Thomas Russell (and the 1798 Rebellion)

By D. B. Sullivan from `Speeches from the Dock', 1886

WHEN Emmet was dead, and the plan to which he devoted his fortune, his talents, and his life, had sunk in failure, the cause of Irish independence appeared finally lost, and the cry, more than once repeated in after times, that "now, indeed, the last bolt of Irish disaffection has been sped, and that there would never again be an Irish rebellion," rung loudly from the exulting enemies of Ireland. The hearts of the people seemed broken by the weight of the misfortunes and calamities that overwhelmed them. The hopes which had brightened their stormy path, and enabled them to endure the oppression to which they were subjected by expectations of a glorious change, flickered no longer amidst the darkness. The efforts of the insurgents were everywhere drowned in blood , the hideous memories of '98 were brought up anew; full of bitter thoughts, exasperated, humiliated, and despondent, the people brooded over their wretched fate, and sullenly submitted to the reign of terror which was inaugurated amongst them. Little had the Irish patriots to look forward to in that dark hour of suffering and disappointment. A nightmare of blood and violence weighed down the spirits of the people; a stupor appeared to have fallen on the nation; and though time might be trusted to arouse them from the trance, they had suffered another loss, not so easily repaired, in the death and dispersion of their leaders. Where now should they find the Moses to lead them from the land of captivity? Tone, Fitzgerald, Emmet, Bond, M'Cracken, the Sheareses--all were dead. M'Nevin, Neilson, and O'Connor were in exile. Heavily and relentlessly the arm of vengeance had fallen on them, one by one; but the list was not even then completed. There was yet another victim to fall before the altar of liberty, and the sacrifice which commenced with Orr did not conclude until Thomas Russell had perished on the gallows of Downpatrick.

The importance of the part which Thomas Russell fills in the history of the United Irishmen, the worth of his character, the purity and nobility of his sentiments, and the spirit of uncompromising patriotism displayed in his last address, would render unpardonable the omission of his name from such a work as this. "I mean to make my trial," said Russell, "and the last of my life, it it is to close now, as serviceable to the cause of liberty as I can," and he kept his word. To-day, we try in some slight way to requite that fidelity which endured unto death, by rescuing Thomas Russell's name from oblivion, and recalling his services and virtues to the recollection of his countrymen.

He was born at Betsborough, Dunnahane, in the parish of Kilshanick, county Cork, on the 21st November, 1767. His father was an officer in the British army, who had fought against the Irish Brigade in the memorable battle of Fontenoy, and who died in a high situation in the Royal Hospital at Kilmainham. Thomas, the youngest of his three sons, was educated for the Protestant Church; but his inclinations sought a different field of action, and at the age of fifteen he left for India as a volunteer, where he served with his brother, Ambrose, whose gallantry in battle called down commendation from the English king. Thomas Russell quitted India after five years' service, and his return is ascribed to the disgust and indignation which filled him on witnessing the extortions, the cruelties, the usurpations, and brutalities which were carried out and sanctioned by the government under which he served. He left Ireland burdened with few fixed political principles, and little knowledge of the world; he returned a full-grown man, imbued with the opinions which he never afterwards abandoned. He was then, we are told, a model of manly beauty, one of those favored individuals whom we cannot pass in the street without being guilty of the rudeness of staring in the face while passing, and turning round to look at the receding figure. Though more than six feet high, his majestic stature was scarcely observed, owing to the exquisite symmetry of his form. Martial in his gait and demeanor, his appearance was not altogether that of a soldier. His dark and steady eye, compressed lip, and somewhat haughty bearing, were occasionally strongly indicative of the camp; but in general the classic contour of his finely-formed head, the expression of sweetness that characterized his smile, and the benevolence that beamed in his fine countenance, seemed to mark him out as one that was destined to be the ornament, grace, and blessing of private life. His manners were those of the finished gentleman, combined with that native grace which nothing but superiority of intellect can give; he was naturally reserved and retiring in disposition, and his private life was distinguished by eminent purity, and an unostentatious devotion to the precepts of religion.

Such was Thomas Russell, when he made the acquaintance of Theobald Wolfe Tone in Dublin. There is no doubt that the views and opinions of Tone made a profound impression on young Russell; it is equally certain, on the other hand, that Tone learned to love and esteem his new friend, whose sentiments were so much in accordance with his own. Throughout Tone's journal we find constant references to Thomas Russell, whom he always places with Thomas Addis Emmet at the head of his list of friends. Early in 1791, Russell proceeded to Belfast, to join the 64th Regiment, in which he had obtained a commission; before leaving Dublin he appears to have become a member of the Society of United Irishmen, and in Belfast he soon won the friendship, and shared the councils of the patriotic men who were laboring for Ireland in that city.

While in Belfast, Russell fell into pecuniary embarrassments. His generous and confiding nature induced him to go bail for a false friend, and he found himself one morning obliged to meet a claim for £200, which he had no means of discharging, except by the sale of his commission. Russell sold out and retired to Dungannon, where he lived for some time on the residue of the money thus obtained, and during this period he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the county of Tyrone. After a short experience of "Justices' justice" in the North, he retired from the bench, through motives alike creditable to his head and heart. "I cannot reconcile it to my conscience," he exclaimed one day, "to sit on a bench where the practice exists of inquiring what religion a person is before investigating the charge against him." Russell returned, after taking this step, to Belfast, where he was appointed to a situation in the public library of the town, and where he became a regular contributor to the organ of the Ulster patriots, the Northern Star.

In 1796 he was appointed by the United Irishmen to the supreme military command in the county Down, a post for which his military experience, not less than his personal influence, fitted him, but his political career was soon afterwards interrupted by his arrest on the 26th of September, 1796. Russell was removed to Dublin, and lodged in Newgate Prison; his arrest filled the great heart of Tone, who was then toiling for his country in France, with sorrow and dismay. "It is impossible," he says, in his journal, "to conceive the effect this misfortune has on my mind. If we are not in Ireland in time to extricate him he is lost, for the government will move heaven and earth to ensure his condemnation. Good God!" he adds, "if Russell and Neilson fall, where shall I find two others to replace them?" During the eventful months that intervened between the date of his arrest and the 19th of March, 1799, poor Russell remained chafing his imprisoned soul, filled with patriotic passion and emotion, in his prison cell in Kilmainham. On the latter date, when the majority of his associates were dead, an their followers scattered and disheartened, he was transferred to Fort George in Scotland, where he spent three years more in captivity. The government had no specific charge against him, but they feared his influence, and distrusted his intentions, and they determined to keep him a prisoner while a chance remained of his exerting his power against them. No better illustration of Russell's character and principles could be afforded than that supplied in the following extract from one of the letters written by him during his incarceration in Fort George:--"To the people of Ireland," he writes, addressing an Irish friend and sympathizer, "I am responsible for my actions; amidst the uncertainties of life this may be my valedictory letter; what has occasioned the failure of the cause is useless to speculate on--Providence orders all things for the best. I am sure the people will never abandon the cause; I am equally sure it will succeed. I trust men will see," he adds, referring to the infidel views then unhappily prevalent, "that the only true basis of liberty is morality, and the only stable basis of morality is religion."

In 1802 the government, failing to establish any distinct charge against Russell, set him at liberty, and he at once repaired to Paris, where he met Robert Emmet, who was then preparing to renew the effort of Fitzgerald and Wolfe Tone. Time had not changed, nor suffering damped, the patriotic impulses of Thomas Russell; he entered heartily into the plans of young Emmet, and when the latter left for Ireland in November, 1802, to prosecute his hazardous enterprise, it was with the full understanding that Russell would stand by his side in the post of danger, and with him perish or succeed. In accordance with this arrangement, Russell followed Robert Emmet to Dublin, where he arrived so skilfully disguised that even his own family failed to recognize him. Emmet's plans for the outbreak in Dublin were matured when Russell, with a a trusty companion, was dispatched northwards to summon the Ulster men to action. Buoyant in spirit, and filled with high expectation, he entered on his mission, but he returned to Dublin a week later, prostrate in spirit, and with a broken heart. One of his first acts on arriving in Belfast was to issue a proclamation, in which, as "General-in-Chief of the Northern District," he summoned the people of Ulster to action.

The North, however, refused to act. It was the old, old story. Belfast resolved on waiting "to see what the South would do," and the South waited for Belfast. Disgusted and disappointed, Russell quitted the northern capital, and proceeded to Antrim, where at least he thought he might expect to find cordial co-operation; but fresh disappointments awaited him, and with a load of misery at his heart, such as he had never felt before, Russell returned to Dublin, where he lived in seclusion, until arrested by Major Sirr and his myrmidons on the 9th of September, 1803. A reward of £1,500 had been offered for his apprehension. We learn on good authority that the ruffianly town-major, on arresting him, seized the unfortunate patriot rudely by the neck-cloth, whereupon Russell, a far more powerful man than his assailant, flung him aside, and drawing a pistol exclaimed--"I will not be treated with indignity."

Sirr parleyed for awhile; a file of soldiers was meanwhile summoned to his aid, and Russell was borne off in irons, a prisoner, to the Castle. While undergoing this second captivity, a bold attempt was made by his friends to effect his liberation, by bribing one of the gaolers; the plot, however, broke down, and Russell never breathed the air of freedom again. While awaiting his trial--that trial which he knew could have but one termination, the death of a felon--Russell addressed a letter to one of his friends outside, in which the following noble passage, the fittest epitaph to be engraved on his tombstone, occurs:--

"I mean to make my trial," he writes, "and the last of my life, if it is to close now, as serviceable to the cause of liberty as I can. I trust my countrymen will ever adhere to it; I know it will soon prosper. When the country is free," he adds--that it would be free he never learned to doubt--"I beg they may lay my remains with my father in a private manner, and pay the few debts I owe. I have only to beg of my countrymen to remember that the cause of liberty is the cause of virtue, which, I trust, they will never abandon. May God bless and prosper them, and when power comes into their hands, I entreat them to use it with moderation. May God and the Saviour bless them all."

Russell was taken to Downpatrick, escorted by a strong force of cavalry, where he was lodged in the governor's rooms, preparatory to being tried in that town by a Special Commission. While in prison in Downpatrick he addressed a letter to Miss M'Cracken, a sister of Henry Joy M'Cracken, one of the insurgent leaders of 1798, in which he speaks as follows: "Humanly speaking, I expect to be found guilty, and immediately executed. As this may be my last letter, I shall only say that I did my best for my country and for mankind. I have no wish to die, but far from regretting its loss in such a cause, had I a thousand lives I would willingly risk or lose them in it. Be assured, liberty will in the midst of those storms be established, and God will wipe the tears from all eyes."

The sad anticipations expressed by Russell were but too fully borne out. There was short shrift in those days for Irishmen accused of treason, and the verdict of guilty, which he looked forward to with so much resignation, was delivered before the last rays of the sun which rose on the morning of the trial had faded in the gloaming. It was sworn that he had attended treasonable meetings, and distributed green uniforms; that he asked those who attended them, "if they did not desire to get rid of the Sassanaghs;" that he spoke of 30,000 stands of arms from France, but said if France should fail them, "forks, spades, shovels, and pickaxes" would serve that purpose. It was useless to struggle against such testimony, palpably false, and distorted as it was in some parts, and Russell decided on cutting short the proceedings. "I shall not trouble my lawyers," he said, "to make any statement in my case. There are but three possible modes of defence--firstly, by calling witnesses to prove the innocence of my conduct; secondly, by calling them to impeach the credit of opposite witnesses, or by proving an alibi. As I can resort to none of these modes of defence without involving others, I consider myself precluded from any." Previous to the Judge's charge, the prisoner asked--" If it was not permitted to persons in his situation to say a few words, as he wished to give his valedictory advice to his countrymen in as concise a manner as possible, being well convinced how speedy the transition was from that vestibule of the grave to the scaffold." He was told in reply, "that he would have an opportunity of expressing himself," and when the time did come, Russell advanced to the front of the dock, and spoke in a clear, firm tone of voice, as follows:--

"Before I address myself to this audience, I return my sincere thanks to my leaned counsel for the exertions they have made, in which they displayed so much talent. I return my thanks to the gentlemen on the part of the crown, for the accommodation and indulgence I have received during my confinement. I return my thanks to the gentlemen of the jury, for the patient investigation they have afforded my case; and I return my thanks to the court, for the attention and politeness they have shown me during my trial. As to my political sentiments, I shall, in as brief a manner as possible (for I do not wish to engross the time of the court), say a few words. I look back to the last thirteen years of my life, the period with which I have interfered with the transactions of Ireland, with entire satisfaction; though for my share in them I am now about to die--the gentlemen of the jury having, by their verdict, put the seal of truth on the evidence against me. Whether, at this time, and the country being situated as it is, it be safe to inflict the punishment of death upon me for the offence I am charged with, I leave to the gentlemen who conduct the prosecution. My death, perhaps, may be useful in deterring others from following my example. It may serve, on the other hand, as a memorial to others, and on trying occasions it may inspire them with courage. I can now say, as far as my judgment enabled me, I acted for the good of my country and of the world. It may be presumptuous for me to deliver my opinions here as a statesman, but as the government have singled me out as a leader, and given me the appellation of "General," I am in some degree entitled to do so. To me it is plain that all things are verging towards a change, when all shall be of one opinion. In ancient times, we read of great empires having their rise and their fall, and yet do the old governments proceed as if all were immutable. From the time I could observe and reflect, I perceived that there were two kinds of laws--the laws of the state, and the laws of God--frequently clashing with each other; by the latter kind, I have always endeavored to regulate my conduct; but that laws of the former kind do exist in Ireland I believe no one who hears me can deny. That such laws have existed in former times, many and various examples clearly evince. The Saviour of the world suffered by the Roman laws--by the same laws His Apostles were put to the torture, and deprived of their lives in His cause. By my conduct I do not consider that I have incurred any moral guilt. I have committed no moral evil. I do not want the many and bright examples of those gone before me; but did I want this encouragement, the recent example of a youthful hero--a martyr in the cause of liberty --who has just died for his country, would inspire me. I have descended into the vale of manhood. I have learned to estimate the reality and delusions of this world; he was surrounded by everything which could endear this world to him--in the bloom of youth, with fond attachments, and with all the fascinating charms of health and innocence; to his death I look back even in this moment with rapture. I have travelled much, and seen various parts of the world, and I think the Irish are the most virtuous nation on the face of the earth--they are a good and brave people, and had I a thousand lives I would yield them in their service. If it be the will of God that I suffer for that with which I stand charged, I am perfectly resigned to His holy will and dispensation. I do not wish to trespass much more on the time of those that hear me, and did I do so an indisposition which has seized on me since I came into court would prevent my purpose. Before I depart from this for a better world I wish to address myself to the landed aristocracy of this country. The word "aristocracy" I do not mean to use as an insulting epithet, but in the common sense of the expression.

"Perhaps, as my voice may now be considered as a voice crying from the grave, what I now say may have some weight. I see around me many, who during the last years of my life, have disseminated principles for which I am now to die. Those gentlemen, who have all the wealth and the power of the country in their hands, I strongly advise, and earnestly exhort, to pay attention to the poor--by the poor I mean the laboring class of the community, their tenantry and dependants. I advise them for their good to look into their grievances, to sympathize in their distress, and to spread comfort and happiness around their dwellings. It might be that they may not hold their power long, but at all events to attend to the wants and distresses of the poor is their truest interest. If they hold their power, they will thus have friends around them; if they lose it, their fall will be gentle, and I am sure unless they act thus they can never be happy. I shall now appeal to the right honorable gentleman in whose hands the lives of the other prisoners are, and entreat that he will rest satisfied with my death, and let that atone for those errors into which I may have been supposed to have deluded others. I trust the gentleman will restore them to their families and friends. If he shall do so, I can assure him that the breeze which conveys to him the prayers and blessings of their wives and children will be more grateful than that which may be tainted with the stench of putrid corpses, or carrying with it the cries of the widow and the orphan. Standing as I do in the presence of God and of man, I entreat him to let my life atone for the faults of all, and that my blood alone may flow.

"If I am then to die, I have therefore two requests to make. The first is, that as I have been engaged in a work possibly of some advantage to the world, I may be indulged with three days for its completion; secondly, that as there are those ties which even death cannot sever, and as there are those who may have some regard for what will remain of me after death, I request that my remains, disfigured as they will be, may be delivered after the execution of the sentence to those dear friends, that they may be conveyed to the ground where my parents are laid, and where those faithful few may have a consecrated spot over which they may be permitted to grieve. I have now to declare, when about to pass into the presence of Almighty God, that I feel no enmity in my mind to any being, none to those who have borne testimony against me, and none to the jury who have pronounced the verdict of my death."

The last request of Russell was refused, and he was executed twelve hours after the conclusion of the trial. At noon, on the 21st of October, 1803, he was borne pinioned to the place of execution. Eleven regiments of soldiers were concentrated in the town to overawe the people and defeat any attempt at rescue; yet even with this force at their back, the authorities were far from feeling secure. The interval between the trial and execution was so short that no preparation could be made for the erection of a scaffold, except the placing of some barrels under the gateway of the main entrance to the prison, with planks placed upon them as a platform, and others sloping up from the ground, by which it was ascended. On the ground hard by, were placed a sack of sawdust, an axe, a block, and a knife. After ascending the scaffold, Russell gazed forward through the archway--towards the people, whose white faces could be seen glistening outside, and again expressed his forgiveness of his persecutors. His manner, we are told, was perfectly calm, and he died without a struggle.

A purer soul, a more blameless spirit, than Thomas Russell, never sunk on the battle-field of freedom. Fixed in principles, and resolute in danger, he was nevertheless gentle, courteous, unobstrusive, and humane; with all the modesty and unaffectedness of childhood, he united the zeal of a martyr and the courage of a hero. To the cause of his country he devoted all his energies and all his will; and when he failed to render it prosperous in life, he illumined it by his devotion and steadfastness in death. The noble speech given above, and the passages from his letters which we have quoted, are sufficient in themselves to show how chivalrous was the spirit, how noble the motives of Thomas Russell. The predictions which he uttered with so much confidence have not indeed been fulfilled, and the success which he looked forward to so hopefully has never been won. But his advice, so often repeated in his letters, is still adhered to; his countrymen have not yet learned to abandon the cause in which he suffered, and they still cherish the conviction which he so touchingly expressed--"that liberty will, in the midst of these storms be established, and that God will yet wipe off the tears of the Irish nation."

Russell rests in the churchyard of the Protestant church of Downpatrick. A plain slab marks the spot where he is laid and there is on it this single line--


We have now closed our reference to the portion of Irish history comprised within the years 1798 and 1803, and as far as concerns the men who suffered for Ireland in those disastrous days, our "Speeches from the dock" are concluded. We leave behind us the struggle of 1798, and the men who organized it; we turn from the records of a period reeking with the gore of Ireland's truest sons, and echoing with the cries and curses of the innocent and oppressed; we pass without notice the butcheries and outrages that filled the land, while our countrymen were being sabred into submission; and we leave behind us, too, the short-lived insurrection of 1803, and the chivalrous young patriot who perished with it. We turn to more recent events, less appalling in their general aspect, but not less important in their consequences, or less interesting to the present generation, and take up the next link in the unbroken chain of protests against British rule in Ireland with the lives and the fortunes of the patriots of 1848. How faithfully the principles of freedom have been handed down--how nobly the men of our own times have imitated the patriots of the past--how thoroughly the sentiment; expressed from the Green Street dock nineteen years ago coincide with the declarations of Tone, of Emmet, and of Russell--our readers will shortly have an opportunity of judging. They will see how all the sufferings and all the calamities that darkened the path of the martyrs of '98 were insufficient to deter others, as gifted, as earnest, and as chivalrous as they, from following in their footsteps; and how unquenchable and unending, as the altar light of the fire-worshipper, the generous glow of patriotic enthusiasm was transmitted through generations, unaffected by the torrents of blood in which it was sought to extinguish it.

The events of our own generation--the acts of contemporary patriots--now claim our attention; but we are reluctant as yet to turn over the page, and drop the curtain on the scenes with which we have hitherto been dealing, and which we feel we have inadequately described. We have spoken of the men whose speeches from the dock are on record, but we still linger over the history of the events in which they shared, and of the men who were associated with them in their endeavors. The patriots whose careers we have glanced at are but a few out of the number of Irishmen who suffered during the same period, and in the same cause, and whose actions recommend them to the admiration and esteem of posterity. Confining ourselves strictly to those whose speeches after conviction have reached us, the list could not well be extended; but there are many who acted as brave a part, and whose memories are inseparable from the history of the period. We should have desired to speak, were the scope of our labors more extended, of the brave Lord Edward Fitzgerald, the gallant and the true, who sacrificed his position, his prospects, and his life, for the good old cause, and whose arrest and death contributed more largely, perhaps, than any other cause that could be assigned to the failure of the insurrection of 1798. Descended from an old and noble family, possessing in a remarkable degree all the attributes and embellishments of a popular leader, young and spirited, eloquent and wealthy, ardent, generous, and brave, of good address, and fine physical proportions, it is not surprising that Lord Edward Fitzgerald became the idol of the patriot party, and was appointed by them to a leading position M the organization. Lord Edward Fitzgerald was born in October, 1763; being the fifth son of James, Duke of Leinster, the twentieth Earl of Kildare. He grew up to manhood, as a recent writer has observed, when the drums of the Volunteers were pealing their marches of victory; and under the stirring events of the period his soul burst through the shackles that had long bound down the Irish aristocracy in servile dependence. In his early years he served in the American War of Independence on the side of despotism and oppression--a circumstance which in after years caused him poignant sorrow. He joined the United Irishmen about the time that Thomas Addis Emmet entered their ranks, and the young nobleman threw himself into the movement with all the ardor and energy of his nature. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the National forces in the south, and labored with indefatigable zeal in perfecting the plans for the outbreak on the 23rd of May. The story of his arrest and capture is too well known to need repetition. Treachery dogged the steps of the young patriot, and after lying for some weeks in concealment, he was arrested on the 19th day of May, 1798, two months after his associates in the direction of the movement had been arrested at Oliver Bond's. His gallant struggle with his captors, fighting like a lion at bay, against the miscreants who assailed him; his assassination, his imprisonment, and his death, are events to which the minds of the Irish nationalists perpetually recur, and which, celebrated in song and story, are told with sympathizing regret wherever a group of Irish blood are gathered around the hearthstone. His genius, his talents, and his influence, his unswerving attachment to his country, and his melancholy end, cast an air of romance around his history; and the last ray of gratitude must fade from the Irish heart before the name of the martyred patriot, who sleeps in the vaults of St. Werburg, will be forgotten in the land of his birth.

In less than a fortnight after Lord Edward expired in Newgate, another Irish rebel, distinguished by his talents, his fidelity, and his position, expiated with his life the crime of "loving his country above his king." It is hard to mention Thomas Russell, and ignore Henry Joy M'Cracken--it is hard to speak of the insurrection of '98 and forget the gallant young Irishman who commanded at the battle of Antrim, and who perished a few weeks subsequently, in the bloom of his manhood, on the scaffold in Belfast. Henry Joy M'Cracken was one of the first members of the Society of United Irishmen, and he was one of the best. He was arrested, owing to private information received by the government, on the 10th of October, 1796--three weeks after Russell, his friend and confidant, was flung into prison--and lodged in Newgate Jail, where he remained until the 8th of September in the following year. He was then liberated on bail, and immediately, on regaining his liberty, returned to Belfast, still bent on accomplishing at all hazards the liberation of his country. Previous to the outbreak in May, '98, he had frequent interviews with the patriot leaders in Dublin, and M'Cracken was appointed to the command of the insurgent forces in Antrim. Filled with impatience and patriotic ardor, he heard of the stirring events that followed the arrest of Lord Edward Fitzgerald; he concentrated all his energies in preparing the Northern patriots for action, but circumstances delayed the outbreak in that quarter, and it was not until the 6th of June, 1798, that M'Cracken had perfected his arrangements for taking the field, and issued the following brief proclamation, "dated the first year of liberty, 6th of June, 1798," addressed to the Army of Ulster:--

"To-morrow we march on Antrim. Drive the garrison of Randalstown before you, and hasten to form a junction with your Commander-in-chief."

Twenty-one thousand insurgents were to have rallied at the call of M'Cracken, but not more than seven thousand responded to the summons. Even this number, however, would have been sufficient to strike a successful blow, which would have filled the hearts of the gallant Wexford men, then in arms, with exultation, and effected incalculable results on the fate of Ireland, had not the curse of the Irish cause, treachery and betrayal, again come to the aid of its enemies. Hardly had the plans for the attack on Antrim been perfected, when the secrets of the conspirators were revealed to General Nugent, who commanded the British troops in the North, and the defeat of the insurgents was thus secured. M'Cracken's forces marched to the attack on Antrim with great regularity, chorusing the "Marseillaise Hymn" as they charged through the town. Their success at first seemed complete, but the English general, acting on the information which had treacherously been supplied him, had taken effective means to disconcert and defeat them. Suddenly, and as it seemed, in the flush of victory, the insurgents found themselves exposed to a galling fire from a force posted at either end of the town; a gallant resistance was offered, but it was vain. The insurgents fled from the fatal spot, leaving 500 of their dead and dying behind them, and at nightfall Henry Joy M'Cracken found himself a fugitive and a ruined man. For some weeks he managed to baffle the bloodhounds on his track, but he was ultimately arrested and tried by court-martial in Belfast, on the 17th July, 1798. On the evening of the same day he was executed. We have it on the best authority that he bore his fate with calmness, resolution, and resignation. It is not his fault that a "Speech from the dock" under his name is not amongst our present collection. He had actually prepared one, but his brutal judges would not listen to the patriot's exculpation. He was hung, amidst the sobs and tears of the populace, in front of the old marketplace of Belfast, and his remains were interred in the graveyard now covered by St. George's Protestant church.

Later still in the same year, two gallant young officers of Irish blood shared the fate of Russell and M'Cracken. They sailed with Humbert from Rochelle; they fought at Castlebar and Ballinamuck; and when the swords of their French allies were sheathed, they passed into the power of their foes. Matthew Tone was one of them; the other was Bartholomew Teeling. The latter filled the rank of Etat-major in the French army; and a letter from his commanding officer, General Humbert, was read at his trial, in which the highest praise was given to the young officer for the humane exertions which he made throughout his last brief campaign in the interest of mercy.

"His hand," he said, "was ever raised to stay the useless effusion of blood, and his protection was afforded to the prostrate and defenceless." But his military judges paid little heed to those extenuating circumstances, and Teeling was condemned to die on the day of his trial. He perished on the 24th September, 1798, being then in his twenty-fourth year. He marched with a proud step to the place of execution on Arbor Hill, Dublin, and he died, as a soldier might, with unshaken firmness and unquailing mien. No lettered slab marks the place of his interment; and his bones remain in unhallowed and unconsecrated ground. Hardly had his headless body ceased to palpitate, when it was flung into a hole at the rear of the Royal Barracks. A few days later the same unhonored spot received the mortal remains of Matthew Tone. "He had a more enthusiastic nature than any of us," writes his brother, Theobald Wolfe Tone, "and he was a sincere republican, capable of sacrificing everything for his principles." His execution was conducted with infamous cruelty and brutality, and the life-blood was still gushing from his body when it was flung into "the Croppy's Hole." "The day will come," says Dr. Madden, "when that desecrated spot will be hallowed ground--consecrated by religion--trod lightly by pensive patriotism--and decorated by funeral trophies in honor of the dead whose bones lie there in graves that are now neglected and unhonored."

There are others of the patriot leaders who died in exile, far away from the land for which they suffered, and whose graves were dug on alien shores by the heedless hands of the stranger. This was the fate of Addis Emmet, of Neilson, and of M'Nevin. In Ireland they were foremost and most trusted amongst the gifted and brilliant throng that directed the labors and shaped the purposes of the United Irishmen. They survived the reign of terror that swallowed up the majority of their compatriots, and, when milder councils began to prevail, they were permitted to go forth from the dungeon which confined them, into banishment. The vision of Irish freedom was not permitted to dawn upon them in life; far beyond the sandy slopes washed by the Western Atlantic, they watched the fortunes of the old land with hopeless but enduring love. Their talents, their virtues, and their patriotism were not unappreciated by the people amongst whom they spent their closing years of life. In the busiest thoroughfare of the greatest city of America there towers over the heads of the by-passers the monument of marble which grateful hands have raised to the memory of Addis Emmet. In the centre of Western civilization, the home of republican liberty, the stranger reads in glowing words, of the virtues and the fame of the brother of Robert Emmet, sculptured on the noble pillar erected in Broadway, New York, to his memory. Nor was he the only one of his party to whom such an honor was accorded. A stone-throw from the spot where the Emmet monument stands, a memorial not less commanding in its proportions and appearance, was erected to William James M'Nevin; and the American citizen, as he passes through the spacious streets of that city, which the genius of liberty has rendered prosperous and great, gazes proudly on those stately monuments, which tell him that the devotion to freedom which England punished and proscribed, found in his own land the recognition which it merited from the gallant and the free.[1]

[1] The inscriptions on the Emmet monument are in three languages--Irish, Latin, and English. The Irish inscription consists of the following lines:--

Do mhiannaich so ardmtáh
Cum tir a breith
Do thug se clue a's fuair se moladh
An deig a bais.

The following is the English inscription:

In Memory of
Who exemplified in his conduct,
And adorned by his integrity,
The policy and principles of the
"To forward a brotherhood of affection,
"A community of rights, an identity of interests, and a union of power
"Among Irishmen of every religious persuasion,
"As the only means of Ireland's chief good,
"An impartial and adequate representation
For this (mysterious fate of virtue) exiled from his native land,
In America, the land of Freedom,
He found a second country,
Which paid his love by reverencing his genius.
Learned in our laws, and in the laws of Europe,
In the literature of our times, and in that of antiquity,
All knowledge seemed subject to his use.
An orator of the first order, clear, copious, fervid,
Alike powerful to kindle the imagination, touch the affections,
And sway the reason and will.
Simple in his tastes, unassuming in his manners,
Frank, generous, kind-hearted, and honorable,
His private life was beautiful,
As his public course was brilliant.
Anxious to perpetuate
The name and example of such a man,
Alike illustrious by his genius, his virtues, and his fate;
Consecrated to their affections by his sacrifices, his perils,
And the deeper calamities of his kindred,
His sympathizing countrymen
Erected this Monument and Cenotaph.