Rejoicings in Dublin - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

« previous page | book contents | start of this chapter | next page »

insult I do not pretend to deny that our national honour still lies a-bleeding.

But in Dublin there was the show of high rejoicing; and the prisoners were escorted from the Penitentiary, through the city, by a vast and orderly procession, to O'Connell's house in Merrion Square. In deep and ordered ranks the "Trades" of Dublin marched, preceded by bands, and innumerable banners fanned the air; and splendid carriages, with four horses and with six, conveyed committees, attorneys for the traversers, aldermen, and other notabilities. The procession marched through College Green; and just as O'Connell's carriage came in front of the Irish Parliament House (the most superb building in Dublin), the carriage stopped—the whole procession stopped—and there was a deep silence as O'Connell rose to his full height, and, pointing with his finger to the portico, turned slowly around, and gazed into the faces of the people, without a word. Again and again he stretched forth his arm and pointed; and a succession of pealing cheers rent the air and "shook the banners like a storm," until, say the reporters, "Echo herself was hoarse."

All the country, friends and enemies, Ireland and England, were now looking eagerly and earnestly for O'Connell's first movement, as an indication of his future course. Never, at any moment in his life, did he hold the people so wholly in his hand. During the imprisonment, both clergy and Repeal Wardens had laboured diligently in extending and confirming the organization; and the poor people proved their faith and trust by sending greater and greater contributions to the Repeal Treasury. They kept the "peace," as their Liberator bade them, and the land was never so free from crime—lest they should "give strength to the enemy."

I am proud of my people; and have always regarded with profound admiration the steady faith, patient zeal, self-denial, and disciplined enthusiasm they displayed for these two years. To many thousands of those peasants the struggle had been more severe than any war; for they were expected to set at naught potent landlords, who had over them and their children power of life and death—with troops of insolent bailiffs, and ejecting attorneys, and the omnipresent police; and they did set them at naught. Every vote they gave at an election might cost them house and home, land and life. They were naturally ardent, impulsive, and impatient; but their attitude was calm and steadfast. They were an essentially military people; but the great "Liberator" told them that "no political ameliora- ...continue reading »

« previous page | book contents | start of this chapter | next page »

Page 60