The following address of the Council was adopted at a general and special meeting of the Irish Confederation, held March 9, 1848, at Music Hall, Dublin, to congratulate the French nation on the then recent republican successes. Michael Crean, operative, presided.
FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN: In a circular addressed to its representatives at foreign courts, the great French Republic has thus spoken through the most illustrious of its servants:—
‘Thus we declare it openly, if the hour of the reconstruction of nationalities long oppressed, in Europe or elsewhere, should appear to us to have sounded in the decrees of Providence, the French Republic would believe itself entitled to arm for the protection of those legitimate movements for the greatness and nationality of states.’
Three nationalities there are, ‘long oppressed in Europe’—Italy—Poland—Ireland. The hour for Italy’s redemption has already sounded—the bleeding breast of Poland heaves with the breath of returning life. Shall Ireland alone remain buried in darkness, while her sisters are emerging into liberty and light?
When the hour shall have sounded—when the virtues of nationhood shall appear, and the vices of provincialism shall be conquered and trodden down—when falsehood, cowardice, and selfishness, shall be cast aside, and regarded with scorn—when courage, self-sacrifice, and mutual love, shall mark the conduct of the people—then shall we be in a position to call upon the great protectress of oppressed nationalities to redeem her pledge.
When shall this hour have sounded? Whether in a month, in a year, or never, depends, brother Irishmen, upon you. If, upon the threshold of this new career, we will blot out all recollections of past injury from our hearts—if, with hand clasped in hand, we will swear before Heaven that we will be true to each other—that no evil influence shall divide us—that no danger shall turn us back—then be of good hope, for the hour of deliverance is at hand, and a good and pitying God will not have sent us this fair opportunity in vain!
Courage, mutual confidence, and brotherly love—these are the virtues of the hour.
Listen to the warning that is written in every page of the history of our servitude. The craft of the tyranny is more formidable than his strength.
Reptiles, whose breath is poison, will crawl around your steps, whispering suspicion, ridiculing all manly sentiment, decrying bold courses, undermining your confidence, and chilling the ardour of your hopes—you must tread these reptiles beneath your feet.
Be prudent: when boldness risks the safety of a cause, it becomes rashness. Be prudent, but not for yourselves. The man who now shrinks from personal risk must stand aside; he is fit neither to lead nor to follow. To what purpose do we express our admiration of the heroes who braved death for liberty, if we ourselves are frightened by the ‘meshes of the law’? Freedom smiles not upon cowards; she turns her radiant face away from those who will not woo her in the midst of danger.
For ourselves, brother Irishmen, we have but one request—that we may be suffered to share the labour and the danger of your struggle, as we hope to participate in the fruits of your triumph. We are ready to forget our party, our injuries, and our pride, for the sake of our country. In her service, humiliation, and danger, and sacrifice, and death, are welcome to us. Wherever we are required, we shall be present, indifferent as to whether our post be humble or exalted. Whoever leads on, we shall follow, insisting only that we shall go forward—FORWARD, though graves were to yawn, and gibbets to frown across his path.
[Signed] J. B. Dillon, Chairman.