18 DECEMBER 1886, Page 13


[To THE EDITOR OF THE " SINCIATOR."] SIR,—In your article of November 27th on "The Failure of the British Government in Ireland," you in one way much under- state your argument. You speak of fifty years as the extent of the period during which England has been endeavouring to do justice to Ireland. It is only one-third of that time. The standing insult of the Established Church was not removed till 1869; and while it remained, although there was much benevolent intention in British legislation for Ireland, there was not elementary justice. And it was not till 1870 that the first serious attempt was made to remove the evils of the worst of all agrarian systems, except those which involve slavery or serfage.

It is often said that Ireland has been a British dependency for eight hundred years. This, though literally true, is mis- leading. For all practical purposes, the history of the con- nection of Ireland with Great Britain dates only from the con- -quest of Ireland by William III., scarcely two hundred years ago, a period equal only to three lifetimes, or to five times the period which has passed since the repeal of the Corn Laws.

The greatest political danger of our time is neither democracy nor socialism, but a vague, widely diffused notion that for every -evil that weighs on society an instantaneous cure must be possible, if we could discover it ; and thence a disposition to 'believe that it has been discovered, and to think that those who prescribe only patience and palliatives are, almost confessedly, in the wrong. I know of no instance of this so striking as the acceptance by the Radicals of Mr. Gladstone's insane scheme of Home-rule for Ireland ; and he appealed to it when he said in the House of Commons that his scheme "held the field," imply. ing that they had no case who only insisted on enforcing law and justice.—I am, Sir, &c., M.