The Irish Church debate on Tuesday night was remarkable for
Mr. Gladstone's very masterly and frank admission of the in- admissibility of the principle on which the Protestant Church in Ireland rests. He intimated clearly enough that an exclusive establishment is an embarrassment, not a help, to a missionary church, and that only as a missionary church has the Protestant Church any right to exist in Ireland. Of course he declined to commit the Government to any promise to deal with a question concerning which the present state of public opinion is still so Conservative, but he avowed his own sympathy with the Liberal party in a manner so unequivocal that it formed a new tie between him and the party Mr. Gladstone ought one day to lead. Mr. Whiteside, who answered him, denounced the speech in very strong language. He took his stand on the monstrous old idea that the Irish Church revenues are the private " property " of the corpora- tion called the Protestant Church in Ireland, that any other appropriation of them is "confiscation." We have heard that cry so often that it alarms no one now. If there is national trust- property anywhere it must be the property of a national Church, and to speak of confiscation for enforcing a larger and more generous construction of the trust is merely pettish nonsense.