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[388] evils of bigotry and misrule has been done. O'Connell found Ireland a “hissing and a byword” in Edinburgh and London. He made her the pivot of British politics; she rules them, directly or indirectly, with as absolute a sway as the slave question did the United States from 1850 to 1865. Look into Earl Russell's book, and the history of the Reform Bill of 1832, and see with how much truth it may be claimed that O'Connell and his fellows gave Englishmen the ballot under that act. It is by no means certain that the corn-laws could have been abolished without their aid. In the Antislavery struggle O'Connell stands, in influence and ability, equal with the best. I know the credit all those measures do to English leaders; but, in my opinion, the next generation will test the statesmanship of Peel, Palmerston, Russell, and Gladstone, almost entirely by their conduct of the Irish question. All the laurels they have hitherto won in that field are rooted in ideas which Grattan and O'Connell urged on reluctant hearers for half a century. Why do Bismarck and Alexander look with such contemptuous indifference on every attempt of England to mingle in European affairs? Because they know they have but to lift a finger, and Ireland stabs her in the back. Where was the statesmanship of English leaders when they allowed such an evil to grow so formidable? This is Ireland to-day. What was she when O'Connell undertook her cause? The saddest of Irish poets has described her:--
O Ireland, my country, the hour of thy pride and thy splendor hath passed,
And the chain that was spurned in thy moments of power hangs heavy around thee at last!
There are marks in the fate of each clime, there are turns in the fortunes of men;
But the changes of realms or the chances of time shall never restore

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