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be very desultory. It was necessarily impossible to methodise the vast variety of miscellaneous topics suggested by O'Connell's colloquial recollections, or started by his companions. Although I have occasionally given details of the public movements in which, under his leadership, you and I actively participated, yet my principal object was to show O'Connell in his private capacity; to show him at ease among his familiar associates, talking discursively away upon the thousand subjects which past and present politics, and personal anecdote, presented to his mind.

There is one thing which these records demonstrate—if indeed it needed demonstration—namely, that Ireland and her interests were ever uppermost in his thoughts.

On his political character and career, Ireland has long since pronounced. Well may


countrymen feel pride in the extraordinary man, who, for a series of years, could assail and defy a hostile and powerful

government; who could knit together a prostrate, divided, and dispirited nation into a resolute and invincible confederacy; who could lead his followers in safety through the traps and pitfalls that




beset their path to freedom; who could baffle all the artifices of sectarian bigotry; and finally overthrow the last strongholds of Anti-Catholic tyranny by the simple might of public opinion. To

say that as a public leader he had no faults, and made no mistakes, would be to ascribe to him more than human exemption from error. But it is undeniable that his mistakes were far fewer than any other man in his place would have made; and that from such as he did make, he had the tact to extricate himself with promptness and dexterity. Sagacious, wary, and honest ; cautious without timidity, and sanguine without rashness; he was inimitably adapted to achieve the great purpose of his mission.

I do not think I err in believing that more than ordinary interest must attach to every reminiscence of the private and familiar intercourse of a man so gifted and distinguished.

If there be any compliment annexed to the dedication of this book, you, my dear Scott, are well entitled to it. Sprung from an ancient and honourable Scottish race, and possessing no other connexion with Ireland than the sympathy excited in a just and generous mind by the spectacle of unconstitutional oppression, you cordially united in O'Connell's movement for the Restoration of the Irish Parlia

ment. You did so at great personal inconvenience and expense.

You have not been chilled by the dispiriting defections that have taken place from the body which he instituted. You have not been wearied by the protracted struggle for liberty. Your activity and devotion to the cause are now as great as on the day when you and I first worked together under the guidance of our departed Chief. When honourable, though mistaken men, seceded from the Association, you were amongst those who stood firmly by the Old Man's banner; justly appreciating the infinite evils of division. O'Connell has more than once pronounced you “ an invaluable ally."

Ever believe me,

Your affectionate friend.


Kilcascan, County Cork,

8th March, 1848.





Early Impressions of O'Connell—Curiosity excited by his

Fame - O'Connell's Letters on Repeal in 1830-Anti-tithe Agitation – General Election of 1832–Irish National Coun. cil-Session of 1833–O'Connell's Repeal Policy-Coercion

Bill for Ireland carried by English Reformers. DURING the period that O'Connell's agitation for the removal of Catholic disabilities was at its greatest height, I was just at the age when political impressions the most strong and permanent are generally imbibed. In every company which I entered, the great Catholic leader was spoken of, and his movements discussed; and as the majority of my associates and connexions were of what are termed " high Tory politics,” their renowned oppoVOL, I.


nent was usually named as a regular political Beelzebub. I invariably heard the Catholic body denounced as a turbulent and ignorant mass, who were impudently brawling for privileges to which they had no manner of claim. Amongst my father's ordinary guests and acquaintance, the only two persons who did not participate in a contemptuous hostility to the Catholic cause, were Feargus O'Connor, and his elder brother, Arthur O'Connor, of Fort Robert.

The Tory atmosphere I breathed did not, however, influence my sentiments. The knowledge that the Catholic body were oppressed, was sufficient to enlist my sympathy in their behalf. I incurred paternal censure for joining Arthur O'Connor in an eager defence of emancipation, one evening that the measure was debated in our coterie at Kilcascan. The only argument produced against it, was, that it would destroy the existing Protestant monopoly; and that argument was deemed perfectly conclusive.

My curiosity was strongly excited by the fame of O'Connell. I was anxious to behold the marvellous Agitator, who convulsed the kingdom from one end to the other. The first time I heard him address a public meeting, was in the winter of 1827. It was at the Catholic Association. He did not

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