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his ease and safety in another kingdom ; or that any person, so criminally circumstanced as he was thought to be, would have at all surrendered himself to a public trial, without friends, money, or family connections; and, above all, without that consciousness of his innocence, on which, and the protection of the Almighty, he might possibly have relied for his deliver

ance.

Emboldened by this success, the knight before-mentioned published an advertisement, somewhat in the nature of a manifesto, wherein, after having presumed to censure administration for not punishing, with greater and unjustifiable severity, these wretched rioters; he named a certain day, on which the following perfons of credit and substance in that country, viz. Edmund Sheehy, James Buxton, James Farrel, and others, were to be tried by commission at Clonmell, as principals or accomplices in the aforefaid murder of Bridge. And, as if he meant by dint of numbers, to intimidate even the judges into lawless rigour and severity, he sent forth'a sort of authoritative summons to every gentleman in the county to attend that

commission." His fummons was punctually obeyed by his numerous and powerful adherents; and these innocent (as will appear hereafter) men, were fentenced to be hanged and quartered by that commission.

It will naturally be asked, upon what new evidence this sentence was passed; as it may well be supposed,

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" James Prendergast, Esq; a witness for Mr. Edmund Sheehy, perfectly unexceptionable in point of fortune, character and religion, which was that of the established church, deposed, that on the day and hour on which the murder of Bridge was sworn to have been committed, viz. about or between the hours of ten and eleven o'clock on the night of the 28th of October 1764, Edmund Sheehy, the prisoner was with him and others, in a diftant part of the country; that they and their wives had, on the aforesaid 28th of October, dined at the house of Mr. Tenison, near Ardfinan, in the county of Tipperary, where they continued until after supper; that it was about eleven o'clock when he and the prisoner left the house of Mr. Tenifon, and rode a considerable way together on their return to their respec

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that no use was made of the former reprobated witnesses on this occasion. But truth obliges me to answer, with reluctance and shame, that use was made of them, and a principal use too, in the trial and conviction of these devoted men. The managers, however, for the crown, as they impudently called themselves, being afraid, or ashamed, to trust the success of their fanguinary purposes to the now enfeebled, because generally exploded, testimony of these miscreants, looked out for certain props, under the name of approvers, to strengthen and support their tottering evidence. These they foon found in the persons of Herbert and Bier, two prisoners, accused like the rest of the murder of Bridge ; and who, though absolutely strangers to it (as they themselves had often sworn in the jail), were nevertheless in equal danger of being hanged for it, if they did not purchase their pardon by becoming approvers of the former false witnesses. Herbert was so conscious of his innocence in respect to Bridge's murder, that he had come to the assizes of Clonmell, in order to give evidence in favour of the priest Sheehy; but his arrival and business being soon made known, effectual measures were taken to prevent his giving such evidence. Accordingly bills of high treason were found against

him,

tive homes; that the prisoner had his wife behind him; that when he (Mr. Prendergast) got home, he looked at the clock, and found it was the hour of twelve exactly.” This testimony was confirmed by several corroborating circumstances, sworn to by two other witnesses, against whom no exception appears to have been taken. And yet, because Mr. Tenison, although he confessed in his deposition, that the prisoner had dined with him in October 1764, and does not expreíly deny that it was on the 28th of that month; but fays, conjecturally, that he was inclined to think that it was earlier than the 28th, the prifoner was brought in guilty. Thus positive and particular proof, produced by Mr. Prendergast, with the circumstances of the day and the hour, attested upon oath by two other witnefles, whose veracity seems not to have been questioned, was overruled and set aside, by the vague and indeterminate surmise of Mr. Tenison. See Exshaw's Gentleman's and London Magazine for April, and June, 1766.

him, upon the information of one of these reprobate witnesses, and a party of light-horse sent to take him prisoner. Bier, upon his removal afterwards to Newgate in Dublin, declared, in a dangerous fit of sickness, to the ordinary of that prison, with evident marks of sincere repentance, “ that for any thing he knew to the contrary, the before mentioned Edmund Sheehy, James Buxton, and James Farrell, were intirely innocent of the fact for which they had suffered death ; and that nothing in this world, but the preservation of his own life, which he saw was in the most imminent danger, should have tempted him to be guilty of the complicated crimes of perjury and murder, as he then confessed he was, when he swore away the lives of those innocent men.”

On Saturday morning, May 3d, 1766, the convicts were hanged and quartered at Clogheen. Their behaviour at the place of execution was chearful, but devout; and modest, though resolute. It was impossible for any one in their circumstances, to counterfeit that resignation, serenity, and pleasing hope, which appeared strikingly in all their countenances and gef

Conscious of their innocence, they seemed to haften to receive the reward prepared in the next life, for those who suffer patiently in this. For, not content to forgive, they prayed for and blessed their prosecutors, judges, and juries, as likewise all those who were otherwise instrumental in procuring their deaths. After they were tied up, and just before they were turned off, each of them, in his turn, read a paper aloud, without tremour, hesitation, or other visible emotion, wherein they folemnly protested, as dying christians, who were quickly to appear before the judgment-feat of God, “ that they had no share either by act, counsel, or knowledge in the murder of Bridge; that they never heard an oath of allegiance to any foreign prince proposed or administered amongst them; that they never heard, that any scheme of rebellion, high treason, or a massacre, was intended, offered, or even thought of, by any of them ; that they never knew of any commissions, or French or

Spanish

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Spanish officers being sent, or of any money being paid to these rioters. After this, they severally declared, in the same solemn manner, that certain gentlemen, whose names they then mentioned, had tampered with them at different times, pressing them to make, what they called useful discoveries, by giving in examinations against numbers of Roman catholics of fortune in that province (some of whom they particularly named) as actually concerned in a conspiracy, and intended massacre, which were never once thought of. But above all, that they urged them to swear, that the priest, Nicholas Sheehy, died with a lye in his mouth ; without doing which, they said, no other difcovery would avail them.

Upon these conditions, they promised and undertook to procure their pardons, acquainting them at the same time, that they should certainly be hanged, if they did not comply with them." Thus did those virtuous men, prefer even death to a life of guilt, remorse, and shame, the just punishment in this world of their tempters, as well as the wretches seduced by them.

CH A P.

{ " I was three times in Ireland (says an English commoner) from the year 1760 to the year 1767, where I had sufficient means of information, concerning the inhuman proceedings (among which were many cruel murders, besides an infinity of outrages and oppressions, unknown before in a civilized age) which prevailed during that period, in consequence of a pretended conspiracy among Roman catholics against the king's government.” Lett. Eng. Commoner, &c. ubi supra.

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Reflections on the foregoing subject. YET fome persons there were, who, in order to fave the characters of these their friends, from the horrible imputation of suborning others to commit perjury and murder, strenuously endeavoured, and with fome success, to have it believed, that credit ought to be given to the testimony of those approvers, in preference to the folemn and unanimous declarations of thefe dying men.

But let us advert a moment to the miserable weakness of this credulity. Those approvers were imprisoned on a charge of murder, and struck with the fear of an ignominious death ; being certain, at the same time, that their pardon was 'to be obtained only by the testimony they gave, however false. On the other hand, the dying prisoners before mentioned, had often rejected the like offers of pardon, and folemnly denied their being guilty of the crimes for which they suffered, in the very article of death ; conscious that they were instantly to account for such denial, before an all-just and all-feeing Judge. Now when we consider this material difference in the circumstances of the testimonies of the accusers, and the accused, who can forbear concluding, that the oaths of the former were wilful perjuries, prompted by the hopes of a pardon, of which the shedding of innocent blood was to be the only purchase; and that the solemn declarations of the latter, were noble and successful efforts of truth, confcience, and honour, against all the strongest temptations to the contrary, that the love of life, and the tenderest endearments and connexions of this world, could have thrown in their way.'

Such, during the space of three or four years, was the fearful and pitiable state of the Roman catholics of Munster, and so general did the panic at length become, so many of the lower sort were already hang

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