ARTICLE OCR TRANSCRIBED
August 2, 1885
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Brooklyn Eagle web Page:
THE FENIAN MOVEMENT
An Account of its Origin, Progress
and Temporary Collapse.
By Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa
Shawn O'Neill Castile at Randalstown. Wm. Donough, Ballycastle—Died in Prison—Fair Head, Antrim—Meeting Three Englishmen. Lord Ledward and Fitzgerald—The Walls of Derry—Meeting Dr. McKnight—The Sleeping Warriors of Donegal—Thomas Neilson Underwood, Strabane—Maguire's Castle, Fermanagh—Paying Rent in Enniskillen—Visiting Tempo, Fivemiletown Clogher, Augher, Aughnacloy, Tynan and Caledon—Two Wives in One Grave in Tyrone—"The Queen's O'Reilly "—The Orangemen—The Ribbonmen. Frank Brownlee, Armagh; James Blaney Rice Tyholland; Joe Glass, of Monaghan. Dawson 's Monument, Cootehill—Meeting a Skibbereen Man in Cavan—Edward Duffy, of Roscommon—Died in Prison.
Randalstown is a historic place in the County of Tyrone, and here stands the historic castle of Shawn the Proud—Shawn O'Neill, who paid a visit to Queen Elizabeth in London.
Mr. MacMenamin, whom I went to Randalstown to see that day, stood outside the castle walls with me. “There it is,” said. he, "there is the Irish castle of the great O'Neill, there it is now in the hands of an Englishman, and the title of the O'Neill, the English title of Earl of Tyrone, in possession of an Englishman too." It was a sad thing for an Irishman to reflect upon: I did not let it occupy my thoughts long. I had work to do, work that tended to drive out the Englishmen from the Irishmen's catalog and lands. So having executed my mission with MacMenamin, I bade him goodby, took the train for Ballymena, went on to Ballymoney, and in Ballymoney took the stage coach that landed me in Ballycastle that evening. I put up at the Antrim arms, and next morning I went in search of my friends.
I was never before in Ballycastle, but I had friends there—Irishmen who are now dead and gone. William Darragh was a schoolmaster, he died some years after in an English prison; I met him in Ballycastle and he introduced too to several others. He could not get many of the men together till Sunday, and I was idle for a couple of days in that town. My name then was Irwin, I think. I was courting a young girl of that name at the time, and traveling through Ulster I went under its protection. This Ballycastle is on the northern coast of Ireland. I traveled by the seashore there, and from its hills I had a view of the hills of Scotland twenty miles away. I got one serious fright In my life, and I got it here. I was walking the strand eastward from Ballycastle toward Scotland. I saw a foot beaten path leading front the strand up the mountain side of Fair Head, and up that path I traveled. I was about half way up the mountain side when I began to slip, and I had to creep upward on my hands and feet. Steeper and steeper grow the ascent before me, and to think of going back to the strand was out of the question; it was easier to go up than to go down. I saw by the marks in the path that those who traveled it had nails in their shoes. I had no nails in my shoes, and could not get any support from my feet in climbing that mountain. Rain had fallen the night before and the way was slippery. I had thoughts of death, and thought it a hard way to die—to roll down that mountain. I took off my shoes and stockings, put them in my pockets, and then, by rooting my toes in the earth and grasping the earth forward with my hands, I managed to get over the steep, slippery passages and reach the top. You may be very sure I did not go back to Ballycastle by the road I came from it. I saw the town, some three or four miles in the distance, and faced for it through the fields, over hedges and ditches. On the top of the mountain is a lake, and going through the heather by that lake I started a hare. I was too tired to run and catch it, but I enjoyed a screech after it, and as I was screeching two or three more hares started out before me. Fair Head, in Antrim, must be a great place for game; the hares are plenty, but the people are few. I saw more hares in that locality than I saw people.
When I got back to the hotel in Ballycastle I found that some English tourists had come in during the day. Sitting at the one table at supper I necessarily got acquainted with them. I was a tourist, too. I recommended them to travel by the sea shore toward Fair Head, and go up the path I had traveled and see the lake on the top of the mountain, and see Scotland over across the water. After supper, punch and tobacco and talk came on the table. The Englishmen were Manchester merchants; one of them was named Ledward, another was named Lord and another was named Fitzgerald.
I said the three were English tourists, but I made a slight mistake there, as Fitzgerald was an Irishman; but in conversation about Ireland and England I found him more English than the English themselves. Ireland and England came on the table. I stood for Ireland and Ireland's rights. Fitzgerald stood for England, and when I bit him hard and hit the English rule in Ireland hard Ledward would grasp me warmly by the haud. Lord was the oldest man of the three; his punch ran out, and he called for another round of punch; the waiter told him that he could get no more, that it was twelve o'clock, and the law did not allow any more drinking after twelve. Hereat the three Englishmen became very vexed that in their hotel—in their house —in their castle, as it were, they could not get a glass of punch after 12 o'clock—why at home in England in any hotel in the country such a monstrous thing as that could not occur. "Now, gentlemen," said I, "you see that this very condition of things here before you gives force to all I have been saying this evening. You have exceptional laws for Ireland and we Irishmen feel you are governing us as if we were au inferior and a subject people."Lord and Ledward gave me their addresses in Manchester and asked me to call to see them if I over got there. I expect to make the call yet, but how strange they would feel these days if they saw this copy of the Eagle and read in it that the Irishman they met at McDonnell's hotel in Ballycastle in 1864 was that "dynamite fiend," O'Donovan Rossa.
Fitzgerald that night reminded me of a great many other Irishmen who live in Ireland and America; he was a repealer in his young days in Ireland, and he boasted of his patriotism going so far as to have equipped himself with repeal buttons. “Gentlemen," said I, addressing Lord and Ledward, "you are thoroughbred Englishmen, and no matter how great the intimacy and friendship between you and your friend, Mr. Fitzgerald, may be, you must be inwardly smiling now at his simplicity in thinking he was going to fight England out of the possession of Ireland by dressing himself in green clothes and brass buttons. It is by fight England has gained a foothold in Ireland, and she will fight hard to maintain that foothold; unless Irishmen are determined to fight against her with sword and gun, it is arrant nonsense for them to be talking or singing of having their country great, glorious and free." I made friends of the Englishmen, but the Irishman was pouting at what I said. They left the hotel next morning to visit the Giant's Causeway some twelve miles distant, they wanted me right or wrong to travel with them, but my time in the town was not up till Sunday.
On Saturday I walked along the coast a few miles toward Rathlin Island and the Giant's Causeway, and on my return passing a house, I heard behind me the words 'Hallo, that's O'Donovan Rossa." I did not look behind. When I got to Ballycastle I met William Darragh and told him I was recognized by some one in such and such a house up the road; he set a reliable man to work to find out who recognized me, and he learned it was a doctor from Dublin who had married one of the family, and was up on a visit. I felt no uneasiness at being recognized anywhere; I had my legitimate business as traveler for the Irish People newspaper, and the business that was illegitimate was a private affair between myself and the friends I trusted.
Sunday passed off in Ballycastle in company with those friends. Several of them came a distance of nine and tea miles from Cushenden and Cushendall and other places among the mountains. I transacted ray business with them, and set out for Derry next morning. I passed Portrush, where tourists stop off to visit the Giant's Causeway, but my tour was not a sightseeing one, and I passed that celebrated place without getting off the train to look at It. I was often sorry that I missed the seeing of such a place when I was so near it, but the work I was engaged In must have been absorbing all my attention that time.
Arriving at Derry I put up at Roddy's Hotel. I had a letter of introduction to Dr. McKnight, editor of the Derry Journal. He was a Presbyterian gentleman, who had been very active In the Land League movement of 1852. I delivered my letter to him at his office, and we walked out on the Derry Wall, talking till we came to Walker's monument before which we stoma I there told hint ray mission and my business with him. He was impressed with the great power of England, with the great strength of her army and navy and with the illimitable resources in the way of raising loans of money. He thought the Irish people were not able to beat England in open warfare, but when I told him of the organization we had among the soldiers in the English army, he brightened up and seemed to have hopes of success. But he was too old, he said, to take upon himself the obligation of a soldier; then in citing me to spend the evening at his house, which I respectfully declined, as it might attract attention to me or to him. I parted from him, having received from him letters of Introduction to friends of his in other places. Dr. McKnight might have been at that time about 70 or 75 years of age. His hair was white, but fire and youth would come into his eyes when speaking of his country's wrongs and of the duty of righting them.
I had introductions to some of the Catholic Irishmen of Derry, but many of them were away front the city just then. One of them named MacMenamin was in Buncrana, some nine miles to the northeast of Derry, In the County Donegal, and I took the train to Buncrana. I met my man and found him a good one. When I had finished my business with him I hired a jaunting car from Tommy Doherty, and he drove me back to Derry. Coming along the way he pointed out to me the old historic places at each side of the road. There was Cahir O'Doherty at the right hand side to the north, and there were the ruins of Ailech at our left, where, as the legend has it, the old warriors of Donegal lie sleeping with their horses standing by them ready bridled and saddled, all to start into life and action against the English enemy "when the day comes" and the trump[et] of war is sounded:
Then pass we on to Ulster to the hills of Donegal.
Where a host of ancient warriors lie in the enchanted hall
Awaiting call to battle from the trumpet sounding shrill—
They cannot rise till war's loud cries resound throughout each hill.
That verse of an old song that got into my head about those dead heroes of Donegal who are “waiting for the time” and for “the opportunity,” might have been written by some poet who meant to satirize the living heroes of his own day who were dead or sleeping—"waiting for the time" and the opportunity. They are pretty applicable, too, to the living heroes of the present day—all waiting to free Ireland—waiting till some one else will come to free it for them. "England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity," they say, but when England's difficulty comes It brings no opportunity to them to do anything; they are not prepared; England is out of the difficulty in three or four months' time. and then the parrot peacock-feather patriots of Ireland proclaim again that England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity, and thus from generation to generation they go on playing their game of "carry the foot further," never inculcating the maxim that "they who would be free, themselves must strike the blow," always leaving to each succeeding generation the discharge of a duty that belongs to each present generation.
Having done my business in Donegal and Derry I went down to Lifford, and from there went to Tyrone at the western side, stopping at Strabane, and I calling to see Thomas Neilson Underwood, who, as I said in my last letter, was a grand nephew of Thomas Neilson, one of the '98 patriots. This Thomas Neilson is buried in Poughkeepsie, the State of New York. Charles Underwood O'Connell, who was in prison with me and who is now chief clerk in the Bureau of Naturalization In New York, tells me Samuel Neilson was the author of the song:
'Tis the green, oh, the green, is the color of the time,
We will raise it 'gainst the Orange, and we'll back it o'er the blue.
'Tis the color of our fatherland that here alone is seen,
'Tis the color of our martyred dead — our own immortal green.
I spent a part of the day with Thomas Neilson Underwood, and getting a letter of introduction from him to George Henry Moore, of Mayo, I bade him goodby. That night I laid myself down at Omagh, in the County of Tyrone, and having spent the night with some good men there, I sot out for Enniskillen next morning.
I had an idle day in Enniskillen and went out to look at the country. I walked up a hill that overlooks the town, and on the top of the hill I found a big cannon planted; it was a reminder to the people that England held sway there. I then walked along the banks of Lough Erne at the other side of the town, and reached an old Irish castle in ruins. I entered it, looked around and thought of the giantly people that must have built such a giantly structure. They were the Maguires of Fermanagh, and I was looking at their rule and at the ruins of Maguire's Castle on "the winding banks of Erne" There are Maguires in Brooklyn and New York, big, proud Maguires, too, but they are pigmies compared with the Fermanagh Maguires of olden times; they have lost their Irish and have grown degenerate. The foreigner owns their ancient halls and their ancient fame, and they are in a strange land aping at being freemen, while the brand of slavery is on their name and race. And so it is of all the rest of the "old stock."
I put up at a hotel in Enniskillen. There was only one public parlor in it, and in that public parlor there was a landlord's agent receiving the rents of the landlord's estate that day. A tall old lady, called widow Maguire, stood at the table counting out her money—counting it out to pay the Englishman for land that belonged to her fathers. She was short a couple of shillings, the landlord refused to give her a clear receipt for the rent, and she began to cry; but her tears fell dry upon the agent's feelings. She had the whole of the nominal rent, but in the springtime of the year the agent had given her some flaxseed for the farm, for which he was now charging payment, and she had not the price of the flaxseed with her. As she hadn't it, he would not give her the clear receipt for the rent, and she kept crying and moaning how in the world she could face the boys at home without the clear receipt or the money. He would not give her back the money. I had to leave that room, and I think now that in spite of me I was crying too. But there was a policeman there, and I was there in private, and I could not interfere anyway without attracting to myself some attention which might interfere with the mission on which I was traveling. Some scenes get photographed on a person's mind, and the picture remains there during life; that picture of landlordism at the hotel in Enniskillen I will carry alive to my grave.
Next morning I took the train for Lisnaskea in Fermanagh; I came out at Lisnaskea and I walked the road to the next station place—Maguire's Bridge. I did that to evade the eyes of the police, who are posted at the different railway stations to observe every traveling stranger. At Maguire's Bridge Ned Cosgrove, of Belfast, was to meet me that day. It was his native village and I met him at the appointed place.
We traveled northward toward Tempo, the birthplace of the late Hugh Hastings, of New York. We called into the house of a miller named Logue, at Brookborough, and had dinner there—for nothing. We then went to the house of a farmer named Murphy and stayed there all night. In the morning early we arose to resume our journey, but there must have been slaughter in that house all night, for such a table of boiled chickens and ducks and geese I did not see before or since as was laid before us for breakfast that morning. After breakfast a few of the Murphy boys went across the fields with us to Tempo, and there for the sum of £1 we engaged a horse and carriage to travel with us all day. The first place we halted at was Fivemiletown, and when our business there was done Mr. Hart, one of Mr. Cosgrove's schoolmates, came on the car with us to the next town, which was Clogher. It was a fair day in the town, and a good day for work; numbers of young men from the country wore at the fair, and Cosgrove and Hart and it Clogher man named Scullen knew the whole of them. Hart and Scullen are now dead, and I speak of them without periling the safety of soul or body—tall, straight, Tyrone men, standing over six feet high, loving Ireland and hating England as intensely as any other two men on earth or in heaven to-day. I felt that I was only in the way of Cosgrove and Hart and Scullen, while they were talking to the new recruits they were getting, because the three of them belonged to another Irish society that was gotten up to repel the attacks of Orangemen, and I did not belong to it. I told them I was very anxious to see the old historic places of Clogher; that I would walk out while they wore talking to their friends and would be back in an hour's time. I strolled into the churchyard of the town and looked at the names on the tombstones and saw graven on one stone that under it lay the remains of a woman who was the affectionate wife of a certain man, and also of another woman who was the affectionate wife of the same certain man. He had buried the two wives in the same grave. That grave is about thirty yards to the left band side of you as you stand looking out from the front door of Clogher Church.
I strolled into the graveyard of Holy Cross Abbey another day, and reading the tombstones there I read an epitaph which is worth recording in America. It Is this:
Return and do the good
Which were I now, I would;
Remember, thou wilt be
In dust, as now rest I.
A reminder to us all that we may all do more good than we arc doing on earth while we have the power. when we are in the other world we cannot do much for the nearest and dearest that belong to us here. To do as much good and as little harm in this world as possible was one of the active principles of the old Irish religion.
When Ned Cosgrove and I had done our business at Clogher we drove on to Augher, a town three or four miles distant, I had a letter of introduction from Newtownards to one of the MacKennas who lived there; he is now dead, but having transacted our business with him that day, we faced our horse for Aughnacloy. Delaying here for some time and seeing some of the men there, we went on to Tynan and Caledon. This is the country of the O'Neills, and a more charming tract of country there is not in Ireland than the land and the stream and the wood between Aughnacloy and Caledon. At Tynan we stopped to looked (sic) at an old Irish stone cross that is fenced in on the cross road of the village. We wondered that such an old relic of the old faith was allowed to live in such a place, for it was hero a hundred years ago that Orangeism had birth, and that the fiercest of feuds were waged between the English and the Irish parties of Irish birth.
We went into the domain and into the castle of the Duke of Caledon; he and his family were in England, and the caretaker showed us through the house. The mansion in olden time belonged to the O'Neills.
Here we parted with our jarvey and hes Irish jaunting car; we paid him off and sent him on his way home to Tempo; Ned Cosgrove and I took the trains, he for Belfast and I for Rathfriland. At Rathfriland I was to meet Matthew McLarnin, of Portadown, who was to travel that district with me. I met him, and we hired a car to take us to Loughbrickland told Gullford.
On our way we overtook two bodies of men who were marching on the road to the music of fifes and drums. After passing them Matthew said: "It would be a funny thing nosy if they were to know who we are and the business we are on." They were Orangemen who were returning to their homes after being at work in the fields all day, and it was customary to take their fifes and drums with them and play their party tunes going to work in the morning and coming from work in the evening, Matthew McLarnen and myself spent a few days in this district; we called at Scarva, and the men of the organization there told me it would be worth my while to go into the domain and take a look at the Castle of the Queen's O'Reilly. I went in and took a look at it and was impressed with the fact that the Queen's men and the King's men in Ireland are hi possession of the fat of the land—of the wealth and beauty of the land. This O'Reilly's castle in Scarva is built in three wings; the open space faces the south, and has a view of miles and miles of spreading country before it; the owner is more English than the English themselves, one of his ancestors became a turncoat and thus saved his lands from confiscation, and not alone that, but came into possession of the lands of many of his clansmen who remained true to the cause of country and creed.
From Scarva I made my way down to Newry, and here on a Sunday evening I met John Nolan again, at the house of a man where it was agreed some thirty or forty men were to meet us. We had a little difficulty here in getting all of the men united; some wore working one way and some wore belonging to another organization that admitted none but Catholics to membership. I was asked if there were any Protestants belonging to our Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, and I answered that there were. I was told we could not be trusted, that the majority of the Irishmen at that meeting would have nothing to do with a society containing Protestants. I asked was not Robert Emmet a Protestant, and did not their society in America carry on their banners the picture of Robert Emmet. The man who was questioning me replied that Robert Emmet was in the pay of the English Government. I told them I could not believe that, and telling them I had no hope of being able to do any good for Ireland in Newry, I took up my hat and asked John Nolan to come away; the friends who were at our side of the house got angry with the other friends, and as I left the room I left the whole party in a very angry discussion. I did not wait to see the end of it.
Next day I went to the fair of Camlough, three miles outside of Newry, and swore in some men there, having been introduced to them by some friends who met me by appointment at that fair.
My next call was to Armagh. I hired a jaunting car from a man named O'Toole and drove toward Keady. On the side of the road by a little lake I saw a man sitting down. I stopped the car and asked him was his name Frank Brownlee? He said it was. I asked him another question which he answered satisfactorily. We then traveled together that day to Keady and beyond Keady, and back again to Keady and Armagh. This Frank Brownlee is now in Paterson, N. J. He was a good and true man in Ireland, was subsequently put in prison in Ireland and is one of the Irishmen who in America remain good and true to the Irish cause.
I parted from Frank Brownlee next morning. He went his way and I went mine. I went into the County Monaghan and came out of the train at a station called Glaslough. Here there were some police on watch duty. They were expecting some strangers and I found myself under their notice. I soon found out that the man they were looking for was Joe Coburn. He was to engage in a prize fight those days and they wore on duty to prevent the fight taking place. Joe's native place was Middletown, three or four miles distant.
As soon as I was relieved of police attention I thought of going to Tyholland, a place where lived James Blaney Rice. I knew I was within two or three miles of the place when I was in Glaslough; I traveled into the country and walked a couple of miles of a road with a big high wall at my left hand side all along. I was almost cursing the man who owned that wall, who built it and shut out from me the country's view. His name was Leslie, he was a landlord and he had the wall built to shut in himself and his castle and his demesne from the eyes of the neighbors. When I passed Leslie's place, I went into a house on the roadside and inquired where was Tyholland. I was shown where it was, three or four miles in the distance, was told the easiest way to get there was to go back to Glaslough; but I did not want to travel by Leslie's wall again, so I went on the top of a high ditch and, like a fox after being unbagged looking for the course he would take, I looked for the straight course to James Blaney Rice's house and traveled the fields toward it. When I reached it the family were after dinner, but James Blaney's sister was not long getting a special dinner ready for me. Many a family has suffered in Ireland through connection with Fenianism or through connection with Ireland, I may say. Many a home has been broken up, many a home has been scattered. James Blaney Rice, with his house, his home and his family, is one. I saw him in New York the other day—a gray, old looking, world wearied man; he had lost Tyholland, though he had the lands of it in my time at half a crown an acre; he had no repinings for his loss, for his sufferings for his worldly misfortunes; he still talked of the old cause and of the happy day in the immediate future when Ireland would be free, and when he and all other Irishmen would have their own again. In Tyholland, in the Autumn of 1864, I made arrangements with James Blaney Rice that he, with a few of the principal men in his neighborhood, should meet me at the house of Barney Reilly in Glaslough road, In the Town of Monaghan, next evening. That same Barney Reilly is in New York to-day, and a good man still.
I had a letter of introduction from the Rev. David Bell to an acquaintance of his, who lived about a mile to the north of Monaghan Town, and I went to deliver it. I found my man; he was a Black Northern Presbyterian and his name was Joseph Glass. A tall, respectable looking gentleman, over six feet high, but apparently in delicate health. I delivered my letter; he read it; he walked out in the fields with me, and while walking kept talking. "I am in delicate health," said be;" it is not likely I will live long. I am heart and soul with any movement that will free my country any way. I have conscientious scruples regarding the taking of an oath, the obligation of which I know I am not able to perform. I am not able to take up arms and fight at a moment's warning. My health will not permit me. If you omit that part of the oath I will swear to the rest of it." When parting from Mr. Glass he said to me, "Now, I have a horse and carriage here; they are at your service any day you want them, or at the service of any friend of yours who will be traveling this way any day." Joe Glass is gone to the other world long ago; God rest his soul there!
Having done my business in Monaghan, I hired a car for the Town of Cavan. I went through Cootehill, and outside Cootehill saw big Nelson monument looking affair, erected in a field at the left hand side of the road. I went in to look at it, and read on the side stones at the base the legend that the pile was raised to commemorate the life of a man named Dawson, who was killed in the Crimean War. I thought it a queer place to have a Crimean hero commemorated, and thought of a time to come when it would be the duty of Irishmen to remove all such monuments as that from the soil of Ireland.
I had an introduction to some men in a place between Cootehill and Cavan. I stopped at a wayside inn kept by Barney Fay, and he sent for the men I wanted; he had a number of men digging potatoes in a field near by and I told him to send for them too, as he told me they were good, reliable men. I met them all and I found they all belonged to another Irish society such as the one I met in Newry. I could make no hand of them; if the society was a religious one, or in defense of their religion they would join it, otherwise they would have nothing to do with it or with me.
I came on to the Town of Cavan, met an old Skibbereen neighbor of mine named Henderson, who is now a magistrate of the County Cavan. We got talking. I told him I was out traveling establishing agencies for the Irish people. I got word here that I was wanted in Dublin. I arrived in Dublin next morning and was told at the office that arrangements had been made to have Edward Duffy and myself travel through Connacht. I left Dublin next day and met Edward Dully in Connacht the day after. We spent three or four weeks making our tour of "treason" through the western province, but before I go through that tour I must tell who my companion was and what was his fate.
Edward Duffy belonged to Lough Glynn, in the County Roscommon. He was brought up to the drapery or dry goods business, and when Fenianism was started he was clerk to Mrs. Duff, of Ballaghadereen, who was a sister of John B. Dillon, the father of the present John Dillon, of the Land League movement. Edward Duffy joined the Fenian movement and became a very active organizer. He was trusted by James Stephens and by every one who knew him, and well worthy of the trust he was. When James Stephens escaped from prison and came to America, in 1866, Edward Duffy in Ireland was his confidential man. I have some of the letters James Stephens wrote to him. and will publish them if I continue my story of the Fenian movement down to the end of the year 1866. Edward Duffy was arrested by the English and sentenced to fifteen years' penal servitude; he was taken to London, lodged in the prison of Millbank and most cruelly treated there by the English. They worried him to death. I was in Milbank Prison the time he died. I was told by a warden he expressed a wish to see me, I applied to the governor and to the visiting director of the prison for permission to see Edward Duffy before he died, I was asked how did I know he was in the prison, I told them when I was at mass a few Sundays ago I saw him going to communion; they would not give me permission to see him. A visit from some family friend in the outside world is allowed to a convict every six months, I had no visit from any one for six months, I said a visit was due to me from some one, and I would forego that visit for the privilege of seeing Edward Duffy. No, they would not let me see him. I was in my cell a few days after, and through the grated ventilator of it the whispered words came to me "Duffy is dead." True enough he was dead; on his deathbed he asked to see me and this dying request of his was refused by his English jailors. Yes, I read it in the London papers one time--I read a scathing denunciation of Russian barbarity—read how two Polish comrades were imprisoned in St. Petersburg, how one of them was dying, how ho asked that his comrade in prison be allowed to see him, and how his dying request was refused. That was the barbarity of the Russian that England denounced as inhuman; here was a similar case of two comrade prisoners belonging to England's Poland, occurring in the heart of England, in the heart of London. within a stone's throw of the headquarters of the Bible societies of the world, and England's Christian heart was as hard as stone. The act which in Russia denoted barbarity, in England denoted civilization and discipline.
‘Tis you're the sinner always, she's the saint.
Edward Duffy was in business one time with the Gannon brothers, of Castlerea; he had two sisters who wore school teachers, living with their mother, he was at the time of his arrest under engagement to be married to Miss Mary O'Leary, sister to John O'Leary, editor of the Irish People, a most estimable lady who died shortly after the death of her betrothed. In the darkness of my prison chamber I wrote out, or rather thought out, for I had no pen to write the following lines on the death of my comrade;
The world is growing darker to mo—darker day by day,
The stars that shone upon life's path are vanishing away,
Some setting and some shifting, only one that changes never.
'Tis the guiding star of liberty that blazes bright as ever.
Liberty sits mountain high, and slavery has birth
In the hovels, in the marshes, in the lowest dens of earth;
The tyrants of the world pitfall pave the path between
And o'ershadow it with scaffold, prison, block and guillotine
The gloomy way is brightened when we walk with those we love,
The heavy load is lightened when we bear and they approve:
The path of life grows darker to me as I journey on,
For the truest hearts that traveled it are falling one by one.
The news of death is saddening even in festive hell,
But When 'tis heard through prison bars 'tis saddest then of all,
Where there's none to share the sorrow in the solitary cell.
In the prison, within prison — a blacker hot in hell.
That whisper through the grating has thrilled through all my veins,
"Duffy Is dead:" a noble soul has slipped the tyrant's chains,
And whatever wounds they gave him, their lying books will show,
How they very kindly treated him, more like a friend than foe.
For these are Christian Pharisees, the hypocrites of creeds,
With the Bible on their, lips and the devil in their deeds,
Too merciful in public gaze to take our lives away,
Too anxious here to plant in us the seed of life’s decay.
Those Christians stand between us and the God above our head,
The sun and moon they prison, and withhold the daily bread.
Entomb, enchain and starve us, that the mind they may control,
And quench the fire that burns in the ever living soul.
To lay your head upon the block for faith in Freedom's God,
To fall in fight for Freedom in the land your fathers trod;
For Freedom on the scaffold high to breathe your latest breath.
Or anywhere 'gainst tyranny is dying a noble death.
Still sad and lone was yours, Ned, 'mid the jailers of your race.
With none to press the cold white hand, with none to smooth the face;
With none to take the dying wish to homeland friend or brother,
To kindred mind, to promised bride, or to the sorrowing mother.
I tried to get to speak to you before you passed away,
As you were dying so near me, and so far from Castlerea;
But the Bible mongers spurned me off, when at their office door
I asked last month to see you — now I'll never see you more
If spirits once released from earth could visit earth again,
You'd come and see me here, Ned; but for these we look in vain.
In the dead house you are lying, and I'd "wake" you if I could,
But they'll wake you in Loughglin, 'Ned, in that cottage by the wood.
For the mother's instinct tells her that the dearest one is dead
That the gifted mind, the noble soul from earth to heaven is fled,
As the girls rush toward the door and look toward the trees,
To catch the sorrow laden wall that's borne on the breeze.
Thus the path of life grows darker to me—darker day by day,
The stars that flashed their light on it are vanishing away,
Some setting and some shifting, but that one which changes never
The beacon light of liberty that blazes bright as ever.