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The Irish cause has always commanded sympathy in this country; and it always will, so long as Ireland retains any legitimate grievance against the Power which governs it.
But at the same time it is noticeable that the Irish cause has not been very much raised in the public esteem by the events of the last few months. The stories of cattle-running outrage, and murder in Ireland may not all be true some of them, as the Irish leaders claim, may have been inspired by sources hostile to Ireland's freedom. But it is an ancient proverb that where there is such a prodigious cloud of smoke, there is sure to be a certain amount of fire. The reports from Ireland do not seem to indicate that the Irish people are proceeding by orderly means toward their goal. And so long as the present conditions continue, the Irish cause in this country is bound to suffer.
The campaign on this side of the water has not been marked by violence; but it has resulted in almost equal harm. The "banner blockade" of the British Embassy was at once futile and ridiculous. Recently the halls of Congress were invaded by women sympathizers of the Mason Bill, who heckled representatives from the floor and the gallery, until they were ejected by the guards. And of late opposition has appeared against allowing "British interests" to have any share in the Pilgrim Tercentenary.
The large majority of these acts are done by irresponsible persons. The undignified invasion of the Capitol was promptly disavowed by the headquarters of the Friends of Irish Freedom; but the unpleasant effect remains. In Ireland the responsible leaders of the movement for freedom, and the authorities of the Church, have joined in reprobating the campaign of organized terrorism by which certain elements hope to gain their ends. But in spite of the more dignified attitude of some leaders, the acts continue. Affairs of this sort, even when the authors are acting on their own initiative, are bound to cast discredit on the general cause. It may be unjust that outsiders should form their opinions by such acts; but it is true. Individuals, as well as organizations, whose aim is Irish freedom, should be more careful of the means which they employ. The cause is one for which many Americans wish success; but success will never be achieved by present methods.
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