« EelmineJätka »
for manufactures, &c. The tunnel also would render more intimate the connection of the Loyalists with Great Britain, and would make the landing of an enemy's force in Ireland a very hazardous proceeding on their part. . 4. It places the Northern division in such a position that it will be able to hold its own against the two other divisions, and in time, as it develops, to absorb them or to cause them to become loyal too.
5. It fixes the local government centres so far apart as to minimise all chance of collision, and places the North in such a position as to be calculated to attract to itself the loyal population of the other divisions.
6. It brings the geographical features of the country so into play as to make natural water boundaries for the respective divisions.
7. The purchase of the railways will enable the Government to so regulate the course of traffic as to develop the valuable Irish fisheries and facilitate trade all over Ireiand. If the railway servants were selected as much as possible from amongst trained soldiers they would make a reliable force when wanted, as well as be ready to assist in the transit of troops on emergency.
8. The establishment of the Central Couucil at Dublin affords a prompt means of settling any difficulties which may occur as between the various provincial legislatures on matters affecting the general welfare.
9. Whilst freedom will be given to all religious denominations, the Scheme provides for the protection and natural extension of Protestantism, which is not at present the case.
10. The Scheme provides that in a given number of years the bonds of union shall be drawn so closely as to make England and Ireland virtually one.
11. It provides also that all money spent respectively in tunnelling, railways, &c., shall be dispensed in such a way as to secure the repayment of the interest of money so laid out, and a definite and practical result for such outlays.
12. The Scheme tends also to restore confidence, and to raise the value of all lands and securities, by giving an opportunity for the safe investment of new capital.
13. It will ultimately do away with the necessity of keeping 20,000 English soldiers in the country, in addition to the Irish constabulary, to maintain order and sustain the Queen's rule.
14. It will afford facilities for drawing the surplus male Irish population into the Army and Navy, for the encouragement of emigration amongst those who wish to leave the country, and for their replacement by English agriculturists and Scotch erofters.
15. It would free the English Parliament from the discussion of vexatious Irish questions, and so strengthen the Union.
16. It will satisfy the American, Australian, and Canadian Irish by giving them no further cause of legitimate complaints
17. It will throw the responsibility of the local government of
Ireland on Irishmen themselves, while at the same time the Union is preserved and the Imperial policy strengthened.
18. The Tunnel will enable Government shipbuilding and other yards to be established in Ireland. A magnificent site for a dockyard is to be found at Strangford Lough, which would be perfectly unassailable by aforeign foe.
ANSWERS TO POSSIBLE OBJECTIONS,
It may be desirable here to anticipate objections on matters of comparative detail which may possibly be raised to the Scheme. For instance, it might be argued that
1. It is undesirable to multiply Legislatures. It will be observed the proposal is to have only two provincial legislatures, one sitting at Cork, and one at Belfast, so that the elements of discord and disagreement may be as far apart as possible.
2. The system of manhood suffrage in connection with cumulative voting would solve the difficulty without Home Rule. As to this, it is to be observed that the object to be aimed at is a general agreement amongst all parties, and not the advantage of any one party at the expense of the other.
3. The intermediate, that is the Royal (Central) Legislative Assembly at Dublin, would be objectionable, because it is not directly representative. The members of this Council other than the LordLieutenant would be elected by the respective Provincial Legislative Assemblies from amongst themselves, and would therefore necessarily be representative members. Scotland, Jersey, and other governments in many respects afford a precedent for the establishment of such a Council, which has this advantage, that it leaves matters in regard to the Imperial Government largely as they are at present.
4. Two sets of elections, (1) for the provincial legislatures, and (2) for the Imperial Parliament, would be highly objectionable. The proposal is that the members of the provincial legislatures and of the Imperial Parliament should be elected at the same time. . 3. Settlement of National Debt not touched. This is not precisely true, seeing that the present charge for the debt is provided for in the Scheme, and on a basis also by which the Union in this respect will be much strengthened.
6. Who is to decide disputes affecting projected or established railways or canals which lie partly, in one province and partly in another ? Clearly all such matters would be referred to the Royal (Central) Legislative Council at Dublin for settlement, and hence its absolute necessity.
JIENRY C. BURDETT. March 18, 1856.
JOHN F. CREASE. NOTE.---It is suggested that Ireland shall have such a number of Representatives in the Imperial Parliament as is justified by the population relatively to that of the United Kingdom,
PROPOSED NEW CONSTITUTION FOR IRELAND.
IRELAND is, for practical purposes, a terra incognita to the majority of Englishmen and Scotchmen. To this fact must, in no small degree, be attributed the uneasiness which has arisen in the minds of most Englishmen by the advocacy of Home Rule. The Nationalists, so far as anyone has been able to get at the bottom of their real views, seem to regard the prospect of having Ireland handed over to them, to govern, protect, and take charge of, with mixed feelings, to say the least. Of these feelings, probably one of dread of the results which may follow such a heavy responsibility preponderates over all others. Nevertheless, their agitation has resulted in reducing things to such a pass that there remains no alternative between Home Rule and a policy of coercion and repression.
The effect of a policy of coercion upon the Irish in Australia, Canada, and America would be to stop the funds now sent to Mr. Parnell for the payment of Members of the Irish Party, and to cause their devotion to purposes which would lead to the immediate development of outrages, and the destruction of property by dynamite and otherwise through the existing organisations. That is to say, skirmishing funds would flourish and multiply, and the National Party in Parliament, having lost their supplies, would in all probability be nowhere at the next General Election. Besides, a policy of coercion would cause a feeling of exasperation amongst the majority of the
Irish people in Ireland. . Five-eighths of the electorate have demanded, by constitutional methods, Home Rule. Its refusal would cause an upheaval everywhere, and produce a terrible time of trial, and, possibly, bloodshed also throughout Ireland. This view may be debated, but it cannot be destroyed, because it is the only true estimate of the position of affairs in Ireland to-day. Mr. John Stuart Mill, in his pamphlet, “ England and Ireland,” page 7, wrote: “Rebellions are never really unconquerable until they have become “ rebellions for an idea. Revolt against practical ill-usage may be “ quelled by concessions, but wait till all practical grievances have “ merged in the demand for independence, and there is no knowing “ that any concession, short of independence, will appease the “ quarrel.” These words exactly describe the facts which Englishmen have to face. There is rebellion in Ireland, which will prove unconquerable, because it is a rehellion for an idea, which the Irish understand to mean IIome Rule. On the other hand, Englishmen, for the most part, are opposed, not so much to granting Home Rule, as to granting what they believe to be meant by Home Rule. Thus we have rebellion for an idea on the one side, and rebellion against an idea on the other. The question of the hour, therefore, is, Can a plan be found which will quell the rebellion on both sides, and, at the same time, satisfy all reasonable men in both camps? The answer is hopeful, though naturally uncertain, and the Scheme which follows is believed to contain the elements upon which a satisfactory settlement may be arrived at.
The Irish difficulty has become to Englishmen increasingly exasperating each successive year, and, to be rid of the nuisance, it is certain that the majority of people would go a long way to gratify the Irish idea, if they were satisfied that, in so doing, they would not only not imperil the Union, but, on the contrary, that they were taking reasonable precautions to ensure a closer and warmer connection between England and Ireland. The granting of Home Rule is believed, by those in the best position to know the facts, to be capable of restoring peace throughout Ireland, except so far as the extreme wing of the disaffected (i.e.the Fenians) are concerned, who may struggle to oppose any final settlement. The formulation of Home Rule has already satisfied the Irish beyond seas, who have endorsed Mr. Parnell's policy, and who are sending him, in consequence, more funds than ever. It will tend to make all the organisations of the Home Rulers set towards the enforcement of law, good government, and peace, because the leaders will be bound to show that they can do this much, or their policy will be discredited by being proved a failure. Thus dynamite and outrage would be eventually annihilated ; confidence would be restored ; and business must then everywhere improve. This beneficial result would be helped by the contentment which must follow from the general acceptance of Home Rule. During the last two years especially, good feeling has sprung up and increased amongst all classes in Ireland, and the majority would, without doubt, welcome Home Rule, provided it were granted with proper safeguards as to the stability of National Institutions and the integrity of the Union. There is scarcely likely to be a more favourable opportunity than the present for introducing a system of government throughout Ireland which will prove generally acceptable to them and to us.
In considering what is to be done with Ireland, the natural conditions of the country must be remembered. The small quantities of minerals, such as coal and iron, to be found there, coupled with the absence of water power, render the establishment of large enterprises, on a commercial basis, except here and there, an utter impossibility. It must be remembered, further, that the circumstances of the soil and climate render the country only capable of maintaining an agricultural population of 4,000,000 people as a maximum. Money has been freely spent by England in Ireland, but the results have proved, in nearly every case, financially disastrous. Thus the amount of loans advanced from the Public Exchequer to the 31st March, 1881, was £ 10,562,219, of which L10,271,774 has been
remitted, and £8,836,497 represents the amount of principal and interest still outstanding. These figures show that the sum advanced by way of loan in Ireland amounted to about 48. per head, while in Great Britain it amounted to less than 18. 3d. per head. They further show that, out of every £100 lent, up to the year ended March 31st, 1884, in Great Britain, £1. 4s. has been written off as irrecoverable, while in Ireland no less than £26. 48. has been so written off. If from this latter figure be deducted the sums advanced in 1846–7 (viz.: (a) £4,294,947 for the labouring poor; (6) £1,370,534 for building workhouses; (c) £900,000 tithe-rent million written off hy Act 14 & 45 Vic., cap. 32), what remains gives the loss in Ireland as nearly £10 per £100, as compared with £1. 4s. in Great Britain. In such circumstances,' any proposal to spend hundreds of millions of English capital in any wholesale buying up of the land needs but little argument to prove its impracticability.
Again, the representatives of authority have caused a system to grow up, known popularly as “Dublin Castle,” including the organisation for the administration of the law in Ireland, which it is desirable should be radically reformed. To say the least, it must be generally admitted to be dangerous to subsidise the legal profession in Ireland to the extent of £255,000 per annum. There are stated to be but 300 members of the Irish Bar, so that the subsidy represents nearly a thousand pounds per year to every single member. The Law Officers of the Crown receive fees, when conducting Government cases, out of all proportion to those marked on their briefs in the ordinary course of practice. Such a system cannot be defended upon public grounds, and its continuance offers many temptations which were best avoided.
It will be observed that it is contemplated to keep the military and constabulary forces under Imperial control, to divide Ireland into two, or, at the outside, into three divisions, to give to each of these a provincial legislature, elected upon a basis of manhood suffrage, in combination with a voting system, which gives, up to a fixed limit, a number of votes proportionate to the sums paid to the Revenue in direct Imperial and Local Taxes on real property. There is to be a Royal or Central Legislative Council or Assembly in Dublin, which city could be neutralised, if necessary, and not included in either the Northern or Southern divisions. This Assembly would consist of members elected by and from the provincial legislatures, and be presided over by the LordLieutenant. It is intended that Ireland shall be represented in the Imperial Parliament in the proportion which its population bears to that of the United Kingdom, upon the same franchise basis as at present, or upon the same basis as that on which the menibers of the provincial legislatures are elected. The Scheme will be found to largely explain itself, and it only remains to be said that the influential personages who have had it under consideration are, on the whole, favourable to the view that it contains the basis for a satisfactory settlement of the Irish Question.