HOME RULE. A term in British polities, designating the particular movement. begun in 1870, to secure for Ireland a local legislature, and thus recognize and satisfy the persistent sentiment of Irish nationality. The question of Home Rule, ignored by Pitt in the Act of Union• of 1800, was revived by O'Connell's agitation for repeal. With the failure in 1848 of that move ment, hostility to British rule passed from the field of constitutional exertion to that of violence and revolution. But neither the doctrinaire fias co of 1848 nor the plots of the Fenians brought any realization of the national aspirations. After twenty troubled years of conspiracy and secret crime, the concession by Gladstone. of Church disestablishment and land reform called the thoughts and hopes of the Irish people once more to constitutional activity. In 1870, a year after the Act of Disestablishment was passed, and while Gladstone's first Land Bill was still under discus sion in Parliament, the first step was taken in the movement for Home Rule.
On May 19th in that year, there assem bled at the Bilton Hotel, Dublin, a number of Irishmen of the better class, representing all shades of political and religious belief. The dominant element was Protestant and Conserva tive. Discontented with the concessions made by Gladstone's Government, they were ready to con sider some plan for taking out of British hands the control of Trish affairs. After free discus
sion, it was resolved "that the true remedy for the evils of Ireland is the establishment of an Irish Parliament, with full control over our do mestic affairs." In accordance with this opinion, a permanent organization was soon afterwards effected, under the name of 'The Home Govern ment Association of Ireland.' Its declaration of principles announced as its only object the ob taining of a distinct Parliament for Ireland, to regulate her internal affairs, while leaving to the Imperial Parliament all questions affecting the colonies, foreign relations, and the stability and defense of the Empire. With this declaration the movement for Home Rule was formally inaugu rated.
The history of the Home Rule movement from 1870 to the present time may be divided into four periods: First, the leadership of Isaac Butt (1870-79) ; second, the merging of Home Rule into the land agitation (1879-86) ; third, the adoption of the principles by the Gladstonian Liberals (1886-93) ; and fourth, the Conservative policy of 'killing Home Rule by kindness.'