The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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but of the very law courts, and stamp office, and other public departments. It indicated only that the Times thought it might be politic to throw out this federal idea as an apple of discord amongst Repealers; and it had some effect. Again, said the Times, remarking on the high rank of some of those Irishmen, who were now (not in masses, but in units) joining Repeal:—

"No, the movement is not essentially a democratic one. It is no more democratic than the American Revolution was in its outset. That was a revolution of which the most earnest leaders and the most respectable were, in the first instance, men of birth and family, representatives of some of the oldest families in the colony. The course of events changed with time, and swept the Virginian gentlemen into the same gulf of equality as the grocer of Boston, or the drab-coloured draper of Pennsylvania. But the principles from which that revolution sprung were the same as those which are now operating in Ireland—impatience of control, private ambition; and, we must add, a poetical patriotism, which is charmed by the sound and enchanted by the vision of 'The Kingdom and Parliament of Ireland.'"

It is evident, then, that there was no more shrieking and howling in England over the phenomenon. For, in fact, all this time, the steady policy of England towards her "sister island" was proceeding on the even tenor of its way quite undisturbed. Four millions sterling of the rental of Ireland was, as usual, carried over every year, to be spent in England; and the few remaining manufactures which our island has struggled to retain, were growing gradually less and less. The very "frieze" (rough, home-made woollen cloth) was driven out of the market by a far cheaper and far worse Yorkshire imitation of it. Some Repeal artist had devised a "Repeal button," displaying the ancient Irish Crown. The very Repeal button was mimicked in Birmingham; and hogsheads of ancient Irish Crowns were poured into the market, to the utter ruin of the Dublin manufacturer. True, they were of the basest of metal and handiwork; but they lasted as long as "the Repeal" lasted.

All great public expenditures were still confined to England; and, in the year 1844 there was, quite as usual, Irish produce to the value of about fifteen millions sterling exported to England. We cried out that our trade was ruined, and our fine harbours empty: the "Cyclops" and "Rhadamanthus" war-steamers came to us, with 25,000 stands of arms for distribution among the garrisons. We complained that nothing was done in their Parliament for Ireland: straightway we got an ...continue reading »

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Page 64

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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