Lord Spencer and Mr. Morley addressed a great meeting at
Newcastle on Wednesday night, on the Irish policy of the Government. Lord Spencer's speech was manly, but, like all converts, he was disposed to go too far in his new creed. He was not only prepared to prove that there was no alternative to Home-role, but he was so determined to be a good convert, that he tried to whitewash Mr. Parnell and all his lieutenants in the Land League and National League. At first he only ven- tured as far as this,—that he had seen no evidence " of com- plicity in crime" against any of the Irish representatives. Well, that is a modest sort of plea, which may be accepted without its carrying us very far. But Lord Spencer can hardly snake even this very modest claim for the Irish leaders,—that they have not been implicated in crime,—without great qualifications. " It is right that I should fairly and dis- tinctly express my condemnation of many of the methods by which they carried on their agitation. They often used lan- guage and arguments as unjustifiable as they were unfounded. They sometimes, perhaps on financial grounds, were silent, when words would have been golden, when words might have had a great influence on the state of the country. They may even have employed men for their own legitimate purposes who had been employed in illegal acts." But in spite of all this, Lord Spencer comes to the conclusion that Ireland may be safely entrusted to the guidance of such men as these. It is a won- derful conclusion. What did Mr. Gladstone say of the objects of the Land League in 1881 ?—" The immediate object which is proposed is rapine. I do not call it by any other name." Now, however, Lord Spencer absolves Mr. Parnell from all sympathy with rapine, and declares his belief that " if he becomes Minister for Ireland," he will put down with vigour the rebels and fanatics who disturb the country. Lord Spencer seems to us not only astoundingly sanguine in his views of the leaders, but still more astoundingly sanguine in his estimate of the ease with which spirits such as those which these men have throughout Ireland summoned to their aid, can be exorcised when the mood of the magician changes. Lord Spencer's optimism is not reasonable.