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within six months of each other have never been granted by the Sovereign to the same Minister since 1688. There is no precedent whatever for such an extreme step. Yet in face of the general, we may say universal, belief that a Dissolution of Parliament is impending, if not during the present spring, at all events during the current year, we must contemplate the probability that by some means or another that event will be accomplished. If the Government and Mr Redmond have really come to an understanding which will ensure the passage of the Budget through the House of Commons, it will not be contested by the Lords; and then Mr Redmond will demand his price namely, that the way shall be made clear for Home Rule by the abolition of the Veto. But we do not know from day to day what the final arrangements of the Government may be, or whether the Budget or the Veto will be handled first. Nor need this uncertainty give us very much concern. We know enough to make the great question of the day sufficiently clear. It is two in one. Its two component parts are closely linked together the disruption of the United Kingdom through the destruction of the British Constitution. Sooner or later this question must come before the people, who cannot be implored too earnestly to reflect deeply

on its magnitude and its farreaching consequences, both to themselves and their posterity. The House of Lords being destroyed or disabled, the vision of Home Rule on the other side of the Channel will become a dangerous spectacle,-dangerous not only to ourselves, but to our Empire beyond the seas. New demagogues would spring up, as the late Duke of Devonshire predicted, demanding measures of the same kind for Wales and Scotland, and not improbably for different parts of England. Consider the years of agitation and unrest, of agricultural and industrial stagnation, which must be the inevitable result of such a period of disorder. And all this for what? To accomplish the downfall of an institution which is the one protector of minorities, the defence of the weak against the strong, the champion of the ancient and orderly civilisation which once, as Macaulay says, made England the envy of Europe, and still reflects the lustre of all those glorious traditions to which not the meanest among us is insensible. Let Englishmen of all classes think of their national character, of the combined sobriety, generosity, and sagacity which have long been its recognised ingredients, and pause ere they level to the ground an institution which represents all three, and has a thousand years of greatness for its history.

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(Originally published in 'Blackwood's Magazine,' May 1838.)

[The hundredth anniversary of the birth of 'Maga's' brilliant contributor, Sir Samuel Ferguson, was worthily celebrated at Belfast, his birthplace, on 10th March. We reprint "Father Tom and the Pope" to mark the occasion, and to introduce the exquisite humour of Ferguson's famous story to the present generation.-ED. B. M.]


WHEN his Riv'rence was in Room, ov coorse the Pope axed him to take pot-look wid him. More be token, it was on a Friday; but, for all that, there was plenty ov mate; for the Pope gev himself an absolution from the fast on account ov the great company that was in it at laste, so I'm tould. Howandiver, there's no fast on the dhrink, anyhow-glory be to God!-and so, as they wor sitting, afther dinner, taking their sup together, says the Pope, says he, "Thomaus"-for the Pope, you know, spakes that away, all as one as one ov uz "Thomaus a lanna," says he, "I'm tould you welt them English heretics out ov the face."

"You may say that," says

his Riv'rence to him again. "Be my sowl," says he, "if I put your Holiness undher the table, you won't be the first Pope I floored."

Well, his Holiness laughed like to split; for, you know, Pope was the great Prodesan that Father Tom put down upon Purgathory; and OV coorse they knewn all the ins and outs ov the conthravarsy at Room.

"Faix, Thomaus,' says he, smiling across the table at him mighty agreeable

"it's no lie what they tell me, that yourself is the pleasant man over the dhrop ov good liquor."

"Would you like to thry?' says his Riv'rence.

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Sure, and amn't I thrying

all I can?" says the Pope.
"Sorra betther bottle ov wine's
betuxt this and Salamancha,
nor's there fornenst you on
the table; it's raal Lachrymal-
chrystal, every spudh ov it."
"It's mortial could," says
Father Tom.

"Well, man alive," says the Pope, "sure and here's the best ov good claret in the cut decanther."

"Not maning to make little ov the claret, your Holiness," says his Riv'rence, "I would prefir some hot wather and sugar, wid a glass ov spirits through it, if convanient."

"Hand me over the bottle ov brandy," says the Pope to his head butler, "and fetch up the materi'ls," says he.

bottle out ov his coat-pocket, "that never seen the face ov

a gauger," says he, setting it down on the table fornenst the Pope; "and if you'll jist thry the full ov a thimble ov it, and it doesn't rise the cockles ov your Holiness's heart, why then, my name," says he, "isn't Tom Maguire!" and wid that he outs wid the cork.

"Ah, then, your Holiness," says his Riv'rence, mighty eager, "maybe you'd have a dhrop ov the native in your cellar? Sure it's all one may throuble," says he, "and, troth, I dunna how it is, but brandy always plays the puck wid my inthrails."

"'Pon my conscience, then," says the Pope, "it's very sorry I am, Misther Maguire," says he, "that it isn't in my power to plase you; for I'm sure and certaint that there's not as much whisky in Room this blessed minit as 'ud blind the eye ov a midge."

"Well, in troth, your Holiness," says Father Tom, "I knewn there was no use in axing; only," says he, "I didn't know how else to exqueeze the liberty I tuck," says he, "ov bringing a small taste," says he,

ov the real stuff," says he, hauling out an imperi'l quart

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Well, the Pope at first was going to get vexed at Father Tom for fetching dhrink thataway in his pocket, as if there wasn't lashins in the house: so says he, "Misther Maguire, says he, "I'd have you to comprehind the differ betuxt an inwitation to dinner from the succissor ov Saint Pether, and from a common nagur ov a Prodesan squireen that maybe hasn't liquor enough in his cupboard to wet more nor his own heretical whistle. Tha may be the way wid them that you wisit in Leithrim," says he, "and in Roscommon; and I'd let you know the differ in the prisint case," says he, "only that you're a champion ov the Church and entitled to laniency. So," says he, "as the liquor's come, let it stay. And in throth I'm curis myself," says he, getting mighty soft when he found the delightful smell ov the putteen, "in inwistigating the composition ov distilled liquors; it's a branch ov natural philosophy," says he, taking up the bottle and putting it to his blessed nose. Ah! my dear, the very first snuff he got ov it, he cried out, the dear man, "Blessed Vargin, but it has the divine smell!" and crossed himself and the

bottle half a dozen times running.

Well, sure enough, it's the blessed liquor now," says his Riv'rence," and so there can be no harm anyway in mixing a dandy ov punch; and," says he, stirring up the materi❜ls wid his goolden muddler-for everything at the Pope's table, to the very shcrew for drawing the corks, was ov vergin goold -"if I might make bould," says he, "to spake on so deep a subjio afore your Holiness, I think it 'ud considherably whacilitate the inwestigation ov its chemisthry and phwarmaceutics, if you'd jist thry the laste sup in life ov it inwardly,"

"Well, then, suppose I do make the same expiriment," says the Pope, in a much more condescinding way nor you'd have expected-and wid that he mixes himself a real stiff facer.

dhrink was afore," says he. "It bates the Lachrymalchrystal out ov the face!" says he,-"it's Necthar itself, it is, so it is!" says he, wiping his epistolical mouth wid the cuff ov his coat.

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'Pon my secret honour,' says his Riv'rence, "I'm raally glad to see your Holiness set so much to your satiswhaction; especially," says he, "as, for fear ev accidents, I tuck the liberty ov fetching the fellow ov that small vesshel," says he, "in my other coat-pocket. So devil a fear ov our running dhry till the but-end ov the evening, anyhow," says he.

"Dhraw your stool in to the fire, Mister Maguire," says the Pope, "for faix,” says he, “I'm bent on analizing the metaphwysics ov this phinomenon. Come, man alive, clear off," says he; "you're not dhrinking at all.”

"Is it dhrink?" says his Riv'rence; "by Gorra, your Holiness," says he, "I'd dhrink wid you till the cows 'ud be coming home in the morning."

"Now, your Holiness," says Father Tom, "this bein' the first time you ever dispinsed them chymicals," says he, "I'll just make bould to lay down So wid that they tackled to, one rule ov orthography," says to the second fugee apiece, and he, "for conwhounding them, fell into larned discourse. But secundum mortem." it's time for me now to be off "What's that? says the to the lecthir at the Boord. Pope.

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Oh, my sorra light upon you, Doother Whately, wid your pilitical econimy and your hydherastatics! What the dioul use has a poor hedge-masther like me wid sich deep larning as is only fit for the likes ov them two that I left over their second tumbler? Howandiver, wishing I was like them, in regard ov the sup ov dhrink, anyhow, I must brake off my

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norration for the prisint; but when I see you again, I'll tell you how Father Tom made a

hare ov the Pope that evening, both in theology and the cube root.


Well, the lecthir's over, and I'm kilt out and out. My bitther curse upon the man that invinted the same Boord! I thought ons't I'd fadomed the say ov_throuble; and that was when I got through fractions at ould Mat Kavanagh's school, in Firdramore-God be good to poor Mat's sowl, though he did deny the cause the day he suffered! but it's fluxions itself we're set to bottom now, sink or shwim! May I never die if my head isn't as throughother as anything wid their ordinals and cardinals—and, begob, it's all nothing to the econimy leothir that I have to go to at two o'clock. Howandiver, I mustn't forget that we left his Riv'rence and his Holiness sitting fernenst one another in the parlor ov the Vatican, jist afther mixing their second tumbler.

When they had got well down into the same, they fell, as I was telling you, into larned discourse. For, you see, the Pope was curious to find out whether Father Tom was the great theologian all out that people said; and says he, "Mister Maguire," says he, "what answer do you make to the heretios when they quote them passidges agin thransubstantiation out ov the Fathers?" says he.

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"Why," says his Riv'rence, as there should be no sich

passidges I make myself mighty aisy about them; but if you want to know how I dispose ov them," says he, "just repate one ov them, and I'll show you how to catapomphericate it in two shakes."

"Why, then," says the Pope, "myself disremimbers the partiolar passidges they alledge out ov them ould felleys," says he, "though sure enough they're more numerous nor edifying-so we'll jist suppose that a heretic was to find sich a saying as this in Austin, 'Every sinsible man knows that thransubstantiation is a lie,'-or this out of Tertullian or Plutarch, 'The bishop ov Room is a common imposther,' -now tell me, could you answer him?"

"As easy as kiss," says his Riv'rence. "In the first, we're to understand that the exprission, Every sinsible man,' signifies simply, 'Every man that judges by his nath'ral sinses'; and we all know that nobody folleying them seven deludhers could ever find out the mysthery that's in it, if somebody didn't come in to his assistance wid an eighth sinse, which is the only sinse to be depended on, being the sinse ov the Church. So that, regarding the first quotation which your Holiness has supposed, it makes clane for us, and tee-totally agin the heretics."

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