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tion frequently convulsed Parliament and the country. The remedies which the British Government usually prescribed for the political and religious diseases of Ireland were insurrection acts, coercion acts, suspensions of the habeas corpus, capital trials, hangings, and transportation, administered by the batons of the police and the bayonets of the soldiery.

The year 1823 saw a bright star of promise arise on the dark and troubled horizon of Hibernia.

The exigencies of the times had healed the feuds of hostile factions among the Emancipationists, and they closed hands in defense of their common liberties. In May, of that year, Daniel O'Connell and Richard Lalor Shiel, who had long been estranged from each other, accidentally met among the mountains of Wicklow, at the house of a friend. A reconciliation took place, and they resolved to form a league for the deliverance of their enslaved Catholic countrymen. The same month they organized the “ Catholic Association,” in Dublin, on the plan of admitting all persons, of whatever sect or party, who approved its objects. It early enrolled some of the first minds in the island, who commenced an agitation which was soon felt in the fartherest corner of the kingdom, nor stopped till it brought back responses from France, Germany, the United States, Canada, the East Indies, and other distant countries. It made the realm vocal with its orators, crowded Parliament with its petitions, and scattered its tracts over the Continent. O'Connell and Shiel were the life and soul of the Association ; the former being its chief manager, the latter its most brilliant advocate.

Undoubtedly some of the transactions of this almost omnipotent body were of an inflammatory character. But it gave concentration and rational aim to the efforts of the oppressed Irish, and, by exciting the hope of relief, withdrew from them the temptation to illegal acts of violence. The justice of its object, and the contempt which its petitions received from Parliament, ultimately rallied to its standard the whole of the Catholics and an influential portion of the dissenting Protestants of Ireland. Alarmed at its power, the session of March, 1825, after a stormy debate, passed an act terminating its existence. Immediately after the adjournment of Parliament, the Association was reörganized, with a constitution which did not come within the law. At the session of 1826, finding that the agitation could not be silenced, various efforts were made to ameliorate the condition of Ireland. After spending five months in vehement discussion, Parliament abandoned the country to the rage of party spirit, and it was left for the welldirected labors of the Association to prevent it from plunging into anarchy and revolution.

At the general election in the summer of 1826, the friends of Emancipation took the field and achieved some signal triumphs in returning members to Parliament. The Irish tenantry, the “forty-shilling freeholders,” who had generally been supple instruments in the hands of the Protestant landlord, to perpetuate his domination and their chains, had, by the labors of the Association, been converted into an engine to overthrow the oppressors. They now voted with the Emancipators.

Canning rose to power in 1827. His professed regard for Catholic relief induced Ireland to wait and see what would come from his ministry. His early death quenched all hope of succor from his administration. After the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts the next year, a struggle for partial relief to the Catholics, which resulted successfully in the Commons, but was defeated in the Lords, only stimulated the friends of Emancipation to take a bolder step. The hour to strike the decisive blow had come, and it brought with it

the man.

In 1828, Mr. Fitzgerald, the member for Clare, received a place in the cabinet, thus vacating his seat in the Commons. He was a candidate for reëlection. The Catholic Association requested Mr. O'Connell to become a candidate for the vacancy, and in his own person seek to establish the right of Catho



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lics to sit in Parliament. He immediately issued an address to the electors of Clare, in which, among other things, he said: " Fellow-countrymen, your county wants a representative. I respectfully solicit your suffrages, to raise me to that station.

You will be told I am not qualified to be elected. The assertion is untrue. I am qualified to be elected, and to be your representative. It is true that, as a Catholic, I cannot, and of course never will, take the oaths at present prescribed to members of Parliament. But the authority which created those oaths can abrogate them.

And I entertain a confident hope that, if you elect me, the most bigoted of our enemies will see the necessity of removing from the chosen representative of the people an obstacle which would prevent him from doing his duty to his king and to his country."

The address fell like a thunderbolt upon the enemies of Emancipation. The friends of Fitzgerald would not believe it was the intention of O'Connell to seriously contest the canvass. The speedy arrival of two of his agents in Clare dispelled their doubts. The county was in a boil of excitement.

The day of election approaches. Shiel addresses a concourse of elect

His eloquence inspires a wild enthusiasm in their hearts. The time for the arrival of the great agitator himself is fixed. An immense throng hails him, with banners, music, and shoutings. The trial day comes, and the candidates appear before assembled thousands of the electors. Fitzgerald delivers an able speech. O'Connell rises and pronounces a magnificent harangue, which sways the passions of the peasantry as forests wave when swept by the wing of the tempest. A violent contest ensues, and at its close the high-sheriff declares that “ Daniel O'Connell, Esq., is duly elected a member of the Commons House of Parliament for the county of Clare."

This unexpected result carried dismay into the councils of Downing street; for they knew that O'Connell was soon to appear in London and demand his seat in Parliament. His fame was no stranger to the place where his person was un

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His reputation had long ago penetrated every mansion and cabin in the realm. The agitation of the past five years, whose tread had shaken Ireland from Cape Clear' to the Giant's Causeway, had ever and anon caused the walls of St. Stephen's to tremble. And now, what seemed so terrible in the distance, was to be brought to its very doors. Parliament was not in session ; but it had been announced that ministers would oppose Mr. O'Connell's entrance into the Commons. The declaration drove Ireland to the brink of civil war. The commander of the forces conveyed to the ministry the alarming intelligence, that the troops were fraternizing with the people, and their loyalty could not be relied on in the event of an outbreak. All minds not besotted with bigotry felt that the great right for which the Association had contended must be conceded. The Duke of Wellington, then at the head of the government, saw that the hour had come when either his prejudices or his place must be surrendered. He decided that the former must yield. Parliament was convened on the 5th of March, 1829. On the first day of the session, Mr. Peel moved that the House go into committee, “to take into consideration the civil disabilities of his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects.” After two days' debate, it prevailed. A bill of Emancipation was introduced. Ancient hatred was aroused, and in five days sent in a thousand petitions against its passage. The bill passed, after a severe struggle, and Mr. Peel carried it to the Lords. A fierce contest ensued, but it was forced through by the Iron Duke. On the 13th of April it received the royal assent, and was hailed with joy by the friends of religious freedom, whilst bigotry went.growling to its den.

Mr. O'Connell appeared in the House to claim his seat. Having been elected before the act of Emancipation, the ancient oaths were tendered to him. He declined to take them. After tedious hearings before the Committee of Elections, extending through several weeks, and a powerful address at the bar of the House in support of his own right, his seat

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was declared vacant. He returned to Ireland, and was everywhere hailed as the Liberator of his country.After walking over the course of Clare, he repaired to Westminster, and "the member for all Ireland” took his seat in the British House of Commons.

For this great concession to the Genius of Toleration, the age is indebted to the Catholic Association, organized and sustained by O'Connell and Shiel, the Castor and Pollux of Emancipation. No two men were more perfect antagonisms in the prime elements of their characters, and no two more harmoniously blended in the accomplishment of a common object. Each supplied what was wanting in the other. O'Connell was unsurpassed in planning, organizing, and executing, and his unique and vigorous eloquence could stir to its bottom the ground tier of Irish society. Shiel was rich in the highest gifts of oratory, ornate, classical, impassioned, and could rouse the enthusiasm and intoxicate the imaginations of the refined classes of his countrymen. The one contributed to the work, the learning and skill of an acute lawyer, the knowledge of a well-read historian of his country, an intimate acquaintance with all the details of the great question at issue, and business capacities of the first order. The other gave to it a transcendent intellect, adorned with the genius of a poet, the graces of a rhetorician, and the embellishments of a polite scholar. Both consecrated to it intense nationality of feeling, quenchless perseverance, and indomitable courage. Each yielded to the other the exclusive occupancy of the peculiar field of labor to which his talents were best adapted.

Mr. Shiel was born in 1791. In his youth, he won a high literary reputation as the author of two tragedies, Evadne and The Apostate, and some beautiful essays in the periodicals. He early acquired an enviable reputation at the Dublin bar as an advocate. But “the guage and measure of the man known to a comparatively small circle till his splendid oratorical displays in defense of the principles and objects of the


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