The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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and Lord French, usually accompanying the announcement of the supersedeas with an insolent letter; when Smith O'Brien wrote to him that he had been a magistrate for many years, that he was not a Repealer, but could not consent to hold his commission on such humiliating terms. Instantly his example was followed by many gentlemen, who flung their commissions in the Chancellor's face, sometimes with letters as insulting as his own. And now O'Connell brought forward one of his grand schemes. It was to have all the dismissed magistrates appointed "arbitrators," who should hold regular courts of arbitration in their respective districts—all the people pledging themselves to make no resort to the Queen's magistrates, but to settle all questions by the award of their "arbitrators." This was put into operation in many places and worked very well.

In reply to questions in Parliament, as to what they were concentrating troops in Ireland for, Peel and Wellington had said they did not mean to make war or attack anybody, but only to maintain the peace of the country. Shortly after, there was a monster meeting in Kilkenny; the trades of the city marched in procession with their banners; thirty or forty temperance bands in military array, and playing Irish music; vast bodies of horsemen, amounting probably to twenty thousand, ranked in deep masses around the outskirts of the meeting. Now I shall give you a specimen of the Agitator's oratory. After having called for "three cheers for the Queen"—

"I suppose you have heard," he said, "of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel having come down to Parliament one fine evening to declare they would prevent the Repeal of the Union even by civil war. We will not go to war with them; but let them not dare to go to war with us! The great Duke and the crafty Sir Robert have pulled in their horns a little; and said they did not mean to attack us. Very well; there is peace, then, for we will not attack them. . . .

"What is the next step? Up comes Chancellor Sugden,—what an ugly name the fellow has! Why, there is not one of you would call a decent-looking pig Sugden. This Chancellor issues a letter, striking us from the Commission of the Peace. . . The Commission of the Peace was also taken from Colonel Butler, from Lord French, from Sir Michael Dillon Bellew, and from Daniel O'Connell, and other vagabonds. This Sugden, who took away the Commission of the Peace from us, is a lawyer, and has made an enormous fortune by the law; yet he does not understand the law; for he says it is unconstitutional to attend meetings, while he himself publishes an alleged speech of the Queen, and attributes to her the unconstitutional speech uttered by a Prime Minister. But they have sent over 36,000 men here, cavalry, infantry, artillery, and marines. . . Do you know what they are going to do? The ...continue reading »

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Page 24

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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