The "sawney" (i.e., fool or simpleton) is New York "Herald" editor James Gordon Bennett. The artist gives a comic portrayal of Bennett's celebrated public rebuff by O'Connell in the Corn Exchange in Dublin in August 1843. The print probably appeared in September, when the incident was reported in Bennett's rival New York papers, including the "Courier and Enquirer." Bennett's embarrassment had been reported in British papers in August, and the print bears the subtitle "Second edition revised by "our" Corps of Reporters."
The interior of the Corn Exchange is shown. Thomas Steele (with visored cap, far left) has just presented O'Connell with ". . . the Card of an American Gentlemen, Mr. James Gordon Bennett of New York, with whom I have not the pleasure of an acquaintance!" O'Connell holds a paper marked "Repeal Rent" and has let the card fall to the floor. Rising from his chair he replies: "He is just the very Man that we don't want here. He is the Editor of the Vilest Gazette that ever disgraced the Press in any Country, the New York Herald. a more infamous Paper, I suppose never existed!"
On the exchange floor, making an undignified exit right is Bennett, who comments, "For the distresses and social evils of the gallant People of Ireland, I have as an American, a sympathy less expansive than Mr. O'Connell's but equally as sincere a hand that may not dive as deep into their pockets." He holds a copy of the "Herald," which says "Black-Mail Buckingham . . . Black-Mail O'Connell . . ."
English lecturer Silk Buckingham had charged Bennett with attempting to extort money from him, and O'Connell made mention of this charge in his attack on Bennett in the Corn Exchange. Bennett's paper opposed American support of the repeal movement, and helped to undermine this support by publishing O'Connell's speeches condemning American slavery. (See also "Race between Bennett and Greely for the Post Office Stakes," no. 1843-4, for another reference to "Black-Mail.")
Spectators on the floor and in the galleries comment in English and Gaelic. A "Repeal" banner is prominently displayed.