It will be found next to impossible to draw any argument for Home Rule from the history of Irish Education during the last decade. Indeed, if a Nationalist Parliament were now to be established in College Green, it is more than probable that the progress made by educational reformers since 1900 would be largely thrown away, and the prospects of still further improvement endangered and perhaps destroyed.
What has been done in the domain of Irish Education, and what still remains to be done? Leaving out of account the problem of the Universities, which, so far as can be seen, has at any rate been temporarily solved—and solved, let it be marked, under the Legislative Union, with the participation and consent of the Nationalist party—there are two broad branches of the educational tree which every year are growing in volume and putting forth finer leaves and fruit. Primary and Secondary Education, by far the most important parts of the Irish Educational system, if only allowed to continue their development, tended with care by those who have the interests of the younger generation at heart and left unmolested by the poisonous creepers of political prejudice, will be found to do more for the increase of Irish prosperity and the establishment of national and religious concord than any device for legislative separation that the wit of man can frame. Not that educational reform is not sorely needed. Far from it. There are few aspects of Irish life where reform is more urgently required. But let it be reform, as far as possible, along existing lines of progress, and in full recognition of religious susceptibilities and of certain stubborn facts which may be deplored, but which it would be unwise to ignore. Let it be reform undertaken and pursued on the advice of those who understand this question and are in sympathy with its peculiar difficulties, and let not the Treasury turn a deaf ear to the demands of reason, when a few extra thousand pounds might make all the difference between failure and success. Above all, let it be reform unembittered by the strife of creeds warring for supremacy in an Irish House of Commons. Let it reap the advantages of a continuous policy undisturbed by the rise and fall of local Ministries and the lobbying and log-rolling of sects and factions. Treat it, as it is being treated to-day, in a calm spirit of inquiry and recommendation, and the richest blessing of the Legislative Union will be an Ireland at peace within herself, honoured for her learning, distinguished by her refinement, and intellectually the equal of any nation upon earth.