“My object is to repeal the conquest – not any part or portion, but the whole and entire conquest of seven hundred years”: Fintan Lalor, 1847

A letter from Lalor to John Mitchel on the landlords, repealing the Union and repealing the Conquest.  Lalor subsequently shifted from the views here, becoming totally opposed to the landlords as a class.  (See “They or we must quit this island: Fintan Lalor on the landlord class, June 24, 1848”; I will have this up on the blog by the end of this month.)  The piece below originally appeared as a single, long paragraph; I have broken it up into shorter paragraphs.

From Sir C. G. Duffy’s Four Years of Irish History: 1845-1849, London, Paris & New York, Cassell, Petter, Galpin, 1883.

I know the Confederation and you by speeches and writing only.  But men may speak and write forcibly and yet act very feebly, and be very competent to criticize, yet utterly incompetent to construct.  Ireland’s greatest and last opportunity was in your hands – a revolution that would have put your own names in the blaze of the sun for ever was in your hands; you have flung it away as the cock flung the diamond, useless to him as the crisis was to you. Vain to him the flash of the gem which he could not polish; vain to you were the lightnings of heaven and the meteors of earth, which you could or would not kindle and guide.

You appear to be under mistakes as to my objects which I cannot permit you to retain.  I have nothing to do with the landlord and tenant question, as understood.  The question of the tenure by which the actual cultivator of the soil should hold his land is one for an Irish Parliament.  My object is to repeal the conquest – not any part or portion, but the whole and entire conquest of seven hundred years – a thing much more easily done than to repeal the Union.

That the absolute (allodial) ownership of the lands of Ireland is vested of right in the people of Ireland – that they, and none but they, are the first landowners and lords paramount, as well as the lawmakers of this island that all titles to land are invalid, not conferred or confirmed by them and that no man has a right to hold one foot of Irish soil otherwise than by grant of tenancy and fee from them, and under such conditions as they may annex, of suit and fealty, etc. – these are my principles.

To such landowners as could be brought to recognize this right of the Irish people, and to swear allegiance to this island queen, I would grant new titles.  Those who might refuse should cease to be landowners or quit this land, and their lands be vested in the occupying tenants.

Posted on March 8, 2019, in 1840s, Famine, Young Ireland & Irish Confederation, Economy and workers' resistance, Famine, Fintan Lalor, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Ireland and British revolution, Ireland in 1800s, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Republicanism pre-1900, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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