O'CONNELL, Daniel (1775-1847), of 30 Merrion Square, Dublin and Derrynane, Iveragh, co. Kerry
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Family and Educationb. 6 Aug. 1775, 1st s. of Morgan O’Connell of Carhen, Cahirciveen, co. Kerry and Catherine, da. of John O’Mullane of Whitechurch, Mallow, co. Cork. educ. Reddington sch. Cove, Cork 1790; English Coll. St. Omer 1791, Douai 1792; Chevalier Fagan’s acad. The Strand, Westminster 1793; L. Inn 1794; King’s Inns 1795, called [I] 1798; G. Inn 1796. m. 24 July 1802, Mary, da. of Thomas O’Connell, physician, of Tralee, co. Kerry, 6s. (2 d.v.p.) 5da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1809; uncle Maurice O’Connell to Derrynane 1825. d. 15 May 1847.
Patent of precedence [I] Oct. 1831.
Ld. mayor, Dublin 1841-2.
Gov. National Bank of Ireland 1834-d.
O’Connell was by far the most prominent Irishman in the Commons from February 1830, when he was finally allowed to take his seat, death having removed ‘old Harry Grattan’, whom he considered his country’s leading man ‘next to myself’, just after the general election of 1820.1 Arguably, he was one of the greatest of all Members in this period, at least in terms of his hugely significant role in the attainment of Catholic emancipation in 1829. Yet it was not his activities in the House, early on at least, that won him lasting fame as an MP, so much as the simple fact of his election for Clare in 1828, his candidacy as a Catholic heavyweight being an act of such stupendous audacity that his triumphant victory was to signal the capitulation of the Protestant governing élite.2 Certainly, for his ambitions were high and his reach almost unlimited (except in Ulster and the far West), he dominated Irish politics in the first half of the nineteenth century to an extent which was unmatched in Britain, save perhaps for the statesmanship of his antithesis and arch adversary Robert Peel*, with whom, for nearly four decades, he contended for the destiny of Ireland. Tall and deep-chested with a frank and good-humoured countenance, O’Connell was a physically imposing and theatrically seductive character. Bold, eloquent and committed, he was instantly recognizable as a public figure by his broad featured face, with its snub nose, wide mouth, ‘potent’ but ‘crafty’ eyes, and strong forehead, which, according to the poet Aubrey de Vere, was ‘well adapted for thinking purposes, but better still, apparently, for butting against opponents or pushing his way through them’.3 Acclaimed and beloved, by turns, as a Kerry clan chief, ‘the Councillor’, a national folk hero, one of the ablest of Catholic agitators, ‘the Liberator’, a leading advocate for repeal of the Union and ‘the moral king of Ireland’,4 O’Connell had many identities. Nevertheless, his purpose was always to advance the interests of Ireland by promoting any form of legal and peaceful pressure that could be brought to bear on Parliament. Conscious since childhood that he would one day, as he put it, ‘write my name on the page of history’, he long envisaged a parliamentary career and, even though he had to wait till his mid-fifties to obtain a seat, it was to the Commons, ideally in some relocated and reformed version, that he looked as the summit of his hopes for the salvation of his country.5
Although it was in the context of listening to their reports of the parliamentary deeds of Grattan and the Patriots that the young O’Connell once startled his adult relatives by asserting that ‘I’ll make a stir in the world yet’, his birth into a minor Catholic gentry family on the remote Iveragh peninsula was an inauspicious beginning for a would-be politician.6 Fostered out to a peasant couple till the age of four, he was imbued with the language and traditions of the then still vibrant Gaelic culture, and ever afterwards he displayed a deep love for the common people, whose ways were second nature to him, even if he was unsentimental about the gradual abandonment of the Irish tongue.7 Soon afterwards he left the house of his father, a farmer and storekeeper, to live at Derrynane as the adopted heir of his childless and idiosyncratic uncle Maurice, who, in a reference to the headgear which he habitually adopted in order to avoid the hat tax, was known as Hunting Cap. The head of an old established family, as well as a trader and smuggler, Hunting Cap epitomized the survival mentality of a Catholic chieftain, who, during the long era of the Penal Laws, was prepared to barter conspicuous prosperity for the comparative benefit of being left in undisturbed possession of his semi-lawless fastness. O’Connell, who retained a burning consciousness of his forebears’ elevated status, undoubtedly shared his uncle’s gift for pragmatism and resourcefulness, but, although for many years he had to accommodate himself to his patron’s iron law, he clashed with him temperamentally, and in nothing more so than in his rejection of this characteristic Catholic form of demeaning compromise.8 His father, a dependant junior partner in his business activities, had no influence over Hunting Cap, but O’Connell found a constant protector in another uncle, their brother Daniel Charles, Count O’Connell, who, reflecting the family’s long and fruitful connections with the continent, had risen to be a general and peer in France.9 Having been educated by the hedge-schoolmaster David Mahony and, at Reddington school, by Father James Harrington, O’Connell, who was something of a child prodigy and may at one point have been intended for the priesthood, travelled to northern France in 1791 with his brother Morgan (d. 1797). After a false start at Louvain, he spent ten months at the English College at St. Omer, where he was noted for his outstanding abilities, and another five at Douai, before finally escaping in January 1793 to rejoin Count O’Connell, himself an émigré in London, who installed him in a short-lived institution run by their relative Christopher Fagan.10 The terrifying experience of fleeing republican France - he embarked at Calais on the day that the news arrived of Louis XVI’s execution - never left him, and it was later said that he arrived in England ‘half a Tory’.11
Quite the opposite picture emerges, however, from O’Connell’s patchy journal, which he commenced in 1795, shortly after beginning to study at Lincoln’s Inn. In it, along with accounts of his occasionally timorous misgivings and generally unadventurous activities, are mundane expressions of youthful good intentions, including the confession that ‘I remain in general too long in bed’ and the wish ‘to get entirely rid of all propensity to falsehood’. But this private record also reveals that O’Connell, who acquired a detestation of tyranny through attending the treason trials in 1794 and found himself in the mêlée from which an attack was made on the king’s coach the following year, developed an extensive radical philosophy. So much was this the case that in December 1795 Count O’Connell had to speak forcefully to him ‘of my folly in being a democrat, of my absurdity in displaying my political opinions’.12 In January 1796 he noted, after reading Mary Wollstonecraft, that ‘surely the judgement of the one sex ought to be as unshackled as that of the other’, and commented, of her husband William Godwin, whose principles of moral force and popular accountability he adopted as his own, that his Inquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) ‘has enlarged and strengthened my understanding, and infused into my mind a serenity never before enjoyed’.13 In addition, his exposure to Deist authors, notably Thomas Paine, appears to have resulted in a profound religious crisis and the loss, temporarily at least, of the Catholic foundations of his faith.14 Despite his Enlightenment rationalism, however, O’Connell, who was allowed to complete his qualifications by eating one term’s dinners at Gray’s Inn before transferring to the King’s Inns in Dublin in 1796, retained an emotional patriotic streak which, at base, was an expression of what he called his ‘meditative piety’.15 His reaction to the threatened French landing at Bantry Bay in December 1796 was to exclaim that ‘I love, from my heart I love, liberty ... Liberty is in my bosom less a principle than a passion’. The following month, when he rushed to enlist in the Dublin lawyers’ artillery corps, he reiterated that ‘I would, and I trust I will, serve man. I feel, I really feel, the sacred and mild warmth of true patriotism’, adding, ‘Oh, ETERNAL BEING, Thou seest the purity of my heart, the sincerity of my promises’.16 Remarkably, O’Connell, who had attended at least one debate at Westminster (it was from Pitt, he later observed, that ‘I learned to throw out the lower tones at the end of my sentences’) envisaged entering the Irish Commons, in spite of the entrenched Protestant monopoly of its membership.17 On 28 Jan. 1797 he wrote:
I have been this day thinking on the plan to be pursued when I come into Parliament. If to distinguish myself was the object of my exertions that would be best done by becoming a violent oppositionist. But as it will be my chief study to serve my country, moderation will be a proper instrument for that purpose. Moderation is the character of genuine patriotism, of that patriotism which seeks for the happiness of mankind.
Having been present in the chamber, 20 Feb. 1797, he recorded that
I too will be a Member. Young as I am, unacquainted with the ways of the world, I should not even now appear contemptible. I will steadfastly and perseveringly attach myself to the real interests of Ireland. I shall endeavour equally to avoid the profligacy of corruption and the violence of unreasonable patriotism. Of real patriotism moderation is the chief mark.18
Transposed to Westminster, such statements would not have seemed entirely out of place over 30 years later.
O’Connell, whose sojourns in London and Dublin had equipped him with the learning, debating skills and confidence required for a legal career, soon came perilously close to jeopardizing his future through a thoughtless miscalculation. Influenced by his friend Richard Newton Bennett, he, by his own confession, became briefly a member of the United Irishmen in 1798.19 According to the probably over zealous government informer Francis Higgins, who told an implausible story about him proposing to surrender his corps’ arms to the rebels, ‘Connell [sic] ... is one of the most abominable and bloodthirsty republicans I ever heard. He is open and avowed in the most daring language’.20 Considered to be in danger of arrest because of his association with insurrectionary elements (and the tearing out of several pages from his journal may have originated in these same fears), he left Dublin hurriedly by boat in June 1798 for Derrynane, where he spent the summer recuperating from a nearly fatal chill; he afterwards expressed his revulsion at the bloody and futile Rebellion.21 He had been called in May that year, but did not start to practise until 1799, when he became (for a while) a freemason; he was an instant success at the bar and in 1800 he earned over £400.22 To the disapproval of Hunting Cap, who would have preferred him to keep a low profile, O’Connell made a dramatic political debut by speaking against the proposed legislative Union with Britain at a Dublin Catholics’ meeting, 13 Jan. 1800.23 Adopting what became his habitual practice, he wrote out the heads of his speech beforehand, but, as he later recollected, ‘my face glowed and my ears tingled’, until he was able to get into what was to become his usual self-assured rhythm.24 Taking the unconventional line that Irish Catholics should oppose the Union, which was intended as a prelude to emancipation, by putting their country before their religious interests, he declared that ‘if the alternative were offered him of Union or the re-enactment of the penal code in all its pristine horrors ... he would prefer without hesitation the latter, as the lesser and more sufferable evil’.25 This extravagant formulation afterwards allowed him to claim, what was largely true, that repeal was always the focus of his political opinions, even if he rose to prominence through the campaign for Catholic relief. There was no doubting his sincerity, however, as, by his own avowal, ‘it was the Union which first stirred me up to come forward in politics’, and, maddened by the bells of St. Patrick’s Cathedral pealing it in, 1 Jan. 1801, he ‘vowed, on that morning, that the foul dishonour should not last, if I could ever put an end to it’.26
As if to tempt disaster at the hands of his secretly rather admiring uncle, O’Connell contracted a clandestine and improvident marriage in 1802 with the undoubted love of his life, the Catholic daughter of his Protestant third cousin, Thomas O’Connell. Mary, who bore the trying circumstances of their early married life with quiet fortitude, quickly established herself as O’Connell’s principal psychological prop, and in her roles as family manager, political wife and emotional confidante she frequently had to draw on immense reserves of patience and courage.27 The strength of their relationship and the stability that this brought to O’Connell’s hectic lifestyle can be gauged from the sometimes conflictual but always demonstrative nature of their letters, which survive in large numbers for periods, notably during the circuit, when they were apart.28 As he wrote to her in 1809, by which time she had influenced him back into an at least nominal observance of his religion:
Darling, if anybody were to read our love letters they would perhaps laugh at us, but we have the happiness to know that instead of exaggerating any feeling the difficulty is to find expressions sufficiently strong to describe those affections which we really entertain for each other. At least, sweet love, it is literally so with me, for from my soul I do so doat [sic] of you.29
For all Mary’s worth, however, once Hunting Cap had been told in 1803, he disinherited O’Connell in favour of his younger brothers John (of Grenagh) and James (of Lakeview), and although the rupture was partly reversed in 1805 and their relations had been fully restored by about 1809, it had a permanent impact on his ever fraught financial situation.30 As a flourishing barrister, O’Connell’s income rose steeply in the first few years after his marriage, reaching nearly £4,000 by 1813, and from 1809, when he inherited Carhen and began to acquire other small estates, he benefited from rents of at least £2,000 a year.31 However, he exhibited almost no control over his expenditure and was reckless in incurring liabilities, which Hunting Cap blamed on ‘the softness and facility of your disposition’, especially while vacationing among his own people in Iveragh.32 As a result, he constantly lived in a frantic blizzard of unpaid bills and temporary expedients, a debilitating state of affairs which was exacerbated by the purchase of a Dublin home at 1 Westland Row in 1805 and 30 Merrion Square in 1809.
O’Connell, who condemned the pointless violence of Emmet’s rebellion in 1803, when he enrolled in the Kerry yeomanry, became involved in the revived campaign against Catholic disabilities in November 1804, drafting the petition that was adopted the following year. Noted in 1806 by William Gregory, later the Irish under-secretary, to be ‘impatient for emancipation, ambitious, very warm’, he reacted against the inaction of the supposedly pro-Catholic Grenville administration that year by urging another petition, 17 Feb. 1807, when he was defeated by John Keogh, the Dublin merchant who led the still mostly aristocratic and conservative Catholic Committee. The following year he not only obtained approval for such a petition against Keogh’s resistance, but by heading the furious opposition to the proposed royal veto over Catholic episcopal appointments he combined the people and the bishops under his banner against Grattan and other moderate pro-Catholic sympathizers.33 He gained experience as an official at elections in Kerry and Clare, and of the technicalities of organizing petitions to Parliament, and added to his reputation in early 1810 by deputizing as secretary to the Committee.34 He spoke successfully at a meeting of Dublin freemen and freeholders, of which he was one, 18 Sept. 1810, when he again placed wider national concerns ahead of narrow sectarian considerations to argue against the Union on the grounds of Ireland’s recent economic decline and the loss of its sovereign dignity.35 He later remarked that ‘thenceforth do I date my first great lift in popularity. Keogh saw that I was calculated to become a leader ... The course he then recommended was a sullen quiescence. But I saw that agitation was our only available weapon’. He confirmed his predominance later that year by securing a petition and a resolution to extend the Committee’s effectiveness via a rudimentary, and potentially illegal, form of national organization, and, as he afterwards boasted, thereafter ‘I was the leader’.36
Making the struggle one where his professional expertise would enable him to concentrate power in his own hands, he provided legal advice to Lords Ffrench and Fingall in countering attempts by police magistrates to break up the gatherings chaired by them in February and December 1811, and that year and the next, the Irish administration having decided to suppress the Committee, he assisted as counsel in the partially successful defences made against government prosecutions.37 He raised his profile further by publishing a pamphlet, Historical Account of the Laws Respecting Roman Catholics (1811), and, admitting to his wife that ‘I actually rave upon these subjects’, from this time began to speak frequently at local Catholic meetings, especially in the assize towns on his Munster circuit.38 Increasing the political temperature, he damned the prime minister Spencer Perceval† for attempting to promote a regency limiting the powers of the supposedly sympathetic prince of Wales at a Catholic aggregate meeting in Dublin, 8 Mar. 1811, and at another, 18 June 1812, he condemned the prince (now regent), for failing to fulfil his apparent pledge to support emancipation and allowing the new premier Lord Liverpool to treat it as an ‘open’ cabinet question. In Limerick, 24 July, for the Catholics’ county meeting, he promised to stand for the borough in order to open its corporation if the current Catholic relief bill passed, and at a like gathering in county Dublin, 14 Nov. 1812, he hailed the success of pro-Catholic candidates at the recent general election.39 Settled in his own opinions, he reacted angrily against Grattan’s relief bill of 1813 and, by his categorical resistance to the quite mild ecclesiastical securities proposed in it, he ruthlessly provoked the secession of most of the older generation of supporters of upper class origin from the short-lived Catholic Board (1812-14), 29 May. Keeping up the pressure for petitions to the Commons, he set out his programme for popular, but peaceful and constitutional, agitation in favour of Catholic claims, 15 June 1813.40
Confirmation of O’Connell’s role as the Catholic champion emerged in three adversarial arenas. In 1813 he was a defence barrister in the highly contentious political trial of John Magee, the Protestant proprietor of the pro-Catholic Dublin Evening Post, who was alleged to have printed a seditious libel on the duke of Richmond, the retiring lord lieutenant. His speech on behalf of Magee, 27 July, was an unprecedented exercise in sustained insolence and bitter invective and, in printed form, it achieved high notoriety. In it he treated the lord chief justice William Downes with defiance, demolished the Irish attorney-general, the much hated Orangeman William Saurin, who was prosecuting, with a devastating personal attack, and provided the jurors and other Protestant auditors with a wholesale indictment of the entire system of Ascendancy discrimination against the majority Catholic population. Peel, the Irish secretary, who on 29 May had been described by O’Connell as ‘Orange Peel’, ‘a raw youth, squeezed out of the workings of I know not what factory in England’, commented that in his four-hour declamation, O’Connell had taken the ‘opportunity of uttering a libel even more atrocious than that which he proposed to defend’.41 At numerous Catholic meetings the following year he maintained a rigid hostility to securities, including by his famous pronouncement against papal approval for the veto that ‘I would as soon take my politics from Constantinople as from Rome’, and in January 1815, when he declared that ‘I am sincerely a Catholic but I am not a Papist’, he defeated the attempt by his rising professional rival Richard Sheil* to promote a petition for relief accompanied by securities.42 His own petition for unqualified emancipation found no favour with Grattan and his parliamentary friends, but by at that time forming a Catholic Association, a forerunner of the more famous organization of the same name, O’Connell had effectively seized control of the Catholic lobby in Ireland.43 That year O’Connell, who was sensitive to charges of having hitherto avoided the duelling ground, was required to defend himself with arms. On 1 Feb. he fought John Norcot D’Esterre, a publicity seeking Dublin common councillor and rabid Orangeman, who objected to O’Connell’s description of his corporation as ‘beggarly’; D’Esterre died of his wound, and O’Connell, who was privately filled with remorse, was hailed as a hero. Later that summer, having chosen to take exception to Peel’s critical comments on him in May, especially as having been made under the protective cover of parliamentary privilege, he provoked a challenge from him; but somewhat farcically, given the elaborate preparations that were made, the duel was never allowed to come off since first Mrs. O’Connell alerted the authorities in Dublin and then O’Connell was apprehended in London on his way to meet Peel abroad. These experiences influenced him strongly in favour of adhering to the growing humanitarian trend away from the practice of duelling, even though his refusal to honour challenges (his second son Morgan O’Connell† sometimes substituted for him) was criticized as ungentlemanly by his political opponents.44
By the mid-1810s O’Connell had become the acknowledged head of his co-religionists in Ireland. Employing his maxim of ‘being always in the right’, he had displaced their ‘natural leaders’, who symbolized mutual jealousies and disunity, and, by politicizing the bishops and promoting the aspirations of middle class professional Catholics like himself, he had brought the grievances of his fellow countrymen into the mainstream of British politics.45 In doing so he developed coherent religious, nationalist and radical philosophies, which would continue to be the basis of his campaigns in the cause of Irish liberty.46 Aptly summarizing his ideological views, he stated at a dinner held for him in Tralee, 24 Oct. 1817, that ‘my political creed is short and simple: it consists in believing that all men are entitled, as of right and justice, to religious and civil liberty’.47 In terms of religion, O’Connell’s Catholic faith, for by now (possibly confirmed by some sort of ‘conversion’ experience in 1816) he had become genuinely devout, lay at the heart of his political thought; he had unequivocally identified himself with Catholic interests since at least 1813.48 Yet he always insisted that he neither wished to deny the beliefs of others, appealing rather for perfect freedom of religious conscience, nor to create a Catholic ascendancy, arguing instead for the total separation of church and state, while he also, without ever alienating Rome, opposed the temporal powers of the papacy.49 Following from this, and as part of his instinctively territorial conception of Irishness, O’Connell had an inclusive notion of nationality, which would naturally embrace participation by moderate members of other denominations. His constant appeals for co-operation by liberal Protestants, as well as the example of his personal friendship with and employment of them, were meant to be (and were) sincere; but inevitably the weight of unresponsiveness increasingly influenced his thinking in the direction of a more exclusively Catholic sense of nationhood so that, for example, in July 1826 he proffered the definition that ‘the Catholic people of Ireland are a nation’.50 As it had been since 1800, the focus of this quasi-nationalist sentiment was repeal of the Union, although he was careful never quite to commit himself to what this might mean in practice. Indeed, he relied on it more as a slogan to encapsulate his demand for Ireland to be accorded equal treatment within the United Kingdom, to which he could then add his repeated taunt that government neglect of Catholic grievances, such as those against the Orange Order, would only strengthen the attractiveness of his position.51 However, just as O’Connell’s advocacy of repeal fell short of any desire for separation or independence from Britain, so his radicalism never encompassed republicanism, a fondness for monarchy being part of the eighteenth-century hangover in his political make-up.52 But in contemplating the restoration of an Irish Parliament, he envisaged the kind of reforms, such as the abolition of nomination boroughs or the introduction of the ballot, which marked him out as an advanced liberal on the English model; unsurprisingly, perhaps, he and his counterparts across the Irish Sea found it practically impossible to work together.53 In other respects, his radicalism amounted to an amalgam of Godwinite universalism, which involved the extension of civil rights to Jews, slaves and women as well as the encouragement of democratic movements overseas, and Benthamite Utilitarianism, which, except for his professional interest in the adoption of a legal code, was enthusiastically ethical rather than narrowly doctrinal in character.54 A paternalist landlord and social conservative, he espoused a strict interpretation of laissez faire economics, which, in his disapproval of the restrictions placed on entry to trade guilds (he was not against unions as such) occasionally brought him into conflict with his working class constituency.55
In relentlessly restating his ideas and arguments, O’Connell, whose modus operandi seems to have been that by simply declaring his desires often enough he would will into existence the overwhelming public support required to obtain them, helped to raise Catholic assertiveness to a new level.56 Despite the distinctly unpromising circumstances of the mid-1810s, in other respects he was assisted by the comparative openness of the Catholic masses to millenarian enthusiasm and their already increasing tendency towards greater sociability, including participation in political forms of organization.57 He personified the strength of this enhanced self-belief and in defending Catholic interests he identified himself personally with his followers, so that, as Balzac put it, he ‘incarnated a whole people’.58 In appearance and style, he ably filled the part of a popular leader: a bear of a man, although he struggled against his increasing corpulence and hid his baldness beneath a black wig, his robust health, boundless vitality and aggressive self-confidence inspired great loyalty.59 Unceasingly industrious (‘activity is with me a habit’, he once said), he usually rose early and stayed up late in order to work, while the middle of his days were spent at the Four Courts and his late afternoons at political meetings or dinners.60 Even on holiday in Iveragh, he gave most of his time to studying or correspondence and on those days that he did devote to his favourite pastime, hunting on foot with dogs, he still devoured the newspapers and dispensed summary justice among his tenants.61 Visible and accessible, he was attended by a hoard of admirers during his swaggering daily march through the Dublin streets and, perhaps indicating his penchant for martial airs and dress as well as a studied insolence of manner, it was said of him that ‘there was sedition in his very walk’.62 Deemed (in the composite article written by Sheil and Curran) to have infused an ‘intensely national sensibility’ into all he did and to be ‘the most competent barrister at the Irish bar’, where as a Catholic he was not permitted to take silk, he benefited from the most amazing popular reputation as ‘the Councillor’. This was due partly to his meticulous care and versatile fluency in court, though he could not always stifle a temptation to flippancy and was sometimes just too voluble. But more especially it arose from his genius at cross-examination (with his intuitive understanding of the Irish character, he boasted that he could break any witness’s testimony within five minutes) and his skill in winning over the most hostile of juries.63 Even if his clients were often Protestants, his renown grew from the perception that he was unrivalled in defending Catholics from discriminatory prosecutions, and, as John Mitchel, the Young Irelander, later observed, in a wider sense, ‘O’Connell took all Ireland as his client’.64 Peel once paid him an unlikely backhanded compliment by remarking that, ‘if I wanted an efficient and eloquent advocate, I would gladly give up all the other orators providing I had with me this broguing Irish fellow’.65
Speaking in court, O’Connell was usually sensible and workmanlike, but at public meetings his oratory more closely reflected his cerebral and corporeal strengths, being powerful, spontaneous, lucid and provocative, as well as frequently rough, vigorous and irregular, but nonetheless masterful and compelling. Commentators agreed that his success lay in the beautiful sonority of his voice, the honest directness of his appeal and the moving vivacity of his style, his face seeming to reflect every inspired emotional impulse of his passing thoughts.66 As the French visitor Prosper Duvergier de Hauranne observed:
Avec lui, on sent la pensée naître et se développer; on la voit, pour ainsi dire, se revêtir d’une forme sensible; et les mots, les gestes, l’accent, tout se produit à la fois et par un seul effort. Il menace, et son corps entier semble suivre le défi qu’il lance à Angleterre; il plaisante, et avant que la plaisanterie soit sur ses lèvres, une gaîté expansive anime déjà ses traits. Je ne connais pas d’orateur qui donne autant l’idée d’une profonde conviction.67
More critically, Lord Teignmouth judged that
he seemed to converse aloud. He hesitated occasionally, but as his pauses invariably preluded the word best adapted to convey his meaning, it was shrewdly suspected that he employed them to conceal the study of his diction ... He would sometimes, when he deemed himself bound to exhibit more warmth than he really felt, act his part by impassioned grimace, bitter language and the convenient trick of twisting his wig. But it would be a mistake to suppose that O’Connell always elaborated in his speeches. On the contrary he was often evidently unprepared, rambling on, sometimes discursively, in his own easy way, so that his audience would have been wearied but for his occasional bursts of eloquence, flashes of wit, tart replies and keen sarcasms.68
Compared favourably with the shrill niceties of Sheil’s measured delivery, O’Connell’s effectiveness at mass meetings was undoubted: one old farmer commented that his ‘voice you’d hear a mile off, and it sounded as if it was coming through honey’.69 The parliamentary reporter Samuel Carter Hall remembered that at such a pre-emancipation gathering in Kerry, ‘I was not near enough to hear what he said, but I could note how he was "rollicking" - in words; and for him how easy it would have been to evoke an appalling storm!’70 It was this tremendous demagoguery that made him so potent a folk hero in long-surviving Irish oral tradition. There were several other elements to this - the supposedly miraculous circumstances of his birth, the evidence of his youthful brilliance and the premonitions of his greatness, as well as the mythical stories of his astonishing sexual prowess and his superhuman ability to cheat death - but at base his genius was perceived to lie in his private and professional gift of the gab, in his verbal trickery and guile, his silver-tongued ingenuity, his wit and repartee and, above all, in his courageous vocal championing of the downtrodden native Irish.71 This process of developing a cult of personality, which began early in his career, was also reflected in the self-conscious manipulation of his own portraiture, by which the fresh-faced barrister of the Dublin Magazine’s image in 1813 was turned into John Gubbins’s carefully crafted representation of ‘the Catholic leader’ a decade later.72
By contrast, contemporary caricaturists, in their crude and anti-Catholic cartoons, seized on O’Connell’s negative qualities, from which there was much political capital to be made.73 Although occasionally intemperate in his otherwise loving family life and mostly given to treating men with a kind and easy charm, he was known to be excessively rancorous in his political hatreds and in speaking he readily resorted to commonplace personal abuse, even of his supposed allies.74 Aware of this handicap, he once blustered that ‘it was not irritation, it was calculation’, meaning that, by provoking and ridiculing his enemies or rivals, he aimed to deflate their pomposity and undermine their apparent invincibility.75 One constant insult, although he always rejected later offers of official employment, was the charge that he was a ‘trading politician’, causing trouble only in order to raise his own price. Being in the habit of saying that he was ‘the best-abused man in the British dominions’, he claimed not to mind such scurrilous attacks, which often came from hostile newspapers, since ‘I knew the scoundrels were only advertising me by their abuse’.76 Nevertheless, he alienated many in the political establishment with his hyperbole, superiority and vanity, and most damaging of all was the general perception of his characteristic disingenuousness or dishonesty. At one level this merely amounted to harmless hypocrisy: after being praised by O’Connell for his Sheridan, which the writer knew O’Connell had privately criticized, Tom Moore noted the occasion in his journal as ‘a signal instance of that inconsistency for which he is so remarkable’.77 At another level, however, his artful mendacity disgusted potential friends and disaffected long-standing allies. On the eve of his admission to Parliament, it struck the Westminster radical Whig John Cam Hobhouse* that O’Connell, who had shaken hands with William Cobbett† after describing him as a scoundrel, was ‘a strange compound and did not know his station’, on hearing which the English Catholic leaders the duke of Norfolk and Edward Blount* exclaimed, ‘What, you found that out only now?’78 Perhaps most observers, giving him credit for his talents, overlooked this trait as a carryover from the typical Kerryman’s doublespeak, the complex mentality of being deliberately evasive in the public sphere of English overlordship while utterly forthright in the private circles of Catholic solidarity.79 Certainly, it was naive of liberal minded statesmen to suppose, after hearing him ooze conciliation in their drawing rooms, that he would not go out to continue breathing fire in meetings and newsprint. In addition, such pragmatism seems to have been a product of his tactical legal brain. Just as every case drew forth his narrow concentration on obtaining a favourable verdict, so each day’s pressing issue forced him into pragmatic short term measures, whether that of unfairly quashing conflicting opinions or of temporarily justifying himself by a breathtaking sleight of hand.80 In some ways, what was surprising about O’Connell was not this streak of essential realism but the uniformity of his long term strategies, and yet the weaknesses in his personality rendered him vulnerable throughout his career.81
Never was this more true than in his personal nadir of 1816-17, when he might easily have disappeared from public life. The initial disaster was the long feared bankruptcy in 1816 of the Killarney merchant James O’Leary, for whom O’Connell, against the warnings of Hunting Cap, had given security for up to £8,000. O’Connell was only saved from consequential insolvency, and the likelihood of being again disinherited, by his brother James, who, risking his own financial and family standing, masterminded a rescue package and managed to keep their uncle in ignorance of the whole episode. Nevertheless, within a year James was estimating that O’Connell’s debts amounted to over £20,000 and that the necessary interest payments could only be met by sizeable economies, even though his brother’s legal income was on average at least £5,000 per annum.82 One consequence was that Mrs. O’Connell, who was devastated by the loss of trust implicit in her husband’s secret involvement with O’Leary, was dispatched with her children to live cheaply in England, on the pretext of her recent ill health. Alone in Dublin at this time, it is possible to speculate that O’Connell may have been unfaithful, although, apart from jealous hints made by Mary to her probably innocent husband about his later visits (in 1823) to their daughters’ governess, Mary Jane Gaghran, there is no evidence of any such indiscretions.83 Ellen Courtenay’s story (later published as a political smear) that in early 1817 O’Connell inveigled her into making repeated visits to the largely empty house in Merrion Square in order to seduce her, may not have been wholly implausible. However, the allegation that he raped her, that ‘he sunk the man in the brutality of the monster’, as she put it, is impossible to verify. Moreover, her account is so full of inconsistencies, including a claim that the son (Henry Simpson) supposedly resulting from their liaison was born on 4 Nov. 1818 (unless this was a misprint for 1817), that her version has usually been dismissed as a fantasy or an unsuccessful blackmail attempt.84 Inasmuch as her case appeared to fit the popular tradition of O’Connell as a womaniser, it has come to be accepted that this was a stereotypical folkloric attribute and hence meaningless in its application to any historical individual. Most tellingly of all, the O’Connells’ openly loving relationship continued throughout their marriage and any persistent infidelity on his part would appear to have been inconceivable. Nevertheless, one historian has suggested that such a close bond between them may not have prevented O’Connell from being unfaithful and that Mary’s letter to him from Clifton, 14 July 1817 (including her statement that ‘We will, love, shortly be married 15 years and I can answer that I never had cause to regret it. I have, darling, experienced all the happiness of the married state without feeling any of its misery’), which is usually cited as evidence of her unquestioning affection for him, could be read, in its pleading to be allowed to return to his side rather than to have to move to France, as a sign of tension possibly relating to some undisclosed marital crisis.85 Whatever the real truth of this affair, O’Connell’s unending money troubles, including the unwise pre-emption of his long-lived uncle’s wealth and an unfortunate reduction of his landed rentals, remained a destabilizing factor in his marriage, and the enforced but largely futile retrenchment exercise of having his family reside at various places in France and at Southampton in the early 1820s marked another low point in the couple’s relationship.86
O’Connell, who in September 1817 felt that Ireland was ‘most wretched - fever - poverty - party spirit and want of animation’, showed great persistence: he continued to oppose securities through what was reconstituted that year as another Catholic Board. The following year, referring to agitation against the window tax, he commented that this ‘little Parliament is of infinite value and will habituate the people to form an organ to express the public sentiment on affairs of greater moment’.87 In a fit of wild optimism during the winter of 1818, he vowed that ‘if I petition alone, I will petition’ for the claims of the Catholics, and wrote the first of his series of new year letters addressed to them, 1 Jan. 1819, which was designed, he recorded, solely ‘to show that it was possible to call the Catholics together without introducing one irrelevant or irritating topic’.88 He was instrumental in persuading Thomas McKenny, the lord mayor, to hold a full-scale pro-Catholic meeting of Dublin Protestants in February 1819, which brought him back into contact with Grattan, one of the city’s Members; following the failure of Grattan’s relief bill that year, he again pressed for a petition to be arranged.89 Forever attempting to find other avenues through which to raise his popularity, he took a growing interest in the controversial subject of education, dramatically resigning as a member of the Kildare Place Society in February 1820 to protest against the inability of Catholics to control their children’s religious studies.90 He was active at the general election that spring, including as agent to William Wrixon* in Mallow, and during the Dublin by-election in June he eulogized the deceased Grattan and supported the candidacy of his son and namesake (Henry Grattan II*).91 He addressed the Spanish American freedom fighter Simon Bolivar, whose title of ‘the Liberator’ he borrowed, ‘in the cause of liberty and national independence’ in April, on sending his son Morgan to fight for him in the Irish legion. Displaying his unquenchable appetite for institutional innovations, the following month he suggested the foundation of a Society for Parliamentary Information, but nothing came of it.92 In July he offered to stand as recorder of Limerick in place of Henry D’Esterre, his victim’s brother, who had been censured in the borough election report, though no vacancy in fact arose.93 He sought an appointment as Irish attorney-general to Queen Caroline, whose cause he advocated at the officially dispersed county Dublin meeting in December 1820, but his application was ultimately stifled by her English law officers, Henry Brougham* and Thomas Denman*.94 Vexed by his lack of progress, he used his annual address, 1 Jan. 1821, to advocate parliamentary reform, declaring that ‘an unreformed Parliament will not grant us relief’ and that it was ‘worse than useless to petition a Parliament of virtual representatives for liberty’; Sheil, who rejected giving priority to reform over relief, delivered a ferocious public riposte, to which he replied in kind, and William Conyngham Plunket*, who had taken over Grattan’s mantle as Commons spokesman for the Catholics, privately damned him as a revolutionary.95 Exasperated by the restrictions in Plunket’s proposed relief measure that session, which was defeated in the Lords, he repeated his frequently made call for Catholic unity in April 1821, contending that ‘even the vetoists must admit that securities do no good because we are kicked out as unceremoniously with them as without them’.96
O’Connell, who was obsequious in leading the Catholic deputation to George IV during the ‘conciliation’ visit in August 1821 and effusive in welcoming the appointment of the pro-Catholic Lord Wellesley as lord lieutenant in January 1822, remained utterly undaunted by the task of winning emancipation, telling a new acquaintance that year: ‘no matter; we will persevere and no doubt we shall one day or other carry it’.97 His prospects began to look brighter as Plunket, the new Irish attorney-general, seemed willing to compromise over securities, and Wellesley, who invited him to the Castle, held out the prospect of restraining the Orangemen, but he failed to persuade the former to introduce another relief bill that session and his high-handed public letter calling on the latter to prevent the dressing of the Dublin statue of William III in Orange colours in July had a counterproductive effect.98 Calling the Orange theatre attack against Wellesley, 14 Dec. 1822, providential for the future of the Catholics, he presented their loyal address to him that month, as he did one from Kerry in January 1823, when he imagined that, with peaceful pressure rendering emancipation imminent, he might soon be able to take silk and even enter Parliament. He canvassed prominently for the pro-Catholic Henry White in his successful bid to represent county Dublin in February and the following month he confided to his wife from Tralee the ‘secret that I have already commenced my canvass to represent this county’, since, if the Catholics were emancipated, there would be ‘little doubt of my getting into Parliament if I choose’.99 Buoyed by these advances, in April he and Sheil, with whom he had become reconciled earlier in the year, mustered the Catholics for an aggregate meeting, 10 May, when his resolution for the establishment of the Catholic Association was adopted. It met for the first time, 12 May, and moved into rooms above a Catholic bookshop at 4 Capel Street, 13 May 1823.100
Sidelining aristocratic figures like Lord Killeen* and Sir Edward Bellew and keeping such extremists as Eneas MacDonnell and Jack Lawless firmly in their place, O’Connell quickly put his stamp on the Association, which he dominated from the start.101 Boasting to his wife in May 1823 that he had secured the admission of Protestants as members of what his detractors immediately dubbed the ‘Popish Parliament’, he showed that he was himself comfortable with mimicking this nomenclature by joking that, ‘you see, we have in our little Parliament set the Protestants a good example’ in theirs.102 Much more than simply a vehicle for forwarding petitions for general relief, the Association’s aim, O’Connell declared, was not to force on the Commons the annual farce of a debate on Catholic claims, but to agitate all Catholic grievances, including by seeking redress via the right to petition on specific matters. In innumerable speeches, he therefore advocated the appointment of a Catholic chaplain at Dublin’s Newgate gaol, impartiality in the administration of justice, alteration of church rates, enforcement of the law against disorderly Orange processions, provision of Catholic burial grounds, commutation of tithes and the opening of Protestant corporations.103 By carrying his suggestion for the free admission as members of all Catholic priests in June, he provided himself with a ready made national organization. Early in 1824, when he contemplated petitioning for relief and attending the Commons as counsel in support of it and other matters, he pushed through the incredibly dynamic innovation of the ‘Catholic rent’.104 Within a few months this had created a massive second tier of members, each contributing a penny a month to the Association’s central funds. As he set out in February in his visionary report on the ‘rent’ scheme, of which he became the secretary, the expected income of £50,000 a year would be used mainly to fund legal aid for Catholics and support for sympathetic newspapers, as well as for education of the poor, provision of priests for America, church and school buildings, and the expenses of parliamentary lobbying.105 All of these furnished useful propaganda, but in terms of getting his own message across the most important was his granting of limited subsidies to friendly papers and his fostering of at least intermittently good relations with Michael Staunton of the Morning Register (while Richard Barratt, who took over the Pilot in 1828, was more loyal).106 Only about £20,000 was raised in the first year of operation, but the ‘rent’ had a profound effect in radicalizing the Catholic population, whose demands, through the return of ‘grievance letters’, could now be channelled back to the Association, so giving it a kind of quasi-representative legitimacy. From November 1824, when it began to use a chamber with two sets of facing benches in the Corn Exchange on Burgh Quay, the conscious imitation of the Westminster model became even more marked. As von Pückler-Muskau recorded (in November 1828):
The room is not very large, and [is] as dirty as the English House of Commons. Here too every man keeps his hat on, except while he is speaking; here too are good and bad orators, but certainly occasionally less dignified manners than there. The heat was suffocating and I had to sit out five hours, but the debate was so interesting that I scarcely remarked the annoyances. O’Connell was undoubtedly the best speaker. Although idolized by the greater number, he was severely attacked by several, and defended himself with equal address and moderation; on the other hand he assailed the government without reserve, and in my opinion in too strong expressions. It was easy to perceive that much intrigue and several firmly united parties, whose minds were made up beforehand, were to be found here, as in other bodies of the like kind, and consequently that the discussion was often only a sort of sham fight.107
For all that the Association was O’Connell’s power base, it consumed much of his energy and time, although, in having to sit through painfully tedious and callow harangues, he was at least preparing himself for the drudgery and futility of much of Westminster politics.108
O’Connell, who at the Dublin dinner in his honour on 3 July 1824 had promised to continue his ‘intemperate’ struggle on behalf of the Catholics, was now, for all that his violence estranged the moderate minority among them, pre-eminent in their cause.109 Yet his position was far from invulnerable. Later that year the anxious administration decided to suppress the Association and its head, who had begun a new round of agitation that month, was arrested for using seditious language, 20 Dec. 1824, having four days earlier declared that ‘if Parliament will not attend to the Roman Catholic claims, I hope that some Bolivar will arise to vindicate their rights’. Peel, the home secretary, was determined to prosecute, but the king pointed out the inconsistency of punishing him for holding up ‘the conduct of Bolivar to the imitation of the people of Ireland, at the very moment at which we are going to make a treaty with Bolivar’, to recognize his authority in the newly independent Columbia. Plunket’s indictment was in any case thrown out, 3 Jan. 1825, but the affair delayed that session’s parliamentary lobby, which concerned O’Connell because of its likely expense and his concomitant loss of legal earnings.110 The death of the 97-year-old Hunting Cap, 10 Feb., at last brought him security in the form of Derrynane, but his spendthrift habits only increased, so, despite receiving a third share of his uncle’s personalty of about £45,000, his dangerously exposed financial situation remained much the same.111 That month he left Dublin with the members of the Catholic deputation, who, as he confidently informed his wife, would create a sensation by making ‘speeches at those who speak against us in Parliament’.112 His motives were distrusted by most of them, however, and Sheil, who described him as a ‘political opium-eater’, intoxicated by his own mob oratory in Ireland, recounted that he ‘seemed half English at Shrewsbury’ and in London succumbed to the blandishments of the Whig and Catholic grandees who fêted him during his stay. Regarded by most English politicians as a dangerous incendiary, he was stared at as a curiosity on his appearing in the Commons, with the quality of whose debates he was less than impressed, on 18 Feb., when Brougham failed to obtain permission for him to speak as counsel against the Irish unlawful societies bill, and again on 1 Mar., when he attended for Burdett’s Catholic relief motion.113 He improved his political reputation by his respectful, if occasionally fiery, performances before the select committees on the state of Ireland in the Commons, 25 Feb., 1, 4 Mar., and the Lords, 9, 11 Mar., although his disavowal of the utility of the 40s. franchise would soon rebound upon him in Dublin.114 (The unnecessary misunderstanding that arose over the apology which he made to Peel, about their former quarrel, the following month showed the impossibility of pleasing both his Irish supporters and his English contacts.)115 Delighted by the constant attention lavished on him at meetings in the City, of which he became a liveryman, and elsewhere, as well as at dinners in high society, where he won plaudits, he was convinced that opinion was moving in favour of emancipation, even among Members; admitting his vanity, he boasted to Mary that ‘I have not the least fear of being looked down on in Parliament’. In the course of numerous conferences and by a steady attendance at Westminster, he joined the principal Whigs in drafting and promoting a Catholic bill, whose promising prospects were destroyed by the duke of York and Liverpool’s opposition to it in the Lords in May.116 The failed gamble of giving a pragmatic endorsement to the measure’s two ‘wings’, state payment of the Catholic clergy and disfranchisement of the 40s. freeholders, earned him scathing rebukes from English radicals like Cobbett and damaging condemnation from extremists and rivals in Ireland, which for a while looked likely to overwhelm him.117
However, even before leaving London in late May 1825 he envisaged the setting up of a nominal ‘New’ Catholic Association to evade the provisions of what he called the ‘Algerine Act’, under which the old one had been suppressed, and this was done in July, effectively as a non-political version of the same organization. That autumn he fought a rearguard action to reassert his authority over the movement, shrewdly backpedalling over his support for the ‘wings’, for example at provincial meetings in Limerick, 24 Oct., and Carlow, 15 Dec. 1825.118 In January 1826 he held a 14-day meeting of the Association, the maximum duration for which it could be temporarily reconstituted for political purposes, and he organized a high profile dinner in honour of the Protestant friends of religious liberty, 2 Feb.119 A petition in his own name, alleging the incompetence of the aged and deaf chief justice of common pleas in Ireland, Lord Norbury, who had long been his bête noir, was presented by James Scarlett, 5 May.120 Active and influential in several counties during the general election that summer, he spent most of his time campaigning prominently in county Waterford, where Thomas Wyse* engineered the tenants’ revolt which led, with the support of the priesthood, to the anti-Catholic magnate Lord George Beresford* being defeated by his liberal Protestant challenger Henry Villiers Stuart. O’Connell was nominated as a candidate in order to speak on the hustings, and, according to Wyse, he might himself have been elected had he not withdrawn, as previously arranged.121 Keeping just ahead of his supporters in recognizing the potential of the 40s. freeholders as a devastating electoral force, he now abandoned his former indifference to them and, in his letter to the Catholics of Ireland, 10 July, he proposed the resuscitation of the ‘rent’ to form a relief fund for evicted or browbeaten voters. That month he also created the Order of Liberators, a uniformed quasi-military corps of proven Catholic agitators, of which he became the president; the first of its members were installed in Waterford, 30 Aug. 1826, when he spoke at the Munster provincial meeting.122 His mastery re-established, he was watched warily by the administration, though Henry Goulburn*, the Irish secretary, reported to Peel that ‘I apprehend his policy to be to keep up irritation and hostility to the highest possible pitch short of actual violence, and to hope by intimidation to carry everything he looks for’.123 The journalist Henry Crabb Robinson, who visited him in his fiefdom that month, thought O’Connell ‘vehement - all but seditious’ in his language in Waterford, but recorded him as saying in conversation that ‘I never allow myself to ask whether an insurrection would be right, if it could be successful, for I am sure it would fail’.124 Yet by the turn of the year he was ever more convinced, Wellesley’s policy being merely ‘calculated to cajole and tranquillize the Catholic population by a partial redress of their grievances’, that ‘temperateness, moderation and conciliation are suited only to perpetuate our degradation’, whereas what was needed was to ‘rouse in Ireland a spirit of action’ in favour of unqualified emancipation.125
Yet Liverpool’s incapacitation early in 1827 encouraged O’Connell to hope for concessions from a potentially more sympathetic prime minister. In public speeches and private letters, mostly to his friend the knight of Kerry*, he urged Lord Lansdowne to come forward with the moderate Whigs or at least to join the pro-Catholic foreign secretary George Canning* in his protracted attempts to form an administration that spring. Having threatened Irish ministerialists with being deemed enemies if they backed Peel, the duke of Wellington and other leading Protestants against Canning, he reacted furiously on receiving the news in Ennis of the defeat of the latest relief motion, 6 Mar.; at the meeting he hastily arranged for the establishment of a Liberal Club for county Clare on the 11th, he secured a resolution denouncing any Irish Members who continued to adhere to the existing ministry. He began fomenting another petitioning campaign, but, on the advice of the knight and others, reluctantly agreed to postpone it to ensure that moderate opinion would not be deterred from rallying behind Canning’s nascent coalition.126 So much did he welcome this development, indeed, that he countenanced Lansdowne entering office without a stipulation to make emancipation a cabinet question, arguing for men in preference to measures, since ‘measures would necessarily follow if there were in England a presiding spirit endowed with common sense and common honesty’.127 Nevertheless, within weeks of Canning’s accession in April, he started to voice impatience at the delays in removing senior Orangemen like Lord Manners, the lord chancellor, complaining that by swift government intervention the ‘Orange faction in Ireland could be made to crumble like a rope of sand’. In June he damned the new Irish secretary William Lamb’s* private message to him that ‘I must for a time be worse than Peel, but when we can we will do all the good we can’, as proof of ‘what flimsy materials the new cabinet is composed’.128 The following month, pleading for the personal favour of a patent of precedence that would raise his rank and income at the Irish bar, he argued that ‘to do me this simple act of justice would be received by all the Catholics of Ireland as a proof that the system of making the practical exclusion go beyond the legal prohibition is to be at an end’.129 However, following the disaster of Canning’s death in August, he continued to be disappointed by his successor Lord Goderich’s inability to deliver alterations in Irish policy and personnel (though Manners was replaced by Sir Anthony Hart), let alone emancipation; he also failed to obtain his patent, about which he was bitterly resentful. Thomas Spring Rice*, regretting O’Connell’s attack on the government in Cork that autumn, lamented that he should continue
to play this fast and loose uncertain game, never adhering to any opinion steadily and manfully and giving the impression that he is swayed by principle rather than by passion. By such a shifting and incomprehensible course he deprives his hostility of all real power and his support of all grace and dignity.
O’Connell forwarded his plans for upholding Catholic education and resisting Protestant proselytization, while at the same time usually suppressing the initiatives of his colleagues, though he was subtle enough to make, for instance, Lawless’s ‘Rent Sunday’ system of monthly rent collection and Wyse’s pyramidal structure of local liberal clubs into ideas which he could represent and control as his own. Having spent much of the year dealing with challenges to his restrained stance, he reasserted his position at the vanguard of the emancipation cause by encouraging the holding of simultaneous parish gatherings and participating notably at the 14-day aggregate meeting in Dublin in January 1828.130
On the appointment of Wellington as premier that month, O’Connell concurred in the Association’s resolution to oppose all future ministerial candidates in Irish elections. He attempted to have this rescinded after the new government had shown some evidence of good intentions by acquiescing in the repeal of the Test Acts, which he fervently supported. But, disillusioned with the Whigs and aware that there was ‘an under swell in the Irish people which is much more formidable than any sudden or showy exhibition of irritation’, he continued to urge the introduction of emancipation without restrictions, though he was tempted to retreat to his moderate position during the minor ministerial crisis in May 1828.131 When, as a result of the secession of the Huskissonites, William Vesey Fitzgerald was appointed president of the board of trade in June, O’Connell induced the Association to try to find a local liberal Protestant to oppose his re-election for Clare, even though he was a pro-Catholic, and took a lead in the initial agitation against him. According to Patrick Vincent Fitzpatrick, son of the Catholic publisher Hugh Fitzpatrick, it was Sir David Charles Roose, sheriff of Dublin, who first suggested O’Connell’s candidacy to him and this idea, triggering a memory of Keogh’s having once contemplated forcing the issue by having a Catholic returned for a close borough, led to Fitzpatrick making his famous outburst, ‘Good heaven, the Catholics are emancipated!’ He took the proposal to O’Connell, but found him ‘for some time quite disinclined to make the experiment’, though on 24 June he and Frederick William Conway, editor of the Dublin Evening Post, persuaded him to draft an address, which was printed that day; Haverty’s 1846 painting of this scene was said to have captured O’Connell’s characteristic ‘triumphant glance’. Even then, he hesitated until Fitzpatrick, who soon became his financial manager, offered to obtain the necessary funds.132 The lord lieutenant, Lord Anglesey, who reckoned that O’Connell, although liable to change his opinions and tactics from one day to the next, knew he was the only man who could carry it and that, even then, he was ‘pretty well convinced that all opposition to Vesey Fitzgerald is hopeless, unless some great crisis is produced’, made preparations for the convulsion that was thought likely to accompany his expected success.133 In fact, enforcing his aphorism that violently retaliating to acts of provocation would only strengthen the hand of their opponents, O’Connell - ably seconded by his acolytes in the Association and a small army of priests - masterminded a peaceful repeat of the county Waterford victory two years earlier. On the hustings, where his effortless command over the vast crowd was in itself an awesome show of strength, he was cruel in his destruction of the dispirited Vesey Fitzgerald and uncompromising in his demands, which he encapsulated in the watchword, ‘O’Connell, the Catholic cause and old Ireland’. He afterwards told Benjamin Disraeli† that he ‘did not sleep for two nights previous to the Clare election; not a single wink. He felt that everyth[in]g was [at] stake, and that if he failed, he had made himself ridiculous for life’. Yet, within a week he had polled two to one against his opponent among the freeholders, who readily answered his appeal to desert their landlords, and, despite the raising of objections against his eligibility, had been returned to Parliament as a self-acclaimed radical reformer. His first act, it was reported, was to frank letters to Wellington, Peel, Goulburn and another notable anti-Catholic, Lord Eldon.134
The Clare election victory, which confirmed O’Connell’s status as a folk hero, marked a turning point in Anglo-Irish relations, as he and many English observers, not least Wellington and Peel, realized only too well.135 To the relief of government, who decided not to make any immediate move to dislodge him, he did not try to take his seat during the brief remainder of the session, instead glorying in his triumph in Dublin, where, speaking at the Association, 10 July 1828, he asked, ‘What is to be done with Ireland? What is to be done with the Catholics? One of two things. They must either crush us or conciliate us. There is no going on as we are’.136 Unaware that senior ministers, fearing electoral annihilation and even violent upheaval in Ireland, had understood the consequences of his return and were beginning to contemplate conceding relief, O’Connell, who was unwilling to repeat the mistake he had made in 1825 of relaxing agitation, kept the pressure on them; some believed him incapable of controlling the popular forces he had unleashed, but he assured Anglesey, who rather prided himself on having got O’Connell’s measure, of his ‘extreme anxiety that the public peace should be preserved’.137 Thus, he supported the burgeoning development of county liberal clubs and anti-Brunswick activities, particularly by personal interventions in Sligo and Cork, and the Association’s enforcement of pledges on parliamentary candidates (for emancipation, repeal of the Subletting Act and parliamentary reform). He wished to continue the electioneering fever, for instance by putting up a Catholic to fight county Galway, where a vacancy was expected, and by attempting to open the rotten borough of Tralee, where Vesey Fitzgerald was thought likely to stand.138 Henry Hunt* criticized him for backing off from a confrontation with Parliament, but O’Connell, whose advanced reformist principles were expressed in a series of admiring letters to Bentham at this time, was in fact sailing close to the wind.139 In his best martial style, he declared in Clonmel, 25 Aug., that he could raise enough Tipperary boys to ‘drive the Orange army into the sea’, so exploiting a palpable sense of almost unrestrained ‘moral insurrection’, and the following month he encouraged Lawless in his insensitive Catholic ‘mission’ to Ulster, blithely indifferent to the sectarian strife that such a provocation was to produce.140 Under scrutiny, however, he did call off the unrest in county Tipperary by an address, 30 Sept., and also came out against the divisive practice of ‘exclusive dealing’ (boycotting) against Protestants.141 In October 1828 he considered, but did not pursue, the idea of suing the Ultra duke of Newcastle for libel, after being accused by him of fomenting sedition.142 In January 1829, when he at last managed to galvanize the Irish liberal Protestants, led by the duke of Leinster, into meeting in support of the Catholics, he orchestrated further agitation against the ominous recall of the now unequivocally pro-Catholic Anglesey.143
In an otherwise positive appraisal of O’Connell at the turn of the year, Greville claimed that ‘to accomplish any particular object he cares not to what charges of political inconsistency he exposes himself to’.144 This was a prescient comment, for Brougham now learnt through O’Connell’s usual London intermediary, Bennett, that he and the other Irish Catholic leaders were ‘ready to go very far indeed in order to meet the disposition, which they seem not at all to question the duke of Wellington has, for granting emancipation on terms!!!’145 O’Connell told the Association that he was determined to go to London to take his seat, 23 Dec. 1828, but postponed this in late January in order to give his detractors a chance to pursue a petition, and set out, after writing a circular letter explaining to Members the grounds of his claim, on 6 Feb. 1829.146 From Shrewsbury, 8 Feb., he issued an address welcoming the announcement of emancipation in the king’s speech, but he advised the Association against immediately dissolving itself, which it nonetheless did. Although he had informed the knight of Kerry that he would be one of the ‘plus prononcés’ of the Whigs in Parliament, some of whom considered that it was technically possible for him to take his seat, he soon agreed to their request to postpone his attempted entry to the House so as not to risk damaging the prospects for emancipation.147 According to Hobhouse, who noted that he was ‘fool enough to canvass for Peel’, on the home secretary’s offering himself for re-election at Oxford University in February, O’Connell said that ‘in his public capacity he was obliged to oppose the 40s. [freeholders] bill, yet privately he cared little about the matter’.148 He did, however, at first refuse Brougham’s request to endorse the Whigs’ support for their proposed disfranchisement, telling his wife that ‘they trapped me before’ and, in any case, ‘you do not think that I could ever turn my back on the poor fellows in Clare?’ Furthermore, he was suspicious that Brougham should happen to have called on him on 3 Mar. 1829, at just the time when he would have felt reluctant to alienate any Whigs who might be appointed to his election committee that day; this, however, reported in his favour three days later.149
On 6 Mar. 1829 O’Connell recorded his delight over the terms of the relief bill, ‘no veto - no payment of clergy - no ecclesiastical arrangements’, and was dismissive of all other minor securities except the proposed £10 county franchise, though he admitted to his wife that ‘the £10 will really give more power to the Catholics. I must however support the freeholders’. He called for petitions against the ensuing franchise bill, and secured one against considerable resistance at the Thatched House Tavern meeting of Irishmen, 7 Mar.150 Yet, realizing that he had little support either from Irish Catholics or English reformers, he was forced to abandon this class of voters, just as he had to submit to the suppression of the Association, which he decided should be turned into Catholic reading rooms as a temporary rallying point, under the new or ‘worse than Algerine Act’ (or Proclamation Act), which he promised to try to overturn. He likewise won credit for not pressing his own case, which was raised in the Commons by Charles Jephson, 12 Mar., and Grattan, 23 Mar., although there had been suggestions that the emancipation bill could be made retrospective or could include him specifically by name, which would have been popular.151 Already concerned with how to achieve just treatment for Ireland, he witnessed the giving of the royal assent by commission to the Emancipation Act, 13 Apr. 1829, and on the 14th, which he styled ‘the first day of freedom!’, wrote to congratulate Edward Dwyer, the secretary of the now defunct Association, on
one of the greatest triumphs recorded in history - a bloodless revolution more extensive in its operation than any other political change that could take place. I say political to contrast it with social changes which might break to pieces the framework of society. This is a good beginning and now, if I can get Catholics and Protestants to join, something solid and substantial may be done for all. It is clear that, without gross mismanagement, it will be impossible to allow misgovernment any longer in Ireland.
Confessing that he wished he was in Dublin to ‘laugh at the corporators’, he insisted on there being no ‘insolence of triumph’ shown.152 The wretched George IV, who on seeing him attend his first levée after emancipation, growled, ‘O’Connell! God damn the scoundrel’, reportedly moaned that ‘Oh, the duke of Wellington is king of England, O’Connell is king of Ireland and I suppose I am only considered as dean of Windsor’.153
After receiving guardedly positive responses from ministers in April 1829 about their attitude towards his being seated, O’Connell, who seems briefly to have contemplated submitting himself for re-election in Clare under the old franchise or retreating to a borough, persisted in his promise to attempt to take his seat, not least because he was determined to begin ‘an immediate active part in the proceedings’.154 As he set out in a printed legal argument for the benefit of Members, 9 May, he still believed the (to some doubtful) proposition that, through an omission in the Act of Union, his sitting without taking the oaths could at most be considered a misdemeanour carrying a £500 fine, and that, now the emancipation bill had been passed, he could in any case (as was widely credited) claim protection from its provisions.155 On being introduced by Lords Duncannon and Ebrington, 15 May, a nervous O’Connell refused to take the oath of supremacy and, at the second time of asking by an unyielding Speaker, had to leave the chamber. Brougham moved that he should be allowed to state his case at the table, but Peel opposed this and the debate was eventually adjourned over the weekend.156 On the 18th it was agreed that O’Connell could be heard at the bar and he duly gave an assured performance, delivering a ‘good and judicious’ statement, which persuaded at least some Members, such as the future Speaker John Evelyn Denison, that there was sufficient doubt to justify allowing him in.157 However, Nicholas Conyngham Tindal, the solicitor-general, ably assisted by the ambitious Scarlett, moved that, having been returned before the Emancipation Act, he could not sit unless he took the oath of supremacy, and this was agreed by 190, including 24 Irish Members, to a mostly Whig minority, headed by Brougham, of 116. When the Speaker invited O’Connell, who had listened to the debate under the gallery, to return to the bar, he demurred and, in Edward John Littleton’s* words, ‘actually left the House, with the most consummate insolence’, an embarrassment which Peel covered by recourse to the procedural pretext that no Member could swear an oath after 4pm.158 When it was tendered to him on the 19th, O’Connell stated that ‘I see in this oath one assertion as to a matter of fact which I know is not true, and see in it another assertion as to a matter of opinion which I believe is not true; I therefore refuse to take this oath’. He was again ordered to withdraw, and Tindal moved for a new writ to be issued, which met strong opposition. After Rice had briefly attempted to have the Emancipation Act amended to take account of O’Connell’s case, the writ was agreed, 21 May 1829, subject to a delay necessitated by the requirement to have all Irish county freeholders reregistered.159 O’Connell’s exclusion, depicted in one of the first of many parliamentary cartoons concerning him, was considered an act of personal spite on the part of ministers, though Peel later justified the decision as essential to the success of emancipation as a whole.160
O’Connell, who was blackballed by the Cisalpine Club of English Catholics, 12 May, but elected to Brooks’s, 27 May 1829, was furious at the government duplicity which he blamed for his defeat, but took comfort from his triumph as a parliamentary orator. Declining the possibility of Tralee, which was again vacant, or a temporary berth in an English borough, he made strenuous preparations for his expected re-election for Clare. He issued what became known, from its litany of desired Irish reforms, as the ‘address of the hundred promises’, 25 May, when he spoke in much the same sense at the Westminster dinner in honour of Burdett. He wrote to Bentham, 28 May, that, once returned, ‘then for Utility - Utility: Law - Church - Finance - Currency - Monopoly - Representation - How many opportunities to be useful’. At Anglesey’s instigation, he forbore to raise repeal during the election, which he rather hoped would be contested, so as to raise his standing further, but it was at the forefront of his thoughts.161 Having quarrelled furiously with the family of his colleague Lucius O’Brien and most other Clare landlords, he was in the end returned unopposed as an opponent of administration, 30 July, when, after the recent violence of his electioneering speeches, he was credited with attempting to lower the political temperature in Ireland.162 In a reverential letter to Bentham, he boasted of having declared himself a ‘Benthamite’ in Ennis, promised to base his conduct on the ‘greatest happiness principle’ and stated that ‘you have now one Member of Parliament your own’, though within a year relations had cooled between them.163 He likewise offered his parliamentary services to the Catholic bishops, as the representative of their interests, and the Jewish lobby, as an advocate for their emancipation, and, a resolute enemy to colonial slavery, he reportedly rejected the non-aggression pact held out by the West India planters in the House.164 Supportive of the English reform movement generally - a London Radical Reform Association was formed in imitation of the Catholic Association in July - he the following year advised Thomas Attwood† to employ his ideas of moral force and mass membership in setting up the Birmingham Political Union, as he did for the organizer of the precursor to the Dublin Trades Political Union.165 Long convinced of the need for trusted parliamentary agents in London, he renewed his efforts to set up an institutional link between Ireland and Westminster, which led (in January 1830), to the establishment in Dublin, under Dwyer, of the Parliamentary Intelligence Office, a ‘species of reading room and temporary headquarters of agitation’. In the meantime, he contented himself with sending for parliamentary papers to read during a vacation at Derrynane in October, when a nasty coach accident might have ended his career.166 Intending to devote himself to Parliament and now in receipt of enough money from what became an annual national tribute for personal and political expenses (amounting to £30,000 in its first full year and averaging £12,000 a year from 1831 onwards), he mostly gave up his practice at the bar. However, having answered an urgent call for assistance, he travelled all night to arrive in court in Cork on the morning of 26 Oct., when, in one of his most celebrated legal performances, he destroyed the crown’s case, presented by the Irish solicitor-general John Doherty*, against those involved in the conspiracy to murder landlords at Doneraile.167 Having controversially offered his services as an election agent to the Beresfords in county Waterford earlier that year, as a brief experiment in non-sectarian co-operation, in December 1829 he was drawn into a fracas there about a by-election, in which he canvassed for the unsuccessful John Barron the following month.168 According to Pierce Mahony†, who broke with him over this affair, O’Connell, who was also involved in the county Limerick contest and had quarrelled with his supporters in Clare and Dublin, had lost popularity through pressing his repeal ideas and ‘reduced himself to the leader of the mere mob and the mischievous meddling part of the clergy’. By comparison, Sheil, who was made a king’s counsel the following year and was later given a parliamentary seat, was promoted by successive ministers as a counterweight to him in representing respectable Irish Catholic opinion.169
O’Connell, one of the first ever Members to have a considerable extra-parliamentary following, used a series of public letters and a Dublin dinner in his honour in January 1830 to promise unremitting activity in the House, where, according to popular mythology, he quickly exploited his native cunning to outwit his enemies.170 On top of the many predictions that as a mob orator he would fail in the Commons, Wellington judged that should he ‘be vulgar or violent in Parliament, nobody will listen after the first day’, but added that, if he was moderate in his language and behaviour, ‘he will be listened to, and his influence will be greater than ever’. He was, indeed, aware that he had to attune his delivery to its sensibilities, including for brevity, and, though it took time, he slowly won his critics over.171 If anything, speaking from ‘the second bench of the opposition’, near to Hume’s habitual seat, he rather underpitched his commonplace maiden speech against the address, 4 Feb. 1830, arguing for famine relief for Ireland and various legal and parliamentary reforms.172 He walked out for the division with a curious new associate, the Tory free trader Michael Thomas Sadler, in voting for Knatchbull’s amendment that day, and the next, instead of carrying out his stated intention of moving for an inquiry into agricultural distress, he formally seconded and acted as a teller for Lord Blandford’s amendment.173 Despite apparently joining a radical London dining club and belonging to Edward Davies Davenport’s* clique of reformers, he largely acted alone at this time, having few supporters among the Irishmen.174 Yet, dubbed ‘the Member for Ireland’ by Cobbett, he was a host in himself, and, claiming to have quickly grasped ‘the tone and temper of the House’, which he considered to be full of ‘folly and nonsense’, he duly fulfilled his promise to bring forward Irish business. He began to present innumerable petitions on many subjects, supporting others as requested, to busy himself with all sorts of minor legislation, about which he corresponded with various Irish advisers, and to intervene frequently and repetitively on anything that caught his attention, notably procedural, privilege, legal and especially religious questions.175
He dwelt on Irish agricultural distress, 8, 12 Feb., but made reasonable suggestions about government bills, 11, 16, 24 Feb., and was thanked by Peel for his ‘temperance and moderation’ in commenting on his intended judicial changes, which O’Connell reverted to on 9 Mar. 1830. He acted as a minority teller, a task he regularly performed, for Hume’s amendment to adjourn proceedings on supply, 11 Feb., objected to the Irish yeomanry grant, 22 Feb., and divided steadily in the renewed opposition campaign for economies and lower taxation that session. At his own request, he was appointed to the select committee on vestries, 16 Feb., but a month later Hobhouse complained that he had only attended its proceedings for a total of 90 minutes.176 Calling himself a radical reformer, 11 Feb., O’Connell voted for transferring East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, and again, 5, 15 Mar. In what Littleton, who noted that the House considered him ‘tame and harmless’, thought his first major outing, O’Connell supported Blandford’s reform motion, 18 Feb., when he condemned the influence of government or aristocratic patrons over at least 400 Members.177 He divided for the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. He introduced an amendment to the East Retford bill for vote by ballot, which he said was essential to secure freedom of election, 5, 15 Mar., when it was defeated by 179-21. A leading figure in London radical circles, he chaired a mass meeting to establish the Metropolitan Political Union, 8 Mar., speaking in favour of the ballot, shorter parliaments and universal suffrage.178 He voted for information on Portugal, 10 Mar. He made a prosaic blunder over moving the adjournment of Davenport’s motion on the state of the nation, 18 Mar., and on its resumption, 23 Mar., he urged consideration of the distressed economic condition of Ireland.179 Back in Dublin for Easter, he failed in his attempt to establish an improvement society, a cover for his repeal activities, and was unable to end damaging electoral differences with his friends in Clare, where it was believed that he had made ‘a bad fight’ of it in the Commons.180 In April 1830 Peel, who agreed with the duke of Northumberland, the lord lieutenant, that O’Connell did not deserve promotion among with the first batch of Catholic KCs, quipped that ‘he is so great a blackguard and so low at present that I should be unwilling to see him in possession, not of a silk gown, but of a legitimate grievance from the refusal of it’.181 O’Connell, who continued to speak frequently, failed in his attempt to amend the Irish Vestry Act, on the ground of financial mismanagement by Protestants, being defeated by 177-47, 27 Apr. The following day, when he paired for censuring the affair at Terceira, he was ‘treated with derision’ at Brooks’s on being made to own that his ‘game’ was ‘dissolution of the Union’, at least according to Lord Francis Leveson Gower*, the Irish secretary.182 The complaints he levelled against the inadequacies of the law and the increased Irish stamp and spirit duties, 29 Apr., he repeated several times in the first days of May. During this time he squabbled discreditably over criminal cases with Doherty, especially on the 10th, when he began what he termed his ‘serious attack’ over the Doneraile conspiracy, and the 11th, when Joseph Planta*, the patronage secretary, observed that he was ‘proceeding merrily in his work of self-destruction’.183 Alleging serious irregularities in the gathering and presentation of crown evidence at the Cork trials, he moved (‘feebly’, according to Lord Howick*) for the production of papers on this, 12 May, but was ‘operated on’ by Doherty, in the words of Leveson Gower, whom O’Connell, in replying ‘very forcibly’, dubbed a ‘shave-beggar’.184 Attacked for not acting as he would at public meetings, O’Connell said:
I admit that I thought a different conduct would be proper in this House; that I struggled and easily brought myself to adopt one; and for this I have been taunted, insulted and ridiculed. In future they shall have no cause to complain of me ... I will in future take my stand on the station to which they have forced me.
He was defeated by 75-12 and, despite his more vigorous approach, shortly afterwards Leveson Gower rated him ‘the most insignificant man it has been my lot to meet with’ in Parliament.185 He spoke and voted for repeal of the Irish coal duties, 13 May 1830, when he lamented that the House ‘entertains no sympathy for the people of Ireland’.
O’Connell made what Richard Monckton Milnes† called ‘an energetic, but not well pointed’ speech for Jewish emancipation and voted in the minority for this, 17 May 1830.186 He divided for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 24 May, 7 June, and sided with opposition on Canada, 25 May, and Ceylon, 27 May. Moving for leave for a bill to secure ‘an effectual and radical reform of the abuses of the Commons’, 28 May, he advocated the creation of a more representative and responsible legislature founded on triennial parliaments, a taxpayer franchise and the ballot. He failed in his appeal to the reformers in the House, which he blamed on Russell’s more moderate proposals, dividing only 13 against 319, while Russell’s motion, which followed, saw the minority rise to 117, including O’Connell, against 213. Following a late attendance the night before, he overslept and had to apologize for his absence from the committee on the Clyde navigation bill, 4 June, when, as he frequently did, he objected to the introduction of poor laws to Ireland. Endeavouring to end the grievance of Catholics bearing the cost of building new Protestant churches, he moved for the total repeal of the Irish Vestry Act, 10 June, but Rice obtained an amendment for its alteration against him by 141-17. He spoke and voted against the administration of justice bill as insufficient to improve the law’s intelligibility, efficiency and cost, 18 June. Finding himself isolated and without party support when Trant condemned him for calling for a run on the banks in Ireland, 24 June, he haughtily remarked that he ‘totally disclaimed the authority of the House over any acts of his that were done out of it’ and insisted that he had the right to address the Irish people in print. To Doherty, who challenged his encouragement of mass protests and disparagement of Irish bank notes, he, as he afterwards wrote to Bennett, ‘taunted him very successfully upon his sore point - his ignorance’, and ‘flung off the attack upon me gaily and with sufficient contempt for all parties concerned in it’.187 By this time it was said of him that he ‘shines more particularly in reply’, but Vesey Fitzgerald, who noted that Doherty seemed to be the only Member courageous enough to stand up to him, commented to Peel that ‘I know not which disgusts the most, the ruffian’s craven cowardice in the House of Commons or the malignant and the mischievous baseness with which he serves agitation out of it’.188 He complained of Irish distress, 30 June, and excessive expenditure and taxation there, 2 July, and opposed the Irish arms bill, especially in view of government’s neglect of Irish problems, 3, 5 July 1830.
In early July 1830 Mary O’Connell reassured her youngest son Daniel that his father, who ‘goes through great fatigue’ and ‘is now going to bed when formerly he used to be getting up’, had several offers of county seats at the forthcoming general election.189 As yet, not least because he retained a curious hope of being able to share its seats with Vesey Fitzgerald, this included Clare, where Tom Steele, one of the architects of the victory two years earlier, rallied supporters to his camp against the O’Briens and other interests. But, as gradually emerged, O’Connell had apparently spoilt his chances by imprudently promising to make way for both William Nugent Macnamara*, the liberal Protestant who had been originally suggested in 1828, and another of his former henchmen, the O’Gorman Mahon*, with whom he had reportedly made up after a quarrel the previous year. Unwilling to undergo a risky contest, he therefore abandoned Clare, though not without a dangerous confrontation with the O’Gorman Mahon during his procession into Ennis, 18 July, and turned elsewhere.190 Active in promoting electioneering efforts for reformers and anti-ministerial candidates in many counties, he might have had an opening in Kerry, but for the candidacy of William Browne*, and could have stood in Cork, Galway, Louth, Meath or Wexford, or for Drogheda, where he unsuccessfully brought forward his eldest son, Maurice, but he instead chose county Waterford, where his prospects were considered to be good.191 Having justified his parliamentary conduct and offered for the county, which he acclaimed for having first kindled the spirit of ‘democratic liberty’, as a wide-ranging reformer, he was introduced as a national hero on the hustings and urged that good order and moderation be displayed, especially towards his Protestant opponent, Beresford. On a plea of preventing bad feeling, he withdrew the following day, but this forced the unlucky third candidate, Wyse (who, however, came in for county Tipperary), to retire in his favour rather than to leave the Liberator stranded without a seat; he was returned unopposed. He vindicated what looked like an electoral compromise with the Beresfords and promised to renew his parliamentary exertions in two letters to the people of Waterford, while he also directed an address to Wellington calling for sittings at Westminster to terminate by 9 pm.192 Content with having got the elections ‘triumphantly over’, he turned his attention to the renewal of the O’Connell tribute and, partly with an eye to its receipts, maintained a high profile that autumn. Unable to attend the Dublin meeting welcoming the recent French revolution, 15 Sept. 1830, his public letter on this subject to his son-in-law Christopher Fitzsimon† enthusiastically welcomed the political changes as a model for ‘the severance of the church from the state’; later that month he was congratulated on this visionary statement by the French nobleman Montalembert, who paid homage to him at Derrynane and found him ‘really great, without any affectation, but I think also with particularly high ideas’.193 Equally a supporter of the uprising by the Belgians against Dutch rule, he later boasted of having gained three votes in the election for their new king that year.194
Agreeing with Staunton, whom he exhorted to ‘AGITATE! AGITATE! AGITATE!’, that repeal of the Union should be the focus of their attention, he now contemplated establishing a new movement and raising more funds, since money was always necessary ‘to keep in due operation the springs of popular excitement’. Starting at Killarney, 7 Oct. 1830, he spoke at a series of local meetings organized for petitioning against the Union, including at Waterford on the 15th, and attempted to form the Irish Society for Legal and Legislative Relief as a repeal association.195 This was proclaimed, 18 Oct., by the new Irish secretary, Sir Henry Hardinge*, whom O’Connell described at a Dublin dinner as ‘that paltry contemptible little English soldier’, 22 Oct.; he refused to meet Hardinge’s subsequent challenge, replying to him that, in referring only to his public role, he had spoken ‘as he would of any other man who trampled on the liberties of Irishmen’. His extremism over the highly contentious repeal issue lost an apparently nervous and disconcerted O’Connell many supporters (including his brothers) in Ireland, where the liberal Protestants signed up to the ‘Leinster declaration’ against repeal, and led to him being partially ostracized in society on his return at the end of the month to London, including at Brooks’s.196 Listed by ministers among their ‘foes’, he was present for the king’s speech debate, 2 Nov., of which he recorded that
there never was yet any man so beset as I was when I went into the House and, during the first speeches, every allusion to me of an unkind nature was cheered. Although Peel attacked me directly, he sat down amid rapturous applause. I got up at once. They at first were disposed to slight me but I rebuked them with indignation and certainly took my wicked will of them fully and to my heart’s content. I cannot be a judge of my own speaking but I know that I threw out in my old Association style. I also know that the result was most cheering for me for the men who had been standing off from me before, and were not only cool but hostile, became of a sudden most cordial in their manner and confidential in their declarations. One perceives a change of this description better than one can describe it, and the change was complete.197
His powerful appeal for ending the Union was certainly a revelation: James Joseph Hope Vere* commented that with his rapid, telegraphic style, O’Connell ‘cleaned his stomach in a more perfect manner than he has ever yet done’, and Howick noted that day that O’Connell, ‘for the first time made me understand how he has acquired so much influence in Ireland as a speaker’.198 Unleashing his vitriolic streak, which frequently involved him in irate exchanges, on the 5th he referred to ‘the present incompetent and imbecile administration’, which angered the House, and on the 9th, when he presented and endorsed the Waterford inhabitants’ petition for repeal and quarrelled with Doherty, George Robert Dawson and Littleton, he hailed the abuse thrown at him ‘as my richest reward, as my highest encomium’. George Agar Ellis* described him as ‘railing in a most blackguard way at everybody about the Union’ that day, and Hope Vere observed that ‘I never saw in the House such a storm’, but he earned grudging respect from an unlikely quarter in that Sir Henry Bunbury*, who had formed ‘a very mean estimate’ of him, now considered him
a fellow of formidable powers; coarse, but acute, wily and dexterous; dealing in calumnies, and showing occasionally very bad taste, but possessing great command of forcible language and the crushing grip of a giant when he has an advantage over an opponent.199
He moved for the total repeal of the Irish Subletting Act, 11 Nov., and, according to Wyse, ‘spoke with energy and was listened to with attention’, but Sir John Benn Walsh recorded that ‘his paradoxical and quibbling speech was well answered by Doherty’; having expressed his regret that a negative decision would only create greater unease in Ireland, O’Connell was not surprised to be defeated (by 150-24).200 He divided for Parnell’s amendments for reducing the duty on wheat imported to the West Indies, 12 Nov., and against ministers on the civil list, which precipitated their resignation, 15 Nov. 1830.
With his popularity increasing in Dublin, where he encouraged the holding of ‘repeal breakfast’ gatherings and was searching for a permanent meeting place, and the expected change of government at Westminster, where the failure of Irish Members like Wyse to come to his support laid them open to criticism at home, O’Connell was confident that this was an advantageous moment to advance the cause of repeal, and he told Dwyer that ‘I think some good may be done in the House or rather through the House. I am determined to stick to it as long as I can’.201 He stated in a printed address to the people of Ireland, 17 Nov. 1830, that Lord Grey’s ministry ‘will not do Ireland any one solid or substantial service’ and, despite the reappointment of Anglesey as viceroy, at once suspected that little would change in terms of personnel; he cited the retention of Doherty, with whom he clashed in the House on the 19th. Continuing to sit on the opposition benches and present, as he wrote, ‘constantly from its sitting to its rising’, he made incessant pleas for a variety of Irish reforms, as well as for repeal, until leaving town in the middle of the following month.202 During that time the prime minister undoubtedly regarded O’Connell with insurmountable distrust, but Anglesey, whose efforts to placate him (including by pressing for the removal of his Commons ‘master’, Doherty, to the bench) he largely misjudged, represented the more amenable wing of the administration; this included Duncannon, who in talking to Hobhouse about Ireland, remarked that ‘O’Connell was all powerful there and ought to be appeased’.203 Although the exact details of the discussions are unclear, Anglesey, both in at least two private interviews with O’Connell in London and indirectly through Duncannon, certainly made him offers of official employment that winter, presumably in order to rein him in, but nothing came of this. It seems not impossible that he might have agreed to take the Irish mastership of the rolls (or another judicial position), although this would have excluded him from popular politics; reports then (as a year later) that he would be dispatched to India appear to have been wishful thinking.204 He remained supportive of Anglesey and privately clarified his attitude by stating, 26 Nov., that ‘I intend to give the new administration as strong support in all their useful measures as any independent man can give without committing myself in any degree as a ministerial Member’, while on 7 Dec. he informed his go-between, Bennett, that he wanted ‘for myself nothing - for Ireland much’, adding a list of 12 desired Irish reforms.205 For his part, Anglesey, who agreed to the home secretary Lord Melbourne (as Lamb had become), sanctioning an approach to him by Wyse in late December 1830, thought that ‘it would be the cheapest purchase ever made, to obtain O’Connell at any price’, since otherwise ‘he, and not the government, will rule Ireland’, but believed that he ‘is desperately committed, and bent upon the repeal, and from that he will never recede’, as he ‘is flying at higher game than a judgeship, and he is secure of a better income from the deluded people than any government can venture to give any person whatever’.206
O’Connell, who had briefly considered organizing a celebratory welcome for Anglesey, was himself greeted with remarkable scenes on his return to Ireland as a determined proponent of repeal, 18 Dec. 1830; it was a display which outshone the arrival of the lord lieutenant on the 22nd and which, the crowd having dispersed quietly at his bidding, gave a displeased William IV ‘the most striking proof of the influence he has acquired over a portion of the lower classes’.207 With the hearty concurrence of Grey, Anglesey, who for a while feared actual rebellion, prevented a mass military-style demonstration of the Dublin trades by a proclamation on the 26th, to which O’Connell immediately added his approval in order to maintain his authority over his supporters. Reflecting the general horror felt at his now unmasked ‘course of ambition’, Greville commented that, in his tussles with Anglesey, he had ‘a moral power and influence as great in its way, and as strangely acquired, as Buonaparte’s political power was’.208 The following month, intent on foiling his increasingly isolated opponent, the exasperated viceroy issued a series of proclamations to meet the rapidly escalating crisis created by ‘the Pacificator’, a title briefly adopted at the establishment of his instantly suppressed General Association of Ireland, 6 Jan. 1831, by O’Connell, who spoke provocatively for repeal and even urged a run on the banks.209 The agitation culminated with the arrest of an outraged O’Connell at home, 18 Jan., by one Farrell, whom his son John O’Connell† described as ‘a venerable specimen of the old school of constables’; he insisted on being paraded on foot through the streets, but later allowed himself to be released on bail, since, as his wife commented the following day, had he been confined to Newgate, ‘the Castle would have been torn down last night the people were so indignant’.210 Ministers were at first divided about the wisdom of such an action, especially as O’Connell wriggled expertly to gain the advantage, by continuing to manipulate public opinion in his favour, making speculative approaches to such leading liberal figures as Lords Cloncurry and Meath and instigating a troublemaking (and very nearly successful) opposition to the return of Duncannon, now a junior minister, for county Kilkenny in February. Yet the arrest effectively forced O’Connell to lower his demands and enabled some sort of secret negotiation to take place, via Bennett, between him and government, although neither side would admit to having initiated it. Whatever the outcome of those obscure proceedings, and despite the ensuing furore nothing concrete emerged about them, O’Connell, whom ministers reckoned a coward, appears to have been frightened into making a tacit compromise, bartering ameliorative measures for Ireland in exchange not so much for the vanity of his own freedom, though that was certainly at stake, as for the practical necessity of being able to pursue his repeal campaign unhindered at some later date.211 Therefore, to the surprise and dismay of those who, like Sheil, thought him ‘fallen indeed’, O’Connell pleaded guilty to the first 14 counts against him (of conspiring to evade the Proclamation Act), 12 Feb. 1831, when the other 17 counts (of offences under the recent proclamations) were dropped. Judgment was deferred to allow him to undertake what he called his duty to his constituents in returning to Parliament, where his case had already been raised (for example, on the 8th).212
The Irish secretary, Edward Smith Stanley, who gave his version of these events in the Commons, 14, 16 Feb. 1831, privately boasted that he envisaged nothing above ‘a very piano tone’ from his defeated and deceitful Irish enemy, but O’Connell, albeit that he was expected to fail in their forthcoming parliamentary duels, in fact thereafter became almost his opposition shadow, quizzing and baiting him at every turn.213 Intending to lambast Smith Stanley on resuming his seat, 18 Feb., he confined himself to opposing Britain’s interference in the internal affairs of Belgium and then left the chamber - ‘evidently striking’, according to Thomas Gladstone* - and so missed hearing Sir James Graham, first lord of the admiralty, denounce him as an Irish demagogue. Apparently with the House behind him, he disparaged Graham over this, 21 Feb., when he furiously denied that Ireland was in a state of insurrection, bitterly opposed the Irish yeomanry grant and divided for reducing the size of the army.214 In untypically pessimistic mood, 22 Feb., he wrote to Bentham that
my first mistake consisted in entertaining a high opinion of the moral worth and intellectual power of the House of Commons and I shaped my course mildly and gently in order to propitiate the opinions of men whom I respected. You have a right to despise rather than pity me for this gross mistake. The consequences are a shipwreck of my parliamentary fame and the great difficulty I now have to assert a power which perhaps would have been conceded to me had I asserted myself strongly in the first instance. Under these circumstances I am ashamed to call myself your disciple.215
Aiming to be ‘tame and quiet but distinct’ in explaining his part in the negotiations, which he claimed amounted only to a procedural arrangement over the trial, 28 Feb., he ended up delivering an onslaught against the government’s continued repression of the subjugated Irish that day, but he at least found himself restored to his customary equanimity. As he wrote to his wife:
I really was triumphant. It is impossible for any one to conceive what a partial auditory I spoke amidst, and yet I enforced silence and I may say compelled silence. I gave Stanley some very hard knocks and Lord Anglesey still more, and I have not done with them. In short, sweetest, my mind is at ease.216
He pleaded for leniency for Jacob Alexander, who from the gallery had yelled, ‘That’s a lie’, at his assertion that he would not spill one man’s blood to effect political change, and he magnanimously secured his discharge, 2 Mar. 1831.
Delighted by the ministry’s parliamentary reform proposals, which he commended to the Irish in priority to repeal, he failed to catch the Speaker’s eye during the several days of debate that followed Russell’s statement, 1 Mar. 1831, but nonetheless soon detected a marked change of attitude towards him in the House. Fearing, as he confided to his wife, that ‘I have literally the less chance of speaking well because I am puffed up with the vanity of thinking that I can and will do so’, while also amazed at times at ‘my being so absurd as to feel nervous in the rascally House’, he finally had the chance to make a strong speech in support of the ‘large, liberal and wise’ bill, which he described as generous and effectual, on the 8th. He particularly welcomed the removal of aristocratic, corporate and Protestant interests from boroughs, though he argued that Ireland deserved more seats and ought to have a bigger county electorate. He was widely congratulated, including by his supporters in Dublin, and Greville recorded that he was ‘vehemently cheered by the government, Stanley, Duncannon and all, all differences giving way to their zeal’.217 Otherwise confining himself to interjections on minor matters, O’Connell, who did not pursue the list of reforming suggestions proffered to him by Bentham when they met on the 20th, backed ministers over reform, 19 Mar., when he stated that his desire for radical changes was secondary to his support for the bill, and again, on voting for the second reading, 22 Mar., when, with studied moderation, he remarked that he only ‘looked to the repeal of the Union as a means of obtaining good government’ for Ireland.218 He approved of the Irish reform bill, though not without expressing some reservations, including over the definition of the £10 qualification, 24 Mar., and advocated reductions in the civil list and Irish official pensions, 25, 28 Mar. His son Maurice’s successful return for Clare in late March was thought likely, in demonstrating his electoral influence, to deter ministers from seeking a dissolution, but Grey was already hopeful that his ‘disposition for conciliation’ would prevent him exploiting an election ‘to throw all Ireland into confusion’, and even Smith Stanley, who was adamant that he should be brought to judgment, conceded that his ‘playing good boy’ merited a fair response.219 Melbourne argued that, the question being ‘now brought to issue whether O’Connell or the king’s lieutenant is to govern Ireland’, he had to return to court, but he reported to Anglesey in early April that the cabinet had decided to allow him to apply for sentencing to be postponed, as the most it could do to assist him.220 Stating that ‘nobody has regretted more than I have done the course Mr. O’Connell has taken’ and ruling out further attempts at mediation, Grey communicated this to Burdett, adding:
I acknowledge that he has rendered good service on the reform bill, and that on many previous occasions his conduct in the House of Commons has been such as to encourage the hope that he would abstain from the pernicious courses in which he has been engaged. But these expectations have been as constantly followed by disappointment, his measures to excite in the people of Ireland a spirit of the bitterest hostility not only to the government but to the people of England - the Saxons, as he calls them - having always succeeded, as in a regular course, to his more moderate conduct in Parliament.221
He, in his own words, ‘spoke often and rather well, ipse loquitur ... on various topics’, including the Irish juries bill, 12 Apr., when he unsuccessfully divided the House (by 44-10) against increasing the allowance for emergencies. He differed over reform with Sugden, 13 Apr., Hunt, 14 Apr., and Edward Synge Cooper, 18 Apr., and on the 19th he earned the Speaker’s rebuke on telling North that he had promoted the bill at home, not as a means to repeal, but so as to win justice for Ireland and to strengthen the institutions of monarchy, church and Lords. He spoke and voted against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment that day, which precipitated a dissolution, and on 21 Apr. 1831 he threw out the prospect of the number of Irish reformers rising from 59 to 80. Macnamara privately commented on the 23rd that ‘O’Connell has changed his tone in the House very much and I tell you there is no man more attended to by the ministers than he is’.222
Well might O’Connell bear Moore’s trenchant criticisms of his having prematurely agitated the repeal question ‘with the most perfect candour and good humour’, during their conversation on 23 Apr. 1831, because at the ensuing general election, during which no one could be unaware that ministers had made an unsavoury alliance with their untrustworthy new associate, he commanded his supporters to put that issue aside in favour of parliamentary reform.223 Writing with his comments about numerous constituencies, notably Dublin and various southern counties, to one of his government contacts, Duncannon, for whom he secured a free run in county Kilkenny, he disclosed that his own plans to oust the Beresfords in county Waterford, where he may not have been sure of success, had given way to a desire to contest Kerry, which he had originally destined for his brother John.224 Suspected of having broken a promise to stand by the Beresfords and to be in some doubt of winning his native county - a requisition from county Tipperary was prepared as a fallback - he ostensibly entered in order to attack someone more worthy of his powers, the knight of Kerry, who opposed reform and had most of the territorial interests behind him. After a convoluted struggle, the knight, distraught at the injustice inflicted on him, withdrew and a jubilant O’Connell, who benefited from government backing, was returned unopposed with his young acolyte, Frederick Mullins.225 In the course of his campaigning in Dublin, Leinster and especially Munster, he also secured the re-election of Maurice O’Connell after turbulent scenes in Clare, where he blamed the Terry Alt outrages on his erstwhile friend the O’Gorman Mahon, while at the same time courting their support.226 Overall, he may have obtained the return of the roughly 20 to 30 Members whom Charles Arbuthnot*, the former treasury secretary, had feared he would be able to nominate and thereafter formed his loose connection in the Commons.227 Grey, who was satisfied with the Irish results and welcomed O’Connell’s own success, since he was ‘much less mischievous in Parliament’, agreed with his cabinet colleagues that, ‘after all that had passed during the elections’, the dropping of the prosecution against him was ‘upon the whole advantageous’. The Irish law officers therefore connived at O’Connell escaping punishment under the Proclamation Act, which, since it lapsed at the dissolution of Parliament, essentially meant that he had been acquitted. Anglesey commented that he had ‘little faith in his good intentions’, but believed O’Connell had learnt that ‘he cannot attempt to rule here with impunity’ and that, having seen his attempt to quiet Clare fail, he knew that he had ‘not sufficient power over the people to subdue their bad passions’.228 Newcastle, who had predicted that O’Connell would make the government look ‘ridiculous and contemptible’, spluttered with rage at this development, writing in his diary that ‘thus it is with these rascals: the only true policy is to treat such men as the law directs’.229 Although given his usual rousing reception at a Dublin reform dinner, 31 May, O’Connell was reportedly met without much enthusiasm, 5 June, on entering Ennis, where he acted as counsel for most of those prosecuted at the ensuing special commission, about which he had an interview with Anglesey and Smith Stanley, 11 June 1831.230
Convinced by such encounters that the Irish administration intended only ‘to do good to Ireland provided it be in subserviency to English interest’, O’Connell prepared to bring what he called the ‘case of Ireland’ before the House.231 In the new session, when he was again extremely active (including in attempting to advance several Irish legal bills), he developed more fully into a parliamentarian both strategically, by using displays of alternating support and hostility to wring concessions from the Whig ministry, and tactically, by exploiting Irish controversies to weaken the sinews of Ascendancy domination.232 He had hoped ministers would replace the Speaker and, according to one newspaper report, had he arrived in time to be sworn, 14 June 1831, he might have disrupted Manners Sutton’s unopposed reappointment that day.233 After illness had hampered him on the 21st, he spoke in favour of the address, 22 June, though he urged support for Belgian and Polish insurgents, advocated measures to relieve Irish agricultural distress, a theme to which he regularly reverted, and explained the circumstances of his release (as he did on the 27th). He expressed his regret at the heavy loss of life at Newtownbarry, 23 June, and on the 27th put up stiff resistance to the grant for the Irish yeomanry, whom he held responsible for this and other affrays, the subject of several forthright interventions by him that year (for example, on 18 July). He objected to the changes, particularly over the leasehold franchise, made in the Irish reform bill, 30 June, and gave notice that he would move for the restoration of the 40s. county franchise, 1 July, when he pounced on Smith Stanley’s draconian arms bill.234 He voted for the second reading of the reintroduced English reform bill, 6 July, at least twice against adjourning the proceedings on it, 12 July, and usually for its details. Conscious that, as the cabinet minister Lord Holland wrote to Anglesey, ‘not only as a speaker but as a politician in the House, he rises in estimation with many on whom we ought to depend’, ministers tried to mollify O’Connell, who, though generally sympathetic to them, constantly complained of excessive expenditure and sided with opposition against grants for professorial salaries, 8 July, and civil list services, 18 July. Thus, he was received by the chancellor Lord Althorp* to discuss the Irish bill, 11 July, when, in the Commons, he supported the case made for the former king’s stationer Sir Abraham Bradley King to receive compensation (which he secured for him later that session).235 He clashed with James Edward Gordon, a totemic Protestant bigot, in what he claimed were inadequately reported debates on Irish tithes, 12 July, the Kildare Place Society, 14, 15 July, the Maynooth grant, 19 July, 5 Aug., and Orange toasts, 9 Aug. He supported the disfranchisement of Aldeburgh, 15 July, and although he did not fulfil his privately stated desire ‘to attack each of the boroughs in schedule A as the case arises’, he often thereafter made brief contributions to the reform debates, and he divided in the minority against Saltash retaining one seat, 26 July 1831, when ministers allowed its transfer to schedule B.236
O’Connell, who was a minority teller for his own motion for swearing the original Dublin election committee, 29 June, and for Cressett Pelham’s amendment to postpone issuing the new writ, 8 Aug., was furious at ministers’ negligence in conceding a rerun of a contest in the Irish capital, about which he busied himself in August 1831. Claiming that ‘there is a fatality about them touching Ireland which pervades their every act’, he was particularly incensed by the decision to rearm the yeomanry early that month, and, as the premier noted, he ‘said a few words in his usual false and Jesuitical tone’ against this as part of an Irish delegation to Grey on the 12th. More than ever convinced of the growing popularity of a local legislature, he informed Dwyer that ‘a domestic Parliament, an absentee rate, an arrangement of church property - these are the sine qua non of our assistance’.237 Holland’s fears of O’Connell leading an invigorated band of repealers into open hostility were realized on his denouncing government inaction over distress and Orange outrages, 10 Aug., after which the Commons clerk John Rickman recorded that his 40-strong ‘squadron of Irish devils’ were ‘now at the service of the present opposition’.238 The following day he not only again attacked Smith Stanley over the yeomanry and divided for printing the Waterford petition for its disarmament, but also spoke and voted against the division of (English) counties into what he said would become ‘nomination’ districts. As Smith Stanley had foreseen, although he put it down to O’Connell’s personal animus against Lord Kenmare in Kerry, O’Connell criticized, largely alone and unsuccessfully, 15, 20 Aug., the creation in Irish counties of lord lieutenants who would have excessive and partisan powers. With Anglesey reassured that he had prevented a bid by O’Connell to assert his moral authority over the yeomanry and magistracy, Althorp and Smith Stanley reached a compromise with him on the 18th, when he may have voted in the majority for Chandos’s amendment to enfranchise £50 tenants-at-will. Hardinge reported to Mrs. Arbuthnot later that day that on Vyvyan’s motion on Belgium, O’Connell was ‘very insolent, for the double object of praising the Belgians ... and also for the purpose of showing the government how useful he can be in attacking Tories’, but he apparently ‘quailed’ under Peel’s broadside against repeal; he made a lengthy statement vindicating his opinions on Belgium, 22 Aug. 1831. Concerned at O’Connell’s mischief in embroiling ministers in ‘endless and hazardous conflicts’, Holland speculated that he could be neutered by taking a legal office in England, but Anglesey, who thought the attempt hardly likely to work, replied that they would just have to make ‘the best fight they can against him in the House of Commons’.239
He voted with government in both divisions on the controversial Dublin election, 23 Aug., and kept up a stream of mainly supportive suggestions in the committee on the reform bill late that month, but again condemned misdemeanours by the yeomanry, 26 Aug., when Holland judged him ‘a ready and powerful speaker but though pleasing, not so pleasing as I had expected’, and 31 Aug. 1831, when he pummelled Smith Stanley and others with a barrage of Irish grievances.240 It may have been at about this time that Brougham, now the lord chancellor, who despaired of Althorp’s diffident Commons management, mocked that ‘I expect any day to see O. come forward and offer his services to the majority, to lead them on and carry the measure of the country’.241 In a letter to the Pilot, O’Connell explained that he had (on 29 Aug.) missed the vote on Sadler’s motion for an Irish poor law, which he opposed, because of a severe headache, and regretted that the ridiculously late hours of the House were partly to blame for the recent deaths of his friends Alexander Dawson and the O’Conor Don.242 On 5 Sept. he was named to the select committee on the malt drawback, which later that month he complained occupied his days, as the chamber did his nights.243 He again angrily defended the Catholic church and himself from the aspersions of Gordon, 9 Sept., when, in Littleton’s words, he ‘all but embraced’ Smith Stanley, whose plan for national education he hailed as guaranteeing non-sectarian Bible instruction.244 He spoke and voted against the truck bill, 12 Sept., and although he divided for inquiry into the renewal of the Sugar Refinery Act that day, he stayed away to allow it to pass under a deal between government and the radicals, 28 Sept.245 He raised the Doneraile conspiracy, 19, 27 Sept., and reluctantly agreed that there was a case for extending poor laws to Ireland, 26 Sept., when he made a long defence of the Maynooth grant. He voted for the third reading, 19 Sept., and passage of the reform bill, 21 Sept., and attended the meeting of independent Members who agreed to back the government even if the measure was lost in the Lords; he was present to see Russell deliver it to the upper House 22 Sept., when Wellington gleefully noticed that the muffled ‘hear, hear’ he emitted at the bar, in itself decided the bishop of London to vote against the measure.246 Despite an illness which kept him from sitting late in the House, he found time to encourage Irish reform petitions and to consult with ministers about the ‘very, very bad’ Irish bill, for which he kept notice of an impending call in force, despite objections from English Members (especially on 27 Sept.) until 5 Oct. He privately believed that the peers were ‘mad, stark mad, to dare to fly in the face of popular sentiment and popular indignation’, and was less surprised than gratified by the reform bill’s defeat because, ‘in short, the game is up and the Tories must be put down’.247 He therefore rallied strongly to the defence of ministers on Ebrington’s confidence motion, for which he divided, 10 Oct. John Heywood Hawkins*, who averred that his particularly good speech that day showed that he was ‘now one of the most powerful orators in the House’, witnessed O’Connell demonstrating ‘his own abusive style’ in giving Sir Charles Wetherell a drubbing, 13 Oct. 1831.248
O’Connell confided to Barrett, 5 Oct. 1831, the strictly private communication that ‘I COULD be [Irish] attorney-general - in one hour’, an idea which, when rumours emerged about it later that month, was dismissed as preposterous, given his recent trial, by the Irish liberal Lord Donoughmore.249 Grey certainly authorized an offer to be made to O’Connell at this time through one of his closest supporters, James Doyle, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, who afterwards reported that ‘my application to him was more successful than I anticipated, but finding how isolated the proposal was made to him, I fully agreed with him that it should be rejected’. In other words, O’Connell, who vented his frustration with ministers by lamenting to Duncannon that the Irish administration was seen to be ‘as essentially anti-Irish and Orange as it was in the days of Peel and Goulburn’, declined to be seduced by the thought of taking judicial office or a knighthood.250 If Mrs. Arbuthnot is to be relied on, the project was actually thwarted by Smith Stanley, who, already vexed by O’Connell’s having escaped justice earlier in the year, threatened to resign from the cabinet, whose moderate wing, according to Holland, could therefore only obtain permission for Anglesey to make an amicable approach to him. It then emerged that he would be willing to accept the patent of precedence which he had refused at the end of the previous year and to which he was fully entitled by his professional expertise. In late October he was accordingly granted seniority as a king’s counsel in Ireland after the attorney and solicitor-generals and the first and second serjeants but ahead of the third serjeant, the recently promoted Catholic Michael O’Loghlen†, and he took his place as such in chancery, 4 Nov.251 Although Smith Stanley remained wary, others were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and, as Anglesey explained to Melbourne, who took exception to an anti-Union speech made by him in late October:
He has a hard game to play, and we must not expect immediate and cordial support and the sudden abandonment of questions which he has been advocating. Such a course would not be advantageous to us in any way and it would disable him from rendering service to the government. It is important that he should appear to come round rather from conviction than by bribe. In the mean time, it has been fully made known to him that what he obtains he must earn.252
However, Anglesey’s confidence that he was ‘riding his race well’ had collapsed by the middle of November 1831, when Holland recorded that ‘O’Connell has again run out of his course, scurrilously abusing Mr. Stanley and disparaging Lord Anglesey in a letter to the newspapers, without provocation’. The king, who had been ‘not indisposed to propitiate O’Connell for the sake of quiet in Ireland’, remarked that ‘the gloss was not off his silk gown before he began flinging dirt and kicking up dust to defile it’.253
O’Connell was, indeed, beset by more extreme challengers to his position that autumn, for the Dublin Trades Political Union, of which he was a member, had quickly risen to prominence as a working class organization with a strong repeal agenda. It required all his powers of guile and intimidation to subvert it, by November 1831, into the National Trades Political Union, with a broader social base and a wider reform remit, and even then he felt forced to found the National Political Union, a moderate reform association for the promotion of Irish interests, in order to absorb its potentially more dynamic rival.254 Grey took note of O’Connell’s fresh scheme, but, guessing that ‘he is too cunning, and knows too well what he is about, to expose himself by any proceeding obviously contrary to law’, decided to leave him undisturbed, especially as his return to Westminster would ‘prevent his giving this new association the consistency, and to the public feeling the impulse, which he alone can give them’.255 William Holmes* was alarmed that ‘O’Connell is playing the devil with Stanley. I really believe he wishes to have him assassinated’, but the Irish secretary, who dismissed these personal attacks as ‘not very decorous, but I think very harmless’, reported from Dublin that O’Connell was ‘in very low circumstances, and bent upon obtaining another tribute ... and upon the whole his influence, vast as it is, is rather I think diminished’, so that he had ‘no fear but we shall have a quiet winter here’.256 Yet, determined to maintain his leadership of the repeal cause, O’Connell announced in the National Political Union, 23 Nov., that its affairs were more important to him than attending the pre-Christmas session of Parliament, and he duly remained in Dublin during the following month as a mark of his resentment against the continued ministerial indifference towards Ireland. His presence in London was repeatedly urged by the radical Leslie Grove Jones† and by Duncannon, who was persuaded, not least by the frequent diatribes which he received in reply to his letters, that O’Connell should, and could, have been won through taking office.257 It was understood that giving him the rolls would have pleased the Irish Members, who Smith Stanley felt were nevertheless ‘rather beginning to abjure’ him, and Holland lamented that he had not been secured by the offer of the Irish solicitor-generalship. However, Anglesey was confident that O’Connell’s conduct in having repaid ministers’ generosity with a vain and unnecessary resort to ruthless demagoguery, for example by falling out ferociously with Doyle, would lower his professional standing and his political reputation at Westminster, so much so that he would be worthless as a member of the government.258 Mrs. O’Connell, who noted the success of ‘the real Dan’ ale produced at their son Daniel junior’s brewery, protested that her husband was ‘if possible more popular than ever’ that winter, but Grove Jones, expressing an English perspective and challenging his tactics and motives in agitating for unrealisable radical reforms, warned him that ‘you are evidently losing your consequence and ... will have to fight your battle over again in the House of Commons’.259 Grey, refusing to countenance further relations with him, was praised by the king for stating in the Lords, 15 Dec. 1831, that he would have been glad to employ a man of O’Connell’s calibre, but that no offer would be made to someone who acted in the way that he had done.260
O’Connell, who paired for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, failed to muster more than six Irish Members, including his son Maurice, in Dublin early the following month.261 On his way to London, he addressed large reform meetings in Wolverhampton, 19 Jan., and Birmingham, 20 Jan., and he resumed his seat, 23 Jan. 1832, when he divided for partially disfranchising the 30 boroughs in schedule B.262 He insisted, as he was frequently to do, that Ireland should receive equal treatment under the proposed reform legislation, but was supportive of the English bill that day, leading Grey to observe that he was once again on his best behaviour.263 He vehemently aired his hostility to Irish tithes, 23, 24 Jan., and the following day was seen, in Campbell’s description, ‘fuming about there being no House, and saying that it is a manoeuvre to defeat his motion’ to add a Catholic, Killeen, to Smith Stanley’s exclusively Protestant select committee on this; at Lord Milton’s* request, he withdrew it the following month, so avoiding what Rice termed, ‘a most awkward discussion’.264 Taking ‘the opportunity of wreaking his vengeance’ on ministers, he excoriated them over the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., when he sided with opposition but saved the government by sending Maurice and seven or eight other Irish Members out of the House before the division.265 He was named to the select committee on the East India Company, 27 Jan., and served on the subcommittee on its judicial affairs during the session.266 As active as ever, notably over petitions relating to Irish parliamentary and other reforms, he also participated frequently in matters of lesser and non-partisan interest, and, for instance, was listed in the minority for inquiry into the glove trade, 31 Jan. He headed a ‘grand onslaught of Irish Members’ against tithes, 8 Feb., about which he soon boasted that he had put ministers on the back foot, but, primed by Littleton, he gave them able assistance in speaking and voting against the production of information on Portugal, 9 Feb.267 He called for the creation of peers to ensure the passage of the reform bill through the Lords, 10 Feb., praised some of its beneficial features, 16 Feb., when he divided for printing the Woollen Grange petition for the abolition of Irish tithes, and voted for going into committee on it, 20 Feb. He left London at the end of the month, but not without leaving behind him a loose following of Irishmen, whom Littleton called ‘a stout little phalanx, sitting below the treasury benches, next the bar’.268 He entrusted Maurice O’Connell with the responsibility of countering Smith Stanley’s tithe proposals the following month and missed the division on the third reading of the reform bill, 22 Mar. 1832.
His return was partly due to professional commitments, and the fact that he hinted at resuming his practice at the bar may have been an indication of financial problems. He might also have desired to lie low on account of Ellen Courtenay’s public revelations. She had approached the O’Gorman Mahon and Hunt the previous year, when O’Connell had privately rejected her charges with ‘contemptuous defiance’, pointing out that such a calumny ‘would have been worth any money in Ireland at any time during the last 20 years, that is, if it had the least face of probability’. Having failed to exact anything from him then, she now issued her Narrative, dated from the Fleet Prison, 27 Feb. 1832, claiming that his refusal to honour his supposed promise of financial assistance had reduced her to bankruptcy. However, the fact that it was published from the offices of the scurrilous Satirist newspaper in The Strand marked it out as a sordid piece of sexual blackmail, and, as even his most hostile opponents refused to exploit it, for which he was grateful, O’Connell’s standing was left largely untouched by the scandal. He always treated the story as a derisory fabrication: according to his investigations, she was ‘an elderly strolling actress’, of some other name, who in 1817 had been employed in the Isle of Wight and had never had a child.269 In any case, he was given rousing popular receptions, including at Tralee, 11 Mar., Cork, 18 Mar., Cashel, 29 Mar., and Athlone, 2 Apr., and in his numerous speeches generated further excitement not only for reform, but also repeal. Back in England by the end of April, he extended his high public profile further, for instance by speaking in early May in Bath, where he floated his (rarely revealed but possibly significant) musings on the development of a federalist solution to Ireland’s status within the United Kingdom, and by addressing a series of five public letters to ‘the reformers of Great Britain’, 22 May-11 June.270 Despite Burdett’s disgust at having to listen to ‘such stuff’, he was, Hobhouse thought, ‘the hero of the evening’ at the Westminster reform dinner, 27 June 1832, when he made a speech ‘about the echoes of liberty resounding from the peaks of the Andes to the banks of the Barrampooter’.271
Having, among his usual plethora of daily comments, touched on reform, 7, 9 May, he leant his full support to (and voted for) Ebrington’s motion for an address calling on the king to employ only ministers who would carry the bill unimpaired, 10 May 1832, declaring that it was a question ‘between liberty and despotism of the very worst kind, the despotism of a sordid oligarchy’. His backing was crucial in ensuring the reinstatement of the Grey ministry that month, but from Brooks’s on the 17th he reported that although he had tacitly allowed repeal ‘to stand over for a fitter season’, he intended to raise its cry the moment the English reform bill had passed.272 He spoke and voted for Buxton’s anti-slavery motion, 24 May. The following day, rebutting claims that he envisaged Ireland’s separation from Britain and the elevation of the Catholics over the existing Protestant ascendancy, he gave guarded praise to the Irish reform bill, for whose second reading he divided. However, dubbing it a ‘conservative’ measure, despite the laudable effect it would have in reducing the number of rotten boroughs, he criticized both county and borough electorates as too small to be viable under their respective £10 freeholder and householder franchises, and attacked the retention of Ireland’s inadequate system of registration.273 He threatened to oppose Irish supplies at every stage if more liberal measures were not forthcoming for his country, 31 May, when he objected strongly to the appointment of a select committee on the recent outrages there; the following day he presented a petition to this effect from the inhabitants of Dublin, for whom he had already developed into almost a virtual representative. In early June Anglesey wrote despairingly to Holland that ‘a vast number of Irish Members detest O’Connell, and would willingly detach themselves from him, if we gave them the chance, but we do not’.274 O’Connell brought up the National Political Union’s petition for more equitable treatment to be accorded to Ireland, 6 June, when he unsuccessfully attempted to throw out Alexander Baring’s bill to exclude debtors from Parliament (by 72-29). He stepped up his opposition to the Irish bill, partly in anger at Smith Stanley’s sneering, 13 June, stating that it failed to fulfil its intentions to extend the franchise and end nomination, and was of a piece with government’s general neglect of just Irish demands. He was defeated on moving for the enfranchisement of 40s. freeholders in fee (acting as a teller for the minority of 73 to 122) and of 40s. freeholders for lives (without a division) that day, as he was on proposing that the vote be given to Irish £5 freeholders (being teller for the minority of 44 to 177), 18 June, when he also spoke and voted for Mullins’s attempt to enfranchise £30 rent-payers on 19-year leases. His constant interventions on the 18th were marked by an extraordinary acerbity, particularly towards Smith Stanley and Philip Crampton, the Irish solicitor-general, who both attacked him for refusing to fight duels, and his retort against the latter had to be retracted after the Speaker intervened. On 19 June, when he disagreed with Sadler’s motion for the introduction of poor laws to Ireland as futile in the face of market forces, Hunt maliciously abused him over the Ellen Courtenay affair, although, as Cobbett congratulated him that day, at least ‘the evidence of rage in your enemies ... proves that you are working with effect’.275 In a foretaste of his future bitter clashes with The Times, he complained, as a breach of privilege, that it had misreported him in order to suggest that he had abandoned his pledge to his constituents over poor relief, 20 June, but he withdrew this charge, 22 June, explaining that the reporter in question had apologized for his accidental inaccuracy.276 He voted for requiring coroners to hold medical qualifications and for inquests to be held in public, 20 June 1832.
He sided with opposition on the boundaries of Whitehaven and Stamford, 22 June, and divided for a system of representation for New South Wales, 28 June 1832. He welcomed Smith Stanley’s announcement of the reinstatement of the ‘beneficial interest’ test as the technical basis of the £10 county qualification, 25 June, but called for the adoption of the new method of registration envisaged for England, largely because of his suspicions about the overworked and partisan assistant barristers who were responsible for the supervision of this process in Irish counties.277 Concerned that corporations would simply levy rates to disfranchise their opponents, he divided for Sheil’s amendment against electors being liable to pay their municipal taxes before being allowed to vote, 29 June, and, determined that they should be forced to admit Catholics, he divided for the Tory Frederick Shaw’s amendment to preserve the voting rights of Irish freemen along the lines of the English bill, 2 July; he continued to make numerous suggestions for improving the Irish reform bill, 4, 6, 9, 18 July.278 Apart from the party processions bill, which he voted against as unnecessary, 25 June, and referred to on proclaiming that he would urge Catholics not to retaliate to Orange provocations, 29 June, he devoted most of the rest of the session to the vexed question of tithes. He gave notice that he would move for a call on this, 28 June, but seemed to hesitate on Smith Stanley announcing the following day that he would only press on with one of his three additional bills, and dropped the threat of a call, 2 July. He unsuccessfully divided the House against the discussion on the second report of the select committee (149-25), 5 July, but nonetheless got it postponed because of the lateness of the hour, which led Greville to note that ‘O’Connell and the Irish Members debate and adjourn just as they please, and Althorp is obliged to give way to them’.279 Stating that he had no intention of opposing the tithes composition bill (and he was not named in the Irish minority for postponing the subject for that session), 13 July, he damned government for failing to fulfil its promises to Ireland (for example, to carry the Irish jury bill) and posed the question, ‘if Ireland had a Parliament of its own, I ask could the present system of tithes exist for an hour?’280 On 20 July, when he menaced Smith Stanley with future impeachment proceedings and condemned Sugden’s assertion that Ireland was in a state of insurrection, he declared, with characteristic bravado, that ‘in the next Parliament we shall have the nomination boroughs out of this House, and, if I have a seat in it, the Irish people shall have justice’. Probably suffering from exhaustion, he took no further part in Parliament that year, but returned to Derrynane, where he soon recovered what he called his ‘pristine elasticity of animal sensation’, issued seven public letters on the Irish reform bill and began re-agitating the public mind.281 Graham seems to have been quite wrong in his reliance on gossip that O’Connell would be admitted to the privy council with a view to making him attorney-general for Ireland that summer, as Grey, disgusted by the ‘vulgar violence’ of his renewed repeal campaigning, believed him little better than a revolutionary. Indeed, the prime minister later lamented that ‘if I had thought that the result of the reform bill was to be the raising of a new Rienzi, and to make his dictatorship and the democracy of towns paramount to all other interests of the state, I would have died before I would have proposed it’.282
In September 1832 O’Connell informed Fitzpatrick that his political life was henceforth to be devoted to repeal or the obtaining of ‘a local and domestic legislature’, and not long afterwards he explained:
My plan is to restore the Irish Parliament with the full assent of Protestants and Presbyterians as well as Catholics. I desire no social revolution, no social change ... In short, salutary restoration without revolution; an Irish Parliament, British connection; one king, two legislatures.283
Never reliably secure in any seat that he occupied, he left Kerry to be returned for Dublin, where nothing came of his intended alliance with a Conservative Repealer, at the general election of 1832.284 He established a family connection at Westminster by securing the return of his sons Maurice for Tralee, Morgan for Meath and John for Youghal (while Daniel junior entered the Commons in 1846), as well as his brother-in-law William Francis Finn for county Kilkenny and his sons-in-law Fitzsimon for county Dublin and Charles O’Connell for Kerry (until 1834, when he was replaced by O’Connell’s nephew Morgan John O’Connell). Furthermore, through the spectacular effectiveness of the repeal pledge, he created the nucleus of an Irish party of 35 to 40 Members, and was soon seen swaggering about the House at the head of the ragged banditti which had already become branded as his ‘Tail’.285 A parliamentary Goliath, his striking presence and forthright delivery made him, according to Francis Jeffrey*
indisputably the greatest orator in the House: nervous, passionate, without art or ornament; concise, intrepid, terrible; far more in the style of the old Demosthenic directness and vehemence than anything I have heard in this modern world, yet often coarse and sometimes tiresome.286
Greville, who commented that ‘it would not be very easy to do him perfect justice’, wrote that
history will speak of him as one of the most remarkable men who ever existed; he will fill a great space in its pages; his position was unique ... To rise from the humblest station to the height of empire like Napoleon is no common destiny.
He concluded that ‘it is impossible to question the greatness of his abilities nor the sincerity of his patriotism’.287 However, Lord Hatherton (as Littleton became), who agreed that ‘history possesses no parallel to his career’ and that ‘it is difficult to say whether the savage or the patriot more predominated in his character’, finally judged that it was impossible not to be struck by his dishonest conduct and ‘not to feel that he was a faithless friend and an ungenerous foe’.288 As Sydney Smith, memorably summing up the curious mixture of the execrable and the admirable in all that he stood for, once ventured, ‘The only way to deal with such a man as O’Connell is to hang him up and erect a statue to him under the gallows’.289
His greatest feat was, without question, Catholic emancipation, not least because, in the words of Fingall, here classing himself with the ‘criminally cowardly’ aristocratic leadership
we never understood that we had a nation behind us - O’Connell alone comprehended that properly, and he used his knowledge fitly. It was by him that the gates of the constitution were broken open for us; we owe everything to his rough work.290
But, despite such accolades, O’Connell, alluding to the inadequacies of his associates, was resentful that ‘I never will get half credit enough for carrying emancipation because posterity never can believe the species of animals with which I had to carry on my warfare with the common enemy’.291 His bitterness reached a crescendo in his printed letter to the Catholic peer Lord Shrewsbury, who had publicly attacked his receipt of the financial testimonial:
For more than 20 years before emancipation, the burthen of the cause was thrown upon me. I had to arrange the meetings, to prepare the resolutions, to furnish replies to the correspondence, to examine the case of each person complaining of practical difficulties, to rouse the torpid, to avoid the shoals and breakers of the law, to guard against multiplied treachery and at all times to oppose, at every peril, the powerful and multitudinous enemies of the cause. To descend to particulars: at a period when my minutes counted by the guinea, when my emoluments were limited only by the extent of my physical and waking powers, when my meals were shortened to the narrowest space and my sleep restricted to the earliest hours before dawn, at that period, and for more than 20 years, there was no day that I did not devote one to two hours, often much more, to the working out of the Catholic cause. And that without receiving or allowing the offer of any remuneration, even for the expenditure incurred in the agitation of the cause itself.292
In the end, at least in his own analysis, backbreaking grind eventually provided him with the opportunity to best the victor of Buonaparte, and this - for, despite his protestations of non-violence, he was apt to encourage excitement and was epitomized in popular poems and songs as a warlike hero - he obtained by the threat of a barely contained military and social upheaval.293 As O’Connell told Shrewsbury, Wellington
did emancipate the Catholics, but he emancipated them because (as he himself avowed) emancipation was no longer to be resisted. We had our moral Waterloo, my lord, and our victory was more useful, if not more glorious. We chained the valiant duke to the car of our triumph and compelled him to set us free.294
Many, like Count O’Connell, admired him greatly for this crowning achievement, but also, like the later lord lieutenant Lord Clarendon, damned him for continuing to further the politics of extremism.295 Yet, dismissing the lure of a quiet retirement into judicial office and ever seeking to emulate Washington, he later recorded that in the aftermath of emancipation
I dreamed a day-dream - was it a dream? - that Ireland still wanted me; that ... the benefits of good government had not reached the great mass of the Irish people, and could not reach them unless the Union should be either made a reality or unless that hideous measure should be abrogated.296
There followed the two further stages of his career: the later 1830s, during which, making himself influential by alternately wooing and wounding his Whig ally Melbourne, he partly succeeded in bringing greater justice to Ireland; and the early 1840s, during which, rerunning the mass agitation of the 1820s in the form of the Repeal Association, he failed to wrest an independent Parliament from Peel.297 Whether seen as the ‘political Frankenstein’ of the anglicized John Doyle’s cartoon of 1831 or in the much more widespread and potent Irish image of him as the bearer of the ‘cap of liberty’ or Irish crown, O’Connell demonstrated an overall continuity in his life’s work in that he always engaged in rectifying grievances - religious or constitutional - in order that such reforms would themselves breed further demand for changes and improvements.298 Yet with his imprisonment in 1844, his physical and mental deterioration (due to the brain tumour which was caused by an infection following the operation on his piles in 1845), his break with the Young Irelanders in 1846 and his despair over the Famine in 1847, O’Connell’s last years, which revealed the failure of his hopes, were agony to him. ‘Killed, I should think, by the death of O’Connellism’, as John Stuart Mill† surmised, with both insight and cruelty, early that year the ailing O’Connell departed on a last journey to Rome.299 He died, at Genoa, in May 1847.300 Like Moses, with whom he was very often compared in Irish folk tradition, he gave his people new laws, but did not live to see the promised land. Nevertheless, according to William Ewart Gladstone†, who admitted that he had shared the fearful prejudice against him in the early 1830s, but had even then recognized him to be ‘the greatest popular leader whom the world had ever seen’, he was an ‘ethnagogue’, the leader of a nation.301 In addition to being a prophet of European Liberal Catholicism and a model of moral force persuasiveness, O’Connell’s genius lay in being an Irish originator (with the contemporary American, Andrew Jackson) of mass participatory politics and, as is now acknowledged, a major contributor to Ireland’s eventually independent and democratic constitutionalist tradition.302
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Stephen Farrell
The main source for what follows are O’Connell’s private letters, as taken from his descendant M.R. O’Connell’s Corresp. of Daniel O’Connell, 8 vols. (1972-80), which replaced W.J. Fitzpatrick’s two vol. edn. of 1888. His public letters and extra-parliamentary speeches were partially printed in John O’Connell’s Select Speeches of Daniel O’Connell (1865 edn.), which is largely a reworked version of his Life and Speeches of Daniel O’Connell (1846), although neither work took his father’s career beyond 1825. There are many lives, but the standard biography is now Oliver MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman: Daniel O’Connell, 1775-1829 (1988) and Emancipist: Daniel O’Connell, 1829-47 (1989), which was reprinted in one vol. as O’Connell (1991). Seán O’Faoláin, King of the Beggars (1970 edn.) is still admired for its evocative force. A good brief introduction is Daniel O’Connell (1998 edn.) by Fergus O’Ferrall, whose Catholic Emancipation: Daniel O’Connell and the Birth of Irish Democracy, 1820-30 (1985) is the best account of the emancipation campaign. For his parliamentary following, see J.H. Whyte, ‘Daniel O’Connell and the Repeal Party’, Irish Hist. Stud. xi (1958-9), 297-316, and A. Macintyre, The Liberator: Daniel O’Connell and the Irish Party, 1830-1847 (1965). The 20th-century historiographical rehabilitation of O’Connell, after decades of condemnation inspired by his nationalist successors (for which see D. McCartney, ‘Changing Image of O’Connell’, in Daniel O’Connell: Portrait of a Radical ed. K.B. Nowlan and M.R. O’Connell, 19-31, and M.R. O’Connell, ‘Collapse and Recovery’, in Daniel O’Connell: The Man and his Politics ed. M.R. O’Connell, 53-60), has mainly been in the form of articles, or collections of them, as indicated in this and later endnotes.
- 1. W J. O’N. Daunt, Personal Recollections of Late O’Connell, i. 51.
- 2. J.C.D. Clark, English Society, 397-8.
- 3. Recollections of Aubrey de Vere, 109.
- 4. S. C. Hall, Retrospect of a Long Life, i. 244.
- 5. Daunt, i. 49.
- 6. W. Fagan, Life and Times of O’Connell, i. 81-82.
- 7. M. Tierney, ‘Politics and Culture: O’Connell and Gaelic Past’, Studies, xxvii (1938), 353-68; G. Murphy, ‘Gaelic Background’, in O’Connell: Nine Centenary Essays ed. M. Tierney, 1-24; J.A. Murphy, ‘O’Connell and Gaelic World’, in O’Connell: Portrait of a Radical, 32-52.
- 8. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 4-5, 7-8, 15-16; M.R O’Connell, ‘O’Connell and his Fam.’, in O’Connell: The Man and his Politics, 89-99.
- 9. See Mrs. M.J. O’Connell, Last Colonel of Irish Brigade.
- 10. T. Wall, ‘Louvain, St. Omer and Douai’, in O’Connell: Nine Centenary Essays, 25-50.
- 11. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 26, 28.
- 12. A. Houston, Daniel O’Connell: His Early Life and Jnl. 68, 93, 141, 169; J. O’Connell, Life and Speeches of O’Connell, i. 10-11; Daunt, i. 258-60.
- 13. Houston, 102, 107; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 41-42.
- 14. C.P. Curran, ‘Religious Aspects of O’Connell’s Early Life: His Deistic Tendencies’, Studies, xviii (1929), 20-32.
- 15. O’Connell Corresp. viii. 3380.
- 16. Houston, 155, 174.
- 17. Daunt, i. 144-5.
- 18. Houston, 193, 202.
- 19. Daunt, ii. 99; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 54-55.
- 20. Revolutionary Dublin ed. T. Bartlett, 227; R.B. McDowell, Ireland in Age of Imperialism and Revolution, 564.
- 21. Houston, 64, 216, 220, 222-3, 236; Daunt, i. 48-49, 117, 205.
- 22. Houston, 242; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 66-67.
- 23. O’Connell Corresp. viii. 3378.
- 24. Daunt, i. 203-4.
- 25. Select Speeches, i. 9.
- 26. Daunt, i. 202-3.
- 27. See E.I. Bishop, World of Mary O’Connell.
- 28. H. Mulvey, ‘Corresp. of Daniel and Mary O’Connell’, O’Connell Corresp. i. pp. xix-xxx.
- 29. Ibid. i. 237, 247.
- 30. Ibid. i. 84, 107, 155, 164, 208, 306, 309.
- 31. M.R. O’Connell, ‘Income and Expenditure’, in O’Connell: The Man and his Politics, 13-17.
- 32. O’Connell Corresp. i. 337.
- 33. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 94-100; Mr. Gregory’s Letter-Box ed. Lady Gregory, 37.
- 34. O’Connell Corresp. i. 188, 189, 192, 215, 219, 261, 265, 271; viii. 3386.
- 35. Select Speeches, i. 15-24.
- 36. Daunt, i. 271-3.
- 37. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 106-8.
- 38. O’Connell Corresp. i. 342.
- 39. Select Speeches, i. 43-49, 69-79, 91-105, 107-16.
- 40. Ibid. i. 164-213.
- 41. Ibid. i. 166, 240-304; F. Griffith, ‘O’Connell’s Most Famous Case’, Éire-Ireland, ix. 2 (1974), 90-106; Parker, Peel, i. 104.
- 42. O’Ferrall, O’Connell, 35.
- 43. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 131.
- 44. Parker, i. 185-202; J. Kelly, ‘That Damn’d Thing Called Honour’, 222, 242-7, 261-4, 277-8; O’Connell Corresp. viii. 3426.
- 45. Daunt, i. 25; ii. 149; Fagan, i. 229.
- 46. This paragraph is partly based on O. MacDonagh, ‘O’Connell’s Ideology’, in A Union of Multiple Identities ed. L. Brockliss and D. Eastwood, 147-61.
- 47. Select Speeches, ii. 51.
- 48. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 624; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 157-8; O’Faoláin, 81-82.
- 49. M.R. O’Connell, ‘Religious Freedom’, in O’Connell: The Man and his Politics, 30-40.
- 50. O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation, 144.
- 51. M. Tierney, ‘Repeal of Union’, in O’Connell: Nine Centenary Essays, 151-70; K. B. Nowlan, ‘Meaning of Repeal in Irish History’, Historical Stud. iv (1963), 1-17.
- 52. M.R. O’Connell, ‘18th-Cent. Background’, in O’Connell: The Man and his Politics, 41-52.
- 53. F. D’Arcy, ‘O’Connell and English Radicals’, in World of Daniel O’Connell ed. D. McCartney, 54-71.
- 54. See, e.g., C. Kinealy, ‘The Liberator: O’Connell and Anti-Slavery’, History Today, lvii. 12 (2007), 51-57; M. O’Dowd, ‘O’Connell and the Lady Patriots: Women and O’Connellite Politics’, in Politics and Political Culture in Britain and Ireland ed. A. Blackstock and E. Magennis, 283-303.
- 55. J. Lee, ‘Social and Economic Ideas of O’Connell’, in O’Connell: Portrait of a Radical, 70-86; M.R. O’Connell, ‘Lawyer and Landlord’, in O’Connell: The Man and his Politics, 107-11.
- 56. O’Faoláin, 330.
- 57. T. Bartlett, Fall and Rise of Irish Nation, 268-9, 311-26.
- 58. O’Faoláin, 39.
- 59. For his appearance and character, see D. O’Connell, ‘My Father as I Remember Him’, Temple Bar, cxviii (1899), 206-22; J.J. Horgan, ‘O’Connell - The Man’, in O’Connell: Nine Centenary Essays, 270-302.
- 60. O’Faoláin, 115; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1081, 1430; Daunt, i. 157.
- 61. Daunt, i. 158-68; Fagan, i. 445-70.
- 62. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 117; K.F. Roche, ‘Revolution and Counter-Revolution’, in O’Connell: Nine Centenary Essays, 51-53.
- 63. R.L. Sheil, Sketches of Irish Bar (1854), i. 73-97; W.H. Curran, Sketches of Irish Bar (1855), i. 154-82; Recollections of Aubrey de Vere, 112; M. R. O’Connell, ‘Lawyer and Landlord’, 100-7.
- 64. O’Faoláin, 117-18.
- 65. F. Griffith, ‘Contemporary Opinion of O’Connell’s Oratory’, Éire-Ireland, vii. 3 (1972), 24-28.
- 66. Ibid.; O’Faoláin, 135-8; Recollections of Aubrey de Vere, 112-13; Hall, i. 242-3.
- 67. Lettres sur les Elections Anglaises (1827), 174-5, 177-8.
- 68. Lord Teignmouth, Reminiscences of Many Years, ii. 219.
- 69. Mr. Gregory’s Letter-Box, 39.
- 70. Hall, i. 244.
- 71. G. Ó Tuathaigh, ‘Folk-hero and Tradition’, in World of O’Connell, 30-42; D. Ó Muirithe, ‘O’Connell in Irish Folk Tradition’, in Daniel O’Connell: Political Pioneer ed. M.R. O’Connell, 72-85; R. uí Ógáin, Immortal Dan, passim.
- 72. O’Connell: The Man and his Politics, 8; F. O’Ferrall, ‘Daniel O’Connell ... Changing Images’, in Ireland: Art into History ed. R. Gillespie and B.P. Kennedy, 92-94.
- 73. M.D. George, Cat. of Pol. and Personal Satires, ix. 11898, 12073.
- 74. Scottish Whig in Ireland ed. H. Heaney, 37-38; Lord W.P. Lennox, Drafts on My Memory, ii. 51; Croker Pprs. iii. 307; M.D. Jephson, Anglo-Irish Misc. 188-90; Hall, i. 246.
- 75. Daunt, i. 56; Fagan, i. 111; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 98.
- 76. Daunt, i. 36, 129.
- 77. Moore Jnl. iii. 906.
- 78. Add. 56554, f. 19.
- 79. O’Faoláin, 21, 41, 44, 47, 77-78, 80-82, 112-14, 249, 253-4.
- 80. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 188.
- 81. Lee, 74; Roche, 81.
- 82. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 600, 611, 683; iii. 1100; M.R. O’Connell, ‘Income and Expenditure’, 17-19; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 89-90, 152-7, 187.
- 83. Ibid. ii. 526, 528, 1061, 1063; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 182-5, 301.
- 84. E. Courtenay, Narrative ... of Most Extraordinary Cruelty, Perfidy and Depravity Perpetrated against her by O’Connell (1832), 7-12, 30; D. Gwynn, Daniel O’Connell and Ellen Courtenay (1930), 1-24.
- 85. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 709; Bishop, 40-49, and Bishop, ‘Was O’Connell Faithful?’, Éire-Ireland, xxxi. 3 & 4 (1996), 58-75.
- 86. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 950, 952-4, 958, 991, 1050, 1053, 1057; iii. 1087-9, 1101; viii. 3396; M.R. O’Connell, ‘Income and Expenditure’, 19-24; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 191-200.
- 87. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 711-12, 719, 744.
- 88. Ibid. ii. 752, 754, 756, 762.
- 89. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 165-7.
- 90. T. Corcoran, ‘O’Connell and Popular Education’, Studies, xviii (1929), 211-24; J. Coolahan, ‘Primary Education as Political Issue in O’Connell’s Time’, in O’Connell: Education, Church and State ed. M.R. O’Connell, 87-100.
- 91. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 820, 823; Select Speeches, ii. 72-75.
- 92. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 837, 841.
- 93. Fagan, i. 248-50; Select Speeches, ii. 83.
- 94. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 869-70, 875, 881, 885-6, 904; Select Speeches, ii. 84-90.
- 95. Select Speeches, ii. 90-110; D. Plunket, Life of Lord Plunket, i. 405.
- 96. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 895, 898, 901.
- 97. E.A. Smith, George IV, 197; Wellesley Mems. iii. 318, 324-5; Speeches and Public Letters of the Liberator ed. M. F. Cusack, ii. 570.
- 98. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 930, 932, 949, 954a; Select Speeches, ii. 171-4; Wellesley Mems. iii. 319, 364.
- 99. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 982-3, 988, 990, 992, 996, 999, 1004.
- 100. Ibid. ii. 1013; Select Speeches, ii. 189-205.
- 101. For this paragraph, see O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation, 34-79.
- 102. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 1023.
- 103. See Procs. of Catholic Association (1825), passim.
- 104. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1074, 1080, 1082, 1110, 1119, 1123a.
- 105. Select Speeches, ii. 269-92.
- 106. A. Aspinall, Politics and the Press, 319-25; B. Inglis, ‘O’Connell and Irish Press’, Irish Hist. Stud. viii (1952), 1-27.
- 107. Tour ... by a German Prince, ii. 117-18.
- 108. Daunt, i. 42.
- 109. Select Speeches, ii. 367-71; Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, ii. 199.
- 110. Select Speeches, ii. 430-64; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1142, 1144, 1151; Wellington mss WP1/807/30; 808/17.
- 111. Dublin Evening Post, 15 Feb. 1825; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1159, 1277, 1291, 1388, 1424; M.R. O’Connell, ‘Income and Expenditure’, 24-28; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 201-4.
- 112. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1161, 1168.
- 113. Ibid. iii. 1169, 1172-3; Sheil, ii. 201, 207; Gurney diary, 18 Feb. 1825.
- 114. PP (1825), viii. 48-85, 107-33; ix. 123-71; Colchester Diary, iii. 372.
- 115. Parker, i. 202-4.
- 116. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1173-92, 1203-11, 1216-36; Sheil, ii. 221-3.
- 117. O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation, 94-95, 103-5, 108.
- 118. Ibid. 105-7, 110-13; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1239-40, 1253, 1269-71.
- 119. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1275, 1278.
- 120. Ibid. iii. 1096; viii. 3397; CJ, lxxxi. 328; The Times, 6 May 1826.
- 121. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1308, 1312, 1314, 1319-22; O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation, 120-1, 124-5, 131-2, 134, 140-2.
- 122. O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation, 143-8; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1325, 1334, 1337, 1345; Collection of Speeches of O’Connell and Sheil (1828), 1-20.
- 123. Parker, i. 417.
- 124. Crabb Robinson Diary, ii. 24-33.
- 125. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1407; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1354.
- 126. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1358-60, 1364, 1370, 1372, 1374, 1376, 1378, 1380-2, 1384, 1386; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 232-5.
- 127. Lansdowne mss, Knight of Kerry to Lansdowne, 21 Apr., O’Connell to former, 24 Apr. 1827.
- 128. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1387, 1389, 1392-4, 1397.
- 129. Lansdowne mss, O’Connell to Knight of Kerry, 30 July 1827.
- 130. Brougham mss, Rice to Brougham, 1 Oct. 1827; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1407, 1413, 1419, 1431-2, 1438-9, 1445, 1448; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 237-47.
- 131. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 247-8; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1453, 1457, 1460.
- 132. Daunt, ii. 257-61; O’Connell Corresp. viii. 3206.
- 133. Paget Pprs. ed. Sir A.B. Paget, ii. 394-5; Mq. of Anglesey, One-Leg, 200-1; Peel Mems. i. 131, 135.
- 134. H.R. Addison, Recollections of Irish Police Magistrate, 68-69; Clare Jnl. 3, 7, 10, 14 July; Dublin Evening Post, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12 July 1828; Disraeli Letters, i. 324.
- 135. Uí Ógáin, 31-32, 75-76, 86-87; T. Wyse, Hist. Sketch of late Catholic Association (1829), i. 390-8; Ashley, Palmerston, i. 181-2; Peel Mems. i. 105-6, 115-17, 123-7.
- 136. Wellington mss WP1/940/14; 941/7, 12; Peel Mems. i. 140, 143-4; Ellenborough Diary, i. 156, 162-3; MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 255-6.
- 137. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 197-8; Baring Jnls. i. 57; Add. 40325, f. 171.
- 138. O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation, 202-3, 210-11, 215-16, 218-19, 223-4; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1483-5; Add. 40322, f. 278; 40334, f. 246.
- 139. J. Belchem, ‘Orator’ Hunt, 191-3; J.E. Crimmins, ‘Bentham and O’Connell’, HJ, xl (1997), 360-2, 368-744; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1488; viii. 3404, 3407-10.
- 140. Tour ... By a German Prince, i. 333-4; ii. 130; G. Owens, ‘"A Moral Insurrection": Faction Fighters, Public Demonstrations and O’Connellite Campaign, 1828’, Irish Hist. Stud. xxx (1997), 513-41; F. O’Ferrall, ‘O’Connell and Cooke: Conflict of Civil and Religious Liberty in Modern Ireland’, Irish Rev. i (1986), 20-27.
- 141. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1493, 1501.
- 142. Unrepentant Tory ed. R.A. Gaunt, 61, 62, 354.
- 143. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 263-5.
- 144. Greville Mems. i. 224-5.
- 145. NLS mss 24748, f. 76.
- 146. Dublin Evening Post, 24 Dec. 1828, 29 Jan., 7 Feb. 1829.
- 147. Ibid. 12, 14 Feb., 12 Mar.; Grey mss, Durham to Grey, 4 Feb. 1829; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1513a, 1517, 1519.
- 148. Add. 56553, ff. 149, 152.
- 149. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1525-9.
- 150. Ibid. iv. 1529-34.
- 151. Ibid. iv. 1535-40; Greville Mems. i. 251-2, 266, 280; Ellenborough Diary, i. 384-5.
- 152. P. Rogers, ‘Catholic Emancipation’, in O’Connell: Nine Centenary Essays, 148-50; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1544, 1546, 1550a, 1551-2.
- 153. Daunt, i. 130; Colchester Diary, iii. 612.
- 154. Add. 40308, f. 170; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1550, 1552, 1558-60; viii. 3411.
- 155. Add. 40397, ff. 101, 121; The Times, 11 May 1829; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1561-6.
- 156. CJ, lxxxiv. 303; Althorp Letters, 143; Broughton, Recollections, iii. 320-1; D. Howell-Thomas, Duncannon, 139.
- 157. CJ, lxxxiv. 311; Moore Jnl. iii. 1208; Northants. RO, Agar Ellis diary, 18 May; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Ossington mss Acc. 636, Denison diary, 29 May 1829.
- 158. Hatherton mss, Littleton to Leigh, 19 May 1829.
- 159. CJ, lxxxiv. 314, 325-6.
- 160. George, xi. 15760, 15770; Greville Mems. i. 293; Peel Mems. i. 308.
- 161. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1566, 1569-73, 1577-8, 1581; viii. 3412; Add. 56554, f. 19; PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/32A/3/1/149.
- 162. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1585, 1593-5, 1598-9; Greville Mems. i. 306-7; Dublin Evening Post, 11, 30 June, 21, 30 July, 1 Aug.; Grey mss, C. Grey to Grey, 4 Aug. 1829; Wellington mss WP1/1037/5.
- 163. O’Connell Corresp. viii. 3413, 3416-17; Crimmins, 374-83.
- 164. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1597, 1604; viii. 3414; D.C. Riach, ‘O’Connell and American Anti-Slavery’, Irish Hist. Studies, xx (1976-7), 4, and ‘O’Connell and Slavery’, in World of O’Connell, 175-85.
- 165. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1604, 1640, 1710; M. Brock, Great Reform Act, 58-59.
- 166. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1490; iv. 1608, 1610, 1614, 1628a; viii. 3415-16; J. O’Connell, Recollections and Experiences, ii. 81-83.
- 167. MacDonagh, Hereditary Bondsman, 274-5, and Emancipist, 8-16.
- 168. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1583-4, 1588, 1624, 1626, 1629-30; The Times, 23 Nov., 10, 23, 30 Dec. 1829; Weekly Waterford Chron. 2, 30 Jan. 1830.
- 169. Anglesey mss 32A/3/1/254; Add. 40327, f. 97a; Gash, 623-4.
- 170. Dublin Evening Post, 5, 7, 12, 28 Jan. 1830; uí Ógáin, 33-36, 83-85, 154-6, 225, 238.
- 171. Broughton, iv. 8; Buckingham, ii. 403; J.A. Roebuck, Hist. Whig Ministry, i. 82; Daunt, i. 278; M.D. Petre, Lord Petre, 313; Macintyre, 18.
- 172. R. Irish Acad. Foster mss 23 G 39/4; Dublin Evening Post, 6, 9 Feb.; Add. 51585, Holland to Fox, 7 Feb.; PRO NI T2534/2, North to MacDonnell [Feb.] 1830; Greville Mems. i. 370; Taylor Pprs. 314.
- 173. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 183; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 332.
- 174. Add. 56554, f. 63; JRL, Bromley Davenport mss, ‘mem.’ 1828.
- 175. O’Ferrall, O’Connell, 77; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1637, 1639, 1651, 1653-4, 1658.
- 176. Add. 35148, f. 49.
- 177. Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss, Littleton to Sneyd, 24 Feb. .
- 178. London Radicalism ed. D.J. Rowe (London Rec. Soc. v), 1-2; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1647.
- 179. NAI, Leveson Gower letter bks. Leveson Gower to Singleton, 20 Mar. 1830.
- 180. Dublin Evening Post, 30 Mar., 8 Apr. 1830; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1668, 1670.
- 181. Add. 40327, f. 145; 40338, f. 121; R. B. McDowell, Public Opinion and Government Policy in Ireland, 140.
- 182. Leveson Gower letter bks. Leveson Gower to Singleton, 29 Apr. 1830.
- 183. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1674; Add. 40400, f. 170.
- 184. Grey mss, Howick jnl. 12 May; Leveson Gower letter bks. Leveson Gower to Singleton, 13 May 1830.
- 185. Leveson Gower letter bks. Leveson Gower to Lees, 23 May 1830.
- 186. Reid, Monckton Milnes, i. 95.
- 187. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1683-4.
- 188. M.W. Patterson, Burdett and his Times, ii. 471; Add. 40323, f. 153.
- 189. ‘My Darling Danny’: Letters from Mary O’Connell to her Son Daniel ed. E. I. Bishop, 28-29.
- 190. Dublin Evening Post, 8, 22 July 1830; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1678-9, 1684, 1687, 1689-9, 1692; Fagan, ii. 47-49.
- 191. Dublin Evening Post, 13, 15, 27, 31 July 1830; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1692-4, 1696; viii. 3420; PRO NI, Pack-Beresford mss D664/A/153-5.
- 192. Weekly Waterford Chron. 17, 24, 31 July, 14 Aug., 4, 11, 25 Sept. 1830.
- 193. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1707-9; J. Hennig, ‘Continental Opinion’, in O’Connell: Nine Centenary Essays, 251-3.
- 194. Daunt, i. 108; ii. 10.
- 195. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1716.
- 196. Ibid. iv. 1720a, 1721; PRO NI, Fitzgerald mss MIC639/13/7/98, 99; Add. 40313, f. 129; 56555, f. 33; Unrepentant Tory, 128; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 397, 402, 409; Corresp. of Joseph Jekyll ed. A. Bourke, 252.
- 197. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1722.
- 198. Ibid. iv. 1722-3; Hopetoun mss 167, f. 177; Howick jnl.; Life of Campbell, i. 483.
- 199. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1725; Agar Ellis diary; Hopetoun mss 167, f. 183; Bunbury Mem. 155.
- 200. NLI, Wyse mss 15024 (8), Wyse to O’Donnell, 14 Nov. 1830; NLW, Ormathwaite mss FG1/5, p. 130.
- 201. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1723-4, 1728, 1736; viii. 3422; Wyse mss 15024 (1), Coppinger to Wyse, 26 Nov. 1830.
- 202. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1726-7, 1738; Dublin Evening Post, 20 Nov. 1830; Croker Pprs. ii. 78.
- 203. E.A. Smith, Lord Grey, 289-91; Anglesey, 245; Add. 56555, f. 64.
- 204. MacDonagh, Emancipist, 42-43; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1729-30, 1737, 1744, 1751; Life of Campbell, i. 497; Monypenny and Buckle, Disraeli, i. 389; Three Diaries, 33; Smith Letters, ii. 546-7.
- 205. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1732-3, 1740.
- 206. Melbourne Pprs. 167-70; Anglesey mss 29B, pp. 4-15; 33A/74-76.
- 207. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1735-6; Dublin Evening Post, 21, 23 Dec. 1830; William IV-Grey Corresp. i. 28-29.
- 208. Anglesey mss 28A-B/28, 32, 36; 28C, pp. 19-21; 29B, pp. 16-23, 39-40; Dublin Evening Post, 28, 30 Dec. 1830; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1744; L.G. Mitchell, Lord Melbourne, 114, 135; Greville Mems. ii. 98, 107.
- 209. Dublin Evening Post, 1, 13, 15 Jan.; Add. 51568, Anglesey to Holland, 2 Jan. 1831; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1748, 1751, 1762; Jekyll Corresp. 264.
- 210. J. O’Connell, Recollections and Experiences, i. 65-69; ‘My Darling Danny’, 34; Anglesey, 247-8.
- 211. Le Marchant, Althorp, 288; Melbourne Pprs. 173-4, 177-8; Anglesey mss 27B, pp. 1-8; 28A-B/37; 28C, pp. 53-57; 31D/15; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1757-8, 1764; ‘My Darling Danny’, 12-13, 37-40; MacDonagh, Emancipist, 45-46.
- 212. Greville Mems. ii. 115-16; Moore Jnl. iv. 1380, 1384; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1751a, 1765, 1767; Dublin Evening Post, 22 Jan., 12 Feb. 1831.
- 213. Anglesey mss 31D/18-20; Creevey Pprs. ii. 219.
- 214. ‘My Darling Danny’, 44-45; St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 197, T. to J. Gladstone, 19 Feb. 1831; Three Diaries, 58.
- 215. O’Connell Corresp. viii. 3423.
- 216. Ibid. iv. 1768, 1775, 1777; viii. 3424.
- 217. Ibid. iv. 1778, 1780-4, 1787, 1790-1; MacDonagh, Emancipist, 46-47; Greville Mems. ii. 127.
- 218. Crimmins, 383-4.
- 219. Wellington mss WP1/1179/32; Anglesey mss 28A-B/46; 31D/30, 35, 36.
- 220. Melbourne Pprs. 179-81.
- 221. Patterson, ii. 586-7.
- 222. NLI, Stacpoole-Kenny mss 18889 (18), W. to J. Macnamara, 23 Apr. 1831.
- 223. Moore Jnl. iv. 1391; Greville Mems. ii. 140, 142; Dublin Evening Post, 26 Apr. 1831.
- 224. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1793, 1799, 1800-6; Anglesey mss 28C, pp. 113-14.
- 225. D. Gwynn, O’Gorman Mahon, 110-11; Anglesey mss 28C, pp. 109-11; Wellington mss WP1/1184/9, 24, 31; Fitzgerald mss 14/7/26; Western Herald, 10, 14, 17, 19 May; Derby mss 920 Der (14) 124/3, knight of Kerry to Smith Stanley, 30 May, 7 June 1831; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1810.
- 226. Derby mss 125/12, O’Connell to Gosset, 6 May; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1808-9, 1811; Clare Jnl. 9, 19 May; Grey mss, Smith Stanley to Grey, 21 May 1831.
- 227. Add. 40340, f. 261; Macintyre, 43.
- 228. Derby mss 117/5, Grey to Smith Stanley, 18, 27 May 1831; Anglesey mss 28C, pp. 106-8, 118-19.
- 229. Unrepentant Tory, 137-8, 154.
- 230. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1816, 1818a; Derby mss 125/4, Barrington to Smith Stanley, 5 June 1831; Anglesey mss 31D/41.
- 231. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1820.
- 232. MacDonagh, Emancipist, 60-64 and ‘O’Connell in House of Commons’, in World of O’Connell, 43-53.
- 233. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1815; Dublin Evening Post, 18 June 1831.
- 234. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1822; Le Marchant, 326.
- 235. Anglesey mss 27A/122; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1826, 1902, 1907.
- 236. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1828, 1830, 1834.
- 237. Ibid. iv. 1831-4; Anglesey mss 28A-B/71; Dublin Evening Post, 16 Aug. 1831.
- 238. Holland House Diaries, 27; O. Williams, Life and Letters of Rickman, 288.
- 239. Anglesey mss 27A/131; 27B, pp. 42-46; 31D/52; Aberdeen Univ. Lib. Arbuthnot mss.
- 240. Holland House Diaries, 40.
- 241. NLS mss 24748, f. 120.
- 242. Dublin Evening Post, 13 Sept. 1831.
- 243. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1836.
- 244. Hatherton diary.
- 245. Three Diaries, 138.
- 246. Holland House Diaries, 58; Wellington mss WP1/1197/13.
- 247. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1835-7, 1839.
- 248. Ormathwaite mss FG1/5, p. 209; Cornw. RO, Hawkins mss 10/2172, 2174.
- 249. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1837; TCD, Donoughmore mss E/375.
- 250. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1839, 1842; W. J. Fitzpatrick, Life of Dr. Doyle, ii. 334-5.
- 251. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 433; Holland House Diaries, 68, 69; Patterson, ii. 596; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1843; Dublin Evening Post, 8 Nov. 1831.
- 252. Grey mss, Smith Stanley to Grey, 23 Oct.; Derby mss 117/5, reply, 24 Oct. 1831; Anglesey mss 27A/136; 29B, pp. 91-92.
- 253. Anglesey mss 27A/138; 27B, p. 58; Holland House Diaries, 72, 78.
- 254. F.A. D’Arcy, ‘Artisans of Dublin and O’Connell’, Irish Hist. Studies, xvii (1970), 221-43, and ‘National Trades Political Union and O’Connell’, Eire-Ireland, xvii. 3 (1982), 7-16.
- 255. Dublin Evening Post, 17, 22 Nov. 1831; William IV-Grey Corresp. i. 436.
- 256. Arbuthnot mss, Holmes to Mrs. Arbuthnot, 18 Nov.; Lansdowne mss, Smith Stanley to Lansdowne, 18 Nov.; Grey mss, same to Grey, 18 Nov. 1831.
- 257. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1849-51, 1853-4, 1861-3; Holland House Diaries, 86.
- 258. Hatherton diary, 21 Nov. 1831; Anglesey mss 27A/139-41; 27B, pp. 65-71, 80-84; 31D/77; Derby mss 119/3, Anglesey to Smith Stanley, 8 Jan. 1832; Fitzpatrick, ii. 283, 336, 342, 364-72.
- 259. ‘My Darling Danny’, 17, 68, 70, 76, 80; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1863, 1873.
- 260. William IV-Grey Corresp. ii. 45-46, 54-55, 149.
- 261. Derby mss 119/3, Anglesey to Smith Stanley, 11, 13 Jan. 1832.
- 262. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1867, 1872.
- 263. William IV-Grey Corresp. ii. 149.
- 264. Life of Campbell, ii. 4; Add. 51573, Rice to Lady Holland [Feb. 1832].
- 265. Three Diaries, 184-5.
- 266. PP (1831-2), xii. 7.
- 267. Three Diaries, 191; Raikes Jnl. i. 12; Hatherton diary, 5 Feb. 1832.
- 268. Hatherton diary, 8 Mar. 1832.
- 269. MacDonagh, Emancipist, 65, 70, 78-79, 142; Gwynn, O’Gorman Mahon, 127-32; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1848, 1852, 1871, 1890, 1900; Courtenay, 13-27.
- 270. MacDonagh, Emancipist, 65-72, 85, 255; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1876-7, 1880, 1882, 1894; Speeches and Public Letters, ii. 458-515.
- 271. Add. 56557, f. 2.
- 272. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1893.
- 273. Macintyre, 31-36.
- 274. Anglesey mss 27B, pp. 106.
- 275. Derby mss, Anglesey to Smith Stanley, 23 June 1832; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1897.
- 276. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1898; Hist. of ‘The Times’, i. 311-14.
- 277. K.T. Hoppen, ‘Politics, the Law, and Nature of Irish Electorate’, EHR, xcii (1977), 756-8, 765; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1899a.
- 278. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1905.
- 279. Greville Mems. ii. 308-9.
- 280. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1912.
- 281. Ibid. iv. 1911, 1919; MacDonagh, Emancipist, 1, 76-77; Letters of O’Connell on Reform Bill (1832), 3-42.
- 282. Sir James Graham mss (IHR microfilm XR 80), 2, Graham to Smith Stanley, 29 July 1832; G.M. Trevelyan, Lord Grey of Reform Bill, 357; Smith, 296, 322.
- 283. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1921; v. 1957.
- 284. Ibid. iv. 1914-16, 1920-1, 1925, 1929, 1945; Dublin Evening Post, 11, 13, 27 Dec. 1832.
- 285. Add. 51688, Lansdowne to Holland, 23 Dec. 1832; Greville Mems. ii. 350, 354, 361; Three Diaries, 314; Whyte, 297, 299, 300, 316; Macintyre, 43-44, 69-70, 147-51, 301-2 and ‘O’Connell and British Politics’, in O’Connell: Portrait of a Radical, 87, 92, 94-95.
- 286. [J. Grant], Random Recollections of Commons (1837), 313-28; T. de V. White, ‘English Opinion’, in O’Connell: Nine Centenary Essays, 211.
- 287. Greville Mems. v. 449-50.
- 288. Hatherton diary, 25 May 1847.
- 289. Oxford Dict. of Quotations; Moore Jnl. iv. 1560.
- 290. Fagan, i. 162.
- 291. O’Connell Corresp. vi. 2621.
- 292. D. O’Connell, Observations on Corn Laws (1842), 66-67.
- 293. D. Griffin, Life of Gerald Griffin, 414-16; Daunt, i. 28, 111, 285; ii. 8-9; uí Ógáin, 101-3; M. R. O’Connell, ‘O’Connell, Young Ireland and Violence’, in O’Connell: The Man and his Politics, 61-88; O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation, 285-6.
- 294. D. O’Connell, Observations on Corn Laws, 34.
- 295. Mrs. M.J. O’Connell, ii. 294-5; Recollections of Aubrey de Vere, 114; E.A. Day, Mr. Justice Day of Kerry, 223; Maxwell, Clarendon, i. 278.
- 296. D. O’Connell, Observations on Corn Laws, 67-69.
- 297. See, especially, K.B. Nowlan, Politics of Repeal.
- 298. J.N. McCord, ‘Image in Ireland: Cartoons of HB’, in O’Connell: Political Pioneer, 57-71; G. Owens, ‘Visualizing the Liberator: Self-Fashioning, Dramaturgy and the Construction of O’Connell’, Éire-Ireland, xxxiii. 3 & 4 (1998), 103-30; K.T. Hoppen, ‘Riding a Tiger: O’Connell, Reform and Popular Politics’, in Reform in Great Britain and Ireland ed. T.C.W. Blanning and P. Wende, 121-43.
- 299. L.A. Williams, O’Connell, British Press and Irish Famine, 229-39; Mill Works, xiii. 710.
- 300. The Times, 24 May 1847; Gent. Mag. (1847), ii. 93-97; DNB; Oxford DNB.
- 301. W.E. Gladstone, ‘O’Connell’, 19th Cent. xxv (1889), 151-2.
- 302. V. Conzemins, ‘Place of O’Connell in Liberal Catholic Movement of 19th Cent.’, in World of O’Connell, 143-9; P. Joannon, ‘O’Connell, Montalembert and Birth of Christian Democracy in France’, in O’Connell: Political Pioneer, 98-109; G.F. Grogan, Noblest Agitator: O’Connell and German Catholic Movement, passim; O’Connell: The Man and his Politics, 137; O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation, 277-8 and ‘Liberty and Catholic Politics’, in O’Connell: Political Pioneer, 35-56; O. MacDonagh, ‘Contribution of O’Connell’, in Irish Parliamentary Tradition ed. B. Farrell, 160-9; M. Robinson, ‘O’Connell, a Tribute’, in Hist. Ireland, v (1997), 26-31.