Between two kindred seas,
Which, mounting, viewed each other from afar,
And longed to meet.
What then, shall be our conduct? Shall we attempt to repair the breaches, and fortify the ruins? A hopeless and ungracious undertaking! Or shall we leave them to moulder away by time and accident—a sure but distant and thankless consummation; or, shall we not rather cut away at once the isthmus that remains, allow free course to the current which has been artificially impeded, and float upon the mingling waves the ark of our glorious constitution?’
Much has been done since Canning’s time to remove the narrow isthmus. Emancipation cut deep into it. The disestablishment of the Irish Church submerged an immense portion of it. If Mr. Gladstone’s land bill be equally effective, a breach will be made through which the two kindred seas will meet, and, in their commingling flux and reflux, will quickly sweep away all minor obstacles to their perfect union. A just settlement of the land question will reconcile the two races, and close the war of seven centuries. That is the rock against which the two nationalities have rushed in foaming breakers, lashed into fury by the storms of faction and bigotry. Remove the obstruction, and the world would hear no more the roaring of the waters. Then would float peacefully upon the commingling waves the ark of our common constitution, in which there would be neither Saxon nor Celt, neither English nor Irish, neither Protestant nor Catholic, but one united, free, and mighty people. Then might the Emperor of the French mark the epoch with the announcement—’England has done justice to Ireland!’