James Joseph O’Kelly and Home Rule

In August 1875 James Joseph O’Kelly returned to Ireland for the Daniel O’Connell Centennial celebrations. Two days later he was at a meeting in Dublin of the IRB’s Supreme Council. He interviewed O’Connor Power for the New York Herald. In an editorial he wrote about the weakness of Isaac Butt’s leadership and the need for ‘the emergence of a second O’Connell’. There was ‘no man in Ireland competent to the task of a real leader’.  He then described Power as ‘the most able, eloquent and competent available man’.

In September Power arrived in New York. In October he gave a series of lectures at the Cooper Institute. His subject was ‘The Condition of Ireland, Political, Social and Industrial’.  He was in America

… to express the objects and principles of the New National Movement which has agitated the country for the last five years, this is precisely the task which because a better man has not yet found time to discharge it, has fallen to my lot … no matter how many lectures or speeches it requires, I shall continue my humble efforts while an American town remains to be visited, and while one friend of freedom remains to be enlisted in the cause of Irish independence.

Power toured North America for the next six months as the accredited agent of the Supreme Council and as a fundraiser for the Home Rule League.  He sailed home on the Republic and arrived in Liverpool 13 March 1876.

The following September he was again in the United States for the centennial of American Independence.

See That Irishman, pp. 67-75.