« PreviousContinue »
earned another claim to the notice of the historian, as the closing scene of the career of one of the most extraordinary men of the age. A description of Genoa would be an uncalled-for intrusion, but the engraved view of its beautiful site given in this work, may help to fix the more vividly upon the minds of our readers, the painful fact, that O'Connell died in the land of strangers, and deprived of the consoling presence of his family and friends. He had been resident here only three days, when his illness rapidly increased, all the former symptoms that had abated since his departure from Lyons, returned with augmented virulence. He was afflicted with severe cough and obstinate diarrhea, in addition to the chronic disease, which had long before defied the skill of his physicians. A consultation of his medical attendants, Drs. Lacour, Beretta, and Duff, was immediately held, they decided upon the application of leeches to the neck to moderate the pressure of blood upon the brain ; this, with the help of some internal remedies, moderated the intensity of the disease for a few days. But the hand of death was upon him; he first lost the power of swallowing, and lastly that of articulation. The crisis was now at hand, and on the morning of the 15th of May, he received the last rites of the Church from the hands of Dr. Miley. At nine o'clock on the same evening he ceased to live. It is important to remark, that at no period of his sickness was his intellect or understanding sensibly affected, he retained the use of his faculties to the last, a circumstance which excited the surprise of the physicians, such being rarely the case with persons suffering under disease of the brain.
The body was opened by Dr. Balleri, of Genoa, in the presence of the gentlemen who had attended upon him; after a scientific investigation of the causes of death, the heart was taken out and placed in an urn, to be conveyed to Rome, and the body then carefully embalmed, to allow of its being transported to his native land.
Our notice of the “ Pilgrimage of the Heart" to Rome, must necessarily be brief. The bearers of the sacred relic
were received with the highest honours by the sovereign pontiff, and the funeral obsequies celebrated with all the solemnity and magnificence that the awe-inspiring rites of the Catholic Church could bestow. Every creed and every country contributed its quota of respect to the memory of the Liberator of Ireland, and the deliverer of his countrymen from the chains of religious bondage. Father Ventura composed a funeral oration, which occupied two days in delivery; he was listened to by thousands of attentive hearers, embracing all the best society in Rome, and including nearly the whole of the foreign residents in the city.
The mortal remains of Daniel O'Connell were safely conveyed to England, and after waiting a few days at Chester, till the necessary preparations were concluded, they were transferred to the Duchess of Kent steamer, and landed at Dublin. Here they were received with every token of public mourning, and deposited in the Metropolitan Catholic Church, in Marlborough Street. The ceremonial of lying-in-state took place in this church, and a countless multitude thronged to gaze upon the coffin enclosing the body of their departed friend.
The funeral was appointed to take place on the 4th of August, and a more imposing and magnificent procession was never witnessed in Ireland. All ranks and ages vied with each other in their exertions to testify their sorrow for the death, and their respect to the family of the deceased. The Lord Mayor and municipal authorities of Dublin, the dignitaries of the Church, the leading members of the Repeal Association, the brothers of the various religious orders, the associated trades, and a great number of the resident gentry formed the first part of the funeral procession, the remainder comprised nearly the whole population of the city, and some thousands of strangers from different parts of the country, who visited Dublin expressly to be present on this mournfuloccasion. Even England and the continent contributed to swell the attendants at O'Connell's grave. The whole route from the church to the cemetery at Glasnevin, was lined with spectators. Business of every kind was entirely suspended. Almost every person was in black-even the very poorest endeavoured to do honour to their own O'Connell by the assumption of such testimonials of mourning as their circumstances enabled them to procure. The services at the tomb were conducted by the Venerable Archbishop Murray, assisted by the principal members of the priesthood, who had taken part in the procession. They were brief, but solemn and affecting in the highest degree, and at their conclusion the vast multitude sadly departed to their respective homes, their grief in some degree alleviated by the feeling that they had shared in the last homage that Ireland could pay to her Liberator.
We have now rapidly sketched the principal events of the closing years of the Liberator's Life, and these incidents are both numerous and important. The results of many of his labours are not yet fully evident, and will, in all probability, seriously influence the destinies of his country for years to come, but we live too near his time to form a just and impartial estimate of O'Connell's character. In conclusion, however, we may ask the reader to contemplate seriously the mighty effect of one man's labours in Ireland's behalf; to admire the energy and perseverance of one gifted individual, devoting his heart and soul to the patriotic cause of national freedom, and labouring on, through good and evil report, to raise Catholic Ireland from a state of helotism, unparalleled in modern Europe, to a due appreciation of her own rank in the scale of nations. O'Connell's public life was one long continued struggle in behalf of seven millions of his fellowcreatures; a perpetual effort to improve the moral character, and elevate the social position of his countrymen, and to raise them from that state of political apathy which deprived them even of the desire for liberty, while, in too many instances, it disqualified them for the enjoyments of the rights of freemen and citizens, with which he was ever anxious to endow them. If he sometimes erred in his conduct, let us remember that he was mortal, and, therefore, not without