who dogged their steps as the sleuth-hounds of the 
Castle ; captured, hopeless, convicted, condemned — 
never did one ignoble fear soil their purpose, nor one 
dastard regret violate its vows pledged to Ireland. 

And I say to you, poor, cringing slaves of Ireland, 
that beyond his glory in the tribune, beyond the fame 
which diademed his brow, beyond all the triumphs of 
his eloquence, beyond the dominion of your passions, 



APPENDICES 327 

beyond the witching homage of fair women, and the 
affection of bold men, was the grandeur of the intrepid 
bearing of the young orator of revolution, when he 
stood, rejoicing, defiant, and inspired, in the shadow of 
the gibbet, content "to bear the cross with the same 
loftiness of soul with which he had worn the laurel 
crown." 

Seven days later, and it was whispered that the 
humane Government of her Most Gracious Majesty, 
Queen of England and various other countries, whether 
through remorse or policy, I know not, had delicately 
recommended that the hungry hangman should be 
robbed of the prey allotted to him by the law. A grace 
pmrchased by no "selfish penitence," by no apologies 
from the " condemned cells." There was no loyal 
jubilee for this exertion of the apocrj^ihal prerogative. 
Neither " God Save the Queen,' nor " Rule Britannia," 
echoed in the prison. The Marseillaise and " The 
Wearing of the Green/' were our vesper-hymns. 



328 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

II 

The Felons 

[This poem, by Dr. Campion, is founded on an incident in 
the wanderings of Meagher, Leyne, and O'Donoghue, after the 
failure at Ballingarry.J 

" Good peasant, we are strangers here. 

And night is gathering fast ; 
The stars scarce glimmer in the sky. 

And moans the mountain blast ; 
Can'st tell us of a place to rest ? 

We're wearied with the road ; 
No churl the peasant used to be 

With homely couch and food." 

" I cannot help myself, nor know 

Where ye may rest or stay ; 
A few more hours the moon will shine. 

And light you on your way." 

" But, peasant, can you let a man 

Appeal to you in vain. 
Here, at your very cabin door. 

And 'mid the pelting rain — 
Here, in the dark, and in the night. 

Where one scarce sees a span ? 
What ! close your heart ! and close your door ! 

And be an Irishman ! " 

" No, no — go on — the moon will rise 

In a short hour or two ; 
What can a peaceful labourer say. 

Or a poor toiler do ? " 

" You're poor ? Well, here's a golden chance 

To make you rich and great ! 
Five hundred pounds are on our heads ! 

The gibbet is our fate ! 



APPENDICES 32Q 

Fly, raise the cry, and win the gold. 

Or some may cheat you soon ; 
And we'll abide by the roadside 

And wait the rising moon." 

What ails the peasant ? Does he flush 

At the wild greed of gold ? 
Why seizes he the wanderers' hands? 

Hark to his accents bold : 

" Ho ! I have a heart for you, neighbours- 
Ay, and a hearth and a home — 

Ay, and a help for you, neighbours : 
God bless ye, and prosper ye — come 1 

" Come — out of the light of the soldiers ; 

Come in 'mongst the children and all ; 
And I'll guard ye for sake of old Ireland 

Till Connall himself gets a fall. 

" To the devil with all their gold guineas ; 

Come in — everything is your own ; 
And I'll kneel at your feet, friends of Ireland 1 

What I wouldn't for king on his throne. 

" God bless ye that stood in the danger. 
In the midst of the country's mishap. 

That stood up to meet the big famine — 
Och ! ye are the men in the gap ! 

" Come in — ^with a ' Cead mile failte ' ; 

Sit down, and don't make any noise. 
Till I come with more comforts to crown ye— 

Till I gladden the hearts of the boys. 

" Arrah ! shake hands again — ^noble fellows 
That left your own homes for the poor 1 

Not a man in the land could betray you, 
Or shut up his heart or his door." 



330 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

III 

TWO POEMS BY MEAGHER 

Prison Thoughts 

Written in Clonmel Gaol, October, 1848 

I love, I love these grey old walls ! 
Although a chilling shadow falls 
Along the iron-gated halls. 

And in the silent, narrow cells. 

Brooding darkly, ever dwells. 

Oh ! still I love them — ^for the hours 
Within them spent are set with flow'rs 
That blossom, spite of wind and show'rs. 
And through that shadow, dull and cold. 
Emit their sparks of blue and gold. 

Bright flowers of ndrth ! — ^that widely spring 
From fresh, young hearts, and o'er them fling, 
Like Indian birds with sparkling wing. 
Seeds of sweetness, grains all glowing. 
Sun-gilt leaves, with dew-drops flowing. 

And hopes as bright, that softly gleam. 
Like stars which o'er the churchyard stream 
A beauty on each faded dream — 
Mingling the Ught they purely shed 
With other hopes, whose light was fled. 

Fond mem'ries, too, imdimmed with sighs. 
Whose fragrant sunshine never dies. 
Whose summer song-bird never flies — 
These, too, are chasing, hour by hour. 
The clouds which round this prison low'r. 



APPENDICES 331 

And thus, from hour to hour, I've grown 
To love these walls, though dark and lone, 
And fondly prize each grey old stone, 

Which flings the shadow, deep and chill, 
. Across my fettered footsteps still. 

Yet let these mem'ries fall and flow 
Within my heart, like waves that glow 
Unseen in spangled caves below 

The foam which frets, the mists which sweep. 

The changeful surface of the deep. 

Not so the many hopes that bloom 
Amid this voiceless waste and gloom. 
Strewing my path-way to the tomb. 

As though it were a bridal-bed, 

And not the prison of the dead. 

I would those hopes were traced in fire. 
Beyond these waUs — ^above that spire — 
Amid yon blue and starry choir, 
Whose sounds played round us with the streams 
Which glitter in the white moon's beams, 

I'd twine those hopes above our Isle, 

Above the rath and ruined pile. 

Above each glen and rough defile> 
The holy well — ^the Druid's shrine — 
Above them all those hopes I'd twine. 

So should I triumph o'er my fate. 
And teach this poor desponding State, 
In signs of tenderness, not hate. 

Still to think of her old story. 

Still to hope for future glory. 

Within these walls, those hopes have been 

The music sweet, the light serene. 

Which softly o'er this silent scene. 
Have like the autunrn streamlets flowed. 
And like the autumn sunshine glowed. 



332 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

And thus, from hour to hour, I've grown 
To love these walls, though dark and lone. 
And fondly prize each grey old stone. 
That flings the shadow deep and chill. 
Across my fettered footsteps still. 



The Young Enthusiast 

Though young that heart, though free each thought, 

Though free and wild each feeUng ; 
And though with fire each dream be fraught 

Across tlaose bright eyes stealing — 

That heart is true, those thoughts are bold : 

And bold each feeling sweepeth ; 
There lies not there a bosom cold, 

A pulse that faintly sleepeth. 

His dreams are idiot-dreams, ye say. 

The dreams of fairy story : 
Those dreams will burn in might one day 

And flood his path with glory ! 

Thou old dull vassal ! fling thy sneer 

Upon that young heart coldly. 
And laugh at deeds thy heart may fear. 

Yet he will venture boldly. 

Ay, fling thy sneer, while dull and slow 

Thy withered blood is creeping, 
That heart will beat, that spirit glow, 

When thy tame pulse is sleeping. 

Ay, laugh when o'er his country's ills 

With manly eye he weepeth ; 
Laugh, when his brave heart throbs and thrills, 

And thy cold bosom sleepeth. 



APPENDICES 333 

Laugh, when he vows in heaven's sight, 

Never to flinch or falter ; 
To toil and fight for a nation's right, 

And guard old Freedom's altar. 

Ay, laugh when on the fiery wing 

Of hero thought ascending. 
To fame's bold cliff, with eagle spring. 

That young bright mind is tending. 

He'll gain that chff, he'll reach that throne, 

The throne where genius shineth. 
When round and through thy nameless stone. 

The green weed thickly twineth. 



334 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

IV 
The Petition of the Confederation 

During the earlier career of the Irish Confederation 
a sub-committee was appointed to draft resolutions 
and a petition to the Enghsh Parliament claiming 
Repeal of the Union. The members of the sub- 
committee vainly tried to draft a petition satisfactory 
to themselves and they appealed to Mitchel to get 
thern out of the difficulty. He consented and furnished 
them with the following petition drafted by himself : — 

" To the Honourable the Commons of England 
in Parliament Assembled : 

" The Petition ot the undersigned Irishmen 

" Humbly Sheweth — ^That every people should mind 
their own business, and are best fitted to mind their 
own business ; and that the people of Ireland, of whom 
your petitioners are a few, are quite willing and well 
fitted to mind theirs. 

" That since the ist of January, 1801, Ireland, the 
native land of your petitioners, has been, to its sorrow, 
degradation, and misery, ' incorporated ' with the 
British Empire. 

" That this incorporation was legally effected by a 
certain grievous act of your honourable house, called 
' An Act for the Union of Great Britain and Ireland ' ; 
and in reality by the systems of assassinage, incendieirism, 
and subornation, which your honourable house has 
always sanctioned as fit means for the extension of 
English dominion. 

" That since the incorporation aforesaid, in the name 
of the act aforesaid, and by means of armed troops, 
regular, and of police, spies, placemen, and others (the 
means which your honourable house has always approved 
for the sustentation of Enghsh dominion), divers persons, 
calling themselves successively, the ' Imperial Govern- 
ment,' have, to the utmost of their ability, and under 



APPENDICES 335 

the sanction of your honourable house, abused the 
native land of your petitioners for the sole benefit of 
the English, and the complete misery of the Irish 
people. 

" That the accumulated evil-doing of those persons 
aforesaid has at length necessarily inflicted upon the 
native land of your petitioners famine and pestilence 
unprecedented in the world. 

" That your petitioners are ignorant of, and indifferent 
about, the intentions of these divers persons aforesaid, 
forasmuch as they are all of necessity incompetent to 
govern the native land of your petitioners, which really 
needs to be governed ; and forasmuch as those of them 
whose intentions were said to be worst did least ill to 
your petitioners' country, fearing to interfere in the 
affairs of your petitioners' fellow-countrymen where 
they could avoid such interference, and being opposed 
tooth and nail by the majority of your petitioners' 
fellow-countr5Tnen, on account of their reported in- 
tentions, whether their acts were bad or worse ; and 
those of them whose intentions were said to be best 
did most harm, inasmuch as, at various times, saying 
they would ' lay the foundation of most just systems 
in,' ' better the condition,' ' improve the lot,' * ex- 
tend the happiness,' and the like, of your petitioners' 
native country, they were permitted by your petitioners' 
simple fellow-countrymen to make divers cruel ex- 
periments for such purposes. 

" That the incorporation aforesaid of your petitioners' 
native country into the British Empire has been 
necessarily followed by the incorporation of Irish 
labour into the English capitalist, the incorporation of 
Irish wealth into the English treasury, the incorpora- 
tion of Irish blood into the Enghsh armies, the incorpo- 
ration of the Irish flag into the English Jack, and the 
incorporation of Irish food into the English stomachs ; 
all or any of which incorporations would not be sub- 
mitted to by any other people in the world, and are so 
cruel and humiliating to your petitioners that your 



33& MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

honourable house may well be, since you can safely be, 
surprised at our inhuman patience and our unchristian 
resignation. 

" That, however, self-preservation is a severe necessity. 
That of the natives of your petitioners' country not 
more than one million are yet starved. And that, 
whereas, one John Russell, a grave member of your 
honourable house, having rashly said to the remainder 
of your petitioners' fellow-countr5nnen (they being now 
in a state of direst famine, caused by the English having 
devoured their food), ' Help yourselves, and God will 
help you,' your petitioners are grievously afraid their 
fellow-countrymen will hearken to the advice of the 
Honourable John Russell aforesaid, and help themselves, 
whether your honourable house will it or no, to their 
own food, and their own country, in future. 

" Wherefore your petitioners, being peaceable men, 
anxious to save the lives of millions of their fellow- 
countr3Tnen by obtaining for them the eating of their 
own produce, ' peaceably, legally, morally, and con- 
stitutionally,' do beseech your honourable house to 
repeal the aforesaid act of ' incorporation,' called an 
' Act for the Union of Great Britain and Ireland,' in 
order that, without offence to your honourable house, 
your petitioners' fellow-countrymen may be enabled 
to drive the armies of your honourable house, the laws, 
and other grievous impositions of your honourable 
house, the police, English accent, Manchester clothes, 
' felon flag,' and all things English, off the face of their 
own country into the sea — an event, for which the 
judgment of Heaven, the incompetency and the crimes 
of men, are daily preparing the nations of Europe. 

" And your petitioners will ever pray." 

This petition increased the troubles of the sub-com-^ 
mittee. " It should be written with red ink," said 
Meagher, " and presented on the point of a sword." 
Finally the subjoined petition, reluctantly drafted by 
Meagher, was agreed upon : — 



APPENDICES 337 

" To THE Honourable the Commons of England 
IN Parliament Assembled : — 

" The Petition of the undersigned Irishmen 

" Humbly Sheweth — ^That this island was once ruled 
by the king, lords and commons of Ireland. 

" That under this government the island advanced in 
arts, in commerce, and in character. 

" That such is the destiny of every country that pre- 
serves the faculty of self-government, whether the form 
of that government be democratic, mixed, or 
monarchical. 

" That in the year 1800 this island ceased to be 
governed by the king, lords, and commons of Ireland, 
and has since been governed, nominally, by the king, 
lords, and commons of Great Britain and Ireland — 
virtually by the power, and for the benefit, of England 
alone. 

" That under this new form of government this 
island has lost its character, its commerce, and its 
food. That such is the fate of every country that does 
not possess the right to govern itself. That, deprived 
of this right, this island must ever depend upon the 
charity of other people — ^be an idler and a bankrupt — 
ruined in fortune, in spirit, and in health. That, 
deprived of this right, the island has not the power to 
act for itself, and will have no guarantee for its 
freedom. 

" That the country which does not possess this power 
is uniformly a beggar, and, if sometimes in wealth, it 
is always a slave. 

"Therefore, your petitioners pray your honourable 
house to restore the ancient form of government to 
this kingdom, and enact that it may be for the future 
governed by no body of men save the king, lords, and 
commons of Ireland. 

" And your petitioners will ever pray." 



CONTEMPORARIES 



Barron, Sir Henry Winston (1795-1872). — ^M.P. 
for Waterford, 1832-41, and again, 1848-52 and 1865- 
1868. A steady backer of English Government, from 
which he received numerous posts for his relatives and 
a baronetcy in 1841. 

Barry, Michael Joseph (1817-89). — ^Writer of the 
Prize Repeal Essay, editor of " The Songs of Ireland " 
and author of " The Green Flag " and other martial 
verses. A successful barrister, he abandoned the 
national cause as hopeless after 1848. 

Beresford, Lord George (1773-1862). — Second son 
of the first Marquis of Waterford. Subsequent to the 
famous Waterford Election he became Archbishop of 
Armagh, where he restored the Cathedral. 

Blackburne, Francis (1782-1867). — ^A Tory lawyer 
of the bitterest type. Administered the infamous In- 
surrection Act in Limerick and was subsequently ap- 
pointed Lord Chief Justice and finally Lord Chancellor 
of Ireland. 

Bright, John (1811-89). — EngUsh politician, associ- 
ated with Cobden in the leadership of the " Free 
Trade " movement. Professed friendship for Ireland, 
but opposed Home Rule and voted for Coercion. 

Brenan, Joseph (1828-57). — ^The youngest of the 
Young Ireland leaders. He attempted to revive the 
insurrection in Waterford and Tipperary in 1849 and, 
faihng, made his way to America, where he died. 

BuRDETT, Sir Francis (1770-1844). — EngUsh Radical 
leader. Converted himself to Toryism after the passing 
of the Reform Bill. 

BusHE, Charles Kendal (1767-1843). — ^A leading 

338 



CONTEMPORARIES 339 

opponent of the Act of Union in the Irish Parliament, 
where he represented Callan. Afterwards Chief Justice 
of the King's Bench. 

Butt, Isaac (1813-79). — ^The intellectual leader of 
the Irish Unionists in the Young Ireland period. After- 
wards founder of the Home Rule movement as a com- 
promise between Repeal and Unionism. 

Carleton, Wm. (1794-1869).— Author of " Traits and 
Stories of the Irish Peasantry." Son of a Tyrone cottier. 

Cavaignac, Louis Eugene, General (1802-57). — 
Minister for War in the French Republican Government. 
He was prepared to advocate French intervention with 
England if the Young Irelanders were successful in 
the beginning of the insurrection. 

Clarendon, Earl of (1804-70). — English Viceroy in 
Ireland, 1846-50. He hired James Birch, an fix-convict 
who edited the Dubhn World newspaper, to publish 
libels upon the personal characters and public motives 
of Mitchel, Meagher and the other prominent Young 
Irelanders. Birch, who received £3,400 from the Secret 
Service Fund for his assistance, brought an action in 
the Law Courts to recover a balance of £7,000 he alleged 
to be due. He was subsequently convicted of criminal 
libel on a lady and returned to prison. 

Cloney, Thomas (1775-1850). — Popularly known as 
General Cloney. Son of a gentleman-farmer near Ennis- 
corthy. He took a leading part in the insurrection. 
On its conclusion he was arrested, courtmartialled and 
condemned to death, but reprieved through the influence 
of several Wexford political enemies whom he had 
protected from violence when they were in the hands 
of the insurgents. He was kept in prison for a con- 
siderable period and again arrested and imprisoned 
after Emmet's insurrection. 

CoBDEN, Richard (1804-65). — Leader of the English 
■' Free Trade " movement under which the English 
mercantile interest successfully wrested poUtical power 
from the EngUsh landed interest. 



340 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Davis, Francis (1810-85). — Author of a considerable 
amount of verse, published under the pseudonym of 
" The Belfastman," some of which appeared in the 
Nation. Davis was by birth a Cork man, but he carried 
on his trade as a working weaver in Belfast, where he 
passed most of his life. 

Davis, Thomas (1814-45). — Founder of the Young 
Ireland movement, and chief writer of the Nation 
newspaper from its inception until his death. 

Delahunty, James (1808-80 ?). — An Alderman of 
Waterford and some time Coroner and City Treasurer. 
Leader of the baser section of the local O'Connellites. 
Afterwards for a period Whig M.P. for Waterford City, 
and later for Waterford County. 

Denison, Sir Wm. (1804-71). — Brother of Evelyn 
Denison, Speaker of the English House of Commons. 
Denison was sent from Australasia to India, where he 
opposed all vestige of self-government for the Indians, 

Devereux, John. — General of the Irish Legion in 
Bolivar's Army of Independence. Devereux was styled 
by Paez the Lafayette of South America. 

Dillon, John Blake (1816-66). — A barrister from 
the West of Ireland, associated with Davis and Duffy 
in starting the Nation newspaper. On his return from 
exile he fell under the influence of John Bright and his 
school, and unsuccessfully attempted to found an Irish 
Parliamentary Party to co-operate with the English 
Radicals. 

Disraeli, Benjamin (1804-81). — ^Enghsh Radical, 
Young Englander and Tory poUtician. Twice Premier 
of England. 

Doheny, Michael (1805-61). — SoHcitor and Law Ad- 
viser to the borough of Cashel. He escaped after the 
insurrection to France and thence to the United States, 
where he joined O'Mahony and Stephens in founding 
the Fenian movement. 

DOHERTY, John (1783-1850). — Chief Justice of the 
Common Pleas ; a DubUn barrister of mediocre legal 
knowledge but remarkable powers of debate, elected 



CONTEMPORARIES 341 

to the British Parliament in 1824 and created Solicitor- 
General through the influence of his relative, George 
Canning. Doherty gambled in railway shares and 
losing heavily, died of depression. 

DuNCOMBE, Thomas (1796-1861).— English Radical 
politician. He presented the Chartist petition in 1842, 
and assisted in Louis Napoleon's escape from Ham. 

Duffy, Charles Gavan (1816-1903).— One of the 
founders of the Nation, and its editor from 1842 to 1854, 
when he went to Australia, where he became Prime 
Minister of Victoria and was afterwards knighted. 

Ebeington, Lord (1783-1861).— English Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland, 1839-41. 

Grey, Earl (1802-94). — Colonial Secretary in the 
British Government of 1846-52. 

Grey, Sir George (1792-1882). — English Home 
Secretary under Russell and Palmerston, He un- 
successfully attempted to turn the Cape into an EngUsh 
penal colony. 

Grogan, Edward. — Unionist M.P. for Dublin for a 
quarter of a century ; first elected in 1841. He was 
created a baronet for his services. 

Halpin, Thomas M. — ^A Dubhn artisan who acted 
as Secretary of the Confederation. Halpin denied re- 
ceiving the instructions for the Dublin Confederates, 
which Meagher asserts in his Narrative of 1848 he gave 
him. Investigation acquits Halpin of either treachery 
or cowardice and points to a misunderstanding between 
Meagher and himself. He appears, however, to have 
been lacking in the energy and initiative necessary in 
the crisis. After the insurrection he made his way to 
the United States. 

Haughton, James (1795-1873). — A Carlow Quaker 
and Humanitarian politician. He was a member of 
the Repeal Association, and to an extent in sympathy 
with the Young Irelanders. Attempting to force 



342 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

Mitchel and Meagher after their arrival in America to 
" declare themselves against African slavery," he 
evoked the controiversy between Mitchel and Henry 
Ward Beecher in which Mitchel upheld the case of 
the Southern States. 

HOGAN, John (1800-58). — One of the five great 
sculptors of the nineteenth century. The Repeal Cap 
worn by O'Connell was modelled by Hogan and Henry 
MacManus, the painter, from the Irish crown. 

Hollywood, Edward (1814-73. — ^A leader of the 
Dublin artisans. He escaped after the failure of the 
insurrection to France, where he worked as a silk- 
weaver for some years. Subsequently he returned to 
Dublin, where he died. 

Holmes, Robert (1765- 1859). — ^Brother-in-law of 
Robert Emmet. He refused to accept promotion at 
the Bar while the Act of Union between Great Britain 
and Ireland was upheld as legal. 

Kenyon, Father John (18 69).— Curate and 

subsequently Parish Priest of Templederry in Tipperary. 
A vigorous writer and a strong and bitter opponent of 
Daniel O'Connell, whose policy he regarded as cowardly 
and corrupt. He was, with the exception of John Martin, 
the most intimate of Mitchel's friends. 

Lalor, James Fintan (1810-49). — ^Son of Patrick 
Lalor, M.P., of Leix, one of the little handful of Irish 
M.P.'s who did not sell their Repeal principles for place 
or patronage. Lalor's agrarian doctrine, first enunciated 
in the Nation, exerted a strong influence on the subse- 
quent history of the Irish Land War. In 1849 Lalor 
was concerned with Brenan, Savage and others in an 
attempt to rekindle the insurrection. 

Lamartine, Alphonse de (1790-1869).— Minister for 
Foreign Affairs in the French Republican Government 
of 1848. 

Lawless. Hon. Cecil. — Son of Lord Cloncurry and 
a strong O'Connellite opponent of the Young Irelanders. 



CONTEMPORARIES 343 

Ledru-Rollin, Alexandre de (1808-74). — Minister 
of the Interior in the French Republican Government 
of 1848. He was a strong sympathiser with Ireland, 
to which he was connected by marriage, and favoured 
French intervention against England. 

Louis Philippe {1773-1850). — Son of Philippe EgaUte 
and half-brother of Pamela, wife of Lord Edward 
Fitzgerald. King of the French from 1830 to 1848. 

Louis Napoleon (1808-73). — Nephew of the great 
Napoleon and subsequently Napoleon III. In 1848 he 
was inclined to French intervention on Ireland's be- 
half if the insurrection won initial engagements against 
the EngUsh army in Ireland. 

Macaulay, Lord (1800-59). — ^The most briUiant and 
superficial of the English Whig writers of the nineteenth 
century. Except Froude, he is the most unreliable of 
modern English historians. ^ 

Martin, John (1812-75). — Brother-in-law of John 
Mitchel. Sentenced to ten years' transportation in 
1848 for treason-felony. After his return to Ireland he 
took part in the foundation of the Home Rule movement. 

Maunsell, Dr. — One of the Dublin Conservative 
leaders, and a member of the Dublin Corporation. He 
advocated a Rotatory Parliament — i.e., the sitting of 
the British Parliament alternately in "London, Dublin 
and Edinburgh. 

M'Gee, Thomas D'Arcy (1825-68).— The son of a 
Louth Coastguard, he emigrated to the United States 
as a boy, where before he was twenty years of age he 
won a high reputation as a journalist. On his return to 
Ireland he joined the Freeman staff and later that of the 
Nation. He escaped disguised as a priest to the United 
States, after the failure of the insurrection, and subse- 
quently quarrelled With most of his former colleagues in 
the Young Ireland movement and considerably altered 
his views on the relations of Ireland and England. 
Going to Canada, he entered politics there and became a 
member of the Canadian Government. He was assas- 



344 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

sinated in 1868 and his bitter denunciations of the 
Fenian movement led to the crime being charged 
against the Fenian Brotherhood. Although the assassin 
was alleged to be a Fenian, local political hatred of M'Gee 
seems to have been the active motive of the deed. 

MacHai-E, Dr. John (1791-1881). — Archbishop of 
Tuam, and the greatest of the Irish Bishops of the 
nineteenth century. 

MacManus, Terence Bellew (1823-60). — ^A 
prosperous Irish merchant in Liverpool, who left his 
business and crossed over to Ireland to join the 
insurrection. He escaped from the English penal colonies 
to San Francisco, where he died in poor circumstances. 

Melbourne, Viscount (1779-1848). — EngUsh Chief 
Secretary for Ireland, 1827-28, and subsequently 
Premier of England. 

MiTCHEL, John (1815-75). — Chief writer of the 
Nation newspaper from the death of Davis until the end 
of 1847, when he left it to estabUsh the United Irishman, 
in which he preached passive and active resistance to 
the English Government in Ireland. To crush him that 
institution rushed through its Parliament the " Treason 
Felony Act," under which certain political offences were 
made felonious. Mitchel was put on trial before a jury 
composed of Enghshmen, Castle tradesmen and members 
of the Orange Lodge, convicted and sentenced to four- 
teen years' transportation. At the end of five years he 
escaped to America, and continued the imrelenting 
enemy of Irish compromise with England vmtil his 
death. 

MoNAHAN, James Henry (1804-78). — A man of poor 
origin and indifferent legal talents, appointed Attorney- 
General for Ireland in 1848, and subsequently Chief 
Justice of the Common Pleas. He arranged the packing 
of John Mitchel's jury. 

Monteagle, Lord (1790-1866). — ^Thomas Spring- 
Rice, first Baron. Whig M.P. for Limerick, and later 
for Cambridge. He was chosen by the English Govern- 
ment to reply to O'Connell's Motion for Repeal of the 



CONTEMPORARIES 345 

Union. After being Chancellor of the Exchequer in 
Melbourne's second English administration, he sought 
and lost the Speakership of the Enghsh Commons but 
was consoled with a peerage. 

Murphy, Serjeant (1810-60). — One of the Fraserians 
or writers for " Frazer's Magazine." M.P. for Cork, 
1837-53, in which year he was appointed a Commissioner 
of Bankruptcy by the English Government. 

NoRMANBY, Marquis of (1797-1863). — ^Lord Lieu- 
tenant of Ireland, 1835-39. Distributed soft words 
amongst the O'ConneUites in return for their support 
of his Government, and intrigued in France in 1848 to 
prevent assistance being given to Ireland. 

O'Brien, Wm. Smith (1803-64). — Second son of Sir 
Edward O'Brien. He entered the British Parliament 
as an Irish Unionist, but after some years joined the 
Repealers, and sided with Young Ireland in its opposi- 
tion to placehunting which led to the split with O'Connell. 
After lus release from transportation he visited Greece 
and America. 

O'Connell, Daniel (1775-1847). — Successor to John 
Keogh in the leadership of the movement for Catholic 
Emancipation. After the passing of the Catholic Rehef 
Act he started a movement for Repeal of the Union, 
but shortly afterwards abandoned it and co-operated 
for a period with the Enghsh Whigs. On the return of 
the Tories to power he resuscitated the Repeal Move- 
ment ; but when the Whigs regained office he agreed to 
put the demand for Repeal in abeyance and secure the 
support of Ireland for the Enghsh Liberal Government 
in return for promised remedial legislation and patronage. 
This led to the revolt of the Young Irelanders against 
his leadership. 

O'Connell, John (1810-58).— The chief political 
assistant to his father, Daniel O'Connell, and the bitterest 
of the Irish pohtical enemies of the Young Irelanders. 
After the final collapse of the Repeal Association, he 
received a place from the English Government. 



346 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

O'CoNNELL, Daniel, Junior (1815-97).— O'Connell's 
youngest son. He received two lucrative appointments 
from the English Government. 

O'CoNOR Don, The (1794-1847).— An O'Connellite 
Rfpeal M.P. for Roscommon. He deserted to the 
English Government and was made a Lord of the 
Treasury. 

O'DOHERTY, Kevin Izod (1823-95). — ^A Dublin 
medical student who helped to found, and contributed 
to, the Irish Tribune newspaper, which took the place of 
Mitchel's United Irishman in 1848. Transported under 
the Treason Felony Act he subsequently settled in 
Australia where he became prominent in science and 
politics. 

O'DoNOGHUE, Patrick (18 54). — A Dublin Law- 
Clerk and one of the most active of the leaders 
of the Dublin Confederates. He died in New 
York. 

O'Flaherty, Anthony.— ^Defeated by four votes in 
the exciting Galway election of 1847, O'Flaherty was 
returned some months later and sat in the English 
Parliament until 1857, when, although again €lected, he 
was unseated on petition. O'Flaherty for some years 
acted the part of an honest representative, but he 
eventually became associated with the infamous " Brass 
Barfd," led by SadUer and Keogh. 

O'GoRMAN, Richard, Jun. (1826-95). — ^Son of a 
wealthy Dublin woollen merchant and stockbroker, 
who had been one of the leaders of the fight for CathoUc 
Emancipation. O'Gorman, after the failure of 1848, 
escaped to the Continent and thence, later, went to the 
United States, where he became a Judge of the Superior 
Court of New York. 

O'LoGHLEN, Sir Colman (1819-77). — Son of the 
Master of the Rolls, and afterwards M.P. for Clare. 

O'Mahony, John (1816-77). — ^A Tipperary gentle- 
man-farmer of ancient lineage and high scholarship. 
In the United States he founded, with Michael Doheny 
and James Stephens, the Fenian movement. 



CONTEMPORARIES 347 

O'Neill, John Augustus. — Of Bunowen Castle. 
One of O'Connell's henchmen in Concihation Hall, 

O'Reilly, Eugene {18 74). — ^A Meath Young 

Ireland leader who planned to seize Navan with the 
aid of the Dublin Confederates and raise an insurrection 
in Meath and Westmeath. After the miscarriage of his 
plan he abandoned hope of Irish independence, went to 
the Continent, entered the Turkish service, fought with 
distinction through the Crimean War and died at Fez 
O'Reilly Pasha. 

Peel, Sir Robert (1788-1850). — Chief Secretary for 
Ireland and subsequently Premier of England. He or- 
ganised the Governmental police force in Ireland — hence 
known by the people as " peelers." ■ 

Phillips, Charles (1787-1859). — ^Author of " Curran 
and his Contemporaries." An ornate orator. He was 
appointed Commissioner of the Insolvent Debtors' 
Court of London in 1846. 

Palmerston, Lord (1784-1865). — Foreign Secretary 
in Lord John Russell's Government, 1846-51, and after- 
wards Prime Minister. 

Plunket, Lord (1764-1854). — M.P. for Charlemont 
in the Irish Parliament and one of the Anti-Unionist 
leaders. Afterwards Lord Chancellor of Ireland. 

Porter, Grey.— Unionist High Sheriff of Fermanagh. 
Indignant at the neglect of Irish interests and the con- 
tinued invasion of Irish rights by the English Govern- 
ment, he proposed the formation of an Irish MiUtia to 
defend the National position. Davis's " Song for the 
Irish Mihtia " was inspired by Porter's proposal. 

Ray, Thomas Matthew (1801-81). — Secretary to 
O'Connell's Repeal Association. Subsequently received 
a place from the English Government. 

Reilly, Thomas Devin (1823-54). — ^ member of 

he Nation staff and afterwards chief assistant to 

Mitchel as editor of the United Irishman. After the 

failure of the insurrection, he escaped to America 

where he died. 



348 MEAGHER OF THE SWORD 

RussELt, Lord John (1792-1878). — Premier of Eng- 
land, 1846-52, and again in 1865. He was responsible 
for the Famine legislation and successfully opposed 
Lord George Bentinck's proposal to employ those 
threatened by famine on the construction of Irish rail- 
roads. ' 

Shiel, Richard Lalor (1791-1852). — One of the 
leaders of the Catholic Emancipation movement, and 
for a time of the early Repeal movement, which he 
abandoned, describing it as "a splendid phantom," 
for place under the English Government. 

Smyth, P. J. (1826-85). — ^The most intimate of 
Meagher's colleagues in the Young Ireland movement. 
Smyth was the son of a prosperous Dublin manufacturer. 
He escaped to the United States after the collapse of 
the insurrection and afterwards successfully carried out 
the rescue of John Mitchel from Van Diemen's Land. 
In after years he sat in the British Parliament for 
Westmeath and subsequently for Tipperary. 

Staunton, Michael. — ^A DubUn Alderman and one 
time Lord Mayor, Proprietor of the Morning Register 
newspaper, a Whiggish organ in which Davis's first 
political writings appeared. 

Steele, Tom (1788-1848).— " Head Pacificator" of 
Conciliation Hall. A Protestant gentleman of Clare who 
supported O'Connell in the famous Clare election and 
became devotedly attached to him. For many years 
before his death Steele suffered from weakening intellect. 
After the death of O'Connell he attempted to drown 
himself. 

Stephens, James (1825-1901). — One of the Kil- 
kenny Confederates. After the failure of the insurrec- 
tion he escaped to the Continent and subsequently 
founded, with Doheny and O'Mahony, the Fenian 
Brotherhood. 

Stuart, Villiers (1803-74). — ^Henry Villiers Stuart, 
grandson of the Earl of Bute, afterwards created Lord 
Stuart de Decies. 



CONTEMPORARIES 349 

Stock, Serjeant. — John Stock, M.P. for Cashel, 
1838-46, when he was appointed Judge of the Ad- 
miralty Court. 

Waterford, Marquis of (1811-59). — Meagher's re- 
ferences are intended for the third, not the second 
Marquis, who died in 1826. The third Marquis, who 
devoted himself to sport, was killed by a fall from his 
horse in 1859. 

Whiteside, James (1804-76). — Leading counsel for 
many of the State prisoners in 1848. Afterwards Lord 
Chief Justice in succession to Lefroy. 

Williams, Richard Dalton (1822-62). — One of the 
poets of the Nation and a chief contributor of its squibs 
and humorous verse. The Government failed to secure 
his conviction for treason-felony. After 1848 he went 
to the United States, where he became Professor of 
Belles Lettres at the University of Mobile. 

Wyse, Sir Thomas (1791-1892). — One of the leaders 
of the Catholic Association, of which he wrote a history. 
He afterwards took office from the Enghsh Government 
and acted for many years as British Minister to Greece, 



INDEX HOMINUM 



Albert the Workman, 155. 
Aldham, Captain, 236-8, 242- 

243- 
Aylmer, William, 271. 
Bandiera Brothers, The, 155. 
Barron Quarry, 304. 
Barron, Sir Henry Winston, 

xii, 289-go, 299, 338. 
Barry, Michael Joseph, 45, 313, 

319, 338- 
Beecher, Henry Ward, 342. 
" Bell, Old," 304-6. 
Beresford, Lord George, 292, 

338. 
Berkeley, Bishop, 88. 
Birch, James, 338. 
Blackburne, Lord Chief Justice, 

XV, 170-2, 219-20, 338. 
Bolivar, Simon, 293, 340. 
Boyton, Rev. Charles, 114, 115. 
Brenan, Joseph, xiv, 338, 342. 
Bright, John, 25, 338, 340. 
Browne, Michael, 310. 
Burdett, Sir Francis, 54, 118, 

338. 
Bushe, Charles Kendal, 56, 

338-39. 
Butt, Isaac, 121, 122, 325, 338. 
Byrne, Edward, iv. 
Byrne, Father, 221, 229. 
Byron, Lord, 53. 
Campion, Dr., 328. 
Cantwell, James, xiv. 
Carleton, William, 289, 339. 
Carlyle, Thomas, 91. 
Castlereagh, Lord, 73, 74, 80. 
Cavaignac, General, xii, 339. 
Cavanagh, John, xv. 
Charlemont, Lord, 65, 94, 307. 
Clare, Lord, 10, 54, 73. 
Clarendon, Lord, 116, 153, 339. 



Cleburne, General Patrick, xvi- 

Cloncurry, Lord, x, 342. 

Cloney, General, 207, 208, 338 

Cobden, Richard, 25, 339. 

Cooper, the Shepherd, 254-55. 

Costello, Patrick, xii. 

Cunningham, D. P., xv. 

Danton, 97. 

Davis, Thomas, v, xviii, 7, 15, 
52, 65, 74. 133-34. 137-38, 
307. 325. 340. 346. 348. 

Davis, Francis, 124, 340. 

Delahunty, James, xii, 285-86, 

295. 34°- 
Denison, Evelyn, 340. 
Denison, Sir William, 242-45, 

258-60, 262-64, 34°- 
Devereux, General, 293, 340. 
Dillon, John Blafie, xiv, 175, 

176, 180-84, 189, 218, 220, 

221, 233-4, 340. 
Disraeli, Benjamin, 48, 340. 
Dobbyn, Stephenson (spy), 

178-80. 
Doheny, Michael, xiv-xv, 184, 

319, 340. 346. 348. 
Doherty, Lord Chief Justice, 

XV, 170-72, 340-41. 
Duffy, Charles Gavan, xv, 33, 

173. 177-8. 181, 183, 184, 

191. 253, 323, 325, 340-41. 
Dumouriez, General, 127. 
Duncombe, Thomas, 31, 341. 
Ebrington, Lord, 9, 80, 341. 
Emmet, Robert, xvii, 133, 339, 

342. 
Esmonde, Dr., 272. 
Eva, 282. 
Fawkes, Guy, 125. 
Fitzgerald, Lord Edward, 133, 

343- 



350 



INDEX HOMINUM 



351 



Fitzpatrick, James, 16-19. 
Flood, Henry, to. 
Foran, Bishop, 287 
Foster, John, 59. 
Franklin, Benjamin, 40, 152. 
Genlis, Madame de, 136 
George III, King, 152. 
George IV, King, 283. 
Grattan, Henry, 6, 31, 54, 59, 

65, 72. 85, 93. 94. 124. 143- 
Grey, Earl, 7, 341. 
Grey, Sir George, 243, 340. 
Grogan, Sir Edward, 81, 341. 
Guizot, M., 100. 
Halpin, Thomas M., 184, 191- 

192, 341- 
Hampden, John, 100. 
Hampton, Dr., 261, 264. 
Hart, Charles, 185, 193, 196- 

98. 
Haughton, James, 47, 341. 
Hofer, Andreas, 101. 
Hogan, John, 65, 343. 
Holljrwood, Edward, xii, 174, 

342- 
Holmes, Robert, zS, 342. 
James II, King, 139, 282. 
Kearney, Father, 273-79. 
Kelly, Bishop, 292. 
Kenny, Dr. Peter, 293. 
Kenyon, Father, 180-81, 342 
Keogh, John, iv, 345. 
Keogh, Judge, 346. 
Kosciusko, 132. 
Lafayette, 136. 
Lalor, James Fintan, 181, 196, 

342- 
Lalor, Patrick, M.P., 342. 
Lamartine, xii, 97, 150, 342. 
Lawless, Hon. Cecil, 42, 342. 
Lawless, John, 185, 193. 
Lawlor, Shea, 47. 
Lee, General, xvi. 
Ledru-RoUin, Alexandre de, 

xii, 343. 
Lefroy, Lord Chief Justice, 349. 
Le5me, Maurice, xv, 320-28. 
Lind, Jenny, 214. 



Louis, Philippe, King, 131, 

13&-37. 343- 
Louis XVI, King, 155. 
Louis Napoleon, xii, 343. 
Lucas, Charles, 65. 
Macaulay, Lord, 57-58, 243. 
MacHale, Archbishop, 69, 344. 
MacManus, Henry, 342. 
Maher, John, 185, 197-8. 
Martin, John, 47-48, 177-78, 

183-84, 191, 247, 254, 257- 

259, 262, 342-43. 
Mason and Slidell, xvii. 
Maunsell, Dr., 120-21, 343. 
Melbourne, Lord, 11, 344-45, 
Meagher, Thomas, Sen., iv, xii, 

14. 32,98,174. 219, 284-85, 

287,289. 
M'Gee, Thomas D'Arcy, 47, 

149, 181, 189-91, 343-44. 
Mirabeau, 136. 
Mitchel, John, viii, xi-xiii, xvii, 

27. 42, 45. 103, 130-38, 157. 

162-169, 177-78, 183, 309- 

10, 313, 323, 334, 339, 342- 

44. 347-48. 
M'Manus, Terence Bellew, xiv, 

XV, 172, 235-47, 253-57, 

320-28, 344. 
Molyneux, William, 63, 125. 
Monahan, Lord Chief Justice, 

viii, 67-77, 310-12, 316, 319, 

344' 
Monteagle, Lord, 57, 344-45. 
Montgomery, Martin, 57. 
Moore, Thomas, 65. 
Murphy, Serjeant, 23, 345. 
Nairn, Mr., 242-5. 
Napier, General Sir Charles, 

xvi. 
Nash, James, 286-92, 304. 
Nolan, Bishop, 275-79. 
Normanby, Marquis of, 8, 68, 

345- 

O'Brien, Sir Edward, 346. 

O'Brien, Wm. Smith, xii-xiii, 
XV, 43-44. 47. 58, 64, 157, 
176, 180, 183-85, 191, 197- 



352 



MEAGHKR OF THE SWORD 



218, 220-31, 233-54, *6o- 

266, 323, 325, 345. 
O'Connell, Daniel, v-vi, viii, 

ix, XV, 21, 26, 32-3, 42, 44- 

45, 47-49, 52, 60, 97, 103, 

139, 141-43, 280, 283, 288, 

293, 342, 345, 348- 
O Connell, Daniel, Jun., xii, 

346. 
O'Connell, John, vii, 26, 34, 

37, 42-44, 95, 97, 345- 
O'Conor Don, The, 116, 346. 
O'Doherty, Kevin Izod, 177- 

178, 184, 247, 254, 256-57, 

262, 346. 
O'Donoghue, Patrick, xiv-xv, 

172, 235-247, 253, 257-59, 

320-328, 346. 
O'Flaherty, Anthony, 308, 346. 
O'Gorman, Richard, 44-45, 92, 

103, 174-76, 181, 184, 319, 

346. 
O'Gorman, Richard, Sen., iv, 

184, 346. 
O'Loghlen, Sir Colman, 256, 

346- 
O'Mahony, John, xiv, 221, 

224-27, 340. 346, 348- 
O'Neill, John Augustus, 42, 347. 
O'Reilly, Eugene 174, 347. 
O'Ryan, Dr. Anthony, 323. 
Palmerston, Ix>rd, 153, 341, 

347- 
Parle, Father, 200, 201. 
Peel, Sir Robert, 6, 60, 123, 

347- 
Phillips, Charles, 286, 347. 
Pigot, John E,, vi. 
Ktt, William, 53-5, 67, 112, 

115, 118. 
Pius IX, 51, 155. 
Plunket, Lord, 54, 59, 85, 347. 
Porter, Grey, 117, 347. 
Ray, Thomas Matthew, 47, 347 
Reilly, Thqmas Devin, xiv, 

130, 181, 184, 311, 347. 
Roche, Father, 312, 319. 
Rockingham, Marquis of, 124. 



Ross of Bladensburg, 136. 
Rowan, Archibald Hamilton, 

272. 
Russell, Lord, 100. 
Russell, Lord John, vi, xvi, 6, 

11-12, 30-31, 60, 68, 72, 74, 

80. 99, 334, 341, 346, 348- 
Sadleir, John, 346. 
Sarsfield, Patrick, 65, 159. 
Saurin, William, 85. 
Savage, John, 342. 
Sheehan, Father John, 294-95. 
Shell, Richard Lalor, xii, 14, 

22, 31, 75-76, 280, 286, 293, 

348. 
Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 284. 
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 54, 

118. 
Smyth, Patrick Joseph, 175-8, 

183-84, 192, 348. 
Soyer, M., x. 

Staunton, Michael, 116, 348. 
Steele, Tom, 318, 348. 
Stephens, James, xiv-xv, 340, 

346, 348- 
Stock, Serjeant, 23, 349. 
Strongbow, 79, 145, 282. 
Stuart, Henry Villiers, 289, 

292-3, 295, 348. 
Sweetman, John, iv. 
Swift, Jonathan, 65, 74, 94. 
Tone, Theobald Wolfe, 74, 271, 

307- 
Tiemey, George, 118. 
Vergniaud, Pierre, 136. 
Victoria, Queen, 86, 152. 
Wallace, Sir William, loo. 
Washington, George, 40. 
Waterford, Marquis of, 295, 

299, 349- 
Whiteside, Lord Chief Justice, 

219, 349- 
William III, King, 139, 306. 
Williams, Richard D'Alton, 

177-78, 184, 349. 
Wright, T. D., xv. 
Wyse, Sir Thomas, 289-90, 

293, 297, 349-