Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/243

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203
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

fellow denied the story; but on being asked to put his denial in writing, he quibbled and shirked the act; "upon which," says the Pilot, ingenuously, "Mr. O'Reilly gave him a sound thrashing and kicked him out of the editorial rooms. When Mr. —— speaks about the Pilot in future, people will understand his motive."

O'Reilly, ever a loyal Democrat, waged gallant war for his party's ticket in the presidential election of 1880. When the contest ended in the enemy's favor he took the defeat manfully, like the gladiator that he was, and acknowledged it in the next issue of his paper under the caption,

WHIPPED.

Well, we made a great fight. That is enough for honest Democrats. We fling no reproach on the victors. We wrestled, and have been thrown. Curs whine; we don't.

There is no decadence of Democratic health when a tremendous struggle has wavered long in the balance. The controversy of the campaign has been terrible; but it has been magnificent. Out of the seething vortex the country comes tired,—but cleansed. The victors breathe hard; they have had a lesson of fire. Centralization has not yet been killed—never will be killed till the Democrats elect their President; but Garfleld does not attempt the policy of Grant.

Great principles and parties are solidified and strengthened by defeat. Why has the Democratic party failed to carry the country? It is disgraceful to say that the national will has been decided by corruption. It certainly has been influenced by the rapacity and deliberate wickedness of the office-holding organization. But this must always be true of a national election. Outside of this are the people—and the people have elected Garfield.

******

And now, let us draw breath and return to business. The country is Republican for four years more; but it is safe. There is no room for wild exultation in the other camp. Every thew was strained before we were thrown. The victor respects the vanquished. We are all one people—just a leetle more than half on the other side this time.

But the grand old Democratic principles still live; and next time we wont be whipped.

And they were not.