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the opinion of Lord Anglesea that 70,000 men would hardly suffice for the defence of Ireland, alienated and disaffected as the great majority of her inhabitants then were.*
In the speech from the Throne, 5th February, 1829, both Houses were recommended to take into “deliberate consideration the whole condition of Ireland," with a view to the strengthening of the Executive for the repression of an Association whose continued existence
dangerous to the public peace, and inconsistent with the spirit of the constitution ;” and at the same time“ to review the laws which impose civil disabilities on his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects.” In accordance with the first of these recommendations, a bill was introduced by the Home Secretary for the summary suppression of political societies, under whatever name they might exist, in Ireland, whenever their proceedings should appear to the Lord-Lieutenant inconsistent with the safety or tranquillity of that part of the United Kingdom. No resistance was offered to the measure, which was limited in its duration to a period of twelve months. The leaders of the Opposition declared that they would never have consented to an enactment so arbitrary, but that it Speech of Lord Anglesea, on second reading, &c.
was proposed as the temporary price of the permanent good which they had so long desired to obtain for their Catholic fellow-subjects. Mr. Huskisson and other friends of the late Mr. Canning emphatically reiterated this sentiment, and declared that they would never sanction any statute more coercive than that of 1825, without the assurance that the evils which had called the Association into existence were about to be put an end to by law.
Amongst the friends of Emancipation in England who had opportunities of knowing the difficulties which the Duke of Wellington had to encounter in persuading George IV. of its necessity, many entertained not unreasonable fears least some ebullition of feeling in Ireland, whether in the language of threat or triumph, might afford his Majesty a pretext for revoking the resolution to which he had so unwillingly come. Lord Anglesea wrote strongly to Mr. A. R. Blake, conjuring him to use whatever influence he possessed to dissuade his countrymen from holding public meetings, or in any other way hazarding the safety of their cause at so critical a juncture. “If he had a friend amongst the members of the Association, he would implore him to use his utmost efforts to induce that body to suspend its sittings.” Mr. O'Connell was at
the time in London, but the letter was shown to Mr. Sheil, who, while he saw the importance of the course it recommended, felt all the difficulty that beset the attempt to procure its adoption. Recollections of 1925 and 1827 were still too fresh and vivid in his own mind; and they were not likely to be less forcibly present to the minds of others. Dr. Doyle, who happened to be then in Dublin, was consulted, and Mr. William Murphy, one of the most sagacious and infuential persons of the mercantile class to which he belonged. Both concurred in the expediency of following the advice thus offered; but both understood the dangers to popular confidence and unity that would infallibly be incurred by its enunciation. O'Connell was written to, and urgently pressed to give his assent, but this he was obviously unwilling to do. Meanwhile the misgivings of the more cautious hourly increased. “Suppose,” said Mr. Sheil, at last, “I were to give a cabinet dinner-divided cabinets are the order of the day-none others, indeed, can now be considered constitutional ; I would form it with the most approved impartiality as to principlequite fair, half for going right and half for going wrong: we could then discuss in safety the whole business. I have some good Burgundy, and at all
events, by the time we have got to the bottom of th. bottles, we shall have got to the bottom of ore another's thoughts.” The idea was highly approved of, and invitations were forthwith sent to six of the more moderate section, and to an equal number of what Mr. Carlyle calls “unlimited patriots.”
At the appointed hour Mr. Blake arrived, with the letter of the Marquis in his pocket. A few minutes after came Mr. William Ford, who was supposed to take the opposite view. They found themselves for some minutes alone, and Mr. Blake thought he would secure a convert to his opinion by permitting his hitherto inexorable friend to read the epistle of the ex-Viceroy with his own eyes. How far this piece of diplomatic condescension was appreciated we shall presently see. That it was meant to be overpowering admits of little doubt. Its perusal, meanwhile, had been hardly finished ere other guests arrived; and without comment the letter was returned to its owner, and replaced in his “private and confidential” pocket. The whole of the improvised cabinet had assembled with the exception of Mr. Lawless, whose want of punctuality created no surprise. Somewhat more than the usual licence, however, was exhausted, and the hero of Bally Bay did not appear.
RICHARD LALOR SHEIL.
involuntary host. “Ah, Blackburne, glad to see you humoured sergeant was too much amused at the obvious cause of the mistake abruptly to correct it.
Some words of commonplace were interchanged; and 54
55 events, by the time we have got to the bottom of th: of those who grew impatient for his coming been bottles, we shall have got to the bottom of om aware that he was at that moment separated from another's thoughts.” The idea was highly approx
them only by the party-wall of the house where they of, and invitations were forthwith sent to sire
were assembled, and that he was actually engaged in the more moderate section, and to an equal number i
conversation with no less a personage than Mr. what Mr. Carlyle calls “unlimited patriots.”
Blackburne, the proprietor of the house next door, At the appointed hour Mr. Blake arrived, with the what dark suspicions of “honest Jack's” fidelity letter of the Marquis in his pocket. A few minutes
would have been excited amongst them! Nevertheafter came Mr. William Ford, who was supposed
less such was the fact. Mr. Lawless, who was very take the opposite view. They found themselves fa near-sighted, and quite too self-engrossed to doubt his some minutes alone, and Mr. Blake thought he would own precision upon any occasion, had alighted at the secure a convert to his opinion by permitting ke
mansion of the learned sergeant in mistake for that of hitherto inexorable friend to read the epistle of the his agitating neighbour. He ascended the stairs, ex-Viceroy with his own eyes. How far this piee.! was announced to the amazement of a select circle diplomatic condescension was appreciated we sha of Conservatives, who were assembled without fearpresently see. That it was meant to be overpowering ing the irruption of such a startling character, admits of little doubt. Its perusal
, ba? and marching into the centre of the room, turned been hardly finished ere other guests arrived; and round with his customary air of grandeur, put his without comment the letter was returned to its glass to his eye, and began to survey the company. owner, and replaced in his private and confidential The first countenance he recognised was that of his pocket. The whole of the improvised cabinet bel assembled with the exception of Mr. Lawless, wice here; very cold, isn't it?” The courteous and goodwant of punctuality created no surprise. Somewhai more than the usual licence, however, was exhausted and the hero of Bally Bay did not appear. Had es