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Irish Patriot: Wolfe Tone - A FINAL ACT OF DEFIANCE

Unknown to everyone in the Court, however, Wolfe Tone could not appear before Lord Kilwarden. Fearing he would be hung as a traitor on the 12th of November, Wolfe Tone had slit his throat with a penknife the evening before. The knife missed his carotid artery, but Tone was mortally wounded. He could not be moved.

Before he attempted suicide, he wrote his final letters - to the French government and to his wife. He lingered, in agony, for one week. He refused to see anyone. Legend has it that moments before his death, a surgeon told him not to move at all, lest he die. Thanking the surgeon for those words, Tone moved his head. He died (the link depicts his death mask) immediately.

With Tone's death, Cornwallis had created an Irish martyr.

Although Britain crushed the 1798 uprising, dissolved the Irish Parliament and made Ireland part of Great Britain only three years later, Tone became the "Father of Irish Republicanism." He was buried in County Kildare, but his grave remained unmarked for years.

In 1886, Gladstone (the British prime minister) was convinced Ireland needed to be independent, as contemporary articles make clear. He tried - unsuccessfully - to convince the British government to reestablish the Irish Parliament. His bill for "Home Rule" failed both in 1886 and in 1893.

A contemporary Punch cartoon depicts Gladstone trying to convince his cabinet to back his proposals. The House of Commons finally agreed, but not the House of Lords. Home Rule for Ireland was as dead as the men who had fought for it.

 

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5120stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Dec 10, 2013


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"A FINAL ACT OF DEFIANCE" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 1999. Sep 23, 2017.
       <https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/A-FINAL-ACT-OF-DEFIANCE-Irish-Patriot-Wolfe-Tone>.
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