Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 6.djvu/269
JOHN E. REDMOND
to speak on this point with authority—I claim to-day that Ireland and the Irish party stand on this question precisely where Parnell stood in '86. Altho that is so, Ireland has always denied and Ireland still denies that the Union was binding upon her either legally or morally. And here on this historic occasion we have assembled to renew our protest and to place it upon record.
Well, England thus destroyed our Constitution in 1800. What has she given us in return? Has she given us in return her own Constitution? Nothing of the kind. Never for one single hour since the Union was passed has Ireland been a constitutionally governed country. Never for one hour has the sovereign of England been the constitutional sovereign of Ireland. Ireland, in effect, has since 1800 been governed as a Crown Colony, with certain empty forms and pretenses of constitutionalism. Never for one hour has the English government of Ireland obtained the assent, or approval, or confidence of the people of Ireland. Never for one hour have the elected representatives of the majority of the Irish people had the control or even a potent voice in the government of this country. Never for one hour since then has the English government of Ireland rested upon anything except naked force and unabashed corruption. Never for one hour has the British Constitution been in force in this country, whose own Constitution was destroyed. Why, the mere fact that in one hundred years eighty-seven coercion acts have been passed by