Handbook of Home Rule eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 329 pages of information about Handbook of Home Rule.
times more just to England, and more merciful to Ireland, to take away from her that semblance of free government which torments and paralyzes one country, while it robs the other of national self-respect and of all the strongest motives and best opportunities of self-help.  The status quo is drawing very near to its inevitable end.  The two courses then open will be Home Rule on the one hand, and some shy bungling underhand imitation of a Crown Colony on the other.  We shall have either to listen to the Irish representatives or to suppress them.  Unless we have lost all nerve and all political faculty we shall, before many months are over, face these alternatives.  Liberals are for the first; Tories at present incline to the second.  It requires very moderate instinct for the forces at work in modern politics to foresee the path along which we shall move, in the interests alike of relief to Great Britain and of a sounder national life for Ireland.  The only real question is not Whether we are to grant Home Rule, but How.


[Footnote 71:  The following pages, with one or two slight alterations, are extracted, by the kind permission of Mr. James Knowles, from two articles which were published in the Nineteenth Century at the beginning of the present year, in reply to Professor Dicey’s statement of the English case against Home Rule.]

[Footnote 72:  The late J.E.  Cairnes, after describing the clearances after the famine, goes on to say, “I own I cannot wonder that a thirst for revenge should spring from such calamities; that hatred, even undying hatred, for what they could not but regard as the cause and symbol of their misfortunes—­English rule in Ireland—­should possess the sufferers....  The disaffection now so widely diffused throughout Ireland may possibly in some degree be fed from historical traditions, and have its remote origin in the confiscations of the seventeenth century; but all that gives it energy, all that renders it dangerous, may, I believe, be traced to exasperation produced by recent transactions, and more especially to the bitter memories left by that most flagrant abuse of the rights of property and most scandalous disregard of the claims of humanity—­the wholesale clearances of the period following the famine.”—­Political Essays, p. 198.]



Ireland for more than seven hundred years has been part of the British territory, and has been with slight exceptions held by English arms, or governed in the last resort from this side the water.  Scotland was a foreign country until 1603, and possessed absolute independence until 1707.  Yet, whether it was due to the standing barrier of the sea, or whatever may have been the cause, much less was known by Englishmen of Ireland than of Scotland.  Witness the works of Shakespeare, whose mind, unless as to book-knowledge, was encyclopaedic, and yet who, while he seems at home in Scotland, may be said to tell us nothing of Ireland, unless it is that—­

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Handbook of Home Rule from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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