Handbook of Home Rule eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 329 pages of information about Handbook of Home Rule.
conviction that great principles, permanent truths of human nature, lie at the bottom of all sound politics, and ought to be boldly and consistently applied, even when temporary difficulties surround their application.  Such a principle is the belief in the power of freedom and self-government to cure the faults of a nation, in the tendency of responsibility to teach wisdom, and to make men see that justice and order are the surest sources of prosperity.  Such a principle is the perception that national hatreds do not live on of themselves, but will expire when oppression has ceased, as a fire burns out without fuel.  Such a principle is the recognition of the force of national sentiment, and of the duty of allowing it all the satisfaction that is compatible with the maintenance of imperial unity.  Such, again, is the appreciation of those natural economic laws which show that nations, when disturbing passions have ceased, follow their own permanent interests, and that an island which finds its chief market in England and draws its capital from England will prefer a connection with England to the poverty and insignificance of isolation.  It is the honour of Mr. Gladstone to have built his policy of conciliation upon principles like these, as upon a rock; and already the good effects are seen in the new friendliness which has arisen between the English masses and the people of Ireland, and in the better temper with which, despite the acrimony of some prominent politicians, the relations of the two peoples are discussed.  When one looks round the horizon it is still far from clear; nor can we say from which quarter fair weather will arrive.  But the air is fresher, and the clouds are breaking overhead.

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What has happened since the above paragraphs were written, ten months ago, has confirmed more quickly and completely than the writer expected the forecasts they contain.  Home Rule is no longer a word of terror, even to those English and Scotch voters who were opposed to it in July, 1886.  Most sensible men in the Tory and Dissentient Liberal camps have come to see that it is inevitable; and, while they continue to resist it for the sake of what is called consistency, or because they do not yet see in what form it is to be granted, they are disposed to regard its speedy arrival as the best method of retreat from an indefensible position.

The repressive policy which the present Ministry are attempting in Ireland—­for in the face of their failures one cannot say that they are carrying out any policy—­is rendering Coercion Acts more and more detested by the English people.  The actualities of Ireland, the social condition of her peasantry, the unwisdom of the dominant caste, the incompetence of the bureaucracy which affects to rule her, are being, by the full accounts we now receive, brought home to the mind of England and Scotland as they never were before, and produce their appropriate effect upon the heart and conscience of the people.  The recognition by the Liberal party of the rights of Ireland, the visits of English Liberals to Ireland, the work done by Irishmen in English constituencies, are creating a feeling of unity and reciprocal interest between the masses of the people on both sides of the Channel without example in the seven hundred years that have passed since Strongbow’s landing.

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Handbook of Home Rule from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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