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system of true physical causation, adequate to explain the actual process and method of operation through which the infinite variety of organic forms has been gradually evolved the process, namely, of natural selection.

Is it possible that some reaction has begun? We shall see in another paper.



Since this paper was written I have seen the attack made by Professor Huxley in the November number of this Review upon my previous article of September, 'A Great Lesson.' I cannot turn aside now from a much larger purpose to reply to an almost purely personal polemic. I hope to do so some other day. Meanwhile, I am not shaken in my belief that Darwin's famous theory on the origin of coral islands is a theory which has been now disproved, and that this fact does convey a great lesson. I am confirmed in my belief by observing that Professor Huxley takes great care not to commit himself in its support. He describes it as 'quite obviously alive and kicking at the surface.' This is an excellent description of its condition, and in this state of superficial and convulsive action I leave it for the present, with the indignant Professor standing on the shore and showing no disposition to help it in its dying struggles at the surface.'




WHEN I first heard that Mr. Gladstone was about to publish a criticism of my History of the Irish Union, I received the news with pleasure. I saw that the most unfavourable notice of the book coming from such a distinguished source must be a compliment to its author, and an additional evidence of what I had already reason to believe that it had attracted the attention and was influencing the opinion of the public. When I read Mr. Gladstone's article my satisfaction was increased. From its impassioned and violent tone I could see that my facts and arguments had gone home. Mr. Gladstone may affect to make light of them; but one who is the head. and director of a large and active party, and whose every moment is occupied, would not have devoted to my work the time and attention which an historical examination requires, if he really considered that work to be worthless, or even unimportant. An ex-premier who is busily preparing for his return to power does not lightly and without cause direct a long and vehement harangue against a book unless he feels that it is an obstruction in his path. The 'Greater Gods of' the political Olympus' do not descend upon the stage of discussion, and still more do not exhibit such passionate ardour, against an unknown personage, if they do not believe that there is a dignus vindice nodus.

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An author has no right to be dissatisfied with an unfavourable review of his work. But that review ought to be abstract and impersonal, directed not against the author, but against the book. As a citizen of the republic of letters, where all stand on equal footing, and not merely on personal grounds, I protest against invective, and the use of such flowers of rhetoric as Mr. Gladstone has allowed himself. Encouraged by a writer of his eminence, inferior authors may outrun their master and teacher, and introduce a degraded style into the daily literature of our newspapers and magazines. It will be an evil outlook for English political polemics should Mr. Gladstone's example be followed, and the old system of literary warfare, which Swift has described by an unsavoury simile, be revived. Yet as the senator has stooped to the manners of the arena, and Laberius is

voluntarily found among the mimes, Mr. Gladstone might justly expect to be treated with the licence of a farce. If I reply with decorum, it is not owing to Mr. Gladstone, but to the dignity of the subject of which I am speaking.

I am not a partisan opponent of Mr. Gladstone, though I uphold against him the opinion that the Irish Union was carried by fair and constitutional means, and that its enactment was as necessary in 1800 as its maintenance is now. Though a younger man than Mr. Gladstone, I was a Liberal, as I am now, before he had left the ranks of the Tories. I was a Radical, as I am now, before he had ceased to be a moderate Whig. When Mr. Gladstone issued his advice that the members of his party should make themselves acquainted with Irish history, I was leading a retired life, improving my small abilities by a close attention to Irish historical studies, perfectly independent of party and unsolicitous of office or employment. I turned my attention to an investigation of the Irish Union. When I entered upon this investigation, I believed, though I suspected exaggeration in the accounts, that the means by which the measure was carried could not be supported, and my only wish was to write a fair and impartial history of the event. In the progress of the investigation my opinion was changed; a change which in the first instance was produced by the refusal of the Anti-Unionists in the Irish Parliament to accept the repeated challenges of the Government, and to prove the corruption on which they were nightly declaiming; by the extravagances of the younger Grattan, and by the fanciful myths of Barrington, an author whom Mr. Gladstone himself gives up. When I had formed this opinion, it became in my humble judgment my duty to publish what, I was conscious, was an honest contribution to the consideration of a disputed question. In the opening of Mr. Gladstone's article, to predispose his readers in his favour and to put their judgment asleep, he gravely narrates two cock and bull stories, one from his own repertory, the other from the preface to the Cornwallis Correspondence, but so 'adapted' and improved as to be all his own. Here is the first.

The records of the Irish Government for some thirty years or more before the Union are kept secret. It would be well if the present administration would earn for itself the credit of annulling a rule which has down to this time, I believe, been officially stereotyped in the Home Office. At least, I can say that a gentleman known to me, and bent upon a serious work of authorship, has been refused access to these documents.

Mr. Gladstone, be it observed, does not state positively that such a rule actually exists. He merely suggests that there must be such a regulation, because a gentleman known to himself was refused access to public documents. It is a pity that Mr. Gladstone has not told us the name of the gentleman, or said a word of the

Cock and a bull, a phrase denoting tedious trifling stories.'-Imperial Dict.

manner in which the application was made. My own experience is very different. I have not an official friend in the world, and when I made my application to the Record Office I had no letter of recommendation. Yet the requests of an unknown person were at once cordially and promptly complied with. The insinuation that there is such a rule, and the suggested charge against the present Government, are in Mr. Gladstone's best style. He forgets that he himself was more than once the head of an English administration, and that he took no steps to annul a rule which he says has been stereotyped for thirty years. The attempt to devolve on others the responsibility for neglect of a duty which he himself left unfulfilled is eminently characteristic. But in fact the whole story is a mistake. I am enabled to say that there is no body of papers of the anteUnion Irish Government in existence in any public repository which is not accessible to historical inquirers.

The second story is as follows:

It was believed, and has been publicly alleged, that the Irish Government had ordered the destruction of many of their confidential and secret papers. But Mr. Ross confutes this statement, while he adds that through neglect many had been lost or inadvertently destroyed. But it is purposed, not inadvertent destruction, to which I have now to direct attention.

To prove the purposed' destruction of documents Mr. Gladstone quotes a paragraph from Mr. Ross.

But upon investigation it appeared that such documents as might have thrown additional light on the history of those times, and especially of the Union, had been purposely destroyed. For instance, after a search instituted at Welbeck by the kindness of the Duke of Portland, it was ascertained that the late Duke had burnt all his father's political papers from 1780 to his death. In like manner the Chancellor (Lord Clare), Mr. Wickham, Mr. King, Sir Herbert Taylor, Sir Edward Littlehales, Mr. Marsden, the Knight of Kerry, and indeed almost all the persons officially concerned in carrying the Union, appear to have destroyed the whole of their papers.

(1) Mr. Gladstone has quietly assumed that Mr. Ross makes a positive statement that the papers he refers to have been destroyed. Mr. Ross does no such thing, with the single exception of the case of the Duke of Portland. He says merely that the others' appear to have destroyed the whole of their papers.' But even if Mr. Ross had said that these gentlemen had destroyed all their papers, what conclusion could we come to, but that the inconveniences of preserving masses of papers were so great that they had to be destroyed? If their owners had destroyed the papers relating to the Union, and no others, a case of suspicion would have arisen, but nothing of this kind occurred, for Mr. Ross's words are the whole of their papers.' And the papers of the Duke were destroyed, not by himself, but by

his son.

(2) Observe the manner in which Mr. Gladstone confuses purpose

and motive. When a man throws a piece of paper into the fire, he does it purposely; his purpose is to throw it into the fire. But his motive for so doing is a very different thing. If these gentlemen destroyed their papers they did it purposely, but of their motives. neither Mr. Gladstone nor anyone else knows or can know anything. An impartial man can, however, suggest many causes for their action; the inconvenience and expense attending the preservation of large masses of papers, their carriage to distant places, their removal to new houses, and a hundred incidents of a similar nature, may have necessitated their being destroyed or left behind. We know that such mischances have happened over and over again; and that most valuable public documents have been discovered in the shops of retail traders or in the work-rooms of trunk-makers and other artisans. That it was some such cause that induced these gentlemen to destroy their papers follows almost as a logical deduction from the fact that they destroyed the whole of their papers.' That is, of course, if the documents were destroyed at all, for the assertion that they were actually destroyed has never been made except in the single instance of the Duke of Portland.


Having attuned his readers to the proper pitch, Mr. Gladstone enters upon his main subject. He extracts propositions, six in number, from my book, and having erected his 'Aunt Sallys' in the manner which best suits him, he proceeds to discharge his hastily gathered bludgeons against them one by one. The plan of campaign which he has adopted evidently gives him an advantage. There is,' says a writer 2 in this Review, 'an immense advantage for controversial purposes in picking out special points to criticise in a large cumulative argument, which few even of those who in some measure consider it will find leisure and inclination to master.' But Mr. Gladstone does not see that in adopting such a mode of warfare he ceases to be a general at the head of a legion of arguments, and degenerates into the partisan making occasional and petty incursions. The position, however, of a defender of the Irish Union is so impregnable that he can allow his antagonist to choose his ground; he can even smile at the ardour of the attack. I accept Mr. Gladstone's conditions of combat. All I ask is, that he should state my opinions fairly and fully. This he has not done. He has mutilated, or rather cut off the half, of my first proposition, and in that which he produces as the sixth he has put a statement into my mouth which I never made.

I. My first proposition consisted of two parts: (1) that the experience of the Empire had shown, that the existence of two independent Parliaments was inconsistent with the safety of the State, and that the Irish Union was imperatively called for by the condition of Ireland and its relations to Great Britain; and (2) that an unbroken

2 Mr. Edmund Gurney.

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