Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/O'Connell, Morgan

O'CONNELL, MORGAN (1804–1885), politician, second son of Daniel O'Connell (1775–1847) [q. v.], was born at 30 Merrion Square, Dublin, 31 Oct. 1804. In 1819 General Devereux came to Dublin to enlist military aid for Bolivia. He succeeded in embodying the Irish South American legion, and O'Connell was one of the officers who purchased a commission in it. The enterprise was mismanaged; there was no commissariat organisation on board the ships, and a part of the force died on the voyage. The remainder were disembarked on the Spanish main at Santa Margarita, where many deaths took place from starvation. A portion of the expedition, under Feargus O'Connor, effected a junction with Bolivar, and to the energy of these allies the republican successes were chiefly due. O'Connell returned to Ireland after a few years, but only again to seek foreign service in the Austrian army.

On 19 Dec. 1832 he entered parliament in the liberal interest, as one of the members for Meath, and continued to represent that constituency till January 1840, when he was appointed first assistant-registrar of deeds for Ireland, at a salary of 1,200l. a year, a place which he held till 1868. In politics he was never in perfect accord with his father, and his retirement from parliament was probably caused by his inability to accept the repeal movement. During his parliamentary career he fought a duel with William, second baron Alvanley, a lieutenant-colonel in the army, at Chalk Farm, on 4 May 1835. A challenge had been sent by Alvanley to O'Connell's father, who, in accordance with a vow he had made after shooting D'Esterre, declined the meeting. Morgan thereupon took up the challenge. Two shots each were exchanged, but no one was hurt. He afterwards, in December 1835, received a challenge from Benjamin Disraeli, in consequence of an attack made on Disraeli by Morgan's father. Morgan declined to meet Disraeli. Morgan O'Connell died at 12 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, 20 Jan. 1885, and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery on 23 Jan. He married, on 23 July 1840, Kate Mary, youngest daughter of Michael Balfe of South Park, co. Roscommon.

[Hitchman's Public Life of the Earl of Beaconsfield, 1881, pp. 47–55; Greville's Memoirs, 1874, iii. 256–7; Times, 5 May 1835 p. 4, 31 Dec. 1835 p. 5, and 22, 23, 24 Jan. 1885; Freeman's Journal, 21 Jan. 1885 p. 5, 24 Jan. p. 6; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1894, i. 79; cf. art. O'Connell, Daniel, the ‘Liberator.’]

G. C. B.