Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/312

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CHAPTER XV.


Article in North American Review, "At Last"—Address before the Beacon Club of Boston—Defense of the Colored Men—The Five Dollar Parliamentary Fund—"The American Citizen Soldier"—"The Cry of the Dreamer"—Another Characteristic Letter.


THE general election in Ireland, toward the end of the year 1885, resulted in the return of eighty-six Nationalist, against seventeen Tory members of Parliament from that country. England, Scotland, and Wales had as yet hardly begun to consider Home Rule as a practical question, until it was brought home to them by this remarkable expression of Ireland's will.

To a keen observer and sanguine patriot like O'Reilly, its success now seemed to be only a question of time. In the North American Review for January, 1886, he wrote a graphic summary of Ireland's long struggle for nationality, with a prediction of its approaching success, under the heading "At Last." Reviewing briefly the conquest and spoliation of the country by Henry the Second and his successors, he showed how England, in putting the schoolmaster and the priest on an equal felonious footing, had struck at the brain and heart of the conquered people, in order the better to despoil their pockets:

England had resolved to make the Irish forget that they were Irish, trusting that when this had been achieved she could teach them that they were in truth not Irish, but West Britons, and had never had national freedom, or traditions, or glory, or great men, or wise laws, or famous schools, or a high civilization, and the honor of other nations, but had always been a poor, broken, restless, miserable, quarrelsome people, dreaming about ancient greatness that was all a lie, and about future freedom and honor that were all a delusion; and that God and nature had made them, past and future, subjects to the wise, good,