The Ardent Exile: The Life and Times of Thos. Darcy McGee

The Ardent Exile: The Life and Times of Thos. Darcy McGee

The Ardent Exile: The Life and Times of Thos. Darcy McGee

The Ardent Exile: The Life and Times of Thos. Darcy McGee

Excerpt

An old man sat in the sun and thought of the friends of his youth. It had been good to be young in the 1840's. All over Europe eager students and journalists had formed societies, printed papers and schemed to overcome old wrongs by the force of enlightened public opinion.

Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, warming his old bones in the Mediterranean sunshine, could recall them all; though his thoughts naturally lingered on his own group, Young Ireland, and his own paper the Nation, which he had published in the days before he had titles and honours when he was just plain Mr. Duffy of Dublin.

In each country of Europe youth had sought a different goal. The Hungarians strove for freedom, the Italians for unity, the French socialists wanted to guarantee all workers jobs, the Germans craved a constitution. Gavan Duffy and his friends had undertaken to make the Irish a harmonious people.

Great things were afoot.

In 1848 an epidemic of revolution, beginning in France, swept Europe and was put down by outraged authority. Then all the young men, their fine plans riddled by gunfire, were scattered into exile. The Hungarians fled to Paris and the French to England. The Irish--those who were not caught by the English government and sent to the penal settlements of Australia--fled to America.

Gavan Duffy's thoughts reached back into the past--to 1848 and the men of 1848. Serenely, as one whose leisure would be broken by no interruption but the final one, Duffy worked over his diaries and letters and the files of his old . . .

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