17 MAY 1884, Page 3

One very curious historical incident to which Sir Henry James

referred both at Egham and in addressing the "Eighty Club" on the previous Friday, was the calm disfranchisement of some 200,000 Irish freeholders by Sir Robert Peel's Govern- ment at the time of the passing of the Emancipation Act, con- fessedly on the ground that if Roman Catholics were to be admitted to Parliament, it was necessary to weed the Catholic .electorate, in order to secure a safer constituency. It was carried by 223 votes against only 17. What strange Liberals the Liberals of 1829 must have been to permit such a set-off as that, against the tardy justice of Catholic Emancipation, without raising such a cry as would have rendered that monstrous step impossible !