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A Sketch of the Life of the Hon. and Right Reverend Alexander MacDonell
The Bishop's last visit to England


At the dinner given to him on the eve of his departure for England there was a large attendance of the Bishop's friends of al religious denominations, including nearly all the prominent residents of the city and the officers of the garrison, with whom the Bishop always lived on terms of the most intimate and cordial friendship.

The chair was taken by the Sheriff of the district, supported on either side by the Bishop and his coadjutor. The toasts and speeches usual on such occasions were given and made, and the affair passed off to the satisfaction of all present. Some days afterwards the Bishop commenced his journey, and was accompanied to the Steamboat "Dolphin" by a large number of his personal friends, the old bell of St. Joseph's Church pealing forth a parting salute.

The Bishop and his party landed at Liverpool on the 1st of August, 1839. Soon after his arrival the Bishop went to London, where he communicated personally with the Colonial Office regarding his plan of emigration from the highlands as a measure of relief to his suffering fellow-countrymen in Scotland, and as a security and benefit to his fellow-countrymen in Canada; as well as with regard to the establishing of the College for the domestic education of the priesthood and other matters. He then visited the scenes of his nativity and childhood, and was present at the great northern meeting at Inverness in October. In the same month he passed over to Ireland, intending to be present at a great dinner given to the Catholic prelates in the City of Cork, but a dense fog in the Clyde and adverse winds prevented him from arriving in time for the festival. Nevertheless, he visited the Bishops, and being unable to obtain, in the West of Ireland, any other conveyance than a jaunting car, he was exposed during the entire day to one of the drizzling rains so common to that region. This exposure brought on inflammation of the lungs. accompanied by a severe cough and although he placed himself under the care of the President of Carlow College, and afterwards with the Jesuits of Clongowes Wood, and received much benefit and every attention, he still continued so indisposed on arriving in Dublin as to be obliged to keep to his bed for nearly a fortnight. From Dublin he went to Armagh, and remained a short time with the Catholic Primate. He then accepted the invitation of his friend the Earl of Gosford, to Gosford Castle, near Market Hill, Armagh, where, under the roof of that kind-hearted nobleman, who had been Governor-General of Canada from 1835 to 1838 (immediately preceding the Earl of Durham), he appeared to have completely recovered. He then returned to Scotland, a great meeting of noblemen and proprietors having in the meantime been held (on the 10th of January, 1840) at the Hopetown Room, Edinburgh, at which the Bishop's measure of emigration was discussed, the Bishop's travelling companion, Dr. Rolph, attending it as his representative.


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