The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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Nor is it very clear that a Garibaldi could have gained victory, though he might have made, at least, a fight. Of course, the British were in high delight; and their Press, with its usual delicate irony, named O'Brien the "hero of the cabbage garden."

In fact, there was no insurrection. The people in those two or three counties did not believe that O'Brien meant to fight; and nothing would now persuade them of that but some desperate enterprise. Yet they were all ready and willing; and, indeed, are at all times ready and willing to fight against English dominion. The English ought to be grateful to O'Brien, that his extreme punctilio about not striking the first blow, and his tender regard for human life, suffered the passion of the people to cool, and enabled the enemy to draw their toils around him. If he had at once raised the green banner, with the Lamh Laidhir* on its folds, proclaimed Tenant-Right, disarmed all the neighbouring police stations, and precipitated himself upon some garrison town, all Munster, Leinster, Connaught, and the half of Ulster, would have been in resistless insurrection within one week. The enemy might have overpowered a population, unarmed and half-starved, like ours; but at least the Last Conquest (Perhaps) would not have been consummated without one stalwart blow. ...continue reading »


* The strong hand; the cognizance of the O'Briens.

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Page 201

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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