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On one point, indeed, I thought their case was a little too complete. To the imputation of reckless valuation they replied that their chief valuator was an eminent Englishman. It was probably with a sly sense of suppressed humour the Commissioners reminded the Peers that the person they were assailing was himself of a patrician family—“Mr. Charles Grey Grey, of Dilston, in the county of Northumberland ’-at your Lordships' service; a gentleman trained for his profession on the estates of Lord Derby. But if Rhadamanthus had to select a man to value Irish rents, whose decisions were subject to the review of a scrupulous court, it is probable that he would have preferred a Mr. Patrick Murphy Murphy, of Killala, in the county of Mayo, who obtained his experience as a rack-rented tenant on the estates of Lord Clanricarde.

These are the boons of half a century; the bright places in a gloomy landscape. I have said nothing of Coercion Acts, and of shameful and insulting strokes of authority which belong to the same period. If my narrative be strictly true, as I have assuredly laboured to make it, it furnishes the statesman, I think, with important aids to reflection.'

Was it reasonable to expect, was it even possible to accomplish, the pacification of a disturbed country by means like these ? Injustice inevitably begets injustice; whoever is wronged hates the wronger, whoever commits a wrong hates him upon whom he has inflicted it. These are the commonplaces of ethics, but if statesmen did not forget them, they would not expect contentment and gratitude where they have sown the seed of distrust and wrath. Half measures and quarter measures have been dribbled out to Ireland, and they met the fate that such policy insures. A shilling in the pound, or a crown in the pound, proffered in full of all demands is not received with thanks, but with indignation and resentment. And yet the remedy is so simple that a child could scarcely mistake it. Pay the debt in full. Let the Government and people of England settle the claims of Ireland as they settled the * Alabama 'claims. Let them settle them as they would settle a just demand presented by Prince Bismarck. Then they may count on contentment and gratitude, otherwise it is puerile to expect it.

It may reasonably be asked, What is payment in full of Irish claims ? The Nationalist says: “Allow Ireland to manage her own affairs in a local parliament; nothing else will or ought to satisfy her.' The philosophical Liberals, more adequately represented by the Spectator, I think, than by any public man, say: 'No, we cannot do that; but we will pay our debt in full by granting Irishmen all the rights enjoyed by Englishmen without exception or limitation.' Either of these theories is at least intelligible and consistent, but neither one nor the other has been acted on. Irishmen have not got

self-government, and the narrative submitted to the reader demonstrates that as little have they got the rights conferred upon England.

This is the record of the past: and where is an Irishman to discover any solid ground for hoping that the immediate future will be different? For my own part, I have confidence in the good disposition of Mr. Gladstone, and if he were ten years younger I would count on his rivalling the supreme achievement of Charles James Fox in 1782. But since Mr. Chamberlain bas turned the Government into a Limited Liability Company, we have an opportunity of gauging some of the difficulties he has to overcome. Lord Hartington is plainly not willing to grant to Ireland the institutions he is prepared to establish in England, unless the Irish people give him a guarantee that they will use them in a manner of which he approves. Does he mean to place the English people under a similar parole ? and if not, what becomes of the theory of equal justice ? Lord Derby admits that it is the rooted determination of the Irish nation to escape from the present system of ignorant and selfish mismanagement, and to resume control of their own affairs, but he thinks their wishes ought to be for ever resisted. It is to be feared that he would gladly deny them the other alternative of equal laws and institutions, lest the strength so gained should be employed to obtain their national rights. As far as Ireland is concerned, in what respect is Lord Derby as a Whig an improvement on Lord Derby as a Tory? Outside the Government Mr. Goschen is as ready to justify the denial of equal justice to Ireland as Lord Eldon was fifty years ago; and Mr. Forster is still too angry and disappointed to listen to the still small voice of reason. To estimate the future one must take account of all these personages and more, for the Liberal party has as many separate heads as a chain of the Alps, and only one Mont Blanc.

The gentlemen who confront them in Parliament are in a worse disposition ; forgetting the best traditions of their party. They got their historic name from sympathy with Ireland, when the Whigs were framing penal laws against her; and in our own day it was the Tories who conferred self-government on the great colonies. Sir Robert Peel established Home Rule in Canada, and the late Lord Derby in Australia. These concessions have proved Conservative measures in the highest sense ; they preserved important States to the Empire. But the best traditions of the past, I repeat; are forgotten. It is forty years since Sir Robert Peel refused any longer to accept the support of a faction who cling to the impossible theory of Protestant ascendency in Ireland. "Peel,' says Mr. Disraeli, speaking of the year 1844, ' was resolute not to have recourse to his ancient Orangemen,'5 but a milder Peel to-day blows the expiring embers of faction

5 Disracli's Life of Lord George Bentinck.


If Nationalists, as he assumes, have no right to preach their opinions in Ulster, what right has Sir Stafford Northcote to carry his opinions to Birmingham? Mr. Bright or Mr. Chamberlain could make Birmingham more unpleasant to him than his new friends made Tyrone or Monaghan to the Nationalists. And Lord Salisbury employs his great gift of passionate and persuasive oratory, which might win his countrymen to noble purposes, in defence of opinions as dead as the crazes of Colonel Sibthorp. Nearly the only great work which awaits the hand of a competent statesman in our day is to reconcile Ireland to the Empire as Canada and Australia were reconciled—not an impossible, only an arduous and inspiring task—and this work he ignores or disdains.

From their own standpoint, to distribute equal justice to the three kingdoms, in legislation and administration, is the obvious duty of English statesmen. But I would belie my own conscience if I suggested that this was enough. The price of international peace and amity is higher than this. Will these eminent men, familiar with the history of the world, and skilled in knowledge of the human heart, never comprehend that Irish gentlemen are men like themselves, with the same duties and responsibilities, with the same natural and spiritual wants? They believe they have as good a right to possess and rule their country as Englishmen have to possess and rule theirs, and they humbly conceive they are as fit to exercise the right. Time or habit has not reconciled them to wrong, and they are as impatient at seeing Ireland governed from London for the benefit of England as these statesmen would be at seeing their country governed from Paris for the benefit of France. It was a deep humiliation to them that the just claim of the Irish nation to self-government should degenerate for a moment, even among the lowest of the populace, into schemes of assassination and anarchy, but no individual misconduct can be pleaded in bar of the rights of a nation. The criminals have paid the penalty of their crimes; the gallows and the hulks have had their victims :

Justice hath done her unrelenting part,
If she indeed be Justice who drives on

Bloody and blind the chariot wheels of death. But those who abhor the crimes will never consent to have their country treated as one of the culprits. They believe in the Divine government of the world, and they are confident that the national existence which was restored to Greece, to Belgium, and to Hungary after long abeyance and apparent death, will in the end be restored to Ireland; and their highest felicity in life would be to hasten that day. The men who rise before my imagination and memory are little known to English officials, for they never salaam at levées, and

6 Southey, writing of an Irish execution for treason eighty years ago.

rarely gesticulate on platforms; they may be found in sequestered country houses, in presbyteries, in lawyers' studies, in merchants' counting-houses, even in the glebes of the Disestablished Church, in the bureaus of the public service, in English newspaper offices, and hid under the red jackets of those Irish regiments which in the language of a recent critic) have never loved England and never betrayed her '—but these are the men who can accomplish what Englishmen alone will for ever attempt in vain, to make permanent peace on equitable terms between the two islands.



- A curious instance presents itself while I write. Mr. Edmond O'Donovan, whose gallant and romantic career as a special correspondent in Asia and Africa made him so popular in England, was all his life a vehement Irish Nationalist. Before starting on the fatal expedition to the Soudan, one of his latest acts was to bequeath a portion of his earnings to promote the national cause in Ireland.



AMONGST the local questions which are forcing themselves upon public notice, the question of floods occupies a rather prominent place. It is an undoubted fact that the rivers of England overflow their banks more frequently and do more damage than they used to do. Every year

the accumulation of silt and weeds in the river beds and outfalls becomes larger. After making allowance for the abnormally heavy rainfall of recent years, it must be admitted that the condition of the waterways of England is far from satisfactory and is yearly becoming

less so.

The land which is chiefly affected by floods is, unfortunately, some of the finest pasture in England. For several years a large extent of meadow land has been in a condition of almost perennial flood, and in many cases the value of the pasture has diminished by one-half or even more, owing to the deterioration of the soil occasioned by perpetual saturation. The owners and occupiers of these lands have not been backward in bringing their misfortunes before Parliament, nor has Parliament been unwilling to acknowledge the magnitude of the evil and the necessity of finding a remedy. A Select Committee of the House of Lords made inquiry into the subject and reported as long ago as the year 1877, and three Bills have since been introduced in Parliament backed by all the authority of Government. As yet, however, very little progress has been made towards legislation ; nor was there any sign in the proceedings in the House of Commons in 1883 that much approach had been made towards an agreement of opinion.

The proposal of Government in its most recent form is to constitute conservancy districts and conservancy boards in such manner as may seem desirable to the Local Government Board, after an official inquiry and examination. Before an official inquiry is made an application must have been received from the locality signed by at least twenty owners and occupiers. The scheme when finally arranged by the Local Government Board must be set forth in a provisional order and submitted to Parliament for approval in the usual manner.

The boards are to be empowered to cleanse, repair, and maintain

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