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occurred for him, failing, when it is too late to commence studying for a different profession, and then perhaps settling down as assistant in a school. Or if he does succeed finding himself fixed for several years in a position in which he feels his energies cramped, and his efforts for self-improvement checked; a position which precludes him from taking professional employment out of College, and yet does not provide him with regular occupation within, at least not on terms which would render it prudent for him to accept it. If the value of a fellowship is diminishing and the opportunities of obtaining it becoming rarer, while the path to success in all other professions is being made more open to men of ability, we may, without Beranger's magic glass, see the future Fellows gradually becoming Les Infiniment Petits.
ART. VII.--STEPHEN COPPINGER.
Within the last five months have passed away three veteran soldiers in the ranks of the old Catholic Association which, organised by the great leader, O'Connell, fought and won the glorious battle of civil and religious liberty. Withont aiming to emulate the diamond wit and showy flowers of Sheil, or the vehement eloquence of " Honest Jack Lawless," the names of Nicholas Purcell O'Gorman, Eneas M'Donell, and Stephen Coppinger, formed at one time an important engine of concentrated oratorical strength which accomplished some very remarkable cases of political conversion, and no doubt had considerable effect in breaking down the hostile policy of our rulers.
In the midst of life, and of health, and of happiness, we are in death. On Friday, May 28th, we met Mr. Coppinger, and while the sensations of heart and hand, produced by the hearty “shake" with which he usually greeted his friends, were still vibrating, we heard of his sadly sudden death. Mr. Coppinger departed this life on Saturday morning, May 29th.
As Coppinger may be regarded as the last of an important national band, we may, perhaps, be permitted to indulge in a few words of tribute to his memory.
Born in 1795, of an old and respectable family in the County Cork, of which the patriot prelate, Dr. Coppinger of Cloyne, was a member, Mr. Coppinger received the advantages of a sound early education, and a subsequently successful course through Trinity College, Dublin. His father, Thomas Stephen Coppinger, of Leemount, in the County Cork, observed some indications of talent in the boy, and spared neither pains nor expense in developing it.
Mr. Coppinger was an alumnus of Alma Mater during the struggle between John Wilson Croker and William Conyngham Plunket for the representation of the University; and Mr. Coppinger was stored with interesting anecdotes illustrative of that exciting contest. Amongst the number, we have heard bim tell the following. Croker, although a high Tory, advocated the question of Emancipation as warmly as Plunket himself; and Dr. Sands, the Provost, (afterwards successively Bishop of Killaloe and Cashel), a man of liberal and enlarged
ideas, wavered as to whether he should support Plunket or his conservative rival. A recollection of the very virulent tone of Plunket's speech on the trial of Robert Emmet, gave Dr. Sands a personal distaste towards Plunket,and the Provost finally decided upon giving his vote and interest to Croker. Plunket heard some rumours of the operating cause of Dr. Sand's dislike towards him, and relying upon his great powers of logic and persuasion, he sought and obtained an interview with the Provost in order to explain his conduct on the mernorable state prosecution in question.
“ Here," said Plunket, drawing a document from his pocket, “ here is the report of my speech, verbatim : read it, and test by ocular demonstration, whether the language expressed by me upon that occasion has not been grossly exaggerated.” Sir," replied Sands, “I HEARD it, and that is enough !"*
Early in 1823 the plan of the Catholic Association was struck out by O'Connell and Sheil at Glancullen, the residence of the late Christopher Fitzsimon, Esq., Clerk of the Hanaper. This powerful confederation soon assumed a decided shape, attitude, and tone; and amongst its first adherents we find the name of Stephen Coppinger. He had only a short time previously been called to the bar-namely, in Hillary Term, 1819—and he well knew that in openly joining what the government of the day regarded as a treasonable convention he bade adieu to all hope of professional advancement. Mr., afterwards the Right Hon. Anthony Richard Blake, a Catholic barrister, had just been appointed to the high office of Chief Remembrancer of the Exchequer, an event which had no small effect in fanning the flame of ambition in the Catholic bar, especially among the young and ardent members of that body.
It was not, however, until the year 1824, that Mr. Coppinger became a frequent and a fluent speaker at the meetings of the Catholic Association; and from that date until the achievement of Emancipation his name is continually met with in the
It is right to add that Mr. Charles Phillips, in his interesting anecdotal work, “Curran and his Contemporaries," mentions that Plunket remonstrated with Dr. Sands in language of such force and eloquence that the Provost at length relented, and eventually became one of his most devoted partisans. No version of Mr. Coppinger's anecdote on the subject has ever been published before the present occasion.
records of their proceedings. To render the popular organization if possible still more irresistible, O'Connell devised a series of aggregate and fourteen days meetings wbich he kept constantly working in connection with the Catholic Association at the more advanced period of its existence; and of this important adjunct Mr. Coppinger always acted as secretary. He also discharged the duties of this office at the principal provincial Catholic meetings of the period, as the following extract from Mr. William John Fitzpatrick's “ Life and Times of Cloncurry” shews :
“The reader will be amused to see that Lord Cloncurry's unalterable couviction' at this period was, that emancipation never could be obtained, nor would it be worth obtaining, save from an Irish Parliament. As the following extract from a letter of Mr. Coppinger's to the author is introductory to his lordship's communication, we subjoin it :- In the Autumn of 1827, a great provincial meeting of the Catholics of Munster was held in Cork, to which I was appointed secretary, and subsequently a grand public dinner at which the present British ambassador at Athens, Mr. Wyse, presided. As secretary, I sent invitations for the meeting and dinner to several Protestant noblemen and gentlemen, Members of Parliament and others, who were most distinguished for their support of Catholic emancipation; and, foremost among those friends of civil and religious liberty, was the late patriotic and lamented subject of your forthcoming memoir, to whom I addressed a warın invitation, and received in reply the letter which I now enclose.' LORD CLONCURRY TO S. COPYINGER, ESQ., BARRISTER-AT-LAW.
“Lyons, Celbridge, 28th August, 1827. “DEAR SIR-I am sorry to be so circunstanced that I cannot avail myself of the kind invitation of the Catholics of Munster for the 30th inst. Pray make my most grateful acknowledgements to them, and assure them of my unalterable devotion to their cause as founded in justice, and vitally essential to the best interests of my country.
“ Ireland can no longer be despised ; she can no longer be plundered with impunity of her wealth and her rights. Her voice will be heard, and her cause respected, in every quarter of the globe. How glorious will it be to the Catholics, if to them their country shall owe her restored prosperity ! if, forgetting whatever is personal, they demand their own rights as
part only of what is due to Ireland. Does any man doubt that a resident legislature would long since have emancipated the Catholics ? Does any man recollect famine, contagion, or death by starvation in the midst of superabundance, whilst we had to resist Parliament, corrupt as it was ?*
“I am an enemy to half measures. That they are not only dishonorable but useless is, I am certain, at this moment felt, and will be so by the great statesmen of England, who have lately sacrificed so much to the hope of doing good. Much as I love my Catholic countrymen, I would not have voted for the Union as the price of emancipation ; and I am strongly of opinion that emancipation never can be obtained, or be worth obtaining, but from an Irish Parliament.
" These, my unalterable opinions, have, under every circumstance, given me the comfort of an approving conscience, and have gained me what I value above all earthly possessions, the love of my countrymen.
“I beg leave, my dear sir, to return very many thanks for your most obliging letter, and remain, with great respect, &c.,
“ CLONCURRY." Mr. Coppinger's speeches read well; but he had too strong a Cork accent to render his oratory pleasing. His articulation however was distinct, and his voice sonorous, which always made him beard and understocd with ease. Before closing this paper it may interest sone of our readers to quote as a specimen of Mr. Coppinger's style and matter, one of his speeches at the Catholic Association. We have opened the file of the Freeman's Journal, for 1828, and merely select the following at random. It by no means merits to be regarded as Mr. Coppinger's best speech, but, most assuredly, it is not his worst.
After long and anxious watching on the part of the Catholic body, for some relaxation of the Penal disabilities under which they labored, a glimmer of light and bope at length, in 1828, radiated for an instant the clouded horizon of Ireland's destiny. Many able speeches, and some remarkable conversions, were made in the Houses of Lords and Commons,
* This phrase must, we think, include some typographical error. Ought not “ to resist Parliament" be" a native Parliament”? And yet we find no notice of this obvious inaccuracy in the errata of the work.--Ed. I. Q. R.