Page images
PDF
EPUB

The election did not excite much interest, for Mr. O'Conneil was not opposed. It was preceded and accompanied, however by the usual number of “ triumphant entries," as they were called, that is assemblages of large crowds of people to whom were addressed the usual number of bad speeches, in which inflammatory abuse was mixed up with low buffooning and sheer blackguardism, and we are sorry to add, in one or two instances on the part of Mr. O'Connell, with expressions strongly verging on blasphemy itself. In one of his orations, delivered on his entry into Ennis, he said. “The fortyshilling elective franchise, has been taken from you, and the £10 substituted for it. You will give me an opportunity of having that franchise, that right restored. I promised you religious freedom, and I kept my word. The Catholics are now free, and the Brunswickers are no longer their masters, and a paltry set they were to be our masters. They could turn up the white of their eyes to Heaven, but at the same time they put their hands very slily into your pockets. They would discount God Almighty for ready money. The Brunswick Clubs of Dublin, have sent down one, a miniature in flesh, poor Bunibo and his land-calf-brother, to disfranchise the brave freeholders, and crooked eyed Fitzgerald swore to it, but I call on the gentry of Clare to separate themselves from the disgraceful Dublin Blood-bounds, and join what is intended for the good of the people. The question is no longer a question between Protestant and Catholic; that is at • an end, it is now, who is a good or a bad man. If you thus decide, which will you choose, Bumbo or me? I hope you will rub off the foul stain of my connection with these Bloodhounds, and ratify the former election. What good did any Member ever before in Parliament do for the county of Clare, except to get places for their nephews and cousins &c. ? What did I do? I procured for you emancipation. Does the subletting Act oppress? I shall not be six months in Parliament, until all your oppression shall be done away with."

This was language fitted to excite, but not to mitigate

730

DANIEL O CONNELL, ESQ.

angry passions, used too, not in the hear of a contested election but when he was allowed to walk the course undisturbed. He did not conceal his ulterior views. Whenever he could find an opportunity, he made a speech, he announced his great object now to be a repeal of the union with England, and the, means by which he was to seek it, that same organization of the people to which his Majesty's Government had lately told the empire, it was impossible for them to say no.

We shall have now," said he “at Youghall, a brighter era opened to us, and I trust that all classes of my countrymen will join together, and by forming one general firm phalanx achieve, what is still wanting, to make Ireland what it ought to be. Ireland had her 1782; she shall have another 1782. Let no man tell me it is useless to look for a repeal of that odious union, that blot upon our national character. I revere the union between England and Scotland, but the union which converted Ireland into a province, which deprived Ireland of her Parliament, it is for the repeal of that measure we must now use all the constitutional means in our power. That union which engenders absenteeism, and the thousand other evils which naturally flow in its train. We are bound to England by the golden link of the crown, and far be it from me, to weaken that connection by my present observations. I want no disseveration, but I want and must have a repeal of that cursed measure which deprived Ireland of her senate, and, thereby made her a dependent upon British Aristocracy, and British intrigue and British interest. I may perhaps be told that to attempt a repeal of the Uuion would be chimerical I pity the man who requires an argument in support of the position that Ireland wants her Parliament; and that individual who pronounces the attainment of such consummation to be Utopian, is reminded of the Catholic Question. Look at the Catholic cause; do I not remember when it was difficult to procure a meeting of five Catholics, to look for a restoration of our then withheld rights; I recollect when we agitators, were a.most as much execrated by our fellow-slaves as we were by our oppressors.

For the attainment of the repeal of the Union, I shall have the co-operation of all the classes and grades in society; the Orangeman of the north, the Methodist of the south, and the quiet unpresuming Quaker, who may think his gain shall be thereby augmented-all shall be joined in one common cause the restoration of Ireland's Parliament.” “I am now on my way to Dublin; nor shall I be there a fortnight, when a Society having for its title seventeen hundred and eightytwo," shall be formed. I dare say I shall have but a few per. sons enrolled in it at the first; but like the mighty oak, which spreads and overshadows the desert, resisting for centuries the most furious blasts of the elements, so shall seventeen hundred and eighty-two” extend its influence throughout Ireland, nor cease till her Parliament be restored, her sons be one creed, all joined in the common cause of seeing old Ireland great and glorious amongst the nations of Europe." In another and earlier oration delivered at Carrick-on-Suire, he had said, “ what was to be done for Ireland. The contentions of religion were over-freedom was obtained—they never were base enough to be contented with less—the people shall no longer be misrepresented—what was done in one county, another county can accomplish! Waterford owed it to Clare to imitate it-nor should the scions of Knockloftiness, and the paltry Prittriness of another county (Messrs. Hutchinson and Prittie, Members for Tipperary) be suffered to prevent the just representation of its feelings—No, the men of that county were too brave to be intimidated. However pure the intentions of the Duke of Wellington might be, the designs of his Ministry betrayed no symptom of improving the internal condition of Ireland; whom had they for instance, selected for the administration of justice ? Serjeant Lefroy, reeking with expressions, with which he would not pollute his lips (for they savoured too closely of high treason,) was sent to decide whether Catholics are always in the wrong, and Protestants always in the right. The government of Ireland had made another change-Saurin. They had heard of Con of the hundred battles, but there was Saurin of the hundred prosecutions, Saurin the greatest enemy of the liberty of the press, and the virulent enemy to toleration-his ancestors were refugees from persecution, they had suffered persecution, but they had not learned mercy. A son of Mr. Saurin had been appointed to a high situation there was another change. In Ireland, Catholics had learned a double distrust-a distrust of closed investigation or open trial. They had seen on the jury, Orangemen arrayed against them in judgement; and like the wretch who is drawn to the gambling table, where loaded dice await to decide his doom, he had seen the Catholic stand be fore them in the auspicious hope of obtaining justice. More than once he had stood forth to defend the victim, and more than once he had beheld him trampled on, and stained with Orange pollution. What man would not view with suspicion, the administration of justice, who had witnessed the late trials in their county.

We are the more particular in detailing these expressions, both because they form an admirable commentary on the assurances of grateful affection and profound tranquillity, with which the emancipationists had assured Parliament, the boon would be received, and because it would be an anomaly to have found harmony or good-will returuing to a country of whose popular leader these were the doctrines and feelingsdoctrines and feelings drunk in with greedy ears, and noisy applause by the listening crowds. They were expressly told that what had been gained so far from being any cause of peace and repose, was only to be a new source of universal excitement, and more ardent activity; they were told that many great changes were still to be effected, among others, nothing less than a legislative separation from Great Britian, their connection with which, pictured to them as “a cursed union,” the source of degradation and impoverishment they were taught, that while so much remained to be effected, it was gained by stenuously following out the same measures which had gained emancipation that is, by assuming an attitude of organized defiance, which, by its threatening complexion, would compel

The administration of justice was held out to them as an object of distrust and detestation; their opponents

concession,

were still denounced as blood-thirsty oppressors. “The Tipperary men” were told they were “ too brave to be intimidated" --and could the Tipperary men, or any other Irishmen under the influence of such exciting representations, do anything else than have their applauded bravery at hand, ready for use?

It is not wonderful, then, that Ireland very soon presented scenes of as much violence, as those from which the Emancipation Bill was for ever to relieve her. The hostile foeling of parties continued and manifested themselves in the same way. To the great body of the Catholics, emancipation had brought no change, except the destruction of their freeholds

-a source of discontent, rather than of satisfaction. The Protestants felt that they had been deceived, and knew that they were in danger; it could not be expected then, they would remain unmoved, when their adversaries were openly threatening a renewal of their organized activity; they, too, had recourse to organization ; and the heads of Orange lodges were officially inculcating firmness and union. The slightest accident, the most casual collision, produced contention, and ended almost uniformly in bloodshed.

At the opening of the session of Parliament of 1830, Mr. O'Connell took his seat; an act having been previously passed for rendering the Oath to be taken by the Catholic Members, agreeable to the tenets of their religious creed. The opinions which were formed relative to the line of conduct which Mr. O'Connell would pursue were various and conflicting, and whilst by some it was supposed that the measures proposed by him would be of a conciliatory and healing nature; others affirmed that they would be distinguished by the same spirit of agitation, hy which all his political actions had hitherto been distinguished. The emancipation of the Catholics from their political disabilities, had heen for some time held up by Mr. O'Connell, as the panacea for all the troubles and misery real, or imaginary, under which Ireland had been groaning according to Mr. O'Connell's affirmation from time immemorial. In the plenitude of his patriotic spirit, and in the fulness of his egotism, he represented himself to the people of Ireland as their deliverer and saviour, by him, and

« PreviousContinue »