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EN on the Continent, Progressists of every description, have so long looked to England as to a great centre of liberty, and a 'mother of free nations,' that the Irish difficulty which so sorely harasses her at present, naturally fills them with a degree of anxiety. The time is past when Frenchmen of all political shades, still labouring under the prejudices arising from former armed struggles between their forefathers and this country, had an easy inclination towards every actual or possible enemy of England. Scots and Irishmen were once eagerly sought as auxiliaries and allies by both Royalists and Republicans in France. Little, indeed, did the latter care what views in matters of State or Church those war-associates of theirs held in their own particular homes.

To-day, a very different, a far juster, feeling prevails in this respect in France. The deeper thinkers there, nay, the mass of the Liberal and Democratic parties, feel that the fate of the cause of Progress in general is to a large extent bound up with the political and social development of affairs on this side of the Channel. By none is this more readily acknowledged than by the many men (and among them there were not a few of distinction) whom the successive waves of reaction in their own country had for years driven to seek shelter on the English shores. Again, of those Frenchmen who, as exiles since 1848, thought they would find a more congenial soil in Ireland, it may be said all have returned from Green Erin with an even more intense conviction that the worst service which could be rendered to political advancement, to intellectual emancipation, and to Ireland herself, would be the establishment of a counterParliament on College Green, in rivalry of, and in easily formed opposition to, the Parliament in St. Stephen's.

This change in French opinion is one of the most remarkable phenomena, considering the tenacity of national prejudices which have bitter historical conflicts for their background. At this moment the mainstay of the anti-English view in France is the priestly party. It is represented in the Vaticanist Univers,' and kindred Ultramontane or Royalist journals. With the exception of a few irreconcilable Impracticables, the mass of the Republican and Liberal organs do full justice to the English nation for its earnest desire to work out agrarian reform, even as it has redressed civil and religious grievances in Ireland. In the Democratic camp of France there exists well nigh

unanimity of opinion now as to the danger of granting Home Rule to a party whose frequent cry for national independence' in reality means dependence upon the Priesthood.

Beginning with M. Grévy, the head of the Commonwealth, this is the opinion of all the truly representative and sensible leaders of French Democracy. Among the few men who, strangely enough, maintain the ci-devant prejudices against England, we must note Mons. Henri de Rochefort. He, however, has not had the benefit of studying matters on the spot, like others among his countrymen who had an opportunity, during years of proscription, of observing the working of English institutions and the germs of further popular progress involved in them. Moreover, his generally incalculable conduct, as well as his connection with a half-insane Mænad like Louise Michel, disentitles him, in the judgment of most French Republicans, from being considered a serious politician.


The only experience M. de Rochefort had of Ireland was after his escape from the penal settlement of New Caledonia, at Queenstown, where, but for the intervention of the Royal Irish Constabulary, he would have met with rough treatment at the hands of an excited mob.' (See Men of the Time.') He was known, among Irish Ultramontanes, to be no friend of the Roman Hierarchy. In addition, they wrongly supposed him to have been implicated in an attack upon some of its dignitaries during the days of the Commune. For these reasons lynch-law was to be applied to him-lynch-law, which one of the chief leaders of the Irish party,' who distinctly refuses to denounce outrages, thinks it useful, with a long series of ghastly atrocities and murderous horrors before him, to hold up as a desirable institution under certain circumstances, unmindful of the effect such a declaration may have, under present circumstances, upon the easily inflammable mind of the countenancers of Captain Moonlight's' terrorism. Fortunately for M. de Rochefort, English law and authority had not been superseded yet when he landed in Ireland in July 1874. Hence a body of men whose name (to speak in the words of another leader of the Parnellite party) 'stinks in the nostrils of the Irish people,' were able to save the unlucky French Democratwho in the days of the Second Empire had certainly done good service, as a daring irregular, to the people's cause-from the proposed 'rough method' at Queenstown.

Cunning strategists as the leaders of the so-called Irish party undoubtedly are, they have, in spite of their usual obedience to hierarchical behests, now and then sought to establish what they were sometimes pleased to call the French Alliance.' After a due visit to the Archbishop of Paris, the chief of the Land League and Home Rule party once held a short interview with M. de Rochefort. It is true, he thereby forthwith laid himself open to violent attacks from other Home Rulers who, recoiling in horror' from contact with continental Democracy, declared the Roman Church to be the only safe guide for Irishmen in affairs political as well as spiritual. All this will render it easy to

understand why free-minded Frenchmen should not be enamoured of the Irish Alliance.'

Those Frenchmen who understand American politics-and their number also is now far larger than it was in former times—are all the less inclined to become mixed up with Irish agitation. Liberals all over the Continent are fully acquainted with the reactionary influence the majority of Irish immigrants have exercised in the United States for many years past-before, during, and since the Union War. Again, the obstructionist tactics of the Irish party' have undoubtedly created the utmost disgust at Paris and elsewhere. Debates in French Assemblies often lead to scenes of passion and tumult. But an organised system, on the part of an insignificant minority, for throwing the whole legislative machinery out of gear, is considered by the most passionately excitable in France a tyranny not to be endured. The only wonder abroad is that the longsuffering patience of Englishmen, Welshmen, Scotchmen, and sensible Irishmen should have allowed a mere fraction of ultras thus to run riot in insults to, and assaults upon, all Parliamentary dignity; rendering the first Assembly of Gentlemen' the laughing-stock of the world. And nowhere is a firmer expression given to the feeling of utter disgust and indignation than in the correspondents' letters of the French and other Continental papers, whether their writers reside in London or are occasionally sent over to Ireland as special investigators.

More energetic even than the language held at Paris is that in which public opinion in Germany pronounces against obstructionist tactics and Home Rule or Secessionist aspirations. The study of foreign affairs is of older date among the Germans, than among the French. A glance at the press of the two countries for, say, the last fifty years, at once shows the enormous difference. Whilst, even now, some French journals devote to foreign politics the smallest imaginable space, often no space at all, in the German Press foreign politics, those of England before all, occupy a very large rubric, both in leading articles and in correspondents' letters. So great is the interest felt that some of the chief German journals have for many years past generally had special sub-editors for English affairs. Of information there is consequently no lack, as the most cursory perusal of the more prominent journals will show. In opinion, the mass of Germans are at one with the majority of the French on the particular subject of Ireland; and the same holds good for the Italians. This harmony among nations otherwise much divided by warlike memories or conflicting claims is another striking phenomenon in contemporary politics.

Here, however, some Irish tacticians endeavour to turn the tables by a would-be clever manœuvre. In their more moderate mood-a moderation, it is to be feared, rather put on than springing from a really conciliatory sentiment--some of the Home Rulers are apt to point to the German Constitution on the one hand, and to the state of things in Austria-Hungary on the other, as to the very examples

on which the relations between Ireland and Great Britain ought in future to be modelled. We only ask,' they say, 'what you have!

Why should you be against us?'

The question would show a great want of historical knowledge and of political perception, had we not rather to assume that its object simply is to mislead public opinion in this country by comparisons the fallacy of which is not easily seen through by the multitude in England, to whom foreign constitutions are a terra incognita. The argument in question being, however, a favourite theme with some of the more insinuating agitators for Home Rule, it may merit a special refutation.

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We call them agitators for, not expounders of, Home Rule; no leader of the party having ever produced a definite and tangible scheme for discussion. Perhaps the reason of this cautious reticence and closeness is to be found in the fact of Home Rule' being, with many of its adherents, only the preparatory step or cover for future secession. Our personal experience has convinced us that there is a very strong current in this direction among the active forces of the movement. We have watched from abroad the anti-English movement in Ireland since the latter days of Daniel O'Connell, when Repeal of the Union' was the parole-a parole rapidly developed in the Young Ireland and physical force' party, into the cry for Separa-tion. We have had occasion to get an insight into the curious interlacing and overlapping relations, in spite of outward differences, between Fenianism, Federalism, Nationalism, and other aspirations destined to cripple English power. We have closely observed the rise of the Land League within the Home Rule party, and its endeavours to form, as it were, a Government in nuce, which one day would burst the husk and throw the Home Rule mask aside. Now, our impression is, that in a party largely composed of such extreme elements, leaders have good strategical reason for not binding themselves to the adoption of a particular constitutional scheme.

Only by parables do the tacticians therefore speak-parables made up of foreign references. Look at Germany!' they exclaim; does not the existence of a number of States, with separate Legislatures, and a central Reichstag, or Imperial Parliament, work very well? Why should there not be something of that kind in these islands?'

More than one reply may be given to this curious question. First of all, it ought to be kept in mind that even now, whatever there is of German Union, consists of a rather patched-up arrangement. It is the result, partly, of an internal war (1866), which for a while bitterly estranged the South from the North, leading at the same time to the ejection of the Federal Austrian provinces; partly of a foreign war (1870-71), in which all Germany, to the exclusion of Austria, had to defend the national soil against an attack from abroad. Out of these two armed conflicts of colossal magnitude, the leadership of the House of Hohenzollern arose; some of the dynasties,

as well as the Free City of Frankfort-on-the-Main, being annexed to Prussia, whilst the sovereign rights or pretensions of the other dynasties were so far curtailed as to render it possible to place a German Emperor' over their head.


It would be a bitter satire upon this country-an Empire fully formed-if Englishmen were to be recommended to regard such procedures as an example for imitation, in the remodelling of their own institutions. It would be a not less bitter satire upon the aspirations of true German patriots to assert that they consider their present Constitution a fully satisfactory arrangement, destined to last. the earlier ground-law of the ancient German Empire, provision was made for a far more effective national union. Independent States, with sovereign dynasties, had no place in it. Princes and Dukes merely represented a territorial aristocracy, who were under the King of the Germans; the latter being an elective Chief Magistrate of the Nation, who acquired the additional title of Kaiser after being anointed at Rome-a formality afterwards done away with by an -enactment of the German Reichstag.

Princes and Dukes, however, gradually sapped this real Union for selfish family purposes. The Thirty Years' War gave them their grand opportunity.


After the nation's strength had been broken in that fearful struggle, semi-sovereign pretensions-dynastic Home Rule claimscropped forth like so many cancers, from the various princely houses. The Napoleonic wars, during which not a few of them played the traitor to the country's cause, completed the mischief. When the French were on the road,' the miniature dynasties eagerly clutched at the prospect held out to them to become kinglets, by the grace of Napoleon, with possessions enlarged at the expense of the smallest fry of the territorial aristocracy. Even after the restoration of national independence in 1813, this evil crop could not be rooted out. A mere Confederacy, or Bund, of the Sovereign Princes and Free 'Towns' was then established, either with Chambers of their own, or with no representative institutions at all.

Against this dynastic Home Rule system, the champions of German nationality and freedom have always strongly set their face. There is no reason, from the nature of things, in the existence of separate German States, for they have been merely formed by the various dynasties either through rebellion against the central Imperial authority, or through internecine war, or through princely intermarriage and inheritance, or through mutual buying and selling of territory, or through alliances with the nation's foreign foes. In the great movement of 1848-49, moderate German Constitutionalists, as well as advanced Liberals and Democrats, therefore went, at first, by the principle of the unbroken Sovereignty of the Nation, as constituted in the Parliament at Frankfort. And it was by not logically acting up to that principle, that the friends of Constitutional Monarchy unfortunately became the cause of the failure of the whole movement.

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