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CHAPTER VIII END OF IKISH OFFICE ? LITERARY POSTSCRIPT The
parliamentary impression of my share in Irish Chap. administration
was all that friends could wish. At VUI. the end of May 1894, when
Harcourt seemed to be more serious than usual in his threats of
retirement from leadership, I reported some of his language to this
effect to Asquith as we sat upon the bench. "Then," he said, "you
will have to take his place. That is clear." I deprecated any such
conclusion. "No matter. You'll have to do it. The last two or three
months have made it quite certain." On the other hand, self-esteem
was happily reduced to juster dimensions by proof positive in Irish
prints that I had "completely failed to be either a Lincoln or a
Bismarck." Why had I not overturned Dublin Castle until not one
brick remained upon another? Not a brick had stirred. Why had I not
flung down the reins, rather than allow a single man of the Royal
Irish Constabulary to go to an eviction? As if even Bismarck
himself, exalted from his Wilhelmstrasse to be Irish Secretary,
could have refused to let police attend evictions, after the
Queen's Bench had firmly warned him that if he did he would be
attached for contempt in refusing force for executing decrees
atnight! And how could either of these two giants of history pull
down Dublin Castle, without at the same time sweeping away the mass
of vested interests guarded by Statutes, Treasury Minutes, Orders
in Council, and all the other bulwarks and bastions of the civil
service? And this drastic work was all to be carried through with a
shaky majority of five and thirty in one House of Parliament, and
loud obstinate defiance in the other as truculent as good manners
would allow. Liberal journals at home were better satisfied. For
the first few years of the Irish S...
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