Mr O'Brien's Breeches.
The following is the text of the amusing speech of Colonel Saunderson, M.P. for Armagh North, in the House of Commons, when subjected to the taunts of the Parnellites:—
What is the great attraction that hon. gentlemen opposite havo had for the last month or two? The clothes of Mr O'Brien. Gentlemen opposite go up and down the country giving harrowing details of that naked patriot. They have tried to throw discredit upon Her Majesty's Government, and particularly upon the law Parliament has passed. They say that it has led to the terrible scene of Mr O'Brien sitting bereft of those garments which most people like to wear in the daytime. If a great party in the State chose to take up those garments of Mr O'Brien and make them their oriflamme—(loud laughter)—the flag under which they are to march, and to use it as their weapon for sweeping away Her Majesty's Government, I am entitled to bring them to book in the House of Commons, I cannot help admiring the theatrical arrangements of lion, gentlemen opposite. They are extremely clever, and they generally come off just before Parliament. The House knows that the member for West Belfast (Mr Sexton) is a dangerous rhampion to confront, whether in the House or out of it; but I fear I must run the danger of incurring the wrath of that civic functionary. In the depth of the night, or rather in the early morning, the hon. member (Mr Sexton) suddenly arrived at the fact that Mr O'Brien was naked in his cell. As a matter of fact, I do not believe that Mr O'Brien has ever been naked. I understand he has been without certain garments, but not entirely naked. So impressed was the Lord Mayor of Dublin with bringing the matter under the consideration of Her Majesty's Government that he determined on a very remarkable proceeding. The Lord Mayor of Dublin at 1 a.m. was a very different being from the Lord Mayor of Dublin at 1 p.m, and at the witching hour of 1 a.m. the Lord Mayor of Dublin appeared to be under the impression that the Home Rule Bill had passed, and that he was master of the situation. He rang for his ambassador, who appeared on the scene in the person of the hall porter, wrote a letter at that hour, and sent away the messenger to the Chief Secretary, bringing to his cognisance the fact that at that moment Mr O'Brien was in a naked condition. It would have struck many that most people were usually withour certain garments at that hour of the night—(Loud laughter.) Of course, I cannot answer for the habits of Nationalist members. When the messenger came back
[ he told the Lord Mayor that the Chief Secretary had opened the door, having come down in his shirt, covered with Orders. After two hours and a half's reflection, the Lord Mayer went into the Phoenix Park and made a speech, and said he was informed that the Chief Secretary was a prominent figure in the affair ; but whether it was the Chief Secretary or Mr Hayes Fisher (the member for Fulham) it was no excuse for not giving a reply to the letter. Gentlemen opposite deserve great credit for the ingenuity which they display in their theatrical performances. Can anybody conceive such a thing happening in London. Conceive the Lord Mayor of London sending a message to the member for Derby (Sir W. Harcourt) when he was Home Secretary, informing him that some malefactor had no clothes on at night, and then goiDg into Hyde Park to make a speech, and saying that the right hon. gentleman had come down in his nightshirt covered with Orders. Nobody can conceive such a thing in any other country but Ireland. Those gentlemen have no right to make such asses of themselves. It brings down everlasting ridicule on the country to which we both belong.
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Mr O'Brien's Breeches., Evening Star, Issue 7914, 23 May 1889
Mr O'Brien's Breeches. Evening Star, Issue 7914, 23 May 1889
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