The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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CHAPTER VII.

O'CONNELL IN PRISON—DAVIS, HIS MISGIVINGS—REVERSAL OF THE JUDGMENT—WHIG LAW-LORDS—REJOICINGS IN DUBLIN—THE PEOPLE DISAPPOINTED—FEDERALISM—O'BRIEN.

THE Repeal year had conducted not to a Parliament in College Green, but to a Penitentiary at Richmond. Yet the people believed in O'Connell's power, wisdom, and truth. From his prison he sent weekly messages to the Repeal Association (which continued to meet as usual), announcing that the independence of the country was never so certain;—that he rejoiced to be imprisoned for Ireland;—above all, that he implored the people to be peaceful and patient. ' Peaceful and patient they were; and the Wardens and clergy laboured more zealously than ever to keep up the agitation and swell its funds. Corporations, bishops, "dismissed magistrates," and mayors of cities, thronged the courts and gardens of the prison, bringing their addresses of confidence and assurances of co-operation. Very considerable indignation had been excited, even amongst the Protestants, by the means which had been used to snatch this conviction. The agitation had rather gained than lost: and many gentlemen who had held back till now, sent in their names and subscriptions. O'Brien was a constant attendant at the Association; and by his boldness and purity of character, and his extensive knowledge of public affairs, gave it both impetus and steadiness.

Yet O'Connell and his friends were in a prison, sentenced to an incarceration of one year; and it would be vain to deny that there was humiliation in the fact. True, the jury had been notoriously packed; the trial had been but a sham; and the sentence would probably be reversed by the House of Lords. Still, there was Ireland, represented by her chosen men, suffering the penalties of crime in a gaol. The island was still fully and effectively occupied by troops, as a hostile country; and all its resources were in clear possession of the enemy. Many began to doubt whether the "Moral-Force principle" of O'Connell would be found sufficient.

In an elegant tent, with a green flag flying over it, O'Connell, with his green Mullaghmast cap on, received the deputations, and made them gracious answers, not without a seasoning of ...continue reading »

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Page 55

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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