John Martin on John Mitchel - The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps)

John Mitchel
Author’s Edition (undated)

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what fate Lord Clarendon's 'loaded dice' might bring, I stated it as my opinion that if the Irish people permitted the English Ministry to consummate his legal murder, the national cause would be ruined for this generation. The transportation of a man as a felon for uttering sentiments held and professed by at least five-sixths of his countrymen, seemed to me so violent and so insulting a national wrong, that submission to it must be taken to signify incurable slavishness. The English Government, the proclaimed enemy of our nationality, had deliberately selected John Mitchel to wreak their vengeance upon him as representative of the Irish nation. By indicting him for 'felony' they virtually indicted five-sixths of the Irish people for 'felony.' By sentencing him to fourteen years' transportation to a penal settlement, they pronounced five-sixths of the Irish people guilty of a crime worthy of such punishment; and they declare that every individual of the six millions of Irish Repealers who escapes a similar doom, escapes it not through right and law, but through the mercy or at the discretion of the English Minister. The audacity of our tyrants must be acknowledged. They occupy our country with military force, in our despite, making barracks of our very marts and colleges, as if to defy and to challenge any manly pride that might linger among our youth. They pervert our police force into an organization of street bullies, as if to drive all peace-loving, industrious citizens into the ranks of disaffection. They insult the poor dupes of 'legal and constitutional' agitation, and rudely open their eyes to the real nature of foreign rule, by such an outrage on public decency and justice as this 'trial,' aggravated as it must be by the official meanness, brutality, hypocrisy, and perjury, requisite for effecting their object. They took measures to provoke the active hostility of all Irishmen who loved justice, or respected religion. They defied and challenged all parties of the Irish people; and I did think that such a challenge could not honourably or prudently be refused, and that the abject submission of the Irish people in that matter might destroy the national cause for this generation.

"I must frankly say that I still disapprove of the policy pursued by the Repeal leaders on that occasion; but I believe that their motives, whether mistaken or not, were honourable; and I am satisfied that there is a strong and growing spirit of resistance among Repealers of all parties, as well as a spreading disaffection to the foreign tyranny among those Irishmen who have not yet pronounced for Ireland. And, on the whole, I perceive sufficient reasons for expecting the success of the national cause.

"That I do not now exile myself, is a proof that I hope to witness the overthrow, and assist in the overthrow of that most abominable tyranny the world now groans under—the British imperial system.

"To gain permission for the Irish people to care for their own lives, their own happiness and dignity; to abolish the political conditions which compel the classes of our people to hate and to murder each other, and which compel the Irish people to hate the very name of the English—to end the reign of fraud, perjury, corruption, and 'government' butchery, and to make law, order, and peace possible in Ireland—The Irish Felon takes its place among the combatants in the holy war now ...continue reading »

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