“Grand Conversation on O'Connell Arose”


Dan O'Connell is dead. His career is reviewed: MP for 18 years, supported the Reform Bill, "left our church and clergy free," opposed slavery, killed Lestaire in a duel. He would have supported Irish unity when the British were fighting in the Crimea.


O'Connell on slavery: "With respect to the principles of President Tyler on the subject of negro slavery, I am as abhorrent of them as ever I was; indeed, if it was possible to increase my contempt of slave-owners and the advocates of slavery, my sentiments are more intense now than ever they were, and I will avail myself of the first practical opportunity of giving utterance to them, especially in connection with the horrible project of annexing Texas to the United States." (source: "Letter to James Haughton, February 4, 1845" at _Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition_, Yale Center for International and Area Studies site.

Except for the line and rhyme structure and the use of the title in the last line of each verse this ballad seems unrelated to the earlier "Grand Conversation" broadsides. - BS

This item shows O'Connell as more of a visionary than usual: President Polk (the successor to Tyler) would annex Texas under the pretext of the Mexican War, and that annexation did indeed provoke the American Civil War, because it led to the collapse of the Missouri Compromise and led to the increasingly frantic attempts at conciliation which eventually failed and caused the Union to come apart.

It also shows the higher plane on which O'Connell lived: The Irish leaders of the next generation generally had no qualms against slavery; John Mitchel, indeed, actively advocated it. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1775-1847 - Life of Daniel O'Connell
  • Feb 1, 1815 - Kills D'Esterre in a duel over a political comment made by O'Connell
  • 1823 - O'Connell's Catholic Association formed to resist the requirement that Irish Catholics pay tithes to the Anglican Church of Ireland.
  • July 1828 - Daniel O'Connell elected MP.
  • 1829 - Catholic "emancipation," allowing them every political right open to Protestants of equivalent position
  • 1840-1843 - O'Connell led the movement to repeal the act that joined Ireland and Great Britain as the United Kingdom
  • May 15, 1847 - O'Connell dies
  • 1854-1856 - Crimean War

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Firth c.26(87)[final lines illegible], "Grand Conversation on O'Connell Arose" ("Come all you sons of Erin's land and mourn the loss of noble Dan"), J.O. Bebbington (Manchester), 1858-1861; also 2806 b.10(20)[some lines illegible], 2806 b.10(36), "Grand Conversation on O'Connell Arose"


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1862 (broadside, Bodleian Firth c.26(87))