Report of Address brought up, and read, as follows:—
MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN,
WE, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled, beg leave to convey to Your Majesty our thanks for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.
We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty's relations with other Powers continue to be of a friendly character.
We thank Your Majesty for informing us that the difference which existed, when Your Majesty last addressed us, between Your Majesty's Government and that of Russia, on the subject of the Boundaries of Afghanistan, has been satisfactorily adjusted, and that, in pursuance of a Convention which will be laid before us, the English and Russian Commissioners; with the full concurrence of Your Majesty's Ally, the Amir of Afghanistan, have been engaged in demarcating the frontier of that Country. We assure Your Majesty that we learn with satisfaction that Your Majesty trust
that their work may tend to secure the continuance of peace in Central Asia.
We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that a rising in Eastern Roumelia has given expression to the desire of the Inhabitants for a change in the political arrangements under which they were placed by the Treaty of Berlin, and that Your Majesty's object, in the negotiations which have followed, has been to bring them, according to their wish, under the rule of the Prince of Bulgaria, while maintaining unimpaired the essential rights of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan.
We thank Your Majesty for informing us that under a Convention, concluded with the Ottoman Porte, Commissioners have been appointed on behalf of England and Turkey to confer with His Highness the Khedive, and to report upon the Measures required for securing the defence of Egypt and the stability and efficiency of the Government in that Country.
We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that, greatly to Your Majesty's regret, Your Majesty was compelled, in the month of November, to declare War against Theebaw, the King of Ava; that acts of hostility on his part against Your Majesty's subjects and the interests of.Your Majesty's Empire had, since his accession, been deliberate and continuous; that these had necessitated the withdrawal of Your Majesty's Representative from his Court; and that Your Majesty's demands for redress were systematically evaded and disregarded.
We thank Your Majesty for informing us that an attempt to confiscate the property of Your Majesty's subjects, trading under agreement in his dominions, and a refusal to settle the dispute by arbitration, convinced Your Majesty that the protection of British life and property, and the cessation of dangerous anarchy in Upper Burmah could only be effected by force of arms.
We assure Your Majesty that we learn with satisfaction that the gallantry of Your Majesty's European and Indian Forces under Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Prendergast rapidly brought the Country under Your Majesty's power; and we humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty has decided that the most certain method of ensuring peace and order in those regions is to be found in the permanent incorporation of the Kingdom of Ava with Your Majesty's Empire.
We thank Your Majesty for informing us that the time which has elapsed since Your Majesty assumed the direct Government of India makes it desirable that the operation of the Statutes by which that change was effected
should be carefully investigated, and for commending this important matter to our earnest attention.
We assure Your Majesty that we learn with satisfaction that a protracted negotiation respecting the rights of the Republic of France on the Coasts of Newfoundland under the Treaty of Utrecht has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion by an Agreement which will be laid before us and before the Legislature of Newfoundland as soon as it assembles, and that an Agreement has also been made with Spain, securing to this Country all commercial rights granted to Germany in the Caroline Islands.
We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that our consent will be asked to Legislative Measures rendered necessary by a Convention, on the subject of International Copyright, to which Your Majesty has agreed.
We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that the Estimates for the Expenditure of the ensuing year, which have been framed with a due regard to efficiency and economy, will be submitted to us.
We assure Your Majesty that we learn with regret that no material improvement can be noted in the condition of Trade or Agriculture; and we thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty feels the deepest sympathy for the great number of persons, in many vocations of life, who are suffering under a pressure which Your Majesty trusts will prove to be transient; but we humbly express our regret that no measures are announced by Your Majesty for the present relief of these classes, and especially for affording facilities to the agricultural labourers and others in the rural districts to obtain allotments and small holdings on equitable terms as to rent and security of tenure.
We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty has seen with deep sorrow the renewal, since Your Majesty last addressed us, of the attempt to excite the people of Ireland to hostility against the Legislative Union between that Country and Great Britain; that Your Majesty is resolutely opposed to any disturbance of that fundamental Law, and that, in resisting it, Your Majesty is convinced that Your Majesty will be heartily supported by Your Parliament and Your People.
We thank Your Majesty for informing us that the social no less than the material condition of that Country engages Your Majesty's anxious attention; that, although there has been during the last year no marked increase of serious crime, there is in many places a con-
certed resistance to the enforcement of legal obligations; and that Your Majesty regrets that the practice of organised intimidation continues to exist.
We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty has caused every exertion to be used for the detection and punishment of these crimes; that no effort will be spared on the part of Your Majesty's Government to protect Your Majesty's Irish Subjects in the exercise of their legal rights and the enjoyment of individual liberty, and that if, as Your Majesty's information led Your Majesty to apprehend, the existing provisions of the Law should prove to be inadequate to cope with these growing evils, Your Majesty looked with confidence to our willingness to invest Your Majesty's Government with all necessary powers.
We humbly thank Your Majesty for informing us that Bills would be submitted for transferring to Representative Councils in the Counties of Great Britain local business which is now transacted by the Courts of Quarter Session and other authorities; that a measure for the reform of County Government in Ireland was also in preparation; and that these measures would involve the consideration of the present incidence of local burdens.
We humbly thank Your Majesty for making known to us that a Bill for facilitating the Sale of Glebe Lands, in a manner adapted to the wants of the rural population, would also be submitted to us; as also Bills for removing the difficulties which prevent the easy and cheap transfer of land; for mitigating the distressed condition of the poorer classes in the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland; for the more effectual prevention of accidents in mines; for extending the powers of the Railway Commission in respect of the Regulation of Rates; and for the Codification of the Criminal Law.
We assure Your Majesty that we join with Your Majesty in trusting that results beneficial to the cause of education may issue from a Royal Commission which Your Majesty has appointed to inquire into the working of the Education Acts.
We humbly assure Your Majesty that our careful consideration shall be given to the measures which may be submitted to us, and that we earnestly trust that, with regard to these and all other matters pertaining to our functions, the keeping and guidance of Almighty God may be vouchsafed to us.
MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
Before the House passes through this stage of progress, I should like to say a few 667 words with, reference to some of the Irish questions raised by the Address, and which may be raised again on this stage of Report. An Amendment to the Address stood in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for South Tyrone (Mr. W. O'Brien). That Amendment referred to the case of the Irish tenant farmers, and to the rigour and hardship of Irish evictions, and made an appeal to the Government in something like the same spirit as the appeal made on the part of the Scotch crofters by the hon. Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macfarlane). We might have pressed that Amendment to the Address, and there were many reasons why it might be supposed that we ought to have done so; but hon. Members with whom I have the honour to act considered it better, on the whole, not to press the Amendment at the time, and under the circumstances. We felt fully, of course, the responsibility we undertook in refraining from pressing so important an Amendment. We feel most keenly, I need scarcely say, the hardships and. miseries to which the Irish tenant farmers are exposed, and the dangers and penalties almost certain to fall on them during the next few months, or during the next few weeks, by the system of evictions in Ireland. We know full well, to our sorrow, what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Government called a "shower of snow flakes" in the shape of eviction notices. These snow flakes are already beginning to fall, far and wide, over Ireland; and we know well the power of that "shower of snow flakes" to extinguish the fire on many a hearth. It was not, I need not say, from want of knowledge, or any want of appreciation of the importance of the Amendment, that we did not press it. We had more than one reason for the course we have decided upon taking. One reason was that we knew the Government has only recently been formed; that it is acting now under difficult conditions; and we cannot expect Ministers to be ready with a full and clear programme of policy on all points. Another reason was—we thought, if we pressed forward the Amendment, we might be misleading the Government and the House with regard to what we believe to be the relative importance of the great questions belonging to Ireland, and which will have to be discussed in this Session 668 of Parliament. We do think that the Government might have announced something in the nature of a measure to prevent indiscriminate evictions all over Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland (Mr. Trevelyan) was very strong in some of the statements which he made as to the use of Her Majesty's Forces in carrying out evictions in Scotland. He reminded the House that there had been little or no use made of the troops of the Queen to enforce the carrying out of evictions under the Tory Government, and therefore that it was not likely that there would be much use made of them under a Liberal Administration. I think he was reminded on his own side of the House that there was no such absolute guarantee for the crofters of Scotland in that matter; because, under a previous Liberal Administration, the Forces of the Crown had been used to carry out evictions there. I would hope, however, from the statements that have been made, that the Government at present in Office will be inclined to do all that they can to save and protect the unfortunate tenant farmer, and to stand between him and the reckless use of the landlord's power. A law may be used so as to be either undiscriminating and merciless, or it may be so used as to be discriminating and merciful. I hope that the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant (Mr. J. Morley) will endeavour to use his great power and influence to make the law discriminating and merciful as regards the tenant farmers of Ireland. I hope he will consider and distinguish between one eviction and another, and endeavour to use his power—and I am sure he is so inclined—in a manner to show mercy to those who would pay and meet their demands if they could, but who, from distress and poverty, have been forced into the condition of hopeless debtors. But whilst we thought all this, there were reasons, as I have said, to induce us to forego the moving of the Amendment. We did not wish to mislead the Government and the House as to our idea of the relative importance of the Irish questions. The right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, in his statement this evening, told us that the Government intend to deal with three important subjects concerning Ireland. First, the question of social 669 order in Ireland; next, what he properly called the "great question" of land in Ireland; and, thirdly, the question of the future government of Ireland. Now, we were under the impression that if we brought forward an Amendment specially dealing with the Land Question, and no other Amendment, on the Address, we might lead the Government and the House to believe that we considered the Land Question the most important, and the most pressing of all the Irish questions of the Session. Mr. Speaker, we are not under that impression. I wish it to be distinctly understood by the House—and I believe I speak the unanimous voice of the National Party in this House—that we consider the great question of Irish National Self-Government above and beyond in importance all other questions, and compassing all other questions around in its magnitude and strength. Indeed, if that question were settled, all other questions would settle themselves. [Ironical cheers from the Opposition.] I perfectly understand that cheer from the Benches near me; but I can assure those hon. Members that even in their interests—in the interests of the landlord party—it would be better by far that the question of Irish National Self-Government should be settled in advance of all other questions. The Land Question might, no doubt, be settled before the question of National Self-Government. But the landlord party of Ireland in this House may be certain that if the settlement of the Land Question is to come before that of National Self-Government, the settlement will be a more arduous one than a settlement that comes after the arrangement of the greater question. Now, the Party who were in Office— the late Government—had an admirable chance of settling the question of Self-Government if they could only have brought up their minds to the level of the crisis. They might easily have carried a measure of Home Government, for they would necessarily have had the support of a large number of Members on the other side of the House below the Gangway, and they might have carried it, not only through this House, but most easily through the House of Lords. But somehow they lost the opportunity. They went near bringing the horse to the fence, but were not willing or able, 670 at the last moment, to take the jump. As Atterbury said to Swift—"There was a great opportunity lost for want of spirit." Then came that mysterious change in their policy of which we, the outsiders, only see the outward and visible signs, but about which I think there will be a great deal of very curious history to be written for the instruction of a future generation. The sending over to Ireland of a right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. H. Smith) from this House on a mission of inquiry, and the proposed visit of the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill), are amongst the incidents that will have to be recorded. They first sent over an inquiring Gentleman, a Gentleman with an ear-trumpet, and now they are going to send over a noble Lord with a war-trumpet. The speeches of the noble Lord on this subject remind me of a character in one of Charles Dickens's books—the famous Sim Tappertit. You remember that Tappertit is under the impression that a great social revolution is about to go on, and he declares that "something will come of it—I hope it mayn't be human gore." Thereupon he rushes forthwith to revel in as much of that said human gore as ho possibly could. I hope the noble Lord is not about to emulate the mission of the immortal Tappertit. His sacred mission has, I trust, nothing to do with human gore; but I do not think we can congratulate him on this newest effort of the Tory Party to make history in Ireland. The Home Rule Question is now in the hands of Her Majesty's present Advisors; it is placed especially in the hands of one of the greatest of English statesmen, that statesman who, beyond all other men, is qualified, and I believe is anxious, to bring it to a satisfactory settlement. There is one other reason, and I desire this to be brought to the front. Though the statesman now at the head of the Realm is vigorous and equal to the great task, we cannot count upon very many years of his active services; and it is on him we chiefly rely, among all English statesmen, for the carrying through of this great measure of National Home Rule. Among English statesmen at present I can see no one anything like so well qualified as the present Prime Minister to settle the question 671 of Irish Home Government. Any statesman so inclined can accomplish the settlement of the Land Question; but at present I see no one so well qualified as the present Prime Minister to settle the Home Rule Question. That is, therefore, another reason why we are most anxious and most eager that there should be no misunderstanding as to the order in which these questions should be taken; that it should be clearly understood that the question of Home Rule must take precedence of every other. The Irish Representatives and the Irish people are anxious to settle the question of Home Rule, and are clear that it must come first. Nor would it be possible for us to accept with goodwill any programme or arrangement which would put that question later in point of time than any other of the great questions affecting the future of the country. These are the principal reasons why we forbear from pressing the Amendment. We claim precedence for the great national question of Home Rule over every other question affecting Ireland. We make that claim in the name of the Irish people, and in the interest not only of the Irish people, but of the English people as well. The tenant farmers of Ireland will undoubtedly suffer in the next few months. They have suffered much already; but they are a patriotic and self-denying class of men, and they will thoroughly understand why the Irish Members of the House of Commons demand that the National claim shall have precedence of any claim they have to make. I would, therefore, strongly urge on the Government, if they are determined to deal with this great question of Home Rule, not to interfere with the chance of a satisfactory settlement by postponing it to any question of secondary interest, however intrinsically important that question may be. Most cordially do I wish that the Prime Minister and his Colleagues may be able to settle this question, and most cordially should I rejoice if my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland should have a share in the great honour and gratification of bringing this long and perplexed dispute to a satisfactory conclusion. I urge upon him and. all the Members of the Government to take it from me, as the strong and unanimous feeling of the Irish 672 people, that until this question is settled nothing can be settled; but when this question shall have been once dealt with in a satisfactory way all the other difficulties will disappear and melt away almost in a moment.
§ MAJOR SAUNDERSON
Sir, I did not think that I should ever agree in any point with any hon. Gentleman who sits below the Gangway; but on this occasion I entirely agree with the hon. Member who has just sat down on one point, and that is that Her Majesty's Government should deal, in the first instance, with the question of Home Rule in Ireland. I quite reciprocate the sentiments expressed by the hon. Gentleman that that is the question of the hour, and that to deal in the first instance with social order and then with the question of land, holding out and dangling before the eyes of the Irish people the possibility of English concession which should culminate in the immediate future in the establishment of an Irish Home Rule Parliament, would be about the most disastrous course of policy which this House has ever pursued. I think we have a right to expect that Her Majesty's Government will give, not only to hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, but to one-third of the Irish population whom I and other Members from Ulster represent, a distinct answer as to their intentions about a separate Legislature in Ireland. Her Majesty's Government has informed the House to-night—the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister has told us that it is not fair to expect that when they have assumed the reins of power for so short a time they should be able to give to the House a clear definition of what their Irish policy will be. Certainly, I should not be so unfair as to imagine that we could ask them to place on the Table all the details of a complicated policy. But, Sir, we have had distinct indications that there exist in the Cabinet of the right hon. Gentleman three distinct ideas upon the subject of a separate Government in Ireland. We have the speeches which have been delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. J. Morley). We have also the speeches of the hon. and learned Attorney General the Member for Hackney (Mr. C. Russell). But, more than that, we have had a telegraphic announcement of Home Rule policy from the Prime Minister himself; 673 and as the right hon. Gentleman has never denied the accuracy of that telegraphic announcement, I may take it for granted that, at any rate in the month of December, the right hon. Gentleman had become a convert to the policy of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). I would draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman and of the House of Commons to the remarkable fact that that suggestion of Home Rule being conceded to Ireland was the most expensive announcement ever made. Never, I think, was so costly an announcement made to England as upon that occasion. The very idea that the right hon. Gentleman was inclined to favour a Home Rule policy sent down the shares of the Bank of Ireland 45 per cent. [A laugh. Hon. Members below the Gangway laugh at that statement; but they have no money in the Bank of Ireland. Railway as well as Bank shares fell in an equally alarming manner. Every preparation was made for a political exigency of a most difficult and dangerous kind; and in the North of Ireland we prepared for civil war. [Laughter.] I speak in the House of Commons exactly as I would speak in Ulster, because I state what I know to be absolutely true; and that is the effect which the announcement of the right hon. Gentleman had upon the condition of Ireland. That effect was evidenced by the effect it had on his own Party in England, for it was not simply upon the imagination of excited Orangemen that this new policy of the Prime Minister produced an effect, but also upon his own Party; for we found that the moment that indication of policy was given his own followers in England took action, and declared that they did not coincide with that new policy. Consequently, it was something far more serious than one of those reports which occasionally find their way into the public Press. I think when the House of Commons recognizes the fact that even the supposition that a responsible Minister should conceive the policy of conceding Home Rule to Ireland had such a disastrous effect upon Ireland, I venture to say that the House of Commons may realize what effect the reality of Home Rule would have. Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister has told us, in the speech he made at the commencement of the debate upon 674 the Address, that he has been thinking of I this Irish Question and its solution both night and day. Therefore it cannot have come upon him unawares. Is it too much, then, to expect of him that he will give us some definite declaration—"aye" or "no"—whether he has decided to concede the request made to him by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell)? I think it is a very reasonable request which the Loyalist part of the Irish population, forming one-third of the entire population, make upon Her Majesty's Government. We are placed in a very peculiar position at the present moment. We are told that until the 1st of April we shall not have any definite indication of what Her Majesty's Government's policy will be. One of the right hon. Gentlemen who spoke to-night—I think it was the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain)—told us that they have at the present moment no policy on the subject. But the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister has given us an indication of how he intends to form a policy—he intends to enter into correspondence with the Irish people. Now, I do not think that that is a practical method, or a satisfactory manner of finally determining what the ultimate destiny of the Irish population shall be. The question of Ireland is to undergo a kind of incubation at the instance of the right hon. Gentleman; and the final hatching of the egg is to be some measure which will give peace to that country, That is a proceeding which I venture to protest against in the name of every man who values the peace and happiness of Ireland. But until the 1st of April we are to have no opportunity of speaking in the House of Commons upon the nature of the legislation proposed to be introduced for Ireland. Therefore, I must say a word as to the line on which that policy is to go. We object to Home Rule in Ireland for two reasons. We object to Home Rule because we believe that legislative separation would be an unmixed evil to Ireland herself. I admit, however, that that is a matter of opinion. Secondly, we object most strongly to the Home Rulers. There is one fact in the calculation which is an absolute certainty, and I think it may facilitate the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister in his efforts to solve the Irish problem. 675 That certain fact, Sir, is this—that there is no doubt whatever as to the hands into which the reins of Government will fall if Home Rule is conceded. The question we have to ask ourselves is this. Have the Gentlemen into whose hands the reins of power will fall given us in the past any indication of their power to carry on successfully the government of Ireland if they obtain supreme power in that country? If I were to give the character in which I view hon. Members sitting below the Gangway, I might probably be looked upon as a prejudiced witness. ["No, no!" from the Home Rule Members.] I am afraid, notwithstanding, that it might be so; and, in fact, I might be called to Order if I used language as strong as that which I propose to read in a quotation. The words are those of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister himself in a speech which he delivered at Leeds. It is not what may be called absolute ancient history, because the right hon. Gentleman made the speech only five years ago. I admit that in the course of five years people do sometimes change their minds; but I think that if the right hon. Gentleman has distinctly changed his mind since this speech was delivered he would undoubtedly, from the very high position he holds in the country, have said that he had changed his mind on so very important a point. This is what the right hon. Gentleman said in describing the Party of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell)—For nearly the first time in the history of Christendom a hody—a small body—of men have arisen, who are not ashamed to preach in Ireland the doctrine of public plunder. I take as the representative of the opinions I denounce the name of a gentleman of considerable ability—Mr. Parnell, the Member for Cork, a gentleman, I will admit, of considerable ability—hut whose doctrines are not such as really need any considerable ability to recommend them. If you go forth upon a mission to demoralize a people by teaching them to make the property of their neighbours the object of their covetous desire, it does not require superhuman gifts to find a certain number of followers and adherents to a doctrine such as that.If I had used that language, I expect you, Sir, would have called me to Order. For my own part, I should never have thought of describing hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway as robbers led by a robber chief. But these are the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime 676 Minister, and the House will easily understand why even an Eastern dervish would object to place himself at the disposal of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. At that time the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had 40 followers. It is, therefore, our business to call the attention of the House to the fact that we absolutely accept this definition of the character of the hon. Member for the City of Cork and his followers as being perfectly correct. The House will easily understand that we have the most determined intention of opposing to the uttermost any Government formed of men of this description. But, perhaps, the House may imagine that we exaggerate the situation; and that if the hon. Member for the City of Cork and his Friends form a Government the minority will be treated with perfect fairness by that Assembly. Perhaps the House will allow me to read an extract from a speech delivered very recently by a rev. gentleman, a supporter of the hon. Member for the City of Cork; and if this speech describes accurately the treatment that we, the Loyalists, believe we are to receive if the hon. Member for the City of Cork ever succeeds, as I believe he never will succeed, in dominating the policy of Ireland it is necessary I should read it to the House. The speech was delivered in Dublin in the course of the late election for North Dublin, or rather upon the declaration of the poll. The language used was not altogether Parliamentary; but I think it is essential that the House should be acquainted with the kind of language which is used in Ireland by supporters of the hon. Gentleman. This speech appeared in The Freeman's Journal, in The Irish Times, in The Dublin Express, and in other papers; and I, therefore, suppose that it may be admitted to be accurate. As I have said, it was delivered at the declaration of the poll for North Dublin by the Rev. Father Beehan, who said—and I hope the House will pay attention to this quotation, for, at any rate, the words are remarkable—The Castle officials, with distended abdomens, would have to go, for it is time for them to be on the run. They (the Nationalists) were not struggling merely for a green flag; they wanted three meals a day—[Cries of "Treason!"]—good clothes on their backs—[Cries of "Shame!"]—and employment for honest men." ["Shame!"]677 That does not apply to hon. Members below the Gangway.The election was over, and the real struggle was to begin now. What they wanted now was the spoils—the loaves and fishes of all those fellows who had the monopoly up to this. They wanted men of their own to he the officials for this country, to fill every situation and every occupation that they were qualified for. From the highest to the lowest, and the topmost man in the Castle must make way for one of theirs, and the lowest official in the poorhouse yonder must he replaced by one of theirs. What did their opponents do in their day? They kept everything to themselves; and now they might thank God that they (the Nationalists) gave them raw and unboiled justice.Now, Sir, that is exactly the point that we thoroughly understand in Ireland. We have got sufficiently epicurean tastes not to desire that the article should be cooked for us at Westminster—[An hon. MEMBER: You have cooked juries.] The raw and unboiled article which would be served up by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) and his Friends would entirely disagree with the constitution of the Irish Loyalists. Therefore, we ask the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues, in dealing with this question, to consider first of all the character of the men into whose hands the Government of Ireland must inevitably fall as described by their own Chief, and then to come to the House of Commons and say, with that character staring them in the face—"We have, nevertheless, consented to dismember the Empire, in order to satisfy men who have been described so aptly and so justly by the Prime Minister of England." I cannot believe that the House will ever consent to dismember the Empire on these terms. What would they gain? They would be supposed to gain one great advantage, and that is in the absence from this House of the Irish Members. But according to the scheme indicated they would not gain that advantage. You would have them here still. Indeed, Ireland appears to me to be to England what the Old Man of the Sea was to Sinbad the Sailor. Ireland has got its legs round England's neck. Take care, lest in taking Ireland off you do not break England's neck. The hon. Member for the City of Cork and his Friends appear to take this position in the House of Commons. They do not advocate a policy; but the hon. Member stands here as a political Warwick—to make and unmake Ministries at his will. 678 In the calculation the hon. Gentleman has made he has overlooked one great political factor. He may succeed once in performing this operation; but he has overlooked one factor which he will find in the end omnipotent to crush him and his objects, and that is the patriotism that is to be found in Ireland, and the love of England still to be found in the House of Commons. I have no doubt that when the House of Commons is brought face to face, as it must be in the immediate future, with the fact that in Ireland they must learn to face and crush the organization of which the hon. Member for the City of Cork is the head—that they must either do that or dismember and destroy the Empire to which they belong, they will form one united Party, and be able to deal most easily with the hon. Member and his followers, retaining still the honour and glory of England and the welfare of Ireland.
§ Address agreed to: —To be presented by Privy Councillors.