[Footnote 10: The other four were Terence Bellew MacManus, John Cavanagh, J.D. Wright (a T.C.D. student, afterwards a lawyer in America), and D.P. Cunningham, afterwards a journalist in New York.—Ed.]
ARREST OF MR. O’BRIEN, OF MESSRS. MEAGHER AND O’DONOHOE.—ARREST OF TERENCE BELLEW MACMANUS.—CLONMEL SPECIAL COMMISSION.—TRIAL, CONVICTION, SPEECHES AND SENTENCE OF THE REBELS.—WRIT OF ERROR.—COMMUTATION OF SENTENCE.—TRANSPORTATION OF THE HEROES.
Before proceeding further with the details of my own wanderings, I wish to follow out to its conclusion the fate of those whom we parted with at Ballingarry, and were destined to see no more, though, in doing so, I must anticipate the order of time, in which the events took place. My task here is more difficult and painful than any detail of facts, however gloomy. There are always in the reverses of the brave, some glimpses of glory to reconcile us to the dark disasters on our way; but when calumny pursues their path, gnawing, with ceaseless tooth, the priceless jewel of their character, the historian must shudder to find his labour beset by the filth and rubbish the viper has left behind. In this instance, that lesson of Mr. O’Connell’s which was the most fatal in its influence, found many believers. It was said, and said unscrupulously, that Mr. O’Brien and his followers were actual agents of the British Government, suborned to precipitate the country into revolution, for which they were to receive large possessions and lucrative employment beyond the sea. It was the constant habit of Mr. O’Connell, when any one proposed a course bolder than his own, to suggest that he was doing the business of the enemy. He may have adopted this course in his self-assumed character of Dictator, as the surest and speediest means of clearing all obstructions out of his way. Whatever his motive, it was an unworthy resource; for it supplied the meanest minds with an example and a pretext for the gratification of their own vile propensities. Their voice was heard, amid the silence of mourning and death, when in an hour of universal dismay, John Mitchel was borne from his loved fatherland; and still more audibly when the dungeon closed on Smith O’Brien and his illustrious comrades. In the latter instance, slander availed itself of an incident connected with their arrest to justify its infamous conclusions. “If,” it croaked, “they were in earnest, why suffer themselves to be arrested so easily?—Why come to the railway terminus?—Why parade on the high road in front of a police barrack? In effect, why surrender?” But in Ireland this was little heeded; nor should I deem it worthy of the least notice, if it were not revived in the new world, under circumstances calculated to give it credence and durability. At one time it is insinuated that they “surrendered,” such as “it was said they gave themselves up,” and immediately afterwards, in reference to the period or the fact, is to be found “at the time of Mr. O’Brien’s surrender.” And again, in the same breath, it is positively stated as a mere matter of course.