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It was suggested by the writer's late friend, D. Owen Madden, author of the Revelations of Ireland, who read an outline of the present work, that the Bloodhounds of '98, would form a good addition to the title. The writer wa at first disposed to adopt the hint; but he has since felt that the title, althongh a sensational one, might, perhaps, sarour more of the partizan than the historian, and he has therefore relinquished it.
J. F. FOWLER, Printer, 3 Crow Street, Dame Street, Dublin,
THE RIGHT HON. THOMAS O'HAGAN,
JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, AND ONE OF HER MAJESTY'S MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY COUNCIL
DEAR JUDGE O'HAGAN,
Contrasts are often pleasant and instructive. I could not make a better one than in dedicating to him who dignifies the judgment seat by the purity of his justice and the soundness of his law, a book demonstrative of the way in which both were travestied in bad times by unconstitutional judges.*
It may seem strange, that a man who has already written the lives of sundry Irish worthies, should touch, even with stigma, the life of one eminently unworthy. But we must not forget that Plutarch, the Prince of Biographers and Moral Philosophers, in his introduction to the Life of Demetrius Polior
* See pages 96, 110-13, 196, etc.
cites, to be followed by and compared with that of Antony the Triumvir-two personages remarkable for their vices, says: “ We shall behold and imitate the virtuous with greater attention, if we be not entirely unacquainted with the characters of the vicious and the infamous”.
Owing to the recently discovered Fenian Conspiracy, and the attention which it has excited, this work possesses, perhaps, more than ordinary interest; but, lest it should be supposed that I was influenced in my choice of the subject by its aptness to existing circumstances, I am bound to add, that the book was written, and in great part printed, before the Fenian movement obtained notoriety.
With a cordial appreciation of your public and private worth, and thanking you for allowing me to dedicate this book to you, I beg to remain, dear Judge O'Hagan,
Yours very faithfully,
WILLIAM John Fitz-PATRICK.
Kilmacud Manor, Stillorgan,
Nov. 1st, 1865.
A PAMPHLET which forms but a small part of the present work appeared in 1859. It excited considerable attention, and has been, for some years, quite out of print. Early in the present year, several letters and leaders appeared in an influential print, desiring particulars of Francis Higgins, and the fate of his bequests. This induced me to resume my exploration of the eventful period in question, and the results of that research are now offered to the public.
The Irish Times of January the 11th, 1865, in a third leading article on the subject, says:
“A scarce pamphlet has been kindly forwarded to us, compiled by Mr. Fitzpatrick, the biographer of Lady Morgan, Bishop Doyle, etc. The subject is the Francis Higgins, who bequeathed £1,000 to be vested in land for the liberation of poor prisoners in the Four Courts Marshalsea, Dublin. The work contains copies of informations taken from the records of the courts of law, passages from long-forgotten histories, extracts from the newspapers and satirical poetry which startled Dublin eighty years ago, and clauses from the authenticated will of Francis Higgins. The picture drawn, and truthfully drawn, of the society of Dublin at that period, is any. thing but edifying. Riots, tumults, abduction of heiresses, the abuse of the forms of justice for the perpetration of wrong, corruption openly employed by the government of the day, the passionate resistance and cowardly submission of parliament,—these are the prominent features of the picture. But throughout the whole appears the terrible figure of Francis Higgins, whose history would furnish materials for twenty sensation' novels. We stand amazed at discovering that one man, apparently endowed with no great talent, should have acted as he did with impunity even in that wild time, and been appointed to dispense the justice he had outraged”.
The rest of the article urges that a royal commission should be appointed to inquire into the condi. tion and revenues of the charities bequeathed by Higgins, Webb, and others, and expresses a hope that parliament will at once take the matter in hand.
The original object, however, of the pamphlet which has suggested the present work-was to remove a misapprehension which pervaded almost the entire reviewing press of Great Britain and Ireland.
For sixty-one years the name of the person who received the Government reward of £1,000 for the betrayal of Lord Edward Fitzgerald remained an impenetrable mystery, although historians have devoted much time and labour in seeking to discover it. Among other revelations, recently published in the Cornwallis Papers, we find that “ Francis Higgins, proprietor of the Freeman's Journal”, was the person who gave all the information which led to the arrest and death of the Patriot Chief. In the following pages, however, it will appear that Higgins was not the actual Betrayer, but the employer of the Betrayer, a much respected “gentleman", who, although in receipt for forty-five years of a Pension—the price of Lord Edward's bloodwas not suspected of the treachery.
The Athenæum, after justly reprobating some of the duplicity practised in 1798, observed: