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Posted by md on September 12, 2003 at 21:50:14:
During the Young Ireland Reolution of 1848, nine young Irishmen were captured, tried and convicted of treason against the Crown. The presiding judge read the names of the convicted men: Charles Duffy, Thomas Meagher, Patrick Donaghue, Terence McManus, Richard O Gorman, Morris Lyene, Michael Ireland, Thomas McGee, John Mitchell. "Have you anything to say before the court passes sentence?" queried the judge. Thomas Meagher had chosen to speak for them all, "My Lord, this is our first offence, but not our last. If you will be easy with us this once we promise on our word as gentlemen to try to do better the next time, and the time sure we wont be fools enough to get caught".
The indignant judge sentenced them to be hung by the neck, but passionate protests from all over the world forced Queen Victoria to commute the sentence and the men were transported for life to the penal colonies in the then savage Australia.
In 1871 a Charles Duffy was elected Prime Minister of the Australian state of Victoria. To her amazement, Queen Victoria was informed by her Prime Minister that this was the same Charles Duffy whom she had sentenced to be transported for treason 23 years previously. She demanded the records of the other eight convicts and this is what she learned:
Thomas Meagher was governer of Montana, USA
Both Patrick Donaghue and Terence McManus were Brigadier Generals in the USA army.
Richard O Gorman was Attorney General of Newfoundland, Canada.
Thomas McGee was President of the Dominion of Canada.
John Mitchell was a prominent New York politician whose son later became Mayor of New York
Morris Lyene was Attorney General of Australia, and was succeeded in this post by Michael Ireland.
This amazing and true story of nine men, banished from their own native land, to a penal colony for their political views and later years becoming outstanding citizens of America, Austrailia and Canada is now part of the United States Congressional Record in Washington DC, USA
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