His Reception At The Rotundo By The Volunteers

It was impossible that the high and distinguished claims to respect and

esteem which O'Leary possessed, should escape unnoticed by the Volunteer

association. Never was a more glorious era in the history of Ireland,

than whilst the wealth, valor, and genius of her inhabitants became

combined for the welfare of their country--whilst every citizen was a

soldier, and every paltry political or sectarian difference and

ction was lost in the full glow and fervor of the great

constitutional object, which roused the energies and fixed the attention

of the people. It was a spectacle worthy the proudest days of Greece or

Rome; but it passed away like the sudden gleam of a summer sun. O'Leary

was exceeded by none of his contemporaries as a patriot: but, though the

coarse and misshapen habit of a poor friar of the order of St. Francis

forebade his intrusion into the more busy scene of national politics,

his pen was not inactive in enlightening and directing his countrymen in

their constitutional pursuits. A highly respectable body of the

Volunteers, the Irish Brigade, conferred on him the honorary dignity

of Chaplain; and many of the measures discussed at the National

Convention held in Dublin, had been previously submitted to his

consideration and judgment. On the 11th of November, 1783, the same day

on which the message said to be from Lord Kenmare was read at the

National Convention, then, holding its meetings in the Rotundo, Father

O'Leary visited that celebrated assemblage. At his arrival at the outer

door, the entire guard of the Volunteers received him under a full

salute, and rested arms: he was ushered into the meeting amidst the

cheers of the assembled delegates; and in the course of the debate which

followed, his name was mentioned in the most flattering and

complimenting manner, by most of the speakers. On his journey from Cork

to the Capital on that occasion, his arrival had been anticipated in

Kilkenny, where he remained to dine; and in consequence, the street in

which the hotel at which he stopped was situate, was filled from an

early hour with persons of every class, who sought to pay a testimony of

respect to an individual, whose writings had so powerfully tended to

promote the welfare and happiness of his countrymen.