13 FEBRUARY 1904, Page 14


[To THY EDITOR Or THE "SPECTATOR."] Sin,—What the distant future of Irish legislation may be does not much concern us at this crisis. Let me, as a Home- ruler, point out to my Unionist friends that the strongest safeguard they can have as to the question of a separate Irish Parliament is the House of Lords. What possible chance would such a Bill have in the Upper House if introduced by a Liberal Ministry ? What is much more likely to occur, in my opinion, is that when the Tories are in the cold shades of opposition they may strike some kind of bargain with the Irish party. History repeats itself. The issue at the moment is the ill-considered scheme of Mr. Chamberlain for reversing the fiscal policy of this country, and it is clearly the duty of all Free-traders to support at the poll only those candidates who are prepared to maintain, within reason, the policy which made this country prosperous, and changed so favourably the conditions of the artisan and labouring classes. May I add a short extract from Abraham Lincoln's famous Cooper Union speech ?—" Neither let WI be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by threats of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it." Or perhaps the sentiment of duty may be summarised in the words :— " And, because right is right, to follow right

Were wisdom in the scorn of circumstance?'

[We entirely agree with our candid correspondent. Even if—though it is an hypothesis which we hold to be quite un- tenable—a Free-trade Ministry were under a compact with the Irish to introduce a Home-rule Bill, the House of Lords could be relied on with the utmost confidence to throw out any such measure, and to receive the thanks of the nation for doing so. The nation, we are certain, is determined to main. tain both Free-trade and the Union, and no political accidents or intrigues will prevent it having its way in both cases.— ED. Spectator.]