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inadequate Parliamentary franchise, and the weakest Executive in the world.' Mr. Gladstone, I repeat, did not take this question up by halves, he took it up as a whole; he tried to deal with it as a whole. He destroyed the Church, reformed the land laws, and was driven from office in consequence of an attempt to deal with the subject of education. Owing in great measure to his exertions, begun in 1868 and resumed in 1881, the Irish question is no longer what it was twenty years ago. The Church is gone, the Land Question almost entirely disposed of, the franchise completely settled, and education in a fair way of settlement.

What, then, is the Irish question of to-day; for Ireland still remains the difficulty and, it may be, the danger of the empire. An island governed by British laws, and within half a day's journey of the British capital, contains a population of 5,000,000, the great majority of which are disaffected to the Legislative Union and bound together by an organisation of vast dimensions and immense power; a disorganised aristocracy loyal to the Union but without political influence or prestige; a temporising middle class partly in favour of the establishment of a system of Irish autonomy; a discontented peasantry constituting the bone and sinew of Ireland, all of whom hate the Union or the English connection altogether; an intelligent and insufficiently employed artisan class of “rebels, and an · Executive' which still continues to be the weakest in the world —this is the Irish question of the present day in its “integrity. The statesman who can settle it, who can remove the causes of disturbance and the strife of classes, allay agitation, and help to bring about that state of political and social calm which Ireland has never enjoyed, and without which her people can never grow prosperous, will make a suffering nation happy, and a divided empire strong.

But the question of the hour is, By what means can these ends be attained ? How can Ireland be made happy and loyal ? How can the Empire be strengthened in its only weak part ? To my mind this question admits of but one answer: by the establishment of a Parliament in Dablin on such conditions as will secure the unity of the Empire, and will, consistently with that unity, give to Irishmen the fullest control of Irish affairs. In a celebrated pamphlet written in 1798 by Mr. Secretary Cooke,16 under the inspiration, it was supposed, of Mr. Pitt, the author declares that, if the happiness of the people of Ireland could best be obtained by a Federal or an Incorporate Union, such an union ought to be the national object.' 'An Incorporate Union' has been tried, and has proved a signal failure. It was the hope of Mr. Pitt that his great measure would calm the disunions, allay the discontents, and dissipate the jealousies which have unfortunately existed. It was the fear of Sheridan that this measure augured not tranquillity, but disquietude; not prosperity, but calamity; not the suppression of treason, but the extension and increase of plots to multiply and ensanguine its horrors. It is scarcely necessary to say the fears of the brilliant Irishman, not the hopes of the great English statesman, have been realised. After a trial of eighty-six years, the “Incorporate Union' has resulted in the return of eighty-six · Irish rebels' to the Imperial Parliament, in the springing up at the other side of the Atlantic of an Irish nation, inspired by feelings of the deadliest hostility to England, in the existence of plots and murder societies which are a danger to the public peace and a disgrace to our civilisation, in the presence in Ireland itself of four millions of disaffected subjects. Assuredly, in the face of these facts, an “Incorporate Union' should no longer be "the national object.'

16 Arguments for and against an Union.



I HAVE often wondered whether those gentlemen who assure us that Ireland will be satisfied with nothing less than Grattan's Parliament have ever seriously reflected what Grattan's Parliament under the Constitution of 1782 really was. It consisted, of course, of two Houses—a House of Lords as well as a House of Commons. It was altogether Protestant. It was elected exclusively by Protestants, though, towards the close of its career, it, with signal liberality, admitted the Catholics to the franchise. It was drawn entirely from the section of the community wbich was indisputably loyal, and it was probably more eminently and specially the representative of property than any legislature that is now existing in the world. But in order still further to secure a constant concurrence between this Legislature and the Legislature of Great Britain, the Government steadily upheld a system of representation under which about twothirds of the members of the Irish Parliament sat for nomination boroughs, a great proportion of which were at the absolute disposal of the Government. Yet, in spite of all these securities, the task of making the two Legislatures work in harmony was not found to be an easy one, and it was on the great danger that might result from their collision that Pitt chiefly based his argument for the Union. The Constitution of 1782, he said, had established do solid, permanent system of connection between the two countries. Experience had shown 'how inadequate it was to the great object of cementing the connection and placing it beyond the danger of being dissolved.'

It is sufficiently evident from this sketch that no Parliament even remotely resembling that which was abolished in 1800 could now by any possibility be established in Ireland; and it is equally evident that, while the old Parliament was essentially the Parliament of the Irish Loyalists, the Parliament which is now desired would be essentially a Parliament of the disaffected. It would be, in all probability, a single democratic chamber, elected chiefly by an anti-English peasantry, completely sundered from the great interests of property in the country, and consisting mainly of nominees of the National League. The relation of the different classes in Ireland to the Home Rule scheme is perfectly unambiguous. The whole body of the Protestants, with scarcely an exception, have declared themselves against it. They form nearly a million and a quarter of the population and contain far more than their numerical proportion of its wealth, intelligence, and energy. They comprise not only more than ninety per cent. of the proprietors of the soil, but also the flower of the industrial population. It is they who have mainly made Belfast one of the greatest and most prosperous cities in the empire; who have made the linen manufacture the one flourishing industry of Ireland; who have raised a great part of Ulster to a level of civilisation, order, and prosperity worthy of any portion of the empire. Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Methodists, differing in creed and differing in English party politics, they have declared, with a unanimity and emphasis which it is impossible to mistake, that any Irish Parliament which could now be set up would be ruinous to the country, the precursor of anarchy, and probably of civil war. They are not, however, more opposed to it than the Catholic gentry. This class, who in a healthy state of society would occupy a conspicuous if not a dominant place in Irish politics, have, by the action of the National League, been driven almost absolutely out of public life; and if it had not been that a few of their number sit in the House of Lords, they would be reduced to the most complete impotence. The overwhelming majority of the leaders of industry, whether Protestant or Catholic, are on the same side. It is only necessary to examine the list of Mr. Parnell's members of Parliament to perceive how entirely the representative names in Irish industry are excluded from it. The bankers, the large merchants and shopkeepers, the directors of railways, the men who have risen to eminence in the professions, the great employers of labour, the great organisers of industry are entirely absent. The few men of this kind who were connected with it when it was guided by Mr. Butt bave almost all fallen away since it has passed under the control of Mr. Parnell, and they look upon Home Rule with undisguised alarm. All those classes in Ireland who are indisputably loyal to the English connection are as indisputably opposed to an Irish Parliament.

It is this profound division of classes in Ireland that makes all arguments derived from the example of federal governments, either in Europe or America, so utterly fallacious. The first question to be asked before setting up a local legislature is, who are the men who are likely to control it? On this point there is no real difference of opinion in Ireland. No argument of the smallest weight has ever been brought forward to show that the men who now predominate in the Irish representation in the Imperial Parliament would not equally predominate in an Irish parliament. They would be elected by the same classes. They would come to the poll with the prestige of a great victory. The simple effect of Home Rule would be to confer legislative powers upon the National League.

And what are the sentiments of these men towards Great Britain ? To do them justice they have never concealed them. They are men at whose public banquets the toast of the Queen is systematically

suppressed. At their great demonstrations the American flag is everywhere flaunted, and cheers are given for the Mahdi, or the Russians, or any other real or supposed enemy of England. The harp without the crown is their favourite symbol. One of their most conspicuous members organised the demonstration on the platform of Mallow to insult the Prince of Wales. Another—the present Lord Mayor of Dublin-distinguished himself by refusing to allow British soldiers at his inaugural procession. More than one have been deeply mixed in the Fenian conspiracy. The leader himself assured an American audience that he would not be satisfied till his party had destroyed the last link which keeps Ireland bound to England.' The newspapers and the popular literature which support and represent the party have for years been educating the Irish people in the most inveterate unqualified hatred of the British Empire, and have looked on every event in Europe with favour just in proportion as it was supposed to be injurious to British power. Every one who has given any real attention to that press will admit that this statement is the simple unexaggerated truth. It is not, however, the whole truth. The National League is a tree of which the root is in America, where an avowed and savage conspiracy against the British Empire exists, directed by men who have abundantly shown both by their words and by their acts that they would shrink from no crime to attain their ends. It is from America that the Parliamentary fund of the National League mainly comes. Its members in Parliament are as literally paid from the excheqụer of a foreign anti-English conspiracy as the British Ministers are from the Consolidated Fund.

These are the men with whom English Ministers have to do; and what is the demand which they make? It is that the whole internal government of Ireland should be placed in their hands; that they should be given the command of that noble army of more than 12,000 constabulary who have displayed during the last terrible years such an admirable fidelity and loyalty; that they should be authorised to arm volunteers ; that they should be entrusted with the protection of industry and property, and of the loyal subjects of the Crown ; with the power of taxation and with all the influences of patronage and control that belong to a legislative body. That such a surrender to such men should be seriously contemplated, not on the morrow of some crushing military disaster like Jena or Sedan, but by the Ministers of a great and powerful empire, is surely a shameful illustration of how recklessly and unscrupulously the game of party and of place has of late been played, and how seriously the public spirit of the country has been impaired. There are three millions of disaffected in a population of about thirty-six millions; eighty-six disaffected members in a parliament of six hundred and seventy. It is under these conditions that resistance is said to be impossible and the dismemberment of the empire inevitable. Parliamentary government, the Prince Consort once said, is now on its trial. If this be the end of British

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