Dr. Johnson

Justin McCarthy
Chapter VIII | Start of Chapter

Lucas withdrew for safety to England, where at all events there was something like a system of constitutional law which might secure a fair trial even for a political offender. He devoted himself for some time to the practice of his profession, and obtained a distinct success. He made the acquaintance of some eminent Englishmen, among whom was Samuel Johnson, whose opinion will help us in forming a judgment alike of Lucas and of his agitation. Writing about Lucas, Johnson said: "The Irish Ministers drove him from his native country by a proclamation in which they charged him with crimes which they never intended to be called to the proof, and oppressed him by methods equally irresistible by guilt and innocence. Let the man thus driven into exile for having been the friend of his country be received in every place as a confessor of liberty." Lucas had no idea of giving up his political career. He returned to Dublin, where the new movement had taken such a hold among all classes that within a year he was elected by the Dublin constituency as its representative in the Irish House of Commons. He founded and for a while conducted the Dublin Freeman's Journal, which was established to be the organ of truly Liberal opinions, of constitutional and religious equality and freedom, and has ever since maintained the principles of its founder.