Secret Service Under Pitt



(Vide p. 8, ante.)

The following is a résumé of some earlier evidence which had convinced me that the informer whose name Mr. Froude says is still wrapped in mystery[712] could be only Samuel Turner, LL.D., barrister-at-law.

Speaking of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Mr. Froude says: ‘His meeting with Hoche on the Swiss frontier was known only to very few persons. Hoche himself had not revealed it even to Tone.’

But Turner knew a vast deal about the arrangements with Hoche. An intercepted letter addressed by Reinhard, the French Minister at Hamburg, to De la Croix, and written on July 12, 1797, may be found in the ‘Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh,’ and assigned by mistake to the year 1798. In this letter Reinhard tells De la Croix that he sent Turner to General Hoche. From Hoche[713] himself Turner most likely learned of the secret interview between Lord Edward and the French general.

But what proof have we that Lord Downshire’s muffled visitor had had himself an interview with Hoche?

Mr. Froude at some pages distant from the part where he refers to Lord Edward’s meeting with Hoche, when recurring to Downshire’s visitor, whose identity was ‘kept a secret even from the Cabinet,’ states, from knowledge acquired after reading the spy’s secret letters, ‘He had actually conferred with Hoche and De la Croix.’

The intercepted letter in the ‘Castlereagh Papers’ refers at much length to the proceedings of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, MacNevin, and Turner; but Turner in this letter is called Furnes. The general index to that work states[714] that Furnes is an alias for Samuel Turner; and further he is described as ‘an Irish rebel.’ Had the noble editor supposed that Turner was a spy in the pay of the Crown, this letter would doubtless have been suppressed in common with others which Dr. Madden misses. Lord Londonderry brought out his brother’s correspondence in 1848, during the ‘Young Ireland’ agitation, and was careful to let few secrets appear.

‘He had accompanied the Northern delegacy to Dublin,’ proceeds Mr. Froude, ‘and had been present at the discussion of the propriety of an immediate insurrection.’

John Hughes, of Belfast, an officer in the Society of the United Irishmen, was arrested immediately after Turner opened communication with Downshire, and while in gaol turned King’s evidence. From the sworn testimony of John Hughes we learn that, in June 1797, he was summoned by Lowry and Teeling to attend a meeting in Dublin of delegates from the different provinces of Ireland, in order to receive a return of the strength of the United Irishmen. Whilst he was in Dublin, in June 1797, Teeling invited him to meet some friends at his lodgings, including Tony McCann of Dundalk, Mr.[715] Samuel Turner, John and Patrick Byrne, Lowry, Dr. MacNevin, and others.[716] The leaders differed as to the expediency of an immediate rising. ‘He met the above mentioned persons at several other times in Dublin, in June 1797.'[717]

‘The Northern delegate had been present at the discussion of the propriety of an immediate insurrection. The cowardice or the prudence of the Dublin faction had disgusted him,’ writes Mr. Froude.

The Northern leader who was disgusted with the prudence of the Papist conspirators in Dublin must have been Turner. In the ‘Castlereagh Papers’ is a letter of Reinhard, the French Minister, stating, on the authority of Turner, ‘that it was of dilatoriness and indecision several members of the Committee were accused; that the Northern province, feeling its oppression and its strength, was impatient to break forth.'[718]

Reinhard adds, what will surprise many regarding Lord Edward: ‘Macnevin and Lord Fitzgerald are of the moderate party. Furness [Turner] is for a speedy explosion, and it is some imprudences into which his ardent character hurried him that obliged him to leave the country, whereas the conduct of Macnevin has been circumspect.'[719]

Among the men whom Hughes swears he met in June 1797, with the Northern delegates in Dublin, were Turner, Teeling, MacCann, John Byrne [Union Lodge, Dundalk], Dr. Macnevin, Colonel Plunket,[720] and Andrew Comyn of Galway. These men–Turner excepted–were all Roman Catholics; so were John Keogh, Braughall, MacCormick, and other influential Dublin leaders–whose names do not appear. Tone was abroad. Downshire’s visitor speaks of the men he met in Dublin as ‘Papists’ whose prudence and cowardice disgusted him, and he came to the conclusion that the two parties could not amalgamate.

Mr. Froude, again describing Downshire’s visitor, writes: ‘He had seen Talleyrand and talked with him at length on the condition of Ireland.’

The ‘Castlereagh Papers’ contain a remarkable letter, headed ‘Secret Intelligence,’ and describing very fully an interview with Talleyrand in reference to an invasion of Ireland. On the third page of his letter the spy writes: ‘Enclosure containing the cyphers I sent to the Marquis of Downshire.'[721]

To this letter I must again return.

Mr. Froude states that Downshire’s visitor had discovered one of the objects of the Papists to be a seizure of property, and had determined to separate himself from the conspiracy.

Turner belonged to a family of Cromwellian settlers. This we learn from Prendergast’s ‘Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland,’ p. 417. The letter (quoted above), printed in the Castlereagh Papers, and acknowledging to have spied for Lord Downshire, mentions that the writer’s ‘most particular friends’ were men ‘who feared in a Revolution the loss of their property, especially such as held their estates by grants of Oliver Cromwell.'[722]

Mr. Froude says that when the mysterious visitor threw back his disguise Downshire recognised in him the son of a gentleman of good fortune in the North of Ireland. Lord Downshire is part proprietor of Newry, where Turner lived, and Hill Street, Newry, is named after the Downshires, just as Turner’s Hill, Newry, is called after the Turners.[723]

It may be added that Jacob Turner, of Turner Hill, in the county of Armagh, esquire, by his will, dated April 27, 1803, acquits and discharges his son ‘Samuel from a judgment debt obtained by me against him for 1,500l.‘[724]

‘”The person” had been a member of the Ulster Revolutionary Committee,’ writes Mr. Froude. This Turner admittedly was.

‘He had fled with others,’ he tells Lord Downshire when describing how he came to leave Ireland and settle at Hamburg.

James Hope, in his narrative supplied to Dr. Madden in 1846, when noticing Turner, writes, ‘He fled and settled in Hamburg, where he was entrusted by the Directory with carrying on the correspondence between the Irish and French Executives.'[725]

Mr. Froude says that the mysterious man was intimate with all the United Irish refugees at Hamburg, received instructions from the Home Office to open a correspondence with rebel leaders, and had the entrée to the house of Lady Edward Fitzgerald.

No wonder that Lord Downshire’s friend should command these exceptional facilities for spying when we know, on the authority of James Hope, a veteran rebel of Ulster, that Samuel Turner was the accredited agent at Hamburg of the ‘United Irishmen.'[726]

Mr. Froude tells us that he revealed such evidence of his power to be useful–at Hamburg–that Pitt was extremely anxious to secure his help.

As Turner is shown by Hope to have been the authorised agent of the ‘United Irishmen’ at Hamburg, the reason becomes clear why Pitt was so anxious to secure a man who had access at that place to all the secrets of his party.

‘An arrangement was concluded,’ writes Mr. Froude. ‘He continued at Hamburg, as Lady Edward’s guest and most trusted friend, saw every one who came to her house, kept watch over her letter-bag, was admitted to close and secret conversations upon the prospect of French interference in Ireland with Reinhard,[727] the Minister of the Directory there, and he regularly kept Lord Downshire informed of everything which would enable Pitt to watch the conspiracy.’

The first volume of Castlereagh should here be opened. At pp. 277-286 will be found three intercepted letters, addressed by Reinhard at Hamburg to De la Croix, revealing minute particulars regarding the United Irish envoys, and bearing testimony to the zealous help rendered to the conspiracy by Turner.

‘I showed Reinhard Lowry’s letter,’ quotes Mr. Froude.

Turner and Lowry were old allies in Ireland, and had no secrets between them. The sworn information of John Hughes mentions that he saw Lowry, Turner, and Teeling engaged on a committee for conducting the defence of United Irishmen at the Antrim and Down Assizes in February, 1797.

Mr. Froude tells us that the spy who hurried to London and sought Lord Downshire was able to describe an important letter which was on the point of going over from Barclay Teeling in France to Arthur O’Connor.[728] Great confidence must have been reposed by Teeling in the man who could tell all this; and such confidence could be earned only by old intimacy and association. What proof is there that early intimacy existed in Ireland between Barclay Teeling and Samuel Turner?

The correspondence of Major Sirr, the Fouché of Dublin, with minor spies, is preserved in Trinity College, Dublin. These papers contain an information in which Dr. Conlan of Dundalk denounces, as deep in the conspiracy, Samuel Turner, Barclay Teeling, Lowry, and Byrne. He describes some hair-breadth escapes of Barclay Teeling, Turner, and Lowry, and how they spent one night in a barn near Dundalk. Conlan had been a United Irishman, who finally brought to the gibbet his cousin Hoey and Marmion[729] of Dundalk.

After the betrayer had hurried from Hamburg to London to sell his secrets to Pitt, and then as suddenly disappeared, ‘he wrote to Lord Downshire,’ observes Mr. Froude, ‘saying that he had returned to his old quarters, for fear he might be falling into a trap.’

In fact, as Mr. Froude shows, he was in mortal terror of the assassin’s knife. Conlan’s sworn information, describing the previous doings of Teeling and Turner in Ireland, mentions how Teeling, Corcoran, and Byrne had a password for putting informers out of the way. Whenever one was detected he was sent to some United Irishman with the password, ‘Do you know Ormond Steel?’ ‘But,’ adds Conlan–laying ‘the flattering unction to his soul’–‘there never was occasion for this.'[730] Turner’s treachery was of enormous magnitude, and most momentous in its results. Once a man of indomitable courage, conscience made him an arrant coward in the end.

‘I feared,’ writes the betrayer to Lord Downshire, ‘lest Government might not choose to ratify our contract, and, being in their power, would give me my choice either to come forward as evidence or suffer martyrdom myself. Having no taste for an exit of this kind, I set out and arrived here safe.'[731]

His dread of ‘Ormond Steel’ is further proved by Portland’s words in reply to the Viceroy Camden, who vainly begged that he might come over to Dublin–‘he is convinced he would go to utter destruction.'[732]

Speaking of Napper Tandy, Mr. Froude says of the veiled informer that he ‘had been naturally intimate with the other Irish refugees.'[733]

Tandy, in the chapter devoted to him, tells how he and three other Irish refugees had been invited at Hamburg by ‘T.’ to sup, and were betrayed. Watty Cox, a sound authority on such points, broadly states in the ‘Irish Magazine’ for January 1809, p. 34, that Tandy and his comrades were ‘betrayed by TURNER.’

‘He had come to England to sell his knowledge to Pitt,’ says Mr. Froude.

It will be seen that the price paid to Samuel Turner is officially reported in Dublin Castle. For centuries it had been the custom for England to charge her Pension List on the Irish Establishment. Irish spies and informers are generally of a low type. Reynolds–perhaps the most important of them–could not spell, as his letters, placed in our hands by Sir W. Cope, show. The same remark applies to the correspondence of other informers printed by Dr. Madden. The letters of Mr. Froude’s spy are those of an educated man, and show that he corresponded and conversed in French. Samuel Turner was well qualified for all this and more, having graduated in the University of Dublin.[734]

These are but a few of the reasons which satisfied me that the betrayer described by Mr. Froude was SAMUEL TURNER. I arrived at my conclusions slowly–according as certain facts, ‘far between,’ presented themselves in the field of research. But the reader, if he cares to trace the career of this man, and does not object to meet a repetition or two, will find an array of circumstantial evidence amounting to moral demonstration. It may be added that documental proof finally came to crown these researches.


(See chap. viii. ante.)

The late Mr. Allingham, of Ballyshannon–father of William Allingham the poet–in one of his last letters, dated April 25, 1866, recalls a strange incident. ‘Should you treat of the stirring period of 1798,’ he writes, ‘perhaps the following little fact may be acceptable. Some forty years ago I chanced to be on a visit at the hospitable residence of the late N. Foster, Esq., in the Rosses;[735] he told me of J. Napper Tandy having put in to the Rosses, in the year 1798, with a French ship of war, the “Anacréon,” and how he at once hoisted an Irish flag emblazoned with the words “Erin go Bragh.” Tandy was then a general in the French service. He had with him, for distribution, a sheaf of proclamations, addressed to the Irish nation; they had been printed in France, and he left several copies at Mr. Foster’s. I got Miss Grace Foster to take an exact copy of the strange document, and which now I send you.

‘The French General Rey also had a grandiloquent proclamation with him, beginning “The soldiers of the Great Nation have landed on your coast, well supplied with arms and ammunition of all kinds, with artillery worked by those who have spread terror amongst the ranks of the best troops in Europe, headed by French officers; they come to break your fetters, and restore you to the blessings of liberty. James Napper Tandy is at their head; he has sworn to lead them on to victory or die. Brave Irishmen! the friends of liberty have left their native soil to assist you in re-conquering [sic] your rights; they will brave all dangers, and glory at the sublime idea of cementing your happiness with their blood.”[736]

‘Napper Tandy had a large number of saddles and cavalry appointments on board the French ship of war, but he could not procure any horses in the Rosses. So Mrs. Foster said to him, “I fear, General, you will not be able to put the saddle on the right horse!” N. Tandy asked Mr. Foster: “What news?” to which Foster replied that a part of the French troops had landed at Killala, and, after winning the battle of Castlebar, had been finally compelled, near Longford, to capitulate to Lord Cornwallis. Napper Tandy seemed to doubt this intelligence, and proceeded to take forcible possession of the Rutland post-office, which was kept by Mr. Foster’s sister. He opened the newspapers, and, to his dismay, found that all was over with the expedition. His descent on Rutland took place September 16, 1798. Tandy, when embarking from the Island for France, wrote an official letter, signed and sealed, with a view to exonerate Foster from blame for not having despatched his mail-bags. Tandy testified that, being in temporary want of accommodation, he was obliged to put “citizen Foster under requisition,” and place sentinels around the island. He and his officers paid for everything they took, including two pigs and a cow. General Rey, when leaving, removed a gold ring from his finger and presented it to Mrs. Foster, as a token of fraternity. Tandy not only discharged every obligation, but discharged a cannon as a farewell note. Foster was a staunch loyalist, and ere the “Anacréon” was under way he despatched two expresses, one to Letterkenny, in hopes that the Lough Swilly fleet would intercept them. This was not so easy, for Tandy told Foster they had met several English cruisers en route, but had outsailed them all. The “Anacréon” was equally successful on its return voyage, captured two English ships near the Orkneys, after a stiff engagement, and at last landed Tandy and his A.D.C.s in Norway.’

A copy of Tandy’s letter, deliberately penned when leaving Rutland, appears in the appendix to Musgrave’s ‘Rebellion,’ and seems not quite consistent with the statement in the Castlereagh Papers that he got so drunk on the island he had to be carried to the ship.[737] But his grief was so poignant on finding his dearest hopes frustrated that it would not be unnatural, in days when hard drinking was the fashion, if the amateur French general had recourse to eau-de-vie. How he was arrested on neutral territory, contrary to the law of nations, subjected to cruel suffering, and sentenced to death, a previous chapter tells.

Fuller inquiry into the career of this quondam merchant of Dublin finds it curiously interwoven with the history of Europe and his fate influential in its affairs. In 1793 Holland was the scene of disaster to the Duke of York; and his second campaign to that country in 1799 ended in a disadvantageous capitulation. Previously he had sent General Don into the interior of Holland to foment among the natives an insurrection against French rule. Don was seized as a spy and threatened with death for seeking to corrupt an enemy which England had failed to conquer in the field.[738] He was, however, safely restored during the negotiations of 1799, and Plowden makes the statement, as one generally believed, that in the Helder convention there was a secret article for restoring to liberty Tandy and Blackwell, in return for the delivery of Don, who, by the laws of war, had incurred the penalty of death. The Paris journals of October 1799 said that the Duke’s capitulation contains some private articles which his Royal Highness did not wish to submit to the consideration of the coffee-houses in London.

Prolonged delay attended the liberation of Tandy. Brune bitterly complained of it in the Council of Five Hundred; and then it was that Buonaparte branded, as an attack upon the rights of nations and a crime against humanity, the surrender, by Hamburg to England, of Tandy, Blackwell, Morres, and Corbet.

The painful details already given as regards the severity of their imprisonment it is pleasant to relieve by some notice of the conduct of one official who, superior in gentlemanly instinct to others of higher rank, treated Tandy and his companions with a courteous consideration most acceptable to men whose hearts ached from recent persecution. This letter–unknown to Mr. Ross, the editor of the ‘Cornwallis Papers’–was addressed, we believe, to a near kinsman of that writer.

To Mr. Ross, the King’s Messenger.

‘Dublin: November 18, 1799–in prison.

‘Sir,–We find ourselves at a loss to know how we best can express our acknowledgments for the very polite, gentlemanly, and philosophic manner in which you have uniformly behaved towards us, ever since the period of our first getting under your care at Sheerness, during our subsequent stay in London, upon the whole of our journey through England, and until our arrival here; a conduct the peculiar inheritance of a man of sense, education, and honour; and which, upon all occasions in life, must leave with the feeling mind a pleasing and everlasting impression.

‘All that we, sir, on our parts, can offer (and request your acceptance of as a just tribute to your merit) is our sincerest wishes for your happiness and future welfare–and to all of our fellow-citizens whom the casualties of the day may hereafter chance to place in similar circumstances with us, we wish from our hearts the superior good fortune of falling into the hands of an officer who, knowing his duty like Mr. Ross, like him also executes it in a manner that honours humanity–an idea, that, with us, while drawing a comparison between such-like conduct as we now speak of, and that which we but very recently experienced in a foreign country, restores to its pristine, but nearly lost worth, in our minds, the invaluable weight of social law, and of all generous and liberal-minded converse betwixt man and man.’

The following signatures are affixed:


The interest which continued to attach to Tandy’s memory long after his death, even in quarters not likely to evince sympathy, is curiously shown in the following extract from a letter addressed in 1846 by Robert Shaw Worthington, B.L., to O’Connell, soliciting his patronage with the Whig Government: ‘My Liberal opinions I inherit from my father, who, strange as it may appear, was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1795.[739] His liberal opinions did not serve him in those days; he was a supporter of Catholic Emancipation, and in the year 1809, at a private dinner-party at the house of Mr. Farrell, Blackhall Street, my father proposed the memory of Napper Tandy.[740] One of the company (the perfidious name was Fanning) reported the circumstance next day at the Castle; my father received a letter from the Chief Secretary (the present Duke of Wellington) calling upon him to disprove the charge; but, being unable to do so, he was dismissed from his office of Dublin Police Magistrate, the salary of which was 500l. per annum.'[741]


The letters of secret information in the ‘Castlereagh Papers,’ though assumed by most readers to come from the one source, are divided between two spies. No successful attempt has been hitherto made to identify the writers. The result of Dr. Madden’s inquiry went no further than to show that the letters were penned, not by spies of a low type, but by gentlemen of high standing.[742] It was then that I sought to draw aside their masks. ‘Downshire’s friend’ (Turner) was traced more easily than a correspondent of the Home Office, London, whose initial ‘O’ is dropped once only by Wickham. The spy who contrived to accompany General Tandy’s staff in the expedition to Ireland in 1798 has left us a curious account of what passed on board the ‘Anacréon'[743] during their brief visit to Ireland. The perilous character of his enterprise was quite as striking as Tandy’s descent on Donegal and escape from the English fleet. Wickham confides to Castlereagh merely the initial letter of this spy’s name.[744] The written statement from ‘O’ is a curious document, and one which has been more than once quoted by historians. An old note-book of mine contains the following:–‘I have long and vainly tried to discover this man; but to Dr. Madden it will be at least satisfactory to know that “O” can never have taken any prominent part in the councils of the United Irishmen, and his name, even if discovered, would not be a familiar one. He can never have been in the Executive Directory, or on any of the baronial committees. He mentions incidentally that he has been but once in Ireland for eight years.’

Some readers fancied that the spy ‘O’ who accompanied Tandy was O’Herne,[745] O’Finn,[746] Ormby,[747] O’Mealy,[748] O’Hara,[749] O’Neill,[750]

O’Connor,[751] or O’Keon[752]; my own theory was that ‘O’ stood for some man whose name would prove to be Orr. At p. 309, vol. i., of the ‘Castlereagh Papers,’ in a report of the French fleet preparing to invade Ireland, a list is given of the Irish agents at Brest: ‘Orr, who accompanied Murphy, was still at Paris.[753] Did not seem to like going.’ The letter of ‘O,’ describing the crew on board the ‘Anacréon’ in its expedition to Ireland, mentions ‘Murphy … and myself’ (p. 407).

‘O,’ in his secret letter dated 1798, speaks of having been in Trinity College, Dublin, nine years before. An ‘Orr’ graduated as B.A. in 1789, but this proved not much. His letter shows (pp. 406-10) that he had the confidence both of the French Directory, and of the Irish envoys in France. Another anonymous letter of secret information from Paris (Castlereagh, ii. 2-7) is undoubtedly Turner’s. He speaks of Orr and Murphy as together; the first as a ‘relation of him that was hanged,’ and ‘Murphy as having been lately expelled Dublin College,’ and both, he adds, were applying for passports at Altona (p. 6). John Murphy made a deposition[754] at Bow Street, dated November 2, 1798, in which he names George Orr and himself, proceeding to the Hague, thence to Paris, and afterwards joining Tandy’s expedition, when Murphy became secretary to the General. It is curious to find Turner[755] and Orr–each ignorant of the treachery of the other–reporting their movements to the Secretary of State.[756]

‘By direction of the Duke of Portland,’ writes Wickham to Lord Castlereagh, ‘I send for the information of the Lord Lieutenant the enclosed extract from some very important communications that have been made to his Grace by a person of the name of O—-.’

In this letter, describing Tandy’s descent on Ireland, the relations between him and the French Directory are minutely detailed, with an account of the equipment of the expedition, and studies of the officers on board and their antecedents.[757] It is not unlikely that Orr and Murphy, especially the latter, had been at first zealous adherents of the movement headed by Lord Edward and Tone; but that after the death of these leaders and the consignment of the Rebel Directory to dungeons they considered their own position as materially changed.

When Buonaparte broke faith with Addis Emmet, and sent his legions to the Pyramids of Egypt, instead of encamping them among the Round Towers of Ireland, Orr then sought to fill his purse, and console a baulked ambition, by extracting gold from Pitt: ‘To show how the finances of France are,’ he writes regarding Tandy’s expedition, ‘and how they meant to make their Irish friends pay their expenses, three generals went out on that little expedition; and all the money they could muster among them was about thirty louis d’or. One of them, to my own certain knowledge, had but five guineas in all.'[758]

Again, in a subsequent letter, he writes: ‘The grand object of the French is, as they term it themselves, London. Delenda (sic) Carthago is their particular end; once in England, they think they would speedily indemnify themselves for all their expenses and recruit their ruined finances.'[759]

England, unlike France, could pay lavishly, and it would be curious to know if Orr’s increasing facilities for acquiring valuable information, according as Napoleon’s power grew, were acknowledged by the ‘5,000l., and not more than 20,000l. within the year,’ which Wellington in 1808 thought fair fees for the unnamed informer who sent secret news from France–a man who, it is added, had been paid at this rate by Pitt.[760]

Orr continued long after to discharge in France the perilous rôle of a vigilant spy, and, as such, was a small thorn in Napoleon’s side. The Pelham MSS. contain a long letter signed ‘G. O.’ (33-112, folio 205), further described in a separate note as ‘George Orr,’ and beginning–‘I much fear that the French have outgeneraled the British Government with respect to what is to go forward in the West Indies.’ The date would be about 1802, but it is incorrectly placed with papers of 1807. This is the only report from Orr preserved by Pelham. With complicated precautions of secrecy it is addressed ‘C. W. F., Esq.’, and by this mysterious official passed on to Pelham for perusal. These initials are often met in the State Papers, both of England and Ireland; and future inquirers have a right to know something of the man who played no unimportant part during an eventful period of our history. ‘Cornwallis’ and ‘Castlereagh’ furnish no note on this point; the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine,’ that great storehouse of facts, knows him not. At last, in ‘Three Thousand Contemporary Public Characters,’ published by Whittaker in 1825, I found the following notice of a career which deserves more permanent record.


Was born in Scotland in 1775; and, after having finished his studies at Edinburgh, was taken, in 1793, by Lord Grenville, into the office of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. In 1796 Lord Grenville sent him as confidential secretary with Mr. Wickham, then going minister to Switzerland: with that gentleman Mr. Flint entered into a close intimacy. He was recalled in 1797, and again employed in the Foreign Office. Next year the Alien Bill passed, and Lord Grenville recommended Mr. Flint to the Duke of Portland, as a fit person to put it in execution; and his Grace, who was then Home Secretary, appointed him Superintendent of Aliens. In this situation he was very active, and is said to have rendered essential service to many of the Royalist emigrants.[761] When Pichegru returned from Cayenne, he confided to Mr. Flint those plans which, in the end, brought on his destruction. In 1800 the Duke of Portland granted Mr. Flint leave of absence, and he was sent as secretary of legation to Mr. Wickham, then envoy to the allied armies in Germany. After witnessing the campaigns in Bavaria and Austria, he returned to England, where he was employed until 1802, and was then sent to the sister kingdom as Under-Secretary of State in Ireland. He is now [1826] agent, in London, of the Irish Department. In 1812 he received the honour of knighthood.’

It may be added that the Irish ‘S. S. Money Book’ records a number of payments in 1803 by Flint to minor informers, including Murphy, the colleague of George Orr. The Wellington Correspondence makes frequent reference to Flint; but readers are left without any information as to who this ‘very clever fellow’ was–to quote the Duke’s own words. (v., p. 643).


The unscrupulosity with which spying was practised in the days of ‘the First Gentleman in Europe’ is not pleasant to contemplate. I find Robert O’Connor, nephew of Lord Longueville, betraying his own brother!

Pelham writes to Brigadier-General Coote on May 27, 1797:–

‘I have received at different times very important information from Mr. Robert O’Connor, and indeed he was the first person who gave me information against his brother.

‘I hear that you have excellent spies, and I expect great success from your exertions.’

General Eyre Coote writes (‘Pelham MSS.’ July 24, 1797):–

‘I enclose you strong information against Roger O’Connor just received from Robert. It is very curious that one brother should be so inveterate against the other. I, however, am of opinion that Roger O’Connor has been the principal in all the treasonable practices in this part of the country.’

Roger, of whose adventurous feats volumes might be written, was noted more for backsliding than backbone. Pelham, in a letter to Coote, dated Phœnix Park, July 25, 1797, says:–

‘He [Roger] declares himself to be disposed to give every information, and to render every service to the King’s Government, in his power.’

No circles, however cultured, were untainted by the spy. Dr. Madden gives a very ugly picture of Sir Jonah Barrington revealing at Dublin Castle the seditious talk that he heard at Lady Colclough’s dinner-table, and how Grogan, Colclough, and Harvey, men of rank and fortune, who were present, died on the gallows ere the year expired.[762]

Mr. Pelham’s Papers afford curious glimpses of social life in Ireland as presented by his correspondents. A priest, who resided near Collon in the county Louth, is described as having dined at a squire’s house in the neighbourhood,[763] and a paper having fallen out of his pocket, ‘curiosity tempted some of the gentlemen to read it. A copy of it was brought to England by Mr. William Beaufort, son of the Rev. Dr. Beaufort, rector of Collon, and Mr. Young, his connection, furnished a copy.’ The paper, in point of fact, embodied merely secret tenets of his religious rule.


On his way to Fort George prison, in Scotland, O’Connor distributed some curious lines, which at first passed as an exemplary effusion, but, on being more closely scanned, they developed rebel sentiments. O’Connor intended that the lines of the second verse should be read after the corresponding lines in the first. The first lines of the two verses constituted the great sentiment which O’Connor liked to emphasise.

The pomp of courts, and pride of kings,
I prize above all earthly things;
I love my country, but the King
Above all men his praise I sing;
The royal banners are display’d,
And may success the standard aid.

I fain would banish far from hence
The ‘Rights of Man’ and common sense;
Confusion to his odious reign,
That foe to princes, Thomas Paine!
Defeat and ruin seize the cause
Of France, its liberties, and laws!


(Vide chap. xii. p. 156.)

An unpublished letter, addressed to John Philpot Curran, though anonymous, bears internal evidence to show that the writer was Lady Moira, whose daughter, Selina, had married Lord Granard. In those days it was not unusual to intercept and read letters at the post-office, and to this circumstance is doubtless due the great caution with which the noble writer describes her relations with Todd Jones. He was then in custody, and Lady Moira’s great object was to exculpate him as well as herself, for ‘Cæsar’s wife should be above suspicion.’ Enough has been already said to indicate the spy[764] who kept his eye on Moira House and the movements of Todd Jones.

To John Philpot Curran, K.C.

‘Castle Forbes: August 13, 1803.

‘Read, reflect, and do not answer. Time will unfold the intentions. But it is common prudence to watch knaves, who are playing the fool, and who may not chance to consider that others, from having hearkened to the precept to be, although “innocent as doves,” induced to adopt somewhat of the “wisdom of the serpent,” will scrutinise their measures. To state the case, Mr. Todd Jones is the son of a physician, who in the year 1752 I formed the acquaintance of, and attendant on the family into which I entered by marriage; he was a sensible well-informed man, and having studied abroad his profession at the same college with Doctor Aberside, a person known to Lord Huntingdon and me; as a friend to that medical poet, he became an intimate acquaintance of mine; and having for thirty years and upwards exercised his Æsculapian skill with such success as to have recovered me from dangerous fevers, and also never letting a single patient die in his hands beneath my roof, he became the intimate friend of the family, and his son was the companion of my sons in his early youth, and an inmate like to a relation till my sons went into the world, and since then he has regarded me with a sort of filial respect and attention, and I have shown to him the return of maternal kindness and goodwill. However, his residence for many years past being in England and Wales, has confined our intercourse to correspondence; now and then a letter from me in answer to many of his, which, as he excels in letter-writing, I always received his letters as real sources of amusement, and of information on the subject they transmitted, which usually had reference to antiquities.[765] I had not seen him for several years when he came over a twelvemonth ago, to settle some pecuniary affairs with Lord Downshire’s executors or agents, having sold his estates as an annuity during his life; and a sum of money, which money was to be kept for a space of time in his lordship’s hands, lest any claim should be made on the estate. I saw him frequently whilst he was in Dublin, which was during that space of time that Sir Richard Musgrave and he quarrelled and at length fought. He left Dublin before I quitted it, and came here in the first week of last October. He wrote to me lately from the Lake of Killarney giving me a description of the lake and its odd traditions, mentioning his return to Dublin in a month, and from whence he was to return to Wales. I then heard from general report that he was arrested and in Cork jail, which I imputed to Sir Richard Musgrave’s malice.[766] For as to any treasonable practices, Jones’s indolence as well as his turn of thinking and whimsical pursuits were a conviction to me that he was neither inclined to be, or capable of being, a conspirator. However, in the course of last week I was informed from Moira House that a person, by warrant from the Castle, had come to search for a trunk in consequence of their having received intelligence that Mr. Todd Jones had sent off a trunk directed to me at Moira House. My servants were examined, my house and storerooms explored, but not any such trunk had arrived nor been heard of, and orders were left that when it did, where it was to be sent to. Some English letters that were directed to him at my house were conveyed to Mr. Marsden.[767] They were opened to show their contents. One was from a Mr. Maddox, who, I think, is married to Lord Craven’s sister[768] (better known by being the daughter of the Margravine); another from a young man going to India, and not conveying a trace of injury to him. I wrote to a person who was employed to execute the warrant that I could not be blind to the affront intended to be cast upon me; that, if such intimation had been given of a trunk then sent, the person that communicated the intelligence was able and would certainly inform by what coach it went, and consequently they might have had it seized when Mr. Jones was arrested. That time had now sufficiently elapsed to have had another key made for the trunk and to place in it whatever papers, &c., might be reckoned convenient. That if any trunk did come, the lock and the hinges should be well examined, before credible witnesses, before it went out of my house; and that I neither was awed, nor capable of being frightened, by so mean and paltry a contrivance. Thus they had taken up McCan,[769] but, I find, have liberated him, and given out that, as he was connected with Mr. Grattan, it was to get papers of Mr. Grattan’s into their hands that he was arrested for that purpose; now, whether this report is to blacken the character of the famous ex-senator, or with further views, I do not decide. In respect to the insult I have met with, it is aimed against Lord Moira through me. It is, however, to me a much blacker and more artful attempt against him, in which high and mighty ones were blended when too many cooks spoiled the broth. The former plot, however, has made me alert, and awakened all my expectations respecting possible malevolence. But my spirit, like the palm-tree, rises by the pressure of oppressive indignity. My eyes are so weak that I fear you will not be able to decipher this hasty scrawl. How absurdly are they acting! Lady G—-[770] does not know that I write this. It is not in my nature to worry people with disagreeable humours, nor to humiliate myself by complaints, though I like to guard against probable evils, in which case I shall, sir, depend upon your aid if it comes to publicity.’


Any person who has read the secret reports furnished by McNally to Dublin Castle must see that the source from which he drew his more important knowledge was James Tandy, son of the arch-rebel Napper Tandy. This information, however, may have been gathered partly during the unguarded intimacy of friendship. Its accuracy, not less than the promptitude and opportuneness of each disclosure, led a very shrewd man to suspect that James Tandy was betraying his party, and not McNally who picked his brains. In the ‘Cornwallis Papers’ (iii. 85) is one of the many secret reports sent by J. W. to Dublin Castle. He probably chuckled when penning the following allusion to the source from which he himself mainly derived his knowledge.

‘Wright, the surgeon, of Great Ship Street, has had a long conversation with J. Tandy, in which he [J. T.] urged him to send a paper from Wright to his father, Napper; and this he did in such a manner as has created in Wright’s mind very strong doubts of his sincerity; indeed, he conceives him to be a spy, and has resolved to avoid all further conversation with him.’

Dr. Thomas Wright, M.R.I.A., secretary to the United Irishmen, was a long-headed man, still well remembered in Dublin; but I do not think that James Tandy–beyond being indiscreetly open-mouthed–can be called an informer, much less a spy.

James Tandy is found a state prisoner with others after the rebellion, but this fact in itself is not enough to exculpate him; for Turner is also found a state prisoner. During his detention he addressed a letter to the Secretary of State, solemnly declaring that while he loved Napper Tandy as his father, he abhorred his politics; and he complains of an oral slander circulated by the Solicitor-General, afterwards Baron McCleland, that he ‘was guilty of high treason, and to a certainty would be hanged.’ I may here remark that the manuscript list of United Irishmen, furnished by Collins the spy so early as 1793, includes James Tandy’s name. Tandy with thirteen others petitioned the Viceroy on July 11, 1804, in regard to harsh treatment they had received when state prisoners, entered into a personal correspondence with Mr. Secretary Marsden, whom he holds responsible for it, and threatens to horsewhip him in case he should ever be set at liberty. James Tandy–though not his companions in durance–was liberated on bail in September following, and he states in a public letter: ‘I obtained my enlargement on condition that I would relinquish my intention of horsewhipping Mr. Marsden.'[771] This statement, however, which Plowden quotes as history, must be taken cum grano, for Tandy in his memorial to the Viceroy Bedford says: ‘Petitioner was discharged from prison when in a state of health which allowed no hopes for his life–a fact which Dr. Richards can testify, as also the surgeon-general, Mr. Stewart.'[772]

The antecedents of his family earned no gratitude from Government, and yet we find James Tandy appointed to a lucrative post. Lord Cloncurry casually mentions him exercising his functions as a stipendiary magistrate.[773]

James Tandy’s arrest and imprisonment were certainly not due to McNally, who would be the last to kill the goose which laid the golden eggs; more than that, he tells Cooke that James Tandy was no republican. How McNally utilised James Tandy may be seen from his secret letters. Both are found constantly together. A hurried despatch from McNally, dated January 31 (he rarely gives the year) says: ‘McNally and James Tandy went yesterday morning to Mr. Grattan’s at Tinnehinch, and returned in the evening.’

A negotiation between Arthur O’Connor and Napper Tandy in France is detailed by McNally: ‘James Tandy has consulted McN. on the danger of such an undertaking.'[774] On September 23, 1800, McNally writes: ‘Emmet, T. assures me (and he made inquiry), is in Paris.’ On September 19, 1800, McNally writes, ‘my friend,[775] passed yesterday morning with T., junior,’ and he jots down a large amount of matter as the result of the conference.

‘Mr. Pelham’s answer to James Tandy is expected with anxiety,’ records a previous report.

The secret letters of Higgins to Cooke constantly point to James Tandy. On March 7, 1798, he urges Cooke ‘to watch Napper Tandy’s intercourse with his son, and through him with the rest of the incendiaries. His son waited on a Mr. Connell with a letter this day.’ I quote this passage because of the name ‘Connell’ which occurs in it. The allusion is to the subsequently celebrated Daniel O’Connell. Higgins tells Cooke that ‘Connell holds a commission from France (a Colonel’s). He was to be called to the Bar here to please a very rich old uncle, but he is one of the most abominable and bloodthirsty republicans I ever heard of. The place of rendezvous is the Public Library in Eustace Street, where a private room is devoted to the leaders of the United Irish Society.’

The words are given as a curiosity, and not as accurately describing O’Connell’s real sentiments, and the statement that this ardent youth, fresh from the mint of the French College at Douai, held a commission from France is one of the sensational myths with which Higgins loved to garnish his reports. In 1798 Daniel was called to the Bar to please, as Higgins correctly states, his rich uncle, Maurice Connell of Darrinane–traditionally known as ‘Old Hunting Cap.’ Higgins is also right in regarding the future Tribune as a rebel. He had joined the United Irishmen in 1798, but escaped in a turf-boat previous to the insurrection. It will be remembered that Maurice Connell, as shown by the Pelham MSS., was the first to report the arrival of a French fleet in Bantry Bay.

It is worthy of notice, in exploring the genus ‘spy,’ that the violently incisive language used by Higgins is never employed by McNally. The latter gives a man a wound and leaves him there. Higgins poignards his victims over and over again, and kicks their dead bodies, as in the case of Lord Edward Fitzgerald.

The arrest of James Tandy was made in 1803, a year after the death of Higgins, and is likely to have been prompted by Magan, who was active (see p. 157 ante) at that time. In closing these notices of the Tandy family, it may perhaps be mentioned that Napper Tandy’s father took an ultra loyal part during the excitement caused by the rising of Charles Edward in 1745. A run on the Dublin Banks was made, and Faulkner’s Journal of October 8 in that year contains a manifesto from some Dublin merchants, including Tandy, agreeing to accept their notes as cash.


Lord Camden, the Irish Viceroy in 1798, has been often styled a dull man; but he seems to have had his wits about him, as will presently appear.

I find, by a remarkable letter of this Lord Lieutenant, written two months previous to General Lake’s retreat from Castlebar, that he saw the weak points of the somewhat overrated warrior who afterwards got a peerage for beating the Mahrattas. It may be said that the defeat at Castlebar was due to panic among the troops, but all accounts agree that Lake and Hutchinson had been out-manœuvred by Humbert.

‘I remain in the opinion I originally held,’ writes Lord Camden at a time anterior to the arrival of the French, ‘that General Lake is not fit for the command in these difficult times, and have written to Pitt in the most serious and impressive manner I am able to make him master of the actual danger of the country. It is unfortunate that he should have lost the advantage of General Lake’s services where he was really well placed, and have brought him to one which is above his capacity. He has no arrangement, is easily led, and no authority.'[776]

Passing reference has been made to the arrival at Killala, on August 22, 1798, of a small French force under Humbert; and some notice of the sequel is due. Humbert had started from Rochelle solely on his own responsibility. General Lord Hutchinson held Castlebar with 5,200 men; but Lake, as the senior officer, assumed the command. Lake arrived at dark with a large reinforcement, and next morning was surprised to see the French troops rise from a defile hitherto regarded as impassable, General Taylor having been previously sent forward to cut off their approach by road. Although the French were jaded after a forced march of fifteen hours, they advanced with much vivacity, and attacked the King’s troops, who had posted themselves on a steep hill-side with nine pieces of cannon. ‘They advanced in excellent style–with great rapidity as sharp-shooters,’ Cooke writes.[777] Lake’s line wavered, a retreat was sounded, the flight of the infantry was most disorderly, and Sir Jonah Barrington compares it to that of a mob. Lord Jocelyn’s Light Dragoons (he was taken prisoner soon after by Humbert) ran like so many ‘Tam O’Shanters’ to Tuam, a distance of forty miles, followed by such of the French as could get horses for the chase. All the artillery, with five pair of colours, fell into the hands of the French. This disgraceful panic is remembered as ‘The Races of Castlebar.'[778]

Such conduct, unlike their position, was indefensible; for Lake’s men, different from the enemy, had been refreshed by a good night’s rest. The French had left 200 men to garrison Killala, and Humbert’s soldiers, when in action, did not exceed 800, according to the statement of Lake’s secretary.[779] But it has been often said that the French, in making so successful an attack, must have been supported by vast numbers of native insurgents. Again Cooke writes, on the authority of Lake’s secretary, ‘he saw no peasantry.'[780]

Mr. Vereker, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Limerick Militia, got a peerage for having repulsed the French at Coloony, and the motto on his arms is simply the name of that place. Lord Carleton records, in his autograph, on the margin of a book, some curious facts:–

‘The skirmish at Coloony,’ he writes, ‘began and ended in a blunder. Vereker (who knew nothing of the rapid march of thirty-five Irish miles which the French had made from Castlebar) supposed he was attacking only their vanguard; and Humbert, equally ignorant of Vereker’s force, mistook the troops which attacked him for the vanguard of a larger body, and altered his plan of marching to Sligo, which must have surrendered at his approach. When Lake, with his division, arrived at Coloony next morning, he found eighteen Frenchmen, dangerously wounded, who were left behind by their army.’

The strangest part of the story is that Vereker in this attack acted on his own responsibility, and contrary to the instructions he had received from Lake. This brief campaign was marked by a series of wonderful misapprehensions. French accounts say that Humbert, seeing the strength of the British line at Castlebar, thought of retiring to Ballina, and to cover the retreat ordered General Sarrazin to make a feigned attack, which, being mistaken by Lake for an attempt to turn his flank, produced the panic, where upon Sarrazin, changing his plan, and without Humbert’s orders, charged the enemy and sent them flying. But here Humbert’s triumph stopped. Meanwhile, as Lord Carleton in another note states, ‘The Hompesch Dragoons were of infinite service, being chiefly Hungarians, and hanging close on the enemies’ rear; the (common) Irish, deceived by their dress and foreign language, took them for the French, and came to join them in great numbers, but were immediately cut down, and their pockets rifled by their supposed friends.’

Again, as Lord Carleton notes, the French mistaking, by its picturesque dress, a Highland regiment for guerilla troops, sought to fraternise with them, and greatly to their cost.

It has been repeatedly stated, and is generally believed, that Lord Camden was recalled in order to make way for the milder policy of Lord Cornwallis; but it is a fact now worth recording, though somewhat late, that the appointment of Cornwallis was directly due to Camden himself.

Camden continues:–

‘I return to the opinion I had entertained before, that the Lord Lieutenant ought to be a military man. The whole government of the country is now military, and the power of the chief governor is almost merged in that of the general commanding the troops. I have suggested the propriety of sending over Lord Cornwallis, whose name, with some good officers under him, will have great weight; and I have told Pitt that which I really feel, that without the best military assistance I conceive the country to be in the most imminent danger, and that my services cannot be useful to the King.'[781]

Mr. Froude quotes from a letter of Camden’s ‘The insurgents will be annihilated.'[782] But his tone to Pelham is widely different. He writes:–

‘Unless Great Britain pours an immense force into Ireland the country is lost…. I cannot suffer my character and my peace of mind to be trifled with.'[783]

Pitt acted on Camden’s counsel and appointed Lord Cornwallis. Camden confides to Elliot:–

‘If I relinquish my situation, as I do now, merely for the public good at the risque of a false construction, it becomes doubly necessary that I should receive some mark of confidence that it may not be supposed I am recalled from any opinion on the part of the ministers that I have not acted as became me.'[784]

And in a letter of the same date to Pelham, Camden says he is the servant of the public, and ready himself ‘to act in Ireland, or elsewhere, in whatever manner I might be the most usefully employed.’

Camden’s counsel was followed, that the Viceroy of Ireland–in such times–ought to be a military man. Lord Cornwallis, the new chief governor, went down to Connaught at the head of 20,000 troops, and Humbert surrendered. On September 8, 1798, after a fortnight’s progress through the country, 96 officers and 748 French rank and file became prisoners of war; and, according to Gordon, 500 peasant auxiliaries were put to the sword. Several sympathisers, chiefly local gentry, were hanged; including, as Lord Carleton notes, Messrs. Blake, French, and O’Dowd. Thus ended Humbert’s quixotic enterprise; but the previous expedition to Bantry Bay, in 1796, was very formidable; and England had not had such an escape since the Spanish Armada. In this connection Lord Carleton has another word to say; and I do not feel warranted in omitting what serves to explain some things hitherto a puzzle. Few believed that Hoche’s expedition of 1796 could have escaped the vigilance and vengeance of the English fleet which had long been watching it off Brest.

‘Admiral Kingsmill (a most excellent naval officer), who commanded in Cork Harbour, was one of these sceptics. He thought it impossible so large a fleet could have escaped the vigilance of all his cruisers. Kingsmill had no intelligence of it, and repeatedly said, if the French fleet was in Bantry he would suffer his head to be chopped off on his own quarter-deck. Had not the French, when they first made the land, mistaken the Durseys for Three-Castle-Head, by which they missed their port, and were several hours beating back again, they would have got so far up the bay as to have been able to effect their purpose. It is much to be lamented that an officer of high rank in the British navy, Keith Elphinstone (afterwards Lord Keith), returning from India in the ‘Monarch’ of 74 guns, and putting by accident into Crookhaven at the very time the two French ships and frigates were in Bantry Bay, could not be prevailed upon to put himself at the head of the ships then in Cork Harbour–the ‘Powerful’ of 74 guns, and three stout frigates–and block up the bay till Lord Bridport’s fleet could arrive. “It was not his business.” He got all the stores Kingsmill could send him, and sailed off to England. I assert this fact as positively true.–H. C.’

The signature of Lord Chief Justice Carleton is affixed to all the Government proclamations of the time. His peculiar knowledge was largely derived as a member of the Irish Privy Council, and from his relations with Cork, of which he was a native.

It was not ‘the Shan Van Voght’ who first announced, as the old ballad has it, that ‘the French were on the sea.’ The news came from Darrynane Abbey, where the waves roll in unbroken from Labrador. Daniel O’Connell’s people have been accused of treasonable leanings–but unfairly. Old Maurice Connell, or O’Connell, chieftain of Darrynane, made money through ‘smuggling,’ but he was no rebel. Opening that scantily explored mine–the Pelham MSS.–I find Maurice Connell announcing to an under-strapper of the Government, who reports it to Pelham, that a French fleet is in Bantry Bay, and he calls it ‘most melancholy intelligence.’ The letter is dated ‘Darrynane, December 20, 1796.’ ‘I give you this early information,’ writes Maurice from his mountain crag, ‘in order that every proper measure should be pursued on an event soe very alarming.'[785]

This timely information had the start by two days of Mr. Richard White’s, who notoriously received his peerage in acknowledgment of a message of similar tenor. We learn from the old pamphlet of Edward Morgan, that ‘A servant of his (White’s) brought the first despatch to General Dalrymple, in Cork, of the arrival of the French, on the night of Thursday, December 22, who was but four hours going forty-two miles, Irish, on a single horse.'[786] The above is culled from Lord Carleton’s copy, and it is added in his autograph, ‘Mr. White, for his services on this occasion, which were very meritorious, was created Lord Bantry.’

Communication with London proved so slow in those days that reward was justly due to those who sought to mend a state of things now hard to realise. The King’s messenger, when autumnal or wintry winds prevailed, had often to wait three or four weeks ere the boat could sail from Dublin to Holyhead; and on one occasion in the seventeenth century Dublin Castle was three months without letters from London.[787] Even on terra firma a snail’s pace too often marked the progress of great officials who ought to have set a better example. Carew, when going from Dublin to London, lost five days in accomplishing the ‘run’ between Holyhead and Chester. When the winds proved propitious, and the King’s messenger was an active man, he was able to deliver in Dublin in one week the despatch from Whitehall.


(See p. 178, ante.)

John Pollock, Clerk of the Crown for Leinster, who, according to the ‘Cornwallis Papers,’ ‘managed’ the counsel and attorney of the United Irishmen, deserves a note, especially as he is one of the men regarding whom the industrious editor of that work found it impossible to ascertain particulars. His services, which, Cooke says, ‘ought to be thought of,’ were rewarded in 1800 by the Deputy Clerkship of the Pleas of the Exchequer. Gross abuse defiled this post; but until 1816 the iniquity was not brought before Parliament. On April 29 Mr. Leslie Foster declared that ‘Mr. Pollock drew 10,000l. out of the profits, and on which he ought to pay the salaries of the other clerks; but, instead of this, he pocketed the whole of the money, leaving them to raise the fees upon the suitors on no other authority than their own assumptions!’ In 1803 Pollock’s emoluments from this office did not exceed 3,000l. a year. Mr. Attorney-General Saurin impeached him in nine distinct charges, and as a result he was deposed.[788]

Pollock’s name constantly appears in that curious manuscript known as the ‘S.S. Money Book,’ one of the last payments to him being on January 10, 1799, for 1,137l. 10s. The frequent payments to ‘John Pollock for J. W.’ suggested to me that the gold which he disbursed was usually for persons connected with the law, and with this clue I am able to trace and make clear various ciphers which Dr. Madden was unable to explain when publishing a copy of the Secret Account just named. For instance, we find: ‘1799–16 Feb. J. Pollock for J. W.–£150–G. M. £50.’ Again, on May 3 following: ‘J. Pollock for G. M. I.–£50.’ And on June 5 and August 3, ‘£150 to G. M. I.’ Who is ‘G. M.’ and ‘G. M. I.’?

George McIntagart is described in 1798 as an attorney-at-law. Benjamin P. Binns, in an autobiographical sketch, speaks of this man as his step-father. It was George McIntagart who, when Mayor of Drogheda in 1798, dressed up Orangemen in French uniforms, and sent them through the country to entrap simple peasants. He then flogged them until, they revealed whatever they knew. The future Duke of Wellington, writing to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on March 17, 1809, observes: ‘Will you have Mr. McIntagart appointed to be Collector of Drogheda?'[789]

‘February 24, 1798. Mr. Pollock for J. W. H.’ appears on record. Turning to the list of attorneys in that year, the name of ‘J. Wright Heatly’ is found. Dr. Madden also prints, ‘August 23. Major Sirr for W. A. H., £68 5s. 0d.,’ but offers no conjecture as to the owner of these initials. He must be the man described by Plowden who, after an interview with the Irish Privy Council, was equipped at the expense of Dublin Castle with a showy rebel uniform, including a cocked hat and feathers, and sent on a mission to Belfast to seduce and to betray. An orderly dragoon repaired with instructions to General Sir Charles Ross, who commanded in Belfast, that Houlton was a confidential agent and not to be molested. Houlton, however, having started in a chaise and four, arrived at Belfast in advance of the orderly, and the result was that, when in the act of declaiming treason at a tavern, he was arrested by the local authorities, paraded in his uniform round the town, and sent back a prisoner to Dublin.[790] The Belfast papers of the day give his name as William Ainslie Houlton, and he is clearly identical with the W. A. H. of Mr. Cooke’s cipher. It would be endless to pursue this subject. Meanwhile, those who care to follow the various ciphers in the ‘S.S. Money Book,’ and to know the circumstances under which each item is penned, can obtain full information from the present writer.

Pollock in his new sinecure did not cease to gratify the instincts which made him so efficient in 1798. A letter from him is found in the ‘Wellington Correspondence,’ dated January 12, 1809, directing attention to McNevin’s ‘Pieces of Irish History,’ then recently published in New York. Pollock assures the future subjugator of Napoleon that, from information he received, this book is the precursor of a French invasion of Ireland. ‘If you have Cox,'[791] he adds ‘(who keeps a small bookshop in Anglesea Street), he can let you into the whole object of sending this book to Ireland at this time; and further, if you have not Cox, believe me that no sum of money at all within reason would be misapplied in riveting him to the Government. I have spoken of this man before to Sir Edward Littlehales and to Sir Charles Saxton. He is the most able, and, if not secured, by far the most formidable man that I know of in Ireland.'[792] This letter, from the niche assigned to it in the ‘Wellington Correspondence,’ calls for a distinct notice of Cox, whose name occurs so frequently in the foregoing sheets.


(See p. 71, ante.)

Mr. O’Donoghue, in ‘Irish Humourists,’ states of Cox and his rebel sheet, the ‘Union Star,’ which openly urged assassination: ‘While the moderate organs of the United Irishmen–the ‘Press’ and the ‘Northern Star’–were being suppressed and their editors persecuted and imprisoned, Watty Cox and his sheet were left severely alone.’ I am sure the author will allow me, in the interests of history, to set this point right. The Pelham MSS. contain the following letter from Cooke:–‘This day I suppressed the “Union Star.” Cox offered [Justice] Bell to disclose the author, and to tell what he knew to Government on condition of pardon. I accepted the terms and have seen him. He was sole author, printer, and publisher. He composed the “Star” at different printing houses with types of different printers and struck them off by a small bellows press of his own. He says he continued the publication more from vanity than mischief; says that he has been for some time against continuing the scheme of separation from England because he thought it could not succeed … thinks it will if there be any invasion. Lord Edward F. [sic] and O’Connor have been often with him; they knew of his writing the “Star.” Cox pronounced Lord Edward “weak but very zealous”; O’Connor has abilities and is an enthusiast, but he thinks they want system.’ Much more follows, and Cooke adds, ‘he [Cox] is a clever man and deep.'[794]

The viceroy, Camden, writing two days later, says: ‘He [Cox] seems able to give much important information;'[795] but Camden assumes this merely on the strength of the fact mentioned in Cooke’s letter, and Cox does not seem to have compromised his friends by any actual disclosure. Arthur O’Connor, addressing Dr. Madden in 1842, declared that Cox remained always faithful to him, and also to Lord Edward Fitzgerald. Whatever changes may have taken place in his conduct, it was not until after Lord Edward’s death and O’Connor’s exile. While there was a chance of success, he was one of the staunchest men in Ireland to their cause. Had O’Connor–a person of great vanity–dreamt that Cox called him an enthusiast, and Lord Edward weak, his praise might perhaps have been modified.

In 1803, when Dublin Castle was dismayed by the outbreak of Emmet’s rebellion within shadow of its walls, I find addressed to Cox the copy of a letter from Under-Secretary Marsden requesting him to call upon him, and ‘nobody would be the wiser.’ Cox replies in writing to the effect that he did not care how public their communications should be; and certainly at this time he cannot be called ‘a spy,’ if indeed he ever was.

The Viceroy Hardwicke wrote, soon after, an official vindication of his conduct; and he mentions incidentally that it had been meditated to place Cox under arrest as a dangerous democrat. His ‘Irish Magazine’ is a marvellous medley, and contains, intermingled with some rubbish, a good deal of valuable matter useful for future reference. Having been put in the pillory more than once for his writings, and finally been sentenced to pay a fine of 300l., and enter into security himself for one thousand, with two others of 500l. each, to keep in good behaviour for seven years, as well as suffer one year’s confinement in Newgate, Cox at last consented, on receiving a pension of 100l. a year, to expatriate himself to America. This Lord Mulgrave stopped in 1835, and the death of Cox occurred soon after.[796]


(See chap. xxi.)

Documents previously quoted make ambiguous reference to the fate of William Orr. This unfortunate person was arraigned at Carrickfergus in September 1797, for having administered to a soldier named Wheatley the United Irishman’s oath. He was found guilty on evidence so glaringly bad that Baron Yelverton, in sentencing him, sobbed. Most of the inhabitants left the town to mark their horror of the sacrifice. Newspapers of the last century did not deal much in sensational headings. The Courier, an influential London journal, of December 25, 1797, affords some exception:–

‘Murder Most Foul!–The Irish papers which arrived this morning contain the affidavits of the Rev. George Macartney, D.L., magistrate for the county Antrim; the Rev. James Elder, Dissenting Minister; and of Alexander Montgomery, Esq., stating that Hugh Wheatley–one of the witnesses brought forward by the Crown against Mr. Orr, lately executed in Ireland–had confessed that he had been guilty of perjury and murder!!’

Some of the jury also came forward and admitted that they were drunk when they gave their verdict. These facts, duly deposed to and attested, were laid before the Viceroy, Lord Camden, by the magistrate who had caused Orr to be arrested, ‘and who,’ writes Dr. Madden, ‘when he found the practices that had been resorted to, used every effort, though fruitlessly, to move Lord Camden to save the prisoner. Orr was executed because of his known connection with the United Irish system, but not on account of the crime legally laid to his charge.’

The date of Lord Camden’s fatal decision, in reply to the influential appeal which had reached him, merits attention. Turner, on October 8, 1797, disclosed to Downshire–for the private information of the Government–a list of men, including ‘two Orrs,’ who, he said, were members of the Executive Directory of the United Irishmen; and Camden, probably, thought that Orr, who then lay in jail, adjudged guilty of having administered the rebel oath, was one of them. On October 13, Camden surprised Great Britain quite as much as Ireland, by deciding that William Orr should hang, and within forty-eight hours he suffered death.[797] A painful sensation passed through the country: Drennan’s fine lyric, ‘The Wake of William Orr,’ will live as long as ‘The Burial of Sir John Moore.’ ‘Remember Orr‘ were the last words in the manuscript which hanged Sheares. The fate of Orr had more effect in hurrying rebellion to a premature explosion than all the efforts of Tone, McNevin, and O’Connor. The latter urged that Ireland should strike without further waiting for French aid.

Dr. Madden re-awakened interest in this case of Orr by claiming to show that Wheatley, by whose tainted testimony he died, was identical with a subsequently well-known military officer. Hugh Wheatley, the informer and common soldier (Dr. Madden holds), is the same man who afterwards figured as Captain Wheatley in the West Middlesex Regiment, who served in Egypt, ‘wore the Sphinx on his cap,’ and in 1827 resided at Uxbridge.[798] In 1844 Dr. Madden addressed to a brother officer of this man–a Captain Hester–various queries, all of which drew forth answers disparaging to Captain Wheatley, including the fact that he was remarkable for his love of money and his profligacy. ‘How did he get his commission?’ asked Dr. Madden: ‘I cannot say,’ replied Hester, ‘nor could any of the officers. The commanding officers appeared always in fear of him. It was not because he had good pistols, for he never used them himself, but he would lend them–as he would his cash–on interest.’

It seems almost a pity to spoil the piquancy of an attractive page, but ‘truth is stranger than fiction,’ and as Dr. Madden declares more than once that justice to the dead and historic accuracy are his objects, it is right to show that in this case he has confounded two utterly different men. Even a son of the wronged officer is brought on the tapis as a person Dr. Madden had known in another land. The following letter confirming my doubts will help to distinguish between the two Wheatleys:–

‘War Office: September 6, 1866.

‘Sir,–I am directed by the Secretary of State for War to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 21st ultimo, asking for particulars of the service &c. of a Mr. Hugh Wheatly in the West Middlesex Militia, between the years 1799 and 1810, and to acquaint you that he regrets that he is unable to give you the information you wish for.

‘I may add that a Mr. W. Wheatley was appointed to the Regiment as Lieutenant on the 21st February, 1804, and was promoted to a Company, 17th December, 1811.[799]

‘A Mr. Hugh Wheatly was serving in the Tenth (Edinburghshire) Militia in 1800 as Lieutenant. His commission was dated 26th March, 1798.

‘I am, Sir, your obedient Servant, ‘


‘W. J. Fitzpatrick, Esq., J.P.’

The Hugh Wheatley who–as we are informed by the War Office–received a commission in the Edinburghshire Militia on March 26, 1798, is certainly Orr’s Wheatley. One of the depositions of the Rev. George Macartney–a magistrate and D.L. for Antrim–speaks of Hugh Wheatly as a Scotch soldier, who confessed he had been instigated to give false evidence against Orr. Even after he had received his commission we find Wheatley in receipt of Secret Service money; and on February 5, 1800, 115l. 2s. 9d.–or one hundred guineas old currency–appears on record to his credit.

Notes of a conversation with the late Dr. Verdon–a representative of William Orr–discloses some things new to students of the time. Major Orr, son of William Orr, served with distinction in the Peninsular War; he obtained his commission at the age of twenty-three, and on his return to England the Duke of York, then Commander-in-Chief, after complimenting him upon his services, asked if there was any promotion he ambitioned. ‘I hate the sword I wear,’ was Orr’s sullen reply; ‘perhaps your Royal Highness will allow me to retire from the service.’ ‘Pray are you related to Orr who suffered in ’98?’ inquired the Duke. ‘I have the honour to be his son,’ the soldier replied. The Duke with reluctance accepted the resignation, and next day wrote a cheque for 1,000l., and sent it to the widow of William Orr ‘as some slight compensation for the loss she had sustained’ twenty years before. The Duke of York was at this time heir apparent to the throne. Captain Orr retired on full pay with the rank of brevet major. Some years after, finding that his means were inadequate to meet domestic expenses, he asked the Duke for a barrack mastership. Orr filled this office in Longford, and subsequently in Dublin till his death.


Mrs. Anastasia O’Byrne, who died in 1875, had been in the habit of sending me rough recollections of such small things as came within the cognisance of a very unobtrusive woman. Some of her letters appeared in a former book. The following is new:–

‘In May, 1798,’ says Mrs. O’Byrne, ‘the narrator, then a comely matron of thirty, possessing a soft innocent expression and a delicate rose-hue complexion, donned her bonnet of the previous season, with intent to make some purchases in the drapery line at a flourishing mart in Thomas Street. The bonnet was of bright green silk, had often been worn without remark, was purchased for its supposed becoming effect, and had lain quietly ensconced in its bandbox throughout the winter. But during that eventful season the political atmosphere had undergone disturbance, and the storm which shattered to pieces many happy homesteads was about to sweep through Ireland. Amid other signs of the times, “the wearing of the green” came to be regarded with suspicion and dislike by the authorities of the day. Of this, however, the wearer of the green bonnet was then quite unconscious. On she went, but was rather concerned, and somewhat puzzled, to find herself attracting an unusual share of the attention of the passers-by, particularly as she was alone. As she passed out of Dame Street into Castle Street and Skinner’s Row,[800] where the narrowness of the flag-way made collisions of passengers a rule rather than an exception, she was startled to hear, every other moment, a voice whispering, almost under her bonnet: “God bless your colour, ma’am!” She remarked that those who did not use this phrase regarded her with an angry scowl; but still no thought of connecting these incidents with the hue of her bonnet ever crossed her mind. On her return from Thomas Street her attractive power seemed to increase, the cabalistic words: “God bless your colour, ma’am!” were not uttered so frequently, but the streets were greatly crowded by men, some of whom regarded her bonnet with so fierce a glare that she thought they had a notion of plucking it from her head. She then began to perceive, with some alarm, that scarcely any women were abroad, and that military and yeomanry paraded the streets. When she reached Cork Hill she saw masses of people thronging the line of way in Dame Street, whilst the crowd about the Castle gates and the Royal Exchange seemed heaving in agitation like the waves of a troubled sea. Whilst trying to pierce the dense crowd around the Royal Exchange she heard a familiar voice shout her name twice in a loud, excited tone. She glanced in the direction of the sound, and saw the pale, eager face of a young man of her acquaintance, the husband and brother of two intimate female friends, peering at her through one of the windows of the Royal Exchange, then a receptacle for State prisoners. Entering a little by-street she turned with great difficulty from the surge of the crowd which was floating from College Green side, and soon got into more quiet quarters. By the circuitous route she reached home unmolested, but found the household in great alarm about her, for tidings had reached them that several females during the tumult of the day had been rudely insulted, and roughly treated, for wearing ribbons or garments of green hue, one most respectable lady having had a gown of the obnoxious colour sliced from her body by the sabre of a loyal trooper. The excitement of the day was caused by the arrest of the unfortunate brothers Sheares. The young prisoner who called on her from the window had just recently been arrested in the street on suspicion, solely on account of having used indignant words of remark in the hearing of a loyal yeoman. His great anxiety to gain the notice of the wearer of the green bonnet was caused by his desire that his relatives, who were ignorant of his arrest, should learn it, and take measures for his release, before the tidings of it could reach the ears of a very youthful wife in a very delicate condition.

‘The poor fellow was speedily released, for higher game had been bagged, and nothing beyond his warm words could be adduced against him. But the young wife, whom he soon after left a widow, always believed that his early death was caused by his arrest. He had caught a severe cold whilst in prison, his lungs became affected, and rapid decline and early death ensued.

‘On the day of the arrest of the Sheareses the wearer of the green bonnet beheld the sacking and the attempted burning of the house and stock-in-trade of Patrick Byrne, the bookseller of Grafton Street in whose shop the brothers were first introduced to their betrayer, Captain Armstrong. It was a pitiful sight to behold the amount of property in beautifully bound books ruthlessly torn to pieces and tossed out of windows into the street. Byrne was arrested, but afterwards got safely out of the country, and settled in Philadelphia. His brother, a Roman Catholic priest in Rosemary Lane Chapel, followed him to America.’

The old lady’s garrulousness about her green bonnet has been allowed space the more readily because the following contemporary statement comes to illustrate and explain, not only her own reminiscence, but an oft-quoted phrase which has become historic. I have culled it from the London Courier of August 29, 1797. The Dublin Journal to which it refers was the organ of the Irish Government, and the property of Jack Giffard:–


Dublin, August 24.–The Dublin Journal, with base malignity, throws out the most indecent insinuations against the virtue of every female who wears green in her apparel. How the citizens of Dublin, and the inhabitants of the country, who are also included in this infamous denunciation, will bear to have their wives and daughters so stigmatised, remains to be seen. A more villainous libel never disgraced the Press. In case of success, it must render useless all the goods in silk, cotton, or woollen which have been dyed green, to the ruin of the manufacturers. Language is not adequate to express the abhorrence that arises at this hellish meditation to rob women of their character and working-people of bread!

A corps, called the ‘Antient Britons,’ attained by their cruelties notoriety in ’98. Pelham, in a secret letter, recognises their activity and loyalty; but casually adds (a trait which, coming from him, will be more regarded than if told by a partisan): ‘They were quartered at Newry,’ he writes, ‘where there was a lady as active as the Miss Greggs at Belfast, and upon her accosting a soldier on guard, she was certainly very roughly treated…. They tied her petticoats round her neck, and sent her home showing her garters.'[801] Pelham probably learned this fact from one of the letters of Samuel Turner, formerly of Newry.


(See chap. xvi. p. 236.)

O’LEARY IN 1782.

The following letter–one honourable to O’Leary–has escaped the vigilance of all his biographers. It seems to have been addressed to Mr. Kirwan, a Catholic leader who held some military rank in the Volunteer army, and who at mess had been asked to drink ‘The glorious, pious, and immortal memory’ of William III.! ‘Jungamus dexteras‘ was the motto of O’Leary and Grattan at this time. The former, in his reply to the Bishop of Cloyne in 1796, states that the policy of Dublin Castle was ‘Divide et impera.’

This letter is dated a year previous to Lord Sydney’s effort to corrupt O’Leary. From that hour no such courageousness of demand marked his utterances.

‘Cork: October 4, 1782.

‘Much esteemed and dear Sir,–I am honoured this instant with your kind favour, which makes me doubly happy, in the information that you are well, and the satisfaction of still retaining a share in your remembrance. Your choice of Lord Mornington[802] for your Colonel gave me infinite satisfaction, and your design to continue him at your head until he forfeits his claim to that honour by some unbecoming and well-attested steps is equally founded in wisdom and justice. Let it be the province of bigots to censure the toast, after the reasons alleged for having given it. King William was the first who scattered the seeds of liberty in this kingdom. There is nothing in the frame of a Catholic that is averse to its growth. He never violated his engagements with the Catholics of Ireland, though often solicited to a breach of promise. There was not a Stuart, from the first to the last, but betrayed them, either from cowardice or treachery. James II. promised to repeal his Declaration, on condition of being reinstated. What could freedom expect from the resumption of his dignity?

‘In the very heat of action, when the alternative was death or victory, he commands to spare his English subjects.[803] Poor man! he was tender-hearted and pusillanimous! I care not. Bears are fierce, and deer are timid. It is equal to me whether I suffer by the claws of the one or the horns of the other. In my opinion, though our sufferings have been long and unmerited, it is happy for us that King William came over; for under weak kings of our own religion, controlled by laws, we would be for ever obnoxious to our fellow-subjects. Every gentleman from Dublin whom I meet here talks with admiration of the Irish Brigade.[804] Sir Boyle Roche, who wrote me a letter the other day, talks of them in a strain of rapture. I never have seen an address from the Catholics of Ireland but I spurned with indignation at, except your late address to Earl Temple. They were always couched in the cringing language of servility, and even falsehood, boasting of common blessings, when it was in the power of your children to strip you of your kitchen-gardens and the shoeboy of your houses. In your last address you spoke as Gentlemen, thankful for what you got, and decently intimating that you want and deserve more. I make it my humble request that, whilst one Penal Law stands upon record, except those that exclude you from the Senate and high offices under the Crown, in every address you will glance at your restraints. Were it not from an apprehension of incurring the displeasure of the Catholic Gentlemen of Dublin, I would have torn Gormanston’s[805] address, and Portland’s answer, to pieces. The former addressed as a contented slave, and the latter answered with the rudeness of a Batavian burgomaster who would say “Behave always so, or else —-!” The liberal-minded Protestants themselves acknowledge that enough has not been done for us. It is what Lord Beauchamp wrote to me when I was in Dublin. I send you Mr. Hamilton’s letter on the same subject. I received it here, in a letter from Sir Boyle, who applauds the wisdom of the Irish Brigade in not adopting the violent measures of several armed societies. There is some meaning in these words, which I here would not have communicated but to a few of the discreet of our own. You can keep Mr. Hamilton’s letter until I pay you my respects in Dublin. I wish I knew who he is.[806] As to the Dungannonists,[807] they should be remembered with gratitude by the Catholics of this kingdom. But as the Brigade is composed of all parties without distinction but such as merit confers, whether a letter which would give them the appearance of a Roman Catholic armed society would be expedient, however merited, you are the more competent judge. Whether the sycophants of Government, averse to the Northerns, would not represent Peter leaguing with John against Martin, who once confined them to a boxing-match over a tub, but sees them now shake hands over the table when they can appear with their swords and bucklers in the hall. However, should you deem the measure eligible, considering time, place, circumstances, the sympathies of some, the antipathies of others, the clashing of interests, the factions of parties, the jealousy of Government wishing the metamorphosis of your shining blades into shepherd’s crooks,–there is not one living who would sooner comply with my friend’s request than I would. But from conviction, free from flattery, I affirm that he is better qualified for a similar letter. I heard of him before I knew him; known, I conversed with him. I guessed what he could do. I read the sentimental and correct Las Casas. I was convinced that I had not guessed in vain. From this motive I cannot be prevailed on, besides the time, which has grown so scanty on my hands since my arrival here that I cannot spare one hour; exhorting every Sunday, and attending to several avocations, which, though of some benefit to others, often make me regret that I ever quitted my solitude and books. I suggested once to Mr. Weldon to propose Dr. Dunn–a Dissenting minister–to the Brigade for a third chaplain. If he be proposed and elected about the beginning of March, or any time after, I shall write him a letter, in which I shall pay those of his profession the compliment they deserve without giving offence to others. Ever &c.


‘My best regards to Mrs. Kirwan, Messieurs Braughill, Ryan, Gavan, without forgetting our worthy Brigadier Sutton.'[808]

The biographer of Grattan cannot be regarded as an authority when speaking of O’Leary. A letter headed ‘Dr. O’Leary to Mr. Grattan,’ appears in Grattan’s ‘Life,’ vol. v. pp. 263-4. It is dated May 25, 1805; begins, ‘My dear Grattan;’ speaks of his (O’Leary’s) little grandson, and ends, ‘Believe me, with truth and affection, your sincere friend and faithful confessor, Father O’Leary.’ ‘I congratulate you, myself and my country on the honour your speech on the Catholic question has conferred on us,’ he writes, and thanks Grattan in extravagant terms for having introduced his name with laudation.

Grattan’s speech–delivered on May 13, 1805–occupies from page 914 to 940 of ‘Hansard,’ and O’Leary is not once named in it. Grattan’s biographer inserts with all the prominence and respect due to a genuine document this transparent hoax. He adds a foot-note to say that Grattan’s speech in May, 1805, praised O’Leary. The biographer ought to have known that O’Leary had been three years dead in 1805, and that it is not usual for friars to rejoice in grandsons.


Father Arthur O’Leary died in London on January 8, 1802. The remains lay in state; a grand dirge was sung; an imposing funeral cortège followed them to Old St. Pancras, where a fine monument to his memory, inscribed with words of praise, soon marked the spot. Tradition states that Old St. Pancras was the last church in London where Mass was said after the Reformation: hence the wish felt by Catholics in penal days to sleep within its precincts. A visit to this historic graveyard in its present desecrated state awakens emotion. No ground, however, is sacred to the engineer. Old St. Pancras is now traversed by two lines of railway–more regard being paid to the ‘sleepers’ above than to the sleepers below. Passing trains ever and anon cause this resting-place of the dead to tremble violently as if by earthquake. Indeed a seismic shock, had it passed through the churchyard, could hardly have produced more wreck. Here many an old tombstone inscribed ‘Requiescat in pace‘–others displaying grand heraldic sculpture–even a bishop’s mitre and a shattered coronet–proclaim the irony of fate. The scorched and begrimed soil, once green and rural, but now split into a hundred fissures–almost tends to remind one of a great Scriptural picture, where shrouded dead are seen rising in protest from the riven earth. Tablets and tombs sufficient to represent the life of a city are rudely removed and ranged far from the graves they ought to mark. ‘Old Mortality’ will find them piled–close as cards in a pack–beneath a dark archway, over which locomotives rush, their shrill scream suggesting a cruel travesty of the last trumpet. A few massive mausoleums are certainly spared, and amongst them that to the memory of O’Leary. Another part of the disused cemetery creates quite a contrast to the scene of desolation just described. Parterres smiling with flowers may be seen; also winding walks, and an occasional shaded seat, where whispering love repeats a story older even than Old St. Pancras.


Dr. Hussey was not the last Catholic priest sent by the Court of England on a private mission to the Continent. The subsequent Duke of Wellington, writing from London to Dublin Castle on March 18, 1808, says:–

‘It would be very desirable to have a person to send over to Holland and France just at the present moment, and I know nobody that would answer our purpose so well as —-, the Scotch priest. I wish, therefore, that you would desire him to come over to me.’

On the following day he writes:–

‘As I intend to send —- to Paris, it might not be inconvenient to know the person through whom the disaffected communicate with the French Government in order that —- might watch him.'[809]

The chief blank may be filled with the name of the Rev. James Robertson. The nephew of this man, Mr. A. B. Fraser, found among his papers, ‘A Narrative of a Secret Mission to the Danish Island in 1808.’ The priest had been sent by Wellington to the Spanish general Romana, and the result was the transmission of the Spanish army from the service of France, by the British fleet, from North Germany to Spain.

Spain was the theatre of a still more important case of secret service rendered by a Catholic priest. In 1860 I wrote to Field-Marshal Lord Combermere as the only man then living likely to know of the relations which subsisted, during the Peninsular War, between Wellington and Dr. Curtis, Rector of the Irish College of Salamanca. The following is a portion of his reply:–

‘Dr. Curtis had been fifty years head of the College when he left Spain to become Roman Catholic Primate of Ireland.

‘He had communicated very valuable information to the Duke of Wellington while Soult held his headquarters at Salamanca.

‘His connection with the Duke was suspected before the first entry of the British into Salamanca, and two days previous to this event, while dining with Soult, Dr. C. heard the General remark how strange it was that Lord Wellington seemed so well acquainted with his proceedings.

‘Some of the aides-de-camp looked at Dr. Curtis pointedly on this occasion, and the next day, while at table with the same party, similar observations were made, and Dr. Curtis perceived that the suspicions of Soult had been in some manner confirmed.

‘On his return home that night, he found two gendarmes awaiting him, and he was at once conveyed to prison.

‘He assured Lord Combermere that had not the English arrived the next day, he would have been executed as a spy.’

It may be added that the mysterious reference in Wellington’s despatch of May 8, 1811,[810] is to Dr. Curtis.

The appointment of this priest by the Pope as ‘Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of All Ireland’ was directly due to influence exerted with Cardinal Gonsalvi by British statesmen, including Lord Castlereagh, Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Duke of Wellington maintained for many years a constant and cordial correspondence with the Primate, and the Duke’s change of policy on the Catholic Question was not uninfluenced by it. The papers of this eminent prelate, varied and voluminous in their character, have been long in the custody of the present writer, and at a future day may be dealt with as their importance demands.


[712] Froude, iii. 277.

[713] See Castlereagh Correspondence, i. 285.

[714] Castlereagh Correspondence, i. 285.

[715] Turner’s is the only name in the list to which Hughes prefixes this title of courtesy, which shows that he was looked up to as a man superior to his fellows.

[716] Castlereagh Correspondence, iv. 504.

[717] Report of the Secret Committee of the House of Lords, 1798, pp. 26-8.

[718] Castlereagh Correspondence, i. 283. Turner was known by the alias of ‘Furness,’ partly, perhaps, in allusion to his seemingly red-hot patriotism.

[719] Ibid.

[720] James Hope in his narrative speaks of Colonel Plunket as at first a flaming rebel, who had been assigned to the command of Roscommon; but Lord Carleton, in a manuscript note to Irish Pamphlets, vol. 129 (Nat. Lib. of Ireland), says that on the eve of action he surrendered to Dr. Law, Bishop of Elphin. Plunket was tried by court-martial and hanged.

[721] Castlereagh Correspondence, ii. 231.

[722] Castlereagh Correspondence, ii. 232.

[723] Every man desiring to become a barrister is obliged to lodge a memorial describing himself and his parentage. Anxious to ascertain whether the description of Lord Downshire’s friend would apply to Turner, as the son of a gentleman of property in Ulster, I applied at the King’s Inns, Dublin, to be allowed to see how Turner described himself–but was refused, although the object was explained to be one purely historical. This greatly retarded my inquiries, which were begun many years ago. At last an examination of the wills and the entrance-book of Trinity College, Dublin, established all that I had surmised, and the following letter, which I find in the Pelham MSS., is further important in this connection:–‘The arms belonging to Mr. Turner, senior, a magistrate near Newry, were taken from him at the time of the general search for arms in that county. I believe that his conduct has been misconceived owing to the conduct of his son, and, if you see no particular objection to it, I should be glad that his arms should be restored to him’ (Pelham to General Lake, Phœnix Park, August 3, 1797).

[724] Records of the Probate Court, Dublin.

[725] United Irishmen, 1st edit. i. 252.

[726] United Irishmen, 1st edit. i. 240. These references to Turner, supplied by Hope, were not reprinted by Dr. Madden in the second edition of his United Irishmen. ‘The Cornwallis Papers’ had not then appeared, disclosing the name of Samuel Turner as a recipient of a pension for important but unexplained services in connection with the Rebellion.

[727] Bourrienne’s Life of Napoleon describes Reinhard as a Lutheran.

[728] The betrayer, in his letter to Lord Downshire, states that Lowry wrote from Paris to him on October 11, 1797, in great despondency on account of Hoche’s death.

[729] Mr. Cashel Hoey, grandson of Conlan’s victim, an important Government official in London, decorated by the Crown, died Jan. 6, 1892. Antony Marmion, author of The Maritime Ports of Ireland, was the son of Conlan’s second victim.

[730] The Sirr MSS. Trin. Coll. Dublin.

[731] Froude’s English in Ireland, iii. 284.

[732] Froude’s English in Ireland, iii. 305.

[733] Ibid. 281.

[734] Samuel Turner, B.A., T.C.D., 1786; LL.D., T.C.D. 1787, College Calendar. He claimed to have descended, I believe, from Dr. Samuel Turner, M.A. of Oxford in 1605, whose parliamentary career and daring spirit are noticed in L’Estrange’s History of the Reign of Charles I.

[735] A wild district near Gweedore, on the coast of Donegal, embracing the contiguous island of Rutland.

[736] The facsimile of this proclamation, as furnished by Mr. Allingham, is headed ‘Liberty or Death!’ and displays a drawing of the Irish harp and the cap of liberty; but as the text appears in the Castlereagh Papers (i. 407), a sample must suffice here:–‘Horrid crimes have been perpetrated in your country, your friends have fallen a sacrifice to their devotion to your cause, their shadows are around you and call aloud for vengeance, etc.’

[737] These and other statements appear in a letter signed ‘O.’ which will be dealt with presently.

[738] From 1795 the Duke enjoyed the titles of Field-Marshal, Commander-in-Chief, and Bishop of Osnaburg.

[739] The Corporation at that time was notoriously Orange.

[740] James Farrell, though a Rebel leader during the troubles, is afterwards found entertaining at dinner H.R.H. the Duke of Sussex and Major Sirr.

[741] Letter dated ‘Salmon Pool Lodge, Dublin, September 21, 1846.’ (O’Connell MSS. Derrinane Abbey.) If it were not for the letter of Sir A. Wellesley, which fixes the date, I would be disposed to place this incident earlier.

[742] Madden’s United Irishmen, ii. 391.

[743] There is an account in Musgrave of the arrival of the ‘Anacréon’ with notices of some of the men on board, but it throws no light on ‘O.’ He was lost in the crowd of French officers and adherents.

[744] Castlereagh Correspondence, i. 405.

[745] O’Herne, otherwise Aherne (see Castlereagh, i. 308). He is often mentioned in Tone’s Journal.

[746] O’Finn (see Castlereagh, ii. 5). O’Finn figures in the Fugitive Bill. See p. 96, ante.

[747] Ormby, an Irish rebel in France (Castlereagh, i. 307).

[748] O’Mealy, an Irish rebel in France (ibid. ii. 7, 359 et seq.).

[749] O’Hara (ibid. i. 327).

[750] Colonel O’Neill (ibid. ii. 230).

[751] O’Connor (Castlereagh, i. 374).

[752] O’Keon, who went with the French to Killala. See Byrne’s Memoirs, iii. 164. (Paris, 1863.)

[753] At Paris ‘O’ had three interviews with General Lawless in reference to the invasion, which is detailed in his clever letter (see Castlereagh, i. 397). He is able to tell Lawless the number of men the French Directory were prepared to sacrifice in the attempt. The added statement that ‘Orr did not seem to like going’ is consistent with his sneering tone at all that passed on board the ‘Anacréon.’ Were Orr discovered to have been a spy, he would have swung from the yard-arm.

[754] MSS. Record Tower, Dublin. A narrative of the progress of Tandy’s expedition, dated October 21, 1799, and preserved in the same archives, is endorsed ‘G. O.’

[755] Turner (see p. 5, ante) announces Orr as at Paris with Tandy, Teeling, Lewins, and other arch-rebels.

[756] See p. 56, ante, and Castlereagh Papers, i. 405.

[757] The most trivial incidents are chronicled, including Tandy’s fondness for gazing on a few laced coats that he had in his wardrobe. Tone himself was not proof against this vanity: ‘Put on my regimentals–as pleased as a little boy in his first breeches’ (ii. 176). ‘O’ announces that ‘Turner refused to accompany any of the expeditions to Ireland, and went from Paris to the Hague’ (i. 409). Turner had been in dread of assassination as the penalty of betrayal, and could not be persuaded to revisit Ireland while the troubles and their excitement continued.

[758] Castlereagh Papers, i. 408.

[759] Ibid. p. 410 (October, 1798).

[760] Wellington Correspondence (Ireland), p. 455.

[761] But Flint seems to have had more to do in this rôle than paternally to extend the ægis. Lord Cloncurry, describing his own arrest in 1798, writes (Memoirs, p. 68) that his Swiss valet was seized under the Alien Act, sent out of the country, and never heard of more.

[762] United Irishmen, iv. 232-5. Sir Jonah, in his Personal Sketches (pp. 163-6), tells this himself, but without the elaborate colouring of Madden.

[763] Probably Foster. Some of the papers in the same volume are addressed to the Right Hon. the Speaker, Collon (Pelham MSS. fol. 205). Thomas Pelham, Earl of Chichester, whose name has been often mentioned in this book, died July 4, 1826. A pleasing sketch of Pelham appears in Barrington’s Memoirs, i. 180.

[764] Francis Magan (see p. 134, ante).

[765] It would be unlike Jones if his letters to Lady Moira did not deal with warmer topics than ‘antiquities.’ Tone’s Life contains a letter from Lady Moira to Jones, in which she says: ‘As to making a democrat of me, that, you must be persuaded, is a fruitless hope.’

[766] It has never been my habit to print only such parts of letters as are convenient to my purpose. Lady Moira would be the last to suspect her neighbour Magan; and she naturally thought at once of Musgrave, who had so recently accepted Jones’s challenge. But Lady Moira was wrong in thinking that, when their affair of honour ended, Musgrave owed spite to Jones. He afforded good proof to the contrary in omitting from later editions of his book the passages which had offended Jones. The duel took place at Rathgar, Musgrave was slightly wounded, and Ned Lysaght said that his next edition would probably be ‘in boards.’ Jones, in a private letter, written long after, speaks of his antagonist as ‘Dick Musgrave,’ and exonerates him from the suspicion of having spitefully caused his arrest. A notice of the duel appears in the Annual Register for 1802, p. 410. T. O. Mara attended Jones as second.

[767] Under-Secretary at Dublin Castle.

[768] The Lady Elizabeth Craven, whom Mr. John Edward Maddox married, died in 1799.

[769] McCan, the agent of Grattan, was examined by the Privy Council; when the Attorney-General, O’Grady, is stated to have offered McCan office, and a payment of 10,000l. if he would criminate Grattan.–Life of Grattan, by his Son, v. 228. McCan, on behalf of Grattan, had remitted money to Dowdall, but only from motives of humanity. Dowdall was concerned in Robert Emmet’s plot. Mathias O’Kelly told me that he met Dowdall, Magan, and Todd Jones dining at the table of James Dixon, the active rebel already noticed.

[770] The Countess of Granard. The Dowager Lady Moira, from whom her son inherited the baronies of Hungerford and Hastings, died on April 12, 1808.

[771] Plowden’s History of Ireland, 1811, ii. 22.

[772] Appeal, p. 122; Halliday Collection, vol. 915. R. I. A.

[773] Personal Recollections, p. 246.

[774] J. W. Sunday evening, 9 o’clock.

[775] McNally himself.

[776] Camden to Pelham, Dublin Castle, June 6, 1798. (Pelham MSS., London.)

[777] Cooke to Wickham, Dublin Castle, September 1, 1798.

[778] Philip Crampton, afterwards the famous Surgeon-General and medical baronet, took part in the action at Castlebar, as assistant surgeon to the Longford Militia. His friends often chaffed him on having been the first man to reach Tuam.

[779] Cooke to Wickham, Dublin Castle, September 1, 1798.

[780] Idem.

[781] Camden to Pelham, Dublin Castle, June 6, 1798. (Pelham MSS.)

[782] Froude’s English in Ireland, iii. 351.

[783] Camden to Pelham, June 11, 1798. (MS.)

[784] Camden to Elliot, Dublin Castle, June 15, 1798. (Pelham MSS.) The only weak suggestion in the remaining part of Camden’s letter–needless to transcribe–is that the scene in Ireland was sufficiently extensive for the Duke of York ‘to assume the command-in-chief,’ for York’s failures in the field constitute unpleasant incidents in history.

[785] The Pelham MSS., London.

[786] A Journal of the Movements of the French Fleet in Bantry Bay (Cork, 1797). Hugh Lord Carleton’s copy, with manuscript notes. It was this peer who tried and sentenced the Sheareses to death. When the Legislative Union became law in 1800, Lord Carleton retired from the bench and continued to reside in London until his death on Feb. 25, 1826. Though twice married he left no issue, and his peerage, like that of Bantry, is extinct.

[787] From the first days of October to the end of December, 1605.

[788] William Sinclair, of Belfast, one of the founders of the Dungannon Convention, married John Pollock’s sister. He afterwards took part in the battle of Antrim where Lord O’Neil fell. He survived until the year 1864, and had reached the age of ninety-eight.

[789] See Wellington Correspondence (Ireland), p. 612.

[790] Plowden’s Post-Union History, i. 223-5.

[791] Watty Cox, publisher of the Irish Magazine. Eighteen months previously, Mr. Trail, of Dublin Castle, reports to Sir A. Wellesley a long conversation with Cox. See Wellington Correspondence (Ireland), p. 121.

[792] Civil Correspondence and Memoranda of F. M. Arthur Duke of Wellington, edited by his Son, p. 535.

[793] The author of Irish Humourists describes Cox as one of the most peculiar individuals to be met with in Irish history, and expresses hope that some day the documents relating to him possessed by the late Dr. Madden, and other manuscripts that must be somewhere in existence, will be published, and a full biography given to the world of so striking a personality.

[794] Cooke to Pelham, Dublin Castle, December 14, 1797.

[795] Camden to Pelham, December 16, 1797. (Pelham MSS.)

[796] In Birmingham Tower, Dublin Castle, the box marked ‘Carton 620-24’ should be consulted.

[797] Hope, who knew most of the secrets of his party, has stated that the man who administered the oath to the soldier was not William Orr but William McKeever, a delegate from Derry, who afterwards escaped to America.

[798] United Irishmen, i. 486-7.

[799] This was the Wheatley known to Captain Hester.

[800] This narrow street–as well as the adjoining passage known as ‘Hell’–was cleared away soon after, in order to form Christchurch Place in front of the cathedral.

[801] Letter of the Right Hon. Thomas Pelham, Phœnix Park, Nov. 1, 1797, to the Home Office. (Pelham MSS.)

[802] Garret, Earl of Mornington, married the daughter of Lord Dungannon, was father of the Duke of Wellington, and died May 22, 1784.

[803] The late John Cornelius O’Callaghan, the highest authority on the Jacobite and Williamite wars, assured me that this speech, attributed to James, was never uttered.

[804] O’Leary was honorary chaplain to the Irish Brigade Volunteers.

[805] A Catholic Peer.

[806] No doubt ‘Counsellor Hamilton,’ a democratic barrister of Ulster, uncle of Thomas Russell, who was executed in 1803 as the colleague of Emmet.

[807] The volunteer meeting at Dungannon in February, 1782, resolved that ‘the claim of any body of men other than the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland, to make laws to bind this kingdom, is unconstitutional, illegal, and a grievance.’

[808] Who these men were, see p. 231 ante. Gavan may have been an error of the copyist for Thomas Glanan, one of the Catholic delegates of the city of Dublin in 1793.

[809] Wellington Correspondence (Ireland), pp. 371-6.

[810] Vide Wellington Despatches, compiled by Lieut.-Colonel Gurwood, ii. 538. (London, 1835.)

Source: Project Gutenberg

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