By Thomas Davis
HERE it is at last--the dawning. Here, in the very sanctuary of the Orange heart, is a visible angel of Nationality:--
"If a British Union cannot be formed, perhaps an Irish one might. What could Repeal take from Irish Protestants that they are not gradually losing `in due course'?
"However improbable, it is not impossible, that better terms might be made with the Repealers than the Government seem disposed to give. A hundred thousand Orangemen, with their colours flying, might yet meet a hundred thousand Repealers on the banks of the Boyne; and, on a field presenting so many solemn reminiscences to all, sign the Magna Charta of Ireland's independence. The Repeal banner might then be Orange and Green, flying from the Giant's Causeway to the Cove of Cork, and proudly look down from the walls of Derry upon a new-born nation.
"Such a union, not to be accomplished without concession on all sides, would remove the great offence of Irish Protestants--their Saxon attachment to their British fatherland. Cast off, as they would feel themselves by Great Britain, and baptised on the banks of the Boyne into the great Irish family, they would be received into a brotherhood which, going forward towards the attainment of a national object, would extinguish the spirit of Ribbonism, and establish in its place a covenant of peace."
So speaks the Evening Mail, the trumpet of the northern confederates, and we cry amen! amen!
We exult, till the beat of our heart stays our breathing, at the vision of such a concourse. Never--never when the plains of Attica saw the rivals of Greece marching to expel the Persian, who had tried to intrigue with each for the ruin of both -- never, when, from the uplands of Helvetia, rolled together the victors of Sempach--never, when, at the cry of Fatherland, the hundred nations of Germany rose up, and swept on emancipating- to the Rhine--never was there under the sky a godlier or more glorious sight than that would be--to all slaves, balsam; to all freemen, strength; to all time, a miracle!
If Ireland's wrongs were borne for this--if our feuds and our weary sapping woes were destined to this ending--then blessed be the griefs of the past! His sickness to the healed--his pining to the happy lover--his danger to the rescued, are faint images of such a birth from such a chaos.
It is something--the cheer of an invisible friend--to have, even for a moment, heard the hope. It must abide in the souls of the Irish, guaranteeing the moderation of the Catholic--wakening the aspirations of the Orangemen. There it is--a cross on the sky.
It may not now lead to anything real. Long-suffering, oft-baffled Ireland will not abandon for an inch or hour its selected path by reason of this message.
We hope from it, because it has been prompted by causes which will daily increase. Incessantly will the British Minister labour to gain the support of seven millions of freed men, by cutting away every privilege and strength from one million of discarded allies.
We hope from it, because, as the Orangemen become more enlightened, they will more and more value the love of their countrymen, be prouder of their country, and more conscious that their ambition, interest, and even security are identical with nationality.
We hope from it, because, as the education of People and the elevation of the rich progress, they will better understand the apprehensions of the Orangemen, allow for them in a more liberal spirit, and be able to give more genuine security to even the nervousness of their new friends.
We hope most from it, because of its intrinsic greatness. It is the best promise yet seen to have the Orangemen proposing, even as a chance, the conference of 100,000 armed and ordered yeomen from the North, with 100,000 picked (ay, by our faith! and martial) Southerns on the banks of the Boyne, to witness a treaty of mutual concession, oblivion, and eternal amity; and then to lift an Orange-Green Flag of Nationhood, and defy the world to pull it down.
Yet 'tis a distant hope, and Ireland, we repeat, must not swerve for its flashing. When the Orangemen treat the shamrock with as ready a welcome as Wexford gave the lily--when the Green is set as consort of the Orange in the lodges of the North--when the Fermanagh meeting declares that the Orangemen are Irishmen pledged to Ireland, and summons another Dungannon Convention to prepare the terms of our treaty; then, and not till then, shall we treat this gorgeous hope as a reality, and then, and not till then, shall we summon the Repealers to quit their present sure course, and trust their fortunes to the League of the Boyne.
Meantime, we commend to the hearts and pride of "the Enniskilleners" this, their fathers', declaration in 1782:--
"COUNTY FERMANAGH GRAND JURY.
"We, the Grand Jury of the county of Fermanagh, being constitutionally assembled at the present assizes, held for the county of Fermanagh, at Enniskillen, this 18th day of March 1782, think ourselves called upon at this interesting moment to make our solemn declarations relative to the rights and liberties of Ireland.
"We pledge ourselves to this our country, that we never will pay obedience to any law made, or to be made, to bind Ireland, except those laws which are and shall be made by the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland.
"Signed by order,
"ARTHUR COLE HAMILTON, Foreman"