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August, when he fully expected England would be invaded. The last occurrence determined him on making an immediate effort. He had pikes in abundance, a great deal of ammunition, few fire arms, but a variety of combustible materials, which it is painful to read of. His magazine contained the following warlike stores and implements :—45lbs. of cannon powder, in bundles ; eleven boxes of fine powder ; one hundred bottles filled with powder, enveloped with musket balls, and covered with canvass ; two hundred and forty-six hand grenades, formed of ink-bottles, filled with powder, and encircled with buck shot ; sixty-two thousand rounds of musket ballcartridge ; three bushels of musket balls ; a quantity of tow, mixed with tar and gunpowder, and other combustible matter, for throwing against wood-work, which, when ignited, would cause an instantaneous conflagration ; sky rockets, and other signals, &c.; and false beams filled with combustibles; with not less than eight or ten thousand pikes.
Lord Castlereagh falsely stated the number of the latter was between two and three thousand ; while Lord Blaquiere, one of the persons appointed to examine the stores in the Depot, said, in reply to the former statement, the number was between eight and ten thousand.
Emmet, after the explosion, took up his abode in the Depot, in Marshalsea-lane. There he lay at night, on a mattrass, surrounded by all the implements of death, devising plans, turning over in his mind all the fearful chances of the intended struggle, well knowing, that his life was at the mercy of upwards of forty individuals, who had been, or still were employed, in the Depots; yet, confident of success, exaggerating its prospects, extenuating the difficulties which beset him, judging of others by himself, thinking associates honest who but seemed so, confiding in their promises, and animated, or rather inflamed by a burning sense of the wrongs of his country, and an enthusiasm in his devotion to what he considered its rightful cause ; that had taken possession of all his faculties, and made what was desirable to them, seem not only possible, but plausible and feasible.
The following paper was found, after the failure, in the Depot, in Emmet's hand-writing :
I have little time to look at the thousand difficulties which still lie between me and the completion of my wishes—that
those difficulties will likewise disappear, I have ardent, and, I trust, rational hopes; but, if it is not to be the case, I thank God for having gifted me with a sanguine disposition. To that disposition I run from reflection; and, if my hopes are without foundation, if a precipice is opening under my feet, from which duty will not suffer me to run back, I am grateful for that sanguine disposition, which leads me to the brink and throws me down, while my eyes are still raised to the visions of happiness that my fancy formed in the air.'
The history of the world afforded him but a single example of success in an undertaking of the kind he was embarked in, and sought to be accomplished by such means as were at his disposal. That example was the successful issue of the revolution in Portugal, in 1640, when about forty individuals conspired to free their country from the Spanish yoke, and these forty men, strange to say, carried on their secret conferences for several months, without an act of perfidy on the part of any of them. Their plans were already in the course of accomplishment, the conspirators were already in the possession of the palace, public offices and residences of the ministers, when they were joined by the populace. They had already seized on the Vice-Queen, and the Spanish authorities, and put to death the only individual of the ruling powers whose life was sacrificed in that revolution, a degenerate Portuguese, Miguel Vascoucellos, who had been the chief agent of the despotism of their foreign task masters. But that revolution was effected by a band of men who acted as if there was but one common mind in all, one common cause, and one hand alone which could crown their efforts with success. The night before the revolution the conspirators assembled—where ? in taverns, in public houses, or in each other's houses, to revel and carouse ! No; they met in the churches of their several localities, which, by orders of the Archbishop of Lisbon, were left open for them, (duly attended by approved clergymen) without being lighted up on this occasion. They met, not to conspire, but to pray to God for assistance, and each man of them that night received the sacrament. Vertot makes no mention of this extraordinary occurrence. Vertot was a Frenchman, and tinctured with the French philosophy.
It has often struck me that Robert Emmet must have been familiar with the history of this most extraordinary of all revo
lutions, and, that to the Abbè Vertot's work he owed his knowledge of it. All the old Portuguese authorities, from which Vertot has taken his materials, state the fact, and one more worthy of observation, taking into consideration the cause those men were engaged in, the means of accomplishing their designs, and its result is not to be met with in the whole range of history, ancient or modern.
The morning of the 23d of July found Emmet, and the leaders in whom he confided, not of one mind, there was division in their councils, confusion in the Depots, consternation among the citizens who were cognizant of what was going on, and treachery, tracking Robert Emmet's footsteps, dogging him from place to place, unseen, unsuspected, but perfidy nevertheless embodied in the form of patriotism, basely employed in deluding its victims, making the most of its foul means, of betraying its unwary victims, and counting already on the ultimate reward of its treachery. Portion after portion of this plan of Robert Emmet was defeated, as he imagined, by accident, or ignorance, or neglect, on the part of his agents, but it never occurred to him that he was betrayed, that every design of his was frustrated, every project neutralized as effectually as if a traitor had stolen into the camp of an enemy, seduced the sentinels, corrupted the guards, discovered the plans, disconcerted the projects, and then left the adversary to be forced into the field, and discomfitted there.
Various consultations were held on the 23d at the Depot in Thomas-street, at Mr. Long's in Crow-street, and Mr. Allen's in College-green, and great diversity of opinion prevailed with respect to the propriety of an immediate rising, or a postponement of the attempt. Emmet and Allen were in favour of the former, and, indeed, in the posture of their affairs, no other course was left, except the total abandonment of their project, which it is only surprising had not been determined on. The Wicklow men, under Dwyer, on whom great dependence was placed, had not arrived ; the man who bore the order to him, from Emmet, neglected his duty, and remained at Rathfarnham. The Kildare men in, and were informed, evidently by a traitor, that Emmet had postponed his attempt, and they went back at five o'clock in the afternoon. The Wexford men came in, and, to the number of 200 or 300 remained in town the early part of the night, to take the part assigned to them,
but they received no orders. A large body of men were assembled at the Broadstone, ready to act when the rocket signal agreed upon should be given, but no such signal was made.
It is evident that Emmet to the last counted on large bodies of men being at his disposal, and that he was deceived. At eight o'clock in the evening, he had eighty men nominally under his command, collected in the Depot in Marshalsealane. In the neighbourhood, several of the leaders were assembled at Mr. John Hevey's house, 41, Thomas Court, and refreshments were not wanting, while messages were passing backwards and forwards between his house and the Depot. At a public house in Thomas-street, kept by John Rourke, there were crowds of country people drinking and smoking, in the highest spirits, cracking jokes, and rallying one another, as if the business they were about to enter on was a party of pleasure. Felix Rourke kept constantly passing backwards and forwards between this house and his brother's, dressed in plain clothes ; at no period was he dressed in the rebel uniform, as had been sworn by the approvers on his trial. About nine o'clock, when Robert Emmet was beginning to reflect on the failure of all his preparations, the holding back of the people on whom he mainly reckoned, Michael Quigley rushed into the Depot, and gave an alarm, which turned out to be a false one. He said, “We are all lost, the army is coming on us.” Then it was that Robert Emmet determined to meet death in the street, rather than wait to be cooped up with his followers in his den, and massacred there, or captured, and reserved for the scaffold. He put on his uniform, gave his orders to distribute the arms, and, after sending up a single rocket, sallied into Thomas-street with about eighty men, who were joined there, perhaps, by as many more, before they were abreast of Vicar street. The design of Emmet was to attack the Castle. The greater part of the gentlemen leaders were not with Robert Emmet, several remained at Hevey's, others were at the house of John Palmer, in Cutpurse-row, and elsewhere in the immediate vicinity of the scene of action, waiting, I presume, to see if there was any prospect of success, or any occasion for their services, that was likely to make the sacrifice of their lives of any advantage to their cause.
The motley assemblage of armed men, a great number of whom were, if not intoxicated, under the evident excitement
of drink, marched along Thomas-street without discipline, with their ill-fated leader at their head, who was endeavouring to maintain order, with the assistance of Stafford, a man who appears to have remained close to him throughout this scene, and faithful to him to the last. Between the front ranks and the rear there was a considerable distance, and it was in vain that Stafford and others called on them repeatedly, and sometimes with imprecations, to close their ranks, or they would be cut to pieces by the army. They were in this state about half-past nine, when Robert Emmet, with the main body, was close to the old market-house. The stragglers in the rear soon commenced acts of pillage and assassination ; the first murderous attack committed in Thomas-street was not that made on Lord Kilwarden, as we find by the following account in the newspaper of the day.
À Mr. Leech, of the Custom-house, was passing through Thomas-street in a hackney-coach, when he was stopped by the rabble ; they dragged him out of the coach, without any inquiry, it seemed enough that he was a respectable man ;
he fell on his knees, implored their mercy, but all in vain : they began the work of blood, and gave him a frightful pike wound in the groin. Their attention was then diverted from the humbler victim by the approach of Lord Kilwarden's coach. Mr. Leech then succeeded in creeping to Vickar-street watchhouse, where he lay a considerable time, apparently dead from loss of blood, but happily recovered from his wound.
The carriage of Lord Kilwarden had hardly reached that part of Thomas-street which leads to Vickar-street, when it was stopped and attacked ; Lord Kilwarden, who was inside with his daughter and his nephew, the Rev. Richard Wolfe, cried out, “ It is I, Kilwarden, Chief Justice of the King's Bench.” A man, whose name is said to have been Shannon, rushed forward, plunged his pike into his Lordship, crying out, “ You are the man I want.” A portmanteau was then taken out of the carriage, and broken open, and rifled of its contents; then his Lordship, mortally wounded, was dragged out of the carriage, and several additional wounds inflicted on him. His nephew endeavoured to make his escape, but was taken, and put to death. The unfortunate young lady remained in the carriage till one of the leaders rushed forward, took her from the carriage, and led her through the rabble to an adjoining