§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
, in moving "That the present system of government in Ireland is in opposition to the will of the Irish people, and gives them no voice in the management of their own affairs; that the system is consequently inefficient and extravagantly costly; that it does not enjoy the confidence of any section of the population; that it is productive of universal discontent and unrest, and is incapable of satisfactorily promoting the material and intellectual progress of the people: that the reform of Irish government is a matter vital to the interests of Ireland, and calculated greatly to promote the 116 well-being of the people of Great Britain; and, in the opinion of this House, the solution of this problem can only be obtained by giver g to the Irish people the legislative and executive control of all purely Irish affairs," said: The recent history of the Home Rule movement and the circumstances in which the question of Home Rule stands at this moment render in my opinion, the Resolution which I have the honour to move necessary from the point of view of the interest of everybody concerned, from the point of view of England and of Ireland, from the point of view of the Liberal majority in this House, and if I may say so of the Government. 117 The Home Rule question stands at this moment in a strange and anomalous position—a position which cannot in-definitely continue. We are assembled here in a House of Commons the over-whelming majority of which is made up of men who have always professed their belief that the only solution of the Irish problem is the concession of Home Rule to Ireland—and of men, let me say, most of whom in season and out of season have made public profession of that belief. And we have in office a Government of whom I can truthfully say that every man of it at one time or another has given public pledges to the same effect; and yet owing to the circumstances which surrounded the last election and the period immediately before it they find themselves, they say, debarred from giving legislative effect in this Parliament to those convictions that they have expressed. I, for myself, deplored the circumstances as they arose which they say debarred them, and I deplore them still, but I must perforce recognise facts, and I believe it is a fact that certain members—I do not know how many—of the present Government, and a considerable number of members of the rank and file of the Liberal Party, did at the last election, quite gratuitously as it seemed to me, pledge themselves to their constituents that they would not introduce Home Rule as we understand it, or attempt to give legislative effect to it as we understand it, during the life of this Parliament. I may perhaps be allowed to recall with gratitude that the Prime Minister made no such declaration, and at this moment when everybody, political friend and foe alike, are watching with strained anxiety by his bedside, it is a sincere gratification to me to be able to say that it will never be forgotten by Ireland that no stress of circumstances induced him to lower the Home Rule flag, or to declare that he would postpone the demand of Ireland. This anomalous and illogical position, namely, of a great and powerful Government commanding a great and powerful majority in this House, all pledged to the principle of Home Rule, but yet debarred by their declarations at the election from introducing legislation to give effect in this Parliament, makes it, in my judgment, necessary in everybody's 118 interest, as I have said, that this Resolution should be moved, in order that we may find our bearings, in order to enable this Government and this House at least to place upon record the convictions that they entertain, and if I may say so, to free the hand of the Liberal Party and the members of the Government at the next election, so as to make sure that then, at any rate, the question of Home Rule will not be excluded from the consideration of the electors. There is another consideration why in my judgment this Resolution is necessary, and that is to be found in the history of the Irish Council Bill last year. That was not a Home Rule Bill. It was not offered to us as a Home Rule Bill—there was no deception attempted on the part of the Government—still it was recommended to us as a stop in the direction of Home Rule. Our attitude on this question of what is called the policy of the half-way house has never been in any doubt. In public and in private, formally and informally, on the floor of this House and everywhere where we have spoken for the last twenty-five years, we have declared our conviction that nothing could settle this question except the creation by this Parliament of a legislative assembly in Ireland, with executive powers. We have declared with equal emphasis that in our judgment it would pass the art of man to devise a satisfactory or logical half-way house upon this question. But when we found, as we did find, that the Government felt themselves debarred from introducing the only possible solution in our minds, we then frankly did our best to aid the Government in drafting a Bill that would have been regarded as a tolerable Bill. We put our views as to the constitution of the body to be created fully before the Government, and while I am the first to admit that the Chief Secretary did his best to meet these views, and that the Government went what, no doubt, they regarded as a considerable distance to meet those views, at the same time those views were not fully met, and we felt that the question of the acceptance or rejection of this half-way house must be discussed and decided, not by us on the floor of this House, but by the Irish people in Ireland. The question 119 was discussed, and with practical unanimity it was decided. I know there is a difference of opinion, even amongst the best friends of Ireland, as to whether that action of ours was wise or unwise. I am not going to discuss that question now. I point to the Council Bill of last year for the purpose simply of fortifying myself when I say that that history shows that the dealing with this question of Home Rule by a half-way house* measure is now no longer possible, and that consideration in my mind makes it necessary for me and my colleagues to put this Resolution before the House claiming a full settlement of the question. That, Mr. Speaker, is the intention and meaning of my Resolution.
I notice that there are quite a number of Amendments upon the Paper. There are only two, however, with which I think it necessary very briefly to deal. The first is the Amendment standing in the name of the noble Lord the Member for South Kensington. I regard his Amendment as raising a perfectly straight and uncompromising issue. I therefore welcome his Amendment. His Amendment is certainly uncompromising, for it would preclude not only a Home Rule Bill, but it would equally preclude the Council Bill of last year. Under its terms it would actually preclude the possibility of even private Bill legislation being taken from this House and given to an Irish assembly. But the noble Lord's Amendment indicates no alternative policy to Home Rule, and in my judgment no hon. Member can vote for that Amendment who is not prepared to say that the present system of government in Ireland—which has been denounced by almost every Lord-Lieu-tenant who has gone there for the last thirty-five years, no matter from what Party he came—is satisfactory and sufficient. Again I say that I welcome the noble Lord's Amendment because it raises a perfectly plain issue—on the one side trust in the people and, on the other, the old Tory policy of repression. The other Amendment to which I think it necessary to allude for a moment stands in the name of the hon. Member for Walthamstow. It is the last Amendment of the string that stand upon the 120 Paper, and it is a proposal desiring to add at the end of my Resolution words safeguarding the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. I regard those words as unnecessary and superfluous, and in my judgment they add nothing whatever to the meaning of my Resolution. We have always recognised the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, and we have always held the view that it would be impossible to alienate that supremacy in creating a statutory legislation for Ireland. The Bill of 1886 was based upon the maintenance of the supremacy of this Parliament. The preamble—the very first words—of Mr. Gladstone's Bill of 1893 were these—Without impairing or restricting the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament a legislature shall be created.We have never made any disguise about this matter. Allow me to quote two or three words spoken by Mr. Parnell with reference to this question when it came up in 1886. On 7th June in that year Mr. Parnell said—The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Goschen) spoke about the sovereignty of Parliament. I entirely agree upon that point. We have always known the difference between a co-ordinate and a subordinate Parliament, and we have always recognised that the legislature which the Prime Minister proposes to constitute is a subordinate Parliament. You leave the power and supremacy of Parliament untouched and unimpaired just as though this Bill had never been brought forward. We fully recognise this to be the effect of the Bill, and I now repeat what I have always said, that the Irish people have accepted it as a settlement.That has been our position from that day to this. The Irish Parliamentary Party from the day of that declaration down to this moment has never abandoned the position then taken up, and I say to the hon. and learned Member for Waltham-stow that in my judgment his words are superfluous; but if he or any other friends of Home Rule for Ireland—and I recognise that the hon. and learned Member is a friend of Home Rule—desires to add those words, although we think them unnecessary and superfluous, we certainly will accept them.
Now, let me turn to the main argument in support of my Resolution. I do not want to delay the House by repeating once again the 121 old old arguments which, though they still hold good to-day, have been repeated so often in this House—repeated by myself so often in this Parliament—that they must be familiar to hon. Members sitting in all quarters of the House. What I want this afternoon is to show if I can that an entirely new situation has arisen within the last twenty years since this question was last discussed. I will not therefore go in detail into the proofs of the failure of British Governments in Ireland since the Union. I will not stop to dwell on the meaning of the reduction of the population in fifty years by one-halt, I will not stop to discuss this afternoon the damning proof of the failure of your Government to be found in the fact that on the admission of both sides of the House education in all its branches is lamentably neglected, but in passing perhaps the House will allow me to say on that subject just this: what a commentary on British rule in Ireland it is that to-morrow we are going to discuss an effort—I hope it will prove a successful effort—to deal with University education in Ireland. It is just thirty-five years since the Prime Minister of this country introduced a measure to settle that question, and all during those thirty-five years the representatives of each Government in turn on coming into office have admitted the justice of the demand, admitted the grievance, and we have had to wait thirty-five years for the effort which is to be made to-morrow by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. That in itself would be sufficient to condemn the whole system of government in Ireland. Nor will I stop to dwell on the taxation of Ireland—doubled per head of the population in the last fifty years. I will not stop to deal with the question of the extravagant cost of Irish government, because the powerful statement of my hon. and learned friend the Member for East Tyrone last Thursday sufficiently covered that portion of the Home Rule case, and because there was something in the debate of last Thursday more powerful than the speech of my hon. and learned friend. The extravagant waste and the excessive cost was admitted by speakers in every quarter of the House, and yet no man could be found to suggest any other solution than to hand over these matters to 122 the government of the Irish people themselves. Therefore I pass from these familiar topics of argument simply saying that Ireland to-day is worse governed, is more discontented with your rule, and is more determined never to cease her demand until she has received Home Rule, than at any period of the Home Rule controversy. I say that an entirely new situation has arisen with reference to this question since 1886 and 1893. New facts have arisen, new circumstances have appeared, and the whole political position has really been revolutionised. First of all, let me point out that almost without exception every one of those great arguments which were urged against Home Rule in those days and which had so much weight with the people of this country, and which led to the defeat of the Home Rule Bills, has since then disappeared, and more extraordinary still they have been disposed of and put out of the way by legislation of the Unionist Party. What were these great arguments? First of all, there was the argument that Irishmen were unfit to rule themselves. I do not think many people put faith in that so crudely as Lord Salisbury did when he mentioned the Irish race in connection with Hottentots as among those races unfitted for the exercise of self-government. But there is no question that probably the most powerful of all the arguments against Home Rule in its effect in the country twenty years ago was the argument pressed upon the English people that Ireland herself would run the terrible risk of being ruined under Home Rule by incompetence, extravagance, and jobbery. What has become of that argument? The Local Government Act of 1898 was passed by the Unionist Government. Let me remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that it was not a half measure. The present Leader of the Opposition, I think it was, two or three years earlier did introduce a half measure on this question of local government and very soon withdrew it. The measure of 1898 was a full measure based on the same trust in the people that underlies the Local Government Act which is at work both in England and in Scotland, and the Chief Secretary of that day, Mr. Gerald Balfour—whose absence from this House I confess I regret very much when 123 all these Irish questions are discussed, though we differed very often—made one very remarkable statement in the course of debate of that Bill: he said—If the Irish people do their work with business capacity and in a spirit of toleration, it will mitigate one of the arguments which has told heavily in England against Home Rule.Let me now ask the question, How has it worked? The Leader of the Opposition last year, upon faulty information supplied to him by a deputation, made a declaration in a speech outside the House to the effect that the county councils were not working well in Ireland, that they were not doing their business with capacity, and, in fact, that they were sacrificing the interests of those whom they represented. I am glad to have an opportunity, face to face with the right hon. Gentleman, of giving him the answer to that statement. The answer is very simple. The Local Government Board in Ireland, which supervises all the transactions of local government in the country, has in its Report year by year for every year that has passed since 1898, given the lie to that statement. I have all its Reports by me here; and they show year by year that the prediction of evil by those who did not trust the Irish people has been falsified, and that the business of the counties has been transacted honestly, economically, and efficiently. These Reports appeared year after year while the right hon. Gentleman was Prime Minister, and his Government was in office at Dublin Castle, and vet, without reading these Reports of his own Government, the right hon. Gentleman rashly last year committed himself to the statement to a deputation that the county councils of Ireland were working inefficiently and corruptly, and some, in fact, sacrificing the interests of the ratepayers. I have his words.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
The right hon. Gentleman has known me long enough in this House to be aware that I am not likely to make a statement of that kind without being able to verify it. 124 Here is the quotation from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman.If the information you have given me is correct, and it is confirmed from all quarters with which I have had an opportunity of consulting, the Local Government act is being used in every count: in Ireland where the Nationalist Party have a majority, not to further the administrative necessities of that country, not to use the patronage vested in the majority for the purpose of appointing the best men to do the work they have to do; it is used merely as a great electoral machine for promoting the interests of a political party, even though the essential local interests of the community are fatally sacrificed thereby.Well, now, I have given the first answer to that statement consisting of the Reports of the Local Government Board in Ireland year after year. The Report of the very year that speech was made, the Report of the right hon. Gentleman's own Board, says the direct opposite. Let me give another proof. When the Local Government Act came into operation great obstacles were placed in the way of its successful working. The county councils were obliged to pension all officials on high scales. They had to face a new rate for technical instruction under the Act of 1899, and to take up their work under great difficulty caused by inexperience and the tangled condition of local administration. Yet notwithstanding all that, and notwithstanding the fact that these county councils have set on foot and carried out great works in the shape of improvements of roads and other matters of that kind, taking Ireland as a whole, the rates have been reduced by these councils to the extent of 3d. in the £ all over Ireland. It is interesting to remember in this connection that the President of the Local Government Board in England stated in answer to a Question the other day that the rural rates in England have been raised in the same period 1s. in the £. Where the Irish people have got control of rates and expenditure, there has been this economy, this saving of public money, but in that portion of the expenditure in Ireland which is not under the control of the people, but under the control of this House, there has during the same period of eight years been an increase of £1,000,000. At one time it was nearer £2,000,000. I respectfully submit to the House in 125 the face of these facts that the old argument that the Irish people are unfit for the steady and sober management of their own affairs goes by the board.
The second great argument was that if Ireland got Home Rule legislation would be passed by an Irish Parliament to confiscate the property of the Irish landlords. Again the Unionist Party have themselves removed that argument. We were told that an Irish Parliament would endeavour to put into an Act of Parliament the principles of Parnell and the Land League. What were those principles? Those principles were the abolition of landlordism and the creation of a peasant proprietary. Those principles were enshrined in the Unionist Land Act of the right hon. Member for Dover. Whatever difficulties may have arisen in the working of the Act, and however Irish landlords may have received too high a price for their farms, the fact remains that your bogey of which you made so much use twenty years ago, that an Irish Parliament would rob Irish landlords, has been completely removed by the action of the Unionist Party by the passage of the Land Act of 1903. Let me take another of those bogeys—that of religious bigotry. The English people were told that if the Irish people got control of their own affairs that power would be used as an engine of religious bigotry. I have heard in this House complaints made of the working of the county councils as proof that that is likely to take place. I have actually heard men in this House declare, as a reproach against Ireland, that in practically entirely Catholic parts of the country the county councils have consisted, in the majority, of Catholics. It is absurd to raise an argument of that kind. Apply that argument to England, where the proportions are reversed. What would be said if I denounced the English nation as a religiously intolerant nation, because of the fact that although there are about 2,000,000 of Catholics in Great Britain, yet out of the 567 Members returned to this House, there are only five Catholics, and if I went on to confound them by saying that in Ireland, where the Protestants are in a small minority, out of 103 Members elected 126 twenty-seven are Protestants, and that quite a number of them who sit as Members of this Party are elected to this House by almost entirely Catholic constituencies. I know what is in the mind—indeed more than in the mind—of the Leader of the Opposition, because he has expressed it. He takes the view that religion has influenced county councils in the giving of paid offices, and I state that that is untrue. I have here the figures for every county in Ireland, and they prove the exact opposite. They prove indeed that if there is intolerance at all it is not in the Catholic parts of the country. Allow me to give two or three instances only. In Galway the Protestants are only 6 per cent, of the whole population, but they hold 19 per cent, of all the paid offices in the gift of the county councils. In Cork the Protestants are 10 per cent. of the whole population, and they hold 23 per cent. of all the paid offices in the gift of the county councils, and some of the most highly paid ones. In Cavan the Protestants are only 20 per cent, of the population, and they hold 47 per cent. of the paid offices. In West Meath the Protestants are only 9 per cent., and they possess 33 per cent. of all the paid offices. If I turn to the other side of the picture, I find that in the northern portion of Ireland the story is the exact reverse. In Armagh the Catholics are 45 per cent, of the whole population, but they have only 6 per cent, of the paid offices. In Tyrone the Catholics have actually a majority of the population, but the county council for some reason or another has a majority of Unionists and Protestants. The Catholics are 55 per cent, of the population, but they only hold 20 per cent. of the offices. In Fermanagh the Catholics are 38 per cent. of the population, and they only hold 23 per cent. of the paid offices. Surely these figures are a fair argument for me to use, and a powerful one. Here we' have been held up for twenty years, not only as a people incompetent, but as a people who, if they got powers, would be intolerant and oppressive to their Protestant fellow-countrymen. The Unionist Party passed the Local Government Act of 1898, and put powers into the hands of the people, and there is the result. If I wished to emphasise this further, I 127 might perhaps be allowed to say that even quite recently an eminent Protestant divine, Dr. Meade, the present Bishop of Cloyne and Ross, speaking on a public occasion and proposing the health of the lord-Lieutenant, used these words. He assured his Excellency that, although they might differ in their politics and views, and had perhaps the name of being very strong politicians, notwithstanding all that they lived together in peace and goodwill, and were all lovers of their country. Let me read the statement made by the Moderator of the General Assembly of Presbyterians. The Rev. Dr. McKean, speaking last June, said—The grazing system was doing more injury not only to the Presbyterian Church, but to the whole of the Irish people, than any other condition of things he had seen. His objection to the ranches was that they were kept covered with bullocks and men could not be seen in his district. He hoped this land would be cultivated, but declared that what Presbyterians had to do was to keep the manhood of the country in Ireland. Dealing with the attitude of the southern Catholics towards Presbyterians he said that all ministers in the south with one or two exceptions were unanimous in speaking highly of the toleration and goodwill shown towards them by those who differed from them in faith.I claim, therefore, that that argument, drawn from alleged religious bigotry, has been utterly destroyed by the experience of the last twenty years. Another argument which was used was the alleged absolute irreconcilability of the landlords, gentry, and professional classes—indeed, it might be held the whole of Ulster—on this question. The last twenty years have seen an extraordinary change going on in Ireland, and not the least remarkable change has been the change that has been going on in Ulster. Every man who reads the newspapers is aware of the fact that there has arisen in Ulster a new democratic body—the hon. Member for South Belfast will know what I mean—new democratic force which, if it does not come directly and fully to Home Rule, has at any rate broken loose from the old official bearings, the old official moorings, and is every day gaining power and every day drifting into the direction of self-government by the Irish people. That force returned the hon. Member for West Belfast to this House; and that force, taking another form, returned the hon. Member for South Belfast. A 128 change has even come over the old Orange Society which, twenty years ago, was united against us. In the Orange Society there are now two sections—one of them declaring itself in favour of the extension of self-government to the Irish people. Many people must have read a remarkable letter written to the papers the other day by the Grand Master of the Independent Order of Orangemen, Mr Lindsay Crawford, in which he said that—The time had come for plain speaking on the part of all 'Ulster men who were interested in the settlement of the Irish questions, on lines that would devolve upon Irishmen within the bounds of Imperial unity the elementary right, of self-government in Irish affairs.That change with regard to Home Rule is going on in Ireland amongst all sections of the people; and I venture to hold that if you could take a ballot to-morrow of the business men in Ireland—who are really now beginning to understand that there never will be a real trade and industrial revival except under self-government in Ireland—if you were to take a ballot to-morrow you would find almost, if not quite, that the majority of them are in favour of Home Rule. The same is true of the professional classes; and the same is true of the official classes. I wish the Chief Secretary would throw all official reticence on one side and tell us candidly what is the official opinion in Ireland. I have a shrewd suspicion that the overwhelming majority of the officials would far sooner see Home Rule set up on a sound basis in Ireland than be subject to the uncertainties, difficulties, and miseries of the present system of government in that country. If you take the landlords: everybody knows the change that has come over many of them on this question. I know that until the land question is completely settled, and so long as we are in conflict with a large number of landlords on the question of price, compulsion, and so forth—until these questions are set at rest—and God grant that they soon will be very rapidly set at rest—you cannot expect that landlords as a class will declare in favour of Home Rule. But it is not remarkable that so many of them have. Take, for instance, the hon. Member for the County of Carlow 129 who was elected the other day, without opposition, in almost entirely Catholic constituency: he himself is not only a Protestant, not only a landlord, but the son of the ablest leader of the Irish landlords, who sat in this House, an d who will be remembered by many hon. Members present—Mr. Arthur MacMurragh Kavanagh. And finally let we ask what has become of the remaining great argument of the Unionists against Home Rule, viz., that they had an alternative policy of their own. Yes. Their alternative policy was twenty years of resolute Government. They have tried that policy out. They have had their twenty years. They tried it out under circumstances most advantageous to themselves, with the ablest Englishmen they could find administering in Ireland, with an overwhelming majority in this House. They have tried their policy, and what is the result? Why during the whole twenty years Ireland was never governed by the constitution of this country. She was governed all the time by exceptional and coercive laws. The twenty years resulted in the reduction of the population by about 1,000,000, in the increase of taxation by over £2,000,000, and so far from settling the Irish national question, Ireland admittedly—and we will hear it in the debate used with wonderful effrontery against us—is, if anything, more disloyal to the present system of government than she was before. No; every remedy has been tried, but they have never weaned Ireland, nor coerced Ireland, from the national movement. Politics are very uncertain in this country. No one can foretell the result of a general election. Any day there may be a landslide and one party may take the place of the other. The only thing sure about the politics of the three kingdoms is that at least eighty-five or eighty-six Irish representatives will be returned, time and time again, to this House, to declare as we are declaring with one voice this afternoon, that nothing can settle the Irish question except a full measure of Home Rule. You were to convert her from Home Rule by twenty years of resolute government But you have not converted Ireland from Home Rule; but you have, on the contrary, 130 converted to Home Rule almost every man you ever sent there. It is interesting to look at the list of Viceroys from the days of Lord Kimberley, who, as the opponent of a self-governing Ireland, ruled. Ireland at the time of the Fenian outbreak; Lord Spencer, who went as a Unionist to Ireland, and ruled Ireland during the worst days of 1880 and 1881, down all through the list: Lord Carnarvon, Lord Aberdeen, to Lord Crewe, and last but not least, Lord Dudley. What has been their experience? I do not say they were all absolutely converted to my conception of Home Rule, but they have every one of them declared their distrust and their distaste of the present system of government in Ireland. Then take your Under-Secretaries and other high officials in Ireland—Sir Robert Hamilton, Sir West Ridgway, Sir Redvers Buller. Why, it is the same story right through. The men sent to convert-us from Home Rule we have converted into enemies, at least I may say, of the present position and system of rule in that country. I do not want to detain the House much longer, but I would like to read to the House the simple declaration of Sir West Ridgway—I went to Ireland with an open mind, free from bias, and there were soon impressed upon it certain facts. I quickly realised that the system was deficient and cumbersome, and that the gulf which yawned between the people and the Government could only be bridged by associating the people with the government of their own affairs.And he went on to say that he prepared a Memorandum in 1889, and submitted it to the Government, in which he advocated the concession of a liberal measure of self-government, the decentralisation of finance, and the reorganiation of Dublin Castle. Then he recommended—Especially the abolition of that chaotic anachronism administered by semi-independent boards whereby three men do the work of one.I commend to the House his accurate description of the noble Lord's Amendment. He said—The policy of the extreme Unionist is purely negative. That policy is to stand still and do nothing. Ireland is to rest and be thankful while the rest of Europe progresses and develops. Ireland is to be stationary—to remain stagnant—and if in the course of nature unhealthy ferment follows it is to be corrected by antiseptic coercion.131 That is a fair definition, I respectfully submit, of the meaning of the Amendment of the noble Lord.
Now, I ask, what argument against Home Rule remains? Honestly I know of only one, and that is an argument which, put nakedly, would revolt the feelings of every man in this House—I mean the argument of fear—fear of the injury that Ireland, with her 4,000,000, might be able to do to this nation of over 40,000,000 if the Irish people had placed in their hands some measure of self-government. Sir, that argument is unworthy a great nation. It is said that Ireland is disloyal. So was Canada in 1837. Do you recollect the fact that on the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne the Government in this country directed that the Te Deum should be sung in the churches in the Colony of Canada in honour of the occasion, and that the Canadians rose en masse and left the churches, and they were actually fighting against this country with arms in their hands at the moment of the accession of the Queen? It is said, "Ireland is disloyal"; so was General Botha until you conceded to him the right of self-government. It is said, "Ireland is disloyal"; so was Canada, so was Australia, and so was the Transvaal when you attempted to take away their rights of self-government from them. I was talking a few months ago in this House to a very distinguished Unionist Member of it, and I put this argument candidly to him: I pointed out the similarity of the two races, the two creeds, the disloyalty and the turmoil that faced Lord Durham when he went out to Canada. I also pointed out the result of self-government, and I asked this distinguished gentleman: "What is your answer?" He said that there was only one answer, and that was to be found in the proximity of Ireland to Great Britain. He said to me: What would happen if after Home Rule a foreign foe succeeded in landing in Ireland, and was received by a friendly population? "I asked him what reception he thought a foreign foe would get if he succeeded in landing now. And I asked him further how would it be more easy for a foreign foe to land on the shores of Ireland after Home Rule, after the people had been trusted, and so 132 forth? He could not answer, because he had to admit that the Navy would still be in existence, and still be under your control and not ours. You would have your forces to prevent the invasion of Ireland then just as you have them now, but you would have this stronger force than any military or naval armaments. You would have the contentment which would spring from the breasts of a people whose rights of self-government had been conceded. But, after all, are not these very unworthy arguments and considerations for a great nation? Last year the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs made a speech with reference to the cession of autonomy to the Transvaal which stuck in my memory, and which I have referred to on more than one occasion outside this House. He said—The history of our relations with our self-governing Colonies has been a great chapter in the history of freedom. The first part of that chapter began when freedom and union were thought to be incompatible—to be in rivalry with each other. Freedom won the day. Now we knew that freedom and union were not only compatible, but that they were inseparable. Freedom gave to the self-governing Colonic; power to develop their countries, and, what was more, improved the special excellencies of their race and character in the environment of the country in which they lived. That was a great gift—the power to develop—which freedom gave. But it had another gift, namely, that of healing. In the history of one of our great colonies we had already seen how it could heal wounds and strife, and bring race; together, and we were confident in our latest self-governing Colony that the healing gift of freedom would be equally potent.Yes, those are two of the great gifts of freedom, the power to develop and the power to heal. These are the gifts that we are asking for Ireland, the power to develop for ourselves, in our own way, our own qualities. The power to develop for ourselves the resources of our own country; the power to strike off the minds of the youths of Ireland the chains that are there to-day, to free their hands and to enable them to develop their own characters and the resources of their own country. Whenever Ireland had that power, Ireland prospered; when she lost that power, Ireland declined. During the history of Grattan's Parliament, Irish industries, which had been deliberately and ruthlessly destroyed by the action of the English Parliament, had begun to revive, 133 and then to flourish, but from the moment that the Union was carried that development was arrested, stagnation and decay came down like a poisonous mist over the land, and to-day Ireland, which is by nature a rich and fertile island, lags miserably behind in the hindmost rank of the progress of the world. We ask from you power to develop, we ask also the power to heal. There are many wounds to be healed in Ireland, and it may be said that although the wounds inflicted by this country in the past have been many and grievous, yet probably the deadliest wounds have been those inflicted by race or class hatred, and the religious dissensions of Ireland's own sons themselves. My answer to that is that every class hatred in Ireland, every discord, every feud has its origin in the past history of the government of Ireland by England. Give us the power to heal those feuds. Ireland herself alone can do it. So long as English ascendancy is associated with one creed in Ireland, with one class, and with one party, so long will the healing of these wounds be absolutely impossible. It was the same in Canada. But, in consequence of the enlightened statesmanship of Lord Durham and the statesmen of that day, the blessed influence of freedom came along and united warring races and creeds. So will it be in Ireland, and all we ask from you, all I ask in this 'Resolution, is this: That what you have done for Frenchmen in Quebec, what you have done for Dutchmen in the Transvaal, von should now do for Irishmen in Ireland. In other words, you should trust the people, and the moment you do it, I believe in my heart and conscience, there and then, once and for all, you will have ended the blackest chapter in the history of your country. I beg to move.
§ MR. RAINY (Kilmarnock Burghs)
said he rose to second the Motion so admirably and eloquently moved by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. Although he could have wished that someone more capable had been entrusted with the duty, he felt he had some justification for so doing. Ever since Parnell was put into Kilmainham he had been a convinced Home Ruler, and attaching the great importance that he did to this question, he thought it should not be associated 134 with one form of religions belief, and he was glad to be able to stand up and support it as a Protestant and Presbyterian. It was not only an Irish, but an Imperial question also, and as such support should be given to it by those on that side of the House, who believed in the proposed solution plainly and emphatically. It was very difficult to follow the eloquent and exhaustive speech to which they had just listened, but during the brief interval he proposed to detain the House he desires to trace some points of the history of the time of King William III. in order that the House should have in mind some idea of things which were not always alluded to when this subject was discussed. After the Battle of the Boyne, when the Treaty of Limerick was broken by this country the Irish Parliament was a Protestant body, yet, in spite of the exclusion of the Catholics from that body, the people of Ireland always tried to help those in Parliament who endeavoured to work for the emancipation of the Catholics. The whole efforts of Grattan and Flood became popular in Ireland, because the Protestant Parliament then stood for the nation as a whole, and endeavoured to obtain for those outside that which was granted to one creed. It was remarkable to note that as years went on, owing to the exclusion of the Catholics from the Parliament, almost every group of persons who endeavoured to ameliorate the condition of Ireland were Protestants. Emmett was a Protestant, Wolfe Tone was a Protestant, Lord Edward Fitzgerald was a Protestant. It was, therefore, of the utmost importance that the House should realise that it was not a question between one creed and another, as to what would satisfy the national aspirations on the other side of the Channel. It had unfortunately been the fact that everything that had been granted to Ireland had been spoilt in the giving. At the time of the Union it was understood that there should be Catholic emancipation, but that hope was disappointed. Let the House take O'Connell's emancipation campaign. It was only through Irishmen going so far as to threaten civil war, which the Ministers were not prepared to face, that that concession was obtained, and it was owing to his campaign for the repeal of 135 the Union that the whole of the conesquential legislation carried out by the British Parliament resulted. It was a curious fact that nothing had ever been given to Ireland at any moment because she was peaceful and entitled to it. What had been given had been given because there was unrest and disturbance. Even during the time of the late Government, a time when they were told there was to be resolute government in Ireland, the resolute government was accomplished by sops. It was not resolute government at all. It was shooting with rifles filled with breadcrumbs, and resulted in a shower of gold on the other side. If hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite were consistent and believed in their principles, if there was treachery and conspiracy going on to to upset the Empire, why had Irishmen a vote? Why were they allowed to send Members to Parliament, and why did the House regard with equanimity the fact that unless there was an extraordinary majority on the one side or the other, the destinies of the Empire rested neither with the Government nor with the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but with the Irish Members? As evidence of the fact that nothing was done, save under compulsion, be would call attention to the fact that Mr. Gladstone himself stated in the House that his land legislation for Ireland would never have been taken in hand but for the disturbance in Ireland. He also believed the Leader of the Opposition would never have gone in for the Land Purchase Act if it had not been for the Plan of Campaign. It was on record in the "Life of Gladstone," by the Secretary of State for India, that as a matter of fact in the April, May, June, and July of that year the Leader of the Opposition was driven step by step finally to adopt a position which, in a speech in that year, he said was immoral, was robbery, and one which he would not tolerate for a moment, because it broke down contracts. Objections had been touched upon by the a hon. and learned Member, but 'he would never forget the speeches that were made in Edinburgh at the time of the first Home Rule Bill by the late Lord Goschen and the late Duke of Devonshire. In addressing the electors of Scotland in connection with the 136 Irish managing their own affairs Lord Goschen, then Mr. Goschen, said—What is an Irish affair? What are the powers of the Irish Government under the proposals of the Government? One power has been given to them—to realise it to the full—they may change the whole of their criminal law. They may take it and pull it to pieces, not only for three-quarters of Ireland, but for Ulster if they choose. I am not going to say they will do so, but you give the Irish Legislature powers to suspend Habeas Corpus—to abolish it—to abolish the law of capital punishment, to reduce murder to manslaughter, to change the nature of every crime. That is one of the powers given to this new Parliament. Well, what would be the position as between the two countries? In what position, for example, are those who may come to plot against this country—in what position would they be if they were in Dublin, with an Irish Executive and an Irish Legislature? They may change the laws of crime. I do not say they are to change the laws, but we are bound to know what we are doing when we say the Irish manage their own affairs. I have spoken of criminal law. Let me say a word about the laws referring to property. Here is a question I should submit to the supporters of the Government. Would the reduction of interest on English and Scottish money invested in Ireland be an Irish affair or an English and Scottish affair?He rejoiced that we had moved a long way beyond speeches of that sort. It I was in the knowledge of the House that matters in Ireland had greatly improved during the last twenty years. There was la desire on the part of the people on both sides of the Channel to come together. As to how far that desire had gone the people on this side were not so well informed as those who lived on the other. But he believed there was a desire on the part of the people of Ireland to draw together for the national good. It would be a deplorable thing if that were checked, and would, if discouraged, fill the people of Ireland with disappointment and dismay. He trusted that the decision of the House would show that they intended to apply to Ireland and the dissatisfaction there the same treatment that they had applied to all those parts of the Empire where similar dissatisfaction in past times had existed. It had been remarked that it was cowardice which had prevented them from going on in 1886, and he believed it was so. They knew that the. Empire had not been established by timid processes, and Government they ought to go on without fear. The more liberally they 137 were to receive the trust of the Irish people, and he hoped there would be nothing like putting too many safeguards on what they gave, as if they could not trust the people out of their sight. That was just the thing which, he believed, would spoil any experiment they might make in that direction. Ireland, fundamentally and by her national situation, was in association with and belonged to this great Empire; and it was because he believed that it was not a question of creed but of nationality and common sense, and that experience in the past had proved that action on such lines as he suggested had made for the strength and not the weakness of this great Empire, that he had the greatest pleasure in seconding the Motion.
Motion made and Question proposed, "That the present system of Government in Ireland is in opposition to the will of the Irish people and gives them no voice in the management of their own affairs; that the system is consequently inefficient and extravagantly costly; that it does not enjoy the confidence of any section of the population; that it is productive of universal discontent and unrest, and is incapable of satisfactorily promoting the material and intellectual progress of the people; that the reform of Irish Government is a matter vital to the interests of Ireland and calculated greatly to promote the well-being of the people of Great Britain; and, in the opinion of this House, the solution of this problem can only be attained by giving to the Irish people the legislative and executive control of all purely Irish affairs."—(Mr. John Redmond.)
§ *EARL PERCY (Kensington, S.)
in moving to leave out all after the word "That," in order to add the words, "inasmuch as the abandonment by the Imperial Parliament of its undivided responsibility, both for legislation and administration within the United Kingdom, would injure the prosperity of Ireland and imperil the security of Great Britain, this House is unalterably opposed to the creation of an Irish Parliament with a responsible executive, "said: The Motion which has been moved by the hon. and 138 learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford, with all that customary eloquence with which he knows so well how to make the worse cause appear the better, reminded the House that an identical Motion which he moved only a few years ago received the unanimous assent of the Liberal Party.
§ *EARL PERCY
The larger part. There is one sentence to which I will refer at greater length. If the object of the hon. and learned Gentleman were merely to satisfy himself of the doctrinal orthodoxy of his political friends, that would be a matter of domestic discipline with which we on these benches need not greatly concern ourselves. We know that whatever the views on the subject of Home Rule of hon. Gentlemen opposite may be, they are bound by their election pledges not to introduce a Home Rule Bill in the present Parliament; we know that they have staked their collective reputation on a policy of devolution, which now turns out to be the one policy which every section of opinion in Ireland is united in condemning. We know, also, that after declaring at the last general election, on every platform, that if they could only get a majority independent of the votes of hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, they would do what they thought best without reference to any other consideration. It only required a hostile vote from a Nationalist Convention in Dublin to make them run away from the Bill which they had just induced the House of Commons to read a first time with a majority of 300. We have the Chief Secretary constantly informing us that he knows he has no right to govern Ireland, or to be where he is; and the hon. Member for South Tyrone telling us as he did last Thursday that he feels the present situation to be both humiliating and degrading and yet neither of these Gentlemen is able to devise a better method of saving his dignity than by leaving the executive functions of Government largely in abeyance, and depriving the unfortunate persons who happen to live in that part of the United Kingdom of that measure of protection of life and 139 property which we have hitherto supposed to be the birthright of every British citizen. If on the top of that really deplorable record they choose to remind the English people that, bad as their actions are, their principles are even worse, certainly it is not for us to grudge them any satisfaction they may derive from that voluntary act of public penance. But the Member for Waterford has another and a more practical object in view in submitting his Motion. When the Irish Devolution Bill was abandoned last year, the hon. and learned Gentleman made a speech in Dublin which was not couched in the diplomatic phraseology which, out of regard for the feelings of hon. Gentlemen opposite, he feels obliged to use in this House. The hon. and learned Member explained the failure of the Government by saying that it was formed before the last general election, and that had it been formed after the general election certain "Roseberyite" gentlemen, as he described them, would not have found places in the Government at all, or, if they had found places, "would have held their tongues on the subject of Home Rule" I think I am quoting the hon. and learned Gentleman almost textually. He then proceeded to say that the failure of the Devolution Bill had shown the Government that there was no practicable alternative except Home Rule. But that part of the speech I will give in his own words. The hon. and learned Gentleman said—The fate of the Irish Council Bill has shown the Government the impossibility of satisfying Ireland with anything short of Home Rule, and has made this certain that Home Rule, not devolution, will be the Irish policy put before the electors at the next general election. My own estimate is that the general election will take place early in 1909 and in my opinion the sooner the general election comes the better. It is our duty to declare plainly to the Liberal Party that when the election comes Home Rule must be put in the forefront of their programme, and if it is allied with the question of the reform of the House of Lords, then probably all the better for Ireland. We must effect this duty next session, and place the Irish demand plainly before the House of Commons and the English people. If I am asked how and when we will raise it in Parliament, that depends on circumstances, and even if we knew, it would be very foolish to make the announcement six months in advance.The cat is now out of the bag in the shape of this Motion. It is a piece of strategy skilfully designed to extract 140 from His Majesty's Government, if possible, plain answers to two plain questions. The first is, Do they or do they not admit that devolution is henceforth an impracticable policy? and secondly, Do they or do they not intend to put Home Rule frankly in the forefront of their programme at the next general election, even if they prefer to conceal its prominent position under cover of an attack on the House of Lords? No one can deny that these are pertinent questions; they are questions which interest us and interest the whole country, as well as hon. Gentlemen below the gangway. The Government have produced their devolution scheme and it has failed. We have a right to know whether and to what extent their Irish policy has been modified in consequence. They have produced their scheme for reform of the House of Lords. We have a right to know, and the electors have a right to know, whether a Home Rule Bill is to be one of the Bills upon which the House of Lords is to be allowed to say "No" three times, and is then to become law in spite of the fact that the details of the Bill have never been submitted to the electors at all. The hon. and learned Gentleman was good enough to say of my Motion that it is plain and straightforward. Our position is perfectly clear. We have never regarded devolution as anything but a trick to induce the electors of this country to commit themselves to the principle of Home Rule by a side-wind. We agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman that nothing could be more disastrous to the interests of the whole of the United Kingdom than to keep this vital issue permanently in suspense, and he is quite right when he says that to Home Rule we remain, as we always have been, unalterably opposed. With regard to the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, I hope he will not think me guilty of discourtesy if I say that it seems to me to consist partly of premises which are all more or less at variance with the facts, and partly of conclusions which have no relation at all to the premises. Really, to say of a system under which the Irish people have precisely the same control over local affairs as the English people have, and a considerably larger 141 share of political representation in this House than the electors of any other part of the Kingdom—to say of such a system that it gives them no voice in the management of their own affairs must, I think, be admitted to be something in the nature of a terminological inexactitude. To say that it does not meet with the acceptance of any section of the Irish people when we know, as a matter of fact, that a quarter of the population, composed of the most wealthy—[An HON. MEMBER: And intelligent.]—I will not use an offensive phrase—the most wealthy part of the population, is not only content with the present state of things, but is desperately and determinedly opposed to the very solution which the hon. and learned Gentleman recommends—is scarcely less absurd. And when we are asked to declare that the present administration of Ireland is incapable of promoting the prosperity of the Irish people, it is quite sufficient to disprove that statement to refer to statistics which have been cited over and over again, and which are recognised tests of material prosperity in the case of every other country in the world except Ireland. The hon. and learned Member has mentioned again to-night the drain of the population by emigration. That is no doubt a sad and undeniable circumstance, but that it has nothing to do with the Union is conclusively proved by the fact that the population of Ireland steadily increased for forty years after the Act of Union. Emigration has set in during the last half century, but so it has also in England and Scotland. But whereas the tendency in Ireland shows some signs of arrest (I am told on very good authority that the number of Irish emigrants from Ireland in 1905 was less than it has been in any year since 1851), the number of emigrants from Scotland is greater now than that from Ireland. And in the case of England I believe the emigration is larger this year than it has ever been. Of course, it is true that Ireland, being to a greater extent than England dependent upon agriculture, has suffered to a greater extent than we have from the effects of free trade. That is obvious. But Home Rule has never been advocated, by the Liberal Party at least, on the ground that it would 142 enable Ireland to revert to protection. On the contrary, every single Home Rule Bill they have yet brought in has been careful to reserve the control of the Customs Tariff to the Imperial Parliament. As to the inefficiency of the administration the hon. and learned Gentleman passed it over with very few words. He said very naturally that the subject had been thoroughly thrashed out last Thursday, and he would not deal with it at any length. But we have the testimony of the Prime Minister himself in the debate on the Address last year, and I think of the Chief Secretary, to the effect that it would be impossible to find abler administrators than those who sit in Dublin Castle now, and if it is true that that administration is costly, the fact is partly due to the number of inspectors appointed in connection with the numerous Acts which this House has passed in order to satisfy Irish ideas, but mainly due to the expense of the police. The cost of the police in Ireland is not comparable to the cost of the police in England, because the police in Ireland have to perform a number of duties which are not thrown on that force in this country, and in any case the very last persons who have a right to complain of the cost of the police are hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, whose language and constant incitement to agitation of every kind is one of the factors chiefly responsible for the swollen Estimates under this head, which the Government themselves have had to present to the House. But I am quite aware that there are many hon. Gentlemen of both sides of the House who are far more competent and better-qualified than I am to speak about the effects of Home Rule from the Irish point of view, and, so far as that part of the Motion is concerned, I shall content myself by pointing out that even if we were triumphantly to refute to the hon. Gentleman's own satisfaction every one of his premises, that would not in the least degree affect his belief in the conclusion which he draws. He has over and over again told us in this House and elsewhere that he founds the claim of Ireland to Home Rule upon the rights of nationality, and although he lays great 143 stress here upon the poverty and backwardness of the Irish people, we know that in Ireland he has offered a determined opposition to the efforts of Sir Horace Plunkett and the Agricultural Organisation Society, on the avowed ground that the success of those efforts would hamper the realisation of the aims of the Nationalist Patty. And in the speech which he made only last year at the Mansion House, he said as follows—You do not need to be reminded how much has been done already, especially in the last twenty-five years"—which covers the whole period during which the Unionist Government have been in office—to mitigate the sufferings of Ireland on the question of the land, of the labourers, and even on the question of education, but the doctrine we hold is that the demand for national self government, is founded upon right, and we declare that no ameliorative reforms, no number of Land Acts, Labourers Acts, and Education Acts, no redress of financial grievances, no material improvements or industrial development can satisfy Ireland until Irish laws are administered on Irish soil by Irishmen.Obviously the real argument that we have to meet is not that Ireland has been badly treated by Great Britain in the past, but the argument of nationality and nationality alone. Upon that point the first observation I would like to make is that never in the whole history of the British Empire have we granted self-government or Parliamentary institutions in response to the claim of nationality. We have given Parliamentary government to the Colonies not on the ground that they were distinct national entities, but simply and solely on the ground that that was the most convenient and indeed the only practical way of managing the internal affairs of communities which are at such a distance from us that they cannot be effectively represented as Ireland is in the Imperial Parliament. The hon. and learned Gentleman cites the case of Canada. The question in the case of Canada was not whether we should give Canada a Parliament or not. She already had two. The question in Lord Durham's time was whether the Canadian Parliament should or should not have complete control of its own executive, and it was precisely the attempt to 144 govern Canada by means of a Parliament of its own while we retained control of its executive, that led to The Canadian rebellion. The second observation I have to make is that if we are to found Home Rule on the claim of nationality we shall have to recognise the obvious fact that Ireland is not one nation, but two, nations moreover sharply divided in race, in religion, and in politics. If homogeneity of population is a test of nationality, then the claim either of Scotland or of Wales to a Parliament of its own is far greater than the claim of Ireland, and the Irish claim, if it is to be admitted at all, is a claim not to one Parliament but to two. There is not a single argument which can be brought forward to justify the creation of a Nationalist Parliament in Dublin which cannot be brought forward to justify the simultaneous creation of a Unionist Parliament in Belfast. Does anyone in any part of this House seriously suggest that that would be a solution which would be a benefit either to Ireland as a whole or to that Nationalist portion of Ireland, which being the poorest would be thrown back entirely upon its own resources? The great curse in Ireland as it is which we all deplore—and we do not want to do anything to accentuate it—is this division between classes and races and religions which renders it impossible for them to combine together to promote the material development of their country, and makes it absolutely certain that any administrative authority which is devolved by this House will be used by the majority on one side or the other for the purpose of affixing a stigma upon the minority. Look what has happened in the case of the Local Government Act. The hon. and learned Gentleman talked about the efficiency of the local authorities. I am not going to dispute that assertion. But when the Irish Local Government Act was passing through the House I remember how the hon. and learned Gentleman himself got up and told us of the admirable work winch the county gentlemen, Loyalists and Protestants, had done in every part of Ireland on the old grand juries, and he pledged the good faith of himself and his colleagues collectively that they would do everything in their power to give the Act a fair chance, and to see that no man should 145 be excluded from those councils on the ground of politics or of religion. In 1902 the hon. Member for East Mayo speaking at Newtown Butler advised the electors in so many words not to vote for any candidate who was not a member of the United Irish League. In twenty-seven counties the councils were swept almost bare of Unionist representation altogether, and the hon. Member for Waterford went to Cork and boasted of the fact that "the county and district councils of Ireland formed a network of Nationalist organisation throughout the length and breadth of the country." I do not mention that for the purpose of casting a stone at the Nationalist county councils. The hon. and learned Gentlemen said the Unionist county councils in the North are just as bad. It may be so, but does not that add to the force of my argument? Does it not show the absolute folly of introducing into a country in which you cannot now get men of different religions and politics to work together even for the purposes of local government, a system which must mean either a permanent segregation of North and South into watertight compartments under separate legislative and administrative systems, or else the permanent subjection of a population numbering 1,250,000 to a racial and religious supremacy which they abhor. The third observation I would make on the point of nationality is that if it is a good argument for giving Home Rule it is an equally good argument for granting separation. The hon. and learned Gentleman was very careful not to repudiate the idea of separation. Does he repudiate it now?
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
I ask the noble Lord to be kind enough to ask a more definite question. I repudiate nothing I have ever said in public, here or elsewhere. I never said anything more emphatically and strongly elsewhere than I have stated on the floor of this House.
§ *EARL PERCY
I do not in the least quarrel with that statement. But here is a speech made by the hon. Member for East Tyrone, who moved the Motion 146 last Thursday. It is quoted from the New York Irish World—The message we bear"——that is to America—is from that illustrious leader of our Party, John Redmond. If there is any man in this audience who says to us, as representing that Parliamentary movement: 'I do not believe in your Parliamentary ideas. I do not accept Home Rule. I go beyond it, I believe in an independent Irish nation'—if any man says this, I say: 'We do not disbelieve in it.' These are our tactics. If you are to take a fortress first take the outer works. We believe that no man has a right to set limits to the aspirations of a nation, and no man has a right to say; 'Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther.'These are the views of hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, and of those upon whose votes they depend. We know what has been the result of Home Rule wherever it has been based upon national claims as in the case of Sweden and Norway, so often quoted as a parallel to our own, and as the separation of the United Kingdom is not an Irish question any longer, but a question of vital concern to Great Britain herself, and to the Empire as a whole, I propose with the leave of the House to devote the few remaining remarks I have to make to that concluding part of this Motion, about which the hon. Gentleman said practically nothing, which asks us to affirm that Home Rule would greatly promote the well-being of the people of Great Britain. What is the advantage which Great Britain—after all, not an insignificant part of the United Kingdom—is to derive from Home Rule? The commonest inducement held out to us, I think by the hon. Gentleman himself, is that if we gave Home Rule we should at length be masters in our own house, that we should relieve the congestion of business, and have more time to attend to questions of Imperial and domestic interest. Most people who use that argument are really thinking either of some devolution of administrative responsibility, in connection with local government, or else they are thinking of the adaptation to Ireland of some scheme of private Bill legislation like that which has been adopted in the case of Scotland. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford said that if my Amendment were accepted it would make the devolution of Private Bill legislation to Ireland 147 impossible, but it would do nothing of the kind. We have given local government to Ireland as to Great Britain, and we are always devolving fresh powers upon local bodies, but over the exercise of every power which we devolve we retain the absolute and effective control, in the last resort, of the Imperial Parliament. In the case of local government there is control by the auditor of the Local Government Board, and how necessary that control is in the case of Ireland we saw, not long ago, in the action of the Mullingar Board of Guardians, where there were two applicants for a particular contract, one in the name of Ross for £11 and the other, Daly, £13, the latter being accepted. The Local Government Board asked for an explanation. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: What about Poplar?] The Local Government Board does exercise control in Poplar, and under the present system there is no difference in that respect between the two countries. The Mullingar Board of Guardians informed the Local Government Board that the reason why they had given the contract to Daly was that he was a member of the United Irish League and Ross was not. Precisely the same principle applies to private Bill legislation. Private Bill legislation does not withdraw Private Bills from the cognisance and control of this House. It merely provides a machinery for enquiry less expensive than that which takes place before Private Bill Committees. There is no difficulty whatever in giving Ireland some system of that kind except the difficulty of finding a tribunal which will command the confidence of all Irish Members. We all know very well that that will not satisfy hon. Gentlemen below the gangway. They have told us that what they object to is any control whatever being retained by the Imperial Parliament over powers which they delegate to Ireland. Let there be no mistake about this point, because it is important. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford last Year said in the Queen's Hall—If the Government propose to hand over to Ireland the control of any department in the government of Ireland, they must hand over that control wholly and abolutely. Our demand is for 148 full control, legislative and administrative, over all Irish affairs.Those who contend that the creation of an Irish Parliament and an executive responsible to it will save the time of this House are bound to tell us what is the practical plan which they propose. Are the Irish Members to be retained in this House? If so, are they to vote upon all questions or only upon Irish questions? If only upon Irish, how is it proposed to distinguish between those questions, and in the case of a conflict, how do you propose to secure that the decision of the Imperial Parliament shall prevail? When you have settled these details you will find yourselves confronted with the old dilemma. If you keep the Irish Members here, in the case of every Bill which comes before the Irish Parliament you will have to decide whether that is a question with which the Irish Parliament is competent to deal; you will have to decide whether upon this or that measure Irish Members should be allowed to vote here, and whether the veto of the Lord-Lieutenant has been properly or improperly exercised. It is clear that all those questions would provide fruitful and recurring topics of controversy, and the fate of Governments in this House will depend not upon the fidelity with which they have discharged their duty to the Britsh elector, but upon their attitude to Irish Members and the claims of the Irish Parliament. If the Irish Members are excluded from this House of Commons, then the attempt by a Parliament here in which Ireland is not represented to control a Parliament there in which we are not represented would be to repeat in a slightly different form the same experiment as that which lost us our American colonies. So far from relieving congestion in the House of Commons we should find ourselves in a far worse position. The amount of time now occupied in discussing Irish affairs has been greatly exaggerated, and, after all, the legislative output of the House of Commons is far greater than the output of any Continental Assembly. If it be true that we have not sufficient time adequately to discuss the Estimates, Imperial questions, and questions of social reform, it is not Ireland that 149 blocks the way, but the inveterate habit of both parties of devoting the maximum of the time at their disposal to those measures which command the minimum of agreement. Until we seriously set ourselves to reform this habit I feel quite certain that the electors will not accept the plea of overwork as a sufficient excuse for repudiating any one of our Imperial responsibilities. If Home Rule will not save our time, will it save our pockets? I do not think that that contention has been put forward by anybody. The Irish Members contend that it will enable them to effect certain economies, although the money saved in one direction will be spent in another. I do not think that anybody contends that the money so saved would go into the pockets of the British taxpayer. We have had a warning of what is in store for us in the Irish Council Bill, where the handing over the control of only eight departments to an Irish Government was estimated to cost £650,000 extra, and even then we were told by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool that Ireland would be starting self-government as a bankrupt concern. Whatever else is in doubt it is certain that under Home Rule we shall have to pay a great deal more than we do now; we shall lose all control over its expenditure and the only effective security for the advances of some £150,000,000 under the Irish Land Act namely, the power in case of default of resuming possession of the soil. I do not know whether I shall be accused of imputing dishonesty to the Irish peasantry, but hon. Gentlemen below the gangway have taught us that actions which are considered dishonest and criminal in England are to be palliated and condoned in Ireland on the ground that they are consonant with Irish ideas. Every argument which has been used to justify the non-payment of rent to a private landlord will be equally valid to justify the non-payment of rent to the State which has now stepped into the position hitherto occupied by the private owner. According to the hon. and learned Member for Waterford England has robbed Ireland of no less a sum than £2,000,000 a year ever since 1853 owing to the re-arrangement of the income-tax and the liquor duties in that year.
§ *EARL PERCY
At any rate the statement is endorsed by the hon. and learned Gentleman. Every tenant under a Home Rule system who refuses to pay his rent will be held up to admiration as a martyr who is standing up for the national right to a recovery of its stolen goods, while the tenant who tries to meet his obligations will be denounced as a traitor and exposed to all the machinery of boycotting and outrage without even that meagre amount of police protection which the Chief Secretary feels he can still provide without doing violence to, his political consistency. If Home Rule does not save time or money, how is it going to promote the well-being of England? There remain only the argument of sentiment: "Trust the Irish people and you will be rewarded with their enthusiastic loyalty." Judicial separation which is ordinarily regarded as at best a regrettable remedy for the evils of matrimony, is in the case of Ireland to be the means of affecting a "Union of hearts." That is the language used in England and on English platforms, but in Ireland legal separation is advocated as the prelude to divorce and to the realisation of Mr. Parnell's ambition to "sever the last link which binds Ireland to England." It is hardly surprising if, under these circumstances, we prefer to incur the slight inconvenience which arises from incompatibility of temper to running the certain risks which we should incur if we allowed our partner to set up business on her own account, and contract possibly a new alliance at our own lodge-gates with any enterprising neighbour who happened to have an eye to our plate and jewellery. The truth is that the situation of Ireland within twelve miles of these shores is a dominating factor in the consideration of this question of Home Rule. Let us assume for argument's sake, that Ireland is the most loyal part of the whole British Empire. Does anyone really suppose that if Australia or Canada occupied the same position of proximity that Ireland does we should have given them the same measure of self-government that they have now?
§ *EARL PERCY
Certainly we should not, nor does the Liberal Party believe we should. Lord Crewe in 1902 said at Whitchurch:—He would never be a party to a proposition which placed Ireland in a position of practical independence such as that possessed by New Zealand. The circumstances of the two places were entirely different in a large number of respects. Sooner than that he would see Ireland deprived of its Praliamentary representation and governed as a Crown Colony.
§ *EARL PERCY
The President of the Board of Trade went to Belfast last year and told the people there that separation is unthinkable. Why is it unthinkable? If the Union Jack is not, as most of us regard it, the symbol of a fact in nature, but, as the Chief Secretary described it last week, the symbol of a political transaction, why is the separation of Ireland from Great Britain unthinkable? It is not unthinkable in the case of the Colonies, it happened in the case of the United States, it was advocated by Cobden as a positive benefit to this country and, however disastrous from other points of view no one will pretend that the separation of Canada or Australia would involve any strategic risk to the security of this country. That is not the case with Ireland. After all, in these matters it is absurd for people who are not naval or military experts to rely on their own opinions. We have the testimony on this subject of no less an authority than Captain Mahan who has insisted in the strongest terms on the danger we should incur by conceding to Ireland the Parliament which the hon. and learned Gentleman desires. And when we remember, what actually happened at the time of the Irish Rebellion, when we recall the statement of hon. Gentlemen below the gangway that the hour of England's danger will be the hour of Ireland's opportunity, when we remember the declaration of the hon. and learned Gentleman two years ago, that if he believed armed rebellion would be 152 successful, he would advise it now, is not the very fact that he believes that under present conditions it would not be successful the best argument from our point of view for preserving those conditions intact? The hon. and learned. Gentleman has at least achieved one object, whatever may be the attitude of hon. Gentlemen opposite. By bringing forward this Resolution, he has shown at all events, that Home Rule is still a living issue, and that it is not a "bogey." I agree with him. If any proof were needed to demonstrate the vitality of Home Rule, we should find it in the fact that it has managed to survive its connection with the Liberal Party. It is now a quarter of a century or more since that Party joined hands politically with the men whom they had denounced as marching through rapine to the disintegration of the British Empire, and announced their intention of giving to Ireland a form of government which would do justice to its national aspirations and afford free scope for the national energy. How have they redeemed that promise? Twenty-two years ago they offered Ireland something less than the status of a British self-governing colony. Last year they offered her the status of an Indian province. They make rapid converts but very poor missionaries. If faith is shown by works their faith seems to be governed by the law of diminishing returns, and yet I have no doubt the hon. and learned Gentleman will be perfectly satisfied if hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, again to-night, do obeisance and homage to an abstract Resolution, on which afterwards they will be free to place any interpretation they please. And twenty-five years hence, we, or our successors, will be sitting here while the Leader of the Irish Party will get up in his place to state the irreducible minimum of Ireland's demands and to explain how utterly impossible is the latest Liberal proposal to govern Ireland as a British Protectorate with a Resident Commissioner. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: We will carry Home Rule before then.] I do not think so. Home Rule may be a living issue, but it is a losing cause, not merely because its own advocates are growing lukewarm and faint-hearted, but on account of the growing enthusiasm of the British 153 people for an ideal which is the very antithesis of that enshrined in the Motion on the Paper. While hon. Gentlemen from Ireland are asking us to accept a policy founded on the assumption of a necessary antagonism between the interests of the nearest and closest of neighbours, the Colonies are asking us to recognise that even distance itself no longer offers an insuperable barrier to the creation of a corporate union between the heart and the members of the Empire closer and more tangible than has ever existed before. Who can doubt which of these ideals is the more likely to fire the imagination and the enthusiasm of the British people, which of these alternatives in days when success in war and commerce alike depends more and more on concentration and union, is most likely to secure that when the struggle comes—In the last great fight of all, Our house may stand together and its pillars may not fall.
To leave out all the words after the word 'That' in line 1, and to insert the words 'inasmuch as the abandonment by the Imperial Parliament of its undivided responsibility, both for legislation and administration within the United Kingdom, would injure the prosperity of Ireland and imperil the security of Great Britain, this House is unalterably opposed to the creation of an Irish Parliament with a responsible executive.'"—(Earl Percy.)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. BIRRELL,) Bristol, N.
The noble Lord in the course of his very interesting speech, which certainly had a most eloquent ending, made a remark which, I think, is calculated to startle even the comparatively uninitiated mind. He referred to the Act of Union as a fact in nature, and on my having alluded to it the other day by the more prosaic, but more correct title of a political transaction. I would remind him that his fact in nature, as it had its origin in the year 1801, could hardly claim so proud or ancient a title. After all, the problem we are discussing, involving as it does a Parliament in Ireland, is not a new problem, for Ireland once had a 154 Parliament of her own; and I do not think anybody acquainted with its history need be ashamed of it. The noble Lord who never stands in need of language strong enough to express the depths of his conviction, and sometimes ' the intensity of his personal dislikes—[OPPOSITION cries of "No."]—I mean political dislikes. I do not wish in any way to attribute to the noble Lord personal dislikes to Ireland or to Irishmen. But, at all events, he takes his stand upon this fact in nature. He would have us believe that the Party with which he is now honourably connected regards the Union as immutably fundamental—a written constitution almost impervious to time. He has, indeed, suggested that in the matter of Private Bill legislation, it might be capable of some amendment; but that is the farthest he is prepared to go, and when he came to that part of the subject which evidently is most, near to his heart—namely, the wellbeing of England, he made it pretty plain that Ireland, being necessary for England's safety, if she does not like it she must lump it. The bargain was struck a hundred years ago, when his fact in nature made its appearence. But he knows as well as I do, being a well-read and studious man, that it was engendered in a pit of corruption. He has "Lord Castlereagh's Correspondence" on his library shelves; and no doubt he has carefully read it. But England has forgotten all about that—it took place more than 100 years ago—and what England has forgotten Ireland has no right to remember. I hope that everybody will take note of the fierce spirit of determination which rang through the whole of the noble Lord's speech. He stands for the Act of Union without any substantial amendment. I hope I may assume that he, at all events, will never at any time be a party to any reduction in the numbers of the Irish Parliamentary representatives. If a people sell their country and their Parliament they are entitled, at all events, to go on receiving the price; and while, no doubt, a good deal of money was paid down on the nail, the chief part of the consideration for that political transaction was a continuing consideration, to be paid year after 155 year by Parliament after Parliament, in the number of Irish Members who were to be sent across the stormy channel to represent their country in this House. But I am not sure that I am safe in that assumption. Indeed, I do not feel at all safe in any assumption which is based on the immutability of the Act of Union. The noble Lord has an autocratic temper. [Cries of "Oh."] I only wish I were an autocrat myself. But although we may have, or would like to have, an autocratic temper, autocrats we can never be. The noble Lord must have associates. He cannot work his will alone; he must have political companions; and, in these days, it takes all sorts to make a Cabinet. [Laughter and cheers.] I am glad to hear from the future Members of a future Cabinet that they are entirely of that opinion. I make no pretence of being a political Nestor; but I have seen some strange things in my time since the day in 1885 I hoisted the black flag of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham in a division of my native city of Liverpool.
Nothing is more noticeable in our Party politics—a strange and eventful history in the past, which seems likely to be a still more strange and eventful, but, I do not believe, a more honourable, history in the future—than the pressure of single ideas. I remember Mr. Glad-stone's pamphlet, The History of an Idea. His idea was Home Rule for Ireland. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, as is evidenced by the noble Lord's peroration, are very busy writing the history of another new idea—Tariff Reform. We are all agreed about this, that it is an imperious idea, some think an imperial idea, but at all events it is a very jealous idea, and a very bustling idea, which has already brought some very strange people together and made them love one another with a love almost passing the love of woman. Only the other day the right hon. Member for Wimbledon described the right hon. Member for West Birmingham—whom lie has described in other days in other terms—as the greatest of living statesmen. The reason why he thinks that—a perfectly honest and legitimate reason—is because he and the right hon. Gentleman share together, passionately and eagerly, 156 what I admit is a great idea. What has Ireland's share been in this great idea? The sale of Cobden's spectacles in Ireland has never been very great; Ireland, if we are to believe Irishmen, and sometimes we do, has been twice ruined, ruined by protection in the eighteenth century, and well nigh ruined by Free Trade in the nineteenth century. The Colonial Premiers when they came over here the other day were received by all Parties with the utmost cordiality. Gentlemen opposite admired them enormously, even perhaps more than I did, they admired their oratory, their political wisdom, their financial insight. But they were not the only people who treated the Colonial Premiers with courtesy and kindness, or who interchanged ideas with them. The only time I had the pleasure of meeting any number of these gentlemen was at an Irish banquet. I found them hobnobbing with extraordinary friendship and good feeling with representatives from Ireland, in fact they none of them made any disguise about it that they were all Home Rulers together. I am only suggesting that here is a dominant idea which may bind all the world together. Paris was worth a mass to Henry IV.; perhaps seventy or eighty votes on the floor of this House may some day be worth some modification of our system. Notwithstanding all the speeches that may be made to-night or any other night, in this House who does not know perfectly well at the bottom of his mind that sooner or later, by one Party or the other, there will be, and there must be, very substantial modifications made in our relations with Ireland and in our form of governing that country. It must come. The noble Lord, of course, is a Party man, and made a Party speech, and naturally he referred to what he called the Devolution Bill—the Irish Council Bill. I admit that sometimes there has been what might be called a conspiracy of silence about that Bill. I have not joined that conspiracy of silence, though, being a very modest man, it is no part of my business, having been accociated with its introduction and its failure to go about the country calling attention to its merits. Let the dead bury its dead. All I can say is I am not ashamed of that 157 measure, and I do not think the Government have any cause to be ashamed of it in any way. I think it would have been a very good thing if that measure had received fuller, freer, and fairer discussion in the City of Dublin, whatever judgment the Irish people had ultimately passed upon it. I quite agree that that measure was not, and was never intended to be, a substitute in any way for Home Rule. It was sometimes said to be a halfway house to Home Rule; well, it might have proved so. If there is going to be Home Rule some day, everything you do will contribute to Home Rule. If there is not going to be Home Rule a substituted mode of government will tell against it. It was not in any sense Home Rule, but it would have handed over to the Irish people an important measure of control in all the four or five chief departments of the State. The great regret I have now in looking back—it was an exception to the general rule—to the speech I made in introducing that measure is that I should have been led astray, by reading, to enumerate a great number of perfectly trumpery Boards which exist in Dublin—about which far too much fuss has been made, for they will be found existing in other places besides Dublin—and did not concentrate myself more than I did on the fact that the Bill would have handed over to Irishmen the administration of the four or five main things which sensible men would desire to administer. I have enjoyed this opportunity of making a better speech on behalf of that Bill than I did when I introduced it, and pass from that subject, which, I quite agree, in no way affects the relative position of Ireland towards Home Rule, or the Liberal Party towards Home Rule. I desire to impress on the House that, apart altogether, from nationality, national feeling, pride, emotion, and past history, which nobody but a fool ever overlooks, I find this question staring me in the face, that there is no time in this House to do the things which Ireland imperatively needs, which it is admitted that she needs, and which she must receive unless misfortunes and miseries are to dog her path, and unless her final connection with this country is to be our everlasting shame. We all know that there is a 158 great congestion in this House, that England and Scotland have to be put off, but I say Ireland cannot afford to be put off. She cannot afford to have her education delayed, or her local government left unreformed in its present state. There are constant, steady, and innumerable reforms necessary. There is the land question. It is characteristic of Englishmen to believe that when they have introduced now and again, under the pressure of circumstances, a concession to Ireland, as in 1903, they can say farewell to Ireland. There is the noble Lord; a better informed man in many respects you will not find; he knows all about Turkey and the East. But I venture to say he knows very little about the present state of the land question in Ireland. And yet those who are compelled to consider this question know that at this very moment the land question in Ireland is perhaps as serious as it ever was before. The financial system on which the land money is forthcoming has broken down. A document has been lodged on the Table of the House; it suggests certain courses and substantial alterations which will be necessary if this land purchase system is not completely to break down. The Estate Commissioners' office is completely blocked; the Congested Districts Board is without funds to do the work of the relief of congestion to which this House stands pledged both in honour and money. All these things require constant Parliamentary attention day by day, week by week, and month by month. What is the good of a Chief Secretary thinking about these things? He may think about them till his hair turns grey—it turns grey, really, in the ordinary course of time, and not in consequence of any official cares and duties. He may think till his head aches, but he cannot get the time in this House. Hon. Members from Ulster know that as well as hon. Members below the gangway. There are scores of measures which are really vitally necessary unless you are going to have something like hell in Ireland—[OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, Oh!"]—from this land question, which requires immediate and constant attention. I am not speaking of crime and murder, I am speaking 159 of profound dissatisfaction and misery, I am speaking of the dislocation of society. Do hon. Gentlemen think they need only fling such an Act as that of 1903 to Ireland, and tell the peasants all over Ireland that the money is forthcoming to buy all the lands by which they are surrounded? The peasants do not perhaps scan very closely the Act, which not even my right hon. friend the Attorney-General fully understands; they believe, and are entitled to believe, in consequence of the statements in this House, that it was the intention of Parliament to supply money speedily so that landlordism might be abolished and peasant proprietorship established in its place both in pastoral and agricultural land. That is their belief; they are, if you like, excitable, and on this question of land have strange views of their own. But I am persuaded that if you introduced such land legislation into East Anglia you would have far worse troubles and excitement than ever you have among these people. [OPPOSITION Cries of "Oh!"] I am surprised that anyone should contradict it, except those who think that the peasants of Ireland are worse than those of any other country. What is wanted is time, which is not an article of manufacture. Such legislation as you introduce is excellent if you only have the courage to pursue it, and carry it out properly. It may be necessary to amend it. It is of no use expecting this Imperial Chamber to devote the weeks, months, and years necessary to secure what is required to do the work of Ireland. Time presses, and what is the good of the noble Lord trying to pin us with some dilemma or other? The fortunes of Ireland are not to be destroyed by a dilemma. Some way out of it has to be found, if only people are well disposed. I should not have done right if I had not taken this opportunity of expressing my own belief that some substantial modification is absolutely necessary, which will transfer to Ireland and to the Irish people the constant, steady, day-by-day, and year-by-year attention to their own affairs, unless you wish to see a state of things in Ireland which we should all deplore. That is the view which presents itself in the most forcible way to my mind; and 160 there is really nothing surprising in the demand that Irish affairs should have constant, steady attention in a Parliament doing nothing else. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford desired me to say what the opinion of the officials in Ireland would be. Well, I decline. Officials in Ireland, like officials elsewhere, take their colour from those with whom they are associated. If you ask me what businesslike people in Ireland are thinking about, our officials are businesslike men, and if you ask me what they are thinking about, not as officials but as businesslike men, my own belief is that the great bulk of business men in Ireland are searching for and thinking of some means of developing the resources of their country, and of preventing it from sinking into a state of decay. Well, you will not do much of that thinking on the floor of this House. [Cries of "Why?"] You will not get the time. You can only get the time in one session for one big contested subject and after that it is forgotten and everything falls behind. We have excellent non-controversial Bills before us which have no chance of passing, and under a Conservative Government we were in precisely the same position. I am not going into the question of the Local Government Act of 1898. I sometimes feel I should like to know—I never shall—what is the real feeling of gentlemen opposite about that. Act. Are they glad they passed it, or are they sorry? I should be very glad to have a straightforward answer to that question. At a time when I knew little about Ireland, there seemed to me to be a good deal of sense in what was said by Lord Salisbury and Lord Hartington, that at a time when there was a state of profound political discontent in Ireland it was a little dangerous to give them loon I government before you had attempted to solve the greater and more important difficulty. That was the view held by two very distinguished men. However, they altered their views, or their views were put on one side by the pressure of events, and the Local Government Act was passed; and we have constantly heard from Unionist platforms the remark that it has been a failure. I have, of course, had some experience of it as 161 President of the Local Government Board, and in my judgment it has, perhaps with the exception of a single county, worked extremely well and economically. And when you ask about religious preferences, I must say the figures quoted by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, which I know to be perfectly accurate, dispose of that suggestion as completely as it can be disposed of. If you ask me whether contracts in Ireland are always considered on their merits, whether the personal element never enters into them—of course it does. We have our own state of things here at home. I know of nothing in Ireland to equal revelations nude in municipal affairs in this country. Allowing for personal preference and for other influences which work in all bodies, Irish contracts have been well administered and Irish business has been marvellously well done by men who—one would have thought until these heavy duties were imposed upon them—had very little fitness or experience for it. But it was a stupendous experiment for a responsible Government to entrust this difficult and elaborate work to a class of persons who had never had any experience of the kind before, and the great bulk of whom, it was known, were animated by very strong national feelings and very strong political prejudices. I say they have done their work well, and that great and rash experiment, as I think it was, as rash experiments sometimes are, has been justified by results. Of course the Liberal Party is a Home Rule Party. There can be no sort of doubt about that. [Ironical OPPOSITION cheers.] I say it is a Home Rule Party. At the last election a number of persons, including myself, gave what amounted to a substantial promise. Although I was anxious to avail myself of every practical opportunity of carrying through an amendment of our relations with Ireland in that respect, I never disguised from the electors of North Bristol that having regard to the vast number of questions before the electors at that time I was fully persuaded it would be impossible to expect the Parliament to be elected to devote at any rate the whole of one Session to the introduction and passing through this House of Home Rule. It 162 would involve, unless the House of Lords altered its mind, another election, and therefore it was outside practical politics to enter into consideration of the question. I am not prepared to say how far it was wise or foolish to give such a pledge. I am bound to say I shall not do it again, for reasons which I think will commend themselves to some people's minds. But the pledge has done nobody any harm; it has not done Ireland any harm. The fact is that in our politics you cannot determine, and it does, not lie altogether with the deliberate will of so called statesmen to determine, what shall be the questions which are decided at a general election. You cannot do it, and, if I may make the remark in further candour, that is the danger which Home Rule is in at the present moment. At a general election you cannot get the predominant partner to think about anything he does not want to think about. I say there are at present particular questions of great interest and of a controversial character which English people will discuss whether Irish people wish them to do so or not, and it is not in the particular question to the predominant partner for determination. That, in my judgment, is one of the reasons for protesting against the present unjust treatment of Ireland in this matter. Ireland is linked to a great and wealthy nation full of serious ideas, thinking of all sorts of novel things—things dear to hon. Gentlemen opposite, and things dear to hon. Gentlemen below the gangway. Every kind of interest is clashing and striving for predominance, and poor Ireland is left behind; she has not the power to make her presence felt, and she is left in a position which to my mind is fatal to her proper development and to her just and true interest. I appeal to all practical politicians whether that is not a fact. Who can say what will be the dominant issue at the next general election? I do not want to use the expression "mandate." I do not altogether recognise the theory of the mandate but I do recognise that this House, being the representatives for the most part of the great English people, will find themselves, whether they like it or not, compelled to deal first with those questions which have excited the deep interest and aroused the strong 163 feelings of the electors as a whole. Therefore, it is not in the power of anybody to say how or to what extent Home Rule can be made a practical issue at the next election. But I am persuaded that the Liberal Party will maintain the position they have occupied as strong advocates of Home Rule. I will give you that party advantage. I know what you want it for—to serve you a turn along with beer and a good many other things, and to enable you to make a very good figure, in your judgment, at the next election. But I say that if the Irish people desire, as I think they well may, that this question should be prominently before the English people at the next election so that a vote may be taken upon it in some such way as to make it possible, probable even, that some effect should be given to their wishes by legislative enactment, they will do well to make it perfectly clear and plain what their proposals are and what they will accept, and to deal quite frankly with the difficulties, with all of which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford dealt in the course of his closely reasoned speech, to which I am sorry the noble Lord did not give closer attention in his reply. Let us know what these proposals are, what the safeguards are for the minority in Ireland. Make it perfectly plain, so that the English may see, as I believe they are perfectly ready to see, that the present Parliamentary system is wholly an impasse so far as Irish affairs are concerned. I have little doubt that, if that course is taken, and that is made perfectly plain, the great majority of the Liberal electorate, at any rate—I cannot answer for those who think otherwise—will rally round the cause with which their name has been long and honourably associated, to do their best and not leave it to hon. Gentlemen opposite to solve this great difficulty.
§ *MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)
said he would not follow the Chief Secretary into a detailed discussion of Irish administrative problems; he would rather call back the attention of the House to some of the greater issues which underlay the momentous question which had been brought before them that afternoon. As he listened to the speech of the hon. and 164 learned Member for Waterford, he wondered whether he recollected the debates which took place in the years 1886 and 1893. The hon. and learned Member told them that all the great objections to Home Rule had by this time been removed, falsified by events. But there were certain cardinal objections which were as valid now as they were then. To-day, they knew more even than in 1886 as to the Imperial bearings of the problem. The questions raised were not the subtleties of constitutional lawyers, they touched at vital points the daily working of the House of Commons and the principles of Imperial administration. In the light of those discussions an abstract resolution in favour of Home Rule was futile and meaningless. It was easy to reel off the glib formula about a separate Parliament and a separate executive; it presented no great difficulty till they came grapple with a scheme and express Home Rule in legislative form. Many in this House would remember that in both the Bills Mr. Gladstone brought forward, there was one organic detail, as he called it, which went to the heart of the Home Rule problem. It was this. Were the Irish Members to be out of the Imperial Parliament or in it? If out, as under the Bill of 1886, then the effective supremacy of Parliament was gone; its last symbol was removed; it remained a mere phrase, a shadowy sovereignty, a paper supremacy. If, on the other hand, the Irish Members were to be in the House of Commons, or half in, half out, as under the Bill of 1893, then in the words of the present Secretary of State for India, they became—Arbiters and masters of English policy and of the rise and fall of British Administrations.The result would be that on successive days there might be two majorities in this. House supporting opposite policies, according as the Irish Members were present or absent. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had just now said that the future of Ireland was not to be destroyed by a dilemma. But this dilemma was not a bit of mere verbal logic, it was a matter affecting every department of Imperial policy. The reason why the question of the retention or exclusion of the Irish Members never was solved was that it was insoluble. The Home Rule 165 Bills were an attempt to do the thing that was impossible—to make Ireland at once a part and not a part of the United Kingdom. There was not merely no halfway house between the Union and Home Rule; there was nonebetween the Union and Irish Independence.
The hon. and learned Member had said most truly that an entirely new situation had been created in Ireland since 1885 and 1893. A great measure of land purchase had been passed. An argument for Home Rule had been founded on that measure. It was said that the soil of Ireland was being transferred to the people of Ireland, and that therefore the Government of the country ought in like manner to be transferred. No doubt the Land Purchase Act was a new and important factor in the Home Rule question. British credit had been pledged to the extent of £100,000,000, perhaps £150,000,000. But did not the conclusion to be drawn from the fact point in another direction. The British people might fairly claim to have some adequate security for the repayment of that enormous sum. Although he admitted that hitherto no loans had better been repaid than the sums advanced for land purchase, he maintained that the only guarantee for the continued, orderly and punctual repayment of that money lay in having an executive directly responsible to the Imperial Parliament. But there was another side to land purchase. It involved a great agrarian and social revolution—peaceful, but none the less a revolution. A long land war was drawing to end; the first necessity was repose, a respite from political turmoil. Already new and burning questions had arisen. Wild hopes had been aroused. The transfer of land would evidently be no simple matter. A movement for the redistribution of land was on foot. Landless and lawless men backed by the branches of the United Irish League were pushing the movement. It had begun in two counties in the west, it had now spread to ten or twelve. No one in his senses could hand over the Government of Ireland at such a moment to an Irish Executive.
166 Apart from these difficulties the new peasant proprietors needed to be trained to new habits and to learn new methods. For years to come they would need that training. Without it the mere transfer of land must fail of its object; it might even prove to be economically disastrous. What was proposed? That to the agrarian revolution there should be added a political revolution; that between the land war now expiring and the new order of things about to be established they should sandwich in a constitutional change which altered the relations of the three kingdoms. At a moment when social rest was the most pressing of all needs, and the first condition of industrial progress, they were a ked to fling the country back into politics and divide all Ireland into two actively hostile camps. It meant years of unrest and ferment, disturbing to agriculture, paralysing to industry. It was unprofitable to run at the same time two ideas so different as social reconstruction and political revolution. In that upheaval agriculture and industry must go under. Political passions were the death of economic progress.
Another fact in the new situation was that Ireland now enjoyed local government. The hon. and learned Gentleman urged its success as an argument for Home Rule. But how had those powers been exercised? What had been the treatment of the minority? True, indeed, local affairs had not on the whole been financially mismanaged; but the Irish Party had missed one of the greatest opportunities they ever had for commending Home Rule to the people of this country. They might have impressed the people of England with their generosity towards the minority. But what happened? In the whole province of Munster there were only two Unionists on the county councils as against 217 Nationalists; in Connaught there were, he believed, two Unionists to 142 Nationalists. In fourteen counties there was only a single Unionist councillor to be found. In all Ireland out of a total of 951 members of county councils only 134 were Unionists, and 116 of those were in Ulster. That state of things had come about by official orders of 167 the United Irish League. He did not complain of this. Many Unionists who were in favour of giving local government to Ireland foresaw that this would probably happen; but none the less the Unionist Party resolved to give it, and rightly so, their position being that Ireland should have every privilege, and every constitutional right that was enjoyed by the rest of the United Kingdom. He quite understood the principle of retaliation. The Nationalists said it was their turn to be uppermost, and they meant to be uppermost. The minority accepted the fact but took note of it. Historic causes were pleaded for it. Yes, and those historic causes would not be removed by Home Rule but intensified in their action. Ireland was deeply divided by difference of race, creed, and tradition. The two Irelands were inveterately opposed; and no scheme of Home Rule could work magic and get rid of these deep-seated causes. But, he submitted, the management of local affairs was one thing and the larger rights of citizenship were another. To be ousted from all management of local affairs was indeed galling, but it was endurable. To be thrust out from the shelter and justice of the Imperial Parliament was intolerable. Irish Unionists claimed no ascendancy; all that they asked for was equality. But they protested against an old ascendancy being replaced by a new domination.
As regards their convictions they were exactly where they were in 1886. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford had spoken of a considerable number of landlords who had become Home Rulers since that date. His own belief was that there were not half-a-dozen landlords in Ireland who had gone over; they had not been so base as to alter their principles, because they had their purchase money in their pockets. The minority, however, were not landlords only, or Ulstermen only, but included scattered groups, and individuals all over Ireland. And their demand was this—that the administration of justice, the repression of crime, the maintenance of public order, and the protection of the rights of property and the rights of conscience should remain in the keeping of the Imperial Parliament. Let them look at Ireland's past, at the history of 168 that country riven with faction, and ask, Is the demand unreasonable? But there were other minorities than that permanent minority—minorities not of race or creed, or politics, but comprising all who in any part of Ireland, in town or village had dared to act in defiance of a dominant opinion or follow an honest calling which local tyrants condemned. For twenty-five years he had watched and waited to see whether the leaders of Nationalist opinion in Ireland would ever utter a word in defence of individual human liberty. In all that concerned the sufferings of peasants in relation to their landlords they had, no doubt, shown deep and genuine sympathy. But he had never known them, either collectively or as individuals, breathe one word in defence of man, woman, or child—rich or poor—who was being oppressed by a dominant majority. At this hour there was proof of it in the persecuted lives of numbers of men in various parts of Ireland. Depend upon it, they could never build up the freedom of a nation on the servitude of the individual.
Now let them imagine what was to him almost unthinkable, that a Home Rule measure had been passed; let them think out one or two of the consequences. One immediate effect was certain. Capital for a time, at least, would be withdrawn. British credit would have gone. There would be a growing and deepening poverty. Hopes that had been raised high were doomed to be disappointed. It would be a moment of disillusionment. The party of disruption would step in. They would press home their argument. It was the argument so often enforced by the leader of the Irish Party in the House of Commons. They would say: "Look at the material decline of the country. Things are going from bad to worse. What is the cause? There is no cause but one. The economic fact is the result of a political cause. It is all due to the malign and blighting influence of the British connection. We are still tied up with England. We have no control over our fiscal system. We cannot protect our trade. We cannot endow our religion. We cannot deal freely with our education. We are fenced in with vexatious safeguards; let them be withdrawn. Let us free our Parliament and 169 free our executive from outside control. Thus only can we realise the dream of our race, the immemorial hope of Irish patriots." What answer could or would be made? Every argument now used for Home Rule would then come back with redoubled force for separation. And mark, there was already in Ireland a party who openly demanded separation. They were not a wild revolutionary gang of Irish Americans, but a party with ideas, and a constructive party—visionary perhaps, but drawing into their ranks the abler intellect among the younger men. They were not animated by a mere barren hatred of England. They appealed to the self-respect of the nation. They desired to build up her industrial character and foster her self-reliance; they called on the people to work out their own regeneration. Would the Parliamentary Home Rulers if once Home Rule had been granted, dare to stand up against that Sinn Fein party? The thing was inconceivable. Join it they would and must from the outset if they were not content to be permanently effaced. And another section of opinion would by that time have come into existence. Friends who had been betrayed were sometimes turned into foes. Many who were now not even Home Rulers would then be Separatists. They would throw themselves into the movement for independence with the embittered sense of rejected loyalty and of spurned allegiance. Of two unspeakable calamities—he hardly liked to say it, yet he believed it in his heart—separation would be the lesser evil, less than the long-drawn agony of a Home Rule period which must inevitably lead through friction and exasperating misunderstanding to disintegration.
He was not blind to the difficulties of the Unionist position. On the other side, however, he placed the incalculable, and to his mind—the insuperable dangers of the Home Rule policy. Home Rule was not merely a political experiment, it was a desperate gamble with Imperial interests; and if it should prove an error, it was an error which was fatal and irretrievable. Patience was needed in dealing with Ireland. It must be remembered that it was within a brief period that thorough remedial measures had been attempted. 170 They could not hope in twenty, thirty, or forty years, to undo the work of centuries. But they, as Unionists, were resolved to go forward with remedial efforts. They were determined to redress every Irish grievance, to apply economic remedies to economic disorders, and to give to Ireland everything that could be given in justice, in generosity, and with safety. But there was need of courage as well as patience in the affairs of nations; and if ever this country should grow fainthearted and feeble of purpose, if ever she should abandon her great task through weariness or despair, and fall back upon the mad project of disunion, then it would not be Ireland only that would be lost to the Empire.
§ MR. MASTERMAN (West Ham, N.)
said he had listened with great interest to the speeches of the noble Lord who moved the Amendment and the Member for Cambridge University or to the more practical part of them, which dealt with the future, rather than to that which recapitulated the past; because he must confess that on this particular question many of them, especially the younger of them, who had made some attempt to study the Irish question in Ireland and in England, were far more concerned with the new circumstances than with any attempt to fight over again ancient battles and old arguments which had continued for so long, and which were familiar to every Member of the House. In the speech of the hon. Member for Cambridge University, to whom he always listened with the very greatest pleasure because of the earnestness of his statements and of the eloquent way in which they were presented, he could find no kind of hope in the suggested remedies which he offered for what was acknowledged by all to be a very profound scandal to British Government as at present constituted. The second part of the Hon. Gentleman's speech was devoted to a demonstration which it seemed to him required the assumption that Ireland was in a thoroughly desirable condition at present. The hon. Member said that Ireland wanted repose, and he offered to give Ireland that repose by a continuance of resolute government. Had that resolute government given Ireland repose for the last 171 twenty years? The hon. Member had said that what was wanted was the sinking of the present violence and political dissension in Ireland. He had listened to a great many violent speeches, but he had never listened to one more violent than that delivered by the hon. Member for Cambridge University in attacking hon. Members below the gangway in regard to Home Rule.
§ MR. MASTERMAN
The hon. Gentleman told them that no kind of protection was given to loyalists in the South and West of Ireland at present.
§ MR. BUTCHER
I said nothing of the kind. I did not allude to the protection given to them at present.
§ MR. MASTERMAN
said he was not referring to economic protection He, of course, accepted what the hon. Gentleman said, but, so far as he remembered, the hon. Gentleman's statement was that they were persecuted, and that if they sought redress they found none. In order to carry out the policy of the hon. Member for Cambridge University the Conservative Party would have to be permanently in power, which was a very unlikely thing; secondly, they would require a readjustment of Chief Secretaries within that Party, and, thirdly, they would have to assume that, during the remainder of this century, or any other century, the Irish people (who according to the hon. Member's own statistics, had united by something like 216 to two in protest against that system), were going to accept it in perpetuity. In other words, according to the noble Lord the Member for Kensington, in his most eloquent speech, they were to govern Ireland irrespective of what Ireland's interests were, and just in accordance with what they considered were England's interests. That was a kind of argument leading to a form of Government which must be for ever repugnant to anything like liberal conditions. No one who had followed the course of events during the past twenty years could doubt that the changes which had taken place in English politics, and especially in Liberal 172 politics, were making away from that particular fear which they felt so strongly twenty years ago—that Imperial ideas would be shattered by the granting of Home Rule to Ireland. It was, however, practically only the demand of the Colonies for self-government. It would be very difficult to find any colonial Prime Minister who was not himself an ardent Home Ruler. Of course, the first act of any Imperial Senate such as sometimes figured in the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite would be just the granting of self-government to Ireland. The whole new vision of Imperial consolidation, which was no longer a matter of sentiment but of practical commonsense, made away from that particular care which animated people twenty years ago in this country, and which animated a dwindling number to-day. Hon. Members opposite were now anxious. They were anxious when the Irish Council Bill was introduced; they were anxious over this Motion, and appeared as the defenders of great Imperial interests. He noticed that a very specific allusion to Home Rule made by the Chief Secretary was received with a kind of glee by hon Gentlemen above the gangway, as if the right hon. Gentleman had made a confession of some almost improper method of behaviour. But they found that the Imperial Party themselves were in process of disintegration, in their determination to place another great question in front of the great question of the Union. If he rightly understood the correspondence which had been carried on in the newspapers of recent days, one half of the Unionist Party was engaged in trying to effect the political assassination of the other, not because they were wanting in devotion to the Unionist cause, but because they would not toe the line of some particular economic or Protectionist propaganda. Under these circumstances it was a little difficult for hon. Gentlemen opposite to say to them and to the country that they were still defenders of the Union, and that its destruction would be the greatest injury that could be done to Imperial interests. He wondered whether the challenge would be maintained if it were a question between their being able to get Protection if they granted self-government to Ireland, and of their not being able to 173 get it if they denied self-government to Ireland. That was a situation which was not impossible; it was one which they might have even in the next twenty years. A number of hon. Members on the Liberal benches appeared to have made pledges that they would vote against a Home Rule Bill if it were presented in this Parliament. For himself, though he was asked to make pledges, he never dreamt of making them, but he had stated very definitely that if a Home Rule Bill were introduced he would support it, and, as far as he could judge from analysis of the Notes, he did not think that he lost a single vote. He honestly believed that this great fear, which was mainly owing to the condition of politics twenty years ago, had altogether gone away, and the feelings which existed in the early eighties were not those of this century. That fear when it came to be faced would prove to be very largely delusive. An organised attempt had been made during the autumn to reveal Ireland as in a state of incipient revolution, to prejudice the minds of the English electors about cattle-driving, with vague suggestions of outrages behind—working up that old spirit which more than anything else was the real reason why Home Rule had not been carried, the spirit of racial and religious antagonism against the vast majority of the people of Ireland. No agitation in recent years had more dismally failed. He had, for his misfortune, had to be concerned with trying to catch the varying current of opinion in a large number of bye-elections. He did not believe that at any bye-election in the autumn ten votes were in the least degree influenced by the cattle-driving in Ireland. Although he did not deny that some of those bye-elections had caused a temporary unhappiness amongst certain Members of the Liberal Party, he could honestly affirm—he might be wrong—that the great mass of the working people of the country, who ultimately decided political questions, had changed their attitude in this matter. They heard it very widely stated that the old heroic vision of some great and generous action in granting Home Rule to Ireland, which inspired the Liberal Party twenty years ago, mainly through the inspiration of one man, had largely died away; but 174 in the present condition of England there had also died away the prejudices, the fears, and the hatreds which unfortunately had checked the granting of what would have opened up a new chapter in the relations between England and Ireland. The difficulty as to Home Rule at present was what had been laid down by the Chief Secretary. It was not that England cared too much, but that England cared too little about it. As one who greatly desired to see this reform, he put his faith in the giving of that reform within a reasonable time, in the hope that England would be roused by one side or the other to take a profound interest in the question. Ireland would get self-government in one or at most two successive Parliaments, when her representatives would hold the balance of power. To-night they had heard once again a revival of the emphasis upon certain difficulties in the working out of such a scheme which were threshed out before the British electorate over ton years ago and upon which most people had made up their minds. But those difficulties did not prevent the House declaring in favour of what would have been a reasonable and practical measure of Irish Home Rule. But surely twenty years of resolute government, judged by any kind of test which could be applied by those who looked upon the matter with an impartial view, stood condemned by the verdict of history as having failed in just that particular enterprise which it set itself to accomplish. That twenty years was now at an end and it had not produced a prosperous yield. The hon. Member for Cambridge University had spoken about the unexampled generosity with which Ireland had been treated during those twenty years. Ho knew that a considerable amount of the British taxpayers' money had gone into the pockets of the Irish landlords, and when that was described as generosity it made them revise their fundamental definition of what generosity was.
§ MR. BUTCHER
said the gift of peasant proprietorship was the greatest gift that had ever been made to any country.
§ MR. MASTERMAN
said that if the Irish Land Act had never been passed 175 the Irish tenant would have been able to make better terms than he was able to make at the present time. A certain amount of money had been served out, not to Irish peasants, but to people who were living under conditions which were a disgrace to any definition of what should be an Imperial race. And now they were asked to pat themselves on the back for the miserable amount they had served out under those conditions. But there was another and a very strong side to the picture. They had not stopped emigration from Ireland, which, he was told, was worse this year than it had been for many years past. Their policy had not given anything like commercial, industrial, or agrarian prosperity to Ireland, and they had not made it an island content with its present condition. Throughout those parts of Ireland which were most affected they could not find a single representative who would say that the twenty years of resolute government was an earnest of desirable things for the future. That policy had not stopped boycotting not the rule of the United Irish League, and it had not put an end to the village tyrant, the too insistent clericalism and all those evils which it was said would make Home Rule impossible. Some of them thought there was only one way of remedying these evils. It was better for a nation to be self-governed than well governed, and the more they came in from outside as an alien government to settle those questions the more impossible would they find their task. Those problems would have to be settled by the people themselves. He could not understand anyone upholding Liberal principles believing that self-government could be a real menace to the Empire or to England as a whole. In his opinion, there was no other way out of the impasse, which was becoming more intolerable every year.
§ *MR. MALLET (Plymouth)
said that he considered that Mr. Gladstone's scheme was by far the wisest solution of this problem which had ever been proposed to the House of Commons. The policy of allowing their own people to govern themselves was the strength of their Empire all the world over, and was the only real source of loyalty and freedom. But after all that had happened, they could not attempt to settle this great problem all at once. After the pledges 176 given at the last election they could not attempt in this Parliament to pass a Home Rule Bill, and he for one would be content to accept any smaller measure which would take them even a little way towards the end they had in view, which was the government of Ireland, by Irishmen, in Ireland and not here. He was convinced that even amongst the Unionist Party the necessity for and the reasonableness of Home Rule was beginning to make way. He did not want to call it Home Rule if the term was objectionable to hon. Members opposite, but the principle of governing Ireland by Irishmen was coming home even to the Unionist Party. He submitted that the scare against an Irish Parliament which was worked up so successfully in 1886 was not due so much to the fear of a Parliament in Dublin, or to any special affection for the legislative union which had never been anything but a misfortune to Ireland and a weakness to this country. That scare was due to the fear of the Irish Land League, to the fear of violence and disorder, to the old rancorous slanders about Parnellism and crime repeated by men who ought to have known better. That was what alarmed the British electorate and defeated Mr. Gladstone's great design. Those who believed in the principle of Home Rule held the opinion that when those prejudices abated the feeling in this country against Home Rule would disappear, and once they had patience and order in Ireland the reasonableness of their proposals for governing Ireland through the men who knew her best would come home to the minds of the English people. Was it not clear from what had happened in the last twenty years that that view was well justified, and that ideas of self-government were making way even in the Unionist Party? Viceroys and Chief Secretaries went over to Ireland as Unionists, and they came back, not perhaps converted to Home Rule, but at least converted to a deep distrust in the present system of Irish administration. New schemes of economic improvement sprang up under men like Sir Horace Plunkett—whose loss to Irish administration he deplored—to teach Irishmen the reconciling doctrines of self-help. Everything else in Ireland changed and altered; but the policy of the Ulster 177 Party continued for ever, as changeless and about as cheerful as the grave. On the other hand, following the history of the last few years, when they saw Unionist Viceroys discussing drafts of a devolution scheme in Dublin, when they saw Under-Secretaries who were known to be sympathetic Home Rulers, appointed in Ireland by the Unionist Party, when they saw a Chief Secretary in this House lending such a sympathetic ear to those proposals that he became suspected even in the camp of his friends, then they must admit that the idea of self-government in one form or another was making some way in the Tory Party. He remembered an interesting speech by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, in which he stated very clearly what the policy of his Administration was, and he presumed that that was still the policy of the Tory Party. He told them that the Unionist policy in Ireland had six or seven points, of which the most important was conciliation. The right hon. Gentleman knew as well as hon. Members on that side of the House that no reform was possible or worth having in Ireland unless they carried the Irish people with them in their work. The Administration of the right hon. Gentleman did not altogether succeed in securing the support of his Party, but still, no one who remembered the circumstances would deny that he took a line of strong sympathy with Nationalist aims in Ireland. Without some such sympathetic administration no policy in Ireland could possibly succeed. It was only when gentlemen from Ireland had a really decisive voice in this House that proposals would be put forward which perhaps would get this great question finally settled. Whether they called it devolution, or conciliation, or Home Rule, or anything else, sooner or later, in one shape or another, it was bound to come. Sooner or later they would have to accept the expedient recommended to-day in the motion of the Irish leader, of governing Ireland according to Irish ideas, through institutions planted among the Irish people and worked by men whom the Irish people trusted.
§ ME. GEORGE CLARK (Belfast, N.)
complimented the mover of the Resolu- 178 tion on the ability of his speech, with the sentiment of which, however, he entirely disagreed. He was thoroughly convinced that the grant of Home Rule to Ireland would be ruinous to that country, and disastrous to the interests of the Empire. The Chief Secretary was over in Ulster quite recently, and told them that he had got most of his information in regard to Ireland front having three times attended the play of "John Bull and his Island." That might be an easy and entertaining way of studying the manners and customs of the people, but it was exceedingly unsatisfactory for those who had to live in that country. There were two distinct and separate peoples in Ireland—the Unionists and the Nationalists, who had no community of ideals or of purpose. The Unionists were British to the core, and were determined at all costs that Ireland should remain an integral portion of the kingdom, whereas the Nationalists wanted Ireland for themselves alone. They made no secret of it and were accustomed to boast in season and out of season of their antipathy and hatred of Great Britain and everything that was British. The great majority of the Unionists lived in Ulster, and it was the custom of the Nationalists to brand the opposition of Ulster to Home Rule as the outcome of unreasoning bigotry and intolerance, and to charge them with shutting the door in the face of national aspirations and ideals, and with having no alternative policy to suggest to Home Rule. Although he was not Irish-born he had lived in Ulster for nearly thirty years, and he had no hesitation in assuring the House that that statement with regard to the opposition of the Ulster people was entirely without foundation. The Belfast man had as much patriotism and pride as the man of Dublin or Galway in that country which to the true Irish heart would always be— "The first flower of the earth,The first gem of the seaBut he believed that it was in union with Britain that the best interests of his country could be preserved. With regard to the alternative policy, he was a member of a deputation that waited upon Mr. Gladstone in 1893, consisting of members of the Belfast Chamber of 179 Commerce, the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, and the Linen Merchants' Association, all non-political bodies. They submitted a document to Mr. Gladstone setting forth that in their opinion the reasonable wants of Ireland would be fully met: (1) By any mode of dealing rapidly and simply with the land question, consistent with justice and honour; (2) by some arrangement of local government similar to that lately created in England and Scotland; (3) by an adequate reform of Private Bill Procedure; and (4) by such aid from Imperial credit as would in a suitable and economic way assist in the development of Irish industries when and where such assistance might be required. Of these proposals three had become law. As the result of the Land Act of 1903, involving British credit to the extent of £100,000,000, there was now springing up all over Ireland a band of sturdy and self-reliant occupying owners. A Local Government Act similar to that passed for England and Scotland had removed that grievance of inequality with regard to local government which was one of the main arguments for Home Rule. An Agricultural and Technical Department had also been established to foster agriculture and Irish industries. The proposal as to Private Bill Procedure had not yet become law, but the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, of which he was Vice-President, was leaving no stone unturned to have it accomplished. Their representatives had met the representatives of Dublin, Cork, and Derry, and a scheme was evolved suggesting for Ireland a method of Private Bill Procedure similar to that existing for Scotland. He understood that the Government did not take it up because of the difficulty of finding a suitable rota of men to undertake local inquiries. The alternative policy of the Unionists was the maintenance of the Union under which measures might become law, and where by the rights of every Irishman as a citizen of the United Kingdom would be preserved. It was a significant fact that under the Unionist Government which had pursued that policy, Ireland was more peaceful than it had been for 600 years. People were settling down to manage their affairs, free from distractions and forebodings and shrinking of capital, 180 with which they were threatened in the dark days of 1886 and 1893, and with peace came prosperity. Belfast 120 years ago was a small village with 13,000 people, and to-day its population was well-nigh 400,000. The valuation of the city had increased from £741,000 in 1893, to £1,480,000 in 1907. The tonnage cleared from the port in 1893 was 2,000,000 tons. Last year, it reached 2,584,234 tons, and it would have been more but for the disorders that broke out in the city, and which were fostered, he was sorry to say, by the Nationalist Party and Press. In Belfast, there were 120,000 people employed in the linen trade, and last year that trade had enjoyed a state of prosperity unknown since the time of the American War. In shipbuilding, the amount of tonnage launched and completed on the banks of the Lagan made Belfast the third shipbuilding centre in the United Kingdom. The harbour receipts of the city were over 40 per cent., or nearly half the total receipts of all Ireland. The amount collected by the Customs and Inland Revenue Department was £3,168,402—a contribution surpassed by no port in the United Kingdom except London and Liverpool. The fact that this progress had been made under the same laws which governed all the other towns and cities in Ireland had a distinct bearing on the case they were now considering. Everybody must admit that those statistics went to show that all Ireland was not in that wretched condition as to which they were constantly informed by hon. Members below the gangway. In the North where the people were loyal, thrifty, and industrious, they were prosperous. It was only in the South and West, where the people were as a rule lazy, thriftless, and improvident, that there was any want of prosperity. [Cries from the IRISH Benches of "oh," "How do you know?" and "Withdraw."] He had travelled there and seen for himself. Further, he had a Report which was evidence on the point he was bringing forward which he picked up in Aberdeen. It was a Report by the Scottish Agricultural Commission appointed by the Secretary for Scotland three years ago to go to Denmark to inquire into the state of agriculture in that country.
§ MR. EUGENE WASON (Clackmannan and Kinross)
I think the hon. Gentleman is in error. The present Secretary for Scotland was not appointed three years ago.
§ MR. GEORGE CLARK
Well, two years ago. The Commission was appointed irrespective of politics. No one knew the political constitution of the body. When the Commission returned from Denmark it occurred to the right hon. Gentleman to have a similar Report for Ireland. It was not possible to get all the gentlemen who went to Denmark to go to Ireland, but as many of them as possible went over to Ireland, and they were reinforced by others. At any rate it was a Commission appointed by a Radical Minister. The Commission met in Dublin and they decided that it would be more satisfactory if they divided into two parties, one going north and the other to the south and west; and this was what they said in their Report—Ireland is basin-shaped. The mountains round the coast are the rim.… Within this basin there are really two Irelands. There is the Ireland in the north, where the land is, comparatively speaking, poor land and the climate cold, where the farmers are shrewd, intelligent men, who have made the most of their circumstances. The farm steadings are trim and well kept. The land is well tilled. There is an air of prosperity about the country. There is the Ireland of the south, where the land is better and the climate milder, and the people, possibly to some extent because nature has done so much for them, are less energetic; where the steadings are ill kept and the land badly tilled, and waste and neglect are much in evidence. The difference between the two Irelands is so great that when the section of the Scottish Agriculture Commission which went north met the section which went south, they had formed entirely different conceptions of farming in Ireland. The northern section was inclined to compare Irish farming, as they had seen it, to Danish farming. There seemed to be the same intelligence applied to agriculture as in Denmark. There seemed to be the same economy and thrift practised on the farms. There seemed to be something approaching to the same comfort. The southern section, on the other hand, were disappointed. They saw good land in a good climate going to waste for want of energy on the part of the farmers. They saw bad and badly-kept farm buildings. They saw an Ireland where, to the outside observer, the policy of the Department of Agriculture would, if followed, produce the earliest and most fruitful results, and yet that policy was making comparatively little headway.
§ MR. GEORGE CLARK
said he thought the Report certainly showed that the prosperity or wretchedness of the people was due not so much to the form of government but to the character of the people themselves. He was more than pleased that this Home Rule Resolution had been brought forward, for he was convinced that the people of Great Britain were as satisfied now as they were in 1893 that to give Home Rule to Ireland would mean ruin to that country and disaster to the Empire. With the mover of the Resolution he hoped that they should have a clean, straight fight on that issue. They in Ulster complained that at the last general election the Liberals shirked the Home Rule issue because they knew that the people of Great Britain would have none of it. The Prime Minister had talked about Home Rule by instalments. They all knew how the first instalment was received by the Nationalists—with scorn. He was not surprised at it, as anything in the form of freak comparable with it was seldom seen. Its authors used to upbraid those on that side of the House for raising what he called the bogey of Home Rule. Did he call it a bogey now? At that time it was "up with the Chinese and down with the priests" The right hon. Gentleman little thought that he would be connected so soon with the administration of Ireland and be compelled to run to the priests for refuge. When all others failed, the right hon. Gentleman had recently paid a visit to Ulster, but in the many humourous speeches which he delivered there he never once mentioned the subject of Home Rule. And why? Because he knew that there were not a dozen Radicals in Ulster who had any sympathy with Home Rule. The Ulster Radical Party had not even passed a resolution in favour of the Irish Council Bill. What about the head of that great body? How did he stand on this question? Did he stand on the Home Rule bank shivering, afraid to make the plunge? Or was he like the Chief Secretary and the Prime Minister, prepared to establish a Parliament in Dublin against which he used to speak with such vigour and earnestness fourteen years ago? On this question they had to complain that the Nationalists spoke with so many 183 different voices. They had heard in speeches from the hon. and learned Member for Waterford and other Nationalist Members that what they said in Great Britain did not represent their true feelings, but that separation was the goal at which they were aiming. In New York in 1902 the hon. Member for West Belfast said—(he quoted from the Irish People, a paper which he fancied was more popular with the Nationalist Members to-day than it was a few months ago)—When equipped with comparative freedom, then would be the time for those who think we should destroy the last link that binds us to England to operate by whatever means they think best to achieve that great and desirable end. I am sure I speak for the United Irish League in the matter.Speaking at Worcester, U.S.A., in the autumn of 1901, the hon. and learned Member for Waterford declared—Out ultimate goal is the national independence of our country. I say in its essence the national movement is the same to-day as it was in the days of Hugh O'Neill, of Owen Roe, of Emmet or of Wolfe Tone, to overturn the foreign domination in our land and to put Irishmen in charge of their own affairs. The object has always been the same. Whether the freedom of Ireland is attained by moral suasion or physical force, what difference so long as it is achieved?There was a more aggressive tone about that than about the present Resolution. The hon. and learned Gentleman in Great Britain, and in this House roared as gently as a sucking dove; he roared as sweetly as a nightingale; but when he went across the water to America, or went down among the poor and ignorant peasantry of the South and West of Ireland—
§ MR. GEORGE CLARK
Then his whole tone changed, and there he went about like a rampant roaring lion seeking whom he might devour. But he could assure the hon. and learned Member that when he came to devour Ulster he would find—
§ MR. JOHN O'CONNOR (Kildare, N.)
. Will you allow me, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to ask the hon. Gentleman if he will 184 repeat these words outside this House? Will he call the Irish people lazy and ignorant?
The hon. Member must not interrupt the hon. Gentleman who is in possession of the House.
§ MR. GEORGE CLARK
The hon. Gentleman would find that he was tackling a tough and prickly morsel. Nemo me impune lacessit was as true of the men who lived North of the Boyne as of those who lived North of the Tweed.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG (Antrim, S.)
Mr. Deputy-Speaker, is it in order for an hon. Member below the Gangway to call—as I heard—my friend. "coward" and "a cad?"
It is not in order to make use of such expressions. I must ask the hon. Member to withdraw.
§ MR. GEORGE CLARK
, continuing, said that the hon. Member for East Mayo had declared at Thurles three years ago, that they should never have in Ireland a really prosperous and happy land until the rule of England was swept clean out of Ireland. Whose voice were they to believe? They, the loyalists, lived in Ireland and were in close touch with the Nationalists every day of their lives, and were better able to judge by experience of their feelings and aspirations than Members of the House. They applied to them an infallible test, viz., they judged them by their fruits, 185 that one did not gather figs from thorns and grapes from thistles. A good tree did not put forth evil fruit, and cattle-driving, boycotting, intimidation, and outrage were not acts which received the approval of honest and honourable men. He had not yet heard them denounced by Nationalist Members. In the very first sentence of the Resolution there were two fallacies. The first was that the present system of government of Ireland was in opposition to the will of the Irish people. Who were the Irish people? He thought every one would admit that the Unionists, who formed one-third of the population, and who were the loyal law-abiding and industrious section, were entitled to be heard when they declared, and declared emphatically, that they were satisfied to have the government of the country in the hands of the Imperial Parliament. The second fallacy was that Irishmen had no voice in the management of their own affairs, for the Irishmen in Antrim and Cork had as much voice in the affairs of his country as the Englishmen in Yorkshire, or the Scotsmen in Ayrshire had in his; indeed, the Cork man had more to say than he was entitled to, because of the over-representation of Ireland in proportion to the population, which was a matter of common knowledge. The hon. Gentleman complained of the cost of the government of Ireland, but whose fault was it if the cost was more than it ought to be? A great deal of the money was for education, and the administration of the law, and he was not aware that the hon. Member for Waterford would like to see the education grant reduced. He knew that they, as Unionists, would like to see a very large increase of it, if it were only reasonably administered. Then, again, the cost of the administration of the law could be reduced if Nationalists would live in a rational, orderly, and reasonable manner. It was the fact that under the present administration it had been found necessary to add considerably to the police force and the cost of it. That was to say that, under a Home Rule Chief Secretary, with Ireland governed more or less in accordance with Irish ideas, lawlessness and the police force were increasing. What would be the condition of affairs under a Home Rule Parliament, he could 186 not tell perhaps the Royal Irish Constabulary would be disbanded and their duties handed over to the village ruffians who shot innocent men and women from behind hedges, attempted to deprive the living of the necessities of life and the dead the rights of burial. The argument that it was necessary for the material prosperity of Ireland that she should have an Imperial Parliament in Dublin had been exploded long ago. The position of Ulster was a standing refutation of the charge that the poverty of Ireland was due to British rule. Without the natural advantages which other parts of Ireland possessed, and without the aid of Government grants, the people of Ulster, by their courage and perseverance, had built up enterprises which compared favourably with any in the whole of the United Kingdom. There was a great deal of truth in the statement made to him the other day with respect to Ireland by a gentleman who sat on the Front Government Bench, when he said that there were three P's there which might be dispensed with with advantage, viz., publicans, politicians, and priests, and that if there were less of them in secular affairs there would be a better prospect of material prosperity. They regretted that the Nationalist parts of Ireland were so backward and poor, but they said that the fault did not lie with the Imperial Parliament, but with the people themselves. If they would devote their energies to agitation instead of to work, and persist in cattle-driving instead of in cattle-feeding, how could they hope to be prosperous? He was not going to use the strong language of the Member for South Tyrone, who declared that the poverty of Ireland was due to "the blackguardism and crime of the Nationalist agitators," but he would repeat his words that instead of blaming Parliament the Nationalists should blame their own leaders, who had never shown any disposition to allow the people to settle down to serious work. He had lived in Ireland for thirty years, and he never came across a single Englishman or Scotsman who had gone to Ireland to live who favoured the policy of Home Rule, and from his knowledge of the people of Ulster, of all classes, he was convinced that they were as determined as ever not 187 to submit to Home Rule. If the people of England thought that the people of Ulster would ever agree to have their lives and their liberties placed under the control of the Nationalists of Ireland, they were very much mistaken. And how could they force them to submit? Were they going to apply coercion to them? Were they going to make it a crime to be loyal and industrious? He had too much faith in the justice of his fellow-countrymen to believe that they would ever attempt to coerce the people of Ulster to submit to a Government with which they would be entirely out of sympathy. He could assure the House that they were all sick of the Home Rule agitation. The perpetual raising of the question tended to uneasiness and disorder. If they would only let the Nationalists know plainly that they were not going to get an Irish Parliament and suppress with a firm hand disorder in the country, they would take the heart out of that foolish agitation and give Ireland a chance of settling down and progressing along the path of material prosperity. Of policy, cunning, craft, subtlety, they had already a plethora in Ireland. It was to that fact that most of her woes were to be attributed. He believed that if the present Administration would only try for a change a little more honesty of purpose they would find their task of governing the country very much easier. The loyalists of Ireland were proud of being British subjects, subjects of an Empire the product of the union of various nationalities, in the building up of which Irishmen had taken no small part. He felt that they had a bounden duty to maintain the unity and integrity of that Empire, and it was for that reason they so strenuously opposed the proposal now before the House.
§ *MR. BARNES (Glasgow, Blackfriars)
said that had he not been a Home Ruler he would have found a good deal to make him one in the speech to which they had just listened—a speech which was studiously offensive to chivalrous and high-spirited people among whom the hon. Member had found a home and means of living. He wished to associate himself and his colleagues of the Labour Party with the 188 Resolution brought forward by the hon. Member for Waterford, and they tendered the hon. Member and the Irish Party their whole-hearted sympathy and support in their demand for Home Rule. He thought he might, if it were necessary, say that they of the Labour Party would support any Government which made a really genuine effort to settle in harmony with the wishes of the Irish people this long-standing, painful, and weakening controversy. He believed that every one of the Members of the Labour Party, without exception, was a Home Ruler, and he thought he might also say that he spoke not only for the Members of the Labour Party, with whom he was identified, but also for the Members of that Party who sat on the opposite side of the House. They were Home Rulers because they refused to stand in the way of giving the people of Ireland the government of their own country, to which they were fully entitled. They were also Home Rulers because they were accustomed to Home Rule in the management of those organisations which had been instrumental in sending them to the House. A great deal had been said by the noble Lord who moved the Amendment, as to the difficulty of drawing a precise line of demarcation between Imperial and local matters. He seemed to think that the difficulty of drawing those lines of demarcation would be a fruitful topic of controversy during the time such a Bill was under discussion, and he invited Irish Members to submit a Bill, he supposed with the idea that this fruitful source of controversy would spoil the chance of such a measure being passed. He had further said that after the Bill was passed the lines of demarcation would continue to be fruitful sources of controversy amongst the Irish people. If he might give a modest illustration he would refer again to the organisations which had been the means of sending Labour representatives to Parliament, and which had settled this matter of central versus local authority. If he were to make any complaint about the settlement at all, it would be that the local men had too much Home Rule. At all events, they would never think of imposing upon the branches of their organisation those degrading conditions 189 which had been imposed by Parliament upon the people of Ireland. They had heard a great deal in the course of the debate in the nature of prophecy as to what would take place in the event of Home Rule being passed. The hon. Member for Cambridge University had tried to curdle their blood, so to speak, with dreadful details of what would happen: people flying at one another's throats, for instance. They who had read the political history of the country had been accustomed to these dreadful tales being pitched into their ears on the occasion of every measure of social, industrial, or political freedom for the people of this country, and the marvel, to his mind, was that, in spite of the fact that they had been found to be absolutely false every time, hon. Members could still tell the same old tale just as though nothing had happened. One particular thing had emerged from this part of the discussion. It was said that in the event of Home Rule being passed the people of Ireland would be disposed to repudiate their indebtedness under the provisions for acquiring possession of the land. He dared say that some such tale was told when the people of Canada were granted Home Rule. At all events, it needed but little refutation. If the Irish representatives desired that there should be repudiation of those debts, why did they not do it now? If Ireland had Home Rule every one of these Gentlemen would be more concerned, seeing that they would have a larger sense of responsibility, inasmuch as they would be taking a larger share in the management and control of Irish affairs, and instead of encouragement being given to repudiation of that character, very likely the opposite would be the fact. The last speaker had had a good deal to say in very bad taste, he thought, as to the difference between the people of the South and of the North of Ireland, but he had failed to mention one thing which very largely, if not altogether, accounted for that difference, the difference in the economic conditions under which the people in the North had been living, as compared with the people in the South. The hon. Member appeared never to have heard of the principle of tenant right, which had given to the people of the North of Ireland 190 some little protection, at all events, against the rapacity of the landlords which had been denied to people of the South of Ireland. They were in favour of Home Rule for Ireland because they believed the people of Ireland were entitled to it, because they had asked for it, and because they believed they were entitled to ask for it. British rule had proved itself to be alien to the spirit of the Irish people, and contrary to their wishes, and that fact alone was sufficient to condemn it. From Dublin Castle down to the humblest member of the Irish Constabulary they found that the Government was regarded with aversion, sometimes almost amounting to hatred, on the part of the Irish people. He did not speak from mere hearsay, but as the result of some knowledge acquired by inquiry and observation upon the spot. It might be as the Chief Secretary had said, that there was no corruption in the administration of Irish affairs in a venal sense. It would be improper for him to say otherwise after the statement of the Chief Secretary, but they had heard a great deal about favouritism and discrimination as against those of certain religious or political views, and he thought from what he had heard, that the dominant class and party in Ireland had not been slow to show that favouritism and discrimination. That itself figured in the mind of the Irish people as corruption, and in that opinion he thought they were not far wrong. A great deal had been said about the alleged lawlessness and disloyalty of the Irish people. That seemed to him, if anything, to add to the damning indictment of the British rule of Ireland. After all, Irish people were not naturally a lawless people in those countries where they had had a chance of taking a part in the government, and their loyalty was best demonstrated by the fact that time and time again ever since the franchise had been lowered so as to get a real expression of the will of the people, they had sent to that House, and that in spite of the determination of a great political Party to wear them down by resolute government, four-fifths of their representatives to demand Home Rule. Twenty-one years had passed since it was decided that Ireland should be treated to that twenty years of resolute government which was to dragoon 191 the people into submission if it was not possible to make them acquiesce in a system of government in which they did not believe, and they found to-day the Irish people were just as determined in their demand, just as loyal to their leaders, as filled with hatred of the system of British rule as at the beginning of the twenty years. Another twenty years would make not the slightest difference. Obedience to a Government, loyalty to the laws of a Government and all those other virtues of which they heard so much from that remnant of a once great political Party who occupied the benches above him, might, and he thought would, follow the conferring on the people of Ireland of the rights to which they were entitled; but they had never preceded the conferring on a country of the rights to which it was entitled unless in the case of a people whose spirit was broken, or a people who were instinctively slaves. That could not, be said of the Irish people. On the contrary, they were a high-spirited and chivalrous race, who had shown themselves up to and in many cases above the average of political ability in those countries where they had gone, and for that reason he added his voice on behalf of organised labour to those that had already gone up, asking that as speedily as possible this useless and senseless struggle should be terminated by the grant of Home Rule. He claimed that Ireland should be given those rights of taking part in the affairs of the country which had been granted them elsewhere, and in the exercise of which they had shown more than average capacity. Now he came to his second point. There might be many Members who would not be influenced by sentimental arguments. Some of the arguments he had used were only sentimental arguments; but, so far as he could gather, even from the point of view of practical results British rule in Ireland had been found to be a dismal and costly failure, costly to England as will as to Ireland, Home Rule was not only an Irish but an English and a Scottish question. It was a Glasgow question. Eighteen hundred of his constituents were Irishmen, forced out of their country by ruthless landlordism, and denied the right to rule them- 192 selves. He would not say that all these bad effects were due to British rule, but at all events, they found them concurrently with British rule, and that was quite sufficient for his argument. He had said nothing of the financial strain, which was very considerable. If they had a police, for instance, two or three times as numerous as they ought to be, of course somebody must be the poorer. If they had a judicial system very largely engaged in defending the property of an absentee class, there again somebody must pay; and if they had a people impoverished by landlordism, the cost of collecting the ordinary means of government and administration must be larger than it was in a rich community. All these things were incidental to the position in Ireland, and they all flowed from the main stream from which Ireland's losses flowed. He attached very little importance to these subordinate considerations, because, after all, any readjustment that they might make in regard to finance would only be temporary and trifling in its results. For instance, if twelve or fourteen years ago there had been a readjustment in accordance with the findings of the Commission, even already that readjustment would be out of date because of the decrease of population in Ireland and the increase here. It was a lamentable fact that during the last fifty-six years there had left the shores of Ireland a number of people almost if not quite equal to the whole present population of the country—that was to say, Irishmen, whose love of country was a passion, made all the greater because of the sufferings of the bravest and best of her sons, and the tragic history of the country, had left its shores, probably in larger numbers than had the people of any other country under the sun. The Emigration Returns up to the end of last year showed that in the last year no less than 40,000 people, in round numbers, left Ireland for Great Britain and elsewhere. Eighty per cent. went to America, there to spread the hatred of British rule, and perhaps at some critical time in our history to turn the scale against us. Of those 40,000 more than half were men, and of those men 16,555 were between the ages of twenty and forty. That was to say, they were a 193 source of wealth to the country willing to produce far more in wealth than they would take as wages and yet they had to leave their own country because there was no living for them there. During the last two years the Labour Party had been urging the Government to deal with the question of unemployment, and the President of the Local Government Board had received a sum of money to enable him to deal with that problem. Part of the money he had used in sending people to Canada and elsewhere, and at the same time the Emigration Returns showed that during the last two years 8,127 people had left Ireland for this country. He had not dissected that figure, but probably more than half were men. At all events, 67 per cent. of the men were labouring men; and it was perfectly clear that, whilst men had been sent out of this country by the expenditure of public money, men of a similar class had come into this country to intensify unemployment. So that if there had been any gain in throwing our surplus out of the window, that gain had been lost by the constant stream of immigration from Ireland through the door. It was time, therefore, they gave up legislating for Ireland, and handed the work over to the Irish people who, he believed, would make a better show. Another thing he had in his mind was the congestion of their own business. He was concerned to give Ireland Home Rule, because the House had more work to do of its own than it could get through efficiently. A great deal of the work done in the House ought to be done in Ireland, a great deal in Scotland, and a great deal in Wales. A great deal of what he said applied to Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but why should Ireland wait? The Irish people were ready for Home Rule, and sent four-fifths of the representatives of that country to the House of Commons to demand it. It devolved on the Government in office to devise ways and means of getting over the difficulty as a bare act of justice to Ireland. On Friday afternoon the House was for some three and a half hours discussing the kind of inspection there should be in Irish clubs. Had they not sufficient trouble with regard to their own clubs? Many 194 hon. Members with whom he was acquainted felt very strongly about English clubs and Scottish clubs. He maintained that the House had quite enough to do in discussing what was happening on this side of the Channel without occupying its time in discussing the inspection of Irish clubs. Summing up, he sail that he was in favour of Home Rule because the Irish people were entitled to it; he was in favour of it because the results of British rule were not of such a character as to justify them in carrying it further, and he was in favour of it because he believed in devolution. He believed the Irish people could manage their own business far better than this country could manage it for them, no matter how desirous we might be to do the best for them. Any one of the reasons he had given would justify Home Rule, but certainly the three together justified the Irish people demanding that the affairs of Ireland should be handed over to and be controlled by Irish representatives who had the trust of the Irish people.
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES (Durham, N.W.)
expressed himself as being one of a scanty number of English Liberals now in the House who in 1886 voted for Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule Bill. He claimed to have a still longer and older association with the cause, because his association with it commenced in that time of terror which culminated in the execution of three unfortunate men in the City of Manchester for what he believed was an unfortunate political crime. The opinions in favour of Home Rule which he entertained in 1886 had been confirmed and strengthened throughout the period which had elapsed since that Bill unfortunately met with defeat. The Resolution moved by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford was not levelled in any hostile sense against either the Liberal Government or the Liberal Party. It was conceded with great generosity by the hon. and learned Gentleman that the Chief Secretary for Ireland had made an honest and sincere attempt to solve the Irish question, and the Resolution was only aimed at securing from the Liberal Party that which they would cheerfully give, the assertion of their intention in the 195 next Parliament to bring in a measure of Home Rule, which would fall within the lines marked out by the Resolution of the hon. Member. The debate had not been uninstructive. He had listened with great attention to the speech made with more courage than modesty by a newly elected Member for one of the northern constituencies of Ireland. He had thought that language of that provocative kind had ceased to be one of the weapons of the Unionist Party of Ireland. Of this he was sure, that had he entertained such opinions as the hon. Member expressed of his countrymen he would have dissembled his views. He wished to remind the two or three Unionist Members present of what the opposition to the Home Rule proposals of Mr. Gladstone in 1886 was founded upon. He asserted, without the slightest hesitation, that the whole of the opposition was founded on the fear that the access to power of the popular party in Ireland would lead to unjust legislation and administration in respect to the landowners in Ireland. The late Duke of Devonshire, of whom everybody must speak with admiration and respect for his courage and honesty, founded his opposition entirely upon that. Those Liberals who had severed themselves from their Party had founded their opposition on the same reason. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, the cause of whose absence they deplored, he remembered, in that House, said that if the Ulster question, the religious difficulty, were the only matter in controversy, he would not allow it to stand in the way of reform. He agreed that under the influence of inflammatory speeches from those who ought to know better, speeches such as they had heard that night, the more ignorant and more bigoted—he would not use those harsh words—the more devoted and religious character of Protestantism in the North of Ireland might have somewhat affected the volume of opposition to Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule Bill. High-sounding phrases were used just in the same way as the words "integrity of the Empire" were used as a stalking horse by those who feared the economic effect of Home Rule. He 196 had listened with interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Cambridge University, because he remembered a letter of the hon. Gentleman which appeared in The Times in, he thought, May of 1886. In that letter the hon. Member admitted the gravity of the problem which was then occupying the attention of the country, he might say of the world. In that letter the hon. Gentleman remarked that if the land question was out of the way, then he would be prepared to concede a just measure of self-government to Ireland. That was the attitude almost universally of the Unionists in 1886. What had they done? It was the irony of fate. A Conservative Government had been instrumental in transferring the land from the landlords to the tenants of Ireland. The fact that men like Lord Dunraven and others whom he could name had joined together in collaboration with the right lion. Member for Dover—he did not think that would be denied—and entered into a scheme of devolution which in fact would have laid the foundation ultimately of a Home Rule system, to his mind was the strongest possible proof of the economic difficulty being the only real difficulty. That difficulty had been removed, and there was left a purely factious opposition founded on bigotry and supported by ignorance. He was very glad that the Amendmentthreatened from those benches had not been moved. It contained the saving clause that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament must be preserved. Again he taxed his memory, and he remembered a speech of the right hon. Gentleman who was now our Minister at Washington, in which he informed the House of what every constitutional lawyer knew, that the supremacy of Parliament was absolutely inalienable over all our dominions. If they wanted an illustration of that they had it in Canada, to which they conceded the fullest measure of responsible Government that had ever been conceded to any of the Colonies, yet there was no section providing for the reservation of Imperial supremacy, because it was inalienable. The noble Lord the Member for Kensington, whose speech was marked by that ability which they had recognised since 197 he came into the House, and who, they regretted, did not address the House more frequently, said—If you are going to grant Home Rule, you must have two divisions. You must have Home Rule for Belfast, and Home Rule for the southern and western and midland parts of Ireland.Did it never occur to the noble Lord that Canada was equally divided politically into two provinces, the French province and the British province? Did it never occur to the noble Lord that all the conditions of distinct nationalities existed in Canada a thousandfold as great as they were in Ireland. Yet the Dominion Act of 1867 was passed, and the Dominion Parliament—a local Parliament such as that which they would establish in Dublin—was established in the capital of Canada, and under that Government the French Catholics of the province of which Quebec was the capital, lived as contented and with the same satisfaction as Protestant Englishmen. He was sorry to hear the noble Lord speak about the possibility of dishonesty. The Chief Secretary was not present; but one of his representatives—the Minister for Agriculture—was, and he would confirm his statement that those poorest and most benighted districts in Ireland upon which the contumely of the hon. Member for North Belfast fell, kept up their payments regularly and honestly. One of the most splendid spectacles in relation to the people of Ireland had been the effort laudably attempted and loyally fulfilled of keeping the financial engagements into which they had entered. Speaking as an English Member for an English constituency, he would welcome the passage of a measure of Home Rule for Ireland. There were great social problems for which the people of this country were yearning, and yet the time of the House had been occupied not for weeks, not for months, but for years, on this idle and barren controversy. It would be an inestimable boon and blessing if they could release themselves from the burden which it was impossible under modern conditions successfully to bear, and thus enable them to address themselves to those questions so intimately affecting the material and moral interests of the people of this country. He had spent many years in the House of Com- 198 mons, and he had always been loyal to the great cause of Home Rule. He honestly believed there was a little light shining in the sky, and a prospect of that measure of liberty which the Irish people desired shining upon them. He did not despair that it would be under the inspiration, and he hoped also by the physical act of the present Prime Minister, that they might realise that which a few years ago was a dream, then a hope, and now a possibility.
§ CAPTAIN DONELAN (Cork, E.)
said he wished to speak on the Motion from the standpoint of an Irish Protestant. His words would be very few, because his hon. and learned friend had dealt with that aspect of the case in a very masterly manner. When once Home Rule for Ireland came prominently to the forefront as a pressing question of practical politics it was not in the least degree surprising, on the contrary, it was only to be expected, that the Unionist Party should set up every bogey that human ingenuity could devise in order to scare the English people. None of those bogeys was more diligently utilised, or had more effectively served the object in view, than the bogey of religious intolerance. Where people took the trouble to ascertain the truth such bogeys were set up in vain. Fortunately, the English people, as a rule, were somewhat better informed about Irish affairs than they used to be, and consequently, they were not so easily bamboozled. Nevertheless, many English people knew so little, and he was afraid cared less, about Ireland that they were easily caught by any catch-cry, and readily swallowed any rubbish that was uttered about the Irish people, more especially if that rubbish was dished up in fashionable drawing-rooms. For example, the catch-cry that Home Rule would mean Rome Rule had probably caused many a British vote to be cast against. Home Rule which would otherwise have been cast in its favour, and there were doubtless many presumably sane people on this side of the Channel who even now firmly believed that the Protestants in Ireland would live in daily danger of the thumb-screw under a Home Rule Parliament. They 199 had been told that sort of stuff so often that they naturally took it for granted that it must be so, and such people were generally either too indolent or too much occupied with other concerns to find out the actual facts for themselves. Ignorance of each other was the great barrier which stood between the British and the Irish nations, and it ought to be the steadfast and earnest aim of every well-wisher of either country to break down that barrier. With regard to the question of Catholic intolerance in Ireland upon the question of Home Rule perhaps few could speak with better knowledge than himself, for he happened to be one of those benighted Protestants in the South of Ireland who were the objects of such tender solicitude on the part of hon. Members above the gangway. Indeed, in his own person he afforded a singularly surprising example and a very shocking example of Catholic intolerance. His case might well appeal to the pity and compassion of the Unionist Party, because his Catholic fellow-countrymen had carried their persecution of him to such a cruel extreme as to return him on every occasion unopposed to represent, in this water-logged House of Commons, the division of the County of Cork in which he lived. The fact that the proportion of Catholics to Protestants in the County of Cork was over ten to one naturally made his case all the more serious; and, furthermore, another Protestant Member of the Nationalist Party had suffered similarly barbarous treatment in the next adjoining division of the County of Cork to his own. Moreover, he had some dozen colleagues in the Irish Party who had had equally painful experiences all through the Catholic districts of Ireland, from Cork to Donegal. He would like the House to consider for a moment the humiliating position occupied by the Protestant minority in Ireland compared with the commanding position occupied by Catholic minority in Great Britain. According to the last census, taken in 1901, Protestants in Ireland, including the Presbyterians and Methodists, numbered 1,086,000. His hon. and learned friend the Member for Waterford had already mentioned the fact that Ireland returned twenty-seven Protestant Mem- 200 bers of parliament. According to the the same census the Catholics in Great Britain numbered 2,180,000, or something more than double the number of Protestants in Ireland. How many Catholics were sent to sit in this House by British constituencies? His hon. friend said there were five, but he thought there were only four. But whether the number was four or five it included his hon. friend the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool, who might fairly be said to represent Ireland in England. In the face of facts such as those, was it any wonder that Unionists should shudder to contemplate the fate that awaited forlorn Irish Protestants when they were placed under the heel of their Catholic oppressors? The charge of intolerance so persistently made in certain quarters against the Catholics of Ireland was a base and groundless charge, and he challenged any Member of the House to produce a single instance in which a Protestant in Ireland had suffered a disability of any sort or kind on account of his religion. It was a very good omen that the Orangemen of the North were gradually learning a lesson of religious toleration from the Catholics in the South of Ireland, and that the old aggressive spirit of ascendancy was slowly but surely dying cut. Year by year it was becoming more difficult to kindle the smouldering embers of sectarian strife, and the beating of the Orange drum was no longer responded to with the same frantic frenzy as in the days gone by. From one end of Ireland to the other there were, happily, signs and tokens that it was the desire of Irishmen of every class and creed to live together in harmony and peace, and work together to promote the welfare of their country. All they asked for was to be given the chance, and why, in the name of commonsense, could not the great Liberal Government summon up sufficient courage to give them the chance?
§ *MR. BARRIE (Londonderry, N.)
said the hon. and gallant Member for East Cork had informed the House that while there were several Protestant Members in the Nationalist Party, there were only four or five Catholic Members sent to Parliament by British constituencies. 201 He made no complaint in regard to that statement, but he challenged the deduction which the hon, and gallant Member drew from it. The deduction which Unionists draw from it was that the hon. Member's inclusion in the Nationalist Party was part of a skilful propaganda to have in the Party a select number of Protestants. Unionists had again and again tried to get as a Member of their party a Roman Catholic Unionist. They had not succeeded yet, but he believed they would ultimately. He could not help, when listening to the hon. Member for Waterford, contrasting his reception that afternoon with what he was accustomed to get in his earlier appearances before the present Parliament. They were aware that three courses were open to the hon. Member in fulfilment of his promise to his followers in Ireland, that within a week of the opening of Parliament they would have the Home Rule flag unfurled. It was open to the hon. Member to move a Home Rule amendment to the Address. That was not done, and no explanation was offered as to why it was not done. The hon. Member could have introduced Home Rule Bill, and have seen what support it would receive from the present Government. He had elected to take neither of these courses. He had chosen the safer, the less aggressive, and the more academic course of introducing that Parliamentary futility, a Home Rule Resolution. Unionists did not complain. The great difficulty they had to contend with at the last general election was the constant assertion that Home Rule was dead, and that it was not an issue before the electorate. He was happy in the knowledge that that could not be said again. They believed they had again to begin the old fight which as twice before carried successfully trough, and he did not think the result would be different from what it was in 1886, and again in 1893. They were told sometimes that Ulster had wavered in its allegiance to the unionist cause, but in the three elections which had taken place since the general election the Unionist majorities had been greatly increased. The Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow had said that all the trouble in Ireland came 202 from the landlord party. He though as he listened that the hon. Member was not so well posted in his facts as usual. He was not there as a representative of the landlord party, and had never had any interest in land, but he was old enough to remember that since 1881 Irish landlords had suffered severely for any faults or shortcoming of their predecessors. Since 1881, there had been Land Courts in Ireland fixing fair rents, and gradually a great improvement had taken place, so that it was utterly beside the question to say that landlordism was the cause of any trouble in Ireland The Member for the Blackfriars Division had also assured the House that all the Members of the Labour Party were confirmed Home Rulers. He ventured to suggest that the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division was really a great deal more of an Imperialist than he seemed to be aware of himself. He told the House that he was a Home Ruler because of the organisation which had been the means of bringing the Labour Members into the House. He remembered the time when, as the head of one of those great Labour organisations, the Member for the Blackfriars Division, finding himself out of sympathy with a large society over which he had been chief officer for many years, went down to Glasgow when the men had ventured to act in defiance of the instructions of the executive, and ordered them to return to their work, telling them that if they refused their strike pay would be cut off. They returned to work. He thought in that action the hon. Member showed consciously or unconsciously that he was an Imperialist of the best type. It was stated in the Resolution of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford the present system of government in Ireland was out of sympathy with the will of the people. He supposed that what was meant was that it was out of sympathy with the will of the United Irish League. He submitted, however, that the United Irish League had no right or mandate to speak for the people of Ireland. Writing to the Freeman's Journal in July, 1907, the hon. Member for East Tyrone pointed out that on the roll of membership of the United Irish League there were no landlords, few merchants, fewer Irish 203 manufacturers, and few of the men who were managing the business of Ireland in city and town. In that connection he thought they were entitled to ask was that the kind of statement that was made when the United Irish League was seeking financial support in all ends of the earth? The hon. Member for Belfast preached in Australia that there had been a great change in Ireland, and that all classes were now united in asking that some form of Home Rule should be granted He was in the House as one of the commercial representatives of Ulster to say that they stood now where they stood in previous times on this great issue. If that contention were disputed, he thought the statistics of recent elections amply confirmed the fact. He desired to adopt the words used by the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture at Dungannon on 8th October, 1886. Although the hon. Member now sat on the opposite side of the House, he would ask that careful attention should be given to those words, because he had lived a good many years in Ireland before he uttered them and knew the position there as well as most men. The hon. Member said—I have never doubted how the hon. Member or Cork would treat inconvenient minorities, and I now hold, firmer than I did before, that if the Protestants of Ireland ever place their civil or religious liberties at the mercy of the band of mercenaries who follow Mr. Parnell's lead, they will speedily and bitterly rue the transaction.He thoroughly agreed with him, and it was only necessary to alter the leader's names. He would give another illustration. The hon. Member for Galway, writing recently in the Daily chronicle, claimed greater powers in the proposed Council for Nationalists in order that they might the better be able to show generosity and justice to the Protestants, who would always have been in a minority in the Council. The Editor of the British Weekly, as a Nonconformist, replying to this argument said—The hon. Member knows history. Will be tell us of a single instance where a Roman Catholic has given justice to a Protestant minority? We wait to hear.He had carefully perused every issue of the British Weekly since that was pub- 204 lished, and he had failed to find an answer from the hon. Member for Galway.
§ MR. BARRIE
said he had put on record the statement made by a largely-circulated Nonconformist periodical.
MR. SWIFTMACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
We never heard of it before.
§ MR. BARRIE
said he was sorry that the hon. Gentleman had never heard of it. As to the present composition of the Nationalist Party he would quote what was said in the Irish People, a publication edited by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. Over a year ago the hon. Member for Mid. Cork had a sudden punishment meted out to him because he had not conformed in some way to the behests of the Party. He resigned his seat and stood again, and the official Irish Parliamentary Party did not dare even to oppose him. During the contest the hon. Member for the City of Cork said—Silly people who were ready to swallow any cry would no doubt be told that Mr. Sheehan was standing against the Irish Party and against majority rule. That cry was worthy of a party who could live only by falsehoods, and by the suppression of the truth from the country. The truth was the other way, for Mr. Sheehan was standing to save the great majority of the Irish Party and their nominal Leader from a secret despotism, which was reducing the name of that Party to an empty name and an object of derision in Ireland. The majority of the Irish Party had no more to do with the expulsion of Mr. Sheehan from the Irish Party than they had to do with the last eclipse of the sun. They knew no more about this outrage on Mr. Sheehan and the people of Mid Cork than even Mr. Sheehan himself until they read of it in the newspapers. To that hour the majority of the Irish Party knew as little as those he was addressing as to who were the secret conspirators who were yielding the power of life and death over their colleagues and themselves. The whole thing was done in guilty secret, and in some unknown star chamber, and the object of that Mid Cork election was to tear away that cloud of darkness, and let the party and the country know once and for all who were the guilty conspirators and by what right they claimed that 205 intolerable pretension to do what they liked with the liberties, and with the honour, and with the funds of the Irish Party. If they were to condone the treatment of Mr. Sheehan by those men, what was to prevent them next from striking at fifteen or twenty Members of the Irish Party whom they would just as gladly strike down without even the form of a trial? That was not majority rule, it was Thuggery rule, but from that day forth the men of Ireland were going to put it down. Mr. Sheehan was taking the only means of saving the Irish Party from secret tyrants, and from the conditions of ignominy and slavery in which they were at present lying, in terror of the men who had got hold of the Australian funds, which were really the beginning and end of all this trouble.[Interruption from the Irish Benches.] He was quoting the words of one of the Members of the Irish Party, and he claimed he was entitled to introduce them during that debate. They had an interesting bearing on the question before them. As a Member of the Ulster Unionist Party he desired to associate himself with everything which had been said by the hon. Member for North Belfast in defence of the Irish Unionists. Everything that had occurred in recent years had justified their attitude, and they were determined to resist by every lawful means any attempt to hand them over to the tender mercies of the Irish Nationalist Party.
§ *MR. ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)
thought that the House had heard with great pleasure and satisfaction from the hon. Member for Cork that religious bigotry and animosity were hateful to the Irish people. He was sure that they all recognised the truth of the testimony of the hon. Member for Cork in his own person. That was the impression which he himself had received when he visited Ireland, and he believed that the facts and figures laid before the House by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford had laid that bogey to rest. The debate must have stirred the memories of all those who were in the House in the old days of the eighties. His right hon. friend the Chief Secretary had told them that it would be to the advantage of every Member of the House to read the debates on the Coercion Bill of 1887. He would supplement that by saying that in his humble judgment it would be to the advantage of every Member to read the debates on the great Home Rule Bill of 1886. Those were 206 days indeed, in Mr. Parnell's phrase, of the battle of giants. He thought it would be admitted by anyone who looked over the last twenty years that since the introduction of that Home Rule Bill in 1886 there had been a great march in the movement towards Irish self-government. He thought that the Amendment moved by the noble Lord was somewhat belated, and that if the noble Lord would look into the history of his Party he would find that years ago they had moved a long way in front of his Resolution. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham used the following striking language on 12th March, 1887—But when Mr. Gladstone introduced this tremendous measure, when he made this enormous concession to the Parnellite Party we felt, and we said—and no man said it more clearly than Lord Hartington—that the situation had been changed by his action, and that in future it would be useless to talk of measures which might have been sufficient before, and that we were bound to consider the matter now on a broader and wider standpoint, and with a view to make more extensive concessions, and accordingly our position was that while we were willing to agree in the future to the creation of some legislative authority in Dublin in accordance with Mr. Gladstone's principles, we could not consent, and would not consent to the scheme by which he proposed to carry this out so long as the safeguards: which Mr. Gladstone provided were in our opinion totally illusory and inadequate.The same attitude was taken up in 1893–1894. The principle of a legislative authority in Dublin was conceded by both these distinguished men; but, they now had the noble Lord the Member for South Kensington adopting a negative non possumus attitude. The noble Lord had not attempted to grapple with the various assertions set forth in the Resolution of the Leader of the Irish Party. The case for Irish self-government could not be displaced as regarded cost, inefficiency, and the alienation of the sympathies of the people of Ireland, Let them take it whichever way they liked, the case stood not only where it did in 1886, but had been strengthened by what had happened during the last twenty years. He had read very carefully the speeches made by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford in various parts of Ireland in 1907, and he did not understand how anyone going through them could feel otherwise than that the position 207 of the hon. Gentleman was abundantly justified. And that was strengthened by the illuminating notes of the hon. Member for Donegal. This Parliament had for generations been dealing with Ireland with a want of knowledge. The fons et origo mali was still want of knowledge of Ireland. No one had admitted that more specifically than the Leader of the Opposition. What did that right hon. Gentleman say in 1895 in regard to the treatment by this Parliament of Irish industries?—There was a time, an unhappy time, when the British Parliament thought they were well-employed in crushing out Irish manufactures in the interest of the British producer. It was a cruel and it has proved to be a stupid policy.
§ MR. ELLIS
said he was not challenging the right hon. Gentleman's consistency in the least; he was comparing instances. Though they might have got rid of the cruelty, they had not got rid of the stupidity. When he first entered Parliament he at once came face to face with the land question. He went over to Ireland and rode hundreds of miles over the country. He had piles of notebooks filled with observations on Irish land and Irish tenancy. He was amazed to find that the rental was taken in Ireland, and had been taken for long, from the person who created the value of the property and paid to persons had contributed nothing to this value. They all knew that in this country the landlords created the buildings, executed the drainage, and so forth. In Ireland there was nothing of the kind. They might go over hundreds of thousands of acres where all the value of the property had been created by the tenants, and large villages where every house had been built by the tenants. On many a property the landlord had never spent £5 upon them. That was proved by the fact that in the Act of 1881 there was a special provision that English managed estates should be exempted from the operation of that Act, and that no advantage had been taken of that provision, the simple reason being that there were practically no such estates. There was another very striking thing 208 about the Irish land question which was not often taken notice of. The tenant had a much longer hereditary connection with the land than the landlord. Many of them had been for generation after generation on the land, and new landlords had come on the scene, and had filched from the tenants all sorts of their ancient rights. The tenantry had been treated as a factor in adding rental value to the property, and where that could not be done they were swept away. That was the cause of the great evictions when the people were hurled off the land to the sea shore. In regard to the machinery of government in Ireland, where the treatment had not been cruel it had been stupid. The noble Lord did not refer to Lord Dunraven's striking book, in which he gave a catalogue of the administrative Boards in Ireland. He showed that the civil administration of Ireland consisted of no less than sixty-seven authorities. Ireland did not enjoy the advantages of our constitutional system, and she had not the advantages of an efficient despotism. She fell between the two schools. There had been some curious things happen during the last twenty years, to some of which he would call attention. He wished the noble Lord had let a little light into some of them. They started the twenty years with an interview between the then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Carnarvon, in a house with Mr. Parnell and also the Prime Minister, but not one of his colleagues; then they had the Newport speech, which might be read to-day with very great advantage; and then they had later another Prime Minister, and he hoped that the Leader of the Opposition, who was going to speak, would give them a little information about the MacDonnell mystery. There was the right hon. Gentleman carrying on coercion for many years—and he never, apart from his policy, admired a man more for the unflinching vigour with which he carried it on—and then they had Mr. Gerald Balfour; and while the right hon. Gentleman was Prime Minister they had the curious incident of Sir Antony MacDonnell, and he initiated a new policy. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give them a little information about these things if 209 he spoke in that debate. There was rather a significant article in the North American Review in February, 1903, evidently written on authority, that the scheme then put forward was not only a scheme of financial but of political reform, and covered the whole scheme of devolution. Did anybody doubt that at the end of the period to which he had alluded, Ireland, taking it all over, had less sympathy and less appreciation of English rule than it had at the beginning There might not, happily, be so much crime and so much disorder, but there was a movement growing in Ireland, even among Unionists, in the direction of some change being made, and as he listened to the hon. Member who had just sat down and remembered the way in which Colonel Saunderson presented it, he thought how the Unionist cause as regards force and vigour had fallen. The hon. Member for Waterford had alluded to the Irish representatives, and he thought they could not dwell upon that fact too strongly. Our system of government was based on the representative principle; they all claimed to come there as representing somebody; they were all nothing with themselves; they passed away, but their constituencies endured. But all through this time, whatever the fortunes of English parties, there had been more than eighty men from Ireland, all of whom represented more truly than some of them could say that Irish demand dealt with in the Resolution before them. This, it was foreseen, would be the case in 1884, when there occurred in the House a greet debate on the Irish franchise. One of the most eloquent members—the last real Irish orator, Mr. Plunkett—pointed out that if they gave the franchise to the Irish peasant they would undoubtedly make it Inevitable that the Nationalist Party would come up there with a great majority. So it had been. They had had a stream of men coming from Ireland who were entitled to be listened to. But, apart from that, he noticed a singular statement which fell not long ago from the late Solicitor General who, he believed, went so far as to say that it was about time that the government of Ireland was left for Irishmen to deal with.
§ SIR E. CARSON (Dublin University)
said that was not exactly what he had stated. He said that if the present course of government went on and did not afford protection to the Irish people the English Government had better clear out of Ireland.
§ *MR. ELLIS
was glad to have extracted that statement. The present course of government included the Conservative Government.
§ *MR. ELLIS
said of course he accepted the right hon. Gentleman's explanation. But in this connection he remembered very well the striking words used by Mr. Parnell in the great debate of 1886. He said—We cannot give up a single Irishman; we want the energy, the patriotism, the talents, and the work of every Irishman to ensure that this great experiment shall be a successful one. The best system of government for a country I believe to be one which requires that that Government should be the resolution of all the forces within that country. I regard variety as necessary to the success of this trial. We want all creeds and all classes in Ireland. We cannot consent to a single Irishman as not belonging to us.He was not sure that if Mr. Parnell had been in his place now he would not have claimed the right hon. Gentleman as being willing to work under his banner. He welcomed the Resolution; he believed it cleared the air. He believed that, after all, the sky was breaking, and that the Irish Nationalists and the English Members—because this was as much a question for them as for the Nationalist Members—might look forward to the time when the problem would be solved by giving to the Irish people the legislative and executive control of all purely Irish affairs. He should go with unhesitating alacrity into the lobby in support of the Resolution.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down expended the greater part of his speech in expounding to the House two flagrant instances of English misgovernment in Ireland. The first related to the Irish system of land tenure, under which, 211 as everybody knows, it has been customary for the tenant to make the improvements—not a good system in my opinion, but a system which we on this side of the House—the party to which I belong, the Government of which I was a member—have done not only something to remedy, but eveything to remedy. What was tinkered at before by Radical Governments and Conservative Governments in the way of land purchase has been finally and conclusively settled by the Land Purchase Act, passed by my right hon. friend the Member for Dover, and what can be the relevance of a system of land tenure in Ireland which is remedied by legislation passed by this House to an argument which dicusses whether this House is capable of dealing with Irish problems utterly passes my comprehension. But I go further, and I ask: How, if Home Rule had passed, either in 1886 or 1893, could the land question have been settled? If it has been settled now, or if it is in the way of being settled now by the use of British credit and British capital—and does the right hon. Gentleman suppose that after his ideal is carried into effect, and there is in Dublin an independent Parliament with an executive responsible to it, it is likely that a British House of Parliament which has nothing whatever to do with Ireland except occasionally to coerce the representatives of Ireland in the management of Irish affairs—(that, I understand, is the theory)—how they would have dealt with the Irish land problem on just and sound lines without British credit behind them passes my comprehension, and the right hon. Gentleman forgot in the course of his speech to explain it. His other illustration, if he will allow me to say so, was, if possible, more unfortunate. He told us that he had driven many hundreds of miles on an outside car through Ireland—I am sure enjoying the lovely scenery and the kindly hospitality of its inhabitants—but he said he had discovered in the course of his investigations that there were no less than sixty-seven boards in Ireland.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I beg pardon. That was not discovered on the outside 212 car. But the right hon. Gentleman cannot have been in this House when the Chief Secretary for Ireland spoke this evening. The Chief Secretary for Ireland made a very interesting speech, to which I shall refer later, and in the course of that speech he had a long and interesting parenthesis, in which he re-made the speech which, by his own account, he ought to have made when he brought in the Irish Councils Bill last year. He indicated to the House that he, like the right hon. Gentleman, had been misled by Lord Dunraven in his book. He did not mention the name or the source, but he did mention the sixty-seven boards, and he said it was a very unfortunate argument to have used. He felt he had weakened his case by it, because these sixty-seven boards were now quite an illusory argument, and the whole justification of the abortive Bill of last year did not depend upon sixty-seven boards, but, I think, upon six—a percentage of diminution which my powers of mental arithmetic are unable at the moment to calculate, but which the right hon. Gentleman himself will admit is very large. So much for the two instances that the right hon. Gentlemen mentioned. If I go back, leaving the right hon. Gentleman's speech, to a general survey of the debate, I have one or two general observations to make. The first is this, that it is clearly impossible to discuss the merits of Home Rule in the course of a debate which begins at four o'clock and ends, let us say, at half-past eleven. I remember on the Second Reading of Mr. Gladstone's Bill of 1893 we took a fortnight; or at least we had four days for the introduction and I do not know how many days for the Second Reading. Though in those days, as in these, there was occasional repetition in argument, still I am not making an extravagant statement when I say that it is impossible for any speaker, whatever his powers of compression may be, to deal, within the limits prescribed by the conditions under which we are discussing this question, with so vast a theme in any adequate fashion. The second observation I have to make, or the second question I put to myself, is whether we are engaged in a serious discussion at all? I confess that when. I heard the hon. and learned Gentleman 213 who initiated the debate make his speech, I felt, as I have always felt when he speaks to us, that he has strong convictions on this matter which he is as capable as any man in this House of expressing eloquently and effectively. But then, when I heard the reply of the Chief Secretary, I did not know whether I was assisting at a pre-arranged comedy between the Government and their friends on that side and their consistent and faithful supporters below the gangway, and whether, in fact, this was not a mere attempt to make he outside public believe that the Irish Nationalist Members were as interested as ever in the question of Home Rule, but that hon. Gentlemen opposite were not to be driven into any unpleasant corner or compelled to make any unpleasant declarations, but were to have the same latitude of interpretation of their Home Rule declarations as they had enjoyed in the past. I had intended speaking on the merits, but—[Cries of "Go on"]—then you bring it on yourselves, and, if I am to survey, even in the briefest fashion the merits of the question, I must ask the indulgence of the House, though I shall not really travel outside the limits of to-day's debate. What said the Leader of the Irish Party? He gave his version of the arguments that had been used in favour of Home Rule, and said—The whole situation is altered. There may have been strong arguments against Home Rule in 1886 and in 1893, but those arguments, which may have been strong then, have been destroyed since, and destroyed by the action of a Unionist Government.What were his two arguments? The first was that you required to do justice in the matter of land. You had to do justice to Irish landlords as well as Irish tenants, and if Home Rule had been passed in 1886 or 1893 justice would not have been done. Justice will now be done because the Land Act of 1903 has been passed, and that question is in the way of solution. I am proud tohave been a member of the Government which passed that Act; but, when it is suggested that it is inconsistent with Unionist policy, let me say that I had been an ardent advocate for years of that policy before I held office in this House at all. More than twenty years ago I seconded 214 a Resolution on the subject of land purchase when I was in Opposition, and ever since then I have, in office and out of office, ardently advocated that policy, and it is absurd to say that we borrowed it from the hon. Member for Waterford and his friends. I believe the public man whose name was most identified in early life with it was Mr. Bright; but, whatever may have been the small beginnings of that policy, all that has been done of a great and effectual character has been done by us, all the great steps have been taken by us, and they have been absolutely consistent with the whole theory of Unionist administration. The second argument used by the hon. and learned Gentleman was that the opponents of Home Rule laid down the principle that Irishmen, qua Irishmen, were incapable of administering affairs, and that that argument had been entirely disposed of by the fact that a Unionist Government gave a full measure of local administration to Irish county councils. Local government in Ireland, again, has always been a part of Unionist policy.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
He certainly said nothing inconsistent with that. Long before the Irish Local Government Act passed, I and my friends have always said that privileges of that kind which you gave to England must be given to Ireland. They were not given to England, remember, until a Unionist Government gave them in 1888; and, as soon as they were given to England, then, in my opinion, it became absolutely necessary, right, and just that the same privileges should be given to Ireland; and they were given, not when a Radical Government came in, but when a Unionist Government again took office in 1895. Who has ever suggested that an Irishman is incapable of dealing with government? [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: Lord Salisbury] I beg pardon. He did nothing of the kind. You have only to see the Parliamentary ability of hon. Members below the gangway—an ability which I have experienced, sometimes pleasurably and sometimes painfully, for the last thirty years—to know that Irishmen yield to no nation in the world in their 215 Parliamentary aptitudes. And I am delighted to learn what we have heard to-day—that the Irish county councils have shown great administrative ability, and have been a very creditable institution. As one of those who created that institution, am I expected to stand in a white sheet on that account? No, Sir, no one ever objected to Home Rule on the ground that Irishmen lacked the necessary ability to deal with questions of public policy; and no one suggested that the Irish county councils would fail in their duty except as far as they allowed their political prejudices to interfere. And I am afraid that, if the matter were inquired into impartially, it would be found that, so high does party feeling run in Ireland, and not on one side only, that you cannot count on county councils to appoint to places of emolument those best qualified to carry out the functions unless they share the political opinions of the majority. If that is the fact, surely it bears out the conclusion to which my noble friend, in his brilliant speech to-night, called attention—that if Ireland were left entirely to her own political resources she would be the scene of violent political faction fights in which the minority would fare very badly, the minority being in this case that section of the population which certainly has shown the greatest industrial aptitude. That is the only moral that can be drawn from the county councils; but surely it is enough. The Members of this House, three-fourths of whom do not remember the old debates on this subject, absolutely underrate the practical difficulties that would arise in menacing power directly any one tried to formulate Home Rule. Most of the Gentlemen whom I am addressing are new to this question. They have not had to face the difficulties in their concrete shape in a Bill. If they had they would see that such questions as those regarding the position of the Irish representatives and the relations of the two Exchequers are questions so incapable of solution that by themselves they would make any Government desiring to pass a practical Bill shrink from the colossal task. But behind all these questions, which may perhaps be regarded as questions of detail, there lies a far greater issue. I have heard the Leader of the Irish Party and 216 his friends constantly talk of the analogy between Ireland as they would wish to see it and a British self-governing colony. Sir, there is no analogy. I remember an observation written twenty years before the Home Rule controversy began, in which the late Professor Freeman stated that there had been a vast number of cases in which a federal system had been created, but that in every case except one the federal system was an effort to draw together the parts of a great community which had become separated. It was a process of integration and not of disintegration. The one example he pointed to in the contrary sense was the case of the Germanic communities, which, in the early Middle Ages, were a relatively united nation, and which, through various historic stresses, gradually got broken up into semi-independent States. They had some kind of organic unity, but one which was ineffective, costly, and prolific of wars and friction—the very cause of all modern European difficulties. How has that process been reversed? Germany was united; it became disintegrated; it has been united again by blood and iron. And it is only by blood and iron, when this kind of disintegration has been allowed to proceed, that you can reunite elements which should never have been allowed to separate. The whole tendency of modern times is the creation of great States and communities. That is the process of integration. The whole of the relationship to our Colonies, whether this plan or that plan be good, is that every statesman and every Party is desirous of producing a new state of things in which the union of the Colonies shall be closer. If you give Home Rule to Ireland, a superficial observer may say that you are placing Ireland in a position like that of a Colony. The true observer sees that you are reversing in the case of Ireland the very process which you are trying to carry out in every other part of the Empire. Instead of aiming at the integration of the great British Empire you are doing something towards its disintegration; and as for telling me that there is any analogy between the case of Ireland—which is, at least, fully represented in a free Assembly—and the case of those communities beyond the sea, which some dreamers may have 217 thought we could manage from Downing Street without representative institutions of their own, I say that there is no analogy at all, and to quote a British colony in this connection appears to me to show an utter ignorance of the essential and fundamental difference. I apologise to the House even for this ten minutes on the merits. I do so, because I do not feel that it is the merits of the question that are interesting to-night. What is really interesting to-night is not what we on these benches think. Every one knows what we think. Nor is the interesting problem by what arguments we support our convictions, because it is an abstract Resolution not having the force of a Bill, and we are at liberty to reserve our arguments until a Bill is brought in by a responsible Government. The really interesting and important problem to-night is not what we think or why we think it, nor what the hon. Members below the gangway think. We want to know what the Government think. The right hon. Gentleman who preceded me said that he rejoiced in this Resolution because it would clear the air. Has it cleared the air? We have still to hear the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and no one is a greater master of clear exposition. He may make it clear; but has it been cleared so far? I listened to the characteristic speech of the Chief Secretary, and I do not think he will pretend that he cleared the air. I remember that he gave us a speech full of the most luminous obiter dicta on all sorts of questions—the late lamented Devolution Bill, the condition of Irish land purchase, and other pressing problems. But on the question of Home Rule he told us nothing about the attitude of the Government as a Government, or of the Radical Party as a Party. His nearest approach to a specific utterance, as far as I remember, was in words like these, "Speaking for myself," he said—not for his friends, not for his followers; he did not say; "I am in favour of a Parliament in Dublin, or of an Executive responsible to that Parliament," but, "Speaking for myself, I am in favour of a Parliament which can give constant attention to Irish questions" He illustrated that rather cryptic reference by saying in what an embarrassment he was with regard to land pur- 218 chase in Ireland. He said that there is a land purchase question which is in a state of great confusion. The Act of 1903 was a great Act, but in order to make it work, you ought to have a Parliament which is constantly devoting itself to the subsidiary problem that necessarily come in the train of a great statute. How is an Irish Parliament going to deal with land purchase in Ireland? Is land purchase going to be carried out by Irish money? It is going to be carried out by British money. And when the right hon. Gentleman looks forward to a devolution of our responsibilities in the matter of land purchase to an Irish Parliament, is he going to give the Irish Parliament a free hand in dealing with British credit and British money? Are we to be excluded from any say in that matter, or is that to be the prerogative entirely of hon. Gentlemen below the gangway? And if we who provide the money are to have something to say to the policy, how are we to be relieved by a dozen Parliaments in Ireland? The truth is that the right hon. Gentleman neither in his speech to-night, nor in his speech on Thursday, nor, so far as I know, in any speech he has yet made, has dealt with any Irish question which does not require the use of English money. "If I could only get the money, there is nothing I would not do for Ireland," says the right hon. Gentleman. "I have a great plan, a great reform. British money is required." How is that going to be cured by Home Rule, unless, indeed, as some cynics have suggested, Home Rule is another plan for gradually increasing at the general taxpayers' cost the expense of Irish government? Otherwise how are these great reforms with British money to be carried out except by the British Parliament? Clearly there is no conceivable method; and I could wish the right hon. Gentleman, when dealing in his airy and delightful manner with the pressing problem of Irish government, had chosen questions as illustrating the necessity for Home Rule which do not so palpably involve the use or misuse of British credit. That is all we have as yet had from the Government in the way of an expression of their convictions. I thought myself when I came down that Home Rule was a question which had bean so 219 thoroughly threshed out on two occasions by the British Parliament, that there was no argument one way or the other, no plan for dealing with the objections which had not been canvassed and re-canvassed a hundred times—in other words, that the problem of Irish Home Rule was no new question. Fiscal reform may be thought to be a new question in the last few years, but Home Rule is an old question upon which every argument has been thoroughly examined and weighed. I should have thought every Gentleman with this opportunity of weighing and estimating every argument would have formed a conclusion upon it. That is not the position of the Chief Secretary. He told us he was an eager Home Ruler, and ended by making an appeal to the Irish Gentlemen below the gangway to deal frankly with the House and say what it was they wanted.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not know that from this point of view we could distinguish between the two. I am aware that hon. Gentlemen may feel that there is sometimes a distinction between the House and the electorate, but in this connection what distinction can there be? The right hon. Gentleman appears to suppose that the hon. Gentlemen below the gangway have been wanting in clearness. I have had many controversies with hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, but on this subject they have been lucidity itself. They have never left us in the smallest doubt as to what they wanted. There may be doubt as to what their requests, if granted, will ultimately lead to. That I think is extremely doubtful, and they are not masters of that situation. What they want, at all events for the present, has been made absolutely clear. It was made clear by Mr. Parnell; it has been made clear by each one of the Gentlemen who have spoken with the authority of the Irish representation. When the Chief Secretary comes down and asks the Irish to deal frankly with the Radical Party and tell them what they want, it does seem to me the most amazing 220 part ever played by a responsible Government to a section of their supporters. Remember, the present occupants of the Treasury Bench are not in a position to say, "We have promised not to deal with this question in the course of the present Parliament; we do not know what is going to happen in the present Parliament; and we must wait till the situation arises before we say what we shall do in the new circumstances." Some people may say that; they cannot. I remember when they occupied many nights in the two or three years that preceded the last general election in denouncing in every mood and tense, in every key, the iniquities of the then occupants of the Treasury Bench, because they did not produce a full-blown project of fiscal reform. It was admitted on all hands that that Parliament could not deal with the subject. That did not content them. They said, "It is quite true you cannot deal with it, but you must tell us the plan on which you mean to go to the country." I do not know that that request was a very reasonable one, but at all events those who made it cannot object to our asking what they mean to go to the country on with regard to Home Rule. Home Rule no doubt involves enormous difficulties and a prodigious revolution, but it is an old question, a question on which the Radical Party made up their mind twenty-two years ago, and on which they showed that they had neither forgotten anything nor learned anything fifteen years ago. They have had fifteen years to meditate on it. They had all the debates of 1886 and 1892 of which they might chew the cud, and then the right hon. Gentleman—
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The right hon. Gentleman has been singularly unsuccessful in explaining it if he does know what he means. If he knew what he meant why did he appeal to hon. Gentlemen below the gangway to tell him what they meant? Do they mean something different by Home Rule? Has Home Rule two meanings—a Radical meaning, which the right hon. Gentleman represents, and an Irish meaning, which the 221 Member for Waterford represents? Are there two kinds of Home Rule? ["No."] If there is only one kind, why did the right hon. Gentleman appeal to the Irish Party for instruction, information, and guidance? The right hon. Gentleman ended his speech by an appeal to what he called the long and honourable connection of his Party with the Home Rule cause. The connection certainly has been long. It is not for me to say that it has been otherwise than honourable. But let me ask exactly what it is. At the end of 1885 Mr. Gladstone Came in with a not very big majority, a large number of whom were hostile to Home Rule, and attempted unsuccessfully to carry a Home Rule Bill. He repeated that experiment a few years later with a small majority under circumstances of extraordinary difficulty, and he repeated the attempt with a courage and an ability which even those who differed from him most violently were glad to recognise. Fifteen years of meditation passed and the Home Rule Party came into power, not with a divided majority as in 1885, not with a small majority as in 1886, not with a small majority as in 1892, but with the largest majority of which the history of the British Parliament gives us the record; and these Gentlemen, after their long and honourable connection with the cause of Home Rule, believing, as they are going to say to-night when they vote for this Resolution, that it is not only good for Ireland, but good for Scotland and for England; believing, in other words, that it still stands as it did in 1886 and 1893; believing that it stands in the forefront, not of a mere local reform admirable for Ireland, but indifferent to the other parts of the United Kingdom; believing, as they think, that it is a reform intimately bound up with the prosperity of every part of the United Kingdom—these Gentlemen have so arranged their business, have perhaps so contrived their electoral programme, have so lavished their electoral promises, that they find the majority which perhaps alone could deal with this question evaporating before their eyes, vanishing before they are able to strike a single blow in favour of that cause with which they have been so long and so honourably connected. I 222 honestly think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he rises immediately to reply to me will put an end to this ambiguous state of things. If he elects to say—as he will be justified in saying: "I am a Home Ruler, I am in favour of that policy, I have spoken and voted for it, but I recognise that under modern conditions it cannot be carried out, and I therefore abandon it," no one could say that is either dishonourable or ambiguous. It may be statesmanlike; it may be right. If he elects to get up and say: "I always have been a Home Ruler, I am still a Home Ruler, and when the general election comes I will not repeat the tactics of the last election; I will not set up all these imaginable barriers between myself and this great remedial policy of Home Rule for England, Scotland, or Ireland; I will make Home Rule the first constructive plank in our programme," that also is unambiguous; it is statesmanlike, it is clear, and we know where we are. But if he contents himself, like the Chief Secretary for Ireland, with a nebulous exposition of things in general, with a statement of his own ardent connection with the cause, and his desire to see it carried out, and without any statement of the policy of the Party to which he belongs and of which at this moment he is in fact the leader, then he is open, not merely to the charge which he, with very little reason, was pleased to level against me in the last Parliament on another question, but to the charge that it is impossible to repudiate that he is playing with a great issue and with a great cause—he is leading on his Irish followers below the gangway with false hopes and illusory expectations, and he is keeping open with all its attendant evils a great constitutional question which it is to the interests of every part of the United Kingdom should soon be settled one way or the other.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fifeshire, E.
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is quite impossible in the short space of time allocated to a debate of this kind to survey in all its aspects the question of Home Rule. I shall not attempt to do so, nor shall I attempt to follow the right hon. Gentleman into a 223 part of his argument which is open, I think, to a good deal of obvious criticism, in which he claimed for himself and the Party to which he belongs something in the nature of a monopoly in regard to beneficent legislation for land purchase and local government in Ireland. Those who remember the history either of the one question or of the other will know how to appraise properly the value of his claim. But the right hon. Gentleman has not been content with making his own speech; he has been good enough to sketch out for me the speech which he thinks I ought to make. I am very much obliged to him, but, although I hope when I sit down I shall not be open to the charge of nebulousness or obscurity, I am going to make my own speech after my own fashion. The right hon. Gentleman appears to think that, while he and his Party in this matter occupy a clear and unequivocal position, and while the same may be said of the followers of the hon. Member for Waterford who sit below the gangway, we here, and we on this bench in particular, find ourselves to-night in a position of considerable embarrassment. Well, I have had a somewhat prolonged experience in this House, and I will at once relieve the kindly solicitude of the right lion. Gentleman by informing him that never in the whole course of that experience have I felt less embarrassed than I do to-night. For twenty years, for more than twenty years, I and many of my colleagues whom I see sitting around me here have steadily and consistently voted, time after time, for propositions which, while explicitly safeguarding the supreme and indefeasible authority of this Imperial Parliament, have declared that the ultimate solution of the Irish problem can only be found in a system of self-government in regard to purely local affairs. From that opinion I have never receded, and I hold it just as strongly to-night as ever I did. How then do we stand, those who have acted in the past as I and many of my colleagues have done, how do we stand on this question? That is the question I am going to ask in the very few minutes in which I shall trespass on the attention of the House. How do we stand first of all in regard to the Motion of the hon. Member for Waterford, and next in regard to 224 the Amendment of the noble Lord. Shad I say at once, and I hope there is no ambiguity here, I could not vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Waterford in the form in which it at present stands. Why? Because I find in it no explicit recognition of what to my mind has always been the governing condition in regard to this matter—Imperial supremacy. The hon. Gentlemen said in his speech that any such addition was unnecessary; I do not agree with him. I quite accept his assurance as to the sense in which his Motion is intended; but I can remember Motions, not of a similar character, but in the same direction, made in the years gone by in this House in which a claim was put forward for an independent Irish Parliament, Motions which were strenuously resisted by Sir William Harcourt, and against which Sir William Harcourt and all of us went into the lobby. In my opinion the recognition of the claim of Ireland for self-government must be accompanied by the express statement that whatever is granted must be granted subject to the dominant and paramount supremacy of this Imperial Parliament. That defect, the cardinal defect of the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, would be set right by the acceptance of the Amendment which my hon. friend the Member for Walthamstow has placed on the Paper. Furthermore, and here again I hope there will be no ambiguity, I could not vote for the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman if it were intended, or could be construed as being intended, to declare it to be the duty of the present Parliament to set up, or to begin to set up, in Ireland a legislative or executive system. I say that for two very obvious reasons. In the first place, I do not think any House of Commons in these days would be justified in embarking upon such a task, unless the matter had been, I will not say the leading, but, at any rate, one of the leading issues submitted to the electorate by which that House of was returned. That, obviously, was not the case in the General Election of 1905. In the next place, many of us, including, I am not ashamed to say, myself, are under am express and 225I deliberate pledge to our constituencies and the country. The right hon. Gentleman, in the concluding passages of his speech actually went the length of taunting us as if we were prepared to violate those pledges. [OPPOSITION Cries of "No."]
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I really did not suggest that. I did suggest that you ought never to have made them.
§ MR. ASQUITH
That may have been the right hon. Gentleman's intention; but I do not think that was the effect his words produced on the House. The reason why we gave those pledges was perfectly simple and distinct. We were engaged upon one of the greatest struggles in which this country has ever engaged—a struggle on behalf of free trade. [An HON. MEMBER: Chinese Slavery.] We saw, or we thought we saw, the very foundations of the industrial and commercial supremacy of this country exposed to a menacing and formidable danger. We believed that in the permanent interests of the nation, it was all important that in such a crisis the forces of free trade should be concentrated in defence of our fiscal system. The right, hon. Gentleman says we were not justified in giving the pledges to which I have referred. I can understand that coming from the right hon. Gentleman. His degree of attachment—the warmth, lukewarmth, or coldness of his attachment—to free trade was at the time one of the most speculative problems in the whole domain of politics. I therefore quite understand the right hon. Gentleman's not appreciating our position. But to those to whom free trade was the great, the vital, the dominating issue, nothing could be more natural or more proper than that we should strive to concentrate, so far as we could, the support of the whole contry upon the side of that issue. That being so, it would have been inexcusable on our part, having regard to the promise upon which the votes of the electorate were obtained, were we to take any steps during the lifetime of the present Parliament to set up a system of Home Rule in Ireland. The utmost that could be done, con- 226 sistently with the promise and assurances we gave, we attempted to do last year in the Irish Council Bill. That Bill—I will not discuss it now—was not inconsistent with further changes of a constitutional kind, but it did not involve them as a necessary practical effect or logical consequence. I think myself that it would have brought great financial and administrative benefit to Ireland, and that in its working it would have stimulated British opinion in favour of a larger measure of devolution. But by, as I think, an unhappy conjuncture of circumstances we were obliged to drop it, and so far as the present Parliament is affected, we have exhausted our powers with regard to the problem of Irish government. I hope I have made myself clear upon that point. Let me pass now for a moment to the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for Kensington. I shall vote against that Amendment without hesitation for two reasons. In the first place, I shall vote against it because it attacks and, by implication, attributes to us here a position which was never held by Mr. Gladstone or by any of his colleagues. That Amendment assumes that there is a policy—a policy formulated by somebody, a policy supported by so much authority that it ought to be expressly repudiated by the House of Commons—of setting up in this United Kingdom two coordinate or indeed independent Parliaments. Mr. Gladstone never proposed anything of the kind. Whether as in the case of one of the Bills by a reservation of powers, or in the case of the other by enumeration of delegated powers, Mr. Gladstone always made it perfectly clear and distinct—and his words stand on record in a hundred speeches—that whatever legislative powers were given to the Irish Assembly should be exercised in subordination to and not in co-ordination with this Parliament. I have another and even stronger objection to the Amendment of the noble Lord, and it is this—that in so far as it is not, as I think it is, an empty phrase, it is a perfectly barren negation. The noble Lord's Amendment implies either, as my right hon. friend the Chief Secretary said, that the present system of Irish Government calls for no fundamental change (an opinion which none of us on this side, I 227 believe, maintains), or else it implies, by its assertion of an undivided responsibility in the Imperial Parliament for legislation and administration in regard to Ireland—the word is "undivided" and not "ultimate"—that amelioration is not to be sought in the direction of developing Irish self-government; in other words, as I say, in the growing association of power and responsibility. The right hon. Gentleman told us in one part of his speech that this movement for what is called Home Rule was not only not analogous with, but was directly contrary to, the development of free institutions in our colonies. He used the word integration. He said the one movement was of integration, and this was a movement of disintegration. Could there be a greater, a more real, a more fundamental disintegration than at present exists between Ireland and the Imperial Parliament? Is it not really playing with words—because you do not adopt the same method of arriving at your end when the end is the same, when the object in both eases is to assure loyalty, contentment, and unity, by drawing together the members for the centre through giving greater freedom and larger autonomy to the members in matters that concern only themselves, whether you apply that process to a colony 10,000 miles away or to a country separated only by a few miles? The spirit, the object, and, as we believe, the result are the same; and let me add this for myself and I think I may speak for a great many other people, I have always regarded what is called Home Rule in Ireland as part and parcel—a most urgent part, I agree, in point of both policy and time—of a more comprehensive change. The constitutional problem—I am not sure it is not the gravest of all the constitutional problems of the immediate future—is to set free this Imperial Parliament for Imperial affairs, and in matters purely local to rely more and more on local opinion and local machinery. Ireland is by far the most urgent case. There is to-day, as there has been for centuries, the one undeniable failure of British statesmanship. Nowhere else in the Empire is there a deeper or more unfailing reservior on which we draw for the arts both of peace and of war; and yet no- 228 where else in the Empire is there so widespread and fertile a breeding-ground of perennial discontent. I do not profess to foresee the precise steps and stages by which the goal will be reached. [OPPOSITION cheers.] Some wiseacres opposite may think that they can. I have always thought and I think every year, the more experience I have of the actual working both of legislation and administration in this House, the goal itself is certain and inevitable. Are we to go on—I make this appeal even to the strongest Unionist I see opposite—are we to go on, generation after generation, treading with blind steps the same old well-worn hopeless track which zig-zags between coercion and conciliation, and which always returns in a vicious circle to the point from which it started? Or—for this is the only alternative—shall the British people, because they have got to be convinced, we all recognise that; and, until they are convinced, you cannot travel an inch on the road—shall the people of this country be brought, as in time I both hope and believe they will, to a higher and wider point of view, and taught, as they ought to be by their own long and world-wide experience, to recognise that in Ireland, as elsewhere, it is in the union of Imperial supremacy with local autonomy that the secret and the safeguard of our Empire is to be found?
§ *MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
Mr. Gladstone is dead, the Prime Minister is stricken, and we are left to deal with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I am sorry that the task of winding-up this debate on behalf of the Irish Party has been allotted to me, because my connection and touch with that Party has not been as close of late as I could have wished. But if I speak for myself, I believe that I shall also speak for the Irish nation, and I have to say that if the right hon. Gentleman supposes that by the attitude he has assumed tonight he will commend himself either to the Irish nation or, as I conceive, to the English nation, he is much mistaken. I do not know to which section of the Liberal Party the Chancellor of the Exchequer looks for strength or support. I do not know whether it is the section which was intimately represented in the 229 case of the recent meeting at Lord Rosebery's, or whether it is to the section with which we have been largely in sympathy, but I would like to put this question to the Liberal Party. You have it stated to-night that the Irish cause—the cause to which Gladstone devoted his life, and upon which he imperilled his fame—was submerged at the late general election by the question of free trade. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman—What is to be the question at the next general election? Is there to be no question of free trade at the next general election? Or is it probable that the Tory Party, which three years ago, at all events, was riven and stricken by many divisions, will not push their advantage by the encouragement they have got at recent elections, and that they will not come forward with a still firmer sword in hand and demand the solution of that great fiscal problem which they have constantly agitated? If that be so, and if free trade cleaned the slate of Ireland—I believe "cleaned the slate" is the expression—at the last election, I wonder what figure poor Ireland will cut in the political geography of the hustings at the next election. On an important occasion of this kind, might I remind the right hon. Gentleman that upon another occasion he was put up to speak for his Party on a matter closely affecting the concerns of our people, namely, the question of amnesty. My friend Mr. Justin McCarthy then summed up his metallic speech by stating that he had closed the gates of mercy with a clang. Those gates were opened to us by the Tory Party within twelve months. [An HON. MEMBER: TWO years.] Well, within two years. The hon. Gentleman is a better statistician than I am. Within two years every man for whom we pleaded for mercy, for whose case we assailed the ears of the English people, had been discharged by the new Government which was not afraid to show more sympathy with Irishmen than the right hon. Gentleman opposite. 230 The right hon. Gentleman wishes apparently to take low ground again to-night, and I do not desire, speaking with a sense of responsibility, to do more than to take note of his observations. In this House our Party is separate and is independent. Since the days I gave in my allegiance to Mr. Gladstone's policy twenty-two years ago, I have never believed in the tactics merely of independent opposition for Ireland I believe in a policy of independent friendship, and that our Party should be ready as long as it is fairly met, to co-operate with either section in this House. We are not partisans of one Party or the other; we are the ambassadors of a nation. Having to meet the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, which has held out to us no hope—[MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh!"]—of effective or immediate action, preceded as it was by the speech of the Chief Secretary, who asks us to formulate our measures, I think I should not be blamed by even the most zealous follower of Liberalism, if I stated that we had ground to feel profound disappointment. That was the impression at all events, which such words and the speech of the new Leader of the Liberal Party caused in my mind. Accordingly, let me say this: we are accustomed in Ireland to disappointments. For centuries we have been battling, but never have you wrung from us one note or accent of surrender. We took your Council Bill of last year; we tore it into fragments. We listened to your paltering promises of to-day, and we tell you we shall carve our own future. There were greater men than the Chancellor of the Exchequer who came in conflict with us. True we have no skill. We have no force behind us, except that of sincerity, tenacity, and determination. Yet it is not we who need flinsh before the prospect that seems opening. In saying this I wish to add one word. Speaking as an Irish Nationalist, I say we are not the enemies of the English people. Our 231 motives have been impugned; out lives have been searched. We have been put by this Party (pointing to the Front Opposition Benches) to the most terrible ordeal to which men were ever put when indicted on a forged letter, and dragged without a jury in a strange venue before three hostile judges. Our careers were arraigned; our chanters were assailed, and our fortunes imperilled, and the only thing I regret about it is that our advocate was the Chancellor of the Exchequer. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh," and "Withdraw."] It was upon Ireland that the right hon. Gentleman first came into notice. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh," and "No."] To-day he is an important man Tomorrow he may be a god, but we Irishmen will not worship at his shrine. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman spoke his own personal sentiments, or whether he spoke with a full sense of Cabinet responsibility; but, if I am to assume that he did so. I believe that his words will provoke a very disheartening echo in Ireland. He tells us that her case is urgent. When is it to be met? At what stage will the Liberal Party address themselves to it? At what stage will the right hon. Gentleman bring his enthusiasm, his well-known enthusiasm to bear? At what moment of time are the Irish Members to present their plans to the right hon. Gentleman? At what moment are we to get a hearing from him? Is it to be a public hearing, or is it to be a private hearing? Is it to be on the eve of the elections or at his official leisure? And then, I suppose, when deputies from this side have approached the right hon. Gentleman and come to an agreement, we are to state to the electorate 232 that the Liberal Party and ourselves are at one on this question! Is that the way a great cause is to be carried? Is that the way Mr. Gladstone addressed himself to the question? Ah! believe me, the question of the fair treatment of Ireland would be as good a card to play at the polls as the policy of the Licensing Bill. I state only my own opinion; I state it with regret, that the right hon. Gentleman's speech, has marked a most deplorable retrogression. We are entitled to know when you ask us for our plan what is yours? You represent an Empire; we, forsooth, only represent a province. You represent an Imperial people; we represent what you style a subject race. You have official assistance, official experience, official prestige, and is it at the feet of the rep resentatives of poor peasants, of men whom you had in your gaols only yesterday, and some of whom are there to-day—is it at their feet that you are going to learn skill, experience, and statesmanship? No, I believe that the right hon. Gentleman has taken a downward and back ward course. I do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman has improved his personal position, and I am sure that lie has not improved our relationship with the Liberal Party. The Irish Members will go forward in their own way. Ireland was told during the late Parliament to have heart and hope. Where have these hopes been dashed to, or when are they to be realised? It is ill wearing the stones of a foreign legislature; it is ill climbing another man's stairs; it is ill to be at Westminster for twenty-eight years as I and some of my hon. friends have been, eating out our hearts and finding that our tears do not even rust our chains. The right hon. Gentleman has given the Irish Members small encouragement for the 233 future. He gave Ireland the Council Bill; it has been rejected. The Irish Members were frank with him, then and I will be frank with the right hon. Gentleman to-night. I tell the right hon. Gentleman that the Irish race, arrayed
§ in determination, behind their representatives will yet hew a pathway to Irish freedom.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 334; Noes, 142. (Division List No. 59.)237
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, EGrinst'd||Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Agnew, George William||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Alden, Percy||Crean, Eugene||Hall, Frederick|
|Ambrose, Robert||Cremer, Sir William Randal||Halpin, J.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Crooks, William||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Hebert Henry||Crosfield, A. H.||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Crossley, William J.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Cullinan, J.||Harrington, Timothy|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Dalziel, James Henry||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.||Harwood, George|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Delany, William||Hazleton, Richard|
|Barnard, E. B.||Devlin, Joseph||Healy, Timothy Michael|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras N.||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Dillon, John||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Dobson, Thomas W.||Henry, Charles S.|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Duckworth, James||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Duffy, William J.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Bennett, E. N.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Hogan, Michael|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Bertram, Julius||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Bethell, Sir j. H. (Essex, Romf'rd||Elibank, Master of||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Horridge, Thomas Gardner|
|Boland, John||Erskine, David C.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Hudson, Walter|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Essletmont, George Birnie||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Brace, William||Everett, R. Lacey||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Farrell, James Patrick||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Branch, James||Fenwick, Charles||Jackson, R. S.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Ferens, T. R.||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Jenkins, J.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Ffrench, Peter||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Findlay, Alexander||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jordan, Jeremiah|
|Byles, William Pollard||Flynn, James Christopher||Jowett, F. W.|
|Cameron, Robert||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Joyce, Michael|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Fuller, John Michael F.||Kavanagh, Walter M.|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. RichardKnight||Fullerton, Hugh||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Furness, Sir Christopher||Kelley, George D.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Gill, James (Harrow)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Gilhooly, James||Kettle, Thomas Michael|
|Clancy, John Joseph.||Gill, A. H.||Kilbride, Denis|
|Cleland, J. W.||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Clough, William||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster|
|Clynes, J. R.||Glover, Thomas||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Gulland, John W.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich|
|Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Sheehy, David|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||O'Dowd, John||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Lough, Thomas||O'Grady, J.||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Lundon, W.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Lupton, Arnold||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||O'Malley, William||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Macdonald, J. M. (FalkirkB'ghs)||O'Shee, James John||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Maclean, Donald||Partington, Oswald||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Summerbell, T.|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|M'Crae, George||Philipps, John (Longford, S.)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|M'Kean, John||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Pirie, Duncan V.||Tomkinson, James|
|M'Killop, W.||Pollard, Dr.||Torrance, Sir A. M|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Toulmin, George|
|Maddison, Frederick||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.||Ure, Alexander|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Verney, F. W.|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Rainy, A. Rolland||Vivian, Henry|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Raphael, Herbert H.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Meagher, Michael||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton|
|Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.||Reddy, M.||Wardle, George J.|
|Menzies, Walter||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackman'n)|
|Mond, A.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||WasonJohn Cathcart (Orkney|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Mooney, J. J.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)||Whitbread, Howard|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Morley, Rt. Hon. John||Robertson, Sir G Scott (Bradf'rd||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Morrell, Philip||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Morse, L. L.||Robinson, S.||Whitley, Rt. Hn. G. (York, W. R|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Muldoon, John||Roche, Augustine (Cork)||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Murnaghan, George||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Rowlands, J.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Myer, Horatio||Runciman, Walter||Wlliamson, A|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Russell, T. W.||Wilson, Hon. C. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Nicholls, George||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, Mid||Scott, A.H. (Ashton-under-Lyne||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|O'Brien, William (Cork)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Seddon, J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Seely, Colonel||Captain Donelan and Mr.|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Shackleton, David James||Patrick O'Brien.|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Banner, John S. Harmood-||Bull, Sir William James|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester||Burdett-Coutts, W.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.||Butcher, Samuel Henry|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn Hugh O.||Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Carlile, E. Hildred|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Bellairs, Carlyon||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bignold, Sir Arthur||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Bowles, G. Stewart||Cave, George|
|Balfour, Rt Hn. A. J. (City Lond.||Boyle, Sir Edward||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Wore.)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Heaton, John Henniker||Rateliff, Major R. F.|
|Clark, George Smith||Helmsley, Viscount||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham)||Hill, Sir Clement||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hills, J. W.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm)||Houston, Robert Paterson||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hunt, Rowland||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Cory. Sir Clifford John||Keswick, William||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Kimber, Sir Henry||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Sheffield, SirBerkeley George D.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir FredDixon||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Douglas. Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Starkey, John R.|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||MacGaw, William J. MacGeagh||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||M'Arthur, Charles||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'dUniv|
|Fell, Arthur||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Magnus, Sir Philip||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Forster, Henry William||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Gardner, Ernest||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Gordon, J.||Moore, William||Winterton, Earl|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morpeth, Viscount||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Gretton, John||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Guinness, Walter Edward||Nield, Herbert||Younger, George|
|Haddock, George G.||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Hamilton, Marquess of||Parker, SirGilbert (Gravesend)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Percy, Earl|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ *MR. SIMON (Essex, Walthamstow)
in moving to add, at the end, the words "subject to the supreme authority of the Imperial Parliament," said that at that hour of the evening, and at that stage of the debate, he would only occupy a very few moments in putting forward the Amendment. He hoped it might be received with approval in every quarter of the House. It was the essential condition upon which Liberal Home Rulers, who were to be found on that bench, whatever the hon. Member for North Louth might say, declared themselves to be Home Rulers and supporters of the Irish Party in this matter. It was a condition which he believed was accepted by the hon. and learned Gentleman the 238 Leader of the Irish Party, and whatever might be said of other Parties he had always understood that all followers of the Irish Party implicitly obeyed their Leader. It was a condition which he hoped would be accepted by hon. Members on the other side of the House, although he knew that some of them thought that there was an essential contradiction between granting self-government to Ireland and maintaining supremacy over Ireland. [OPPOSITION cries of "Hear, hear."] He knew they thought so—and so did their political ancestors about Canada, and only two years ago they were professing the same opinion when self-government was proposed to be given to the Transvaal. The only other observation he 239 had to make was this, and he made it with great respect to an older Member than he was, but he ventured to say, in reference to the speech last delivered in the debate, that the hon. Member for North Louth ought to remember that in the history of Irish reform in this House damage had more than once been done to the Irish cause by extravagant and embittered speech. As far as they were concerned, on that side of the House, they were convinced Home Rulers, whether with the approval and sanction of the hon. Member or without it, and they were glad to find
§ themselves led by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He begged to move.
At the end of the Question to add the words subject to the supreme authority of the Imperial Parliament'"—(Mr. Simon.)
§ Main Question, as amended, put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 313; Noes, 157. (Division List No. 60.)243
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Cleland, J. W.||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Clough, William||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Agnew, George William||Clynes, J. R.||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Alden, Percy||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Fullerton, Hugh|
|Ambrose, Robert||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W||Furness, Sir Christopher|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Cooper, G. J.||Gilhooly, James|
|Astbury, John Meir||Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Gill, A. H.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Glover, Thomas|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.||Crean, Eugene||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Cremer, Sir William Randal||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Crooks, William||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Crosfield, A. H.||Gulland, John W.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Crossley, William J.||Gurdon, Rt. His Sir W. Brampton|
|Barnes, G. N.||Cullinan, J.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Dalziel, James Henry||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hall, Frederick|
|Beale, W. P.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Halpin, J.|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Delany, William||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Devlin, Joseph||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r' Hamlets, S. Geo||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N||Harmsworth, R. D (Caithn'ss-sh|
|Bennett, E. N.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Harrington, Timothy|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Dillon, John||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd||Dobson, Thomas W.||Harwood, George|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Duckworth, James||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Boland, John||Duffy, William J.||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Hazleton, Richard|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Healy, Timothy Michael|
|Brace, William||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Elibank, Master of||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Henry, Charles S.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Esslemont, George Birnie||Higham, John Sharp|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Hobart, Sir Robert.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Everett, R. Lacey||Hogan, Michael|
|Byles, William Pollard||Farrell, James Patrick||Holt, Richard During|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Fenwick, Charles||Horridge, Thomas Gardner|
|Causton, Rt Hn. Richard knight||Ferens, T. R.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Ffrench, Peter||Hudson, Walter|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Findlay, Alexander||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Jackson, R. S.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Seddon, J.|
|Jenkins, J.||Nolan, Joseph||Seely, Colonel|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Norman, Sir Henry||Shackleton, David James|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Sheehy, David|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Kavanagh, Walter M.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Kekewich, Sir George||O'Doherty, Philip||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Kelley, George D.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Kettle, Thomas Michael||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Dowd, John||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Laidlaw, Robert||O'Grady, J.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N||Summerbell, T.|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal. W.)||O'Malley, William||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Lehmann, R. C.||O'Shee, James John||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Partington, Oswald||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Lough, Thomas||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Tomkinson, James|
|Lundon, W.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)||Toulmin, George|
|Lupton, Arnold||Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Ure, Alexander|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Verney, F. W.|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Vivian, Henry|
|Maclean, Donald||Pollard, Dr.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Walsh, Stephen|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.||Wardle, George J.|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Rainy, A. Rolland||Waring, Walter|
|MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|M'Callum, John M.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan|
|M'Crae, George||Reddy, M.||Watt, Henry A.|
|M'Kean, John||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Ron. Reginald||Redmond, William (Clare)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|M'Killop, W.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Whiteley, Rt. Hn. G. (York, W.R|
|Maddison, Frederick||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee)||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Meagher, Michael||Robinson, S.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Williamson, A.|
|Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.||Roche, Augustine (Cork)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Menzies, Walter||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Mond, A.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Mooney, J. J.||Rowlands, J.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Runciman, Walter||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Morrell, Philip||Russell, T. W.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Muldoon, John||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Murnaghan, George||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Captain Donelan and Mr.|
|Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Schwann. Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Patrick O'Brien.|
|Myer, Horatio||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Baldwin, Stanley||Beauchamp, E.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Balfour, Rt Hn. A. J. (CityLond.)||Beck, A. Cecil|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Beckett, Hon. Gervase|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt Hn. Hugh O.||Banner, John S. Harmood-||Bellairs, Carlyon|
|Ashley, W. W.||Baring, Capt. Hn. G (Winchester||Bignold, Sir Arthur|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Bowles, G. Stewart|
|Balcarres, Lord||Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Boyle, Sir Edward|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gretton, John||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bull, Sir William James||Guinness, Walter Edward||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Haddock, George B.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hamilton, Marquess of||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Cave, George||Heaton, John Henniker||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hedges, A. Paget||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Helmsley, Viscount||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A (Worc.||Hill, Sir Clement||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Chance, Frederick William||Hills, J. W.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Clark, George Smith||Hunt, Rowland||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham)||Keswick, William||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Starkey, John R.|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Craig, Capt. James (Down, E.)||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir FredDixon||Lynch. H. B.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon, A. Akers-||MacGaw, William, J. MacGeagh||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||M'Arthur, Charles||Whitbread, Howard|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Fell, Arthur||Moore, William||Winterton, Earl|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Morpeth, Viscount||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Wortley. Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Nicholls, George||Wyndham, Ht. Hon. George|
|Forster, Henry William||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Younger, George|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Nield, Herbert|
|Gardner, Ernest||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Gordon, J.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Percy, Earl|
Question, "That those words be there added," put, and agreed to.
§ Resolved, That the present system of Government in Ireland is in opposition to the will of the Irish people and gives them no voice in the management of their own affairs; that the system is consequently inefficient and extravagantly costly; that it does not enjoy the confidence of any section of the population; that it is productive of universal discontent and unrest, and is incapable of satisfactorily promoting the material and intellectual progress of the people; that the reform of Irish Government is a matter vital to the interests of Ireland and calculated greatly to promote 244 the well-being of the people of Great Britain; and, in the opinion of this House, the solution of this problem can only be attained by giving to the Irish people the legislative and executive control of all purely Irish affairs, subject to the supreme authority of the Imperial Parliament.
§ And, it being after half-past Eleven of the clock on Monday evening, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at seven minutes after Twelve o'clock.