TOPICS OF THE DAY.
IRELAND AND THE BRITISH C (JOVE
THE Easter recess having ended, and ParlIant
gether again, Lord John Russell comes forward a remediall measures for Ireland. A most proper duty surely. He has putk down pike-rioting, open and advised incendiary eloquence, and signified to Ireland that her wrongs are not to be redressed by street-barricades just at present ; an act for which all sane men, Irish and English, applaud him. But this act done, the question rises, more naked and irrepressible than ever : By what means, then, are Irish wrongs to be redressed ? Fifty thousand armed soldiers,—in red coats or in green, there are said to be about so many,—here is prohibition of Repeal treason, but here is no core of the disease which produces Repeal treason, and other madnesses and treasons among us. Here is still no indication how the Irish population is to begin endeavouring to live on just terms with one another and with us,—or, alas, even how it is to continue living at all. Of a truth, remedial measures are very needful : for Ireland's sake, and indeed for Britain's which is indissolubly- chained to her, and is drifting along with her and by reason of her, close in the rear of her, towards unspeakable destinies otherwise. Our copartnery being indissoluble, and the " Warner operation" lately spoken of5 impossible, it is to ourselves also of the last importance that the depths of Irish wretchedness be actu- ally sounded ; that we get to the real bottom of that unspeakable cloaca, and endeavour, by Heaven's blessing, with all the strength that is in us, to commence operations upon it. Purified that hideous mass must be or we ourselves cannot live ! More strin- gent than O'Connell eloquence, or O'Brien pike-manufacture, the law of Nature itself makes us now, in every fibre, participant of Ireland's wretchedness. Steam-passage from Ireland is occasion- ally as low as fourpence a head. Not a wandering Irish lackall that comes over to us, to parade his rags and hunger, and (pi, and misery, but comes in all senses as an irrepressible missionary of the like to our own people ; an inarticulate prophet of 'God' justice to Nations; heralding to us also a doom like his own. Of Our miseries and fearful entanglements here in Britain, he, the Irish lackall, is by far the heaviest; and we cannot shake him off. No, we have deserved him: by our incompetence and -unveracity- by our cowardly, false, and altogether criminal neglect of Ireland— by our government of make-believe and not of truth and reality, so long continued there, we have deserved him; and suddenly, by the aid of steam and modern progress of the sciences, we have got him. The irrepressible missionary and God's messenger tons, I say, is this one, Ire! A strange sight, and one that gives rise to thoughts—" the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." He comes to us to revenge his country ; and he does revenge it. The mad cry of Repeal you can put down, —change-into another as mad, or less, or still more mad ; but him you cannot put down. For Britain's sake itself, if Britain is to continue habitable much longer, Ireland must actually attain remedial mea'snrest- and of a kind we have not been much used to, for two -centuries back, in this country. We have been a little idle, in respect of Irish remedial measures, for two centuries back ! In fact, ever since Oliver Cromwell's time, we have done little but grimace and make-bdieve, and sham a kind of governing there; attaching our- selves to any entity or sham that would help us along from year to year ; imagining (miserable criminals that we have -been'!) that falsities and injustices, well varnished, would do instead of facts and contienous performance aceordineto the- eternal laaes, —as if not a God had made Ireland and us, but a Devil, who could quote Scripture on occasion! And now it has all come down upon us ; and we welter among it, on the edge of huge perils : and we must alter it, or -prepare to perish. Surely, if ever fur any country in the world, remedial measures are needed for Ireland now !
The remedial measures propounded, or to be peopounded, for Ireland, by the British chief governor, in this crisis, are—what does the reader think 7—first, a bill for improved Registration of Irish County Voters ; secondly, a bill for improved ditto in Irish Municipalities-; and—and nothing else at all for the present : these for the present are the remedial measures contemplated by the British chief governor, on behalf of Ireland.
How it may pass in Parliament, this first attempt at discharge of governor's duty and debt towards subjects dying for want of governing, we do net know ; but certainly out of Parliameht, the attempt does seem almost-surprising. Rather a lean instalment, you would say, of the big debedue ; probably among the leanest instal- ments towards so enormous a liquidation ever offered by any sow of Adam Extension of the electoral suffrage,—good Heavens, what will that do far a country which labours under the frightful- lest immediate want of potatoes-? Potatoes, possibility of work that will procure potatoes, or a substitute for that sad root, and enable the electors to sustain themselves alive: there lies the awful prime necessity for Ireland just now. Towards that goal first of' all, and
* "Vottld any projecting Warner of the long range be found who would under- take to unanchor the Island of Ireland, and sail fairly away with it and with all it populations and possessions to the last torn hat that stops a window-pane, and anchor them safe again at a distance, say, of 3,000 miles fromus —fan& to ear amount would be subscribed here for patting in immediate activity such *Isnot of the long range."—Examinee, Aril 29.
,t any other, does Ireland, from the depths of its
being, struggle and endeavour. Extension of the suffrage? Could the chief governor, in his beneficence, extend the suffrage through municipalities and counties, through villages and parishes, so that not only all the men. of Ireland, hut all—the women and
children, even all the oxen and asses ant dogs of Ireland, should be asked their vote, and taught to give it with the exactest authenticity, and the last finish of constitutional perfection,—of what avail would all that be ? Not that course, I should say, leads towards work and potatoes ; but rather it leads directly away from it. Not by extending the electoral or other suffrage, but by immensely curtailing it (were the good method once found), could a contitutional benefit be done, there or here ! Not who votes, but who or what is voted for, what is decided on : that is the important question I Constitutional men are by no means aware of it yet ; but the real truth, in a private way, is, that no fool's vote, no knave's, no liar's, no gluttonous greedy-minded cowardly person's (rich or poor), in a word, no slave's vote, is other than a nuisance, and even the chief of nusiances in its kind, be given where, when, or in what manner it like ! That is the everlasting fact of the matter ; true today as it was at the begin- ning of the world,—and only overlooked (for reasons) in certain confused heavy-laden periods, which by their nature are either fatal or else transitory. Constitutional men, I believe, will gra- dually become aware of this ; and once well discerning it, will find a whole unelaborated world of practical reform, on that unexpected side, of curtailing the suffrage again I
In brief, his Lordship's bill for improved Registration of Irish County Voters, which is said to be good of its sort, and bill for improved ditto in Irish Municipalities, which has not yet come into the light, do, to impartial extra-parliamentary persons, seem as strange a pair of bills as ever were propounded on such an oc- casion. Our impious Irish Tower of Babel, built high for cen- turies now against God's commandment, having at last, with fateful shudder through every stone of it, cracked from top to base; and bending now visibly to every eye, and hanging in pnimentary peril of tumbling wholly, and of carrying our own reling-place along with it,—will his Lordship, with these two Whiteclaapel needles, 'bring the imminent bulging ma- sonries, the big beams and deranged boulders, into square again ? These, it appears, are hisjirst crowbars ; with these he means to begin and try!
Is his Lordship not aware, then, that the Irish potato has, prac- tically speaking, fallen extinct ; that the hideous form of Irish so-called "social existence," sustained thereby, has henceforth become impossible ? That some new existence, deserving a little more to be called " social," will have to introduce itself there ; or worse, and ever worse, down to some nameless worst of all, will have to follow ? That accordingly a real government, come from where it can, is indispensable for the human beings that in- habit Ireland ? That on the whole, real government, effective guidance and constraint of human folly by human wisdom, is very desirable for all manner of human beings! That, in fine, the King of the French drove lately through the Barrier of Passy in a one-horse chaise ? And furthermore that Europe at large has risen behind him, to testify that it also will, at least, have done with sham-government, and have either true government or else none at all ? These are grave facts ; and indicate to all creatures that a new and very ominous sera, for Ireland and for us, has arrived.
Ireland, which was never yet organic with other than make- believe arrangement, now writhes in bitter agony, plainly dis- organic from shore to shore ; its perennial hunger .grown too sharp even for Irish nerves. England has her Chartisms, her justly discontented workpeople countable by the foillion ; re- pressed for the moment, not at all either remedied or extin- guished by the glorious 10th of April, for which a monument is to be built. No; and Europe, we say, from Cadiz to Copenhagen, has crashed together suddenly into the bottomless deeps, the thin earthrind, wholly artificial, giving way beneath it ; and welters now one huge Democracy, one huge Anarchy or Kinglessness ; its "kings" all flying like a set of mere play-actor kings, and none now even pretending to rule, and heroically, at his life's peril, command and constrain. Does our chief governor calculate that England, with such a Chartism under deck, and such a fire-ship of an Ireland indissolubly chained to her, beaten on continually by an anarchic Europe and its all-permeating influences and im- pulses, can keep the waters on those terms? By her old constitu- tional methods, of producing small registration bills, much Parlia- mentary eloquence, and getting the supplies voted,—in which latter point, it would seem now, owing to increase of Parlia- mentary, eloquence, the chief governor finds difficulties? Is it by such alchemy that be will front the crisis t—A chief governor of that humour, at the present juncture, is surely rather an alarm-