Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/179

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

they are, they are men of worthless account, unknown and unrespected, and we have no fear that their influence will corrupt the mass of our people. They belong and appeal to that portion of the Irish in America of which true Ireland has least reason to be proud. But no matter how small the snake that wriggles through your garden, the only safe way is to take a switch and break its back.

The Irishmen who would form or join such an order as that described above, stand in the same relation to us as the members of the O. A. P. or O. U. A. M., or any other order of Know-nothings in the country; nay, the Irishman who would join such a party is even more our enemy than they are, for not only does he adopt their shameful course, but he throws the discredit of his conduct on the people to whom he belongs.

The Irishman who would proscribe a native American, and the native American who would proscribe an Irishman, are guilty of the same crime against the principles of the Constitution. But the Irishman is guilty of more than the other: when he joins a secret society he is recreant to his religion; when he joins a prescriptive society he is recreant to his citizenship.

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All that was good and beautiful in our dear native island, we should cherish forever. We have her faith and her honor to preserve and to make respected. We have sympathy with her trials and her efforts to be free. But we cannot, as honest men, band together in American politics under the shadow of an Irish flag.

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We do not know whether this Cleveland Convention is designed to affect Irish or American politics. The heads of it have taken care not to let us know anything of their movements. But we shall follow their track with a lantern at all times; and we advise our people in Cleveland and elsewhere to treat them as a pack of miserable Know-nothings.

Reviewing the editorial work of John Boyle O'Reilly during twenty years, and understanding, as only newspaper men can understand, the difficulties under which such work is performed, especially the necessity which it involves of deciding quickly on matters, often of gravest importance, the unerring instinct with which O'Reilly decided rightly in almost every case is little short of marvelous. The editor of the ordinary weekly paper is supposed to have abundance of leisure for forming and expressing his opinions. Such was not the case with O'Reilly. He preferred writing his articles at the last moment; he was as scrupulous as the most enterprising of "night editors" in getting the latest