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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

Life and Times of Daniel O'Connell

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Life and Times of Daniel O'Connell.

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,—

There is not one of us who has not imposed on him or her some duty inrelation to each other, whether in the domestic, political, or social relations of life. So I, as one of the Patrons of this Society, have cast upon me some duty. What the duties of a Patron may be are not very specifically defined. Usually the chief obligations attaching to the position are to pay an annual subscription fixed, I believe, on a scale commensurate with the dignity of the office, and distinguishing it from ordinary membership; to countenance the Society, and thus proclaim its usefulness and value to the whole community; to encourage others to avail themselves of its advantages—in other words, to be its showman—and also occasionally to address the Society upon some appropriate topic of interest.

It is in the modest exercise of this last function that, in a good-natured, but probably unguarded moment, lured from my ordinary avocations to come forward, at the instance of my esteemed reverend friend, the Spiritual Director of the Society (Father Hackett), I address you to-night. The subject of my remarks, also, has been chosen for me; but I don't find any fault with that, because, from professional and political points of view, it ought to be most congenial to myself; and, moreover, in regard to the young men of this Society, if they, part as they are of another generation, desire to imitate a noble life, to feel the true instincts of gratitude for the acts of a great man who devoted a life-long service and his herculean talents and labours for religion and country, and to emulate the oratory of the platform, the forensic skill of the advocate, and true character as a man, the life and times of O'Connell will stimulate their patriotism—should inspire them to heroic deeds for their own country, and fill them with that true national sentiment and advocacy of the claims for the liberty of the birth-land of their fathers, which Ireland is entitled to claim as a right from every descendant with a drop of Irish blood in his veins.

A great deal could be said upon this topic of national sentiment in relation particularly to the apparent apathy of not only the young descendants of Irishmen, but of Irishmen themselves, con- page 2 cerning the claims of Ireland; but this may more fittingly be reserved for some future occasion.

One cannot enter on this subject of the Life and Times of O'Connell without an apologetic word. It is this—that the life of a great man, whose name has been, and always will be, a household word, is more or less so familiar to most of us, that the difficulties of successful treatment with freshness is almost an impossibility. But the memory of all that is good and noble, or even sorrowful, in the past is, in its respective relations to human life, one of the most useful, interresting, and pleasurable elements in our being; so that life is not monotonous, though it is simply the repetition of thoughts, words, and deeds. Many things that are said of one great man may be said appropriately of another by changing the name, with here and there some other slight difference. We annually recount the glorious works of St. Patrick in faith and fatherland; periodically, indeed, also of O'Connell, we celebrate the achievements of his heart, mind, and vigorous tongue; and, passing over a long interval to the present day, does not the British nation everywhere annually review the events in the great life of Gladstone, mingling at the same time in our congratulations of returning years, the fervent prayer that God may spare him to successfully pursue, under huge difficulties, his noble work of religions and political freedom? So that I feel, after all, no apology is needed for presenting to you, even without freshness, a brief review of O'Connell with his oft-repeated characteristics.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I need hardly tell you it is impossible, within the limits of an hour's talk, to present to you all the acts and triumphs of a life of 72 years—50 eventful years of which were affectionately entwined with the sufferings and life of the Irish nation, of which O'Connell was the idol. The events and incidents of his life, the reference to patriots who were his contemporaries, his political victories and achievements, his eminent contemporaries at the Irish Bar, his trials—legal and personal, his social characteristics, his political status, his own great eminence as an advocate, his eloquence, his power as a platform and popular orator, his wit and humour—all would easily form themes sufficient to engage our attention and interest for twenty evenings.

My task being a stupendous one of compression, my treatment of the subject, compared to its vastness, must necessarily be in the nature of a biogram in a nutshell.

Daniel O'Connell, the great apostle of freedom, and especially Irish freedom, was born in Cahir House, the residence of his father, Morgan O'Connell, near the town of Cahirceveen, in the County Kerry, on the 6th of August, 1775. Cahirceveen was a small town, and when many years after a Times Commissioner derisively described it as not possessing a pane of glass, O'Connell replied humorously: "If the Commissioner had as many pains in his stomach, his tongue would be more veracious, and his wanderings less erratic." O'Connell was of pure Celtic blood; his mother was an Q'Mullane of an old Catholic family near Cork, and possessed of page 3 fair estates. For her he had all that unbounded love that is characteristic of the Irish race, and used to delight in giving expression to his love and veneration for her. He proudly and fondly said: "I am the son of a sainted mother, who watched over my childhood with the most faithful care. She was of a high order of intellect, and what little I possess has been bequeathed by her to me. In the perils of life, and the dangers to which I have been exposed through life, I have regarded her blessings as an angel's shield over me, and as it has been my protection in this life, I look forward to it also as one of the means of obtaining hereafter a happiness greater than any this world can give."

He spent a year at Father Harrington's school, near the Cove of Cork (or now, Queenstown), and the boy's application and apparent ability struck the observation of his uncle, General Count O'Connell, who determined his nephew should have—what the cruel laws would not permit him to get in his native land—a Catholic education. The land of his birth, which centuries before had been the home of religion and wisdom—where the arts and sciences of the time and the languages of Greece and Rome were studied with passionate zeal—the nation where the Anglo-Saxon race derived so much benefit from the teaching of the Irish schools—the kind where, in an Irish University, Alfred the Great of England received his education—here Ireland's bright, patriotic son would hardly be allowed to receive rudimentary instruction, certainly not an education.

Hence he was sent to France—to Louvain, and afterwards St, Omer's—where he showed extreme cleverness, and burned with boyish ambition to be as distinguished as his uncle, Maurice, called "Hunting Cap." But O'Connell was destined for greater things—for national achievements. He was born at a stirring period, when a few infant communities or states, remote, unaided, and as it were unknown, had encountered and triumphed over the power of England. He was a month old when the American people had declared their Independence, and invoked the blessings of God on themselves and others forever. In his home he had heard the sad story of his country. He heard her varied history—the exasperating rule of centuries—the desolation of the land, and the butchery, or exile of the people, and their melancholy longing to strike a blow; then fortune smiling on arms, victory following victory, only to culminate in crushing defeat. He had heard the names of Ireland's brave sons, down the long and gloomy path of her history; he had heard of their great sacrifices and deeds in the struggle for liberty. The Penal Code was in full force and in the plenitude of its wickedness. Catholic peers or commoners could not sit in parliament; Catholics could not vote, nor could they hold any office of trust; they were liable to a fine of £60 for absence from Protestant worship; and four J.P.'s could banish a Catholic or give his property to his next of kin; no Catholic teacher could teach a Catholic child; a Catholic priest coming to the country could be hanged;a Protestant suspected of holding property for a Catholic could have his estates taken from him; and so on. This page 4 bill of fare, though not a dainty or palatable dish, was food enough for the youthful and absorbent mind of O'Connell. Moreover, living in his childhood and youth were great orators and patriots; the intrepid patriot-advocate Curran; Sheridan—

The pride of the palace, the bower, and the hall,
The orator, dramatist, minstrel, who ran
Through each mode of the lyre, and was master of all;

Flood, one of Ireland's greatest orators; Wolfe Tone, who, whilst a man of the highest talent and integrity, yet was the true father of Revolutionary Irish Nationalism; and the "noblest Roman of them all." Henry Grattan, the great champion of Irish Independence, whom probably O'Connell frequently saw, and perhaps heard what Lecky, the historian, describes as the "outburst of unparalleled enthusiasm of the populace." as through the parted ranks of 60,000 Ulster volunteers, drawn up in front of the old Parliament House of Ireland, Grattan passed to move the emancipation of his country.

It is said that one day, when O'Connell was very young, the subject of conversation at his father's table was Ireland's leading men, and Grattan's eloquence, A lady present, observing young Dan's unusual meditation asked him the cause, the young fellow cogitating said, "I'll make a stir in the world yet!" In most cases this would be regarded as the idle boast of a child, but in his case, it was prophetic. Just before O'Connell left France, he had also heard the "Equality and Sovereign rights of the people" declared in the Revolution, and he had arrived at manhood when the Irish Rebellion of '98 had risen, was suppressed, and the heroic lives of such men as Lord Edward Fitzgerald, the two Sheares, and Wolfe Tone, sacrificed in their country's cause.

It will be interesting to remark that one of the chief articles of Grattan's Declaration of Independence, was that expressive of rejoicing at the relaxation of the disabilities affecting Catholics, viz.: "As Irishmen, as Christians and as Protestants." they "rejoiced in the relaxation of the penal laws against their Catholic fellow-subjects."

One cannot pass from the subject of the Penal Code without briefly illustrating one or two of the humorous, though sad incidents of apostacy under its operation. O'Connell himself used to tell many anecdotes of the strong temptation to apostatize frequently yielded to. One he relates of a Mr. Meyer, of the County of Roscommon, being threatened with a confiscation of his lands, instantly galloped off to the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, with the view of turning Protestant The Archbishop, finding Meyer naturally not well versed in the differences in religions, handed him over to an old hunting companion of Meyer, the Rector of Castlerea, then in Dublin, The pious convert and the Rector dined together every day until the Sunday of Meyer's public recantation. The jovial Rector assured his Grace that Meyer was well up in his theology. Accordingly, the solemn abjuration of Popery was made, and to celebrate the happy event, his Grace invited Meyer and several friends to dinner. The cloth removed, his Grace thus addressed the convert:—"Mr. Meyer you have this day renounced page 5 the errors of Popery—for this you should thank God with all your heart. I learn with great pleasure from the worthy Rector of Castlerea, that you have acquired an excellent knowledge in a very short time of the basis of the Protestant religion. Will you kindly state, for the edification of the company, the grounds upon which you have cast aside Popery, and embraced the Church of England?" "Faith" said Meyer, "I can easily do that, your Grace. The grounds of my conversion to the Protestant religion are 2,500 acres of the best grounds in the County of Roscommon." Another incident is related of a parishioner of Corofin, like many of other parts of Ireland in those times, who was tempted by sore need to renounce his faith, and for a weekly stipend agreed to go regularly to the Protestant church and act like a reformed sinner. On the first Sunday after his agreement, he was sorrowfully going to the new place of worship, but having to pass the old chapel on his way, his conscience smote him, and falling on his knees before the humble little edifice of prayer, he cried: "I'm going from ye, alanna; good-bye, good-bye—till the praties grow." Upon this fervid but temporary farewell has been founded a beautiful and pathetic poem, from which I cannot resist quoting a couple of stanzas—

Asthore, my heart is breakin' as I pass your holy door,
An' see the open portal all invitin' to go in,
An' hear the childher's voices as in sacred song they soar,
The priest's subdued "Oremus" and the peoples loud "Amin!"

But, oh! I dare not enter, for a compact I have made—
Like Lucifer at Heaven's gate, no farther can? go!
Don't frown on me, my darhin', nor a broken heart uppraid;
Good-bye, asthore alanna—till the praties grow!

I'm passin' by your angels, an' I'm pasada' by your saints,
But, oh; I the weary trouble, an' the hard an' bitter year!
An' you know, when the flesh is weak the proudest spirit faints—
For while you point to Heaven we are sinnin' on down here.

But sure as at your attar, I exchanged the marriage vow
As sure as from your sanctity all streams of mercy flow,
As sure, achor alanna, though I sadly lave you now,
I'm back within your bosom, whin the praties grow.

O'Connell's childhood and youth were surrounded then, with scenes and events of extraordinary national persecution, whilst at the same time this was a period of national sacrifices, and of great political leaders- and patriots of the highest order and varied eloquence, all combining to impress his youthful heart with the wrongs of his country, and create the resolve to consecrate all his talents and energy to their redress.

Any concessions to Ireland have been prompted by fear more than by a just appreciation of right, or as O'Connell used to say, "England's adversity is Ireland's opportunity." In 1792 and 1793, therefore, owing to a dread of the progress of the French Revolution, some slight concessions were made to Catholics, one at least of which enabled O'Connell to enter the arena of the Bar, where he afterwards won some of his most glorious laurels. We find him in London page 6 (not Dublin) in 1794 keeping his terms as a law student, during which time his principal amusement was boating on the Thames. Whilst in London he was a frequent visitor at the House of Commons, and absorbed the delightful speech of Fox and majestic declamation of the younger Pitt. In 1797 he attended also one or two of the meetings of what were called the "Reformers" of that period, a set of young lawyers, among them the two Sheares. O'Connell was only an onlooker, not yet being admitted to the Bar. He says: "As I saw how matters stood I soon learned to have no secrets in politics. Other leaders made their workings secret and only intended to bring out results; they were therefore perpetually in peril of treachery. You saw men, on whose fidelity you would have staked your existence, playing false when tempted by the magnitude of the bribe on the one hand and terrified on the other by the danger of hanging." This proclaims the text of O'Connell's whole subsequent career, and which, though subjecting him to bitter adverse criticism, he maintained to the end.

He was called to the Bar in the melancholy spring of 1798, and early one morning in 1799 set out on horseback from his father's house to go on his first circuit. He had a powerful constitution, as may be imagined from the fact that he rode sixty miles the first day, and at the end of it being invited to a ball. "Sat up all night dancing" (which sounds like an Irish bull) and rode on next morning to the Limerick Assizes. At Tralee Assizes he got his first brief, and undertook, though acting as a junior, the cross-examination of an important witness. O'Connell says:" I remember this witness stated he had his share of a pint of whisky, whereupon I asked him whether his share wasn't all except the pewter. He confessed it was, and the oddity of my mode of putting the question was very successful and created a general laugh." Jerry Kellar, an eminently able but eccentric barrister who was present, encouraged O'Connell by saying, "You'll do, young gentleman, you'll do." Not long after he was complimented also, but in a rather equivocal manner, by a man whose acquittal he had secured. "I have no way here to show you my gratitude, your honour, but I wish to God I saw you knocked down in my own parish, and maybe I'd bring a faction to rescue you. Whoop! long life to your honour."

In the same circuit, O'Connell and another barrister, Harry Grady as he was called, had to travel through the Kilworth mountains, then infested with robbers, and regarded always as such a "delicate bit" of the journey that the two legal gentlemen desired to carry their pistols loaded, but had run short of powder and ball. The inn at which they were staying was crowded with the judges and suite, and their yeomanry escort, so that O'Connell and his friend had to dine in the taproom, where there were a corporal of dragoons and some privates drinking, Grady, addressing the corporal, said, "Soldier, will you sell me some powder and ball?" "I don't sell either." said the corporal, "Well, will you have the goodness to buy me some?" because being just after '98 it was difficult to procure ammunition. "Go yourself; I am no one's messenger but page 7 the King's." was the reply. O'Connell took in the situation. Grady had offended the corporal's rank and dignity by calling him "Soldier," and whispered the blunder to Grady, who, alter an interval, diplomatically accosted the military magnate with "Sergeant, I am very glad you and your raen have not to escort the judges this wet day. It's very well for these yeomanry fellows." The corporal became civil immediately he heard the newly acquired rank, and Grady adroitly followed up with the renewed request for the powder and ball, which were graciously supplied.

In this same journey, during which there was a fierce storm and torrents of rain, O'Connell's cousin, Captain Hennessy, lost his life by remaining in wet clothes, and O'Connell in relating the sad occurrence gives, though gratuitous, good sound sanitary advice. "Never remain an instant in wet clothes after ceasing to be in motion. On reaching your house throw them off, and get between the blankets at once. Thus you become warm all over in an instant. To rinse the mouth once or twice with spirits and water is useful." I suppose the expression "rinse" is a euphemistic term for taking a glass of whisky and water, to be repeated until the necessary glow through the system is established. O'Connell's fees for the first year of his practice amounted to £58, the second year to £150, the third £200, the fourth £300, and in the last year of his practice his fees amounted to £9,000.

At no period was the wit of the Irish Bar so famous as at the close of the eighteenth century, and Curran was the most brilliant of them all. O'Connell admitted this, though with perhaps pardonable vanity he himself said, "As for myself, to the last hours of my practice I kept the Court alternately in tears and roars of laughter." He speaks also of Plunket's great wit, and gives an instance, where in arguing a commercial case before the Irish Chancellor, Lord Redesdale, Plunket had frequently applied the term "kites" to what we call bogus P.N.'s. At last the Chancellor said, if I don't quite understand your meaning, Mr. Plunket. In England 'kites' are paper playthings used by boys. In Ireland they seem to relate to monetary transactions." "There is another difference, my Lord." said Plunket "In England the wind raises the 'kites.' but in Ireland the 'kites' raise the wind." I have said Curran was admittedly the most brilliant wit of his time at the Irish Bar, and though it would be too great a digression from the limits of our present subject to present to you any adequate sketch of his great conversational powers or his sallies of wit, I cannot, in passing, resist the desire to mention one or two of Curran's flashes. On one occasion a high tide in the Liffey made its way into the cellars and subterraneous rooms of the Court, and the wigs and gowns were floating about. Curran, for whom a case was waiting, seized the first wig and gown drifting within reach, and rushed into court dripping like a river-god.

"Well, Mr. Curran." asked one of the judges, "how did you leave your friends coining on below?" "Swimmingly, my lord." was the reply. On another occasion, in defending an attorney's bill of costs page 8 before Lord Clare, "Here now." said Lord Clare, "is a monstrous imposition. How can you defend this item, Mr. Curran: 'To writring innumerable letters, £100?'" "Why, my lord." said Curran." nothing can be more reasonable; it is not a penny a letter." And Curran's reply to Judge Robinson is exquisite: "I'll commit you, sir." said the Judge. "I hope your lordship will never commit a worse thing." retorted Curran.

O'Connell tells us himself the love romance of his life, and if we can believe him, he never proposed marriage to any woman but one, his cousin Mary. "I said to her,' Are you engaged, Miss O'Connell?'" She answered "I am not." I said "then will you engage yourself to me." "I will," was the reply. Though his uncle and other relatives were opposed to the match, O'Connell was married in June, 1802, and the 34 years of domestic Home Rule fully justified his choice and determination. Having an unendowed bride, his vast energies and talents, like Currant in early poverty, were aroused to achieve fame and success and place her in the position she deserved.

I have already referred to the rebellion of 1798, and cannot dwell on the iniquitous acts of the Government and their accomplices, and the wantonly brutal treatment of the Irish Catholic people. In vain did Grattan lift his voice to demand equal privileges to His Majesty's subjects, without distinction; in vain did Curran ask to prove to the House of Commons that 1,400 families had been driven from their homes to wander like miserable outcasts—some butchered or burned in their cabins, others dying of famine and fatigue. No wonder the United Irishmen organised the insurrection, but no wonder that owing to divided alliances, which are always the curse in the success of what should plainly be a common national cause, it was a failure, and resulted so disastrously in the destruction of the brave lives of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Wolfe Tone, and John and Henry Sheares, all men of the highest honour, intellect, gallant courage, and unselfish patriotism. The trial of the Sheares is now universally regarded as a judicial murder. They were convicted on the evidence of one witness, and that an informer, and though ably defended by the illustrious Curran, who, worn out after fifteen hours' trial, was forced to commence his address to the jury at midnight, but without effect, they were executed next morning. Such barbarous administration of justice appals us now-a-days; but should it not awaken national sentiment, and a resentment and resistance in principle to all forms of oppression?

We drink the memory of the dead,
The faithful and the few,
Some lie far off beyond the wave,
Some sleep in Ireland too;
All—all are gone—but still lives on,
The fame of those who died,
All true men, like you, men,
Remember them with pride.

Having destroyed temporarily the revolutionary spirit of Ireland, the Government now resolved on the distribution of her Parliament. This was accomplished by unblushing bribery, cor- page 9 ruption, the lavish distribution of money, place, office, and honours (save the mark), "The ruin of the Irish Parliament." writes Justin McCarthy, "is one of the most shameful stories of corruption and treachery of which history holds witness." One single vote alone cost £8,000, and the total monetary amount of the corruption was between two and three millions, Grattan, who had sat by the cradle of Ireland's Independence, had to follow her hearse. The circumstances of his last effort against the Union are too touching to omit. It was solemn midnight, in the height of feverish debate and excitement an atmosphere of eloquence inspired by the death throes of an expiring nation, when all hushed as by magic, Grattan (that morning elected for Wicklow) who had risen from a bed of sickness, tottered to his place supported by friends At such a moment Isaac Corry rashly ventured in a speech of bitterness to crush Grattan, Too feeble to stand, he spoke sitting—his voice weak. It is described as a truly sublime and touching spectacle. As he warmed to his mighty subject, his former young spirit revived. I cannot withhold a portion of his answer, thus:—"I rose with the rising futures of my country. I am willing to die with her expiring liberties. To the voice of the people I will bow; but never shall I submit to the caprices of an individual hired to betray them, and slander me. The indisposition of my body has left me, perhaps, no means but that of lying down with fallen Ireland, and recording upon her tomb my dying testimony against the flagrant corruption that has murdered her independence. . . . The right honourable gentleman has suggested examples which 1 should have shunned, and examples which I should have followed. I shall never follow his, and I have ever avoided it. I shall never he ambitious to purchase public service by private infamy; the lighter characters of the model have as little chance of weaning me from the habits of a life spent in the muse of my native land. Am I to renounce these habits now forever? And at the beck of whom? I should rather say of what t Half minister, half monkey—a 'prentice politician and a master coxcomb. He has told you what he has said o? me here he would say anywhere. I believe he would say them anywhere he thought himself safe in saying so—nothing can limit his calumnies but his fears. In Parliament he has calumniated me to-night; in the King's Court he would calumniate me to-morrow; but had he said or dared to insinuate one-half as much elsewhere, the indignant spirit of an honest man would have answered the vile and venal slanderer with a blow." A duel instantly followed, and Grattan wounded Corry in the arm.

In all this sad and wretched perfidy and crime of the Union, there, is some balm in the memory that there in that base assembly 100 men stood faithfully by the side of their agonized country Amongst them one who was known as the "Incorruptible." the ancestor of the late and nationally lamented Mr. Parnell In striking contrast was the patriotic career of Charles Stewart Parnell, with the insignificance of the descendant of the Great Liberator, who, page 10 the other day during the recent elections, degraded his name by openly denouncing Home Rule, which was in effect the fond hope and day dream in the life of his illustrious ancestor.

The national feeling of anger consequent upon the Union still rankled in the hearts and minds of the Irish people, and the gifted and brave young Robert Emmet designed a rising of the people to seize the Castle. The project was of course a failure, and though he might have escaped, Emmet was too fondly attached to Sarah, Currant daughter, whom he idolized. Emmet was hurriedly tried and convicted late at night and, like the two Sheares, was hanged next morning, leaving a sorrowing country, and a lost and broken-hearted love whose grief and fate are embalmed in Moore's beautifully-pathetic melody, "She is far from the Land." Emmet's speech from the dock is known to yon all, and is an immortal model of Irish patriotism and eloquence. Of course, O'Connell never countenanced any action in the nature of physical force, and passed many strictures on the men of '98, and Emmet's abortive rising. It possibly had, however, this good effect that the minds of the people were turned from insurrection, and prepared the way for the new gospel of moral force of which O'Connell was destined to be the apostle.

At the period immediately following the Union, O'Connell applied himself with assiduity to his profession, and rapidly acquired the highest skill and reputation as an advocate; and in the midst of his busy avocations we find him projecting and constantly fostering the great cause of Catholic emancipation. It required the great physical strength which he possessed to supply his vast energies and the strain of his varied duties and responsibilities. His frame was tall, expanded, and muscular, such as befitted a leader of the people. "Amongst ten thousand." says Lady Wilde, "a stranger's eye would have fixed on him as the true King." His commanding gait and gestures force upon you the national sentiment, "Ireland her own, or the world in a blaze." So much were the rights of the people ever present in his thoughts.

O'Connell made his first political speech in 1800, on the Catholic claims, and felt proud of it ever afterwards, because, as he said, "It contained all the principles of my subsequent political life." I cull one extract to show that while he was always personally a steadfast Catholic, he politically held as firmly broad and absolutely unsectarian views, and that the chief principle is—that the Irish people, setting aside all sectarian and party prejudices and differences, should combine for the good of their common country, "Let us show." he said, "to Ireland that we have nothing in view but her good, nothing in our hearts but a desire of mutual forgiveness, toleration, and mutual affection j in fine, let every man who feels with me proclaim, that if the alternative were offered him of the Union, or the re-enactment of the Penal Code in all its pristine horrors, that he would prefer, without hesitation, the latter, as the lesser and more sufferable evil; that he would rather confide in the page 11 justice of his brethren, the Protestants of Ireland, who have already liberated him, than lay his country at the feet of foreigners." Ten years later (1810), what was called an Aggregate Meeting was held in Dublin, and it is a pleasing contrast of events at this present period, and at this distance of time, to note that the Orange Corporation of that great city then, were the movers in the patriotic attempt to repeal the Union.

I should also like to point out, in justice to the memory of O'Connell, in relation to the question of self-government of Ireland and the many claimants to the honour of originating the question of Home Rule (among them some colonial statesmen), that, since the Union, to O'Connell himself is due the honour of first place, for I find his biographers record that during the repeal agitation he often exclaimed, "Are we not able to manage our own affairs? Would any sensible man entrust his affairs to others, who was perfectly capable of managing them himself?" Here is, in a nutshell, the whole gospel of Home Rule as preached under that title for nearly the last twenty years.

O'Connell, though not generally understood—any more than Curran, perhaps—to have been a profound lawyer, possessed every requisite of a barrister of the highest reputation, and with hardly an exception was the ablest man at" the Irish bar. His greatest forensic effort is said to have been his defence of John Magee for libel; but all his speeches should be read by the young men of this Society, and you will derive instruction, pleasure and profit from them. You may not always experience highly-finished and elaborately-perfect oratory, or massive phrases; but you will recognise the ready wit and powerful eloquence of the tongue that responds to the promptings of the true, tender, and patriotic heart and glowing mind; and you will arise from the perusal of O'Connell's speeches wishing you could speak as well. Try to do so. Though O'Connell was capable of highest oratory whenever the spirit and occasion required, he also possessed a quality of speech in the other extreme to which only those endowed with his extraordinary versatility could, with safety to their method of diction, venture to descend. And in this connection I may, as I suppose a Patron ought to do, offer a word of advice to the young men of this Literary Society, and even to the young ladies, and it is this, that if you desire or hope to become good speakers, next to the acquirement of the facility of speaking, you should always in your ordinary conversation and speech talk at your best. I do not mean by this, that you are to talk on every occasion with that precision and style of rhetoric which is employed on more formal occasions, any more than that you should always wear your best clothes, but that you are to avoid falling into the use of slang, and a careless or vulgar choice of words and mode of expression, which though apt enough, perhaps, in a certain sphere, will most assuredly prove a serious and embarrassing impediment to the ready and elegant flow of language from an habitually-choice vocabulary, I give this advice from my own observation. In my experience of page 12 speakers, the men and women who spoke beet and most charmingly were those who always in conversation or in telling a story, or making a speech, talked at their best in the way I mention. One notable illustration of what I mean is our Sir George Grey—who on all occasions, whether in private or on the platform, speaks with that ease, appropriateness, and elegance which we all so much admire.

Lady Wilde says that O'Connell, charming and enchanting as he was, could fight with all weapons. "from a boomerang (I should have thought from a shillelagh) to a jewelled bodkin, and sometimes adopted a coarseness of speech when bold; doubtless, the outcome of the serfdom of his countrymen of the time, and the necessity of accustoming them to fight the dominant oppressing factions with their own weapons. Hence, O'Connell had acquired the great power of invective and vituperation, and was sometimes matchless as a scold. An instance of this, vouched for as historical truth, though possessing features of vulgarity, is so characteristic of his lighter moods of fun, and forms so memorable an incident in his life that I must not omit it. There was a certain Biddy Moriarty in Dublin, who kept a huxter's stall on one of the quays opposite the Four Courts. She had a notoriously "bad tongue, and its slang and abuse were proverbial. Some of O'Connell's friends one day thought he could beat her with her own weapons; O'Connell doubted it himself, having heard her Billingsgate once or twice. But he never liked defeat, and backed himself to encounter the virago, and it was decided that the event should come off at once. An adjournment was accordingly made to the huxter's stall, the owner herself in charge of her small wares, and a few loungers and idlers hanging round the stall—for Biddy was one of the sights of Dublin.

O'Connell commenced the attack.

"What's the price of this walking-stick, Mrs What's-your-narae?" "Moriarty, sir, is my name, and a good one it is; and what have you to say agen it? and one-and-sixpence's the price of the stick. Troth, it's chape as dirt—so it is."

"One-and-sixpence for a walking stick—whew! Why, you are no better than an impostor, to ask eighteen-pence for what cost you two-pence."

"Two-pence, your grandmother!" replied Mrs Biddy; "do you mane to say that it's chating the people I am? Impostor, indeed!"

"Ay, impostor; and it's that I call you to your teeth." rejoined O'Connell.

"Come, cut your stick, you cantankerous jackanapes."

"Keep a civil tongue in your head, you old diagonal." cried O'Connell, calmly.

"Stop your jaw, you pug-nosed badger, or by this and that." cried Mrs Moriarty, "I'll make you go quicker nor you came."

"Don't be in a passion, my old radius—anger will only wrinkle your beauty."

"By the hokey, if you say another word of impudence, I'll tan page 13 your dirty hide, you bastely common scrub; and sorry I'd be to soil my fists upon your carcasa"

"Whew! boys, what a passion old Biddy is in;I protest as I am a gentleman——"

"Jintleman! Jintleman! the likes of you a jintleman ! Wisha, by gor, that bangs Banagher. Why, you potato-faced pippin-sneezer, when did a Madagascar monkey like you pick enough of common Christian dacency to hide your Kerry brogue?

"Easy now—easy now." cried O'Connell, with imperturbable good humour, "don't choke yourself with fine language, you old whiskey-drinking parallelogram."

"What's that you call me, you murderin' villain?" roared Mrs, Moriarty, stung into fury.

"I call you." answered O'Connell, "a parallelogram; and a Dublin judge and jury will say that it's no libel to call you so !"

"Oh, tare-an-ouns! holy Biddy J that an honest woman like me should be called a parrallelogram to her face. I'm none of your parrybellygrums, you rascally gallows-bird; you cowardly, sneaking, plate-lickin' bliggard !"

"Oh, not you, indeed!" retorted O'Connell; "why, I suppose you'll deny that you keep a hypothenuse in your house."

"It's a lie for you, you—robber; I never had such a thing in my house, you swindling thief."

"Why, sure all your neighbours know very well that you keep not only a hypothenuse, but that you have two diameters locked up in your garret, and that you go out to walk with them every Sunday, you heartless old heptagon."

"Oh, hear that, ye saints in glory! Oh, there's bad language from a fellow that wants to pass for a jintleman. May the divil fly away with you, you micher from Munster, and make celery-sauce of your——limbs, you mealy-mouthed——."

"Ah, you can't deny the charge, you miserable submultiple of a duplicate ratio"

"Go, rinse your mouth in the Liffey, you nasty tickle-pitcher; after all the bad words you speak, it ought to be dirtier than your face, you dirty chicken of Beelzebub."

"Binse your own mouth, you wicked-minded old polygon—to the deuce I pitch you, you blustering intersection of a superfices !"

"You saucy tinker's apprentice, if you don't cease your jaw, I'll——" But here she gasped for breath, unable to hawk up any more words, for the last volley of O'Connell had nearly knocked the wind out of her.

"While I have a tongue I'll abuse you, you most inimitable periphery. Look at her, boys! There she stands—a convicted perpendicular in petticoats ! There's contamination in her dcircum-ference. and she trembles with guilt down to the extremities of her corollaries. Ah, you're found out, you rectilineal antecedentand equiangular old hag! 'Tis with you the devil will fly away, you porter-swiping similitude of the bisection of a vortex!"

Overwhelmed with this torrent of language, Mrs Moriarty was page 14 silenced. Catching up a saucepan, she was aiming it at O'Connell's head, when he very prudently made a timely retreat. "You have won the wager, O'Connell, here's your bet." cried the gentleman who proposed the contest.

I have not wholly disclosed Biddy's recorded Billingsgate, and it is doubted if Biddy was ever fully reported; at any rate it was an unequal match, inasmuch as O'Connell's attack was planned.

I have said O'Connell was bold in speech—he was also physically courageous. This quality in his character was called forth in the duelling days of 1815. At one of the numerous Catholic meetings held at that period, Counsellor O'Connell said, "I am convinced that the Catholic cause has suffered by neglect of discussion. Had the petition been last year the subject of debate we should not now see the beggarly Corporation of Dublin anticipating our efforts by a petition of an opposite direction." A Mr D'Esterre, a member of the Corporation, took offence at the expression." beggarly corporation." which, now-a days, would not disturb the equanimity of corporations, and he championed their cause. He requested an explanation from O'Connell, who, in reply, emphasized what he called his "contemptuous feelings for that body in its corporate capacity, although it contains many valuable persons, whoso conduct as individuals (I lament) must necessarily be confounded in the acts of the general body." This was the only satisfaction O'Connell vouchsafed to D'Esterre, except that at about 4 o'clock one morning in January, 1815, when on the duel ground D'Esterre was mortally wounded by a ball from O'Connell's pistol. O'Connell felt deeply during his life the fatal result of this sorrowful episode. For three weeks after he remained in retirement, and for years after the sad encounter he was observed to raise his hat, and his lips to move as in silent prayer, whenever he passed D'Esterre's late residence, He allowed D'Esterre's daughter—the widow having refused it—an annuity to the day of her death. Seven months' after, strange to relate, he found himself involved in another "affair of honour." and with no less a personage than Sir Robert Peel. This time, however, the arrangements were intercepted by O'Connell being taken in state by a guard of honour of forty picked constables, before the magistrates at Bow Street, and bound over in bonds of £2,000 to keep the peace.

Before passing on to that period of O'Connell's political agitation—Catholic Emancipation, I must refer to that deep sense of humour and happy facility in telling amusing stories so admirably that made him, as he was, such a perfect host and travelling companion. Many of his best anecdotes and reminiscences have never been recorded, but there remain still a good many, out of which I select a very few.

One comical story was about a Miss Hussey to whom her father had bequeathed £150 per annum, in consideration of her having an ugly nose. When on his death-bed his housekeeper asked him what he had left Miss Mary. He told her how much, and that it would do if she got any sort of a good husband. "Heaven bless your honour! what dacent man would take her with the nose she has got?" said page 15 the housekeeper. "Well, that's really very true." said the dying father. "I never thought of her nose;" and he forthwith wrote a codicil for another £150 as a set-off against her nose.

In conversation one day at his own table, where with his guests he appeared to such advantage, chatting on the subject of Temperance, he was led to speak of a Judge Boyd, who was so fond of brandy that he always kept a supply in an inkstand before him in Court. His Lordship used to depress his head on it now and then, and steal a hurried sip from time to time through a quill, without, as he thought, being observed. One day it was sought to throw discredit on the evidence of a witness on the ground of his having been drunk, Mr. Grady, counsel on the other side, laboured hard to show the man was quite sober, "Come now." said Judge Boyd, "tell the Court truly, my good man, were you drunk or sober." "Oh, quite sober, my Lord." broke in Grady, looking significantly at the inkstand, "As sober as a judge?"

O'Connell resorted to tricks when he could do so to the advantage of his client. One of these you have probably heard, It was in a murder case at the Cork assizes, O'Connell defending. The principal witness had picked up a hat near the murdered man, and swore it was the hat of the prisoner, whose name was Pat Hogan. The hat was produced, and O'Connell asked to see it; it was handed to him. "Now." said O'Connell, "you are quite sure this is the hat you found?" "Yes, your honour." "And the hat is in the same state as when you found it?" "Oh, yes; just the same." O'Connell looked inside the hat and spelled "P-a-t H-o-g-a-n." "Do you mean to say the name was in it when you found it?" "I do, on my oath; quite sartin." "Now you may go down." said O'Connell, "My Lord." said he, "there is no name in the hat—there must be an acquittal."

On another occasion O'Connell was defending a life and death case, and when he plainly saw there was not the slightest chance of acquittal, he began putting utterly inadmissible questions. Objection was taken, of course, and O'Connell persisting, Sergeant Lefroy, then acting-Judge, became irritated and declined to allow this line of cross-examination. This was just what O'Connell wanted, and with apparent indignation, exclaimed, "As you refuse me permission to defend my client, I leave his fate in your hands, and his blood be on your heads if he be condemned." O'Connell then rushed out of Court impetuously, and in an agitated manner walked up and down, till in about half-an-hour the attorney came running out of Court, crying, "He's acquitted !" "My only chance." said O'Connell, "was to throw the responsibility on the Judge." whom he knew was timid, and by this trick became the prisoner's advocate, and charged the jury in his favour.

O'Connell rather defied judicial insolence, and he tells amongst others, an incident which also shows his willingness to help young solicitors,

On one occasion a young barrister was called on in Court by the opposing counsel to admit certain evidence, O'Connell, who was sitting in Court, told the barrister to make no admission, "Have page 16 you a brief in this case, Mr. O'Connell f" asked His Lordship, £f I have not, my Lord, but I shall have when the case goes down to the Assizes." "When I was at the Bar." retorted the Judge, "it was not my habit to anticipate briefs." "When you were at the Bar, I never chose you for a model, and now that you are on the Bench, I shall not submit to your dictation."

A ragged stroller one day recognised O'Connell, and asked him for a little money. "I don't know you at all, my good man." said O'Connell, "That's not what your son would say, your honour, for he got me a good place at Glasnevin Cemetery, only I hadn't the good luck to keep it." "Then, indeed, you were strangely unlucky." rejoined Dan, "for those who have places in cemeteries generally keep them."

Speaking of ingenious attorneys, O'Connell told a good story about one Mr. Checkley, who was attorney at the Cork Assizes for a fellow accused of burglary and assault, committed at Bantry. Checkley, O'Connell said, "was the cleverest rogue (not used in a literal sense) I ever heard of." The notoriously witty Jerry Kellar, of the Munster Bar, was counsel in the case. At the close of the case for the prosecution, which was clearly and circumstantially made out—the Judge asked if there were any witnesses for the defence? "Yes, my Lord." said Jerry Kellar, "I have three briefed to me." Checkley brought in accordingly a respectable-looking farmer-like man with blue coat and gilt buttons, corduroy tights, and gaiters, "This is a witness to character, my Lord." and forthwith began to examine him,

"You know the prisoner?" said Kellar, "Yes, your honour, ever since he was a gorsoon!" "And what is his general character?" "Och, the divil a worse!" "Why, what sort of a witness is this you've brought?" said Kellar, throwing down his brief and looking furiously at Checkley, "He has ruined the case." "He may prove an alibi" replied Checkley. "Examine him as to alibi, as instructed in your brief." Keller resumed his examination:—" Where was the prisoner on the 10th instant?" "He was near Castlemartyn." "Are you sure of that?" "Quite sure, counsellor." "How do you know with such certainty?" "Because that very night, coming from .the fair, I saw the prisoner near my own house, a little way before me, I'd swear to him anywhere. He was dodging about, and I knew it could be for no good end; so I slipped into the field, and turned my horse to grass; and while I was watching the lad from behind the ditch, I saw him pop across the wall into my garden, and steal a lot of parsnips and carrots; and what I thought a great deal worse of, he stole a bran-new English spade I got from ray landlord, Lord Shannon. So, faith, I cut away after him, but as I was tired from the day's labour, and he being fresh and nimble, I wasn't able to catch him, But next day, sure enough, my spade was in his house,—and that's the same rogue in the dock! I wish I had a hoult of him."

"It is quite evident." said the Judge. "the prisoner must be acquitted. An alibiis clearly established, because Castlemartyn is page 17 sixty miles from Bantry, and he is certainly anything but a partisan of his. Now, will you swear an information against the prisoner for this robbery of your property?" "An" troth I will, my Lord, with all the pleasure in life, if your Lordship thinks I can get any satisfaction out of him. I am tould I can for the spade, but not for the turnips or carrots." "Go to the Crown office, and swear an information." said the Judge, It is needless to say the prisoner was discharged, and the information was never sworn.

Some of the older criminals felt a keen interest in O'Connell's life. One especially, whom O'Connell had defended three or four times for crimes just short of murder, found himself standing in the dock again for piracy. He had stolen a brig, and cruised along the coast, seeking booty. O'Connell defended as usual, and got the criminal off on a technical point of jurisdiction. The rescued rascal fervently clasped his hands, and lifting his eyes to heaven, said, "Oh, may the Lord in His mercy spare your honour to me! What would become of me if anything happened to you."

O'Connell also used occasionally to get a little advice from some of these criminals. He used to tell an anecdote about a cattle-stealer whom he defended, and who was clearly convicted and was transported, The convict returned, and happening to meet O'Connell, the latter asked him how he had managed to steal the fat cows always. Thinking, perhaps, that O'Connell had some intention of going into a similar enterprise, he gravely compiled this answer: "Why, then, I'll tell your honour the whole secret of that, sir. Whenever your honour goes to steal a cow, always go on the worst night you can, for nobody will likely be about. The way you'll always know the fat cattle in the dark is by this token—the fat cows always stand in the more exposed places, but the lane ones always goes into the ditch for shelter."

Now it must not for one instant be thought from these few stories and reminiscences that O'Connell was merely a brilliant witty advocate, without any of those qualifications of a studious or of a practical business character which would fit him for the serious or commercial aspect of his profession. It would be quite a mistake to think so. Lalor Sheil, one of Ireland's most cultured orators, whose speeches every member of the Society should study, and a contemporary of O'Connell, describes him as a professional drudge. And you will find that no man, no matter what his genius, can, without considerable labour, attain pre-eminence in the profession he may select for his career.

Sheil, in his "sketches." says: "If any one, being a stranger in Dublin, should chance, between five and she o'clock in the morning, to pass along the south side of Merrion Square, he will not fail to observe that among those splendid mansions there is one evidently tenanted by a person whose habits differ materially from those of his fashionable neighbours. . . Should you ascend the steps . . . to reconnoitre the interior you will see a tall, able-bodied man standing at a desk and immersed in solitary occupation. Upon the wall in front of him there hangs a crucifix. . . Your first impres- page 18 sion will be that he is some dignitary of the Church of Rome absorbed in his matin devotions. But this conjecture will soon be rejected . . . the book cases clogged with tomes in plain calf skin binding, the blue-covered octavos that lie on the tables and the floor, the manuscripts in oblong folds begirt with crimson tape, make it evident that the party meditating . . . must be thinking far more of the law than the prophets. He is unequivocally a barrister of the . . . plodding cast who labour hard to make up by assiduity what they want in wit, who are up and stirring before the bird of the morning has sounded the retreat to the wandering spectre, and is already brain deep in the dizzy vortex of mortgages, cross-remainders and remitters while his clients, still lapped in sweet oblivion of the law's delay, are fondly dreaming that their cause is peremptorily set down for final hearing. Having come to this conclusion . . . you push on, blessing your stars on the way that you are not a lawyer, and sincerely compassionating the sedentary drudge whom you have just detected in the performance of his cheerless toil." I have quoted this passage for the double purpose of showing you O'Connell as a hard worker in his profession, and also to give you a sample of the finished descriptive style of Sheil. To show you also that O'Connell was well versed in a commercial phase of his profession to which I regret to say sufficient attention is not devoted by those who, adopt the law as a profession—I refer to a thorough knowledge of bookkeeping and accounts—he used to tell a story about a case, when he was young at the Bar, where they were trying to upset a verdict obtained against their client for £1,100. "My senior counsel." he says, "contented themselves in abusing witnesses, detecting flaws and making sparkling points, and eloquent but ineffective speeches. Whilst they flourished away I got out our client's books, and taking my place under the Judge's bench, went through the accounts from beginning to end; drew the whole out by double entry, and numbered every voucher. The result plainly was, that so far from a just balance of £1,100 against our poor devil, there actually was a balance of £700 in his favour, although the poor., slovenly blockhead of a client didn't know it. When my turn came I made the facts clear, and the jury inquired if they couldn't find a verdict of £700 for Mr.——." "I just tell you the circumstance to show you." said O'Connell, "that I kept an eye on that important branch of my profession." I commend the same advice to you, gentlemen. Yon should make the knowledge of accounts a special feature in your preparation for any business or profession, and especially the law. Another suggestion of great practical utility to literary young men, students, especially those purposing to go to the profession of the law, is mentioned by O'Connell At a large dinner party a literary dispute arose as to how a character in a novel had been disposed of by the author. A reference was made to O'Connell, who, with perfect order, traced all the characters, distinguishing one from the other in time and place. He was asked how, in the midst of all his various political and professional duties, and the thousand- page 19 and-one things engaging or disturbing his mind, lie could so clearly remember such a matter as this? He said, "It is probably owing to the habit of my life, which has been to arrange all matters of knowledge according to chronology—that is, to see the order of time in, which the events took place. As a lawyer, during the period when I have devoted seventeen hours daily to my profession, always began by studying the chronology of the case—what took place first, what next—until at last it has become such a practice with me that, although I just glanced over that novel, it has fixed itself upon my mind as if it were a law case."

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot pretend to give you examples numerous enough to afford you anything like an adequate idea of O'Connell's forensic eloquence, which was natural and not acquired, for his pressing and multifarious engagements prevented him from even the preparation of his speeches, especially in later years, much less the systematic cultivation or refinement of those elements of oratory with which nature had so liberally endowed him.. But as his speech in defence of Magee for alleged libel in denouncing the administration of the Duke of Richmond in Ireland is considered one of his best efforts—when he was about forty years of age—I extract the peroration:—

"Is there amongst you any one friend to freedom? Is there amongst you one man who esteems equal and impartial justice, who values the people's rights as the foundation of private happiness, and who considers life as no boon without liberty? Is there amongst you one friend to the Constitution—one man who hates oppression? If there be, Mr. Magee appeals to his kindred mind, and confidently expects an acquittal. There are amongst you men of great religious zeal—of much public piety. Are you sincere? Do you believe what you profess? With all this zeal, with all this piety, is there any conscience amongst you? Is there any terror of violating your oaths? Be ye hypocrites, or does genuine religion inspire ye? If you be sincere, if you have consciences, if your oaths can control your interests—then Mr. Magee confidently expects an acquittal. If amongst you there be cherished one ray of pure religion; if amongst you there glow a single spark of liberty; if I have alarmed religion, aroused the spirit of freedom in one breast amongst you—Mi Magee is safe, and his country is served; but if there ne none, if you be slaves and hypocrites, he will await your verdict, and despise it."

And they proved to be hypocrites, for they found Magee guilty, and he was heavily fined. O'Connell's own opinion was that his greatest bar speech was in an important disputed will case, Blackwood v. Blackwood, in which the madness of the testator was alleged. One of the hallucinations of Blackwood was that he was Napoleon Buonaparte, referring to which, to the jury O'Connell said: "Oh! gentleman of the jury, it is profanation to compare the name of Pinckston Blackwood with that mighty spirit which, even in a bod cause, awed all Europe; at whose command the sceptres fell from the hands of kings, and nations trembled; which by the power page 20 and the splendour of its genius arose above the gaze of an admiring world, until, dizzied by its own lofty soarings, it fell upon a barren rock, and expired in the blaze of its own magnificent creation."

In 1823, with emancipation ever present in his vigorous and fertile mind, he determined on an organisation which would associate the priests in active politics. This was the first time probably that the clergy were united in agitation with their people and they have remained in union since. This was and is natural, and has been justified by results, The clergy have been their guide and shield in doubt and their consolation in affliction.

This organisation, then, by O'Connell, embraced the whole nation, and was called the "Githolic Association." In the following year he established the Catholic Rent, by small popular subscription, for the management of Catholic affairs. The Protestants thought it was subscribed to buy arms with, hence it used to be called the powder and ball tax. In the same year a prosecution was for the first time commenced against O'Connell for an alleged seditious speech, but the grand jury threw out the bill. Failing thus, a bill called the Algerine Bill was brought in to suppress the Association, whose proceeilngs were ably defended by Sir Henry Parnell and Henry Brougham, O'Connell and Sheil, accompanied by several others, Sir Thomas Esmonde amongst the number, proceeded to London to be heard at the bar of the House, The Commons, however, would not hear them and the Bill was passed and the Association suppressed. But O'Connell drove his "coach and four" through it, for, with the assistance of Sheil, he revived the old association' under the guise of a New Catholic Association, for the purposes of public and private charity, and the old Catholic Kent was collected with the saving clause "for all purposes not prohibited by law." About this time O'Connell made one of the mistakes of his life. He had been permitted to make a rough draft of the Emancipation Bill, but he allowed himself to be reasoned by Government supporters into foregoing the forty shillings franchise, which he found it almost impossible to defend to the indignant Irish people. He doubtless consented at the time with the best of motives, as he was led to believe with this concession emancipation was certain, but he was perfidiously deceived by the Government as the Irish people before and since have similarly been deceived. The greatest power of the great Tribune was in swaying large assemblies of his countrymen, He had created the platform which had hardly dawned up to this time a political agent, and placed it in the position of being recognised for all time as part and parcel of the Constitution, The nation became organised, and in the memorable year of 1828 simultaneous meetings of the people took place on the 13th of January, at which it was computed 5,000,000 people attended.

A vacancy for a seat in the House of Commons occurring in the electorate of Clare, O'Connell, in a characteristic address which I cannot stop to quote, announced himself as a candidate, to the horror of Vesey Fitzgerald, the rival candidate, and a member of the Administration, The election was fiercely contested, and every page 21 elector voted, and voted very often, O'Connell's enemies said. His inexhaustible nativo wit and eloquence were at their greatest height perhaps in this and the year succeeding, He was returned by a majority of over a thousand votes, and-chaired in triumph surrounded by sixty thousand people. At the close of the poll Vesey Fitzgerald fled, and O'Connell, in exultation, cried out to the vast multitude, "Where's Vasey, boys. Ochone, Vasey Vigarald, but it's me that's dull without you. Run, mavourneen, run, send the bell about for him. Here's the cry for you:

Lost or mislaid,
Stolen or strayed,
The Right Honourable
The President of the Board of Trade."

That day at Clare Emancipation was won, though not yet obtained. O'Connell knew that as the law stood he could not take his seat because he could not take the Parliamentary oath, declaring his religion idolatrous. Still he was eligible for election, and being elected would force attention to the gross disability and injustice to Catholics, He declined to take the oath, and argued his claims at the bar of the House. Parliament refused to allow him to take his seat and he went back for re-election, and was triumphantly returned unopposed—the first election having cost £20,000, Meantime petitions poured into Parliament, Peel moved the Catholic Relief Bill—they would not call it Emancipation. The Iron Duke and the King himself had to succumb, "and Napoleon's conqueror yielded to a mightier foe." and the measure passed by a majority of 178, It was O'Connell's creation; he arduously sustained it, and is entitled to the everlasting gratitude of Ireland for its accomplishment. It had several ludicrous clauses, such as this, "That a Catholic judge could not attend mass in wig and gown." As O'Connell said, "The judge may continue a Catholic, but the powdered wig and gown must still remain Protestant" After Emancipation I may say that O'Connell almost immediately relinquished his large practice and devoted the remainder of his life undividedly to the service of his beloved country.

He now at once started the Repeal Agitation—monster meetings which were always the congenial sphere of his popular genius and mighty power were inaugurated. It was a power that by his mere word could, and did, turn back 50,000 men on their march. His genius has been described as "the genius of the nation—one moment in jest and banter, sparkling like the streamlets in Irish glens; in another like the tempest amidst Irish mountains; now soft as a song to the Irish harp, deep as the wind upon an Irish heath j again mournful as waves around the Irish shores—or in a poetry bold as their hopes, and in a prophesy as wild as their enthusiasm." His sway was not confined to Irishmen only. In England he addressed vast and delighted multitudes, On Carlton Hill, Edinburgh, he spoke to tens of thousands of Scotchmen, and aroused them by his dazzling eloquence. On the suggestion of Ireland's immortal patriot poet, Thomas Davis, the monster meetings were held on historic page 22 ground—Cashel, Mullaghmast, Tara, etc. It would interest you deeply to read the description of these Repeal Meetings—their vastness, their enthusiasm, and their order—and when I mention that at the Tara meeting, which O'Connell addressed, there were not less than 750,000 people—ten thousand horsemen alone—you can picture to yourselves the royal surroundings of the uncrowned monarch, and the national homage to the sacred cause of liberty he espoused, I must not forget to mention that the great apostle of temperance, Father Mathew, was also in the front rank of Repealers. He considered that a sober man would make the best patriot, because he would be the most reasoning and reasonable; therefore temperance was a special feature of the Repeal Organisation, and ensured peace and order.

In 1841 the office of Lord Mayor was thrown open to Catholics, and O'Council became the first Catholic Lord Mayor of Dublin—still agitating Repeal inside and outside the Corporation, fearlessly but constitutionally. His motto to the end of his life, as in the beginning, was "He who commits a crime gives strength to the enemy." But temperate and prudent as he was in his agitation, the last monster meeting to have been held at Clontarf in 1843—which O'Connell called the "Repeal year"—was proclaimed or prohibited by the Government, and he, his son John, Gavan Duffy and others were tried for conspiracy, convicted, and, sent to prison. On appeal to the House of Lords the conviction was quashed on the ground that the whole list of Catholic names had been omitted from the jury panels. Lord Denman, during the appeal case, said, "If such Sractices should continue, trial by jury would be a mockery, a elusion, and a snare." And Lord Macaulay, speaking in the House of Commons in 1844, said, "Mr O'Connell has been convicted, but you cannot deny he has been wronged."

He used to say, good humouredly, sometimes that members of his family had a trick of living till they were 90. But being now on the verge of 70 years of age, the imprisonment for three months of this venerable patriot, though holding levees in gaol, and though subsequently released amid the wildest popular enthusiasm, apparently crushed, to some extent, the old spirit. In the following year the dread calamity of famine smote the land and weighed heavily upon him. His great frame having broken down he was ordered to a warmer climate, and at Genoa, in May, 1847, his soul peacefully passed out of a life consecrated to the freedom and amelioration of his race. His heart is in Rome, and a round tower marks the spot where his body lies in Glasnevin Cemetery.

The young men of this or any other generation will learn from the study of this great man's life the lesson of our being—how to live and bow to die, and to remember that our first duty is to God and next to our country.

This Society is catholic and literary. Let it be catholic first and then literary; for if there be about it any indifferentism or disrespect for its religion, its name is a mockery and its functions are harmful. I do not mean a narrow-minded bigotry, but I mean an open, page 23 sensible adherence to the name and practice of your religion. O'Connell was the most liberal and tolerant of men or statesmen, but he was a steadfast Catholic. From a literary point of view you will find from the study of his life and times little to avoid but much to imitate.

In recent years more impetuous minds may and do criticize adversely O'Connell's mode of dealing with the Repeal Movement, but it must be remembered that he went into St. Stephen's with the support of only twenty-six mute members, not with forty, fifty, or as they number now eighty-six of the most vigorous political intellects and tongues in Ireland. What a contrast! Still greater is the contrast with the position of Ireland's hopes at this hour, when history has to record that in less than fifty years from the death of O'Oonnell, or about the same time that it took to secure the one single measure of Catholic Emancipation—there is at last in that greatest assembly in the world a just majority of nearly fifty votes ready at this moment to obtain for Ireland the management of her own affairs. The result of the recent elections is the triumph of an enlightened democracy, the triumph of reason and righteousness over prejudice and tyranny, and a lasting confirmation of those peaceful, constitutional, and moral forces so persistently and eloquently advocated by that great, inspiring and prophetic voice now still, and the memory of whose aspiration and achievements will only cease with the extinction of the Irish race.

For us he lived, fought, suffered, dared and died,
Struck off the shackles from each fettered limb,
And all we have of beet we owe to him.

* * * * * *

Where'er we turn the same effect we find—
O'Connell's voice still speaks his country's mind.

* * * * * *

We bless his memory, and with loud acclaim
To all the winds, on all the wings of fame
Waft to the listening world the great O'Connell's name.