Such bold and frank expressions elicited, as might have been expected, comments of approbation as well as of censure. The unpartisan press commended the honesty and courage of the young journalist. Some of his countrymen criticized his sharp rebuke of hot-headed Irishmen, who had allowed their natural indignation against the oppressors of their native country to make them forget their duty to the land of their adoption. To one such critic he replied as follows, defending the right of an honest man to change his opinion, or, as he expressed it, "It is better to be Right than Stubborn."
On our third page will be found a letter signed "Corcoran," purporting to be an expression of Fenian dissatisfaction with our editorial on the New York riot. When we wrote that editorial we were fully aware that it would not be acceptable to certain people in the community. But we knew that therein we expressed the opinions of the calm, rational, and respectable Irish Catholics of America. Least of all did we expect dissatisfaction from the Fenians, whose temperate action in New York, during the excitement immediately preceding the riot, won for them the well-merited praise of every class in the community.
We must, as a friend, remind the writer of this letter that his assertion that we "sneer at the Sunburst" is extremely unjust—and he knows it. Boasting is not our trade, but none of them all loves the Sunburst better than we do. The writer also says, "The Pilot has entirely changed its tone on Fenianism, and, from being friendly, adopted directly the opposite course."The Pilot has done no such thing. The Pilot is as true a friend to all organizations aiming at Ireland's good, now, as it ever has been, and ever shall be. Still, we must reserve our right to criticise unfavorably as well as the opposite. It is said that "there has been no change in the circumstances of Ireland, nor in the principles or policy of the Fenian Brotherhood," but that all the change has been in ourselves. This is incorrect. There has been a very great change in the circumstances of Ireland since the Fenian Brotherhood was a great organization, and, whether in its policy or not, there has been a vast change in the organization. On the column next to that in which is "Corcoran's" letter, is something that tells of a change in Ireland, and something well worthy of every intelligent Irishman's consideration.