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"Me! take the money-the price of Mr. Robert's blood ! No; I spurned the rascal's offer."
The Major continued coaxing, and trying to persuade her to confess. He said, every thing had been told to him by one of her associates. Nay, what's more, he repeated word for word what she had said to Mr. Robert the night of the 23d, when he came back to Butterfield-lane—“ Bad welcome to you,” &c. One of the persons present with him then, must have undoubtedly been an informer. After she had been some time in Kilmainham, Mr. Emmet was arrested, and sent to that prison. Dr. Trevor had frequently talked to her about him ; but she never “let on” that she had any acquaintance with him. At this time she was kept in solitary confinement for refusing to give information. One day the doctor came and spoke to her in a very good-natured way, and said she must have some indulgence, she must be permitted to take exercise in the yard. The turnkey was ordered to take her to the yard, and he accordingly did so ; but when the yard door was open, who should she see walking very fast up and down the yard, but Mr. Robert. “She thought she would have dropped.” She saw the faces of people watching her, at a grated window that looked into the yard, and her only dread was, that Mr. Robert, on recognizing her, would speak to her ;
; but she kept her face away, and walked up and down on the other side ; and when they had crossed one another several times, at last they met at the end. She took care, when his eyes met her's, to have a frown on her face, and her finger raised to her lips. He passed on as if he had never seen her ; but he knew her well, and the half smile that came over his face, and passed off in a moment, could hardly have been observed, except by one who knew every turn of his countenance. The doctor's plot failed ; she was taken back to her cell, and there was no more taking of air or exercise then for her.
She was in Kilmainham, a close prisoner, when Robert Emmet was executed. She was kept locked up in a solitary cell; and indeed always, with a few exceptions, was kept so during her confinement the first year. The day after his execution, she was taken from jail to the Castle to be examined, through Thomas-street. The jailor had given orders to stop the coach at the scaffold where Robert Emmet was executed. It was stopped there, and she was forced to look at his blood, which
was still plain enough to be seen sprinkled over the deal boards.
At the latter end of her confinement, some gentlemen belonging to the Castle had come to the jail and seen her in her cell. She told them her sad story, and it was told by them to the Lord Lieutenant. From that time her treatment was altogether different : she was not only allowed the range of the women's ward, but was permitted to go outside of the prison, and three or four times, accompanied by her sister and Mrs. Dwyer and one of the turnkeys, was taken to the Spa at Lucan, for the benefit of her health ; for she was then crippled in her limbs, more dead than alive, hardly able to move hand or foot.
At length Mr. Pitt died : it was a joyful day for Ireland. The prisons were thrown open, where many an honest person had lain since the month of July, 1803.
The whole family of the Devlins, with the exception of a boy, James Devlin, and a girl of tender years, had been thrown into prison at the same time that Anne Devlin was arrested. The old man, Bryan Devlin, his wife, son and daughter, .were at one time all inmates of Kilmainham jail. By Dr. Trevor's orders, Anne Devlin was kept constantly in solitary confinement ; and the plea for the continuance of this rigorous treatment was, the abusive language which the prisoner never failed to address to Dr. Trevor, when he made his appearance at the door of her cell. She admits that this was the fact ; that she knew he was every thing that was vile and bad, and “it eased her mind to tell him what she thought.” On some occasions, when he left the prisoner, the wife of the jailor, an Englishwoman, used to come to her cell, let her out privately, and bring her to her own apartments for an hour or two at a time, and give her wine and nourishing things. This kept her alive, and helped her to recover her senses. Without the kindness of the jailor's wife, she never could have recovered. On one occasion, Dr. Trevor came unexpectedly, and discovered that she had been let out of her cell." His rage was dreadful. He cursed her, and she returned his maledictions, curse for curse.
In the latter part of 1804, on some pretence of enforcing sanatory regulations, Anne Devlin was removed from the new prison at Kilmainham, where her father was then confined, and
sent to the old jail, and after some time was brought back to Kilmainham. Some communications between the father and daughter had been discovered, and in this way an end was put to them. The poor old man had still one comfort left to him. A young lad, his favourite child, had been permitted for some time to remain in his cell with him. An order came from Dr. Trevor in the month of March, 1805, to separate father and child. The latter then sick in fever, was torn from him one night, and forced to walk more than a mile to the other prison ; and the pretence for this removal was, that the boy had visited his sister in the old prison, and this was an infringement of the sanatory regulations of the prison. The boy was sent to the old jail, and, as Dr. Trevor asserted, was humanely permitted to remain with his sister Anne. The poor boy had no where to go ; his father and mother, and nearly all his relatives were in jail. He had not been long removed, when he died in the old jail, under Dr. Trevor's care. Mr. Edward Kennedy, one of the state prisoners, characterized the occurrence in question, as a very foul transaction.” Dr. Trevor, in his reply to the charge, brought forward his man, George Dunn, the jailor, to swear an affidavit for him, as he was wont to do on any occasion when the doctor's credit was damaged or endangered.* He likewise produced a turnkey and a jail apothecary, to swear to his humanity. The latter swore, that after the death of the boy, when Dr. Trevor came into the cell, Anne Devlin was violent in her abuse ; she cursed the doctor when he spoke to her of examining the dead body of her brother.
The state prisoners of Kilmainham jail, addressed a memorial to the Viceroy, Lord Hardwick, the 12th of August, 1804, complaining of the hardships they suffered, and of the barbarous and tyrannical conduct of the Inspector of Prisons, and Superintendent in particular of Kilmainham, Dr. Trevor. This memorial was signed by fourteen of them ; amongst others, by Messrs. Patton, Hickson, Tandy, Long and Mason. The following passage refers to the treatment of Anne Devlin :“ His treatment of all, but especially of one unfortunate state prisoner, a female, is shocking to humanity, and exceeds credibility. He drives, through exasperation, the mind to madness, of which instances have already occurred.”+
* Vide Dr. Trevor's Statement, p. 22. | Memoir of St. J. Mason's imprisonment, p. 11. Dublin: 1807.
Mr. James Tandy states, during his imprisonment, “two of the state prisoners were discharged in a state of the most violent delirium ;" and a third, from the cruelty of incarceration, was for a length of time in a strait waistcoat.*
The extraordinary sufferings endured, and the courage and fidelity displayed by this young woman, have few parallels, even in the history of those times which tried people's souls, and called forth the best, occasionally, as well as the basest of human feelings. She was tortured, frightfully maltreated, her person goaded and pricked with bayonets, hung up by the neck, and was only spared to be exposed to temptations, to be subjected to new and worse horrors than any she had undergone, to suffer solitary confinement, to be daily tormented with threats of further privations, till her health broke down and her mind was shattered, and after years of suffering in the same prison, when others of her family were confined without any communication with them, she was turned adrift on the world, without a house to return to, or friends or relations to succour or to shelter her. And yet, this noble creature preserved through all her sufferings, and through forty subsequent years, the same devoted feelings of attachment to that being, and his memory, which she had exhibited under the torture, in her solitary cell in Kilmainham jail, in her communications with the terrorists, and the petty tyrants of the Castle and the jail.
And yet, the heroism of this woman is a matter for Irishmen of any rank, aye, of the highest rank in the land, to be proud of. The true nobility of nature displayed by this poor creature, of plebeian origin, under all her sufferings; the courage exhibited in the face of death, in the midst of torture, of this low-born woman ; the fidelity and attachment of this menial servant to a beloved master, proof against all fears, superior to all threats and temptations, -will not be forgotton. The day will come, when the name of Anne Devlin, † the poor neglected creature who now drags out a miserable existence, struggling
Appeal to the Public. By James Tandy, p. 72. Dublin: 1807. + Anne Devlin the faithful servant of Robert Emmet, has been now (1856) dead about one year, having ended her days in great poverty. She was buried in Glasneven Cemetery near the column recently erected to O'Connell. A few persons who appreciated her humble heroism have placed a monument over her remains.
with infirmity and poverty, will be spoken of with feelings of kindness, not unmixed with admiration.
In the summer of 1843, accompanied by Anne Devlin, I proceeded to Butterfield-lane, to ascertain the fact of the existence, or non-existence, of the house in which Robert Emmet had resided for some months, in 1803. For a length of time our search was fruitless. The recollection of a locality, at the expiration of forty years, is a very dim sort of reminiscence. There was no house in the lane, the exterior of which, reminded my conductress of her old scene of suffering. At length her eye caught an old range of buildings at some distance, like the offices of a farm-house. This she at once recognized as part of the premises of her father, and she soon was able to point out the well-known fields around it, which had once been in her father's possession. The house, alongside of which we were standing, on the right-hand side of the lane going from Rathfarnham-road, she said must be the house of Mr. Emmet, though the entrance was entirely altered ; however, the position of an adjoining house left little doubt on her mind. We knocked at the door, and I found the house was inhabited by a lady of my acquaintance, the daughter of a Protestant clergyman, who had been, strange to say, the college friend and most intimate acquaintance of Robert Emmet.
The lady of the house, in whom I discovered an acquaintance, left us in no doubt on the subject of the locality-we were in the house that had been tenanted by Robert Emmet. The scene that ensued is one more easily conceived than described. We were conducted over the house ; my aged companion at first in silence, and then, as if slowly awaking from a dream, rubbing her dim eyes, and here and there standing for some moments at some recognized spot. On the ground floor, she pointed out a small room, on the left-hand of the entrance, “that's the room where Mr. Dowdall and Mr. Hamilton used to sleep.” The entrance has been changed from about the centre to the right-hand end ; the window of a small room there has been converted into the door-way, and the room itself into the hall. “ This,” said Anne Devlin, my room, I know it well, my matrass used to be in that corner." There was one place, every corner and cranny of which she seemed to have a familiar acquaintance with, and that was the kitchen. On the upper floor, the principal bed-room at