Handbook of Home Rule eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 281 pages of information about Handbook of Home Rule.
a certain basis for government.  It might justly be contended that proximity is a more favourable condition than distance; without it there could not be that close and constant intercommunication which binds the material interests of Ireland to those of Great Britain, and so provides the surest guarantee for union.  If Ireland were suddenly to find herself as far off as Canada, then indeed one might be very sorry to answer for the Union.  Again, though Ireland has to bear her share of the prevailing depression in the chief branch of her production, it is a great mistake to suppose that outside of the margin of chronic wretchedness in the west and south-west, the condition not only of the manufacturing industries of the north, but of the agricultural industry in the richer parts of the middle and south, is so desperately unprosperous as to endanger a political constitution.  Under our stupidily [Transcriber:  sic] centralized system, Irishmen have no doubt acquired the enervating trick of attributing every misfortune, great or small, public or private, to the Government.  When they learn the lessons of responsibility, they will unlearn this fatal habit, and not before.

I do not see, therefore, that the differences in condition between Ireland and the Colonies make against Home Rule.  What I do see is ample material out of which would arise a strong and predominant party of order.  The bulk of the nation are sons and daughters of a Church which has been hostile to revolution in every country but Ireland, and which would be hostile to it there from the day that the cause of revolution ceased to be the cause of self-government.  If the peasantry were made to realize that at last the land settlement, wisely and equitably made, was what it must inexorably remain, and what no politicians could help them to alter, they would be as conservative as the peasantry under a similar condition in every other spot on the surface of the globe.  There is no reason to expect that the manufacturers, merchants, and shopkeepers of Ireland would be less willing or less able to play an active and useful part in the affairs of their country than the same classes in England or Scotland.  It will be said that this is mere optimist prophesying.  But why is that to be flung aside under the odd name of sentimentalism, while pessimist prophesying is to be taken for gospel?

The only danger is lest we should allot new responsibilities to Irishmen with a too grudging and restrictive hand.  For true responsibility there must be real power.  It is easy to say that this power would be misused, and that the conditions both of Irish society and of the proposed Constitution must prevent it from being used for good.  It is easy to say that separation would be a better end.  Life is too short to discuss that.  Separation is not the alternative either to Home Rule or to the status quo.  If the people of Ireland are not to be trusted with real power over their own affairs, it would be a hundred

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Handbook of Home Rule from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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