HC Deb 30 June 1876 vol 230 cc738-822

, in rising to move— That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into and report upon the nature, the extent, and the grounds of the demand made by a large proportion of the Irish people for the restoration to Ireland of an Irish Parliament, with power to control the internal affairs of that country, said, the Home Rule Motion that he brought before the House, by a strange coincidence two years ago that very day, was merely a preliminary to a direct Resolution in favour of a separate Parliament in Ireland, and no one could be expected to vote for the Resolution who was not prepared on going into Committee to support in one form or another the establishment of a separate Parliament for Ireland. He was on that occasion defeated by a very large majority; but the Resolution he now proposed was one entirely different in character, and one which might obtain the support of hon. Members who were not prepared to give any assent to the principle of Home Rule for Ireland. It was simply a Motion that a Select Committee should inquire into that which he believed the House ought to think demanded inquiry. He had demanded inquiry because this fact was unquestionable—that a majority of Irish Members had been returned to that House pledged to ask for a separate Parliament for Ireland. He confessed that was a fact which, considering the relations of that country, ought to call for the attention of the House, and to induce the House to grant the inquiry he asked. He might say he did not propose to refer to a Committee the question whether it would be right to give Ireland Home Rule. He merely proposed that a Select Committee should be appointed to inquire into matters with which it was necessary to be ac- quainted to enable the House to decide on that question. In olden times an inquiry of this nature would have been conducted at the Bar of the House, but he had no objection to the substitution of a Committee of Inquiry. It was not his intention to go into the general question of the Parliamentary relations between England and Ireland. He might take up the question at a very recent period, when the demand which was adverted to by the Resolution he was about to move was first made by the Irish people. After the fruitless suppression of the attempted insurrection in Ireland in the years 1866 and 1867, some gentlemen in Ireland believed the time was come when an attempt ought to be made to satisfy the wishes of the Irish people on the subject of the administration of their own affairs, without interfering in any way with the integrity of the Empire or shaking the securities that maintained the connection between the three Kingdoms. In November, 1873, these efforts resulted in the representative Conference of those who took the view of the originators of the movement, and he would ask the attention of the House to the requisition which was signed on behalf of that Conference. The requisition was signed by 25,000 persons, and no one who knew Ireland could deny that these signatures were eminently representative of the different localities of Ireland. The requisition declared that it was necessary for the peace of Ireland, and would be conducive to the welfare of the United Kingdom, that the right of domestic legislation over all Irish affairs should be restored to that country; that she should have the right and privilege of managing her own affairs by a Parliament assembled in Ireland, having the right of controlling the Irish resources of revenue, subject to the obligation of contributing their portion to the Imperial Revenue, but leaving to the Imperial Parliament the power of dealing with all questions affecting Imperial legislation, regarding the colonies and dependencies, and all matters appertaining to the defence and stability of the Empire, and in no way interfering with the Prerogative of the Crown. In accordance with the requisition a Conference was held on the 18th of November, 1873, which lasted four days, when the principles which he had just men- tioned were unanimously adopted in the shape of eight resolutions, and in the demands made by the Irish people, whether they were right and expedient to grant or not, there was something very different from, and, in fact, directly opposed to, separation between the two countries. He believed the proposals embodied in the resolutions would, if passed, strengthen the connection between the two countries. There was also in the demand something entirely different from what was proposed by Mr. O'Connell. The proposal was, that there should be a Parliament in Ireland exercising over Irish affairs the same dominant control that had been exercised by the Parliament of Canada over Canadian affairs, and the Parliament of Australia over Australian affairs, and as was exercised in every colony by colonial Parliaments. It was also proposed that the House of Commons, constituted as now with an infusion of Irish Members, should continue exactly as it did now to administer the affairs of the Empire, everything relating to the Crown, our relations with the colonies, and all matters connected with Imperial defence. That, he believed, would be a better arrangement for Ireland than the state of things which existed before the Union, and he, for one, was not willing to give up his share in the power and government of that Empire, and really since the Union he did not see how it was possible to give it up. Since the Union the wars which had brought possessions to England had been carried on by the spending of Irish treasure and the shedding of Irish blood. India had been won by the British Empire in the same way, and Ireland had acquired with England partnership rights which it would be impossible to distribute, and of which Ireland could only have her share by continuing to be represented in the House. There had been, he would add, a long trial of the Union between the two countries, and he would confidently ask, after the experience of 76 years, whether the expectations which had been held out in 1800 had been realized? Ireland was then told that she would share the wealth and freedom of England, that Irish discontent and disaffection would vanish, and that if ever again that French came to our shores—for the French were then the enemies of England—they would find normally in Ireland. Had that result been accomplished? His answer was, that at the end of 76 years of union with the richest country in the world Ireland was, in proportion to her capabilities and resources, the poorest country in Europe; and at the end of 76 years' union with a nation which he believed enjoyed a greater amount of rational liberty than any other, she was still subjected to severe coercive laws, though on this point he could not use language so strong as he could have used two years ago, for he was ready to admit that, partly owing to the exertions of Irish Members, and partly through the disposition shown by that House and the Government to mitigate the severity of those laws, the code which existed two years ago had been very much modified. Still, the House should recollect that two years ago there was no liberty of the Press in Ireland, that over a large part of the country a Curfew Law prevailed, and that the people were deprived of their right to bear arms. Had the Union caused Ireland to share in the content and loyalty of England? So far from that being the case, he believed that there was in Ireland at the present time more dissatisfaction than existed in any other part of Europe, not excepting the French Provinces which had been united to Germany. Again, Ireland was the most heavily taxed country in Europe in proportion to its resources. England extracted from the inhabitants of Ireland, in proportion to their means, just double the amount of taxes that was paid by Englishmen. Such were the results of 76 years' experience of the Union. The only inequality the Union had redressed was this—that whereas it was admitted at the time of the Union that if populations were taken as a test of representation, Ireland would be entitled to 170 Members, and the inequality in that respect had been rectified not by increasing the number of Members, but by the decrease of the population. He thought he had shown that there were good grounds for asking for a revision of the Union arrangements, for no one could say that the result of the experiment had been a success. An arrangement such as he proposed had never been suggested to Parliament until two years ago. After the Conference in Dublin the whole country was surprised by the announcement of the Dissolution of Parliament. The sudden Dissolution was assumed to be favourable to those who had seats in the House, and the Home Rule Party had to displace many Gentlemen of influence, whose absence from Parliament was, in some respects, a loss to Ireland. However, Ireland returned at the last General Election 59 Members pledged to Home Rule in the way in which it was defined by the Conference. That was a fact that enforced the demand upon the House for some inquiry into the subject, and the Motion he submitted accordingly was one to inquire into the nature and extent of the justice of that demand. In dealing with the feeling of the Irish people on the subject, it should be remembered that the 76 years which had passed since the Union had not obliterated from the minds of the people the recollection of the prosperity enjoyed by their country during the brief period of its legislative independence. It was admitted that no country had ever progressed in prosperity as Ireland had done during the 18 years that elapsed from the declaration of independence to the passing of the Act of Union. Considering the decline in every department which followed the measure, could the people be blamed for attributing the poverty and misery of their country to the loss of their native Parliament? Nor could they forget the crimes by which the Act of Union was carried. It was a most unfortunate matter for both countries that the power of that House over Ireland avowedly and admittedly rested on acts of oppression, treachery, and crime as dark and as black as had ever disgraced any European Power. In proof of this assertion he would refer to a speech delivered by Lord Plunkett in the Irish Parliament, and a Protest against the Union signed by 20 of the most distinguished Members of the Irish House of Lords, headed by the Duke of Leinster. The present was the fourth occasion on which the question of Union had been formally brought before the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In 1810 Mr. Hutchinson, one of the Donoughmore family, brought it under the notice of the House of Commons. In 1834 it was again brought forward by Mr. O'Connell in a debate which occupied 10 days, and it was again brought forward a third time by himself two years ago. He thought everybody ought to feel satisfaction at having the question discussed, and, for his own part, he was not afraid of voting in a small minority. That lesson he had learnt from reading the speeches of Mr. Fox, who said it was a calamity to which he had become so accustomed that it had ceased to have effect upon him. Mr. Fox used this language only a very short time before he was at the head of the affairs of this country on the very same principles on which he had voted in those small minorities. With insignificant exceptions, the whole of the Irish people had adopted the plan of Federalism. Great meetings had ratified it; corporations had pronounced in its favour; Petitions had been presented on the same side; but, above all, 59 Members had been sent to this House, every one of whom was pledged to this programme. Now, he did not propose to refer to a Committee the question whether such a proposal ought to be adopted, because he should inevitably be told that he was sending the British Constitution to be dealt with upstairs. But he proposed that the Committee should collect information which would be of vital importance to the House, and which it was desirable the House should know. While he had confidence in the truth and justice of his own cause he believed it would prosper. In 1825 both Houses of Parliament appointed Committees to inquire into the state of Ireland, and the information thus collected broke down the prejudice against Catholic emancipation. In the same way the more Englishmen were brought into contact with the real nature and tendency of what Irishmen now desired, the more rapidly would existing prejudices against it be dispelled. Were a Committee appointed Englishmen would get rid of the impression that there was any wish for separation, or that he and others acting with him were not honestly endeavouring to strengthen the bonds between the two countries in that connection which was equally essential to the happiness and prosperity of both. Would the House, then, do well to refuse an inquiry which was desired by the Irish people? Did Englishmen distrust their own case, or were they going to tell the Irish people they held Ireland, not by reason, but by the strong arm of power, and that they refused every inquiry into their condition? Consider for a moment whether the Union as it now was gave to the Irish people the benefits of constitutional government? Constitutional government meant that there should be a Representative Assembly of the people, bringing the Executive Government into harmony with the feelings of the people. He asked Englishmen carefully and calmly to consider for a moment whether Irishmen had the benefits of constitutional government in Ireland? Were they wise in excluding the Irish from those benefits? Ought they not to remove that difficulty if they could? He meant no imputation upon the present Chief Secretary, to whom he gave every credit for his efforts to adapt the Irish Government to the wishes of the Irish people. But if the right hon. Baronet were to tell all he knew of the Castle of Dublin, and the prevailing influences there, he would probably admit that the highest principle of Irish statesmanship had been to thwart the wishes of the Irish people. In short, the British Constitution, as administered in Ireland, resembled the British Constitution in its integrity about as much as some of the caricatures in the comic papers resembled the originals; between the two there was a kind of hideous and grotesque likeness, which only made the contrast the more striking. The Irish people did not even benefit by that regard for the interests of Ireland which a despotic Government might supply—such as a despotic Government gave to Paris, and now supplied to Russia—for the Government was not composed of Irishmen. A Conservative gentleman, the late Rev. Charles Bayton, speaking in 1834, had said that there was no Government of Ireland, or for Ireland, and that Ireland was considered only as it furnished a battle-field for English parties. That was the declaration of a Conservative gentleman, made in the presence of an influential assembly, many of whom were Conservatives. The late Lord Clancarty, a man of strong Conservative opinions and of large landed property, had also pointed out how totally the Union had failed to yield the benefits expected from it; how backward Ireland was, as compared with England, in education and all that conduced to national life and prosperity; and how unfavourable was the 70 years' experience which Irishmen had of English and Imperial rule, because, whereas England enjoyed the advantage of being governed by those who were intimately acquainted with her interests, English Ministers cared little and understood less about the interests of Ireland. Coming to a very recent period, had Irish interests been dealt with in the way in which they deserved to be dealt with? Was the time given to the consideration of Irish measures really sufficient? Two years ago he proposed a measure to assimilate the privileges of Irish corporations in some small respects to the privileges of English boroughs. The Bill was assented to by the Government, passed this House without opposition, but it was thrown out in the other House; and from that hour to this he had never been able to pass the Bill. The right hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had given his cordial assent to that Bill; but that made the case the stronger. Could such a result happen in a Parliament which did for Ireland what Parliament ought to do for her? Even at this moment there was pressing business affecting Ireland sufficient to occupy the attention of Parliament for a whole Session, and it was one of the evils of the present system that, physically, there was not sufficient time to devote to Irish Business. He would ask the House how often, upon purely Irish questions, the opinion of the immense majority of the Irish Members had been overruled by English and Scotch votes? If it happened only once or twice, it would be captious to object; but he would say it was not a good system of government when, upon questions peculiarly affecting Ireland, the voices of Irish Members were overruled in this House over and over again. Now, he would avow it, he had consulted with his Irish Friends on the subject, and the view he took of their duty was that they ought not, because they desired an Irish Parliament, to refuse to give to this House any assistance they could from their knowledge and experience of the country; and he could say for himself and his Friends that they had endeavoured to get good legislation from this House with as much earnestness and anxiety as if they never looked to an Irish Parliament. He could only say that the same labour would be applied with more advantage if they had a Parliament in Ireland and for Ireland. For instance, they prepared a Bill for Representative Boards in counties to manage fiscal affairs;39 Irish Members were in favour of it, only 23 against it; but it was defeated in February by 181 to 153. Many years ago he was struck by the words of one from whom he would never be ashamed to learn—he meant the right hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), when he said that if he were an Irish Member, and had 30 people to vote with him, he would very soon obtain every measure that was necessary. On one occasion, when he instanced the difference between the municipal franchises and privileges of the two countries resulting from the Union, the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) rose and taunted him with not seeking the redress of those inequalities in this House. He thought that taunt was a strange one, seeing that the attempt had been twice defeated by the votes of the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends. He tried again, and he was not met by the opposition of the present Government. And here he must say, with regard to the removal of coercion, that Irish Members had got better and fairer terms for Ireland from the present than from the late Government. Well, he brought in a Bill to give Ireland a municipal franchise like that of England;41 Irish Members voted for it, 16 against; but it was defeated by 176 to 148. He maintained that it was for the Irish themselves to say who should have the municipal franchise. That was not a question that affected the integrity of the Empire; yet in this matter Irish wishes were overruled by English votes. The preponderance of the Irish vote in favour of the proposal to assimilate the county franchise was still greater. On the 28th of March 57 Irish Members voted for it, 17 against—more than three to one. It could not be wondered at if, while that state of things existed, two years ago a Motion was carried for giving aid to the Irish fisheries; but though he believed the Chief Secretary for Ireland was as anxious to do something as himself, nothing was done by the Government. When the question was again brought before the House it was defeated by English Members, for again he believed the Scotch Members voted with the Irish. Had they even now an efficient Fishery Board? Seven years ago a Royal Commission recommended that the Irish Railways should be put under a Board to insure uniform- ity and cheap fares. In 1868 72 Peers possessing property in Ireland addressed the Government on the subject, and the same declaration was signed by all the Irish Members, except seven, who took a different view, and yet their prayer was disregarded. Had they done what might have been done for the Shannon? He believed it was still undrained; its waters were as "turbulent" as ever; and that nothing would be done in the matter until they got an Irish Parliament. Then look at the University question. Hon. Gentlemen unseated a powerful Government on that question, but there was no one who said that the University system was satisfactory to the country. Had that question been settled? Had it not been thrown upon a private individual like himself to try to settle it? But, if Ireland had an Irish Parliament, the opinion of the Parliament would have long since gone with the opinion of the country; or, if the English Parliament could properly discharge its duties to Ireland, which it never could, we should long ago have had some decision upon the Irish University question. He would not say that the Bill he had proposed on a previous night would have been passed by an Irish Parliament; but the people would have had the question discussed by their own Parliament, and the value of Parliamentary discussion, even reaching Ireland as it did now only in vague and uncertain echoes, was immense. He spoke of questions which would have been settled long ago, but Parliament had not time to attend to them. Every day since he had been in Parliament—now 20 years—there had been witnessed that of which he complained—the gradual encroachments upon the rights of discussion by private Members. Why? Not certainly because of any object on the part of Government, but because of absolute necessity arising from the mass of legislation which Parliament had taken upon itself. For instance, this year they had lost a great deal of time on the Merchant Shipping Bill, owing to the fact that Government were compelled last year to pass only a temporary Act. The pressure of business was breaking down what was once the great characteristic of that House—free discussion of the complaints and grievances of the people. This was the inevitable result of taking on themselves the work of three Parliaments. They could not do it. The necessity of business would eventually force the House to take some steps to alter the present arrangements. The letter of Lord Clancarty to which he had referred made a suggestion on this matter which was worthy of attention. He suggested as a preliminary step that at the meeting of Irish Members to be held in Dublin six weeks before the assembling of Parliament, a general Committee should be formed, which should report on all public Bills relating to Ireland. Due attention would thus be secured to the subject, a sense of responsibility for the work of legislation would be cast on that assembly, and measures might thus be brought forward which would lay the foundation of self-government. Lord Clancarty did not look on self-government as a wild and impracticable scheme. It had been stated repeatedly, and never denied—and when it was first stated there were statesmen living who could have denied it if it were untrue—that in 1844 a proposal was made by the Leaders of the Whig Party, then in Opposition, that Mr. O'Connell should take up Federalism; and he did take it up. How he was thwarted it was not for him (Mr. Butt) to say. What did The Times newspaper say in October, 1873? It said— If the demand for Home Rule should prove to be really the demand of the Irish people, we shall he compelled to consider the various changes and safeguards on which it will be necessary to insist. And when the right hon. Gentleman opposite assumed the reins of Government in 1874, The Times said— Among the matters it will be an essential part of his duty to consider will be this—how far he can gratify the spirit of nationality without danger to the Empire. On those grounds he (Mr. Butt) rested his present claim to have some alteration made in the arrangement adopted at the time of the Union. He did not wish to flatter the House, but—and he had said it in Ireland, he thought—he had observed a wonderfully improved tone towards Ireland on both sides of that Assembly. He had been in several Parliaments, and he said conscientiously and sincerely he never sat in a House in which Irish affairs were received with so much fairness and attention as they had in that. But that did not alter his opinion of the absolute necessity for changing the Union arrangements. Was the House disposed to enter upon the task of conciliating Ireland? If they were, there was no support to anything calculated to forward such a course which he was not ready to give. But do not let them shut their eyes to the difficulties. They were dealing with a country oppressed for seven centuries. It would not be in a few weeks or months that the effect of misgovernment would pass away. They had to deal with a people trained to distrust of English misgovernment—a people in whose breasts misgovernment had awakened suspicion and a thousand rankling imaginations. In the words of Macbeth he would say to Parliament— Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd; Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow; Raze out the written troubles of the brain; And, with some sweet oblivious antidote, Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff Which weighs upon the heart? He might be told a great deal must depend on Irishmen themselves; and, if the House did enter on the course they recommended, he would say a solemn responsibility would be cast on every Irishman to use no language that would mar the effect of it. Parliament might say—"We reply as the physician did in Macbeth, 'Therein the patient must minister to himself.' "He believed she must minister to herself, and minister in a higher sense than that spoken of just now. He believed no good intentions on the part of that House or the Government could ever supply that knowledge—that instinctive knowledge—of the wants and wishes of the people of Ireland which was necessary in legislating for her, and which could never be acquired by learning, only by residence among, and acquaintance with, the people themselves. Did history give an instance of a nation wisely governed except by her own people? To use a very expressive term of The Times, if there is "a unification" between England and Ireland they did not want a separate Parliament; but if there was not a unification, they did. If that separate Parliament was given instead of weakening, it would strengthen the bonds between the two countries. But he was not asking for a separate Parliament. He was only asking, if they were under a delusion, to let them have a Committee to inquire into the matter. What would the inquiry do? Home Rulers were told that some of them were seeking separation. Let them be brought to the bar of the Committee. Let them be cross-examined, and if it should be found that the intelligence and property of Ireland were not favourable to his proposals, let the Committee report against them and put an end to them. Let them see whether they were of so serious a character as they supposed—of a character so serious that they would destroy the whole strength and solidity of the Empire. It was not for him to answer at once every difficulty that might be raised; but on one point to which some weight had been attached, he might say that a very little statesmanship ought to suggest a plan to dispose of Irish Members usefully whilst the House was engaged in doing English business. Give them the Committee, however. That was all they asked. Let them bring the plan he proposed to the test of reason, to the test of cross-examination, that was all he asked, and then the people of England and the Members of that House would probably see that their proposals were not of so formidable a character as they had supposed. But let them not shut the door in their faces, and content themselves by saying that they meant to rule Ireland by force as heretofore—that their principle was to be sic volo, sic jubeo, stet proratione voluntas. They might fail in their attempt now, but it would be renewed next year. Let them grant the Committee, however, and let them select a man of character like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire, who had vigour enough of intellect to preside over it, and who would inspire confidence in all parties by his presence. Let them unfold their case before him, let them show if their "veiled rebellion" was what it had been called. But they would bring their rebellion without its veil; and, believing in the thorough justice of their cause, he also believed that Ireland would come out triumphant. He did not wish, however, to trespass longer on the time of the House, and he would therefore conclude by submitting the Motion which stood in his name.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into and report upon the nature, the extent, and the grounds of the demand made by a large proportion of the Irish people for the restoration to Ireland of an Irish Parliament, with power to control the internal affairs of that Country,"—(Mr. Butt,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


, who had given Notice to move as an Amendment to the Resolution of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt)— That, in the opinion of this House, Home Rule, as understood by a large proportion of the Irish people, is the restoration of the Parliament of Ireland with the legislative powers and prerogatives declared, by an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, to have been 'established and ascertained for ever' by the international settlement of 1782 said: I must apologize to the House for obtruding myself so early in the debate, but it is owing to the fact that two months ago I gave Notice of an Amendment. Now, however, the original Resolution itself is moved as an Amendment, thereby excluding the Amendment which stands in my name on the Notice Paper. This question of Home Rule, on the basis of Federalism, was brought before the House in the Session of 1874, and although I voted in favour of it, I felt, in common, I believe, with every impartial listener to that debate, that its advocates failed to sustain by argument the peculiar scheme of Home Rule then, for the first time, submitted in the name of the Irish people. I think it is unfortunate that, after an interval of two years, the same scheme should come before us in a form still more unsatisfactory. When a Government, whether weak or strong, refers any matter of importance to a Select Committee or a Royal Commission, ill-natured people are sometimes found to say that it is done for the purpose of shelving the matter in question. I should be sorry to attribute any such motive to the hon. and learned Member for Limerick; but what purpose, in this instance, a Select Committee can be made to serve, if not that of a coroner's inquest, does not plainly appear. The hon. and learned Gentleman, in my mind, should, on this occasion, with the permission of the House, have embodied in a Bill his scheme of Home Rule. In that form, and in that form only, he could set forth the nature, the extent, and the grounds of his claim, and there would be no occasion to submit what he alleges to be the cause of a large proportion of his fellow-countrymen to be sat upon by a Select Committee of this House. A large number of Irish Bills, on subjects great and small, have been introduced, and some of them fully discussed this Session, and it is difficult to understand why this, the greatest of all subjects, should be presented in the shape of a Resolution which resolves nothing, and which, even if carried, would leave us as we were with regard to the very meaning of the words Home Rule. It will not do to say that the Resolution is a recognition of the principle of Home Rule, and that we must await the details; for in dealing with complex ideas the terms used to express them must be clearly defined. What is Home Rule? The most rev. Dr. MacHale has defined it as "a very ambiguous phrase;" John Mitchel defined it as "foreign rule;" Mr. O'Neill Daunt defined it as the "half loaf;" another eminent authority defined it as "the thin end of the wedge." Clearly, it is one of those rare questions where the minutest exposition of details is essential to the faintest comprehension of the principle. The word Parliament conveys to the mind the idea of supremacy; and I conceive it is incumbent on those who propound a novel scheme like this to explain clearly and categorically what is meant by those words of limitation, "internal affairs." When reference is made to a country, entitled by its position and importance to the possession of the grand institution of Parliament, the question naturally arises, what are internal and local, as contra-distinguished from external and Imperial affairs? Is control of the lines of railway communication in such a country an internal or an external affair? Is the encouragement of domestic industry by bounties or protective duties an internal or an external affair? Is the land, its settlement and its tenure, an internal or an external affair? Is the establishment or the disestablishment of a religion an internal or an external affair? Is taxation in all its branches an internal or an external affair? Is the appropriation of the supplies an internal or an external affair? Is an annual Mutiny Bill, embodying the principle that in time of peace a standing Army could not be legally maintained in the country without the consent of the Parliament of the country, an internal or an external affair? Is the embodiment of a national Militia and police an internal or an external affair? Is the finality of the decisions of the Courts of Law and of Equity, without appeal to an external tribunal, an internal or an external affair? Is the Post Office an internal or an external affair? Is the Criminal Code, in all its ramifications, an internal or an external affair? Is Education, in all its departments, an internal or an external affair? Sir, I might extend these interrogatories; they relate to matters of detail, it is true, but this House will admit they are details which, in whatever way they may be met, are of the very essence of the principle involved in the Resolution, and which should be understood before that Resolution can be even properly discussed. If the answer to these several interrogatories be signified by the word internal, then we have before us a proposal for a Parliament; if by the word external, then we must assume that a great proportion of the Irish people, through their Representatives in this House, pray for a Select Committee to take into consideration their claims to a vestry. If the extent and the grounds of the claim for Home Rule are shrouded in mystery, I am free to admit that the nature of the claim has been with sufficient distinctness defined. Its nature is that of a Federal arrangement, by which there would be constituted an Irish Parliament for the internal affairs of Ireland (whatever they may be), an English Parliament for the internal affairs of England, and an Imperial Parliament for what may be adjudged to be external or Imperial affairs. Thus we have three Parliaments to start with; for the Imperial Parliament will differ so materially as regards its objects, its prerogatives, its construction and composition from the local Parliaments, as to be quite a distinct institution. At certain fixed periods Ireland will pour 105 Imperial Representatives into the English local Parliament, and forthwith, as if by magic, the domestic institution becomes transformed into the Imperial, internal gives way to external, and all is turned inside out. The cock of the farm-yard assumes the eye, the beak, and the talons of the eagle, and, taking leave for a season of his hens and his chickens, he soars aloft, and from his eyrie surveys an Empire on which the sun never sets. An Imperial Parliament and an Imperial Administration, local Parliaments and local Administrations, local constituencies and Imperial constituencies; all this the hon. and learned Gentleman gravely assures us may be accomplished without serious disturbance of the existing Parliamentary system, or any fundamental change in the constitution of the Realm. The hon. and learned Gentleman is an eminent Constitutional lawyer, but, with the greatest deference to him, I must say that I can scarcely conceive a project involving more violent and wanton disturbance of the principles of the Constitution. I speak of it thus, assuming, for argument's sake, that it can be limited in its operation to England and Ireland alone; but no hon. Member will contend that it is susceptible of any such limitation. A local Parliament for Scotland, The Times has truly said, is the necessary correlative of a local Parliament for Ireland. Whatever measure of local government, The Scotsman says, Ireland gets, Scotland must get the same. Indeed, although Ireland only is named in the Resolution, Scotland is specifically included in the Federal arrangement propounded by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick. In his pamphlet, curiously entitled Irish Federalism (why not English or Scotch Federalism)? he says— The arrangement proposed is, I have said, that which is popularly known as a Federal union between the countries. It is not worth while to consider whether the word Federalism, in its proper sense, be the most appropriate term to express what is proposed. I will not even stop to inquire whether the union I suggest belongs to that class of arrangements which Lord Brougham calls Federal unions proper, or to those which he designates as improper or imperfect, or, as is more probable, is one partaking of the character of both. It is enough to say that I intend to propose a system under which England, Scotland and Ireland, united as they are under one Sovereign, should have a common Executive and a common national Council for all purposes necessary to constitute them, to other nations, as one State, while each of them should have its own domestic Administration and its own domestic Parliament for its internal affairs. I say each of them, because, although my immediate concern is only with Ireland, I do not suppose that if Irishmen obtain the separate management of Irish affairs it is at all likely that Englishmen or Scotchmen would consent to the management of their domestic concerns by a Parliament in which Irish Members had still a voice. Thus Scotland necessarily falls into line, and so we find ourselves at the outset involved in the mazes of four Parliaments—three local and one Imperial. Will the disintegrating process end there? He is a bold man who will venture to say it would. If a local Parliament for Scotland is the necessary correlative of a local Parliament for Ireland, a local Parliament for Wales is the necessary correlative of a local Parliament for Scotland. Federalism is an elastic principle; its tendency is to minute subdivision. Is there not some reason to apprehend that Ulster will avail herself of the opportunity to sever the connection with the Catholic Provinces and open a little retail shop for legislative business of her own? Once open the Federal door, and doing so involves a total reconstruction of the Constitution, and closed it cannot be until the United Kingdom shall have been completely transformed into a Confederation, like Switzerland in Europe, or Canada or the United States in America. I understand the hon. and learned Gentleman to say that he disclaims any intention of making a demand; but the Resolution contains the word demand, implying that a Federal arrangement is the demand of Ireland. As matter of fact, it is not; but assuming that Ireland is so lost to all sense of dignity as to sanction the demand, the answer of this House must be—This is a British, much more than an Irish question; and so long as the people of England, Scotland and Wales are content to be legislated for in their local affairs by this Imperial Parliament, Ireland is out of Court, if she be not guilty, indeed, of a positive contempt of Court, in demanding that the Constitution shall be broken into fragments in order to satisfy her momentary caprice. A demand, on the part of Ireland alone, to Republicanize the institutions of the Empire, would be just as reasonable and just as feasible as to Federalize them. A demand implies a right, and a right to demand implies a right to enforce compliance; but this is a demand for a thing which never existed before, which Ireland never possessed, to which she can prove no title, which she cannot get without the full and free concurrence of her neighbours, and which she could not take, if she had the power, without inflicting serious wrong upon them, and outraging the principles of public morality and public law. It is quite right and proper that hon. Gentlemen who really believe in this Irish Federalism should endeavour, by all fair means, to propagate that theory; but I submit that the time to make a demand for a Federal arrangement will not have arrived until a clear majority of the people of England, Ireland and Scotland shall have signified their readiness to enter into such an arrangement. When that time comes there will be no occasion for a Select Committee. The Minister of the day will introduce a Bill; we shall legislate ourselves into the condition of the happy family; and under the hopeful motto, Divide et impera, we shall enter at last on a career of peace, unity and brotherly love. Speaking with reference to Ireland alone, it is my firm conviction that she does not desire a Federal arrangement of the nature of that expounded either by the Rev. Thadeus O'Malley—the father of Federalism—in his little book, or by his illustrious pupil, the hon. and learned Member for Limerick, in his pamphlet on Irish Federalism; that if offered it she would not, understandingly and with her eyes open, accept it; and that if imposed upon her, she would not abide by it. Were Ireland a discovery of the 19th century, like one of those coral isles— That like to rich and various gems inlay The unadorned bosom of the deep, she might commission a Representative to ask this honourable House to make a Constitution for her. But Ireland is an ancient kingdom with a far-reaching past and a not inglorious history. Her people represent an ancient and a famous race, with a past and a history, with feelings, traditions, instincts, all their own; and it is futile to suppose for a moment that such a country and such a people will accept a place in the Imperial system lower than that of the smallest colony born of yesterday, and indebted to fortuitous circumstances for a fluctuating and heterogenous population. The colonies have been referred to. Truly, the colonial Empire of England is amarvel of the 19th century, as it is unique in the history of mankind. When the American orator illustrated the greatness of England by that grand figure of the evening drum, with a belt of martial music encircling the globe, the colonial Empire presented a spectacle different far from that which now excites the applause of the world, and elevates the hopes of humanity. The orator spoke with reference only to trading settlements, military posts, dependencies; but, one by one, we have seen these posts, these settlements, these dependencies, come forth like stars through the darkness, and assume the position of free, self-governing States; till now, if by a lower figure, I might be allowed to illustrate a grander destiny, the Division Bell, as it resounds through the corridors of this House, awakes an echo in a hundred legislative halls, proclaiming in every zone, and in every clime, England to be, in the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright), the mother of Parliaments. But they are free Parliaments, the free Parliaments of free States—no Federal tie subsists between them and the parent from which they sprung; no delusive representation in this House detracts from their dignity and their independence; no swollen Imperial Congress overawes from London their deliberations, and interposes its giant bulk between them and the central sun round which they revolve; the law of nature supplies the bond of connection; the faculty to separate only intensifies the resolve to be united; similarity of Constitutions is the cement of Empire; and, touched by the spirit of freedom, Canadian disaffection melts into loyalty, and the Maori becomes a peaceful legislator for the land whose soil he had with unconquerable valour defended. The colonial example, so far from sustaining the case of the hon. and learned Gentleman, illustrates most forcibly its absurdity—unless, indeed, it can be shown that England is prepared to adopt the political system which South Africa would not have, and that Ireland is willing to become the Manitoba of a British dominion. Such a destiny she may indeed accept when the day-star, Ireland a nation, shall have faded from the hearts of her children, but not till then. It is probable that at no distant day the Australian colonies will enter into Confederation so as to form an Australasian Dominion; it seems to be the natural system of government for a cluster of colonies, derived from the same parent- age, situated in near proximity to each other, the character of whose populations is similar, and whose circumstances and interests are identical. But all those conditions are wanting here—conspicuously absent, above all, is the indispensable condition of political equality. Victoria and New South Wales may federate, because they are both free agents; in their Governments and their Administrations they are independent one of the other; in like manner Barbadoes and Tobago may federate; but Ireland and England should separate that they might federate. Put Ireland in the position of the Canadian Dominion, or of any of the countries composing the Australasian group, revive the Constitution of 1782—then, if there be anything to treat about, Parliament can treat with Parliament freely and constitutionally, and the relations of the two countries may be so fixed and established as to insure to each the free development of its national life under a common crown— —Paribus se legibus ambæ Invictæ gentes æterna in fædera mittant. I am aware that the idea of a federation of the whole Empire finds favour with a few not uninfluential persons in this country. Whether Imperial Confederation shall ever attain the importance of being discussed as a question of practical statesmanship, depends chiefly on the colonies. If it finds any favour amongst them, it will, should the occasion arise, be freely discussed in their free local Legislatures, and their decision upon it will be conclusive. At present it is not a question of practical statesmanship, nor is it likely, I think, ever to become one, unless, by some new discovery in political science, it can be demonstrated that local legislative independence is compatible with representation in an Imperial Parliament. That is a problem which has never yet been solved in this world. In Confederation each Member surrenders its distinctive nationality, if it possesses such, and yields up a certain portion of its liberty, in order to give strength, and title, and authority to the union. Thus it is in Canada and the United States. But where two countries, in both of which there exist, though it may be in very unequal degree, the capacities for self-government, together with the passion for independence, are so circumstanced that either total separation or complete amalgamation is impossible or undesirable, the political relation must be based on the principle of unity of Empire and separation of Parliament. That is dualism as between Norway and Sweden, Hungary and Austria, Canada and the United Kingdom, the Australias and the United Kingdom. The Crown, in these cases, is not a fetter, whether of iron or of gold, it is the symbol merely of a contract in conformity with the law of nature, and which may defy disruption while it rests upon freedom. The hon. and learned Gentleman dwelt largely on Irish grievances. A higher and safer ground would be that of national right. Grievances may be redressed, but right is an abiding principle. Grievances vary. The grievance of England may be conventual and monastic institutions, or the Claimant; the grievance of Scotland may be gas, or church rates; the grievance of Wales may be Judges ignorant of the language of the country; the grievance of Ireland may be any Act, good, bad, or indifferent, emanating from a British or Imperial source, and it is proposed to construct a bed of Procrustes, whereon all the aggrieved may lie down together, rolled up in the wet blanket of Federalism. The House has been told repeatedly this Session, in tones of solemn earnestness, that the pacification of Ireland imperatively demanded the passage of some particular Bill—a Town Franchise, a Municipal Privilege, a Fishery, or a Land Bill. The logical inference from the language used is, that if this grievance be redressed, and that inequality removed, that if Ireland be ameliorated by the legislation of this House, she will become pacific, and reconciled to the control of this Imperial Parliament for evermore. If that is the idea intended to be conveyed—and the language admits of no other construction—Home Rule, I fear, will have a protracted existence, for grievances there will always be, even in the best regulated families and States; but it will exist as the Shibboleth of a Party, not as the rallying cry of a nation. If, as the House has been assured, the Irish people are now trained and educated to look to Parliament for redress of grievances, and if a measure of comparatively such trivial importance as a Town Franchise Bill will go far to insure content- ment, I am at a loss to discover wherein the raison ďêtre of a Home Rule Party consists at all, and why such men as Mr. Pim, Sir Dominic Corrigan, Mr. Bagwell, Mr. Chichester Fortescue, and others, were rejected at the General Election. They would not adopt the Shibboleth, but there was no reason to suppose that they would not have supported measures of just amelioration. In my own county the representation was contested by two resident proprietors—one, Sir Richard Levinge, a Conservative; the other, Captain Greville, an officer of the late Government; and I am free to declare for myself that, if it could have been foretold that Home Rule would sink in this House to a thing of small grievances, I should have paused before beinga party to deprive either of these gentlemen of the position he is qualified to fill. Now, the greatest of Irish grievances is absenteeism, and it must be admitted that the Home Rule that is inadequate to provide a remedy for that, can scarcely afford to stand even on the low ground of grievance. I might even go so far as to say that such a Home Rule would be, not a panacea for existing grievances, but a source of fresh calamities. Long before the era of independence, Irish Parliaments, though fettered andrestricted, dealt severely with absenteeism. Sir John Davies, Attorney General to Queen Elizabeth and James I., says— All writers do attribute the decay and loss of Leinster (then the extent of the English Pale) to the absence of those Lords who married the five daughters of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, to whom that great seignory descended. These great Lords, having greater inheritances in their own right in England than they had in Ireland in right of their wives (and yet each of the co-partners had an entire county allotted for her proportion), could not be drawn to make their personal residence in this kingdom, but managed their estates by their seneschals and servants. The grievance did not long elude the vigilance of the English Justinian; and accordingly, in a few years after the titles alluded to had vested, viz., about the year 1295, it appears from that venerable muniment, the Liber Niger of Christ Church, that at a general Parliament, or great Council, then held in Ireland, it was enacted, inter alia, that absentee English lords, who drew the profits of their Irishterritory without any return, should be compelled to contribute a portion for the safety of their estates and tenantry. In 1310 an ordinance was promulgated by the authority of the chief Governor of Ireland and the whole Council, directing an absolute estreat of the rents of all the lands of absentees, and that they should be deposited in the treasury, to be appropriated to the King for the conservation of the peace and defence of the land. In the reign of Henry VIII. a statute was passed, whereby, after setting forth That it was notorious and manifest that Ireland had grown into ruin, desolation, rebellion, and decay, by reason of great proprietors of it residing in England, and not providing for the good order and security of same, it was enacted that the King, his heirs, &c., shall have and enjoy all houses, manors, lands, &c., of certain nobles therein named. This legislative sanction was followed by a resumption of the immense estates of the Duke of Norfolk and Lord Berkly, in the counties of Carlow and Waterford, and those of the Earl of Shrewsbury in the latter county. It is a significant fact that absenteeism increased or diminished in proportion as the powers of the Parliament of Ireland were restricted or enlarged. The absentee drain, which in 1782 stood at about £2,000,000, had declined to about £800,000 in 1800, the year of the Union. It amounts now, there is reason to believe, to upwards of £4,000,000, the purchase-money every year of a Suez Canal. How would this grievance be affected by the newfangled scheme of Home Rule? It would continue, because London would still be the centre of attraction, the chief seat of government and of legislation; it would continue, and with the superadded and unprecedented grievance that both the local and the Imperial Parliaments would be debarred by the Federal Constitution, by the very nature of the Federal arrangement, from applying an effective remedy. A separate Irish Parliament could impose an absentee tax, or compel a sale of the absentee estates; this Imperial Parliament could do the same to-morrow; but federation would tie the hands of both Parliaments, and thus the giant grievance of Ireland would be perpetuated and rendered irremovable. I will test this scheme by another grievance, on which much stress has been laid—the coercion grievance. If we examine the various Coercion Acts passed by this House from the Union to the present day, it will be found that each and every one of them has had an Imperial object. Arms Acts, Treason Felony Acts, Crime and Outrage Acts, Peace Preservation Acts, Habeas Corpus Suspension Acts—all, no matter what the titles, what the pretence on which proposed, have had one and the same object in view, to prevent the acquisition of arms by the people, and maintain the Union, or, as it is called, the integrity of the Empire. Coercion, therefore, in the scheme of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick, would manifestly be an external or Imperial affair. So much, indeed, he himself explicitly admits in his treatise on Irish Federalism. He says there— I am far from supposing that in this sketch I have indicated all the matters which, on reflection and discussion, it might be found advisable to reserve to the Imperial Parliament. In America the criminal laws relating to offences against the Union, and the regulation of the criminal procedure relating to their trial, are vested in Congress, and not in the Legislature of each State. In Canada, while each Province regulates the civil procedure of the Courts, the procedure in criminal cases can only be altered by a law of the Parliament of the Dominion. It would be easy to suggest other matters in regard to which some reason might be urged for leaving them to the Imperial Parliament. Just so—nothing more easy; but what does that mean, if not more political prisoners, and Amnesty Association a permanent institution of the country? He must be a very sanguine Federalist indeed who expects that the era of political offences will close with the creation of a political cul-de-sac, from which there would be no possibility of escape but by revolution. Shilling pamphlets on dry subjects find a very limited circulation in Ireland; the readers are confined to a Select Committee; but if it were explained to the people that Home Rule meant the rod of coercion firmly secured in the Imperial hand, and the trial and punishment of political offences acknowledged and confirmed as an Imperial function, how many Home Rulers would there be among the classes that now compose the demonstrations with Amnesty on their banners and green ribbons in their breasts? I know not what version of Home Rule may have been given in Burnley and Manchester to justify the exultant telegrams—"Home Rule victories"—transmitted to Dublin in February last; but I am pretty confident that the Home Rule of the English hustings would fail to pass muster on the Tipperary hills. National independence is understood there, but a Federal arrangement is understood neither here nor there. Tried by any test that either Imperial statesmanship or Irish patriotism can apply—Imperial unity or national independence, constitutional principle or Irish right—precedent, authority, expediency, or feasibility—Irish Home Rule stands condemned. It is not restoration, it is innovation; it is not unity, it is dismemberment; it is not national independence, it is national annihilation; it surrenders the Constitution of one country, and subverts that of another, in order to erect with the fragments a model lodging-house, in which the family would merge in the household, and the personal freedom of every occupant would be at the mercy of a composite majority. It never can be realized till England renounces her mission to be great, and Ireland relinquishes her title to be free. Has Ireland, then, no cause on which a virtuous people might take their stand, and enlist on their side the sympathies of mankind? I should be sorry to rest the cause of Ireland on charter, or compact, or Act of Parliament. Her title to liberty is from Heaven; but charter may be appealed to, not, indeed, as evidence of the right to enjoy liberty, but of an agreement to enjoy it according to certain forms, conformably with the will of the people. The charter of King John to the Barons of England, at Runnymede, did not constitute their title to liberty; it was but a record of the manner in which they wished to be governed by their Kings. Ireland's title to independence is as strong now as in 1782, but the international settlement of that year remains an indefeasible record of an agreement that she should enjoy in security and peace that independence according to the forms therein sanctioned and prescribed. Previous to the 10th year of the reign of King Henry VII., the Irish Parliament, such as it was, had claimed and exercised the right of legislation, though interrupted by occasional interference on the part of England, in the same manner as the right of legislation was enjoyed by the Parliament of this country. The Irish Parliament passed laws for Ireland, with a negative power vested in the Crown. By the law of Poyning, made in the 10th year of that reign, the course of legislation was reversed; the original and efficient powers of legislation were thereby vested in the Crown, and the Parliament was left a negative voice merely on the ordinances of the Prince. Ireland protested against that Act as usurpation. The political relation continued in this state till the sixth year of King George I., when an Act was passed declaring that the King and Parliament of Great Britain had, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws to bind the people of Ireland. This was regarded as an open and undisguised claim of conquest, not on the part of England merely, but of Scotland also, through her Representatives in the Parliament of Great Britain, although it had never been pretended that Scotland had had anything to do with a conquest of Ireland. The controversy between the Parliament of Great Britain, contending for supremacy, and that of Ireland for independence, excited by this act, continued for 60 years, and resulted at last, in the year of 1782, in the total and absolute triumph of Ireland. Ireland's Declaration of Right, that the Crown of Ireland was an Imperial Crown, inseparably annexed to the Crown of Great Britain, but that the Kingdom of Ireland was a distinct Kingdom, with a Parliament of her own, the sole Legislature thereof, and that no power on earth, except the King, Lords and Commons of Ireland, have a right to make laws to bind Ireland, was formally accepted and unreservedly acquiesced in by the Parliament of Great Britain. Poyning's Act—being an Irish Act—was repealed by the Parliament of Ireland; and the 6 Geo. I., c. 5, was unconditionally repealed by an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, the 22 Geo. III. c. 52. By a subsequent Act, the 23 Geo. III. c. 28, the Parliament of Great Britain renounced for ever the right to bind Ireland by its laws, and declared and enacted— That the right claimed by the people of Ireland to be bound only by laws enacted by the King of England and the Parliament of Ireland, in all cases whatever, and to have all actions and suits at law or in equity, which might be instituted in Ireland, decided in the King's Courts therein, finally, and without appeal from thence, should be, and was thereby declared to be established and ascertained 'for ever, and should at no time thereafter be questioned or questionable.' These several Acts, each Act a record, constitute the international settlement of 1782. It was a manifold transaction, and no single element was wanting that could impart to it a character of the utmost solemnity and completeness. It was a final adjustment—declared so to be by the King and Parliament of Great Britain—declared so to be by the Parliament of Ireland, and the King's Representative in that Kingdom. It left unsettled no constitutional question between the two countries—it was a solemn covenant, under the sanction of the Law of Nations, and to its faithful observance the honour of both peoples was irrevocably pledged. Eighteen years later the covenant was violated, the compact broken, and the Parliament whose independent existence for ever was guaranteed by the Constitution of 1782, was flagitiously destroyed. Mr. (Earl) Grey, opposing the Union measure in this House, said—"Arts 'were had recourse to which I could not name in this place.' "Equally respecting the feelings of this House, I shall imitate his reticence. Sufficient to know, that amid the terrors of martial law, the Minister first packed the Parliament, and then bought with Irish money the votes of his own nominees. The nation was unanimous against the Union. Twenty-seven counties, and all the large cities and towns, protested against the measure; 3,000 persons only, for the most part officials and convicts in the gaols, could be induced to petition in favour of it; 700,000 persons petitioned against it; and a faithful minority of 120 high-minded and incorruptible Representatives stood by the Constitution of their country to the last. So the Union was carried. Ireland, as a nation, was obliterated, while, by a singular anachronism, she was left the shadow of a Court and the shadow of a name. The right of Ireland, if she be so minded, to demand the repeal of that Act, is clear and indisputable. Repeal of the Union is not the fantastic creation of a theorist, a revolutionary experiment, a puerile attempt to give to an airy nothing A local habitation and a name; it is simple justice—the re-establishment of a political relation that existed in the lifetime of some not yet passed away, a relation that worked well in the interests of both countries, that brought to Ireland great material prosperity, and to England generous help in an emergency; it is restoration of a right acknowledged, and restitution for a wrong committed. The Union Act removed, the Constitution of 1782 would spring immediately into life, and the necessary re-construction of the Parliament of Ireland on a Reform principle would vindicate the ends of justice and satisfy legitimate aspirations. This is the form in which the question of self-government presented itself invariably to the mind of Mr. O'Connell, and that which Mr. Grattan, in a letter written in 1811 to a constituent, Mr. La Touche, declared himself ready to support. It is in this form the question should be submitted to this House, or not at all. So submitted, it might be beaten by numbers, but by argument never. Outvoted in the Lobby, it would have its triumph in the public breast, where the Teller is the human conscience. The advocate of Repeal is not called upon to show that the Constitution of 1782 was, in all respects, the perfection of human wisdom; enough for him to feel that Ireland was indebted for it to her own genius and her own right hand; that inherent in it were ample powers to correct all abuses and remedy all defects; and that it was the broad charter of the legislative independence of his country. The Parliament which sat under it never had fair play. Ere the spirit of reform and religious liberty had time to set it free from the trammels of an old ascendancy, it was called upon to fight for its existence. Let the shame of its fall rest on the head of the seducer; but to it let not the glory be denied of having produced a greater proportion of learned, eloquent, and honourable men than there were ever before congregated in a single Legislative Chamber. There is incontestible evidence that had this scheme of Home Rule been submitted to the Irish Parliament in 1800, in lieu of the Union, it would have been opposed as vehemently by the patriot party in that House as was the measure of the Union itself; and that to the advocates of the one, as to the promoters of the other, Plunkett would have addressed his indignant warning:—"Do not dare to lay your hands on the Constitution; it is above your power." England, that decreed a grave in the venerable Abbey to Henry Grattan, has cast a laurel on the grave of Francis Deak in Buda Pesth, but the patriot of Ireland and the patriot of Hungary share a common immortality of fame as the founders of identical constitutions. Hungary's Con- stitution had slept till awakened by the cannon of Sadowa, and better that Ireland's Constitution should sleep on for yet three quarters of a century more, than that Ireland, of her own motion, should annul that treaty of liberty by a treaty of slavery, and, with her own hand, efface off her title to independence the indefeasible record.


said, that when he commenced his political studies he carefully read the speeches of the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. Smyth), and learnt to feel with him that Ireland had a national destiny to pursue which was not in all respects identical with the destiny marked out for her by the Imperial Parliament. He (Mr. O'Connor Power) did not yield to the hon. Member for Westmeath in his desire to see Irish nationality preserved, but he could not follow the hon. Gentleman in opposing the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick, because he believed that proposal would be found more just, both to Ireland and England, than the plan which he presumed the hon. Member for Westmeath would be prepared to submit if he could count on the support of any large Party in the House. The manner in which the different parts of his speech had been received was in itself conclusive evidence that he did not echo, in the whole course of his remarks, the sentiments of the Irish people. He hoped that hon. Members on both sides of the House would not draw a mistaken conclusion from the opposition of the hon. Gentleman to the question at issue. The true and only conclusion which hon. Gentlemen who were opposed to the hon. and learned Member for Limerick could reasonably draw from the speech of the hon. Member for Westmeath was, that in some form or other it was necessary to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the Irish people to possess an Irish Parliament for the management of Irish affairs. He (Mr. O'Connor Power) should be glad to see reproduced in the modern history of Ireland the prosperity enjoyed by the country from 1782 to 1800, and that could only be done by permitting Irishmen to manage Irish affairs. The hon. Member for Westmeath must know, however, that from the very moment when England granted the legislative independence of Ireland in 1782 some of her greatest statesmen were plotting for the overthrow of the Irish Constitution. Charles James Fox, the Liberal English statesman, was a strong opponent of the union of the two Parliaments, but still he perceived that the Constitution of 1782 was not made of durable material. Fox saw that it meant either Irish independence or Imperial usurpation, and he said in reference to the Union— While I feel bound to give every opposition to this measure, as a measure calculated to sow the seeds of animosity between the two peoples, I am bound at the same time to point out that unless the Constitution of 1782 is reformed in such a manner as will fairly balance the powers of the Irish Parliament on the one hand, and of the Imperial Parliament on the other, you can expect nothing but perpetual strife between both Legislatures. If we could return to the Parliament of 1782, Ireland would in some respects exercise a greater national power than she would under the Federal arrangement proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick. For instance, whenever England went to war, it would be in the power of the Irish Parliament to withhold Supplies. When, however, we discussed this question, regarding Ireland as being still a portion of the British Empire, he maintained there was no other solution of the Irish difficulty than that proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick. How could it be said that Ireland was an integral portion of the British Empire, if Ireland could abandon England in the most terrible crisis of her fate? That was the only excuse he had been able to discover for the policy of Conservative statesmen in destroying the Irish House of Commons. The Irish Parliament, which would be given under the proposal of the hon. and learned Member, would be far beyond "a Vestry." The people of Ireland knew far less of the effect of the repeal of the Union than of that of the proposal for Federation, for the latter system was in operation in 39 independent States on the other side of the Atlantic, where peace, domestic and national prosperity prevailed. These questions had first been discussed on the ground of principle, and no doubt the question what matters were local and what Imperial was a difficult one; but it was unnecessary to enter into details before public opinion in this country was further pronounced in favour of the general principle of an Irish Parlia- merit for Irish affairs. That was the only principle with regard to Ireland in connection with the matter before the House of Commons. Still the difficulty was not insuperable. In the United States the distinction between these questions raised no difficulty. The hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. Smyth) mentioned the questions of an amnesty, the Post Office, and the Militia. Now, if Ireland had a Parliament intrusted with the management of its own affairs, his (Mr. O'Connor Power's) belief was that Parliament would never again hear of a Coercion Bill nor of political prisoners. He believed also that the questions of coercion and amnesty would have been shelved for ever; because he believed the people of Ireland free could govern Ireland according to her wishes and feelings, and would so regulate and manage them as to obviate the necessity of revolution. The class of subjects with which the Irish Parliament would deal under the Federal system would resemble that which came before the State Legislature of New York, who had not the control of the Post Office, but did control the local police and the local Militia in all matters appertaining to the State. The hon. Member for Westmeath had very skilfully reproduced an objection raised by the Prime Minister two years ago, and that objection referred to the difficulty of deciding when Imperial questions should be discussed by the Parliament, and when, therefore, the 103 Irish Representatives would legitimately be admissible into its discussions. He did not see why Irish Members might not quietly and assiduously attend to Irish affairs in Dublin without interfering with Imperial affairs in that House, nor why certain months in the Session—say the last two months—should not be set apart for the discussion of Imperial questions. The earlier part of the Session would be occupied by the Irish Members in discussing Irish questions, while the Imperial Parliament, consisting then exclusively of English and Scotch Members, would be occupied by English and Scotch subjects. The objections of the hon. Member for Westmeath were ill-timed. The hon. Member might have been more consistent, because he had formerly been a loyal supporter of the principles of Home government. No national demand for Parliamentary rights and national government had been made by Ireland since the time of Daniel O'Connell until the election of the party represented by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick. He wished, therefore, to make a few observations on the advisability of appointing this Committee. There could be no doubt that those who would vote for the Committee would be suspected of some sympathy with the demand of the Irish people for an Irish Parliament. It had been said that Irish Members had not displayed such an amount of statesmanship or capability as would warrant the Government in consenting to the renewal of an Irish Parliament. But the manner in which their discussions were conducted in that House was a proof of their political intelligence. When this subject was last submitted to that House the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland went into figures to show how Ireland had deteriorated under the Parliament of '82. The contrary, however, could be shown to be the case. Mr. Justice Jebb in 1798 said that within the preceding 16 years the commerce, agriculture, and manufactures of Ireland had prospered to an extent that her most sanguine friends would not have dared to prognosticate. On the 18thof December in the same year the bankers of the city of Dublin passed a resolution, showing that since the abandonment of the government of Great Britain over Ireland the commerce of the country had increased; and a further resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority in favour of maintaining the independence of an Irish Parliament. Mr. Foster, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, joined his testimony to that of Mr. Justice Jebb; and Mr. Plunkett (afterwards Lord Chancellor), in a remarkable speech in 1800, declared, that the trade, commerce, and agriculture of Ireland had advanced to an extent that could not have been anticipated in so small a country. These were the testimonies of the Patriot Party. The evidence of Lord Clare on the other side was equally emphatic, for he declared that there was no nation on the habitable globe which had advanced in cultivation and commerce, in agriculture and manufactures, with the same rapidity in the same period of time. Why, then, did the statesmen of England endeavour to promote a union, of the two countries? Speeches by the Hon. Mr. Pitt and Lord Castlereagh at the time said it was necessary to promote the union of the two Parliaments for the security of the two countries, and the better union of the Empire. But if the Hon. Mr. Pitt and Lord Castlereagh committed the mistake, the present Parliament could have no such excuse. He denied that the Union of the last 76 years bad promoted the peace of Ireland or the integrity of the British Empire. The House of Commons knew very well that Ireland had not enjoyed political peace. Twice since 1803 Ireland had been involved in rebellion, 19 times the Constitution had been suspended in that country, millions of the people had been expatriated and their places filled by cattle, and only a few years ago the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, then a Member of the Cabinet, said that the present system had failed to promote the integrity of the Empire, for wherever an Irishman placed his foot upon a foreign shore there stood an enemy to England. Who were the men who had distinguished themselves during the period? To find their names they must search the records of the Law Courts and the lists of the convict ships that carried them away to distant lands, because nature endowed them with a spirit that could not bow to slavery. It was clear that the present state of things failed to secure the peace of Ireland, or the integrity of the Empire, and there could be no doubt that the policy of Her Majesty's Government in that respect was a very unsafe and a very inexpedient policy. What could be a greater commentary on this policy than that daring men should have found their way to Western Australia and torn the prisoners out of the heart of the prisons there. It was that feeling which actuated millions across the Atlantic. The Government had refused to mitigate by the remission of a single hour the sentence of imprisonment imposed on their fallen foes; they had rejected the appeal for an amnesty signed by 136 Members of that House; they had declined to allow any of them to look inside the prison walls, lest the cruelties practised on Irish prisoners should be revealed to the world; and having been amongst the Irish people in America, and knowing how they were animated by the glorious passion of patriotism, he charged the Conservative Government with being the promoters of disorder, with sanctioning a policy which was creating a power amongst the exiled Irish race that might yet be used by the enemies of national union to lay the greatness of England in the dust. He maintained that the people of England had more to gain than to lose by the emancipation of the Irish people. He, therefore, appealed to the House of Commons not to favour such a policy, and called upon them to support the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick, which he trusted would meet with the general approval of the House.


I would be glad of the opportunity to say a few words on the subject of the Motion which is now before the House. Regarding it in the light I do, I am bound to call it No. 2 in the series of topics which have been invented and started for the object of agitation. Last night we were engaged in debating what I may call No. 1 topic, and it, I think, throws an instructive light upon the present question, but to that I shall refer more particularly by-and-by. I must say with reference to the present Motion—and I say it with every respect to the hon. and learned Member who brings it forward—that I have some difficulty in bringing myself to look on its own merits from a serious point of view. The case is, however, far different when I consider the object with which it is brought forward, for I may as well tell the House frankly and openly at once that I believe the object to be the same as prompted the introduction of the measure which we considered last night, and that is simply this—to keep alive agitation and discontent in Ireland. However that may be, we are bound, I think, out of respect for the hon. and learned Member who brings it forward, if for no other reason, to give his Motion as fair and dispassionate a consideration as we can. The hon. and learned Member moves for a Select Committee to inquire into certain matters, and immediately following this Notice on the Paper there stands the Notice of an Amendment to it that would have been proposed by another hon. Member—had the Rules of the House allowed him—who, if he does not lead, represents a different sect in this Home Rule creed— Mr. Butt,—To move, That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into and report upon the nature, the extent, and the grounds of the demand made by a large proportion of the Irish people for the restoration to Ireland of an Irish Parliament, with power to control the internal affairs of that country. Mr. P. J. Smyth,—As an Amendment to Mr. Butt's Resolution for Select Committee with reference to Home Rule, to move to omit all after the word 'That,' in order to insert the words 'in the opinion of this House Home Rule, as understood by a large proportion of the Irish people, is the restoration of the Parliament of Ireland with the legislative powers and prerogatives declared, by an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, to have been 'established and ascertained for ever' by the international settlement of 1872.' These two Notices, although they differ widely as to details, practically and really point at the same end. The Amendment asks the House at once to pronounce an opinion that there should be separation between England and Ireland; the Motion asks for a Select Committee to inquire into the grounds of the demand made—for I believe a more modified form of separation, now although I do not for a minute believe that either the Amendment or the Motion will find much favour in the House, and do not really require any of my feeble efforts to secure their rejection. Yet as the Motion is founded on the plausible grounds of merely asking for inquiry, I must say a few words about it. I think before this House consents to appoint a Committee of Inquiry, it should satisfy itself that the object sought for is reasonable in itself—commendable on its own merits. A case might arise, and I am sure has often arisen, where a large number of people might desire something which might be extremely injurious and prejudicial to their neighbours, and which might be not only utterly insupportable on its own merits, but really bad for those who desired it most; and I hope, therefore, that the House will consider earnestly whether these hypothesis might not apply with truth to the present case. Of this I can assure the House—that, if I was persuaded that this separation—or modified separation—would be for the benefit of my country and the Commonwealth, I would advocate it to the best of my ability. It is because I am thoroughly convinced and satisfied that it would have diametrically opposite results that I take the course I am now following. I have often heard it stated that a Divine right has been given to every nation to govern itself. I do not believe it. I do not believe that the Almighty in His inscrutable and infallible wisdom would give a right to a nation, and withhold from that nation the power to exercise that right. Now, although that appears to me self-evident, I do not ask the House to accept it solely on my own responsibility, and with permission I will read a few short extracts from a well-known historical author, Mr. Froude— When two countries, or sections of countries, stand geographically so related to one another that their union under a common government will conduce to the advantage of one of them, such countries will continue separate as long only as there is equality of force between them, or as long as the country which desires to preserve its independence possesses a power of resistance so rigorous that the effort to overcome it is too exhausting to be permanently maintained. Individuals cannot be independent, or society cannot exist. With individuals the contention is not for freedom absolutely, but for an extension of the limits within which their freedom must be restrained. The independence of nations is spoken of sometimes as if it rested on another foundation—as if each separate race or community had a divine title deed to dispose of its fortunes and develop its tendencies in such direction as seems good to itself. But the assumption breaks down before the inquiry, what constitutes a nation? And the right of a people to self-government consists and can consist in nothing but their power to defend themselves. No other definition is possible. Are geographical boundaries or a distinct frontier, made the essential? Mountain chains, rivers, or seas, form, no doubt, the normal dividing lines between nation and nation, because they are elements of strength, and material obstacles to invasion. But as the absence of a defined frontier cannot take away a right to liberty where there is strength to maintain it, a mountain barrier conveys no prerogative against a power which is powerful enough to overleap that barrier, nor the ocean against those whose larger skill and courage can convert the ocean into a highway. The historian here, I think, supports the opinion which I have expressed. He defines what constitutes a nation, and that is, in his opinion, the power to defend itself. He refers again to that power or strength, and he states that the possession of strength will be rendered evident by the presence of those qualities which will secure its proper use. His words are these— There is no disputing against strength, nor happily is there need to dispute, for the strength which gives the right to freedom, implies the presence of those qualities which ensure that it will he rightly used. Now, I fear the class of my fellow-countrymen who clamour for the right of self-government fail utterly to show the possession of those qualities which would insure its proper use, and if we are to take that as a proof of the presence of power to defend, we have, I say it with sorrow, the strongest evidence of its entire absence. I must guard myself from the chance of its being supposed that I intend this remark to apply generally to all classes of my fellow-countrymen—I do not. I believe firmly that there is a large and important class who form the real nucleus and backbone, as it were, of the Irish nation, in everyway qualified to discharge with credit to themselves the highest and most responsible duties. I will ask, how many Irishmen have risen to offices of high state and responsibility in this Empire? But it is not from them this clamour comes—they are content quietly to mind their business and to do their best to discharge the duties of the stations in which God has placed them, instead of wasting their time and talents in grasping at positions and possessions that he has not given them. Judging the question then with Mr. Froude's assistance, I must confess I do not see that Ireland possesses that Divine right which it is urged she does to govern herself. If she did succeed in severing herself from England I should fear, judging her future history from her past, that torn to pieces by internal dissensions she would only become the prize of some other nation whose rule would be such as to render the position of her inhabitants utterly intolerable. I do not admit that Ireland is ruled by England. I assert that under the present Constitution there exists no such difference of position as the ruler and the ruled. I look upon Ireland now as a component and by no means an insignificant part of the first Empire in the world, and for what are we asked to change this our undeniable position? Allowing, for argument sake, that Mr. Froude is wrong and that Ireland does possess the qualifications to entitle her to govern herself, assuming that she had the power to stand by herself in national independence, what would our position be compared with that which we now occupy? We should be a struggling, insignificant State, fortunate if, in the course of a few short years, we did not come to the same end as the Kilkenny cats, who, as some history or another says, continued to fight among themselves till there was nothing but their tails left. But I will not pursue this line of argument further, because, I must confess, so far as I have heard of the question, I am relieved of any necessity to do so by the wide difference of opinion which exists among those who advocate this separation and the indefinite nature of the proposals which are put beforeus. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick advocates, if I understand him right, not entire separation, but a kind of Federal connection, but how that is to be arranged and carried out I have failed to understand. But the hon. and learned Member knows himself that in advocating that Federal scheme he does not represent the opinions of the entire class of Home Rulers. He knows, I believe, that he has only to go among his own constituents to discover that there a different sect exists who were once upon the point of handling him roughly, if the papers speak the truth, because his opinions were too milk-and-water for their notions. This sect, I believe, go in broadly for entire separation and for a distinct and separate nationality. However that may be, I think this House before it undertook to go into the consideration of any question of such magnitude, might very fairly require that those who clamour for this change should have made up their minds and agreed among themselves as to what it is they really do want. I must confess that among all the vague and conflicting schemes which are ventilated and proposed by one party and by another, I am, myself, utterly at a loss to know what that is, and I believe they are in the same condition of doubt and difficulty themselves. Under these circumstances, I think it is only fair and right that we, who are asked to pronounce an opinion on the subject, should seek for information and enlightenment where-ever we could get it. There is an old saying, "That straws show the way the wind blows," and we may therefore, I think, fairly assume that the Bills which have been introduced into this House by the hon. Members opposite, who profess Home rule opinions, and the action which they have taken with regard to other Bills, may be taken as a fair indication of the sort of government that would be carried on in Ireland if the power were placed in their hands, and I frankly admit that the light thrown by this means on the possible future is not, in my mind, encouraging. In the first place, I am sure the House will remember the furious opposition with which the Peace Preservation Bill was met, and from that fact I suppose we may assume that, with national independence established, a Home Rule Parliament sitting in College Green, those irritating and annoying restrictions which are intended to prevent one man murdering another, or robbing him, or destroying his property, would be at once removed and entire freedom of action established. We have a dozen or so of other Bills on various minor subjects, but all affecting in some way or other the landlords' property. It is, however, doubtful whether there would remain any necessity for wasting their time over them, as if the Land Tenure Bill, in discussing which we were engaged last night, were introduced in the first Session of the College Green Parliament, the landlords would have no property left for the others to scramble for. That concludes my category; but I think these different straws, as I may call them, show clearly enough the set of the wind. I believe I may be answered from the other side, that in the Home Rule programme, which was adopted at some Conference or another, it is provided that all questions dealing with either property or religion should be removed from the province of the Home Rule Parliament. If that is so, I must ask the House whether we could possibly have any stronger evidence of incapacity. If that is so, here we have a voluntary admission on the part of those who, I suppose, understand best what are to be the component parts of this proposed Government, of their unfitness to deal with two most important duties of a Government—namely, the preservation of religious liberty and the protection of the rights of property. I cannot believe that this proposal for separation, whether it be for the complete or for the modified form, could emanate from any but the visionary and foolish, who know not what they ask for; and therefore I hope this House will now, taking upon itself its rightful prerogative of guardian, dispel these wild dreams and visions, and, in a firm tone, refuse to accede to the Motion of the hon. and learned Member.


said, that the hon. Member who preceded him (Mr. Kavanagh) usually addressed himself to practical questions, and his arguments were generally worthy of much consideration; but on this occasion the hon. Member seemed to have surrendered his opinion to the judgment of others, for the line of argument he had adopted was that propounded by Mr. Froude, regarding the question of what a State or nation was. In doing so he had followed the argument of Mr. Froude's book—a book which he (Captain Nolan) regarded as politically immoral and full of the falsest ideas, which if followed by statesmen would lead to tyrannical wars, and if adopted in private life would result in homicides, robberies, and an abandonment of all ideas of property. Mr. Froude's idea was that nations should follow— The good old plan— That they should take who have the power, And they should keep who can. The doctrine that a nation had a right to exist only when it was strong enough to defend itself was repudiated by all the European Powers, though it must be acknowledged that some of them occasionally acted upon it. Under the system advocated by Mr. Froude, and followed by the hon. Member for Carlow, Belgium, Holland, and Switzerland must disappear as soon as it suited the convenience and interest of any of the Great Powers to absorb them. Ireland, it was said, was incapable of defence, and therefore, although its citizens, as individuals, had rights, the country, as a concrete body, had no rights. That was a principle which he hoped the House would never sanction. It was when transposed precisely the argument of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power), an argument in which he did not agree, when he sought to work upon the fears of England by pointing to the injury which Irishmen might visit upon her in America, Australia, or elsewhere, but he (Captain Nolan) thought that the views held by Mr. Froude and adopted by the hon. Member for Carlow on this point formed but a low principle of policy; but he urged his case upon the merits, and claimed for Ireland that which jus- tice should concede. It was objected that the plan of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick could not be readily carried into practice, and it was asked, what would a Federal Council have to do if guarantees were given that matters touching religion and property were not to be interfered with? There would still be much work to do, as could be seen by looking to similar machinery in action in the United States. As far as the State was concerned, what the Federal Government of the United States guaranteed to each constituent State—non-interference in its independent action in matters of religion and property—was all that was asked by this Motion. The Home Rule Members were, as a Party, almost unanimous in their demand, and although the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. Smyth) would not give them his vote on this occasion, he had formerly voted with them. Surely, unanimity was not to be insisted on as it once was in Poland, when one dissentient voice was fatal to any proposition; at any rate, they could not secure it by the Polish method of murdering the dissentient. The highest authority in the House had said that the hon. Member for Westmeath had made a speech worthy of the days of Grattan; but he hoped the hon. Member would yet give his vote for the Motion. He believed that the meeting of a Parliament in Dublin would be a good thing for Dublin; and first, pecuniarily, because it would, involve the spending of more money in the country. It would, indirectly, induce many more proprietors of land to reside for longer periods in the country. One thing was certain, and it was that if there were not some change, a few years would see even less money spent in the country than at present. A Parliament in Dublin would restore the centre of gravity in the relation between paid officials and the people, and would make the Government establishments realities instead of mere shadows, which they must be while London remained the source of power. The people's Representatives now could communicate with Dublin officials only through London officials; they had little chance of making their influence felt, unless they could exercise it through London; and thus the local officials were cut off from the source of power—the Irish people, so that there was an air of unreality about what they did, which would probably lead to a curtailment of their numbers and position. This question of spending money, however, would be regarded as a minor question. There were three points suggested by the hon. Member for Carlow, legislation upon which by an Irish Parliament would be likely to be better than that of an Imperial Parliament. Take, for example, the question of education. On that question they would have better legislation than they could from any English Parliament, however well constituted. In Ireland nearly all the people wished their children to have a religious education, but that question was obliged to remain in abeyance because the English Parliament was in favour of secular education. If the two countries had a separate Parliament, England could adopt secular instruction if she preferred it, while in Ireland the denominational principle would be recognized, and all objection to compulsory education would be removed. The Irish Parliament on that question would be in harmony with the wish of the people. Then take the Land Question as worked in the two countries. Every one agreed it would be an immense advantage if there was a cheap and easy means of selling property. There were many difficulties in England in the way of such a system, but it would be comparatively easy of introduction in Ireland, and if Irishmen had their own Legislature they would soon simplify the law, so as to facilitate the acquisition of small properties. He might next instance the drainage of the Shannon. The right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary had offered £150,000, but it was accompanied with conditions which, the landowners would not accept, and an unworkable Bill was passed for a term which had now expired. It was not a question of money, for the Government had offered a considerable sum; but an Irish Parliament would have had time to deal with this question in a satisfactory manner. Again, Ireland lay in the direct route to America, and an opinion prevailed that all the passenger traffic from England and the Continent ought to pass through that country, and that if Ireland had a proper port on her West coast some company would establish steamers and a trade would spring up. It was said they ought to establish such a port; but the Imperial Parliament would not know whether such a scheme was a job or not, and had not time to investigate the subject. The Imperial Government as at present managed was too large to look into the question. That was another example of the way in which a Federal Parliament could act better than the Imperial Parliament. An Irish Parliament might, however, see its way to taxing the whole of Ireland for the establishment of a western port which should attract the traffic to America. The one great deficiency in the House was time. They had not time to do the work. If the House devoted itself to Irish business for two or three years, it might, perhaps, do it as well as a home Parliament; but that was impossible. Moreover, if a Parliament were granted to Ireland it would benefit the working classes of England. They were constantly in danger of having all their trade combinations destroyed by inroads of Irish workmen, and as long as wages were high in England they could not keep the Irish out. But if its Parliament were restored to Ireland, the Irish people would be raised in an educational point of view, their wages would be increased, and they would be better paid and have more work at home. If power were given to them to manage their own affairs, they would be prepared to make concessions with regard to Imperial questions; they would forego a great deal in that direction in order to have a Parliament in Dublin. In many moral ways he maintained that his countrymen were the equal of the English people. The only way to do what he mentioned, by way of improving the Irish people in a material way, a Federal Parliament would do everything that was necessary in the direction. In the debate there was only one matter that he regretted. There had been a difference of opinion amongst the Irish Members on this side of the House, but it had been shown by only one single Member of the Party, and it had reference to the exact form in which the demand should be brought forward. He hoped, and had no doubt, that next year the Home Rulers would come to the House in greater numbers than ever, and he trusted that the form of the demand to Parliament would have their unanimous support. The inquiry asked for was a reasonable demand, and he trusted that it would be granted.


, in supporting the Motion, said, he did so not only because of his own strong opinion, but because the vast majority of his countrymen had sent Representatives to Parliament to support the principles of Home Rule. As to the speech of the hon. Member for Carlow County (Mr. Kavanagh), he was astounded that an Irishman should elect such an authority as Mr. Froude to quote from in regard to Ireland. Mr. Froude was no great friend of Ireland, and his historical arguments were acknowledged to be fallacious. There was not the slightest chance of one-fourth of the Business introduced at the beginning of the Session being gone through by the end. Then at the end of every Session there was what was called a "Massacre of the Innocents." In the massacre they found not unfrequently a fair average of such Bills, and those not the least important to the country. He had never known a better proof of the incapacity of Englishmen to legislate for Ireland than was afforded by the experience of the last three Sessions. Great questions affecting Ireland, which stirred the heart of the country, had been carried by large majorities, but had been overthrown by English and Scotch Members, and therefore there was little expectation of having fair play or justice done to Ireland by a British Parliament. Again, by the present arrangement Ireland suffered in regard to Private Bill legislation, which, under Home Rule, could be effected far more efficiently, and under far less cost, than at present. He denied that the advocacy of Home Rule meant the disintegration of the Empire. It meant nothing of the kind, and he stated emphatically that the Irish Members were opposed to the separation. The rebellion of 1798 was not brought about by the Irish Parliament, but by the English Government and the English Premier, in order to consummate the Union. That Union was carried out at an expenditure of £16,000,000, and £1,500,000 was spent in the purchase of votes—the votes of two people, and thus Irishmen were asked to agree to their own degradation. How could anyone call such a policy the free choice of the people. To ameliorate the wrongs of Ireland for centuries, Coercion Acts and Habeas Corpus Sus- pension Acts were the only panacea offered by the English Government. He wished to impress this strongly on English and Scottish Representatives—thata federation of the three Kingdoms was absolutely necessary for the formation of a great Empire which would have itself respected throughout the world. He was strongly opposed to centralization, but he did not ask for, nor seek separation. If, however, Ireland got legislative independence, which was her birthright, no more Coercion Acts would be necessary. What was now the paralyzed arm of the Empire would become its real right arm; there would be no more loyal subjects in this realm than Irishmen, and they would not only be as prosperous, but as jealous of the honour of the Empire as Englishmen and Scotchmen were.


maintained that so grave a constitutional question as that involved in Home Rule should not be delegated to any Select Committee, but should be fully and fairly discussed in the House itself, where alone it ought to receive its solution. He denied that a large portion of the people of Ireland demanded what was called Home Rule. The Motion was not merely one for inquiry into the state of Ireland; it involved the whole question of Home Rule, and in his opinion there were several reasons why it should not be adopted for that country; they were social, geographical, political, and, above all, religious reasons. The Act of Union had not succeeded as thoroughly as might have been expected, because, when a separate Parliament was taken away from Ireland, the separate administration was not also taken away. That was the view taken at the time of the Union with Scotland by Lord Somers, who maintained that the administration of the two countries should be identical. It was too late, however, now to talk of repealing the Union. He believed there was a great cry for Home Rule, but he denied that it was the voice of the great people of Ireland; and he maintained that the inevitable effect of granting Home Rule must be ultimately a separation of the two countries, although he could not conceal from himself that the state of things in Ireland was not that which all friends of Ireland would like to see. Had the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) asked for a Select Committee to inquire into the present state of Ireland, as Earl Russell did in 1844, no Ministry could have refused such a demand, if it were honestly made. As he had said, the present state of Ireland was not so prosperous as some persons would have the House to believe; and this was incontestably proved by statistics. There had been a large emigration going on for years of her youthful population, who carried with them to other countries the productive powers which would have made Ireland more wealthy. During a period of five years, from 1870 to 1876, between 300,000 and 400,000 persons, representing the sinew of the country, had left Irish soil; and during the period between 1850 and 1876 the number that had emigrated was between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000. In a period of 10 years, from 1861 to 1871, there had been a decrease of 34,804 in the number of inhabited houses; and a corresponding decrease in the number of families. These figures showed that Ireland had been deprived of a large amount of wealth by the emigration that had taken place. Taking the revenue derived from taxation, it had not increased within the last 20 years at the rate of that of Scotland and England. The waste lands had not been reclaimed at the rate they ought to have been, while, of late, a very large decrease had taken place in the value of the cereal crops produced in Ireland. The fisheries had also declined both in the number of boats and of men and boys employed, and consequently in their value and productiveness. As for "absenteeism," much of the evils complained of arose from that cause. He found 180 proprietors who resided occasionally in Ireland owned a fifteenth part of the acreage of the country; whereas there were no less than 1,443 proprietors who were always absent, and these owned between a sixth and a seventh of the whole land of Ireland. Such a state of affairs naturally produced very bad consequences. Nor was that all. The people of Ireland had to pay much more than their fair share of taxation, and their shipping was in a very depressed state. The railway traffic, both as respected passengers and goods, was far below what it ought to be, taking the population into account, and comparing Ireland with Scotland and England. He thought that, taking these facts into consideration, it was the duty of the Government to take every possible step to place Ireland upon an equality with the other portions of the Kingdom, and that all distinctions between them should be done away with; and a great means towards the attainment of that end would be the residence of a Member of the Royal Family in the country. For the reasons he had given, he was very sorry he could not vote for the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. At the same time, believing that Ireland had many great special grievances to be remedied, and which he thought it desirable to inquire into—not in the sense of the hon. and learned Member—he should not vote at all. But he hoped the result of the discussion would be to turn the attention of the Government to some of the questions to which he had adverted.


said, he would have been content to give a silent vote on this question had not he and the constituency he represented been subject to criticism and abuse in regard to it. The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) had made an attack. He seemed to constitute himself the special guardian of the political morality of Members of Parliament and of their constituencies. How far he was qualified for such a duty he would leave it for the House to determine. The attack was an intemperate one; but there was this excuse for it—that it was made on a debate upon a Bill affecting freehold property; and he (Mr. Bright) found that when attempts were made to interfere by legislation with freehold property certain hon. Gentlemen seemed to become excited and to lose that fairness and moderation which ought to characterize Members of the Legislature. The noble Lord said that the Manchester election was a scandal. Not content with that, he repeated the charge in stronger terms, and said it was a great scandal, and that he (Mr. Bright) and his opponent had been coquetting, he supposed, in some unworthy manner for votes, and the attack was loudly cheered by the Party opposite. Now, those who undertook to reprove others should, at any rate, have clean hands. He could not help asking himself the question whether the Party I opposite had never coquetted with great interests outside the House in order to obtain or retain place and power. Had they never coquetted with the publican? Talk about scandal, could anything be more scandalous than what occurred about the beginning of this Parliament, when the great Party opposite repealed a clause in the Licensing Bill, contrary to the moral sense of the whole country?


said, he must request the hon. Member to keep to the question immediately before the House.


said, he was sorry to deviate from the regular course of the debate. His object was when a strong personal attack had been made upon him to show that those who supported that attack were chargeable with doing the very thing of which he was accused. The Irish electors in Manchester, equal in number to one-eighth of the whole borough constituency of Ireland, appeared to a large extent to have lost confidence in the legislation of that House in regard to that county, and desired at the last election to support a candidate who, if he did not approve Home Rule views, was at least willing that those views should be inquired into; and many of the other voters, on both sides of polities, sympathised with them in that respect. That night he could, without violating any principle, represent that feeling on the part of his constituents by voting for that inquiry on which they had set their minds. The reason why there was a desire for Home Rule was because Parliament had been so long unwilling to do justice to Ireland; and it seemed that even the Land Act of 1870 would not have been passed but for the motive-power given by the unfortunate violence of misguided men now suffering imprisonment for their offences. An honest inquiry conducted by capable men would do good, and the necessity for instituting it was shown by the fact that more than a majority of the representatives of the Irish nation asked for it. Whether they or those who returned them to that House were in earnest or not remained to be seen; but if they were, Parliament, powerful as it was, could not resist that demand. Believing that if the inquiry were fairly carried out it would tend to the union more than to the separation of the two countries, he would give it his cordial support.


Sir, in the few observations which I intend to address to the House, I hope to abstain from re- ferring to the past as much, as possible, and to confine my remarks to the present state of affairs, for if I were to begin to trace the history and character of Irish Parliaments from the first one, which sat in the 9th year of the reign of Edward II., down to the Parliament which was annihilated in 1800, I fear my task would be somewhat greater than my powers of endurance. Sir, we must accept things as they are. The wild and reckless statements, or the lamentable ignorance of Irish affairs so lavishly displayed by hon. Members opposite, have only strengthened our position, and lent force to our arguments. The people of Ireland, unprepared and taken completely by surprise by the unexpected dissolution of Parliament, returned at the last Election a majority of Members pledged to plead for the right of the people to self-government. That majority was returned under every conceivable difficulty, yet that majority is proportionately as great as the majority which now rules this House; therefore, to say that the people of Ireland do not approve of or want Home Rule is to say that the majority of the people of England do not approve of Her Majesty's present Government. I hope we shall hear no defiant tones from the Ministerial benches on this occasion, for defiance gives an impetus to action. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich once hastily threw down defiance to the late lamented Member for Meath. He challenged him for popularity in Ireland; that challenge was accepted—we are seldom slow to accept anything of the sort—and the result was, that the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends very soon found themselves at the wrong side of the House. They are now beginning to get somewhat accustomed to these benches; at first they felt very uncomfortable, and for many nights that front Opposition bench was unadorned by any of the ex-Ministers, and several of our independent Members, who usually sit below the gangway, took up their position where they found most room. A great and incongruous Party are now waiting for what sailors would call a change of wind, but what statesmen call a reaction, waiting until that horrid fever of Home Rule subsides and Irish Members once more array themselves under the flag of Whiggery. It is of little concern to us that they should, in the cool shade of Opposition, console themselves with so sweet a hope, for they are as much justified in doing so as the countryman in the fable who was patiently waiting for the stream to pass by in order that he might cross over. But, Sir, the noble Lord, by courtesy called the Leader of the Opposition—the Leader of the remnants of a once great Party—has emphatically declared that he will never give us Home Rule. Never is a foolish word to escape from the lips of any Minister. Though we may see a majority against us in this House, we shall not, like Her Majesty's late Ministers, in a fit of angry despair, throw up the sponge on that account; but we are determined to fight on to the bitter end, striving to overcome the vast amount of prejudice, ignorance, and misrepresentation with which we have to contend; appealing to the intelligence and honesty of the English public; organizing our strength in the very heart of your Kingdom, and using every constitutional means in our power to carry out the objects which we have in view. Looking dispassionately over the strange and fitful history of Irish politics brings to our mind a lesson which ought never to be forgotten by present or future statesmen, a lesson telling us that a country held in subjection by force, and governed by laws opposed to the feelings and national sentiments of the people, must engender discontent, and discontent is the parent of disloyalty, and disloyalty is the weakness and danger of a State. For 76 years Ireland has never been in a state of coma. Insurrection Acts and Coercion Bills—measures first obstinately refused and afterwards as willingly granted—have all tended to keep the barometer of Irish feelings up to fever heat. Blame not the agitator for the unsettled state of Irish affairs. It was you who taught Ireland agitation. You taught her no longer to supplicate but to demand, for you yielded little to her supplications, but you granted much to her demands. You left her grievances, and if there are monster grievances there must be monster meetings. Can you, during your 76 years of Imperial rule, point to concessions made except to agitation or equal rights conferred except to silence the voice of the people? You have taught the lesson that redress only comes with agitation. For over 70 years your barque of British Legislation has been sailing against the current of Irish public opinion. The people of Ireland are to-day what your laws and institutions have made them, and the so-called Act of Union has proved not an Act of Settlement but an Act of contention and bitterness. You have never harmonized your feelings with ours; you have never curbed the bitterness of your press towards the Irish people; you have not governed us as equals, for you have refused us equal rights. You have governed us as a conquered country, and thus has grown up that feeling of animosity and that spirit of estrangement, that want of confidence, suspicion, and ill-feeling which, if it be not speedily arrested, must sooner or later tend to undermine your greatness and stability as a nation. Montague has written—"Happy are the people whose annals are tiresome," and a philosopher has added—"Happy are the people whose annals are vacant;" but we are a people whose annals are neither tiresome nor vacant, a highly sentimental race, clinging fondly to traditions of the past, and imbued with many strong conservative tendencies. Your rules its uneasy upon our country, because it is sustained by force, animated by opinions opposed to ours, and guided by counsels in which we have no voice. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government has told us that he wishes to conciliate us, but what means has he adopted to do it? He preaches conciliation, but he practises coercion. We have heard much about the prosperity of Ireland, and yet after 76 years' connection with the richest country in Europe we find ourselves the poorest. What class of the community experiences this great prosperity of which we hear so much? If it be the landlords, they are principally absentees, spending their money in every capital but their own, and they are only a burden upon our energies and resources. Before the Union they yearly drained out of the country £2,223,222; they now carry away over £5,000,000 a-year. Are the tenants contented—they who have formed themselves into a powerful organization, and demand a Land Bill far in advance of what you would willingly give them? If they were prosperous, do you think they would trouble themselves with agitation? Is it the labourer, he who is ill-housed and ill-fed, whose wages have well nigh doubled, but whose cost of living has well nigh trebled Is it the mechanic or the artizan, he whose only ambition is to collect enough of money to bring him to another country? Is the citizen prosperous, he who sees enterprize crushed, speculation banished, natural advantages undeveloped, and our resources unworked? In 1866 our poor rates amounted to £530,626; in 1874 they amounted to £977,890; so that with a decreasing population we have an increasing pauperism. But, Sir, I shall not weary the House with quoting figures. This is not mathematical problem, and I do not wish to lower this great question to the level of statistics, which are not always infallible. This is not a question of prosperity or poverty. It is a question of right—the right of a people to make their own laws. What respect have you ever shown for the opinion of the people of Ireland? Every measure which their Representatives bring forward you crush with overwhelming majorities, and do you think the people of Ireland do not feel, and deeply feel, the insult offered by your high-handed legislation? Measures of vital importance to the country, supported by a large majority of Irish Members, have been defeated by your powerful Conservative majority. You have not reformed the Grand Jury Laws. You have left them in an unsatisfactory state, thereby lessening the respect of the people for the administration of justice. You rejected a Municipal Franchise Bill, thereby declaring to the people of Ireland that they must not have the same rights or enjoy the same privileges as their fellow-subjects who live in English towns. Our Fishery Bill you scornfully rejected, thereby refusing to encourage one of the most profitable employments of the people—one of the few industries which still languish under your rule in Ireland. The Convention Act you have refused to repeal, thereby declaring that the people of Ireland must not enjoy the same rights as the people of England. You have refused to alter the restricted nature of the Irish franchise as compared with England and Scotland. The Towns' Rating Bill received but scant consideration, and last, but greatest inconsistency of all, your Chief Secretary declares in Belfast that "Ireland never was in such a peaceable condition," and in the House of Commons he declares that the people must not enjoy the blessings of a free Constitution. Sir, the opinion growing every day—every night-in this House strengthens the conviction, every Bill which you defeat encourages the belief, that, in the words of Lord Russell, "In England the Government is a government of opinion—in Ireland it is a Government of force." Consitutional Government there is none Ireland. You do not trust the people, for you have made the police and the informer your garrison. It took you 16 years to unite the exchequers; 25 years to unite the countries commercially; 26 years to assimilate the currency; 58 years to equalize the Excise duties, but 76 years have failed to unite the two countries in feeling, in friendship, or in goodwill. In your treatment of the other portions of your vast Empire you pursue a wiser and more generous policy, and in countries where you have not given a native Parliament, you employ every means to secure your own power, and to conciliate the conquered race. You sent out a Royal Prince and future Emperor to court the smiles and win the favour of Eastern Nabobs, bravely exposing himself to the perils of a pestiferous climate, to the fanaticism of a treacherous population, and to the not less dangerous adventure of travelling in one of Her Majesty's ships. The Act of Union has produced a separation between the two peoples; it has been a union in name and not in spirit; a union written on parchment, and not upon the hearts or affections of the people. You have an Act of Parliament ironically called the Act of Union, but it has not, it cannot, and it never will, unite the two countries. The two Kingdoms may be united, but the two peoples are divided, and a divided people tends sooner or later to a divided kingdom. To call the present connection between the two countries a union is a misnomer; we have a union, it is true, but we are not united. You can maintain that union by the sword, and by the sword alone, as Prussia can maintain her union with Alsace or Lorraine, and Russia with Poland. But is such a union lasting?—will it dissolve beneath the heat of growing Continental complications? A union, to be lasting, must be founded on the friendship and self-interest of both countries; any other union is a de- lusion and a snare. This Irish difficulty every year becomes more difficult. I trust it may never become the Irish impossibility. Your Government has always been a mixture of concession and coercion; if you consider coercion a tonic you have grievously erred in your political diagnosis. The Irish people are sick of such tonics and stimulants; they now require sedatives. But, Sir, what are the great objections against an Irish Parliament to manage Irish affairs? One hon. Member timidly suggests that it is a risk; but let me remind him that it is sometimes wise, even in politics, to speculate; for a trifling risk you may realize a large gain, not that I advise gambling; but, remember, if Home Rule is an experiment, experiments are justifiable when all other measures have failed. Why, Sir, our greatest political measures have been experiments. The Act of Union was an experiment—aye, and an experiment that has now for 75 years been "tried and found wanting." If an experiment is to be tried, the fit and proper time to try it is when its possible failure could entail no evil consequences; and England being now at peace with all the world, and in the zenith of her power and greatness, she may, without any risk or danger to herself, try the experiment of giving justice to the Irish people. We hear the cry of Catholic ascendancy and priestly domination, but I look to Ireland, and I witness Catholic constituencies returning Protestant Members to this House, and if hon. Members still doubt, let them, at the next Election, send a Catholic candidate, laden with money, to oppose my Protestant Friend the Member for the county Cork, and he will very soon return to this country a wiser, a sadder, and a poorer man. No, Sir, a wish for Catholic ascendancy does not exist either among the priesthood or the people of Ireland. The Catholic and Protestant cantons of Switzerland unite for common defence and common weal. The Catholic soldiers of Bavaria fought for Protestant Prussia against their Catholic brethren. How often have the Catholic soldiers of Ireland fought side by side with their Protestant comrades in defence of Protestant England?—and will any one now assert, because you give to the people of Ireland their own Parliament, the Irish soldier will not shed his blood as freely as heretofore for the defence and glory of England? Such an idea can hardly be seriously entertained by any Member of this House, unless it might exist in the religious imagination of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), or in the mind of his hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley). But then you have another great objection—one more widely entertained, and which upon all occasions you parade before the public—the fear of separation. A Parliament sitting in Dublin, managing purely Irish affairs, is to cause separation between the two countries. I fear that those who advance such an argument do not profit much by the lessons of history. Self-government has not made Canada, Australia, the Isle of Man, or Hungary, seek for separation. Why should Ireland be an exception? If Ireland were like Canada or Australia, some thousand miles from British shores, you would doubtless allow her a Parliament of her own, and she would be as prosperous and as contented with British rule as Canadanow is; and if Canada were only a few hours sail from England, and were denied Home Rule, she would be as Ireland now is—determined on having it. Self-interest is the motive power of nations as well as of individuals. Ireland will not separate when it is her interest to unite. It is a guilty conscience that makes cowards of us all, and conjures up before your affrighted imagination the dread spectres of separation, dismemberment, and ruin to the British Empire. These are but the idle fancies of an empty dream. Let me entreat of you to banish from your minds this childish dread of an imaginary separation, and give back to the Irish people that "which not enriches you, but makes them poor indeed." It is you who would cause separation by forcing a hateful Legislative Union upon an unwilling people. If Ireland is to be a partner in the firm of Great Britain and Company, she ought to enjoy the rights of partnership. She should have her share in the profits as well as in the losses. We do not seek for a dissolution of partnership, but it is clear that the present miscalled Union tends in that direction, and, therefore, it is the duty of Government and this House so to alter and adjust the present Union that being acceptable to the people of Ireland and compatible with the interests of England, it may be made a source of strength and stability instead of being, what it undoubtedly is, a source of weakness and of danger to the State. England should remember that she has her duties as well as her rights. Her rights she has exercised, but her duties she has not performed. There runs through nearly all classes in England a certain amount of prejudice or dislike to everything Irish, springing principally from ignorance or former recollections, and too often uncurbed by reason and uncontrolled by policy. Isaac Walton, who was the father of anglers, tells the fisherman, in baiting his hook, to hold the worm as if he loved him; and I am forced to think that the love of England for Ireland is of the same description as the love of the angler for his worm. ["No, no!"] An hon. Member says "No," and, Sir, I gladly admit that there are exceptions to this rule, as there are to every rule—except, of course, to Home Rule; but still I am inclined to think that the love of Ireland is too often like the love of oysters and caviare—"an acquired taste." But admitting your love for us to be unbounded, does it alter the feelings of the Irish people? Do they appreciate your administration? Do they forget the history of the past? Do they not know "by what bye-ways and crooked paths" you gained the Union? Do they not know that the bankers of Dublin, at a meeting on the 18th of December, 1798, resolved— That since the renunciation of Great Britain, in 1782, to legislate for Ireland, the commerce and prosperity of the Kingdom have eminently increased? Do they not know the Dublin guild of merchants pronounced the same opinion? Do they not know that Lord Chancellor Plunkett said in 1800— Ireland's revenue, her trade, her manufactures, are thriving beyond the example of any country of her extent, not complaining of deficiency in any respect, but enjoying and acknowledging her prosperity? Do they forget the language of the Right Hon. John Foster— Legislative independence has not only secured but absolutely showered down more blessings, more trade, more affluence, than ever fell to your lot in double the space of time since its attainment? Have they forgotten the words of Lord Clare— There is not a nation in the habitable globe which has advanced in agriculture and manufactures with the same rapidity in the same period? No, Sir, you cannot obliterate from the Irish mind memories like these. The cloud of present poverty does not darken the sun of past prosperity. These facts are sunk deep into the Irish heart, and have given the greatest impetus to every movement for the restoration of an Irish Parliament. Your Irish policy, to borrow the words of a distinguished statesman, has been "a plundering and a blundering policy," for it has robbed the Irish people of their legislative independence, and it tends towards the disunion and the separation of the two countries. The strength and durability of your Empire ought to depend not upon your armies, or your ironclads, but upon the hearts and loyalty of a united people. I do not even ask you to discuss this question from an Irish point of view. Throw over, if you will, the local interests and prosperity of Ireland, and regard this measure solely as it affects your own status as a great and powerful nation. In time of war Ireland being the weak point in your defence, will be the first point of attack, and being the most vulnerable part, will be the hope of your enemies and the fear of your friends—for Ireland is the heel of the British Empire. Even in time of peace what effect has the state of Ireland upon your foreign relations? Does it not hamper and embarrass your foreign policy?—and in the international disputes in which England has been, and may be engaged, is it not a drag-chain upon your Foreign Minister, and is it not an incentive to the extraordinary demands and pretensions of foreign Powers? In short, whether in peace or war, the state of Ireland is a danger to the Empire. We propose a remedy which we believe would be effectual, and you reject it with scorn. To let well alone may be a safe policy, and perhaps will be accepted by some hon. Members opposite as a correct definition of Conservatism; but to let bad alone is revolutionary and dangerous. You must admit there is something bad in the state of Ireland; if you cannot ignore that fact, it is your duty to look to it in time. In 1844, the right hon. Gentleman now at the head of Her Majesty's Government declared in this House— That he never believed Ireland would be a great difficulty, because he felt certain that a Minister of great ability and of great power would, when he found himself at the head of a great majority, settle that question."—[3 Hansard, lxxii. 1010.] Sir, I think the time has come when we have the great Minister and the powerful majority, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman still entertains some of the opinions of his earlier days. But what, may I ask, has Her Majesty's Ministers done, in this, the third year of their office, to remedy any of the grievances of which we complain? Nothing, absolutely nothing, except to take a leaf out of their predecessors' book, and to "furbish up the rusty old tools" of former Governments, by imposing upon our country that much cherished fondling of British statesmen, miscalled a Peace Preservation Act—an Act which its authors seem to look upon in the same light as Professor Holloway looks upon his pills as a cure for everything, at least for every Irish complaint. I have not the honour to belong to the medical profession; but I cannot see how you can safely prescribe for an invalid without knowing something of his habits and constitution, and I fear that neither the present distinguished Leader of the Government nor his equally distinguished Predecessor, that "most potent," and I believe I may say, reverend statesman and expostulator, know a whit more of the character and constitution of the Irish people than does Professor Holloway know of the numberless dupes who swallow his pills. Expediency first and justice afterwards is the motto of modern Governments. Depart, for once, from that principle, and you will find in the future destinies of this Empire that justice is the best policy. Put not your trust in "foreign alliances;" they are fragile and only made to be broken, and will last as long as it is the interest of the contracting parties to observe them and no longer. Rather seek out "home alliances," the true foundation of a nation's greatness. We offer you a home alliance that will be your sheet anchor in the hour of need. By a timely concession you can secure that alliance. Be wise in time; do not wait till concession ceases to be a virtue and becomes a necessity. Remember that to know when to concede is as important for a Minister as to know what to concede, and in both these points your Irish policy has always been defective. You have built up your vast fabric of British rule in Ire- land not upon the sympathies, sentiments, and affections of the people, but upon unconstitutional force, and upon laws which Lord Palmerston declared "few absolute Governments would, by their own authority, establish." Free yourselves from the fetters of prejudice and the trammels of domineering policy; expand your minds and your hearts towards the people beyond the Channel; inaugurate a new policy; alter your physical force mottoes; return to the paths of Constitutional Government; trust the people; make your laws in unison with their character; be guided not by the opinions of a faction, but by the feelings of a nation, and if, in good faith, you do these things, Ireland may yet become great in its own prosperity, powerful as an ally, and willing to associate its future with the destinies of this Empire.


said, that the hon. Member who had just addressed the House in support of the Resolution (Mr. R. Power) had expressed a hope that it would not be met in a spirit of defiance, but he had never heard of any proposition made by Irish Members being met by the present Government in any such spirit; but he hoped they would meet this proposition with firmness, and he trusted also that both sides of the House would unite in rejecting it with an emphasis like that by which last night they rejected another proposition. It was important that they should do so, as it would dispel an illusion which he was afraid was being diffused in Ireland, and which, if allowed to grow, would make it possible one day, in the exigences of Party, to surrender all that it was the first duty of a Government, to defend. The fact was that Ireland would never be content until her people had learnt that to acquire property they must work, and that the majority would not be permitted to despoil the minority, merely because it was a minority. The arguments which had been adduced in support of the Motion were to his mind the strongest that could be used against it, because they had all tended to show that Ireland was an integral part of the United Kingdom, and in such a case no one could with any show of justice urge that independent Parliaments were either necessary or advisable for the purposes of good government. When, 36 years after the Act of Union was passed, a proposal for the repeal of the Act was laid before Parliament, the strongest objection made to it was that it would be impolitic to disturb a connection which had existed so long. How much stronger was such an argument now that every fibre of the national life of the two countries had become closely intertwined? Beyond that, their geographical relation to each other clearly marked them out as coming under one jurisdiction. Sir Robert Peel, once speaking of Ireland having an independent Parliament, said that she never had been independent and never could, and that if the same experiment were to be tried over again, it would end after a series of troubles in the same solution. Every possible trial of an independent Parliament was made before it was given up, and every attempt to bring the two Parliaments into harmony had been made in vain; and it was clear that since that system was abandoned the prosperity of Ireland had been much greater than it was before. The exports from Ireland were greater by 12½ per cent in the 10 years following the Union than they had been in the previous 10 years; while in the same period there was an increase of close upon 30 per cent in the tonnage of ships built in the country. In all other respects it could be shown that the prosperity of Ireland steadily increased after the Act of Union was passed. The Report of the Railway Commission stated that in the year 1836 the exports had risen to £17,300,000, and the imports to £15,500,000, showing that they were three-and-a-half times greater than they were at the time of the Union. But the hon. and learned Member for Limerick said that the condition of the people was better before the Union under the independent Parliament of 1785 than it now was. He (Mr. Mulholland) would be content to rest the whole case on a comparison of the condition of the country before and after the Union, and if they consulted Master Fitzgibbon's book they would find from the facts stated that that was very far from being the case. In the 10 years after the Union the imports rose from £5,000,000 to £7,500,000; while in the 10 years before the Union the shipping fell from 66,761 tons to 53,181 tons. In shipbuilding the tonnage declined in the five years before the Union from 9,527 tons to 6,430 tons; and in produce from £246,450 to £230,360, showing a decline in the three great ele- ments of national progress in. the years immediately preceding the Union. The Parliament of 1785, it was true, did something for the encouragement of trade, but it was by a system of bounties, protection, and prohibitions which affected every article of trade, and ruined the export trade in Irish linens. Nothing had been stated that showed that the condition of the people in Ireland was better before the Union than it had been since. In 20 years before the Union, under the Independent Parliament, the Custom House returns of Belfast had only increased by £2,000. Five years afterwards they reached £228,000 from £62,000. The fact was that the spring forward which Ireland made when she was admitted to a free partnership with England was surprising. It would, he thought, be admitted that as regards agriculture it had advanced as fast as any other department of industry, and pauperism had decreased, the number of paupers in the workhouses in 1869 being57,000, while in 1874 the number had fallen to 49,000. Allusion had been made to the decrease of the population of Ireland, but it ought to be remembered that in 1841, when the population had reached its maximum, the number was totally beyond the powers of the land to support; compared with other agricultural countries, it was per square mile or acre very far larger than was to be found elsewhere. The population of Ireland in 1841 was 8,000,000, whereas at the time of the Union it was only 4,000,000; and if its progress had not been checked, and if it had been going on in the same ratio up to the present day, the population of that country would now have amounted to 14,000,000. However sad the diminution was, it would appear from that fact that it was necessary, and therefore it was inevitable. The Census Returns showed that 43 per cent of the people then lived in cabins containing only one room, and 40 per cent in dwellings that were little better than mud cabins. It also appeared from the Report of the Royal Commission that 2,500,000 of the Irish people were at that time without employment for 30 weeks in every year. They were, in fact, paupers, who only subsisted upon the charity of others, and every one would rejoice that many of them had since found a home in which they could obtain a scope for their in- dustry. Even now the present population of Ireland was 174 to the square mile, which was equal to the population of France and Prussia, and greater than that of Austria, while it was as great as that of the agricultural parts of England. Leinster had 10 per cent more population than Munster, whilst Ulster was still more thickly populated, resembling in this respect Northamptonshire. He could not see, under these circumstances, that there was any longer room for saying that the population of Ireland had diminished in consequence of the Union, or that such diminution could be properly a subject for regret. It could have been desired that the diminution of population had not been effected under such melancholy circumstances, but the change for the better on the part of those who had emigrated could not be denied, and it could be as little doubted that the condition of those who had been left had been greatly improved. The people in their habits, their dress, and their food had since that period shown the most extraordinary advance ever made by the people of any country in the world. There was nothing more surprising than the way in which, throughout this debate, the Province of Ulster had been ignored, yet Ulster contained one-third of the population, and more than one-third of the wealth of Ireland. Lord Castlereagh, writing at the time of the Union, said that Ireland contained 500,000 Protestants who were opposed to the Union, 3,000,000 Roman Catholics who were in favour of the Union, and 500,000 Presbyterians who were so occupied with their own affairs that they cared very little about it. It was that absence of political agitation which had placed Ulster in its present thriving and prosperous condition. He would again repeat that he trusted that both sides of the House would join as emphatically as they did last night in rejecting the present Motion. He thanked the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington) for the very straightforward manner in which he had opposed the Bill of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Butt), and trusted that there would be no attempt to coquet with the present Motion, because it had a tendency to arrest the progress and prosperity of the country, and to scare away that capital which imparted the confidence and gave employment to the people.


Sir, when the hon. and learned Member for Limerick brought this subject forward two years ago, he submitted a direct Motion in favour of Home rule, and asked the House to declare that the right and power of managing exclusively Irish affairs should be restored to an Irish Parliament. In the same way, this evening, the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. P. J. Smyth), in a speech which all who have heard it, whatever they may think of the opinions it embodies, must admire as one of the ablest pieces of argument and eloquence ever addressed to the House, expressed boldly and plainly the views he would have put to the test of a vote had the forms of the House allowed him to do so. But what is the Motion we have before us this evening? It is ostensibly, merely for inquiry into the great subject that two years ago the hon. and learned Member for Limerick brought under the notice of the House. I can conceive the difficulties of the position which have induced the hon. and learned Member for Limerick to make so half-hearted a proposal; I can understand how necessary the hon. and learned Member finds it, after a silence of two years, again to hold up before the eyes of his followers in Ireland this vague idea, which he cannot define without risking those divisions, of which some symptoms have been seen in this House to-night, and other symptoms have been seen in Ireland. I can understand the hon. and learned Member may have thought it possible, by a covert Motion of the kind, to attract the support of one or two Members of the House who, in deference to the opinions of a portion of their constituencies, might omit for a moment to consider the principle which was involved, and vote to refer the Constitution of the United Kingdom to a Committee upstairs. On the part of the Government, I have but to express the same clear and decided opposition to the Motion now before the House that two years ago I gave to the more direct proposal. There are questions which cannot be referred to Committees—principles so vital that the House cannot admit the propriety of inquiring into them; and whatever view a Committee might take, I am not prepared to assent to a proposal for changing the Constitution of the United Kingdom and esta- blishing an Irish Parliament for the exclusive management of Irish affairs. I think it is somewhat strange, after the expressions of opinion that have often been heard from some Irish Members as to the incompetence of the House to legislate impartially for Ireland, that this Resolution should receive their support. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick is so simple in his confidence that he would refer the one Irish subject, which he and his Friends consider of paramount importance, to a Committee of English and Scotch Members, to be presided over by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), whom I wish joy of his task, and leave it to them to settle the future government of Ireland.


wished to explain. He said distinctly he did not propose to refer to that Committee any decision upon a Constitutional question. What he did wish to refer to it was, as the Resolution expressed it, the duty of inquiring into facts and circumstances with which this House ought to be acquainted.


I am afraid that view can hardly have been entertained by the followers of the hon. and learned Member. All who have listened to the course of the debate this evening will have seen that all the speakers who have supported the Motion of the hon. and learned Member evidently felt that its success would imply the adoption of the principle of Home Rule, and if that principle is adopted by the House, what will the Committee have to do, except to apply it in all its details. ["No, no!"] As, then, we are discussing the principle of Home Rule, I think it reasonable that those who support it should be called upon to say what is meant. The hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power) has remarked that a desire is often expressed for a definition of Home Rule; and, considering that the Home Rule Party was formed at a Conference held nearly three years ago, and that the question has been so long before the country, I do not think it is too much to expect that some day we shall be told in all detail what the proposal really is. I will submit that it is not by concealing what is desired, and how it is to be carried out, that the support of public opinion in England and Scotland will be secured. No Party in a similar position has ever attained its end, unless it distinctly sets before the public what it wants and how it means to arrive at it; and I trust that speakers on the opposite side, if not this evening, at least on the next occasion when the subject may be brought before the House, will state their end, and how they mean to reach it. If they desire a National Parliament for Irish matters, that may be effected in more ways than one. It may be accomplished by total separation from the United Kingdom; but I dismiss that idea at once, because it has always been claimed—and I myself am ready to admit it—that the hon. and learned Member for Limerick has approached the subject in a constitutional manner, as becomes a loyal subject of the Crown; and it would, be incompatible with any constitutional feeling and with loyalty itself to propose, here or elsewhere, the total separation of Ireland from the United Kingdom. Well, then, is it repeal of the Union that is desired? On this point some evidence has been afforded this evening. There is no doubt that the hon. Member for Westmeath, and those who agree with him, would prefer a repeal of the Union to the nondescript proposal of the hon. and learned Member for Limerick. Some time ago last autumn the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Parnell) made a speech in which he said that Home Rule and Repeal meant the same thing.


What I said was that Home Rule would necessarily entail repeal of the Union.


I think I quoted the hon. Member pretty correctly; but the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) repudiates any wish to repeal the Union and to return to the old state of things—[Mr. Butt: Hear, hear!]—because that will leave the Irish Parliament a vassal, subject practically to the English Ministry, incapable of interfering in questions of peace or war, in foreign or colonial affairs; while, on the other hand, it will place the United Kingdom in the position of not being able to use its full strength against any foreign Power. In preference to repeal, the hon. and learned Member for Limerick has put before us a certain kind of federation; but the House must remember that federation implies a previous separation. The States which have entered into such, a bond have, with one exception, been previously independent and tolerably equal, and have joined together for common national purposes with a view to a more complete union in the future. But in the present instance we must dissolve an union before federating, and if separation be accomplished, the hon. and learned Member will probably find that no small portion of his followers will have no wish to complete the rest of his scheme. The exception to which I have alluded is the case of Austria and Hungary. ["Hear, hear!"] I do not remember that the hon. and learned Member has ever proposed federation on the same basis as has been agreed upon between those two countries. But as the allusion just made has been received with sufficient assent to show that some persons, at any rate, desire to place Great Britain and Ireland in the same relative position as Austria and Hungary, I will remind the hon. Member who cheers, that the position of Hungary at the time of the federal arrangement with Austria was totally different from that of Ireland at the present moment. Hungary was a country with ancient liberties; Ireland, as the hon. Member himself has often admitted, has none except what she obtains under Saxon rule. Hungary was a country that had been deprived of those liberties, and brought under a despotic government; Ireland, I will venture to say, is a member of the freest Empire in the world. Hungary was larger in area than the country with which she had federated, and had a population in the proportion of 15 to 20 as compared with Austria. What proportion of population or wealth will Ireland import into a federation with Great Britain? The circumstances of Austria and Hungary and of Great Britain and Ireland are so dissimilar that I will not further pursue the comparison, but address myself to the examples of the United States or the Dominion of Canada, which the hon. and learned Member himself has more than once suggested. Much has been said by the hon. and learned Member about our being ready to concede liberty to our colonial dominions, but denying it to Ireland. I do not suppose the hon. and learned Member intends by that to imply that Ireland would be satisfied with the position of a colony in relation to Great Britain. By accepting that position she would obtain legislative independence for herself, but she would not have that representation in the Imperial Parliament which she now possesses. She would have no influence on the general affairs of the Empire, and would practically sink into the position of a Province. But the hon. and learned Member has suggested that England and Ireland should be in the position of two of the States of the American Union. ["Hear, hear!"] Will it be denied that the relative position of England and Ireland at the present time and that of the States of the American Union before federation is essentially different? We are united and they are separated, and it would be step of the most suicidal folly to disintegrate the United Kingdom at a time when other nations are consolidating their strength. But the United States, having at first preserved "State Rights" with the greatest jealousy, has been continually compelled to vest more and more power in the Federal Government; and their whole history shows that the local liberties of the component States in any great Federation must be far more limited than will at all suit the views of those who have supported this Motion. But is it the Act under which the Dominion of Canada is formed which the hon. and learned Member wishes to adopt? I will just remind the House of the circumstances of that measure. The colonies now forming the Dominion of Canada are separated from each other by hundreds of miles. They have no common ties; several of them have no railway or telegraphic communication; their interests are antagonistic; they have populations totally distinct in race and language—in short, they have every element of separation. But they saw so clearly the advantages of union that not only did they resolve upon federation, but they gave all the power they could to the Dominion Government, retaining as little as possible for the provincial authorities. Having regard to the fact that the Dominion Parliament, or authorities responsible to it, control all the acts of the provincial Parliaments, I will venture to say that the latter bodies are far from being what the hon. and learned Member desires to see in Dublin. In fact, they are little more than county as- semblies, and in power of taxation have little more than municipal rights. If we establish in Ireland a provincial Parliament on the Canadian system, we should, I contend, do nothing that would really satisfy those who make this demand; while, on the other hand, we should make a change of the greatest importance in the Constitution of the United Kingdom, because we must substitute a written compact for the unwritten Constitution, which has been the pride and boast of this country. We must define every right of the Federal Parliament and the provincial Parliament. We must institute a Supreme Court, if we can, to decide disputes between the two Parliaments; and all for what? In order that we may have a thing which will not satisfy those who are the real supporters of the Motion before the House. For can the hon. and learned Member for Limerick tell the House that even if his full demand, whatever it may be, is granted, there will be no discontented party whatever in Ireland? I venture to say that the success of the hon. and learned Member will be the signal for the immediate revolt from his control of a Party, who even now gives him some trouble—the Nationalist Party. They would not be mollified towards him because of his success. I can conceive the hon. and learned Member, as head of an Irish Provincial Government, called on to take severe measures, in order to keep the peace in Ireland. I can conceive him, in the event of a failure of the ordinary laws of the country to secure order and protect property, compelled to come down to the provincial Parliament to impose something worse than the Coercion Acts, against which he has so often complained. Those who look back into the pages of Irish history will find that an Irish Parliament did not satisfy the United Irishmen of 1798. What was the history of Wolfe Tone? What was the object he had at heart? He was not satisfied with an Irish Parliament; he wanted to break entirely that connection with England which he described as a never-failing source of Irish troubles. I congratulate the hon. and learned Member on the prospect before him if his proposal should be acceded to. Why has this idea of Home Rule obtained popular support; is it not that every discontented person in Ireland has been taught to believe that under it he will obtain everything he wants? Let us turn to the question of education. On that subject the Canadian provincial Parliaments can only legislate subject to the veto of higher authorities, and to restrictions laid down in the Constitution itself; and if in this matter the Irish Parliament had only the powers of the Canadian Parliament, it could not satisfy those who desired denominational education. But let us suppose that the Irish Parliament had entire power to deal with education—what would follow? We know the history of the last Irish University Education Bill. It was opposed by the Party which now sits on this side of the House, because we thought that it would by degrees, if not at once, place University education in Ireland under the solo control of the Roman Catholic hierarchy; but the Bill was not thrown out byus. It was thrown out by the votes of hon. Gentlemen who sit on the other side, who desire that the education of their country should be completely under ecclesiastical control, and who would levy a rate all over Ireland to pay for it. What would Ulster say to that? I can conceive nothing more likely to lead to a civil war in Ireland than the adoption of such an educational system by an Irish Provincial Parliament. ["Oh, oh!"] The local Army, which the hon. Member for Mayo desires to raise to protect the liberties of his country against Imperial treachery, would be ripe for such a contest: and we should have a recurrence of those dreadful religious and civil quarrels with which the history of the last Irish Parliament concluded. Then there is the Land Question, which is considered a vital point with many of those who support Home Rule. Will an Irish House of Commons, elected by the occupiers of the land, agree in land legislation with an Irish House of Lords; and if the House of Lords is coerced into adopting the views of the House of Commons, will not the mortgagees and all others interested in Irish land—who, of course, may be found in every part of the United Kingdom—appeal at once to the Federal Government to put some check upon the provincial Parliament of Ireland? There is another point on which I need hardly touch. It was mentioned by the hon. Member for Mayo—and, of all the extraordinary delusions which are connected with the subject, the most strange to me appears the idea, that Home Rule can have the effect of liberating the Fenian prisoners, the Manchester murderers. ["No, no!"] I regret to hear that there is any hon. Member in this House who will apologize for murder.


The right hon. Gentleman looked at me so directly when he said he regretted that any Member of this House should apologize for murder, that I wish to say as publicly and as directly as I can that I do not believe, and never shall believe, that any murder was committed at Manchester.


If the hon. Gentleman believes that, I am sure I need not argue the question. I am stating not my own opinion, but the verdict of the jury who heard the evidence in the case. The Manchester murderers [Renewed cries of "No, no!"] committed a crimeon English ground, of which they were convicted by an English jury, and for which they are detained in an English prison. How, then, I should like to know, can they be released by an Irish provincial Parliament?


rose to Order, and wished to explain, as the right hon. Gentleman had referred to him, that he had never said that Home Rule had anything to do with the liberation of the Fenian prisoners. What he had stated was, in reply to the hon. Member for Westmeath (Mr. P. J. Smyth), that coercion would never have been heard of, or political prisoners either, if Home Rule had existed in Ireland.


The hon. Member must have forgotten the rebellion of 1798, which occurred during the existence of the Irish Parliament. But I will turn to a more material question. It is, I believe, expected that an Irish provincial Parliament would check absenteeism. But absenteeism has prevailed to a greater extent than now, if contemporary records are to be believed, under the old Irish Parliament; and if the new Irish Parliament were to pass such a land law as that which has lately been proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick, I cannot conceive any course which would be more calculated to turn the owners of land into absentees, by depriving them of all interest in their properties. Nor can I see how a provincial Assembly will make Irish landlords more inclined to reside in Ireland, because the leading men in the country will certainly be attracted to the Imperial Parliament in London. Then there is the old story that has been told again this evening about an Irish Parliament giving material prosperity to Ireland. I am not going to trouble the House with statistics as to that prosperity. It is, I think, on all hands admitted that Ireland is at the present moment prosperous. [Major O'GORMAN: No, no!] But I had ocular demonstration when, some time ago, I had the pleasure of meeting my hon. and gallant Friend at a banquet at Waterford, that that part of Ireland, at any rate, was not in a very depressed condition. Still, it is said that Ireland has not advanced in prosperity at the same rate as England or Scotland; but to what, I should like to know, is that due? Is there any law which prevents the same development of commerce, trade, and manufacture in all the three countries? If there is such a law operating in Ireland, why not ask for its repeal? But all that Irish Members seem to seek for is a return more or less completely to the old and exploded system of bounties. ["No, no!"] What is the Fishery Bill? Is it not a vain attempt to prop up by State assistance an industry which can never really succeed, except through the energy and perseverance of those who chose to engage in it? Such attempts, I may add, formed the staple of the history of the old Irish Parliament, and ended in failure; and if they are revived the self-same result will be sure to follow a similar course of action. The hon. Member for the county of Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry), who has gone very deeply into the subject of Irish finance, has always expressed views opposed to the system of Protection. What, then, does he want to do? In what way can an Irish Parliament effect for trade and commerce in Ireland that which the Imperial Parliament cannot accomplish? All that the Legislature can do in such cases is to remove any bar to free action. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick, appealing to his constituents, asked, if the Shannon were in England, how many ships would now be riding upon its waters; and contended that both Limerick and Galway would be trans-Atlantic packet stations, if Ireland had only a native Parliament. Well, I do not suppose it is want of harbour accommodation that has driven trade away from Limerick, or made the quays of that city deserted. No, it is the want of that energy and enterprize which in Belfast, Cork—aye, and in Waterford, too—are developing the prosperity of those places without any interference on the part of Parliament. It is adduced as a grievance that nothing is done for the Irish fisheries; but if hon. Members opposite are prepared to adopt the Canadian or any other scheme of Federation the sea-coast fisheries will still be a Federal or Imperial question; and if it is so considered, is the complaint fair that English and Scotch Members overruled an Irish application for a grant for those fisheries? But if the Irish fisheries is one of the questions which are to be left to an Irish local Parliament, surely any grants made to them must be provided by Ireland herself. Why do not Irish Members propose that now? I wonder what would have been said if I had suggested it in reply to the Bill of the hon. and learned Member. Yet there is a tax in Ireland which is levied also in England and Scotland, but which in England and Scotland is devoted to Imperial purposes, while in Ireland it goes to relieve the county rates. If this were merely a local question, ought not hon. Gentlemen opposite to consider it a reasonable proposal that the dog tax should be devoted to Irish fisheries. Thus far I have dealt with the mode in which Ireland may be affected by the adoption of this scheme; but what will be the probable result to the United Kingdom at large of the re-institution of a provincial Parliament in Ireland? Are there no cases of dispute arising on purely Imperial subjects, or subjects connected with the United Kingdom as a whole, between the old Parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland? And are not those subjects of such a nature that they will be likely to be renewed and to result in serious differences? Supposing that Ireland were to manage her own finance under her own Chancellor of the Exchequer, she would not, I think, be able to superintend the Customs duties. At least, I know of no Federal system whatever where the Customs duties are not under Imperial control. Will the hon. Member for the County of Limerick (Mr. O'Sullivan) be satisfied with a Parliament which cannot stop the blending of Irish whiskey? Again, there have been discussions in this House showing the different views taken by Irishmen and Englishmen as to the relative ability of Ireland and England to bear taxation, and it may be easily imagined that that would be an endless subject of difference between an Irish Provincial Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Then, as regards foreign affairs, cases may arise bearing on religious topics which will have a special interest to the majority of the Irish people, who may wish to take a course which the Parliament of the United Kingdom cannot approve. In such a case will there be no risk of a quarrel between the two Parliaments? ["No, no!"] Is it quite impossible that some of the Militia in Ireland will be inclined to do more than is necessary for the national defence, and perhaps even to take part in a modern crusade? These are risks so terrible that nothing which has been adduced in the arguments of the hon. and learned Member can for a moment outweigh them. Now, I come to the last topic in the hon. and learned Member's speech—namely, the alleged failure of Parliament to deal with Irish legislation. First of all, I demur to the hon. and learned Member's interpretation of Irish legislation. The hon. and learned Gentleman has expressed an opinion that nothing will be done until all is Irish beneath the Irish sky. For my own part, I complain of the narrow bounds of the hon. and learned Gentleman's horizon. Has Ireland nothing to do with foreign affairs, with the management of our great Colonial Empire, and with the well-being and efficiency of our Army and Navy? Are these subjects not Irish? They have this year frequently occupied the attention of Parliament and been discussed by some Irish Members with much profit to the House. And there has been legislation dealing with Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom that does not seem to have occurred to the hon. and learned Member for Limerick. For instance, the Merchant Shipping Bill, on which so large a por- tion of the time of the House has been spent during the present Session, applies to Ireland as well as to Great Britain. Is it the fault of this House that there are not quite so many sailors in Irish ports as in English ports? ["Yes!"] Yes. That reply can only have come from an advocate of that old system of bounties which no one would now openly defend. There are other recent measures of general interest, such as the Artizans Dwellings Act, the adoption of which by the local authorities of some Irish towns may prove more beneficial to the country than anything that has been done for many years; the Prisons Bill, the provisions of which are to apply to Ireland; and the Appellate Jurisdiction Bill. But, perhaps the complaint is that Bills relating solely to Ireland have been neglected. I quite admit that the Government Bills relating solely to Ireland are not quite so forward as I could wish. But to what is that due? I regret to say that it is due to unnecessary and meaningless obstruction, not by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Butt), but by a few hon. Members around him. I refer to what occurred more than once upon the Cattle Diseases (Ireland) Bill, and to the course adopted by the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power) upon the Irish Judicature Bill. The hon. and learned Member and his Friends complain that they have brought in any number of Bills, and that none of them are likely to become law. Now, the way to secure legislation is not to bring in all your Bills at once. The hon. and learned Member seems last autumn to have allotted to 20 or 25 Members of his Party as many separate subjects, each of them to be represented by a Bill. Some of those Bills, though introduced last February, have never yet been printed, while others have made their appearance in so disjointed a shape that they can never have been meant to pass. More than that, I will assert that very few of these proposals have received any amount of popular support in Ireland. Take, for instance, the Municipal and Borough Franchise Bills, about which the hon. and learned Member has said so much, to-night. Petitions were not presented, public meetings were not held in favour of those measures, which came to this House recommended not by outside opinion, but simply by the support of hon. Members opposite acting under the orders of the hon. and learned Member. Those Bills have received a fair discussion. Indeed, it would be difficult to recall a Session in which more time has been given to discussions upon Irish affairs. The hon. and learned Member, in addressing his constituents at Limerick, has taken credit to himself for his achievements with regard to these very Bills, and expressed his belief that they would become law at no distant day, and after such a statement does it become him to tell the House of Commons that it has not devoted a fair consideration to Irish affairs? I do not agree with the hon. and learned Member as to those measures, and have felt it my duty to oppose them. But I claim on behalf of the Government, and also on behalf of the House, the same freedom in dealing with Bills promoted by hon. Members from Ireland as that which we exercise in respect of all other subjects. We have been told that Ireland had no Constitution or Representative Government. What assertions can be more unfounded? Ireland never had a more thoroughly Representative Government at any period of her history than she enjoys at the present moment. She has her full share—and even more than her full share—of representation in the Imperial Parliament. All reasonable Irish measures are fairly considered by the House of Commons; and if, after such consideration, they are rejected, do not Scotch and English measures meet with the same fate? Why do hon. Members opposite, who do not represent the most educated, intelligent, or wealthy portion of the Irish people, expect to enjoy the monopoly of always having their own way? If Parliament declines to repeal the Law of Hypothec, or rejects the Burials Bill, we do not hear from Scotch or Welsh Members that this House is not competent to deal with Scotch or Welsh affairs, and that they want to have a Scotch or Welsh Parliament. No, Scotchmen and Welshmen are sensible that Parliament must deal with the United Kingdom as a whole; they are willing to wait for a time, and even to see some of their favourite schemes entirely fail, because they feel that the advantages from the union of the three Kingdoms far outweighs any which can be obtained by a greater power to shape merely local matters according to their particular views. But I feel that after all there is nothing real in the arguments on this head which the hon. and learned Member for Limerick has addressed to the House. What are we told by him and his followers? "We bring in Bills which you ought to pass; but whatever you do we will have Home Rule." On this side of the House, however, we are bound to reply decidedly—"We cannot concede to you Home Rule—whatever that may be. We tell you that in this matter you have against you not only the Government, not only the House of Commons, not only the wealth and intelligence of Ireland, with all the people of Ulster, of England, Wales, and Scotland, but something more—you have to contend against every social and physical force and the whole spirit of the present age." Why, 76 years ago when Dublin was a week or more distant from Holyhead, when railways and telegraphs were unknown, when communication from Dublin to the South or North of Ireland took as long as it does now to Egypt, when Ireland was for purposes of Government as far from London as Calcutta is now, then our ancestors abolished the separate Parliament of Ireland. What has those 76 years produced? Increased prosperity in Ireland; all those facilities of communication of which I have spoken; common interests in banking, railways, and every kind of trade and commerce; a resident population of more than 750,000 Irishmen in England; and yet in the face of those facts hon. Gentlemen ask us to accept an anachronism. I would ask hon. Members from Ireland, who exercise great influence with their countrymen, to deal fairly by Parliament, and to give it that credit which is no more that its due; not to misrepresent our motives and ignore our actions, but to tell their countrymen what is the fact—that Irish interests are fully and fairly considered in this House of Commons. There is a spirit even now growing in Ireland of a wider nationality than that of Home Rule. During the last few generations there have been repeated outbreaks of sedition; but at each outbreak the recurring wave has diminished in force, as it were with an ebbing tide. Education and prosperity will do their work, and even among those who support Home Rule now there may soon be many who will feel that Ireland is elevated rather than degraded by her union with England and Scotland, and will thank this House for resisting this night the proposal to degrade her to the level of a Province and remove her from the proud position she now occupies as an integral and dominant Member of the greatest and freest Empire in the world.


said, the right hon. Baronet had occupied himself during the greater part of his speech with a minute criticism of the proposal put forward by Ireland, through her Party in that House, to adjust the international quarrel between the two countries. He swept the world with critical eye to find out suggestions for fault, for check, for dead-lock, for impossibility; but he (Mr. Sullivan) defied him to show any difficulty in their scheme which would not be multiplied an hundred-fold by what might be practically possible under the British Constitution of Queen, Lords, and Commons. He did not complain in any way of the speech of the right hon. Baronet, or of the tone of the debate. He admitted that a marvellous change had come over that Assembly and over Great Britain in the treatment of Irish questions. Irish questions were discussed in a kindlier and fairer spirit, and in a more courteous tone than formerly; but upon that subject, he (Mr. Sullivan) said, they were not their judges. They were not impartial judges. If they were their judges, who were the defendants? They were not, and could not be, impartial. He could not himself be impartial if he were in their place. They declined once and for all to discuss this question from the low level of a mere Bill before the House. This was no murmur from discontented Essex or Northumberland. This was no dissatisfaction in a county; this was the voice, the complaint, of a nation. That was the protest of a Kingdom foully robbed of all the attributes of its nationhood—of a Kingdom which had never condoned that crime, and which now, in blood and in turbulence, now in civil commotion, now by one means or another, legitimate or illegitimate, had protested and would, while there was manhood in its people, protest to the bitter end. There was such a thing in the world as nationality, national life, national instinct, national pride, and national honour. It was a force that moulded society in the present day more than the sword; and before the spirit of nationality even that Assembly must bow. The hon. Member for Downpatrick (Mr. Mulholland) had told them that no countries in Europe were so clearly marked out to be one as England and Ireland. Where did that hon. Gentleman learn his geography? Was the line between France and Belgium, or between Spain and Portugal, as distinctly traced as that between Ireland and England? The inexorable logic of facts had for centuries so ordered it that the two islands should be under the same Crown and Government; but from the reign of James I. down to the present day, the Irish people, while they had, with scarcely an interruption, loyally given into the partnership of the three Kingdoms under one Crown and Government, had yet always proclaimed their determined resistance to the absorption, extinction, or domination of any one of the three. They held the patent of their nationhood from on High, and neither the theories of the hon. Member for Downpatrick nor his singular geography could obliterate it. They had been charged with having one speech for the House of Commons and another for the popular platform in Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] He wished he could identify the hon. Member who said "hear," that he might see whether he always said the same thing to his constituents and to the House. For his part he (Mr. Sullivan) always said the same thing, and he told his constituents that he acquitted this Assembly of any conscious sense of injustice towards Ireland, and that the blame for its wrongdoing was attributable to long existing habits, feelings, and traditions; but he did say that the whole tone of English opinion at the present moment towards the people of Ireland was this, stating it as fairly as he could—"What can we do for you? We Englishmen wish to rule Ireland well, but we mean to rule her—that is to say, we mean to rule Ireland according to our ideas of well, and we mean to rule you, well or ill." They were told that Ireland was prosperous. They heard the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University (Mr. Gibson) last night, and he had hoped to have heard an eloquent speech from him to-night. They heard the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland referring to the marvellous prosperity of Ireland. Irish prosperity! There were three or four millions of Irish money which had been accumulating in Irish banks for some years past to such an extent that Ireland was marvellously prosperous! If he turned to the City articles of London newspapers, he found that this country was proved to be in a deplorable condition by the accumulation of money in our banks. At the present moment every writer on finance and trade would point to the capital lying in our banks, not as a sign of wealth, but rather as a sign of stagnation of our industry. They were accustomed in Ireland to hear a great deal about the plea of Irish prosperity. When Lord Carlisle was Viceroy, at the very period when Ireland was passing through severe sufferings, so much did he dwell upon this topic, that he was constantly called by the name of "Prosperity Carlisle." When Ulster was as Protestant as it was now, and when it was as prosperous as compared with the rest of Ireland, Ulster was most democratic, whether in 1782 or in 1789, and in Belfast was held the first banquet in Ireland which celebrated the triumph of the French Revolution. At the period immediately preceding the Union the Minister in England felt himself safe from impeachment, while he was seeking to corrupt and betray the Irish Parliament. The present feeling which had been expressed towards Ulster was prompted by the sentiment that the people of Ulster should be taught that those who dwelt in Ulster needed the power of England to protect it from this peril. He hoped that Ulster might yet become friendly to Home Rule, for he could not think that Ulster had utterly lost its spirit. He could quote a resolution to the effect that the claim of any body of men over the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland was unconstitutional, illegal, and a grievance, and that was signed by men whose grandchildren told them that Ireland could never entertain the idea of governing herself. He was glad to find that Ulster was every day becoming more and more Irish, for borough after borough and county after county was coming into the Irish cause. The real issue was this—was there sufficient Irish work to occupy the attention of an Irish Parliament, and could that work be done usefully by such a Parliament? [An hon. Member: No!] Ireland was as large a country as many in Europe, the independence of which had been guaranteed by England. Would they allow Belgium to be amalgamated or absorbed even by the German Empire, great as it was? He rather thought not. If, then, there was work for an Irish Parliament to do, who could do it more usefully than Irishmen? The Irish people were not and could not be satisfied to have the legislation of their country conducted in London. They maintained that they had the best means of knowing what was wanted for their country, and were therefore best qualified to attend to its interests. The real fact was that England had sacrificed the interests of Ireland to its own love of dominion and its desire to act upon a principle of centralization, instead of adopting federation, a system under which communities could prosper without the healthy life of individual members of the community being destroyed. It was a mistake for England to suppose that the Irish people loved her or her institutions. As a matter of fact, nine-tenths of the Irish people grew up from their childhood with an instinctive hatred and aversion from England. ["No, no!"] Hon. Members might dissent from the statement, but he knew it to be true. He was one of those who grew up with the feelings he had described; but as he approached manhood, and had opportunities of becoming acquainted with the great and noble characteristics of the English character, he looked back with intense regret upon the unreasoning hatred in which he had grown up from the days of his youth. At the same time, it was certain that the feeling to which he had referred still existed, and that it was owing to that fact that England kept Ireland in a state of subjection. ["No, no!"] Well, let them go to the Irish in America and see what were their sentiments. They had filled the world with combustible materials, that bode no good to the peace and tranquillity of England if ever the hour of danger struck for her. In alluding to the hostility of the Irish population he was bearing testimony to facts within his knowledge, not holding forth a menace or threat. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick and his Party now stepped forward to propose a compromise between consolidating the strength of the Empire and securing the liberties of their own land. They made the proposition and they meant to carry it out. They knew that England never would, never dare, to draw the sword upon Ire- land standing upon such an offer of reconciliation, and from that there was growing up a new England to which they appealed to reverse the oppression of the old. They saw growing up masses of population in the great towns entertaining sentiments of generosity to which the statesmen of former days were strangers. They heard it in the voice of the hon. Member for South Warwickshire (Sir Eardley Wilmot) that evening. If they made a proposal which involved real national disgrace or surrender, England would fight them upon that, but what they proposed was something widely different. Before a year was over this subject would be discussed in very different tones. The Eastern horizon was red with the first fires of a conflagration the end of which no man could foresee, and England might be before long casting about for alliances and sources of strength. She would find none greater than Ireland if her just demands were conceded to her. But if they were refused, England would find in the passive discontent of the Irish people the same source of weakness which the Emperor of Austria found in Hungary when, after he had defeated the Hungarian Army in the field, he discovered that the Austrian Monarchy was about to crumble to pieces. He believed that the effort now being made by his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Butt) would be attended with the same success as that which had been attained by the popular leaders in other countries, and which had restored peace and contentment and substituted strength for dismemberment.


supported the Motion, and in doing so took occasion to inveigh strongly against English policy in Ireland, and to appeal to the House to terminate peacefully a struggle which was a cause of weakness to the Empire at large.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 291; Noes 61: Majority 230.

Adderley, rt. hn. Sir C. Backhouse, E.
Alexander, Colonel Bailey, Sir J. R.
Allsopp, C. Balfour, Sir G.
Anderson, G. Barne, F. St. J. N.
Anstruther, Sir W. Barrington, Viscount
Antrobus, Sir E. Bass, A.
Archdale, W. H. Bates, E.
Arkwright, A. P. Bateson, Sir T.
Ashbury, J. L. Bathurst, A. A.
Beach, rt. hn. Sir M.H. Ferguson, R.
Beaumont, Major F. Finch, G. H.
Bective, Earl of Fitzmaurice, Lord E.
Benett-Stanford, V. F. Floyer, J.
Bentinck, rt. hon. G. C. Foljambe, F. J. S.
Beresford, Lord C. Folkestone, Viscount
Beresford, G. De la P. Forester, C. T. W.
Beresford, Colonel M. Forster, Sir C.
Blackburne, Col. J. I. Forster, rt. hon. W. E.
Boord, T. W. Forsyth, W.
Bourke, hon. R. Foster, W. H.
Bourne, Colonel Fraser, Sir W. A.
Bousfield, Major Freshfield, C. K.
Bright, rt. hon. J. Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Bright, R. Gardner, J. T. Agg-
Brise, Colonel R. Gardner, R. Richardson-
Bristowe, S. B.
Brocklehurst, W. C. Garnier, J. C.
Brooks, W. C. Gibson, E.
Brown, A. H. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Brown, J. C. Goddard, A. L.
Bruce, hon. T. Gordon, rt. hon. E. S.
Brymer, W. E. Gordon, W.
Bulwer, J. R. Gower, hon. E. F. L.
Burrell, Sir P. Greenall, Sir G.
Buxton, Sir R. J. Gregory, G. B.
Cameron, D. Grieve, J. J.
Campbell, C. Guinness, Sir A.
Carington, Col. hn. W. Hall, A. W.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Halsey, T. F.
Cavendish, Lord G. Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Hamilton, Lord G.
Chaine, J. Hamilton, Marquess of
Chapman, J. Hamilton, hon. R. B.
Childers, rt. hon. H. Hamilton, I. T.
Clifford, C. C. Hanbury, R. W.
Clive, Col. hon. G. W. Harcourt, Sir W. V.
Close, M. C. Hardy, rt. hon. G.
Clowes, S. W. Hardy, J. S.
Cobbold, T. C. Hartington, Marq. of
Cogan, rt. hn. W. H. F. Harvey, Sir R. B.
Cole, H. T. Havelock, Sir H.
Cole, Col. hon. H. A. Hay, rt. hon. Sir J. C. D.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hayter, A. D.
Coope, O. E. Heath, R.
Corbett, J. Hermon, E.
Corry, hon. H. W. L. Hervey, Lord F.
Corry, J. P. Hick, J.
Cotes, C. C. Hill, A. S.
Cowper, hon. H. F. Hill, T. R.
Crawford, J. S. Hinchingbrook, Visct.
Crichton, Viscount Hogg, Sir J. M.
Cross, rt. hon. R. A. Holford, J. P. G.
Cust, H. C. Holker, Sir J.
Dalkeith, Earl of Holland, Sir H. T.
Denison, C. B. Holmesdale, Viscount
Denison, W. E. Holms, W.
Dick, F. Home, Captain
Digby, Capt. hon. E. Hood, hon. Captain A. W. A. N.
Dillwyn, L. L.
Duff, J. Hope, A. J. B. B.
Duff, M. E. G. Howard, hon. C.
Dundas, J. C. Howard, E. S.
Eaton, H. W. Hughes, W. B.
Edmondstone, Admiral Sir W. Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.
Isaac, S.
Edwards, H. Jenkins, D. J.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Johnson, J. G.
Egerton, hon. W. Johnstone, Sir F.
Elcho, Lord Johnstone, Sir H.
Elliot, G. W. Jolliffe, hon. S.
Evans, T. W. Jones, J.
Fellowes, E. Kavanagh, A. Mac M.
Kay-Shuttleworth, U. J. Rendlesham, Lord
Ridley, M. W.
Kennard, Colonel Ripley, H. W.
Kensington, Lord Russell, Lord A.
Law, rt. hon. H. Ryder, G. R.
Lawrence, Sir T. Sackville, S. G. S.
Learmonth, A. Salt, T.
Leatham, E. A. Samuda, J. D'A.
Lee, Major V. Sanderson, T. K.
Legard, Sir C. Sandford, G. M. W.
Leighton, S. Sandon, Viscount
Leith, J. F. Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Scott, Lord H.
Leslie, Sir J. Scott, M. D.
Lewis, C. E. Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J.
Lindsay, Col. R. L.
Lindsay, Lord Shirley, S. E.
Lloyd, S. Shute, General
Lloyd, T. E. Sidebottom, T. H.
Lopes, Sir M. Simonds, W. B.
Lowther, J. Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.
Macartney, J. W. E. Smith, A.
Macduff, Viscount Smith, E.
Mac Iver, D. Smith, S. G.
Mackintosh, C. F. Smith, W. H.
Maitland, J. Somerset, Lord H. R. C.
Maitland, W. F. Sotheron-Estcourt, G.
Majendie, L. A. Spinks, Mr. Serjeant
Makins, Colonel Stanhope, W. T. W. S.
Malcolm, J. W. Stanley, hon. F.
Manners, rt. hn. Lord J. Starkey, L. R.
Marten, A. G. Stevenson, J. C.
Maxwell, Sir W. S. Stewart, M. J.
Mellor, T. W. Swanston, A.
Merewether, C. G. Sykes, C.
Milbank, F. A. Taylor, D.
Mills, Sir C. H. Taylor, rt. hon. Col.
Monckton, F. Tennant, R.
Monk, C. J. Thornhill, T.
Montgomerie, R. Thwaites, D.
Montgomery, Sir G. G. Thynne, Lord H. F.
Moore, S. Tollemache, hon. W. F.
Morgan, hon. F. Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-
Morgan, G. O.
Mulholland, J. Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-
Muntz, P. H. Turnor, E.
Mure, Colonel Verner, E. W.
Naghten, Lt.-Col. Vivian, A. P.
Newport, Viscount Wait, W. K.
Noel, rt, hon. G. J. Walker, T. E.
Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H. Wallace, Sir R.
Walsh, hon. A.
O'Neill, hon. E. Walter, J.
Onslow, D. Watney, J.
Paget, R. H. Wellesley, Colonel
Pell, A. Wheelhouse, W. S. J.
Pemberton, E. L. Whitworth, B.
Pennant, hon. G. Wilmot, Sir H.
Peploe, Major Wolff, Sir H. D.
Percy, Earl Woodd, B. T
Pim, Captain B. Wroughton, P.
Plunket, hon. D. R. Wyndham, hon. P.
Plunkett, hon. R. Yorke, hon. E.
Polhill-Turner, Capt. Yorke, J. R.
Portman, hon. W. H. B. Young, A. W.
Powell, W. TELLERS.
Price, W. E. Dyke, Sir W. H. Winn, R.
Raikes, H. C.
Ralli, P.
Biggar, J. G. Bowyer, Sir G.
Blennerhassett, R. P. Brady, J.
Bright, Jacob Middleton, Sir A. E.
Brooks, M. Moore, A.
Browne, G. E. Morris, G.
Burt, T. Murphy, N. D.
Butt, I. O'Brien, Sir P.
Callan, P. O'Byrne, W. R.
Carter, R. M. O'Callaghan, hon. W.
Chadwick, D. O'Clery, K.
Collins, E. O'Conor, D. M.
Conyngham, Lord F. O'Conor Don, The
Cowen, J. O'Gorman, P.
Cross, J. K. O'Keeffe, J.
Dease, E. O'Leary, W.
Digby, K. T. O'Loghlen, rt. hon. Sir C. M.
Downing, M'C.
Dunbar, J. O'Reilly, M.
Ennis, N. O'Shaughnessy, R.
Errington, G. O'Sullivan, W. H.
Esmonde, Sir J. Parnell, C. S.
Fay, C. J. Power, J. O'C.
French, hon. C. Rylands, P.
Gourley, E. T. Shaw, W.
Hamond, C. F. Sheil, E.
Henry, M. Sherlock, Mr. Serjeant
Kirk, G. H. Stacpoole, W.
Lawson, Sir W. Sullivan, A. M.
Lewis, O. Ward, M. F.
MacCarthy, J. G. TELLERS.
M'Kenna, Sir J. N. Nolan, Captain Power, R.
Martin, P.
Meldon, C. H.

Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.