From Drogheda Independent, 5th July 1919




Cardinal O’Connell was the chief speaker at a great Irish meeting held in Boston on June 10th. In the course of an eloquent address on the Irish question, His Eminence said:— "To-day, not paragraphs but columns and pages even, tell the glowing story of the people's final triumph over a paid censorship which threatened to stifle the very voice of the American people raised in Ireland's defence. In six short pregnant months we have witnessed with eyes filled with amazement and gratitude the onward , movement of the great tidal wave, which steadily going from State to State, finally reached its highest mark in the Nation's very Capital, and to-day the chief assertor and defender of the cause of Ireland's freedom is the most representative and the most powerful deliberative body in the whole world—the Senate of the United States of America."

"Long live America, the true home of freedom. All honour to the Senate, the defender of true liberty. Not for conquest or the division of spoils, not for impoverishment and ruin of an enemy, America threw the great weight* of her power into the world balance, but simply and solely that justice and right might prevail all over the world.

"Until Ireland has been finally liberated from an age-long yoke, infinitely more galling than that which any other land has been compelled- to bear, that war-cry of America will still resound throughout the earth. .

"Let them who hear it beware not longer to defy it, but while still there is time to recognise it, acknowledge it and obey it. The time has passed for ever now when England can say to America 'the question of Ireland is our affair.' For America to-day will answer: 'It was your affair for centuries and what have you done with it; so were the life, the peace and prosperity of the American Colonies your affair and what did you do for them? No, the question of Ireland is no longer your affair alone, it is the affair of universal justice. It is the international affair of the rights of small nations which you have strangled and are to-day stifling by armed force. It is the affair of the universal principle of self-determination, which is not your affair, but the affair of the whole civilised world, America included.'


"Before the war, we of America only wanted to be left alone to attend to our own affairs of peace, but in the middle of that great war you found you needed America and raised a pitiful cry for assistance. O, yes. America you found was idealistic, but you must not now forget that she is not quixotic. .

"So if the rights of small nations and defenceless peoples were centuries ago a little trifling matter to be- handled about by royal despots as one of their sacred privileges, or if the question of Ireland's historic rights was considered before the great war, one which 'England alone could settle, to-day such a claim is blasphemy and an open defiance to all the principles in defence of which our valiant men offered their lives in the great war. . .


"We are well aware that.- in certain English circles the American is still considered, very tolerantly, of course, as rather given to flights of oratory, whereas the English mind boasts of its coolheaded and practical qualities. Well, this is no flight of oratory; it. is a very cool and unemotional assertion of a very practical truth. "We will admit it is extremely difficult to read the story of English brutal misrule in Ireland without the deepest possible emotion. At least we Americans find it so, for we have not yet, thank God, arrived at that very superior condition of exalted humanity which can behold these exhibitions of brutal iniquity with complete stolidity. That may be a British trait in which they seem to glory, but we want to assure them that it is the kind of glory which no American will ever envy them. I am not now speaking of the great English people in whom, both as a Catholic and as a cosmopolite, I personally find many qualities to admire and to love. That plain great British people with its still unspoiled fine qualities of head and heart will in the end be the salvation of a better England. That plain "great British people has never until recently understood the real story even of their own country. "One of the certain effects of the great war which has brought to America the consciousness of its tremendous power has brought to the plain English people a very clear knowledge of their own rights. These rights are identical with the rights of the Irish people in Ireland, and the plain English people are at last awake to the fact that the, cause of the English people, and that their cause is the cause of simple justice to all people the world over.

"So when now the cry of Ireland crosses the Irish Sea into the homes of the plain English people it will no longer to attribute all Irish troubles to the Pope, as hitherto was successfully done. For the English people of to-day know very well indeed that neither the Pope nor the Irish have anything whatever to with the present squalor of the London slums, nor the child labour in the factories, nor the squeezing .of the honest, wages of the labourer' in the mills, nor 'he compulsory slavery of the miserable workers in the mines. '