Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/182

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THE WORLD'S FAMOUS ORATIONS

Ireland, England and Scotland need only to put their foot down ; and we have had this very day in the newspapers a vigorous and trenchant ex- pression of that view from the leader of the Tory party.

Now, I admit that England and Scotland can govern Ireland by repression. We in Great Britain are more than thirty millions of people. We have got the men ; we have got the ships and the arms ; if they wish, we have got the money, too ; and if Great Britain chooses to put her foot down, she can crush Ireland under an iron heel. But let me ask the question: Is this what the British people wish to do or mean to do? If our government were a despotism, sir, or such an oligarchy as ruled before the Reform Act of 1832, I could understand my right honorable friend, the member for East Edinburgh [Mr. Goschen] , or Lord Salisbury making this proposi- tion. But what are we? We are a democracy, sir — a modern democracy. A modern democracy is fitted neither by its methods of government nor by its sentiments for a policy of that sort. A democracy would not consent to, and, if it had consented, would never persist in such a policy. A democracy has a short memory; and altho it might, in a moment of exasperation, pass severe laws, it would soon forget the occasion of those laws and repeal them.

A democracy loves equality, and it could not bear to think, as it would be apt to think, that in ruling by stern laws it was oppressing the 156

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