Although The Times specifically denounced partition its proposals undoubtedly perpetuated the partition idea and were thus repugnant to national opinion. Its plan also suggested a settlement by process of gradual evolution, but Ireland had progressed far beyond the point when any step-by-step scheme stood the slightest chance of success. Credit must, however, be given to it for its generous intentions, for the magnificent spirit of fair play it has shown ever since towards a sadly stricken land and for what it has done and is still doing to find peace and healing for the wrongs and sufferings of an afflicted race. For all these things Ireland is deeply grateful, with the gratitude that does not readily forget, and it may be that when all this storm and stress, and the turbulent passions of an evil epoch have passed away, it will be remembered then for Englishmen that their greatest organ in the Press maintained a fine tradition of independence, and thus did much to redeem the good name of Britain when “the Black and Tans” were dragging it woefully in the mire.
THE ISSUES NOW AT STAKE
And now my appointed task draws to its close. In the pages I have written I have set nothing down in malice nor have I sought otherwise than to make a just presentment of facts as they are within my knowledge. It may be that, being a protagonist of one Party in the struggles and vicissitudes of these years, I may sometimes see things too much from the standpoint of my own preconceived opinions and notions. But on the whole it has been my endeavour to give an honest and fair-minded narrative of the main events and movements of Irish history over a period in which I believe I can claim I am the first explorer. There are some subjects which would come properly within the purview of my title, such as the power, province and influence of clericalism in politics, but I have thought it best at this stage, when so many matters are in process of readjustment in Ireland, and when our people are adapting themselves to a new form of citizen duty and responsibility, to leave certain aspects of our public life untouched. It may be, however, if this book meets with the success I hope for it, that my researches and labours in this field of enterprise are not at an end.