Page images

be confidently trusted to leave not is a point upon which we need himself a loop-hole of escape from not dwell, but there is another any pledge which they may be- aspect of the case which may well lieve themselves to have obtained be remembered. Mr Parnell defrom him. The only thing which nies the validity of the transaction, is absolutely certain is that, both and declares that he is not only upon the question of the control chairman of his party, but the of the constabulary and the settle- leader of the Irish nation. Cerment of land legislation, Mr Glad- tainly Mr Parnell's pretensions to stone, when the moment for action this position have been loudly and comes, will be entirely guided by warmly proclaimed by his folconsiderations of the course which lowers, and by none more veheis most likely to win to his side a mently than by some of those who majority of votes. As his recent have now condemned him. But speeches during the Mid-Lothian apart from this, it is beyond all campaign duly instructed us, there question that the eighty-five men is to him no right or wrong in who constitute the Irish Parliapolitics, but the opinion of the mentary party have all of them, majority is to be ascertained and majority and minority, been elected followed. The Irish Parliament- to Parliament as supporters of Mr ary party will be welcome to Mr Parnell. Those who have deposed Gladstone as part of a majority to him from the leadership have clearplace and retain him in office; but ly but one course to pursueif “the approval of the people of namely, to apply for the Chiltern Great Britain is likely to be Hundreds, and ask from their withheld from a plan which would constituents an endorsement and be satisfactory to that party upon approval of their course of action. the two points in question, they If they fail to do this, every word may rest assured that their wishes and action which they have directin this respect would, in Mr Glad- ed, or may direct, against Mr stone's mind, cease to be part of Parnell, will be treasured up against “the just claims of Ireland,” and them, and the deposed leader and that it would be conclusively his friends will be able to appeal proved to them that he had never with great advantage to the feelgiven them any pledge upon the ing of Ireland and of generous subject.

Irishmen against the men who, Meanwhile the position of the when left to themselves, supported majority caucus is hardly one to and re-elected the leader whom be envied. They have decreed the they had been sent to Parliament deposition of Mr Parnell by means to support, but at the first whisper of a curious character. Being un- of Mr Gladstone's disapproval able to overcome the obstruction deserted and discarded him. of the minority, they adjourned to The heat and passion with which another room to pass their depos- the discussions of the Irish Paring resolutions without interrup- liamentary party appear to have tion. This is certainly a lesson to been conducted are perhaps hardly the House of Commons, which may to be taken as an example of the some day be led to follow so ex- probable behaviour of the Irish cellent an example, although it National Parliament, since the might prefer to remove the minor- surrounding circumstances must ity rather than the majority to be admitted to have been of a another room. Whether the pro- character exceptionally trying to ceeding can be considered valid or temper and forbearance on either side. They must, however, be ac- rural districts in which it more cepted as indications of a spirit largely prevails. It is not, howwhich is hardly consistent with ever, by any means sure that there the decorum which should prevail will not be as great a division when men are engaged in the work among the priests as amongst the of legislation, and which points laity; and if it should turn out that to a considerable limitation of the the curates and younger portion of powers to be given to any body the priesthood are to a considerwhich may hereafter be established . able extent with Mr Parnell, the in Ireland in the course of the condemnation of the bishops will extension of local government, or be to a large extent neutralised. the delegation of any portion of There is another fact to be borne its authority by the Imperial Par- in mind. When the Holy Father. liament. It is satisfactory to be specifically denounced boycotting informed that the members of the and the Plan of Campaign with all Irish party did not come to blows, the thunders of the Vatican, the and that the report of the police Catholic bishops and priests in having been called in was a report Ireland scarcely even rendered an without foundation. It must be acquiescence to their spiritual owned, however, that the language head, and appeared to encourage employed towards each other, the the idea that Religion from charges and countercharges of in- Rome--Politics from Home ” was triguing and deceit, and the dis

a fit and proper motto for an Irish orderly conduct of several of those patriot. If it should now appear who took part in the proceedings, that the people have learned this have not served to elevate the lesson from the recent attitude of character of the parties concerned, the bishops and clergy, and decline or to render more conspicuous to accept the interference of their their fitness to conduct business religious advisers in political matin a Parliament of their own. ters, the blame must rest upon those According to present appearances, who first set the example of disobeboth majority and minority having dience to ecclesiastical authority. appealed to the Irish people, there If the bishops and priests have for will be an exceedingly pretty con

the future less influence in Iretest between the two sections of land than heretofore, they have the party, and the issue may be themselves to thank for it, and their doubtful. So far as it is possible practical disobedience to the rescript to make any forecast of the result of the Vatican will have recoiled it would seem likely that Mr Par- upon their heads more speedily nell, carrying with him the Fenian than could have been anticipated. element and the more advanced It is impossible to indulge in of the Nationalist party, will obtain any lengthy comments upon the triumphs in the large towns, and progress of the battle, still in wherever the population is massed progress, between Mr Parnell and together in some centre and is his opponents upon Irish ground. more or less controlled by existing An isolated victory, such Nationalist organisations. On the Kilkenny, on one side or on the other hand, if the priests follow other, cannot decide the ultimate the bishops in their somewhat result of the internecine struggle tardy condemnation of Mr Parnell which is still taking place. It has upon moral grounds, it is probable its comic as well as its serious that clerical influence will tell side, and it is impossible not to against the deposed leader in the smile at the account of Mr Tim


Healy being hooted and hustled say so, and within the competence by a Dublin mob, and finally being of Parliament to dispossess them. taken under the protection of the If they had a right to their propolice! The smile, however, must perty, they should have been give way to more serious feelings allowed to experience the benefit when we come to reflect upon the or the damage of those ordinary meaning and the cause of that laws of supply and demand which which is now going on in Ireland. are usually recognised as producing Men's passions—the passions of an fair and reasonable results. But impulsive race—have been excited to maintain them in the nominal and let loose; their tempers have possession of their lands, and then been stirred, and a spirit of bitter- to subject them to legal confiscaness and violence has been aroused tion, was a course cruel to the which may yet produce conse- landholders, unjust as between quences worse than have already owner and occupier, and one which been experienced. And why? dealt a fatal blow at the morality Because, ten years ago, Mr Glad- of the country. stone commenced a legislative career Having once discovered the with regard to Ireland of a charac- squeezable nature of Mr Gladstone, ter entirely at variance with, and the leaders of Irish agitation founded upon principles entirely pressed him from one point to different from, anything which another, until, having departed had been adopted or sanctioned from the simple principles of by previous British ministers. justice in his land legislation, he Confessedly ignorant of Irish his- has followed the same course upon tory, and having given compara- other subjects. Rejecting the tively little attention to Irish views of the great and wise statesaffairs during the engrossing occu- men who have gone before him, pations of important official posi- and in flagrant opposition to Sir tions, Mr Gladstone proceeded Robert Peel, of whose leadership upon a course of legislation which he was once so proud, he has could only eventually land him in adopted the wild theories of Irish the difficulties which surround agitators both as to the past hishim to-day, and which cannot fail tory of Ireland and the legislato overwhelm him if he should tion which she requires. For be ever again have the opportunity it ever remembered that Ireland, of proposing further Irish legisla- as an independent country and tion, He determined to deal with united kingdom, has never existed Ireland as if Irishmen were so save in what are politely called different from the rest of mankind prehistoric times, and in the as to be unaffected by the ordinary fervid imagination of Nationalist principles and feelings by which orators and writers. Nevertheless mankind are governed, and to re- Mr Gladstone continues to write quire a treatment which should and speak as if the contrary were pass by and ignore the usual rules the case, proposes to restore to by which society is regulated. In Ireland an independent national deference to agitation, Mr Glad- Parliament which never existed, stone proceeded to land legislation and encourages Irishmen to inof an unequal and extraordinary dulge in aspirations which can character, If the owners of Irish

never be gratified, and the realisaland had no right to their pro- tion of which would be attended perty, or had seriously abused their with ruin and disaster, certainly position, it would have been right to to Ireland herself, if not eventu



ally to the empire. No doubt alist party, and no measure will with excellent intentions, Mr Glad- be accepted by them save stone has led Irishmen to entertain which involves the abandonment hopes which they never would of the land question throughout have entertained, or which at Ireland to their decision, and the least would have been confined to concession to them of the control a few visionaries and enthusiasts, of that constabulary force which but for his unfortunate resolution has been the only security for the to deal with Ireland by attempt- peace of Ireland for ten years past, ing to reconcile irreconcilable and which it would be sheer madpeople, and to govern through ness to hand over to the Nationalagitators who had spent their ist majority. lives in striving to make govern- The recent exposure and the ment impossible. Hence it is that present contest should, it is true, at the present crisis, when from have a beneficial effect upon the unforeseen circumstances a divi- fortunes of the Unionist cause. sion has taken place in the ranks But there must be no slackness, no of those into whose mischievous over - confidence, no abatement of hands Mr Gladstone has been hard work in preparing for the playing for ten years past, the general election. The occurrences pivot upon which turns the con- to which we allude have enabled test is the freedom of Ireland from the Government to make rapid British rule, and the winning party and satisfactory progress with will probably be that which suc- their legislative measures, and to ceeds in persuading the Irish elec- terminate the winter session at an toral body that to support its candi- unexpectedly early period. But dates will be the surest way to get there is much to be done in the rid of that imperial control which country in order to bring the Mr Gladstone himself has termed real issues of the battle clearly bethe controlof “a foreign executive."1 fore the eyes of the electoral body.

Two things there are which The contest at Bassetlaw has inshould never be forgotten by loyal deed resulted in a glorious vicsubjects of Queen Victoria, be tory, but this victory will be worse they English, Scotch, Irish, or than a defeat if it should make Welsh. First, that it is directly Unionists supine or over-confident. owing to Mr Gladstone's change The tone, the language, the deof policy in 1880 and his subse- mands of the Irish Nationalists quent concession to Irish agitation should be recalled and promithat the separatist doctrines and nently brought before the constituhatred of imperial control in Ire- encies. It should also be pointed land have ever come to be more out that the political Nonconforthan the half-avowed opinions of mists, whose prompt and consistent a small and feeble minority of action forced from Mr Gladstone extreme politicians. Secondly, the condemnation of the moral dethat the contest now raging in linquencies of Mr Parnell, have Ireland as to the Nationalist lead- shown no disinclination to ally ership has brought out more clear- themselves with those who formally ly and proved more certainly than and deliberately condoned those ever the fact that no reasonable delinquencies by the re-election of concession or legislative compro- Mr Parnell as their leader. Nor mise will satisfy the Irish Nation- should it be forgotten that the

[blocks in formation]

Gladstonian party, whilst it shud- It is not only Mr Balfour, howders with due propriety at the ever, who is attacked by the unbreach of the seventh command- scrupulous Gladstonian press, which ment of which Mr Parnell has has now fallen upon a new cry with been guilty, has not only been con- which it is manifestly delighted. doning offences against the sixth The Unionists are accused of backand eighth commandments, by its ing Mr Parnell, and being prepared continued support of those who to accept his alliance. No charge have been responsible for the Plan could be more foolish and more unof Campaign and its attending out founded. No Unionist can have rages, but has consistently violated any political sympathy with either the ninth commandment through- of the factions into which the Irish out the whole of the controversy. party is at this moment divided. What more gross and wicked false We may indeed express our conwitness against a neighbour was tempt for the men who were ready ever borne than that which appears to condone a moral offence until in the leading article of the 'Daily they found a political disadvantage News' of December 9, in which attached to the condonation : we Mr Justin M'Carthy is encouraged may question the high standard of to move a vote of censure against morality of the statesman who, as the Government“ for the infamous he told us in his speech at East prosecution of those statesmen and Retford on December 11, deterpatriots (Dillon and O'Brien) con- mined to watch the state of feeling in ceived and carried out by Mr this countrybefore he denounced Balfour on purely political and Mr Parnell; and we may have personal grounds." According to our own opinion of the patriotism the Daily News' (which is gene- and public spirit of the men who rally regarded as the organ of the left their leader and abandoned the Gladstonian party), Messrs Dillon independence of their party in obeand O'Brien should have been per- dience to the commands of that mitted to break and defy the law; statesman. But sympathy we have and the Minister is thus denounced none with those who aim at the who attempts, in the only possible dismemberment of the empire, any way, to vindicate the law, and more than with those who, denying protect the Tipperary tenants who that they have any such aim, ally had a right to be protected from themselves with the dismemberthe ruin brought upon them by the ists, and refuse to show us the Plan of Campaign inaugurated by method by which they intend to those "statesmen and patriots.” In maintain the alliance without supthis connection, be it remembered porting the dismemberment. It is that it is but the other day that absolutely untrue that we do, or Mr Gladstone, uttering various ever can, sympathise with such ambiguous words about the ille- men or such views. gality of the Plan of Campaign, If we regard the present schism declared that Mr Parnell had in the Gladstonian-Parnellite ranks “ never given a distinct approval with interest, it is because we see of the Plan of Campaign,” whilst in its origin and progress proof of during the recent debates of the the strength of our own cause and Irish Parliamentary party we actu- the truth of our own predictions. ally find Mr Parnell and Mr Sexton When the Gladstonians are desquabbling as to which of them nouncing Mr Parnell up hill and was entitled to the credit of having down dale as false, untrustworthy, originated the nefarious scheme. and unscrupulous, we only reply

« PreviousContinue »