Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/327

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

centuries the rental has been raised from a few hundred pounds a year to over a hundred thousand pounds a year, the people doing all the improvement and losing in proportion to their labor, and the avaricious corporations in London drawing all the profits.

Ireland asks for the moral support of all good men of all nations in her effort to secure Home Rule. Surely, the Government that has no other answer to give to an industrious, moral people, living in so rich a land, than starvation or emigration, is arraigned and condemned in the sight of God and man, and ought to be wiped out. The Government of England ought to be taken from the hands of the cruel and senseless aristocracy that has misruled so long; and it ought to be passed into the hands of the English and Irish people, to whom it belongs.

Mr. O'Reilly closed his address amid applause, followed by the whole company rising and drinking a toast to "The success of the industrial and commercial questions of Ireland, and their great exponent, John Boyle O'Reilly."

On April 8, Mr. Gladstone introduced his Home Rule Bill in the British House of Commons. On the following night, Mr. Chamberlain sealed his treason by bitterly attacking the measure and its author. O'Reilly did not give an unqualified approval to the bill, which deprived Ireland of representation in the Imperial Parliament, and kept the excise and the constablery under the control of the latter. "It is full of faults and dangers," he said; "it is Home Rule only in name as at present developed. The marks of conceding and temporizing in Cabinet council are on every clause outlined. It says Life, and it enacts Death." But it gave the grand central idea of Home Rule, and, "for this inestimable boon Irishmen are willing to accept imperfections with the hope of ultimate reform. For this offering and the eloquent admission of its moral right. Irishmen throughout the world return to Mr. Gladstone their profound gratitude, admiration, and respect."

The bill was defeated, on its second reading, in the House of Commons, on June 17, by a vote of 341 to 311, whereupon the Gladstone ministry was dissolved and went to the country for its verdict.

In championing Ireland's cause, O'Reilly did not forget