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England's Case Against Home Rule   By: (1835-1922)

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ENGLAND'S CASE AGAINST HOME RULE

by

A. V. DICEY

The Richmond Publishing Co. Ltd. Orchard Road, Richmond, Surrey, England

1886

PREFACE.

An author who publishes a book having any reference to Irish affairs may, not unnaturally, be supposed either to possess some special knowledge of Ireland, or else to be the advocate of some new specific for the cure of Irish discontent. Of neither of these suppositions can I claim the benefit. My knowledge of Ireland is merely the knowledge perhaps it were better to say the ignorance of an educated Englishman. It is derived from conversation with better informed friends, from careful attention to the discussions on Irish policy which for the last eighteen years have engrossed public attention, and from books accessible to ordinary readers. If I can claim no special acquaintance with Ireland, still less have I the presumption or the folly to come forward as the inventor of any political nostrum. My justification for publishing my thoughts on Home Rule is that the movement in favour of the Parliamentary independence of Ireland constitutes, whether its advocates recognise the fact or not, a demand for fundamental alterations in the whole Constitution of the United Kingdom; and while I may without presumption consider myself moderately acquainted with the principles of Constitutional law, I entertain the firmest conviction that any scheme for Home Rule in Ireland involves dangerous if not fatal innovations on the Constitution of Great Britain.

To set forth the reasons for this opinion is the object of this work. The opinion itself, whatever its worth, is not the growth of recent controversy; it has been entertained for years, and has been expressed by me in various publications. This book is much more than a reprint; its contents are, however, in part made up of articles which have already been published. My thanks are due to the owners of the Contemporary Review and of the New York Nation for their permission to make free use of my contributions to the pages of their periodicals; it is a pleasure to acknowledge the exceptional liberality with which my friend, Mr. E.L. Godkin, has allowed me to publish on my own responsibility in the columns of the Nation , opinions of which he is himself the strenuous and most able opponent.

Nor are my acknowledgments due only to the living. Gustave de Beaumont's ' Irelande sociale et politique ' was placed in my hands by a friend after the plan of my argument was complete, and the writing of this book was in fact begun. From De Beaumont I learnt more than from any other writer on the subject of Ireland with whose works I am acquainted, and I found to my great satisfaction that his speculations curiously confirm the objections I was prepared to urge against the policy of Home Rule. It is a duty to insist upon the debt I owe to De Beaumont, because at the present moment no greater service can be rendered to Englishmen and to Irishmen alike than to press upon them the study of an author whose writings are far better known on the Continent than in England, and whose thoughts, though they may seem a little out of date, are full not only of profound wisdom but of practical guidance.

A.V. DICEY.

OCTOBER, 1886.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

NATURE OF THE ARGUMENT

CHAPTER II.

MEANING OF HOME RULE

CHAPTER III.

STRENGTH OF THE HOME RULE MOVEMENT IN ENGLAND

CHAPTER IV.

ENGLISH ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF HOME RULE.

Argument I. From Foreign Experience " II. From the Will of the Irish People " III. From the Lessons of Irish History " IV. From the Virtues of Self Government " V. From the Necessity for Coercion Acts " VI. From the Inconvenience to England of Refusing Home Rule

CHAPTER V.

THE MAINTENANCE OF THE UNION

CHAPTER VI.

SEPARATION

CHAPTER VII.

HOME RULE ITS FORMS.

I. Home Rule as Federalism II. Home Rule as Colonial Independence III. Home Rule as the Revival of Grattan's Constitution IV... Continue reading book >>




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