Irish Democratic Alliance - Meeting At Bradford

The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser Saturday 21 February 1852 p. 2.
(From the Northern Star.)

On Monday evening a Soiree and ball was held at the Neptune Inn, Bridge-street, in commemoration of the escape of T. B. M'Manus to the land of liberty. The large room was tastefully decorated; in the centre was an arch of flowers entwined with evergreens, from which was suspended the portrait of the hero of the evening, and around the room were portraits of the Irish Patriots, that of Mitchell (most beautifully decorated) was suspended over the vice chair. The National convention stood proudly forth, and along side was the Wexford Massacre. A quadrille band commenced the amusements with the national air of St. Patrick's day.

Mr. John Kirwin occupied the chair, Mr. James Curtis, the vice. The Stewards wore the national tricolor rosette ; and the respectability of the meeting presented an appearance never before witnessed in Bradford.

The Chairman having explained the objects of the meeting in a neat speech, gave the "Independence of Ireland," which was most heartily received in the usual old Irish way. Mr. M. Maloney responded, and concluded amid the applause of the meeting. The next sentiment was the exile's song, " The Exile of Erin," by Mr. Flynn.

Mr. O'Sullivan, who was called upon to respond, after some introductory remarks on the present state of Ireland, asked the sympathies of his hearers for the virtues and examples of the glorious Mitchell, the eloquent Meagher, the unconquerable O'Brien, and all their brave compeers. Men who had lived but for Ireland and freedom. The honest boldness of the former, whose powerful mind shook off the trammels of class, and whose pen only essayed for his countrymen their freedom, equalisation in political and social privileges, irrespective of class or creed, and whose firmness of purpose rendered him alike an object of their most enthusiastic admiration and esteem. It was he who proclaimed to a down-trodden nation the fact, " that the poorest peasant was as precious as the proudest lord." The untiring eloquence of the noble Meagher, whose manly soul felt wealth and rank a degradation, when not employed in the amelioration of suffering humanity, and whose sole thoughts were centred in the one great object—Irish Nationality. The unconquerable O'Brien, whose uncompromising resolve rendered him alike an object of love and hate-the former to his friends, the latter to his foes—and whose name and spirit future generations would yet evoke as their load-star, and whose escutcheon he (the speaker) trusted, would yet have emblematic of love, liberty, and happiness, their brave compeers, who, one and all acted on the glorious sentiment of their national bard :—

"Far dearer the Tomb or the prison,
Illumined by one patriot's name,
Than the trophies of all who have risen,
On liberty's ruins to fame."

It would ill-become him (the speaker) to pass over without notice, the illustrious band of exiles and martyrs of '98. Who amongst them did not breathe an ejaculation of honour and esteem for that Irish hero, Arthur O'Connor, whose name had become identified and synonymous with the Exiles of Erin, now in the fifty-third year of his banishment ? And where was the son of Erin who felt not proud of enumerating amongst Ireland's children such men as Tone, Fitzgerald, R. O'Connor, Emmett, and the pea- sant commander (Dennis Hoolan) of Oulart Hill ? Nor should they, living in the land of the stranger, forget the English exiles of '48,—the honest Cuffey, the bold Lacey, the upright Fay, the manly Dowling:—men whose only and and object was Equality, Fraternity, and Liberty. What had they to fear with such bright examples before them? Let them unite them in future happiness, let religious distinctions keep them no longer apart, but memory, swift as light, bear them back to the heroes of the past, with a firm resolve to imitate their virtue, to honour their principles, and an untiring devotion to their disinterestedness:— and may their spirit animate them, that they may see the day when the tomb of Emmett should be inscribed, and the living exiles triumphantly return to the laud of their birth amid the joyous shouts of a " Caed Miaulle Failthea." Mr. O'Sullivan resumed his seat amid the acclamations of the meeting.

The next sentiment was, " The escape of T. B. M'Manus." Song, " Who fears to speak of '98," sung by Mr. Collins in excellent style, was cheered and encored. Mr. Smith responded to the sentiment, " The Tenant League." The juvenile portion of the meeting then commenced to trip it on the light fantastic too. All was good humour and joy, and the nmeeting separated at an early hour in the morning, highly delighted.


The phrase "Nor should they, living in the land of the stranger, forget the English exiles of '48,—the honest Cuffey, the bold Lacey, the upright Fay, the manly Dowling:—men whose only and and object was Equality, Fraternity, and Liberty. What had they to fear with such bright examples before them?" shows with what esteem William Cuffay was held by Irish Patriots living in exile in Britain.

That this extract from the Chartist Newspaper the Northern Star appeared in a regional newspaper in Goulburn NSW provides another example of Chartist influence in Australia as well as continued interest in Cuffay as he was beginning his new career as a leader of the labour movement and anti-transportation movement in Hobart.