Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/323

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283
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

eviction and starvation; not to make them happy and comfortable, but to pay the rents to the English aristocrats, for whom England has legislated. The landlords have a mortgage on the Irish in America, through their affections. This question has never been between the; people of the two countries, but always between the Irish people and the English aristocrat, the idle, profligate fellow who owns the land and stands between the two peoples. For him and by him has all the legislation for Ireland been made, and for England, too. When the people of the two countries come to settle the question between them, depend on it, they will find a solution. It was only last year for the first time in England that the common people became a factor in politics, when 2,000,000 working men were admitted to this franchise; and it was only by their exercise of that power that the Tory government was prevented from putting another coercion act in force in Ireland, when Lord Salisbury threatened, four weeks ago, to introduce another coercion act for a country which was in peace, without any reason whatever but the will of the landlord class. The only issue for Ireland, if the Tories had remained in power and Lord Salisbury had carried out his intention, would have been rebellion. Unquestionably, Ireland would have been driven into another hopeless rebellion, the meaning of which it would have been hard to explain to the outer world. I believe that when the two peoples can settle this question between themselves they are going to work out the morality of their relations, and that the Irish people have nothing to fear, but everything to hope, from the common people of Great Britain. It is not the sea, but the separated pool that rots; and so it is not the common people, but the separated class of humanity that rots—the aristocrat, the idle man, the man on horseback, the fellow who has ruled Europe for centuries.

Now, let me go into detail over that statement as to the industrial possibilities of Ireland. The soil of Ireland is so fertile that it is absolutely unparalleled. Labor and skill are the only things necessary to produce all over the country. The soil needs no fertilizer that is not at the hands of the farmer all over the country . In many extensive parts of the country fertilizers applied to the soil kill the crops, for the soil will only bear a certain amount of nutrition, and beyond that it refuses to grow, unless left fallow for a year.

The climate is so mild that the cattle, in the winter, are pastured in the field, even in the north. They are not taken in, probably, an average of seven days in the year.

There are 136 safe and deep harbors in the island, a number not possessed by any other country.

The rivers are so deep and numerous that almost every parish might enjoy the advantages of internal navigation. Ireland has nineteen navigable rivers, with which none of the English rivers can compare.