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It was not many weeks, I think, before this crisis, that, owing to information gained by the college authorities of the rapid spread, among the students, not only of the principles but the organization of the Irish Union,* a solemn Visitation was held by Lord Clare, the vice-chancellor of the University, with the view of inquiring into the extent of this branch of the plot, and dealing summarily with those engaged in it.

Imperious and harsh as then seemed the policy of thus setting up a sort of inquisitorial tribunal, armed with the power of examining witnesses on oath, and in a place devoted to the instruction of youth, I cannot but confess that the facts which came out in the course of the evidence, went far towards justifying even this arbitrary proceeding; and to the many who, like myself, were acquainted only with the general views of the Union leaders, without even knowing, except from conjecture, who those leaders were, or what their plans or objects, it was most startling to hear the disclosures which every succeeding witness brought forth. There were a few, and among that number, poor Robert Emmet, John Brown, and the two ******s†, whose total absence

* In the Report from the Secret Committee of the Irish House of Lords, this extension of the plot to the College is noticed as "a desperate project of the same faction to corrupt the youth of the country by introducing their organized system of treason into the University."

† One of these brothers has long been a general in the French army; having taken a part in all those great enterprises of Na

from the whole scene, as well as the dead silence that, day after day, followed the calling out of their names, proclaimed how deep had been their share in the unlawful proceedings inquired into by this tribunal.

But there was one young friend of mine, ***** whose appearance among the suspected and examined as much surprised as it deeply and painfully interested me. He and Emmet had long been intimate and attached friends;-1 - their congenial fondness for mathematical studies having been, I think, a far more binding sympathy between them than any arising out of their political opinions. From his being called up, however, on this day, when, as it appeared afterwards, all the most important evidence was brought forward, there could be little doubt that, in addition to his intimacy with Emmet, the college authorities must have possessed some information which led them to suspect him of being an accomplice in the conspiracy. In the course of his examination, some questions were put to him which he refused to answer, most probably from their tendency to involve or inculpate others; and he was accordingly dismissed, with the melancholy certainty

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poleon which have now become matter of history. Should these pages meet the eye of General ******, they will call to his mind the days we passed together in Normandy, a few summers since; -more especially our excursion to Bayeux, when as we talked on the way of old college times and friends, all the eventful and stormy scenes he had passed through since seemed forgotten.

that his future prospects in life were blasted; it being already known that the punishment for such contumacy was not merely expulsion from the University, but exclusion from all the learned professions.

The proceedings, indeed, of this whole day had been such as to send me to my home in the evening with no very agreeable feelings or prospects. I had heard evidence given affecting even the lives of some of those friends whom I had long regarded with admiration as well as affection; and what was still worse than even their danger,- a danger ennobled, I thought, by the cause in which they suffered, was the shameful spectacle exhibited by those who had appeared in evidence against them. Of these witnesses, the greater number had been themselves involved in the plot, and now came forward either as voluntary informers, or else were driven by the fear of the consequences of refusal to secure their own safety at the expense of companions and friends.

I well remember the gloom, so unusual, that hung over our family circle on that evening, as, talking together of the events of the day, we discussed the likelihood of my being among those who would be called up for examination on the morrow. The deliberate conclusion to which my dear honest advisers came, was that, overwhelming as the consequences were to all their plans and hopes for me, yet, if the questions leading to criminate others, which had been put to almost all examined on that day, and which ** ** alone had refused to answer, poor

[should be put to me] I must, in the same manner, and at all risks, return a similar refusal. I am not quite certain whether I received any intimation, on the following morning, that I was to be one of those examined in the course of the day; but I rather think some such notice had been conveyed to me; and, at last, my awful turn came, and I stood in presence of the formidable tribunal. There sate, with severe look, the vice-chancellor, and, by his side, the memorable Doctor Duigenan, -memorable for his eternal pamphlets against the Catholics.


The oath was proffered to me. "I have an objection, my Lord," said I, "to taking this oath." "What is your objection?" he asked sternly. have no fears, my Lord, that any thing I might say would criminate myself; but it might tend to involve others, and I despise the character of the person who could be led, under any such circumstances, to inform against his associates." This was aimed at some of the revelations of the preceding day; and, as I learned afterwards, was so understood. "How old are you, Sir?" "he then asked. "Between seventeen and eighteen, my Lord." He then turned to his assessor, Duigenan, and exchanged a few words with him, in an under tone of voice. "We cannot," he resumed, again addressing me, "suffer any one to remain in our University, who refuses to take this oath." "I shall, then, my Lord," I replied, "take the oath, - still reserving to myself the power of refusing to answer any such questions as I have just

described." "We do not sit here to argue with you, Sir," he rejoined sharply; upon which I took the oath, and seated myself in the witnesses' chair.


The following are the questions and answers that then ensued. After adverting to the proved existence of United Irish Societies in the University, he asked, "Have you ever belonged to any of these societies?" "No, my Lord." "Have you ever known of any of the proceedings that took place in them?" " No, my Lord." "Did you ever hear of a proposal at any of their meetings, for the purchase of arms and ammunition?" Never, my Lord." "Did you ever hear of a proposition made, in one of these societies, with respect to the expediency of assassination ?" "Oh no, my Lord." He then turned again to Duigenan, and, after a few words with him, said to me : "When such are the answers you are able to give,* pray what was the cause of your great repugnance to taking the oath?" "I have already told your Lordship my chief reason; in addition to which, it was the first oath I ever took, and the hesitation was, I think, natural.” †

• There had been two questions put to all those examined on the first day, "Were you ever asked to join any of these societies?" and "By whom were you asked?" —· which I should have refused to answer, and must, of course, have abided the consequences.

† For the correctness of the above report of this short examination, I can pretty confidently answer. It may amuse, therefore, my readers, -as showing the manner in which biographers make the most of small facts, to see an extract or two from an

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