My Life in Two Hemispheres/Chapter 16
HOW DID GAVAN DUFFY ESCAPE CONVICTION?
My letter to the Earl of Clarendon disclosing how I escaped at the First Commission, at the Second, at the Third, and at the Fourth.
There are twelve judges in Ireland, my Lord, and I have stood before ten of them in succession to answer your indictments. There are but six Commissions of Oyer and Terminer in a year, and I was carried before five of them at your instance. One bill of indictment on one charge is the ordinary practice of criminal law; I answered five bills of indictment exhibiting the same charge, each in a new and aggravated form. It is hard, I think, that I must hold up my right hand at the public bar again to defend myself for the new offence of having defeated you. It is not magnanimous, my Lord, when I escaped your public prosecutors, to set your hired slanderers upon me. A noble heart would have scorned so poor a revenge. Nay, a noble heart, I think, would have been touched with sympathy for the last of a routed party, who, when the odds looked so terribly decisive, refused to despair of himself or his country. But you have acted after your nature, and I am the last man in the world to complain that your hired claque have dragged the history of '48 again before the world.
How did Gavan Duffy escape conviction? In your dispatch to Lord Shrewsbury you charged it on "the perjury of one of my jurors." Enthusiastic young barristers attributed it (and with good reason indeed) to the matchless skill and eloquence of my counsel. Good, easy men, content with the surface of things, assured each other in railway carriages and over dinner tables that the Whigs, tired with pursuing me, had given me a fair jury at last. But you and I, my Lord, know that it is to you, above all men, I owe my deliverance. I was honoured with your personal hatred; it became a passion with you to convict me; but your blind fury defeated its own purpose. At each new Commission I escaped in direct consequence of some new stroke of violence aimed at me. You called the devil to your aid, and your shots, like the fiend's bullets in "Der Freischütz," missed their victim, and struck your own purpose in the head. The goodness of God and the malice of the Irish Executive—these were the agents of my liberation. Mark how each new aggression defeats itself, as if this true history were some fanciful legend, written to exhibit the triumph of God's providence over the designs of the powerful of the earth.
At the beginning of August, '48, a month after my arrest, I wrote with my own lingers the usual instructions for counsel. They barely filled a sheet of notepaper; and said, in scarcely more words—" Deny nothing, and retract nothing, of what I have actually written or done. But explain my motives, and defend my character from the slanders of the Government Press. They are not content to transport me; they are conspiring to bury my name under a cairn of obloquy. Let them not succeed in this at least." Birch and a kennel of Birches, some of them nicknamed Mitchelite Republicans, were let loose on me. I was specially charged with advocating the doctrines of Blanqui, and of advising private assassination. I was held responsible for all the inane and vulgar atrocities of the United Irishman.
Had you brought me to trial in August, without suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, this defence was all you had to apprehend. I neither meditated a rescue by force nor a rescue by the stratagems of criminal law. I did not summon one witness. I and my three companions in Newgate regarded ourselves as indispensable victims to the necessities of the cause. It was too soon by some months to answer your indictment in the field, and no other answer was counted of much practical avail at that day.
But you suspended the Constitution, and the explosion came at once. Two terrible weeks of uncertainty, which counted by leaden minutes, and all was over. On Sunday morning, August 6th, the Governor of Newgate came to my room, and announced that Smith O'Brien was a prisoner in Kilmainham. It was like the setting of the last sun. I thought I would never care to look on the daylight again.
Every day of the fortnight that followed brought some new disaster. Meagher, Lalor, and Leyne fell into the hands of the Government. Dillon, MacManus, M'Gee, O'Gorman, and their comrades, were under hot pursuit. There was no longer a hope that Ireland could right herself; and I looked forward to my trial with the indifference of a man who has nothing more to lose in the world.
The First Commission.
The Commission met on the 8th of August, and I was brought to the bar of Green Street. Not a solitary witness had I summoned—not a scrap of instruction had I written in addition to the memorandum already mentioned. I accepted my fate in silence and without an effort.
True bills were returned by the grand jury, and my arraignment commenced. Some progress had been already made in it, when the junior counsel for the Crown, Mr. John Perrin, rushed breathless into the court, and, in an audible whisper, warned the Crown Solicitor that the arraignment must not be completed. All was blank wonder for a moment, when Sir Colman O'Loghlen, with that singular instinctive perception of motives which is among the most notable of his gifts, whispered to one of his colleagues:—
"They are going to send Duffy to Clonmel with O'Brien."
It was precisely so. When my counsel declared I was ready for trial, and demanded to have the arraignment completed, the whole truth came out. The Crown produced an affidavit that a letter, in my handwriting, of a highly treasonable character, had been discovered in O'Brien's portmanteau; and the Attorney-General announced that he could not permit my trial to proceed at this Commission, as he might find it necessary to abandon the proceedings for felony, and institute a prosecution for high treason. I was sent back to prison to prepare for death. For five weeks my fellow-prisoners, when we met in the ghastly prison chapel on a Sunday morning, fancied the public gallows, which forms its principal window, was destined to open for my last exit from that edifice. For public opinion was still dumb, and defeat was interpreted to mean death. This was the First Commission. How I escaped on that occasion needs no more words.
There were many foul strokes in your duel with me, my Lord, but one of the foulest followed close on this transaction. For five entire weeks, and up to the day O'Brien was removed to Clonmel, my friends could obtain no definite information whether or not I should accompany him. The perpetual answer of the Attorney-General to my solicitor was that he had not determined. Long after his measures must have been taken, and up to the day O'Brien was removed to the south, I remained in total ignorance that I was not to be tried at the same Commission.
During all this time the fire of your literary police never ceased. After my arrest it increased in intensity. The language of a distinguished ecclesiastic, who in that hour of panic united the vigour and independence of Swift, painted it in words that will not die.
My friends made some effort to counteract this torrent of slander, but you out-manœuvred them. Some weeks before my arrest I had published the " Creed of the Nation" so that if I fell before the law or the sword my opinions might live. O'Brien, in a public letter, volunteered to adopt every sentiment of it, and the document had come to be, in some sort, the profession of faith of our party My friends caused this pamphlet to be republished with the Dublin University Magazine as a true statement of my opinions. But my true opinions were precisely what must not be published. Your police agent, Col. Brown, sent for certain of the Dublin booksellers, and caused them to cut it out of the magazine. My friends next ordered it to be reprinted in the Nation, where they fondly believed it beyond your control. But they were mistaken. They did injustice to the resources of your generous imagination. That number of the Nation you caused to be seized at the printing-office and confiscated. A single copy of it never reached the public till I was a free man again. And so your Birches and Balfes had the field to themselves.
The Second Comission.
On the 23rd of October O'Brien, Meagher, and their comrades were sentenced to death at Clonmel. On the 26th the Commission opened in Green Street, and I was brought up the second time for trial. How did I escape? By the sharp practice of the illustrious Earl of Clarendon. Once again, had you been content with the ordinary course of English law, you had me safe enough. But you charged your blunderbuss to the muzzle and it burst. Up to the night before the sitting of the Commission my solicitor could not ascertain for what offence, or on what indictment, I was to be tried. When the Court opened we found you had transferred me from the city to the county. I had lived ten years in Dublin—it was feared perhaps that the citizens knew me too well to be misled by your hired Press; for a sure stroke you carried me among men to whom I was unknown, except through the blood-red portraits of the Evening Post. Mitchel and Martin, who were tried before me, were tried in the city—O'Doherty and Williams, who remained to be tried after me, were tried in the city; but " my equals and neighbours, indifferently chosen," were to be found only in an Orange squirearchy, the débris of the Old Corporation, and superannuated Castle officials, gone into country quarters from Finglas to Glasthule.
But I had skilful and generous counsel, impatient to thwart you. They demonstrated that your practice had been too sharp, and was contrary to the express provisions of the law. When the venue is changed from one district to another, the removal of the prisoner by habeas corpus to the prison of the new district must take place ten days before the trial, in order to give him due notice and adequate time for preparation. You had not given me the legal notice nor half of it. Justice Crampton and Justice Torrens were compelled to pronounce, with lugubrious faces, that the trial could not take place in the new venue at that Commission. Thus a second Commission was lost by your sharp practice.
The Third Comission.
The Third Commission opened on the 15th of December, more than five months after my arrest. A new bill of indictment—the third—was sent up to the grand jury, with a new count, charging me with inciting Smith O'Brien to make war on the Queen. In the forty volumes of the State Trials there is not a single case in which three indictments were launched against the same man on the same charge. But you and I, my Lord, had the honour to make a set of precedents for the gentlemen of the Bar, which will long keep our memory green in their souls. Mr. Justice Perrin signalised this Commission by one of those brilliant coups which would have immortalised your Proconsulship if each of them had not unhappily rebounded like a boomerang on the hand which projected it. The grim Justice, glancing from his son and his son's father-in-law (who were there engaged in prosecuting me) to the dock, growled out an order forbidding publication in the newspapers till the trial was over. How he persisted in this besotted blunder for more than a week, and was frightened out of it at last by a leonine roar from the Times, is of no consequence now except to illustrate the providential course of these proceedings. When Mr. Justice Perrin shut up his court in darkness, trust me he opened the eyes of more jurors than I could have couched in a twelvemonth.
And now, my Lord, at this new Commission, with a third indictment, a new change of the venue, eager prosecutors, and complaisant judges, and the Dragon in Kingstown Harbour with its steam up to carry me into exile, why did you not convict me at last? Again " the mercy of God and the malice of the Government " were my safety. In this new bill of indictment the penetrating eyes of my counsel discovered serious loopholes. Your unscrupulous manoeuvres had determined them to fight every inch of the ground, and here was fruit of their vigilance. They demurred to the indictment; and, after a fortnight spent in debates and adjournments, the Court were forced to declare four out of the six counts substantially bad in law. Two-thirds of the bill swept away at a brush!
The moment judgment was delivered we declared ourselves ready for trial. But your Lordship's officials would not consent. They had got another " short cut." The ordinary course of the law would not do for a man honoured by your Lordship's enmity. They insisted that I should BE SENTENCED WITHOUT TRIAL. This demand had a bare shadow of precedent. In misdemeanour cases, where punishment is trifling, it is the practice, if a man demur to the indictment, that he does so at the penalty of conviction in case his demurrer is overruled—that is to say, he is compelled practically to declare "your charge is well founded, but you have not made it according to law." If he shows that they have not made it according to law the indictment fails; if he does not succeed in showing this, he is sentenced as if he had been convicted in due course by a jury. But in trials for high treason a man may demur and plead afterwards, as the case involves results too serious to be risked on the whim of a judge. Treason-felony naturally followed the same rule. But the Attorney-General insisted that it should not; insisted that I must be transported, and transported on an indictment three-fourths of which were declared to be bad in law.
After long delays and portentous ponderings, running over three weeks, the Court at last had to pronounce that the thing could not be done—that I must, in fact, be tried, and even convicted, before I was sentenced!
And now, at last, on the 18th of January, I pleaded "not guilty," and declared myself ready for trial. In fact my counsel were eager to have me tried on the broken indictment, which shut out certain damaging evidence. But the learned judges would not consent. A month had already been spent, and they were tired of the business. Perhaps, too, a broken indictment was not considered quite the instrument fit to give me the coup de grace. They peremptorily refused to sit longer at that Commission. I insisted that the delay had been their own fault, made up of short sittings and long adjournments—that I had been six months in prison, and I required to be tried at once. But gruff Perrin grunted a savage negative and the Court adjourned to its Christmas holidays a little past date. And so once again, by the mercy of God and the malice of the Government, I had escaped conviction.
The Fourth Commission.
The 15th of February came at last, and the Attorney-General sent up a new bill of indictment against me! It was the fourth found, and the fifth printed of all sizes, from the length of a Catechism to the length of a Bible. It was no longer a double-barrelled gun but a Colt's revolver—a battery of barrels—which was provided for me. The indictment with which you insisted upon transporting me in January was not found fit to trust to a jury in February, but a brand-new one was fabricated, "mended," as some one observed at the time, "at the cost of the prisoner and by the skill of his counsel."
And now, at last, we stood face to face, and a jury was to judge between us. But what jury? You refused me a copy of:he panel, though it had been given to Mitchel; though it is a right in treason, and usage in felony cases; though in Scotland, in identical prosecutions, it was furnished a fortnight before trial to the prisoners. And I entered the dock, and pleaded " not guilty," ignorant what jurors were arrayed to try me.
But you had driven us to the wall, and we planted our backs against it. When the panel was at last read my counsel challenged the array, and while they were exhibiting its partisan character the panel was printed and in ten minutes distributed over the city. Out of the remnant of the clubs I had formed a more effective police than your detectives. It was a picture to look on the angry front of Hatchell as bundles of the printed panel were carried back to me in the dock from every district in the city with the character of the jurors marked on them by trustworthy men of their own neighbourhood. Just heavens! how ineradicable is the hatred of English dominion in the heart of Ireland. Men who before and after played the flunkey at the Castle, men who kissed the Queen's feet and yours, sent me private information how to embarrass and defeat you.
At length the jury was sworn and the case commenced. I have already described the elements of my defence. Twice in the course of the trial a majority of the jurors were prepared to acquit me. Up to the end several jurors were determined to acquit on all the counts but the second. One juror persisted to the end in demanding a full acquittal. You have ventured, my Lord, in your private protocol to Lord Shrewsbury, to apply a hard and insolent word to his honest verdict. Let us see on what grounds it may have stood.
Jurors have claimed it as their inalienable right to pierce through the outward filaments of law and determine on the intrinsic justice of great cases. James II. could not coerce a jury to convict the seven Protestant bishops, though the letter of the law was plainly against them. Neither Stuart nor Cromwell could persuade juries to strike down John Lilburne, the Puritan. The statutes against duelling were as plain as the multiplication table, but juries are judges of the law as well as the fact, and of the equity as well as the law. And an Irish juror who consulted his conscience at that day might well pause to consider whether, on the whole, the true offender upon whom public justice ought to be executed stood at the bar or sat in the high places of the land.
Or, on a lower ground, the juror might well deem that already an ample penalty had been exacted. A year's close imprisonment counts, in the graduated scale of judicial sentences, as equal to seven years' transportation. I had already been seven months shut up in a prison described, in official reports, as "the worst in Europe." It was built on the burying-ground of an ancient monastery, and reeked with foul airs. My only outlet was a damp, narrow, funereal court, crossed in four paces, into which the sun never shone and where a nameless nuisance poisoned the air of heaven. I had paid an enormous fine in the loss of my whole property, between fraudulent debtors and the costs of a protracted defence. I had in fact paid a heavier fine, and endured a worse, if not a longer, imprisonment, than actual conviction would have incurred before the Treason Felony Act of April, '48.
You had put a case before the jury which they could not believe. You proved my handwriting by a witness who admitted he had sworn to it once before in error. You proved the barricades at Killenaule and the siege at Balingarry, and asked the jury to convict me for them me! a prisoner in Newgate! On the highest grounds of public principle, on plainest practical equity, on the narrowest technical theory of his duty, a juror with a clear conscience might refuse you a verdict.
These four Commissions, resulting in four providential escapes, are directly traceable to the malignity and incapacity of your administration. At the rising of the Court, in February, I was sent back to prison, to await for eight weeks more the period of a new trial, and the chances of new judges and a new jury.
Happily there is a measure to public forbearance. Much had been borne in dumb submission, but indignation was gathering slowly in the public mind; and when I was recommitted for the fifth time, it burst out fierce and strong. Hatchell's foul tongue had swelled it, Perrin's secret tribunal had swelled it, the literary assassins—the Ryan-Pucks, the Birch-Pucks, and Barrett-Pucks of the Government Press had swelled it; and now the protracted and merciless imprisonment exploded it at last. Men began to declare openly that it was not a trial but an immolation. They saw
"Beneath the sable garment of the law
and they rushed forward to forbid the desecration.
Never, perhaps, was such a singular movement seen in any country on the earth as it elicited from a people broken with famine and disheartened by a recent and ignominious defeat. At the eve of the fourth Commission, the chief Catholic Corporations in Ireland, a host of Protestant and Catholic gentlemen, and seventy thousand of the people, memorialled against your practice of packing partisan juries. Memorialled against foul play in a court of justice! Memorialled that you would be generously pleased not to swindle me out of liberty, property, and life. It was, as the venerable Cloncurry wrote at the time, like a memorial against highway robbery organised by a Government. No civilised country had ever witnessed such a spectacle.
After my recommittal to prison ten thousand of the citizens of Dublin of all parties, with many of the foremost names in commerce, literature, and the professions at their head, demanded that the prosecution should be utterly dropped. The jurors who had been willing to convict me united with them. Several of the principal towns in the north and south followed their example. The Irish electors in certain English and Scotch boroughs called on their representatives to interpose. It was plainly the opinion of large masses of men that the ordinary course of justice had been departed from, and that public opinion might, and ought to, penetrate into the court of law itself and stand between the prosecutor and the prisoner.
The Last Trial.
The last Commission opened on the 10th of April, 1849, nine months and two days after my arrest. The public impatience to know the constitution of the jury panel was immense; and Judge Jackson, who was no lip Liberal, but a Tory and a bigot, acted with commendable fairness. He ordered it to be read aloud the day before my trial. Lo! the prolific Government had conceived a new device. Felony cases are invariably tried by a common jury. So they have been tried for centuries. So Mitchel, Martin, Williams, and O'Doherty had been tried. But you summoned for this Commission, not only special jurors, but special jurors alone. Every name was taken from a list composed, according to statute, of "the sons of peers, baronets, and knights, magistrates, ex-sheriffs, grand jurors, squires, bankers, merchants, and traders worth £5,000!" You estimated me highly, my Lord, when you insisted upon these personages, and none others, as my "neighbours and equals." Titus Gates swore that the "Papists plotted to shoot the King with a silver bullet"; and this was plotting to hang me with a silken halter. There were Catholics on this list, of course—Castle Catholics, employes in public offices, the brothers and brothers-in-law of official people, the "sons of baronets" made by Whigs; magistrates raised to the Bench by the same faction, and proud of their dignities—in short, your sworn servants. And I have before me at this moment the letter of a trustworthy witness, assuring me that to his own positive knowledge the same post which carried the Sheriff's summons to certain of those persons brought them also an invitation to some Viceregal hospitalities! This was making assurance doubly sure; it was worthy of your lordship's skill and precaution as a veteran diplomatist.
But you failed again. How did you fail with such admirable precautions, and rehearsals so numerous? Alas! "the extinguishers themselves took fire." The jurors who were to execute your will were part of that public which had risen in remonstrance against you. There is a point beyond which even Dublin jurors will not go.
The trial commenced; the panel was called over, and only seventy out of one hundred and seventy jurors answered to their names. It was called again on a heavy penalty—only ninety answered. Eighty special jurors refused by their absence to take any further part in your proceedings. Fines of £50 could not whip them to the box. The public feeling which had pronounced in the Press and in memorials, now pronounced in the very court, by this wholesale desertion of the middle classes.
Only ninety answered. The prisoner has a right to set aside twenty peremptorily. Here were twenty of the worst struck out at a blow. The list consisted, as I have said, of magistrates, grand jurors, &c. But no grand juror who had found an indictment against me could legally serve on my petty jury. It was beautiful to see the poetic justice executed on you for your repeated indictments, when man after man was set aside because he had acted on one or other of the grand juries which found true bills against me. Here was another huge gap in the list.
Three jurors were excused by the Court on the plea of ill-health—that accommodating sickness which seizes gentlemen who find it inconvenient to keep their appointments. They were sick, I presume, of " the Queen against Duffy."
Actual residence in Dublin is an essential qualification of a juror in treason-felony cases, but many of your special jurors lived in country houses in the suburbs—at Kingstown, Blackrock, Roebuck, and Rathfarnham. Here went a dozen more from the panel.
A new objection, never raised before, remained. Jurors were in the habit of excusing themselves on the plea of being over sixty years of age. Pondering over the matter in the long, lonely days in prison, it struck me that the law not only excused, but prohibited, these venerable gentlemen from sitting upon juries. I submitted the point to my counsel, and was sustained by their authority. Hence, a batch of grey-headed old corporators and special jurors, who had listened to Norbury's jokes and Saurin's sneers, vere swept away.
And now came the dilemma? You could not make up a jury without admitting some Catholics and Liberal Protestants upon it. The Crown can object peremptorily to a juror but once. If the panel be exhausted, the jurors set aside peremptorily in the first instance are recalled, and unless some special and legal objection be established against each of them they must be sworn on the jury. Your Law Officers set aside three Protestants and fifteen Catholics; and these omissions, with the prisoner's successful objections and challenges, left the list in such a condition that, unless some of the jurors remaining on the panel were placed on the jury, the Court would have to fall back on the identical men already outraged by being set aside for their religion or their opinions. Of the ninety jurors in court, twelve good and true Castle hacks were not left. Hence you were compelled to give me a fairer jury than before. You were compelled; it was the specific and net result of our labour to defeat you.
I have good reason to know now that some of these jurors entered the box with strong prejudices against me, begotten of the Evening Post. Gradually, under the influence of the evidence for the defence, and of one of the most practical and persuasive speeches ever addressed to a jury, they gave way. The same motives that influenced Mr. Burke, increased by longer imprisonment and new aggressions, appealed to them, and half of them pronounced for an acquittal.
I shall never forget that scene when I was called into court near midnight to hear my fate. The court was thronged to the roof with an audience of both sexes and of all ranks in the city. But there was a stillness like the chamber of death. The Sheriff was despatched to ascertain the decision of the jury. He remained away five—eight—ten minutes. "They are writing their verdict," was the whispered opinion. The Sheriff returned, crossed the court to his own box in solemn silence, and there, after a theatrical pause, announced that the jury could not agree! A shout from the audience, which made the roof ring with triumph, was the answer. The jury were called into court. They were divided half and half. Bankers, magistrates, manufacturers, pronounced the prisoner not guilty. It was worth a long imprisonment to look on the beaming faces and clasp the generous hands that thronged round the dock that night. It is one of the pictures that will not depart from my memory but with life. The jury were locked up for the night, and twelve hours' reflection added one more to the number for acquittal.
Next morning I consulted, in Newgate, with my three gifted and generous counsel. Mr. Butt, with the eye of a tactician, saw your routed position. He insisted on demanding a new trial forthwith, or my immediate liberation. With the panel scuttled by objections, he felt sure no Government jury could be secured. "If they try you again," he said, "it must be now, and you will be acquitted; or let them open the door."
On this agreement we returned to court to see the jury discharged. But your officials had been consulting also—the state of the case was as plain to them as to us, and when Mr. Butt rose to open his demand the Attorney-General precipitately consented to admit me to bail. It was an easier fall than my acquittal, which another jury might have made short work of. And so I saw the daylight again. Among stalwart men whose manly faces were wet with tears, among dear friends who had made light in the darkness for me, I was led out of Newgate broken in health and fortune, but not broken in spirit, to take up anew the hereditary task of our race and country.
And now, my lord, no soul will have any difficulty in understanding "how I escaped conviction." I escaped from first to last, through every step of this eventful history, by the malice of George William Villiers.
I have called this trial a providential one, and was it not so? It seemed as if a benign power took out of your hands every weapon and snare fabricated for my destruction, and made them the agents of your discomfiture. Whatsoever you attempted failed, and not only failed, but recoiled on you.
You prohibited my trial with Martin and O'Doherty that I might be reserved for Clonmel and the gallows; but the delay was my salvation.
You carried me from the city to the county and from the county to the city, and by your precipitous rage missed me in both.
You insisted upon transporting me without trial, and the attempt issued in carrying me from a morose and besotted judge to a calm and upright one.
Your Solicitor-General denounced me in my absence as the author of the insurrection, and an outraged jury refused to convict me on the minor charge of felonious writings. You selected me from my colleagues for special vengeance, and I alone have escaped you.
You employed a troop of literary Lazzaroni against me, and where are they now? Three of the base journals that assailed me in prison or on my release have died in disgrace and insolvency. The police spy who sought to betray me had to fly the American cities from dread of Irish vengeance, and died on the banks of the Mississippi with the arrow of an Indian in his breast.
A Christian slave led into the amphitheatre to be delivered to the wild beasts, who saw tier after tier of contemptuous faces frowning down upon him, who saw the purple of authority, the toga and the sword, staked against him, hardly fronted a more unequal and ferocious array than I the first day I was carried into Green Street. What had I to set against it except the inexhaustible sympathy and help of a few dear friends? And yet the cloud of enemies have vanished away like a theatrical show, and I am still here and free.
A wise man has elicited a moral from this struggle; may it prove the true one! "Consider yourself," Thomas Carlyle wrote me, "as a brand snatched from the burning; a providential man, saved by Heaven, for doing a man's work yet. And let this thought give you rather fear and pious anxiety than exultation or rash self-confidence."
This was the case I submitted for the consideration of the Viceroy, and I trust his Excellency relished it; at any rate, he could not contradict or controvert it.
When I walked forth a free man I was able to visit habitually my comrades in Richmond Prison, and witness their manly joy that at least one of the group of friends had escaped the enemy.
- O'Brien, who was the soul of courtesy, followed our leave-taking by a farewell letter:--
"Dublin, Richmond Prison.
"June 6, 1849.
"My Dear Duffy, As it is uncertain whether I shall have an opportunity of seeing you again, I cannot refrain from writing a few lines to convey to you my farewell benediction.
"My mind is so overwhelmed with the multitude of topics connected with our intercourse, which arise to afford matter for reflection at a moment such as this, that I dare not allow my pen to record my thoughts lest I should find myself unable to check its career.
"It is enough for me to say that however painful to both of us may have been the final results of that intercourse, my esteem for your character and my admiration of your abilities remain unchanged.
"Nor do I regard with any other feelings than those of unmixed satisfaction the circumstance that you have been more successful than I have in resisting the power of British law. Both for your own sake and for that of the country I rejoice that it is your lot to remain in Ireland to work for Ireland.
"I send herewith a little volume as a parting gift. Though of trifling pecuniary value, it may perhaps be prized by you as having belonged to your sincere friend,
"William S. O'Brien."