Thomas Davis: His Misgivings - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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merry jest. Through the trees, and amongst parterres of flowers, one might see the "martyrs" and their friends sauntering about; the tall form of Mr Steele, the "Head Pacificator," strode alone and apart; pretending to read "Kane's Industrial Resources of Ireland." John O'Connell, with a smile ready for all comers, but an air somewhat pre-occupied, as if intent on weighty business, remained generally near to his father. He was then about thirty-two years of age, small of stature, but rather corpulent, and extremely unlike in every respect to the "Liberator." He was then member of Parliament for Kilkenny. Duffy might have been seen on a rustic bench, surrounded by certain young poets, his pale face illuminated with a glow that looked very like the light of enthusiasm, and almost of genius; and he seemed to be rather too nervously anxious that the "Nation party" should be forward and conspicious at this crisis of the cause. Davis was still making the columns of the Nation flash with proud hope and defiance; but did not affect to conceal a certain despondency. "No," he said; "O'Connell will run no more risks. Even when this judgment shall be set aside, and he will come out in triumph, he will content himself with 'imposing demonstrations.' He will not call the Clontarf meeting again—he will not summon the Council of Three Hundred; and from the day of his release the cause will be going back and going down. What care the government," he exclaimed, with bitterness, "how many thousands of people may meet peacefully and legally, or in what trappings they dress themselves, or to what tunes they march, or what banners they may flaunt,—while there are fifty thousand bayonets in all our garrisons, besides the Orange Yeomanry?" In truth, the Repeal Agitation, as a living and formidable power, was over from the day of imprisonment; and I shall not dwell on the details of it any farther.

The judgment of the Irish Court of Queen's Bench was brought up to the British House of Peers on a Writ of Error; and on the 2d and 4th of September, the opinions of nine English Judges were delivered, and the decision pronounced. Eight of the Judges gave their opinion that the jury was a good jury, the verdict good, and the judgment good. It appeared, however, that Mr Justice Coleridge dissented. Lord Lyndhurst, the Lord Chancellor, then delivered his decision; he agreed with the majority of the judges, and thought the judgment should stand, packing of the jury being immaterial. He was followed by Lord Brougham,—and nobody could doubt what would be the decision of that learned person;—the jury ...continue reading »

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