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M.Kenna had a cousin who resided in Skinner-row (now Christ-churchplace), Dublin. With him he was on terms of the closest friendship and confidence. Each frequented the house of the other with the most unreserved intimacy. The cousin was an extensive printer and bookseller. At the period to which this narrative refers he was in the prime of life, tall, vigorous, and active. He was also sergeant in the grenadier company of the Dublin Volunteers. He had known the wretched Lonergan during the peaceful and comparatively innocent days that were spent as a school assistant, pitied the miserable fate of the culprit, and sympathised in the grief and solicitude of the worthy man, whose friendship still sought to console and banish despair from the spirit that was so soon to pass away. On the evening before the execution, M-Kenna remained with the condemned as long as the regulations of the “Old Prison" permitted; he then betook himself to his cousin's house, where he purposed to remain until the earliest hour in the morning at which he could be admitted to the gaol. The conversation of the evening referred almost entirely to the awful scene which the morrow was to present.
“Has his father arrived ?" said the cousin.
“No," replied M-Kenna; “I am afraid, however, that he may be here in the morning. I hope, in mercy to them both, that they may never meet on earth. I shall not leave the poor being until the last moment; he asked me, and I promised to be with him to the end.”
“I shall be there, also,” said the cousin ; “I cannot avoid it. There are hardly enough of regular troops in Dublin for the ordinary duties of the garrison, and the sheriff has made a requisition for a guard of the Dublin Volunteers. My company is ordered to attend at Baggotrath; a troop of cavalry is to escort him from Thomas-street.”
Accordingly, when the melancholy procession, on the following day, reached Baggotrath—the Tyburn of Dublin—a space around the gallows was occupied by the grenadiers, and but a few minutes appeared likely to elapse before the atonement, sternly demanded by justice, was to be fully made. Lonergan appeared resigned and tranquil. He handed to the sheriff a paper, in which he fully admitted his guilt, and expressed afervent hope that his fate should prove a salutary warning to others against unhallowed passions and evil advice. He was taking a final leave of his faithful friend, M‘Kenna, when a vehicle drove rapidly up, and a man of respectable and venerable appearance, was hastily assisted to alight. It was his father.
It is unnecessary for the purpose of this narrative, and could be no gratification to the reader, to have even an outline presented of the interview between the parent and his son. It was necessarily brief, but of inexpressible agony to both. The sheriff, the guards, even the executioner, were melted into compassion for them, and a feeling of indescribable awe pervaded the spectators, as the young man knelt and implored his father to forgive the disgrace brought upon his name, and the affliction caused to his declining years, and to join him in a supplication for mercy to that Redeemer, who, without sin, had died for sinners, and suffered for the transgressions of mankind the most excruciating tortures in the presence of his blessed mother.
The interview terminated. The old man'was led a short distance from the fatal spot; the knot was adjusted, and the cart was drawn, leaving the guilty, but penitent, criminal suspended. M'Kenna immediately turned his attention to the hapless father of the delinquent, and found him seated on a chair, supplied by some commiserating neighbour, and in an apparent stupor. He spoke not, and no one addressed him. Suddenly he started up, and walked directly to the place where the sheriff stood. All made way
for him, and he addressed to the functionary a request for his son's body)
The sheriff mused for a moment, looked at the suspended body, and replied, “Yes.; he may now be cut down."
There was some difficulty in getting at the rope, so as to cut it with a koise. M.Kenna remarked this to his cousin, the sergeant; the latter, drawing the short, slightly-curved, and very sharp hanger, which was carried by grenadiers as a portion of their equipment, directed the cart to be backed towards the body. Then, springing up on the cart, he struck the rope where it crossed the beam, and severed it at once.
A coffin was brought from a hearse which was in attendance; the sheriff directed the cap to be removed, and approached the body.
• Oh, sir," exclaimed the agonized father, “ do not quarter my child, do not disfigure his poor corpse.”.
“ Turn him on his face," said the sheriff; he was obeyed. Then, taking a small pepknife, he handed it to the executioner, who made two incisions across each other on the back of the neck. The body was then placed in the coffin, and left to the poor father's care, or, rather to the faithful friend, who directed the hearse to proceed to his house at Raheny, whither he also took the unhappy parent, who had now relapsed into the stupor of helpless misery.
On Wednesday the execution occurred. On Friday the funeral proceeded to Raheny church-yard. The only persons present, except such casual spectators as strolled into the cemetery from motives of idle curiosity, were the father, M‘Kenna, and another clergyman; the burial service was read by the latter, and the coffin was deposited in a very deep grave.
"M'Kenna had the grave closely watched every night until such a time had elapsed as to render a body totally useless to those who might exhume it for anatomical purposes, but on Saturday a note was received by the cousin in Skinner-row. It was marked, “ Private and confidential.” He proceeded on that evening to Raheny, and found M‘Kenna alene. The old man, who had undergone such an awful bereavement, had left for England by the morning's packet. The cousin was pledged to secrecy and to cooperation in a project of a most extraordinary nature, and finally he was conducted into a small apartment, which had been used as a lumber-room, and there he beheld alive, although greatly debilitated, the man, whom on the preceding Wednesday he had cut down from the gallows.
“Before day-break on Monday morning, he conveyed Lonergan into Skinner-row. There he kept him concealed for a few days, and succeeded in shipping him for Bristol, where he was joined by his father. From Bristol they proceeded, unsuspected and uninterrupted, to Canada. mately, Lonergan settled in the United States, where, under the name of James Fennell, he supported himself and his father by educational pursuits.
M‘Kenna attributed the resuscitation of Lonergan to the rope having been unusually short, to his having been swung from the cart, and not let to drop perpendicularly, and especially to the incisions in his neck, from which there was a copious effusion of blood. Lonergan declared that on being suspended, he immediately lost any sensation of a painful nature. His revival was attended with violent and distressing convulsions.
The sergeant of the Dublin Volunteers, who cut down the culprit, died in 1841, at the age of 86. One letter of his name is found amongst the following
F. T. P.
LET saints and sages say what they may in maintenance of the maxim, that “Virtue is its own reward,” still will impulsive youth and ardent manhood pursue the path that leads to the Temple of Fame. The love of posthumous renown and of the world's applause, have been, from remote periods of the world's history, powerful incentives to heroic and virtuous deeds.
In former ages, the prince or the warrior was awarded a tributary trophy—modern times, are, to a certain extent, characterised by an appreciation of mental achievements. The patriot who, by noble acts of munificence, increases the happiness of his country, or whose persuasive eloquence in the senate secures its rights, generally receives due homage. The man of scence, of art, or of literatúre, whose well directed genius explores the paths that lead to intellectual regions of knowledge-discovering and developing new properties or powers of nature—utilised for the public good, is also entitled to unfading laurels.
Those eastern countries, where the arts had their origin, were naturally the first in which they were devoted to perpetuate the memory of the good and great; thence, as civilization advanced over western Europe, they were gradually developed in Italy, Germany, France, and England-each nation recording its appreciation of departed worth, or of living genius; our own country, awakened, as it were, from a lethargy of ages, during which its people possessed little more than a struggling existence, now shows hopeful symptoms of a vigorous vitality, released, to a considerable extent, from the desponding pressure of national indigence, it recognises the sacred duty of proving to the world, that it is neither oblivious of its ancient glory, nor insensible to the claims of its patriot sons. Influenced by a deep sense of gratitude towards its benefactors, and actuated by fervid aspirations for national greatness, a public spirit has been evoked which exhibits a gratifying manifestation of true, devotion to a righteous cause ; lasting memorials to men of genius--and to men who lived and laboured for the freedom and prosperity of their native land, now bear witness to the existence of feelings, in which nationality and gratitude are happily blended.
The means by which works of monumental art are produced—the desigo, the material, and the final site, are subjects of profound consideration, Public feeling having an utterance through the press, as the most practical and rapid medium of communication, a sum of money is contributed for the purpose of raising a memorial, it is entrusted to a committee, composed generally of men whose intelligence and patriotic public services entitle them to public confidence—there may be found occasionally, in such a body, a few members, whose position is due less to their intellectual or public claims, than to their ardour in pursuit of personal ambition or distinction; the intrusiveness of such men is often the source of material injury to the cause in which they intermeddle; and the imputed defects of certain monumental works have been attributed to the injurious influence, or obtrusive activity, of such self-constituted judges and dispensers of art-patronage.
With reference generally to the appointment of such committees as ondertake the very responsible duty of selecting an artist, and of deciding upon the definite character of the work, it may be observed that, were they chosen or elected by a majority of the subscribers—or at least, of those wbo pay one pound or upwards to the fund, it would be considered by all parties a more desirable and satisfactory course than that now frequently fol. lowed.
Some very interesting and intensely national works of monumental art will shortly be erected in our metropolis, and it is hoped that the utmost circumspection will be used by the parties who may be intrusted with the important duty of superintending their completion ; much has already been written and spoken on the subject, especially with reference to the monument of O'Connellyet few enlarged or general views have been enunciated; although the interests of the arts, the just merits of the parties commemorated, and the intellectual character of our country are, to a degree, involved in the issue.
A monument of O'Connell affords ample scope for developing the highest artistic powers ; his general appearance on public occasions, his form and size ; his attitude and action, even when excited by the most inspiriting political or forensic causes, exhibited an admirable combination of energy and dignity; should his monument consist of a statue and accessories, including bistorical or allegorical figures, such a design would require a pedestal of suitably extended dimensions, and a site whose area of corresponding extent would afford a favourable view of the whole structure.
Thus, two important considerations present themselves—first, the necessity of gratifying public expectation, by a requisite amount of individuality or personal resemblance; and next, the introduction of such appropriate accessories as would represent the popular leader identified with the feelings and affections of a peculiarly circumstanced people, who regarded bim at once as the oracle of their political faith, and the efficient organ of their reiterated demands for “civil and religious liberty.”
And here, let it be observed, that although the artist, who may be selected or commissioned to execute the work, should be allowed full liberty to carry out its artistic and material character, yet, in an æsthetic point of view, it may be very desirable to have suggestive descriptions from those whose experience and memory of events would supply what the artist could not probably know without such information ; faithful accounts of the principal scenes in the eventful career of O'Connell's political life, would be of much importance in furnishing subjects for the historic details of the sculptor's work, and as they are so numerous as to present some difficulty in selection-a judiciously-chosen committee conld arrange many useful suggestions without embarrassing the artist, who, as a man of sound sense and genius, would bear in mind, “That the talent of judging may exist separately from the power of execution ;” and that much may be indirectly learned from sources where the technical language of the plastic arts is unknown. The material of which the monument is to be composed deserves consideration, as, besides other reasons, it may, in some degree, affect the design or treatment of the subject. In our northern climate marble is but seldom used, in consequence of an unfavourable impression respecting its permanency in exposed situations; yet, there are marbles that, even in the open air, would endure for ages, and purity of colour is an undeniable recommendalion, as it may be favourably viewed in any light or aspect,
Bronze, from the facility of its production, and its durability, is generally preferred for statues, but it is not free from objections; erected in the public thoroughfares of cities, its color assimilates too closely with the surrounding objects; and works of this material are rarely placed so as to be seen advantageously,
The site is a very important question, but that, it appears, has been settled as a preliminary, and therefore no good can result from its further discussion.
From the number and variety of opinions already advanced, it is obvious that a disparity exists with regard to the gesture and expression by which the figure should be distinguished-good taste and judgment suggesting the dignified and graceful repose that would characterize the solemn advocate of a nation's rights; while youthful ardour pleads for a more dramatic representation of conscious power, derived from the sympathetic co-operation of hopeful millions ;-to unite, if possible, such opposite views in thei various modifications, is the privilege, as well as the province of the artist; and fortunate, indeed, must he be deemed, if the popular facts of personal and national history, appertaining to the subject, represented in the not less truthful than poetic language of his art, should result in the production of a work that would bear with it, down the stream of time, such pleasing proofs of historic and artistic merits as would entitle it to the admiration of remote posterity.