« PreviousContinue »
supporters are unfit to exercise plained. It bears no relation & parliamentary vote of any either to Ireland's capacity of kind, whether their eleot sit finding soldiers or to the needs in Dublin or in Westminster, of our army. Valera boasted Let them go to Berlin if they that he could raise 500,000 like, and be bullied by their men, and it is indeed a poor friends. If we are wise, we compliment to Ireland to take shall not tolerate their inter- it for granted firstly that only ference in the government of one-tenth of her manhood is Great Britain for many years ready to fight against the to come.
Germans, and that even this It is noteworthy, also, that modest number will not oome no protest has come from forward anless & sufficient Nationalist Ireland against reward is offered. Thus is the treachery of the Sinn the carrot dangled before the Feiners. Whether the leaders none of the donkey, and yet of the Nationalist party were he won't run! oognisant of Mr de Valera's Yet, as we have said, Ireland action or not we do not know. has a grievance, and this griev. They have not raised their ance is that for twelve years voices in disapproval; with she has not known the benefit the extreme views of Sinn Fein of any kind of government. they have openly sympathised. She has been free to conspire And if the Nationalist party is and to rebel as she pleases, and silent, the British Government she has exercised this freedom is still irresolute and concili- to the fall. Our politicians atory. Having abandoned have looked upon the plots, conscription, having appealed which are not concealed from unsuccessfully for volunteers, them, with a complaisant tolerit now comes forward with ance, and they must share the an offer and a bribe. Hence- responsibility with Sinn Fein. forth the rural population may A little firmness four years ago, regard itself as not " available when the treachery began, for military purposes”; but if might have saved much "useless 50,000 heroio souls, gathered bloodshed," which hypotheticfrom “the large number of ally the Government is willing young men in the towns, far to avoid. But there was and greater than is required to there is no sign of firmness. carry on the ordinary retail Sinoe March the Government trade,” will kindly come for. has decreed conscription, has ward, they are assured that appealed for volunteers, has they need not go back to their bribed 50,000 men with offers counters after the war: each of land, and perhaps next week one of them shall receive a it will gratefully place a corogrant of land. Suoh is the net upon the head of each last act in the tragio faroe of reoruit. Only one advantage Ireland. Why the number, has come from the Govern50,000, was chosen is not ex. ment's pusillanimity: it is now
clear to all the world that Ire- not point out that Ireland land is not a poor down-trodden did not go very far into the oreature, deprived by a base war, but did go very far into Saxon Government of joy and a traitorous commerce with freedom. Rather is it over- Germany. Such, then, will be loaded with oomforts and privi- Ireland's bitter memory-to leges, exempt from all the have conspired with the comrestraints and hardships of mon enemy and to have failed.
de cards for omised the hips of more conspirador memorwill be
rewards for small aots of oon. Mr Herbert Fisher was redescension.
cently described as a “born So long as the war lasts, Parliamentarian." The comIreland, from its own point pliment, wholly deserved, can of view, will have nothing to have given him but little complain of. No gratification pleasure. Parliamentarians is denied it, except the gratifi- are not very popular just now, cation of commerce with the and it is doubtful whether they enemy. But after the war? merited much praise at any How will Ireland stand then ? time. To be a Parliamentarian In neglect of its duty it will is to know how to press & stand almost alone. It will measure through the House have no single rival in re. whatever be the measure's debellion and in trafficking with sign and purpose, to be able to the Germans. Of course, its drive & sufficient number of own egoism will proteot it members into the useful lobby, from any self - reproach. In to possess the sophist’s triok of its own blinded eyes it will making any cause you like to still appear the injured in- appear the just cause. All nocent of the world. The these things Mr Fisher has question it will be foroed to succeeded in doing, and we ask and answer is : How will suppose that his Eduoation Ireland appear in the eyes of Bill will pass into an Aot of others? It will be friendless Parliament with as little delay and alone. Its amiable allies, as possible. And Mr Fisher the Germans, will be power has proved himself a true Parless, even if they are willing, liamentarian in adaptability as to help. Not only has it for- well as in persuasiveness. We feited the sympathy of Amerios are told that if a man, unby its misdeeds ; it is now accustomed to business, goes avenging itself upon its former into the city in middle life, friend with flouts and gibes. he outdoes in astuteness and “ After all,” says the Free- cunning those who have grown man's Journal,' " when all is up in the tradition of comsaid and done, Ireland was meroe. So Mr Fisher, who in the war while Amerioa was has spent 'many years in the hesitating." The boast and wise seclusion of Oxford, the taunt are aliko unmerited. swiftly goes beyond his col. The 'Freeman's Journal' does leagues in all the arts of the
politician. His Education Bill of hours assigned to the com. is the bill of a politician, not of pulsory process of education. a statesman. It was certainly What is to be done in those born in a department, and has hours is still a profound secret. already lived an inglorious life Who shall choose the subjects of some years in the dust of an to be dealt with? Shall the office. Then some permanent enforced student be permitted official, knowing that Mr Fisher to seleot for himself what he was in want of a bill, washed desires to study, or shall he be the face of the poor found. obliged to follow the taste and ling, furbished him up as well fanoy of others? Probably, as as possible, and gave the a sort of sanotity hangs about Minister a chance of conferring, a ballot-box—as the only virtue as we are told, a greater benefit known to democracy is the upon the world than it has virtue of numbers—the poor known since 1870.
victims will be invited to vote; But is it of such a great and since minorities have no benefit after all? It is true rights, forty-nine will be obliged that it achieves many ends to learn what is distasteful to which seem desirable to-day. them, if fifty-one insist upon It will enormously increase the it. But however the problem power of a publio department; be solved, we cannot believe it will call into being thousands that every boy and every of inspectors and overseers; girl will ever be free to and it will invent a new set of choose his own method of study orimes, which hitherto have and his own teacher. That escaped the eye of justice. would be too costly an operaHenceforth any poor boy or tion to be lightly undertaken girl who, after the age of even by those who are desirous fourteen, refuses to receive the of purchasing votes. And how palatial benefits of what the shall the new Aot be applied State oalls education, will be in the remoter villages ? In fined the sum of £1 for a second towns some sort of a makeoffenoe. Who is expeoted to shift may be devised which shall pay the money we do not know. persuade the masses that eduThe parents will be charged cation is being handed out to only if they are guilty of con- them as a useful commodity. nivance. But if the alternative But in a village which contains to a fine is a term of imprison- (let us say) twenty "young ment, then we may expeot to persons” ripe for the continu. see our jails constantly full, ation school, the method of and may wonder piously at training will not be easy. To the might and ingenuity of satisfy their needs some twenty the British Government. teachers might be necessary,
What is offered as compensa- and these even the zeal of the tion for the new orime and the looal authority would be powernew punishment we do not yet loss to provide. know. We are told the number Probably the Act will end in a series of what used to be also. Eduoation, in this, the oalled "penny readings,” with only true sense, is not good for magio - lantern slides—an in- everybody, and it can be forced genious method of pretending upon all and sundry only with to teach without muoh trouble, a vast waste of time and money. and of safeguarding the "young There are many thousands, in persons” against any risk of all classes, who rebel sturdily mental discipline. But what against education of any kind. is also of great importance They are not worse or better is that we should know the than others. Sinoere in their purpose of Mr Fisher's new dislike of books and all that scheme. Does the Government books mean, they would be far desire to increase the commer- more wisely employed working cial value of our "young in the fields or in workshops persons," to make them what in using their hands, not their is called in the jargon of heads. No good can come of politios a “useful asset,” or sending them to school until does it cherish a love of they are sixteen or eighteen, education for its own sake? at the publio expense, and no If national assets are our aim, Aot can hope to succeed which the only kind of education does not admit this obvious which will be worth the money diversity of types. Indeed, the will be strictly technical. The only sound education is that "young persons” of England which a man gives himself, and will be brought up upon a that must come always not by uniform plan, like so many compulsion but by free will. little Huns, and if they do Nor is there anybody less comnot serve the State efficiently petent to give it, or to suggest they will be regarded as waste how it shall be given, than a produots. And whether they Government Department, and succeed or fail, the process of we can only pity the sad their education will have done "young persons " mentioned in muoh to abolish that diversity the bill, some of whom will of talent and temper which have education forced upon has always been the boast of them, though they hate it, England. We shall have our while others, genuinely desirous mon and women cast to pat- to educate themselves, will find tern, warranted to earn high that they are fobbed off oomwages and to vote as they pulsorily with a sample of are told. But we shall not learning concooted in an office, look to them for surprise or and duly inspeoted by obedient invention. The soul of a part officials. of the nation will be destroyed There should be, moreover, to satisfy the politicians. & limit set to what is pro
If we are aiming at educa- vided freely by the state. If tion for its own sake - the all our “young persons” are only aim worth attaining-Mr to be educated for their own Fisher's bill is likely to fail pleasure, then it should be understood that they do some introduce compulsory military sort of national service in training into continuation return. In the publio schools schools." We are easily perthere is not the smallest show suaded to believe this, and of reluctance to serve the we hope, for the sake of the country. The O.T.C. is of sorapulous Government, that universal acceptance. But it will never be whispered in what is good enough for the the ear of the "young persons" boys of Eton and Harrow is that England has been at war, held to be disastrous for the There also Mr Fisher proved boys who attend elementary himself a born parliamentarian. schools. The more hint that A man who believes "it would it is sweet and comely to fight be unfortunate if it should be for their country must be kept thought that the Government from these tender spirits. were attempting to introduce With incredible carelessness anything like compulsory mili. Mr Fisher had given the local tary training into our schools” education authority “power might have been born and bred to include in their schemes in the House of Commons. We military training or drill for hope that he will carry his young persons between the soruple & step further, and ages of 14 and 18, who insist that his teachers should would be compulsorily re- speak always of Swedish exer. quired to attend continuation cises, not of Swedish drill. schools.” We have been four The word “drill ” savours of years at war. We should by militarism, and if the boys this time have learned that and girls, who are born into it is not wholly useless for boys the world for the sole purto acquire some knowledge of pose of voting at the proper military drill. We should not time and on the right side, have been so long in beating accustomed their ears to the the Germans if military drill sound of so dangerous a word had been permitted in our as “drill,” it is dimly possible schools. After all, there is now that the next war might find thing disgraceful in learning us not wholly unprepared. The the rudiments of defence and democraoy might even become attack. As a member of the interested in national defence, House was bold enough to and then not even Viscount assert, “the training of Boy Haldane would be able to Scouts is distinctly a form of withstand its olamour. How. military training." But the ever, all's well that ends well, Boy Scouts are nothing to the and our young demoorate of Government, and Mr Fisher both sexes will be as closely refused to be led away by an guarded against the contamevil example. So he gave "8 ination of military drill and Batisfactory assurance that “Chauvinism," its natural there was no desire on the result, as though they were part of the Government to consoientious objectors.