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is proposed, even by some English statesmen, to give elective county authorities the control of the police. But with the police under the orders of an elective board, the landlord might whistle for his rent. He would be lucky if he kept a whole skin. His property would be gone without any need for confiscatory legislation.

Now, can the Imperial Parliament leave the landlords to the mercy of an Irish authority? There is a feeling against them in England, a feeling justified by the sins of the class in time past, but which ought not to make us forget the innocence of many members of the class, still less the hardships which some of the innocent-ladies, for instance, with no livelihood save from their rents-have suffered since 1879. All of them, however, be they good or bad, and their mortgagees also, have legal rights, grounded on imperial statutes. The honour of England is pledged to these rights. At no cost can we abandon them. We could not look other nations in the face were we to throw over men whose property we confirmed as lately as by the Act of 1881; not to speak of the shock which so pernicious a precedent would give to the security of property in England and Scotland. It has been suggested that guarantees might be taken from any Irish authority against interference with contracts or vested rights of property. But such guarantees would not touch the police difficulty; and in any case they would be uncertain in their effect, likely to give rise to infinite litigation, certain to produce conflicts between any Irish authority and imperial statutes. They would keep up that very irritation which the grant of powers of local legislation would be designed to remove. The conclusion follows that before any police control, or any considerable legislative functions, can be conferred on an Irish authority, whether central or local, the land question must be grappled with. Reasonable compensation must be offered to the landowners, and, either prior to or concurrently with any settlement of the other questions, this compensation must be secured, and a scheme enacted for the discharge by the purchasing tenants of the liability devolved upon them. If the landlords are wise, they will accept moderate compensation, lest a worse thing befall them.

When I began this article, I proposed to argue at length the paramount importance of dealing promptly with the land question. But it becomes clearer every day that this view is accepted by those to whom Parliament and the country look for guidance. Opponents and friends of Home Rule may agree upon it, for while the latter regard it as making Home Rule possible, the former may hold that it will render Home Rule unnecessary. Much of the strength of the agitation has been derived from the hunger of the tenants for the land. Most of the outrages and the boycottings which baffle justice are connected with evictions. If the land could be got on fair terms out of the hands of its present owners into the hands of the tenants, some at least of the sinews of agitation would be cut, the occa

sions for crime would be immensely reduced, and a contest might spring up between the new owners and the labourers which would drive the former over to the side of order. What I have seen of Ireland makes me believe that the sentimental side of the national movement, backed as it is by sympathy from the Irish in America, will still survive as a serious force. But the problem will in any case be simpler and less formidable.

Fourthly the landlords, it may be said, are not the only persons who would be left to Nationalist mercies were either Home Rule or a wide system of local government established in Ireland. There are the merchants of the towns; there are the Protestants everywhere.

These classes have little to fear, except from such a decline in the prosperity of the country as would follow bad legislation and lax administration. The worth of capitalists and traders in Dublin and the Southern towns seems too obvious to make attacks on them probable. It is one of the aims and hopes of the Nationalist party to develop the commerce and manufactures of these towns. Nor would Protestants be molested as Protestants. They might suffer in the loss of educational endowments, and perhaps see the schools still more completely controlled by the Catholic priesthood than is now the case. But they are so mixed up with the rest of the population, and form, except in Dublin and the North, so small a part of it, that they would not be conspicuous. It would not be in the interest of the priests to harass them, nor are the priests strong enough to influence legislation for that purpose.

So much as to the six-sevenths of the area of Ireland, four-fifths of the population. But the case of the Protestant part of Ulster is different. One cannot say Ulster as a whole, because about half of Ulster is mainly Roman Catholic in population and by consequence Nationalist in sentiment. The Protestant part (in which there is, no doubt, a large Catholic minority) includes the counties of Antrim, Down, Derry, half Tyrone, half Armagh, with a population of something over a million. The Nationalists have long hated this half of Ulster, not so much on religious grounds as because they think its people anti-national. Not only the Episcopalians but the more numerous Presbyterian population of Scotch extraction, from whom the rebellion of 1798 drew much of its strength, are with scarcely an exception attached to the Union. The Orangemen, as everybody knows, recruited from Presbyterians as well as Episcopalians, are the fiercest of all Irish Unionists, and have long waged a sort of civil war with their Roman Catholic neighbours. Now these Ulster Protestants believe that any powers which an Irish authority might enjoy (and this argument applies to any central council in Dublin scarcely less than to an Irish Parliament) would be used to worry and injure them. 'Our trade and manufactures' (so they say) would

be so far as possible diverted to Dublin and the Catholic provinces. Our philanthropic and educational institutions would be interfered with-Queen's College, Belfast, being the first victim. Every device to insult and harass us would be resorted to; and a thriving and industrious population, whose sympathies are entirely with England and with Scotland, whence it came, would be made to suffer in mind and estate, if not also in body, for its loyalty to the British connection."

One may deem these fears exaggerated and yet admit that there is ground for them. The Orangemen are excitable and pugnacious. The risk of an attack by them or upon them may be smaller than those who declaim to their lodges believe. But it exists. Considering the centuries of animosity that have inflamed the minds of both parties, armed collisions are possible, collisions which would be disgraceful to England as well as to Ireland, and would strongly move the feelings of Englishmen. Would England, however much she may condemn the violence of the Orangemen in the past, look on and see them suffer? And do not the same arguments by which the Nationalists seek to show that Ireland should be allowed to manage her own affairs, free from English interference, show that the Protestant half of Ulster, no less distinct from the rest of Ireland than Ireland is from Britain, ought to enjoy the like self-government, free from Nationalist control? Those who know the people of Ulster best will be the first to agree that the passionate protests, which come thick and fast from them, against being left to the mercies of an Irish Parliament, are well entitled to respect. By what means they should be protected, if any local autonomy were yielded to Ireland which made protection necessary, is a difficult question, on which they would have to be consulted. Since their territory cannot be cut off from Ireland and floated across to Scotland, the simplest method would seem to be to give them a Local autonomy which should restrict any exercise of authority by an Irish national council to which some council of their own had not assented. The whole question is so far from a settlement that these details need not now be argued. But England ought to realise that here lies a difficulty which she cannot evade without dishonour nor neglect without the risk of civil war.

If I have not argued on behalf of any of the policies that now lie before us, it is not for the want of a distinct opinion of my own, for I have one, but because it seems presently more useful to point out how these policies are related to one another, and what each of them involves. Lest I should have failed to make clear the propositions which I advance, I will summarise them as follows:

1. The maintenance of the present system of Irish government (the Hold-on policy) involves probably the suspension of Irish representation in Parliament, certainly stringent measures of repression.

2. To enable repression to effect any permanent improvement, it

must be continued for a long time, perhaps a generation; be carried out by men more impartial and more capable than the present Irish magistrates; be accompanied by large amendments in law and administration; be conducted on the principle of keeping Ireland out of English party politics.

3. The policy of small concessions in the way of local government will solve neither branch of the present problem; will whet rather than appease the appetite for legislative independence. It is trying to stop half-way down an inclined plane.

4. Nothing will be gained by giving any form of Home Rule which the bulk of the Nationalist party is not prepared to accept as a settlement. There is, therefore, little use in discussing schemes till the demands of that party have been specifically formulated.

5. Separation and such a remodelling of the British Constitution as would sacrifice the sovereignty of Parliament are out of the question.

6. No scheme of Home Rule or local self-government is admissible which would leave the landowners at the mercy of Irish elective bodies.

7. No such scheme as aforesaid is admissible which does not recognise and provide for the case of the Ulster Protestants.

If it is said that these propositions suggest more difficulties than they solve, I answer that it is well to determine where the real difficulties lie, and, while we offer a fair hearing to proposals of change, to declare frankly what limits no change shall overpass. The outlook may be dark, but we make it no darker by calculating the consequences which must follow the steps we are about to take. There is much cause for anxiety but none for despondency. Democracy, at which it is now fashionable to rail, is not the cause of our present perplexities, for these were as great under the oligarchy before 1832, and during the period of middle-class rule that followed. Sudden reversals of policy such as that of last summer have not been due to popular fickleness, but to the arts of party politicians. The whole British people is more likely to succeed in dealing with Ireland than were the class governments of earlier days, because it has a stronger sense of justice, is less influenced by special tenderness for landlords and more by goodwill to the Irish in general, and can give to its decisions, whatever they may be, the weight of a nation's will. The material strength of England, great as it is, is not a more important factor in this question than the spirit of fairness and unselfishness which her people have more and more begun to display towards Ireland. It is to be hoped that the Nationalists in Ireland and America will not mistake this spirit, which has borne many provocations quietly, for a want of firmness or of courage. If they do, they will be fatally mistaken. England will yield nothing to menace; but she is strong enough to be magnanimous. Recognising the

novelty of the present situation, recollecting the lamentable errors of the past, contrasting her own peace and prosperity with the miseries of distracted Ireland, she is prepared to give a calm and patient consideration to any and every scheme which offers a prospect of alleviating those miseries and of creating a better feeling between peoples whom nature meant to be friends, and whose friendship is essential to the welfare and the greatness of her empire.


The Editor of THE NINETEENTH CENTURY cannot undertake
to return unaccepted MSS.

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