Oliver Bond

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Oliver Bond (circa 1760–1798) was an Irish merchant and revolutionary, one of the leaders of the Society of United Irishmen.

Oliver Bond
Borncirca 1760
Died(1798-09-06)September 6, 1798
Resting placeSt. Michan's Church, Dublin
OrganizationUnited Irishmen
MovementIrish Rebellion of 1798
Criminal charge(s)High treason
Criminal penaltyDeath (commuted)
Spouse(s)Eleanor Jackson (m. 1791)


Born in St. Johnston, County Donegal,[1] in the Republic of Ireland around 1760, he was the son of a dissenting minister, and connected with several respectable families. In his early years, he worked as an apprentice haberdasher in Derry before relocating to Dublin.[2]

In the capital, he was in business as a merchant in the woollen trade, and became wealthy.[3] Initially, he was based in Pill Lane (now Chancery Street}, before moving to 9 Lower Bridge Street in 1786. In 1791, he married Eleanor 'Lucy' Jackson, daughter of noted journalist William Jackson, another future United Irish leader.

Bond was an early member in the movement planning for a union in Ireland across religious lines, promoting parliamentary reform in Ireland. When the Society of United Irishmen was set up in 1791, Bond became a member. He acted as secretary to a meeting of this body at Dublin in February 1793, under the presidency of the barrister Simon Butler. On this occasion the Society condemned the government for measures seen as adverse to the liberties of the people. In further resolutions the meeting deplored the intended war against France, and asserted the necessity for Catholic Emancipation in Ireland and reform of Parliament. In consequence of these resolutions Butler and Bond were summoned before the House of Lords in Dublin. At the bar there, in March 1793, they avowed the publication of the resolutions. The lords resolved that the paper was a libel. They decreed that Bond and Butler should be imprisoned for six months in Newgate Prison, and that each of them should pay a fine, and remain in confinement until these sums had been discharged.[3]

In Newgate addresses were presented to Butler and Bond by deputations from meetings of the United Irishmen. After the failure of the efforts to obtain emancipation and parliamentary reform for Ireland by peaceful means, an organisation was formed to establish an Irish republic independent of England. In this movement Bond was regarded as the leader. He became a member of its northern executive committee and of the Leinster directorate, the meetings of which were generally held at his house on Lower Bridge Street. Resolutions were passed at a meeting there in February 1798, declaring a determination to be satisfied with nothing short of the complete regeneration of Ireland.[3]

On 12th March, 1798, Bond and other members of the directory were arrested at his house and imprisoned.[4] Bond was tried in July 1798 on a charge of high treason, and defended by John Philpot Curran, who attacked the testimony of Thomas Reynolds, an informer, on whose statements the charges against him were mainly based. On 27th July, 1798, the jury returned a verdict of guilty, and Bond was sentenced to be hanged.[3]

The group of "state prisoners" in custody then signed an agreement with the government, under which they would give information on the Society of United Irishmen, and consent to voluntary exile. This proposition was accepted by Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis, the Commander-in-Chief, Ireland on 30 July; and the sentence on Bond was not carried out.[3]

Bond died suddenly in prison on 6 September 1798, and was buried in the cemetery of St. Michan's Church, Dublin. The "enlightened republican" principles of Bond were eulogised by his political associate and fellow-prisoner, William James MacNeven. Bond's widow Lucy moved with her family from Ireland to the US, and died at Baltimore in 1843.[3]


  1. ^ Chambers, Liam. "Bond, Oliver". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2832. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ "Oliver Bond". Dublin Historical Record. September 1950. p. 97. JSTOR 30080082.Free to read
  3. ^ a b c d e f Gilbert, Dictionary of National Biography
  4. ^ "Ireland". The Morning Post and Gazetteer. 19 March 1798. p. 3. Retrieved 9 June 2017 – via NewspaperArchive.Free to read

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilbert, John Thomas (1886). "Bond, Oliver". In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 5. London: Smith, Elder & Co.