"Should England." he said, "not change her conduct, Ireland may still for a long period belong to her, but not always; and the loss of that country is the death day. not only to her greatness, but of her very existence."
I propose to point out as briefly as may be possible in dealing with so unexpected a proposition, that the restoration of Ireland to European life lies at the bottom of all successful European effort to break the bonds that now shackle every Continental people that would assert itself and extend its ideals, as opposed to British interests. outside the limits of Europe.
It may be well first to define "British interests" and to show that these are not necessarily synonymous with European interests.
British interests are: first, the control of all the seas of all the world—in full military and commercial control. If this be not challenged peace is permitted; to dispute it seriously means war.
Next in order of British interests stands the right of pre-emption to all healthy, fertile, "unoccupied" lands of the globe not already in possession of a people capable of seriously disputing invasion, with the right of reversion to such other regions as may, from time to time prove commercially desirable or financially exploitable, whether suitable for British colonization or not.
In a word British interests assume that the future of the world shall be an English-speaking future. It is clear that sooner or later the British colonies, so-called, must develop into separate nationalities, and that the link of a common crown cannot bind them for ever. But, as Sir Wilfrid Laurier said at the recent imperial conference. "we bring you British institutions"—English language, English law, English trade, English supremacy, in a word—this is the ideal reserved for mankind and summed up in the words "British interests."