In the ensuing debate Lord Loreburn made a frank and
weighty appeal to the leaders on both sides to come to a settlement of the Irish question by consent. A General Election would not avert the danger of civil war. But if the Irish question were settled, the whole of the mists would vanish at once. They had all made mistakes, and they might well forgive one another for them. Great strides had been made towards a settlement, and he believed that it might be attained if they could restrain the violent language on the platform and in the Press. Personally, he advocated Devolution and a consultation to bridge the narrow distance which separated the two sides. If this were not done, everything pointed to a convulsion the like of which had not been seen for centuries. Lord Lansdowne, in response to Lord Loreburn's appeal, declared that the Unionists shared Lord Loreburn's anxiety : they were no more content than be was to let things drift. Again and again they had expressed their readiness to abide loyally by an appeal to the votes of the people. Leading men on the Unionist side had, in fact, exerted themselves to find a solution of the Irish difficulties; the trouble was on the other side on account of the engagements the Liberals bad entered ink with their Irish supporters.