Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/248

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of Irish nationalists in recent times—the Young Ireland rising in '48, the Repeal movement of O'Connell, the Fenian revolutionary scheme, and, lastly, the Land League, " conceived in the brain of an Irish political prisoner in a Dartmoor cell, Michael Davitt,—a man of great natural power, with a conscientious hunger for thoroughness of work and understanding, who admitted to his own heart that Irish movements had failed to affect England because they had first failed to enlist Ireland." Referring to the famine of 1880 and the coercive policy of the Government, he said:

The arrest of Parnell and the other leaders—and even the lawless shattering' of the Land League in Ireland by armed and ruffianly force, have been futile work for the English Government. The arrest of Parnell differs from the arrest of O'Connell, because there are now, in this country alone, more organized Irish societies, and twice as many Irishmen as there are in Ireland.

And every thousand Irishmen exercising in America the power of their moral force are a leaven to be heeded more by English statesmen than the armed rebellion of the same men or their fathers in Ireland.

The Land League has succeeded. It has compelled the passage of a law that will lower rents, more or less. It has raised the Irish question into cosmopolitan attention. It has crystalized the national sentiment of the Irish people and their descendants in America, Australia, Canada and other countries. But above all its good results, it has nationalized the Irish farmers, traders, priests and well-to-do classes, and they stand now ready and waiting for the next act in the national drama.

It is time for the curtain to rise again. When the Land League, aided fearfully by the famine, began its agitation, its timeliness and force were acknowledged by all Irish parties. The Home Rulers virtually subsided, giving the newcomers their place. The Revolutionists looked on with unfriendly eyes, at first fearing that the land movement, which only aimed at a detail, would distract attention from the National idea. But as they watched, they saw that the new agitation was raising the farmers and tradesmen into activity, and after a time the Land League was left alone in the field to work out its purpose as best it could.

Now, it must be asked and answered: Where does the Land League propose to end?

Mr. Parnell's object for the organization, expressed more than a year ago, was the expropriation of Irish landlords—which means the purchase of the land by the government and its re-sale on easy terms to the