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duct thereof; and this deponent saith that he declares the said trial was conducted with perfect propriety and moderation by the said Attorney-general, and by all the Counsel concerned ; and this deponent positively saith that he was not, in the part which he took in the said trial, actuated by any feeling at all partaking of the nature of virulence or rancour ; but, on the contrary, this deponent saith that he felt sincere compassion for the said Robert Emmet, whom this deponent considered as possessing many high endowments, but who had, as this deponent conceived, sacrificed them and himself to the suggestion of an unregulated enthusiasm, and who had involved in his wild enterprise the fate of many deluded persons of the lower orders of society. This deponent saith that he was then of opinion that it would be of some service to the public that this deponent should avail himself of the public opportunity of speaking to the evidence in the said trial by pointing out the folly and wildness, as well as the wickedness, of the treasonable conspiracy which at that time subsisted ; and this deponent saith that in the observations which he made on the same trial this deponent did remark on the unworthy use which the said Robert Emmet had made of his rank in society, and of his high abilities, in endeavouring to disatisfy the lower orders of labourers and mechanics with their lot in life, and engaging them in schemes of revolution from which they could reap no fruit but disgrace and death ; and this deponent did also remark on the danger and ruin to which the said Robert Emmet had exposed his country, by having proposed (as this deponent conceives the fact to be) to call in the assistance of the French But this deponent saith that he is not conscious of having made use of any expressions on that occasion which were calculated to give unnecessary pain to the said Robert Emmet, or which in any degree departed from the respect which was due to a gentleman in his unfortunate situation. And this deponent begs leave to refer to the Report of the cases of high treason published in the year 1803, in which, although the report of this deponent's observations to the jury is very inaccurate as to composition, and was published without any revisal by or communication with the deponent, the substance of the said observations is stated fairly and without suppression. This deponent saith that a libellous statement similar to that which this deponent now complains of, having
been made many years ago in a London periodical print, this deponent did bring an action in England against the publisher thereof, and did the same time, in the year 1804, obtain a verdict and damages to the amount of £400, but which the deponent did not levy; and this deponent saith that the same scandal having been revised and propagated with som industry, this deponent feels that he owes it to his own character to take this public method of disproving op oath the base and unworthy conduct which has been attributed to him, and which this deponent believes is calculated to lower him in the estimation of those who are not acquainted with his character and sentiments and habits of life. This deponent saith that he believes that a great many copies of the publication abovementioned, entitled, &c., &c., have been circulated in this city by the publisher ; a copy thereof was, on the 14th of this month, sold at the shop of Messrs. Gilbert and Hodges.
“November 23rd, 1811."
There are two persons who, if Lord Plunket had been intimate in the family of Dr. Emmet, must have known it, Mr. John Patten, and Mr. St. John Mason, inmates of the house of Dr. Emmet in Stephen's-green, at various periods, during the time of the alleged intimacy, and both gentlemen state that they never saw Lord Plunket at Dr. Emmet's. Mr. Mason says, on the occasion of Messrs. Plunket and MNaghten, members of the Irish Parliament, making speeches in 1798, strongly opposed to the proceedings of the state prisoners, Dr. Emmet did complain of Mr. Plunket on that occasion. Mr. Mason informs ine, the persons who within his recollection had been frequent visitors at Dr. Emmet's, and personal friends, or acquaintances of T. A. Emmet were the following. Dr. Drennan; A. O'Connor ; S. E. Fitzgerald ; Rev. Walter Blake Kirwan ; Solomon Richards, Surgeon ;
Dr. Macneven ; the two Pennyfathers, (now Judges) ; Chamberlayne, (afterwards Judge) ; Baron George ; C. H. Bushe, the late Chief Justice ; Burton, now Judge ; Sir Edward Newnham ; Peter Burrowes, late Commissioner of Bankrupts ; Lady Anne Fitzgerald, a constant visitor at Dr. Emmet's.' A. Fitzmaurice, married to the Knight of Kerry, died in Gloucester-street, Dublin, then a widow, a letter of this lady's was published in the newspapers in 1803, stating that she would not harbour traitors.
From all I can learn from the immediate friends and connections of the Emmets, Lord Plunket was not intimate with any member of the family except T. A. Emmet. Lord Plunket states in his deposition that he had been intimate with T. A. Emmet in the University, and at the Inns of Court in London, and that their intimacy had ceased in 1790, and there was no sort intercourse between them for some years before 1798, “unless what arose from occasionally meeting in the streets and in the Four Courts.” I presume, this means, they were on terms of ordinary acquaintance up to the period of T. A. Emmet's arrest.
The occasion of Emmet, O'Connor, and M'Neven, on the 27th of August, 1798, having published an advertisement refuting the newspaper publication, purporting to be Abstracts of the Report of the Secret Committee." As astonishing misrepresentations, not only unsupported by, but in many instances, directly contradictory to the facts stated on those occasions,” when home members of the House of Commons recommended treating the persons who signed the advertisement in a summary manner is referred to ; not by Emmet, but by Dr. Macneven, in his account of the compact with the government. Therein he states, that, “ Mr. Plunket had been the bosom friend of Emmet, the companion of his childhood, and the friend of his youth.”* Mr. T. A. Emmet, in his portion of the work, makes no reference to the subject. His treatise does not come down to that period. Mr. Plunket's affidavit limits the intimacy to relations with Emmet at College, and in their early professional career, and leaves some sort of acquaintance to be inferred, apparently amounting to what is called being “on speaking terms,” down to Emmet's arrest in 1798.
These are the facts of the case, and I have endeavoured to state them fairly.
* Pieces of Irish History, page 162.
MR. W. H. CURRAN, in his life of his father, states, that, on Emmets arrest, some papers were found on his person, which showed that subsequent to the insurrection, he had corresponded with one of Mr. Curran's family, a warrant accordingly followed, as a matter of course, to examine Mr. Curran's house, where some of Mr. Emmet's letters were found, which, together with the documents taken upon his person, placed beyond a doubt his connection with the late conspiracy, and were afterwards used as evidence upon his trial.........
“Mr. Curran waited upon the Attorney-General, (The Right Hon. Standish O'Grady, the late Chief Baron of the Exchequer), and tendered his person and his papers, to abide any inquiry which the government might deem it expedient to direct. That officer entered into his situation with the most prompt and manly sympathy, and, instead of assuming the character of an accuser of the father, more generously displayed his zeal in interceding for his child. At his instance Mr. Curran accompanied him to the Privy Council. Upon his first entrance there were some indications of the hostile spirit which he had originally apprehended. A noble lord, who at that time held the highest judicial situation in Ireland, undertook to examine him upon the transaction which occasioned his attendance. To do this was undoubtedly his duty. He fixed his eye upon Mr. Curran, and was proceeding to crossexamine his countenance, when (as is well remembered by the spectators of the scene) the swell of indignation, and the glance of stern dignity and contempt which he encountered there, gave his own nerves the shock which he had meditated for another's, and compelled him to shrink back into his chair, silent and disconcerted at the failure of his rash experiment. With this single exception, Mr. Curran was treated with the utmost delicacy."*
Mr. Grattan gives an account of an intercepted letter addressed by Emmet to Miss Curran, which probably may be another version of the same occurrence which Mr. W. H. Curran makes mention of.
* Life of Curran,
“There were fine traits, too, in Emmet's character: the following was one of them. His attachment to Miss Curran was well known. When he was sent to prison, for the outbreak in 1803, he took aside the jailer, and gave him a letter for Miss Curran, and all the money he had about him, and begged that he would deliver it safe. The man, in the discharge of his duty, gave the letter to the Attorney-General. Emmet found this out, and he immediately sent to government, to say he had imprudently written such a letter ; that it had come to their hands : he had thus injured an innocent and guiltless female ; and knowing how much the government were afraid of his addressing the people at his execution, he begged of them to have the letter delivered, and that if they refused, he would not fail to address the people, and would do so with greater determination ; but if they sent the letter, he would agree to appear in court, plead guilty, and go to execution without saying a word. That was certainly a fine trait in his character. The letter related to politics as well as to love ; and in it, he mentions, there was only one thing in the whole of his conduct with which he had, (and justly), to reproach himself—that was his imprudence ; and one great cause of his failure, he attributed to the mildness of the government; which he termed their insidious moderation."*
Who thinks of the young heroic man of 1803 ; who talks of the child of the heart of Ireland ; who loves and cherishes the memory of the youth "who perished in his pride on the scaffold,” and merged its ignominy, in “the magnanimity" of his bearing ; (to use the language employed by the representative of the Sovereign, in bearing testimony to the nobleness of mind which suggested one of the latest of his acts,) who mourns over his fate, and while reminded of his errors, separates his motives from them, and traces to their source the calamities of his grace, and the misfortunes of his country. ; who reads the story of Robert Emmet, and does not recall the name of Sarah Curran, and all that is sad, as well as beautiful, that is associated with it?
Her brother tells us of the progress of Emmet's attachment, and of the period and occasion of his divulging it to her.
A letter of the former to her father, and another to Mr. Richard
* Grattan’s Life and Times, Vol. XIV., page 360.