An mac ba shine ag Séamus Mac Coitir (c.1630–1705) agus Ellen Pluincéad. Deirtear in DIB gurbh ar 14 Lúnasa 1689 a rugadh é. Nuair a crochadh é ar 7 Bealtaine 1720 ba é a bhí ann, dar leis an staraí Louis Cullen (The Emergence of Modern Ireland, 1981) ‘the most traumatic political event of the first half of the century in Ireland’. Ag tacú leis an áitiú sin deir Breandán Ó Buachalla (Aisling Ghéar..., 1996): ‘Mar bíodh gur crochadh na céadta nach é, ar chúiseanna difriúla, ar fud Éireann sa tréimhse sin níl aon chrochadh eile acu ar tugadh an aird chéanna air nó a raibh an éifeacht chéanna aige ag an am ná ó shin. Filí na Gaeilge féin, níl aon trácht acu ar aon chrochadh eile lena linn; níor spreag aon bhás eile de chuid na haoise an oiread céanna filíochta.’ In Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society LXIIX, 1968 (‘The Letters and Papers of James Cotter Junior 1689–1720’) tarraingíonn William Hogan agus Liam Ó Buachalla as ábhar a bhailigh an tUrramach George Cotter, duine de shliocht Shéamuis Óig, ábhar atá anois i mbailiúchán lámhscríbhinní na Leabharlainne Náisiúnta. Baineann an chuid is mó dá bhfuil i gcló ag an mbeirt le triail agus crochadh Shéamuis Óig.

Easpag Chorcaí, an Dr Peter Creagh, agus Tiarna Lú a aithreacha baistí, rud a thaispeánann go soiléir ar bhain de stádas sóisialta lena mhuintir. Ó 1697, b’fhéidir, bhí an tAthair Domhnall Ó Colmáin, údar Párlaimint na mBan, mar oíde tí aige. Ag Breandán Ó Buachalla in Cork: History and Society..., 1993 in eagar ag P. O’Flanagan agus C.G. Buttimer (‘The Making of a Cork Jacobite’) tá cur síos ar an saothar sin i gcomhthéacs na gCoitireach. Sa réamhrá chun Séamuis Óig scríobh Ó Colmáin: ‘I dtaobh do theagascóirí, mise mar aon díobh, b’fhéidir go dtuigfeá féin le haimsir gurb iomaí dúthracht agus díograis a rinneas-sa chun srutha léinn, gaotha tréanfhoghlama, et lonradh na ndea-bhéas a dhoirteadh go duibheagánta i d’intleacht.’ Toradh amháin ar an oideachas sin agus ar shampla an athar go mba Sheacaibíteach láidir é i rith na tréimhse ba mhó riamh a raibh anfhorlann á imirt ar a leithéidí agus ar Chaitlicigh go háirithe. Scuab príomh-Chaitlicigh na cúige go Londain é an lá a fuair a athair bás. ‘The younger James Cotter, successor to the lands and property, was then only fifteen years old and under the provisions of the Penal Code should therefore be put by the chancellor under a Protestant guardian, whose first duty should be to bring him up in the Protestant creed’ (Hogan agus Breandán Ó Buachalla). Níor éirigh leis an gcleas. Tháinig Séamus slán ó chúrsaí bardachta agus d’éirigh leis teacht in oidhreacht teideal agus talamh a athar. Phós sé Margaret Mathew sula raibh bliain is fiche d’aois aige agus bhí triúr iníonacha agus mac amháin acu. Bhain Margaret le muintir cháiliúil Mhaitiú i dTiobraid Árann agus ba í aint Nano Nagle (1728–1784) í.

Bhí Séamus Óg mustarach teaspúil agus, b’fhéidir, místuama meargánta. Is dóigh go gcuireadh sé olc ar lucht na cinsealachta. Rinneadh é a chur i gcomórtas uair le beirt eile a maraíodh: Murtaí Óg Ó Súilleabháin agus Art Ó Laoghaire, céile Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill . Níor thaitin a ghníomhaíocht pholaitiúil ar son na gCaitliceach leis na húdaráis, go háirithe i mBaile Átha Cliath sna blianta 1713 agus 1715 nuair a bhí baint aige leis na léirsithe a tharla timpeall ar thoghadh na mball parlaiminte. Samhlaíodh do Sheacaibítigh, i 1713 go háirithe, gurbh fhearr go mór an seans a bheadh ann go gcuirfí deireadh le comharbas Hanover ach Tóraithe a bheíth i gceannas: bhí Fuigeanna frith-Sheacaibíteach amach is amach. Bhí Sir Alan Brodrick, Tiarna Seansailéir, duine de chomharsana na gCoitireach, ar dhuine de phríomh-Fhuigeanna na haimsire sin.

Cuireadh i leith Shéamuis Óig i 1719 gur fhuadaigh agus gur éignigh sé Elizabeth Squibb, ball de Chumann na gCarad ar 12 Lúnasa 1718 i gCarn Tighearnaigh. Deirtear gurbh amhlaidh a chuir a deartháir faoi chúram Shéamuis í agus iad ag taisteal go Corcaigh agus go raibh siad ag ól fíona i dtábhairne i Mainistir Fhear Maí. Deirtear in DIB gur tugadh fianaise thar a cheann go raibh Elizabeth Squibb ar meisce i rith an turais mhí-ámharaigh sin. Deir Risteárd Ó Foghludha (Cois na Cora .i. Liam Ruadh Mac Coitir..., 1937) gur cailleadh i 1922 an fhinnéacht go léir a tugadh i rith na trialach nuair a séideadh Oifig na dTaifead. Ní chreideann Hogan agus Breandán Ó Buachalla go ndearna sé dánacht ar bith uirthi: ‘Yet this charge of abduction and rape as everyone then knew, was a complete fabrication and was built on a trifling incident which occurred in a Fermoy tavern in August 1718. Cotter was present, but evidently not implicated, and yet his enemies made it the basis of a conspiracy to put him out of the way, being a dangerous enemy at a dangerous time.’ Luann an bheirt an méid seo a leanas: gur mac le Sir Alan Brodrick ba ea an breitheamh a bhí i gceannas na trialach; go raibh baill Chumann na gCarad líonmhar san fhaicsean Oráisteach i gCorcaigh; gur ar son Shéamuis Óig a bhí formhór na fianaise a tugadh; gur tháinig iarracht éigin de mheisce ar Elizabeth sa tábhairne i Mainistir Fhear Maí; gur tugadh fianaise gur chualathas í a rá nach raibh fírinne ar bith sna líomhaintí: gur impigh a máthair ar na húdaráis gan é a chrochadh.

Ach deirtear in Oxford Companion to Irish History, 1998: ‘His execution in 1720 ... was widely regarded by contemporaries as judicial assassination, although recent evidence suggests that the charge was in fact well founded.’ Nochtann S.J. Connolly in Religion, law, and power: the making of Protestant Ireland 1660–1760, 1992 a thuairim láidir go raibh an Coitireach ciontach. Agus deir an staraí Louis Cullen in Eighteenth-Century Ireland, I, 1986 (‘Catholics under the Penal Laws’) gur dóigh gur éignigh sé Elizabeth Squibb ach gurbh i ngeall ar a pholaitíocht a crochadh é dáiríre, ‘but ostensibly for what seems the distinctly modern crime of raping his own mistress’. In aiste (‘“A Most Inhuman and Barbarous Piece of Villany”: An Exploration of the Crime of Rape in Eighteenth-Century Ireland’) in Eighteenth-Century Ireland: iris an dá chultúr 10, 1995 deir James Kelly: ‘Though some modern commentators have claimed that the accusation of rape was fabricated to secure the judicial execution of Cotter because of his controversial political views, the balance of probability is that a rape occurred.’ Deir Breandán Ó Buachalla: ‘...bíodh gur dóichí go raibh cumann éigin eatarthu, níl sé indéanta anois fírinne na heachtra faoi dear an díotáil a dheimhniú.’ D’fhan cuimhne i measc na ndaoine go raibh cumann eatarthu. Deir Brian Ó Cuiv in The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland LXXXIX. 1959 (‘James Cotter, a Seventeenth-Century Agent of the Crown’): ‘The circumstances connected with this affair and with young Cotter’s trial are very strange, and it is highly likely that the real reason for his execution was political.’ Sin é a chreid Caitlicigh ar fud na hÉireann. Tá an sliocht seo as The English in Ireland, 1872–74 le J.A. Froude i gcló in Aisling Ghéar: ‘All Cork and all the South of Ireland burst into a wail of rage, and the Friends were marked for retribution. Placards covered the walls. Quaker girls were mobbed in the streets of Cork, and threatened with being “Cottered”. No Quaker could show in the streets. The mayor appealed to the Catholic clergy to restrain the people. The Catholic clergy either would not or could not. The passion spread to Limerick, to Tipperary, and at last over all Catholic Ireland, Quakers’ meeting-houses were sacked and burnt. Quakers travelling about the country were waylaid and beaten.’ In Irish Historical Studies, Bealtaine 1999 tugann Neal Garnham tuairimí staraithe ar chrochadh Mhic Choitir agus déanann comparáid idir dhá chás éignithe, cás Mhic Choitir agus cás Henry, Barún de Barra i Seantrabh; scaoileadh an Barún saor. Deir Richard S. Harrison in The Irish Dissenting Tradition 1650–1750, 1995 (in eagar ag Kevin Herlihy): ‘Elizabeth Squibb most likely was no longer a Quaker. Her name does not appear in the Cork Quaker registers and she took a judicial oath at the trial.’ Deir sé freisin gur thug eachtraí ar nós chrochadh Mhic Choitir ar na Cairde tarraingt amach as an saol poiblí in Éirinn agus go háirithe as an saol polaitiúil. Deirtear go ndeachaigh Elizabeth Squibb go Meiriceá i ndiaidh na trialach. Phós baintreach Shéamuis Óig arís agus tógadh a mac mar Phrotastúnach tar éis do Sir Alan Brodrick é a chur faoi chúram Protastúnaigh i dTiobraid Árann a bhí gaolmhar le muìntír Mhaitiú.

Diarmuid Breathnach

Máire Ní Mhurchú