Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/251

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

disadvantages, she will assuredly hold her own under a fairer relationship.

The men who recently issued a Home Rule manifesto in Ireland were undoubtedly right. They struck the proper note exactly; but they did it with uncertain hand, for their utterance has already faded into silence, though it met with no serious opposition.

The people of Ireland are to-day without a national policy. The splendid Land League organization goes on grinding, but it is not grinding toward nationality. Its great-hearted work for the present winter is to protect the evicted families of farmers who refuse to pay rent because England has outraged even her own laws. But Ireland cannot go on forever fighting with all her forces against a minor evil. If she go on for six months longer, England will open her eyes to her opportunity, and bind Ireland in new hemp by the sale of the country to the farmers.

The late Irish-American Convention in Chicago might well have started the national proposition. Had that meeting spoken for an Irish Government in Ireland, with the Union repealed, and a federal union substituted, Ireland would have answered like one man. That meeting did not so speak because a few men antagonized the Home Rule idea, and declare that they will have nothing less than utter separation from England, with a republican and socialistic government for Ireland.

To obtain these two objects, Ireland must fight England with arms. She must seize all the. strong places, at present occupied by fifty thousand armed men. She must, in one month, put in the field an army of at least one hundred thousand men, equipped with engineers and artillery; England in the same time wllI land on her shores at least that number of soldiers. She must establish a fleet, to keep herself from suffocation, if not starvation. And she must fight out a desperate conflict for existence, without a hope of borrowing fifty dollars in foreign markets on her national promissory note.

What sensible Irishman favors this policy? What earnest revolutionist is prepared to wait until all this can be done before Ireland obtains a Parliament of her own?

The sooner Ireland in America speaks on this point the better. Many earnest Irishmen, among the leaders in Ireland, firmly believe that Irish -Americans are all blood-and-thunder radicals. One of the ablest of the leaders now in prison, recently wrote the writer that the belief is widespread in Ireland that the Irish-Americans will have nothing less than absolute "no rent" and ultimate revolution.

Such a belief is utterly wrong. Even the revolutionary party in America condemn as absurd the "No Rent" proposition. This party, too, sees that Irish Home Rule in no way conflicts with their own more consummate settlement.