Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/317

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

Men who are conservative and law-abiding, who love peace, and desire good-will between Ireland and England, will be compelled to agree with those who are sure to urge the policy of desperation and despair.

In a word, England will wantonly and stupidly and criminally create a condition of things which cannot possibly be for her good, and which will insure the endless detestation of Ireland.

Martial law will not settle the Irish question, and no wise Englishman would advise it.

"The Irish question is mainly an Irish-American question," says the London Times, sneeringly. And is it not all the more significant? The Irish in America send millions on millions of dollars a year to pay the rents and feed their suffering kindred in Ireland. This is reason enough, without the natural desire for freedom.

If England dream that the Irish in America can be tired out she makes a woeful mistake. For every thousand dollars sent to-day, we can send Ireland a million for the next ten years if she need it.

The Irish demand for Home Rule must be granted. If it be refused, and if the London Times dictate the English policy, the evil-doer will suffer more than the victim. And in the end, Ireland will have Some Rule.

Parliament met in January, and the Queen, a stuffed simalacrum of royal authority, read the message written for her by an intelligent secretary, advising coercion as a panacea for Ireland's woes. In the debate that followed, Mr. Sexton, M.P., announced that the member for Midlothian, Mr. Gladstone, had expressed his approval of a Home Rule measure, and the announcement was greeted with an affirmative nod from the great English Liberal. This simple motion of Gladstone's head caused those of all England to wag in approval or denial. By the friends of Home Rule it was justly interpreted as a sign of unqualified adherence to their cause. "Mr. Gladstone's nod," wrote O'Reilly, "was more potent than the Queen's speech, and the royal Tory flummery. Ireland has scored her highest mark during this week." But the Tories had more than one arrow in their quiver; they had the barbed shaft of bigotry, and the poisoned one of treachery. Lord Randolph Churchill was to discharge the first, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain the second, Churchill, a free lance and free-