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AN IMPENDING DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP. TiiE Lobby correspondent of the Press Association has drawn public attention to a matter which could not very well have been much longer left in tho dark. The Liberal and the Irish Parties have been gradually drifting assundor and the fault is certainly not to be laid at the door of the Liberals. For ten years the Liberal Party has placed Home Rule in the forefront of its pro- gramme; and has consequently retarded the progress of other Radical measures. Home Rule has during those years always taken precedence of other Liberal proposals and Liberalism has suffered accordingly. The Irish Party has strenuously insisted that its demands shall not be asked to play second fiddle to anything; and the result has been the collapse of two Liberal Governments after having wasted the t;1 greater part of their time in passing Homo Rule Bills which would not be of the slightest service to the Liberals ot Great Britain. This is tho dobit side of the Irish account; the credit side is much easier to write up. The Irish Party evidently consider themselves quite free to support the enemies of Home Rule and to vote against the Liberals on a purely sectarian question—and that question, one which in no way affects Ireland. A Bill is before Parliament which will give increased grants to the Anglican and Roman Catholic schools in great Britain-not Ireland-and at the same time leave these educational establish- ments under the unqualified control of the clerics and the clerical iluukies. This Bill is promoted by the Party which throutened to "lino the hedges with bayonets" in the event of Home Rule becoming law. Nevertheless, in obedienc3 to orders from the priesthood, the whole Irish Parry goes into the Lobby against the Liberals—and that under circumstances in which the Government was assured of a three-figure majority in any instance. Seeing how little the Irish Party is inclined to put Home Rule in the foreground, it would be the height of folly for the Liberals to consider themselves any longer obliged to keep to the old order of precedence. The fact of the matter is that ever since the fall of the colossal influence of Parnell, the Irish policy has been regulated by a caucus somewhere in the neighbourhood of May- nooth-the training-college of the Irish priesthood. It is the Church first-and the the Nation a long way behind. Irish politics are subject to these fluctuations the broad National platform, occupied by O'Connel in his early days gradually degen- erated into a ferocious religious bigotry. The young Ireland Party with its contempt for mere creeds and its desire for the general elevation of tho whole nation caused a re- awakening of the National sentiment, until it in turn was swallowed up in the hideous gulf of of petty Ribbon Associations. Then arose Fenianism, a wild murderous improb- able and wholly Utopian orgrnisation—but with that healthy contempt for priestly domination which the leaders had imbibed from the teachings of young Italy. Then after half a generation of stagnation dis- turbed only by the puny efforts of a few nonentities, Parnell-the Napoleon of Irish politics-came to the front. The priests joined in the Home Rule movement then but they did not dominate it. Parnell was not one of their flock; and whilst he was strong enough to utilise all allies, none of the allies could utilise him. After his fall and death, many of his followers made a struggle for the independence of the laity in matters political. It was evident, however, that they were in a hopeless minority. Illiterate voters were driven like sheep to the booths; men who had independence enough to make a stand against the clerical Old Man of the Sea were subjected to petty persecutions; and the Bishops openly denounced any- one who would read those newspapers which advocated views not bearing the Maynooth Hall-Mark. This is the degraded level to which Irish politics has now fallen; and which has resulted in the Party putting their ostensible principles in tho background in order to serve tho supposed interests of the Church to which they belong. The Irish Alliance means that the Liberals must always consider Home Rule as a preferential claim; and that the Irish will always consider themselves free to do just exactly as they like. Heads I win, tails you lose." Liberals cannot be blamed if they wish to cancel such a very one-sided bond. Home Rule—like universal arbitration-ig a very sound principle; but Liberals will think twice before they put it in the foreground in order to delay English, Soots, and Welsh measures and to oblige a coterie of back- boneless politicians who place sectarianism before everything else. It will be time enough for the Liberals to think of Home Rule when a thorough measure of Disestab- lishment has come into operations and a far-reaching instalment of electorol reform has been placed on the Statute-book.


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Races at Llfiusteylian. L