Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/155

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117
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

them with pistol bullets. A terrible melée was the consequence, in which four lives were lost, and numbers endangered.

Is not this cause for deep humiliation? Earnest men have labored for years to remove that bitter old taunt of our enemies—"You cannot unite." Patient workers have tried to teach the world, and even ourselves, that this reproach was not the truth. This is the reward of their labor. Our own people, in a strange land, have insultingly turned on their benefactors and flung their labor in their faces. Oh, what a national degradation is this! We talk of patriotism and independence! We prate and boast of our "national will"! What evidence is this? What are we to-day in the eyes of Americans? Aliens from a petty island in the Atlantic, boasting of our patriotism and fraternity, and showing at the same moment the deadly hatred that rankles against our brethren and fellow-countrymen. Why must we carry, wherever we go, those accursed and contemptible island feuds? Shall we never be shamed into the knowledge of the brazen impudence of allowing our national hatreds to disturb the peace and the safety of the respectable citizens of this country? Must the day come when the degrading truth cannot be muffled up, that the murderous animosity of Irish partyism has become a public nuisance in almost every corner of the world? We cannot dwell on this subject. We cannot, and we care not to analyze this mountain of disgrace, to find out to which party the blame is attached. Both parties are to be blamed and condemned; for both have joined in making the name of Irishmen a scoff and a byword this day in America.

Thus, almost his first word as a journalist was one of rebuke to the wretched spirit of faction which has ever been the bane, and shame, and ruin of Ireland. So also, the last words that he ever penned for the Pilot, after twenty years of untiring service as the guide and friend and counselor of his people, were in condemnation of the foolish, futile, dangerous dissensions among men who, enlisted in the service of their country, would forget the enemy before them, to turn their arms against one another.

A year after the Orange demonstration of 1870, the same organization again paraded in New York, and again another disgraceful riot ensued. In the Pilot of July 29, 1871, O'Reilly wrote these wise and temperate words concerning—"The Orange Parade—and Other Parades."

On both sides of the question there have been made about enough wild and intemperate assertions, charges, and countercharges. Let us