Leaders Sentenced

Justin McCarthy
Chapter XI | Start of Chapter

A special Commission was held during the autumn in the assize town of Clonmel, Tipperary, where Smith O'Brien, Meagher, and two of their fellow-prisoners were charged with High Treason. They were found guilty, and condemned to death with all the accompanying horrors then legal. The sentence was commuted to one of transportation for life. The prisoners were sent to the convict settlements in Australia. In 1852 Meagher escaped from the colony and went to the United States, where he fought bravely for the North during the great Civil War. He lost his life by accident: he fell off a steamer in the Missouri and was drowned in July, 1867, in his forty-fourth year.

Smith O'Brien was conditionally released in February, 1854, the stipulation being that he must not return to any part of the United Kingdom. In 1856 he received a free pardon, and was allowed to go back to his native country. In 1864 he died at Bangor, North Wales, and his remains were removed to a churchyard in the county of Limerick, where his tomb may now be seen. John Mitchel settled in the United States, and conducted a paper in Richmond during the Civil War. He was an enthusiastic advocate of the South, and, to the great regret of most of his admirers, he proclaimed himself a supporter of slavery. After the Civil War he lived in New York, and there published a newspaper called the Irish Citizen. In January, 1875, he paid a visit to Ireland, and was received with much enthusiasm.