Prosecution of O'Brien, Meagher and Mitchel - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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moment to crush the first movement in the blood of our citizens.

The meeting, as I said, was adjourned; but there was no intention of abandoning it. O'Brien had offered, even in case of a Proclamation forbidding it, to attend and take the chair; and what he promised, the enemy well knew he would perform. In a letter to Lord Clarendon, I felt myself warranted in apprising him that the meeting would assuredly take place on the following Monday, whatever he might do or say to the contrary. It was held in a vacant space near the river, below the Custom House, and was multitudinous and enthusiastic. No parade of troops was attempted; but we knew that the public buildings and some private houses were filled with detachments under arms. These addresses, both from the Confederation and from the city, were to be presented in Paris to the President of the Provisional Government, M. de Lamartine; and O'Brien, Meagher, and an intelligent tradesman of high character and independence of mind, named Hollywood, were appointed a deputation to Paris.

All this, it was evident, could not go on long. The Clubs were, in the meantime, rapidly arming themselves with rifles; and blacksmiths' forges were prolific of pikeheads. We hoped, and the Government feared, that no armed collision would be made necessary until September, when the harvest would be all cut, and when the commissariat of the people's war, the cause of the war, and the prize of the war, would be all bound up in a sheaf together. But the foe we had to deal with was no weak fool. The Government understood our views thoroughly, and resolved to precipitate the issue somehow or other. On the morning after that meeting of Dublin citizens, three of us—Smith O'Brien, Mr Meagher, and myself, were politely waited on by a police magistrate, and requested to give bail that we would stand our trial on a charge of sedition. The ground of prosecution in the two former cases was the language held at the meeting of the Irish Confederation (quoted above in part);—in my case, there were two distinct indictments, for two articles in the United Irishman. I was to have two trials, so that if one should fail another might happily succeed. Trials for sedition we regarded as child's play, and showed that we so regarded them. O'Brien and Meagher proceeded to France and presented their address.* ...continue reading »

* These were mere addresses of congratulation and of sympathy. De Lamartine made a highly poetic but rather unmeaning reply to them. He afterwards, in his History, violently misrepresented them; being, in fact, a mere Anglo-Frenchman. Mr O'Brien convicted him of these misrepresentations. I content myself here with pronouncing the ...continued on next page »

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