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house with a young widow and her family. She was widowed by the peasant's bullet and the poor household drudge, as kind a creature as: ever breathed, could not see it to have been a sin to murder a cruel landlord.
English people will not be able to understand this paradox, because they do not understand the “gross darkness” of the people.
Which of all the statesmen, posing just now as Ireland's special friends, have ever pondered this problem or sought through love to “find out the way ”?
Mr. Gladstone loves power, and Ireland offers a splendid field whereon to exhibit new deeds of daring, new phases of his genius, be the results what they may.
Mr. Parnell and Mr. Davitt love Ireland, but then they believe in the priests loving her too. Now the priests are like Mr. Gladstone; they love power, and are themselves compelled to render obedience to that spiritual autocrat, the Pope; who, should one of them dare to break loose, speedily gives him his choice between obedience or excommunication—in other words, between this world or the world to come.
We have now reached the second cause of Ireland's misery; aye, and a very real misery does she suffer in absenteeism.
That caustic writer, Mr. Ruskin, observed some time ago, in a letter to the Pall Mall Gazette, that “Maria Edgeworth's three stories of 6rmond, Ennui, and The Absentee, contain more essential truths about Ireland than can be learned from any other sources whatsoever.” These kind of remarks, unhappily, receive little attention. They are: too true.
Ireland wants to get rid of those who call themselves Irish, but whose only interest in the country is to drain it of money that they may spend it in other lands. The writer is personally acquainted with one. case, where the present owner of a considerable property has never seen Ireland, never even paid that sop to Cerberus of an occasional visit “for decency's sake.”
Levy a tax on absentees, so heavy that they must either give up their property or live on it and rear children, not to swell an alien race, but to grow up true patriots, true sons and daughters of her soil. Who does not know the value and effect of early associations?
When all things pleased,
Here, the objection may be made, that to give Ireland the management of her own affairs would forward their very objects; not so. It would throw the people more into the hands of the priests, viz, increase their ignorance, and drive away the educated classes, who, despite their shortcomings, act as a bulwark against spiritual despotism. We need to have this class winnowed, not removed; to have them permeated with that disinterested love of country, which is willing to suffer, aye, to die, if needs be, for her sake.
Do not the speeches of Mr. Healy, Mr. T. P. O'Connor, and others, demonstrate the truth of the writer's statements 2 When passion gets the better of the untrained debater, and he is betrayed into showing his hand, it is the creed, not the country, which always comes uppermost. Witness, Mr. T. P. O'Connor's speech in the House on the 25th, “If we are beaten from our first lines—public meetings—which we do not expect, we have our second line. We have our chapel yards and our priests to speak to the people—a line beyond which no British Government ever dared to advance.”
It may be said their leader is a Protestant ; true, but the agitators— not patriots—are only biding their time to cast off the trammels they are compelled to bear till he has won their cause.
Educate the people and tax absenteeism with a real, telling burden, not a mock one, and the canker-worms that feed on Ireland's heart will gradually be eradicated, and she will rise up fit to receive and exercise the gift of Home Rule.
The Dissemination of Conservative Papers among the Poor.
To THE EDITORs of “THE NATIONAL REVIEw.” “GENTLEMEN,
I venture to ask you to allow me to submit to public notice a scheme, sketched in outline, for the circulation of Conservative daily newspapers among the working classes throughout the United Kingdom, at a nominal cost to them. A vast. number of daily papers would, doubtless, when done with, be gladly given for dispersion over the land, and there are a variety of sources from which papers could be had. Boxes might be placed at railway stations and numerous other places for the reception of papers. If the task of collecting and distributing were properly arranged and carried out, it might, I think, be effected without any greater expense than a nominal price paid by those who chose to avail themselves of the scheme, and a moderate subscription from its supporters, would be well able to meet. Such a scheme would go far towards counteracting and correcting the evil influences of revolutionary and democratic literature which is so widely spread, and produces such disastrous consequences among the poor as well as rich, and would, doubtless, conduce to much indirect good apart from that of a political complexion. Many thousands of papers, there is little reason to doubt, would be available for circulation, for which a small charge might be made of, say, twopence or so a week, for each paper. Papers of sound Conservative and constitutional principles taken and left at the very homes of the poor would, by being placed at the elbow of the poor man after his daily work, be far more acceptable and useful to him than working men's clubs can be, useful though, of course, they are. In the one case, the papers would be taken to him ; in the other, he has to go to them, with a fair chance of finding none at liberty. The task of collecting and redistributing the papers, would be a work of some magnitude, and would require careful organization in carrying out. But there ought to be no insuperable difficulty in this. The patriotism and goodwill of Conservatives and other well-disposed people should be able to meet it. I venture to think that the thousands of men and boys who are employed to leave the daily papers from house to house every morning, might, by arrangement, be employed also at the same time to re-collect the old papers from those who would give them for the benefit of the poor. The task of collecting them would never exceed the ordinary task of the first distribution, and, in fact, could not equal it, and could, therefore, be well carried out by the same agents at the same time. The Primrose League would, perhaps, give valuable aid in undertaking local arrangements throughout the country. These are, however, matters for consideration. I would propose that a committee should be formed to consider the best ways and means for carrying this, or any such scheme into effect, and that, if thought advisable, an account, in the names of certain trustees to be appointed, should be opened at some bank for the purpose of receiving all subscriptions, annual or otherwise. It would, of course, be necessary to provide against this scheme being used by those whose condition in life would not warrant them in taking advantage of it. It should be available only for the really poor, such as labourers and workmen whose incomes do not exceed, say, £1 a week; and a certificate from their employer as to this might be required. Liability to pay rates might also be held to render them ineligible to take the benefit of the scheme. By applying such limits or tests, the scheme would be confined to those for whom it is intended, namely, those who cannot afford to take a daily paper, but who do often take a weekly, and, if so, almost necessarily a Radical paper, as there are so few weekly Conservative papers.
I shall be glad to be of any use I can in promoting the above scheme,
which I hope will meet the approval and secure the support of some of
onr leading men. I shall be glad to answer any letters on the subject.
Keats' Place in English Poetry,
To THE EDITORs of THE “NATIONAL REVIEw.”
the quotation from the Ode to Psyche contains an error of the press,
which could not be detected by one who did not know the poem—
With all the grandeur Fancy e'er could feign
ought to be, “With all the gardener Fancy,” &c. Grandeur makes grammar, but scarcely sense, for it is not applicable to flowers. I have referred to Moxon's edition of Keats, 1849, and find I am right. Yours faithfully, Joseph JoHN MURPHY.
All communications to be addressed to the Editors of THE NATIONAL Review, care of Messrs. W. H. Allen & Co., 13 Waterloo Place, London. S.W.
Correspondents are requested to write their name and address on their Manuscripts. Postage-stamps must be sent at the same time if they wish their MS. to be returned in case of rejection.
A quelque chose malheur est bon; or, as we characteristically English it, drawing our aphoristic inferences rather from external nature, than from society as our neighbours do, “It's an ill wind that blows nobody good.” And a bitter ill wind it is that at present blows, and has for some time been blowing, over these islands, the bitter wind of Party malice and all uncharitableness. But even Party winds can blow with effect only in one direction at a time; and the tempest of a furiously raging Opposition is just now directed with concentrated force against the Executive, because it is engaged in upholding the sanctity of law in Ireland, and in defending the foundations of society throughout the Commonwealth. Thus, some compensation ensues to the Realm from the intensity of Party passion in our domestic affairs, in the shape of a suspension of faction's manoeuvres against the Foreign Policy of the State. I am aware that the Leader of the Opposition, and his chorus of well-drilled “vocalists,” pretend they abstain from assailing Lord Salisbury's Foreign Policy, because little or nothing can fairly be urged against it ; and one would gladly accept this explanation of their silence on the attitude and action of the Foreign Office, and adduce it as a proof of the sagacity of one half at least of the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, if one could honestly do so. There are two conclusive reasons, however, that preclude me from accepting this explanation. One is that the old Parliamentary Hand knows “one thing at a time" is a golden rule of strategy for those whose sole object is to succeed. Mr. Gladstone is well aware, and he has brought the result of his long experience home to the minds of his docile lieutenants, that in English Party WOL. X. 37