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Saturday, 29 July 2017

29‭ ‬July‭ ‬1883:‭ ‬James Carey,‭ ‬the man who informed on the Phoenix Park assassins‭ (‬The Invincibles‭)‬,‭ ‬was shot dead on this day.‭ ‬He was killed by Patrick O'Donnell‭ (‬executed‭ ‬17‭ ‬November‭) ‬on board the‭ ‬Melrose Castle,‭ ‬which was making its way from Cape Town to Durban with the turncoat on board.‭ ‬On the evidence of James Carey five of the‭ "‬Invincible‭" ‬prisoners had been convicted and received the capital sentence.‭ ‬Their names were Joseph Brady,‭ ‬Daniel Curley,‭ ‬Michael Fagan,‭ ‬Thomas Caffrey and Timothy Kelly.‭ ‬Their executions took place in Dublin,‭ ‬in the months of May and June‭ ‬1883.

But Carey was a hunted man as his old revolutionary companions sought out his whereabouts.‭ ‬It became known that the British had sent him to South Africa with his family to start a new life in a remote location.‭ ‬But his attempt to escape the rightful vengeance of the remnants of those Invincibles still at large proved a futile exercise.‭  

Nemesis was on his track in the person of Patrick O'Donnell,‭ ‬a fellow-passenger on board the Melrose.‭ ‬An acquaintance sprang up between the two men‭; ‬and O'Donnell,‭ ‬from the descriptions he had heard of Carey's personal appearance,‭ ‬was not slow in recognizing in his compangon de voyage,‭ ‬the notorious informer‭; ‬and his sensibilities were shocked by the discovery that he had given the hand of friendship to such a wretch.‭ ‬

An altercation between these men on Sunday,‭ ‬July‭ ‬29,‭ ‬1883,‭ ‬resulted (‬according to O'Donnell's statement‭) ‬in Carey drawing his revolver on O'Donnell,‭ ‬whereupon O'Donnell--as he claims in self-defense--fired his own revolver twice at Carey,‭ ‬with fatal effect.‭ ‬O'Donnell was immediately placed under arrest,‭ ‬and on the arrival of the Melrose at Port Elizabeth,‭ ‬was taken before a magistrate,‭ ‬who recommitted him for trial in England,‭ ‬as the shooting had taken place on the high seas.‭ ‬The doom of O'Donnell,‭ ‬tried before an English judge and jury,‭ ‬was a foregone conclusion,‭ ‬and though he had the advantage of the most able counsel that money could procure,‭ ‬and there was no lack of funds for his defense--the Irish World alone having raised upward of fifty-five thousand dollars for this purpose--his conviction was secured.
By A.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Sullivan