Page images

Flash on the path the New Age is treading,

As sparks from the groove of the iron wheel,
In star-flames its motion and march reveal.

Work by the shore where our broad ocean rages,

Bridging it over by wraiths of steam; Linking two worlds by a chain, that sages

Forged in the heat of a science dream.

For Nature has stamped us with brand immortal,

The highway of nations our Land must be ;
We hold the keys of the Old-World portal,

We guard the pass of the Western Sea-
Ireland, sole in her majesty!

Work! there is work for the thinker and doer,

And glory for all when the goal is won ; So we are true to our Country, or truer

Than planets that roll round a central sun.

Call from the hills our own Irish eagle,

Spread its broad plumes on “The Green" of old;
With a sun-rise blaze, as a mantle regal,

Turning the dusk-brown wings to gold-
Symbol and flag be it then unrolled !

Face the sun with as proud a daring,

Tread the heights with a step as grand, Breast the storm with brave hearts unfearing,

As kings might do for their rightful land.

Irish daring by land and river,

Irish wealth from mountain and mine, Irish courage strong to deliver,

Irish love as strong to combine Separate chords in one strain divine ;

These are the forces of conquering power,

Chains to rend from mountain to sea;
Speak and save- -O Men of the hour!
The Freedman is he whom the Truth makes free.




CHAPTER II. In less than two months from this time, an exchange of prisoners was ffected; Captain Vesey and the count parted with mutual regret and reciprocal assurances of the strongest friendship. A few minutes before they separated, the count mentioned to him, that to disabuse Vaughan of any idea that he entertained a bad opinion of him, he had procured for him the grade of sergeant. As the captain was stepping into the vehicle, to leave Lille, a female handed him a small parcel, on opening it he found the watch, chain, and appendages, of which he had been despoiled at Castlenock.

The military operations of the English were, for some time, extensive and diversified, and during eleven years Vesey did not revisit Ireland. He had been in India, in America, and finally became a prisoner to the French, in 1756, when the Duc de Richlieu captured Minorca. There Colont1 Vesey met again with the Count de St. Woostan. Their friendship was renewed, and Vesey obtained permission, upon parole, to visit Paris, where the count was proceeding with despatches. He casually enquired for Vaughan, and was informed by the count that soon after their first parting Vaughan's brother, Sylvester, had arrived from Ireland, joined his regiment, and was killed at the battle of Raucoux, where the elder, Martin, was severely wounded, and had consequently become an inmate of the Hotel des Invalides. There Colonel Vesey found the man, whose escape from an ignominious death had often occasioned perplexing conjectures to bis prosecutor. The old sergeant evinced great pleasure at the colonel's visit, attended him throngh the establishment, and having conducted him into one of the arbours, which tbe veterans of the Invalides have, from the very commencement of the institution, cultivated with peculiar care and taste, he offered the colonel a seat under an agreeable shade, where there was no danger of their communications being overheard, and requested him to listen to the narrative of his escape from the “old prison.”

6 I need not now, sir," he added, " ask any condition from you, for the man who arranged the business is dead; no one can now be injured by the disclosure. I have bitterly mourned the disgraceful affair which has banished me from my native country, and led to the loss of my poor brother, whom I persuaded to join in the crime of robbing you. God knows my heart-I would willingly make restitution of your property, but I shall never possess the

It was a great consolation that I was able to do you a little service after Fontenoy, and I felt a certain happiness when you parted from me at Lille.”

“My good friend,” said the colonel, “ as to the affair at Castleknock, I would wish you never to mention it again. I have, however, a great curiosity to know how you avoided the fate which, to say the truth, I supposed you had undergone.

“We took the money, sir,” said Martin, “ and placed it in a strong



bag. We hid it neither in house, garden, nor field, but in a deep part of the river Liffey, below the Salmon Leap. There was a stout cord about ten feet in length, from the bag to a heavy weight, so that the cord could be easily caught by a drag. Well, I was convicted and sentenced, and there were four other men condemned at the same time, and we were all to be executed together. One was a forger, and three were housebreakers. We each occupied a separate cell in the condemned yard. The gaoler came in two or three times a day, whilst the cells were open, and I soon remarked that he took very little notice of any of the others, but spoke pretty often to me. On the third day after onr sentence I was in my cell, counting my days, and trying to count my hours, making pictures in my despairing mind of the cart and the crowd, and cringing sometimes as if I already telt the slippery noose of the soaped rope closing round the creeping flesh of my neck; thinking of the happy days of my innocent childhood, and feeling some consolation in my misery that my brother had not been condemned; and that my parents were both dead, and spared the shame and sorrow of their son's public execution. This was the wretched state of my mind when the gaoler entered the cell. He closed the door and addressed some kind expressions to me, hoping that I was resigned to the great change that was approaching, and enquiring if he could do anything for my comfort or con. solation. In a stoot but low tone I replied, that I would rather get rid of the business without being hanged at all. He sat down on the block-stool, and we both remained silent for a few minutes, but there were looks passing between us, we were reading each other's hearts. At last he said, Have


the “ • It's safe, every guinea of it,' I replied, but useless to me and to every one else, if I am to stay here for the rest of my life. Moreover, I could not give it all, for there would be very little use in going out of the prison, if I had not the means of going farther and going fast; but I have sixteen hundred pounds for a friend, who would be a real friend.'

6. Mr. Vesey is gone,' said the gaoler, 'we are tolerably safe from his observation. I am running a great risk, but I will try the chance, I am, I admit, in great want of money. Give me sixteen hundred pounds, and I will allow your brother to pass through my rooms to the top of the prison, and to bring a rope ladder with him, he can descend into the yard, and there he will find a key which will open your cell, this can be done at twelve to-morrow night; and you may be far away before nine in the morning. Your brother will be here by-and-by, you can arrange with him ; but there is no time to be lost.'

6.My brother,' I replied, shall have nothing to do with the business, except to briug the money. I shall not cross the wall, I must go out by the door, I must be let out, or I stay until I am disposed of along with the rest.'

" It's impossible,' said the gaoler.

“ It is not impossible,' I replied, “but very easy, if you can get a little assistance. I must be sick, very sick, fever, gaol fever, is to be my complaint. I must die and be sent out in a coffin'

[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“No,' said he, there must be a real corpse ; I think it can be managed; but I cannot have more than a thousand pounds for myself, and the remaining six must be divided between two others.'

“We agreed upon the plan, and for several days I was really sick, made so by artificial means—spirits, laudanum, tobacco, and other things were used in various ways. Eight hundred pounds were brought by my brother, and paid to the gaoler in the condemned cell. The other men were removed to another part of the prison. At last I died, you understand; and on that night a corpse was conveyed into my cell, by the gaoler himself; it was of my size, and had been procured in the neighbouring burial-ground of “Bully's Acre," but, unlike the generality of such disinterments, it was to go back there again under my name. I was informed that there would be a crowner's quest' upon me, but as I had died of putrid spotted fever, of the most infectious kind, it was not likely that the crowner or the jury would view my body, unless at the greatest possible distance. I assisted the gaoler to arrange the supposed corpse of myself, placing the face to the wall, and then I was let out quietly into the street, after having paid the other eight hundred pounds. My brother was waiting, but we soon separated. He thought it would lull all suspicion if he attended the reburial of my substitute ; and I set out on foot, taking the road towards Wicklow, and stopping in the morning, to have a little rest and refreshment, at Owen Bray's in Loughlinstown. About the time of my funeral, I was passing Coolagad, near Delgany, and was alarmed by seeing the Kil. ruddery hounds cross the road. There were some riders following them whom I knew, but they were too much engaged in the sport, to think about or even look at me. I proceeded by Wicklow and Arklow to Wexford, and there got a passage to Jersey. From that island I was taken to St. Malo by a smuggler, who supposed that my object was to join the Irish brigade. My life was now safe from the hangman, but I had much trouble and suffering to encounter. I was suspected of being a spy, although I could not speak a word of French ; and the possession of a few of your

; guineas was a great crime in the eyes of those who wished to get them for themselves. At Chartres I met a countryman, who was in Berwick's regiment, and at his instance I enlisted to get rid of the annoyances I was suffering, and to avoid the poverty which I saw approaching, and which was certain to overtake a stranger, whose only resourse was military service. I took, on enlisting, the name of Vaughan which was that of my mother's family. I have again to declare my deep sorrow for the wrongful act I committed, and I hope you will never regret that I was not hanged.

Colonel Vesey parted with Martin Keogh, alias Vaughan in the kindest manner, and soon after was enabled to proceed to England. His military career terminated by a wound at the capture of Quebec, in 1761, which incapacitated him for further service ; he died at Bath, in 1776. The Conut de St. Woostan accompanied the gallant but cruelly calumniated Lally Tollendahl to India, he possessed his confidence, shared in his dangers and subsequent persecutions, but eventually, freed from every imputation, restored to the rank and emoluments of Lieutenant-Colonel, he died at Amboise, in 1782. His name was Alen, and he belonged to a family which located at St. Wcolstans, near Celbridge; occupied bigh positions in Ireland, previous to the reign of Elizabeth, and from a collateral branch of which the ducal Howards of Norfolk derive the additional name of Fitz-Alen.

Martin Vaughan married in 1758 a Blanchisseuse de fin, who had a comfortable dwelling and profitable business in the rue de Bellechasse ; bis descendants are residing in Paris, but his name disappears from the register of the Invalides in 1769. His escape from Old Kilmainham protracted his existence twenty-six years. It was effected by means which would not be practicable in any prison of the British empire at the present time. Officials have become more respectable, and their integrity is protected from temptation by the intervention of a vigilant superintending authority, unknown at the period to which the foregoing narrative refers. It is also pleasing to remark that the law has become less sanguinary and crime less frequent. In the metropolitan county of Ireland there has not been more than one execution during the last thirty years. In the city of Dublin there has not been one such event for thirty-three.

In the year 1781, a young man, named Lonergan, was employed as a tutor, in the house of a gentleman of the county of Kilkenny. He had been educated by the Rev. Eugene MʻKenna, who kept a school at Raheny, in the county of Dublin; and whilst Lonergan was passing through the undergraduate course of the University of Dublin, he resided with M-Kenna, and acted as his assistant. When he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts, he was induced, either by a wish for more easy duty, or a hope of greater emolument, to become a private tutor. The gentleman by whom he was engaged, and whose name it is unnecessary to mention, laboured under an awful domestic misfortune. He was married to a very wicked woman, and in less than a year after Lonergan had commenced his residence in the house, his employer died, under such circumstances as occasioned the arrest of his widow and of Lonergan, on a charge of murder by poisoning. The prisoners successfully objected, on certain legal grounds, to being tried at the next assizes of Kilkenny, but the consequence of this delay was, that they were, in the ensuing term, brought up to Dublin, and tried at bar in the Court of King's Bench. The woman was acquitted, but Lonergan was found guilty. He was sentenced to be hanged and quartered, for such was the legal judgment of the period ; and the sheriffs of Dublin were directed to have the sentence carried into effect. A very general feeling prevailed that the more guilty culprit had escaped, and the wretched Lonergan was commiserated by many as the dupe and victim of an artful and depraved woman. The Rev. Mr. M‘Kenna did not forget his former pupil and assistant. He visited the young man in prison, testified to his character at the trial, and after condemnation was assiduous in preparing the prisoner to meet the impending and speedy doom with resignation and penitence. Lonergan's father was living, but he was in a distant land. He had been written to at an early stage of the proceedings; but in those days, when steamers and railways had not reduced long journeys to brief spaces

of time, it was considered unlikely that he would arrive before the fatal day.

« PreviousContinue »