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entered into close relationship with those scandalous Boulevard papers, from which a man who respects himself ought to accept nothing but abuse.
Without personally knowing him, I had set him down as an intriguing man, who wished to be talked about. When I saw his photograph my opinion of him became worse. Little, furtive, blinking eyes, the expression of which continually escaped one, were the dominant features of Stephen's physiognomy, giving him a feline and altogether unsympathetic aspect. I was expressing my opinion of him very freely to Pelletier, jny friend, who in 1848 represented Lyons, and is now a manufacturer in New York. Whilst we were talking K. came in. He bad assisted the escape of Stephens, and at that time he was one of his warmest partisans. My friend strongly took the side of K. It was at length settled that Stephens should be brought some evening to meet me, so that I might form my judgment of him with some knowledge. 1 may as \ve!l say here that since the arrival of Stephens at New York Fenianism has divided itself into great rival and hostile factions; that of the old ex-marcAand de nouveautc'.i, who suffered the defeat of Canada; and that of Stephen's, who promised to revensre it by means of a better organization. lie was the Thiers of the situation, as the colonel and ex-dry-goodsman was the hero of Sedan or the Gambetta. I recollect that the great question was that of "the strong box," which the marchand de nouoeautet wished to keep with him, and which Stephens in his quality of President demanded to have delivered up to him. I do not know whether this question is yet decided, but in 1809 it was still pending, and I have been told that there had been disputes between the latter and the first executive commission relative to certain immeuble in Broadway.
Stephens came to the house on the day appointed, and passed the evening with us. He was very clear and very explicit in his explanations. He was an organizer (organisateur) to the finger endsl and in this respect he was undoubtedly a man of superior merit; but he was vain, despotic, and overbearing beyond any man I ever saw. As regarded action, he was worth nothing. I left the house much disturbed in my mind. Stephens had explained to me at great length, and in much detail, the resources of the Fenian organization. He had given me the key to his organization which did not leave out a single man in all Ireland; everything had been scrup
, ulously and carefully visited and organ
ized. As far as men were concerned,
there no longer seemed need that anj
| should be brought over. The whole of
I Ireland was enrolle.i in the organization,
either actually or standing well affected
I towards it; and as this was his strong
'point, he was careful to furnish me with
I the most indubitable material proofs of
the truth of the facts he had stated.
I was present at the meeting.) of the various representatives of^the most important Irish centres. The report was made for the whole of Ireland, as is done for a regiment, each sergeant major reading the report of his company to the colonel. I was really astonished. To hare men is a great deal, but still it is not everything: money and arms are likewise requisite for an affair of this kind. As far as money was concerned, it was not altogether lacking, but arms and ammunition were the weak points of the situation. Not but what they tried to dazzle me with representations of their further resources, but, it being my business to get to the bottom of things, I enquired and examined closely, and found out at last that all the arms and ammunition existed only in the arsenals and in the imagination of Stephens, who, without being a Marshal of France, was equal to Lebceuf for the boasting of what was not yet ready.
"It must also not be forgotten that England seized all it could and that the United States seized also, and that the "penny" of the maid servant, however multiplied did not attain the proportions of the penny of St. Peter. There were, besides, rather heavy general expenses. The apartments of Stephens, at the Metropolitan Hotel, cost a good deal; that at No. — Thirteenth Street, though less expensive, still stood for a large figure. Then there were the prisoners. To provide for the expenses of constant journeys across the sea for the agents of the Association, &c. &c. So that, in fact, there did not remain enough money to purchase the arms and ammunition requisite for so considerable an enterprise. Add to this, the greater portion of the arms, and I think two steamers, were in possession of the first commission, who insisted upon making Amefica the base of their operations, whilst the rest wished to act in Ireland. I visited Stephens at his own house after our conversation at P.'s. Further explanations only confirmed and developed
those that had already been given. We discussed together the resources of Eng»
land, making allowance for the forces retained in the colonies, and for those retained in garrison at home and abroad, and the time that would be required for those troops engaged in the various service* to return to England; we computed the numerous Fenians forming part of the regular army, whose oath engaged them to obey the Association under their colours as much as elsewhere, and the disorder they might cause in their ranks; we • apoke of the means of transport from one port to another; and we came at last to the conclusion that England could not for ninety days oppose to us more than thirty thousand effective men. Ten thousand resolute men acting in their own country would easily be able to seize upon the most important points for embarcation and the principal roads of communication, and operating under the shelter of popular sympathy, and acting together in concert and with rapidity, they oaght to be able to raise the whole Ulaud and to crush the thirty thousand men, which would be all that England could throw into Ireland for the first three months.
After that it would remain to be seen what would happen. Of the English volunteers we took no account; Rons of trade, they are better at parade than at marching, especially if they must leave their own part of the country; the common people only fight when they are inclined to fight, and that is not often. The matter thus resolved itself into this simple proposal on my side: "Raise me ten thousand men, armed, and I will undertake to command them." The affair was thus set going. In the meanwhile I made a plan of the campaign in accordance with the number of men, and the resources which could be immediately raised in the various counties of Ireland, as shown by the statistics of the organization.
The plan written out and accompanied with a map, was placed in the hands of Stephens and of P.: as for me, I had it at that time complete in my head, but at the present moment I should have some difficulty in recalling the names of the principal towns.
During this time the enthusiasm of the people was kept at a white heat by meetings, especially up at St. John's Wood, where fighting followed whisky as whisky had followed words. Stephens was no more an orator than he was a writer; he was, if possible, less of one. But in those vast human oceans the waves of which have been lashed into tumult by passion, spoken words signify little; what
the people want is a spectacle, and the sight of the idol of the day is always the thing that delights them, even if the idol be dumb or idiotic. Stephens, however, was far from being either the one or the other.
Unfortunately the people do not always listen; they are not always even patient.
Stephens was obliged to enter into a positive engagement that the battle should begin at all risks, with the year 1807. This engagement, formally ratified by all the chiefs of the party, was accepted with acclamation by the people. Subscriptions were organized on an immense scale from one end of the United States to the other, with a zeal and energy which deserved a better fate. The amount of whisky that was druuk is inconceivable! What fortunes in liquor then'disappeared into the stomachs of Irishmen 1
In this engagement, Bo lightly undertaken, lies the secret of all that afterwards happened.
I continued to work assiduously with Stephens, and from time to time I was present at the meetings of the chiefs, but without ever opening my lips. What I wished to do was to obtain information on certain points, that I might not fall into any snare.
My opinion remained always the same as what I have already said. I was sure of obtaining men perfectly organized, in squadrons, companies, battalions, and regiments, but tho uncertainty and the difficulty lay in finding the material, ways, and means. In these circumstances I introduced to Stephens F., an officer from the Military School of Belgium, and who, during the last war, had through me been successively raised to the grades of captain, major, and colonel commandant of a regiment of colour. lie was a good officer, and very brave, but of an insatiable ambition. F. was attached to me as chief of staff, and left me to go to Paris, where he wished to be employed with one or two other Irishmen in preparatory studies.
During this time events in America had taken a most unexpected turn.
Stephens, who, as it would seem, by no means deceived himself about his material resources, began to blow cold, as he had hitherto blown hot. So long as it was a matter of going onwards, the AmericanIrish had been tolerably obedient to the despotic requirements of their Head Centre; but the moment they imagined they saw symptoms of coldness in him, and as month succeeded month and the end of the year approached, and yet no announce
mant had been made of the campaign, they became indignant and enraged; in short, they deposed Stephens, and his life was even threatened. K.. through whom I had become acquainted with Stephens, and who had been the means of assisting him to make his escape from prison, H., B., M., ('., and several others, were at the . head of this movement, the majority of them having been Confederate officers. He had not kept the word he had given to the people.
As will be seen hereafter, these men knew what they had to trust to as regarded the material means and resources of the administration — they did not deceive themselves as to what would be the result of these intrigues, or the fate that awaited them — they were men capable of self-sacrifice, heroes in the full chivalrous meaning of the word. As for me, sure of having men, and sure that they would be organized, as they were all of warlike temperament, and trusting to the most moderate of the promises that had been made, which was that, at the very least, I might depend upon being furnished with all that was needful to equip my ten thousand men. I prayed for war and held myself in readiness to start.
To provide for travelling expenses and the first cost of a campaign, they disposed of one of the blockade-runners, which had been purchased at the close of the war at the sale of Confederate vessels. I remember that it was sold for little more than half of what the engines alone had cost; it produced, I think, from fourteen to seventeen thousand dollars, and with this sum we entered upon our campaign.
We sailed on board the Pcrelre. in the early part of January 1867. K. and Mac. (who had taken the most active part in the escape of Stephens), with twelve or thirteen heads of •• centres" in Ireland, were with me: the others had gone by different vessels.
We all of us arrived safely, some in Ireland, some in England; a great number landed in Germany, others in France. Amongst these last were myself and K.
As soon as we arrived I invited Duvcrnois (afterwards minister of Napoleon III.) and Wilfred de Fonvielle to dine at Champeaux's, Place de la Bourse, in order to introduce K. to them, and to explain the purport of our enterprise, to set it forth in its poetical and sympathetic point of view, and to beg their help and support in the newspapers.
Duvernois and Wilfred were both old friends of mine. I had known Darer
nois in Africa; he had seen me off when I left for my campaigns in Italy and America. More recently, on my return from Mexico, he had been my guest in New York. He had always shown himself an ardeut revolutionist and republican. • We both came out of the same school — that of iJmile de Girardin.
As to Wilfred, his brother Ulrich had been my aide-de-camp in Italy and in America. 1 loved him as a brother. Who would ever have thought that he too would one day betray the cause of the people, and adhere to the assassins of Versailles?
I explained my programme to my two friends, and told them what were my intentions, and the sort of war we purposed to carry on — a war which could not be j made either mild or merciful, seeing that I we could expect to receive no quarter.
Duvernois was enchanted, and gave us great encouragement, and assured us I of his ardent sympathy. Wilfred was less enthusiastic, but he wished us good luck.
K. and I had not been more than two or three days in Paris, when he received despatches from London and Dublin announcing that discord was in the eimp.
Two parties were formed; the one which seemed the best organized, and most numerous and the wisest, had K. for its head centre, instead of Stephens or something equivalent. I have listened to discussions without end on this matter, worthy of theological controversies; but the fact is, that K. was recognized as their chief by the majority of the organization; on the other side the greater ULmber of the Confederate chiefs were ranged, they of whom I have spoken before as wishing to act decisively at once and without delay.
As I enjoyed the confidence of both parties, K. despatched me to London, with full powers to arrange the dispute and settle the differences.
Alus! how little I knew of the Irish character, when I accepted such a mission!
On my arrival I was literally overwhelmed with complaints, recriminations, accusations, &c. &c. &c. Everybody came to me with their personal grievances — but with nothing else.
In the midst of all this I began to obtain a glimpse into the real condition of things. There was a very scanty supply of arms, and a still more meagre supply of other necessaries; the situation was becoming serious. It was not to be thought of that we should attack a power like England with sticks, and the most effective arms possessed by the insurgents meantime, however, there had been meetings in London at which the chiefs of the Irish centres had regularly attended; also the members from New York. The members of the Provisional Government wished to meet at my house; this I steadfastly opposed. I had come to take the command of an army of ten thousand men—nothing more and nothing less; beyond that I did not choose to take any active part in the insurrection. Either the Irish were able to keep their part of the bargain, in which case there would be some chance of success, or they were not able to fulfil their part, and in that case I saw no reason why I should irretrievably compromise myself for a, hopeless cause. The man who tries to break down a wall with his head generally breaks his head instead of the wall, and that would have been my case.
were shillelaghs with a pike at the end of ' the two Fenian factions drove the most them. To oppose these to regular troops hot-headed adherents of the cause to burn might appear very patriotic to hot-brained their ships and to make that attempt on fools; but I did not think so, and I wrote to K. entreating him to come over and Bee things for himself. He came. In the
I kept myself well informed of what went on day by day. I conld never understand how the police could have seen in broad daylight, and in the very heart of London, all the chiefs of the Irish centres assemble twice a day in a public place without any interference; certainly they did not try to hide themselves. Was! it collusion on the part of the police, or was it indifference, or was it want of skill in their profession V I do not know.
I wish to state a fact which has been urged against me falsely. It has been said that I made use of letters of introduction which had been given me in America, amongst others one from my friend Charles Snmner. in order to tnke advantage of English hospitality and to obtain entrance into the camps and arsenals.
In the first place, I do not know what visits to these arsenals could have added to the information I already possessed; but I refused all the invitations I received for these things. Amongst others I declined an invitation to visit the camp for manoeuvres at Aldershot, the only thing that would have possessed an interest for me. I make war, but I do not play the spy; and, above all things, I never compromise my friends.
Already I was beginning to fcresee that I should go back as 1 had come — without any result.
Affairs remained at a stand-still, whilst
The best men concerned in the movement came to see mo in my bed-room the
night previous to their departure. There were some very noble young men amongst | them, whose sense of what they considered their duty had led them, without any preparation, without any bravado, without any illusion, to join in the attempt. Calm and resigned, they went to their duty along the path of self-sacrifice, and would not even turn their eyes from the brambles and stones over which they had to pass.
It was in vain that I represented to them the forlornness of their enterprise, that there was not even the chance of one in a hundred of their success; no, nor of one in fifteen or twenty hundred. Here are the very words, as exactly as I can remember, which one of them used for himself and his friends:
"My dear General, we are not under the smallest illusion as to what awaits us; but the word of an Irishman, once given,' is sacred. Stephens has pledged us to this undertaking without consulting us but we will keep our word, even though he may not keep his; and the people will know that, if there are some men who deceive them, there are also others who know how to die for them." He added, " As for yourself, do not confide too much on those who are around you. We know you have never cared so much for us as you care for the other party, because we fought against you in the South. Perhaps I am mistaken; who knows Y But let each artisan keep to the work he knows best, and meanwhile you shall see us set about ours."
There was nothing more to be said. We embraced each other, I with my heart full of tears, they calm and collected ai though they were only going on parade.
What men they were! and to think that men with fine natures like these might rot in a dungeon I When will men learn the meaning of fraternity and of human solidarity, which, if practised, would prevent the recurrence of such sacrifices?
Everybody knows the history of the attempt on Chester. It wa* owing to a mere chance that the Fenians failed to seize some thousand stand of arms. They were stored in the Castle, and had been packed up for transmission to the manufactory for alteration. The conspirators had depended on being able to seize these arms. A arms and poor people! Where was the ammunition? and what ronld a few thousand Irish, own supposing they had been armed, have done in England, if they had no Englishmen amongst them?
the bickerings and mutual irritations of ' poor hope even had it been realized — poo;
However, as it was, it is none the less true that more than 700 Fenians arrived from different parts of England by rail, at the expense of the organization, and that these men were every one of them punctual to their engagements; they were in Chester at the appointed day and hour, and might have been masters of the Castle.
This will sliow to what perfection the organization had been brought; nothing like it would ever have been seen in France.
After the misfortune of Chester the arrivals in London continued, and the organization seemed to be only inflamed by the example of their comrades. The Irish centres insisted upon action at all risks. Their representatives in London were obliged to yield to the general voice.
As for me, I was much discouraged by what I saw and heard on all sides. I sheltered myself under the strict terms of my engagement: "Raise first ten thousand men, and I will take the command of them; until that is done I wait." It was not for me to go and preach insurrection in Ireland, where I knew nobody.
Several days passed thus; K. himself owned that matters were far from hopeful.
At last they entreated me to lower the number of men to five thousand, for the commencement of active measures.
I would not bind myself by any engagement, but I was inclined to make a beginning with fivo thousand men, thinking that some fortunate chance might furnish the opportunity of striking some blow at tlie beginning, which mignt provide us with resources; and. on the other hand, if the five thousand men could do nothing after being called together, there would evidently be nothing for it but to turn back, the victim of my own good intentions.
There was a certain man, M., who had served in the English army at Limerick, and who had obtained great popularity, iu a riot, I think; he showed himself very assiduous about me. The Fenians set great store by him; he was a friend of K.'s. As for me, he did not inspire me with any sentiments at all, either of confidence or aversion.
He came to me one morning from the Central Committee, or Provisional Government, to beg me to ratify his commission as commander-in-chief, which the Commander had just signed for the interim, until I was prepared to assume the com
mand. He said that he purposed to eta:t either that evening or the next morning, to begin the movement. I told him that I had nothing to do with either ratifying or refusing, that it was no concern of mine, that I would not mix myself up in anything until I was told, " There are so many troops iu the field; march at their head."
An hour afterwards two members of the Committee came to me, and assured me that it was only out of regard to me that they had agreed to the appointment of a provisional commander, but that the choice would not have fallen on M. if the Council had been consulted.
I told them all that bad passed, and repeated my refusal to interfere in any way, until I was sure of being at the head of a troop, not only raised, but in the field. I added, that the only advice I had to give to M. was to take F. with him, who, from envy and ambition, had refused to listen to my counsels, and, for himself, to exhibit a passive and reserved manner.
In vain I advised him to wait upon circumstances, in vain I represented to him that onr position as foreigners was essentially false, and that as for myself, if it ever came to pass that I took the command of an armed insurrection, I should never dream of quarrelling with a few people more brave than wise, obliged from their position to take the shortest road to get out of the way of constables and policemen.
F. replied that all this was to him a matter of indifference, and that he should go on to the end. From that time, as I heard afterwards, he intrigued to be named commander-in-chief of an imaginary army. I did not try to thwart him in any of his projects, but left him to follow them out at his leisure.
M. set out for Ireland, escorted by F. During all this time I had both thought and enquired a great deal in London, especially from Mazzini, one of my most faithful friends, although we were not of the same mind upon the Social Question; Ledru-Rollin, Bradlaugh, Karl Blind, and others. By Mazzini I was introduced to P., F., C., and many other influential members of the Reform League. I saw at once that I was on the wrong tack, and that the Irish Question could only be settled by English co-operation.
I met with sympathy as warm with Ireland and her federal enfranchisement amongst old Chartists, to whom I had brought letters of introduction, as I did amongst the members of the Reform League. I had even a nocturnal interview