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Diomas, or Hugh O'Neill. The latter were only Irish leaders, so any measures against them were consistent with English ideas of public honor.

This spirit runs all through the dealings of the British government, whether royal or parliamentary, with the Irish people. It has contributed not a little to mystifying the Irish cause in the eyes of nations outside the quarrel. It is hard for a Frenchman or a Spaniard to understand that when English public men of high standing speak of the prevalence of crime in Ireland, they do not mean that it is nearly as prevalent as in their own land, or that lawlessness in Ireland means a refusal of the people at large to submit to the lawlessness of officials and a self-styled ascendancy class. The question is much easier to understand when it is borne in mind that the Irish policy of the government is almost wholly moulded on the traditions handed down for centuries in the bureaus of Dublin Castle. Each generation of English politicians denounces the acts of its predecessors in Ireland, but each is equally ready to use the weapons of misrepresentation against the Irish people.

It should be remembered, when we are dealing with English misrepresentations of the Irish national struggle in our own day, that they only carry out the policy which has been consistently followed by the English government during the last three centuries. The efforts of Elizabeth to force the Irish people to the profession of a creed in which they disbelieved are at the present day denounced by every public man in England, but at the time they were unctuously boasted of as a reformation of religion and a restoration of God's worship. The hiring of poisoners to make away with Shane O'Neill while the Queen of England professed to treat him as an ally, was only a "subtlety" of statecraft in the eyes of the English rulers of the day, who plumed themselves on their English honor and English honesty as much as do their successors. The confiscation of Ulster and the expulsion of its inhabitants from their ancestral lands was, in the words of Sir John Davies and his colleagues, a planting of law and justice in a barbarous country. Strafford's seizure of the property of a peaceful province under pretext of legal flaws in the titles of its landholders was, in the words of that nobleman, nothing but a vindication of the sovereign's just claims to his own. The confiscation of the lands of the Irish Catholics by the Parliament which sent Charles the First to the block, was described as a just punishment of rebellion against authority. Cromwell's sweeping three-fourths of Ireland of its native population by beat of drum and under pain of death, was, in the English phraseology of the day, a godly purification of an idolatrous land, and not, as Mr. Chamberlain, or even Lord Salisbury, would now describe it, the extermination of a people for

the profit of England. Two short years after the death of the Protector, when the system of government and state religion which he had set up was overthrown, and described by Parliament as a wicked and traitorous rebellion, the Broghills, Orrerys and Cootes, who had been its chief agents in Ireland, were continued in the possession of the plunder they had acquired at the cost of Irish loyalists. The title given to this proceeding by the Court of Charles the Second was an Act of Settlement, and the robbery of the Irish population was legalized on the plea of not disturbing the rights of property. The invasion of Ireland by the Dutch usurper of the English throne was invariably spoken of by his adherents as a vindication of national liberty. The Irishmen who fought at the Boyne, and Athlone, and Aughrim, and Limerick for the defence of their land and its king and parliament, were constantly spoken of as rebels, and the infamous Penal Code was during nearly a century described as an almost perfect system of civil and religious freedom. The absurdity of such claims seems too great for belief, but they were constantly repeated with an appearance of good faith that might well impose on the world at large. Indeed, they even made some impression on a part of the Irish people themselves. Irish Catholics were found in '98 to publicly express their gratitude for the protection of the law, and to compare favorably the freedom which they enjoyed under the British Constitution with that of the natives of other lands under absolute rulers or rabid revolutionists. It seems impossible that men whose lives and liberties were at the absolute mercy of martial law and a bloodthirsty oligarchy, should imagine that they were really in the enjoyment of an enviable degree of freedom; yet such was actually to some extent the case in Ireland. It is little wonder that a large part of its people should have taken the political harangues of ministers for proofs of friendship, and confounded the shams of political intrigue with the honest management of public affairs.

The increasing knowledge of the Irish people has already had a good effect in lessening the misrepresentations of English statesmen; and as the former increases, the latter will no doubt decrease still further. Messrs. Parnell, Dillon, and Davitt are no longer "instigators of murder" and unconvicted traitors, in the language of English politicians; and the necessity of depriving the Irish people of their freedom to keep them from exterminating one another, is no longer insisted on since it has been found impossible to enforce coercion. The London press, however, and its American copyists still keep up the tradition with an energy worthy of a better cause, and not without some effect outside England as well as within it. For Irishmen, the best weapon against such attacks is

a clear comprehension of their nature. Their utterers have no belief in the charges they make, and indeed are generally quite indifferent as to their truth or falsehood. The only thing they seek is news; and if an invention will serve the place of a fact, it is furnished as readily, and often as readily accepted by the public.

As for the trust in individual English statesmen which has so often been shown by the Irish people, we sincerely hope its day has gone never to return. We believe that Mr. Gladstone is morally and intellectually far above the level of most of his colleagues and rivals in English politics, but we hardly think him capable of subordinating his political interests to his conscience to any heroic degree. We can count to a certain extent on generous impulses in his actions since his career has shown that he is capable of them. That he desires at present to crown his long career by a happy termination of the long struggle between England and Ireland, we can well believe; but this, too, is rather a sentiment than a principle. Generous impulses are very good things in a powerful ruler, but they are liable to be somewhat capricious, and we do not care to build very lofty castles on such foundations. We shall doubtless hear much during the next few months of English generosity in relation to Ireland, but on that feeling we are even less disposed to rely than on the impulses of Mr. Gladstone. The best guarantee that exists for Home Rule is that its refusal is a serious menace to the existence of the Empire, and that English statesmen are beginning at length to realize the fact. It may not be necessary to proclaim it ostentatiously, but such is the true reason why Home Rule has taken such a prominent place in British politics to-day.

VOL. XI.-20


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HE recent controversy between Mr. Spencer and Mr. Harrison has had at least the good effect of defining more clearly than ever the position of Agnosticism and that of its sister infidelity, Positivism. Their attitude towards Christianity is more distinctly perceived, as well as those issues wherein each agrees and disagrees with the other. Mr. Harrison, as spokesman for Positivism, declares that it has accepted Mr. Spencer's doctrine of the inconceivability of the First Cause as enunciated in "First Principles." Reasoning logically from this premiss, furnished by Mr. Spencer himself, it has reached the conclusion that the function of religion cannot be to cherish, as an object of adoration and reverence, this Unknowable outside of human thought and consciousness. But, as religion is a necessity to human nature and to the regulation of human conduct, the proper object of such veneration is to be found in humanity itself. Mr. Spencer, on the other hand, scouts and ridicules the conceit of a creed and cultus founded either upon the abstract notion of humanity or on its collective concretion, and stoutly maintains that the only and proper object of religious worship is that infinite and eternal energy “from which all things proceed," and which, he warns us, is, at the same time, unknown and unknowable. The function of religion Mr. Spencer conceives to be the fostering of this mystery along with the perpetual inculcation of its insolubility.

Without attempting to pass judgment upon the antagonisms, which the late controversy has revealed between Mr. Spencer's Agnosticism and Mr. Harrison's Positivism, it will be interesting to go back to that premiss which both, in common, accept as indubitably true. Is Mr. Spencer's doctrine of the Unknowable upon the substantial footing that both claim? Has it that consistency with sound reason that both assert? The answer to these questions will bring us back to Mr. Spencer's "First Principles," wherein the doctrine of inconceivability is discussed fundamentally and at length. Accepted, as it has been, without dispute by a certain class of thinkers, it has established itself with many as a profound and irrefragable refutation of theological and metaphysical conceptions. Mr. Harrison says that Mr. Spencer, as much as any living man, has torn "the slip-slop of theologians finally to shreds;" and such is the current belief with those who either accept, without investigation, the authority of Mr. Spencer's dictum, or who,

finding the speculations of metaphysical science too labored and painful for their abilities or time, congratulate the weakness of their intelligence in the thought that theology and metaphysics are, after all, absurdities which Mr. Spencer's trenchant criticism has finally exposed. Metaphysicians and theologians, in consequence, have been rated as charlatans. It will, perhaps, be startling to Mr. Spencer's followers to call in question their master's first principles, and still more startling to learn that they do not rest upon as secure a basis as is imagined.

The second chapter of "First Principles" opens with an illustration of the incompetency of the human mind to conceive things as they are. This illustration treats of its failure to imagine the actual curvature of the whole circumference of the earth.

"We cannot conceive, in its real form and magnitude, even that small segment of our globe which extends a hundred miles on every side of us; much less the globe as a whole. The piece of rock on which we stand can be mentally represented with something like completeness; we find ourselves able to think of its top, its sides, and its under surface at the same time, or so nearly at the same time that they seem all present in consciousness together; and so we can form what we call a conception of a rock. But to do the like with the earth we find impossible. If even to imagine the antipodes as at that distant place in space which it actually occupies, is beyond our power, much more beyond our power must it be at the same time to imagine all other remote points on the earth's surface as in their actual places. Yet we habitually speak as though we had an idea of the earth-as though we could think of it in the same way we think of minor objects."

In this passage we first ascertain Mr. Spencer's notion of ideology. In proportion to the magnitude of the object, the greater grows the impossibility of conceiving it. Magnitude, then, is the gauge of our power of conception. The smaller an object is, the better we can represent it in thought, and the larger it is, the less chance it has of being conceived. We can, mentally, represent "the piece of rock on which we stand with something like completeness," because its likeness can be crowded more easily into the mind than if it were a thousand times as large. An elephant can be pretty well represented in thought, but if the animal were fifty times as huge, it would stand fifty times less opportunity of being mentally grasped. It is to be observed in the passage just quoted, that Mr. Spencer uses the words imagine and conceive in exactly the same sense. "We cannot conceive in its real form, etc.," and, "if even to imagine the antipodes, etc.," and, again, " the piece of rock on which we stand can be mentally represented, etc." imagine, conceive, and mentally represent express one and the same idea in Mr. Spencer's mind? Such, evidently, is the implication in this passage, and such must we infer it to be from the application of the principle he deduces from this illustration. It is here we must put in our demurrer. Mr. Spencer confuses two distinct

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