Governor Wise Addresses the Democratic Hibernian Club of Richmond.
Last evening by invitation, says the Richmond Whig, 30th ult., Governor Henry A. Wise addressed the Hibernian Democratic Club of Richmond. He commenced speaking just after 9 o’clock, and it was well upon 11 before he concluded. He drew a brilliant picture of the Irish character, showing how through years of oppression and unsuccessful struggle for liberty of conscience and the right of self-government, he has maintained his faith in the ultimate disenthralment of his down trodden isle, and shown the world how much Irishmen could bear. His foibles are those of a brave and generous nature, and his bravery has never been questioned in history upon the battle-field, for the days of Rodrigo until now, the Irish have been the charging men of the British army.
His sufferings at home by a dispensation of providence seem to have driven him to seek an asylum in this land, that he might here maintain and battle for civil and religious liberty, and while Erin has thereby lost citizens, America has gained them. He believed had more Irish emigrated to Virginia than did that she would never have been forced to bow the knee to the conqueror. He would have given 10,000 negroes for one single true Irish emigrant, because being true to Ireland he is true to civil liberty everywhere. The Irish, as a people, have been purified as by fire, and, although compelled to bow to their conquerors, it has taken all of the power of the British lion to repress the feeling of this little Island that is even now at home and abroad, accomplishing her liberty. The resistance of Ireland to England has humanized men all over the world, and taught them the truth and worth of civil and religious freedom.
The Governor proclaimed himself an Irishman in everything except blood, and that he couldn’t do, because his ancestors were Scotch and English, and he can do the Irish in everything except the use of the blarney stone.– This, he says, he finds impossible; and yet to a reporter, he seemed at the time to do it better than any one he ever heard from beautiful Limerick or grand old Londonderry. All of his sympathies and sentiments being Irish, he wanted but this gift to make him an Irishman, intus and eute. It is no matter where a man is born, said he, for it is the heart and the soul that makes him with me. Men born upon the same soil, and beneath the same sun, how oppress our people, while the Irish are with us in our misfortunes and trials– with us in the defence of a cause sacred to all the earth.
The Irishman in New York to-day is free, but not the Irishman in Virginia. He is denied even the right to vote, and is subject to arbitrary and irresponsible power. Ireland to-day has religious freedom, but we have it not here. We are told who we must pray for. He regretted he had done so little to deserve the testimonial he said it was proposed to raise for him. The proposition took him by surprise, but if it be done he will take it without affectation, in trust for the support of those dearest to him by the ties of nature and dependent on him for a support, and that he may aid the suffering orphans and widows of those who feel in defence of the cause for which he battled. It would make his heart glad to know that Ireland, who remembered O’Connell when England oppressed him, remember him, too, now that New England is lording it over him.
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