The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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CHAPTER XX.

RAGE OF THE BRITISH PRESS—PROTESTANT REPEAL ASSOCIATION—LORD CLARENDON'S MANOEUVRES AMONG THE ORANGEMEN PROCLAMATIONS "AGAINST COMMUNISTS"—THE CHARTISTS AND IRISH IN ENGLAND—LETTER TO THE PROTESTANTS OF THE NORTH—PROSECUTION.

IT was May, '48; and, in the opinion of our London enemies, the time had come to put an end to treason and sedition in Ireland by all or any means. They knew we would not commence an actual insurrection until November; and they feared that by that time Ireland might be too strong for them. They betrayed their apprehensions in various ways. The Morning Chronicle, then a ministerial organ, to rouse the fear and rage of ignorant English readers, discoursed in this manner:—

"Let us suppose an Irish Republic established on the most democratic basis, and a government formed of the present heads of the Repeal party, Messrs O'Brien, Meagher, and Mitchel, with, perhaps, an infusion of O'Connells and MacHales. Their avowed 'mission' is to break up the 'old British Empire;' their appetites would have been whetted by Saxon blood, and their ambition flushed by success over Englishmen. An unemployed and desperate population would be on their hands; and their only chance of existence would consist in expending its energies on foreign war. Let us proceed to reflect that they would then, as now, possess in every town of Great Britain an Irish garrison, and that then, as now, they would command the sympathies and assistance of all the disaffected part of our working population.

"Let any sensible man calmly ask himself what possible chances all these contingencies combined would leave for preserving peace. Well, then, say our opponents, let war come; we will reconquer Ireland. If you do, you will be exactly where you are now; but will you be able to conquer her? Recollect that if England would be the 'natural enemy' of an Irish Republic, France and America would be her 'natural allies.'

"... We have great faith in the star of England, but—under these circumstances—we fear we should have to confess that Mr Mitchel's sinister prophecies were on the point of accomplishment, and that the last hour of the 'old British Empire' had struck. That would, indeed, be a glorious day for Ireland! The tables would be turned with a vengeance, when an Irish army of occupation should give the law in the British metropolis."

The whole British Press ran wild with furious imprecations ...continue reading »

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Page 174

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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