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The Golden Jubilee of O'Connell's Death

Author: Patrick Augustine Sheehan

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  1. [Details to follow].
    Canon Sheehan on the Internet
  1. Herman Joseph Heuser, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile: the story of an Irish parish priest as told chiefly by himself in books, personal memoirs, and letters (New York 1917).
  2. Arthur Coussens. P. A. Sheehan, zijn leven en zijn werken (Brugge/Bruges 1923).
  3. Michael P. Linehan, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile: Priest, Novelist, Man of Letters (Dublin 1952).
  4. James O'Brien (ed.), The Collected Letters of Canon Sheehan of Doneraile, 1883–1913 (Wells 2013).
  5. James O'Brien, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile 1852–1913: Outlines for a Literary Biography (Wells 2013). [Bibliographical references 205-11.]
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. The Golden Jubilee of O'Connell's Death in The Irish Monthly: A Magazine of General Literature, Ed. Matthew Russell SJ. , Dublin, Irish Jesuit Province (July 1897) volume 25number 289page 337–350


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Created: By Patrick Augustine Sheehan (1852–1913) (1897)

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Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: E890000-009

The Golden Jubilee of O'Connell's Death: Author: Patrick Augustine Sheehan

On the Golden Jubilee of O'Connell's Death


The Golden Jubilee of O'Connell's Death

Exactly half a century has gone by since Daniel O'Connell died at Genoa on the 15th May, 1847. The dead are soon forgotten, and nations have short memories, but O'Connell is not forgotten, and Ireland loves him still. A Jubilee is usually held in commemoration of joyful events, such as births are supposed to be; yet in the Christian martyrology the natalis of a martyr is the day of his death, the day of his birth into true life. Thanks be to God, we are justified in hoping and believing that the holy death of our great Catholic Liberator was but his passage into everlasting life. The circumstances of it were thus referred to in the Cathedral of Armagh by Father Keane, O.P., during the celebration of its fiftieth anniversary:

‘In Genoa the Superb, this very week fifty years ago, when the midnight chime was tolling, there went through the streets a procession of surpliced clerks with lights and tinkling bells, and prayerful groups of the faithful. They who met it on its way perceived with surprise that it was not one of the ordinary parochial Clergy who bore the Adorable Sacrament, it was the Cardinal Archbishop himself, and pomp was there such as they had not seen before in the carrying of the Holy Viaticum. They soon learned that the greatest man in the world, the famed Irish Chief, was dying in their historic city. There and then he expired, and may the Lord have mercy on his soul! He took his last look at his native land, when, supported on the steamer's deck by the arms of his chaplain and his medical adviser, his tearful eyes saw the beautiful Emerald Isle with the sad cloud of the Famine louring over her. When he shall see her again — not her verdant fields, her lakes and dells, her mountains bold, for all these shall pass away; but her people — the Irish race for whom he toiled and died.’


It was not, however, in the north of Ireland but in the south that the memorial, words were spoken which we desire to preserve in our pages, so often enriched by the orator's skilful pen, and now by the echoes of his eloquent voice. In the fine Cathedral that towers high over the harbour of Queenstown, its spire the last object seen through tears by many an exile departing from the Irish shore — a solemn celebration was held in honour of the Golden Jubilee of O'Connell's death; and to the Very Rev. Patrick Augustine Sheehan, the pastor of Doneraile, was entrusted the high and arduous duty of interpreting the lesson of what may be called the festive Requiem of Ireland's greatest son.

‘Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? Not as cowards are wont to die, hath Abner died. Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet loaden with fetters; but as men fall before the children of iniquity, so didst thou fall. And all the people repeating it, wept over him’ (II Kings III, 33, 38.)

These were the words in which David the king announced to his people the death of a prince in Israel; and these might aptly have been the words, which, wafted from Genoa to Ireland, would have told a mourning people how the greatest of their leaders, and the most eloquent of their tribunes, had passed from labour unto rest. And after the lapse of half a century, in which this people has passed through many vicissitudes, that have not lessened nor dimmed their grateful memory of him who was their deliverer, might we not say to-day, ‘Know ye not that a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel?’ And if we do not lift up our voices like the king, and weep, at least we must renew our grateful remembrance for priceless favours, that were won for us by the indomitable courage and the transcendent gifts of our great Catholic leader.

But here let me change the application of the text, and, instead of apostrophising the dead Tribune for a personal prerogative of liberty, let me say to the Irish people, ‘Your hands are not bound, nor your feet loaden with fetters’; for it was the hands of the dead that struck the shackles from your limbs, and gave you, the Irish people, that highest and noblest privilege of conscience — the right to serve your God according to those principles which you deem more precious than your life.


There is put before us, therefore, to-day, this great luminous figure, that, rising out of the darkness and dismal abysses of Irish history, has not made the darkness more profound, but dissipated it; for it is the privilege of small minds to accentuate their importance by comparisons, but of great minds to be lost in the brilliancy and magnitude of their work. To those who knew O'Connell, he is the memory of a grand personality, whose transcendent greatness has not grown less in the perspective of time; to us, who never saw him, he is a vision of heroism and power, passing victorious over the frauds and violence of malignant enemies; to future generations, he will still be the embodiment of great power, used for rightful principle, and his name will be invoked by generations yet unborn, as a watchword for civil and religious liberty.

It would be presumptuous to investigate the motives which influenced the Vicar of Christ in suggesting to Irish Catholics the propriety of celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of O'Connell's death. Perhaps they will be indicated as we proceed. But it is a consoling reflection that the arms of Pius IX. were extended to welcome to the capital of Christendom the champion of religious liberty; and that his great successor, whose finger appears to be on the pulse of nations, has thought right, amidst the threatening of great revolutions and the trembling expectation of nations, who ask one another, ‘What's next?’ to signalise the closing years of a great Pontificate by prayer for the soul, and praise for the memory of him who was a great lay-pontiff, and who understood, best of all men, how to reconcile the principles which the world is always placing in antagonism — loyalty to God's Church and fidelity to our country.

It is the teaching of all history that every race, and principally the chosen ones, has had to pass through alternations of slavery and deliverance; and it has passed into a proverb, that it is only in the very extremity of their distress that a Deliverer has been sent. When the tale of bricks was doubled for the captive Israelites, Moses appeared. And surely if ever a saviour was needed by a nation, it was when, in the dawn of this century, Ireland lay bound hand and foot at the feet of her mistress and conqueror. It is difficult for us, who enjoy comparative freedom, to understand the despair and the smothered anger of our people, when after the disbanding of the Volunteers, the Insurrection of '98, and the passing of the Act of Union, all the disabilities of Irish Catholics,


in spite of hopes previously held out, were accentuated by sworn protests of kings and ministers that, come what would, these disabilities should never be removed. Once and again a great, generous mind, like Grattan's, strove to enfranchise the Irish people; but every effort was doomed to defeat, and every defeat only riveted more closely the fetters of the conquered race. Strong, vigorous protests were made by prelates and those in power, who felt the shame of their subjection and the stigma of their slavery; but in vain. A Government, always tenacious of ill-gotten privileges, steeled itself against plea of orator and prayer of prelate, until one of the latter, the great Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, declared that ‘if an insurrection raged from the Causeway to Cape Clear, no Catholic prelate would fulminate a sentence of excommunication’; and another, the gentle Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Murray, declared in his cathedral in Marlborough Street: ‘The contemplation of the wrongs of my countrymen makes my soul burn within me’. When grave prelates spoke so strongly, you may imagine how the less reposeful spirits of the people flamed up, for one instant, into the heat of red revolution and revenge, and then died away in the ashes of despair.

It was just at this crisis that a young Dublin barrister who had been educated in a French Seminary, and had studied law at Lincoln's Inn, London, saw two careers opening before him. The one had every promise of success ; the other every sign and omen of failure. The one beckoned to wealth, honour, dignity. The other to poverty, disgrace, possibly a prison. There was every reason to hope that the name of the young barrister might be enrolled with such immortalities as the names of Flood, Grattan, Yelverton. There was every reason to fear that it might go down to posterity with only the dim aureole that hangs around the memories of our patriot dead. It was a question of law or liberty — the law of the land or the liberty of the people; a selfish career culminating in perishable glory; or a self-sacrificing career ending in defeat and the immortality of honour. It was a critical moment for Ireland — that in which the young barrister balanced these alternatives. Thank God, like the prophet of old, he heard the voices of eternity, and, disdaining all lower and lesser ambitions, he flung in his lot with the destiny of the conquered and martyred race. It is true, that choice spirits had walked the rough way before him. It is true, that all the consecrated and canonised spirits of the earth have


had to choose the bitter before the sweet, ignominy before honour. But we must remember, when calculating the nobility of O'Connell, that all natural ambition would have led him to walk the easy ways of honour and preferment, rather than the narrow ways of thankless toil and unrequited sacrifice.

And, if ever a soul might have been daunted by the difficulties of the task it had undertaken, it might have been O'Connell's. He undertook the task, which only the angels in Scripture performed, of rolling back the stone from the sepulchre of a martyred people, and summoning the dead to life. And to do so, he had to cancel the history of three centuries, and to face a most inexorable despotism that was pitiless in its barbarity, and unscrupulous in its ministers and instruments. The very names of O'Connell's worst opponents, even history, which loves evil things, has willingly blotted out. On the other hand, was a nation not sick unto death, but already clothed in the cerements of the grave. It needed all the faith of the prophet of old to believe that these dead bones could live again. Had he a strong, virile people behind him, O'Connell would have still appeared to have been desperate in undertaking the task of wresting their rights from the Government; but, with a bloodless and famished race behind him, nothing surely, but an inspiration from heaven, could have justified him in undertaking the work of their emancipation. He succeeded ; and we measure the greatness of his success by the difficulties he had to surmount. He succeeded ; and we calculate his prowess by the magnitude of the obstacles he overcame. He succeeded; in spite of the awful malignity of his opponents, who had recourse to every vile subterfuge to discredit him and supplant him. He succeeded, in spite of the almost incurable indifference of the prostrate people. And his success was absolute and perfect. The dead bones did clothe themselves with flesh, and became a disciplined and irresistible army. His voice rang through the land like the trumpet of the archangel, and faces were uplifted to him, radiant with hope; a new light dawned in eyes that had only seen the blackness of despair ; fettered hands were lifted up to him; and the voice of the nation grew from a wail of despair to a shout of defiance and triumph. But you who remember, and we who imagine, his triumphal marches through the land, the majesty of his figure, the ring of his voice, the inspiration of his words, the magnetism of his great personality, as he swayed the vast multitudes


that hung upon his lips; ah, we can form no idea of the heart-burnings of the great leader, when, in the silence of his closet, every taunt came back to burn him, every vile epithet of the English press stung him; and he had to measure and to cope with the criticism of his own people, and the treachery of small minds who could never rise to the lofty stature of his genius or nobility.

Twenty-five years of such labour and sacrifice rolled by, and the year 1828 found O'Connell as buoyant and hopeful as when in 1803 he began his glorious Crusade. Nay, more so. For surely it was a hopeful spirit that contested Clare in that year, and a dauntless spirit that won it. And when, armed with the mandate of the electors, he strode into the very citadel of the enemy and defied them, it was felt that half the cause for which he struggled was won.

There have been two great historical, because revolutionary, scenes witnessed in the House of Commons — the one was dramatic, but valueless; the other was dramatic, but it entailed vast consequences. The one was, when Cromwell strode into the House with an armed mob, and bade his soldiers ‘Take away that bauble,’ meaning the Speaker's mace; the other was, when O'Connell took up the Oath of Apostasy, read it, tore it in shreds, and declared that ‘one part of it he knew to be false, the other he believed not to be true’. The House was startled from its staid respectability, ministers stormed, the press thundered, there were threats of treason and the Tower. O'Connell went back to his constituents, returned armed again with their mandate ; and in the following year he saw the whole edifice of British intolerance crumbling before him, and a reluctant minister demanding and obtaining from a still more reluctant king the Charter of Catholic Emancipation.

It was a victory greater than that of Blenheim or Waterloo. And it was a victory won unaided. But I am wrong. O'Connell had two invisible allies besides the powers that were working with him from above. The great ones of the earth had heard, in the dawn of the century, two voices that could neither be despised nor ignored. The one was the voice of the American, the other the voice of the French, Revolution. The one uttered its solemn protest against injustice, and its solemn demand for liberty, with all the reverence and decorum that the great crusade for freedom demanded; and, even amidst the thunder of cannon and the fury of fight, the patriotism of America enforced, but bounded its claims,


with all the reserve demanded by the principles of religion and the traditions of their race. The other was a truth ‘clad in hell fire’. The sacred voice of liberty was drowned in wantonness and libertinism, as the sacred figure of liberty was profaned and polluted on the altars of Notre Dame. Yet both were voices whose meaning could neither be mistaken nor ignored. The ark of freedom was carried by enthusiastic people around the walls of ancient despotisms; and they were heaving and trembling before it. Even British institutions, that are supposed to be impregnable in their cohesion and solidity, felt the effects. Then, at the voice of the Irish people, heard from monster gatherings, caught up by the press, and thundered in the ears of Englishmen by O'Connell, the citadel of British intolerance was shaken and fell; and Irish Catholics had the glory of winning back the priceless heritage of religious liberty for themselves.

Yes, and for the world. For I do not think it is generally understood how far-reaching in its consequences was this measure of Catholic Emancipation. You can generally limit such charters of freedom to a race or a particular period of history. The liberation of the negroes from slavery, the removal of Jewish disabilities, have hardly affected the general interests of the human race. But this measure of Catholic Emancipation was the initial step towards the broad toleration, which the world enjoys to-day. For fifty years the ideas of the world have been deepening and broadening towards the freedom of thought, which has now become the characteristic of our dying century. It is quite true that irreligious governments in Catholic countries have shown a tendency towards retrograding to persecution. France has warred against the religious communities, and is carrying on a petty guerrilla struggle against nuns and children. Italy has marked its secession from the paternal authority of the Holy Father by imprisoning him, and confiscating Church property. Germany, a Protestant nation, has tried to smother the free speech of Catholic bishops, and has been shamefully worsted in the conflict. But all this is recognised as being in direct defiance of all modern principle, and those politicians know that these petty persecutions are not only futile in themselves, but an insult to the progressive spirit of our century.

Under the English flag, let it be said, we have little cause to complain in this respect. Whatever reforms are still needed in


civil affairs, and they are many, we enjoy religious freedom. If we are not fostered, we are tolerated, and no British statesman dare appeal to his nation today for support in any measure, that would tend to limit the liberty of the people in the profession of their creed, or the form of their worship. One by one the ancient prejudices are disappearing. Wider knowledge, and more charitable interpretations of opinions and principles, are drawing closer together men who were supposed to be hopelessly estranged. And Catholics and Protestants to-day can meet and co-operate on the broad platforms of charity, education, social science, temperance. The spirit of religious vindictiveness has been exorcised, and the angel of Christian charity has come to take its place.

But furthermore, Catholic Emancipation was the setting free of a race destined to mighty conquests. It was the equipment of an army that was destined to overrun the earth. For it gave at least a few years of preparation to that race that was destined, under Providence, to evangelise the infant nations of the world. Its Pentecost had not yet come — that awful Pentecost of death and famine and fiery tongues, which scattered the apostles of Ireland over the earth, just at the' time when the surplus populations of the older nations were pouring out to found new empires under unfamiliar skies. In those twenty years of emancipation the population leaped up to eight millions, and the excitement of political agitation and the newly developed systems of education were sharpening the faculties and elevating the ideas of the people for that exodus that was the prelude to the spiritual conquest of the globe.

Did O'Connell see the vast results of his labour? Did he calculate the stupendous issues that were to flow from his work? No! We who are but puppets in the hands of Omniscience can never measure the vast consequences that issue from our acts. The heresy of Arius poisoned six centuries of the Church's life, and the souls of millions. The quarrels of the Crusaders have left the tomb of Christ even to-day in Moslem hands. The apostasy of Luther has torn whole empires for three centuries from the sacred unity of the Church. Thank God, the principle holds for good as for evil, and we cannot forecast the immensity and importance of work done for God, however trivial it may appear. Did the world know that those half-starved emigrants that left your shores in the coffin ships of '48 and '49 were the evangelists going forth


without scrip, or purse, or staff, to conquer the world? Did the world suspect that they were leaving their mud cabins to build the stateliest cathedrals of the earth, and that out of the rags of their poverty would be woven the chasubles of cloth of gold that clothe half the high priests of the Church? Did the academic debaters of Oxford and Cambridge, when the question of Catholic Emancipation was discussed in their halls, dream that in a few years the voice of the emancipated slaves would penetrate those halls and beckon forth their choicest spirits? Did the Catholics of England, hiding in ancient castles, and trying to keep the holy fire burning during their political exile, foresee that in a very few years every city and town and village in England would swarm with votaries of the ancient creed, who would preach their faith in the market-places, and marshal their solemn processions with bands and banners through the public streets, not only tolerated, but envied by their Protestant brethren? Did O'Connell see that in a quarter of a century after his death, that huge fabric of intolerance and inequality, the Established Church of Ireland, the cause of so much heartburning, and even bloodshedding, would come toppling down? Did he dream of the re-establishment of the English hierarchy; of the vast influences of the Tractarian movement; of Catholic colleges planted in the very centre of the great English Universities; of Catholic military chaplains recognised by the State? Would he have believed it if he had been told, that England would be a refuge and home for persecuted priests flying from the evil laws of France and Germany, and that her southern coasts would be dotted with monasteries and convents, filled with refugee monks who are envious for the toleration of England, contrasted with the angry despotism of the continent? Would he have believed it possible that in thousands of English Protestant churches today the old Catholic doctrines are preached, the ancient rites renewed, the schism with Rome deplored, Catholic symbols brought back, the Reformers repudiated and condemned; and whilst a remnant of penal times still subsists in the coronation oath of the sovereign, thousands of Anglican ministers perform daily what we must regard as a travesty of the Divine Sacrifice of the Mass? Nay, did O'Connell think that the day would dawn when the Archbishops of Canterbury and York would be taunted by their co-religionists with having hauled down the flag of the Reformation; and that the day has come when tens of thousands of English


hearts are yearning for union with Christendom, for the one fold and the one Shepherd, that was foretold by our Father, Christ?

One would have supposed that such a victory would have sufficed for a lifetime. But there are souls that cannot tire. Some are carried on by the lust of fresh conquests; some by the desire of perfecting their work; some by the revelation, that dawns upon us all at one time or other in our lives, that the activity of evil powers is always more effective and vigorous than the most strenuous efforts after the things that are pure and good. O'Connell found that when the glitter and the tumult of his great victory had passed, and men had ceased to speak of the king who broke and trampled the pen that signed Catholic Emancipation, and the sword fell from the statue of Walker in Derry, that still the people were galled by all the petty tyrannies that will last even through great revolutionary changes. The tenantry were crushed with rackrents; were ruined by that tax — that was an insult to their religion and an injury to themselves — the tax of tithes, wrung from unwilling hands by the ministers of an alien religion. He saw then that single measures were of but little avail to sweep away the vast mass of injustice that still burthened the people, and that it were better to concentrate the energies of the nation in effecting a complete and radical change of Government, than in attacking the myriad injustices that had their origin in the system, and not in individual acts of legislation. Then he raised the war-cry — Repeal of the Union. And then he organised what was perhaps the most perfect system of agitation the mind of man ever evolved. Every parish had its branch, every branch its offices; there were wardens and stewards, all obeying implicitly the great central mind; and the people, flushed with victory, and animated with new hopes, rose up and corresponded bravely with the splendid efforts that were being made for their freedom, until from Mullaghmast to Mallow, and from the wilds of Galway to the Hill of Tara, multitudes, numbering from 100,000 to 350,000, gathered together, and by their enthusiasm and devotion gave O'Connell not only some of the prerogatives of royalty, but also a higher and loftier commission than even his ambitious mind contemplated. A vast meeting was summoned to the plain of Clontarf. Four hundred thousand men would be there. The last word would be said for Ireland. Alas! the last word was never said. The meeting was proclaimed a few hours before the time appointed. O'Connell had to face the alternative


of the massacre of the people and the defiance of the Government, or the honourable defeat that consulted for the safety of the people. He chose the latter, and he has been censured for it. This is not the place to defend a memory which has been now placed beyond cavil or criticism. But from that moment O'Connell's power waned.

Two years later, one dismal summer, the odour of death hung over the land — the Angel of Death was there. The verdict of the last great Assize will tell who was to blame for the awful holocausts of '47 and '48. The country threw the blame on the Government, and verdicts of wilful murder were brought in by coroner's juries against the Prime Minister. In the midst of the horrors, a grey-haired broken-hearted man passed out over the Irish seas, like the Irish chieftains of old, to see Rome and die. But, before he reached it, in the very sight of its minarets and domes, and whilst the Eternal City was en fète for his arrival, he died. He never received the welcome, he never passed under the triumphal arch. So much the better. It is well to find the laurels of eternity on the Cross. O'Connell died a broken-hearted exile, and his wrongs, silently endured, demand our compassion, whilst we give him our reverence and gratitude; and from that day until now his figure stands forth in all its beauty and grandeur. The people of his own day gave him their love and admiration, and that love and admiration are transfigured into worship with us, who have inherited with his memory the fruits of his labour and sacrifice.

Shall we close here with barren admiration for O'Connell's genius and courage; or shall we say that his life has a lesson? Certainly the latter. And our first thought shall be surprise that for fifty years O'Connell has had no successor. No great Catholic layman has arisen in Ireland, strong and firm in his faith, strong and firm in his determination that the twain interests of faith and fatherland shall not be sundered. And yet it is only what we have a right to expect. A great Catholic nation has a right to a great Catholic leader. For remember we are a Catholic nation. Catholicity is the dominant note in our history. Catholicity is the first characteristic of our race. Take away our fidelity to our Church, which was fidelity to our country, and the history of our nation is a squalid record of internal struggle, and impotent efforts to shake off foreign domination. But our history is glorified by that one principle; nay, it is rendered unique in the history of the world.


Now, if the history of our race has been a history of supernatural patience and tenacity of principle, the destiny of our race is also a supernatural one. I am quite well aware that this position may be controverted. We have become so imbued with the materialistic spirit of the age, that finds its expression in books and pamphlets, in the entire literature of the country, that many are dreaming of the time when Ireland shall become a great mercantile nation, competing for success with half the globe. God grant that her children may flourish on her soil in the full numbers that her natural resources fit her to support; but I hardly think or hope that Ireland will ever rank amongst the great Powers, that her armies will be invincible, or that her navies will sweep the seas. Neither would I desire it. I had rather see her mountains crested with monasteries, from which God's praises ascended by night and by day, than see her valleys blackened with the smoke, and her rivers polluted with the slime of great factories. And, surely, there is no true Irishman who would not rather see your harbour ploughed by the emigrant ship, carrying your evangelists over the world to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, than to see its waters blackened with the hulls of warships crammed with deadly instruments of destruction for the annihilation of the weaker nations of the earth. No! Ireland has one great mission — that of Christian teacher and apostle; and Irish Catholics should have one great ambition — that of liberty enough to preserve the traditions of the motherland, and to strengthen and consolidate the mighty race to which they belong — in a word, to make Ireland once more what she was from the fifth to the tenth centuries, the home of religion, the sanctuary of learning, the Pharos of the Western seas.

I do not know whether there may not be in Ireland some chosen soul to whom God is speaking now, as He spoke to His Prophets, as He spoke to O'Connell, and revealing the future of the race. I wonder whether in the classroom of some Irish seminary, in the hall of some great college, in some lonely Dublin attic, or walking the streets of our cities — in the dust of our towns, or dreaming on the purple mountains — I wonder whether there may not be even one, who, gifted with fine genius and instincts, is looking into the future, and beholding possible conquests greater than those of Alexander and Napoleon, more stupendous and epoch-making than even their victories? If so, he has a vast


vocation, a mission that belongs but to the genius of sanctity — that of drawing the world to the feet of Christ and His Vicar. If I may suppose such a great Catholic leader, full of the Church's philosophy, enthusiastic for the Church's rights, proud of the Church's history, I say he has a magnificent theatre before him, and such an audience that the greatest of orators or dramatists might envy. France would inspire him with the example of De Maistre, De Bonald, Montalembert; Spain with the example of Donoso Cortes; his own Ireland with the example of O'Connell. He would have to contend with the materialism of the age, the spirit of indifferentism in religion; and that evil genius of France, the anti-clericalism that is the badge and token of Freemasonry on the Continent and of secret societies at home. He would have to contend, in Parliament or out of Parliament, for the material interests of the people — for these are bound up with their spiritual well-being — and to labour for liberty without licence, and progress without perversion of principle. The great questions of Catholic education, temperance, social purity ; the elevation and refinement of the home circle, the revival of the ancient religious spirit of Ireland, that filled her valleys with convents and her convents with saints, would pass into his special programme. He would preach the splendid socialism of the Gospel, the dignity of labour, the sacredness of poverty, the obligations of wealth. His armoury would be the Acts of the Martyrs, the philosophy of St. Thomas, the Encyclicals of the Roman Pontiffs, and every brave precedent and episode in the history of Christianity from the days of the Catacombs until now. His allies would be all great and good men, who only want a strong voice to reawaken the slumbering instincts of a people of God. And, as it is human to err, he would have the spiritual insight to guard himself against grave mistakes of policy by looking habitually towards the centre of immutable truth, the chair of Peter. And thus armed and thus safeguarded, he would speak through press and from platform to the Irish race, and, through them, to the world. And as his voice echoed from colony to colony of our fugitive people, the exiles of Ireland would turn to us once more, and say, ‘Thank God, our motherland is not dead, nor stricken. Behold, in her old age, she has brought forth a Samuel or a Baptist, and the nations are hearkening and wondering at the preachment of the old Gospel of peace through the truth.’


But, perhaps, you will say: ‘We want no more leaders; we want no watchers on the mountain heights, but workers in the valleys’. Well, be it so. Nevertheless, there is need of some power to bind up your strength and direct it. We want a voice to embody your feelings and declare them. We want a soul to touch your souls as with a flood of light, to be reflected back in an illumination of words and works. Meanwhile, we give you the inspiration you seek, the model you require, the counsel you need, in the life and works of him whom we commemorate to-day, and we tell you in a word, the secret of his success in life, his immortality in death, when we say that O'Connell loved his country with all the warmth of his great Celtic heart, but, above and beyond his country, he loved his God.