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For the present I fear there is no chance of this being done, and what I want the public to understand is that in fact at this very day there is existing within twenty-four hours' journey from London a state of lawless and barbarous terrorism, brought about, if the late Prime Minister of England and five-sixths of his colleagues are to be believed, by the operation of the very men to whom it is proposed to hand over the government of Ireland.

Such are some of the dangers to be guarded against, such are the persons on whose behalf guarantees are demanded. The question at once arises, Are such guarantees likely to be insisted upon by those who take charge of the proposed settlement, and is it possible to rely upon them if obtained?

With regard to the first point, I must say plainly that if the cause of the loyalists in Ireland is to depend upon what Mr. Gladstone is likely to do for them, it is a lost cause. Some doubtless will see something laudable in the fact that for five long years, during which he held Ireland in the hollow of his hand, Mr. Gladstone gave no single word of encouragement or hope to the sorely tried loyalists in Ireland. For my part I cannot forget that during that period he was Prime Minister of England, and I think that the omission was in every way a most lamentable one. I do not, of course, credit Mr. Gladstone with the whole of the mad scheme which has been put forward in his name; nevertheless, at the present moment, by the ambiguity of his utterances and the uncertainty of his intentions which he allows to exist, he is breaking up the whole fabric of Irish society and taking away whatever fragment of security remained. It is not to Mr. Gladstone that we must look for guarantees.

But, it is said, once give Mr. Parnell what he wants and all these persecutions will cease. It is conceivable; I for my part do not think it is even reasonably probable. The Land League has demoralised the peasantry till lawlessness and crime have become a second nature, and it must be remembered that a large number of persons in Ireland live, and have lived for some time past, upon the proceeds of this agitation. I do not in the least blame the Parnellite members for receiving their stipends; but the fact remains that, from Mr. Parnell with his 40,000l. downwards to the lowest members of the organisation, incomes have been made which would probably not have been made in the ordinary course of trade. It may be patriotic not to pay rent, but it is undoubtedly profitable too. Add to all this the written and spoken declarations of the members of the Parnellite party to the effect that their objects were and are the spoliation of the landholders, the ejectment of all existing officials, the punishment of all offenders against Land League law, and the final separation of Ireland from England, and I think the probabilities are not in favour of the theory that with the triumph of the Parnellites the reign of peace will begin.

If, then, as appears certain, some guarantees will be required, the question arises, What shall they be, and are they obtainable? As to the money question-the compensation of those whom we have ruined, or are about to ruin-it appears to me clear that the persons for whose benefit the operation is to be undertaken should pay for the indulgence. It will be said at once that, with a Government in the hands of the Parnellites, it will be impossible to collect any revenue against the will of Mr. Parnell, who has often declared that we in England are to pay for the privilege of installing him and his friends.

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I am by no means clear about this difficulty, but much light has already been thrown upon it by the recent letter to the Times signed 'Economist.' The scheme there suggested, whatever its actual value, is one of great interest and great ingenuity. It can hardly be doubted that the principle which underlies it will, in some form or another, be relied upon in any solution of the question. The plan itself is exceedingly simple. It involves (1) the buying out of every landlord in Ireland, giving him Consols at par equal in nominal amount to twenty years' purchase of the present judicial rents; (2) giving the land free to the present occupier, subject only to a rentcharge of one-half or two-thirds of the present judicial rent, payable to the new local authorities in Ireland; (3) relieving the Imperial Exchequer of all payments now made out of it in connection with the local government of Ireland.' It is declared by the writer that the relief to the Imperial Exchequer will amount to four millions two hundred thousand per annum, now contributed out of the Consolidated Fund to the expense of Irish administration. This is only 800,000l. short of the sum which would be required to pay interest upon the new debt. Of course the whole virtue of the scheme, financially considered, depends upon the accuracy with which this balance has been struck.

Its political value depends upon very different considerations. It is obvious, for instance, that its adoption could only be successful in the event of the establishment of a complete system of Home Rule on the one hand, or a ready acquiescence in the authority of the Imperial Government under the changed conditions which must follow so large a transaction as that proposed, on the other. It is no use shutting our eyes to the teachings of experience; and, to put the matter quite frankly, it is probable that if the present tenants saw no worse consequences likely to follow a refusal to pay their just debts than a stoppage of the present machinery of government, the disappearance of the judges, the disbanding of the police, and the collapse of the Excise departments, they would have very little hesitation in keeping their money in their pockets.

Assuming, however, that, either by reason of a change in the personnel of the Administration or in the temper of the people, 'Economist's' plan were to come into successful operation, it is

impossible to exaggerate the advantages it offers. In the first place, it is perfectly true, as Lord Cowper says, that for one man who cares about Home Rule or Separation there are ninety-nine who care only about the land. A change which transferred the freehold of Irish farms to the occupiers, subject only to a rent-charge payable to an Irish Government, would stop five-sixths of Mr. Parnell's trade at once. Moreover, the transfer would put an end to, or at any rate would altogether vary the direction of, the Land League outrages. These crimes have all been sternly practical, despite the sentimental character which their authors have tried to attribute to them. They have been in most cases committed for cash, and in all cases with the hope of realising or of avoiding the payment of money. To murder a servant who has been faithful to his master, to mutilate a recalcitrant tenant, to terrify a woman or to burn down a haystack, are exercises which have a double value when the upshot of them is that the perpetrators keep five pounds in their pockets which ought to go into somebody else's. But the moment the landlord becomes no longer dependent upon the forbearance of the local League and the apathy of the local scoundrels for the safety of his person and property, a change must inevitably come over the spirit of the dream. A holder of 20,000l. worth of Consols would be a very different personage from a landlord with a nominal rent-roll of 1,000l., payable at the will of the League. The former it will pay to keep; the latter, as the Irish tenants have found out, it pays to rob. On these grounds, therefore, there is every reason why we should give to 'Economist's' proposal a most careful and favourable consideration.

It will be observed, however, that the figures quoted above assume a deficit in the account of 800,000l. per annum. It has been proposed that this sum should be paid as a sort of free-will offering by England, to be rid of her troubles, but this seems to me neither a statesmanlike nor a reasonable proposal. existence of the deficit, however, at once suggests a method by which it might be made good, or by which, in default of the remaining 4,200,000l. being raised in the way above suggested, a very large sum of money might be raised annually from purely Irish sources. I allude to the Irish Customs duties, especially to those upon intoxicating liquors, which might be augmented to a very great extent in order to provide any sums required. The collection of the Customs duties would at all times be easy, and could be carried on without any possibility of interference from the Parnellites. The existing Customs ports in Ireland are twenty-two in number, of which nine are so insignificant that they might easily be closed. The duties collected are nearly 2,000,000l. a year. Import duties are notoriously paid by the consumer, and, despite a good deal of talk about protecting Irish industries and encouraging Irish products, Ireland must import largely to live. Moreover, it must be remembered that the

Customs duties paid in Ireland are not levied on goods from England, and that a large reserve of taxation exists in this direction.

The present crisis is not one in which precedents are of much value; we ought not to be afraid to make our own, but in this matter of the collection of revenue the regulations of the American Constitution are of some interest. The levying of Customs duties in the United States is a prerogative of the Federal Government, and is exercised by them. No state may collect such duties without the consent of Congress, or may, under any circumstances, apply them to other than Federal purposes. The Customs establishments are under the control of the United States, and are administered from Washington. In the same way a control of the Irish Customs ports might be secured absolutely to the Imperial Government, independent of any interference on the part of whatever local Government may be constituted on the spot.

Whether, in addition to the Customs duties, a further security might not be obtained by sequestration of the Inland Revenue duty upon spirits is more doubtful. In 1883 the total of the Excise duties raised in Ireland was 4,500,000l.; 5,300,000 gallons paying duty at 10s. a gallon would enter for consumption in Ireland. An extra duty of 18. per gallon would give 265,000l. per annum. It would not be a very unfortunate solution of the problem if Ireland were 'allowed to drink herself out of her liabilities. It is conceivable that the tenant farmers would give their toasts with added enthusiasm if they could reflect that every glass of whisky they consumed was bringing them nearer to the happy consummation which they profess so much to desire. Of course the certainty of collecting Excise duties would be nothing like that offered in the case of the Customs, but it is worth considering nevertheless.

As for the protection of life and property, that is a more serious matter. Of course there is no weight in the argument that has been put forward, that because all parties seem agreed that local government must be given to Ireland, and because the control of the police is a common incident of local governments, we are therefore bound to hand over the control of the constabulary to the County Boards. The existence of the metropolitan police is an immediate answer to this careless proposition. I am not, however, a great believer in our power to maintain order through the police when we have lost all control over the country. In the first place the police are human, and have already borne trials and disappointments enough. In the second place, any such body performing their duties under the direction of a majority of the House of Commons is condemned to impotence. I do not doubt that many other and more effectual guarantees may be found and will in time be suggested. The only real one to my mind must be in the form of an intimation to the Parnellites that they are allowed to assume the government of Ireland subject to the

ordinary responsibilities and penalties attaching to the office of civilised rulers: in short, that if they continue to act in the future as they have done in the past, there will be an end of them at once, that we shall do in their case as we should do in the case of any other uncivilised power-namely, march an army into the country and rule it as we rule India. It is no question of politics, but simply one of our duty as a self-respecting nation. As far as I am aware no single man during the whole of the Land League agitation has knowingly or intentionally risked a hair of his head or a shilling of his property. The fact is worth remembering.

One entirely new feature of the situation is shortly about to be revealed. I look most anxiously for the result. Hitherto, despite all the misery of which Ireland has been the scene, the people of England have, with very few exceptions, been not a penny the worse for the whole Parnellite agitation. In reputation and national honour I think indeed we have lost much, but I am simply stating a fact when I say that from John o' Groat's House to the Land's End the population of England and Scotland have suffered neither in person nor pocket, nor has the even tenor of their lives been interrupted for a moment. Home Rule will not have existed for a twelvemonth before this state of things will be altered.

When once the English working man is face to face with the fact that an Irish Government is imposing duties on English goods, or is raising soldiers and police to an extent which involves an increase in our standing army; or if he learns, as, despite some rather elaborate disclaimers, I believe he will learn, that people are suffering across the Irish Channel for their Protestantism, then it appears to me that an entirely new feature will have been introduced into the problem, one with which Mr. Parnell will do well to reckon.

In conclusion, I wish to say one or two words upon questions which should intimately affect our mental attitude in deciding for or against Home Rule. We are perpetually engaged in penitential exercises with regard to Ireland. I admire the spirit. in which these exercises are conducted, although I have no sympathy whatever with the application which is usually given to them, and which consists in condoning every form of cruelty and dishonesty on the plea that we are bound to give the successors of the oppressed Celts their fling, as a sort of compensation for the iniquities of our own ancestors. It is the fashion, I know, to lay all the peculiarities of the Land League Committees to the account of the penal laws and the Act of Union; and in support of this theory it is usually contended that, leaving so-called agrarian crime out of the question, Ireland is a singularly orderly and peaceable country. This is an old story, and it is as false as it is old. The fact is that the Land League crimes were simply additions to the ordinary crime of the country, and that that crime was in all the more serious offences

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