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5. For the success of this vision in Liberal and Nationalist circles see Ellis, ˜Reconciling
the Celt™.
277
Address of the Canadian Parliament to Her Majesty in relation to the condition of Ireland,
based on resolutions moved by the Hon. John Cadigan in May, 1882, signed by the Speakers
of the Senate and the House of Commons in Scraps about Ireland No. 2, called from the
Utterances of ˜Men of Light and Learning™, (1886) (St Deiniol™s Library, Hawarden,
Gladstone Tracts, M/F, 6/44).
278
Quebec Legislative Assembly, Home Rule Resolution, 17 Feb. 1886, in ibid.
162 British Democracy and Irish Nationalism

which turned rebels into loyalists.279 Looking at the British Empire
within the context not of colonial empires, but, significantly, of the
contemporary European experience, Gill argued that there were two
main modern approaches to empire. One required centralization, author-
itarian government, constant coercion and military repression whenever
necessary. However, this was bound to backfire, as it had done in the
Thirteen Colonies in 1774“6, in Italy and Hungary from 1848, in Canada
before 1867. As a consequence of these failures and revolutions, even the
Austrians “ the traditional advocates of autocratic imperialism “ had
moved towards ˜Home Rule™ in their relationship with Hungary. Home
Rule was the only system which reconciled unity with diversity, freedom
with strong government. To the delight of the British proponents of
˜Home Rule All Round™, in 1888 Parnell himself seemed to advocate a
system under which Ireland would continue to be represented at
Westminster.280 As one of Tom Ellis™ correspondents concluded, ˜the
tendency of the Home Rule question is towards Federalism™.281
Irish Nationalists were prepared to apply this vision of the empire not
only to the ˜white™ dominions, but also to India. In 1895 great emphasis
was given to the election of the Quaker Nationalist Alfred Webb to the
presidency of the Indian National Congress.282 His inaugural speech was
a consistent statement of liberal nationalism. It must have struck a
responsive chord among his Indian audience “ many of whom were, like
Webb, influenced by ideas adapted from Gladstone, as well as from other
advocates of national rights, including Mazzini and J. S. Mill:
My nationality is the principal ground for having been elected . . . However, I do
not question the fitness of your choice , for I am responsible in several respects.
I was nurtured in the conflict against American slavery. In the words of William
Lloyd Garrison, the founder of that movement, ˜My country is the world; my
countrymen are all mankind.™ To aid in the elevation of my native country has
been the endeavour of my riper years. In the words of Daniel O™Connell, ˜My
sympathies are not confined to my own green island. I am a friend of civil and
religious liberty all over the world.™ I hate tyranny and oppression wherever
practised, more especially if practised by my own Government, for then I am in
a measure responsible. I have felt the bitterness of subjection in my own country.


279
T. P. Gill, MP, ˜The Home Rule constitutions of the British crown™, republished in FJ,
25 Jan. 1887, 5. For the view of the Confederation held by the French Canadians see
A. I. Silver, The French-Canadian idea of confederation, 1864“1900 (1982).
280
W. J. Rowlands to T. E. Ellis, 28 July 1888, in Ellis Papers, 1903.
281
T. E. Ellis to unnamed correspondent, 21 June 1889, ibid., 2882.
282
Such as Franck Hugh O™Donnell: D. Fitzpatrick, ˜Ireland and the empire™, in A. Porter
(ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. XXX: The Nineteenth Century (1999),
505“6. For O™Donnell™s involvement in other democratic campaigns see chapter 6,
p. 334.
Constitutional Nationalism and popular liberalism 163

I am a member of the Irish parliamentary Party. I am one of the Indian parlia-
mentary Committee. I am a Dissenter, proud of the struggles of my Quaker
forefathers for freedom of thought and action; a Protestant returned by a Catholic
constituency; a Protestant living in a Catholic country, testifying against craven
fears of a return to obsolete religious bitterness and intolerance “ fears in your
country and in mine worked upon to impede the progress of liberty. To be placed in
this chair is the highest honour to which I can ever aspire . . . In our efforts for reform
and constitutional liberty, much will depend upon individual character and train-
ing; upon the extent to which we wisely administer the powers we have.283
Webb™s completion of tenure as Congress President was feted at the
ˆ
National Liberal Club at a banquet attended by, among others, Justin
M™Carthy, J. F. X. O™Brien, John Dillon and Dadhabhoi Naoroji, the first
Asian MP, soon to become the icon of Indian constitutional nationalism.
The chair was occupied by J. Stansfeld, the Mazzinian enthusiast. In his
speech Webb argued that ˜the happiness and contentment of India™, as
much as of Ireland and indeed Britain itself, depended on the establish-
ment of parliamentary self-government “ though he suggested that Indian
representation at Westminster could be an alternative to Home Rule for
India. Justin M™Carthy argued that the Congress ˜showed them . . . what
form the future government of India was to take™.284 Obviously Irish
Nationalism had moved a long way from 1883, when Parnell felt it
strategically necessary to oppose Charles Bradlaugh on account of his
religious views,285 while the Freeman™s Journal had sarcastically com-
mented that Westminster would one day count, among its members,
even ˜Fire-Worshippers™,286 the latter being a derogatory nickname for
the Zoroastrian Parsees. Dadabhai Naoroji was indeed a leading Parsee,
and his election for Finsbury in 1892 was partly a result of the support he
had received from the local Irish Nationalists.
Nationalist attitudes to foreign and imperial affairs were informed by a
form of anti-imperialism reminiscent of Gladstone™s 1879 Midlothian
gospel. Shannon and Pottinger Saab have commented on the lack of
Nationalist responses to the 1876 Bulgarian agitation.287 It is true that,
while the Irish Nonconformists echoed the indignation of their brethren


283
Cited in rep., ˜Mr Alfred Webb, MP “ address to the Indian National Congress: Ireland
and India™, FJ, 16 Jan. 1895, 6. For the influence of Gladstonian Liberalism on the early
National Congress see S. R. Bakshi, Home Rule Movement (New Delhi, 1984), 1“3, 15; for
the context see W. Wedderburn, Allan Octavian Hume, ed. by E. C. Moulton (2002), 76“7.
284
Cited in rep., ˜The Indian National Congress™, FJ, 20 Feb. 1895,5.
285
Although the party was divided, with anti-clericals such as M. Davitt, T. P. O™Connor,
Lysaght Finigan and Parnell himself being to various degrees sympathetic to Bradlaugh:
Arnstein, ˜Parnell and the Bradlaugh case™.
286
L.a., FJ, 2 May 1883, 4. Cf. Arnstein, ˜Parnell and the Bradlaugh case™.
287
Shannon, Bulgarian agitation, 80, 150, 158“60; Pottinger Saab, Reluctant icon, 159“60.
164 British Democracy and Irish Nationalism

in Britain, some Nationalists tended to dismiss atrocities in the East as
˜not more cruel than the deeds of oppression and injustice perpetrated by
the landlords of Ireland, with the sanction of the laws and Constitution of
England™.288 Yet, there is some evidence of Nationalist anti-Ottoman
feeling. On 5 September the Freeman™s Journal argued that
The matter is not between Turkey and Servia, or Turkey and her revolted
provinces, but between the Christian and civilized world and a power which has
outraged law and trampled upon humanity . . . If the powers decide in accordance
with the public opinion of Europe, they will cut down and annihilate the authority
of the Turk in those lands which are Christian and civilized; and if Christianity
and civilization are to be regarded, then the whole fabric of rottenness will be
swept away altogether.289

On 8 September, the Dublin newspaper welcomed the publication of
Gladstone™s Bulgarian horrors as a mark of his ˜conversion™ from the line
he took at the time of the Crimean War. On the 9th, commenting on the
protest meetings in Cork and Belfast, it argued that ˜[t]he feeling as to the
Bulgarian atrocities . . . and the indignation against the Government is
clear™.290 The same day the Cork Examiner gave notice of another forth-
coming protest meeting, which would be supported by local worthies
including the parish priest. ˜Public feeling on the subject has been stimu-
lated by the knowledge that the unutterable atrocities perpetrated in
Bulgaria are not an isolated tragedy, but the natural and inevitable out-
come of the barbarous and fanatical spirit in which the government of the
Sultan deals with its Christian subjects.™ The Cork Examiner proposed a
radical solution to the problem: ˜So long as the Turks are permitted to
rule over millions of disarmed and helpless Christians there can be no
security against the repetition of these iniquities . . . It has become the
duty of every civilised community not merely to express horror at the
enormities that have already occurred, but to take effective means to
render such crises impossible in the future.™291 Far from regarding the
British agitation as ˜hypocritical™,292 the Examiner viewed it as a redeem-
ing factor: ˜To their honour, it must be said, the people of England appear
to have become fully sensible of their obligation . . . Englishmen have cast
off their national prejudices.™293

288
˜Kildare branch of the Irish National League™, Heffernan Papers, NLI, MS 21,910,
acc. 1921. For an example of the Irish Nonconformist attitude see Resolution passed
by the members and friends of the Free Congregational Union (Ireland) at their
Quarterly conference and public meeting held at Moneyrea, Co. Down, 31 Oct. 1876,
NA, FO78/2556.
289
L.a., FJ, 5 Sep. 1876, 5. 290 L.a., FJ, 9 Sep. 1876, 5.
291
L.a., Cork Examiner, 9 Sep. 1876, 2. 292 Shannon, Bulgarian agitation, 80.
293
L.a., Cork Examiner, 9 Sep. 1876, 2.
Constitutional Nationalism and popular liberalism 165

On 10 September a large, though chaotic, popular meeting took place
in Dublin with the participation of about ten thousand people, including,
apparently, a noisy Fenian contingent. The protesters refrained from
flying Ireland™s green flag because it was felt to be reminiscent of the
Turkish colours: instead they used the Stars and Stripes.294 One speaker
denounced ˜the atrocities of the Turk, and also of the Turkish ally “
England™. Another, R. J. Dunne, drew parallels between the Bulgarians
and the Irish, arguing that the ˜[s]cenes of pillage, outrage and murder™ in
Bulgaria and Servia ˜were never equalled, except in Ireland in ™98™. As
people from the crowd cheered ˜the Irish Americans™ and ˜O™Donovan
Rossa™, Dunne went on to say that
All this time . . . we were keeping an ambassador in Constantinople . . . living there
in luxury and idleness while Christians were being butchered by the Turk, and
that because England is the ally of the Turk . . . ruffianly blackguards both . . . The
originators of this meeting do not want in the least to back Gladstone (hear, hear).
He is as much a matter of indifference to us as Bright, or Disraeli, or any other
Englishman . . . It is for us to take an independent stand on the question. I believe
that to-morrow in ˜Rebel Cork™ . . . they will hold an indignation meeting, and do
what we are doing to-day “ denounce the Turk for oppressing the Servians; for
they feel as we do that the Servians are an oppressed nationality like ourselves.295
Moderate, liberal-minded Home Rulers were appalled by both the disor-
derly proceedings and the Fenian views expressed by the demonstrators.296
Yet, from the historian™s viewpoint, the meeting is interesting precisely
because it showed the extent to which the ˜horrors in the East™ and
Gladstone™s demand for a foreign policy inspired by respect for ˜peoples
struggling to be free™ had resonance at different levels within the nationalist
movement. The Irish response was consistently anti-jingoistic, but, despite
the Fenians, did not necessarily indicate hostility to the empire. As
Comerford has written, ˜insofar as there was widespread popular feeling
on the matter in Ireland that owed less to nationalist instincts than to
Gladstone™s calculated and highly orchestrated exposure of infidel
Turkish atrocities against Balkan Christians™. In other words, ˜Irish popu-
lar opinion on the subject was moved in much the same way as British
popular opinion.™297 In this as in many other respects, Parnell™s coolness
and detached contempt for ˜English™ politics was atypical. In foreign affairs
there was an ˜elective affinity™ between Nationalism and the humanitarian
liberalism embodied by Gladstone, whose ˜voice and pen concentrated the

294
Rep., ˜Meeting at Harold™s Cross™, FJ, 11 Sep. 1876, 2“3. 295 Ibid.
296
The Freeman™s Journal in particular: see the leaders in 11 Sep. 1876, 5, which also
eulogized Gladstone for his Greenwich speech.
297
Comerford, Fenians, 220.
166 British Democracy and Irish Nationalism

sympathy of humane Europe upon the mean and heartless tyrannies of
Bombaism in Naples. Again were his tongue and pen turned with most
effective force upon the shrinking horrors under the brutal regime of the
Unspeakable Turk in Bulgaria.™298 His support for Irish Home Rule was
regarded from this internationalist point of view.
Thus, far from being an insignificant aspect of the Irish movement,
anti-jingoism and internationalism were two of its central features and
help to explain why the Nationalists became so attached to the GOM. A
concern for moral imperatives was what ˜singled out™ Gladstone ˜person-
ally™ from ˜what is known as the Liberal party™. Unlike Lord Hartington,
the ˜sincere and genuine Gladstone™ was ˜a man with a heart as well as a
mind. His sympathies are progressive, and we owe to this personal ardour
of his all the good work that has been done for Ireland as well as England
in these latter days.™299 While at the 1880 election the Nationalist mani-
festo was completely dominated by internal Irish matters, the Freeman™s
Journal took a broader view of Ireland™s interests, adopting a consistently
Gladstonian tone in financial and imperial affairs. Its editorials decried
Tory financial profligacy, deploring jingoism and the government ˜who
spill our blood futilely in Zululand or Afghanistan . . . [and] squander our
money™.300 Its editorial line was in favour of the preservation of the
empire, but against jingoism “ a view broadly shared by Nationalist
leaders both then and throughout the period up to 1914.301 The Irish
vote in Britain went to the Liberals.302
As we have seen, it was between 1880 and 1882 that Forster™s coercion
brought about a general disillusionment with the Liberals, a feeling com-
pounded by the invasion of Egypt. The latter was regarded as the overseas
version of ˜Forsterism™. The parallels between Egypt and Ireland, both
victims of Liberal ˜duplicity™, were striking. Egypt was being ˜coerced™ in
ways similar to Ireland and for comparable reasons “ the interests of a
small group of privileged and ruthless men. The landlords were to the one
what the corrupt Khedive and foreign bondholders were to the other.303
In both cases the result was the spoliation of the people. Arabi™s rebellion,
which expressed ˜the national feeling of the Egyptians™, had elicited
contrasting responses from democratic France and aristocratic
England. ˜France had the humanity and uprightness to back out, and
England went in and did the work . . . Thus begins another phase of the

298
L.a., FJ, 8 Nov. 1888, 4. 299 L.a., FJ, 12 Mar. 1880, 4.
300
Ibid.: three leading articles devoted to these subjects.
301
Banks, Edward Blake, 333“5; N. Mansergh, ˜John Redmond™, in D. Mansergh (ed.)
Nationalism and Independence (1997), 24.
302
T. M. Healy, Letters and leaders of my day, 2 vols. (n.d. 1928), vol. I, 79.
303
L.a., FJ, 9 Oct. 1882, 4; l.a., FJ, 15 Nov. 1882, 4.
Constitutional Nationalism and popular liberalism 167

role of the Liberal Government of England.™304 Like John Bright and
other anti-imperialists, the Freeman™s Journal referred to the invasion as
˜the Egyptian crime™.305 Its critique followed the typical radical interpre-
tation of the Egyptian expedition as a ploy to satisfy the cravings of greedy
capitalists at the expense of the tax-payer, whose interests were neglected
by both government and opposition. Yet, jingoism and the Conservative
party were ultimately responsible, as ˜the whole Egyptian complication

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