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in quarters where it is likely to do how they ought to act. It would mischief; but even if it were to have be a good thing if the articles of that effect, the antidote will accom- the · Flag of Ireland,' and of other pany the bane: they who may read seditious papers, could be reprinted the offensive words will know that in large type, and posted in places the author of them is under the of public resort all over Great observation of the law, and will in- Britain. They would aptly supplecur punishment for his next offence. ment the instruction afforded by the If the notoriety which, in a free publication of Judge Keogh's judgcountry, must follow the enforce- ment on the County Galway Elecment of the law, were to be a reason tion. Let it but be shown how for not putting the law in force, Popery controls elections, and where should we stand as regards whither " veiled rebellion” is leadthe repression of crime?
ing, and it will exceed the power of But while Mr Butt, with consum- even Mr Gladstone's tongue to bemate ingenuity, was setting forth the guile us to a policy of weak indulgmischievous consequences that in ence. The strength of Irish disIreland would follow the vigorous affection and perversity has hitherto action of the Government, he was lain always in the division of careful not to breathe a hint of an- English opinion with regard to Ireother effect, which, in the opinion of land. That division was the result many, will be more than a counter- of ignorance; people having no poise. We mean, the effect which knowledge of their own were wont the publicity given by the warning, to adopt the views instilled by perand by the debate in Parliament, will sons having an interest in promotproduce in England and Scotland. ing certain measures. But we may Here there is not the slightest dan safely anticipate that, when more ger of the author of the article mak- accurate knowledge concerning Ireing converts to his way of thinking. land shall prevail, unanimity as to Nothing but indignation will be how she should be governed will excited by the indecorum. But, also prevail. It is by contributing then, of what importance is it that to this accurate knowledge that the this honest indignation should be warning to the · Flag of Ireland,' aroused! The debate, if it have no and the debate thereon, will produce other effect, will do infinite good their most useful effect. Once let by enlightening the people of Great Ireland lose the power of dividing Britain. It is good for us that we opinion in England, and the probshould be informed as to the state of lem how to govern her is cleared of feeling and the aims of parties its main difficulties. We trust that in Ireland ; and the debate in the she is losing that power; that the House of Commons, and the com- upas tree agitation is the last of ments of the press thereon, convey the series of Irish excitements by clearer knowledge to the public than which English politicians have so elaborate treatises filled with reports frequently obtained an unmerited and figures. A few such facts as eminence; and that in a few years this brought to light will speedily we may find Ireland abandoning decrease the number of Britons who, the hope of creating further dison the announcement of an Irish sension here, and endeavouring to grievance, are ready with misplaced work out her own weal and adsympathy. They have only to learn vancement, not by exhibiting her what it is that they are desired to sores and whining for eleemosynary sympathise with, and they know relief, but by persevering in industry and by abstaining from tions. The combatants evidently turbulence and crime.
did not-perhaps they did not care Before we leave this subject it to-understand each other exactly. may be well to note a remark of a The reply contained no direct anweekly contemporary, the Satur- swer to the speech. The speakers day Review,' which, in reference to generally, bringing up masses of this debate on the warning, takes facts and figures, used them so occasion to say—“Although Mr as to illustrate, each some particular Disraeli, in one of his election argument which he himself was despeeches, taunted Mr Gladstone sirous of impressing on the House; with the severity of the exceptional but there was very little attempt lawsnow prevailing in Ireland, it towards bringing out for the inforis highly improbable that he will, mation of Parliament, and of the for the present, relax existing re- public generally, the real state of straints.” Our contemporary for our navy. Mr Ward Hunt necesthe moment, we fancy, overlooked sarily possesses only a general acthe real point of Mr Disraeli's quaintance with the subject. His taunt. He could not have intended speech, standing alone, affords a to reproach Mr Gladstone simply pretty clear view; but his opponents, for having passed the Coercion Act; aware of the advantage which they because probably Mr Disraeli is possessed from longer acquaintance quite as well satisfied with that with details, quickly overlaid his measure as Mr Gladstone can be. facts with many sorts of matters, not But Mr Gladstone bragged that he exactly irrelevant, but not straight to could pacify Ireland by other means, the points at issue, and soon created such as cutting down upas trees ; a pretty intricate confusion. About and it was the failure of these one thing there is no doubt-namely, means, as implied in the resort to a that the First Lord declared that Coercion Act, with which Mr the state of the fleet is not satisDisraeli twitted him. Another factory, and that a considerable sentence from the same article in expenditure would be required to the 'Saturday Review' has our en- make it so. Mr Goschen, in reply, tire concurrence, and is worth quot- was understood to admit the iming—“When Irish members truly putation, but to demand why, as assert that crime has greatly de- there was a surplus of six millions, creased since the enactment of the the Government did not immediately last Coercion Bill, they supply the set about remedying the defect. most complete defence of a measure Afterwards Mr Goschen said he did which has produced so beneficial not mean to admit the charge at an effect."
all; and it is probable that he did The nearest approach to a sensa- not, but that what he wanted to tion that has been reached in the imply, although he put it clumsily, new House of Commons had place was "It seems inconsistent with when the First Lord of the Admir- your declaration that you do not alty introduced the Navy estimates. ask for more money, seeing that A "scare," as some honourable mem- you have inherited such a surplus : bers called it, was the consequence as you do not ask this, one may of his speech. And, certainly, be- take the liberty of supposing that tween the First Lord's announce- you greatly exaggerate the dement and the reply given by Mr ficiency." But no; Mr Hunt said Goschen, ground was afforded, if not there was no inconsistency at all, for terror, at least for serious reflec- The state of things was as he had represented it. He had provided their predecessors' estimates did not to meet some of the deficiency, dare to propose the necessary inbut it was impossible to meet the crease of cost. Again, the ships of whole of it in one year, even though the present day, in proportion to the the money were voted. Some time number of men they carry, are far would be required for the gradual more expensive in first cost than the restoration of the fleet to a state of ships of thirty years ago. But this efficiency, Mr Childers afterwards is not all. It is found that the tried to encourage us by declaring modern ironclads keep the seas but that whether it may have been a short time before they require recarefully looked after or not, we pairs, and that the repairs are so exhave a navy by which we can hold pensive that in a period of ten years our own against the three principal or so they come to as much as half maritime powers, and that in six the original price of the ship. months we could sweep all their Where repairing is such a serious ships from off the seas. This is a matter, it is no wonder if a Governcheering opinion as far as it goes, ment which pledged itself to econobut it is not a sailor's opinion, and my shirked these repairs whenever it in no wise tends to clear up excuse could be found for doing so. the doubt as to whether all the Fortunately, the difficulties which ships which might and ought to we have just stated are not peculiar have been maintained in seagoing to Great Britain. Other countries and fighting condition have been must find them as great hindrances so maintained. After a perusal as we do. And then it appears that of the whole of the debates on the there is anotherconstantsource of dissubject, one can hardly doubt that appointment and loss, which, though the Radical Ministers, chained and we cannot avoid it, must affect exbound by their promises and profes- penditure very seriously. We allude sions regarding economy, have per- to the experimental character of the suaded themselves from time to time costly achievements of naval architecthat necessary repairs and construc- ture. Formerly, afterlongexperience tion might be postponed, and the in one almost constant style of buildpostponements have led to the un- ing, we could set about framing a satisfactory state of things which ship with the certainty that, if conMr Hunt deprecates. Indeed, as structed with ordinary care, she things have turned out, nothing would answer the purpose intended. could have been more unfortunate But nothing of the kind can be than the boast about decreased ex- predicted of the curiously formed penditure which the Radicals made things which we create nowadays. in 1868, because circumstances have No doubt the cleverest artists debeen dictating an increased expen- sign them with the most anxious diture in naval matters; and, al- endeavour that they should sucthough this has not been owing to ceed ; but they do not always sucany fault of the authorities at the ceed for all that. The debates of Admiralty, they have been restrain- this year show how a ship, after ed from taking proper means to meet having been built at immense cost it by their former loud professions. to sweep the high seas, may not Materials and labour have advanced prove fit to send away from the full 25 per cent—a good reason for coast. Indeed, there are reasons in increasing certain provisions of the plenty why the estimates of a great estimate 25 per cent; but Ministers naval power must be heavy. But who had made such a fuss about after all, although it is plain that the most watchful of Ministers may, ces of those ships need not be. De after a large expenditure, possibly non apparentibus et de non existentihave but little to show for it; yet bus eadem est ratio, is entirely true there is no excuse at all in these of the merits of ships in the eyes of days for the Minister who, to make naval officers. Either we must edushow of saving, neglects our de cate our officers up to the point of fence. When ships are boldly built, comprehending the capabilities of there is the risk that they may the Devastation and other great exprove dreadfully expensive; but periments, or the capabilities might when their construction or repair is as well not exist. Or, may we view neglected, there is danger of ruin. In the matter in another way, and say these circumstances, the advantage that, as long as naval officers do not is apparent of being ruled by Minis- admit particular advantages and ters who, without self-contradiction merits to reside in certain ships, we or self-conviction, can speak out hardly feel justified in assuming their minds as to the actual condi- those advantages and merits as tion of our fleet, and as to the ex- proved by the testimony of Mr E. pense absolutely necessary in order J. Reed ? to maintain an unquestionable naval Two debates in the House of supremacy. The transition period Commons, on our future policy in now current cannot but be an ex- West Africa, have brought to light pensive period; but that considera- very convincingly the degree to tion need not "scare” us, for with which we stand entangled in that out doubt the country will cheerfully region. Three points of informasupply the requisite funds, provided tion appear to have been principally only that it finds open dealing and made clear by the discussion. lst, clear expositions from those who that the Black War might have been have the ordering of the navy. Men avoided. 2d, That we cannot go of all parties, including Sir W. V. forward-i.e., we cannot assume more Harcourt, have testified that we can- decided territorial control and mainnot spend our money to better pur- tain peace among the tribes by our pose.
overruling power 3d, That we A curious remark which fell from cannot go backward—i.e., recede Mr E. J. Reed in the course of the from our position on the Gold Coast, debate of April 30th passed without and leave the native races and the explanation from the speaker of it, white traders to themselves. or comment from any other member. The war, it would seem, grew out Mentioning the Devastation, he said of the transfer to us of the Elmina he believed she would be found the territory. There is every reason to most valuableshipin theNavy,though believe that in respect to that transnaval officers might not be able to fer we used tolerably sharp practice, appreciate the ships that the Govern- making the transaction as insulting ment had put into their hands. Who, as possible to the King of Ashanti, then, are they who are to develop without perhaps doing him much the merits of these ships, and use substantial wrong. But then, with them for our advantage? Will Mr savage natures, it is harder to put Reed move them and fight them? up with a slight than with a Will the Civil Lords lead on the iron- damage. All our soft sawder had clad column to break the enemy's been sent to America, and we could line? Either naval officers must not command a few grains to reduce entirely appreciate the ships which the swelling in Koffi's back; but they are to work, or the excellen- we had some shot and shell, for which we could find no use in civi- an unconquerable prepossession in lised lands, and we sent that to the mind of the British people. soothe the monarch's wounded hon- Such firmly cherished principles are our, and made Elmina too hot to not uncommon among us. They hold him. After that feat, there are the extreme manifestations of was no receding till Gladstone's charitable and highly honourable Black War had been accomplished. feelings; but the effect of them is, Peradventure, our Government that we leave undone a large amount thought, at the time of that un- of possible good because we are unlucky Elmina business, that we able to do all the good that is concould carry things with a high hand. ceivable. Nobody at all seems to If so, they made a grand mistake, doubt that by establishing a firm which is not to be wondered at power in Western Africa, we might when“ the deplorably scanty infor- at once produce enormous improvemation" to which Mr Gladstone ment, and start some of the tribes confessed is remembered. An it in the path of civilisation. We had been known that Koffi was don't do this, because there is not valiant and so cunning of fence, Mr the slightest hope of these tribes Gladstone would probably have seen being in any way induced to give him in greater heat than that of the up slavery, which to them is the Gold Coast ere he shelled him out most natural and indispensable thing of Elmina. That is the only pos- in the world. They and we see it sible explanation of prompt hosti- in entirely different lights; we oclity on the part of the Gladstone cupy no common ground in regard Government. They expected that to it: it would require years, perthere would be no resistance, and haps centuries, of intercourse with that they might enjoy a cheap tri- civilised people to make the savages umph. But they were altogether comprehend why slavery is odious wrong, and we have had to pay for and wicked, or to make them feel their error. They deserve every at all as we do in regard to it. Betaunting word that has been spoken cause of this difference of lights,at them for the inconsistency which because we have no hope of summade a word and a blow their prac- marily putting an end to slavery, tice on the Gold Coast, while no with all its hideous accompaniments, amount of provocation from power- —we decide to stand aloof, and to reful nations could elicit from them frain from doing the good that is in the slightest sign of emotion. Their our power -- from giving the first mischief in Africa cannot now be blow, probably, to this very inremedied; neither, we hope, will it stitution of slavery. Surely the be forgotten.
reputation of Great Britain in We cannot, it seems, turn the regard to slavery is pretty well quasi protectorate which we exercise established by this time. She on the Gold Coast into an active, can afford to yield to a temporary vigilant, practical control, by which necessity, without incurring the suswe might effect much good, because picion that she is growing careless of the slavery, and the trade in about principles which she has disslaves, which are there so prevalent. seminated at so much labour and No such practices can be allowed to cost; she is not obliged to abandon exist where the rule of Great Bri- the substance for the shadow. tain is recognised. This obstacle is It must be remembered that our not due to the scruples of the past recent experience on the Gold Coast or the present Government, but to shows the protected tribes to be