John Mitchel's Last Week in Ireland - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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oppression. "When will the time come?" exclaimed Martin, "the time about which your orators so boldly vaunt, amid the fierce shouts of your applause? If it come not when one of you, selected by your enemies as your champion, is sent to perish among thieves and murderers, for the crime of loving and defending his native land,—then it will never come—never!"

Two or three other incidents of my last week on Irish ground will help to fill up the picture of the time. Reilly was arrested on the charge of saying to the members of his Club, when turning into their place of meeting—"Left wheel." It was a term of military drilling, though the Club-men were without weapons. He was kept in a station-house all night; and bail was refused in the morning. In the course of the day he was fully committed for trial, and bail was taken. During the whole week, the large force of the city police had orders to stop all processions, to arrest citizens, on any or on no charges; and generally to "strike terror." In the meantime, every day was bringing in more terrible news of the devastation of the famine, and evictions of the tenantry. "On Friday," says the Tipperary Vindicator, "the landlord appeared upon the ground, attended by the sheriff and a body of policemen, and commenced the process of ejectment," &c. On that morning, and at that spot, thirty persons were dragged out of their houses, and the houses pulled down. One of the evicted tenants was a widow—"a solvent tenant comes and offers to pay the arrears due by the widow; but a desire on Mr Scully's part to consolidate prevented the arrangement."

The same week a writer in the Cork Examiner, writing from Skibbereen, says:—

"Our town presents nothing but a moving mass of military and police, conveying to and from the court-house crowds of famine culprits. I attended the court for a few hours this day. The dock was crowded with the prisoners, not one of whom, when called up for trial, was able to support himself in front of the dock. The sentence of the court was received by each prisoner with apparent satisfaction. Even transportation appeared to many to be a relaxation from their sufferings."

"One of the jurors," it is added, "proposed a resolution that the government were the authors of the misery, and hoped his brother jurors would mark their disapprobation of such a government." But his brother jurors would do nothing of the kind: too many of his brother jurors, no doubt, expected some small place about the great government "relief works:" they could not afford to "mark their disapprobation."

On Tuesday of the same week,—it being then well known that the Crown would pack their jury,—a meeting of the citizens of ...continue reading »

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