John Martin (Young Irelander)

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John Martin (8 September 1812 – 29 March 1875) was an Irish nationalist activist who progressed from early militant support for Young Ireland and Repeal, to non-violent alternatives such as support for tenant farmers' rights and eventually as a Home Rule League MP, for Meath in 1871-1875.

Quotes[edit]

The Felon's Track John Martin's statement from the dock before sentencing 19 August 1848
  • Then, my lords, permit me to say, that admitting the narrow and confined constitutional doctrines, which I have heard preached in this court, to be right, I am not guilty of the charge according to this Act! In the article of mine, on which the jury framed their verdict, which was written in prison, and published in the last number of my paper, what I desired to do was this, to advise and encourage my countrymen to keep their arms; because that is their inalienable right, which no Act of Parliament, no proclamation can take away from them. It is, I repeat, their inalienable right. I advised them to keep their arms; and further, I advised them to use their arms in their own defence against all assailants - even assailants that might come to attack them unconstitutionally and improperly, using the Queen's name as their sanction.
  • My object in all my proceeding has been simply to establish the independence of Ireland for the benefit of all the people of Ireland - noblemen, clergymen, judges, professional men - in fact, all Irishmen. I sought that object first, because I thought it was our right; because I thought, and think still, national independence was the right of the people of this country. And secondly, I admit, that being a man who loves retirement, I never would have engaged in politics did I not think it necessary to do all in my power to make an end of the horrible scenes the country presents - the pauperism, and starvation, and crime, and vice, and the hatred of all classes against each other. I thought there should be an end to that horrible system, which while it lasted, gave me no peace of mind, for I could not enjoy anything in my country, so long as I saw my countrymen forced to be vicious, forced to hate each other, and degraded to the level of paupers and brutes. This is the reason I engaged in politics.
John Martin's address to the crowd at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin in honour of the Manchester Martyrs 8 December 1867
  • The three bodies that we would tenderly bear to the churchyard, and would bury in consecrated ground with all the solemn rites of religion, are not here. They are away in a foreign and hostile land (hear, hear), where they have been thrown into unconsecrated ground, branded by the triumphant hatred of our enemies as the vile remains of murderers (cries of 'no murderers,' and cheers). Those three men whose memories we are here to-day to honour - Allen, O'Brien, and Larkin - they were not murderers (great cheering). (A Voice - Lord have mercy on them.) Mr. Martin - These men were pious men, virtuous men - they were men who feared God and loved their country. They sorrowed for the sorrows of the dear old native land of their love (hear, hear). They wished, if possible, to save her, and for that love and for that wish they were doomed to an ignominious death at the hands of the British hangman (hear, hear). It was as Irish patriots that these men were doomed to death (cheers)...

  • ... You will join with me now in repeating the prayer of the three martyrs whom we mourn - 'God save Ireland!' And all of you, men, women, and boys and girls that are to be men and women of holy Ireland, will ever keep the sentiment of that prayer in your heart of hearts.

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