Handbook of Home Rule eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 281 pages of information about Handbook of Home Rule.

“’Quand vous en etes arroes a ce point, croyez bien que dans cette voie de regueurs tous vos efforts pour retabler l’ordre et la paix seront inutiles.  En vain, pour reprimer des crimes atroces, vous appellerez a votre aide toutes les severites du code de Dracon; en vain vous ferez des lois cruelles pour arreter le cours de revoltantes cruautes; vainement vous frapperez de mort le moindre delit se rattachant a ces grands crimes; vainement, dans l’effroi de votre impuissance, vous suspendrez le cours des lois ordinaries proclamerez des comtes entiers en etat de suspicion legale, voilerez le principe de la liberte individuelle, creerez des cours martiales, des commissions extraordinaires, et pour produire de salutaires impressions de terreur, multiplierez a l’exces les executions capitales.’"[55]

The next passage is a trenchant condemnation of the “Union.”

“There exists in Europe no country so completely at unity with itself as Great Britain.  Fifty years of reform have done their work, and have removed the discontents, the divisions, the disaffection, and the conspiracies which marked the first quarter, or the first half of this century.  Great Britain, if left to herself, could act with all the force, consistency, and energy given by unity of sentiment and community of interests.  The distraction and the uncertainty of our political aims, the feebleness and inconsistency with which they are pursued, arise, in part at least, from the connection with Ireland.  Neither Englishmen nor Irishmen are to blame for the fact that it is difficult for communities differing in historical associations and in political conceptions to keep step together in the path of progress.  For other evils arising from the connection the blame must rest on English Statesmen.  All the inherent vices of party government, all the weaknesses of the parliamentary system, all the evils arising from the perverse notion that reform ought always to be preceded by a period of lengthy and more than half factitious agitation met by equally factitious resistance, have been fostered and increased by the interaction of Irish and English politics.  No one can believe that the inveterate habit of ruling one part of the United Kingdom on principles which no one would venture to apply to the government of any other part of it, can have produced anything but the most injurious effect on the stability of our Government and the character of our public men.  The advocates of Home Rule find by far their strongest arguments for influencing English opinion, in the proofs which they produce that England, no less than Ireland, has suffered from a political arrangement under which legal union has failed to secure moral union. These arguments, whatever their strength, are, however, it must be noted, more available to a Nationalist than to an advocate of federalism."[56]

The words which I have italicised are an expression of opinion; but nothing can alter the damning statement of fact—­“legal union has failed to secure moral union.”  Nevertheless, Mr. Dicey advocates the maintenance of this legal union as it stands.

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Handbook of Home Rule from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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