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Spender, Harold / Home Rule Second Edition
But the second,
the Bill of 1893, occupied fully five months of Parliamentary time, and
was carried successfully by Mr. Gladstone through all its stages in the
House of Commons. It was amended on many points without the
interference of Government authority. It presents a full scheme of
self-government for Ireland, so clearly and minutely considered as to
provide an efficient and reasoned basis for the measure of 1912.

THE BILLS OF 1886 AND 1893

The aim of both these great measures--the Bills of 1886 and 1893--was
to give the Irish control of their own local affairs and to distinguish
as clearly as possible between those affairs and Imperial matters. The
method chosen in both Bills is to follow the Parnell scheme of
enumerating the subjects excluded from the legislative power of the
Irish Parliament. The excluding clause became considerably enlarged in
the Bill of 1893 as it was left by the House of Commons. The 1893 Bill
also contains a far more definite and stronger assertion of Imperial
authority, which is inserted twice--first in the Preamble, and then in
the second clause of the Bill.[43]

In both Bills there was a safeguarding clause as well as an excluding
clause. The safeguarding clause also grew considerably between 1886 and
1893. It is almost entirely directed to preventing the Irish
Legislature from establishing any new religious privileges, or
interfering with any existing religious rights. The clause, as it
emerged in 1893, not only forbade any new establishment or endowment of
religion, but seemed to leave the claims of all denominations precisely
as they stand at present.

This safeguarding clause reappears in the Bill of 1912, but it has been
shortened and redrafted by the Government. It contains very important
additional safeguards to prevent the adoption by the Irish civil power
of the principles contained in the recent Papal Decrees against mixed
marriages, and in regard to the right of Catholic clergy to claim
exclusion from the courts of justice. The Irish Parliament will be
debarred from acting on these decrees, and thus the whole agitation
against "Ne Temere" falls to the ground.


The 1886 Bill established, as we have seen, an arrangement by which
Ireland should be governed by one legislative body consisting of two
orders, a first and a second. These orders were to deliberate and vote
together, except in regard to matters which should come directly under
the Home Rule Act, amendments of the Act, or Standing Orders in
pursuance of the Act. In such cases the first order possessed the right
of voting separately, and seemed to possess an absolute veto.

The first order of the legislative body created by the 1886 Bill
consisted of 103 members, of whom 75 were elected members and 28
peerage members. The elected members were to be chosen under a
restricted suffrage, and the peerage members were to be the
representative Irish Peers. The second order was to consist of 204
members, elected under the existing franchise.

All this was rather complicated and confusing, and was, perhaps
rightly, brushed aside by the framers of the 1893 Bill. They
constituted the Irish Legislature on the model of an ordinary Colonial
Parliament with two Chambers--a Legislative Assembly and a Legislative
Council. The Legislative Council was to consist of 48 members, elected
by large constituencies voting under a £20 property franchise. The
Legislative Assembly was to consist of 103 members, elected by the
existing constituencies under the existing franchise. In cases of
disagreement between the two Houses, it was proposed that, either after
a dissolution or after a period of two years, the Houses were to vote
together, and that the majority vote should decide the matter. Since
1893 that provision, in almost precisely the same form, has been
adopted by the Australian Commonwealth, and, in a more progressive
form, by, the South African Parliament.

In the Bill of 1912 these provisions of 1893 reappear, but in a broader
and more liberal form. The Irish Legislative Assembly and Legislative
Council--names which seem to give to Ireland a position of a
subordinate--have given way, as we have seen, to the frank and
generous titles of Senate and House of Commons, both forming the Irish
Parliament. The machinery for settling disagreements has come back from
its journey round the world refreshed by a new draft of democracy,
imbibed from the climates of Australia and South Africa. In cases of
differences between the Assemblies they will meet and decide by common
vote, without the necessity of a dissolution. That is a great and
important simplification, and for it the Irish have to thank the genius
of the founders of the South African Constitution.


Every student of the Home Rule question knows that Mr. Gladstone
several times varied his proposals in regard to the Irish
representation at Westminster. The Irish Party were, from the
beginning, indifferent on the point; but it was quite clear that this
was a matter vitally affecting Imperial interests. The first proposal
grafted into the Bill of 1886 was that the Irish should cease to attend
at Westminster altogether. But, after seven years of consideration,
there grew up a general agreement that the entire absence of the Irish
Party at Westminster might create a series of difficult relations
between the Parliaments, and might even gradually lead to separation.
The first proposal of the Bill of 1893 was that the Irish members
should attend in slightly reduced numbers and vote at Westminster only
on Irish concerns. But this proposal--known as the "In and Out"
clause--found little favour in debate, and suffered severely at the
hands of Mr. Chamberlain. Mr. Gladstone finally left the matter to the
judgment of the House of Commons, and--after a severe Parliamentary
crisis, in which the Government narrowly escaped destruction--it was
decided that 80 Irish members should sit in the British House of
Commons without any restriction of their power or authority.

In the Bill of 1912 the solution finally reached in 1893 is again
adopted, with one vital difference--that the Irish members to be
summoned to Westminster will be reduced not to 80, but to 42. Those
members will possess full Parliamentary powers, as indeed it is right
and necessary they should, as long as the Parliament at Westminster
continues to exercise such large powers over Ireland. But Mr. Asquith
threw out the suggestion that the British House of Commons should, by
its Standing Orders, arrange for a further delegation of Parliamentary
power to national groups. The House of Commons has already a Scotch
Committee, and to that might be added an English Committee and a Welsh
Committee. It would be a serious thing for the central body to
over-ride the opinions of these committees.

But Mr. Asquith also threw out an even more important hint as to the
future development of the Home Rule policy. It is clear that if the
Irish Home Rule Bill is simply the first stage in a process which will
lead to the creation of Home Rule Parliaments for local affairs in
Scotland, England and Wales, then such slight control as the 42 Irish
members may retain over British affairs will be only temporary. What,
then, is the present Parliamentary relationship between Irish Home Rule
and the Federal idea?


Since the year 1893 there has been a great change of feeling in regard
to the whole Home Rule question. The British Parliament has gone
through a great crisis in its procedure, and it has, for the moment,
accepted a temporary way out in the form of a drastic use of the
closure, applied by Mr. Balfour, under Standing Orders, to so vital a
matter as Supply. That violent remedy known as the "Compartment
Closure" is now almost automatically extended by both parties, under
the very thin veil of liberty left by a special resolution, to almost
every great measure that comes before the House of Commons.

This development of the British Parliamentary system has created a new
outlook on the Home Rule question. The case of Ireland still stands by
itself, with great grievances and strong historical claims behind it.
Home Rule for Ireland will always have a peculiar urgency, arising from
conditions of geographical position. But the passion for Irish liberty
is now mingled in the average British mind with the passion for the
liberty of the British House of Commons. It is recognised that unless
Ireland is freed the British Parliament will remain in chains.

This new attitude has widened the outlook of Home Rulers until Home
Rule has ceased to be a merely Irish question. Nothing was more
dramatic during the recent debates over the Insurance Bill than the
sudden wave of federal feeling in the House of Commons which compelled
the Government to grant a separate administrative insurance authority,
not merely to Ireland, but also to Scotland and Wales. Similarly with
Home Rule. What was in 1893 only a pale glimmer of foresight, is with
many, in the year 1912, a passionate conviction. It is that after Home
Rule has been given to Ireland it must be extended also to Scotland,
Wales, and possibly England.

Now it would be plainly useless to grant Home Rule to any of these
countries until there is a wider and deeper demand for it. The issue of
Home Rule for Ireland was definitely raised in both the elections of
1910, and when the people gave their votes they knew, and were
actually warned by Mr. Balfour himself, and by most of the other
Unionist chiefs, that the result would be the creation of a Home Rule
Parliament in Ireland. But it cannot be said that the same proposal was
so definitely and effectively put forward in regard to Scotland and
Wales. In both those countries there is a very widespread desire for
Home Rule. But there has not yet been any definite democratic vote on
that desire. It may be necessary, therefore, to delay the extension of
Home Rule to those countries. But the desire is sufficiently strong
both in Scotland and in Wales to justify the Government in so framing a
Home Rule Bill as to enable those other parts of the United Kingdom to
be brought under its provisions in due time. There is a strict analogy
for that proceeding in the North America Act of 1867, which created the
Dominion of Canada. That Act joined together three provinces at first,
but left the door open for other provinces to come in. They have since
come in, one by one--all except the island of Newfoundland--until the
great federation of States which we now know as the Canadian Dominion
has been gradually built up.[44]

What follows from all this? Surely that a Home Rule Bill for Ireland
must be so framed as to render it a possible basis of a federal
Constitution in the near future. But if the Irish members were entirely
excluded from the British Parliament, as in 1886, then we should be
turning our backs on Federalism. The only analogy to such a
Constitution would be that of Austria-Hungary, where two countries are
united in one Government, but work through two Parliaments. Lord Morley
tells us that Mr. Parnell was very anxious to imitate in the 1886 Bill
the ingenious machinery of "Delegations," by which the relations of the
Austrian and Hungarian Parliaments combine for common affairs.[45]

There is much to be said for that machinery in Austria-Hungary,
strongly binding together two countries which must otherwise have
inevitably drifted asunder. But Mr. Parnell was thinking only of
Ireland, and he was not a Federalist. We are thinking of the whole
United Kingdom, and many of us are Federalists. The machinery of
"Delegations" therefore would not suit our purpose.

What seems to be required ultimately at Westminster is a small
Parliament devoted to Imperial affairs--Imperial finance, Imperial
legislation, and Imperial administration--and leaving to subordinate
Parliaments the administration of local matters. Many are firmly
convinced that in that way the United Kingdom would become a more
successful and efficient country, with legislation better adapted to
the needs of its inhabitants, and with a mind more free for the
consideration of great Imperial affairs. This now seems to them the
only way to produce order out of the present constitutional chaos.

What, then, are the lines that should be followed if we are to go
forward to that goal? An Imperial Parliament of that nature would
probably be a smaller assembly than the present House of Commons,
which is far too large for modern conditions. There is, therefore, good
ground for reducing the representation of Ireland to 42, or 38 less
than in 1893. That will clear the way for a future Imperial assembly of
between 300 and 400, it being understood that as each section of the
United Kingdom obtains its own Home Rule Parliament it will consent to
have its representation at Westminster reduced in proportion.

As long as the present system of Cabinet Government resting on
majorities exists--and it is the only conceivable system for a
completely self-governing democracy--it still seems, as it seemed to
the men of 1893, impossible to agree to any "in and out" arrangement.
Under such a plan the Government might possess a majority on Imperial
or English affairs, while it could be out-voted on Irish affairs.
Although such a situation might conceivably work for a time, it might
come to a sudden deadlock in a moment of emergency. It seems best,
therefore, that the 42 Irish members at Westminster should possess full
voting powers. If any Liberal dreads the prospect of having 42 Irish
members still possibly giving votes hostile to Liberal views--say, on
education--I would ask him to remember that the Liberal Party will not
have to mourn the loss of Irish votes still almost certain to be cast
in their favour on behalf of many democratic measures.

* * * * *

The prospect of this larger federal settlement opens a larger vision
than that of 1886 or 1893. Strangely enough, it is the same vision as
that sketched by Mr. Joseph Chamberlain in the daring speech which he
made on the second reading of the Home Rule Bill of 1886:--

"In my view the solution of this question should be sought in
some form of federation, which would really maintain the
Imperial unity, and which would, at the same time, conciliate
the desire for a national local government which is felt so
strongly in Ireland. I say I believe it is on this line, and
not on the line of our relations with our self-governing
Colonies, that it is possible to seek for and to find a
solution of this difficulty."[46]

* * * * *


[37] See Appendix A for the text of the 1912 Bill.

[38] It is proposed that the representation be divided as
follows:--Ulster, 59 members; Leinster, 41; Munster, 37; Connaught, 25;
The Universities, 2; making a total of 164.

[39] In Canada the Senators are selected for life. Since 1891 the New
Zealand Senators are selected for seven years only.

[40] See Appendix C.

[41] "Against Home Rule." London: Warne and Co., 1/-net.

[42] Home Rule was not properly debated in the General Election of
1895, which turned on other issues, and in the General Elections of
1900 and 1906 it was laid aside by common consent.

[43] See Appendix D.

[44] The 146th clause of the British North America Act (1867) reads as


"It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the advice of Her
Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, on Addresses from the Houses
of Parliament of Canada, and from the Houses of the respective
Legislatures of the Colonies or Provinces of Newfoundland, Prince
Edward Island, and British Columbia, to admit those Colonies or
Provinces, or any of them, into the Union, and on Address from the
Houses of Parliament of Canada to admit Ruperts Land and the North
Western Territory, or either of them, into the Union, on such terms and
conditions in each case as are in the Addresses expressed, and as the
Queen thinks fit to approve, subject to the provisions of this Act: and
the provisions of any Order in Council in that behalf shall have effect
as if they had been enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland."

[45] For a description of this machinery see Chap. IX., "Home Rule in
the World," p. 121.

[46] April 9th, 1886.



"Violent measures have been threatened. I think the best
compliment I can pay to those who have threatened us is to take
no notice whatever of the threats, but to treat them as
momentary ebullitions, which will pass away with the fears from
which they spring, and at the same time to adopt on our part
every reasonable measure for disarming those fears."

* * * * *

"Sir, I cannot allow it to be said that a Protestant minority
in Ulster or elsewhere is to rule the question for Ireland. I
am aware of no constitutional doctrine on which such a
conclusion could be adopted or justified. But I think that the
Protestant minority should have its wishes considered to the
utmost practicable extent in any form which they may assume."




"Sooner or later," said a wise man to me the other day, "always sooner
or later in the Home Rule question you bump up against religion." That
is, unhappily, still true, though not so true to-day as in 1886 or in
1893. No one who visits Ireland to-day can doubt that the religious
hatreds of the past are being softened; but, unhappily, this process,
as recent events have vividly shown us, is still fiercely resisted by a
small minority.

It may almost be said that in Ireland religious intolerance is a
political vested interest. It would indeed be impossible to justify the
immense preponderance of salaried power and place still given at the
centre to the Protestant minority[47] unless you could maintain the
idea that the Catholic is a dangerous man when in a place of power.
That consideration, doubtless largely unconscious, may yet partly
explain the immense amount of energy devoted in the north-east of
Ireland to the encouragement of religious prejudice--honest in many of
the rank-and-file, artificial, I fear, in many of the organisers.


Belfast, so like a great modern city in its magnificent outward aspect,
is still largely mediĉval at heart. Its chief social energies are
thrown into that vast and powerful organisation known as the "Orange
Society"--still wearing the badges of the seventeenth century, still
uttering its war-cries, and still feeding on its passions. This immense
religious club has to support in the modern age that theory of
religious incompatibility which nearly every other community has long
ago abandoned. It has to justify itself in excluding from the municipal
honours of Belfast almost every Roman Catholic. It has to justify the
majority of 300,000 Belfast Protestants in giving a small and
inadequate representation among the rulers of this great wealthy town
to the minority of 100,000 Catholics. To maintain this policy of
Ulster ascendancy the Orange chiefs watch every document that comes
from Rome with a lynx eye, and try to catch a glimpse of the "Scarlet
Woman" behind every Latin rescript.

All this may appear to some good politics; but surely it is past
tolerance when these manufacturers of intolerance talk of the
intolerance of others.

In all these respects Belfast stands almost alone in Ireland. A canon
of the Catholic Church--a man of winning manners and charming
personality, who lives on quite friendly terms with his Protestant
neighbours in the South of Ireland--told me that on the only occasion
when he visited Belfast he was spat at in the streets. The story is
quite credible to those who have watched the deliberate manipulation of
the worst religious passions by the party organisers of Ulster, not
always unassisted by their colleagues in London.

One result is that if you ask any question as to the character of a man
in the city of Belfast, the answer will always come to you in terms of
religion. In the South the reply will be, "He is a Nationalist," or "He
is a Unionist." But in Belfast it will be, "He is a Catholic," or "He
is a Protestant."

So fierce is this feeling in Belfast that until recently all political
and social differences were submerged by it, and every fresh effort
towards local progress was broken up by the revival of religious
prejudice. Things have been somewhat changed by the wonderful social
and political crusade, quite independent of all religious differences,
carried on by that remarkable young citizen of Belfast, Mr. Joseph
Devlin, who captured the constituency of West Belfast in 1906 and
retained it in 1910 largely on a social reform policy. He has for the
first time given Ulster a glimpse of something better than religious
fanaticism--a social policy based on the unions of religions for the
good of all.[48]

This break in the dark clouds must surely spread until a better spirit

For Belfast, perhaps, has more to gain than any other great Irish city
by a policy that would pacify Ireland. If Belfast could once shake off
the memory of her immigrant origin, and look to Ireland rather than
Great Britain as her native country, she would perceive that the gain
of Catholic Ireland must be her gain also. Her prosperity can never be
sure or certain as long as it stands out against a background of Irish
poverty. The linen industry can never rest secure as long as there are
so few industries to support it. The linen merchants cannot really gain
by their isolation. Belfast at present has a great export trade. She
clothes Great Britain in fine linen. But what about her home trade?
Would not Belfast be even more prosperous if she could clothe Ireland
too?--if Ireland could afford to put aside her rags and replace them
with "purple and fine linen" from the factories of the North?

Might not Belfast, in that case, be able not merely to enrich her
merchants but to raise the social conditions of her own people? For it
is unhappily the case that the researches of the Women's Trade Unions
have disclosed in Belfast conditions of sweated labour that have
surprised and alarmed even the most hardened investigators. The lofty
buildings and humming mills of Belfast are revealed to be resting on a
swamp of social misery. Nor is this at all remarkable, for the mass of
the people are kept helpless and divided by their religious divisions,
which are too often used as a weapon to prevent them from combining for
higher wages and shorter hours. Religious fanaticism is not quite so
self-sacrificing in its commercial results as superficial observers
might suppose.

It is impossible, indeed, that Belfast can continue for ever in a
prosperity isolated and aloof from the country in which she is
situated. Either she must throw in her lot with Ireland or Ireland must
drag Ireland down into one common pit of adversity. Lord Pirrie, the
enterprising and fearless director of the great shipbuilding works on
Queen's Island--works which maintained their pre-eminence and continued
their output through the dark days of the shipbuilding trade on the
Clyde and the Thames--has been converted to Home Rule. Other business
men will follow his example, for Belfast, as much as any other town in
Ireland, suffers in Private Bill legislation from the remoteness of the
Legislature and the Administration. She, too, has too often to endure a
financial policy not suited to her needs. She, like the rest of
Ireland, has everything to gain and nothing to lose by a policy that
will enable Ireland to obtain legislation better fitted to the needs of
the Irish people.

In spite, indeed, of her outcries, Ulster has already gained more from
the policy of the Nationalists at Westminster than from that of the
Orange reactionaries who represent half the province at Westminster.
Those Orangemen have identified the robust Radicalism and
Presbyterianism of Ulster with the narrowest demands of the Anglican
landlords and Tories of England. Happily for Ulster, they have been
defeated. The farmers of Ulster are at present buying their farms under
the policy of Land Purchase which the Orange Ulstermen resisted. These
farmers have freely used the Land Courts which their representatives
denounced as revolution and the "end of all things." They are profiting
by the triumphs of Nationalist policy even while they denounce the
Nationalists in terms which are reserved by other people for criminals
and wild beasts.

The best men in Ulster will probably think twice before prolonging a
campaign of rebellion. We have heard of late threats of refusal to pay
taxes or rents to the Irish Parliament. But what could be more
dangerous to a city like Belfast than a no-rent campaign under the
guidance of English lawyers? If the farmers are advised not to pay
their rents to Dublin, is it not likely that the working-class tenants
of Belfast may refuse to pay their rents to their own landlords? At
their own peril, indeed, will a class which largely lives on rent and
interest strike a blow at the habits and customs which enforce such
payments. The kid-glove revolution of linen merchants might suddenly
and swiftly turn into something nearer to the real, red thing. It is
dangerous to set examples in revolution.

As Ulster gradually swings round to the inevitable, she will discover
that there is a very bright silver lining to what seems to her so black
a cloud. Ulster, while still represented at Westminster, will send 59
members to Dublin under the 1912 Bill. Thus she will have no small or
mean representation in the future Irish Parliament. She may have far
more power than she imagines, if she uses it with wisdom. A strong
Progressive section from the industrial North may hold the balance
between the parties of the South and centre. It would be rash to
predict the future. But there are many causes--education, Free Trade,
enlightened local government, to take a few--in which Ireland will gain
immensely by a strong, clear progressive lead. "The best is yet to
be." Why should not Belfast--Belfast Protestant united with Belfast
Catholic--have in these matters a greater and nobler part to play under
Home Rule than under the present system of distant, ignorant,
absent-minded, rule?

As for religious persecution, the thing would be absurdly impossible
under any Home Rule Bill that possessed the guarantees and safeguards
of the 1912 Bill. But, beyond those safeguards, Ulster will always
have, in any such extreme and improbable event, an appeal to all the
forces of the Empire--an appeal which would certainly not be in vain.

The conviction of these truths will gradually penetrate the shrewd
brain of Ulster and save her from the madness of rebellion or
secession. The patience and moderation of the Government will gradually
disarm these men. Who knows whether in the end the majority in Belfast,
as in Ulster, as a whole may not voluntarily prefer to join rather than
hold aloof from a great national restoration?

* * * * *

In one of his 1893 Home Rule speeches, Mr. Gladstone reminded the House
of Commons, with impressive power, of the splendid reception given in
1793 to the Protestant delegates from Grattan's Parliament at Dublin,
who had come to plead for the concession of their rights to the
Catholics of Ireland.

It was the Act of Union that destroyed all that generous feeling, and
revived again the passions of ascendancy and fanaticism among the
Orangemen of North-east Ulster.

But the old, generous feelings may yet return again.


The great majority of the Protestants in Ireland stand outside this
ring. They have no more share in the good things than the average
Catholic. Those men, Irishmen first and Protestants afterwards, are now
taking their part in public life and earning their proper share in the
rewards of public zeal.

The delegates of the Eighty Club made a special public appeal for
information as to cases of religious intolerance. They received a great
many responses to this appeal, but it is hardly any exaggeration to say
that they found no genuine cases of religious intolerance outside the
North-east corner of Ulster, where they received some conspicuous
examples of the religious persecution of Liberal Protestants by their
Orange co-religionists.[49]

Journeying southwards, however, the Eighty Club delegates passed with
every mile into a serener atmosphere. They received deputations at
every wayside station from the public bodies in the south of Ulster.
These presented documents stating the bare facts as to the
representation of these two forms of the Christian religion--so often,
alas! belying the doctrine of Christian love by the practice of mutual
hatred--on their public bodies. They found, for instance, in Monaghan,
a predominantly Catholic town, that seven seats on the local Council
went to the Unionist and Protestant Party, a considerable concession
from a majority large enough in numbers to pack the whole of the
council if they so desired. That little town might give a good lesson
to some of the boroughs of our great county of London, where it is an
almost universal practice for either party to seize the whole of the
seats if they are capable of doing so.

Take one more instance in that district--out of the many--in the town
of Cavan, a preponderantly Catholic borough. There, out of twenty-three
candidates at the last election standing for eighteen seats, four
Unionists were elected by a similar method of compromise. Where is the
evidence of the Orangemen in their strongholds meting out similar
measure to the Catholics?

Passing further south they found that although the great majority of
the public bodies was naturally Nationalist and Catholic, there was no
sign of that spirit of rigid exclusiveness extended towards the
Catholics by the Protestants in the city of Belfast. Of course, a large
number of the Protestant officials found so frequently in the service
of these public bodies are appointed in Ireland by the Crown, and not,
as in England, by the local authorities. But the Protestants are not
confined to those offices. Dublin has several times freely elected a
Protestant to the Lord Mayoralty of that city. In other parts of
southern Ireland the Eighty Club found Protestants as masters in the
county schools, surveyors of taxes, local registrars, clerks of the
works, rate collectors, and public librarians. The Catholics on the
local bodies recognise that the Protestants in the south possess, owing
to their superior advantages in education, a great proportion of the
brains, and they are not slow to do justice to this fact in filling
public posts.

In regard to elections, let us be quite candid. It is not to be
expected that an Irish elector will return at the head of the poll men
who hurl abuse and calumny at the Irish race and at the religion held
by the great majority of the Irish race. Treachery to one's cause and
one's faith is not required by any proper doctrine of tolerance.
Surrender is not the same thing as compromise. We do not, for instance,
expect in England that a Unionist constituency should return a Liberal,
or a Liberal constituency should return a Tory. We expect men to live
up to their faith, and even admire them for doing so. In Ireland,
similarly, Nationalist voters, as a whole, prefer Nationalist members,
and will continue to do so until this great issue of Home Rule is


But when a Unionist or a Protestant comes forward with a single eye to
the public good, and displays in public affairs a broad and generous
spirit, he finds no difficulty in securing his place in public life. In
county Cork and Tipperary we found Protestant landlords who had sold
their estates. Having ceased to be rent collectors, they are becoming
real leaders of their people. These landlords are reorganising
co-operative societies, encouraging agricultural experiments, looking
after schools, and helping generally in the regrowth of Ireland with a
real good will. Many of these men are Devolutionists. Take, for
instance, Sir Nugent Everard, the public-spirited squire who, with
great enterprise, enthusiasm, and perseverance, is reviving that old
Irish tobacco industry which once played so big a part in the
prosperity of Ireland. Sir Nugent Everard is a Protestant, but he has
been elected to his county council. On that council, too, he has been
appointed chairman of several committees by his Catholic fellow county

There is, indeed, at the present moment throughout the south of Ireland
a new spirit of willingness, amounting almost to eagerness, to accept
the services of all distinguished Protestants who will work for the
common good of Ireland. That is not at all surprising when we remember
that the Irish Party have, in the past, numbered among their leaders at
least three distinguished Protestants--Grattan, Butt, and Parnell--and
at the present day always return a steady percentage of Protestant
representatives to the Imperial Parliament.[50]

The plain fact is that, except in the north-east corner, religious
intolerance is a dying cause in Ireland, and even in Belfast it is
mainly kept alive by artificial respiration frequently administered by
English Unionist leaders.

Every phase of Irish life is expressed in Irish humour. Two Irish
stories commonly related to-day in the south really throw some light on
the change of feeling in Ireland. One is that of a Protestant parson in
the south who found that the Bishop was about to visit his parish for a
confirmation. But, unhappily, it so happened that there were no young
people to confirm. The parson was in despair. After long reflection, he
took a great decision. He went across to the Catholic priest and
described his unhappy plight. "Indeed," he said, "I shall be a ruined
man." "Sure," said the priest sympathetically, "I will lend you a
congregation." "How will you do that?" said the parson. "Faith! I'll
tell the boys and girls to go across." And the story relates that when
the Bishop came down he actually found the church full of "boys and
girls" who, for the moment, figured as Protestants.

The second story comes from Ulster, and seems to show that there is
some softening even in the rigour of that climate. It is said that
"once upon a time," when July 11th came round one of the Orange
drummers found that on the last occasion he had broken his drum, and
could not get it mended. Finding himself faced with disgrace, he
wandered through the town after a drum, and finally found himself
looking at a very beautiful specimen of its kind standing in a Catholic
schoolroom. After much heart-searching, the Orangeman at last went in,
and timidly told the Catholic priest the extremity of his Protestant
need. "You shall have the drum," said the priest; "but you must not
break it this time." And so, on that condition, the drum was handed

Perhaps if such relations were to become more common the drums would
actually beat more softly in the north of Ireland.

* * * * *


[47] Take the facts given by Mr. John J. Horgan, in his interesting
pamphlet entitled "Home Rule--A Critical Consideration":--"In a country
of which three-fourths of the population are Catholic there has not
been a Catholic Viceroy since 1688. There never was a Catholic Chief
Secretary. There have been three Catholic Under-Secretaries. There have
been two Catholic Chancellors. In the High Court of Justice there are
seventeen Judges; _three_ of them are Catholics. There are twenty-one
County Court Judges and Recorders; eight of them are Catholics. There
are thirty-seven County Inspectors of Police; five of them are
Catholics. There are 202 District Inspectors of Police; sixty-two of
them are Catholics. There are over 5,000 Justices of the Peace; a
little more than one-fifth of them are Catholics. There are sixty-eight
Privy Councillors; eight of them are Catholics.

"Let us now consider some of the large Government Departments. Take the
Local Government Board. This body consists of two elements--the
nominated and highly paid officials and those who secure admission
through competitive examinations. From the latter class Catholics
cannot, of course, be excluded. The permanent Vice-President is to all
intents and purposes the Local Government Board. He is a Protestant and
a Unionist. Of the three Commissioners, two are Protestants, one a
Catholic. On the permanent staff we find forty-seven nominated
officials, thirty-four of whom are Protestants: and the balance of
thirteen Catholics. The thirty-four Protestants draw an average yearly
salary of £653 13s., while the average yearly salary of the thirteen
Catholic officials only amounts to £580. On the permanent staff created
by competitive examination the story is very different. Here we find
forty-three Catholics and twenty-five Protestants. Brains and ability
could not be kept out. But what about their remuneration? The average
salary of the forty-three Catholics amounts to £207 13s. 6d., while
that of the twenty-five Protestants is £304 8s. Can any sensible man
believe that there is no favour here?"

[48] The result is that since 1906 Ulster has been half Nationalist in
its Parliamentary representation. Taking the last three General
Elections together, the Nationalists have nearly an average hold over
half the seats in Ulster:--1906: Nationalist and Liberal, 17; Unionist,
16. 1910 (January): Nationalist and Liberal, 15; Unionist, 18. 1910
(December): Nationalist and Liberal, 16; Unionist, 17. And yet people
talk as if Ulster was entirely Unionist!

[49] Many of these experiences were narrated to me personally by the
sufferers, and consisted of boycotting in religion, trade and social

[50] There are now eight Protestants among the Nationalist Party. The
directors of Maynooth College told us that the two best friends of
their college were Burke and Grattan. A portrait of Grattan hangs in
their hall. It was, too, a Catholic Corporation that re-gilded the
statue of William III.--William of Orange--at Dublin.



"There is a principle on our part which must ever prevent
(Catholicism being established) in Ireland. It is this--that we
are thoroughly convinced that it would be the surest way of
de-Catholicising Ireland. We believe that tainting our Church
with tithes and giving temporalities to it would degrade it in
the affections of the people."


"I want soldiers and sailors for the State; I want to make a
greater use than I now can do of a poor country full of men. I
want to render the military service popular among the Irish; to
make every possible exertion for the safety of Europe ... and
then you, and ten other such boobies as you, call out 'for
God's sake, do not think of raising cavalry and infantry in
Ireland....' They interpret the Epistle to Timothy in a
different manner from what we do!"

"'They eat a bit of wafer every Sunday, which they call their
God!' ... I wish to my soul they would eat you, and such
reasoners as you are!"

(Peter Plymley's Letters).



Those who watch closely the exploitation of the religious cry against
Home Rule will have observed that its exploiters always endeavour to
make the best of both worlds. One world is expressed in the phrase,
"Home Rule means Rome Rule." The other by the watchword, "Priest-ridden
Ireland." Those who use the first of these cries are always trying to
persuade themselves that the gift of Home Rule will increase the power
of the Catholic Church in Ireland and produce a kind of religious
tyranny over the Protestant minority. How that could be done under a
measure so carefully safeguarded as, for instance, the Bill of
1912,[51] they never condescend to tell us.

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