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during the midday halt will be the triumph of Bolshevism over the British Empire. In the East news is carried by word of mouth, and facts speak for themselves; the printed word reaches but few of the teeming millions, and the story of an eyewitness carries more conviction than any double-headed denial of a penny daily paper with a million circulation,

The same stories will be carried through the passes into Afghanistan and eastward to great China itself, and soon it will be known all over Central Asia that Great Britain was unable or unwilling to stem the Bolshevist tide. The emissaries of the creed will have plenty of food for propaganda, and will be able to point to the fait accompli to justify their claim of a big

success.

Even in March last the Bolshevist hold west of the Oxus was so insecure that almost at any moment we could have definitely pushed them back. Their army at this point was mainly recruited from Austrian prisoners of war captured by the Russians during the earlier part of the war, and these prisoners had been informed that the Allies had suffered defeat everywhere, and that only a few British outposts stood between them and the road to their homes,

Encouraged by these reports they made attempts to force their way westwards, but were defeated; and finally, when they learnt that they had been fed on lies, the Austrians began to

The

desert in great numbers. whole Bolshevist movement west of the Oxus was on the point of crumbling, and could not have lasted another month but for the withdrawal of the British troops. Within a month of that withdrawal the Bolshevists, meeting no opposition, occupied Merv, and I believe Askhabad.

The whole story is pitiful. If we were not prepared to back the Turkomans and the volunteer army, why did we ever go in? If we were prepared to back them, why did we withdraw at the moment when success was within our grasp? We won over the Turkoman, and taught him to rely upon us, and within a few months abandoned him to complete disintegration. It sometimes seems to the man upon the spot that the directors of the destinies of nations take decisions and lay down policies, ignoring the wishes of the peoples and countries for whom they are legislating.

I agree that the Russians should work out their own salvation, and that if the patriotic Russian is not sufficiently patriotic to act effectively on his own behalf, he is not worth the bones of an English soldier; but it seems to me that when the wider aspects of this particular

case

are examined, that the support of a large section of loyal Mahomedans is no small matter to throw lightly away, and that if our withdrawal was based upon Party political considerations, it was the duty of those in authority to make

clear to the opponents of their polioy the very vital reasons why such a policy was necessary, No harm is done by clearly explaining good reasons.

You cannot run empires on the lines of parish councils, nor can a continuity of policy be ensured if vote-catching straws be clutched at. Tell the British people the truth, lay before them the facts leading up to a certain policy, and the Government will always be backed up if their cause be good. Why was not the Empire immediately informed of the circumstances attending the despatch of Malleson's force ? If Labour objected, why not show Labour clearly the reasons that led to its

despatch? In any case, all parties should have been informed before troops troops were sent, and the necessary consent obtained or refused. Better a refusal to send troops than an ignominious withdrawal on the verge of success. Perhaps it was a pity that we ever sent troops beyond the Persian frontier-but having sent troops, it seems a greater pity that we should withdraw them just at the moment when we did. I am confident that all our troubles in Afghanistan are caused by Bolshevism. Afghans are to be seen everywhere in the serais of Bariam Ali, Merv, &c., and there is constant caravan communication between Afghanistan and the big cities of Turkestan.

THE BENCH AND BAR OF IRELAND.

BY J. A. STRAHAN.

THOUGH the law is not invariably respected in Ireland, the lawyers always are. One reason of this is, I think, that the Bench and Bar of Ireland is the one public service of the nobler kind which is native to and racy of the soil. Grattan's Parliament in its time shared that distinction. Both the lawyers and the politicians of Ireland have done much in the past which needs excuse, and not a little for which excuse is impossible. But the Catholics and native Irish, who suffered most wrongs from their doings, have been the first to forgive them; and now they who forget nothing seem also to have forgotten them. Grattan's Parliament, which was in the main a corrupt body of Protestant landlords and their henchmen, and which put down the Nationalism of its time with an iron hand, is now a name to conjure with among Nationalists; while the Bench and Bar, which before the Union was similarly composed, and since the Union never hesitated to enforce Coercion Acts without fear and without favour, are perhaps the most popular institution in institution in the land.

This popularity, as I have said, arises in both cases, partly at any rate, from the fact that both were native to and racy of the soil. All their work,

good or bad, was done for and in Ireland; and the way it was done was the way of Ireland and not the way of Eng land. The genius which arose among their members was the kind of genius Ireland admires -a genius expressing itself in eloquence, wit, and courage, and in substituting words for deeds. Then it was the only kind of genius which remained in Ireland: the military, the literary, the scientific genius of the country looked for the most part, and for the most part still looks, to the greater world of England, and did its work and made its home there; and nobody feels more strongly than the average Irishman the truth of Froude's statement, that the curse of Ireland has been the absenteeism of genius, and in no country more than in Ireland are the people so careless of the achievements accomplished and the honours won by Irishmen in lands other than their own.

Perhaps another reason for the popularity of the Bench and Bar of Ireland is that the law is the one profession in which the Catholics have been successful rivals of the Protestants: in other lines of life Catholics have been eminent, but the greatest names are all of Protestants. In the army they have produced no Wellingtons, Nicholsons, Wolseleys,

or Robertses; in literature no Swifts, Goldsmiths, Berkeleys, or Burkes; in science no Blacks, Salmons, or Kelvins. But in the practice of the law, ever since they were allowed to practise it, they have produced names as great as any of their Protestant rivals. When that Act was passed which excluded them from practice, the greatest lawyer in Ireland was a Catholic, Sir Theobald Butler. Since they have been admitted to practise again they have produced advocates like O'Connell, Shiel, and O'Hagan, and judges like Monahan, Deasy, Morris, and Palles-the last, in my opinion, the only British judge entitled to contest the place of the greatest master of the Common Law of the nineteenth century with his countryman of the English Bench, Mr Justice Willes.

offender, and by a strange blunder it gave a portrait for the purpose of enabling sympathisers to identify the obnoxious judge, which was in fact not a portrait of him at all, but one of O'Donnell's leading counsel, the Catholic and Home Rule Sir Charles Russell. There was another case of an Irish judge who, if his own story is true, was marked down for outrage. That was the late Lord Justice Deasy; but the threat against him arose not out of his being a judge but out of his becoming a landowner. After he was raised to the Bench he was imprudent enough to buy an estate in Tipperary, I believe. His lordship was extremely diminutivé in person; and when he paid his first visit after its purchase to his new estate, this fact, he used to tell, was bitterly commented on by the wives of his faithful tenantry. "That bit of a thing the new landlard!" he overheard them say to one another in indignant whispers. "Sure, it's not fair to the bhoys! Who cud expiot thim to bring down such a shnipe as that in the dark!" However, his lordship in the end died comfortably in his bed, as they say in Ireland.

Perhaps it is this popularity which has brought the Bench and Bar of Ireland seathless for over a century through the political crime in that country, and that though, as I have said, they never hesitated to enforce a Coercion Act or any other law of the land how ever much it might be abhorred of the people. So far as I can recollect, the only judge who It may be, too, that it is this during that time was ever popularity of the Bench and threatened with vengeance for Bar of Ireland which accounts his judicial deeds was an Eng- for the immense number of lish one, the late Mr Justice lawyers in that land. There Denman, who tried O'Donnell are over a thousand on the at the Old Bailey for the mur- Bar List, which, it must be der of the infamous James admitted, is a generous supply Carey of Invincible fame. An of counsel for a population only Irish-American paper was the a trifle over four millions.

Scotland, with half a million more people, is content with less than half the number. No doubt England has even more nominal barristers in proportion to her eight times larger population; but it must be remembered that half the names on the English Bar List are those of Indians and Colonials who never intended to practise the law in England, and of the remainder at least half are those of politicians, officials, and suchlike who got called to the Bar only to help them in their other calling. There are now some Irish barristers who are not Irishmen, and there are some who are Irishmen, but who never intended to practise; to practise; but, roughly speaking, in Ireland every man who is called to the Bar intends to look to the law for his living. How that living is in many cases obtained the number of members of the Irish Bench to some extent explains. Besides a Lord of Appeal, there are a Lord Chancellor, who is, in fact, a Supreme Court judge, and 12 other Supreme Court judges and 21 judges of County Courts. England gets on with 30 Supreme Court and 51 County Court judges. If she were benched as well as Ireland, in proportion to her population, she would have 104 judges of the High Court and 168 judges of the County Courts.

Besides her judges, Ireland has scores of Crown prosecutors, stipendiary magistrates, and other officials who are always or usually barristers.

Before the war the rush of students to the English Bar was so great as to cause some anxiety to the heads of the profession. What would it have been had the prizes of the profession been proportionally as numerous here as in the Emerald Isle? So possibly the popularity of the Bench and Bar in Ireland is not the only reason why there are so many lawyers there.

The Bench and Bar of Ireland are nowadays much the same, at any rate in their essentials, as the Bench and Bar of England. Before the Union they were not, nor was anything else. The more ene studies the contemporary literature of Ireland during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the more extraordinary does the state of society in that country at that time appear. The bulk of the population outside North-East Ulster was living in the last extreme of poverty. The few who possessed all the wealth of the land were getting rid of it in the fastest way they could discover. They were building houses twice too big for them in the country, and houses twice too expensive for them in the town: rows of the latter, robbed of their carved marble mantelpieces, their painted ceilings, and their gilded furniture, now constitute some of the worst slums in Dublin. They gamed and they drank and they fought, and they entertained lavishly everybody except those who needed it. Never even in the France or

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