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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 318 pages of information about Against Home Rule (1912).
the basis of Irish society.  It is to be supposed that, when the whole Unionist Party addresses itself seriously to the question, it will give further and careful attention to the principles of reform before setting up this, or some other, executive machinery.  I can think of no more thirsty or fruitful field in Ireland for the exercise of the highest constructive statesmanship that the Party may possess.  The need is urgent, the time is ripe, all the circumstances are favourable.  The Old Age Pensions Act and the Insurance Act, if not vitiated by further increases in Irish taxation, will greatly simplify the task of Poor Law Reform.  The former Act has reduced the number of old inmates in the workhouses; the Insurance Act should lead to a reduction in expenditure on outdoor relief.  Moreover, it may be hoped that the infirm and pauper classes will be henceforward, like the old age pensioners, a diminishing fraction of the population of Ireland.  They are, to a large extent, flotsam and jetsam over the sea of Ireland’s political troubles.  Land agitation, with its attendant vices of restlessness and idleness, the emigration of wage-earners, the discouragement of industry under Governments indifferent to the administration of law and the development of national resources, have all contributed to the Dantean horrors of the Irish workhouse system.  These poor people are an excrescence on the body of Ireland which good government, if it does not wholly remove, may reduce nearly to vanishing point.  Hitherto the chief rewards and blessings of British administration in Ireland have gone to the hard voters and to the strong agitators.  It is time for the Unionist Party to think of the hapless, the helpless, the voteless, and, therefore voiceless, elements in Irish life.  Ireland, as she becomes better educated, gives more thought and truer thought than formerly to her social and economic problems.  Her gratitude and loyalty will go in abundant measure to those who take counsel with her about these problems and help her to solve them.  The Government which cleans up many sad relics of the past by a complete reform of the Irish Poor Law system will put all Irishmen and Irishwomen under a deep sense of obligation to it.  Policy, not less than duty, should give this reform a place in the forefront of the Unionist Party’s constructive programme for Ireland.

XIX

IRISH EDUCATION UNDER THE UNION[89]

BY GODFREY LOCKER LAMPSON, M.P.

Education is probably the most sorrowfully dull of all dull subjects.  It is difficult to repress a yawn when the word is mentioned.  Yet we owe everything to it that we value most.  Through it we become emancipated citizens of the world.  Through it we are able to appreciate what is beautiful and what is ugly, what is right and what is wrong, what is permanent and what is merely transitory.  If the people of a country can make it their boast that they are truly educated, they need boast of little else, for all the rest will have been added unto them.

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