The Whigs - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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woman's stack-yard will ever more be plundered by the police and redcoats, to pay a clergyman whom she never saw, and whose ministration she would not attend. Repeal the Union, and every man will pay the pastor of his choice. I don't want Protestants to pay our Catholic clergy;—why should we be compelled to pay theirs!"

Language, this, which generally seemed to his audience perfectly fair.

Whig newspapers and politicians in England (the Whigs being then in opposition) began now to suggest various conciliatory measures—talked of the anomaly of the "Established Church"—and generally gave it to be understood, that if they were in power, they would know how to deal with the Repeal agitation. At every meeting, O'Connell turned these professions into ridicule. It was too late now, he said, to offer to buy up Repeal by concessions, or good measures. An Irish Parliament in College Green; this was his ultimatum. He "once knew an omadhaun (idiot) in Kerry—where, by-the-bye, there were not many of them—who used to watch till the hen was out, and then slip to the nest and suck her eggs. One day he went to the nest and found some eggs—bored a hole in the end of one with his finger, and just as he turned the whole contents of it over his tongue, the chicken that was in it squeaked. 'Ha! lad,' said he, 'you spoke late.' He would say the same to Lord John Russell and the Whigs, when they talked of offering justice instead of Repeal:' Ha! lads, you spoke late.'"

Again, at another meeting, referring to the same matter:—

"It had also been said by another paper that he had always preferred the Whigs to the Tories; but let them always recollect that it had been a familiar jest of his, that Paddy supported the Whigs for the same reason that he stuffed his hat in a broken pane—not to let in the light, but to keep out the cold (laughter)."

There was not the least fear, however, of either Whig or Tory killing Repeal by too much kindness. If the whole unbroken mass of grievances was necessary to keep up the agitation in full force, he was likely to be left in clear possession of it all. For example, when Mr Ward, Whig member for Sheffield, on the first of August in this year, brought forward a motion directed against the Irish Church Establishment, the principal Whig leaders were absent; all the Ministers were absent except Lord Eliot; and nearly all the Members of Parliament rose and left the House. On motion of Mr Escott, the House was "counted out," and there was an end of the subject.

It was clear enough that the mind of England was made up. ...continue reading »

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