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[398] phrased it, “Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.”

Above all, plant yourself on the millions. The sympathy of every human being, no matter how ignorant or how humble, adds weight to public opinion. At the outset of his career the clergy turned a deaf ear to his appeal. They had seen their flocks led up to useless slaughter for centuries, and counselled submission. The nobility repudiated him; they were either traitors or hopeless. Protestants had touched their Ultima Thule with Grattan, and seemed settling down in despair. English Catholics advised waiting till the tyrant grew merciful. O'Connell, left alone, said, “I will forge these four millions of Irish hearts into a thunderbolt which shall suffice to dash this despotism to pieces.” And he did it. Living under an aristocratic government, himself of the higher class, he anticipated Lincoln's wisdom, and framed his movements “for the people, of the people, and by the people.”

It is a singular fact, that the freer a nation becomes, the more utterly democratic the form of its institutions, this outside agitation, this pressure of public opinion to direct political action, becomes more and more necessary. The general judgment is, that the freest possible government produces the freest possible men and women,--the most individual, the least servile to the judgment of others. But a moment's reflection will show any man that this is an unreasonable expectation, and that, on the contrary, entire equality and freedom in political forms almost inevitably tend to make the individual subside into the mass, and lose his identity in the general whole. Suppose we stood in England to-night. There is the nobility, and here is the Church. There is the trading-class, and here is the literary. A broad gulf separates the four; and provided a member of either can conciliate

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Maurice O'Connell (1)
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