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MAP TO ACCOMPANY PROPOSED NEW CONSTITUTION FOR
IRELAND, MARCH, 1886.
Nove, - Boundary line of country in two dinsions,
shown thaus ---------------
NEW CONSTITUTION FOR IRELAND
BEING THE BASIS FOR A SATISFACTORY SETTLEMENT OF
THE IRISH QUESTION
With Vreface and Map
HENRY C. BURDETT
JOHN F. CREASE, C.B.
COLONEL ROYAL MARINE ARTILLERY
LONDON P. S. KING & SON, CANADA BUILDINGS, KING STREET, WESTMINSTER, S.W.
THE Scheme for the government of Ireland, set forth in the following pages, is designed to enable the Imperial Parliament to give to the Irish people of all parties what they desire. For reasons set forth elsewhere, Home Rule is held by the present permanent representatives of the Government in Ireland to be indispensable, unless the policy of coercion and repression, which heretofore has always failed in its object, is to be everywhere enforced and continued indefinitely. Home Rule, as hitherto understood in this country, neither the Lovalists in the North of Ireland, nor the people of England, will have at any cost. The military authorities stated, a few weeks ago, that they were aware that there was a force of 200,000 men, armed, drilled, and disciplined, in the North of Ireland, ready to march south should proposals be seriously entertained of making the Nationalist Party the governors of Ireland.
This is therefore no fiction, but a startling fact, which must be faced and dealt with. A reference to the tables given with the Scheme will show that Ulster is numerically the strongest, as she is also the most prosperous, of the Irish provinces. In Ulster alone has the population steadily increased, while everywhere else there has been a very large and continuous decrease in the population for many years.
In view of this state of affairs the object of the drafters of the Scheme has been to secure the support of reasonable men of every shade of opinion, in promoting the adoption of a plan calculated to gradually bring about a satisfactory and therefore a permanent settlement of the Irish question.
To understand the Scheme it is desirable in the first place to study the accompanying map. It will then be seen that Ireland is divided by it into two or, at the most, three provinces, Northern, Southern, and Western—the capital towns being Belfast, Cork, and Limerick respectively. It would be desirable, no doubt, that there should be only two divisions or provinces, viz.: (a) Northern, and (6) Southern and Western combined, with the capitals of Belfast and Cork, because that would ensure that the Protestants and Loyalists would all look northward to Belfast, and the Catholics and Nationalists would all look southward to Cork. The two elements would in this way be effectually separated, whereby the chances of collision would necessarily be reduced to a minimum.
Whether there be two or three provinces, however, Dublin must be the seat of the Royal or Central Legislative Assembly, consisting of a certain number of representatives from each of the provincial legislatures, presided over by the Lord-Lieutenant. Each division or province will have a provincial legislature, consisting of members elected on the basis of manhood suffrage, combined with a new system of representation, giving extra votes to individuals in proportion to
the amount of direct taxes, imperial and local, paid by them on real property. The unit of value for the cumulative vote under this system would be obtained by dividing the whole of the direct taxes paid on real property by the number of voters, and then taking the mean value. The unit of value on this plan has been found to be, roughly, £1 per head.
No reasonable man can doubt that, if England is to hold Ireland easily and peacefully, some plan must be formulated which will, while giving security to invested capital, tend to increase the number of Loyalists and so to strengthen their position in Ireland.
If the existing four provinces were retained with a legislative assembly for each, such a plan, in addition to multiplying the number of Legislative Assemblies, would not give that guarantee of strength to the North, either locally or in the Central Legislative Assembly, which is desirable and necessary, for the reason that the Northern or Ulster representatives would be out-voted by those of the other three divisions. If, however, three divisions only were to be formed on the plan marked on the map, the Northern one would have a strength adequately proportionate to that of the other two provinces, and would be able to maintain its position and to defend it against all comers if necessary. On the other hand, if a line were to be drawn across the middle of Ireland, dividing it into a Northern and Southern province, then the influx of population from the northern portions of Connaught as well as of Leinster would probably outnumber and swamp Ulster, which could not be permitted. The alternative is the three divisions shown on the map, worked, as three divisions or as two, by the combination of the Southern and Western divisions into one, which Scheme provides an enlarged Ulster by the addition to it of those counties, the population in which are least imbued with the Nationalist feeling, and which would be most likely to settle down peacefully and happily under the improved conditions which increased capital and ensured stable government must necessarily bring to the residents of the Northern province.
The following may be taken as some of the most apparent of the
ADVANTAGES OF THE SCHEME.
1. In all cases of dispute between the various parties in the provincial legislatures, the Royal Legislative Assembly would afford a neutral ground on which such difficulties might be amicably adjusted.
2. All charges of injustice are removed' by giving every man a vote, whilst at the same time the interests of each and every class are protected by the adoption of the proportionate voting scale on the basis of the contributions to Government by direct taxation on real property.
3. It gives to the North, by means of the Submarine Tunnel, a direct communication with England and the coal districts of the North, and so affords to Belfast equal advantages with Glasgow