14 FEBRUARY 1880, Page 2

In a letter to Wednesday's Times, Mr. Sullivan returns to

the question of the Conservative origin of the Home-rule move- ment in Ireland, and shows not only that it was genuinely Conservative, but that the Conservative Members held openly to it till the present Government came in, in 1874. The first Home-rule circular was signed by eight honorary secretaries, of whom six were Conservatives ; and he shows that the pecu- niary generosity of the Irish Conservatives in the cause was very considerable until their political friends came into power, and it became no longer decent to support the Repeal party. Mr. Sullivan goes on to plead eloquently for the reasonableness of inquiring into the strength of the Irish case, but he forgets that the strength of the Irish case for the inadequate treatment by Parliament of Irish affairs, is a very small part of the issue. English Liberals admit the neces- sity for a considerable decentralisation of local government, not only in Ireland, but in Scotland and England. What they cannot admit,—on constitutional principles of the largest kind,—is that any case of this sort, however strong, can justify the dissolution of the United Kingdom into a federation, by restoring national Legislatures, even in relation to purely domestic affairs.