[Illustration: John Savage (1848)]
THOMAS D’ARCY M’GEE’S NARRATIVE OF 1848
Early on Saturday the 22nd of July I left my pleasant home in Cullenswood, near Dublin, to which I was never to return. On reaching the city I found a telegraphic despatch from London had been just published, announcing the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and that the “extraordinary powers” to be conferred on the Lord Lieutenant would be forwarded to Dublin on the following Monday. It was contended on all hands that the hour for action or submission or flight for the Confederates was now come. Of “The Council of Five," there were then in Dublin but three members. One is now in Van Diemen’s Land; the others were Mr. Dillon and myself. We had a hasty meeting in the old Council Rooms of the Irish Confederation. They decided to proceed that evening to Enniscorthy to advise with Smith O’Brien, and, as I understood, to proceed with him to the district between the Suir and the Shannon, and to operate from that basis according to circumstances and their own best judgment.
A gentleman had arrived in Dublin that morning with a proposition which decided my movements and led me into some singular situations.
He was a professional man, by birth an Irishman who had resided a long time in Scotland. He had one only son, two rifles, and L120 in money, which he brought as his offering to the country. He informed us that several hundred Irishmen in Scotland had been all the year preparing for this event, that they had a good share of arms and ammunition, and that if any plan could be devised to bring them into Ireland, they could be relied on for courage and endurance. I do not mention this gentleman’s name, because I do not know but he is still under the laws of England.