Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/257

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217
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES
policy of the office-holders and the Dublin Castle crowd. These men, hereditary office-holders, thriftless, largely profligate, in danger of absolute beggary and arrest if dismissed from office—these men, I say, were the only men in Ireland whose direct interest it was to retain Coercion, to destroy the new order of Conciliation. How could this be done? How could they achieve this purpose? By the commission of an outrage that would be laid at the door of the people. By the murder of a high official. I say, here is a powerful motive for this awful crime—the only motive to be found in all the complex elements of Irish life. I say there is a charge from us against this class—a charge that must be investigated and settled—and we are ready to abide by the settlement. And now for a word of indignation—not as an Irishman so much as an American. The infamous charge has been made by a portion of the English press and the coercion agents in Ireland that this assassination was traceable to the Irish people in America. I read in the papers this morning that the English Minister at Washington and the English Consul in Boston and other American cities had publicly offered rewards in this country for information relative to this fearful crime. As a citizen of Boston, I indignantly protest against this infamous implication that some of the citizens of our proud city have a guilty knowledge of this horrible thing. I indignantly protest against the shameful implication. It is for us Irishmen to offer rewards not in this country, but among the English coercion agents in Ireland. Depend on it that the Irish people will have to buy justice in this matter. The constablery will make no arrests among the official class, unless urged to do so by enormous rewards. Why should they arrest men and destroy their own power and prestige? They see that this crime has served their own purpose. It is for us to offer rewards, and resolve, as we do here to-night, never to rest until we have hunted down these assassins, and cleared the stain from the name of Ireland.

Resolutions in accordance with, the spirit of this declaration were passed, and a letter was read from Wendell Phillips, saying:

Boston, May 9, 1882.

Gentlemen: I am very sorry I cannot join you to-night in expressing our profound regret for the disastrous eclipse which has come over Ireland's proudest hour, and our detestation and horror for this cruel, cowardly, and brutal murder. No words can adequately tell my sorrow for the injury our cause has suffered or my abhorrence of this hideous crime—a disgrace to civilization. But it is by no means clear whether this black act comes from some maddened friend of Ireland or is the cunning and desperate device of her worst enemies. Let us wait for further evidence before we consent to believe that any Irishman