§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. CAREW (Kildare, N.) ,
in rising to move the second reading of the Bill, 442 said, he did not think it necessary to detain the House at any great length. He thought it was quite unnecessary to enter into any elaborate argument in justification of its introduction. The desirability of dealing with the question of local reform was a matter which was practically admitted by every section and every phase of political Party in the House. In England the question had at last—to use the language of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Ritchie)—come out of the region of promise into that of performance, and, as the right hon. Gentleman had reminded the House, this result had been brought about without any great and active force of public opinion behind to help him in dealing with it. The same, certainly, could not be said in the case of Ireland; there was an active force of public opinion behind them in that country in reference to the question. Agitation had been going on for many years. Ever since the year 1840 Committees had been reporting on the necessity of reform in the system of local government; and in recent years various proposals from the Nationalist Benches had been brought forward for putting an end to the present state of things. Now, if the necessity for reform in England were urgent, it was a thousand times more so in Ireland. Whatever might be the defects of the present system of local government in England, that system was at least of native manufacture and home growth. Englishmen had framed the laws for Englishmen, and the laws were administered by Englishmen who were more or less in sympathy and touch with the people—who were resident in the districts, and, at any rate, made some effort to understand the wants and wishes of the people. But what was the case in Ireland? There they had a system of local government which had been imposed and maintained by a foreign authority. He thought there was no one in that House who would seriously undertake the defence of the Grand Jury system in Ireland. It was a landlords' sytem, worked by landlords in the interest of landlords. The Grand Jury represented no one but themselves. They represented no property but their own, and were arbitrarily selected by an irresponsible person—the High Sheriff. There were 443 sometimes absentee, or agents of absentee, proprietors nominated on the Grand Jury. The High Sheriff nominated from a select circle, and at his own pleasure, a number of men to serve on the Grand Jury. His own appointment depended on the action of the Lord Lieutenant. Well, this system certainly lent itself to jobbery and corruption. The High Sheriff, if he wanted any job carried out, or if he had any scheme or job on hand, had only to select or nominate 21 gentlemen to serve on the Grand Jury whose opinions he was acquainted with beforehand. These 21 gentlemen would sanction any job he had on hand; and, in proof of this, he would call attention to a serious case which occurred quite recently in the South of Ireland. A railway scheme had been promoted—was, in fact, being promoted now—and it had been necessary for the carrying on of the scheme to obtain a guarantee from the ratepayers. The ratepayers refused to give any guarantee; and why? Because there was another competing line in the neighbourhood to which they had already given a guarantee. But notwithstanding the objections of the ratepayers, who had a real interest in opposing the scheme, it was passed by the Grand Jury, and the ratepayers now found themselves saddled with a guarantee for two lines of railway. The High Sheriff happened to be a brother-in-law of the promoter of the scheme. Not only were the Grand Juries guilty of corruption and jobbery, but in time of agitation they were guilty, also, of misrepresenting the condition of the county. He would mention, in illustration of this, a case which recently occurred in the Queen's County. There the Grand Jury found that the County Inspector had sent in a favourable report of the condition of the Queen's County, and they consequently deputed a committee to wait on his Lordship, Judge Johnson, in order to declare that—An unusually large quantity of applications for compensation for malicious injuries arising out of intimidation and Boycotting have come before the Grand Jury. These are 16 in number—a larger number than usual in the Queen's County—a great many of them arising out of intimidation and Boycotting.He (Mr. Carew) would give his Lordship's reply without comment. He said—I am sorry to hear what you say as representing the Grand Jury, because it does not 444 coincide with the account I have received from the County Inspector, in which he informs me that this county is not only free from crime of a serious nature, but is in its usual state of peace and order. Since the Grand Jury Act was passed in 1835—over 50 years ago—malicious injuries have been rife in this county, and applications for compensation have been frequent—sometimes more and sometimes less. During my experience it has been very often found that these injuries are not malicious at all, but have been resorted to by unscrupulous persons as a means of getting compensation from the county. I can only express my opinion that so orderly a county I have not met, and that it is as orderly as it was on the occasion of my last visit 18 months ago.Having failed to influence his Lordship and the County Inspector, the Grand Jury complained that the County Inspector had not included these outrages in his Report. The County Inspector explained that many of these so-called "malicious injuries" which were regarded as outrages, turned out on investigation not to have been malicious at all. Those injuries which were considered malicious, and with regard to which the Grand Jury actually awarded compensation, turned out to be bogus. Well, this was the system under which the Local Government of Ireland was carried on. These were specimens of the conduct of the Grand Juries in Ireland. He did not believe that, even if the system was as pure as it was corrupt, it would be allowed to continue in any other country than Ireland. And now he desired to refer to the Bill which he had the honour to introduce. The main principle of the measure was to give the elected Council control over strictly local affairs. They desired to abolish the Grand Jury system, and to transfer fiscal business to the County Councils to be elected under the Bill. They desired to abolish a system which was an embodiment of the principle of taxation without representation; and, in the second place, they desired to abolish Boards of Guardians. Under the Poor Law system in Ireland, in addition to giving half the votes on the Board to the landlord, additional advantages were given to that class by means of multiple votes, so that it was actually possible for a landlord to have as many as 26 votes, while a tenant had only one. He himself (Mr. Carew) had a number of votes for certain property he held, and he seldom even saw the property in regard to which he was entitled to these votes. [Laughter and cheers.] 445 Oh, yes; he acknowledged it, and the acknowledgment showed how glaring was the anomaly. In the next place, it was proposed to abolish the Lunatic Asylums Board. Large sums were annually expended on the Asylums, and over that expenditure it was sought to give the public some control. At the present moment, the Lunatic Asylums of Ireland were really governed by Inspectors, who were not only an inspecting authority, but a central controlling authority. At present, these Lunatic Asylum Authorities were in this position—that they often had to report to themselves grievances which they discovered existing. Fourthly, the promoters of the Bill proposed to abolish Town Boards; and, in cases where the population was less than 2,000, it was proposed to merge them in the counties. It was proposed, also, to reform the municipalities. That was, in brief, the outline of the Bill he had the honour to introduce. So far as the details were concerned for the purpose of taking over the business of the existing Local Authorities, they proposed to establish in each county a County Council to which every ratepayer and every cesspayer should be eligible for election. The object of that provision was to secure that the members of the County Council should have local knowledge and local responsibilities and liabilities. It was proposed that the members of the County Councils should be elected by the baronies. The area of the barony was the only possible area which they could take for elective purposes, they being conterminous with the counties. There were no other areas conterminous with the counties. To each barony they proposed to give three elected Councillors, believing that in numbers there was safety as well as strength. The number of baronies in each county varied considerably. In some there were only five, and in others there were 24—as, for instance, in the County of Cork. In order that the number of elected councillors might, to a certain extent, be uniform, it was proposed to revise the boundaries in those counties which had less than ten baronies, and to increase them to ten, so that in each county there should not be less than 30 elected councillors. In addition to the elected councillors, it was proposed that five councillors should be appointed by the magistrates of the county. That 446 would have the effect of putting five magistrates on each Council. This was a concession which he did not care to defend on any ground at present, neither should he care to defend the establishment of the Parliamentary Franchise as a basis of election; but the reason these proposals were made was because it was thought desirable to do something to allay the fears of those who described themselves as the "loyal minority." They did not want to deprive that section of the people in Ireland, as that portion of the Irish public thought it was sought to deprive them, of all voice in local Councils. He himself had no fear on that point, and he thought he might speak with some authority with reference to his own part of Ireland. He believed that if the great National question which had been for so long agitated, was brought to a successful issue, the people would settle down, and that it would be found that the only qualifications necessary for a candidate to recommend himself to the electors were the capacity to deal with county matters, honesty, and a disposition to serve the people. It was proposed that every year a third of the Council should retire. This was copied from the constitution of the Dublin Corporation, where the practice had worked exceedingly well. It gave every man an opportunity of mastering the details of his business, and each member who retired would, if he had shown any capacity whilst in office, be sure to get re-elected. This system also preserved the continuity of the sittings of the Councils, and it also secured what he believed the present Government was so fond of—namely, single member constituencies. The members of the Councils, as he had already stated, would, under the Bill, be elected by the Parliamentary voters. One of their reasons for taking this as a basis was that it would save expense and trouble. There would be one registration for all. Peers and women also would be entitled to vote for the elected Councillors. Now, the business which they proposed to transfer to the County Councils was, broadly speaking, all the fiscal duties of the Grand Juries. They did not interfere with their present power of framing indictments. They proposed, in the next place, to transfer to the new Councils the management of the County Asylums from the present authorities. Thirdly, Town Boards which 447 had a population of under 2,000 would be merged in the counties, and form part of the County Council districts; and, fourthly, they intended to give to the County Councils the control of issuing and transferring of licences. Under the present system the issue of licences was distinguished from their renewal, and it was now proposed to hand over to the County Councils the duty of issuing all new licences and the transferring of old licences. At present it was the County Court Judge who issued licences in conjunction with the magistrates. Whatever might be the reason for giving the County Court Judge this jurisdiction he could not say. He had no greater power than was vested in the magistrates who sat with him. He had only one vote, and the result was that the magistrates, who were generally very much biassed and prejudiced, granted licences to whoever they liked. It was proposed to alter this, therefore, by giving the licensing power to the County Councils. It would be seen also that the Bill proposed to transfer to the County Councils from the present authorities the regulation of fairs and markets. It would be observed that they did not intend to extend the powers hitherto granted to the local bodies. Their object was to vest in representative bodies powers which had hitherto been possessed by non-representative bodies. The Bill did not propose either to interfere with the powers of the Local Government Board or any other Boards which sat in Dublin. They did not object to the existence of these Boards. What they objected to was that they should be controlled by a foreign authority. The question of dealing with these Boards was one altogether outside the scope of this Bill. It was a matter which would have to be considered when they dealt with the question of a national authority in Ireland, which question, he hoped, would be settled before very long—the sooner the better. Now the Bill went on to propose the creation of another local body. It was impossible, much as they would like it, to transfer to the County Councils all the local administrative work in Ireland. That being so, they proposed to create, following the precedent given them by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, what they called District Coun- 448 cils, to which Councils it was proposed to hand over the liabilities and duties of Boards of Guardians, and also the duty of Presentment Sessions. It would be impossible to hand all this work over to the County Councils. The County Councils would only meet once a month, whereas it was necessary to transact the business of Boards of Guardians at least once a week, and there were matters of trivial importance, such as small district roads, which should be settled by the District Councils, and not left over for the consideration of the County Councils. Therefore, it was proposed to transfer these functions of the Boards of Guardians to the District Councils. The election of members of the District Councils would be the same as the election of members for the County Councils. The Union would be taken as the unit of area. In each Union there were several electoral divisions. Each electoral division would have two members to represent it on the Council, and the same provision was to be made in regard to District Councils as he had referred to in connection with the County Councils—that was to say, an arrangement made for including in each of the County Council divisions five representatives of the Justices. Then, with regard to Municipal Corporations, provision was made for the equalization of the franchise by abolishing the present fancy franchise, so that there would only be one franchise for all and one registration for all. The Bill also proposed the division of the County Cess between owners and occupiers. That, he thought, was a salutary and necessary provision. People who paid County Cess paid it now in order to improve the property of the owners. Every sewer that was laid down, and, in fact, every act that was done, went to improve the property of the owner, and the owners enjoyed these improvements without paying a single penny towards the taxes. There was another provision in the Bill with reference to the Local Government Board. They intended to restrict, to a certain extent, the exercise of the functions of the Local Government Board. At the present time the Local Government Board exercised the power of superseding Boards of Guardians. Well, they did not propose to interfere with these powers, they proposed to render it necessary for the Local Government Board to obtain the 449 consent of the County Council before superseding any Board of Guardians. He did not think there was anything more for him to mention with reference to the provisions of the Bill. It was purely and simply a Local Government Bill. The larger and deeper question of national autonomy was left entirely untouched. Members on those, the Irish Benches looked forward to the time when that question would be settled. Notwithstanding the desires of the allies of the Government on the Opposition side of the House, they hoped that it would be settled at nodistant date; but, pending the settlement of that question, they desired the abolition of all those administrative anomalies which at present existed. They wanted to remove all those abuses which ought to have been swept away generations ago. They wanted to afford hon. Gentlemen opposite an opportunity of giving effect to those professions which fell so easily and spontaneously from their lips at the General Election. He thought it no exaggeration to say that two-thirds of the Tory Members at the last Election put Local Government for Ireland in the forefront of their programme. The promoters of the Bill now invited those Gentlemen to take advantage of this opportunity to give effect to their promises. It was true that the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) had said that local government should not be undertaken until national aspirations were abandoned. He had followed the lead of the noble Lord the Member for the Rossendale Division of Lancashire (the Marquess of Hartington). That noble Lord had said, and said most brutally, if he might be allowed the expression, that these national aspirations should be crushed out before any local government reform should be given to Ireland. So far as he (Mr. Carew) knew, however, he could promise the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury that if he wanted to introduce a Local Government Bill for Ireland until that happened he would have to wait a very long time. The right hon. Gentleman would, he thought, sit like the expectant rustic on the bank waiting for the stream to flow by. The tide of national life had flowed on and on, not-withstanding all the efforts of hon. Members to obstruct its progress. The na- 450 tional sentiment had existed in Ireland for seven centuries, and would exist for seven centuries to come. What they desired now was to secure local reform in Ireland—to secure that the wants and wishes of the people should be consulted in matters of local administration. He did not intend to say anything more on the subject, but now simply begged to move the second reading of the Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Carew.)
§ MR. SMITH BARRY (Hunts, S.)
said, he had given Notice of the following Amendment:—That this House, while prepared at the proper time to take into consideration any well-matured scheme for reform of Local Government in Ireland, is of opinion that at present it is not expedient to introduce large constitutional changes in that Country.He did not propose to enter at any length into the details of the Bill introduced by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for North Kildare (Mr. Carew). It seemed to him to be a very large and comprehensive measure, and to go a great deal farther even than the Bill which had been introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board for England (Mr. Ritchie), and it failed, so far as he could see, to give any of that comfort and protection to the loyal minority which the hon. and learned Gentleman said would be found included in it. It appeared to him (Mr. Smith Barry) to be a Bill for the purpose of sweeping away the loyal minority from every Board in Ireland, and to place the representation, so far as Local Government Boards were concerned, entirely and solely in the hands of partizans of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Now, the hon. and learned Gentleman had made an attack upon the system of Local Government under the Irish Grand Jury system. Well, he (Mr. Smith Barry) was not in the least prepared to defend the principle of the Grand Jury system. It was, he was perfectly aware, an anomalous system. and could not logically be defended for any reason whatever. But everyone who knew Ireland well, and every right hon. Gentleman who had gone over from this country or from Scotland to govern in Ireland as Chief Secretary, must be perfectly aware, after he had been there a short time, that 451 there were a great many things in that country which were turned upside down, and that it by no means followed that because an institution was logically indefensible it did not work extremely well in practice. Notwithstanding all that had been said by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, he (Mr. Smith Barry) was prepared to maintain that Grand Juries aid their work far better and far more cheaply, and with far more honesty and uprightness, than any other Boards which sat in Ireland. The object of this measure was to sweep away the Grand Jury system, and also to sweep away the Lunatic Asylum Boards. Those latter Boards were also extremely well managed, and he did not know whether it was for that reason that they likewise were to be swept away. The only merit that he could see in the Bill was that it proposed to sweep away Boards of Guardians. Anybody who had any acquaintance with the way in which Boards of Guardians—and lie had had, he would not say the pleasure, but the duty of sitting upon them regularly during the Parliamentary Recess—must know that the way in which they were worked was thoroughly unsatisfactory, and that almost any new system which could be devised for replacing them would be a distinct improvement. But what did this Bill propose to do? It practically proposed to set up in the place of the Grand Juries and Local Government Boards in Ireland a huge system of fresh Boards of Guardians. These Local Councils would be no more than large Boards of Guardians, and what he might call aggravated Boards of Guardians. They would be Boards of Guardians without that ex officio representation which the Boards of Guardians possessed at present. Ho could not say that on most of those Boards the ex officio members at present had very much power or very much influence. During the last few years every attempt had been made to make it impossible for what he might call the larger ratepayers to sit and work upon the Boards of Guardians; and what had been the result? Why, the result had been that since these Boards had got into the hands of the National Party—the popular Party as they called themselves—the rates had been increased, and the expenditure under the Poor Law was becoming larger and larger every day.
§ MR. SMITH BARRY
said, that he found that within the past 30 years the population of Ireland had decreased more than 1,000,000; that the average daily number of cases of outdoor relief had increased from 926 to 56,434; and that the actual cost of outdoor relief had increased from £2,245 to £164,951. The Return issued in February of this year of the outdoor relief for the six months preceding March, 1887, showed that the expenditure had increased to £100,216, and that the total Poor Law expenditure was £428,665. So that they might expect if they were going to place the whole county business—the whole local business—in the hands of the Local Councils they would have an enormous increase in the local rates throughout the country. What was the position of the Boards of Guardians at the present time? Why, he ventured to say that throughout the South and West of Ireland at this moment the majority of them were practically insolvent. The case of the Western Unions, Swinford, Belmullot, &c., the House was very well acquainted with. In the case of the Limerick Board of Guardians the Bank had declined to give them any further advance, because the overdraft of the Guardians had been so great. What did the Guardians do? Why, they passed a most indignant resolution stating that their bankers were treating them in such a manner that they would instantly withdraw their account—which was overdrawn to the extent of several thousand pounds—to another Bank which would be likely to treat them in a more agreeable fashion. At Skibbereen a similar circumstance had occurred. On March the 3rd there were in the Skibbereen Union 518 persons receiving outdoor relief, the Bank debt was £1,097, and the rates uncollected amounted to £5,100. The Skibbereen Guardians, under somewhat similar circumstances, passed a resolution very like that passed by the Limerick Board of Guardians. At Waterford, in 1880, the cost of outdoor relief was put down at £1,500; but on February 29 of this year, at a meeting of the Board of Guardians, it was stated that the cost now exceeded £4,000. At the Tipperary Union the outdoor relief cost £110 per week, the Bank dept was £4,000, and the debt to the national teachers £1,000, and it way stated by 453 the Clerk of the Union that the amount of outdoor relief was greater than that of any three of the Dublin Unions.
§ MR. SMITH BARRY
said, he could not tell what the rates were, but he was aware of the fact that the financial condition of the Tipperary Union had been extremely shaky for a considerable time past. He found that in the Lismore Union there was a meeting of the Guardians on the 21st March of this year—and this was not a question of rates, but a question showing the manner in which the business of these Irish Unions was sometimes conducted—and there a letter was read from the Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, sanctioning the appointment of the Clerk to the Union as Clerk to the Local Authority under the Contagious (Animals) Act at a salary of £5 per annum, as proposed by the Guardians. The Clerk had hitherto done the work without remuneration, and it was stated that the reason for having the appointment sanctioned was to repay the surcharge on Mr. Pyne, M.P., by the Local Government Board Auditor, as he had granted outdoor relief to an evicted tenant. The surcharge was upheld at the Lismore Petty Sessions. The matter was regarded as a capital joke by the Guardians, as the £5 would come from the Consolidated Fund with the Lord Lieutenant's sanction. Here was another instance of the way in which the rates were spent in the North-West of Ireland. There were in the county of Donegal two Unions adjacent to each other—namely, the Unions of Ballyshannon and Donegal. The total expenditure for the year 1886 in Donegal was £2,449, and in Ballyshannon it was £3,591. One member of the Ballyshannon Board, a great Nationalist—namely, Mr. E. Dickson, was so disgusted with the way in which affairs were conducted by the Board that he sent in his resignation, and published the reasons for his withdrawal in the newspapers in a letter, a portion of which he (Mr. Smith Barry) would read to the House. He said—I have, to the best of my ability, done my utmost to faithfully act as their (the ratepayers') representative, and to attend to their interest in making every effort to keep the rates as low as I possibly could. But the ma- 454 jority of the Guardians are increasing salaries, and accepting the highest tenders in a Union where the former rate cannot be collected, its officers are unpaid, its contractors threatening law proceedings for the amounts due to them, and the Union verging into bankruptcy. I, for one, will be no party, either on personal, sectarian, or political grounds, in aiding or assisting to raise taxes on an impoverished people.—Yours faithfully, EDWARD DICKSON.The debts due by the Boards of Guardians all over Ireland were very large, and the consequence was that the rate collectors' cheques remained dishonoured, and it was impossible in some places for the unfortunate people in receipt of outdoor relief to obtain that relief because the collectors could not get in the value of it. He had been told by rate collectors in Cork that the Bank now would only consent to cash their cheques on being allowed a considerable discount which the unfortunate rate collectors had to pay out of their own pockets. Well, so much for the Poor Law Guardians. But the Poor Law Guardians as a body, as at present constituted, had still a certain leaven of the magistrates and of the higher ratepayers amongst them. But how was it in the case of the Municipal Corporations? How did the Municipal Corporations manage their affairs? It was essential to go into this question, because they might expect the new local Councils if such a Bill as this passed, would be composed of the sort of men who sat upon Boards of Guardians and the Municipal Corporations. How did the Corporation of Cork get on for instance? Why, only a few weeks ago, although the Town Clerk told them distinctly that it was not a legal expenditure, the Cork Corporation voted a sum of £31 10s. to pay for the defence of the Mayor when he was prosecuted for having violently assaulted a police sergeant. The Vote was passed by the Nationalist majority in the Corporation. A few days later an even more unjustifiable payment was made. A sum of money—he forgot how much—was paid for a deputation to go from Cork to do honour to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) and the Marquess of Ripon when they visited Dublin, and a sum of money was also voted to a number of bandsmen whose musical instruments were destroyed in a mêiée which occurred on the occasion of a demonstration in honour of the hon. Member for 455 East Cork (Mr. Lane), who was returning to his native city after a brief sojourn in Tullamore. Another evidence of the manner in which Local Bodies elected in the manner of Boards of Guardians and Corporations were likely to treat the Loyalist minority when they were entirely at their mercy was given last autumn by the Municipal Council of which he had been speaking. On the 18th of November the Cork Municipal Council decided to Boycott The Cork Constitution. They declined thenceforth to send their advertisements to that paper, which was the only Unionist daily newspaper in the South of Ireland. They maintained that, taking the opposite line to them, it had been guilty of hounding on the Government to set upon and ill-treat the people.
§ MR. SMITH BARRY
said, he had not got the resolution, but it had been carried by the Corporation and put into operation, and he believed was in existence at this moment.
§ MR. SMITH BARRY
said, then it had been rescinded. A resolution passed by the Cork Guardians to a similar effect had, after a considerable time, been also rescinded. All he (Mr. Smith Barry) wished to do was to show that these Municipal Corporations, even such a Corporation as that of Cork, one of the largest in the country, did not treat their political opponents in anything like a moderate spirit; and he desired in this way to suggest the manner in which Local Councils, when appointed, would be likely to treat the Loyalists, for the Loyalists would be almost entirely unrepresented on the Boards. With regard to Dublin, the Corporation there was elected on a still more extended franchise than that of any of the other Municipal Corporations in the country; and it was a remarkable thing that in connection with that Corporation the expenditure had steadily increased during the past dozen years, ever since 1880, when it got into the hands of the Nationalist Party. In the year 1874 the expenditure was £276,000, and it went on year by year at about the same rate, decreasing, if anything, standing in 1879 at £261,000; and in 1880, at 456 about the time the old Body began to lose control, the expenditure jumped up to £292,000. In 1881 it was £293,000; in 1882, £300,000; in 1883, £316,000; in 1884, £324,000; in 1885, £321,000; and in 1886, £347,000. And, notwithstanding this, they found that at this very time—namely, 1881—the Mayor's salary, which used formerly to be only £1,000, and which was only £1,000 at the time when Sir Benjamin Guinness was Lord Mayor, became £2,000, and since that time it had been raised to £3,000, at which figure it now stood. It was a very curious thing, also, in connection with the Dublin Corporation, that whereas in every other town the tolls from markets and slaughterhouses were a source of income, in Dublin there was an annual deficit under those heads of something like £3,000. He would not weary the House by going further into those details, nor would he trouble the House, as he might do, with statements respecting the doings of different Town Commissioners scattered from one end of Ireland to the other, nor with the resolutions passed by those Bodies of a political character and entirely outside their ordinary business, when they ought to be attending to the work for which they were primarily appointed. But there was one resolution which he saw was passed by the Tipperary Town Commissioners, which was very typical of the sort of resolutions to which he alluded, and which showed the way in which these Bodies spent a great deal of their time. Mr. Quinlan, at one of the meetings in December, 1887, said he had a resolution to propose in reference to the imprisonment of the Lord Mayor, and he proceeded to move the following:—That we, the Tipperary Town Commissioners, protest against and condemn the Tory Government and their wretched tool 'B—y Balfour' in imprisoning the self-sacrificing and pure-souled patriot and national bard, T. D. Sullivan, Lord Mayor of Dublin, and we believe that the law which makes such an exemplary man a criminal is a disgrace to civilization, and will stand for all time as a bloody rule of tyrants prepared to hold fast their plunder by means the most revolting and outrageous to common humanity.This resolution was passed unanimously, and, having been passed, the meeting soon after adjourned. Matters such as those of cleansing the streets and looking after the interests of the town might 457 go anywhere they liked. This, judging by analogy, was the kind of thing they might expect if the House consented to pass such a Bill as that introduced by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite that afternoon. He would not detain the House any longer. He should have liked to point out that whereas they had had municipal institutions in England and Ireland for a great number of years, and whereas it was the great hope of all of them sitting in this House that these institutions should be further extended in the counties in England, that in England municipal institutions had been working well, and that there was every reason to hope and believe that they would work equally well when extended to the counties. In Ireland the case was entirely opposite. Municipal institutions there had not worked well; and if they were going to extend the system which had worked badly in the Irish Municipalities, they would not only extend it further, but would render it far worse. In England the mass of the population, if not more quick-witted, were, at least, more highly educated than the mass of the people in Ireland—so far, at least, as they could judge from the result of the Elections in 1885. During that Election there were polled, throughout the whole country, 2,969,381, of which 80,145 were illiterates. In England and Wales the number of illiterates was 38,587, or one in 62; in Scotland it was 4,386, or one in 74; whereas in Ireland there were 36,722, or one in 5½. Now, he could not help thinking that if that House, in the year 1885, at the time when the franchise was largely extended to Ireland, had been cognizant of those facts, and of the condition of the voters throughout that country, they would have hesitated before extending the franchise as they did. That appeared to him to be a very sound reason—having discovered the condition in which the voters in the counties were—why they should not now make a further extension of the franchise to a set of people who were in a state of educational darkness. He did not wish the House to understand for a moment that he was opposed in principle to the extension of local self-government. He had candidly acknowledged that the Grand Jury system Was, in his opinion, on principle indefensible, though he believed it worked well. He had said so many 458 years ago, and very often he had looked forward to the time when it would be possible and prudent for this Parliament to extend a similar system of local government to Ireland. But that time had not yet come. Before granting any further extension of popular demands, it was the duty of Parliament to see that the powers granted were likely to be used for the purpose for which they were given, and not as a means of carrying out revolutionary measures. He earnestly hoped that at no distant date such an extension of local government would be found possible. But it must be when law and order had been thoroughly established. It must be when education had sunk deeper into the masses of the people; it must be when the country was no longer at the mercy of the political agitator and the National League wire-puller, and when the heated atmosphere of Party politics had so cooled down that it would be possible for that minority of the ratepayers which paid the greater portion of the rates to obtain not merely a fair hearing, but a fair share of representation on the Local Councils.
§ SIR JAMES CORRY (Armagh, Mid)
in seconding the Amendment, said, the hon. Member said that having served on Grand Juries he believed that the system was one of the most extravagant that could possibly be devised for Ireland. The experience he (Sir James Corry) had derived from serving on Grand Juries led him to discover how carefully the interests of all parties were guarded, and, as a large cesspayer, he was not opposed to the extension of representative system; yet he would rather be under the rule of the Grand Juries than of the County Councils proposed to be instituted by the present Bill. In the North of Ireland he had found that, on the whole, the system worked exceedingly well; and to hand over the Poor Law Unions to the Council, as proposed to be elected under the Bill, would not only be a most expensive but a very dangerous operation. At the same time, he looked at the-Poor Law system as very far from being perfect; yet the ex officio Guardians acted as the check upon extravagance, and he should be very sorry to see the Poor Law administration handed over to the proposed Councils. Then, with reference to Municipal Corporations, 459 the proposals embodied in the Bill would, to his mind, if carried out, introduce a change of a very unsatisfactory character. They were told last year, when the Franchise Bill for Belfast was passed, that the old Corporation would be completely swept away. He was able to inform the House that 30 members of the old Corporation stood for re-election, and out of that number, although the voters had been increased from 6,000 to 23,000, only one failed to secure re-election. That showed that the old Corporation did its business properly, and to the satisfaction of the ratepayers. He had no wish to detain the House further; but he believed that the Bill was a dangerous measure, and although he was not opposed to the extension of local government in Ireland, he thought it ought to be carried out on very different lines from those contained in the Bill. If all control was taken away from the owners of property, who had the welfare and prosperity of the country at heart, a very great mistake would be committed.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House, while prepared at the proper time to take into consideration any well-matured scheme for the reform of Local Government in Ireland, is of opinion that at present it is not expedient to introduce large constitutional changes in that Country,"—(Mr. Smith Barry,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
said, he was not surprised to hear the declaration of the hon. Baronet the Member for Mid Armagh (Sir James Corry) that he would be sorry to see the old Boards of Guardians swept away, for now in the town with which the hon. Baronet was connected, on the Board of which he was a shining light, in a district with 60,000 Catholics, he believed it was a fact that there was not a single Catholic on the Board. That was the exclusive system which the hon. Baronet desired to see maintained. He congratulated the hon. Baronet on his consistency; but he wished the House to understand that the system the hon. Baronet desired to maintain was the old system of Orange ascendancy unimpaired. The hon Member for South Hunts (Mr. Smith Barry), who moved the Amendment, talked of 460 political agitators as if there were no political agitators except the members of the National League. Now, he (Mr. Clancy) was not ashamed of being a political agitator. He thought that, under the circumstances, political agitators discharged a very important function. But there were agitators and agitators, and the hon. Member for South Hunts should be the last man to speak offensively of political agitation, seeing that he was the head of the Cork Defence Union, which, during the last six months, had been fomenting agrarian disturbances in the South of Ireland. The hon. Member had himself interfered personally not long ago to render a settlement of the dispute between the landlord and the tenants on the Ponsonby estate impossible, except on conditions of degrading servitude to the tenants. It was mentioned in a letter which only appeared last week that the hon. Member had been charged with laying secret information in order to stop a public meeting. That was a Gentleman who came there to cast reflections upon political agitators. The hon. Member's speech was very instructive. If anybody wanted to know why a man in the hon. Gentleman's position could not be elected for an Irish constituency, he had only to reflect on the speech just delivered. What was that speech? The anti-Irish Irishman could see good in every other country but his own, and could see nothing but evil in his own, If evils existed in other countries he passed over them unnoticed. He had heard the hon. Member allude to the number of illiterate voters in Ireland. He ought to have been ashamed to allude to the subject. If the Irish people were ignorant, who was to blame for the state of ignorance but the loyal minority, who for centuries had all the power of Ireland in their hands? [Cries of "Oh!"] Well, William of Orange was born two or three centuries ago, and his legitimate successors were the Orange Party of to-day. He would, therefore, ask who was to blame for the state of ignorance which was alleged to exist? If the phrase "Orangeman" was objected to he would withdraw it and substitute "the loyal minority," which had had power in Ireland for several hundred years. What use had they ever made of it? He Would refer them to the speech of the hon. Member 461 for South Hunts, who was able to come down to the House that day and base his argument for refusing freedom on the very ignorance the loyal minority had produced. No doubt there were illiterates in their country, and he was not aware that it was laid down as a condition of the franchise that the man possessing it must be able to read and write. Many men in Ireland who were unable to read and write had a far more honest conception of their duties than many Englishmen who were able to read and write. The speech of the hon. Member was filled with reflections upon his own countrymen; but he must confess that when he listened to it he thought it was, on the whole, although a somewhat dull one, a good argument for Home Rule. In the first place, the hon. Member admitted the necessity and justice of the Bill. He had certainly not expected from the head of the Cork Defence Union and the urgency movement the admission that the Grand Jury system could not be defended on any principle whatever. The hon. Member said that many things were turned upside down in Ireland. No doubt. Everything was turned upside down in Ireland under the system of the Union. That was the grand result of the Union, which had now been in existence for 87 years. Everything was turned upside down; and, instead of doing anything to change that state of things, the hon. Gentleman and his Friends came down day after day, and objected not only to Home Rule in the largest sense, but even to a modicum of self-government for Ireland. The hon. Gentleman not only objected to the Grand Jury system, but he admitted that the administration of the Poor Law Boards of Guardians was unsatisfactory. He wished the House to observe the largeness and the significance of that admission. How were the Poor Law Boards of the country constituted? They were composed one-half of landlords. [An hon. MEMBER: No.] Who said "No?" The law was that the number should be equal. There was an ex officio Guardian for every elected Guardian. Not only was that the case, but, as had been pointed out by his hon. and learned Friend who moved the second reading of the Bill (Mr. Carew), seats were secured to the landlords at the Boards of Guardians without election, and the Poor Law franchise was 462 so manipulated that it was a matter of astonishment how it was possible to find a single Board of Guardians in the hands of the Nationalists at all. The landlords had as many as six votes, and the average tenant only one. Those were the Bodies that now managed the affairs of the Unionists throughout Ireland, and he regarded with significance the admission of the hon. Member that their management was thoroughly unsatisfactory.
§ MR. SMITH BARRY
said, that his admission only applied to those Boards of Guardians which had got into the hands of the popular Party.
§ MR. CLANCY
said, that was a favourite theory that would not hold water. It had been put forward only within the last couple of years, and it had been contradicted by sworn testimony before Commission after Commission, and by investigation after investigation by Committees of that House, which showed that all along the Poor Law system in Ireland had been a scandal and disgrace. That was a pretty commentary on the state of things in Ireland. The ex officio Guardians had in Ireland the management of the affairs of the various Unions of the country, not only because they formed one-half of the Board, but because they had a franchise which had been specially manipulated to give them an ascendancy; and yet the hon. Member, who had interfered with the settlement of disputes upon the Ponsonby estate, and who had recently got a public meeting suppressed by laying secret information, came down to the House and was compelled to confess that the system had broken down. Certainly the hon. Member had made an admirable argument in favour of Home Rule, for he had produced a list of figures to prove that there had been a large increase of outdoor relief. The hon. Member failed to see the other side of that admission. If it were true, it showed that, in the face of a population decreasing year by year under the Cork Defence Union and the Conservative Government, there had been an increase in the poverty of the country which was absolutely startling. It showed further what the Irish Members had always been contending for, and what the Unionist Party had constantly denied—that under the system of Castle rule in Ireland the country was simply going to the dogs. As a proof of that it was only necessary 463 to refer to the figures produced to-day by the hon. Member, a Gentleman who was so popular in his own country that he had to go over to South Hunts for a seat. It was a remarkable fact that although there had been a large increase in the poverty of the people in the West and North-West of Ireland, and an increase existed for giving outdoor relief, yet, on the whole, there had not been an increase, but a decrease in the cost of taxation for poor relief. There was a decrease in Poor Law rating of 1884 compared with the previous year of £36,472, while the Grand Jury system managed by the loyal minority showed an increased cost of £19,000. As the hon. Member's researches had not enabled him to find these figures, he would commend them to his attention. The Return for the year 1885 showed that the gross amount of Poor Law taxation for that year was £79,549 less than in 1884, and the aggregate poor rate in Ireland in 1886 showed a decrease of £47,480, as compared with that in 1885, the decrease in the Grand Jury cess for the same year having been only £12,000. These two years certainly did not bear out the contention of the hon. Member, although they did show that in the West of Ireland, where there was extreme poverty, there had necessarily been an increase over the cost for Poor Law relief in England. The hon. Member had alluded to various Unions, and, among others, to that of Ballyshannon, one of the districts in which the landlord party had always been supreme. The hon. Member did not and could not deny that fact. He asked the House, therefore, to measure the audacity with which the hon. Member came down to the House and gave figures which he would have the House to believe showed incompetency on the part of the popular Party, whereas they showed most conclusively an incompetency on the part of the loyal minority. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the question of municipalities. The Irish Members had been quite prepared for all this. They had had trotted out again and again all about the Corporation of Dublin. The favourite practice of the organization and Party to which the hon. Member belonged was that of throwing dirt on the country to which they belonged, and every institution of a popular character was subjected 464 not only to fair criticism, to which he did not object, but to unfair and hostile attack, the object being to close the eyes of the English people to the real truth that the Irish people would not be content until they were entrusted with the management of their own affairs. The hon. Member bad referred to the way in which advertisements were issued to the Cork Unions. He said the Cork Board of Guardians would not give their advertisements to a Loyalist newspaper. He did not know that the action of the Cork Board of Guardians was not open to defence, for it was fair to use any weapon in a state of war such as now existed. But if he wanted any defence for the action of the Cork Board of Guardians he could find it in the action of the Government themselves. Only a couple of weeks ago Her Majesty's Government were asked whether they had not issued—and they dared not deny the statement except in an equivocating way—whether they had not issued a Boycotting Circular against the Nationalist newspapers of Ireland? It was said that the Nationalist newspapers preached crime, although that was a very doubtful term now-a-days, thanks to the administration of the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour); and, consequently, if any Nationalist newspaper applied for an advertisement it was not to have it. In the face of this Boycotting decree the hon. Member for South Hunts came down to the House and held up the Cork Board of Guardians for censure, because it had deprived the hon. Member's own newspaper of certain advertisements. He believed that hon. the Member was personally interested in that newspaper.
§ MR. CLANCY
At any rate it was supported by a large subsidy. It was an organ of the loyal minority, and could not exist without a subvention of some kind or other. He did not know how these things were managed. There were certain transactions in Ireland which were not always published. [Mr. SMITH BARRY: Hear, hear!] He was quite well aware what the hon. Member was cheering. The Nationalists did not publish their accounts, nor did the Loyal minority theirs. When the Loyal minority did, the Nationalists would 465 publish theirs. The hon. Member had made an extraordinary misstatement in regard to the franchise. As a matter of fact, although there were 300,000 people in Dublin, very few of them enjoyed the franchise. The hon. Member did not appear to be cognizant of that fact, yet he came down to the House and talked about illiterates. He thought the hon. Member ought to be somewhat chary in talking about what the "old hands" did in Ireland. What did they do when the Loyal minority had their own way, and he would invite the attention of the Liberal Unionists specially to these facts? The "old hands," for instance, when they left off work in 1840 had imposed upon the City of Dublin a debt of £43,836, and in such desperate straits did they leave the City, that even the Mansion House and its effects were in the hands of the bailiffs for debts contracted by these "old hands," and it had to be redeemed by Daniel O'Connell and his Catholic Councillors before the Corporation could enter into possession of it. This was an instance of the way in which "old hands" did their work. But that was not all. The "old hands" were very liberal with other people's property. He could state, as a matter of fact, which could not be contradicted, that if the property which originally belonged to the Corporation of Dublin had been left in the hands of the people and their representatives, not one single penny of taxation would have been necessary at the present day for a single public work. What became of the property? The "old hands," in their after-dinner potations, gambled it away and mortgaged it for their debts. Whole streets were sold to Earl Fitzwilliam and the Earl of Pembroke for barleycorn rents, and pairs of gloves. This was what the "old hands," did, and now they had their successors coming down and endeavouring to throw dirt upon the reformed. Corporation which had so managed the affairs of Dublin that they had reduced the old debt of nearly £400,000 down to £200,000, with out imposing a single penny of additional taxation in the last 10 years. The hon. Member had spoken of the way in which the Dublin Corporation was managed, but a greater libel on any public body was never uttered than that which had been pronounced by the hon. Gentleman. Not a single stain rested to-day on the 466 reformed Dublin Corporation. They had carried out some of the greatest public works in the Kingdom. They had established the finest water supply in the Three Kingdoms; they had paved the streets from end to end; and they had instituted a system of cleansing which they were not too exclusive or ashamed to borrow from Glasgow, and to go to Glasgow also for a Protestant and a Conservative to carry it out. If it were the fact, as he believed it was, that the public burdens of the City had been increased. to some extent, the hon. Gentleman had been disingenuous enough to conceal the further fact that the citizens of Dublin were perfectly satisfied with the way in which their affairs were managed, and with what they had obtained in exchange for their increased burdens. The salary of the Lord Mayor of Dublin had been referred to, and the hon. Gentleman opposite had made suggestions which were the meanest he had ever heard in that House. The salary of the Lord Mayor of Dublin was not a new thing, seeing that it had existed in the days of the "old hands." The "old hands" were not ashamed to pocket salaries of any kind. He had never heard of an "old hand" declining a salary awarded to the Lord Mayor of Dublin, or of their refusing anything they could get. They kept everything they could get, and everything they could not get by fair means they obtained in their after-dinner potations. It had been said that the salary of the Lord Mayor of Dublin had been increased during the last few years from £2,000 to £3,000 per annum. [Cries of "Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members said "Hear, hear!" That fact was quite true; but everyone who was acquainted with the circumstances must know that the official expenses of the Lord Mayor of Dublin were very heavy. [Laughter.] Hon. Members might laugh, but they could not deny the fact. He was prepared to state as a positive fact that there never was a man who occupied the post of Lord Mayor of Dublin who had not spent as much and half as much again as he got. [Cries of "Oh!"] Yes; no man ever held the office of Lord Mayor who found that the £3,000 given to him in the shape of salary was sufficient for the expenses of the office. There was no other Corporation in the Kingdom which paid its Mayor in an 467 illiberal fashion. He thought they had heard of a Body called the Corporation of London. He believed that the Lord Mayor of London received £10,000 a-year for the expenses of his office; and if he was not mistaken, in addition to that £10,000, he was not ashamed, rich man as he was, to accept the repayment of the expenses of Civic feasts from out of the pockets of the ratepayers. He should like to know who paid the expenses of the banquet the other day to the noble Lord the Member for the Rossendale Division of Lancashire (the Marquess of Hartington). Why, they came out of the pockets of the ratepayers of the City. This attack which had been made upon the Lord Mayor of Dublin was, therefore, a mean and scandalous one, and ought to be reprobated accordingly. The Lord Mayor of Dublin received £3,000 a-year, but how much did the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland get? If the Lord Mayor got £3,000 a-year he did good work for it. He lived in Dublin and had to pay for lighting and coals. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary—a magnanimous man and a generous man, who would not touch the public money with a 40-foot pole—received £4,500 a-year, and was not ashamed to get his coals and gas for nothing, although he did not go to Dublin, and never used the coal and gas. When the right hon. Gentleman did go over to Dublin he did not live in his own house, but resided in that of the Lord Lieutenant, and how was the case with regard to the Lord Lieutenant himself? He ventured to say that the Lord Mayor of Dublin did ten times the amount of work discharged by the Lord Lieutenant, seeing that he was a member of every Committee of the Corporation, and had every day public work of some sort or other to transact. The Lord Lieutenant notoriously spent the greater portion of his time in England, and the rest in recreation in Phoenix Park, in cricket and other games. They never heard of the Lord Mayor of Dublin doing that. The Lord Lieutenant, in addition to £20,000 a-year, had a house provided for which he paid no rent, and, like the Chief Secretary, he had his coals and gas for nothing. He thought they had had enough of this miserable and paltry taunt at public men because, in the first place they received a salary, and be- 468 cause, in the second place, that salary was increased by the inevitable and necessary expenses of the office. It was often said that Belfast did not pay its Mayor; but if hon. Members would look into the accounts of the Corporation of Belfast for 1885, they would find that, although the Mayor did not take anything for the office, he was not ashamed to get his hall decorated and other expenses paid for the reception of the Prince of Wales and Lord Spencer. In Dublin nothing was charged upon the ratepayers for entertainments of that nature. When the same things were done on both sides they were only considered evil in reference to one particular side.
§ SIR JAMES CORRY
said, that the Mayor of Belfast did not allow the Corporation to expend a single penny of the ratepayers' money for his reception of the Prince of Wales.
§ MR. CLANCY
said, that although the hon. Baronet might be a member of the Belfast Corporation, and might have attended to his business, he (Mr. Clancy) could speak of this as a matter of fact, because he had seen it in the accounts of the Corporation, and, to borrow a phrase from the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain), he would not take a contradiction upon the subject. If these charges had been increased they had been voluntarily increased. Suppose he admitted fully everything that had been said on the other side. It must be remembered that there was an office in connection with the Local Government Board in Ireland whose duty it was to prevent excessive expenditure. Not a single pound could be expended in Ireland by Boards of Guardians, Town Commissioners, or Local Boards in excess of the local expenditure. There was an officer of the Local Government Board specially appointed to check improper expenditure, and the record was a most creditable one, for there had only been a very few cases—only one here and there in the course of the last few years—in which the auditor had surcharged any public officer on account of illegal payments. Supposing, however, that everything which had been said was true, what argument was it against the Bill? They proposed to abolish the present system. When hon. Members opposite found fault with the administration of the Corporation of 469 Dublin, and with the administration of Boards of Guardians, they were finding fault with creatures of their own creation; and, supposing the faults did exist, they were the result of the narrow franchise which prevented the people from having proper control over the Corporation. All the arguments adduced were arguments in favour of the Bill, and for changing the whole system of Government in the country. He believed that until they did that they would never be free from corruption and oppression. His hon. and learned Friend who introduced the Bill correctly stated that it did not touch the question of national self-government. It only dealt with those administrative abuses and anomalies which had existed, and which ought to have been swept away long ago. The Irish Members reserved to themselves a future opportunity for the treatment of the higher question of national self-government. For his own part, he thought no better argument could be advanced in support of Home Rule than the rejection by the House of this Bill at the suggestion of the very loyal minority who were opposing the proposed reforms.
§ COLONEL WARING (Down, N.)
said, that he ought, perhaps, to feel crushed by the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy); but he belonged, however, to the "unconquerable Colony," as Macaulay called them, who did not know when they were beaten. Ho was glad to find that one valuable admission had been made for the first time on the Benches opposite—namely, that there was a loyal minority in Ireland; that implied that there was a majority that was something else than loyal. He had long contended that that was the case, but it had never before been admitted on the Irish Benches. Previous speakers had also admitted that the funds of the Cork Corporation were applied to the defence of the Mayor of Cork when he was charged with making a violent assault on a police constable. The Irish Members approved these illegal payments, which went a long way to show that the local administration in Ireland was not likely to be satisfying if the state of things now existing in the towns was extended the counties. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Clancy) was very indignant with the hon. Gentleman the Mem- 470 ber for South Huntingdon (Mr. Smith Barry) for having reflected upon the amount of illiterate voting in Ireland, and the hon. Member taunted the Party to which he (Colonel Waring) belonged with having been the cause of the illiteracy of the country by their mismanagement of the education of the country. The taunt was one which he entirely repudiated. What had been the cause of the ignorance of the greater part of Ireland for the last few centuries? Not the ascendancy of the Party which hon. Gentlemen opposite were opposed to, but the action of the clergy of their own Church in preventing the instruction of the people, and in putting every obstacle in the way of the people being taken out of their present state of ignorance. He was not in a position, nor did he intend, to go into statistics with regard to a large part of Ireland. He had the good fortune to live in a part of Ireland which was less affected by the organization to which hon. Gentlemen opposite belonged than, perhaps, any other; but, with regard to illiteracy he could give one example which might be instructive. In his own county, of which he represented a portion and an hon. Member opposite (Mr. M'Cartan) represented another portion, there were two sections, one of which was almost exclusively free from the influence which, he alleged, had been the cause of the ignorance of Ireland, and the other of which was largely under that influence, and, therefore, returned a Member in support of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell). At the last Election there was nearly the same number of electors in each constituency, and in the electoral division of North Down 170 persons voted as illiterates; but in the electoral Division of South Down, in which the clergy of the religion of hon. Gentlemen opposite had a great deal of influence, no less than 2,000 illiterate persons voted. The people of South Down lived under precisely the same system of schools as the people of North Down; they had the advantage of the same class of teachers; and they had all the advantages which were enjoyed in North Down. In every single county they found that where the sway to which he alluded held good ignorance existed, and where it did not hold good education was almost universal. Reference had been made to the present 471 system of Poor Law. The bon. Gentleman the Member for North Dublin said that they were not to say anything about the Poor Law Boards as at present constituted, because they were one of the institutions he proposed to do away with. That was quite true, but he (Colonel Waring) greatly feared lest the new state of things would be worse than the present, for every single precaution which had led to some Boards of Guardians being better and more economically managed than others was to be swept away by the new proposed County Council. It was alleged that there was one-half of each of the Boards of Guardians representing the landlords. He utterly and entirely denied the statement. As a matter of fact, an equal number of ex officio Guardians to elected Guardians sat on Boards; but in how many Unions would such a number of ex officio Guardians be found who could, or would, attend to the duties of the Boards? Everyone who knew anything about the Irish Poor Law system knew that it was on very rare occasions indeed that a large number of ex officio Guardians were present, and that those occasions were not those on which public expenditure was to be dealt with. Supposing the ex officio Guardians did attend, what were they? They were magistrates who were ratepayers in the Union, but the magistrates were not all landlords; and in recent years, since the Government which lately managed the affairs of Ireland was in power, there had been a very large number of magistrates whose estates would, perhaps, have been very heavily taxed to furnish the necessary qualifications. He entirely denied that the ex officio Guardians held half of the representation, or that they went out of their way to regulate and control the Boards of Guardians. Another attack was made upon the power of the landlords to control the votes at Boards of Guardians, and in that respect, also, the facts were very largely misrepresented. As a matter of fact, the power of accumulated voting did not amount to anything like what was alleged on the other side. In his evidence Mr. Walsh was asked by the Committee which sat on the Poor Law Guardians (Ireland) Bill, 1883, whether or not he approved of the proposition then before the Committee to reduce the number of votes which could possibly be given as accu- 472 mulated votes from 30 to 18? In answer to that question Mr. Walsh said—No; instead of that I would increase it. A landlord with an income of £1,000 a-year, and paying half the rates on £1,000 in one electoral division, had only six votes, while his tenants, paying the other half, had 60. In another case two landlords had six votes each, and their tenants had 100.Therefore, it was perfectly false to say that the landlords' votes controlled the votes of elected Guardians. Great indignation was aroused in the mind of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Clancy) by some words which fell from the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Huntingdon (Mr. Smith Barry) with regard to the conduct of the Dublin Corporation. In the first place, the salary of the Lord Mayor was considered to be a very fair and proper charge upon the resources of that Body; and, of course, it was for the Dublin Corporation electors to say whether they considered that salary a fair part of the municipal charge. That salary stood at £2,000 for a long time, but it had recently been raised to £3,000. He (Colonel Waring) asked what were the increased expenses which made it necessary that this additional salary should be given? As far as he could make out, for a long time the Lord Mayor gave banquets at which there was an abundance of champagne, and at which, later on, he presumed, there was a good deal of John Jamieson consumed. At the present time, he understood, the Lord Mayor gave a charming entertainment, called a conversazione, at which coffee, cocoa, soda water, and ginger beer were handed round. He could not think that the cost of these banquets was so high as to render the addition of £1,000 to the Lord Mayor's salary necessary. The idea of the Mayor of Belfast performing his duty without salary had been laughed at, and it had been insinuated that a small sum was charged for the decoration of the hall for the reception of the Prince of Wales. That had been denied. He was not there, however, to discuss the question whether it was true or false, because he did not think it much mattered. The vote, if it was given at all, was for a great Civic entertainment, and the charge would be very fairly defrayed out of the public funds. But what out of occurred on the same occasion? The Mayor for 473 the time being spent very close upon £20,000 of his own private money on the same entertainment, and that entertainment was upon a scale of magnificence which was rarely equalled in the world. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Clancy) made a very great boast of the manner in which the Dublin Corporation had paved the streets of Dublin from one end to the other. But he forgot to remark that the stone sets were supplied by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) at a cost of 21s. per ton, when equal or superior sets were offered by a Northern firm, members of the loyal minority, at 22s. per ton. He (Colonel Waring) did not see that there was any great economy effected by that; and, therefore, they were quite entitled to demand that, before they were to be handed over to the tender mercies and the financial management of gentlemen who held with hon. Members opposite, they should have a little better proof than they had yet had of the capacity of those gentlemen to manage affairs economically, and without favour or affection to any one party or the other. Now he came to the Bill itself. He had not the slightest intention of going into the details of the Bill, for the simple reason that at the present moment the details made no difference whatever to his argument. He objected to the Bill, not in detail, not in principle, but he objected to it on the ground of the time of its application. He maintained that the time was unsuitable, that the conditions of the country were unsuitable to the passing of such a measure as this. He entirely objected to any Bill whatever effecting, as the Amendment of his hon. Friend ran, "any constitutional change" in Ireland in its present state. He objected most thoroughly to it, in the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley), whom he regretted not to see in his place—As long as the National League is as vigorous and effective, and, if you like, as tyrannical and terrifying, as ever,while the League was as tyrannical and terrifying as ever, and that was other day at Rossendale by the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. John Morley)—while that was so, he (Colonel Waring) held that County Councils elected by votes 474 controlled by the National League could not be trusted with the management of the finances and with the local affairs of the country. They had to look to what had been done. Some attention had been called to several points already; but he thought it would be useful to go a little further into the question of how the finances of the country had been managed by the Boards of Guardians in the part of the country which was under the control of the National League. In the Union of Roscommon, up to 1879, the gross rate never exceeded £5,000 a-year; in 1884 it had risen to £7,500. The outdoor relief in the same period had gone up from £500 to £1,000. The ordinary allowance as outdoor relief was 3s. per week; but when the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan) thought it necessary for the public peace and welfare to put certain gentlemen under temporary restraint, their families were at once granted the sum of £1 per week as outdoor relief during the term of the men's imprisonment. The sum of £1 was a somewhat arbitrary amount to be fixed upon, and there was no particular reason why it should not be 19s. or 21s.; it was a curious thing that the National League had been accustomed to give the families of those who had been arrested £1 per week, so that when the Board of Guardians resolved to subscribe £1 a-week to a suspect's family, it was only like subscribing £1 to the National League for the family of every suspect. After a while the Local Government Board, which existed sometimes for good and sometimes for evil—he was bound to say he was not always a great admirer of the Local Government Board, for it occasionally made mistakes, and it occasionally did very useful work—the Local Government Board discovered that this was going on, and, thinking it a very improper use of public money, they sent down a sealed order, by which they made it clear that it was not legal to grant money in this way, and that orders for food and fuel should only be given to families of persons in that position. But the Board of Guardians were equal to that too; they gave orders for food and fuel, but they gave the orders upon the shop of one of the principal members of the Board. 475 It might be said that these men were ratepayers themselves, and that they were hurting themselves by all this liberality. To a certain extent they were hurting themselves; but it must not be forgotten that the incidence of the Poor Law was different in Ireland to what it was in England. In every part of Ireland the landlord paid on every holding one-half of the rates, but in respect to holdings under £4 the landlord paid the whole of the rates, and in consequence of the large number of these holdings a very much larger proportion than half was always contributed by the landlords to the rates in the Unions in Ireland. Nearly three-quarters, certainly five-eighths, of the cost of the support of the Poor Law in Ireland was defrayed directly by the landlords. Therefore, it would be seen that the interest that the elected members of Boards of Guardians had in the matter was comparatively small. It was ridiculous to suppose that the rates inflicted upon these men by this extravagance would be sufficient to deter members of Boards of Guardians from the unfair distribution of money in their charge. Now they came to the question of the distressed Unions. It would be remembered that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne granted £20,000 to assist the poverty in six Unions in the West of Ireland—namely, Belmullet, Clifden, Galway, Swinford, Westport, and Oughterard. In these Unions at the time this was given there were 1,000 outdoor paupers, but how many were there in six weeks after the grant was given? Just 100,000. Was it not fair to ask the reason? An ex-Chairman of one of the Unions used these words in conversation—" Borrow all you can; the more you get the less you will be asked to pay." That was perfectly true. [Cries of"Name!"] No; he would not give the name for very obvious reasons; he had no doubt that hon. Gentlemen opposite knew the name perfectly well. What was said was absolutely and perfectly true. They had not yet been asked to pay, and he was perfectly certain that they never would pay if they were asked. The outdoor paupers rose in six weeks from 1,000 to 100,000. Outdoor paupers were on the list who held large acreage of land, and who had 13 to 20 head of cattle, largo numbers of sheep, and who 476 were contractors under the Union, and who, strange to say, at one time were actually Guardians themselves. In the Committee to whose proceedings he had previously referred Colonel Spaight was asked—" Have you ever known a Guardian put in an application for outdoor relief?" And his answer was that he was present at a meeting when the Chairman of the Board of Guardians was going over the numerous applications for outdoor relief. A Guardian was standing close by watching the administration of relief, and Mr. Butler, the Chairman, read out his name, and, looking up at him, said—" Surely this is not your name." The Guardian replied—" Yes it is, Sir; I want relief as much as anybody." Now, they did not want men to be voting relief for themselves out of the county rates, and until they could feel sure that that would not be done, they thought it was better to postpone the taking of the step which was proposed by the Bill before the House. He would not detain the House long, but there were other points to which he must refer. The hon. Gentleman the Member for North Dublin insinuated that evictions had been the great cause of outdoor relief. He (Colonel Waring) thought he had got a bit of evidence which would make it rather difficult to reconcile that statement with the truth. There were six Unions in the County of Kerry—he was not sufficiently acquainted with the exact boundaries to be certain that they were all within the county—they were Dingle, Cahirciveen, Kenmare, Killarney, Listowel, and Tralee. In the first three he believed that what had been admitted to be the Loyalist minority had retained a certain amount of power, but in the last three the Nationalist Party had become supreme, and what were the figures? In Killarney, in 1880, 2,107 paupers cost £1,752, or 16s. per head; in 1884, 2,867 paupers cost £3,617, or 25s. 2d. per head. In Listowel, in 1880, 258 paupers cost £65, or 5s. per head; and in 1884, 2,187 paupers cost £1,638, or 15s. per head. In Tralee, in 1879, 87 outdoor paupers cost £30 17s. 11d., or 7s. per head; and in 1884, 3,484 paupers cost £2,534, or 14s. 9d. per head. While this was going on in these three Unions, what was happening in the three other Unions in the same county? In Dingle the 477 increase amounted in all between the two years mentioned to £4 8s. 4d.; in Cahirciveen to £186; and in Kenmare the diminution amounted to £20. He thought that was a sufficient refutation to the insinuation that the expenditure on pauperism in general was in any way attributable to the eviction of the tenants. Now, he objected altogether to the transference of the powers at present existing to the hands of elected representatives of Ireland, while the tyrannical power, which had been so well described by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley), whom he now saw in his place—while that tyrannical and terrifying power existed to the extent it did, he entirely objected.
MR. JOHN MORLEY
said, he was sorry he was not in the House when the hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to him some time ago. Of course, when he used those words he was using words applied to the League by its opponents.
§ COLONEL WARING
said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman ought to have been careful so to inform his audience, for such an interpretation did not appear from the extract of the speech which he possessed.
§ COLONEL WARING
said, he was perfectly satisfied, and he thought that if they were not the right hon. Gentleman's words, they wore, at any rate, perfectly true. Another objection he had was that while a very great deal of care was taken of the interests of the farmers of Ireland, who happened to be supporters of hon. Gentlemen opposite, very little regard was shown to other classes who had an equal right to the care of Local Authorities. He had a letter from a labourer complaining of the treatment labourers received under the Labourers' Cottages Act; indeed, the labourers had no confidence in the present Boards of Guardians. While the opinion of the landlords, or, if they chose to say it, the educated classes, the mercantile classes, and the labourers, who at least formed one-half of the Irish population, was against trusting gentlemen elected on the same principles as Boards of Guardians; and while the supporters of this change were to be found principally on the Benches opposite, he thought the 478 House would be wise and prudent to think twice and thrice before they gave a second reading to a Bill which struck at the root of all property, and would put property in Ireland in the power of men who had nothing to lose but everything to gain by the change.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)
said, they should not be diverted from the natural course of the discussion by the tirade of abuse which had been opened upon the local institutions of Ireland. He should not endeavour to follow the hon. Member for South Huntingdon. (Mr. Smith Barry) in his reference to either the old or the new Corporation in Dublin; but he desired to resent, on the part of the clergy of Ireland, the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Down's (Colonel Waring's) assertion that they had been opposed to the education of the people of Ireland. The clergy of Ireland had been at all times the exponents of the people's grievances, and they had at all times run great risks in order to extend the education of the people. The only educational institution to which the clergy of Ireland opposed themselves was that known as the Model Schools, and he might also add the Queen's Colleges. That system of education which reached the people, the system of national education to which the people chiefly owed their education, had had the support and supervision of the clergy of Ireland. Therefore it was an unworthy charge the hon. and gallant Member made, and one that was not borne out by the facts. The hon. and gallant Gentleman alluded to the Dublin Corporation, and endeavoured to prove mismanagement of the affairs of Dublin by referring to a contract for paving sets that was some time ago entered into by that Corporation. The hon. and gallant Gentleman endeavoured to throw a stigma upon the Corporation, because they gave the contract to the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) at a higher price than they might otherwise have got the sets. In 1885 the Corporation of Dublin advertised for tenders for the supply of paving sets and other things. The proprietors of a Welsh quarry and several other quarry owners tendered at the rate of 27s. a-ton, but the hon. Member for Cork tendered at the rate of 24s. a-ton, and a quarry owner in the North of Ireland tendered at the rate of 22s. a- 479 ton, these being the lowest tenders at the time they were accepted by the Corporation. It was only after the tenders had been accepted that the proprietors of the Welsh quarry reduced their price to 21s. 6d. a-ton, and if the Corporation had gone back on their contract they would have laid themselves open to an action for damages. What was the fact with regard to the sets from the North of Ireland? The surveyor of the Dublin Corporation had declared that the paving sets supplied from the quarry in the North of Ireland were of such specific gravity that a ton of them would not pave as much space as a ton of the sets supplied by the hon. Member for Cork; and yet the Corporation were continuing the contract with the firm in the North of Ireland, on behalf of which the hon. and gallant Gentleman made a complaint. It was not fair to introduce such matters; certainly the hon. and gallant Member should make himself better acquainted with the facts before he introduced a case which told as completely against himself. The hon. Gentleman the Member for South Huntingdon, in proposing his Amendment, complained that if this Bill were made law it would deprive the class who had had the local government of Ireland in their hands up to the present of all share in such government. The hon. Gentleman approved of the Local Government Bill for England and Wales. Did he not know that under the provisions of that Bill, which would, no doubt, be passed into law before very long, the people of his class—the landlords of this country—would have to seek, through the portals of popular suffrage, the position of local governors of their counties? Why was not the hon. Member for South Huntingdon satisfied to accept for his class in Ireland that which he approved of being extended to them in England? The hon. Gentleman wished to retain in Ireland the old system of ascendancy—the old system of ex officio governorship—under which landlords, if they had not come at all times to deliberate with the elected Guardians or Councillors in the country, had invariably turned up when a job was to be done for their friends. If the rates of the country had been increasing, it was because of the rack- renting by the class of which the hon. Member for South Huntingdon was a 480 distinguished ornament. The hon. Gentleman alluded to several Local Bodies; in particular, he referred to the Tipperary Guardians, and he pointed out that that, as well as other Unions, had been mismanaged because the system of outdoor relief had been extended, and because there was a slight increase in the amount of money expended upon outdoor relief. But the hon. Gentleman did not inform the House whether there was an increase or a decrease in the amount of indoor relief. The hon. Member knew perfectly well, as a member of the Cork Board of Guardians, that the tendency and inclination of all Boards of the kind at the present time was to extend the system of outdoor relief and to decrease the system of indoor relief. In olden times, when the ex officio Guardians did pay some attention to their duties, they made it an indispensable condition of relief that a man, or woman, or child asking for relief should enter the workhouse. That system had been abandoned, and the better and more wholesome system of outdoor relief was being extended in every Union in Ireland. What were the facts in the case of the Tipperary Union? He held in his hand a statement of figures which had been supplied to him by the Chairman of the Board of Guardians, who was a Nationalist—a man who was elected to the position in 1882, when he was in prison; a man who had filled the position with honour, and who regulated the affairs of the Board, with the assistance of a majority of Nationalists, ably and satisfactorily. He would not weary the House by going through the statement; but the figures showed that there had been a gradual reduction in the amount of rates levied in the Union. In the electoral division of Ballygariff the rate was 1s. 4d. in the pound last year; this year it was 1s. 6d.; in another division it was 1s. 2d. last year, and 1s. 2d. this year; in another division 2s. last year, and 1s. 10d. this year; in another division 3s. last year, reduced to 2s. 6d. this year; in another division 4s. last year, and 3s. 6d. this year; in another division 2s. last year, and 1s. 9d. this year; in another division 3s. 8d. last year, and 3s. 6d. this year; in another division 4s. last year, and 3s. 6d. this year. In almost every case the Poor Law rate charged upon the rateable value of the district has been reduced, and received, owing to 481 the good management of this Nationalist Board of Guardians that had met with the abuse of the hon. Member for South Huntingdon. But he had a more general class of statistics, which he could read with advantage to the House, and which would disprove the assertion made by the hon. Member who proposed the Amendment. In 1882 the number of persons who received indoor relief was 2,659. In the same year there were 3,841 who received outdoor relief. The cost of the indoor relief was £5,193, and that of outdoor relief £4,315. The rate for that year was ls. 8¼d. in the pound. What were the figures last year? In 1882 the present chairman had not been chairman long, and it was not altogether a Nationalist Board of Guardians. In 1887 the number of people who received indoor relief was 3,762, an increase from 2,659; 3,023 received outdoor relief. The cost of the indoor relief was £4,842, and of the outdoor relief £4,276. The rate levied upon the district amounted to ls. 7¼d. in the pound, or a reduction of ld. from what it was in 1882. They saw, notwithstanding the charge of the hon. Member for South Huntingdon, that though there had been an increase in the number of the people relieved, there had been a decrease in the amount of money expended upon their relief, and that while there had been an increase in the number of people receiving indoor relief, there had been a large decrease in the number of those who received outdoor relief. The hon. Member also attacked the Tipperary Town Commissioners. The hon. Gentleman was the landlord of almost the whole of the town of Tipperary, and would he dare to say that the respectable shopkeepers of Tipperary had not the capacity to govern that town in a prosperous fashion? There was no man who had better reason to know the capacity of the Tipperary people to conduct their business in a satisfactory manner than the hon. Member who had abused them to-day. They had improved their property at their own expense. The hon. Gentleman had laid restrictions upon the concession of laud to those shopkeepers; but notwithstanding those restrictions and notwithstanding the excessive rents which the hon. Gentleman demanded from them, they had increased their business to such an extent that 482 they were the most prosperous people in the South of Ireland, and their local government was conducted on the most intelligent lines; but because they passed a resolution condemning the right hon. Gentleman the Chief secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) the hon. Gentleman condemned them, and would not give them credit for the abilities they displayed in the furtherance of their own business, on the improvement of his property, and on the punctual payment of the large rents which he took out of their pockets. But they did not need to rely upon the landlords of Ireland or upon the landlords' representatives in the House of Commons for a good character for the Irish people in regard to their capacity for Local Government. There was a gentleman in Ireland upon whom they all had to depend from time to time for those valuable statistics which were used sometimes with such dishonesty by those who opposed the cause of Ireland. Dr. Hancock said the inhabitants of Ireland had shown the greatest aptitude for Local Government in their administration of local taxation. Dr. Hancock was an official of the Government itself, but he was forced by a contemplation and examination of the subject extending over many years to bear this testimony to the capacity of the people of Ireland. The Poor Law system had been in operation in Ireland for 30 or 40 years. There were some 276 Unions in Ireland. Had it ever been known that an Irish Poor Law Union had been crushed out of existence by the Local Government Board because of its mismanagement? If Unions were at present in arrear it was only because the state of the country had gone from bad to worse. It could be seen from the statistics that they had reduced their expenditure. It could be seen that they had cut their cloth according to their measure. It could be seen that while more people had been relieved the cost of the relief had been less. Undoubtedly Unions were in arrear at their bankers. Why was that the case? Because the collectors of the poor rate came back day after day, weary and footsore, and told their employers, the Poor Law Guardians, they could not get the rates, that the people were being pressed for their rents, that tire people were being evicted wholesale. And, then, the hon. Member (Mr. Smith Barry) 483 who was the cause of these evictions, who, in conjunction with the rest of his class, endeavoured to impoverish the people by taking rack-rents out of their pockets, came here and blamed the administration of the Poor Law when they were in arrear at their bankers. He would not pretend to follow the hon. Member further. His Bill had been called for by the state of the country. This Bill and a great many Bills like it had been proposed in the House of Commons by their predecessors. The subject of Local Government had been reported on by Royal Commissions and Select Committees over and over again and all to no purpose. There had been no fruit. They had cried out for a reform of the system, and a few years ago they were promised reform and promised upon the very highest authority. In the Queen's Speech in 1881 the following words occur—A measure will be submitted to you for the establishment of County Government in Ireland founded upon representative principles, and framed with the double aim of confirming popular control over expenditure and of supplying a yet more serious want of extending the formation of habits of local self-government.That promise remained unfilled up to the present moment. He did not blame those who made that promise; but successive Governments since that time had held out the hope to the people of Ireland that they would be treated on an equality with the people of England and Wales. He did not see the least sign of it at the present time. The people had complained that the system as it existed in the past had been productive of large and serious injury to the Government of Ireland. They had complained of the whole system of Local Government in the country. In the first place, the Grand Juries were selected by the Sheriff, who was appointed by the Castle, and these Grand Juries associated with them for some of the purposes of local government what were called associated ratepayers. But they were brought together in the most hap-hazard and slipshod fashion. First and foremost those who collected the County cess in Ireland had to supply the Sheriff with the names of 100 of the largest ratepayers in the district. Of these the Grand Juries selected about a dozen, and these were the men who were supposed to represent the ratepayers. The people of Ireland were very naturally indignant 484 with this state of things. They were discontented at it, and they would be dissatisfied until these associated ratepayers were elected, and elected by all parts of the barony upon some popular suffrage. Under the present system only the largest ratepayers were selected, and of course the poorer parts of every barony were unrepresented. The people who wanted the greatest improvement had no persons to urge their claims. He had alluded to the Commissions and Select Committees that had sat from time to time upon this subject. They had recommended on the occasions that they had reported to the House, that the associated ratepayers should be elected for the purpose of administering the taxes imposed upon the people and for the purpose of county government should be elected upon some popular suffrage, and he and his hon. Friends brought forward this Bill believing that it supplied a long felt want. He believed that the operation of the Bill would be beneficial to the people, and give them confidence in the laws of which they were themselves the administrators; he believed that if they had the power to dispense the taxes they would be quite willing to be taxed for the public good.
§ SIR CHARLES LEWIS (Antrim, N.)
said, he desired to be brief, because he knew that many hon. Members wished to speak, and therefore he would only state some of his principal objections to the Bill. He had three principal objections to offer to the Bill. In the first place. as regards the electoral body proposed by the Bill, it was not drawn upon right lines; secondly, even if it were rightly drawn, it was clearly not brought forward at the right time; and lastly, there was important evidence before the House to prove that a measure so framed and a body so constituted was not likely to lead to good results. The first point was very essential, especially in connection with the principle that Ireland should be put upon the same footing as England with regard to legislation, and particularly with regard to legislation connected with the franchise. What was the position of the matter? On comparing this Bill with the English Local Government Bill, it would be seen that different franchises were proposed in the two Bills for the election of County Councils. The Parliamentary 485 franchise was taken on the basis of the present Bill, whereas in the Government Bill for England the franchise depended upon the payment of rates. Therefore, the two proposals were not analogous. Under this Bill, Clause 5 provided that the qualification, of voters was to be framed by a transference of the Parliamentary qualification, which was entirely independent of the payment of rates by the elector. Bearing in mind, there fore, that in Ireland a large proportion of the rates was paid by the landlords, and a large proportion of property was not rated at all, he was entitled to say, that whilst the Government Bill would confer the franchise upon English ratepayers, the present Bill would confer it upon Irish non-ratepayers. Was the House disposed to agree to that part of the Bill irrespective of all other considerations? Was the House prepared to say that whilst the payment of rates was required as a qualification in England, it should not be required in Ireland? Surely that was a startling proposal to place before the House. He repeated that the franchise conferred by this Bill would constitute a constituent body, a large proportion of whom would not pay rates.
§ MR. CLANCY
said, there was a property vote for landlords. They proposed to give it to them, and the hon. and learned Gentleman objected.
§ SIR CHARLES LEWIS
said, he was referring to Clause 5, which conferred upon many thousands who were neither owners nor ratepayers the franchise for the election of County Councils. But that was only one sample of the unjust and inexpedient character of the measure. Passing to his second point, he maintained that the Bill was not brought forward at the right time. Times and seasons were always regarded as important by sensible men. In justification of his contention he would quote the declaration of the hon. Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy) that a state of war now prevailed in society in Ireland. If that was a correct representation of the state of the country, was it a fit time to propose to entirely revolutionize the country and municipal management of affairs, the effect of the revolu- 486 tion being to place the power for all purposes at the control of those who paid nothing and suffered nothing by the expenditure of the county with which they were connected. But at the present time a grave question was being disputed in the House and all over the country as to what was to be the relation of Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom, whether it was to be a federal relation, a subjugated relation, or whether it should have a delegated or even an independent Parliament. Of course, that question was not now before the House, and there was no hon. Member, whatever his feelings on the subject might be, or whether the views he entertained were extreme, moderate, or doubtful, but recognized the seriousness of the controversy. At a time when this question was in solution and in doubt, was it proper that men's minds should be disturbed by the consideration of a Bill in which that question was to a great extent forestalled, and in which new relations were drawn up regarding the municipal functions and action of the people in Ireland? At the present time excitement and passion were easily raised on Irish questions, as was shown by Tuesday evening's Debate, and that was not a time for a satisfactory solution of such a question. No doubt they would be told "You always say that it is not the right time." His answer to that observation was that legislation had been going for ward pretty fast during the last few years—[An Irish MEMBER: On the wrong lines.]—He thought that even the most extreme or Radical Member could not by any possibility complain of the slowness of their legislation. But it seemed almost impossible for hon. Members opposite to leave that legislation when passed alone for a few weeks or months. He repeated, therefore, that amid the excited feelings and passion exhibited the previous night in dealing with the Irish question, it was by no means the right time in which hon. Members should be called upon to settle a new local constitution for Ireland. Therefore, he did not think that the objection about time was an unfair objection, and he was sure that whatever might be thought in the House people would think a great deal of it outside. His last objection was that the measure was not likely to lead to good results. In other words it could 487 not and would not work. They had not in Ireland the same elements in society, high or low, capable of working a Bill of this kind as were to be found in England. In the first place, they had religious bigotry. Religious lines divided parties in Ireland in such a way as was unknown in England, and would interfere with the new machinery in the same way as it interfered with the old. His next objection was—who were going to be members of the new Councils? Were they going to introduce a number of angels who would settle down upon the country from a superior state of being to work this Act quite distinct from the class of persons who had been working similar Acts in Ireland during the past half-century? The Bill proposed to upset the Boards of Guardians, but like stage ghosts, the Guardians would go out of one door only to return by another. Would they re-appear or not? Would they sink to the level of the ordinary ratepayer? Would they not rather re-appear as Councillors under the new Bill? Indeed, gentlemen who now give orders for supplies which they executed themselves were not in the least likely to disappear from the sphere of municipal government. He was sorry to have to refer to things that were by no means complimentary to many Boards of Guardians in Ireland. What was the financial condition of many of the Unions of the Smith and West? Why, a condition of overdrawn banking accounts, of dishonoured cheques, of resolutions passed bullying bankers because they would not advance any more money, and of generally dishonouring the transactions in which the Guardians had been engaged. He did not say that was so universally, but it was quite common. The City of Limerick had been allowed—to the disgrace of every Government that had been in power during the last six or seven years—to set to the Municipal Bodies of Ireland the example that if they repudiated their legal obligations they would succeed in evading them. Over and over again there was brought before the House the case of the City of Limerick, which owed the Government some hundreds of pounds for a charge depending on an Act of Parliament, and which Parliament itself had assessed. [An hon. MEMBER: It was a fine.] In no sense was it a fine; it was a contribution towards the expenditure on the 488 police—settled by Act of Parliament—in a matter in which that City alone was interested. It was resisted, and the Government, he thought, of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) obtained in a Court of Law a judgment for the whole amount; and since that time no Government had ever ventured to enforce that obligation. The way in which they had been allowed to evade and resist the payment was disgraceful to each successive Government. If a Municipal Body was thus allowed to coolly repudiate and escape from their obligations, what were they to expect from the Councils to be constructed under this Bill with that example before them? There were plenty of examples in Ireland of the kind of Bodies which these now Councils were likely to be. In 1886, the then Chief Secretary for Ireland came down to the House and represented that a number of Unions in Galway and Mayo were in such a deplorable condition as regarded the means of providing relief to the paupers of the district that it was necessary to interfere in a way never known before in the history of Poor Law administration, and to make a special grant to be spent for the relief of distress under the control of the Boards of Guardians; £20,000 was accordingly voted by the House for that purpose in that small district; and how was that money used? A Report of a Commission of Inquiry laid on the Table last year was full of pregnant matter showing the financial danger of trusting Bodies such as now existed and such as would be created under this Bill without the most careful provisions to prevent fraud and irregularities of every description. This Report was most instructive reading, and he earnestly recommended hon. Members to peruse it carefully. For example, in Westport Union, County Mayo, no fewer than 1,824 persons were relieved in one electoral Division out of a population of 1,947. Was that a class of persons whom they were going to invest with the franchise for the election of a County Council? Those scandals must have arisen through the gross misconduct of the Guardians; and they occurred not in one Union or district, but in several. In one case the number of persons relieved was actually more than the entire population of the district. 489 Among the instances mentioned in the Report as illustrating how the grant was spent in outdoor relief were those of two publicans and a man who sold 13 bullocks at a fair—all three of whom received relief. Many other men, owning many head of cattle and sheep, were also recipients of relief. The list of recipients of money also included colliery contractors and workers, a constabulary pensioner, a man who held 1,075 acres of land; and enjoying £60 a-year; many men who owned a dozen or more cattle; Pat Joyce, the well-known gombeen man; a man who received 34s. per week wages; and a cattle jobber who had money in the Ulster Bank.
§ SIR CHARLES LEWIS
said, he was unable to say, but he believed the Chairman had one vote. If any hon. Member could show him that the Chairman of the Board had been guilty of these iniquities, he would bind him up in the bundle and burn him with the rest of the Guardians. Again, in one case a medical man, under a Board of Guardians, as medical relief, actually ordered a sewing machine. He asked the House seriously to consider whether this was the class of people which ought to be enfranchised for the purpose of making rates, seeing that so many of them paid no rates. Anyhow, the instances he had cited showed the kind of men who were now acting on Boards of Guardians, and the kind of people, also, who would. be placed in authority by the present Bill. A system of local government which might do for England would not do for Ireland, because the circumstances of the two peoples were very different. Speaking on behalf of a large majority of a population of 60,000, nearly all of whom were engaged in agriculture, he assured the House that they would infinitely prefer that Parliament should cut them off, and let them take their chance in the mêlée that would ensue than hand them over to such a system as that, the iniquity of which would be that the vast majority who paid nothing would rule, and the small minority who paid almost everything would suffer.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
The particular 490 remarks of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Sir Charles Lewis) appear to be either irrelevant, or are in the nature of a direct condemnation of the Bill. The general remarks of the hon. Gentleman were directed to a distinct proof that the people of Ireland were totally unfitted for an extension of local government. He has referred to their habits and methods of dealing with pecuniary transactions, and their unfitness for the discharge of such business; and, in fact, he has shown that, if he is right, those who formed the present Parliament, and who, nearly without exception, promised a liberal extension of local government to Ireland, were either absolutely ignorant on the subject on which they spoke, and absolutely incompetent to deal with it, or else that they practised on the electorate of this country a deliberate imposture. Look at the hon. Gentleman's particular observations. He referred to the Corporation of Limerick, and his remarks were totally irrelevant to the Bill. The Corporation of Limerick is in no way touched by the Bill. The hon. Gentleman is very indignant, not only with the Corporation of Limerick, but with all the Governments which have failed to enforce upon the Corporation what was undoubtedly a legal obligation, not, however, a legal obligation arising in the shape of a voluntary contract between two parties which they had refused to fulfil, but a legal obligation which was imposed upon them by Parliament. The Corporation did what we very much regretted, and undoubtedly it would have been our duty, as it would have been the duty of succeeding Governments, to make a levy upon the goods of the Corporation for the purpose of liquidating the debt, if we had thought that on public grounds it was expedient or prudent to do so. The opinion which we formed to the contrary effect was shared by our Successors, and the Corporation of Limerick remained masters of the field. The Irish nation, so far as I know, whether before or after the Legislative Union, might be open to the charge which the hon. Gentleman has just made against them of extravagance in the expenditure of money. But this I must say, that, so far as I have been able to trace the matter, they have never been open to the opposite charge of being parsi- 491 monious in payments where they ought to be paid. The Corporation of Limerick refused to pay the sum by way of trying the principle that was involved. The hon. Gentleman says that they had no legal right to do so. They certainly had not; but is that a thing totally unknown on this side of the Channel? What were the censures bestowed upon the Nonconformists of this country who refused to pay Church rates? I do not recollect any censures, but they were greatly glorified for their refusal. I am not going into the matter to justify or to condemn the refusal, but the act was deliberately done to try a public principle, and it had the effect of greatly accelerating the settlement of a great question in a manner which has been eminently beneficial to this country. The Society of Friends subsisted from the first upon the principle and upon the practice of refusing to fulfil certain legal obligations on the ground of conscience; but it is quite true that they never resisted a levy upon their goods. I never had the smallest idea, nor had ray Colleagues, that the Corporation of Limerick intended to resist a levy upon their goods. My impression and belief always was that they would have submitted to a levy upon their goods without resistance. But the question was, What would have been the effect upon the public feeling and upon the general condition of Ireland? The case is exactly parallel in principle with what has been done on this side of the water, but as to the present Bill it has no relevancy whatever. The hon. Gentleman has referred to the case of the Westport Union, and I agree that it is a very instructive case. It showed the dreadfully demoralizing effect of the grant of public money. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman himself objected to the grant of public money when it was before the House.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I am making no charge against the hon. Gentleman. It so happens that, upon the occasion I refer to, one hon. Member did object to this rather immoral grant, and I believe he objected to it in detail. That was the hon. Member who now represents Last Mayo (Mr. John Dillon). What happened? The Board of Guardians, 492 as the hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Lewis) says, totally misconducted themselves, and he is quite right in saying that they bestowed a great deal of money in a manner that was not justifiable. That being so, one naturally inquires who were the Board of Guardians? Were they all elected men? No; a number of them were ex officio Guardians, and the part which they took in respect of this outrageous abuse was that they either concurred in it or they slunk from their duty and left others to abuse the money. Look at the extraordinary position in which the hon. Member places himself and us. Because a Board of Guardians, constituted and elected as it is, has abused its trust by a wanton waste of public money, therefore the hon. Gentleman exhorts us, on that account, to refuse a second reading to a Bill which would abolish that Board of Guardians, and would substitute for it another elective body upon conditions which we should have by-and-bye to consider. Surely, a more extraordinary argument I never heard. This is a question in which I must recognize that there are some difficulties, and having to balance and to choose between difficulties, I intend to vote for the Bill. In the first place, I am convinced, with regard to Ireland, if we are to do Ireland justice, the proper mode of infusing a just and prudent public spirit into the transaction of all public business is to commence not with local, but with central institutions. I do not wish now to detain the House on a matter I know there is not a disposition favourably to entertain, but it is my difficulty that I am compelled to approach these subjects in the order which I believe to be not recommended by public expediency. I go further, and say that, apart from the priority of central institutions, there ought to be a basis, in the sense of public responsibility, for the transaction of Irish affairs. If we are to establish County Government and County Councils in Ireland, we cannot expect that improved local government will produce its good effects in full until that greater operation has been performed which will provide a central point for all Irish institutions. There are clauses in the Bill for which, as they stand, I am not prepared to vote; but the question with which we are now concerned is whether we will abolish some governments in 493 Ireland which are not elective and provide elected governments in some cases where they have not been provided. There is much force in the objections which have been taken to the manner in which rates are paid in Ireland, and to the particular provisions as they stand in this Bill with respect to the levying and the paying of rates. I quite agree with that, and other important details would have to be carefully considered and amended in Committee. But I have now to consider what is the general position of Members of Parliament with respect to Local Government in Ireland. I have to consider that in 1881 a reform of local government in Ireland by local institutions was promised in the Speech from the Throne. When that promise was made, the amount of agrarian crime had reached about four times what it now is; and if imperfect social organization and disorder in Ireland be a reason for withholding Local Government from it, I can only say those who made that promise, of whom, speaking for myself, I was one, and occupied a prominent position, were extremely wrong, and those who received that promise without objecting to it—and there were no objections from any quarter—although they were not wrong in the same degree, unquestionably failed in their duty, if there was this glaring unfitness and fundamental incapacity in Ireland to discharge the duties and functions of Local Government. But that promise has been repeated from year to year and from time to time in every imaginable shape. I do not know that it has been repeated in Queen's Speeches; but it has only been omitted before 1886, because the urgency of other questions prevented it being repeated. If I come down to the General Election of 1886, when the pledge undoubtedly existed in full force, my Party did not promise Local Government to Ireland, because they promised something which exceeded and included Local Government. We promised them a Body which could have itself been capable of considering and bestowing Local Government. It is true that the majority of the English constituencies did not approve of the proposal; but what were the professions of those who came to Parliament to represent that majority. They objected throughout the Election, on high Imperial grounds, to the policy with which I have been associated; but they also in- 494 dignantly repudiated, as a cruel and unwarranted imputation upon them, the idea that they intended to withhold better Local Government from Ireland. I have here a long list of names of Members of this House who were returned laden with pledges which no steps have been taken to fulfil; and during the last two years many similar declarations have been made. That list includes Messrs. Anstruther, Shaw Stewart, Baird, Hozier, and Sir Herbert Maxwell. Has anything been done to redeem that mass of promises? Is the state of Ireland to be pleaded for refusing to fulfil them? Three years ago we know the state of Ireland was so good that a Tory Government thought it totally unnecessary to propose a continuance of coercive laws, and, although they have proposed and passed coercive laws since, we know from the Chief Secretary and others that the effect of that has been to produce a great and solid, though not absolutely contented, people, and in improving the condition of Ireland. Where, then, is the reason for exempting Ireland from the extension of Local Government which you are now giving to England. It is in those circumstances that the measure for Ireland is brought forward. The Government have not thought fit to do anything in redemption of the pledges they gave to the majority who elected them. Had there been a Government measure before us or promised, I would have set aside this Bill, but the Government have given us no such promise. The Government cannot plead that the state of Ireland is worse than it was at the time of the General Election, but they declare that until Ireland foregoes her national aspirations, and is content to withdraw her claim for a central Government for Irish purposes in Dublin, no Local Government Bill shall be presented by this Government. I think it is indisputable that any man in these circumstances who, on this occasion, refuses to say, "I support the second reading of this Bill," becomes by implication a party to that declaration. Hon. Members opposite speak as if the Irish people were under a curse of nature and had been improperly invested with the civil franchise. I cannot afford to renounce even this opportunity, though a narrow and partial one, of asserting, by voting for the second reading, the principle that Irishmen are competent, like others, 495 for the discharge of civil duties, and that if the present Parliament is, unhappily, unwilling to entertain the proposal to give them civil privilege in the larger and broader form in which they ask us, yet the minor boon at least we ought not to refuse, but ought to manifest our disposition to go some way, so far as our consciences permit, and our oaths bound us in fulfilling the pledges behind1 us, and to go forwards in satisfying the just demands and expectations of Ireland for an extension of her Local Government.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
I should not have interposed in this debate at this stage, and it is doubtful if I would have taken part in it, if I did not think that I ought to make some observations in reply to the speech which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) has just addressed to us. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman naturally divides itself into two parts of very unequal importance and of very unequal length. The smaller and more insignificant part was devoted to discussing the merits of the Bill and its probable effect in Ireland. The second and larger part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was devoted to an elaborate survey of the pledges made by himself and his opponents since 1881. That is a question to which I shall have to refer later, but if I might give a short summary and abstract of the right hon. Gentleman's argument under this head, I should put it in this way—" In 1881 I came into Office with an overwhelming majority and a united Party. In that year I promised local self-government to Ireland. I remained in Office in 1881, in 1882, in 1883, in 1884, and a large part of 1885. During that period the Irish Members brought forward, as they have done this afternoon, a Local Government Bill, and that Bill I caused my subordinates to reject. The Bill was accordingly thrown out. While I was in Office with that overwhelming majority I refused to give this measure of justice to Ireland, but now that my opponents are in Office, and I have the pleasure of criticizing, but not the responsibility of initiating, legislation, I think that every man who has ever given a pledge upon this subject ought to vote for the second reading of this Bill." The right hon. Gentleman has given his 496 own interpretation of the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friend the Member for South Huntingdon (Mr. Smith Barry), and this was his translation of that Amendment—" Until Ireland foregoes her claim to separate self-government, local self-government is never to be given to her." That is not the interpretation which I put upon the Amendment. The theories of those who hold what are called Home Rule convictions are political theories, and I, for one, will never be a party to refusing to Ireland any reform of her local institutions because people in Ireland hold one or other of two sets of political convictions, and I will show why I think it would be unfortunate to grant local reform at the present time. Different circumstances and different behaviour are essential before local self-government can be proposed with hope of success in that country, and the reasons which are against it cannot be described as political at all. It is curious that while there have been many speeches made upon this Bill, only one speech has dealt with the measure as it has been brought before us. The other speeches dealt with the general question of Local Government, and I am bound to say that I regard this Bill as an illustration of an extremely evil practice which is creeping into and gowing in this House. A private Member's Bill is now too often not a measure for carrying out a specific object, but an elaborate means of bringing forward an abstract Resolution. The House is asked Wednesday after Wednesday to vote for Bills that bristle with absurdities, that show that their framers never trouble themselves to become acquainted even with the elements of their measure. The Bill now under observation is a bad measure, badly drawn, one which bristles with absurdities, and will not bear a moment's examination, and shows that its authors have not made themselves acquainted with the problem with which they pretend to deal. That being the case, it is very difficult indeed to deal with its provisions. But it is not necessary to go at any length into the proposals of this Bill. Let me point out that there are several strange omissions, for which the draftsman of the Bill is responsible. He intends, for example, that the smaller unit for this local self-government shall be the Union, and that the larger unit shall 497 be the county, but it never appears to have occurred to this gentleman that 60 out of 160 Unions in Ireland are in more than one county, and that some are in more than two counties, and there is no proposal for dividing the Unions, and no machinery for the arrangement of the difficulties that would arise in connection with the workhouses and other matters. Then the hon. and learned Member proposes, for the purposes of presentment, to abolish the barony, and that the duties of the barony shall be transferred to the Union, but there is no provision in the Bill for dealing with the debt of the barony. The baronies are often largely indebted, some of them owing money to the State, and some of them money in other quarters, and yet, as the Bill is constructed, there is no proposal for dealing with this important matter. So much for the drafting of the Bill. I now come to deal with a large question, and that is the question of the franchise which is proposed. The Bill attempts for the first time to make the franchise for local purposes a franchise having no reference whatever to the payment of rates and taxes. The franchise proposed by this Bill is not a rating franchise, but a Parliamentary franchise. There are large districts in Ireland where the majority of the occupiers are absolutely absolved from any form of taxation for any local purposes whatever. They do not, like compound householders in England, even pay rates indirectly; they are absolutely divorced from all responsibility in connection with local financial matters, and yet it is to these people the Bill proposes to hand over without reservation the government of the district, and to have financial control over the affairs of the different localities. Such is the measure which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian is prepared to vote for on the second reading. Much of this debate has turned naturally upon the actual working of local institutions in Ireland. Unless we take a critical survey of the actual effects of such local self-government as has been already permitted, we cannot estimate the probable results of its extension. The right hon. Gentleman opposite attacked my hon. Friend who spoke last on this side of the House, because he quoted instances of great abuse by the Guardians. The right hon. 498 Gentleman then said, "Those Guardians are partly ex officio Guardians, and if the Guardians misbehave themselves, you cannot do better than to replace them." Will this argument bear a moment's examination and criticism? Does not everybody who has studied this question know that Local Government in Ireland is bad exactly in proportion as the ex officio element is thrust out of the work of it?—[Cries of "No." "The other way."]—The Grand Jury system is an absolutely indefensible system in theory, but it is a pure and economical system, and it was declared to be so in the Report of the Committee presided over by the O'Connor Don. Can anyone say that the Boards of Guardians, when the elected members have full control over their affairs, present a picture either of economy or of purity? [An hon. MEMBER: Yes.] Well, there are certainly facts of some importance which I could give the House upon the point, but I may briefly state that since 1871 the system of giving outdoor relief has about doubled in Ireland. An hon. Member who spoke in this debate advocated the extension of outdoor relief because it was the best system. Is there any hon. Member who will contend that this is a proper policy to pursue in regard to outdoor relief?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Member said that the better system was the expelling, and that indoor relief was the worse. I say it is better, and the fact that outdoor relief has doubled is a very serious thing. Now I am in a position to give some formidable facts in regard to this increase in the granting of outdoor relief. But perhaps you will say that poverty is largely increasing in Ireland, and that it is to its increase that the increase of outdoor relief is due. Well, I find that in the period to which I am referring the savings bank deposits have increased fourfold. Outdoor relief has doubled itself within the same period, while the deposits have increased to that extent. The true interpretation of this phenomenon is that since 1881 the management of Poor Law affairs has been going from the ex officio members, and that there has been a gradual deterioration in con- 499 sequence in the administration of poor relief throughout the country. But, said the right hon. Gentleman, the ex officio Guardians have slunk away from their duties. I do not deny that there is some truth in that accusation. I do not deny that they would have done well, not merely in the interests of the locality, but in their own interests, if, in spite of all obstacles thrown in their way, they had thought it their duty to remain at their post and regularly attend the meetings of the Boards of Guardians. But it must not be supposed that ex officio Guardians who do attend have a particularly pleasant time of it, or that the decency and order at such meetings are such as to encourage the attendance of anyone who is not absolutely obliged to go. I was amused at reading some time ago a newspaper report of a scene at a meeting of the Ballinasloe Board of Guardians last year. There was a free fight in this respectable body. Some dispute arose as to the signing of the minutes; the Chairman refused to sign them, and it ended in the chair being taken from under the Chairman, and general uproar, only quelled by the arrival of a sergeant of police and three constables, who came to restore law and order. That is a specimen of the manner in which local self-government is conducted in Ireland. But that is not the only case of the kind which has occurred at the same Board of Guardians. I read in The Freeman's Journal only a few days ago of another fight, in which a Mr. Reilly and a Mr. Gardner and a Mr. Bowler were concerned. Mr. Dillon and other Guardians took part in what was described as a regular riot; the Chairman was knocked under the table, and a head constable and seven men were called in to restore order. At the same Board of Guardians' meeting in the year 1881 it required only one sergeant and three police-constables to restore law and order in the Board room; but in 1888, to effect the same result, a head constable and seven constables had become necessary. It must be admitted than an ex officio Guardian who slinks away from a scene of that kind shows, at any rate, discretion, though he may show cowardice, and he ought not to be visited with condemnation of too unmitigated a character. I do not quarrel with the fact that those Boards of 500 Guardians spend much time in passing strong, though not always grammatically worded, resolutions against me. That is a very innocent occupation, but it unhappily occupies time that might be devoted to more serious business. The consequence of mismanagement is that some Boards of Guardians are bankrupt and many of them are on the verge of bankruptcy. The business is managed in the most scandalous manner. My complaint, however, does not stop here. We all have reason to regret in England that politics enter into the composition of our Local Authorities. I have always thought that most undesirable; but the political Party organization is now so deeply ingrained that it cannot, I fear, be eradicated. But Party politics in England are very different to what they are in Ireland, and the means resorted to in order to obtain a majority are also very different. In Ireland in connection with all local affairs intimidation of every kind prevails. [An hon. MEMBER: On the part of the landlords.] Is there any hon. Member who supposes that there is any landlord in Ireland who has the power to intimidate the feeblest of human beings? The organization and intimidation of the National League are brought to bear, and I can quote a case in which a man was shot at in order to compel him to vote for the candidate of the National Party in local elections. [Cries of "No!"] Is that statement denied? [Cries of "Yes1"] Then I feel bound to give one case in support of the statement I have made. On March 28th last, two shots were fired through the door of a man named James M'Grath, in the County Kerry, and into the house of another man who lived quite near. Both of these men stated that they could assign no reason for the outrage save that they voted for a certain candidate at an election for Poor Law Guardians.
§ MR. EDWARD HARRINGTON (Kerry, W.)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the bullets found in those houses corresponded with the bullets used by the Constabulary, and does he know the local newspapers have demanded an inquiry into the statement the right hon. Gentleman has just made?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Of course there has been an investigation into the 501 whole case. These are some of the election arts which prevail at this moment over a not inconsiderable part of the country to which the right hon. Gentleman opposite is desirous instantly to give local self-government. There are other cases of intimidation. Boycotting is resorted to, and the pressure of the National League is exerted in order to secure a majority on these Boards of Guardians. Can there be any doubt that if additional powers were granted to these Boards the same illegitimate means would be used? I do not propose to enter into the cases of distressed Unions, which have been fully dealt with by my hon. Friend behind me. It is clear that they are instances of the grossest abuse of the ratepayers' money. If this was done in the green tree, what would be done in the dry? The case of the New Ross Guardians is also a very instructive one. Does the House remember what occurred? A landlord in the neighbourhood of New Ross had a difficulty with his agricultural tenants. The National League thought that his difficulties would be augmented if the tenants of his house property joined hands with the agricultural tenants.
§ MR. EDWARD HARRINGTON
Will you allow me to explain? The dispute was first of all with the house tenants.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The unfortunate house tenants were dragged in, though they had nothing to do with the original quarrel. They combined not to pay their rents, and they were in due course evicted. They went to the workhouse. A number of the Guardians, in absolute contravention of all the rules of the Local Government Board and of all sound principles of Poor Law relief, established a special ward of honour, in which these evicted tenants were lodged. They violated every rule of the Local Government Board, and treated with exceptional indulgence those who, in obedience to the National League, had refused to pay their rents. I hope the House will consider the moral of this. So long as the present state of things exists, what happened at New Ross would, if this Bill were passed, happen all over the country. I hope that this example will make the House pause before assenting to the view that in this particular Session, or at this 502 particular period, a measure of local self-government ought to be given to Ireland. There is another set of circumstances which the House ought to keep in view. There was a special power given by the Labourers' Cottages Act to Boards of Guardians to provide labourers' cottages out of the rates, and in many cases the landlords have only been protected by the action of the Privy Council from having this power used by the Boards of Guardians for no other purpose than the direct oppression of individuals. Powers given by this House for a benevolent purpose were so twisted that they have been used as an instrument of torture and oppression to individuals who brought upon themselves the wrath of the National League. With a fact like that staring you in the face—and hon. Members opposite cannot deny its truth—with what safety can you hand over new and unlimited powers even to a worse electorate than that which now exists for the election of Boards of Guardians in Ireland? There is one observation which I should like to make at this period. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian talked in an airy manner of the Government bringing in a Bill on this subject. Does he suppose that the Government could possibly promise that they would bring in such a Bill this Session? Is not the supposition absolutely grotesque? We are pledged to pass a Local Government Bill for England. It is an enormous measure, and the House may be said to have hardly touched it as yet; at all events, it has not made an impression upon it, and it is impossible to say when it will. When we have dealt with that measure—omitting all other subjects—we shall have to deal with Local Government for Scotland. That is a much less thorny question and not at all so formidable as the question of Local Government for England; yet it will be a very formidable task, and will lead to very prolonged debate in this House. How, then, would it be possible for the Government to bring in a Local Government Bill for Ireland, if they were ever so anxious to do so, and how can you ask them to pledge themselves to the raw and ill-considered proposals laid on the Table by the hon. and learned Gentleman? I do not pretend to say that I am opposed to a mea- 503 sure of Local Government for Ireland solely from the impossibility of finding time for it. I will pass no such fraud upon the House. I will only say that at this moment such a Bill would be inopportune. We in this House are not, surely, going to sink to the level of those speculative politicians who are satisfied if they can obtain some similarity of institutions without considering whether the Government of the country would be improved or not thereby. We are not going to devote ourselves to the introduction of machinery without considering what results that machinery would produce. And this brings me to a point which was largely pressed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. He truly said that the desire of almost all the Gentlemen on his side of the House and of many on this side, as expressed at the last Election, was to put England and Ireland on an equality of legislative institutions. That desire, I am sure, existed in 1886, at the time of the Election. I have no reason to believe that it is in any way diminished at the present moment. I believe the desire which existed then exists now, and that everybody wishes that Ireland and England should be put upon a footing of absolute equality with regard to legislative enactments. But what is equality? Equality of treatment implies similarity of conditions. If you apply the same nutriment or medicine to different kinds of patients you will not get equality; you may do good or harm, but you will not get equality; and unquestionably there was not a single man who gave a pledge or expressed a desire for equal institutions in both countries who did not do so subject to the condition that similar institutions would produce similar results. Is there a man on that side who would say that he was prepared to vote for local institutions in England because they would do good, and for local institutions in Ireland because they would do harm? I think I have shown the House sufficient grounds for believing that that necessary similarity of conditions does not at this moment, at all events, exist. But if additional proof were required, I would appeal to the speech made earlier in the afternoon by the hon. Member for North Dublin. That hon. Gentleman made a long, and, I think, very violent speech, a great part of which had very little reference 504 to the question. But he made one observation which, I think, most relevant; it was made when the right hon. Gentleman was not in the House. That observation was—" A state of warfare now prevails in Ireland, and every weapon is fair which can be used in that warfare."
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman said, at all events, that a state of warfare exists in Ireland. If the hon. Gentleman contradicts me I will withdraw. He does not deny the latter part of the remark. Does the House think that a country in which a state of social warfare exists is one in which you ought to desire to make this gigantic social change? But I am not left to the unsupported testimony of the hon. Member for North Dublin. Will the House allow me to read a very short extract from United Ireland of March 31 this year? This is the quotation—Coercion or no coercion, we will struggle with equal fierceness for Home Rule. We would unscrupulously use every position we can capture, board room or town hall, as a Home Rule fortress, and drive the enemy unsparingly off the ground. Let that be understood. The greatness and strength of the movement master all minor considerations.The minor considerations, I suppose, of common honesty and common fairness. We have thus from an undoubted authority a full, explicit, and perfectly lucid statement of the exact purpose for which local self-government is sought by hon. Gentlemen opposite. Local self-government is sought in England in order that the people of England may administer with more efficiency their local affairs; local self-government is sought in Ireland in order that the Nationalist Party may unscrupulously use every position they can capture, whether the Board room or the Town Hall, to secure Home Rule. Can there be similarity, can there be equality, between the condition of a country such as the Nationalists wish to make Ireland, and the condition in which England is at the present moment? Is it not plain that they are seeking, not the improvement of local self-government, not an enlarged franchise for the better management of local affairs, but an instrument by which they may carry out a political and social revolution, the magnitude of which is not to be measured by the 505 mere use of the words Home Rule? I hope I have explained to the House clearly the reasons which, in my opinion, make it at this moment inexpedient to carry out the reforms, not merely those suggested by the hon. and learned Gentleman, but similar reforms in the Local Government of Ireland as in England. But I am not one of those who think that the present condition of things need necessarily be of very long continuance. I do not believe that any society can long continue in the state of social warfare which now prevails in Ireland. I look forward not merely with hope but with something like confidence to the restoration of law and order and peace in Ireland. I look forward to a time when it shall not be the first object of the local politicians to carry out a system of oppression against unpopular landlords, or against those whom they are pleased to describe as the "national enemy." When that time comes—and I do not see why it should be long delayed—I shall be one of the first to aid, so far as I can, in carrying out that equality which we all desire to see, but which, as I have said, can only be carried out when there is some equality of conditions, and when it can be carried out with advantage to everybody in every direction. But I do ask and entreat this House not to give its sanction to a Bill to promote what is called a reform by hon. Gentlemen opposite—a reform which is not going to be used for purely local purposes, but for carrying out a social warfare of which those who are supporting the Bill pride themselves on being the champions.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL (Paddington, S.)
In all the now not inconsiderable number of years during which I have been in this House, I have never found myself placed in so difficult a position as I find myself placed at the present moment. The question of Local Government in Ireland is by no means a novelty. Parties have taken up different attitudes upon this question after long deliberation and much discussion, and the respective attitudes of those Parties cannot, I think, be lightly changed. I observed in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down a strong tendency to a course of opinion and policy which would not in my mind, if carried out, practically be at all in 506 accordance with the attitude taken up upon Local Government in Ireland by what I believe is the vast majority of the Unionist Party. The Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) must be aware, although he was not in the Cabinet at the time I am going to speak of, that at the very critical, the very anxious, and the very difficult moment at which Lord Salisbury's Government succeeded to power, they had within a comparatively brief period to decide upon what policy they would announce to Parliament as representing mainly the Tory Party, and to a great extent the whole of the Unionist Party, with regard to this question of Local Government in Ireland. All the circumstances upon which the Chief Secretary has enlarged this afternoon, or, at any rate, circumstances of a very similar character showing all the defects which exist at the present moment in popular institutions in Ireland, and showing all the dangers that might be anticipated from the extension of popular institutions or the establishment of new ones, were before the Government of Lord Salisbury at the time when they had to take a decision—a most momentous decision—with reference to this question. It has been supposed—and this supposition I have never before noticed, although it has been rather widely alluded to in the Press—that in the declaration which it was my duty to make at that Table in August, 1886, I was stating that which was much more my own opinion than the opinion of Her Majesty's Government. Sir, I think it right to say that that was not so in any degree whatever. The declaration which I made at that Table at that time was, as far as it related to Ireland, a written declaration. Every sentence of it—I might almost go as far as to say every word of it—represented the opinions of the Government, and had been submitted to and assented to by the Prime Minister himself, and by the Chief Secretary for Ireland of that day. Moro than that, that declaration I made with regard to Ireland, I recollect it as well as if I had made it yesterday, I made without one dissentient voice and without one dissentient murmur being raised among the hon. Gentlemen who belonged to the Tory Party. More than that, I was given to understand, in the plainest way, that the declaration of the Government thus 507 made received the full and entire approval of the Leaders of the Unionist Party. Why am I anxious to dwell upon these matters? Well, it is because on this point, which I fear is likely to raise some difference of opinion before long, if it does not now, the idea of the Government at that time was that Local Government in Ireland, a certain just extension within reasonable limits, was to be looked upon as a remedy for all these great evils which have been alluded to by the Chief Secretary. I venture to say this, that if those who are on this side of the House will carry back their minds to the terrible struggle we had all to take part in and to fight in 1886—one in which I may, without egotism, claim to have borne no inconsiderable part—there is not a single Member of the Unionist Party who would under the stress of that struggle have stood up upon an English platform and taken up the line on the extension of Local Government in Ireland which has been assumed this afternoon by speakers representing the Unionist Party. I feel certain that there are none—["Oh, oh!"]—well, there may be a few. It fell to my lot to have to watch very closely the course of that Election and the attitude taken up by Members of the Tory Party at the time, and I do recollect that the pledges given by the Unionist Party were large and liberal, and were distinct and full, and that there was no reservation with regard to those pledges, with respect to all the defects pointed out this afternoon in the Irish character and Irish unfitness for Local Government. Nothing of the kind. We pledged ourselves that we would at the very earliest opportunity extend to Ireland the same amount of local liberty which we might give to England. I venture to say—and I do not care how much I am contradicted, or what the consequences may be—that that was the foundation of the Unionist Party; and I venture to say more—that that is the only platform on which you can resist Repeal. If you are going to the English people, relying merely upon the strength of your special executive powers—if you are going to preach to the English people that the Irish must for an indefinite time be looked upon as an inferior community—that they are in every respect unfit for the privileges which the English people themselves enjoy—then 508 I tell you that you may retain that position for a time, but only for a time, and that the time will probably be a short one. I do not know whether I am justified in asserting that the Chief Secretary, in representing the policy of the Government on the Bill, wishes the House and the public to understand that the question of Local Government in Ireland is to be only dealt with when, in the opinion of the Government, the state of the country will be so tranquil or so orderly as to justify it. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, that may be cheered; but that was not your position. The question here is, whether we are to understand that, in the event of Parliament settling the great principles of Local Government for England this year, they will be prepared next year, so far as circumstances will permit, to extend similar privileges to Ireland? The words I used in representing the Government at that Table were, that in approaching this momentous question of Local Government, we should do so with similarity, equality, and simultaneity, as far as the respective circumstances of the two countries would permit. The time has gone by altogether, and I will be content no longer to bear solely the responsibility of those words, in which I represented the policy of the Government, and I do not think that there would be a bonâ fide carrying out of the policy I then announced if Ireland is not to have Local Government until the state of order in that country is satisfactory to the Executive Government. The history of the question of Irish Local Government is somewhat interesting and remarkable; but we on this side of the House, who pride ourselves on being a progressive Party, must take care that we do not expose ourselves to a well-sustained indictment of reaction. I do not know whether the House will remember that the Tory Party have already dealt, or attempted to deal with, Local Government in Ireland. You must go back a great many years—I do not know whether that attempt is within the knowledge of the Chief Secretary or of any of his Colleagues, but it happens to be within my knowledge, because I have for many years closely followed the course of Irish affairs. But, is the Chief Secretary aware that, at a period of Irish history when the state of the country 509 was in no respect better than it is now, the Tory Government proposed a Bill for the County Government of Ireland, and is he aware that, among its main provisions, it provided for the abolition of Grand Juries, and for the establishment of a representative Council, and that there was only this difference between that Bill and the Bill proposed to-day—that, under this Bill, the barony is to elect three representatives, under the former Bill the ratepayers were to elect two representatives and the Justices one? Who was the person who introduced that Bill into the House of Commons? It was that pure Representative of unbending Toryism, the Right Hon. James Lowther—[laughter]—without any exception I think and speak of the right hon. Gentleman with the highest respect as representing, in a special degree, the ne plus ultra of un- adulterated Toryism. What I want to put to the House is this—what will be our position if, having in the year 1879, when the Tory Government was very differently situated to what it is now, proposed a Bill for the County Government of Ireland, we now, with a majority at our backs, decline to give to Ireland local privileges which we are willing to give to England, until we are satisfied that those local privileges will not be abused, and are equally satisfied that the state of the country is perfectly tranquil? It would have been impossible for me, having taken the line I have taken in the country, in this House, and in the position which I had the honour to occupy—it would have been impossible for me, consistently with common honesty, if I had sat still and allowed it to be supposed that I personally associated myself with the views which seem to have been expressed by the Chief Secretary and by certain Irish Members on this side of the House today. It often happens that I am asked to go down into the country to address audiences, and when I go down I never lose an opportunity of telling the people to the best of my ability that it is the intention of the Tory Party—the Unionist Party—to legislate largely and liberally for the removal of Irish grievances. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes; but I claim a specific interpretation of that point. I look for a bonâ fide and a prompt interpretation, and though hon. Members do not 510 in the least object to my winning applause at great mass meetings in the country, there seems to be a considerable difference when I carry these opinions to a practical conclusion before this House. At any rate, I have made my speech. I have declined to sit quietly under what I believe to be not only a departure from the original policy of the Government, but what is also, I think, a ruinous line to follow. If you give to the Irish the same liberties which you give to the English, and if you tell them that after you have settled the English principle, you will give to them the same or similar privileges, you will do much to mitigate the ill-feeling that has been introduced in recent years, and you will do much to wile away from the ranks of the right hon. Gentleman opposite many who are now following him because they despair, and not unreasonably despair, of getting from a Government on this side of the House the legislation which they desire. It is very well now for you to say you think that a General Election is far off, that your position is still a very strong one, and that nothing can hurt it. You may persist in an attitude which is a negation to Ireland of what are her rights; but the day will come when you will have to argue the question again before the English people, when you will have to point to the fact that the promises you made with regard to Local Government in Ireland have not been redeemed. [Cries of "No, no!"] Obviously, if the Election comes next year, you would have to point that out; and nobody can tell when the Election may come. At any rate, you defeated the policy of Repeal which was advocated by the right hon. Gentleman opposite; but you defeated it only because the nation believed you would not withhold from Ireland, for one day longer than Parliamentary possiblity allowed, the same liberty which you claim for your own people. I shall certainly not vote for the Bill; but, viewing the interpretation which has been placed by the Chief Secretary on the Amendment, I cannot conscientiously consent to vote for the Amendment. Therefore, I shall be obliged to follow the most unpleasant course of taking no part in the Division; but I wish the taking and those outside the House who may look upon me as at all responsible for Irish policy, to know 511 that I adhere in their integrity, their fulness, and their distinctness to the pledges which I made at that Table as representing the Government of the Queen and the Unionist policy—that a large and liberal measure of Local Government would be meted out to Ireland without undue delay.
§ MR. JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
The time will only permit me to address one or two words to the House, and I wish to do so with reference to the important and useful contribution to the discussion that has just been made by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill). It has been a very important contribution, as all hon. Members will admit, and I think that it has also been a most useful contribution, for it seems to me to act as a corrective to some speeches which were delivered earlier in the debate, and which were too much of the non possumus order. I do not think that, in view of the pledges which have been given by hon. Members sitting in all parts of the House, we can adopt at this day the proposition that nothing whatever is to be done, or done within a reasonable period, to extend Local Government in Ireland. There are two issues at present before the House. The first is whether we shall accept the Bill which is before the House, and to which we are asked to give a second reading. As to that I have no hesitation. I shall vote against it with a light heart, and, unlike the noble Lord opposite, I shall have no hesitation in killing it by voting for the Amendment. I shall do so on two grounds—first, because the Bill is a bad Bill, and cannot possibly be worked; and, secondly, because it is absurd to suppose that in the same Session in which you deal with English Local Government you can also deal with Irish Local Government. No Government which ever contemplated dealing with either of these subjects thought that it would be possible to deal with them both in the same Session. But I should not vote against the Bill comfortably if I believed that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) was intended to declare as the policy of the Government the indefinite postponement of the consideration of this question. [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: Hear, hear!] 512 The right hon. Gentleman said the subject was, and must be, postponed for the moment, and he laid stress upon the words "for the moment." I can only say that it is in that sense that I vote against this Bill. If we are to deal with this debate as raising the abstract question whether or not Local Government in Ireland is a subject for urgent and prompt consideration by the Government, then undoubtedly I am in favour of the affirmative of that proposition. But my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) told the House that although he was going to vote for the Bill it was only on the balance of considerations and arguments. He told us that a wrong order would be pursued if Local Government in the sense of municipal government were dealt with before the question of the central self-government of Ireland was considered. For not perhaps exactly the same reasons, but certainly because I think that this is not a subject to which priority should be given, I should be sorry to pledge the Government to deal with this matter even of necessity in the next Session of Parliament. There is another Irish question of still greater importance in my mind than either central or local self-government, and that is the Land Question. Is it considered by some hon. Gentlemen opposite impossible safely to extend municipal government at the present time, in consequence of the aggravated state of the agrarian question? It has been pointed out that the Irish Local Authorities may job. That is not a sufficient objection. If they like to job, provided that they do so with their own money, I do not see why we should interfere with them. But the difficulty is that in the present state of affairs in Ireland the persons who direct these Irish Boards would be able to job with other persons' money and to confiscate other persons' property. But if there were established something like an identity of interests and equality of responsibility, such as would be established if you were able to carry through any great scheme of land purchase to transfer tenants into owners, then this objection would disappear, and the time would come to give Local Government to Ireland. I only rose in order to make clear my own position, and to assure the House that in voting against this Bill I 513 certainly do not understand that I am voting for the indefinite postponement of this question.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
I only wish to say one word upon a remark which fell from my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain). He was, I think, extremely and naturally anxious to vindicate the vote which he is about to give. My right hon. Friend said he interpreted the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) as meaning that Local Government would be taken in hand by the Government at the first moment. My right hon. Friend would be justified possibly in taking that declaration in the sense which he has, if we did not remember a declaration made not many nights ago by the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith). I hope my right hon. Friend will read the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary in the light of the declaration made by the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, which is neither more nor less than an indefinite postponement of the question; because the right hon. Gentleman put the dots upon the is of that declaration by another declaration which he made at some banquet or gathering, where he said—and it was a most remarkable announcement—I am not ashamed to say that I will not be a party to any measure which will make the National League supreme in the District Councils in every county in Ireland.The right hon. Gentleman does not repudiate that statement. If the right hon. Gentleman stands to that declaration, as I have no doubt he will, then the declaration made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is, in spite of the interpretation of my right hon. Friend, nothing more nor less than an indefinite postponement of the question.
THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I am distinctly challenged by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley). I say again, most distinctly, that the course which I advocated is a course absolutely consistent with the statement of my right hon. Friend. There is no engagement which 514 I and the Government entered into from which we retire to the extent of a single tittle. With regard to the circumstances to which my noble Friend the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) referred, and which he may interpret somewhat differently, they will render it justifiable for any responsible Government to extend institutions to Ireland—
§ Question, "That the Question be now put," put accordingly, and agreed to.
§ Question accordingly put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 195; Noes 282: Majority 87.518
|Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.||Conway, M.|
|Conybeare, C. A. V.|
|Allison, R. A.||Corbet, W. J.|
|Anderson, C. H.||Cossham, H.|
|Asher, A.||Craig, J.|
|Asquith, H. H.||Cremer, W. R.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. J. B.||Crilly, D.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Deasy, J.|
|Ballantine, W. H. W.||Duff, R. W.|
|Barbour, W. B.||Ellis, J.|
|Barclay, J. W.||Ellis, T. E.|
|Barran, J.||Esslemont, P.|
|Biggar, J. G.||Farquharson, Dr. R.|
|Bolton, J. C.||Fenwick, C.|
|Bolton, T. D.||Ferguson,R.C.Munro-|
|Bradlaugh, C.||Finucane, J.|
|Bright, Jacob||Firth, J. F. B.|
|Broadhurst, H.||Flower, C.|
|Brown, A. L.||Flynn, J. C.|
|Bruce, hon. R. P.||Foley, P. J.|
|Bryce, J.||Foljambe, C. G. S.|
|Buchanan, T. R.||Forster, Sir C.|
|Burt, T.||Foster, Sir W. B.|
|Buxton, S. C.||Fowler, rt. hon. H. H.|
|Byrne, G. M.||Fox, Dr. J. F.|
|Cameron, J. M.||Fry, T.|
|Campbell, Sir G.||Gardner, H. H.|
|Campbell, H.||Gaskell, C. G. Milnes-|
|Campbell-Bannerman, right hon. H.||Gill, T. P.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.|
|Causton, R. K.||Gladstone, H. J.|
|Cavan, Earl of||Gourley, E. T.|
|Channing, F. A.||Grey, Sir E.|
|Clancy, J. J.||Gully, W. C.|
|Cobb, H. P.||Harrington, E.|
|Coleridge, hon. B.||Harrington, T. C.|
|Commins, A.||Harris, M.|
|Condon, T. J.||Hayden, L. P.|
|Hayne C. Seale-||Pease, A. E.|
|Holden, I.||Pickard, B.|
|Hoyle, I.||Pickersgill, E. H.|
|Hunter, W. A.||Picton, J. A.|
|Jacoby, J. A.||Playfair, right hon. Sir L.|
|James, hon. W. H.|
|Joicey, J.||Plowden, Sir W. C.|
|Jordan, J.||Portman, hon. E. B.|
|Kay-Shuttleworth, rt. hon. Sir U. J.||Powell, W. R. H.|
|Power, P. J.|
|Kennedy, E. J.||Power, R.|
|Kenny, C. S.||Price, T. P.|
|Kenny, J. E.||Priestley, B.|
|Kilbride, D.||Provand, A. D.|
|Labouchere, H.||Quinn, T.|
|Lalor, R.||Randell, D.|
|Lane, W. J.||Redmond, W. H. K.|
|Lawson, Sir W.||Reed, Sir E. J.|
|Lawson, H. L. W.||Reid, R. T.|
|Leahy, J.||Reynolds, W. J.|
|Leake, R.||Roberts, J.|
|Lewis, T. P.||Roberts, J. B.|
|Lockwood, F.||Robinson, T.|
|Lyell, L.||Roe, T.|
|Macdonald, W. A.||Roscoe, Sir H. E.|
|MacInnes, M.||Rowlands, J.|
|M'Arthur, W. A.||Rowlands, W. B.|
|M'Cartan, M.||Rowntree, J.|
|M'Carthy, J.||Russell, Sir C.|
|M'Carthy, J. H.||Schwann, C. E.|
|M'Donald, P.||Sheehan, J. D.|
|M'Donald, Dr. R.||Sheil, E.|
|M'Ewan, W.||Simon, Sir J.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||Slagg, J.|
|M'Lagan, P.||Smith, S.|
|M'Laren, W. S. B.||Stack, J.|
|Mahony, P.||Stanhope, hon. P. J.|
|Maitland, W. F.||Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.|
|Mappin, Sir F. T.||Stevenson, F. S.|
|Marjoribanks, rt. hon. E.||Stuart, J.|
|Mayne, T.||Summers, W.|
|Menzies, R. S.||Swinburne, Sir J.|
|Montagu, S.||Tanner, C. K.|
|Morgan, rt. hn. G. O.||Trevelyan, right hon. Sir. G. O.|
|Morgan, O. V.|
|Morley, right hon. J.||Tuite, J.|
|Morley, A.||Vivian, Sir H. H.|
|Mundella, rt. hn. A. J.||Waddy, S. D.|
|Murphy, W. M.||Wallace, R.|
|Neville, R.||Wardle, H.|
|Newnes, G.||Warmington, C. M.|
|Nolan, Colonel J. P.||Watkin, Sir E. W.|
|Nolan, J.||Wayman, T.|
|O'Brien, J. F. X.||Will, J. S.|
|O'Brien, P. J.||Williamson, S.|
|O'Connor, A.||Wilson, I.|
|O'Connor, J.||Winterbotham, A. B.|
|O'Connor, T. P.||Woodall, W.|
|O'Doherty, J. E.||Woodhead, J.|
|Palmer, Sir C. M.||Carew, J. L.|
|Parnell, C. S.||Illingworth, A.|
|Paulton, J. M.|
|Agg-Gardner, J. T.||Baden-Powell, Sir G. S.|
|Ainslie, W. G.|
|Aird, J.||Bailey, Sir J. R.|
|Allsopp, hon. P.||Baird, J. G. A.|
|Amherst, W. A. T.||Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Banes, Major G. E.|
|Baring, T. C.||Duncan, Colonel F.|
|Barnes, A.||Duncombe, A.|
|Barry, A. H. S.||Dyke, rt. hn. Sir W.H.|
|Bartley, G. C. T.||Ebrington, Viscount|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Edwards-Moss, T. C.|
|Bates, Sir E.||Egerton, hon. A. J. F.|
|Baumann, A. A.||Egerton, hon. A. de T.|
|Bazley-White, J.||Elcho, Lord|
|Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks-||Elliot, hon. H. F. H.|
|Elliot, G. W.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Ellis, Sir J. W.|
|Beadel, W. J.||Elton, C. I.|
|Beaumont, H. F.||Ewart, Sir W.|
|Beckett, W.||Ewing, Sir A. O.|
|Bective, Earl of||Eyre, Colonel H.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. C.||Farquharson, H. R.|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Feilden, Lieut.-Gen. R. J.|
|Bentinck, W. G. C.|
|Beresford, Lord C. W. De la Poer||Fergusson, right hon. Sir J.|
|Bethell, Commander G. R.||Fielden, T.|
|Finch, G. H.|
|Bigwood, J.||Finlay, R. B.|
|Birkbeck, Sir E.||Fisher, W. H.|
|Blundell, Col. H. B. H.||Fitzgerald, R. U. P.|
|Bond, G. H.||Fletcher, Sir H.|
|Bonsor, H. C. O.||Folkestone, right hon. Viscount|
|Boord, T. W.|
|Borthwick, Sir A.||Forwood, A. B.|
|Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C.||Fowler, Sir R. N.|
|Gardner, R. Richardson-|
|Bristowe, T. L.|
|Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.||Gathorne-Hardy, hon. A. E.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B.||Gathorne-Hardy, hon. J. S.|
|Burghley, Lord||Gedge, S.|
|Campbell, Sir A.||Giles, A.|
|Campbell, J. A.||Gilliat, J. S.|
|Carmarthen, Marq. of||Godson, A. F.|
|Cavendish, Lord E.||Goldsmid, Sir J.|
|Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.||Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T.|
|Chaplin, right hon. H.|
|Charrington, S.||Gorst, Sir J. E.|
|Clarke, Sir E. G.||Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Cochrane-Baillie, hon. C. W. A. N.||Granby, Marquess of|
|Gray, C. W.|
|Coddington, W.||Green, Sir E.|
|Coghill, D. H.||Grimston, Viscount|
|Collings, J.||Gunter, Colonel R.|
|Colomb, Capt. J. C. R.||Hall, A. W.|
|Compton, F.||Hall, C.|
|Cooke, C. W. R.||Halsey, T. F.|
|Corbett, J.||Hambro, Col C. J. T.|
|Corry, Sir J. P.||Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.|
|Cross, H. S.|
|Grossman, Gen. Sir W.||Hamilton, Lord C. J.|
|Cubitt, right hon. G.||Hamilton, Col. C. E.|
|Curzon, hon. G. N.||Hamley,Gen. Sir E. B.|
|Dalrymple, Sir C.||Hankey, F. A.|
|Darling, C. J.||Hardcastle, E.|
|Davenport, H. T||Hardcastle, F.|
|Davenport, W. B.||Hartington, Marq. of|
|Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P.||Hastings, G. W.|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir H. M.|
|De Cobain, E. S. W.|
|De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P.||Heath, A. R.|
|De Worms, Baron H.||Heaton, J. H.|
|Dimsdale, Baron R.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Dixon, G.||Hervey, Lord F.|
|Donkin, R. S.||Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.|
|Dorington, Sir J. E.|
|Dugdale, J. S.||Hill, Colonel E. S.|
|Hill, A. S.||Mulholland, H. L.|
|Hoare, E. B.||Muntz, P. A.|
|Hoare, S.||Murdoch, C. T.|
|Hobhouse, H.||Norris, E. S.|
|Holloway, G.||Northcote, hon. Sir H. S.|
|Hornby, W. H.|
|Howard, J.||Norton, R.|
|Howorth, H. H.||O'Neill, hon. R. T.|
|Hubbard, hon. E.||Paget, Sir R. H.|
|Hughes, Colonel E.||Parker, hon. F.|
|Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C.||Pearce, Sir W.|
|Pelly, Sir L.|
|Hunt, F. S.||Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.|
|Hunter, Sir G.||Powell, F. S.|
|Isaacson, F. W.||Price, Captain G. E.|
|Jackson, W. L.||Puleston, Sir J. H.|
|James, rt. hon. Sir H.||Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.|
|Jarvis, A. W.||Rankin, J.|
|Johnston, W.||Rasch, Major F. C.|
|Kelly, J. R.||Reed, H. B.|
|Kennaway, Sir J. H.||Richardson, T.|
|Kenrick, W.||Ritchie. rt. hon. C. T.|
|Kenyon, hon. G. T.||Robertson, Sir W. T.|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.||Robertson, J. P. B.|
|Rollit, Sir A. K.|
|Kerans, F. H.||Ross, A. H.|
|Kimber, H.||Rothschild, Baron F. J. de|
|King, H. S.|
|Knatchbull-Hugessen, H. T.||Royden, T. B.|
|Russell, Sir G.|
|Knightley, Sir R.||Salt, T.|
|Knowles, L.||Saunderson, Col. E. J.|
|Lafone, A.||Sellar, A. C.|
|Laurie, Colonel R. P.||Selwin-Ibbetson, rt. hon. Sir H. J.|
|Lawrance, J. C.|
|Lawrence, Sir J. J. T.||Seton-Karr, H.|
|Lawrence, W. F.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H.|
|Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.||Sidebotham, J. W.|
|Lees, E.||Sidebottom, T. H.|
|Legh, T. W.||Sidebottom, W.|
|Leighton, S.||Smith, rt. hon. W. H.|
|Lethbridge, Sir R.||Smith, A.|
|Lewis, Sir C. E.||Spencer, J. E.|
|Lewisham, right hon. Viscount||Stanhope, rt. hon. E.|
|Stanley, E. J.|
|Long, W. H.||Stewart, M. J.|
|Low, M.||Stokes, G. G.|
|Lowther, hon. W.||Sutherland, T.|
|Lowther, J. W.||Swetenham, E.|
|Lymington, Viscount||Talbot, J. G.|
|Macartney, W. G. E.||Taylor, F.|
|Mackintosh, C. F.||Temple, Sir R.|
|Maclean, F. W.||Theobald, J.|
|Maclean, J. M.||Thorburn, W.|
|Maclure, J. W.||Tollemache, H. J.|
|Madden, D. H.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Makins, Colonel W. T.||Townsend, F.|
|Malcolm, Col. J. W.||Trotter, Col. H. J.|
|Maple, J. B.||Tyler, Sir H. W.|
|Marriott, rt. hn. W. T.||Vernon, hon. G. R.|
|Matthews, rt. hn. H.||Vincent, Col. C. E. H.|
|Maxwell, Sir H. E.||Waring, Colonel T.|
|Mayne, Admiral R. C.||Watson, J.|
|Mildmay, F. B.||Webster, Sir R. E.|
|Mills, hon. C. W.||Webster, R. G.|
|Milvain, T.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|More, R. J.||Wharton, J. L.|
|Morrison, W.||Whitley, E.|
|Moss, R.||Whitmore, C. A.|
|Mount, W. G.||Wiggin, H.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R.||Williams, A. J.|
|Williams, J. Powell-|
|Mowbray, R. G. C.||Wilson, Sir S.|
|Wodehouse, E. R.||Wroughton, P.|
|Wortley, C. B. Stuart-||Douglas, A. Akers-|
|Wright, H. S.||Walrond, Col. W. H.|
§ Words added,
§ Main Question, as amended, put.
§ Resolved, That this House, while prepared at the proper time to take into consideration any well-matured scheme for reform of Local Government in Ireland, is of opinion that at present it is not expedient to introduce large constitutional changes in that Country.
§ House adjourned at ten minutes before Six o'clock.