From The Irish People, August 27, 1864.
We alluded a few weeks ago to the do-nothings who would do everything when everything was done, who would be “as good as any when the time would come.” But we leave them now in their cowardly cosiness to draw attention to that relation of theirs who’d be “the first man to handle a pike in the morning if he thought it would be of any use.”
There are many examples of this class to be met with everywhere. We take this one. He was a patriot! in ’48, and to shew that he was, he has perhaps some relic of the war – the handle of an old gruffaun that was to have been a pike handle, a flesh fork, or some brainless old pistol. He was then youthful and enthusiastic, and didn’t carry his soul in his breeches pocket. He has since become “comfortable,” and has made “respectable connections.” Hundreds, may thousands, in his neighbourhood may have been ruined in the meantime; he could not help that. If he was able to improve thro’ this state of things so much the better. He may now think, as we have known another “patriot” say – that it was poverty made the Irish patriotic. Anyway, our man is well off now. He can afford, and gives a “party” now and again. He has the Parish Priest and the Curate, the grinding Agent, and, for the name of the thing, one of your fallen aristocrats, who can accommodate himself to “patriotic” society since society “reduced” him. In the course of conversation, politics are introduced; perhaps in connection with those mythical Irish “Feeneens.” Notwithstanding that some of the young men (sons and cousins), are preparing for government situations, they speak rebelliously. Then our “patriot” endeavours to chill the warm blood of youth with all those vile phrases which are ever at the command of the pseudo-patriot. “He was up in ’48, but it was a mad thing.” “’Tis folly for us in this country to think that we could beat England.” “One Irishman would sell the other, and, even if we were all united, what could we do?” “Why, if we took the country tomorrow, we couldn’t keep it 48 hours, and then we’d fall to killing one another. I’d be the first man in the morning to handle a pike if I thought ‘twould be of any use. ‘Tis worse than madness to be thinking of anything of the kind.” “See what such and such a person came to by his revolutionary politics,” and so on.
‘Tis sad enough to know that people of this class are numerous amongst us. We knew many of them. While cultivating the acquaintances of all the “shoneens” in their neighbourhood, they are also desirous of keeping up their patriotic character with the people. At a Tenant Right meeting, a flax, a fishery, or any other feeble agitation in the legal and constitutional line, they become big with patriotism. When after dinner, they will lustily encore “Remember the Glories of Brian the Brave,” and feel in ecstasy while some one is going through “the Harp that once through Tara’s Hall.”
If they contribute a few shillings to an O’CONNELL monument or an O’BRIEN testimonial, the papers will chronicle the patriotic fact, and the patriots’ power of working mischief to our cause will be strengthened. Moving amongst the people, they never forget their vile phrases when Ireland’s expected liberation is spoken of in their presence. We hope the country will learn to know this class, and endeavour to check their evil influence. Association with them for any political purpose can never lead to any good.
We would open the eyes of the oppressed, and show them, if they will right their wrong, they must not be guided by those who fatten upon their ruin, nor be waiting for assistance from those who avail themselves of every national calamity only to feather their own nests. When all creeds and classes of the oppressor unite in all things tending to perpetuate the rule of the robber, should not all classes and creeds of the oppressed take a lesson from them, and unite in self-defence?