« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
29th November he made a short but striking speech as a member of that body. His appearance was the signal for an outburst of welcome from those who for years
had been accustomed to listen to his soul-stirring harangues, and the first few words that fell from him were uttered in a tone of mingled threat and triumph that were not soon forgotten
“ The place in which I stand is encompassed with recollections. It was from hence that year after year, we sent forth those appeals to the pride, to the nationality, to the just sense, to the reason of the Irish people, by which Emancipation—the word has become familiar, though it never can be vulgar, but its etymology is pregnant with noble thoughts-was accomplished. I took some part in those great proceedings (loud cheers). I felt profoundly, and I spoke with ardour, and turning my emotions into words, I communicated to others the sentiments by which I was ardently affected. My share in that vast achievement was inconsiderable, but it was not destitute of honour. I was appreciated by my fellow-bondsmen beyond my deserts. From almost every district in this great country—for this country has become great-I received testimonials of national approbation (hear). It is impossible for me on entering this spot not to recal to my recollection some scenes of that noble drama in which I enacted a part not altogether inferior; and now that I enter this stage again, I must be forgiven if I indulge in what would be egotism if others did not feel that they participated in these recollections. You will not blame me—I am sure you will not—if, while I survey these localities which are consecrated to the freedom of Ireland, I venture to pour out my thoughts before you, and to say that it is not without some pride that I behold a field in which a victory for Ireland—which was only the precursor of anotherwas obtained. We stand on the same ground; the same flags
are unfurled, and as we advance to the encounter our trust in our success is confirmed by the remembrance of our former triumph. It is the sun of Austerlitz,' exclaimed Napoleon, when he saw the glorious luminary on the plains of Jena. Let us remember in order that we may hope. I have referred to my recollections for no other purpose than to disclose my anticipations. Emancipation was carried here, and here, if the same policy be pursued with respect to Ireland, shall as great a good be accomplished. (Reiterated cheers.) To what a magnitude has Repeal dilated—to what a vast stature bas this question arisen! A few months have been sufficient for its rapid and gigantic growth. O'Connell on one side of the cradle and Stanley on the other, have rocked this offspring of the wrongs of Ireland, and cradled it into strength; the one by appealing to the instincts of the nation, the other by offering outrage to its pride; the one by applying all the useful stimulants which could be used with its generous feelings, the other by a series of the most exasperating offences that could have been designed, they have, without any community of purpose, but by impulses in an opposite direction, excited a feeling of which, at the approaching elections, a most formidable demonstration will be afforded."
He then reviewed the events of the session, 'dividing the, acts of the Grey administration towards Ireland into two categories—“Affronts and Wrongs." Warnings and remonstrances had been alike unavailing. Packed committees of inquiry at Westminster, and packed juries to try political offences at Clonmel, had borne their natural fruit in disappointment and disgust.
“Look to the state of Ireland. See what has befallen. A call irresistible to those who are dependent on the people has
been made. We are all sucked into the vast vortex. The Repeal pledge is demanded in every borough and county. So far from being surprised that this should be the case, I should be astonished that it were otherwise. For what a case have the Repealers to make! Is it necessary that I should evoke the shade of Grattan from those cloisters at Westminster, where he ought never to have been entombed? The green cairn in the hills of his own country would have afforded a better monument.” He then cited the well known denunciations of the Union by Plunket and Lord Grey in 1799.] “These statesmen now said their opinions had subsequently changed, because they had learned to look for wise and beneficial legislation for Ireland from a united Parliament. But where were the proofs of the justice of these expectations ? Twenty-nine years had been spent in exacting even an acknowledgment of the chief promise of the Union; and Dow that in name it had been extorted, the practical fulfilment was still withheld. How is a reformed Parliament to remedy these erils ? Not surely by persevering in the same fatal policy, which must inevitably be the case unless the House of Commons shall be scared by the fear of Repeal into the adoption of a juster mode of dealing towards Ireland. It is befitting that we should in the reformed Parliament take a high and imperious attitude, and to press Repeal, if with no other purpose than with a view to its avoidance, by extending justice to our country. . Let there be but forty Irishmen combined in this great measure, who shall act in a combination representing the confederacy of the Irish people, and salutary results will speedily accrue. They can arbitrate between rival parties; and, let politicians talk with as much magniloquence of phrase and as much vaunt as they like of their attachment to party honour, and their devotion to public principle-still such is the passion for power and office, that in emergencies, the Government will accommodate themselves to the exigency of the occasion : they will send for the Irish members and inquire— Pray, gentlemen, what do you wish should be done for your country? This question is to be em
ployed as an instrument to insure justice. The hope of putting it down is idle: it has effected a lodgment in the feelings of the nation from which it cannot be driven."
Having made up his mind to offer himself as a candidate for the county of Tipperary instead of Louth, but a few weeks before the dissolution, he was obliged to complete an arduous canvass in an unusually short space of time. . A gentleman well acquainted with the politics of the county assured him from the outset that he need not anticipate any opposition, and endeavoured to dissuade him from bringing any considerable number of voters to the county town on the first day. By others a different advice however was given ; and at considerable cost and inconvenience great numbers of the freeholders were brought from remote places to Clonmel, where alone, under the provisions of the Irish Reform Act, their suffrages could be legally recorded. On the day of nomination no Conservative candidate appeared, and after the return had been signed and the new member had received many congratulations, he took the gentleman aside to whom reference has been made and asked him to walk with him along the banks of the river on which the town is situated, where he seemed glad to escape in the quiet and fresh
ness of the air from the din and excitement in which he had been recently engaged. As soon as they were quite alone he stopped short, and looking at his companion said with an inquisitive tone—“Now tell me candidly, did you know so long beforehand that the Tories were not in earnest in saying they would oppose me?"
Some general reasons were given in reply which did not seem to satisfy him, and he repeated more than once his regret at not having taken advice which would have saved him a considerable outlay.
To Mr. Staunton, a few days afterwards, he adverted to the same subject. “I am member for Tipperary, but the cost has been immense. I fed 1000 voters in Clonmel. There has been one advantage from it: I made such a demonstration of strength as will appal the enemy for the future.”
The results of the general election in Ireland were sufficiently striking. In the three southern provinces but few Conservatives were returned, while no less than 35 were pledged to vote for the Repeal of the Union. “What immense Parliamentary influence O'Connell will command," was the expression of Mr. Sheil when reviewing these events, and forecasting their possible consequences. “I do not see how the