English Ignorance of Ireland (The Leader, 1904)

1.647-49. The Leader: A Review of Current Affairs, Politics, Literature, Art and Industry, Vol. VIII., No.11 (Dublin), 7 May, 1904, 163-64.

Editorial comment from The Leader.

This passage from The Leader of the 7th of May, 1904, points up the general ignorance of Ireland in England, at least for those who relied for their information on English newspapers alone. The Dust Bin – or, in full, the Bigots’ Dust Bin – was The Leader’s customary way of referring to The Irish Times, just as, after the publication of his Ireland in the New Century, Sir Horace Plunkett was almost invariably referred to as ‘Sir Horace Shallow’.

¶¶The London correspondent of the Dust Bin quotes the following from the St. James’s Gazette, of London: — “That Ireland is terra incognita to the vast majority of Englishmen. We know next to nothing of its affairs. The daily papers rarely publish anything Irish, unless it be a murder, or a riot, or a social function at Dublin Castle. One of the things of to-morrow will be a daily article from America, another from Canada, another from Africa, and then we may hope to see Ireland, our little-known next-door neighbour, a limb of our own body, similarly honoured. At present Ireland might as well be in the middle of the Antarctic for all the interesting news, save police court stuff, we get from her in our papers.” And yet England is the “predominant partner” in the corporation that “governs” Ireland. Sir Horace Shallow, as we know, thinks that the withholding so long of “necessary concessions” was due in part at least to English lack of imagination. Here we have the anti-Irish St. James’s Gazette, as quoted by the convicted libeller, the Dust Bin, stating that the English “know next to nothing” of Irish affairs. Lack of imagination plus lack of knowledge apparently distinguishes England in respect to Ireland, and yet England is the predominant partner in the government of Ireland, and Sir Horace Shallow, a Unionist, thinks he is a political philosopher! Nay, has he not said that “Anglo-Irish history is for Englishmen to remember, for Irishmen to forget.”