My Life in Two Hemispheres/Chapter 20
CONTROVERSY WITH JOHN MITCHEL
His mis-statements and slanders; their refutation.
While we were engaged in this struggle to save the Irish race from destruction and Ireland from becoming a grazing farm for absentee landlords a new trouble appeared. John Mitchel, who had escaped from Van Diemen's Land and arrived in the United States, established a newspaper called the Citizen at New York, and plunged into Irish affairs. What patriotic Irishmen ought to do with the Tenant League, he declared, was to renounce and repudiate it. "Nothing would ever be obtained for the tenant farmers from the British Parliament; their best hope was an Irish expedition from the United States with arms in their hands, which might be expected, perhaps, before another year had elapsed." Many generous young Irishmen gladly accepted these promises. It would be so much better to welcome our brethren from America with arms in their hands than to petition an insolent and unsympathetic Parliament in London.
It is no longer necessary to invite the judgment of posterity on that policy. Two generations have since lived and died; all the League demanded has been won from Parliament, and the expedition which Mr. Mitchel was expected to lead never set out; neither the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, the heat between England and France, which at one time threatened an explosion, nor the Fenian organisation in the United States, having furnished the opening for which he was supposed to be waiting. Towards the close of his life he visited Ireland to preach the kindred doctrine of refusing to seek Home Rule in Parliament, and of electing only such members as were resolved not to sit in the House of Commons, and whose seats would necessarily go (as his own seat went) to the enemies of the people. It was a hard régime that Mr. Mitchel imposed on his countrymen. We were to look on, session after session, while hostile Acts of Parliament were directed like spears at the breast of Ireland, but take no notice. We were to see the young and strong fly from every port, but do nothing to retain them, relying on his prediction that when the fragment of the Irish race was sufficiently exasperated they would rise and deliver themselves with sword and torch.
It was a curious aggravation of this fantastic folly that a dozen years later, at the close of the American War, when Mr. Mitchel had to consider under nearly identical circumstances what he himself would do and counsel others to do, he adopted in America the policy which he had denounced as futile and shameful in Ireland. This is what he wrote:—
"There was no longer a Confederate Government it had disappeared from human eyes; and inasmuch as a country cannot be without a government, and the only government then in fact subsisting being the Federal Government of the United States, I owed to it from that instant full obedience—which obedience I at once yielded in good faith, as I think my fellow-citizens at the South very generally did at the same time and for the same reason. I am therefore no longer a Secessionist nor a rebel, but a Unionist and a lawful citizen."
While Mr. Mitchel was denouncing the League in New York, Dr. M' Knight at Belfast was making it a ground of distrust against the League Council that some of us had once been associates of a man who had joined the base band of slave-owners in America and had done his best to destroy the freest constitution in the universe.
From politics Mr. Mitchel proceeded to personal abuse, and in his "Jail Journal" published imputations upon me as shamefully and demonstrably false as those of Mr. Barrett or Mr. Birch. Among the associates of my life, from my boyhood in a provincial town down to that hour, I had never lost a friend; why John Mitchel became an exception is a fit subject for inquiry in this narrative. Our intimacy began in a way that promised a different result. I found him in mature manhood the local attorney of an Ulster village, and, recognising promise of public usefulness in him, I invited him to write a volume for the Library of Ireland, and finally I brought him to Dublin as a contributor to the Nation, with an income which placed him at ease, and a position which opened for him for the first time a public career. In what spirit I acted while we were associated he has himself described: "I do not blame you," he wrote, in the note announcing his retirement from the Nation—"I do not blame you in the slightest particular; and, moreover, I am quite certain I could not have worked in subordination to any other man alive near so long as I have done with you. And, lastly, I give you credit in all that is past for acting on good and disinterested motives, with the utmost sincerity, and also with uniform kindness to me personally."
After a couple of years' frank and cordial co-operation Mitchel left the Nation, and left under circumstances in which I am persuaded no honourable man will hold me to blame, circumstances which, reviewing them on the brink of the grave, I still regard as I did in that day. The reader of this narrative has already heard them. It is only necessary to say here that he desired to alter the policy of the party we represented from Nationality to Jacobinism, to transfer our contest for Irish rights from the control of men who guided their conduct by principles of enlightened equity to tenant-farmers and farm-labourers, demoralised and pauperised by famine; and at the same time attempted to employ the journal which was recognised throughout the world as the mouthpiece of Irish rights in the monstrous task of applauding negro slavery and denouncing the emancipation of the Jews. I would not permit him to make me responsible for these opinions at that time, nor would I permit any man in the world to do so to-day.
When we separated Mitchel established the United Irishman, and during the three months of its existence it attained prodigious popularity by promising weekly, generally in letters to the Lord- Lieutenant, to immediately overthrow the English Government in Ireland. No preparation was necessary, he declared, the people were as ready for insurrection as powder for the match; no military leaders were needed—a people found their own leaders; and as for arms, they had arms in abundance. At the time these tirades were written they appeared to me as wicked and senseless rhodomontade as they appear to history to-day. But a more baneful cause of difference soon appeared. The new opinions on the method of making a revolution were wholly taken from a private letter addressed to me by Fintan Lalor, and Mitchel appropriated them to himself without a single allusion to the author. It was of "my opinions," "the opinions of me, J. M.," he constantly spoke. Lalor was deeply indignant, and I shared his feeling. Whenever I met Mitchel it seemed to me that my significant silence on a subject which had been discussed between us daily up to his retirement from the Nation produced the same effect on him as if I had whispered, " How do you reconcile your new theories with the fact that you are masquerading in the stolen garments of Fintan Lalor?" At any rate, notwithstanding his description of the manner in which he had been treated in the Nation, the new journal was used from the first number to damage my authority as a popular leader. From that time the policy of the Confederation was guided by him or by me. Up to the French Revolution I had a decisive majority, and I always retained the sympathy and co-operation of the entire body of the Young Ireland leaders. After the French Revolution Mitchel attained immense popularity by promising prodigious results, none of which were ever accomplished; for my part I aimed to the best of my abilities to be a statesman, striving for ends that could be attained by means which were honourable and adequate. If in later life I had occasion to exhibit any faculties deserving that name it may be assumed they were not wanting in the vigour and fervour of manhood and in the service of my native country. During Mitchel's exile no unfriendly word of him was ever published in the Nation, but I was now free to encounter him, and after the libels had proceeded for three months, and all been republished in the Nation, I answered him very much to the purpose. I published a letter to John Mitchel from Charles Gavan Duffy which was widely quoted and debated in Ireland and America. It was issued in pamphlet form as a supplement to the Nation, but was so much smaller in size than the newspaper that it has rarely been bound up with it, and has almost completely disappeared. This pamphlet was immediately answered by Mitchel, and as he is dead and I am living I shall not quote from it one imputation which he did not positively or tacitly admit to be true in the controversy which ensued.
The first number of the United Irishman contained a letter from Father Kenyon congratulating the newcomer that, unlike the Nation, it would not curtail dissent and extinguish thought by rejecting unpalatable communications. The third number contained the contribution whose rejection by the Nation had excited Father Kenyon' s wrath, and it was ushered to the world with the significant comment by the editor of United Ireland that this was the letter suppressed by the Nation. The case was this when O'Connell died Father Kenyon immediately wrote in the Nation an estimate of his character and career, which was considered offensive and inhuman while his body still lay unburied. A little after he followed it up by a second communication in the same spirit, which was postponed until a more convenient opportunity.
"Free opinion and free discussion (said the Nation on that occasion) are good in their time and place. But this kind of gladiatorial combat over a dead body has been disused since the Trojans and well-booted Greeks fought over the corpse of Menœtiades."
In that day of passionate revolutionary excitement and preternatural suspicion it was beautiful to contemplate the contrast between Mr. Mitchel's gallant and generous acceptance of free opinion and my cowardly rejection of it. One line from my letter to John Mitchel will dispose of this case:—
"Oh, soul of candour and chivalry! it was you who suppressed Kenyon's letter in the Nation; it was you who notified that this kind of gladiatorial combat over a dead body had ceased with the Pagan times! And it was you who published in the United Irishman Father Kenyon's denunciation of the cowardly conduct in question."
Is there any gentleman alive who in such circumstances would not have burned to declare that he was responsible? but Mr. Mitchel maintained a disingenuous silence.
The next case I may borrow without abridgment from the pamphlet:—
"You were an habitual reader of the Northern Star in '48; every number of your paper contained extracts from it. You were in personal communication with the Irish Chartists, and spoke at two of the three meetings they held in Dublin in that year. In the Star, Mr. Fergus O'Connor published a fabulous biography, describing how you sacrificed your noble professional income to be a mere writer in the Nation, and how you were compelled to break away from that unworthy journal, because the cowardly proprietor, Gavan Duffy, not only trammelled the free expression of your sympathy with the English Chartists, but himself wrote infamous reactionary articles about digging deeper the gulf between Ireland and them. Afterwards Mr. Dyott adorned his speech with this story at one of the Chartist meetings in Dublin, and improvised an effective comparison between Mr. Duffy, of the Nation, and Mr. Conway, of the Post. His speech was, of course, transferred to the United Irishman, but this paragraph was adroitly omitted. You chuckled, I have no doubt, at the odium that was created against me among large masses of men in England and Ireland, and at your own growing Chartist popularity. Will you chuckle now when I disclose the fact that, of these reactionary anti-Chartist articles I was not the writer, and—you, Mr. John Mitchel, were! It was you who proposed to dig deeper the gulf between the Chartists and Ireland!
"In our relations at that moment a sensitive gentleman would have walked into a furnace rather than shelter himself from reproach behind me. But you took the benefit of the fable; and I, for my part, left you your miserable triumph rather than distract the Confederation by an exposure.
Mr. Mitchel's gravest charge in his "Jail Journal" is that I lowered the National cause by producing Father Mathew, Dr. Blake, and other witnesses to speak of my past career, and by allowing Meagher to prove that a letter bearing his signature was inserted in the Nation during my absence. This was my reply:—
"And now, sir, let us consider your charges on their merits.
"The first amounts to this: That I was guilty of crime and cowardice in producing witnesses to character, and permitting it to be proved that certain of the articles in the indictment were not written by me.
"Before defending that course, I wish to inquire how it comes you selected me for reprobation on this score? I was the last tried of the State prisoners: six months after Martin—five months after O'Brien and Meagher—four months after O'Doherty and Williams and that which you charge as crime upon me, every soul of them did months before me. Mark, there is not a single feature of my defence which was not anticipated by the prisoners you left behind you in Van Diemen's Land, or rejoined in America. And there is not one of them but what was tried and convicted long before my first jury was sworn.
"The earliest tried was John Martin. In your 'Jail Journal' you described him as your main reliance for revolutionary vigour in Ireland; others you pronounced 'not sufficiently desperate; your chief trust was in Martin and Reilly.' … Martin was tried six months before me; and what was his defence?
"Did 'the unfortunate man, bowed and prostrate to the earth,' produce witnesses to prove 'his legal and constitutional character'?
"Did 'the poor man try to evade the responsibility of some of the prosecuted articles, by proving that they were not written by himself'?
"Mr. Martin did precisely what you are pleased to describe in these terms. His brother, James Martin, was produced to prove that so recently as the March of the same year, and a month after the French Revolution, he had delivered a speech in Newry, in which he declared for the 'Constitution of '82'—advocated 'the authority of the Queen, Lords, and Commons' of Ireland—disavowed any intention to 'unsettle property'—disowned 'insurrection,' and said unequivocally, 'Let it be understood, then, that for one Repealer, I do not advocate violence or war, and I am just as peaceful in my views now as before the recent events which have created such a warlike spirit in some of my countrymen.'
"The most dangerous articles in the indictment against Martin were James Fintan Lalor's. An order of Court was obtained by Martin's counsel to remove Lalor from Clonmel to Dublin, for the purpose of acknowledging his own writings; and he was not examined in the end, only because it was found his testimony, on the whole, would be dangerous to the prisoner (in fact, it might have been elicited that Martin had read proofs in prison of the articles in question). But in lieu of his personal evidence, a 'subpœna duces tecum' was served on the Attorney-General to produce a letter which Lalor had addressed to him, claiming the responsibility of the articles; and a similar letter of Reilly's was read to the court and jury in the course of the defence. In the end the charge of the judge turned chiefly on the question—whether Martin was cognisant of, and responsible for, these particular articles. And Mr. Butt requested permission to read two queries 'written by the prisoner himself,' to bring the mind of the jury to bear directly on the injustice and absurdity of convicting him for the work of others: First, whether the jury believed that John Martin intended to depose the Queen, or make war against her? and second, whether John Martin expressed both or either of these intentions?
"This was the first of the State trials. Mr. Martin adopted the practice universal in such circumstances—the practice of increasing, by every legitimate means, the difficulty an arbitrary Government found in convicting him. He employed the only defence admissible in an English court—he pleaded 'not guilty' by the evidence as well as by his answer to the arraignment. I do not blame him in the smallest degree—but for you, Mr. Mitchel (who knew these facts), I fear me your indignation is not heroic rage after all, but only the black bile of personal malevolence.
"The Clonmel trials followed next. O'Brien summoned his Parliamentary and private associates to say what he was and what were his opinions. Mr. Monsell, Sir Denham Norreys, Bolton Massey, Sir David Roche, and others, were examined with this view. The cause of which he was the leader had been stained by brutalities of sentiment which revolted him, and he separated himself peremptorily from them by this evidence. I most confidently believe his anxiety at that momentous hour was less for his life than that his character might stand right with his people then and thereafter. But whatever were the specific motives, he did that in September which you assail me for doing in the April after.
"Terence M'Manus is not reputed to want courage. Well, Mr. M'Manus thought it not unbecoming to produce merchants of Cork, Waterford, and Kilkenny literally 'to bear witness to his good character in private life' as a commercial man. The Castle Press had described him as an English Chartist, and that practical intellect which before and since guided him out of the hands of his enemies suggested the natural answer—to confront them with the truth.
"But what did Thomas Meagher? He proved that he had separated himself peremptorily from Mr. John Mitchel, rejected his theories, and supported the resolutions which resulted in driving him from the Irish Confederation. In short, he put his true character before the jury and the country, for Thomas Meagher was a revolutionist of the sword, not of the shambles.
"All these men were tried before me—their trials were published as widely as mine—you have been living under the roof with one of them, and in familiar intercourse with the rest for the last three or four years, and know their story like the alphabet—yet you think it is quite fair to ignore their cases—to ignore your friend John Martin's case, to ignore Thomas Meagher's and M'Manus's, who are at hand to answer for themselves; to ignore O'Brien's, the most conspicuous man among us, in order to fasten upon your accustomed quarry—myself. This is what you consider fair play and open dealing. Ah, Mr. Mitchel, I am ashamed of you!
"I now come to my own defence. I scorn to rest it upon precedent. I took the course I did, not because all my comrades had set me the example, but because it was the wisest, best, and boldest open to me at that hour. But you were a prisoner in Van Diemen's Land, and I refrained from specifying one of the chief motives of my elaborate defence. You, Mr. Mitchel, furnished that motive. The clumsy libels of Barrett and Birch might precipitate my conviction by ruining me with the jury. Your more subtle slanders, shaped to defame me with the people, weighed heavier on my mind. I had been silent under bitter provocation for the sake of the cause, but I was not poison proof. You had not utterly failed, and when I read in my cell in Newgate Barrett's base invention that I was 'about to plead guilty on the eve of O'Brien's trial,' I felt to the marrow of my bones that if any man believed the foul lie I owed it to you. I reviewed in my mind the battle I had maintained through a stormy era with the most unscrupulous of adversaries, the Castle hack and the Jacobin, and then, on that reflection, I determined to set my whole life before the jury and the country. I determined to snatch away the hobgoblin my enemies had laboured to create, and set an honest man in its place. So help me the good God that will judge me, I embarked in the movement of '48 believing that I had on one side the English gibbet if we failed, and on the other the hand of some fanatical assassin, whom your slanders would arm against me, if we succeeded. And on putting myself on my country by my defence, I was not alone answering Lord Clarendon I was answering you.
"This is your next charge, miraculously elicited from one number of a daily paper, which you got at sea, the transactions running over weeks:—
"'The doctor has sent into my cabin a Daily News which came by the mail on Sunday. Now, why could not Mr. Duffy have made ballads in some quiet place all his days? As if purposely to relieve the enemy from all embarrassment in the " vindication of the law," he has allowed a petition to Government to be got up, very extensively signed, praying that as he is totally ruined—as he has already been long confined—as he is an admirable private character—as his health is delicate—as the violent and revolutionary articles in his newspaper appeared during a period of great excitement, and extended over but a few weeks—the enemy would, of their mercy, forbear to persecute him further—the very thing they wished to have any decent excuse for. I say he has allowed this petition, because no petitioners could make such implied promises of amendment without his sanction, and especially because he has not disowned the mean proceeding. It is quite in keeping with his miserable defence upon his last trial, his production of evidence to character, his attempt to evade the responsibility of articles published by himself. Sir Lucius O'Brien, too, who presents this memorial to Lord Clarendon, takes occasion to admit the "guilt" of the culprit. With what joy the enemy must gloat upon this transaction, and exult over us and our abandoned cause!' ("Jail Journal").
"Unhappy man! Did you indeed people your solitude with these hideous spectres of a diseased heart? I am fain to throw down my pen. That hell of envy and rancour carried in your bosom to the Antipodes and back again, making the daylight dark, and truth falsehood in your eyes, is its own Nemesis.
"Of all the rash and ungenerous conclusions to which you rush, over the chance number of a paper, which yesterday or to-morrow's might correct, not so much as one is true. Not one.
"Nobody made 'promises of amendment' on my behalf, 'implied' or expressed. On the contrary, the memorialists were met with a flat and insolent refusal on the ground (to cite the language of Lord Clarendon) that I had 'exhibited no signs of repentance, and had not expressed the smallest regret.' Our cause was trampled under the feet of soldiers and spies; the country was in a panic; the arm of the law was strong and merciless; the malice of my enemies desperate and vindictive; but I had 'not exhibited the least regret for my course.' I accept it as my epitaph.
"The 'cause' was not 'abandoned,' on the contrary, it was regaining courage and confidence at that hour by the demonstration that English law might be resisted with success. You had made it ridiculous by threats unaccomplished; my forty days' combat, face to face with the law, was making the pulse of the people beat fast again. They felt that for one man to exhaust and defeat all the resources of a powerful State was a more exemplary victory (whatever its intrinsic value) than if Ballingarry had been made a Bannockburn.
"Sir Lucius O'Brien (admitted the guilt 'of the culprit! What then! The opinion of a man unknown to me—with whom I have never had the slightest communication then or since—an opinion contradicted by his companions as soon as it was uttered, the opinion of a man who repudiated his own brother, an opinion uttered behind my back, and over which I had no possible control—am I to be slandered on grounds like these? I cannot think that even in the Banbridge Petty Sessions this would have passed for evidence. It belongs to your later studies—the Jurisprudence of the Lamp-post.
"But I did not disown the memorial. No, indeed; I looked on with unmixed satisfaction while twenty thousand citizens of Dublin, including the foremost in every profession and pursuit, while some hundreds of the Irish priesthood—while men I have never heard of, and places I had never seen, proclaimed their sympathy with my life and character, and demanded my release. The reasons urged were their reasons, not mine. What I gloried in was the answer such a demonstration furnished to my slanderers—come what might, they had failed—you had failed, and the aim of my life would not be misunderstood.
"I did not forbid the movement; nor did Meagher and O'Brien forbid a similar memorial at the same moment against their sentence being carried out. They let it take its course. When will you spit your poisonous rheum upon them; or is it only in me it is a crime to have friends?
"Your last charge is, that I sent O'Brien to Ballingarry, and that the insurrection was (in consequence, no doubt) a contemptible failure. That I sent O'Brien to Ballingarry is utterly untrue; but I decline to debate a question of which you know nothing. The failure I am in no way bound to defend; I was not there; the time, place, or modus operandi were not of my choosing; but it passes human patience to hear you disparage it.
"'The Ballingarry failure' (you say, and one might fancy it was Mr. Birch who was sneering at O'Brien and his associates instead of Mr. Mitchel) 'is hardly, I suppose, to be treated as a criterion. A gentleman—a very estimable and worthy gentleman, certainly—goes with three or four attendants (!) (who are wholly unknown to the people they go amongst) into the counties of Kilkenny and Tipperary, and there tells several persons they are to rise in insurrection under his guidance, and free the country. He has no money, this gentleman, to pay troops, no clothing or arms to give them, no food to keep them alive. He just exhibits a pike, and bids them follow him and free the country!'
"Whatever was the value of that plan of campaign there is one thing a man may safely aver—it was at least better than yours; an opinion which may be predicated of any plan since the Tooley Street plot. One looks back on the United Irishman—at its promises, its performances, its plan of operations, its adjustment of means to ends (that grand secret of all human success) with feelings which even the interests at stake cannot keep grave. One must smile or swear. Your theory of revolution was reducible to two maxims worthy of Bedlam—that whatever was meditated against the English Government should be proclaimed beforehand, and that officers or preparation were superfluous. You neglected every precaution; the greatest as well as the smallest. You had no agent in France, no agent in America, no agent in Canada, no agent among the discontented Chartists of England. When you were arrested you had not a barrel of gunpowder, or a case of muskets. You did not know where to lay your hand upon pickaxes or crowbars to make the first barricade. Your resources literally began and ended in an ink-bottle. Your system of tactics consisted in uttering threats which you were not able to fulfil; in denouncing the puerility and cowardice of being adequately prepared; and in disparaging, as Reactionaries, the men who took the precautions which you neglected. Your labours had, indeed, one computable result; you begot among the Confederates an angry and unscrupulous faction, who spent their nights and days in denouncing the best men in the movement. But of these 'Montagnards' not one took the field with O'Brien; on the contrary, some of them behaved with signal cowardice, one with disgusting treachery, and another was unmasked as a Government spy. O'Brien's failure might have befallen any cause; it had befallen some of the noblest in the annals of mankind; destiny may repeat or reverse it but nothing can rob it of its intrinsic greatness. In the midst of a generation who did not believe in heroic sacrifice he offered up his life for the common weal. What is the hidden root of all your bitterness? Why does the name of every associate make your blackest bile to overflow? Ah, I know it well. There is one of them never named in your diary, never named in the Citizen, ignored even in the history of the Felon newspaper, where he dominated like a king—the ablest democrat ever born on the soil of Ireland, James Fintan Lalor. In the second number of the Felon Lalor published a Letter which will furnish the most memorable data in your biography. It contains your political genesis. Eighteen months before (he said) he had 'sent that document to a leading member of the Confederation,' for private circulation; and he received in about a month from the date and delivery of his paper a 'letter from John Mitchel stating that on perusal and consideration of its contents, he fully adopted its views, and intended to act on them as soon as occasion should serve.'
"And he did adopt them, but never once hinted from whom he derived them."
I invite the reader to note that I published in the Nation every line of Mr. Mitchel's "Jail Journal" week by week as it appeared for three months, and then answered him as we have seen. He made an elaborate reply to my pamphlet, which I also published in the Nation. How did this generous spirit, imbued with so noble a scorn of finesse and so lofty a devotion to abstract truth, comport himself under these circumstances? He suppressed every line of my defence and every syllable of my retaliation. He answered me elaborately on every point which admitted of a word of reply; he crowded his paper with letters from third parties on the subject; but my letter, setting myself right with the readers of the Citizen, to whom I had been systematically defamed, and testing the credibility of my defamer, he utterly excluded. The verdict of any gentleman upon that proceeding will, I think, be decisive. The pamphlet had one significant result, however. He refrained from attacking me any more, and several years later repudiated with great warmth a suggestion in the Nation, then edited by Mr. A. M. Sullivan, that he still assailed me whenever an opportunity offered. As far as I am concerned, here the matter might have ended for ever, but Mr. Mitchel had not the grace to blot out from his "Jail Journal" the imputations which I had shown to be untrue and impossible, and they are still read by thousands of our countrymen. No reasonable man will deny, I think, that it was right and necessary to answer them here.
I will close this narrative of my relation with John Mitchel by an extract from a letter of his closest friend and brother-in-law, John Martin. After Mitchel's transportation, and when Martin was himself convicted, he wrote me this generous but substantially accurate estimate of my relation to them and to the party to which we all belonged: "I am proud to acknowledge in you, after glorious Davis, the father of the Irish National party and the chief writer of the party. But for the Nation, which your generous boldness and your fixedness of purpose and your able pen have maintained for the last six years as our standard and rallying point of patriotism, every one of us Confederates—even Mitchel—would have remained in dull, hopeless obscurity."
- The plan which gave most promise of an expedition to Ireland was Fenianism, but of Fenianism and its leader Mr. Mitchel wrote "Meagher and myself met Stephens by appointment at my lodgings in Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington. He demanded of us in a somewhat high tone that we should enter into his conspiracy, and should use all the credit and influence which he supposed us to possess amongst the Irish citizens of the United States in order to procure money for the purposes of that conspiracy. It was a startling proposal. Unfortunately for him, we could not believe his statements and speedily arrived at the conclusion at which many others have since arrived—that he was a humbug." After this declaration of opinion Mr. Mitchel was sworn in a Fenian and despatched as an agent of the organisation to Paris, and accomplished as little there as he had done in Dublin and New York.
- These are the terms in which Mr. Mitchel wrote in the Nation of the Chartists before his conversion to Jacobinism—"We have received a printed address from the Chartists of England to the Irish people, with a request that we should insert it in the Nation. We desire no fraternisation between the Irish people and the Chartists not on account of the bugbear of 'physical force,' but simply because some of their five points are to us an abomination, and the whole spirit and tone of their proceedings, though well enough for England, are so essentially English that their adoption in Ireland would neither be probable nor at all desirable. Between us and them there is a gulf fixed; we desire not to bridge it over, but to make it wider and deeper."