Daniel O’Connell

Daniel O'Connell

Born 1775.—Died 1845.—George III.—George IV.  William IV.—Victoria.

This famous Irish political agitator was born in Kerry, and educated at St. Omer's, in France.  He was called to the bar in 1798, and elected member for Clare in 1828.  In spite of the continued opposition of George IV., Irish agitation through O'Connell urged the Government to pass the Catholic Relief Bill, which was done in 1829, and one of the king's last reluctant acts was to sign it.  O'Connell supported the Government in the passing of the Reform Bill, but came into collision with Earl Grey upon the Irish Coercion Bill (1837).  He foolishly began an “agitation” for the Repeal of the Union (1843), and was arrested on a charge of sedition, found guilty, and condemned to pay a fine of £2,000 and suffer two years' imprisonment.  The House of Lords, however, guided by the discernment and firmness of Lord Lyndhurst, reversed the decision and set O'Connell free.  He went abroad in broken health, and died at Genoa in 1847.