The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

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the feathers. Upon that "Report" Sir Robert was determined, indeed, to act, and did act with sweeping effect. But in the meantime, something must be done to divide and distract the Repeal cause. The people were becoming perilously organized; and any accident might in a moment shiver to atoms the "ethical experiment of moral force."

Danger threatened from the side of America. President Polk had declared that the American title to the Oregon territory, up to a certain line of latitude, was "clear and unquestionable." Sir Robert Peel had declared that a great portion of what was so claimed belonged to England, and England would defend it. Now, there had sprung up, within two or three years, a close correspondence and alliance between the Irish in America and the Irish at home; and encouraging and inspiring addresses were regularly sent over, accompanied by large remittances of money. The addresses were generally written by Robert Tyler, who was then, as he is yet, a warm and disinterested friend of the Irish race. O'Connell was glad to get the money; but the tone of the addresses sometimes made his old brown wig stand on end; and the poor "Head Pacificator" snorted with alarm for the "ethereal and balmy principle." The Nation gave unmistakable notification that in case of war about Oregon, the Americans might count upon a diversion in Ireland.

Suddenly, Sir Robert Peel's Ministerial organs announced that there were "good measures," or what the English call "ameliorations," in store for Ireland. And in truth three measures, having much show of liberality, were soon brought forward. They were all cunningly calculated to the great end—the breaking up of our Repeal Organization. On the 2d of April, then, Sir Robert "sent a Message of Peace to Ireland:" it was a proposed bill to give some additional thousands per annum to the Catholic College of Maynooth; and in the House of Commons the Premier thus urged his measure:—

"I say this without hesitation, and recollect that we have been responsible for the peace of Ireland: you must, in some way or other, break up that formidable confederacy which exists against the British government and British connection (hear, hear). I do not believe you can break it up by force. You can do much to break it up by acting in a spirit of kindness, and forbearance, and generosity. (Cheers)."

It was novel to hear these good words, and we knew they meant fraud. But the Premier continued:—

"There rises in the far western horizon a cloud [Oregon], small, indeed, but threatening future storms. It became my duty on the part ...continue reading »

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Page 76

The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

by John Mitchel


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