The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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CHAPTER XXIV.

CONSUMMATION OF THE "CONQUEST"—THE QUEEN'S SPEECH IN 1849—MORE COERCION—MORE POOR-LAW—DEPOPULATION—CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE, AS DESCRIBED BY MR DUFFY IN 1849—LORD JOHN RUSSELL'S "RATE-IN-AID"—THE "INCUMBERED ESTATES ACT"—RESULT OF INCUMBERED ESTATES COURT—QUEEN'S VISIT TO IRELAND IN 1849—POPULAR FEELING IN DUBLIN SUPPRESSED BY THE POLICE—IRELAND "TRANQUIL," "IMPROVING," AND "PROSPEROUS"—STATISTICS, RECAPITULATION, CONCLUSION.

THE Conquest was now consummated—England, great, populous, and wealthy, with all the resources and vast patronage of an existing government in her hands—with a magnificent army and navy—with the established course and current of commerce steadily flowing in the precise direction that suited her interests—with a powerful party on her side in Ireland itself, bound to her by lineage and by interest—and, above all, with her vast brute mass lying between us and the rest of Europe, enabling her to intercept the natural sympathies of other struggling nations, to interpret between us and the rest of mankind, and represent the troublesome sister island, exactly in the light that she wished us to be regarded—England prosperous, potent, and at peace with all the earth besides—had succeeded (to her immortal honour and glory) in anticipating and crushing out of sight the last agonies of resistance in a small, poor, and divided island, which she had herself made poor and divided, carefully disarmed, almost totally defranchised, and totally deprived of the benefits of that very British "law" against which we revolted with such loathing and horror. England had done this; and whatsoever credit and prestige, whatsoever profit and power could be gained by such a feat, she has them all. "Now, for the first time these six hundred years," said the London Times, "England has Ireland at her mercy, and can deal with her as she pleases."

It was an opportunity not to be lost for the interests of British civilization. Parliament met late in January, 1849. The Queen, in her "speech," lamented that "another failure of the potato crop had caused severe distress in Ireland: and thereupon asked Parliament to continue, "for a limited period," the extraordinary power; that is, the power of proclaiming any district under martial law, and of throwing suspected persons into ...continue reading »

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Page 210

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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