The future is very dark, and it is all important that we should face it with open eyes. War cannot long be delayed, and there is too little time left to put our house in order. Even if Home Rule could be shown to be an act of justice due to a wronged people who have proved themselves capable of self-government, even then it could not be justified in the present crisis abroad. But it is not so. Ulster will fight for the same cause as did the Northern States of America, and may well show the same self-sacrifice. It will be civil war in a country peculiarly adapted to the movements of irregular troops, well acquainted with its features; it will be accompanied by atrocities which will be remembered for centuries. And this is the tremendous risk we are deliberately running, when we only possess six divisions of regular troops to support our allies on the continent and to safeguard the interests of the whole British Empire.
It is for the British people to decide whether the thin red line is to be still thinner in the day of battle, and whether those who should be fighting side by side shall be embittered and divided, or whether they will rather believe the words of the greatest naval expert living:
“It is impossible for a military man or a statesman with appreciation of military conditions, to look at the map and not perceive that the ambition of the Irish separatists, realised, would be even more threatening to the national life than the secession of the South was to that of the American Union.”
[Footnote 69: Admiral Mahan.]
THE RELIGIOUS DIFFICULTY UNDER HOME RULE
(i) THE CHURCH VIEW