Opening of "Conciliation Hall" - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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articles in the several newspapers whose editors were included in the prosecution.

All these "overt acts" continued to be transacted with even greater activity than ever. The open air monster meetings, indeed, ceased; as Clontarf was to have been the last of them, at all events, owing to the approach of winter; but in no other respect was there any change in the system of agitation. The new hall, which had been built as a place of meeting for the Association, was just finished; and O'Connell, who had a peculiar taste in nomenclature, christened it "Conciliation Hall;" intending to indicate the necessity for uniting all classes and religions in Ireland, in a common struggle for the independence of their common country.

This "Conciliation Hall" was a large oblong building on Burgh Quay, next door to the Corn Exchange, the scene of O'Connell's agitation for many years. The new hall was not a beautiful building, externally, presenting to the street a front ornamented with pilasters,—the Harp and Irish Crown, cut in stone—and over all a balustrade. Internally, it was spacious, handsome, and convenient. On the 22d of October it was opened in great form and amidst high enthusiasm. The chair was taken by John Augustus O'Neill, of Bunowen Castle, a Protestant gentleman, who had been early in life a cavalry officer and Member of Parliament for Hull, in England. Letters from Lord French, Sir Charles Wolesley, Sir Richard Musgrave, and Mr Caleb Powell, one of the Members for Limerick county, were read and placed on the minutes—all breathing vehement indignation against the "government," and pledging the warmest support. But this first meeting in the New Hall was specially notable for the adhesion of Mr Smith O'Brien. Nothing encouraged the people, nothing provoked and perplexed the enemy, so much as this. O'Brien was of the great and ancient house of Thomond, in Munster; his father was Sir Edward O'Brien, an extensive proprietor in Clare county, and regarded as the chief of his clan. His eldest brother was Sir Lucius O'Brien, then a Baronet, but afterwards Lord Inchiquin. The family had been Protestant for some generations; and Smith O'Brien, though always zealous in promoting everything which might be useful to Ireland in Parliament, had remained attached to the Whig party, and was hardly expected to throw himself into the national cause so warmly, and at so dangerous a time. His Whig associates, not having been accustomed to meet with men of his stamp, confessed their surprise. ...continue reading »

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