« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
of Mr. Grattan. He used to attend the debates in parliament, and assist at the meetings of the Whig Club ; and he held a situation in the office of Mr. Foster, when Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was said that Mr. Grattan, through his means, had received some papers connected with the public accounts, which he had made use of in a debate in the House of Commons. This was considered an unpardonable offence by government, and, in consequence, he was dismissed from his situation. Whether this was the real cause, or used merely as a pretext, mattered little in the opinion of Mr. Grattan, and he conceived himself bound, in honour, to allow him an annuity of forty guineas a year ; hence, a greater interest arose in whatever concerned Mr. Grattan. The ardour of his liberal principles, unsubdued by his dismissal, and, perhaps, his imprudence, had caused him to be suspected ; and, after the trial of O'Connor, at Maidstone, which he attended, he was arrested. Being confined in the same prison with Neilson, he learned from bim the real statement as to the report of the Secret Committee, and he communicated it to Mr. Grattan. His letter will show what little chance of justice any one had in those times, and from those governors.
“ EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM WILLIAM DowDALL TO MR.
6. Dublin, 6th October, 1798. 'Sir,—Perhaps nothing can surprise you more than a line from me, as I imagine you have concluded me long since hanged; but I have the misfortune to tell you that I am still in the land of the living ; to heighten my misfortune--that land, Ireland—my present residence, Newgate.
'All the persecution and threats I have experienced for more than four months past, had no terrors for me ; I looked for nothing so anxiously as the accomplishment of their worst threat. To hear the progressive destruction of my country in an English dungeon, aggravated, as it was, by English relaters, you will naturally suppose, left me a heart not much at ease ; but nothing, my dear Mr. Grattan, could equal what I felt from the villanous attempt I found making by your enemies, to implicate you in the late unfortunate business. .
6. I have declined signing the conditions agreed on between
government and the other prisoners, as no consideration will ever induce me to consent to any examination, however speciously it may be pretended that I shall not be required to name persons. I entirely and completely disapprove of the compromise, and, therefore, take it for granted, that I shall remain a prisoper for a long, long time, if they have not a Reynolds, a Hughes, or some other well trained hero to release me from my sufferings. (Signed)
Dowdall was eventually liberated, and was so far more fortunate than his fellow prisoners who had signed the compact, as to be permitted to remain in his native country. He proceeded to London, however, soon after his liberation, subsequently to Paris, and came back to Ireland in the summer of 1802. His connection with Colonel Despard has been referred to elsewhere. He again visited London, and returned to Ire-, land, about the period of Emmet's arrival, or shortly after it, and joined Robert Emmet in his undertaking.
It does not appear, however, that Dowdall was qualified for the desperate business he embarked in. He was present at a trial of rockets made by Robert Emmet, by night, on the strand at Irishtown ; Dowdall, it is said, became alarmed at the first experiment, and suddenly disappeared. He was fortunate enough to make his escape to France with Mr. Allen ; but the place, and time of his death, I have not been able to ascertain.
Henly Howley was tried by special commission the 27th Sept. 1803. The prisoner was charged with having taken the stores in Marshalsea-lane, in Thomas-street, which had been converted into a Depot for arms by Mr. Emmet, about the 24th of March. Mr. Henry Coleman proved the stores had been taken from him by Howley, who stated his intention of carrying on his business there, which was that of a mastercarpenter. The approver in this case was Finerty, a carpenter ; the first time he visited the Depot he saw the prisoner working at a wooden frame filled with bricks, which was to be inserted in a brick wall as a door, which, when shut, seemed to form part of the wall itself, and was so constructed to conceal a place in which pikes were concealed. This evidently was the door which served to conceal the secret chambers in Patrick
street, of which M‘Intosh had given information to Major Sirr. Witness saw Michael Quigley, who went by the name of Graham, in the Depot of Thomas-street, doing the brick work of this sham door. Witness was employed, and, from that time, worked at the Depot. Quigley seemed to act as fore
Witness was taken up immediately after the insurrection had broken out, he was confined for five weeks and three days, and was then liberated. He then went to work in a carpenter's shop in Pimlico, where several men worked ; the prisoner was one of them, and on the 15th of the same month, Major Sirr, accompanied by some men, walked into the workshop. Howley withdrew into the back workshop, and the Major fired a pistol at him, “ after which the Major retreated, and called for assistance ;" the witness heard two shots in rapid succession, and saw Hanlon, one of the Major's attendants, fall. After this occurrence, witness was again arrested, and .“ he gave testimony that day with a hope of saving his life.” The fact is, the witness was let out of prison to discover Howley's abode, and having performed his service, he was again arrested, to save his credit, and to pass for a persecuted patriot. This was by no means an uncommon practice. Major Sirr corroborated Finerty's evidence, but he could not swear the man who shot Hanlon was the prisoner, or who withdrew into the back workshop when he, witness, came into the workshop. He, the witness, fired at the person "he conceived himself to be in pursuit of, seeing him armed with a pistol. That person attempted to fire at him, but he missed fire, and retreated to adjust his pistol, when Hanlon advanced, and witness heard two shots, and he saw Hanlon drop dead. The Major's care of his own person was evinced as usual ; he did with Hanlon, as he had done with Ryan : Howley and Lord Edward Fitzgerald were not men to be led quietly, like sheep to the slaughter-house. The Major admitted, on his cross-examination, that when he fired at the man he had no warrant against him, that he was not a civil magistrate of the city of Dublin. The Court sanctioned Major Sirr's account of his proceedings. It was evident a carpenter at his work, conscious of innocence, needed not to be armed with a loaded pistol.
"Henry Howley," says James Hope," the ostensible proprietor of Mr. Emmet's store in Thomas-street, was 'set' by a gossip' of his own, while at work in a carpenter's shop; he
bad a pocket-pistol near him on a bench when Major Sirr appeared ; he seized the pistol, and walked towards the back of the premises ; the Major, who was in the act of following him, sprang back, exclaiming, 'take care, boys, the villain is armed.' Hanlon was then put forward, and Howley levelled his pistol, and pulled the trigger, but it missed fire." Howley, with the utmost coolness, lifted a chisel, and chopped the flint, in time to exchange shots with Hanlon. Howley was wounded in the hand, but Hanlon was shot through the heart. Howley's gossip, who was at work with him, went to a back door to prevent his escape, but, seeing Howley lift a handsaw, he left his road, and Howley got out, but was observed by a corduroy ‘manufacturer, in a small way of business, named Holmes, going up into a hay loft ; he gave information, and Howley was traced, by the blood which flowed from the wound in his hand, to his place of concealment. He was tried, and condemned of
When he was about to receive the sentence he said, ‘My Lord, I think it right to state that I am the person who shot Colonel Brown, of the 21st Scotch Fusileers ; let no other suffer for it.' The judge, Baron George, cautioned him, that his admission might affect his sentence. Howley said, 'I am aware of that, my Lord, but I think it my duty to make this declaration, in order that it may save innocent lives from being taken away on that charge ; dissection has no terrors for me.""
The statement of Hope, I believe, is perfectly correct, with the exception of the fact of Major Sirr having fired at Howley, as he was walking away, being omitted in his account. Howley made a similar declaration, to the one mentioned by Hope, at the place of execution, with respect to the fate of Colonel Brown; he died with fortitude, but without any affectation of indifference : his conduct was acknowledged, by the organs of Orangeism, to have been becoming. Howley had taken an active part in the rebellion of 1798, he was known to have been a man that no danger could daunt ; he had been wounded in some engagement with the King's troops in the Queen's county. Hanlon, the unfortunate attendant of Major Sirr, was the keeper of Birmingham Tower ; at the time of his death, he had charge of the state prisoners, and his conduct in that office was quite in keeping with his behaviour in his previous employment, as one of the bullies who formed the body
guard of the Major in his scouring of the streets of Dublin in the reign of terror. There is an engraved portrait of Howley extant, taken from a sketch by Petrie, at the trial of the former. He is represented with his arm in a sling, the expression of his countenance is that of a man of the most daring disposition, and determined character. He was about 28 or 30 years of age.
Dennis Lambert Redmond, a coal factor, was put on his trial the 5th of October, 1803, before Lord Norbury, Mr. Baron George, and Mr. Baron Daly. The evidence adduced against him, established his connection with the proceedings of the principal leaders on the morning of the 23d of July. On searching bis premises, 14, Coal Quay, some hollow pieces of timber, resembling beams, had been found, each of which contained forty pikes. He fled after the failure on the night of the 23d of July, embarked on board a Wexford vessel, bound for Chester, which, in stress of weather, put into Carlingford Bay, where he was arrested by the authorities, and sent to Dublin. While he was in prison, be attempted to put an end to his existence, by discharging a pistol at his head ; a piece of lead, which had been substituted for a bullet, had taken an oblique direction, glancing from the skull, and lodging in the neck. He was found by the jailer lying on the ground, weltering in his blood ; he was wounded severely, but not mortally. When sufficiently recovered, he was put on his trial. The principal witness against him was one of the con spirators, who had turned approver, Patrick M'Cabe, a callender by trade, who resided in Francis-street. He said, that he accompanied the prisoner, Mr. Allen, and another gentleman, on the morning of the 23d of July, from College-green to the Coal Quay, to Bloody Bridge, where they were to meet some other gentlemen ; there they separated, and appointed to meet in a field near the second lock of the Grand Canal. Mr. Allen and witness went together. When they got to the field, the subject of consultation was an intended attack on the Artillery Barracks, at Island Bridge ; the party present were to make that attack. Mr. Allen said arms were prepared for the purpose. Other parties were to attack the Castle, and Mr. Allen likewise said an attack was to be made on it at the lowest part of Ship-street gate. The Magazine in the Park was also to be attacked by some of the Island Bridge barracks