Secret Service Under Pitt



In 1799, Turner’s stealthy steps can be traced once more in London. It will be remembered that Lord Edward Fitzgerald had met, by appointment near Whitechapel, M. Jägerhorn, a secret envoy of France, and gave him, in full detail, information regarding every point on which that agent had been charged to inquire. Jägerhorn was ‘the estimable Swede’ named by Reinhard, the French minister at Hamburg, when writing the intercepted letter. This document, dated July 12, the editor of the ‘Castlereagh Papers’ assigns to the year 1798;[231] but as Lord Edward was dead at that time,[232] it must belong to the previous year. Other secret missives were sent to Dublin at the same time by the Home Office, in order to guide the course of the Irish Government. These papers, filling forty pages of the book,[233] were the result of a successful stroke of espionage at Hamburg.

M. Jägerhorn is of course the person alluded to by Mr. Froude when describing the nocturnal visit to Lord Downshire. ‘He [Lord Edward] had been watched in London, and had been traced to the lodgings of a suspected agent of the French Directory, and among other papers which had been forwarded by spies to the Government, there was one in French containing an allusion to some female friend of Lady Edward, through whom a correspondence was maintained between Ireland and Paris.’

Hamburg was Turner’s usual residence, and Jägerhorn had an estate near that place.[234]

Although the case of M. Jägerhorn is opened in the first volume of the ‘Castlereagh Papers,’ and misplaced among the incidents of another year, we do not find until far in the second the letters addressed to him in 1797 by General Valence and Lord Edward. In 1799 Jägerhorn had sought to renew his perilous enterprise. The same keen scent which traced Lord Edward, in 1797, to the lodgings of the confidential envoy in London, was once more on his track. Wickham, writing from the Home Office on March 28, 1799, has news for Castlereagh in Dublin: ‘I have the satisfaction to inform your lordship that we have secured M. Jägerhorn, who was coming over here on a mission similar to that which he undertook some two years since, when he met Lord Edward Fitzgerald in London.’

A full report is given of Jägerhorn’s examination, in which he is asked: ‘Were you not charged to deliver to Lord Edward Fitzgerald a letter from somebody?’ and he replied, ‘Madame Matthiessen.’ This was the lady, nearly connected with Lady Edward, and alluded to by Mr. Froude as a name found in secret papers. He is further questioned about Lord Edward, Lady Lucy, General Valence, and a number of other persons whose names had cropped up in the interview between Turner and Downshire; but, though the queries were searching, and Jägerhorn now seemed completely in Pitt’s power, nothing material was wrung from him. England and Russia were at this time allied, and Jägerhorn, pretending that he had a pension of 2,000 roubles as a spy of Russia, rather dumb-foundered his examiners, and he at last regained his liberty. All this is to be found, with full details, in the ‘Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh.’

The paltry sum which Turner received for his services now comes to be considered. This man, who had every facility of access to Lady Edward’s house at Hamburg and its rebel entourage, held the key of a position so incalculably important that he never himself discerned its marketable value. Thousands would doubtless just as readily have been paid to him as ‘the cool 500l.‘ that he modestly asked. ‘To get the information had cost him,’ he said, ‘three times that sum, and to keep up the acquaintances and connections he had at Hamburg he could not live on less.’ ‘Small profits and quick returns’ seems to have been his motto.

‘Fresh evidence of the person’s power to be useful,’ writes Froude, ‘made Pitt extremely anxious to secure his permanent help.’ The Cornwallis papers record, but without any attempt to identify him, that the pension Samuel Turner received–dating from 1800–was but 300l. a year. Wellington when Irish Secretary addressed to Portland a letter in which a present payment of 5,000l., and ‘not more than 20,000l. within the year,’ appears guaranteed to one nameless informer.[235]

Another case may be cited. A document placed in my hands by Sir W. Cope, Bart., records that his grandfather was told by Under-Secretary Cooke to stop at no sum, not even 100,000l., in urging Reynolds to turn approver. Reynolds, not realising the importance of his evidence, consented to take 5,000l. and 1,000l. a year, with the post of British consul. The tergiversation of Reynolds did not take place until 1798, long after Turner had sold the pass.

The services of ‘Downshire’s friend’ were more timely and, perhaps, more valuable. He told what he knew in 1797: the names he gave of the Executive Committee (p. 7, ante) proved more important than might appear at first sight. Reynolds, it is true, gave the hint that a Committee would be found sitting at Bond’s on March 12, 1798, but he does not seem to have disclosed names; his son says that the names were inserted in the warrant purely ‘on speculation.'[236]

As regards the more distinct whisper of Turner, the betrayal of the Belfast Directory, at the very hour that Tone was leaving Brest with a French fleet, proved in itself a paralysing blow, and one worth its weight in gold. But the arm that dealt it struck from behind unseen. However, as most of the information that Downshire’s friend gave concerned the Northern organisation, he may, perhaps, be credited with this exploit. The loss of Ulster was the loss of the right arm of the rebellion. Turner made his disclosures on October 8, 1797. Besides the list of the Executive Directory, there can be no doubt that in the information which followed he named, with others, John Hughes of Belfast, the date and place of whose arrest tally with the presumption that to Turner it was due. The ‘History of Belfast’ records: ‘October 20, 1797–John Hughes, bookseller, having been apprehended in Newry[237] on a charge of high treason, was brought in here escorted by a party of light dragoons.'[238] Mr. Froude says that ‘Downshire’s friend’ kept him informed of everything.[239]

How well Turner knew Hughes is proved by the sworn testimony of the latter,[240] in which he describes a breakfast in June 1797, with Samuel Turner, Teeling, Macnevin, etc., when the fitness of the country for an immediate rising was debated. Hughes had been a great patriot previously, but now to save himself became a mercenary informer, and even sought to criminate Grattan, who thereupon was dismissed from the Privy Council, though, as Stanhope[241] admits, without just cause. There had been no more zealous propagandist of the rebellion than Hughes, and he names a long list of men whom he himself had sworn in on a prayer-book. In 1802 John Hughes retired to the United States and became a slave-owner.

Wickham’s letter of June 8, 1798, enumerated, for the information of Lord Castlereagh, a number of men whose arrests in England seem consequent on the information furnished by Downshire’s visitor. These names include McGuckin, the attorney, who had been concerned for O’Coigly at Maidstone. The subsequent career of this once determined rebel, but who soon after his arrest in 1798 became a spy for the Crown, enhances the importance of Turner’s information at a great crisis. The first recorded payment to McGuckin of secret service money is March 5, 1799.[242] His son migrated to France, and was created a baron by Louis Philippe.

The peril of assassination which shadowed every step made by Turner was not adequately weighed by Pitt when estimating the value of his services. The risk he ran was not confined to Ireland. The life of an English spy abroad was deemed equally unsafe, and there is much reason to fear that more than one met with short shrift. Even a successful diplomat, if his subtlety touched French interests, could not regard his life as safe. The disappearance of Benjamin Bathurst, a kinsman of Earl Bathurst, has never been explained. Bathurst was sent on a secret mission to Vienna, at the time that England before opening the Peninsular campaign sought to persuade Austria to declare, by way of a distraction, war against France. Austria soon after crossed the French frontier, and Bathurst received hints of threatened personal doom. Hoping to avoid assassination, he took a northerly route in returning to England, and on reaching Perleberg in Brandenburg, he visited, in his agitation, the commandant of cuirassiers, requesting that sentries might mount guard at the inn where he stopped. These were supplied, and Bathurst spent the day in writing and destroying letters. Shortly before his carriage came to the door in the dark of a November evening, he told some troopers who escorted him that they might withdraw. While all the household was on the alert to see him off, he walked beyond the circle of the lantern glare, and was lost to sight at the heads of the horses. This occurred on November 25, 1809, and Bathurst was never seen or heard of more, notwithstanding that, as we are reminded by Baring Gould, England offered 2,000l. reward, and Prussia 100 Friedrichs d’or, for the discovery even of his remains.

To trace the spy with whom these chapters mainly deal seemed, at the outset, almost as hopeless as to find Bathurst’s bones. Of all the Government informers not one has been more ingeniously guarded from discovery. Wellington, with all his astuteness, supposed that the fact of a man’s name appearing in the Banishment Act was conclusive evidence against him of having been a rebel,[243] and therefore disqualified from claiming any favour from the Crown. But had he known the secret history of Turner’s case, it would have opened his eyes. A Fugitive Bill was passed in July 1798, enumerating the rebel leaders who had fled from justice. In this bill we find Samuel Turner named. During the following year Parliament was asked to lend itself to the fraud of branding as a traitor the same Samuel Turner, by passing against him an Act of Attainder. From 1797 he lived abroad, posing as an ‘exile of Erin.'[244]

The sealed chest in Dublin Castle which was opened a few years ago contained the only letter I ever saw signed with Turner’s name. It related to his pension, and it was necessary to lay the mask aside for once. We have already seen him styled Furnes, Richardson, and especially ‘Lord Downshire’s friend.'[245] A new name is now adopted to puzzle posterity. He directs that 500l. be lodged to the account of ‘J. Destinger,’ and this sum he was to draw through a third party. Turner’s letter is addressed, not to Dublin Castle, but to Cooke in London, that gentleman having been succeeded, as Under-Secretary for Ireland, by Mr. Marsden.

Rt. Honᵇˡᵉ Mr. Secretary Cooke.[246]

Hamburg: May 18, 1802.

Sir,–In consequence of letters I’ve had the honour of receiving from Lord Castlereagh and Sir James Craufurd, I take the liberty of intruding relative to a pension of 300l. per annum the Government has thought proper to bestow on me for information on Irish affairs.

His lordship states that you have been so kind as to offer to pay the pension to any person I would name as agent–or in any way I was to propose. At present there is no person in Ireland I’d like to trust, and till some mode is adopted, I should be extremely obliged if you’d take the trouble of lodging in any bank in London the sum of 500l. (British) on account of J. Destinger–the name I shall draw it under–through Sir Geo. Rumbold.[247]

Now that the war is over, and it is supposed all persons in my line are discharged, I make it a point to spend much more money than heretofore in order to do away any idea of my being employed and income diminished, and it is for that reason I request your attention, and beg the honour of a line through Sir George to say where the draft is to be sent.

Hoping one day or other to merit your good opinion, I remain, most respectfully, &c. &c.


Turner spent money freely, and often when he could ill afford it. He had a social status to maintain: he was the son of a county magistrate; had distinguished himself in college; belonged to an honourable profession. He was the trustee of marriage settlements. He was ‘Lord Downshire’s friend!’ If he continued to wear his mask well, why might he not aspire to attain, in America at least, the high official rank of his late colleague and fellow-prisoner, Thomas Addis Emmet, whom she at last honoured by a public funeral and a monument raised by national subscription?

The ‘Dublin Directory’ for 1804 describes Samuel Turner’s address as 58 St. Stephen’s Green, in that city. The volume must have been compiled during the previous year, and it may be that the Irish Government, in 1808, removed him to Dublin, with the object of picking the brains of those who had been concerned in Emmet’s rebellion of that year. Until the very night of its outburst, in July 1808, the existence of a slumbering volcano had not been suspected. After the vain attempts to convict and hang Tandy, Turner had returned to his old quarters.[248]

The Irish Government were wholly unprepared for Emmet’s revolt. No wonder that Wickham, with the experience he had acquired, confessed amazement that the secret should have been kept so well.

The Secretary of State cried out with astonishment to think that such a preparation for revolution could be carried on in the very bosom of the seat of Government, without discovery, for so long a time, when any of the party could have made their fortunes by a disclosure of the plot; and remarked, at the same time, in presence of Mr. Stafford and the two Mr. Parrots, John and William, that it was because they were mostly all mechanics, or working people, that the thing was kept so profound; and said that if the higher orders of society had been connected, they would divulge the plot for the sake of gain.[249]

Turner was at once set in motion: but how? We find him put into the same gaol with a swarm of State prisoners, many of whom had been active in 1798. All daily met for exercise in the yard of Kilmainham Gaol, and had every opportunity for converse. Here Robert Emmet himself had been confined until the very day of his execution.

The execution was followed by that of several of his confederates. Let us look back. Martial law is proclaimed; a dead calm prevails. Turner is now traced stealthily making his way to the Secretary of State’s Office, Dublin Castle. Anxious to avoid committing himself in writing, especially with a true signature, he seeks the safer medium of oral communication. Mr. Marsden cannot be seen; he is engaged just then in conference with the chief law officer of the Crown. Turner scribbles the following and sends it in; no signature is attached, but the paper and enclosure are endorsed, by Marsden, ‘Mr. Samuel Turner’:–

Understanding the Attorney-General is just with you, I take the liberty of sending in a letter of Mr. Ball, but wish to speak on other matters.

Sergeant Ball’s letter is dated

Temple St., October 3, 1803.

I have looked into the Act of Parliament and considered in what manner you should proceed in order to do away the effect of the attainder thereby passed against you. Nothing short of an Act of Parliament, reversing the former as far as it affects you, will be sufficient to enable you to sue for your property in our courts of justice. I think you mentioned that some other plan had been suggested as sufficient. If you will let me know what it is, I will give it the most attentive consideration.

How Marsden and the Attorney-General settled the difficulty, no correspondence exists to show; but the London ‘Courier’ of December 5, 1803, most lucidly reveals the facts:–

On Friday last, Samuel Turner, Esq., barrister-at-law, was brought to the bar of the Court of King’s Bench, in custody of the keeper of Kilmainham Prison, under a charge of attainder, passed in the Irish Parliament, as one concerned in the Rebellion of the year 1798; but having shown that he was no way concerned therein, that he had not been in the country for a year and seven months prior to passing that Act–i.e. for thirteen months prior to the rebellion–and therefore could not be the person alluded to, his Majesty’s Attorney-General confessed the same, and Mr. Turner was discharged accordingly.[250]

The ‘Dublin Evening Post’ of the day states that Turner’s arrest was due simply to his indiscretion in visiting Ireland on business arising from the death of his father.[251] But as the ‘Post’ in 1803 had been subsidised by the Crown, this account was probably meant to mislead. The Castle archives bulge with the brimful letters of its editor, H. B. Code. Turner’s committal to Kilmainham was only another act in the great drama, one scene of which Mr. Froude has so powerfully put before us. ‘Samuel Turner, Esquire,’ of imposing presence and indomitable mien, a veteran in ‘the cause,’ the man who had challenged the Commander-in-Chief, the envoy to France, the exile of Erin, the friend of Lord Edward and Pamela, the disinherited by his father, the victim of State persecution, now stood before his fellow-prisoners the ‘Ecce Homo’ of martyrdom, commanding irresistibly their confidence.

Of his detention in Kilmainham Dr. Madden knows nothing; but he mentions that Turner accompanied the State prisoners–nineteen in number–to Fort George in Scotland, the final scene of their captivity. Here Turner’s work was so adroitly performed that we find a man of incorruptible integrity suspected instead. Arthur O’Connor told John Patten that Thomas Addis Emmet ‘gave information of a letter which O’Connor was writing, through which means Government became acquainted with the circumstance.’ A long correspondence on the subject has been published by Madden. Emmet at last challenged O’Connor. Patten,[252] the brother-in-law of Emmet, was told to bring a certain pair of duelling pistols to Fort George; but, thanks to the efforts of Robert Emmet to allay the dispute, the weapons were not used. It was Patten’s impression that Turner’s machinations had set the two friends by the ears. Although O’Connor apologised, and both parties shook hands, it is painful to add that half a century after, when the upright Emmet had been more than twenty years dead, O’Connor, in his book ‘Monopoly,’ stigmatised him as a man of bad faith. A suspicion more baseless was never uttered. In this book the name of his fellow-prisoner, Turner, is not once mentioned. Indeed, the inference is that he thought well of Turner; for O’Connor, after criticising the Catholic members of the Directory, declares that he had much greater reliance on the Northern chiefs. O’Connor, Emmet, Neilson and others were detained at Fort George until the Peace of Amiens, and then enlarged on condition that they should expatriate themselves for ever.[253]

In 1807 Sir Arthur Wellesley, afterwards Duke of Wellington, entered on his duties as Irish Secretary. A letter, dated Dublin Castle, December 5, 1807, and addressed to the Admiralty, recommends a midshipman in the navy, Francis Turner, for promotion. ‘He is the son of a Mr. Turner in this country, who has strong claims to the favour of the Government for the loyalty and zeal with which he conducted himself during the rebellion in Ireland.'[254] Doubtless the new hand merely wrote in this letter what the permanent officials prompted.[255]

Downshire, although a staunch Tory of the old school, uniformly supported the Catholic claims. This example probably influenced his protégé. O’Connell, while inculcating moral force in his struggle for civil and religious liberty, was fond of enlisting in his bodyguard men who in more troubled times had staked their lives and fortunes for Ireland. He had himself been a ‘United Irishman,’ as will be shown. The rebel General Clony presided as chairman at the Catholic Association. Rowan, Teeling and ‘Con’ McLoughlin sat at the Council board, or stood on the National platform. What confidence must not O’Connell have reposed in the man who, as will appear, avowed himself ready to die for his chief!

An aged gentleman, Patrick O’Byrne, who was born at Newry, almost under the shadow of Turner’s patrimonial gable, but who never once doubted his fidelity to the cause in which O’Byrne himself has been no silent ally, supplies a fact of sufficiently curious import:–

When the Orange ascendancy faction resolved to put O’Connell out of the way [he writes], and their champion, the unfortunate D’Esterre, horsewhip in hand, was ostentatiously parading the streets of Dublin, accompanied by leering friends, to compel O’Connell to fight him, Mr. Samuel Turner took up his position in a hotel where it was known D’Esterre would go to seek O’Connell. He had not been there long before D’Esterre and his staff entered and inquired for O’Connell. Immediately Mr. Turner advanced and stated that his friend Mr. O’Connell was not there, but he–Mr. Turner–was there to represent him. No: they did not want Mr. O’Connell’s friend; the Liberator himself was the object of their search. Mr. Turner, with the same spirit that he had challenged Lord Carhampton, now declared that he adopted Mr. O’Connell’s words, publicly uttered, and made himself responsible for his actions. In vain; none but O’Connell himself would serve their purpose, and Mr. Turner was denied the opportunity of doing battle for his friend.[256]

All this time it cannot be said that, although undiscovered, Turner was still a happy man. The dread spectre of assassination ceased not to haunt him. ‘After long experience of the world,’ says Junius, ‘I affirm before God I never knew a rogue who was not unhappy.’ Nor was Turner’s presentiment surprising. McSkimmin’s History of Carrickfergus, 103-73, in his ‘History of Carrickfergus,’ states that the pistol and the dagger were no uncommon means of dealing with informers; and he supplies a list of men who thus suffered.

Books which treat of ‘Ninety-eight’ often mention Byrne of Dundalk. In 1869 the late Mr. John Mathews of that town gathered from Byrne’s representative, Mr. P. J. Byrne, Clerk of the Crown, several facts, and, in enclosing them to me, styled his informant ‘the highest authority on the unpublished history of the County.’ Two days later Mr. Byrne was no more. The inquiries I then made had no reference to Samuel Turner, but some passing notices of this man which occur in the manuscript are useful in now supplying missing links. Mr. Mathews was an ardent patriot, and he described, not without emotion, how Turner died. Regarding him as a rebel true to the end, he writes:–

Turner went to the Isle of Man, and having quarrelled there with a Mr. Boyce, agreed that the dispute should be settled by an appeal to arms. Both, with their friends, repaired to the field of honour, and as Turner was preparing for the struggle his adversary shot him through the head; and [adds Matthews] thus terminated the career of a man whose only regret was that his life was not lost in the service of his country.[257]

Was the vengeance wreaked by Boyce meant as a tardy retribution? Was the John Boyce, who with five other prisoners was consigned in 1797 to Carrickfergus Gaol, connected with the Boyce who shot Turner? What Boyce had against Turner was a secret which died with both. No proceedings seem to have been taken against the man by whose hand he fell. And possibly this forbearance was not uninfluenced by the fact that the Crown had need no longer for their informer’s services, but, on the contrary, gained by his death. Turner was a clever man, troublesome to deal with, haughty, touchy, and resentful; and, like Maguan,[258] Bird and Newell, he might at any moment publicly turn upon his employers and betray them with as little compunction as he had already sold his comrades.

A word as regards Lord Downshire, through whom Turner’s disclosures were at first conveyed. This peer, who at one time had wielded potential influence at Whitehall, and had the ear of Pitt, lived to fall into deep disfavour with Government. He steadily opposed the Legislative Union, and helped to form a joint-stock purse with the object of out-bribing Dublin Castle. In chastisement he was dismissed from the Lord Lieutenancy of Down, deprived of his rank as colonel, expelled from the Privy Council, and threatened with a parliamentary inquiry into his conduct. These blows told, and on September 7, 1801, he breathed his last.


[231] Castlereagh Correspondence, i. 282.

[232] Lord Edward Fitzgerald died on June 4, 1798.

[233] Castlereagh Correspondence, i. 270-309.

[234] Castlereagh Correspondence, ii. 265.

[235] Letter of Sir A. Wellesley to the Duke of Portland: dated ‘Holyhead, June 19, 1808.’ Civil Correspondence of the Duke of Wellington (Ireland), pp. 454-5.

[236] Life of Reynolds, by his Son, ii. 153.

[237] Newry had been Turner’s home.

[238] History of Belfast, p. 478.

[239] Immediately after the rebellion Downshire received 52,500l., nominally as compensation for borough seats. The magnitude of the sum has excited historic surprise; but in making this payment other services were, no doubt, weighed, including the timely information of which Turner made him the channel.

[240] Before the Secret Committee of the House of Lords, 1798.

[241] See Life of Pitt, ante, p. 36.

[242] Account of S.S. Money applied in detecting Treasonable Conspiracies per affidavit of Mr. Cooke.

[243] Vide Irish Correspondence, p. 386.

[244] The original of ‘The Exile of Erin’ was said to be an obscure democrat named McCann; but it is just as likely to have been that finished actor, Turner himself. So prominent and conversable a man must have been well known to Thomas Campbell, then a strong Radical, and who, as he tells us, wrote the ‘Exile,’ at Altona, near Hamburg, in 1801; and it suggests conflicting emotions to speculate as to how far the figure of Turner, in his slouched hat, gazing wistfully from the beach, in search of prey, may have influenced the beautiful idea of the poet:–

‘There came to the beach a poor exile of Erin,
The dew on his raiment was heavy and chill;
For his country he sighed, when at twilight repairing
To wander alone by the wind-beaten hill.
But the day-star attracted his eye’s sad devotion,
For it rose o’er his own native isle of the ocean;
Where once, in the fire of his youthful devotion,
He sang the bold anthem of Erin-go-Bragh.’

[245] Also ‘Jean Thomas,’ ante, p. 20. Compare also Wellington’s Irish Correspondence, p. 357, regarding a letter received in 1808 ‘from —- alias —-.’

[246] This letter was forwarded by Cooke to Marsden for his guidance.

[247] Sir George Rumbold was Consul-General at Hamburg. Died 1807.

[248] A small box of papers, labelled ‘Curious and Selected,’ is preserved in the Record Tower, Dublin Castle. Two unsigned letters supplying private information in 1803 have puzzled their official custodians. St. John Mason–a cousin of the ill-fated Robert Emmet–is the man mainly sought to be incriminated. The letters are endorsed ‘R.’ and I observed, in holding up one against the light, that the capitals ‘S. T. 1801,’ appear as the watermark. ‘R’ is the cypher by which Castlereagh points to ‘Richardson,’ alias Turner, in his letter to Wickham (p. 46, ante). The case of St. John Mason and his prolonged imprisonment without trial was brought before Parliament in 1812. The Duke of Richmond–then Viceroy–wrote a despatch and made allusion to the above letters. ‘Who the writer may have been I know not,’ observes his Grace, ‘but he appears to have been some secret informer of the Government.’ This despatch was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed June 2, 1812.

[249] MS. recollections, communicated by one of Emmet’s officers, Bernard Duggan.

[250] This Attorney-General was Standish O’Grady, afterwards Lord Guillamore. The author of Ireland and its Rulers states of him (i. 126): ‘He was a quaint joker; a shrewd and old-fashioned wit, with a vein of dry humour. As a judge he enjoyed a plebeian popularity, for he took great sport in baffling the Crown lawyers.’

[251] ‘Mr. Turner only returned to this country within the last few weeks on account of the death of his father, who left his property to younger children thinking the elder could not return, or that, if left to him, it would be laid hold of by Government by virtue of the Act of Attainder.’–Dublin Evening Post, November 29, 1803.

[252] John Patten, librarian to the Royal Dublin Society, survived until the year 1864. He furnished me with many facts, duly noted at the time. Some appear in the Sham Squire.

[253] For a curious poem which O’Connor distributed en route to Fort George, see Appendix.

[254] Civil Correspondence of the Duke of Wellington (Ireland).

[255] The promotion urged by Wellington would seem to have been made, and merited. The Gentleman’s Magazine for July, 1813, under the head of ‘Admiralty, May 30,’ records the capture by some boats, under the command of Lieutenant Turner, of a French privateer, after a severe conflict and loss of life. I am bound to say, however, that the Turner mentioned by Wellington as having strong claims on the Government since 1798, is not satisfactorily shown to be Turner who gave important information during the Rebellion.

[256] Letter of Mr. Patrick O’Byrne to W. J. F., Dublin, September 6, 1880. D’Esterre was a practised duellist. He and O’Connell at last met in a field near Naas, and D’Esterre fell January 31, 1815. Lord Whitworth, the famous diplomat, was then Lord Lieutenant. The Sentinel, an independent newspaper, declared that the most memorable event which occurred in his Vice-royalty was this duel. It had engrossed the attention of all Ireland, and ought to engross that of Parliament also. Everyone asked why the outrage which led to the catastrophe, being so public and protracted, had not been restrained by some one of the many members of his Government who had observed it. But vainly the friends of peace inquired why D’Esterre had not been placed under arrest.

[257] Turner was very treacherously served by his impulsive foe. Perhaps Boyce thought that had O’Connell accepted Turner’s services in that lonely field in Kildare, he might have been tempted, like Iago, to deal a stealthy stab.

[258] Maguan of Saintfield is not to be confounded with Magan.

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