Handbook of Home Rule eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 329 pages of information about Handbook of Home Rule.

[Footnote 5:  My recollection of a conversation with a distinguished public man in July, 1882, enables me to say that this fact had impressed itself upon us as early as that year.  He doubted the fact, but admitted that, if true, it was momentous.  The passing of the Franchise Bill made it, in our view, more momentous than ever.]

[Footnote 6:  Some thought that its functions should be very limited, while large powers were granted to county boards or provincial councils.  But most had, I think, already perceived that the grant of a merely local self-government, while retaining an irresponsible central bureaucracy, would do more harm than good.  It seemed at first sight a safer experiment than the creation of a central legislative body.  But, like many middle courses, it combined the demerits and wanted the merits of each of the extreme courses.  It would not make the country tranquil, as firm and long-continued repression might possibly do.  Neither would it satisfy the people’s demands, and divert them from struggles against England to disputes and discussions among themselves, as the gift of genuine self-government might do.]

[Footnote 7:  Some of us had tried to do so.  I prepared such a scheme in the autumn of 1885, and submitted it to some specially competent friends.  Their objections, made from what would now be called the Unionist point of view, were weighty.  But their effect was to convince me that the scheme erred on the side of caution; and I believe the experience of other Liberals who worked at the problem to have been the same as my own—­viz. that a small and timid scheme is more dangerous than a large and bold one.  Thus the result of our thinking from July, 1885, till April, 1886, was to make us more and more disposed to reject half-and-half solutions.  Some of us (of whom I was one) expressed this feeling by saying in our election addresses in 1885, “the further we go in giving the Irish people the management of their own affairs (subject to the maintenance of the unity of the empire) the better.”]

[Footnote 8:  Quoted from an article contributed by myself to the American Century Magazine, which I refer to because, written in the spring of 1883, it expresses the ideas here stated.]



The principal charge made against the scheme of Home Rule contained in the Irish Government Bill, 1886, is that it is incompatible with the maintenance of the unity of the Empire and the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament.  A further allegation states that the Bill is useless, as agrarian exasperation lies at the root of Irish discontent and Irish disloyalty, and that no place would be found for a Home Rule Bill even in Irish aspirations if an effective Land Bill were first passed.  An endeavour will be made in the following pages to secure a verdict of acquittal on both counts—­as to the charge relating

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