§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [17th January.]—[See p. 126.]
And which Amendment was, at the end of the Question, to add the following paragraph:—
We humbly represent to your Majesty that, while we are glad to observe that the questions of the Grand Jury Laws and Intermediate Education in Ireland are to be brought before Parliament, and we await information on the nature and scope of the proposals which may be submitted, we humbly assure Your Majesty that we shall regard it as the duty of Parliament, on the earliest opportunity in the present condition of public affairs, to consider, in a wise and conciliatory spirit, the national demands which the Irish people have repeatedly raised."—(Mr. Henry.)
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. MELDON
rose to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Galway, and would implore the House seriously to consider it. He wished first to point out that it was not an Amendment that went to the question of Home Rule, but only to the systematic refusal of the House to redress the many grievances brought before it by Irish Members. This was not the first Amendment moved by Irish Members on the Address. In 1874 an Amendment was moved that there should be an inquiry into the causes of the discontent that existed in Ireland, and on that occasion an argument was used which certainly had much force in it. They were told that if they could only substantiate any grievances, the House would be ready to redress them. The complaint they now made was, in substance, that the promises given in 1874 had not been carried out. It was that policy of systematically rejecting the demands of the Irish people, and of contemptuously kicking out every Bill the Irish Repre- 160 sentatives brought in for the redress of grievances, that gave them so much and such just cause of complaint. He should wish to call attention to the position of the Irish Party in that House. They were placed between two Parties—the Party of action in Ireland, who did not believe in Parliamentary action, and the Party who trusted in Parliament to redress all Irish grievances. He was not about to bring the question of Home Rule before the House, but to point to the results of the efforts of the Irish Party during the last few Sessions. It had been remarked last evening that the Amendment was inopportune, in consequence of the insignificance of the questions that it raised as compared with the vast interests now at stake. But he would ask whether the question of assimilating the borough franchise in Ireland to that of England was an insignificant one? What reason was there that the people of Ireland should be placed upon a different political footing from those of England and Scotland? How had that question been received by that House? A Conservative Government had conceded household suffrage to England and Scotland, but when a similar measure was proposed respecting Ireland, it was met by a Party movement and refused. The borough franchise was a most important question, and he considered that its rejection struck at the root of all Constitutional agitation in Ireland, and was calculated to give rise to agitation of another character. When questions of importance like that were brought forward in an argumentative manner, it was not right to treat them with silence. Such treatment surely could not be defended. Ireland was one part of the Kingdom the people of which did not enjoy the benefit of political power. The demands which they made were perfectly reasonable, and he submitted that those demands ought to be treated with proper respect. He admitted that the question of the registration of Parliamentary voters in Ireland was a small one, but at the same time he could not see why the legislation for Ireland on this subject should be more unfavourable to the voters than that for England and Scotland. Then, again, there was the question of the Irish municipal franchise, which for some unaccountable reason was placed on a different footing from that of England. These 161 were not Home Rule measures, but had for their object the assimilation of the laws of the two countries. He complained that the House of Commons had systematically declined to discuss all these questions, and had thereby weakened the hands of those who sought to remove Irish grievances by Parliamentary action. The release of the political prisoners had been refused with insult last Session, yet for some unknown reason certain of them had been released during the Recess, but it could not be said that their release had been granted in answer to the prayer of the Irish people. The speech of the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) endorsed the policy which had been adopted here— namely, that of disregarding the wishes of the people of Ireland. That sort of speech was calculated to do more mischief than any adverse vote in that House. It was a speech that might have been delivered before a constitutional club, but he certainly regretted from the bottom of his heart that it had boon delivered in that House. Whenever the hon. and learned Gentleman sought to be argumentative his speech almost answered itself. The hon. and learned Gentleman had proved most conclusively that the House would not remedy the grievance of Ireland with reference to the University question, for he had told them that as far back as 1845 the University question was a grievance which the Government were bound to take up. It was because that duty was felt that the Act for the establishment of the Queen's University and the Queen's Colleges was passed. Up to the present moment that Act was almost a dead letter. The Irish Members were asked why they did not themselves introduce a reasonable scheme which might be accepted as a settlement. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) did introduce such a measure, and what was its fate? Why, it was ignominiously kicked out of the House, the English Members of which did not even think it worth discussion. That question had agitated the people of Ireland probably more than any other question. Where England or Scotland was concerned, the House was in favour of religious education, but on this University question, on which the people of Ireland might have expected that the Con- 162 servatives would act in accordance with their own principles, Conservative joined with Liberal Members in kicking out the Bill. What the House ought rather to have done would have been to have admitted the grievance—to have admitted the principle of the measure, and then said—"The Bill goes too far, in our opinion, but we shall strive to amend it." But they did nothing of the kind. Was it their policy to kick out every measure introduced by Home Rule Members? The Home Rule Members had the greatest difficulty in getting the people of Ireland to believe that any of their grievances would be remedied by Constitutional means. He was the last man who would like to hold out a threat, but as a matter of conscience he could not allow the debate to close without endorsing to a very great extent the sentiments expressed by the hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan). As far as he could judge, if this country should become a party to the war on the Eastern Question, no help need be looked for from Ireland. ["Oh!"] This was a most opportune moment for acting towards Ireland in a conciliatory spirit, and it would be far better if reforms were granted instead of being wrung from unwilling hands. If they asked too much, that was no reason for acceding to nothing at all. Their complaint was that this Parliament had systematically rejected everything that they had asked for. The Land Bill, the Church Bill, and the Emancipation Bill, were only got from fear; and the Amendments to the Prisons Bill wore only granted after an attitude of defiance had been set up by Irish Members. He hoped that they would have some expression from the Government in favour of their demands. If the Government pursued the course hitherto adopted, they would endanger the peace of this country. On the Sunday question they had nine-tenths of the Irish Members in favour of it, but they wore denied that boon by the Conservative Government. He hoped that they would not refuse the just demands of Ireland. This was a question of the most serious moment, and he asked that they should not be compelled to resort to unconstitutional action.
§ MR. HERMON
reminded the hon. and learned Member who had just spoken that the strongest opposition offered in that House to the measure for closing 163 public-houses on Sunday in Ireland came from hon. Gentlemen on his own side. He repudiated the imputation made on the previous evening, that English Members took no interest or concern in Irish measures. For himself he had always been a patient listener to Irish debates. He never interrupted them; and, although English Members as a rule did not speak on Irish questions, they did their best to obtain information on them and to understand them to the best of their ability, and it was unfair to assert, as the hon. and learned Member for Kildare had done, that the demands of the Irish Members were treated with scorn. He was very much struck, he might say distressed, by some of the inflammatory language used by his hon. Friends opposite last night. The hon. Members for Wexford and Louth made use of language which he believed both hon. Members in their calmer moments must think a little too strong. The Irish Members were, no doubt, better acquainted than himself with Ireland; but it must strike commercial men like himself that the procedure of last night was not exactly the panacea for Irish wrongs. He was not aware whether hon. Members addressed the same style of language to their constituents, but if they did he thought it most unwise. The best thing for Ireland would be to establish commercial enterprise there; but after the speeches of last night what capitalists would venture their money to build mills and establishments upon what, according to hon. Members opposite, was a volcano? He did not exactly understand what hon. Gentlemen meant by "the national demand" of Ireland; but if the grievances of which they complained were real, and if they wished greater attention to be given to the Bills they introduced, let them choose a more suitable mode of making such a proposal than by way of an Amendment to the Address. There was a good deal of talk about Home Rule, but he never met with anyone who could tell him exactly what it meant. If they merely wanted to have in Ireland an institution analogous to the London Metropolitan Board of Works, or to manage their own railways, canals, gas, water, and matters of that sort, he would heartily go with them, for Irishmen themselves knew more about those things than that House generally could do. Irish Mem- 164 bers were surprised that they could not pass every Bill they introduced, or perhaps none of them. Now, private Members from Lancashire and other parts of England experienced just the same difficulty in getting their Bills beyond the second reading; but they did not therefore turn round and say that-their Bills were "ignominiously kicked out by the House," as had been said by the last speaker. He protested against such exaggerated language and maintained that, whether they were English, Scotch, or Irish Members, they were all one brotherhood, and equally bound to do their best for every part of the United Kingdom.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, he had listened very carefully to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon), because he knew there was no man more capable of putting forward all the arguments that could be advanced in favour of the proposition he was advocating. In supporting this Amendment the hon. and learned Member had said he did not refer particularly to the question of Home Rule, because it was not raised by this Amendment. ["No, no!"]
§ MR. MELDON
I said it was not a question of Home Rule alone, but of disregarding all demands of the Irish people, and enumerated several of them.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, that was exactly what he had understood, that this was not specifically a Homo Rule Amendment, but intended to cover the general legislation for Ireland. He was sorry that the expression "ignominiously kicked out" had been used by the hon. and learned Member. There were introduced in the course of the Session a great many measures that wore not palatable to the majority of the House—the Permissive Bill, for instance —which he did not support. Those measures were very carefully considered by the House, and many of them were rejected on the second reading, or, in the hon. and learned Member's words, "ignominiously kicked out." The Bill for the repeal of the Corn Laws was repeatedly rejected or "ignominiously kicked out;" but those who supported it did not go to their constituents and tell them that in consequence of its rejection they must no longer place confidence in Parliament. If that were done, the Constitutional system would not go on at all. He would briefly refer to those measures 165 which had been mentioned, and first of all to the Borough Franchise Bill. That measure had been supported by almost the whole vote of the Opposition the Session before last, and was only defeated by a majority of about 30. Surely the Bill had been treated in no exceptional manner, though he regretted it was not possible to carry it; they had voted for it, and that was all that was in their power. What was done was done within the Constitutional action of that House. There was nothing to complain of; they would only have to wait, and no doubt many of their most cherished plans would ultimately pass into law. Let them remember how many years the English Members had waited for household suffrage. The proposal had been brought forward for 20 years by Mr. Baines, who was the hon. Member for Leeds, and it had not yet been carried. It was true that there were other measures which were proposed by Irish Members, and which did not pass the House. There was the Municipal Corporations Bill, which was supported by almost all the Members on that side of the House, and yet they were not successful, because the occupants of those benches were in a majority. The Scotch Members were frequently bringing forward a Bill on Hypothec. That was supported by Conservative Members — willingly or unwillingly—as well as Liberals, but that Bill had been lost over and over again, yet the Scotch Members did not consider that as ignominious treatment of the Scotch people Those were two principal measures referred to by the hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon). The third was the education question, which everyone knew was a very difficult question; but he did not think that the history of the Irish University Education Bill which was introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich was one of great encouragement to future Ministers to take up the subject, and he was not surprised that successive Prime Ministers had tried to evade dealing with it. The hon. and learned Member for Kildare had alluded to the treatment of the religious question in connection with Irish Education; but he (Sir William Harcourt) must confess that he had always been under the impression that no advantage was given by the State to 166 England which was not equally extended to religious education in Ireland. He believed, in fact, that the condition of the two countries in that respect was identical; and so far as he was concerned he had always given, and should always give, his vote in favour of making the law in Ireland on that subject similar to that of England. If the different sections in that House were to say that because they had failed in carrying the measures they had introduced they thought it necessary to bring forward an Amendment to the Address, he did not see how the Business of the Legislature was to be carried on; and, as far as he could judge, he did not think the hon. and learned Member for Kildare had made out his case. The Irish Members had not been ignominiously treated by the House; they had received the support of many who were not Irish Members, and they had not been successful; but he could not see how the hon. and learned Member for Kildare could constitute out of this a national grievance.
§ MR. SHAW
said, he had been greatly pained by an expression used by the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) on the previous evening, namely, that the Home Rule Members were masquerading. If that had any meaning at all it meant that they were dishonest in bringing the question before the House, and that they only meant it for their constituencies. Now, they could have no possible motive for masquerading as Home Rulers. Speaking generally, there was hardly a Member of the Party who would not be returned without professing it. It was, therefore, unparliamentary in the highest degree to use such language with respect to the Irish Members. If he did not believe in Home Rule he should feel himself unworthy of standing up in the House and looking honest men in the face. As to the Amendment being inopportune, he contended that Irish Members had a Constitutional right to bring their grievances forward on the Address in Answer to the Queen's Speech. They were told by the hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt), that they must bring forward their measures again and again, and wait paitently for the attainment of their objects. The Home Rulers, however, were in this position, that they could never become a majority in the House. There was just a possi- 167 bility that 15 years hence the Gentlemen on the other side might be required to change places, and there was some hope that at the end of that time the questions referred to might receive more attentive consideration. The Home Rule Party, however, could never become a majority, and they were thrown about in a shuttlecock fashion between the two great Parties, while nothing practical was done to remove the grievances of which they complained. He had never brought in a Bill, because he knew it was hopeless to pass it. It was only when either of the great Parties in the State, for their own Party purposes, hoped to arouse the country on some popular question or to meet some exigency of the moment, that they wished to legislate on Irish subjects. They wore taken up by them not because Ireland wanted legislation, or that it was reasonable or in accordance with the desire of the people, but because it suited their own purposes, and then they threw it to Ireland just as a bone was thrown to a hungry dog. He had known instances where Liberal Members had voted upon the principle of "follow my loader"—they disliked the principle of the Bill, but they voted for it because they were bound as Party men to follow their Leader, and they did so with expressions of hate and contempt for the Irish for whoso benefit they wore professedly legislating. It was not right for the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University or for a Member of the Government to scoff at Irish Members as if they wore not in earnest, by telling them that if they brought forward measures they would be attentively considered in that House. The hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hermon) had warned them against the danger of diverting by agitation English capital from Ireland. Well, he would be glad if England would leave Ireland her own capital, but the capital of Ireland tended to flow over to England; and as to England's investments in Ireland he must say that he had hardly ever known any of them succeed; while undertakings carried on by Irishmen in Ireland almost always succeeded, those carried on by Englishmen almost always failed. This arose from the fact that Englishmen when they embarked their capital in Ireland refused to take the honest advice of Irishmen who knew their country, and believed that such advice was given for the purpose of cheating them. 168 He was therefore by no means desirous of seeing an extensive investment of English capital in Ireland. He admitted that many of the questions which had received attention would not have justified the present action; but the throe great questions which formed the basis of their movement were the Land Question, the Education Question, and Homo Rule; and these were of such momentous importance as to justify them, however unpleasant it might be to many hon. Members, in proposing an Amendment on the Address. With respect to the Land Laws, notwithstanding the Bill of the right hon. Member for Greenwich, evictions were still frequent. Recently in the county of Cork the agent of an absentee landlord raised the rent of a small holding on which the buildings, the roads, and the drainage had all been constructed by the tenant from £16 to £30 a-year, and when the tenant remonstrated the agent wrote—"If you do not pay the rent at once it will be raised to £40, or you will be evicted." Well, it might be said that in such a case the tenant might claim compensation and leave, but what would be the result? That he would be driven to become a labourer, and he, for one, did not think that any landowner had such a right of property in his land as to entitle him to have the power of injuring the community. Property in land differed fundamentally from other property. It was derived from society and subject to the control of the community as represented by the Legislature. They took possession of it without the consent of the landlord when they required it for any public purpose, and if the owner used it for any purpose injurious to the community they pro-vented him. Now, he believed that the absolute power of causeless eviction was in Ireland an enormous injury to the State. He believed that it would be very easy, without dealing unfairly with the landlord, to introduce such improvements into the law as would prevent the possibility of the occurrence of cases like that to which he had just referred, and it was, he thought, the duty of the State to make those amendments. No one, in his opinion, should be turned out of an agricultural holding without notice to quit, upon which should be set forth in plain English the reasons for turning him out, as to the validity of which reasons a Judge of the land should be em- 169 powered to adjudicate. In this way the tenant would have security of tenure, while, instead of losing, the landlords would find the value of their property increased. Here, then, was the Education question. This was one of an urgent kind, because at present it was difficult to find an adequate number of young men educated sufficiently for the situations open to them. He believed that this question might be settled easily enough but for the bigotry on both sides of the House. It might be settled either by the right hon. Gentlemen on the front benches, or by a meeting of Irish Members, from which Members of the Cabinet were excluded. He had quite sufficient confidence in the good sense and fooling of the Members from the North of Ireland to feel confident that this could be done. But the truth was that against any scheme which could be satisfactory to Ireland there would be such an outcry on the part of Exeter Hall that no Government dared to propose it. Then as to Home Rule. He believed it would be the wisest measure for England and Ireland, and that it was the only way in which this question could be settled and by which the difficulties between the two countries could be removed. He knew that the statesmen on both sides were pledged against it, but he did not attach much importance to that. The country, however, was now in a state of political collapse, and there were forces moving under the surface of society which would soon manifest themselves; and the people would say—"We will get rid of the great Liberal Loaders if they don't know how to lead us." It might not, and probably would not, be long before there would be another upheaval of the forces of society in Europe to which the recent extension of the franchise and the increase of democratic influence would give great power in England. Was it, then, wise for the Conservative Party to fling away 70 or 80 Irish votes which were entirely Conservative, as far as all social matters were concerned? He trusted Home Rule Members had not hitherto flung themselves into any Radical movements. He would himself like to see this grand old country work out her destinies in her old way. He would regret to touch any of her institutions, and, although a Dissenter, would not willingly vote for the Disestablishment of the Church; but the 170 refusal of Home Rule would drive the Irish Members to ally themselves with extreme Parties, in order to carry the question they had at heart. As sure as they kicked their Bills out and refused to remedy the grievances of which they complained, they would meddle with the English Land Laws and the English Church, and would ally themselves with the Parties from whom alone they could expect to obtain assistance in their main objects. They must respect themselves, and they must make themselves respected; and they must, therefore, take the course he had indicated if they were driven to it, in order to show not the people of England, but the ruling classes, that they were not on the right path in treating Ireland as they had done and were doing.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
observed that the hon. Member who had just spoken had a perfect right to exprss the sentiments which prevailed in the part of the country with which he was connected. As a Representative of another section of the Irish people, he claimed an equal right to express their views. It was too much the custom to talk of the Roman Catholics as if they were the Irish people, ignoring altogether the Protestant community. He ventured to express the fooling that animated a largo and loyal portion of the inhabitants of Ireland who were determined to maintain the integrity of this great Empire, and desirous of upholding the interests and the honour of England. He should have boon silent on that occasion if he had consulted his own feelings, out filter the views which had been enunciated and given as representing the Irish people, it would be nothing loss than a crime in one holding the opinions he hold if he remained passive under such a calumny. They had been accused of joining on that side of the House in a conspiracy of silence. Well, that was the only kind of conspiracy in which hon. Members coming from Ireland who sat on his side of the House joined. He might speak plainly because he was at one with many Irish Members opposite on many topics; but on this occasion, when the integrity of the Empire was threatened covertly by this Amendment of the Address, he could have neither act nor part in their proceeding. If this Motion meant anything, it meant Home Rule; and if Homo Rule meant anything, it 171 meant the disintegration of this great country. Lord Maaulay, in one of the most memorable speeches delivered in that House upon the question of Repeal, brought before it in 1833, said—I defy the hon. and learned Member, therefore, to find a reason for having a Parliament at Dublin, which will not be just as good a reason for having another Parliament at Londonderry.There was as much difference between Ulster and the other three Provinces as between the population of those three Provinces and the people of England and Scotland. He had heard the suggestion of the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. O'Clery) that they should establish a Volunteer Force in Ireland—that was, in Munster, Leinster, and Connaught; but unhappy Ulster, where the Protestant population was large and loyal, was to be exempted from the benefit.
§ MR. O'CLERY
explained that what he said was that Ulster was the only Province that had disgraced itself by rioting through religious prejudices, and he suggested that districts where rioting might have prevailed might be deprived of the right to have a Volunteer Force.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
said, he did not think he had misrepresented the hon. Member. The hon. Member would give Volunteers to Tipperary, but he would not give them to Antrim and Down—the two great counties in the only Province in Ireland which was loyal to England. The other three Provinces, which were very largely disloyal, were to be armed to attack England in the hour of emergency. They had been informed by the correspondent of the loading journal of this country, The Times, of a very curious sentiment entertained by the Italians as to the hon. Gentlemen opposite. They were told that the Italians believed that if England should become Roman Catholic to-morrow, the hon. Gentlemen who belonged to the Home Rule Party would turn Protestant out of spite. He was pained to hear the able and learned Members for Louth and Kildare make the declarations they had made in the House. Those hon. and learned Gentlemen had told the House that if this country was engaged in a foreign war it could not look for support and sympathy from a large portion of the people of Ireland.
said, he had stated that the amount of popular support which 172 would be given in England and Scotland would not be given by the masses of the population of Ireland in the same proportion.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
said, that could not be wondered at when they heard of votes of thanks to the Czar stating that he, and not the Queen of England, deserved the thanks of the Irish people for the release of the Fenian prisoners; and he believed if to-morrow England were engaged in a war with Russia, they would find enthusiastic meetings in Ireland passing votes and expressing hopes that the arms of Russia would prevail against England. He spoke as an Orangeman; a word which had a peculiar effect on hon. Gentlemen opposite, but the body to which he belonged had been misrepresented in that House and out of it. They were bound together to maintain the Protestant religion, the Constitution, and the integrity of the Empire; they were hostile to no section of Her Majesty's subjects, and they desired to uphold no ascendency; but they were determined to cast in their lot for weal or woe with this great Empire, and they would be loyal and true to her to the last.
§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN
said, it was nearly 20 years since he had taken part in a debate on an Amendment to the Address to the Crown, and he should not have done so now had not the circumstances of the case appeared to him to be in the highest degree exceptional. Lot the House consider for a moment the position in which they were placed. Only two days ago the country was in a state of great uneasiness, a largo portion of the community being impressed with the feeling that we were likely to drift into war at a time when the opinion of the country was decidedly in favour of peace. He did not blame the Government for that, and he had never entertained the fear himself; be-cause he knew that there were certain Members of the Cabinet whose past career gave the surest guarantee that, having once pledged themselves to a policy of neutrality, they would not have remained for one hour longer in that Cabinet if a contrary policy had found favour therein. But what had happened on the previous day? Assurances were given by the Government of an eminently satisfactory character, and there was only one feeling on the part of the great majority of that House—that an Address 173 should go forth to Her Majesty expressing the voice of the Parliament of England as the voice of one man. There was now an interposition from that side of the House which he viewed with the greatest regret, both from an Imperial point of view and from the view of one who was desirous of meeting the just wishes of the Irish people. From an Imperial point of view, he believed the action taken by hon. Members below the Gangway was contrary to the wishes of the great majority of the British people, and contrary, too, to the wishes of the majority of the constituents of the hon. Members who supported the Amendment to the Address, and who he was sure at such a time would wish that only one voice should go up to Her Majesty from Her Parliament. The Irish Members, by the course they had taken, had not improved their own position, by placing themselves in opposition to the people of this country and wishing to become isolated. What they (the Members of the House) wished was that Ireland should share in the prosperity of the country instead of isolating itself. We wished them to have a share and a portion in every national success we achieved, and in every national movement we undertook. Why did not the hon. Members from Ireland join them in a peaceful demonstration? Did they differ from the foreign policy of England? No, they did not. Why, then, did they not go with them to the Throne with a unanimous Address? Whatever differences might exist upon particular legislative measures, Ireland, as England, was for peace; and at the present moment, he believed, if fully ascertained, the views of the Irish people would be found to be in favour of a unanimous voice in going to Her Majesty in this grave crisis in European affairs. He regretted the Amendment from an Irish point of view, and he had a right to consider himself a friend of Ireland, for during a long career in Parliament he had constantly supported measures conceived in a spirit friendly to Ireland. Englishmen did not want to isolate Ireland, and they did not want to see Irishmen isolate her. He wanted to see Ireland share in the prosperity and the triumphs of England, and he asked the Irish Members whether there was a single Irish measure which they had proposed which would be advanced by differing from the English Parliament 174 on this great question? It was only right that there should be an expression of opinion from the bench on which he sat, indicating the desire of its occupants that the Address should be adopted with unanimity, and that the controversy as to whether there was a certain amount of disloyalty in parts of Ireland should cease. In spite of the bitterness engendered by Parliamentary defeat and the rejection of the Bills of Irish Members, some of which he had himself supported, he believed that no such disloyalty existed in Ireland as had been hinted. He referred with regret to the statements made as to differences of opinion in various parts of Ireland, and he firmly believed, and would continue to believe till it was proved to the contrary, that if a national crisis wore to arise the sons of Tipperary would go out to fight the enemies of the country as loyally and as readily as those of Ulster, and those who said otherwise wronged themselves and their countrymen. He believed Irish Members would best advance the measures they had at heart by not forcing a division on the Amendment when the House desired to be unanimous. He remembered the moderate and wise manner in which the hon. Member for Cork County brought forward the question of Homo Bide in a previous Session, and he always listened to him with respect. When, however, the hon. Member told the House that hon. Gentlemen on the Government side were as Liberal as those on that (the Opposition) side, he could only reply that this was a point, open to argument, but hardly relevant to the present issue. But when the hon. Member taunted those upon the front Opposition bench with the probability of their exclusion from office for 15 years, and hinted that they were ready to support certain Irish measures with a view to regain office, he (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) would inform him in the name of every occupant of that bench that no such taunts as he had now indulged in would prevent them from voting with Irish Members when they believed them to be right and against them when they believed them to be wrong. There were many questions advocated by Irish Members for Ireland which English Liberals could cordially support as legitimate parts of a Liberal programme, and which would naturally be opposed by those on the opposite side of the House. On the 175 other hand, there were questions which could not be admitted to be part of the Liberal policy, and to which the Liberal Members must reserve the right of objecting when they wore brought forward. One of these was Home Rule, and he had particularly guarded against announcing himself as an enemy of it because he had not been able to understand precisely what it meant. But if Homo Rule was intended to signify a severance of Irish from English interests, lot there be no mistake as to the intentions of the great body of English Liberals. If it did not mean that, at least in the view of some of its adherents, he did not understand the language used on the other side of the Channel, imputing to English Members enmity to Ireland, and stating that this House was full of the enemies of Ireland. He protested strongly against such language, and he declared that there was a general wish on one side of the House as well as on the other to deal justly and fairly with every proposal made by the Representatives of the Irish people. With respect to the Home Rule question, those who sat on the front Opposition bench would listen attentively to the arguments that were adduced, and of course they would be very glad to consolidate the Liberal Party, so that there should be unity upon that side of the House. It was a natural and an honourable wish to unite the different sections of a Party so that the principles might be advanced upon which that Party had been formed. But he would say emphatically for himself, for those who sat around him, and for the whole body of English and Scotch Members in that House that, however much they might desire an united Party, they would never give their consent to any course which, in order to consolidate a Party, might imperil an Empire.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
complained that the right hon. Gentleman who had last spoken taunted them with being guilty of isolation, but he denied the correctness of that statement. They were told that they were acting unconstitutionally in bringing forward an Amendment to the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne; but this Parliament was not specially summoned to consider a question of peace or war. Her Majesty had not confined herself in Her Speech to the state of matters in the East of Europe; but had referred to 176 questions of domestic legislation. The ordinary Constitutional course had therefore been followed. He denied that the hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. W. Johnston) had any right to assume a position of peculiar loyalty. He was sure that of many sent to that House deeply attached to this present Empire under which they lived, he had never taken a position contrary to the integrity of this great Empire, for which his reverence was not exceeded by that of any hon. Gentleman; but, while he expressed that sentiment, he was equally devoted to the country the cradle of his race, and in that he saw nothing inconsistent with a devotion to Imperial interests, and he could therefore support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Gal way. Were he a Revolutionist he should tell the people of Ireland there was no use in appealing to the House of Commons; but because he was loyal to the Constitution he advocated faith in Parliamentary Government as the means of obtaining the redress of Irish grievances. He would not refer to the past, to the days of Desmond and O'Neil, though if he had lived in the times of oppression of 1798 he would have been a United Irishman. But the circumstances of our own time were not the circumstances of 1798, and during the past century the course of the British Parliament had been that of slow, but he might almost say of mathematical, progress in reference to Ireland. He asked the House to let him refer to what they presented to the House, and they presented their programme without considering the propriety of dealing with Ireland as an autonomous nation. Perhaps he ought not to use the word, because there were some people who said that a dictionary did not give its correct meaning. He did not consider that inconsistent with their alliance with England, and he, for one, would not be there as a Home Ruler if he thought Homo Rule meant a separation of Ireland from the Empire. In matters purely Irish they wished to be allowed to legislate for themselves. Imperialists in every other respect they were and intended to be. They were anxious to participate in all the beneficent influences connected with this great Empire, and they believed that if they got the fair play they wished they would prove themselves loyal and devoted servants of the Crown. The House of Commons had neither the time, the inclination, nor the knowledge ne- 177 cessary to enable it to deal properly and offectually with. Irish questions. At the present moment the Education question was amongst the most important of these, and he might be allowed to say a word or two upon that question; for, although a Roman Catholic, he derived in early life his education in a Church of England school, and took degrees at Trinity Col-logo. What they proposed was, that the Roman Catholic people of Ireland should not be allowed to remain altogether uneducated unless they consented to be educated in a particular manner, and that one opposed to their religious convictions. He was perfectly sure that if it was proposed to educate either Mussulmans or the Hindoo population of our Indian Empire in a manner which was offensive to their consciences, the proposal would not be listened to for a moment. They might call the objections of the Irish Roman Catholics to the education which it was now intended to force upon them prejudices, but they were prejudices which deserved to be respected. It was the duty of Parliament to give them the opportunity of receiving education in their own way, and for the life of him he could not see what objection there could be to a Roman Catholic University being empowered to confer degrees on the assurance that they should not be conferred upon any but those who exhibited adequate scholastic attainments. With regard to the Fenian prisoners, beyond expressing his deep regret at the sad story of the unfortunate man who had died a few days after his release, he would not say more pending the inquiry which the Homo Secretary had promised to institute in respect to the treatment of those incarcerated in the convict prisons. Generally, he thought, the gaolers should not be entrusted with a discretionary power of adding to the punishment specified by the Judge by whom the convicts might be sentenced. A prisoner in the 19th century should not be treated as prisoners were in the middle ages, as in the times of Louis XL, when they were hung up in cages in the Castle of Loches. He could not, however, see how the Government, having consented to release the military prisoners, could now keep in custody the other prisoners who had not committed any such offence. He trusted Her Majesty's Ministers would listen to appeals of Irish Members on behalf of those unfortunate men—appeals which 178 were entirely free from anything that partook of menace. Allusion had been made to the probability of Ireland being invaded and the people joining the invaders; but the fear on that score was simply ridiculous. Was the Czar the person who was to invade it? Why, the animosities which formerly existed between the Orangemen and the Roman Catholics wore as nothing compared to those which existed between the latter and the members of the Greek Church. Was it Germany which was to invade Ireland? He should like to see the man in Ireland who would be bold enough to enrol a brigade to support Prince Bismark. As to a French invasion, the fact was that only a very limited number of Frenchmen knew anything about Ireland except that it was a Catholic country; and it was idle to talk of the Americans coming across the Atlantic to invade the country. The idea of such a thing seemed too preposterous to be mentioned. In the event of this country being involved in a war there would be, as hitherto, a feeling of sympathy between the English, Scotch, and Irish people. As a devoted adherent to Her Majesty's Crown, he denied the imputation of disloyalty which had been cast upon his countrymen, and he hoped Irish Members, in the duty they had to perform to their country, had not offended British prejudices by bringing before the House the wants and wishes of the Irish people. In conclusion, he asked the House to treat this country properly, to behave in a manner which had been indicated by many hon. Gentlemen that had addressed them, and at least express some sympathy for the feelings of the Irish people.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that the House had been told for the hundredth time that its Members generally were in a state of dense ignorance as to Irish affairs. No imputation could be more unjust. The history of Ireland was no longer a closed book, either against Members of that House or the English public during the eventful period of 100 years before the Union. Mr. Froude, in his work, The English in Ireland, had elucidated the history of that country, and in doing so had fairly exposed the true history and origin of the Home Rule movement. The movement was simply intended to facilitate the action of the Clerical Party, and their desire for free and Constitutional institutions had been 179 sufficiently illustrated by their recent conduct in Ireland. Their demand was that University education, intermediate education, and even primary education should he in the keeping and direction of the priests. That was the motive of their action. The advocates of Home Rule had never drawn a clear distinction between the policy of Home Rule and Repeal. Anyone who read the reports of I what had been said last night by the hon. and learned Member for Louth and others, must come to the conclusion that their object was the restoration of that unhappy state of things which existed in Ireland, in the time of the "United Irishman," at the close of the last century. He regretted that this Amendment had been proposed. He did not think it in the least justifiable, because in the Speech from the Throne this House had received a distinct engagement that Her Majesty's Government would introduce measures for Ireland whenever there was the slightest prospect of the Home Rulers allowing them to pass. He considered the Amendment as a manifestation of the dictatorial spirit which influenced the action of hon. Members. It had been said by hon. Gentlemen opposite that if this country should be engaged in war they would raise an insurrectionary movement which would compel Parliament to assent to the policy which they advocated. He would tell hon. Members from Ireland that they might rouse in this country a resolve that if autonomy were granted, it should be granted to Ireland only as a colony and not as an integral part of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
rose to a point of Order, for the hon. Gentleman had just made a most extraordinary and unjustifiable statement. He had said that hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House had stated that in case of a foreign war they would rise to insurrection. No such statement had been made, in fact it would be treason. On the contrary, every hon. Member on that side of the House would endeavour to repress any insurrection, and prevent the evils arising there from. He must ask the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair if the hon. Member for North Warwickshire was not out of Order in making a statement which was utterly calumnious?
§ MR. SPEAKER
If the hon. Member for North Warwickshire imputed disloyalty to any Member of this House, he 180 would no doubt be out of Order; but I did not understand the hon. Member to do so.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
said the hon. Member had certainly stated that hon. Members for Ireland would excite insurrection.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he had adverted to the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Louth, which were to the effect that England's difficulty was Ireland's opportunity, and to those of the hon. Member for Cork, who said that evening that unless the House accepted the dictation of the Home Rule Members with respect to the government of Ireland, he would feel compelled to join with others in advocating the extreme opinions which so many in the House condemned.
§ SIR JOSEPH M'KENNA
said, that the historical references of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, so quickly followed by the disavowal of his (Sir Joseph M'Kenna's)hon. Friends, the Home Rule Representatives, reminded him forcibly of some lines which he had recently read which applied to this sort of discussion—With varied lore his mind replete isFrom ancient tome and modern treatise;From the Enchiridion of EpictetusTo grass manures and black potatoes.Whene'er he speaks his speech is freightedWith history so well narrated,You'd think some question was debated,Whilst he refuted what no one stated!And now he would observe in reference to the political prisoners, whatever might be the sentiments of any section of the Irish people on the subject, he would from his place in that House express his own deep sense of gratitude to Her Gracious Majesty, who really originated the work of compassion and mercy. He was, also, not unmindful of the Government for yielding, even at so late an hour, to the influences that were brought to bear upon them. As to the rest of the prisoners, and as to the condition of the unfortunate man who had died, he was quite satisfied that in his heart the right hon. Gentlemen at the head of the Home Office deplored what had taken place quite as much as any of them. The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin had said last night that although Home Rule might linger on a while, it was nothing but a decrepit spinster; and the hon. and learned Member argued that Home Rule had broken down, because, as he said, the Leaders of the Liberal Party were pledged up to 181 the eyes against it. Now, he would ask in respect to political pledges against the measure, of which they had heard, what great measures could they point to which had been carried by any Government, whether now occupying the Government benches or not, which had not been carried in the face of extravagant pledges that such measures should never be entertained. In the case of this very Union there was an instance, not only of the violation of pledges, but of Treaties. The Parliament of Ireland—whether rightly or wrongly he would not then stop and argue — agreed to the Union with England on the express condition of a solemn Treaty ratified by Acts of Parliament on both sides of the Channel, and assented to by the Monarch, and that condition was that the Protestant Establishment should be respected in its integrity. He asked was that not a more solemn pledge even than the pledges the hon. and learned Gentleman referred to —to maintain what they designated the integrity of an Empire? But he denied that this was a question affecting the integrity of the Empire at all. Hon. Members had talked about Home Rule as something which had not been explained because there was no Bill before them with the details arranged; but he would like to know on what great occasion such a course had been of late adopted? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), for whose integrity, ability, and patriotism he had the highest respect, came to a conclusion in 1868 which he could scarcely have expected to arrive at a few years before in favour of the disestablishment of the Irish Church, and how did he proceed? He did not bring down a Bill with all the details, so that the hon. Member for Belfast or any other Member might make a speech in reference to the question of tithe - proctors or of chapels-at-ease, or any other matter upon which a Member might make a speech. He proceeded with statesmanlike sagacity to conquer the opponents of the measure before he introduced his Bill; and so, having first established the principle, he was enabled to carry one of the greatest reforms ever peaceably effected in this country. The hon. Member who had just spoken had referred to this question as one of colonial autonomy, but it was not such an autonomy, nor was it such as would be granted to Bulgaria or any Provinces in the East. 182 What was meant was such an autonomy as the several States of America now enjoyed—not quite so much as the autonomy enjoyed by Hungary. Was it not easy to understand a confederation of States united in one Empire? In the event we contemplated the executive power would remain in the hands of the Crown as now; all control of the Army and Navy and the financial system would rest with the Imperial Parliament as they do now, saving only that in regard to financial exaction, Ireland should be required to contribute to the Imperial Exchequer only a sum equally proportionate to her resources, as the sum contributed from the resources of Great Britain was to the total of her means. Some hon. Members spoke as if they did not understand what Home Rule meant; but he would ask them, was there not an instance in the Union of the Swiss Cantons and in the Federal Union of Norway and Sweden? What he asked for was the establishment of a Federal State in Ireland under such restrictions and conditions as were consistent with the integrity of the Empire; and if asked to join in carrying out any other species of Home Rule, he would say to his constituents—"Count me out, for I will have nothing to do with it." Under such a system he believed the Empire would be stronger than it was now in proportion to her recognized means. Those were his ideas of what was meant by Home Rule. He believed when Homo Rule was dispassionately considered it must commend itself to the attention of the House, He claimed for the Homo Rule Party that they were essentially, not in a. Party sense, but in the true philological sense of the term, a Conservative Party. Reference had boon made to a speech made by the hon. Member for Westmeath against Home Rule; but hon. Members who took that ground should remember that the hon. Member for Westmeath inveighed against Home Rule as not going far enough, but the arguments the hon. Member used could be easily met. Heat-tempted to show the difficulty of defining the separation between external affairs and home affairs; but, of course, in passing an Act of Parliament all these matters would be discussed and arranged. He must say, speaking for himself, that he had never made any speeches in Ireland which had trenched on the privilege of speech more than he had in the House. He wished it to go forth to Ireland that 183 there was a freedom of speech, and he was very glad to say there had been very little, if any, desire shown on the Government benches, during the present debate, to restrain the Irish speakers.
observed that, whatever might be thought by those who were not Members of the Irish Party, of the course taken by that Party in moving an Amendment to the Address, he assurred the House that those with whom he acted, representing as they did public opinion in Ireland, felt that they had no alternative but to adopt that course. He freely admitted that of late years the attention of England had been called to the condition of Ireland, and that English statesmen had made earnest and generous efforts to remedy the evils which prevailed in that country. Much had been accomplished, and the Irish people would, indeed, be most ungrateful if they did not willingly recognize and acknowledge that which had been done for Ireland by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich in establishing religious equality in that country. But the measures of the right hon. Gentleman, important as they were, did not touch the root of the evil. The feeling on the part of the people of Ireland was universal that somehow its nationality must be recognized. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) had prepared a scheme whereby that feeling of nationality might be recognized consistently with the integrity of, and unity with, Great Britain. He wished they could get English statesmen and philosophers to grapple with the question, for he could not doubt that if they did they could deal with it effectually. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) had several times asked that the subject might be inquired into, but as yet the question of Irish nationality had never left the domain of politics, nor had it entered into the serious and earnest attention of English statesmen. Until it did—until the question was, as it might be, settled in a manner compatible with the honour and interests of the British Empire—so long would the Irish Representatives not be exceeding their duty in stating their views for the consideration of Her Majesty's Government. They did not complain of any want of courtesy on the part of English Members. What they did feel was that 184 the measures which from time to time they brought before the House did not receive the consideration which their importance demanded. He appealed to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland whether the national feeling to which he had referred did not exist, and whether, so far from diminishing, it was not increasing? It happily did not now take the dangerous form which it assumed a few years since; and this he confidently stated, that the English statesman who would take up the question and reconcile the existing national feeling with the integrity of the Empire would earn the lasting gratitude of the people of Ireland. In conclusion, he appealed to Her Majesty's Government to complete the measure of amnesty, and assured them that if they had the courage to release the political offenders still remaining in prison, they would assure the fact that the thanks of the Irish people would be laid at the feet of Her Majesty with the most humble and grateful respect.
§ MR. FAY
denied the truth of the charge sometimes brought against thorn, that Home Rule might more properly be described as Rome Rule. The fact was that it originated among the Conservatives, who were disappointed and annoyed by the disestablishment of the Protestant Church in Ireland, and that the Roman Catholic hierarchy had to a very great extent held aloof from the movement. He repudiated the assertion that the Home Rule Members did not represent their constituents. At the pre-sent time the material resources of Ireland were at as low a point as they had ever been since 1848; and the increased taxation which would inevitably follow from any war would fall heavily upon the country. He was opposed to anything like a war policy, and he believed his countrymen largely shared that feeling. There were many Irishmen in the ranks—indeed, eliminate the Irish element from the Army, and one-third of the fighting men would be taken away. He would be glad to see in Ireland a Volunteer Force such as existed in the rest of the Kingdom. He hoped that the result of this discussion might be that the Government would agree to an inquiry into the present unsatisfactory relations between Ireland and England, and he did not see that, in order, if possible, to carry out that object, there was 185 any thing disloyal in Irish. Members supporting an Amendment to the Address in reply to the Queen's Speech.
§ MR. STORER
said, the hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Mel-don) had complained that the House did not give time for the discussion of measures to redress Irish grievances. It must be in the recollection of every Member of the House and of the public generally that all the sensational measures which had occupied the attention of Parliament in recent years were connected with Ireland. Those measures made concessions to the very Party which now came forward and said that nothing had been done for them. There was the measure for abolishing the Irish Church Establishment — in whose interest was that passed? The measure which revolutionized the Land Laws of Ireland—was not that brought in to suit the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite? They thought that measure did not go far enough, and they wanted to go further. If you gave them an inch they always wanted an ell. They would never be satisfied with any concessions. In fact, they had no desire to be satisfied. Their desire was to keep open a wound in Ireland which would give them an excuse for keeping up agitation in that country, which he was sorry to say was only too ready to listen to their proposals. He could, however, assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that the House felt the deepest interest in every measure which came from Ireland, and was as desirous of doing justice to her as she was of doing justice to this country. The same attention was paid to Irish measures in that House as to English measures; and if the argument of the hon. and learned Member for Kildare was carried to its logical sequence it came to this—that every measure which any Irish Member proposed should be passed by the House; and if it was not passed, that was ipso facto a grievance. Such an argument was untenable and absurd. The hon. and learned Member for Kildare made it a grievance that exactly similar laws were not passed for one country as the other; but those hon. Members who attended public meetings in Ireland, and who knew better, had no right to lead the ignorant population of Ireland to believe that was not now the case. They had justice administered by men of their 186 own race and creed; they had trial by jury—although he was sorry to say that that safeguard of liberty was often in Ireland of no avail—and it was their own fault if Ireland was not well governed. If they brought forward proof that their municipal institutions or their Parliamentary constitution could be improved, the House, he was sure, would listen to them attentively. When Irish Members went about the country propagating their peculiar doctrines, they should remember that in many particulars the taxation of Ireland was far less than that of England, although there was no reason why both countries should not in that respect be placed on an equal footing. In Ireland there was no railway duty, the stamp duties were very insignificant, there were no assessed taxes, no land tax, no inhabited house duty, and where the English farmer paid a penny in the pound of income tax, the Irish farmer paid only three farthings; although it was well known they were just as good farmers, and made as good profits as those of England. There was, however, another very cogent reason why Home Rule would be no advantage to them. They had now assistance from the Imperial Exchequer, which they would not then have, as he supposed that if they had Home Rule they would have an Exchequer of their own, unless they wished to govern England and Ireland too. The Returns for 1877 of the grants in aid of local taxation in the three countries showed that, whereas those grants for England and Wales amounted to not quite £2,500,000, and for Scotland to only £339,000, for Ireland they reached £1,868,000, the latter item including £18,000 to hospitals and infirmaries, for which England and Scotland received no corresponding sum. The result of the comparison was that one-third of the whole of the extra grants made in aid of local taxation went to Ireland, although her population in 1874 was only one-sixth of that of the United Kingdom; while, as far as Imperial revenue could be calculated, she contributed only l-27th of the total amount of direct taxation. Who, then, could say that the interests of the Irish people were not considered by Parliament, or that they had not their fair share, and more than their fair share, of what, by every principle of right and reason, they could 187 claim? And yet an Irish Member, not then in his place, was reported— he trusted falsely—to have said at a meeting in Ireland that "the people of England were accursed," and that he was going to the "accursed House of Commons." "Was that language that should be used by a Member of that House? He would remind the hon. Member, in the words of the Arab proverb, that "Curses are like chickens, they come home to roost;" but he hoped no retribution would overtake the hon. Member for his language. The unsubstantial myth of Home Rule was like the mirage of the desert, which as they approached it vanished from their view; it was as shadowy as the imaginary civilization of the ancient Kings of Ireland, of which the hon. Member for Galway had spoken. The half-clad inhabitants of that country at the remote times referred to had scarcely any civilization to boast of, being a set of tribes nearly always at war with one another— a characteristic which, he feared, had largely descended to their posterity; for they never seemed happy except when at war with someone, and even at home they could hardly forbear from the luxury of a free fight. If Home Rule ever became a reality, which Heaven forbid! he believed it would be perfectly impossible to maintain a Parliament in College Green; for, besides the certainty that they would be in conflict with the Imperial Parliament in three months, not a month would elapse before the Nationalists would be flying at the throats of the Home Rulers. When they had a meeting in Dublin to decide what was to be done with the statue of the great Liberator, whether he was to wear a cloak or not—for his own part he thought there should have been a cloak —they could not even settle that simple question without an angry disputation —the Lord Mayor of Dublin investing one Member of that House who was not now in his place with the title of a jack-in-the-box because he jumped up so often. Their recent Home Rule meetings at Limerick and elsewhere had shown that pugnacity was inherent in the national character. He thought that hon. Members for Ireland should be well satisfied to let things remain as they were. They should abandon their baseless dream of Home Rule, and give up the tactics of obstruc- 188 tion; and when they went home—as perhaps they would do some day—they might prove themselves to be true patriots by showing the Irish people how well off they were by their connection with the British Empire. Instead of hinting, as some hon. Members had done in a way which must have created disgust in the House, that there would be disloyalty and possibly conspiracy in Ireland if certain measures were not passed, he hoped that those hon. Gentlemen would tell their countrymen what good reasons they had to be satisfied with their position; and, so far from Irishmen being a danger to England, if difficulties in the Eastern Question should unfortunately crop up, they would be found serviceable, as they ever had been, to the defence of the Empire and loyal to the Crown.
§ DR. WARD
remarked that the admission of the last speaker that that House had never been able to satisfy the people of Ireland was the very ground upon which they demanded that Homo Rule should be substituted for the existing system. Hardly any cause was dearer to them than that of education; but the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin had admitted the failure of several efforts in the matter. Could there be any more forcible impeachment of the Imperial system—any more fatal admission of incompetence? Their petition, then, was that they might settle those questions for themselves. The condemnation of the Government was that they had far less of the affection of the Irish people than of the English, and he would be false to his oath taken in the House if he did not state the fact. The circumstance was, indeed, lamentable, and no one lamented it more than himself; but the only remedy was for the Government to give over their bungling attempts at legislation, and allow the Irish people to manage—or mismanago?—their own affairs. Not a jot of English power or influence would be lost; for if only they were permitted to regulate their own internal affairs, the Irish people would be loyal enough, although at the present time any rebel would be better received in an Irish town than any Prime Minister. Surely the moment chosen for these statements was not inopportune, nor was he ill-advised in urging that a combination of local and Imperial institutions might win the 189 loyalty of Irishmen. It had been said that the people of Ireland did not understand the meaning of Home Rule. Home Rule had been established in Canada, and had proved successful there. It was just such a system as existed in Canada that they asked for. No one could pretend that they did not understand that system. He was inclined to think that those who asked for a definition of Homo Rule did not want to know what the Irish people asked for. So far from Home Rule being dead, as they were told by the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket), the feeling in its favour was growing stronger and stronger every day, and Irish Members sitting on the Conservative benches knew it; and at the next General Election two-thirds of the Members returned for Ireland would be pledged to the cause.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, that as he intended to vote for the Amendment, he wished the House to allow him a few sentences in explanation of his reasons for doing so. It was not on any technical point that he did so, but because of the practical grievances set forth in the speeches to-night—the failure of the Bills which during various Sessions had been introduced fruitlessly to the House. It was on this ground that he meant to vote for the Amendment—to mark his sense of the injustice which had been done to Ireland. It was from no idea of the Home Rule, such as was demanded by the hon. Members for Ireland. He had no doubt that the Bill to be introduced by the Government to establish County Boards would have the effect of establishing Home Rule to a certain extent, and he should like to see that kind of Home Rule extended, not only to Ireland, but to Scotland also. He thought that no greater benefit could be conferred on the people of the three Kingdoms, than giving them a large share in the management of their own local affairs, without being obliged always to come to Parliament. There were two or three points on which he based his support of this Motion. There was the question of the soil, the question of the Parliamentary suffrage, the question of Parliamentary registration of voters, and the question of the municipal suffrage. When Government had succeeded in carrying a Bill through the 190 House for establishing household suffrage in England, that was no sooner done than a Bill was given Notice of to establish the same principle for Scotland, and it was carried with very little clamour or trouble as an act of justice to Scotland. But what happened with regard to Ireland? The Irish Members asked for a household Bill for Ireland. It was opposed, and not all the efforts of the Irish Members availed to establish such a system for Ireland. There were always overwhelming majorities in opposition to their views. Then about Parliamentary registration. It was now exceedingly simple in England and Scotland, more particularly in Scotland. There was no trouble whatever about it. In the constituency which he had the honour to represent (Edinburgh), containing about 27,000 electors, the Revising Barrister was not occupied more than two hours in each year in revising the list of votes. But in Ireland the trouble, expense, and chicanery that took place were beyond all calculation. Then look at the results of this. One result was not, as in England and Scotland, to try and put every eligible person on the roll, but apparently to see how many people they could keep off the roll; and looking still further at the results in all the boroughs of Ireland, including Dublin, Belfast, Cork, and in all the great and small towns put together, there were fewer voters than in the city of Glasgow. That was the outcome of this difference in the system of the Parliamentary franchise and the system of Parliamentary registration combined. Then, in regard to the municipal franchise, matters were very much in the same way. England and Scotland had household suffrage, and the only difference between the two Kingdoms was that in England women householders had votes, while in Scotland they had none. He hoped to see this difference remedied in the course of time. But Ireland had nothing of the kind. They had the merest handful of electors in many of the towns in Ireland. In fact, the state of matters there was perfectly indefensible in his humble opinion, and if only the present number of electors was to be continued, and the present system of appointing them was held to be a thing that ought to be continued, then he thought that one-half of the boroughs of Ireland might be dis- 191 franchised on account of the paucity of electors. But he would not enter into that. He preferred that they should have a greater number of electors, and that the system should be assimilated to that of the other two Kingdoms. He thought on these, and many other grounds, that the people of Ireland had great cause for complaint. The Government, from time to time, in place of giving to the people of Ireland the privileges of equality which they were anxious to obtain, had always tried to stop their mouths, as far as he could see, by creating places with salaries and emoluments, and in that way putting an end to the agitation which took place from time to time. It was quite true, as had been said by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Storer) a few minutes ago, that Ireland contributed loss to the Imperial Exchequer in proportion to its population than did either England or Scotland. The hon. Member had stated that Ireland had contributed only l–27th part to the Imperial Exchequer, but he thought it was a mistake. She contributed 1–1lth, as would be seen from a Return which he had recently obtained. Reference had been made to the system of education in Ireland. He would be delighted to see the Scotch system established in Ireland. He would vote for it with all his heart, and he believed it would be found very beneficial. The education rates in Scotland were laid upon all the owners and occupiers of lands and houses, one half on the owners the other half on the occupiers. There was not a cottager in Scotland who paid a £4 rent that had not to pay school-rates for the education of his children. What was the system in Ireland? The Treasury did everything. The Irish Members complained that higher salaries were not given to their teachers—that this, that, and the other thing was not done. Why did they not do as the Scotch did, give salaries to their teachers out of their own pockets? They ought to lay on a rate. Was not a man who who had £1,000, or £100, or even £10 worth of land in Ireland as able to pay a school rate as a man in a similar position in Scotland? The rates for schools in Scotland ranged from 3d. to 1s. 6d. in the pound of rental, and it was a sad fact that the poorer the parish the greater the rate of assessment. Let 192 their Irish friends who asked for equal privileges be content to bear equal burdens also. Then he, with all his heart, would vote for every privilege Ireland desired, which it could be shown that England or Scotland enjoyed.
§ MR. MARTEN
said, that since he had been a Member of that House Irish questions had occupied a large share of its attention, and when Irish Members complained of their inattention they must remember that every part of the United Kingdom had from time to time complained that, owing to the pressure of Public Business, their grievances did not receive due attention. So far as purely local Irish affairs were concerned, he felt sure every English Member would be disposed to facilitate discussion with respect to those of a local character, provided the principle of any change proposed was previously sanctioned by the Imperial Parliament, as in the case of the Artizans Dwellings Act in this country. But the Amendment only went to establish Home Rule for Ire-land. It was said that Parliament refused to entertain many questions of importance to Ireland; and the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) had referred to the three questions of Parliamentary and municipal suffrage and of registration as matters on which Ireland suffered by its connection with England. But the House must remember that the subject of registration had engaged the attention of the House for several Sessions. Only last Session a Committee of Inquiry would have been appointed on the subject without difficulty had it not boon prevented by the disputes of Irish Members amongst themselves as to was the proper man to be placed upon it as the representative of Irish interests. The delay which had arisen was, therefore, duo not to the action of English, but of Irish Members. The hon. Member for Edinburgh complained that places in Ireland were given, not to the best man, but those who agitated most. But he would remind the House that the Government had introduced measures last Session which would have the effect of largely reducing the numbers of judicial offices in Ireland, so that so far as they went there was no disposition on their part to retain their patronage. The present was a most momentous crisis. At this moment momentous questions were 193 pending which might affect for a long time to come the fortunes of the Empire. This if at any time was the one at which the Government might be excused for not proposing a large number of domestic measures in Her Majesty's Speech. A paragraph of that Speech was devoted to legislation in England, a second to legislation in Scotland, and a third to legislation in Ireland. ["No, no!"] A measure had been promised with regard to intermediate education. Therefore, the Irish Members could not complain that their country was passed over as neglected in the Royal Speech. As far as the language of that Document was concerned Ireland was treated in a most favourable manner. He appealed to Irish Members whether they were entirely agreed amongst themselves as to the principles on which education should be conducted on any grade in Ireland. The priests and the laity opposed each other on the subject with a vigour and eloquence unequalled in other parts of the Kingdom. He was certain that the majority of the Members of that House wore disposed to treat Irish subjects in the most conciliatory manner; but it must be recollected that the questions raised as Irish questions were problems affecting in the highest degree the condition of the people, and raising in the sharpest manner the most important matters of principle. It was not, therefore, possible to deal with them in that way of quiet compromise which it was possible to bring to bear upon English and Scotch questions. While the House were willing to give their attention to Irish affairs, it must be admitted that their Amendment was full of difficulty. He trusted the House would be of opinion that there was no occasion for the Amendment which had been brought forward on the Address, and that it would be decisively rejected.
§ MR. O'SULLIVAN,
in supporting the Amendment, said, he would not refer to the centuries of oppression to which Ireland had been subject, but to the question of pounds, shillings, and pence, which would address itself to the conscience of every Englishman. He believed that if Ireland had enjoyed a Parliament of its own at the time of the Irish Famine, that Famine would soon have been stayed. At that time more food was exported from Ireland to make rents for absent landlords than would 194 have fed every man, woman, and child in the country; but England thought more of the interests of absentee landlords than of saving the lives of hundreds and thousands of the people. They had been told by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University (Mr. Plunket), in his romancing speech, that Ireland was one of the freest countrios in Europe. He would show the value of that romance. He was returned for his native county by nearly three-fourths of the constituency; but if he were caught in that county with a gun in his hands, though he had never committed a crime in his life, he would be liable to two years' imprisonment. That was the freedom they enjoyed. What had Irishmen to be grateful for? He would take one case. The amount of duty derived from spirits in Ireland in 1841 was £964,000, while that raised from the same source in 1871 was £3,469,000, or nearly four times the amount raised in 1841. Nor was that higher sum due to increased consumption, because the consumption in 1841 had been more than it was in 1871. It was because the Government of this country had increased the duty nearly fourfold.—from 2s. 8d. to 10s. per gallon, whilst in wealthy England they only increased the duty from 1s. 8d. to 10s. the gallon. What had Ireland got for that increased duty? Poor Ireland, deprived of her manufactures, deserted By her local landlords, had to pay that amount every year to this country in undue taxation. If every Bill brought into this House by the Irish Members were passed, they would never be satisfied until Ireland had the right of making her own laws and disposing of her own taxes. They did not object to Imperial questions being decided in the Imperial Parliament. He asked for nothing more but what every country was entitled to. Ireland was clearly marked out as a distinct nation, and would never consent to have Irish laws made by Englishmen or anybody else but Irishmen in an Irish Parliament.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he had hoped to have the presence of the Home Secretary while he made one or two observations on the case of Sergeant M'Carthy. The right hon. Gentleman had expressed the opinion that it would have been better if the evidence of the prison officials from Chatham had been given at the 195 inquest. He (Mr. Parnell) was present at the inquest, and took the liberty to suggest to the Coroner that the inquiry might be adjourned to obtain evidence from the prison medical officer, but it appeared that the Coroner had no jurisdiction to take the evidence of witnesses out of the country. The Crown was represented on the occasion by Mr. Anderson, the Crown solicitor, but he did not seem to think it necessary that evidence should be obtained from the prison. Perhaps he had good reasons for that; but, at any rate, it was not the fault of the friends of the deceased present at the inquest that the prison officials were not examined, for they did all they could do to give a wider scope to the inquiry. The Home Secretary had fairly intimated that the inquiry was of such a partial character that it could not be satisfactory to the Irish people, and he had further intimated that the Commission upon the working of the Penal Servitude Acts would have full power to inquire into this particular case; but it was desirable that such a horrible event should be made the subject of investigation speedily and immediately. This Commission of Inquiry would have very wide and general functions, and it would be unable to give this case that attention which it demanded, and it might not be able to report for a year. He submitted that, under the circumstances, the Home Secretary would be very well justified in appointing a Commission of Inquiry into this case. The sooner all the facts of M'Carthy's prison life were known, whethor they were in accordance with their view of the case or not, the better for everyone connected with the matter. It was stated in evidence that M'Carthy had complained of symptoms of heart disease in 1872, and that up to 1876 a portion of his work was to carry heavy bundles, containing 300 pairs of hose, and weighing 2 cwt., from the stores to the tailor's shop; that he complained to the officers in charge that the work affected his heart; that in 1875 he was admitted to the infirmary, and discharged by the chief medical officer before being cured; that he was disturbed in his sleep by the half-hourly visits of the warders; that when he had lost his teeth he was denied tea or cocoa in which to soak the dry bread he was unable to eat otherwise; that he had but 15 ounces of meat a-week besides broad and gruel; that he 196 was kept in a cell seven feet by four, and that the only air he could get was from a closed hall, where 260 other prisoners were confined. Dr. O'Leary, M.P., gave evidence that the symptoms of heart disease must have been manifest long ago to a medical man; and the jury, to their credit be it said, although consisting of Conservative gentlemen in Dublin, returned a unanimous verdict to the effect that "Charles M'Carthy died on the 10th January, and that the cause of his death was heart disease. We further find that the treatment which Charles M'Carthy received in prison hastened his death." With regard to the general question of these resolutions, it was true that it might seem a very inconvenient process that the Irish Members had adopted of coming between the House of Commons and the consideration of the Eastern Question; but if every Englishman in that House thoroughly understood their position in Ireland, and the importance of the questions they had from time to time brought under the consideration of the House—if they thoroughly understood the vital importance of having the Land Question settled in such a way as to enable the soil of Ireland to produce the proper amount of food that it was capable of producing—if they could realize the position of a people without any University education that they could accept conscientiously—they would see that after all they were not so unreasonable in preferring the interests of their own countrymen to the interests of the people of England in regard to the Eastern Question. He did not wish to implicate the rest of the Irish Members in what might be the peculiar opinions he held on the subject; but it might be said that in the Home Rule programme they had undertaken to go hand-in-hand with England as regarded her Imperial and foreign relations; that they had undertaken to assist England in her foreign difficulties, and to stand by her on such a question as this Eastern Question— they had undertaken to stand by England to the best of their power, but on one condition — that England should allow them the right of self-government. Certainly the man who would pledge the Irish people to assist England in a difficulty if these grievances remained unredressed would undertake a very serious responsibility, and would certainly de- 197 ceive the English people. There was an old maxim that England's difficulty was Ireland's opportunity, and it had been verified in times past. They had never been able to get the attention of England to their claims unless public opinion was acted upon by some pressing danger. It had been said that the disestablishment of the Irish Church and the Land Act were passed in consequence of the Fenian outbreak. If the Irish Republic had been established these two measures would have been passed; but the immediate object was the independence of Ireland from the sovereign control of England, but undoubtedly the indirect effect of their action was to direct the attention of the people of England to these grievances. A very noble attempt was made by the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) to redress those grievances, and the disestablishment of the Irish Church and the Land Act would remain as lasting memorials of a noble and generous mind which had never been equalled by any statesman. While they acknowledged the desire of the right hon. Gentleman to do what lay in his power to redress their grievances, it was not reasonable to expect them to refrain from pointing out where the Land Act had failed and where it might be made more satisfactory. Although the Party to which the hon. and learned Member for the City of Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) belonged had been in power for a quarter of a century, these grievances were still in existence. Fortunately the Home Rulers had got a programme, and probably the hon. and learned Member was a little jealous of them in that respect. They had a wide and varied platform. Their Loader did not require to go to Scotland in search of a programme. He did not require to be persuaded that the time had now arrived for the disestablishment of a Church. They were in possession of these pressing questions, and they felt themselves entitled to bring them before the notice of the House at any and every convenient opportunity. Of course, it might be said—"You might have waited for your Wednesdays, and taken your chance of the ballot, and so secured an opportunity for discussing your Bills." But the chances of the ballot were very limited indeed, and as they were summoned to go there in the middle of 198 January and leave their occupations, they felt they were entitled to take a small slice of the extra few weeks. They felt that if they asked that two days should be spared out of these extra three weeks for Irish grievances, they would not be making a very exorbitant claim. He had been blamed by his friends for taking part in English legislation. He only did that in despair for want of something better to do. He should infinitely prefer to devote the whole of his Parliamentary time to the consideration and discussion of Irish questions, but coming over to London he found there were none to discuss, owing to the great block of Business. The number of Homo Rule measures that could be brought forward during the Session did not exceed five or six. Therefore, he could not employ himself better in the intervals between these Wednesdays than in helping the English Members to make their Bills a little better. He defied anyone to prove that his action last Session had been un-Parliamentary. He might not have English notions as to the mode in which things should be done; but the House should not be surprised if occasionally Irish Members interfered in their Business, and in a way they might not precisely like; but when at the end of the Session they found that their interference had done good, they ought to balance their disapproval of the method in which the good was accomplished with the results which had been obtained. He hoped the Irish people would be encouraged by the result of the discussion to-night. He also hoped that when they had asked the House of Commons to say that it was the duty of Parliament at the earliest opportunity in the present condition of public affairs to consider in a wise and conciliatory spirit the national demands which the Irish people had repeatedly raised, that the House would not spurn this proffered conciliation—that the Government would not say to the Irish people—"We will not consider in a wise and conciliatory spirit your demands, but we shall pass on to the consideration of what we consider of more pressing importance — whether England has a right to prevent the Russian Navy from sailing in and out of the Black Sea into the Mediterranean."
said, that hon. Members on his (the Ministerial) side of 199 the House were last night accused of receiving the speeches of Members on the other side with contemptuous silence, and it was said that the people of Ireland would not sympathise with England in her difficulties; but that was not the feeling in all parts of Ireland, for if this country should be engaged in defending her just rights there would be no difficulty in obtaining soldiers from the part of Ireland with which he was connected to fight for their Sovereign and for the cause of Great Britain and Ireland. Complaint had been made that education had not been dealt with; but it must be remembered that this subject was a bone of contention in France, Germany, Italy, Spain—he did not know whether he could say Russia — in short, in all European countries, and in America, and in many of these countries there were greater differences of opinion on the education question than in this country; and it was rather unreasonable on the part of hon. Members opposite to expect those on his side of the House to give up their own opinions for the purpose of satisfying the demands of hon. Members on the other side of the House. The hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. Sullivan) complained last evening of the opinions ox-pressed by the hon. And learned Member for Dublin University (Mr. Plunket) in his brilliant speech, and said that they were not those of his grandfather; but if all Members who had sat in that House since the Union had continued to entertain the same opinions as their grandfathers, hon. Members opposite would not at that time be sitting where they were—and it was hardly fair to attack the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University because his opinions were not those of his ancestor— the great Lord Plunket. He altogether denied that the discussion had been unduly discountenanced. The speeches of the Home Rulers who had taken part in it had been listened to with attention. Indeed, he might say during the four years he had been in that House quite as much time and attention had been given to Irish as to English or Scotch legislation; and the complaint now made came rather ungracefully from those Irish Members who, if not always listened to with pleasure, were at least heard with exemplary patience. Whenever they brought forward measures having 200 a fair claim for consideration they were duly considered by Parliament, and they not unfrequently passed into law. It was because they so frequently brought forward measures which they knew would be rejected that they were so often unsuccessful. He hoped that hon. Members opposite would adhere to their disclaimerthatthey did not wish to embarrass the Government in the event of war.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, that the bearers of names illustrious in Irish history might lead a nobler and worthier part in an Assembly like that than in condescending to ridicule the noblest aspirations which their countrymen, in common with all freedom-loving peoples entertained. One of them, the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Plunket) — and he (Mr. O'Donnell) deeply regretted the fact—had become distinguished to the people of his country by his having made last evening one of the most damaging statements which could have been brought against the Irish Party—namely, that that Party had determined to move an Amendment to the Address no matter what the Speech from the Throne might be. That was not the fact, as the Resolution come to was, that the Home Rule Party should move an Amendment only in the event of no reference being made to the affairs of Ireland which should be satisfactory to the people of that country and recognize their demands. Well, after hearing Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech, the Home Rule Members adjourned for consultation, and most properly, legitimately, and necessarily came to the conclusion that the character of that Speech did not meet the just claims of the people of Ireland. The charge of ingratitude against the Irish people had repeatedly fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman. For what had they to be grateful? What crying grievance had been remedied? The disestablishment of a Church—it was not the people's Church—had to be effected in a way that should meet the peculiar sentiment of the English people on the question. It had been purely nominal, and so far as disendowment was concerned the vast bulk of Irish people had not derived the slightest benefit. The evictions on the Michelstown estate, and the recent disclosures in Dublin, showed that the land question had not boon settled. Scenes had been 201 witnessed on several Irish estates which would equal, if not surpass, some of the most distressing features that had been described in Bulgaria. They had boon told that they were especially ungrateful on the question of education, and the hon. and learned Gentleman had enumerated the various attempts which had been made to settle the question, and had always ended by saying that those attempts also did not give satisfaction. But if those attempts did not satisfy the parties interested, it was because they were not of a nature that ought to satisfy them. To the minds of the Irish people the education question was probably the most important of all questions, save the general question of the national demand for self-legislation. He did not choose to go in detail into the various measures which had been brought into the House on the question; but he would say in reference to the question of the establishment of what was called a "mixed education" in Ireland—the question of the establishment of the Queen's Colleges and Queen's University in Ireland, that whatever engagements were held out to the Irish people as to the establishment of that system of education, whatever promises were made, whatever hopes were excited, these promises had long since been broken, and these hopes deliberately deceived. At present there was hardly a single professor of the Catholic faith in the Department of Arts in the three Queen's Colleges; while in the case of the Belfast College, special measures had been taken to make it agreeable to the Presbyterian Body in Ulster. He did not complain of the Ulster Presbyterians, for he thought the Presbyterian Body had as full a right to education in conformity with their religious views as he and his Colleagues. As to the filling of the Chairs of that College, an arrangement had been come to between the Government and the Presbyterian Synod. They were to be filled under such conditions and by such persons that no conscientious objections could be raised by the Presbyterian Body. But such concessions, though honourable to the steadfastness of those sturdy Ulster-men, were most dishonourable to Her Majesty's Government when they refused equal concessions to the vast majority of the people. He had given Notice of a Bill on the subject of the 202 Queen's Colleges, and he should be glad if the Government would give him facilities for proving the charges which he brought against those Colleges. They had often been told during the last two days that the Government and the House wore already prepared to give every consideration to Irish questions. Honestly speaking, they were sick of their mere consideration for Irish questions—they were sick of being listened to. The very exclamations of impatience on the other side were a relief to that continual stagnation—that continual listening to Irish Members, to that continual respectful consideration for Irish grievances which never ended in the removal of those grievances. Irish Members would be very happy to cut short their demands to occupy the time of the House, if there was anything to be gained by it. Of the particular Amendment before the House perhaps enough had been said; but some of the general considerations raised by Her Majesty's Speech gave much justification for the action of Irish Members last year, which excited so much animadversion. If he were disposed, lie could at that moment, when we were preaching humanity to the Turks and the Russians, enter upon a discussion of the cruelty with which we were making war upon defenceless tribes, not only in South Africa, but also on the Northern Frontiers of India. He claimed his right to speak with as much loyalty as any hon. Member on the other side, and with as much pride in the past history, and hope for the development in the future, of this great Anglo-Irish Empire. He expressed his honest opinion, and denied emphatically that there was anything improper or inopportune in putting forward this question at the present time. Lot Her Majesty's Government take the lead in scouting the just claims of the Irish people, and when the Representatives of the Government had to take their seats at the council board of Europe, with what consistency could they advise autonomy for Bulgaria, and denounce the mal-administration of Turk or Russian, while the wrong of the so-called Act of Union remained unredressed? How could they plead for mercy to the Gessoffs or any political prisoners in face of the amnestied corpse of murdered M'Carthy. ["Oh, oh!"] He did not wish to speak those words in anger, 203 or as a taunt, but in an earnest desire that they might be taken in a kindly spirit. Lot Her Majesty's Government grant the most simple fundamental demands embodied in their own recommendations made in the Constantinople Conference, and there would be no more loyal or devoted members of the Anglo-Irish Empire than the Irish people.
§ MR. GRAY
said, he did not wish to occupy the time of the House above a few minutes, nor, indeed, would he have spoken at all but for a personal attack which had been made upon him by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket). The hon. and learnod Member had been good enough last night to make an attack upon him (Mr. Gray) and the journal with which he had the honour to be connected. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House had been constantly impressing on them during last Session the necessity of adhering to the unwritten law which governed Members of that House. He was unaware that it was in accordance with the unwritten law of Parliament to attack individual Members because of the opinions expressed by the journals with which they were connected. He was not aware that the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Walter), or the hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. J. Cowen), or the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron), who had been longer in that House than he had been, had been so honoured. So far as he was concerned, it appeared that it was an exceptional and a very especial compliment paid to himself and The Freeman's Journal, and he thanked the hon. and learned Member. But what was the nature of this exceptional attack? It was this—that The Freeman's Journal declared its conviction that the political prisoners were liberated because of the apprehensions of the Government with reference to the war in the East. Now, in the first place, as a matter of fact, that was and that is still the belief of the great majority of the Irish people. That belief may or may not be well founded. It may be thoroughly without foundation; but they were now at the close of a two days' debate, and they had not heard a word from any Member of the Government to dissipate that belief. What did the Home Secretary say, and what did the Secretary of 204 State for War say?—for their observations would be in the recollection of the House. The Home Secretary said he had last year given the House to understand that the prisoner, Davitt, would be liberated, and he went on to say—"therefore, as far as Davitt is concerned, it was a foregone arrangement, unconnected with the Eastern Question. "Then the Home Secretary wont on to say further—"As regards the other prisoners, they were military prisoners, and the Secretary of State for War is wholly responsible for them." Now he (Mr. Gray) remembered the debate in relation to this matter last year, and he remembered the very excited speech which the Secretary of State for War made on that occasion. The right hon. Gentleman had accused the Irish Members who had ventured to lift up their voices for amnesty of taking an unconstitutional course in daring to suggest that the prisoners should be liberated. Why were these other three men liberated now? The Home Secretary said the Secretary of State for War was responsible. Now, if the right hon. Gentleman wanted to dissipate the belief which he (Mr. Gray) told him— and he was sure the Chief Secretary for Ireland knew that he had some facilities for ascertaining what public opinion in Ireland was—prevailed in Ireland, lot the Government explain and show that that belief was not well-founded, no declared that this was the belief in Ireland—thattheprisonerswereliberatcd because of the complications in the East, and that that was the influence which caused the Secretary of State for War to change his mind with regard to the prisoners. If the Home Secretary or the Secretary of State for War wished to dissipate that erroneous impression—if such it be—let them say something more than they had already said. But he would submit to the better judgment of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University that his accusation in his (Mr. Gray's) regard was utterly unjustifiable. They were aware of complications arising in the East of such a nature that Parliament was called together three weeks before the usual time, and these men were liberated a few days before the meeting of Parliament without the slightest notice—liberated after appeal upon appeal had been made and rejected, and after the Irish people had 205 given up in despair all hope that they would be shown any mercy. He was perfectly prepared to be responsible for everything that appeared in The Freeman' s Journal; but it was open to opinion whether discussions of that kind could be usefully pursued with regard to every hon. Gentleman connected with the Press in that House. Now, he know that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was very practical, and he should puttohim a few questions which he hoped he would answer. He should like to know if there was any meaning in the difference in wording in the Speech from the Throne regarding the measures for England and Scotland and those for Ireland? With regard to the Public Health Bill, in which the right hon. Gentleman took a deep interest, it was said that a Bill would be brought in. With regard to the Scotch measures, they were informed that Bills would be introduced; but with regard to the Irish measures they were told that "attention would be called to them." Was it the intention of the Government to introduce Irish Bills, to give them a good place on the Orders, so that there might be a chance of their being carried? They wanted something more than what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been good enough to promise them—"every consideration." The Irish Members wanted more than "consideration." Perhaps hon. Members would be astonished to hear that they were not over delighted with the promise of intermediate education—a scheme which would result merely in creating feeders for the Queen's Colleges. He did not know that this would be satisfactory as long as they loft the University Education Question undealt with. The next point to which he would refer was one which would commend itself to hon. Gentlemen opposite who called themselves the Constitutional Party. He should like to ascertain from the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government intended to perpetuate the utterly unconstitutional position of having Members of the House elected by constituencies differing in their qualifications. This Parliament could not last at the utmost beyond autumn twelvemonths. Did the Government intend to perpetuate the inequality of the Borough Franchise in Ireland for another Parliament? Did the Government intend to shunt the question so that 206 another election might take place under restrictive conditions favourable to the Party opposite? Hon. Gentlemen might differ on the questions of Education, Land, and Homo Rule; but they could scarcely advance the untenable proposition of not having a uniform Borough Franchise for the three Kingdoms. These were practical questions, and he hoped they would be dealt with in a practical way by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
Sir, after listening very attentively to the debate which has been raised on the Amendment of the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry), I must confess I have not arrived at any conclusion satisfactory to myself upon two points. These points are—first, why the debate was originated at all; and, secondly, why, having boon originated, it was thought necessary to extend it over two nights. During the discussion this evening, I think we have been surrounded with considerable difficulties. We have not only been puzzled with the. vague and misty character of the Amendment itself, but the debate has been carried on in this House under atmospheric influences which almost induce mo to wish for once that it had been transferred to the purer air of College Green. There have boon, moreover, difficulties of another kind. If hon. Members on this side of the House have maintained a dignified silence, and listened patiently to the arguments adduced, they have been accused of a conspiracy of silence, and have boon told that hon. Members who spoke were sick of being listened to.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
explained that he did not refer in his remarks to anything which had occurred in that debate, but to the "general system of the government of Ireland."
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
If hon. Members representing English or Scotch constituencies have in former debates, or in this, attempted to discuss Irish affairs, they have been met with the reproach that, living on this side of the Channel, they can know nothing whatever about them, and if hon. Gentlemen sitting on this side of the House for Irish constituencies have intervened in the debate, they have been told—"Oh, you are the remnant of an expiring faction; your grandfathers would have entertained 207 entirely different views"—just as if the great Lord Plunket would ever have joined the Home Rule League! And because we heard with pleasure the play of wit and fancy in the speech of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Plunket) last evening, we are rebuked by the solemn warning that it is a terrible thing for an Irishman to make a jest of his countrymen. It has been, in short, impossible for us to conduct this debate so as to meet the wants and wishes of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and if now I venture to trespass for a few minutes upon their attention, I can assure them that in the remarks I am about to make I shall endeavour to avoid everything of a personal or unconciliatory character, as I think I have always done in times past. I make this observation, because I notice that in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Galway we are asked—and the request has been repeated in the course of the debate—to treat Irish Members who sit on the opposite side of the House with conciliation. The conciliation, let me say, ought not to be on one side alone. We ought not to hear or read in or out of this House, as we do—though I am thankful to say only from a few hon. Members of the Party opposite—speeches which exceed anything which is right or reasonable in the violence of their language and in the grossness of their references to those who differ from them in politics. We know the difficulties of these questions. Let us all approach them in a spirit of conciliation. If we are unable to agree, at any rate, it will make our differences easy, and enable us to conduct our Business in a manner befitting this great Assembly. Now, I have no fault to find with the first sentence of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Galway. It is, to my mind, an expression of satisfaction with, if not of confidence in, Her Majesty's Government. It is certainly an expression of satisfaction that two questions which hon. Members opposite, and I think Irishmen generally, have long admitted to be of great and pressing importance, should be about to be dealt with by the Government. And, very naturally and very properly, the hon. Member for Galway defers expressing any opinion as to the character of the proposed measures till he has seen them. I have no complaint whatever to 208 make of this; but, under the circumstances, I have to express my astonishment that he should have thought it worth while to move his Amendment at all. I may also say that I have been astonished to hear from the hon. Members for Cork (Mr. M'Carthy Downing) and Tipperary (Mr. Gray) a doubt as to the intentions of the Government upon these two questions. Those hon. Members appear to have thought that the Government, in advising Her Majesty to state that these subjects will be considered by Parliament, have no intention of making any proposals of their own upon them. The Statement in the Speech from the Throne means, as a matter of course, that we intend to introduce Bills on those questions, and I cannot understand how it can seriously be supposed to mean anything else. Well, the hon. Member for Galway, in his Amendment, goes on to say—We shall regard it as the duty of Parliament on the earliest opportunity in the present condition of public affairs, to consider in a wise and conciliatory spirit, the national demands which the Irish people have repeatedly raised.Now, I have endeavoured to ascertain, as far as I could from this debate, what these national demands are, and I find that there is scarcely a question connected with Ireland, small or large, which has not been mentioned by one or other of the speakers; but surely even they can hardly suppose that all those demands, great and small, can at once be considered by Parliament. I must, therefore, endeavour to pick out, so far as I can, from the speeches of those who have supported the Amendment, what seem to be in the minds of those hon. Gentlemen, the special national demands which should first be attended to. And, first, as to the establishment of Volunteers. Is that one of them? That is the view of the hon. Member for the county of Wexford (Mr. O'Clery). Well, I do not think that that is a national demand of the Irish people. It was, to a very considerable extent, contradicted, or at least refuted, by the speech of the hon. and learned Member for the county of Louth (Mr. Sullivan). He drew last night a terrible picture of the condition of Ireland—a picture utterly unwarranted by any facts within my own knowledge—a picture which, as being drawn by him, I would, in any circumstances, accept with very consider- 209 able reservation. Hon. Members opposite will, I think, at least agree with me in this; for they are always telling us that no one who lives at this side of the Channel knows anything of Ireland, and I believe the hon. and learned Member has resided for some time in this metropolis. Then, again, is it the release of the political prisoners? As far as I understand the grievance alleged is not so much that any persons are still detained in prison, as that certain political prisoners have been released at an inopportune moment; and the occasion of their release has been seized, I regret to say, by some as an occasion for making the most absurd and ridiculous assertions as to the motives which have dictated it, and thus doing their very best to turn the key upon the unfortunate men who are still in prison. Now, the hon. Member for Tipperary has told us he knows something of the opinion of Ireland upon this question, and that it is the general opinion of Ireland that those prisoners were released on account of the present progress of the Russian arms in the East, and from English fear of the Czar. All I can say in reply is this, that I have the best reason for knowing—as good as the hon. Member can have—that that opinion is not uppermost in the minds of the population of Dublin, for the great mass of the people who welcomed the released prisoners on their arrival in that city did so by no means as sympathizing with the crimes they had committed, or as entertaining any treasonable views of disloyalty to the Crown, or the connection with England, but as simply rejoicing in the release of their countrymen from prison. On that occasion emblems and words of disloyalty alike were absent— a new experience, but a happy one, on such an occasion in Ireland. And when it was said, as I believe it was said by some of the foolish men to whom I have alluded, that the release of those prisoners was due to motives such as I have stated, those views were promptly repudiated the next day in the public journals by the secretary and some of the members of the Reception Committee. Well, Sir, no one can regret more than those who sit on this bench or on this side of the House the untoward and lamentable fate of one of those prisoners; and I think it was scarcely generous or fair on the part of 210 the hon. Member for the county of Meath (Mr. Parnell), after the statement of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, made in this House the previous evening, of his own deep regret for the circumstances and of his intention that the manner of the treatment of those convicts should receive full and searching inquiry, to occupy the time of the House with quoting extracts culled for his own purpose from the evidence given at the coroner's inquest alluding to what he called the fate of a "murdered man," and to throw doubt upon the feelings of regret and sorrow for M'Carthy's death which are entertained by Conservatives as well as by Home Rulers. I can only say that the depositions taken at the inquest will to-morrow or next day be laid before my right hon. Friend, and anyone who knows the character of my right hon. Friend will also know that the case will be fully and searchingly inquired into by him, and that justice will be done. I have alluded to the absurd statements as to the motives for the release of these prisoners; I would but supplement the statement of my right hon. Friend by saying, speaking with knowledge and authority, that the release of Davitt and of the military prisoners was determined upon by Her Majesty's Government at one and the same time. Now, this question of the political prisoners has been carried further by the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power). He has told us that our action in this respect did so much good, in spite of the motives which he was good enough to attribute to us, that we ought to complete our good work by the release of all the others. [Mr. O'CONNOR POWER: I did not attribute any motives to the Government.] That was not the interpretation I gathered from the hon. Member's speech; but I readily accept his denial. Well, according to the hon. Member, there are eight so-called political prisoners still in prison. "Release them too," says the hon. Member, "and you will earn the gratitude of the Irish people." I do not wish to say a word upon the case of those who were concerned in the murder of Serjeant Brett at Manchester. That has been already sufficiently dealt with in this House; but the hon. Member named six others who, in his mind, are political prisoners. Well, 211 Sir, I have investigated the circumstances, since the hon. Member spoke, of every one of these cases, and I find that in each and all there was this crime —a deliberate attempt to take the life of someone or other, who may have been a policeman, a detective, or an informer, and in some of them, I am sorry to say, I believe the attempt was successful. Now, I really fail to see how crimes of that kind can in any sense be designated as political offences. I remember a case which a few years ago was tried at the Cork Assizes, in which a serious highway robbery was committed by two men, who were sentenced to certain terms of penal servitude. They were known Fenian sympathisers, if not members of the Fenian Society, and there was good reason to suspect that the robbery was committed in order to obtain funds for the purposes of the Society, which I am glad to say only to a slight extent exists—but still I fear exists—in Cork. Now, would the hon. Member say that the men who committed that highway robbery for the purposes of the Fenian Society were political prisoners? [Mr. O'CONNOR POWER: No!] Very well. But if a highway robbery for the sake of the Fenian Society was not a political proceeding, how could an attempt to commit murder for the sake of the Society be so? Sir, the cases of the men to whom the hon. Member referred will, of course, be considered on their merits and at a proper time; but I am bound to say that, in my 'opinion and in the opinion of the Government, they cannot be viewed in in the same light for a moment as the cases of the men who have recently been released. But to pass on. I think the gravamen of the complaint of the hon. Member for Galway and those who supported him was, after all, that we had not equal laws in Ireland and in England. Very well; but if that is the complaint, why do we find prominently among the alterations of the law they desire such Bills as you would never hear of in England? Everyone knows that the land laws of Ireland are infinitely more favourable to the tenant than are those of England. But the Irish tenant for all that is not contented with his position. Why. does he not assimilate his own law on the subject to that of England? That is not what he wants; and, therefore, hon. Members 212 opposite propose to make the land laws for England and Ireland still more unequal than at present. In this they admit that you must have regard in legislation to the different circumstances of different portions of the United Kingdom. "Oh, but," we are asked, "what are the questions of the borough and municipal franchise, and of the coercion laws?" Well, I should like to recall the attention of hon. Members for Ireland to the debate which occurred on the first meeting of the present Parliament, in which an Amendment to the Address was moved by the Leader to whom they have lately paid such high honour—the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt)—whose eloquence and ability we all admire. The hon. and learned Gentleman, in moving that Amendment, asked for equal laws for England and Ireland. He wanted the repeal of the coercion laws; the same privileges in the election of sheriffs conferred upon Irish municipalities as were enjoyed by English; the reform of the Grand Jury laws and the extension of the Irish municipal franchise. What has happened with respect to the first of these subjects? The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick himself very recently said to hon. Members opposite and to those who agree with him in political opinion, thatwhile five years ago there was a Coercion Bill which left the Press enslaved, which gave to the policeman power to visit any house at any hour, and the Lord Lieutenant authority to arrest any person day or night, all this has now vanished.The fact is that Parliament has dealt, and the different branches of the Administration have dealt, each in their own way, as hon. Members opposite have themselves desired, in regard to this matter of the coercion laws. And I am bound to say that nothing in the course of my duties, as connected with the Irish Administration, has given me greater pleasure than that we have, consistently with the preservation of law and order in Ireland, been able to relax the severity of those exceptional laws which the circumstances of the time rendered necessary. In 1874, when the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick moved his Amendment, there was but one county in Ireland free from the provisions of the Coercion Act —there are now 16. In three Irish 213 counties there was a suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act—at the present moment every part of Ireland is as free as any other part of the United Kingdom. I venture to think that is a change of no slight importance—not only to the Government, but to all those who are most interested in the preservation of law and order—namely, the inhabitants of Ireland themselves. And I think it is most unfair that what has been done in this respect has not, so far as I remember, been once recognized in this debate by the speakers on the Opposition side of the House. Again, it is known that a Bill has been passed conferring the right upon the municipalities to elect persons for appointment to the office of sheriff in Ireland.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
I desire to correct the right hon. Gentleman. We introduced the Bill as it used to be in Ireland before 1832, and as it is now in England; but you spoilt it.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
I can only say as a matter of fact that the sheriffs are now returned by the municipalities, just as they are by the counties; and only a few weeks ago the Leader of the Party opposite (Mr. Butt), when the freedom of the City of Dublin was presented to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich, expressed his complete contentment with the provisions of the measure to which I refer. As to the extension of the municipal franchise, it is true that two years ago a proposal of the kind was rejected. [Major O'GORMAN: Hoar, hear!] The hon. and gallant Member for Waterford seems to have an accurate recollection of the fact. [Major O'GORMAN: I have] Well, it is true I opposed the Bill on the part of the Government, not because I considered the municipal franchise was now on a satisfactory basis, or was incapable of extension, but because I believed there were other matters relating to Irish municipalities equally deserving of attention, and I therefore wished the whole question to be inquired into. A Committee was appointed for the purpose, and the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Limerick took an active part in its deliberations, and moved that the evidence should at the close of its first Session be reported to the House, with a view to its re-appointment. That course was adopted, and the Committee resumed its 214 labours last year, and it must be admitted that though the proceedings have been somewhat protracted, they have not been without advantage to the country. The Committee will shortly, I hope, meet to consider its Report, and I believe the result will be a really valuable reform, including an extension of the municipal franchise and other beneficial changes. The next question raised by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick in 1874 was the reform of the Grand Jury laws, and that, I would remind the House, is one of the subjects with which, if you will give us time, we propose to deal in the present Session. On the subject of Education, it could scarcely be contended for a moment that an equality of laws as between England and Ireland could be produced by passing the University Bill which was introduced by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick last year. But we have undertaken this year to attempt to deal with that branch of education in Ireland which must be settled before a satisfactory University system could be possible. I allude to intermediate or secondary education which is necessary to enable students to become fitted to enter upon a University course. Further, it is impossible we can reap the best results of the system of primary education have established, unless we hold out some stimulus to the best students in primary schools to pursue their studies into higher paths. It is admitted on all hands, Protestant and Roman Catholic, Conservative and Liberal, alike, that the deficiency in intermediate education is a crying want in the Irish system of education; and if that is satisfactorily mot, we will endeavour to see whether there are any other gaps in the general educational system of the country which can be filled up in the interests of the people of Ireland. But, after all, I have heard from one or two speakers in the course of this debate, and especially from the hon. Member for the county of Limerick (Mr. O'Sullivan), that these questions of ordinary legislation are really not what this Motion is intended to cover. The hon. Member distinctly said that the Irish people whom he represented would not be satisfied without the right to make their own laws and dispose of their own taxes— in other words, what is meant by the national demands of the people of 215 Ireland, in his view and that of other speakers, is Home Rule. If that be so, I shall not be guilty of unnecessary repetition if I once more remind hon. Members that they have never formulated their ideas of Home Rule before either the House or the country. Every other Irish subject during the last four Sessions has been before the House in the shape of a Bill; but Home Rule, whatever it be—the one question on which all are united—is the single question on which no Bill or scheme has been presented. I do not know, after all, whether Home Rule in their belief is a matter of primary importance. ["Hear, hear!"] I hear but a single cheer in reply. I think I have some ground for the doubt, in the fact that the hon. Member for Cork county (Mr. Shaw), who never speaks without affording a valuable and sensible contribution to debate, said—Our seats are perfectly secure without Home Rule; and, speaking generally, there is hardly a Member of us who would not he returned without professing it.I attach some importance to that expression of opinion on the part of one who was chosen as spokesman of the Party, to propose a Home Rule Motion in a judicious speech last Session, and who presided at what, I suppose, must be considered an important meeting of the Party recently in Dublin. I do not know whether it was important, because I am told that thousands of invitations were issued and but a few hundreds accepted. I have heard that no conclusion was arrived at, but that everybody agreed no differences ought to exist. I have heard that the meeting excited so little interest that, although galleries were set apart for ladies—that all the irresistible influence of Irish beauty and wit might not be wanting to the occasion—there were present but 16 representatives of the fair sex of Ireland. I do not want to discuss the question of the importance of this meeting; I will take it at whatever value is put upon it by hon. Members opposite; but let us see what was said by the hon. Member for the county of Cork in his opening speech. Referring to the difficulty of impressing the House of Commons with the merits of Home Rule, he said—Hare we got all sections of our countrymen converted to our cause? Is there not an im- 216 mense mass of the nation, Protestant and Conservative, standing yet outside our movement? Is there not a mass of persons, Catholic and Liberal, that is still standing outside our ranks, looking to see what we mean, and what we are?I should be the last to deny the justice of the views expressed by the hon. Member; but if that can be said of the popular feeling in Ireland on the subject, is it such a proof of our unfairness to Ireland, that we in this Imperial House of Commons are unable immediately to give assent to a vague, indefinite, undefinable thing that is not understood or accepted even by the people of Ireland themselves? If the national demands pressed upon us by the Amendment signify Home Rule and nothing else, I do find great difficulty in understanding why this peculiar occasion has been chosen for this discussion. Why has the hon. Member interfered with the unanimous acceptance of the Address on such an important Imperial occasion as the present? Why has he now introduced a subject which surely he and those who act with him can take good means to provide shall be fully discussed during the present Session? It seems to me he has been singularly unfortunate in his opportunity. My right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) was right when he said nothing could be more detrimental to our national and Imperial welfare, and most of all to the welfare of Ireland, than the introduction of a question of this kind at such a time. Hon. Members who last Session took what many felt to be a somewhat peculiar and unprecedented course in our debates have stated publicly, at this assembly to which I have alluded, that their only wish was to be occupied— ["No, no!"]—why the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Parnell) said so—and, further, that they were anxious for active and earnest participation in Imperial and English as well as Irish affairs. No one will welcome that participation more than English and Scotch Members, provided that it be conducted in a fair and honest and Parliamentary manner; provided that those who join in such debates do so for the purpose of promoting the Business of this House and of our whole country, and not of impeding or delaying the legitimate action of Parliament. At the Home 217 Rule Assembly which has lately been held in Dublin, much surprise was expressed by the few gentlemen who were fortunate enough to participate in the proceedings at the extreme unanimity with which they had decided upon nothing at all. But it struck me that their unanimity was due to one particular reason which appeared to impress itself more forcibly than any other on their minds, namely, this—that they must be unanimous—never mind their conclusions, because their enemies in and out of the Press in England and Scotland had prophesied that they were about to quarrel. Now, I cannot but hope that the prophecies which we have heard of very extraordinary interruptions and un-Parliamentary proceedings during the Session have proceeded not from the Friends, but from the enemies of hon. Gentlemen opposite; and that, taking the cue which they took so ably and so satisfactorily to themselves at their recent meeting, they will prove their good sense by showing a determination to falsify those prophecies, and will endeavour, by promoting English and Scotch Business really to promote their own; and that they will recognize that occasions may arise when the domestic interests of England and Scotland and even of Ireland must for a time be neglected, in order that we may devote our whole and undivided attention to the greater interests of our common Empire.
§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY
complained that the right hon. Baronet who had just down had not held out any hope that the Land Act, or any of the reforms which were so greatly needed in Ireland, would be conceded by the Government. They had heard a speech of some force and of some inaccuracy from the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket), and they had heard a faint echo of it from their old Orange Friend the Member for Belfast (Mr. W. Johnston). The Chief Secretary had also spoken, and he had told them that it was scarcely likely that they could expect the subject of Home Rule mentioned in the Queen's Speech, although it was legitimate enough to discuss it. English Members spoke with courtesy, at any rate, to Irish Members; but he found in the speech of the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin an asperity and recklessness 218 in the use of personalities which was never indulged in by English Members; and speeches like that defeated their object, and would serve to arouse the people to combine still more for Home Rule. While the Home Rule Members had promised unanimity, they stipulated that individual liberty should be maintained. He contended that the question of Home Rule was only in its infancy, but the Party of politicians to which the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University belonged was dying, and it would owe its extinction to the bitter and acrimonious sentiments breathed in such speeches as that of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The right hon. Baronet told them that in a crisis like the present they ought not to interfere; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the right hon. Member for Greenwich had both agreed last night that there was now no crisis at all, that no immediate occasion for action had arisen, and that they had only to express to Her Majesty their hope that peace would be restored. Therefore, it could not be urged with any force that the Irish Party had intervened at an inopportune moment in pressing forward national demands. At the same time Irish Members came there instructed by their constituents, though not as delegates—["Oh, oh!"]—and not after the style of the licensed victuallers, but by the common sense of the country, to insist that on great and important questions Irish Business under any circumstances should receive proper attention, and that they should be told what were the intentions of the Government. Having been the first person to move in the subject of intermediate education, he had heard with pleasure the statement that the Government contemplated actual legislation on two Irish subjects which had been mentioned, although after the taunts which had been thrown out about Irish Members suing, as it were, in forma pauperis for measures, and on the few occasions when they got them showing no gratitude, he would not say that that was a case for gratitude. He would warn the Government that as long as the question of Irish University education remained untouched, legislation on intermediate education would not be regarded with much satisfaction by the people of Ireland. Indeed, he doubted whether the feeling in that 219 country would allow them to accept legislation on the latter subject, unless they held out to them in regard to University education something more definite than the very faint intimations which had been given by the Chief Secretary. They had not expected the right hon. Baronet to define what the Government intended to do, but they had hoped that he would propose a scheme at the proper time. If noble Lords and English Gentlemen who went to Ireland showed a disposition to work out in a practical way questions of that kind in the manner which the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock, the son of the Lord Lieutenant (Lord Randolph Churchill), had done in his recent contribution towards the solution of that problem, he could only say that the feelings of Ireland towards England would be very different from what they now were. Whether the suggestion of that noble Lord could be carried out or not was, however, a serious matter. Then, again, the Land Question could not afford to wait, because the subsistence of hundreds and thousands of people who might be driven from their holdings depended upon its being dealt with. He also regretted that the Manchester prisoners had not been liberated, because, although technically murderers, those persons were in a very different position from that of men who had been committed of murder in the ordinary sense, as the right hon. Member for Greenwich had last year acknowledged. It was believed in Ireland that the prisoners who had just been released owed their liberation to the fact that the Government would be anxious to get recruits in that country if a war should break out, and that they would find great difficulty in doing so, owing to the way in which these men had been treated. If they wished to remove the idea that political motives had been at work in the release of the prisoners, they ought to set free the Manchester men. It had been said that there was only one loyal Province of Ireland—namely, Ulster; and he had there heard the sentiment applauded that no man worthy of the name of Irishman should take the Queen's shilling while the men remained unreleased. That was a bad state of things; but Parliament was deaf to gievances, and if the same course was to be persisted in, of what use was it that 220 they should come over from Ireland and take part in. the deliberations of that House? Even now, at the eleventh hour, he hoped the House would be induced to grant the legitimate demands of the Irish people before all hope had departed from them. Perhaps it would listen to them when their numbers were increased from 60 to 80, and when public opinion in this country was more favourable. They had been deliberately refused any redress on the University question, the question of the franchise, and other questions; and, from the events of that evening, many men in Ireland would say that it was of no use agitating constitutionally on these or any other subjects. And what answer could they give? He asked the House, during the coming Session, to disabuse the people of Ireland that Constitutional action was useless; and that nothing could be gained for the country except through sedition. He hoped that the legislation during the next few months would do something to remove that spirit of anarchy and antagonism which the Almighty had made the necessary consequence of mismanagement all over the world.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided; —Ayes 48; Noes 301: Majority 253.223
|Biggar, J. G.||Meldon, C. H.|
|Blennerhassett, R. P.||Moore, A.|
|Bowyer, Sir G.||Morris, G.|
|Brady, J.||O'Beirne, Captain|
|Brooks, M.||O'Brien, Sir P.|
|Browne, G. E.||O'Byrne, W. R.|
|Collins, E.||O'Clery, K.|
|Conyngham, Lord F.||O'Conor, D. M.|
|Cowen, J.||O'Conor Don, The|
|Delahunty, J.||O'Donnell, F. H.|
|Digby, K. T.||O'Gorman, P.|
|Downing, M'C.||O'Reilly, M.|
|Dunbar, J.||O'Shaughnessy, R.|
|Ennis, N.||O'Sullivan, W. R.|
|Errington, G.||Parnell, C. S.|
|Eyton, P. E.||Power, J. O'C.|
|Fay, C. J.||Redmond, W. A.|
|French, hon. C.||Shaw, W.|
|Gray, E. D.||Sheil, E.|
|Henry, M.||Stacpoole, W.|
|Lewis, O.||Sullivan, A. M.|
|MacCarthy, J. G.||Ward, M. F.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||TELLERS.|
|M'Laren, D.||Nolan, Major|
|Martin, P.||Power, R.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Courtney, L. H.|
|Adderley, rt. hon. Sir C.||Cowan, J.|
|Agnew, R. V.||Crawford, J. S.|
|Allen, Major||Crichton, Viscount|
|Anderson, G.||Cross, rt. hon. R. A.|
|Archdale, W. H.||Dalrymple, C.|
|Arkwright, A. P.||Davenport, W. B.|
|Arkwright, F.||Davies, D.|
|Ashley, hon. E. M.||Davies, R.|
|Assheton, R.||Denison, W. E.|
|Astley, Sir J. D.||Dickson, T. A.|
|Bailey, Sir J. R.||Digby, Col. hon. E.|
|Balfour, A. J.||Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Douglas, Sir G.|
|Barclay, A. C.||Duff, J.|
|Barclay, J. W.||Duff, E. W.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Eaton, H. W.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Edmonstone, Admiral Sir W.|
|Bass, M. T.|
|Bates, E.||Egerton, hon. A. F.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Egerton,Admiralhn. F.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Egerton, Sir P. G|
|Beach,rt. hn. Sir M. H.||Egerton, hon. W.|
|Beaumont, Major F.||Elliot, G. W.|
|Bective, Earl of||Elphinstone, Sir J. D. H.|
|Bell, I. L.||Emlyn, Viscount|
|Benett-Stanford, V. F.||Eslington, Lord|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Fellowes, E.|
|Bentinck, G. W. P.||Ferguson, E.|
|Beresford, Colonel M.||Fletcher, I.|
|Birley, H.||Floyer, J.|
|Blackburne, Col. J. I.||Forester, C. T. W.|
|Blake, T.||Forster, Sir C.|
|Boord, T. W.||Forsyth, W.|
|Bourke, hon. R.||Fremantle, hon. T. F.|
|Bousfield, Colonel||Freshfield, C. K.|
|Bright, E.||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Broadley, W. H. H.||Garnier, J. C.|
|Brocklehurst, W. C.||Gibson, rt. hon. E.|
|Brogden, A.||Giffard, Sir H. S.|
|Brooks, W. C.||Gilpin, Sir E. T.|
|Brown, A. H.||Goldney, G.|
|Bruce, hon. T.||Gordon, Sir A.|
|Bruen, H.||Gordon, Lord D.|
|Bulwer, J. R.||Gordon, W.|
|Burghley, Lord||Goulding, W.|
|Buxton, Sir R. J.||Gower, hon. E. F. L.|
|Cameron, C.||Grantham, W.|
|Cameron, D.||Greene, E.|
|Campbell, C.||Gregory, G. B.|
|Carington, Col. hon. W.||Grey, Earl de|
|Cartwright, F.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Cavendish, Lord F. C.||Hall, A. W.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.||Halsey, T. F.|
|Chaine, J.||Hamilton, Lord G.|
|Chambers, Sir T.||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Chaplin, Colonel E.||Hamilton, hon. E. B.|
|Chaplin, H.||Harcourt, Sir W. V.|
|Cholmeley, Sir H.||Hardcastle, E.|
|Clarke, J. C.||Hardy, J. S.|
|Clifford, C. C.||Harrison, C.|
|Clive, Col. hon. G. W.||Hartington, Marq. of|
|Close, M. C.||Harvey, Sir R. B.|
|Cobbold, T. C.||Hay, rt. hn. Sir J. C. D.|
|Cole, H. T.||Heath, E.|
|Cole, Col. hon. H. A.||Hermon, E.|
|Corbett, J.||Hervey, Lord F.|
|Cordes, T.||Hick, J.|
|Corry, J. P.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Cotes, C. C.||Hill, A. S.|
|Cotton, W. J. R.||Hill, T. E.|
|Hinchingbrook, Visct.||Peel, A. W.|
|Holford, J. P. G.||Pemberton, E. L.|
|Holker, Sir J.||Pender, J.|
|Holland, Sir H. T.||Pennant, hon. G.|
|Holmesdale, Viscount||Peploe, Major|
|Holt, J. M.||Percy, Earl|
|Home, Captain||Perkins, Sir F.|
|Hood, Capt. hn. A. W. A. N.||Phipps, P.|
|Pim, Captain B.|
|Hope, A. J. B. B.||Playfair, rt. hon. L.|
|Hubbard, rt. hon. J.||Plunket, hon. D. R.|
|Isaac, S.||Powell, W.|
|Jenkins, D. J.||Praed, H. B.|
|Jenkinson, Sir G. S.||Price, W. E.|
|Johnson, J. G.||Raikes, H. C.|
|Johnston, W.||Ramsay, J.|
|Johnstone, Sir H.||Rashleigh, Sir C.|
|Kavanagh, A. MacM.||Bead, C. S.|
|Kay - Shuttleworth, Sir U.||Rendlesham, Lord|
|Repton, G. W.|
|Kennard, Colonel||Richard, H.|
|Kensington, Lord||Ridley, M. W.|
|Knatchbull - Hugessen, rt. hon. E.||Ripley, H. W.|
|Ritchie, C. T.|
|Knight, F. W.||Robertson, H.|
|Knightley, Sir R.||Rodwell, B. B. H.|
|Knowles, T.||Russell, Sir C.|
|Lawrence, Sir T.||Ryder, G. R.|
|Lawson, Sir W.||Salt, T.|
|Learmonth, A.||Samuda, J. D'A.|
|Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.||Sanderson, T. K.|
|Lee, Major V.||Sandon, Viscount|
|Leeman, G.||Sclater-Booth, rt. hn. G.|
|Lefevre, G. J. S.||Scott, M. D.|
|Legard, Sir C.||Selwin - Ibbetson, Sir H. J.|
|Legh, W. J.|
|Leighton, S.||Severne, J. E.|
|Lewis, C. E.||Sidebottom, T. H.|
|Lindsay, Col. E. L.||Simonds, W. B.|
|Lloyd, T. E.||Smith, E.|
|Lopes, Sir M.||Smith, S. G.|
|Lowther, hon. W.||Smith, rt. hon. W. H.|
|Lowther, J.||Smollett, P. B.|
|Lubbock, Sir J.||Somerset, Lord H. R. C.|
|Lush, Dr.||Spinks, Mr. Serjeant|
|Macartney, J. W. E.||Stafford, Marquess of|
|M'Garel-Hogg, Sir J.||Stanhope, hon. E.|
|Maitland, J.||Stanhope, W. T. W. S.|
|Majendie, L. A.||Stanley, hon. F.|
|Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.||Stanton, A. J.|
|Marling, S. S.||Starkey, L. R.|
|Marten, A. G.||Stevenson, J. C.|
|Mellor, T. W.||Stewart, M. J.|
|Merewether, C. G.||Storer, G.|
|Mills, Sir C. H.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Monk, C. J.||Taylor, D.|
|Montgomery, Sir G. G.||Taylor, rt. hon. Col.|
|Morgan, hon. F.||Tennant, R.|
|Mulholland, J.||Thornhill, T.|
|Muncaster, Lord||Thwaites, D.|
|Mure, Colonel||Thymic, Lord H. F.|
|Naghten, Lt.-Col.||Tollemache, hon. W. F.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Torr, J.|
|Newport, Viscount||Tracy, hon. F. S. A. Hanbury-|
|Noel, rt. hon. G. J.||Tremayne, J.|
|Northcote, rt. hon. Sir S. H.||Trevor.Lord A. E. Hill-|
|Verner, E. W.|
|Onslow, D.||Walker, O. O.|
|Paget, R. H.||Walker, T. E.|
|Palk, Sir L.||Wallace, Sir R.|
|Parker, Lt.-Col. W.||Walter, J.|
|Pease, J. W.||Warburton, P. E.|
|Waterlow, Sir S. H.||Wolff, Sir H. D.|
|Watkin, A. M.||Woodd, B. T.|
|Watkin, Sir E. W.||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Watney, J.||Wynn, C. W. W.|
|Wellesley, Colonel||Yeaman, J.|
|Wheelhouse, W. S. J.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Whitbread, S.||Young, A. W.|
|Wilmot, Sir H.||TELLERS.|
|Wilson, C.||Dyke, Sir W. H.|
|Wilson, Sir M.||Winn, R.|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Committee appointed, to draw up an Address to be presented to Her Majesty upon the said Resolution:—Mr. WILBRAHAM EGERTON, Mr. TENNANT, Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, Mr. Secretary CROSS, Mr. Secretary HARDY, Mr. WILLIAM HENRY SMITH, Sir CHARLES ADDERLEY, Sir HENRY SELWIN-IBEETSON, Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL, Mr. BOURKE, Mr. STANLEY, Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE, and Mr. WINN, or any Three of them:— To withdraw immediately.—Queen's Speech referred.