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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 54

The Lecture

The Lecture.

Mr. John Stuart Mill, in a treatise on Ireland, says "that once, at least, in every generation, the question, 'What shall be done for Ireland?' or 'What is to be done with Ireland?' rises again to trouble and perplex the councils and conscience of the British nation".

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I cannot say that I should be quite inclined to word the question as Mr. Mill worded it. I believe it would be for the benefit of England, and for the benefit of Ireland, too, if the question became "What can Irishmen do for Ireland?" rather than "What shall Englishmen do with it?". And even here, Mr. Mill—whom I believe to have spoken most thoroughly and most honestly, and with the best intent and purpose, speaking as I myself shall speak from an Englisman's point of view—has allowed the prejudices of his position to influence his manner of dealing with it. I propose to-night to give you an Englishman's view of the Irish question. Naturally, one of the first queries arising was one answered by Charles James Fox more than ninety years ago. It is this: "Has England the right to rule Ireland, unless she can rule it with the free assent and the real content of the Irish people?" Charles James Fox answered that, and his answer as a statesman may perhaps be taken as less open to rebuke than mine as a simple citizen. Fox said: "If we cannot hold Ireland by love; if we cannot rule her by our influence and our affection; we have no right to hold her by force." (Applause.) And that will be the view of the question which I shall maintain to-night. I am one of those who can see no difference between Poland and Ireland, between Hungary and Erin's green land. I think that the judgment which is applied to the one should be the judgment applied to the other also.