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The Creevey Papers
Thomas Creevey to Elizabeth Ord, 23 October 1828

Vol. I. Contents
Ch. I: 1793-1804
Ch. II: 1805
Ch. III: 1805
Ch. IV: 1806-08
Ch. V: 1809
Ch. VI: 1810
Ch. VII: 1811
Ch. VIII: 1812
Ch. IX: 1813-14
Ch X: 1814-15
Ch XI: 1815-16
Ch XII: 1817-18
Ch XIII: 1819-20
Vol. II. Contents
Ch I: 1821
Ch. II: 1822
Ch. III: 1823-24
Ch. IV: 1825-26
Ch. V: 1827
Ch. VI: 1827-28
Ch. VII: 1828
Ch. VIII: 1829
Ch. IX: 1830-31
Ch. X: 1832-33
Ch. XI: 1833
Ch. XII: 1834
Ch XIII: 1835-36
Ch XIV: 1837-38
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“Kilfane, Oct . 23.

“. . . Lady Duncannon stated her intention of going to the meeting at Kilkenny, to my great surprise, and, as I thought, Duncannon would rather she ad not. However, in her quiet way I saw she was resolved; and accordingly she, Mr. Power, Mr. Tighe of Woodstock and myself embarked after breakfast in a decayed old family coach of Mr. Power’s, that is never used for any other purpose than that of conveying him and his brother foxhunters to cover. Duncannon rode, according to his custom. The meeting was in an immense Catholic chapel, which was crowded to excess. A great portion of its interior was covered with a platform for the speakers and the gentlemen interested in the business. It being known that Lady Duncannon was coming, we were met by a manager at the chapel door, who told her a place was reserved for her upon the platform. . . . There were women without end in the galleries. I was my lady’s bottle-holder and held her cloak for her the whole time; not that she wanted my assistance, for I never saw such pretty attentions as were shewn her all the day. . . . We knew, of course, that Duncannon was to be voted into the chair, and as he could not be so without making a speech, she was nervous to the greatest degree—publick speaking being quite out of his line. However, he acquitted himself to admiration and to the satisfaction of all; and upon my saying to her:—‘Come! we are in port now: nothing can be better than this,’—she said—‘How surprised I am how well he is speaking!’ and then, having shed some tears, she was quite comfortable and enjoyed everything extremely, till the meeting adjourned till the next day. . . . It was a prodigious day for Duncannon, for, with the exception of Power and Tighe, not one of

* The Marquess of Anglesey.

1828.]DAN O’CONNELL.183
the Protestant gentry present gave Duncannon a vote at the last election, nor did they ever attend a Catholic meeting before, though always Liberal, but they went with the Ormonde family. . . . There was one speech made that in point of talent far surpassed all the rest. The speaker was a Protestant squire of large fortune from the county of Wexford, Boyce by name. . . .
O’Connell is far too dramatic for my taste, and yet the nation is dramatic and likes it; and, if you come to that, even poor old Grattan was highly ornamental too. Then I became far more tolerant about O’Connell from what I saw of him on Tuesday at our dinner. He has a very good-humoured countenance and manner, and looks much more like a Kerry squire (which, in truth, he and his race are) than a Dublin lawyer. Then Burke told me on Monday that he [O’Connell] was at the head of the Bar, and deservedly so, and that if he (the Chief Justice) had a suit at law, he would certainly employ him. This, you know, makes a great case for your green-handkerchief-man. Then his face is such a contrast to that of the little spiteful, snarling Shiel.

“You can form no notion of the intense attention paid by the audience of all ages and of all degrees to what was going on; it seemed to be purely critical, without a particle of fanaticism. On the floor of the chapel, in front of the platform, the commonest people from the streets of Kilkenny were collected in great numbers; and if a publick speaker in the midst of his speech was at all at a loss for a word, I heard the proper word suggested from 5 or 6 different voices of this beggarly audience. . . . Yet a better behaved and more orderly audience could not possibly have been collected. . . .

“When the dinner was announced . . . there was a great body of as well-bred gentry as I ever saw collected together. . . . When I mention that the tickets were £1 155. each, and the company 200, you may imagine it was not bad company. . . . I never in my life saw a more agreeable, harmonious meeting—full of life, and yet no drunkenness, tho’ we sat without a single departure till one. . . . My friend Mr. Power appeared in a new character to me that night—I mean as a speaker, and a better one (for his
situation) I never in my life heard. It has been justly said by someone that ‘no man has seen Ireland who has not seen John Power;’ and so say I. . . . I have had this letter in my pocket since Monday, as I could not draw upon
Duncannon for franks in the midst of his constituents, who wanted them.”