Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/247

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207
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

several years. When he shaved it oflf in 1880, and clipped his flowing locks, he looked five years younger. Dr. Edgar Parker, the portrait painter, made a fine picture of him in the latter aspect; it hangs in the library of O'Reilly's house in Charlestown, where also is a striking bust of him by John Donoghue.

In October, 1881, the strained relations of Gladstone and Parnell reached a crisis. Mr. Gladstone had the Irish chieftain and other nationalist leaders arrested and imprisoned in Kilmainhara jail. The arrest was as arbitrary as their subsequent release was illogical; the attempt to intimidate the Irish people recoiled upon its authors.

"The precedent of O'Connell's arrest, with the consequent decay of the repeal movement," wrote O'Reilly, "may be remembered by the English government. But the world has changed since then; the very contrary will be the result now. The millions of expatriated Irishmen, three times as numerous as the population of Ireland, send to 'the men in the gap' a courage and firmness that will defy all pressure.

"The world is so united nowadays that every thrill circulates. Things can no more be done in a corner. Nations cannot in these times be strangled in secret. When England strikes Ireland with a sword to-day, or fells her to the earth and manacles her, throat and limb, humanity looks on—and amid that humanity are millions of strong, indignant men who belong by blood to the suffering country.

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"England may imprison every public representative in Ireland. She may break up every public meeting of the Land League. Very well. Then she drives the people to secret organization—she plays into the hands of the revolutionists."

In January, 1882, there appeared in the American Catholic Quarterly Review a thoughtful article by O'Reilly, entitled "Ireland's Opportunity—Will it be Lost? "In a few sentences he reviewed the various efforts