The Sentence of John Mitchel - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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ing to ashes before the tyrant, promised that three hundred should follow out his enterprise. Can I not promise for one, for two, for three?'

"Indicating, as he spoke, Reilly, Martin, and Meagher. 'Promise for me'—'and me'—'and me, Mitchel,' rose around him in commingled tones of earnest solemnity, passionate defiance, and fearless devotion, from his friends and followers; and, embracing the exciting scene in a glance, he cried with proud eagerness—

"'For one, for two, for three? Ay, for hundreds!'

"A scene of immense excitement followed, in the midst of which the judges fled from the bench, the prisoner was huddled off, waving his hand to his friends; two of whom, Meagher and Doheney, were arrested for giving vent to the feeling impossible to suppress at such a moment.

"After they had been discharged, and when order was restored, Holmes rose to add his defiance to that of the prisoner. He said:—

"'My lords:—I think I had a perfect right to use the language I did yesterday. I wish now to state that what I said yesterday, as an advocate, I adopt to-day as my own opinion. I here avow all I have said; and, perhaps, under the late Act of Parliament, her Majesty's Attorney-General, if I have violated the law, may think it his duty to proceed against me in that way. I now say, with deliberation, that the sentiments I expressed with regard to England, and her treatment of this country, are my sentiments; and I here avow them openly. The Attorney-General is present—I retract nothing. These are my well-judged sentiments—these are my opinions as to the relative position of England or Ireland, and I have, as you seem to insinuate, violated the law by stating these opinions. I now deliberately do so again. Let her Majesty's Attorney-General do his duty to his government: I have done mine to my country.'"

Before dismissing myself from the scene for ever, I will add that if anything had been wanted to justify me, in my own eyes, for all that I had done and meditated, the earnest and impassioned advocacy of the brave old Republican of '98 would have contented me well. It caused me to feel that my defeated life was at least one link in the unbroken chain of testimony borne by my country against foreign dominion; and with this consciousness I knew that my chains would weigh light. "In this island," exclaimed Meagher, "the English never, never shall have rest. The work begun by the Norman never shall be completed."

An armed steamer waited in the river on the day of my sentence; the whole garrison of Dublin was under arms, on pretence of a review in the Park; a place was secretly designated for my embarkation, below the city, where bridges over a canal, and over the entrance to the Custom House docks could be raised, to prevent any concourse of the people in that direction; and, two or three hours after the sentence. I was hurried off in a close omnibus ...continue reading »

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