A public and triumphal entry was determined on. But Mr. Smith O’Brien, desirous that the State prisoners of 1844 should be participators in any tribute of respect offered to him, requested that the 6th of September, the day of their release from prison, should be fixed on for a public triumph, in which all alike could share.
[Illustration: John Mitchell]
Mr. O’Brien passed through the metropolis quietly on his way home; but in Limerick and Newcastle was received by hundreds of thousands with boundless joy. When he returned to town, it was to be expelled from that body to which he, of all living men, gave most firmness, and for which he alone acquired most respect. In the events which followed, the public dinner was forgotten.
It is now time to recur to those events, some of which at least range behind those already detailed—to which the following preliminary may be necessary. Early in June, a meeting was held at Lord John Russell’s, when the minister-expectant explained the grounds on which he claimed the support of the entire Liberal Party. The English Liberals, generally and enthusiastically, acquiesced. The correspondent of the Evening Mail, writing from London, stated that Mr. O’Connell added to his adhesion, a voluntary promise to sink the cause of Repeal provided measures of a truly liberal character were carried into effect. He, moreover, said that he never meant more by Repeal than a thorough identification of the two countries. The Nation indignantly repelled the insinuations of the correspondence, and pronounced it a lie. Mr. O’Connell and his friends passed the Mail by unnoticed, but bestowed on the Nation their measureless wrath. It was never afterwards forgiven.
DEFEAT OF PEEL.—ACCESSION or THE WHIGS.—MR.
COURSE.—DEBATES IN CONCILIATION HALL.—MR. O’CONNELL DENOUNCES THE
YOUNG IRELAND PARTY.—CONTINUED DEBATES.—QUESTIONS AT ISSUE.—PHYSICAL
FORCE.—THE SECESSION.—WHIG ALLIANCE.—DUBLIN REMONSTRANCE.—FORMATION
OF THE CONFEDERATION, ITS CAREER.—MR. O’CONNELL’S DEATH.—CLOSE OF THE
On the 25th of June, Sir Robert Peel was defeated in the House of Commons on a motion that the Irish Coercion Bill be read a second time.
The majority against him was seventy-three, and was composed of the Whig party, the extreme Conservatives, the ultra-Radicals and Irish Repealers. In ten days after, Lord John Russell assumed the seals of office. During the preliminary arrangements that led to Peel’s defeat, there was much coquetting between the Whig and Irish leaders. Alarmed by this startling aspect of affairs, and somewhat, perhaps, by the uncontradicted correspondence of the Mail, heretofore alluded to, Mr. Meagher, in the midst of vociferous cheering, announced from the tribune of Conciliation Hall, “that Irish Repealers would