No speech in Wednesday's debate made a deeper impression, or
afforded more striking evidence of the improved temper of the House brought about by Sir Edward Grey's intervention, than that of Sir Mark Sykes. Unless the Irish question could be settled now, he feared that nothing could save the country from disintegration. Whichever way the next election went, he saw no prospect but that of bloodshed in Ireland, and the compromising of the Army in politics, with further troubles in the labour world, India, and our foreign relations. After warning Members that it was impossible to go back to the later part of the Victorian era, he thought that in Sir Edward Grey's hint of a Federal solution might be found a. Tool Imam for the settlement of the Irish question and a great.
many other questions. If Ulster could be excluded till a sound Federal scheme had been actually introduced, and if the Home Rule Bill were made compatible with such a scheme, he believed that a solution would be found. As for the officers at the Ourragh, there was no dishonour in making a choice, and even without a choice men might be pressed too far. If a man was ground between the upper and nether millstones of conscience and duty, only his own peace of mind and the verdict of posterity could be his reward.