By William O'Brien

Page 113


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derived from a friendly consideration of the causes which have given our Irish political conflicts an undue tinge of bitterness, and of those sacred principles embedded in the Irish cause which have only to receive free play to make for national unity, largeness of view, and generosity of feeling among our fellow-countrymen, whatever may be their blood, or creed, or rank.

In the first place, be it understood that these remarks will not have reference to the Nationalist dissensions of the hour, which still, to some extent, distract three or four counties. Happily for you here in Belfast, and indeed north of the Ulster border, domestic faction does not trouble your peace. Even within the limited area in which it is still a worrying and perplexing element, its fortunes have now sunk to a level at which large allowances can be made for misunderstandings, and some rein given to the noblest passion which possesses the victorious soldier--his sympathy for men who have fought and lost. [1] would speak of interests less transient, and of wounds going deeper to our vitality as a nation. We are on the eve of a battle for our existence as a self-governing nation, as dramatic as if the opposing hosts were arrayed in scarlet and in blue upon the field of Waterloo, and of deeper import for the future happiness of these islands than were all the costly military adventures against Napoleon. What could be more useful at such an hour than to review those common interests, sympathies, and traditions which constitute us a nation as contra-distinguished from a faction? What better auxiliary than the proof that the passion of Patriotism appeals to influences more elevated than that of mere political partisanship in the Irish nature--that it possesses richly those inspiring and cementing qualities which are capable of knitting together all the inhabitants ...continue reading »

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