27 FEBRUARY 1886, Page 1

Lord Randolph Churchill has delivered two speeches to the Loyalists

of Belfast, both of which have been received with enthusiasm. He has, like his chief, utterly abandoned the view that Ireland should have Home-rule, though he undoubtedly intended something of the kind when he came into power ; and he now calls upon the Loyalists of Ulster to defend the British connection. In both speeches his argument was the same, that Ulster had been quiet too long, and that now it would be placed under alien rule ; and in both he hinted at insurrection as an " ulterior " possibility. The merit of both speeches was their fall recognition that Ireland is not one undivided country; and their demerit, the statement that the dividing-line was the religious one. It is for the Catholics, in whose theery per- secution is not forbidden, to raise that cry, not for the Protestants. An attempt is made to declare Lord Randolph a criminal for uttering incendiary speeches, and under other circumstances we should agree that he had overstepped the line between argument and incitement. There mast, however,

be some regard to justice in treating Irish affairs ; and to excuse invitations to defy the Empire, and punish invitations to defend the Empire, is, for the sworn servants of the Empire, a little too cynical. If Lord Randolph and Mr. Parnell were prosecuted together, and Irishmen governed without reference to politics on the ordinary principles of civilised States, then, indeed—but we are dreaming of a millennium for poor Ireland.