Lot #181
Daniel O'Connell Autograph Letter Signed

Fifteen-page handwritten letter to Jeremy Bentham, commenting on English law reform and Simon Bolivar's South America
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Estimate: $500+


Fifteen-page handwritten letter to Jeremy Bentham, commenting on English law reform and Simon Bolivar's South America

Irish political leader (1775-1847) best known for his tireless efforts on behalf of Catholic Emancipation and the repeal of the Act of Union which combined Ireland and Great Britain. ALS, fifteen pages on four sets of adjoining sheets, 7.75 x 9.75, October 22, 1829. Lengthy handwritten letter to English philosopher and social reformer Jeremy Bentham, commenting on law reform and Simon Bolivar's efforts in South America. In part: "My speech…was miserably reported. All or nearly all about law reform was left out…I have on more than one occasion since avowed myself to be a Bethemite—and that boast has found its way into many newspapers…As to an article on the Catholic association, I am utterly incompetent to write it. I was myself the prince mover of that body and I cannot be a judge of myself. There would be utter partiality or affectation or perhaps both in my account of it…Brougham is in what the grand Duke of Wellington calls a 'false position' but he is a law reformer according to the faith that is in him. He never will do to propose any comprehensive measures but his pioneering has struck down much of the impending under and over growth of legal technicality. He can never oppose us directly, and his indirect and sneering opposition will expose him to a just retaliation. But I have really better hopes of him. He acted on one occasion within my personal knowledge with singleness of purpose. I have better hopes of him. But no matter. This session—now or never—for law reform. We must begin the first day of this session before the King's speech if possible. No delay, no vacation…I trust the American republics will at length settle into peace, the number of selfish beings which the revolutions have produced desirous of converting the popular struggles into individual advantage is not creditable to them. But these materials for change was of the worst description, and to this I verily believe much of the conduct of Bolivar which appears suspicious is to be attributed. Look beneath however at his career and behold what eminent services he has rendered to Liberty. It was his generous persevering ardour that in spite of every motive to despair enabled him at length to crush the Spaniards in Columbia and thereby to lay the foundation of freedom in other and even very distant provinces. He first taught the natives that the Spaniards were not invincible. Then he established the perfect equalization of civil rights amongst all castes and colors." Hand-addressed and free franked on two of the integral leaves in O'Connell's hand, evidently posted in two separate transactions given its extreme length. In very good to fine condition, with moderately heavy toning, and seal related paper loss, to the address panel, which also serves as the letter's final page.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #616 - Ended September 15, 2021

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