Since the following pages were printed in the January number of the National Review, Mr. Bryce has ceased to be Chief Secretary and has been succeeded by Mr. Birrell, without any apparent change in the Irish policy of the Government. It was announced in the Speech from the Throne: "Your attention will be called to measures for further associating the people of Ireland with the management of their domestic affairs, and for otherwise improving the system of government in its administrative and financial aspects." The debate on the Address threw no light on the real purport of this cryptic utterance. Some discussion took place in which attempts were feebly made to minimise the significance of the Prime Minister's statement before the General Election, that the Irish measure to be introduced by the present Government must "lead up to the larger policy." But Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's language in the same debate leaves no room for such quibbling. "The Irish people [he said] should have what every self-governing colony in the Empire has, the power of managing its own affairs. That is the larger policy that I have spoken of." The Prime Minister thus goes far beyond Mr. Gladstone's proposals either in 1886 or 1893, when it was expressly stipulated that Ireland under Home Rule was not to have the position and powers of a self-governing colony. Before he left Ireland Mr. Bryce, in addition to making a second-reading speech laying down the principles and even the details of an Irish University Bill not yet considered by the Cabinet, of which he ceased to be a member when he accepted the Washington Embassy, made some most startling statements in regard to Irish affairs. He told an English audience at Newcastle that "those in Ireland who desire separation are an insignificant minority." He said, nearly at the same time, that the state of the country, so far as the maintenance of law and order was concerned, was eminently satisfactory and most encouraging, and repudiated the notion that there was anything like terrorism, coercion, or spoliation to be dreaded on the part of the minority. Those who read the quotations from the speeches and writings of Irish Nationalists given in the following pages will be able to judge for themselves what value is to be attached to these amazing assurances.
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