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In March 30, 1835, Earl Grey said "that the Established Church had not only failed to propagate the Protestant religion amongst the Catholics of Ireland, but that it had been most injurious to the true interests of religion, amongst the Protestants themselves." Macaulay said of Pitt, that "he was the first English minister who entertained a really sanguine intention of benefiting Ireland, upon a footing of equal laws, equal rights, and equal liberties." But he failed. In his speech in 1785, on introducing the first commercial relaxations, he said that," the species of policy which had been exercised by the government of England, in regard to Ireland, had for its object, to debar the latter from the enjoyment of its own resources, and to make her completely subservient to the opulence and interests of England; that she had not been suffered to share in the bounties of nature, or the industry of her citizens, and that she was shut out from every species of commerce, and restrained from sending the produce of her own soil to foreign markets."
"Where," said Sir Charles Wood, "could they find any country, under any system of Church establishment, be they Catholic or Protestant, where a rich Church, with a small congregation, was maintained at the expense of an overwhelming majority, belonging to a different persuasion? . . . . Why should they not at once strike at the root of the evil, and determine upon a different appropriation of the revenues of the Irish Church?"
"The principle laid down by Lord John Russel was, that Church property was appreciable to all such purposes of general utility, as Parliament in its wisdom might determine." And yet it has not been done.
CANNOT better, perhaps, bring this long Book to a close, than by paying my tribute to the greatest Irishman of his age a man whom I knew and loved so well. I extract from
O'CONNELL'S ARRIVAL AT GENOA.
my Private Diary an account of his death and funeral obsequies, at the old city of Genoa, where I had the honor at the time to represent the United States in an official capacity:
On the evening of the 6th, on his way to Rome to spend the winter, Daniel O'Connell landed at Genoa, to pass but a single day. At any period, he would have been received in Italy with every demonstration of respect, for he was there regarded as the protector and advocate of eight millions of oppressed Catholics, in a distant and beautiful island, which has been sanctified by the faith, and made dear by the sufferings, the poetry, and the wit of its people. But at that time, many unusual circumstances conspired to give to his journey through Italy all the splendors of a great triumphal progress. During the previous six months, the journals of Italy had been filled with the sufferings of Ireland; and when the name of that devoted country was heard by an Italian, he lifted his eyes to Heaven, and thanked his patron saint that he was not born under British sway. To be a British subject was once, in their estimation, to be born to rule, to conquer, and to be free; now, to be a Briton, is to die by the lingering tortures of famine. Sad indeed must be the state of Ireland, when an Italian thanks God, or even a saint, that he is not born there. Besides, O'Connell was dying on the eve of a great day for Italy and for the Irish people. While his soul was passing to the future state, the bells of all the churches of Italy were sounding their holy chimes, to call the pious and the humane to their altars, at the command of Pius IX., to offer their prayers and their alms for the relief of that distant, suffering people. In Genoa, it was known that the great Catholic Liberator was dying; and when the population streamed up in dense masses to the churches, in obedience to the command of the Pontiff of Rome, they seemed like solemn processions for the souls of the departed.
'CONNELL'S health had felt the first shock a year before. (I received all my information from his youngest son, who was with his father on his journey, and closed his eyes when he was dead.) In the early part of winter he began to fail so rapidly, that his friends were alarmed, and they prevailed on him to visit Italy; believing that, in a serener climate, he would again recover, in some measure, his former vigor. Attended by his youngest son, his family physician, his Irish confessor, and his most confidential servants, he set out for Italy. But the journey was deferred too long. He was taken down in Lyons, and it was feared he would not be able again to leave his bed. But through the aid of a skillful French
HIS DESIRE TO VISIT ROME.
surgeon, he recovered partially, after a long illness. It was now thought best for him to return to Ireland; but he had set his face toward the south, and he said he wished to see Rome; and if he must die away from home, to die in the capital of Christendom, where Pius IX. had renewed the mild pure sway of the early successors of the Apostles. He went to Marseilles, and embarked on a steamer for Genoa. His son thought him again too feeble to risk the fatigues of the voyage; but O'Connell hoped at least to be able to see the dome of St. Peter, and he would go on. There is something touching and almost sublime in this same desirc, which so many great men have expressed when they felt themselves dying. In those last days of life, when everything else external grows dim, how often has the wish arisen to die in sight of that gorgeous temple, which fancy brought so near to the soul! With O'Connell, who felt that life was coming to a hurried close, it was a natural feeling. He knew that he could not live to reach Ireland again; and when the scenes of this life began to fade from his vision, his heart turned toward the Eternal City which, to a true Catholic like O'Connell, is, after the Hill of Calvary, the most holy spot on earth.
E was rapidly failing when the steamer arrived at Genoa. It was
Feder, which stands near the water. It was known that he was coming, and an immense crowd gathered to welcome him with acclamations. But when they caught a sight of his pale cheek, as he was borne along in the arms of his attendants, the crowd received him in respectful silence, and every head was uncovered. He passed a comfortable night at the hotel: the vessel waited to take him on to Rome, and it was his intention to go. I had had the fortune to know O'Connell many years before; I had been honored by his confidence and kindness, and I ventured to call at his hotel, but with little expectation of seeing him. I sent up my card and inquired after his health. He sent back a message that he would be glad to see me in a few moments. He entered the room into which I had been shown, dressed for going on board the steamer. He was leaning infirmly on the top of a large cane: his step was feeble, and his form was wasted away. Familiar as his countenance had once been to me, I could recognize little but the eye of the man I had known before. But he still stood erect. He extended to me his emaciated hand for a moment, and said a few kind words. I left the room with a sad feeling, which I can hardly describe. I saw the lines of death clearly written on his face. It was evident that his body was
"I SHALL NEVER SEE ROME."
dead; but his indomitable spirit still held a feeble sway over the lifeless form it had ruled so long. As I joined the friend I had left in the hall below, I told him, “O'Connell never will see Rome." In an hour or two he began to fail rapidly; but everything was prepared for going on: the steamer was waiting: it was still hoped he would revive. But he had rallied for the last time. For more than seventy years his heroic spirit had never yielded; but the time had at last come for body and spirit to give way. He laid himself down on his bed, saying:
"Well, it is God's will I shall never see Rome! I thought I should live to get there. I am disappointed; but I feel ready to die. It is all right."
T ten o'clock that night, the steamer, which had hoped for the honor
Rome, was could nogo,
and she went on her way. In a day or two it became certain that his life was drawing rapidly to an end. He seemed (I was freely admitted to his bedside) to suffer from no particular disease: it was a gradual sinking a slow giving way of strength. Consequently he suffered very little pain; while his consciousness, and even the brilliancy of his intellect, continued undimmed to the very last moment. He conversed with perfect calmness about all the members of his absent family; his children, his grand-children, and his friends; about suffering Ireland, and the life to come. He not only expressed his fullest conviction of the truth of the Christian religion, but conversed with luminous and cheerful serenity of the principles of Christianity; and often repeated, in a variety of forms, his unshaken confidence of salvation through the merits of Christ. He was deeply affected in thinking and speaking of the call of the Pontiff, on all the Catholics of the Christian world, to present their prayers and offerings for Ireland during this period of her calamity; and the fact that this noble call had gone forth from Pius IX., was one of the reasons why he had felt so earnest a desire to reach Rome.
He was constantly attended by his two physicians, the vicar of the church of the parish, and his own bishop. No office that medical skill could suggest, nor consolation that religion could lend, was wanting to the dying man. He lingered till the night of the fifteenth, when he seemed to be rapidly sinking. The last offices of the Church were then administered. While the prayers were being read, he clearly uttered the responses; and as those solemn rites ended, he closed his eyes serenely with a half smile. Those of us who stood by his bed, and gazed on his countenance, did not know he was dead till the surgeon announced it.
THE GREAT LIBERATOR'S DEATH.
And just at that moment, from more than a hundred thousand domes and spires, were pealing solemn chimes in answer to the summons of Pius IX., and from unnumbered altars was going up to Heaven a vast cloud of incense for the afflicted and stricken country of that heroic spirit which was passing away.
IS body was at once embalmed, and laid in the magnificent church Delle Vigne, where preparations were made for celebrating his obsequies. The invitations issued were limited to foreign consuls, for whom seats were prepared in an area around the coffin. The British Consul had refused to offer his services on this occasion, or even his attentions to O'Connell, while he was dying in a strange land; although such proffers came in from several royal princes and men of the greatest distinction then in Genoa. It was consequently my good fortune to occupy the post he was expected to do, and I was proud of the honor of showing, as far as this act could do, the respect of my nation for the illustrious man. All Europe, however, (except England) and indeed I may say, the world, was represented at the funeral, for I believe every other foreign consul vas there. The coffin was raised on a platform fifteen feet high, thirty feet in front of the main altar. It was covered with a vast pall of black velvet, to which was attached a large cross of crimson, embroidered in gold. Around this pile were gleaming forty massive wax tapers. Forty other tapers were burning on the main altar, and the twelve altars of the twelve chapels of the church, were also illuminated. The church was dressed in mourning, and the seats of the altar around the coffin were spread with velvet and damask, embroidered in fine gold. The vast edifice was crowded by a silent and solemn multitude. The bell struck the meridian, (the 20th of May) and the obsequies began with the introduction, on the organ, of that sublime service with which the imposing ceremonies of the Catholic Church dismiss the souls of believers to the eternal world. The altar was surrounded with a numerous company of priests and prelates, adorned in their richest robes. Forty singers, attached to the church, were also ranged round the altar, and behind it stood some of the best vocal and instrumental artistes in Italy. The soft deep notes of the organ, touched by the hands of a master, rolled down the pillared aisles, and broke in solemn reverberations among the lofty frescoed arches. As the different parts came in, the bass, the tenor and the soprano, the effect was electrical; but when at last the chorus commenced, with every voice in that great company of singers, and the heavy bass of the organ blended the sounds together, even the congrega