O'BRIEN, James Francis Xavier, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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O'BRIEN, James Francis Xavier (1828-1905). Irish Nationalist.
Good Autograph Letter Signed to Basil E.P. Greig [?Gregg], in Torquay, 2 facing pages 8vo (old mounting to the second), United Irish League of Great Britain, 14 September 1900. Discussing the attitude of the British parliamentary parties towards Ireland, adding in a postscript that 'In the foregoing remarks I speak for myself only', and suggesting that a period of out of office would sweeten the Tories.
'... Liberals as a rule are more friendly disposed towards Ireland than Tories, and personally I would prefer to receive justice from the former. But for all that, it is possible that the Tories may soon come to see that "honesty is the best policy" - for themselves & for Great Britain as well as for Ireland; and if they do get the good disposition towards Ireland they would also have greater power for giving us justice.
 'The Tories are more likely to cultivate that spirit of fair play towards Ireland by spending some time without the sweets of office. I would therefore like to see them defeated at the approaching election - or at least to see their present majority much diminished.'
O'Brien, by this date the respected member of parliament for Cork City (previously for South Mayo) and general secretary of the United Irish League of Great Britain, had been involved in an attack by the Fenians on the Ballynockan police barracks on the night of 3 March 1867. For this crime of treason he had been sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, the last man to be sentenced to this punishment. The sentence was, however, commuted to penal servitude for life, and O'Brien was held initially in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, and later in London, where he was kept in solitary confinement for fourteen months. After a period of hard labour in Portland he was released on 4 March 1869.
[No: 24100]

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