said, he understood the next Question on the Paper was not to be put. He wished, however, to make a reference to it, for it seemed to contain an imputation on his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies. The Question was one that had been given Notice of by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Callan) with regard to the speech delivered by his hon. Friend (Mr. Courtney) in Cornwall a few days ago. He did not wish to give any countenance to the idea that an hon. Member, who was also a Member of the Government, in speaking anywhere in the country was to be regarded as the organ of the Government, or was bound to ascertain that everything he was going to say was approved by the Prime Minister or by the Cabinet. No such censorship would be endured by independent and 311 hon. Members. There was, however, a passage in his hon. Friend's speech which had attracted much attention. This was a passage in which his hon. Friend said—They would never have Ireland happy until its people were given the power of legislating for themselves in purely domestic affairs.To make the quotation a perfectly fair and complete one there should be added the following words, also reported in the Times:—The way in which to do that was to give them that county government which it was proposed to establish in England.
§ MR. CALLAN
desired to ask the Prime Minister the latter part of his Question, as to Whether his attention had been directed to a speech of the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, which, according to the "Daily News," was to the effect that—The prevailing discontent in Ireland had been induced by years of misrule, and, although there was a common Parliament, and although England was governed according to English ideas, and Scotland according to Scotch ideas, the same privilege had not been accorded to Ireland. Until we learned to appreciate the principle that it was not enough to rule people according to our own ideas of what was best for them we should not succeed in conciliating Ireland;whether these statements express correctly the views and policy of Her Majesty's Government; and, whether they intend to give them effect during the present Session by introducing a comprehensive measure of Home Rule for Ireland, in relation to the "purely domestic affairs of that Country," or do they propose introducing a more stringent measure of Coercion?
Sir, with regard to the passage referred to by the hon. Gentleman, I must say that I was in hopes that he rose to offer some apology to the House and to my hon. Friend for having been unwittingly the means of giving a representation of the views of my hon. Friend which was totally inaccurate. With regard to the speech which purported to have been delivered by my hon. Friend, it falls within the description which I have just given. At the same time, I believe it to be a reproduction in the main of what has been said by Mr. Fox and partly of what I have heard myself said by Earl Russell, and I am not aware that there is any- 312 thing to be ashamed of in it. My hon. Friend did not go down to Cornwall as the organ of the Cabinet to express the views of the Government, but simply to express his own views. With regard to the last paragraph of the Question, the Government have no intention of doing either one or the other. With regard to providing for the fuller management of local affairs in Ireland, that is a subject which they will be most anxious to deal with when the opportunity offers, when the state of Business permits. With regard to any measure which will be required for the maintenance of law and order, of course it will be the duty of the Government to consider and propose them when the time for considering and proposing them arrives. The time for considering what is to follow the present Act has obviously not arrived. We are now in the month of March, and the Act now in force subsists until the 30th September, and the circumstances of Ireland are circumstances which might vary most materially from month to month, and almost from week to week.
§ Mr. CALLAN
said, he wished to add something to the quotation he had made from the speech of Mr. Courtney, and the addition came into his possession through the kindness of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. It was for the House to say whether this addition made the statement untrue. The sentence that followed was—" How can they suppose that the democracy of Ireland will be satisfied until they enjoy—[Cries of "Order!"]
§ MR. CALLAN
said, he was explaining his Question. The quotation continued—"Until they enjoyed some sort of Government themselves;" and then the report ended and there was nothing more.
said, that it was quite evident that the hon. Member had quoted from a report which was extremely succinct and imperfect, instead of going to the report in The Standard, which was more accurate and full.