By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Is Ulster Right?
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Is Ulster Right?" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.










I. The Ulster Covenant. The Questions Stated. Ireland under the Celts
and the Danes

II. Ireland from the time of Henry II to the time of Henry VIII

III. Ireland under the Tudors

IV. The Seventeenth Century, until the end of the reign of James II

V. The period of the Penal Laws

VI. The earlier part of the reign of George III. The acquisition of
independence by the Irish Parliament

VII. The independent Parliament. The Regency Question. The
commencement of the Rebellion

VIII. The Rebellion

IX. The Union

X. The period from the Union until the rejection of the first Home
Rule Bill

XI. The Unionist Government of 1886

XII. The Gladstonian Government of 1892. The Political Societies

XIII. Ireland under the present Government

XIV. Criticism of the Bill now before the Country

XV. The danger to the Empire of any form of Home Rule. The Questions



In the following chapters I have endeavoured to lay before ordinary
readers a simple statement of the present position of the Irish
question. Following the maxim of Confucius that it is well "to study
the Past if you would divine the Future," I have first shown that the
tales which are told about the glories of the ancient Celtic
Kingdom are foolish dreams, not supported by the accounts given by
contemporary annalists or the investigations of modern writers, and
that Ireland never was a nation in the political sense, with the
possible exception of the few years between 1782 and 1800, during
which the Irish Parliament was independent; that the charges made
against the English government with reference to their action between
the "Conquest" by Henry II and the assumption of the title of King
by Henry VIII are baseless; and that though there is much which the
historian must look back upon with regret in the period between the
reign of Henry VIII and the passing of the Act of Union, it is mere
waste of time now to dwell on the wrongs of a former age which
have long since passed away and which in any other country would be
forgotten. Then I have traced the brief history of the independent
Parliament, and shown that whatever may have been its virtues or
its failings, it would be impossible to revive it now; all the
circumstances of the country have changed. I have striven also to make
it clear that the Nationalists of to-day are not the representatives
of the leaders of that Parliament but of the party which fought
against it and brought on the horrors of the Rebellion; that the
Union was a political necessity, if the connection between the British
Islands was to be maintained at all; and that if the people of Ireland
have not derived all the benefits from the Union which they might have
done, it is their own fault, as the history of Ulster during the last
century has shown. Next, I have explained the rise of the present
Home Rule movement, and its dependence on agrarian agitation. I have
analyzed some of the provisions of the present Bill, which independent
writers consider to be hopelessly unworkable; and lastly I have stated
why in my opinion Home Rule in any form must be fraught with disaster
not only to Ireland but also to the Empire at large.

I have no desire unnecessarily to wound the feelings of those who take
a different view; if it can be shown that any of my statements are
incorrect or my inference illogical, I shall be glad to correct
them; but to mere abuse, such as the Nationalists are in the habit of
pouring on Unionist writers, I shall pay no heed. I admit that it may
be said that there are several matters which I ought to have gone into
more fully; to that I can only reply that I wished to be as brief as
possible, and that I have done my best to compress with fairness.
What I am really anxious to do is to draw the attention of thoughtful
readers, before it is too late, to the terrible dangers with which we
are faced. As an Irish historian has said:--

    "No political madness could be greater than to put the
    legislative machinery of an integral and essential portion
    of the Empire into the hands of men who are largely or mainly
    disaffected with that Empire, and who, in times of difficulty,
    danger and disaster are likely to betray it."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following are the principal works of which use has been made
in preparing this volume. They are cited here in order to avoid the
necessity of constant footnotes:--

    "Short History of the Irish People." By Professor Richey.

    "Irish Nationalism." By the late Duke of Argyll.

    "History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century." By W.E.H.

    "History of the Legislative Union of Great Britain and
    Ireland." By Dunbar Ingram.

    "Ireland and Her Fairy Godmother." By J. Warren.

    "The Continuity of the Irish Revolutionary Movement." By Prof.
    Brougham Leech.

    "A Fool's Paradise." By Professor Dicey.



    "Being convinced in our consciences that Home Rule would be
    disastrous to the material well-being of Ulster as well as of
    the whole of Ireland, subversive of our civil and religious
    freedom, destructive of our citizenship and perilous to the
    unity of the Empire, We, whose names are underwritten, Men of
    Ulster, loyal subjects of His Gracious Majesty King George V,
    humbly relying on the God whom our fathers in days of stress
    and trial confidently trusted, do hereby pledge ourselves
    in Solemn Covenant throughout this our time of threatened
    calamity to stand by one another in defending for ourselves
    and our children our cherished position of equal citizenship
    in the United Kingdom, and in using all means which may be
    found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a
    Home Rule Parliament in Ireland. And, in the event of such
    a Parliament being forced upon us, we further solemnly
    and mutually pledge ourselves to refuse to recognise its
    authority. In such confidence that God will defend the right,
    we hereunto subscribe our names."

Such is the Solemn Covenant which 220,000 resolute, determined
Ulstermen--of various creeds and of all sections of the community,
from wealthy merchants to farm labourers--fully realizing the
responsibility they were undertaking, signed on the 28th September,
1912. To represent that it was merely the idle bombast of ignorant
rustics, or a passing ebullition of political passion coming from
hot-headed youths excited by irresponsible demagogues, is folly.
It expresses the calm resolution of earnest men who, having thought
deeply over the matter had decided that it was better even to face
the horrors of civil war rather than to submit to the rule of a
Nationalist Government.

The opinions of the Nationalists with regard to the Ulster Covenant
can be gathered from many speeches and sermons. The following extract
from one of their papers--the _Frontier Sentinel_--may be taken as a

    "It may not be out of place here to translate into simple
    English the terms of the Covenant. It denies the claim of
    Ireland to self-government and the capacity of Irishmen to
    govern Ireland. It asserts that the Catholics of Ireland are
    the spawn of the devil; that they are ruthless savages and
    dangerous criminals with only one object in life--the wiping
    out of Protestants. It claims for the Protestant Unionist
    majority of four Ulster counties a monopoly of Christianity,
    public and private morality, and clean successful business
    enterprise. In the name of God it seeks to stimulate the
    basest passions in human nature, and calls on God to witness
    a catalogue of falsehoods. Only a few of the local Protestant
    clergymen, it should be stated, signed this notoriously wicked

It is well then to pause and consider calmly two questions: What
are the real objects of the Nationalists; and, Are the men of Ulster
justified in resisting them to the uttermost?

It is a mere truism to remark that in every political question the
main controversy is complicated by a number of side issues. Thus in
the tangled skein of politics in South Eastern Europe there is not
merely the great struggle between the Crescent and the Cross, but
there are also jealousies between Greek and Bulgarian, between Servian
and Austrian, which have to be considered. So in Ireland, if we
take the religious question as the dominating one, we find ourselves
involved in a maze of racial animosities, class prejudices, and
trade disputes; by ignoring these we can arrive at a simple but
unfortunately a totally erroneous solution of the question. And to
weigh them all fairly involves more trouble than the average man cares
to take.

Irish history is at best a dismal subject. And those who ought to
be historians are too often politicians; regarding themselves as
advocates and not as judges they deliberately omit incidents which
tell against their views, and enlarge on others, frequently without
even examining the evidence in support of them. Then in arriving
at the truth about any matter connected with Ireland there is the
additional difficulty arising from the custom, almost universal
amongst Irishmen, of talking in superlatives. The exaggerated
expressions, both of praise and blame, which are constantly employed,
at first puzzle a stranger coming to Ireland from another country; he
soon, however, gets to realize that they are mere forms of speech, and
are no more intended to be taken seriously than similar phrases are
when used by an Oriental. They are therefore harmless. But it becomes
a more serious matter when learned men employ inflated language in
addressing ignorant and excitable audiences. Thus Bishop Gaughran,
when recently preaching to a crowded congregation in Dublin a sermon
which was reported in full in the Roman Catholic papers, said:--

    "The persecution of the Catholics in Ireland had no parallel
    in the history of the Church save perhaps those of the early
    Christians in the Catacombs of Rome. Edicts were sent
    forth before which those of Nero might be said to pale into
    insignificance--the Edicts of Elizabeth and Cromwell, for

Yet these words came from a man who was doubtless familiar with the
histories of Spain, Portugal, France and the Netherlands; and who is a
leader of a party which had not long before expressed the opinion that
Catholics have no reason to be ashamed of the Inquisition, which was
a coercive and corporally punitive force which had effected its ends

One of the many popular delusions under which English people labour
with regard to Ireland is that all the population of the country at
the present day are Celts, and that this is the key to the whole Irish
question. Thus a review of Father Tyrrell's autobiography recently
appeared in an English journal in which the reviewer said: "Probably
no Englishmen could have written such a book; it needs a Latin like
Rousseau, or a Celt like Tyrrell to lay bare his soul in this way."
No doubt these words were written in perfectly good faith; but if
the writer had cared to make any enquiry he could have found out in a
moment that the Tyrrell family were thoroughly English and that none
of them had gone to Ireland before the nineteenth century. The fact
is that the inhabitants of Ireland, like the inhabitants of all other
countries in Western Europe, are of mixed origin. The Celts were
themselves immigrants, who conquered and enslaved a pre-existing race
called the Firbolgs; then came the Scandinavian invasion; and then
wave after wave of immigration from England and Scotland, so that
Sir J. Davies, writing three hundred years ago--that was, before the
Cromwellian settlement and the arrival of the French refugees who had
escaped from the persecution of Louis XIV--said that if the people of
Ireland were numbered those descended of English race would be found
more in number than the ancient natives.

This, however, is only one of many errors into which English writers
have fallen. Mistakes of course will always be made; but unfortunately
it is a charge from which Mr. Gladstone's admirers cannot clear him
that when he wished to bring the English people round to the idea of
Home Rule he deliberately falsified Irish history in order to make
it serve his ends; and his misrepresentations have gained credence
amongst careless thinkers who are content to shelter themselves under
a great name without looking at what has been written in answer. The
general idea of an average Englishman about Irish history seems to be
that Ireland in Celtic times was a peaceful, orderly, united kingdom,
famous for its piety and learning, where land was held by "tribal
tenure"--that is, owned by the whole tribe who were closely related
in blood--rent being unknown, and the chief being elected by the whole
tribe in solemn assembly. Into this happy country came the Norman
invaders, who fought against and conquered the king; drove the native
owners out of their possessions, and introduced a feudal system and an
alien code of law unsuited to the people; and the modern landlords
are the representatives of the conquering Normans and the tenants
the descendants of the ancient tribesmen who naturally and rightfully
resist paying rent for the lands which by ancestral right should be
their own. There could not be a more complete travesty of history.

The Celtic Church no doubt had its golden age. It produced saints and
men of learning. It sent out its missionaries to the heathen beyond
the seas. So famous were its schools that students came to them from
distant lands. But centuries before the Normans appeared in Ireland
the salt had lost its savour. The Celtic Church had sunk into being
a mere appendage of the wild tribes it had once tried to tame. The
chiefs of one tribe would sack the colleges and shrines of another
tribe as freely as they would sack any of their other possessions.
For instance, the annals tell us that in the year 1100 the men of the
south made a raid into Connaught and burned many churches; in 1113
Munster tribe burned many churches in Meath, one of them being full of
people; in 1128 the septs of Leitrim and Cavan plundered and slew the
retinue of the Bishop of Armagh; in the same year the men of Tyrone
raided Down and a great number of people suffered martyrdom; four
years later Kildare was invaded by raiders from Wexford, the church
was burnt and many men slain; and so on with dreary monotony. Bishops
and abbots fought in the incessant tribal wars as keenly as laymen.
Worse still, it was not infrequent for one band of clergy to make
war on another. In the ninth century, Phelim, who claimed to be both
Bishop and King of Leinster, ravaged Ulster and murdered its monks and
clergy. In the eleventh century the annals give an account of a fierce
battle between the Bishop of Armagh and the Bishop of Clonard. Nor did
time work any improvement; we read of bloody conflicts between abbots
and bishops as late as the middle of the fifteenth century. What
influence for good could such a church have had upon the mass of the

And even in its noblest period the Celtic Church seems to have had but
little power beyond the walls of its own colleges. The whole history
of Celtic Ireland, as we learn from the annalists, was one miserable
succession of tribal wars, murders and plunderings. Of course it may
be said with perfect truth that the annals of other countries at the
time tell much the same story. But there is this difference between
them: wild and barbarous though the wars of other countries were,
they were at any rate the slow and painful working up towards a higher
civilization; the country became consolidated under the most powerful
chief; in time peace was enforced, agriculture improved, and towns
grew up. The tribal raids of Celtic Ireland, however, were merely
for plunder and destruction. From such conflicts no higher state of
society could possibly be evolved. The Irish Celts built no cities,
promoted no agriculture, and never coalesced so as to form even the
nucleus of a united kingdom.

It was about the end of the eighth century that the first foreign
influence was brought to bear on Celtic Ireland. The Danish invasion
began. Heathen though the Danes were, they brought some ideas of
settled government and the germs of national progress. They founded
cities, such as Dublin, Waterford and Limerick. And when they, like
their fellow-countrymen in England, accepted Christianity, they
established bishoprics in the new towns, but took care that they
should be wholly independent of the Celtic tribal episcopate; they
looked to Canterbury and Rome.

Much has been written and sung about the fame of Brian Boroo. No doubt
he was in some ways a great man; and it seemed for a time that he
might do for Ireland something like what Alfred the Great had done for
England and Kenneth MacAlpine had done for Scotland--might consolidate
the country into one kingdom. But the story of his life is a striking
commentary on the wretchedness of the period. Forming an alliance with
some of the Danes he succeeded in crushing the chiefs of several rival
Celtic tribes; then in turn he attacked his former allies, and beat
them at the battle of Clontarf in the year 1014, though they were
aided by other Celtic tribes who hated Brian and his schemes even more
than they hated the foreigners. Important though this battle was, its
effect has been much exaggerated and misunderstood. It certainly
did not bring the Danish power in Ireland to an end; Dublin was a
flourishing Danish colony long afterwards--in fact it was thirty years
after the battle that the Danish king of Dublin founded the Bishopric.

But Brian was slain in the moment of victory. The soldiers of his
army murdered his only surviving son, and began fighting amongst
themselves. Brian's dream of a united Ireland came to an end, and the
country relapsed into chaos. If the immediate result of the battle
was a victory of Celt over Dane, the lasting effect was a triumph of
anarchy over order. It was on the Celtic people that the ruin fell;
and the state of things for the next two centuries was if possible
worse than it had ever been before.

It will be readily understood that throughout this terrible period of
history anything like a peaceful cultivation of the soil or a regular
election to the office of chief was out of the question. It was quite
an ordinary thing for a chief to obtain his position by murdering his
predecessor. The annalists give us a long list of Kings of Ireland
dating from before the Christian era until the arrival of the Normans.
Of course the word "king" can mean little more than "prominent
chief," for no one man ever had real authority over the whole of the
distracted land. Even of these prominent chiefs, however, according
to the annalists, very few died natural deaths. Some fell in battle,
others were assassinated; but the most common fate for a monarch was
to be "slain by his successor." If this was true of the most powerful
men in the country, to speak of the office of chief as elective is
really absurd. But more than this: there is no evidence that the
"tribal system," in the sense of all the tribe being related by blood
and all owning their lands in common, ever existed in Ireland even
in theory. At the earliest date of which we possess any distinct
information on the subject, wealth, representing physical force, had
become the acknowledged basis of political power and private right;
and the richer members of the community were rapidly reducing the
poorer freemen--many of whom were the descendants of an earlier race
or of conquered tribes--to a state of serfdom. The system (if such
a word can be applied at all) was in fact a bad form of feudalism
without its advantages. There was no central overlord (like those
in other countries who gradually developed into the sovereigns of
mediæval kingdoms and thus became able to enforce peace and progress),
each petty chief being independent; and on the other hand the dues
payable by the retainers were not fixed by law or custom. We must
probably reject the suggested derivation of the word "feodal" from the
Celtic "Fiudir"; but if so, it is curious that two words accidentally
resembling each other conveyed ideas so closely alike; for a Celtic
"Fiudir" was practically a tenant at the will of the lord; and it must
be admitted that the word "vassal" is of Celtic origin. Charters which
date from before the Norman invasion show that the land was regarded
as the private property of the chiefs; frequently the wretched
occupiers, instead of paying fixed rents, were liable to unlimited
exactions, one of them being the right of the lord to "coigne and
livery"--that is, to quarter himself and his retainers as long as he
pleased on any occupier who possessed a few cows (which were the only
form of wealth in those days of universal poverty); in some cases,
however, land was let for a term of years, on a fixed payment of

On the death of a freeholder his land was divided amongst his sons
equally, according to what is called "the custom of gavelkind."
Whether primogeniture is a good or a bad thing in England or the
British Colonies at the present day is of course a totally different
question; the circumstances of the times are totally different. But
it can hardly be doubted by a thoughtful student of history that the
adoption of primogeniture in the early days of feudalism in other
European countries was a social necessity if civilization was to rise
to a higher state; and that its not being introduced in Ireland was if
not a cause at least an evidence that civilization in that country
did not progress. For in a condition not far removed from anarchy
the connection between the ownership of land and political power is
inevitable; hence if holdings are small their owners become an easy
prey to stronger neighbours; whereas the possessors of larger areas
can repel attacks and enable their dependents to live in some sort of
security. It was the enormous number of petty independent chiefs that
added to the miseries of Celtic Ireland.

I shall probably be accused of having painted too dark a picture in
the brief sketch that I have given of Ireland before the coming of the
Normans. I admit that it is very different from the glowing accounts
of "Irish Ireland" that may be found in the pages of Nationalist
journals. But the question to me is not which account is more pleasant
but which is true. And I defy anyone who has cared to look through the
works of such writers as Richey, Stokes, and Sullivan, to prove that
what I have said is incorrect or unfair.



In the last chapter I dealt with the long period during which the
Celtic tribes of Ireland were free from foreign influence except for
the comparatively brief time when a small part of the country was
under the rule of the Danes; and I endeavoured to show that according
to the evidence of their own annalists and in the opinion of modern
writers of various political sentiments, the whole island throughout
that period remained in a chronic state of anarchy, without any
advance towards a higher civilization.

As Dr. Richey, when describing the condition of Ireland about the year
1170, says, "The state of the Celtic people was beyond all hope of
self-amendment. The want of law, order and justice, the absence of
self-knowledge and self-control, paralysed their national action and
reduced the power of their chief king to insignificance."

I come now to what has been absurdly called the conquest of Ireland
under Henry II.

That the English king was instigated in his efforts by the Pope is
perfectly clear. The Bull of Pope Adrian, issued in 1155, is still

    "... There is indeed no doubt but that Ireland, and all the
    islands on which Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, hath shone,
    and which have received the doctrine of the Christian faith,
    do belong to the jurisdiction of St. Peter and the Holy Roman
    Church ... therefore we are the more solicitous to propagate
    the righteous plantation of faith in this land, and the
    branch acceptable to God, as we have the secret conviction of
    conscience that this is more especially our bounden duty. You
    then, our dear son in Christ, have signified to us your desire
    to enter into the island of Ireland, in order to reduce the
    people to obedience under the laws, and to extirpate the
    plants of vice, and that you are willing to pay from each
    house a yearly pension of one penny to St. Peter, and that you
    will preserve the rights of the churches whole and inviolate.
    We, therefore, do hold it good and acceptable that ... you
    enter this island and execute therein whatever shall pertain
    to the honour of God and welfare of the land; and that the
    people of the land receive you honourably and reverence you as
    their lord."

And in 1172 Pope Alexander III ratified the action of his predecessor.

    "Forasmuch as these things which have been on good reasons
    granted by our predecessors, deserve to be confirmed ...
    and considering the grant of the dominion of the land by the
    venerable Pope Adrian, we ... do ratify and confirm the same
    (reserving to St. Peter and to the Holy Roman Church, as well
    in England as in Ireland the yearly pension of one penny from
    every house) provided that, the abominations of the land being
    removed, the barbarous people, Christians only in name, may
    by your means, be reformed, and their lives and conversations
    mended, so that their disordered Church being thus reduced
    to regular discipline, that nation may, with the name of
    Christians, be so in act and deed."

Whether the description here given was literally correct, or whether
the Pope's views were coloured by the fact that the Celtic Church did
not acknowledge the supremacy of Rome and was heretical on certain
points of doctrine, is a question outside the present subject. The
Bulls are only quoted here as showing the part taken by Rome. And it
must be admitted that in the succeeding century the power of the Pope
became strong enough to enable him to levy taxes in Ireland for the
purpose of carrying on his wars against the Emperor and the King of

But Henry did not conquer Ireland. He did not even pretend to do so.
Previous to his arrival there had been some little fighting done by a
few adventurous Norman knights who had been invited by a native chief
to assist him in a domestic war; but Henry II fought no battle in
Ireland; he displaced no ancient national government; the Irish had
no national flag, no capital city as the metropolis of the country, no
common administration of the law. The English, coming in the name of
the Pope, with the aid of the Irish bishops, with a superior national
organization which the Irish easily recognised, were accepted by the
Irish. The king landed at Waterford; his journey to Dublin was rather
a royal progress than a hostile invasion. He came as feudal sovereign
to receive the homage of the Irish tribes; the chiefs flocked to his
court, readily became his vassals, and undertook to hold the lands
they already occupied as fiefs of the Crown. But Henry did not take
the title, or assume the position of King of Ireland. He merely sought
to establish a suzerainty in which he would be the overlord. And in
fact a conquest of Ireland in the modern sense of the term would have
been impossible. England possessed no standing army; the feudal levies
of mediæval times were difficult and expensive. It might of course
have been possible to have organized a wholesale immigration and an
enslavement of the natives, something like that which the Normans had
accomplished in England, and the Saxons had done centuries before; but
nothing of the kind was attempted. Whether Henry's original intention
was simply to leave the Irish chiefs in possession or not, it is
useless now to enquire. But if it was, he appears to have changed his
views; for not long afterwards he granted large fiefs with palatinate
jurisdiction to various Normans who had made their way over to Ireland

It may be that Henry--knowing that the Conqueror, whilst taking
care that no powerful seignories should grow up in the heart of his
kingdom, as rivals to the throne, yet made exceptions in cases
where the lands verged on hostile territory, such as Durham or
Chester--thought that he could best follow the spirit of that policy
by establishing what were practically semi-independent principalities
in an island already inhabited by another race. But the result was

That the Normans were savage and brutal, dealing out no justice or
mercy to their victims, is proved by the account of their conquest of
England. Yet they possessed certain great qualities, which eminently
fitted them to become rulers in those wild, unsettled times; as their
successes, not merely in Britain, but also in Southern Italy and
Syria, show. They had the idea of a strong, centralized Government;
and more than that they had a marvellous capacity for receptivity.
Thus we see that in England, after a period of rough tyranny, they
blended the existing Anglo-Saxon Government--the strength of which lay
in its local organization--with their own; and from the union of
the two has come the British Constitution. So too in the Lowlands
of Scotland it was the Norman knight Robert Bruce who, accepting the
already existing Saxon and Roman civilization, raised Scotland into a
powerful kingdom. But in Ireland all was different. The only state
of society which the Normans found was Celtic barbarism. Political
institutions did not exist. As the Normans in England had become
Anglified, and in Scotland Scottified, so in Ireland they became
Ersefied. It is true that they built stone castles which at any rate
were better than the hovels of the Irish Chiefs, and (like the
Danes before them) founded a few towns, such as Kilkenny, Galway and
Athenry; but there their efforts ended. Scattered amongst the tribes,
they learnt their ways. They sank to the position of the Celtic
Chiefs around them; local wars went on the same as before; the only
difference being that they were waged sometimes by Normans against
Normans or against Celts, but more frequently by one body of Celts
against another, each side being aided by Norman allies.

One class of Nationalist writers has inveighed against the English
kings for not having forcibly introduced English law and put an end to
the barbarous Celtic customs. The simple answer is, How could they do
so? Whilst England was being weakened by long continental wars or
by struggles between rival Houses, what strength had she left to
undertake the real conquest of Ireland? The English kings had turned
to the only people who could have helped them--the Normans settled in
Ireland; and they failed them. Other Nationalist writers have on
the other hand declaimed with equal vehemence against the tyranny of
England in forcing an alien system of law on an unwilling people. To
this the answer is that nothing of the kind occurred. It is true that
petitions were sent from Ireland to the King urging him to introduce
English law; but these petitions came mainly from the poorer classes
of English settlers who found that instead of attaining greater
liberty in their new home they were being ground down to the miserable
position of the native Irish. The King issued proclamations directing
the English barons to permit the Irish to be governed by the law of
England; but his orders were totally disregarded; many of the unhappy
English settlers fled from the country and returned to England;
the barons supplied their places with native retainers. Thus the
Ersefication of the degenerate Normans became complete; they
"donned the saffron"--that is, they adopted the yellow dress of the
Celts--abandoned their original language, and gave themselves up to a
life of constant plunder and rapine.

Early in the fourteenth century the Irish septs united so far as to
form a joint effort to expel the English. The incident is specially
interesting, in the light of later history. Robert Bruce, a Norman
knight, had recently consolidated the Scottish tribes into a kingdom
and succeeded in shaking off the English yoke. The Irish Celts
resolved to imitate his example. King Robert was shrewd enough to see
that by aiding them he could attack his enemy at the most vulnerable
point; consequently, when the chiefs offered the Crown of Ireland to
his brother Edward if he would come and help them, he gladly accepted
the invitation. For three years a devastating war raged over a large
part of Ireland; the Scotch went from the North of Ulster almost to
Limerick, burning, slaying, plundering, sacking towns, castles and
churches; and a terrible famine ensued. But the Irish chiefs were no
more energetic in supporting Edward Bruce than their ancestors had
been in supporting Brian; he and his chief officers fell in a battle
against the English near Dundalk, and the rest of his followers
escaped to Scotland. The coalition fell to pieces; and the only result
of the Scotch invasion was to increase the misery of the people,
especially of the unhappy English settlers, who continued to flock
back to England in greater numbers than before.

As soon as the rebellion was put down, the great legislator Edward
III made another effort at introducing order into the distracted land.
Acts were passed by the English Parliament providing that the same
law should be applicable to both English and Irish, and forbidding
landowners to keep larger bands of armed men than were necessary for
self-defence. But the Ersefied barons on whom he relied refused to
obey the new laws; they renounced their allegiance and joined the
rebellious Celtic tribes. Then the king, seeing the impossibility
of carrying out his scheme for pacifying the whole of Ireland, was
reduced to the expedient of dividing the country into two; leaving the
larger part of it for the natives and degenerate English to misgovern
as they pleased according to their own customs, and preserving only
a mere fraction (the "English Pale") in allegiance to the Crown of
England. This was the real meaning of the "Statutes of Kilkenny,"
which have been so often misrepresented by modern writers.

The next king, Richard II, attempted to imitate the policy of his
ancestor Henry II. He went to Ireland with great pomp. Again the
Celtic chiefs flocked to Dublin to swear allegiance to their lord;
and as soon as his back was turned commenced not only fighting amongst
themselves but even attacking the English Pale. The result of all his
efforts was that the limits of the Pale were still further contracted;
the English power was confined to a small area in the neighbourhood of

But even within that narrow boundary the power of the king was far
from being secure. When England was torn by the Wars of the Roses, the
so-called Parliament (which was really an irregular assembly at best
representing a territory about the size of a modern county) seized
the opportunity of declaring itself independent. It is interesting, in
view of present-day questions, to observe that Dr. Richey, writing
in 1869, seems to consider their action as not only justifiable but
inevitable. He says:--

    "The Irish Parliament declared the complete independence
    of the Irish Legislature, and boldly affirmed those
    constitutional rights which, though involved in the existence
    of separate parliament, had not hitherto been categorically
    expressed. They asserted their rights to a distinct coinage,
    and their absolute freedom from all laws and statutes except
    such as were by the Lords spiritual and temporal and Commons
    of Ireland freely admitted and accepted in their Parliament.
    They declared that no Irish subject was bound to answer
    any writs except those under the great seal of Ireland, and
    enacted heavy penalties against any officer who should attempt
    to put English decrees in force in Ireland. They, in fact,
    took the same position and laid down the same principles as
    the celebrated Parliament of 1782."

Whether they imagined that they could form a separate kingdom of
Dublin, or dreamt of making an alliance with the tribes outside the
Pale, it is useless now to conjecture; but we can see that though they
had no chance of benefiting themselves they might have caused serious
injury to England. Nor was it long before a difficulty arose. The
inhabitants of the Pale remained attached to the House of York even
after the Battle of Bosworth, and readily accepted Lambert Simnel as
King of Ireland. He was crowned in the Cathedral of Dublin, and held
a Parliament. After the defeat of this Pretender, the able and astute
Henry VII saw that it was necessary without further delay to make the
shadowy suzerainty of England over Ireland a reality. He accordingly
persuaded the Irish Parliament to pass an Act which from the name of
the Lord Deputy was known as "Poyning's Act." By this Act, all English
statutes then existing in England were made of force in Ireland; the
chief fortresses were secured to the Crown of England; and the Irish
Parliament was relegated to the position of a subordinate legislature;
for it was enacted that no Parliament should be held in Ireland unless
the King's Lieutenant and Council should first certify the King, under
the Great Seal of Ireland, the Acts which they considered should pass;
then the King and his Council should approve the proposed Acts,
and issue a licence under the Great Seal of England, summoning the

Though some writers have spoken of this as the most disgraceful Act
ever passed by an independent legislature, the people in Ireland at
the time considered it a boon and a favour; for it shielded them from
the unauthorized power of a Lord Deputy supported by a Parliament of
his own creatures.

And so, with the close of the mediæval period, ended the second
chapter of Irish history. It will be observed that there had been no
religious persecution, unless indeed the conduct of the Norman--that
is, the Roman--Church towards the ancient Celtic Church, or the
burning of some heretics in the fourteenth century, could be so
described; a view which the Nationalists of to-day will hardly care to
put forward. Nor can the English Government be fairly blamed for the
condition of affairs; for responsibility depends on power, and English
power in Ireland hardly existed. The suzerainty of England, feeble at
best, had gradually been limited to a mere fraction of the country.
The Celtic tribes had long since thrown off even a nominal submission
to the English Crown; the Anglo-Norman lords had become either
avowedly or practically independent. But the inhabitants of Ireland
did not constitute a nation or possess any common interest or bond of
union. There was no trace of an organization by which the Irish tribes
could be united into one people. The ceaseless civil wars had indeed
supplanted the original tribesmen by the mercenary followers of
another set of rival chiefs; but there had been no union; and the mass
of the people, still under the influence of their native customs, were
probably in a more wretched condition than they had ever been before.



We have seen that at the close of the Middle Ages Ireland was in the
condition that some people in England now consider the panacea for
all the woes of the country; it possessed a subordinate Parliament and
England interfered as little as possible in its local affairs. Henry
VIII attempted "to govern Ireland according to Irish ideas"; having no
army of his own, he appointed the most powerful of the Norman barons
his deputy. But this deputy used his authority precisely as an
Ersefied Norman (who possessed no more patriotism or national feeling
than a Celtic chief) might have been expected to use it,--that was, to
aid him in a succession of family quarrels and tribal wars in which,
allied with some of the native septs he attacked others. Even the
towns outside the Pale fared little better than the remoter districts;
there was actually a civil war between Cork and Limerick. The state of
affairs in Celtic Ireland during the brief period from 1500 to 1534
as stated in the annals (which, however, only deal with a part of the
country, hardly referring to what took place in Leinster or Munster)
has been summed up by Dr. Richey in the following words:--

    "Battles, plunderings, etc., exclusive of those in which the
    English Government was engaged, 116; Irish gentlemen of
    family killed in battle, 102; murdered, 168--many of them with
    circumstances of great atrocity; and during this period, on
    the other hand, there is no allusion to the enactment of any
    law, the judicial decision of any controversy, the founding of
    any town, monastery or church; and all this is recorded by
    the annalist without the slightest expression of regret or
    astonishment, as if such were the ordinary course of life in a
    Christian country."

At length, in 1534, matters came to a head; the Lord Deputy broke out
into open rebellion. We can learn from the State papers of the period
what the condition of Ireland then was. The Pale--now but the remnant
of a fraction--was constantly invaded and ravished by wild tribes,
and was itself becoming Ersefied; for the poorer English settlers had
either fled back to England, joined the Celtic tribes in despair, as
their only way of escaping from the harshness of the English lords, or
been crushed out of existence; and, as had already happened elsewhere,
their place had been taken by Irish retainers. Then in the rest of the
country there were some ninety chiefs, of whom about sixty represented
ancient septs and the remainder degenerate Normans, all claiming
independence and preying sometimes on one another and sometimes on
their unfortunate followers. Not infrequently also a tribe was divided
against itself, and a civil war was raging between the two factions.
And one result of the Ersefication of the Norman barons was that,
in addition to the regular feudal dues, they demanded every kind
of Celtic tribute from the occupiers of the land. In fact, how the
wretched tenants managed to support life at all seems a mystery.
Whatever law there may at one time have been was now long extinct;
and as King Henry himself pointed out, if the natives were to have any
sort of law at all, the only possible law was the law of England.

At this time also a new factor came into the already complicated
problem--the Reformation. Henry VIII never was a Protestant, in
the sense of adopting the doctrines which are now usually called
Protestant; but he had renounced the authority of the Pope. In 1535
Pope Paul III passed sentence upon him, consigning his kingdoms to
whoever might invade them, and commanding his nobles to take up
arms against him. Both the Emperor and the King of France saw their
opportunity, as Robert Bruce had done centuries before. They commenced
a correspondence with the Irish chiefs with the object of bringing
about an invasion of Ireland. Thereupon King Henry resolved to take
the only course that seemed to him possible--to make the conquest
of Ireland a reality and to enforce law and order in that distracted
land. His letters, which are still extant, show the care with which he
thought out the matter, and his earnest desire for the welfare of
the people of both races; a perusal of them would astonish those who
regard him merely as a savage sensualist. Strange to say, in their
Irish policy, the character of Henry VIII shows itself at the best,
and that of Elizabeth at its worst. When Henry had with difficulty
succeeded in crushing the Geraldine rebellion and a series of others
which broke out soon after, he got the Irish Parliament to pass an
Act conferring on him the title of king; he was solemnly proclaimed as
such, and his title was confirmed by the almost unanimous consent of
the Irish princes.

This was important in more ways than one: it was universally
recognized that the word "king" meant much more than "lord"; and it
gave him a title independent of the Pope's donation.

It is one of the ironies of history that the renunciation of the Papal
authority and the submission to the king's supremacy was far more
rapid and general in Ireland than it was in England. For not only did
all the lay chiefs readily yield their adhesion, but only two of the
bishops refused to take the oath of supremacy. Rebellions such as that
of Fitzgerald had no connection with religion; it was not until years
afterwards when England had become identified with Protestantism and
Spain with Catholicism that the Irish became intensely Papal. On the
other hand, the Reformation, as a religious movement, made no headway
in Ireland. It was purely negative and destructive, and emanated from
the Government, not from the mass of the people. The monasteries were
destroyed; hence there were no vicars to supply the parish churches,
which fell into ruin; the king endeavoured rather to Anglify than to
Protestantise the people by sending to them bishops and clergy from
England--but they were mere state officials, not fathers in God;
unable even to speak the Irish language; what real preaching there
was was done by friars sent from Rome and Madrid. Henry's efforts at
establishing parish schools were also a total failure. Had there not
been later immigrations from England and Scotland, Irish Protestantism
would probably have died out. Yet it is but fair to state, and to bear
in mind, that there was no religious persecution as such in Ireland
during the Tudor period. Elizabeth's policy was, without making any
actual promise of freedom of conscience, to leave the question of
religious opinions alone as far as possible. The real difficulty came
from the political nature of the Church of Rome; when the Pope deposed
Elizabeth and gave Ireland to Philip of Spain every Irish Roman
Catholic had either to be false to his religion or to become a
traitor--_in esse_ or _in posse_--to the queen.

When Henry had resolved to do his utmost to bring Ireland to a state
of civilization, there were not wanting advisers who urged upon him
that his only safe course was absolutely to destroy the whole native
population by sword and famine and re-people the vacant lands by
immigrants from England. Such a course would have been quite in
accordance with the ideas of the time. Not thirty years previously,
the combined forces of Church and State had pursued the heretic
population of the Loise into the mountain fastnesses to which they had
fled, and had piled logs of wood at the mouths of the caves in which
they had taken refuge, and set them on fire. Then, when all the
unhappy people--men, women and children, numbering some thousands
in all--had perished, their lands were distributed amongst strangers
brought in from a distance to occupy them. And at a later date--in the
middle of the sixteenth century--the native inhabitants of the Canary
Islands were exterminated by the Spanish Inquisition, and their lands
taken by the invading race. But to Henry it appeared that there was
one milder course that might still be possible. Might not the native
chiefs and the degenerate Normans who had shown that their only idea
of independency was anarchy yet be brought together as nobles under
a strong central government with a Parliament representing not merely
the Pale, but all Ireland? Might not the mass of the people, whose
native customs had been well nigh crushed out by civil wars,
be persuaded to _adopt_ the law of England? This was the policy
deliberately adopted by Henry and acted on by him during his life.
It is easy for writers living in modern times to sneer at some of the
details of his scheme; but it is not so easy for them to point out
what other course would have been better; or indeed, whether any other
course short of a policy of extermination, would have been possible.

The remarkable thing, however, is that the change to a more severe
line took place not under Henry or his Protestant son, but under the
most Catholic Sovereigns Philip and Mary. It was by their orders that
the first of the confiscations (which were to play so important a part
in the later history of Ireland) was carried out. By an Act passed
in their reign the lands occupied by the O'Moores, O'Connors and
O'Dempseys were confiscated and formed into the King's and
Queen's counties, Leix and Offaly being renamed "Philipstown" and
"Maryborough"; and a "Plantation" of English settlers was established.

And here it is well to pause for a moment and consider these
confiscations, about which so much has been written. That
confiscations have taken place in every country is a plain fact of
history. There is probably no part of Western Europe where land is
now held by the descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants. Forcible
conquest and adverse occupation is nearly always the primary root
of title. But it is part of the policy of every civilized country to
recognize what lawyers call "Statutes of limitations." When centuries
have elapsed and new rights have grown up, it is impossible to rectify
the wrongs of times long gone by. Thus we cannot suppose that any
future Government of Spain would ever recognize the title of the Moors
in Africa to the properties from which their ancestors were driven
by Philip IV; or that the Huguenots, now scattered over various
countries, could ever succeed in recovering possession of the estates
in France which were confiscated at the time of the Revocation of the
Edict of Nantes. And the only people who have a cause to complain,
even on sentimental grounds, of the wrongs of past ages, are the
lineal descendants of those who suffered ill-treatment. No Englishman
to-day can feel aggrieved because Saxons drove out Britons, or Normans

But more than that: the confiscation of the lands of rebels stands on
a different basis, and has been so regarded in every country in the
world, even New Zealand. The lands confiscated by Philip and Mary were
owned by the arch-rebel FitzGerald. Naturally fertile and capable if
properly cultivated of supporting a large population, they were at
this time a wild pathless tract of forest and bog. The ceaseless
tribal wars had prevented their being drained and cleared; the
miserable remnants of the Celtic tribes gained a precarious living by
periodical raids on the more peaceful inhabitants of the Pale. During
the whole of the reign of Edward VI fighting had gone on in Leix and
Offaly with great loss of life and at enormous expense to the English
Government. The object of the confiscation was not to drive out the
few existing tribesmen; for the land, when cleared and drained, might
well support them as well as the new settlers. Nor was it to confer
great estates on absentee proprietors, but to establish a fairly
thickly settled district which might be a source of strength rather
than a constant cause of trouble to the dwellers in the Pale. Nor
again was it to introduce feudalism; for as I have shown, the system
already in existence was feudalism without its advantages; the
substitution of fixed dues for the barbarous custom of "coigne and
livery" was an unmixed benefit to the occupiers of land. And it cannot
be denied that the first "Plantation" was a thorough success--thriving
settlements and prosperous farms took the place of forest and swamp.

If the position of Henry VIII had been one of difficulty, that of
Elizabeth was far more critical. The separation of the Church of
England from Rome was now complete. The great powers of the Continent
were united in one supreme effort to stamp out the new heresy. The
massacre of St. Bartholomew had taken place in France; Philip II had
ordered a _Te Deum_ to be sung at Madrid, and the Pope had had a medal
struck to commemorate the glorious event. The lowest computation of
those put to death for heresy in the Netherlands by Charles V was
50,000; and his successor had, at the instigation of the Holy Office,
issued a proclamation sentencing to death the whole population--men,
women and children--with the exception of a few persons specially
named. Alva boasted that he had put 18,000 Dutchmen to death on the
scaffold, and the Pope presented him with a consecrated hat and
sword, an honour which had previously been bestowed only on reigning
sovereigns. In Spain it was regarded not only as a sacred duty but a
pleasant amusement for the King and his Court to watch the
torturing of heretics. England alone--then a comparatively weak
and insignificant country--stood out against this overwhelming
combination. And in attempting to realize the position of affairs we
must remember that in the sixteenth century the Papacy was not merely
a religious system but also a tremendous political power. We may now
regard the claim of the Pope to depose princes as a harmless dream;
but at that time it was a stern reality. Thus matters came to a crisis
when the Pope excommunicated Elizabeth and all who remained loyal
to her, released her subjects from their allegiance, offered plenary
indulgence and remission of sins to all who would take up arms against
her, promised a liberal supply of graces and indulgences to Irish
chieftains who would rebel, and gave Ireland to Philip of Spain.

It can hardly be denied therefore that England was engaged in a
life and death struggle. And unless Elizabeth would consent to the
annexation of Ireland by Spain and to the conquest of England by some
power that would treat the people there much as the heretics of the
Netherlands were being treated by Philip, it must be admitted that any
measures, however violent, became a political necessity--a mere act
of self-defence. But though Elizabeth had already on hand a war with
France, Spain and Scotland, her difficulties did not end there. The
North of Ireland was being invaded by Celts from Scotland, and the
principal chief, Shan O'Neill (who was described by the Spanish
Ambassador as "so good a Christian that he cuts off the head of any
man who enters his country if he be not a Catholic") was in open
rebellion with the avowed object of crushing out the English power,
exterminating the rival tribes, and making himself King of Ulster. To
so miserable a state had that part of Ireland been reduced by petty
local wars between rival chiefs that hundreds of people had died
of hunger. Can it be wondered that Elizabeth conceived the idea of
imitating her sister's policy and forming a "plantation" in the North?

Then came another formidable rebellion in Munster, headed by an
Ersefied Norman, Desmond. These rebellions were fomented by the Pope,
and in the South the rebels were aided by Spanish troops. In the
amount of the aid sent from Spain, however, the Irish rebels were
sadly disappointed. That has been one of the characteristic features
of all Irish rebellions; the foreign powers on which they have relied
have been liberal enough with promises of aid, but when the time for
performance has come they have left the unfortunate Irish to their
fate. (Thus in 1641 not only did the rebels fully expect that a
powerful Spanish force would come to their assistance, but they even
believed that 18,000 Spanish troops had actually landed at Wexford.)
That these rebellions were crushed by the forces of Queen Elizabeth
with a savage violence that is more suggestive of the government of
the Netherlands by Spain than of what should have been the action of
a Christian nation cannot be denied; but when reading the accounts
of the terrible condition to which the country was reduced one cannot
help thinking that the stories of outrages committed by the English
troops must be exaggerated. In the first place, the writers, even when
eye-witnesses, seem to have assumed that the country was peaceful and
prosperous up to that time; whereas not only had the tribal wars which
had gone on incessantly until a few years before reduced the people
almost to a condition of famine, but the rebels themselves, such
as O'Neill and Desmond, had ravaged the country anew. And if it was
obvious that the object of Elizabeth was to exterminate the whole
Irish population and the Roman Catholic religion, it seems impossible
(even allowing for the eccentricity of human nature in general and of
the Irish character in particular) to believe that a large part of the
queen's forces should have been composed of Irish Roman Catholics; or
that the inhabitants of the towns, most of whom were also Irish Roman
Catholics, should have taken her side; but such was undoubtedly
the case. Again, if nearly the whole native population had been
exterminated by slaughter and famine it would have taken at least a
century to recover. Yet--a few years after the commencement of
the English settlement we find Spenser complaining that the new
proprietors were acting as the Norman barons had done centuries
before; instead of keeping out the Irish they were making them their
tenants and thrusting out the English; and some of the proprietors
were themselves becoming "mere Irish." Then, although no doubt
a certain proportion of the Elizabethan settlers renounced their
Protestantism and embraced the Roman Catholic religion, that can
hardly have been the case with the mass of them; and yet before the
middle of the seventeenth century we find that the great majority
of the freeholders of Ireland and even of the members of the Irish
Parliament were Roman Catholics; surely they must have represented
the earlier population. And lastly, considering the wild exaggerations
that occur in the accounts of every other event of Irish history, we
cannot suppose that this period alone has escaped.

Towards the end of the queen's reign occurred the last of the
native rebellions. It too was crushed; and, by the "flight of the
earls"--Tyrone and Tyrconnell--was completed the work which had been
commenced by Henry II. And so the third chapter of Irish history was



The seventeenth century is a terrible period of European history. It
has been described as "the age of religious wars"; and those wars were
waged with a savage ferocity which it is impossible even now to read
of without a shudder.

It is a plain matter of history that from the very commencement of the
Reformation the idea of toleration never entered into the heads of
any of the authorities of the Church of Rome. France, Spain, Portugal,
Savoy and Germany all tell the same story. Except in countries such as
England where the sovereigns adopted the new opinions, the only chance
which the reforming party had of being able to exercise their religion
was by means of rebellion and all the horrors of civil war. What that
meant, the history of the rise of the Dutch Republic tells us. As Lord
Acton has said: "In the seventeenth century the murder of a heretic
was not only permitted but rewarded. It was a virtuous deed to
slaughter Protestant men and women until they were all exterminated.
Pius V held that it was sound Catholic doctrine that any man may
stab a heretic; and every man was a heretic who attacked the papal
prerogatives." And it is equally true that in those cases where the
reforming party succeeded in gaining the upper hand, they did not show
much more mercy than had been shown to them previously or was being
shown to their co-religionists in other countries at the time. Yet
it is only fair to add that when the idea of toleration did arise, it
arose amongst the reformed churches. Probably the only Roman Catholic
State in the world where toleration existed during the seventeenth
century was the little English colony of Maryland, of which Lord
Baltimore was the proprietor. And when at length the religious wars
died out it was, as far as Catholic countries were concerned, because
the lay mind had become thoroughly disgusted with the whole thing, and
men's minds were turning in other directions--not because the clerical
rulers showed the slightest desire to relax their efforts or change
their policy.

It would be well if the whole dreadful period could be buried in
oblivion. But it is necessary to mention the subject here, for the
Nationalist party are continually referring to the horrors of the
Cromwellian massacres and the penal laws; and if such matters are to
be gone into at all it is only fair, in order to make a just estimate
of them, to glance at the great European struggle of which they formed
an incident. In the century which saw Germany deluged with blood
for thirty years, and which witnessed the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes and the revival of vehement persecution in France, it was not
likely that Ireland should remain unaffected.

Soon after James I came to the throne he commenced his famous Scotch
plantation in the desolated and half-emptied province of Ulster. That
it was even a greater success than the plantation formed by Philip
and Mary everyone is of course aware; it is the descendants of those
immigrants who, though they live in a district not so highly favoured
by nature as other parts of the country, form the only really
prosperous and progressive section of the community at the present
day. The native Irish do not seem to have looked on the Scotchmen with
much disfavour, perhaps partly because there being plenty of room for
all in the desolated tract, and lands being assigned to them, they
realised that they were safer in the immediate neighbourhood of a
peaceful settlement than they would have been had they remained a prey
to unscrupulous adventurers like Shan O'Neill. A member of the legal
profession must feel shame and sorrow in recording the fact that
the chicanery of the lawyers added much to the harshness of the
politicians. That, however, is only another way of saying that
the humane policy of the nineteenth century was unknown in the
seventeenth. Had courts been established in Ireland like the native
land courts of New Zealand in which claims under customary law might
be investigated, and equitable awards made, the later history of
Ireland might have been very different. Yet one must remember that
even in the reign of Queen Victoria there was a strong party in
England and there were not a few people in New Zealand who argued
that Maori customary claims should be disregarded and the treaty
of Waitangi ignored. And in the seventeenth century such ideas were
unheard of. Lawyers searched for every technicality of English law
by which the titles of holders of land could be upset, in favour of
English claimants. Then matters became strangely complicated, as they
seem to be periodically throughout Irish history. The struggle between
Charles I and the Parliament began, and it soon became evident that
the Parliamentary party was the stronger of the two. To the Irish the
Parliamentarians meant the Puritans; and they believed, not wholly
without reason, that a determined attempt would be made not only to
seize all their lands but also to stamp out their religion. (It
must be observed that the Elizabethan anti-Roman Acts had never been
strictly carried out in Ireland, and during the reign of James I their
severity had been relaxed still further--a line of conduct which had
no parallel in any Roman Catholic country in Europe at the time.)
Thereupon in 1641 the Roman Catholics of Ulster broke into open
rebellion, and soon afterwards they applied to the kings of France and
Spain for aid; and the Pope issued a bull granting a full and plenary
indulgence and absolute remission for all their sins to all who would
do their utmost to extirpate and totally root out those workers of
iniquity who in the kingdom of Ireland had infected and were always
striving to infect the mass of Catholic purity with the pestiferous
leaven of their heretical contagion.

The stories told of the actual outbreak of the rebellion are
interesting as an illustration of the universal habit of exaggeration
about Irish affairs, to which I have already alluded. Clarendon
affirms that 40,000 English Protestants were murdered before they
suspected themselves to be in any danger; Temple states that in
the first two months of the rebellion 150,000 Protestants had been
massacred. The Jesuit, O'Mahony, writing in 1645, says "Persevere,
my countrymen, in the path you have entered on, and exterminate your
heretical opponents, their adherents and helpers. Already within four
or five years you have killed 150,000 of them, as you do not deny. I
myself believe that even a greater number of the heretics have been
cut off; would that I could say all." He had doubtless obtained
his information from the returns made by the priests engaged in the
rebellion to the military leaders, the figures of which were much the
same. Yet Lecky (who, though in certain passages of his history he
shows himself to be somewhat biassed in favour of the Irish Roman
Catholic party, is on the whole a remarkably fair and impartial
historian) argues with much force that there is no evidence of
anything like a general massacre, and brings down the number murdered
to about 8,000. Still, that there was a widespread rebellion and all
the consequent horrors of civil war, there can be no doubt. The rebels
of Ulster at one time tried to identify their cause with that of
Charles I by producing a forged commission from the king--which
annoyed the Royalists and made the Parliamentary party all the more
bitter. Charles certainly did his utmost to bring about a peace--no
doubt being anxious to obtain the assistance of his Irish subjects
in his Scotch and English wars. But his efforts were thwarted by the
Papal Nuncio, whose instructions from Rome were that the Holy See
could never by any positive Act approve of the civil allegiance of
Catholic subjects to an heretical prince; and thus the Royalist cause
became as completely lost in Ireland as it was in England. Before the
peace was finally concluded, Charles was a prisoner in the hands of
his enemies.

Then came the terrible episode of the Cromwellian war, in which
Romanist and Royalist alike went down before the Puritan force. Still,
though he would be a bold man who could attempt to excuse--much less
to justify--the barbarities that took place, it may be doubted whether
all the Cromwellian outrages put together equalled a single one of
those which the Imperial troops had committed during the war which
had been raging for thirty years in Germany--such for instance as the
sacking of Magdeburg. It is estimated, however, that about 600,000
people (of whom 500,000 were of the Irish race and 100,000 of the
English) perished by the sword, pestilence or famine in the fearful
years between 1641 and 1652--in other words, about a third part of
the population was wiped out. And the war was followed by a wholesale
confiscation--having fought for the king being considered as much an
act of treason as having rebelled against him. The confiscated lands
were allotted to soldiers, to persons who had supplied money to the
Parliamentary forces, and to other supporters of the new Government.
It is but just, however, to add that 700,000 acres of profitable land
in Connaught were allotted to dispossessed Romanists, and that they
were allowed to occupy 100,000 acres in other parts of the country; a
striking contrast to the lot of the unhappy Waldenses who were at that
time being driven from their homes and slaughtered without mercy for
no crime but heresy; or to the treatment a few years later by Louis
XIV of his Huguenot subjects whose lands were confiscated without
compensation and who were only given the choice of death or the

At the Restoration some effort was made to undo the injustice of the
Cromwellian confiscations. But the matter was one of great difficulty.
In many cases land had been allotted by Cromwell in payment for money
received; in others the grantees had sold their holdings to purchasers
who had paid in cash, regarding the original grant as indefeasible.
A reconfiscation of such lands would obviously have worked a great
injustice; and it is a common maxim of law that between two claimants
each with a good title the one in possession is to be preferred. Still
it cannot be said that the decisions of the Royal Commissioners were
always equitable according to our ideas; for instance, the award of
80,000 acres to the Duke of York (afterwards James II) of land which
had been forfeited under Cromwell because the owner had fought for his
father, would be hard to justify on any possible grounds. Still, an
Act of Settlement was passed, by which a certain amount of justice
was done; it is difficult to arrive at the figures accurately, but
it appears that after the passing of the Act nearly one-third of
the Island was vested in Roman Catholic proprietors. Archbishop King
estimated that at the time when he was writing--1689--two-thirds
of the Protestant landowners held their estates under the Act of
Settlement. And Lecky says, "Only an infinitesimal portion of the soil
belongs to the descendants of those who possessed it before Cromwell."
But Archbishop King was influenced by the fear he had felt as to what
the effect of a repeal of the Act would be; and there can hardly be
a doubt that his feelings led him to overestimate the number. With
regard to Lecky's remark, one can only take it as a strange instance
of a gross exaggeration having crept into a book which is usually
careful and accurate. It may be that the statement was not very
incorrect according to the evidence the author had before him; but if
so, that only proves that the evidence was wrong; for the proceedings
in the Land Courts which have been set up in Ireland during the last
half century have shown that the proportion of titles to estates which
date from an earlier period was far larger than people had supposed.

During the peaceful and tolerant reign of Charles II the country made
steady progress.

Under James II, however, everything was reversed. That unhappy
monarch, having ascended the throne tranquilly, with many
protestations of toleration and justice to all, succeeded in less than
two years in making it clear to the people of England that his object
was to confine liberty to those who professed his own creed and that
his idea of good government was something like that which was then
existing in France and Savoy. Driven from Great Britain, on his
arrival in Ireland he issued a proclamation declaring that his
Protestant subjects, their religion, privileges and properties were
his especial care; and he had previously directed the Lord Lieutenant
to declare in Council that he would preserve the Act of Settlement
inviolable. But the Protestants soon had reason to fear that his
promises were illusory and that the liberty which might be allowed to
them would be at best temporary. In a word, what the one party looked
forward to with hope and the other with dread was "a confederacy with
France which would make His Majesty's monarchy absolute."

In order to understand what that meant, to Irish Protestants, it is
well to glance at the condition of France at the time. Louis XIV had
begun by directing that the Edict of Nantes was to be interpreted by
the strictest letter of the law; and soon after that the condition
of the Huguenots became more unhappy than that of the Irish Roman
Catholics ever was during the penal laws. The terrible "Dragonnades"
commenced in 1682; soldiers were billeted on heretics, and unfortunate
women were insulted past endurance; Huguenots were restricted even
as to holding family prayers; children at the age of seven were
encouraged to renounce their faith, and if they did so they were
taken from their parents who, however, were obliged to pay for their
maintenance in convent schools. Protestant churches were closed, and
their endowments handed over to Roman Catholic institutions. Huguenot
children were forbidden all education except the most elementary. No
heretic was allowed to sue a Catholic for debt. All this, however, did
not satisfy the monarch or his ecclesiastical advisers. On the 18th
of October 1685, he issued his famous Revocation of the Edict of

    "We by the present Edict which is perpetual and irrevocable,
    revoke the Edict given at Nantes in 1583 together with every
    concession to the Protestants of whatever nature they be.
    We will that all temples of that religion be instantly
    demolished. We prohibit our Protestant subjects to assemble
    for worship in any private house. We prohibit all our lords
    to exercise that religion within their fiefs under penalty of
    confiscation of property and imprisonment of person. We enjoin
    all ministers of the said faith to leave the kingdom within
    fifteen days of the publication of this Edict, under penalty
    of the galleys. We enjoin that all children who shall be
    born henceforth be baptized by the Catholic curates. Persons
    awaiting the enlightening grace of God may live in our kingdom
    unhindered on account of their religion on condition that they
    do not perform any of its exercises or assemble for prayer or
    worship under penalty of body and wealth."

This Edict met with cordial approval from the Catholic party in
France. The famous Madame de Sevigné wrote: "I admire the king for the
means he has devised for ruining the Huguenots. The wars and massacres
of former days only gave vigour to the sect; but the edict just
issued, aided by the dragoons, will give them the _coup de grace_."

The Irish Protestants saw with alarm that amongst the soldiers who
came from France to aid King James were some who had taken an active
part in the dragonnades organized by Louis XIV in order to carry out
his edict. Then one Act was passed by the Dublin Parliament repealing
the Act of Settlement; and by another 2,461 persons were declared
guilty of high treason unless they appeared before the Dublin
authorities on a certain day and proved they were not guilty. What
steps King James was prepared to take in order to subdue the rebels of
Derry who held out against him can be gathered from the proclamation
which he directed Conrade de Rosen, his Mareschal General, to issue.
He warned the rebels that if they did not surrender immediately, all
the members of their faction, whether protected or not, in the whole
neighbourhood, would be brought close to the walls of the city and
there starved to death; that he would ravish the countryside, and see
that no man, woman or child escaped; and that if the city still held
out he would give no quarter and spare neither age nor sex, in case it
was taken by force.

Even if there had been no Derry to relieve and no Protestants in
other parts of the country, the conquest of Ireland was a political
necessity to King William. England was at this time in much the same
position that it had been in the days of Elizabeth, substituting the
name France for Spain. The continental powers were again united in a
supreme effort to stamp out Protestantism, and England once more
stood almost alone. In Spain and Portugal, heresy was of course still
punishable with death; the Pope had celebrated the Revocation of the
Edict of Nantes with a triumphal _Te Deum_; a terrible persecution was
raging not only throughout the Protestant districts of France but also
on the Rhine, in Hungary, Savoy and the Alpine Valleys; if Ireland
had remained a separate kingdom ruled by the ally and admirer of Louis
XIV, the next step would certainly have been an invasion of England
by the joint forces of France and Ireland. All that we in modern
times include in the term "religious liberty" hung on the issue of the
battle that was fought and won on the banks of the Boyne.



The flight of James II brings us to the era of the "penal laws." To
one who lives in the twentieth century and is embued with the spirit
of modern thought, the whole subject is more than painful--it is
detestable. But to pass it over in silence is impossible; and in order
to get a clear view of the position it is necessary to examine
what the penal laws were, what they were not, and what were the
circumstances of the time during which they were in force.

The penal laws were a series of enactments carefully planned so as to
harass the Roman Catholics at every moment of their lives, in the hope
of inducing them to abandon their religion. The unhappy people were
prohibited from becoming or voting for members of Parliament; they
were excluded from corporations, the army, the navy and the legal
profession. They were forbidden to bear arms, or even to possess a
horse worth more than £5. Education was denied to them, as they could
not send their sons to the university and were forbidden either to
have schools of their own in Ireland or to send their children abroad.
They were not allowed to possess freehold estates in land, and even as
to leaseholds they were seriously restricted. On the death of a Roman
Catholic his estate was divided amongst his children equally, unless
the eldest son became a Protestant, in which case he inherited the
whole. And as no Roman Catholic was allowed to act as a guardian, a
man never knew that if he should die his children might not be brought
up in a faith that he detested. The performance of Roman Catholic
worship was barely tolerated, as no bishops or other dignitaries were
allowed to remain in Ireland, and the only priests authorized to
say mass were those who were "registered" and had taken the oath of
abjuration--that is, an oath declaring that the Pretender had no right
to the throne.

Such in brief were those terrible statutes. But without attempting
to excuse them, there are various matters which must be taken into
account if we are to judge them fairly. In the first place, the
political aspect of the question should not be forgotten. The
Protestant minority might justly fear that if the Roman Catholic party
were as powerful as their numbers would naturally cause them to be,
they would aid in bringing about a French invasion for the restoration
of the Stuarts and the re-establishment of the system which had been
in evidence under James II. An army was actually formed in France, and
on more than one occasion was in readiness to start. The Stuarts were
regarded by the Pope as the rightful sovereigns. The Roman Catholic
prelates whose entry into Ireland was forbidden were appointed by
the Pretender and were his political agents; it was that fact, and no
doctrinal reason, that caused their expulsion. It is necessary to make
this quite clear, as there has been as much exaggeration on this point
as on most other subjects connected with Irish history. The words of
the "oath of abjuration" were as follows:

    "I do solemnly and sincerely declare that I do believe in my
    conscience that the person pretended to be Prince of Wales
    during the life of the late King James and since his decease
    taking upon himself the style and title of King of England by
    the name of James III hath not any right or title whatever to
    the crown of this realm."

A modern Roman Catholic writer has thus described the oath:--

    "By the Oath of Abjuration the priest was ordered to swear
    that the sacrifice of the mass and the invocation of the
    Blessed Virgin and the saints were damnable and idolatrous. In
    other words, the priest was ordered to apostatize, or fly for
    his life."

And even if Roman Catholics took the oath of allegiance, the old
difficulty arose as to the papal right to depose princes and to order
their subjects to rebel. So late as 1768, when a declaration was drawn
up which it was hoped the leaders of the Roman Catholic party would
sign, so that the penal laws might be finally done away with, the
Papal Nuncio vetoed the proposal because the declaration contained a
reprobation of the doctrines that faith need not be kept with heretics
and that if the Pope banned a sovereign his subjects might depose and
slay him. It is but fair to add, however, that a large number of Roman
Catholics did sign the declaration; and the penal laws (which had been
relaxed from time to time when it was seen that the Irish took no
part in the Stuart rebellions of 1715 and 1745) were soon afterwards
practically abolished.

Then it must be borne in mind that the Irish penal laws, although
to some extent modelled on the legislation of Louis XIV against the
Huguenots, were absolutely insignificant compared with those which
were in force at the time in every Roman Catholic country in Europe.
Galling though the Irish laws were, they never went so far as to
make the mere holding of heretical opinions criminal. Thus no one in
Ireland was ever put to death for believing in transubstantiation;
whereas in one diocese of Portugal 20,000 people were sent to the
stake for denying it. As every one who has visited the Madrid picture
gallery will recollect, it was still the custom in the eighteenth
century for the King of Spain to preside in state at the burning of
heretics; and it was not until that century was drawing to a close
that it was for the first time enacted in Portugal that sentence of
death for heresy when passed by the ecclesiastical court should not be
carried into effect unless the order was countersigned by the king. In
France, for two or three heretics to meet for worship anywhere (their
churches had of course all been pulled down) was a crime punishable
with death; and any Huguenot caught whilst attempting to escape from
the country was sent to the galleys--a fate worse than mere death,
for it meant death by slow torture. And every child was forcibly
taken from its heretic parents at the age of five, and educated in a

But more than that: Roman Catholics who fled from the tyranny of the
penal laws at home had no scruple, when they reached the Continent, in
taking part in persecutions far more terrible than anything they had
seen in Ireland. During the dragonnades in Languedoc, Louis XIV's
Irish brigade joined eagerly in the butchery of old men, women
and children and the burning of whole villages. The same heroes
distinguished themselves by destroying everything they could find in
remote Alpine valleys so that the unfortunate Waldenses might die of
starvation. And the Irish troops under Lord Mountcashel aided in the
burning of 1,000 villages in the Palatinate of the Rhine, in which
all the inhabitants--men, women and children--were slain by the sword,
burnt to death, or left to perish from hunger. These persecutions were
practically brought to an end by the French Revolution and the rise
of modern ideas; but the ecclesiastical authorities, though they
have lost their power, have shown no sign of having changed their
principles. Even in the middle of the nineteenth century King Victor
Emmanuel was excommunicated by Pope Pius IX for allowing his Vaudois
subjects to build a church for themselves at Turin.

Of course it may be said with perfect truth that two blacks do not
make one white. Still, the constant complaints about the tyranny of
the penal laws have less force when they come from the representatives
of a party who acted in the same way themselves whenever they had the

It is indeed frequently urged as a matter of aggravation that whereas
other persecutions were those of a minority by a majority, this was of
a majority by a minority. To me, so far as this makes any difference
at all, it tells the other way. As a matter of morality, I fail to
see any difference; putting all the inhabitants of an Alpine valley
to death as heretics does not seem to me one whit the less horrible
because the sovereign also ruled a large Catholic population on
the plains. On the other hand, the fact that the Roman Catholics
in Ireland formed the majority of the population prevented the
persecution from being strictly carried out. It was comparatively
easy for Louis XIV to surround a heretic district with a cordon of
soldiers, and then draw them closer together searching every house as
they went, seizing the clergy and taking them off to the galleys; but
it was impossible to track unregistered priests through the mountains
and valleys of Munster. Hence the law as to the registration of
priests soon became a dead letter.

There was indeed one great difference, between Irish and continental
persecution. On the continent it was the holiest and best men who were
the keenest persecutors. (This may seem strange to modern readers;
but anyone who has studied the lives of Bossuet and San Carlo Borromeo
will admit that it is true.) Hence the persecution was carried out
with that vigour which was necessary to make it a success. In Spain,
if a heretic under torture or the fear of it consented to recant, the
Holy Office was not satisfied with a mere formal recantation; for the
rest of his life the convert was watched day and night to see that
there was no sign of back-sliding; and even the possession of a
fragment of the New Testament was considered as sufficient evidence
of a relapse to send the wretched man to the stake. Consequently, in a
generation or two heresy became as extinct as Christianity did amongst
the Kabyles of North Africa after the Mohammedan persecution. In
Ireland, however, persecution was always against the grain with
religiously-minded Protestants. Seven bishops protested against the
first enactment of the Penal Laws; and during the period when they
were in force, the bishops repeatedly spoke and voted in favour of
each proposed mitigation of them. (With this one may contrast the
action of the French bishops who on the accession of Louis XVI in
1774 presented an address to the new king urging him to increase the
persecution of the Huguenots which had become somewhat slack during
the later years of his predecessor. By the irony of fate the same men
were a few years later pleading vainly for the mercy which they had
never shown in the days of their power.) Nor was this tolerant feeling
confined to the bishops. By the aid of the Protestant gentry, the laws
were continually being evaded. Protestants appointed by the Court as
guardians of Roman Catholic children, used to carry out the wishes of
the Roman Catholic relations; Roman Catholic proprietors frequently
handed over their estates to Protestant friends as Trustees, and,
though such Trusts were of course not enforceable at law, there were
very few instances in which they were not faithfully performed. Many
strange stories are told of the evasions of the Acts. On one occasion
whilst it was still illegal for a popish recusant to own a horse of
a greater value than £5, a man met a Roman Catholic gentleman who
was riding a handsome horse; he held out £5 in one hand, and with the
other caught hold of the bridle. The rider, naturally infuriated at
this, struck the man with his whip so heavily that he fell down dead.
When he was tried for murder, the judge decided that as the man had
laid a hand on the bridle, the rider had reason to suppose that he
intended to take it as well as the horse, which would have been
an illegal act; consequently he was justified in defending himself
against highway robbery; and therefore the charge must be dismissed.
Again, a Roman Catholic proprietor found out that an effort was likely
to be made to deprive him of his estate. He rode up to Dublin on a
Saturday; on Sunday he received the Holy Communion at a Protestant
Church; on Monday he executed a deed transferring his estate to a
Protestant friend as Trustee; on Tuesday he was received back into
the Church of Rome; and on Wednesday he rode home again, to enjoy his
estate free from further molestation.

The schools which were founded in order to convert the rising
generation were a strange contrast to the admirably conducted
institutions established in France and Spain for a similar purpose.
They were so disgracefully mismanaged that the pupils who had passed
through them looked back on everything that had been taught them there
with a lifelong disgust.

It is needless to say that laws thus carried out were a dead failure
as far as winning converts was concerned. On the other hand, they
became in one sense the more galling as the enforcement of them fell
into the hands of a low class of informers who had no object beyond
making money for themselves. Still, public feeling was so strong that
by the middle of the century the laws had almost fallen into abeyance.
Brook, writing in 1762, says: "Though these laws are still in force,
it is long since they have been in action. They hang like a sword by a
thread over the heads of these people, and Papists walk under them in
security and peace; for whoever should adventure to cut this thread
would become ignominious and detestable." And in 1778 and 1782 (that
is, when, as an Irish Roman Catholic writer has pointed out, there was
still neither toleration nor peace for Protestant populations in any
Catholic state in Europe) the Irish Protestant Parliament formally
repealed nearly all the penal laws.

Probably their most lasting effect was that relating to the tenure
of land. If free purchase and sale regardless of religion had been
allowed throughout the eighteenth century, one may conjecture that
the effect of the Cromwellian confiscations would long since have died
away. But these laws perpetuated that peculiar state of things which
has been the cause of so much unhappiness in Ireland--the landlords
generally belonged to one religion, and their tenants and dependents
to another.

It may be asked, As these odious laws all came to an end generations
ago, what is the good of recalling the sorrows of the past which had
much better be forgotten? I reply, None whatever; and very glad I
should be if the whole subject were quietly dropped. But unfortunately
that is just what the Roman Catholic party in Ireland will not do. One
of the ways in which religious animosity is being kept alive (and I
regret to say is being steadily increased) is by the teaching in
the Roman Catholic schools of exaggerated accounts of the penal laws
without referring to any of the mitigating circumstances. Even in the
present year--1913--the Lenten pastoral of one of the bishops goes
back to the same old subject. If other countries acted in a similar
manner, how could the grievances of bygone centuries ever be
forgotten? The Jews, cruelly treated though they were during the time
of the Norman kings, do not harp on the subject in England to-day. It
may be doubted whether all the religious persecutions of Europe
put together were as great a disgrace to Christendom as the slave
trade--in which, I am ashamed to say, England strove to obtain the
pre-eminence amongst European nations and which she forced upon her
colonies against their will. Yet I should regret it deeply if that
were the one passage of history selected for study in the schools and
colleges for coloured pupils in the West Indies at the present day.
When a man who has suffered wrong in former years broods over it
instead of thinking of his present blessings and his future prospects,
one may be sure that he is a man who will not succeed in life; and
what is true of individuals is true also of nations.

The expression "Protestant ascendancy," although it never came into
use during the period with which we are dealing, has so frequently
since then been employed with reference to it, that it is necessary
to explain its meaning. Probably no word in the English language
has suffered more from being used in different senses than the word
"Protestant." In Ireland it frequently used to be, and still sometimes
is, taken as equivalent to "Anglican" or "Episcopalian"; to an
Irishman of the last century it would have appeared quite natural to
speak of "Protestants and Presbyterians," meaning thereby two distinct
bodies. This is a matter of historical importance; for so far from
the Presbyterian element being favoured during the period of the Penal
Laws, the English Toleration Act had not been extended to Ireland;
Presbyterians were by the sacramental test excluded from all municipal
offices; their worship, though never in practice interfered with,
remained technically illegal. Their share in "Protestant ascendancy"
was therefore very limited.

But if the Established Church was the one favoured body, it had to pay
dearly for its privileges. In truth, the state of the Irish Church
at this period of its history, was deplorable. All the positions of
value--bishoprics, deaneries and important parishes--were conferred
on Englishmen, who never resided in their cures, but left the duties
either to be performed by half-starved deputies or not at all. Many
of the churches were in ruins, and the glebes had fallen into decay;
a union of half-a-dozen parishes would scarcely supply a meagre
salary for one incumbent. A large proportion of the tithes had been
appropriated by laymen; how small a sum actually reached the clergy
is shown by the fact that the first-fruits (that is, the year's income
paid by incumbents on their appointment) did not amount to more than
£500 a year in all. It may be that the standard of religious life
was not lower in Ireland than it was in England when the
spiritually-minded non-Jurors had been driven out and Hanoverian
deadness was supreme; but in England there was no other Church to form
a contrast. In Ireland the apathy and worldliness of the Protestant
clergy stood out in bold relief against the heroic devotion of the
priests and friars; and at the time when the unhappy peasants, forced
to pay tithes to a Church which they detested, were ready to starve
themselves to support their own clergy and to further the cause of
their religion, the well-to-do Protestant graziers and farmers were
straining the law so as to evade the payment of tithes, and never
thought of doing anything further to support the Church to which they
were supposed to belong. (It is but fair, however, to state that
this condition of things has long since passed away; the Evangelical
revival breathed new life into the dry bones of Irish Protestantism.)

But it was not merely in religious matters that Ireland suffered
during this melancholy period. Students of modern history whose
researches usually commence with the early part of the nineteenth
century, are wont to gather from text-books the idea that the policy
of the manufacturing party in England has always been liberal,
progressive and patriotic; whereas that of the landed interest has
been retrograde and selfish. There cannot be a greater delusion.
English manufacturers have been just as self-seeking and narrow-minded
as other people--no more and no less; they have been quite as ready
to sacrifice the interests of others when they believed them to be
opposed to their own, as the much-abused landowners. At this time
every nation in Europe regarded the outlying portions of the Empire
as existing only for the benefit of the centre; in fact, the English
development of the "Colonial System" even then was more liberal than
those of Spain or Holland. The English system, if perfectly carried
out, was by no means unfair. The ground idea was that the mother
country voluntarily restricted herself in matters of trade for the
benefit of the Colonies, and the Colonies had to do the same for the
benefit of the mother country. Thus, when England refused to admit
timber from the Baltic in order to benefit the Canadian lumber trade;
and placed a prohibitive duty on sugar from Cuba so as to secure the
English market for Jamaica; it was but fair that the trade in other
articles from Canada and Jamaica should be directed to England. To
say that the whole thing was a mistake, as such restrictions really
injured both parties, is no answer, as no one at that time dreamed of
such a thing as free trade. The real answer is that it was impossible
to keep the balance true; some slight change of circumstances might
render that unfair which up to then had been perfectly equal. And
as the English merchants were on the spot and commanded votes in
Parliament, any injustice against them would be speedily rectified;
the colonists living at a distance and having no means of making their
voice heard, would be left to suffer.

In applying the colonial system to Ireland, it is true that in theory
England undertook to protect her by means of the British army and
navy, from foreign foes; but beyond that, the system was to Ireland
all loss and no gain. Every branch of Irish industry was deliberately
ruined by the English Government. By the Navigation Act of 1663, trade
between Ireland and the British Colonies was forbidden; soon after,
the importation of Irish beef, mutton, pork and butter into
England was prohibited; then, at the request of the English woollen
manufacturers, the export of woollen goods from Ireland to any country
was stopped; and finally, with a refinement of cruelty, the export of
linen articles--the one industry that had hitherto been left to
the unfortunate country--was restricted to the coarsest and poorest
varieties, for fear of offending the Dutch.

The result of all this wretched misgovernment was not merely
destitution bordering on famine, but a wholesale emigration. Whilst
the Roman Catholics were leaving the country to avoid the penal laws,
the most skilful and industrious of the artizan class,--the very
backbone of the nation--were being driven out by the prohibition of
their trades. It is said that no less than 30,000 men were thrown out
of employment by the destruction of the woollen industry alone. These
were nearly all Protestants; to encourage them would have done more to
Protestantize the country than all the penal laws and charter schools
put together; but they were ruthlessly sacrificed to the greed of the
English manufacturers. Some went to the Continent, many more to New
England and the other American colonies, where they prospered, and
they and their sons became some of Washington's best soldiers in the
War of Independence.

It was only natural that thoughtful men in Ireland should cast envious
eyes on Scotland, which had recently secured the benefit of union
with England, and consequently was able to develop her commerce
and manufactures unhindered. But though the subject of a union was
discussed, and even referred to in addresses from the Irish Parliament
to Queen Anne, no active steps were taken.

Still, in considering these commercial restrictions, as in the case of
the penal laws, we must not lose sight of the fact that the state
of circumstances we are dealing with has long passed away. It is
necessary for a historian to refer to it, even if he finds it hard to
do so in a perfectly dispassionate way; but it is waste of time and
energy for the present generation to go on brooding over woes which
had come to an end before their grandfathers were born. Yet that is
what the Nationalists of to-day are doing. Not long ago, the Old
Boys' Association of an Irish Roman Catholic College resolved, very
laudably, to found an annual prize at their alma mater. The subject
they selected was an essay on the treatment by England of Irish
industries before the year 1800! Had it been a Scotch or a German
College, the subject chosen would probably have been, The progress
in scientific knowledge during the last century, or, Improvements in
means of travel since 1820; and one must ask, which subject of study
is likely to be most profitable to young men who have to make their
way in the modern world?

It may be asked, why did the Irish Parliament do nothing to stay this
national ruin? The answer is that the Irish Parliament possessed very
little power. The Bill of Rights of course did not apply to Ireland;
general elections were very rare, and a large number of members
were paid officers of the Government; the English Parliament had a
co-ordinate power of legislating for Ireland; and since Poyning's Act
(as explained by the declaratory Act of George I) was still in force,
no Bill could be introduced into the Irish Parliament until it had
been approved both by the Irish and the English Councils; and the
Irish Parliament might then pass it or reject it but had no power to
amend it.

And the use which the English Government made of the Irish Parliament
was as disgraceful as their treatment of Irish industries. Miserably
poor though the country was, it was burdened by the payment of
pensions of a nature so scandalous that the English Parliament even of
that period would not have tolerated them.

The conditions of land tenure also added to the miseries of the
country. It is often said that the land belonged to wealthy English
absentees, and the unfortunate occupiers, who had no security of
tenure, were ground down by the payment of exorbitant rents. This is
literally true; but, like most partial statements, misleading. Much
of the land was owned by wealthy Englishmen--which of itself was a
serious evil; but they let it in large farms at low rents on long
leases, in the hope that the occupiers would execute their own
improvements. Instead of that, however, their tenants sublet their
holdings in smaller lots to others; and these subtenants did the same
again; thus there were sometimes three or four middlemen, and the rent
paid by the actual occupier to his immediate landlord was ten times
the amount the nominal owner received. As the rate of wages
was miserably low, and the rent of a cabin and a plot of ground
scandalously high, how the wretched occupiers managed to keep body and
soul together is a mystery. Much has been written about the useless,
dissipated lives of these middlemen or "squireens"; and no doubt it is
to a great extent true, although, like everything else in Ireland, it
has been exaggerated. Travellers have told us of some landlords
who resided on their estates, did their utmost to improve them, and
forbade subletting (in spite of the unpopularity caused by their doing
so). And one of the remarkable features of later Irish history is that
whenever there was a period of acute difficulty and danger there were
always country gentlemen to be found ready to risk their lives and
fortunes or to undertake the thankless and dangerous duties of county

It is curious how close a parallel might be drawn between the way
in which Norman Ireland was Ersefied and that in which Cromwellian
Ireland was Catholicized. Many of those who became large landowners
by the Cromwellian confiscations, having no religious prejudices (some
might say, no religious or humane feelings), when the leases of
their tenants fell in, put the farms up to auction regardless of the
feelings of the occupiers. As the Roman Catholics were content with
a simpler manner of life than the Protestants, they generally offered
higher rents; the dispossessed Protestants, driven from their homes,
joined their brethren in America. Then in the South, the poorer of
Cromwell's settlers, in some cases, neglected by their own pastors,
joined the religion of the majority; in others, intermarrying with the
natives, allowed their children to be brought up in the faith of their
mothers. Hence we arrive at the curious fact that at the present day
some of the most ardent Romanists and violent Nationalists, who are
striving to have the Irish language enforced all over the country,
and pose as the representatives of ancient Irish septs, are really the
descendants of Cromwell's soldiers.

So passed the greater part of the eighteenth century; and the unhappy
country seemed as far off from progress and prosperity as ever.



When we come to the reign of George III we have arrived at a specially
interesting period of Irish history. For we are no longer dealing with
a state of society that has wholly passed away; the great events that
occurred towards the close of the eighteenth century are continually
referred to as bearing, at least by analogy, on the questions of the
present day. It is for the honest historian to examine how far that
analogy is real, and how far it is delusive.

For some time after the accession of George III, the state of Ireland
was almost as miserable as before. Trade and manufactures being nearly
crushed out, want of employment brought the people in the towns to the
brink of starvation. In the country, although the middle classes were
on the whole becoming more prosperous, the condition of the labourers
and cottiers was wretched in the extreme. It is not to be wondered at
therefore that we now hear of the commencement of two movements which
were destined later on to play so important a part in the history of
Ireland--the agitation against the payment of tithes and the rise of
secret societies. Few men at the present day could be found who would
attempt to justify the tithe system as it prevailed in the eighteenth
century. It was not merely that the starving peasantry were forced to
contribute towards the maintenance of a religion in which they did not
believe, but the whole manner of levying and collecting the tithes
was bad; and what made them still more annoying was the fact that the
clergy never thought of performing the duties for which tithes were
supposed to exist; the large majority of the rectors did not even
reside in their parishes. The principal secret societies were the
Oakboys and the Steelboys of the north, and the Whiteboys of
the south. The northern societies soon came to an end; but the
organization of the Whiteboys continued to spread, and for a time
it assumed alarming proportions. Commencing as a war against tithe
proctors, the enclosure of commons, and the substitution of grazing
land for tillage, they went on to commit outrages of various sorts,
and something like a reign of terror spread over a large tract of
country. But it may safely be said that generally speaking their
conduct was not nearly so violent as that of other secret societies of
a later date; and the evidence of any foreign influence being at
work, or of religious animosity being connected with the movement, is

It is interesting to observe that, whenever there was a violent and
abnormal outbreak of crime, the Irish Parliament did not hesitate to
pass special laws to meet the case. Such measures as the Whiteboy Act
of 1787, or the Insurrection Act and the Habeas Corpus Suppression
Act of 1796, which were readily passed whilst the Irish Parliament was
completely independent, are frequently referred to by modern agitators
as amongst the brutal Coercion Acts which the tyranny of England has
forced on an innocent people.

The harshness of the Penal Laws was steadily being relaxed. All
restrictions on worship, or the number of clergy allowed, had long
since fallen into abeyance. Roman Catholic students were admitted
into Trinity College, Dublin; and the authorities of the University
expressed their readiness to appoint a Divinity Professor of their own
faith for them if they wished it. The restrictions on property were
becoming obsolete; and political restrictions were not felt so keenly
since most of the Roman Catholics would have been ineligible for the
franchise on the ground of their poverty even if the stumbling block
of religion had been removed. And the loyal sentiments expressed by
the Roman Catholics made the best of the Protestants all the more
anxious to repeal the laws which they had never regarded with favour.
Then amongst educated people not only in Ireland but elsewhere,
religion was ceasing to be the great line of cleavage; other
matters--political, social, and commercial--were occupying men's
thoughts and forming new combinations.

The political state of the country was peculiar. The real government
was carried on by the Lord Lieutenant and his officials; but as the
hereditary revenue did not supply funds sufficient for that purpose,
it was necessary to have recourse to Parliament. And the constitution
of that Parliament was as extraordinary as most things in Ireland.
A session was usually held every second year, but a Parliament might
last for a whole reign. The House of Commons consisted of 300 members,
of whom only 64 represented counties, and most of the rest nominally
sat for small boroughs, but really were appointed by certain
individuals. It was at one time computed that 124 members were
nominated by 53 peers, whilst 91 others were chosen by 52 commoners.
A large number of the members--a third of the whole house, it is
said--were in receipt of pensions, or held offices of profit under the
Crown. Of course there was no such thing as party government--in fact,
parties did not exist, though individuals might sometimes vote against
the wish of the government. The Lord Lieutenant, however, managed to
retain a majority by what would now be called flagrant and wholesale
bribery. Peerages, sinecures and pensions were bestowed with a lavish
hand; and every appointment, ecclesiastical or civil, was treated as
a reward for political services. But history affords many instances of
how assemblies constituted in what seems to be the most unsatisfactory
way possible, have been remarkable for the ability and patriotism they
have shown; and certainly this was the case with that unrepresentative
collection of Protestant landlords, Dublin barristers, and paid
officials, who composed the Irish Parliament. A "National" party arose
(I shall presently explain what was the meaning attached to that word
at the time) who strove to win for Ireland the laws which in England
had been enacted long before and which were regarded as the very
foundations of British liberty. Statutes were passed limiting the
duration of Parliament to eight years; establishing the _Habeas
Corpus_; and making judges irremoveable. Afterwards, most of the
Penal Laws were repealed; and at the same time the disabilities of the
Protestant Dissenters were abolished.

But meanwhile foreign affairs were tending to bring about changes yet
more sweeping. When England went to war with both France and Spain,
the condition of Ireland was well-nigh desperate. The country was
almost denuded of regular troops; steps had indeed been taken for the
establishment of a militia, and arms had actually been purchased; but
in the hopelessly insolvent condition of the Irish Exchequer, it was
impossible to do anything further. And a French invasion might arrive
at any moment. At this crisis the country gentlemen came forward. They
formed their tenants and dependants into regiments of volunteers, of
which they took command themselves, and strained their resources to
the utmost in order to bear the expense of the undertaking. And
the rank and file--farmers and labourers--seemed fired by the same
enthusiasm. The movement spread rapidly over the country, but it
possessed more vitality in Ulster than elsewhere. It soon became
evident that Ulster volunteers may form a body not to be disregarded.

The troubles of England, however, were not limited to the Continent.
The American War broke out. We, who view the question impartially
through the long vista of years, can see that there was much to be
said for the English claim. The mother country had been brought to the
verge of bankruptcy by a long and exhausting war waged with France for
the protection of the American colonies; surely it was only fair that
those colonies, who had taken but a very small part in the war, should
at least bear a fraction of the cost. But the cry of "No taxation
without representation" was raised; the Americans rebelled; and
England was placed in the humiliating position of being defeated by
her own colonists. During that period Ireland remained thoroughly
loyal; the efforts of Franklin and his party to enlist Ireland
on their side were as complete a failure as those of the French
emissaries had been shortly before. But it was inevitable that the
success of the American revolution should have a strong effect on
Irish affairs. Amongst the northern Presbyterians there had always
been a feeling somewhat akin to Republicanism; and (as we have seen)
many of their relations were fighting in Washington's army. Then
in Ireland there was something much worse than taxation without
representation: the English Parliament, in which Ireland had no part,
claimed to legislate for Ireland and was actually at that moment
keeping the country in a state of semi-starvation by imposing severe
restrictions on commerce. Irish politicians read the offers of
conciliation made by the English Government to the revolted colonies,
in which not only was the power of taxation given up and freedom of
internal legislation established, but all power of the Parliament of
Great Britain over America was renounced; and began to ask whether
England could withhold from loyal Irishmen the boons which she offered
to rebellious Americans. The claims were urged in Parliament and
at meetings of the volunteers and other public bodies; the English
Government for some time refused to grant any concession; but at
length, fearing an Irish Revolution, gave way on every point. They
granted, in fact, as an Irish statesman expressed it, "everything
short of separation." First (in spite of the opposition of the English
manufacturing classes) all restrictions on trade were swept away;
then, in 1782, the Declaratory Act of George I, by virtue of which the
English Parliament had claimed the right to legislate for Ireland, was
repealed, and with it went the right of the English House of Lords to
act as a court of final appeal for Ireland; the restrictions imposed
by Poyning's Act on the legislative powers of the Irish Parliament
were abolished; and the Irish Executive was made practically dependent
on the Irish Parliament by the Mutiny Act, which had previously been
perpetual, being limited to two years.

Thus Ireland became a nation in a sense she had never been before. The
only tie to any power beyond sea was that the King of England was also
King of Ireland; Ireland could legislate for itself, and enter into
commercial treaties with foreign powers; but, on the other hand, it
had to pay its own debts and provide its own army and navy.

As Grattan was not merely the most prominent politician of the period,
but also the leader of the now triumphant "National" party, we may
fairly take the views expressed by him as representative of those of
the party that followed him. A study of his speeches and letters will
show how utterly different were the ideas and aims of the National
party of 1782 from those of the Nationalists of to-day. In the first
place, Grattan was intensely loyal; that is to say, it never occurred
to him that Ireland could ever wish to be independent in the sense of
not being subject to the King of England, or could seek to be united
to any other power. Secondly, he was intensely aristocratic. His idea
was that Government should and would always be in the hands of the
propertied and educated classes; that Parliament should consist of
country gentlemen and professional men from the towns, elected on a
narrow franchise. (It must be remembered that the country gentlemen
had recently given evidence of their patriotic zeal by the
inauguration of the Volunteer movement; and the ability and eloquence
of the Irish Bar at that period is proverbial). Thirdly, he regarded
Protestant ascendancy as a fundamental necessity. It is true that
other politicians at the time saw that they were faced with a serious
difficulty: the very principles to which they had appealed and by
virtue of which they had obtained their legislative independence
made it illogical that three-fourths of the community should be
unrepresented; whereas if votes were given to the Roman Catholic
majority it was inevitable that they would soon become eligible for
seats in the Legislature; and if so, the Protestant minority must be
swamped, and the country ruled by a very different class and according
to very different ideas from those which prevailed in the Parliament
of which Grattan was a member. And would a Roman Catholic Parliament
and nation care to remain subject to a King of England whose title
depended on his being a Protestant? Grattan, however, swept all such
considerations aside with an easy carelessness. He believed that under
the influences of perfect toleration large numbers of Roman Catholics
would conform; and the remainder, quite satisfied with their position,
would never dream of attacking the Church or any other existing
institution. We may smile at his strange delusions as to the future;
but he was probably not more incorrect than many people are to-day in
their conjectures as to what the world will be like a hundred years
hence; and if we try to place ourselves in Grattan's position,
there is something to be said for his conjectures. At that time the
influence of the Church of Rome was at its lowest; Spain had almost
ceased to exist as a European power; and in France the state of
religious thought was very different from what it had been in the days
of Louis XIV. Irish Roman Catholic gentlemen who sent their sons to
be educated in France found that they came back Voltaireans; even the
young men who went to study for the priesthood in French seminaries
became embued with liberalism to an extent that would make a modern
Ultramontane shudder. Then in Ireland all local power was in the hands
of the landlords; the Roman Catholic bishops possessed hardly any
political influence. It would have required more keenness than a mere
enthusiast like Grattan possessed to foresee that the time would come
when all this would be absolutely reversed. What was there in the
eighteenth century to lead him to surmise that in the twentieth the
landlords would be ruined and gone, and that local government would
have become vested in District Councils in which Protestants would
have no power, but over which the authority of the bishops would be

So Grattan and his party entered on the new conditions of political
life with airy optimism. But there were, both in England and France,
shrewder and more far-seeing men than he, who realised from the first
that the new state of affairs could not possibly be a lasting one, but
must lead either to union or complete separation. Of course so long
as all parties happened to be of the same mind, no difficulties
would arise; but it was merely a question of time when some cause
of friction would occur, and then the inherent weakness of the
arrangement would be apparent. A moment's thought will show that
for Ireland to be subject to the English King but independent of the
English Parliament was a physical impossibility. The king would act
on the advice of his ministers who were responsible to the English
Parliament; either the Irish Parliament must obey, or a deadlock would
ensue. Then, suppose that England were to become engaged in a war of
which the people of Ireland disapproved, Ireland might not only
refuse to make any voluntary grant in aid, but even declare her
ports neutral, withdraw her troops, and pass a vote of censure on the
English Government. Again, with regard to trade; Ireland might adopt a
policy of protection against England, and enter into a treaty for free
trade with some foreign country which might be at the moment England's
deadliest rival. The confusion that might result would be endless.

Considerations such as these presented themselves at once to the
master-mind of Pitt. He pointed out that as England had relinquished
her right to limit Irish trade for the benefit of English, she was in
fairness relieved from the corresponding duty of protecting Ireland
against foreign foes; the two countries should therefore both
contribute to their joint defence in proportion to their means. He
proposed that regular treaties should be drawn up between the two
countries, by which Ireland should contribute a certain sum to the
navy, free trade between Ireland and England should be established,
and regulations made whereby the duties payable on foreign goods
should be assimilated. By such measures as these he hoped to make
things run smoothly for a time at least; but when his projects were
rejected by the Irish Parliament, he saw more clearly than ever that
sooner or later the Gordian knot would have to be cut, and that the
only way of cutting it would be the Union.



That Ireland increased in prosperity rapidly towards the end of the
eighteenth century, there is no doubt. Politicians will say that this
prosperity came from the increased powers gained by the Parliament in
1782; economists will reply that that had little if anything to say
to it; far more important causes being the abolition of trade
restrictions and the relaxation of the Penal Laws, which encouraged
people to employ their money in remunerative works at home instead of
having to send it abroad. It may sound somewhat Hibernian to mention
the rise in rents, as another cause of prosperity; yet anyone who
knows Ireland will admit that it is not impossible; and it was
certainly put forward gravely by writers of the period who were by no
means biassed towards the landlord interest. Thus McKenna, writing in
1793, says:--

    "In several parts of Ireland the rents have been tripled
    within 40 years. This was not so much the effect as the cause
    of national prosperity; ... before the above-mentioned period,
    when rent was very low and other taxes little known, half the
    year was lavished in carousing. But as soon as labour became
    compulsory, fortunes have been raised both by the tenantry and
    landlords, and civilization has advanced materially."

There was also another cause of prosperity, which modern economists
cannot look on with much favour. It was the policy of the Irish
Government to grant enormous bounties for the development of various
industries, especially the growth of corn. This no doubt gave much
employment, promoted the breaking up of grass lands, the subdivision
of farms and the erection of mills; and so long as the price of corn
was maintained, brought much prosperity to the country, and thus was
indirectly one cause of the enormous increase of population, which
rose from about 2,370,000 in 1750, to about 4,500,000 in 1797. But
when, during the nineteenth century, prices fell, the whole structure,
built on a fictitious foundation, came down with a crash.

Not long after the Irish Parliament had acquired its independence, a
controversy arose which, although it had no immediate result, yet
was of vast importance on account of the principle involved. The king
became insane. It was necessary that there should be a Regent, and it
was obvious that the Prince of Wales was the man for the post. But
the British constitution contained no provision for making the
appointment. After much deliberation, the English Parliament decided
to pass an Act appointing the Prince Regent and defining his powers,
the Royal assent being given by Commission. The two houses of the
Irish Parliament, however, without waiting for the Prince to be
invested with the Regency in England, voted an address to him asking
him to undertake the duties of Regent, without naming any limitations.
As the king recovered almost immediately, the whole matter ended in
nothing; but thoughtful men realized what was involved in the position
which the Irish Parliament had taken up. Grattan's resolution was
to the effect that in addressing the Prince to take upon himself
the government of the country the Lords and Commons of Ireland were
exercising an undoubted right and discharging an indispensable duty to
which in the emergency they alone were competent. By the Act of Henry
VIII the King of England was _ipso facto_ King of Ireland. An Irish
Act of William and Mary declared that the Crown of Ireland and all the
powers and prerogatives belonging to it should be for ever annexed to
and dependent on the Crown of England. And the Act of 1782 made the
Great Seal of Great Britain necessary to the summoning of an Irish
Parliament and the passing of Irish Acts. Now did the words "King"
and "Crown" merely refer to the individual who had the right to wear
a certain diadem, or did they include the chief executive magistrate,
whoever that might be--King, Queen or Regent? It was ably contended by
Lord Clare that the latter was the only possible view; for the Regent
of Great Britain must hold the Great Seal; and so he alone could
summon an Irish Parliament; therefore the Irish Parliament in choosing
their Regent had endangered the only bond which existed between
England and Ireland--the necessary and perpetual identity of the
executive. If the Irish Parliament appointed one person Regent and the
English Parliament another, separation or war might be the result; and
even as it was, the appointment of the Prince with limited powers in
England and unlimited in Ireland, must lead to confusion. But more
than that; suppose that the House of Brunswick were to die out, and
another Act of Settlement were to become necessary, might not the
Irish Parliament choose a different sovereign from the one chosen by
England? Constitutional lawyers recollected that such a difficulty
nearly arose between Scotland and England, but was settled by the Act
of Union; and that it was the recognition of Lambert Simnel by the
Irish Parliament that was the immediate cause of the passing of
Poyning's Act; and saw what the revived powers of the Irish Parliament
might lead to.

Although the Parliament had now become independent, there was still
nothing like a responsible ministry as we now understand it, and the
government managed to maintain its control, partly by the peculiar
composition of the Parliament (to which I have already referred), and
partly by the disposal of favours. And it cannot be denied that the
Parliament passed much useful legislation. Two questions, however,
were now coming forward on which the whole political condition of the
country depended, and which were closely entwined with one another.
The first was the reform of the legislature, so as to make the House
of Commons a really representative body; the second was the final
abolition of the Penal Laws. As to reform, the Parliament was
naturally slow (did any political assembly in the world ever divest
itself of its own privileges without pressure from without?); but as
to the abolition of the Penal Laws there was a cordiality which is
remarkable, and which is seldom referred to by the Nationalist writers
of the present day when they discourse about the Penal Laws. With
regard to social matters--such as admission to Corporations, taking
Degrees at the University, and holding medical professorships,--there
was hardly any hesitation; the political question, however, was more
difficult. In both England and Ireland at that time a forty-shilling
freehold gave a vote. That was a matter of slight importance in
England, as the number of small freeholders was limited, land being
usually let for a term of years. In Ireland, however, the ordinary
arrangement was for peasants to hold their scraps of land for life;
and land having recently increased in value enormously, a large
proportion of these were of the value of forty shillings. Hence, the
whole constituency would be altered; thousands of new electors, all of
them poor and illiterate, would be added in many constituencies;
and the representation of the country would at once pass into Roman
Catholic hands. To fix a higher qualification for Roman Catholics than
for Protestants would be not to abolish but to perpetuate the Penal
Laws; to deprive the existing voters of the franchise was out of the
question; hence the franchise was granted but not without considerable
hesitation on the part of the more thoughtful members. On the other
hand it was urged with great force that to give these privileges to
the uneducated mass but to continue the disabilities of the Roman
Catholic gentry by not allowing them to sit in Parliament was absurd.
The proposal to abolish the religious test in the case of Members of
Parliament was, however, defeated.

Looking back, with the light of later history to aid us, it is
interesting to see how much more correct were Lord Clare's predictions
of the future than Grattan's. Grattan (as I have already explained),
taking his ideas from his lay friends among the cultured classes, and
seeing the decline of the Papal influence on the continent, considered
that anyone who regarded Popery as a political influence of the future
totally misunderstood the principles which then governed human action;
for controverted points of religion (such as belief in the Real
Presence) had ceased to be a principle of human action. He maintained
that the cause of the Pope, as a political force, was as dead as that
of the Stuarts; that priestcraft was a superannuated folly; and
that in Ireland a new political religion had arisen, superseding
all influence of priest and parson, and burying for ever theological
discord in the love of civil and religious liberty. Clare, who was
not only a shrewder observer but a much more deeply read man, realized
that in order to find out what would guide the Roman Catholic Church
in the future one must look not at the passing opinions of laymen but
at the constitution of the Church; he foresaw that if the artificial
supports which maintained the Protestant ascendancy were removed, the
mere force of numbers would bring about a Roman Catholic ascendancy;
and in enumerating the results of that he even said that the time
would come when the Church would decide on all questions as to

In order to show how far Lord Clare's expectations have been verified,
I will quote, not the words of an Orange speaker or writer, but of
an eminent Roman Catholic, the Rev. J.T. McNicholas, O.P., in his
recently published book on "The New Marriage Legislation" which, being
issued with an _Imprimatur_, will be received by all parties as a work
of authority. He says:--

    "Many Protestants may think the Church presumptuous in
    decreeing their marriages valid or invalid according as they
    have or have not complied with certain conditions. As the
    Church cannot err, neither can she be presumptuous. She alone
    is judge of the extent of her power. Anyone validly baptised,
    either in the Church or among heretics, becomes thereby a
    subject of the Roman Catholic Church."

But whilst politicians were amusing themselves with fervid but useless
oratory in Parliament, stirring events were taking place elsewhere.
To trace in these pages even a bare outline of the main incidents of
those terrible years is impossible; and yet without doing so it is not
easy to obtain a correct view of the tangled skein of Irish politics
at the time. In studying any history of the period, we cannot but be
struck by observing on the one hand how completely in some respects
circumstances and ideas have changed since then; it is hard to realize
that Ulster was for a time the scene of wild disorder--assassination,
arson, burglary and every form of outrage--brought about mainly by a
society which claimed to be, and to a certain extent was, formed by a
union of the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic parties--whilst the south
and west remained fairly orderly and loyal. And yet on the other hand
we find many of the phenomena which have been characteristic of later
periods of Irish political agitation, already flourishing. Boycotting
existed in fact, though the name was not yet invented; also nocturnal
raids for arms, the sacking of lonely farmhouses, the intimidation of
witnesses and the mutilation of cattle. Again, we see all through the
history of Irish secret societies that their organization has been so
splendid that the ordinary law has been powerless against them; for
witnesses will not give evidence and juries will not convict if they
know that to do so will mean certain ruin and probable death; and yet
those same societies have always possessed one element of weakness:
however terrible their oaths of secrecy have been, the Government
have never had the slightest difficulty in finding out, through
their confidential agents, everything that has taken place at their
meetings, and what their projects are.

As early as 1785 there had been two societies carrying on something
like civil war on a small scale in the north. How they originated,
is a matter of dispute; but at any rate before they had long been in
existence, the religious element became supreme--as it does sooner
or later in every Irish movement; whatever temporary alliances may be
formed for other reasons, religion always ultimately becomes the line
of cleavage. In this case, the "Peep of Day Boys" were Protestants,
the "Defenders" Roman Catholic. Some of the outrages committed by
the Defenders were too horrible to put in print; many Roman Catholic
families fled the country on account of the treatment which they
received from the Peep of Day Boys, and took refuge among their
co-religionists in the south.

But now a greater crisis was at hand. The terrible upheaval of the
French Revolution was shaking European society to its foundation. The
teaching of Paine and Voltaire had borne fruit; the wildest socialism
was being preached in every land. Ulster had shown sympathy with
Republican ideas at the time of the American War of Independence; and
now a large number of the Presbyterians of Belfast eagerly accepted
the doctrines of Jacobinism. Nothing can sound more charmingly
innocent than the objects of the United Irish Society as put forward
publicly in 1791; the members solemnly and religiously pledged
themselves to use all their influence to obtain an impartial and
adequate representation of the Irish nation in Parliament; and as a
means to this end to endeavour to secure the co-operation of Irishmen
of all religious persuasions. Some writers have tried to make out that
if the Relief Act of 1793 had been extended in 1795 by another Act
enabling Roman Catholics to become Members of Parliament; and if
a Reform Bill had been passed making the House of Commons really
representative, the society would never have been anything but a
perfectly legal and harmless association. Of course it is always
possible to suggest what might have been; but in this case it is far
more probable that if Parliament had been so reformed as to be a fair
reflex of the opinion of the country, it would immediately have passed
a resolution declaring Ireland a Republic and forming an alliance with
France; for whatever objects were stated in public, the real guiding
spirits of the United Irish Society from the beginning (as of other
societies of a later date with equally innocent names) were ardent
republicans, who joined the society in order to further those views;
it is absurd to suggest that men who were actually in correspondence
with the leaders of the Directory and were trying to bring about an
invasion from France in order to aid them in establishing a Republic
on Jacobin lines would have been deterred by the passing of a Bill
making it lawful for Roman Catholics to sit in Parliament. Nor again
is it reasonable to contend that earnest-minded Roman Catholics would,
in consequence of the failure of such a Bill to become law, have
rebelled against a Government under which they were able to exercise
their religion in peace and which was at that moment founding and
endowing a College for the training of candidates for the priesthood,
in favour of one which had confiscated the seminaries and was sending
the priests to the guillotine. The fact seems to have been that the
society was formed by Presbyterians, for political reasons; they tried
to get the Roman Catholics to join them, but the lower class Roman
Catholics cared very little about seats in Parliament; so the founders
of the society cleverly added abolition of tithes and taxes, and
reduction of rents, to their original programme; this drew in numbers
of Roman Catholics, whose principles were really the very antithesis
of Jacobinism.

It is a fair instance of the confusion which has always reigned
throughout Irish politics, that after the Relief Act of 1793 had been
passed, the Catholic Committee expressed their jubilation by voting
£2,000 for a statue to the King, and presenting a gold medal to their
Secretary, Wolfe Tone, who was at that moment scheming to set up a
Jacobin Republic.

This celebrated man, Wolfe Tone, was not unlike many others who have
posed as Irish patriots. Hating the very name of England, he schemed
to get one appointment after another from the English Government--at
one time seeking to be put in command of a filibustering expedition to
raid the towns of South America, at another time trying for a post in
India; hating the Pope and the priests, he acted as Secretary to the
Catholic Committee; then hating Grattan and the Irish Parliament and
everything to say to it, he showed his patriotism by devoting his
energies to trying to persuade the French Republican Government to
invade Ireland.

On the 21st of September, 1795, an incident occurred which, though
apparently trivial at the time, was destined to be of great historical
importance. Ulster had now for some time been in a state bordering
on anarchy; not only were the secret societies constantly at war,
but marauding bands, pretending to belong to one or other of the
societies, were ravishing the country. Something like a pitched battle
was fought between the Protestants and the Defenders, in which the
Defenders, although they were the stronger party and made the attack,
were utterly routed. In the evening, the victors agreed to form
themselves into a society which should bear the name of William of
Orange. There had previously been some societies called by that name;
but this was the foundation of the Orange Society of the present day.
The oath which at first was taken by every member of the society was
to defend the king and his heirs so long as he or they support the
Protestant ascendancy. (This conditional form of oath of allegiance
has long since been abolished.) It was industriously circulated by
the United Irishmen that the actual words of the oath were: "I will be
true to the King and Government and I will exterminate as far as I am
able the Catholics of Ireland." There is no evidence, however, that
any words of the kind ever formed part of an oath prescribed by the
Orange Society; and those who make the statement now must be aware
that they are repeating a calumny.

After this time, the quarrel gradually tended more and more to become
a religious one; the Peep of Day Boys becoming merged in the Orange
Society, and the Protestants slowly withdrawing from the United Irish
Society; on the other hand, the Defenders ultimately coalesced
with the United Irishmen and thus, by an illogical combination of
inconsistent forces, formed the party which brought about the terrible

The close of the year 1796 was one of the most critical moments in the
history of England. On the continent the power of republican France
under the genius of Napoleon and his generals was sweeping all before
it. England was in a state of bankruptcy, and almost as completely
isolated as she had been in the time of Elizabeth. Wolfe Tone and his
Irish plotters saw their opportunity as clearly as their predecessors
had in the times of Edward Bruce and Philip II. They laid a statement
of the condition of Ireland before the French Government which,
though as full of exaggerations as most things in Irish history, was
sufficiently based on fact to lead the French Government to believe
that if a French force were landed in Ireland, the Irishmen in the
British Army and Navy would mutiny, the Yeomen would join the French,
and the whole of the North of Ireland would rise in rebellion.

Accordingly a French fleet of forty-three sail, carrying about 15,000
troops, sailed from Brest for Bantry Bay. No human power could have
prevented their landing; and had they done so, they could have
marched to Cork and seized the town without any difficulty; the United
Irishmen would have risen, and the whole country might have been
theirs. But the same power which saved England from the Armada of
Catholic Spain 200 years before now shielded her from the invasion of
republican France. Storms and fogs wrought havoc throughout the French
fleet. In less than a month from the time of their starting, Wolfe
Tone and the shattered remains of the invading force were back at
Brest, without having succeeded in landing a single man on the Irish

Had this projected invasion taken place fifty years before, amongst
the French troops would have been the Irish brigade, who were always
yearning for the opportunity of making an attack on their native land.
But half a century had caused strange changes; the Irish brigade had
fallen with the collapse of the French monarchy; and some of the few
survivors were now actually serving under King George III.

It was a remarkable fact that no one in the neighbourhood of Bantry
showed the slightest sympathy with the Frenchmen. The few resident
gentry, the moment the danger was evident, called together the
yeomanry and organized their tenantry to oppose the foe--though the
utmost they could have done would have been to delay the progress
of the invaders for a little at the cost of their own lives; and the
peasantry did all in their power to support their efforts.

If it is possible to analyse the state of political feeling at
this time, we may say that first there was a very limited number of
thoughtful men who saw that after the Acts of 1782 and 1793 either
separation or union was inevitable, and who consequently opposed all
idea of parliamentary reform, because they thought it would tend to
separation and make union more difficult. A second party (a leading
member of which was Charlemont) approved of the existing state of
things, and believed that it could be continued; a third (of which
Grattan was one) fondly imagined that all would go smoothly if only a
Catholic Relief Bill and a Reform Bill were carried, and so directed
all their efforts towards those objects; and a fourth believed that
no reform would be granted without pressure, and so were ready even to
work up a rebellion in order to obtain it; but that was a very small
party at best, and was soon carried away by the whirlwind of those
revolutionists who cared nothing about the Parliament then sitting
in Dublin, or about any other possible Parliament which might own
allegiance to the King of England, for their real aim was to sever
Ireland from England altogether and establish a separate republic. As
Wolfe Tone wrote: "To break the connection with England and to assert
the independence of my country were my objects."

It is this party that is represented by the Nationalists of to-day,
except that when they look for foreign aid, their hopes lie in the
direction of Germany rather than France. I know that this remark may
call forth a storm of denials from those who judge by the speeches
which Nationalist leaders have made in England when trying to win the
Radical vote, or in the Colonies when aiming at getting money from
people who had not studied the question. But I judge not by speeches
such as those, but by statements continually put forward by political
writers and orators when they have cast off the mask and are
addressing their sympathizers in Ireland and America:--

    "The Nationalists of Ireland stand for the complete
    independence of Ireland, and they stand for nothing else. In
    the English Empire they have no part or lot, and they wish to
    have no part or lot. We stand for the Irish nation, free
    and independent and outside the English Empire."--(_Irish

    "Our aim is the establishment of an Irish Republic, for the
    simple and sole reason that no other ending of our quarrel
    with England could be either adequate or final. This is the
    one central and vital point of agreement among all who are
    worthy of the name of Irish Nationalists--that Ireland is
    a separate nation--separate in thought, mind, in ideals and
    outlooks. Come what may, we work for Ireland as separate from
    England as Germany is separate."--(Ib.)

    "Year by year the pilgrimage to the grave of Theobald Wolfe
    Tone grows more significant of the rising tide of militant and
    uncompromising Nationalism, more significant of the fact that
    Young Ireland has turned away from the false thing that has
    passed for patriotism, and has begun to reverence only the
    men and the things and the memories that stand for Ireland an
    independent nation. Paying tribute to the memory of men
    like Tone, lifting up the language of Ireland from the mire,
    linking up the present with the old days of true patriotic
    endeavour--these are the doings that will eventually bring our
    land from the mazes of humbug into the clear dawn that heralds
    Nationhood."--(_The Leinster Leader_.)

    "The object aimed at by the advanced National party is the
    recovery of Ireland's national independence and the severance
    of all political connection with England."--(_J. Devoy_.)

    "In the better days that are approaching, the soil of Ireland
    will be populated by a race of Irishmen free and happy and
    thriving, owning no master under the Almighty, and owning no
    flag but the green flag of an independent Irish nation."--(_W.
    O'Brien, M.P._)

    "In supporting Home Rule for Ireland we abandon no principle
    of Irish nationhood as laid down by the fathers in the Irish
    movement for independence, from Wolfe Tone and Emmett to John
    Mitchell, and from Mitchell to Kickham and Parnell."--(_J.

    "Our ultimate goal is the national independence of our

    "In its essence the National movement is the same to-day as it
    was in the days of Hugh O'Niell, Owen Roe, Emmett, or of Wolfe

    "We are as much rebels to England's rule as our forefathers
    were in '98."--(Ib.)

    "I remember when Parnell was asked if he would accept as a
    final settlement the Home Rule compromise proposed by Mr.
    Gladstone. I remember his answer. He said 'I believe in the
    policy of taking from England anything we can wring from her
    which will strengthen our hands to go for more.'"--(Ib.)

    "When we have undermined English misgovernment we have paved
    the way for Ireland to take her place among the nations of the
    earth. And let us not forget that that is the ultimate goal
    at which all we Irishmen aim. None of us, whether we be
    in America or in Ireland, or wherever we may be, will be
    satisfied until we have destroyed the last link which keeps
    Ireland bound to England."

    (_C.S. Parnell_.)

    "I know there are many people in America who think that the
    means which we are operating to-day for the good of Ireland
    are not sufficiently sharp and decisive ... I would suggest
    to those who have constituted themselves the censors of our
    movement, would it not be well to give our movement a fair
    chance--to allow us to have an Irish Parliament that will give
    our people all authority over the police and the judiciary
    and all government in the nation, and when equipped with
    comparative freedom, then would be the time for those who
    think we should destroy the last link that binds us to England
    to operate by whatever means they think best to achieve that
    great and desirable end? I am quite sure that I speak for the
    United Irish League in the matter."

    (_J. Devlin, M.P._)

    "What was it, after all, that Wolfe Tone, and Fitzgerald, and
    Mitchell, and Smith O'Brien, and O'Meagher Condon, and Allen,
    Larkins and O'Brien, and all the other gallant Irishmen strove
    for, who from generation to generation were inspired with
    the spirit of revolution? ... In what respect does our policy
    differ from the purpose of these men?"--(Ib.)

    "In my opinion, and in the opinion of the vast majority of the
    advanced Nationalists of Ireland, the Repeal of the Union
    is not the full Nationalist demand; separation is the full
    Nationalist demand; that is the right on which we stand, the
    Nationalist right of Ireland."--(_J. Dillon, M.P._)

    "I should never have dedicated my life to this great struggle
    if I did not see at the end the crowning and the consummation
    of our work--a free and independent nation."--(Ib.)

    "We aim at nothing else than establishing a new nation upon
    the map of Europe."--(_Dr. Douglas Hyde_.)

    "If there is any man in this audience who says to us as
    representing that Parliamentary movement--'I don't believe
    in your Parliamentary ideas, I don't accept Home Rule, I go
    beyond it; I believe in an independent Irish nation'--if any
    man says this, I say that we don't disbelieve in it. These
    are our tactics--if you are to take a fortress, first take the
    outer works."--(_T.M. Kettle, M.P._)

    "We want to carry on the work that the Fenians tried to do to
    a triumphal issue. The Fenians stood for an Irish Republic,
    and so do we. No policy which left England in control of the
    Irish Nation could be regarded as final. There is only one
    way, and that is to get the absolute and complete independence
    of Ireland, free from English rule and English domination. The
    Fenians did not go to the Prime Minister for concessions.
    No: they started into arms, and if people of the present
    day believed in that they should arm themselves to get
    the independence of Ireland."--(_B. Hobson_, speaking at a
    demonstration at Cork, on the anniversary of the "martyrdom"
    of Allen, Larkins, and O'Brien.)

    "Should the Germans land in Ireland, they will be received
    with willing hearts and strong hands, and should England be
    their destination, it is to be hoped that they will find time
    to disembark 100,000 rifles and a few score of ammunition for
    the same in this country, and twelve months later this Ireland
    will be as free as the Lord God meant it should be."--(_Major
    McBride_, who organized an Irish force to aid the Boers
    against England, and has consequently been appointed to a
    municipal inspectorship by the Corporation of Dublin.)

    "I appeal to you most earnestly to do all in your power to
    prevent your countrymen from entering the degraded British
    army. If you prevent 500 men from enlisting you do nearly as
    good work, if not quite so exciting, as if you shot 500 men on
    the field of battle, and also you are making the path smoother
    for the approaching conquest of England by Germany."--(Ib.)



Early in 1797 it became evident to all but the most shortsighted of
politicians that a rebellion, of which none could foretell the result,
was imminent. As one shrewd observer wrote: "I look upon it that
Ireland must soon stand in respect to England in one of three
situations--united with her, the Legislatures being joined; separated
from her, and forming a republic; or as a half-subdued Province." The
supporters of law and order were naturally divided in opinion as to
the course to pursue. Some were in favour of a policy of conciliation.
Grattan induced his friend Ponsonby to bring forward another Reform
Bill, abolishing the religious test and the separate representation
of boroughs, and dividing each county into districts; and when he saw
that the motion could not be carried, delivered an impassioned speech,
declaring that he would never again attend the House of Commons, and
solemnly walked out. It was a piece of acting, too transparent to
deceive anybody. Grattan was a disappointed man--disappointed not
so much because his proposals were not adopted, as because his own
followers were slipping away from him. They had begun to realize that
he was an orator but not a statesman; his ideas were wild, fanciful
dreams. Whilst vehemently upholding the English connection he was
playing into the hands of England's opponents by reminding them that
England's difficulty was Ireland's opportunity; whilst hating the
very idea of a Union, he was making the existing system impossible
by preventing the passing of a commercial treaty; whilst passionately
supporting Protestant ascendancy, he was advocating a measure which
at that moment would have brought about the establishment either of a
Roman Catholic ascendancy or more probably of a Jacobin Republic.
He saw his supporters dwindling slowly from seventy-seven in 1783 to
thirty in 1797. Men were now alive to the fact that the country was in
an alarming condition. They saw what had happened in France but a few
years before, and how little Louis XVI had gained by trying to pose
as a liberator and a semi-republican; and, knowing that the rebellion
with which they were faced was an avowed imitation of the French
Revolution, they were coming to the opinion that stern measures were
necessary. In almost every county of three Provinces conspirators were
at work, trying to bring down on their country a foreign invasion, and
stirring up the people to rebellion and crime by appealing to their
agrarian grievances and cupidity, their religious passion, and the
discontent produced by great poverty. For a second time it appeared
that Wolfe Tone would succeed in obtaining aid from abroad--this time
from Spain and Holland; and the rebel party in Ireland were now so
well organized, and Jacobin feeling was so widespread, that had he
done so, it was almost inevitable that Ireland would have been lost to
England. But once more the unexpected was destined to occur. Early in
February Jervis shattered the power of the Spanish Fleet off Cape St.
Vincent; and in the summer, just when the Dutch ships, with 14,000
troops on board, were ready to start, and resistance on the part of
England seemed hopeless, a violent gale arose and for weeks the whole
fleet remained imprisoned in the river; and when at length they did
succeed in making a start, the English were ready to meet them within
a few miles of the coast of Holland; after a tremendous battle the
broken remnant of the Dutch fleet returned to the harbour defeated.
The rage and mortification of Wolfe Tone at his second failure knew no

In the North of Ireland, however, the rebellion had practically begun.
The magistrates were powerless; the classes who had supported the
gentry during the Volunteer Movement were amongst the disaffected. The
country was in a state of anarchy; murders and outrages of every
sort were incessant. That the measures which the Government and
their supporters took to crush the rising rebellion were illegal
and barbarous, cannot be denied; that they in fact by their violence
hurried on the rebellion is not improbable. But it is still more
probable that they were the means of preventing its success; just as,
had the Government of Louis XVI shown more vigour at the outset of the
Revolution, the Reign of Terror would probably never have taken place.
Through evidence obtained by torture, the Government got possession
of vast stores of arms which the rebels had prepared; by twice
seizing the directors of the movement they deprived it of its central
organization; and if they were the cause of the rebellion breaking out
sooner than had been intended, the result was that they were able
to quell it in one district before it had time to come to a head in

War at best is very terrible; and there were two circumstances which
made the war in Ireland more terrible than others. It was a religious
war, and it was a civil war. It often happens that when religion is
turned to hatred it stirs up the worst and most diabolical passions
of the human breast; and the evil feelings brought on by a civil war
necessarily last longer than animosity against a foreign foe. The
horrors of 1798 make one shudder to think what must happen in Ireland
if civil war ever breaks out there again.

From Ulster the United Ireland movement spread during 1797 to
Leinster, as far south as Wexford, and began to assume a more
decidedly religious character. As a contemporary historian wrote:--

    "So inveterately rooted are the prejudices of religious
    antipathy in the minds of the lower classes of Irish
    Romanists, that in any civil war, however originating from
    causes unconnected with religion, not all the efforts of their
    gentry, or even priests, to the contrary could (if I am not
    exceedingly mistaken) restrain them from converting it into a
    religious quarrel."

(Had he lived a century later, he might have used the same words.)
But though this was generally the case, there were complications as
embarrassing as they usually are in Irish affairs. The yeomanry
were mainly Protestants, but the majority of the militia were Roman
Catholics, and those commanded by Lord Fingall entirely so. There
was much disaffection in both branches of the service; besides which,
officers and men alike lacked the discipline and experience of
regular troops; but as the supply of soldiers from England was wholly
inadequate for the situation, the Government were obliged to rely on
any forces they could obtain. As the rebellion drifted into being a
Roman Catholic movement, the Orangemen became intensely loyal, and
were eager to fight on the king's side, but the Government dreaded
lest by employing them they might offend the militia. By 1798, when
the rebellion in the south was at its height, the north had become
comparatively calm. The severities of the previous year had had some
salutary effect; the staunch Protestants had no desire to aid in what
had become a Roman Catholic rebellion; and the republican party had
seen that the universal fraternity of the Jacobin Government of France
had turned into a military despotism which was engaged in crushing the
neighbouring republics and was almost at war with the sister Republic
of America.

But whilst Ulster was growing calmer, the condition of the south
was becoming daily more appalling. On the 23rd of May the rebellion
actually broke out in the counties of Dublin, Kildare and Meath; and
many skirmishes took place in which the losses on the king's side were
comparatively few but those of the rebels enormous, in consequence of
their ignorance of the use of firearms. The better-trained forces soon
got to know that an Irish peasant when armed with a pike was a deadly
foe; but when armed with a musket was almost harmless. This part of
the campaign will always be specially memorable for the attack made
on the little town of Prosperous, in the county of Kildare. It was
cleverly made in the early morning; the garrison, taken unawares, were
nearly all killed; the Commander, Captain Swayne, being amongst the
victims. It was soon afterwards found out that the leader of the
rebels was Dr. Esmonde, a gentleman of good family, and first
lieutenant in a regiment of yeomanry stationed a few miles off, who
had been dining with Captain Swayne the previous evening. He appeared
in his regiment the next day, but was identified by a yeoman who had
seen him at Prosperous; arrested, tried, and hanged as a traitor.

A Nationalist has recently referred to him as a martyr to the cause of
Irish liberty.

By the month of June Wexford had become the centre of the rebellion.
In that county it had assumed an essentially religious character
(there being, however, a few exceptions on each side), and in no
other part of Ireland was the war so terrible either on account of its
magnitude or barbarity. The passions of the ignorant peasantry were
inflamed by all Protestants being spoken of as Orangemen and a report
being diligently circulated that all Orangemen had sworn to destroy
the Catholic Faith--exactly the same course that was followed a
hundred years later. Roman Catholic priests, wearing their sacred
vestments and carrying crucifixes, led the rebel forces; and the
ignorant peasants, believing them to be endowed with miraculous
powers, followed them with the blind adherence that only fanaticism
can inspire. And yet--so strangely contradictory is everything in
Ireland--there is clear evidence that amongst those priestly agitators
many were at heart deists, who were making use of religion in the
hope of furthering Jacobinism. Many Protestants saved their lives by
apostatizing, or by allowing their children to be rebaptized; it is
but fair to add, however, that several of the older priests, shocked
at the conduct of the rebels, concealed heretics in their houses and
churches; and that all through the war many priests, in spite of the
difficulty of their position, remained loyal and did what they could
to aid the king's troops.

The rebels for some weeks held command of the town and county of
Wexford, their chief camp being at a place called Vinegar Hill. The
country around was searched and plundered; the Protestants who were
captured were brought into the rebel camp, and there deliberately
butchered in cold blood. How many perished it is impossible to say;
the number must have been at the least 400.

I would willingly pass over this dreadful episode. I have no more
desire to dwell on it than I have on Cromwell's conduct at Drogheda.
I regard it merely as one of those terrible incidents which alas have
taken place in almost every campaign. It was probably equalled in
character if not in magnitude by several outrages committed by the
other side; and certainly parallels could be found in the French
invasion of Algeria fifty years later and in many other wars of the
nineteenth century. When men have been fired with the diabolical
passions that war arouses, and have grown accustomed to the ghastly
sights on battlefields, they cease to be reasoning beings; they become
fiends. But unfortunately it is necessary to explain what really
occurred, as it is to Vinegar Hill and its terrible associations that
the Nationalists of to-day refer with triumph. Songs in praise of the
massacre are sung at Nationalist gatherings; and W. Redmond, speaking
at Enniscorthy (close to the scene of the massacre) on the 110th
anniversary of the outrages said: "The heroic action of the men who
fought and died around Vinegar Hill was the heritage of all Ireland.
Whatever measure of comparative freedom we now enjoy was entirely
attributable to the Insurrection of '98. It was the pikemen of '98 who
made the world and England understand that Irishmen knew how to fight
for their rights, and it is to the knowledge of that fact by England
that we may look for the real driving force of any effort we may make
for our liberty. The Irish people are in no position to resort to
arms, but the spirit is there, and by demonstrations like this we show
our rulers that it is essential for any real and lasting peace that
the aspirations of the patriots of '98 must be satisfied, and that a
full measure of National freedom must be granted to Ireland."

(It will be observed that in the opinion of this orator--a prominent
Nationalist Member of Parliament, who was selected to go round the
Colonies collecting money for the Home Rule cause--the possession of
an Independent Parliament, of everything in fact short of separation,
goes for nothing; it is only those who rebelled against that
Parliament who are to be regarded as models for modern Nationalists to
follow. It is interesting also to note the different views which have
been put forward by Irish politicians with regard to the rebellion.
In 1843 the leaders of the Repeal Association stated in one of their
manifestoes, as an argument in favour of repeal, that England had
resorted to the diabolical expedient of fomenting a rebellion in order
to distract the country and give excuse for military violence and so
bring about a Union. But the Nationalists of to-day have so completely
identified themselves with the rebels of 1798 that within the last few
years splendid monuments have been erected in all the towns of Wexford
and the adjoining counties; some of these are bronze figures of
patriots brandishing pikes, others are representations of the priestly
leaders of the rebel forces. These monuments have been unveiled with
great ceremony, impassioned speeches being made on the occasion by
leading orators, both clerical and lay).

In order to realize the terrible position in which the loyalists
were placed, we must recollect that whilst the Wexford rebels were
triumphant in that county, and the movement seemed to be spreading
into Kilkenny and Carlow, there was a fresh outbreak in the north;
it appeared probable that Dublin might rise at any moment; the French
fleet was hourly expected, and the long looked-for aid from England
was still delayed. But the Irish loyalist minority showed the same
dogged determination that they had done in the time of James II, and
that they will show again in the future.

The numbers engaged in the different battles and skirmishes have
been variously estimated; it seems that at the battle of Arklow the
loyalists did not exceed 1,600, of whom nearly all were militia and
yeomanry, with a few artillery; whilst the rebels, commanded by Father
Michael Murphy, amounted to at least 20,000. Yet after a terrible
afternoon's fighting the rebels, disheartened by the fall of their
leader (whom they had believed to be invulnerable) retired, leaving
more than 1,000 dead on the field.

Soon, however, the reinforcements from England began to arrive; and
the French invasion, on which the rebels were building their hopes,
was still delayed. By July, although fighting was still going on in
the Wicklow mountains and some other parts of the country, the worst
of the rebellion in Wexford was crushed, and an Act of Amnesty was
carried through Parliament. It is worthy of note that the trials of
the rebels which took place in Dublin were conducted with a fairness
and a respect for the forms of law which are probably unparalleled in
the history of other countries at moments of such terrible excitement;
we can contrast them for instance with the steps that were taken in
putting down the outbreak of the Commune in Paris in 1871. It is easy
now to argue that, as the force of the rebellion was being broken, it
would have been more humane to have allowed those who had plotted and
directed it to go unpunished. But as Lecky has pointed out, "it was
scarcely possible to exaggerate the evil they had produced, and they
were immeasurably more guilty than the majority of those who had
already perished.

"They had thrown back, probably for generations, the civilization of
their country. They had been year by year engaged in sowing the seed
which had ripened into the harvest of blood. They had done all in
their power to bring down upon Ireland the two greatest curses that
can afflict a nation--the curse of civil war, and the curse of foreign
invasion; and although at the outset of their movement they had
hoped to unite Irishmen of all creeds, they had ended by lashing
the Catholics into frenzy by deliberate and skilful falsehood. The
assertion that the Orangemen had sworn to exterminate the Catholics
was nowhere more prominent than in the newspaper which was the
recognised organ of the United Irish leaders. The men who had spread
this calumny through an ignorant and excitable Catholic population,
were assuredly not less truly murderers than those who had fired the
barn at Scullabogue or piked the Protestants on Wexford Bridge."

A strong party, however, led by Lord Clare were in favour of clemency
wherever possible; and there seemed good reason for hoping that the
rebellion would slowly die out. Cooke, the Under Secretary, wrote
on the 9th of August: "The country is by no means settled nor secure
should the French land, but I think secure if they do not." Suddenly,
however, the alarming news came that the French were actually in
Ireland. Wolfe Tone and his fellow-plotters, undaunted by their
previous failures, had continued ceaseless in their efforts to induce
Napoleon to make an indirect attack on England by invading Ireland;
and if they had succeeded in persuading the French Government to send
an expedition two months earlier when the rebellion was at its height
and the English reinforcements had not arrived, Ireland must have been
lost. Once again, however, fortune favoured the English cause. The
first instalment of the French fleet, carrying 1,000 soldiers, did
not start until the 6th of August, and only arrived on the 22nd. They
landed at Killala, in Mayo, and were not a little surprised at the
state of things existing there. They had expected to find a universal
feeling of republicanism; but instead of this, whilst the Protestants
refused to join them, the Roman Catholic peasantry received them with
delight, and declared their readiness to take arms for France and the
Blessed Virgin. "God help these simpletons," said one of the officers,
"if they knew how little we care about the Pope or his religion, they
would not be so hot in expecting help from us!"

Arriving at the wrong time and the wrong place, the expedition was
foredoomed to failure. The French were brave men and trained soldiers;
but they found their Irish allies perfectly useless. They succeeded
in capturing Castlebar, and routing a force of militia; but
their campaign was brief; on the 8th of September the whole force
surrendered. The Connaught rebellion was speedily and severely put

The second instalment of the French invasion consisted of one ship.
They landed on the Island of Arran on the 16th of September; but after
spending eight hours on shore, re-embarked and sailed away to Norway.

The third instalment was, however, more serious. It consisted of a
ship of the line, eight frigates and a schooner, having on board
an army of about 3,000 men. They arrived at Lough Swilly early in
October, where they were met by a more powerful English fleet, and
nearly all were destroyed or captured. Amongst the prisoners taken
was Wolfe Tone; who soon afterwards in order to avoid a felon's death,
ended his life by suicide.[See note at the end of the Volume]

A fortnight later the fourth and last instalment arrived at Killala
Bay; but the Admiral, hearing that the rebellion was over, promptly
weighed anchor and returned to France. Thus ingloriously ended the
French attempts at the invasion of Ireland. The calling-in of the
foreigner had been of as little use to the cause of Irish rebellion as
it had been two centuries before.

By the end of the year the worst of the rebellion was over. But the
evil it had wrought was incalculable. How many had perished during
that terrible summer will never be known; the numbers have been
variously computed at from 15,000 to 70,000. At the outset of the
rebellion--in February 1798--Lord Clare had made a memorable speech in
the House of Lords, which has been so often misquoted that it is well
here to cite the passage in full:--

    "If conciliation be a pledge of national tranquillity and
    contentment; if it be a spell to allay popular ferment; there
    is not a nation in Europe in which it has had so fair a trial
    as in the Kingdom of Ireland. For a period of nearly twenty
    years a liberal and unvaried system of concession and
    conciliation has been pursued and acted on by the British
    Government. Concession and conciliation have produced only a
    fresh stock of grievances; other discontents of Ireland have
    kept pace with her prosperity; for I am bold to say there
    is not a nation on the habitable globe which has advanced in
    cultivation and commerce, in agriculture and in manufactures
    with the same rapidity in the same period. Her progress is now
    retarded, and it is a heart-breaking spectacle to every man
    who loves the country to see it arrested only by the perverse
    and factious folly of the people, stimulated and encouraged by
    disappointed statesmen."

Within a few months after that speech was made, Ireland was well-nigh
ruined. All the progress in material prosperity which had taken place
in the years immediately following 1782 was swept away. The national
debt, which in 1791 had stood at £2,442,890, involving an annual
charge of £142,716, had risen to £26,662,640, with an annual charge of
£1,395,735; the exports of woollen goods had almost ceased, and those
of linen gone down by more than a third; other industries showed
a decay nearly as lamentable; public bankruptcy seemed inevitable.
Though the violent outbreak of rebellion had been put down, many parts
of the country were in a state of anarchy. In the west, armed bands
went about every night houghing the cattle and murdering all who dared
to oppose them. If any man prosecuted one of the offenders, he did
it at the moral certainty of being murdered. The same fate hung over
every magistrate who sent a hougher to gaol, every witness who gave
evidence against him, every juryman who convicted him. In Limerick one
man ventured on his own part and on that of eight others to prosecute
an offender who had destroyed their property. All nine were murdered
in one night. It was not safe to travel along the high road within
six miles of Dublin. The militia had, from their misbehaviour in
the field, and their extreme licentiousness, fallen into universal
contempt and abhorrence; officers of English regiments declared that
it would be impossible to maintain discipline amongst their troops
if they remained in such a country. It was discovered that the rebels
were forming another Directory, and, still expecting aid from France,
planning a fresh outbreak. Religious animosities were more violent
than ever. Government was becoming impossible; for the Roman Catholic
population, now thoroughly disaffected, would not continue to submit
to the rule of the Protestant oligarchy; but the only way to put an
end to it would be by another rebellion which if successful would
(as the Roman Catholic bishops and educated laymen fully realized)
probably result in the establishment of a Jacobin republic;
clear-headed men of all parties were beginning to think that there was
but one solution of the problem; and that was--the Union.



We come now to the great turning point in the modern history of
Ireland--the Union. It has been so constantly and so vehemently
asserted that this momentous event was prompted by the wicked desire
of England to ruin Ireland, and was carried out by fraud, bribery,
intimidation, and every form of political crime, that not only
ordinary readers, but even writers who are content to receive
their information at second hand without investigating evidence for
themselves, generally assume that no other view is possible. Thus
O'Connell boldly asserted that the Irish Catholics never assented
to the Union. Others have blindly repeated his words; and from those
reiterated statements has been developed an argument that as the
Catholics did not assent to the Union, they cannot be bound by it.

I believe that there has been as much exaggeration about this as about
most other episodes of Irish history; and that anyone who, fairly and
without prejudice, takes the trouble to go through the history of the
Union as it may be gathered from contemporary documents, will come to
the conclusion that it was devised by great and earnest statesmen who
had the good of both countries at heart. As to the means by which it
was carried, there is much to be said on both sides of the question;
Lecky has stated the case against the Union ably and temperately;
other writers, equally honourable, have taken the opposite side. There
is at any rate very much to be said for the opinion, that, considering
the circumstances and the peculiar constitution of the Irish
Parliament, there was nothing which the Government did that was not
perfectly justifiable. As to whether it was in accordance with the
wish of the people or not, there are several points which ought to be
borne in mind but to which sufficient attention is not usually given.
A very large part of the nation were ignorant peasants, who did not
and could not properly understand the question; and as a matter
of fact cared little about it. Then of those who were against the
measure, many opposed it not because they wished the existing state
of things to continue, but because they thought that the Union would
prevent the one object of their ambition--total separation and the
establishment of a republic; their opinion therefore has but little
weight. When we come to the more educated and propertied classes, it
seems that the majority were in favour of the measure; and as to the
opinion of the Roman Catholic section (which after all was far the
largest part of the nation) I think there can be no doubt whatever.
Fortunately it is no longer necessary to wade through the mass of
original papers; for the evidence has been so carefully investigated
during recent years by various impartial writers, and has been
presented to the general reader in so clear and concise a manner
that no one now has any excuse for being led away by the impassioned
statements of partisan orators. I refer specially to the "History of
the Legislative Union of Great Britain and Ireland," by Dr. Dunbar
Ingram, published in 1887.

That careful writer commences his work by stating that, dissatisfied
with endless assertions unaccompanied by proof, he had determined to
investigate the subject for himself, examining closely the original
and contemporary authorities. He soon found that there was no evidence
to sustain the accusations made against the manner in which the Union
was carried; and that all the charges against the Government rested
finally on Harrington's worthless romances or the declamatory
statements of the Opposition during the sessions of 1799 and 1800,
which, when challenged, they declined to substantiate. Then, as he
proceeded in his work, he discovered that, after its terms were known
and the public had had time for reflection, the Union was thankfully
accepted by the two communities which made up Ireland; that the
Protestants, after the first burst of clamour, were as a body
converted and became well-wishers to the measure; and that the Roman
Catholics, after a short hesitation, gave the Union their hearty
assent and support. And finally, the whole inquiry left a strong
conviction on his mind that the Union was undertaken from the purest
motives, that it was carried by fair and constitutional means, and
that its final accomplishment was accompanied with the hearty assent
and concurrence of the vast majority of the two peoples that dwelt in

I feel that I cannot do better than follow some of the lines of his

It is true that in the time of the Plantagenets representatives from
Ireland were on several occasions summoned to attend the English
Parliament; and that during the Commonwealth Ireland was incorporated
with the rest of the Empire and sent members to the Parliaments of
1654 and 1657. These incidents, however, are unimportant; it is more
to the purpose to point out that from the time of the Restoration
onwards we find a long list of distinguished thinkers recommending
such a Union; and in the beginning of the eighteenth century both
Houses of the Irish Parliament twice petitioned Queen Anne to the
same effect. It may be asked why the English politicians, who were so
anxious to bring about the Union with Scotland, turned a deaf ear
to these petitions. The answer is simple. The Scotch Parliament
was independent, and the impossibility of having two independent
Parliaments under one sovereign had become manifest. Trade jealousies
had arisen; the action of the Scotch had nearly involved England in a
war with Spain; the Scotch Parliament had passed an Act declaring that
until provision was made for settling the rights and liberties of the
Scotch nation independently of England the successor to the Scotch
Crown should not be the same person that was possessed of the Crown
of England. The Parliament of England commenced arming the militia and
fortifying the towns near the Border. England being at war with France
the Scotch Parliament passed an Act allowing Scotchmen to trade with
that country; it therefore was a choice between Union and War; and
the two countries wisely chose Union. In the case of Ireland, however,
England saw no such danger; the Irish legislature was subordinate;
Ireland was bound by English statutes; and the Irish Parliament
represented not the whole people but only that one section of it which
was necessarily bound to the English connection; the Irish petitions
for Union therefore remained unheeded. The great Bishop Berkeley,
writing in 1735, strongly advocated a union; at a later time Adam
Smith wrote: "By a union with Great Britain Ireland would gain besides
the freedom of trade other advantages much more important ... Without
a union with Great Britain the inhabitants of Ireland are not likely
for many ages to consider themselves as one people." But, as we
have seen, by the Act of 1782, the Irish Parliament had become
independent--that is, it was placed in the same position as the
Scotch Parliament had been; and by the Act of 1893, the bulk of the
constituencies in the counties had become Roman Catholic. Except
in the opinion of thoughtless optimists like Grattan, matters were
approaching a deadlock; for sooner or later the Roman Catholic
electors would demand representation in Parliament; the borough
members would most probably refuse it, in which case war might break
out again; and if they granted it, the Irish Parliament, then almost
entirely Roman Catholic, would be anxious to break the tie that bound
Ireland to England.

But apart from the religious question, it was evident that the
constitution, as fixed by the Act of 1782, was fraught with dangers.
And it is no answer to say that not many difficulties had arisen
in the few years between 1782 and 1799; for, even though that is
partially true, the question for a statesman to consider was whether
they were likely to arise in the future; and the rebellion, which
was still seething, had made this all the more probable. First, on a
declaration of war by England, Ireland might refuse to take part in
it; and her refusal would paralyse the Empire. As early as 1791, Wolfe
Tone had pointed out that Ireland need not embark on the side of
Great Britain in the contest which was then pending; and one of his
followers had advocated an alliance with France. (This is of all the
more importance at the present day, when the Nationalists state that
their principles are the same as those of Wolfe Tone.) Secondly,
during a war, Ireland might refuse supplies to England. This course
was actually hinted at by Grattan. Thirdly, she might provoke a
commercial war of rates with England. This course was proposed in the
Irish House of Commons in 1784. Fourthly, she might put pressure on
the Sovereign to declare war against a country with which England was
at peace. This also was proposed in the Irish House, in the case of
Portugal. Fifthly, she might differ from England in any international
question in reference to the connection between them, as she did in
the Regency question. Sixthly, she might refuse--as she did--to make
a commercial treaty with Great Britain; and thus keep open the most
fertile sources of mutual jealousies and discontent. Grattan's best
friends had urged upon him in vain that refusing to assent to a
commercial treaty made the permanent government by two independent
legislatures impossible, and would bring about separation; he refused
to be guided by their advice, and at that time he still had supreme
power in the House. It is remarkable that even at a later date, whilst
vehemently opposing the Union, he took a delight in pointing out
how many ways there were in which an Irish Parliament might injure
England; seeming not to realize that he was supplying a forcible
argument in favour of the measure he was opposing.

The dangers of the situation were summed up by Pitt in a few
words:--"A party in England may give to the Throne one species of
advice by its Parliament. A party in Ireland may advise directly
opposite upon the most essential points that involve the safety of
both; upon alliance with a foreign power, for instance; upon the army;
upon the navy; upon any branch of the public service; upon trade; upon
commerce; or upon any point essential to the Empire at large." And
long afterwards Sir Robert Peel pointed out that within the short
period of six years from the establishment of what is called the
independence of the Irish Parliament--from 1782 to 1788--the foreign
relations of the two countries, the commercial intercourse of the two
countries, the sovereign exercise of authority in the two countries,
were the subjects of litigation and dispute; and it was more owing
to accident than to any other cause that they did not produce actual
alienation and rupture.

The idea of a Union was first brought before Parliament by the Lord
Lieutenant (Lord Cornwallis) in his speech at the opening of the
Session in January 1799. It appeared at first that a majority of the
Peers were in favour of the proposal, but a small majority of the
House of Commons hostile--some to the scheme altogether, others to
its being brought forward at that time. This small majority, however,
rapidly diminished; and before many weeks had passed, the Government
possessed a majority in both Houses. The citizens of Dublin were
naturally strongly against the measure, thinking that it would injure
the prestige of the capital; as were also the proprietors of boroughs
and the legal members of the House; and soon after the scheme had
been proposed, several counties held meetings and passed resolutions
against it; but as the year went on, when the details of the measure
had been more carefully considered, there was a general change of
feeling throughout the country. Lord Cornwallis went on tours both
north and south, through both Protestant and Roman Catholic
districts, everywhere receiving addresses in favour of the Union from
corporations, grand juries, leading residents, and especially from
Roman Catholic bodies. And, if we may believe Lord Cornwallis's own
letters, these addresses were entirely spontaneous, and represented
the real feelings of the community. Before Parliament met in March
1800, twenty-two counties had passed resolutions in favour of the
Union; and Lord Castlereagh was able to say in the House that the
great body of the landed property of Ireland, and all the great
commercial towns except Dublin and Drogheda, were friendly to the
measure. The Opposition attempted to meet this by presenting a number
of petitions showing that the people of Ireland were against it. Of
the fifty-four petitions presented, five were not against the Union at
all, but merely requests for compensation in the event of its coming
about; three were from individuals or commercial firms; and eight were
from Dublin alone. The number therefore was much smaller than appears
at first sight. Besides obtaining these petitions, the Opposition
also collected a large sum of money for the purchase of seats; in the
circumstances and according to the ideas of the time, I do not say
that they were in the least morally wrong in doing so; but the fact
takes away from the value of the votes given; and it neutralizes
anything that was done by the Government in the same way--if it can be
proved that the Government so acted.

But as the Roman Catholics constituted three-fourths of the population
of Ireland, it is more important to investigate what their feelings
were than to scrutinize the division lists of the House, if we wish to
ascertain what was really the wish of the nation. Fortunately we have
an opportunity of testing whether there is any truth in the statement
of O'Connell to which I have already referred--that the Irish
Catholics did not assent to the Union. The evidence shows conclusively
that the Roman Catholic peerage, episcopate, priesthood and laity all
gave the movement their hearty concurrence and co-operation. Lords
Kenmare and Fingall assured Lord Cornwallis that the Catholics were
in favour of a Union; the entire episcopate--that is, the four
archbishops and nineteen bishops, three sees being vacant--expressed
the same view by their letters which are still extant or by
resolutions signed by them; for instance, the Archbishop of Tuam
wrote: "I have had an opportunity of acquiring the strongest
conviction that this measure alone can restore harmony and happiness
to our unhappy country." The Bishop of Cork wrote: "Nothing in my
opinion will more effectively tend to lay these disgraceful and
scandalous party feuds and dissensions, and restore peace and
harmony amongst us, than the great measure in contemplation, of
the legislative Union, and incorporation of this Kingdom with Great
Britain. I am happy to tell you it is working its way, and daily
gaining ground in the public opinion. Several counties which appeared
most adverse to it have now declared for it, and I have no doubt but,
with the blessing of God, it will be effected, notwithstanding the
violent opposition of Mr. Foster and his party. The Roman Catholics in
general are avowedly for the measure. In the south, where they are the
most numerous, they have declared in its favour." The Bishop of Ferns
presided at a meeting of Catholics of Wexford at which an address
in favour of incorporation of both legislatures was signed by 3,000
persons; and throughout the country meetings, presided over by parish
priests, were held to further the movement; and the laity were quite
as eager as the clergy in the matter. Plowden, the Roman Catholic
historian, says: "A very great preponderancy in favour of the Union
existed in the Catholic body, particularly in their nobility, gentry
and clergy." Thomas McKenna, the Secretary to the Catholic Committee,
wrote two pamphlets in the same interest; whilst on the other hand not
a single petition against it was presented by any Roman Catholic body.

When the Session of 1800 commenced, a leading member of the Opposition
sadly confessed that the people had deserted them. But the struggle
in the House of Commons was tremendous. The Anti-Unionists had the
advantage of the oratory of Grattan, who, though he had not been in
Parliament since 1797, now purchased a seat for £2,400, and entered
the House in a theatrical manner in the midst of the discussion. But
his vehement and abusive style of declamation could not in debate
be compared with the calm reasoning of Castlereagh. The most able
speeches against the measure were not those of Grattan, but Foster.
Many divisions were taken, the Government majority steadily rising
from forty-two to sixty-five, and comprising an actual majority of
the members of the House. In the House of Lords it was relatively
much larger. But it is constantly affirmed that this majority was only
brought about by bribery and intimidation. The word "bribery" has an
ugly sound; and in such a case as this, it is only fair to examine
what is exactly meant by the term. There is no doubt that compensation
was given to the proprietors of boroughs which were not allowed
representation in the United Parliament; and it is said that as the
return of members to Parliament is a public trust and not a species of
property, this was not a fair matter for pecuniary compensation; hence
it amounted to bribery. But the ownership of boroughs had grown up
insensibly; and they had long been looked upon and treated as private
property, not only in Ireland but in England and Scotland also; and
there were many honest men in all three countries who contended that
the system worked well, as it was the means whereby a large number
of distinguished men obtained their first introduction into public
life--amongst them being Pitt, Canning, and Fox in England, Grattan,
Flood and Plunkett in Ireland. Then in other cases when powers which
had long been regarded as property have been abolished, compensation
has been given. This was the case when the heritable jurisdictions in
Scotland were abolished, and when by the disestablishment of the Irish
Church the right of patrons to nominate to livings was taken away. And
even granting for the sake of argument that this is wrong, is it fair
to call it bribery? Eighty-four places were disfranchised, and a sum
of £1,260,000 (which did not nearly amount to the price which the
boroughs at that time fetched in the market) was paid. Of this,
£67,500 was paid to Englishmen who owned seats in the Irish
Parliament; £60,000 to boroughs who had no owners; £30,000 to the
executors of a deceased owner; £18,750 to two ladies; and
£1,100,000 to Irishmen who owned boroughs--of which £400,000 went to
Anti-Unionists who opposed the Bill. In many cases, of course, the
actual occupant of the seat was a different person from the owner who
received the compensation; for instance, there is reason to believe
that all the fifty barristers in the house had purchased their seats,
but not one of them was the permanent owner. Now, if compensation
is bribery, who was bribed? Really it must be admitted that
on investigation the charge of bribery, so far as it refers to
compensation to borough-owners, falls to the ground.

Then it is said that the Government made actual payments to members
for their votes. This charge was brought forward in a general way at
the time in both Houses; the Government indignantly denied it, and
called on the Opposition to prove their accusation; but they failed to
do so. To repeat it now is therefore unjust. It may be admitted that
amongst Lord Castlereagh's letters there is one which taken by itself
looks as if a certain sum of money was to be used in bribery; but,
as Dr. Ingram has pointed out, a careful investigation of the matter
shows that it refers to proposed changes in the tariff, and not to
bribery at all.

Again, it is argued that the lavish distribution of titles amounted
to bribery. If so, it is hard to find any Government in England or
Ireland that has not been to some extent guilty of bribery--though it
is true that no British Premier has ever created peerages or salaried
offices on anything like the scale that Mr. Asquith has done. After
the Bill had passed, Pitt created twenty new Irish peerages and four
English ones; and promoted sixteen peers a step in their order; which
after all is not very much more than Lord North had done in 1779, on
no special occasion, when he had created eighteen Irish peerages and
promoted twelve existing peers.

As to the charges of intimidation, they may be dismissed at once; the
very few that were brought forward were so completely answered at the
time, that even the Opposition dropped them. The presence of such a
large number of troops in Ireland was quite accounted for by the fact
that the rebellion was still to some extent going on, and that there
was again a danger of a French invasion.

And I must contend further that even admitting that there were
some acts on the part of the Government which will not bear strict
investigation according to present ideas, it is only fair to remember
the tremendous difficulties of the occasion. The English House of
Commons was almost unanimously in favour of the Union--not more than
thirty members ever voted against it; and in the opinion of Lord
Cornwallis, who throughout his long and varied career showed himself
to be a shrewd observer and an upright, honourable man, "This country
could not be saved without the Union."

But really the whole discussion is beside the mark. The Nationalists
continually repeat the charge that the Union was carried by fraud; and
so it must be answered; but it has no bearing on anything existing at
the present day. For the old Irish Parliament has disappeared--merged
in the greater and more honourable Assembly of the United Kingdom; and
to revive it now would be a physical impossibility. The whole state
of circumstances has changed; no assembly that could now be formed in
Ireland would bear the faintest resemblance to that which met in the
eighteenth century. As Lecky has well expressed it:--

    "To an historian of the eighteenth century, however, few
    things can be more grotesquely absurd than to suppose that the
    merits or demerits, the failure or the successes of the
    Irish Parliament has any real bearing on modern schemes for
    reconstructing the Government of Ireland on a revolutionary
    and Jacobin basis; entrusting the protection of property and
    the maintenance of law to some democratic assembly consisting
    mainly of Fenians and Land-leaguers, of paid agitators and
    of penniless adventurers. The Parliamentary system of the
    eighteenth century might be represented in very different
    lights by its enemies and by its friends. Its enemies would
    describe it as essentially a government carried on through the
    instrumentality of a corrupt oligarchy, of a large, compact
    body of members holding place and pensions at the pleasure of
    the Government, removed by the system of rotten boroughs from
    all effectual popular control. Its friends would describe it
    as essentially the government of Ireland by the gentlemen of
    Ireland and especially the landlord class.

    "Neither representation would be altogether true, but each
    contains a large measure of truth. The nature of the Irish
    constituencies and the presence in the House of Commons of a
    body of pensioners and placemen forming considerably more than
    a third of the whole assembly, and nearly half of its active
    members, gave the Government a power, which, except under
    very rare and extraordinary circumstances, must, if fully
    exercised, have been overwhelming ... On the other hand,
    the Irish Parliament was a body consisting very largely of
    independent country gentlemen, who on nearly all questions
    affecting the economical and industrial development of the
    country, had a powerful if not a decisive influence ... and
    it was in reality only in a small class of political questions
    that the corrupt power of government seems to have been
    strained. The Irish House of Commons ... comprised the flower
    of the landlord class. It was essentially pre-eminently the
    representative of the property of the country. It had all the
    instincts and the prejudices, but also all the qualities
    and the capacities, of an educated propertied class, and it
    brought great local knowledge and experience to its task. Much
    of its work was of that practical and unobtrusive character
    which leaves no trace in history."



As soon as the Union had become law, the opposition to it died down
rapidly. All the members who had voted for it who became candidates
for the Imperial Parliament were elected, and Irish orators soon began
to make their mark in the greater Assembly. In 1805, however, there
was another slight rebellion, led by Robert Emmett. It never had
a chance of success; the mass of the people, thoroughly tired of
anarchy, refused to take part in it; and though the rebels succeeded
in committing a few murders, the movement was speedily quelled, mainly
by the yeomen of Dublin. At the trial of Emmett, Plunket, who had been
a vehement opponent of the Union, was counsel for the prosecution, and
in his speech bitterly denounced the conduct of those men who,
having done their utmost to oppose the Irish Parliament, now made the
abolition of that Parliament the pretext for rebellion. "They call for
revenge," said he, "on account of the removal of the Parliament. These
men, who, in 1798, endeavoured to destroy the Parliament, now
call upon the loyal men who opposed its transfer, to join them in
rebellion; an appeal vain and fruitless."

It will be observed from statements already quoted, that the
Nationalists of to-day claim that they are the successors of
Emmett; he is counted amongst the heroes who fell in the cause of
Ireland--thus making it all the more clear how wide is the gulf
between the Parliamentary opponents of the Union and the modern

During the early part of the century, Ireland had another period of
prosperity. Travellers through Ireland at the present day cannot fail
to notice how many of the country seats (now, in consequence of later
legislation, mostly deserted and already beginning to fall into ruin)
were built at that time. No doubt much of the prosperity was caused
by the rebound which often takes place after a period of anarchy and
desolation; and it would not be fair to attribute it wholly to the
effect of the Union; but at least it proves that the melancholy
prognostications of the opponents of the measure were happily
unfulfilled. The total value of the produce and manufactures exported
from Ireland between 1790 and 1801 amounted to £51,322,620; between
1802 and 1813 it amounted to £63,483,718. In 1800 the population
of Ireland was under 5,000,000; in 1841 it was over 8,000,000. The
tonnage in Irish ports in 1792 was 69,000; by 1797 it had fallen to
53,000; before 1852 it had risen to 5,000,000. The export of linen
in 1796 was 53,000,000 yards; in 1799 it had fallen to 38,000,000;
in 1853 it had risen to 106,000,000; and every other department of
industry and commerce showed figures almost as satisfactory.

There were, however, three important measures which the leading
advocates of the Union had desired to see carried as soon as possible
after the great change had been effected, but which--as many writers
of various schools of thought to this day consider unfortunately--were
postponed. The first was a provision by the State for the payment of
the Roman Catholic clergy. The bishops had fully expected that this
would be carried. Some modern Nationalists, wishing to win the
favour of the English Nonconformists, have represented that the Roman
Catholic Church refused to accept the money; but that is not the case.
Whether the policy of "levelling up" would have been a wise one
or not, it is useless now to conjecture; for once the policy of
"levelling down" had been decided upon, and the Irish Church had been
disestablished and disendowed, it became impracticable. The second
measure was Roman Catholic emancipation. This had been intended by
Pitt and other statesmen who helped to bring about the Union; but
unforeseen difficulties arose; and unfortunately nothing was done
until the agitation led by O'Connell brought matters to a crisis;
and the emancipation which might have been carried gracefully years
before, and in that case would have strengthened the Union, was
grudgingly yielded in 1829.

The third measure was a readjustment of tithes. All will now admit,
and very many politicians and thinkers at the time fully realized,
that the old law as to tithes was a cruel injustice; but no change
was made until the opposition to the payment of tithes amounted to
something like civil war, involving a series of murders and outrages.
Then the fatal precedent was set of a successful and violent revolt
against contracts and debts. In 1838 an Act was passed commuting
the tithes into a rent-charge payable not by the occupiers but the
landlords. Some modern writers have argued that the change was merely
a matter of form, as the landlords increased the rents in proportion;
and it seems such a natural thing to have happened that earlier
writers may well be excused for assuming that it actually occurred.
But there is no excuse for repeating the charge now; for in
consequence of recent legislation it has been necessary for the Land
Courts to investigate the history of rents from a period commencing
before 1838; and the result of their examination has elicited the
strange fact that in thousands of cases the rent remained exactly the
same that it had been before the Tithe Commutation Act was passed.

But ere long economic causes were at work which tended to check the
prosperity of Ireland. It was soon found that the proportion which by
the Act of Union Ireland was to contribute to the Imperial Government
was too large for the country to bear. The funded debt of Ireland
which amounted to £28,000,000 in 1800 rose by 1817 to £130,000,000;
in that year the whole liability was taken over by the Imperial
Government. Then the fall in prices which naturally resulted from
the peace of 1815 pressed heavily on an agricultural community.
Improvements in machinery and the development of steam power squeezed
out the handlooms of Ulster and the watermills of other parts of the
country. Wages were low; and the people who depended mainly on the
potato were underfed and undernourished. In 1846 and 1847 came the
two terrible blows to Ireland--first, the potato disease; and then the
Repeal of the Corn Laws, which made the profitable growing of wheat
with its accompanying industries, impossible. During the fearful years
of the potato famine, it is only too probable that some of the efforts
for relief were unwisely conducted and that some persons sadly failed
in their duties; no measures or men in the world are ever perfect; and
the difficulties not only of obtaining food but of getting it to the
starving people in days when there were few railways and no motors
were enormous. But when modern writers shower wholesale abuse over
the landlords of the period, and even hint that they brought about the
famine, it is well to turn to the writings of an ardent Home Ruler,
who was himself an eye-witness, having lived as a boy through the
famine time in one of the districts that suffered most--Mr. A.M.
Sullivan. He says:--

    "The conduct of the Irish landlords throughout the famine
    period has been variously described, and has been, I believe,
    generally condemned. I consider the censure visited on them
    too sweeping. I hold it to be in some respects cruelly unjust.
    On many of them no blame too heavy could possibly fall.
    A large number were permanent absentees; their ranks were
    swelled by several who early fled the post of duty at
    home--cowardly and selfish deserters of a brave and faithful
    people. Of those who remained, some may have grown callous;
    it is impossible to contest authentic instances of brutal
    heartlessness here and there. But granting all that has to be
    entered on the dark debtor side, the overwhelming balance
    is the other way. The bulk of the resident Irish landlords
    manfully did their best in that dread hour ... No adequate
    tribute has ever been paid to the memory of those Irish
    landlords--they were men of every party and creed--perished
    martyrs to duty in that awful time; who did not fly the
    plague-reeking work-houses or fever-tainted court. Their names
    would make a goodly roll of honour ... If they did too little
    compared with what the landlord class in England would have
    done in similar case, it was because little was in their
    power. The famine found most of the resident gentry of Ireland
    on the brink of ruin. They were heritors of estates heavily
    overweighted with the debts of a bygone generation. Broad
    lands and lordly mansions were held by them on settlements
    and conditions that allowed small scope for the exercise
    of individual liberality. To these landlords the failure of
    year's rental receipts meant mortgage fore-one and hopeless
    ruin. Yet cases might be named by the score in which such men
    scorned to avert by pressure on their suffering tenantry the
    fate they saw impending over them.... They 'went down with the

Soon after the famine, the Incumbered Estates Act was passed, by which
the creditors of incumbered landlords could force a sale. This in
effect worked a silent revolution; for whatever might have been said
up to that time about the landed proprietors being the representatives
of those who acquired their estates through the Cromwellian
confiscations, after those proprietors had been forced to sell and the
purchasers had obtained a statutory title by buying in the Court, the
charge became obsolete. The motive of the Act was a good one; it
was hoped that land would thus pass out of the hands of impoverished
owners and be purchased by English capitalists who would be able to
execute improvements on their estates and thus benefit the country
as a whole. But the scheme brought with it disadvantages which the
framers of the Act had not foreseen. The new purchasers had none of
the local feelings of the dispossessed owners; they regarded their
purchases as an investment, which they wished to make as profitable as
possible, and treated the occupants of the land with a harshness which
the old proprietors would never have exercised. Like most things in
Ireland, however, this has been much exaggerated. It is constantly
assumed that the whole soil of Ireland after this belonged to absentee
proprietors who took no interest in the country. That absenteeism is a
great evil to any country, and to Ireland especially, no one can deny;
but a Parliamentary enquiry in 1869 elicited the fact that the number
of landed proprietors in the rural area of Ireland then (and there
is no reason to suppose that any great change had taken place in
the previous eighteen years) was 19,547, of whom only 1,443 could
be described as "rarely or never resident in Ireland"; and these
represented 15.7 per cent. of the rural area, and only 15.1 per cent.
of the total poor-law valuation of that area.

Between 1841 and 1851 the population of the country fell from
8,200,000 to 6,574,000. The primary causes of this were of course the
famine and the fever which broke out amongst the half-starved people;
but it was also to a large extent caused by emigration. A number
of devoted and noble-hearted men, realizing that it was hopeless to
expect that the potato disease would disappear, and that consequently
the holdings had become "uneconomic" (to use the phrase now so
popular) as no other crop was known which could produce anything
like the same amount of food, saw that the only course to prevent a
continuation of the famine would be to remove a large section of the
people to a happier country. In this good work the Quakers, who had
been untiring in their efforts to relieve distress during the famine,
took a prominent part; and the Government gave assistance. At the
time no one regarded this as anything but a beneficent course; for the
emigrants found better openings in new and rising countries than
they ever could have had at home, and the reduced population, earning
larger wages, were able to live in greater comfort. One evidence of
this has been that mud cabins, which in 1841 had numbered 491,000
had in 1901 been reduced to 9,000; whilst the best class of houses
increased from 304,000 to 596,000. In 1883 the Roman Catholic bishops
came to the conclusion that matters had gone far enough, and that in
future migration from the poorer to the more favoured districts was
better than emigration from the country; but they did not say anything
against the work that had been done up to that time. Yet a recent
Nationalist writer, wishing to bring every possible charge against the
landlords, has hinted that the total loss of population from 1841 to
1901 was caused by the brutality of the landlords after the famine,
who drove the people out of the country! To show the fallacy of this,
it is sufficient to point out that the powers of the landlords for
good or evil were considerably reduced by the Land Act of 1870, and
after that they were further diminished by each successive Act until
the last shred was taken away by the Act of 1887; yet the population
went down from 5,412,377 in 1871 to 4,453,775 in 1901--the emigration
being larger in proportion from those counties where the National
League was omnipotent than from other parts of Ireland.

In the early thirties O'Connell commenced his famous agitation for the
Repeal of the Union. After he had disappeared from the scene, his work
was taken up by those of his followers who advocated physical force;
and in 1848 an actual rebellion broke out, headed by Smith O'Brien. It
ended in a ridiculous fiasco. The immediate cause of its failure, as
A.M. Sullivan has pointed out, was that the leaders, in imitation of
the movement of half a century before, endeavoured to eliminate the
religious difficulty and to bring about a rising in which Orange
and Green should be united; but their fight for religious tolerance
exposed them to the charge of infidelity; the Roman Catholic priests
(who now possessed immense political influence) denounced them; and
their antagonism was fatal to the movement.

But one of the most far-seeing of the party--J.F. Lalor--perceived
that mere repeal would never be strong enough to be a popular cry--it
must be hitched on to some more powerful motive, which could drag it
along. As he clearly explained in his manifesto, his objects were the
abolition of British government and the formation of a National one.
He considered that neither agitation nor the attempt at military
insurrection were likely to attain those objects, but that the wisest
means for that end were the refusal of obedience to usurped authority;
taking quiet possession of all the rights and powers of government and
proceeding to exercise them; and defending the exercise of such powers
if attacked. He saw that the motive power which would carry itself
forward and drag repeal with it, was in the land. He held that the
soil of the country belonged as of right to the entire people of that
country, not to any one class but to the nation--one condition being
essential, that the tenant should bear true and undivided allegiance
to the nation whose land he held, and owe no allegiance whatever to
any other prince, power or people, or any obligation of obedience or
respect to their will, their orders, or their laws. The reconquest
of the liberties of Ireland, he argued, would, even if possible by
itself, be incomplete and worthless, without the reconquest of the
land; whereas the latter, if effected, would involve the former. He
therefore recommended (1) That occupying tenants should at once refuse
to pay all rent except the value of the overplus of harvest produce
remaining in their hands after deducting a full provision for their
own subsistence during the ensuing year; (2) that they should forcibly
resist being made homeless under the English law of ejectment; (3)
that they ought further on principle to refuse _all_ rent to the
present usurping proprietors, until they should in National Convention
decide what rents they were to pay and to whom they should pay them;
and (4) that the people, on grounds of policy and economy, should
decide that those rents should be paid to themselves--the people--for
public purposes for the benefit of the entire general people. In
that way a mighty social revolution would be accomplished, and the
foundation of a national revolution surely laid.

But these views, though shared by J. Mitchel and other leaders, were
not at the time generally adopted; and the next agitations were more
distinctly political than agrarian. The Fenian movement of 1865--1867,
the avowed object of which was the establishment of an independent
republic, arose in America, where it was cleverly devised and ably
financed. In Ireland it met with little sympathy except in the towns;
and the attempted outbreaks, both there and in Canada, were dismal
failures. Two of their efforts in England, however, led to important
results. Gladstone made the remarkable statement that it was their
attempt to blow up Clerkenwell prison that enabled him to carry
the Act for the Disestablishment of the Irish Church. Many years
afterwards, when this encouragement to incendiarism had done its work,
he denied that he had ever said so; but there is no doubt that he did.

Here I must digress for a moment to refer to the position of the Irish
Church. By the Act of Union it had been provided that the Churches of
England and Ireland as then by law established should be united, and
that the continuation and preservation of the United Church should be
deemed and taken to be an essential and fundamental part of the Union;
and at the time of the agitation for Catholic emancipation the Roman
Catholic Bishops of Ireland solemnly declared that their Church
would never attempt to destroy the Protestant Establishment. This is
interesting as showing how futile are the attempts of one generation
to bind posterity by legislation; and how foolish it is to expect
that men will regard themselves as bound by promises made by their
ancestors. (The same remark may be made with reference to the promises
now being made by Nationalists as to the Home Rule Bill.) The general
provisions of the Disestablishment Act were simple. Existing clergy
were secured in their incomes for life; the disestablished Church
was allowed to claim all churches then in actual use, and to purchase
rectory houses and glebes at a valuation; and a sum of £500,000 was
given to the Church in lieu of all private endowments. Everything
else--even endowments given by private persons a few years before the
Act was passed--was swept away. The members of the Church showed a
liberality which their opponents never anticipated. They bought the
glebes, continued to pay their clergy by voluntary assessments, and
collected a large sum of money towards a future endowment. Nationalist
writers now state that the Act left the Irish Church with an income
adequate to its needs and merely applied the surplus revenues to other
purposes; and hint that the capital sum now possessed by the Church
really came from the State, and that therefore the future Home Rule
Government can deal with it as they please. The alarm felt by Irish
Churchmen at the prospect can be understood.

The other Fenian attempt in England which has historical importance
was of a different kind. Two Fenian prisoners were being conveyed in a
prison van at Manchester. Their friends tried to rescue them by force;
and in the attempt killed the officer in charge. For this crime, three
of them--Allen, Larkin and O'Brien--were tried, convicted and hanged
in November 1867. These were the "Manchester Martyrs," in honour of
whose unflinching fidelity to faith and country (to quote the words
of Archbishop Croke) so many memorial crosses have been erected,
and solemn demonstrations are held every year to this day. At the
unveiling of the memorial cross at Limerick the orator said: "Allen,
Larkin and O'Brien died as truly for the cause of Irish Nationality as
did any of the heroes of Irish history. The same cause nerved the arms
of the brave men of '98, of '48, of '65 and '67. For the cause that
had lived so long they would not take half measures--nothing else
would satisfy them than the full measure of Nationality for which they
and their forefathers had fought."

Meanwhile another movement was going on, which seems to have been at
first wholly distinct from the Fenian conspiracy--the constitutional
agitation for Home Rule or Repeal, led by Isaac Butt. It commenced its
Parliamentary action in 1874; but was ere long broken up by the more
violent spirits within its own ranks. As had so frequently happened in
similar movements in Ireland, France and elsewhere, the moderate
men were thrust aside, and the extremists carried all before them.
Fenianism, though apparently crushed in Ireland, continued to flourish
in America. Michael Davitt, who had been a prominent member both of
the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood and of the Fenian Society, had
been convicted of treason felony, and sentenced to penal servitude. On
his release in 1877, he was received as a hero, and amongst those who
took part in the welcome to him were C.S. Parnell, J.G. Biggar, J.
Carey, D. Curley and J. Brady. He went to America and there matured
the plan of his operations on the lines laid down by Lalor, which he
proceeded to carry out in Ireland in 1879 by means of a Society which
was at first called the "Land League" but which has since been known
by various other names. Amongst his allies were J. Devoy, O'Donovan
Rossa, and Patrick Ford. Devoy and Rossa took an active part in
establishing the Skirmishing Fund, which was subscribed for the
purpose of levying war on England with dynamite. Rossa afterwards
publicly boasted that he had placed an infernal machine onboard H.M.S.
"Dottrell," and had sent it and all its crew to the bottom of the
ocean. As a reward for his patriotic conduct he was some years later
granted a pension by the County Council of Cork, payable out of the
rates. Ford was the ablest and most powerful of the number, for by
means of his paper--the _Irish World_--he collected vast sums for the
Parliamentary party. In this paper he strongly advocated the use of
dynamite as a blessed agent which should be availed of by the Irish
people in their holy war; and elaborated a scheme for setting fire to
London in fifty places on a windy night. After D. Curley and J. Brady
had been hanged for the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr.
Burke, he collected money for a testimonial to them as heroes, and
prayed that God would send Ireland more men with hearts like that of
J. Brady. Mr. Redmond has recently described him as "the grand old
veteran, who through his newspaper has done more for the last thirty
or forty years for Ireland than almost any man alive"; Mr. T.P.
O'Connor has congratulated him on the great work he is doing for
Ireland; and Mr. Devlin has eulogized him for "the brilliancy in the
exposition of the principles inculcated in our programme."

By 1880 the union between the Dynamite party in America (which bore
many names, such as the Fenian Society, the Irish Revolutionary
Brotherhood, the Invincibles, the Clan-na-gael, and the Physical
Force party, but was essentially the same movement throughout), the
constitutional agitators for Home Rule in Parliament, and the Land
Leaguers in Ireland, was complete. It was but natural that it should
be so, for their objects were the same, though their methods differed
according to circumstances. The American party (according to their own
statements) desired the achievement of a National Parliament so as
to give them a footing on Irish soil--to give them the agencies and
instrumentalities for a Government _de facto_ at the very commencement
of the Irish struggle--to give them the plant of an armed revolution.
Hence they gladly contributed large sums for the Parliamentary Fund.
Parnell, the leader of the Parliamentary party, stated that a true
revolutionary movement should partake of a constitutional and
an illegal character; it should be both an open and a secret
organization, using the constitution for its own purpose and also
taking advantage of the secret combination; and (as the judges at the
Parnell Commission reported) the Land League was established with the
intention of bringing about the independence of Ireland as a separate

In the preceding autumn the agitation against the payment of rent had
begun; and persons of ordinary intelligence could see that a fresh
outbreak of anarchy was imminent. But Gladstone, when coming into
power in March 1880, assumed that air of easy optimism which his
successors in more recent times have imitated; and publicly stated
that there was in Ireland an absence of crime and outrage and a
general sense of comfort and satisfaction such as had been unknown
in the previous history of the country. His Chief Secretary, Forster,
however, had not been long in Ireland before he realized that this
was the dream of a madman; and that the Government must either act or
abdicate in favour of anarchy; but the Cabinet refused to support him.
Before the end of the year the Government had practically abdicated,
and the rule of the Land League was the only form of Government in
force in a large part of the country. The name of the unfortunate
Captain Boycott will be for ever associated with the means the League
employed to enforce their orders. What those means were, was explained
by Gladstone himself:--

    "What is meant by boycotting? In the first place it is
    combined intimidation. In the second place, it is combined
    intimidation made use of for the purpose of destroying the
    private liberties of choice by fear of ruin and starvation. In
    the third place, that which stands in the rear of boycotting
    and by which alone boycotting can in the long run be made
    thoroughly effective is the murder which is not to be

And a few years later--1886--the Official Report of the Cowper
Commission stated it more fully:--

    "The people are more afraid of boycotting, which depends for
    its success on the probability of outrage, than they are of
    the judgments of the Courts of Justice. The unwritten law in
    some districts is supreme. We deem it right to call attention
    to the terrible ordeal that a boycotted person has to undergo,
    which was by several witnesses graphically described during
    the progress of our enquiry. The existence of a boycotted
    person becomes a burden to him, as none in town or village are
    allowed, under a similar penalty to themselves, to supply him
    or his family with the necessaries of life. He is not allowed
    to dispose of the produce of his farm. Instances have been
    brought before us in which his attendance at divine service
    was prohibited, in which his cattle have been, some killed,
    some barbarously mutilated; in which all his servants and
    labourers were ordered and obliged to leave him; in which the
    most ordinary necessaries of life and even medical comforts,
    had to be procured from long distances; in which no one
    would attend the funeral, or dig a grave for, a member of a
    boycotted person's family; and in which his children have been
    forced to discontinue attendance at the National School of the

This was the ordinary form of Government as conducted by the
Nationalists; and any attempt to interfere with it and to enforce the
milder laws of England, is now denounced as "coercion."

In 1881 Gladstone carried another and a more far-reaching Land Act. To
put it shortly, it may be said that all agricultural land (except that
held by leaseholders, who were brought in under the Act of 1887)
was handed over to the occupiers for ever (with free power of sale),
subject only to the payment of rent--the rent not being that which the
tenants had agreed to pay, but that which a Land Court decided to Be
a "fair rent." This was to last for fifteen years, at the end of which
time the tenant might again claim to have a fair rent fixed, and so
_ad infinitum_. The Land Court in most cases cut down the rent by
about 20 or 25 per cent.; and at the end of fifteen years did the
same again. As tithes (which had been secularized but not abolished),
mortgages and family charges remained unchanged, the result was that
a large proportion of landlords were absolutely ruined; in very many
cases those who appear as owners now have no beneficial interest in
their estates.

In examining the Act calmly, one must observe in the first place that
it was a wholesale confiscation of property. Not of course one
that involved the cruelty of confiscations of previous ages, but a
confiscation all the same. For if A. bought a farm in the Incumbered
Estates Court, with a Parliamentary title, and let it to B. for twenty
years at a rent of £100; and the Act gave B. the right of occupying it
for ever subject to the payment of £50 a year, and selling it for any
price he liked, that can only mean the transfer of property from A. to
B. Secondly, the Act encouraged bad farming; for a tenant knew that
if his land got into a slovenly state--with drains stopped up, fences
broken down, and weeds growing everywhere--the result would be that
the rent would be reduced by the Commissioners at the end of the
fifteen years; as the Commissioners did not go into the question of
whose the fault was, but merely took estimates as to what should be
the rent of the land in its actual condition. That farms were in many
instances intentionally allowed to go to decay with this object, has
been proved; and this pressed hard on the labouring class, as less
employment was given. Thirdly, although the remission of debt may
bring prosperity for a time, it may be doubted whether it will
permanently benefit the country; for it will be noticed that the
attempt to fix prices arbitrarily applied only to the letting and
hiring and not to other transactions. To give a typical instance of
what has occurred in many cases: a tenant held land at a rent of £1.
15s. 0d. per acre; he took the landlord into Court, swore that the
land could not bear such a rent, and had it reduced to £1. 5s. 0d.;
thereupon he sold it for £20 an acre; and so the present occupier had
to pay £1. 5s. 0d. to the nominal landlord, and the interest on the
purchase-money (about £1 per acre) to a mortgagee; in fact, he has
to pay a larger sum annually than any previous tenant did; and this
payment is "rent" in the economic sense though it is paid not to a
resident landlord but to a distant mortgagee. In other words, rent
was increased, and absenteeism became general. Fourthly, it sowed
the seeds for future trouble; for it was the temporary union of two
antagonistic principles. On the one hand it was said that "the man who
tills the land should own it," and therefore rent was an unjust
tax (in fact it was seriously argued that men of English and Scotch
descent who had hired farms in the nineteenth century had a moral
right to keep them for ever rent free because tribal tenure had
prevailed amongst the Celts who occupied the country many hundreds of
years before); on the other it was said that the land belonged to the
people of Ireland as a whole and not to any individuals. If that is
so, what right has one man to a large farm when there are hundreds of
others in a neighbouring town who have no land at all? The passing of
the Land Acts of 1881 and 1887 made it inevitable that sooner or later
a fresh agitation would be commenced by "landless men." And fifthly,
when an excitable, uneducated people realize that lawlessness and
outrages will be rewarded by an Act remitting debts and breaking
contracts, they are not likely in future to limit their operations
to land, but will apply the same maxims to other contracts. The
demoralizing of character is a fact to be taken into consideration.

However, the Act was passed; and if Gladstone really imagined that
it would satisfy the Nationalist party he must have been grievously
disappointed. During 1881, 4,439 agrarian outrages were recorded. The
Government declared the Land League to be illegal, and lodged some of
the leaders in gaol. Thereupon Ford, carrying out the plan laid down
by Lalor in 1848, issued his famous "No Rent" proclamation. It was not
generally acted upon; but his party continued active, and in May 1882
Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke (the Chief and Under Secretary)
were murdered in the Phoenix Park. This led to the passing of the
Crimes Prevention Act, by which the detectives were enabled to secure
evidence against the conspirators, many of whom (as is usual in Irish
history) turned Queen's evidence. The Act was worked with firmness;
and outrages, which had numbered 2,507 during the first half of 1882,
fell to 836 in the latter half, to 834 in 1883, and to 774 in 1884.

In the autumn of 1885, Gladstone, expecting to return to power at
the ensuing election, besought the electors to give him a majority
independent of the Irish vote. In this he failed; and thereupon took
place the "Great Surrender." He suddenly discovered that everything
he had said and done up to that time had been wrong; that boycotting,
under the name of "exclusive dealing," was perfectly justifiable;
that the refusal to pay rent was just the same as a strike of workmen
(ignoring the obvious facts that when workmen strike they cease both
to give their labour and to receive pay, whereas the gist of the "No
Rent" movement was that tenants, whilst ceasing to pay, should retain
possession of the farms they have hired; and that a strike arises from
a dispute between employers and employed--usually about rates of pay
or length of hours; whereas Ford's edict that no rent was to be paid
was issued not in consequence of anything that individual landlords
had done, but because Gladstone had put the leaders of the Land League
in gaol); that the men whom he had previously denounced as "marching
through rapine to the dismemberment of the Empire" were heroes who
deserved to be placed in charge of the government of the country; and
introduced his first Home Rule Bill. Some of his followers went with
him; others refused. His life-long ally, John Bright, said: "I cannot
trust the peace and interests of Ireland, north and south, to the
Irish Parliamentary party, to whom the Government now propose to
make a general surrender. My six years' experience of them, of their
language in the House of Commons and their deeds in Ireland, makes it
impossible for me to consent to hand over to them the property and
the rights of five millions of the Queen's subjects, our
fellow-countrymen, in Ireland. At least two millions of them are as
loyal as the population of your town, and I will be no party to a
measure which will thrust them from the generosity and justice of the
United and Imperial Parliament."

The Bill was rejected; at the general election which ensued the people
of England declared against the measure; Gladstone resigned, and Lord
Salisbury became Prime Minister.



The Unionists, on returning to power in 1886, fully realized the
difficulty of the problem with which they were faced. The Nationalists
held a great Convention at Chicago, at which they resolved to make
use of the Land League not merely for the purpose of exterminating
landlords but as a means for promoting universal disorder and so
bringing about a paralysis of the law. As J. Redmond stated at the
Convention: "I assert that the government of Ireland by England is an
impossibility, and I believe it to be our duty to make it so." And, as
he afterwards explained in Ireland, he considered that if the Tories
were able to carry on the government with the ordinary law, the
cause of Home Rule might be set back for a generation; but if the
Nationalists could succeed in making such government impossible, and
the Tories were obliged to have recourse to coercion, the people
of Great Britain would turn them out of office, and Gladstone would
return to power and carry Home Rule. (This avowed determination on the
part of the Nationalists to reduce the country to anarchy should be
borne in mind when people now express their horror at the Ulstermen
being guilty of such conduct as breaking the law.) With this object,
the Nationalists in 1887 organized the "Plan of Campaign," which
was in fact an elaboration of the "No Rent" manifesto of 1881, and
a scheme for carrying out, step by step, the programme laid down by
Lalor in 1848. One of Lalor's adherents had been a young priest named
Croke. By 1887 he had become Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cashel. He
had considered the "No Rent" manifesto inopportune; but now formally
sanctioned the "Plan of Campaign," and in a violent letter urged that
it should be extended to a general refusal to pay taxes. The Plan
was also approved by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and the
leaders of the Nationalist movement in Ireland and America, such as
J. Dillon and Ford; but Parnell seemed doubtful, and in England the
_Daily News_ denounced it.

However, the Unionist Government had decided on their policy, which
they were determined to carry through. The main items of their
programme were (1) To enforce the law; (2) To facilitate land
purchase; (3) To develop the industries of the country; and (4) To
extend local government. It is well to examine these in detail, so as
to arrive at a just estimate of the two rival policies.

(i) The Crimes Prevention Act passed by Gladstone in 1882 had lapsed,
having been limited to a period of three years. Mr. Balfour (who had
become Chief Secretary) was of opinion that the continual passing of
temporary measures was a mistake (as some one has said, it was like
a man burning his umbrella every fine day and then complaining of the
expense of buying so many new ones), as was shown by the fact that the
Irish Parliament had passed fifty-four of such Acts in the seventeen
years of its independent existence. He therefore, in spite of vehement
opposition from the combined forces of the English Radicals and
the Irish Nationalists, carried the Crimes Act of 1887, which was
a permanent measure, to be put in force in disturbed districts by
proclamation when necessary. This was the famous "Coercion Act"
which has been the subject of so much violent denunciation. But in
considering the matter, one must ask, What Government has there ever
been in the world that did not employ force in the carrying out of the
law? It is true that in the early days of New Zealand Mr. Busby was
sent out as a Commissioner with no means of enforcing his orders;
but the only result was that he was laughed at by the natives as "a
man-of-war without guns"; and no one can say that the scheme was a
success. In fact, how can a law be a law unless it is enforced? The
Act does not make anything a crime that was not a crime before; it
merely provides a shorter form of procedure when a district is so
completely terrorized by an illegal association that injured persons
dare not make complaints, witnesses dare not give evidence, and juries
dare not convict. This, as we have seen, had been the case in parts
of Ireland at the beginning of the rebellion of 1798; and the
Nationalists, who claimed to be the modern representatives of the
rebels of that time, had succeeded in bringing about the same state of
things. In some of its most stringent provisions the Act is a copy of
the Police Act permanently in force in London; yet ordinary residents
in the Metropolis do not seem to groan much under its tyranny, nor do
the Radicals propose to repeal it.

And certainly the Act has worked satisfactorily from the point of
view of those who desire to see the country in a state of peace and
prosperity, though disastrously in the opinion of those who aim at
making government impossible. Between July, 1887, when the Act came
into force, and the end of the year, 628 persons were prosecuted, of
whom 378 were convicted and 37 held to bail. In 1888 there were 1,475
prosecutions, 907 convictions, and 175 persons required to find bail.
By 1891 (the last full year of Unionist Government) crime had sunk so
rapidly that in that year there were only 243 persons prosecuted,
of whom 105 were convicted, and 81 held to bail. In 1901 (when the
Unionists were again in power) there were 29 prosecutions and 22
convictions. In 1902 there was a revival of crime; the Act was again
brought into operation, with much the same result as before--there
were 157 prosecutions, 104 convictions, and 17 persons were held to
bail. In 1903 there were 3 prosecutions and 3 convictions.

(2) _Land Purchase_. The Unionist Government considered that the dual
ownership set up by the Act of 1881 would be a constant source of
trouble, and that its working could not be for the benefit of the
country. They believed that the best solution of the land question
would be a system of purchase whereby the occupiers would become
owners. This of course was entirely opposed to the wishes of the
Nationalists; for if the land question was settled, the motive power
which was to carry separation with it, would be gone.

Some efforts in the direction of Land Purchase had been made in 1870
(at the instance of Mr. Bright) and in 1881; but nothing was done on
a large scale until 1885, when the "Ashbourne Act" was passed;
and various further steps were taken by the Unionist Government,
culminating in the great "Wyndham Act" of 1903. By the earlier Acts,
73,858 tenants became owners; by the Wyndham Act, 253,625. As the
total number of agricultural tenants of Ireland amounted to slightly
under 600,000, it will be seen that more than half of them have now
purchased their holdings. To explain the general principles of the
Act, it is sufficient to say that when the landlord and tenants of
an estate agree to a sale, the Government advance the money, and
the tenant purchasers undertake to repay it by annual instalments
extending over a period of 68 years. As these annual payments must be
less than the existing rent as fixed by the Land Court under the Act
of 1881, the purchasing tenant has no ground for complaint; and though
the income of the landlord is reduced by the sale, he is freed from
further anxiety; and besides, the Government give a bonus to the
vendor from Imperial funds. It will be seen at once that the scheme
would have been impossible under Home Rule; for the English Government
had by the end of March 1911, agreed to advance the enormous sum of
nearly £118,000,000; an amount which no Irish Government could have
raised except at such an exorbitant rate of interest that it would
have been out of the question. On the other hand, England has become
the creditor of the new Irish landowners for this vast amount; and
in the event of Separation a serious difficulty may arise as to its

It may interest readers in the Colonies to learn that the Government
thoughtfully passed a Registration of Titles Act in 1891; so that the
Irish purchasers under the various Land Acts have the benefits which
were first introduced in Australia by Sir Robert Torrens.

The Act of 1903 had the cordial support of a small minority of
Nationalists; but to the majority it was gall and wormwood. Hence Mr.
Birrell, when he became Chief Secretary, threw every obstacle he could
into the way of its working; and in 1909 he passed a new measure,
under which land purchase has practically ceased.

(3)_The development of the Industries of the Country_. That has of
course taken various forms, of which only a few can be mentioned here.
By the Light Railways (for which the country has to thank Mr. Balfour
himself) remote and hitherto inaccessible districts have been brought
into touch with the rest of the world; and by an expenditure of
£2,106,000 the railway mileage of Ireland has been increased from
2,643 miles in 1890 to 3,391 in 1906. Then it is hardly too much to
say that the Labourers' Cottages Act, and the grants made under it,
have transformed the face of the country.

By this Act, District Councils are enabled, in localities where
accommodation for labourers is insufficient, to take land compulsorily
and erect cottages, the money advanced by the Government for the
purpose being gradually repaid by the ratepayers. The wretched hovels
which were the disgrace of Ireland from the dawn of history until a
period within living memory, have almost disappeared; and comfortable,
sanitary and pleasing dwellings have taken their place.

Even this excellent Act, however, is now used by the Nationalists to
further their own objects. One instance may suffice. In 1907 a farmer
fell under the ban of the League and was ordered to be boycotted. The
District Council found that one occupant of a "Labourer's Cottage"
disregarded the order and continued to work for the boycotted farmer.
They promptly evicted him. What would be said in England if a Tory
landlord evicted a cottager for working for a Radical farmer?

But even more important than these measures has been the establishment
of the Department of Agriculture. The success of this has been due to
the ability, energy and unselfishness of Sir Horace Plunkett. The main
object of the Department was to instruct the farming classes in the
most effective methods of agriculture and the industries connected
with it. This by itself would have been a great work; but Sir Horace
has also founded the Irish Agricultural Organization Society, to
encourage co-operative organization amongst farmers, based on
the principle of mutual help; and the success of this, worked in
conjunction with the Department, has been marvellous. More than nine
hundred local societies have been established, for the promotion of
industries such as dairying and poultry farming; co-operative credit
banks have been formed, based on what is known in Germany as the
Raffeisen system. The turnover of these societies in 1908 amounted
to more than £2,250,000. Agricultural Organization Societies, in
imitation of the Irish one, have been formed in England and Scotland;
and so far did its fame reach that the Americans sent over an agent to
enquire into its working.

Of course it is unfair to attribute the prosperity or the decline of
a country to any one measure; and more than that, it is only by taking
into consideration a number of circumstances and a long term of years
that we can decide whether prosperity is real or merely transitory.
But that Ireland increased in prosperity under the influence of
the Unionist Government, cannot be denied; indeed Mr. Redmond, when
shepherding the Eighty Club (an English Radical Society) through
Ireland in 1911, did not deny the prosperity of the country, and could
only suggest that the same reforms would have been introduced and
better carried out under an Irish Parliament--regardless of the facts
that no Nationalist Government could have found the money for
them; and that Nationalists are orators and politicians, not men
of business. The combined value of exports and imports rose from
104,000,000 in 1904 to 125,000,000 in 1909; and the gross receipts on
railways from £4,140,000 to £11,335,000. The deposits in savings banks
rose from £3,128,000 in 1888 to £10,627,000 in 1908. The tonnage
of shipping in Irish ports was 11,560,000 in 1900; in 1910 it was

Sir Horace had done his utmost to prevent the curse of political
strife from entering into his agricultural projects. He had been
careful to appoint Nationalists to some of the most important offices
in his Department, and to show no more favour to one part of the
country than another. But all in vain; the National League, when their
friends returned to power, at once resolved to undo his labours, some
of them openly saying that the increased attention devoted to
trade and agriculture was turning men's thoughts away from the more
important work of political agitation. Mr. T.W. Russell, a man totally
ignorant of agricultural affairs, whose only claim to the office was
that he was a convert to Nationalism, was appointed in place of
Sir Horace. He promptly declined to continue to the Agricultural
Organization Society the support which it had previously received
from the Department; and, with the aid of the United Irish League,
succeeded in preventing the Society from receiving a grant from the
Board of Agriculture similar to those given to the English and Scotch
societies; threw discredit on the Co-operative Credit Banks, and
denounced the Co-operative Farming Societies as injurious to local
shopkeepers. And thus he made it clear that it is impossible in
Ireland to conduct even such a business as the development of
agriculture without stirring up political bitterness.

Another effort of Mr. Balfour's--the establishment of the Congested
Districts Board--has had a strange and instructive history. It was
established in 1891. Mr. Balfour decided to entrust to a small body of
Irishmen, selected irrespective of party considerations, the task of
making an experiment as to what could be done to relieve the poorest
parts of Ireland; and with this object, the Board, though endowed with
only small funds, were given the widest powers over the area within
which they were to operate. They were empowered to take such steps as
they thought proper for (1) Aiding migration or emigration from the
congested districts, and settling the migrant or emigrant in his
new home; and (2) Aiding and developing agriculture, forestry,
and breeding of live stock and poultry, weaving, spinning, fishing
(including the construction of piers and harbours, and supplying
fishing boats and gear and industries subservient to and connected
with fishing), and any other suitable industries. Both the powers and
the revenues of the Board were increased from time to time, until by
1909 its annual expenditure amounted to nearly £250,000. It became
clear almost at the beginning of its labours that amongst the many
difficulties which the Board would have to face there were two
pre-eminent ones; if it was desired to enlarge uneconomic holdings by
removing a part of the population to other districts, the people to be
removed might not wish to go; and the landless men in the district to
which they were to be removed might say that they had a better right
to the land than strangers from a distance, and the result might be a
free fight. As the only chance of success for the labours of the Board
was the elimination of party politics, Mr. J. Morley, on becoming
Chief Secretary in the Gladstonian Government of 1892, appointed as
Commissioners Bishop O'Donnell of Raphoe (the Patron of the Ancient
Order of Hibernians, and a Trustee of the Parliamentary Fund of the
United Irish League); and the Rev. D. O'Hara, a leading Clerical
Nationalist of a violent type. It is needless to say that under their
influence the action of the Board has been conducted on strictly
Nationalist lines. One instance may suffice. In 1900, the Board,
having come into the possession of the Dillon estate, wished to sell
it to the tenants; and when doing so, considering the sporting rights
to be a valuable asset, decided to reserve them. A considerable number
of the tenants expressed their readiness to purchase their holdings
subject to the reservation. The Board received an offer of £11,000
for the mansion, demesne and sporting rights over the estate. The
reservation of sporting rights when, taking the whole estate, they
were of pecuniary value, had been the common practice of the Board in
other sales; but an agitation was at once got up (not by the tenants)
against the reservation in this case, on the ground that it was not
right for the Board to place any burden on the fee simple of the
holdings; the offer of £11,000 was refused, and soon afterwards the
Board sold the mansion and the best part of the demesne to a community
of Belgian nuns for £2,100. The sporting rights, which became the
property of the purchasing tenants, ceased to be of any appreciable
pecuniary value, though in a few cases the tenants succeeded in
selling their share of them for small sums to local agitators. When a
witness before the Royal Commission of 1906 ventured to point out that
the taxpayers thus lost £8,900 by the transaction, he was severely
rebuked by the Clerical members of the Commission for suggesting
that the presence of the Belgian nuns was not a great benefit to the

This Royal Commission was appointed ostensibly for the purpose of
enquiring into and reporting upon the operations of the Board since
its foundation. After going through a mass of evidence, the Chairman
(Lord Dudley) said that the Board had tried for twenty years to
develop new industries and had failed; and another member (Lord
MacDonnell) said that it had only touched the fringe of the question;
and, considering that in spite of all its efforts at promoting local
industries, emigration continued to be greater from the district
subject to its control than from any other part of Ireland, it is hard
to see what other view was possible. But the large majority of the
Commission were ardent Nationalists--in fact, one of them a short time
before his appointment had publicly advocated an absolute, rigorous,
complete and exhaustive system of boycotting; and the witness who
spoke for the United Irish League told the Commission that it was the
strong view of the League that the Board should be preserved. It was
only natural therefore that the Commission should report that in their
opinion the powers and scope of its operations should be extended and
its income largely increased. This was accordingly done by the Birrell
Act of 1909. One of the most important functions of the Board was
the purchase of land, for which they possessed compulsory powers. The
witness who had appeared before the Commission as representing the
United Irish League was Mr. FitzGibbon, Chairman of the Roscommon
County Council, and now a Member of Parliament. He had previously been
sent to prison for inciting to the Plan of Campaign, and for criminal
conspiracy. He had also taken a leading part in the cattle-driving
agitation (to which I shall refer later) and had announced that his
policy was "to enable the Board to get land at fag-end prices." He
was therefore appointed by Mr. Birrell to be a member of the Board, as
being a suitable person to decide what compensation should be paid
for land taken compulsorily. He publicly stated that his object was to
carry out the great work of Michael Davitt. And he certainly has been
active in doing so; and now the agitators, when they want to have an
estate transferred to the Board, commence by preventing its being
let or used, and so compelling the owner to leave it derelict
and unprofitable; then, when by every description of villainy and
boycotting it has been rendered almost worthless, the Congested
Districts Board (who have carefully lain by until then) step in with
a preposterous offer which the unfortunate owner has no choice but
to accept. This may appear strong language to use with reference to
a Government Department presided over by Roman Catholic bishops and
priests; but the words are not mine; they are taken from the judgment
of Mr. Justice Ross, in the case of the Browne Estate.

At any rate, whatever else the Congested Districts Board may have
achieved, they have done one good thing; they have shown to Unionists
in Ireland what the principles of justice are by which the Nationalist
Government will be conducted.

(4) The fourth division of the Unionist policy was the extension of
local government. By the Act of 1898 County and District Councils were
formed, like those which had been existing in England for a few
years previously; and the powers of the old Grand Juries (who it
was admitted had done their work well, but were now objected to on
principle as not being elected bodies) were abolished. The importance
of the measure can hardly be overestimated; for not only did it
re-organize local government on what would elsewhere be a democratic
but is in Ireland a Clerical basis; but also it may be described as
Home Rule on a small scale. By examining into the practical working of
the scheme we may form an idea as to what Home Rule is likely to be;
and both parties refer to it as a ground for their opinion. It is
curious now to note that it was Gerald Balfour, the Unionist Chief
Secretary, who, when introducing the measure, appealed to the Irish
gentry not to stand aloof from the new order of things, but to seek
from the suffrages of their fellow-citizens that position which no
others were so well qualified to fill as themselves--in much the same
way that English Radical orators now accuse the Ulstermen of want
of patriotism when they declare that they will never take part in a
Nationalist Government. The Nationalists were of course loud in their
protestations that in the noble work of local government all narrow
political and sectarian bitterness would be put aside, and all
Irishmen irrespective of creed, class or party would be welcome to
take part--just as they are now when they promise the same about the
National Parliament. Thus J. Redmond said:

    "No man's politics or religion will be allowed to be a bar
    to him if he desires to serve his country on one of the
    new bodies. Men of different creeds, who have had an almost
    impassable gulf between them all their lives, will be brought
    together for the first time in the working of this scheme of
    Local Government.... On every one of the juries in Ireland
    there have been county gentlemen who have shown the greatest
    aptitude for business, the greatest industry, and the greatest
    ability; and I say it would be a monstrous thing if, by
    working the election of these County Councils on narrow
    sectarian or political lines, men of that class were excluded
    from the service of their country."

And another Nationalist Member added: "We are anxious for the
co-operation of those who have leisure, wealth and knowledge." Irish
Unionists who refused to believe these assurances were denounced by
Nationalists as bigots and humbugs. The value of the assurances of
1912 may be gauged by the manner in which those of 1898 have been
fulfilled. At the election of 1899 a few Protestants and Unionists
were returned. But the general feeling of the newly-formed Councils
may be gathered from the following resolution which was passed by the
Mayo County Council in that year:

    "That we, the members of the Mayo County Council, congratulate
    the gallant Boers on their brilliant defeats of the troops
    of the pirate Saxon. That we hope that a just Providence will
    strengthen the arms of these farmer fighters in their brave
    struggle for their independence. And we trust that as Babylon
    fell, and as Rome fell, so also may fall the race and nation
    whose creed is the creed of greed, and whose god is the god of

And by 1902, when the next triennial elections were coming on,
the mask was thrown off. The _Freeman's Journal_ (the principal
Nationalist organ) said:--

    "In every County or District Council where a landlord, however
    amiable, or personally estimable, offers himself for election,
    the answer of the majority must be the same: 'No admittance
And J. Redmond stated the case still more plainly:

    "We have in our hands a weapon recently won, the full force
    of which is not yet, I believe, thoroughly understood by
    the English Government or by ourselves. I mean the weapon
    of freely-elected County Councils and District Councils who
    to-day form a network of National organizations all over
    Ireland, and who to-morrow, I doubt not, if the other
    organizations were struck, would be willing to come forward
    and take their place, and, in their Council Chambers, carry on
    the National work."

Pledges in the following form were presented for signature to all
candidates by the United Irish League (except of course in north-east

    "I ---- hereby pledge myself, if elected to represent the ----
    Division on the County Council, to promote the interests of
    the United Irish League, and to resign my position whenever
    called upon to do so by the ---- Divisional Executive."

So completely has the policy been carried out that by 1911, to
quote the words of Mr. FitzGibbon, M.P. (to whom I have previously

    "There was not a landlord in the country who could get his
    agent returned as District Councillor or County Councillor,
    or even his eldest son or himself. The Organization had
    emancipated the people; it had given them the power which
    their enemies had wielded; it had cleared the road for
    Ireland's freedom."

At present Unionists and Nationalists are pretty evenly divided in the
County Councils of Ulster; in the other three Provinces amongst 703
County Councillors there are only fifteen Unionists. In other words,
the Act has enabled the Nationalist party to carry out the plan laid
down by Lalor of taking quiet and peaceable possession of all
the rights and powers of government, as a stepping-stone towards

Of course it may be said with much truth that if the large majority of
the people are Nationalists they are perfectly justified in choosing
Nationalists as their representatives. But that is not the point. The
real point is that in spite of the protestations of the Nationalists
at the time of the passing of the Act, politics in their bitterest
form have been brought in, and the Unionist minority have been
deprived of all share in the local government of the country.

To illustrate this still further, I may add that a General Council
of County Councils was formed in 1900, for the purpose of promoting a
fair and equitable administration of the Act. In order that the Ulster
Councils might unite with the others, it was agreed that politics
should be excluded. But after the election of 1902, that agreement
was abandoned; and, rather than take part in what had become a mere
political gathering, the Ulster representatives withdrew. Left
to themselves, the Nationalist General Council in 1906 passed the
following resolution:--

    "That the Irish people are a free people, with a natural right
    to govern themselves; that no Parliament is competent to make
    such laws for Ireland except an Irish Parliament, sitting in
    Dublin; and that the claim by other bodies of men to make laws
    for us to govern Ireland is illegal, unconstitutional, and at
    variance with the rights of the people."

If such a body as the General Council of County Councils pass a
resolution like this, is there much probability that the Nationalist
Parliament will refrain from doing the same, should the Imperial
Parliament attempt to exercise the power given to it by the present
Bill, and to legislate for Ireland?

But again it may be said that though the Councils have thus become
political bodies, they have conducted their business so admirably
that their conduct is a powerful argument to show that a Nationalist
Parliament will be equally practical and liberal. This is the view put
forward by Nationalist orators and their humble follower Mr. Birrell,
who in November 1911, informed his friends at Bristol that the Irish
had shown a great capacity for local government and that from what
people who had seen a great deal of the south and west of Ireland told
him there was no fear of persecution or oppression by the Catholic
majority of their Protestant fellow-subjects. In support of this,
various facts are adduced, which it is well to examine in detail,
remembering the poet's words that

    "A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies."

One of the greatest powers possessed by the County Councils is the
exercise of patronage. It would probably be generally admitted in any
country but Ireland that there, if anywhere, religion and politics
should be excluded, and men selected only for their qualifications.
The Nationalists, wishing to demonstrate the fairness of the Councils
which hold their views, contrast the bigotry shown by the Unionist
Corporation of Belfast with the liberality of similar bodies in other
parts of the country. And certainly the figures they adduce, when
addressing audiences in England or writing for English readers, are
very striking. Thus Mr. Birrell said at Skipton in November 1911 that
he had been told that in the great Unionist City of Belfast there was
only one Roman Catholic in the employment of the Corporation, and he
was a scavenger. (It will be observed that here, as in many of his
speeches, he carefully used the expression "he had been told"--so
that what he said may be literally true, even though when he heard the
statement he knew that it was false.) And Stephen Gwynn, M.P., in his
"Case for Home Rule," says: "In Belfast, Catholics are a third of the
population; but the Corporation pays £51,405 in a year in salaries,
of which only £640 goes to Catholics." And about the same time as
Mr. Birrell's oration, Mr. Redmond, speaking at Swindon, said that in
Galway, Cork, Westmeath and King's County (where Roman Catholics form
the large majority of the population) Protestants held 23 per cent. of
the salaried appointments in the gift of the Councils.

But when we descend from the airy height of Nationalist rhetoric to
the prosaic region of fact, we find that the rates of the City
of Belfast amount to about £342,000; of this sum, Roman Catholic
ratepayers pay less than £18,000. There are nine hundred Roman
Catholics in the employment of the Corporation, and they receive in
salaries about £48,000 per annum. And as to the figures quoted by Mr.
Redmond, we find that he omitted to state that not one of the 23 per
cent. had been appointed by a County Council; they were all survivals
of the system in force before 1899, whose positions were secured by
statute; and in not one of the counties he mentioned has a Unionist
been appointed to any salaried office since that date. To take the
County of Cork as a specimen; there are ninety-four salaried
offices in the gift of the County Council; of these nine are held
by Protestants--but they were all appointed before 1899. Of the
thirty-three salaried offices in the gift of the City Corporation, two
are held by Protestants--but these also were appointed before 1898;
and yet the Protestants pay nearly half the rates. And in Ireland
there is not the slightest attempt at concealment in the matter;
thus in one case a District Council adopted by formal resolution the
request of the local priests not to support any candidate who did
not produce a testimonial from the parish priest; as a Councillor
remarked, it was the simplest way of stating that no Protestant need

But it is in the appointment of medical officers ("dispensary doctors"
as they are technically called in Ireland) that the policy of the
Nationalists has been most marked. Many years ago, the late Cardinal
Cullen ruled that it was a mortal sin to vote for a heretic for such
an office; now, however, the bishops have gone further. There are
three medical schools in Dublin--Trinity College, the College of
Surgeons, and the Catholic University School; and three in the
provinces--at Belfast, Cork and Galway. The Medical School of Trinity
College has a world-wide reputation. The students are required to
complete their Arts course before specializing in medicine (thus
ensuring that they shall be men of general culture and not merely of
professional training); the professors and lecturers are amongst the
ablest men of the day; the students have the advantage of the large
city hospitals for their clinical studies; and the standard required
for a degree is high. And not only is Trinity College open to all
students without distinction of creed, but the College authorities
have frequently offered a site within their grounds for a Roman
Catholic Chapel and the salary of a Chaplain who would take spiritual
care of his flock. Nevertheless the Roman Catholic bishops have
ordered that no candidate who has been trained at any College except
the Catholic University school shall be eligible for the post of
Dispensary Doctor; and when an election takes place (as for instance
that at Kiltimagh in 1905) the question of professional qualification
is not taken into consideration--having been trained at a "godless
college" is a fatal bar to any candidate, however able. In the
Kiltimagh case, the resolution passed shortly after the election by
the local branch of the United Irish League is instructive reading:--

    "That we, the members of the Kiltimagh Branch of the United
    Irish League, take advantage of this our first meeting since
    the important Election of Medical Officer for the Kiltimagh
    Dispensary District, to express our appreciation of all the
    Guardians for the several divisions in this parish for the
    faithful honesty with which they represented us on that
    occasion. We feel proud to know that not one of our
    representatives voted for a Queen's College man against a
    Catholic University man. They voted for a man who is the
    stamp of man we want--a sound Catholic, a sound Nationalist, a
    Gaelic Leaguer, and a highly qualified medical man. We believe
    their action will meet with the approval of the Bishops and
    Priests of Ireland."

To one who lives in Ireland it is sad enough to see year by year the
most able and promising of the medical students being driven out
of the country on account of their religion, and forced to look for
openings elsewhere; but to a thoughtful observer it is even worse than
that; it is the beginning of the new Penal Laws.

And when we turn to other matters, where the marvellous efficiency of
the County Councils exists, is hard for an unprejudiced enquirer
to find. The old Grand Juries handed over the roads and bridges in
excellent order; they are certainly not better now, and in many cases
worse. In fact, one English theoretical Radical who paid a brief visit
to Ireland, inhaled so much Hibernian logic during his hurried tour
that he solemnly argued that the badness of the roads proved that the
Councils had been governing too economically; and therefore what was
needed was a central body--that is, an Irish Parliament--to stir up
the local administration! Nationalist writers claim that the rates
are going down; but that merely means that they are not so high now as
they were soon after the Act came into force, not that they are lower
than before 1898. It was expected that the rates would be reduced by
the operation of the Old Age Pensions Act; but that has not proved to
be the case. And the increase in local indebtedness is alarming.

To sum up, therefore, I trust that I have, even in this brief sketch,
made it clear that the policy of the Unionist Government, taken as
a whole, has been of immense benefit to the social and material
prosperity of Ireland; and that the points in which it has failed
have been those where their reforms have fallen under the power of the
Nationalists, who have either thwarted them, or made use of them
to further their own ideas. I shall next proceed to examine the
alternative policy, which is being carried out by the present



During the Gladstone-Rosebery Government--from 1892 to 1895--matters
in Ireland were quiet. The Nationalists were at first on their best
behaviour, in consequence of the promised introduction of the Home
Rule Bill; and after its rejection by the Upper House, the time was
too short for anything serious to happen. But the period was marked by
the commencement of one great change in Irish administration. It must
be admitted by impartial observers that the old landlord party,
with all their faults, made as a rule excellent magistrates. A large
proportion of them were retired military officers, who had gained some
experience in duties of the sort in their regiments; others were men
of superior education, who studied with care the laws they were to
administer. Living in the locality, they knew the habits and feelings
of the people; and yet they were sufficiently separated from them to
be able to act as impartial judges; and no charges of bribery were
ever made against them. And, the work being congenial, they gladly
devoted their spare time to it. Gladstone's Chief Secretary (the
present Lord Morley) determined to alter all this; he accordingly
appointed to the Bench a large number of men drawn from a lower social
stratum, less educated and intelligent than those previously chosen,
but more likely to administer "Justice according to Irish ideas."
Then the operation of the Local Government Act, by which Chairmen of
Councils (all of course Nationalists) became _ex officio_ magistrates,
completed a social revolution by entirely altering the character of
the Bench. In some localities the magistrates previously appointed
realizing that, being now in a minority, they could be of no further
use on the Bench, withdrew; in others, though the old magistrates
continued to sit, they found themselves persistently outvoted on every
point; so what good they have done by remaining, it is hard to see.
Amongst the men appointed under the new system, there have been
several instances of justices who have continued to act without the
slightest shame or scruple although they have been convicted of such
offences as drunkenness, selling drink on unlicensed premises, or
corrupt practices at elections. But worse than that: the new order
of justices do not regard their duties as magisterial, but political;
they give but little attention to ordinary cases, but attend in
full strength to prevent the conviction of any person for an outrage
organized by the United Irish League; and do not hesitate to promise
beforehand that they will do so. If by any chance a sufficient number
are not present to carry their purpose, the names of the absentees are
published in the Black List of the League--and the result of that is
so well known that they are not likely to offend again. Hence comes
the contemptible exhibition--now not infrequent--of men being charged
before the Bench, and no evidence being offered for the defence;
yet the Stipendiary Magistrate being obliged to say that though he
considers the case proved, the majority of the Bench have decided to
refuse informations. Even a Roman Catholic Bishop has confessed that
now magistrates too often have no respect for their obligations to
dispense the law justly and without favour; and that the Bench is
sometimes so "packed" that the culprits, though guilty, are certain to
be acquitted.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before discussing the policy of the present Government since it
came into power in 1906, it is well to explain what the principal
societies--secret or other--are which now conduct the Government of
Ireland. In one sense indeed the names are immaterial; for, as in
1798, in whatever various ways the societies have commenced, they are
all working towards the same end, and being controlled by the same

The Land League, which was founded in 1879 as a league for ruining
landlords as a stepping-stone towards independence, having been
suppressed by Gladstone in 1881, was reformed under the name of the
Irish National League. This was in its turn suppressed in 1887, and in
1898 appeared once more under the name of the United Irish League
with J. Redmond as President and J. Devlin as Secretary. In 1901 Mr.
Redmond explained the objects of the League as follows:--

    "The United Irish League is not merely an agrarian movement.
    It is first, last, and all the time a National movement;
    and those of us who are endeavouring to rouse the farmers of
    Ireland, as we endeavoured twenty years ago in the days of the
    Land League, to rouse them, are doing so, not merely to obtain
    the removal of their particular grievances, but because we
    believe by rousing them we will be strengthening the National
    movement and helping us to obtain our end, which is, after
    all, National independence of Ireland."

And to make the exact meaning of the phrase "National Independence of
Ireland" quite clear, he soon afterwards stated that their object was
the same as that aimed at by Emmett and Wolfe Tone--in other words, to
place Ireland in the scale of nations with a constitution resembling
that of the United States.

By March 1908 (that is, about two years after the present Government
came into power), to quote the words of Mr. Justice Wright, "the only
law feared and obeyed was the law not of the land but of the United
Irish League"; and before the end of that year Mr. Redmond was able to
report to his friends in America:--

    "We have in Ireland an organization which is practically
    a government of the country. There is in O'Connell Street,
    Dublin, a great office managed by the real Chief Secretary for
    Ireland, J. Devlin, the Member for Belfast."

The organization of the League is admirable. The country is covered
with a network of branches, to which people in the district are
obliged to contribute under penalty of being boycotted; these branches
are united under provincial executives, whilst the Directory in
Dublin controls the whole. The union between the League and the Roman
Catholic Church is as complete as the union between that Church and
some societies started on a non-sectarian basis became during the
rebellion of 1798; as we have seen, a bishop is one of the trustees,
and other bishops are amongst the subscribers; the Sunday meetings of
the various branches, at which boycotting and other measures of the
kind are arranged, are usually presided over by the parish priests. On
the other hand, few laymen, whatever their religion may be, who have
any stake in the country, can be got to join the League; in the words
of A.J. Kettle, M.P.:--

    "On its roll of membership there are no landlords or
    ex-landlords, few merchants, fewer Irish manufacturers. There
    are few of the men who are managing the business of Ireland
    in city or town, connected with the League. The bankers who
    regulate our finances, the railway or transit men who control
    our trade, internal and external, even the leading cattle men
    who handle most of our animal produce, are not to be found in
    its ranks."

In further evidence of this it may be noted that in spite of all the
efforts of the League at collecting money, the subscriptions to the
Irish Parliamentary Fund do not amount to a halfpenny per head of the
population; as J. Dillon has remarked: "The National cause in Ireland
could not live for six months if it were deprived of the support of
the Irish across the Atlantic."

Closely allied with the League is the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a
secret political and exclusively Roman Catholic association, of which
J. Devlin, M.P. (the Secretary of the League), is President. It is
also called the Board of Erin, to distinguish it from the American
branch. The American branch, I may remark, is also known as the Molly
Maguires, as it was under that name that it conducted the series of
murders and outrages at the Pennsylvanian mines thirty years ago.
Hence the Irish branch is sometimes nicknamed the "Molly Maguires."
The Order is very religious, in the sense that part of its programme
is to deprive heretics of every means of earning their livelihood; as
a Nationalist who did not sympathize with the operations of the Order
expressed it: "If Protestants are to be robbed of their business, if
they are to be deprived of public contracts, and shut out of every
office and emolument,--what is that but extermination?" The political
principles of the Order can be gathered from the Address presented by
them to Captain Condon on the occasion of his visit to Dublin in 1909.
Captain Condon, I may explain, had been a prominent Fenian and member
of the Irish Republican brotherhood, and had taken part in the riot at
Manchester in 1867 which resulted in the murder of Sergeant Brett; he
now resides in America. In 1909 he visited Ireland on the invitation
of J. Redmond; and the address presented to him by the Ancient Order
of Hibernians contained the following words:--

    "In you, O'Meagher Condon, we recognize one of those
    connecting links with the past which all nations cherish,
    and you are ready to-day with voice and pen to give your
    unflagging support to Ireland's leaders with as much
    enthusiasm as you grasped the sword to lead Ireland in the
    dark but historic '67. We are sure it will interest you to
    know that the ranks of the Hibernians to-day are composed
    of the men and children of those who swore allegiance to the
    Irish Republic with you."

The Order has lately acquired additional strength by becoming an
"Approved Society" under the Insurance Act of 1911. In Ireland it is
no more possible for life insurance than for anything else to exist
without being dragged into the vortex of religious and political

The "Clan-na-gael"--that is, the Dynamite Club--still flourishes
in America; but for obvious reasons it does not make any public
appearance in Ireland; and the exact part which it takes in the
movement at the present time, it is impossible to say.

"Sinn Fein" (which means "Ourselves") is another Separatist
Association, aiming at the establishment of Ireland as a Sovereign
State, and teaching that the election of Irishmen to serve in the
British Parliament is treason to the Irish State. As its name implies,
it desires to make use of the revival of the Irish language as a means
towards the end for which it is working. It was founded in 1905.
Why this Society and the United Irish League, whose objects seem
identical, should be ready to fly at one another's throats, is one of
the things that those who are outside the Nationalist circle cannot
understand. But the Clerical leaders, who do their utmost to further
the operations of the League, look askance at Sinn Fein; its ultimate
success therefore is very doubtful.

Then, working in conjunction with these societies is the "Gaelic
League," founded for the "de-Anglicizing" of Ireland, as helping
towards separation. As J. Sweetman (who, besides being a prominent
member of the Gaelic League, is also Vice-President of Sinn Fein and
Vice-Chairman of the Central Council of Irish County Councils and may
therefore be regarded as speaking with authority) has expressed it:--

    "Out of the Gaelic League's de-Anglicizing propaganda
    have already grown a series of movements not only strongly
    political but each and all making for a separate independent
    Irish nation, freed from every link of the British

Were it not for its political object, the folly of this "revival of
the Irish language" would be past belief. The language of Shakespeare
and Milton, of Gibbon and Macaulay, ought surely to be good enough for
ordinary people; and it must be obvious to every reasoning being that
at the present moment of the world's history, English is one of the
most useful languages in existence. It is spoken by 40,000,000 of
people in Europe and twice that number in America, not to mention
Australasia and South Africa. It is the language of commerce, of
science, and of a vast amount of literature. Europeans of various
nationalities learn it, for the sake of its convenience; although, as
we all know, one of the difficulties of modern life is that boys and
girls have too much to study; educationalists everywhere complain
that the curriculum is overloaded. Its position in Ireland can be
seen exactly by the census returns; for the papers contain a "language
column," each person being required to state whether he speaks
English or Irish or both. According to the returns of 1891, the total
population was in round numbers 4,725,000; of whom 4,037,000 spoke
English only, 643,000 both languages, and 44,000 Irish only. And that
trifling minority existed only in certain localities, and was confined
to the less educated classes. The only counties in which a majority of
the population spoke Irish (including those who spoke both languages)
were Mayo and Galway. Yet now it is solemnly said that Ireland,
being an independent nation, must have a language of its own; even in
counties where no language but English has been spoken for centuries,
and where probably none of the ancestors of the present population
ever spoke any other language, Irish is being taught in the Roman
Catholic primary schools, and the unhappy children who might be
studying arithmetic or elementary geography, are wasting their time
over a totally useless language. I say "totally useless" deliberately;
for the arguments usually brought forward in favour of the study,
apart from the political one--that Irish is of use in the study of
philology, and that the MSS. of centuries ago contain fine specimens
of poetry--are too absurd to be worth discussing. The real object of
the Nationalists in "encouraging the revival of the Irish language"
is clearly set out in the following words of T. MacSeamus in a recent
number of the _Irish Review_:--

    "Most important of all, the Irish language is one of the
    things that distinguish us from England. It is a mark of that
    separateness which it is the business of every Nationalist to
    maintain and emphasise on every possible occasion. It is one
    of the signs--perhaps the chief sign--of nationality.... The
    Irish language is a weapon in our fight against England, and
    we cannot afford to throw away even the smallest weapon that
    may serve us in that struggle."

And the policy of the League as regards the primary schools is made
quite clear by the resolution passed unanimously at their annual
meeting in 1912:--

    "That we re-affirm the demand of the last Ard Fheis in regard
    to the position of Irish in the primary schools, viz., that
    Irish be the sole medium of instruction in the Irish-speaking
    districts; that it be the medium as far as possible in all
    other schools, and that it be a compulsory subject in every
    school throughout the country where parents are not opposed
    to it; furthermore, that a knowledge of Irish be required from
    all teachers entering for training as teachers, and that no
    certificate be issued to those who fail to qualify in Irish at
    the final examination, and that none but inspectors having a
    knowledge of Irish be employed to inspect schools where Irish
    is taught."

It will be seen therefore that if the League carry their point (as
no doubt they will under a Home Rule Government) no graduate of the
Belfast University who wishes to become a teacher in a Belfast school
will be allowed to do so unless he passes an examination in a language
which not one of his pupils will ever wish to learn; and this, not for
the purpose of ensuring general culture, but to further a political
object with which he has no sympathy.

The League leave no stone unturned in their efforts to substitute the
Irish for the English language. For instance, it is usually considered
in other countries that the names of the streets of a town are put
up in order to help people who want to find their way, and not for
political reasons. But in Dublin, where not one per cent. of the
people can read Irish, the names have recently all been painted up in
that language, in the hope of de-Anglicizing the rising generation. An
incident occurred recently which will show how the movement is being
taken up. There is in Dublin an excellent regulation that children
may not become "street traders" without a licence. A bright little boy
came to apply for one. The magistrate, being a kindly man, enquired
of the lad what his circumstances were. The boy explained that part of
his earnings went towards the support of his widowed mother; and that
he was trying to keep up his education by attending a night school.
"And what are you learning there?" said the magistrate. "Irish,"
replied the boy. Even the magistrate could not resist telling him that
he thought his time would be better spent at Arithmetic. Yet from the
boy's point of view, there is something to be said. Irish may be of
use to him in obtaining a Government appointment, however small; for
local bodies (such as the Dublin Boards of Guardians) now refuse
to appoint clerks who cannot send out notices of meetings in Irish,
though no member of the Board to whom they are sent can read them; and
the League fully expect that the Home Rule Government will do the same
with regard to every appointment in their gift. If the railways are
taken over by the Government (as they probably will be) it can be seen
what an immense impetus can be given to the movement.

Then Secondary Schools have been established for the same object. The
_Irish Educational Review_ recently contained the following account of
one of them:--

    "At Ring, in the County Waterford, there is already in
    existence an Irish secondary school where classics, modern
    languages and all the usual secondary school subjects are
    taught and where Irish and English fill their rightful places,
    the former being the ordinary language of the school, the
    latter a foreign language on no higher level than French or

The Act of 1909, which founded the "National" University (to which I
shall refer again), gave power to County Councils to levy a rate for
scholarships. Immediately the Gaelic League saw their opportunity.
They endeavoured to persuade the Councils to refuse to do so unless
Irish were made compulsory at the University. The Councils generally
(except of course in Ulster) agreed to the plan; but some of them
(such as the Kildare Council) were faced by a difficulty. Not a single
child in the county spoke Irish; and so if that language were made
compulsory, no one could compete for the scholarships. So they
compromised matters, by deciding that they would levy a rate if Irish
were made compulsory after 1915, by which time some of the young
people in the county would have been able to learn it; and the
University agreed to do so.

This rating power, I may remark, looks extremely liberal as it appears
in the Act; for the scholarships are to be tenable at any University.
The Irish Unionist members, knowing quite well how it would be
worked, opposed the clause; and as usual were denounced as bigots
and fanatics. It is needless to add that as soon as the Act came into
force, County Councils and Corporations at once passed resolutions
that scholarships derived from the rates should not be tenable at
Trinity College, Dublin, or at Belfast, but only at the National
University--thus practically saying that no Protestants need compete.

Beyond forcing the children to acquire a smattering of Irish, it
cannot be said that so far the efforts of the League as to the
language have been very successful; for the census returns show that
the proportion of the population who could speak Irish in 1891 was
14'5; in 1901, 14'4; and in 1911, 13'3; and the numbers who spoke
Irish only fell from 20,953 in 1901 to 16,870 in 1911.

But the efforts of the League are not confined to the language.
English games, such as cricket, are forbidden; if football is played,
it must be the Gaelic variety with rules totally different from
those observed by the hated Saxon. Even the patients in asylums
are forbidden to play cricket or lawn tennis. And some of the more
enthusiastic members of the League have actually "donned the saffron,"
in imitation of the Ersefied Normans of 400 years ago. However, it
is so hideously ugly, and so suggestive of the obnoxious Orange, that
that phase of the movement is not likely to extend.

Even the "Boy Scout" movement has been made use of for the same
object. As soon as some corps had been established in Ireland, the
Nationalists started a rival organization with an Irish name, in
which all the boys solemnly undertake to work for the independence
of Ireland, and never to join England's armed forces. The boys take a
prominent part in the annual ceremonies in honour of Wolfe Tone, the
Manchester martyrs, and other Nationalist heroes.

The whole thing would be laughable if it were not so very sad. Even
such matters as sports and education, where all creeds and parties
might be expected to work together amicably, must be used as
instruments to bring about separation; and the result already is not
so much to widen the gulf between Ireland and England as the gulf
between the two parties in Ireland; for the Protestant minority in
the south, who know that most of their children will have to leave the
country, are not likely to let them fritter away their youth in the
study of a language which can be of no possible benefit to them in
any part of the world to which they may go; and the idea that the
Ulstermen will ever adopt a Celtic tongue is too ridiculous to be
considered. But perhaps the most painful thought of all is that the
Nationalists should be ready even to sacrifice the prospects in life
of the rising generation of the country in order to satisfy their
blind hatred of England.



I come now to the policy which has been pursued by the present
Government since 1906. It must be remembered that the Radical party
returned to power pledged to Home Rule as a principle, but with a
sufficient majority to enable them to retain office without depending
on the Irish vote. Hence there was no necessity for them to introduce
a Home Rule Bill; but of course they set aside the policy of the
Unionist Government, and resolved to govern Ireland according to their
own ideas. What those ideas were, and what the result has been, I
shall now proceed to show; but in doing so I shall as far as possible
confine myself to quotations and statistics which can be verified, so
that I may not be accused of giving an unfair report.

The Chief Secretary for the first year was Mr. Bryce, who was
afterwards appointed British Ambassador at Washington. The Government
at once repealed the Act which forbade the carrying of arms without a
licence; withdrew all proclamations under the Crimes Act of 1887;
and resolved not to stop any political meetings. Accordingly the
Nationalists commenced holding a series of demonstrations all over
the country. A few specimens taken from the speeches made at them will
suffice to show their general tenour.

    "Let them all be ready, and when England got into trouble with
    European Powers, they would pounce upon her with the ferocity
    of a tiger."--_T. Walsh, District Councillor._

    "They must stand together as one man, and make it impossible
    for England to govern Ireland."--_P. White, M.P._

    "If there had been 100,000 Fenians in Ireland at the time of
    the Boer War there might now have been a Republic in
    Ireland, and British supremacy would have been tumbled in the
    dust."--_J. Daly, formerly Mayor of Limerick._

And Mr. Bryce, when leaving Ireland at the end of the year, stated
that he had not found any harm in any of the speeches delivered at the

At this time the agitation began to assume a new form. One of the most
important of Irish industries is the cattle trade with England,
the annual value of which exceeds £14,000,000. In several parts of
Ireland, notably in Meath and the central counties, the soil and
climate are specially suited for cattle raising, and the land
is generally held in large grazing farms. It was decided by the
Nationalists in the autumn of 1906 that this industry must be
destroyed. Bodies of men assembled night after night to break down the
fences and gates of the farms and drive the cattle many miles away,
in order that the farmers might be ruined and forced to leave the
country; and then the derelict farms would be divided amongst the
"landless men." L. Ginnell, M.P., explained the programme fully in a
speech he made in October 1906:--

    "The ranches must be broken up, not only in Westmeath but
    throughout all Ireland ... He advised them to stamp out the
    ranch demon themselves, and not leave an alien Parliament to
    do the duty ... He advised them to leave the ranches unfenced,
    unused and unusable ... so that no man or demon would dare to
    stand another hour between the people and the land that should
    be theirs."

The agitation, commencing in Meath, was gradually extended, county
by county, over a large part of Ireland where the Nationalists are
supreme. Other measures were resorted to, in order to carry out their
object. Arson, the burning of hayricks, firing into dwelling-houses,
spiking meadows, the mutilation of horses and cows, the destruction
of turf, the damaging of machinery, and various other forms of lawless
violence began to increase and multiply. At the Spring Assizes in
1907, the Chief Justice, when addressing the Grand Jury at Ennis, in
commenting on the increasing need for placing law-abiding people under
special police protection, said:--

    "In a shire in England, if it was found necessary, either by
    special protection or protection by patrol, to protect from
    risk of outrage thirty persons, what would be thought?"

And Mr. Justice Kenny at Leitrim, after commenting upon the increased
number of specially reported cases, as shown by the official
statistics, and alluding to several cases of gross intimidation,

    "In these latter cases I regret to say no one has been
    made amenable; and when there is such a state of things,
    it justifies the observation made by the learned judge who
    presided at last Connaught Winter Assizes, that when the chain
    of terrorism was complete, no witness would give evidence and
    no jury would convict."

Thereupon Mr. Birrell, who at the beginning of the year had succeeded
Mr. Bryce as Chief Secretary, having no doubt studied these and
similar reports, said in a speech at Halifax in the following month:--

    "You may take my word for this, that Ireland is at this moment
    in a more peaceful condition than for the last six hundred

Soon afterwards, Mr. Justice Ross, who, as Judge of the Land Judge's
Court, Chancery Division, was in charge of many estates in Ireland,

    "He had known from other Receivers about this widespread and
    audacious conspiracy at present rampant in the West of Ireland
    ... This was actually a conspiracy which on ordinary moral
    grounds amounted to highway robbery, to seize on these grass
    lands, to drive away the stock of the people who had been
    in the habit of taking it; and then, when the owner had been
    starved out, the Estates Commissioners were expected to buy up
    the property and to distribute it amongst the very people who
    had been urging on the business, and who had been engaged in
    these outrages."

When an Ulster member drew attention to this in the House of Commons,
Mr. Birrell replied:--

    "There is no evidence before the Government that a widespread
    conspiracy is rampant in the West of Ireland."

And in reply to another question he said that:--

    "The reports he received from the police and other persons
    revealed the condition of Ireland generally as to peace and
    order as being very satisfactory."

During the month of October 1907, twenty-nine claims for compensation
from the rates in respect of malicious injuries had been proved and
granted in twelve counties, the amount levied from the ratepayers
being about £900. The malicious injuries comprised destruction of and
firing into dwelling houses, mutilation of horses and cattle, burning
cattle to death, spiking meadows and damaging mowing machines, damages
to fences and walls, burning heather and pasturage, damage to gates in
connection with cattle driving, and injury to cattle by driving. And
in November an attempt was made to assassinate Mr. White Blake and his
mother when driving home from church in the County Galway. A few days
after this occurred Mr. Redmond said at a meeting in North Wales:--

    "Whilst there is no crime or outrage there is widespread
    unrest and impatience, and there are, over a certain section
    of the country, taking place technical breaches of the strict
    letter of the law in the shape of what is called cattle
    driving. Now let me say first of all that in no instance has
    any single beast been injured in the smallest degree in any of
    these cattle-drives; in no instance has any malicious injury
    been done to property, life or limb, or beast."

All this time the Government adhered to their determination not to put
the Crimes Act in force, but merely to place accused persons on trial
before juries at the Assizes. The results were as follows: At the
Summer Assizes in 1907, 167 persons were returned for trial; of these,
57 were actually tried, of whom three were convicted, 31 acquitted,
and in 23 cases the juries disagreed. The trials of the remaining 110
were postponed. At the Michaelmas sittings, 94 persons were put on
trial, of whom 5 were convicted and 2 acquitted; in 72 cases the
juries disagreed, and in the remaining 15 the Crown abandoned
proceedings. At the Winter Assizes 86 persons were tried for unlawful
assembly, riot and conspiracy in connection with cattle-driving. None
were convicted; 11 were acquitted; in 12 cases the prisoners were
discharged on legal points; and in 63 the juries disagreed.

I fully admit that there is much to be said for the juries who refused
to convict. When a Government is doing its utmost to suppress anarchy
and to enforce law and order, it is no doubt the duty of every loyal
subject to render assistance even at the risk of his own life
and property. But when a Government is conniving at anarchy, and
deliberately refusing to put in force the Act which would put a stop
to it, I say it is too much to expect of any man that he should face
the prospect of being ruined and probably murdered, and his family
reduced to beggary, in order to enable the Government to keep up the
farce of pretending that they are trying to do their duty.

During the first half of 1908, there were 418 reported cases of
cattle-driving; and arson, outrages with firearms, meadow-spiking,
and similar offences increased in proportion. The judges urged in vain
that the law should be put in force. But the policy of the Government
remained unchanged; the _Daily News_ (the Government organ) when
cattle-driving was at its height said that thanks to the excellent
government of Mr. Birrell cattle-driving now had practically become
extinct even in those few parts of the country in which it had
existed; and in July Mr. Birrell, addressing a political meeting at
Port Sunlight, said that:--

    "They were led to believe that the state of Ireland was of
    an appalling character, that crime predominated, and that
    lawlessness almost universally prevailed. All he could say was
    that a more cheerful land was nowhere to be found."

In 1909 matters became somewhat quieter, chiefly because Mr. Birrell
promised to introduce a Land Bill by which the cattle-drivers hoped to
get all they wanted. Hence their leaders advised them to "give Birrell
a chance," but Mr. Redmond warned the Government that if they did not
carry out their pledge, they would speedily find Ireland ungovernable.
In February 1909, Lord Crewe, speaking for the Government in the House
of Lords, made the remarkable statement:--

    "As regards intimidation, I have always shared the view that
    well-organized intimidation cannot be checked by law. I know
    no method of checking it."

If this is not an admission that the Government had failed in their
duty, it is hard to say what is. The result of their line of action
will be seen by the following table, which has been taken from various
returns which the Ulster members, by repeated questions in Parliament
at last succeeded in forcing Mr. Birrell to make public:--

Agrarian outrages                  1906          234
     "    "                        1907          372
     "    "                        1908          576
Cattle-drives                      1905          Nil
   "    "                          1907-8        513
   "    "                          1908-9        622
   "    "                          1908          219
Cattle maiming, mutilating, etc.   1907          142
Persons boycotted                  1907          196
     "    "                        1908          270
     "    "                        1909          335
Cost of extra police               1908      £47,000


Agrarian outrages                                581
Malicious injuries to property, Intimidating
  by threatening letters, etc.                   285
Firing into dwelling houses                       58
Rioting, robbery of arms, etc.                    31
Killing and maiming cattle                        83

It may be asked, why did not the Ulster members call the attention of
Parliament to this state of things? The answer is, they did so again
and again; Mr. Birrell gave stereotyped replies, much after this form,
with hardly a variation:--

    I have seen in the newspapers a report that a few shots were
    fired into a farmhouse in Galway. No one appears to have been
    seriously injured. The police are making enquiries. No arrests
    have been made.

(He might as well have added that he knew perfectly well that no
arrests ever would be made.) Then he would go to a political meeting
and say that the peaceful condition of Ireland was shown by the small
number of criminal cases returned for trial at the Assizes; and would
bitterly denounce the "Carrion Crows" (as he designated the Ulster
members) for trying to blacken the reputation of their country.

One instance may be given more in detail, as typical of the condition
to which Ireland had been brought. Lord Ashtown (a Unionist Peer
residing in County Galway) began issuing month by month a series of
pamphlets entitled "Grievances from Ireland." They contained little
besides extracts from Nationalist papers giving reports of the
meetings of the United Irish League, the outrages that took place, and
the comments of Nationalist papers on them. His object was to let
the people in England see from the accounts given by the Nationalists
themselves, what was going on in Ireland. This, however, was very
objectionable to them; and one of their members asked Mr. Birrell in
the House of Commons whether the pamphlets could not be suppressed.
Mr. Birrell made the curious reply that he would be very glad if Lord
Ashtown were stopped, but that he did not see how to do it. What he
expected would be the results of that remark, I do not know; but no
one living in Ireland was much surprised when a few weeks afterwards
a bomb outrage occurred at the residence of Lord Ashtown in the County
Waterford. It was a clumsy failure. A jar containing gunpowder was
placed against the wall of the house where he was staying and set on
fire. The explosion wrecked part of the building, but Lord Ashtown
escaped unhurt. He gave notice of his intention to apply at the next
assizes for compensation for malicious injury. The usual custom in
such cases is for a copy of the police report showing the injury
complained of, to be sent to the person seeking compensation; but on
this occasion the police refused to show Lord Ashtown their report,
stating that they had received orders from the Government not to do
so. But shortly before the case came on, a report, not made by the
police authority in charge of the district, but by another brought in
specially for the purpose, appeared in the Nationalist papers. This
report contained the remarkable suggestion that Lord Ashtown had done
it himself! When under cross-examination at the trial, the Inspector
of the Royal Irish Constabulary who made the report was obliged to
confess that he did not believe that he had, but had only inserted the
suggestion in obedience to instruction received from the Government.
Lord Ashtown proved his case and was awarded compensation. But the
matter did not end there. He had employed a surveyor, Mr. Scully, to
draw plans and take photographs showing the amount of the damage. Mr.
Scully was surveyor to the Waterford Corporation. It was proposed at
the next meeting of the Corporation that he should be dismissed from
his office for having given evidence for Lord Ashtown. The motion
was carried unanimously, eight councillors being present; and at the
following meeting it was ratified by eight votes to two. A question
was asked about the matter in the House of Commons; and Mr. Birrell,
with the figures before him, replied that Mr. Scully had never been

Two other instances of this period must be briefly referred to. It
has already been shown how the Irish Parliament endowed Maynooth as a
College for Roman Catholic students both lay and theological; and how
Trinity College, Dublin, opened its doors to all students, without
distinction of creed. But the Roman Catholic Church turned Maynooth
into a seminary for theological students only; and the bishops forbade
young laymen to go to Trinity. In 1845 Sir Robert Peel attempted to
supply the want by founding the Queen's University, with Colleges at
Belfast, Cork and Galway, where mixed education should be given in
secular subjects, and separate instruction in those appertaining to
religion; but that again was denounced as a "satanic scheme for the
ruin of faith in the rising generation"; and the crusade against
the university was so successful that in 1879 it was destroyed and
another--the Royal University--put in its place. This in its turn was
abolished in 1909; the College at Belfast was raised to the status
of a University, and a new University ominously called the "National
University" was founded into which the existing Colleges at Cork and
Galway were absorbed, with a new and richly endowed College in Dublin
at the head. It may seem strange that the Radical Government who are
pledged to destroy all religious education in England should found and
endow a Denominational University in Ireland. But the matter could be
arranged by a little judicious management and prevarication; it was
represented in Parliament that the new University was to be strictly
unsectarian; during the debate, Sir P. Magnus, the member for the
London University, said that he had no reason to believe that there
was any intention on the part of the Chief Secretary to set up
denominational Universities in Ireland; he accepted his word that they
were to be entirely undenominational. Then, when the Act was passed,
the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin was appointed Chancellor of
the National University, with a number of Jesuits as Professors, and
Cardinal Logue stated as follows:--

    "No matter what obstacles the Nonconformists may have inserted
    in the Constitution of the University to keep it from being
    Catholic, we will make it Catholic in spite of them."

Personally, I do not object to denominational Universities. I regret
that young men who are going to live in the same country should not be
able to study law and medicine together; but if that is their feeling
and the feeling of their parents, I admit that having separate
Universities may be the best solution of the difficulty. But if so,
let it be openly avowed that the University is denominational; to
"make it Catholic" and at the same time to say that it is no injustice
to Protestants that County Scholarships paid for by the ratepayers
should be tenable there and nowhere else, seems to me absurd.

The other incident to which reference must be made was the great
Convention held in Dublin in 1909. The Nationalists, believing that
a Home Rule Bill would soon be introduced, devised the scheme of
assembling a monster Convention, which would be evidence to the world
of how admirably fitted the Irish people were to govern their own
country. It was attended by 2,000 delegates from all parts of the
country, who were to form a happy family, as of course no disturbing
Unionist element would be present to mar the harmony and the clerical
element would be strong. Mr. Redmond, who presided, said in his
opening address:--

    "Ireland's capacity for self-government will be judged at home
    and abroad by the conduct of this Assembly. Ireland's good
    name is at stake, and therefore every man who takes part
    in this Assembly should weigh his words and recognise his

The meeting ended in a free fight.

At the end of 1909 Mr. Asquith did a very clever thing. A general
election was pending, and he wished to avoid the mistake which
Gladstone had made in 1885. He therefore, at a great meeting at
the Albert Hall unfolded an elaborate programme of the long list of
measures which the Government would introduce and carry, and in the
course of his remarks said that Home Rule was the only solution of
the Irish problem, and that in the new House of Commons the hands of
a Liberal Government and of a Liberal majority would in this matter be
entirely free. He and his followers carefully abstained from referring
to the subject in their election addresses; and Mr. Asquith was thus
free, if he should obtain a majority independent of the Irish vote,
to say that he had never promised to make Home Rule part of his
programme; but if he found he could not retain office without that
vote, he might buy it by promising to introduce the Bill and refer to
his words at the Albert Hall as justification for doing so. The latter
happened; hence the "Coalition Ministry." The Irish party consented to
please the Radicals by voting for the Budget, and the Nonconformists
by voting for Welsh Disestablishment, on condition that they should
in return vote for Home Rule. As Mr. Hobhouse (a Cabinet Minister)
expressed it in 1911:--

    "Next year we must pay our debt to the Nationalist Members,
    who were good enough to vote for a Budget which they detested
    and knew would be an injury to their country."

But the people of England still had to be hood-winked. It was hardly
likely that they would consent to their representatives voting for
the separation of Ireland from Great Britain; so the Nationalists and
their Radical allies went about England declaring that they had
no wish for such a thing; that all they desired was a subordinate
Parliament leaving the Imperial Parliament supreme. Thus Mr. Redmond
suggested at one meeting that Ireland should be conceded the right
of managing her own purely local affairs for herself in a subordinate
Parliament, subject to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament; and
at another meeting said:

    "We are not asking for a Repeal of the Union. We are not
    asking for the restoration of a co-ordinate Parliament such
    as Ireland had before the Union. We are only asking that
    there should be given to Ireland a subordinate Parliament. We
    therefore admit the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. That
    means that after this subordinate Parliament is created in
    Ireland, if the Parliament is foolish enough, rash enough, as
    it never will be, but if it were foolish enough and criminal
    enough to use the powers given to it for injustice or
    oppression of any class or creed, the Imperial Parliament
    would have the power to stretch forth the arm of its authority
    and to say 'you shall not do that.'"

Of course it may be argued that they had changed their minds; that
in former times they worked for separation, but now realised that
a subordinate Parliament was all that Ireland required. But
unfortunately for this theory, they have themselves repudiated it;
when Mr. Redmond was accused of speaking with two voices, one in
America and one in Great Britain, he passionately replied:--

    "I indignantly deny that accusation. I have never in my life
    said one word on a platform in America one whit stronger than
    I had said in my place on the floor of the House of Commons.
    I have never in America or anywhere else, advocated the
    separation of Ireland from Great Britain."

How far this is true, the quotations from his speeches which have
already been given, will have shown. But the Government have kept up
the farce; Mr. Winston Churchill said during the debate on the Bill of

    "The Home Rule movement has never been a separatist movement.
    In the whole course of its career it has been a moderating,
    modifying movement, designed to secure the recognition of
    Irish claims within the circuit of the British Empire."

But not even the immediate prospect of Home Rule can be said to have
made those parts of Ireland where the League is supreme a happy place
of residence to any but advanced Nationalists. The following report of
a case in the Magistrate's Court at Ennis in November 1912 will speak
for the condition of the County Clare:--

    Patrick Arkins was charged with knocking down walls on the
    farm of Mrs. Fitzpatrick in order to compel her to give up the
    farm. Inspector Davis gave evidence that from January 1910 to
    that date there were 104 serious outrages in his district.
    In 42 firearms were used, 27 were malicious injuries, 32 were
    threatening notices, 1 case of bomb explosion outside a house,
    1 robbery of arms, and 1 attempted robbery. A sum of £268 had
    been awarded as compensation for malicious injury and there
    were claims for £75 pending for malicious injuries committed
    during the week ended 11th inst. There were two persons under
    constant police protection, and 16 receiving protection by
    patrol. Head Constable Mulligan said that Mrs. Fitzpatrick was
    under police protection. Since February 11th, 1912, there had
    been 12 outrages in the district, Mrs. Fitzpatrick was under
    almost constant police protection. Acting Sergeant Beegan
    deposed that there had been 12 outrages on the Fitzpatrick
    family during the last four years; these included driving
    cattle off the lands, threatening notices, firing shots at the
    house, knocking down walls, spiking meadows; the new roof of
    a hay barn was perforated with bullets, and at Kiltonaghty
    Chapel there were notices threatening death to anyone who
    would work for Mrs. Fitzpatrick. Timothy Fitzpatrick gave
    similar evidence as to the outrages, and said that his father
    had taken the farm twenty-one years ago, and had paid the son
    of the former tenant £40 for his goodwill.

(I may add that Arkins was committed for trial, convicted at the
Assizes and sentenced to seven years penal servitude; and was released
by Mr. Birrell a few weeks afterwards.)

In another Clare case, in February of the present year, the resident
Magistrate said as follows:--

    "It is a mistake to say that these outrages are arising out
    of disputes between landlord and tenant; nine out of ten arise
    out of petty disputes about land. What is the use of having
    new land laws? A case occurred not long ago in this county of
    a man who had bought some land twenty years ago, and paid down
    hard cash to the outgoing tenant. The man died, and left a
    widow and children on the land for fourteen years. But in 1908
    a man who had some ulterior object got the man who had sold
    the farm to send in a claim under the Evicted Tenant's Act,
    which was rejected. That was what the advisers of the man
    wanted--they only wanted a pretext for moonlighting and other
    disgraceful outrages, and the woman was kept in a hell for
    four years. A man was caught at last and convicted, and one
    would think that this was a subject for rejoicing for all
    right-minded men in the county. But what was the result? A
    perfect tornado of letters was printed, and resolutions
    and speeches appeared in the public press, condemning this
    conviction of a moonlighter in Clare as an outrage against

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Killaloe, in a sermon preached in
December 1912, referring to County Clare said:--

    "That county had had an evil record in the matter of crime,
    and they were so accustomed to outrages of almost weekly
    occurrence around them that it was not easy to shock them.
    There was an inoffensive family sitting round the fireside
    with a couple of neighbours. They had given no offence, they
    had wronged no man, they had crossed no man's path. But that
    inhuman beast went to the door and lifted the latch, and
    there, at a few yards distance, fired into that innocent group
    of men, women and children, as if they were a flock of crows,
    killing the mother outright and almost blowing the forehead
    off a young girl. There was no denying the fact that that
    brutal murder was the natural outcome of the disgraceful
    system of intimidation and outrage that had been rampant for
    a long time in certain districts of that unhappy county and
    of the immunity from punishment enjoyed by the wicked and
    cowardly moonlighter. In addition to their other acts of
    savagery, they had shot out the eyes of two men within the
    last couple of years. A decent, honest man was shot on the
    road to Ennis. The people passed the wounded man by and
    refused to take him into their car through fear. Not one
    of these well-known miscreants was brought to justice. The
    murderers of poor Garvey, the cow-houghers, the hay-burners,
    were said to be known. In any other country, for instance in
    the United States, such ruffianism would be hunted down or
    lynched; but there, in the places he referred to, they had
    a curtain of security drawn round them by the cowardice or
    perverted moral sense on the part of the community amongst
    whom they lived.... It was only last Thursday night, before
    the county had recovered from the shock of Mrs. O'Mara's
    murder, that right over the mountain an unfortunate postman
    was shot on the public road between Crusheen and Baliluran for
    no other reason apparently than that another fellow wanted his
    job of one and six-pence a day! It has come to this, that if
    you differ with one of them for a shilling, or refuse to give
    him his way in everything the first thing that comes into his
    head is to moonlight you.... They have not elevation or social
    instinct to settle their petty disputes by process of law
    provided for the purpose by a civilized society, nor have they
    Christianity enough to bear a little wrong or disappointment
    for Christ's sake. No, nor the manliness even to meet an
    opponent face to face and see it out with him like a man; but
    with the cunning of a mean and vicious dog, he steals behind
    him in the dark and shoots him in the back, or murders the
    helpless woman of his family, or shoots out the eyes of the
    poor man's horse, or cuts the throat of his bullock and spikes
    his beast upon a gate."

Nor has the present year brought much improvement. In May 1913, Mr.
R. Maunsell was fired at and wounded close to the town of Ennis. His
crime was that he managed a farm for a Mr. Bannatyne, whose family had
been in possession of it for about sixty years, but who had recently
been denounced by the United Irish League and ordered to surrender it.
As he has refused to do so, he is now compelled to live under police

The abolition of landlordism and the acquisition of firearms can
hardly be said to have brought peace and tranquillity to the County of

And as to Galway, we may gather the state of affairs from the report
of a case tried at the Winter Assizes of 1912. Three men were charged
with having done grievous bodily harm to a man named Conolly. Conolly
swore that he knew a man named Broderick who had become unpopular but
he (Conolly) kept to him and this brought displeasure on him from the
accused and others. On the night of the 11th September he went to bed;
he was subsequently awakened and found 44 grains of shot in his left
knee and four in his right. He then lay flat on the floor. Other shots
were fired through the window but did not strike him. The judge said
the district was a disgrace to Ireland. Day after day, night after
night, heaps of outrages were committed there, and not one offender
was made amenable to justice. The jury disagreed, and the accused were
again put on their trial. The judge in charging the jury on the second
trial said that then, and for some time, the district was swarming
with police, and though outrages were frequent, it was impossible for
them to bring anyone to justice. No one was sure he might not be fired
at during the night; and people were afraid to give evidence. The jury
again disagreed.

During the autumn of 1912 an effort was made to hold a series of
meetings throughout the south and west of Ireland to protest against
Home Rule. The conduct of the Nationalists with regard to them
supplies a striking commentary on Mr. Redmond's statement at Banbury
not long before, that all through his political life he had preached
conciliation towards those who differed from him on the question
of Home Rule. The meetings were in some cases stopped by force; at
Limerick the windows of the Protestant Church and of some houses
occupied by Protestants were smashed; at Tralee the principal speaker
was a large farmer named Crosbie; all his hay and sheds were burned
down, and he was awarded £600 compensation by the County Court Judge.

But an incident had occurred in the north which, though in a sense
comparatively slight, has, in consequence of the circumstances
connected with it, done more to inflame the men of Ulster than persons
not living in Ireland can realise. In June of last year a party of
Sunday School children from a suburb of Belfast went for a picnic to
Castledawson (co. Derry) under the charge of a Presbyterian minister
and a few teachers and ladies. On their way back to the railway
station, they were met and assailed by a procession of men belonging
to the Order of Hibernians armed with pikes who attacked the children
with the pikes and with stones, seized a Union Jack which a small
boy was carrying, and knocked down and kicked some of the girls and
teachers. Worse might have happened had not some Protestant young men,
seeing what was going on, come to the rescue. The minister was struck
with stones whilst he was endeavouring to get some of the children
to a place of safety. No Nationalist has ever expressed the slightest
regret at the occurrence. Several of the aggressors were tried at the
Winter Assizes and sentenced to three months' imprisonment. Before
the end of the term they were released by order of the Government. Mr.
Birrell, in justifying his action, said that the judge had remarked
that there was no evidence before him of actual injury. This, like
many of his statements, was literally true; but he omitted to mention
that he had prevented the evidence from being given; the injured women
and children were quite ready to give their testimony, but were not
called by the counsel for the crown.

It is unnecessary to say that this foretaste of Home Rule government
has made the Presbyterians of Ulster more determined than ever to
resist it to the bitter end.

I shall next proceed to consider the Bill which the Government have
introduced as a panacea for the woes of Ireland.



That the maintenance of the Union is possible, and that complete
separation is possible, are two indisputable facts. But the question
is, was Wolfe Tone right when he said that these were the only two
possibilities; or is there a third one, and if so, what?

Residents in the Dominions will naturally be inclined to reply "Yes;
place Ireland in the position of a colony possessing responsible
government, such as New Zealand." It is a taking idea; but a little
reflection will show the falseness of the analogy. The relations
between the Mother Country and the self-governing colonies (now
often called "Dominions") have grown up of themselves; and, like
most political conditions which have so come about, are theoretically
illogical but practically convenient. The practical convenience arises
partly from the friendly spirit which animates both parties, but still
more from the nature of the case. The distance which separates the
Mother Country from the Dominions causes the anomalies to be scarcely
perceptible. In theory the Sovereign, acting on the advice of
British Ministers, can disallow any colonial statute, and the British
Parliament is supreme--it can pass laws that will bind the colonies,
even laws imposing taxes. But we all know that if the Home Government
were persistently to veto laws passed by the large majority of the
people in New Zealand, or the British Parliament were to attempt to
legislate for the colonies, relations would at once become strained,
and separation would be inevitable. The only important matters on
which the Home Government attempts to bind the colonies are those
relating to foreign countries (which are necessarily of an Imperial
nature) and those as to which the colonies themselves wish to have
an Act passed, such as the Act establishing Australian Federation. In
other words, the "supremacy of Parliament," which is a stern reality
in England, has very little meaning as regards New Zealand. Even if
the people of New Zealand were to manage the affairs of their country
in a manner contrary to English ideas--for instance if they were to
establish State lotteries and public gambling tables--England would be
but slightly affected, and certainly would never think of taking steps
to prevent them. And those matters in which the Home Government is
obliged to act are just those in which New Zealand has no desire
to interfere; for instance, New Zealand would never want to appoint
consuls of her own (which was the immediate cause of the separation
between Norway and Sweden); in the very few cases in which New Zealand
desires to make use of political or commercial agents abroad, she is
content to employ the British representatives, for whom she is
not called upon to pay. If New Zealand attempted to take part in a
European war in which England was not concerned--the idea is almost
too absurd to suggest--the only thing that England could do would be
to break off the connection and repudiate New Zealand altogether.
And if New Zealand desired to separate from the Mother Country, many
people would think it a most grievous mistake, but England certainly
would not seek to prevent her doing so by force; and though England
would in some ways be the worse for it, the government of England
and of the rest of the Empire would go on much the same as before. In
certain points, it is true, thoughtful men have generally come to the
conclusion that the present state of affairs cannot go on unchanged;
the time is coming when the great Dominions must provide for their own
defence by sea as well as by land; and whether this is to be done by
separate navies working together or by joint contributions to a
common navy, it will probably result in the formation of some Imperial
Council in which all parts will have a voice. That however, is a
matter for future discussion and arrangement.

But when we turn to Ireland, everything is different. The two islands
are separated by less than fifty miles. Ireland has for more than a
century been adequately represented in the Imperial Parliament; the
journey from Galway to London is shorter than that from Auckland
or Dunedin to Wellington. So long as Europe remains as it is, Great
Britain and Ireland must have a common system of defence--which means
one army, one navy, and one plan of fortifications. Again, Irishmen,
traders and others, will constantly have to make use of government
agents in other countries. Now unless Great Britain is to arrange and
pay for the whole of this, we are met at once by the insoluble problem
of Irish representation in the British Parliament. If Ireland is not
represented there, we are faced with the old difficulty of taxation
without representation; if Ireland is represented there for all
purposes, Ireland can interfere in the local affairs of England, but
England cannot in those of Ireland; if we have what has been called
the "in-and-out" scheme as proposed by Gladstone in 1893--that is, for
the Irish members to vote on all questions of an Imperial nature,
but to retire when matters affecting England only are under
discussion--then, even if the line could be drawn (which is doubtful)
we might have the absurdity of an English ministry which possessed
the confidence of the majority of Englishmen and whose management of
England met their approval, being turned out of office by the Irish
vote, and England being governed according to a policy which the
majority of Englishmen detested. Of course it may be said that there
ought to be a number of small Parliaments in the British Isles, like
those in the Provinces of Canada or the States of Australia, with one
great Parliament supreme over them--in other words, Federation.
That might be a good thing, although it would in its turn start many
difficulties which it is unnecessary now to discuss, for it is not
Home Rule nor does Home Rule lead to it. Federal systems arise by the
union of separate States, each State giving up a part of its power
to a joint body which can levy taxes and can overrule the local
authorities. In fact, when Federation comes about, the States cease to
be nations.

(I must here remark in passing that constant confusion has been caused
by the various senses in which the word "nation" is used. Thus it is
often quite correctly employed in a sentimental sense--we speak of
Scottish National character, or of the National Bible Society of
Scotland, though Scotland has no separate Parliament or flag and would
on a map of Europe be painted the same colour as the rest of Great
Britain. Quite distinct from that is the political sense, in which the
Irish Nationalists use the word when speaking of being "A Nation once
again," or of "The National Independence of Ireland.")

It might be possible for the United Kingdom to be broken up into a
Federation (though it is strange that there is no precedent in history
for such a course); but that would not be "satisfying the National
Aspirations of Ireland." In fact, as Mr. Childers, one of the ablest
of English advocates of Home Rule, has stated: "The term Federal, as
applied to Irish Home Rule at the present time, is meaningless."

But when we come to examine the existing Bill, which will become law
in 1914 unless something unforeseen occurs, we find that it is neither
the Colonial plan nor Federation but an elaborate system which really
seems as if it had been devised with the object of satisfying nobody
and producing friction at every point. England (by which of course I
mean Great Britain; I merely use the shorter term for convenience)
is not only to pay the total cost of the army, navy and diplomatic
services, including the defences of Ireland, but is also to grant an
annual subsidy to Ireland commencing with £500,000 but subsequently
reduced to £200,000. Whether the English taxpayer will relish this
when he comes to realise it, may be doubted. Certainly no precedent
can be cited for a Federal system under which all the common
expenditure is borne by one of the parties. And further, the present
Government state freely that they hope to carry out their policy by
introducing a Bill for Home Rule for Scotland and possibly also for
Wales. Will the Scotch and Welsh consent to contribute towards the
government of Ireland; or will they demand that they shall be treated
like Ireland, and leave the people of England to pay all Imperial
services and to subsidize Ireland, Scotland and Wales? Then again,
Ireland is to send forty-two representatives to what is still
sarcastically to be called the "Parliament of the United Kingdom," but
will no doubt popularly be known as the English Parliament. They
are to vote about the taxation of people in Great Britain, and to
interfere in local affairs of that country, whilst the people of
Great Britain are not to tax Ireland or interfere in any way with its
affairs. This is indeed representation without taxation. Of course it
is inevitable that the Irish members will continue to do what they are
doing at present--that is, offer their votes to whatever party will
promise further concessions to Irish Nationalism; and they will
probably find no more difficulty in getting an English party to
consent to such an immoral bargain than they do now.

The provisions as to legislation for Ireland are still more
extraordinary. The Irish Parliament is to have complete power of
legislating as to Irish affairs, with the exception of certain matters
enumerated in the Act; thus it may repeal any Acts of the Imperial
Parliament passed before 1914. On the other hand, the English
Parliament (in which Ireland will have only forty-two representatives)
will also be able to pass laws binding Ireland (and in this way to
re-enact the laws which the Irish Parliament has just repealed), and
these new laws the Irish Parliament may not repeal or overrule. Now
this power of the English Parliament will either be a reality or a
farce; if it is a reality, the Irish Nationalists will be no more
inclined to submit to laws made by "an alien Parliament" in which they
have only forty-two representatives than they are at present to submit
to those made by one in which they have 103; if it is a farce, the
"supremacy of the Imperial Parliament" is a misleading expression.
The Lord Lieutenant is to act as to some matters on the advice of the
Irish Ministry, as to others on the advice of the English. Anyone who
has studied the history of constitutional government in the colonies
in the early days, when the governor was still supposed to act as
to certain affairs independently of ministerial advice, will see the
confusion to which this must lead. Suppose the Lord Lieutenant acts
on the advice of the English ministers in a way of which the
Irish Parliament do not approve, and the Irish Ministry resign in
consequence, what can result but a deadlock?

But most extraordinary of all are the provisions as to finance. The
Government appointed a Committee of Experts to consider this question.
The committee made their report; but the Government rejected their
advice and substituted another plan which is so elaborate that it is
only possible to touch on some of its more important features here.
I have already said that the English Parliament will have no power
to tax Ireland. That statement, however, must be taken subject to two
reservations. The Bill provides that if ever the happy day arrives
when for three consecutive years the revenue of Ireland has exceeded
the cost of government, the English Parliament (with the addition of
twenty-three extra members summoned from Ireland for the purpose)
may make new provisions securing from Ireland a contribution towards
Imperial expenditure. As this is the only reference to the subject
in the Bill, the general opinion was that until those improbable
circumstances should occur, the English Parliament would have no power
to tax Ireland; but when the debates were drawing to a close, the
Government astonished the House by stating that according to their
construction of the Bill, should any new emergency arise at any time
after the Bill becomes law (for instance, a great naval emergency
requiring an addition to the Income Tax) it would be not merely the
right but also the duty of the Imperial Chancellor of the Exchequer
to see that the charge should be borne by the whole United Kingdom--in
other words, the Parliament in which Ireland possesses only forty-two
representatives may and ought to tax Ireland for Imperial purposes.
The friction which will arise should any attempt of the sort be made,
especially as the power is not stated in the Bill, is evident. In
plain words, it will be impossible to levy the tax.

But apart from these rights, which one may safely say will never be
exercised, the financial arrangements will from their very complexity
be a constant source of trouble. All taxes levied in Ireland are to be
paid into the English Exchequer (or as it is called in the Bill "The
Exchequer of the United Kingdom"). Some of the objects for which
these taxes have been levied are to be managed by the Irish
Government--these are called "Irish services"; others are to be
managed by the English Government--these are called "Reserved
services." The English Exchequer will then hand over to the Irish

    (a) A sum representing the net cost to the Exchequer of the
    United Kingdom of "Irish Services" at the time of the passing
    of the Act;

    (b) The sum of £500,000 a year, reducible to £200,000, above
    referred to; and

    (c) A sum equal to the proceeds of any new taxes levied by the
    Irish Parliament.

Then the balance which the English Exchequer will retain, after
handing over these three sums, will go to the "Reserved Services." But
as, in consequence of the establishment of the Old Age Pensions
and some other similar liabilities, the aggregate cost of governing
Ireland at this moment exceeds the revenue derived from Ireland by
about £1,500,000, the English taxpayer will have to make up this sum,
as well as to give to Ireland an annual present of £500,000; and
even if the Irish Government succeeds in managing its affairs more
economically than the Government at present does, that will give no
relief to the British taxpayer, for it will be observed that the first
of the three sums which the Exchequer of the United Kingdom is to hand
over is not a sum representing the cost of the "Irish Services" at any
future date but the cost at the time of the passing of the Act.

It is possible of course that the Irish revenue derived from existing
taxes may increase, and so the burden on the English taxpayer may
be lightened; but as it is more probable that it will decrease, and
consequently the burden become heavier, the English taxpayer cannot
derive much consolation from that.

It will be seen from the foregoing remarks that a number of extremely
intricate and difficult financial questions must arise; for instance,
what sum really represents the net cost of "Irish Services" at the
time of the passing of the Act; what sum equals the net proceeds of
new taxes imposed by the Irish Parliament; and at what moment it can
be said that the revenue of Ireland has for three consecutive years
exceeded the cost of government. All such matters are to be decided
by a Board of Five, of whom one is to be nominated by the King
(presumably on the advice of the English Ministers), two by the
English Government, and two by the Irish. From the decisions of this
Board on matters of fact there is to be no appeal. It is needless
to point out that every detail in which the three English members
overrule the two Irish will be fought out again in the English
Parliament by the forty Irish members. This again will show how vain
is the hope that future English Parliaments will be relieved from
endless discussions as to Irish affairs. Professor Dicey has well
named the able work in which he has analysed the Bill and shown its
impossibilities "A Fool's Paradise."

The provisions concerning those matters as to which the Irish
Parliament is to have no power to legislate are as strange as the
other clauses of the Bill. For six years the Constabulary are to be a
"reserved service"; but as they will be under the orders of the Irish
Government, the object of this is hard to see--unless indeed it is to
create an impression that the Ulstermen if they refuse to obey them
are rebelling not against the Irish but the Imperial Government. The
Post Office Savings Banks are "reserved" for a longer period; as to
the postal services to places beyond Ireland, the Irish Parliament
will have no power to legislate; but the Post Office, so far as it
relates to Ireland alone, will be handed over at once to the Irish
Parliament--although even in the case of Federal Unions such as
Australia the Post Office is usually considered to be eminently a
matter for the Federal authority. And the question whether an Irish
Act is unconstitutional and therefore void will be decided by the
Privy Council, which will be regarded as an essentially English body;
hence if it attempts to veto an Irish Act, its action will be at once
denounced as a revival of Poyning's Act and the Declaratory Act of
George I.

The Bill excludes the relations with Foreign States from the powers of
the Irish Parliament, but says nothing to prevent the Irish Government
from appointing a political agent to the Vatican. That is probably one
of the first things that it will do; and as the Lord Lieutenant could
never form a Government which would consent to any other course, he
will be obliged to consent. This agent, not being responsible to the
British Foreign Office, may cause constant friction between England
and Italy.

But quite apart from the unworkable provisions of the Bill, everything
connected with its introduction and passing through Parliament has
tended to increase the hatred which the Opposition feel towards it,
and the determination of the Ulstermen to resist it if necessary even
by force. Those who lived in Australia whilst Federation was under
discussion will recollect how carefully the scheme was brought before
the people, discussed in various Colonial Parliaments, considered over
again line by line by the delegates in an Inter-Colonial Conference,
examined afresh in the Colonial Office in London and in the Imperial
Parliament and finally laid before each colony for its acceptance. Yet
here is a matter which vitally affects the government not of Ireland
only but of the whole United Kingdom, and thus indirectly of the
Empire at large; it was (as I have shown) not fairly brought before
the people at a general election; it has been introduced by what
is admittedly merely a coalition Government as a matter of bargain
between the various sections, at a time when the British Constitution
is in a state of dislocation, as the power of the House of Lords has
been destroyed and the new Upper Chamber not yet set up; and it has
been passed without adequate discussion. This I say deliberately; it
is no use to point out how many hours have been spent in Committee,
for the way in which the discussion has been conducted has deprived
it of any real value. The custom has been for the Government to state
beforehand the time at which each batch of clauses is to be passed,
and what amendments may be discussed (the rest being passed over in
silence); when the discussion is supposed to begin, their supporters
ostentatiously walk out, and the Opposition argue to empty benches;
then when the moment for closing the discussion arrives, the Minister
in charge gets up and says that the Government cannot accept any of
the amendments proposed; the bell rings, the Government supporters
troop back, and pass all the clauses unamended. As an instance of this
contemptible way of conducting the debate, it is sufficient to point
to the fact already mentioned, that so vital a matter as the power
of the English Parliament to tax Ireland was not even hinted at until
nearly the end of the debates.

And now the Bill is to become law without any further appeal to the

Are English Unionists to be blamed if they declare that an Act so
passed will possess no moral obligation, and that they are determined,
should the terrible necessity arise, to aid the Ulstermen in resisting
it to the uttermost?



In the last chapter I explained how hopelessly unworkable is the
particular scheme of Home Rule which is contained in the present
Bill. I now proceed to show why Home Rule in any form must lead to
disaster--primarily to Ireland, ultimately to the Empire.

Politicians who, like ostriches, possess the happy faculty of shutting
their eyes to unpleasant facts, may say that there is only one nation
in Ireland; but everyone who knows the country is quite aware that
there are two, which may be held together as part of the United
Kingdom, but which can no more be forced into one nation than
Belgium and Holland could be forced to combine as the Kingdom of the
Netherlands. And whatever cross-currents there may be, the great line
of cleavage is religion. Of course I am aware of the violent efforts
that have been made ever since the commencement of the Nationalist
agitation to prove that this is not so. Thus Parnell, addressing an
English audience, explained that religion had nothing to do with the
movement, and as evidence stated that he was the leader of it though
not merely a Protestant but a member of the Protestant Synod and a
parochial nominator for his own parish. Of course everyone in Ireland
knew perfectly well that he was only a Protestant in the sense that
Garibaldi was a Roman Catholic--he had been baptised as such in
infancy; and that he was not a member of the synod or a parochial
nominator, and never had been one; but the statement was good enough
to deceive his Nonconformist hearers. That Protestant Home Rulers
exist is not denied. But the numbers are so small that it is evident
that they are the rare exceptions that prove the rule. The very
anxiety with which, when a Protestant Home Ruler can be discovered
he is put forward, and the fact of his being a Protestant Home Ruler
referred to again and again, shows what a rare bird he is. To mention
one instance amongst many; a Protestant Home Ruler has recently
been speaking on platforms in England explaining that he came in a
representative capacity in order to testify to the people of England
that the Irish Protestants were now in favour of Home Rule. He did
not mention the fact that in the district where he resided there
were about 1,000 Protestants and he was the only Home Ruler amongst
them--in fact, nearly all the rest had signed a Petition against the
Bill. And when we come to examine who these Protestant Home Rulers
are, about whom so much has been said, we find first that there is in
this as in every other movement, a very small number of faddists, who
like to go against their own party; secondly a few who though they
still call themselves Protestants have to all intents and purposes
abandoned their religion, and therefore cannot fairly be reckoned;
thirdly, a few who hold appointments from which they would be
dismissed if they did not conform; fourthly, some who say openly that
Home Rule is coming and that whatever their private opinions may be it
is the wisest policy to worship the rising sun (bearing in mind that
Mr. Dillon has promised that when the Nationalists attain their end
they will remember who were their friends and who their enemies, and
deal out rewards and punishments accordingly); and fifthly, those who
have accepted what future historians will describe as bribes. For the
present Government have showered down Peerages, Knighthoods of
various orders, Lieutenancies of Counties, Deputy-Lieutenancies and
Commissions of the Peace--not to speak of salaried offices both
in Ireland and elsewhere--on Protestants who would consent to turn
Nationalists, in a manner which makes it absurd to talk any more about
bribery at the time of the Union. And yet with all this the Protestant
Home Rulers are such an extremely small body that they may be
disregarded. And indeed it is hard to see how an earnest, consistent
and logically-minded Protestant can be a Nationalist; for loyalty to
the King is a part of his creed; and, in the words of a Nationalist
organ, the _Midland Tribune_, "If a man be a Nationalist he must _ipso
facto_ be a Disloyalist, for Irish Nationalism and loyalty to the
throne of England could not be synonymous."

On the other hand, a large proportion of the educated Roman Catholics,
the men who have a real stake in the country, are Unionists. Some
of them, however earnest they may be in their religion, dread the
domination of a political priesthood; others dread still more the
union of the Church with anarchism. As has already been shown,
they refuse to join the United Irish League; some in the north have
actually subscribed the Ulster Covenant; many others have signed
petitions against Home Rule throughout the country; and a still larger
number have stated that they would gladly do so if they did not fear
the consequences. It is probably therefore correct to say that
the number of Unionists in Ireland decidedly exceeds the number of
Protestants; in other words, less than three-fourths of the population
are Nationalists, and more than one-fourth (perhaps about one-third)
are Unionists. And more than that; if we are to test the reality of
a movement, we must look not merely at numbers but at other matters.
Violent language may be used; but the fact remains as I have
previously stated that even if the Nationalists are taken as being
only two-thirds of the population, their annual subscriptions to the
cause do not amount to anything like a penny per head and that the
agitation could not last for six months if it were not kept alive
by contributions from America and the Colonies. But though the
Nationalist movement has not brought about a Union between the Orange
and the Green, it has caused two other Unions to be formed which will
have an important influence on the future history of the country. In
the first place it has revived, or cemented, the Union which, as we
have seen, existed at former periods of Irish history, but which has
existed in no other country in the world--the Union between the
Black and the Red. That a Union between two forces so essentially
antagonistic as Ultramontanism and Jacobinism will be permanent, one
can hardly suppose; whether the clericals, if they succeed in crushing
the heretics, will afterwards be able to turn and crush the anarchists
with whom they have been in alliance, and then reign supreme; or
whether, as happened in France at the end of the eighteenth century
and in Portugal recently, the anarchists who have grown up within
the bosom of the Church will prove to be a more deadly foe to the
clericals than the heretics ever were--it is impossible to say; but
neither prospect seems very cheerful.

In the second place, the Nationalist movement has drawn all the
Protestant bodies together as nothing else could. Episcopalians,
Presbyterians and Methodists have all joined hands in the defence of
their common liberties. The Nationalists have left no stone unturned
in their efforts to prove that the northern Protestants are disloyal.
They have succeeded in finding one speech that was made by an excited
orator (not a leader) forty-four years ago, to the effect that the
Disestablishment of the Church might result in the Queen's Crown being
kicked into the Boyne. As this is the only instance they can rake up,
it has been quoted in the House of Commons and elsewhere again
and again; and Mr. Birrell (whose knowledge of Ireland seems to be
entirely derived from Nationalist speeches) has recently elaborated
it by saying that when the Church was going to be disestablished
"they used to declare" that the Queen's Crown would be kicked into the
Boyne, and yet their threats came to nothing and therefore the
result of Home Rule will be the same. The fact was that the Church
establishment was the last relic of Protestant Ascendancy; and as
I have already shown, that meant Anglican ascendancy in which
Presbyterianism did not participate; hence, when the agitation for
Disestablishment arose, though some few Presbyterians greatly disliked
it, their opposition as a whole was lukewarm. But when in 1886 Home
Rule became a question of practical politics, they rose up against it
as one man; in 1893, when the second Home Rule Bill was introduced and
actually passed the House of Commons, they commenced organising their
Volunteer army to resist it, if necessary, by force of arms; and
they are just as keen to-day as they were twenty years ago. They are
certainly not disloyal; the republican spirit which permeated
their ancestors in the eighteenth century has long since died out
completely. Sir Walter Scott said that if he had lived at the time of
the Union between Scotland and England, he would have fought against
it; but, living a century later and seeing the benefit that it had
been to his country, his feelings were all on the other side. That is
what the Presbyterians of Ulster say to-day. They point to the way in
which Ulster has, under the Union, been able to develop itself; with
no richer soil, no better climate, and no greater natural advantages
than other parts of Ireland, the energy, ability, and true patriotism
of the people have enabled them to establish and encourage commerce
and manufactures which have brought wealth and prosperity to Ulster
whilst the other Provinces have been stationary or retrograde. There
cannot be a better instance of the different spirit which animates the
two communities than the history of the linen industry. Michael Davitt
bitterly described it as "Not an Irish, but an Orange industry." And
from his point of view, he was quite right; for it is practically
confined to Ulster. In that Province it has during the nineteenth
century developed so steadily that the annual export now exceeds
£15,000,000 in value and more than 70,000 hands are employed in the
mills. Not long ago, a Royal Commission was appointed to enquire
whether it was not possible to grow flax in the south and west, and
if so why it was not done. The Commission made careful enquiries, and
reported that in both Munster and Connaught efforts had been made to
establish the industry (notably by the late Lord Bandon, one of the
much-abused landlord class, who had let land for the purpose at a
nominal charge, obtained seed and brought experts from the north
to instruct the people); that it had been proved that both soil and
climate were quite as well adapted for it as in Ulster; but that after
a few years the buyers refused any longer to purchase the flax as it
was so carelessly and badly prepared that it was valueless; and so
the industry had died out. In both south and west the people expressed
their readiness to revive it if a large grant were made to them by the
Government, but not otherwise.

Then again we may take the growth of the cities. It seems hard now to
realise that one reason why the people of Dublin opposed the Union was
because they feared lest, when their city ceased to be the capital,
Cork might grow into a great industrial centre and surpass it. Cork
has remained stationary ever since; Belfast, then an insignificant
country town, has become a city of 400,000 inhabitants, and the
customs from it alone are more than double those from all the rest of
Ireland put together. And what is true of Belfast is true also on a
smaller scale of all the other towns north of the Boyne.

This remarkable contrast between the progress of the north-east and
the stagnation of the rest of the country is no new thing. It has been
observed ever since the Union. So long ago as 1832 the Report of the
Commission on the linen manufacture of Ireland contained the following

    "Political and religious animosities and dissensions, and
    increasing agitation first for one object and then for
    another have so destroyed confidence and shaken the bonds of
    society--undermined men's principles and estranged
    neighbour from neighbour, friend from friend, and class
    from class--that, in lieu of observing any common effort
    to ameliorate the condition of the people, we find every
    proposition for this object, emanate from which party it may,
    received with distrust by the other; maligned, perverted and
    destroyed, to gratify the political purposes of a faction....
    The comparative prosperity enjoyed by that portion of Ireland
    where tranquillity ordinarily prevails, such as the Counties
    Down, Antrim, and Derry, testify the capabilities of Ireland
    to work out her own regeneration, when freed of the disturbing
    causes which have so long impeded her progress in civilization
    and improvement. We find there a population hardy, healthy and
    employed; capital fast flowing into the district; new sources
    of employment daily developing themselves; a people well
    disposed alike to the government and institutions of their
    country; and not distrustful and jealous of their superiors.
    Contrast the social condition of these people with such
    pictures as we have presented to us from other districts."

This energetic, self-reliant and prosperous community now see before
their eyes what the practical working of government by the League is.
They see it generally in the condition of the country, and especially
in the Dublin Convention of 1909, the narrow-minded administration of
the Local Government Act wherever the power of the League prevails,
and the insecurity for life and property in the west; they know also
that a Home Rule Government must mean increased taxation (as the
Nationalists themselves confess) which will probably--in fact, one may
almost say must certainly, as no other source is available--be thrown
on the Ulster manufactures; is it not therefore a matter of life and
death to them to resist it to the uttermost?

But as I have said, the great line of cleavage is religion. Here I
know that I shall be accused of "Orange bigotry." But I am not afraid
of the charge; first because I do not happen to be an Orangeman; and
secondly because I regard bigotry as the outcome of ignorance and
prejudice, and consider therefore that a calm examination of the
evidence is the very antithesis of bigotry. In order to make this
examination I desire in the first place to avoid the mistake that
Grattan made in judging the probabilities of the future from the
opinions of personal friends whom I like and respect, but who, as I
know (and regret to think), possess no influence whatever. I consider
that there are other data--such as works of authority, the action
of the public bodies, statements by men in prominent positions,
and articles in leading journals--from which it is safer to form
an estimate. The Ulstermen are content that the country should be
governed, as far as religion is concerned, on modern principles--that
is to say, in much the same way that England, Australia and New
Zealand are governed to-day. The Nationalists, whatever they may
say in England or the Colonies, have never in Ireland from the
commencement of the movement attempted to deny that their object is
to see Ireland governed on principles which are totally different
and which the Ulstermen detest. As long ago as 1886, the _Freeman's
Journal_, the leading Nationalist organ, said:--

    "We contend that the good government of Ireland by England
    is impossible ... the one people has not only accepted but
    retained with inviolable constancy the Christian faith;
    the other has not only rejected it, but has been for three
    centuries the leader of the great apostasy, and is at this day
    the principal obstacle to the conversion of the world."

And as recently as December 1912, Professor Nolan of Maynooth,
addressing the Roman Catholic students at the Belfast University,

    "Humanly speaking, we are on the eve of Home Rule. We shall
    have a free hand in the future. Let us use it well. This is
    a Catholic country, and if we do not govern it on Catholic
    lines, according to Catholic ideals, and to safe-guard
    Catholic interests, it will be all the worse for the country
    and all the worse for us. We have now a momentous opportunity
    of changing the whole course of Irish history."

Then another of their papers, the _Rosary_, has said: "We have
played the game of tolerance until the game is played out"; and has
prophesied that under Home Rule the Church will become an irresistible
engine before whom all opposition must go down. And whatever the
educated laity may desire, no one who knows Ireland can doubt that
it is the clerical faction that will be all-powerful. The leading
ecclesiastics are trained at the Gregorian University at Rome; and
one of the Professors at that institution, in a work published in 1901
with the special approval of Pope Leo XIII, enunciated the doctrine
that it is the duty of a Christian State to put to death heretics
who have been condemned by the Ecclesiastical Court. Of course no one
supposes that such a thing will ever take place in Ireland; but what
the Ulstermen object to is putting themselves under the rule of
men who have been trained in such principles and believe them to be
approved by an infallible authority.

In 1904 some foreign merchants at Barcelona wished to build a church
for themselves. Republican feeling is so strong in the municipality
that permission was obtained without difficulty. But the bishop
at once protested and appealed to the King. The King wrote back a
sympathetic letter expressing his deep regret that he was unable to
prevent this fresh attack on the Catholic faith.

We are constantly being told that the tolerance and liberality shown
by the majority in Quebec is sufficient of itself to prove how foolish
are the apprehensions felt by the minority in Ireland. Well, I will
quote from a journal which cannot be accused of Protestant bias,
the _Irish Independent_, one of the leading organs of the
Nationalist-clerical party in Ireland:--

    "(From our own Correspondent.)

    "Montreal, Thursday.

    "In connection with the celebration of the anniversary of
    Wolfe's victory and death, which takes place in September,
    prominent members of the Anglican Church have inaugurated a
    movement for the erection of a Wolfe Memorial Chapel on
    the Plains of Abraham. The organisers of the movement hope
    ultimately to secure the transfer of the General's remains to
    the chapel for interment on the scene of his victory.

    "The population being largely French-Canadian Catholics, the
    Catholic Church organ of Quebec strongly protests against
    the erection of an Anglican chapel in the heart of a Catholic

Now if this conduct on the part of the Roman Catholic authorities is
quite right at Barcelona and Quebec, why is it "Orange bigotry"
to suggest that the same people may act in the same way at Cork or

Again, in 1910, a remarkable volume was published, written by Mrs.
Hugh Fraser, the sister of the novelist, Marion Crawford, entitled "A
Diplomat's Wife in Many Lands." The authoress was a very able woman,
who had travelled much and mixed in cultured society wherever she had
been; her book was highly reviewed by various English Magazines. She
tells the story of a child of Jewish parents living at Rome in the
days of Pope Pius IX, who was secretly baptized in infancy by a nurse,
and at the age of seven was forcibly taken from his parents and placed
in a Convent School. She explains that not only was this quite right,
but that such a course is inevitable in every country in which the
Church has power; and that the feelings of the heretic mother whose
child is taken from her are a fair subject of ridicule on the part of
good Catholics. Can Irish Protestants be accused of bigotry when they
contend that these writers mean what they say? English Nonconformists
argue that they ought to wait until the time comes and then either
fight or leave the country; but the Irish Protestants reply that it
is more sensible to take steps beforehand to ward off the danger. And
whether they are right or wrong, the fact remains that those are their
ideas, and that is their determination; and this is the situation
which must be faced if Home Rule is forced upon the people of Ulster.

By a striking coincidence, two meetings have recently been held on the
same day--the 16th of May 1913--which form an apt illustration of
the position adopted by the two parties. The first was a great
demonstration of Unionists at Belfast, organised in order to make a
further protest against the Bill and to perfect the organisation for
opposing it by force, if the necessity arises; the second was a large
meeting of the United Irish League at Mullingar. The Chairman, Mr.
Ginnell, M.P. (who has gained prominence and popularity by his skill
in arranging cattle-drives), said that the chief cause of the pressure
last session was to get the Home Rule Bill through its first stage. It
was still called a Home Rule Bill, though differing widely from
what most of them always understood by Home Rule. Deeply though he
regretted the Bill's defects and limitations, still he thought almost
any Parliament in Ireland was worth accepting--first, because it was
in some sense a recognition of the right to govern themselves; and
secondly, because even a crippled Parliament would give them fresh
leverage for complete freedom. No one could be silly enough to suppose
that an intelligent Ireland, having any sort of a Parliament of its
own, would be prevented by any promise given now by place-hunters,
from using that Parliament for true national purposes.

That no army which the Ulstermen can form will be able to stand
against British troops supported by cavalry and artillery is evident;
but it seems almost past belief that England should be ready to
plunge the country into civil war; or that British troops should march
out--with bands playing "Bloody England, we hate you still," or some
other inspiring Nationalist air--to shoot down Ulstermen who will come
to meet them waving the Union Jack and shouting "God save the King."
And if they do--what then? Lord Wolseley, when Commander-in-Chief in
Ireland in 1893, pointed out the probable effect on the British Army
in a letter to the Duke of Cambridge:--

    "If ever our troops are brought into collision with the
    loyalists of Ulster, and blood is shed, it will shake the
    whole foundations upon which our army rests to such an extent
    that I feel that our Army will never be the same again. Many
    officers will resign to join Ulster, and there will be such
    a host of retired officers in the Ulster ranks that men who
    would stand by the Government no matter what it did, will be
    worse than half-hearted in all they do. No army could stand
    such a strain upon it."

And then England, having crushed her natural allies in Ulster, will
hand over the Government of Ireland to a party whose avowed object
is to break up the Empire and form a separate Republic. Dangers and
difficulties arose even when the independent legislature of Ireland
was in the hands of men who were loyal and patriotic in the noblest
sense of the term, and when there were in every district a certain
number of educated gentlemen of position who (as we have seen) were
always ready to risk their lives and fortunes for the defence of the
realm; what will happen when the loyal minority have been shot down,
driven out of the country, or forced into bitter hostility to the
Government who have betrayed and deserted them? As Lecky wrote years

    "It is scarcely possible to over-estimate the danger
    that would arise if the vast moral legislative, and even
    administrative powers which every separate legislature must
    necessarily possess, were exercised in any near and vital
    part of the British Empire, by men who were disloyal to its
    interests. To place the government of a country by a voluntary
    and deliberate act in the hands of dishonest and disloyal men,
    is perhaps the greatest crime that a public man can commit:
    a crime which, in proportion to the strength and soundness of
    national morality, must consign those who are guilty of it to
    undying infamy."

If English people are so blind that they cannot perceive this,
foreigners, whose vision is clearer, have warned them. Bismarck said
that England, by granting Home Rule to Ireland, would dig its own
grave; and Admiral Mahan has recently written:--

    "It is impossible for a military man or a statesman to look
    at the map and not perceive that the ambition of the Irish
    separatists, if realised, would be even more threatening to
    the national life of Great Britain than the secession of the
    South was to the American Union.

    "The legislative supremacy of the British Parliament against
    the assertion of which the American Colonists revolted
    and which to-day would be found intolerable in Canada and
    Australia cannot be yielded in the case of an island, where
    independent action might very well be attended with fatal
    consequences to its partner. The instrument for such action,
    in the shape of an independent Parliament, could not be safely
    trusted even to avowed friends."

So then, having reviewed the evidence as calmly and dispassionately as
I can, I answer the two questions which I propounded at the outset of
the enquiry--That the real objects of the Nationalists are the
total separation of Ireland from England and the establishment of an
Independent Republic; and that the men of Ulster in resisting them
to the uttermost are not merely justified on the ground of
self-preservation, but are in reality fighting for the cause of the


The following Report of the Annual Pilgrimage in memory of Wolfe Tone,
which took place on the 22nd of June last, and the article in the
_Leinster Leader_ (a prominent Nationalist journal) will show how
closely the Nationalists of to-day follow in the footsteps of Wolfe



(_From our Reporter_.)

On Sunday last the annual pilgrimage to the grave of Theobald Wolfe
Tone took place to Bodenstown churchyard. This year the numbers who
attended exceeded those of last year, about a thousand coming from
Dublin and another contingent from Tullamore, Clare, and Athlone. The
procession formed outside Sallins station was a most imposing one,
being made up of St. James' Brass Band and the Lorcan O'Toole Pipers'
Band and the Athlone Pipers' Band, the National Boy Scouts, the
Daughters of Erin, and members of the Wolfe Tone Memorial Clubs.

At the graveside demonstration, Mr. Thos. J. Clarke presided and said
it was a gratifying thing that numbers of their fellow-countrymen were
to-day swinging back to the old fighting line and taking pride in the
old Fenian principles. He introduced Mr. P.H. Pearse, B.A.

Mr. Pearse then came forward and delivered an eloquent and impressive
oration, first speaking in Irish. Speaking in English, he said they
had come to the holiest place in Ireland, holier to them than that
sacred spot where Patrick sleeps in Down. Patrick brought them life,
but Wolfe Tone died for them. Though many had testified in death
to the truth of Ireland's claim to Nationhood, Wolfe Tone was the
greatest of all that had made that testimony; he was the greatest of
Ireland's dead. They stood in the holiest place in Ireland, for what
spot of the Nation's soil could be holier than the spot in which the
greatest of her dead lay buried. He found it difficult to speak in
that place, and he knew they all partook of his emotion. There were
no strangers there for they were all in a sense own brothers to Tone
(hear, hear). They shared his faith, his hope still unrealised and
his great love. They had come there that day not merely to salute this
noble dust and to pay their homage to the noble spirit of Tone, but
to renew their adhesion to the faith of Tone and to express their
full acceptance of the gospel of which Tone had given such a clear
definition. That gospel had been taught before him by English-speaking
men, uttered half-articulately by Shan O'Neill, expressed in some
passionate metaphor by Geoffrey Keating, and hinted at by Swift in
some bitter jibe, but it was stated definitely and emphatically by
Wolfe Tone and it did not need to be ever again stated anew for any
new generation. Tone was great in mind, but he was still greater in
spirit. He had the clear vision of the prophet; he saw things as they
were and saw things as they would be. They owed more to this dead man
than they should be ever able to repay him by making pilgrimages to
his grave or building the stateliest monuments in the streets of
his city. They owed it to him that there was such a thing as Irish
Nationalism; to his memory and the memory of '98 they owed it that
there was any manhood left in Ireland (hear, hear). The soul of
Wolfe Tone was like a burning flame, a flame so pure, so ardent, so
generous, that to come into communion with it was as a new optimism
and regeneration. Let them try in some way to get into contact with
the spirit of Tone and possess themselves of its ardour. If they could
do that it would be a good thing for them and their country, because
they would carry away with them a new life from that place of death
and there would be a new resurrection of patriotic grace in their
souls (hear, hear). Let them think of Tone; think of his boyhood
and young manhood in Dublin and in Kildare; think of his adventurous
spirit and plans, think of his glorious failure at the bar, and his
healthy contempt for what he called a foolish wig and gown, think how
the call of Ireland came to him; think how he obeyed that call; think
how he put virility into the Catholic movement; think how this heretic
toiled to make freemen of Catholic helots (applause). Think how he
grew to love the real and historic Irish nation, and then there came
to him that clear conception that there must be in Ireland not three
nations but one; that Protestant and Dissenter must close in amity
with Catholic, and Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter must unite to
achieve freedom for all (applause). Let them consider the sacrifices
Tone had made; he had to leave so much. Never was there a man who was
so richly endowed as he was, he had so much love in his warm heart. He
(speaker) would rather have known Tone than any other man of whom he
ever read or heard. He never read of any one man who had more in him
of the heroic stuff than Tone had; how gaily and gallantly he had set
about the doing of a mighty thing. He (speaker) had always loved the
very name of Thomas Russell because Tone so loved him. To be Tone's
friend! What a privilege! for Tone had for his friends an immense
love, an immense charity. He had such love for his wife and children!
But such was the destiny of the heroes of their nation; they had
to stifle in their hearts all that love and that sweet music and to
follow only the faint voice that called them to the battlefield or to
the harder death at the foot of the gibbet. Tone heard that voice and
obeyed it and from his grave to-day he was calling on them and they
were there to answer his voice; and they pledged themselves to
carry out his programme to abolish the connection with England,
the never-failing source of political evils and to establish
the independence of their country, to abolish the memory of past
dissensions, and to replace for the denominations of Protestant,
Catholic and Dissenter, the common name of Irishman (applause).
In that programme was to be found the whole philosophy of Irish
Nationality; that programme included the philosophy of the Gaelic
League and of later prophets, and it was to that programme they
pledged their adhesion; they pledged it now at the graveside of Tone;
they pledged themselves to follow in the steps of Tone, never to rest
by day or night until this be accomplished, until Ireland be free
(applause); fighting on, not in despondency, but in great joy as Tone
fought; prizing it above all privileges, and hoping for the victory in
their own day. And if it should be granted to them in this generation
to complete the work that Tone's generation left unaccomplished! But
if that was not their destiny, they should fight on still, hoping
still, self-sacrificing still, knowing as they must know that causes
like this did not lose for ever, and that men like Tone did not die in
vain (applause).

The address having concluded, wreaths were placed on the grave by the
National Boy Scouts and the Inghanite Na h-Eireann.

During the afternoon an aeridheacht was held in an adjoining field at
which music, songs and recitations were contributed, and a thoroughly
enjoyable Irish-Ireland evening was spent.


The lifework of Theobald Wolfe Tone, for the subversion of English
Government in Ireland, and the supreme sacrifice he made in the mighty
effort to erect in its stead an independent Ireland free from all
foreign denomination and control, was fittingly commemorated on Sunday
last, when the annual pilgrimage took place to Bodenstown Churchyard,
where all that is mortal of the great patriot lie buried. The
pilgrimage this year was worthy of the cause and the man, and afforded
some object lessons in what might be accomplished by a cultivation of
those principles of discipline and devotion to duty, in the pursuit
of a glorious ideal, which Tone taught and adhered to throughout his
adventurous and brilliant career. The well-ordered procession,
the ready obedience to the commands of the marshals, the intense
earnestness of the multitude, and the display made by the youths--the
national boy scouts--their military bearing, and the bands and banners
which interspersed the procession as it marched from Sallins to
Bodenstown was a spectacle which pleased the eye and stirred the
emotions. Everything in connection with the pilgrimage was carried out
with a close attention to detail, and military-like precision which
must have been very acceptable to the great patriot in whose honour
it was organised, were he but permitted to gaze from the great Unknown
upon this practical demonstration of the perpetuation of the spirit
which animated him and his time, in the struggle against English
misrule, and the love and veneration in which he is still held, after
the lapse of the century and more that has passed since he made the
final sacrifice of his life in the cause of freedom. Tone done to
death did not die in vain. The truth of this was evident in the
character of the pilgrimage on Sunday last, when all that is best and
purest in patriotism in the land assembled at his graveside, to renew
fealty to the aims and ideals for which he suffered and died, and to
hear the gospel of Irish nationality preached and expounded as he knew
and inculcated it in his day. A fusion of forces, and the cultivation
of a spirit and bond of brotherhood and friendship amongst Irishmen
in the common cause, were his methods to attain the great ideal of
a separate and distinct nationality, for then, as to-day, the chief
obstacle to freedom and nationhood was not so much English domination
in itself, as want of cohesion, faction, and the disruption caused
by alien traditions and teachings. This was the prevailing spirit of
Sunday's commemoration, and as the great mass of people filed past in
orderly array and knelt, prayed, and laid wreaths on the lonely grave,
the solemnity and impressiveness of the occasion was intensified.
In the suppressed murmurs, and silent gaze on the tomb of the mighty
dead, one could recognise the eagerness and the hope for another Tone
to arise to complete the work which he promoted, and vindicate the
purity of the motives which moved men like the leaders of '98 to do
and dare for all, and to "substitute the common name of Irishman
for Catholic, Protestant, and Dissenter." The promoters, too, were
fortunate in their choice of orator for the occasion. Mr. P.H. Pearse
did full justice to the occasion, and in language, beautiful and
impressive, pictured the man and his movements and the lessons to be
drawn by us to-day from the lifework of leaders in thought and action
like Tone. Close and consistent adhesion to principles of patriotism
and a readiness of self-sacrifice in the pursuit of those principles,
were his distinguishing characteristics all through life, and if we in
our time would emulate the example of Tone and his times, we must also
be ready when the call came to meet any demand made upon us for the
promotion of our national welfare. The orator of the day rightly, in
our opinion, described that hallowed spot in Bodenstown as one of the
holiest places in Ireland to-day, from the nationalist standpoint,
holding as it does the ashes of the man who, without friends, money or
influence to help him, and by sheer force of character, intensity of
purpose and earnestness, prevailed upon the greatest emperor-general
the world has ever seen Napoleon Bonaparte, to make a descent on
Ireland, in order to aid our starved, tortured, and persecuted people
to shake off the shackles that kept them in slavery, and elevate
Ireland once more to the dignity of full, free, and untrammelled
nationhood. We are all familiar with the events following this great
effort of Tone's, and the dark chapters that closed a glorious career.
All that is mortal of Tone is in the keeping of Kildare, and it is
a trust that we feel sure is not alone felt to be a high honour,
but which cannot fail to keep the cultivation of a high standard of
nationality before the people in whose midst repose the remains of one
of Ireland's greatest sons. Ireland, from the centre to the sea,
was represented in Sunday's great gathering to commemorate the
achievements of Wolfe Tone, and the occasion was honoured first by
the large and representative character of the throng, secondly by the
decorum observed all through the day's proceedings, and thirdly, by
the regularity and precision which attended the entire arrangements.
There was just one other feature which must have been very gratifying
to those identified with the organisation of the pilgrimage,
namely: the large proportion of ladies and young people, coming long
distances, who made up the gathering. And they were by no means the
least enthusiastic of the throng. This enthusiasm amongst our young
people is one of the most encouraging and promising signs of the
times, serving as it does to demonstrate the undying spirit of Irish
nationality, and the perpetuation of those principles to which Tone
devoted his time, talents, and eventually made the supreme sacrifice
of his life in having inculcated amongst his people. It is a glorious
legacy, and one that has ever been cherished with veneration for the
men who left it. He died a martyr to the cause he espoused, but his
memory and the cause live. The living blaze he and his co-workers, in
the cause of Irish freedom, kindled has never been completely stamped
out, and it still smoulders, and has occasionally burst into flame
only to be temporarily extinguished in the blood and tears of our
bravest and best who never forgot the teachings of Tone. And now, when
the sky is bright once more, and every circumstance portends the dawn
of a new era, full of hope and promise for the ultimate realisation
of those ideals for which thousands of our race have sacrificed their
lives, the spark of nationality which, even since Tone's death, has
repeatedly leaped into flame, still glows fitfully to remind us that
come what may it remains undying and unquenchable, a beacon to light
us on the path to freedom should disappointment and dashed hopes again
darken the outlook.


  Abjuration, oath of, 51.
  Absentees, 65, 138, 139.
  Acton, Lord, 37.
  Adrian, Pope, 13.
  Agrarian outrages, 152, 196-202, 210-215.
  Agriculture, Department of, 161, 163.
  Alexander, Pope, 14.
  Alfred the Great, 9.
  American War of Independence, 63, 72, 73, 83.
  Anglican Church in Ireland, 27, 28, 60, 143, 144, 236.
  Anne, Queen, 63.
  Arkins, P., 210, 211.
  Arklow, battle of, 109.
  Armagh, Bishop of, 7.
  Ashbourne Act, 159.
  Ashtown, Lord, 203, 204.
  Asquith, Rt. Hon. H.H., 129, 207.
  Athenry founded by Normans, 17.

  Balfour, Rt. Hon. Arthur J., 156, 160, 164.
  Balfour, Rt. Hon. Gerald, 168.
  Baltimore, Lord, 38.
  Bandon, Lord, 238.
  Bannatyne, Mr., 214.
  Barcelona, Church at, 243, 244.
  Belfast, growth of, 239;
    meeting at, 245;
    persons employed by Corporation of, 174, 175;
    University, 176, 193, 205.
  Berkeley, Bishop, 120.
  Biggar, J.G., 145.
  Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine, Chief Secretary, 160, 167, 173,
    174, 197, 198, 200-205, 211, 216, 236.
  Bismarck, Prince, 248.
  Blake, W., 198.
  "Board of Erin," 184.
  Boers, Nationalist sympathy with, 170.
  Borromeo, San Carlo, 54.
  Bossuet, 54.
  Bounties granted by Irish Parliament, 80.
  Boy Scouts, 193.
  Boycotting, 86, 148, 149, 153.
  Boyne, battle of the, 48.
  Brady, J., 145, 146.
  Brian Boroo, 8, 9, 19.
  Bright, John, 154, 159.
  Brook, 57.
  Browne estate, 168.
  Bruce, Edward, invasion by, 19, 26, 91.
  Bruce, King Robert, 17, 19, 26.
  Bryce, Rt. Hon. James, Chief Secretary, 194, 195, 197.
  Bulls, Papal, 13-15.
  Burke, Mr., Under Secretary, murder of, 146, 153.
  Busby, Mr., 157.
  Butt, Isaac, advocates Home Rule, 145.

  Carey, James, 145.
  Carlow, rebellion in, 109.
  "Carrion Crows," 202.
  Castlebar, capture of by the French, 112.
  Castledawson outrage, 216, 217.
  Castlereagh, Lord, 126, 128.
  Catholic University Medical School, 176.
  Cattle driving, 167, 195-202.
  Cavan, raid by septs of, 7.
  Cavendish, murder of Lord F., 146, 153.
  Celts, 5-14, 20, 23, 24, 31.
  Charlemont, Lord, 93.
  Charles I, 40-42.
  Charles II, 44.
  Chicago Convention, 155.
  Childers, Erskine, 222.
  Church, Celtic. See Celts of Ireland.
    See Anglican Church.
  Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston, 209.
  Clan-na-gael, 147, 185.
  Clare, state of, in 1912, 210-214.
  Clare, Lord, 81, 84, 85, 111.
  Clerkenwell explosion, 143.
  Clontarf, battle of, 9.
  "Coalition Ministry," 208.
  "Coigne and livery," 11.
  College of Surgeons, Dublin, 176.
  Condon, O'Meagher, 96, 184, 185.
  Confiscations, 30, 42, 43, 57, 150.
  Congested Districts Board, 164-168.
  Connaught, Celtic raids into, 7;
    lands in, given to rebels, 42;
    rebellion in, 112.
  Conolly, Mr., 215.
  Convention in Dublin in 1909, 206, 207, 240.
  Cooke, Mr., Under Secretary, 111.
  Co-operative Credit Banks, 162, 163.
  Co-operative Farming Societies, 161-163.
  Cork, Medical School at, 176;
    persons employed by County Council of, 175.
  Corn Laws, repeal of the, 136.
  Cornwallis, Lord, 123, 129.
  County Councils, 168-178, 191, 193.
  Covenant, Ulster. See Ulster Covenant.
  Cowper Commission, 149.
  Crewe, Lord, 201.
  Crimes Act of 1887, 157, 158, 194.
  Crimes Prevention Act, 153, 157.
  Croke, Archbishop, 144, 156.
  Cromwell and Cromwellians, 38, 42, 44, 57, 66, 67, 106.
  Crosbie, Mr., 216.
  Curley, D., 145, 146.

  _Daily News_, 200.
  Daly, J., 195.
  Danes, 8, 9, 13.
  Davies, Sir, J., 5.
  Davitt, Michael, 145, 167, 238.
  Declaratory Act of George I, 74, 229.
  Defenders, 87.
  Department of Agriculture, 161, 163.
  Derry, siege of, 47.
  Desmond rebellion, 34.
  Devlin, J., 96, 146, 182.
  Devoy, J., 94, 146.
  Dicey, Professor A.V., 228.
  Dillon, John, 97, 156, 184, 234.
  Dillon estate, 165.
  Disestablishment of the Irish Church, 143, 144, 236.
  Dispensary doctors, appointment of, 176, 177.
  District Councils, 161, 168, 178.
  Down, Celtic raid into, 7.
  Dublin, founded by Danes, 8, 9;
    Bishopric of, 8, 9;
    Henry II at, 16;
    Simnel crowned at, 22;
    rebellion in neighbourhood of, 104, 109;
    Convention at, in 1909, 206, 207, 240.
  Dudley, Lord, 166.
  "Dynamite Party," 147.

  Edward III, 20.
  Edward VI, 29, 31.
  Eighty Club, 162.
  Elizabeth, Queen, 4, 27, 28, 33, 48, 91.
  Emancipation, Roman Catholic, 134.
  Emigration, 139, 140.
  Emmett, R., 95, 132, 182.
  Endowment of R.C. Church proposed, 134.
  Ersefied Normans, 18, 20.
  Esmonde, Dr., 105.
  Exchequers, amalgamation of, 135.

  "Fair rents," 150.
  Famine. See Potato famine.
  Fenianism, 142, 144, 145, 147.
  Feudal system, 14, 26.
  Firbolgs, 5.
  FitzGerald rebellion, 25, 27, 31.
  FitzGibbon, J., 167, 171.
  Fitzpatrick, case of Mrs., 210, 211.
  Fiudir, 11.
  Flax. See Linen.
  "Flight of the Earls," 36.
  Ford, Patrick, 146, 152, 154, 155.
  Forster, Rt. Hon. W.E., Chief Secretary, 148.
  Foster, Speaker, 126.
  France, persecution in, 30, 37, 38, 45-48;
    war with, 72, 73;
    religious thought in, 76;
    revolution in, 87, 101, 236;
    invasions by, 91, 92, 111, 112.
  Franklin, Benjamin, 73.
  Fraser, Mrs. Hugh, 244.
  _Freeman's Journal_, 170, 241.
  _Frontier Sentinel_, 2.

  Gaelic League, 186-193.
  Galway, founded by Normans, 17;
    Medical School at, 176;
    persons employed by County Council of, 175;
    state of, in 1912, 215.
  Games, English, forbidden, 193.
  Gaughran, Bishop, 4.
  Gavelkind, 11, 12.
  General Council of County Councils, 172, 173, 186.
  George III, 68.
  Germany, persecution in, 37, 38;
    Nationalist hopes of aid from, 93, 98, 99.
  Ginnell, L., 196, 245.
  Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W.E., 6, 95, 143, 148, 150, 152-155,
  Grand juries, 178.
  Grattan, 74-77, 93, 100, 120, 126.
  "Grievances from Ireland," 203.
  Gwynn, Stephen, 174.

  Habeus Corpus, suppression of, 69.
  Henry II, 14, 15, 20, 36.
  Henry VII, 22.
  Henry VIII, 24, 26, 28, 29.
  Hibernians, Ancient Order of, 184, 216.
  Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. C.E., 208.
  Hobson, B., 98.
  Holland, intended invasion from, 101, 102.
  Home Rule, 145, 155.
  Home Rule Bill, of 1886, 154;
    of 1893, 179, 221;
    of 1912, 208, 218-231, 245.
  Huguenots, 30, 45, 47, 55.
  Hyde, Dr. Douglas, 97.

  Incumbered Estates Act, 138, 150.
  Independence of Ireland real object of Nationalists, 173,181,
    182, 185, 186, 241, 242, 246-248.
    And see Republic.
  Ingram, Dr. Dunbar on the Union, 118-129.
  Insurance Act, 1911, 185.
  "Invincibles," the, 147.
  Irish Agricultural Organization Society, 161, 162.
  Irish brigade in France, 92.
  _Irish Freedom_, 94.
  _Irish Independent_, 243.
  Irish language, 186-193.
  _Irish Review_, 188.
  Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, 145, 147.
  "Irish services," 227.

  Jacobinism, 87, 89, 101, 236.
  James I, 38, 40.
  James II, 43, 44, 47, 49-51.
  Jews, persecution of the, 58.

  Kabyles, 55.
  Kenny, Mr. Justice, 197.
  Kettle, A.J., 183.
  Kettle, T.M., 97.
  Kickham, 95.
  Kildare, church burnt at, 7;
    rebellion in, 105.
  Kilkenny, founded by Normans, 17;
    statutes of, 20;
    rebellion in, 109.
  Killala, French landing at, 111.
  Killaloe, R.C. Bishop of, 212-214.
  Kiltimagh case, 177.
  King, title of, taken by Henry VIII, 27.
  Kings, Celtic, of Ireland, 10.
  King's County, plantation of, 29, 30;
    persons employed by County Council of, 175.

  Labourer's Cottages Act, 160, 161.
  Lalor, J.F., 141, 142, 153, 172.
  Land Acts from 1870 to 1887, 140, 150-152, 159.
  Land Court, 150, 197.
  Land League, 147, 148, 152, 181, 182.
  Land Purchase Acts, 158, 159.
  Land tenure, tribal, 6;
    primogeniture, 11, 12;
    gavelkind, 11, 12;
    in the 18th century, 65, 66.
  Laws of England, attempted introduction of, 18;
    made binding in Ireland, 22.
  Lecky, Dr. W.E.H., 41, 44, 110, 117, 130, 247.
  _Leinster Leader_, 95, 249.
  Leitrim, raid by septs of, 7.
  Leo XIII, Pope, 242.
  Light Railways Act, 160.
  Limerick, founded by Danes, 8;
    Scotch invasion of, 19;
    church windows broken at, 216.
  Linen industry, 62, 63, 238, 239.
  Local Government Act, 1898, 168-178, 180, 240.
  Loise, persecution in the, 28.
  Louis XIV, 43, 45-48, 53.
  Louis XVI, 101, 102.

  MacAlpine, Kennett, 9.
  McBride, Major, 98, 99.
  MacDonnell, Lord, 166.
  McKenna, Thomas, 79, 126.
  McNicholas, Rev. J.T., 85.
  MacSeamus, T., 188.
  Magdeburg, sacking of, 42.
  Magistrates, appointment of, 179, 180.
  Magnus, Sir P., 205.
  Mahan, Admiral, 248.
  "Manchester Martyrs," 96-98, 144, 145, 192.
  Maori customary claims, 39.
  Marriage, law of R.C. Church as to, 85.
  Maryborough, 30.
  Maryland, 38.
  Mayo County Council, 170.
  Maunsell, R., 214.
  Maynooth, foundation of, 88, 204.
  Metropolitan Police Act, 157.
  "Middlemen," 65.
  _Midland Tribune_, 234.
  Mitchell, J., 95, 97, 142.
  "Molly Maguires," 184.
  Morley, Rt. Hon. John, Chief Secretary, 165, 179.
  Mountcashel, Lord, 53.
  Munster, raid by men of, 7.
  Murphy, Father Michael, 109.
  Mutiny Act, 74.

  Nantes, revocation of Edict of, 30, 38, 45-48.
  Napoleon, 91.
  "Nation," meaning of word, 222.
  National University, 191, 192, 205, 206.
  Nationalists, real objects of, 3, 93-99, 248.
    And see Independence; Republic.
  Netherlands, persecution in the, 4, 33, 34.
  New Zealand, 39, 157, 218-220, 241.
  Nolan, Professor, 242.
  "No Rent" proclamation, 153, 156.
  Normans, character of, 17;
    adoption of Celtic customs by, 18;
    rebellions by, 23-25, 33, 34, 36.

  Oakboys, 69.
  O'Brien, Smith, 96, 140.
  O'Brien, William, 95.
  O'Connell, Daniel, misstatements by, as to the Union, 116;
    leads agitation for emancipation, 134;
    and for repeal, 140.
  O'Connor, T.P., 146.
  O'Donnell, Bishop, 165.
  O'Hara, Rev. D., 165.
  O'Mahony, Mr., 41.
  O'Mara, Mrs., 213.
  O'Neill, Shan, 33, 34, 39.
  Orange Society, foundation of, 90, 91.
  Outrages, Agrarian. See Agrarian outrages.

  Pale, the English, 20-22, 24, 25, 31.
  Parliament, Irish, 21-24, 35, 63-65, 69-71;
    becomes independent, 74, 77-79;
    disqualification of votes for, abolished, 84;
    religious test for, not abolished, 84, 87;
    proposed reform of, 87, 88;
    criticized, 130, 131.
    See also Regency question.
  Parnell, C.S., 95, 96, 145, 156, 232.
  Parnell Commission, 147.
  Paul III, Pope, 26.
  Peel, Sir Robert, 122, 205.
  "Peep of Day Boys," 87, 90.
  Penal Laws, the, 49-58, 63, 70, 72, 79, 82, 83.
  Persecution, 4, 23, 32, 37, 38, 40, 43, 45-48,
    52-54, 242.
  Philip and Mary, 29, 39.
  Philip II of Spain, 28, 32, 33, 91.
  Philipstown, 30.
  "Physical Force Party," the, 147.
  Pitt, William, commercial treaty proposed by, 78;
    views of, on the Union, 122.
  Pius V, Pope, 37.
  "Plan of Campaign," the, 155.
  "Plantations," 30, 31, 33, 38.
  Plowden, F., 126.
  Plunket, Lord, 132.
  Plunkett, Rt. Hon. Sir Horace, 161.
  Portugal, persecution in, 37, 48, 53.
  Potato famine, 136, 137, 139.
  Poyning's Act, 22, 74, 229.
  Pretender, the, 50, 51.
  Primogeniture, 11, 12.
  Prosperous, attack on the, 105.
  "Protestant ascendancy," 59, 101.
  Protestant Home Rulers, 233, 234.
  Puritans, 40, 42.

  Queen's County, plantation of, 29, 30.
  Queen's University, 205.
  Quakers, emigration aided by, 139.

  Raffeisen system, 162.
  Rebellion of 1641, 40-42.
  Rebellions of 1715 and 1745, 52.
  Rebellion of 1798, rise of, in Ulster, 86, 102;
    becomes religious, 103, 105;
    in Leinster, 104, 105;
    in Wexford, 105-108, 110;
    in Kilkenny, Carlow and Wicklow, 109;
    in Connaught, 112;
    amnesty after, 109;
    effects of, 114.
  Rebellion of 1805, 132.
  Redmond, John, 95, 146, 162, 169, 171, 174, 175, 199,
    201, 207-209, 215.
  Redmond, William, 107, 108.
  Reformation, 26-28.
  Regency question, 80-82.
  Registration of Titles Act, 1891, 160.
  Rent, agitation against, 148, 153, 154.
  Repeal Association, statement by, as to Rebellion, 108.
  "Reserved Services," 227.
  Republic, rebels of 1798 sought to establish, 93;
    object of Nationalists, 94-99, 147, 248.
    And see Independence.
  Richard II, 20.
  Richey, Professor, 12, 13, 21, 24.
  _Rosary, The_, 242.
  Rosen, Conrade de, 47.
  Ross, Mr. Justice, 168, 197.
  Rossa, O'Donovan, 146.
  Royal University, 205.
  Russell, Rt. Hon. T.W., 163.

  Saffron dress, 19, 192.
  St. Vincent, Cape, 102.
  Savoy, persecution in, 37, 45, 48, 54.
  Salisbury, Lord, 154.
  Scholarships, 191, 192.
  Scotland, Norman kingdom of, 17;
    invasion of Ireland from, 19, 33;
    Union of, with England, 63, 119, 120.
  Scott, Sir Walter, 237.
  Scullabogue barn, massacre at, 110.
  Scully, Mr., 204.
  Settlement, Act of, 43-45.
  Separation. See Independence;
  Sevigné, Madame de, 46, 47.
  Simnel, Lambert, 22, 82.
  Sinn Fein, 185, 186.
  Slave trade, 58.
  Smith, Adam, 120.
  Societies, secret, 68, 69, 181.
  Spain, 27, 28, 30, 32, 34, 37, 40, 48, 53, 55, 72,
    76, 101.
  Spenser, Edmund, 35.
  "Steelboys," 69.
  Sullivan, A.M., 136, 137, 140.
  Swayne, Captain, 105.
  Sweetman, J., 186.

  Tithes, 68, 69, 134, 135.
  Tone, Wolfe, 89, 91-97, 101, 102, 111, 112, 121, 182,
    193, 218, 249-258.
  Trade, restrictions on Irish, 63, 64;
    abolition of, 74,
  Tribal tenure of land, 6.
  Trinity College, Dublin, 70, 176.
  Tyrconnell, flight of Earl of, 36.
  Tyrone, raid by men of, 7.
  Tyrone, flight of Earl of, 36.
  Tyrrell, Father, 5.

  Ulster Covenant, 1, 235.
  Ulster, Scotch invasion of, 19, 33;
    plantation of, 39;
    rebellion of 1641 in, 41;
    volunteer movement in, 72, 102, 237;
    rebellion of 1798 in, 86, 102.
  Union, suggested in time of Queen Anne, 63;
    necessity of, seen by Pitt, 78;
    became probable in 1797, 100;
    rebellion made inevitable, 115;
    mis-statements as to, 116;
    feelings of people as to, 117, 118;
    previous efforts towards, 119;
    really caused by Parliament becoming independent, 120-123;
    proposed, 123;
    discussed, 124;
    approved by R.C. Church, 125;
    carried, 126;
    charges of bribery concerning, 127-129;
    cannot now be reversed, 130;
    prosperity of Ireland after, 133.
  United Irish League, 163, 166, 167, 171, 180-183, 203, 235,
  United Irish Society, 87, 88, 91.
  Universities. See Trinity College, Dublin;
    Queen's University;
    Royal University;
    Belfast University;
    National University.
    University College, Cork, 205;
    Galway, 205.

  Victoria, Queen, 39.
  Vinegar Hill, massacre at, 105-107.
  Volunteer movement, 72, 102, 237.

  Waitangi, Treaty of, 39.
  Waldenses, persecution of, 43, 53.
  Walsh, T., 195.
  Waterford, founded by Danes, 8;
    Henry II lands at, 16.
  Waterford Corporation and Mr. Scully, 204.
  Westmeath, persons employed by County Council of, 175.
  Wexford, raid by men of, 7;
    landing of Spaniards at, 34;
    rebellion in, 105-107, 110;
    monuments of rebels in, 108.
  White, P., 195.
  Whiteboys, 69.
  William III, 47.
  Wolfe, memorial to General, 243, 244.
  Wolseley, letter from Lord, 246.
  Wright, Mr. Justice, 182.
  Wyndham Act, 159.

_Sherratt and Hughes, Printers, London and Manchester._

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Is Ulster Right?" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.