The Wearing of the Green by A.M. Sullivan

Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Martin Pettit and PG Distributed Proofreaders THE “WEARING OF THE GREEN,” _OR_ THE PROSECUTED FUNERAL PROCESSION. * * * * * Let the echoes fall unbroken; Let our tears in silence flow; For each word thus nobly spoken, Let us yield a nation’s woe; Yet, while weeping, sternly keeping Wary watch
This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1868
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Martin Pettit and PG Distributed Proofreaders

[Transcriber’s note: The spelling inconsistencies of the original are retained in this etext.]





* * * * *

Let the echoes fall unbroken;
Let our tears in silence flow;
For each word thus nobly spoken,
Let us yield a nation’s woe;
Yet, while weeping, sternly keeping Wary watch upon the foe.

_Poem in the_ “NATION.”






* * * * *

The news of the Manchester executions on the morning of Saturday, 23rd November, 1867, fell upon Ireland with sudden and dismal disillusion.

In time to come, when the generation now living shall have passed away, men will probably find it difficult to fully realize or understand the state of stupor and amazement which ensued in this country on the first tidings of that event; seeing, as it may be said, that the victims had lain for weeks under sentence of death, to be executed on this date. Yet surprise indubitably was the first and most overpowering emotion; for, in truth, no one up to that hour had really credited that England would take the lives of those three men on a verdict already publicly admitted and proclaimed to have been a blunder. Now, however, came the news that all was over–that the deed was done–and soon there was seen such an upheaving of national emotion as had not been witnessed in Ireland for a century. The public conscience, utterly shocked, revolted against the dreadful act perpetrated in the outraged name of justice. A great billow of grief rose and surged from end to end of the land. Political distinctions disappeared or were forgotten. The Manchester Victims–the Manchester Martyrs, they were already called–belonged to the Fenian organization; a conspiracy which the wisest and truest patriots of Ireland had condemned and resisted; yet men who had been prominent in withstanding, on national grounds, that hopeless and disastrous scheme–priests and laymen–were now amongst the foremost and the boldest in denouncing at every peril the savage act of vengeance perpetrated at Manchester. The Catholic clergy were the first to give articulate expression to the national emotion. The executions took place on Saturday; before night the telegraph had spread the news through the island; and on the next morning, being Sunday, from a thousand altars the sad event was announced to the assembled worshippers, and prayers were publicly offered for the souls of the victims. When the news was announced, a moan of sorrowful surprise burst from the congregation, followed by the wailing and sobbing of women; and when the priest, his own voice broken with emotion, asked all to join with him in praying the Merciful God to grant those young victims a place beside His throne, the assemblage with one voice responded, praying and weeping aloud!

The manner in which the national feeling was demonstrated on this occasion was one peculiarly characteristic of a nation in which the sentiments of religion and patriotism are so closely blended. No stormy “indignation meetings” were held; no tumult, no violence, no cries for vengeance arose. In all probability–nay, to a certainty–all this would have happened, and these ebullitions of popular passion would have been heard, had the victims not passed into eternity. But now, they were gone where prayer alone could follow; and in the presence of this solemn fact the religious sentiment overbore all others with the Irish people. Cries of anger, imprecations, and threats of vengeance, could not avail the dead; but happily religion gave a vent to the pent-up feelings of the living. By prayer and mourning they could at once, most fitly and most successfully, demonstrate their horror of the guilty deed, and their sympathy with the innocent victims.

Requiem Masses forthwith were announced and celebrated in several churches; and were attended by crowds everywhere too vast for the sacred edifices to contain. The churches in several instances were draped with black, and the ceremonies conducted with more than ordinary solemnity. In every case, however, the authorities of the Catholic church were careful to ensure that the sacred functions were sought and attended for spiritual considerations, not used merely for illegitimate political purposes; and wherever it was apprehended that the holy rites were in danger of such use, the masses were said privately.

And soon public feeling found yet another vent; a mode of manifesting itself scarcely less edifying than the Requiem Masses; namely, funeral processions. The brutal vengeance of the law consigned the bodies of Allen, Larkin, and O’Brien to dishonoured graves; and forbade the presence of sympathising friend or sorrowing relative who might drop a tear above their mutilated remains. Their countrymen now, however, determined that ample atonement should be made to the memory of the dead for this denial of the decencies of sepulture. On Sunday, 1st December, in Cork. Manchester, Mitchelstown, Middleton, Limerick, and Skibbereen, funeral processions, at which thousands of persons attended, were held; that in Cork being admittedly the most imposing, not only in point of numbers, but in the character of the demonstration and the demeanour of the people.

For more than twenty years Cork city has held an advanced position in the Irish national struggle. In truth, it has been one of the great strongholds of the national cause since 1848. Nowhere else did the national spirit keep its hold so tenaciously and so extensively amidst the people. In 1848 Cork city contained probably the most formidable organization in the country; formidable, not merely in numbers, but in the superior intelligence, earnestness, and determination of the men; and even in the Fenian conspiracy, it is unquestionable that the southern capital contributed to that movement men–chiefly belonging to the mercantile and commercial classes–who, in personal worth and standing, as well as in courage, intelligence, and patriotism, were the flower of the organization. Finally, it must be said, that it was Cork city by its funeral demonstration of the 1st December, that struck the first great blow at the Manchester verdict, and set all Ireland in motion. [Footnote: It may be truly said set the Irish race all over the world in motion. There is probably no parallel in history for the singular circumstance of these funeral processions being held by the dispersed Irish in lands remote, apart, as pole from pole–in the old hemisphere and in the new–in Europe, in America, in Australia; prosecutions being set on foot by the English government to punish them at both ends of the world–in Ireland and in New Zealand! In Hokatika the Irish settlers–most patriotic of Ireland’s exiles–organized a highly impressive funeral demonstration. The government seized and prosecuted its leaders, the Rev. Father Larkin, a Catholic clergyman, and Mr. Wm. Manning, editor of the _Hokatika Celt_. A jury, terrified by Fenian panic, brought them in “guilty,” and the patriot priest and journalist were consigned to a dungeon for the crime of mourning for the dead and protesting against judicial murder.]

Meanwhile the Irish capital had moved, and was organizing a demonstration destined to surpass all that had yet been witnessed. Early in the second week of December, a committee was formed for the purpose of organizing a funeral procession in Dublin, worthy of the national metropolis. Dublin would have come forward sooner, but the question of the _legality_ of the processions that were announced to come off the previous week in Cork and other places, had been the subject of fierce discussion in the government press; and the national leaders were determined to avoid the slightest infringement of the law or the least inroad on the public peace. It was only when, on the 3rd of December, Lord Derby, the Prime Minister, replying in the House of Lords to Lord Dufferin, declared the opinion of the crown that the projected processions were not illegal, that the national party in Dublin decided to form a committee and organize a procession. The following were Lord Derby’s words:–

“He could assure the noble lord that the government would continue to carry out the law with firmness and impartiality. The Party Processions Act, however, did not meet the case of the funeral processions, the parties engaged in them having, by not displaying banners or other emblems, kept within the law as far as his information went.”

Still more strong assurance was contained in the reply of the Irish Chief Secretary, Lord Mayo, to a question put by Sir P. O’Brien in the House of Commons. Lord Mayo publicly announced and promised that if any new opinion as to the legality of the processions should be arrived at–that is, should the crown see in them anything of illegality–_due and timely notice would be given_ by proclamation, so that no one might offend through ignorance. Here are his words:–

“It is the wish of the government to act strictly in accordance with the law; _and of course ample notice will be given either by proclamation or otherwise_.”

The Dublin funeral committee thereupon at once issued the following announcement, by placard and advertisement:–


In honour of the Irish Patriots
Executed at Manchester, 23rd November, Will take place in Dublin
On Sunday next, the 8th inst.

* * * * *

The procession will assemble in Beresford-place, near the Custom House, and will start from thence at the hour of twelve o’clock noon.

* * * * *

No flags, banners, or party emblems will be allowed.

* * * * *


Assemble in your thousands, and show by your numbers and your orderly demeanour your sympathy with the fate of the executed patriots.

* * * * *


You are requested to lend the dignity of your presence to this important National Demonstration.

By Order of the Committee.

JOHN MARTIN, Chairman.
J.C. WATERS, Hon. Secretary.
JAMES SCANLAN, Hon. Secretary.
J.J. LALOR, Hon. Secretary.
DONAL SULLIVAN, Up. Buckingham-street, Treasurer.

The appearance of the “funeral procession placards” all over the city on Thursday, 5th December, increased the public excitement. No other topic was discussed in any place of public resort, but the event forthcoming on Sunday. The first evidence of what it was about to be, was the appearance of the drapery establishments in the city on Saturday morning; the windows, exteriorly and interiorly, being one mass of crape and green ribbon–funeral knots, badges, scarfs, hat-bands, neckties, &c., exposed for sale. Before noon most of the retail, and several of the wholesale houses had their entire stock of green ribbon and crape exhausted, it being computed that _nearly one hundred thousand yards_ had been sold up to midnight of Saturday! Meantime the committee sat _en permanance_, zealously pushing their arrangements for the orderly and successful carrying out of their great undertaking–appointing stewards, marshals, &c.–in a word, completing the numerous details on the perfection of which it greatly depended whether Sunday was to witness a successful demonstration or a scene of disastrous disorder. On this, as upon every occasion when a national demonstration was to be organized, the trades of Dublin, Kingstown, and Dalkey, exhibited that spirit of patriotism for which they have been proverbial in our generation. From their ranks came the most efficient aids in every department of the preparations. On Saturday evening the carpenters, in a body, immediately after their day’s work was over, instead of seeking home and rest, refreshment or recreation after their week of toil, turned into the _Nation_ office machine rooms, which they quickly improvised into a vast workshop, and there, as volunteers, laboured away till near midnight, manufacturing “wands” for the stewards of next morning’s procession.

Sunday, 8th December, 1867, dawned through watery skies. From shortly after day-break, rain, or rather half-melted sleet, continued to fall; and many persons concluded that there would be no attempt to hold the procession under such inclement weather. This circumstance was, no doubt, a grievous discouragement, or rather a discomfort and an inconvenience; but so far from preventing the procession, it was destined to add a hundred-fold to the significance and importance of the demonstration. Had the day been fine, tens of thousands of persons who eventually only lined the streets, wearing the funeral emblems, would have marched in the procession as they had originally intended; but hostile critics would in this case have said that the fineness of the day and the excitement of the pageant had merely caused a hundred thousand persons to come out for a holiday. Now, however, the depth, reality, and intensity of the popular feeling was about to be keenly tested. The subjoined account of this memorable demonstration is summarised from the Dublin daily papers of the next ensuing publication, the report of the _Freeman’s Journal_ being chiefly used:–

As early as ten o’clock crowds began to gather in Beresford-place, and in an hour about ten thousand men were present. The morning had succeeded to the hopeless humidity of the night, and the drizzling rain fell with almost dispiteous persistence. The early trains from Kingstown and Dalkey, and all the citerior townlands, brought large numbers into Dublin; and Westland-row, Brunswick, D’Olier, and Sackville-streets, streamed with masses of humanity. A great number of the processionists met in Earlsfort-terrace, all round the Exhibition, and at twelve o’clock some thousands had collected. It was not easy to learn the object of this gathering; it may have been a mistake, and most probably it was, as they fell in with the great body in the course of half an hour. The space from the quays, including the great sweep in front of the Custom-house, was swarming with men, and women, and small children, and the big ungainly crowd bulged out in Gardiner-street, and the broad space leading up Talbot-street. The ranks began to be formed at eleven o’clock amid a down-pour of cold rain. The mud was deep and aqueous, and great pools ran through the streets almost level with the paths. Some of the more prominent of the men, and several of the committee, rode about directing and organizing the crowd, which presented a most extraordinary appearance. A couple of thousand young children stood quietly in the rain and slush for over an hour; while behind them, in close-packed numbers, were over two thousand young women. Not the least blame can be attached to those who managed the affairs of the day, inasmuch as the throng must have far exceeded even their most sanguine expectations. Every moment some overwhelming accession rolled down Abbey-street or Eden-quay, and swelled the already surging multitude waiting for the start. Long before twelve o’clock, the streets converging on the square were packed with spectators or intending processionists. Cabs struggled hopelessly to yield up the large number of highly respectable and well-attired ladies who had come to walk. Those who had hired vehicles for the day to join the procession were convinced of the impracticable character of their intention; and many delicate old men who would not give up the design, braved the terrors of asthma and bronchitis, and joined the rain-defying throng. Right across the spacious ground was one unmoving mass, constantly being enlarged by ever-coming crowds. All the windows in Beresford-place were filled with spectators, and the rain and cold seemed to have no saddening effect on the numerous multitude. The various bands of the trade were being disposed in their respective positions, and the hearses were a long way off and altogether in the back-ground, when, at a quarter to twelve, the first rank of men moved forward. Almost every one had an umbrella, but they were thoroughly saturated with the never-ceasing down-pour. As the steady, well-kept, twelve-deep ranks moved slowly out, some ease was given to those pent up behind; and it was really wonderful to see the facility with which the people adapted themselves to the orders of their directors. Every chance of falling in was seized, and soon the procession was in motion. The first five hundred men were of the artisan class. They were dressed very respectably, and each man wore upon his left shoulder a green rosette, and on his left arm a band of crape. Numbers had hat-bands depending to the shoulder; others had close crape intertwined carefully with green ribbon around their hats; and the great majority of the better sort adhered to this plan, which was executed with a skill unmistakably feminine. Here and there at intervals a man appeared with a broad green scarf around his shoulders, some embroidered with shamrocks, and others decorated with harps. There was not a man throughout the procession but was conspicuous by some emblem of nationality. Appointed officers walked at the sides with wands in their hands and gently kept back the curious and interested crowd whose sympathy was certainly demonstrative. Behind the five hundred men came a couple of thousand young children. These excited, perhaps, the most considerable interest amongst the bystanders, whether sympathetic, neutral, or opposite. Of tender age and innocent of opinions on any subject, they were being marshalled by their parents in a demonstration which will probably give a tone to their career hereafter; and seeds in the juvenile mind ever bear fruit in due season. The presence of these shivering little ones gave a serious significance to the procession–they were hostages to the party who had organized the demonstration. Earnestness must indeed have been strong in the mind of the parent who directed his little son or daughter to walk in saturating rain and painful cold through five or six miles of mud and water, and all this merely to say “I and my children were there.” It portends something more than sentiment. It is national education with a vengeance. Comment on this remarkable constituent was very frequent throughout the day, and when toward evening this band of boys sang out with lusty unanimity a popular Yankee air, spectators were satisfied of their culture and training. After the children came about one hundred young women who had been unable to gain their proper position, and accepted the place which chance assigned them. They were succeeded by a band dressed very respectably, with crape and green ribbons round their caps. These were followed by a number of rather elderly men, probably the parents of the children far ahead. At this portion of the procession, a mile from the point, they marched four deep, there having been a gradual decline from the front. Next came the bricklayers’ band all dressed in green caps, a very superior-looking body of men. Then followed a very imposing well-kept line, composed of young men of the better class, well attired and respectable looking. These wore crape hat-bands, and green rosettes with harps in the centre. Several had broad green body scarfs, with gold tinsel shamrocks and harps intertwined. As this portion of the procession marched they attracted very considerable attention by their orderly, measured tread, and the almost soldierly precision with which they maintained the line. They numbered about four or five thousand, and there were few who were not young, sinewy, stalwart fellows. When they had reached the further end of Abbey-street, the ground about Beresford-place was gradually becoming clear, and the spectator had some opportunity afforded of glancing more closely at the component parts of the great crowd. All round the Custom-house was still packed a dense throng, and large streams were flowing from the northern districts, Clontarf, the Strand, and the quays. The shipping was gaily decorated, and many of the masts were filled with young tars, wearing green bands on their hats. At half-past twelve o’clock, the most interesting portion of the procession left the Custom-house. About two thousand young women, who in attire, demeanour, and general appearance, certainly justified their title to be called ladies walked in six-deep ranks. The general public kept pace with them for a great distance. The green was most demonstrative, every lady having shawl, bonnet, veil, dress, or mantle of the national hue. The mud made sad havoc of their attire, but notwithstanding all mishaps they maintained good order and regularity. They stretched for over half a-mile, and added very notably to the imposing appearance, of the procession. So great was the pressure in Abbey-street, that for a very long time there were no less than three processions walking side-by-side. These halted at the end of the street, and followed as they were afforded opportunity. One of the bands was about to play near the Abbey-street Wesleyan House, but when a policeman told them of the proximity of the place of worship, they immediately desisted. The first was a very long way back in the line, and the foremost men must have been near the Ormond-quays, when the four horses moved into Abbey-street. They were draped with black cloths, and white plumes were at their heads. The hearse also had white plumes, and was covered with black palls. On the side was “William P. Allen.” A number of men followed, and then came a band. In the earlier portion of the day there were seen but two hearses, the second one bearing Larkin’s name. It was succeeded by four mourning coaches, drawn by two horses each. A large number of young men from the monster houses followed in admirable order. In this throng were very many men of business, large employers, and members of the professions. Several of the trades were in great force. It had been arranged to have the trade banners carried in front of the artisans of every calling, but at the suggestion of the chairman this design was abandoned. The men walked, however, in considerable strength. They marched from their various committee-rooms to the Custom-house. The quay porters were present to the number of 500, and presented a very orderly, cleanly appearance. They were comfortably dressed, and walked close after the hearse bearing Larkin’s name. Around this bier were a number of men bearing in their hands long and waving palms–emblems of martyrdom. The trades came next, and were led off by the various branches of the association known as the Amalgamated Trades. The plasterers made about 300, the painters 350, the boot and shoemakers mustered 1,000, the bricklayers 500, the carpenters 300, the slaters 450, the sawyers 200, and the skinners, coopers, tailors, bakers, and the other trades, made a very respectable show, both as to numbers and appearance. Each of these had representatives in the front of the procession, amongst the fine body of men who marched eight deep. The whole ground near the starting place was clear at half-past one, and by that time the demonstration was seen to a greater advantage than previously. All down Abbey-streets, and in fact throughout the procession, the pathways were crowded by persons who were practically of it, though not in it. Very many young girls naturally enough preferred to stand on the pathways rather than to be saturated with mud and water. But it may truly be said that every second man and woman of the crowds in almost every street were of the procession. Cabs filled with ladies and gentlemen remained at the waysides all day watching the march. The horses’ heads were gaily decorated with green ribbons, while every Jehu in the city wore a rosette or a crape band. Nothing of special note occurred until the procession turned into Dame-street. The appearance of the demonstration was here far greater than at any other portion of the city. Both sides of the street, and as far as Carlisle-bridge, were lined with cabs and carriages filled with spectators who were prevented by the bitter inclemency of the day from taking an active part in the proceedings. The procession was here grandly imposing, and after Larkin’s hearse were no less than nine carriages, and several cabs. It is stated that Mrs. Luby and Miss Mulcahy occupied one of the vehicles, and relatives of others now in confinement were alleged to have been present. One circumstance, which was generally remarked as having great significance, was the presence in one line of ten soldiers of the 86th Regiment. They were dressed in their great overcoats, which they wore open so as to show the scarlet tunic. These men may have been on leave, inasmuch as the great military force were confined to barracks, and kept under arms from six o’clock, a.m. The cavalry were in readiness for action, if necessary. Mounted military and police orderlies were stationed at various points of the city to convey any requisite intelligence to the authorities, and the constabulary at the depot, Phoenix Park, were also prepared, if their services should be required. At the police stations throughout the city large numbers of men were kept all day under arms. It is pleasant to state that no interference was necessary, as the great demonstration terminated without the slightest disturbance. The public houses generally remained closed until five o’clock, and the sobriety of the crowds was the subject of the general comment.

From an early hour in the morning every possible position along the quays that afforded a good view of the procession was taken advantage of, and, despite the inclemency of the weather, the parapets of the various bridges, commencing at Capel-street, were crowded with adventurous youths, who seemed to think nothing of the risks they ran in comparison with the opportunities they had of seeing the great sight in all its splendour. From eleven until twelve o’clock the greatest efforts were made to secure good places The side walks were crowded and impassable. The lower windows of the houses were made the most of by men who clutched the shutters and bars, whilst the upper windows were, as a general rule, filled with the fair sex, and it is almost unnecessary to add that almost every man, woman, and child displayed some emblem suitable to the occasion. Indeed, the originality of the designs was a striking feature. The women wore green ribbons and veils, and many entire dresses of the favourite colour. The numerous windows of the Four Courts accommodated hundreds of ladies, and we may mention that within the building were two pieces of artillery, a plentiful supply of rockets, and a number of policemen. It was arranged that the rockets should be fired from the roof in case military assistance was required. Contrary to the general expectation, the head of the procession appeared at Essex-bridge shortly before twelve o’clock. As it was expected to leave Beresford-place about that time, and as such gigantic arrangements are seldom carried out punctually, the thousands of people who congregated in this locality were pleasantly disappointed when a society band turned the corner of Mary-street and came towards the quays, with the processionists marching in slow and regular time. The order that prevailed was almost marvellous–not a sound was heard but the mournful strains of the music, and the prevalent feeling was expressed, no doubt, by one or two of the processionists, who said in answer to an inquiry, “We will be our own police to-day.” They certainly were their own police, for those who carried white wands did not spare themselves in their endeavours to maintain order in the ranks. As we have mentioned already, the first part of the procession reached Capel-street shortly before twelve o’clock, and some idea of the extent of the demonstration may be formed from the fact that the hearses did not come in view until a quarter-past one o’clock. They appeared at intervals of a quarter of an hour, and were received by a general cry of “hush.” The number of fine, well-dressed young women in the procession here was the subject of general remark, whilst the assemblage of boys astonished all who witnessed it on account of its extent. The variety of the tokens of mourning, too, was remarkable. Numbers of the women carried laurel branches in addition to green ribbons and veils, and many of the men wore shamrocks in their hats. The procession passed along the quays as far as King’s-bridge, and it there crossed and passed up Stevens’-lane. The windows of all the houses _en route_ were crowded chiefly with women, and the railings at the Esplanade and at King’s-bridge, were crowded with spectators.

About one o’clock the head of the procession, which had been compressed into a dense mass in Stevens’-lane, burst like confined water when relieved of restraint, on entering James’s-street, where every window and doorstep was crowded. Along the lines of footway extending at either side from the old fountain up to James’s-gate, were literally tented over with umbrellas of every hue and shade, held up as protection against the cold rain that fell in drizzling showers and made the streetway on which the vast numbers stood ankle deep in the slushy mud. The music of the “Dead March in Saul,” heard in the distance, caused the people to break from the lines in which they had partially stood awaiting the arrival of the procession, which now, for the first time, began to assume its full proportions. As it moved along the quays at the north side of the river, every street, bridge, and laneway served to obstruct to a considerable extent its progress and its order, owing to interruption from carriage traffic and from the crowds that poured into it and swelled it in its onward course. In the vast multitudes that lined this great western artery of the city, the greatest order and propriety were observed, and all seemed to be impressed with the one solemn and all-pervading idea that they were assembled to express their deep sympathy with the fate of three men whom they believed had been condemned and had suffered death unjustly. Even amongst the young there was not to be recognised the slightest approach to levity, and the old characteristics of a great Irish gathering were not to be perceived anywhere. The wrong, whether real or imaginary, done to Allen, O’Brien, and Larkin, made their memory sacred with the thousands that stood for hours in the December wet and cold of yesterday, to testify by their presence their feelings and their sympathies. The horsemen wearing green rosettes, trimmed with crape, who rode in advance of the procession, kept back the crowds at either side that encroached on the space in the centre of the street required for the vast coming mass to move through. On it came, the advance with measured tread, to the music of the band in front, and notwithstanding the mire which had to be waded through, the line went on at quiet pace, and with admirable order, but there was no effort at anything like semi-military swagger or pompous demonstration. Every window along the route of the procession was fully occupied by male and female spectators, all wearing green ribbons and crape, and in front of several of the houses black drapery was suspended. The tide of men, women, and children continued to roll on in the drenching rain, but nearly all the fair processionists carried umbrellas. It was not till the head of the vast moving throng had reached James’s-gate that anything like a just conception could be formed of its magnitude, as it was only now that it was beginning to get into regular shape and find room to extend itself. The persons whose duty it was to keep the several parts of the procession well together had no easy part to play, as the line had to be repeatedly broken to permit the ordinary carriage traffic of the streets to go on with as little delay as possible. The _cortege_ at this point looked grand and solemn in the extreme because of its vastness, and also because of all present appearing to be impressed with the one idea. The gloomy, wet, and cheerless weather was quite in keeping with the funeral march of 35,000 people. The bands were placed at such proper distances that the playing of one did not interfere with the other. After passing James’s-gate the band in front ceased to perform, and on passing the house 151 Thomas-street every head was uncovered in honour of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, who was arrested and mortally wounded by Major Sirr and his assistants in the front bedroom of the second floor of that house. Such was the length of the procession, that an hour had elapsed from the time its head entered James’s-street before the first hearse turned the corner of Stevens’-lane. In the neighbourhood of St. Catherine’s church a vast crowd of spectators had settled down, and every available elevation was taken possession of. At this point a large portion of the streetway was broken up for the purpose of laying down water-pipes, and on the lifting-crane and the heaps of earth the people wedged and packed themselves, which showed at once that this was a great centre of attraction–and it was, for here was executed the young and enthusiastic Robert Emmet sixty-four years ago. When Allen, O’Brien, and Larkin were condemned to death as political offenders, some of the highest and the noblest in the land warned the government to pause before the extreme penalty pronounced on the condemned men would be carried into effect, but all remonstrance was in vain, and on last Saturday fortnight, three comparatively unknown men in their death passed into the ranks of heroes and martyrs, because it was believed, and believed generally, that their lives were sacrificed to expediency, and not to satisfy justice. The spot where Robert Emmet closed his young life on a bloody scaffold was yesterday regarded by thousands upon thousands of his countrymen and women as a holy place, and all looked upon his fate as similar to that of the three men whose memory they had assembled to honour, and whose death they pronounced to be unjust. It would be hard to give a just conception of the scene here, as the procession advanced and divided, as it were, into two great channels, owing to the breaking up of the streetway. On the advance of the _cortege_ reaching the top of Bridgefoot-street every head was uncovered, and nothing was to be heard but the measured tread of the vast mass, but as if by some secret and uncontrollable impulse a mighty, ringing, and enthusiastic cheer, broke from the moving throng as the angle of the footway at the eastern end of St. Catherine’s church, where the scaffold on which Emmet was executed stood, was passed. In that cheer there appeared to be no fiction, as it evidently came straight from the hearts of thousands, who waved their hats and handkerchiefs, as did also the groups that clustered in the windows of the houses in the neighbourhood. As the procession moved on from every part of it the cheers rose again and again, men holding up their children, and pointing out the place where one who loved Ireland, “not wisely but too well,” rendered up his life. When the hearse with white plumes came up bearing on the side draperies the words “William P. Allen,” all the enthusiasm and excitement ceased, and along the lines of spectators prayers for the repose of the soul of the departed man passed from mouth to mouth; and a sense of deep sadness seemed to settle down on the swaying multitude as the procession rolled along on its way. After this hearse came large numbers of females walking on bravely, apparently heedless of the muddy streets and the unceasing rain that came down without a moment’s intermission. When the second hearse, bearing white plumes and the name of “Michael O’Brien” on the side pendants, came up, again all heads were uncovered, and prayers recited by the people for the everlasting rest of the departed. Still onward rolled the mighty mass, young and old, and in the entire assemblage was not to be observed a single person under the influence of drink, or requiring the slightest interference on the part of the police, whose exertions were altogether confined to keeping the general thoroughfare clear of obstruction. Indeed, justly speaking, the people required no supervision, as they seemed to feel that they had a solemn duty to discharge. Fathers were to be seen bearing in their arms children dressed in white and decorated with green ribbons, and here, as elsewhere, was observed unmistakable evidence of the deep sympathy of the people with the executed men. This was, perhaps, more strikingly illustrated as the third hearse, with sable plumes, came up bearing at either side the name of “Michael Larkin;” prayers for his soul’s welfare were mingled with expressions of commiseration for his widow and children. At the entrance to Cornmarket, where the streetway narrows, the crushing became very great, but still the procession kept its onward course. On passing the shop of Hayburne, who, it will be remembered, was convicted of being connected with the Fenian conspiracy, a large number of persons in the procession uncovered and cheered. In the house of Roantree, in High-street, who was also convicted of treason-felony, a harp was displayed in one of the drawingroom windows by a lady dressed in deep mourning, and the procession loudly cheered as it passed on its route.

Standing at the corner of Christchurch-place, a fine view could be had of the procession as it approached Winetavern-street from High-street. The compact mass moved on at a regular pace, while from the windows on either side of the streets the well-dressed citizens, who preferred to witness the demonstration from an elevated position rather than undergo the fatigues and unpleasantness of a walk through the city in such weather, eagerly watched the approach of the procession. Under the guidance of the horsemen and those whose wands showed it was their duty to marshal the immense throng, the procession moved at an orderly pace down Winetavern-street, which, spacious as it is, was in a few minutes absolutely filled with the vast crowds. The procession again reached the quays, and moved along Wood-quay and Essex-quay, and into Parliament-street, which it reached at twenty minutes to two o’clock. Passing down Parliament-street, and approaching the O’Connell statue, a number of persons began to cheer, but this was promptly suppressed by the leaders, who galloped in advance for some distance with a view to the preservation of the mournful silence that had prevailed. This was strictly enjoined, and the instruction was generally observed by the processionists. The reverential manner in which the many thousands of the people passed the statue of the Liberator was very observable. A rather heavy rain was falling at the time, yet there were thousands who uncovered their heads as they looked up to the statue which expressed the noble attitude and features of O’Connell. As the procession moved along through Dame-street the footways became blocked up, and lines of cabs took up places in the middle of the carriageway, and the police exercised a wise discretion in preventing vehicles from the surrounding streets driving in amongst the crowds. By this means the danger of serious accident was prevented without any public inconvenience being occasioned, as a line parallel to that which the procession was taking was kept clear for all horse conveyances. Owing to the hour growing late, and a considerable distance still to be gone over, the procession moved at a quick pace. In anticipation of its arrival great crowds collected in the vicinity of the Bank of Ireland and Trinity College, where the _cortege_ was kept well together, notwithstanding the difficulty of such a vast mass passing on through the heart of the city filled at this point with immense masses of spectators. Oil passing the old Parliament-house numbers of men in the procession took of their hats, but the disposition to cheer was suppressed, as it was at several other points along the route. Turning down Westmoreland-street, the procession, marshalled by Dr. Waters on horseback, passed slowly along between the thick files of people on each side, most of whom displayed the mourning and national symbols, black and green. The spacious thoroughfare in a few minutes was filled with the dense array, which in close compact ranks pressed on, the women, youths, and children, bearing bravely the privations of the day, the bands preceding and following the hearses playing the Dead March, the solemn notes filling the air with mournful cadence. The windows of the houses on each side of the street were filled with groups of spectators of the strange and significant spectacle below. With the dark masses of men, broken at intervals by the groups of females and children, still stretched lengthily in the rere, the first section of the procession crossed Carlisle-bridge, the footways and parapets of which were thronged with people, nearly all of whom wore the usual tokens of sympathy. Passing the bridge, a glance to the right, down the river, revealed the fact that the ships, almost without exception, had their flags flying half mast high, and that the rigging of several were filled with seamen, who chose this elevated position to get a glimpse of the procession as it emerged into Sackville-street. Here the sight was imposing. A throng of spectators lined each side of the magnificent thoroughfare, and the lofty houses had their windows on each side occupied with spectators. Pressing onwards with measured, steady pace, regardless of the heavy rain, the cold wind, and the gloomy sky, the procession soon filled Sackville-street from end to end with its dense dark mass, which stretching away over Carlisle-bridge, seemed motionless in the distance. The procession defiled to the left of the site of the O’Connell monument at the head of the street, and the national associations connected with this spot was acknowledged by the large numbers of the processionists, who, with uncovered heads, marched past, some expressing their feelings with a subdued cheer. The foremost ranks were nearing Glasnevin when the first of the hearses entered Sackville-street, which, at this moment, held a numberless throng of people, processionists, and spectators, the latter, as at all the other points of the route, exhibiting prominently the sable and green emblems, which evidenced their approval of the demonstration. The hearses slowly passed along, followed by the mourning carriages, the bands playing alternately “Adeste Fidelis” and the “Dead March,” and then followed the deep column of the processionists, still marching onwards with unflagging spirit, thousands seeming to be thoroughly soaked with the rain, which was falling all the morning. Sackville-street was perhaps the best point from which to get a correct notion of the enormous length of the procession, and of the great numbers that accompanied it on its way without actually entering the ranks. The base of the Nelson monument was covered with spectators, and at the corners of Earl-street and Henry-street there were stationary crowds, who chose these positions to get a good view of the great display as it progressed towards Cavendish-row. Through this comparatively narrow thoroughfare the procession passed along into North Frederick-street and Blessington-street, and thence by Upper Berkeley-street to the Circular-road. Along this part of the route there were crowds of spectators, male and female, most of whom wore the crape, and green ribbons, all hurrying forward to the cemetery, the last stage of the long and fatiguing journey of the procession. As the first part of the array passed the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, and came in sight of the Mountjoy Prison, they gave a cheer, which was caught up by those behind, and as file after file passed the prison the cheers were repeated. With unbroken and undiminished ranks the procession pressed on towards Glasnevin; but when the head had reached the cemetery, the closing section must have been far away in the city. The first part of the procession halted outside the gate of the cemetery, the spacious area in front of which was in a few moments completely filled by the dense masses who came up. A move then became necessary, and accordingly the procession recommenced its journey by passing through the open gates of the cemetery down the pathways leading to the M’Manus grave, followed by some of the bands playing the “Adeste Fidelis.” As fast as the files passed through others marched up, and when, after some time the carriage containing Mr. John Martin arrived, the open ground fronting the cemetery was one enormous mass of the processionists, while behind on the road leading up to this point thousands were to be seen moving slowly forward to the strains of the “Dead March,” given out by the bands immediately in front of the hearses.


On the arrival of the procession at the cemetery Mr. Martin was hailed with loud applause. It being understood he would make some observations, the multitude gathered together to hear him. He addressed the vast multitude from the window of a house overlooking the great open space in front of the cemetery. On presenting himself he was received with enthusiastic cheering. When silence was obtained he said:–

“Fellow-countrymen–This is a strange kind of funeral procession in which we are engaged to-day. We are here, a vast multitude of men, women, and children in a very inclement season of the year, under rain and through mud. We are here escorting three empty hearses to the consecrated last resting place of those who die in the Lord (cheers). The three bodies that we would tenderly bear to the churchyard, and would bury in consecrated ground with all the solem rites of religion, are not here. They are away in a foreign and hostile land (hear, hear), where they have been thrown into unconsecrated ground, branded by the triumphant hatred of our enemies as the vile remains of murderers (cries of ‘no murderers,’ and cheers). Those three men whose memories we are here to-day to honour–Allen, O’Brien, and Larkin–they were not murderers (great cheering). [A Voice–Lord have mercy on them.] Mr. Martin–These men were pious men, virtuous men–they were men who feared God and loved their country. They sorrowed for the sorrows of the dear old native land of their love (hear, hear). They wished, if possible, to save her, and for that love and for that wish they were doomed to an ignominious death at the hands of the British hangman (hear, hear). It was as Irish patriots that these men were doomed to death (cheers). And it was as Irish patriots that they met their death (cheers). For these reasons, my countrymen, we here to-day have joined in this solemn procession to honour their memories (cheers). For that reason we say from our hearts, ‘May their souls rest in peace’ (cries of Amen, and cheers). For that reason, my countrymen, we join in their last prayer, ‘God save Ireland’ (enthusiastic cheering). The death of these three men was an act of English policy. [Here there was some interruption caused by the fresh arrivals and the pushing forward.] I beg of all within reach of my voice to end this demonstration as we have carried it through to the present time, with admirable patience, in the best spirit, with respect, silence and solemnity, to the end (cheers, and cries of ‘we will’). I say the death of these men was a legal murder, and that legal murder was an act of English policy (cheers)–of the policy of that nation which through jealousy and hatred of our nation, destroyed by fraud and force our just government sixty-seven years ago (cheers). They have been sixty-seven sad years of insult and robbery–of impoverishment–of extermination–of suffering beyond what any other subject people but ours have ever endured from the malignity of foreign masters (cheers). Nearly through all these years the Irish people continued to pray for the restoration of their Irish national rule. They offered their forgiveness to England. They offered even their friendship to England if she would only give up her usurped power to tyrannise over us, and leave us to live in peace, and as honourable neighbours. But in vain. England felt herself strong enough to continue to insult and rob us, and she was too greedy and too insolent to cease from robbing and insulting us (cheers). Now it has come to pass as a consequence of that malignant policy pursued for so many long years–it has come to pass that the great body of the Irish people despair of obtaining peaceful restitution of our national rights (cheers). And it has also come to pass that vast numbers of Irishmen, whom the oppression of English rule forbade to live by honest industry in their own country, have in America learned to become soldiers (cheers). And those Irish soldiers seem resolved to make war against England (cheers). And England is in a panic of rage and fear in consequence of this (loud cheers). And being in a panic about Fenianism, she hopes to strike terror into her Irish malcontents by a legal murder (loud cheers). England wanted to show that she was not afraid of Fenianism–[A Voice–‘She will be.’] And she has only shown that she is not afraid to do injustice in the face of Heaven and of man. Many a wicked statute she has framed–many a jury she has packed, in order to dispose of her Irish political offenders–but in the case of Allen, O’Brien, and Larkin, she has committed such an outrage on justice and decency as to make even many Englishmen stand aghast. I shall not detain you with entering into details with which you are all well acquainted as to the shameful scenes of the handcuffing of the untried prisoners–as to the shameful scenes of the trial up to the last moment, when the three men–our dearly beloved Irish brethren, were forced to give up their innocent lives as a sacrifice for the cause of Ireland (loud cheers); and, fellow-countrymen, these three humble Irishmen who represented Ireland on that sad occasion demeaned themselves as Christians, as patriots, modestly, courageously, piously, nobly (loud cheers). We need not blush for them. They bore themselves all through with a courage worthy of the greatest heroes that ever obtained glory upon earth. They behaved through all the trying scenes I referred to with Christian patience–with resignation to the will of God–(hear, hear)–with modest, yet proud and firm adherence to principle (cheers). They showed their love to Ireland and their fear of God from the first to the last (cheers). It is vain for me to attempt to detain you with many words upon this matter. I will say this, that all who are here do not approve of the schemes for the relief of Ireland that these men were supposed to have contemplated; but all who love Ireland, all generous, Christian men, and women, and children of Ireland–all the children growing up to be men and women of Ireland (hear, hear)–all those feel an intense sympathy, an intense love for the memories of these three men whom England has murdered in form of law by way of striking terror into her Irish subjects. Fellow-countrymen, it is idle almost for me to persist in addressing weak words of mine to you–for your presence here to-day–your demeanour all through–the solemn conduct of the vast multitude assembled directly under the terrorism of a hostile government–say more than the words of the greatest orator–more than the words of a Meagher could say for you (cheers). You have behaved yourselves all through this day with most admirable spirit as good Irishmen and women–as good boys and girls of holy Ireland ought to be (cheers), and I am sure you will behave so to the end (cries of yes, yes). This demonstration is mainly one of mourning for the fate of these three good Irishmen (cheers), but fellow-countrymen, and women, and boys, and girls, it is also one of protest and indignation against the conduct of our rulers (hear, hear, and cheers) Your attendance here to-day is a sufficient protest. Your orderly behaviour–your good temper all through this wretched weather–your attendance here in such vast numbers for such a purpose–avowedly and in the face of the terrorism of the government, which falls most directly upon the metropolis–that is enough for protest. You in your multitudes, men, women, and children, have to-day made that protest. Your conduct has been admirable for patience, for good nature, for fine spirit, for solemn sense of that great duty you were resolved to do. You will return home with the same good order and inoffensiveness. You will join with me now in repeating the prayer of the three martyrs whom we mourn–‘God save Ireland!’ And all of you, men, women, and boys and girls that are to be men and women of holy Ireland, will ever keep the sentiment of that prayer in your heart of hearts.” Mr. Martin concluded amid enthusiastic cheering.

At the conclusion of his address, Mr. Martin, accompanied by a large body of the processionists, proceeded to the cemetery, where Mr. Martin visited the grave of Terence Bellew M’Manus. The crowds walked around the grave as a mark of respect for the memory of M’Manus. Mr. Martin left the cemetery soon after, end went to his carriage; the people gathered about him and thanked him, and cheered him loudly. The vast assemblage dispersed in the most orderly and peaceful manner, and returned to their homes. They had suffered much from the severity of the day, but they exhibited to the end the most creditable endurance and patience. In the course of an hour the roads were cleared and the city soon resumed its wonted quiet aspect.[Footnote: In consequence of some vile misstatements in the government press, which represented the crowd to have not only behaved recklessly, but to have done considerable damaged to the graves, tombs, shrubs, and fences in the cemetery, Mr. Coyle, secretary to the Cemetery Board, published in the _Freeman_ an official contradiction, stating that not one sixpence worth of damage had been done. It is furthermore worthy of note, that at the city police offices next morning not one case arising out of the procession was before the magistrates, and the charges for drunkenness were one-fourth below the average on Mondays!]

Of the numbers in the procession “An Eye-witness,” writing in the _Freeman_, says:–

The procession took one hour and forty minutes to pass the Four Courts. Let us assume that as the average time in which it would pass any given point, and deduct ten minutes for delays during that time. If, then, it moved at the rate of two and a-half miles per hour, we find that its length, with those suppositions, would be three and three-quarters miles. From this deduct a quarter of a mile for breaks or discrepancies, for we find the length of the column, if it moved in a continuous line, to be three and a-half miles. We may now suppose the ranks to be three feet apart, and consisting of ten in each, at an average. The total number is therefore easily obtained by dividing the product of 3-1/2 and 5,280 by 3, and multiplying the quotient by 10. This will give as a result 61,600 which, I think, is a fair approximation to the number of people in the procession alone.

Even in the columns of the _Irish Times_ a letter appeared giving an honest estimate of the numbers in the procession. It was signed “T.M.G.,” and said:–

I believe there was not fewer than 60,000 persons taking part in the procession on Sunday. My point of observation was one of the best in the city, seeing, as I could, from the entrance to the Lower Castle Yard to the College Gates. I was as careful in my calculation as an almost quick march would allow. There were also a few horsemen, three hearses, and sixty-one hired carriages, cabs, and cars. A correspondent in your columns this morning speaks of rows of from four to nine deep; I saw very many of from ten to sixteen deep, especially among the boys. The procession, took exactly eighty minutes to pass this. There were several thousand onlookers within my view.

Of the ladies in the procession the _Freeman’s Journal_ bore the following testimony, not more generous than truthful:–

The most important physical feature was not, however, the respectable dress, the manly bearing, the order, discipline, and solemnity of the men, but the large bodies of ladies who, in rich and costly attire, marched the whole length of the long route, often ankle deep in mud, utterly regardles of the incessant down-pour of rain which deluged their silks and satins, and melted the mourning crape till it seemed incorporated with the very substance of the velvet mantles or rich shawls in which so many of the fair processionists were enveloped. In vain did well-gloved hands hold thousands of green parasols and umbrellas over their heads as they walked four and five deep through the leading thoroughfares yesterday. The bonnets with their ‘green and crape’ were alone defensible, velvets and Paisleys, silks and satins, met one common fate–thorough saturation. Yet all this and more was borne without a murmur. These ladies, and there were many hundreds of them, mingled with thousands in less rich attire, went out to cooperate with their fathers, brothers, and sweethearts in honouring three men who died upon the ignominious gallows, and they never flinched before the torrents, or swerved for an instant from the ranks. There must be some deep and powerful influence underlying this movement that could induce thousands of matrons and girls of from eighteen to two and-twenty, full of the blushing modesty that distinguishes Irishwomen, to lay aside their retiring characteristics and march to the sound of martial music through every thoroughfare in the metropolis of this country decked in green and crape.

The Dublin correspondent of the _Tipperary Free Press_ referred to the demonstration as follows:–

Arrived in Sackville-street we were obliged to leave our cab and endeavour, on foot, to force a way to our destination. This magnificent street was crowded to repletion, and the approaches to Beresford-place were ‘black with people.’ It was found necessary, owing to the overwhelming numbers that assembled, to start the procession before the hour named for its setting forth, and so it was commenced in wonderful order, considering the masses that had to be welded into shape. Marshals on foot and on horseback proceeded by the side of those in rank and file, and they certainly wore successful in preserving regularity of procedure. Mourning coaches and cabs followed, and after each was a procession of women, at least a thousand in number. Young and old were there–all decked in some shape or other with green; many green dresses–some had green feathers in their hats, but all had green ribbons prominently displayed. The girls bore all the disagreeability of the long route with wonderful endurance; it was bitterly cold–a sleety rain fell during the entire day, and the roads were almost ankle deep in mud–yet when they passed me on the return route they were apparently as unwearied as when I saw them hours before. As the procession trooped by–thousand after thousand–there was not a drunken man to be seen–all were calm and orderly, and if they were, as many of them were–soaked through–wet to the skin–they endured the discomfiture resolutely. The numbers in the procession have been variously estimated, but in my opinion there could not have been less than 50,000. But the demonstration was not confined to the processionists alone; they walked through living walls, for along the entire route a mass of people lined the way, the great majority of whom wore some emblem of mourning, and every window of every house was thronged with ladies and children, nearly all of whom were decorated. All semblance of authority was withdrawn from sight, but every preparation had been made under the personal direction of Lord Strathnairn, the commander-in-chief, for the instant intervention of the military, had any disturbances taken place. The troops were confined to barracks since Saturday evening; they were kept in readiness to march at a moment’s notice; the horses of the cavalry were saddled all day long, and those of the artillery were in harness. A battery of guns was in the rere yard of the Four Courts, and mounted orderlies were stationed at arranged points so as to convey orders to the different barracks as speedily as possible. But, thanks to Providence, all passed off quietly; the people seemed to feel the responsibility of their position, and accordingly not even an angry word was to be heard throughout the vast assemblage that for hours surged through the highways of the city.

The _Ulster Observer_, in the course of a beautiful and sympathetic article, touched on the great theme as follows:–

The main incidents of the singular and impressive event are worthy of reflection. On a cold December morning, wet and dreary as any morning in December might be, vast crowds assembled in the heart of Dublin to follow to consecrated ground the empty hearses which bore the names of the Irishmen whom England doomed to the gallows as murderers. The air was piercingly chill, the rain poured down in torrents, the streets were almost impassable from the accumulated pools of mingled water and mud, yet 80,000 people braved the inclemency of the weather, and unfalteringly carried out the programme so fervently adopted. Amongst the vast multitude there were not only stalwart men, capable of facing the difficulties of the day, but old men, who struggled through and defied them; and, strangest of all, ‘young ladies, clothed in silk and velvet,’ and women with tender children by their sides, all of whom continued to the last to form a part of the _cortege_, although the distance over which it passed must have taxed the strongest physical energy. What a unanimity of feeling, or rather what a naturalness of sentiment does not this wonderful demonstration exhibit? It seems as if the ‘God save Ireland’ of the humble successors of Emmet awoke in even the breast of infancy the thrill which must have vibrated sternly and strongly in the heart of manhood. Without exalting into classical grandeur the simple and affectionate devotion of a simple and unsophisticated people, we might compare this spectacle to that which ancient Rome witnessed, when the ashes of Germanicus were borne in solemn state within her portals. There were there the attendant crowd of female mourners, and the bowed heads and sorrowing hearts of strong men. If the Irish throngs had no hero to lament, who sustained their glory in the field, and gained for them fresh laurels of victory, theirs was at least a more disinterested tribute of grief, since it was paid to the unpretending merit which laid down, life with the simple prayer of ‘God save Ireland!’ Amidst all the numerous thousands who proceeded to Glasnevin, there was not, probably, one who would have sympathised with any criminal offence, much less with the hideous one of murder. And yet these thousands honoured and revered the memory of the men condemned in England as assassins, and ignominiously buried in felons’ graves.

This mighty demonstration–at once so unique, so solemn, so impressive, so portentous–was an event which the rulers of Ireland felt to be of critical importance. Following upon the Requiem Masses and the other processions, it amounted to a great public verdict which changed beyond all resistance the moral character of the Manchester trial and execution. If the procession could only have been called a “Fenian” demonstration, then indeed the government might hope to detract from its significance and importance. The sympathy of “co-conspirators” with fallen companions could not well be claimed as an index of general _public opinion_. But here was a demonstration notoriously apart from Fenianism, and it showed that a moral, a peaceable, a virtuous, a religious people, moved by the most virtuous and religious instincts, felt themselves coerced to execrate as a cowardly and revolting crime the act of state policy consummated on the Manchester gibbet. In fine, the country was up in moral revolt against a deed which the perpetrators themselves already felt to be of evil character, and one which they fain would blot for ever from public recollection.

What was to be done? For the next ensuing Sunday similar demonstrations were announced in Killarney, Kilkenny, Drogheda, Ennis, Clonmel, Queenstown, Youghal, and Fermoy–the preparations in the first named town being under the direction of, and the procession about to be led by, a member of parliament, one of the most distinguished and influential of the Irish popular representatives–The O’Donoghue. What was to be done? Obviously, as the men had been hanged, there could be no halting halfway now. Having gone so far, the government seemed to feel that it must need go the whole way, and choke off, at all hazards, these inconvenient, these damnatory public protests. No man must be allowed to speak the Unutterable Words, which, like the handwriting on the wall in the banquetting hall of Belshazzar, seemed ever to be appearing before the affrighted consciences of Ireland’s rulers. Be it right or be it wrong, be it justice or be it murder, the act must now be upheld–in fact, must not be alluded to. There must be _silence_ by law, on what had been done beneath the Manchester gallows-tree.

But here there presented itself a difficulty. Before the government had any idea that the public revulsion would become so alarmingly extensive, the responsible ministers of the crown, specifically interrogated on the point, had, as we have seen, declared the funeral processions not to be illegal, and how, now, could the government interpose to prevent them? It certainly was a difficulty which there was no way of surmounting save by a proceeding which in any country constitutionally governed would cost its chief authors their lives on impeachment. The government, notwithstanding the words of its own responsible chiefs–_on the faith of which the Dublin procession was held, and numerous others were announced_–decided to treat as illegal the proceedings they had but a week before declared to be _not_ illegal; decided to prosecute the processionists who had acted on the government declarations; and decided to prevent, by sabre and cannon–by slaughter if necessary–the further processions announced in Killarney, Clonmel, Kilkenny, and elsewhere!

On the evening of Thursday, the 12th December, Dublin city was flung into the most intense excitement by the issue of the following Government Proclamation:–

* * * * *




Whereas it has been publicly announced that a meeting is to assemble in the city of _Kilkenny_, and that a procession is to take place there on Sunday, 15th day of December instant:

And whereas placards of the said intended meeting and procession have been printed and circulated, stating that the said intended procession is to take place in honour of certain men lately executed in Manchester for the crime of murder, and calling upon Irishmen to assemble in thousands for the said procession:

And whereas meetings and processions of large numbers of persons have been already held and have taken place in different parts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland under the like pretence, at some of which, and particularly at a meeting and procession in the city of Dublin, language of a seditious and inflammatory character has been used, calculated to excite discontent and disaffection in the minds of her Majesty’s subjects, and to create ill-will and animosity amongst them, and to bring into hatred and contempt the government and constitution of the country as by law established:

And whereas the said intended meeting and procession, and the objects of the persons to be assembled, and take part therein, are not legal or constitutional, but are calculated to bring into hatred and contempt the government of the United Kingdom as by law established, and to impede the administration of justice by intimidation, and the demonstration of physical force.

Now we, the Lord Lieutenant and General Governor of Ireland, by and with the advice of her Majesty’s Privy Council in Ireland, being satisfied that such meetings and processions as aforesaid can only tend to serve the ends of factious, seditions, and traitorous persons, and to the violation of the public peace, do hereby caution and forewarn all persons whomsoever that they do abstain from assembling at any such meeting, and from joining or taking part in any such procession.

And we do hereby order and enjoin all magistrates and officers entrusted with the preservation of the public peace, and others whom it may concern, to aid and assist the execution of the law, in preventing the said intended meeting and procession, and in the effectual suppression of the same.

Given at the Council Chamber in Dublin, this Twelfth day of December, 1807.


Everybody knew what this proclamation meant. It plainly enough announced that not only would the further demonstrations be prevented, but that the Dublin processionists were to feel “the vengeance of the law”–that is the vengeance of the Manchester executioners. Next day the city was beset with the wildest rumours as to the arrests to be made or the prosecutions to be commenced. Everyone seemed to conclude of course that Mr. John Martin, Mr. A.M. Sullivan, and the Honorary Secretaries of the Procession Committee, were on the crown prosecutor’s list; but besides these the names of dozens of gentlemen who had been on the committee, or who had acted as stewards, marshals, &c., at the funeral, were likewise mentioned. On Saturday it became known that late on the previous evening crown summonses had been served on Mr. J.J. Lalor, Dr. J.C. Waters, and Mr. James Scanlan, requiring them to attend on the following Tuesday at the Head Police Office to answer informations sworn against them for taking part in an “illegal procession” and a “seditious assembly.” A summons had been taken out also against Mr. Martin; but as he had left Dublin for home on Friday, the police officers proceeded after him to Kilbroney, and “served” him there on Saturday evening.

Beside and behind this open move was a secret castle plot so utterly disreputable that, as we shall see, the Attorney-General, startled by the shout of universal execration which it elicited, sent his official representative into public court to repudiate it as far as _he_ was concerned, and to offer a public apology to the gentlemen aggrieved by it. The history of that scandalous proceeding will appear in what follows.

On Monday, 16th December, 1867, the Head Police Office, Exchange-court, Dublin, presented an excited scene. The daily papers of the day report the proceedings as follows:–

At one o’clock, the hour appointed by the summons, the defendants attended in court, accompanied by their professional advisers and a number of friends, including Alderman Plunkett, Mr. Butler, T.C.; the Rev. P. Langan, P.P., Ardcath; A.M. Sullivan, T.C.; T.D. Sullivan, J.J. Lalor, &c. Mr. Dix and Mr. Allen, divisional magistrates, presided. Mr. James Murphy, Q.C., instructed by Mr. Anderson, represented the crown. Mr. Heron, Q.C., and Mr. Molloy appeared for J.J. Lalor. Mr. Crean appeared for Dr. Waters. Mr. Scallan appeared as solicitor for J.J. Lalor and for Dr. Waters.

It was generally understood, on arrival at the Head-office, that the cases would be heard in the usual court up stairs, and, accordingly, the defendants and the professional gentlemen waited in the court for a considerable time after one o’clock. It was then stated that the magistrates would sit in another court down stairs, and all the parties moved towards the door for the purpose of going there. Then another arrangement was made, that the change would not take place, and the parties concerned thereupon returned to their places. But in a few minutes it was again announced that the proceedings would be in the court down stairs. A general movement was made again by defendants, by counsel, by solicitors, and others towards that court, but on arriving at the entrances they were guarded by detectives and police. The benches, which ought to have been reserved for the bar and solicitors, and also for the press, were occupied by detectives, and for a considerable time great difficulty was experienced in getting places.

Mr. George M’Dermott, barrister, applied to the magistrates to assign a place for the members of the bar.

Mr. Dix–I don’t know that the bar, unless they are engaged in the cases, have any greater privilege than anyone else. We have a wretched court here.

Mr. M’Dermott said the bar was entitled to have room made for them when it could be done.

Mr. W.L. Hackett–All the seats should not be occupied by policemen to the exclusion of the bar.

Mr. Scallan, solicitor, who spoke from the end of the table, said–Your worships, I am solicitor for one of the traversers, and I cannot get near my counsel to communicate with him. The court is filled with detectives.

Mr. Molloy–My solicitor has a right to be here; I want my solicitor to be near me.

Mr. Dix–Certainly; how can men defend their clients if they are inconvenienced.

An appeal was then made to the detectives who occupied the side bar behind the counsel to make way.

Mr. Murphy, Q.C., said one was a policeman who was summoned. Mr. Dix–The police have no right to take seats.

The detectives then yielded, and the professional gentlemen and the reporters were accommodated.

Mr. Dix then called the cases.

Mr. Molloy–I appear with Mr. Heron, Q.C., on behalf of J.J. Lalor.

Mr. Crean–I appear for Dr. Waters.

Mr. John Martin–I appear on behalf of myself.

Mr. Crean–I understand there is an impression that Dr. Waters has been summoned, but he has not.

Mr. Dix–If he appears that cures any defect.

Mr. Crean–I appear on his behalf, but I believe his personal attendance is necessary.

Mr. Dix–Does anyone appear for Mr. Scanlan?

There was no answer.

Mr. Murphy, Q.C.–I ask whether Dr. Waters and Mr. Lalor appear in court.

Mr. Molloy–My client Mr. Lalor, is in court.

Mr. Crean–I believe my client is not in court.

Mr. Murphy, Q.C.–I will prove the service of the summons against Dr. Waters. If there is any defect in the summons it can be remedied. I will not proceed against any person who does not appear.

Mr. Dix–Am I to take it there is no appearance for Dr. Waters or Mr. Scanlan?

Mr. Crean–I appear for Dr. Waters. I believe he is not in court. It was stated in the newspapers that he was summoned, but I am instructed he has not been summoned at all.

Mr. Murphy, Q.C., then proceeded in a careful and precise address to state the case for the crown. When he had concluded, and was about calling evidence, the following singular episode took place:–

Mr. Dix–You only proceed against two parties?

Mr. Murphy–I shall only proceed against the parties who attend–against those who do not attend I shall not give evidence.

Mr. John Martin–If I am in order I would say, to save the time of the court and to save the public money, that I would be very glad to offer every facility to the crown. I believe, Sir, you (to Mr. Murphy) are the crown?

Mr. Murphy–I represent the crown.

Mr. Martin–I will offer every facility to the crown for establishing the facts both as to my conduct and my words.

Mr. A.M. Sullivan–I also will help you to put up some one, as you seem scarce of the accused. I have been summoned myself–

Mr. Dix–Who are you?

Mr. Sullivan–My name is Alexander M. Sullivan, and, meaning no disrespect to either of the magistrates, I publicly refuse even to be sworn. I was present at the funeral procession–I participated in it openly, deliberately, heartily–and I denounce as a personal and public outrage the endeavour to degrade the national press of this country by attempting to place in the light of–

Mr. Dix–I cannot allow this. This is not a place for making speeches. I understand you are not summoned here at all.

Mr. Murphy–He is only summoned as a witness.

Mr. Dix–When you (to Mr. Sullivan) are called on will be the time to hear you, not now.

Mr. Sullivan–I ask your worship, with your usual courtesy, to hear me while I complain publicly of endeavouring to place the editor of a national journal on the list of crown witnesses in this court as a public and personal indignity–and as an endeavour to destroy the influence of that national press, whose power they feel and fear, but which they dare not prosecute. I personally complain–

Mr. Murphy–I don’t know that this should be permitted.

Mr. Sullivan–Don’t interrupt me for a moment.

Mr. Dix–Mr. Sullivan wants to have himself included in the summons and charge.

Mr. Murphy–That cannot be done at present.

Mr. Sullivan–With one sentence I will conclude.

Mr. Murphy–I don’t intend to have you called as a witness–

Mr. Sullivan–It is an endeavour to accomplish my imprisonment for contempt, when the government “willing to wound, afraid to strike,” know that they dare not accuse me as a Fenian–

Mr. Dix–You are not here as a Fenian.

Mr. Sullivan–For a moment. Knowing well, your worship, that they could not get in all Ireland a jury to convict me, to secure my imprisonment openly and fairly, they do this. I now declare that I participated in that funeral, and I defy those who were guilty of such cowardice as to subpoena me as a crown witness (applause).

Mr. Crean–I perceive that my client, Dr. C. Waters, is now in court. In order to facilitate business, I shall offer no further objection; but, as a matter of fact, he was not summoned.

Then the case proceeded, the police giving their evidence on the whole very fairly, and testifying that the procession was one of the most peaceable, orderly, solemn, and impressive public demonstrations ever seen in Dublin. Against Mr. Martin it was testified that he marched at the head of the procession arm-in-arm with Mr. A.M. Sullivan and another gentleman; and that he delivered the memorable speech at the cemetery gate. Against Dr. Waters and Mr. Lalor it was advanced that they were honorary secretaries of the funeral committee, and had moreover acted, the former as a marshal, the latter as a steward in the procession. It was found, however, that the case could not be closed that day; and accordingly, late in the evening, the magistrates intimated that they would adjourn over to next morning. Suddenly from the body of the court is heard a stentorian voice:–

Mr. Bracken–I am summoned here as a crown witness. My name is Thomas Bracken. I went, heart and soul into that procession (applause)–

Mr. Anderson, junior–I don’t know this gentleman.

Mr. Bracken–I am very proud that neither you nor any one like you knows me (applause).

Mr. Dix–I cannot hear you.

Mr. Bracken–I have been brought here as a crown witness away from my business, and losing my time here.

Mr. Donal Sullivan–I am another, and I avow myself in the same way.

Several voices–“So am I.”

Mr. Bracken–I want to know why I should be taken from my business, by which I have to support my family, and put me before the eyes of my countrymen as a crown witness (applause)? I went heart and soul into the procession, and I am ready to do the same to-morrow, and abide by the consequences (applause). It is curious that the government should point me out as a crown witness.

Mr. Murphy–I ask for an adjournment till to-morrow.

Mr. Dix–It is more convenient to adjourn now.

Mr. Martin–I don’t want to make any insinuations against the gentlemen who represent the crown, nor against the police, but I mention the fact, in order that they may relieve themselves from the odium which would attach to them if they cannot explain it. This morning a paragraph appears in one of the principal Dublin daily papers, the _Irish Times_, in which it is said that I, John Martin, have absconded; I must presume that the information was supplied to that paper either by the crown representatives or by the police.

Mr. Murphy, Q.C.–It is right to state, so far as I am informed, that an endeavour was made to serve Mr. Martin in Dublin. When the summonses were issued he was not in Dublin, but had gone down to the country, either to his own or the house of his brother, or–

Mr. Ross Todd, who sat beside Mr. Martin, here jumped up and said, “To his own house, sir, to his own house”–

Mr. Murphy–Very well. A constable was sent down there, and saw Mr. Martin, and he reported that Mr. Martin said he would attend forthwith.

Mr. Dix–And he has done so?

Mr. Murphy–I have no other knowledge. It was briefed to me that Mr. Martin said he would attend forthwith.

Mr. Martin–I am glad I have given the representatives of the crown an opportunity of making that statement. But I cannot understand how, when the representatives of the crown had the information, and when I told the constables I would attend–as I have done at great inconvenience and expense to myself–I cannot understand how a newspaper should come to say I had absconded.

Mr. Murphy–I cannot understand it either; I can only tell the facts within my own knowledge.

Mr. Molloy said it seemed very extraordinary that witnesses should be summoned, and the crown say they were not.

Mr. Sullivan wished his summons to be examined. Did the magistrates sign it?

Mr. Dix–Unless I saw the original I could not say.

Mr. J.J. Lalor–Sir John Gray has been summoned as a witness, too. It is monstrous.

Sir John Gray, M.P.–I wish to state to your worship the unpleasant circumstances under which I find myself placed. At an advanced hour on Saturday I learned that the crown intended to summon as witnesses for the prosecution some of the gentlemen connected with my establishment. I immediately communicated with the crown prosecutor, and said it was unfair towards these gentlemen to have them placed in such an odious position, and that their refusal to act as crown witnesses might subject them to serious personal consequences; I said it would not be right of me to allow any of the gentlemen of my establishment to subject themselves to the consequences of such refusal, as I knew well they would all refuse. I suggested, if any unpleasant consequences should follow, they should fall on the head of the establishment alone (applause). I said “summon me, and deal with me.” I am here now, sir, to show my respect for you personally and for this court; but I wish to state most distinctly that I will never consent to be examined as a crown witness (applause).

Mr. Anderson, jun., here interposed.

Sir John Gray–I beg your pardon. I am addressing the bench, and I hope I won’t be interrupted. Some of my family are going to-night to England to spend the Christmas with my son. I intend to escort them. I will not be here to-morrow. I wish distinctly to state so. If I were here, my respect for you and the bench, would induce me to be present, but I would be present only to declare what I have already stated, that I would not consent to be sworn or to give any evidence whatever in this prosecution. I think it right to add that I attach no blame whatever to the police authorities in this transaction. They have, I am sure, performed their duty in this case with that propriety which has always characterised their conduct. Neither do I attach any blame to the crown prosecutor. I simply desire to state, with the most profound respect for the bench and the court, that I will not be a witness (loud applause).

Mr. Anderson–We don’t intend to examine Sir John Gray, but I wish to say that if the police believed any one could give important evidence, it is a new proposition to me that it is an indignity upon a man to summon him as a crown witness–

Mr. A.M. Sullivan–I say it is an indignity, and that the crown solicitor should not seek to shift the responsibility on the police, who only do what they are told.

Mr. Anderson–I am not trying to shift anything.

Mr. Sullivan–You are. You are trying to shift the responsibility of having committed a gross indignity upon a member of parliament, upon myself, and upon many honest men here.

Several persons holding up summonses said “hear, hear,” and “yes.”

Mr. Sullivan–This I charge to have been done by Mr. Anderson as his base revenge upon honest men who bade him defiance. Mr. Anderson must answer for this conduct. It is a vile conspiracy–a plot against honest men, who here now to his face tell him they scorn and defy him (applause).

Mr. Dix–I adjourn the case till one o’clock to-morrow.

The proceedings were then adjourned.

So far have we quoted from the _Freeman’s Journal_. Of the closing scene _Saunders’s News-Letter_, grieving sorely over such a fiasco, gives the following account:–

The adjournment of the court was attended with a scene of tumult and disorder that was rarely, or never, witnessed in a police court, in presence of the magistrates and a large number of police–both inspectors and detectives. The crowd of unwilling witnesses who had been summoned to give evidence against the defendants, clamorously protested against being brought there as crown witnesses, avowed that they were present taking part in the procession, and loudly declared that they would not attend at any subsequent hearing of the case. The latter part of the case indeed was marked with frequent interruptions and declarations of a similar kind, often very vociferously uttered. The proceedings terminated amid the greatest and unchecked disorder.

In plain words, “Scene I, Act I,” in what was meant to be a most solemn, awe-inspiring government function, turned out an unmistakable farce, if not a disastrous break down. Even the government journals themselves, without waiting for “Scene II.,” (though coming off immediately) raised a shout of condemnation of the discreditable bungle, and demanded that it should be forthwith abandoned. Considering the course ultimately taken by the government, these utterances of the government organs themselves, have a serious meaning and are of peculiar importance. The ultra-orange _Evening Mail_ (Tuesday, 17th December,) said:–


The scenes of yesterday in the Dublin police-court will cause an astonished public to put the question, is the government insane? They suppress the processions one day, and on the next proceed with deliberation to destroy all possible effect from such an act by inviting the magistrates’ court to be used as a platform from whence a fresh roar of defiance may be uttered. The originators of the seditious demonstrations are charged with having brought the government of the kingdom into hatred and contempt; but what step taken, or word spoken or written, from the date of the first procession to the last, brought the government into anything like the “contempt” into which it plunged itself yesterday? The prosecutions now instituted are in themselves an act of utter weakness. We so declared when we imagined that they would be at least rationally conducted; but what is to be said now? It is literally impossible to give any sane explanation of the course taken in summoning as a crown witness one who must have been known to be prepared to boast of his participation in the procession. Mr. Sullivan boldly bearded the prosecutors of his brethren. It was a splendid opportunity for him. “I was present (he said) at that funeral procession. I participated in it, deliberately and heartily. I call this a personal and public outrage, to endeavour to drag the national press of this country–“. Timid and ineffectual attempts were made by the magistrate to protect his court and position from insult, but Mr. Sullivan had the field, and would hold it. “He might help the crown to put some one else up,” he said, “as they are scarce, perhaps, in accused.” The summoning of him was, he resumed, an “attempt to destroy the national press, whose power the crown feels and fears, but which they dare not prosecute.” Mr. Sullivan was suffered to describe the conduct of the crown prosecutors at another stage as an “infamous plot.” The government desired “to accomplish his imprisonment; they were willing to wound but afraid to strike.” “They knew (he added) that they would not get a jury in all Ireland to agree to convict me; and I now characterise the conduct of the crown as base and cowardly.” Another witness, in a halting way, entered a like protest against being supposed to have sympathy with the crown in the case; and the net result was a very remarkable triumph for what Mr. Sullivan calls the “national press”–a title wholly misapplied and grossly abused. Are we to have a succession of these “scenes in court?”

_Saunders’s News-Letter_ of the same date dealt with the subject as follows:–

The first step in what appears to be a very doubtful proceeding was taken yesterday by the law advisers of the crown. We refer to the prosecution instituted against the leaders and organisers of the Fenian procession which took place in this city on Sunday, the 8th instant, in honour of the memories of the men executed at Manchester for murder. As to the character of that demonstration we never entertained any doubt. But it must be remembered that similar demonstrations had taken place a week previously in London, in Manchester, and in Cork, and that not only did the authorities not interfere to prevent them, but that the prime minister declared in the House of Lords that they were not illegal. Lord Derby doubtless, intended to limit his observations to the violition of the Party Processions Act, without pronouncing any opinion as to the legality or illegality of the processions, viewed under another aspect, as seditious assemblies. But his language was calculated to mislead, and, as a matter of fact, was taken by the Fenian sympathisers as an admission that their mock funeral processions were not unlawful. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, however much to be deplored, that the disaffected portion of the population should have eagerly taken advantage of Lord Derby’s declaration to make a safe display of their sympathies and of their strength. They were encouraged to do so by the toleration already extended towards their fellows in England and in Cork, as well as by the statement of the prime minister. Under these circumstances the prosecution of persons who took part in the Dublin procession, even as organisers of that proceeding, appears to us to be a matter of doubtful policy. Mr. John Martin, the leader of the movement, stands in a different position from his companions. They confined themselves to walking in the procession; he delivered an inflammatory and seditious speech, for which he alone is responsible, and which might have been made the subject of a separate proceeding against him. To do Mr. Martin justice, he showed no desire to shirk the responsibility he has incurred. At the police-court, yesterday, he frankly avowed the part he had taken in the procession, and offered to acknowledge the speech which he delivered on that occasion. If, however, the policy which dictated the prosecution be questionable, there can be no doubt at all as to the objectionable manner in which some of the persons engaged in it have acted–assuming the statement to be true that Mr. Sullivan, proprietor and editor of the _Nation_ newspaper, and Sir John Gray, proprietor of the _Freeman’s Journal_, have been summoned as crown witnesses. Who is responsible for this extraordinary proceeding it is at present impossible to say. Mr. Murphy, Q.C., the counsel for the crown, declared that he did not intend to examine Mr. Sullivan; Mr. Anderson, the son of the crown solicitor, who appears to be entrusted with the management of these prosecutions, denied that he had directed the summonses to be served, and Mr. Dix, the magistrate, stated that he had not signed them. Tot Mr. Sullivan produced the summons requiring him to attend as a witness, and in the strongest manner denounced the proceeding as a base and cowardly attempt on the part of the government to imprison for contempt of court, a “national journalist” whom they dared not prosecute. Sir John Gray, ill less violent language, complained of an effort having been made to place some of the gentlemen in his employment in the “odious position of crown witnesses,” and stated that he himself had been subpoenaed, but would decline to give evidence. We have not concealed our opinion as to the proper way of dealing with Mr. Sullivan. As the weekly disseminator of most exciting and inflammatory articles, he is doing much to promote disaffection and encourage Fenianism. In no other country in the world would such writing be tolerated for a day; and, assuredly it ought not to be permitted in Ireland in perilous and exciting times like the present. But if Mr. Sullivan has offended against the law, let him be proceeded against boldly, openly, and fairly. He has, we think, a right to complain of being summoned as a witness for the crown; but the government have even more reason to complain of the conduct of their servants in exposing them by their blunders to ridicule and contempt. It is too bad that with a large and highly-paid staff of lawyers and attorneys the government prosecutions should be conducted in a loose and slovenly manner. When a state prosecution has been determined upon, every step ought to be carefully and anxiously considered, and subordinate officials should not be permitted by acts of officious zeal to compromise their superiors and bring discredit on the administration of the law.

The Liberal-Conservative _Irish Times_ was still more outspoken:–

While all commend the recent action of the government, and give the executive full credit for the repression by proclamation of processions avowedly intended to be protests against authority and law, it is generally regretted that prosecutions should have been instituted against some of those who had taken part in these processions. Had these menacing assemblages been held after the proclamations were issued, or in defiance of the authorities, the utmost power should have been exerted to put them down, and the terrors of the law would properly have been invoked to punish the guilty. But, bearing in mind the fact that these processions had been declared by the head of the government–expressing, no doubt, the opinion entertained at that time by the law officers of the crown, that these processions were “not illegal”–remembering, too, that similar processions had been already held without the slightest intimation of opposition on the part of government; and recollecting, also, that the proclamation was everywhere implicitly obeyed, and without the least wish to dispute it, we cannot avoid regretting that the government should have been advised, at the last hour, to institute prosecutions of such a nature. Once, however, it was determined to vindicate the law in this way, the utmost care should have been taken to maintain the dignity of the proceedings, and to avoid everything calculated to create annoyance, irritation, or offence. If we except the moderate and very able speech of Mr. Murphy, Q.C., there is no one part of the proceedings in the police-court which merits commendation. Some of the witnesses utterly broke down; opportunity was given for utterances not calculated to increase respect for the law; and disloyal sentiments were boldly expressed and cheered until the court rang again. Great and serious as was the mistake in not obtaining an accurate legal opinion respecting the character of these meetings at the first, and then prohibiting them, a far greater mistake is now, we think, committed in instituting _these retrospective prosecutions_. For this mistake the law officers of the crown must, we infer, be held responsible. Were they men of energy and vigour, with the necessary knowledge of the world, they would not have suffered the executive to permit processions first, and then prohibit them, and at the same time try men for participating in what had been pronounced not to be illegal. We exonerate the attorney-general from the error of summoning to give evidence persons who openly gloried in the part they had taken in these meetings. To command the presence of such witnesses was of the nature of an offence. There was no ground, for instance, for supposing that Mr. Sullivan would have played the informer against the friends who had walked with him in the procession–such is not his character, his feeling, or his sense of honour. The summoning of those who had moved with, and as part of, the multitude, to give evidence against their fellows, was not only a most injudicious, but a futile expedient, and naturally has caused very great dissatisfaction and annoyance. The circumstance, however, proves that the prosecutions was instituted without that exact care and minute attention to all particulars which are necessary in a case of this kind.

Even the _Daily Express_, the, all-but subsidised, if not the secretly subsidised, organ of the ultra-orange section of the Irish administration, had to own the discomfiture of its patrons:–

Are our police offices to become a kind of national journals court? Is the “national press of Ireland” then and there to bid for the support immediately of the gallery, and more remotely of that portion of the population which is humourously called the Irish Nation? These speculations are suggested by a curious scene which took place at the inquiry at the police office yesterday, and which will be found detailed in another column. Mr. Sullivan, the editor of the _Nation_, seized the opportunity of being summoned as a witness, to denounce the government for not including him in the prosecution. He complained “of endeavouring to place the editor of a national journal on the list of crown witnesses in this court as a public and personal indignity,” and as an endeavour to destroy the influence of the national press. It is certainly an open avowal to declare that the mere placing of the name of the editor of a “national” journal upon the list of crown witnesses is an unparalleled wrong. But Sir John Gray was still more instructive. From him we learn that a witness summoned to assist the crown in the prosecution of sedition is placed in an “odious position.” Odious it may be, but in the eyes of whom? Surely not of any loyal subject? A paid informer, or professional spy, may be personally odious in the eyes of those who make use of his services. But we have yet to learn how a subject who is summoned to come forward to assist the government fills an odious position in the opinion of his loyal fellow-subjects. We should rather have supposed him to be entitled to their gratitude. However that may be, Sir John Gray came gallantly to the rescue of several “gentlemen connected with his establishment,” whom, he was informed, the government intended to summon as witnesses. This, he knew, they would all refuse. “I suggested, if any unpleasant consequences should follow, that they should fall on the head of the establishment alone.” He called upon the authorities to summon him. We do complain of our police-courts being made the scenes of open avowals of determination to thwart, or, at least, not to assist the government in their endeavours to prosecute treason and sedition. We can imagine no principle on which a subject could object to assisting the crown as a witness, which, if followed to its logical consequences, would not justify open rebellion. It is certainly a dangerous doctrine to preach that it is allowable, nay, even praiseworthy in a subject to refuse to give evidence when called upon to do so by the crown. There is a disposition too prevalent in this country to regard the law as an enemy, and opposition to it, either by passive obstruction or active rebellion, as a praiseworthy and patriotic act. Can we wonder at this when we hear opposition to constituted authority openly preached by the instructors of “the nation,” and witness the eagerness of the “national press” to free itself from the terrible suspicion of coming to the assistance, even involuntarily, of the government in its struggle with sedition and treason?

It was amidst such an outburst of vexation and indignation as this, even from the government journals themselves, that the curtain rose next morning on Act II. in the Head Police Office. A very unique episode commenced the proceedings on this day also. At the resumption of the case, Mr. Murphy, Q.C., on behalf of the crown, said:–

Mr. Sullivan and some other gentlemen complained yesterday of having been served with summonses to give evidence in those cases. I am directed by the attorney-general to state that he regrets it, and that it was done without his authority. He never gave any directions to have those persons summoned, nor was it done by anyone acting under his directions. It occurred in this way. General directions were given to the police to summon parties to give evidence in order to establish the charge against those four gentlemen who are summoned for taking an active part in the procession. The police, in the exercise of their discretion thought it might be necessary to summon parties who took part in the procession, but there was no intention on the part of those aiding on behalf of the crown to summon parties to give evidence who themselves took part in the procession, and I am sorry it occurred.

Mr. Dix–I may mention that a magistrate when signing a summons knows nothing of the witnesses. If they were all living in Jamacia he merely signs it as a matter of form.

Mr. A.M. Sullivan–I thank your worship and Mr. Murphy, and I think it will be seen that had your worship not allowed me yesterday to make the protest I did, the attorney-general would not have the opportunity of making the disclaimer which it became the dignity of the government to make. The aspect of the case yesterday was very adverse towards Sir John Gray, myself, and other gentlemen. Although my brother signed his name to the notice, he was not summoned as principal but as a witness, but if necessary, he was determined to stand side by side in the dock with Mr. Martin.

Mr. Allen–I am very glad of the explanation, because I was blamed for allowing persons making speeches here yesterday. I think if a man has any ground of complaint the sooner it is set right the better.

Mr. Sullivan–I have to thank the bench.

Mr. Allen–I am glad that a satisfactory arrangement has been come to by all parties, because there is an objection entertained by some persons to be brought into court as witnesses for the crown.

Mr. Sullivan–Especially a public journalist.

Mr. Allen–Quite so.

Mr. Heron then proceeded to cross-examine the witness.

It was elicited from the government reporter, that, by a process which he called “throwing in the vowels,” he was able to make Mr. Martin’s speech read sufficiently seditious. Mr. D.C. Heron, Q.C., then addressed the court on behalf of Mr. J.J. Lalor; and Mr. Michael Crean, barrister, on behalf of Dr. Waters. Mr. Martin, on his own behalf, then spoke as follows:–

I admit I attended the procession. I admit also that I spoke words which I consider very grave and serious words upon that occasion. For my acts on that occasion, for the sense and intention of the words I spoke on that occasion, I am perfectly willing to be put upon my country. Not only for all my acts on that occasion–not only for the words which I spoke on that occasion; but for all my acts or all the words I either spoke or wrote, publicly or privately, upon Irish politics, I am perfectly willing to be put upon my country. In any free country that has real constitutional institutions to guarantee the liberty of the subject–to guarantee the free trial of the subject charged with an offence against either the state or his neighbour, it would be quite absurd to expect a man could be put upon his country and convicted of a crime for doing that and using such words as the vast majority of his fellow-countrymen approve. In this case I believe that a vast majority of my fellow-countrymen do not disapprove of the acts I acknowledge on that occasion, and that they sympathise in the sentiment of the words I then spoke. Therefore the mere fact that a prosecution is preferred against me for that act, and for those words, is the expression of an opinion on my part that this country does not at present enjoy real constitutional institutions, guaranteeing a free trial–guaranteeing that the man accused shall be really put upon his country. Therefore it is absurd to think that any twelve honest men, my neighbours, put upon their oaths, would declare that to be a crime which it is probable that, at least, four-fifths of them believe to be right–right both constitutionally and morally. I am aware–we are all aware–that the gentlemen who represent the crown in this country, have very powerful means at their disposal for obtaining convictions in the form of law and in the form of justice, of any person they think proper to accuse; and without meaning either to sneer or to joke in this matter, I acknowledge the moderation of the gentlemen who represent the government, since they chose to trouble themselves with me at all. I acknowledge their moderation in proposing to indict me now for sedition, for the language which they say I used, because it is possible for them, with the means at their disposal, to have me convicted for murder, or burglary, or bigamy (laughter). I am sorry to say what seems like a sneer, but I use the words in deep and solemn seriousness, and I say no more than I am perfectly ready to be tried fairly or foully (applause in court).

The magistrates reserved their decision till next day; so that there might be decent and seemly pause for the purpose of looking up and pondering the legal precedents, as the legal fiction would have it; and on next day, they announced that they would send all the accused for trial to the next Commission at Green-street, to open on the 10th February, 1868. The several traversers, however, were required to enter merely into their own recognizances in L500 each to appear for trial.

In this police court proceeding the government, confessedly, were morally worsted–utterly humiliated, in fact. So far from creating awe or striking terror, the prosecution had evoked general contempt, scorn, and indignation. To such an extent was this fact recognised, that the government journals themselves, as we have seen, were amongst the loudest in censuring the whole proceeding, and in supporting the general expectation that there was an end of the prosecution.

Not so however was it to be. The very bitterness of the mortification inflicted upon them by their “roll in the dust” on their first legal encounter with the processionists, seemed to render the crown officials more and more vindictive. It was too galling to lie under the public challenge hurled at them by Mr. Bracken, Mr. O’Reilly, and Mr. Sullivan. After twelve days’ cogitation, government made up its mind to strike.

On Saturday, 28th December, 1867–just as everyone in Ireland seemed to have concluded that, as the Conservative journals said, there was “an end of” the foolish and ill-advised funeral prosecutions–Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Bracken (one of the funeral stewards), Mr. Jennings, of Kingstown (one of the best known and most trusted of the nationalists of “Dunleary” district). Mr. O’Reilly, (one of the mounted marshals at the procession), and some others, were served with citations to appear on Monday the 30th, at the Head Police Office, to answer charges identical with those preferred on the 16th against Mr. Martin, Dr. Waters, and Mr. Lalor.

Preliminary prosecution No. 2 very much resembled No. 1. Mr. Murphy, Q.C. stated the crown case with fairness and moderation; and the police, as before, gave their evidence like men who felt “duty” and “conscience” in sore disagreement on such an occasion. Mr. Jennings and Mr. O’Reilly were defended, respectively, by Mr. Molloy and Mr. Crean; two advocates whose selection from the junior bar for these critical and important public cases was triumphantly vindicated by their conduct from the first to the last scene of the drama. Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Bracken, and the other accused, were not represented by counsel. On the first-named gentleman (Mr. Sullivan) being formally called on, he addressed the court at some length. He said:–

Please your worship, had the officials of the crown adopted towards me, in the first instance, the course which they have taken upon the present occasion, and had they not adopted the singular course which they pursued in my regard when I last appeared in this court, I should trouble you with no observations. For, as one of the 50,000 persons who, on the 8th of December, in this city, publicly, lawfully, and peacefully demonstrated their protest against what they believed to have been a denial of law and an outrage on justice, I should certainly waste no public time in this preliminary investigation, but rather admit the facts as you perceive I have done to-day, and hasten the final decision on the issues really knit between us and the crown. What was the course adopted by the crown in the first instance against me? They had before them, on the 9th, just as well as on the 29th–it is in evidence that they had–the fact that I, openly and publicly, took part in that demonstration–that sorrowful and sad protest against injustice (applause). They had before them then as much as they had before them to-day, or as much as they will ever have affecting me. For, whatever course I take in public affairs in this country, I conceal nothing, I take it publicly, openly, and deliberately. If I err, I am satisfied to abide the consequences; and, whenever it may suit the weathercock judgment of Lord Mayo, and his vacillating law advisers, to characterise my acts or my opinion as illegal, seditious, heretical, idolatrous, or treasonable, I must, like every other subject, be content to take my chance of their being able to find a jury sufficiently facile or sufficiently stupid to carry out their behests against me. But they did not choose that course at first. They did not summon me as a principal, but they subpoenaed me as a witness–as a crown witness–against some of my dearest, personal, and public friends. The attorney-general, whose word I most fully and frankly accept in the matter–for I would not charge him with being wanting in personal truthfulness–denied having had any complicity in the course of conduct pursued towards me; but where does he lay the responsibility? On “the police.” What is the meaning of that phrase, “the police?” He surely does not mean that the members of the force, who parade our streets, exercise viceregal functions (laughter). Who was this person thus called the “police?” How many degrees above or below the attorney-general are we to look for this functionary described as “the police,” who has the authority to have a “seditious” man–that is the allegation–a seditious man–exempted from prosecution? The police cannot do that. Who, then? Who was he that could draw the line between John Martin and his friend A.M. Sullivan–exempt the one, prosecute the other–summon the former as a defendant and subpoena the latter as a crown witness? What was the object? It is plain. There are at this moment, I am convinced–who doubts it?–throughout Ireland, as yet unfound out, Talbots and Corridons in the pay of the crown acting as Fenian centres, who, next day, would receive from their employers directions to spread amongst my countrymen the intelligence that I had been here to betray my associate, John Martin (applause). But their plot recoiled–their device was exposed; public opinion expressed its reprobation of the unsuccessful trick; and now they come to mend their hand. The men who were exempted before are prosecuted to-day. Now, your worships, on this whole case–on this entire procedure–I deliberately charge that not we, but the government, have violated the law. I charge that the government are well aware that the law is against them–that they are irresistibly driven upon this attempt to strain and break the law against the constitutional right and liberty of the subject by their mere party exigencies and necessities.

He then reviewed at length the bearing of the Party Processions Act upon the present case; and next proceeded to deal with the subject of the Manchester executions; maintaining that the men were hanged, as were others before them, in like moments of national passion and frenzy, on a false evidence and a rotten verdict. Mr. Sullivan proceeded:–

It is because the people love justice and abhor injustice–because the real crime of those three victims is believed to have been devotion to native land–that the Catholic churches of Ireland resound with prayers and requiem hymns, and the public highways were lined with sympathising thousands, until the guilty fears of the executioners proclaimed it illegal to mourn. Think you, sir, if the crown view of this matter were the true one, would the Catholic clergy of Ireland–they who braved fierce and bitter unpopularity in