Sentence and Imprisonment of O'Connell - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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fit to suspect, or pretend to suspect. The mode of opening the letters was by softening the seals or wafers by means of steam; and the government kept workmen cunning in re-sealing; so that the parties might not conceive suspicion, and thus be put on their guard. After the Mazzini case was exposed, the British public affected to be indignant; and the House of Commons appointed a committee to investigate. That committee very coolly informed the British public and the rest of mankind that the practice was not new—was common—was needful; and gave the public names and dates to make the most of. Confining myself to Irish cases alone, it appears by this report that warrants were issued at the following times by the following persons, for opening and copying the letters of various individuals:—

1832—Marquis of Anglesey.
1834—E. J. Littleton (Secretary).
"—Marquis Wellesley.
1835—Earl of Mulgrave [afterwards Marquis of Normanby].
"—T. Drummond (Secretary).
"—Lord Plunket (one of the Lords Justices).
"—Archbishop of Dublin (ditto).
1838—Lord Morpeth (Secretary) [afterwards Earl of Carlisle].
1839—Marquis of Normanby.
"—Lord Viscount Ebrington.
"—Gen. Sir T. Blakeney (one of the Lords Justices).
1840—Lord Viscount Ebrington.
1841—Chief Justice Bushe (one of the Lords Justices).
"—Earl De Grey.
"—Sir E. Sugden (one of the Lords Justices).
1843—Earl De Grey."

The British public, seeing the thing to be "necessary," said no more about it; and the practice has continued in full activity from that day to this.

With so firm a hold upon the island, the British Ministers might have thought themselves in a condition to abandon their questionable prosecution; but they had the idea that O'Connell's power lay very much in the received opinion of his legal infallibility; so they were resolved to imprison him, at any rate for a short time—even though he should finally trample on their prosecution and come forth in triumph;—as in fact he did.

On the 30th of May the "Conspirators" were called up for ...continue reading »

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