I and many others have convinced ourselves that Ireland during this century has in many vital matters played the fool. If this view in any way soothes the conscience of the English for their own country’s cruel injustices to Ireland I cannot help it. Let the truth be stated though the sky should fall. We are sick of “Irish National” make-believes and frauds; sick of shouting nation when there is no nation; and the much abused national consciousness of the Irish people cries for truth and light, and death to shams and impostures.
The cry of the friendly Englishman fully responded to by the “reasonable” Irishman is, “Let us know more about Irishmen and let Irishmen know more about us; we will learn to like and understand one another.” As against this view it is absolutely clear to me, though the expression may appear to have some of the form of a “bull,” that when two nations understand one another there is from that moment only one nation in it. International misunderstanding is one of the marks of nationhood. Our modern differences have largely arisen not only because the English persisted in their attempt to bring up the Irish after their own pattern, but because the Irish, though vividly conscious of a separate national identity, did nearly their best to be English and completely failed. Where the English were dull was in their attempt to throttle Irish civilization instead of allowing it to grow and develop in all its native vigour, and where the Irish were dull – dull beyond comprehension – was that while they with much noisy demonstration made a desperate stand for something which they called the eternal cause of Irish nationality, they did nearly their level best to turn themselves into Saxons.
Unfortunately it is difficult to get the Englishman to admit that there is any civilization in the world other than British. (And Anglicised Ireland naturally enough has come roughly to that conclusion too). This is one of the most flagrant examples of dullness. When he talks of morality he thinks only of the British variety; of liberty, progress, good taste, and so on, it is a like story. He shows somewhat more intelligence on the question of manners, for here he allows himself to be haunted by the suspicion that his may after all be only second rate. He wants to Anglicise the world; and everything is tainted with barbarism that is not British. This heroic state of self-conceit is perhaps natural to a vigorous but dull race that has made its mark upon the world; but it is not founded upon truth. There are other worthier things between heaven and earth than English music halls, May meetings, company promoters and bean feasts. These may represent some of the highest points of English civilization, but there are other struggling civilizations that will have little or none of them; that may in fact have the hardihood to look upon most of them with contempt. The world is divided into civilizations: for several reasons I think this word is more expressive than the word nation. And surely, on the principle of liberty, which England prides herself so much upon, each civilization has as much right to look out on the world in its own way as an individual has of holding his own views. England will not admit this. I do not blame her for attempting to spread by legitimate means that form of civilization which, as it is her own, she not unnaturally holds to be the best; but her impatience of, and her ill-mannered contempt. for, other civilizations, her denial that, if they happen to be any way weak, there is any justification whatever for their existence, makes her hated all over the world; and I fear that when a weak civilization impedes her advance, killing stands in great danger of ceasing to be murder.
I think it would be a bad day for the world were one common form of civilization to embrace it all; when the individual and independent growth of separate nations was stopped. However, I cannot dwell to develop this point now. I have used the word civilization instead of the word nation: the development of nationality is the natural development of a distinct civilization, and any power that kills the one is guilty of the death of the other. In Grattan’s time Irish civilization was thrown overboard; but “Irish nationality” was stuck up on a flag of green – even the colour was new fledged – and the people were exhorted to go forward and cover themselves with glory. If I am right in equating Nationality with a distinct civilization, we get now a vivid glimpse of the first great source of the insincerity – all the more insidious because unconscious – the muddled thinking, the confusion of ideas, the contradictory aims which even the most cursory observer discerns in the Ireland of to-day. Since Grattan’s time every popular leader, O’Connell, Butt, Parnell, Dillon, and Redmond, has perpetuated this Primary contradiction. They threw over Irish civilization whilst they professed – and professed in perfect good faith – to fight for Irish Nationality. What potential genius that contradiction has choked, what dishonesties and tragedies, above on what comedies, it has been responsible for, I will pass over without detailed enquiry. The Irish all this time, as they are at the present day, were absolutely different from the English. The genius of each nation was distinct. To English ideals we did not respond; English Literature did not kindle our minds: we continued to be born the brightest, and continued to be reared the most stupid and helpless of peoples. There is something, be it instinct or the living sub-conscious tradition of an almost dead civilization, that says to nearly every Irish heart “Thou shalt be Irish: thou shalt not be English”. This is written plainly even over the history of the last hundred years – in every respect the most decadent century that Ireland has seen. The propaganda of the Gaelic League has effected a partial revolution in Ireland. The criticism that it has inspired has been largely destructive; the energy it has let loose decidedly constructive. Much of the perpetual flow of wholesale and largely unreasonable denunciation of England was turned from its course and directed back – where it was badly wanted – upon Irishmen themselves; much of the energy that husbanded itself in idleness until certain political reforms were granted, commenced under the new inspiration to move and bestir itself at once. It is. moving with increased velocity as the conviction gains ground that at last Ireland has gained some kind of a footing, and can advance – somewhere.
The League found Ireland wrangling over the corpse of Parnell. When A, who shouted one cry, called himself an Irish Nationalist, and declared with many strong adjectives that B, who shouted a different cry, was a West Briton, it began gradually to dawn upon the average mind that, as there was practically no difference between A and B but a cry, “Irish Nationality ” must be made of a very cloudy substance, indeed. Under the inspiration of the new gospel of the Gaelic League the common man, much to his surprise, was driven to the conclusion that A and B were after all a pair of ordinary, unmannerly politicians, and nothing else. And then the light dawned upon him that Politics is not Nationality, and that the nineteenth century had been for Ireland mostly a century of humbug. That, in brief, is the revolution that the Gaelic League has worked, and that revolution has fundamentally altered the Irish problem. Until a few years ago no one challenged the accepted view that politics was the begin-all and end-all of Irish Nationality. And as politics in Ireland consisted in booing against the English Government, and as Irish Nationality was politics, the English Government became logically the sole destroyer of nationality.
Of course it was an utterly false and an almost fatal position for us to have taken up. All the time that we were doing our share in the killing of our nation, everything was put down to England. An infallible way to distract criticism from domestic affairs – and this can be clearly seen by observing the state of the public temper in England at the present time – is to get entangled in a foreign war. When a great struggle is on hand domestic reformers may sing for an audience. A people who are watching their nation in death-grips with another are in little humour for attending to the parish pumps, least of all for listening to uncomplimentary criticism. But, supposing this condition of things lasted for a hundred years, what would become of the home economy? And this has practically been the condition under which Ireland has spent the century. We have been fighting England as our only enemy, looking to her as the sole source of all our evils, as the only possible source of all our blessings, inasmuch as until we had settled with her we could do nothing for ourselves. All the while, like Pendennis, we ourselves were our greatest enemies. As politics was nationality, every patriotic Irishman who watched his decaying nation felt new drops of hatred for England descend into his heart. Until England could be brought to her senses no progress could be made, and as the life was all the time ebbing out of the Irish nation, then ten thousand curses be upon her oppressor. This attitude flowed reasonably from the first false position that politics was nationality. When Ireland was great she sent men of learning and religion to instruct and enlighten Europe; when she was at her lowest ebb she sent out desperadoes with infernal machines. The commandment, “Thou shalt be Irish,” was written alike upon the hearts of all. From the great error that Nationality is politics a sea of corruption has sprung. Ireland was practically left unsubjected to wholesome native criticism, without which any collection of humanity will corrupt. If a lack of industrial energy and initiative were pointed out, the answer naturally was “Away, traitor. England robbed us of our industries; we can do nothing until she restores our rights.” If you said that the people drank too much – “Well, what are the poor people to do? They are only human; wait until our rights are restored, and all that will be altered.” And so on. To find fault with your countrymen was to play into the hands of England and act the traitor. There were enough abusing us without Ireland’s own joining in the chorus. This was the negative side of the matter: there was a positive side also. It manifestly became the policy of Irishmen to praise and bolster up their own people, and make out the most glowing account of their virtues and importance. The minor political leaders let themselves loose over the country, telling their audiences that they belonged to a great and immortal nation, that they were engaged in a noble struggle for Irish freedom, and that the eyes of the civilised world were upon them. Irish popular oratory was corrupted under these influences into one string of uncomplimentary adjectives applied to England and the English, and another string of an opposite description applied to Ireland. Thought had been squeezed out of the platform and the press, and every vestige of distinctive nationality was fast leaving the country. This was certainly a pretty pass for a quick-witted people to allow themselves to drift into. But once, I submit, that the Irish mind allowed itself to be muddled into considering politics and nationality convertible terms, the condition of things that resulted became, as an eminent Englishman might put it, “inevitable.”
I will now attempt to trace, in broad outline, the influence which the state of things that I have referred to has had upon literary taste and literary production in Ireland, on social progress and the development of polite society, on the Irish attitude towards England, and its powerful bearing upon the economic helplessness and stagnation of the country.
I think I have read somewhere that the great Duke of Marlborough knew no English history except that which he learned from Shakespeare’s works. I mention this in order to point out that it takes an Englishman to get the most out of English literature, as it takes a Frenchman to get the most out of French literature. A literature steeped in the history, traditions, and genius of one nation, is at the best only an imperfect tutor to the people of another nation; in fact, the common, half-educated people of another nation will have none of it. The Irish nation has, this century, been brought up on English literature. Of course it never really kindled their minds or imaginations; they were driven to look at literature as a thing not understandable and above them—a position, I need scarcely say, not making for the development of self-respect or intellectual self-dependence. In most cases when they left school they ceased to read anything but the newspapers. Of course there are many exceptions to this generalization. If an Irishman received a higher English education and lost touch with Irish aspirations, he practically became an Englishman, and many people with less advantages, by force of exceptional ability, got their heads above the entanglements around them and breathed something like free air. But I am talking of the common run of men who make up a nation, and not of the few exceptions.
Tell me of any ordinary man in Dublin, Cork or elsewhere, who professes an appreciation for the best products of English literature, and I will have no hesitation in informing you that he is an intellectual snob, mostly composed of affectation. Literature, to the common Irishman, is an ingenious collection of fine words which no doubt have some meaning, but which he is not going to presume to understand. A good speaker in Ireland is not a man who talks keen sense well, but one with “the divil’s flow of words”; and Irish “ oratory ” has developed into the windiest thing on earth. The state of literature and thought and original intellectual activity of any kind had indeed dropped to a low level. The “Irish National ” literary output chiefly consisted of a few penny magazines in which the most commonplace rhymes were passed off as “ Irish ” poetry, and which contained an unceasing and spirit-wearying flow of romances about “48, ’98, and other periods, in all of which, of course, Ireland was painted spotless white. Romances in which Irish heroes of a couple of hundred years ago, who probably never spoke a word of English in their lives, were made to prate heroics in English of the “Seest thou yon battlements” type, were so manifestly absurd, that no one but very young boys could put up with them. Thought was necessarily absent from all this literature, for assuredly the first effort of thought would be to let the light through all this make-believe that passed current as part and parcel of “Irish National” literature. Criticism had died, and this sort of thing, along with “oratory,” was allowed to swell like soap bubbles all over the land. The Irish people dropped off reading, not from any lack of intellectual desire, but because no where was to be found that which would interest them. Then the great rise Of cheap periodicals came about in England, and the market in Ireland was flooded with them. Ireland being a poor country, the cheapest class of periodicals only is within the popular resources, and it soon became evident that a great evil’ was threatening us, and that Ireland was largely feeding on a questionable type of British reading matter. And the commandment—“Thou shalt be Irish ”—-was all the while troubling Irish hearts.
A number of writers then arose, headed by Mr. W. B. Yeats, who, for the purposes they set themselves to accomplish, lacked every attribute of genie but perseverance. However, by proclaiming from the house-tops that they were great Irish literary men, they succeeded in attracting that notice from the people of Ireland which the crowd walking up Ludgate Hill would give to five or six men who waved their hands and shouted on top of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Practically no one in Ireland understands Mr. Yeats or his school; and one could not, I suggest, say anything harder of literary men. Or if a literary man is not appreciated and cannot be understood, of what use is he? He has not served his purpose. The Irish mind, however, was wound down to such a low state that it was in a fit mood to be humbugged by such a school. Ireland it must be understood, was fully convinced at this time that she possessed an Irish literature in the English language. She pointed proudly to Goldsmith, Sheridan and the rest, and cursed the Saxon when that dull gentleman asked where particularly did Ireland come in, and then went on in his dull way classing all such literature as English. What is Irish literature? was a simple question which generations of Irishmen for good instinctive reasons fought shy of. They were afraid of the truth. There is manifestly no essential difference between first-class literary work executed by an English-speaking man born in Ireland, and that executed by an English-speaking man born in England. But we had to make a difference, for though we had adopted the English language, it was death to the man who called our writings by their proper name. Another make-believe had to be manufactured.
We put in “throths” and “begors” and “alannian” and “asthores” by way of Irish seasoning. But though certain classes of, ballad and lyric poetry can be written in dialect, as Burns has proved, you cannot rise to dignity or poetry on “begors and “bedads.” There is something essentially mean about the corrupt English of the Irish peasant, particularly when put into cold print; it passes the power of man to write literature in it. Here, then, was an impasse. We were all on the look out for somebody to think for us, for we had given up that habit with our language. Matthew Arnold happily came along just in the nick of time, and in a much quoted essay suggested, among other things, that one of the characteristics of Celtic poetry was “natural magic.” I confess I don’t exactly know what “natural magic” means; and even dare to submit that if each of the words mean anything at all that their meanings are contradictory. But let that pass. We seized on that phrase like hawks. Then we called ourselves Celts—a word which is supposed to stand for a people, but who that people are no one seems to know, and indeed very few care. Beardless boys studying for their degrees, and serious girls were haunted by the phrase; and literary articles and literary discussion were studded with these two words, “natural magic.” At last we had found the missing gulf, the missing something that separated us from the dull Saxon mind, and rejoiced accordingly. We now knew the difference between English literature and Irish literature, and satisfied ourselves that Shakespeare was demonstrably a Celt.
Then yet another Irish make-believe was born, and it was christened “The Celtic Note,” Mr. W. B. Yeats standing sponsor for it. The “Celtic Renaissance” was another name invented about this time, and we were asked to pride ourselves on the influence we had exerted, and would continue to exert on English literature. The birth of the “ Celtic Note,” and the discovery of what Irish literature was really made of, caused a little stir amongst minor literary circles in London, but, much less stir in Ireland itself, where the “Irish National” demand for The Mirror of Life, The Police Gazette, and publications of a like kind, showed no signs of weakening. The people, when they showed any evidence of interest whatever, asked what these gentlemen were driving at. Their backers thereupon put them up proudly on a pedestal, and said: — “Hats off, gentlemen; these are mystics.” Never, indeed, was a truer sentence uttered. Mystics they were and are, for a mystic is assuredly a man who deals in mysteries, and mysteries are things which the limited human mind cannot understand. The whole situation was really charged with the comic element. A muddled land which mistook politics for nationality, and English literature for Irish, which confused black with white, was offered the services of a few mystics. But, man, its too many mysteries we have already,” no one had the courage to say, “and what Ireland wants is not men to muddle her with more mysteries, but men who can solve some of the too many already in stock.” However, it must be admitted that the mystics served a useful purpose, though it was by no means the one they intended. By making a serious and earnest effort to create a distinct Irish literature in English they pushed forward the question, “What is Irish literature?” The Gaelic League took up a logical and uncompromising position, fought a sharp and, as it proved, a decisive campaign, and last summer Mr. W. B. Yeats formally surrendered his sword, and Irish literature henceforward was not to be thought of outside the Irish language. When exactly, or by what process, Mr. George Moore came to the same conclusion I cannot say. His first public pronouncement, as far as I am aware, was made only a few months ago. The Irish language is now the ultimate goal of the Irish Literary Theatre, and a play in Irish is announced for next year. No man will dare now to say that such a contradiction as Irish literature in the English language does or could exist. And thus in a few years the work of the Young Irelanders and the ideals of Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, “The Celtic Note,” “The Celtic Renaissance,” and the whole Irish literary make-believes of a century were weighed in the balance and found wanting; and the triumphant Gaelic League is free to march along as if they had never been.
If thought and literature dwindled away in modern Ireland, an enquiry into social life and manners presents even a more muddled and hopeless picture. It was all very well for people to say that everything would come straight when we obtained our rights from England, but in the meantime people had to do something, for what we understand in current language as “doing nothing” is in reality a form of doing something. Even those who shouted most about Irish Parliaments and Irish Republics were swayed by the general desire common to all aspiring men, to be gentlemen of some kind, to be socially “superior,” to reach to some point of social vantage. And in this department of Irish life we will observe the deepest muddle of all. What is a gentleman from the point of view of an English-speaking Irishman? Manifestly the same thing as a gentleman is in England. What are good breeding, good taste, etiquette, from the same man’s point of view? Manifestly again the same as these things are in England. The English-speaking Irishman and the Englishman were children of one common civilization. Social advance under modern Irish conditions could therefore only lead in one way, and that way was in the direction of the English ideals. But there was still that commandment like a fallen oak across the road, barring the way— “Thou shalt be Irish and not English.” Here was a serious question which the modern Irishman had to solve.
Like many another question he refused to face it; he merely tried to shelve it. And too often he avoided becoming an English gentleman by becoming an Irish vulgarian. Ireland had either advance socially along English lines or along Irish lines. She refused to do the former with any thoroughness; she had cut herself completely adrift from the latter. Had Ireland developed her own civilization the manners and etiquette of Irish society would, I think, be very formal and elegant; but as she had thrown over Irish civilization, there was nothing for her to do but imitate England with the best grace she could. But the conventions and manners of English society, owing to various local and particular reasons, as well as in consequence of the radical difference in the genius of the two peoples, she found repellent to her. Society without conventions is necessarily vulgar and chaotic, and much of the social life of Ireland was driven to prove itself Irish by kicking against convention altogether. There are various degrees in this long procession of vulgarity, and those who had least convention were perhaps less vulgar than many mean-spirited imitators after everything they considered English and “respectable”. You would, I believe, search the world in vain for the equals of the latter chins English conventions were known to them mostly by hearsay, and these hearsay accounts they copied with a dog-like fidelity. They cultivated English accents, they sent their children to English schools they tucked in their skirts from contact with the “low Irish,” and they played tennis, not because they liked it, but because it was English and “respectable”. However, if we look charitably upon them, and keep in mind the impossible conditions under which they were compelled to live, we shall find much to say in their extenuation. Fate has revenged herself upon them, for she has decreed that all of them, from those who live in fashionable Dalkey, on through the ranks of the “gentleman farmers” down to the huxter who is making his son a doctor and his daughter a “lady”, should be known to the world under the comprehensive title of “shoneens”.
I now pass on to consider briefly the effect which the condition of modern Ireland had upon our attitude towards England. A professed hatred of England, but not of things English, which is a different matter altogether, not illogically became part and parcel of Irish nationality. This led to more muddle. The Irish people do not hate England or any other country. Asa matter of fact the genius of our nation is far more prone to love than hate. There is no gospel of personal or national hate in our religion; we are told at our mothers’ knees to love all men including our enemies. But as England, in consequence of the situation I have attempted to sketch, became in our view the source of all our ills, was responsible not only for her own sins against us— which heaven knows are many and great—but also responsible for our own blunders and stupidity, she came in for a double dose of resentment. Whenever an Irishman contemplated anything hurtful to his national pride a curse against England gurgled in his throat. No wonder Englishmen completely misunderstood us, and classed us as a lot of grown-up children, when Ireland swayed and writhed in a helpless entanglement herself. It was certainly difficult to deal satisfactorily with a country that had missed her own path, and had only a very muddled idea of what she wanted herself. All this light has been thrown upon Ireland by the propaganda of the Gaelic League. It has compelled us to ask ourselves the elementary question: What is Irish Nationality, and what in reality do we want to see realised in Ireland? Will a few soldiers dressed in green, and a republic, absolutely foreign to the genius of the Irish people, the humiliation of England, a hundred thousand English corpses with Irish bullets or pike wounds through them satisfy the instinct within us that says:—“ Thou shalt be Irish?”
These things we probably can never see, though we may try to drown our ‘national conscience by dreaming of them. But were they possible they were vain; for a distinct nation is a distinct civilization, and if England went down to the bottom of the sea tomorrow that distinct civilization which we have turned our backs upon, that woof of national tradition which we have cast from us would not be restored. Our nation cannot be resurrected merely by the weakness of England, but mainly by the strength and effort of Ireland herself. This then is the new situation that has been created—the political disabilities of Ireland remain, and the political fight must go on until they are redressed, but England stands in our mental view no longer as the sole destroyer of Irish Nationality; we have learned that we ourselves have been acting like fools, that we, during this century, hive been the greatest sinners against that nationality whose death we were only too anxious to lay at the door of England. The Irish Nationality that has sprung merely from a misguided hatred or affected hatred of England has not been a brilliant success if we judge it by its fruits. Hate, I suggest, inspires nothing but destruction. And looking over this great century during which the civilized world has made such strides, we find that Ireland, representing one of the oldest and independent civilizations, has attempted nothing and achieved nothing. She has gone back in every department where other nations have advanced. She threw away her initiative and her language, and became a mean and sulky imitator of another people whom she professed to hate. Whilst clamouring and organising insurrections to bring about something which she called “National Independence”, she willingly cast away the main functions of independent existence which, notwithstanding English misgovernment, she was still in a large measure free to exercise.
The baneful effect of the state of things that I have attempted to describe, did not stop at literature, public opinion, and social development; it sapped the very foundations of economic advance. At the first blush it may appear a far-fetched idea that there is a strong connection between the development of a native civilization having its roots in the native language, and the production of economic wealth. English thought was, until comparatively recently, in a rather muddled state over economics; and it passes the understanding of modern man to comprehend by what mental process certain not very old theories were held by the best thinkers of those days. We have come now to see that land, though an indispensable, is by no means the main source of modern economic wealth. Human skill in all its manifold manifestations has taken the premier place, and conditions precedent to the production of that skill are the existence of initiative and self-dependence. If you have to begin with a self-distrusting people who are afraid to rely on their own judgment, who have learnt by a long and reluctant effort to imitate a rich and highly-developed people foreign to their genius, to conceive a mean and cringing opinion of themselves, you will never get much economic initiative out of them. You will find it difficult to raise what economists call their “standard of comfort.” Creatures may heave bricks and draw water, but it takes men to command, to think, to initiate, to organise, and to will. The first step in the acquirement of skill is a man, and if you have not a man, but a sulky, imitating being to begin with, it is a poor look-out for your economic projects. For behind and above the economics of a nation is the heart of a nation. And Anglo-Ireland of today has no heart. It is led by a hempen cord and frightened by a shadow. The economic ills of Ireland can be traced to many diverse minor causes, but if you follow them up you arrive at the great common source—the lack of Irish heart. Ireland has not courage to say—I will wear this, or I will not wear that. So the draper from Ballyduff goes to London—sometimes he gives out that he has been as far as Paris—and a hideous poster in three colours announces that the latest novelties from London and Paris have arrived. This sends a thrill through the households of the village. The greasy draper rubs his hands and dilates on “the circulation of money”, and the moss on the still wheel of the village mill weeps for the native heart of other days.
Ireland, because she has lost her heart, imports to-day what on sound economic principles she could produce for herself. She who once gave ideas to the world begs the meanest tinsel from that world now. She is out in the cold amongst the nations, standing on a sort of nowhere looking at a civilization which she does not understand, refuses to be absorbed into, and is unable to copy. She exports cattle, drink, and human beings, and she imports, among other things, men with initiative and heart. A dolt from England manages a naturally able man born of the soil, because the dolt uses his head, such as it is, and the native of the soil has lost his heart. The great modern economic tradition of Ireland is simply this—Nothing Irish succeeds! We have not even heart to amuse ourselves, and our “humour” and our “drama”—God save us from most of both—are imported as well as our shoddy. The tinker of thought—and modern Ireland is full of that type—has traced the ills of Ireland to everything in turns and to nothing long. His curses and complainings are ever floating over the seas, and he stands by the side of a native civilization that he has neglected almost unto death, and is never inspired to exclaim: “It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul!” In fact he is not aware that he ever had a civilization. He frets and mourns and curses as he gropes in the dark recesses between two of them. If I were autocrat of Ireland tomorrow, and someone were to come to me and ask what I wanted most, I should have no hesitation in answering: men. And if we are to have men we must make the population of Ireland either thorough-going English or thorough-going Irish. No one who knows Ireland will entertain for a moment the idea that the people can be made English; the attempt has been made, and a country of sulky, dissatisfied and self-distrusting mongrels is the result. Ireland will be nothing until she is a nation, and, as a nation is a civilization, she will never accomplish anything worthy of herself until she falls back upon her own language and traditions, and recovering there her old pride, self-respect and initiative, develops and marches forward from thence.
I have attempted to trace the evil effects arising from our efforts to imitate England whilst the commandment, “Thou shalt be Irish”, is written upon our hearts. I hope I am no quack. The influences that mould a nation are infinite, and cannot be clearly grasped by the human mind. We can only hope to trace them in the broadest outline. Of what English legislation has done to undo Ireland I have a lively appreciation, but that matter does not come within the scope of this article. I have confine myself to an inquiry into the effects of causes which it is within Ireland’s power, and within her power alone, to remove. The only hope that I see for Ireland is that she may set to work to create what does not exist now, what mere political independence, a parliament in College Green, or the humiliation of British arms, will not necessarily bestow—to create a nation. Abroad, during this century, wherever Irishmen have unreservedly thrown themselves in with the particular civilization of their adopted countries, they have done honour alike to themselves and their neighbours. During previous centuries Spain and France and other countries had hundreds of thousands of our bravest and our best, and well, and not without good reason, were they welcomed. The Irishman of modern times has succeeded in every land but his own. For at home is the only place where he cannot make up his mind– he will not be one thing or the other, he will not be English or Irish. Grattan, though not a great statesman, was visited with many vivid flashes of insight. The history of this century gives a new and deeper meaning to one sentence he uttered more than a hundred years ago concerning the relations of Ireland and England. “As her equal we shall be her sincerest friend; as anything less than her equal we shall be her bitterest enemy.” Unless we are a nation we are nothing, and the growth of a civilization springing from the roots of one of the oldest in Europe will alone make us a nation, give us scope to grow naturally, give us something to inspire what is best in us, cultivate our national pride and self-respect, and encourage our self-dependence. Marching along that line the hurt or humiliation of England will cease, must cease, to be our ambition; for our master-passions will be wrapped up in the construction of our own nation, not in the destruction of another. Whether an Ireland of the future, relying upon her own genius, will ever do for mankind what the old Ireland of the early centuries did with such generosity, love, and enthusiasm for Europe, is a matter for faith rather than for speculation. The prospect of such a new Ireland rising up out of the foundations of the old, with love and not hate as its inspiration, has already sent a great thrill through the land. It is a new and unlooked for situation, full with fate, not only for Ireland, but for the world.