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1887 AMERICAN OPINION ON THE IRISH QUESTION. 287

The difficulty which I have in gainsaying Mr. Arnold's assertion as to what Americans think about the Irish question lies in my ignorance as to who the men of education were whom he saw and consulted about Home Rule during his stay here. He would be the last man to attach much importance to the opinion of even the most highly educated people on a subject which they had not examined and of which they knew little or nothing. My own opportunities of learning what educated Americans think about the Irish question have been unusually good and have extended now over thirty years, and I am bound to say that I have never met with one who had what Mr. Arnold would call an intelligent opinion about it. By an 'intelligent opinion' I mean the opinion of a man who is familiar with the political, social, and economical history of the Irish, or knows much more about them than that they are a lot of poor and ignorant Catholics who have been very badly treated by the English, and of whom large numbers have been driven into emigration by poverty. I think this fairly describes the state of mind on the Irish question of nineteen-twentieths of the well-to-do people of the Eastern States who are given to entertaining strangers, and into whose society the travelling Englishman is apt to fall. In conjunction with this ignorance of the Irish question, properly so called, will be found, particularly in New England, more or less dislike of the Irish owing to their turbulence, their activity in politics, their low standard of living, and the inefficiency of many of the raw hands as household servants. I think thousands of Americans, many of whom doubtless Mr. Arnold met, are opposed to Home Rule simply on account of their sad experience of Irish cooking. That is to say, they care so little or know so little about Ireland that they are very ready to oblige an agreeable Englishman who is dining or staying with them with denunciations of the Irish inspired solely by recollections of personal inconvenience or discomfort.

In order to bring this discussion to some sort of point, I determined a month ago to canvass the only class of men of education I knew of in the country, who were in the least likely to have examined the Irish question in such a way as to have an opinion about it which Mr. Arnold would consider a conclusion, and not a mere notion. I accordingly addressed inquiries to the Professors and Assistant Professors in the four leading universities of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Columbia College in New York, Yale College in New Haven, and Harvard College in Cambridge. I will now give the results just as they have been furnished to me, beginning with Harvard where my friend Professor Thayer of the Law School was good enough to make the canvass for me, though under great disadvantages owing to the fact that the university year was closing and some of the professors had gone away, while the rest were occupied with matters of more pressing interest to them than Irish Home

Rule. The question as he put it on my behalf was, 'How they would vote on Irish Home Rule, were they Englishmen.'

On this twenty-nine professors and assistant professors answered 'Aye' simply. Fifteen of these added the following remarks or explanations respectively: As now advised;''with restrictions; ' 'heartily;'' unhesitatingly, not independence;' 'try it ;''strongly, but not independence ;' 'reserving the right to change my vote; "Gladstonian;'in local affairs;"Gladstonian ;' as an experiment, no faith in its success;' not independence;' emphatically Gladstonian;'Home Rule in some form.'

Six declared they had no decided opinion, and of these five added the following remarks respectively: 'As an American, would like to see it tried;' 'favourably inclined;'in sympathy with Gladstone generally;' 'have always pinned my faith in Gladstone and Bright, now they are on opposite sides;' 'I do not know enough of the details of the question to say how I should vote; but the inquiry intended is, I suppose, as to one's general sympathy. My sympathy is decidedly anti-Irish. It is founded largely on my dislike of the political methods and conduct of the Irish in this country, and disgust at the way in which so many public men and newspapers truckle to them;' sympathy rather with Home Rule;' 'rather inclined against it;' have not specially examined the subject, and do not care to report prejudices;' as an American, my sympathies are of course with the Home Rule party.'

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One refused to express himself about the matter one way or the other. Eight only voted decidedly 'No,' with the following remarks from five of them respectively: strongly opposed, but don't know anything about it;' as now advised would not vote at all without knowing more about it;' can't stand the means;' can't transplant American character if you do transplant American institutions; 'coercion rather;' 'I am a thorough believer in local management of local concerns, local self-government. But I am also a believer in national control of national affairs. If I were an Englishman I should heartily support any scheme for allowing Ireland to manage her own local affairs, drawing the lines between local and Imperial affairs roughly as drawn here between State and Union, or in Canada between province and Dominion. But I should never vote for

Gladstone's Bill.'

From Yale College, where Professor Sumner was kind enough to make the inquiries for me, I got the following result, embodied in a letter from him. He says:

There are about 120 names in the Faculty and Instructors. To about sixty-five I addressed this question:

'In the present state of British politics, if you were an Englishman, would you vote with the Government or with Gladstone?' I also interviewed those whom I met later. Some thought that Americans ought not to meddle or be

quoted. Some of these did not give any vote; others did. More than forty made some disclaimer as regards knowledge or understanding of the question. Nine who answered said that they would decline to vote for lack of sufficient information to justify them in voting. A number of these really knew a great deal more about it than some who did vote. Of those who voted, twenty-eight voted with Gladstone, eighteen against him. Total answers received, fifty-five. Eight or ten vote eagerly and promptly for Gladstone; about the same number positively against him. I believe that all would favour some measure of local self-government for Ireland on the American plan. Not more than eight or ten approve of the Bill which Gladstone proposed at the last session. The numbers above fairly indicate the number who would vote to restore Gladstone to power if there were now a general election. Very few of them understand the present Coercion Bill. I do not think an intelligible vote could be got out of them on it. The five or six with regard to whom I am most sure that they understand it are Liberal Unionists. All the ill-informed and uninterested voted for Gladstone through prejudice and old sympathy. It is those who really understand more or less about English politics who have been led away from their natural affinity. Many of them said that they voted 'reluctantly' against Gladstone.

From Johns Hopkins, which is a smaller college than either Harvard or Yale, I got answers from sixteen of the faculty. Of these nine were favourable to Home Rule; three were distinctly antiGladstonian and in favour of coercion, and four refused to express any opinion for want of knowledge, or for other reasons. In the case of these latter, Professor Gildersleeve, who is well known in England, I may make an exception to my rule by mentioning his name, as he simply testified that American opinion was evidently in favour of Home Rule.' Similar inquiries made among the graduates who were taking post-graduate courses brought answers from eighteen, of whom all but two were opposed to coercion, and in favour of Home Rule.

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In Columbia College in this city, I found eighteen of the professors and assistant professors were decidedly in favour of Home Rule, and four only as decidedly opposed to it. From the observations of some of the leading professors in all the faculties, taken down on the spot, I make the following extracts :

'I believe in letting the English and Irish settle their own affairs in their own way: all that has been said on this side of the water is gratuitous impertinence. What I regard as the just, natural, and inevitable solution of the problem is Home Rule. I don't think the matter will be satisfactorily and finally laid to rest with anything short of that. But that does not mean absolute independence of course, it means that Ireland shall have a Parliament of her own which shall control all local matters at the same time, being an integral factor of the empire, the relation being somewhat like that of our own States.'

'One thing that strikes me very forcibly is that Englishmen pay so little attention to the real sentiments and aspirations of the Irish people, they seem to care so little about cultivating their patronage. The real bulwarks of a nation consist after all in the patriotic devotion of the people, and England has been continually acting in a way to cultivate their hatred. . . . As regards coercion, I think that the application of any measures of coercion are not only impolitic and unjust, but will on the whole prove practically nugatory. Coercion Bills have failed too many

times to make coercion seem any longer a device of wise or practical politics, and the nineteenth century is wholly unsuited to the appreciation of any such schemes particularly in countries which have reached a high measure of civilisation.'

'Theoretically I should be opposed to the idea of Home Rule, because I think it will dismember the Empire. What I think they ought to try is some modified form of local self-government without the entire Home Rule that Mr. Gladstone proposes. In other words, I should be a Tory if I were an Englishman, but I should try to put the government of Ireland in the hands of Irishmen as far as it is possible without sacrificing the unity of the Empire. I think the present Tories make a mistake in not bringing forward in some form local self-government in connection with the Coercion Bill.'

'Home Rule seems to involve so many difficulties that it requires more thought than I have given to the subject, and I therefore cannot express a definite opinion, but I have been waiting and watching the progress of events whereon to base a view. I would be glad to see Home Rule established for Ireland; the government of its own local affairs, subject of course to its connection as an integral portion of the United Kingdom. I am a firm and enthusiastic believer in the principles of Home Rule in their application to the present Irish problem.'

'The application of coercion as formulated in the latest Bill is truly monstrous, from which nothing but incessant discord can result. I am, accordingly, a staunch Gladstonian and a hearty supporter of his Irish policy.'

'I should vote with Gladstone; my sympathies have always been that way, and it seems to me that everything points towards letting them try at least. It is practically hopeless to try to coerce them. I should vote for Home Rule.'

'As to special measures I could not be said to have reached a conviction. The only definite impression I have on the subject is that some sort of local self-government is the only way out of the difficulty. Whether that will cure it or not I don't know, but it seems to be the only thing to be done both on general principles and what I know of this particular case. As regards coercion, I saw the last instrument advertised as something like the seventy-eighth Coercion Bill, which I think is all that is to be said upon that subject.'

'I am completely opposed to the breaking up of the organic unity of the empire, and if I were an Englishman I should oppose to the bitter end the giving to the Irish of a preferred position. To let the Irish govern Ireland independently and then to let the Irish bear their part in the Imperial Parliament would be grossly unfair. The true solution is to be found, I think, in the Federalist Union of the three kingdoms so as to let each part manage its own local affairs and all three parts co-operate in the Imperial Parliament. I am in favour of coercion. The first duty of a civilised government is to sustain order and the supremacy of the laws until the laws can be changed.'

'I have had the sense more or less indefinite, that there should be some system of Home Rule adopted for the Irish, which seems the only measure of justice for the centuries of oppression they have suffered.'

'How I should vote if I were an Englishman would be difficult to say. I might be governed by my prejudices. From my side of the water I hope they will get Home Rule. It seems curious that the Teutonic people, historic lovers of liberty, should in two notorious instances be grinding down their weaker subjects as exampled by the English in their oppression of the Irish and the Germans in Alsace-Lorraine. Any application of coercion seems utterly futile for any length of time, unless they succeed in driving all the Irish out of the country.'

'I believe that justice and true policy would grant to Ireland Home Rule, by which, however, I would not be understood to advocate what the present ministry charge the leaders of that movement as supporting the rupture of the organic unity of the Empire.'

'I have turned this subject over attentively and often, and I have great sympathy

for the people of Ireland. I can't conceive of a greater folly than the present administration of England are committing in what is called the "Coercion Bill;" for the reason that a measure of that kind can't settle the question, and we want the question settled.'

'I should vote against Home Rule in the form proposed by Mr. Gladstone, but if it were modified to conform somewhat to our Federal system, that would be an entirely different question. I should probably favour such a scheme if the details could be worked out practically, so as to promise success.'

'Without detail, I in general believe in a large measure of Home Rule for Ireland: it will be to the interest of England itself as well as of America, since it would tend largely to our own peace and quietness.'

'In the main, without going into matters of detail, I am a Gladstonian on that question. As an Englishman I should of course oppose in every possible way the disruption of the English empire; sentiments of national pride, if nothing else stood in the way, would prevent my consent to diminishing the territory or the power of the country. But that being conceded, the largest possible amount of Home Rule -that is to say, the management of those things that belong particularly to Ireland by the Irish themselves-would be in the interest of justice not only, but of peace and prosperity. It seems to me that the provisions of the Coercion Bill are barbarous.'

'I believe if the Irish accept the situation and consent to become a part of the English people and work for the United Kingdom, it would be best for them and best for England not to have Home Rule. By Home Rule, however, I have in view a distinct nationality and complete separation from the Mother Country. This I conceive to be their ultimate object, and in it I fail to concur. But if they persistently refuse to accept a modified local autonomy, it is best that they should be set off rather than continue this everlasting turmoil.'

I have reported the opinion of the professors of Columbia College more fully than those of the others, simply because the gentleman to whom I am indebted for interviewing them, himself a member of the University, was able to make copious notes of their remarks, and not because I consider them in any way peculiar.

These views of the professors of these Eastern colleges, are, it is plain, very far from being opinions which throw any new light on the subject or from which any instruction in dealing with the Irish question can be extracted. They are the opinions of men who, however highly instructed or intelligent, have not given any particular attention to the subject, and an English statesman who cared nothing about what foreigners thought about English legislation would of course pay no attention to them. But what I understand Mr. Arnold, Mr. Goldwin Smith, and Professor Tyndall to contend for, is that intelligent Americans, whether they understood the Irish question or not, disapprove of Home Rule, and that English statesmen have their sympathy in refusing it, and that American legislatures in supporting it by resolution, and American newspapers in arguing in its favour, are simply trying to please Irish-American voters. This is, to speak plainly, an almost childish delusion. Go where you will in the United States, you will find that popular feeling, however ignorant about the facts of the case, runs in favour of the Irish, and the farther west you go, the stronger it will be. I have not yet seen,

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