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One of the first attentions shown me by these gentlemen was to make me
welcome at the Free Trade club in London.

I was not long in England before a crisis was reached in the anti-corn
law movement. The announcement that Sir Robert Peel, then prime minister
of England, had become a convert to the views of Messrs. Cobden and
Bright, came upon the country with startling effect, and formed the turning-
point in the anti-corn law question. Sir Robert had been the strong defense
of the landed aristocracy of England, and his defection left them without a
competent leader, and just here came the opportunity for Mr. Benjamin
Disraeli, the Hebrew—since Lord Beaconsfield. To him it was in public
affairs, the " tide which led on to fortune." With a bitterness unsurpassed, he
had been denounced by reason of his being a Jew, as a lineal descendant of
the thief on the cross. But now his time had come, and he was not the man
to permit it to pass unimproved. For the first time, it seems, he conceived the
idea of placing himself at the head of a great party, and thus become the chief
defender of the landed aristocracy. The way was plain. He was to transcend
all others in effective denunciation of Sir Robert Peel. and surpass all others
in zeal. His ability was equal to the situation, and the world knows the result
of his ambition. I watched him narrowly when I saw him in the House of
Commons, but I saw and heard nothing there that foreshadowed the immense
space he at last came to fill in the mind of his country and the world. He had
nothing of the grace and warmth of Peel in debate, and his speeches were
better in print than when listened to,—yet when he spoke, all eyes were
fixed, and all ears attent. Despite all his ability and power, however, as the
defender of the landed interests of England, his cause was already lost. The
increasing power of the anti-corn law league—the burden of the tax upon
bread, the cry of distress coming from famine-stricken Ireland, and the adhe-
sion of Peel to the views of Cobden and Bright made the repeal of the corn
laws speedy and certain.

The repeal of the union between England and Ireland was not so fortu-
nate. It is still, under one name or another, the cherished hope and inspiration
of her sons. It stands little better or stronger than it did six and thirty years
ago, when its greatest advocate, Daniel O'Connell, welcomed me to Ireland,
and to "Conciliation Hall," and where I first had a specimen of his truly
wondrous eloquence. Until I heard this man, I had thought that the story of
his oratory and power was greatly exaggerated. I did not see how a man
could speak to twenty or thirty thousand people at one time, and be heard by
any considerable number of them; but the mystery was solved when I saw
his ample person, and heard his musical voice. His eloquence came down

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