§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)
, who rose at five minutes after three o'clock to ask for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the provisions for the Government of Ireland: Mr. Speaker.—It is nineteen years since Mr. Gladstone, in a memorable speech which is still fresh in the recollection of most of us who heard it, at this Table moved for leave to introduce the second and last of his measures to provide for the better Government of Ireland. That speech taken, as it must be, by way of supplement to the speech in which he introduced the earlier Bill of 1886, contains the classic exposition of what I may term the historic case as between Great Britain and Ireland. I shall not attempt to-day to retraverse the ground which he covered. I do not presume to be able to bend the bow of Ulysses. But it is within my compass, and it is germane to the task which I have undertaken to-day, if before I enter upon any explanation of the provisions of the Bill which I am about to introduce, I take up the narrative where Mr. Gladstone was obliged to leave it, and ask the House of Commons to consider how far the case for or against what is called Home Rule has been affected one way or another by the course of events since 1893.