Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/347

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

"It will not do Faneuil Hall any harm to hold this royalist meeting within its walls." They say, "We take no sentiment out by the violation of a tradition."

But I say those men do not understand the meaning of the awful words "violation" and "pollution." They would say the same things against the violation and pollution of those dearest and nearest to them—that no injury had been done to them by the crime. There is no crime so terrible as pollution. There is no death so awful and so hopeless as the death of violated honor.

Faneuil Hall could stand against the waves of centuries, could stand against fire, could stand even against folly, but it can never stand against the smoke of its own violated altar. I do not wish to bar the doors of this hall against the royalists. We have let them in by the order of those whom we have elected to represent us; and if we open the doors we must bear the burden. On our heads is the shame. I say now, that after the fumes of their baked meats and after the spirits of their royalist speeches intended to desecrate and destroy a holy tradition—after that, this is not Faneuil Hall.

I speak for myself so honestly and faithfully to my own conscience that I know I must represent the hearts of many men in Boston, and I say that hereafter we must remember against this pile what has been done in it.

Well, let the Englishmen have Faneuil Hall. (Voices: "No, no!") I say you cannot prevent it. (Voices: "We will; we can!") No, no, the opposition is too late. The opposition would be undignified, and would be unworthy of us. The man who would raise a finger against an Englishman to-morrow in Boston, is unworthy to be present here to-night. There is a greater opposition than the opposition of paving-stones and bludgeons. Let that be Lansdowne's method. It is not ours. It isn't worthy of Boston. It isn't worthy of the Faneuil Hall of the past.

But I say for myself—what I came to say—that after to-morrow night I trust we shall have a hall in Boston, into which men may go for sanctuary, and causes may go for sanctuary; as in the olden time, a hunted cause, or a weak man running from the King's oppression, running even from the law officers, if he could lay his hands on the sanctuary he was safe for a time. And all hunted causes in America and in the world have come here. Kossuth came here from Hungary, O'Connor came here from Ireland, Parnell came here from Ireland. Here is a hall made holy with great men's words and spirits. We must have a hall unpolluted by the breath of Toryism and royalty in Boston. And I say this as one humble man, who was always proud to come and speak here—that I will never enter the walls of this hall again. I will never, so help me God, I will never—may my tongue