Lord Crewe (better remembered as Lord Houghton, the Gladstonian Lord-Lieutenant
of Ireland) made a speech at Oxford on Saturday to the members of the Palmerston Club, at Balliol College, which will hardly please the Irish party in the House of Commons. The late Lord-Lieutenant is, it appears, a tepid Home-ruler. He thought the importance of the subject of Fremantle for Ireland had been greatly exag- gerated by both sides, both by the Nationalists and the Unionists. The Orangemen had done just as much to exag- gerate the mischief of this policy as the Irish Home-rulers had done to exaggerate its usefulness. The national benefits of Home-rule had been greatly exaggerated by the Nationalist party. He thought there would be some, but that they would not be very many, and would be rather slow in making their appearance. And if so, he thought it all the more remarkable that the hope of Home-rule maintained so powerful a hold on the Irish mind. There we cannot agree with Lord Crewe. The Irish are always apt to select a great illusion for their most enthusiastic support. And nothing makes them more angry than to find out that they have been pursuing an illusion, and that they have no sooner obtained it than it fades away in their grasp. Lord Crewe admitted that Ireland was no longer an oppressed nation like Poland, or (formerly) Lombardy. But he did think that the present system of Irish government was very clumsy, immensely expensive, and apparently thoroughly unpopular. That is true; and an improved system would at first be far more unpopular, though much less clumsy and expensive. But none the less the Viceroyalty should go, and not the administration from Westminster.