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Gladstone pp 90-113 | Cite as

Ireland

  • Eugenio F. Biagini
Chapter
Part of the British History in Perspective book series (BHP)

Abstract

In his first attempt to ‘pacify Ireland’ (1869–73; see Chapter 3) Gladstone’s thinking had followed a classical Whig blueprint:1 his aim was to achieve religious and social integration at the expense of the established Episcopal Church of Ireland. Even his ill-fated effort to improve Irish university education was not particularly innovative, and followed the Peelite and Whig strategy of trying to ‘neutralize’ the state in its dealings with various religious bodies, while encouraging cross-community integration in the training of a new professional middle class. This strategy was based on the assumption that at the root of the Irish Question there was a need for social justice and greater civil liberty, rather than a demand for national independence. In the mid-nineteenth century such a view had been widely shared by both British and European observers, including J. S. Mill, Tocqueville, Cavour and Mazzini.2 Even after 1868, and despite episodes of Fenian violence, there was little indication of a ‘national’ question in Ireland: there was no Home Rule party in Parliament — where the Irish MPs sat as either Liberal or Tory — and no nationalist movement in the country. After all, Fenianism was mainly an imported movement which lacked mass support in the country.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    R. Brent, Liberal Anglican Politics (1987), pp. 65–103.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    N. Mansergh, The Irish Question 1840–1921 (1940), pp. 56–82.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See Allen Warren, ‘Gladstone, land and social reconstruction in Ireland, 1881–1887’, Parliamentary History, vol. 2 (1983), pp. 153–90.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Parnell believed that the Ascendancy class, to whom he belonged, would rejuvenate itself and recover part of its ancient prestige if it joined the national movement and provided leadership for it: see L. Kennedy, The economic thought of the nation’s lost leader’, in Boyce and O’Day (eds), Parnell in Perspective, pp. 171–200.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. Shaw, ‘Land, people and nation: historicist voices in the Highland land campaign, c. 1850–1883’, in Biagini, Citizenship and Community, pp. 305–24.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gladstone to Granville, 31 Jan. 1883, in A. Ramm (ed. ), The Political Correspondence of Mr. Gladstone and Lord Granville 1876–1886 (1962, henceforward cit. as Gladstone-Granville Correspondence), vol. ii, p. 14.Google Scholar
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  8. 8.
    Cit. in Morley, Gladstone, vol. ii, pp. 606–7.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    To W. E. Forster, Irish Secretary, 12 Apr. 1882, Gladstone Diaries, vol. x, p. 238.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    A. B. Cooke and J. Vincent, The Governing Passion: Cabinet Government and Paty Politics in Britain, 1885–6 (1974).Google Scholar
  11. 19.
    H. C. G. Matthew, ‘O’Connell and Gladstone’, paper read at the Cambridge Modern Political History Seminar, St John’s College, 12 Oct. 1998.Google Scholar
  12. 21.
    To the Duke of Argyll, 20 Apr. 1886, Gladstone Diaries, vol. xi, p. 535.Google Scholar
  13. 22.
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  14. 23.
    Speech on the First Home Rule Bill, 1886, cit. in A. Tinley Bassett (ed. ), Gladstones Speeches, London, 1916, pp. 641–2.Google Scholar
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  16. 30.
    Herbert Gladstone, After Thirty Years (1928), p. 94, my emphasis.Google Scholar
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    See M. Barker, Gladstone and Radicalism. The Reconstruction of Liberal Politics in Britain, 1885–1894 (1975).Google Scholar
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    A. B. Cooke and J. Vincent, The Governing Passion; a more sophisticated argument is presented in J. Vincent, ‘Gladstone and Ireland’, Proceedings of the British Academy, lxiii (1977), pp. 193–238.Google Scholar
  21. 36.
    J. S. Shepherd, ‘Labour and Parliament: the Lib-Labs as the First Working-Class MPs, 1885–1906’, in E. F. Biagini and A. J. Reid (eds), Currents of Radicalism. Popular Radicalism, Organized Labour and Party Politics in Britain, 1850–1914 (1991), p. 198. Cf. report, The Northern Echo, 31 May 1886, p. 4, speech by Thomas Burt, MP.Google Scholar
  22. 38.
    H. Pelling, Origins of the Labour Party (1983), pp. 15–18.Google Scholar
  23. 39.
    The SLA embraced Home Rule even before the English National Liberal Federation had made up its mind. Yet, in terms of votes, Home Rule (coupled with the controversial question of disestablishment) turned out to be divisive of the Liberal camp. Overall the Liberal share of the Scottish vote declined from 70 per cent in 1874 to 55 per cent in 1886 (O. and S. Checkland, Industry and Ethos. Scotland 1832–1914 (1984), p. 84). However, it must be remembered that the 1886 electorate was larger and socially different from the 1874 electorate.Google Scholar
  24. 47.
    Tom Garvin, 1922. Birth of Irish Democracy (1996), pp. 152–3.Google Scholar
  25. 48.
    C. Fitzpatrick, ‘Nationalising the ideal: Labour and nationalism in Ireland, 1909–1923’, in Biagini (ed.), Citizenship and Community, pp. 276–304. Cf. Richard English, Radicals and the Republic. Socialist Republicanism in the Irish Free State 1925–1937 (1994), p. 12: ‘The nation, as represented in the 1916 gesture, was not one defined by class conflict but rather one presented in terms of multi-class harmony.’Google Scholar

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© Eugenio F. Biagini 2000

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