John Mitchel

A. M. Sullivan
c. 1900
CHAPTER XCI. (continued)
Portrait of John Mitchel

Meanwhile, there returned an illustrious exile, John Mitchell, to the land of his birth, after an absence of sixteen years. His visit, for such merely it was, was due to a cause which heretofore would seem to be the last inducement that would prompt his return. Some of his friends in the National party conceived the novel idea of administering a merited rebuke to the British government, which had banished men of ability such as Mitchell, by having him nominated and elected to a seat in parliament. Accordingly he was nominated for Cork City, and also for Tipperary County, without being apprised of the fact. His well-known scepticism in moral force, made it doubtful whether he would accept the honor were it tendered him, and made the people uncertain how to act under the circumstances, and to this cause was due his defeat.

His arrival in Queenstown on the 25th of July, 1874, was unexpected, but when he reached Cork a procession of ten thousand people escorted him to his hotel. Then he repaired to Newry, his native town, where he sojourned for a few months to recruit his health, and await the opportunity of being elected to parliament if a vacancy occurred. This did not happen, however, and Mitchell returned to New York in October. A few months later, February, 1875, a vacancy occurred again for Tipperary, and John Mitchell was set up as the popular candidate. He sailed from America forthwith, and landed in Ireland on the 16th of February. The day before, he had been elected without opposition, but his election, as every one foresaw, was unavailing. On the motion of Mr. Disraeli, the House of Commons, by a large majority, pronounced him ineligible. John Mitchell survived this, which was to be his last struggle for the land he had loved, but a short while. He died at Dromolane in the house where he was born, on the morning of March 20, 1875.