22 OCTOBER 1937, Page 18


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] SIR,—Not being able to quote analytical statistics regarding the number of ex-service and native-born Irishmen on the dole in Liverpool Mr. L. T. Fleming falls back upon the old method of gross figures which are as scientifically antiquated as social reform appears to be in that great seaport. Pending the adop- tion of a more modern statistical system by the Liverpool municipal authorities those people who are somewhat disturbed by the presence of Irish emigrants in their midst might apply their minds to finding an answer to the question " Why do the Irish emigrate ? " From a recent experience of my own they will not have to wade through dull history books for enlighten- ment. For instance, I have just finished reading the Life of Edmund Spenser—probably London's greatest man of letters— who besides being a poet of genius was also a keen business man who did very well for himself, though his end was tragic, while acting as a servant of the Crown in Ireland between the years 158o and 1598. Writing from his Cork estate to the British Government he recommends that the Irish be given 20 days to " Come in." If they resist " they should be hunted like wild beasts until the winter covert is thin and they perish from starvation."

It may surprise the peaceful and liberty-loving British people of today to know that this sort of administration was carried on in their name with more or less severity right down to the foundation of the Irish Free State less than zo years ago.

The wonder surely is not that Great Britain has an Irish problem (of her own creation) but that there are any native people left in Ireland at all.—I am, Sir, faithfully yours,