one whose aid has been courted and whose rebuke has been feared by the ablest of England
Amid the sneers of derision and the clamor of hate and prejudice he has triumphed,— on that very arena so fatal to Irish eloquence and Irish fame, where even Grattan
failed to sustain himself, and the impetuous spirit of Flood was stricken down.
No subject in which Ireland
was not directly interested has received a greater share of O'Connell
's attention than that of the abolition of colonial slavery.
Utterly detesting tyranny of all kinds, he poured forth his eloquent soul in stern reprobation of a system full at once of pride and misery and oppression, and darkened with blood.
His speech on the motion of Thomas Fowell Buxton
for the immediate emancipation of the slaves gave a new tone to the discussion of the question.
He entered into no petty pecuniary details; no miserable computation of the shillings and pence vested in beings fashioned in the image of God.
He did not talk of the expediency of continuing the evil because it had grown monstrous.
To use his own words, he considered ‘slavery a crime to be abolished; not merely an evil to be palliated.’
He left Sir Robert Peel
and the Tories to eulogize the characters and defend the interests of the planters, in common with those of a tithe-reaping priesthood, building their houses by oppression and their chambers by wrong, and spoke of the negro's interest, the negro's claim to justice; demanding sympathy for the plundered as well as the plunderers, for the slave as well as his master.