Edward Blake

Edward Blake: Irish Nationalist

MARGARET A. BANKS
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1957
Pages: 370
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt15jvwkb
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  • Book Info
    Edward Blake
    Book Description:

    An informative account, based on careful research, of Edward Blake, an enigmatic figure in Canadian politics, whose career encountered unequalled frustrations and discouragement, but whom Sir Wilfrid Laurier unhesitatingly termed "the most powerful intellectual force in Canadian political history."

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5656-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-x)
    Margaret A. Banks
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. I. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-10)

    In 1892 Edward Blake, ex-premier of Ontario and former leader of the Liberal party in the Canadian House of Commons, was invited by the Irish parliamentary party to stand for election to the British Parliament. This surprising invitation grew out of the conflicts and pressures of the Irish “home rule” controversy, then a major issue in British politics. The legislative union of 1801 between Great Britain and Ireland had been for a long time a cause of dissatisfaction in the latter country. Schemes for reform demanding anything from some sort of local self-government to complete independence from Great Britain had...

  5. II. BLAKE’S ENTRY INTO IRISH POLITICS
    (pp. 11-43)

    The decision to invite Edward Blake to enter Irish politics was made at a meeting of the Irish parliamentary party’s electoral committee¹ held in Dublin on June 13, 1892. The committee’s minute book records it briefly thus: “Hon. Edward Blake, Toronto, to be cabled to and asked to become member of next Parliamentary Party. He could be put forward for South Down”² A cable reading, “Irish party unanimously invite you accept Irish seat at general election,”³ was immediately sent to Blake; he received it in Toronto the same day and cabled the following reply: “Deeply sensible high honor. Fear too...

  6. III. THE HOME RULE BILL OF 1893
    (pp. 44-68)

    To frame a Home Rule Bill which would satisfy Irish Nationalists without antagonizing the more moderate British Liberals was not an easy task. Yet since their majority depended on the Irish vote, Gladstone and his colleagues would have to accomplish it if they were to avoid a defeat in the Commons. The bill was drafted by a committee of the cabinet consisting of W. E. Gladstone, John Morley, Lord Spencer, Lord Herschell, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, and James Bryce. To ensure its acceptability among Irish Nationalists, these cabinet representatives discussed its details with the leading members of the Irish majority party.

    Since...

  7. IV. BLAKE AND PARTY FINANCE, 1893–4
    (pp. 69-108)

    Raising funds to carry on the home rule movement was a vital task throughout the eighteen-nineties. After the Parnell split, Irishmen at home and abroad were less hopeful of the success of the cause and therefore hesitated to give it financial aid. And for a number of reasons the situation became even worse towards the close of 1893 arid in the years which followed.

    After the rejection of the Home Rule Bill by the House of Lords there was a slackening of interest in the cause. Many who contributed when the bill was actually in preparation or before the Commons...

  8. V. NATIONALIST DISSENSION AND THE GENERAL ELECTION OF 1895
    (pp. 109-137)

    During the general election campaign of 1895 the seriousness of the dissension within the ranks of the anti-Parnellite party was revealed most clearly to the public.¹ This was the result of the disputes which occurred in the course of choosing anti-Parnellite candidates. The candidates were selected at county conventions which met in most of the constituencies at any time from a number of weeks to only a few days before the holding of a general election. These conventions, which were attended by the clergy and by delegates from the local branches of the Irish National Federation, usually met in private,...

  9. VI. THE FINANCIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION
    (pp. 138-164)

    Since the passage of the act of legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland, complaints had been made repeatedly that the financial arrangements between the two countries were not satisfactory, or in accordance with the principles of the act, and that the resources of Ireland had had to bear an undue pressure of taxation. There had been frequent demands for inquiries into the financial relations between Great Britain and Ireland, and, in 1811, 1812, 1815, and again in 1864, committees of the House of Commons had been appointed to investigate the situation. In spite of the fact that the committee...

  10. VII. THE IRISH SITUATION AND BLAKE’S RELATIONSHIP TO IT, 1896–7
    (pp. 165-196)

    At the beginning of the election campaign of 1895, Healy and his followers, apparently believing that they were stronger in the country than in the party, had demanded that a national convention be summoned to choose an impartial electoral committee to conduct the campaign. Later, when the depth of the divisions which existed within the Irish party had been revealed to the public, there were demands from various quarters that a national convention should be called to determine the feeling of the country. Although McCarthy, Dillon, and many of their colleagues would have liked the sanction of a national convention...

  11. VIII. NATIONALIST REUNION
    (pp. 197-242)

    In the years preceding 1898, disputes among the various factions of Irish Nationalists had become so acute that many Irishmen began to despair of achieving home rule through the efforts of their representatives in Parliament. They felt that it would be many years before the self-government which they desired would be established and that, in the meantime, instead of concentrating on the attainment of this distant goal, efforts should be made to improve the social and economic conditions of the country.

    Some reforms were, in fact, obtained from the Unionist government which had come into power in 1895. This government...

  12. IX. IRISH NATIONALIST ACTIVITIES, 1900–2
    (pp. 243-269)

    In the early months of 1900, Irish Nationalist members of Parliament were confronted with a number of current imperial questions, the most important of which was probably the Boer War which had begun in October, 1899. It was not the first time since Blake entered the British House of Commons that the situation in South Africa had given rise to serious problems. At the end of 1895, the Jameson raid into the Boer republic of the Transvaal had precipitated a crisis and in the ensuing inquiry Blake had a considerable part.

    There was, at the time of the raid, much...

  13. X. BLAKE’S ACTIVITIES CURTAILED, 1903–6
    (pp. 270-308)

    In protesting against the Unionist government’s policy towards Ireland in 1901–2, the Irish Nationalists had insisted that agrarian unrest in that country would be cured not by coercion but by settling the land question on the United Irish League’s principle of “the land for the people.” Even while continuing its policy of coercion, the government evidently realized that some land reform was necessary, for, in March, 1902, George Wyndham, the Irish Chief Secretary, introduced in the House of Commons a Land Purchase Bill. This bill, as the name implied, was designed to facilitate land purchase, but it was a...

  14. XI. BLAKE’S CLOSING MONTHS IN IRISH POLITICS
    (pp. 309-332)

    With a liberal government once more in office, it was Blake’s hope that before his retirement from Irish politics he would be privileged to take part in negotiations for the preparation of a new Home Rule Bill, which might institute, at least to some degree, the object for which he had been striving during the preceding fourteen years. For although the House of Lords would undoubtedly reject such a bill, the Liberals, with their large majority in the Commons, would be in a much better position to appeal to the country against the action of the Upper House than they...

  15. XII. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 333-344)

    An assessment of Blake’s achievements in the Imperial Parliament and of his contributions to the Irish cause based on the opinions expressed by his contemporaries would reveal certain widely held beliefs about his activities in Irish politics. A study of his Irish career, based on the documents of the period, proves that, though some of these beliefs were true, others were wholly or partly without foundation.

    TheFreeman’s Journaland members of the Irish parliamentary party frequently stated that Blake abandoned a great position in the Canadian Parliament in order to aid the Irish cause. This was not strictly true,...

  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 345-354)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 355-370)