Boyce points out that fluency in Gaelic could not make an Irishman out of a Protestant in the eyes of the Gaelic League. For all the work of the League, it is worth remembering that Ireland still remains conspicuous as an example of the fact that national consciousness does not need to use a national language. The tying of Irish nationalism to Roman Catholicism in the nineteenth century was a denial of the truly catholic, because plural, Irish past. It was understandable, if not pardonable, that it should lead to the tendentious writing of Irish history which has been undone only by reformed historiography in the last thirty years. The enshrining of a kailyard ethos as the sole repository of Irish culture meant that Michael Collins could denounce the north-east as 'an inferior Lancashire', while still expecting it to become part of the Irish state. This book shows how ardour, unscrupulousness, devotion and deviance combined to create the peculiarly intense nationalism which moved from Home Rule to the setting up of the Free State, fought its wars, necessary and unnecessary, and became independent. Dr. Boyce writes as if the whole story lay within the island, but surely the early nationalists drew their dogmas from the current of romantic European nationalism. Dr. Boyce admits that Kossuth had an influence over nationalist strategy, but ignores the ethos of the German war of liberation, the writings of Herder, Mazzini and Grundtvig, the nineteenth-century enthusiastic study of philology, ethology and popular sociology. The Irishmen may have painted their own picture but these provided the palette. The end of it has to have a sad note. Perhaps because so tightly bound by a narrow concept of what was truly Irish, perhaps because of the effects of the new institutional state created in and after 1921, the Republic has allowed itself to get into a position in which it has little positive to offer to tempt the north. In so far as claims are still made by politicians that the whole island should be one, these are about a country in which the northern Protestants are of secondary concern. If the twentieth century has taught us anything historically, it is to be hostile to the concept of second-class citizenship. Edinburgh ROSALIND mitchison PALMERSTON: THE EARLY YEARS, 1784-1841. By Kenneth Bourne. Allen Lane. 1982. Pp. xiv, 749. £ 25.00. Viscount Palmerston was one of the most durable of nineteenth- century statesmen. Entering Parliament in 1807, he died as Prime Minister in 1865. He was Foreign Secretary for sixteen, and Prime Minister for nine years. He put his stamp on British politics, not only by his longevity but also by his rumbustious personality. In foreign affairs at least, the middle years of the century are 'The Age of Palmerston' in the history books. So dominant a personality has naturally attracted many biogra- phers, from his first official biographers, Henry Bulwer and Evelyn Ashley, through H. C. Bell's scholarly two-volume life, to successful popular biographies like those of Philip Guedalla and Jasper Ridley. But Professor Bourne is the first scholar to have access to all the relevant papers. Bulwer and Ashley made free use of Palmerston's private papers but had only limited recourse to official documents and little access to the