Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/316

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276
JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY.
inevitable. It will take three years to vaccinate her with the idea and allow it to "take!"

In conclusion, he said:

There are three stages in specific reform—agitation, controversy, and legislation. The Irish have passed through the first, and are entering the second.

Parnell, with fifteen or twenty votes, was not a power; he was only a voice, an emphasis, an appeal. He was an agitational influence. With eighty-six votes he is a controversial force. "He has compelled John Bull to listen," as Wendell Phillips said of him.

In 1889, I predict, the legislative stage of the Irish question will have arrived; and the union with England, which shall then have cursed Ireland for nine tenths of a century, will be repealed.

Ere this article had appeared, the London Times, in its issue of Christmas Eve, advised the alternative of a Cromwellian policy, the expulsion of the Irish members from Parliament, and the proclamation of martial law in Ireland. O'Reilly commented:

There are classes in England that remember nothing and learn nothing. But the bloody experiment of Cromwell, which failed, must never be tried again. Forty millions of men solemnly declare that IT—MUST—NOT—BE—TRIED—AGAIN.

Ireland has won by England's own laws: and now if England trample on her own laws, and outrage Ireland with violence and lawlessness, she is a revolutionist and a criminal, to be treated by the Irish as a pirate and robber on land and sea.

Cromwell had to deal with less than four million Irishmen, who were all in Ireland. Gladstone has to deal with five millions in Ireland, five millions in Great Britain, and thirty millions elsewhere.

Let martial law be proclaimed in Ireland, and at once the Irish in America, Canada, and Australia are a solid body in retaliation. Their vast organizations would merge into one tremendous will, to boycott everything English.

******

If to martial law and disfranchisement be added imprisonment and murder of the people in Ireland, England will surely find a violent answer from Irishmen. She will not be allowed to break all laws of God and man with impunity. She will have to watch and defend with a knife every parcel of property she possesses. Her ships will be avoided by all travelers, for they shall be in danger on every sea. Her aristocrats will have to stay at home, or risk reprisals on their treasured lives for the slaughter of humble people in Ireland.