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1801. sight, and secured from reflection. It is ever dan
zance of 1000l. entered into at Mallow for preserving the King's peace
seven years. On the 10th of September O'Connor, who had been called to, but had never regularly practised at the Bar, appeared in Court at the Cork assizes, as advocate for the 51 peasants from the neighbourhood of Connorville, who had been lying in goal through the whole Summer. They were called not indifferently or innocently O'Connor's Gang: their fate was anticipated through the party :.17 were to be hanged, the remaining 34 were to be sent to condemned regiments. They were all acquitted ; and O'Connor at the same assizes prosecuted the two hired witnesses, who swore against them, and convicted them of perjury. They were transported for seven years to Botany Bay. Foiled in their attempt to immolate so much innocent blood to the resistless sweep of perjured and purchased informers, the faction reverted to the foul, and lately scoffed at sources of information, which had appeared even too rank for Mr. Pelham's voracity for coercion. They requested, that Hebert's and Culli. nane's informations might be sent down to Cork, that bills of indictment might be found upon them by the Grand Jury: for that, it would be impossible to make any examples in the county of Cork, whilst O'Connor was at large. On the 17th day of the assizes, after the regular Judges had quitted the country, and Mr. Serjeant Chatterton remained as assessor to hold the ad, journed assizes and dismiss the Grand Jury, true bills were found against O'Connor, and a capias instantly issued, by virtue of which he was apprehended and confined in goal till the next assizes, which did not happen till seven months after.
By permission of Mr. Serjeant Chatterton, O'Connor attended the Court on the next day, where he submitted to the Judge the treachery of the proceedings against him : pieaded the faith of the proclamation, related his interviews with Mr. Pelham, urged his liberation with both these fabricated inforniations before him at the time the Secretary set him free, produced General Coote's letter to Mrs. O'Connor, and a copy of Mr Pelham's to General Coote, pressed it upon the Court, that
gerous to play upon the good sense of the people. 1801.
Hebert had never been sworn, and called upon Cullinane, who was present in Court, to come forward at last, and yield to the force of truth. On this occasion it was, that Lieutenant Spear brought forward his affidavit, and Cullinane confirmed the whole, as has been related. The Court was paralyzed. The Judge paused. In his embarrassment he took a middle course between his judgment and his interest. He agreed to adjourn the assizes for 10 days, to give O'Connor an opportunity of applying to Mr. Pelham, who, he doubted not, would instantly direct his liberation, and, as he also added, to give himself an opportunity of receiving instructions from the Government, how he was to proceed. O'Connor conceiving it impossible, that Mr. Pelham should, as a man of common honesty, justice, or honor, have converted these well known fabrications into the engines of his murder and destruction, wrote by that day's post to the Secretary in the style of complaint against the Magistrates and Grand Jury, who, he assumed, were acting in direct contravention to the wishes and directions of Government. The spirit of the system had in the mean time gained upon the Castle, and Mr. Pelham instantly dispatched a peremptory command to Mr. Ser. jeant Chatterton not to open the Court pursuant to bis adjournment. The consequence was, O'Connor remained dungeoned, without redress for seven months. To O'Connor himself Mr. Secretary wrote the following letter, which will appear singular in proportion as it is brought to bear upon the incredible combination of all the circumstances, which actually attended it.
Dublin Castle, Oct. 4, 1797.
" I have received your letter of the 28th ult. in reply to " which I have to observe, that you had neither my.counte
nance nor consent to attend the aşsizes. On the contrary, I
imagined you had gone to England long since. With the af“ fair of your arrest, Government has now nothing more to do, " bills having been found against you by the Grand Jury of “ your country. If you have been indicted for administering
The moment of their consciousness of deception is
“ unlawful oaths, you will of course be discharged under the
I am, Sir, &c.
T. PELHAM." During this period of O'Connor's confinement, the base and stale trick was repeatedly practised upon him of sending in by his servant letters treasonable in their nature or consequences : and it was so contrived, that very quickly after the delivery, a file of soldiers was introduced to search and seize his papers. He however had always the prudence, when any such letters were delivered to him, to seal then up and deliver them to the goaler, whereby he frustrated their malice. Having advertized a reward of 500l. to any ont, who would discover the writer of those letters, he received an acknowledgment from the writer of them, (who declined mentioning names) that he had been employed to write them, in order, that they might be found in his possession, and to serve as 'evidence to take away his life. When
he sent that letter of acknowledgment to a public printing-office in Cork, that it might be inspected by numbers, and thus lead to a speedier discovery of the writer, it was procured out of the hands of the printer, by forging the name of O'Connor ; and having afterwards sent an account of the transaction to be published by that printer, the military garrison of Cork, with the Mayor at their head, without notice or warrant assailed his house, destroyed his frames and types, demolished the whole concern, seized and threw his person into goal. Thus precisely had the Northern Star been eclipsed by military tactic at Belfast in 1796.
At the Spring assizes for Cork, O'Connor was unavoidably brought to 'trial, úpon the indictments found against him on the 'several informations (if such they could be called) of Hebert and Cullinane. Hebert was in the guard-house, under military es.
t, anxious, but not allowed to proclaim in open Court bis the birth of hostility to the deceiver. In nothing 1801.
utter inability to give in evidence any thing, which could tend to criminate O'Connor, Cullinane on the other hand was in Court, though strongly instigated by the prosecutors to return to his home, still solicitous to repeat once more in face of his country his disclaimer and recantation of the false testimony, which Mr. R. L. O'Connor had seduced him to give against his brother. In very few minutes O'Connor was acquitted : and the symptoms of exultation, which instantaneously manifested themselves to the public, filled the Court and neighbourhood with the most awful apprehensions. The Judge entreated O'Connor to go out of Court and appease the people, He prudently begged leave to remain under the protection of the Court, till the tumult should subside. Had he gone forth into the street, he would have exposed himself to the craft, malice, and irritation of his enemies; and perhaps fallen the first victim to the confusion, which they had predetermined to create : or he would on the other hand have been rendered responsible for the consequences of the riots, which the feelings of either party might have excited. Great was the provocation of the ascendancy party at O'Connor's acquittal : greater, that his triumph was enjoyed without violence or outrage.
On that very day however he set off for London, where he arrived on the fourth day, and having applied to the Duke of Portland for leave to be admitted to see his brother Arthur, then confined at Maidstone, he was arrested at five o'clock on the next morning by four King's Messengers, and sent back under custody to Dublin, where, after having narrowly escaped shipwreck, he had not rested three hours, ere he was remanded back to London. Before he set out on his return to England, he was assured by Mr. Cooke, that they did not pretend to have any charge against him; but they considered him dangerous from his popularity. Government now saw their error and repented, not having followed his (Mr. Cooke's) advice. He should not have been brought to trial at Cork, but kept confined under the act for suspending the habeas corpus. He was forced to travel above 1200 miles, and cross the Channel three times in 13 days without taking off his clothes for above seven hours. Upon the
does a corrupt Government betray more weakness, than by selecting a man of integrity and firmness as an object of their suspicion, fear, or jealousy. The failure or detection of a single act of systematic profligacy or perjury bought for a hundred pounds, divests the Government of more confidence and strength, than can be repurchased by several millions.
After the fruitless efforts of nine years revoluPitt's retir- tionary warfare, Mr. Pitt could no longer disguise ing from of
to his wounded pride the aggrandizement of his
Steps lead. ing to Mr.
acquittal of Mr. Arthur O'Connor of the charges, for which le was confined and tried at Maidstone, the two brothers were brought back in custody to Dublin, and confined in the same goal. There O'Connor most resolutely persisted in refusing to sign papers of arrangement between the Irish Government and the State prisoners, which, had he signed, would have been an acknowledgment of his guilt. He ever defied his enemies to prove any species of delinquency upon him. Threats and promises were importunately urged. Mr. A. Marsden, an Under Secretary, and a very busy Manager for the Castle, affected to apprize him through friendship of the resolution of Government to seize upon his estates, if he should still persist in his refusal. This was carried into effect. Three hundred horse took, and for several months kept possession of Connorville, drove out his wife and family, ransacked the house, and desolated the demesne to the damage of several thousands of pounds : for which to this hour he has never been indemnified in one shilling. He was at last forced at the point of the bayonet into a cárriage, and sent to Fort George in Scotland, where, after an imprisonment of 22 months, he was brought up to London, and liberated upon bail, as has been mentioned.
Minuteness of detail has been necessary to develope this part of the system. But can or ought that system to stand, which for the accomplishment of its ends has recourse to the practice and encouragement of so much baseness and depravity ?