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“A majority of Irish members turned the balance in favour of the great Reform Bill of 1832, and from that day there has been scarcely a democratic measure which they have not powerfully assisted. When, indeed, we consider the votes which they have given, the principles they have been the means of introducing into English legislation, and the influence they have exercised upon the tone and character of the House of Commons, it is probably not too much to say that their presence in the British Parliament has proved the most powerful of all agents in accelerating the democratic transformation of English politics.”

In Ireland perhaps more than in most countries history repeats itself. The lament of Lord Anglesea, the Lord Lieutenant, in 1831, who, finding himself a roi faineant, declared that “Things are now come to that pass that the question is whether O’Connell or I shall govern Ireland,” found its echo just fifty years later when Parnell enjoyed so powerful a position that writers were fain to draw a contrast between the coroneted impotence of the head of the Executive and the uncrowned power of the Irish leader.

The history of Irish representation at Westminster is one of the most curious chapters in Parliamentary annals. It is only in the last thirty years that it has reached the importance which it now possesses, although of all Liberal Governments since the great Reform Bill, that of 1880 and that which is in power to-day are the only two which have had a majority independently of the Irish vote, and it is worth remembering that the Ministry of 1880 ended its career amid the pitfalls of an Irish Coercion Bill. The maxim to beware when all men speak well of you, there has been no need to impress on Irish members since the days of Parnell, as there was at the time when under Butt’s leadership a punctilious observance of Parliamentary procedure earned for the Irish representatives a contumelious respect which laughed their demands out of court.

If Parnell had not set out with the deliberate intention of making Ireland stink in the nostrils of the respectable English gentlemen who thronged the benches of the finest club in London, the protest against misgovernment would have taken the form of violence in Ireland and not of obstruction in the House of Commons. The orderly debates of Butt’s time were as unproductive in showing the Irish representatives to be in earnest as were the wholesale suspensions of the later regime profitable, and if proof of this be needed it is to be found in the fact that in 1877 there were but eight English Home Rulers in the House of Commons, and that to attempt to secure reforms was to knock one’s head against a stone wall. Speaking of the Irish representation in 1880 Mr. Gladstone made this solemn declaration: “I believe a greater calumny, a more gross and injurious statement, could not possibly be made against the Irish nation. We believe we are at issue with an organised attempt to override the free will and judgment of the Irish nation.” That bubble was pricked after the Franchise Act of 1885, when Parnell returned to the House of Commons with nearly twenty more followers than he had had before.

There is a quotation of Blackstone’s from Lord Burghley to the effect that England could never be ruined but by a Parliament, and Englishmen must admit that they have paid a price, though by no means as we think too dearly, for insisting on the maintenance in their chamber, under existing conditions of a foreign body against its will and admittedly hostile to the traditions of which they are so proud. The closure, which Lord Randolph Churchill used to pronounce with elaborate emphasis as cloture, the curtailment of the rights of private members, the growth in the power of the Cabinet, and pari passu the loss in power on the part of the House, all these are instances of the way in which the sand in the bearings has been able to thwart the Parliamentary machine. “If we cannot rule ourselves,” said Parnell in 1884, “we can, at least, cause them to be ruled as we choose.”

In spite of the odium which it entailed, Parnell, once he had “taken his coat off,” maintained this attitude regardless of the feelings it evoked, which are perhaps as well expressed as anywhere in a letter of Lord Salisbury to Lord Randolph Churchill when he declared “the instinctive feeling of an Englishman is to wish to get rid of an Irishman,” to which one may reply “What! did the hand then of the Potter shake?”

Though abuse of the plaintiff’s attorney has been indulged in so often, neither English party has scorned, as from its expressions one would have expected, to make use of the Irish vote when its own career has been in danger. The appeals which in spite of this one sees addressed at intervals to the Irish leaders to abandon their attitude of Nolo episcopari and take Ministerial office, for which some, at any rate, of their number have by their ability been conspicuously fitted, is to ignore the fundamental protest on which this self-denying ordnance depends. The protest against the status quo has been traditionally made in this manner; to waive it would be tantamount to an abdication of the claims which have been so consistently made. To accept office might be to curry favour with one party or the other, but its refusal especially as compared with its acceptance by the Irish Unionists does much to deprive the enemy of the occasion to suggest sordid motives as reasons for the continuance of the Parliamentary agitation.

In urging his great reform, Lord Durham was wont to lay great stress on the evil effect of the English party system on Canadian politics. The party system in Great Britain acts as a corrective and an adjusting mechanism to a degree which is never known in Ireland, where the principle of government with consent of the governed has only been applied to one corner of the island.

The supreme example of so many, in which concessions have been made to Ireland in times of public danger, which had been obstinately refused in times of public security is that of Emancipation, concerning which Peel in June, 1828, reaffirmed his determination never to surrender, but in January, 1829, on the ground that five-sixths of the infantry force of the three kingdoms was engaged in police work in Ireland, introduced the Bill which obtained the Royal consent in circumstances such as to rob it of its grace and to make gratitude impossible. I am not, however, here concerned with emancipation as such, but with the set-off for its concession, under which on the principle of taking away with one hand, while giving with the other, the forty shilling freeholders, who had returned O’Connell at the Clare election, were disfranchised to the number of 200,000, and in this way was gilded the pill for the purpose of placating the English governing classes. The same principle was followed in 1841, when the Corporations of Ireland were thrown open to Catholics, for out of some sixty-five all except ten or eleven were abolished. The results of the disfranchising clauses of the Act of 1829 are to be seen in the fact that in 1850, while in England the electors were twenty-eight per cent. of the adult male population, in Ireland they were only two per cent. A Bill introduced in that year would, if it had passed into law, have raised the percentage in Ireland to fifteen. The Lords amendments altered the percentage to eight, and in its final form it was left at about ten. Instead of imposing an L8 rental qualification one of L12 was imposed, and by this means were excluded 900,000 voters who would have secured the suffrage under the lower qualification. Speaking of the Franchise, Mr. Lecky, in “Democracy and Liberty,” declared that “The elements of good government must be sought for in Ireland, on a higher electoral plane than in England.” This is a matter of opinion, and I find it interesting to reflect that the ablest Conservative of my acquaintance a Tory of the school of Lord Eldon has on several occasions expressed to me a deliberate opinion in exact contradiction of this, to the effect that owing to the relative mental calibres of the races there is need of a higher franchise qualification in England than in either Ireland or Scotland. Speculations of this kind, however, are unprofitable, seeing that the competency of the Irish peasants as citizens has been acknowledged by the grant of a wide household suffrage safeguarded by a careful system of ballot.

When the last great extension of the franchise to householders in the country was made in 1884 there were those who asserted that its application to Ireland would be folly. Mr. W.H. Smith, the leader of the Conservatives in the House of Commons, declared that any extension of the suffrage in Ireland would lead to “confiscation of property, ruin of industry, withdrawal of capital, misery, wretchedness, and war”; the leading Whig statesman said the concession to Ireland of equal electoral privileges with those of England would be folly, but in spite of these gloomy prognostications the omission of Ireland from the scope of the Act was not proposed by Conservative statesmen, and Lord Hartington himself undertook the duty of moving the second reading of a Bill containing provisions which a few weeks before he had described as most unwise. By this Act the enfranchised inhabitants of Ireland were multiplied more than threefold, and the share of Ireland of the “two million intelligent voters” who were added to the electorate was 200,000. In the redistribution of seats which accompanied the Franchise Act of 1884 the representation of Ireland was, by an arrangement between parties, left unimpaired, and this leads me to a matter which serves, I think, to show with what speed events move and how true was that remark of Disraeli’s to Lord Lytton that “in politics two years are an eternity.” It is little more than two years since the burning political question was the redistribution of seats on the lines proposed by Mr. Gerald Balfour. The Unionist Press has for some years been endeavouring to rouse public opinion on this question of the alleged over-representation of Ireland in the House of Commons, and in view of the share of attention which the matter received in the closing days of the last Parliament it is as well to devote some attention to the topic.

By the Act of Union, which our opponents hold so sacred, Ireland was given 100 members in the House of Commons, and in the House of Lords 28 representative Peers, together with Bishops of the then Established Church, and it was further enacted that this should be her representation “for ever.” On the population basis, which to-day is urged by Unionists as the only fair mode of apportioning representatives, Ireland was entitled at the date of the Union to many more members than in fact she obtained. Her population at that time was nearly five and a half millions, that of Great Britain was less than ten and a half millions, and so, though she could claim more than a third of the inhabitants of the three kingdoms, her representation was less than one-sixth.

By the Reform Bill of 1832 the Irish members were increased to 105. Two seats have since been disfranchised, and we thus arrive at 103 the figure at which the representation of the country stands to-day. The disproportion from which Ireland suffered at the time of the Union had become still more acute by the time of the great Reform Bill, and no one can seriously suggest that the addition of five seats redressed the inequality. According to the Census of 1831 the population of Great Britain was little over sixteen millions, and that of Ireland was seven and three-quarter millions. If these figures had formed the basis of a proportionate representation, Ireland would have had a little more than 200 members just about double the number which she actually returned.

By an agreement between parties, as I have said, in the last Redistribution of Seats Bill that of 1885 the number of representatives of Ireland was left unchanged, and it is only since the Conservative Party has definitely thrown in its lot as an opponent of Irish demands as formulated to-day that this method of reducing the force of their political opponents has begun to find favour amongst its members: Under the Bill of Mr. Gerald Balfour, by an ingenious arrangement of raising the limits of population under which boroughs and counties should no longer have separate representation, the scheme secured the transfer of twenty-two seats from Ireland to Great Britain.

The limit of population above which boroughs would have had to reach to maintain their separate existence was fixed at 18,500, and under this arrangement three boroughs in Ireland and six in Great Britain would have lost their seats. If the limit had been fixed at 25,000 a total of 19 seats in Great Britain and still only 3 in Ireland would have lost their member, while a minimum population of 35,000 would have disfranchised 25 boroughs in Great Britain and only 4 in Ireland.

The actual proposal was elaborately calculated so as to produce the least possible disturbance to the small boroughs in Great Britain, while securing the maximum of disfranchisement in Ireland.

At the same time the standard of population per member, which in the case of counties was fixed at 65,000, secured the disfranchisement of one Scottish county, the net disfranchisement of two English counties, and the deprivation of no less than 20 Irish counties of their member.

The grant of a new member to Belfast would have made the net loss to Ireland 22 seats, and these were to be redistributed as between England, Scotland and Wales in the proportion of 17:4:1.

These, then, are the data upon which we have to reckon. The Conservative Government, it should be added, greeted by a howl of disapproval even from its own supporters at the anomalies which it proposed to leave unredressed, appointed a Special Committee, the report of which was a posthumous child of the ministry which created it.

It is true that according to the terms of this report the borough limit of population was raised to 25,000, and the rotten boroughs which for “historical reasons” Mr. Balfour had been loth to disfranchise, were to be swept away, but so far as we are concerned the results would have been much the same, for under its provisions Ireland would have suffered a net loss of 23 seats.

O’Connell pointed out to the Corporation of Dublin in 1843 far greater inconsistencies than can be indicated to-day. The population of Wales at that day was 800,000, that of County of Cork was more than 700,000, but the former was represented by 28 members and the latter by two; and further, he was able to point to five English counties with a total population of less than a million having 20 members to represent them, while five Irish counties with a population of over two millions returned only ten members.

If it is the mere passion for a representation proportionate to population which is evinced, it is remarkable that it has only arisen since the time at which it began to tell against Ireland, that when the boot was on the other leg there was no suggestion of redistribution on the part of Conservatives. The truth is that for Unionists the idea of paring the claws of the Irish Party offers a tempting prospect. Our position in the matter is quite plain: so long as Great Britain insists on maintaining the Act of Union she must do so consistently in the sense that it is a contract, albeit secured by chicanery, to the breach of any term of which the consent of the party which it trammelled at least is necessary. It will be answered that the Disestablishment of the Irish Church made a breach in a clause of as binding a solemnity as that which guaranteed 100 members in the Imperial Parliament “for ever.” The difference is that in that case the consent of the two parties was given by their representatives in the House of Commons, and the consent and the sanction which it entails will never be secured even possibly from Ulster Orangemen to a proposal for the curtailment of representation in the Imperial Parliament under the present system of government.

We do not pretend for one moment that according to the rule of three we are not represented in the House of Commons by a number of members greater than that to which our population at the present moment would, taking the three kingdoms as whole, entitle us, but one must point out that the system of electing representative peers robs us of even that modicum of democratic peers of Parliament which Great Britain is able to secure, and we repeat the argument of Mr. Gladstone that the distance of Dublin from Westminster and the consequent deafness of the House of Commons to Irish opinion is to a slight extent redressed by the small excess calculated on lines of proportion which Irish representation secures at Westminster.

At any rate one has the satisfaction of knowing where one stands in the matter, and one is aware that one part of the Conservative programme to be applied whenever that party returns to power is that of which someone has spoken as the detestable principle that to keep Ireland weak is the most convenient way of governing her. And here let me in parenthesis remark on one fact in the conditions of Irish representation namely, its solidarity. It is one of the commonplaces of politics that office is the best adhesive which a party can enjoy, and the cold shades of opposition are apt too often to dissolve a unity which in office appeared secure. We have seen it of late years in the demoralisation of the Liberals, who, after the retirement of Mr. Gladstone, fell to pieces as a party only on their resignation of office in 1895; we are seeing it now in the disintegration of the Unionists ever since the debacle of the general election.

There is a term which the Unionist Press is never tired of using in connection with the Irish Party, the “fissiparous tendency” of which it is passionately fond of dinning into English ears, regardless of the many cleavages which have occurred in English parties in the last fifty or even twenty years.

Those divisions which there have been in the Nationalist ranks have been for the most part concerned, not with measures, but with men, and even so it cannot be urged that they have been more than temporary in duration. The strength of wrist which has been displayed during the last eight years by Mr. John Redmond in leading the United Irish Party has been a source of admiration to all. “You need greater qualities,” said Cardinal de Retz, “to be a party leader than to be Emperor of the Universe.” Much wisdom is demanded of an Irish leader in deciding the tactical questions arising from the vicissitudes of British parties. That Irish Nationalists and British Liberals do not see eye to eye on several points of policy is well known. It may well be urged that no better proof of the unnatural form of the polity which holds the field can be adduced than is to be found in the political allies of the two parties in Ireland; for the Catholics, democratic though they may be, are not associated with the party to which the traditions of a Church, the most Conservative force in Europe, one might think would ally them, and the Orange Presbyterians, who are at heart Radicals, are divorced from their dissenting kinsmen in Great Britain and form the tail of the Conservative Party. Hence it is that we have fallen between two stools, and University reform, to the principle of which Lord Salisbury, Lord Randolph Churchill, Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Mr. Balfour, and Mr. Wyndham have been pledged, was shelved over and over again at the bidding of the Ulster Unionists, while the Conservative House of Lords thwarted the application of the principles of self-government to which a Liberal majority in the House of Commons gave its consent. Can anyone, in view of these facts, feel surprised that “a plague on both your Houses” expresses the feelings of the Irish people.

Those nice people, to whom political barter is abhorrent, who at the time of the general election deprecated the “sale for a price” of the Nationalist vote, for so they were pleased to call what occurred, closed their eyes to the very obvious price of the Orange vote in the last Parliament, which took the form of the retirement from office of Mr. Wyndham, on failure to secure which, as the Orange leader declared “Ulster would have to call upon her reserves,” meaning, one must suppose, that the Irish Unionist office holders who were members of the Ministry in numbers altogether disproportionate to their strength would be called upon by the Orange Lodges to hand in their seals.

English Catholics are apt to say that if the Irish people in England had been directed by the Nationalist Party to vote for Conservative candidates the safety of Catholic schools would thereby have been safeguarded, but they forget that to put a Conservative Party in power would be to give a blank cheque to a party pledged to cut down the Irish, and pari passu the Catholic, representation in the House of Commons. That the fate of the Catholic voluntary schools in England is a direct concern of the Irish members is admitted by all who are aware how vast a majority of the Catholic poor in Great Britain are Irish, if not by birth, at any rate by origin.

That the efforts in this connection of the Irish Party were appreciated by the head of the Catholic Church in England is seen by the very gracious letter which Archbishop Bourne addressed to Mr. Redmond at the end of the session of 1906, and it is significant that the letter of protest against the Archbishop’s action in regard to the moderate counsels to secure a compromise on the part of the Irish, which was sent by certain English Catholic Peers to the Catholic bishops of Great Britain, was treated by the latter, with only two exceptions, with the contumelious neglect which its disloyalty, the outcome of Tory intransigeance, deserved.

English Catholics, among whom knights harbingers and banneret bearers of the Primrose League are numerous, who have leant all their weight in the scale to maintain the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland, have been ever ready when occasion arose to appeal to the religious loyalty of the Irish members to support their interests. Their position has not been very dignified, and its fruits will perhaps be seen if the reduction of the Irish representation enters the sphere of practical politics. Party loyalty will claim their support, but at the same time they will realise that if they give it they will be taking a step to reduce the only body in the House of Commons which can ever hope to represent Catholic principles and uphold Catholic interests.

I do not know whether it struck many people in the course of the general election that the country in which the elections made the least difference was the one of the three kingdoms in which politics claim most public attention. There was a monotony in the unopposed returns, and, in the result, in the place of 80 Nationalists, 1 Liberal, and 22 Unionists, there appeared 83 Nationalists, 3 Liberals, and 18 Unionists, To appreciate the full force of these numbers one must realise, moreover, that of the Unionists in both cases, two out of the total represent University seats, the Conservative nature of which, whether in England, Ireland, or Scotland, is one of the features of political life which is, it appears, immutable. A study of the results shows that Unionism is in a minority in Ulster. There are in the present Parliament 15 Unionists as against 15 Nationalists, who, with 3 Liberals, go to make up the 33 members sitting at Westminster for that province.

These figures relieve me from the necessity of entering a caveat against the use of the word Ulster as though the whole province were Unionist. Virtually, all that is Unionist in Ireland is in Ulster, but it is very far from the truth to say that all Ulster is Unionist. Not one of the Counties of Donegal, Tyrone, Monaghan, or Cavan, out of the whole nine of which the province consists, returns a Unionist. In the three Counties of Down, Armagh, and Fermanagh, the representation is divided, and as for the two Counties of Londonderry and Antrim, which are ordinarily the sole strongholds of the Orangemen, even in them a breach was effected in West Belfast, where the Labour vote returned a Nationalist for the first time since Mr. Sexton sat for it from 1886-1892.

The obviousness and permanence of the Irish representation in Parliament is apt to cause its significance to be forgotten. “It doesn’t matter what we say, but for God’s sake let us be consistent,” Lord Palmerston is reported to have said concerning some question of policy at a Cabinet Council. The Irish people, its worst enemies must admit, have been consistent for the last thirty years in the demands which their representatives have made ever since Isaac Butt crystallised the Irish antagonism to the status quo in the “Home Government Association,” which he formed and on the programme of which he returned, after the general election of 1874, with 59 followers in the House of Commons, pledged to support the demand for Irish self-government. If we exclude the fact that the extension of the franchise in 1884 increased the number of the popular representatives to more than 80, it is true to say that since then there has been no change in the position of Irish representation, just as there has been none in Irish demands. The Liberalism of Non-conformist Wales, and to a lesser degree of Presbyterian Scotland, are traditional, but their adherence to one side or the other in politics appears vacillating if one studies the election figures, compared with the unwavering permanence of the Irish returns. When Lord Dudley declared that his aim as Viceroy would be to govern Ireland according to Irish ideas a shout of protest arose from the Times and the Irish Unionists, whose organ the Times has constituted itself. Let us clear our minds of cant on the matter, and ask in view of this open disclaimer of the democratic principles which are so much vaunted in England, for what reason is maintained the travesty of representative government, the decrees of which it is frankly avowed are to be ignored? Every English Liberal must be impressed by the fact that the party which has tried to arrogate to itself the sole claim to be thought Imperialist has scouted Home Rule resolutions passed again and again by the legislatures of every one of the self-governing colonies. It was at Montreal that Parnell was first hailed as the uncrowned king of Ireland, and what is more, that great apostle of Imperialism, Cecil Rhodes, so far from seeing in Home Rule the first step towards the dismemberment of the Empire, signified his sympathy with the movement in that direction by giving Mr. Parnell a cheque for L10,000 for the Irish Party funds on the one condition that he would support the retention of some of the Irish members in the Imperial Parliament, as tending in the direction of Imperial federation.

Twenty years ago, when the present good feelings of England towards the United States were not in existence, it was easy, as it has been since on the occasions on which relations have been strained over the Venezuelan and Alaskan questions, to denounce the aid granted to the National movement by the Irish in America. To-day things are different; these denunciations are not heard, and, moreover, as much aid and encouragement has been forthcoming in a proportional degree from the colonies of the British Empire as from the Republic of North America. As a matter of fact there are twice as many people of Irish blood in the United States as there are in Ireland, and thus, when in 1880 Congress threw open its doors and invited Parnell to address it on the Irish question, it was acting in accordance with the sentiments of a vast number of the citizens of the United States.

The Government of Lord North roused the American Colonies by attempts to rule them against their own wishes, and the result was that they secured their independence. Austria refused self-government to Italy, and in consequence lost its Italian territory, while Hungary, to which it granted the boon, was retained in the dual monarchy. Spain, by refusing autonomy to her colonies, suffered the loss of South. America, Cuba, Puerto Rica, and the Philippines, and the action of Holland in the same way led to the separation from it of the kingdom of the Belgians.

All these are cases in point, but the most interesting parallel is that of Lower Canada, which, like Ireland, is Celtic and Catholic, and is, moreover, a French-speaking province. There, too, there was a struggle between races, and it was only by “merging” as Lord Durham expressed it “the odious animosities of origin in the feelings of a nobler and more comprehensive nationality” that peace was restored. The Tory Cabinet of Peel gave Canada Parliamentary Government, and proclaimed rebels became Ministers of the Crown, and who is there who will contend that the application of the maxim “trust in the people” of that great Imperial statesman, Lord Durham, was not justified by the results of the grant of self-government not to a peaceful and loyal colony, but to one which was boiling with discontent and rebellion. Twelve years after Lord Durham’s experiment, the Government of Lord Derby gave Australia similar institutions, and that fact alone shows how successful the policy had proved. Great Britain has just given representative government to the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony. Within five years of the peace of Vereeniging the pledges of that compact were honourably fulfilled in spite of the forebodings of one of the political parties, and Louis Botha, the Premier of one of the new colonies, is the most distinguished of the generals who less than six years ago were leading their armies against those of Great Britain.

England has realised that it is only by government with the consent of the governed that she can maintain her colonies, and the contrast between her treatment of Ireland and that of her colonies is to be seen in the fact that to them is extended the protection of the British fleet, while they are at the same time left free to legislate in the matter of trade, to deal with their own defence, and all the while contribute nothing to Imperial charges.

The failure of the policy of North and the success of that of Durham are apparent. The former has been applied in Ireland, although the country has consistently cried out for the latter. How long do those with whom the last word in government is the policy applied to-day, imagine that they can govern a country at the bayonet’s edge in such a way that she has neither the weight of an equal nor the freedom of a dependency? Lord Rosebery, whose liberalism may be described in the same terms as those in which Disraeli denounced the Conservatism of Peel “the mule of politics which engenders nothing” has more than once in the last few years declared his hostility to the principle of Irish self-government, and the explanation of his position which he offers is that the absence of loyalty on the part of Ireland is the obstacle which stands in the way of his advocacy of such a policy. One may well ask in reply whether Lord Rosebery is aware of the complete absence of loyalty at the time when Canada was granted self-government, and the state of feeling towards England in the new South African colonies two years ago is a further case in point; but the most pertinent question which can be asked of Lord Rosebery is on what ground he makes this his condition precedent, in view of the fact that the loyalty or disloyalty of Irishmen stands exactly as it did in 1886 and 1893, in both of which years Lord Rosebery was a member of the Ministries which introduced Home Rule Bills into Parliament.

That hostility is evinced by large sections of Irishmen to England, as well as by Englishmen to Ireland, and that much sympathy was felt, as it was by the most distinguished of the members of the present Cabinet, for the South African Republics, which Irishmen regarded as struggling nationalities like their own, I am not concerned to deny. The same feeling of hostility, as I have already said, was rampant at the time of the Crimean war, and may be expected to continue till the end of the present system of government arrives; but to those who, for party purposes, declare that they see a risk that possible European complications would be accentuated for Great Britain to the point of danger by the proximity of an Ireland with a Parliament in Dublin, the answer is, that it is difficult to conceive a state of affairs more fraught with danger to England than would be found in the existence during a great war of an adjacent island which has been haughtily denied that mode of government which she claims, and which in the troubles of the other country will see an opportunity of extracting by threats and from fear in an hour of peril that which she was unable to secure by other means in the day of prosperity. One may well ask whether this prospect is one to which Great Britain can look forward with calmness, that she should have to legislate at fever heat to cope with the contingencies of the moment with no well-ordered scheme of things; not that way lies an end by which she will secure peace conceived in the spirit of peace.