Excerpt from “CLEARING DECKS” by James Fintan Lalor. Lalor was an Irish revolutionary who played an active part in the Rebellion in July 1848 and the attempted Rising in September later that year.
But how are you to know them, these menials of England in the green livery of their country? By this shall ye know them. Any man who objects to every plan of armed resistance that is proposed, while he produces none or no better of his own. Or any man who tells you that any act of armed resistance even if made so soon as to-morrow even if offered by ten men only even if offered by ten men armed only with stones any man who tells you that such an act of resistance would be premature, imprudent, or dangerous any and every such man should at once be spurned and spat at. For, remark you this and recollect it, that somewhere, somehow, and by somebody, a beginning must be made; and that the first act of resistance is always, and must be ever premature, imprudent, and dangerous. Lexington was premature, Bunker’s Hill was imprudent, and even Trenton was dangerous.
There are men who speak much to you of prudence and caution, and very little of any virtue beside. But every vice may call itself by the name of some virtue or other; and of prudence there are many sorts. Cowardice may call itself, and readily pass for, caution, and of those who preach prudence, it behooves to enquire what kind of prudence it is they speak of, and to what class of prudent persons they belong themselves. There is a prudence the virtue of the wisest and bravest- there is a prudence the virtue of beggars and slaves…
Meanwhile, however, remember this, that somewhere, and somehow, and by somebody, a beginning must be made. Who strikes the first blow for Ireland? Who draws first blood for Ireland? Who wins a wreath that will be green for ever?