Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/338

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she must win. "Depend upon it," said Burke, a century ago, speaking of the Americans, "depend upon it, the lovers of freedom will be free." Twenty years ago the illustrious Englishman who is now the leader of the English people, no matter who may be the Prime Minister,—the great and good man who has proved to the world that Irishmen and Englishmen can forget and forgive and live as loving friends,—this noble statesman who is bent on strengthening England by the friendship of Ireland—Mr. Gladstone—twenty years ago, defending a reform bill, said to the Tories, what he says to-day for Ireland, "You cannot fight against the future. Time is on our side! "How profoundly Ireland is moved by her love of freedom is proved by such men as Justin McCarthy, tested by their ability and illustrated by their poverty. Sir, we know that you are a poor man; and we love and honor you for your poverty, for we know that it is the price of your principle. Instead of being the governor of a great British province, or of sitting in high imperial office, with the title of Lord or Earl, as so many purchasable and weaker men have done, Justin McCarthy comes to America, with the simple title of his own genius,—and we recognize it as a prouder coronet than that conferred by king or kaiser. In his young manhood, he came to where the two roads met, the one leading to affluence and title and the friendship of his country's oppressor, and the other to the poverty and trial and the love of his own oppressed people; and without hesitation or regret he went down into the valley with the struggling masses. This is the test of a noble man.

"Then to side with Truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust.
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 'tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside,
Doubting in his abject spirit, while his Lord is crucified.
And the multitude make virtue of the faith they have denied."

Justin McCarthy has not only written "The History of Our Own Times," but he has done much to make it. On his leaving home for America, the leader of the Irish people, Mr. Parnell, spoke of him as "the most distinguished Irishman in the world." Mr. Parnell can afford to praise; but he could only afford to praise one man in such terms. For all the triumphs of his genius, we honor Justin McCarthy; for his unselfishness, we respect him; for his poverty, we reverence him; but for his love of Ireland, and his devotion to the national cause and the welfare of her people, we love him. And I ask you, gentlemen, to drink, "Long life and happiness to Justin McCarthy!"

It was the rare privilege of O'Reilly to be appreciated and loyed during his life as few men have ever been loved.