previous next
[397] old Hindoo saw, in his dream, the human race led out to its various fortunes. First, men were in chains which went back to an iron hand; then he saw them led by threads from the brain which went upward to an unseen hand. The first was despotism, iron, and ruling by force. The last was civilization, ruling by ideas.

Agitation is an old word with a new meaning. Sir Robert Peel, the first English leader who felt he was its tool, defined it to be “the marshalling of the conscience of a nation to mould its laws.” O'Connell was the first to show and use its power, to lay down its principles, to analyze its elements, and mark out its metes and bounds. It is voluntary, public, and aboveboard,--no oath-bound secret societies like those of old time in Ireland, and of the Continent to-day. Its means are reason and argument,--no appeal to arms. Wait patiently for the slow growth of public opinion.

The Frenchman is angry with his government; he throws up barricades, and shots his guns to the lips. A week's fury drags the nation ahead a hand-breadth; reaction lets it settle half-way back again. As Lord Chesterfield said, a hundred years ago, “You Frenchmen erect barricades, but never any barriers.” An Englishman is dissatisfied with public affairs. He brings his charges, offers his proofs, waits for prejudice to relax, for public opinion to inform itself. Then every step taken is taken forever; an abuse once removed never reappears in history. Where did he learn this method? Practically speaking, from O'Connell. It was he who planted its corner-stone,--argument, no violence; no political change is worth a drop of human blood. His other motto was, “Tell the whole truth;” no concealing half of one's convictions to make the other half more acceptable; no denial of one truth to gain hearing for another; no compromise; or, as he

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Scotia (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Maurice O'Connell (2)
Robert Peel (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: