HC Deb 20 May 1880 vol 252 cc105-69

, in rising to move that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty in answer to Her gracious Speech, said: Mr. Speaker, I am deeply sensible of the very grave responsibility which I incur, when I rise on this the first meeting of a new Parliament, in times of considerable difficulty, to move that this House return an humble Address of Thanks to Her Majesty in reply to the most gracious Speech which has just been read according to her express command; and I claim for myself that indulgence of which I stand so much in need. I rejoice, Sir, to see that the Speech from the Throne is so framed that, while pointing the attention of Parliament to its important duties, no offence can be taken by any hon. Member to anything which it contains; and during the short time which I purpose to occupy the attention of this House I will faithfully endeavour to remember the lesson which it inculcates. I observe, Sir, that the first part of Her Majesty's Message is devoted to the consideration of foreign affairs. When we consider how closely in this age of civilization the fortunes of nations are interwoven and interlinked so that it is impossible that calamity can befall one country without making its disastrous influences felt by all, it must be admitted that foreign affairs are of the first importance to every Englishman; and it is, therefore, only fitting that their consideration should occupy the opening paragraph of a Speech from the Throne. Although there exist in the condition of Eastern Europe and of Asiatic Turkey grave causes for anxiety, hon. Members on both sides of this House will hail joyfully the announcement that in their endeavour to obtain the desired removal of those causes the Government intend, by a joint concert with those other Powers who are signatories to the Treaty of Berlin, to bring about the thorough and complete execution of those of its provisions which yet remain unfulfilled. Though many of the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin have been carried into effect, there are still certain of its provisions—and these not the least important—towards the execution of which no progress has been made. Notwithstanding that the Treaty was concluded nearly two years ago, no advance has been made towards the settlement of the Montenegrin or of the Greek Frontier. It was, I admit, only fair to the Porte that a reasonable time should have been allowed to her in which to carry into complete fulfilment the different provisions of a Treaty which was at once large and complicated; but now that nearly two years have passed, I maintain that it is due to the dignity of those Powers who signed that Treaty that there should be a speedy settlement of these questions, in order that it should not be regarded as worthless by those who are most interested in the fulfilment of its yet unfulfilled provisions. Although new Organic Laws for the European Provinces of Turkey were promised by Article XXIII., we are yet waiting with anxiety the promulgation of these reformed Constitutions; and although the Sultan undertook, under Article LXL, to extend to his Armenian subjects the benefits of a reformed system of government, yet, as far as I am aware, no reform has been commenced, nor is there, I believe, any preparation for such commencement. To the evils arising from misgovernment there have been added the horrors of a famine which, terrible in its severity, unfortunately prevails over a great part of Asiatic Turkey; and such is the unhappy state of the country that, unless some effective measures of reform are instantly put into execution, there is grave reason to apprehend that some terrible convulsion may ensue. The surest and safest way to avert such a calamity will, I believe, be found in the joint pressure upon the Porte by the European Powers whose duty it will be to see that the Armenian subjects of the Sultan shall receive that security which was promised them by the Treaty of Berlin. In a matter of general concern combined action is desirable; and I venture to say that the policy of England and of Europe should be dictated not by what may appear to be the selfish interests of any isolated Power, but by what are, in fact, the common interests of all the Powers concerned, I rejoice to think that, with a view to maintain tranquillity and to secure the observation of international obligations, Her Majesty's Government have acted both with promptness and with vigour; and that the right hon. Member for Ripon (Mr. Gosehen) is now on his way to represent England, and to act in concert with the Representatives of the other signatories to the Treaty of Berlin for the purpose of carrying into complete effect such of its provisions as still remain unfulfilled. And I venture to congratulate Her Majesty's Government on having been able to secure for this difficult task the services of that right hon. Gentleman, who is in every way entitled to the confidence of the country, and who, I am sure, will not forget in the execution of the duties of his high office that he is still a friend of freedom and a sympathizer with the oppressed. Sir, turning to that part of Her Majesty's Speech which refers to Afghanistan, although I regret that it is not in our power to congratulate Her Majesty's Ministers upon the complete settlement of affairs in that country, I know that hon. Members on both sides of the House will not hesitate to wish Her Majesty's Ministers speedy success in making such a settlement of the difficulties in Afghanistan as may secure the independence of her people, and establish the foundation of future friendly relations towards ourselves. I confess that I do not share the apprehensions of those who believe that the security of British India is endangered by foes beyond its borders. Strong in the possession of her magnificent resources, unconquerable in the security of an impregnable position, we may view without dismay, and wait without alarm, such attacks as may be contemplated against our Frontier. To my mind the danger—if danger there be—which threatens the continuance of the good results which has attended our Indian rule, lies not without but within India, and it is within India that it should be met. It should be met by a strong and wise Executive, who, while determined to maintain the dignity of the Empire without attempting to enlarge its limits, is also resolved to do its utmost to open out the country, and to abstain from all action that may interfere with the natural development of her internal resources. This seems to me the right policy for British India to pursue, and let us hope that with the growth of Native industries consequent upon the extension of those works of public utility, upon which India more than any other country in the world depends, Her Majesty may be able in the future to present to Her Indian subjects the happy combination of a continually increasing Revenue with a continually-reduced taxation. As to South Africa, the House will be glad to know that the object of Her Majesty's Government is to bring about such a Confederation of existing Colonies as is calculated to increase their strength and render them less dependent for their existence upon the aid of British arms. The assumption of the Transvaal by the British has rendered us liable to obligations to its vast population which it would be impossible for us to disregard. Our policy is, after we have secured the interests of the Natives, to grant the largest possible measure of local self-government to the European settlers. And now, turning from those grave considerations which must at present attend our foreign and colonial affairs, it is with a feeling of sincere relief and satisfaction that I congratulate Her Majesty's Ministers on having seen their way to allow the Irish Peace Preservation Acts to expire on June 1st, as was provided by the Act of 1875; but while congratulating, I do not intend for one moment to imply that I have any desire to relieve Her Majesty's Ministers of any part of that great responsibility which I know they have fully appreciated, and which I am proud to think that they have had the courage to assume. And while I venture to remind Her Majesty's Ministers of their supreme responsibility, I do not wish to be thought forgetful of the responsibility which belongs to this House when it approves of the resolution of the Government, nor do I at all underrate the individual responsibility which must attach to every single Member of this House. A special responsibility, however, must rest with those hon. Members who are sent here to represent the Irish people. Their duty does not end in this House. I trust they may find an early opportunity to go to their constituents and to urge them to maintain peace and order, to discharge all obligations to which they may be liable, to fulfil all contracts upon which they may have entered, so that their conduct in the future may never give us cause to regret the course adopted at this moment by Her Majesty's Ministers, and may never mate it necessary for the Parliament of the United Kingdom to re-enact measures of coercion and of repression such as are now happily about to expire. I would remind them, moreover, that such action will have even further beneficial results. With respect for law and reverence for authority, with the honest discharge of all legal liabilities and the complete fulfilment of all contracts, confidence in the security of life and property in Ireland will once more be restored; and capital, attracted by such confidence, and by such confidence only, will flow in its surplus abundance to find profitable investment in the development of her resources, by which means alone can be brought about that real and permanent improvement of her people that we so much desire. Now, Sir, with reference to the legislative measures which it is the intention of Her Majesty's Ministers to submit to the consideration of the House, I think the House may well congratulate the Government upon the selection they have made, and upon the character of the measures they intend to propose. Sir, considering the circumstances which have attended the advent of Her Majesty's Government to Office, considering how great a part of the Session had already elapsed before they could even deliberate as to the most profitable use they could make of the short time that still remains to them, they seem to mo to have exercised a very wise discretion. Although the measures proposed are important, none of them can be said to be in any way complicated, or to invite side issues, or to be encumbered with difficult provisions. They are distinctly simple measures on which the minds of statesmen can be and have been made up as well in Opposition as in Office. Some of them I venture to hope will be in a Party sense uncontested, for I do not think the renewal of the Ballot Act, or the Employers Liabilities Bill, can be regarded as in any degree Party measures. The question of the Law as to Burials has long been before the country, and I think it will be admitted that the time has now come for its final settlement. As a conforming member of the Church who is strongly opposed to the policy of Disestablishment, but is equally strongly in favour of the policy of Reform, I gladly hail the announcement of a measure which will, I know, remedy a great defect, and which, I trust, may be but the forerunner of other reforms which will tend to make the Church more truly national, and thus promote the efficiency of the most powerful engine that can be brought to bear upon the moral and religious character of the people. I am sincerely rejoiced at the prospect of a settlement as to the proprietorship of ground game; and if I may be allowed to speak in language familiar to my own constituents, I trust that the settlement may result in giving "the fur to the tenant, and the feather to the landlord," so that by extending to the tenant an indefeasible right of protecting his crops from the ravages committed upon them by ground game he may, in his position as an agriculturist, be both strengthened and improved. And for such a measure I am sure I may claim the support of those hon. Gentlemen who deem themselves by some special Providence to be the farmer's friend. I consider the assimilation of the franchise of Ireland to that of England to be a wise and just measure, believing, as I do, that the true policy in relation to the two countries should be the policy so aptly enunciated by a late distinguished statesman, who declared the wisdom of establishing Between England and Ireland complete equality in civil, municipal, and political rights, so that no person viewing Ireland should he enabled to say, on account of some jealousy or suspicion, Ireland has curtailed or mutilated rights. And now, Sir, having ventured to refer, and, in some cases, to discuss, parts of Her Majesty's gracious Speech, it remains only for me to hope that the House will adopt the Motion which I am about to propose, and will approach the Throne in a spirit of loyal unanimity with a humble Address in reply to Her Majesty's most gracious Speech; but before I sit down I hope the House will accept my best and warmest thanks for the great indulgence extended to me this evening, and though my words of thanks are few I hope they will be taken to be heartfelt and sincere. The hon. Member concluded by moving— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, to convey the thanks of this House for the Most Gracious Speech delivered by Her Command to both Houses of Parliament: Humbly to assure Her Majesty that we rejoice to hear that the cordial relations which Her Majesty holds with all the other Powers of Europe will enable Her Majesty to promote, in concert with them, the early and complete fulfilment of the Treaty of Berlin with respect to effectual reforms and equal laws in Turkey, as well as to such territorial questions as have not yet been settled in conformity with the provisions of that Treaty: Humbly to thank Her Majesty for informing us that, with this view, Her Majesty has deemed it expedient to despatch an Ambassador Extraordinary to the Court of the Sultan: To thank Her Majesty for informing us that Her Majesty's efforts will be unceasingly directed to wards the pacification of Afghanistan, and towards the establishment of such institutions as may be found best fitted to secure the independence of its people, and to restore their friendly relations with Her Indian Empire: Humbly to thank Her Majesty for directing that we shall be supplied with the fullest information upon the condition of Indian Finance; Humbly to assure Her Majesty that the important questions of Policy connected with the future of South Africa will receive our careful attention: To thank Her Majesty for informing us that Her Majesty has continued to commend to the favourable consideration of the authorities and of the people in the various Settlements the project of Confederation, and that in maintaining supremacy over the Transvaal Her Majesty desires both to make provision for the security of the indigenous races, and to extend to the European settlers institutions based on large and liberal principles of self-government "Humbly to assure Her Majesty that we rejoice to learn that, though the depression which has lately been perceived in the revenue continues, the imports and exports of the Country, as well as other signs, indicate some revival in trades, and to thank Her Majesty for informing us that the annual Estimates of Charge, so far as they have not been already voted, will be laid before us: Humbly to thank Her Majesty for informing us that we shall not be asked to renew the Peace Preservation Act for Ireland: Humbly to assure Her Majesty that we shall studiously turn to the best account the time available for useful legislation: And to join with Her Majesty in trusting that the blessing of God will attend our labours.


, in rising to second the Motion, appealed to the House to extend to him its forbearance while he endeavoured to discharge a duty which, as a new Member of Parliament in a new House of Commons, he felt to be a particularly trying one. The whole country, he was sure, would rejoice that Her Majesty's Ministers had so promptly decided to send a special Ambassador to Constantinople, and that the choice had fallen on so able and distinguished a Member of the House as Mr. Goschen, who was so conspicuous for his knowledge of finance and his general business capacity. He was sure everyone would hope for the success of his mission. As an individual, however, he ventured to think that the less the Government of this country interfered in the management of other countries the better it would be for all countries. The tendency of all Governments in this country in the past had been to meddle too much with the affairs of foreign nations, and the result had always been to cause great dissatisfaction to our own people, and to bring upon us serious complications, heavy debts, and not un-frequently costly and disastrous wars. At the same time he did not wish to cool the sympathy of the people of this country with other races who were struggling to free themselves from bad laws and bad government, or to check in the slightest degree that moral support which all free countries were ready to extend to other countries which did not enjoy the same amount of freedom as themselves. He rejoiced that the Burials Question was about to receive attention. It had long been a vexed question, and had caused much painful discussion; and he trusted it was about to be set at rest in a manner that would give the fullest satisfaction to the members of the Established Church, and also to the members of the other great Churches of the country, who had a deep stake in the final settlement of this question. That a grievance existed was undeniable; and its effect, unfortunately, had been to separate those who ought to have been the best friends, and to hinder the labours of those who ought to have been united in the good work of relieving suffering and distress. No man rejoiced more than lie did, though he was a Nonconformist, at the great prosperity which attended the Church of England in her labours, and that the principles of that Church as a Christian organization were constantly being more firmly rooted in the minds of the people of this country. It had been, perhaps, too much the custom of that Church in former days to rest on special laws and on special privileges. But in proportion as those special laws had been given up, so in proportion had the Church become stronger. He did most earnestly hope that this one other law would be willingly and freely surrendered by that great Church; for it was the common right, he believed, of every Christian subject of the Realm to be decently interred in the parochial churchyard. In his opinion, there should be no exclusion on the ground of form or ceremony of any kind which might be, to a certain extent, offensive to a great portion of the community when the friends of the dead sought decently to bury them. He rejoiced, also, to hear that the measure which had now for several years been in operation for secret voting was to be continued, and he hoped perpetuated, and that the Ballot, which had conferred so many and great privileges upon the humbler voting class, would continue to be used in this country until, at least, Parliament should find out a better mode. As an employer of labour and living in a manufacturing district, he could bear ample testimony to the fact that secret voting was much appreciated by those who worked in our factories, our collieries, and our other great industrial undertakings for weekly wages. And he should say it was appreciated not by that class alone of the community, for there was a small influential class—a class removed far away from need and from suffering in their circumstances by giving an honest vote—who objected to any mode of prying into the way they gave that vote. At the last General Election, so different in its issues from the previous one, vote by ballot had borne evidence of the good effects of secret voting; and he believed that no one now belonging to either side of Party politics was in favour of the old-fashioned style of open voting, which was attended, as they all knew, with so much disorder and odium. He sincerely hoped that other measures might be put forward to accompany the measure as to secret voting, which would, in his opinion, still further check disorder, drunkenness, and crime at elections. He sincerely hoped, as he believed the public opinion was ripening for it, that in a very short time they would see a law passed to close public-houses on the day of polling, and thus to a greater degree than was at present possible to conduce to the orderly conduct of our elections, for the days of undue influence were not yet passed. They saw again and again cases where corrupt rich people had used their money and their influence at elections. It was thought by some that while the ballot suppressed one kind of vice it had fostered another. At the same time, however, they must all admit that the ballot did give the elector the opportunity of giving an unbiassed vote. He and others coming from the same great and populous county of Lancashire could testify that the late election in that county had been conducted with a less degree of impropriety and drunkenness, and of crime of every kind. There was also another clause in the Queen's Speech of great importance, which referred to a Bill rendering employers liable to their workmen under certain conditions for accidents consequent upon no fault of their own. As an employer of a large body of working people and as the owner of machinery of a complicated kind, he might say that the wise and cautious and constant manner in which the laws for the regulation of factories had been enforced by the Factory Inspectors had contributed in a remarkable degree to a reduction of the accidents in our factories without the slightest injury to the proprietors, and that a similar law, he thought, might be safely applied to our collieries and to our other industrial undertakings. He knew that as regarded collieries the question was a very much more difficult one. It was very difficult to say where the responsibility of the employers ended, and where the responsibility of the workmen began in collieries. But most certainly the Government of the country could do very much to reduce the calamitous accidents which were too frequently occurring in our collieries by the appointment of a staff of eminent engineers, who should see that the proprietors of those collieries did all that they ought to do for the ventilation of their mines, for the completeness of their machinery and their plant and their winding apparatus. With regard to railways, he could state, as a director of one of the largest, that no class of men were more anxious at any cost to prevent accidents than the directors of railways and their chief officers. He thought he might venture to say that no part of the Royal Speech had given greater pleasure to the House and the country than the reference in it to the condition of Ireland and the promise of improved legislation for that part of our country. It seemed to him very unfortunate indeed that unequal laws should be applied to two portions of the same United Kingdom. He knew it might be said that in Ireland the conditions of order and the conditions of crime were not the same as in this country; but he would ask, were the conditions of government and law the same? It was to him a most melancholy reflection on the power of this country that Ireland did not enjoy the same amount of content and prosperity, and display the same amount of loyalty to the Throne which other parts of the country did; and he thought they would have found quite an opposite state of things if the same time which had been devoted in the past to foreign affairs had been devoted to the pacification of the people of Ireland. He saw no reason whatever why Ireland should not be bound more closely than she had ever yet been to this part of the country, and should not enjoy an equal amount of comfort and of happiness. Hon. Friends who came from Lancashire like himself could give their testimony to the statement that we were dependent for the work of our factories in a large degree to Irishmen and Irishwomen, and they would also agree with him that in order and in skill they were in no way inferior to the best of our English workmen. While in this country they enjoyed the privilege of voting for Members of Parliament; but when they went back to their native soil, to the spot on which they were born, they were deprived of that political privilege for no other reason whatever than because they happened to live in Ireland and not in England. Anomalies like that pressed for an early settlement, and he hoped the Government would promote other measures calculated to lead to the general welfare of Ireland. Connected as he was with the commerce of this country, he thought he might say we were coming out of a long period of depression under which we had suffered. Employment was more abundant, traffic on the great railways had enormously increased, and travelling on those railways for business and for pleasure had likewise enormously increased. And although he did not blame any Government for a considerable amount of that depression under which we had suffered during the past two years, he might venture to say that in Lancashire especially the distraction which they had constantly felt from an apprehension of this country being involved in foreign wars had considerably added to the distress which the manufacturing industry of that great county had undergone. The House and the country had been startled lately by the news of a grave financial miscarriage in our Indian affairs. No doubt the Government would make a sifting investigation into that great error, or whatever else it might be called, and would bring home to the person, however high his official position might be, that censure—when it was found out who had done the mischief—which the enormity of the transaction demanded. Those sitting on his side especially had been sent to the House to give a warm-hearted and persistent support to the new Government in its efforts, which would be most laborious and most painstaking. In his judgment they had been sent there also to give a loyal support to that great statesman the Chief of the Cabinet, whose past experience and services on behalf of his country, no less than his conspicuous ability and his great moral worth, had earned for him the deepest gratitude of the nation at large. The hon. Member concluded by seconding the Motion.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That,"&c —[Seepage 111.]


Mr. Speaker, I am aware that Notice has been given of an Amendment to the Address, and I regret to stand even for a moment between the hon. Gentleman who has given that Notice and the House. But I think the House will feel that the discussion to which that Amendment invites us is one of a partial cha- racter, and that it would be more convenient that we should follow on the present occasion the usual course of discussing—as far as it is necessary to discuss it—the general tenour and character of the gracious Speech from the Throne before we allow ourselves to be carried into any particular questions that may be raised. Therefore, I think I am right in rising at once to make a few observations upon the gracious Speech which has been delivered, and also on the speeches which have been made by the Mover and the Seconder of the Address. I am sure that I discharge a duty which the House will think I am right in discharging when I congratulate those two hon. Gentlemen on the ability with which they have spoken; and especially, if I may venture to say so, I would desire to congratulate the Mover of the Address, and also to congratulate the House, on the evidence which he has given us that the great Parliamentary name he bears will come to no discredit in his person. Sir, I do not think it is desirable or that the House would wish that I should enter into any detailed discussion of the measures on which those two hon. Members have spoken in some detail. I do not think the time has yet come when we should discuss either the details of the Burials Bill, which we are informed is to be introduced—I do not know that Notice has been given of its introduction yet—or the details of the Ballot Bill. No doubt we shall have these matters before us; and when the time comes it will be right and proper to discuss them. But I desire at present to say a few words on the general character and tenour of the Speech from the Throne, and I think it all the more advisable to do so, because at this moment, and after the great change which took place at the recent General Election, it is a matter of great importance that it should be made clear, once and for all, to foreign Powers and to the people of this country what is the attitude and what are the duties which are recognized by the great Conservative Party which lately sat on the other side of the House, and now sits on these Benches. I agree, not with the Seconder, but with the Mover of the Address in the view he takes of the importance of foreign affairs. I think the hon. Gentleman the Mover spoke with great justice when he observed that the interests of different States were so linked together that what affected one must necessarily more or less affect another, and especially in the presence of the great questions which are still under solution, and which are referred to in the Speech. I think it is of the greatest importance that foreign countries should really understand what the position of England is. I do not, of course, presume to speak for the attitude which Her Majesty's Government may think it right to take; but I wish to say distinctly on behalf of those who sit on this side of the House that our views on foreign policy are in no degree changed by the alteration that has taken place in our position in Parliament. We do not regard these great national questions as questions which are to be treated in such a sense as Party questions that when a change occurs in the position of any Party it is at liberty to disown the views which it has hitherto held. We, for our part, have nothing to withdraw and nothing to explain away. The policy which we have maintained when we were in Office is the policy which we shall support while in Opposition; and it will be a matter of very great satisfaction to us if we find that Her Majesty's present Government, by adopting the principles—I do not say every detail—which we have endeavoured to impress on the foreign policy of the country enables us to give them that support which in foreign affairs an Opposition ought, if possible, to give to a Government. Sir, I do not desire at the present moment to raise any controversial questions that I can avoid; and I am happy to say that the general tone of the Speech, so far as I am able to understand it, is of such a character that I can cordially agree with what appear to be the principles which Her Majesty's Government intend to proceed upon. There are, however, one or two questions on which I think we should be glad to have a little further information, and one of my chief objects in now rising is to mention those questions. But I wish to say, with regard to the principal statement in the beginning of the Speech, that it appears to me to be one which correctly expresses the views which ought to be entertained by a British Government with regard to the affairs of Eastern Europe. Her Majesty tells us that— The cordial relations which I hold with all the other Powers of Europe will, I trust, enable me to promote in concert with them the early and complete fulfilment of the Treaty of Berlin. Therefore, Her Majesty's present Advisers accept the Treaty of Berlin as the starting point for the consideration of our foreign relations; and I think that in so doing they are taking a course which is not only a wise course, but the only safe course for this country to adopt. In accepting the Treaty of Berlin, which is the result of negotiations and of careful and long deliberations between all the Great Powers of Europe, including the Porte—Her Majesty's Government, in accepting that Treaty as the basis of their foreign policy, are upon safe ground, and they are enabled to exercise the right which undoubtedly belongs to all the signitories of that Treaty of pressing for the fulfilment of its stipulations. It was always the desire of the late Government to bring about concerted action on the part of the European Powers in those difficult and complicated and dangerous questions which have arisen in the East of Europe. We felt from the very beginning of those difficulties that the questions were of a character which were not to be solved by the isolated action of one or two or three Powers exclusively of others—that they were to be solved only by concerted action and by a clear understanding between all the parties interested in the subject. We endeavoured, and succeeded in the first Conference at Constantinople in bringing about, or nearly bringing about, an agreement of this character; and we succeeded at a later period, after the Russo-Turkish War had come to a conclusion, in bringing about that agreement at the Congress in Berlin from which has sprung the Treaty which Her Majesty's Government now take as the basis of their foreign policy. I admit that Treaty is not yet so completely fulfilled as we could desire. There is, no doubt, some justice in some of the observations of the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Northumberland (Mr. Grey), and it is not at all to be wondered at that there should be some impatience at seeing that questions which appear to us on the face of them comparatively easy of solution have not been solved so rapidly as it was desirable they should be solved. At the same time, I think it will be seen by the right hon. Gentlemen opposite the more they look into this question the more they will appreciate the great and real difficulties which had to be contended with in securing the fulfilment of these portions of the Treaty. I hope that Her Majesty's Government will be successful in the object which they have at heart. I hope they will be able, in concert with those Powers who were co-signitories to the Treaty of Berlin—including, as I pointed out just now, the Porte itself—to bring about a complete and satisfactory execution of the stipulations of the Treaty; and I hope it all the more because I entirely agree with the concluding words of the second paragraph of the Speech, in which Her Majesty is pleased to say that she regards "such a fulfilment as essential for the avoidance of further complications in the East." I confess myself I entirely agree with that view. If we were, by any unfortunate chain of circumstances, to depart from the safe ground of international obligation and seek for a solution of difficult questions that arise by encouraging any vague theories and aspirations, I am afraid we should find that further complications would arise, and complications of a character the most serious to the peace of Europe and the prosperity of that portion of it to which I refer. Well, Sir, whilst I entirely agree with what appear to be the principles laid down by Her Majesty's Government, I must own I am a little at a loss to understand precisely the meaning of the few words which follow that enunciation. Her Majesty proceeds to remark— In accordance with this view, I have deemed it expedient to despatch an Ambassador Extraordinary to the Court of the Sultan. We think that it would be desirable that we should be a little more fully informed as to the nature and meaning of this appointment. It is undoubtedly one of an unusual character. Under any circumstances, the appointment of an Ambassador Extraordinary requires some explanation; and when the appointment is made under peculiar circumstances and in a peculiar manner our anxiety for information is increased. A right hon. Gentleman of the highest standing in this House, one who might very well have a seat in the Cabinet, but who has not a seat in the Cabinet, has been nevertheless despatched on a mission which is to be of a strictly political character, of a strictly temporary character; and it is a mission which apparently could not be confided to an ordinary Ambassador, but required the appointment of an Ambassador Extraordinary. We wish to know what are to be the relations between the Ambassador Extraordinary and Sir Henry Layard. We wish to know, is the right hon. Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen) to supersede Sir Henry Layard or to act in concert with him, and what are to be the relations in which they are to stand one to another? We wish to know whether this appointment is made with the view to any concerted action with other Powers, and whether similar appointments are to be made by any of the other Powers of Europe. We know very well that when a Conference is in question it is customary to appoint some Ambassador Extraordinary to act with the ordinary diplomatic Representative of this country; but we do not see in the present case any Conference or Congress in view. Well, we want to know what powers this Ambassador Extraordinary is to have, and we want to know with what particular object in view he has been despatched, and what it is he is to do. I confess that I have heard with some little anxiety an expression which fell from the hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. Grey). He spoke of it as being the duty of the Ambassador Extraordinary to put pressure upon the Porte in order to bring about a settlement of certain matters which he desired to see settled. "Putting pressure on the Porte" is a very elastic expression. It is one that ought to be explained to us; and it is of importance that we should have from an authoritative Representative of the Government as soon as may be some explanation of what it is they contemplate, and what is the nature of the pressure, if pressure is in contemplation, that they intend to apply to the Porte. Are we going to commit ourselves to the use of force? That is clearly what it comes to; and if we are, under any circumstances, to commit ourselves to the use of force, the country would expect to be informed what is the object for which we are to use it, and in what direction that force is to be applied. We are entitled to some further explanation of this important subject, and I have no doubt we shall receive it. I do not desire in the least degree to interfere with the policy the Government wish to carry out. On the contrary, I am sure it will be our desire as far as possible to support them, as far as is consistent with our principles. Those principles are well known to the world. We maintain them in Opposition as in Office, and earnestly hope that they may be the principles acted upon in this important matter. The next subject mentioned in the Speech is also one of very great importance. It is the question of the position of affairs in Afghanistan. I observe that it is the intention of the Government very shortly to make some communication on the subject of Indian Finance; and, therefore, I think it better to abstain from saying anything on that subject. We must be aware how dangerous it is to speak prematurely upon a question of this kind; it is dangerous even when it relates to the conduct of men in this country who are in a position immediately to offer explanations if they consider themselves to be misrepresented; it is doubly dangerous and most serious when reflections are cast upon our officials in a distant part of the world, who are exercising their functions under circumstances of great difficulty and responsibility; and, therefore, I am not at all prepared to accept the very strong language which has been used by the Seconder of the Address with regard to some great crime and malfeasance which he says has been committed by somebody. No doubt we shall have an explanation, and a full and fair opportunity will be given to consider it. With regard to the general policy announced in the Queen's Speech with respect to Afghanistan, I am not at all disposed to take exception to the language which has been used. Her Majesty is advised to state that her Efforts will be unceasingly directed towards the pacification of Afghanistan, and towards the establishment of such institutions as may be found best fitted to secure the independence of its people and to restore their friendly relations with my Indian Empire. Nothing could be more desirable than that—nothing more strictly in conformity with the object we always aimed at—["Oh, oh!"]—that is, the maintenance of friendly relations with Afghanistan—["Oh!"]—the maintenance of friendly relations with Afghanistan—["Oh!" and "Hear, hear!"]—a country which we desired should be truly prosperous and truly independent. What is precisely the meaning to be attached to the word "independent" is a question. We desired that Afghanistan should be as independent as it is possible that it could be; but we did not mean that it should be independent of the influences of Great Britain and dependent on the influences of any other Power. I do not now desire to enter into the general discussion of that question. We have had it before, and we may have it again. What I wish to know is what is the precise meaning of a rather curious expression which occurs towards the close of this paragraph. We are told that Her Majesty's "efforts will be unceasingly directed" not only towards "the pacification of Afghanistan," but towards "the establishment of such institutions as may be found best fitted to secure the independence of its people." We want to know what is the meaning of the words "establishment of such institutions." Is it understood that we are to frame and establish a Constitution for Afghanistan, or what is the meaning of them? It is rather difficult to understand. We expect that the country is to be independent of us, and yet we are promised that certain institutions will be established by us in Afghanistan. It seems to me that is a violation of the canon which the Seconder of the Address laid down—that the less we interfere with other countries the better. I think this proposal is a very considerable departure from that principle of abstention. With regard to the last of the subjects of a general character—the position in South Africa—I think I need say very little. We see with very great satisfaction that Her Majesty's Government have accepted and are content to act upon the two main principles which we have maintained, and which have been subject at times to considerable controversy in and out of Parliament. I am glad to see that Her Majesty's Government entertain the opinion which has been expressed as to the desirability of encouraging the authorities and people of these various settlements to pursue the project of Confederation. We have always desired to bring about that great settlement. I hope that many of the difficulties which stood in the way of it are now passing away; and that we may see a measure adopted which will be greatly for the benefit of the people of South Africa themselves, and also greatly for the advantages of the Mother Country. I am also glad to see that Her Majesty's Government have had the courage to adopt and to accept the principle of the maintenance of Her Majesty's supremacy over the Transvaal. I think that in resisting the temptation that may have beset them to obtain a cheap popularity by giving encouragement to some cries which we have heard on that subject they have taken a wise and statesmanlike resolution; and I can only say we shall see with the greatest interest and satisfaction that they are able to make provision for the two objects which they speak of—that is to say, For the security of the indigenous races, and to extend to the European settlers institutions based on large and liberal principles of self-government, so far as these principles can be made applicable to the peculiar circumstances of that country. I would say generally, with regard to all this portion of Her Majesty's Speech touching upon the foreign and colonial affairs of the Empire, that we see no reason whatever to dissent from the principles which are to be found upon the face of these paragraphs of the Speech. We see in them a readiness to accept established facts, and to proceed upon the basis of International engagements which have been solemnly entered into; and we hope and trust that the course of Her Majesty's Government may be such as we shall be able heartily to support. But, at the same time, while we express satisfaction with regard to the general tone and language of the Speech, there are points upon which we require fuller explanations; and until we are furnished with them we must, to some extent, reserve and qualify the approbation which we are prepared to bestow upon this policy. I will not enter upon any of the questions upon which the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Mason) has spoken with so much knowledge, as to the commercial condition of the country. We must all hope that better times are coming; and I need not say that this is a hope which is shared by all persons in this country, wholly irrespective of Party. Now, with regard to the latter part of the Speech, there is in it one announcement which undoubtedly overshadows in importance all the rest that is said with regard to our domestic affairs. Her Majesty's Government have informed us that it is not their intention to ask Parliament to renew the Peace Preservation Act for Ireland. Her Majesty expresses sentiments which must be entirely in accordance with the generous impulses and the desires of all her subjects. We must all desire that the evils of exceptional legislation in abridgment of liberty should be as far as possible got rid of. We must all desire to see the relations between our English and our Irish fellow-subjects as cordial, as friendly, and as little liable to produce jealousy as is possible; and if Her Majesty's Government, under the great responsibility under which they lie, are of opinion, after having materially weighed all the consequences of this decision in the present circumstances of Ireland, that it is safe and conducive to the interests of Ireland to allow this exceptional legislation to cease, it is not for us to say more than that we earnestly hope that they may find their resolution to be justified by the result. At the same time, it is right to point out that the responsibility is one of a very serious character. This Peace Preservation Act owes its origin, not to the late Government, but to a Government composed mainly of Gentlemen whom I see on the Benches opposite; and, as introduced by that Government, it was of a far more stringent character than it was when we were in Office. It was with great pleasure and satisfaction that we found ourselves able to reduce the stringency of parts of the Peace Preservation Acts. Everything under the administration of the Duke of Marlborough in Ireland shows that the authorities in Ireland were anxious to press as little as possible the exceptional provisions of the law which had been placed at their disposal. They exempted numerous districts from its operation. Proclamations were withdrawn. The Act was acted upon in detail as little as possible. Many of the most stringent powers were withdrawn or abandoned, in the hope that by gradually reducing the Act to a minimum we might be able to bring about a better state of feeling in the country. I do not know that the provisions still remaining for the next week or so in force are really of a character that can be justly described as legislation in abridgment of liberty. There are one or two which may be so described; but, on the other hand, there are provisions—such, for instance, as the giving a claim to compensation for the family who may be the victims of agrarian outrage out of the county or district where the offence is committed—which have been found very beneficial, and which can hardly be described as in the nature of an abridgment of liberty. I do not know whether the objection which might be raised against some more stringent provisions can be held to apply to this. But I do not desire to question, and still less do I desire to embarrass, Her Majesty's Government in this matter. We are all most anxious to maintain in Ireland peace and order in a manner least irritating to the people. I am well aware that upon Her Majesty's Government will be thrown the responsibility which I understand they are ready to accept, and I do not desire in anything to embarrass them in the course they have thought fit to adopt. There is only one other point relating to Ireland upon which I will touch. Her Majesty is pleased to tell us that The provisions enacted before the dissolution of the late Parliament for the mitigation of distress in Ireland have been serviceable for that important end. The question of the sufficiency of the advances already authorised by Parliament is under my consideration. We look back with great satisfaction to the manner in which Parliament received the proposals of the late Government in this matter. There could be but one feeling and desire, to relieve in every possible way the distress, which, unfortunately, was serious, in Ireland; but there was a general and unanimous concurrence on all sides, and if we erred at all, it was better that we should err on the right side in meeting the evil. I do not know what may be the present condition of affairs. We always understood that a further advance might possibly be required, and that we should be quite ready to accept any evidence upon the subject, and to entertain such proposals as might be made. There can be but one desire to stay and relieve the distress which gives us so much reason for anxiety, and I only hope that in what is done we shall be careful not to introduce dangerous economical principles which may operate upon the future welfare of the people, and that we shall remember that it is quite possible, by giving too indiscriminately and too carelessly, to lay down principles which may do in the end much more harm than the good they may do at the moment. I do not know that there are any other observations which I can make on the Speech. I hope the House will understand that in saying what I have said I have mainly been desirous of obtaining from the Government some further information upon important points. We shall listen with anxiety to that which they may have to tell us, and we earnestly hope that the course they may take in regard to the great interests of the country may be such as we can conscientiously support; and if that should be the case, they may depend upon receiving a support that shall be neither dishonest nor wanting in heartiness.


, in rising to move, as an Amendment, to add, at the end of the Question, the words— And we humbly assure Her Majesty that the important and pressing question of the occupiers and cultivators of the land in Ireland deserves the most serious and immediate attention of Her Majesty's Government, with a view to the introduction of such legislation as will secure to these classes the legitimate fruits of their industry, said: I am sure all who heard the speeches of the hon. Gentlemen the Mover and Seconder of the Address will join heartily in the congratulations which they have received from the Leaders of the House on both sides. I was myself well acquainted, before this evening, with the eloquence and argumentative power of my hon. Friend the Member for Ashton (Mr. Mason), and I think he has been happy in the manner of his first appearance in this House, an Assembly of which I am convinced he will be a distinguished ornament. Of course, I do not mean to say that the speeches of the hon. Gentlemen the Mover and Seconder of the Address should be taken seriously. As far as I could learn, in the last Parliament, no one was expected to give a conscientious assent to the propositions advanced in the speeches on the Address. They were regarded as purely formal utterances which might as well be delivered at a nice tea-party as at the opening of a Session of Parliament. Now, I turn to the programme of the Government, as far as it is indicated in the Speech from the Throne, and while there is something to justify expectation there is absolutely nothing to produce a feeling of satisfaction. The echoes of the mighty war cry which the Liberal Party raised so successfully in the late contest are still ringing in our ears. We cannot so soon forget the great issues which were placed before the country. I gathered from the speeches of the present Ministers that the issues were peace versus war, prosperity versus industrial depression, conciliation versus coercion, economy versus extravagance, liberty versus tyranny, and so forth; but there is nothing in this Royal programme to remind one that these mighty issues were really at stake in the late electoral contest. There is nothing in the programme of the champions of liberty who sit there that the upholders of tyranny, in whose delightful company I find myself, might not propose for the acceptance of Parliament. Surely it was not for such a beggarly conclusion as this that the Liberals of Northumberland and Ashton-under-Lyne made such gigantic efforts! There is no more sincere Liberal in or out of Parliament than I am; but when I talk about Liberalism I mean the genuine article, not the Britannia metal which circulates as the counterfeit of sterling coin during an electoral contest, and is then prudently withdrawn by those who have issued it in order to save themselves from the consequences of a too transparent fraud. I trust it will not be supposed that all who sit on this side of the House are necessarily hostile to the existing Government. The role of Obstruction is now the property of the Conservative Opposition; and the duty of the Irish Party here will be to supply that impartial criticism which may allay the bitterness of English Party warfare, and so conduce to the orderly and Constitutional despatch of Public Business. The Irish Question is a constantly recurring difficulty for English statesmen, because it has always been treated by them in a hand-to-mouth fashion by piecemeal legislation, intended only to remove the inconvenience of the hour, and without any attempt to provide for the future. Then, when a disposition to remedy Irish grievances exists in Parliament, it is often repelled by false theories about the causes of Irish misery and Irish disaffection. At one time we are told that Ireland suffers from want of capital, at another that her great misfortune is a superabundance of population. The principle of population is constantly brought forward to account for Irish poverty by our modern Mal-thusians. I utterly deny the Malthusian theory—that the tendency of population is to press against the means of subsistence. I hold that the bread-winner of the family is able to produce, and does produce, more than the family needs to consume. I deny the theory more particularly in its attempted application to Ireland; and I affirm that Ireland never has had a population larger than the means of subsistence actually produced within the four shores of Ireland. That parts of Ireland, where the land is very poor, are overcrowded, I do not deny. I know of places where, if the tenant had the land rent free, it would hardly afford him comfortable subsistence; but this state of things, where it exists, is due to the fact that these people have been chased out of their ancestral homes where they could well have supported themselves and their families. They have been hunted out of the rich valleys, and obliged to take refuge, like the wild birds, in the bogs and the mountains. They have been driven forth by the avaricious cattle-dealer. If I might parody a well-known couplet, I would say— Ill fares the land, to graziers' greed a prey, Where beasts accumulate and men decay. It is not, then, over-population, but the law of eviction, which produces an unequal distribution of population, that is responsible for the mischief; nor is it from want of capital, but from want of a just distribution of capital, that Ireland suffers. I do not mean to convey that the gains of one portion of the community should be periodically divided among the rest who are less fortunate. I cordially repudiate a theory so fatal to individual exertion and individual aspiration. But it seems clear to me that the effect of the land system in Ireland is to confiscate the capital created by industry, and, consequently, to deprive industry of the aid necessary to its continuous and successful development. I make these observations because we have now a few political economists in the Government, and I wish to say that I am not afraid of the most rigid application of the true principles of economic science to the settlement of the Irish Land Question. However, there are a great many false lights in political economy; and Her Majesty's Government will be disappointed if they expect us to receive unchallenged the dicta laid down in every manual purporting to deal with the subject. We shall hear a good deal, too, about the rights of property; and it will be our duty to see that these rights are respected in the cultivator as well as the owner of the soil. He who said that "The labourer is worthy of his hire," recognized that the most sacred right of property rests with the worker, in whose strong right arm resides the power of creating it. But we shall be told of another alleged hindrance to Irish prosperity—the land agitation. In the Famine of 1846–7, the Irish people were good enough to lie down and die of hunger, without a murmur; and some people have wondered why they were not equally patient and self-sacrificing during the last 12 months. The circumstances of the two periods were not dissimilar in many respects; but in our time a new spirit has entered the souls of the Irish people, and they are resolved not to submit to a system which threatens their lives, and would again have involved them in famine, disease, and desolation, if they had not resisted by agitation its cruel exactions. I do not regret that a little more than a year ago I quitted my duties in this House to attend the first meeting of the land agitation in the county of Mayo, which I have the honour to represent. At that time the late Government, and everyone connected with it, discredited the fears of impending distress; and if we had been influenced by their callous incredulity thousands of our people would have perished of hunger during the winter which has happily passed over without any terrible consequences. But we raised the cry of a distress which we knew to be inevitable, and that cry was borne by the Western winds to a generous and sympathetic people at the other side of the Atlantic. It fell upon the ear and penetrated the warm heart of Australia, which nobly responded to the call of humanity; and thus agitation saved our people from famine graves. To those kind benevolent people in England and Scotland who subscribed we owe also a grateful acknowledgment; but to the English Government we owe absolutely nothing. We are indebted to it only for the attempt which it made to conceal our unfortunate condition from the rest of the civilized world. Some 35 years ago, a prominent English politician, describing Ireland as she then was, in a crisis similar to that she is now passing through, said that the remedy for her condition was revolution. Such was the opinion of Mr. Disraeli, now Lord Beaconsfield, ex-Prime Minister. But Ireland is suffering from the same great evil now as that from which she suffered then; and if revolution was necessary then, a peaceful and Constitutional, if energetic, agitation now cannot be deemed too strong a weapon in the hands of the same people, struggling for the same right to life, liberty, and happiness in their native land. I have quoted the ex-Prime Minister. As for the right hon. Gentleman now at the head of the Government, he stands on a pinnacle so exalted as to be far from the reach of any eulogy I might venture to pass upon him. His present majority renders him equally independent of praise or censure emanating from this quarter of the House; but I would not be doing justice to my own feelings if I did not say that I rejoice heartily at the triumph which he won at the late Election over Lord Beaconsfield. Shortly before that Election Lord Beaconsfield, with cruel and heartless injustice, denounced the Party to which I belong as "traitors to their Queen and country." His electoral Manifesto was an unprovoked and unjustifiable assault upon Ireland. A truculent production which unites with some notorious exploits of his early career to earn for him and for his name and memory the everlasting execration of the Irish race. Well, Sir, for the first time in the political history of this country, an English Minister has appealed in vain to the anti-Irish prejudices of his countrymen; and his discomfiture affords incontestable proof of the growth of Irish political power and the advance of Irish opinion in England. We now look to the man who has already shown some appreciation of the manifold wrongs of our country. To uphold the principle of nationality in the East, and to endeavour to crush it in the West, is a policy which can bring nought but dishonour and suspicion upon its authors. I appeal, then, to the Prime Minister to do justice to his own character as a champion of human freedom by doing full justice to Ireland. I ask him to be true to the cause of humanity at home as well as abroad. He will thus leave behind him a name of happy remembrance amongst a people whom his country has foully wronged, a name that will go down to the remotest posterity in the unclouded effulgence of a brilliant and honourable fame.


seconded the Amendment.

Amendment proposed, To add, at the end of the Question, the words "And we humbly assure Her Majesty that the important and pressing question of the position of the occupiers and cultivators of the land in Ireland deserves the most serious and immediate attention of Her Majesty's Government, with a view to the introduction of such legislation as will secure to these classes the legitimate fruits of their industry."—{Mr. O'Connor Power.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there added."


I have some doubt, Sir, as to what will be the more convenient course of debate—convenient I mean to the House in general; still, as the hour has not yet arrived when a large number of its Members usually disperse, I am inclined to think it might be perhaps well if I rose at the present moment, while the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Loader of the Opposition is fresh in the mind of the House, and contented myself with only a brief, but, I hope, a very respectful notice of the interlocutory speech'—-if so I may call it—which has been just delivered by the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power). First, let mo follow my right hon. Friend opposite in acknowledging the conspicuous ability with which on this occasion the difficult duties of the Mover and Seconder of the Address have been discharged. I think it is not too much to say that my hon. Friends have shown, as indicated by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, a remarkably just and likewise an elevated conception of the nature of those duties, neither, on the one hand, abdicating their own individual opinions, nor, on the other, importing into this debate such a tone as would tend to give it a controversial character. Both of them, in their respective capacities, I welcome as valuable additions to the ranks of this House. Especially do I welcome my hon. Friend the Mover of the Address. When I consider the distinction to which the late Chancellor of the Exchequer referred—that the distinction of his honoured name has now lasted over 100 years, throughout two unusually prolonged human lives, those of the late and the present Earl Grey, I rejoice to think that possibly for another half century that distinction may be freshened and revived in the person of my hon. Friend, and I hope that my hon. Friend will sustain the lustre of that name undiminished. As regards the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down, I almost think he has entitled me by the language he has employed to urge upon him the duty of further considering whether it would be wise on his part to place the House in the painful position which the prosecution of his Amendment would tend to bring about of exhibiting a difference of opinion upon an occasion when a loyal and salutary practice has taught us to avoid such difficulties. And then really I think it may be very well shown to him that there are no principles at issue which would make it necessary or seemly on his part to force us to a division. The charge of the hon. Member for Mayo is that Her Majesty's Government had laid before the House a meagre programme. He goes beyond that charge, and says that the legislation of this House for Ireland has been on all occasions a hand-to-mouth legislation; and he likewise, describing Gentlemen who sit on the opposite side of the House, in terms which I do not in any way appropriate and adopt, as upholders of tyranny, says that the measures we have proposed might as well have figured in a Speech from the Throne under their advice. I doubt the precise accuracy of that description. The hon. Member is as well, and perhaps better, acquainted with the history of the late Government than I am; but in the "meagre programme" such as it is, there is announced a measure for the extension of the electoral franchise in the cities and towns of Ireland which I had thought was from year to year earnestly pressed upon the late Parliament by those with whom the hon. Gentleman most sympathizes. It received the uniform and universal support of the Liberal Party, then in a minority; but, unfortunately, from year to year it was rejected by the determined opposi- tion of those who then constituted the majority. The hon. Gentleman does less than justice to a still earlier Parliament if he describes the Irish Land Act as hand-to-mouth legislation. My view of that measure is a totally different one. It seems to me impossible, whether that Act be described by friends or foes, to give to it such a character as that which the hon. Member assigns. It is quite evident that the Irish Land Act, whether a wise measure or not, whether a safe measure or not, whether a sufficient measure or not—and upon none of those questions do I think this an appropriate occasion for me to deliver a definitive opinion—was a measure involving the adoption of principles of legislation to which in many respects we were unaccustomed—principles of legislation which unquestionably we should have hesitated to introduce into England or Scotland, and which nothing but the very strong necessity of the case warranted us in advising Parliament to accept, or warranted Parliament in accepting. However that may be, the hon. Member now calls upon us to declare in the words of the Amendment that the further amendment of the Irish Land Act demands our serious and immediate consideration. He calls upon the Government as well as the House to be parties to that declaration. Is that, I ask him, under the circumstances, reasonable? Only 20 days have elapsed since I had the honour of receiving from Her Majesty a Commission to form a Government. Does the hon. Member really believe—is his estimate of the character of the Land Question in Ireland such as to lead him to think that it would have been just or wise on the part of an Administration which has not existed as an Administration for more than 10 days and which he knew very well has been called upon during those 10 days to address itself to a series of the most urgent and difficult problems connected with our relations beyond sea—does he think it would have been possible for us so to acquaint ourselves with the whole of the difficult subject on which he now calls for a declaration as to be in a position to give to Parliament and the country the pledge implied in the Amendment? He appears to think it was our duty to adopt this course, because he assigns to the question of land tenure in Ireland an importance ap- parently not only overshadowing, but almost absorbing that of every other question. That is the justification of his Amendment. Is that a rational view under the circumstances '? Is it not our duty, before we give any pledge as to further legislation generally affecting the tenure of land in Ireland, to ascertain what is the nature of the case which should call for such legislation, and what is the nature of the provisions by which that legislation should be made? Is it not our duty to consider how far the recent distress and difficulty in Ireland has been the growth of temporary circumstances which a happier course of the seasons may, perhaps, in a great degree set aside, and how far it indicates any necessity of the character to which the hon. Member has referred? He thinks apparently that it is the duty of the Government in this country to set forth in the Speech of the Sovereign a list of the most important questions awaiting the attention of Parliament. I speak with great respect when I venture to inform him that that is not a principle on which the Queen's Speech ought to be framed. It must necessarily be framed, if it is to follow the rules of prudence and of practice, not with a view to setting forth all the greatest questions which may demand the attention of Parliament, but with the view to setting forth those questions in regard to which there is reasonable expectation that attention in the actual Session to which alone the Speech has reference may be called. That is the principle upon which we have gone. We have not sought to excite any sanguine expectations as to legislation during the present Session. We are aware, unfortunately, of the fact that, instead of commencing in the first week of February, we commence on the 20th May, when a very small portion indeed of the ordinary and necessarily Sessional Business has been transacted, and when the time at our disposal is exceedingly limited. Under those circumstances, the programme which the hon. Member for Mayo calls a meagre programme, I entreat him in a more favourable mood to be satisfied to call a modest programme; and in case we should be able to obtain the judgment of Parliament on the measures enumerated in the Speech, together, of course, with other measures less salient in character, I, for my part, shall be very glad to think that so small a fraction of a Session shall not have been passed without something being done. It may be convenient if I say, in answer to a remark made earlier in the evening, that no Notice has been given in this House of the introduction of the Burials Bill, because, being anxious to economise the time of Parliament, and as far as possible to keep both Houses simultaneously at work, we do not abandon that idea, which must be finally disposed of in a few days, that it may be more convenient and that time will be economised in this, if we should be able to present the Burials Bill to the notice of the House of Lords. With regard to the speech of my right hon. Friend on the opposite Bench, I have no complaint to make of its general tone. Necessarily a speech so delivered by a Gentleman in his position assumes more or less the character of a panegyric upon the principles of foreign policy pursued by the late Administration. I shall not attempt to meet those portions of the speech by offering any defence or vindication of the foreign policy which was in general recommended by the Liberal Party in the last Parliament—first of all, because we have had ample opportunities of illustrating and enlarging upon those principles during the late incidents of the Election; and, secondly, because I think that it is a first duty attaching to a Minister on the occasion on which I have the honour of addressing the House sedulously to avoid any language which would unnecessarily set up or widen a ground of difference, especially in reference to the policy pursued abroad between Her Majesty's Government and those who sit opposite. I will therefore content myself with echoing words used by the Leader of the Opposition. I entirely agree with him that a Party acceding to power from Opposition is not thereby entitled to disown principles on which it has spoken and acted when it occupied those Benches; and, further, I think I might say that we do not consider that we have to withdraw or that we have to explain any principles we have so recommended. But in saying that my desire, above all, is to avoid giving anything of a controversial character to such a declaration. And if, happily, we have arrived at a point when circumstances impose upon the two great Parties in this House and in this country a plain duty to pursue a certain course that may be found in some degree consistent with the ideas on which they have heretofore acted, so much the better. Do not let the consequences of the controversies that are gone by be unnecessarily imported into the settlement of questions that are to come. [Cheers'] I am very glad of that cheer; if it be ironical it will, notwithstanding, be thankfully accepted in the sense in which I feel myself entitled to accept it. If it be sincere, it can only command the expression of my gratitude. My right hon. Friend has not touched with seriousness, with gravity, upon any point, excepting one, in the Royal Speech. He has accepted with readiness, even with gladness, the manner in which we advised the Sovereign to lay stress upon the execution of the Treaty of Berlin. And I am perfectly aware, first of all, that the Treaty never was described in terms of general censure by my noble Friend who sits near mo, by myself, or by others in the other House of Parliament. Whatever opinions we might have held as to some of the changes which were made in the Treaty, they were opinions as to the course taken by the Representatives of Great Britain in the discussion which preceded the conclusion of the Treaty. We never dissembled the fact, but, on the contrary, were too glad to acknowledge that great things for human happiness and for the relief of human misery were accomplished through the Treaty of Berlin. Even had it not been so we should have been bound to respect an instrument which had taken its place in International Law. We had no difficulty in conforming, as my right hon. Friend uses the expression, to established facts, and it would have been our duty to conform to the Treaty of Berlin even had we been less sensible of the unquestionable truth that many great and valuable provisions were promulgated to the world on that authority—the highest authority which they could possibly receive—namely, the united authority of the Great Powers of Europe. My right hon. Friend finds no serious difficulty in the way until he comes to the words that in accordance with the views expressed in the prior paragraph Her Majesty has deemed it expedient to despatch an Ambassador Extraordinary to the Court of the Sultan. In the announcement of that intention my right hon. Friend finds ground for some anxiety—at all events, for some curiosity. He supposed that it must indicate very grave intentions of a very novel character; and at the same time he described it, if I understood him rightly, as a very novel and unusual step. Now, the step of appointing an Ambassador Extraordinary or a Special Ambassador—for I am not at all aware that there is any distinction between the two—is not quite so unusual as my right hon. Friend appears to imagine, for only two years have elapsed since that very same step was taken by the late Government, and I presume upon grounds by no means otherwise than analogous to the grounds on which we have now acted. Sir Henry Elliot was the Ambassador of England at Constantinople. In that capacity he had acted with Lord Salisbury at the Conference held in that city. Circumstances made Her Majesty's Government believe that after that Conference had concluded it would be possible for them to carry on very important communications with Constantinople, at any rate, for a time, through another channel. Sir Henry Elliot received leave of absence, and Sir Henry Layard was sent to Constantinople as Special Ambassador. I am not aware that there is any distinction recognized between the phrase applied to the mission of Sir Henry Layard and that applied to the mission of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Goschen). Substantially I believe the measures to be of the same kind. At any rate, I have no difficulty in meeting the reasonable question which has been put by the Leader of the Opposition. He asks—What are the powers of a Special Ambassador? A Special Ambassador carries with him no powers other than those which attach to an ordinary Ambassador. He asks what is meant by putting pressure upon the Porte, and whether it means that Her Majesty's Government have adopted the expression of my hon. Friend the Mover of the Address. Now, I have no difficulty in adopting that expression of my hon. Friend, though perhaps I might possibly, without being unreasonable, beg off from acknowledging every phrase which might drop from an independent Member in discharging so difficult a duty. But if I am asked what is meant by using pressure upon the Porte, I will refer to the speech of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, for the late Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, in his description of the satisfaction with which he viewed our recognition of the Treaty of Berlin, said, and with great truth, that the Treaty of Berlin is an international instrument subscribed by all the Powers of Europe, including Turkey, and gives us a right to insist on the fulfilment of its conditions. As to putting pressure upon the Porte, I really would suggest to my hon. Friend, if it is more pleasing to the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, that he should strike out of his speech the words "putting pressure," and substitute the words "insist on the fulfilment of the conditions of the Treaty" as the phrase. I need not say, therefore, that there is nothing in the use of the phrase in question to warrant the supposition that it implies anything unusual. With respect to the use of force, to which reference was made in the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, he may rest assured that Her Majesty's Government are a great deal too conscious of the gravity of all the principles and of all the results involved in such an idea to come to any conclusion of that kind, or to entertain any question of that kind, except when they are in the fullest possession of all the circumstances which may go to determine their conduct in a given case, and when they feel they are in a position to appreciate them as they deserve. I remember that shortly after the Conference at Constantinople, Lord Salisbury, in the House of Lords—I think before he had become Foreign Minister—said, with great truth, that he did not set aside as an impossibility the use of force in any given ease; yet he spoke of it as one of the gravest questions that could possibly engage the attention of any Government, and a thing to which nothing short of incapacity or of temper, going to the extent of insanity, could induce anyone to resort without the strongest justification. If I am asked, then, what is the special purpose which my right hon. Friend (Mr. Goschon) has been solicited to undertake in this arduous mission, I will briefly reply. The House is aware that a Circular Note has been addressed by Lord Granville to the Powers of Europe on the necessity of urging a prompt fulfilment of the unfulfilled stipula- tions of the Treaty of Berlin. I called it a Circular Note: I might call it a circular despatch. When that despatch has taken other form, as I expect it will from the combined action of the Powers in a very brief period, it will be in a condition for Parliament justly to appreciate, and it, with other Papers, will then be laid on the Table. But that does not of itself explain the mission of the Special Ambassador, nor, on the other hand, does it require that I should make any excessive demand on hon. Members when I ask them to consider what a great advantage it is for the Government to be represented by a statesman with whom, during all the years of his public life, they have been in intimate and confidential communication, and who completely concurs with them on all the phases of this great Eastern Question. It was not possible to convey to Sir Henry Layard, though he is undoubtedly a very able man, and certainly anxious to do his duty in giving effect to the views of the Government, such an impression, and such a complete and comprehensive knowledge of the views of the Government as, even without specific instructions, would have been possessed by our Special Ambassador. However, he will carry special instructions, and we are convinced that his mission will greatly tend to the clearing away of those misapprehensions between the Porte and the British Government from which, as we think, considerable inconvenience has arisen. Now, there are two practical questions evidently requiring, critical as they now are, that they should be treated by someone who is not merely in an official sense, but in the strictest manner, the representative of the views of the Government—one relates to the Frontier of Greece, which undoubtedly is an urgent question—and the other, which I regret to say, if not greater, is still more urgent, is the question relating to the Southern Frontier of Montenegro. That question is in a state so critical, that we are not absolutely secure even of the maintenance of peace. It is complicated by a variety of difficulties, and we feel the greatest anxiety with regard to it, and we have taken all the means in our power to promote its rapid solution on the basis of the European concert. But unquestionably in matters so delicate, we shall feel that we have the greatest advantage in being represented by a Gentleman who has gone from our side, and who, without any disparagement of our official Representative, must be able to convey to the Porte the views on which we are prepared to act with far greater accuracy and completeness than could be done by any person in different circumstances. I will not scruple to say that there are one or two points on which we are disposed to believe that misapprehensions do prevail in the mind of the Ottoman Government, and which it is greatly for the European interest and for the interest of the Ottoman Porte to remove. We are under the apprehension that the Ottoman Empire has been led to imbibe in modes more or less defined, but sometimes pretty well defined, the belief that this country entertains so profound and vital an interest of its own, separate from the other Powers of Europe, in the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire, whatever may be its conduct towards its subjects, and whatever its internal condition, that do what they will they may reckon in the last resort upon our ultimate support. Now, if that be an opinion prevalent in the British Parliament, and if it be the conviction of the British nation, then by all means lot the Porte be encouraged to entertain it. Unhappily, we have had in the history of the last three or four years too good evidence that that misapprehension has been entertained, and that, entertaining that impression, the Turks have gone forward to a crisis in which the results they anticipated have not been realized; but, on the contrary, the consequences have been most disastrous to that Empire without corresponding benefit to this country. We certainly do not share that opinion with regard to the special and separate interest of this country in the Porte. I will show you in few words that we have no extreme opinions as to the removal of the Turkish Empire from the soil it now occupies; but we do not share that opinion which we believe has been disastrous to the Government and people of Turkey; and obviously, as we do not share that view, it is desirable that we should put an end to a dangerous condition. Now, there is another misapprehension entertained, undoubtedly lying deep in the mind of the Ottoman Government, which we are also desirous to remove. It is quite of a different character. There is an appre- hension on their part that England is disposed to trespass on their rights of sovereignty in Asia. This idea has grown, whether naturally or unnaturally I will not say, out of the provisions of the Anglo-Turkish Convention. We have obtained rights of sole interference in Turkey, which rights I have no doubt Her Majesty's late Government intended to apply simply for the benefit of the subjects of Turkey, and, therefore, for the benefit of the Government of Turkey—do not lot it be supposed that I am charging any other intention—but I do not doubt at all that, as a matter of fact, the Government of Turkey have been led to attach to that Convention more or less the idea and apprehension that it is intended to establish a basis on which England may invade and impair their rights of sovereignty in Asia. Well, that misapprehension is one which I think it most desirable to remove. We do not desire to see foreign influences established in Turkey; we desire to see the obligations of Turkey carefully and faithfully fulfilled, and fulfilled under the high sanction of European authority; but separate foreign influences, the influence of this Power or of that Power, we regard as the sure and fertile source of jealousy, of disunion, aye, even of more acute mischief, possibly of disturbance and bloodshed. We, whatever our historical opinions may be, have no desire—I have never expressed a desire—to reduce the geographical limits within which the supremacy of the Sultan of Turkey remains. I may speak of myself, because I have been supposed to be a representative of extreme opinions; but I never proposed the abolition of the authority of the Sultan, either as Suzerain or as Sultan, in any part of his Dominions. I proposed, undoubtedly, that Turkish administration should cease in certain Provinces, and it has ceased there; but I believe, if we could solve the difficult problem of establishing a relation between the Sultan and his subjects conducive to and consistent with the full development of their prosperity, with the enjoyment of local liberties, and with the control of their strictly local affairs, then that supremacy of the Sultan may even come to play a useful part in the exclusion of other influences from abroad, from whatever quarter derived, which would lead to rivalry, jealousy, and possibly hostility. I hope that, in what I have said, I have shown sufficiently to the House that these are matters with regard to which we might very well desire that, both with a view to a more amicable and satisfactory conduct of our relations with, and to the better condition of the population of Turkey, and to the welfare of the Turkish Government itself, we might obviate all risk of a recurrence of the mischief which has followed from the prevalence of illusions in that country, and might lay the foundations of our future intercourse in a perfectly clear apprehension of the views entertained on the one side and on the other. It was stated, I think, by the late Prime Minister, in the last speech he delivered in his place before the Dissolution, that he viewed the state of Europe as critical. I should certainly not be justified in denying that; if I am to look at certain questions and to consider them locally, the state of those questions is eminently critical. Neither do I deny that the mismanagement of those local questions might give them a wider character, and might warrant such a description of the condition of Europe at large. But setting aside those contingencies, which I hope may be avoided, I trust we are not in a condition which calls for the employment of such an epithet. The reason why I think we may take a view by some shades more favourable is this. Undoubtedly we have very grave matters to deal with in Europe, matters graver still elsewhere; but we know that there is a great instrument placed in the hands of civilized mankind—namely, the consent of the Great Powers for beneficial purposes; and we are entitled to believe that that consent—that harmony at the present moment exists. So far as we know, there are no developed signs of difference of views. There have been signs which have led to the inference of jealousy; but those signs have not been confirmed by such experiences as we have had. On the contrary, the assurances which have reached us from every quarter are in their nature satisfactory assurances. It will be our most sacred duty and constant effort to maintain the state of harmonious feeling among the Powers by declining to give in to the slightest indication of separate aims or schemes on the part of any one of them. We shall endeavour to maintain that concert, and I know no reason why we should not hope to succeed in that effort. I need not say much on the other points touched on by my right hon. Friend. He said, and truly said, that there ought to be great caution in distributing blame on a matter like that of the Indian finance. At the same time I did not understand my hon. Friend the seconder of the Address to intend to fix blame on any person in particular. I understand him only to imply a strong opinion that somewhere or other serious blame must be due. It would not have been proper for us to have stated so much in the Speech of Her Majesty. It is not necessary for me to adopt that opinion as it stands; but I must say I cannot be surprised, when it is recollected how much this question of the Estimates of the Afghan War was discussed in the last Session of Parliament, how earnest were the instances of many Members to the effect that those low Estimates of expenditure could not possibly be trustworthy, when I know how certain it is that the tenour of our debates must be thoroughly known in India, and that those connected with the formation of these Estimates had every advantage that could possibly lead them to observe the utmost caution and circumspection—when I know all that, and when I see the strangeness of the revelation made to us at the last moment, although I carefully refrain from stating that blame is due, yet I think the opinion that blame is due, and serious blame, without fastening prematurely it on particular persons, is an opinion which I can, to a certain extent, sympathize with. That, however, is a point which the House will be called upon to search into, and it is not necessary to make it at present the subject of detailed discussion. My right hon. Friend finds a difficulty in an expression in the paragraph relating to Afghanistan. He is satisfied with the general tenour of the paragraph; but he wants to know what we mean by— Such institutions as may he found best fitted to secure the independence of its people and to restore their friendly relations with my Indian Empire. With regard to the word "institutions," undoubtedly you may apply it to those fully developed and elaborate results of the labours of many generations as we see them in the British Parliament, or you may apply the phrase to that wonderful work which the statesmen of the American Revolution put together with a skill which, I think, is almost unparalleled in human history, when at the end of their Revolution they constructed what is now known as the American Constitution. But the word "institution" is also capable of a very much simpler meaning. I apprehend that when a patriarchal chieftain sat under an oak tree and administered justice, either by general consent or with an authority recognized by his people, he, sitting under that oak tree, was the institution of the Government under which he lived. Therefore, if we are happily able to make arrangements, or to assist arrangements—for we are not desirous to be the makers of these arrangements, but we wish to reduce to a minimum our part in them, and only to discharge the responsibility which in marching to Afghanistan we have incurred—if we can favour, concur in, or promote in any friendly manner the establishment of regular order or rule in that country under authority which the people may be disposed to recognize, we shall have succeeded in accomplishing the formation of those institutions which I am afraid have, to a certain extent, puzzled the mind of my right hon. Friend. As far as the Transvaal is concerned, the case is very much the same. I do not know whether there is an absolute union of opinion on this side of the House as to the policy in which the assumption of the Transvaal originated. Undoubtedly, as far as I am myself concerned, I did not approve of that assumption. I took no part in questioning it, nor in the attempt to condemn it; because, in my opinion, whether the assumption was wise or unwise, it having been done, no good, but only mischief, was to be done by the intervention of this House. But whatever our original opinions were on that policy—and the opinions of the majority of those who sit on this side of the House were decidedly adverse to it—we had to confront a state of facts, and the main fact which met us was the existence of the large Native population in the Transvaal, to whom, by the establishment of the Queen's supremacy, we hold ourselves to have given a pledge. That is the acceptance of facts, and that is the sense in which my right hon. Friend, and all those who sit near him, may, if they think fit, say we accept the principles on which the late Government proceeded. It is quite possible to accept the consequences of a policy, and yet to retain the original difference of opinion with regard to the character of that policy as long as it was a matter of discussion. I think there are no other points on which it is necessary for me to detain you, unless it be to say a few words with respect to Ireland and the Peace Preservation Act. I can assure the House that we are fully sensible of the heavy responsibility which rests either on the renewal or on the abandonment of exceptional legislation. The Speech declares, in terms as clear and as strong as they can be made, that the first duty of every Government is the provision of adequate security for life and property. That is the principle which we take this opportunity of emphatically announcing, in order to show how completely we desire to be bound by it. It is while recognizing that principle that we have arrived advisedly at the conclusion that we should best discharge our duty to the country by the advice we have given to Her Majesty not to ask Parliament, under existing circumstances, for a renewal of the exceptional legislation. With respect to the advances, I have only to thank the Leader of the Opposition for the salutary caution which he has given us against the adoption of new and large principles in a matter so delicate, and likewise in itself so exceptional, as the provision of such funds for the relief of local distress. The paragraph in the Speech makes no reference at all to the introduction of any new principle, but simply to the fact that the plans which have been received and virtually sanctioned will require probably a larger sum of money than has been sanctioned by the Legislature, and that in that case we are prepared to ask the Legislature to enter, if necessary, upon the consideration of such measures as we may have to submit. I have already apologized for what I call the modest, but what the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power) called the meager list of measures which we have presented in the Speech, nor is there any other matter upon which I wish to trouble the House except a subject not directly connected with our debate this evening, but which is yet appropriate to the present time, and which I think calls upon me for a word. It is not a subject of a controversial character, or I should have greater difficulty in referring to it. I wish to draw the attention of the House for one moment to the fact that on the last three occasions of a change of Administration the method pursued by the outgoing Government has been peculiar. From my quoting the last three changes which have occurred, it will be obvious that I do not refer to anything that belongs exclusively to one side of the House or to the other. In December, 1868, in February, 1874, and again in May, 1880, a change of Administration was made. Usually, in this country, changes of Administration are connected with the Votes of Parliament. It is when they are connected with the Votes of Parliament that we regard them as thoroughly normal and regular. I wish to bear testimony in favour of the regular and normal method of procedure. The method pursued in 1841, when the Government of Lord Melbourne found itself in a minority at the Elections, the method pursued in 1859, when in like manner the Government of Lord Derby was in a minority at the Elections, and when in each case they met the Parliament and allowed a Vote to be taken on their conduct, undoubtedly was that which most thoroughly satisfies the spirit of our Constitution. In these three cases it has unfortunately happened, or it has been thought, that the immediate and urgent exigencies of the public interest made it necessary to adopt a summary method of proceeding, and to resign on the result of the Elections as popularly known, without taking the more strictly Constitutional course of abiding a judgment of the House of Commons. Now, I have thought it was desirable, on behalf of the old and better system, to place upon record these few words of comment. I myself, of course, am fully responsible for one of these cases—namely, the case of 1874. If we had not retired as we did, we should have seriously abridged the Session of that year; and everyone who knows what are the duties of Parliament, what are the calls of this vast and diversified Empire, and how unequal this House is, even with its unparalleled exertions, to meet the whole of these calls, must at once perceive that the saving of its time is, under certain circumstances, invaluable. Whenever that motive does not operate with the same commanding force with which it operated in 1874, and with which, as I am fully prepared to assert, it has operated more stringently now, I hope the old method of the Constitution will not be forgotten, and that the Party in power which has submitted its claims to the judgment of the country will be content to ascertain that judgment in the most regular manner—namely, by awaiting the issue of discussion and a Vote in that Parliament itself when the House of Commons re-assembles. I thank the House for having listened so attentively to me on this occasion. I hope I have not omitted any points to which our attention has been drawn, and I would venture to renew my appeal to the Mover of the Amendment. He made an announcement which I am sure must be most agreeable to us all. He said the function of himself and of all those with whom he acted had changed, and, apparently anticipating sharp collisions between the two sides of the House, he offered us his good offices, and said it would be his duty to mediate. Now, having taken upon himself to volunteer in the kindest manner the discharge of this function, I beseech him not to depart on the first night of the Session from his benevolent profession, but to give us a practical instance of it in allowing us to observe the established and really wise practice of carrying unanimously the expression of our dutiful loyalty to the foot of the Throne.


said, he did not intend to comment upon the matters of foreign policy mentioned in the Royal Speech, not because he was not convinced of the importance of those subjects, but because he knew that they were in better hands than his; and he was sure that his hon. Friend the Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power) would not have pressed his Amendment upon the House, if Irish domestic questions had received the same attention as questions of foreign policy. He (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) should not have troubled the House, but for one serious omission in the Speech from the Throne. It really was a matter of the greatest importance that such an omission in the programme of the Government should be pointed out to the House, and that the sense of the House should be taken upon the subject. He rose in no spirit of hostility to Her Majesty's Government, and the fact of his speaking from that side of the House had nothing to do with his own personal feelings towards the Liberal Party. The cowl did not make the monk, nor the seat the Conservative. There was one great question before all others occupying the attention of the people of Ireland, and that was the Land Question. Nor was it alone the people of Ireland whose attention this subject seemed to occupy; for anyone who had come into that House at the beginning of the present Sitting would have been struck with the fact that the Land Question overshadowed, if it did not absorb, all other questions. That was proved by one hon. Member after another starting up and announcing his intention of stating how it should be settled. It was wonderful, under those circumstances, how the Land Question could have escaped the Speech from the Throne. But it was not even mentioned, although it was evident it was not only the question of the day—the question of the hour—the question of the moment, but one which occupied the minds of the dwellers in each of the Three Kingdoms. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of Her Majesty's Government spoke of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mayo as having sought to impose upon the Government an impossible task. He seemed to be under the impression that the Irish people invited the Government to propose some instant settlement of the Land Question. That surely was a misconception. The hon. Member for Mayo did not suggest that the question should be settled that Session, or even that any plan should be suggested for its settlement. No doubt there were great differences to be reconciled, and difficulties to be removed which could not be dealt with that Session; but what he did suggest was something more moderate and more modest. He suggested that Her Majesty's Government might in the gracious Speech from the Throne have held out some evidence, or offered some promise, which would show that the question was in their minds. What was really desired was that the Government should let the Irish people know that they were interested in that question, and that they were preparing some way for its settlement. Two or three lines couched in sympathetic terms in the Queen's Speech to this effect would have prevented the great disappointment which it was evident existed in the minds of the Irish people, who usually looked to a Liberal Government for relief for their grievances. The greater part of Her Majesty's Speech was occupied with announcements of policy wholly vague and undetermined, which could not by any possibility be settled that Session, but which might take several successive years to carry out. For instance, the allusion to Afghanistan, where Her Majesty was made to announce that the end in view had not yet been obtained. Had the Government any idea, or had they made up their minds what was to be accomplished? He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had lately travelled through the more southern parts of that country; but, if so, he must have been struck by the fact that at present there was an extraordinary flood of emigration from Ireland, and that strong, vigorous, and tolerably well-to-do people were leaving their native country because they despaired of securing the fruits of their labour in consequence of the present land system. The attachment of the Irish rural population to their native country was something almost unique; and even those emigrants who were most successful in the United States had a deep and passionate yearning to return if they could to the land of their birth. He referred to that fact to show that the reason must be strong indeed which urged the Irish population on in this vast exodus across the ocean. Short as the Session might be, the Government might have adopted some sort of suspensory legislation which would have checked some of the worst evils of the existing land system until the time came for introducing some broad and comprehensive scheme for dealing with it. He was convinced that there were Members on the Treasury Bench who gave their deep and close attention to that subject; and he hoped that the present Government would have it in their destiny—and a great and glorious destiny it would be—to settle that troubled question. What he complained of was, that nothing on the whole subject had been put into the Royal Speech, and no indication had been given to Ireland that the recent change of Government would be for the better for that country. There had often been disappointment in the minds of Irish people when a new Government came into power, sometimes with and sometimes without good reason; but it was a habit with the Irish people always to look to a Liberal Government for measures of redress. The present Prime Minister was the first English Premier who had ever risked his reputation on the introduction of great and statesmanlike legislation for the benefit of Ireland. Mr. Fox had long ago declared in that House that Ireland should be governed in accordance with Irish ideas; and he (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) believed the more that idea was carried out the more loyal would be the people of Ireland to the Queen of the United Kingdom. He trusted that the thread of legislation which had been snapped six years ago would be knit together again by the great statesman now at the head of the Government. But it was certain that feelings of surprise and disappointment had been engendered among the Irish people to an extent that they felt distrust even of their own Members who appeared to be too closely allied with the Liberal Party. It was essential that Irish Members should support the Amendment, in order to obtain some distinct assurance, not that the great Irish Land Question would now be at once and for ever settled in the course of the next few months, but that, at least, no time would be lost by the Government in dealing with the question. He urged the Government to follow the elementary principles of the simplest statesmanship in dealing with this vital question; and he hoped the House would not be allowed to separate without receiving some indication from the Government that it would receive attention. He hoped that some assurance would be given that a comprehensive scheme would be introduced, and that the Irish people would not be compelled to believe that they had gained nothing by the overthrow of a Ministry in whose downfall they all rejoiced.


said, no Resolution could be framed in more moderate language than that presented for the adoption of the House, for everyone was most anxious to hear what were the views of Her Majesty's Government on this Land Question, and the entire omis- sion of the subject from the Royal Speech, which he looked upon as an unpardonable defect, could not but cause much disappointment. It had been said, and he know very well it was so, that the Liberal Party in the course of two months could not initiate a measure that would deal with the question in all its bearings; but, so far from any measure being hinted at in the gracious Speech to which the House had listened, there was no allusion to that great and burning question which occupied the mind of every person on the other side of the Channel. Ireland was much in need of some sense of security which would allay the unhealthy agitation which prevailed throughout the country on that question; and he deplored that the people had not had the assurance given them—looking to the Liberal Government, as they did, with some expectation of liberal and earnest treatment—that a measure dealing with the Land and Tenant Eight Questions would be brought forward, not necessarily in the course of the present short Session, but at the earliest opportunity. He applauded the Land Act of 1870—it had removed many difficulties and allayed many prejudices; but that Act had not settled the question. Though that Act stood out as a great landmark in the history of agrarian legislation, it left defects untouched which now called for reform. Eviction by the gradual raising of rent and forfeiture of compensation on non-payment of rent were evils to be remedied; and a small sum might well be voted by Parliament as an experiment towards establishing peasant proprietary. That burden would not fall on English taxpayers; but the Irish Church Fund might be made to bear it. He asked, for a distinct assurance with regard to the question, for it was one which might be settled without delay. When the Government came into Office they found a scheme of peasant proprietary cut and dried and ready to hand. The present, therefore, was a favourable opportunity for acceding to the views of those who held opinions similar to his own. Nothing, he believed, could have a bettor effect on the Irish peasant than the consciousness that every hour he spent and every shilling he laid out in improving his farm would be to the lasting benefit of his children and himself. He hoped the Government would there- fore determine in favour of giving a trial to the system of peasant proprietorship in Ireland, and contended that nothing would tend more to solidify the relations between the two countries, and to settle the internal affairs of the country itself, than a large increase in the number of the owners of the land.


thought the hon. Member who had just down (Mr. A. Moore), and those who held similar opinions, might derive some comfort from the fact that no allusion was made in the Speech from the Throne to the deplorable condition of agriculture in England. He (Mr. Storer) strongly deprecated the absence from it of any sympathy with the agricultural interest in respect of the severe distress from which it had so long suffered, an omission he could not understand, except under the supposition that the Government considered the agricultural interest beneath their notice. It might have been supposed that at a time like the present—a time of almost unparalleled agricultural distress, not only in Ireland, but in England—some measure of relief or some consolatory notice would have been foreshadowed in the Message from the Throne, and he hoped the Government would take the earliest opportunity of making amends for the grave omission of which they had been guilty. He regretted that this had not been the case, for there were many causes of complaint on the part of the agriculturists of this country which might well receive the attention of the Legislature. At the late Election the Liberals gave out that they were going to be the farmers' friends; but up to the present there had not been many indications of their being about to act up to their protestations. He held that the Ministry at the present most trying crisis in agricultural affairs should, without delay, give it their gravest consideration. The question was not peculiar to Ireland, but was the topic on every tongue throughout this country also; and when foreign competition was now threatening to destroy the agricultural interest in England, the omission of the subject from the Speech was unpardonable. He could not, however, support the Amendment.


said, he wished to make some observations on the question before the House, and he was en- couraged to do so by the knowledge of the fact that at the moment he was addressing a large majority of Gentlemen who were in the same position as himself—of making their appearance for a first time. Before proceeding to the question of the distress of Ireland, he would venture to make one or two observations on the subjects of Imperial interest which were mentioned in Her Majesty's most gracious Speech. He confessed that the allusions which had been made to two questions had been most disappointing to him. The allusions to Afghanistan had, he thought, fallen far short of what might have been expected from the right hon. Gentlemen who were now in Office. He did not find in the paragraph alluding to that country one word of condemnation of the policy which led to that war. He could well understand the feelings of right hon. Gentlemen who were now in the responsible position they occupied with regard to their opponents; but what he complained of was, that while their remarks had nothing of condemnation in them, there appeared to be something of a Jingo strain about them. In one passage of the Queen's Speech it was remarked that the gallantry of the troops had been most brilliant, and the labours of the Government most unremitting. Well, the labours of the Government had been unremitting, but the result to the Indian Exchequer had not been such as might have been wished; and with regard to the gallantry of the conduct of the troops, it would have been well that that observation should have been omitted, seeing the fact that whenever the conduct of our troops had been conspicuous, the sufferings of the Native Afghans had also been conspicuous. Referring to the War in South Africa, he considered that the retention of Sir Bartle Frere was the more remarkable, if it were true, as he heard on good authority, that recent revelations with regard to the South African policy increased the reasons for suspending him. Coming from these questions he must join his Friends in the disappointment they had expressed in the omission of the Land Question from the Queen's Speech. It was a mistake to suppose that the Irish nation expected from the Government anything like a large and exhaustive measure dealing with the Land Question. They wanted simply a measure ad interim. He did not ask the Government to deal with the subject as a whole. It would be irrational for the House to expect them to bring in a comprehensive measure during the present Session. But, at the same time, they did not wish to delay legislation until the people had disappeared from the land. It was the fortunate fate of the peasants of Bulgaria and Roumelia that their country formed the battle-ground of great nations, while Turkish Pashas were the objects of their hate; and, accordingly, the tenants of Bulgaria and Roumelia had their affairs attended to the first moment the Government came into Office, while the Irish tenantry were left to perish. Speaking on excellent authority, he could assure the Government that the distress in Ireland during the next winter was likely to be extremely severe; indeed, it was very severe now, as was shown by the fact that the people were emigrating in almost unprecedented numbers. If, then, the landlords were to be allowed to put in force the powers of eviction which they possessed, such desolation would be the result as considerably to diminish the value of any Land Bill which might be introduced next Session. The Irish landlords in 1846 and 1847 swept the population from the country, and then measures of relief came too late. If, then, the Government were not prepared with a comprehensive measure dealing with the land, they ought, at least, to support any proposal which might be brought forward by any hon. Friend of his, suspending for the next two years the right of eviction. In the meantime the Government would be able to deal thoroughly with the question.


said, he was glad the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power) had moved the Amendment which he had submitted to the Notice of the House, although he hoped he would not think it necessary to press it to a division. The discussion upon it would serve to remove a misconception which he should be sorry should exist upon the part of any hon. Member, and that was that the Government had in any way neglected the Irish Land Question, or that they underrated its immense importance. It had been asked why the subject had not been mentioned in the Queen's Speech; but he might observe—and he thought he might appeal to any hon. Member of experience in the House to confirm what he said—that it was not usual to make mention in the gracious Speech from the Throne of any measures which it was not intended to bring forward in the Session which that Speech opened; and the Government would have been departing from the practical manner in which legislation ought to be and generally was conducted in that House if Her Majesty were advised to hint at measures with which it was not intended to proceed. Besides, such a course, if taken, might have given rise to great misconstruction and have caused much disappointment in Ireland. The question would have been asked why the subject had been mentioned in the Speech when there was no intention to introduce a measure to deal with it? In making these remarks, he did not wish hon. Members to suppose for a moment that the Government were not perfectly alive to the intense importance of the Land Question. His personal experience of Ireland had as yet been but slight; but such as it was it entirely confirmed the views which he entertained before he took Office, that when anyone came to consider Irish affairs his attention was almost instantly directed to the Land Question. He had given Notice that day of a Bill relating to the Irish Franchise which ought to be passed; but he should be sorry that any Irish Member should suppose that he regarded that as a satisfactory mode of disposing of the grievances of which the people complained. Then came the question, could they have gone any further that year? He must remind hon. Members that the end of May was near at hand, and that the Land Question was not only one which was most important, but one with which its very importance made it exceedingly difficult to deal in a comprehensive manner. To have brought in a 10 minutes' Irish Land Bill would, in his opinion, have been a most unwise course to adopt. The hon. Member who had just spoken (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) said they might bring forward an interim Bill for the suspension of payment of rent. [Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR: No; suspension of eviction.] He thought that was almost the same thing. He was quite prepared to listen to any argu- ments which the hon. Member by whom such a Bill was brought in might advance. He had no desire to prejudge the question; but would any hon. Member on either side of the House suppose that it would not bring in in its discussion, if brought forward by the Government, every branch of the Land Question, and every sort of consideration that under laid the relation of landlord and tenant? The same observation applied to the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Clonmel (Mr. A. Moore). He said that the House had passed a Resolution about peasant proprietorship as the result of the Report of a Select Committee, on which hon. Members on both sides had come to a unanimous decision. That was quite true; and he (Mr. Forster) had no wish to relieve the House of Commons from the responsibility of passing that Resolution, nor did he wish to relieve himself, or his Colleagues, from the responsibility of any opinions they might have expressed that whatever could be done consistently with the rights of property should be done to establish peasant proprietors; but here again the Government came to the conclusion that it was impossible to bring in a Bill dealing with the question without opening the whole Land Question. He would also put it to hon. Members whether anything could be more unwise or imprudent than to introduce a Land Bill in the present condition of Ireland without almost the certainty that it could be passed this Session. It was for those reasons, and owing to no neglect of the subject, that it had not been mentioned in the Queen's Speech. The Government looked upon the Land Question as being the most important of all questions connected with Ireland; and he could assure hon. Members from that country that it received from them the utmost care and attention. If a Land Bill were introduced, he must, he supposed, have something to do with it, and he felt the necessity of knowing exactly the ground on which he was standing. It was one of those questions on which the Government ought not merely to have the knowledge of general principles, but the knowledge of details, and of the actual condition of the country they had to deal with, so as not to make mistakes. Mistakes even of details might throw the whole matter into confusion, and do a great deal more harm than good. He had only one other remark to make. The right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Exchequer made a remark or two upon that part of Her Majesty's gracious Speech which related to the non-renewal of the Peace Preservation Act, and asked why they did not renew it. It was quite true that there had been exceptional legislation more or less since 1847, with a very short interval. The House was aware that Act would expire on the 1st of June, and no Government could renew it, even if they wished to do so, in the short time at their disposal; but when the right hon. Gentleman reminded them that the responsibility of doing without exceptional legislation would rest on the Government, he would only say that in coming to the conclusion that they could do without that exceptional legislation it was with a full sense of their responsibility. He wished to state that, feeling the responsibility specially rested upon himself, he looked into the matter as closely as he possibly could; and he came to the conclusion that he could, as far as it was his business to do so, give an opinion and advice to his Colleagues that they could trust to maintain peace and order and give protection to life and property without the help of exceptional Acts. He did believe the attempt would be successful. If so, it would be the first time for many years that the Government of Ireland had been carried on without recourse to such Acts. He hoped he might appeal to Irish Members and the Irish people to assist the Government in this matter. Their earnest desire was to make use of the suspension of the Acts to enable the Irish people to show that they were as fit for liberty and as fit for just and equal laws as Englishmen or Scotchmen. He repeated, he believed they would succeed; but he need not say, if they did not succeed, their first duty was to preserve order and cause the law to be maintained; but he did not believe they would be obliged to re-enact that law. One of the strongest arguments that had been used for the re-enactment of some provision of the kind had been what had often happened in the North of Ireland, and even in the time of the Duke of Marlborough. He had been asked, how can you get rid of these Arms Acts when you have these processions and these party fights year after year in some of the towns of Ulster? He refused, to pay much attention to that. He could not think that those celebrations, which did often lead to scenes of disorder, and might, he perfectly granted, if there were no restrictions upon arms, lead to a bloody contest—he could not but believe that they would cease. The old times of fierce struggles, when great heroism and bravery were shown on both sides, were past; but surely the true appreciation of heroic bravery would be shown in utter forget-fulness of them, and in not reminding the country by these childish imitations of past conflicts and endurance. He called upon all respectable men in Ulster, upon the members of the clergy, Catholic and Protestant, and the clergy of all denominations, no longer to give the slightest possible excuse or reason for subjecting Ireland to exceptional legislation on account of what happened in prosperous Ulster—that part of Ireland which, in some respects, held itself up as an example of advanced civilization. He ventured to make the same appeal to the country generally. He repeated that there had been no intention to ignore the Land Question; it was not mentioned in Her Majesty's Speech only because there would not be time to deal properly with it. He should be very sorry if their inability to mention in the Speech that question which really lay closest to their hearts should give any notion to any hon. Member from Ireland, or any Irishman whatever, that they ignored the question, or the great distress, or the great evils and calamities to which a part of the Irish population, and especially the poorer tenant farmers, were now subject. They might be sure that the subject would be carefully and properly dealt with.


thought the right hon. Gentleman rather misconceived the objection of the Irish Members. It was this—not that the whole Land Question should be discussed and decided—there was not time for that; but there was plenty of time this Session to pass a short Act, not to confiscate land, but temporarily to prevent landlords from evicting tenants. There was a great temptation to violence while the rights of the tenant were refused; and the lives of thousands in Ireland were placed in jeopardy. They did not expect a large measure; but they did expect some kind of legislation upon a subject which did not brook delay. During the recent elections the Irish people said the statesmen who passed the Land Act of 1870 were the best qualified to deal with the subject further; but if they did not pass some kind of a measure to meet the present crisis, the Liberals of Ireland would be profoundly disappointed at the course taken by the Government in refusing to do anything to stop the enormous powers of eviction. Going through the Western Provinces of Ireland they found that the rents were in arrear, and a great deal of it was in consequence of the mismanagement on the part of the landlords themselves, who allowed years and years of rent to accrue. It was unfair, however, now to allow the landlords to take advantage of the desperate condition of the people. The Party to which he belonged had been impressed by their constituents with the duty of taking up a position independent of both Parties upon their entering that House. The necessity for doing so was shown by the Speech from the Throne, in which no allusion was made to measures for Ireland. The absence of such measures from the Government programme had already begun to show its effects. One Member—the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Shaw)—had, since the Queen's Speech appeared, left the Government Benches and joined those of the Opposition. He (Mr. O'Shaughnessy) did not know whether he was right in assuming it; but he thought it was a very rational course for that hon. Gentleman to take, seeing the refusal of Her Majesty's Government to deal with that most empty question—the question of Irish property. The Irish Members admired the Government for not attempting to prop up a ruinous and tyrannical Empire in the East; they admired the Government because they believed they would economize the finances and manage the internal affairs of this country much better than their Predecessors; but their first duty was to Ireland, and to insist upon the carrying into law such propositions as were absolutely necessary for the protection of the lives of the people. If Her Majesty's Government now left the great question untouched, if they would not do anything to save the peasantry of the West at this crisis from eviction, he was afraid that the Representatives of Ireland would be driven to show to the English House that their feelings were identical with those entertained by the majority of the Irish people. The only rational course for the Government to pursue would have been to deal with this important question. Unless they did so without delay, he and his Friends would have to regret that the attitude of the present Government was no more worthy or more friendly to Ireland than had been that of the late Government, at the downfall of which the Irish Party had so greatly rejoiced.


said, that the hon. Member who had moved the Amendment (Mr. O'Connor Power) deserved all admiration for the temperate way in which he had stated his case. He could not but sympathize with much that had fallen from the hon. Member. But he thought, at the same time, that the explanation which had been given on the part of the Government was full and perfect; that, inasmuch as they could not deal with the question this Session, it could not be referred to in the Queen's Speech without breaking one of the Pules of the House which precluded a reference to measures which were to be proposed in a future Session. No doubt, this was the most important and pressing question of the day, as every Irish Member, of whatever Party, recognized; and, therefore, it was with a feeling of regret he heard the Speech of the Sovereign read, and found no reference in it to the Land Question. Their constituents both in the North and South of Ireland were of opinion those were questions that ought to be touched upon in the Speech upon the opening of Parliament. Still, he would ask the House not to assent to any Amendment or any addition to the Address. He asked hon. Members opposite to consider how far they were justified in raising such an issue at that early state of the Session, especially when a distinct or full answer was being brought forward. He felt sure the Government would deal with it in a proper spirit; but he thought Irish Members should be satisfied with the explanation which had been given.


said, that he would not, as a new Member, have intruded himself upon the notice of the House at that early stage were it not for the great surprise he felt at the absence of all allusion to the Irish Land Question from Her Majesty's gracious Speech. That surprise, however, was as nothing to the surprise and indignation which would prevail on the subject throughout the whole Irish nation. They had been told that the Government could not mention in the Speech from the Throne anything which they did not intend to legislate upon during the present Session. But they had alluded to the establishment of institutions in Afghanistan and to the subject of Indian finance. Why not, then, to the Irish Land Question? Those who presumed to govern Ireland, and took upon themselves to shape the destinies of that country, ought surely to make known the means by which they proposed to ameliorate the condition of its people. He had expected better things of the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland, who had years ago identified himself in an especial manner with the Irish Land Question, having been connected with an inquiry conducted in Ireland by the Society of Friends into the causes which led to the Famine. When they had expended immense sums of money in relieving distress, those friends of Ireland held a meeting in Dublin, in the year 1850, and they declared that the Famine was due to the then existing Land Laws. He certainly had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman, having been connected with that body, would have advised that some reference should be made to the subject in Her Majesty's gracious Speech. In other countries—in France, in Belgium—even in Russia, a solution of it had been found, for many millions of acres of land had been transferred from the lords to the serfs; and were they to be told that the great statesmen of England, who knew the condition of all other countries—who were so appalled by Bulgarian atrocities—could not successfully deal with this question for, perhaps, many years to come? The result of its solution in other countries had been most beneficial. Contentment followed discontent; prosperity succeeded continued distress; the produce of the land was quadrupled; and a revolutionary people were turned into good citizens. Why, then, did the statesmen of England shrink from dealing with the question? The Irish Representatives made no extravagant demands—they had placed many definite proposals before the Government, and yet they had be-fore them the hopeless task of coming year after year and fruitlessly repeating their demand. The Land Question was not an Irish question only, it was also an English question. In this country, while prosperity prevailed in the upper classes, degradation and misery were to be found in the lower, and matters were still worse in Ireland. For his part, he could not understand why English statesmen directed their attention to Afghanistan and Bulgaria, and looked abroad for skeletons such as cried to them from Ireland in most piteous tones. Why had they not at least been told that the subject was under the consideration of the Government, although time would not allow it to be dealt with this year? It was the duty of the Irish Members at the opening of the Session to enter their protest against the course which Her Majesty's Government had adopted. They were opening a new book; and he was sorry, for their reputation, that there would be found on the first sheet so lamentable an omission.


said, he was almost compelled to rise by the reference which had been made to him by his hon. and learned Friend opposite (Mr. O'Shaugh-nessy), who assumed that because he (Mr. Shaw) had sat down on a vacant Bench on the Opposition side of the House, that he might the better see and hear the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. W. E. Forster), he meant thereby to commit himself to eternal hostility to the Ministry. He need not say he had not made up his mind to join the Opposition, and that there was nothing more in the incident commented upon than there was of temporary aberration in his Friends who sat on and spoke from the Opposition Benches because there happened to be room there. With regard to the question why the Government had not introduced the subject of Irish land into the Speech from the Throne, that, he thought, had been fairly answered in a certain sense; and, for his part, he would not insist upon the Government introducing a measure dealing with the general question during the present Session. The right hon. Gentleman had given a sufficient reason why legislation on the subject should not be strongly urged at the present moment. It was a very large question. It required to be looked at all round, and it was one upon which the Chief Secretary for Ireland should have ample information to enable him to deal with it practically and effectively. And the difficulty in dealing with the subject was that Gentlemen on finding themselves suddenly in Office generally went straight to the pigeon-holes of the Office, and got hold of measures which their Predecessors had prepared. It might happen that in some fit of desperation the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary might go to the pigeon-holes at the Irish Office, and there light upon the Bill of that distinguished statesman who had formerly occupied his position. That would be a terrible calamity, and it would be far better that the right hon. Gentleman should wait for a year and try to make a Bill of his own than to frame one on the lines laid down by his Predecessor. For his part, he had the most complete confidence in the good intentions and ability of the present Chief Secretary, and took the right hon. Gentleman's appointment as an intimation the Ministry acknowledged that a great work must be done in the way of legislating for Ireland. From his own knowledge of the high standing which the right hon. Gentleman occupied in the ranks of the Liberal Party, he was sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not take Office unless he intended to do some real work for Ireland. Therefore, he, for one, would not have the slightest hesitation in giving the Chief Secretary every opportunity and plenty of time, provided that in the long run he did his work well. With regard to the Land Bill of 1870, he took exception to the statement that, in common with all other legislation for Ireland, it had been "hand-to-mouth" legislation. In that measure he found almost every principle he would seek to put into force at the present time. In fact, it was a wonderful measure, considering the time and circumstances of the case. But 10 years had since passed, and a great deal had been learned in that time as to the social condition of Ireland. The result was that new difficulties had arisen, and it was now necessary that the principles of the Act should be more fully carried out. He would not say that there were not some phases of the Land Question that required immediate attention; but he could not say that he saw how they were to be dealt with. He had gone through the country a good deal, and he knew of cases occurring in his own county of men ejected from their holdings under circumstances of great cruelty. He did not say that was the general rule in Ireland. Nothing of the kind. As a general rule, at any rate in the South of Ireland, in an exceptionally bad year, the dealings of the landlords with their tenants were of a generous character. On the other hand, statements of an entirely opposite nature had come from the West. It seemed to him a most heartless thing that when poverty pressed a tenant to the very verge of starvation, the landlord should, for the sake of extending and consolidating farms, come down upon him and drive him and his family out of their home into the workhouse or the wide world. He saw the necessity for doing something; but he did not see the remedy. He therefore hoped the right hon. Gentleman would look into the matter and give it his most calm and careful attention. Some Bill on the subject would, he believed, be brought in by an hon. Gentleman opposite; and by the time that measure came before the House he hoped there would be a decided expression of opinion arrived at. The question of the poor was one which ought to be attended to before next winter by Her Majesty's Government. In some parts of Ireland there was extreme distress. He had himself witnessed scenes which he could hardly believe possible. In his own county he had seen thousands of the labouring classes living—he could scarcely call it living—in wretched habitations. They were trying to drag on a miserable existence on a mere pittance of 3a or 4s. a-week for a family of six or seven persons. If that was not starvation, he did not know what starvation meant. Last Session he urged upon the Government in every way to take measures to prevent the people from being demoralized by assistance from charitable institutions. They might not have been obliged to resort to such aid if the Government had set public works in motion earlier, and to a greater extent than they did, so that employment might be found for the starving population. Comparatively few of these works had been started, and he urged upon the Government that they should be put into exemption to a greater extent at the earliest possible moment, especially in those counties where the distress was most prevalent. Those questions were all of vital importance; they were questions of life and death to many of the people, although it could not be said that hundreds of thousands were dying as in the years 1847 and 1848. Yet there were many hundreds dying by inches. That was a terrible fact to announce in a powerful and wealthy country like England. Some remarks had been [made as to the want of capital in Ireland, and the consequent absence of industry. No doubt this was the serious fact. There was a want of industry, and some people believed industry would not be stimulated without the aid of capital. There was no part of the Kingdom where capitalists could better employ their money than in Ireland, if the initial difficulties could be got over; and he suggested to the English people that they should go over and make the experiment. He had himself been a large employer of labour in the manufacturing county of Cork, than which there existed no place where they could get more value for their money or labour more honest. But there was always greater waste of capital in a poor country than a rich one, and Ireland was less favourably situated than England in regard to the conditions of manufacturing industry. There it was one of the most difficult things to establish a large industry successfully; whereas in England, with appliances at hand, with a favourable public opinion, and a people seemingly made to your hand, the advantages for conduct of manufactures on a large scale were immense. But the remedy for Ireland was to establish industries that would employ the people, and prevent them clustering on the land as they did. He knew very well it would be asked what business this was of the Government? Political economy would ask, what could the Government do? Well, he was delighted to find that political economists, to whom they would be told to appeal, had been transferred from below the Gangway to the Treasury Bench, because, with such counsel as those Gentlemen would be able to offer, the Government would now have a better chance of carrying beneficial measures. Still, political economists 'would say, what could Government do in promoting the establishment of industries? His answer was, although Government could do very-little directly, they could do an immense deal indirectly. It must not be thought that we could govern Ireland as we did this country, where industry was developed to the highest extent. We had first to dissuade the great mass of the people from starving on the land. The hon. Member for Galway, in a letter to one of the morning journals, had suggested that some means should be devised for encouraging Irish industry. If such a plan could be adopted, the great mass of the population would be relieved from starvation. If the hon. Member opposite (Mr. O'Connor Power) divided the House on his Amendment, he, for one, should divide with him, not as expressing hostility to the Government, nor doubting the honesty of their avowed intentions to carry measures of reform, but as putting on record the opinion that the sooner remedial measures were passed the better for the people of Ireland.


said, Irish Members had no reason to complain of the manner in which the Government had received the Amendment. He agreed that it had taken many years to get the Land Question into its present involved condition; but what he rose to suggest was that if the Government had time and information that Session to enable them to solve this question, that solution would be sufficient to meet the pressing necessities of the moment, for it was these pressing necessities which led one almost to despair as to the future prospects of many parts of the West of Ireland. It was quite right, seeing that it could not be expected that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary should know all about the Irish Land Question by this time, that he should take steps to inform himself fully upon it; but, at the same time, it might be fairly pointed out that if there were Ministers who understood all about the affairs of Afghanistan, Zululand, and India, Irish Members had some claim of consideration, when a Minister sent to Ireland himself admitted, on the first night of the Session, that he was ignorant of the condition of one of the greatest questions affecting that country. If, in consequence of the delay caused by the Chief Secretary requiring time to examine this question, thousands or more tenant farmers ran the risk of being driven from their holdings, then Irish Members might fairly ask that the Government should give them the benefit of some temporary legislation with a view to the removal of the pressure which unduly weighed on the people of Ireland. His hon. Friend the Member for the County Carlow (Mr. E. D. Gray) had given notice of a Motion to suspend ejectment processes. He (Mr. Parnell) did not himself now propose to discuss the merits of the measure which had been conceived in order to meet a want that had been pointed out. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had not been to the West of Ireland, and did not know how the people were situated. The Land Question, exceptional as it generally was, was still more exceptional in the West, and required exceptional methods to deal with it; and unless some temporary measure were adopted, the landlords would continue to exercise the rights which the present law gave them, and he, for one, would tremble as to what might happen in the West of Ireland. Her Majesty had graciously informed Parliament that it was not proposed to renew the provisions of the Peace Preservation Act, and, at the same time, they were told that the law would be firmly administered. He wished to ask the Government whether they were prepared to firmly administer the law among the starving peasantry of the West of Ireland, a law which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, the former in his Mid Lothian campaign, and the latter in his place that night, admitted to be an unjust law, and one which required immediate consideration? It was right that Irish Members should have that debate, and that, without desiring factiously to oppose the Government, they should mark their sense of the peculiar circumstances of the case, and especially the situation in which Ireland had been left by the system of government established there. If, therefore, his hon. Friend the Member for Mayo (Mr. O'Connor Power) proceeded to a division he should vote for the Amendment.


moved the adjournment of the debate

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Richard Power.)


, while thanking his hon. Friend (Mr. R. Power) for making the Motion he had, said it was merely formal, to enable him (Mr. O'Connor Power) to state it was his intention to go to a division as a protest against the silence of the Government on the Irish Land Question, and not because he did not believe in the honesty of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Under the circumstances of the case, he felt it to be his duty to take that course, though reluctantly; but it would be useful to the Irish Party, in that it afforded them an opportunity of making a protest. Ho was sorry that the sentiments attributed by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) to the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary seemed to be repudiated by those right hon. Gentlemen. That repudiation he took to mean that the Government did not undertake in any way whatever to introduce legislation on this question. The Members elected by popular constituencies would fail in their duty if they did not vote for some such Amendment as this, inasmuch as they, almost without exception, had been sent to St. Stephen's for the purpose of procuring a settlement of the Land Question.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The House divided: —Ayes 47; Noes 300: Majority 253.—(Div. List, No. 2.)

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Committee appointed, to draw up an Address to be presented to Her Majesty upon the said Resolution:—Mr. ALBERT GREY, Mr. MASON, Mr. GLADSTONE, Marquis of HARTINGTON, Mr. Secretary CHILDERS, Mr. BRIGHT, Mr. WILLIAM EDWARD FORSTER, Mr. DODSON, Mr. MUNDELLA, Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL, Mr. SHAW LEEEYRE, Lord FREDERICK CAVENDISH, and Lord RICHARD GROSYENOR, or any Five of them:—To withdraw immediately: —Queen's Speech referred.

House adjourned at a quarter after Eleven o'clock.