The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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pression of opinion in Ireland, unattended by the slightest outrage, demanding back the Parliament of the country. The Queen first dealt with Wales. She had taken measures, she said, for the repression of violence—and at the same time directed an inquiry to be made into the circumstances which led to it. As to Ireland, her Majesty said there was discontent and disaffection, but uttered not a word about any inquiry into the causes of that. "It had ever been her earnest desire,'' her Majesty said, "to administer the government of that country in a spirit of strict justice and impartiality"—and "she was firmly determined, under the blessing of Divine Providence," to maintain the Union. The little principality of Wales was in open revolt; there ministers would institute inquiry. Ireland was quiet, and standing upon the law; there they would meet the case with horse, foot, and artillery: for we all knew that was what the Queen meant by "the blessing of Divine Providence."

Again the Agitator mustered all Connaught at three great monster meetings—in Roscommon, Clifden, and Loughrea. Again he asked them if they were for the Repeal; and again the mountains and the sea-cliffs resounded with their acclaim. Yes; they were for the Repeal; they had said so before. What next?

Leinster, too, was summoned again to meet on the 1st of October, at Mullaghmast, in Kildare county, near the road from Dublin to Carlow, and close on the borders of the Wicklow highlands. Every device was used to make this the most imposing and effective of all the meetings. The spot was noted as the scene of a massacre of some chiefs of Offaly and Leix, with hundreds of their clansmen, in 1577, by the English of the Pale, who had invited them to a great feast, but had troops silently drawn around the banqueting hall, who, at a signal, attacked the place and cut the throat of every wassailer. The hill of Mullaghmast, like that of Tara, is crowned by a Rath, or ancient earthen rampart, enclosing about three acres.

To this meeting it was supposed that additional importance would be given, if the members of the town corporations of Leinster should repair thither in their corporate robes. O'Connell took the chair in the scarlet cloak of Alderman. There had lately been invented a "national cap," modelled after the form of an ancient Irish crown. One of these was prepared, splendidly embroidered, wherewith to crown O'Connell on the Rath of Mullaghmast; and it was with great ceremony placed on his head by John Hogan, the first of Irish sculptors. We ...continue reading »

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Page 36

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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