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Handbook of Home Rule eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 281 pages of information about Handbook of Home Rule.
charges on the whole of the Irish Government revenues as paid into the hands of an Imperial Receiver instead of placing them as special charges, each fixed on its own small estate or holding.  The fact that Mr. Gladstone’s land scheme was denounced as confiscation of L100,000,000 of the English taxpayers’ property, while Lord Ashbourne’s Act is pronounced by the same party wise and prudent, shows the political blindness of party spirit in its most absurd form.  Lord Ashbourne’s Act requires precisely the same expenditure to do the same work as Mr. Gladstone’s Bill requires, but in Mr. Gladstone’s scheme the whole Irish revenue was pledged as collateral security, and the Irish Government was interposed between the ultimate creditor and the Irish tenant, while under Lord Ashbourne’s Act the English Government figures without disguise as the landlord of each tenant, exacting a debt which the tenant is unwilling to pay as being due to what he calls an alien Government.

An endeavour has been made in the preceding pages to prove that Home Rule in no respect infringes on Imperial rights or Imperial unity, for the simple reason that the Imperial power remains exactly in the same position as it was before, the Home Rule Bill dealing only with Local matters.  At all events, Burke thought that the Imperial supremacy alone constituted a real union between England and Ireland.  He says—­

“My poor opinion is, that the closest connection between Great Britain and Ireland is essential to the well-being—­I had almost said to the very being—­of the three kingdoms; for that purpose I humbly conceive that the whole of the superior, and what I should call Imperial politics, ought to have its residence here, and that Ireland, locally, civilly, and commercially independent, ought politically to look up to Great Britain in all matters of peace and war.  In all these points to be joined with her, and, in a word, with her to live and to die."[13]

How strange to Burke would have seemed the doctrine that the restoration of a limited power of self-government to Ireland, excluding commerce, and excluding all matters not only Imperial, but those in which uniformity is required, should be denounced as a disruption of the Empire!

It remains to notice one other charge made against the Gladstonian Home Rule Bill, namely, that of impairing the supremacy of the British Parliament.  That allegation has been shown also to be founded on a mistake.  Next, it is said that the Gladstonian scheme does not provide securities against executive and legislative oppression.  The answer is complete.  The executive authority being vested in the Queen, it will be the duty of the Governor not to allow executive oppression; still more will it be his duty to veto any act of legislative oppression.  Further, it is stated that difficulties will arise with respect to the power of the Privy Council to nullify unconstitutional Acts.  But it is hard to see why a power which is exercised with success in the United States, where all the States are equal, and without dispute in our colonies, which are all dependent, should not be carried into effect with equal ease in Ireland, which is more closely bound to us and more completely under our power than the colonies are, or than the several States are under the power of the Central Government.

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