Bond, Oliver (DNB00)

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BOND, OLIVER (1760?–1798), republican, born in Ulster about 1760, was the son of a dissenting minister, and connected with several respectable families. Bond settled in Dublin, where he embarked extensively as a merchant in the woollen trade, and became possessed of considerable wealth. He was one of the earliest in planning measures for effecting a union of religious seets and promoting parliamentary reform in Ireland. For these objects the 'Society of United Irishmen' was constituted in 1791, and of it Bond became an energetic member. He acted as secretary to a meeting of this body at Dublin in February 1793, under the presidency of Lord Mountgarret's son, the Hon. Simon Butler, one of the king's counsel-at-law. On this occasion the society by resolutions unanimously condemned the government for measures which they viewed as adverse to the liberties of the people. In further resolutions the meeting deplored the intended war against France, and asserted the necessity for the total emancipation of the catholics of Ireland and for the reform of parliament. In consequence of these resolutions Butler and Bond were summoned before the House of Lords at Dublin, At the bar there, in March 1793, they avowed the publication of the resolutions.

The lords resolved that the paper was a libel. They decreed that Bond and Butler should be imprisoned for six months in Newgate, that each of them should pay a fine of five hundred pounds, and remain in continement until these sums had been discharged. In Newgate addresses were presented to Butler and Bond by deputations from meetings ofthe United Irishmen. After the failure of the efforts to obtain emancipation and parliamentary reform for Ireland by peaceable means, an organisation was formed to establish an Irish republic independent of England. Of this movement Bond was regarded as the mainspring. He became a member of its northern executive committee and of the Leinster directorate, the meetings of which were generally held at hh house. Resolutions declaratory of determination to be satisfied with nothing short of the entire and complete regeneration of Ireland were passed at a meeting there in February l798. In the following month Bond and several members of the directory were arrested at his house and imprisoned. Bond was tried in July 1798 on a charge of high treason, and defended by Curran, who impeached the testimony of Thomas Reynolds, an informer, on whose statements the charges against him were mainly based. The attorney-general characterised Bond as 'a man of strong mind and body, and of talents which, if perverted to the purposes of mischief, were formidable indeed.' The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and Bond was sentenced to be hanged. His fellow-prisoners, without stipulating for their own lives, signed a proposal that if the government would spare him they would give every information respecting their organisation, both at home and in France, and consent to voluntary exile. This proposition, although opposed by some members of the government, was accepted by the Marquis Cornwallis, then viceroy, who had reason to consider that there was very little prospect of being able to convict any of these state prisoners. Bond died suddenly in prison in the following September, and was buried in the cemetery of St. Michan's Church, Dublin. The ‘enlightened republican’ principles of Bond, his high intellectual qualities, elevated sentiments, and patriotic views, were eulogised by his political associate and fellow-prisoner, William James MacNevin, M.D., who became a resident in America. Bond's widow removed with her family from Ireland to that country, and died at Baltimore in 1843.

[Proceedings of Society of United Irishmen, Dublin, 1794; Journals of House of Lords, Ireland; Memoire of Origin and Progress of the Irish Union, 1802; MacNevin's Pieces of Irish History, 1807; Howell's State Trials, 1820, vol. xxvii,; W. H. Curran’s Life of J. P. Curran, 1822; Memoirs and Correspondence of Viscount Castlereagh, vol. i. 1850; Correspondence of the Right Hon. John Beresford, 1854; History of Dublin, 1854; Correspondence of Charles, Marquis Cornwallis, 1859; Madden's United Irishmen, 1859–60.]

J. T. G.