By William O'Brien

Page 149


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OF all the memories of gloom and regret which weigh upon the history of Ireland, there is none more tragic than the reflection that so many generations of young men should have been born to lives of inevitable misery and degradation. The blood which supplied their bodily life, the creed which was the fountain-head of their spiritual existence, came to them, as it were, under a congenital curse. It was a crime for them to regard the gracious green land into which they were born as their own. It was a crime even to look for happiness beyond this fleeting world with eyes of faith that did not receive their laws from England. They were the inheritors of a country glowing with the elements of happiness--a rich soil, a benignant climate, all forms of beauteous shape and colouring in mountain, glen, and sea. But those things which God fashioned for the people's enjoyment were turned into the instruments of the people's subjection. Their country's soft charms only roused the conquerors' lust. They but reaped the golden harvest for their masters' granary. The very woods that sheltered them were offenders against English law, and were cut down and ...continue reading »

[1] Presidential address delivered before the Cork National Society, September 26, 1893.

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