The Tablet 31-7-1852.
The Meath Election 1852.
Declaration of the Members.
The official declaration of the members returned to serve in the new parliament for the county Meath took place on Monday in the courthouse at Trim.
Mr. Lucas accompanied by a numerous body of his friends, arrived from Navan about noon, and was greeted with warm applause by a large body of the people, who had assembled opposite the courthouse. Mr. Corbally had arrived somewhat earlier, and received the hearty congratulations of his friends on his re -election. Too much cannot be said in praise of the people, who conducted themselves all through the contest in the most orderly manner. We refer with pride and pleasure to the testimony borne by the High Sheriff on this subject, especially as the most false and scandalous imputations have been cast upon the people of Meath for the manner in which they exercised their constitutional privileges. The evidence of the High Sheriff, who was naturally the person most interested in the preservation of the peace, must be taken in preference to the calumnious statements put forward in the local landlord paper, and re-echoed in the Dublin Whig and Tory journals.
The poll books were totted up in the grand jury room by the High Sheriff and his deputy. The conducting agents of Messrs. Lucas, Corbally, and Grattan, were present.
At about half-past one o'clock the High Sheriff (Edward Rotherham, Esq.), accompanied by the Sub-Sheriff, entered the court, and, on taking his place on the bench, was greeted with applause. The successful candidates, Messrs. Lucas and Corbally, occupied places near the Sheriff, and were surrounded by a large body of clergymen and laymen, electors of the noble county of Meath, who had taken a most prominent, active, and indefatigable part in this glorious and memorable contest. As well as we could judge, there were no supporters of Mr. Grattan present, nor did Mr. Grattan himself make his appearance. The court, though not so inconveniently crowded as on the day of nomination, was filled with as many persons as it could conveniently accommodate. The best order prevailed throughout the proceedings, and there was a hush of silence when the High Sheriff rose to declare officially the state of the poll. He said—I have to congratulate you on having closed your arduous duties with peace, order, and good temper throughout. It is most gratifying to me to say so of this county, because in other counties there seems to have been bad work. I will read for you the state of the poll
Lucas ... 2,004
(Great and enthusiastic cheers.)
I declare Frederick Lucas and Matthew Elias Corbally as duly elected to serve in parliament. (Tremendous applause.)
Mr. Lucas rose amid loud cheers, waving of hats and handkerchiefs, and said—Mr. High Sheriff and gentlemen, you have heard the result of the poll stated by the High Sheriff. With this certainly I have no reason to quarrel, and yet if I might be allowed I should amend it a little. The Sheriff stated that Frederick Lucas was at the head of the poll, but in reality it is you, the clergy and people of Meath, who are at the head of the poll and not I. The contest which we have had in this county has not been a contest between persons, but a contest between principles, and among interests, and in putting me at the head of the poll it is the interests of catholicity and industry which have been crowned with triumph in my humble person. (Cheers.) For the honour of having selected me to achieve your triumph in my person, I have to thank you most sincerely. In putting me in this exalted and glorious position, that which has succeeded is your cause and your cause alone. If there had been a contest between Mr. Corbally and myself, from his position and long connection with this county, the votes given to him would have far outnumbered the votes given to me.
(Loud cries of " No ! no !") They should naturally have done so. But the contest has not been between Mr. Corbally and myself —the contest has been between the people and their oppressors, and I was selected by you to fight that battle, and you yourselves have achieved the triumph over your enemies. Gentlemen, something passed at the nomination on this day week on which I wish to say a word or two. I refrained from saying at the time, because it might then have produced an appearance of disunion; but I will say it now, because now I can speak it with the greatest good humour when no person can misunderstand me. The gentleman who proposed Mr. Corbally lay under some mistake. There was some talk about neutrality—some talk about standing distinct from the popular interest. I have had no exchange of words with Mr. Corbally on this subject, ; but as the words which were then put forward excited some little dissatisfaction in this hall, I wish now to make a statement that, I dare say, will be adopted by Mr. Corbally. The gentleman who proposed Mr. Corbally stated—and properly so—that a member of parliament, in representing a particular constituency, ought not to be very forward to thrust any person on the constituency to be his colleague. Nothing can be more certain than this. It would be the height of indecency for a member of parliament to exert himself to make a family interest, or by intrigue or other means, to take out of the hands of the county the free selection of the colleague who should go with him to parliament.(Hear, hear.)
In that sentiment we all agree. But there is another point which has been misunderstood, and on which there should be no misunderstanding in future. When a constituency has made a selection, and when the popular party have clearly and unmistakeably selected the second candidate, then I conceive it to be the duty of the candidate or member originally chosen to unite with that second candidate and to do his utmost to secure the triumph of the popular interest. (Hear, hear.)
In such a case there should be no neutrality between the member standing on one interest and the candidate who is put forward to secure the triumph of principles which that first member represents. (Hear, hear.)
I am anxious to have a clear understanding on that point, because it is my duty to understand it. [After speaking at some length on the duty of candidates and members to use their influence to keep the party which returns them to parliament united and strong, Mr. Lucas proceeded]. That is what I understand to be my duty in future; and now I fancy you will find, before this day's proceedings end, that there is not the slightest difference of opinion between us —that we are all determined to do our uttermost to secure for the future the triumph we have gained to-day—to take pains that no dissensions spring up among us, or seduce us into division—and to work together heart and soul for the common cause. (Cheers.)
Gentlemen, I was glad, indeed, to hear one expression which fell from the High Sheriff. It was that in which he congratulated you—with perfect truth, so far as my observation has extended—on the peace, good order, and tranquillity, that has marked this election. I repeat it now, that it may attract the attention of the public at large through the gentlemen below me. You know every effort is being made to get out of this general election evidence to establish a case at this time of intimidation, violence, outrage, and confusion against the popular party in Ireland. The enemies of the church of God have been so defeated in various counties and constituencies, that they are endeavouring to get all the cases they can to establish the belief that the popular cause has triumphed by intimidation. (Groans and hisses.)
They have the audacity to refer to this county, and to the speech delivered by the Rev. Mr. Kelly, whom they introduce as encouraging violence and confusion, and as making an outrage on the British constitution. (Oh, oh.)
I have here the last number of the London Morning Herald--the organ of Lord Derby—which had the insolence to suggest that, so soon as parliament meets, steps shall be taken to protect the freedom of election against the priests of Ireland. (Groans.)
[Here, Mr. Lucas read the article referred to.] I am sorry I cannot read the whole of the articles in that paper. These articles are the more significant because it is well known they were written when such writings could produce no effect upon the elections. They were written when the contest was all but concluded, and they afford an indication of what you may expect at the earliest possible opportunity from the Derby government, There is, then, to be interference with the franchise as soon as parliament assembles—they will endeavour, as they have already endeavoured in spiritual matters, to put down the clergy in civil matters—in their political rights, and to coerce and load them, soul and body, with the heaviest chains. (Cries of " Never, never.")
After speaking at some length about these calumnies, Mr. Lucas continued- We must have every effort made by the Irish members who have been sent to parliament to unite together in one strong and hearty coalition against Lord Derby's government. I wish to forget the past, if united exertions are made for the future. ( Loud cries of " Hear, hear.")
At the elections that have been just concluded, I regret to see that Mr. Reynolds has not been returned for Dublin; that Sharman Crawford has been beaten in Down, and that Dr. Gray has not met in Monaghan with the success he deserved; but on the whole we have had a splendid success, and the Irish party goes stronger to parliament in the next session than it did in the preceding parliament. (Hear, hear.)
There are two qualities indispensable in members of parliament—first, to be honest; and next, to be united. If we look at the list of the names of men whom constituencies have sent to parliament, we find that of Serjeant Shee, who has been returned at the head of the poll in Kilkenny. (Loud cheers.)
You are familiar with the name of one who was present here last Monday—Charles Gavan Duffy, who has been returned for New Ross. (Great cheers.)
You have Mr. M 'Mahon, another new man, but a man of great ability, returned against the aristocracy of Wexford on the principles of catholicity and tenant right. In Louth you have Mr. Tristram Kennedy, also a new man of great merit. You have Dr. Brady in Leitrim, who, I believe, has been returned at the head of the poll solely on the principle of tenant right, having been sent there after communications with the Tenant League. These new men have been returned with Mr. Moore for Mayo, and others of the best and oldest members of the brigade. No man would be more delighted than myself —no man is more anxious than I to see all the men of the brigade true to their principles, and disproving the suspicions that I have seen expressed with regard to some of them. It is no secret that there has been no extraordinary good feeling between some of them and myself. Some of them have done their best—it was not much—to injure me, and especially in this contest, and thus there has been no cordial feeling between us. But the case is just this—the cause of Ireland at this moment, and the cause of the church of God, depend on fifty or sixty Irish members being united and acting together against the common enemy, and the man who breaks that union—the man who, through personal interest—from petty personal feeling, or from any cause whatever, breaks that union, will be justly considered as a traitor of the worst kind, and a hundred years hence execrations will be heaped on his name and on his grave. (" Hear," and cheers.)
Who will dare to write himself on the page of the history of Ireland so black a traitor as I have described? I am sure I shall not be the man. You do not believe that I shall prove false to my pledges— (loud cheers)—
and I shall allow no personal feeling—no recollection of the past, nor remembrance of what has taken place—no thought of injury against myself—to check the perfect cordiality which should preside over our councils; and I shall be ready to act in the House of Commons with every man who shall produce the only admissible evidence, the verdict of his constituents, that he is worthy to serve the country, and that they look to him for co-operation in the public service. (Loud cheering.)
I hold out to such a man, and to every man, the hand of conciliation, and, if needs be, of reconciliation—(hear, hear)—
I am ready to act with him and them to the best of my ability even in the lowest stage of the public service —not seeking to put myself prominently forward, but to take whatever position may be assigned me, and in that position to labour to the best of my ability. I hope this feeling will be reciprocated, and that no division will arise amongst us. (Cheers.)
The present times are favourable to the hopes of this country. It is difficult to analyse at present the future course of the members for England and Ireland, but if we look at the list of those returned it will show that, between Whigs and Tories, parties are nearly balanced, and the power of an Irish party acting between these must tell with effect if we have the grace to remain united—if we do not weaken our strength by falling into little feuds and factions—if we remain true to the principles on which we have been sent into parliament— if we keep to the principles of Sharman Crawford's bill, hostility to the established church, and the abolition of that odious monopoly, under which the poor of this country have for centuries groaned—(cheers)—
if we remain true to these principles, and hostile to every government which will not adopt those measures of reform which have been proclaimed from every hustings—if we remain true to ourselves—united and determined—then, I say, the time is not far distant when we shall achieve a signal triumph. (Great cheering.)
More depends upon the next session of parliament than is easily calculated at the present moment. If we can act with vigour for one session, it may be that another dissolution of parliament is not far distant, and the strength of the popular party in the Irish constituencies may then be considerably augmented. If the Irish party keep up the hopes of the country—if they make a vigorous and manly stand—if they show that in sending a member to parliament the constituencies do something that is worth fighting for—if they show that he is not sent there to achieve a barren triumph, but there to bear an active and vigorous part in achieving good for this country, in gaining protection for the industry of the people, and for the independence of the church —then, in the election likely to take place before eighteen months are over, it is probable we may double the number of the Irish party in the succeeding parliament. (Cheers.)
I have occupied your time. (Cries of " No, no.")
I have spoken so often during the last few weeks that I have nothing to say in the way of congratulation which I have not said before. The honour which you have conferred on me is an honour of which the proudest commoner in the land might be vain. You could confer on no commoner, however high his station, or affluent his means, or great his abilities, any greater distinction than that of being returned by the unbought and, I must say, unsolicited votes of the electors of this great county, for I have never asked a vote since this election began from any man. (Cheers.)
This county could confer no greater honour than you have conferred on me, not as a reward for the past, but in hope of future services. All my time, all my labour and every faculty of my mind shall be devoted to your service, and it is because you believe I will do so that you have conferred this distinction on me. It shall be my care that your expectations of me shall not be falsified. Every energy of my soul and body shall be given to your service; every faculty I possess shall be devoted to the protection of your industry, and of the church of God, against the enemies of both. And when I shall have done all this, to the best of my power, after all I shall have done very little, and I shall feel that a large balance of gratitude will remain undischarged at the end of the account. (Great cheering, amid which Mr. Lucas retired.)
Mr. CORBALLY rose and said that he was not capable of expressing a tithe of the gratitude he felt for the kindness he had experienced in that county. Looking round among his friends for the purpose of thanking them, he did not know where to begin; while the kindness he had experienced from the bishop, the priests, and the people floated before his eyes, for to them, he was happy to say, he owed his election. (Cheers.)
He should first begin with the Lord Bishop of the diocese, whose name, however, he would not have dragged into that arena if his lordship had not kindly appeared in his behalf. The number of votes which he (Mr. Corbally) had recorded in his favour amounted very nearly to two thousand, and for those he was indebted to the kindness of the bishop and the catholic clergy, and particularly to the letter with which his lordship had honoured him. But he set more value on the friendship of the Lord Bishop—he was prouder of that friendship than of the votes which his lordship's influence had secured to him. (Cheers.)
He (Mr. Corbally) owed much to his neighbours, but still more to those who had come from a distance to vote for him. He was more in the debt of the voters who were personally unacquainted with him, and whose favours he had obtained merely by his principles—by his efforts against the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill—and also for that other cause which he had espoused, and would persevere in—namely, tenant right. (Loud cheers.)
Nor was his gratitude less to the men with the frieze coats. He was never more pleased than by the way in which he was received. A man with feelings so callous as not to be sensible to those demonstrations deserved to be hanged. (Laughter.)
He need not assure them that it would never be his case; but if he turned from the people, let the people turn from him. He must return thanks to the friends who had always supported him, and though some circumstances in connection with his late colleague had militated against him (Mr. Corbally), he had reason to be grateful to the clergy who had sunk their private feelings when canvassing for him. As he had acted on a point of honour, the circumstance in question had not militated against him as much as it might have done. He now should mention the reason why he did not throw himself into the cause at first with the priests and the people. He was bound by a personal point of honour to his late colleague. No man of honour placed in a similar position could act otherwise than he (Mr. Corbally) had done with regard to his late colleague. But that was now past. He (Mr. Corbally) had now put himself in his proper position with the bishop, the priests, and the people—that should be his future, as it was his proper place. (Cheers.)
His every effort should be devoted to the support of the popular cause. Even it is a matter of policy—even if his whole feelings did not go with that cause—and he gave them his honour that his whole heart did go with that cause — (loud cheers)
—he should naturally go hand in hand withthe bishop, priests, and people. How had he been treated by the gentry; but he did not expect anything else— he did not expect any better treatment from the gentry. If it had not been for the clergy and the distant friends who came to his support he should have been beaten: if it had not been for his reverend friends he should be ruined, for he could have no support from the gentry. He (Mr. Corbally) never had a sentiment in common with them, for they knew he was a catholic attached to his religion, and though he was on terms of kindness with the gentry of Meath—though he had never acted in the course of his past life so as in the least degree to forfeit that kindness, he found that the gentry did not remain passive—he found them canvassing against him, and, with few exceptions, ordering their tenants to vote against him, and to those exceptions he was deeply grateful. He (Mr. Corbally) was not very clever, but he had sense enough to distinguish his friends, and he could assure them that if he was ever inclined to lean on a broken reed, he should not do so on the present occasion. It was but a point of honour which kept him for a moment from throwing himself with his whole heart into the ranks of the popular cause. But whether he was to be in future a candidate or no candidate—that point of honour could never occur again. (Cheers.)
He (Mr. Corbally) was now for the priests and for the people. (Cheers.)
A Voice—'Tis time.
Mr. Corbally—He should be ungrateful if he did not stick by the people as they stuck by him. He hoped he had now explained himself to their satisfaction.
Mr. Corbally—He should speak of the prospects of the Irish party with reference to the present ministry, though he feared it would be considered presumption on his part, after the able speech which they had just heard from his talented colleague, for him to make any observations on that subject, but he might remark that volatile as the Irish members of parliament had shown themselves, nevertheless, when holy things were at stake, he could promise the people that they (the Irish members) would be found steady and resolute; the Irish party could and would upset the ministry of the Earl of Derby, who, he was persuaded, would go from bad to worse, because he was a reckless man.
A Voice—He'll cut his own throat.
Mr. Corbally hoped he (Lord Derby) would repent and amend. Lord Derby had deluded the honest farmers of England and Ireland, and as to Disraeli, he (Mr. Corbally) had had that fellow long in his eye; many an hour had he sat opposite to him when gulling the English country gentlemen who sat around him —when gammoning them on the subject of protection—when leading the parliamentary choir, which, instead of singing psalms, used to sing bucolics in praise of protection. He (Disraeli) now tells the country, after all that has passed, that protection is dead. Disraeli knows very well that protection could not stand; he would not venture to trust to protection, and he now tried to ride on the storm of anti catholic bigotry. (Hear, hear.)
They were bound to go at him at once. (Cheers.) Disraeli was unfaithful to his own party, and offensive to theirs. He (Mr. Corbally) had no doubt these were also the opinions of his able colleague, with whom he had no rivalry, but with whom he would work side by side, and go hand in hand in the service of Ireland. ("Hear, hear," and loud cheers.)
He (Mr. Corbally) wished to assure that reverend gentleman—(loud laughter)
— he begged pardon that honourable gentleman—that since he (Mr. Lucas) had come into the country he had never breathed a word derogatory to him or to his cause. He (Mr. Corbally) deserved no gratitude for that, since he had met with nothing but courtesy and kindness from Mr. Lucas. (Cheers.)
He had a feeling, or persuasion, that Mr. Lucas, from his writings and talents, had a claim on all the catholics of Ireland, and consequently on himself, and he congratulated them and him that so able an advocate should be in the House of Commons to meet the spooners and similar fanatics. (Cheers.)
There was another cause in which Mr. Lucas had interested himself. They all knew how able an advocate Mr. Lucas had been of the cause which should be the foundation of the prosperity of Ireland—tenant right. For that they owed Mr. Lucas a debt of gratitude—(Loud cheers)
—but in his opinion they had already paid that obligation. Mr. Lucas ought to be the proudest man in the kingdom. There was no parallel to be found for the return of Mr. Lucas, except that which occurred in the case of Mr. Cobden. Mr. Lucas, he was sure, would never forget it. (" Hear, hear," from Mr. Lucas.)
He (Mr. Corbally) should detain them no longer listening to a prosy speech. (Cries of " No, no.")
He thought the other day when his late colleague appeared before them, that after the handsome, eloquent, and touching appeal made to him by Mr. Lucas, he (Mr. Grattan) would have had the good sense, the good taste to accept the proposal which was made him by Mr. Lucas, and to retire. He (Mr. Corbally), as a candidate, felt naturally delicate to say to his late colleague, "you must retire.” That colleague could never have imagined that he (Mr.Corbally) would, for a few hundred pounds, compromise either one or the other of them. 'Twas for the good of the county that his late colleague should retire without coming to a contest, He had forfeited the good opinion of the county by coming to a contest. (Loud cries of “hear, hear.")
He (Mr. Corbally) had said to his friends, "He'll get no support; for God's sake let him retire, since the priests and the people have put their shoulders to the wheel, it is impossible for him to withstand them." He would have been in a better position now if he minded what I said. I regret he did not. He and I spent many weary nights in the service of Ireland in the House of Commons, and for that reason I regret that he did not retire. At first he might have been mistaken, he might have imagined that some support would be given him. His conduct was pardonable in the first instance; his conduct, at least, was not then so bad as on Thursday, when he saw plainly that there was no getting up a majority, and yet was infatuated enough to persevere. It was his duty to withdraw, and not to put the county to expense and trouble, not to get the tenants into a quarrel with their landlords, tenants who were determined to vote for the man who was favoured by the clergy—(loud cheers)—
that was injurious to the fame of Mr. Grattan, and he (Mr. Corbally) regretted it for the many battles which they had fought together. There was another man for whom he (Mr. Corbally) entertained the utmost respect, he meant Mr. Singleton. What did he do when he found he was in a minority. Mr. Singleton sent word to the popular candidate that he would resign at once. The example which Mr. Singleton had set as worthy of Mr. Grattan's imitation, and he regretted he did not follow it for the sake of his own character. He (Mr. Corbally) did not think that two thousand men would ever vote for him. (Cheers.)
So far as his own case went, he was glad that Mr. Grattan had gone to the poll. He was glad that Mr. Grattan did not retire, since the comity had recorded so many votes in his (Mr. Corbally's) favour. But for the good of the county he ought to have retired. One thing had occurred in that place which he was obliged to refer to; he, who had wished to be clear from the suspicion of hostility to Mr. Lucas, to take no part whatever against his present colleague, was shocked and amazed beyond expression on finding that some person who had no right to interfere had done what those who had a right to interfere had every reason to complain of, had posted up in that town, and even introduced into his tally room, a placard derogatory to Mr. Lucas—a lampoon on that gentleman.
Mr. Lucas—Until now I have not hear of it.
Mr. CORBILLY assured Mr. Lucas that he himself was the first to tear it down and trample it under foot. (Here Mr. Lucas thanked Mr. Corbally for his courtesy. He (Mr. Corbally) would allow no insult, however slight, to be offered by any of his followers to Mr. Lucas. Mr. Lucas was the friend of the supporters of him (Mr. Corbally). He would never suffer his private feelings to interfere again with his public duties. He could promise the rev. gentlemen near him, and in particular the Rev. Mr. Moore below him, that such a case would never arise again, and that parliament or no parliament, candidate or no candidate, he (Mr. Corbally) would thenceforth exert all the influence he possessed, whoever might be the candidate, on the side of the priests and the people. (Loud cheers, amid which Mr. Corbally sat down.)
Mr. Corbally again rose and said—Gentlemen, Mr. Lucas, with his usual kindness, has requested that I would have the pleasure of moving the thanks of the meeting to the High Sheriff, which I do sincerely, for his very calm and dignified conduct all through this election. (Hear, hear.)
He acted like an honourable man. There was no " dragooning." Every man was allowed to come up to give his vote. He made no ridiculous display of power; he relied on the honour of the men of Meath, and you vindicated it. (Cheers.)
For this reason I wish to have the honour of moving the thanks of the meeting to the sheriff for his dignified conduct. (Cheers.)
Mr. Lucas—I have great pleasure in seconding that motion. Every person must be delighted at the manner in which this contest has been conducted, and, with some exceptions which had no reference to the High Sheriff -in fact, I am not quite sure that I am right in referring to any exception—everything has passed off well. (Cheers.)
As I see the Rev. Mr. Moore of this town present, and, speaking with reference to small inconveniences, I am very sorry that the chief burthen of martyrdom should have fallen on him, or that there should have been the smallest attempt to inflict this little martyrdom on him. (Loud cheers.)
The High Sheriff acknowledged the compliment, and, after having signed the returns, and gone through the usual formalities on such occasions adjourned the court amid loud cheering for Lucas and Corbally.
The people then left the court and formed a dense gathering in front of Mr. Lucas's committee rooms, in the hope that they would be addressed by Mr. Lucas or some of his friends. About half an hour after the proceedings in the court had terminated Mr. Lucas, accompanied by several of his lay and clerical supporters, made his appearance at the courthouse door, when a burst of applause arose among the crowd, which continued until he reached his committee rooms. The Rev. Mr. M’Cullagh P.P., made his appearance at the window, and was received with loud cheers. He said that it was no use, after what the present contest had demonstrated, for their enemies to attempt to take the represention of Meath out of the hands of the popular party. (Great cheering.)
He had made a request of the member of their choice to address a few words to the non electors who had taken so determined a part in the contest, and Mr. Lucas would now have the pleasure of addressing them.
Mr. Lucas said he had almost exhausted himself in returning thanks inside the court, but he could not refrain from coming here to express more publicly his thanks to those who had formed so kind an opinion of him. He held in his hand a paper—the London Standard—the organ, he might say, of the Stockport rioters—(groans)
or rather the organ of the most violent and fanatical portion of the Orangemen—which, speaking of this contest, and of the defeat of Mr. Grattan, says—" This is the man (that is myself) "whom the Romanists"—he did not know whether they knew that term
—(cries of " We do well, Sir")—"
of Meath have elected in place of Mr. Grattan. Can human nature plunge deeper in degradation? But Irish papist nature is not human nature." (Great groans.)
That was the notion of the Orange Standard in reference to this contest. If the Standard were satisfied with the conduct of the people at this election, that would be its best condemnation; but because they had exerted themselves nobly—because they had with them all good men in this cause—that paper disapproved of what they had done. It is because they had the approbation of the bishop, the clergy, and of all honest and true men, that they came in for the disapprobation of those who wished to trample over them. (Loud cheers, and cries of " That's a fact.")
But if they had the Orangemen to curse them, they had the clergy to bless them. (Great cheering.)
With the result of the contest they are all satisfied. He (Mr. Lucas had every reason to be satisfied. Mr. Corbally told him what was very true, that he ought to be the proudest man alive.
A Voice—So you ought.
Mr Lucas—So he ought, and so he believed he was. (Great cheering.)
They stood to him like men. The exertions which had been made in this contest had scarcely ever been surpassed. To all classes in the community his thanks were true, and he had particular thanks to give to the Rev. Mr. Moore, the curate of that town. (Loud cheers.)
For many reasons that Rev. gentleman had difficulties to encounter and to him, therefore, his (Mr. Lucas's) thanks were due, and not only due to him, but to all the catholic clergy and to the laity of that great county, with the exception of that miserable few whose political existence from that day forward was completely annihilated. (Great cheering.)
The kindness of the parish priest of that town, the Rev. Mr. O'Connell, deserved hits deepest gratitude. He (Mr. Lucas) believed Mr. O'Connell was the first to poll for him in the booth at which he voted—an act of kindness which, as he had said, deserved his warmest and most lasting gratitude. He returned his thanks to high as well as to low, to the ladies and good and virtuous women of Meath who had supported him ( loud cheers)—
and he was quite sure that their assistance had not been least influential to that of the men. (Renewed cheers.)
The hon. gentleman having apologised for not being able to speak longer, withdrew amid enthusiastic applause.
The Rev. Mr. M'Cullagh and the Rev. Mr. Moore addressed the meeting.
Votes of thanks were passed to Messrs. Hynes and Fottrell, the conducting agents of Mr. Lucas, for the very able manner in which they had conducted their portion of the business of the election.
Mr. Hynes returned thanks in an appropriate speech.
Thanks were also voted to Samuel Bindon, Esq., for his able advocacy of Mr. Lucas's cause at Dunshaughlin, after which the assembly separated.
THE COUNTY MEATH AND MR. JOHN REYNOLDS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TABLET.
Dear Sir— Will you be kind enough to give insertion in your next paper to the enclosed protest against John Reynolds's presumptuous interference in the concerns of the Meath constituency, as evidenced in his speech at the Music Hall?
I presented this note late last night at the Freeman office, but the gentleman there felt a difficulty which I did not appreciate in opening up a controversy on the subject ha his paper.
I remain yours,
R. J. Kelsh, C.C., Meath.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE FREEMAN.
I have seen with much surprise, on my arrival in town by the ten o'clock p.m. train, a speech of Mr. John Reynolds, in which he has had the daring presumption to say that it was well for Mr. Lucas that he (Alderman Reynolds) was not at the Meath election.
As Mr. Reynolds would seem, from this form of expression, to convey to his hearers the notion that he would influence the noble constituency of Meath to change their opinion of their chosen representative, I feel myself called upon in charity at once to check his insolent self sufficiency. The voters of Meath have already measured Mr. Reynolds, and know how to appreciate his opinions.
The members of the old Brigade are much misled by folly or vanity if they suppose that their dictation will be submitted to by the honest and independent freeholders of Ireland. We were threatened in Meath that he, and Mr. Keogh, and others, would come and support Mr. Grattan against the loved candidate of the people's choice; and if we had room for regret amid our rejoicing, it was that they did not come and give us an opportunity of proving to the world their hollowness and corruption.
Pardon me for trespassing so long on your columns, but I could not rest to-night after seeing this ebullition of vanity and presumption without endeavouring publicly to check it.
Meath, in her priesthood, sat in calm council, and selected as her representative one of the purest, best, and most gifted of this earth's children ; and it would need more than the efforts of the immaculate juggler, John Reynolds, to make her change her choice.
I remain yours respectfully,
Richard J. Kelsh, C.C., Meath.
The Tablet 14-8-1852.
We have received letters from more than one quarter referring to our remarks of last week upon the Meath election, but written under an erroneous supposition to our meaning. The following letter from Father Kelly, of Kilskyre, will sufficiently illustrate the nature of these communications.
August 2nd, 1852.
Dear Sir—I read in your last number the following sentence:
“On my return from the county Meath, where I have been fighting successfully against the common enemy, that is, against Lord Mayo, Col. Taylor, Mr. Naper, and the Parsons etc.,”
As you are our representative I feel an interest in setting you right in all things. You have encountered and defeated many political enemies: Mr.Naper, of Loughcrew has no claims to the honour or discredit of being your opponent at the late election. He was absent from Ireland; his numerous tenantry exercised freely and honourably the elective franchise. At the late, and in all preceding elections for this county, the tenants of Mr. Naper never were wanting. At all times they swelled the popular ranks, and, without pretending to know the feelings of the landlord on this or similar occasions, it is but justice to you, as well as to him, to state that in no single instance have I been aware of any interference whatever with the vote of the poorest or most dependent tenant on his very extensive property.
I remain, my dear Sir, yours respectfully,
To F. Lucas, Esq., M P.
Similar appeals have reached us on behalf of the Bishop of Ardbraccan and the Archdeacon of Meath; but surely our correspondents, if they will be kind enough to refer to what we have actually written, will see that we have not brought, as we never dreamed of bringing, a charge of " coercion of voters" against any of these distinguished personages.We don’t know what more to say by way of explanation in so very clear a case. These gentlemen have not coerced voters, and we neither said they did, nor did we mean to imply such charge. We spoke of them generally as hostile to the cause for which the recent contest was fought, and as forming ingredients in the party which included in its ranks the chief anti catholic exterminators in the county. But beyond this we did not go.
Aug. 5th 1852,
Dear Mr. Lucas,
In one of the leading articles of last Saturday’s Tablet I find you have included the Bishop of Ardbraccan and the Archdeacon of Meath among the exterminators and coercers of votes in this county.
I am certain you would not intentionally do an act of injustice to any person, and hence I am anxious to set you and the public right, as far as the above gentlemen are concerned.
The Bishop is, I regret to say, from ill health, absent from Ardbraccan for the last five months. Neither directly nor indirectly did Lordship interfere with the votes of his tenantry. He left them free to vote as they pleased. I need not say they voted right.
As an act of justice to his Lordship, I feel bound to state that, on coming to Ardbraccan, the first act he exercised as a landlord was to appoint a valuator, and in every instance where he had power he reduced the rents three shillings, four shillings, and in some farms six shillings per acre; so as to make the rent correspond with the present prices of agricultural produce.
The archdeacon also left his tenants in this parish free to vote as they pleased.
Please give insertion to the above in your next edition, and oblige yours, dear Mr. Lucas, very faithfully,
Terence O’Reilly, P.P.
It is due to Mr. Naper to add that he as well as the " Bishop of Ardbraccan," was absent from the county, and indeed from the country, during the election, and that he absented himself in order that he might not appear to take any part in the contest. We have great pleasure in making this amende, if any amende were really necessary.