§ [ADJOURNED DEBATE.]
§ [SECOND DAY.]
Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question (11th February), "That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, as followeth:—
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament:
We take the first opportunity of expressing to Your Majesty our deep concern at the sad affliction with which Your Majesty has been visited in the death of His Royal Highness Prince Henry Maurice of Battenberg:
We desire to assure Your Majesty and Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Battenberg of our sincere participation in the general feeling of sorrow for the heavy bereavement which Your Majesty and Your Majesty's family have sustained by the loss of a Prince who was regarded with universal affection and esteem by Your Majesty's subjects."—(Mr. George Goschen.)
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.169
§ MR. JOHN DILLON (Mayo, E.)
proposed, at the end of the Question to add the words—And humbly to represent to Your Majesty that your present advisers, by their refusal to propose any measure of self-government for Ireland, have aroused feelings of the deepest discontent and resentment in the minds of Irishmen; and that they have, thereby added to the complications and difficulties which have arisen from their Foreign and Colonial policy.The hon. Member said that the first consideration which would arise in the mind of any Irishman after reading the present Speech from the Throne would be the beggarly character of the reference to Ireland, and he should be very much surprised if the impression made by this Speech on the people of Ireland would not be to deepen and fix more firmly in their minds the conviction, which had been the steady growth of many years, that nothing was to be got from that House except by violent agitation. [Irish cheers.] Ireland had been peaceable, and because she had been peaceable this Queen's Speech, which traversed almost all the countries of the earth, treated Ireland with the contempt which she had too often been accustomed to receive from that House. But, first, he would deal with the paragraphs relating to the disturbances in the Transvaal. He thought that House was entitled to know how it came to pass that from this city, and from the Thames, there had undeniably been for many weeks, he believed for months, an export of arms to Johannesburg, surreptitious, but well known to the officers of Her Majesty's Customs. The House was entitled to demand an explanation from the Secretary for the Colonies, how it was that this continuous and enormous export of arms excited on suspicions in the minds of Her Majesty's Government. They lived in a country where it was penal to carry arms, and if a Kerry moonlighter obtained a rifle the whole detective force of Dublin Castle was put in motion to discover the possessor. It was notorious that the people of Johannesburg had been preparing for an insurrection, and arms were sent out from this country with the knowledge of the Customs officers, and yet the Secretary for the Colonies remained in a state of virgin and childish ignorance of their intentions. He held that the whole 170 civilised world owed a debt of gratitude to President Kruger for his treatment of the men who were taken red-handed in rebellion. Never had there been such generosity and forbearance shown, except in the solitary instance of another republic, that of the United States of America, which set a glorious example of generosity at the close of the terrible war which threatened their great Government with destruction. The example of President Kruger should appeal in a special manner to a nation, powerful and mighty, which had been distinguished by its brutal treatment of political prisoners. He did not hesitate to state that the people of this country ought to blush for shame when they compared the treatment meted out to Dr. Jameson and his men by the Boers with that meted out to the people of his country by England, some of whom had lain rotting in prison for 14 years, suffering the cruellest and most degrading punishments. Their crime from the Governmental point of view was less than that of Dr. Jameson. He cited the case of John Mitchell and the 1848 men, who, although they were admitted to be men of the highest honour and education, were subjected by a special Act of that House to the basest degradation. Then there was the case of the 1867 men, and the long line of men who had passed through the prisons of this country for the cause of Ireland, not because they wantonly invaded the territories of another State, but because they endeavoured to assert the liberties of their own country. He trusted that, after the words of the Leader of the Opposition, and the words used in the Dispatch of the Secretary for the Colonies, those who had justly praised President Kruger would set their own house in order and apply President Kruger's example to the case of the Irish political prisoners. He had noticed during the course of the Debate an ominous silence us to the shares of the Chartered Company; he maintained that the public would not be satisfied until a full and accurate statement was published showing the original allotment of shares by this Company, and tracing those shares from hand to hand. There existed a deep and widespread conviction that the Press of this country, and certain prominent and influential men in 171 this city, and that even to some extent Members of that House and another House, had not been altogether free from certain influences. ["Hear, hear!"] He thought these three points needed an explanation, although the voice of an Irish Nationalist Member might be too uninfluential to compel the Secretary for the Colonies to grant that information which the public of this country would demand. As to the question of voluntary schools, he was happy to observe that the Speech contained a statement that the voluntary schools of England were about to receive some further assistance; but he regretted that the statement was extremely enigmatic. He felt bound to represent to the Vice-President of the Council the urgent and extreme necessity of the Catholic schools in England, and to point out that the case of the Catholics stood on a totally different basis from that of the voluntary schools of the Church of England. ["Hear, hear!"] The latter had at their back enormous endowments and wealth; and they also differed from the Catholic schools in that grievances were alleged against the rural schools of the Church of England. He could tell the Nonconformists of England that they were entirely mistaken if they supposed that the Irish Catholic Members intended to support any measure which would inflict any kind of grievance on the Nonconformists. [Opposition cheers.] But the case of the Catholic schools was entirely different. The Catholics had made most cruel and gigantic sacrifices for conscience sake. They had built their schools at enormous expense out of the pennies collected from the poor, and had helped to maintain them. The Catholics were the poorest of the population, and they had no rich endowments at their back. They had not inflicted their schools in any way on others. Their schools were almost entirely confined to the large centres of population. Nonconformists of all sections ought to unite in seeing that justice was done to the Catholic schools, which were suffering great hardships. Their necessity was far greater than the necessity of the Church of England schools. He noticed with alarm, and he hoped that Radical Members did also, the intention announced in the Speech to further increase the bloated and gigantic expenditure on the British Navy. The 172 Irish Members had been strongly opposed to the recent increase in the Navy; but, in view of the fact that the late Government had promised to grant Home Rule to Ireland, and had further promised that the financial relations between Ireland and Great Britain should be placed on an equitable basis, and had appointed a Commission for the purpose of ascertaining the truth of the matter, the Irish Members abstained from opposing the grants to the Navy. They now found the inevitable result. These enormous and insatiable demands for armaments followed one another more rapidly than ever. They increased not by arithmetical but by geometrical progression. It was said that "the exigencies of the situation" demanded a further increase. Those exigencies had been created by the policy of the present Government, and the Irish Members would resist by every means in their power this enormous increase of expenditure, unless a due proportion of the surplus were handed over to Ireland. [Ministerial laughter] It would be shown before long that the taxation of Ireland had been so excessive that nearly two millions a year had been extracted from that country above her due proportion. And yet, when he asked for justice in this matter, he was met with laughter. In the whole Speech there were only two references to Ireland, though Irishmen were informed all through the autumn that there was now the most beneficent Government that ever came to Ireland, and that it would prove how much better off they were under a Unionist Government sitting at Westminster, than they would be under a Nationalist Government sitting in Ireland. Yet the whole of the references to Ireland in the Speech were confined to one small paragraph and a line and a half. When that paragraph was read in Ireland it would excite dismay and disappointment. It had been drafted for the special purpose of guarding the Government against pledging themselves to any comprehensive measure of land reform in Ireland. It foreshadowed a Bill, non-contentious in character, and the Seconder of the Address in his speech included it in that category. A most valuable measure it would be. He wished to draw the attention of the House to the speech of the Chief 173 Secretary delivered on the Address in August last. The Irish Members were urging the extreme necessity for immediately dealing with the Irish land question; and his answer was:—They cannot expect that the provisions of any Land Bill I may introduce tit this period of the Session would not be of a non-contentious nature; and therefore, I think, we may at once give up any intention of introducing or attempting to pass at the present time any Land Bill which would attempt to solve the question.["Hear, hear!" from Mr. GERALD BALFOUR.] And yet the Seconder of the Address called the Land Bill for the present Session a non-contentious measure. He supposed that the hon. Member meant that, inasmuch as the Government had a majoity of 153 and the Bill would suit the Irish landlords, it would be practically a non-contentious measure. The Speech declared that the condition of agriculture was disastrous beyond any recent experience. But last August the Chief Secretary said that there was on special depression in agriculture in Ireland, and that within the last year or two a heavy fall in prices could not be alleged. Then how did agriculture happen to be in such a bad way in England? [Nationalist cheers.] Because the Government was leaning upon the support of the country classes in tins country, they told the truth about agriculture here; but because they leaned upon the support of the landlords in Ireland, they dared not tell the truth about agriculture in Ireland. [Cheers.] The pleadings of the Irish Members were treated as the interested statements of agitators who made a living out of that sort of thing. Did anyone charge the right hon. Member for the West Derby Division (Mr. Long) with making a living out of "that sort of thing?" He certainly made a much better living than any Irish agitator. He wished to call attention to a most remarkable and instructive series of meetings which had taken place recently in Tyrone and other parts of Ulster. The agitators who had been so often denounced for getting up discontent had nothing to say in regard to those meetings. They were meetings summoned by the farmers themselves, and in which, to use the words of the Report, men of every creed and every political 174 opinion took part. They wore presided over by the leading Unionists in the districts. At the Gortin meeting, for instance, Mr. Lock, J. P., presided, and Mr. William Steele and Mr. Joseph Parker, two large Unionist farmers, spoke. By resolution it was declared that the low prices of agricultural produce had made it impossible for the tenants to pay their present rents; and until a Bill became law relieving them of the injustice they laboured under, they called upon the landlords to reduce the rents by 50 per cent. It was also resolved:—That in the opinion of this meeting, the present Government, in the interest of justice and of pence, should pass a measure at once enabling evicted tenants to resume possession of their holdings, having regard to the interest which they had.At a meeting at Greencastle, county Tyrone, resolutions on exactly the same lines, only more specific, were proposed. A farmers Protection Society was started last week in Drogheda, and a Mr. Segrave stated that a farm of 306 Irish acres was purchased by an ex-Member of Parliament for £2,500, the farm being at the time under a stiff rent, which was subsequently reduced in Court to 27s. 4d. per acre. The tenant laid out £3,000 and then the farm was sold for £1,100, representing a loss of £4,000. The depression prevailing was universal and ruinous in its extent. Only recently a deputation waited upon the Chief Secretary and laid the case of the Ulster farmers before him. They said the very minimum they demanded, or which would meet their difficulty, was the Bill introduced by Mr. Morley last year. They maintained, too, that adequate allowance must be made in fixing a fair rent for the tenant's interest in the holding and for all the improvements he had made, and that the present restrictions upon the fixing of a fair rent must be swept away. The last meeting to which he desired to call attention was the one called near Portadown by a body of tenants on the Richmond estate of Lord Lurgan. They adopted petitions to the Chief Secretary in which they recited the terrible fall in all agricultural products. They said they purchased some years ago their holdings at 18 years' 175 purchase, and they wound up by saying that up to the present they had endeavoured to discharge their obligations to the State. Many of them had borrowed money, but owing to the fall in prices they felt wholly unable to continue their payments. He warned the House that there was a most ominous future opened up for this country in its relation to the Irish tenants and the Exchequer if due notice were not taken of warnings like those he had cited, coming, not from Nationalists, but from people, most of whom, as far as he knew, were loyal supporters of the Union. Just as in 1886, in the autumn of last year, when they endeavoured to bring forward in the House the grievances of the Irish tenant farmers, they were treated with contempt and all their statements were traversed and denied. He would like to hear, and the people of Ireland would expect to hear, from the Chief Secretary some definite statement as to how he proposed to meet the urgent and pressing needs of the Irish farmers, and the right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well, from the information he had obtained, that nothing would meet those urgent and pressing needs except some Bill which would bring about a substantial and an immediate reduction of rent. There was one other topic he must allude to. There would be very great disappointment in Ireland at the omission from the Speech of any reference to the question of Irish education. They were led to believe that the Government, although it was not prepared to grant Home Rule, was prepared to meet promptly all demands of the Irish Catholics on the question of education. They had reason to complain, and to complain rather bitterly, of the delay which took place in the action of the late Government in dealing with the question of the treatment of the Christian Brothers. There was wide spread discontent in Ireland on account of that treatment. Some just men felt bound to subordinate their feelings in that matter to the great central fact that Her Majesty's late Government were endeavouring to carry a measure which would at one stroke do away with the Irish ills and enable Irishmen to redress their grievances themselves. They knew the late Government were endeavouring, though very tardily, to do 176 justice to the Christian Brothers. He wanted to know what the present Government proposed to do. The present government had not a part of the excuse for delay which the late Government could plead. They had an enormous majority behind them and they had no kind of excuse for any delay in dealing with the matter. He asked why the claims of the Christian Brothers had not been dealt with before now, and he asked why was there no promise contained in the Speech that the question of Irish University Education would be dealt with. He now came to the Amendment which he had risen to propose. It ran as follows:—And humbly to represent to your Majesty Unit your present advisers, by their refusal to propose any measure of self-government for Ireland, have aroused feelings of the deepest discontent and resentment in the minds of Irishmen; and Unit they have thereby added to the complications and difficulties which have arisen from their Foreign and Colonial policy.Was there any doubt as to the policy of the Government towards Irish self-government? In August last the Chief Secretary was asked, by an Amendment to the Address, to declare his policy on Home Rule, and in reply, he said: "Our attitude upon the question is, and will continue to be, one of unchanging and inflexible opposition." As long as a Government remained in power whose attitude towards Home Rule was one of unchanging and inflexible opposition, so long would Ireland remain discontented, and he might almost say, disloyal ["Hear, hear!"], and so long could that Government expect from the people of Ireland nothing but opposition and resentment. The hon. Member for the Southern Division of Dublin said, in a speech in that Debate on the last Address, that—On the Ministerial side of the House they believed that the Irish people were gradually being disillusioned from the chicaneries in which they had indulged, and were beginning to face the realities of the case. In America, which, after all, he believed to be the stronghold of militant Nationalism, there was an ominous silence; the Colonies were apathetic, and the civilized world was hardly worth appealing to.That policy in regard to appealing to the civilised world would yet cost England many millions before she had done. 177 [Nationalist cheers.] There was an ominous silence in America, but England had heard from America since, and she was no longer silent. [Nationalist cheers.] It was most deplorable that the profound and far-reaching impression—deeper far than any man in that House who had not lived in the United States could form the faintest conception of—which had been made upon the hearts and minds of the Irish people at home and in America by the policy of Mr. Gladstone, had now been triumphantly wiped out. The hon. Member for South Dublin, with the ignorance that so frequently characterised Irish Unionists, thought it a matter for congratulation that the Nationalist policy had not been receiving support from the militant Nationalism in America for some time. He himself regretted that the Irish party had lost for the moment control over that militant Nationalism, and that they had lost the steady and magnificent support which for so many years they drew from their countrymen in that land. But was it a matter for triumph or congratulation to an English Minister who really desired to solve the Irish problem, who really had sounded its depths, that the Irish Nationalists, whose task, under the leadership of Mr. Parnell and others, had been to conciliate to the best of their ability the confidence and the faith of the Irish people in America to the efficacy of Parliamentary and constitutional means in the effort to secure the liberty of the Irish people at home, had lost that hold on their faith and confidence? [Nationalist cheers.] To any English Minister who really understood the Irish problem that fact would be a matter for regret and sorrow. [Hear, hear.] Some of them had noticed with satisfaction the very different tone of the Speech from the Throne compared with that of the articles in The Times and the speeches of Ministers about a month or so ago. Two or three months since the ordinary talk in London was that America would back down and eat humble pie; that the British fleets could burn and blow up the cities of America in a very few weeks. Happily for England and for mankind that language had ceased. ["Hear, hear !"] The people of England had learned that the dispute with America was not, as was most shamefully and insultingly alleged by men who ought to 178 have known better, an electioneering dodge on behalf of President Cleveland, and that the President spoke with the voice of a united people, who were prepared to face the arbitrament of war if England had refused arbitration. But England was now going to accept arbitration—that was, after America had been forced to threaten. [Nationalist cheers.] It would have been much more decent if England had accepted arbitration six months ago before Mr. Olney's Dispatch was written. He hoped, however, that this event would be a lesson to England for the future. Perhaps it was too much for an Irishman to hope that it would be a lesson to England to adopt towards weak peoples, and particularly towards unarmed nations [Nationalist cheers], somewhat of the same tone and civility which she had adopted towards America after America showed her teeth. [Nationalist cheers.] No man could contemplate the possibility of a war between America and England—a war which would probably last seven or eight years—without feelings of grave misgiving and regret. But, on behalf of the Irish Nationalist Party, he had to say that, if the Government should be so misguided as to refuse to grant unlimited, unrestrained, and unrestricted arbitration to America, which the voice of civilised mankind approved, they would, as far as possible on the floor of that House, and within the lines of the Constitution, resist to the uttermost any attempt to declare war against the greatest and freest nation the world had ever seen. [Nationalist cheers.] They would let the world know that the Irish people could have no sympathy with any attempt to bully a nation which had always been a faithful, compassionate, and generous friend to Ireland. [Nationalist cheers.] Further, as to the policy of the present Government in regard to Home Rule, if it were their object to insult Ireland, and to drive her people again into violence and secret associations, and to stir up all the most dangerous elements in Irish life, he did not think a speech more calculated to achieve those objects could have been made than that delivered to the Nonconformist Unionists by the Prime Minister. [Opposition cheers.] It was curious that the Nonconformist Unionists appeared to have a poisonous influence 179 on the mind of Lord Salisbury. He spoke to them in 1888, and a more insulting, outrageous, and unreasonable speech was never delivered by a responsible man. The Prime Minister had learned nothing by experience, and, while the Chief Secretary was in Ireland addressing honeyed words to the Irish people, and assuring them that his solicitude for the welfare of Ireland was unbounded, Lord Salisbury went to a Nonconformist banquet, and insulted the Irish people in every possible way. [Nationalist cheers.] In stating that Ireland "had learned that Home Rule would not remove her evils," the Premier had forgotten the lesson of the late Election. But the part of the noble Lord's speech which would sink deepest into the minds of the Irish people was contained in those words—"But what is move than all to her is that she has learnt that Home Rule is not to be obtained." A more brutal utterance never came from the lips of a responsible Minister. [Opposition cheers.] All of them had read a Dispatch sent, he must say with superb arrogance, by the Colonial Minister to the High Commissioner, and the elaborate advice given by him to the Boers as to how they were to treat a body of men who but yesterday were in armed rebellion against their Government. They were instructed, in the most minute way, to grant those men the principles of Home Rule. If President Kruger had replied to this Dispatch in regard to the Uitlanders in the same terms that Lord Salisbury spoke of the Irish people and Home Rule, could the Minister for the Colonies have complained? Yet President Kruger would have been ten thousand times more justified in addressing such language to the Uitlanders than Lord Salisbury in addressing it to the Irish people. [Nationalist cheers.] In The Times of that day there was a telegram which dealt, he believed, very fairly with the Colonial Secretary's proposals. The telegram, which came from Johannesburg, ran as follows:—Mr. Chamberlain's suggested Home Rule for Witwatersrand has been very badly received both on the Rand and in Pretoria. It is generally considered impracticable, impossible and unstatesmanlike, as comprising a scheme entirely out of touch with the local conditions and circumstances.180 Having thus been rudely repulsed, both by the Uitlanders and the Boers, he would suggest to the Colonial Secretary that he should turn his attention once more to the problem of Irish Home Rule. There were many points in the scheme he had suggested for the Transvaal which would suit them precisely in Ireland. The Colonial Secretary, for instance, proposed that the Uitlanders should have their own Legislature, and that they should have complete control of their civil police, and of education, and of many other matters. The right hon. Gentleman could not do better than transfer his rejected scheme to Ireland. It was perfectly true that the Irish people were, by the necessities of the case, at times deeply stirred on the land question; but it was a delusion which had been hugged by successive Ministers for Ireland—and it had always proved, in the long run, even to them, to be a delusion—that the Irish question consisted only of the land question. The question that interested Ireland and Irishmen all over the world more than every other question was the conviction that Irishmen ought to manage their own affairs, and could manage them better than any other people. [Cheers.] When men talked about the present dissensions and differences in the Irish Party as being an argument against Home Rule, and when men said that they were not fit for self-government because they could not agree amongst themselves, their answer was complete. They said, "You don't always agree amongst yourselves;" and further, and above everything, he said it was adding insult to crime, when the very evils and faults which were the necessary result of bad government and the denial of responsibility to the people, were used as arguments to deprive them in the future of that responsibility and those habits of self-restraint which were one of the greatest fruits of free institutions. He did not say for a moment that they would have a Parliament in Ireland immediately as orderly as this Parliament, but he did say that they had the right to demand that at least the Irish people should have the chance of trying before it was decided that they were unfit to govern themselves. He admitted that the Party to which he belonged had not, at the present moment, so overwhelming an influence in Ireland, 181 or amongst the Irish in America, as they enjoyed before the events of 1890. They hoped the time would come when that would pass away. They had lost that influence, not because they were too extreme Nationalists, and not because the spirit of Nationalism in Ireland had decayed or perished. Their influence had been somewhat shaken through, to a large extent, the persistent success of the men who have made the expression, "the union, of hearts" the butt for their jokes. The Marquess of Salisbury made a speech the other day in which there occurred a sentence which was taken in The Times of Friday week as the key-note of its article. That sentence was this: "I care not how much England is isolated abroad so long as she is united at home." Member of Parliament as he was, he ventured to say that more absurd and more mischievous language never proceeded from the mouth of a Minister. But the point he wished to emphasise was, that from that union at home Ireland was to be excluded. [Cheers.] That had been the spirit of every speech that had been delivered by Lord Salisbury. Ireland was a foreign country; it was not home. They got notice to quit from this union, and while language like that was held they could not blame the people of Ireland if they took the Minister at his word, and, ceasing to look to this country for sympathy or support, they turned their eyes elsewhere.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
, in seconding the Amendment, said he found himself in a position of some embarrassment. He had already given notice of an Amendment to the Address dealing with the subject of Home Rule. His Amendment stood first on the Paper, but the hon. Member who had just concluded his speech had, by a manœ;uvre which he had executed, come in between him and his Amendment, and moved one which stood considerably below on the Paper. He was not sorry that the opportunity had been afforded of showing that, however they might differ in Ireland as to their policy of advancing the cause of Home Rule, at any rate, on the principle of Home Rule they were all absolutely united. [Cheers.] He was one of those who did not believe in the efficacy of set Debates every year on this question of Home Rule, and he 182 would not have been in favour of the present Debate, and in view of the recognised attitude of the present Government on the question of raising a Debate on Home Rule, at all, were it not for two reasons which made the present an exceptional occasion. The first of those reasons was certain declarations which had been made by Lord Salisbury and other Ministers of the Crown, and the other reason was the urgent necessity, in his opinion, for obtaining from the Liberal Leaders some declarations on this question. Lord Salisbury had recently declared that Homo Rule was dead, and that it was dead not because a majority of the English people voted against it, but because the Irish people had abandoned it. The present Government came into office with the declaration upon their lips that, while they were opposed to Home Rule, they were most anxious to pursue towards Ireland a conciliatory and reasonable policy upon all other questions. And the new Lord Lieutenant, in his first speech in Ireland, said he recognised that, while the Irish people were desirous of obtaining what they could in the way of substantial benefits from this country, they were in no way giving up their devotion to the cause of Home Rule. Thereupon many leading Irish politicians declared they would be only too glad, so long as it was clearly understood that the attitude of the Irish people on Home Rule was not doubted or questioned, to aid the Government in carrying out a practical policy of benefit to the people. On the strength of those declarations he had not hesitated to join the hon. Member for the Southern Division of the County of Dublin and other Unionists, who invited him to confer with them with a view to the promotion of useful legislation for Ireland. He did not imagine, when he accepted their invitation, that his action could possibly be interpreted to mean that he and his friends were faltering in their loyalty to the cause of Home Rule. The present position of the Home Rule question could not be viewed by the supporters of the movement without a feeling akin to consternation. He would not comment on that occasion on the sneers which the hon. Member for East Mayo had seemed to direct against his political opponents in Ireland.
§ MR. DILLON
said, that nothing was further from his intention. He had said nothing that laid him open to the charge of the hon. Member ["Hear, hear!" and Parnellite cries of "Didn't you?"]
§ MR. J. REDMOND
, resuming, said, that if any excuse could be found for declarations like Lord Salisbury's it would be found in the action of those Irish Members who, since 1893, had allowed the Home Rule question to be shelved. After the rejection of the Home Rule Bill by the House of Lords, the demand which he and his friends made that a Dissolution of Parliament should take place was rejected and denounced, and from that day no real earnest effort was made to keep the Home Rule question to the front. That was one of the reasons why the Party of the hon. Member for East Mayo had, according to his own admission, lost so large a measure of the confidence of the Irish people. ["Hear, hear!"] The attitude of the present Government with respect to Home Rule was perfectly clear, whatever their attitude might have been in Lord Carnarvon's time. ["Hear, hear!"] They said that now, at any rate, they would not consider Home Rule. The present Debate, therefore, was not likely to elicit any valuable declarations from the existing Government, but it might have the effect of eliciting some declarations from the Liberal Leaders. [Some cries of "Oh!"] Apparently the Liberal Leaders did not like the idea. [Laughter.] The hon. Member for East Mayo had alluded to the question of the "union of hearts," and probably he was one of those whom the hon. Member had in his mind when he referred to gentlemen who sneered at the union of hearts. [Mr. DILLON: "Not at all."] Well, he did not deny that he had sneered at it, but only when the union of hearts became a sham and a fraud, and he now wished to ask the Liberal Leaders what they understood by the expression. Were the Nationalist Members to be in alliance with the Liberal Party in this Parliament, and, if so, what were the terms? ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.] Was Home Rule to be kept to the front by the Liberal Party or was it to be left in the position which it had occupied since 1893? When the Bill had been 184 rejected by the House of Lords the Leader of the Liberal Party declared that Home Rule could never be established until a majority in England had pronounced in its favour, and another Liberal Minister declared that Home Rule could not be obtained until the House of Lords should have been abolished. Was that still the opinion of the Liberal Leaders, and did they purpose to interpose the question of the House of Lords before the question of Home Rule, or did they intend to make Home Rule the first object of their policy, as they once did, and to strive for that object at all costs? It would greatly interest the Irish people to hear the views of the Liberal Leaders on this subject. All sections of Irish Nationalists were absolutely united in their devotion to the principle of Home Rule, and he had a strong hope that the time was not far distant when all sections of Irish Nationalists would admit that the policy pursued for the last three years with respect to Ireland had been a mistake and a failure, and when they would revert to the only policy from which Irishmen had ever obtained any advantage—namely, the policy of disregarding all English Parties, of supreme selfishness in forwarding Irish interests, and of taking advantage of every Party difficulty and complication that might supply opportunities for pressing Ireland's demands to a successful issue. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. W. E. T. SHARPE (Kensington, N.)
said, as one of the decided supporters of the Government he begged to express his entire confidence in the Government as regarded what was proposed in the Queen's Speech. He deeply deplored the bitter tone in which the hon. Member who had moved the Amendment had indulged. It was not a tone calculated to conciliate this country and facilitate the transactions of the business of this great kingdom. They had confidently hoped that the changes in the personnel of the Home Rule Party would have had a benign influence. In that expectation they had been disappointed by the speech of the hon. Gentleman, whose sincerity of convictions and honesty of purpose he was willing to testify to. It was not by the infusion of bitterness that business would be best expedited. The hon. Member had alluded to the 185 small proportion of Irish subjects in the Queen's Speech. He himself, from a different point of view, would have liked to have heard of the probability, in the near future, of measures dealing with the abolition of the vote of the illiterate electorate throughout the kingdom, and he should have desired to hear of a proposal to abolish the Viceroyalty of Ireland, which was a sign and a stimulus of separation. But, without entering into those somewhat controversial subjects, there were other measures in regard to some of which he hoped they would be able to carry their Irish Friends into the Lobby with them. He should like to see the position of their Roman Catholic brethren placed, with regard to University education, on lines of which they could approve, and he should like to see the Chief Secretary for Ireland do justice to the Christian Brothers in Ireland, on the same lines that he and his Friends claimed justice for the schools of the Church of England in this country. Then with regard to administration, he was prepared to support the position taken up by Her Majesty's Government. He was amazed at the sentence in the Amendment that the policy of the Government with regard to Ireland had "added to the complications and difficulties which have arisen from their foreign and colonial policy." He should have thought that this policy in an unparalleled crisis, had the unqualified approval of all parties. He thought the Colonial Secretary, backed by the splendid service of his permanent staff, showed an example of calm courage which met with universal applause, and he felt he was justified in applying to our great Minister, Lord Salisbury, throughout the crisis, the immortal words of the Latin poet:—Justum et tenacem propositi virumNon civium ardor prava jubentiumNon vultus instantis tyrannyMente quatit solida.
§ MR. J. C. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
said, with regard to the grant to the Christian Brothers, he had not been disappointed—the Government had given it the go-by. He trusted when they came to that question the hon. Member who had just spoken would give them his support. That measure of justice had long been denied them. The hon. Member (Mr. J. Redmond) spoke of this Amendment, and 186 suggested that the precedence given to it over his, which stood first on the Paper, was a kind of manœ;uvre. He presumed the hon. Member meant a discreditable manœ;uvre. He would remind him that last night the Debate was about to collapse for want of speakers when Mr. Dillon got up, and therefore his Motion was handed in at the Table. He associated himself with his hon. Friend in declaring that the references to Ireland in the Speech were meagre, or, to use his hon. Friend's term, beggarly. With regard to the land question, there could be no doubt that this was a matter of urgency, but there was only a paltry reference to it in the Speech. They had a kind of half-hearted promise that a Bill would be brought in, but there was no reference to compulsory land purchase, and no indication was given that the Bill would proceed on the lines of Mr. Morley's Committee. Reference had been made to agricultural depression, but it existed also in Ireland.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I must remind the hon. Member that the Amendment deals with self-government for Ireland, and it is not competent to him to discuss the Irish land question.
§ MR. FLYNN
bowed to that decision. There could be no doubt what the feelings of President Kruger would be with regard to the message from the Colonial Secretary on the question of the autonomy of the Rand, when he knew that the Minister who proposed it had been mainly instrumental in denying that justice to Ireland. The Leader of the House said it was the majority and not a minority which demanded it. Did he make a point of that? Did not Mr. Gladstone's Bill apply to the majority?
§ MR. FLYNN
But that would not help the right hon. Gentleman. First of all he did not concede that the Uitlanders were the majority. The claim of Home Rule for Ireland was infinitely stronger. He said no word of disrespect to the Uitlanders, but they were only recent settlers in the country who had gone out, not to settle, but to develop the mines—to make a competence or a fortune. That was not denied. On the other hand, the Boers were the 187 settlers of the country, who had retreated there from the coast to enjoy the benefits of their own government. He was not going to use any argument against the granting of Home Rule to the Rand. If it were good for the self-governing Colonies, it would be good also for the Transvaal. But the argument applied a thousandfold greater to Ireland, because the people had occupied the country back to the dawn of history. The statement of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gerald Balfour) furnished Home Rulers everywhere with a most powerful argument; but he went further. He said that the Uitlanders had not the right of representation or the right of municipal government. With regard to representation he (Mr. Flynn) believed they had the right of voting for one of the Houses in the Transvaal. They had not the right of representation in the second House. Had the people of Ireland the right of representation in the Upper Chamber of the Imperial Parliament? With regard to municipal government, were not the vast majority of the people of Ireland denied that right? There were no County Councils in Ireland, and at present outside the cities self-constituted bodies such as Grand Juries controlled the country. One other grievance of the Rand was that it had an insufficient police force. Home Rulers never claimed that as an Irish advantage. On the contrary, they had always contended that under Home Rule less would be spent on the police and judiciary and more on education and on the material resources of the country. With regard to Venezuela, the granting of Home Rule would have propitiated the Irish element in America. On the other hand, its denial had erected into a hostile and unfriendly element the large body of the Irish race in America. Home Rulers had always contended that one of the greatest blessings that could have followed the union of hearts was that it would have converted into active friends of the Empire the Irish race all over the world who were now unsympathetic and hostile. The question of Venezuela was one which every lover of peace would wish to see settled, but he contended that England would be more likely to find a satisfactory modus vivendi on that and other questions between herself and the United States Republic if 188 she took proper steps to conciliate and bring to her side the Irish race in America. It would be the wisest and the highest statesmanship to conciliate the people of Ireland by granting to them Home Rule, which they had never ceased to demand, and thereby to convert them from being unsympathetic and hostile into firm friends.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
said he was debarred, by the fact, that an Amendment to the Address was now before the House, from following the hon. Member for Mayo into all the details of his speech. But still, in passing, he must congratulate the hon. Gentleman on a remarkable difference between his speech this day and every other speech he had delivered in the House on the Irish question. The hon. Member had not, on this occasion, said there was a famine in Ireland. [Laughter.] The hon. Member had casually asserted that the Irish tenants demanded a reduction of 50 per cent. in their rents. If that statement were true, which he doubted, it was a condition of things that would probably remain so long as there were tenants in Ireland. But the hon. Member had not backed his statement by any evidence to show that the Irish tenants were objecting to pay the present rents, which from his (Colonel Saunderson's) point of view, were moderate [Nationalist laughter]; and which, in any case, the tenants were paying without grumbling, as well they might, for the conditions under which they lived were far superior to the position of the tenants of any other country in the world. ["Hear, hear!"] Another peculiarity of the speech of the hon. Member for Mayo was that three-quarters of that speech had not a word about Home Rule, but was devoted to other topics, which, he supposed, the hon. Member had placed in the forefront because he thought them as important, or even more important, than Home Rule. In fact, the hon. Member for Mayo had done what his Liberal friends had done. He put Home Rule on a back seat. [Laughter and Ministerial cheers.] He had ventured to assert over and over again in the House, though his observations were generally received with derision by hon. Gentlemen opposite—[Nationalist Cries of "No"]—well sometimes received—that Home Rule was a 189 question on which the Irish people did not feel keenly. The speech of the hon. Member for Mayo went far to prove the truth of that assertion. If the Irish people felt as keenly on Home Rule as hon. Members opposite asserted, why did they not rise en masse when the Home Rule Bill was scouted from the House of Lords, and reaffirm with all their might their devoted adherence to that object? [Mr. FLYNN: "So they did, at the General Election."] Let some colleague of the hon. Member for Mayo get up and tell them where, in the whole of Ireland, after the rejection of the Home Rule Bill by the House of Lords, with what he might term scorn, there was any demonstration in support of the Bill. ["The Elections."] Elections in Ireland did not convey any correct idea of public opinion, because Members for Nationalist constituencies were not chosen by those constituencies. The candidates were sent to the constituencies, and it might almost be said they bore a label saying "This is the man to represent you." In England, Scotland and Wales the constituencies chose their Members; but it was not so in Ireland. The Nationalist Members were chosen, he did not know how, but they were not chosen by the constituencies. The Irish Members no longer claimed to speak each in the name of Ireland, because, if any did so, his claim would be repudiated by his neighbour; and personally he believed he had a right to speak in the name of a much larger number of the Irish people than had any of the Irish Members opposite. Certainly he did not speak in the name of the Irish people in America; but he did speak on behalf of a section of the Irish people who were not the least intelligent or the least prosperous. According to the hon. Member for Mayo, the only period in which Ireland was happy was that in which she had a Parliament of her own, but in that Parliament there was not a single Roman Catholic, and it was because the Irish people at that time did not believe there was any possibility of getting grievances redressed by that Parliament, that the majority of Roman Catholic Bishops and of the Roman Catholics of Ireland were in favour of getting rid of it. The hon. Member for Mayo went on to point out that unless we gave Home 190 Rule to Ireland we could not calculate the enormous mass of Irishmen living abroad. Well the Irish were a prolific race, and outside Ireland their numbers were prodigious; indeed, if the figures given were to be accepted, the whole world would soon be populated by Irish people. The argument was that Great Britain was tottering to her fall, and that, unless she changed her parliamentary system, this tremendous race would be arrayed in determined hostility against her. That was a sort of argument which had never answered with the British people. ["Hear, hear!"] He believed the British people had their faults. [Ironical cries of "No, no!"] Well he did not think they had so many as other people, but among their failings they had never shown that argument by threat would have much effect upon them. The British Empire had a right to be prouder than she ever was before, because she was undoubtedly passing through dangerous complications, and the effect of threats addressed to her by a country which we believed to be friendly had been, to elicit from every land over which the British flag waved an echo which had shown the world that where-ever that flag floated there were sympathetic hearts which beat in unison with our own, and hands ready to strike for the welfare of the Empire. [Cheers.] It was difficult, to understand how the situation in the Transvaal was dragged into this Debate. He did not think anyone in the House would for a moment defend the events which had recently occurred in the Transvaal. The incursion into its territory by Dr. Jameson was an unjustifiable act and could not be defended; but still the British public would believe that he and his followers were actuated by brave and chivalrous motives ["Oh, oh!"], and that in a time of trial, difficulty and danger they showed qualities worthy of the race from which they sprung. ["Hear, hear!" and some laughter.] It was only in America that our rejection of Home Rule could produce difficulties in our foreign policy. He was not likely, nor was any Member of the House likely, to say anything intentionally offensive to America. ["Hear, hear!" A VOICE: ''Not now."] He never did. [A VOICE: "Others did.''] The reason why nothing offensive would be said 191 was that nothing ungenerous was felt. They might travel in England from the north to the south without finding anyone who was not in favour of anything but a friendly understanding with America. But he concluded from the sarcastic cheers of hon. Members opposite that our friendship with America was dictated by mean, sordid motives. That was not so. [Cheers.] The majority of the inhabitants of the United States were descended from the same race that inhabited these islands. [Nationalist cries of "No."] They had the same sympathies that we had, the same great objects, and belonged to the same religion. These were points of union which rhetoric, passing events, and the unfortunate rivalry of nations could not affect. At the same time he admitted that there was a large fraction of people in the United States who were not only hostile to this country, but would view with satisfaction a war with us. It was of vital importance that they should be perfectly honest, straight, and clear in considering this question. Amongst this fraction, they all knew, was the Irish population. The Irish in America were like Irishmen everywhere—full of keen intelligence; and the result of the superiority of the Irish race (which was manifested wherever they were) was that they had assumed at a great many centres in America a predominant position in the political world. A speech had been made on the point by Mr. Senator Wolcott. He was an American, sprung from the same race to which the majority of these islands belonged, and he was proud of the connection. But in his speech he frankly acknowledged that he did not express the universal feeling of the United States. He should like to read a passage from Senator Wolcott's speech.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, the only direction in which the hon. and gallant Member could argue in respect to America was on the question how far the refusal of self-government to Ireland had affected the position of this country in the Colonies and abroad. In many of his remarks the hon. Member for East Mayo was, technically, speaking to the main question. So that many remarks made by him could not be answered in a Debate on this Amendment.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
accepted the Speaker's ruling, though it increased his difficulty in following the hon. Member for East Mayo. But the idea of the hon. Member was, that the refusal of Home Rule to Ireland had had such an effect on the Irish people, at home and abroad, that the relations of this country with countries in which Irishmen dwelt were rendered more difficult.
§ MR. DILLON
said, the two points he put were that the refusal of Home Rule to Ireland afforded an ugly precedent for President Kruger in dealing with the Uitlanders, and tended to embitter the anti-English feeling which existed in the United States.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, he did not see how our refusal of Home Rule to Ireland affected our relations with America. As to embittering the relations between this country and Ireland—whether in Ireland or on the other side of the Atlantic—that was impossible. [Laughter.] He did not see how the concentrated essence of verjuice could exceed the hatred and detestation hon. Members opposite had displayed when they spoke openly to their friends in Ireland of the British people. [Nationalist cries of "No."] In that House they spoke in modified language, but when they spoke in their native land and expressed their opinion in their newspapers he wanted to know how the ingenuity of man could conceive that our relations with Ireland could be embittered. We had been passing through a time of difficulty and possibly of danger, and, although hon. Gentlemen opposite might be very much disappointed that they did not get Home Rule for Ireland, if there had been any basis of truth whatever in the "union of hearts" it might have been thought that they would have shown some sympathy with this country, because let them remember that in these complications the word of this country did not mean this Party or that, but every Briton, whether Conservative, Liberal Unionist or Radical. [Cheers.] When the country was in danger it was a proud thing to know that they were united. ["Hear, hear!"] How did hon. Members opposite show their gratitude to the Party that took up their cause? He would give aspecimen of this gratitude from what was undoubtedly at present the 193 most able and successful journal belonging to the Nationalist Party in Ireland—the Irish Daily Independent. The hon. Member for Waterford was present at the meeting to which he was going to refer, but he would not comment upon his speech because he did not make any violent attack upon the Empire. For him and those who acted with him he felt respect. He did not agree with them, and was ready to contend with them whenever he could. But they were the only Nationalist Party in Ireland that had consistently and systematically placed Home Rule before every other question. That was an attitude everybody could understand. But the hon. Member said:—Great Britain, which had rejected Home Rule for Ireland and spurned the hand of friendship Ireland held out, was to-day without one friend throughout the whole world.[Nationalist cheers, and a voice—"Splendid isolation—Lord Salisbury." Great Britain had one friend on whom she relied—namely, herself. [Cheers and a voice—"Ulster."] Ulster was part of herself. If they read the history of the nations of the world they would find that, after all, the only friend any nation could rely upon in the hour of difficulty and danger was herself. [Cheers.] The hon. Member pointed out that Home Rule having been refused to the Irish people, England found herself alone in the whole world, and then loud cheers were given for the Boers. He himself did not at all object to cheers being given for the Boers. He admired the Boers as he always admired a brave people who fought their own corner. Then the hon. Member for Waterford went on to say:—She has the German Empire arrayed against her; in the East she is afraid to stir hand or foot to redeem her promises to the Armenians; in Egypt she is menaced by France; and in the Far West she has alienated the good will of the United States.[Irish Cheers.] Hon. Gentlemen cheered these things, and this was the union of hearts! [Cheers.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite who cheered such statements and who looked at all these difficulties and dangers that surrounded the British Empire with delight, were the very men whom the Radical Party proposed to place in supreme dominion in Ireland. 194 [Cheers.] At the same meeting the hon. Member for Kilkenny made a speech in which he said that for 700 years Englishmen had been teaching Ireland to hate them, and Irishmen did hate them and rejoiced in their difficulties. [Irish cheers.] That, he thought, was pretty strong language for a Gentleman who really expected a sane Parliament to commit into his hands the destinies of Ireland. [Cheers.] According to hon. Gentlemen, opposite, every nation in the world was ready to spring at the throat of England, and yet in the House of Commons that day they gravely brought forward an Amendment which, if embodied in an Act of Parliament, would place Ireland absolutely under the domination and control of hon. Gentlemen who held the opinion that it was a good thing that every nation in the world should be ready to turn against England. Then the hon. Member for South Meath spoke, and said he would like to see England humiliated. The hon. Member for South Mayo, whose ability and courage they all admired, wrote a very eloquent and able letter to The Times a day or two ago, which was one long string of denunciations against Great Britain and her people. After going through all the various exhibitions of cowardice, want of faith and honour that Great Britain had always shown, the hon. Member wound up in this way:— "She is a bully to the weak and a coward and a sneak to the strong.'' [Irish Cheers.] All he could say was he could not conceive an intelligent race, like the Irish, consenting under any circumstances to a union of hearts with such a craven people. [Laughter and cheers.] If the English were bullies to the weak and cowards to the strong, how could they pretend to look forward to a continuous union of the honourable, brave and patriotic Irish people with such a degraded nation? [Laughter.] On the face of it it was absurd, and he left it to the House to judge of the character of this Home Rule Debate. Was there any reality in it? He saw no sign on the front Opposition Bench of those magnificent orations which were delivered in past years, in the days of Mr. Gladstone, and in which it was declared that Home Rule was the one vital question which would finally unite the Irish and English peoples. They did not hear these 195 eloquent orations in the House now, and when right hon. Gentlemen spoke elsewhere Home Rule was relegated to a very obscure part of the speeches they made. He said there was no reality in this Home Rule Debate. The Irish people, though slowly, had been learning the lesson that they were far more likely to get good terms and assistance from this great and wealthy nation than they would be if their destinies were confided to the hon. Gentlemen opposite, whose ranks were only remarkable for their absolute disunion. [Cheers.] Whatever hon. Gentlemen might say about the condition of the British Empire and its relation to foreign Powers, the nations of the world had learned in the last two months that Great Britain meant something more than these islands. It meant an Empire greater and stronger than had ever yet been, and the sense of patriotism of the British people, having cut out the Home Rule dry rot that threatened to invade the whole Constitution and bring it crumbling to the ground, now at last it stood before the nations of the world as the greatest, the strongest, and the most united people the world had ever seen. [Cheers.]
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare,)
observed that the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh had said there were certain Members from Ireland who spoke with one face in their own country and with another in that House.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I did not include the hon. Member for he is a singular exception in that respect.
§ MR. W. REDMOND
was indebted to the hon. and gallant Gentleman for doing him the justice of admitting that he at least never in the slightest degree disguised the opinions he held as to the real feelings of the Irish towards the English people. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had done him the honour, during the last ten years, of quoting the speeches he had made on this subject, and he was glad to hear the admission that the tone of the speeches he made in the House was identical with that which characterised those he made in Ireland. He believed it was only fair to the people of this country and to the Government that those who represented Irish Nationalist constituencies should be perfectly straightforward with regard to the opinions of those they represented. 196 He could imagine nothing more unfair to the people of Great Britain, or more disastrous to the aspirations of the Irish people than that there should be any disguise whatever of the real feelings of the Irish people towards this country. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said there was no reality in this Home Rule Debate. If there was not, there was a great deal of reality in the fact that there were in that House 83 Members elected constitutionally to declare on behalf of the great majority of the people of Ireland that they were dissatisfied with the present system of Government. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that Home Rule dry rot had set in.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
said, his experience was that there was sometimes a mixture of rot in Debates which could not altogether be described as Home Rule Debates; but here, in spite of every disadvantage, was an overwhelming majority of Irish Members elected by the people to put forward their demand for Home Rule. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had referred over and over again to the dissensions in the ranks of Irish Nationalist Members. If the object of the hon. and gallant Gentleman was to widen and strengthen these dissensions, the less he said about them in the House the better. If anything possibly could on great occasions unite the Irish people and their representatives it would be such senseless and irritating taunts. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that, when the Home Rule Bill was thrown out in the House of Lords, no meetings were held in the country to protest against it. He had himself repeatedly attended meetings in different parts of Ireland held for that purpose. In these matters it was extremely hard for Irish Members to know what to do. If they organised large meetings in various centres, the hon. and gallant Gentleman charged them with being disorderly agitators. If, on the other hand, they did not hold these meetings they were told that a Home Rule dry rot had set in. The fact remained that, in spite of every disadvantage, the opinion of the Irish people in favour of Home Rule was as strong and stronger than it 197 had been at any time during the last 20 years. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had referred to statements made by Irish Members with regard to the foreign complications of this country. He for one had never disguised the fact that the Nationalist people of Ireland welcomed every complication in which they saw the slightest chance of advantage arising to their claim for self-government. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that England had never done anything in answer to threats, but Ireland had never received the slightest particle of justice or fair play except as the result not only of threats, but of agitation and disorder of every kind. When the hon. and gallant Gentleman read in the House accounts of meetings at which cheers were given for the Boers and the enemies of England, he only gave another absolute proof of the intensity of the Irish people in their demand. The Irish people had no instinctive antipathy to the population of this or any other country in the world—in fair circumstances they were as anxious to go hand in hand in the path of progress with the people of this or any other country. It was a pity that the hon. and gallant Gentleman wasted his ability in exhibitions in the House such as were sometimes seen in places of popular entertainment in this city, at which Irishmen of a certain type were extremely popular—the Irishman who was willing to exaggerate the characteristics of his countrymen, to turn everything Irish into ridicule, in order to gain an English laugh, and never to lose an opportunity to cast cheap sneers and jibes at his countrymen. That kind of thing was suitable enough in music halls but ought at least to be spared in the House of Commons. The hon. and gallant Gentleman, in speaking of the foreign complications, said that England rested on herself alone. He could not help feeling a certain amount of sympathy with the hon. and gallant Gentleman at the position of isolation in which he found himself at the present 198 time. A few months ago the hon. and gallant Gentleman told the House that Ulster was herself again, that the German Emperor had told him that his sympathy was with the gallant men of Ulster. [Laughter.] All that was changed now, and the relations between the German Emperor and the hon. and gallant Gentleman had become extremely strained. [Laughter.] What effect that would have in Ulster he did not know—whether the British Empire and the flag that had braved the battle and the breeze 1,000 years would survive those strained relations between the German Emperor and the Member for Armagh he did not know. [Laughter.] All that he could tell the hon. and gallant Gentleman was that he had his most extreme sympathy, and he would now advise him to look out for another ally. [Loud laughter.] He saw a statement the other day in the columns of an influential newspaper that President Kruger would be received in this country with cordiality, consideration and friendship. He could not help thinking whether, if poor President Kruger had been beaten and Dr. Jim had been successful, he would have been received with cordiality.
§ MR. W. REDMOND
bowed to Mr. Speaker's ruling and said, that his only excuse for travelling slightly outside the Amendment was the example of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. The hon. and gallant Gentleman would do him the justice to admit that he was an elected representative of the Irish people. There were 83 Members so elected, and they declared in that House that so long as this country denied to their people in Ireland those very privileges they were going to give to the Boers and the people of the Transvaal, they were determined not to rest in their agitation for Home Rule and to take every opportunity of urging on the agitation by every means in their power. The hon. and gallant Gentleman must know perfectly well 199 that their feeling towards the United States of America was one of intense attachment, and there was not the slightest use in denying that, if a war should occur between the United States and this country, the vast bulk of the people of Ireland would be in sympathy with the United States. He would therefore ask hon. Gentlemen who represented British constituencies whether that was not a far more serious complication than any in which the Foreign Office was now engaged. Was it not an appalling thing from a British point of view to say that, whenever there was a whisper of danger to this country, the vast bulk of the people of Ireland would express their sympathy with the other side? That was simply the outcome of the determination of the Irish people not to rest satisfied with the system under which they lived. He had heard it said in the course of a speech in that House that the question might be put—How was it that Home Rule was offered to the Boers and was refused to the Irish? Let that question be asked in Ireland, and the answer would at once be given that it was because the Boers had rifles and knew how to use them, while the Irish were disarmed. ["Hear, hear!"] If the position of the Irish had been the same as that of the Boers, the former would have had Home Rule long ago. An hon. Member had said that the Boers had fought for their rights, while the Irish had not done so. What was the use of taunting with cowardice the men whose hands were tied. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Member knew perfectly well that the Irish were disarmed, but he must also know equally well, that if the young men of Ireland had had the same opportunities as the Boers had of arming and of drilling themselves, they would not have been open to the taunt of the hon. Member. ["Hear, hear!"] He did not know what was before them in that House during the next few years under the present Government; he did 200 not know whether the demands of the Irish people for Home Rule were to be met by persistent refusal, but he could tell the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary that, so far from the idea of Home Rule being dead in the minds of the Irish people, they were as much determined to obtain it as ever they were. He knew that it would be useless to appeal to the majority of that House, who had made up their minds upon the subject of Home Rule, but he could inform them that the Irish people would take advantage of every opportunity that presented itself, whether in America, Africa, or elsewhere, to enforce their demand. ["Hear, hear!'']
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. GERALD BALFOUR,), Leeds Central
who on rising was received with cheers, said: The hon. Member for East Mayo opened the Debate upon his Amendment by a very long speech, and the hon. Member for Waterford, who followed him, threw out a challenge to those who sit upon the front Opposition Bench which I hope they will accept. It would be out of order for me to attempt to follow the hon. Member for East Mayo through his somewhat discursive remarks, and therefore I will confine my observations to the terms of the Amendment which is before us, and in doing so I shall endeavour to imitate the brevity of the hon. Member for Waterford. The hon. Member for East Mayo has described his Amendment as being one generally in favour of Home Rule, while the hon. Member for Waterford has distinctly told us that in his opinion it is not to be expected that the present Government should depart from the declarations they have made in reference to the subject, both in this House and on the platforms, during the late General Election. I think that the hon. Member for Waterford is under no illusion with regard to our attitude in reference to this subject. In August last I said that with regard to the policy of 201 Home Rule the attitude of the Government was one of unflinching and unchanging opposition. ["Hear, hear!"] That is our position still, and I think that there is not likely to be the smallest shadow of change in that position. [Cheers.] In my opinion the Amendment is somewhat more limited in its scope than the remarks which the hon. Member made in defence of it. I will call the attention of the House to the particular terms in which it is couched. It runs thus:—And humbly to represent to your Majesty that your present advisors, by their refusal to propose any measure of self-government for Ireland, have aroused feelings of the deepest discontent and resentment in the minds of Irishmen; and that they have thereby added to the complications and difficulties which have arisen from their foreign and colonial policy.Let me take these two points. The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh seems to think that one part of the Amendment is intended to impress upon us the fact that the question of Home Rule should have weight with us in determining our foreign and colonial policy. But, if I understand the terms of the Amendment rightly, the hon. and gallant Member has inverted the meaning of the hon. Member for East Mayo. What I take to be the meaning of the Amendment is that the problem which confronts us in our Colonial and Foreign policy should induce us to grant Home Rule to Ireland. To reply to that I will only say that our attitude in regard to Home Rule is determined by what we believe to be the merits of Home Rule itself, and that considerations of difficulty or danger abroad or in our Colonies will not for a moment induce us to depart from the attitude that we have taken up in the matter. [Cheers.] For us to take any other line in respect to this great question of policy would be unworthy of this great nation. [Cheers.] The hon. Member sets forth in his Amendment that—Your present advisers, by their refusal to propose any measure of self-government for 202 Ireland, have aroused feelings of the deepest discontent and resentment in the minds of Irishmen.I unhesitatingly say that at the present time there is no such feeling existent either as the result of the General Election or as to the policy of resisting Home Rule, which was the necessary consequence of that General Election. If there had been this deep feeling of disappointment and of resentment in reference to this subject on the part of the Irish people I do not think that within a couple of months after the General Election I should have been received in the heart of the constituency of the hon. Member in the kindly way in which I was welcomed. ["Hear, hear!"] On one point the hon. Members for East Mayo and for Waterford agreed—namely, that Lord Salisbury in a recent speech had insulted the Irish nation. For my own part, I should not have put such an interpretation upon that speech. ["Hear, hear!"] Lord Salisbury compared the case of Ireland with that of the Transvaal. But was that an insult to the Transvaal or to Ireland? Not to Ireland, certainly, because, whatever we may think of the policy pursued by President Kruger and the Boers towards the Uitlanders, this we can say—that the praises of the Boers as members of a brave and a patriotic nation are heard all over Europe, including this country. (Cheers.) Am I to understand that Irishmen are insulted because Lord Salisbury declared in the most emphatic manner that Ireland cannot have Home Rule? Surely there is no insult in that. ["Hear, hear!"] It is clearly desirable both for England and Ireland that Ireland should know precisely what is the policy of England in this matter; and the policy of England is that Ireland cannot have Home Rule. (Cheers.) In my opinion, good relations between the two countries could be more easily established if that clear understanding exists than if the matter is left vague. But in the view of the hon. Member for Waterford 203 the insult consists not so much in saying that Ireland cannot have Home Rule as in the assertion that Home Rule is dead, not because of the majority against it in this country at the General Election, but because it is not a subject that now arouses any interest in Ireland itself. In saying that, Lord Salisbury did not stand alone. I could quote statements of a very similar import from utterances of hon. Gentlemen opposite who sit below the Benches, and from their political friends. Here is a statement made by the Archbishop of Cashel on February 13, 1895. He said that the hope of obtaining a Legislature for their country within measurable time was no longer entertained by reasonable men. This is from a speech by the hon. Member for Waterford himself, delivered on October 7:—By a policy of cowardice and folly never before, I believe, equalled, even in this unfortunate country. Home Rule has undoubtedly been set back for years.On July 5 the same hon. Member said:—''To-day we are apathetic and disheartened. If Ireland desires that the question of Home Rule shall be a real living question again it is absolutely necessary in these elections to return a large body of independent Members to Parliament.I believe only 11 or 12 were returned. As, therefore, the condition by which alone Home Rule could be a living question was not fulfilled, I have the hon. Member's own authority for saying that its condition has now been modified. But, Sir, if I quote from the Press, and especially the provincial Press of Ireland, I could quote stronger opinions than that. This is from The People, an Anti-Parnellite paper, I believe:—Home Rule is hardly mentioned now.The Western People, a Parnellite paper, says:—Home Rule to-day is as dead as Julius Cæsar, fit only to stop a hole in the Liberal programme, to keep the wind away.204 And stronger perhaps than any of these extracts is one from the Cork Daily Herald of January 14 of this year, a paper which now, I believe, supports the hon. Member for North Louth:—It (The Freeman) also succeeded in destroying the last lingering spark of vitality in the Irish national movement. There is no good to be gained by disguising the truth; at the present moment the national movement has not a kick in it, and its death lies at the door of the Freeman's Journal.[Laughter.] Now, Sir, let me candidly say that I think several of these statements go very considerably beyond the truth. I do not think Home Rule is dead [Irish cheers]; I am prepared to use another phrase, I think Home Rule is sleeping. It is sleeping very soundly at present, and I am rather inclined to think it will continue to do so for the next five or six years [Ministerial cheers] at any rate. None of the trumpet calls of the hon. Member for Waterford have yet succeeded in arousing it from its slumbers. I do not wish to say anything disagreeable or offensive on this question. The hon. Member for Waterford has desired us to avoid taunts and insults; I am most anxious myself to avoid anything of that nature, but I would venture to remind hon. Members opposite who have quoted strong statements and resented strong sentiments made by Unionist speakers, that we have even during the present Debate heard from them strong expressions which might very justly be resented by Englishmen. [Ministerial cheers.] We have been blamed by one of the speakers this afternoon, I think by the hon. Member for East Mayo, for laughing at the union of hearts: it is not the union of hearts which has excited derision on this side of the House, it is merely that the union of hearts should be seriously spoken of by gentlemen who entertain sentiments with regard to England such as those of the hon. Member for South Mayo. I shall certainly not do anything either to taunt or insult hon. Members opposite, but before I sit down I may perhaps be 205 allowed to address one word of warning to the hon. Member for Waterford, who has during the Recess spoken with two voices. The hon. Member for East Mayo spoke of the beggarly character of the references in the Speech to Ireland; he said there were only two such references, but as a matter of fact there are three—measures have been promised dealing with the land question, with the Board of Agriculture, and also with light railways.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
Yes, Sir, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] It appears to me that in those three references Ireland has got her share of promised legislation. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition last night ridiculed the latitude of our Programme, which he said we had not the slightest chance of carrying into law. The hon. Member for Waterford, on October 7, said:—We will aid them (the Government) by every means in our power in passing any and every good measure for Ireland that they propose.I was glad to hear that utterance, but it is not consistent with the language which the hon. Gentleman has used on other occasions.
§ MR. J. REDMOND
said, he was not conscious of having said anything inconsistent with his desire to aid the Government in passing useful legislation for Ireland.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I am exceedingly glad to hear the hon. Member make that statement, and I hope he will, when we do bring forward our measures for Ireland, do his utmost to give us that assistance which he has promised.
§ MR. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
said, that if the right hon. Gentleman thought that they were going to neglect any opportunity of putting forward the claims of Ireland to national self-government, he was very much mistaken. He did not think the right hon. Gentleman had established his case that the hon. Member for Waterford had spoken with two voices. The position of the Home Rule question, in their judgment, depended not so much on the attitude of the Government as on the attitude and action of the Liberal Party. The hostility of the Government to Home Rule was well known to them, but their position would depend upon the declarations and promises which the Liberal Leaders might hold out to them upon this question. The right hon. Gentleman had quoted a few short and isolated passages from some of the Irish newspapers, but nothing could be more unfair than to quote these as being in any sense a confession that the question of Home Rule had lost the confidence of the Irish people. The affection of the Irish people for Home Rule was as strong as it had been at any time during the last 20 years. They had been told that the question was not agitated at the moment in Ireland, and a passage from a speech by the hon. Member for Waterford was read, in which he said that Home Rule had been put back. That was the point on which they desired to have a full expression from the Liberal Leaders. They did not accept the non possumus of the right hon. Gentleman. They did not know what the exigencies of the Party opposite might be, and as the Prime Minister had been in the past, so he might be in the future. Their position was this, they did not accept the result of the last General Election as a defeat of Home Rule, and for this reason, that it was not put to the constituencies; and seeing that Home Rule was not put forward, they wanted to know whether the policy of the Liberal Party in the House and in 207 the country was to be directed towards bringing Home Rule to the position it held. If that answer was given they should be as faithful as they had ever been in the past to the Liberal Party. He did not say that there were not Liberal Members who regarded this setback as no very great calamity. They had no very great gratitude in Ireland, for they saw that while the Irish people were strong in discipline, and relied mainly upon themselves, this question of Home Rule was kept to the front by the Liberal Leaders. When other questions were raised, as far back as 1887, Mr. Gladstone declared that it was impossible to consider any of these reforms because the question of Ireland blocked the way. The Leader of the Opposition declared, with reference to the Home Rule question that it was the Aaron's rod which swallowed all the others up, and Lord Rosebery, when spoken to about Scotch Home Rule, said it would, no doubt, come, but nobody would think of putting Scotch Home Rule in the position of Irish Home Rule. This was what they had to complain of, and with regard to which they desired to elicit an explanation. It was said that the last General Election altered the position of the Liberal Party on the question, and they heard nothing of the great, question which swallowed u dall the others. It might have been wise to have altered their Programme. He made no charge of deliberate breach of faith. What they wanted to know was in what position they stood. Were the Liberal Leaders prepared to co-operate with the Irish Parties by restoring this question to the position which it previously held? If the Liberal Leaders brought it forward, the Irish Members were prepared to co-operate with them, and no promise from the Tory Party would change the minds of the Irish people. If the Liberal Party had not been successful, their defeat rested upon their evasion of the policy they had previously pursued. If they looked at Ireland they would see 208 that the people had not gone back one iota from the position they previously occupied on this question. Reference had been made to the dissensions in the Irish ranks, but he knew no country in the world where they were fought out in a better spirit. Had the Unionist Party gained one seat? On the contrary, they had lost two, and yet Lord Salisbury insinuated that the Irish people had changed their minds on Home Rule.
§ MR. RADCLIFFE COOKE (Hereford)
said, he rather regretted the course the Liberal Leaders had taken. Not one single Member of the great Liberal Party had spoken in that Debate. The Leader of the Opposition might be drawn in: was he prepared to speak?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
If the hon. Member wishes it, I will take notes.
[The right hon. Gentleman, rising, took a sheet of paper and a pen from, the Table, and, being seated, waited, pen in hand.]
§ MR. RADCLIFFE COOKE,
resuming, said, the discussion had been almost of an academical character. It was clear that the Irish Members had lost influence over the Irish people, and over those who were located in America. The Amendment had been considerably narrowed down by the Speaker, but he might refer to one point. Recently it seemed likely that this country would be mixed up in difficulties with America. They had to read this Amendment with some statements made, not here, but in Ireland, upon the subject of the disagreement with America. Speaking at Fermoy, when it was supposed there was to be an outbreak, the hon. Member for Kilkenny, in the presence of the hon. Member for Waterford, said, openly, he hoped, if the British Government went 209 to war with America, it would find that it would have foes and not friends behind it. That statement was made by a Member of this House, who at the Table swore allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen. What was the meaning of the present Amendment? The hon. Member for East Mayo practically said—Grant us Home Rule, and when you are in difficulty with America possibly we may not side with America. Do not grant us Home Rule, and whenever you are in difficulty with America we will side with the enemies of England.England was threatened that if she did not grant Home Rule the Irish Nationalist Parties would lend all their forces to the enemies of this country. It was important to notice what forces the Irish Nationalist Party could add to the enemies of England, to notice whether it would be worth the while of the great American people to incur the enmity of this country on the chance of the friendship of the Irish Nationalist Party. Ireland really was like a house divided against itself. The hon. Member for Waterford commanded about as many followers—nine—as in common parlance it took of tailors to make a man, and the Anti-Parnellite Party, although they numbered some scores, were like sheep without a shepherd since the resignation of him who might be fairly called Justin Martyr, considering what lie must have gone through. He believed the resignation of that gentleman practically sounded the death knell of the Anti-Parnellite Party in the House of Commons. It was well, too, to consider what hon. Members would themselves elect to do in the circumstances. He did not imagine that any of the Irish Members were prepared to give any great active service to the enemies of England, but they would sit still while their dupes ran the risk and encountered danger and incurred penalties. Practically, he did not think America could expect much assistance from the Irish. In Ireland what were the forces? It was true they had the noble-minded heroes who crouched behind 210 hedgerows and popped off their landlords and they had Captain Moonlight, who ran away whenever the light of day shone upon him. He did not know whether America would be very proud of such allies [Cries of "Question," and interruption.] There was another view of the question. There were, it was often said, two Irelands. He did not know what would be the result, but he thought they could guess that when the two parties did come into conflict there would not be much of the Nationalists left to assist the enemies of England. It seemed to him there had been, from the time when Irish agitation took its rise some 100 years ago, a successive and continuous degeneration on the part of Irish agitators. One hundred years ago there were men in Ireland whose names at any rate lived in memory—Wolfe Tone and Emmett—and there was some pathos attaching to the name of Fitzgerald. And even the great figure of O'Connell loomed very largely through the mist. The leaders of the Young Ireland Party—Smith O'Brien, Mitchell, and Meagher, and so on—were heroes in comparison with the substitutes for statesmen who now attempted to guide the fortunes of what they called their native land. He thought that whatever threats might be held out by the Irish Nationalist Party they might be entirely disregarded.
§ MR. T. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
thought that if the hon. Member for North Armagh had been allowed to read his quotation from the Debates which had taken place in the American Senate, the House would have found that they were very germane to one part of the present Amendment. Senator Wolcott used these very remarkable words——
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, he called the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh to order when he was about to quote that speech. He could not allow the hon. Gentleman to quote what he had previously ruled out of order.
§ MR. LOUGH
thought it would have been more fitting if the hon. Member for 211 Waterford had referred in a tone of less acerbity to the remarks made by the hon. Member for East Mayo, especially so as in the course of his speech he said he was entirely united in principle with the hon. Member who moved the Amendment. He ventured with great respect to tell the hon. Member for Waterford and his Party that, for the sake of the unhappy Members who represented English constituencies, it would be well if in this House, at any rate, the union in principle, about which they had heard so much, were illustrated now and then by union of work for the great cause they all had at heart. Up to now, Home Rule had been denied, and the question which at present divided parties was whether they were to make permanent the refusal of self-government in Ireland. What had they heard about Ireland in the course of the Debate and recently? In the first six months of 1895 there was a famine in Ireland, and the House of Commons had to make provision for it. Pauperism was increasing, lunacy was increasing, there was an increase in the numbers of deaf and dumb and blind, indeed, every species of human suffering in Ireland was on the increase. There was, therefore, a great deal of just ground for discontent on the part of the people, and this discontent was taking a new form. The meetings which had been referred to, showed that, if the politicians were quiet and said nothing about the distress of the people, others would protest, as it was quite impossible to carry on the ordinary duties of human life if some effective change was not made. The emigration figures showed that 50,000 people cleared out of Ireland in 1895, against 35,000 in 1894. During the century Ireland had been denuded of millions of her people, greatly owing to the iniquitous system of government which had been imposed upon her. During the Debate an hon. Member had referred to the present prosperity of Ireland, but he 212 challenged the production of evidence to bear out the statement of increased prosperity. A very important fact bearing on the Irish question was that they now possessed the evidence taken before the Royal Commission on the financial relations between Great Britain and Ireland, which acquainted them with new facts in regard to the taxation and condition of Ireland during the last century. At the end of last Session the Chief Secretary promised to read that evidence during the Recess, but from the speech he had just delivered it was evident that he had not given it the slightest consideration. This was much to be regretted, because, if the right hon. Gentleman had done so he would probably have arrived at conclusions more favourable to the Irish case. The evidence submitted to that Commission elicited facts which were unknown for eighty years, especially relating to the taxation of Ireland in comparison with, and in proportion to, the taxation of Great Britain. Another fact educed was that whilst Great Britain in the last eighty years made wonderful progress in the direction of being able to meet the burdens of taxation, Ireland had declined in her power to meet the charges levied upon her. The population and wealth of Great Britain had more than doubled, but the population of Ireland had been cut down to one half, and her wealth had diminished in proportion. Her sufferings, too, during that period from famine and distress had been appalling. Dividing the century into two parts, the evidence submitted to the Commission went to show that the statesmanship of English Ministers had resulted in making the condition of Ireland during the second half of the century even worse than it was during the first half. No fewer than 2¼ millions of people had been expatriated from Ireland by English misgovernment and over-taxation since 1851. Fifty years ago there was no Income Tax in Ireland, and the tax on whisky—the most important industry 213 in Ireland—was then only 2s. 8d. per gallon, whereas the tax was now 10s. 6d. per gallon, and the Income Tax had been continued, and was now the same in both countries. Yet notwithstanding these impositions of taxation, the Imperial Revenue now derived from Ireland was three-quarters of a million less than in 1851. Out of the large amount exacted from Ireland, only a small portion of it was spent in the real interest of the people in education. Moreover, whilst taxation in Ireland had been increasing, the country was daily becoming less able to bear it. He contended that these lamentable facts were due entirely to the policy which England had adopted towards Ireland, and it was to be regretted that while the population of Ireland continued to decrease, and pauperism to increase, no desire or capacity had been shown by English Statesmen to readjust the taxation and to remedy these grievances under which the Irish people laboured. For these reasons he urged that the present was an opportune time for raising the case of Ireland on that Debate. He would not deny that efforts had been made by English Governments to improve the condition of the country, but in consequence of the character of the policy pursued, those efforts had not met with success. He wanted to bring his argument down to a later period. The refuge of everybody who knew nothing about Ireland was to say we must trace the evils to a remote historic cause, or to the religion or to the characteristics of the people. He did not believe it for a moment. Establish the same conditions in Ireland as would promote the prosperity of another country, and they would have prosperity in Ireland too; establish the conditions in Ireland that would produce ruin in any country, and then they would ruin Ireland. The Irish people were very like everybody else. They wanted to be fed and clothed, and allowed to live happily in their own homes. Hon. Members opposite honestly believed that they were opposed to Home Rule on principle, but he did not believe that was the reason. Hon. Members opposite opposed Home Rule because they were comfortable. If he might put his argument in a crude form, he would say they 214 opposed it because their stomachs were full. They said:—We have got a system that suits us; we are doing very well; we are the strongest country in the world; we can stand against the world.And then they were incapable of that great intellectual effort which enabled a people rich and comfortable themselves to imagine the sorrows and sufferings of another people who were poor and starving. The chief evil had been the exaction of too great taxation. They had done it, and they could cure it. He was going to take the last 15 years and consider what had been done during that period, because, if there was any possibility of progress in English institutions, they would have seen it in that time. Let him consider the Government of Ireland during the last 15 years under three of the most distinguished Chief Secretaries which the great parties in the House had produced. The first was Mr. W. E. Forster, who represented the Liberal Unionist idea, if it had any vitality in it; the second was the right hon. Gentleman who was now the Leader of the House, who represented the Conservative idea, so far as they had any panacea for Ireland's evils; and the third was the Chief Secretary of the late Government. He would ask three questions of each of those Governments. The first was, "How much extra taxation did this House exact during each period?" The second was, "How much did pauperism increase during each period?" and the third was, "How many people were driven out, discontented subjects, into foreign lands in each period?" In the first period, there was an increase of taxation which amounted to no less than £600,000 a year; that was the gift they gave Ireland to help her land agitation in 1881, 1882, and 1883. Previous to Mr. Forster going to Ireland there had been a good deal of pauperism. It amounted to something like 60 or 70 per 1,000 of the population; but Mr. Forster had not been two years in Ireland before the maximum rose to 114 per 1,000 of the population, and the minimum to 80; and since Mr. Forster left Ireland the minimum of pauperism had never fallen below 80. And he reduced the population by 400,000 while he was there. Of course, when he spoke of Mr. 215 Forster doing this he meant to speak of him as representing the Government. He did not blame Mr. Forster, and he hoped he had not uttered one word offensive to his memory. He did not deny that he meant well, but he produced most cruel and terrible results. He asked the same questions about the Government of the present Leader of the House. They had a Naval programme then, and owing mainly to that Naval programme the burden of taxation in Ireland was further increased by £500,000 a year. The maximum of pauperism went up to 130 in the 1,000, and since the right hon. Gentleman had left Ireland the minimum had never fallen below 90; and he reduced the population by 300,000. They had not got the figures for 1895, but he did not acquit the late Government. In the respects which he had mentioned they were almost as culpable as any other. But the Liberal Party had this great merit over the Tory Party—that it recognised that there was a case for reform that should go to the very root of this great matter. In the late Chief Secretary's time they had another Naval programme, which put, he believed, another £200,000 on the backs of the unfortunate people of Ireland. Pauperism steadily increased by at least 2 or 3 per cent., and the population was reduced by 140,000. The figures for 1895, so far as they had got them, showed that the Government had not in any effective way grasped this terrible situation. He had asked and answered the three questions, and now he wanted to put a question or two to the Government. The Chief Secretary would have noticed that he had not said a great deal about Home Rule. He was a Home Ruler through and through, and he believed they would never settle this question except by a devolution of local autonomy, such as they were so willing to give to the Transvaal. They must trust the people fully to enable them to construct an honest and effective Government for themselves. But he was also a practical person, and he did not care to quarrel with men when he wanted to deal with them on matters of principle. Though the Chief Secretary said they would not grant Home Rule, he would tell him what he could not escape from. For those who refused the right to the Irish people of 216 making an honest Government for themselves there remained the obligation of forming an honest and effective Government for them. He asked the Chief Secretary, was he going to form such a Government for Ireland? He had shown no indication of it in the speech he had just made, and they found nothing in the Queen's Speech that would lead them to such a conclusion as that. He asked him, was the Government going to exact during the next five years from Ireland a burden of taxation in the way previous Governments had? If they were, the Government was going to enter upon the most nefarious task that lay before any Government in any civilised country in the world. He would ask the Chief Secretary not to mistake the welcome he has received in Ireland. It means simply this, that the old system of government is worn out, and that something new will have to be established, and if you don't accept the recipe which the Liberal Leaders have offered then the obligation rests upon you to do something which will be as good and as effective."
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid) moved the adjournment of the Debate.
§ Debate adjourned till To-morrow.