Daniel O'Connell's Tara Meeting - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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raneous pikes and spears, "or instruments serving for pikes and spears." He had been proclaiming from every hill-top in Ireland for six months that something was coming—that Repeal was "on the wild winds of heaven." Expectation had grown intense, painful, almost intolerable. He knew it; and those who were close to him as he mounted the platform, noticed that his lip and hand visibly trembled, as he gazed over the boundless human ocean, and heard its thundering roar of welcome. He knew that every soul in that host demanded its enfranchisement at his hand.

O'Connell called this meeting "an august and triumphant meeting;" and as if conscious that he must at least seem to make another step in advance, he brought up at the next meeting of the Repeal Association, a detailed "plan for the renewed action of the Irish Parliament," which, he said, it only needed the Queen's writ to put in operation. The new House of Commons was to consist of. three hundred members, quite fairly apportioned to the several constituencies; and in the meantime, he announced that he would invite three hundred gentlemen to assemble in Dublin early in December, who were to come from every part of Ireland, and virtually represent their respective localities. This was the "Council of Three Hundred," about which he had often talked before in a vague manner; but had evidently great difficulty in bringing to pass legally. For it would be a "Convention of Delegates,"—and such an assembly, though legal enough in England, is illegal in Ireland. Conventions (like arms and ammunition) are held to be unsuitable to the Irish character. For, in fact, it had been a Convention which proclaimed the independence of Ireland in Dungannon; and the arms and ammunition of the Volunteer army had made it good in 1782; good for eighteen years.

The plan of this Council of three hundred was hailed with great joy by the Nation party. They felt that if boldly carried into effect, it must bring on the crisis one way or another. "The hour is approaching," they wrote, "that will test the leaders of the people, and try the souls of the millions. The curtain has risen on the fifth act of the drama."

Two weeks after, the London Parliament was prorogued; and the Queen's speech (composed by Sir Robert Peel) was occupied almost entirely by two subjects—the disturbances in Wales, and the Repeal Agitation in Ireland. There had been some rioting and bloodshed in Wales, in resistance to oppressive turnpike dues, and the like;—there was a quiet and legal ex- ...continue reading »

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