He united in one mighty and resistless mass the broken and discordant factions, whose desultory struggles against tyranny had hitherto only added strength to its fetters, and infused into that mass his own lofty principles of action, until the solemn tones of expostulation and entreaty, bursting at once from the full heart of Ireland
, were caught up by England
and echoed back from Scotland
, and the language of justice and humanity was wrung from the reluctant lips of the cold and remorseless oppressor of his native land, at once its disgrace and glory,--the conqueror of Napoleon
; and, in the words of his own Curran
, the chains of the Catholic
fell from around him, and he stood forth redeemed and disenthralled by the irresistible genius of Universal Emancipation.
On the passage of the bill for Catholic emancipation, O'Connell
took his seat in the British Parliament.
The eyes of millions were upon him. Ireland
–betrayed so often by those in whom she had placed her confidence; brooding in sorrowful remembrance over the noble names and brilliant reputations sullied by treachery and corruption, the long and dark catalogue of her recreant sons, who, allured by British gold and British patronage, had sacrificed on the altar of their ambition Irish pride and Irish independence, and lifted their parricidal arms against their sorrowing mother, ‘crownless and voiceless in her woe’ —now hung with breathless eagerness over the ordeal to which her last great champion was subjected.
The crisis in O'Connell
's destiny had come.