§ MR. SPEAKER
wished to point out that the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had given Notice of an Instruction to the Committee, and it was for him to move that Instruction before the next Question was put—"That the Speaker leave the Chair,"—and he should, therefore, call on the hon. Member for the City of Cork.
§ MR. FINIGAN
asked, in the name of the hon. Member, that he should be 1208 sent for, as he (Mr. Finigan) understood his hon. Friend was then engaged considering a more specific mode of settling the question. He thought that was the only reason why the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) had risen to move the adjournment of the House.
§ MR. PARNELL,
in rising to move—That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to insert the following Clause:—
§ (Proceedings on objection made to voters on list other than list of claimants.)
§ "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Act passed in the thirteenth and fourteenth years of the reign of Her Majesty, chapter fifty-five, contained, where any person whoso name is on any list of voters for a county, city, town, or borough in Ireland (not being a list of claimants), is duly objected to by some person other than the clerk of the peace, the clerk of the union, the poor rate collectors, or the town clerk, county court judge, the chairman or revising barrister, whether the person objected to does or does not appear before him, shall, before requiring it to he proved that the person so objected to is entitled to have his name inserted in the list of voters for such county, city, town, or borough, or expunging such name, require prima facie proof to be given to his satisfaction of some ground of objection against such person, and, for the purpose of determining whether such prima facie proof is satisfactory, shall examine the collectors of poor rates, clerk of the union, or any other person who may be present, touching the truth of the alleged ground of objection, and if such prima facie proof is not so given to his satisfaction, he shall retain the name of the person objected to in the list of voters; Provided that this clause shall remain in operation for two years from the date of the passing of this Act;"
§ said, that his object in moving the clause was to give the Government a last opportunity of taking the only course that, in his opinion, would be worthy of them in reference to the rejection of Irish Bills in "another place," and, in particular, of the Registration of Voters (Ireland) Bill. He brought forward his Motion not on account of the intrinsic importance of the Bill he had mentioned, but as a matter of principle, and by way of protest against the continual rejection, almost without examination, of measures affecting Ireland in "another place" after they had been passed by large majorities in that House. From the point of view of the Government he thought that in asking them to adopt this course he was asking them to do a thing which they ought to have been disposed of themselves to do without any 1209 inducement from him. It was of the greatest importance that this House should show that its power was sufficient for redressing grievances in Ireland. Those who desired to maintain the Parliamentary connection between this country and Ireland in that House should induce such a belief in Ireland. If, on the other hand, the result of all their exertions this Session, with the most Liberal Parliament that had ever been elected, was to establish their inability to add one single measure of any importance to the Statute Book relating to Ireland, what would be the consequence? The belief which was already widespread among the Irish people, that it was practically useless to look to that House for the redress of their grievances, would become intensified; and, being unable to separate the action of the two Houses, they would regard the rejection of their Bills as a confirmation of their belief in the impossibility of obtaining any real reform from the English Parliament. What would be the course of the Government if English Bills had been treated as Irish Bills had been? Would they not have considered whether some fitting reply should not be made to such attempts at obstruction? Would they not have the great English constituencies supporting them in any determined course they might take? But that could not be the case with regard to Ireland. The public opinion of the Irish people was of no avail or weight whatever upon this House or upon English constituencies, and hence it happened that the House of Lords considered that it might with impunity take action against Irish Bills, which they dared not take against English Bills. He regretted that the Government had not made a determined stand before now; but he hoped they would do so at the eleventh hour. This was the third measure that had been treated in this unceremonious manner, and if they allowed themselves to be smitten on the cheek and then turned the other, it would be repeated again and again. He could not find a better argument for showing the necessity of establishing an Irish Parliament than the proceedings in "another place." The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Motion of which he had given Notice.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Before putting this Question from the Chair, I think it right, 1210 formally to repeat what I stated in answer to a Question put to me yesterday by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. I do not consider that I should be justified in withholding, on a point of Order, such a Motion from the consideration of the House. At the same time, it is right that I should point out to the House that the Motion of the hon. Member is distinctly a tack to a Money Bill, and, as such, is against the established usage of the House and of Parliament. For a long period this House has invariably respected the rights and privileges of the other House by abstaining from adding tacks to Money Bills, as is now proposed to be done; while the House of Lords, equally respecting the rights and privileges of this House, ha3 abstained from amending Money Bills.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to insert the following Clause:—
§ (Proceedings on objection made to voters on list other than list of claimants.)
§ "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Act passed in the thirteenth and fourteenth years of the reign of Her Majesty, chapter fifty-five, contained, where any person whose name is on any list of voters for a county, city, town, or borough in Ireland (not being a list of claimants) is duly objected to by some person other than the clerk of the peace, the clerk of the union, the poor rate collectors, or the town clerk, county court judge, the chairman or revising barrister, whether the person objected to does or does not appear before him, shall, before requiring it to be proved that the person so objected to is entitled to have his name inserted in the list of voters for such county, city, town, or borough, or expunging such name, require prima facie proof to be given to his satisfaction of some ground of objection against such person, and, for the purpose of determining whether such prima facie proof is satisfactory, shall examine the collectors of poor rates, clerk of the union, or any other person who may be present, touching the truth of the alleged ground of objection, and if such prima facie proof is not so given to his satisfaction, he shall retain the name of the person objected to in the list of voters: Provided, that this Clause shall remain in operation for two years from the date of the passing of this Act."—(Mr. Parnell)
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
Sir, I wish to state, in a few words, the reasons for which Her Majesty's Government cannot adopt the course advocated by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. In doing so, however, I wish it to be clearly understood that it is with no approval of the late action of the House of Lords that we 1211 take this course. I need hardly say that the course proposed by the hon. Member for the City of Cork is unusual, and you, Sir, stated a day or two ago, and again to-day, that it was a novel one. The hon. Member himself, has had to refer to precedents of 150 years ago. If this course should be taken, which I cannot suppose for a moment will be the case, it must lead to a very serious contest with the other House. The House of Lords has for a long time had a Standing Order directed against the possibility of a tack to a Money Bill, and we must suppose that they would adhere to that Order. The House will allow me, perhaps, to quote very briefly from the work of Sir Erskine May's distinguished predecessor Hatsell, who is rightly regarded as a great authority on this subject—Whenever this measure of tacking to a Bill of Supply is attempted by the House of Commons with an intention of thereby compelling the Crown or the Lords to give their assent to a Bill which they would otherwise probably disapprove of and reject, it is highly irregular, and is a breach of those Parliamentary rules and orders that have been established by law and uniform practice between the two Houses in the mode of passing Bills…To do this in cases where it is known that one of the component parts of the Bill will be disagreeable to the Crown or to the Lords, and that if it was sent up alone it would not be agreed to—for this reason, and with a view to secure the Royal Assent or the concurrence of the Lords, to tack it to a Bill of Supply which the exigencies of the State make necessary, is a proceeding highly dangerous and unconstitutional. It tends to provoke the other branches of the Legislature in the irturn to depart from those rules to which they ought to be restrained by the long and established forms of Parliament, and can have no other effect than finally to introduce disorder and confusion.This is an impartial description of the course which it is proposed the House should adopt, and I think it is pretty clear that it would be a great innovation and a dangerous one. We consider it a most valuable privilege that we do not allow the House of Lords to interfere with any Tax Bill that we pass. On the other hand, the Lords consider—and as long as the House of Lords remains as it is they have a right to consider—that we should not make an excuse of this privilege to try to force on them a Bill which otherwise they would not assent to. Therefore, to take this course would, I think, require the most extreme care possible, and we ought to consider almost any other alternative before venturing on such a course. I 1212 can hardly imagine any case in which some other course would not be found more effective. The hon. Member has admitted that there is no hurry—next Session a similar Bill to the one rejected will be sent up to the House of Lords early, and I can hardly imagine that they will treat it again as they have treated it recently; in which case we should pass it into law, and it would have the same practical effect that it would have if passed this Session. The hon. Member for the City of Cork says we would not allow an English Bill to be treated in this way. He is mistaken there. I remember having the honour of bringing in the Ballot Bill, which was debated for a fortnight or three weeks, and every line and every clause of which was contested. The Bill was rejected by the House of Lords, and for very much the same reasons as are now alleged. I could give the hon. Member many cases of the Government allowing English Bills to be treated in this way by the House of Lords. I cannot think that this House will adopt the Motion of the hon. Member; if it did, I do not think the feeling of the country would be in our favour. I am sure the feeling of the country, which is now against the House of Lords, might change against the House of Commons. I hope the House will not think that the Government in any way approves of the action of the House of Lords. We very much regret it. I must confess that the majority of the House of Lords has shown little consideration either for this House or for the interests or wishes of the people of Ireland. The Bill which they have refused to consider was supported by the great majority of the Irish Members. Its main object was the assimilation of the Irish to the English law. Its subject-matter was a change—an improvement—in the method of electing Members of this House, and, therefore, most specially the Business of the House of Commons. I am of opinion that we ought not to meet the House of Lords in the way the hon. Member proposes; but, on the other hand, the majority in the House of Lords must not be surprised, after such an interference as this, when we are endeavouring to change and improve the mode of electing our own Members as we think best—not merely an interference, but a contemptuous refusal even to con- 1213 sider such a change—if it leads many men, both in this House and out of it, to consider whether, if we have a frequent repetition of such action, we may not think some change in the constitution of the House of Lords will be advisable and even necessary. I confess that the only reason given for this action does not seem to be any justification for what was done. I observe that the noble Lord who moved the rejection of this Bill—who appears to be the Leader of the House of Lords at present (the Earl of Redesdale) based his argument—
§ MR. SPEAKER
The right hon. Gentleman is referring to a speech made in the House of Lords this Session. That would not be in Order.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
I was not aware how far the nature of the Motion before the House might not make it necessary and justify some allusion to the speech made in the other House of Parliament. But, of course, Sir, I at once bow to your decision, and I would merely say that the argument that has been used, and certainly by an influential person, in a place in which he could give great weight to what he said—[Mr. GORST: Order, Order!]—I shall stop when I am called to Order. The argument that was used was that there was not time to consider the Bill; I do not think that is an argument in which there is much force.
I rise to Order, Sir. I wish to ask your opinion whether it is in Order for the right hon. Gentleman to proceed to answer the arguments used in "another place," after you have ruled that a reference to such debate is out of Order?
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
Well, I will say the argument used anywhere, for it has been used in many places besides the House of Lords, that when we have sent Bills from this House late in the Session, that they may rightly be dismissed by the House of Lords for want of time to consider them, is open to some remark. I think that if that course was very often taken, it would be exceedingly difficult for the two Houses to work together. It seems to me that this is one of the matters in which, especially, noblesse oblige, and that the 1214 House of Lords ought not to have used the argument of personal convenience to prevent the Bills sent from this House at any time of the Session being thoroughly considered. We cannot forget, at all events, the country will not forget, these two facts—first, that we are the hardest worked Assembly of law-makers in the world, and that there is probably no Assembly of law-makers in the world that has so much power with so little demand upon the energy and time of its individual Members as the House of Lords. Nor can we forget the fact that we are the Representatives of the people, and that the power which they have is simply owing to the accident of birth. That being the case, I do not think it is too much to ask that when the House of Commons, with all its difficulties in getting through Business, and the enormous labour that falls on every individual Member, finds itself unable to send up measures to the House of Lords till late in the Session, I do not think it is too much to ask the House of Lords, even at some cost of personal convenience, to give the necessary consideration to those measures. As to the Motion itself I must oppose it, as I think it unwise, inconvenient in practice, and inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution. I should be quite content to leave the action of the House of Lords to the judgment of public opinion. I am confident that the expression of public opinion will do much to give us less reason to complain, and would probably support the House of Commons in such Constitutional remedy as might be found advisable and even necessary. I cannot help thinking that in some respects the House of Lords do not sufficiently realize their responsibility. When a number of Members of the House of Commons throw out measures they felt that the burden of Government may devolve upon themselves, and if that had been the case here the noble Lord who has taken the place of Leader of the other House would scarcely have taken the course he has thought fit to take, because he would have been brought face to face with the difficulties of governing the Empire, and especially of governing Ireland.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
Sir, the announcement of the right hon. Gentleman that the Government cannot accept the proposal of the hon. Member for 1215 the City of Cork, was one which was only to be expected from any responsible Leader of this House. Everybody must feel that the relations betwen the two Houses are of a peculiar and delicate character, and that they are relations which involve the greatest respect on the part of one House for the rights and privileges of the other. In matters of this kind we have for many years recognized, as the House of Lords has recognized, the difference in the position of the two Houses as regards Money Bills. The House of Commons has for many years claimed—and claimed exclusively—the right to originate and deal with Money Bills, and has insisted that it was one of its privileges, and that the House of Lords should not interfere or meddle with the details of any Bill having the character of a Money Bill. They can only reject or accept such a Bill. The House of Lords on their side have always conceded that right to the House of Commons. But they have, on the other hand, claimed that Bills should not be presented to them under cover of being Money Bills, and that they should not in that way be deprived of their right and their duty to criticize measures which it is intended to pass. We must, if we expect the Lords to respect our privileges, be prepared to respect the corresponding privileges which have been conceded to them. No one who looks upon the matter impartially can doubt that the right hon. Gentleman has expressed what was rendered necessary by the spirit of the Constitution and the relations between the two Houses. So far as the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman were confined to the course which the Government intends to take in the matter of this Bill, I entirely and cordially concur with him and with the Government. I may say, also, that I entirely concur with the right hon. Gentleman as to the importance of the very measure which has been the occasion of this discussion. But, at the same time, it appears to me to have been a measure of a by no means urgent character. It might perfectly well have waited beyond the present Session. The Government had only recently taken it into their hands from the hands of private Members. It did not appear to be of any great consequence whether it was passed this Session or early in the next. It appears to me that the announcement of 1216 the right hon. Gentleman that the Government intended to take up that Bill was as much as could possibly be asked for by the advocates of the measure. It was really somewhat unnecessary for the Irish Members to look upon such an incident as this as being action on the part of the House of Lords directed against the interests and the wishes of Ireland. Reference has been made to the Ballot Bill. Now, that was quite as important a measure, and was equally connected with the representation of the country and this House, as the Irish Registration Bill, and that Bill was rejected by the Lords. So that it is evident that the conduct of the House of Lords was not dictated by views as to the part of the Empire to which the measure relates. On the contrary, the Lords have for a considerable time announced this doctrine—that if they are to be responsible for passing measures through Parliament, and assisting them to become part of the law of the land, it was but reasonable and proper that they should have ample time for the consideration and discussion of such Bills. It becomes a question of degree, whether that is desirable or right or fair on their part, after a particular day or time of the Session—a matter on which there exists considerable differences of opinion. On that question I must say that a great deal is to be said, especially when applied to a measure sent up to the other House on the 1st of September. The Lords may justly say that the measure requires further consideration, longer consideration than it is likely to get at such a time. We had a discussion on this subject in this House on the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour), who pointed out strongly the inconvenience to which Members of this House are subjected if at a late period a number of measures are brought forward which there is no time to consider. We have greater opportunities of making complaints of this kind than the House of Lords, and we must expect them to show their feeling in some manner. I do not think that the present occasion is one which at all justifies—certainly none but circumstances of a very extreme character would justify—the measures proposed by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. If the right hon. Gentleman had been content to express his views upon these points, I should hardly have thought it 1217 necessary to rise to say one word. I should have felt that the rights and Privileges of this House, the Constitution of this country, were safe in his hands. I had hoped that under the circumstances in which we are placed it would be unnecessary for anyone, especially anyone sitting on the Opposition Benches, to get up in defence of the Constitution of the country. But I am bound to say, after listening to the language of the right hon. Gentleman, that I do feel it necessary to enter as strong and emphatic a protest as I can against many of the expressions which he had used. The right hon. Gentleman was touching upon most delicate ground. He was touching upon the most delicate parts of the Constitutional system of the country; and apparently that was the intention of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks, because he gave us to understand that if the House of Lords claims to exercise their own discretion as to whether they had been allowed sufficient time for the consideration and discussion of measures sent up to them, it may be a matter for serious consideration—not, as some Gentlemen might suppose, whether some general arrangements could be made for the better conduct of Business, so that both branches of the Legislature might be fully employed during the time both Houses are sitting—but whether it may not be necessary to consider whether some change in the constitution of the House of Lords was not advisable, and even necessary. [Cheers.] I quite understand the cheers which come from below the Gangway on the other side of the House. [An hon. MEMBER: Both sides of the House.] I do not think it necessary to refer to the cheers from hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway on the Opposition side of the House, because their views go even beyond the question of the constitution of the House of Lords; and, therefore, they not unreasonably think it a matter for consideration whether the Constitution of the United Kingdom does not require to be revised. But it is one thing for hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway to express opinions of the sort, and it is quite another thing for a responsible Minister of the Crown to stand up in the House and to throw out suggestions of the kind. These are matters which, if they are to be dealt with at all, should be carefully and 1218 deeply pondered over by Ministers of the Crown; and they ought to make no proposal until they are prepared to explain the nature and the meaning of their proposal. What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by his alarming sentences? Do they mean anything, or do they mean nothing? Are they equivalent to those dark suggestions made the other night about the possibility of the Government having to support injustice in Ireland in some imaginable case which he did not anticipate would arise? Is the threat against the House of Lords a threat of the same character? Is it a threat of certain action against the House of Lords which he does not anticipate will be carried out, or is it simply a sop thrown to those hon. Gentlemen whom he feels it necessary to conciliate at the present time? I, at first, thought they were accidental expressions which simply slipped from the right hon. Gentleman on the spur of the moment; but when I heard him proceed to argue beyond the necessities of the case upon the relative amount of Business done by the two branches of the Legislature, and upon the position of the House of Commons as Representative of the people of England, and the House of Lords, who sat there simply owing to the accident of birth, it struck me that there was more in the suggestions of the right hon. Gentleman than had at first occurred to me. The words of the right hon. Gentleman contained complaints, threats, or warnings, or whatever we may like to call them, which it will be well we should consider and take to heart. It is not altogether to be regretted, if these are the views of the Government, that they should be brought to the light of day, and that the country should know of them. I cannot pass over the observations of the right hon. Gentleman, which, I must say, I listened to with considerable amazement as well as very great regret. I would rather not put the question to the noble Lord the Leader of the House, for I should be sorry to hear that the Government confirmed the very serious character of the utterances of the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant; but I must say that, whilst entirely agreeing with the course which the Government propose to take with regard to this Amendment, and entirely concurring in the doctrines which the right hon. Gentleman began by 1219 laying down as to the relations between the two Houses, I do think that the sentiments and observations with which the right hon. Gentleman closed his speech are of a character which go far beyond anything that is called for, and, considering the quarter whence they came, far beyond the Amendment itself. The Amendment is not one to be spoken lightly upon, for it cuts deeply into the relations of the two Houses; but I do say that language such as that which has been used by the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland is very much more alarming, to my mind, than the Motion of the hon. Member for Cork City.
§ MR. DILLON,
in rising to move, as an Amendment, a further Instruction to the Committee, said, he thought that if anything were added to this Bill it might be the tack which would most interest the people of Ireland. He thought this would be admitted to be a sufficiently urgent matter to justify a departure from the ordinary procedure of the House. The Irish people regarded the English government of Ireland very much as a whole. They had to deal not with the House of Lords, but with the outcome of the Session, and what was done by the Government as a whole on behalf of Ireland. The outcome of the present Session for Ireland had been nothing, and the only means at the disposal of the Irish Members to get something done for the good of their country were those which they were now adopting. He complained that the House of Lords was governed and affected in its action by the force of English opinion, while the force of Irish opinion never reached it at all. Even the Irish Lords were guided in their course by English opinion, and not at all by Irish opinion. The Irish Members were not merely attacking the House of Lords as such, but were attacking it as a portion of that system of government which, in every one of its parts, was ruinous and disastrous to their country.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "Clause," in order to insert the word "Clauses" (in order to insert additional Clauses):—
§ (Procedure in county courts.)
§ "Any tenant in Ireland rated at or under thirty pounds ordnance valuation may, within fourteen days of being served with a notice of 1220 ejectment for non-payment of rent, lodge with or tender to the landlord or his agent a portion of the amount of rent or arrears of rent claimed. Should the amount so lodged or tendered be considered reasonable, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, by the chairman of the county, the chairman may dismiss the application for a decree for ejectment.
§ (Procedure in superior courts.)
§ "If the application for a decree is made in a superior court, the court may dismiss the application, provided it is shown that a reasonable sum has been lodged or tendered within the fourteen days: Provided, That this Clause shall remain in operation until the thirty-first day of December one thousand eight hundred and eighty-one"—(Mr. Billon.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'Clause' stand part of the proposed Instruction."
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, he considered the subject one of the gravest importance. It was impossible for him to have noticed the hesitancy with which the Speaker allowed the present proceedings, and the speeches which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Benches, without being impressed with its importance. He did not consider the Bill, to which the Amendment referred, as one of great urgency, considering that they had just passed through a General Election, and considering also that, having regard to the promise made by the right hon. Gentleman, the Bill would probably be enacted almost as soon as if it had been accepted at the present time. The speech which had been made by the Chief Secretary reflected, as he and the House knew very well, the intense public opinion of the country. In regard to the Amendment, the people of the country were thinking, not of the registration of voters in Ireland, but of the course which had been taken in "another place" with regard to at least three measures during the present Session. The difficulty which was expressed in regard to that "other place" was specially not in regard to measures of that sort, but in reference to measures relating to property. Difficulty was, and would be experienced in referring to that House, composed, in the main, of Representatives of property, questions affecting property; and everyone who considered the present Amendment must have in his recollection the mode in which another and far more important measure was 1221 dealt with by the House of Lords in the early part of the Session.
§ MR. SPEAKER
pointed out to the hon. Member that the Question before the House was an Instruction on a Money Bill, and he must not debate other measures.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD,
continuing, said, with regard to the Amendment, if he had found that the Committee had no choice but to adopt it, he should have had far greater hesitation than he now had in regard to the course he was about to take. When he heard the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote), and of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, he felt it would be practically impossible to give a vote distinctly asserting that a course which had not been taken for 150 years should be taken upon this occasion with regard to a measure which he did not consider of first-rate urgency. But if he voted for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork City (Mr. Parnell), as he intended to do, it was because that Motion was not an "Instruction" to the Committee, but merely empowered the Committee to avail themselves of a change of mind in the House of Lords. He had a genuine respect for the House of Lords. He wished to leave them an opportunity of retreat. He believed that the House of Lords was in a relenting mood; that they might be anxious, even at the present moment, to re-consider the course which it could not be doubted, from the language held in that House, was fraught with danger. Their Lordships might be anxious to put themselves right, as far as possible, with the people of the country. It was with this view that he should give his vote in favour of the Amendment.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon) to the Motion of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) was evidently intended, if not to accelerate the action of the hon. Member for Cork City, at all events to show that there were other Irish Members of the section which for four or five Sessions had acted together in the House, who were more extreme in their views than the hon. Member for Cork City. The Amendment was illustrative of the feeling and desires which prompted the Amendment, for it proposed that the House of Lords should reverse its course, not upon one 1222 subject alone, but upon two subjects—["Hear, hear!"]—the Registration of Voters (Ireland) Bill and the Compensation for Disturbance (Ireland) Bill. To that he had the assent of the hon. Member who uttered that cheer. It explained beyond the possibility of a doubt what was the object of the section of the House which had taken its place on the Benches below the Gangway. That object was to coerce the House of Lords. This House had been compelled to adopt a Standing Order to avoid the coercion which the hon. Member for Cork City, and those who acted with him, had practised in this House; and, not deterred by the resistance they had met with in their attempts to coerce this House, the hon. Members now sought to attack the other branch of the Legislature. The objects of this section were avowed. The speech which they had just heard from the hon. Member for Tipperary explained the objects of this section. He said that he was opposed to the whole form of the government of this country. He (Mr. Newdegate) greatly doubted the right of the hon. Member to speak for the whole of Ireland, though he assumed that right. What, according to these hon. Members, was the object of this Amendment? It was to excite rebellion against the entire government of this country as at present constituted. [Cheers.] Hon. Members and the House would observe that cheer. What, then, had the House to deal with? The proposal itself was unconstitutional and distinctly a phase of rebellion. Perhaps some hon. Member would rise and endeavour to qualify the explanation that had been given by those with whom he was associated. But that could not alter the fact that this was a distinctly revolutionary proposal; and when the people of England knew that a direct attack was intended upon the form of government under which they lived, and over which they exercised a direct power, he felt sure it would meet from them exactly the same answer which they gave to the revolutionary movement of 1842. In his constituency in North Warwickshire, with only 19 soldiers and 45 policemen to aid the yeomanry and special constables, the revolutionary movement of 1842 was stopped. He had the honour of commanding the special constables on that occasion, and he could tell hon. Mem- 1223 bers that they were engaging in rather a hazardous undertaking. He believed that the people of England expected their Representatives to represent in this House the spirit which arrested the revolutionary movement of 1842. He could not doubt that the people of North Warwickshire had the same spirit now that they had then; and that, when a section of the Irish Members undertook in this House to bully both Houses of Parliament, the people whom he represented would desire him to act in the spirit in which they and he had acted in the year 1842. [Laughter.] The laughter in which the section to which he referred thought fit to indulge was very hollow. It was his firm conviction that the Members who were returned to the House by the Democratic Party of England and Scotland, to say nothing of those who entertained Constitutional principles, would betray their constituents if they did not meet this attempt as it deserved to be met—that was, by absolute repudiation. It was 150 years since the House of Commons was betrayed into any such "tacking" as was now proposed; and he felt sure that the House would forfeit the confidence of the great majority of the people of England and of Scotland if they did not directly repudiate this attempt to bully both Houses of Parliament, and to involve this House in an unseemly conflict with the House of Lords.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, he was quite unable to follow the arguments of the hon. Member who had just sat down, and who had given the House such exciting and interesting details of the conquests achieved by himself. If the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had not had the presence of mind to be his own trumpeter, he (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) was afraid that posterity would not have heard anything about the hon. Member's wonderful achievements. It was to be hoped that the present crisis would not call for another gathering of yeomanry and special constables in North Warwickshire, under the command of the hon. Member for that constituency. As, however, the insurrection anticipated by the hon. Member was expected to come off in Ireland, it did not appear how he and his band of special constables could take any effective part in it. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to 1224 the Lord Lieutenant had made a speech which was very energetic and impressive for the most part, but which would have been more consistent if spoken in support of, instead of in opposition to, the Motion of the hon. Member for Cork City. If the situation was so serious as the right hon. Gentleman in his speech assumed it to be, it was a time for passing over what he might call the etiquette of Constitutional arrangements, and for taking some unusual course in regard to the action of the House of Lords. If it were a time when a leading Member of the Government might suggest the possible necessity of taking into consideration the propriety of changes in the relations between the two Chambers, then, surely, it might be allowed to be a time to justify so mild a course as this tacking of a new clause to the Appropriation Bill. It must be remembered that one great reason why the Irish Members took their present course was not only that the House of Lords had contemptuously rejected the Registration of Voters (Ireland) Bill, but that they had been guilty of a series of actions the result of which was to leave Ireland no legislative fruits whatever out of this active, and what ought to have been useful, Session. In the speeches made by the right hon. Gentlemen on either side of the House, allusion had been made to the action of the House of Lords in reference to the Ballot Bill. But there was this distinction between this case and that. The House of Lords might well consider the Ballot as a great, comprehensive, and complete change in the whole system of the constitution of Parliament. The Ballot Act contained a principle which had been opposed by leading statesmen of both Parties, among others by Lord Palmerston; and the House of Lords had every reason to say that so great and sudden a change of principle required grave deliberation. But what was this Registration Bill? It was simply a Bill to make the system of registering voters in Ireland like the system already accepted and adopted in England, and there was no excuse for saying that to consider such a measure required many studious days and sleepless nights. The truth of the matter, as Ireland would understand it, was that the House of Lords were wholly contemptuous and indifferent as regarded Irish legislation; that they believed it had 1225 not many friends in the House or the country, and that they felt sure the Government would not take any energetic action to resent their conduct. Complaining of the apathy of the Government, he might recall how different was the conduct of Liberal Governments when the Lords rejected the Bill for the Abolition of Purchase in the Army, and the Bill for the Repeal of the Paper Duties. The question for Irish Members was not merely whether the Peers were, or were not, going too far, but whether there was any security for justice to Ireland when measures put forward by a friendly Government seemed to have no chance of passing the Upper House of Legislature. The fact that such measures were thus treated and likely to be treated justified the unusual course of action which was recommended by the hon. Member for Cork City. All that Parliament had done of late had been to pass Bills allowing Ireland out of her own resources to save herself from the approach of famine; but what was now wanted was the adoption of a course which would show that the Government were in earnest in their professed desire to secure the passing of measures which would be for the permanent benefit of the Irish population. He would, indeed, be glad if, on this occasion, the Irish Party had had the assistance of the Liberal Members. No doubt, such help would be cordially and readily given in resisting undue action on the part of the House of Lords; but, as regarded peculiarly Irish complaints and grievances, he could only say that he hoped to hear from them something like the expression of a generous and earnest sympathy. He confessed that he liked his Liberal Friends very much better in Opposition than on the side of the Ministry, for he was afraid that there was something enervating about the atmosphere of the Ministerial Benches. As for the statement that the proposal of the hon. Member for Cork City was exceptional, he admitted it; but the conduct of the House of Lords, which compelled the making of the proposal, was still more exceptional. It was not easy, perhaps, to raise the spirit of hon. Members opposite; but he hoped for their assistance on that occasion.
§ MR. WARTON
remarked, that the eloquence of the Chief Secretary for Ireland had burst out in a manner that 1226 was perfectly astonishing. He confessed to a feeling of sympathy for the Irish Members, because he knew well that they were disappointed. At one time, he believed, they had the game in their hands; but when they withdrew their obstruction to the Constabulary Vote on a certain understanding they seemed to have been entirely deserted by the Government. On that ground, therefore, he could understand and sympathize with the complaints which they made and the language in which they expressed themselves. But several English Members who had no such grounds of complaint to urge, and who ought to know better, had thought proper to indulge in the same extravagant expressions. He thought, however, that while Irish Members had reason for their disappointment, and, perhaps, for their resentment, the Chief Secretary for Ireland had absolutely no excuse for the violent and democratic language in which he had inveighed against the House of Lords; and other English Members were equally without justification for acting in a way which they must know was not consistent with their duty. The House of Lords had always shown themselves actuated by a sincere desire to promote the public good, and they had invariably acted under the highest sense of duty. After all, it was perfectly intelligible that they should refuse to discuss Bills hastily submitted to them at that period of the Session.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, that if it were not for the importance of the subject he would not have addressed the House, because he did not feel in a state of health to deal with this weighty question. He thought that the action of the other branch of the Legislature had been in the highest degree injudicious, and of that character which had been usually attributed to the proceedings of Irish agitators, for it was, in every respect, calculated to disturb and aggravate the situation. The destruction of the measure which the House of Lords had just rejected, out of no other feeling than the narrowest and the pettiest, must place in the hand of everyone who was desirous of stirring up ill-feeling against British government of Ireland a weapon of the most potent description. He was an Irish Nationalist of a very thorough type; but he had never concealed his conviction that Irishmen should do all 1227 in their power to seek the redress of their grievances in a Constitutional way to bring about a permanent reconciliation with the sister country of England, but that England should be in a frame of mind capable of being reconciliated; and when he saw the hereditary branch of English Legislature, with its great weight of every kind in the country, in mere wantonness, in the reckless childishness which only sought an opportunity of harassing and exasperating—when he saw it, time after time, throwing out measures the most humble as well as the most important, he said that the charge of recklessly provoking agitation was removed from the shoulders of Irishmen to the shoulders of the English nobility and the classes supporting them. He did not wish to say one word offensive to the Liberal Party. He had, on former occasions, expressed his conviction that the salvation of Ireland, so far as it could be gained from any English Party, was to be gained from English Liberals; but he maintained that the latter were not dealing with Irishmen as they would deal with Englishmen under similar circumstances. It was little short of a mockery for Englishmen to tell Irishmen that they enjoyed equal rights and equal laws, when the liberties and the rights of masses of the people of Ireland could be struck down by one branch of the Legislature with hardly a protest from the English masses; whereas, if any similar indignity were offered to English liberty, an agitation would arise which would shake the very foundation of English society. It was not sufficient for the English Liberal Party to be Liberal in name when it ought to be Liberal in reality; and the refusal of justice to Ireland ought to be resented by all true Liberals. The Irish Members, who were just a little handful of men from Ireland, had asked their countrymen to trust to the calm justice and dispassionate reasoning of the House of Commons; but where, he would ask, was English justice and English fair play. They were all conscious of the good intentions of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. But the presence of even such a man in the Cabinet was as nothing unless he was thoroughly and seriously supported by his Colleagues. It was impossible for the Cabinet to apply a remedy to the present state of things in Ireland, even of the most moderate kind, 1228 unless they took it up and carried it through as if they were really interested in it; but so long as the Government were not in earnest, and allowed their legislation for Ireland to be checked by the House of Lords, it was not sufficient for the Chief Secretary to have good intentions, or for Ministers on the Front Treasury Bench to make half-a-dozen good-natured speeches. But the Government must recognize the fact that the Irish Question must be dealt with thoroughly and at once. Unless they did that, it was a delusion and a snare to place at the front a statesman like the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The responsible official for Ireland had not received from the Government that thorough and resolute support which he ought to receive. The noble Marquess, at present the Leader of the House, had come forward more than once and assured the Irish Party that there was little difference between his convictions and the convictions of the Irish Members; and he wanted to know whether the noble Marquess's statements were mere words or realities? He could assure the House that complimentary speeches and assurances of the good intentions of the Government, whether from the Chief Secretary or the noble Lord, would effect nothing unless they had measures which corresponded with declarations. What was the object of such declarations, if they shrank from censuring or placing on record some tangible proof of the conduct of the other House, which really and practically had ostracised the Irish people? They had seen how measures of slight importance had been passed by the House of Commons while Ireland was left to suffer; and such a policy was such as to invite the rejection of measures of goodwill to Ireland, and such a policy would sow the seeds of bad blood between England and Ireland. The English Parliament would never do full justice to Ireland; but so far as they brought in measures for the good of Ireland the Irish Members had supported them, although they fell far short of what was necessary. But how were they to be satisfied when they saw-English Members bringing in measures and asking the support of the Irish Members; and then, after the Irish Members had been amused by these protestations of goodwill, they saw these measures cast out by a House over which the Irish 1229 Members had no direct control. That was like playing with the seriousness of the Irish situation. In those circumstances, he would stand by his Colleagues to mark the sense of the lightness of heart and indifference of feeling with which the Liberal Party had supported the good intentions of the Chief Secretary. This was no case of refusing the demands of the advanced Irish Party, for their demands were supported by moderate men, and by Englishmen as well as Irishmen. They had learnt the lesson that their most moderate demands had so little hold over the English hearts and convictions that the almost puerile spite of the other House had been vented on the Irish Bills without raising the slightest indignation in England. When the noble Lords complained of the delay in the presentation of important Bills from this House, why did not they take notice of the Liberal obstruction to the Irish Registration Bill? The complaint of the Lords as to this Bill was fictitious, and only covered their hostility to the wants of the Irish people. An important Bill had been presented late to the House of Lords, which went very much against the grain of the noble Lords; but they did not venture to reject it, because they knew the great mass of the English people were behind it. They did not make a stand for their noble dignity, because the people of England wished for the Bill; but when an Irish measure of the first importance was presented to them they adopted a pretext to refuse the most elementary and fundamental reforms. The real fault lay in the Governing Party of this House; for when the House of Lords saw that this House was in earnest about any measure, then the noble Earl of Redesdale and all his noble faction thought once, twice, and a third time, before they presumed to exhibit their little lordliness. There was no use for this House to try and shirk their responsibility; and if the noble Lords did wrong to Ireland it was because of the indifference of the English Liberals. If they wanted Ireland to be prosperous, industrious, and contented, they must deal fairly to Ireland. He did not believe in their United Kingdom, because they treated Ireland as if it was not part of the United Kingdon.
§ MR. SPEAKER
reminded the hon. Member that he was travelling wide of 1230 the subject immediately before the House.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
thanked the Speaker for his reminder, and he would conclude by urging England to treat Ireland as they would their own Business. Until they had exhausted the English platform they would go hand in hand; but it was hard to find that they were not receiving mere justice.
§ MR. SLAGG
said, he felt that the reproach cast on Liberal Members of want of sympathy with Irishmen was undeserved. They, however, felt a difficulty in co-operating more strongly with Irish Members, because they were impressed with the conviction that the Government now in power meant to do all that was possible for the good of Ireland, and they could not go into the Lobby with the Irish Members, who were continually putting difficulties in the way of that Government. The words "Home Rule" appeared to scare a great number of persons; and although he did not stand there to advocate Home Rule, yet, considering the character of the Irish Land Laws, which were unsuited to Ireland, the extreme distress which existed, and which might be relieved by wise legislation, and the long term of misgovernment to which that country had been subjected, he could not deny the reasonableness of the demand for self-government. He hoped that the time would come, and before long, when the Irish Members could work with the English Members in carrying through Parliament necessary reforms. But, with regard to the matter before the House, he was of opinion this was rather a futile mode of giving expression to views which before long must come to the front. As it had been announced to the House that the Government felt it impossible to support the Motion, and as that would be an inopportune time to deal with the question, he thought the Irish Members would do well in abstaining from fighting so big a battle upon so small an issue, and especially as the Chief Secretary for Ireland had promised to bring this question forward next Session. It seemed to him a feeble way of expressing their protest, and it looked like discharging a rifle when a whole battery of artillery should be fired. He (Mr. Slagg) had no ground whatever to qualify him in asking the Irish Members to adopt a certain course 1231 in preference to another; but he was anxious to place on record, before the end of the Session, that his own sympathies were with Irish Members, and, whenever he found he could co-operate with them, they would find that his best efforts would always be at their call.
§ SIR HENRY TYLER
thought that matters were getting worse and worse. Last evening there was an attack made upon the Church of England, and this evening the Chief Secretary for Ireland had aided the Irish Members in an attack upon the House of Lords. The noble Marquess the Leader of the Government was absent; and he (Sir Henry Tyler) was anxious to know if the views expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland with regard to the House of Lords were those of the other Members of the Government?
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 60; Noes 18: Majority 42.—(Div. List, No. 167.)
Main Question put,
That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to insert the following Clause:—
§ (Proceedings on objection made to voters on list other than list of claimants.)
§ "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Act passed in the thirteenth and fourteenth years of the reign of Her Majesty, chapter fifty-five, contained, where any person whose name is on any list of voters for a county, city, town, or borough in Ireland (not being a list of claimants), is duly objected to by some person other than the clerk of the peace, the clerk of the union, the poor rate collectors, or the town clerk, county court judge, the chairman or revising barrister, whether the person objected to does or does not appear before him, shall, before requiring it to be proved that the person so objected to is entitled to have his name inserted in the list of voters for such county, city, town, or borough, or expunging such name, require prima facie proof to be given to his satisfaction of some ground of objection against such person, and, for the purpose of determining whether such prima facie proof is satisfactory, shall examine the collectors of poor rates, clerk of the union, or any other person who may be present, touching the truth of the alleged ground of objection, and if such prima facie proof is not so given to his satisfaction, he shall retain the name of the person objected to in the list of voters: Provided, That this Clause shall remain in operation for two years from the date of the passing of this Act."—(Mr. Parnell.)
§ The House divided:—Ayes 23; Noes 58: Majority 35.—(Div. List, No. 168.)1232
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ MR. MELDON
said, he had a Resolution on the Paper, to move—That, in the opinion of this House, the rejection of a Bill solely affecting the right of persons to be registered as Parliamentary Voters is highly inexpedient; and this House is further of opinion that the granting of aid or supply for the maintenance of another Chamber is undesirable so long as measures relating solely to the acquisition of the Parliamentary franchise are by the action of such Chamber prevented from passing into Law.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD,
who had an Amendment on the Paper, to move—That, in the opinion of this House, the rejection of Bills which have been accepted by this House to promote the welfare of Ireland has gravely increased the difficulties of the Executive Government, and, by exciting disaffection, tends to endanger the sufficiency of the Supply granted to Her Majesty,said, he had reason to believe that there was a similar objection to his Amendment.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clauses and Schedule A agreed to.
§ Schedule B.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, that the Schedule contained an item of £332,666 for the balances and expenses of officers to the House of Lords. £4,900 was put down as the salary of the Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords (the Earl of Redesdale), and that was the salary he wished particularly to get at. He had intended to put his Motion in such a form that it would be perfectly evident what object he had in view; and he intended to do it in such a manner as would be found in accordance with the Rules of the House. In the first instance, he presented at the Table a clause to reduce the Vote by the sum of £1,800; but he found that he would not have been in Order in putting his Motion in such a form, and that, in order to make his protest against the salary of this particular official (the Earl of Redesdale), it was necessary for him to put his Motion in a general form against the entire Vote. Now, he 1233 hoped he would not be misunderstood when he said it was a notorious fact that the Chairman of Committees in "another place," like the Chairman of Committees in that House, exercised a considerable control over the deliberations of the House. He was not aware whether it was one of the privileges of Mr. Lyon Playfair to have the votes of 30 or 40 Members of this House in his pocket; but rumour had it that the Earl of Redesdale was in that happy and proud position. The consequence of that was this—that all the legislation in this country was at the mercy of a particular individual, and that individual an official of the other House; because it was quite evident to every observer that at a certain stage of the Session the whole procedure of Parliament could be easily controlled by a very slight action. In the last few days of the Session it depended upon "another place" whether certain Bills should or should not pass into law: and what he wished to point out to the Committee and to the country was, that if an individual had in his pockets the votes of Members of any portion of the Legislature it would happen that in the expiring days of the Session the whole legislation of the country depended upon the arbitrary will of that individual. The country, he supposed, would be surprised to be acquainted with that fact, because it was generally imagined that we were a self-governing country, and that Parliament was the representative of the national will, and not that of a particular individual. It was in reference to this individual that he thought he should be in Order in making a few observations. He was glad to see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright) in his place, because it was a speech which the right hon. Gentleman himself delivered that suggested to the hon. Member for Cork City (Mr. Parnell) the course which he thought it right to take on going into Committee on the Bill. Several hon. Friends pointed out to the hon. Gentleman a passage from a speech made by the right hon. Gentleman on the 10th of August, 1860. The passage was as follows:—In the year 1734 there was a case in which the Government of the time wished to save the country gentlemen from the pressure of a heavier land tax, and they agreed to take not 1234 less than £1,200,000 for the service of the year out of the Sinking Fund, and apply it to purposes for which, of course, it was not originally intended. When they Drought that Bill into the House it consisted only of two clauses. They moved, on going into Committee, that the Committee should he instructed to receive clauses of appropriation; and they hound up the appropriation clause of the year with those two clauses. They took £1,200,000 from the Sinking Fund and appropriated it to the service of the year, and the two matters together in one Bill went up to the House of Lords, and were passed by that House. Well, there is an Appropriation Bill to he yet passed by the House of Commons this Session; and I say the House of Commons itself, if it possesses, as Mr. Canning said in 1827, a spark of spirit left in it to maintain its own privileges and rights, will avail itself of that, or of some other equally proper mode, for the purpose of restoring itself, at the end of the Session, to the independent position which it occupied when we met. But there is another mode which I would recommend to the noble Lord. He will see that I am merely offering suggestions for his consideration and for that of his Colleagues in the Cabinet. There is a mode, nearly resembling that which Mr. Canning adopted in 1827. On that occasion the House of Lords rejected, by a substantial alteration, a Bill which modified the duties leviable upon foreign corn. Immediately afterwards—I think the very next day—Mr. Canning came down to this House, and in language of a severity exceeding anything that has been used with regard to the Peers during the discussion of this question, asked the House of Commons to take a course to maintain their rights. But he said, as Minister, he felt that it was his duty, if possible, to prevent any collision between the two Houses; and, therefore, he asked the House not to pass exactly the measure which had just been neglected, but to pass another Bill, including its provisions, but limited to a duration of nine months."—[3 Hansard, clx. 1121.]Now, the Committee would plainly see that, in pursuing the course his hon. Friend (Mr. Parnell) did, and which he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) was now endeavouring to pursue, they had before them the advice which was given to the House under practically similar circumstances by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Furthermore, Mr. Canning, in 1827, said—I agree, Sir, with the hon. gentleman, that something is necessary to be done; but the rule I should lay down upon the subject is a very plain one. As, I presume, the House of Commons is not so reduced as to abjure what its members have declared to be necessary principles, to rescind their deliberate resolutions, and to throw away as waste paper that bill which they have so much, and so carefully considered, merely because in a certain assembly, which, for many reasons, is entitled to our respect, they did not happen to be entertained with that courtesy which might have been expected, but was made the subject of an amendment, which not merely went to re- 1235 scind what we had enacted, hut to introduce principles, that, besides being new, were positively contrary to what we had determined to he necessary. Let the House themselves feel this as they may. If there be a single spark of pride or of shame in it, they will not submit to it."—[2 Hansard, xvii. 1308.]He (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) would not trouble the Committee with further quotations, for he thought that the two that he had made showed conclusively that his hon. Friend (Mr. Parnell), in adopting the course he did, and he (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), in adopting the course he had adopted, were justified by illustrious examples as to the form their protest should take in regard to the action of "another place." Now, he wished, in the friendliest spirit, to offer a word of warning to the Ministry in regard to "another place." He told the Ministry that either they would have to overcome "another place," or "another place" would overcome them. He had some experience of the meetings of "another place" before he came into this House; and he ventured to remark that the attendance of noble Lords during the first days of this Session was far larger, and far more interested, than even during the days when they were ringing the chorus of Jingoism in the country; and everything that had happened during the Session went to show that they intended to give the Liberal Government and Radical Party all the trouble they could.
I must draw the attention of the hon. Gentleman to the fact that we were discussing a purely Money Bill, and that the hon. Member should confine himself to the question whether the Vote should be reduced, and not discuss the general subject.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, that, of course, he bowed at once to the Chairman's ruling. His intention throughout had been to show the Committee a reason why they should refuse this allowance to "another place." It was perfectly within their competence to refuse to "another place" this allowance; and if they came to the conclusion that this refusal should take place he thought he was in Order in giving the reasons which dictated the refusal. He should bow to the Chairman's ruling, and conclude his remarks on the general subject by saying that if they did not make a firm stand—if the Government did not make a firm 1236 stand—they would find their position attenuated, and that either their legislative measures would be destroyed, or their functions and prestige would be seriously endangered. That the Chairman should not be under the painful necessity of calling him to Order again, he would now confine himself to the money part of the transaction. What he wished to show to the Committee and to the country was this—that these officials, who were opposing the interest of the country, who were blocking the measures for the amelioration of the condition of the country, were the paid servants of the country. That they were simply servants was proved by the fact that their salaries were to be provided by this House; and these officials, paid with money voted by the Representatives of the people, were showing their gratitude by completely disobeying the wish of the Representatives of the people. If the country were decided to teach these high officials their duty with regard to the interests of the country and the Representatives of the people they had a very easy remedy in its hands; and he proposed it should take that remedy at the present moment, and mark their indignation by refusing to these refractory servants their salaries.
In page 9, line 8, leave out the words "No. 1. For Salaries and Expenses in the Offices of the House of Lords, to complete, £32,666."—(Mr. T. P. O'Connor.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, that he could hardly suppose the hon. Member seriously intended to press this Amendment; but he had humorously adopted it as a form of protesting against a proceeding of the House of Lords, of which, whatever might be the proportion of importance attaching to it, everyone in the House and out of it must disapprove. He had known for a great many years the noble Earl to whom the hon Member had referred. Many years ago, before he was a Member of that House, he belonged to a branch of the Legal Profession which came particularly under the noble Lord's purview. The noble Earl was Lord and Master, Czar and Despot of Private Bill legislation. He was bound to say that the noble 1237 Earl was an excellent man, of the greatest integrity, and of the best intentions; but there never was a man who had more completely absorbed into himself the spirit of unmitigated despotism. He was so in the habit of controlling Private Bill legislation, governing Parliamentary Agents, and setting aside Parliamentary counsel, that he had come to think he could act in the same manner with regard to public measures and Public Business; and, finding himself unexpectedly in the position of undisputed Leader of the House of Lords, he acted as he was accustomed to do with Parliamentary Agents. He would ask the House to take that view, instead of putting it on other grounds. He believed that that was the real history of the matter. The object of the Earl of Redesdale in dealing with this Bill was not to attack the Irish Members or the whole Irish people. On the contrary, it was an Irish opposition started entirely in the interests of one particular Irish Member of that House. He had reason to suspect that if the Bill passed it would be injurious to the prospects of a Conservative seat in Ireland. Means were taken to convey to the Earl of Redesdale the desire of hon. Gentlemen opposite that the seat should be secured; and he had thought, as persons did who took great measures for the accomplishment of small objects, that the best way was to throw out the whole Bill. That, he believed, was the history of the whole transaction; and hon. Members on both sides of the House would do best only to look at the matter as it really Was, as a piece of recklessness and of thoughtless despotism on the part of the Earl of Redesdale.
§ MR. WARTON
rose to Order. He said that it had been ruled by the Speaker that it was not in Order to address Members of the other House by name. So long as the right hon. Gentleman confined himself to hinting at the noble Lord in question he did not interfere; but he now begged to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman was to be permitted to make a personal attack by name on an officer of the other House?
said, that unquestionably the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was in Order. He was referring, in debate, to the action, not of "another House," but to an officer whose salary was mentioned in the Vote.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, that when the hon. and learned Member had interposed he was endeavouring to bring the Committee to a sense of feeling that the mischief which had been committed in this case was from what he might call want of apprehension. It was men like Lord Redesdale and the hon. and learned Member for Bridport (Mr. Warton) who caused all the mischief, not from any bad intention, but merely from sheer inability to understand the situation. Half the mischief in the world was not accomplished by people who set to work to do it, but by people who did not understand the situation. If people would only see that what was done the other day was really done by people who did not understand what they were doing he hoped this question would pass away, and that the hon. Member opposite would not persevere in a Motion which would injure a great many other persons besides Lord Redesdale.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, that he wished to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary upon the temperate and admirable speech which he had just made. But if anything more were wanted to complete the case raised by the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) against the Earl of Redesdale it was to be found in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. Before hearing that speech it might have been fairly supposed that the utmost wrong done by Lord Redesdale was to allow some personal prejudice of his own to influence him contrary to the duties of his Office; but, after hearing the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, it appeared that the Earl of Redesdale had been guilty of an attempt much more inexcusable, for he had lent himself to a plot, contrived by a group of Tory Members in the interests of a well-known Tory Member, a Member of the late Government, who knew that if the Registration of Voters (Ireland) Bill passed persons would be entitled to exercise the elective franchise, which would render his seat insecure. Fearing that if the Bill passed his seat would be gone this plot had been contrived. He could not assent to the doctrine that that Committee ought to vote the salary of a Nobleman who had not only proved himself thoroughly despotic, but had proved himself the willing instrument of a group of Tory magnates. Whatever might be 1239 the truth of the charge brought against the Earl of Redesdale he should vote for the Amendment.
§ MR. MELDON
said, that he also must thank the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary for the able and amusing speech which he had delivered to the Committee; but that speech afforded a reason why the Motion should be carried. What they were then seeking to do was to avail themselves of one of the greatest rights possessed by the House of Commons—a right by the exercise of which they could only hope to be victorious in any contest between this House and the House of Lords. He wished to call attention to two points put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary as reasons why the Vote should not be reduced. In the first place, he had told them that the Chairman of Committees of the other House was known to be a despot, and in exercise of that duty had thrown out the Bill. Was it a proper thing that an official should use his official position in the mischievous way that the Earl of Redesdale had done? But the right hon. Gentleman also said that the real reason why the Bill was thrown out was that a number of Irish Peers threw out the Bill in order to save a Conservative seat in Ireland. Was it possible that the Chairman of Committees, who had stated that the only reason that he had moved the rejection of the Bill was that it was sent up so late in the Session—was it possible that an official in the other House could deliberately make a representation of that kind when he was really acting from such a motive as that now disclosed? He had been under the impression that the Earl of Redesdale had moved the rejection of the Bill simply because he was acting as a despot, and because he did not think fit to discharge the duties of his Office any longer. Observations coming from the Earl of Redesdale had shown an intention to obstruct Business; and it was sufficient reason why they should refuse to pay the salary of an official if he showed such an intention. The Registration of Voters (Ireland) Bill was one dealing solely with the privileges, under the franchise, of that House, and it was stretching Parliamentary courtesy to the utmost to throw out such a Bill. It would, however, be unfair that the 1240 other officials of the House of Lords should suffer by the misconduct of one of their body. He did not know whether, as a matter of Order, the present figure could be omitted and a lower one inserted. This was an Appropriation Bill, and sums were not specifically appropriated; but sums not exceeding a certain sum were appropriated. He thought, therefore, that they might reduce the maximum to be appropriated by the Bill, and move that the Vote should be reduced by the sum of £2,500, the salary paid to the Earl of Redesdale. The opinion of the Conservative Party as to the action of the House of Lords in this matter was evident from the empty Benches which they saw opposite. They knew that this action of the House of Lords could not be defended, for if it could be there would be plenty to defend it. From their absence there they could only suppose that they entertained the same views of this matter as he did. Supposing the whole of these salaries to be disallowed, the Government would have no difficulty in recouping the officers who might lose their salaries during the present year; and, by adopting the Motion of his hon. Friend, they would be expressing their opinion of the way in which the House of Commons and the Government, and, above all, the people of Ireland, had been treated in this matter. Therefore, he hoped that the Government would not object to the Motion. He would remind the Committee that such an opportunity as this might not recur for a long time.
said, that he must explain that it was not competent for an hon. Member to move the reduction of the Vote, which was part of the sum already granted to Her Majesty. The sum could not be appropriated to the specific purposes for which it was granted if it was reduced.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he should like to know whether he could not appropriate part of the sum he proposed to reduce to some other officer? If so, he would be happy to propose to transfer the amount now paid as salary to the Earl of Redesdale to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in consideration of his most amusing speech.
§ MR. SERJEANT SIMON
said, that he heartily sympathized with the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell), being 1241 interested in all questions connected with the Irish people and their welfare. The course taken in "another place," not only with regard to this Bill, but also with regard to another Government Bill, had created great embarrassment to the Government, and had increased their difficulties in carrying on the government of Ireland. If any evil consequences followed, the House of Lords would be responsible. But, sympathizing as he did with the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, he could not support his Amendment, nor could he support the Amendment of the hon. Member for the City of Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) which was now before them. His reason was this—that they had a legislative machinery that existed for the purpose of legislation; and they must do nothing which would, technically speaking, put that machinery out of gear. They ought to do their best to enable this House to carry on legislation without hindrance; and to be at issue with the House of Lords would be to create a block to Public Business. He, for his part, could not lend his support to any such course. Therefore, though reluctantly, he should be obliged to vote against the Motion. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department had made one of those kindly, good-humoured speeches which they knew it was in his power to make, although he did not often so indulge them. He had, however, brought forward one of the strangest arguments in opposition to this Motion which he had ever heard. He had thought that the noble Lord, whom he described as a kind of despot—an official martinet—had determined to snub the House of Commons; because, in his opinion, it had not treated the House of Lords with due consideration, and in order to save a seat in this House to his Party. If this statement were correct, a more unjustifiable, he would say a more corrupt act on the part of a public man could not have taken place. The right hon. Gentleman had said that because certain Irish Peers were interested in the particular seat of a Member of this House, the House of Lords, under the influence of an official person in that Assembly, threw out a Bill passed in this House, and which would have been beneficial to the people of Ireland. By reason of that miserable, petty, Party, 1242 motive, the Bill was thrown out. He repeated, that if that were so a more corrupt, a more indefensible action could not be committed by a public man. He could not believe that Lord Redesdale was capable of such an act, and he was inclined to think that he was influenced by the circumstances first described by his right hon. Friend—namely, that, from being in the habit of choking off Private Bills in the House of Lords the habit of despotism had grown up through many long years, and had induced him to play the part of an official martinet, when the proper Leaders of that House had abdicated their functions. He could well understand how a person so situated might have lost his head for a moment, and come to the conclusion that he must do his duty by his order, although his family were only a recent accession to that order. He could not think that Lord Redesdale could possibly have been actuated by the motives which his right hon. Friend had attributed to him. But the question now came to this—whether they were going to descend to the low, petty, level of this Nobleman, or whether they were going to maintain their dignity? Because an official, who received pay from that House, had chosen to adopt a certain course, were they going to say—"We will stop your wages." In his opinion, that course would not be consistent with their dignity. Let them not descend to the level of a Member of the other House, who had set the dignity of his order against the well-being of the people. Although, he could not but sympathize with his hon. Friend who had brought forward this proposal, yet he hoped that it would be withdrawn after the expression of opinion that had been elicited in that House, and especially after what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland. If they now gave way to any petty resentment, and prevented the noble Lord from getting his salary, the opinion of the country, which was then with them, might be against them. Let them have his salary, and let the House be content with the protest which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary and by the discussion which they had had that night in which English Members had been as outspoken as Irish. He hoped the proposal would be withdrawn.
§ MR. WARTON
said, that he was very much delighted to hear the hon. and learned Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Serjeant Simon) praise the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary for his good temper. He took the liberty of calling the right hon. Gentleman to Order when he was speaking, because, although in Order when referring to the salary of Lord Redesdale, he was not so when speaking of him as a despot or a Czar. So long as the right hon. Gentleman was discussing the mere question of a salary and of a Vote to be paid to a certain Member of the House of Lords he was in Order; but when he went beyond that he did not think that he was in Order, and for that he asked for the judgment of the Chair.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
said, he should like to know whether it was in Order for the hon. and learned Member for Bridport to question the decision of the Chair?
said, that the hon. and learned Member for Bridport was in Order in the observations he was making.
§ MR. WARTON
said, that, whatever his incapacity might be, he thought he was, at all events, capable of discriminating between the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman as to the salary of Lord Redesdale and as to his being a despot or a Czar. He thought it very ungenerous of the right hon. Gentleman to rake up all the reminiscences of a Parliamentary counsel with reference to Lord Redesdale's treatment of Private Bills. As the right hon. Gentleman was always good-tempered and good-humoured, it was hardly becoming of him to do what he did, and apply the words "despot" and "Czar" to a noble Lord in the other House. What would have been thought of the Members of the House of Lords, if some Member of it had accused an hon. Member of the House of Commons of being a "despot" and a "Czar?" They would, no doubt, resent it. Let them not, therefore, do to the other House what they would not like the other House to do to them. Let them treat their Lordships with the respect that was due to them, and abstain from scurrilous and antagonistic tactics. That was all he would ask. Let them not indulge in scurrilous and abusive language under cover of good temper. And now to come to the point. ["Hear hear!"] Well, he would tell them why he came to the point. He had 1244 been challenged when there were only two Members of the Opposition present—nay, only one if he was not mistaken—to say what the Opposition thought of the conduct of the House of Lords. To say, at the risk of repetition, what he had said at a previous stage of the inquiry, the course adopted by the House of Lords was dictated, as it seemed to him, by this simple principle—that the Government having thought it right to keep the House of Lords waiting all the Session without Bills, and having at this late period sent them up, the House of Lords said—"We shall draw a line at the 1st of September, that is the only way to bring the Government to reason, and to prevent them from treating us in the same way in future Sessions." With regard to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant to which reference had been made—["Order, order!"]—he would appeal to the Chairman—there was no occasion for cries of "Order!" He would yield at once and not refer to the speech in question. The indications of the Chairman's countenance were quite sufficient, and he would sit down; but he had no doubt that ere long the speech of the right hon. Gentleman would be referred to in other quarters.
§ MR. A. M. SULLIVAN
said, he was sure the Committee would receive with due consideration the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down, as he had been sitting alone on the Opposition Benches for a large part of the evening, filling the gap and protecting the interests of the Conservative Party—a watchful and vigilant sentinel over the Constitution of the country. Recruited as he had been by two equally heroic souls, he might now exclaim—Of the Three Hundred grant hut threeTo make a new ThermopylœHis hon. Friend the Member for the City of Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) had followed the Constitutional precedent. When the House of Commons had to impeach the Government it stopped the Supplies; and when the hon. Member wished to impeach the House of Lords he moved to stop the Supplies. Only one Member of the House of Lords had been singled out; and let him say, before he went any further, that he expected the Home Secretary would be severely taken to task on Monday or 1245 Tuesday for the speech he had made and the statement he had put forward as to the motive for the action taken by the House of Lords. The reason which animated the little group of Conservative Members in that House in opposition to the Registration of Voters (Ireland) Bill was a matter of notoriety among Irish Members. He stated, on his own responsibility, that they had been personally reproached with this story—"Oh! won't this extinguish poor A and B," naming them. Of course, the measure would have extinguished some hon. Members. There was no doubt that for some Sessions past the reason why there had been fighting against the assimilation franchise scheme was because the Conservative Party knew the measure would extinguish some of their supporters. The Earl of Redesdale in the other House, his Colleagues and Friends in this House, having manufactured for him the needed excuse, turned round saying—"It is too late to pass this Bill." Why was it too late? Because his Friends in this House, by their obstructive "blocking Notices," played their part of the game here, in order that he might play his part there. This Bill had been brought in again and again, Session after Session. At last it passed the Commons, and was sent up to the House of Lords, where it was rejected on the Motion of the noble Earl. Let him say that he should be very sorry to find fault with the action of a noble Lord when that noble Lord was strictly within his rights. As long as there was a House of Peers—so long as a Peer sat—let him with his Conservative majority fight his battle as they in this House fought theirs. But when a Member of the other House assumed a quasi-judicial office, he would say that there devolved upon him the duty of dropping a little of the partizan. When a Member of the other House was not an independent Member of the Conservative or Liberal Party, but filled towards the country—towards the taxpayers of Great Britain—the position which the noble Earl held, it would better befit him, not only as a matter of good taste, but as a matter of public propriety and public duty, to forget, on critical occasions like this, that he was a partizan, and to remember that he ought rather to facilitate the action of Her Majesty's Government, as 1246 they were responsible for the peace of Ireland—responsible for the proper protection of life and property in that country during the coming winter. He should not adopt a course which even the most violent partizan would think too strong and too severe, face to face with the circumstances that now menaced the Chief Secretary for Ireland. It had been said by some of their Liberal Friends opposite that they did not consider sufficiently what the right hon. Gentleman's difficulties were. Perhaps some speech had from time to time dropped from some of his Colleagues that might seem to give ground for the imputation; but let him say—speaking for himself and many, if not all, of his Colleagues—that there was not a Member on the Benches opposite who more thoroughly appreciated the difficulties, nor more rightly valued and esteemed and sympathized with the character of the right hon. Gentleman, than he and they did. But let them not judge too harshly of an angered phrase or a warmth of manner, or an impatience—perhaps very often a too great impatience—of the Irish Members. Let the House remember that behind the Irish Members they had a people maddened with a sense of exasperation and suffering and wrong, and let them remember that the Irish Members had their own difficulties behind assailing them at this time. This would excuse a great deal that might otherwise be censured. He would say to the right hon. Gentleman and the Committee—"At a moment like this, when the strongest hand and the coolest judgment that ever ruled Ireland are needed in the Chief Secretary, or will be needed in the coming five months, it is not the time for a public official to come forward and hurl an incendiary message across the Channel." The salary which they were called on to vote that night—and which he, for one, refused to vote—should put a seal on the lips of the noble Lord, not, indeed, to make him do an unworthy act, but to impose on him the reticence of statesmanlike prudence. The difficulties of the Government would be sufficient in Ireland, during the coming winter, without this message of war from England. In voting for the proposal before the Committee he was not voting for the abolition of the House of Lords. He was a bit of a Tory in some things, and 1247 his Friends around him had taunted him with it. He reverenced some of the institutions of this country which, however illogical in theory, had not been made, but had grown up and had worked out magnificent results. There was not, in the whole history of Governments, one like that of Great Britain. It had grown up during a thousand years, and was attended with a Constitution which, when they attempted to transplant it elsewhere, or imitate it, almost invariably broke down. He had an old Tory's reluctance to change these things; but let them beware of forcing people to the wall—of forcing the political intelligence and judgment of the country to dive into these fundamental questions and ask why the Peers were there? Let them beware of forcing the people to investigate the physiological phenomena of hereditary wisdom, and ask why "the tenth transmitter of a foolish face" should be permitted to perform these incendiary freaks? He refused to vote this money to the noble Lord. The noble Lord might be within his right in what he had done; but, knowing Ireland as he (Mr. A. M. Sullivan) knew it, he could tell him and the House of Commons that his action would have a more inflammatory and mischievous effect on that country during the next five months than a dozen Land League orators on a dozen Land League platforms. Nothing was more destructive of what he might call "orderly public life" in Ireland than the feeling of passionate despair, which his hon. Friends knew they had to combat when the people turned round and said to them, when they were impressing upon them Constitutional lines of action—"We are fighting a vain battle." The people beat them upon this point. They said—"It is hard enough and wearisome enough for our nation to have to plead its cause until it has convinced the public mind of England, as represented in the elected Parliament of England, as to the justice of our demand; but when we are asked to go further than that, and knock at the door of an Assembly that represents nobody but themselves, that is elected by nobody, that is amenable to nobody—an Assembly bowing to no public opinion at all, and that will, without reasoning, shut the door upon us and bar our claims—we ask, whenever was a people asked to stake its destinies, its fortunes, its 1248 opinions, its very existence on so monstrous a theory?" Could they blame the Irish people if they declined to trust the fortunes of their country and their lives and happiness to the caprices of men who, as they had seen during the past fortnight, could so easily forget the duties of Office and the dictates of good statesmanship? He would ask hon. Members to oppose the Vote, but not for the sake of going against the Government, and he would expect the Government to weigh the matter well before they entered into a conflict with the House of Lords. Such a conflict should not be entered into before they had chosen their battle-ground, and before the public outside had thoroughly made up their minds. He did not like fighting little battles for tremendous issues. He thought the Government had behaved well; but he should have been delighted to have seen them show—if he might be excused such a phrase—a little more temper, a little more earnest resentment, on the present occasion. Perhaps the Government was right, and his Celtic nature was all to blame, in thinking that a Government ought to exhibit anger; but he had to remember that he and his hon. Friends would have to go back to Ireland with empty hands from the present Session. If they had given them, he would not say an Olive branch to carry over to Ireland, but even one leaf from an Olive branch to carry there, they would have been satisfied; but they sent them home with empty hands. ["No, no!"] Hon. Members said "No!" He responded most warmly to the belief that there had never sat in the English House of Commons an Assembly more determined to act justly towards Ireland than the present Parliament and the present Government; but when he said "you" send us home, he spoke of the institution—the Parliament—as it was viewed from across the Channel. They were to be sent home empty handed, not only without an Olive branch, but with a message of war. First one measure, which the Government itself declared most solemnly was necessary to prevent injustice, was rejected on a certain pretext. Then another, which could not be objected to on its merits, was defeated, ignominiously, "for want of time to consider it," as it was alleged. On the very same day that the latter was 1249 rejected on that excuse, a measure involving a most useful, but still most contentious, principle—a measure promoted by an hon. Member opposite dealing with assaults on young persons—was read a second time, and ultimately passed by the Lords. How were they to explain this action? Surely the noble Lords, and the noble Lord who had done these things, had made his (Mr. A. M. Sullivan's) position untenable in a certain sense in Ireland. In 1873 he had stood up in the presence of his hon. Friends around him at a National Conference in Dublin, and had defended the right of Irish Peers to be represented in any form of National Government. He pleaded then, as he had always pleaded, for the conservation of those forms of society that had come down to them from a former time, his object being to effect the maximum of good for the people with the minimum of social and political disturbance. But who could uphold that view in Ireland if the House of Lords were to continue their present action? Not in Ireland only, but in England also—and much he regretted it—they were sowing the wind, and would have to reap the whirlwind.
§ MR. JOHN BRIGHT
The hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), in his speech on this question, has made a quotation from a speech of mine which he remembers much more accurately than I do, spoken as it was nearly 20 years ago. I do not remember precisely what was the cause of it. [Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR: It was on the Paper Duty.] Now I do recollect it, on being reminded what was the cause of it. I think on that occasion that the House of Commons might have behaved with a little more sternness in the conflict into which they were drawn by the conduct of the other House of Parliament. However, perhaps what the House did on that occasion was sufficient, for in the succeeding Session the measure which the House of Lords had rejected—so unwisely in my opinion—was passed by them without the slightest opposition; and it has been a measure productive of enormous gain to the country, inasmuch as it has really set free the Press and given us the advantage, as I believe, of buying the cheapest and the best newspapers that are to be found anywhere in the world. Now, the question that we have before 1250 us to-night is not without its importance; but I cannot help thinking that the discussion has run too much on the part which one Member of the other House has taken. It must be remembered that whatever was the course taken by the noble Lord to whom so much reference has been made, he was only one of a considerable number who voted against the Bill, the loss of which we so much regret. But, more than all, it should be remembered that in the division on that occasion the Chief of the Conservative Party (the Earl of Beaconsfield) was one of the majority by which that Bill was summarily rejected. Therefore, I am not at all disposed to join in the idea, or the expression of it, that the Chairman of Committees in that House is to bear the whole of the blame which we may bring upon the decision which was then come to. Now, to my mind, the course that has been taken is one very unfortunate, and in my opinion one likely to be productive of great evil, looking at the various Bills which have been sent up during this Session. It seems to me that the real mischief is this—that it would appear as though the other House of Parliament, while we were endeavouring to conciliate and be just, has been endeavouring to make something like a declaration of war against the people of Ireland. I am told—I am not sure that I am accurate, but I understand—that the only Bills which have been rejected this Session by the other House have been Irish Bills. One was introduced by the Government, and was, the Government thought, of first importance; another referred, I believe, to the cost of certain legal proceedings about which there was no dispute in this House; and the third Bill is that which we are in some degree now considering, and which passed this House by the almost universal consent of all those who took any interest in the measure. What I regard as of far greater gravity than the eccentricity of a particular Member of the other House of Parliament is the general temper that has been displayed there, not so much with reference to the proceedings of this House, as with regard to the state of feeling there as to the wants of the people of Ireland. I may say, too, that I think that the temper that has been exhibited is one that may lead to very great danger; but, if that be so, I think we are hardly dealing 1251 with the question in a serious or dignified manner if we endeavour to cut off the sum of £2,000, or something less, which is the salary of an independent Officer in that House. We must make allowance for age; we must make allowance too for those years of power which that Officer has enjoyed, and which he has exercised with a very iron hand in many cases. But, allowing all that, I still think it would not be dignified, and I think it would be hardly just in this House to obstruct the passage of this Vote, and to interfere with the salary which—I do not know whether by the authority of that House, or of this, or of Parliament—he is entitled to receive for the services which he gives in the House of Lords. I, therefore, would, without entering at any length into the question, ask the Committee whether the protest which has been made, and made in strong language with much feeling, and sometimes even with a little temper, might not be considered quite sufficient. I generally have observed that in the other House, when there has been a rather passionate exercise of power, there comes a time of great calm, and it is much more accessible to reason. In point of fact, it becomes a little ashamed of itself: temper passing away, reason takes its place, and it becomes more moderate. Now, there may come occasions, they may come soon, when this House may have some very grave question to discuss with the other House of Parliament. It will be time enough to look to any strong, direct, and offensive opposition when that question shall arise, and when it does arise I hope the House of Commons will, as in past times, sustain its character and maintain its rights. I think quite enough of blame has been laid either upon that House or upon this particular Member of it, whose conduct has been thus freely criticized. I am afraid that to-morrow morning he will not feel quite comfortable in regard to the past exercise of his power, and whatever has been said tonight, he may rely upon it that a great deal more is thought than said which may serve as a warning, not only to him but to his associates, not only in the remaining portion of this Session, but in the next Session and in those that are to come. There is no doubt that if we are asked—as we are often asked, and as we have been asked during the past 1252 week—to make concessions to the prejudices and judgment of the House of Lords, it becomes that House, whose foundation is far less stable than the foundation of this House, to have respect to the opinions expressed by the great majority—the great majority not of this House alone, but, looking upon us as the true Representatives of the people, of the nation, of whose Government they have for so long a time formed an eminent and distinguished part. I ask, therefore, that the Amendment should be withdrawn, and the Committee allowed to proceed. I am quite sure that if it be possible that anything we can say or do will bring about a better state of things in "another place," it will be done by what has already been said; but it will not be advanced in any degree by anything we can do in regard to the Vote of Money for the Officers of that House.
§ MR. DILLON
wished to say only two or three words. If he had his way, so far from reducing the noble Earl's salary, he would double it. The reason he entertained that view was this, that he had all along considered that the protection of the Irish people was to be expected chiefly from their own action. He would not trust either to this House or to the other House for that protection. He believed that that determination which was required amongst the people would be supplied by the action of the House of Lords, and he would, therefore, increase rather than reduce the salary. In this respect he differed slightly from the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), and would be inclined to encourage every noble Lord who devoted himself to so useful a function as that which the House of Lords had performed this Session. The first time the Lords served Ireland was when they rejected the Compensation for Disturbance Bill, for, by so doing, they increased the power of the Land League in Ireland, and they had reduced the Irish landlords to a position which would prove far more profitable to the Irish people than the passing of the Bill would have reduced them. He thought it necessary to say these few words in explanation of his refusal to vote for any reduction in the salary of a noble Lord who had shown himself, by his action, to be so good a friend to the Irish people.
§ SIR HENRY HOLLAND
said, that it was hardly decorous and hardly worthy of the dignity of the House of Commons to discuss, at that late period of the Session, the great Constitutional question as to whether there should, or should not be, any alteration in the House of Lords, or whether, in fact, it should exist at all. The real question before them now was not merely the conduct of the noble Lords in "another place"—not merely whether Lord Redesdale should be deprived of his salary—but whether they were to take away the salaries of all the Officers of the House of Lords. It had been pointed out by the hon. and learned Member for Dews-bury (Mr. Serjeant Simon) that several Bills had been rejected by the other House. As regarded the Compensation for Disturbance Bill, it ought to be remembered that in the Upper House it was practically thrown out by the Liberal Peers. If no Conservative Peers had voted at all the Bill would have been thrown out. So far, therefore, as this Vote was concerned, the Compensation for Disturbance Bill ought to be taken out of consideration. He deeply regretted that the Irish Registration Bill was thrown out; but he thought it was fair to consider the argument that was used by Lord Redesdale, who, in his judicial functions, was bound to consider the honour and dignity of the House of Lords. The reason why, as he (Sir Henry Holland) understood it, that Bill was mainly thrown out was that it was sent up to the House of Lords at so late a period of the Session that their Lordships could not give sufficient consideration to it. The rejection of the Bill was intended, he understood, to act as a protest against important Bills being sent up at the close of the Session. It might be that Lord Redesdale had governed with an iron hand; but he would ask the Committee in common fairness to consider the good work Lord Redesdale had done for many years in regulating Private Bills and the Business of the House of Lords. It had been said that the reason why the Irish Registration of Voters Bill was brought up so late was that it was obstructed from the Conservative side of the House. There was no obstruction offered to the passage of the Bill by the Conservative Members. ["Blocking!"] The Bill had only been blocked to secure a fair discussion of it 1254 at a reasonable hour; and it could not be honestly said that what was now called Obstruction was offered to the Bill by any Member of the Party to which he had the honour to belong. He hoped that they would not be led any further into the argument as to whether the House of Lords should continue to exist or not; because the point before them was simply whether they should vote this year's salaries, not only to Lord Redesdale, but to all the Officers of the House of Lords.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he was not satisfied with the apology for the existence of the House of Lords which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright) had given. He (Mr. Newdegate) considered that the House of Lords was the Senate of this country, and he was not prepared to see this country governed by a single Chamber. He would point out to the Committee that the House of Lords was largely recruited by Gentlemen who had been Members of this House, and that at no period had the House of Lords contained so many Peers who had served a long apprenticeship in the House of Commons as it did at present. Therefore, when they said that the House of Lords represented nobody, the existence of these noble Peers contradicted that dictum. Besides this, how had it been ascertained that the House of Lords did not represent the nation? For many centuries they had done so. They were largely connected with property in the country, and being dependent upon the safety of that property, the ordinary instincts of human nature made them thoroughly representative of the nation.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
rose to Order. He desired to know whether the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) was not travelling beyond the subject before the Committee?
So far as the hon. Gentleman has gone, I have not seen that his remarks have any reference to the money part of this Bill.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he was just coming to the money part of the Bill. By the Constitution of this country the House of Lords had no power over taxation; but, in order to its joint existence with this House, certain salaries paid to the officials of the House of Lords were authorized by this House, and if this 1255 House were to refuse those salaries, it would show in the most practical manner its desire for the abolition of the House of Lords. This Vote, therefore, had a particular significance; and he trusted, as he believed, that the hon. Members from Ireland, who had so distinguished themselves that night by their revolutionary opposition to these salaries, would not think it prudent to oppose the Vote for the salary of the Chairman of Committees of the House of Lords. He had long known the noble Lord (Lord Redesdale), and he thought that if they were to refer to those who were connected with the great mercantile undertakings of this country, they would be told that, perhaps, no man living had done so much good service for mercantile interest as Lord Redesdale in his judicial capacity. He knew that that was the opinion of a great number of the leaders of mercantile transactions in the country. As to the noble Lord's objection to the Registration of Voters (Ireland) Bill which had caused such excitement, he (Mr. Newdegate) was in the House of Commons when it passed. Two stages were taken because there were no Members on the Conservative Benches to support the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) in his objection to the measure. He now spoke from what he saw happen. He was, therefore, in a position to tell the House that it was owing to the non-attendance of the Opposition that the Bill passed unquestioned. Lord Redesdale had induced the House of Lords to pass a Resolution to the effect that they would refuse any Bill but a Money Bill after a certain period—he believed it was the end of June or the middle of July. The noble Lord had done a great service to the House of Commons by carrying that Resolution, and he trusted Lord Redesdale would be able to carry it in future Sessions. It might not be generally known to the Members of the Committee, but Lord Redesdale and other noble Peers had complained this Session that for months they were kept sitting without employment. It was only reasonable and right, that when measure after measure was forced upon them at any unseemly period, they should reject some of them in pursuance of the Resolution which Lord Redesdale had carried as much for the better regulation of Business in the House of Commons 1256 as in his own House. This was one among the many services the noble Lord had rendered, and he trusted the House of Lords would accept his services in another Session, and adopt any Resolution that should induce the Commons to send Bills to the Upper House at a period when it was possible for them to be duly considered; for, after all, the House of Lords was the most ancient, as it was still the most honourable Assembly.
§ MR. WATKIN WILLIAMS
said, that although he rose with great reluctance to speak upon this subject, he rose to support the Motion of the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor); and he did so mainly upon the very ground that that Motion was opposed by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate). He entirely objected to the notion that this country, or the legislation of this country, ought to be governed by one Chamber; in fact, he was one of those who were strongly in favour of an hereditary Senate. But, at the same time, he was confirmed in the opinion that the hands of the Government, the responsible Government who were merely supported and practically placed in their position by the electors of this country, required strengthening at the present moment. The House of Commons had given way this Session several times most unnecessarily to the House of Lords. He had most reluctantly abstained from taking part in the discussions upon the subject whether they should conciliate those in "another place," when the country had made up their minds to legislate through the House of Commons. It seemed to him that they had given way far too much to the House of Lords, and, as an independent Member of this House and as the Representative of a large constituency, he gave it as his opinion that they were bound to do that which he believed he was now doing—namely, strengthening the hands of Her Majesty's Government in resisting the recent action of the House of Lords, by which noble Lords were undermining both the safety of the country and their own existence as a branch of the Legislature. He did not think that he should go into the details of the measures the House of Lords had thwarted, for what he desired was that this matter should not end in talk. He desired to have a 1257 Vote, in order that they might mark by a distinct action in this House their opinion and sense of the course adopted recently by "another place," and for that reason he should insist, as far as he could, upon a division.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, it seemed to him that the House of Lords had done more in the last two weeks to injure their position than they had done in centuries before. He would like to illustrate the view he took of the matter by a simple reference to one Bill. The Compensation for Disturbance Bill was one which, reasonably or unreasonably, excited a panic amongst landlords.
Unless that Bill has special reference to the salaries of the Officers of the House of Lords, it cannot be discussed.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, he was about to say that although there might have been several Bills sent to the House of Lords very late in the Session, his impression was that one Bill—the Limitation of Costs Bill, was sent early in the year, so that it could not be rejected on the ground that there was not sufficient time afforded to discuss it.
The hon. Member cannot discuss anything that has been before the House. He can only discuss the question whether the salaries of the Officials of the House of Lords shall be allowed or not.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, he would only say that, in his opinion, the conduct of the Members of "another place" and the conduct of the noble Earl (the Earl of Redesdale), whose salary was particularly called in question, was such that they ought not to hesitate to protest against it. He felt that they could not expect to succeed in reducing the salaries in the present year; but he should vote for the Motion before the Committee by way of protest.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, that if, unhappily, a division were to be taken upon this occasion, he hoped they would proceed to it at once. He thought that the rejection of this Vote would be a proceeding utterly unworthy of the dignity of the House of Commons; and, on that ground, he should vote against the Motion of the hon. Member for Gal-way (Mr. T. P. O'Connor). He had no doubt that the conduct of the House of Lords in regard to the Irish Bills was undutiful, unwise, and unworthy, and it 1258 had done much to add to the difficulties of the Executive Government.
said, that the assiduity of Lord Redesdale, in his official capacity, must be patent to everyone; and it would be unworthy of the House of Commons to refuse his salary. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. John Bright) had condemned very severely the House of Lords for their late action. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned various Bills thrown out by that House, quite forgetting that the Compensation for Disturbance Bill was thrown out by a majority of Liberal Peers; and then he went on to say that the action of the Lords was virtually a declaration of war against Ireland. He (Captain Aylmer) protested most strongly against such language. No Member of this House, especially a Minister of the Crown, had a right to say that anything done by the other House was virtually a declaration of war. Such remarks were neither more nor less than suppressed treason against the Constitution.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he regretted that he could not accept the advice given him in reference to the withdrawal of the Motion. He considered he was called upon by the highest interests of politics, and by loyalty to the Party to which he belonged, to persist in this division. He altogether objected to the statement of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold) that this was an undignified proceeding. His Motion was in perfect accord with the highest Constitutional principles and privileges, for it was an expression of opinion of a Representative Chamber by proposing to cut off Supply. The object of a thorough Radical was to fight against old and worn-out institutions, and he wanted to show the country what the House of Lords meant. He could only do that by showing that the House of Lords meant a single Member of that body, and that that single Member was simply a servant whom this House had a right to pay or not. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary had appealed to him to withdraw from a Division. He was thankful for the excellent observations of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, though he was acquainted with a great deal of what he had said long 1259 before the right hon. and learned Gentleman said it. What had been said as to the principles which guided the Earl of Redesdale. He simply confirmed his determination to express, by a division, his feelings and the feelings of those who agreed with him on this question.
§ MR. MORGAN LLOYD
said, he hoped the hon. Gentleman would withdraw his Motion, because, if he persisted in a division, he would only display the weakness of his cause. He should certainly vote against the Motion; but, in so doing, he hoped it would not be considered that he was approving of the conduct of some Members of the other House in many things they had recently done. He did not think that this House ought to come into conflict with another branch of the Legislature except in a dignified way, and for grave and sufficient reasons. They ought to act in a fair and equitable manner towards the House of Lords, and avoid all unseemly conflicts. When any real contest took place between them and the House of Lords, they, as the Representatives of the people, must insist upon having their own way. He did not think it would conduce to the dignity of this House, or assist in carrying out what they all had in view if they went to a division on such a question as this, which really was of a small and undignified character, and, he was afraid, unworthy of this House.
§ Question put
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 81; Noes 18: Majority 63.—(Div. List, No. 169.)
§ Question proposed, "That Schedule B stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, that he was so satisfied with the discussion that had taken place, that he should not proceed to move another Amendment which he had intended to move.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, he was not at all satisfied with the discussion that had taken place. The Government had made no announcement of their intentions with reference to matters under the jurisdiction of the Local Government Board. He had a Question to put to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board which he could not put while the right hon. Gentleman was absent from the House, having been unseated on Peti- 1260 tion in consequence of what the Judges stated were corrupt practice on the part of his agents. He had since gone to some refuguim peccatorum at Scarborough; but, in the absence of the right hon. Gentleman, he could not bring the matter forward. He had, however, given the President of the Local Government Board private Notice of the Question, and he told him of the facts upon which he relied; but in so giving him private Notice, he had been treated with cowardly insolence by a subordinate. An hon. Member for a Lancashire borough was a subordinate, but he was always courteous. The right hon. Gentleman had been returned for Scarborough, and no Petition had been presented against him. ["Question!"] That was the Question. ["Order!"] Who said "Order!"—who presumed to say it? Would anyone rise in his place, and say "Order!" Last year he moved for a Return as to Roman Catholic chaplains in Irish Workhouses. It was presented on the 11th of February last, and was an impertinent and insolent Report. ["Order!"] He heard a Baptist Member crying "Order!" But he wanted to know why he sat where he did? His remarks should be delivered from below the Gangway, and not from the Front Opposition Bench. He repeated that it was an insolent Return. So far as that Return related to Ireland it was; true, and so far as it related to Scotland it was true; but so far as it was under the control of the right hon. Gentleman the late Representative of the corrupt constituency of Chester—[Cries of "Order!"]—he would not be put down by the intolerant opposition of an ignorant, Radical, Nonconformist, Infidel majority. ["Order!"]
If the hon. Member purposes to omit any portion of this Appropriation Vote, his remarks will be in Order; but unless he does so his remarks upon the general conduct of the Local Government Board are out of Order.
§ MR. CALLAN
Mr. Playfair, I take your interference to be unnecessary. ["Order, Order!"] I think your interference is unnecessary, because I will conclude with a Motion—a most material Motion. Therefore, I think the cries of "Order!" from an intolerant and tyrannical majority are most impertinent. What has been the rule 1261 in Ireland with respect to providing religious education in workhouses? Hon. Gentlemen may as well remain silent, because this is the Appropriation Bill, and I will carry out my rights; and, therefore, I will not yield to any intolerant, Radical, Nonconformist, ignorant majority.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
said, that he rose to Order. He desired to know whether the hon. Member was in Order in using such language?
I do not think that the hon. Member is addressing the Committee with the courtesy which ought to be observed.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, that he did not require a rebuff from any Scotchman. ["Order!"] They might as well hear him quietly as not. No utterance, even from temperance Members, would prevent him from exercising his rights. He had always found that temperance advocates, though temperate in the matter of drink, were intemperate in the matter of language, and they had disgusted the British public with their intolerant ideas on that point. He found that in Ire-, land, in his own county, in Ardee, they had 200 Catholic paupers, for whom they paid £60 a-year, and they had four Protestants, for whom they paid £20 a-year. In the North they had 275 Catholics, for whom they paid £75 a-year, and one Protestant, for whom they paid £20 a-year. In the other division of the county, Drogheda, they had 330 Catholics, for whom they paid £80 a-year, and five Protestants, for whom they paid £25 a-year. That was what they paid for religious ministration to paupers in his own county. Some weeks ago he brought before the House the question of what was paid for the prisoners who were incarcerated. They had now had a Return in Ireland, and he had gone over it very carefully. He found that in the entire of Ireland a great disproportion existed between the amount paid for chaplains for Catholic and Protestant paupers and prisoners. ["Divide!"] They would not divide until to-morrow. He would go through his statement, independently of the interference of a Scotch Presbyterian or ignorant Infidel.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
begged to move that the words of the hon. Member be taken down. It was the second time that he had heard the word "Infidel."
said, that the hon. Member was using the expression "Infidel" towards Members of that House, and that expression ought to be withdrawn.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ MR. CALLAN
Then, Sir, I am in Order. I used the words "Infidel Member of this House." I repeat the expression. I challenged you to take down my words and you have not.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
I rise to Order. I beg to ask you, Sir, on a question of Order, as I have moved that the words used by the hon. Member be taken down, a formal decision ought not to have been taken on that Motion?
The general opinion of the Committee appeared to me to be that the words ought not to be taken down. At the same time, I expressed my opinion that the words of the hon. Member were not courteous or proper to address to Members of the House.
§ MR. ONSLOW
I beg to rise to Order. I am sure that the scene which we now have should be put an end to. I, and those who sit on this side of the House, would always support your ruling, Sir. You have ruled that the words spoken by the hon. Member are discourteous, and I think that the hon. Member, after your ruling, ought to withdraw those words.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
The opinion of the Committee appeared to be that it was not necessary to take notice of words that might have been used in heat by the hon. Member. If the hon. Member states that he declines to accept the ruling of the Chairman, I do not see that you can avoid taking some notice of it.
§ MR. CALLAN
The noble Marquess is wrong. I have not declined to accept the ruling of the Chairman, and the noble Marquess knows it well. I withdraw nothing. I have not declined to take your ruling; on the contrary, I am 1263 acting in accordance with your ruling. So long as the observations which I am making are not out of Order, I decline to accept the orders of the temporary Leader of the House, or of the Nonconformist Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
rose to Order, and asked whether the Chairman had not already said that the hon. Member was out of Order?
I have already said that I think the expression "Infidel," as well as other discourteous expressions directed towards to hon. Members, were improper and ought not be used by the hon. Member.
§ MR. CALLAN
When you have decided that my observations are out of Order, I am prepared to accede to your ruling.
I think that the words were out of Order; that they were not within the discretion that ought to be observed in orderly debate.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, he would not repeat them. ["Withdraw!"] How could he withdraw the observation after what the hon. Member came to the Table and declared in their presence? Let it go by—let it slide; he would not repeat the observation. With reference to the Catholic chaplains in Ireland, what did he find? He found in Ardee, Dundalk, and Drogheda, the three electoral divisions of his county, that every Catholic, Protestant, and Presbyterian was amply provided for in the matter of religious ministrations; but what did he find in London? ["Divide!"] He would have his facts out, no matter how he might be interrupted. He found that there were 10 Unions in Ireland containing paupers for whom there were no religious ministrations. He found that in the Metropolis of London there were 10,000—[Laughter]—it might be a laughing matter for Infidels——
I must tell the hon. Member that he is disregarding the authority of the Chair, and that, if an offence of that kind is repeated, I must name him.
§ MR. CALLAN
I am quite prepared to accept the responsibility of being named because I am alluding to the Metropolitan District of London, and I 1264 make no reference to the hon. Member for Northampton.
said, that it would be very much more convenient to the Committee if the hon. Member would explain the nature of the Motion with which he meant to conclude, because the Committee were at a loss, as he was, to know with what Motion the hon. Member intended to conclude. If the hon. Member would tell them of what nature the Motion was, it could then be seen whether he was in Order or not in making it upon the Appropriation Bill.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, that his Motion had reference to the salaries of the Local Government Board. He thought this formed a fit subject for discussion upon the Appropriation Bill. He found that there were in the workhouses of London 4,943 Catholics. ["Divide!"] No device should prevent him from having this matter out, and he was not to be prevented from doing so by an intolerant, Radical, Republican majority. In the whole of Ireland there were 1,000 less Protestants than there were in the Metropolitan Districts. In the Metropolitan Districts of London there were over 4,000 Catholics for whom not 1d. was paid, and in Ireland there were 3,985 Protestants, and for those they paid £3,500 a-year. Now, was that fair? Take Kensington, there were 135 Catholics there; Paddington, 30; Chelsea—where was the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke)?—St. George's, 287; St. Marylebone, 290. It was so in the Return. The result of the Return was this—there were 4,943 Catholics in the Metropolis of London; and while the House paid £6,800 a-year to Protestant chaplains, they did not pay 1d. to Catholic officials. Was that not discreditable? And who were the Catholics? They were not the aristocratic House of Lords. They were the Democratic, Radical, Infidel supporters of the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. T. P. O'Connor)—the Infidel, Radical Members, the petty shopkeepers—
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
I must rise to Order. I have listened with great surprise to the repetition of these words, and I now ask that they be taken down.
§ MR. CALLAN
No, Mr. Playfair; I refer to the ignorant contemptible shopkeepers of London—the Infidel, contemptible, ignorant, despicable, shopkeepers of London, who refuse to pay 1d. [Laughter.] Oh, I am right here. Take, for instance, Liverpool itself—and I see some Lancashire Members present—there are 3,321 Catholics in the workhouses there, and there are 4,175 Protestants. Now, how are they treated? The 4,000 Protestants have chaplains to minister to their religious wants, to whom they pay £1,100 a-year; but for the 3,300 Catholics you do not pay 1d. Is that fair? Is not that a piece of bigoted, ignorant, Democratic, Radical—
I cannot see how the remarks that for the past quarter of an hour have fallen from the hon. Member have any reference to the Motion for a reduction of the salaries of the Local Government Board officials. Unless the hon. Gentleman comes speedily to that which he is going to move, I should say his remarks are out of Order on the general subject of the Appropriation Bill.
§ MR. CALLAN
I am not in the slightest degree surprised that the remarks I have made should be unpleasant to Scotch Members, and—
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Mr. Playfair, Sir, as you have thought it your duty to name the hon. Member for Louth as disregarding the authority of the Chair, I have, under the Standing Order passed during the first Session of the present year, to move—"That Mr. Callan be suspended from the service of the House during the remainder of this sitting."
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Mr. Callan, Member for Louth, he suspended from the service of the House during the remainder of this day's sitting."—(The Marquess of Hartington.)
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Ordered, That the Chairman do report the said Resolution to the House.1266
§ House resumed.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
reported that Mr. Callan, Member for the County of Louth, had been named by him to the Committee as disregarding the authority of the Chair, and that the Committee had resolved that Mr. Callan, Member for Louth, be suspended from the service of the House for the remainder of this day's sitting, and had directed him to report the said Resolution to the House:—
§ MR. SPEAKER
thereupon forthwith put the Question to the House, "That Mr. Callan, Member for the County of Louth, be suspended from the service of the House for the remainder of this day's sitting," which was resolved in the affirmative, and Mr. Callan was thereupon directed by Mr. Speaker to withdraw.
§ Bill again considered in Committee.
MR. O'CONNOR POWER
I am sure the Committee will indulge me for a few moments in consequence of what has just taken place.
MR. O'CONNOR POWER
Mr. Playfair, I bow to your ruling. I do not intend to discuss the question. I merely wish to say that, as it was within the province of the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Callan) to call attention to the insufficient payment of Catholic chaplains in the workhouses in London and elsewhere, so it is quite within my province also to do the same. I rise, however, for the purpose of saying that I regret what has taken place, because I think it has prejudiced a very important question. Under the circumstances, I am not able to follow the hon. Gentleman, and to give him whatever support might have been in my power towards remedying the grievance which he endeavoured to state.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time To-morrow.