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England’s Danger.

There is a pregnant passage in Froude’s “ Caesar ” which it might just - now -be ■ well to circulate among the . commoners. It is as follows “Notwithstanding many differences, the English and the Romans essentially resemble one another. The early Romans: possessed the faculty of selfgovernment beyond any people of whom we have historical knowledge, . with the one exception of ourselves. In virtue of their temporal -freedom they-became the most powerful nation of the known world; and their!liberties perished.. only when Rome became the mistress ,of the conquered races to whom she was unable or unwilling to extend her privileges. If England was similarly supreme, if all her rival powers were eclipsed by her* or laid under her feet, the imperial tendencies which are so strongly marked in us as our love of liberty might -lead us over the same course to the same end. If there be one lesson that history clearly teaches, it is this, that free nations cannot govern subject provinces. If they are unable or unwilling to admit their dependencies to share their own Constitution, the Constitution itself will fall to pieces from mere incompetence for its duties. Despotic rule in India has already reacted on England to the extent of turning a Queen into an Empress, who has deemed it within her new privilege to correspond with commanders . in the field, and to prevent the removal of a reckless Commissioner (Sir Bartle Frere), long after the people unanimously demanded it And now the first step towards a military despotism in Ireland has availed to fetter free discussion permanently in the House of Commons. This is the way, bit by bit, in which Constitutions ciumble. Many of the ablest Englishmen are aware of the dangerous tendency upon which their country has entered- They ate aghast at the facility with which the venerable teachers of radicalism in the past—Bright, Forster, Fawcett, Dilke, and Chamberlain—have been drawn into a course contrary to all their antecedents, and they are alarmed. There are struggles ahead more formidable than any: through which Parliament is now passing. Ireland is now rising, with a force not expected in her, to make ■ English history. As the Negro was the test race of America, as the Jew is the test race of Germany, so are the Irish now the test race of English liberty. Nothing can change that fact What the English .shall do to Ireland they will be doing'for their own nation ;ifit be despotism they will share that despotism if it be justice and liberation, it will be an eftd of their own hereditary feudalism—notably an end of the ; power of the House of Lords, and of i that .thraldom of the soil under ancient privilege.-“Moncure D. Conway,: in the 1 Cincinnati Commercial.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18810621.2.14

Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 375, 21 June 1881

Word Count
460

England’s Danger. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 375, 21 June 1881

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