Liberation of O’Connell

New York Herald

Citation Information:“Liberation of O’Connell,” New York Herald. v. 10. n. 273. whole n. 3873. October 3, 1844.

The unexpected termination of the inquiry into the legality of Mr. O’Connel’s imprisonment and his liberation have been the most prominent occurrences since our last. The result is different to what had ever been anticipated by the traversers, or their most confident friends, as well as by the Government. It is in direct opposition to the opinions of the Judges.

The law lords who voted for the reversal of the sentence were Lord Denman, Lord Cottenham, and Lord Campbell, those who voted against it were the Lord Chancellor and Lord Brougham. Lord Langdale was absent, but it is understood that if he had attended he would have voted with the majority.

The news of the reversal of the judgment on Mr. O’Connell and his companions was received in Dublin about five o’clock on Thursday evening, the 5 inst. Immediately on the arrival of the steamer at Kingstown, the whole population was thrown into a state of indescribable excitement. “O’Connell is free,” was uttered by thousands of voices, as the people danced about in almost frantic joy. At Dublin the same scene was exhibited, but upon a more extensive scale. At night, tar barrels were lighted in many parts of the city, and had it not been for the interference of some of the leaders, a general illumination would have taken place.

Mr. O’Connell is said to have received the intelligence of his release without betraying the least emotion of surprise. Great numbers of his friends waited upon him to offer him their congratulations.

On Friday evening, the order for the discharge of the prisoners arrived, and at seven o’clock Mr. O’Connell, leaning upon two of his sons, left the prison on foot, and proceeded, accompanied by an immense assemblage, to his house in Merrion square. The other prisoners subsequently left the Penitentiary, and were loudly cheered.

The liberation of O’Connell and his fellow prisoners has produced an excitement in all parts of Ireland far surpassing the enthusiasm of Tara and Mulagharnasa, or any other of the monster meetings. The long cherished impression that, notwithstanding his late imprisonment, Mr. O’Connell was still invulnerable to the law, has derived a greater impulse from the reversal of its sentence than it had before received from any other circumstance in his history.

The Repealers held their usual weekly meeting on Monday, in the Conciliation Hall. The galleries were crowded with ladies by eight o’clock in the morning: and long before the appointed hour, every available corner of the building was crowded to suffocation. The traversers, on their respective entrances, were enthusiastically cheered. The Lord Mayor of Dublin occupied the chair.

Mr. O’Connell came forward and was received with the loudest applause. He entered at great length into a statement of the course which he intends to pursue with reference to the future, and expressed his readiness to try the experiment of a Federal Parliament. In the meantime, however, he proposes the formation of a Preservative Assembly of 300 gentlemen, to meet in Dublin, and control the proceedings of the Repeal Association, much in the same way as the House of Lords is considered a check upon the Commons. Each member of the Assembly must prove his title by handing in 100L.—a qualification which Mr. O’Connell considered would so far insure the respectability of the Assembly, that they would be able to treat with Government and stipulate terms.

His next step for the attainment of Repeal is to be the impeachment of the Irish Judges and Attorney General—the latter for the monster indictment, and the former for their conduct during the trials. He also stated his intention to make a tour of the English provinces for the purpose of stating his case and procuring the assistance of the English people in effecting the impeachment. He formally entered his notice of motion respecting the expediency of holding the Clontarf meeting, and also with regard to the impeachment of the legal personages connected with the state trials.