§ [ELEVENTH NIGHT.]
§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [10th May], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ And which Amendment was, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(The Marquess of Hartington.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)
said, it was not alone the particular provisions of the Bill they had to keep in view; but they must be aware—and in this he perfectly agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. John Morley)—that they were in the presence of a great national crisis. That being so, they should approach it with all due regard to its importance and to the responsibility imposed on them. If the Liberal Party were united, as it had generally been under the Leadership of the Prime Minister, there would be little difficulty in approaching the event, for they would have a majority in the Lobby in favour of the Bill of at least from 160 to 170. But, unfortunately, that was not so. At the same time, they were not distressed 1019 by the opposition which came from the quarter where opposition was always looked for; but they were distressed by the opposition from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on their own side. With regard to that section of the Party led by the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington), he wished to say nothing in any way reflecting upon the view they took, or the action which necessarily followed it. The eminent services which the noble Marquess had rendered to the Liberal Party and the country would never be forgotten, and the fact that he was inclined now to separate himself from the Party was felt to be a pure misfortune. He (Mr. Illingworth) would only venture to express the hope that the noble Marquess would come out of his turmoil as sound a Liberal as he had been in the past. But, at the same time, he could not help thinking there was some little danger from the associations into which the noble Marquess was now entering. As he understood it, the noble Marquess and his followers objected to the whole scheme root and branch; and, in these circumstances, were bound, as honourable and conscientious men, to do that which their duty seemed to demand of them—namely, either to refrain from voting, or to go even the length of voting straight against the Bill. But there was another section of the Party—that led by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain—whose action must be looked at in a somewhat different spirit. With respect to them, he would almost be inclined to repeat the same sentiments he had made use of with respect to the noble Marquess and his Friends, though their action was somewhat difficult to understand. That right hon. Gentleman and his Friends had taken up a position which, in his (Mr. Illingworth's) opinion, was scarcely justifiable, and which could hardly be explained either to their Friends in that House or to the country. He hoped no observation would fall from him which would give pain; and he was sure if his right hon. Friend and those with him were disposed to review their position and reconsider their decision at the 11th hour their return to the fold would be warmly hailed, and there would be a disposition, on the part of the great body of Liberals, to welcome their support 1020 with the greatest pleasure and gratification. He wished to ask—Were the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends prepared, at that moment, by voting against the second reading of the Bill, to take upon themselves the whole responsibility—for such he (Mr. Illingworth) believed the great majority of the House and the country would regard it—the whole responsibility for wrecking this measure, for destroying that Parliament, and for preventing the work, which he believed that Parliament was capable of doing, not at all because they were in a difficulty not as to agreeing to the principle of the measure, but because some detail, some plan, included in the Government Bill did not meet with their approbation? It was said their first determination, privately arrived at, was to absent themselves from the division. If that was correct, their abstention would have been a friendly act to many of those who had acted with them in public life, and who hoped to do so again. Reference had more than once been made to a letter written by his right hon. Friend the senior and venerated Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright). He (Mr. Illingworth) could not help feeling that, if that letter had been given to everybody publicly in the first instance, its effect might have been different. His right hon. Friend's position would have been made perfectly clear at the outset—that he was another Member to be added to the number who objected to this stage of the Bill being taken. But, as it was, the effect of that letter had been somewhat contrary to what his right hon. Friend intended, or what he could scarcely have anticipated or desired. What was the prospect before them in case the Bill were rejected, and the Government either resigned or appealed to the country? He would not undertake to prophesy what might happen if the Government were to resign. He could only point to the history and to the fallibility of the Party opposite when they came into power. They had ever shown themselves ready to turn their backs on their most cherished convictions; and by a rough journey, it might be, the end which the present Government were seeking peacefully to attain would be reached under the Government of Lord Salisbury, assisted by the able lieutenancy of the noble Lord the Member 1021 for South Paddington. Supposing that the alternative of Dissolution were before us, the Irish Nationalists had had an experience in the past that fitted them for any emergency. They would come back with increased numbers and increased power, and confidence in their claim for self-government for Ireland. Was it really and deliberately intended on the part of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, and those who acted with him, that they should send this Party to the country, after so recent an Election, upon the narrow ground not of a difference of principle, but of a difference in method, and that difference minimized, as it had been, by the promises and the declarations of the Prime Minister and other right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench? He (Mr. Illingworth), himself, had been in Parliament now for about 20 years, and had had the felicity of co-operating in many great reforms. He had done so as an independent Member, and it was as an independent Member that he failed to understand the position taken up by his right hon. Friend and other Radicals. Never was there a great measure, which had occasioned differences in a Party, where the promises and assurances of a Prime Minister had been made so openly, widely, and generously, so well and open-handed, as they were in the present case. He thought the Government were justified in adhering to the position they had already taken up; to go beyond that, and to give more assurances, would be to humiliate the Government without serving any good end, or giving any additional satisfaction to those doubting Liberals who were hesitating about the course they would take. Every individual Member in favour of the principle of the Bill was justified in voting for the second reading, and, if necessary, debating and urging alterations or improvements in detail. When those details came to be dealt with, improvements might be, no doubt, effected. The great Ulster Question had been put before them as a Protestant question. For his own part, as regarded the Protestantism he valued, he had never claimed a single iota in the spirit of ascendancy; but the difficulty in regard to the Protestantism of Ulster was, and had always been, that it was associated with ascendancy. The present troubles and 1022 past misfortunes of Ireland were almost altogether due to the fact that there was a minority of Protestants in that country, able to ally themselves to the power of Great Britain, and so dividing Ireland, and presenting it before our eyes as two bitterly hostile sections. He was convinced that if a National Assembly of the kind provided for by the Bill were established, Protestantism would be absolutely safe in Ireland. The modern conditions of life made it impossible for bigotry to be mischievous. His main hope was that if the wealth and intelligence and Protestantism of Ireland exhibited themselves in a rational form, as they should do, they would be the most potent factors in the regeneration of that country; but if they turned their backs on the work, he believed the mischief and the suffering which would follow would be again, in large measure, due to the minority. He deeply deplored that the suggestion should have been made by a man in the influential position of his right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham that there were some risk of danger to the Protestants of Ulster. The members of the Catholic Church, through their Leaders, had declared their determination not in any respect to do anything in the slightest degree to interfere with the rights and liberties of their Protestant fellow-countrymen; and nothing, in his judgment, was more certain than that, in the position of Ireland now, absolute religious equality would be maintained. Then there was the question of the withdrawal of the Irish Members from the House, to which objection was taken on the ground that it was taxation without representation. But he would point out that when that principle had been asserted in our national life, whenever Radical Members had hitherto vindicated the principle of taxation and representation it had always been on the occasion of a right to tax being claimed without the right of representation, and not with the consent of the taxed. But Members were not asked to forego their own private views on this subject. If that question arose here, it arose from the inherent difficulties of the situation. When a system of federation should be established Ireland would form a part of it, and resume her old position under the new state of things. The mischief was not a substantial, but a sentimental 1023 one; and it was only necessary for the present to come to some rough-and-ready decision on the question. He could wish the Prime Minister had not, as regarded the 25th clause, so readily acceded to the request that the Bill should be remodelled, but had left all changes to be made in the Committee stage. But, at all events, the concession had been made in the interests of certain Radical Members who had been putting pressure upon the Government, and from whom therefore some return was due, and who ought not so readily to throw away all confidence in the Party to which they belonged. The attitude taken up by the Nationalist Members, even when not so numerous as they were now, had been such as to afford a strong argument in favour of the provision. Then about the supremacy of Parliament. But he had long doubted whether, in view of the obstruction and delay caused to so many Colonial and Imperial questions of great moment by a Nationalist Party not half so numerous as that which now confronted them, they could say there was such a thing as the supremacy of Parliament. They had only been able to give the small remnants of the time of Parliament to great questions affecting the Empire, for the tinkering of Irish questions had taken up most of the energy and time of that Assembly. The integrity and unity of the Empire were also said to be in danger. As far as they were concerned, was it not a matter of notoriety that, in consequence of this absorption in their own affairs, the Irish Nationalist Members had never shown themselves interested in those great foreign problems which were discussed in this House? Apparently they were so concerned, so humiliated by the condition of their own country, and its wants and needs, that they always seemed to have devoted themselves almost exclusively, and with enthusiasm, to that consideration only, and they had never entered into fellow-feeling with the rest of the House in regard to foreign questions. And if the demands of Ireland were not listened to, he could imagine that if Great Britain found herself in some life-and-death struggle, and if the past alienation continued, so far from Ireland being a strength to the Empire we might find her to be an element of weakness and of danger instead 1024 of strength, and even openly enlisted in the cause of our enemies. It was largely because they had not solidity and unity at present that he was in favour of the change proposed, and anticipated the best results from the Prime Minister's scheme. It was most important not to overlook the immense bearing upon the issue which the recent wide extension of the question exerted. Added to that was the abandonment of coercion by the late Tory Government and their alleged coquetting with the National Party. All this showed many Liberal Members that they must acquiesce in the old policy of coercion, or try some entirely new policy. Not only was there a new spirit among Nationalists opposite, but there was also a new spirit in the Liberal and Radical section in the present Parliament in favour of a policy of justice and generosity to Ireland. And the Prime Minister had rightly reckoned that measures of justice and generosity to Ireland, which it must have been impossible to carry in previous Parliaments, had some chance of success in this new Parliament. For the first time, too, the hon. Member for the City of Cork and those who acted with him had avowed their readiness to accept certain changes comprised in the measure of the Prime Minister as a full discharge of Ireland's claim, and as giving a guarantee for happier relations between the two countries. In the light of all these circumstances, could it be doubted that some such proposal as that now before them would before long be carried into effect? If so, it would be to the honour of the Prime Minister that he saw and took advantage of the opportunity presented by the overthrow of the Tory Government not to allow coercion to intervene, but that he grasped the hand held out from Ireland; and they were now engaged in a great enterprize which, sooner or later, would end in the success of some such scheme as the Prime Minister had submitted. As to the General Election, he looked forward with great trouble and anxiety to the time when the Elections might take place on this question, feeling that it was impossible to over-estimate the permanent mischief that must arise out of the relationship of a section of his Party with the Tories and their reliance on Tory votes. And he was sorry to say that no doubt a section of the Liberal Party had broken away from the main 1025 body. But he would remind hon. Members that he had never known of an instance of a public man who, when alienated for a time from the Liberals, had fortified his position by Conservative support, in which the mischievous effects had not been traceable all through his career. He ventured, with the greatest respect, to warn right hon. and hon. Gentlemen beside him, that they were about to play with edged tools. He had, at the last Election, met with some opposition in his borough from the Church Defence Association, because he was in favour of religious equality. Within the last few days he had received a communication, telling him that if he did not support the Government Bill somebody would not oppose him. This was an example of the danger which some hon. Members might find themselves exposed to, and it might be fatal in the case of men who had not his robustness. The noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale should not be misled by the favourable reception he got recently at Bradford. Would the noble Marquess be surprised to hear from those well able to form an opinion, that at least two-thirds of his audience belonged to the Conservative Party, and that the remaining third belonging to the Liberal Party did not give him any countenance or cheers for the line he was taking in opposing the Bill? The noble Marquess would be altogether mistaken if he drew the conclusion from that meeting that the Liberals in that part of the country were in large numbers likely to be swayed by his eloquence or influence in the matter to abandon the Prime Minister and the Bill. But if, for a moment, they swerved, they would soon recover; and whatever might be the temporary advantage to the Tory Party, it would be no advantage to the noble Marquess or those associated with him. If the Bill was rejected, what would happen? It was a very providential thing that Lord Salisbury had been allowed to appear recently at St. James's Hall. As regarded that speech, he (Mr. Illingworth) could well understand that, in all probability, his right hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Goschen) and the noble Marquess could have wished in their hearts that he had been a little more prudent. But while the speech of Lord Salisbury was remarkable, the silence of the noble Lord 1026 the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) was still more remarkable. How was it that he had got nothing to say in this debate—he, the stormy petrel that was ever on the wing, when there were clouds hovering round about and storms were brewing? The other night he gave the incomprehensible reason, forsooth, that he did not wish to take up the time of the House, and that he did not wish to hinder a decision being come to. He (Mr. Illingworth) had no doubt whatever that the noble Lord was anxious for a division, and felt that the shorter the debate the better would it be for the purposes of the Tory Party. For his own part, he (Mr. Illingworth) could not think it was in the interests either of Ireland or of this nation, that the question should be disposed of without ample and exhaustive debate. He, therefore, thanked the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), and he believed the country would thank him, for maintaining the rights of debate in this matter. He ventured to remind hon. Members on his own side, who were hesitating as to the course they should take on the second reading, that the question, even if the Bill were defeated, could not be postponed for any considerable time. Until it was settled, great domestic reforms affecting Great Britain must be thrust on one side, for Parliament could never deal with several great questions all at one time. He was anxious that those hon. Gentlemen should reconsider their position, and not do that fatal injury to the Liberal Party which would result from their voting against the Bill. Let them show such generosity and secure reunion, along the whole line of the Liberal Party at this stage as would secure the second reading, and then apply their individual and collective wisdom to the difficulties which might most fitly be raised in Committee.
§ MR. TROTTER (Colchester)
said, he would not presume to occupy the attention of the House, even for a short time, were it not for the magnitude of the interests involved in the measures under discussion. Since the declarations made by the Prime Minister last Friday, it must be in the minds of all hon. Members that there was a good deal of unreality in the debate, and that the House was being asked, not to pass a law, but to save a Government. But 1027 as the right hon. Gentleman had indicated that the Bill would again be presented to the House, very much in its present shape, excepting some alterations of the 24th clause, he wished to urge a few plain, matter-of-fact reasons which had occurred to many minds, including his own, in coming to a conclusion upon this subject. There had been a great deal of recrimination indulged in during the course of the debate; but he would endeavour to avoid the example that had been set in that respect, and discuss the matter solely from the stand-point of the present, and what was wise and right to do at that time. He ventured to assert that a measure like that would not satisfy Ireland, as it would reduce that country to the position of a Dependency or Province of Great Britain, and that the Irish people would not consent to. Hon. Members must mistake that country if they thought that, for any time, that measure would satisfy the aspirations of Ireland. It was provided that Ireland should have no voice in the great questions of Foreign and Colonial affairs, of Peace and War, of the Army and Navy, of Trade and Commerce. But those matters were the very life and soul of a free people and proud nation; and it was impossible to conceive that a country which had shown itself so full both of patriotism and self-assertion should acquiesce in a state of things absolutely fatal to national greatness or independence. If the Nationalist Members held a contrary view, he must maintain, without impugning their sincerity, that they were unable to answer for the Irish people, who probably had a very imperfect knowledge of the restrictions to be imposed upon them. Again, he had never heard, in that House or out of it, any outspoken declaration from a Leader of the Nationalist Party, that, as our islands were encompassed by the same seas, so our interests were, and must be, one, the same, identical and indivisible. If Scotland were to demand a measure of this kind, it might be granted, as Scotland did recognize her identity with England. Ireland did not. As long as he could recollect, he had heard that the great curse of Ireland was absenteeism; yet, by the Government measures, it was proposed to make absenteeism universal. The great want of Ireland arose from an inadequacy of capital. It was proposed by that measure to take several millions 1028 of money annually out of Ireland, to prevent the employment of several thousands of people, and thus aggravate the evils under which Ireland suffered. Again, could it be contended that it was possible for a Parliament in Ireland to make better general laws, under which to live, than was done by the Imperial Parliament? He was quite sure that that House was prepared to give up any amount of time, and take any amount of trouble, to meet the wishes of Irish Representatives in regard to legislative requirements. What he said did not apply to local demands for powers to make or administer laws, which was a different subject and well worthy of consideration. But he believed there was nothing the English people were not ready and anxious to do, in order to produce peace and contentment in Ireland, short of agreeing to schemes which could only lead to a separation between the two countries. Again, a great number of English people who went to Ireland to enjoy the beautiful scenery there, and to join in sport, told him that the aspect of the people of Ireland had entirely changed. Whereas, a few years ago, English visitors were made much of, now hatred and contempt were exhibited. They told him that a great many Irishmen of the ordinary working class believed that, if they once had a Parliament, they would be able to enter into alliances with foreign countries and with England's enemies. They were asked to vote for the second reading of the Bill as affirming the principle of autonomy for Ireland; but he wished to know what particular form of autonomy was contemplated, because there were different kinds of autonomy, and the word itself, if it did not come to them in a foreign garb, at least fell upon their ears with a foreign sound? In that case, details were the essence of the autonomy, and it was unreasonable to expect them to vote for autonomy first, and leave the details to adjust themselves afterwards. Some Members of the Government preferred to describe it as voting for a Legislative Body. But that expression was equally vague, for two or three magistrates sitting in Petty Sessions were a Legislative Body, administering the law, and sometimes making it, also, for that matter; and therefore the term Legislative Body included anything from Petty Sessions or a Board of Guardians 1029 to a supreme Parliament. It had been said by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) that, if the present Government was not allowed to pass this Bill, probably a weak Conservative Government would pass a similar one. He (Mr. Trotter) asked the House and the country not to believe that. The Leaders of the Conservative Party had declared their hostility to Home Rule. He did not think there was the slightest ground for supposing that, for a moment, they would contemplate passing a measure in the smallest degree resembling that before the House. If the Leaders had any such contemplation, the followers would not follow. But supposing the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant (Mr. John Morley) was a trustworthy guide, the last thing that the Nationalist Members could desire would be the sympathy or support of the Conservative Party; for he had noticed that, on a recent occasion, the right hon. Gentleman said that whenever the Conservative Party identified themselves with any cause, it was always fatal to that cause. He (Mr. Trotter) was a very young Member of that House, but not, he regretted to admit, a very young politician; and he remembered quite well that, when he first fought a contested Election, there was a considerable section of the Liberal Party which was known as the Manchester School, which did not hesitate to say it would be to the advantage of the Mother Country and the Colonies that the connection between them should be severed; but at that time, and ever since, the Conservative Party had always, in season and out of season, opposed that doctrine; and he would like to know if one Member of the House now would say that the connection was not to the advantage of both? He did not underrate the importance of the argument that the future government of Ireland would be much more difficult if this measure were rejected; but it was possible that might not entirely be the case. So long as Home Rule was a mere abstraction, dangled before the eyes of the Irish people, there was a certain fascination about it; but when once it had been brought down to prose, and put in black and white, the difficulties were seen, and would be more realized, especially when 1030 it was seen that the Prime Minister's great abilities had been unable to produce an acceptable measure. They were often told that the alternative was coercion. He had the greatest objection to coercion, and to laws for different parts of the country on different principles. If, for instance, some matter arose in Yorkshire which the present law did not meet, the House would not pass a law for that county, but one for the whole Kingdom. If the law required strengthening in any part of the Kingdom, he thought it might be left to the Queen's Lieutenant of any county to proclaim districts in regard to arms, to stop meetings, or to interfere with a Press that was doing harm; and when such a general law was not needed, its power would never be invoked. The most fatal objection to that measure consisted in the difficulties regarding the retention or exclusion of Irish Members at Westminster under the scheme. He believed that the Bill could not be final, and that its effect would be not to make, but to destroy, a nation. His constituents had required no pledge from him; and if he thought this measure would have been for the benefit of all parts of the Queen's Dominions, he would have voted for it. On the contrary, he believed it would be fruitful of harm. They had been told that 30,000,000 of people would have no difficulty in overcoming 5,000,000. That was quite true; but look at the misery that would be caused before an Army could intervene; and then, when it did intervene, the best blood of both countries would have to be freely spilt, and we should have to face all the difficulties that would follow consequent upon the whole of the threads of Government and Administration having passed out of our hands. As the Bill at present stood, separation would be much better, simpler, and much more quickly would result in final pacification, or in re-conquest, than an incomplete measure, with all the vices and none of the benefits of separation. With it the crisis would not be so long delayed, and the intervening friction would not be so intolerable. The Government plans ought, in justice, to include buying out the Loyal minority as well as the landlords. Much had been said about coercion; but he thought there was some coercion in that House in the form of a threat of a Dissolution. The great 1031 depression which had existed for years in every branch of commerce had rather increased during the occupancy of Office by the present Government; and he believed the country would show its displeasure with a Minister who, to say nothing of having divided his Party, forced upon the people at that time all the evils that would result from a bitterly contested Election. If the fate of the Bill and a Dissolution were dependent on his vote, he should not have the slightest hesitation in giving it against the second reading. Why did we feel such great pride and interest in the Exhibition now opened at Kensington? Was it not because it was National, because, in the best sense of the word, it was Imperial? The Bill was against the spirit of the times, when there was a desire among peoples and countries not to sever, but to bind more closely together, the ties which united them. It was, therefore, a most inopportune measure; and he could not believe that a Bill so reactionary, mischievous, and fatal, would meet with the sanction of Parliament, or the approval of the country.
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. OSBORNE MORGAN) (Denbighshire, E.)
said, that on those Benches they had been taunted with having changed their opinion with regard to Ireland at the bidding of the Prime Minister. For his own part, these taunts had no terror for him, because six months ago, speaking as a humble Member of what had then been a united Liberal Party, he had said that Ireland must have a Legislature of her own capable of dealing, under certain conditions, with Irish affairs; and in voting for the second reading of this Bill, he considered that he was voting in favour of that proposition. Then they had been told that they had given no reasons for their conversion. The reason of his conversion was simple, and could be told in a couple of sentences; he had come round to vote for this Bill, because he believed that the great majority of the Irish people desired it, and he thought that, if this question was an Imperial one, it was also pre-eminently an Irish one. In the second place, he did not see how the government of Ireland could in these days be carried on in any other way consistently with the traditional policy of the Liberal Party. With regard 1032 to the first point, there were 32 counties in Ireland, and in only five of these had the Loyalists, as they called themselves—though he must say that they seemed to adopt a most extraordinary way of showing their loyalty, when they talked of taking up arms against the supremacy of the law—been able to secure any representation whatsoever, and in only one county—namely, Antrim—had they secured the whole. It was just as if the whole of Kent, the greater part of Surrey, a part of Essex, Sussex, and Hampshire had voted one way and all the rest of England had voted the other way. In what he might call the most Irish Provinces the amount of the Nationalist vote had been 245,000; while the Unionist vote had only amounted to 34,000, showing a proportion of nearly eight to one, and that did not include 16 or 18 constituencies in which the Home Rule candidates had been so strong that no opposition candidates had been started at all. They were told that this was the result of coercion, and that these voters were coerced into voting for the Nationalist candidates. For his own part, his experience told him that it was very easy to coerce men to vote as they wished to vote. Such arguments as those were of no avail in the present time. There was only one legitimate and Constitutional way in this country of arriving at the wishes of a nation, and that was to take the number of Representatives returned to vote with regard to any particular question. When they saw 85 Members for Ireland in favour of that Bill and only 16 against it, it was surely childish to say that the voice of Ireland was not clearly in favour of it. Nor could he wonder at that. During the time that he had sat in that House he had seen Irish Bill after Irish Bill mutilated and emasculated, in order to meet the views of men who knew no more of the wants of Ireland than they did of the wants of the Soudan. On the second ground on which he supported the Bill, he thought he might claim the special attention of hon. Gentlemen opposite; for during the seven months that the Conservatives were in Office Ireland was not governed at all. On the third day of the Session the right hon. and learned Gentleman the late Irish Attorney General (Mr. Holmes) came down to the House and made a speech, in which Ireland was 1033 represented as being in such a state of lawlessness that, if such a state of things had existed in Bechuanaland, he (Mr. Osborne Morgan) would have had a bad time of it on the Colonial Vote. It had been pointed out that not merely were the laws disobeyed, but that the law had fallen into absolute contempt. It was absolutely impossible to allow such a state of things as that to continue. That brought him to a question from which he thought they had travelled too far, but which had been much discussed—namely, whether those who opposed this Bill were bound to propose an alternative policy? The noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) had said that he was not bound to put forward an alternative policy, and his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bury (Sir Henry James) went back 200 years, to the days of Clarendon, to show that he was not bound to produce an alternative policy. If they had been living in the first or second decade after the Union, there would have been a good deal of force in the argument that it was better to wait to see what was the result of the policy; but they had had 86 years of failure; they had relegated political economy to Jupiter and Saturn, and Coercion Bill after Coercion Bill had been passed in the last 50 years; so that when a Conservative Government came into Office, and brought in another Coercion Bill, one of the difficulties of the draftsman would be to find a new name for the Act. They were told that a firm and just policy applied to Ireland would meet the necessities of the case; but where could they find a firmer or a juster man than Lord Spencer, and yet Lord Spencer had declared that his policy had failed? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) had proposed his plan of federation, and nobody was more anxious than he (Mr. Osborne Morgan) himself was for federation when things were ripe for it; but that plan had been killed in a sentence by the hon. and learned Member for South Londonderry (Mr. T. M. Healy), when he said that before they could have federation they must have something to federate; and it was rather hard that Ireland should have to wait until the whole British Empire was ready for federation. But there was 1034 also this fatal objection to that scheme, and that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. Trevelyan)—that the Irish people did not want them; the minority viewed them with suspicion, and the majority rejected them with contempt. Lord Salisbury made a speech the other day; and, a week after, he made another speech to explain it. Now, when a Gentleman had to make a second speech to explain away his first speech, he, as a rule, preferred the text to the interpretation. Put into a sentence what his Lordship proposed was this—to govern Ireland for 20 years by coercion, and to deport 1,000,000 Irishmen to Manitoba. Rather than do that, be (Mr. Osborne Morgan) himself infinitely preferred to govern Ireland as a Crown Colony at once, like Gibraltar or Malta. That they might do for a time; but one thing they could not do—they could not govern Ireland as Lord Salisbury proposed to do it, and at the same time allow 85 Nationalists to sit in that House. To carry out such a policy of repression they would want a Cromwell or a Strafford; they would have to lock up 40,000 British soldiers in Irish barracks, and to put hundreds or thousands of prominent Irishmen in gaol; and the result would be, if we should unfortunately be involved in a foreign war, we should have to encounter the bitter and uncompromising hostility of 4,000,000 of Irish people at home, and the still more uncompromising hostility of 10,000,000 more in the Greater Ireland beyond the ocean. Englishmen had been the champions of nationality in Italy, Roumelia, and Montenegro. Were they prepared to go back and govern Ireland as Austria used to govern Venice? For the Government of the Archduke Charles in Venice was a firm and a just Government; but, unfortunately, the Italians preferred a Government, perhaps less perfect because it was their own, and they got it. When old Garibaldi was told that every other system that had been adopted in Ireland had broken down, he answered in two words—"Try liberty." It was objected against the Bill that it would interfere with the unity of the Empire. Unity, indeed! Why they had been leading a cat-and-dog life for 86 years. What was the use of going about crying "Peace," 1035 when there was no peace? People seemed to think there was some magic in an Act of Parliament; but the Act of 1800 might have created a parchment Union—it had certainly not given them true unity. Let them be honest and admit that the real ground of their opposition to the Bill was a deep distrust of the Irish people. That came out very forcibly in the speech in which Lord Salisbury spoke of the Irish as a nation that was accustomed to the slug-shot and the knife, and said he would as soon think of giving them self-government, as of giving it to Afghans or to Hottentots. But they could not predicate of any nation that it was unfit for self-government until it had been given to it. The careers of Sir Charles Gavan Duffy and other distinguished Irishmen in our Colonies illustrated the change that was wrought upon such men, when they breathed the atmosphere of a free self-governed community. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), whom he hoped some day to congratulate on being the first Prime Minister for Ireland, would be a very different man in that capacity from what he was as the Leader of the Obstructionist Party in the House of Commons. When Ireland made her own laws, crime would be crime against Ireland, treason would be treason against Ireland, and sedition would be sedition against Ireland. That, he took it, would make the whole difference. Why, Prince Metternich once spoke of Italy as a mere geographical expression, and described the Italians very much as Lord Salisbury described the Irish people, and as entirely unfit for self-government. But the Italians now enjoyed that great boon, and there was not a better governed nation. Again, Norway had obtained the inestimable privilege of self-government; and, at the present moment, she was so contented with her lot, that she would as little think of separating from Sweden as Scotland would think of separating from England. Austria and Hungary, Denmark and Iceland, were also cases in point. Lord Durham, with a foresight that showed that he was politically in advance of his time, recommended that Home Rule should be given to Canada. The debates which took place at that time on that question might also be supposed to refer to the present Irish Home Rule Bill, it being then as now alleged that the first efforts of the 1036 new Legislature would be in the direction of total separation between the two countries, and that Canada would gravitate to the United States, from which she was separated, not as Ireland was by 3,000 miles of water, but by a hedge or a ditch, and in some parts merely by a parallel of latitude. During the debate Sir George Sinclair said—This measure is so constructed as to give a triumph to the French over the English, to the Roman Catholics over the Protestants, to the traitorous over the well-affected.Lord Ellenborough said that he was opposed to the Bill—Because he thought it the most imprudent, the most fradulent, and the most unjust measure which had ever been proposed to Parliament, and at the same time the most ridiculous, because not one of the objects it professed would be practically affected by it.Those were the very words in which the Chairman of the Conservative Union the other day had denounced this Bill. The Bill conferring a separate Legislature upon Canada was, however, carried; and it was a remarkable fact that, in the very first Canadian Parliament which assembled under the Act, there sat the two gentlemen who had headed the rebellions in both Upper and Lower Canada, Mr. Mackenzie and Mr. Papineau, both of whom became loyal subjects of the Queen. So it was with the Australian Colonies. As soon as our Colonies were able to walk alone, we gave them separate Legislature. But that course was opposed to all the weight of official opinion; Sir Charles Hotham, the Governor of Victoria, actually declaring that, if the patronage of the Colony was transferred from the Home Government to a Colonial Minister, the tariff of offices would be as notorious as the price of a railway ticket. Yet, at the present moment, Australian statesmen were as pure-minded and as open to reason as any who sat in that House. What the House was asked to do was to give Ireland the same boon as it had given to our Colonies. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Border Burghs had based one of his objections to the Bill, on the fact that it would require Ireland to pay tribute to this country, whereas our Colonies paid no such tribute. There was something very misleading about that word "tribute." The fact was, that under the provisions of this Bill Ireland would pay no tribute. 1037 All that she would be required to do was to contribute her own share of the interest on the National Debt, and of the cost of protecting her shores. Was the right hon. Gentleman aware that, when it was necessary for her protection, that she should have British soldiers upon her shores, Australia paid this country at the rate of £40 per soldier for that protection? The same thing had occurred in the case of the other Colonies, and yet it could not be said that they had ever paid tribute to this country. The truth was that the Colonies paid us when they got a quid pro quo for what they paid, and that Ireland would only make us a payment upon similar terms. If this Bill were to pass, the connection between England and Ireland would be much closer than that which existed between England and her Colonies. The Colonial Legislatures had power to deal with a number of subjects which the Irish Legislature would have no power to touch. But then it was said by the right hon. and learned Member for Bury that, by the Act of 1865, the Imperial Parliament reserved to itself the right to repeal the Act of the Colonial Legislatures. He wondered what would happen if Parliament were to attempt to exercise that abstract right. If the Colonies did anything in derogation of International Law, the Crown would veto the Statute. The Royal veto in the case of the Colonies was by no means a dead letter, but was constantly exercised. The same would happen in the case of Ireland. If the Irish Parliament were to do some foolish thing, for instance, to pass an Act putting a poll tax on every Protestant, or a tax of 10s. upon every acre of land owned by a man not born in Ireland, the Crown, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, who was for this purpose the creature of Parliament, would veto it, just as it would do now, if the Government of Canada or of Victoria were to pass such a law. Some hon. Members maintained that the bond between the Mother Country and the Colonies was a sentimental one only, and that they could separate themselves from us if they pleased. He denied that the bond between the Mother Country and the Colonies was a sentimental one only; it was a bond of self-interest founded on the instinct of self-preservation. The Colonies knew that united with the Mother Country they were part of a 1038 great Empire, while separated from her they would become mere floating atoms. That was the sentiment that would operate on the Irish mind. Whatever Irishmen might be, they were certainly not fools; and, unless he was greatly mistaken, they would take care to make friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness in the shape of their powerful neighbours. An anecdote was told him once by an eminent Protestant physician in Dublin which illustrated this. The physician being called in to attend a Prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, expressed his astonishment that a Roman Catholic physician had not been sent for. To that the Prelate replied, that if the Pope were dangerously ill, and he knew that St. Peter could not cure him and the Devil could, he would call in the Devil. In time he felt sure the tendency of Ireland would be to lean upon England as her natural protector, just as a sister leant on a brother. A Bill of such magnitude must necessarily present many points for attack on matters of detail, and its opponents had availed themselves very skilfully of the opportunities thus presented; but this would be the first time that this House would be asked to reject on its details the second reading of a Bill, the principle of which was approved by the majority of the House. Great objection had been taken to the exclusion of the Irish Members from the Imperial Parliament; but he thought that to give the Irish their full representation at Westminster, as well as the conduct of their own affairs, would be unjust not only to England, but to Ireland. By this Bill they were only voting to transfer the Irish Business, which was the bane and almost the curse of the House of Commons, from Westminster to Dublin. So, again, as to these so-called "safeguards." In time they would fall into disuse, because they would be felt to be unnecessary. The real safeguard for the minority in Ireland would be the growth of a healthy public opinion in Ireland such as had never existed there since the Act of Union. Before sitting down he wished to make an earnest appeal to his hon. Friends on that side of the House, who held the fate of the Bill in their hands. He did not address himself to the Conservatives. They were in the happy position of the monkey in the fable, who had the chestnuts pulled out of the fire 1039 for him by the cats below the Gangway. He would not remind them of the disruption of the Liberal Party—that, unfortunately, was past praying for. Still less would be threaten them with the terrors of a Dissolution—that was an ignoble argument, which had no terrors for him, and he did not wish to credit others with lower motives than those by which he himself was actuated. But was it not certain that before many months some measure framed upon the lines of this Bill must be passed? They could no more arrest the progress of the Irish Home Rule movement than the Danish King in the old Saxon legend could stay the rising of the tide. And the tide was rising in favour of this Bill. The country was breast high with the Prime Minister. An hon. Friend behind him had said that Scotland would not desert Ulster. How that might be he knew not; but one thing he knew—Wales would not desert Gladstone. No doubt, some men of light and leading had gone over to the other side; but the people were with them, and in these cases it often happened that the instincts of the people were sounder than those of their natural Leaders. It was so in the case of the War of Italian Independence—it was so in the case of the American Civil War. In both cases "society" was on the wrong side. The noble Marquess, deservedly the most popular Representative in Lancashire, went down to his constituency; but he could get nothing better than a vote of thanks for his speech. His hon. Friend the Member for South Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey) was still more unfortunate; for at a meeting of his Liberal supporters he could only get 13 men—a baker's dozen—to express their confidence in him. In his (Mr. Osborne Morgan's) own constituency, at a meeting of the so-called "Loyal and Patriotic Union," presided over by the Lord Lieutenant, and convened by ticket, nearly one-third of the persons present declared for the Bill. On the previous evening he himself had addressed a mass meeting in the same place—not convened by ticket—at which a resolution in favour of the Bill was carried with only four dissentients. Was the Prime Minister the man to put his hand to the plough and turn back? And if such a thing were possible, there were others—possibly the noble Lord the 1040 Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill)—who would step into his place. [Laughter.] Well, more strange things than that had happened before now. Of one thing they might be sure. If this Bill were thrown out, and another Bill brought in, it would be a stronger and a bolder measure. For it was with these things as in the old story of the Sibylline books—the longer the demand was resisted the higher became the price to be paid. Would it not be well, then, to accept the inevitable? Surely, it was bard to kick against the pricks. Hon. Gentlemen opposite might say that these were the dictates of cowardice and fear. Was the Duke of Wellington a coward when he accepted Catholic Emancipation in order to avert civil war? And if this Bill was rejected, something worse than civil war might be in store for us. But, as a matter of fact, this was the very first concession to Ireland that had not been extorted by fear. For the first time in our history a Minister had come down to the House to offer a boon to Ireland, which was in the nature of a free gift. A tremendous responsibility would rest upon those who sought to withhold it. He implored them to pause before they did so. Pass the second reading of the Bill, and they would be laying the foundations of a real Union—not an Act of Parliament Union—not a parchment Union—but a moral Union, a union of heart and soul between two Sister Nations. Reject it, and they would be widening still further a gulf which—God knows—was wide enough already, and they would be adding another chapter to that long list of failures which had made the history of Ireland the one dark, sad page in the glorious annals of our Empire.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
said, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman who had last addressed the House (Mr. Osborne Morgan) gave a few historical statements as to Irishmen who had crossed the seas as rebels, and came back devoted and loyal adherents to the British Crown. The right hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned Sir Charles Gavan Duffy and Mr. O'Shaughnessy; but, for his (Colonel King - Harman's) own part, he had never heard that the latter Gentleman was a rebel, although he might perhaps have been a firebrand.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, at all events, Mr. O'Shaughnessy had been spoken of as an enemy of the British supremacy, who afterwards became a devoted adherent to the Crown. The right hon. and learned Gentleman forgot, however, to mention another Irish gentleman—he meant Mr. D'Arcy M'Ghee—who was also once a rebel, but who went to Canada and became a loyal adherent of the British Crown. The right hon. and learned Gentleman forgot the fate which overtook M'Ghee, who was struck down by the hands of an assassin, because he became a loyal man. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was also somewhat unfortunate as regarded his reference to Canada, for he informed them that the Canadian Parliament could pass such laws as they pleased, subject to the veto of the Crown. But what was the fact? The veto of the Crown would never be exercised in Canada; because they knew very well that, if it were, Canada would break off from the British connection, and not a shot would be fired to prevent it—and the same would be the case in Ireland. That proved how useless and illusory the veto would be in regard to the Irish Parliament. The right hon. and learned Member tried to convey the idea that there was an extraordinary enthusiasm manifested for some such Bill as that before the House. They, however, on his (Colonel King-Harman's) side of the House did not believe in this enthusiasm, and challenged the Prime Minister to go to the country on the question. It was also said, as a proof of the statement, that hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway had been returned from certain Ulster constituencies. They were, however, most conveniently careful to keep from uttering any expressions about Home Rule in Ulster. ["Oh, oh!"] Yes, "The land" was their cry. The right hon. and learned Gentleman misquoted Lord Salisbury's speech, in which he stated the noble Marquess compared the Irish people to Hottentots. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had, however, stated that injustice had brought Ireland into a state like that of Bechuanaland, or worse; so that Members of the Government might compare Irishmen to Natives of Bechuanaland, while Lord 1042 Salisbury was misquoted, because he referred to Hottentots. Again, the right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of 86 years of failure and trouble in Ireland, but omitted to state during how many years out of those 86 Ireland had been under a Liberal Government. He also spoke of 38 Coercion Bills, but he did not state that 35 of them were passed by Liberal Governments. He drew a marvellous picture about his sitting down to breakfast with a detective at his elbow, and another under his chair. About four or five years ago, when coming out of his house, he (Colonel King-Harman) found an enormous policeman on his door-step. He did not want to have a policeman, so he went to the police office and inquired what was the reason. In reply the Inspector informed him that he was really in great danger. He said he did not think he was, but the Inspector informed him that he was done a great honour. He was "treated exactly as a Cabinet Minister." He, however, speaking somewhat impatiently, said—"For God's sake, do not confound me with any of those people." The right hon. and learned Gentleman misquoted Lord Salisbury just as the Radical papers had done over and over again. Lord Salisbury did not explain away his words, but cleared himself of the misrepresentations to which he had been exposed. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had also said that the Bill would relieve us from the necessity of locking up 40,000 British soldiers to preserve the peace in Ireland; but if he could lock up 40 rebels he would preserve the peace—if he could catch them. That would be much better; or, even if 10 were locked up, it would not matter about the remaining 30. The very men who were now fawning upon the Prime Minister had not long ago spoken of him with the greatest hatred and abuse. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to Lombardy, as affording a parallel to Ireland. But Lombardy wanted not separation, but union with the newly-created Kingdom of Italy. Lombardy, therefore, resembled the loyal portion of Ireland—the classes, as the Prime Minister had called them, who were all in favour of maintaining the Union. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had spoken of the animosity of Ulster being conciliated by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. But what 1043 did Mr. Davitt say? He said a short time ago—"Leave Ulster men tons—the Irish Parliament will soon deal with them."
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
rose to Order. Mr. Davitt had never used these words, which had appeared in a newspaper. Mr. Davitt wrote a long letter to the paper the very next day, in which he stated that the statement was a pure invention.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, he was exceedingly glad to hear that Mr. Davitt had repudiated the statement, and unhesitatingly withdrew it. He was quite sure the hon. Member was correct, and he would not willingly do an injustice, especially to Mr. Davitt. The hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Illingworth) had lately addressed the House in favour of the Bill. He (Colonel King-Harman) could not help thinking that there had been another Member for Bradford, who had given great service to the Liberal Party, and who had great experience of Ireland (Mr. Forster), whose loss they all deplored, and from whose lips they would have heard a very different speech. They had heard the repudiation by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) of the speech which had been attributed to him; but since then two telegrams had arrived from Chicago confirming the accuracy of the statement which the hon. Member for the City of Cork denied. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) said the other night that separation was impossible. But they could not forget that, when the same thing was said by others, the hon. Member had replied by referring to the greater Ireland across the Atlantic. The hon. Member said that now the Nationalist Party would have recourse to moral means. But the House would not forget that their instruments in the past had been "Boycotting" and murder. The Prime Minister had urged that the Bill was necessary to preserve social order. But social order had not improved, but declined, since the introduction of the Bill. The Prime Minister was not free to hang up this Bill, because he wanted to catch weak votes, according to his own words. The hon. Member (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) urged that the Bill was now only a draft measure, and the Prime Minister 1044 had bowed his head in assent and cheered.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
said no; that was quite a mistake. He had noticed the statement in an evening paper of that day, and was observing to an hon. Friend that it was a gross error. He had cheered another statement, and not the one to which the hon. Member referred.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, that he accepted the correction; but certainly the right hon. Gentleman must have cheered some sentence which was very near that to which he (Colonel King-Harman) had referred. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool had referred to the tampering of the Conservative Party with the Nationalists, and hinted that there was some terrible things to disclose, if honour allowed him to do so. That was a pure suggestio falsi, and had, in several cases, been disproved. The hon. Member also hinted that Mr. Wilfrid Blunt could make revelations, as he possessed the confidence of the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington. This, however, was equally true with the statement which was made when Mr. Blunt went to Egypt to visit his friend Arabi Pasha, that he possessed the confidence of the Prime Minister. As to the idea of the abandonment of coercion by the Tory Government having brought about the present crisis, that was no more true than to say the abandonment by the Prime Minister's Cabinet of 1880 of the Peace Preservation Act had brought it about. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite were terribly afraid of the word "Coercion," and said they would no longer be mixed up with it. Well, he (Colonel King-Harman) disliked coercion too; but very few of the laws which had been passed for the better government of Ireland of late years deserved that name. Very few of those laws were so framed as to injure, hurt, or annoy any honest, loyal, or God-fearing man. The chief reason why he had risen to speak in the debate was, that he had an intimate relation with the question of Home Rule, and it was right he should explain the difference between the Home Rule Bill of the Prime Minister and the Home Rule movement of 1870. When the Home Rule movement started in that year, he was a follower of Mr. Butt, a thing 1045 which not a single one of those hon. Gentlemen—the Home Rulers—could say.
§ MR. DILLON
The hon. and gallant Member is mating a statement which, I am sure, he will withdraw. A great many of us were followers of Mr. Butt. I was present myself, and took part in the Convention in which he first laid his scheme of Home Rule.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, he accepted the correction; but, at the game time, there were many there who were not followers of Mr. Butt, and they put up Mr. O'Connor Power, whom they were not so fond of now, as the spokesman of the Fenian Party. He knew all about that. He believed the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow (Mr. Mitchell Henry) and the Lord Mayor of Dublin (Mr. T. D. Sullivan) were the only two Members now in that House, excepting himself, who were Members of the Home Rule Council of Mr. Butt.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, he did not say the Council of the League, but Mr. Butt's Council. If he had made any mistake, he apologized for it; but the Home Rule Council, at that time, was composed of a very different class of men from those to whom the Prime Minister now proposed to hand over the government of the country. They were leading merchants, magistrates, bankers, and other men who had a great stake in the country, and one and all would have scouted the idea of separation. But what was the Prime Minister's own opinion of the men who then asked for Home Rule? He remembered that, in 1874, when he seconded Mr. Shaw's Resolution, asking for a Special Committee of the House of Commons to inquire into the question of Home Rule, the Prime Minister opposed it, and walked out in the majority.
§ COLONEL KING - HARMAN
Very well, then, would the Prime Minister use the language now, that he used in Aberdeen in 1871 about the Home Rule movement, when he said— 1046Can any sensible man, can any rational man, suppose that at this time of day, in this condition of the world, we are going to upset the great capital institutions of this country for the purpose of making ourselves ridiculous in the sight of all mankind.Would the right hon. Gentleman hold to the words of that speech now?
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, he believed the right hon. Gentleman with regard to "in the same circumstances," but he did not think he would repeat them in the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer used to hold pronounced opinions against Home Rule, and, in a speech at Derby, he violently attacked Lord Beaconsfield because he had done his (Colonel King-Harman's) humble self the honour of making him Lord Lieutenant of the County Roscommon. The right hon. Gentleman's feelings of loyalty were deeply stirred at the making a Lord Lieutenant of a man who supported Home Rule. It was a matter of the deepest gravity to promote such a rebel and a monster. He had changed his opinions since, however, and the conversion of the Prime Minister and of the Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to have been shared by a good many of their followers. He could quote a good many of their Election addresses, showing how marvellously quickly they had changed their opinions. The hon. Member for St. Austell (Mr. Borlase), for example, who now sat on the Treasury Bench, in his Election address, said—The question of Home Rule is at an end. The conduct of those who have advocated the measure has killed it.As he had said, Mr. Butt and his followers scorned separation; but they found in time that the movement, as they propounded it, was a mistake, though it was a mistake loyally conceived. They, the loyal men connected with the movement, found, in the first place, that those who were not loyal and were averse to the connection with England were pouring into and flooding their ranks and making the Association a means for carrying on their ideas of separation; and they also found, for it was pointed out to Mr. Butt by the late Mr. P. J. Smyth, in the words of the Prime Minister, that it passed the wit 1047 of man to discover what were Imperial and what were Irish measures. The Nationalist Party of to day not only asked, but demanded separation, and would be satisfied with nothing else. [Home Rule MEMBERS: Quote.] He had not the slightest intention of taking up the time of the House. [Ironical laughter from the Some Rulers.] Oh, very well. The hon. and learned Member for South Londonderry (Mr. T. M. Healy) had not long ago used these words—We believe that landlordism is the prop of English rule, and we are working to take that prop away. To drive out British rule from Ireland, we will strike at its foundation, and that foundation is landlordism. We seek no bargain with England. As the Master said unto the Tempter, 'Begone, Satan,' so we will say to them, 'Begone, Saxon.'In Mr. Butt's time the state of Ireland was very different from what it was now. Freedom of opinion was allowed, for there was no National League, no "Boycotting," and no American agitators; and yet Mr. Butt could not, with all his eloquence, arouse the slightest degree of enthusiasm for the cause he-espoused, and he (Colonel King-Harman) ventured to say there was little more enthusiasm now in the hearts of the people than there was in Mr. Butt's time. He maintained that, if they could poll Ireland now, without any fear that the direction in which men voted would be known upon the question of Separation or Home Rule, apart from the question of the land, they would not find 100,000 men in Ireland supporting the policy of the hon. Member for the City of Cork. ["Oh, oh!"] Well, he could say that the small farmers were by no means enamoured of the measure which hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway were proposing to give them as a boon. The small farmers did not speak of it as a great measure of local self-government. They spoke of it as "separation." They said—"If we are to be separated from England, where shall we find our markets? Where are we to dispose of our little stock?" The small farmers did not want to get rid of England. The small farmers, therefore, did not like the Bill, because they knew it meant separation. The small farmers did not want to get rid of England, neither did they want to get rid of the landlords. They would like to keep the landlords, as well as the connection with 1048 England, for they thought the landlords were very convenient, because they paid half the poor rates, and in many cases the whole of the poor rates. They would also keep the landlords, because many of them were regarded as "good fellows;" but they would not like to pay any rent. He would go farther, and say the educated classes were against Bill; but, so far as the Government now cared, the landlords, it appeared, were to be left to stew in their own juice. The effect of the Bill, then, in Ireland would be most disastrous. It would mean for England largely increased taxation and the flooding of the labour markets with Irishmen, who would have no employment in their own country when the landlords were gone. He knew well that it was represented as something very different, and that hon. Gentlemen on the Radical Benches had been informing their constituencies to the contrary—that the Irish workers would all return to Ireland. What to do? To starve? How could that Bill make an acre of land larger or more productive? They had heard the speech of the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Stansfeld); but they could not forget the visitors to Thurlow Place, and his connections, Mazzini and Orsini, the latter of whom threw a bomb at the Emperor Napoleon. The right hon. Gentleman supported those friends of nationality; but they were in favour of the unity of a great Empire, and this Bill broke up a great Empire. [Laughter.] Ninety-nine out of every 100 Members knew that the Bill meant separation. ["No!"] No! Well, every man in Ireland knew it. He and others were denounced as Saxons. They, and their ancestors, had been 350 years in Ireland, and yet they were spoken of as "aliens," and were to be kicked out of the country. Who were the Irish? He should like very much to know. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway would only regard as Irishmen those who advocated separation. The hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Big-gar) once said that no Protestant was an Irishman—that Protestants were only West Britons. ["Oh, oh!"] He had seen the report in several newspapers, and it had never been contradicted. [Cries of "He never said it."] He repeated, it had never been contradicted.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
Oh, no; he had changed his religion six months before. If, however, what the hon. Member said was correct, then no loyal Irishman was an Irishman. They were all to be turned out. Wellington, Gough, and Lord Dufferin were not Irishmen; the officers and men in the Army were not Irishmen. It was only those who advocated separation who were Irishmen, and it was only with them that "the Truce of God" was to be made. Were the descendants of the men who fought under Wellington and Gough to be kicked out? Then it would be tough work. He had never been one of those blusterers who talked of civil war. He had never advocated civil war, whatever he might have thought about it; and what he thought about it was this—he did not see how that Bill would pass into law, without the effect of it being civil war in a short time, and civil war of a dire and terrible nature. He said that, because he knew that whatever the faults of Irishmen might be, they certainly were brave and could fight. Civil war, then, in Ireland would not be child's play. It would be fighting between brave men; fighting for a very wrong cause on one side, and, on the other side, men fighting who loved England, and intended to maintain their allegiance to Queen Victoria. If that civil war came, did they think it would not affect the Irish population in the large towns in England? In that case, he did not think the democracy of England would be found shaking hands with the Irish democracy in those places. God forbid that they should ever see such a day! Let it not be supposed, because the hon. and learned Attorney General had quoted a certain amount of bluster delivered some years ago, that there were not now strong feelings in the breasts of thousands against this Bill who were not Orangemen. Do not think, because statements by a few crack-brained persons had been quoted—[Loud laughter]—well, he certainly should call any man crack-brained who talked about "kicking the Queen's Crown into the Boyne"—do not think, because fun had been made by the quotation of such statements, that there was not much strong feeling againt the Bill. Depend upon it, the passing of the Bill 1050 would mean something very serious. There was no serious intention of civil war, or of fighting on the part of the loyal population; but let them believe it equally true that there was no intention of the Loyalists submitting to oppression, or of being made subject to the Land League. They would never rebel against Queen Victoria, but they would never swear allegiance to King Parnell. It might be that fighting would not occur at all. He would, however, in that case tell them what would occur—there would be a wholesale emigration of 1,500,000 loyal men.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, that the hon. Gentleman knew more about that than he (Colonel King-Harman) did; but he repeated that if this measure were passed there would be a wholesale emigration of 1,500,000 of loyal Irishmen. Hon. Members opposite might talk of Lord Salisbury advocating the deportation of 1,000,000 souls—which he had never done—but he (Colonel King-Harman) would tell them that these men who would leave Ireland were her best sons, the men who had stood by them and had fought for them; and if they did so, he would ask, with what feelings towards England these men would leave Ireland? They would regard it as having betrayed them, and in different parts of the world there would be 1,500,000 men settled down hating and defying the name of England. He spoke of what he knew with knowledge and with experience. He wished to keep his country quiet and contented, if it could possibly be done, and he believed the way to make her contented consisted in giving to Ireland equal laws with England and an impartial administration of them, but not a separate Legislature until she had proved herself worthy of it. He would ask them, whether they thought that the acts of the National League and the Land League had shown that those who belonged to them were worthy of Home Rule? He thought that the arguments and the deeds of hon. Members below the Gangway proved that Home Rule would not be a remedy for Irish affairs.
§ MR. NEWNES (Cambridge, E., Newmarket)
said, he rose to give his cordial and hearty support to the second reading of the Bill, The question was not one 1051 for lawyers and soldiers to decide; it was a question between the two peoples; and he did not believe that the British people would be prevented from doing justice to the poor little Irish nation, because of any foolish fears for the safety of their own Empire. He believed that the British Empire could afford to do right. As long as our Empire was governed according to the instincts and the aspirations of the people who composed it, so long it was safe and powerful; and it was only when it sought to rule in opposition to these instincts and aspirations, that any danger arose. It was said that they should not send that message of peace to Ireland, because the messages of peace already sent had proved of no avail; but he was under the impression that that was the first time that the Irish people had got from England not what England wished, but what Ireland required. Some people talked as if peoples were made for Parliaments and not Parliaments for peoples; but a Parliament was nothing if it did not reflect the heart and the conscience of a people. As a British citizen, he was heartily ashamed of the legislative disunion which they had exhibited in that House for the past 10 years. In that House they had a separate Irish Parliament sitting at present as separate as any that could be set up in Dublin. The only bond between the Irish Members and the rest of the House was that constituted by the fact that they were sitting under one roof together. What they wished was to have done with this parchment Union, and make it a real and true Union, a union of hearts. They heard a great deal of what he considered spurious loyalty from that Association which called itself the Loyal and Patriotic Union, and for weeks past the breakfast table had been flooded with pamphlets from that Body. These persons reminded him of the story of the man who, when asked whether he was a converted character, replied that he had been a converted character for 10 years off and on. In the same way these men were Loyalists when it suited them, and only then. They were loyal by threatening to rise in arms if a certain law were passed, and patriotic by trying to impart into this discussion religious and sectarian animosities. That, he thought, was spurious loyalty and counterfeit 1052 patriotism. In supporting this Bill warmly, he considered that he would be a true Loyalist, a true patriot, and a true Unionist. What they wanted was to make use of this opportunity to establish friendly relations between the two countries. He had often heard it said that it would be a good thing if Ireland could be submerged for 24 hours under the Atlantic. That was a policy which would carry out Lord Salisbury's idea of the depopulation of Ireland, but it was scarcely practical politics. They were told that there was no finality in the Bill; but there was no finality in any practical legislation as regarded human affairs. The Bill, however, had changed the feeling and sentiment of the Irish people towards the English people, and that was finality enough for him. The Prime Minister had given up the theory of submersion, and had at last done what he ought to have done many years ago; he had looked at the Irish Question from the point of view of Irishmen, as well as from an English point of view. The Prime Minister had held out the hand of friendship to the Irish people, and he believed that it had been cordially and sincerely grasped; the right hon. Gentleman had struck a cord which resounded in the hearts of the Irish race in all parts of the world; and he could tell the House that that change, on the part of the Irish people, was in turn responded to by the English Democracy. And the English Democracy would not be behind their Irish brothers in determining that this question should be settled in a peaceable and friendly manner. That was one of the few opportunities that occurred in the feuds of nations for the final settlement of that quarrel; and he for one did not envy those hon. Members who did anything to prevent that consummation. The two nations were now standing face to face, and well inclined towards each other; the flood-gates of passion were ready on both sides to be opened. Let the House take care not to cause them to be opened; let it take at the flood that tide in the affairs of the State which would lead to peace and contentment, and not neglect an opportunity which might never recur.
§ MR. EVELYN (Deptford)
said, he would not have interposed in the discussion but for the personal allusions made to him on the previous evening by the 1053 hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), for he thought that the division might very well take place that night—a belief which was supported by the fact that he never listened to more dismal orations than those he had just been listening to from supporters of the Government—orations which, since the debate was resumed in the afternoon, had added little to their information or enlightenment. A lugubrious jeremiad from Bradford lamenting the disunion of the Liberal Party had been followed by a speech from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Osborne Morgan) characterized by moroseness, ill-nature, and virulent abuse of Lord Salisbury. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that he had declared in favour of Home Rule six months ago; but, at all events, eight months ago, when the right hon. and learned Gentleman stumped Deptford in favour of an Oriental Liberal candidate, he carefully avoided the subject. The Under Secretary of State was ill-informed as to the relations which existed between Sweden and Norway. There had been difficulties producing crises and almost separation. The hon. Member for the Newmarket Division of Cambridgeshire (Mr. Newnes), after declaring that he was a loyal and patriotic man, proceeded to denounce the Loyal and Patriotic Union. The debate, however, was worn out, and its prolongation was confusing the real issue, which was not an abstract Resolution, but the Bill; it was whether the Bill was workable and whether it would lead to the pacification and happiness of Ireland and to good feeling between the two countries. The Ministry had no right to spring the Bill upon Parliament before the country had been consulted, because there was no emergency to justify that course. That was shown by the account the Prime Minister had given of the present improved condition of Ireland on introducing the Bill into this House. He (Mr. Evelyn) accepted the statements of Home Rule Members that they were not in favour of separation; but those hon. Members must admit that they had uttered sentiments which were a little awkward when they were reproduced. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scotland 1054 Division of Liverpool, had alluded to him (Mr. Evelyn) personally last night; and in reference to that allusion he would say that he was sure that the hon. Gentleman, though he belonged to a different political Party, would not wish to misrepresent his conduct at the last Election. Hon. Members below the Gangway should be very slow to quote the speeches of others, for they certainly lived in glass houses in that respect. As the Prime Minister and his son gave letters of recommendation to his Oriental opponent at Deptford, and as the present Under Secretary of State for the Colonies stumped the constituency, it was not to be wondered at if he (Mr. Evelyn) used expressions that were a little incautious, and might, perhaps, be termed strong; but still he used no expression that he need recall, or that he was not prepared to abide by. He never at that time uttered any expression which he was not now prepared to acknowledge and maintain. Throughout the Election, the question of Home Rule did not come up at all; but he did not hesitate to say, in his Election address, that he would give to Ireland as much self-government as was consistent with the integrity and security of the Empire, and he blamed the former Liberal Government for the coercive policy they had adopted towards Ireland. [Laughter.] He repeated that he had nothing to retract from that declaration. An hon. Gentleman opposite smiled at it. Doubtless, he was thinking of the policy announced by the late Government, on the 26th of January, for the suppression of the National League. Well, he could only say that, remembering his sentiments expressed at his Election, he listened with regret to the proposition, and he wrote a letter, expressing his regret that the Government should have thought it necessary to enter on a course of coercion. But then the Government had information that he had not, and therefore it was not for him to blame them. He denied that coercion was, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, the traditional policy of the Tory Party. On the contrary, it was a policy derived as a legacy from the Whigs, and had been far more resorted to by Liberal than by Conservative Governments, down to that last and most severe Coercion Act, the Crimes Bill, of the late 1055 Liberal Government. He did not think it was a mistake on the part of Lord Salisbury and his Government to allow that Act to expire. It was his hope that, by a conciliatory policy, the late Government might have had the glory of putting an end to Irish distress and the troubles that had existed so long between the two countries. The Conservatives were all united to one man. They would give Ireland all she wanted, all that was for her good; but, while they would redress all just grievances, they were not prepared to embark on a dangerous course, which would risk the supremacy of the Empire. The Under Secretary of State for the Colonies had argued that there was no more difficulty in granting self-government to Ireland than to the Colonies; but there was a very great distinction. In the case of the Colonies we knew the risk we ran, and that if one of the Colonies separated from England we should still remain a great country; but, with regard to Ireland, the risk we ran was that, if Ireland separated from us, there would be an end of England's greatness. A great deal had been said on the other side about there being no alternative policy to the Bill. What was the meaning of an alternative policy? A Bill was brought forward, greatly modifying the Act of Union and producing what they considered a dangerous state of things; their alternative policy under those circumstances was simply to vote against the Bill. The Prime Minister seemed to think the whole British Constitution a grove of Upas trees; and the alternative policy of the Conservatives, when institution after institution was attacked—whether the Act of Union, the Church, or the Monarchy—their alternative policy was to repel such attacks. Many hon. Members on those Benches were sincerely desirous of redressing all the just grievances of Ireland, and would take every opportunity in their power of doing so. At the same time, he thought it was only just and fair that he should inform the House, as he had been mentioned by the hon. Member (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), that he had nothing to withdraw or retract. His thanks and acknowledgments were due to the Irish voters who had supported him, and he had publicly expressed those thanks; but he could not on a question of this sort separate himself 1056 from his Party. Still, he would have done so, had the measure been in accordance with his convictions; but, as it was not, he could honestly do no less than go into the Lobby against it. At the same time, he should conscientiously abide by all the pledges he gave during the late contest at Deptford.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
said, as representing a constituency at the East End quarter of London, he would vote in favour of the second reading, and he did that with all the more confidence from the fact that he was supported by the vast majority of his constituents. The hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Colonel King-Harman), who had spoken as an Irishman, but who sat for an English constituency, had referred to the late Mr. W. E. Forster, and expressed an opinion that the latter would not have voted for the second reading. Well, he (Mr. Pickersgill) was of opinion that it was much wiser to have regard to the opinions of the living than to consider the possibilities in connection with the opinions of those who had passed away. There was at present a living witness, a Nobleman of high distinction, and whose firmness, honesty, and determination no man could question—he referred to Lord Spencer. That noble Lord, whose experience gave him a preeminent right to express an opinion, gave his adhesion to the Bill before the House. The hon. and gallant Member had alluded to what he described as the inconsistency of the Liberals, or of some of them. Well, the hon. and gallant Gentleman ought to be one of the very last persons to make any such observations in this matter, for he lived in a veritable Crystal Palace. Some 10 or 15 years ago the hon. and gallant Member was himself a Home Ruler; and it was less surprising that Gentlemen who were then against Home Rule should now be in favour of it, than that he who was for it should now be opposed to it. In May, 1869, the late Lord Beaconsfield gave utterance to a significant sentiment—Is it natural that the Protestants of Ireland should submit, without a struggle, to such a state of things? Is there to be another battle of the Boyne, another siege of Derry, another treaty of Limerick. These things are not only possible, but probable."—(3 Hansard,  1058.)Accordingly, it would be seen that the 1057 speeches which were now described as foolish were delivered by the most eminent men of the Conservative Party. They all knew that the Protestant Church emerged successfully from the difficulty. Surely they ought to see that their present fears were also unfounded. It was said by some hon. Members that they would give the Irish people the same institutions as England. Well, England would shortly get a scheme of County Government. Those County Boards would have control of the police. Would they give the Irish County Boards charge of the police? The man who did so conceded the whole case in favour of the Bill. For his own part, he would rather trust himself to an Irish Parliament than to an Irish Board of Guardians, if the Irish were disposed to be tyrannical at all. Lord Salisbury said he had no confidence in the Irish people, but that he had confidence in the British people. But in the Reform discussions of 16 years ago Lord Salisbury reviled the democracy that he now flattered, and he now reviled a people who, no doubt, a few years hence he would flatter. He (Mr. Pickersgill) heard a good deal about the loyalty of Ulster; but it reminded him of the story of Warwick the Kingmaker, who was quite prepared to put up Kings and knock them down, as it suited his purpose. The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Major Saunderson) was a man with regard to whom history was silent. He apparently, however, belonged to a race of demigods and heroes. The hon. Member for South Belfast (Mr. Johnston), for a Gentleman of a disposition so pacific, adopted remarkably sanguinary language. He (Mr. Pickersgill) thought he could only say of the hon. Member that beseemed to be "the mildest man that ever cut a throat or scuttled a ship." He appealed to hon. Members what were the prospects of a Dissolution? It was the Liberal Members who were forcing a Dissolution. He asked hon. Members on that side what were their prospects in the event of a Dissolution? It was they who were forcing a Dissolution; and what prospect had they that the result of that Dissolution would be the carrying out of the policy which they desired? By right the settlement of this question rested with the Prime Minister. The 1058 classes were now against Home Rule, mainly because it was at the present time identified with the Party led by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). That was altogether an insufficient reason why Home Rule should be rejected, if, in itself, it was a good thing. Then it was said that the Bill would have no finality, and meant separation. But, apart from all other considerations, he, and many others, had no fear on that point, for they believed that the great mass of the people of Ireland were bound by the strongest considerations of self-interest not to agitate for separation from England. The hon. Member for the Partick Division of Lanarkshire (Mr. Craig Sellar) said that because there was no finality in the Bill, because it afforded material for fresh agitation, therefore he must oppose it. Did the hon. Member suppose that a scheme for establishing Local Boards and National Councils had the virtue of finality on which he insisted, or that it would not afford material for agitation? On one side they had a great variety of schemes, which the Irish people told them frankly they would not accept; and, according to the hon. Member, one of these schemes was to be a final settlement, and there was to be no more agitation. On the other side they had the scheme of the Prime Minister, which, in its main outlines, was enthusiastically embraced by the people of Ireland; and yet, forsooth, the hon. Member said the Bill was to be rejected because there was in it no finality! He listened with the greatest pleasure to the eloquent speeches of the right hon. and learned Gentlemen the Members for Bury (Sir Henry James) and the Isle of Wight (Sir Richard Webster); but he thought that those right hon. and learned Gentlemen regarded this question too much from the point of view of a mere lawyer, and too little from the point of view of a statesman. Eminent and conscientious lawyers as they were, no doubt they "could use scruples dark and nice"—he did not know whether he ought to complete the quotation—"and after solve them in a trice." It was urged that Parliament should give to Ireland a large measure of local self-government; but he submitted that if there was to be a persecuting spirit in Ireland everything tended to show that that spirit was more likely to flourish in 1059 the atmosphere of a Local Board than in the freer air of a National Parliament. It was in the alternative schemes, and not in this Bill, that there was no finality. If there was one lesson which the history of Ireland taught, it was the danger of delay. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) had said that every argument which could be adduced in favour of Home Rule for Ireland told also in favour of a separate Legislative Assembly for Ulster. He (Mr. Pickersgill) dissented altogether from that proposition. As a Radical, he believed that the strongest argument in favour of Home Rule in Ireland was to be found in the simple fact of the aspect of those Benches. Four-fifths of the Representatives from Ireland had been elected because they were pledged to Home Rule, and even Ulster had returned a majority of Home Rulers, so that the majority of the part coincided with the majority of the whole. Ulster had thus shown that she would throw in her lot with the rest of Ireland. Even in the extravagant protestations of the Orangemen he rather fancied they might perceive some element of hope, for he could not forget that Dean Swift had said—The disaffection of Orangemen is the Irish rainbow; when I see it I shall know that the storm is over.The Prime Minister's declaration had cleared the air, and made the issues more distinct. It seemed to him that the friends of Ireland would vote for the second reading of the Bill, and would not make common cause with a Party the policy of whose Leader was 20 years of coercion, tempered by the expatriation of 1,000,000 of Irishmen. They were told the other day that the proposal of the Prime Minister was a confession of his failure with regard to Ireland. But the test of failure lay in this—whether the Prime Minister had to retrace his steps. Did anyone propose now to re-establish the Protestant Church in Ireland, or to restore the old relations between landlord and tenant? What the right hon. Gentleman had done before made it easier for him to carry his great scheme, for the measures which the right hon. Gentleman had already passed were necessary stages on the road to perfect justice to the Irish people. That the Prime Minister should 1060 have conceived the notion of governing Ireland according to Irish ideas, and still more to have obtained for his policy the support and concurrence of England, and Scotland, made it easier for him to propose now, and soon to carry, a scheme which would give to the Irish people the right to govern themselves.
§ SIR HENRY MEYSEY-THOMPSON (Lincolnshire, Brigg)
said, he was one of those who had attended a meeting to which frequent allusion had been made in the course of the debate—namely, the meeting called by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) in No. 15 Committee Room, and he attended it for two reasons—first, because he was in favour of a certain amount of self-government for Ireland; and, secondly, because he was entirely opposed to the Bill. Those who had taken the same course had received a good deal of animadversion and lecturing during the debate. They were told they were not vigorous men; that they had no good reason for the course they had taken; and that they had no minds of their own. As far as he was concerned he denied those imputations. He hoped he was a vigorous man; he believed he had good reasons for the course he had taken; and he was sure he knew his own mind. Those who had brought in the Bill said that the vital point was that the laws of Ireland should be made and administered by Irishmen. Therefore, what those laws were and how they should be administered was of secondary importance. He said that as long as Ireland remained united to Great Britain, as long as Ireland was not allowed to become a foreign country, it was impossible that the Imperial Parliament should divest itself of the responsibility for the good government of Ireland, and therefore that the vital point was that the laws of Ireland should be good and well administered, and whether they were made by Irishmen, or by Englishmen and Irishmen combined, was a question of no importance. The Ministry hoped, but gave the House no assurance—and, under the circumstances, it was impossible that they could give any assurance—that if they passed this Bill the laws made in Ireland would be good and well administered. He could not vote for the second reading of the Bill; 1061 because, by doing so, they would declare to the world that they considered the principle of the self-government of Ireland more important than the principle of the Imperial Parliament being responsible for the good government of Ireland. No one ought to vote for the Bill who did not believe in the Bill. Members had no right to vote for it, and then shelter themselves behind a number of flimsy excuses for something they might say in that House or to their constituents. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies had said, referring to Lord Salisbury's speech, that when he found a man had to explain away a speech, he paid more attention to the text than to the interpretation. So, when be (Sir Henry Meysey-Thompson) found a Gentleman explaining away his vote, he paid more attention to the vote than to the explanation. Still more, when he found that Gentleman had to explain away a Bill, he paid more attention to the Bill than to the explanation. ["Hear, hear!"] He was not quite sure what hon. Members below the Gangway were applauding. What would stand out to the world was not the explanation but the Bill, and the list of those who voted for it. ["Hear, hear!"] He supposed hon. Members below the Gangway were applauding that list prospectively. His name would not appear in it. Of the many arguments by which the Bill was supported there was one which had not been dealt with. It was said that we might try this Bill as an experiment, and that if it failed we should be in no worse position for trying something else. But when the financial dangers to the taxpayers of England and Scotland were considered of trying such an experiment and failing, it became evident that Parliament, as trustee for the taxpayers of the country, would not be justified in running such a risk. There were throe distinct ways in which financial danger might be apprehended—first, from the Land Purchase Bill; secondly, on account of the money which would be borrowed by the Irish Government; and, thirdly, on account of the bank notes which the Irish Government would issue. With regard to the Land Purchase scheme, it was not necessary to say more than that, if the experiment were tried and failed, all the landlords 1062 would be obliged in self-defence to claim under the provisions of the Land Purchase Act; and the amount required, if they all claimed their rights under the Act, would amount to at least £130,000,000 sterling. Then there was the question of the Irish National Debt. It was distinctly contemplated that the Irish Government would want to borrow money if this Bill were carried. The Prime Minister said—When Ireland gets the management of her own affairs I venture to prophesy that she will want for useful purposes to borrow money.If this experiment were tried, and failed, there would be great danger that when Parliament began to consider the question de novo they would find themselves face to face with a largo Irish National Debt, for which Englishmen and Scotchmen would have to make themselves responsible. They could not repudiate the debt, for they would have, in resuming the government of the country, to take into their own hands the taxes, which would be the only security for those who had lent the money. Then there was the question of the bank notes. No doubt, the Irish Parliament was debarred from dealing with the question of legal tender, coinage, or the value of foreign money, but they were not debarred from issuing bank notes; in fact, the Prime Minister had himself pointed out the advantages of such an issue. No doubt, the Irish Government, in dealing with the question of their note issue, would have the sympathy of many people, both in the House of Commons and in the country, who considered our present system of note issue utterly inadequate to the requirements of trade and commerce; but though he saw clearly the advantages of an issue of bank notes, he saw also clearly the dangers. No doubt, as long as bank notes were not legal tender, and were convertible on demand, there was no great danger. Bank notes, when issued in excess of the legitimate requirements of the community, had a habit well known to bankers of coming home to roost. But maintaining convertibility of bank notes meant maintaining a large stock of bullion, or credit sufficient to borrow gold at the shortest notice. If this experiment were failing, and we were coming within measurable distance of the time when England would have to resume the government of Ireland, 1063 the credit of Ireland would have gone, the bullion would soon go too, and the notes become inconvertible. Then, no doubt, theoretically, as soon as notes were in excess of the wants of the community gold would go to a premium and notes be refused; but there would be great difficulty in persuading the Irish peasant to exchange notes for gold at a loss to himself, in order to pay rent or other contracts, and there would be great difficulty in collecting the large sum of money in gold which Ireland would have to pay to England. And supposing that matters got worse financially in Ireland, what was there to prevent the Irish Government following the example of all other Governments, which had got into money troubles, and issuing more and more inconvertible paper, and making it legal tender? Nothing but a clause in this Act, declaring that it was beyond the powers of the Irish Parliament. But suppose the Irish Parliament decreed that its notes should be legal tender and inconvertible, what would you do? You could, no doubt, get a decision of the Privy Council that the Irish Government had exceeded its powers, but you could only enforce this decision by force; and could you induce Englishmen and Scotchmen to use force to prevent the Irish Government making their bank notes legal tender, would they be willing to bombard Dublin to prevent Irishmen dealing with their own bank notes? And yet, if you did not do so, it would produce most intolerable confusion. He thought, in trying these great experiments, they ought to take care that they did not fail. They ought to face boldly the question of the responsibility of the Imperial Parliament and the good government of Ireland. Let them give to Ireland, and give cheerfully, such a measure of self-government as was compatible with the real, living, effective supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, the supervision of the laws, and the administration of justice in Ireland. In that way, and that way only, would they safeguard the interests of the Empire, and of the taxpayers of England and Scotland, and, he believed, of the people of Ireland also. It was with very great pain and reluctance he had come to the conclusion that he must vote against the Bill. He tried very hard to like it—he tried to think that the Prime Minister must be right—but the more he looked 1064 at the Bill he was obliged to confess the less he liked it.
§ DR. O'DOHERTY (Meath, N.)
I am not, in the least degree, ambitious to acquire a reputation of being one of those individuals who are anxious to intrude themselves upon the attention of the House when they have no business to do so; but I believe that hon. Members will admit that, although I am a new Member, I have an exceptional claim to speak in this debate from the fact that I have travelled all the way from the other end of the world—from the Colony of Queensland—with the special object—commissioned, in fact, to deliver myself on the particular question that is now before the House. I promise that I will be, as becomes a young Member—the youngest Member of the House, in point of fact, in the sense of having been the latest sworn, although, I am sorry to say, not so young in other respects—I promise that I will detain the House for as short a time as possible. Hon. Members will naturally ask what brought me all the way from Queensland to take my place in this House, and I will endeavour to explain the reason. I have been for the last 26 years a resident of Queensland, and during the last 18 years I have had the honour of a seat in the Parliament of that Colony. About the time of the last General Election I have reason to believe that the electors of the ancient and historic county of Meath, having heard of me, thought that I could be of some service by coming over here and telling hon. Members, many of whom have not been so closely acquainted with proceedings under Home Rule in Australia as I have, of the wonderfully beneficent effects which have followed from that rule in the six Colonies of which that magnificent Confederacy is now made up. With that notion I was elected to this House without opposition, and it was in Queensland that I first received the announcement of the honour which had been conferred upon me. I may remind some hon. Members who may not remember the fact that the action of the electors of Meath had a precedent, and that precedent was set by the Colony of Queensland. Some years ago one of the Northern constituencies in that Colony was discontented with the treatment they received from their Southern neighbour, South 1065 Australia; and as they could not find a suitable candidate in the coming Election they cast their eyes over here, and fixed upon the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Birmingham (Mr. John Bright), whom they elected as one of their Members. The right hon. Gentleman did not follow my example, or, rather, I did not follow his. He did not go over to Australia to fight their battle in the Colonial Parliament; but they derived great advantage from their action, and a letter which he wrote produced such an effect, and had such an influence, that the grievances of Northern Queensland were remedied. I cannot suppose that my name can have a similar effect in connection with the election for Meath. But I may state with tolerable certainty that the record which I will lay before the House of the effect of the struggle for Home Rule in Australia and of the results which have accrued from it ought to act as the guide to the statesmen of this country in endeavouring to solve the great problem of Irish autonomy. History, it is often said, is constantly repeating itself, and I do not believe that a more remarkable example of that fact is to be found anywhere than by drawing a parallel between the state of Australia 35 years ago and the state of Ireland to-day. The Australian Colonies, like Ireland, had to face a very bitter and tedious struggle before they could gain autonomy. That struggle lasted from the year 1824 until 1856, and it is a very remarkable fact that the agitation was started by Mr. Wentworth, the son of a United Irishman, and it was continued by him with distinguished ability until he was able, by his advice, to have a Bill brought into this House in 1843. That Bill passed through the Imperial Parliament, and it has given peace, prosperity, and perfect liberty to the whole of the Australian Colonies. In 1853 the first Representative Government was granted to the Colonies. In Sydney, the capital of Now South Wales, the first Parliament sat; it consisted of 54 Members, 36 of whom were elected Representatives. So jealous was the Crown at that time of its Prerogative that serious restrictions were imposed upon these Representatives. In the first place, all the receipts appertaining to the Customs were obliged to be handed over to the Colonial Office; all the proceeds of the land sales as well 1066 were similarly handed over, and a sum of £81,000—a very large sum for so small a Colony—was levied as a contribution towards the expenditure. When the new Constitution began to work it was found to be a complete government from the Colonial Office—like the government of Ireland during the last 86 years; it was purely the government of this country. All this time protests were continually being made against this species of Colonial rule until 1850, when a slight change was introduced. From 1850 to 1856, it is no exaggeration to say that the Colonies were in a state almost similar to that in which Ireland has been for the last 20 years. Hon. Members may be aware that during those years an important League was formed in the Australian Colonies, which was called the Anti - Transportation League. The Colonial Office, despite the remonstrances of the Colonists, insisted on sending over sea the refuse of the prisons of England to the destruction of the social condition of the Colonies. In addition to demanding that a stop should be put to this transportation system, the Colonists demanded also that they should have complete control over their own affairs. To make the parallel between the position of the Colonies at that time and the position of Ireland now more certain, I may say that the Colonies had recourse, like Ireland, to a system of "Boycotting" on a large scale. They were not content with "Boycotting" individuals, but they "Boycotted" the Government. I was myself a witness, on one occasion, when a ship-load of convicts were sent out there in the Jordan; but the Colony would have nothing to do with them, and prevented them from landing. The people even refused to supply them with rations, and ultimately the steps they took broke down the opposition of the Colonial Office. The "Boycotting" was carried to a pitch of such intensity that at last the Government gave way, and in 1856 they ratified a great measure which conferred thorough independence upon the Colonies of New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia, New Zealand, Victoria, and Queensland. I need not tell hon. Members what the result of that has been—what the result of this gift of Representative Government has been. No doubt it was a very remarkable gift to bestow at once. There was 1067 no opportunity of trying it in connection with any one Colony before it was given to the rest. The whole of the Australian Colonies received this benefit of Home Rule in its fullest extent; and it is a remarkable circumstance, well worthy the attention of all who are really anxious to study the question of Home Rule for Ireland, to bear in mind that in no single case of these six Colonies has there been the slightest difficulty since the privilege of self-government was conferred upon them. Their subsequent record has been one of unbroken prosperity, and I do not think there can possibly be any more weighty argument to the mind of every fair and impartial man as to the expediency of extending to Ireland the benefits which have not been withheld from these Australian Colonies. There is one phase of the subject in connection with these Colonies, and the doctrine of Home Rule as the principle of government, which I think hon. Members ought to bear in mind. It is this—It took a long time, as I have said, before the Imperial Government was induced to come to a decision in favour of Home Rule; but, when it did, it gave Home Rule with full confidence in the Colonies, and with every manifestation of goodwill. It did not allow even its goodwill to evaporate in words; but it employed all the power of this great Empire to assist the Colonies. The basis of the strength of the Colonies and of their close connection with the Mother Country has been the readiness with which the power of the Empire has been put forward to assist them. The Imperial shield has been held over them; the Imperial Navy has been employed to protect their interests, and to assist them to make their way; and, above all, the Imperial Government put their hands in their pockets to assist the Colonies and to make their way easy for them. I maintain that the confidence displayed by the Imperial Government in the future of these Colonies is the great secret of the wonderful success which has attended the experiment. During the 30 years which have elapsed since the boon of autonomy was granted to the six Australian Colonies their public Debt has increased from £200,000 or £300,000 to £120,000,000. £120,000,000 have been borrowed in the London Market by these six Colonies and utilized in their development. It is scarcely necessary that I should add that the credit of 1068 Australia to-day stands higher in the Market than that of many European countries. In fact, we have evidence afforded every year that Australian Stock is not only at par, but considerably above it. We have, also, evidence that no matter what demands may be made by Australia for money for public purposes they will be readily granted in the Money Market of London. Why has this been so in regard to these six Colonies since they obtained autonomy? I demand the attention of hon. Members to this fact—it has been the cardinal point in the success of Home Rule in Australia, and it will be the cardinal point in Home Rule in Ireland. In addition to this £120,000,000 raised in the London Money Market, a sum of £400,000,000 more have been invested in carrying out important public works in those Colonies. Great pastoral industries and every kind of agricultural pursuits have been developed in Australia, and I hold that it is this which constitutes the golden link which binds inseparably these Colonies to the Mother Country. I appeal, then, to hon. Members whether it would not be wise on the part of the great and magnanimous Government of England to try and forge a golden chain of this kind to bind Ireland, instead of the iron and murderous chain that has bound her in the past? I can see no reason why, if the measure of the Prime Minister, or almost any measure that would give autonomy to Ireland, were passed—passed with guarantees that the power and strength of the Empire would be employed to defend it—that the autonomy conferred upon Ireland should not be as absolutely and undoubtedly a success as the same experiment has proved in Australia. I have heard arguments brought forward from both sides of the House which I consider puerile and unworthy of the hon. Members who have used them. I am told that the success of this scheme of autonomy in Ireland has to depend upon the will of these young fellows around me. Let me assure the House that when I talk of these young fellows I speak of them like a father, and like a father who is extremely proud of his progeny. Thirty-seven years ago I was one of them myself, but yet not of them. I was one of the Party which preceded them. They were quite young fellows, equally distinguished 1069 men and equally earnest patriots; but they are all gone. Some of them have left their bones on the shores of distant lands; after years and years of struggle their weary hearts are now at rest. There is not one of them I can recognize in the Party to which I now belong—not one of those with whom I familiarly associated in those early days. But let me assure hon. Members that those by whom I am now surrounded are men like those who went before them—men of whom the British Empire should be proud, and whom the people of this country should hold in the highest esteem. I am ashamed that any man should express the sentiments which have fallen from the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington). They are sentiments utterly unworthy of him. He has declared a terrible vengeance against them, and has vowed to bring the power of the Mother Country to bear against them, because he is so blind that he cannot distinguish between these young and gallant defenders of their country and the advocates of rapine and assassination. I pity the state of mind of any honourable man—and I daresay the noble Marquess is an honourable man—who is not able to distinguish between these champions of Irish nationality and the paltry assassin. I must apologize for having detained the House. I have only to repeat that I believe the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone) has derived, and will derive, his best inspiration and his best guidance in working out this great problem of Irish autonomy in the study of Australian Home Rule. I will not enter into statistics at the present moment; but I should like to say a few words—to show what Home Rule has brought to Australia in the shape of material benefit and prosperity. Australia can boast to-day of a commerce of over £100,000,000; she can boast of having living upon, her soil more than 120,000,000 of live stock; and she can boast, further, as Great Britain can, of having one of the largest Debts in the world. At the present moment she has a Debt of £120,000,000. I need not tell hon. Members that this tremendous Debt of Australia is one of the greatest securities she can have for her future prosperity. I myself believe that if Ireland only has her own Parliament 1070 and Government, and has Home Rule accorded to her—I do not care who works it, because whoever works it with the power and confidence of Great Britain at their back will work it well—I myself believe that when once such autonomy is conferred upon Ireland, peace will be secured, and a large Debt accumulated. The day that her credit is considered such as to enable her to incur Debt, she will begin to enjoy that prosperity which has been hitherto wanting. I regret that I should have detained the House so long. I come here from one of the younger progeny of this great model Parliament—a not undistinguished progeny, the Parliament of Queensland, and I assure the House that I consider it to be a high privilege to be allowed to be included in the list of Members of the House of Commons. I venerate its grand traditions, and I admire its great roll of statesmen and orators, among whom many distinguished countrymen of my own have filled no mean place. I esteem it a privilege to sit here in the presence of the greatest of living statesmen, at a time when that statesman is endeavouring to complete the record of his great achievements by the grandest achievement of all—namely, the wiping away of the one black stain on the escutcheon of the Imperial Parliament—namely, its tyranny and injustice to Ireland. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will have health and strength to enable him to proceed with his great work, and carry it to final success. I am quite sure that in that work he will have with him the prayers of every Irishman, and of every Irishwoman too; and by-and-bye, when all passion shall have abated, and all Party feeling shall have passed away, he will have no less the goodwill of every Englishman and Scotchman in the Empire.
§ SIR JOSEPH PEASE (Durham, Barnard Castle)
I have been one of those who have endeavoured to give as careful attention to these Bills as I possibly could. I took them home during the Easter Recess, and I studied them to the best of my ability. I have come to the conclusion that the provisions of these Bills have been very hastily drawn up, and that they are not likely, as far as I can understand them, to carry out the wishes either of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway on the other side, of 1071 Her Majesty's Ministers, or of this House. The view I take of them is that of a practical man, who has endeavoured to look to every provision contained in them, and to see how those provisions would work out in every day life. It seems to me that one of the leading provisions which the right hon. Gentleman has laid down—protection of the minority—is only laid down in two clauses of the Bill—the one relating to the constitution of the Irish Parliament, and the other which is developed in the Land Bill subsequently introduced. As to the protection of the minority in the Irish Parliament, I have felt that it is a mode of proceeding which I, as a Liberal, cannot understand or give a hearty assent to. To have the property qualification brought into the upper part of the Legislature seems to me to be going back to old times, and to an antiquated system which has long ago been exploded in this House. To raise a standard of £25 occupancy seems to me to do very little to secure the representation of what may be called the upper grade of tenant farmers of Ireland. But why I object most of all to the constitution of the Parliament in Ireland, as the Bill is drawn, is that it would leave Ireland entirely unrepresented within the walls of this House; and if the Representative Peers of Ireland are to be left out of the other House of Parliament, we should not have a single Irish Representative on any Imperial question, and we should finally be driven towards separation rather than towards that healthy International union which is above all law. Then, I think, with regard to the Land Bill—although I presume that I am hardly at liberty to discuss its provisions now—if that Bill were passed it would have the effect of increasing the present evil of absentee landlords, for during the 49 years over which the repayments of the tenants would extend in the shape of redemption and interest the greater part of the repayments would leave Ireland, and go into the pockets of Englishmen who would hold Irish securities. The evil of the non-resident landlord system in Ireland would, consequently, be perpetuated for that length of time rather than improved. There are some other minor points; but it is hardly necessary that I should trouble the House with them, because they have been threshed out in the 1072 debate which has already taken place. My object in rising was rather to look at the present position of this House in regard to the measure than to go into the difficulties which I see in the Bill. The question before us is that this Bill should be now read a second time, and then the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government proposes that he should take no further steps with regard to it. My belief has been for a long time that time would be saved in dealing with this measure if the Bill were withdrawn. I believe that time would have been saved, because it is quite plain that the House is not prepared to pass the Bill in its present shape, and I am most anxious that my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government should deal with the question rather than that it should be handed over to the Party opposite. We have always felt, in connection with the Irish Question, whether in regard to the Land Act of previous days or the present Bill, that we have never had from the landowners of Ireland and from the Conservative Party any principle or policy which could be called a principle or policy. There never was any policy placed before us as an alternative scheme to that brought forward by the Government in the case of the Land Act, although there were many points in that Act which might have been improved. What is the condition of the House at this moment? We are asked to pass the second reading of this Bill as it has been brought in, in order, as my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government has told us, to affirm the principle of a Legislative Government in Ireland. Now, I am quite prepared to affirm the principle of a Legislative Government in Ireland; but the question is one of degree, and in affirming that principle I am governed entirely by the five conditions precedent laid down by the Prime Minister, which were well brought into the speech of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) yesterday afternoon, and which, therefore, I need not recapitulate. All that I will say is, that I am prepared now, and have been prepared all along, to grant legislative power in Ireland. But the question of Ulster has also to be considered. As to legislative power in Ireland, we are told we can discuss the 1073 details afterwards; but that legislative power in Ireland, it seems to me, will have to be limited by the five conditions precedent in order to maintain that Union of the United Kingdom which we all desire to see protected and perpetuated. On Friday, the 28th, the right hon. Gentleman, in speaking of his proposal not to take further steps this Session with regard to the Bill, said that the scope and purport of the Bill were not in any degree to be altered in the Autumn Session. Now, it seems to me that if the scope and purport of the Bill are not to be altered, if by scope and purport he means that those things to which I have objected, in the few remarks I have made, are to be perpetuated and continued, I, for one, can be no party to the second reading of the Bill. But the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland appeared to desire to resuscitate this Bill, which is no longer for second reading, except as an abstract Resolution, before the House. He used even stronger language than my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government; and, although he parted with some minor provisions, he seemed, on the whole, disposed to adhere to the Bill. If I am to understand that in voting for the second reading we are merely voting on the question of granting to Ireland a real legislative power, and that that is to be limited by the five conditions precedent of the Prime Minister, and that we are to be at liberty to vote as we please on the Bill which is to be brought in in the autumn, and if those phrases about the Bill being turned inside out are to be dropped, then I am prepared to look at the question in the autumn with a free and open mind. I desire, however, to point out how hastily this Bill has been brought forward; and the same is the case with regard to the changes which have been made in it already. That, I think, is one reason why the Government should look again at the whole measure, in order that they may be able to bring in a Bill which the House generally will desire to pass. On the 15th of March, when my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) left Her Majesty's Government, the duties of the Excise and Customs had not yet been withheld from the Irish people. No doubt there are great and grave reasons 1074 for withholding them from Ireland; but, on the other hand, I may point out to hon. Gentlemen opposite the effect of withholding them. If Ireland is to be governed well it must be necessary to spend money upon Education and Public Works. Whom are you to tax? Are you going to tax the small farmers, whom you wish to make the owners of their farms? Are you going to tax the Ulster manufacturers? The great want of Ireland is some other occupation than that of agriculture. Are you going to put it on the Income Tax? Because that would mean falling back upon the small tenants, who are to be the landed proprietors, and upon the Ulster manufacturers. Therefore, it seems to me that there are grave reasons for reconsidering the question of the Excise and Customs. Then, again, on the 16th of April, we find that the whole Land Scheme was based on the scheme of the Government which was under consideration after the 16th of March. When the Bill was introduced it was understood that no Irish Member was to take part in the proceedings of the Imperial Parliament save under exceptional circumstances. On the 10th of May one Member of the Government—I think the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland—thought they might, on certain conditions, be admitted, such as when taxes were under consideration. On the 27th of May the clauses for the admission of the Irish Members of this House were the only ones that were to be actually remodelled. I only mention these matters to show the great haste with which the measure has been prepared, and what excellent reasons there are for delay in dealing with so difficult a question. The Bill has been so much changed that there is really considerable difficulty in understanding exactly where we are. If I am to understand that after the second reading of the Bill now before the House the Government will take no further step in regard to it and the kindred Bill relating to Land Purchase, which was connected with it in the first speech made on the subject by the Prime Minister, then we should know as a positive fact that in the present Session of Parliament we shall not see those Bills again, and that they will lapse as many other attempts at legislation lapse at the end of the Session, and that positively 1075 new Bills will be brought in at the beginning of next Session which may meet the objections entertained by many of the earnest supporters of the Government who regard the present scheme as having been too hastily framed. Upon that ground some may have given them a warmer support than on reflection they would have done. I want clearly to understand that when we are voting for the second reading we are not voting for these Bills except as an abstract Resolution. To give an effective Irish Legislature to Ireland, leaving the Ulster Question as a question for future discussion, and leaving the whole question subject to the five conditions I have referred to, beyond that point it must be understood that we are in no way committed to the two Bills before the House. I especially desire to reserve to myself that freedom of action which I believe every Member of the House wishes to retain. The question of the relative position of the Imperial Parliament and the Irish. Parliament, and especially in regard to the attendance of Irish Members in this House, I look upon as one of the most important points which we would have to consider if we come back in the autumn, because upon that point depends the separation or the unity of the Empire. I hope that all these matters and other matters also will be fairly and carefully considered by the Government. I am anxious that this great question should be brought to a close. I am desirous that it should be brought to a close by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government; but I want to hear from the Treasury Bench, clear of all those words of which the right hon. Gentleman is so complete a master, that the vote we are about to give is an abstract Resolution in the sense of giving local legislative power in Ireland guarded by the five conditions which the Prime Minister originally laid down. When we meet again in the autumn we shall be able to approach the subject with the advantage of the great amount of light thrown upon it by our previous discussions; and if we are "off with the old love before we are on with the new" then hon. Members may find themselves in a very different position in regard to the second reading.
§ MR. F. W. MACLEAN (Oxford, Woodstock)
So many hon. Gentlemen have 1076 already addressed the House, and so many arguments have been adduced for and against the measure as it stands, that the matter is now pretty well threshed out. The Bill itself stands in a position somewhat unique. I think I am justified in using the word "unique" in reference to a Bill of such great importance, seeing that the Government propose to rest satisfied with the second reading, and then to withdraw the measure. Under these circumstances, I should scarcely have ventured to trespass upon the House were it not for the fact that, although I sit on this—the Ministerialist—side of the House, I have the misfortune to differ from the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister with regard to his Irish policy. In respect of this matter, I think I may fairly say that the House is divided into four sections. There are those hon. Members who follow the Prime Minister; those who follow the right hon. Gentleman opposite the Leader of the Conservative Party; those who follow the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell); and those with whom I have the honour to be associated in this matter. The first three sections to which I have referred are allowed to express independent judgment on this matter, and to take an independent action with respect to it; but we who represent—I will not say the Fourth Party, but the section which takes an adverse view of the policy of the Prime Minister, are called mutineers and traitors to the Liberal Party. [Cries of "Hear, hear!" from the Home Rule Members.] That sentiment is loudly cheered from the Benches in that quarter of the House. If it be treason to be consistent in one's political utterances—if it be treason to adhere to one's electoral pledges, then I am not ashamed to be classed, as a political traitor. I am not ashamed to stand side by side in the political dock with the right hon. Gentleman the senior Member for Central Birmingham (Mr. John Bright). But when hon. Members speak of the last-named section of the Liberal Party as being mutineers, I think they forget that it is almost one-third of the ship's crew that are mutineering on this occasion, and that they are only adopting that course because they are of opinion that the right hon. Gentleman at the helm is steering the ship on to a reef which must end in 1077 ultimate shipwreck. But when we are charged with being Secessionists, the only basis of that charge brought against us being that we are adhering to the opinions which we have previously expressed, I should have thought that the real Secessionists are not those who adhere to their opinions, but those who, there being no new fact in the case, have changed theirs. I have no desire to weary the House with quotations from the speeches of hon. and right hon. Members who dealt with this question before the meeting of Parliament; but there are one or two quotations I should like to make as shortly as I possibly can. Now the speech which the Prime Minister made at Aberdeen, in 1871, when he was dealing with the question of Home Rule which was then before the country——
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE) (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
It was not before the country at that time.
§ MR. F. W. MACLEAN
The right hon. Gentleman says it was not before the country, and in one sense he is perfectly accurate; but it was before the country in this sense—that the scheme of Mr. Butt had been discussed a good deal in this House. The right hon. Gentleman in that speech, and I will refer to an other portion of it in a moment, said—"Can any sensible man——"
§ Ms. F. W. MACLEAN
Then I will not read it again. I do not know whether any other portions of the speeches which the right hon. Gentleman made in 1871 have also been read.
§ MR. F. W. MACLEAN
Well, Mr. Speaker, I have no desire to weary the House with extracts which have been already read. I quite agree that a great many passages from the right hon. Gentleman's utterances have been read; and unless one had been in the House, and had heard every speech which has been delivered, it is difficult to know what has been read and what not. I think, however, I may fairly say that a very great many of the utterances of right hon. Gentlemen who are now sitting on the Treasury Bench, made before the present Bill was brought in, are altogether inconsistent with their utterances now. 1078 That is quite sufficient for my purpose, and I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister for preventing me from wasting the time of the House in reading passages which have been already quoted. All I desire to say is, that it is hardly fair to call us Secessionists because, before forming our opinion on this question, many of us have been guided by the opinions expressed by right hon. Gentlemen who were the Leaders of the Liberal Party. I wish to ask what new factor there is in the case now that was not in it when we went to the country last year? It is suggested that the new factor is this—the return of the 85 followers of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell); but I think that is a fact that was clearly foreseen at the time. There was scarcely anybody at the last General Election, or during the time we were before the country, who was not satisfied that the hon. Member for the City of Cork would return to this House with a very largely increased following. Therefore, to suggest that this is a new factor in the case is, to my mind, not a satisfactory way of putting the matter. Really, when one thinks of the change of view and the difference between the utterances of right hon. Gentlemen now as compared with their utterances at the last Election, one is reminded of a scene in the very old comedy called The Man of the World. Hon. Members will remember that in that play the principal character is Sir Pertinax Macsycophant, a wily old Scotchman, who had risen from nothing to a position of great wealth and of considerable influence, in addition to which he hold a seat in this House for a good many years. His son is also portrayed as a Member of this House; and in one of the scenes between the father and son, in a great national crisis, the son, having scruples about voting against the dictates of his conscience, is thus advised by the father—You are very young in these matters, and experience will convince you that every man in public business has two consciences—a religious and a political conscience.I do not use this quotation in any offensive way, neither from a desire to say unpleasant things, or in any sense of hostility towards the Leaders of the Liberal Party. I should now like to say a word or two upon the Bill which is before the House. Now, Sir, this Bill 1079 constitutes an entire change of system. It uproots the old system, and it substitutes in its place an entirely new system, and upon that point I should like to cite a short passage from a speech of Mr. Pitt, which deals with this very question, Mr. Pitt said—To call that a system—to call that a glorious fabric of human wisdom, which is no more than a demolition of another system, is a perversion of terms which, however prevalent of late, can only be the effect of gross misconception or of great hypocrisy.I believe that everybody in this House is desirous of giving credit to the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister for the motives by which he is actuated. [The FIRST LORD of the TREASURY made a remark which was inaudible.] I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman has misapprehended my observation. I had no intention of placing upon the quotation which I Lave read the interpretation which the right hon. Gentleman seems to have applied to it himself. What I desire to point out to the House is this—whether or not the onus lies on those who desire to change the system to show that the new proposed alternative system is better than the old one. In that sense the onus is surely on those who support this measure to show that the Union has been a failure. Well, have they shown that? I do not desire to weary the House with statistics; but, as far as I have been able to study them, statistics show that since the Union the state of Ireland has been better than it was before the Union. [Mr. DILLON: No, no!] At the time of the Union there was a large amount of mercantile jealousy; but that has been to a great extent, if not entirely, swept away. I do not like, especially after the rebuke of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Dillon), to deal with Irish history; but I hope I may be permitted to call attention to one incident. I think that hon. Members who sit in that part of the House will agree with me that about 1790 the question of the payment of tithes in Ireland was a very burning question. About that time Mr. Fitzgibbon brought in a very strong Coercion Bill to deal with the then state of Ireland, and Grattan moved for a Committee to inquire into the system of collecting tithes. Upon that occasion he said—and I entirely agree with him— 1080The laws of coercion, perhaps necessary, certainly severe, you have already put forth; but your great engine of power you have hitherto kept back—the engine which, armed with physical and moral blessing, comes forth and overlays mankind by services—the engine of redress.Now, since the time when Grattan thus addressed the Irish House of Parliament, has not that engine of redress been put in force? The question I desire to ask hon. Members opposite is this—apart from the Land Question, what grievance is there now which this Imperial Parliament cannot redress? I have a quotation here which I do not think has been read to the House during the present debate. What the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, speaking at Aberdeen in 1871, said, was this—We are told it is necessary for Ireland to close her relations with the Parliament of this country, and to have a Parliament of her own.Well, the right hon. Gentleman stated at Aberdeen at the latter end of 1871—Well, now, we shall say to this learned Gentleman, Mr. Butt, why is Parliament to be broken up? Has Ireland not great grievances? What is it that Ireland has taken from the Imperial Parliament, and that the Imperial Parliament has refused?Now, I ask, in the face of that, what Irish grievances there are, adopting the words of the Prime Minister in 1871, which this Parliament is unable to cope with, and this House is unable to redress? At the time Grattan spoke there were, I admit, great grievances under which Irishmen were suffering. There was the question of Catholic Emancipation. That grievance has since been swept away. There was also the question of the Disestablishment of the Irish Church; but the right hon. Gentleman has done away with that grievance. He has endeavoured again and again by his Land Acts to ameliorate the position of the tenants of Ireland. I have read what the Prime Minister stated in 1871 upon the grievances of Ireland. I should like to call attention to a passage in the Manifesto of the right hon. Gentleman to the electors of Mid Lothian last year. What he stated was this—Those grievances of Ireland with which we had been historically too familiar before and since the Union have at length been, happily, removed. The poison of religious ascendancy, in its various forms, has been expelled from the country; and the condition of the cultivators of the soil, constituting the majority of the 1081 people, which had been a scandal and a danger to the Empire, has been fundamentally improved, at the cost of no small effort, by the action of Parliament.I gather from that—and I think I am justified in gathering from it—that the Prime Minister did not consider in November, when he issued that Manifesto, that there were any grievances from which Ireland was practically suffering. It seems scarcely necessary, as this Bill is to be withdrawn, to criticize any of the details of the measure; but there are one or two points to which I should like to call the attention of the House. Section 9 constitutes the two Orders. It is generally agreed that this is a retrogressive step, and that it is inconsistent to some extent with the Franchise Act so recently passed. It is also inconsistent with Section 23 of the Bill, which deals with the sitting of the two Orders. I think that complications are likely to arise in consequence. It seems to me that the power taken in this section is likely to lead to difficulties and to friction. But the point to which I particularly desire to call attention is the power of veto given under the Bill for the protection of minorities, but which appears to be of very little avail as against the power of the dissolution of Parliament. When the two Bodies meet again, it will be in the power of the minority to throw out any Bill which has been previously vetoed. The effect will be that the power of veto given under the section is to proceed as against the power of dissolution. The true test of whether a Bill ought to be supported is based on this ground—the Bill itself can only be supported on the principle of absolute confidence in the new Executive. Now, do the Government themselves feel that? I maintain that, having regard to the introduction of the Land Bill, which is practically for the protection of the landlords, the Judges, and some of the Civil servants, the Government clearly have not had that confidence in the new Executive which appears to me to be essential in relation to this Bill. If the Judges, landlords, and Civil servants are protected, what is to become of the bailiffs, process servers, and care-takers, whose only offence has been one against the National League in their having taken part in carrying out the law? Are they to be left to the tender mercies of the League? So much 1082 has been said about the Land Purchase Bill being inseparable from this measure that I will not trouble the House with any remarks about that point. The question of finality has also been threshed out. It is said that there is no alternative scheme. Now, the first speaker I ever heard in this House was the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, and in the first speech I heard from him he gave us the advice that we ought not to propound alternative schemes, but ought rather to hold our tongues and keep our peace. In my opinion, an alternative scheme lies not in the direction of coercion, but of local self-government. Last night, when the hon. Baronet the Member for South St. Pancras (Sir Julian Goldsmid) spoke about self-government, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland threw a taunt at him in relation to it. But it must be recollected that that was a speech which was dwelt upon by the Prime Minister in his Mid Lothian address. There is one passage which I should like to read, and which I believe has not been read before, although I know that a very great deal has already been read. Speaking of the wants of Ireland, the right hon. Gentleman said—But the wants of Ireland have to be considered as well as her grievances. Down to this hour Ireland has continued greatly in arrear both of England and Scotland with respect to those powers of local self-government which associate the people, in act and feeling, with the law, and which lie at the root, as I believe, of political stability, of the harmony of classes, and of national strength. This is a serious evil; and it is the more to be regretted, because both the circumstances and the geographical position of Ireland may appear to invest her, as a portion of the Empire, with special claims to a liberal interpretation and application of the principles which the people of Great Britain have traditionally held so dear.What I desire to ask the right hon. Gentleman is whether, when he used that expression of "local self-government," he intended the creation of a separate Legislative Body in Dublin, and the creation of a separate Executive for Ireland?
§ MR. F. W. MACLEAN
If the right hon. Gentleman means that I should read the whole of the address, I am afraid that I should only weary the House. I believe 1083 that most hon. Members are pretty well acquainted with it. My point is whether, in using the term "local self-government," the right hon. Gentleman intended the introduction of such a Bill as that which is now before the House. If he did, I cannot help thinking that a great many candidates who are now Members of this House sorely misunderstood the language of the right hon. Gentleman. I cannot help thinking that if he intended that, it is unfortunate that he did not use language a little plainer and more explicit. It is quite clear that hon. Members opposite did not take that view of that language, for about that time, and shortly after that celebrated Manifesto, another Manifesto was issued by the hon. Member for the City of Cork, in which he advised Irishmen not to vote for the "perfidious, treacherous, and incompetent Party led by Mr. Gladstone." Then it is suggested that the Irish Party would not accept the measure of local government. But are 85 Members who represent the Irish Nationalist Party in this House to dictate terms to the 585 Members who represent the other parts of the United Kingdom? Is the majority to yield to the minority in this matter? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary stated, after the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for South St. Pancras, that he had not explained his objections to the Bill. Now, I will make my objections to the Bill quite clear, and I will show why I do not propose to vote for it. It creates a separate Parliament in Dublin, and a separate Executive for Ireland, and it is upon that ground that I object to the Bill. I object to hand over the control of the country to a Party who, a few years ago, were denounced in strong language by the Prime Minister himself. I have another quotation, and only one. It is from a Gentleman whose name will be received, I am sure, with great respect by both sides of the House, and one whose Radicalism cannot be in any way questioned. I allude to the late Mr. Fawcett. I do not know whether the two or three observations he made about Home Rule have been read to the House; but there is a short passage in a speech which he delivered in Hackney in 1874 which seems to me not irrelevant to the subject now under discussion. He said— 1084In Ireland a movement was on foot which might bring dangers, not only upon Ireland, but upon the whole Kingdom. An attempt had been made to fasten upon the Liberal Party a responsibility which they did not deserve in respect to Ireland. It was said they intended to favour Home Rule, and would come into power on the Home Rule vote. He had said in the House of Commons, and he repeated there, and he believed he expressed the opinion of the vast majority of Liberals throughout the country, that it would be better for the Liberal Party to remain out of Office till its youngest Member was grey with age, rather than come into power by any compromise with Home Rule.I will conclude my observations by putting this question to the House. Is there any reason for so great a change? Have the supporters of the measure made out a case for so great a change? In my humble judgment, having given the best consideration to the whole matter, I venture to say that they have not made out a case for so great and startling a change, and I feel constrained to vote against the second reading of the Bill. I intend to vote against it because they have not made out such a case; because if I were to vote for it I should be acting inconsistently with my own electoral pledges and my electoral utterances; because it destroys the Legislative Union now, and probably Imperial unity in the future; because it destroys the old system, and sets up in its place another system of doubtful expediency, and one which, as far as precedent goes, is not likely to be successful. It is upon these grounds that, with the greatest regret, I feel myself compelled to vote against the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
I do not propose to criticize at any length the speech which has just been delivered by the hon. Member for the Woodstock Division of Oxfordshire (Mr. F. W. Maclean). In the first place, it consisted, for the most part, of stale extracts and staler arguments—extracts which have been read again and again, and arguments which have been answered as often as they have been brought forward. In the second place, a good deal of the speech of the hon. Member was devoted to matters which would be much better I discussed in Committee, and which are I totally out of place in the discussion of a Bill upon the stage of second reading. In the third place, I think the speech of the hon. Member was one rather for an English Member to answer than for an 1085 Irishman. I have no doubt that the hon. Member's constituents, as well as the constituents of some other hon. Members who have taken part in this debate, will probably put to him this question. How is it, when two-thirds of the Liberal Party are united in supporting the Bill of the Government, the other third feel it incumbent upon them to throw in their lot with the Conservative Party? That is probably a line of conduct which the hon. Member, and those who propose to take the same course, will feel it necessary to explain to the constituents they represent. With these remarks I will pass from the hon. Member to a speech which was addressed to the House earlier in the evening. Nobody could have expected this debate to close without a speech from the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Thanet Division of the County of Kent (Colonel King-Harman), and we also looked forward confidently, from the known opinion of the hon. and gallant Member, to a speech such as that which he has delivered to-night. We calculated on hearing such words as murder, treason, "Boycotting," intimidation, separation, civil war, and emigration, mixed up in one way or another with the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), the National League, and the Loyal minority. I must confess, however, that there seemed to be a leavened—I might almost say a pathetic—tone about the hon. and gallant Member's deliverance to-night which I did not detect in any of his Predecessors. He ridiculed, for instance, the idea of civil war, and said he had himself never indulged in threats of armed insurrection. I am not quite sure that his recollection on this point is quite of the best. Perhaps some hon. Members of this House may recollect, as I distinctly recollect, a very warlike speech of the hon. and gallant Member at Rathmines, in the county of Dublin, a short time ago, in which he significantly advised his hearers to keep their hands upon the trigger. The speeches, in fact, smelt uncomfortably of gunpowder. If, however, the hon. and gallant Member has decided not to give this advice again, and has abandoned all idea of warlike operations, I welcome this most desirable reformation in his political manners; but in backing down himself it was rather cruel on his part to have 1086 been so hard as he was on the hon. Member for South Belfast (Mr. Johnston), who has fixed the Army of Ulster at 120,000 men, with a suitable number of cart horses, and with nothing wanting but the Commissariat and the Artillery, and, perhaps, the money. There was a pathetic tone, too, about the hon. and gallant Member's remarks concerning the landlords. From his description of an Irish landlord, I can only compare that personage to a kind of watering cart, scattering blessings out of his coat tails; but oven then the description was imperfect. To make it complete he should have told us something about evictions; how this beneficent genius—the Irish landlord—first plundered his tenants by preposterous rack rents, and then flung thousands of them with their wives and children to die on the roadside. Similarly, when he told us of his own efforts in the relief of distress, I thought to myself that there was scarcely a man in Ireland who had a better light, or was more imperatively bound, to make such efforts. If this House has not heard of the bog rents and evictions on the Roscommon estate of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the story is well known in Ireland.
§ MR. CLANCY
It is a story of landlord oppression and tenant decay scarcely with a parallel in Ireland. The loyal minority, he says, will not fight; they will emigrate. He himself, at all events, has been obliged to emigrate politically. He was first ejected from the county of Sligo at the General Election of 1880; I had some little share myself in ejecting him from the county of Dublin at the last Election; indeed, he did not await the fight—he fled before the fight came on, and was obliged to come here to England for a seat, not being able to find one in any part of Ireland, not even in Ulster; and I only wonder why his constituents should take such a pure and simple champion of Irish landlordism, who has been tramping about the country as a defender of English interests. The hon. and gallant Gentleman dared to speak for the people of Ireland—he whom even the Orangemen of Ulster would not send to Parliament. I deny his right to do so; and with that remark I will leave the hon. and gallant Member. My hon. Friend the Member for 1087 the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) hoped last night that we had heard the last of the bogey of separation. I am afraid that his hope will be disappointed in this House and out of this House. Despite arguments to the contrary, repeated again and again, and never yet answered, the Bill of the Prime Minister is still spoken of as a Bill for separation. It is certainly not with any expectation of being able to influence the minds of those who so persistently reiterate this description of the measure that I venture to add anything of my own on this subject. I address myself to those whose minds it is sought to affect by this stale argument. It is said that you must not even modify the Act of Union if you desire to prevent separation. Why, Sir, the Act of Union is itself, and always has been, the grand source of every Separatist movement that ever took place in Ireland. The notion of separation was begotten only in the crisis in 1798, when it was seen that it was determined to pass the Act of Union, and it never became the settled policy of any Party in Ireland till after the Union had been accomplished. That is a remarkable, as well as an undeniable, fact. But more—almost all the men who opposed the Union in 1800 based their opposition to it on this very ground, amongst other grounds—that it would inevitably lead to separation in the long run. Let me trouble the House with a few of the remarkable predictions of these days. I do not think they have been read before. In the debate on the Union measure Mr. Waller declared, "It"—the Union—"will weaken, if not dissolve, the connection." Colonel Barry said, "It will impair the connection." Mr. Saunderson—an ancestor, I presume, of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Major Saunderson)—delivered himself of the notable opinion that it would "endanger, perhaps dissolve, the connection." Lord Cole, who ought to be held in high esteem amongst the Members of the Orange Party, emphatically declared—The strongest abhorrence of the Union is compatible with the most unshaken attachment to the connection.The Right Hon. W. B. Ponsonby said that he "opposed the Union from an anxious desire to maintain the connection." And Mr. Bushe, afterwards Chief 1088 Justice of the King's Bench, expressed his belief "that Union was an alienation from the British connection." The words of Mr. Peter Burrowes were remarkably prophetic. He said—When I take into account the hostile feelings generated by this foul attempt by bribery, by treason, and by force to plunder a nation of its liberties in the hour of its distress, I do not hesitate to pronounce that every sentiment of affection for Great Britain will perish if this measure pass, and that instead of uniting the nations it will be the commencement of an era of inextinguishable animosity.The Right Hon. George Ogle, Mr. French, Mr. Georges, Colonel Vereker, and others, all spoke to the same effect, and all of those men were themselves not more opposed to the Union than they were determined to maintain the connection with England. Nor was it in the nature of things to be otherwise. It is ridiculous to suppose that any measure which could have a tendency to create, and has created, discontent in the minds of the whole people could be an effective means of keeping the two countries united. So far, in truth, from the Union being calculated to render the two countries of Ireland and Great Britain more united to one another, its necessary tendency is to aggravate all causes of dissension and difference, to give to every inequality and every injustice an envenomed malignity which could not exist if Ireland had its own Parliament. And I, for my part, do not hesitate to say that if the Union is ever to cease having the effect of creating from time to time a Separatist Party in Ireland, and enlisting for that Party the sympathy of hundreds of thousands outside its own ranks, it will have to be modified in some such direction as that now suggested by the Prime Minister. Now, Sir, I pass to an appeal to British prejudice which I regret to say I have heard made in the course of this discussion by those who, one would think, ought to have known better than to indulge in such mischievous misrepresentations. You have been asked why you should hand over to the tender mercies of the Catholic majority in Ireland those who have been loyal to you in that country in the past? Sir, the loyalty of the Orange minority in Ireland has ever been of a very peculiar character. They are never tired of saying that they have been loyal to you, and have held Ireland for you, the real 1089 truth is, that it is you who have been loyal to them and have held Ireland for them by your soldiers, your armed Constabulary, your penal laws, your packed juries, your infamous Land Code—which was described last night by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant as the worst in the world—by your exclusive magistracy, and by that most notable monument of bureaucratic iniquity on the face of the earth, called Dublin Castle. You have enabled the Loyal minority to live for ages on the fat of the land, and to plunder and trample upon the mass of their fellow-countrymen. By your help, they have maintained an odious ascendancy in Ireland, and, Sir, it is to that ascendancy, and to nothing else, that these Gentleman are and have been loyal. If this be denied—I do not hear any denial from the Benches opposite, or from the Representatives of the Loyal minority—if this be denied, the proof is that whenever you have attempted to mitigate the ascendancy in any degree, what has been your answer? They have invariably threatened you with rebellion. As often as this Parliament has passed Acts, such as the Act of Emancipation, the Municipal Reform Act, the Act for the Disestablishment of the Irish Church, the measure for reducing the Tithes—measures of the simplest justice to Ireland, but which touched on the privileged domain of the so-called Loyal minority—this Party has invariably threatened you with civil war, and the Repeal of the Union, which they now denounce as "Anathema Maranatha" and they have even threatened absolute separation. I shall not read to the House any of the threats of civil war with which it has already been made familiar, tempting though it be to enter this field of humour; but I should wish hon. Members, especially hon. Members on the Liberal side of the House who intend to follow the lead on this occasion of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain)—I should wish them to hear how this Loyal minority in Ireland spoke of the Union as lately as 1869. Why, Sir, they declared again and again—these so-called Loyalists of Ireland, the loyalists par excellence, the unalterable advocates of the Union, the great champions of the connection between the two countries—they declared that the passing 1090 of the Church Bill would virtually dissolve the Union. One of the men who seconded a Resolution to this effect was the hero of Ballykilbeg himself—the hon. Member for South Belfast (Mr. Johnston). He seconded a Resolution in 1869, declaring that the Union would be virtually dissolved, if ever the Church Bill became law. Because England dared to lay hands on the Church Establishment, one of their shining lights, Grand Chaplain Wallace, declared in Dublin on the 13th of July, 1869, with a Grand Master, a Grand Juror, and a magistrate, sitting approvingly in the chair—When the Protestant chain that unites Protestant England and Protestant Ireland is severed, the two countries are separated for ever.The same rev. Loyalist—one of those who say they have always been loyal to England, and have held Ireland for England—declared on a second occasion in Dublin in the same year—He wished them to mark well what he said. He was not speaking hastily or rashly; but if they were to be charged with disloyalty they would tell England, as he believed that meeting did, that if such a time should ever come as 1848, and if England looked to the Protestants for hearty sympathy with the Union, they would fold their arms—they would say—'The Union was dissolved when that Bill was signed by the Sovereign.'Folding your arms and stacking your guns in the face of an advancing enemy seems to me the act of a traitor. Hon. Members have heard of the Rev. John Flanagan, the rev. gentleman who threatened to kick the Queen's Crown into the Boyne.
§ MR. CLANCY
No; I have seen the report in The Daily Express, and it was never contradicted by the rev. gentleman. Only last winter, a Presbyterian paper in the North declared that the rev. gentleman was proud of it. Well, this gentleman, amidst the uproarious plaudits of an Orange assembly at Ballybay, on the 2nd of June, 1869, having first described the First Minister of the Crown as "Judas Iscariot Gladstone," displayed his extreme loyalty in the following words—They must have the Act (of Union) in its entirety or not at all, and he would contend that the minute the obnoxious Bill received the sign manual of the Queen the solemn compact was repealed—it was broken—and therefore in all 1091 equity void. They would reject the iron hoof of England and get rid of the Papacy at the game time, driving two serpents out of the island at once.The iron hoof of England is an appropriate phrase, assuredly, from an ultraloyal man—from a member of a Party that is always proclaiming their loyalty to England, and that has spent itself in Ireland in the service of England. I might proceed to give scores of quotations of this sort to a similar effect; but I will trouble the House with only one more. Here is an extract from a letter in the Dublin organ of the Orange Party—The Daily Express—in March, 1869—My counsel, then, is that the Protestants of Ireland should at once and with no uncertain sound declare that in the event of their being treated with such base ingratitude and gross injustice for the purpose of gratifying a hand of Ultramontane ecclesiastics who have conspired against the civil and religious liberty of Irishmen, they will henceforth regard Great Britain with feelings very different from those which they have hitherto entertained. I myself know Protestants who, in the event of Mr. Gladstone's policy becoming law, will not only cherish in their own breasts, but will also instil into the hearts of their children, the deepest hatred towards those who will have treated them with such perfidy. Indeed, it requires no prophet to foresee the terrible retribution that is in store for Great Britain if she be insane enough to sanction the abominable policy of Mr. Gladstone.This is a letter addressed to The Daily Express by a gentleman who signs himself a Past Grand Master of an Orange Lodge in Ireland. Sir, if, after declarations such as these, any hon. Member can have any doubt that it is not to England, but to their unjust and unholy privileges, the minority in Ireland have been loyal, the doubt would be removed by the most explicit declarations on this very point of the Orange Leaders. I call attention to these extracts in view of the fact that it is continually asserted by the Orange Representatives in this House, that their principles are those of civil and religious liberty. At the same period, the Rev. Henry Henderson, of Holywood, County Down, a gentleman well known to, and no doubt admired by, the hon. Member for South Belfast (Mr. W. Johnston), spoke as follows at Southfield, on the 12th of July, 1869:—It was not the Fenians they were afraid of, but the policy to which he had just referred, and which was driving the people of Ulster into civil war. It was right they should tell their English brethren the truth; it was right that 1092 they should tell them that as long as there was Protestantism in the land and a Protestant Sovereign occupying the Throne so long must there be Protestant ascendancy, and they were determined never to surrender that Protestantism or be false to it.If that is not plain language, I do not know what plain language is; but quite as plain was that of another rev. Orangeman, the Rev. Henry Burdett, at New-bliss, County Monaghan, in March, 1869. He said—We see people telling us that we should not be aspiring to ascendancy. Now I, as long as ever the Lord shall leave me breath, will never be content with anything but Protestant ascendancy.And, Sir, this is the Loyal minority in the interests of whom this Bill is opposed; this is the enlightened minority whom the Birmingham apostle of light, and leading champions in this struggle against the Prime Minister, the bulk of his own Party, and the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland, are proud. It seems to me, and I fancy it will seem to most Englishmen, that it would be better for Great Britain to have a majority in Ireland loyal, in the proper sense of the word, than a minority like this, whose loyalty is quite conditional and qualified, and requires to be maintained year after year, and generation after generation, by constant stimulants in the shape of opportunities for plunder and oppression. Sir, it has been said again and again in this debate, that because the Church Act, two Land Acts, the Reform Act of last year, and the other measures of Reform passed for Ireland in recent times did not settle the Irish Question, so this Bill fails in a similar manner. I put it to hon. Members whether anything can be more absurd than an argument of that sort? What Leader or Leaders of the Irish people ever held forth the promises that those minor reforms would ever settle the Irish Question? Why, Sir, so far from any Irish politician of authority having ever made such a promise, or held out such a prospect, every such politician and all the agents of the Irish National Party in the Press constantly asserted the very contrary. Whatever English statesmen may have said on the subject, it is absolutely true that every man in Ireland who spoke the mind of the National Party constantly told you that in all your Land and Church legislation you never touched 1093 the kernel of the Irish Question? What is the essence of that question? Not that you have mismanaged Irish affairs, though that is an aggravating element, but that you have insisted on managing them at all. O'Connell never gave truer expression to the Irish sentiment than when he said that rather than the Union with Emancipation he would have the Irish Parliament with the Penal Laws; and I now say, in all seriousness, and I hope I shall not be considered offensive to the Liberal Friends of this measure in saying, that I would prefer to be governed in Dublin even by the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Major Sanderson) than by an English Minister deriving his authority from another people than my own. I am inclined to do the hon. and gallant Member more justice than he does us. Remember what Grattan once said—How came the Irish Parliament with all its borough Members in 1779 to demand a free trade? In 1782 to demand a free Constitution? Because it sat in Ireland; because they sat in their own country, and because at that time they had a country—because however uninfluenced—as many of its Members were by place, however uninfluenced, as many of its Members were, by popular representation, yet were they influenced by Irish sympathy. They did not like to meet every hour faces that looked shame upon them—they did not like to stand in the sphere of their own infamy. Thus they acted as the Irish absentee at the very same time did not act. They saved the country because they lived in it, as the others abandoned the country because they lived out of it.I apply the same reasoning to the Orangemen of Ireland at the present day; and even if they disappointed the most natural expectations and proved oppressors as of old—… our tyrants then,Would be, at least, our countrymen.It is the failure to recognize the fact that we desire to govern ourselves, and not to be governed by others so far as our domestic affairs are concerned, that has been at the bottom of all your failures in the field of Irish legislation. Now, however, an English statesman has at last arisen in the person of the present Prime Minister, who recognizes this cardinal defect, and proposes to remedy it by establishing an Irish Parliament for Irish affairs, and heavy will be the responsibility, in the face not only of Great Britain and Ireland, but of the civilized world, of any man who stands 1094 between him and the accomplishment of his beneficent design.
§ MR. MOULTON (Clapham)
Sir, we have very nearly arrived at the close of a debate on a question, the magnitude and importance of which, if it were necessary to do so, could be shown by the immensity of the field over which that debate has travelled. Many of the points that were discussed most fiercely at an earlier period have now lost much of their interest, and therefore I do not intend to revert to matters debated weeks ago; but I wish to call the attention of the House for a minute or two to what is now the real point at issue. It is not the question whether the Members of this House, individually, are for or against Home Rule. They have each and all made up their minds on this point long ago. It is not a question as to whether the Members of the Conservative Party are going to be induced by any of the modifications of the Prime Minister to support the Bill, for they have a simple and definite creed ably summed up in the observation of the noble Lord the Member for the Ealing Division of Middlesex (Lord George Hamilton), when he said that England and Ireland were one country "by Heaven's Act of Parliament and by the everlasting laws of fact"—an admirable but dangerous simile, for it carries with it in the mind of a Conservative that, like other Acts of Parliament and laws in Ireland, these must be enforced by coercion. Nor is there any doubt as to the attitude of the supporters of the noble Lord the Member for Rossondale (the Marquess of Hartington)—they too have made up their minds. I believe that they indistinctly hear the cry of the Irish people, but it only slightly disturbs their slumbers; they fancy that they have been awakened too soon and that in a year or two it will be time to attend to these things. They have made up their minds how to vote, and will not change. The real interest of the situation lies in the action of those of the Liberal Party who declare their acceptance of the principle of the Bill. In short, the only question is whether, in a House of Commons elected by Democratic England, with a majority clearly in favour of sound and real Home Rule, this attempt to remedy the wrongs of Ireland, these proposals of the Prime Minister 1095 are to be defeated, because the Liberal Party have not enough statesmanship to know how to act in the circumstances? We are here debating the Motion for the second reading of a Bill under remarkable circumstances. Owing to pressure of time and many other reasons the Government have announced that the Bill will not be proceeded with during this Session. We are, therefore, in a position in which we are called upon to pronounce in favour of, or against, the principle of the Bill, without the responsibility of our decision being followed up by immediate action. We are here at the commencement of the consideration of this great subject by the English Parliament; we are, therefore, in a position in which time and opportunity for consideration are of the very greatest importance, and, by reason of the action of the Government, whether our votes be given for or against the Bill, we have solely to consider its principle without reference to the practical consequences, except so far as they follow immediately the assertion of that principle. I do not think it would be possible for the House of Commons to be placed in any other position so favourable for avowing its adhesion to that principle unhampered by considerations as to how it should be carried out. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite laugh at that; I am not at all surprised at it, because they think and they trust that by ridiculing such considerations as this, they will impede the passage of this great measure, and put difficulties in the way of carrying out the principle of Home Rule. This is a question which can only be dealt with by stages. The first stage is clear and distinct; and I think I can show that our duty in regard to the measure is as clear and distinct now at this first stage, as it will be when we come to fight out the question as to how the principle of the Bill is to be carried out. Sir, we have now only to deal with the principle itself, and I wish to ask the attention of the House to what, in my opinion, are the proper motives and proper reasons by which we ought to be guided in deciding the course we should take. First of all, I would say that, as we are about to vote for the second reading of the Bill, and as the only Party whose votes are undecided is one 1096 which openly declares that it feels the necessity of Home Rule in Ireland, that it is ashamed of the injustice done to Ireland in the past, and determined to give to it justice in the future, I say that that Party is not at liberty to urge at this stage any difficulties of detail, however great, until they primarily establish, as the property of the Liberal Party, the great principle of Home Rule. Let me give an example of what I call details in this case—they are of enormous importance I, admit, but still I say that they are details, and that we ought not now to allow them to perplex our minds. There is the great detail of finance; and however much division of opinion it may call up hereafter, yet it is not one of those things which we ought to allow to distract our attention from the main question as to whether or not we ought to vote for Home Rule. But there is another principle to be kept in mind—that even in matters which are not of the nature of details, but which are vital to the Bill, we ought not to consider anything that merely depends upon the drafting of the Bill. For how many hours have we been discussing whether or not the supremacy of Parliament is sufficiently secured by the Bill? The hon. Member for the Southern Division of Aberdeen (Mr. Bryce) argued most skilfully that the Bill, in its present shape, expressly or implicitly reserved the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. Others have argued to the contrary. But that is not a practical matter to be considered now. We are all determined that the supremacy of Parliament shall be maintained; and at this time, when we are considering a great Constitutional change, it is not necessary to discuss whether or not an express clause should be included in the Bill to provide for it. I am not forgetting the admirable argument of the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), who pointed out the dangers of such a clause; but I say that, whether or not it is necessary, it has nothing to do with the question before us. This has been the subject of the speeches of some hon. Members, which would have been very useful in Committee, but which, in the present case, have only been used to draw attention from the real question. But, in addition to the principle that we must not now concern ourselves with 1097 matters of detail or of drafting, there are two practical considerations of higher importance, and the first is that we must allow ourselves to be influenced in this vital step by no motive, however justifiable or defensible, which is not a great one; we must not allow ourselves to be influenced by smaller matters—things which in their place are well taken into consideration, but which must absolutely vanish in comparison with the enormous importance of the issue to be decided. Let me state one consideration which I am perfectly sure has influenced the minds of many in this House who have thought over the matter as honestly, sincerely, and patiently as it is possible for any men to consider it. We are here in a position to give a vote which can have no practical result except to give an expression of opinion in favour of Home Rule. We have, therefore, heard many speeches made in which blame has been attached to the Government for not having proceeded in this matter by way of Resolution, and it has been said that it would have been much better had they proceeded in that way. Well, Sir, it may be so; but what is that in comparison with the step we are about to take, with its tremendous importance and its everlasting consequences? Are you going to allow the consideration as to whether or not it would have been more symmetrical to have your discussion upon an abstract Resolution; whether or not you would have had less difficulty, in that case, of explaining to your minds the step you are taking, to stand in the way of the assertion of this great principle? Supposing you are justified in complaining of this, and that Her Majesty's Government are wrong in proceeding in the way they have, are you going to visit that upon the Irish nation? There is one other consideration which is as important as the others. We all know what rests upon the division at the end of this debate; we know, or we are practically certain, that the consequence of the failure of the Bill will be a Dissolution. That has been stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) to be one of those things which he contemplates, and is perfectly willing to face. Sir, the House of Commons is in existence to meet the legislative needs of a great nation; like everything on earth it is imperfect in its working, but the practical 1098 effect of it we all understand. Now, if we are going, on any trivial grounds, to reject the Bill, we have to face this—that we go to the country upon some issue or other; and I put it to the Members of the House, as one important practical consideration to be kept in mind, one that may and ought to influence our actions, whether they will go to the country at this stage on an issue which the country can understand? We shall be responsible if, with a grave issue before us, by any action of ours we should place it before the people in such a form that they cannot pronounce upon it. I say that these are the principles which ought to guide us. Again, it is a question as to whether the Radical Members of the House who are in favour of Home Rule, who feel it their duty to bring Home Rule to Ireland as soon and as well as they can, are going to support or oppose this measure by their vote on Monday. Now, what are the reasons why the Liberal Party is in danger of being defeated by the votes of some of its heartiest Members? I cannot explain this without briefly dwelling on the history of the case. It arises from the fact that a Bill was brought in with provisions which we, as Radicals, could not for one moment accept. That it was so was no wonder to those of us who had thought of Home Rule, to those who had tried to work out a scheme which would be satisfactory. Such persons knew well its difficulties. Suppose a Bill could have been framed that would have avoided all difficulties, does anyone suppose that with all the earnest and able statesmen of the last 50 years we should have been only now daring to attack the subject? And I think that when the history of this proceeding comes to be written, it will be said that, full of difficulties as it was, certain as it was that the plan would be attacked, and attacked successfully, it was wise of the Prime Minister to come before Parliament with a Bill which, at all events, was a scheme, though containing defects—that it was better for him to do that than to come down and talk vaguely about the advantages of Home Rule. The course the right hon. Gentleman has taken has advanced the subject many years. It has made us feel that the granting of Home Rule is a choice between the difficulties of different schemes; it has made us feel that we may accept 1099 this scheme if we are prepared to do so; and, at any rate, it has enabled the practical part of the Liberal Party to take in the whole question, and has made the principle of Home Rule an inalienable possession of the Liberal Party, which they will never give up. When the Bill was first brought in, we expected that it was the intention of the Prime Minister, if he could, to pass it through the House this year. We believed that the vote on the second reading would be a vote for the effective second reading. The vote, if successful, we believed would advance the Bill a stage—would pass it over one of the Constitutional safeguards through which these Bills have to pass before they become law—and, therefore, we were obliged far more closely to scrutinize what was the principle of the Bill, and to take care that the whole of the principle was understood and approved of by us before we voted on it. And I confess honestly—I confessed it honestly as soon as I felt it—that the Bill, as originally introduced, while it did commit, and in my opinion rightly, a large portion of the public life in Ireland into the hands of the Irish Legislature, yet it had the fault that it attempted to regulate the rest by means of the arbitrary decision of a Parliament in which Ireland would have no Representatives. That, I thought, was a departure from the main principle of civil liberty which could not lead to a permanent settlement; and I felt that, in voting for the principle of the Bill, then I should be voting for that. I felt that, in being asked to give an effective second reading to the Bill, it would not be in the power of anyone to lessen the responsibility or meaning of my vote, and that vote could not be in favour of the measure, because, as I say, one portion of the scheme committed part of the Government of Ireland to a Parliament in England, in which Ireland would not be represented. But now the whole of that has been clearly and distinctly removed by the statement of the Prime Minister and other Members of the Government. The whole of my difficulty with regard to that has passed away. But there are a knot of hon. Members in this House who are not yet ready to support this Bill—though they approve of Home Rule, they have not yet seen their way clear in this respect. It is the difficulties of their position that I wish to examine, 1100 and I could not act more fairly to them than take as the apologia of their views the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain). We all know the brilliant clearness of his speeches; we all know the undaunted way in which he speaks out his opinion; and I am perfectly sure that no better exponent of the views of those who still cannot see their way to support the Bill can be found. His speech was the speech of one who has not only done wonderfully good service for Liberalism, but has been willing to do great service for Ireland in the past; who, when Home Rule was not so popular as now, wished to give a large measure of it to Ireland; and who, before very long, I am sure, will be found fighting hard for Ireland with the rest of us. I know what are the principles on which he justified his opposition to the Bill. I listened to his speech with intense pleasure, so far as intellectual pleasure went, for it seemed to me a magnificent attack, in many respects, upon the Bill; but I was listening to it with another object—to find the motive that could justify the responsible stop of voting against this Bill on the part of a man who said that he was in favour of autonomy. I listened to the right hon. Gentleman's speech, keeping in my mind the principles that I think ought to guide our opinions in these matters—the principles of which I have just spoken—and I must say I found terrible inadequacy of motive in it. The right hon. Gentleman, in regard to many subjects to which he referred, clearly pointed out that they were matters which he would not allow to influence him at this stage—such as the question of Ulster. But, so far as I could understand, the main grounds on which he justified his action—they were two, although they really become one—were, that he doubted whether the real supremacy of this Parliament—not the paper supremacy, for he used no abstract legal argument—was maintained; and, further, whether the right method of solving the problem was not by federation, rather than by a Bill like the present. Now, these two reduce themselves to one, and as he spoke I tried to picture to myself what it was that would have satisfied the right hon. Gentleman. I remembered the letter that was written by him immediately prior to the commencement 1101 of this debate, in which he pointed out that the supremacy of Parliament was all important, and that there was one thing which could preserve it, and one thing only, and that was the dropping of the 24th clause and the keeping of the Irish Members at Westminster. But this has been conceded. ["No, no!"] Clearly this has been conceded. ["No, no!"] Well, we have it in language as clear as any who wish to understand can desire. The Government have stated that in the autumn they will bring forward a proposal which will give Ireland representation in all Imperial and reserved affairs. That is to say, they have undertaken to introduce provisions declaring that the Imperial Parliament properly constituted as an Imperial Parliament shall be the sole authority for Imperial matters and for all that Business affecting Ireland which is still in the hands of this Parliament. And when you think that that has been conceded, what becomes of the argument, that federation is the right method of solving this problem? What is the proposal of the Government but federation? What is federation? It is the organization of a nation in which parts of it have their Local Parliaments, possessed of power to regulate their local business, but in which the common interests are in the hands of a Central Parliament to which they all contribute Representatives. That and that alone is federation. Wherever that exists there is federation, and without it there cannot be such a thing. That federation may exist with every kind of Constitution. Look at it in Germany, where you have Kingdoms and Duchies forming the component parts; look at it in America, where the States have more or less the same kind of Constitution. The Central Parliaments may vary infinitely. Look at them in Germany, America, Canada, Austria; there is no similarity between them. The one idea is, that there are interests in the hands of the Central Parliament and interests in the hands of the Local Parliaments. It is Home Rule and Home Rule only that is federation; and in this case, where the Government have given a pledge that there shall be an Imperial Parliament for Imperial affairs and a Local Parliament for local affairs, we have the germs of a full and complete federation between England and Ireland. And when I 1102 heard the right hon. Gentleman's speech, what puzzled me was why one who felt such an attachment to federation and such an attachment to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament should take exception to the scheme of the Government. He said it would give to the Imperial Parliament only a discontinuous existence. But why a discontinuous existence? Simply because we choose to make the Parliament at Westminster do double duty as a British Home Rule Parliament and as an Imperial Parliament. The only reason is that it is to be the Parliament of and to manage the affairs of two nations—the one more limited for Great Britain, and the other less limited for the United Kingdom. If we only choose to carry out the federation more completely, and let the British Parliament be a distinct one, apart from the Imperial Parliament, we shall have symmetrical federation. But, symmetrical or not, this project as now put forward is the federation which is made the central condition of the support of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. That seemed to me, as far as I can understand it, the real reason why he withheld his support. But this discontinuous action is essential and necessary only if you are going to make this Parliament do double duty; therefore this objection solely rests on the fact that we are not yet ripe for symmetrical federation, and the consequence is that the scheme, although a true scheme of federation, has all the uncouthness of that which is unsymmetrical. But what is the real question before us—are we deciding how this federation should be worked out, or are we deciding whether or not we shall give these rights of self-government which, if federation is right in itself, justly belong to the Irish people? If the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham is willing to grant federation, it is because he believes that the Irish people have a right to self-government, and yet, with his views, he would strive to persuade himself, as I hope he will not be able to do, that though he believes they have these rights, they are to be withheld for an indefinite time because he has not yet got a sufficiently symmetrical scheme. For it is for an indefinite time. He said—"We will go to the country not on 1103 the principle, but on the method and plan of this Bill." He is an experienced statesman. He knows that the Conservatives will not go to the country on the method and plan of the Bill. He knows that the Liberal Party will not go to the country on the method and plan, but on the principle; but he is going, if he should take that fatal step—which, as I say, I cannot and will not believe—of arraying some 30 Members who quarrel with the method and plan of the Bill—which is still unfinished, which it is still in his power to mould—against the second reading—he is simply sharpening the edge of the weapons of the 300 and odd Members who object to the principle of the Bill. He is going, by the aid of those who only quarrel with the method, to overthrow the Bill itself. If that should occur, and we are sent to the people, will the issue put forward by the Liberal Party be intelligible to the constituencies? Some of us appeal to them on the principle; others say—"You must pay no heed to the principle." How will a Party divided like that against itself be able to get a verdict from the country on any intelligible issue? You cannot confuse the minds of the people in that way, quarrelling amongst yourselves and putting different questions to them, and expect that the voice of the Democracy will sound clear. It is your fault if you, by your political action, allow a question like this to go to the country until it is in a shape such as they can decide upon. Now, I would put before those who are hesitating still, who think that it would have been better to have moved in this matter by abstract Resolution—and it may be that it would have been better so to have done—or who think that action has been taken with too much haste—and it may be that it has—I would put before them one consideration. The people to whom I allude are those who have a number of small matters before their mind that trouble them. I am not surprised that small matters trouble them. A reason small in its intrinsic importance may often be so easily formulated, and may be so striking in its nature, that it has an influence on us far more than a greater reason that is less clear in its formulation. That is why experienced men are often much more right in trusting to their instincts in complicated matters 1104 of business than in reasoning out questions by argument. Well, we have these hon. Gentlemen troubled with these small matters, and who would very much like to have a well-shaped Bill before them before deciding upon the question. These people have one thing in common—they all approve of Home Rule. The consideration I would put before them is this—I would have them remember the words used by an hon. Member who spoke a little time ago, who said that history would sweep away their explanations, but that their votes would remain. They should remember that, whatever the internal struggle may be, the thing that will be of importance to this country and that will be of importance to posterity will be this vote, and the result of it. And they must remember this—that if, however perplexed they are, they take a step which is wrong, the evil will be none the less because their error was unintentional. It will be no mitigation to say that they acted with the best of motives. If they are swayed by motives not unworthy, but motives based on small matters, they will never, by any repentance, be able to wipe out the consequences. I say, standing here, that the more I think of this issue the more terrified am I at the responsibility of those who defeat this Bill because of petty difficulties. I say "terrified," because even if a Dissolution should take place, and the present Government and the Liberal Party should be returned strong enough to carry the Bill through, we shall then only have escaped disaster. [Laughter.] But if that is not so—and that laughter from the other side shows how much the Conservatives expect it—and if the fatal division of the Liberal Party operates on the Election, and we come in with a Conservative majority, what does that mean? There have been plenty of references to the speech of the Marquess of Salisbury. I do not know whether there has been any reference to the cynical determination in the celebrated passage with regard to 20 years of coercion. [Cries of "No, no!"] I am going to withdraw the word "coercion," and I will tell you why. The Marquess of Salisbury, with a statesmanlike prescience, feels he would have to use the word very frequently, and so he has got a much more 1105 presentable synonym for it—he calls it "government." Well, 20 years of this "government." It has to be unflinching "government." It is described by a series of adjectives we have been accustomed to see in more odious company than the harmless word "government." That does not matter. We will call it "government." After 20 years of this "government" he says the Irish people will be fit to accept of the gifts you choose to give them, and he tells us that one of those gifts may be a "repeal of coercion laws." There will be coercion laws, then, through the 20 years, during which time we may crush the Irish, people into a fit state to receive our gifts. That is what is meant if the Conservative Party come in through this fatal split. And if the Party represented or headed by the noble Marquess the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) come in, they will have to hand the reins over to the Conservative Party, for you know this—that they never would get Liberals to support them in coercion, whatever the return. They will be obliged to hand over the reins of government to the only people who have the taste and the nerve for coercion; and if that is done, and if Ireland sees that it is to be handed over to its enemies for all these years, do you expect that when it has once been in sight of the promised land it will patiently allow itself to be turned back? You will have to take upon yourselves this responsibility if, from whatever motives, you resist this Bill. You will have to take upon yourselves the responsibility of all those terrible years. As to the feelings of Ireland, the one that, in my opinion, will live longest is this—that although the present Ministry has an almost unparalleled majority in the House, although it is headed by the greatest statesman of the age, unrivalled in his own Party, it, with all these advantages, was doomed, because it committed the unpardonable offence of daring to be just to Ireland.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That! the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Mr. Goschen,)—put, and agreed to.
§ Debate further adjourned till Monday next.