The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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CHAPTER XIX.

MARCH, 1848—THE FRENCH REVOLUTION—WATERFORD ELECTION—AGGREGATE MEETING IN DUBLIN—PROSECUTION OF O'BRIEN, MEAGHER, AND MITCHEL—O'BRIEN IN THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT—THE "TREASON-FELONY" ACT—TRIAL OF O'BRIEN AND MEAGHER FOR "SEDITION"—THE "UNITED IRISHMAN"—TRIALS FOR ILLEGAL DRILLLING—PROSECUTION FOR "SEDITION" ABANDONED—ARREST OF MITCHEL FOR "TREASON-FELONY."

MARCH '48 was a season of nervous tremour to the British Empire. The exciting news that came in every week from France, Germany, and Italy, intoxicated our people like wine; and the enemy knew that men's minds were entirely turned away from what used to be called "moral" agitation,—which had, indeed, been discovered to be extremely immoral. The structure of the British Parliament, and the delusive semblance of representation which Ireland possessed there, had been carefully calculated for the purposes of our enemy. That was a field expressly laid out and surveyed to ensure our eternal defeat. At the very moment that Europe shook with the crashing downfall of the Orleans throne, the Irish Confederation was using all its efforts, in prosecution of the policy deliberately adopted, to procure the return of Thomas Frances Meagher as representative of his native city, Waterford. He was opposed by a Repealer of the O'Connellite school.

You may ask what was the difference between the constitutionally agitating Repeal Association, and the constitutionally agitating Confederation? Why should they oppose one another in Waterford? Understand this distinction: the policy of the Repeal Association was to put men into Parliament who would crave office for themselves and their constituents at the hands of the enemy's government, professing all the while to be seeking for the Repeal. The Confederation was for returning men who would stand on terms of utter defiance towards the "Government," and use their position only to expose and frustrate, as far as possible, all British legislation for Ireland. With reluctance I opposed in the United Irishman the return of my friend, Mr Meagher. To explain both his position and mine, I shall extract from the article in the United Irishman:...continue reading »

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Page 164

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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