Queen Victoria's Visit to Ireland in 1849 - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel

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tore down the flag and the curtains, and rudely thrust the proprietor into gaol. One other incident of the royal visit will be enough:—

"The Freeman says, that on passing through Parkgate Street, Mr James Nugent, one of the Guardians of the North Union, approached the royal carriage, which was moving rather slowly, and, addressing the Queen, said: 'Mighty Monarch, pardon Smith O'Brien.' Before, however, he had time to get an answer, or even to see how her Majesty received the application, Lord Clarendon rode up and put him aside; and the cortege again set out at a dashing pace, which it maintained until it drew up opposite the Vice-regal Lodge in the Park."

On the whole, however, the Viceroy's precautions against any show of disaffection, were, I take shame to say it, complete and successful. Nine out of ten citizens of Dublin eagerly hoped that her Majesty would make this visit the occasion of a "pardon" to O'Brien and his comrades. Lord Clarendon's organs, therefore, and his thousand placemen and agents of every grade, diligently whispered into the public ear that the Queen would certainly pardon the State prisoners, if she were not insulted by Repeal demonstrations—in short, if there was not one word said about those prisoners. The consequence was, that no whisper was heard about Repeal, nor about the State prisoners—except only the exclamation of silly Mr Nugent to his "Mighty Monarch."

Although there was no chance of Tenant-Right, no chance of Ireland being allowed to manage her own affairs—yet towards Catholics of the educated classes there was much liberality. Mr Wyse was sent ambassador to Greece: Mr More O'Ferrall was made Governor of Malta: many barristers, once loud in their patriotic devotion at Conciliation Hall, were appointed to Commissioner-ships and other minor offices; and Ireland became "tranquil" enough. For result of the whole long struggle, England was left, for a time, more securely in possession than ever of the property, lives, and industry of the Irish nation. She had not parted with a single atom of her plunder, nor in the slightest degree weakened any of her garrisons, either military, civil, or ecclesiastical. Her "Established Church" remained in full force—the wealthiest church in the world, quartered upon the poorest people, who abhor its doctrine, and regard its pastors as ravening wolves. It had, indeed, often been denounced in the London Parliament, by Whigs out of place: Mr Roebuck had called it "the greatest ecclesiastical enormity in Europe;" Mr Macaulay had termed it "the most ...continue reading »

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