stimulus, motive and reason, and will be deepening and widening
daily. Then the circumstance that half the transported felons
are Protestant and half Catholic will surely help to convince the
JAIL JOURNAL 77
North (if anything can ever teach the blockhead North) that our
cause is no sectarian cause. I rely much also on the exertions of
the national school teachers to inculcate sound Irish doctrine
dehors the class-books furnished to them by Dr. Whately. Very
many of those teachers, I know, were fully bent, a year ago, on
counteracting the influence of that old shovel-hatted Cartha-
ginian who has so long ridden the national school system, like a
On the whole, then, we have :
First. The British Government unmasked driven fairly from
its conciliatory position, and forced to show itself the ferocious
monster it is.
Second.- All the generous sympathies and passions of the
young and high-minded enlisted on behalf of the felons and their
felony, and outraged and revolted by the atrocity of the enemy.
Third. The strong appetite for national or seditious reading
sharpened by Lord Clarendon's press-censorship : so that the
next pouring forth of sound doctrine will be as springs of water
in a thirsty land.
Thus the breach is every way widened and deepened ; arms
are multiplied, notwithstanding proclamations and searches ; a
fund of treason and disaffection is laid up for future use ; and it
will burn into the heart of the country till it find vent. And so
the " Irish difficulty " will grow and swell into a huge mountain-
ous impossibility. God prosper it !
Yes ; we " convicts " may be very sure that of all our writing,
speaking, acting and endeavouring, and of the labour we have
laboured to do, what was true, just, faithful, will not perish or
fail of its effect, but will stand and bear fruit, even though we may
be lying in foreign graves, our bones mixed with the unclean dust
of unspeakable rascaldom for ever.
But what must our poor countrymen go through in the mean-
time ? Alas ! what further, deeper debasement of mind and
body is yet before them while those English still have
power to torture the land with their " laws ? " What exter-
minations, what murders, what beggary and vice, what fearful
flights of hunted wretches beyond sea to the four winds of
heaven ! How long ! how long !
22nd. Letter from my brother William, who is in New York :
78 JAIL JOURNAL
it seems if he had not left Ireland at once he would have been
arrested under the Habeas- Corpus- Suspension Act [which is the
palladium of the British Constitution the Habeas Corpus or the
suspension of the Habeas Corpus ?] Lord Clarendon is cramming
the gaols : but Dillon, Reilly, O'Gorman, and Doheny all seem
to have escaped. Dillon is in New York O'Gorman escaped in
a small vessel to some port in Bretagne.* I cannot make out
Reilly's whereabouts ; but wherever he is, the worthy fellow is
French Republic still standing, and, I think, likely to stand.
The information that has penetrated to me through my bars is
but fragmentary ; not presenting me with the panorama in due
sequence, but only a tableau here and there ; yet, what I have
seen is good. In June, some people, whom the English news-
papers call the " Red Republicans " and Communists, attempted
another Paris revolution, which, if successful, would have been
itself a horrible affair, and at any rate might have been the death
of the Republic ; but they were swept from the streets with
grape and canister the only way of dealing with such unhappy
I cannot believe that all the party called Red Republicans are
also Communists, though the English newspapers use the terms
as synonymous of course to cast odium on the thorough -going
Republicans. I suspect that there is a numerous party of staunch
Republicans who believe the Revolution is but half accomplished,
which, indeed, may turn out to be the case. But then these
ought to make no common cause with Socialists ; Socialists are
something worse than wild beasts.
But I can see no French papers ; I am in British darkness.
Note, that the gentle Alphonse de Lamartine has somehow
dropped out of the tableau of late. I miss his dignified figure,
and lofty brow with its invisible crown of thorns. I miss the high-
flying language and gushing tenderness of that piteous poet his
Bedouin instep, and his eye in elaborate fine frenzy rolling. What
has become of him I cannot make out, nor the special cause of
his decheance. But it was natural, necessary and right : let
Alphonse retire to the East again, and see visions of a Druse-
Maronite empire let him pour fourth his mysterious sorrows on
* No to Constantinople. J. M.
JAIL JOURNAL 79
Lebanon, and add with tears to the dews of Hermon. He had
no call to the leading of a revolution, and was at best but what
we seamen call a figure-head. The demission of Alphonse pleases
me the better, as I predicted the same in the United Irishman
within a month after the February revolution. So far, well ; I
have other political prophecies pending fulfilment not due yet.
The Carthaginian newspapers, I find, are deeply distressed about
this French Republic mad that it yet lives. They are zealous in
laying hold of and exaggerating all the inconveniences that cannot
fail to grow out of the dislocation of interests and interruption of
business occasioned by such a revolution ; they are concerned
about it chiefly for the sake of the French people, you may be
sure ; and one and all predict a speedy return to monarchy in
the person of the young Bordeaux-Berri-Bourbon, if not of Louis
Philippe himself. In truth, these newspaper-men are thoroughly
frightened ; or, rather, their owners or subsidisers, the aristocracy
and credit-funding plutocracy of Carthage, are frightened at this
near neighbourhood of liberty, and the danger of fund-confound-
ing revolution ; and so they all devote it from their hearts to
the infernal gods.
Here is the mighty game of sixty years ago coming to be played
again to be played out perhaps this time ; and the world is
about to be a spectator of a most excellent piece of work. And
am I, my God ! through all these crowded years of life, to sit
panting here behind an iron grating, or to die an old hound's
death, and rot among Bermudian blattae ! Infandum !
Jan. 16. Last night, as my double-goer and I for I go double
sat in my cell smoking our pipe together, the awful shade took
occasion to expostulate with me in the following terms : " I do
observe," quoth he, " a singular change in you of late days ; a
shadow of gloom, and almost a tinge of atrocity, staining the
serene empyrean of your soul ; and, what is yet sadder, I behold
in you what seems to be a sort of conscious obliquity of judgment
and elaborate perversity of feeling, which is that is, it appears
to me that is, if I read you aright which is blacker than mere
The Ego (puffing thick clouds}. Explain ; your language is
Doppelganger. Well, then, first : What is the meaning of all
8o JAIL JOURNAL
this fiery zeal of yc urs for the French Republic ? I know well that
you feel no antipat ly to either a monarchical or an aristocratic
government, as such ; that, in fact, within your secret heart, you
care very little about Republicanism in the abstract.
The Ego. Not a rush. What then ?
Doppelganger. Then I am forced to conclude that your anxiety
for the success of the French Republic springs from something
else than zeal for the welfare of the human race.
The Ego. A fig for the human race ; to be sure it does.
Doppelganger. Yes ; it is born of no love for mankind, or even
French mankind, but of pure hatred to England, and a diseased
longing for blood and carnage. You think a republic cannot long
stand in France without a European war, which would smash the
credit-system, cut up commerce, and in all probability take India
and Canada from the British Empire to say nothing of Ireland.
The Ego. To say nothing of Ireland ? But what if I were
thinking of Ireland all the time ?
Doppelganger. And for the chance of getting Ireland severed
from Britain in the dreadful melee, do you desire to see all Europe
and America plunged in desperate war ? For the chance of
enkindling such a war, do you delight to see a great and generous
people like the French, committing themselves and their children
to a wild political experiment, which, as you know, is as like to
breed misery as happiness to them and theirs ?
The Ego (Laying down pipe, and raising aloft an umbrageous
pillar of smoke). Now, listen to me, Herr Doppelganger. First,
I care little, indeed, about Republicanism in the abstract ; but the
French Republic I watch in its growth with keen and loving
interest. For Republicanism, or Monarchism, in the abstract, is
nothing a government is a thing that governs concrete living
men under absolute extant circumstances ; and I regard aristo-
cratic and monarchic institutions, how good soever in their day
and place how defensible soever " in the abstract," as being
for the Western nations of Europe worn out that is to say,
worn out for the present ; and until we shall have advanced to
them again, via barbarism, in the cyclical progress of the species.
For England, for Ireland especially, I believe those institutions
are far more than worn out were worn out fifty years ago, and
have only been kept seemingly alive by the commercial world,
THE CONVICT GARB AT BERMUDA IN 1848
DROMOLANE HOUSE, NEWRY
The Mitchel Family Residence. The larger upper window is that of
the room in which Mitchel died.
JAIL JOURNAL 81
and for purposes of traffic to stave off the inevitable bank-
ruptcy, smash, and alteration of the style and firm ; but in so
sustaining a fictitious credit, and pushing trade to such desperate
lengths under it, those money-making people are likened unto
the man who built his house upon the sand the longer he has
been able to shore it up (building additional storeys on it all the
while) the greater will be the fall of it. Secondly, I hold that in
all marches and counter-marches of the human race, France of
right leads the van. Your Anglo-Saxon race worships only
money, prays to no other god than money, would buy and sell
the Holy Ghost for money, and believes that the world was
created, is sustained, and governed, and will be saved by the
only one true, immutable Almighty Pound Sterling. France
recognises a higher national life, aspires for ever to a grander
national destiny than mere trading. France mints the circu-
lating medium of thoughts and noble passions, and sets up poor
nations in business with capital of that stamp. Paris is the
great moral metropolis of mankind. Thirdly, Mein Herr, the
French have no right to stipulate for their own " happiness,"
while they discharge this high public duty. Neither for man nor
nation is happiness the end of living least of all for those who
utter new truths and lead in new paths. Let a nation act with
all the energy of its national life do with its might what its
hand findeth to do the truth it has got to utter speak it in
thunder. Therein let it find its " happiness," or nowhere.
Doppelganger. You speak as if France were fighting the repub-
lican fight for all the world, and in advance of all the world.
Apparently you forget America, and where France herself went
to school to learn republicanism. At any rate, the United
States were a republic before ever France was one.
The Ego. And San Marino before the United States ; but I
was speaking of the great ancient nations of feudal Europe, and
the struggle and travail that is appointed them before they can
slough off the coil of their decrepit or dead aristocracies and
heraldries, which have come to be humbugs a struggle which
the United States never knew, nor had need to make ; for those
British colonies in America, once the yoke of King George was
broken, found themselves republics by the necessity of the case ;
they had no material there whereout to form any other sort of
82 JAIL JOURNAL
government. The difficulty there would have been to get up a
dynasty to find the original parents out of whom to breed an
hereditary aristocracy. In short, external circumstances and
agencies, and mere necessity, made America Republican. But
France France, with all her circumstances, habits, traditions,
tending the other way ; ancient France, Mother of Chivalry,
heritage of Charlemagne's peers, environed by a whole world of
nonarchism, landlordism, and haughtiest gentility tearing off
the clinging curse, trampling it under foot, and fronting the
naked swords of all raging Europe, while she stood forth in the
simple might of manhood, uncrowned, unfrocked, untabarded,
showing what, after all, men can do ; then, after her own hero,
in whom she trusted, lifted up his heel against her, when she
was hacked and hewn almost to pieces by the knives of allied
butchers, hag-ridden by the horrid ghost of a dynasty, and
cheated by a " citizen king," cherishing still, deep in her glow-
ing heart, the great idea, through long years, through agonies
and sore travail, until the days are accomplished for the god-like
birth this, I apprehend, is another kind of phenomenon than the
Declaration of Independence. And we ought to be thankful to
the good God (you and I) that we live in the days when we may
reasonably hope to see this noble work consummated, though it
be in flames and blood.
Doppelganger. You say nothing in answer to my charge, that
all this enthusiasm of yours is mere hatred of England.
The Ego. No ; I scorn to answer that. But what mean you
by England ? the English people, or the English Government ?
Do you mean those many millions of honest people who live in
England, minding their own business, desiring no better than to
enjoy, in peace and security, the fruits of their own industry,
and grievously devoured by taxes ? Or do you mean the unholy
alliance of land appropriators, and fund-men, and cotton-men,
who devour them ? Do you mean the British nation ? or do
you mean what Cobbett called the Thing ?
Doppelganger. By England I mean, of course, all her people,
and all her institutions : tradesmen and nobles, Church and
State, weavers, stockholders, pitmen, farmers, factories, funds,
ships, Carlton clubs, Chartist conventions, Dissenting chapels,
and Epsom races. I mean that.
JAIL JOURNAL 83
The Ego. You do ? Then let me tell you it is a very unmean-
ing kind of lumping you make ; I hold that now, and for fifty
years back, the best friend to the British nation is simply he who
approves himself the bitterest enemy to their government, antf
to all their institutions, in Church and State. And thus I claim
to be, not an enemy, but a friend, of England ; for the British
people are what I call England.
Doppelganger. Excluding, of course, those cruel capitalists,
mill-owners, landlords ; everybody, in short, who has anything ?
The Ego. Excluding nobody ! But you are aware that in
every possible condition of human society, no matter how in-
tolerable to the great majority, no matter how grievously it may
cry aloud for change, there are always many fat persons right
well content with things as they are to wit, those who thrive
upon things as they are. Why, in Ireland, even, are many grave
and well-dressed persons (I have seen them myself in Belfast, and
even in Dublin, among the fed classes) who say, Ireland is doing
reasonably well, and likely to do well. Now, in speaking of
Ireland and the Irish people, I do not exclude those persons :
only set at naught their opinion, and set aside their particular
interests in consideration of the vital general interest. There-
fore, when I say that I would cut down and overthrow, root and
branch, the whole government and social arrangements of Eng-
land, I am entitled also to call myself a friend to the English
people, to all the English people yes, to the very money-men
in Lombard Street, to the very dukes, the very bishops I would
make them all turn to some honest occupation.
Doppelganger. Do you imagine capitalists eat their money,
and so make away with it out of rerum natura ? Or that land-
proprietors devour and digest the entire produce of their estates ?
Or, in short, that the wealthy, be they ever so malignant, can use
their riches otherwise than by employing the poor, and paying
them for their labour ? Or do you propose to enable all the poor
to live without labour or wages ?
The Ego. I am not to learn from you first principles of
political economy, taken out of Dr. Whately's little primer.
Perhaps you will next be urging that mill-owners are not, by
nature, anthropophagous, and that landlords are not, by anatomi-
cal structure, hyaenas, but men. Let us suppose all those matters
84 JAIL JOURNAL
you have mentioned, just proved, admitted, put out of the way :
they are nothing to the purpose. But the case is this those you
call capitalists are, as a body, swindlers that is to say, the " com-
mercial world " is trading on what it knows to be fictitious capital,
keeping up a bankrupt firm by desperate shifts, partly out of
mere terror at the thought of the coming crash, and partly because
what often happens in bankruptcy those who are active in the
business are making their private gains in the meantime out of the
already dilapidated estate and all this is but preparing for a
heavier fall and wider-spreading ruin the more undoubting con-
fidence in the stability of the concern is felt by fools and pretended
by knaves, so much the greater number of innocent and ignorant
people will have their homes desolated at last. Again, I say that
fifty years ago the Crown and Realm of Britain was a bankrupt
firm, and that the nollow credit system on which it has kept
itself afloat is a gigantic piece of national swindling which must
end not in ruin merely, but in utter national disgrace also.
Doppelganger. Ah ! The nation is swindling itself then ! I
perceive you think England must be ruined by the national debt
that huge sum of money due by herself to herself.
The Ego. Yes due by England to herself ; that is to say, due
by the millions of tax-payers to the thousands who have interest
enough to get themselves made tax-eaters that is to say, due by
the workers to the idlers due by the poor to the rich yet, in-
credible to tell, incurred and created at first by the idlers and the
rich, to sustain a state of things which keeps them idle and rich.
In short, over and above the eternal inequalities of condition in
human society, which for ever doom the many to labour that the
few may eat and sleep, over and above this, British policy has
thrown an additional burden of eight hundred millions or so upon
the working many placed an item of that amount on the wrong
side of the account to make the workers, I suppose, work
the better to make them look sharp, and mind economy lest
they should wax fat and kick, possibly kick down the whole
Doppelganger. But, after all, the main question as to this
national debt is, whether the objects for which it was incurred
were to the nation worth the money, or rather worth the incon-
venience of owing the money and burdening the industry of the
JAIL JOURNAL 85
country with the interest of it. England was certainly saved
from invasion her vast commerce and manufactures
The Ego. Yes, England was saved from invasion ; her institu-
tions in Church and State, from ruin ; her game-preserving
aristocracy from abolition and the lamp-iron ; her commerce and
manufactures were kept going on a fictitious basis and India,
Canada, Ireland, were debarred of their freedom. These are the
things for which the eight hundred millions were squandered
and instead of incurring a never-to-be-paid debt to avert all those
sad events, I tell you that, to the English people, it had been
worth many a million to effect them every one to the Irish
people worth the best blood in their veins.
Doppelganger. But why do you keep saying fictitious basis,
fictitious capital ? What is there fictitious in all this commerce ?
Does it not hold myriads of men employed ? Does it not pay
them in hard money every Saturday ? Does it not keep their
families in comfortable houses, and clothe and feed them as
only the families of British artisans can pretend to be clothed
and fed ? Does it not enable them to save money and realise
an independence for their old age ?
The Ego. How do they invest their savings ? In buying land ?
Doppelganger. No ; you know well that small properties of
land are not a common commodit}^ in the market. The soil of
the British islands is not just yet cut up into little fee-farms :
your revolution has to come yet.
The Ego. How then do these hard-working men secure the
money they have realised, as you tell me, for an independence
in their old age ?
Doppelganger. Why, in the public funds or, in the savings-
banks, which invest it for them in the same funds. And I
believe, when they wish to draw out their deposits, those banks
generally pay them without demur.
The Ego. They do the insolvent State has not yet shut its
doors. Yet I do affirm that these poor honest people are laying
up their savings in a fund beyond the moon they take deben-
tures on the limbo of fools. Why, the last holders of these
securities will all inevitably be robbed ; that grand national
swindle, which is called the " national credit " (and to keep up
the " stability " of which all newspapers and organs of opinion
86 JAIL JOURNAL
are subsidised to express confidence, and to vaunt daily the
infinite resources of the empire) that national credit swindle will
cheat them irremediably at last. There is no money, or other
wealth, in those same funds : there is absolutely nothing to meet
these poor people's claims nothing but confidence and they are
exchanging their hard earnings for draughts of east wind.
Doppelganger. But how well, how wonderfully it works !
Consider how many people live comfortably on the yearly produce
of these same debentures, and bequeath them to their children, or
exchange them for farms and merchandise and never know that
the notes are but drafts of Notus and Company upon Eurus and
Sons. Consider the amount of gainful business actually done
upon this great national credit the vast interests that depend
upon it. Why may it not go on and expand itself infinitely, or,
at least, indefinitely ?
The Ego. Because, Because it is the inevitable fate of mere
sublunary soap-bubbles to burst, when they are blown to a certain
predestined bigness because a lie, be it never so current, ac-
cepted, endorsed, and renewed many times, is quite sure (thank
God !) to get protested at last. Is it not so written in the great
book of noster Thomas ? Written also in the yet greater books of
nature and history, with an iron pen ? " Great is Bankruptcy."
Doppelganger. Suppose all this is true I, at least, cannot
think, without pain, of the inevitable destruction of all this
teeming life and healthy, glowing action. It is a bright and
The Ego. But look well at the background of this fine scene ;
and lo ! the reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls of Skibbereen !
and the ghosts of starved Hindoos in dusky millions.
Doppelganger. Surely these sore evils are not incurable by
wise administration, by enlightened legislation : the ghosts and
'keletons are not an essential part of the picture ; not necessary
;o the main action of the piece.
The Ego. Absolutely necessary nay, becoming more and
more necessary every hour. To uphold the stability of the grand
central fraud, British policy must drain the blood and suck the
marrow of all the nations it can fasten its desperate claws upon :
and by the very nature of a bankrupt concern sustaining itself
on false credit, its exertions must grow more desperate, j*-
JAIL JOURNAL 87
exactions more ruthless day by day, until the mighty smash
come. The great British Thing cannot now do without any one
of the usual sources of plunder. The British Empire (that is, the
imaginary Funds) could not now stand a week without India
could not breathe an hour without Ireland : the Thing has
strained itself to such a pass that (being a sublunary soap-bubble,
and not a crystalline celestial sphere), the smallest jag will let
the wind out of it, and then it must ignominiously collapse. Or
you may call this abomination a pyramid balancing itself upon
its apex one happy kick on any side will turn it upside down.
For ever blessed be the toe of that boot which shall administer
the glorious kick !
Doppelganger. And must every new order of things in the