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murderers. Yes, gentlemen, that is the Crown case, or they have no case at all that the funeral procession in Dublin on the eighth of December last was a demonstration of sympathy with murder as murder. For you will have noted that never once in this smart narration of the Crown story did Mr. Harrison allow even the faintest glimmer to appear of any other possible complexion or construction of our conduct.
Why, I could have imagined it easy for him not merely to state his own case, but to state ours too, and show where we failed, and where his own side prevailed. I could easily imagine Mr. Harrison stating our view of the matter and combating it. But he never once dared to even mention our case. His whole aim was to hide it from you and to fasten, as best such efforts of his could fasten, in your minds this one miserable refrain—" They glorified the cause of murder and assassination."
But this is no new trick. It is the old story of the maligners of our people. They call the Irish a turbulent, riotous, crime-loving, law-hating race. They are forever pointing to the unhappy fact-for, gentlemen, it is a fact--that between the Irish people and the laws under which they now live there is little or no sympathy, but the bitter estrangement and hostility of feeling or of action. Bear with me if I examine this charge, since an undertaking of it is necessary in order to judge our sonduct on the eighth of December last. I am driven upon this extent of defence by the singular conduct of the Solicitor-General, who, with a temerity which he will repent, actually opened the page of Irish history, going back upon it just so far as it served his own purpose and no farther. Ah! fatal hour for my prosecutors when they appealed to history, for assuredly that is the tribunal that will vindi
cate the Irish people and confound those who malign them as sympathizers with assassination and glorifiers of murder ..?
[The Solicitor-General.—“My lord, I must really call upon you-I deny that I ever
Mr. Justice Fitzgerald.—“Proceed, Mr. Sullivan.”] My lords, I took down the Solicitor-General's words. I quote them accurately as he spoke them, and he cannot get rid of them now. “ Glorifiers of the cause of murder " his designation of my fellow traversers and myself and our fifty thousand fellow mourners in the funeral procession; and before I sit down I will make him rue the utterance.
Gentlemen of the jury, if British law be held in “disesteem ”-as the Crown prosecutors phrase it—here in Ireland, there is an explanation for that fact other than that supplied by the Solicitor-General,—namely, the wickedness of seditious persons like myself and the criminal sympathies of people ever ready to "glorify the cause of murder." Mournful, most mournful, is the lot of that land where the laws are not respected—nay, revered by the people. No greater curse could befall a country than to have the laws estranged from popular esteem or in antagonism with the national sentiment. Everything goes wrong under such a state of things.
The ivy will cling to the oak and the tendrils of the vine reach forth toward strong support. But more anxiously and naturally still does the human heart instinctively seek an object of reverence and love, as well as of protection and support, in law, authority, sovereignty. At least, among a virtuous people like ours, there is ever a yearning for these relations, which are and ought to be as natural between a people and their government as between the children and the parent.
bay for myself, and I firmly believe I speak the sentiments of most Irishmen when I say, that so far from experiencing satisfaction we experience pain in our present relations with the law and governing power; and we long for the day when happier relations may be restored between the laws and the national sentiment in Ireland. We Irish are no race of assassins or “glorifiers of murder." From the most remote ages, in all centuries, it has been told of our people that they were pre-eminently a justice-loving people. Two hundred and fifty years ago the predecessor of the SolicitorGeneral-an English Attorney-General—it may be necessary to tell the learned gentleman that his was Sir John Davis (for historical as well as geographical knowledge seem to be rather
scarce amongst the present law officers of the Crown),-held a very different opinion of them from that put forth to-day by the SolicitorGeneral. Sir John Davis said no people in the world loved equal justice more than the Irish, even where the decision was against themselves. That character the Irish have ever borne, and bear still.
But if you want the explanation of this “ disesteem” and hostility for British law, you must trace effect to cause. It will not do to stand by the river-side near where it flows into the
sea, and wonder why the water continues to run by. Not I-not my fellow traversers--not my fellow countrymenare accountable for the antagonism between law and popular sentiment in this country. Take up the sad story where you will-yesterday, last month, last year, last century-two centuries ago, three centuries, five centuries, six centuries and what will you find? English law presenting itself to the Irish people in a guise forbidding sympathy or respect, and evoking fear and resentment. Take it at its birth in this
minds free of legal theories and legal fictions, and deal with facts.
This court, where I now stand, is the legal and political heir, descendant, and representative of the first law court of the Pale six or seven centuries ago.
Within that Pale were a few thousand English settlers, and of them alone did the law take cognizance. The Irish nation—the millions outside the Pale-were known only as “the king's Irish enemie.” The law classed them with the wild beasts of nature, whom it was lawful to slay.
Later on in our history we find the Irish near the Pale sometimes asking to be admitted to the benefits of English law, since they were forbidden to have any of their own; but their petitions were refused. Gentlemen, this was English law as it stood toward the Irish people for centuries; and wonder, if you will, that the Irish people held it in “ disesteem":
“ The Irish were denied the right of bringing actions in any of the English courts in Ireland for trespasses to their lands, or for assaults or batteries to their persons. Accordingly it was answer enough to the action in such a case to say that the plaintiff was an Irishman, unless he could produce a special charter giving him the rights of an English
If he sought damage against an Englishman for turning him off his land, for the seduction of his daughter Nora, or for the beating of his wife Devorgil, or for the driving off of his cattle, it was a good defence to say he was a mere Irishman. And if an Englishman was indicted for manslaughter, if the man slain was an Irishman, he pleaded that the deceased was of the Irish nation and that it was no felony to kill an Irishman. For this, however, there was a fine of five marks, payable to the king; but mostly they killed us for nothing. If it happened that the man killed was a servant of an Englishman, he added to the plea of the deceased
being an Irishman that if the master should ever demand damages he would be ready to satisfy him.'
That was the egg of English law in Ireland. That was the seed—that was the plant-do you wonder if the tree is not now esteemed and loved? If you poison a stream at ito source, will you marvel if down through all its courses the deadly element is present?
Now trace from this, its birth, English law in Ireland trace down to this hour and examine when or where it ever set itself to a reconciliation with the Irish people. Observe the plain relevancy of this to my case. I, and men like me, are held accountable for bringing law into hatred and contempt in Ireland; and in presenting this charge against mo the Solicitor-General appealed to history.
I retort the charge on my accusers; and I will trace down to our own day the relations of hostility which English law itself established between itself and the people of Ireland. Gentlemen, for four hundred years down to 1607—tho
Irish people had no existence in the eye of the law; or rather, much worse, were viewed by it as the king's Irish enemie." But even within the Pale, how did it recommend itself to popular reverence and affection?
Ah, gentlemen, I will show that in those days, just as there have been in our own, there were executions and scaffold-scenes which invoked popular horror and resentment —though they were all “ according to law," and not to be questioned unless by “seditionists.” The scaffold streamed with the blood of those whom the people loved and revered how could they love and revere the scaffold? Yet, 'twas all “according to law.” The sanctuary was profaned and rifled; the priest was slain or banished—twas all “ according to