This, among numberless other mischiefs entailed upon the titular saint of Ireland, is an instance of the dreadful licentiousness of the lower order of that country, when heated with strong drink. The 17th of March is St. Patrick's day, and so copious are the libations of his votaries on each eve of this their festival, that in all parts wherever the lower class wander, they contrive to get drunk; and then fall upon unguarded strangers; and beat, and often murder them. These outrages, they will tell you, were committed for the honour of St. Patrick; and so deeply rooted is this vile habit in them, that while under the accursed influence, it must end in what they call "A Row;" and if that cannot be effected among strangers, they generally fall upon each other.
The unfortunate Irishmen, the subject of this enquiry, were soldiers, and had lately returned from a four-year's service in foreign parts. The regiment to which they belonged, was ordered into winter quarters, in Leicestershire, Loughborough, Ashby de-la-Zouch, and towns adjacent. On the evening of St. Patrick's Day, in the year 1796, in a state of intoxication, they sallied out, and attacked every one they met, whom, without any cause being shown, they beat without mercy. At length they met a poor boatman, of the name of Henry Hutchinson, whom they murdered!
They were apprehended next day, the 18th, the judges being on the circuit at Leicester, they were tried on the 19th; and on the 21st, executed; thus allowing them but three days for repentance.
A short time before they were taken out of prison for execution, a remarkable circumstance happened to Timothy Dunn: A regiment of dragoons passing through Leicester, one of the private troopers, of the name of Dunn, hearing that his namesake lay under sentence of death, was led, through curiosity, to see the culprit. On being admitted into the condemned cell, what must be his astonishment and grief, on finding a brother, whom he had not seen nor heard of for many years! The whole of these unfortunate soldiers died repenting their crime, and imploring forgiveness of the Almighty. We cannot dismiss the subject, without exhorting our fellow-subjects, born in Ireland, to observe moderation, on this day. Their excesses serve only to make them enemies, to disgrace their saint, and offend their Maker.