Attacking the United Irishman, a Newspaper
Edited by John Mitchel 24 February 1848*
My Lords, with the permission of the noble Lord on the Woolsack, whose notice of Motion stands before mine upon the paper, I now rise for the purpose of calling your attention to the publication of a paper in Ireland, of which I gave notice a few evenings ago. In doing so, I shall trouble your Lordships with very few observations of my own, because the whole of my case depends on the extracts from the paper itself, and on the result of the questions which I shall have to put to Her Majesty’s Government in connexion with them. It is only necessary to remind your Lordships, that in consequence of differences of opinion—not, indeed, as to the end aimed at, or the objects to be gained, but as to the mode of carrying them out—among the members composing the Repeal Associations, that body has been split into two sections, agreeing in their ultimate object, but entirely opposed as to the manner of effecting it. Of these two sections, the more prudent and cautious, acting on the principles of the policy which were pursued by Mr. O’Connell in his lifetime, and by his immediate followers since have adhered to the original body which meets in the miscalled Conciliation Hall. The more violent, anxious to take steps for the speedier attainment of their aims, have established a body which they term “The Irish Confederation.” In the Irish Confederation, again, there has been some collision of opinion, of various degrees of incaution and imprudence, with respect to the proper course to be pursued by them for the attainment of their views. Shortly after an early meeting of the Confederation, two letters were published, one from Mr. Mitchell, and the other from Mr. Reilly, which appeared, even to this body, to be of such a dangerous and seditious tendency, that they were the subject of discussion; and, in order to show the spirit by which the Confederation was animated, I may add that a division took place, and by a majority of 317 to 188 this publication of the letters was condemned as being imprudent and incautious. Mr. Mitchell in consequence withdrew from the Confederation, and established a paper on his own account, which appeared for the first time on the 1st of this month, under the title of the United Irishman, to which I now call attention. Before I quote any of the articles which it contains, permit me at the outset to show your Lordships the language of the moderate party of the Irish Confederation, reported in the same paper, and
* Hansard, 3.S., XCVI, 1242–47.