Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/293

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253
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

that would have served his purpose much better than those English ones of which he had availed himself. The honorable gentleman had gone back to some very ancient cases, but he need not have looked further than a case which was only six or twelve months old, namely, that of Bryan Kilmartin. He might have pointed out as an argument for his court of appeal, that though this man was quite innocent of the offense with which he was charged, he was allowed by the Lord Lieutenant to remain under an atrocious and undeserved stigma. Alluding to the treatment of Irish political prisoners, the honorable member said that it was the treatment which was largely responsible for the maintenance of that temper between the two races which was such a constant cause of alarm. The Home Secretary had said that he knew nothing of Mr. O'Reilly. Well, the right honorable gentleman was the only educated man in the world who did not know that gentleman. He heard derisive cheers, but right honorable gentlemen opposite should recollect the proviso that he had made. He had said the right honorable gentleman was the only "educated" man. Mr. O'Reilly was one of the best known, most respected, and most eminent citizens of the United States. He (Mr. O'Connor) complained of Mr. O'Reilly being constantly referred to as "O'Reilly." It was the tone of insolence, of arrogance, of mean and snobbish contemptuousness which in a great measure accounted for the acrimony which unfortunately characterized Irish discussions in that house. The Home Secretary would live in history, but what would be thought of him, the honorable member, if he were constantly to describe the right honorable gentleman as "Harcourt," or as "William Harcourt," or as "the man Historicus." Then, with reference to the right honorable gentleman's observations on prison breach, he complained again of that style of speech. Would the Ambassador of the United States interest himself on behalf of a common burglar? This was a diplomatic question in which a great government addressed another great government, and the attempt of the right honorable gentleman to reduce it to the contemptible proportions of a common law matter was really not worthy of him. In conclusion he said it would do no harm to any great government to show that it could forget and forgive offenses. As a colleague of the right honorable member for Midlothian he (Mr. O'Connor) would ask the Home Secretary to remember that but for men like John Boyle O'Reilly Liberal governments would not have had the glory of passing measures for the benefit of Ireland. If the application should be renewed, he hoped that the right honorable gentleman would have learned to have some regard for the feelings of Irishmen, and some admiration for those who had done and suffered in their country's cause. These sentiments animated all governments and all peoples, except in the single melancholy instance of the demeanor of England toward Ireland.