The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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read in the papers of the day how the Liberator's face beamed with pleasure when Hogan placed the cap upon his head, saying—"Sir, I only regret that this cap is not of gold."

And again there was a vast assemblage; and again the numerous bands discoursed Irish music, and the air was fanned by a thousand banners, and rent by the acclamations of hundreds of thousands of human beings; and again O'Connell assured them that England could not long resist these demonstrations of their peaceful resolve that the Union was a nullity __that he had already arranged his plan for the new Irish Parliaments—and that this was the Repeal year.

In truth, it was time for England either to yield with good grace, or to find or make some law applicable to this novel "political offence," or to provoke a fight and blow away Repeal with cannon. Many of the Protestants were joining O'Connell; and even the troops in some Irish regiments had been known to throw up their caps with "Hurrah for Repeal!" It was high time to grapple with the " Sedition."

Accordingly, the government was all this time watching for an occasion on which it could come to issue with the Agitation, where all advantages were on its side. The next week that occasion arose. A great metropolitan meeting was appointed to be held on the historic shore of Clontarf,—two miles from Dublin, along the Bay,—on Sunday, the 8th of October. The garrison of Dublin amounted then to about 4,000 men, besides the 1,000 police, with abundance of field artillery.

Late in the afternoon of Saturday, when it was already almost dusk, a Proclamation was posted on the walls of Dublin, signed by the Irish Secretary and Privy Councillors and the Commander of the Forces, forbidding the meeting; and charging all magistrates and officers, "and others whom it might concern, to be aiding and assisting in the execution of the Law, in preventing said meeting."

"Let them not dare," O'Connell had often said, "to attack us!" The challenge was now to be accepted. The curtain rises on the fifth act. ...continue reading »

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Page 37

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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