Henry Munro

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

« William Mulready | Index | Arthur Murphy »

Munro, Henry, a distinguished United Irishman, was born in Lisburn, about 1768. At the termination of his apprenticeship he entered into the linen business, and shortly afterwards married. He is described as of fair complexion, with intelligent features and large blue eyes; of middle size, and remarkable for strength and agility. He was, says Mr. Madden, scrupulously honourable in his dealings, truthful and faithful. A Presbyterian, he was the ardent advocate of Catholic Emancipation, and to forward this object he joined the United Irishmen in 1795. He had been a Volunteer, and always had a taste for military studies; yet we are told that leadership in the ensuing insurrection was rather pressed upon him.

At the breaking out of the insurrection in 1798, Munro occupied Ballynahinch, in Down. The disposition of his forces was made with great care. There on the 13th June he was attacked by General Nugent with about 1,600 men and eight pieces of artillery, and what has been since known as the battle of Ballynahinch, was fought. The insurgents defended themselves for a time with stubborn pertinacity. "Exposed to the cross-fire of musketry in the market square, raked by artillery, their ammunition exhausted, they still pressed boldly on the royalists with pike and bayonet."

But as in every other important engagement in the Insurrection they were in the end overpowered. Munro fled alone and unattended to the mountains; but was eventually captured, tried by court-martial, and executed at Lisburn, opposite his own door. He displayed wonderful fortitude at the foot of the gallows; gave directions concerning an unsettled account with a neighbour, and after uttering the words, "Tell my country I deserved better of it," gave the signal for his own execution. His widow survived until February 1840.

Sources

237. Maxwell, William H., Rebellion of 1798. London, 1845.

330. United Irishmen, their Lives and Times: Third Series: Robert R. Madden, M.D. 3 vols. Dublin, 1846.

« William Mulready | Index | Arthur Murphy »