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WANGANUI., New Zealand Tablet, Volume XVIII, Issue 21, 17 September 1886
INAUGURATION OF A BRANCH OF THE IRISH NATIONAL LEAGUE.
September 6, 1886. A meeting of sympathisers witb the Irish National cause was held in St. Mary's Hall on Wednesday last, September 1. There was, considering all the circumstances, a good attendance ; but, although the meeting was strong in numbers, it was immeasurably stronger in the unanimity which characterised the whole proceedings, and in the true national spirit displayed. The Rev. Father Kirk occupied the chair, and on his right was the Hey. Father Mulvihill, of Hawera. The rev. chairman, in his opening remarks, said that it had long been his desire, and the desire of several others, that a branch of the Irish National League should be formed in Wanganui, but no opportunity of establishing it had occurred until lately. The collection just made for the Payment of Members' Fund furnished the desired opportunity. Several of the gentlemen engaged in that collection had formed themselves into a provisional committee for the purpose of establishing the Irish National League here, and had convened the present meeting. The rev. chairman then went on to explain the objects of the Land League, from which hal sprung the Irish National League. Its end, he said, was just, and charitable also ; it was to assist the poor farmers and tenants at Home, and to promote sympathy with them in their many sufferings. The end of this association was, besides, in harmony with our own feelings, for it waa only natural to assist those in distress, particularly when they were our own countrymen. The rev. gentleman then quoted some passages from the speeches of Messrs. Davitt and Parnell, in which ware set forth the objects of the Land League and the means to be employed in attaining these objects. Mr. Davitt, speaking at Sligo on November 29, 1880, said : " The revenge which we should seek in this great movement is to strike down ignorance by labouring to remove its cause ; to see the miserable hovels of our people— the blots upon the social life of Ireland as well as upon its landscape beauty— pulled down, and replaced by neat and comfortable dwellings ; plenty and wholesome food substituted for the Indian meal stirabout, and rotten potatoes, which have impoverished the physical life of our people ; rags replaced by respectable raiment, and general prosperity raising victory over national poverty. Let the victims of the Land League movement be injustice, ignorance, social degradation, and pauperism."- At Blessington, County Wicklow, on December 14, 1880, Mr. Davitt said : " I am not here to ask any man to commit any actor any outrage which would be repudiated or condemned from any platform or pulpit in the land. Ido not require you, neither does the Land League, to lay a hand upon a single hair of any man's head."— Again, at Kilbrin, near Kanturk, County Cork, on January 17, 1881, Mr. Davitt said : " But glorious, indeed, will be our victory, and high in the estimation of mankind will our gKind old fatnetland stand, if we can so curb our passions and control our acts in this struggle for free land as to march to success througu provocat.on and dauger without resorting to the wild justice of revenge, or being guilty of anything which could sully the character of a brave and Christian people."— Mr. Parnell, speaking at Balla, County Mayo, in December, 1879, said : " Let us remain within the law, and within the Constitution, and let us stand, although we have to stand ou the las»t plank of the Constitution, let us stand until that plank is torn from under our feet."— From these speeches ie would be seen, said the rev. gentleman, that the end of the League was good, and the means advocated for the attainment of that end quite legitimate. He concluded by calling upon Mr. Oliver to move the fiist resolution (loud applause). Mr. Oliver, who on rising was received with applauae, moved : " That it is desirable that a branch of the Irish National League be established in Wanganui, to be called the Wanganui branch of the Irish National League." In speaking to this resolution, Mr. Oliver said that he haJ had the pleasure of moving, in the same hall, and before the same audience, on a recent occasion a resolution approving of the efforts of the Home Rulers in the British Parliament. That resolution, he was gratified to think, had been carried unanimously. The result had been the very successful collection which had been almost brought to a close. The action taken on that occasiou showed that tbe people at Wanganui had sound hearts on the Irish question. But because so much had been effected he did not think they should rest content, but should make soma organised effort to support the Iribh cause. No such effort hdd been made in the past, indeed such an effort was impossible without the medium of some association for the purpose. He thought that to attaiu this end a branch of the liish National League should be established. Not only would material support be^iven to the cause of Ireland, but, what was far more effective, moral support would be affoided. The speaker then refeired to the work done by the League in the United States and in the colonies, and pointed out the valuab.e aid it had rendered to the Irish Nauonal paity in their struggles. The contribu ion of each member ot the League would not be large ; it would not be missed. But those who intended to take an active p irt in its procte lings must display some self sacrifice. It would be their duty to collect and diffuse as much information as possible on the Irish question. They should be ever ready to euhtjht >n the ignorant and to refute ihe calumnies of the malicious Toe speaker here noticed the cablegrams wnich had been lately £ent to this Oolony regarding Mr. DaviU aiid his abandoning the policy of revenge, aud showed how distorted was the intelligence coming through such a medium. Mr. Oliver then proceeded to sketch the present state of frelaud. He said that on the side hostile to Ireland were to be found the power, wealth, and rank of the British Empire. Notwithstanding all the good laws England had made for Ireland— in the shape of fiftythree Coercion Acts, etc.— since toe Union, still the great mass of the Irish people were in a state of waDt and starvation. According to Sir James Caird, the highest agricultural authority, there were two und a-half millions of tenant-farmers in Ireland who were
unable to pay their rent. The Land Act had been a failure, and the social evil was still unremedied. It was desirable that every effort should be made to lift the Irish people out of that state of misery. A bright streak had appeared on the horizon of Ireland's destiny, but the long night of her sufferings had not yet drawn to a close. We who were living in a free land should not forget our countrymen and kindred at Home. We should not rest until the sun of liberty rose upon our beloved country, and dispelled for ever the long darkness of her sufferings (continued applause). Mr. T. Lloyd, in seconding the resolution, said that after the addresses delivered by the two previous speakers, little remained for him to say. He referred to the great change which had taken place in public opinion all over the world within the last few years upon the Irish question. This was due, in great measure, to the efforts of the Irish National League. Our sphere of influence in Wanganui was not large, still we should do our part in educating public opinion on the subject. He hoped to see the young men joining the League in large numbers. An attempt would be made to enlighten them upon Irish history and literature, and if that end could be attained great good would be done (applause). The Rev. Father Mulvihill said he was fairly taken by surprise. He was not prepared to address tbe meeting. The collection they had just made was creditable to them, as was also the present movement. It gave him great pleasure to see it, and he wished from his heart the height of success to all those concerned in it. On the occasion of the visit of the Redmond brothers to this Colony, he had the honour of presiding over one of their meetings. On that occasion Mr. Redmond said that the great victory which the Land League had, up to that time, gained was this, that it had aroused the attention of the world to the question of Ireland and her wrongs. Every one, both friend and foe, inquired for the Irish news. Every newspaper sought, through its correspondents, the latest news from Ireland. All the world wa9 talking about Ireland. Such, in a lesser degree, would be, he hoped, the work to be done by the Wanganui branch of the Irish National League. He concluded by wishing the branch a most successful career (loud applause). Mr. E. R. Ward supported the resolution. He said that each of us owed a duty to his country. We all owed a duty to Ireland, not only because we were Irishmen, but by reason of cur common humanity. He was happy to think that the prejudices of the past were wearing away, and that England, as also Scotland and Wales, were beginning to see their duty towards the sister country. The opponents of Home Rule were not, after all, so numerous as might be supposed (applause). The resolution, on being put to the meeting, was carried unanimously, every one present voting for it. The result was received with applause. Mr. T. Lloyd then read the rules as proposed by the provisional committee. On the motion of Mr. 15. R. Ward, seconded by Mr. J. W. McDuff, the rules were, after a few remarks, adopted. The next business was ths election of officers. Mr. McDuff proposed, and Mr. William Kennedy seconded, *' That Key. Father Kirk be elected President of this branch of the Irish National League " (applause). Father Kirk said be thoroughly sympathised with the objects of the League, and would endeavour, so far as in him lay, to promote those objects. He had, when asked a few evenings ago. consented to be nominated as President of the branch. He had done so, however, without giving the matter sufficient thought. On reflection, he had come to the conclusion that he could not do justice to the office of President. His duties were so many that he could not give that amount of attention to the affairs of the League which a President should do. He, therefore, thought he would be consulting the best interests of the League in declining the Prepidency (applause). On the motion of Mr. E. U. Ward, seconded by Mr. Collins, Dr. Connolly was elected President, Messrs. Oliver and McDuff were elected Vice-presidents, Rev. Father Kirk and Mr. Lundon were elected joint Treasurers, and Mr. Lloyd Secretary. The following Council was also elected : Messrs. Gavin, Ward, Collins, Boyle, Henry, Kearney, and C. O'Leary. All those present handed in their names as members of the branch, and the meeting terminated with the orthodox vote of thanks to the chair.
WANGANUI., New Zealand Tablet, Volume XVIII, Issue 21, 17 September 1886
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