The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

« previous page | book contents | start of this chapter | next page »

It would amount almost to a declaration of war; and he urged that the country was not "prepared" for war. Moreover, he honestly believed that the rents were justly due; and that the poor-rates, though a grievous blunder, were really a machinery for relief, not for slaughter. He came hastily up to Dublin, and introduced resolutions into the Confederation, disavowing certain letters written by Reilly and by myself, condemning our sentiments, and protesting against the club organization being made the medium of promulgating them.

I maintained that no law of the Confederation was violated by what we had done; that there was no use in an Irish Confederation at all, unless it was prepared in so deadly an emergency to advise the general arming of the people, and to make them look for redress of their wrongs to this one agency—the edge of the sword; that if they were not prepared to fight pitched battles with the Queen's troops, they were as well prepared as they ever would be; that if they were mowed down by shot and sabre, they would die a better death than was usual at that period; for no carnage could be so hideous as the British famine.

There was a two days' debate on O'Brien's resolutions, John Martin occupying the chair. It was conducted with perfect courtesy and mutual respect; and it ended in the adoption of the resolutions, by no very great majority. The weight and authority which O'Brien's character deservedly gave him, influenced many; others were moved by the same considerations which acted upon him; and if I had not felt myself to be most exclusively and extremely right, I might have well doubted my position when Dillon, Meagher, and O'Gorman successively rose up and spoke, and voted for the resolutions. The other side was maintained by Eugene O'Reilly, who has since been colonel of a Turkish cavalry regiment in the Russian war; and by Devin Reilly, now in his grave at Washington.

We, therefore, and some two hundred other Confederates, who voted with us, retired from the meetings of the Confederation; and I resigned my place on the committee, and my office of Inspector of Clubs for the province of Ulster. Revolution, then, was ruled out; and I was cut off from the Confederation, as I had been from the Repeal Association before, and on the same question—physical force. This division took place on the 5th of February, 1848. Three weeks after, Louis Philippe fled from before the face of an outraged people; and the tocsin was sounded for a Revolution all over Europe.

On the 12th of February appeared the first number of the ...continue reading »

« previous page | book contents | start of this chapter | next page »

Page 158

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


Library Ireland Facebook