Manchester Martyrs

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, Irish Republican Brotherhood / Fenians, Issue 1(Jan/Feb 2012), Letters, Volume 20

Sir,—I would like to thank Conor McNamara for bringing to the attention of readers ‘Special Constable Samuel Page’s letter to his mother’ concerning the execution of the ‘Manchester Martyrs’, Allen, Larkin and O’Brien, on 23 November 1867 (HI 19.6, Nov./Dec. 2011). Readers may or may not be aware that a fourth man, Captain Edward O’Meagher Condon, very nearly joined them on the gallows. He acquired his rank while fighting on the Union side in the American Civil War. Condon’s sentence of death was commuted to penal servitude for life owing to the intercession of the American government, who were also responsible for having him released in 1879 after serving eleven years in Portland prison, after which he returned to the USA. He was to die there on 15 December 1915 at the age of 75 years. He is, however, best remembered for the words he uttered towards the close of his speech during his trial, when he said, ‘I shall only say “God Save Ireland”,’ which his companions in the dock raised in unison. These words were echoed throughout Ireland and became the opening words of the song by Timothy Daniel Sullivan. Six years before his death Captain Edward O’Meagher Condon returned to Ireland for a brief visit in 1909 and was presented with the honorary freedom of the following cities and towns: Cork, 7 September; Limerick, 13 September; Drogheda, 14 September; Dublin, 28 September; Waterford, 29 September; and Clonmel, 5 October 1909.—Yours etc.,TADHG MOLONEYGouldavoherLimerick


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