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THE five most influential men in Ireland at the present time are Mr. Parnell, Mr. Davitt, Mr. Healy, Archbishop Croke, and Archbishop Walsh; and there can be little doubt that the Irish people would accept any measure of self-government on which these gentlemen might agree.

Mr. Parnell is supreme; the confidence of the people in his powers as a leader is almost unbounded. No combination of political forces in the country could overthrow his authority.

Next in importance to Mr. Parnell is Mr. Davitt, who has an independent following, and whose fame as the founder of the Land League gives him a separate place in the popular heart.

Mr. Healy is important mainly through Mr. Parnell, but he has also won a distinct position for himself by the practical ability he displayed in the discussions on the Land Bill of 1881; and it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that his name is not without weight even among the tenant farmers of Ulster. However, unlike Mr. Davitt, he has no political following apart from Mr. Parnell.

Archbishop Croke is a power mainly because he stood by Mr. Parnell when other dignitaries of the Catholic Church were opposed to him, and Archbishop Walsh is popular on account of his known national leanings. In the event of a difference of opinion between Mr. Parnell and Mr. Davitt the influence of the Archbishops would be of practical importance, but not, perhaps, otherwise. For instance, were they in such a contingency to throw their weight into the scale with Mr. Parnell, Mr. Davitt would not have the slightest chance of making headway against the popular leader. But were they to support Mr. Davitt, then his opposition would be very serious, although in the end Mr. Parnell would probably bear it down.

Mr. Parnell's Cabinet is supposed to consist of Mr. Healy, Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Harrington, and, perhaps, Mr. T. P. O'Connor. Mr. Healy of course holds the first place. He is a sagacious counsellor; as capable of wisely conducting peaceful negotiations as fiercely carrying on an uncompromising war. Mr. O'Brien is essentially a man of war; Mr. Harrington an efficient organiser; Mr. T. P. O'Connor represents an active force of literary and political propagandism. It may be added that Mr. Justin McCarthy and Mr.

O'Kelly possess the confidence of the Cabinet, if they are not actually in it.

Two men who are not supposed to be in the Cabinet deserve to be mentioned Mr. John Dillon and Mr. Edmond Dwyer Gray. Mr. Dillon is much esteemed as an upright, chivalrous gentleman, and Mr. Gray is a power as the proprietor of the most widely circulated paper in Ireland,' and a man of strong sense and sound judgment.

A question worth considering is, What scheme for Home Rule would be likely to satisfy the public men, especially the first five, whom I have above named?

1. The basis of such a scheme should be a Parliament in Dublin invested with full powers to legislate on all purely Irish matters, the control of Imperial affairs being reserved for the Imperial Legislature sitting in London.

2. With respect to the constitution of this Irish Parliament there might be a difference of opinion, although not of a serious kind, between the Irish leaders. For instance, Mr. Davitt might prefer that it should consist of only one Chamber, elected on universal suffrage; but he would, most probably, give way on this point to the general opinion, and the general opinion would, I think, be disposed largely to yield to English susceptibilities.

If English statesmen proposed that there should be two Chambers on the English system, Mr. Parnell would probably concede the point, though he might urge that the Irish House of Lords should be reformed. Were he offered Lord Rosebery's plan, he would most likely accept it, and the Archbishops and Mr. Davitt (the latter, perhaps, with some demur) would agree. Mr. Healy, who has a good deal of common sense combined with his apparent irreconcilability, would go in with the majority, seeing the unwisdom of endangering the scheme by throwing any unnecessary obstacles in the way of its passage through the Lords.

3. Would Ireland send members to the Imperial Parliament in London to vote on Imperial questions, as well as members to the National Assembly in Dublin? Here, again, there might be a slight difference of opinion between the Irish leaders. Mr. Davitt might propose that no Irish members should be sent to London, and he would, perhaps, argue that their presence in the Imperial Parliament would be of no use to Ireland, as they could not reasonably expect to influence the Imperial policy to any important extent.

On the other hand, the Archbishops might prefer an Irish representation in London, in the hope that the Irish members would be of some weight in determining the Home and Foreign policy of the Empire, so far as the interests of the Catholic Church were concerned.2

1 The Freeman's Journal.

2 Since this article was written Bishop Nulty, in a letter to the Bishop of Salford, uses the words: Speaking on the question of Home Rule in one of my late audiences

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Mr. Parnell is, I think, in favour of a regular Irish representation in the Imperial Parliament, and his decision would determine the action of his Cabinet. Mr. Dillon would probably agree with Mr. Davitt, while Mr. Gray would support Mr. Parnell and the Archbishops. As a compromise scheme Mr. Davitt might, perhaps, propose Delegations such as exist under the Austro-Hungarian system, according to which questions common to both countries are decided in an assembly consisting of delegates from the respective legislatures, who meet in separate chambers, and who, in the event of a disagreement, come together and vote without debate. The decision of the majority is binding on the whole Empire. However, on this question of a separate or joint representation, or of a dualistic arrangement such as exists in Austria-Hungary, the Irish leaders would, I think, be willing to meet the English Ministry half way.

Assuming that the Ministry approved of an Irish representation in the Imperial Legislature, the question would arise, How many members should Ireland send to that assembly? Mr. Parnell would, I think, hold out for the present number, 103; and, in the event of Ministers proposing a reduction to 80, 70, or 50, would, with the united strength of his party in the House of Commons, vigorously resist the change. Nevertheless, if borne down by English and Scotch opposition, he would yield the point with good grace, and I do not think that the struggle over it would leave a trace of any bad feeling behind.

4. What subjects would be reserved for the Imperial, what confined to the Irish Parliament? I think the Irish leaders would consent to an arrangement by which Imperial and Irish affairs should be distributed thus:


Foreign policy, peace or war, the army and navy, matters relating to the Crown (including, if the occasion should arise, the appointment of Regent), the currency, the Post Office.


Education, land, police, trade and commerce, customs.

The control of the Imperial Parliament should extend in the fullest degree over the army and navy, and to all matters relating to the defences of the country. Fortifications should be erected, harbours built, and garrisons established in any part of Ireland, with the Holy Father, I perceived that the only argument against that measure which in any way disquieted him was, that the withdrawal of the Irish Parliamentary party from the English House of Commons would leave Catholic interests throughout the whole British Empire wholly defenceless and unprotected. That argument was evidently of English origin, and fortunately admitted of a satisfactory answer which it would be out of place to repeat here.' (Freeman's Journal, November 19, 1885.)

irrespective of the views of the Irish Legislature, and the question of the purse, so far as these matters were concerned, should be an Imperial one. The appointment of the commander-in-chief of the forces in Ireland, and other military offices, should be at the disposal of the Imperial Government.

With respect to the questions which ought to be dealt with by the Irish Parliament, the demand for the first three above namededucation, land, police would not under any circumstances be willingly given up by the Irish leaders, and the exclusion of any one of them would lead to a rupture of negotiations. A plan of Home Rule which would not transfer to an Irish Parliament questions of education and land would be perfectly worthless as a measure of conciliation, and the omission of the control of the police, without endangering the Bill, would cause profound discontent and lead to renewed agitation.

But the subjects of trade and commerce and of the customs stand on a different footing. Mr. Parnell would doubtless press for their admission, but the refusal of Ministers to yield on this point would not, I venture to say, be regarded by the Irish leader as a casus belli. There is certainly a feeling in favour of Protection among some people in Ireland, but, unhappily, there are few industries in the country which could be fostered by protective tariffs, and it would not be worth while to hurt English susceptibilities on the delicate subject of Free Trade in order to obtain for the Irish Parliament a power of doubtful utility.

5. Upon the question of the Viceroyalty there might be a difference of opinion, but the majority of the Irish leaders would probably in the end be in favour of retaining the office. If retained, the Lord-Lieutenant would of course be appointed, as at present, by the Crown.

6. In the interests of the Protestant minority, and rather to appease not unintelligible apprehensions than to prevent a possible act of injustice, the Irish party would, I believe, consent to the insertion of a clause in the new Constitution declaring that no system of religion or education should be endowed by the State to the exclusion of any other.

Such is a brief outline of the scheme of Home Rule which, I venture to think, the Irish people would accept as, practically, a final settlement of the Irish question. Will such a scheme be ever formulated, and, if formulated, carried into law?

Let me, as one belonging to no political organisation, and sincerely desirous of maintaining the connection between England and Ireland, ask my English fellow-subjects, who resist the demand for Irish legislative independence on the ground that its concession would lead to political and social disorder and produce disloyal manifestations and conspiracies-let me ask them to reflect upon the history of

Ireland during the past eighty-five years. Have the Irish within that period been loyal? Has the country been free from disorder, and even anarchy? Three years after the Union, Robert Emmett was hanged for high treason; and from that time down to our own Ireland has been in a state of almost continual disturbance and insurrection. To prove this statement it seems only necessary to catalogue the Coercion Acts which have been in force from 1800 to 1885. I have already mentioned those which were in force between 1831 and 1885.3 Here are the rest :

1800 Insurrection Act, Habeas Corpus Suspension Act, and Martial Law.


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From the Union to our own day there has scarcely been an interruption of social and political strife. In 1803 Emmett was, as I have said, in rebellion. In 1807 the Whiteboys defied the law and fiercely carried on their terrible struggle against landlordism. In 1811 and 1812 the agrarian war spread to Tipperary, Waterford, Kilkenny, Westmeath, Roscommon, and the Queen's County.

Nineteenth Century, November 1885.

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