The Open Secret of Ireland by T. M. Kettle


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Page 1


The object of Mr Kettle, in writing this book, is, I take it, to reveal
to English readers what he not inaptly terms as "The Open Secret of
Ireland," in order to bring about a better understanding between the two
nations, and to smoothe the way to a just and final settlement of their
old-time differences. Any work undertaken on such lines commends itself
to a ready welcome and a careful study, and I feel sure that both await
Mr Kettle's latest contribution to the literature of the Irish question.
As the son of one of the founders of the Land League, and as, for some
years, one of the most brilliant members of the Irish Party, and, later,
Professor in the School of Economics in the new National University in
Dublin, he has won his way to recognition as an eloquent exponent of
Irish national ideas; whilst the novelty of his point of view, and the
freshness, vigour, and picturesque attractiveness of his style ensure
for his work a cordial reception on its literary merits, apart from its
political value.

Undoubtedly, one of the main sources of the Anglo-Irish difficulty has
been mutual misunderstanding, generating mutual mistrust and hatred. But
the root of the difficulty goes deeper. It is to be sought in the system
of misgovernment and oppression which successive generations of British
rulers have imposed upon what, with cruel irony, British historians and
statesmen have been wont to call "the sister country." This is the real
"open secret" of Ireland, a secret that all who run may read, and the
effective bearing of which is: that tyranny begets hatred, and that
freedom and justice are the only sure foundations of contentment and
goodwill between nations.

During the past thirty years, and especially since 1886, when Mr
Gladstone threw the weight of his unrivalled genius and influence into
the scale in favour of justice to Ireland, a great deal has been done to
erase the bitter memories of the past, and to enable the English and the
Irish peoples to regard each other in the light of truth, and with a
more just appreciation of what is essential to the establishment of
genuine and lasting friendly relations between them.

But it would be idle to ignore the fact that, to a considerable section
of the English people, Ireland is still a country of which they possess
less knowledge than they do of the most insignificant and remote of the
many islands over which the British flag floats. Mr Kettle's book ought
to be of service in dispelling this ignorance, and in enabling
Englishmen to view the Anglo-Irish question from the standpoint of an
educated and friendly Irish opinion.

The output of purely political literature on the Irish problem has been
increasing during the past few years, and there is room for a book which
aims at focussing attention upon some aspects of it which the mere
politician is apt to pass lightly over or to ignore altogether. Like
most of Mr Kettle's work, the book bears the impress of his
individuality, and, to many of his readers, this will constitute much of
its charm and merit. At the same time, in order to prevent
misunderstanding, it is necessary for me to state that I do not commit
myself to acceptance or endorsement of everything which the book
contains. I content myself with stating, from personal experience, that
nothing which Mr Kettle writes about Ireland can fail to be worthy of
notice by everyone interested in the Home Rule controversy, and that I
believe the circulation of this volume will serve to stimulate thought
about Ireland, and so to hasten the advent of that brighter day when the
grant of full self-government to Ireland will reveal to England the open
secret of making Ireland her friend and helpmate, the brightest jewel in
her crown of Empire.


_12th December, 1911_.


After an intermission of nearly twenty years Ireland once again blocks
the way. "Finally rejected" by the House of Commons and the English
electorate in 1886, "finally rejected" by the House of Lords in 1893,
the Home Rule idea has not only survived but waxed stronger in the
wilderness. Time and events have altered its shape only to clothe it
with a richer significance.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Thu 21st Feb 2019, 1:56