§ Clause 2 (Boroughs named in First Schedule to become parts of counties or boroughs).
§ Amendment again proposed, in page 1, line 12, after the word "boroughs," to insert the words "and Universities."—(Mr. Bryce.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he wished to submit to the Chairman a point of Order in reference to an Amendment of which he had given Notice. It was an Amendment on the first page of the Notice Paper to Clause 2, line 13, to insert after "Act," "and the University of Dublin." The point of Order to which he now wished more fully to draw the attention of the Chairman came up on the last evening that the Committee was engaged on this Bill; and it was then asked of the Chairman whether, in the event 640 of the House negativing the Amendment I of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce), which had just been proposed from the Chair, the case of Trinity College per se could be raised by a subsequent Amendment? Considerable confusion prevailed at the time in the Committee, owing to the presence of a very large number of Members; but the Chairman then appeared to be of opinion that it would not be possible to raise the question of Trinity College by itself as a subsequent Amendment. Being very desirous of disentangling the question of Trinity College from the general question of University representation, he (Mr. Parnell) had, in the meantime, drafted the Amendment to which he had just directed the attention of the Chairman, and had placed it on the Notice Paper. He would now respectfully submit that it would not be out of Order to move that Amendment in the event of the House negativing the present Amendment, and his reason was this. The Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets now under discussion had reference to, and must be interpreted with, one of the Schedules annexed to the Act; but his (Mr. Parnell's) Amendment stood entirely separate from the Schedules. It had no reference to any Schedule now in the Bill, or proposed to be inserted in it; and if it were adopted it would read as part of the Bill, and subsequently of the Act. Therefore, he would respectfully submit to the consideration of the Chairman whether the Amendment of which he had given Notice, drafted as it was, did not raise a separate and distinct question from that which was now under the consideration of the Committee? If the hon. Gentleman should so rule, he (Mr. Parnell) would be most glad to defer the discussion of the question of the separate representation of Trinity College until that Amendment was reached, in which case he presumed the Committee would at once go into the question proposed by the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets.
I had considered this question when I gave my decision the other night on the general question. Since then I have had a further opportunity of considering the suggestion which the hon. Member (Mr. Parnell) has made in regard to the Schedules of 641 the Bill. I am clearly of opinion that if the Amendment now before the Committee should be negatived, it would not be competent for the bon. Member to raise the question again in regard to the University of Dublin at any other portion of the Committee stage of the Bill. It must be clear, I think, to the hon. Member that if it is competent for him to do so he or other bon. Members could raise the same question with regard to the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge, the Scotch Universities or the University of London; and the consequence would be that the opinion of the Committee, after having been delivered, would be stultified. Therefore, if the hon. Member wishes to raise the question of the University of Dublin he cannot do it now, but must wait another stage of the Bill—namely, the Report.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, be was much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for the careful decision he bad given, and for the attention be had paid to the matter. But, under the circumstances, he felt bound to take the opportunity, although be should have desired to disentangle the question of the separate representation of Trinity College from the general question of University representation, of inviting the attention of the Committee to the separate representation of the University of Dublin. He did not propose, in doing so, to refer to the general question of University representation, as be considered that that matter bad been already very fully discussed, and nothing he could venture to add to that part of the discussion could throw any new light upon the matter, or assist the Committee in arriving at a decision. But the question of the superabundant representation of two Members which this Bill proposed to leave to Trinity College, Dublin, stood upon an entirely different footing. Even if the Committee were to decide, as it probably would, that the English and Scotch Universities should maintain their representation, the case of Trinity College, and the absurdity of giving Trinity College a representation at all, would still remain as it was. He might argue the question on the basis of numbers. He might point out that whereas it was proposed by the Bill to give to the great English and Scotch Universities 7 Members, with a constituency of 25,000, or about I Member to 3,600, it was proposed to give to the 642 University of Dublin 2 Members for a constituency of 4,104, or 1 Member for about 2,000.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, that the bon. Member had added the constituencies for the English and Scotch Universities together, and had consequently given a misleading figure.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, he did not think that his calculation was unfair. He had added the constituencies for the English and Scotch Universities together; and, as far as he was able to make out, it came to one Member for every 3,600 electors, showing a very much greater and more overwhelming disparity than the disparity which hon. Members supposed to exist in the Members proposed by the Bill to be given to the electors of Ireland and of Great Britain respectively. It was not, however, upon that argument that he intended to proceed. He admitted that if the Committee decided that it was desirable to maintain University representation at all, and if it were taken for granted that Trinity College and the University of Dublin answered the same purposes and fulfilled the same functions as the great English and Scotch Universities, then the Irish Members would not have a sufficient claim upon that basis for anything more than a reduction in the number of Representatives proposed to be given to Trinity College. But his argument was that Trinity, as a College and University, was not entitled to any separate representation at all, on the ground that it did not fulfil the functions which a University ought to fulfil, and that it was a College and University which had been from its birth the College and University of a very small section and minority of the people in Ireland, and that it remained to this day, in spite of the attempt at legislation made in 1873 by Professor Fawcett to open it, the same close body which it bad always been. Trinity College was founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1591, and it had its origin, he might say, in confiscation. Its foundation-stone was laid upon confiscated land. Trinity College buildings were erected upon the site of an ancient Catholic monastery, which was confiscated, in addition to all the other possessions of the religious Order to which it belonged, in the Reign of Henry VIII. He might, perhaps, be told that that Order gave up its lands, and that 643 they were not confiscated; but they had been practically confiscated, as the alternative put before the heads of the Order was that of being attainted for high treason, the penalty for which, in those days, was being hanged, drawn, and quartered. It was either that or the surrender of the title to the lands. The lands and the site of the monastery, having been confiscated, fell into the possession of the Corporation of Dublin, which was, in those days, an "ascendancy institution"—a character that, he was happy to say, no longer attached to it—and the site of Trinity College, strange to say, was granted in the Reign of Elizabeth by the Corporation of Dublin for the purpose of building a new University. That University absolutely remained, in deed as well as in name, the new University which was to be the mother of the Universities of Ireland, but which had failed to propagate from herself any similar institutions throughout the length and breadth of the country. The new University remained, until 1873, in deed as well as in name, absolutely and exclusively the University of a very small minority—namely, the Episcopalian Protestants of Ireland, numbering about one-eighth of the whole population of the country. In 1873 the late Professor Fawcett, with, no doubt, the best intentions, induced the Legislature to pass an Act for the purpose of opening Trinity College; but, like many other pieces of legislation conceived, designed, and carried out by Englishmen, it failed in its objects, owing to the want of knowledge which Englishmen must always labour under in regard to the special requirements of Ireland in educational and all other matters. Previous to 1873 the Provostship, the Fellowships, and the Scholarships could only be held by members of the English Church in Ireland; and as the Scholarships were very valuable and very much sought after, some Catholics in Ireland, who found themselves qualified to compete with their Protestant fellow-countrymen for the possession of those valuable educational prizes and rewards, adopted the system which subsequently became known as "turning for Scholarships"—that was to say, during the three years' residence required within which Scholarships could be held they consented, although Catholics, to partake of the Sacraments of the Episco- 644 palian Church in Ireland. Up to 1873 that state of affairs continued, and the valuable prizes and rewards for proficiency in educational attainments offered by Trinity College could only practically be held by the members of a particular Church in Ireland—namely, the Protestant Episcopalian Church, afterwards the Church of Ireland. In 1873, as he had said, the late Professor Fawcett introduced a Bill for the purpose of remedying this state of things, and opening the University, so far as these matters went, to the members of all religious denominations; but the result had since then been much the same. The proportion of Catholic students and Catholic undergraduates to those of other denominations in the University of Dublin had not been altered. The number of students or of undergraduates of any other denomination but the Episcopalian was still almost infinitesimal. The Governing Bodies of the University and the College were still almost absolutely and entirely in the hands of persons professing the Episcopal creed. He believed that out of 29 members of the Senate there were only four or five Catholics; that out of the members of the Council, numbering 40, there were only two Catholics; of the officers of the University and the College, numbering about 100, there were almost as few Catholics. How many Fellows out of the 30 senior and junior Fellows were Catholics he had no absolute information to give the Committee; but he believed there were not more than two at the outside, if there were so many. In fact, Trinity College remained, notwithstanding the good intentions of Professor Fawcett, the University and the College of that very small minority of the people which he had described as one-eighth of the population. It possessed endowments of very great value. Treating it as a College, it was commonly known as being the most richly-endowed College in Europe. As a University, it compared well with the large endowments of Oxford and Cambridge. The income and revenue of Trinity College, from all sources, amounted to £86,000 per annum, £31,000 a-year of which was derived from land every acre of which had been confiscated. The endowments of the great University of Oxford only amounted to £174,000; so that Trinity 645 College, with its narrow range and restricted limits of education, had nearly one-half of the endowments of Oxford University, and more than one-half of the endowments of Cambridge University, which amounted to £150,000. Now, what he had to put to the Committee was this—did they really intend, by sanctioning the Parliamentary representation of Trinity College, to set their seal, in this year of the 19th century, upon the maintenance of Trinity College and Dublin University as the higher educational establishment of the Irish people? Of course, they knew that the Bill had been drafted as the result of a compromise between the two Front Benches; but the Members of the Committee generally were not bound to regard any such compromise. He supposed what was called the "Loyal minority" in Ireland saw, in the maintenance of two Members for Trinity College, an opportunity of strengthening their Party, and that their spokesman, Lord Salisbury, insisted on the maintenance of the Representatives of the University of Dublin. Be that as it might, he thought the present case was singularly a case in which the independent Members of the Committee might forsake their allegiance and act and vote honestly, according to their convictions. He had nothing to say against Trinity College as a seat of learning. It had turned out many distinguished men—in fact, thousands of distinguished men. It had succeeded as the University of a small section, where others had conspicuously failed. He had no fault to find with the character of the teaching which was obtained within its ancient walls. He believed it was a fact that it could compete, in many branches, with Oxford and Cambridge, and the most distinguished Universities in England and Scotland; but he took his stand on the principle that, while they were going to give a University a permanent representation for the future, they should only give it such a representation if it could be shown that it was simply the University of a minority in a country where they had also provided University representation for the majority. In the case of Ireland it was impossible for them to do so, because there was no University education for the majority, just as there was no University available for the 646 majority. Trinity College, with its rich endowments, sufficient for the higher educational requirements of the whole of Ireland, was the College and the University of the minority, for it would be absurd to pause over the abortive attempt at legislation by the late Government, with the view of establishing a Royal University. There was no other University to which Catholics could send their sons. The Queen's Colleges had failed, and it came to this—that they were going to give to a University that was admittedly the University of a minority a separate representation which would be abundantly sufficient for the University representation of the whole of Ireland if there were Colleges and Universities available for the majority. There was another remarkable fact which ought to be made known to the Committee. By the Act of Union one Member only was given to the University of Dublin; it was not until the Reform Act of 1833 that the number was raised to two. It therefore followed that, from every point of view, the Committee was about to do an absurd thing; and if the Bill remained as it did—if they declined, in obedience to the orders of the two Front Benches, to alter the Bill in that respect—he ventured to predict that not many years would pass before an alteration in the system of University education would take place in Ireland of such a nature and extent that not only the revenues of Trinity College, but the other endowments given by Parliament to the Queen's Colleges and the Royal University, would be shared fairly between the different religious denominations in that country; and, in the end, they would be compelled to retrace their steps, and to undo the excessive representation they had given to Dublin University, and to pass a fresh Redistribution Bill in regard to a matter which he ventured to think had been abundantly proved—namely, the glaring anomaly of the present proposal.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
said, the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Parnell) seemed to him to be a speech appropriate to the subject of establishing a Catholic University for the Catholic majority of Ireland. It was certainly not a speech directed to the representation of learning by the Dublin University. He thought 647 that hon. Members who remembered the debates of 1873 would, perhaps, now regret that an opportunity was not taken then to do justice to the Roman Catholics of Ireland by giving them, at least, a College in the University of Dublin. There was no objection, at that time, to have established a Roman Catholic College arid a common University, with a common examination, excluding merely two subjects—modern history and moral philosophy—upon which irreconcilable views were taken by Protestants and Roman Catholics. Those two subjects might well have been dealt with by the Colleges themselves, without the interference of the University; and if, at that time, or subsequently, broader views had prevailed, and if, instead of the mischievous and abortive Bill of the late Postmaster General (Professor Fawcett), they had given the Roman Catholics that to which they were eminently entitled, he thought the painful scene of that evening would have been avoided. He called it a painful scene, because they must notice the distinct degradation in the tone of the demand of the Irish people, through their Representatives, as to the representation of learning in the House of Commons. He had often heard Roman Catholics occupying a distinguished position allude to Trinity College as one of the greatest glories of Ireland; and while they lamented that the doors of Trinity College were not open to them, on account of their religious scruples, they never failed to do homage to the galaxy of Irishmen who had been educated at Trinity, and had shed a lustre on learning, besides conferring inestimable benefits upon their country. What was the tone now? He would tell the Committee what the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) alluded to, and how it had all arisen. During the autumn of last year the Roman Catholic hierarchy "threw up the sponge" in the cause of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, and placed in his hands the question of University education in Ireland. Prom that moment there had been a lowering of the tone, and the question now was one simply between Protestant and Catholic. He knew of no Protestants, except one or two eccentric individuals, who followed the lead of the hon. Member for the City of Cork. His fol- 648 lowers were all Roman Catholics, and undoubtedly of very different views from those which formerly obtained in that House. They were those who would deprive the Protestant minority of every semblance of representation if they could possibly do so. ["No, no!"] They raised, in every possible way, the odious question of religious belief. Hardly an afternoon passed in that House in which a question was not asked as to the religious belief of particular individuals. That was a thing which a few years ago had almost disappeared; and his own recollection of Ireland during the last 25 years was that religious questions and religious differences of opinion had become softened in the hearts and minds of the people, and especially in those of the ecclesiastics. But now these religious questions had been revived, and every subject of the kind that was raised was simply made a question between Catholics and Protestants. [Mr. BIGGAR: No, no!] He had long determined to make this statement to the House, and the present appeared to him to be a good opportunity for doing so. He claimed for the Irish people, who were not represented, their ancient love and respect for learning. He claimed that they should not be supposed, in consequence of what had been said by hon. Members opposite—and they had been told more than once from the other side that education and learning ought not to be regarded at all—he claimed for them that they must not be supposed really to have degraded themselves, and to have forgotten that love of learning and love of religion which formerly distinguished them. The hon. Member for the City of Cork made a statement of a most astounding character. He had mentioned in the House the practice of "turning" for Scholarships; he told them that up to 1873 there were Roman Catholics so degraded as to receive the most solemn Sacraments of a religion not their own, for the purpose of obtaining miserable money Scholarships. He (Mr. Mitchell Henry) denied that statement altogether. Would hon. Members opposite, who were themselves Roman Catholics, affirm it? [Mr. SULLIVAN: Hear, hear!] He hoped, then, there would be some evidence produced of such a practice. If it was true of any considerable body 649 of men, he, for his own part, considered that it explained a great deal of the silence, which they had witnessed with regret, on the part of the religious teachers in Ireland, respecting outrages. But he refused to believe it. If it was possible that men professing the Roman Catholic faith could so degrade themselves systematically for so small an object, it was not a matter of surprise to him that they had not heard more hearty denunciations of the outrages which had occurred in Ireland. The hon. Member had spoken also of the Corporation of Dublin, and had said that the Corporation was no longer an ascendancy Corporation. There was one ascendancy, however, in the Corporation of Dublin which had never been witnessed before—the ascendancy of liquor. The number of Representatives who had crept into the Corporation of Dublin, and who kept little public-houses and shebeens, was very large.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I rise to Order, Sir. I beg to ask you if the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mitchell Henry) is in Order in going into the composition of the Corporation of Dublin, and in making the House acquainted with this interesting information?
I understand the hon. Member to be replying to the observations of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell).
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
said, the hon. Member for Wexford was evidently ashamed of the composition of the Corporation of Dublin. He (Mr. Mitchell Henry) was very glad that it should be so. It was part of the degradation of Irish politics which was the misfortune of the Irish people, and which would eventually recoil upon them. He, for his own part, would give his vote against the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce). He would always vote for the representation of culture and learning as a thing desirable of itself. It was desirable even in this country, and especially was it desirable in Ireland. He would, on this as on former occasions, give his best help to the Roman Catholic population of Ireland to obtain that justice and those educational endowments which had been hitherto denied to them by prejudices which he entreated the House of Commons to rise above, but which had 650 hitherto restrained its action. He entreated the Government—whatever Government might be in power—to retrace the halting footsteps of the past, and to give to the Roman Catholics that to which they were entitled—a resident College or a resident University for themselves equal in status, equal in emoluments, and equal in learning to Trinity College itself.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the Committee (Mr. Mitchell Henry), and the peculiar processes of whose mind were still a mystery to those who frequently listened to him, had, in a speech dealing with the representation of Trinity College, referred to the question of the liquor interest in the Dublin Corporation. He (Mr. Sexton) could only tell the hon. Member that the attack which he had made upon a particular trade, if the ascendancy of that trade were in any danger in Dublin, had secured for it a long lease of popularity in Ireland after that evening. The hon. Gentleman had cast some doubt upon the position of the Members on those Benches as Representatives of the Irish people. They had been born and bred among the Irish people, and had brought their mandate from Ireland; but it was a peculiar condition of the discussion of Irish questions in that House that when Irishmen, whose lives and interests were in common with the great body of the Irish people, rose in that House to speak of the views and hopes of Ireland, some Englishman was always sure to rise and represent himself as the true exponent of the hopes and opinions of that country. He did not think he had ever listened to a more extraordinary statement than that made by the hon. Member in reference to the observations of his hon. Friend (Mr. Parnell) as to "turning" for Scholarships in Trinity. His hon. Friend did not say that any considerable number of students in Trinity had belied their faith and disgraced their manhood by conforming to the ritual of the Anglican Sacraments for the purpose of gaining the dignities and emoluments of the University. His hon. Friend did convey that such instances had occurred; and if the hon. Member, as an Englishman, was not so ignorant as he was of the history of Ireland and the records of Trinity College, he would know that at least a colourable sale and 651 barter of the faith of Catholic students were amongst the most disgraceful landmarks of that institution. What was there strange or new in that? Why, the whole policy of English rule in Ireland had been a policy directed against the creed of the nation more directly, he would say, until a recent period than against the nation or the race. The flower of the race were exiled after the violation of the Treaty of Limerick; the forces of the nation were broken down by the success of William of Orange; but the intense devotion of the people to their creed remained. The whole object of the Penal Laws was to induce the people to give up the practice of their own faith, and conform to the Protestant religion; and after 120 years of Penal Laws, during which many a Catholic son conformed to the Anglican creed for the purpose of turning his own father out of his estate and his home, during which any man, who turned Protestant, could take a horse from a Catholic, if the horse were over the value of £5; after all the practices resorted to for the purpose of corrupting Catholics, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mitchell Henry), an Englishman, had the audacity to make an attack upon the real Representatives of Ireland.
MR. MITCHELL HENERY
Perhaps I may be allowed to correct the hon. Gentleman. I have not a single English blood relation in the world.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he had resumed his seat in the hope that when the hon. Member rose the Committee would have heard from him an autobiography of himself, which, if not brief, would at least have been definite; but the hon. Member simply informed the Committee that he had not an English blood relation in the world. But a man could be an Englishman without having an English blood relation in the world; and he (Mr. Sexton) would submit to the common sense of the Committee that his statement with regard to the hon. Gentleman had not yet been replied to, and the hon. Member's account of himself was not complete. It was absurd to contend that recreancy to faith and to principle by individual Catholics in Ireland was anything new, or anything to be astonished at; because the whole basis of English law and policy in Ireland for the last 200 years had been to draw away the adhesion of individual Catho- 652 lics of ability from their own faith in order to strengthen English ascendancy in that country. A more extraordinary connection of subjects—separated as they were from each other by an impassable gulf—had been touched upon by the hon. Member—namely, between the "turning" for Scholarships in Trinity College, and the assumed silence of ministers of religion with respect to outrages—had never before been witnessed in any speech delivered in that House. The hon. Gentleman had reproached his (Mr. Sexton's) hon. Friend (Mr. Parnell) with not having spoken to the subject. He did not believe the Committee had ever heard a speech more close to the subject than that of his hon. Friend. He believed that if the Prime Minister were to address the Committee he would admit that that was the case, because he noticed that the right hon. Gentleman had listened to it with close attention and unbroken interest. His hon. Friend proved that Trinity College, in proportion to the Universities of Great Britain, had a representation double that which it ought to have. A British University Member represented nearly 4,000 electors, and each Member for Trinity College would only represent 2,000. His hon. Friend had shown that the endowments of the University were inflated and excessive, and that it was to-day, as in the days of Elizabeth and William of Orange, a place where the sons of a small section of the nation, of one faith, planted there as a colony, received their education out of the fruit of endowments which were equitably the property of the people. His hon. Friend had further shown that these endowments and emoluments and the power of the University were in the hands of persons of one creed, and so Trinity College did not fulfil the functions of a University towards the people of Ireland. What argument could possibly be more complete or more relevant to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) than to show that the representation about to be continued to Trinity College was double that of the English Universities, and that Trinity College, as a teaching Body, was entitled to no representation at all, because it was only the University of a segment and a fraction of the Irish nation? His hon. Friend might have added, if he had chosen to 653 do so, that the Members for Trinity College in that House, distinguished as they were, and occupying, as they prided themselves on occupying, seats upon the Front Opposition Bench, were politicians, and politicians merely, and had never, by any speech or proceeding in that House, shown themselves to be specially qualified or distinguished as expounders or Representatives of the cause, or as the Representatives of the interests of learning in any way. They were so thoroughly politicians of a certain class, that whenever any proposal had been made in that House to restrict the liberties of the Irish people—to place the fortunes, liberties, and lives of the Irish people in the hands of any Crown official, the voices of the right hon. and learned Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench had been the first raised in favour of the proposal. When any proposal had been made to extend the facilities of Trinity College to the general body of the Irish people, and to place its endowments at the service of the country the cry of terror and apprehension of these right hon. and learned Gentlemen had been the first shrill cry raised. When any proposal had been made to extend the liberties of the people of Ireland, to render them happier subjects of the Crown and worthier citizens of the Realm, the voices of the two right hon. and learned Members for Dublin University, conscious of the falseness, the hollowness, and the untenability of their own public position, had been the first raised in behalf of the miserable plea of keeping the Irish people in subjection in their own country. Upon every ground—upon the ground of its gates being closed against the faith and conscience of the general body of the people, upon the ground of its excessive representation, upon the ground of its dignities and emoluments being kept in the hands of persons of one creed, upon the ground of its gross, systematic, and obstinate misuse of its political power and privilege in that House—Trinity College ought to be wiped out of the political map of Ireland. He had shown, therefore, that the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork was relative to the subject; but what about the speech of his hon. Friend's accuser? Because his hon. Friend had referred to the fact that individual Catholics in Trinity Col- 654 lege had been false to their own faith, for the purpose of seeking the dignities and emoluments of that institution, the hon. Member opposite had referred to the fact as an explanation of the silence of ministers of religion in Ireland with respect to outrages. The ministers of religion in Ireland, in the darkest and most evil times, had been the very men who had given up their popularity—sometimes, possibly, even risked their lives—for the sake of keeping the people within those bounds of legality and good order beyond which the English, by their harsh and cruel laws, systematically did their best to drive them. He asked any Protestant Gentleman in that House—and nine out of 10 of those who were listening to him belonged to that creed—whether it was generous, whether it was fair, whether it was tolerable for a Protestant Gentleman to rise in that House and cast that unworthy sneer and that foul and baseless imputation against the ministers of the national creed of Ireland, as self-sacrificing and devoted to the cause of morals and order as any religious ministers in the world? They had been told that they had revived the religious cry. They were a Party of Catholic men who followed a Protestant Leader. They were a Party of men who belonged to that people who had shown an unexampled chivalry in politics in giving the mandate of Catholic constituencies to Members of the Protestant faith. They were a Party of Catholic men who stood by their Protestant Leader, who defended his character and justified his aims when some of the most eminent persons belonging to the Catholic Church attacked him; and he (Mr. Sexton) would here repeat the saying of Daniel O'Connell—"That, Catholics as they were, they took their theology from Borne, but they took their politics from Ireland," and that there was no power on earth—call it by what name they pleased—to sever the allegiance they owed, gave, and meant to continue to give, to the cause of their country and that Protestant Leader, who, in the cause of that country, had proved himself fearless and faithful. The religious cry, when it was revived, was revived by the class to which the hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for Galway belonged; it was revived by the landlords of Ulster; it was revived by that dishonest and desperate class of 655 men who, when they found that their hold upon the homos and the fruits of the labour of their tenants was gone, and when the legislation of the right hon. Gentleman opposite had taken at least a first step towards a just and equitable and complete redress of the evils under which the people suffered—when they found the power of their exactions gone, again fell back upon the old evil device of bigotry, and lit upon the plains of Ulster the flames of religious hatred. The Irish Party were not open to the charge of religious bigotry. They regarded the claims of no creed. They thought only of the rights of their own country. They desired the union of all classes, and of all creeds of Irishmen; and whatever might be said in that House by some Gentlemen who, like the hon. Member opposite, by trading upon an Irish political cry, had gained an entrance into that House, and had used that entrance and that arena for the purpose of defaming and discrediting those who sent them to it—whatever such hon. Members might say, the Irish Party would be found, through good and evil report, in the days of their effort, and in those days which he believed were near approaching—the days of their deliverance from English Parliamentary control, and the days of the success of their national claims—they would be found to be a Party who, when power and the responsibility which power brought with it were placed in their hands, would have not merely a just, but even a chivalrous regard for the interests, feelings, and even the prejudices of their Protestant fellow-countrymen.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, he should have been content to remain silent that evening and take no part in this debate as to University representation, because he had been quite satisfied with the remarks of those who had presented their views in opposition to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) on the last occasion when the Committee sat; but when the debate had been adjourned, and after the speech which they had just heard, he could hardly remain silent. He was not at all sure that the speeches which had been made were consistent with one another, nor with themselves. No case had been presented to Parliament which was calculated to command its sympathy. He could understand the general ques- 656 tion of University representation being fully discussed and thoroughly debated. They had a fair debate upon that question on the last occasion when the Committee sat. Views were presented, of course, upon both sides; and he could understand hon. Members arriving at different conclusions on that important question. For his own part, he did not think it would be fair for him to ask the Committee to extend its attention to him for any lengthened re-opening of the general question; but he could not forbear from saying that he thought, in the new Parliament perhaps more than in the present Parliament, it would be desirable to keep up the representation of the Universities. In a Parliament of 670 Members, surely it was not too much to ask that its dead level of representation should be broken by the interposition of nine University Members—men whose business it was, in addition to representing what they conceived to be the wants of the whole country, to exercise the special function of considering the claims of education, and the needs and requirements of the Professions of the Law, the Church, and Medicine. The great value of such representation had not been seriously questioned in the course of the debate. The hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, as an able and highly-qualified Gentleman, was entitled to be heard on such a question as a high authority; but he (Mr. Gibson) thought the hon. and learned Member had somewhat magnified a Professoriate, and minimized the quality of a University. Surely in the University there was something wider than the Professoriate. But the hon. and learned Member had suggested that the whole University of Oxford, with which the hon. Member himself was honourably connected, was to be lowered down to the dimensions of a Professoriate. His grievance appeared to be that men as qualified as himself were never returned to represent the Universities. He (Mr. Gibson) was himself disposed to think that the Universities might not be better represented if the views of the hon. and learned Member were adopted. He admitted the high attainments of the hon. and learned Member, and his great qualifications; but he was not sure whether it was not more wise for a University to look outside the Professoriate, and to elect Representatives 657 from among men who would approach the consideration of questions educationally, professionally, and generally from something of a broader standpoint.
§ MR. BRYCE
said, the right hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to have misunderstood what he had said. He did not say that the constituency ought to be brought down to consist only of residents. He had stated that the residents were too few, and he bad spoken of the resident teachers as a whole and the Fellows of the Colleges, and not of the Professors alone, who were in Oxford and Cambridge a much smaller body. Nor bad be suggested that Members should be chosen from the teachers.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, that explanation did not affect the argument much. The hon. and learned Gentleman had fixed a unit. He had said that the Teaching Body was composed of 200 men, and that, in his view, they were entitled to representation. [Mr. BRYCE: No.] Whether they were called teachers or Professors or not did not affect his point. He felt the same objection if a contrast was to be drawn between lay Members and Professorial Members. Indeed, he saw a distinct preference for lay Members, because the Professors would have their business to attend to in the University, and it might be a little difficult for them to attend to their Parliamentary duties in the House of Commons with that close attention which was needed on the part of all who had representative duties to perform, because it might so happen that if Professors were always returned to represent the Universities they would be obliged to fix a time for their lectures more convenient to themselves than to their classes. It was admitted—in fact, the argument could not be addressed, be ventured to think, with anything like dignity to the House of Commons—it was admitted that this was a question that was not to be considered on political grounds—in other words, that it would be unbecoming and unworthy—nay, that it would be mean to deprive the Universities of their representation because a majority of the Representatives had views not in accordance with those which were held by the Party now in power. Everyone admitted that, and there could be no question about it. The hon. and learned 658 Member himself, who presented the Amendment to the House, readily admitted that line, and had based the discussion on the higher platform he (Mr. Gibson) had indicated. But it was not easy to see what was exactly the platform of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) in his concise speech. Was it educational? Did the hon. Member agree with the hon. and learned Member who introduced the Amendment to the House—that there should be a Professorial representation? Did he take the ground that politics and religion were to be considered? If be did not take the last ground, he (Mr. Gibson) was at a loss to understand the meaning of the whole speech. The hon. Member would hardly like to put it in plain and naked English, and say that he asked for Dublin University to be deprived of its Representatives because those Representatives differed from him in politics, and because they did not hold the creed of the majority of those who followed him. Yet, if that was not his argument, it was difficult to find out the precise ground on which the hon. Member sought for the judgment of the Committee at the present moment. He knew very well the power of the hon. Member in Ireland; but be would venture to say that upon this question, and upon the way in which the hon. Member had presented it, he was not representing either the traditions or the feelings of the Irish people. The Irish people had an intense love for learning. They bad an intense respect for institutions that had won fame by their great teaching and intellectual power; and the hon. Member for the City of Cork, speaking of Dublin University, and saying all he could against it, endeavoured to suggest to its disadvantage everything in his power in favour of the Universities of Oxford, and Cambridge, and Scotland. The hon. Member admitted—indeed, he could not deny it—that the University of Dublin had won great fame for its teaching, and for the eminent men it had sent forth. It was known and respected everywhere where education and learning were recognized. He (Mr. Gibson) ventured to think that the contrast the hon. Member had endeavoured to make to the prejudice of Dublin University by a side wind was neither accurate nor fair. He endeavoured to show that the constituency of Dublin University, 659 which was over 4,000, was much less in proportion to those of the English and Scotch Universities. But in contrasting the constituencies of the Universities the hon. Member coupled those of England and Scotland together in order to give those of England, which had a smaller number, the benefit of the Scotch constituencies, which were very much larger. [Mr. GLADSTONE dissented.] The Prime Minister indicated some dissent. The right hon. Gentleman knew Oxford as well as any man; and he (Mr. Gibson) would take that University, and contrast it with the University of Dublin. Surely that was not an unreasonable way of taking up the case of the hon. Member for the City of Cork? Dublin University was only behind the great University of Oxford by something like 1,200 electors; for his right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Plunket) and himself represented a constituency of over 4,000—that was more than 2,000 each; while each Member for Oxford University only represented about 2,600. Take the University of London, which had a constituency of about 2,200, and returned one Member. Where was the wide discrepancy between the two cases?
§ MR. GIBSON
said, he had taken the numbers from a Return presented to the House. Surely the difference between 2,000 and 2,390 did not afford that violent contrast on which the strong judgment of the House was asked. The hon. Member for the City of Cork, it was quite true, did not press that matter very much; but the fact that he had mentioned it was an indication of the prejudice with which he had introduced the University of Dublin to the notice of the House. The hon. Member went further, and endeavoured to make it out that Dublin University was possessed of extreme wealth as compared with the great Universities of Oxford and Cambridge; but the hon. Member was altogether wrong. He forgot what was the actual figure at which the hon. Member placed the income of the University of Dublin.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, he did not know whether the hon. Member would be sur- 660 prised to hear that he was wholly wrong in that matter.
§ MR. GIBSON
Then the hon. Member was not surprised. As a matter of fact, the income of the University of Dublin, from every source, independent of its fees, which it had honestly earned, and which were not taken into account in calculating the income of Oxford and Cambridge, amounted to £49,000 a-year, all told; and it had to support for that a University and a College, there being no separate income for the College. Everything else that Trinity College enjoyed was obtained from the fees of the students, men who went there to be taught by the Professors and teachers. The figure, therefore, was £49,000 per annum instead of £85,000. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were worth, as private property, independently of fees, much more than £360,000 a-year. This was a tremendous contrast, and a very different one from that suggested by the hon. Member. It was three times as high as the statement of the hon. Member. He should not have thought it necessary to mention these facts if the hon. Member had not referred to them. He admitted that they were altogether irrelevant to the discussion in reference to the propriety of keeping up the representation of the Universities; but as they had been mentioned with a view to prejudicing the University of Dublin he was bound to offer a reply. The hon. Member also spoke of what he described as wholesale confiscation, and implied that the whole of the income of the University was the result of confiscation. That was not the case; but a substantial part of the income of Dublin University—£10,000 a-year—arose from private endowments.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, he would beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon; he thought the hon. Member had made a wider statement. He should like to ask, looking at the question from its fair and logical standpoint, what were the grounds upon which the House was asked to say that Dublin University should be deprived of its representation? Had any ground been urged, except that its Members were not of the same politics as the hon. Member for the City of 661 Cork, and his followers? Had any ground been urged except a personal and sectarian one? There was a fallacy running through the arguments of the hon. Members for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) and Sligo (Mr. Sexton). They had over and over again used the expression—"You are giving Dublin University representation." That was not the position at all, nor was it any part of the object of the Bill. Dublin "University had had representation since the time of James I., and the question was whether it was now to be deprived of representation. They were asked, notwithstanding the tremendous anxiety of the position now before Ireland, to deprive the University of Dublin of those Members who were able to express views that were most needful to be presented in future debates. The hon. Member for the City of Cork said that the University of Dublin was a close institution, and that its doors were not open to the bulk of the people. Was ever such an argument used before by anyone acquainted with the history of that great seat of learning? Since before the Union Roman Catholics had been in the habit of going there without any attempt whatever being made to interfere with their faith. It was the proud boast of Dublin University that before any other University in the United Kingdom she freely opened her doors and allowed Roman Catholics to enter, and the institution could be used by Roman Catholics and Dissenters as much as by any member of the Church to which he himself belonged. Since the passing of what was honourably known as "Fawcett's Act" all who came there were welcomed, no matter what their creed or politics were. All were at liberty to win the Scholarships and present themselves for the Fellowships of the University. Every single prize was open. All were freely welcomed, and it would not be worthy of the name of University if the welcome were halting or grudging. Some of the highest and most valued prizes had been carried off by Roman Catholics, and some by Dissenters. Let them look at the history of the country since the foundation of the University of Dublin. The University had given a splendid education to some of the greatest men who had illustrated the history of Ireland. Burke was a scholar of the University; Goldsmith had a statue erected 662 to his memory before the institution in which he was educated; the late Isaac Butt was a Professor of the University. On every occasion when great and distinguished men went there everything else was forgotten, except the desire to give them a worthy and honourable welcome. When the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, not a very long time ago, paid a visit to Dublin University, every Fellow, scholar, and student joined together with pride and gratification to give welcome to a man who they felt was as eminent in public life as he was distinguished in his University career. The real objection to continuing representation to the University of Dublin was that the Representatives of the University were not numbered among the supporters of the hon. Member for the City of Cork. Was that the ground upon which it was sought to disfranchise and leave unrepresented a large and influential class, whose interests were bound up in such an institution as Dublin University? The hon. Member for Sligo was more open and less wary than the hon. Member for the City of Cork; and he, more than once, in the earlier part of his speech, used arguments that were addressed pointedly to sectarian bigotry. As political ground had been introduced into this matter, he should like to say a word or two upon it, although he admitted that it was not a ground which should be allowed to enter into the consideration and discussion of the question. The Loyalist minority in Ireland, if they were in such a condition that they would be able to secure adequate representation, would be entitled to very nearly one-third of the representation of the country. Under the new conditions, and under the Bill now passing through Committee, the Loyalist minority was not likely to obtain one-fifth of the representation. In three Provinces of Ireland a stupendous change would have to be considered. Except in Dublin University, and possibly in Dublin City and County, the Loyalist minority would have no representation; and it was under those circumstances, and under that stupendous state of facts, that the hon. Member for the City of Cork thought it statesmanlike, thought it reasonable, thought it something that would show that he understood the responsibility of the great 663 position and power which he now claimed to possess, to deprive these three Provinces of the chance of having their views represented by such utterances as were likely to be made by the Members for the University of Dublin. At all events, the Loyalists in Ireland would have in future an anxious and arduous time. Was it not reasonable, he asked, on the grounds of fair play, of sentiment, and of common justice, that a minority—if they liked, a hopeless minority—should have some voice, however feeble, if not in fighting their battle, at all events to state their case, and represent their grievances? The hon. Member for the City of Cork knew that as well as anyone in the House of Commons; and yet, knowing how needful it was in their own interests that those who would otherwise be constitutionally silenced should have some kind of outlet, at any rate, for presenting their Petitions to Parliament, and obtaining the public opinion of the Empire, he sought to prevent that, and yet asked the Committee to believe that he was desirous of having a fair representation of the public opinion of Ireland. He repeated again that the House of Commons had nothing to do with the consideration whether the Universities should have Representatives who supported one particular line of politics, and the question ought to be placed upon a more worthy basis. He would not stop to consider it from a personal standpoint; but he contended that whatever might be the wishes, or desires, or efforts of the hon. Member for the City of Cork and his Friends, it would be unworthy of Parliament if they did not leave the Loyalist minority some voice, however weak, by which they would be able to present their side of the question. He could not, of course, discuss personal matters. The hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Sexton), in the course of his able speech, made some personal observations as to the way in which the Dublin University was now represented. He must pass that matter by. Members for the University must be satisfied to leave their public actions to the public judgment of those before whom they appeared. But he must say this of the University of Dublin—that it had in a long and honourable career not forgotten its great duties, or the claims of education entrusted to its 664 charge, and that it had ever since it had representation in Parliament endeavoured to show itself not unworthy of the high trust which had been reposed in it. Before the Union it returned men who, in the Parliament of Ireland, held no unworthy place. The hon. Member for the City of Cork recently in Ireland said that his idea of a Parliament was the Grattan Parliament. The Grattan Parliament had among its most distinguished Members the Representatives of the University of Dublin; and now they knew that the hon. Member's idea of a Parliament was the Grattan Parliament, shorn of one of the greatest ornaments of that period. Since the Union the Committee knew what the representation of the University had been. It was not for him to speak of it. Of course, he himself belonged to a Party. It was very hard, indeed, for any man in Ireland not to belong to a Party; but he claimed this for himself—that although he was true to his principles, and trusted that he should never be false to his Party, he had ever striven, and should ever strive, to take a fair, honourable, and reasonable view of the needs and requirements of his native country. There was something far above Party; and that was a conviction of what was best for one's country. In his humble way—sometimes, perhaps, mistakenly, sometimes even in a way to give offence, but never intentionally so—he had striven to act up to what he believed to be his conscientious duty. He had ever sought, and should ever strive, to find in the circumstances of Ireland occasion and opportunities for neutral platforms, upon which Irishmen might meet to consider the common needs of their common country. He wished there were more such opportunities afforded in Ireland. They had had enough of bitterness, enough of Party animosity, enough of sharp criticism of one another; and he trusted the time would never come when Irishmen would not strive to rise above what were the mere suggestions of Party and remember the needs of their country. He was aware that that Party to which he belonged were a minority in Ireland. In the future they might be in a great minority; but he thought he was entitled to ask anyone who fairly considered this question, who desired to consider what 665 was fair and just to all parties in Ireland, to say this—that it would not be reasonable, that it would not be fair, that it would not be just—nay, that it would be in the highest degree unreasonable, to the highest degree unfair, and in the highest degree unjust, at this, of all times, to deprive the University of Dublin of its representation.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, there were men in that House who remembered the late Morgan John O'Connell, formerly M.P. for Kerry, who had taken the first gold medal in his year at Dublin University. He might run through a long list of men who, like the late Lord Justice Deasy, Mr. Dillon, the late Member for Tipperary, Mr. Cogan, lately a Member of that House, the present Chief Justice Morris, the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan), and others, all receiving the highest distinction at that University. He, in common with those men, recollected that, at a time when they had no educational refuge in Ireland, an opportunity of finding one was accorded to them within the hospitable walls of the University; and he cared not whether its original constitution was founded on confiscation or in rapine. In his time it afforded Irish Catholics an education not open to them elsewhere; and he knew that, in those times, the position of things in that University was such as he had stated. It was their own fault if they had not taken advantage of that education. The men he had alluded to had done honour to themselves and to the University; and it was because the position of that University was at present under discussion that he ventured to offer these few remarks to the Committee. He had heard the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Par-Hell), and that of his hon. Friend the Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry), who took up the hon. Member for the City of Cork rather sharply, but not, he should say, more sharply than he deserved, were it not that he knew that the hon. Member for the City of Cork received his education in an English University, and therefore could not be supposed to know, except from hearsay, those circumstances to which he alluded in his speech. For his own part, he (Sir Patrick O'Brien) could say that for some 45 years past he had known that University personally; and within that 666 period he had never known a man so far forgetful of what he owed to his family, not to say his God and his religion, as to sacrifice, for the miserable pittance of an Irish Scholarship, the faith that was in him. He had heard that persons had so far forgotten themselves as to behave in the manner alluded to by the hon. Member for the City of Cork. He could assure the Committee that he had communicated with as many Members of Dublin University as most hon. Gentlemen in that House; and he was informed that the occasions on which that had occurred could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Many of the observations of the hon. Member for the City of Cork he fully concurred with; but then, with all deference to him, he did not think that the question as to what ought to be the University education of the Irish people in the future was one which they had now to consider. Many of them held houses and land; houses and land were good things; but they were not everything. Although they might confer the franchise, there were other things which would be much required when the new Franchise Act came into operation—namely, knowledge and discretion. The right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) said he was a Party man and a politician. Well, he (Sir Patrick O'Brien) did not know any man who could lead a public life in Ireland and say he was not a politician. He had heard that a man's politics was his anxiety to serve his country, his policy his anxiety to serve himself. He left policy to other men to deal with, imputing to no one what certainly did not concern either the right hon. and learned Gentleman or himself. One word with regard to the Representatives of the University of Dublin. It had been said in the course of the discussion that the two right hon. and learned Gentlemen the Members for the University were uneasy about their seats. He believed that the two right hon. and learned Gentlemen, of whom he had had along personal knowledge, possessed the main requisites of Members of Parliament—that was to say, high personal character and great intellectual capacity. He cared not to what constituency those right hon. and learned Gentlemen presented themselves; they would be accepted, 667 because those who listened to them would feel that they would abide by the profession of opinion which they made. It was to men of that kind that they looked to as the Representatives of the great interests of learning who would defend them at the next General Election. He regretted, in common with the hon. Member for the City of Cork, that there did not exist in Ireland now an University which the Catholic people of that country could conscientiously enter. The heads of their Church had struggled for it for a long time; and he would not join in any jealousy against hon. Gentlemen opposite for having received charge of that subject when others had failed to bring it to the front. In 1873 some settlement might have been made, perhaps, in reference to the University Question more in accordance with public and, might he add, with the ecclesiastical opinion of the present day than it had since been the case. He had been sent to Parliament directly pledged on that question; and, perhaps, he was so strictly pledged from the knowledge that he had received his education in Dublin University. That pledge had made him set aside his own private opinions upon the measure under consideration, and he had voted in accordance with the opinions of those who sent him against the Bill then proposed; but now many a year had elapsed, and he was there fearlessly to say in the House of Commons that it was a bad day for the Catholics of Ireland when they did not accept that Bill which he had, with others, assisted in throwing out in 1873, because since then the subject had been left the plaything of every Party and section that looked for political advancement at a time when there ought to have been a junction of men of all classes of religion in Ireland, irrespective of ideas of a political character, to join in carrying forward the great question. There were no Irish Gentlemen on his side of the House, he believed, who would be unprepared to give to the hon. Member for the City of Cork, when he brought forward his measure, all the assistance that it was competent for them to give. Even in the days before Mr. Fawcett's arrangement was carried, there was one thing which Dublin University did for the poorer class in Ireland; to the humblest even of the peasant class who could find means 668 to go to Dublin and present themselves within the walls of the College, it gave sizarships, free lectures, free commons, and free residence; and as a patriotic man in that House he should be forgetful of his duty on behalf of his poorer fellow-countrymen did he not bear his testimony to the conduct of the University in that regard. No doubt they had had confiscation in Ireland; but had there been no confiscation in England? Who founded Christ Church at Oxford? Would any hon. Gentleman tell the Committee that the rents and endowments of that College had been administered in accordance with the wishes of its founder. The University was founded in the days of Queen Elizabeth, in the days when there was no toleration, in the days of Penal Laws, in the days of tyranny, practised in his country, and on the Irish race. But the times were changed in Ireland from the days when, as he had once heard, the hon. Member for the City of Cork say his ancestor crossed the Boyne with William; a time when the Irish people suffered and had not Representatives in that House. Had they not the right to say that, owing to whatever circumstances, things were changed in Ireland, and that Irish Representatives could stand in that House on an equality with all men, even those of other Universities, and speak upon the question at present under consideration? For his own part, he would never consider that the spirit of toleration had been altogether absent from the University of Dublin, for it had given them a Bishop in Berkeley, a poet in Goldsmith, and one of the most brilliant statesmen in the world in Edmund Burke.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, the hon. Baronet who had just sat down (Sir Patrick O'Brien) had denied the statement of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), which had been reiterated by the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), that Scholarships were only given at Trinity College to Catholics on their consenting to forego their faith. He (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) met that argument by saying—and the hon. Baronet might take the observation in what sense he pleased—that in Ireland, unfortunately, they were only too well acquainted with both political and religious apostates. His hon. Friend found fault with some of the figures of 669 the hon. Member for the City of Cork. The unfortunate thing about the revenues of Trinity College was that no one had been able to make out what they really were, and that would continue to be the case until a full and detailed account was published. He had listened with great attention to the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson); and he had always observed that when the right hon. and learned Gentleman had a very bad case he spoke in a very loud tone of voice, and the speech which he had delivered a short time ago was, he thought, a proof of the correctness of that observation. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was so hard up for arguments that he said because Trinity College had given a friendly reception to the Prime Minister it must retain its two Members. There never was an argument more puerile. Then he said that there should be in the House of Commons some Representatives of Education. He (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) ventured to say that the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Lyon Play fair), who spoke for one of the Scotch Universities, was the sole Representative of Education in the House. They all admired the oratorical abilities of the two Members for Dublin University; but when one came to their claim to the position of Educational Representatives, why the right hon. and learned Gentlemen themselves would, he was satisfied, be the first to dissent from any such claim being made in their behalf. He found that the most eminent Educationalists in that House were entirely divorced from the representation of Universities. The hon. and learned Gentleman who proposed this Amendment (Mr. Bryce) himself was a University Professor, as was also the Successor of the late Mr. Fawcett. Both were very eminent Representatives of Education, and yet neither of those Gentlemen would by any chance obtain the representation of an English University. In fact, the four hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who represented English Universities were less Representatives of Education than any Members of that House. Therefore, he said that this argument would not bear one moment's investigation. It had been said also that the right hon. and learned Gentlemen the Members for the University of 670 Dublin represented the "Loyal minority" in Ireland; but he was surprised that no reply had been made to that argument from the Treasury Bench. He would advise some hon. Gentleman who had been speaking on behalf of the "Loyal minority" in Ireland to read the speech of the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War. On a former occasion the noble Marquess, in reply to the very same argument when it was raised in connection with the Franchise Bill, said that the Representatives of the Loyal minority in Ireland must place reliance upon the Representatives of the same class in England and Scotland. Who doubted that if any attempt were made to interfere with the religious or political rights of the Loyal minority in Ireland, so called, although he did not admit the term, would meet with the resistance of the large majority in that House, and that English and Scotch Members would assist in rejecting any such proposal? Therefore, he said that this argument was also absurd. Did the occupants of the Treasury Bench think that these two seats should be maintained for the purpose of the representation of the "Loyal minority" in Ireland? Because, if that was not the opinion of the Government, they would not have to answer the question as to what provision they had made for the representation of the Irish minority in England and Scotland, which numbered 2,000,000. To the 1,000,000 of the "Loyal minority" they had given seats varying, as estimated, from 17 to 27; and he would like to know how many seats had the Irish minority in England and Scotland received under the Redistribution of Seats Bill? For those 2,000,000, the majority of whom were Catholic, they had given one Catholic Representative. He could scarcely congratulate them on that, for this one Representative was of such a milk-and-water kind that he could hardly regard him as a Representative at all. He would like some answer from the Treasury Bench as to this argument. He thought it simply scandalous that this matter should be allowed to remain in its present position. The reason of that was that this Bill which was said to be a compromise was a sham compromise after all, in which all the concessions were given to the minority at the expense of the majority. Not only was that the case in respect of 671 Dublin University, but the Government had managed to give the so-called Loyal minority in Ireland a far greater amount of representation than they were entitled to. He said, with regard to the action of the Government in that respect, that it was only part of their generally mistaken policy in Ireland; and he believed that as long as they continued to concede to the "Loyal minority" in Ireland what they denied to the rest of the population, they would in that country always be in a minority themselves, instead of in a majority; as long as that course was pursued the majority would be disloyal, and the minority only "loyal." He impressed on the Government that they should bear this in mind, and he looked forward anxiously to the time when the question of the English constituencies should be raised, to see whether the right hon. Gentleman would be willing to treat the Irish minority in England and Scotland in the same lavish and generous way as he had treated the so-called Loyal minority in Ireland.
said, the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) had treated the Committee to a repetition of an assertion frequently made in that House, which might impose on English Members who were not conversant with the actual facts with regard to Ireland. The hon. Gentleman had stated that the Loyal minority in Ireland numbered about 1,000,000. If that were the case, the population of Ireland being about 5,000,000, the proportion of it represented by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway on that side would be more than as four to one. Now, the proportion arithmetically was as five to one, as near as it could be—that was to say, the Protestant, which he considered to be the Loyal population, was two-sevenths of the whole population. If they took the number of Members which Ireland had originally, there would be 105 Members, two-sevenths of which number was 30; one-seventh was 15; and he was extremely sorry to say that the Bill before the Committee, instead of giving to the Irish Loyalists two-sevenths of the representation which they were entitled to, were only to have one-seventh. And yet hon. Members below the Gangway, who talked of liberality, and described the Bill as a sham compromise, which 672 gave the advantage to the minority in Ireland at the expense of the majority, actually grudged that minority those 15 Members, which, when they came to another stage of the Bill, he (Mr. Macartney) should be in a position to prove was the extent of the representation they would have. He was not now in a position to prove it at that moment; but he should do so on the occasion referred to, and on the hustings at the next General Election. He asserted that the very closest possible calculation, made with the greatest anxiety to ascertain what would be the representation they would have for the defence of their lives and liberties, gave the number of Members as 15. That number included the two Members below him—two right hon. and learned Gentlemen who, with such credit to themselves and to the country, and with such honour to that House, represented the University of Dublin. He certainly did not think it too much that the considerable Protestant population of Dublin, and of the Provinces of Ulster, Munster, and Connaught, should be represented by 15 Members; but if the two seats for the Dublin University were to be taken away, they would be left with 13 Members only out of 103 for the whole of Ireland. The Government would hear a great deal more on this subject before the discussion was finished. It had been asserted by the hon. and learned Member yesterday on the opposite Benches (Mr. Bryce) that the representation of Universities was mischievous to the interest of the Universities themselves, because it produced bitter political feeling. He (Mr. Macartney) had not the honour of having been educated at the University of Dublin—he was educated at a German University that had no Parliamentary representation; and he did not believe that in any country in the world was stronger political feeling shown than in that University. It was the same with all foreign countries. At Bohn the students were divided into circles; each district had its own band of students, who wore a distinct badge and cap, and when these met they always fought. Therefore, he said that non-representation in the case of Universities did nothing whatever towards preventing strong political feelings amongst the students. It was the case all over the Continent, as he had stated, and he did 673 not believe there was any country in the world in which political and religious feeling ran higher than in Ireland.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said, that subjects had been brought forward by some hon. Members that evening in the discussion which, in his opinion, ought not to have been introduced into it. The hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) had tried to make out that hon. Gentlemen on these Benches were opposing the representation of Dublin University, because of the bigoted motives they might have against the representation of Protestants at all. He said, in the course of his speech, that Questions were being asked every day in the House with reference to the religion of officials and other persons in Ireland, and that it was a fact that went to prove that the Irish Members were anxious to open up again questions of religious sentiment. The hon. Member must know very well that the object hon. Gentlemen on the Irish Benches had in alluding to the religion of persons in Ireland was not that they had any bigoted objection to Protestants holding positions at all, but that they were desirous that Catholics, who were in the great majority, should have a fair amount of representation and a fair amount of the positions of authority in that country. He did not think it was fair for the hon. Member for the County of Galway to impute to the Irish Members that they were actuated by bigotry because they had put Questions from time to time in this House about the religion of certain Irish officials. They did not object to Protestants having a fair amount of all that was good going on in Ireland; but they certainly did object to what was undoubtedly very frequently the case in many parts of Ireland—namely, that where the population was Catholic the majority of the positions of influence and authority were held by Protestants. Another point to which he wished to call the attention of the Committee was this—The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Mr. Gibson) had said, in his very florid speech, in answer to the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), that the figures which the hon. Member had given with reference to Dublin University were not at all correct. Well, he (Mr. William Redmond) had in his 674 hand a statistical history of the University of Dublin, by Mr. Dennis Corfield Heron, B.A., of Trinity College, Dublin. In that book it was stated that the total income of the University was £86,600. Mr. Dennis Corfield Heron might very well be taken as an authority on this matter; and though no one would be disposed to dispute the fact that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University was also an authority on University matters, still he thought that Mr. Heron's statement that the income of the University was £86,600 might very well be placed against the contradictory statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. It was the greatest mistake for hon. Members to endeavour to make it appear that in opposing the representation of the Dublin University, the Irish Members were opposing the representation of the Protestants of Ireland. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin had spoken as if he thought that if the two seats were taken from Dublin University the Loyal minority in Ireland would be without any representation in the House at all. Of course, it was easy enough to believe that the Loyal minority in Ireland valued very highly representation by two such right hon. and learned Gentlemen as the present Members for the University of Dublin. Yet, it would be difficult to prove that if Parliament were ridded of the services of these two right hon. and learned Gentlemen, the Loyal minority would be altogether without representation. Outside the representation of Dublin University, the North of Ireland would send to this House a very ample number of hon. Gentlemen to represent the interests of the Protestants. Therefore, it was not because the majority of the electors of the University were Protestants that the Irish Members objected to the representation of the University. They objected to this representation upon many other grounds. They objected to it on the ground that had been stated by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), because the University was practically closed to the great majority of the Irish people. It was all very well for hon. Members like the hon. Member for the County of Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) to say that the University was open to Catholics; but he (Mr. William Red- 675 mond) challenged a denial of this statement—namely, that the great majority of Irish parents who were in a position to send their children to a University would be found to object altogether to sending their children to Dublin University.
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
said, the hon. Member (Mr. William Redmond) had quite mis-stated what he had said. He had never said one word about the University of Dublin being open to Catholics. On the contrary, his argument was that Catholics were deprived of the best facilities for higher education, through not having a proper means of education of their own.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said, he was very sorry to have misinterpreted the words of the hon. Member; but he had understood him to say that there were obstacles in the way of Catholics obtaining prizes at Trinity College. The hon. Member for the County of Galway denied it; but, anyhow, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Mr. Gibson) certainly had made a very great point of that. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had declared that Dublin University was practically open to Catholics; but that was not the fact. Dublin University was practically shut to Catholics; and he would draw attention to the fact, that every one of the great and eminent Irishmen cited as having received education in the University of Dublin were, as a matter of fact, Protestant Irishmen. Goldsmith, for instance, was a Protestant Irishman, as also was Burke—two men who had been conspicuously mentioned in the course of this debate. No doubt, it was a fact that some eminent Catholics had received education at Trinity College; but the fact remained that the vast majority of the people of Ireland, being Catholics, did not receive from Dublin University that consideration and those advantages which they should receive, as the majority of the people of England received from the English Universities. Upon the ground that Dublin University was opposed to the natural aspirations of the majority of the people of Ireland, and that it was opposed to the religious aspirations of the majority, and upon the ground that it did not sympathize in any degree with the feelings of the people, and that it did not 676 enjoy the confidence of the Catholic population or of the Catholic clergy, the Irish Members objected to the monstrous absurdity of allowing it to be represented in Parliament by two Members. The hon. Member for the County of Galway had, he believed, referred to a statement of his (Mr. William Redmond's) the other night in the House, when he had been endeavouring to make a few observations on this subject. The hon. Member attributed to him the assertion that neither learning nor wealth should have any weight whatever for a Parliamentary qualification. He (Mr. William Redmond) was sorry to see that this was reported in several of the London newspapers as his statement on that occasion. Such was not at all a correct representation of what he had intended to say. What he had desired to convey was, that he did not think that the fact of great wealth or vast learning should have any special advantages in the franchise at all. He was of opinion—and he believed that the great majority of the Irish people and their Representatives were also of opinion—that a man who was a peasant in Ireland had as good a right to vote for the Rulers of his country, and had as good an idea as to those who would best rule his country, and what would be best for his country, as any gentleman in Dublin University who might be steeped up to the teeth in a knowledge of the classics and University education. The Irish Members did not want to exclude wealth; they did not want to exclude learning; but what they said was—"Do not give these qualifications special advantages." He, of course, hoped that the day might very soon come when there would be a broad scheme introduced into the House to give to every male citizen, not only in Ireland but in this country, a right to vote; but until that time came he should say—"Do not give to a few thousand men within the walls of Dublin University, simply because they are very learned, the power of sending Representatives to speak in this House." If they were going to give persons representation because of their learning, why did they not give representation to the professional classes? Why should they not give doctors and lawyers, and men of the learned Professions, representation? They should give these gentlemen special representation if they 677 gave such representation to the gentlemen who had a special knowledge of the classics. He objected altogether to the idea of University education. As he had been unable to complete his speech the other night, he would take this opportunity of entering a strong protest against the idea of having two Members to represent this utterly foreign institution in Dublin. There was no disposition on the part of the Irish Members to deny the fact that Dublin University had returned many Irishmen who had been a credit to their country. He gave the University that credit. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had pointed out that he believed in many respects Dublin University was the first University in the world. It was distinguished, and the Irish Members did not deny it; but what they also asserted was that it was foreign, and not in accordance with the ideas of the Irish people. If the Irish people could have a University given to them in accordance with their ideas, however much less famous than the present University it might be, it would meet with their approval. He could not close his remarks upon this subject without referring, very briefly, to the language in which the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury had interrupted him the other night when he was endeavouring to perform his legitimate duty towards the people he represented, in speaking upon this question. The right hon. Gentleman had practically asserted that he (Mr. William Redmond) was speaking too often in this House. In answer to that, he might say that the right hon. Gentleman himself spoke so very seldom that he could quite understand how easily he could become intoxicated with the exuberance of somebody else's verbosity. But he (Mr. William Redmond) must beg leave to assure the right hon. Gentleman that, much as he would like to curtail his utterances, still he was bound to remember that he was sent to the House not to please the right hon. Gentleman or anyone else, but to give expression to the views of the people he represented, and, certainly, to give expression to those views he should continue to do so long as he had the honour to sit in the House.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. 678 Parnell) had been obliged to bring this question forward in a manner which was not very convenient to the Committee—that was to say, on the general question of University representation. He (Colonel Colthurst) could not support the view that the Dublin University, distinguished as it was and represented as it was by distinguished men, was a sufficient representation or a true representation of University life in Ireland. But there was another way in which this inequality might be redressed. There was another University in Ireland with regard to which he had been sorry to hear the hon. Member for the City of Cork—he thought upon very imperfect information—speak in very disparaging terms. The Royal University was not the solution of the educational difficulty asked for by the Catholic people in Ireland, or those who were their guides in such matters; but, nevertheless, it was accepted by the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland as, at any rate, an honest attempt to give equality; and it contained within itself—and he believed that was the opinion entertained by those who were responsible for this question in Ireland—if properly developed, the elements of a fair and equitable settlement. ["No, no!"] Well, at any rate, the question was an open one. Upon the Senate of that University were three Catholic Prelates—at least, there were three before the death of the late Cardinal McCabe, the two remaining Prelates upon it being the Bishops of Ardagh and Clonfert, with at least two other distinguished ecclesiastics. The vast majority of students were Catholics, and he, for one, as an Irish Catholic was proud to testify that that University had given a good education to a large number of Catholics who were desirous of a University education, and who, when they had the means of partaking of it without violating their religious convictions, had shown that, coming as they did almost entirely from unendowed institutions, they could hold their own in the educational race with others who had greater facilities for culture. He did not accuse the hon. Member for the City of Cork with having intentionally disparaged this University. The hon. Member, he thought, must have forgotten the facts at the time, or must have been speaking upon imperfect information. He was 679 sure the hon. Member did not want to do an injustice to the Royal University; but his observations, if they had been left unanswered, would have unjustly disparaged the University in this House. There were many reforms necessary in the University; and, above all, money was greatly required, the institution being imperfectly endowed. He should like, if there was any chance of making an alteration in the Bill—which he very much doubted—to see an attempt made, not to level down in this instance, but to level up. He should like to see Parliament either give two Members to the Royal University, or transfer one to it from the Dublin University. He supposed, however, that after all this was only an academic discussion, and that the matter would in the end rest where it now stood. He had not been intrusted with the care of this question by anyone; but he believed he spoke the sentiments of a large number of Catholics on the subject, when lie said that the present Royal University in itself, when properly developed and when properly endowed, as it would be, he hoped, before long, would be a fair and impartial settlement of the University difficulty in Ireland.
MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, his lion, and gallant Friend who had just spoken (Colonel Colthurst), and who had said something in defence or in panegyric of the Royal University in Ireland, would, he thought, find it very hard to make out more than one substantial fact in favour of that University. The existence and working of the University had undoubtedly shown, as the hon. and gallant Member had said, a strong desire for education on the part of the immense majority of the Irish people. They had shown that in a most convincing manner; but they had also shown that, under that system, the Irish majority were not able to get it on fair terms. However, they were not at present discussing the claims or the merits of the Royal University of Ireland. The question that the Committee had to consider was not whether the University of Dublin in particular, but whether the Universities of the United Kingdom in general, were entitled to representation. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson) had complained tonight of the hon. Member for the City 680 of Cork (Mr. Parnell), because, as he said, the hon. Member had narrowed and brought down the scope of the whole discussion. Well, he (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) thought the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself might be justly accused of having not only lowered and narrowed, but positively degraded, the character of this great controversy, because, as he had put it before the Committee, his one main argument for the representation of the University of Dublin was that thereby a voice was found for a certain small section of what were called the Irish Loyalists in this House. Now, he (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) should hardly have believed that any right hon. and learned Gentleman representing a great and learned Body, would have thought, even for the sake of argument and controversy, of bringing the question of the representation of the University down to that narrow and miserable issue. It would seem, according to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that the one only claim to be made by the Dublin University was, that if they took from the University its representation they would leave certain Ulster Loyalists with no one to speak for them in the House. He (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) did not believe that this would be the consequence of depriving the University of its Representatives. He believed that the Ulster people, or those of them who were of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's way of thinking, would have in this House, under any circumstances, a representation quite in proportion to their numbers. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman remarked that no one had gone to-night into the general question, or had touched the main issue, whether the Universities ought or ought not to have representation. He (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) proposed, in a few words, to touch upon that question. He was ready to maintain that the Universities were not entitled to representation in the House of Commons. He was very much surprised to hear representation in this House talked of as a sort of reward—as a sort of Montyon Prize given to deserving Universities. He wished to ask what connection there was in the least between representation in this House and the discharge of great and important educational functions like those of the Universities of this country? 681 By requiring Universities to return Members to Parliament, they were putting upon them a task for which they were not fitted, for which they were not qualified, which interfered with the discharge of their other functions, which very often degraded them and brought them under the influence of wire pullers, factions, ward meetings, caucuses, and other institutions which, however useful and indispensable they might be in the matter of Parliamentary elections, had nothing to do with the calmer atmosphere of education and high culture. He thought that, instead of looking to the Parliamentary representation as a prize, the Universities might rather claim, as a reward for the educational services they performed, to be exempted from these disturbing political duties, which in no wise assisted their functions as teachers. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the County of Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) had talked to-night of the lack of respect for culture shown by the Committee in its reluctance to concede representation to all Universities in the House of Commons. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that culture was only of one kind, and that that was the academic form of culture given in the Colleges. But, if the principle that culture was to have special representation in the House of Commons was admitted, ho (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) wished to know why should not the members of the Royal Academy be represented? Why should not also the members of the Royal Academy of Music have someone to speak for them in Parliament? Why should the British Museum be wholly unrepresented? Why should not, as the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. William Redmond) had asked, the learned Professions have special representation? They were told that our system of representation was so monotonous that we needed something specially exceptional to vary it. But let them test that by an examination of the facts. What variety had the English Universities brought into the representation of that House? There was not at the present moment a single hon. Member sitting for an English University who had not been in the House for years before that University sought his services. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Raikes) who sat 682 near him had resigned a very important constituency in order that he might represent the University of Cambridge. This right hon. Gentleman had not, therefore, imported any variety into the representation of the House; and if they went over all the Members who represented English Universities in this House, they would find that not one of them owed his seat to the University he now represented; not one of them had had his merits discovered by the University. He quite admitted that there were University Members in the House who were first brought into political life by being chosen to represent their Universities. There was, for example, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen (Sir Lyon Playfair). He had come into the House first, if he (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) were not mistaken, to represent these two Universities. But would anyone, knowing the right hon. Gentleman's accomplishments and talents, say that he could possibly have long waited for an opportunity of entering upon a Parliamentary career, even if there had been no Parliamentary representation for the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen? Then take the hon. Baronet who represented the University of London (Sir John Lubbock). Everyone knew that he was one of the best qualified men to speak on behalf of Universities and for University education; but, the he was in the House for years and years before the University of London had a chance of finding out his merits, He (Mr. Justin M'Carthy) admitted that in the case of both of the right hon. and learned Gentlemen who represented the University of Dublin, they had come into Parliamentary and public life for the first time on the introduction of that University; but he thought that no one who had seen as much of them as hon. Members had in the House, could have the slightest doubt that some constituency in their own country sharing their opinions would have found a place for them in Parliament. He must say that he, for one, should be very sorry if, owing to any changes, the House were to be deprived of the services of these right hon. and learned Gentlemen. He did not often agree with either of them; hardly ever did it happen that he could agree with either of them in any public expression 683 of opinion; but he was quite free to say, and glad to say, that he thought the average of Parliament, intellectually and rhetorically, would be considerably lowered if they had not these right hon. and learned Gentlemen amongst them. At the same time, he must say that if the function of representing a University were to perform some mystic duties on behalf of science and culture, he did not think the qualifications of these right hon. and learned Gentlemen especially fitted them for the task. If there were in the House two born political partizans, it was these two; and he did not remember one occasion upon which the voice of either had been raised on a question of mere culture. He had no doubt that if Dublin University were disfranchised, these right hon. and learned Gentlemen would both find constituencies in Ireland ready and willing to return them. Then as regarded this special representation of the Dublin University, he maintained that it was an exceptional case. The man who was most jealous—if there were anyone jealous—of the claims and position of the English Universities, must admit that, at any rate, these institutions did represent most faithfully the best intellectual life of the English people. They sprang from the heart's core of the English people; their history was interwoven with the history of the country; they were as directly English and national as the genius of man could make such institutions. Of the Scotch Universities, also, he could bear hearty witness to the most admirable, useful, and truly national work which they performed. They represented, to the highest degree, the intellectual life of Scotland. They made their influence felt even more than the English Universities—down, in fact, to the humblest class of Scotchmen. If, then, there was an exceptional case to be made out, he maintained that the English and Scotch Universities were justly entitled to have their claim recognized. But look at the position of the Dublin University. As the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) told them, it had nothing to do with the national life of the country. It was an exotic altogether, doing most admirable work, no doubt, for those it brought up and taught. He had not a word to say against the work the Dublin University was doing, or 684 against those who were connected with its teaching; but the great majority of the Irish people could not accept its teaching. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Dublin University (Mr. Gibson) to-night had complained of the Irish Catholics saying that they could not take advantage of the teaching of that University. But surely no one could know better than the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the religious principles of the majority of the Irish people prevented them from accepting the teaching of the Dublin University. How, then, could the University be called a national institution, when in its essential principles it was opposed to the views of the majority of the people? Look at the position taken by some of the great Universities of Germany. Look at the way in which they kept alive, even in the most difficult and trying times, the courage and the national feeling of the people. Look at the work done by the Universities of Spain, and, more lately, Greece—of Athens especially. These were all national institutions. Sharing, as they did, in every movement of the life of the nation, they might be said to be entitled to special representation if their countries had special representation to bestow upon them. But he denied that a seat in this House was an honour which any University did well to claim, or from which it derived any benefit. Whether the question were taken on that ground alone, or on the ground of the special circumstances of the Irish University, he should say that Trinity College had no claim. It was an institution having no national title to the admiration of the people, more than the admiration they might give to culture of every kind; and he was of opinion that the House of Commons was not at liberty to go out of its way to endow it any longer with special Parliamentary privilege.
§ SIR EARDLEY WILMOT
said, he should like, before this discussion closed, to say a few words upon the subject now before the Committee. He confessed that he was pleased the other night at hearing the very able speech of the hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. Albert Grey), who had put forward as his plea for opposing the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. 685 Bryce), that the representation of our Universities was, as it -were, the redeeming point in the dead level of representation which they were now called upon to adopt. He must say, looking at the part which the hon. Member's illustrious ancestor—the great Reformer, Lord Grey—took in connection with the Reform Bill of 1832—he must say, without compliment to the hon. Gentleman, that he worthily represented the great name he bore. Now, with regard to the matter before the Committee, he could not help feeling, looking through the whole of their representative history, that the present proposal was a departure entirely from that which had always adorned and distinguished our representative system. He need not go back so far as that early history of our country, when we found, by the Parliamentary Records of Prynne, that as early as the time of King Edward I. writs were directed to Oxford and Cambridge to send men discreet and learned in the law to represent the Republic of Letters in this House of Commons. But, later than that, they found that in the time of King James I. not only did the King by Charter call on the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge to send their Members, but then, for the first time, he called upon the Parliament of Ireland to choose two worthy Members of Trinity College in that city to represent them. Therefore, from the earliest periods of our history we found that University representation had been a remarkable incident in our representative system. But, coming lower down, what did we find at the time of the Union of Great Britain with Ireland? What was done at that time? Why, as was well known, 100 Members were chosen from the Irish Parliament to represent them in the British House of Commons. At that time the learned Members for the University of Dublin, which had been two in the Irish Parliament, were reduced to one, and accordingly, at the time of the Union, only one was returned for the University of Dublin? Well, what took place afterwards? Why, Lord Grey and Lord John Russell in 1832, in that memorable Reform Bill which he regretted very much had not been made the model of the present Redistribution Bill, gave back the second seat to the University of Dublin, out of 686 the five additional Members to Ireland provided by the Bill, four of them being given to Irish boroughs, as hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway were well aware. Therefore, they found that in a memorable era not only was the University representation system advocated and defended by the efforts and the zeal of these great Reformers, but they actually gave an additional Member to the University of Dublin. He now came to the year 1854. In that year Lord John Russell, when Prime Minister, proposed to add to University representation. He proposed to give one Member to the University of Dublin, but failed in his attempt. The Bill was thrown out, and Lord John Russell went out with it. That brought them down to 1867, and what took place then? Why, Mr. Disraeli not only gave representation to the City of London, but actually added two more University Representatives to the list by giving a joint representation to the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews, and to the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow. Therefore, they found that not only for a long period in our representative history were Representatives for Universities not diminished, and no attempts made to take away the representation of Literature and the Republic of Letters altogether, but in every Reform Bill which had been introduced since 1882 they found that additions had been made to University representation. Therefore, he must say that he was exceedingly surprised—perhaps not so much when he saw the character of this Redistribution Bill—but he certainly was surprised to find that on the Treasury Bench, a distinguished right hon. Gentleman had said that, though he was committed, as it were, to this Redistribution Bill, yet in his own humble opinion he believed the University representation scheme to be anomalous, and did not feel very warm in supporting it. Not only that, but what was even more surprising was that the distinguished right hon. Gentleman who sat at the head of the Treasury Bench, that right hon. Gentleman who was such an ornament to his own University, and whom he (Sir Eardley Wilmot) recollected in the University, having been a contemporary of his, had, in the course of his speech on this question, given it as his opinion that though he should not be favourable 687 now to the removal of the University representation from our Parliamentary system, yet that the time might come when the matter might be discussed with a view to its being no longer continued. He (Sir Eardley Wilmot) quite agreed with the hon. Member for South Northumberland that the redeeming feature of the Redistribution Bill was the continuance of University representation. It was, to his mind, an oasis in the dark and dreary and barren wilderness of this Redistribution Bill. Hon. Members might not have heard what he said last week; but he had spoken out pretty plainly, and he was quite ready to do so again. He did not think anyone could arrive at a conclusion upon the question without having gone into all matters connected with it. He had gone into all these matters, and he did think that if they were to have a representative system in which gentlemen, as had been already pointed out, who felt unwilling to undergo the fatigue, trouble, and anxiety of a personal canvass, could find in these academic groves the opportunity of being returned to this House, they would do well to keep sacred the University representation. There was the additional advantage that voters residing at a distance from their University could exercise the franchise by means of voting papers, which were rendered legal by Mr. Disraeli in 1867 or 1868. He believed also that hon. Members could be returned in their absence. He would put it to right hon. Gentlemen who represented the Universities whether it was not possible for them to be returned not only without personal labour, but even without the necessity of their being present to receive the honour bestowed upon them, and without expense or canvass? There was an admirable Debating Society at Oxford, in which gentleman received some training in the art of debate; and, no doubt, many of these gentlemen, while seeking oratorical distinction in that Society, looked forward to the distinguished honour which they might some time or other enjoy of a seat in this House. Amongst the members of this Society had been the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government himself; and it was unnecessary to call to the recollection of hon. Members such distinguished names as those of Sydney Herbert, 688 Lord Lincoln, Mr. Twisleton, and Mr. Claughton, now Bishop of St. Albans. Gentlemen in this Society, whilst preparing themselves in the curriculum of politics, no doubt looked forward to at some future period attaining to what he might call the blue ribbon of our representative system—namely, the representation of a University. Therefore, he did protest as strongly as he could against the destruction of the University representation—against depriving the country of one of its brightest gems and greatest honours. It was said that the Republic of Letters now needed no support; but he could only say that our representative system required all the support that everyone could give it. He saw the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Trevelyan) in his place, and ho would recall to his mind a passage taken from the very able work that he had written—namely, the life of his distinguished relative, Lord Macaulay, where that great statesman pointed out the advantage that literary men might possess who, removed from the stormy regions of politics, still could find themselves able not only to represent their fellows in connection with the University, but also to devote themselves to an elucidation and explanation of those great questions which were discussed in this great Assembly. Therefore, in these few words he was glad to have the opportunity of saying how strongly he protested against this proposed alteration. He had no idea and no expectation that such a proposal would be carried, but considered that the sense and good feeling and the sentiments of men whom he saw all around him would revolt against this attempt to rob our representative system of one of its most distinguised ornaments.
§ MR. CROPPER
said, that although, no doubt, many of them had regretted to see the debate adjourned the other evening, yet the adjournment had had a good effect, inasmuch as a great deal had been done by the speeches of the Irish Members to win opinion on the Ministerial side of the House against their views, and to make it evident to many hon. Gentlemen who had been doubtful on the subject, that this was not the time to remove from this Assembly two of its most distinguished orna- 689 ments. He had listened with some interest to the speeches of the Irish Members, and had thought there was something characteristic in the brutality of the expressed wish that now that hon. Members had the Universities down they should "cut their throats." He did not believe there were many, even on the Benches below the Gangway opposite, who would sanction that opinion; still, it had been expressed, and it led one to think that there was plenty of reason for the desire that light and learning and culture and education should have a little more place in this abode than they had at present. He had listened to the various remarks which had been made on the Ministerial side in the previous debate, and it appeared to him that the objections to the system of University representation resolved themselves into three—he was, of course, only speaking of those raised on the Ministerial side of the House, and not of those raised on the other side below the Gangway. These three objections were—in the first place, that it did not represent local population, but represented something other than the mere counting of heads towards which our coming system of representation tended; in the second place, it was urged that the system was an injury to the Universities themselves, as it imparted into them some of that animosity, jobbery, and unpleasant contrast of opinions and feelings which, no doubt, arose to an undue height where political organization and excitement developed; and, in the third place, the objection was raised that the hon. Gentlemen returned to Parliament by the Universities did not rightly represent them so far as learning and culture were concerned. With regard to the suffrage, it did not appear to him that, at a time when they were still retaining in this country any quantity of different suffrages, when a man could go into a county and buy a 40s. freehold, and when men all round spoke of having six or seven'votes—and the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) himself declared that he possessed so many—it certainly seemed rather an excess of purity to desire to purge away this representation that represented something besides property, and to take away that small amount of representation which was given to culture, and the degrees 690 that represented it. Then, as to the injury that was done to the Universities, no doubt something of the kind occurred; but if anyone representing a borough would look into the circumstances of his constituency, he would not doubt that a good deal of injury was done there by political appointments, jobbery, and so forth. He would find that every public appointment, from that of coroner down to that of letter-carrier, was too apt to be guided by political considerations. Then, if that was the case, could they afford to throw stones at the Universities, and charge against them that politics had too much to do with the appointment of men in the seats of learning? He had an opportunity during the past few days of discussing this question with men who seemed to represent the feeling of the Universities, and they did not admit that the jobbery and other iniquities about which so much had been said of late were really attendant upon the system of University representation. They altogether denied that Convocation made its appointments from political motives. He had not the honour of a seat upon that Body; therefore, he could only take this from hearsay. At the worst, if all that was alleged were true, from what he knew of boroughs he was inclined to believe that what took place in the Universities was no more than what took place in the different constituencies of the country. Then, lastly, as to the Members, it was said they did not fairly represent the Universities, and that they were not fair exponents of the system of education adopted in England. It would be difficult to say what every man especially represented, and yet, for himself, he believed that the three countries of England, Scotland, and Ireland were admirably represented in the House by the University Members. He thought they might say that the first scientist in the House was the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock); that the most eloquent man in the House—and in so saying he would not wish to bar other men of equal power—was the junior Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson); and that the most persuasive man was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Sir Lyon Playfair). He 691 spoke of these three right hon. and hon. Gentlemen because they were all absent. He might say that in these three men they had, at any rate, Representatives of the highest culture of three different kinds—Gentlemen who took the greatest interest in education and in the success of the Universities they represented. Well, it was, perhaps, too late to talk upon the main question before the Committee. He, for one, had no doubts whatever in his mind upon the question, and he desired to support the system as it at present existed. Both sides of the House were pledged to support it, and Whips had been sent out by the two Parties in order that the division might be won by a large majority. Yet it might be desirable that those who would vote for the measure should just say at once that, so far as they were concerned, it was their opinion that the representation of the Universities should still continue, and that, at any rate, they should see how they liked a complete development of that which was said to be a more perfect democratic system before they gave up altogether that which now existed, and which retained, amongst many other franchises, the franchise which was said to represent culture, and, whether it did so or not, at any rate represented a large number of educated men.
§ MR. R. N. FOWLER
said, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kendal (Mr. Cropper) had said the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) had six votes. He (Mr. R. N. Fowler) surpassed the right hon. Gentleman, because, when he first entered Parliament, he used to go into the Lobby with 16 Gentlemen for whom he had votes, and for whom he should have voted had they been opposed. He was glad to have the opportunity of saying a few words as a graduate of the University of London. He knew it would be said of that University that, though the late Member and the present Member were very distinguished men, and great ornaments to the House of Commons, neither of them were graduates of the University. It might be accepted as a reproach to the University that they had never yet found one of their own graduates to represent them in Parliament; but let him remind the Committee that there were graduates who were in every respect fit to represent the University. 692 For instance, there was the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General (Sir Farrer Herschell). He was a graduate of the University of London; he was now a great ornament to the House; he held political opinions similar to those of the majority of the graduates; and no one, no matter to what Party he belonged, would deny that the hon. and learned Gentleman would very efficiently represent the constituency. There was another very eminent Member of the House who was also a graduate of the University of London—namely, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld). He, too, would do honour to his University, as, indeed, he would do honour to any constituency who reposed confidence in him. There were other graduates of the University to whom he could refer; but, certainly, he was justified in referring to the two Gentlemen he had mentioned, to show that the University of London had produced men who were fitted in all respects to represent the constituency in Parliament. It had been said by those who supported the Amendment now under consideration, that the University of London had exercised its privileges better than some of the other Universities. He would not go so far as that, because the Representatives of the other Universities were very distinguished men; they were all ornaments to the House, and they were all men who did honour to the constituencies that had returned them. But still lie might single out the argument of hon. Gentlemen, as a proof that the University of London had done its duty in sending to the House of Commons men who eminently contributed to the collective wisdom of the nation. It was only by the Act of 1867 that the University of London was granted the privilege of being represented in the House of Commons. That Act added three University Members to the House—namely, one for the University of London and two for the Universities of Scotland. He asked the Committee if it was prepared to disturb so recent a redistribution of power? Were they prepared to upset the decision which was come to only 17 years ago to increase the representation of Universities? It seemed to him that the then Parliament was a very Liberal Parliament, perhaps not so Liberal as the present, but still it was one in which the 693 Party opposite had a large majority. When so recent a Parliament increased the representation of Universities, it did seem to him that it would be a most unwise step for the present Parliament not only to go back on the decision come to, but to go a great deal further, and expel from the House those who were the Representatives of learning and culture. On these grounds, he strongly opposed the Amendment now before the Committee. He regretted that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) was not in his place. That hon. and learned Member, in the speech he made on the second reading of the Bill, gave a very interesting account of what was likely to be the constitution of the new Parliament. The speech made a great impression upon a Friend of his (Mr. Fowler's) who sat on the opposite Benches, and that hon. Gentleman wrote some lines upon it. The lines were published anonymously, but he thought the Committee would have little difficulty in detecting the distinguished author; they were—The prospect before us can give little ease;Its enough to make anyone funk;Only think of 500 parochial M.P's.,And Bryce says they all will be drunk.
§ MR. P. J. POWER
said, he understood that, in consequence of the compromise arrived at between the two Front Benches, Her Majesty's Government intended to support the present University system of representation. It would be curious and interesting to see by what line of reasoning Her Majesty's Government arrived at their conclusion. It appeared to him that the decision was at variance with the spirit which was supposed to animate the Government in proposing the Franchise Act, and more in accord with the spirit which animated those hon. Members below the opposite Gangway who were favourable to the proportional system of representation. If minorities were to be represented, there were many institutions, such, for instance, as Chambers of Commerce in large centres of population, which had a prior claim to Universities. One of the arguments used by those who approved the present system of University representation was that, if they deprived the Universities of their Members, they would deprive the House of some of its most intelligent 694 Members, and some of its greatest ornaments. He maintained, however, that if the Members for the Universities were all that they were said to be, and if they held the views of the majority of their fellow-countrymen, many constituencies would be glad to avail themselves of their services; but if, on the other hand, they did not hold views in accordance with the views of the vast majority of their countrymen, he failed to see why they should be in the House of Commons, as it was said that that was essentially a Representative Assembly. Then, again, he failed to see that it necessarily followed that a great classical scholar or a mathematician must be a good politician; in fact, it was usually found that those who were great bookworms, or who had devoted their lives to study of any particular kind, did not make successful politicians. He thought the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Trevelyan), whom he saw in his place on the Treasury Bench, afforded a good illustration of what he said. Everyone acknowledged that the right hon. Gentleman was a literary man of the very first rank; but no one, not even the greatest admirers of the right hon. Gentleman, would maintain he had succeeded as an Administrator. He (Mr. P. J. Power) was not in a position to say whether the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who were returned to the House by the Universities of England and Scotland, were men who represented the views of a considerable number of their fellow-countrymen, neither was he in a position to say from experience that they were the great scholars they were imagined to be. But this he could say, with confidence, that the right hon. and learned Gentlemen (Mr. Gibson and Mr. Plunket) who represented the University of Dublin held views diametrically opposed to the views entertained by an overwhelming majority of the Irish people; and should Dublin University be disfranchised, he imagined those right hon. and learned Gentlemen would have some difficulty in obtaining seats elsewhere. The Members in the quarter of the House in which he sat were accused of importing into this question, and into many other questions, a spirit of sectarian animosity. He thought the charge was quite without foundation; indeed, he and his hon. Friends could assert, 695 with truth, that the tendency in that direction was to be observed in the hon. Gentlemen who differed from them. Looking to their history in the past, it would be found that the spirit of Irish Nationality had been essentially wide and open, and essentially unsectarian. Whether that could be said of the spirit which animated the hon. Members who differed from them, he doubted very much. Judging the members of the Dublin University by their Representatives, it certainly could not be said they held views in accord with the views of the majority of the Irish people. The Records of the House would prove that measures for the coercion and oppression of the Irish people invariably received the support of the Members for the University of Dublin. It might be maintained that the right hon. and learned Gentlemen were merely doing their duty, and giving votes in accordance with the wishes and feelings of those who sent them to Parliament. He was fully prepared to believe that, and it was because he believed it that he was desirous of seeing University representation abolished. Furthermore, there was no doubt that the display of sectarian animosity which he and his hon. Friends regretted so much, had been prompted, and was now prompted, by the University of Dublin. He maintained that one of the objects of education, both intermediate and University, was to produce, or help to produce, useful citizens. In that duty, however, the University of Dublin had failed in a remarkable degree. The men the University had turned out might be very useful men to England; but they had invariably neglected their duties to their own country, and had identified themselves with the Party which the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had termed the "English Party." He (Mr. P. J. Power) went further than that, and said that they had thrown in their lot with what were generally known in Ireland as "the garrison."
§ MR. GREGORY
said, he was prepared to leave the case as it concerned the English Universites to the able defence the Representatives of those Universities had made. What he wished was to address himself to the question of the University of Dublin, upon which the latter part of the debate had turned. 696 He accepted the movement of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, to abolish the representation of Dublin University, as an indication of their admission that, under this Bill, the representation of Ireland was too large. In that view, he fully concurred, Ireland would be over-represented—a defect in the Bill which might be remedied when the opportunity presented itself. Take it upon what ground they liked, contribution to Revenue, or the number of the electorate, or take it on the principle of proportion of population, Ireland was over-represented in the Bill. He was happy to perceive among Irish Members an admission of this; but there would be a further opportunity of discussing that point. He regretted that the principle of proportion of population was the sole principle and foundation of the Bill; other considerations should have been entertained, contribution to Revenue, and the character of the electorate; but take it even upon the principle of population, Ireland was not entitled to so large a number as 103 Members. Now, hon. Members sought to reduce that number by abolishing the seats for Dublin University; but surely they were beginning at the wrong end—at the head instead of the tail—the reduction should be made among some of the small boroughs and in some of the Irish counties. In the proper manner, and at the proper time, he hoped such a reduction would be made. The attack on the University of Dublin had been to a considerable extent answered by the right hon. and learned Gentlemen (Mr. Gibson and Mr. Plunket) who represented that constituency; but he (Mr. Gregory) wished to advert to one or two points raised by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). The hon. Gentleman began his speech by alleging, though he did not lay much stress upon the allegation, that the University was supported upon the proceeds of the confiscation of Roman Catholic property. Well, if they allowed such bygone histories to be revived, he (Mr. Gregory) was afraid that many Colleges, certainly many schools, hospitals, and other institutions, might be abolished on the same grounds. Many an institution had risen on the confiscation of monastic property. However, the hon. Member did not lay much stress on the point, and he (Mr. Gregory) would not pursue it; 697 but the hon. Member then went on to advert to the change in the constitution of the University of Dublin effected by the Act of 1873, and he said that Act had failed in it operation. But whose fault was it, if failure there had been? He (Mr. Gregory) did not admit the Act had failed; but whose fault was it if it had. He remembered something of the Bill promoted by the late Postmaster General (Mr. Fawcett)—a man whose loss the House deplored, whose memory they fondly cherished—and no more liberal measure was ever prepared than that that Bill, and no more liberal spirit in support of it was ever exhibited than that manifested by the Members of Dublin University. It was a Bill of the most" comprehensive character, framed for the express purpose of bringing all classes of society, all religious denominations, within the scope of the University. If any portion of the Act had failed, it was due to the opposition of hon. Members who represented a certain section of the Irish people. The Bill itself was of a most liberal character, and every member of every religious denomination in Ireland had now the opportunity, if he chose, to avail himself of it, of taking advantage of the education afforded within the walls of Dublin University. If they did not avail themselves of the opportunity, if they did not claim their right to compete for the prizes—the Scholarships, the Fellowships offered—it was entirely their own fault. But he believed that, to a considerable extent, the people of Ireland did avail them selves of those advantages, and in an increasing degree the University was becoming more and more popular, and 4,000 graduates now elected two Members. As had been pointed out by the right hon. and learned Member (Mr. Gibson)—and the point was lost sight of in speeches of hon. Members below the Gangway—this was no question of granting the franchise, but of disfranchisement; the question was whether the House should take away a representation that already existed, and not a question of a body of electors seeking to establish a claim to representation. Here were 4,000 of the most enlightened men in the country, composed of all classes, all religions, and there was no ground shown for their disfranchisement. The hon. Member for the City of Cork referred to the Episcopalian character of the Governing 698 Body of the University; but the Governing Body was open to Roman Catholic members, and, indeed, they formed some portion of the Governing Body, and he hoped they would be increased, for those Roman Catholic members had the interests of the University as much at heart and were as anxious to elevate the character of the institution as any of their colleagues. Members had brought the Act of Union into this discussion; butthey should remember that contributions to the Exchequer, as well as proportion of population, was a principle of that Act. Would they like these principles together? What would then be the result? If they fell back upon the Act of Union, they must take that Act with all its consequences and in all its aspects. Even on the basis of population, they had no case. They were not well advised in bringing the Act of Union into their argument; they might think it hostile to the representation they wished to abolish; but if they followed out the argument to its logical sequence, he did not think it would be much in favour of the present representation of Ireland.
§ MR. T. D. SULLIVAN
said, it seemed to him that the arguments he had heard in the course of the debate in favour of disfranchising the Universities were perfectly conclusive. He heard with some surprise the argument that learning—nay, he believed the word used was intelligence—was entitled to a certain share of representation in Parliament. That was not paying a very high compliment to the great body of the Members of the House of Commons, for it appeared that only eight or nine Members of the Assembly were to be regarded as the representatives of intelligence. He should like to know what did all the other Members represent? Learning, forsooth, must be specially represented in the House. Well, if learning was to be specially represented, why not virtue and morality, why not honesty, why not piety? These were all very valuable qualities, and he did not see why they should not be specially represented, just as much as learning. He contended that there was no real ground for the claim of the Universities for representation in the House of Commons. The arguments of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Bryce), who introduced the Amendment now under consideration, seemed to him (Mr. Sullivan) to be un- 699 answerable; and one of his arguments was especially so, and that was, that it was very undesirable to introduce into these seats of learning the contentions and bitterness of contested elections and political controversies. He had heard no reply to that argument; it was a very conclusive one, and ought to have weight with the House of Commons. Let those gentlemen, young and old, some of whom were teachers, some of whom were students, pursue their studies in the quietude of their Colleges and Universities, undisturbed by the heat and turmoil of political controversies. After all, was it learning that the Members for the Universities represented? Was it because of any special title to be considered learned men, that the two eloquent Members for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson and Mr. Plunket) were elected to sit in the House of Commons? No. The question of the learning of those right lion, and learned Gentlemen was never raised at the time of their election, and such a question never would be raised at any election for the University of Dublin. The right hon. and learned Gentlemen sat here as the Representatives, not of learning or of culture—though they were learned and cultured men—but as the representatives of the high-flavoured Toryism and Orangeism of Trinity College. Their functions in the House of Commons, their actions in the House, had no relation what over to the interests of education or of culture, but they had all the connection in the world with the interests of the Tory Party and the Orange ascendancy in Ireland. If it be undesirable, as he believed it was, to give any special representation to Universities, he held it was particularly undesirable to give special representation to Trinity College, Dublin. In the first place, as had been already fully stated, the constituency was a small one, and one certainly over-represented with two Members. Now that we were about to revise the whole electoral machinery of the country, there was no reason why this state of things should continue. It had also been stated that the University of Dublin was an institution altogether out of harmony with the feelings of the Irish people. Nothing could be more true. Trinity College was founded as one of the parts of the machinery for the subjugation of the Irish nation. It 700 was not founded to teach the Irish people; it was not founded to spread learning through the masses; it was founded as a branch of England's arrangements and institutions for the conquest of Ireland, and of the utter subjugation of the Irish race. Trinity College was simply an English fortress; it was as much a fortress of English power as any military fort within the four corners of the country. It was one wing of the Army and Navy of England, so far as they related to Irish affairs. Now, the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson), who spoke that night, said that the doors of the University were open, and that the motto of the institution was, and had long been, "All are welcome." The words reminded him (Mr. Sullivan) of the line he very frequently saw at the bottom of the placards posted about Dublin, which emanated from the Irish proselytizing societies. Those societies declared that, to their lectures at which the Catholic faith was assailed, at which the Catholic doctrines were ridiculed, at which the whole basis of Catholic belief was warred against, "All are welcome." He only wondered that the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Gibson) did not add to this well-known phrase, another that was very frequently seen upon the proselytizing placards posted in Dublin—namely, "Catholics are affectionately invited." No doubt, the doors of Trinity College were open to the men who would betray their faith. Human nature was weak, and even the bonds of the Catholic faith were unable and insufficient, owing to human frailties, to keep every Catholic in the way he should go. Trinity College was a proselytizing and perverting institution, and some of the names of which Trinity College were most proud to-day, were the names of Irish Catholics who were perverted within the walls of that institution, the names of men who were induced, partly by the allurements of the place, and partly by the largess open to them, to betray their religious principles. It was pleaded for Trinity College that it would help to make up the lack of representation of the "Loyal minority" in Ireland. He wished to impress it upon the Government, upon the Members of the House of Commons, and upon the English people, that for whatever disloyalty 701 existed in Ireland to-day, those people who called themselves the "Loyal minority" were largely responsible. The laws of England were bad enough, the laws of England were hard enough upon the Irish people; but those in Ireland who called themselves the friends and supporters of those laws, made them ten times more hateful than they otherwise would have been. In the name of loyalty, the Irish people were insulted; in the name of loyalty, they were buffetted and scourged; in the name of loyalty, they were oppressed; in the name of loyalty, Irish Catholics in the North of Ireland were threatened; in the name of loyalty, Orange Lodges perpetrated their atrocities. Was it to be wondered at, therefore, that the name of England was hateful to the Irish people? The plain fact of the case was, that until the people who called themselves the "Loyalty minority" in Ireland were brought to their proper level, until their ascendancy and domination was broken, it was vain for English Ministers and Statesmen to hope they would have a loyal majority in that country. He granted there was very little chance of the Amendment being adopted. A bargain had been made between the two Front Benches, and he presumed it would be carried out—as the tree had fallen, so it would lie. But he and his hon. Friends had a fixed objection to the representation of the University of Dublin; for, while they were willing to gee fair play all round, they did protest against and would resist, as far as was in their power, every remnant and relic of the ascendancy of a faction, and of anti-Irish opinion which remained in Ireland. The Government were helping to perpetuate the troubleous, disagreeable, and contentious state of things in Ireland by propping up remnants and relics of Orange ascendancy in that country. The representation of Trinity College was one of them; it was simply a Tory and Orange representation—learning had not an atom to do with it. What part had the two eloquent and able Gentlemen the present Representatives of the University of Dublin taken in the House in the interest of learning, or in the interest of liberty? None whatever. They were Party men, and as such they were elected. Learning, indeed! Find the most learned man in England, or Scot- 702 land, or Ireland, and send him to Trinity College at the time of a General Election, and he (Mr. Sullivan) had not the slightest hesitation in saying that if that man had a trace of liberality in his composition, he had no chance of election. His learning would count for nothing. But let him hoist the Orange lily, and it would count; let him abuse the Irish people, and it would count; let him denounce the chosen Representatives of the people, and it would count. The time had gone by for this humbug and pretence. The representation of Trinity College had nothing whatever to do with Literature, Art, or Science, but it had everything to do with Orangeism and Toryism. Whether their wishes prevailed or not, he and his hon. Friends were bound to resist this sham representation, and put the true state of the case before the Government and the people of England.
§ MR. KENNY
said, it should be borne in mind that the Amendment before the Committee had been moved by a distinguished Member of a University in this country. The Amendment was one of which he (Mr. Kenny) approved in every respect; but in the few words he desired to address to the Committee, he did not propose to single out for special attack the University of Dublin because it happened to have two Parliamentary Representatives. It would be observed that the Representatives of the Government and of the Opposition, the parties to the compact which had enabled, the present Bill to be discussed at the present time, had evaded the real merits of the question, and had devoted themselves to pointing out to their adherents and followers, that they must not take into consideration the merits of the question, but must be guided by the fact that the Bill was a compromise, and, as such, must be supported. As one, however, who did not happen to be attached to either English Party, he was free to act as he liked. He was disposed to criticize the compact which the rival Parties had arrived at, and, certainly, to attack as vigorously as he could that portion of it which retained the representation of the Universities. The right hon Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dike) was attacked very fiercely from the Conservative Benches because he chose to speak in one way, and declare his intention of voting the other. He (Mr. Kenny) 703 did not know that the President of the Local Government Board had laid himself open to any special charge on that head. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman had simply displayed a candour, which, unfortunately, was lacking in a great many politicians at the present time, for he had told the Committee that his duty compelled him to vote "No," while his feelings prompted him to vote "Aye." The Prime Minister ventured to give no opinion on the general question, but preferred to hold himself free for a future occasion when it might be brought before the House in a definite shape. The right hon. Baronet the Leader of the Opposition Sir Stafford Northcote), in speaking on the question, used the phrase, "Irrespective of the merits of the case," thereby showing distinctly that he was not disposed to take any particular view of the subject, so that he (Mr. Kenny) was at liberty to assume that the mind of the right hon. Gentleman was so far open on the question of University representation, and that that was the extent to which he and his Party were bound at the present time to the Bill before the Committee. It was a point worthy of observation that the only persons who had attacked the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) were those who were directly affected by it—namely, those who were Representatives of Universities themselves. Those hon. and right hon. Gentlemen had unanimously expressed their disapproval of the terms of that Amendment, and some of them had made able speeches in opposition to it. But the question of the representation of the Universities as it had been dealt with by the University Representatives, was certainly not entitled to anything like the favourable consideration of the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews (Sir Lyon Playfair), in the course of a very able speech, had explained that the Universities did not enjoy representation in any other country in the world except the United Kingdom, and the right hon. Gentleman went on at considerable length to show that, notwithstanding the fact that they did not enjoy distinct representation, the education of those countries in which they are established, more especially 704 Germany and France, has made enormous progress during the past 150 years. The only conclusion which he (Mr. Kenny) had been able to draw from what the right hon. Gentleman had advanced on this point was that, as a matter of fact, the direct representation of Universities had not been of the slightest advantage either to themselves or the countries to which they belonged. That, he thought, was more specially observable when he contrasted the progress made by the Universities on the Continent with the much slower rate at which those of this country had progressed. Indeed, until within the last 10 years or so, when education became State supported in this Kingdom, the people of England might be said to have been the most ignorant people in Europe. With regard to the question of the representation of the University of Dublin, to which he desired especially to refer, hon. Members in that part of the House had been accused of having attacked that University, because the Representatives it had been in the habit of sending to that House happened to differ from them in political thought and feeling. For his own part, and on that of his hon. Friends, he entirely repudiated any such intention. He had no desire to attack the representation of the University of Dublin simply because those whom it had sent to Parliament held political opinions that were contrary to his own. The representation of the University of Dublin was open to attack on much stronger and more serious grounds. For example, if they were to regard the matter as a question of proportional representation, the University of Dublin was greatly ovor-represented; and if they looked at it from a historical point of view, they must bear in mind that, under the Act of Union, the University of Dublin was only accorded the privilege of returning one Member, and that it was not until the passing of the Reform Act of 1832 that a second Member was added to its representation. Therefore, he contended that the claims of the University of Dublin to the representation it possessed were decidedly weaker than those of either of the English or Scotch Universities. The number of electors in the University of Dublin was another point in favour of his contention. There were only 4,048 electors comprised in the constituency of that University which returned two 705 Members, and there was no University in the Kingdom in which it was easier to become an elector than in the University of Dublin. It was certainly far easier to attain that status in the University of Dublin than in any of the English Universities. In the University of Dublin anyone who obtained the degree of Master of Arts was put on the electoral roll without payment of fees; but in Oxford and Cambridge he understood the electors who kept their names on the books had to pay the fees. If they contrasted the case of the University of Dublin, which returned two Members as the Representatives of 4,048 electors, with that of the Scotch University of Edinburgh and St. Andrew's, which had 6,325 electors, and only returned one Member, they would perceive that if a just proportion were observed as between the two, the University of Edinburgh and St. Andrew's would return three Representatives instead of one. In his opinion, while the House was endeavouring to remove the anomalies which existed in other portions of the electoral system, due regard ought to be paid to the anomalies that were to be found in the system of University representation. Glancing from this part of the subject to another, to which he thought some reference should be made, he would say that on the last occasion when this question was before the Committee he had listened with due attention to the eloquent tributes that were paid to the high ability and distinguished learning of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh and St. Andrew's. He had always listened with the greatest possible pleasure to the speeches made in that House by the right hon. Gentleman; but while the right hon. Gentleman was deservedly appreciated in that House it was unfortunately the case that the appreciation he met with in his own University was not quite so great. It so happened that, at the last General Election, on a poll of about 5,000 out of upwards of 6,000 electors, the right hon. Gentleman was only returned by a majority of 74. Such a result did not speak very well for the intelligent appreciation of those gentlemen who formed the constituency of the Edinburgh and St. Andrew's University, and who ought to be proud of one of the most distinguished, not only of the Scotch Repre- 706 sentatives, but of their fellow-countrymen. Another point that had been raised with regard to the question of the representation of the University of Dublin was that throughout the whole period during which it had had the privilege of returning Members to that House it had been represented by men of one distinctive shade of political opinion. For the last 85 years the University of Dublin had returned only men holding the most extreme Tory views, with but one exception; and it was only fair and just that that exception should be referred to in the course of the present debate. He alluded to the case of the most distinguished of all the Representatives of the University of Dublin—the late Lord Plunket. All Irishmen, no matter what their political opinions, from the most extreme Orangeman to the most pronounced Nationalist, joined with the most complete accord in their appreciation and admiration of the extraordinary ability, the marvellous eloquence, the wonderful attainments, and the vast resources of that brilliant statesman. Although Lord Plunket was returned as the Representative of the University of Dublin for a great many years, he had sufficient independence of mind and liberality of heart to mark him as the most able and gifted of the advocates of Catholic Emancipation. But while he (Mr. Kenny) was disposed to look on Lord Plunket as a pride and credit to his country, he could not but bear in mind that almost every one of that great man's successors who had sat as Representatives of the University of Dublin had displayed an exactly opposite character. One of these Gentlemen—the late John Wilson Oroker—was an individual whom he (Mr. Kenny) would not describe in his own words, but would prefer to characterize in the language used by the author of The Life of Lord Macaulay, in a passage wherein the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Trevelyan) did ample justice to the subject of his remarks. The right hon. Gentleman said—He attributed to the Eight Hon. John Wilson Croker, Secretary to the Admiralty during the 20 years preceding 1830, qualities which excited his disapprobation beyond control, and possibly beyond measure. In a singularly powerful letter, written as late as 1843, he recites in detail certain unsavoury portions of that Gentleman's private life, which are not only part of the stock gossip of every bow-window in St. James's Street, but which had been brought 707 into the light of day in the course either of Parliamentary or judicial investigations. After illustrating these transactions with evidence which proved that he did not take up an antipathy on hearsay, Macaulay comments on them in such terms as clearly indicate that his animosity to Croker arose from incompatibility of moral sentiment, and not of political opinions. He then proceeds to remark on' the scandals of Croker'a literary life," his ferocious insults to women, to Lady Morgan, Mrs. Austin, and others,' his twitting Harriet Martineau with deafness, his twitting Madame D'Arblay with concealing her age. I might add,' he says, 'one hundred other charges. These, observe, are things done by a Privy Councillor, by a man who has a pension from the country of £10,000 a-year, by a man who affects to be a champion of order and religion. Macaulay's judgment has been confirmed by the public voice, which, rightly or wrongly, identifies Croker with the character of Rigby in Mr. Disraeli's Coningsby."This estimate offered by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Trevelyan) of John Wilson Croker's character—an estimate from the pen of one who could not be supposed to he biased—would seem to show that the present electors of Trinity College and University had no reason to be proud of one, at least, of their past Representatives. With regard to the action taken by the Representatives of the Dublin University in reference to the spread of education, it was not too much to say that on every occasion on which the question of Irish education had been raised, prior to the last Administration, the Members for that University had appeared as the most violent opponents of the educational movement. On the proposed grant to Maynooth College, in the year 1845, one of the Leaders of the opposition to that proposal, which was fair and just, and was eventually sanctioned by that House, was the then Representative of Trinity College, a man of no great eminence until he succeeded in becoming a Judge. The same remark might be made in regard to every one of the Representatives of Dublin University down to the present time, with the exception of the two right hon. and learned Gentlemen who were now returned by that constituency. It had been frequently stated that the University Representatives were returned for the purpose of guarding the Republic of Letters; but, from all the evidence yet afforded on the subject, the Republic of Letters existing within the walls of Trinity College consisted of a very narrow oligarchy. They knew that the 708 electors of Dublin University had obstinately refused to receive, with anything like favour, some of their most distinguished Members, because they happened to entertain enlightened and liberal views. Why was it that men like Professor Mahaffy and Professor M'Kay were not listened to in Trinity College? How was it that Professor Webb, a distinguished Professor of Law in Trinity College, only received about 20 votes when proposed as a candidate for Dublin University? How did it happen, in connection with Trinity College, that it was only aspiring lawyers—men who had passed from the College to the Treasury Bench as Attorney General or Solicitor General—were received as the Representatives of the electors of Dublin University? The University of Dublin in no way represented Irish education, and it had always been narrow and exclusive. It had been stated that Catholios were admitted to the University. Of course they were; but until recently their admission was subject to an oath. That oath had, however, been abolished, and Catholics might now be received; but still, with all this, the University remained the University of the minority of the Irish people. Virtually the Catholics of Ireland had nothing in the shape of a University, and the higher education of that country was unsatisfactory. With regard to the Royal University, that institution had no share in the University representation of Ireland. It had been incorporated with the Queen's University, which had, he believed, over 2,000 graduates, who, he assumed, were entitled to at least one Representative in Parliament on the same principle as had been recognized in the case of the London University, which had something like 2,100 electors. Nevertheless, it was neither proposed to give a separate representation to Queen's University, nor to amalgamate it with Trinity College. Furthermore, if one Member were taken from Trinity College, the proportion of representation would be made the same as in the cases of the Universities 'of London and of Edinburgh and St. Andrew's. Therefore, when he suggested that a step should be taken in the direction he had just indicated, he proposed nothing that was more extreme, or could work any greater elec- 709 toral injustice, than was perpetrated in the eases of the London and Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities. He had observed in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Beresford Hope), who had expressed his views in favour of the retention of University representation, that one of the reasons advanced by that right hon. Gentleman was that "the Universities were concentrated centres of learning and teaching, and, as some had said, of high thinking and low living." He was surprised to hear from such an authority that the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were places of low living, although he should have supposed they were places of plain living. When, therefore, he was told that those Universities were places of low living, he begged to protest against any such doctrine. Again, it should be said that while the Universities had been represented in that House, and it was claimed on behalf of their Members that they were the Representatives of learning, it was a singular fact that it had never yet fallen to the lot of a University Member to hold the Office of Minister of Education in this country; while the administration, of education had invariably, since 1873, fallen into the hands of those who had never been connected with the Universities. Furthermore, it was to be noted that the most distinguished University men had, as a rule, not been chosen as the Representatives of their Universities, but had generally been obliged to go to other constituencies in order to obtain seats in that House. Quite recently, in the case of the University of Cambridge, one of the most distinguished men in that University had been rejected by an overwhelming majority, and a Gentleman who was a perfect stranger had been elected. He (Mr. Kenny) regarded that as a disgrace to University representation, and as a distinct argument against the retention of the system. Similar things had occurred in many other cases, which, however, it was not necessary to recite. He might, perhaps, refer to the case in which the University of Oxford had refused to re-elect the right hon. Gentleman who was now at the head of the Government—a circumstance that had been remarked upon more than once in the course of that debate. It was an evidence of what he 710 must regard as the evil effect the system of University representation had upon Representatives that when the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister went elsewhere as Leader of the new crusade of Liberalism it was remarked that he was then "unmuzzled," which meant that he was released from the strictness of the University tests, and at liberty to become the Representative of Democracy. A distinguished Member of the Dublin University—the late Sir Jonas Barrington—once put forward as a serious argument that the people of Ireland ought not to be allowed to learn to read and write lest they might follow the programme given in a book of Moore's called Captain Rock; nevertheless, they succeeded in mastering the doctrines contained in Moore's famous work; but he (Mr. Kenny)felt confident that, even at the present time, there could be found in the University of Dublin men who argue in the same manner as Sir Jonas Barrington argued 70 years ago—men who talked about the pernicious doctrines of United Ireland becoming incorporated in the national teaching. He held that the more they examined the system of University representation, the more was it seen to be a system which ought not to be continued. The hon. Gentleman who last sought the representation of Cambridge University would probably have remained for a long time outside that House had it not been for the fact that a Liberal constituency in London chose to elect him. The hon. Member's Predecessor in that borough—the late Professor Fawcett—was a man who never represented a University, although he was a man of most distinguished University attainments; and innumerable instances might be cited in which Universities had rejected their most distinguished men and selected Gentlemen of a totally different stamp, merely because their political views were such as harmonized with those of the majority of the electors. He contended that the system of University representation had an evil effect on the inner life of the Universities themselves, because it was an unquestionable fact that politics were introduced where questions of learning alone should prevail; and it was well known that the selections made for the most important Chairs in the various Universities were dictated, not by a 711 regard for the actual fitness of the candidates, but rather by the harmony existing in point of political feeling between them and the Members for the Universities. On these grounds, therefore, he should give his support to the Amendment of the Iron, and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce); and, in conclusion, he would only add that, in his opinion, the system of University representation was an anachronism in itself, and, as it seemed to him, a fraud on the people.
§ MR. O'BRIEN
said, it was an unparalleled circumstance that a discussion of so much importance as that which had that evening been initiated by his hon. Friend the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) should have been allowed to proceed so far without a single voice from the Treasury Bench being raised. He regarded it as in the nature of a misfortune that the case of Trinity College should have been combined with the general question of University education. The discussion had proceeded under the depressing knowledge that the Government had bound themselves hand and foot to the wrong thing in reference to University education, the Irish Members believing that the case of Trinity College rested on a much different and a stronger foundation. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the senior Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) had expressed himself as being at a loss to know on what grounds the Irish Members specially attacked the representation of Trinity College. Their reply was, that if, as he believed was conceded by the Government, the case against University representation in general was a good one, it was infinitely stronger and better against a single University in Ireland which monopolized the whole of the University representation of the country, to the exclusion of another and—although he had no great admiration for the Royal University, he would say—a wider and more representative University. Was it not complained that the Members for the English Universities did not adequately express or represent the opinions of those Universities? What the Irish Members complained of was, that the two University Members sent from Ireland did not even represent a narrow portion of the University life of that country; but, on the contrary, 712 they were merely the Representatives of an institution that was a standing offence to the great body of those persons who were entitled to and who sought, University education there. That House had placed on the Statute Book, when it passed the Royal University Act, a confession of the unsatisfactory representative character of Trinity College. The present Prime Minister had gone out of Office in the year 1874 in an effort to find a substitute for it. The Royal University Act need never have been passed if Trinity College had been a really National University; and in dealing with the matter that House, as usual, only went halfway. It confessed that Trinity College was a failure; it confessed that the great majority of the University students would have to be provided for outside Trinity College; and still it preserved that institution, with all its huge revenues, amounting, according to his hon. friend the Member for the City of Cork, to £85,000 of Irish money a-year, preserving also its monopoly of University representation in Ireland; and now, of course, the easy defence of that monopoly was, that not only did Trinity College possess the lion's share of the money, but it also returned Representatives, as the House was so often informed, of the intelligence and culture of the country. The Irish Members had heard a good deal that evening—and he thought they had heard a little too much—of the culture and intelligence which was supposed to reside exclusively among their opponents in Ireland. They denied that Trinity College, to any extent, possessed a monopoly of the intelligence or culture of Ireland. They heard and knew enough of the very liberal estimate their opponents in Ireland formed of their own intelligence; but this matter was susceptible of rather better proof than their own confident assurances on the subject, and he was confident that the Irish people—however it might be with the House—were not very much impressed or overawed with the manifestations of superior intelligence which, from time to time, reached them from the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry), or from the galaxy of Gentlemen above the Gangway who represented the landlord section in Ireland. He did not speak of the Irish University Members, as to 713 whose abilities he certainly did not wish to subtract one word from the eulogium of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy); but he spoke of hon. Gentlemen who generally sat behind them, and who, he believed, reflected much more faithfully the Tory political and general idiosyncracies of Ireland. These Gentlemen were not over-wise in taunting the Irish people with their barrenness of that culture of which they themselves were the finished product. It set the Irish people thinking of the causes of their position, and recalled to their minds a state of facts that, he fancied, English statesmanship had much more cause to blush for than had his countrymen, and that Orange statesmanship had much more cause to blush for—if they could conceive such a thing as Orange statesmanship or as Orangemen blushing at anything. What were the facts? Why, during the past five years, under the intermediate education system and under the Royal University Act, the conditions of competition in intelligence in Ireland had been to some extent equalized; and he did not think it was the people they (the Irish Members below the Gangway on the Opposition side of the House) who had come off worst. Of course, Trinity College was saved from any vulgar test of that kind. Trinity College had plenty of money, nobody to compete with, and nobody to account to. It entered into no sort of competition by which it could be judged. They knew this—that the President of the Queen's College in Cork always claimed in his Reports that his standard of education was higher than the standard of Trinity College; and it was perfectly notorious that the pupils in Trinity College who were educated up to its highest standard were simply nowhere in contests with students of the Royal University, who were sent up from the Endowed Colleges in Ireland. The talk they constantly heard and the airs of intellectual superiority they constantly saw assumed on the part of Trinity College might impose on the Committee; but in Ireland these things simply excited the amusement of practical educationalists. Who were these paragons, these graduate electors of Trinity College, who were preserved as though they were the oxygen of the Irish political atmosphere? Why, the sons of land agents and small gentry in 714 Ireland—a class whom one of the most distinguished Professors in Trinity College had described as the most ignorant, the most unlettered, and worthless gentry in Europe. Then there were the gentlemen of the Protestant Divinity School in Trinity College, nearly every smart young fellow from which body came over here to England the moment he could get any situation in the Church of England, and never had anything more to do with the Irish Church than, perhaps, the recording of a vote for the right hon. and learned Gentlemen the Members for Dublin University. Then there were the doctors and the lawyers. He utterly repudiated the claim either of Trinity College or its Members to represent the intelligence of Ireland even in these professional bodies. He maintained that they only represented a faction, and a yearly-decreasing faction, even within that large Party. The great bulk of the Irish doctors belonged not to Trinity College, but to the Catholic University School of Medicine, and were Nationalists heart and soul. As to the lawyers, it was another of the extraordinarily monstrous monopolies that Trinity College had managed to get hold of, that it had the right to compel every law student in Ireland to pass through it. Under influences of that sort, and under the influence of the £100,000 a-year which the Government spent in the corruption of the people of Ireland, up to a short time ago Irish barristers were as anti-National as right hon. Gentlemen could wish. They took their politics with just as easy virtue as they took their fees—acoording to the amount that was marked on their briefs. But it was perfectly notorious that, even at the Irish Bar, there had been a very remarkable revulsion of feeling of late. Perhaps it was partly due to the attitude of the Government. They had been cutting down the Judgeships and other sources of corruption now that political lawyers in Ireland of the stamp of Judge Keogh were no longer worth their salt. He believed the revulsion of feeling at the Bar, however, to be largely due to higher motives—to the working up into higher social strata and to higher levels of the National and Democratic movement in Ireland. But whether that was so or not, though it might be a bold thing to say, he believed that if there were a select ballot taken at this moment in 715 the Hall of the Pour Courts in Dublin in favour of the two Dublin University Members, who were extremely popular in their Profession, and the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), he did not think those right hon. and learned Gentlemen would be as secure of their majority as they were to-night; and he was sure that, so far as the law students were concerned—the lawyers of the future—the right hon. and learned Gentlemen would do well to endeavour to provide themselves with a more tractable constituency. There was no more extraordinary delusion in the English mind than the notion that had been put into it that the National movement in Ireland throve on ignorance, and that the seats the right hon. and learned Gentlemen the Members for the University of Dublin occupied were the last refuges and entrenchments of the distressed intelligence of the country. He maintained that exactly the reverse of that was the truth. If they took up a map of Ireland, showing the organization of the National League, he ventured to say that in the wretched illiterate communities along the Western seaboard, which, in England, were habitually supposed to be the headquarters of Irish disaffection, they would find very few branches, and they would find that popular demonstration was extremely feeble. In those counties where education was most widespread, and where the standard of intelligence amongst the people was the highest, it would be found that the National movement had reached its greatest intensity. Even in the North of Ireland, where, amongst the Orange farmers, it was so difficult to get them to read anything on the side of the Nationalists, or even on their own side, it was found that the higher the ratio of education in a district the stronger was the League, and the more confirmed was the antipathy to the present system of government. He could point to a hundred proofs of what he said. He knew himself that the greatest hot-bed of Nationality in Ireland at that moment were the very schools and Colleges in which the future University graduates were being trained. When the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork visited his constituency, one of the most ardent addresses of welcome he was always sure to receive was an address from 716 the students in the Queen's College in Cork. The senior Member for the University of Dublin was, he believed, President of the Historical Society in Trinity College; and he ventured to think the right hon. and learned Gentleman would admit that he had received a great many indications, in addresses and otherwise, from members of that Society within the walls of his own College, that National and Democratic principles were beginning to infect even his own constituents. In the same way with the great body of intelligence outside the University in Ireland. The last time his hon. Friend (Mr. Parnell) was in Cork a deputation of Conservative gentlemen of wealth, standing, and intelligence—men like Sir George Colthurst and Sir John Arnot—waited upon him just as they would formerly have waited upon a Lord Lieutenant, and invited his assistance, and placed the practical regulation of the business of the county in his hands. Where were evidences of this kind that the Members for the University of Dublin could show for their own faction in Ireland? Where were the converts they were making? There were none. On the contrary, it was notorious that this element in the country was forsaking its politics, except, of course, the residuum of old-fashioned fanatics and the landlords, who lived on the oppression and the misfortunes of the poor. He must do the right hon. and learned Gentlemen themselves the justice to say that they did not even represent faithfully or fully the intolerance and illiberality of their own constituents. On the contrary, it was well known that they were very often reproached in the organs of the Orange faction in Ireland with not appearing as frequently in the van of Orange riots and counter-demonstrations as some of their more advanced Colleagues were in the habit of doing. They were taunted with aiming more at being English politicians than Irish Tory politicians. He did not at all find fault with them for making that their aim; and he should think that these right hon. and learned Gentlemen would be rather obliged to the House than otherwise if it allowed them to transfer their undoubted abilities to some snug and tranquil English Tory seats, and relieved them of the disagreeable necessity of living down to the practice of the prejudices and caprices of their Orange constituencies. The 717 youth and intelligence of Ireland, he maintained, were on his side, and were not likely to he silent with regard to unreal and fancy representation of this kind. Parliament must either suppress the voice of Ireland altogether, or else he prepared to hear it spoken out very emphatically and uncompromisingly, even if they did not like it. Any real representation of the people of Ireland they would not like—that was very certain. It was no defence of a close borough like Trinity College to say that the Gentlemen who represented it in that House were men that the House liked, and that, possibly, the Representatives who would be elected by any real National University would be men whom the House would dislike. That would be a good argument against bestowing anything like equal franchises upon Ireland. He would not say whether or not the House was wise in bestowing equal franchises; but if they did bestow them they should do it frankly and ungrudgingly, and take the consequences, instead of continuing to live in a fool's paradise as to the opinion of the people of Ireland. They ought not to keep up this representation of the close borough of Trinity College merely for the purpose—for that was what it came to—of relieving the insignificant Tory Party in Ireland when it was submitted to the common test of the Ballot.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 79; Noes 260: Majority 181.—(Div. List, No. 47.)
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, he rose to move an Amendment in page 1, line 12, after "boroughs," insert—In England and Wales which had a less population than 20,000, according to the Census of 1881, and the Parliamentary borough in Scotland and Ireland which had a less population than 15,000, according to the Census of 1881, and which are.He submitted the Amendment with special reference to the increase of the numbers of the House from 658 to 670. Hon. Members were aware that, if the Bill were accepted in its present form, with no further measure of disfranchisement, the number of the House would be enlarged to 670 Members. The first part of the 1st Schedule now contained the names of all boroughs under 15,000 population which it was proposed should no longer have separate representation 718 and in the scheme of the Boundary Commissioners it had been arranged that the boroughs should be merged in their respective counties. He proposed, by his Amendment, that there should be added to this Schedule the names of all boroughs in England and Wales which had a smaller population than 20,000 according to the Census of 1881. The chief object of the Amendment was to affirm that it was better to proceed by disenfranchising boroughs of under 20,000 population rather than to make an addition to the numbers of the House. The increase proposed in Scotland was 12. On that day week he had complained of his right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke), because he stated, by anticipation, an objection on the part of Her Majesty's Government to this Amendment; but he was now disposed to thank the right hon. Baronet for having given him an opportunity of replying so early in his observations to the objection raised. The right hon. Baronet had said that Her Majesty's Government would object to the Amendment because it did not draw an even line between the three parts of the United Kingdom. Well, he should be glad to meet the right hon. Baronet's view; and so very strong was his repugnance to the increase in the numbers of the House that, if the right hon. Baronet would accept the proposal, he should be willing to take out the number of 15,000 from his statement as applied to Scotland and Ireland and to insert 20,000. He thought, however, he should be able to show the Committee that his Amendment would be better as it stood. The increase proposed for Scotland was 12. Now, in 1832 and in 1868, Scotland obtained an increase of her representation in this House, but not by enlargement of the numbers of the House. Scotland then obtained an increase in the way in which he proposed that she should now obtain a further increase. The Bill fixed the limit of disfranchisement of boroughs at 15,000; and he was quite sure that there was a general impression in the House and in the country that—at least in the most populous of the Three Kingdoms—20,000 would be a better limit. Now, if the Committee were to adopt the Amendment what would be the consequences? There were in England, according to the 719 Census of 1881 which governed the Bill, 16 boroughs of between 15,000 and 20,000 population. There was not one borough in Wales that came within that limit. There was Radnor County with 16,872; but there was no borough. In the electoral statistics the Montgomery Boroughs appeared under 20,000; but in the more authentic Census the population was 20,042. In Scotland there were two—namely, the St. Andrew's group and the Wick group. There was also Bute County. In Ireland there were three boroughs between these limits; but he was sure the Committee would recognize the fact that the distribution of the people was very different in Scotland and Ireland, and he did not propose, by the Amendment, to merge in counties either the two Scottish groups or the three Irish boroughs—Newry, Galway, and Kilkenny—which came within the limit. The Committee would, he was sure, recognize the convenience of the plan he proposed to adopt. And if this important question of preference between further disfranchisement or increase of the number of the House were left until they reached the Schedules, the Committee would be greatly embarrassed in its procedure by the difficulty of making a choice of names; whereas, if the Committee adopted the proposal in the Amendment, they would be following the lines of previous Reform Bills. If they took the 16 English boroughs for further disenfranchisement, they would be proceeding upon the lines of 1832 and 1868. But the Committee would observe that, of these 16 boroughs, the boundaries of one—namely, Newcastle-under-Lyme, were so altered by the 5th Schedule of the Seats Bill as to include a population of 62,000; so they might, therefore, say that there remained only 15 boroughs in England of under 20,000 population. For adopting that limit of disfranchisement they had the authority of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright), who, last year, since the production of this Bill, made a strong recommendation to his constituency in favour of adopting the limit of 20,000. He (Mr. Arnold), however, thought there was good reason for adopting the lower limit of 15,000 in regard to Scotland and Ireland as proposed by the Bill if they adopted 20,000 fur England and Wales. A town 720 of 15,000 population in Scotland or Ireland had even a greater relative importance than a town of 20,000 in England or Wales, and the distribution of seats in Scotland was entirely different to that which prevailed in this country. In Scotland the system of grouping existed, and that system was not disturbed by the present Bill. He would call the attention of the Committee to the fact that last year, in the Franchise Bill, the Government established, or, he should say, re-established, a serious difference between Scotland and England. In Scotland the soil of the boroughs was excluded from the Parliamentary county; while in England the soil of the boroughs formed a part of the county. In Ireland there were differences of franchise; and recently, in passing the Corrupt Practices Act, a different scale of expenditure for elections in that country had been established. Under the Bill now before the Committee there would only remain nine boroughs in Ireland returning Members to this House; and he thought it would be very undesirable indeed that they should, by amending the Bill, reduce that small number of boroughs from nine to six. It would be impossible to justify some differences that existed; but he was disposed to contend that it was not difficult to justify the difference of 5,000 in the limit in the Three Kingdoms. Indeed, he thought it would not be just to the circumstances of the population in Ireland and Scotland if a distinction of this kind were not made. The plan he recommended would give the measure greater permanence. The alternative was an increase of the numbers of the House, and he thought there were considerable reasons to be urged against that alternative. It went for something that the number 658 had endured since the foundation of the United Kingdom. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, speaking on this subject the other night, had referred to this particular figure of 658 as a superstition. He (Mr. Arthur Arnold) thought he was as free from superstition as the right hon. Baronet; but he attached importance to prescription. At the foundation of the United Kingdom the distribution of Members was 513 for England and Wales, 45 for Scotland, and 100 for Ireland. In 1865, 20 years 721 ago, the distribution stood thus—England and Wales 500 seats, Scotland 53, and Ireland 105. In 1868 Scotland, as he had said, gained seven, and the distribution then stood—England and "Wales 493, Scotland GO, Ireland 105. Since that time Sligo and Cashel had been disfranchised, reducing the Irish seats to 103. Bridgwater and Beverley had also been disfranchised, reducing the English and Welsh number to 489. Latterly, other seats had been held in abeyance, though not abolished; and the fact remained that ever since the Union—ever since the formation of the United Kingdom—the number of the Members in this House had been 658. Now, in 1832 and in 1868, England, to use the words of the Prime Minister, had contributed out of her abundance to the poverty of Scotland, and he now proposed she should do so in 1885. In regard to Great Britain, without enlarging the number of the House of Commons, they had, exclusive of University seats, 548 seats to be distributed. With the seven University seats they were 555. Surely that was a Chamber numerous enough for a population of 30,000,000. In 1881 the population of Great Britain, divided by 548, gave 54,200 as the number of population for each seat, a figure which the Prime Minister, in introducing the Bill, had quoted; and one of his (Mr. Arthur Arnold's) strongest objections to increasing the number of Members was, that by so doing they diminished the ratio of population to seats. A population of 54,200 would contain scarcely more than 6,000 electors. If they increased the number of the House, and carried out the single-seat system, they must form constituencies with a smaller electorate for each seat, and so bring about the danger of a revival of corrupt practices. The right hon. Gentleman, in 1866, and again last year, spoke of this matter as one of policy and convenience. ["No, no!"] Well, he would not dispute on that subject; but he maintained that when the ratio of population to seats was one to 54,200, it was a matter of more than questionable policy to increase the number of seats in the House. There was another reason of policy against such an increase, which had been most forcibly stated by the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman had said in 1866— 722We have concluded, upon the whole, after some consideration, that this House would be disinclined to add to its number, "because if the proposal to increase were once assented to, it would be difficult to risk the continual intrusion of new places.Nothing was more evident than that this Bill was not a final measure of Reform. If the single-Member system-—the system of electoral districts established by the Bill—was to endure, it must be carried throughout; and he expected that upon the publication of the Census of 1891 a movement would be organized for the completion of the work. If they now consented to an increase of the number of the House, how would they resist further demands to carry the single-Member system to its logical conclusion, which would probably be made in six or seven years? So much for the question of policy. With regard to convenience, he should be surprised if there was an argument in favour of increase. He would not dwell upon the fact that the House was practically full when there were 350 Members in it. It might be said that it would be possible to build a larger House. But he did not think it would be possible to build a House with seats for 700 Members, and to continue the conduct of our debates upon the English system. They must then adopt the Continental system and have a pulpit or rostrum, and give up the English way of Members rising in their places to address the House. Then he would call attention to the fact that Scotland herself had rejected this policy of increase for her benefit. In 1868 his right hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Baxter) had carried an Instruction, affirming that it was better to disfranchise boroughs in England of under 5,000 population than to increase the number of Members in the House. The right hon. Gentleman had carried that Instruction with the strenuous aid and assistance of the Prime Minister and the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. Though this was an illustrious Parliament, it was well to look abroad. There was no Chamber in the world with so many Members in proportion to the population. The House of Representatives at Washington had 325 Members; the French Chamber, 557; the German Reichstag, 397; and the Prussian Chamber, for a population nearly as large as that of Great Britain, had 723 432. There was, of course, no magic about the figure 658; but upon that figure there ought to be no advance without proved necessity, and the terms of his Amendment must, he was sure, carry the conviction to the minds of hon. Members that there was no proved necessity. There had probably not been a Member of the House during the century who had held a position of greater respect and regard in the opinion of the House than Sir George Grey. Well, there were a few words which he had spoken exactly relative to this question that he (Mr. Arthur Arnold) would ask the permission of the Committee to quote. Sir George Grey, in the course of a debate that took place on this subject in 1867, said—I cannot help feeling that the greatest inconvenience will follow any departure from that number (658), which rests on long prescription, without the most paramount necessity. I hope we may do justice to Scotland without incurring so serious an inconvenience.He (Mr. Arthur Arnold) thought he had shown that on no grounds of policy or of convenience was this increase desirable. There was no "paramount necessity" in the present case. But this was only a part of the argument. Why should the process of merging small boroughs in counties stop in this very populous country at 15,000? In Lancashire the Bill gave one seat to about 60,000 population. Why should they be asked to increase the number of the House in order to retain boroughs with less than a third of that population? Why should they be asked to increase the numbers of the House merely so as to retain 15 constituencies in England with an average of 17,000 population each? In 1867, when Mr. Disraeli's Reform Bill was before the House, it was proposed that 7,000 should be the limit at which boroughs should cease to return two Members to the House; and the hon. Member for Orkney (Mr. Laing) had proposed an Amendment similar to that now before the Committee to raise the limit of 7,000 to 10,000. The hon. Member proposed that, and, with the assistance of the Prime Minister, carried it. What did Her Majesty's Government do on that occasion? Why, they immediately accepted the proposal, and he earnestly hoped that a Liberal Government would not be less ready to adopt an improve- 724 ment. The Government had in part proposed—and he was exceedingly glad of it—that no borough containing a smaller population than 50,000 should send a Member to the House; but if they now sanctioned an increase in the number of Members in order to retain 15 boroughs having an average of 17,000 population, would it be possible for them to keep the number of the House to 670? He was convinced that their efforts ought rather to be in the other direction. Lord Grey, Lord Brougham, and other great authorities had been in favour of a considerable diminution in the number of that House. If 555 seats were not enough for Great Britain—more than five times the representation of the Kingdom of Ireland, where were they to stop? He regretted very much indeed that the Prime Minister had given the great weight of his authority to the proposal for an increase in the number of Members. Long after they who now sat in the House had passed away the right Gentleman's words would be quoted in the House. All that could be done on the other hand was to express dissent and vote against the proposal. He had heard it said that this question was not to be regarded as an open question; but he could not believe that report. He could not believe that the question of the increase of the numbers of the House would ever be treated by a Government as a question not absolutely within the discretion of the House at large. Surely, if there was one question more than another which ought to be left to the unbiased judgment of the House it was this. No pressure whatever should be put upon hon. Members. He should say that the acceptance of the Amendment would cause no general disturbance of the boundary scheme of the Government. He would undertake that if the right hon. Baronet the President of the Local Government Board would consult Sir John Lambert and his Colleagues as to the carrying out of the Amendment, they would assure him that all the changes consequent upon it could be arranged within three days, and that within that time the Amendments could be placed upon the Paper. Long before the Committee came to the Schedules the changes consequent upon the Amendment could be incorporated in the Bill; and there would be no interruption of 725 progress with the measure. Twelve of the 15 seats might he needed for Scotland. In that case three would remain to assist in the redistribution of the 14 English counties which would be affected. Following the precedent of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Orkney, in 1867, he did not propose to say anything on the question of redistribution. He left that to the Government. The places dealt with by the Amendment would not be disfranchised even in name. Each would assume the more proper character of a centre of the division of the county in which it was situated. The Committee, he thought, would see that the Amendment would be a great improvement on the Boundary Commissioners' scheme. In the county of Bedford the Commissioners proposed that there should be two divisions having each of them 60,000 population; and yet in that county they kept the borough of Bedford, with a population of 19,000, returning a separate Member. He was sure the Committee would see how much better the arrangement would be if Bedford were divided equally in regard to that population and three seats were given. Then, take Cornwall. It was proposed to divide it into divisions, having each of them a population of 50,000, and yet they retained the borough of Penryn with a population of about 18,000. The retention by the Committee of such an anomaly as this in order to increase the number of the House would be a matter passing his comprehension. For these reasons he begged to move that the words of which he had given Notice be inserted in the Bill.
In page 1, line 12, after the word "boroughs" to insert the words "in England and Wales which had a less population than 20,000, according to the Census of 1881, and the Parliamentary boroughs in Scotland and Ireland, which had a less population than 15,000, according to the Census of 1881, and which are."—(Mr. Arthur Arnold.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
As my hon. Friend (Mr. Arthur Arnold) proposes to carry the Bill further in the disfranchising direction than it already goes, it is desirable I should begin my remarks by pointing out to the Committee how large already is the change proposed by the Bill—very much larger 726 than the change which has ever been proposed in any Reform Bill. By this Bill 164 seats are taken away from constituencies and given to other constituencies, as against the 143 seats so taken away in 1–832. There are also six seats which were disfranchised in 1871, and which are allotted to other constituencies, making 170, as against 143. Then it is proposed to increase the number of Members by 12, so that 182 seats are to be disposed of, as against 143. Now, my hon. Friend thinks that the constituencies against which he points this Amendment sin or err against the general rules of proportion based on population. The change which is made by the Bill as regards proportion based upon population is an enormous one. At the present moment there is a discrepancy of 106 to 1, as between the most represented and the least represented constituencies in the country, taking population as the basis of calculation. Taking the electors as the basis of calculation, there is a discrepancy of 250 to 1. These proportions of 106 to 1 in some cases, and 250 to 1 in other cases, are altered by the Bill to the extreme disproportion of six to one. That is the most extreme disproportion under the present Bill. Now, my hon. Friend's Amendment would not carry this matter much further; the alteration would be one that would not be very considerable as compared with the six to one. Before I come to the special object of my hon. Friend's Amendment, I may tell the Committee that this is a matter upon which it is necessary to draw some line, to take some stand. Of course, we cannot expect that all Members, even those of the Party sitting on this side of the House, will agree in desiring to have one particular line drawn. This is a question of the balance of advantage and of disadvantage; and my own belief is, that we should not have met with general support in the House had we proposed to go further than we have proposed to go. My hon. Friend has assumed that these boroughs which he attacks are all boroughs which are on the decline. That is very far from being the case. At least four of them have very considerably more than 20,000 inhabitants at the present time, and some of them are rapidly increasing in population. My hon. Friend says that the average population of these 727 boroughs is 17,000; but I think it is well to point out that some of them are rapidly increasing. Hereford, Stafford, and Bedford have now more than 20,000 inhabitants, and the population of Windsor is now up to 20,000. Pontefract, which was the smallest of the boroughs in 1881, is the borough which is growing most rapidly, although its population has not yet reached 20,000. My hon. Friend has excepted Montgomery from his list, and stated that the population of that place is over 20,000. I have some reason for doubting that statement. [Mr. ARTHUR ARNOLD: According to the Census.] There is some doubt as to the exact population of Montgomery; but I will not press the point. My hon. Friend says he cannot conceive that we can put forward any valid plea for the retention of the representation of these boroughs. I must point out to my hon. Friend that he cannot make the disfranchisement of boroughs of under 15,000 or 20,000 inhabitants a matter of principle. The question must be settled by the consideration of what is best to do. My hon. Friend has assumed that three of the seats he would release would go to England, and that the remaining seats would go to Scotland; but the seats he would give to Scotland would considerably disturb the county averages, and that is a matter which must be borne in mind. He says it is easy to make the necessary re-arrangements. It stands to reason that a large number of county divisions would be disturbed. [Mr. ARTHUR ARNOLD: Fourteen.] More than 14 county divisions would be disturbed, and a great deal of trouble would have to be taken by the House in consequence. My hon. Friend has said that his proposal would not cause any great or general disturbance of our scheme. That is very far indeed from being the case, for my hon. Friend has left entirely out of account one of the most delicate balances of the whole scheme, and that is the balance between borough and county. He proposes to take 16 borough seats from England, or to reduce the borough representation of England by that number of seats. But, under the Government's proposal, the boroughs and counties of England are represented at the same ratio; therefore, if the Amendment were adopted, there would be a complete disturbance of the ratio as between boroughs and counties. It will be 728 found by anyone who looks through this Bill that the very large counties are better treated than the very large boroughs—boroughs of the same size—but that is a necessity, if we are to keep a general balance between boroughs and counties. We have thought it desirable to make a fair balance between boroughs and counties. The counties of England contain, as proposed by us, 12,606,000 people; and the boroughs of England, as altered or extended by us, contain 12,106,000. We propose 234 county and 226 borough Members for England. The proportion of population in boroughs and counties, under our scheme, is almost exactly the same. The proportion in counties is one Member to every 53,400 people, and in boroughs one Member to every 53,600—almost exactly the same. My hon. Friend would undoubtedly disturb that proportion. By taking away 16 borough seats from England, he would altogether put the English boroughs, as boroughs, in a worse position than the English counties as such. My hon. Friend is not doing what he calls justice to England. He has strongly protested against increasing the number of Members of the House; but he has hardly put clearly before the Committee what it is he proposes by his Amendment to do. He proposes to leave the representation of Ireland at 103, and he proposes to leave the representation of Wales as it is now, Wales being very much more represented than England. ["Hear, hear!"] There would never be the slightest attempt on my part to conceal that fact. Both Wales and Ireland, being over-represented as compared with England as a whole, my hon. Friend proposes to increase the disproportion; he proposes to take 16 seats from England, and leave the representation of Ireland and Wales as at present. Whatever complaint there is to be made against the proposals of the Bill, in this Amendment my hon. Friend intensifies the evil against which some hon. Members have been protesting. It is only necessary that the Committee should clearly see what is the effect of the proposal of my hon. Friend to cause them to reject it.
§ MR. R. N. FOWLER,
said, he wished to give the reason why, if his hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold) went to a division, he would vote with him. Of course, there was a 729 good deal in the speech of his hon. Friend with which he could not agree. For instance, the hon. Gentleman objected very strongly to the proposed increase of the number of Members from 658 to 670. Now, he (Mr. E. N. Fowler) did not see that any valid objection could be raised to that increase. At that moment six seats were disfranchised; and he believed that four others, those for Sandwich and Macclesfield, were to be added to the list. He did not imagine that in future there would be such a reign of electoral purity that boroughs would cease to be disfranchised. Some of the boroughs against which his hon. Friend directed his Amendment were boroughs which, it was well known, were very corrupt. He (Mr. It. N. Fowler) apprehended that they would continue to be corrupt, and that before long some of them would be disfranchised. In course of time, therefore, it was very possible that Members would be brought down to the normal number of 658. Certainly, in his opinion, Her Majesty's Government had, under all the difficulties of the question, acted wisely in increasing the number of Members to 670. His reason for supporting the Amendment was that, if the limit of disfranchisement were fixed at 15,000 inhabitants, it would be found that the disfranchisement of the boroughs having from 15,000 to 20,000 population would remain an open question; but if no borough remained with a population of below 20,000, the question of redistribution would very likely be settled for a very considerable time. He supposed they were all anxious that this Bill should settle the question of Reform for this generation at least; none of them were desirous that the question should in their time be re-opened. He was aware that some hon. Members sitting on the Benches below the Ministerial Gangway were prepared to advocate manhood suffrage; but that, however, was not the question the Committee were now considering. If the Bill enacted that no constituency with less than 20,000 inhabitants could send a Member to the House, the settlement would, in his opinion, prevail for this generation, and perhaps for a much longer period; if, however, the limit of disfranchisement was fixed at 15,000, he was afraid the question would be re-opened very soon. He should be very glad to see 730 the Amendment adopted, though not on all the grounds stated by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford. No doubt, various claims would be put forward against some of the disfranchising clauses of the Bill; but if this Amendment were adopted those claims could be very properly met.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 21; Noes 213: Majority 192.—(Div. List, No. 48.)
§ VISCOUNT CRICHTON,
in rising to move, as an Amendment, the insertion, in page 1, linel3, after the word "Act," of the words—Except such boroughs in Ireland as were returned under the Census of 1881, as having a population of 10,000 or over,said, the object of the Amendment was to remedy, to a certain extent, a great injustice, as he considered it, to the town population of Ireland. As the Bill stood, it proposed to reduce the urban representation of Ireland by 20 Members, on from36tol6; and of those 16 one-half, or 8, were allotted to the towns of Dublin and Belfast. He considered that that was not only unfair to the urban communities, but it also contained a great practical danger, as it tended to throw political power in Ireland entirely into the hands of one class of the community—namely, the agricultural class. Even though there were no large towns in Ireland except Dublin and Belfast, it was quite a mistake to suppose that there was no urban element. There was a very large urban element scattered up and down throughout the country in small towns; and those towns, small though they were, had all the characteristics of urban constituencies. They had their merchants and their manufacturers, and their artizan classes, all widely differing from the rural element by which they were surrounded. According to the Census Returns of 1881, the borough population of Ireland—that was to say, the population included in the boroughs which now existed—amounted to 901,454 against a county population of 4,263,844. But that borough population by no means represented the whole of the urban population of Ireland; because, if all the towns having a population of 3,000 and upwards were taken, there would 731 be an increase to the urban population of 303,735, making a total urban population of 1.205,189, for whom representation ought to be provided. Taking away the population of the towns proposed to be disfranchised by this Bill, the urban population entitled to separate Parliamentary representation would be reduced to 730,284, and one Member would be given for every 45,000. But for the total urban population of 1,205,000 there was only a Member to every 75,000. There were two ways, by either of which this great inequality and injustice might be remedied. One was the plan which would be proposed hereafter by his hon. Friend the Member for Down patrick (Mr. Mulholland), and which aimed at the extension of the system which now prevailed in Scotland and in Wales—the system of grouping the smaller boroughs together. The other plan was the one contained in the Amendment which he (Viscount Crichton) now had the honour to move. He believed that this Amendment had the merit of simplicity, and that it would involve the least possible disturbance of existing arrangements under the Bill. The six boroughs which the Amendment proposed to preserve, but which under the Bill would be extinguished, were Dun-dalk, Drogheda, Wexford, Lisburn, Armagh, and Carrickfergus. Three of the Members for them could be supplied by taking one from each of the three counties in which the boroughs were situated, and the other three seats could be taken from the already over-represented counties in Leinster. He believed the Amendment, although not a very large one, would go some way towards remedying the inequality and injustice of the Bill, and of which he thought the urban element in Ireland had a right to complain. It was with that view that he made the proposition.
§ Amendment proposed,
§ In page 1, line 13, after the word "Act," to insert the-words, "except such boroughs in Ireland as were returned, under the Census of 1881, as having a population of 10,000 or over."—(Viscount Crichton.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
There is a good deal to be said, at first sight, for the proposal to keep alive a certain number of the small Irish. Parliamentary 732 boroughs at the expense of the Irish counties, because there are so few boroughs in that country. When the first sketch of this Bill was being prepared, I took a great deal of pains to investigate, with the sanction of my Colleagues, the existing condition of the smaller Irish boroughs; and, from the best information that could be obtained, it appeared that a fairer representation was to be got from the counties than from the boroughs, and that there was not any real distinction in the pursuits of the people between the boroughs and the counties. ["Oh, oh!"] I am only giving the Committee the information which we obtained. What Ave were told was that the small boroughs in Ireland are, as a rule, supported by the farmers; that they have no trade or manufactures; and that even the shopkeepers in these towns are farmers in the counties, as well as shopkeepers in the towns. Such boroughs, therefore, are dependent on the farmers, and have no special or separate interests apart from the counties. The noble viscount who has made this proposal has given us a list of six of these boroughs. In two cases the population of the boroughs that he wished to save is only just over 10,000, and the population of some of the others is a dwindling population. The population of Armagh is only just over 10,000, and so is that of Carrickfergus. The noble "Viscount, when he placed his proposal before the Committee, very naturally did not go into much detail as to where he proposes to get the six seats from. It is very easy to give seats, but much more difficult to sustain a proposal to take seals away. If these six boroughs in Ireland are to be specially and exceptionally saved, the seats must necessarily be obtained from Irish counties. Now, before we consent to make any exception in favour of the small Irish boroughs, we ought to know more clearly from what quarter the seats are to be obtained. The noble Viscount has spoken of six seats to be obtained, one each from Louth, Antrim, and Armagh, and the other three are to be obtained from the over-represented Leinster counties as he calls them. Now, if they are over-represented, they are over-represented by being let alone. It is not the proposal of the Bill to increase their representation; but it is the fact that they have two Members each now, 733 while they are rather small for two. It is the general principle of the Bill to leave undisturbed the seats of counties which are of middle size. They are left undisturbed in all parts of the United Kingdom; and it is rather difficult to justify a proposal to disturb them, and to take seats from them in Ireland, without also proceeding to take seats away from the over-represented agricultural counties of England. There are a number of counties in England which are very small, and which are represented a good deal above the average. If you were to take away one seat from each of these counties in Ireland, you would have similar proposals for the agricultural counties of England. I do not know whether the Committee is prepared to open so wide a door as that by accepting this proposal. It is also dangerous for Irish representation generally to open this question. Take the county of Fermanagh, for instance, which is far from being the smallest county in Ireland—there are several smaller—but even the county of Fermanagh, with two Members, is much smaller than the county of Mid Lothian and four or five other counties in Scotland which have but one Member, and which are left alone by the Bill. It would be dangerous to make special provision for these special and exceptional cases, and very difficult to do it in Ireland without making changes in the Scotch constituencies. If a special and exceptional treatment were to be extended to Ireland, I should have thought it would have been better to follow the general lines of the Bill, and take the Members from counties the representation of which it is proposed to increase. That would open a much less dangerous door, though I cannot myself hold out any hope that even such a proposal as that would be considered a desirable one. At the same time, if this general Amendment should be negatived, it would not prevent the raising of one or two oases which hon. Members may desire to bring forward later, where they are cases of boroughs which might possibly be brought over the 15,000 line.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
I am very glad to find, in the concluding remarks of the right hon. Baronet, symptoms that he may be able to concede something to the wishes of my noble Friend (Viscount Crichton) 734 in this matter, because it seems to me that, as the Bill now stands, it does deal in a very remarkable way with the borough representation of Ireland. I say this without any Party view of any kind. Whatever Members these constituencies may return, and in whatever part of the House they may sit, it is a matter of some importance that the boroughs of the country, as distinguished from the counties, should have their due representation. That is provided in England, because here we have a large number of large towns; and, notwithstanding the great change that is made by this Bill in the proportion of representation between boroughs and counties, still, owing to the existence of these large towns, the borough population in England will be adequately represented. That is also the case in Scotland and in Wales. They are not countries in which, with rare exceptions, there are any large towns at all. In Wales there is only one county—Glamorganshire—in which there is any large town, and yet in this Bill there is no attempt whatever to abolish the borough representation of Wales. In the same way, although in a great part of Scotland the borough groups consist of very small towns indeed, there is no attempt to abolish the borough representation. Therefore, the borough representation of Scotland and Wales is to be preserved, although in both those countries the towns comprised in the groups are very small, having, as the right hon. Baronet has just pointed out in regard to Ireland, precisely similar interests with the counties in which they are situated, to a far greater extent than is the case in many instances in Ireland, because very often they are no more than mere villages. This Bill preserves, then, in one way or another, the borough representation of England, Scotland, and Wales, and yet it almost entirely extinguishes the borough representation of Ireland, because there are only eight Members, besides those allotted to Dublin and Belfast, who will in future, under this Bill, be Irish borough Representatives. Now, speaking for myself alone, I do not think that this is a fair and adequate representation. I remember very well that some years ago, when I had the honour to hold the Office of Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, it fell to my lot to address the House 735 upon the provisions of a Sunday Closing Bill for Ireland. I objected to that Bill principally on the score of the extreme difficulty, as it appeared to me, of carrying out the provisions of the measure in the large towns; and the right hon. Gentleman who is now Prime Minister (Mr. Gladstone) at once answered me with great force, by pointing to the fact that Ireland was not a country of large towns, and that, therefore, my objection did not apply. It seems to me that in this Bill the Government have really forgotten that Ireland is not a country of large towns, and that yet Irish borough representation ought to be preserved. I do not think it is quite the fact, although I do not presume to offer an opinion as against that of any Irish Representatives— I do not think it is quite the fact, as stated by the right hon. Baronet, that in the smaller Irish boroughs there are no distinct pursuits as compared with the counties. Certainly it is the case that in some Irish boroughs on the sea coast, as in Kinsale, there is a very distinct fishing interest, which would undoubtedly have no representation at all if that borough was turned into the county, because it would be entirely swamped by the agricultural population. In the same way, in the North, there is a distinct manufacturing interest, as at Lisburn, which, if thrown into the county, would be swamped by the agricultural interest. I therefore think that there is some ground for the suggestion made to the Committee that, in some way or other, this blot in the Bill should be dealt with, and some further representation given to the borough population of Ireland than it now receives under the Bill. Whether it should be given by grouping, or by lowering the limit of disfranchisement, is a matter upon which, perhaps, Her Majesty's Government are the best persons to decide; but I will venture to say this—that I do not think we shall come to a satisfactory solution of this question if we attempt to delude ourselves into the idea that we are really legislating equally for Ireland as compared with England, Scotland, and Wales, if we deal with the one country in precisely the same manner as we have dealt with the other three. That would only be a sham, and not a real equality, and it would not bring about that satisfactory and equal result which we 736 should all desire to aim at in the provisions of such a Bill as this. I must say that, so far as my own opinion goes, of the two proposals before us—that of my noble Friend (Viscount Crichton), and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Downpatrick (Mr. Mulholland)—I rather lean to that of the hon. Member for Downpatrick. I think that by adopting a certain number of groups—some, perhaps, in the North, and some in the other Provinces—it might be possible to arrive at an adequate borough representation which should not have any Party character about it, but be framed with the idea of representing the urban as distinguished from the agricultural population. That is all I am anxious to see, and I believe it could be satisfactorily accomplished consistently with the number of Representatives allotted to Ireland by the Bill. The Members to be allotted to these groups might be fairly provided, either by taking away the additional Members to be given to the larger counties, or, perhaps, in one or two instances, by lowering the representation of counties to which two Members are proposed to be given. At any rate, in whatever way the matter may be settled, I hope it may receive some further consideration beyond that which it has yet had, and that some attempt maybe made to make this a real measure of equality for Ireland.
§ MR. HEALY
said, that, while he could not go the length of the noble Viscount (Viscount Crichton), he could, at least, understand the motives which had induced him to bring this Amendment forward. But what ho (Mr. Healy) was quite unable to understand was the position that had just been taken up by the right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach). He understood that right hon. Baronet to represent the Tory Party on the Front Opposition Bench. Who had the arrangement of this Bill in private? Why, the right hon. Baronet and his Party, who had been engaged with the Prime Minister and the right hon. Baronet the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) in arranging in secret the provisions of the Bill. He (Mr. Healy), therefore, maintained that the right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire was debarred from coming forward now and proposing to make changes in the Bill. 737 The right hon. Baronet had had his say in Downing Street, if not in person, at all events through the mouths of the Leaders of the Opposition, and having had the dealing of the cards, he could not now object to the way in which the game was being played. The right hon. Baronet could not have two says, one in Downing Street and the other in the House of Commons. He had had his say already, and had inspired the Bill; but the Irish Members, those who were really interested in this question, had had no opportunity of giving any inspiration at all. The first time they saw the Bill was when it was on the Table of this House, and the first chance of their debating it had occurred in the House itself. The noble Viscount (Viscount Crichton) and the Opposition had had their say, and they were estopped from now coming forward in this House and wanting a different arrangement from that of the compromise. The noble Viscount and the right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire were "pumped." They had had their say, and their functions were at an end. As for the noble Viscount's proposal, he (Mr. Healy) would admit that he did feel considerable sympathy with the Opposition over the extinction of certain boroughs in Ireland. But there was always this difficulty confronting them—from whence were the seats to be obtained which were to be provided? That was really the difficulty to be met. They would have no difficulty whatever in arranging this matter if the Irish Members of the various conflicting Parties were only able to put their heads together. Any arrangement they might make which would be satisfactory to the Government would, no doubt, be equally satisfactory to the House. For once, the House would, no doubt, allow them to have that amount of Home Rule, however much the House might like to intermeddle in their affairs in other respects. But if one the Irish Members got into communication as to the boroughs which were to be saved, and as to the counties which were to be their saviours, what would be the most natural proposal? There was the proposal of the Royal Commission—the Hexham Commission—in 1881, in favour of the extension of certain areas in the borough of Drogheda. If the proposal of the Hexham Commission had been carried out, the 738 borough of Drogheda would have been above the limit of 15,000. The same would have been the case with the borough of Lisburn. It was, he thought, grossly unfair that the borough of Belfast should have had rights given to it under the Bill by incorporating the boundary of the Hexham Commission which, if extended to the cases of Drogheda and Lisburn, would have preserved those boroughs. But the Government, for reasons of their own, in that mysterious conference in Do wing Street, gave the borough of Belfast that extension, and provided the means of carrying out that extension from the counties of Down and Antrim. Other boroughs in Ireland, if dealt with in the same fashion, would have been preserved. Supposing the Irish Tory Members and the Members of the Irish National Party were to agree that these two boroughs—Lisburn and Drogheda—merited special treatment, then, although they might agree that both these borough should be retained, were they at all likely to agree as to the counties which were to suffer through their retention? He had looked into the facts, and he understood that what the Tories would propose was that as the borough of Lisburn was situated in the county of Antrim, and as Antrim possessed four seats, the borough should be kept alive by taking one of the four seats from the county. Well, they might keep their borough if they liked, and Antrim might be left with the four seats, including that of Lisburn, because the Tory Party would carry her four seats in any event, and therefore that arrangement would do the Nationalists no harm. Then there was the borough of Drogheda, in the county of Tyrone. The Nationalists could carry the whole of the four seats there, for there would be 80 per cent of Catholics in County Tyrone, and it was the lowest-populated county in Ireland that was allowed four Members. The Nationalists could carry the whole of the four seats, and it was immaterial to them whether they carried three for Tyrone and one for Drogheda, or none for Drogheda and four for Tyrone. If the Tories were willing to take one seat out of Antrim for Lisburn, the Nationalists were equally willing to take one out of Tyrone for Drogheda. But they did not want any change in the Bill—they were not anxious for any 739 alteration. They thought it a hardship that a borough like Drogheda, with a population within 250 of the vivifying 15,000 which entitled to a Member, should be compelled to suffer in this way. The borough of Drogheda, within 250 of the right number of inhabitants, was in the unfortunate position of the person who stood at the gate of Paradise—they all knew the quotation—beholding Heaven and enduring Hell. If it had had the same benefit from the Hexham Commission which Belfast had obtained, it would not be extinguished under the Bill. It was a very hard thing that a borough which was a county in itself, which had an ancient Charter, and its own Mayor and Corporation and Sheriff, should be disfranchised, while, if it had had the benefit of the Hexham Commission, it would have been kept alive for Parliamentary purposes. He repeated that this was a very hard case; but the Irish Party did not wish to play ducks and drakes with the Bill as a whole for the sake of a few seats; it would not be their game to do it. But if the Tory Party would lay their views before the Government on this subject, the Nationalists would assent to their proposition, so far as regarded Antrim and Lisburn, Tyrone and Drogheda. But further than that he did not think his Friends could be expected to go. He only gave his own opinion—he had not had the advantage of consulting any of his hon. Friends on the subject—and it was possible that they might be totally opposed to this arrangement. But he gave his own personal opinion, and having viewed the subject in this way he would only say further that he quite understood the difficulty which the Government had had in dealing with the matter, and he did not see how they could make any change in the Bill unless there was practical unanimity among all sections of the Irish Members.
said, that when the Amendment proposed by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Wigtown Burghs (Sir John Hay) was discussed, the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Charles W. Dilke) laid great stress upon one point—namely, that a reduction in the number of Members for Ireland would be a violation of the Treaty of Union. The proposal of his noble Friend (Viscount 740 Crichton) was one which would prevent an entire violation of the Treaty of Union, as would be seen from the following extract from the 4th Resolution, containing the terms proposed by the Lords and Commons of Ireland:—And 100 commoners (2 for each county of Ireland, 2 for the City of Dublin, 2 for the City of Cork, I for the University of Trinity College, and I for each of the three most considerable cities, towns and boroughs) be the Members to sit and vote on the part of Ireland in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom; that such Act as shall be passed in the Parliament of Ireland previous to the Union, 'to regulate the mode by which the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and the Commons to serve in the Parliament of the United Kingdom on the part of Ireland shall be summoned or returned to the said Parliament,' shall be considered as forming part of the Treaty of Union, and shall be incorporated in the Acts of the respective Parliaments by which the said Union shall be ratified and established.It was evident from that, that the number of borough Members established was 31; and, notwithstanding that, it was now proposed to reduce them by nearly one-half—if the total number were 32, it would be exactly one-half—it was proposed to leave only 16 borough Members for Ireland. The other Representatives would be agricultural Members. It was then said by the right hon. Baronet that there was hardly any distinction between the population in the small boroughs and small towns in Ireland, and the surrounding agricultural population. Well, he (Mr. Macartney) did not know what the distinction could be. It was well known, for instance, that for centuries Lisburn had been the central place of the damask manufacture. It had a most industrial population, and to say that its people were assimilated to the agricultural population that surrounded them would be as true as to say that the population of Cardiff was assimilated to the colliers and sailors who frequented that port. He could not understand such statements being made. Ireland was usually treated as an exceptional country; but, now, when it suited the convenience of the Government, a hard-and-fast line was laid down, and when a proposal to treat Ireland different to England was made by Irish Members, they were met by this plea—"Oh, no; we cannot do it for Ireland because we cannot do it for England." That was not the position taken up by the Government when they 741 passed the Bill dealing with the Irish Church, and that was not the position they had taken up when passing other considerable measures. Let them apply the same laws to Ireland as they applied to England—let them repeal the laws they passed for Ireland which differed from the English laws—put Ireland on the same footing as England in all respects, and he would be satisfied. He did not wish, however, to go into this matter at very great length, because he believed that arguing it with the Government was like pouring water into a bottomless tub, and that nothing was likely to result from it. There was concord between the two Front Benches. Irish Members might be listened to, but that listening would be without effect. He begged leave to second the proposal.
§ MR. T. A. DICKSON
said, he wished to make just one or two observations with reference to this matter. The hon. and learned Member opposite (Mr. Healy) seemed anxious to enfranchise Drogheda at the expense of Tyrone; but he (Mr. T. A. Dickson) would take care that that was not done. He sympathized with Drogheda in losing its Member, and considered that it was one of those towns very hardly dealt with; but, at the same time, if it was thought desirable to give it a Member, that Member should be taken from the Province of Leinster, which was already over-represented. He would point out the difficulties which would arise if the Amendment of the noble Viscount was adopted by the Committee. Let them take the county of Antrim. They heard about the borough of Lisburn; but he would ask what about Carrickfergus, also in the county of Antrim? If Lisburn were enfranchised, and had a separate representation given to it, it was only natural that Carrickfergus should be treated in the same manner. Thus, two Members would be taken from Antrim, and two would remain to represent an agricultural population of 228,000, or one Member to each 114,000. How was Tyrone over-represented with four Members to a population of over 197,000? Why, its representation was one Member to 49,000; and he thought that if Irish counties generally were examined into, it would be found that in several of them the representation was much more excessive. If the proposals of the noble Vis- 742 count were adopted, they would take one Member from the county of Armagh, giving the seat to the city of Armagh, with a population of 10,000. In the agricultural districts, therefore, they would have one Member to represent 78,500; whereas the noble Viscount, in his own county, would represent 42,000. The proposal before the Committee would not hold water. If they enfranchised the six boroughs in question, they could do so only at the expense of the agricultural constituencies of the rest of the country, and against that he must earnestly protest.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
said, that up to the present they had had four Ulster Members speaking one after another; consequently, the argument of the Ulster Members was now thoroughly well known. But there were other parts of Ireland to be considered as well. The proposition of the noble Viscount amounted to this—that, practically, they should take away three Members from the three Leinster counties, and hand them over to three Ulster boroughs. ["No, no!"] Yes, that was what it would amount to, if hon. Gentlemen would consider the details of the proposal. Hon. Gentlemen who came from the North would like to have as many Members there as they could. If, in this matter, the Committee was to be guided by population, then Connaught ought to have more Members. He did not believe that that Province had its fair share of representation, and yet he did not seek to increase the number; but what he desired to point out in this connection was, that if once they departed from the principle they had laid down, they would not know where to stop. It would be Lisburn to-day, Carrickfergus tomorrow, some other place the day after, and so on. He did not wish Tyrone to lose a Member, and probably he was guided in that matter somewhat by selfish considerations. He had nothing to do with Tyrone; but if they dealt with that county on the principle of population, they would soon be coming to Galway, Mayo, and other counties. He did not see why Tyrone should not be favourably considered, and he believed that they would be just as much taking away a Member from Tyrone by the adoption of the proposal in question as they would be taking away one from Louth, if they gave it two instead of 743 three. The population interested in this matter had instructed their Members to support the proposal; but if it were accepted, the Committee would be breaking up the agreement come to. He trusted the Government would reject the proposal. If he were advocating such changes, he should put down an Amendment to keep the two Members for the three boroughs, because he looked upon these as the most important towns in Ireland, next to Cork, Belfast, and Dublin. That was to say, he looked upon them as the towns which were most likely to rise. But they could not do that without breaking up the Bill, and he held that it would be most dangerous to take such a step. If they set the House of Lords the example of breaking up the Bill, however slight the excuse might be, the House of Lords would wish to have a finger in the pie. Let them ask themselves this question—when they saw the noble Viscount who represented the Province of Ulster, in which the House of Lords took a deep interest, bringing forward such a Motion as this, how far might they not expect the House of Lords to endeavour to part from the principle laid down in the Bill? If they gave the House of Lords the slightest opening, they would rush in and make all sorts of changes in the Bill. A proposal had been made to the effect that the Irish Members sitting below the Gangway should go into conference with the Ulster Members, and discuss the question; but he objected to any such proceeding. He had always been most anxious to go into conference with the Ulster and the Liberal Members; but there was now no common footing between the Party to which he belonged and the Conservative Ulster Members. Those Members had made a most extraordinary proposal, which, to his mind, ought not to have come from any part of the Committee. They had made, or at any rate supported, a proposal for Ireland to lose Members, and that being so, he could not see how the Party to which he belonged could have anything to do with them. They had set a most extraordinary example, and had done that which, in the old Irish Parliament, would never have been proposed—that was to say, they had tried to reduce the number of Irish Representatives. It was perfectly impossible, under the cir- 744 cumstances, for the Home Rule Members to go into conference with those Gentlemen, because they would always be afraid of proposals being made which would have the effect of breaking up the Bill, and of giving the House of Lords an opportunity of seriously interfering with the Irish representation.
§ MR. CORRY
said, the hon. and gallant Member who had just sat down (Colonel Nolan) had declared that he and his Friends would not go into conference with the Ulster Members. Well, he (Mr. Corry) did not think there was any fear upon that point, because the Ulster Members were not prepared to go into conference with them. As to Belfast, it was said that it had succeeded in getting four Members; but he maintained that, even without the extension of boundaries, that city was entitled to four, as it had, at the last Census, 207,000 inhabitants, an enormous increase since the previous Census, when the population was only 174,000. That increase was still going on, and without the counties of Down and Antrim, it was quite entitled to four Members. He was of opinion that the proposal should be accepted. If it were not, the small boroughs would be swamped by the rural population in the counties.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, he very much admired the cool, calculating manner in which the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Galway County (Colonel Nolan) took up a subject when he had an interest in it, however remote. Ho (Mr. Callan) had wondered how it was that the sympathy of the hon. and gallant Member extended so far to the North as Tyrone; but the hon. and gallant Gentleman had now let the cat out of the bag, because he had declared that if Tyrone was interfered with and deprived of one of its Members, the county of Galway would be the next victim to suffer. The hon. and gallant Member evidently considered that he had a better Chance of being returned for Galway if that constituency had four Members than he would have if it were reduced to three. In reference to the proposal which had been made by the hon. and learned Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy), that they should come to an amicable arrangement, and that Whigs, Tories, Home Rulers, nominal Home Rulers, and Nationalists should agree to some proposal for the restoration of 745 certain Members, and the reduction of the 15,000 limit, which dealt most unfairly with the Irish borough representation, he (Mr. Callan) had never, and he certainly would not now, speak of the Irish borough representation as one that, on the whole, recommended itself to the country for its purity or its honesty. But whilst he admitted that, yet, having represented a borough, as he now represented a county, and having no interest whatever in the extension of any borough amongst the non-liberated boroughs of Ireland, he certainly did think that the suggestion that had been made was well worth the consideration of the right hon. Baronet (Sir Charles W. Dilke) who had charge of the Bill in this House. He thought that the framers of the Bill might, without doing injury to the county representation of Ireland, dock the county of one Member for the purpose of giving it to Lisburn, which was in that county, even if Carrickfergus were included with it. If they grouped Carrickfergus with Lisburn, they would amply satisfy those who proposed that one Member should be taken from the county of Antrim and given to a borough, and such grouping would remove all local jealously. If they did the same in another direction, and restored Drogheda with the Hexham limit, grouping with it the borough of Dundalk, they would get an addition of an independent and intelligent constituency, and one which would truly represent the borough interests of the East Coast of Ireland. He was surprised that the Government did not show some signs of yielding with reference to Drogheda. How was it proposed to act with regard to Warwick? In introducing the Bill, the Prime Minister had said that he would not stand to any hard-and-fast line with regard to the limitation of the extent of boroughs. Then, why did they adopt the limit in the Bill with regard to Drogheda? If they extended the limit a mile and a-half from the centre of the town—which would be a very fair thing to do—they would get a population of 15,000. Warwick had only a population of 11,800; and yet, in order to enable it to keep its Member, its boundary was extended from five to six miles in one direction, taking in towns which were entirely distinct. Warwick, as a matter of fact, had been jerrymandered for a political 746 purpose. But when they came to the Schedules, the Committee would hear a great deal more on this point than they did now. This arrangement reflected no credit on the framers of the Bill. They had jerrymandered the borough of Warwick for purposes which were not creditable to them, and, at the same time, they refused to do the barest justice to the town of Drogheda. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to have extended that borough a thousand beyond the standard. It was, however, of no use appealing to the good feeling of the Treasury Bench, for it was quite evident that they had their arrangements made. He had been very much amused by the speech of the junior Member for Tyrone (Mr. T. A. Dickson.) The hon. and learned Member for Monaghan had said that one Member should be taken from Tyrone and given to Drogheda; and the hon. Member for Tyrone had replied—"I will take good care that you do not," and had said this with all the airs of an occupant of the Treasury Bench. The hon. Member did not sit upon that Bench as yet, and it appeared to him (Mr. Callan) that if before taking his seat upon it, he had to be re-elected, it would not be by an Irish constituency that he would be returned. With regard to Drogheda, that borough had every right to consideration, looking at its population and its industries, and its flax works especially, and generally at its busy and enterprizing character. Even with its present boundaries, it required less than 3,000 people to enfranchise it, and it would easily have been enfranchised if the President of the Local Government Board had treated it with only half the amount of favour with which he had treated Warwick—a borough which had been jerrymandered in order to secure a seat for a partizan of the Government. The Irish Members said that in County Tyrone, where there was a majority of over 40 per cent of Catholics, and where they could return four Members, they would be content with three, in order to give one to Drogheda, even if Dundalk were grouped with it and Carrickfergus were grouped with Lisburn. If the Government would do that, they would please everybody but a few discontented Whigs. Though he could not support the proposal of the noble Viscount, he was in favour of the 747 compromise he had stated—that was, that they should have an increased borough representation to the extent of two Members, one for Lisburn district, and one for the Drogheda district.
§ Mr. WARTON
said, he wished to draw attention to the peculiar character of the Amendment. On what plan did it rest? They had, in the 1st Schedule, a certain list; and on page 14, they had a second list, drawn upon the principle that the boroughs mentioned in the first part of the Schedule should cease to return Members. Then they had this extraordinary Amendment—extraordinary in two distinct ways—first of all, because it went into the question of population. They had been told a great deal about population, and the lines upon which the Government had drawn the Bill; but, as a matter of fact, nothing about population appeared all through the Bill. They seemed to forget that they were only looking at present at a plan, and not really at a finished structure. There was simply to be a list for the purposes of striking out names of places for it. There was nothing on the face of the Bill to show what the population was of any one of the boroughs mentioned in the Schedules. What was being done certainly seemed to him contrary to every sound principle of legislation. He suggested that the best and simplest plan would be to withdraw the Amendment, and strike out of the Schedule the names of the places which were to retain their Members, supposing it to be so decided.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
I quite understand the criticism of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Warton), and I presume there is no doubt that if this Amendment of my noble Friend (Viscount Crichton) were adopted, it would be necessary to make some Amendment afterwards in order to make the Bill complete. But what I understand my noble Friend's wish is, to bring forward his Amendment in the present shape, and at the earliest period possible to raise a point which he is desirous of raising. I understand he wishes to raise the point in such a form as to show on the face of the Amendment what it is he aims at, and what is the object to be gained. The position my noble Friend takes up is, that none of the boroughs in Ireland with 10,000inhabitants should be disfranchised. There is no doubt that in 748 any Reform Bill or Redistribution Bill which you could pass, you will have a certain number of hard cases—you may have a very large number of hard oases; but when you have to deal with questions of this magnitude, it is necessary that you should, in the first instance, lay down the lines upon which you desire to proceed, and on which you intend to proceed. Whether any exceptions can be admitted to those lines is a subsequent question, and one of a rather difficult and delicate character. But the lines laid down must be clear and distinct. There were several questions discussed when the Franchise Bill was under our consideration last Session, and one of those questions was whether the Bill should extend to Ireland, and the general feeling was that it should. The general principle was laid down that Ireland should receive substantially the same treatment as England, and when Her Majesty's Government were drawing up this Bill, and had laid down a certain line of population below which boroughs were to be disfranchised, they held that the same line should be observed throughout the country, and that the line should be even as between Ireland and England; that whatever figure should be adopted, it should relate to one part of the United Kingdom as well as to another. Therefore, when they had fixed upon the 15,000 limit, they, so I understand, considered that, by the rule laid down for themselves, 15,000 must be the limit both in England and in Ireland. Now, my noble Friend challenges the principle. He does so by laying down another principle—namely, that 10,000 is a fairer figure in the case of Ireland than 15,000. Well, I do not know whether that is so or not; but there must be considerable difficulty, no doubt, in adopting a disfranchising line for all parts of the Kingdom, and it was upon that understanding that, in the conversation which took place with regard to the Bill, Lord Salisbury and myself accepted the proposal that the line should be the same for the two countries, and that 15,000 should be the limit. I do not think it is competent for us, whatever our opinion might be, to depart from the principle so laid down that there should be an even line; but whether there could be any arrangement made or suggested, by which better representation should be given to the 749 urban populations of Ireland, is a matter upon which I do not wish to pronounce any definite opinion; if any such arrangement could be found later on in the discussion of the Bill, I should be very glad. As I understand the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill (Sir Charles W. Dilke), he does not think it is altogether impossible that some arrangement might be made to meet particular cases. However that may be, the point on which we have now to vote is upon the principle which is involved and freely stated by my noble Friend's Amendment—namely, that 10,000 should be taken as the limit for disfranchisement in Ireland, instead of 15,000, and that is a proposal which I cannot support.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, he assented to the proposition laid down by the right hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford Northcote), that if any fair arrangement for equitably improving the urban representation of Ireland was come to, it might receive general approval. He also thought the right hon. Gentleman had given a very fair and succinct sketch of the history of the present position of this debate. He had told the Committee that 15,000 was understood to be a hard-and-fast limit for representation of boroughs in Ireland; but upon the latter stage of the question—namely, upon the proceeding which led up to the private compact, the right hon. Baronet was somewhat less definite than in the earlier part of his observations. Undoubtedly, the limit fixed upon did work some hardship in individual cases. The case of Drogheda was an exceedingly hard one, when compared with the extraordinary treatment dealt out to the borough of Warwick, in England; because the population of Drogheda was 350 below the 15,000 limit, it was refused separate representation. Now, as a matter of fact, the 350 people could be found in one street in physical contact with the existing boundaries of the borough. Now, the Government had taken the borough of Warwick with its 11,800 inhabitants, and had added to it 7,000 more. Now, that was so bald and so indefensible a contrast that he had no doubt it would form the subject of prolonged debate at a later stage of the Bill. The cases of Limerick and of Sligo, with their 12,000 inhabitants 750 each, were also hard cases. The three boroughs in Ireland which he had specified were boroughs of a class which had interests of their own—trading interests entirely distinct from the rural community. It was a very serious enter-prize, he admitted, to set about taking the Members from communities in the counties, varying from the lowest, of the 38,000 in Longford, to the highest limit of 75,000 in Galway, and giving them to urban districts with 10,000 inhabitants. The enterprize might be justified in individual cases; but he should like to see those individual cases very fully proved. The right hon. Baronet (Sir Charles W. Dilke) was strictly accurate when he said that, generally speaking, the small towns in Ireland had no large material interests distinct from the agricultural interests, for the farmer depended upon the land, and the shopkeeper depended upon the farmer. Before he sat down, he thought it might be useful, especially in view of the tone of some speeches delivered by hon. Gentlemen sitting above the Gangway, to state that, whatever Party might receive benefit by the disfranchisement of the small boroughs in Ireland, it was certainly not the Party with which he was associated. There were three boroughs—for instance, Drogheda, Limerick, and Waterford—which would lose between them three Members, which Members might safely be counted upon as supporters of the Nationalist programme. The representation of 22 boroughs was to be discontinued, and of these 22 the Nationalists at present held eight, and there was no doubt that, under the new franchise, they would win Clonmel, Dundalk, Kinsale, Youghal, and others; in fact, out of the 22 seats disfranchised, the Nationalist Party were certain to have won 16. Though the hon. Members above the Gangway might not be satisfied with the arrangement of the borough representation in Ireland, it certainly could not be contended that the Nationalist Party had gained any advantage by the arrangement.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, no doubt there were hard cases, and that hon. Members would like to put in a word in favour of particular constituencies with which they were on more or less good terms. If he had been drawing up the Bill, he should have drawn it up differently, and pro- 751 bably more favourably to his own side. He suggested, however, to the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill (Sir Charles W. Dilke) that he should resist steadfastly any change in the limit of disfranchisement, because, if he did not, the practical result would be that they would not have done with the Bill until this day next year; if they commenced to make exceptions in one constituency and then in another, they would never have done, because the exceptions would commence in the North of Ireland and end in the South of England. There was not a single constituency in England, Ireland, or Scotland that would not claim some exceptional treatment. This was only the thin end of the wedge, and he impressed it upon the right hon. Gentleman, who understood Parliamentary tactics better than he (Mr. Biggar) did, that if he wished to get through his Bill in a reasonable time, he must put his foot down upon such Amendments as this.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 48; Noes 105: Majority 57.—(Div. List, No. 49.)
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.