Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Trial of Daniel O’ Connell, M.P. Feby 1844. Drawn by H. Warren; Engraved by J. Rogers. London: J. & T. Tallis. [n.d.]

The trial was set for January 15, 1844. During jury selection every Catholic was dismissed as a potential Repealer. The result was a jury made up entirely of Protestants. O’Connell was found guilty, but released on bail pending sentencing. Since he was still a member of the House of Commons, he went to England to take his seat, and rally support. The English feted him at every turn. There were dinners in Liverpool, Birmingham, and Wolverhampton, as well as in London. On returning to Dublin, he was sentenced to one year in prison and given two substantial fines (two thousand and five thousand pounds). While he sat in Richmond Prison, an appeal based on the deficiencies of the jury list and selection of jurors, was launched in the House of Lords. The votes looked as if they would fall along party lines until Lord Chief Justice Denman threw his support for dismissal. Regarded as non-partisan, Thomas Denman believed that Law must be fair and equal for all subjects in every case. On September 4, 1844, Denman used his vote to break a tie and reverse the judgment against O’ Connell. Daniel O’Connell died in Genoa on May 15, 1847.


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