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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

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

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Online LibraryA.M. SullivanThe Wearing of the Green → online text (page 3 of 10)