The Kellys and the O'Kellys eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 530 pages of information about The Kellys and the O'Kellys.
imprisonment of their leader—­the persecution, as they believed it to be, of “the Liberator” [2]—­would have been the one thing most certain to have sustained his influence, and to have given fresh force to their agitation.  Nothing ever so strengthened the love of the Irish for, and the obedience of the Irish to O’Connell, as his imprisonment; nothing ever so weakened his power over them as his unexpected enfranchisement [3].  The country shouted for joy when he was set free, and expended all its enthusiasm in the effort.

[Footnote 2:  The Irish often referred to Daniel O’Connell as
“the liberator.”]

[Footnote 3:  enfranchisement—­being set free.  This is a political
observation by Trollope.]

At the time, however, to which I am now referring, each party felt the most intense interest in the struggle, and the most eager desire for success.  Every Repealer, and every Anti-Repealer in Dublin felt that it was a contest, in which he himself was, to a certain extent, individually engaged.  All the tactics of the opposed armies, down to the minutest legal details, were eagerly and passionately canvassed in every circle.  Ladies, who had before probably never heard of “panels” in forensic phraseology, now spoke enthusiastically on the subject; and those on one side expressed themselves indignant at the fraudulent omission of certain names from the lists of jurors; while those on the other were capable of proving the legality of choosing the jury from the names which were given, and stated most positively that the omissions were accidental.

“The traversers” [4] were in everybody’s mouth—­a term heretofore confined to law courts, and lawyers’ rooms.  The Attorney-General, the Commander-in-Chief of the Government forces, was most virulently assailed; every legal step which he took was scrutinised and abused; every measure which he used was base enough of itself to hand down his name to everlasting infamy.  Such were the tenets of the Repealers.  And O’Connell and his counsel, their base artifices, falsehoods, delays, and unprofessional proceedings, were declared by the Saxon party to be equally abominable.

[Footnote 4:  traversers—­Trollope repeatedly refers to the
defendants as “traversers.”  The term probably comes
from the legal term “to traverse,” which is to deny
the charges against one in a common law proceeding. 
Thus, the traversers would have been those who pled
innocent.]

The whole Irish bar seemed, for the time, to have laid aside the habitual sang froid [5] and indifference of lawyers, and to have employed their hearts as well as their heads on behalf of the different parties by whom they were engaged.  The very jurors themselves for a time became famous or infamous, according to the opinions of those by whom their position was discussed.  Their names and additions were published and republished; they were declared to be men who would stand by their country and do their duty without fear or favour—­so said the Protestants.  By the Roman Catholics, they were looked on as perjurors determined to stick to the Government with blind indifference to their oaths.  Their names are now, for the most part, forgotten, though so little time has elapsed since they appeared so frequently before the public.

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The Kellys and the O'Kellys from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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