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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 12

Thoughts of Connor O'Keefe

page 560

Thoughts of Connor O'Keefe.

Honour bright, now, Misther Edditur darling! Wasn't it yourself that dun it? Wasn't it yourself that gev them the nudge?—Whin all the cogitatin and wondherin and guessing was goin on about it, and everybody rummagin their brains to think who in the world it could be that took the throuble to represent the wants of the West Clare Boys to the Irish peasantry society of London? "Faugh a ballagh," sis I, "Tis myself that can clear it all up! Twas no one ever dun it," sis I, "but the greatest philanthropist of the age.—The man," sis I, "that stands out for the brotherhood of nations, and the man," sis I, "that listened to Connor O'Keefe whin he towld him about the Poets of owld Clare!"

I didn't put an if or a magbe in it, but I gev it as a possitive fact: bekase I know you are jist the man that'd say Homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto—and whin you saw that the Clare men stood up and organised an agricultural society, tis yourself that'd be inclined to do thim a good turn; and sure you dun it, and no mistake! All we want now, sir, is your own name to the list of subscribers.—That name, sir, will be a tower of strength to us: magni nominis umbra we'll become one of the most respectable societies of the day!

There isn't the layste doubt, sir, but we are a thrue branch of the Pace Society; part of the Bond of Brotherhood, and the rank enemy of the ould shillelah! I send you a paper that'll show you the whole of our doins, and you'll see all that Vesey Fitzgerald said and dun; and my hand to you he needn't be ashamed to tell it.

Faix, by all accounts, sir, thim New-Zealanders has something else to think of besides Agricultural Societies and Cattle Shows. I'm towld, sir, that the advice of the Aborigines Protection Society wasn't worth anything; it didn't meet the case—you see, sir, tis only thim that's out there, that undherstands the nature of affayres—but I declare, sir, tis startlin to hear about the petition to the queen—I mean, sir, the one sent to her by the Maori Chief through Mr. Graham. Tis nothing short of terrible, sir, to hear him accuse England of truce—breaking and robbery; and to hear him say that, though we have thousands of armed troops there to justify our conduct, still "the maladies of the Island have not been healed." Faix, then, sir, sure we all know that war and bloodshed is no way at all to heal maladies, but to make them: and I'm thinkin, sir, that afther all the fightin and confiscatin, Misther Bull will have to find out some betther applicayshon than powder and shot for the healing of Antipodal maladies. I'm towld, sir, the naytives is crying out for Courts of Justice to get their affayres settled. Meilla murdher! the poor unhappy craythurs, little they know! never saw an attorney in their life I suppose? I wish I had a chance, and maybe I wouldn't give thim a wrinkle? I'd soon tell thim that whatever the malady may be, an attorney's blister is about the worst remedy that can be tried—barrin powder and shot!

Tis Misther Bull's duty to himself before the wide world to show justice to thim poor unprotected aborigines, livin on the soil that God gave to their forefathers: and that was conquered for England by Love page 561 and not by War. Sure, sir, their statemint is terrible. "We are counted British subjects," sis they, "if we commit murdher and are wanted to be hanged. Foreign foes if required to be shct as prisoners of war, but nonentities if our property needs protection." Sure if justice was done thim they'd never say the likes. I'm towld, sir, the Governor is turned into a raal land agent—nothing else. God pity thim poor New-Zealanders! with the sodgers and the Agent, and now if the Attorney comes among thim to finish all.

England showin off a little of the pomp and sercumstance of war in Ireland, is natural I may say—bekase whin Misther Bull first come over it was by invitayshon—and to a Faction Fight, and small blame to him to come. Fightin was the fashion in thim days—and if he refused, he'd be branded as a coward all the dear days of his life. He cum, you see, sir, about an affayre that could be settled in a Divorce Court now, for a mere thrifle. But at that time there wasn't sich a court ayther in England or Ireland—So over he cum, and he dun his best for the man that invited him—and they gained the day. In the flush of success and in the warmth of his gratitude, Mac Murchad promised that Mr. Bull should ever after bear the title of Lord of Ireland, and by all accounts he lorded it over us for many a hard year. But let bygones be bygones! hadn't we our two Exhibition?—and havn't we our illigant Cattle Shows? and isn't Ireland the "first flower of the earth and first gem of the say"? I'm not going to talk of the past—only I was jist sayin that the it may be fair enough to show a little English mettle in Ireland, where Misther John first landed as a warrior; there's no pray text at all, at all, for his shouldherin arms in New-Zealand, bekase it was kindness and knowledge and religion that gained the hearts of thim brave aborigines, and made for England a bloodless conquest of the pleasant Isles of the Antipodays. Misthur Edithur, darlin, give them a nudge! Tell thim their dirty tricks, and give thim your advice, and if they're not all born idiots they'll take it.

Well, to be sure, the way I go meandherin about the world!—begun at the West of Clare and ended at New-Zealand. Sure you have the patience of Job with me, sir.

Semper eadem,

Your obedient servant,

Connor O'Keefe.