Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/157

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119
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

a time as this is too serious for flattery. It may be outside the track of Irish-American journals to say harsh things to their readers, or venture to attack old beliefs. But there are things to be said on this question that must be said some time; and it is better that a friendly hand should pull down our old rookeries than that an enemy's torch should be applied to them. Plain talk is like spring medicine—unpalatable, but necessary.

If the Orangemen determine to parade, they have a right to parade; that is, they have as much right to parade with orange scarfs and banners, as a Fenian regiment has with green scarfs and sunbursts. But, it may be that neither party has a right to parade; that they have simply been tolerated by the authorities. If it be found that such toleration is detrimental to public security, we think that every reflecting Irish-American citizen will at once say that both processions should be proscribed. The very ablest defenders of the mob say that they do not quarrel with the Orangemen simply because they are Protestants. What do they quarrel with them for? They have no right to quarrel with them for their colors, for the Fenian Legion of St. Patrick, organized with a view to make war on England, flaunts the green flag of Ireland in the faces of thousands of Englishmen in New York City. Really, we are almost forced to the conclusion that the whole ground of objection consists in the fact that the Orangemen play, "Croppies Lie Down." We admit that this is, and should be considered, an insulting tune by the Irish people; and we should deeply regret to see them lose their detestation of it. But, let us ask, is it sufficient cause to warrant a violation of the law and a sacrifice of life?

We have written this article with a most oppressive feeling of its necessity. Thousands of people who are too intelligent to put their individual opinions against the decree of the State of New York, still allow their sympathy to run away with them, and thus leave it in the power of their enemies to say that they are in all things in unison with the New York mob. This is a sad mistake. Certain it is that the Orange procession is not a pleasant sight to any Irish Catholic, however unprejudiced; but it is just as certain that the Irish Catholics of this country, as a body, condemn all breach of the law in attacking an Orange procession, just as honestly as they would condemn a riot of any other criminal nature.

There are two ways of getting rid of this apple of discord. The first is, by an agreement between the general Irish population and the Orangemen foregoing all right to parade, and expressing their determination never to hold processions for Irish political objects alone. This we may rest assured, will not be easily agreed to. The second one is the best, and the one that must come in the end, when America, tired out and indignant with her squabbling population, puts her foot down