The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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barrack accommodations being insufficient, many large buildings were taken as temporary barracks; the deserted palaces of the Irish aristocracy,—as Aldborough House, on the north-east; the deserted halls of manufactures and trade, in "The Liberty;" and the Linen Hall, were occupied by detachments. The Bank of Ireland,—our old Parliament House,—had cannon mounted over the entablatures of its stately Ionic colonnades; and the vast and splendid Custom House, not being now needed for trade (our imports being all from the "sister country," and our exports all to the same), was quite commodious as a barrack and arsenal. The quiet quadrangles of Trinity College were the scene of daily parades; and the loyal board of that institution gave up the wing which commands Westmoreland Street, College Street, and Dame Street, to be occupied by troops. Superb squadrons of hussars, of lancers, and of dragoons rode continually through and around the city; infantry practised platoon firing in the squares; heavy guns, strongly guarded, were for ever rolling along, the pavements; and parties of horse artillery showed all mankind how quickly and dexterously they could wheel and aim, and load and fire at the crossings of the streets. These military demonstrations, and the courts of "Law," constituted the open and avowed powers and agencies of the enemy.

But there was a secret and subterranean machinery. The editor of the World was now on full pay, and on terms of close intimacy at the Castle and Vice-regal Lodge—that is, private and back-door intimacy; for such a creature could by no means be admitted to decent society. His paper was gratuitously furnished to all hotels and public-houses by means of secret-service money. Dublin swarmed with detectives; they went at night to get their instructions at the Castle, from Colonel Brown, head of the police department; and it was well known to be one of their regular duties to gain admittance to the Clubs of the Confederation, where it afterwards appeared that they had been the most daring counsellors of treason and riot

A man named Kirwan went to a blacksmith in the city, and gave him an order for some pikes, intimating mysteriously that they were wanted for the "revolution." The smith made the pikes, and Kirwan immediately brought them to the Castle. He was a paid detective and informer; but on this occasion, the detective was detected, through the vigilance of Mr Arkins, who had him before a bench of magistrates. A note-book was found in his possession full of memoranda connected with his ...continue reading »

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Page 162

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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