Is Ulster Right?

Part 3 out of 4

completely terrorized by an illegal association that injured persons
dare not make complaints, witnesses dare not give evidence, and juries
dare not convict. This, as we have seen, had been the case in parts
of Ireland at the beginning of the rebellion of 1798; and the
Nationalists, who claimed to be the modern representatives of the
rebels of that time, had succeeded in bringing about the same state of
things. In some of its most stringent provisions the Act is a copy of
the Police Act permanently in force in London; yet ordinary residents
in the Metropolis do not seem to groan much under its tyranny, nor do
the Radicals propose to repeal it.

And certainly the Act has worked satisfactorily from the point of
view of those who desire to see the country in a state of peace and
prosperity, though disastrously in the opinion of those who aim at
making government impossible. Between July, 1887, when the Act came
into force, and the end of the year, 628 persons were prosecuted, of
whom 378 were convicted and 37 held to bail. In 1888 there were 1,475
prosecutions, 907 convictions, and 175 persons required to find bail.
By 1891 (the last full year of Unionist Government) crime had sunk so
rapidly that in that year there were only 243 persons prosecuted,
of whom 105 were convicted, and 81 held to bail. In 1901 (when the
Unionists were again in power) there were 29 prosecutions and 22
convictions. In 1902 there was a revival of crime; the Act was again
brought into operation, with much the same result as before--there
were 157 prosecutions, 104 convictions, and 17 persons were held to
bail. In 1903 there were 3 prosecutions and 3 convictions.

(2) _Land Purchase_. The Unionist Government considered that the dual
ownership set up by the Act of 1881 would be a constant source of
trouble, and that its working could not be for the benefit of the
country. They believed that the best solution of the land question
would be a system of purchase whereby the occupiers would become
owners. This of course was entirely opposed to the wishes of the
Nationalists; for if the land question was settled, the motive power
which was to carry separation with it, would be gone.

Some efforts in the direction of Land Purchase had been made in 1870
(at the instance of Mr. Bright) and in 1881; but nothing was done on
a large scale until 1885, when the "Ashbourne Act" was passed;
and various further steps were taken by the Unionist Government,
culminating in the great "Wyndham Act" of 1903. By the earlier Acts,
73,858 tenants became owners; by the Wyndham Act, 253,625. As the
total number of agricultural tenants of Ireland amounted to slightly
under 600,000, it will be seen that more than half of them have now
purchased their holdings. To explain the general principles of the
Act, it is sufficient to say that when the landlord and tenants of
an estate agree to a sale, the Government advance the money, and
the tenant purchasers undertake to repay it by annual instalments
extending over a period of 68 years. As these annual payments must be
less than the existing rent as fixed by the Land Court under the Act
of 1881, the purchasing tenant has no ground for complaint; and though
the income of the landlord is reduced by the sale, he is freed from
further anxiety; and besides, the Government give a bonus to the
vendor from Imperial funds. It will be seen at once that the scheme
would have been impossible under Home Rule; for the English Government
had by the end of March 1911, agreed to advance the enormous sum of
nearly L118,000,000; an amount which no Irish Government could have
raised except at such an exorbitant rate of interest that it would
have been out of the question. On the other hand, England has become
the creditor of the new Irish landowners for this vast amount; and
in the event of Separation a serious difficulty may arise as to its

It may interest readers in the Colonies to learn that the Government
thoughtfully passed a Registration of Titles Act in 1891; so that the
Irish purchasers under the various Land Acts have the benefits which
were first introduced in Australia by Sir Robert Torrens.

The Act of 1903 had the cordial support of a small minority of
Nationalists; but to the majority it was gall and wormwood. Hence Mr.
Birrell, when he became Chief Secretary, threw every obstacle he could
into the way of its working; and in 1909 he passed a new measure,
under which land purchase has practically ceased.

(3)_The development of the Industries of the Country_. That has of
course taken various forms, of which only a few can be mentioned here.
By the Light Railways (for which the country has to thank Mr. Balfour
himself) remote and hitherto inaccessible districts have been brought
into touch with the rest of the world; and by an expenditure of
L2,106,000 the railway mileage of Ireland has been increased from
2,643 miles in 1890 to 3,391 in 1906. Then it is hardly too much to
say that the Labourers' Cottages Act, and the grants made under it,
have transformed the face of the country.

By this Act, District Councils are enabled, in localities where
accommodation for labourers is insufficient, to take land compulsorily
and erect cottages, the money advanced by the Government for the
purpose being gradually repaid by the ratepayers. The wretched hovels
which were the disgrace of Ireland from the dawn of history until a
period within living memory, have almost disappeared; and comfortable,
sanitary and pleasing dwellings have taken their place.

Even this excellent Act, however, is now used by the Nationalists to
further their own objects. One instance may suffice. In 1907 a farmer
fell under the ban of the League and was ordered to be boycotted. The
District Council found that one occupant of a "Labourer's Cottage"
disregarded the order and continued to work for the boycotted farmer.
They promptly evicted him. What would be said in England if a Tory
landlord evicted a cottager for working for a Radical farmer?

But even more important than these measures has been the establishment
of the Department of Agriculture. The success of this has been due to
the ability, energy and unselfishness of Sir Horace Plunkett. The main
object of the Department was to instruct the farming classes in the
most effective methods of agriculture and the industries connected
with it. This by itself would have been a great work; but Sir Horace
has also founded the Irish Agricultural Organization Society, to
encourage co-operative organization amongst farmers, based on
the principle of mutual help; and the success of this, worked in
conjunction with the Department, has been marvellous. More than nine
hundred local societies have been established, for the promotion of
industries such as dairying and poultry farming; co-operative credit
banks have been formed, based on what is known in Germany as the
Raffeisen system. The turnover of these societies in 1908 amounted
to more than L2,250,000. Agricultural Organization Societies, in
imitation of the Irish one, have been formed in England and Scotland;
and so far did its fame reach that the Americans sent over an agent to
enquire into its working.

Of course it is unfair to attribute the prosperity or the decline of
a country to any one measure; and more than that, it is only by taking
into consideration a number of circumstances and a long term of years
that we can decide whether prosperity is real or merely transitory.
But that Ireland increased in prosperity under the influence of
the Unionist Government, cannot be denied; indeed Mr. Redmond, when
shepherding the Eighty Club (an English Radical Society) through
Ireland in 1911, did not deny the prosperity of the country, and could
only suggest that the same reforms would have been introduced and
better carried out under an Irish Parliament--regardless of the facts
that no Nationalist Government could have found the money for
them; and that Nationalists are orators and politicians, not men
of business. The combined value of exports and imports rose from
104,000,000 in 1904 to 125,000,000 in 1909; and the gross receipts on
railways from L4,140,000 to L11,335,000. The deposits in savings banks
rose from L3,128,000 in 1888 to L10,627,000 in 1908. The tonnage
of shipping in Irish ports was 11,560,000 in 1900; in 1910 it was

Sir Horace had done his utmost to prevent the curse of political
strife from entering into his agricultural projects. He had been
careful to appoint Nationalists to some of the most important offices
in his Department, and to show no more favour to one part of the
country than another. But all in vain; the National League, when their
friends returned to power, at once resolved to undo his labours, some
of them openly saying that the increased attention devoted to
trade and agriculture was turning men's thoughts away from the more
important work of political agitation. Mr. T.W. Russell, a man totally
ignorant of agricultural affairs, whose only claim to the office was
that he was a convert to Nationalism, was appointed in place of
Sir Horace. He promptly declined to continue to the Agricultural
Organization Society the support which it had previously received
from the Department; and, with the aid of the United Irish League,
succeeded in preventing the Society from receiving a grant from the
Board of Agriculture similar to those given to the English and Scotch
societies; threw discredit on the Co-operative Credit Banks, and
denounced the Co-operative Farming Societies as injurious to local
shopkeepers. And thus he made it clear that it is impossible in
Ireland to conduct even such a business as the development of
agriculture without stirring up political bitterness.

Another effort of Mr. Balfour's--the establishment of the Congested
Districts Board--has had a strange and instructive history. It was
established in 1891. Mr. Balfour decided to entrust to a small body of
Irishmen, selected irrespective of party considerations, the task of
making an experiment as to what could be done to relieve the poorest
parts of Ireland; and with this object, the Board, though endowed with
only small funds, were given the widest powers over the area within
which they were to operate. They were empowered to take such steps as
they thought proper for (1) Aiding migration or emigration from the
congested districts, and settling the migrant or emigrant in his
new home; and (2) Aiding and developing agriculture, forestry,
and breeding of live stock and poultry, weaving, spinning, fishing
(including the construction of piers and harbours, and supplying
fishing boats and gear and industries subservient to and connected
with fishing), and any other suitable industries. Both the powers and
the revenues of the Board were increased from time to time, until by
1909 its annual expenditure amounted to nearly L250,000. It became
clear almost at the beginning of its labours that amongst the many
difficulties which the Board would have to face there were two
pre-eminent ones; if it was desired to enlarge uneconomic holdings by
removing a part of the population to other districts, the people to be
removed might not wish to go; and the landless men in the district to
which they were to be removed might say that they had a better right
to the land than strangers from a distance, and the result might be a
free fight. As the only chance of success for the labours of the Board
was the elimination of party politics, Mr. J. Morley, on becoming
Chief Secretary in the Gladstonian Government of 1892, appointed as
Commissioners Bishop O'Donnell of Raphoe (the Patron of the Ancient
Order of Hibernians, and a Trustee of the Parliamentary Fund of the
United Irish League); and the Rev. D. O'Hara, a leading Clerical
Nationalist of a violent type. It is needless to say that under their
influence the action of the Board has been conducted on strictly
Nationalist lines. One instance may suffice. In 1900, the Board,
having come into the possession of the Dillon estate, wished to sell
it to the tenants; and when doing so, considering the sporting rights
to be a valuable asset, decided to reserve them. A considerable number
of the tenants expressed their readiness to purchase their holdings
subject to the reservation. The Board received an offer of L11,000
for the mansion, demesne and sporting rights over the estate. The
reservation of sporting rights when, taking the whole estate, they
were of pecuniary value, had been the common practice of the Board in
other sales; but an agitation was at once got up (not by the tenants)
against the reservation in this case, on the ground that it was not
right for the Board to place any burden on the fee simple of the
holdings; the offer of L11,000 was refused, and soon afterwards the
Board sold the mansion and the best part of the demesne to a community
of Belgian nuns for L2,100. The sporting rights, which became the
property of the purchasing tenants, ceased to be of any appreciable
pecuniary value, though in a few cases the tenants succeeded in
selling their share of them for small sums to local agitators. When a
witness before the Royal Commission of 1906 ventured to point out that
the taxpayers thus lost L8,900 by the transaction, he was severely
rebuked by the Clerical members of the Commission for suggesting
that the presence of the Belgian nuns was not a great benefit to the

This Royal Commission was appointed ostensibly for the purpose of
enquiring into and reporting upon the operations of the Board since
its foundation. After going through a mass of evidence, the Chairman
(Lord Dudley) said that the Board had tried for twenty years to
develop new industries and had failed; and another member (Lord
MacDonnell) said that it had only touched the fringe of the question;
and, considering that in spite of all its efforts at promoting local
industries, emigration continued to be greater from the district
subject to its control than from any other part of Ireland, it is hard
to see what other view was possible. But the large majority of the
Commission were ardent Nationalists--in fact, one of them a short time
before his appointment had publicly advocated an absolute, rigorous,
complete and exhaustive system of boycotting; and the witness who
spoke for the United Irish League told the Commission that it was the
strong view of the League that the Board should be preserved. It was
only natural therefore that the Commission should report that in their
opinion the powers and scope of its operations should be extended and
its income largely increased. This was accordingly done by the Birrell
Act of 1909. One of the most important functions of the Board was
the purchase of land, for which they possessed compulsory powers. The
witness who had appeared before the Commission as representing the
United Irish League was Mr. FitzGibbon, Chairman of the Roscommon
County Council, and now a Member of Parliament. He had previously been
sent to prison for inciting to the Plan of Campaign, and for criminal
conspiracy. He had also taken a leading part in the cattle-driving
agitation (to which I shall refer later) and had announced that his
policy was "to enable the Board to get land at fag-end prices." He
was therefore appointed by Mr. Birrell to be a member of the Board, as
being a suitable person to decide what compensation should be paid
for land taken compulsorily. He publicly stated that his object was to
carry out the great work of Michael Davitt. And he certainly has been
active in doing so; and now the agitators, when they want to have an
estate transferred to the Board, commence by preventing its being
let or used, and so compelling the owner to leave it derelict
and unprofitable; then, when by every description of villainy and
boycotting it has been rendered almost worthless, the Congested
Districts Board (who have carefully lain by until then) step in with
a preposterous offer which the unfortunate owner has no choice but
to accept. This may appear strong language to use with reference to
a Government Department presided over by Roman Catholic bishops and
priests; but the words are not mine; they are taken from the judgment
of Mr. Justice Ross, in the case of the Browne Estate.

At any rate, whatever else the Congested Districts Board may have
achieved, they have done one good thing; they have shown to Unionists
in Ireland what the principles of justice are by which the Nationalist
Government will be conducted.

(4) The fourth division of the Unionist policy was the extension of
local government. By the Act of 1898 County and District Councils were
formed, like those which had been existing in England for a few
years previously; and the powers of the old Grand Juries (who it
was admitted had done their work well, but were now objected to on
principle as not being elected bodies) were abolished. The importance
of the measure can hardly be overestimated; for not only did it
re-organize local government on what would elsewhere be a democratic
but is in Ireland a Clerical basis; but also it may be described as
Home Rule on a small scale. By examining into the practical working of
the scheme we may form an idea as to what Home Rule is likely to be;
and both parties refer to it as a ground for their opinion. It is
curious now to note that it was Gerald Balfour, the Unionist Chief
Secretary, who, when introducing the measure, appealed to the Irish
gentry not to stand aloof from the new order of things, but to seek
from the suffrages of their fellow-citizens that position which no
others were so well qualified to fill as themselves--in much the same
way that English Radical orators now accuse the Ulstermen of want
of patriotism when they declare that they will never take part in a
Nationalist Government. The Nationalists were of course loud in their
protestations that in the noble work of local government all narrow
political and sectarian bitterness would be put aside, and all
Irishmen irrespective of creed, class or party would be welcome to
take part--just as they are now when they promise the same about the
National Parliament. Thus J. Redmond said:

"No man's politics or religion will be allowed to be a bar
to him if he desires to serve his country on one of the
new bodies. Men of different creeds, who have had an almost
impassable gulf between them all their lives, will be brought
together for the first time in the working of this scheme of
Local Government.... On every one of the juries in Ireland
there have been county gentlemen who have shown the greatest
aptitude for business, the greatest industry, and the greatest
ability; and I say it would be a monstrous thing if, by
working the election of these County Councils on narrow
sectarian or political lines, men of that class were excluded
from the service of their country."

And another Nationalist Member added: "We are anxious for the
co-operation of those who have leisure, wealth and knowledge." Irish
Unionists who refused to believe these assurances were denounced by
Nationalists as bigots and humbugs. The value of the assurances of
1912 may be gauged by the manner in which those of 1898 have been
fulfilled. At the election of 1899 a few Protestants and Unionists
were returned. But the general feeling of the newly-formed Councils
may be gathered from the following resolution which was passed by the
Mayo County Council in that year:

"That we, the members of the Mayo County Council, congratulate
the gallant Boers on their brilliant defeats of the troops
of the pirate Saxon. That we hope that a just Providence will
strengthen the arms of these farmer fighters in their brave
struggle for their independence. And we trust that as Babylon
fell, and as Rome fell, so also may fall the race and nation
whose creed is the creed of greed, and whose god is the god of

And by 1902, when the next triennial elections were coming on,
the mask was thrown off. The _Freeman's Journal_ (the principal
Nationalist organ) said:--

"In every County or District Council where a landlord, however
amiable, or personally estimable, offers himself for election,
the answer of the majority must be the same: 'No admittance
And J. Redmond stated the case still more plainly:

"We have in our hands a weapon recently won, the full force
of which is not yet, I believe, thoroughly understood by
the English Government or by ourselves. I mean the weapon
of freely-elected County Councils and District Councils who
to-day form a network of National organizations all over
Ireland, and who to-morrow, I doubt not, if the other
organizations were struck, would be willing to come forward
and take their place, and, in their Council Chambers, carry on
the National work."

Pledges in the following form were presented for signature to all
candidates by the United Irish League (except of course in north-east

"I ---- hereby pledge myself, if elected to represent the ----
Division on the County Council, to promote the interests of
the United Irish League, and to resign my position whenever
called upon to do so by the ---- Divisional Executive."

So completely has the policy been carried out that by 1911, to
quote the words of Mr. FitzGibbon, M.P. (to whom I have previously

"There was not a landlord in the country who could get his
agent returned as District Councillor or County Councillor,
or even his eldest son or himself. The Organization had
emancipated the people; it had given them the power which
their enemies had wielded; it had cleared the road for
Ireland's freedom."

At present Unionists and Nationalists are pretty evenly divided in the
County Councils of Ulster; in the other three Provinces amongst 703
County Councillors there are only fifteen Unionists. In other words,
the Act has enabled the Nationalist party to carry out the plan laid
down by Lalor of taking quiet and peaceable possession of all
the rights and powers of government, as a stepping-stone towards

Of course it may be said with much truth that if the large majority of
the people are Nationalists they are perfectly justified in choosing
Nationalists as their representatives. But that is not the point. The
real point is that in spite of the protestations of the Nationalists
at the time of the passing of the Act, politics in their bitterest
form have been brought in, and the Unionist minority have been
deprived of all share in the local government of the country.

To illustrate this still further, I may add that a General Council
of County Councils was formed in 1900, for the purpose of promoting a
fair and equitable administration of the Act. In order that the Ulster
Councils might unite with the others, it was agreed that politics
should be excluded. But after the election of 1902, that agreement
was abandoned; and, rather than take part in what had become a mere
political gathering, the Ulster representatives withdrew. Left
to themselves, the Nationalist General Council in 1906 passed the
following resolution:--

"That the Irish people are a free people, with a natural right
to govern themselves; that no Parliament is competent to make
such laws for Ireland except an Irish Parliament, sitting in
Dublin; and that the claim by other bodies of men to make laws
for us to govern Ireland is illegal, unconstitutional, and at
variance with the rights of the people."

If such a body as the General Council of County Councils pass a
resolution like this, is there much probability that the Nationalist
Parliament will refrain from doing the same, should the Imperial
Parliament attempt to exercise the power given to it by the present
Bill, and to legislate for Ireland?

But again it may be said that though the Councils have thus become
political bodies, they have conducted their business so admirably
that their conduct is a powerful argument to show that a Nationalist
Parliament will be equally practical and liberal. This is the view put
forward by Nationalist orators and their humble follower Mr. Birrell,
who in November 1911, informed his friends at Bristol that the Irish
had shown a great capacity for local government and that from what
people who had seen a great deal of the south and west of Ireland told
him there was no fear of persecution or oppression by the Catholic
majority of their Protestant fellow-subjects. In support of this,
various facts are adduced, which it is well to examine in detail,
remembering the poet's words that

"A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies."

One of the greatest powers possessed by the County Councils is the
exercise of patronage. It would probably be generally admitted in any
country but Ireland that there, if anywhere, religion and politics
should be excluded, and men selected only for their qualifications.
The Nationalists, wishing to demonstrate the fairness of the Councils
which hold their views, contrast the bigotry shown by the Unionist
Corporation of Belfast with the liberality of similar bodies in other
parts of the country. And certainly the figures they adduce, when
addressing audiences in England or writing for English readers, are
very striking. Thus Mr. Birrell said at Skipton in November 1911 that
he had been told that in the great Unionist City of Belfast there was
only one Roman Catholic in the employment of the Corporation, and he
was a scavenger. (It will be observed that here, as in many of his
speeches, he carefully used the expression "he had been told"--so
that what he said may be literally true, even though when he heard the
statement he knew that it was false.) And Stephen Gwynn, M.P., in his
"Case for Home Rule," says: "In Belfast, Catholics are a third of the
population; but the Corporation pays L51,405 in a year in salaries,
of which only L640 goes to Catholics." And about the same time as
Mr. Birrell's oration, Mr. Redmond, speaking at Swindon, said that in
Galway, Cork, Westmeath and King's County (where Roman Catholics form
the large majority of the population) Protestants held 23 per cent. of
the salaried appointments in the gift of the Councils.

But when we descend from the airy height of Nationalist rhetoric to
the prosaic region of fact, we find that the rates of the City
of Belfast amount to about L342,000; of this sum, Roman Catholic
ratepayers pay less than L18,000. There are nine hundred Roman
Catholics in the employment of the Corporation, and they receive in
salaries about L48,000 per annum. And as to the figures quoted by Mr.
Redmond, we find that he omitted to state that not one of the 23 per
cent. had been appointed by a County Council; they were all survivals
of the system in force before 1899, whose positions were secured by
statute; and in not one of the counties he mentioned has a Unionist
been appointed to any salaried office since that date. To take the
County of Cork as a specimen; there are ninety-four salaried
offices in the gift of the County Council; of these nine are held
by Protestants--but they were all appointed before 1899. Of the
thirty-three salaried offices in the gift of the City Corporation, two
are held by Protestants--but these also were appointed before 1898;
and yet the Protestants pay nearly half the rates. And in Ireland
there is not the slightest attempt at concealment in the matter;
thus in one case a District Council adopted by formal resolution the
request of the local priests not to support any candidate who did
not produce a testimonial from the parish priest; as a Councillor
remarked, it was the simplest way of stating that no Protestant need

But it is in the appointment of medical officers ("dispensary doctors"
as they are technically called in Ireland) that the policy of the
Nationalists has been most marked. Many years ago, the late Cardinal
Cullen ruled that it was a mortal sin to vote for a heretic for such
an office; now, however, the bishops have gone further. There are
three medical schools in Dublin--Trinity College, the College of
Surgeons, and the Catholic University School; and three in the
provinces--at Belfast, Cork and Galway. The Medical School of Trinity
College has a world-wide reputation. The students are required to
complete their Arts course before specializing in medicine (thus
ensuring that they shall be men of general culture and not merely of
professional training); the professors and lecturers are amongst the
ablest men of the day; the students have the advantage of the large
city hospitals for their clinical studies; and the standard required
for a degree is high. And not only is Trinity College open to all
students without distinction of creed, but the College authorities
have frequently offered a site within their grounds for a Roman
Catholic Chapel and the salary of a Chaplain who would take spiritual
care of his flock. Nevertheless the Roman Catholic bishops have
ordered that no candidate who has been trained at any College except
the Catholic University school shall be eligible for the post of
Dispensary Doctor; and when an election takes place (as for instance
that at Kiltimagh in 1905) the question of professional qualification
is not taken into consideration--having been trained at a "godless
college" is a fatal bar to any candidate, however able. In the
Kiltimagh case, the resolution passed shortly after the election by
the local branch of the United Irish League is instructive reading:--

"That we, the members of the Kiltimagh Branch of the United
Irish League, take advantage of this our first meeting since
the important Election of Medical Officer for the Kiltimagh
Dispensary District, to express our appreciation of all the
Guardians for the several divisions in this parish for the
faithful honesty with which they represented us on that
occasion. We feel proud to know that not one of our
representatives voted for a Queen's College man against a
Catholic University man. They voted for a man who is the
stamp of man we want--a sound Catholic, a sound Nationalist, a
Gaelic Leaguer, and a highly qualified medical man. We believe
their action will meet with the approval of the Bishops and
Priests of Ireland."

To one who lives in Ireland it is sad enough to see year by year the
most able and promising of the medical students being driven out
of the country on account of their religion, and forced to look for
openings elsewhere; but to a thoughtful observer it is even worse than
that; it is the beginning of the new Penal Laws.

And when we turn to other matters, where the marvellous efficiency of
the County Councils exists, is hard for an unprejudiced enquirer
to find. The old Grand Juries handed over the roads and bridges in
excellent order; they are certainly not better now, and in many cases
worse. In fact, one English theoretical Radical who paid a brief visit
to Ireland, inhaled so much Hibernian logic during his hurried tour
that he solemnly argued that the badness of the roads proved that the
Councils had been governing too economically; and therefore what was
needed was a central body--that is, an Irish Parliament--to stir up
the local administration! Nationalist writers claim that the rates
are going down; but that merely means that they are not so high now as
they were soon after the Act came into force, not that they are lower
than before 1898. It was expected that the rates would be reduced by
the operation of the Old Age Pensions Act; but that has not proved to
be the case. And the increase in local indebtedness is alarming.

To sum up, therefore, I trust that I have, even in this brief sketch,
made it clear that the policy of the Unionist Government, taken as
a whole, has been of immense benefit to the social and material
prosperity of Ireland; and that the points in which it has failed
have been those where their reforms have fallen under the power of the
Nationalists, who have either thwarted them, or made use of them
to further their own ideas. I shall next proceed to examine the
alternative policy, which is being carried out by the present



During the Gladstone-Rosebery Government--from 1892 to 1895--matters
in Ireland were quiet. The Nationalists were at first on their best
behaviour, in consequence of the promised introduction of the Home
Rule Bill; and after its rejection by the Upper House, the time was
too short for anything serious to happen. But the period was marked by
the commencement of one great change in Irish administration. It must
be admitted by impartial observers that the old landlord party,
with all their faults, made as a rule excellent magistrates. A large
proportion of them were retired military officers, who had gained some
experience in duties of the sort in their regiments; others were men
of superior education, who studied with care the laws they were to
administer. Living in the locality, they knew the habits and feelings
of the people; and yet they were sufficiently separated from them to
be able to act as impartial judges; and no charges of bribery were
ever made against them. And, the work being congenial, they gladly
devoted their spare time to it. Gladstone's Chief Secretary (the
present Lord Morley) determined to alter all this; he accordingly
appointed to the Bench a large number of men drawn from a lower social
stratum, less educated and intelligent than those previously chosen,
but more likely to administer "Justice according to Irish ideas."
Then the operation of the Local Government Act, by which Chairmen of
Councils (all of course Nationalists) became _ex officio_ magistrates,
completed a social revolution by entirely altering the character of
the Bench. In some localities the magistrates previously appointed
realizing that, being now in a minority, they could be of no further
use on the Bench, withdrew; in others, though the old magistrates
continued to sit, they found themselves persistently outvoted on every
point; so what good they have done by remaining, it is hard to see.
Amongst the men appointed under the new system, there have been
several instances of justices who have continued to act without the
slightest shame or scruple although they have been convicted of such
offences as drunkenness, selling drink on unlicensed premises, or
corrupt practices at elections. But worse than that: the new order
of justices do not regard their duties as magisterial, but political;
they give but little attention to ordinary cases, but attend in
full strength to prevent the conviction of any person for an outrage
organized by the United Irish League; and do not hesitate to promise
beforehand that they will do so. If by any chance a sufficient number
are not present to carry their purpose, the names of the absentees are
published in the Black List of the League--and the result of that is
so well known that they are not likely to offend again. Hence comes
the contemptible exhibition--now not infrequent--of men being charged
before the Bench, and no evidence being offered for the defence;
yet the Stipendiary Magistrate being obliged to say that though he
considers the case proved, the majority of the Bench have decided to
refuse informations. Even a Roman Catholic Bishop has confessed that
now magistrates too often have no respect for their obligations to
dispense the law justly and without favour; and that the Bench is
sometimes so "packed" that the culprits, though guilty, are certain to
be acquitted.

* * * * *

Before discussing the policy of the present Government since it
came into power in 1906, it is well to explain what the principal
societies--secret or other--are which now conduct the Government of
Ireland. In one sense indeed the names are immaterial; for, as in
1798, in whatever various ways the societies have commenced, they are
all working towards the same end, and being controlled by the same

The Land League, which was founded in 1879 as a league for ruining
landlords as a stepping-stone towards independence, having been
suppressed by Gladstone in 1881, was reformed under the name of the
Irish National League. This was in its turn suppressed in 1887, and in
1898 appeared once more under the name of the United Irish League
with J. Redmond as President and J. Devlin as Secretary. In 1901 Mr.
Redmond explained the objects of the League as follows:--

"The United Irish League is not merely an agrarian movement.
It is first, last, and all the time a National movement;
and those of us who are endeavouring to rouse the farmers of
Ireland, as we endeavoured twenty years ago in the days of the
Land League, to rouse them, are doing so, not merely to obtain
the removal of their particular grievances, but because we
believe by rousing them we will be strengthening the National
movement and helping us to obtain our end, which is, after
all, National independence of Ireland."

And to make the exact meaning of the phrase "National Independence of
Ireland" quite clear, he soon afterwards stated that their object was
the same as that aimed at by Emmett and Wolfe Tone--in other words, to
place Ireland in the scale of nations with a constitution resembling
that of the United States.

By March 1908 (that is, about two years after the present Government
came into power), to quote the words of Mr. Justice Wright, "the only
law feared and obeyed was the law not of the land but of the United
Irish League"; and before the end of that year Mr. Redmond was able to
report to his friends in America:--

"We have in Ireland an organization which is practically
a government of the country. There is in O'Connell Street,
Dublin, a great office managed by the real Chief Secretary for
Ireland, J. Devlin, the Member for Belfast."

The organization of the League is admirable. The country is covered
with a network of branches, to which people in the district are
obliged to contribute under penalty of being boycotted; these branches
are united under provincial executives, whilst the Directory in
Dublin controls the whole. The union between the League and the Roman
Catholic Church is as complete as the union between that Church and
some societies started on a non-sectarian basis became during the
rebellion of 1798; as we have seen, a bishop is one of the trustees,
and other bishops are amongst the subscribers; the Sunday meetings of
the various branches, at which boycotting and other measures of the
kind are arranged, are usually presided over by the parish priests. On
the other hand, few laymen, whatever their religion may be, who have
any stake in the country, can be got to join the League; in the words
of A.J. Kettle, M.P.:--

"On its roll of membership there are no landlords or
ex-landlords, few merchants, fewer Irish manufacturers. There
are few of the men who are managing the business of Ireland
in city or town, connected with the League. The bankers who
regulate our finances, the railway or transit men who control
our trade, internal and external, even the leading cattle men
who handle most of our animal produce, are not to be found in
its ranks."

In further evidence of this it may be noted that in spite of all the
efforts of the League at collecting money, the subscriptions to the
Irish Parliamentary Fund do not amount to a halfpenny per head of the
population; as J. Dillon has remarked: "The National cause in Ireland
could not live for six months if it were deprived of the support of
the Irish across the Atlantic."

Closely allied with the League is the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a
secret political and exclusively Roman Catholic association, of which
J. Devlin, M.P. (the Secretary of the League), is President. It is
also called the Board of Erin, to distinguish it from the American
branch. The American branch, I may remark, is also known as the Molly
Maguires, as it was under that name that it conducted the series of
murders and outrages at the Pennsylvanian mines thirty years ago.
Hence the Irish branch is sometimes nicknamed the "Molly Maguires."
The Order is very religious, in the sense that part of its programme
is to deprive heretics of every means of earning their livelihood; as
a Nationalist who did not sympathize with the operations of the Order
expressed it: "If Protestants are to be robbed of their business, if
they are to be deprived of public contracts, and shut out of every
office and emolument,--what is that but extermination?" The political
principles of the Order can be gathered from the Address presented by
them to Captain Condon on the occasion of his visit to Dublin in 1909.
Captain Condon, I may explain, had been a prominent Fenian and member
of the Irish Republican brotherhood, and had taken part in the riot at
Manchester in 1867 which resulted in the murder of Sergeant Brett; he
now resides in America. In 1909 he visited Ireland on the invitation
of J. Redmond; and the address presented to him by the Ancient Order
of Hibernians contained the following words:--

"In you, O'Meagher Condon, we recognize one of those
connecting links with the past which all nations cherish,
and you are ready to-day with voice and pen to give your
unflagging support to Ireland's leaders with as much
enthusiasm as you grasped the sword to lead Ireland in the
dark but historic '67. We are sure it will interest you to
know that the ranks of the Hibernians to-day are composed
of the men and children of those who swore allegiance to the
Irish Republic with you."

The Order has lately acquired additional strength by becoming an
"Approved Society" under the Insurance Act of 1911. In Ireland it is
no more possible for life insurance than for anything else to exist
without being dragged into the vortex of religious and political

The "Clan-na-gael"--that is, the Dynamite Club--still flourishes
in America; but for obvious reasons it does not make any public
appearance in Ireland; and the exact part which it takes in the
movement at the present time, it is impossible to say.

"Sinn Fein" (which means "Ourselves") is another Separatist
Association, aiming at the establishment of Ireland as a Sovereign
State, and teaching that the election of Irishmen to serve in the
British Parliament is treason to the Irish State. As its name implies,
it desires to make use of the revival of the Irish language as a means
towards the end for which it is working. It was founded in 1905.
Why this Society and the United Irish League, whose objects seem
identical, should be ready to fly at one another's throats, is one of
the things that those who are outside the Nationalist circle cannot
understand. But the Clerical leaders, who do their utmost to further
the operations of the League, look askance at Sinn Fein; its ultimate
success therefore is very doubtful.

Then, working in conjunction with these societies is the "Gaelic
League," founded for the "de-Anglicizing" of Ireland, as helping
towards separation. As J. Sweetman (who, besides being a prominent
member of the Gaelic League, is also Vice-President of Sinn Fein and
Vice-Chairman of the Central Council of Irish County Councils and may
therefore be regarded as speaking with authority) has expressed it:--

"Out of the Gaelic League's de-Anglicizing propaganda
have already grown a series of movements not only strongly
political but each and all making for a separate independent
Irish nation, freed from every link of the British

Were it not for its political object, the folly of this "revival of
the Irish language" would be past belief. The language of Shakespeare
and Milton, of Gibbon and Macaulay, ought surely to be good enough for
ordinary people; and it must be obvious to every reasoning being that
at the present moment of the world's history, English is one of the
most useful languages in existence. It is spoken by 40,000,000 of
people in Europe and twice that number in America, not to mention
Australasia and South Africa. It is the language of commerce, of
science, and of a vast amount of literature. Europeans of various
nationalities learn it, for the sake of its convenience; although, as
we all know, one of the difficulties of modern life is that boys and
girls have too much to study; educationalists everywhere complain
that the curriculum is overloaded. Its position in Ireland can be
seen exactly by the census returns; for the papers contain a "language
column," each person being required to state whether he speaks
English or Irish or both. According to the returns of 1891, the total
population was in round numbers 4,725,000; of whom 4,037,000 spoke
English only, 643,000 both languages, and 44,000 Irish only. And that
trifling minority existed only in certain localities, and was confined
to the less educated classes. The only counties in which a majority of
the population spoke Irish (including those who spoke both languages)
were Mayo and Galway. Yet now it is solemnly said that Ireland,
being an independent nation, must have a language of its own; even in
counties where no language but English has been spoken for centuries,
and where probably none of the ancestors of the present population
ever spoke any other language, Irish is being taught in the Roman
Catholic primary schools, and the unhappy children who might be
studying arithmetic or elementary geography, are wasting their time
over a totally useless language. I say "totally useless" deliberately;
for the arguments usually brought forward in favour of the study,
apart from the political one--that Irish is of use in the study of
philology, and that the MSS. of centuries ago contain fine specimens
of poetry--are too absurd to be worth discussing. The real object of
the Nationalists in "encouraging the revival of the Irish language"
is clearly set out in the following words of T. MacSeamus in a recent
number of the _Irish Review_:--

"Most important of all, the Irish language is one of the
things that distinguish us from England. It is a mark of that
separateness which it is the business of every Nationalist to
maintain and emphasise on every possible occasion. It is one
of the signs--perhaps the chief sign--of nationality.... The
Irish language is a weapon in our fight against England, and
we cannot afford to throw away even the smallest weapon that
may serve us in that struggle."

And the policy of the League as regards the primary schools is made
quite clear by the resolution passed unanimously at their annual
meeting in 1912:--

"That we re-affirm the demand of the last Ard Fheis in regard
to the position of Irish in the primary schools, viz., that
Irish be the sole medium of instruction in the Irish-speaking
districts; that it be the medium as far as possible in all
other schools, and that it be a compulsory subject in every
school throughout the country where parents are not opposed
to it; furthermore, that a knowledge of Irish be required from
all teachers entering for training as teachers, and that no
certificate be issued to those who fail to qualify in Irish at
the final examination, and that none but inspectors having a
knowledge of Irish be employed to inspect schools where Irish
is taught."

It will be seen therefore that if the League carry their point (as
no doubt they will under a Home Rule Government) no graduate of the
Belfast University who wishes to become a teacher in a Belfast school
will be allowed to do so unless he passes an examination in a language
which not one of his pupils will ever wish to learn; and this, not for
the purpose of ensuring general culture, but to further a political
object with which he has no sympathy.

The League leave no stone unturned in their efforts to substitute the
Irish for the English language. For instance, it is usually considered
in other countries that the names of the streets of a town are put
up in order to help people who want to find their way, and not for
political reasons. But in Dublin, where not one per cent. of the
people can read Irish, the names have recently all been painted up in
that language, in the hope of de-Anglicizing the rising generation. An
incident occurred recently which will show how the movement is being
taken up. There is in Dublin an excellent regulation that children
may not become "street traders" without a licence. A bright little boy
came to apply for one. The magistrate, being a kindly man, enquired
of the lad what his circumstances were. The boy explained that part of
his earnings went towards the support of his widowed mother; and that
he was trying to keep up his education by attending a night school.
"And what are you learning there?" said the magistrate. "Irish,"
replied the boy. Even the magistrate could not resist telling him that
he thought his time would be better spent at Arithmetic. Yet from the
boy's point of view, there is something to be said. Irish may be of
use to him in obtaining a Government appointment, however small; for
local bodies (such as the Dublin Boards of Guardians) now refuse
to appoint clerks who cannot send out notices of meetings in Irish,
though no member of the Board to whom they are sent can read them; and
the League fully expect that the Home Rule Government will do the same
with regard to every appointment in their gift. If the railways are
taken over by the Government (as they probably will be) it can be seen
what an immense impetus can be given to the movement.

Then Secondary Schools have been established for the same object. The
_Irish Educational Review_ recently contained the following account of
one of them:--

"At Ring, in the County Waterford, there is already in
existence an Irish secondary school where classics, modern
languages and all the usual secondary school subjects are
taught and where Irish and English fill their rightful places,
the former being the ordinary language of the school, the
latter a foreign language on no higher level than French or

The Act of 1909, which founded the "National" University (to which I
shall refer again), gave power to County Councils to levy a rate for
scholarships. Immediately the Gaelic League saw their opportunity.
They endeavoured to persuade the Councils to refuse to do so unless
Irish were made compulsory at the University. The Councils generally
(except of course in Ulster) agreed to the plan; but some of them
(such as the Kildare Council) were faced by a difficulty. Not a single
child in the county spoke Irish; and so if that language were made
compulsory, no one could compete for the scholarships. So they
compromised matters, by deciding that they would levy a rate if Irish
were made compulsory after 1915, by which time some of the young
people in the county would have been able to learn it; and the
University agreed to do so.

This rating power, I may remark, looks extremely liberal as it appears
in the Act; for the scholarships are to be tenable at any University.
The Irish Unionist members, knowing quite well how it would be
worked, opposed the clause; and as usual were denounced as bigots
and fanatics. It is needless to add that as soon as the Act came into
force, County Councils and Corporations at once passed resolutions
that scholarships derived from the rates should not be tenable at
Trinity College, Dublin, or at Belfast, but only at the National
University--thus practically saying that no Protestants need compete.

Beyond forcing the children to acquire a smattering of Irish, it
cannot be said that so far the efforts of the League as to the
language have been very successful; for the census returns show that
the proportion of the population who could speak Irish in 1891 was
14'5; in 1901, 14'4; and in 1911, 13'3; and the numbers who spoke
Irish only fell from 20,953 in 1901 to 16,870 in 1911.

But the efforts of the League are not confined to the language.
English games, such as cricket, are forbidden; if football is played,
it must be the Gaelic variety with rules totally different from
those observed by the hated Saxon. Even the patients in asylums
are forbidden to play cricket or lawn tennis. And some of the more
enthusiastic members of the League have actually "donned the saffron,"
in imitation of the Ersefied Normans of 400 years ago. However, it
is so hideously ugly, and so suggestive of the obnoxious Orange, that
that phase of the movement is not likely to extend.

Even the "Boy Scout" movement has been made use of for the same
object. As soon as some corps had been established in Ireland, the
Nationalists started a rival organization with an Irish name, in
which all the boys solemnly undertake to work for the independence
of Ireland, and never to join England's armed forces. The boys take a
prominent part in the annual ceremonies in honour of Wolfe Tone, the
Manchester martyrs, and other Nationalist heroes.

The whole thing would be laughable if it were not so very sad. Even
such matters as sports and education, where all creeds and parties
might be expected to work together amicably, must be used as
instruments to bring about separation; and the result already is not
so much to widen the gulf between Ireland and England as the gulf
between the two parties in Ireland; for the Protestant minority in
the south, who know that most of their children will have to leave the
country, are not likely to let them fritter away their youth in the
study of a language which can be of no possible benefit to them in
any part of the world to which they may go; and the idea that the
Ulstermen will ever adopt a Celtic tongue is too ridiculous to be
considered. But perhaps the most painful thought of all is that the
Nationalists should be ready even to sacrifice the prospects in life
of the rising generation of the country in order to satisfy their
blind hatred of England.



I come now to the policy which has been pursued by the present
Government since 1906. It must be remembered that the Radical party
returned to power pledged to Home Rule as a principle, but with a
sufficient majority to enable them to retain office without depending
on the Irish vote. Hence there was no necessity for them to introduce
a Home Rule Bill; but of course they set aside the policy of the
Unionist Government, and resolved to govern Ireland according to their
own ideas. What those ideas were, and what the result has been, I
shall now proceed to show; but in doing so I shall as far as possible
confine myself to quotations and statistics which can be verified, so
that I may not be accused of giving an unfair report.

The Chief Secretary for the first year was Mr. Bryce, who was
afterwards appointed British Ambassador at Washington. The Government
at once repealed the Act which forbade the carrying of arms without a
licence; withdrew all proclamations under the Crimes Act of 1887;
and resolved not to stop any political meetings. Accordingly the
Nationalists commenced holding a series of demonstrations all over
the country. A few specimens taken from the speeches made at them will
suffice to show their general tenour.

"Let them all be ready, and when England got into trouble with
European Powers, they would pounce upon her with the ferocity
of a tiger."--_T. Walsh, District Councillor._

"They must stand together as one man, and make it impossible
for England to govern Ireland."--_P. White, M.P._

"If there had been 100,000 Fenians in Ireland at the time of
the Boer War there might now have been a Republic in
Ireland, and British supremacy would have been tumbled in the
dust."--_J. Daly, formerly Mayor of Limerick._

And Mr. Bryce, when leaving Ireland at the end of the year, stated
that he had not found any harm in any of the speeches delivered at the

At this time the agitation began to assume a new form. One of the most
important of Irish industries is the cattle trade with England,
the annual value of which exceeds L14,000,000. In several parts of
Ireland, notably in Meath and the central counties, the soil and
climate are specially suited for cattle raising, and the land
is generally held in large grazing farms. It was decided by the
Nationalists in the autumn of 1906 that this industry must be
destroyed. Bodies of men assembled night after night to break down the
fences and gates of the farms and drive the cattle many miles away,
in order that the farmers might be ruined and forced to leave the
country; and then the derelict farms would be divided amongst the
"landless men." L. Ginnell, M.P., explained the programme fully in a
speech he made in October 1906:--

"The ranches must be broken up, not only in Westmeath but
throughout all Ireland ... He advised them to stamp out the
ranch demon themselves, and not leave an alien Parliament to
do the duty ... He advised them to leave the ranches unfenced,
unused and unusable ... so that no man or demon would dare to
stand another hour between the people and the land that should
be theirs."

The agitation, commencing in Meath, was gradually extended, county
by county, over a large part of Ireland where the Nationalists are
supreme. Other measures were resorted to, in order to carry out their
object. Arson, the burning of hayricks, firing into dwelling-houses,
spiking meadows, the mutilation of horses and cows, the destruction
of turf, the damaging of machinery, and various other forms of lawless
violence began to increase and multiply. At the Spring Assizes in
1907, the Chief Justice, when addressing the Grand Jury at Ennis, in
commenting on the increasing need for placing law-abiding people under
special police protection, said:--

"In a shire in England, if it was found necessary, either by
special protection or protection by patrol, to protect from
risk of outrage thirty persons, what would be thought?"

And Mr. Justice Kenny at Leitrim, after commenting upon the increased
number of specially reported cases, as shown by the official
statistics, and alluding to several cases of gross intimidation,

"In these latter cases I regret to say no one has been
made amenable; and when there is such a state of things,
it justifies the observation made by the learned judge who
presided at last Connaught Winter Assizes, that when the chain
of terrorism was complete, no witness would give evidence and
no jury would convict."

Thereupon Mr. Birrell, who at the beginning of the year had succeeded
Mr. Bryce as Chief Secretary, having no doubt studied these and
similar reports, said in a speech at Halifax in the following month:--

"You may take my word for this, that Ireland is at this moment
in a more peaceful condition than for the last six hundred

Soon afterwards, Mr. Justice Ross, who, as Judge of the Land Judge's
Court, Chancery Division, was in charge of many estates in Ireland,

"He had known from other Receivers about this widespread and
audacious conspiracy at present rampant in the West of Ireland
... This was actually a conspiracy which on ordinary moral
grounds amounted to highway robbery, to seize on these grass
lands, to drive away the stock of the people who had been
in the habit of taking it; and then, when the owner had been
starved out, the Estates Commissioners were expected to buy up
the property and to distribute it amongst the very people who
had been urging on the business, and who had been engaged in
these outrages."

When an Ulster member drew attention to this in the House of Commons,
Mr. Birrell replied:--

"There is no evidence before the Government that a widespread
conspiracy is rampant in the West of Ireland."

And in reply to another question he said that:--

"The reports he received from the police and other persons
revealed the condition of Ireland generally as to peace and
order as being very satisfactory."

During the month of October 1907, twenty-nine claims for compensation
from the rates in respect of malicious injuries had been proved and
granted in twelve counties, the amount levied from the ratepayers
being about L900. The malicious injuries comprised destruction of and
firing into dwelling houses, mutilation of horses and cattle, burning
cattle to death, spiking meadows and damaging mowing machines, damages
to fences and walls, burning heather and pasturage, damage to gates in
connection with cattle driving, and injury to cattle by driving. And
in November an attempt was made to assassinate Mr. White Blake and his
mother when driving home from church in the County Galway. A few days
after this occurred Mr. Redmond said at a meeting in North Wales:--

"Whilst there is no crime or outrage there is widespread
unrest and impatience, and there are, over a certain section
of the country, taking place technical breaches of the strict
letter of the law in the shape of what is called cattle
driving. Now let me say first of all that in no instance has
any single beast been injured in the smallest degree in any of
these cattle-drives; in no instance has any malicious injury
been done to property, life or limb, or beast."

All this time the Government adhered to their determination not to put
the Crimes Act in force, but merely to place accused persons on trial
before juries at the Assizes. The results were as follows: At the
Summer Assizes in 1907, 167 persons were returned for trial; of these,
57 were actually tried, of whom three were convicted, 31 acquitted,
and in 23 cases the juries disagreed. The trials of the remaining 110
were postponed. At the Michaelmas sittings, 94 persons were put on
trial, of whom 5 were convicted and 2 acquitted; in 72 cases the
juries disagreed, and in the remaining 15 the Crown abandoned
proceedings. At the Winter Assizes 86 persons were tried for unlawful
assembly, riot and conspiracy in connection with cattle-driving. None
were convicted; 11 were acquitted; in 12 cases the prisoners were
discharged on legal points; and in 63 the juries disagreed.

I fully admit that there is much to be said for the juries who refused
to convict. When a Government is doing its utmost to suppress anarchy
and to enforce law and order, it is no doubt the duty of every loyal
subject to render assistance even at the risk of his own life
and property. But when a Government is conniving at anarchy, and
deliberately refusing to put in force the Act which would put a stop
to it, I say it is too much to expect of any man that he should face
the prospect of being ruined and probably murdered, and his family
reduced to beggary, in order to enable the Government to keep up the
farce of pretending that they are trying to do their duty.

During the first half of 1908, there were 418 reported cases of
cattle-driving; and arson, outrages with firearms, meadow-spiking,
and similar offences increased in proportion. The judges urged in vain
that the law should be put in force. But the policy of the Government
remained unchanged; the _Daily News_ (the Government organ) when
cattle-driving was at its height said that thanks to the excellent
government of Mr. Birrell cattle-driving now had practically become
extinct even in those few parts of the country in which it had
existed; and in July Mr. Birrell, addressing a political meeting at
Port Sunlight, said that:--

"They were led to believe that the state of Ireland was of
an appalling character, that crime predominated, and that
lawlessness almost universally prevailed. All he could say was
that a more cheerful land was nowhere to be found."

In 1909 matters became somewhat quieter, chiefly because Mr. Birrell
promised to introduce a Land Bill by which the cattle-drivers hoped to
get all they wanted. Hence their leaders advised them to "give Birrell
a chance," but Mr. Redmond warned the Government that if they did not
carry out their pledge, they would speedily find Ireland ungovernable.
In February 1909, Lord Crewe, speaking for the Government in the House
of Lords, made the remarkable statement:--

"As regards intimidation, I have always shared the view that
well-organized intimidation cannot be checked by law. I know
no method of checking it."

If this is not an admission that the Government had failed in their
duty, it is hard to say what is. The result of their line of action
will be seen by the following table, which has been taken from various
returns which the Ulster members, by repeated questions in Parliament
at last succeeded in forcing Mr. Birrell to make public:--

Agrarian outrages 1906 234
" " 1907 372
" " 1908 576
Cattle-drives 1905 Nil
" " 1907-8 513
" " 1908-9 622
" " 1908 219
Cattle maiming, mutilating, etc. 1907 142
Persons boycotted 1907 196
" " 1908 270
" " 1909 335
Cost of extra police 1908 L47,000


Agrarian outrages 581
Malicious injuries to property, Intimidating
by threatening letters, etc. 285
Firing into dwelling houses 58
Rioting, robbery of arms, etc. 31
Killing and maiming cattle 83

It may be asked, why did not the Ulster members call the attention of
Parliament to this state of things? The answer is, they did so again
and again; Mr. Birrell gave stereotyped replies, much after this form,
with hardly a variation:--

I have seen in the newspapers a report that a few shots were
fired into a farmhouse in Galway. No one appears to have been
seriously injured. The police are making enquiries. No arrests
have been made.

(He might as well have added that he knew perfectly well that no
arrests ever would be made.) Then he would go to a political meeting
and say that the peaceful condition of Ireland was shown by the small
number of criminal cases returned for trial at the Assizes; and would
bitterly denounce the "Carrion Crows" (as he designated the Ulster
members) for trying to blacken the reputation of their country.

One instance may be given more in detail, as typical of the condition
to which Ireland had been brought. Lord Ashtown (a Unionist Peer
residing in County Galway) began issuing month by month a series of
pamphlets entitled "Grievances from Ireland." They contained little
besides extracts from Nationalist papers giving reports of the
meetings of the United Irish League, the outrages that took place, and
the comments of Nationalist papers on them. His object was to let
the people in England see from the accounts given by the Nationalists
themselves, what was going on in Ireland. This, however, was very
objectionable to them; and one of their members asked Mr. Birrell in
the House of Commons whether the pamphlets could not be suppressed.
Mr. Birrell made the curious reply that he would be very glad if Lord
Ashtown were stopped, but that he did not see how to do it. What he
expected would be the results of that remark, I do not know; but no
one living in Ireland was much surprised when a few weeks afterwards
a bomb outrage occurred at the residence of Lord Ashtown in the County
Waterford. It was a clumsy failure. A jar containing gunpowder was
placed against the wall of the house where he was staying and set on
fire. The explosion wrecked part of the building, but Lord Ashtown
escaped unhurt. He gave notice of his intention to apply at the next
assizes for compensation for malicious injury. The usual custom in
such cases is for a copy of the police report showing the injury
complained of, to be sent to the person seeking compensation; but on
this occasion the police refused to show Lord Ashtown their report,
stating that they had received orders from the Government not to do
so. But shortly before the case came on, a report, not made by the
police authority in charge of the district, but by another brought in
specially for the purpose, appeared in the Nationalist papers. This
report contained the remarkable suggestion that Lord Ashtown had done
it himself! When under cross-examination at the trial, the Inspector
of the Royal Irish Constabulary who made the report was obliged to
confess that he did not believe that he had, but had only inserted the
suggestion in obedience to instruction received from the Government.
Lord Ashtown proved his case and was awarded compensation. But the
matter did not end there. He had employed a surveyor, Mr. Scully, to
draw plans and take photographs showing the amount of the damage. Mr.
Scully was surveyor to the Waterford Corporation. It was proposed at
the next meeting of the Corporation that he should be dismissed from
his office for having given evidence for Lord Ashtown. The motion
was carried unanimously, eight councillors being present; and at the
following meeting it was ratified by eight votes to two. A question
was asked about the matter in the House of Commons; and Mr. Birrell,
with the figures before him, replied that Mr. Scully had never been

Two other instances of this period must be briefly referred to. It
has already been shown how the Irish Parliament endowed Maynooth as a
College for Roman Catholic students both lay and theological; and how
Trinity College, Dublin, opened its doors to all students, without
distinction of creed. But the Roman Catholic Church turned Maynooth
into a seminary for theological students only; and the bishops forbade
young laymen to go to Trinity. In 1845 Sir Robert Peel attempted to
supply the want by founding the Queen's University, with Colleges at
Belfast, Cork and Galway, where mixed education should be given in
secular subjects, and separate instruction in those appertaining to
religion; but that again was denounced as a "satanic scheme for the
ruin of faith in the rising generation"; and the crusade against
the university was so successful that in 1879 it was destroyed and
another--the Royal University--put in its place. This in its turn was
abolished in 1909; the College at Belfast was raised to the status
of a University, and a new University ominously called the "National
University" was founded into which the existing Colleges at Cork and
Galway were absorbed, with a new and richly endowed College in Dublin
at the head. It may seem strange that the Radical Government who are
pledged to destroy all religious education in England should found and
endow a Denominational University in Ireland. But the matter could be
arranged by a little judicious management and prevarication; it was
represented in Parliament that the new University was to be strictly
unsectarian; during the debate, Sir P. Magnus, the member for the
London University, said that he had no reason to believe that there
was any intention on the part of the Chief Secretary to set up
denominational Universities in Ireland; he accepted his word that they
were to be entirely undenominational. Then, when the Act was passed,
the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin was appointed Chancellor of
the National University, with a number of Jesuits as Professors, and
Cardinal Logue stated as follows:--

"No matter what obstacles the Nonconformists may have inserted
in the Constitution of the University to keep it from being
Catholic, we will make it Catholic in spite of them."

Personally, I do not object to denominational Universities. I regret
that young men who are going to live in the same country should not be
able to study law and medicine together; but if that is their feeling
and the feeling of their parents, I admit that having separate
Universities may be the best solution of the difficulty. But if so,
let it be openly avowed that the University is denominational; to
"make it Catholic" and at the same time to say that it is no injustice
to Protestants that County Scholarships paid for by the ratepayers
should be tenable there and nowhere else, seems to me absurd.

The other incident to which reference must be made was the great
Convention held in Dublin in 1909. The Nationalists, believing that
a Home Rule Bill would soon be introduced, devised the scheme of
assembling a monster Convention, which would be evidence to the world
of how admirably fitted the Irish people were to govern their own
country. It was attended by 2,000 delegates from all parts of the
country, who were to form a happy family, as of course no disturbing
Unionist element would be present to mar the harmony and the clerical
element would be strong. Mr. Redmond, who presided, said in his
opening address:--

"Ireland's capacity for self-government will be judged at home
and abroad by the conduct of this Assembly. Ireland's good
name is at stake, and therefore every man who takes part
in this Assembly should weigh his words and recognise his

The meeting ended in a free fight.

At the end of 1909 Mr. Asquith did a very clever thing. A general
election was pending, and he wished to avoid the mistake which
Gladstone had made in 1885. He therefore, at a great meeting at
the Albert Hall unfolded an elaborate programme of the long list of
measures which the Government would introduce and carry, and in the
course of his remarks said that Home Rule was the only solution of
the Irish problem, and that in the new House of Commons the hands of
a Liberal Government and of a Liberal majority would in this matter be
entirely free. He and his followers carefully abstained from referring
to the subject in their election addresses; and Mr. Asquith was thus
free, if he should obtain a majority independent of the Irish vote,
to say that he had never promised to make Home Rule part of his
programme; but if he found he could not retain office without that
vote, he might buy it by promising to introduce the Bill and refer to
his words at the Albert Hall as justification for doing so. The latter
happened; hence the "Coalition Ministry." The Irish party consented to
please the Radicals by voting for the Budget, and the Nonconformists
by voting for Welsh Disestablishment, on condition that they should
in return vote for Home Rule. As Mr. Hobhouse (a Cabinet Minister)
expressed it in 1911:--

"Next year we must pay our debt to the Nationalist Members,
who were good enough to vote for a Budget which they detested
and knew would be an injury to their country."

But the people of England still had to be hood-winked. It was hardly
likely that they would consent to their representatives voting for
the separation of Ireland from Great Britain; so the Nationalists and
their Radical allies went about England declaring that they had
no wish for such a thing; that all they desired was a subordinate
Parliament leaving the Imperial Parliament supreme. Thus Mr. Redmond
suggested at one meeting that Ireland should be conceded the right
of managing her own purely local affairs for herself in a subordinate
Parliament, subject to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament; and
at another meeting said:

"We are not asking for a Repeal of the Union. We are not
asking for the restoration of a co-ordinate Parliament such
as Ireland had before the Union. We are only asking that
there should be given to Ireland a subordinate Parliament. We
therefore admit the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. That
means that after this subordinate Parliament is created in
Ireland, if the Parliament is foolish enough, rash enough, as
it never will be, but if it were foolish enough and criminal
enough to use the powers given to it for injustice or
oppression of any class or creed, the Imperial Parliament
would have the power to stretch forth the arm of its authority
and to say 'you shall not do that.'"

Of course it may be argued that they had changed their minds; that
in former times they worked for separation, but now realised that
a subordinate Parliament was all that Ireland required. But
unfortunately for this theory, they have themselves repudiated it;
when Mr. Redmond was accused of speaking with two voices, one in
America and one in Great Britain, he passionately replied:--

"I indignantly deny that accusation. I have never in my life
said one word on a platform in America one whit stronger than
I had said in my place on the floor of the House of Commons.
I have never in America or anywhere else, advocated the
separation of Ireland from Great Britain."

How far this is true, the quotations from his speeches which have
already been given, will have shown. But the Government have kept up
the farce; Mr. Winston Churchill said during the debate on the Bill of

"The Home Rule movement has never been a separatist movement.
In the whole course of its career it has been a moderating,
modifying movement, designed to secure the recognition of
Irish claims within the circuit of the British Empire."

But not even the immediate prospect of Home Rule can be said to have
made those parts of Ireland where the League is supreme a happy place
of residence to any but advanced Nationalists. The following report of
a case in the Magistrate's Court at Ennis in November 1912 will speak
for the condition of the County Clare:--

Patrick Arkins was charged with knocking down walls on the
farm of Mrs. Fitzpatrick in order to compel her to give up the
farm. Inspector Davis gave evidence that from January 1910 to
that date there were 104 serious outrages in his district.
In 42 firearms were used, 27 were malicious injuries, 32 were
threatening notices, 1 case of bomb explosion outside a house,
1 robbery of arms, and 1 attempted robbery. A sum of L268 had
been awarded as compensation for malicious injury and there
were claims for L75 pending for malicious injuries committed
during the week ended 11th inst. There were two persons under
constant police protection, and 16 receiving protection by
patrol. Head Constable Mulligan said that Mrs. Fitzpatrick was
under police protection. Since February 11th, 1912, there had
been 12 outrages in the district, Mrs. Fitzpatrick was under
almost constant police protection. Acting Sergeant Beegan
deposed that there had been 12 outrages on the Fitzpatrick
family during the last four years; these included driving
cattle off the lands, threatening notices, firing shots at the
house, knocking down walls, spiking meadows; the new roof of
a hay barn was perforated with bullets, and at Kiltonaghty
Chapel there were notices threatening death to anyone who
would work for Mrs. Fitzpatrick. Timothy Fitzpatrick gave
similar evidence as to the outrages, and said that his father
had taken the farm twenty-one years ago, and had paid the son
of the former tenant L40 for his goodwill.

(I may add that Arkins was committed for trial, convicted at the
Assizes and sentenced to seven years penal servitude; and was released
by Mr. Birrell a few weeks afterwards.)

In another Clare case, in February of the present year, the resident
Magistrate said as follows:--

"It is a mistake to say that these outrages are arising out
of disputes between landlord and tenant; nine out of ten arise
out of petty disputes about land. What is the use of having
new land laws? A case occurred not long ago in this county of
a man who had bought some land twenty years ago, and paid down
hard cash to the outgoing tenant. The man died, and left a
widow and children on the land for fourteen years. But in 1908
a man who had some ulterior object got the man who had sold
the farm to send in a claim under the Evicted Tenant's Act,
which was rejected. That was what the advisers of the man
wanted--they only wanted a pretext for moonlighting and other
disgraceful outrages, and the woman was kept in a hell for
four years. A man was caught at last and convicted, and one
would think that this was a subject for rejoicing for all
right-minded men in the county. But what was the result? A
perfect tornado of letters was printed, and resolutions
and speeches appeared in the public press, condemning this
conviction of a moonlighter in Clare as an outrage against

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Killaloe, in a sermon preached in
December 1912, referring to County Clare said:--

"That county had had an evil record in the matter of crime,
and they were so accustomed to outrages of almost weekly
occurrence around them that it was not easy to shock them.
There was an inoffensive family sitting round the fireside
with a couple of neighbours. They had given no offence, they
had wronged no man, they had crossed no man's path. But that
inhuman beast went to the door and lifted the latch, and
there, at a few yards distance, fired into that innocent group
of men, women and children, as if they were a flock of crows,
killing the mother outright and almost blowing the forehead
off a young girl. There was no denying the fact that that
brutal murder was the natural outcome of the disgraceful
system of intimidation and outrage that had been rampant for
a long time in certain districts of that unhappy county and
of the immunity from punishment enjoyed by the wicked and
cowardly moonlighter. In addition to their other acts of
savagery, they had shot out the eyes of two men within the
last couple of years. A decent, honest man was shot on the
road to Ennis. The people passed the wounded man by and
refused to take him into their car through fear. Not one
of these well-known miscreants was brought to justice. The
murderers of poor Garvey, the cow-houghers, the hay-burners,
were said to be known. In any other country, for instance in
the United States, such ruffianism would be hunted down or
lynched; but there, in the places he referred to, they had
a curtain of security drawn round them by the cowardice or
perverted moral sense on the part of the community amongst
whom they lived.... It was only last Thursday night, before
the county had recovered from the shock of Mrs. O'Mara's
murder, that right over the mountain an unfortunate postman
was shot on the public road between Crusheen and Baliluran for
no other reason apparently than that another fellow wanted his
job of one and six-pence a day! It has come to this, that if
you differ with one of them for a shilling, or refuse to give
him his way in everything the first thing that comes into his
head is to moonlight you.... They have not elevation or social
instinct to settle their petty disputes by process of law
provided for the purpose by a civilized society, nor have they
Christianity enough to bear a little wrong or disappointment
for Christ's sake. No, nor the manliness even to meet an
opponent face to face and see it out with him like a man; but
with the cunning of a mean and vicious dog, he steals behind
him in the dark and shoots him in the back, or murders the
helpless woman of his family, or shoots out the eyes of the
poor man's horse, or cuts the throat of his bullock and spikes
his beast upon a gate."

Nor has the present year brought much improvement. In May 1913, Mr.
R. Maunsell was fired at and wounded close to the town of Ennis. His
crime was that he managed a farm for a Mr. Bannatyne, whose family had
been in possession of it for about sixty years, but who had recently
been denounced by the United Irish League and ordered to surrender it.
As he has refused to do so, he is now compelled to live under police

The abolition of landlordism and the acquisition of firearms can
hardly be said to have brought peace and tranquillity to the County of

And as to Galway, we may gather the state of affairs from the report
of a case tried at the Winter Assizes of 1912. Three men were charged
with having done grievous bodily harm to a man named Conolly. Conolly
swore that he knew a man named Broderick who had become unpopular but
he (Conolly) kept to him and this brought displeasure on him from the
accused and others. On the night of the 11th September he went to bed;
he was subsequently awakened and found 44 grains of shot in his left
knee and four in his right. He then lay flat on the floor. Other shots
were fired through the window but did not strike him. The judge said
the district was a disgrace to Ireland. Day after day, night after
night, heaps of outrages were committed there, and not one offender
was made amenable to justice. The jury disagreed, and the accused were
again put on their trial. The judge in charging the jury on the second
trial said that then, and for some time, the district was swarming
with police, and though outrages were frequent, it was impossible for
them to bring anyone to justice. No one was sure he might not be fired
at during the night; and people were afraid to give evidence. The jury
again disagreed.

During the autumn of 1912 an effort was made to hold a series of
meetings throughout the south and west of Ireland to protest against
Home Rule. The conduct of the Nationalists with regard to them
supplies a striking commentary on Mr. Redmond's statement at Banbury
not long before, that all through his political life he had preached
conciliation towards those who differed from him on the question
of Home Rule. The meetings were in some cases stopped by force; at
Limerick the windows of the Protestant Church and of some houses
occupied by Protestants were smashed; at Tralee the principal speaker
was a large farmer named Crosbie; all his hay and sheds were burned
down, and he was awarded L600 compensation by the County Court Judge.

But an incident had occurred in the north which, though in a sense
comparatively slight, has, in consequence of the circumstances
connected with it, done more to inflame the men of Ulster than persons
not living in Ireland can realise. In June of last year a party of
Sunday School children from a suburb of Belfast went for a picnic to
Castledawson (co. Derry) under the charge of a Presbyterian minister
and a few teachers and ladies. On their way back to the railway
station, they were met and assailed by a procession of men belonging
to the Order of Hibernians armed with pikes who attacked the children
with the pikes and with stones, seized a Union Jack which a small
boy was carrying, and knocked down and kicked some of the girls and
teachers. Worse might have happened had not some Protestant young men,
seeing what was going on, come to the rescue. The minister was struck
with stones whilst he was endeavouring to get some of the children
to a place of safety. No Nationalist has ever expressed the slightest
regret at the occurrence. Several of the aggressors were tried at the
Winter Assizes and sentenced to three months' imprisonment. Before
the end of the term they were released by order of the Government. Mr.
Birrell, in justifying his action, said that the judge had remarked
that there was no evidence before him of actual injury. This, like
many of his statements, was literally true; but he omitted to mention
that he had prevented the evidence from being given; the injured women
and children were quite ready to give their testimony, but were not
called by the counsel for the crown.

It is unnecessary to say that this foretaste of Home Rule government
has made the Presbyterians of Ulster more determined than ever to
resist it to the bitter end.

I shall next proceed to consider the Bill which the Government have
introduced as a panacea for the woes of Ireland.



That the maintenance of the Union is possible, and that complete
separation is possible, are two indisputable facts. But the question
is, was Wolfe Tone right when he said that these were the only two
possibilities; or is there a third one, and if so, what?

Residents in the Dominions will naturally be inclined to reply "Yes;
place Ireland in the position of a colony possessing responsible
government, such as New Zealand." It is a taking idea; but a little
reflection will show the falseness of the analogy. The relations
between the Mother Country and the self-governing colonies (now
often called "Dominions") have grown up of themselves; and, like
most political conditions which have so come about, are theoretically
illogical but practically convenient. The practical convenience arises
partly from the friendly spirit which animates both parties, but still
more from the nature of the case. The distance which separates the
Mother Country from the Dominions causes the anomalies to be scarcely
perceptible. In theory the Sovereign, acting on the advice of
British Ministers, can disallow any colonial statute, and the British
Parliament is supreme--it can pass laws that will bind the colonies,
even laws imposing taxes. But we all know that if the Home Government
were persistently to veto laws passed by the large majority of the
people in New Zealand, or the British Parliament were to attempt to
legislate for the colonies, relations would at once become strained,
and separation would be inevitable. The only important matters on
which the Home Government attempts to bind the colonies are those
relating to foreign countries (which are necessarily of an Imperial
nature) and those as to which the colonies themselves wish to have
an Act passed, such as the Act establishing Australian Federation. In
other words, the "supremacy of Parliament," which is a stern reality
in England, has very little meaning as regards New Zealand. Even if
the people of New Zealand were to manage the affairs of their country
in a manner contrary to English ideas--for instance if they were to
establish State lotteries and public gambling tables--England would be
but slightly affected, and certainly would never think of taking steps
to prevent them. And those matters in which the Home Government is
obliged to act are just those in which New Zealand has no desire
to interfere; for instance, New Zealand would never want to appoint
consuls of her own (which was the immediate cause of the separation
between Norway and Sweden); in the very few cases in which New Zealand
desires to make use of political or commercial agents abroad, she is
content to employ the British representatives, for whom she is
not called upon to pay. If New Zealand attempted to take part in a
European war in which England was not concerned--the idea is almost
too absurd to suggest--the only thing that England could do would be
to break off the connection and repudiate New Zealand altogether.
And if New Zealand desired to separate from the Mother Country, many
people would think it a most grievous mistake, but England certainly
would not seek to prevent her doing so by force; and though England
would in some ways be the worse for it, the government of England
and of the rest of the Empire would go on much the same as before. In
certain points, it is true, thoughtful men have generally come to the
conclusion that the present state of affairs cannot go on unchanged;
the time is coming when the great Dominions must provide for their own
defence by sea as well as by land; and whether this is to be done by
separate navies working together or by joint contributions to a
common navy, it will probably result in the formation of some Imperial
Council in which all parts will have a voice. That however, is a
matter for future discussion and arrangement.

But when we turn to Ireland, everything is different. The two islands
are separated by less than fifty miles. Ireland has for more than a
century been adequately represented in the Imperial Parliament; the
journey from Galway to London is shorter than that from Auckland
or Dunedin to Wellington. So long as Europe remains as it is, Great
Britain and Ireland must have a common system of defence--which means
one army, one navy, and one plan of fortifications. Again, Irishmen,
traders and others, will constantly have to make use of government
agents in other countries. Now unless Great Britain is to arrange and
pay for the whole of this, we are met at once by the insoluble problem
of Irish representation in the British Parliament. If Ireland is not
represented there, we are faced with the old difficulty of taxation
without representation; if Ireland is represented there for all
purposes, Ireland can interfere in the local affairs of England, but
England cannot in those of Ireland; if we have what has been called
the "in-and-out" scheme as proposed by Gladstone in 1893--that is, for
the Irish members to vote on all questions of an Imperial nature,
but to retire when matters affecting England only are under
discussion--then, even if the line could be drawn (which is doubtful)
we might have the absurdity of an English ministry which possessed
the confidence of the majority of Englishmen and whose management of
England met their approval, being turned out of office by the Irish
vote, and England being governed according to a policy which the
majority of Englishmen detested. Of course it may be said that there
ought to be a number of small Parliaments in the British Isles, like
those in the Provinces of Canada or the States of Australia, with one
great Parliament supreme over them--in other words, Federation.
That might be a good thing, although it would in its turn start many
difficulties which it is unnecessary now to discuss, for it is not
Home Rule nor does Home Rule lead to it. Federal systems arise by the
union of separate States, each State giving up a part of its power
to a joint body which can levy taxes and can overrule the local
authorities. In fact, when Federation comes about, the States cease to
be nations.

(I must here remark in passing that constant confusion has been caused
by the various senses in which the word "nation" is used. Thus it is
often quite correctly employed in a sentimental sense--we speak of
Scottish National character, or of the National Bible Society of
Scotland, though Scotland has no separate Parliament or flag and would
on a map of Europe be painted the same colour as the rest of Great
Britain. Quite distinct from that is the political sense, in which the
Irish Nationalists use the word when speaking of being "A Nation once
again," or of "The National Independence of Ireland.")

It might be possible for the United Kingdom to be broken up into a
Federation (though it is strange that there is no precedent in history
for such a course); but that would not be "satisfying the National
Aspirations of Ireland." In fact, as Mr. Childers, one of the ablest
of English advocates of Home Rule, has stated: "The term Federal, as
applied to Irish Home Rule at the present time, is meaningless."

But when we come to examine the existing Bill, which will become law
in 1914 unless something unforeseen occurs, we find that it is neither
the Colonial plan nor Federation but an elaborate system which really
seems as if it had been devised with the object of satisfying nobody
and producing friction at every point. England (by which of course I
mean Great Britain; I merely use the shorter term for convenience)
is not only to pay the total cost of the army, navy and diplomatic
services, including the defences of Ireland, but is also to grant an
annual subsidy to Ireland commencing with L500,000 but subsequently
reduced to L200,000. Whether the English taxpayer will relish this
when he comes to realise it, may be doubted. Certainly no precedent
can be cited for a Federal system under which all the common
expenditure is borne by one of the parties. And further, the present
Government state freely that they hope to carry out their policy by
introducing a Bill for Home Rule for Scotland and possibly also for
Wales. Will the Scotch and Welsh consent to contribute towards the
government of Ireland; or will they demand that they shall be treated
like Ireland, and leave the people of England to pay all Imperial
services and to subsidize Ireland, Scotland and Wales? Then again,
Ireland is to send forty-two representatives to what is still
sarcastically to be called the "Parliament of the United Kingdom," but
will no doubt popularly be known as the English Parliament. They
are to vote about the taxation of people in Great Britain, and to
interfere in local affairs of that country, whilst the people of
Great Britain are not to tax Ireland or interfere in any way with its
affairs. This is indeed representation without taxation. Of course it
is inevitable that the Irish members will continue to do what they are
doing at present--that is, offer their votes to whatever party will
promise further concessions to Irish Nationalism; and they will
probably find no more difficulty in getting an English party to
consent to such an immoral bargain than they do now.

The provisions as to legislation for Ireland are still more
extraordinary. The Irish Parliament is to have complete power of
legislating as to Irish affairs, with the exception of certain matters
enumerated in the Act; thus it may repeal any Acts of the Imperial
Parliament passed before 1914. On the other hand, the English
Parliament (in which Ireland will have only forty-two representatives)
will also be able to pass laws binding Ireland (and in this way to
re-enact the laws which the Irish Parliament has just repealed), and
these new laws the Irish Parliament may not repeal or overrule. Now
this power of the English Parliament will either be a reality or a
farce; if it is a reality, the Irish Nationalists will be no more
inclined to submit to laws made by "an alien Parliament" in which they
have only forty-two representatives than they are at present to submit
to those made by one in which they have 103; if it is a farce, the
"supremacy of the Imperial Parliament" is a misleading expression.
The Lord Lieutenant is to act as to some matters on the advice of the
Irish Ministry, as to others on the advice of the English. Anyone who
has studied the history of constitutional government in the colonies
in the early days, when the governor was still supposed to act as
to certain affairs independently of ministerial advice, will see the
confusion to which this must lead. Suppose the Lord Lieutenant acts
on the advice of the English ministers in a way of which the
Irish Parliament do not approve, and the Irish Ministry resign in
consequence, what can result but a deadlock?

But most extraordinary of all are the provisions as to finance. The
Government appointed a Committee of Experts to consider this question.
The committee made their report; but the Government rejected their
advice and substituted another plan which is so elaborate that it is
only possible to touch on some of its more important features here.
I have already said that the English Parliament will have no power
to tax Ireland. That statement, however, must be taken subject to two
reservations. The Bill provides that if ever the happy day arrives
when for three consecutive years the revenue of Ireland has exceeded
the cost of government, the English Parliament (with the addition of
twenty-three extra members summoned from Ireland for the purpose)
may make new provisions securing from Ireland a contribution towards
Imperial expenditure. As this is the only reference to the subject
in the Bill, the general opinion was that until those improbable
circumstances should occur, the English Parliament would have no power
to tax Ireland; but when the debates were drawing to a close, the
Government astonished the House by stating that according to their
construction of the Bill, should any new emergency arise at any time
after the Bill becomes law (for instance, a great naval emergency
requiring an addition to the Income Tax) it would be not merely the
right but also the duty of the Imperial Chancellor of the Exchequer
to see that the charge should be borne by the whole United Kingdom--in
other words, the Parliament in which Ireland possesses only forty-two
representatives may and ought to tax Ireland for Imperial purposes.
The friction which will arise should any attempt of the sort be made,
especially as the power is not stated in the Bill, is evident. In
plain words, it will be impossible to levy the tax.

But apart from these rights, which one may safely say will never be
exercised, the financial arrangements will from their very complexity
be a constant source of trouble. All taxes levied in Ireland are to be
paid into the English Exchequer (or as it is called in the Bill "The
Exchequer of the United Kingdom"). Some of the objects for which
these taxes have been levied are to be managed by the Irish
Government--these are called "Irish services"; others are to be
managed by the English Government--these are called "Reserved
services." The English Exchequer will then hand over to the Irish

(a) A sum representing the net cost to the Exchequer of the
United Kingdom of "Irish Services" at the time of the passing
of the Act;

(b) The sum of L500,000 a year, reducible to L200,000, above
referred to; and

(c) A sum equal to the proceeds of any new taxes levied by the
Irish Parliament.

Then the balance which the English Exchequer will retain, after
handing over these three sums, will go to the "Reserved Services." But
as, in consequence of the establishment of the Old Age Pensions
and some other similar liabilities, the aggregate cost of governing
Ireland at this moment exceeds the revenue derived from Ireland by
about L1,500,000, the English taxpayer will have to make up this sum,
as well as to give to Ireland an annual present of L500,000; and
even if the Irish Government succeeds in managing its affairs more
economically than the Government at present does, that will give no
relief to the British taxpayer, for it will be observed that the first
of the three sums which the Exchequer of the United Kingdom is to hand
over is not a sum representing the cost of the "Irish Services" at any
future date but the cost at the time of the passing of the Act.

It is possible of course that the Irish revenue derived from existing
taxes may increase, and so the burden on the English taxpayer may
be lightened; but as it is more probable that it will decrease, and
consequently the burden become heavier, the English taxpayer cannot
derive much consolation from that.

It will be seen from the foregoing remarks that a number of extremely
intricate and difficult financial questions must arise; for instance,
what sum really represents the net cost of "Irish Services" at the
time of the passing of the Act; what sum equals the net proceeds of
new taxes imposed by the Irish Parliament; and at what moment it can
be said that the revenue of Ireland has for three consecutive years
exceeded the cost of government. All such matters are to be decided
by a Board of Five, of whom one is to be nominated by the King
(presumably on the advice of the English Ministers), two by the
English Government, and two by the Irish. From the decisions of this
Board on matters of fact there is to be no appeal. It is needless
to point out that every detail in which the three English members
overrule the two Irish will be fought out again in the English
Parliament by the forty Irish members. This again will show how vain
is the hope that future English Parliaments will be relieved from
endless discussions as to Irish affairs. Professor Dicey has well
named the able work in which he has analysed the Bill and shown its
impossibilities "A Fool's Paradise."

The provisions concerning those matters as to which the Irish
Parliament is to have no power to legislate are as strange as the
other clauses of the Bill. For six years the Constabulary are to be a
"reserved service"; but as they will be under the orders of the Irish
Government, the object of this is hard to see--unless indeed it is to
create an impression that the Ulstermen if they refuse to obey them
are rebelling not against the Irish but the Imperial Government. The
Post Office Savings Banks are "reserved" for a longer period; as to
the postal services to places beyond Ireland, the Irish Parliament
will have no power to legislate; but the Post Office, so far as it
relates to Ireland alone, will be handed over at once to the Irish
Parliament--although even in the case of Federal Unions such as
Australia the Post Office is usually considered to be eminently a
matter for the Federal authority. And the question whether an Irish
Act is unconstitutional and therefore void will be decided by the
Privy Council, which will be regarded as an essentially English body;
hence if it attempts to veto an Irish Act, its action will be at once
denounced as a revival of Poyning's Act and the Declaratory Act of
George I.

The Bill excludes the relations with Foreign States from the powers of
the Irish Parliament, but says nothing to prevent the Irish Government
from appointing a political agent to the Vatican. That is probably one
of the first things that it will do; and as the Lord Lieutenant could
never form a Government which would consent to any other course, he
will be obliged to consent. This agent, not being responsible to the
British Foreign Office, may cause constant friction between England
and Italy.

But quite apart from the unworkable provisions of the Bill, everything
connected with its introduction and passing through Parliament has
tended to increase the hatred which the Opposition feel towards it,
and the determination of the Ulstermen to resist it if necessary even
by force. Those who lived in Australia whilst Federation was under
discussion will recollect how carefully the scheme was brought before
the people, discussed in various Colonial Parliaments, considered over
again line by line by the delegates in an Inter-Colonial Conference,
examined afresh in the Colonial Office in London and in the Imperial
Parliament and finally laid before each colony for its acceptance. Yet
here is a matter which vitally affects the government not of Ireland
only but of the whole United Kingdom, and thus indirectly of the
Empire at large; it was (as I have shown) not fairly brought before
the people at a general election; it has been introduced by what
is admittedly merely a coalition Government as a matter of bargain
between the various sections, at a time when the British Constitution
is in a state of dislocation, as the power of the House of Lords has
been destroyed and the new Upper Chamber not yet set up; and it has
been passed without adequate discussion. This I say deliberately; it
is no use to point out how many hours have been spent in Committee,
for the way in which the discussion has been conducted has deprived
it of any real value. The custom has been for the Government to state
beforehand the time at which each batch of clauses is to be passed,
and what amendments may be discussed (the rest being passed over in
silence); when the discussion is supposed to begin, their supporters
ostentatiously walk out, and the Opposition argue to empty benches;
then when the moment for closing the discussion arrives, the Minister
in charge gets up and says that the Government cannot accept any of
the amendments proposed; the bell rings, the Government supporters
troop back, and pass all the clauses unamended. As an instance of this
contemptible way of conducting the debate, it is sufficient to point
to the fact already mentioned, that so vital a matter as the power
of the English Parliament to tax Ireland was not even hinted at until
nearly the end of the debates.

And now the Bill is to become law without any further appeal to the

Are English Unionists to be blamed if they declare that an Act so
passed will possess no moral obligation, and that they are determined,
should the terrible necessity arise, to aid the Ulstermen in resisting
it to the uttermost?



In the last chapter I explained how hopelessly unworkable is the
particular scheme of Home Rule which is contained in the present
Bill. I now proceed to show why Home Rule in any form must lead to
disaster--primarily to Ireland, ultimately to the Empire.

Politicians who, like ostriches, possess the happy faculty of shutting
their eyes to unpleasant facts, may say that there is only one nation
in Ireland; but everyone who knows the country is quite aware that
there are two, which may be held together as part of the United
Kingdom, but which can no more be forced into one nation than
Belgium and Holland could be forced to combine as the Kingdom of the
Netherlands. And whatever cross-currents there may be, the great line
of cleavage is religion. Of course I am aware of the violent efforts
that have been made ever since the commencement of the Nationalist
agitation to prove that this is not so. Thus Parnell, addressing an
English audience, explained that religion had nothing to do with the
movement, and as evidence stated that he was the leader of it though
not merely a Protestant but a member of the Protestant Synod and a
parochial nominator for his own parish. Of course everyone in Ireland
knew perfectly well that he was only a Protestant in the sense that
Garibaldi was a Roman Catholic--he had been baptised as such in
infancy; and that he was not a member of the synod or a parochial
nominator, and never had been one; but the statement was good enough
to deceive his Nonconformist hearers. That Protestant Home Rulers
exist is not denied. But the numbers are so small that it is evident
that they are the rare exceptions that prove the rule. The very
anxiety with which, when a Protestant Home Ruler can be discovered
he is put forward, and the fact of his being a Protestant Home Ruler
referred to again and again, shows what a rare bird he is. To mention
one instance amongst many; a Protestant Home Ruler has recently
been speaking on platforms in England explaining that he came in a
representative capacity in order to testify to the people of England
that the Irish Protestants were now in favour of Home Rule. He did
not mention the fact that in the district where he resided there
were about 1,000 Protestants and he was the only Home Ruler amongst
them--in fact, nearly all the rest had signed a Petition against the
Bill. And when we come to examine who these Protestant Home Rulers
are, about whom so much has been said, we find first that there is in
this as in every other movement, a very small number of faddists, who
like to go against their own party; secondly a few who though they
still call themselves Protestants have to all intents and purposes
abandoned their religion, and therefore cannot fairly be reckoned;
thirdly, a few who hold appointments from which they would be
dismissed if they did not conform; fourthly, some who say openly that
Home Rule is coming and that whatever their private opinions may be it
is the wisest policy to worship the rising sun (bearing in mind that
Mr. Dillon has promised that when the Nationalists attain their end
they will remember who were their friends and who their enemies, and
deal out rewards and punishments accordingly); and fifthly, those who
have accepted what future historians will describe as bribes. For the
present Government have showered down Peerages, Knighthoods of
various orders, Lieutenancies of Counties, Deputy-Lieutenancies and
Commissions of the Peace--not to speak of salaried offices both
in Ireland and elsewhere--on Protestants who would consent to turn
Nationalists, in a manner which makes it absurd to talk any more about
bribery at the time of the Union. And yet with all this the Protestant
Home Rulers are such an extremely small body that they may be
disregarded. And indeed it is hard to see how an earnest, consistent
and logically-minded Protestant can be a Nationalist; for loyalty to
the King is a part of his creed; and, in the words of a Nationalist
organ, the _Midland Tribune_, "If a man be a Nationalist he must _ipso
facto_ be a Disloyalist, for Irish Nationalism and loyalty to the
throne of England could not be synonymous."

On the other hand, a large proportion of the educated Roman Catholics,
the men who have a real stake in the country, are Unionists. Some
of them, however earnest they may be in their religion, dread the
domination of a political priesthood; others dread still more the
union of the Church with anarchism. As has already been shown,
they refuse to join the United Irish League; some in the north have
actually subscribed the Ulster Covenant; many others have signed
petitions against Home Rule throughout the country; and a still larger
number have stated that they would gladly do so if they did not fear
the consequences. It is probably therefore correct to say that
the number of Unionists in Ireland decidedly exceeds the number of
Protestants; in other words, less than three-fourths of the population
are Nationalists, and more than one-fourth (perhaps about one-third)
are Unionists. And more than that; if we are to test the reality of
a movement, we must look not merely at numbers but at other matters.
Violent language may be used; but the fact remains as I have
previously stated that even if the Nationalists are taken as being
only two-thirds of the population, their annual subscriptions to the
cause do not amount to anything like a penny per head and that the
agitation could not last for six months if it were not kept alive
by contributions from America and the Colonies. But though the
Nationalist movement has not brought about a Union between the Orange
and the Green, it has caused two other Unions to be formed which will
have an important influence on the future history of the country. In
the first place it has revived, or cemented, the Union which, as we
have seen, existed at former periods of Irish history, but which has
existed in no other country in the world--the Union between the
Black and the Red. That a Union between two forces so essentially
antagonistic as Ultramontanism and Jacobinism will be permanent, one
can hardly suppose; whether the clericals, if they succeed in crushing
the heretics, will afterwards be able to turn and crush the anarchists
with whom they have been in alliance, and then reign supreme; or
whether, as happened in France at the end of the eighteenth century
and in Portugal recently, the anarchists who have grown up within
the bosom of the Church will prove to be a more deadly foe to the
clericals than the heretics ever were--it is impossible to say; but
neither prospect seems very cheerful.

In the second place, the Nationalist movement has drawn all the
Protestant bodies together as nothing else could. Episcopalians,
Presbyterians and Methodists have all joined hands in the defence of
their common liberties. The Nationalists have left no stone unturned
in their efforts to prove that the northern Protestants are disloyal.
They have succeeded in finding one speech that was made by an excited
orator (not a leader) forty-four years ago, to the effect that the
Disestablishment of the Church might result in the Queen's Crown being
kicked into the Boyne. As this is the only instance they can rake up,
it has been quoted in the House of Commons and elsewhere again
and again; and Mr. Birrell (whose knowledge of Ireland seems to be
entirely derived from Nationalist speeches) has recently elaborated
it by saying that when the Church was going to be disestablished
"they used to declare" that the Queen's Crown would be kicked into the
Boyne, and yet their threats came to nothing and therefore the
result of Home Rule will be the same. The fact was that the Church
establishment was the last relic of Protestant Ascendancy; and as


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