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[392] be an orator; he must have the magic that moulds mil lions of souls into one. Of this I shall have more to say in a moment.

In this mass of Irish ignorance, weakness, and quarrel, one keen eye saw hidden the elements of union and strength. With rarest skill he called them forth, and marshalled them into rank. Then this one man, without birth, wealth, or office, in a land ruled by birth, wealth, and office, moulded from those unsuspected elements a power which, overawing king, senate, and people, wrote his single will on the statute-book of the most obstinate nation in Europe. Safely to emancipate the Irish Catholics, and in spite of Saxon-Protestant hate, to lift all Ireland to the level of British citizenship,--this was the problem which statesmanship and patriotism had been seeking for two centuries to solve. For this, blood had been poured out like water. On this, the genius of Swift, the learning of Molyneux, and the eloquence of Bushe, Grattan, and Burke, had been wasted. English leaders ever since Fox had studied this problem anxiously. They saw that the safety of the empire was compromised. At one or two critical moments in the reign of George III., one signal from an Irish leader would have snapped the chain that bound Ireland to his throne. His ministers recognized it; and they tried every expedient, exhausted every device, dared every peril, kept oaths or broke them, in order to succeed. All failed; and not only failed, but acknowledged they could see no way in which success could ever be achieved.

O'Connell achieved it. Out of this darkness, he called forth light. Out of this most abject, weak, and pitiable of kingdoms, he made a power; and dying, he left in Parliament a spectre, which, unless appeased, pushes Whig and Tory ministers alike from their stools.

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