10 MARCH 1900, Page 4



TQueen has once again shown statesmanship of a high order, for we may take it that the regulation as to the wearing of the Green on St. Patrick's Day by all Irish regiments and her determination to spend her spring holiday in Ireland are her own acts, and not those of her Ministers. She has shown, that is. that she exactly un- derstands the functions of kingship in our common- wealth, and knows how to make herself the representative of the feelings of the nation. If there was one thing which the nation wanted just now it was some signal mark of appreciation of the gallantry and devotion of the Irish troops at the front, and a clear expression of the know- ledge that the foolish grumblings and growlings of the Irish extremists were not the authentic voice of Ireland. And the Queen has done this very thing. She has encouraged the very natural and altogether commendable pride of race in the Irish people by giving its proper place in our military system to the feeling for the Irish symbol and for the Irish national day, and she has shown that she knows what value to attach to the absurd declarations that Ireland is "to a man" on the side of the Boers, and that every drawback to our arms has been welcomed with joy by the whole Irish people. That the wearing of the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day by all the Irish regiments will give immense satisfaction we do not doubt, and we may feel sure that the Queen herself will assume and wear the symbol, which is not, and never has been, regarded by reasonable Englishmen with the slightest feeling of dis- like or jealousy. That the Queen's visit will be a success no one need entertain any misgivings, and if the weather is only good and the climate suits her Majesty—we must never forget that the Queen is eighty, and people at eighty cannot say that a climate shall suit them—we do .not see why the visit should not be repeated. In any case the visit at such a time as the present cannot but be pro- ductive of great good. We do not of course expect, or even wish, that the presence of the Queen should suddenly convert all the Nationalists to the Union—such sudden conversions are of little value—but we do expect that the visit will have a real effect in making Irishmen realise that the alleged neglect, hatred, and contempt felt for Ireland by England is a figment of the agitator's brain.

The Queen has done so well in deciding on the visit to Dublin that one is naturally anxious that those whose duty it will be to advise her on matters of detail and to make the necessary arrangements will prove both careful and liberal in their ideas. We hope, for example, that while nothing is done which might seem like an attempt to embarrass any of the Nationalist leaders or to entrap them into the dilemma of either seeming discourteous or else expressing a loyalty which they may not feel, oppor- tunities may be afforded to some of them for quietly seeing the Queen. The Nationalist leaders, like all other men in the United Kingdom, have a perfect right to entertain any opinions they choose, Republican, or Separatist, or what you will, and no constraint of any kind must be placed on their enjoyment of that right. The Irish leaders, that is, must be treated like gentlemen, and the first mark of such treatment is never to take an advantage. No political advantage, then, must be taken of the Queen's visit, however great the temptation. The need for great niceness and discretion is apparent in this case, but in the case of the great Irish eccle- siastics of the Roman Church no such extreme scrupu- losity is required. The Irish Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops are obliged by their creed to be loyal subjects, and we trust that it may be possible for the Queen to show towards them some signal act of Royal courtesy, and that they will have the good sense and the good taste to respond. There - is no Established Church ill Ireland, and all the religions bodies are in a position of legal equality, and while in the South of Ireland the Queen will naturally pay attention to the religious leaders of the majority of the population. Would it not be possible; in order to facilitate this, for the Queen to take with her some great English Roman Catholic noble like the Duke of Norfolk, whose religious loyalty to the Pope would be as little open to challenge as his civil loyalty and personal devotion to the Queen.? It is not, of course, for a newspaper to say how these things ought to be done, but considering that the Roman Church is the greatest political force in the South of Ireland, and considering that there are so many reasons why the Roman Church in Ireland should be glad to shake itself free from any suspicion of alliance with the extremer political elements, it would be an immense pity if anything were done which might seem - like, we will not say a slight upon, but a want of appre- ciation of, the position and dignity of the Roman Church in Ireland.

We do not know whether the Queen will return from Ireland to Balmoral, or if the journey would be possible having due regard to the predominant necessity of not over- taxing the Queen's strength, but granted that the thing is not physically unwise, it would be most excellent if the Queen could return vi A Belfast, and re-embark there for Glasgow, or, if she is going south, for Liverpool. Undoubtedly the Queen would meet with a reception which would astonish even her, accustomed as she is to scenes of enthusiasm, in that wonderful Northern city and the Protestant districts that surround it,—the home and reservoir of more natural human energy than perhaps is to be found elsewhere on the globe's surface. We are not exaggerating. Considering its population, the Ulster of the Settlement can boast a greater output of human force during the past century than any other place of its size. Whenever you find a human steam-engine in America. or India or Australia, it is ten to one on his being an Ulster- man, though it ought, on the population odds, to be a million to one against. But, as we have said, the duty of not over- tiring the Queen must be the first consideration, and it would be better for her to miss seeing the other .Ireland— the vigorous and pushing Ireland of the North—than to run any risk.

Before we leave the subject of the Queen and Ireland we must say a word as to a matter which has been again and again urged in these columns,—the raising of a regiment of three battalions of Irish Guards. We most sincerely trust that the announcement of the establishment of such a corps is a surprise which her Majesty is keeping for her Irish subjects, and that when she is actually in Ireland she will announce the decision. That many objections will be raised we do not doubt, but though some of them will seem of importance we sincerely trust they will not be allowed to outweigh the enormous sentimental advantages which will be produced by adding an Irish regiment of Guards to those from Scotland and England. We do not want to multiply corps d'elite, and quite understand the arguments against them, but this is a cage where etch arguments must give way. That there would be any difficulty in raising the men we do not believe. There is nothing that a young Irishman who is big enough and steady enough desires so much as to get into the Irish Constabulary, and very naturally, for the pay is good, the work not too onerous, and the pension excellent. Let it be a rule that no one is allowed to go into the police who has not served three years in her Majesty's Irish Foot Guards, and there would be no sort of difficulty about getting the men. No doubt every Irish Guardsman who had finished his three years would not be able to find a place vacant in the police, but the chance would be good enough to act as a most excellent recruiting inducement. We trust, then, that the present moment will be chosen for so important a reform. If at the same time the plan of sending the Guards to Gibraltar is abandoned we shall always have in the Kingdom twelve battalions—i.e., twelve thousand men—fully equipped and up to strength, and ready at a moment's notice to send at least nine thousand men on active service without mobilising the Reserves. That in itself is no small argument for raising a, regiment of Irish Guards. We have said "raising" as the more convenient word, but it is, of course, possible that the military authority would prefer to take one of the existing Irish regiments and turn them into Irish Guards. In that way the Irish Guards would be at once endowed with esprit de corps and a splendid tradition of battles won and sieges endured and raised.