IN 1882 the whole nation was shocked when it heard that the Chief Secretary for Ireland had been murdered in Phoenix Park. Scarcely less was it shocked when it was announced last week that an attempt had been made on the life of the Lord Lieutenant, Field Marshal Viscount French. By what was almost a miracle his lordship escaped, but narrowly, death at the hands of a crew of determined miscreants, one of whom paid the penalty of his daring by being shot while in the act of throwing a bomb. Indignation at the crime is heightened by two considerations: the first that it was the King’s representative whose death was sought, and the second that the intended victim was no other than the gallant Irishman who fought for Ireland no less than for England, and bore the brunt of the first years of the war. The Sinn Feiners, or whoever they may have been who engineered the plot, may be certain of one thing: that nothing they can do will deter the Field Marshal from doing his duty, and that, if in the end they should succeed in compassing his death, another would be found to perform his duty, which is to enforce the King’s law. Presumably they chose this precise moment by way of anticipating Mr Lloyd George’s promised pronouncement on the projected Home Rule Bill. Nothing in the nature of Home Rule in the restricted sense in which it is officially understood will satisfy the extremists in Irish polities. They want an independent Republic, the rights of a Sovereign State, and, if they can get what they want by murder, they will go on murdering till they get it, or till they have been suppressed by the stern exercise of authority.
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