Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 6.djvu/254

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MICHAEL DAVITT

ON THE IRISH LAND LEAGUE[1]

(1889)

Born in 1846, died in 1906; joined the Irish Movement in 1865; sentenced to penal servitude for treason and felony in 1870, and served seven and a half years; helped to found the Irish Land League in 1879; arrested and imprisoned for political offenses in 1881 and again in 1883; while in prison elected to Parliament but disqualified by vote of the House; reelected in 1892, but unseated; elected again in 1899.


I am only too sensible of the. fact that I have trespassed upon the patience and forbearance of the court to an extent which, possibly, would not be permitted to a lawyer. I am thankful, therefore, for such latitude, as well as for the unfailing fairness and courtesy of your lordships toward me personally from the very commencement of this inquiry.

I know too well I have spoken hot words and resorted to hard phrases in arguments, which may have been out of place in the calm region of a court like this. But that was because I felt that the character of the charges I have tried to meet and to answer was such as merited the strongest possible language of condemnation. I came here to address this court contrary to the advice of Mr. Parnell, who was the central figure

  1. From a speech delivered before the Special Irish Commission in October, 1889. By kind permission of Messrs. Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.

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