may say, “This victory is mine; for I taught you the method, and I gave you the arms.”
I have hitherto been speaking of his ability and success; by and by we will look at his character, motives, and methods.
This unique ability even his enemies have been forced to confess.
, in her incomparable history of the “Thirty years peace,” has, with Tory hate, misconstrued every action of O'Connell
, and invented a bad motive for each one.
But even she confesses that “he rose in power, influence, and notoriety to an eminence such as no other individual citizen has attained in modern times” in Great Britain
And one of his by no means partial biographers has well said,--
“ Any man who turns over the magazines and newspapers of that period will easily perceive how grandly O'Connell
's figure dominated in politics, how completely he had dispelled the indifference that had so long prevailed on Irish questions, how clearly his agitation stands forth as the great fact of the time. . . . The truth is, his position, so far from being a common one, is absolutely unique in history.
We may search in vain through the records of the past for any man, who without the effusion of a drop of blood, or the advantages of office or rank, succeeded in governing a people so absolutely and so long, and in creating so entirely the elements of his power. ... There was no rival to his supremacy, there was no restriction to his authority.
He played with the enthusiasm he had aroused, with the negligent ease of a master; he governed the complicated organization he had created, with a sagacity that never failed.
He made himself the focus of the attention of other lands, and the centre around which the rising intellect of his own revolved.
He had transformed the whole social system of Ireland
; almost reversed the relative positions of Protestants and Catholics
; remodelled by his influence the representative, ecclesiastical, and educational institutions, and created ”