/El. 40] INTERVIEW WITH MR. BRIGHT 147
< Certainly not. How could you ? "Why, the thing is madness. Mark, there are people in this country who would be very glad if you would try. That would give them an opportunity of settling the Irish question very quickly. Just think of our population and of yours ; then your population is steadily diminishing, and ours always increasing. Separation is absurd. Whether you have a Parliament or not, you can never separate. (A pause.) I do not know that separation would be a bad thing if you could separate far enough/
I said, quoting a famous passage from one of Mr. Bright's speeches : ' If we could be moved 2,000 miles to the westward.'
Mr. Bright (smiling). £ Just so. Many of us would be glad to be rid of you; but we have been thrown together by Nature, and so we must remain. (A pause.) The history of the two countries is most melancholy. Here we are at the end of the nineteenth century, and we do not like each other a bit better. You are as rebellious as ever. I sometimes think that you hate us as much as ever/
I interposed : ' It is a sad commentary, sir, on your government.'
Mr. Bright (warmly). 'I know our government has been as bad as a Government could be, but then we have done many things during the past fifty years. You do not thank us in the least.'
I said : ' Because, as you often pointed out, you have only yielded to force. The Irish tenants do not thank you for the Land Act of 1881. They thank Mr. Parnell and the Land League. Are they wrong ? '
Mr. Bright. l Well, of course I know only too well how much truth there is in what you say about our policy in Ireland. But you do not recognise that there
L 2t an Irish Parliament ?'stion remains open/ As for the Land Bill, he practically threw it over. * Whilepay it backuld legislate!?'ll had risen to in n shorter timo than I now take to tell the Htory. Whenoin Mr, (*lml**tunr,* Nr\t <luy tht*