Feargus Edward O'Connor - Encyclopedia

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FEARGUS EDWARD O'CONNOR (1 79418 55), Chartist leader, was, a son of the Irish Nationalist politician Roger O'Connor (1762-1834), and nephew of Arthur O'Connor (1763-1852), who was the agent in France for Emmet's rebellion; both belonged to the "United Irishmen." He entered parliament as member for the county of Cork in 1832. Though a zealous supporter of repeal, he endeavoured to supplant O'Connell as the leader of the party, an attempt which aroused against him the popular antipathy of the Irish. In 1835 he was unseated on petition, an& after standing unsuccessfully for Oldham he took to stumping England in favour of the new Radical doctrines of the day, and the use of physical force for their adoption. In 1837 he established the Northern Star newspaper at Leeds, and became a vehement advocate of the Chartist movement. He was imprisoned for seditious libel in 1840, and after his release became prominent for his attack on John Bright, and the anti-corn-law league. In 1847 he was returned for Nottingham, and in 1848 he presided at a Chartist demonstration on Kennington Common, which caused great alarm (see Chartism). But the projected march on Westminster fizzled out when the preparations made to receive it became known. The eccentricity which had characterized his opinions from the beginning of his career gradually became more marked until they developed into insanity. He began to conduct himself in a disorderly manner in the - House of Commons, and in 1852 he was found to be of unsound mind by a commission of lunacy. He died at London on the 30th of August 1855, and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery.

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