Feargus Edward O'Connor

O'Connor, Feargus Edward, a nephew of preceding, one of the numerous children of Roger O'Connor by his second wife, was born at Connerville, County of Cork, in 1796. He first took an active part in politics in 1831, vehemently advocating Reform and Repeal, and supporting the people in the tithe-war; and rather to the surprise of his friends, and greatly to the dissatisfaction of those who had theretofore considered the seat an appanage of their property, he was in 1832 returned for the County of Cork. His language was vituperative and bombastic to the last degree, yet not without considerable power. Although at first he acknowledged O'Connell's leadership, and attended his National Council of Irish members in Dublin, in November 1833, he eventually broke away, and strove to lead the Repeal party. This made him unpopular in Ireland, and after being unseated on petition in 1834, he retired to England, threw himself into the Chartist movement, and became very popular throughout the north and centre of England.

He established and edited the Northern Star newspaper, which at one time attained a circulation of 60,000. For seditious libel he suffered an imprisonment of some duration in York Castle, where it is stated he was treated with great and unnecessary severity. In July 1847 O'Connor was returned to Parliament for Nottingham, and in 1848 he headed a great Chartist demonstration in London. A Chartist land scheme involved hundreds in ruin, and perhaps contributed to the overthrow of his intellect. After indulging in some strange freaks in the House of Commons in 1853, he was committed to a private asylum. He died in London, 30th August 1855, aged 59, and a large funeral procession followed his remains to Kensal-green Cemetery. A statue has been erected to his memory in Nottingham.


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