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VINERIAN PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LAW IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD;
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
AN author who publishes a book having any reference to Irish affairs may, not unnaturally, be supposed either to possess some special knowledge of Ireland, or else to be the advocate of some new specific for the cure of Irish discontent. Of neither of these suppositions can I claim the benefit. My knowledge of Ireland is merely the knowledge—perhaps it were better to say the ignorance—of an educated Englishman. It is derived from conversation with better informed friends, from careful attention to the discussions on Irish policy which for the last eighteen years have engrossed public attention, and from books. accessible to ordinary readers. If I can claim no special acquaintance with Ireland, still less have I the presumption or the folly to come forward as the inventor of any political nostrum. My justification for publishing my thoughts on Home Rule is that the movement in favour of the Parliamentary independence of Ireland constitutes, whether its advocates recognise the fact or not, a demand for fundamental alterations in the whole Constitution of the United Kingdom; and while I may without presumption consider myself moderately acquainted with the principles of