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[43]

Chapter 2: the Irish address.—1842.

A monster anti-slavery Address to Irish-Americans, headed by O'Connell, leader of the repeal agitation in Ireland, tests the pro-slavery spirit of Irish Catholicism in the United States. Garrison comes out openly for the repeal of the Union of North and South, runs up this banner in the Liberator, and launches the debate in the anti-slavery societies. He makes a lecturing tour in Western New York, and falls desperately ill on his return home. Death of his brother James.


Remond, landing in Boston in December, 1841,1 brought among his undutiable baggage a terse Address of the Irish People to their Countrymen and2 Countrywomen in America on the subject of slavery. It exhorted them to treat the colored people as equals and brethren, and to unite everywhere with the abolitionists. Sixty thousand names were appended,3 Daniel O'Connell's at the head, as Member of Parliament and Lord Mayor of Dublin, with Theobald Mathew's close by. Great4 hopes were entertained of its effect on the Irish-American citizen and voter. George Bradburn wrote from Lowell to Francis Jackson:
‘What is to be done with that mammoth Address from5 Ireland? I know it is to be rolled into the Annual Meeting, but is that to be the end of it? Might not the Address, with a few6 of its signatures, including O'Connell's, Father Mathew's, and some of the priests' and other dignitaries', be lithographed? The mere sight of those names, or facsimiles of them, rather, and especially the autographs of them, would perhaps more powerfully affect the Irish among us than all the lectures we could deliver to them, were they never so willing to hear. It is a great object, a very great object, to enlist the Irish in our cause. There are five thousand of them in this small city. Might not one be almost sure of winning them over to the cause of humanity, could one but go before them with that big Address on his shoulders? I have thought I would like to try the experiment, after our Annual Meeting, and would the more willingly do so from having learned, since coming hither, that ’

1 Dec. 21; Lib. 11.207.

2 Lib. 12.39.

3 Ten thousand more were subsequently added (Lib. 12: 63).

4 Ante, 2.380.

5 Ms. Jan. 15, 1842.

6 Mass. A. S. S.

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