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after he left Eton his father purchased him a commission, his regiment being then stationed in Galway City.

He was not long in the regiment before he began his fighting career. The first duel arose over his attentions to a young and pretty milliner. His demonstrations of affection became so pressing, and he frightened the lady so much, that she sores med for help. A neighbouring shopkeeper came to her aid, and after warm words with Fitzgerald, challenged him. Fitzgerald haughtily refused to fight with a tradesman, but said that if the shopkeeper could get a gentleman to take his part he would be happy to meet him. The shopkeeper did get a gentlemanone Cæsar French-and he and Fitzgerald at once adjourned to the shopkeeper's premises to settle the quarrel. They fired once, and neither was hit; they were about to fire again when some of the public, hearing the report of the pistols, broke into the house and separated them.

Naturally this affray was discussed that night at the regimental mess, and Colonel Thompson hotly described Fitzgerald's conduct as ungentlemanly and a dishonour to the regiment. Fitzgerald at once challenged the Colonel. They met the next day, and at the first fire the Colonel's bullet struck Fitzgerald on the head, The wound was very severe; for weeks Fitzgerald was an invalid, and many persons were of opinion that his mind

was affected by it all the rest of his life,

After he recovered he spent some time in London, and more time in Paris. His fighting propensities, which now developed rapidly, made him much disliked in England and much admired in France. After a long stay over the water, he returned to Ireland, married, took up his residence at his Mayo seat, Turlough Castle, and rented a town house in Dublin,

At Dublin he had duels with Denis Browne, the son of Lord Altamont, and Toler, afterwards Lord Norbury; and at a Castle levee he distinguished himself by spitting in the face of Fitzgibbon, afterwards Lord Clare. But henceforth his fame arises chiefly out of his exploits in Mayo.

His younger

The first of these exploits was his ill-treatment of his own father: he imprisoned the old man, and even, it is said, harnessed him along with a pet bear which he had brought from France. brother, Lionel, prosecuted him for this, and his counsel was Diok Martin, the King of Connemara, who had been called to the Bar, as many landed proprietors then were, net for the purpose of practising for profit, but of qualifying himself to defend in Court his own rights and the rights of his friends. Martin seems to to have denounced Fitzgerald's conduct in the point-blank way customary at that time, and Fitzgerald bitterly resented it. "Martin," he said to the bar

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But it was a feud between two great magnates in Mayo which got Fitzgerald into most sorapes. Lord Altamont-the head of the Browne familywas a Government man; Lord Lucan the head of the Bingham family-was a Patriot man; and they fought not merely with votes and speeches, but with pistols and mobs, for the representation of the oounty in Parliament. At one election Denis Browne, beforementioned, Lord Altamont's son, was the Government candidate. His uncle, James Browne, who was Prime Sergeant at the Irish Bar, saw that a duel was the way to the affections of the electors, and told Denis so. Denis thereupon picked a quarrel with his opponent, Lord Bingham, which again was fought out in the barrackyard, with hundreds of the populace looking on. Denis Browne won, and was in due course duly elected member for the county.


Fitzgerald was, as became the nephew of the Bishop of


Derry, by way of being Patriot, so he became very friendly with the Binghams, or perhaps it would be more acourate to say, violently hostile to the Brownes. showed his hostility in his own manner. The Ladies Browne had a great wolf-dog, which they called after their uncle, The Prime Sergeant. One day Fitzgerald called at the family mansion and demanded to see The Prime Sergeant. The terrified ladies directed that it should be shown to him. The moment he saw it he drew a pistol and shot it through the head, declaring that it was a shame to feed such a brute on the best of the land when half the people were starving. He added graciously that he did not mind if the ladies kept lapdogs.

Fitzgibbon, the AttorneyGeneral, was now practically the ruler of Ireland. He was not the sort of man to forget an insult, and so Fitzgerald's hatred of the Brownes inoreased their favour with him. The family soon had complete control of the county, and they watched their opportunity for putting Fitzgerald away.

This Opportunity arose through what was enough in the West of Ireland


the abduction of an heiress. The chief criminal in the matter was a Welshman and an English barrister called Timothy Brecknook. He was an elderly man, but he was most anxious to marry a young lady called Miss Anne O'Donel.

Miss O'Donel, however, had her own views on the subject, and she much preferred a suitor of a more equal age called Hyacinth Martin. So Breoknook decided to carry the lady off and make her marry him whether she liked it or not.

Fitzgerald was a close friend of Brecknock's, and he gladly assisted him in the enterprise. When this was accomplished, and the hue and ory was up, it struck Brecknook's legal mind that it would be wise to throw suspicion on somebody else. He accordingly had informations sworn against several enemies of his and Fitzgerald's, and Fitzgerald issued writs for their arrest for a crime which he and the informer had committed. He himself, with the help of his retainers at Turlough Castle, arrested them and imprisoned them in his own house. An Ulster retainer known 88 Scotch Andy was put in charge of them, and after they had spent a night at Turlough Castle, he, with a number of other men, all fully armed, was sent to escort the prisoners to the jail at Castlebar.

Scotch Andy afterwards, in giving King's evidence, said that Fitzgerald had given him orders to shoot the prisoners if a resone was attempted. It is probable that he said this to gain favour with the prosecution; for, from all the statements of the other men engaged in the affair, it was Brecknook who told them that, as the prisoners were charged with a felony, they would be

justified in shooting them if a rescue was attempted. However that may be, a rescue, real or bogus, was attempted, and the prisoners were shot.

The Brownes saw their opportunity. Fitzgerald and Brecknock and the men of the escort were arrested and charged with murder. While Fitzgerald lay in Castlebar prison, the Brownes seemed to have entertained a doubt of his conviction, for some of their followers broke into the prison and so brutally maltreated him that it was thought for a time he could not survive. But he did, and was brought to trial at the spring assizes of 1796.

Fitzgibbon, as AttorneyGeneral, came down to proseoute; Dennis Browne, as High Sheriff, empanelled the jury; so the result can be anticipated. On Scotch Andy's evidence, which nobody believed, all the prisoners save Scotch Andy were convicted and sentenced to death. Fitzgerald asked for two days' respite, in order to put his private affairs in order, but more probably in hope of a reprieve. This was refused him. was ordered that he should be hanged the next afternoon.

And it

It was afterwards said that Denis Browne received a reprieve from Dublin the next morning. If he did, he kept the fact secret. The execution took place, as the Judges had directed, at sunset on 12th June 1786. 1786. Whether by accident or design, it proved a ghastly and bungled business. The first rope used was rotten, and

snapped when Fitzgerald fell from the scaffold. Another was procured. It was rotten too, and snapped again. Fitzgerald's legs were broken by the fall; but he had intelligence and courage enough to call out-adopting the popular view that, when the second attempt to hang a convict is abortive, he is entitled to his liberty-"Now my life's my own!" "No," oried Denis Browne, "not as long as there is a rope left in Mayo!" A third rope was procured, it was fastened round his neck, and he was thrown from the scaf. fold. This time it stood firm,

and in a few minutes Fitzgerald's form hung lifeless between heaven and earth.

So lived and so died the most dauntless of the fireeaters. Such a life and death were surely possible, even in the eighteenth century, in ne other nominally civilised country in the world save Ireland. The less said of his life the better; but as to his death, most readers, I think, will agree with what a distinguished counsel said to his Judges when they returned to Dublin, "Well, though Fitzgerald got no more than he deseved, yet the murderer was murdered.”1

1 The best account I have read of the abduction of Anne O'Donel and the events which ended in Fitzgerald's trial and execution is contained in a monograph entitled 'Fitzgerald the Fire-Eater,' by T. P. Faulkner of the Connaught circuit.



THE disposal of our casualties and prisoners was not a particularly difficult matter when once we had reached port. But, owing to the rumoured presence of spies in this friendly port, the removals were effected under cover of darkness; we maintained our camouflage rigidly, although it was not perhaps the easiest matter in the world. A small brig can become very small when in port, with no refreshing breezes to temper the below-deok heat; but we contrived to give the hands a certain amount of fresh air by working them in relays, eight men at a time appearing on deck, so that near-lying coasting craft, if they were disposed to inquire too closely into our bona fides, might not be rendered suspicious by the exaggerated size of our crew. In this way we went on with fair success, 28 we thought; though we had rather a shock after we had been a matter of a couple of days in the harbour. That an enterprising Sicilian merchant should pull alongside and request to be allowed to come aboard with a view to chartering the ship for a coast. wise voyage was a compliment to our camouflage. He was referred to the local shipping controller, and went away happy, probably thinking of profits, for so far as our ex



perience went, the Italians were very keenly "on the make” during certain periods of the war.

What the would-be charterer got by way of answer we did not hear; but not very long after his visit, during a meal hour, another boat approached us in the nonchalant devious way such boats have. It was a bumboat, carrying, in addition to an assortment of fruit and vegetables and such oddments, a man or two and a woman or two, with a couple of childrenas though the families of the principals had decided that this was the day and the hour for a dress-parade. They promptly indicated their wish to come close alongside and commence trading; but, acting on the strict regulations which we had laid down, they were warned off. Now, we had satisfied ourselves that morning, at dawn, by means of a trip clean round the ship, that she was exoellently disguised. There was literally nothing suggestive of a man-of-war about her: her cable, from water-line to hawsepipe, was rusted and eletted with dried mud instead of being neatly blackened; her sides were smeared with rust streaks, and there were even evidences of cargo having recently been worked in at the hatches, for we had spent some little time

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