Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 6.djvu/118

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

THE WORLD'S FAMOUS ORATIONS


Without it, if they are trampled upon and plundered by a minister, where is the tribunal to which the offender shall be amenable? Without it, where is the ear to hear, or the heart to feel, or the hand to redress their sufferings? Shall they be found, let me ask you, in the accursed bands of imps and minions that bask in their disgrace, and fatten upon their spoils, and flourish upon their ruin? But let me not put this to you as a merely speculative question. It is a plain question of fact: rely upon it, physical man is everywhere the same; it is only the various operations of moral causes that give variety to the social or individual character and condition. How otherwise happens it that modern slavery looks quietly at the despot on the very spot where Leonidas expired? The answer is easy; Sparta has not changed her climate, but she has lost that government which her liberty could not survive.

I call you, therefore, to the plain question of fact. This paper recommends a reform in Parliament: I put that question to your consciences; do you think it needs that reform? I put it boldly and fairly to you; do you think the people of Ireland are represented as they ought to be?

Do you hesitate for an answer? If you do, let me remind you that until the last year three millions of your countrymen have, by the express letter of the law, been excluded from the reality of actual, and even from the phantom

108