The Irish "Nation" and "Tribune" Editors tried - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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O'Mahony, once contemplated an attack and rescue; but the people had been too grievously frightened by the priests (on account of their miserable pauper souls), and too effectually starved by the government, to be equal to so dashing an exploit: and so that solemn and elaborate insult was once more put upon our name and nation; and the four men who had sought to save their people from so abject a condition lay undisturbed in Clonmel gaol, sentenced to death. Considering which humiliating picture, one might be tempted to repeat the bitter words of Don Juan D'Aguila—"Surely Christ never died for this people!" Yet whosoever has studied even the imperfect sketch which I have given of the potent and minutely elaborated system of oppression that pressed upon that nation at every point, and tied down every limb, watching over every man, woman, and child, at their uprising and down-lying, so as to be enabled to foresee and to baffle even the slightest approach to combination for a national purpose*—will assuredly forbear to taunt us, and will bless God that he was born in a land where men are free to will and to act.

The newspaper editors were still to be "tried,"—that is, to be transported. In the months of October and November, 1848, Duffy of the Nation, Williams and O'Doherty of the Tribune, and Martin of the Felon, were successively brought up for trial in the City Court House, of Green Street. Their newspapers had been suppressed weeks before, their offices broken into, their types and presses and books seized.

O'Doherty and Martin were "convicted" by well-packed juries, containing not a single Catholic. In the cases of Duffy and Williams, the enemy ventured to leave one or two Catholics on the juries. Williams was acquitted: Duffy's jury disagreed, and he was retained in prison till a more tractable jury could be manufactured. Again he was brought to trial, and again the jury disagreed. Still he was kept in custody, though his health was rapidly failing; and, at last, when all apprehension of trouble seemed to be over, and the more dangerous conspirators were disposed of, the "government" yielded to a memorial on his behalf, and abandoned the prosecution.

In the matter of those who were sentenced to death, the enemy after much deliberation decided on sparing their lives and commuting their punishment to transportation for life. This, I believe, was done under the false pretence of clemency; but it was in truth the most refined cruelty; it was, moreover, illegal,—there ...continue reading »

* So far back as 1602, Attorney-General Davies thus described that espionage, which is one principal arm of British power: "Notice is taken of every person that is able to do either good or hurt. It is known not only how they live and what they do, but it is foreseen what they purpose or intend to do."

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