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Stern scowled the McGregor, then silent and sullen,
Thou knowest in the battle I was never behind;
A parting embrace in one moment she gave-
She wimpled the water to weather and lea,
from a bosom in horror and pain :
EXERCISE LII.-THE IRISH DISTURBANCE BILL OF 1833.
O'Connell. (An example of vehement and empassioned declamation ; requiring the utmost power of voice and gesture.]
I do not rise to fawn or cringe to this House, I do not rise to supplicate you to be merciful towards the nation to which I belong--towards a nation which, though subject to England, yet is distinct from it. It is a distinct nation : it has been treated as such by this country, as may be proved by history, and by seven hundred years of tyranny. I call upon this House, as you value the liberty of England, not to allow the present nefarious bill to pass. "In it are involved
the liberties of England,—the liberty of the press, and of every other institution dear to Englishmen. The bill, it is true, is mitigated; but, even in its mitigated shape, it con. tains horrors enough to insult, in the grossest manner, the people of my country. There remain still those clauses which put down the right of petitioning, which put down political agitation,—which make them both, offences not punishable by the ordinary tribunals, but by what I will call revolutionary ones.
Against the bill I protest in the name of the Irish people, and in the face of Heaven. I protest against the power granted to the Lord Lieutenant to prevent meetings, no matter for what purpose they might be convened. All I ask for my country, is, justice; and, so long as the present government are unjust towards her, I laugh to scorn your promised generosity.
I strenuously object to the power granted to the Lord Lieutenant to prevent meetings, because there are grievances to be redressed in my country; and one of the ways to remedy these, is by petitions, emanating from large assemblies. I will dare any one to say that there are not grievances in Irelanď.
I treat with scorn the puny and pitiful assertions that grievances are not to be complained of,--that our redress is not to be agitated : for, in such cases, remonstrances cannot be too strong,-agitation cannot be too violent, to show to the world with what injustice our fair claims are met, and under what tyranny the people suffer.
There are two frightful clauses in this bill. The one which does away with trial by jury, and which I have called upon you to baptize :—you call it a court martial,—a mere nickname; I stigmātize it as a revolutionary tribunal. What, in the name of heaven, is it, if it is not a revolutionary tribunal ? It annihilates the trial by jury ;-it drives the judge from his bench,--the man who, from experience, could weigh the nice and delicate points of a case, - who could discriminate between the straight-forward testimony and the suborned evidence,—who could see, plainly and readily, the justice or injustice of the accusation. It turns out this man who is free, unshackled, unprejudiced, who has no previous opinions to control the clear exercise of his duty. You do away with that which is more sacred than the throne itself; that for which your king reigns, your lords deliberate, your commons assemble.
I pray to my God that when repeal comes; and come it
now must-ministers can never stay it; they cannot even hope to do so ;-it may come through peaceful agency, and not through oceans of blood. If ever I doubted before of the success of our agitation for repeal, this bill, this infa-, mous bill,—the way in which it has been received by the House,--the manner in which its opponents have been treated, -the personalities to which they have been subjected, the yells with which one of them has this night been greeted ;-all these things dissipate my doubts, and tell me of its complete and early triumph. Do you think those yells will be forgotten ?-Do you suppose their echo will not reach the plains of my injured and insulted country,—that they will not be whispered in her green valleys, and heard from her lofty hills ? "Oh! they will be heard there :-yes, and they will not be forgotten. The youth of Ireland will bound with indignation ; they will say, “ We are eight millions; and you treat us thus, as though we were no more to your country, than the isle of Guernsey or of Jersey!”
I have been, all my life, opposed to a certain party of my countrymen in this House. I have contended with them for years. I will not contend with them again ; or, if I do, it shall not be in hostility. I appeal to them now. They have a deeper interest in their native land, than in that of party; and they must feel that there is nothing so prejudicial, so destructive,-as those bad passions between man and man. Let that hour arrive when mutual prejudices can be overcome, and evil passions set at rest, and Irishmen can then say, in a bold and unanswerable tone, We want justice, and will have equality. Ministers may then legislate for England, but Irishmen will legislate for themselves.
Ministers have greatly assisted in the repeal of the Union; they have given increased energy to the cry; because they have convinced those who 'before doubted, that justice was not meant to be done for Ireland. To be sure it may be said they are not eight millions,—that they are divided; but then they will be eight millions, when the fears of some, and the unlucky prejudices of others, have been conquered by the force of reason and of truth.
I have done my duty :-I stand acquitted to my conscience and my country :-I have opposed this measure throughout; and I now protest against it as harsh, oppressive, uncalled for, unjust, -as establishing an infamous precedent by retaliating crime against crime,-as tyrannous,-cruelly and vindictively tyrannous.