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trymen had been constrained to lament his fate, they would have been received on the laurels of his tomb.
In the midst of these heart-rending misfortunes, the unresisted breaking of implacable animosity, hitherto somewhat suspended through fear, began to rage in all the revengeful wantonness of •ecurity. The military, the orangemen, the magistrates, glutted their bigoted fury or personal hatred with the blood of United Irishmen, and still they seemed to be insatiable. The ridinghouse of Mr. Claudius Beresford daily witnessed the torture of flagellation, while that zealous supporter of British supremacy presided himself at the execution; and, as often as the instrument became too much clogged with the flesh of the sufferer, he was seen to pick the chords of the cat-o'-nine-tails, that they might lacerate with deeper loyalty. Even children were sometimes scourged, sorhetimes immersed to the lips in water, to extort information from them against their parents, and concealment was punished with death. The privacy of families was insecure; the delicacy of females was not respected. Every where you beheld a spectacle of atrocities, or a melancholy gloom. Acquaintances and friends passed each other with averted eyes, and the stillnesf of terror was interrupted only by the march of military cut-throats, the processions of executions, and the savage orgies of orangemen, maddened with ebriety, and fierce from bloodshed, r
At the same time that the military tribunals were cutting down the most virtuous citizens in every quarter, the ordinary criminal courts were dooming to death, by the help of furious and malignant orange juries, those of the United Irishmen against whom the least evidence to go to a jury could be■ had.— The vilest beings, informers and malefactors, were able, with a dreadful facility, to sacrifice in these courts, I will not say of justice, but at the bar of fanaticism and phrenzy, the most upright men, who were led successively to certain death, passing
through through the forms of trial only to afford a more solemn festival to the enemies of Irish liberty. The blood that would be shed on the scaffold and in the field, it was now certain, could'produce no other effect, than displaying the determined valour and underrating integrity of those who suffered for the common cause.— If the union were prevented from exhausting itself in such an unequal contest, it might still be formidable to its enemies; perhaps more formidable than ever, in consequence of the courage and fidelity it had manifested.
What then was the best service that remained for prudence or Tirtue to perform? To stop the ensuing horrors, to save the country from the cold-blooded slaughter of its best, its bravest, its most enlightened defenders; to prevent those calamities that are consequent on an unsuccessful civil- contest, and that frequently render a future effort impracticable.
There was something even in the passing moment to incite to an attempt at such a compromise as would secure those benefits. Lord Cornwallis had just entered upon the government of Ireland, and declared himself inclined to justice and conciliation.— 'He was violently opposed by the orange faction in the cabinet; and from a motive which he did not then disclose, but which subsequent "events have shewn to be the projected union of the two countries, he wished to make a merit with those who had suffered most from the British government, by teaching them to throw the severity of their sufferings on their own villainous parliament and merciless countrymen. Good policy required from the United Irishmen that they should avail themselves of his avowed disposition. A feint, but in the end an illusive hope, was conceived, that as he was, in some measure, at war with their old oppressors, if a fair statement of the objects and motives of the United Irishmen were laid before him; if the preci- . pice, on the brink of which his majesty's ministers had been madly walking, were pointed out to him; he would be convinced of what
is truly the fact, that Ireland cannot be retained in the bonds of British connexion, without adopting comprehensive measures of reform, and speedily removing the discontents that produced her alliance with France.
To such considerations was superadded a most anxious wish to preserve the lives of Michael William Byrne and Oliver Bond. They who knew those excellent men, will not say that the state prisoners violated the brotherhood of affection to which they had sworn, by an effort to restore them to their families and to society; especially when no return whatever was made for those manifold advantages, that it would be of the smallest importance, in that advanced season of the affairs of the union, to withhold even from its enemies. Alas! that effort was vain; a stroke of apoplexy snatched Bond from his friends, after they had rescued him, as they thought, from the grave. Against Byrne, the rancour of party and the thirst of blood prevailed—He was executed.
4 Mr. Byrne was one of the first families of the "country, and among his relatives had many friends, who, without his knowledge, exerted their interest to preserve his life. They were told that if he would express regret at being an United Irishman, and declare that he was seduced by Lord Edward Fitzgerald, he should be forgiven. When this proposal was made known to him, he spurned at it with abhorrence. He declared that he had no regret but that of not leaving his country free; that he was never seduced to be an United Irishman, and least of all by that hallowed character, whose memory they w^hed to traduce. Perhaps, said he, they intend to rob his children of his inheritance ; but my existence shall never be disgraced by giving sanction to so base a design. This young man having a strong jense of religion, received its rites with a cheerful hope and an assured conscience—expressing the greatest consolation at quitting life in his perfect senses, with leasure for previous pre
Y paration, paration, and in so virtuous a cause. His very adversaries were forced to admire and do homage to that cause which produced such martyrs. So complete was the self-possession and delicacy of his mind, that in passing to the scaffold by the window of Mr. Bond's apartment, where Mrs. Bond was then with her husband, he stooped so low as not to be seen by her, lest he should alarm the feelings of a wife and a mother at that moment trembling for all that she held dear. •
If the repetition of things that are become familiar by use could astonish, the demeanour and fortitude of that young man, from his condemnation to his execution, might be truly called astonishing, He was not only undaunted and unmoved, but he was collected, cheerful and happy. He had hazarded his life in a good cause, and was determined, by publicly manifesting the enthusiasm with which he would die, to give resolution to the timid, and constancy to the brave. Fortified by the examples o£ those who mounted the scaffold before him, he went, perhaps, to the utmost bounds of magnanimity, and put it out of the power of those who followed, to surpass him.
Mr. Bond, though an United Irishman, was certainly not one within the persona] knowledge of his prosecutor Reynoldsr who, in almost every thing he advanced respecting that gentleman, swore falsely. But Mr. Bond was highly beloved by the friends of Irish independence, and equally hateful to its enemies. He was one of the earliest in planning and promoting the union of Irishmen. He possessed a force of understanding, an elevation of soul, and an integrity of heart, that placed him in the first rank of patriots. His feelings were truly Irish, his principles, those of an enlightened republican. His character had fully established itself in the esteem of his countrymen, and will be honoured by them when the guilty triumph of his oppressors shall have passed away, or be remembered only to be abhorred*
The mode in which Byrne and his predecessors met their fate, must have taught the government, that altho' they could immolate more victims, they would not thereby lessen the general indignation, exasperated by such losses, and strengthened by such examples. On this account, perhaps, Bond was respited from Friday the 27th of July, until the Monday following; for Mr. Bond likewise had passed before the sitting commission ef oyer and terminer, where the juries were infuriate Orange« men, and where such an extension was given to the law of trea. son, as to embrace the population of the land.
In the interval, Mr. Secretary Cook had an interview with him and Mr. Neilson in the prison of Newgate, to know if, notwithstanding the execution of Mr, Byrne, the state prisoners would renew the negociation. These again consented as far as they could; for notwithstanding the loss of one revered associate, it did not become them, they thought, to abandon many other valuable lives, and the safety of their brethren at large. In con* sequence of this second assent, Mr. Cook visited the prisons. When he came to Kilmainham, Dr. Mac Neven from a mistrust of the man, and of all the subordinate agents of government, informed the Secretary, that until the terms were for* mally ratified by Lord Cornwallis, his lips should remain sealed. On Mr. Cook's retiring, he consulted with his fellow-prisoners, Emmet and Sweetman, about the propriety of desiring a conference with the minister, Lord Castlereagh. His friends agreeing with him in opinion, he wrote a note to Mr. Cook to that effect.
Whether ministers found that what had been hitherto the basis of the treaty was not sufficiently extensive for their purpose, or from what other cause, is unknown j but Mr, Dobbs again visited the prisoners, with a letter which had been addressed to him by Mr. Cook, stating that some mistake had taken place in the terms, without specifying what that mistake was, and containing a new proposal of giving up names, on a
y % promise