NINE IRISHMEN

 

Odd numbers rule in nature and evidently in politics.

 

This is the story of nine Irishmen. Some say they were patriotic heroes; others call them traitorous rebels. In 1848, nine fervent Irish nationalists--Duffy, Dillon, Magee, McManus, Meager, Mitchel, O'Brien, O'Donoghue, and O'Gorman--valiently fought for Irish independence...and lost.

 

Subsequently tried, convicted and sentenced to death, the seven found themselves heading for political martyrdom--a fact which did not escape the British Monarchy. As a result, their death sentences were commuted and they were exiled to Tasmania.

 

McManus, Meagher, Mitchel, O'Brien, and O'Donoghue were forcefully transported to Tasmania. Duffy, who was tried but acquitted due to lack of evidence, voluntarily made the trip to Tasmania with them. Dillon, Magee and O'Gorman escaped to America.

 

And now, the rest of the story...

 

Charles Gavan Duffy (1816-1903) was tried five times for his "crimes." Never convicted, he sailed from Tasmania to Western Australia and eventually became Governor there.

 

Terrence Bellew McManus (1823-1861), once a wealthy shipping agent, escaped from Tasmania to America. He died in poverty, but was laid to rest in Ireland as a hero.

 

Thomas Francis Meagher (1823-1887), a key player in the 1848 Rising, escaped from Tasmania to America. Meagher became a Brigadier General during the Civil War and was the Govenor of Montana afterwards.

 

John Mitchel (1815-1875) escaped from Tasmania to America, but eventually returned to Ireland and was elected to House of Commons. Unfortunately, he passed before taking office.

 

William Smith O'Brien (1803-1864), a direct descendant of the warrior-king Brian Boru, was ultimately pardoned. He traveled widely as an advocate for various political causes.

 

Patrick O'Donoghue (1815-1854), born of a peasant family, escaped from Tasmania to America and lived in squalor until his death.

 

John Blake Dillon (1816-1866) escaped from Ireland to America, where he practiced law with Richard O'Gorman. Eventually returning to Ireland, Dillon became a member of Westminster's Parliament.

 

Thomas D'Arcy Magee (1825-1868) escaped from Ireland before his sentencing. Settling in Canada, he eventually became Minister of Agriculture.

 

Richard O'Gorman (1826-1895) fled from Ireland to New York, where he first set up a law practice with John Blake Dillon, and later became a Superior Court Judge.

 

These courageous men wanted freedom for their homeland. Not all of them had great outcomes in their lives, but to them freedom was everything and worth everything.

 

The moral to this story? 

 

Freedom is a basic human right that should never be taken away. Men have given up their fortunes, and have fought and died because they know what is right. We have seen it many times over--the War for American Independence, the Great War, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, and the numerous Middle East Operations.  FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!

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