§ Considered in Committee
§ (In the Committee.)
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That it is expedient to make regulations for the office of Under Secretary and of Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland."—(Mr. Arthur Balfour.)
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said, he had been very much surprised indeed to see this subject on the Paper, because, after the discussion which took place a few nights ago, he had felt, and other hon. Members had felt, that the Government would first have dealt with a matter of u more urgent character—that, namely, which related to allowances to divisional magistrates in Ireland. The Government had admitted, that they were bound to make every possible exertion, consistently with the progress of Public Business, to push forward a measure on that subject; and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had said that, if there was time, such a Bill would be passed. There was time at that moment to proceed with the Bill; but the measure was not forthcoming, and in its place they had the present highly contentious and obnoxious proposal. There were unanswerable arguments in favour of postponing the consideration of this Motion and pressing forward more urgent Business. They knew, on the personal authority of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Ireland (Colonel King-Harman), that he was proud of serving his country without any salary 1710 at all. Only the other day the right hon. and gallant Gentleman stated that he was proud to work for 14 hours a-day without receiving a shilling for his labour. The proposal was of an eminently contentious character; and whilst the Gladstonians, the Irish Nationalists, and the Liberal Unionists were all hostile to it, not a single non-official Member of the Tory Party had spoken in support of it, and there had been no strong expression of opinion from any Member of the Government, except the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, in its favour. Was it not absurd that the time of the House should be wasted in the discussion of a Bill which had not received the support of a single Irish Member on either side of the House? Under the circumstances of the case, the Government were bound either to withdraw the Bill or to keep it back until they were in a position to show the Committee that it had some measure of support from some class of people in Ireland. It was said that an Under Secretary was needed to perform certain Parliamentary duties, and that he would be expected also to discharge certain extra-Parliamentary duties. These extra-Parliamentary duties were never mentioned until the other day. Until the other day it was supposed that the Parliamentary Under Secretary was simply a Question-answering machine; and if it took him 18 hours a-day, as it seemed to do, to prepare for answering Questions, it was difficult to see how he was to find time for the performance of other duties. But it would be well that the Committee should know what case the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland could make out in favour of the contention that his duties were of so absorbing a character that he could not reply to Questions put in the House. There was no Irish Business going on now, and, according to the right hon. Gentleman's own account—although he (Mr. Dillon) did not believe that account to be true—Ireland had been reduced to a state of absolute peace and quiet. There really seemed never to have been an Irish Secretary who had less to do than had the right hon. Gentleman at the present time. He protested against the claim of the Government that fresh Offices, with salaries of £1,000 a-year attached to them, could be created in that House 1711 without any real excuse. It seemed that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Parliamentary Under Secretary (Colonel King-Harman) was to be placed at the head of the Local Government Board in Ireland—in point of fact, that he was to be the Local Government Board himself. This made the appointment all the more objectionable, because that Board had been condemned by everybody who had ever looked into the question. It had been condemned by all of them who belonged to the National Party, and it was not possible to get a single Irish Liberal Unionist to defend it. It was two years ago since the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) stood up in his place as Chancellor of the Exchequer and deprecated all further criticism on the point, on the ground of the express pledge which had been given on behalf of the Government that the Board would be swept away on the earliest possible opportunity. That was the past history of the Irish Local Government Board. It stood condemned in the mind of every intelligent man who had studied its working. Well, it was now proposed to place at the head of this Board—which enjoyed anything but the confidence of the public—the man who, above public men in Ireland, enjoyed the smallest share of the confidence of the Irish people. He (Mr. Dillon), on behalf of the people of Ireland, protested against the right hon. and gallant Gentleman being imported into the Irish Local Government Board, which was bad enough at present without such an acquisition. It was composed of men who were incompetent, and men who were shipped over into that country in order that berths might be found for them; but, bad as it was, and intensely as the Irish people disliked it, public feeling against it would be immensely intensified if they were to have at the head of it the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet. He (Mr. Dillon) maintained that if they wished to increase the unpopularity of this system of Boards in Ireland they could not possibly hit upon a better method than by placing the right hon. and gallant Gentleman at the head of this Board. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman was not only unfitted for the post by intense unpopularity in Ireland and for the reasons already explained, 1712 but he was unfitted for it for another reason. What training had he had in the administration of local government in Ireland? None; and yet he was to be put at the head of a complicated system of local government in Ireland, a system to which there was no analogy whatever in England. They were to put at the head of such a Board a man who, as far as was known to the Irish people, had absolutely no knowledge whatever of the administration of a Public Office. At this advanced period of his life the right hon. and gallant Gentleman wished to undertake the duties of this important Public Office, and to administer a large part of the affairs of Ireland without the smallest degree of experience, or without there being any reason in the public mind for supposing he was fit to do work of the kind. Everyone in Ireland, whether Unionist or Nationalist or Tory or Liberal, would condemn the whole thing as a disgraceful job. He (Mr. Dillon) called on the Government to ask such a Member as the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson), for instance, to stand up in his place and state his approval of the appointment which they were making. He thought the hon. and gallant Member was bound, as representing a certain section of the people of Ireland, to commit himself to this scheme if he approved of it—he was bound to get up and let the people of Ireland know how he stood in this regard. Having said so much as to the views of the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Ireland, he (Mr. Dillon) now wished to say a word or two on the Resolution. The Resolution was such that it was impossible for them, from the strange way in which the business had been conducted, to divorce the consideration of this measure from the consideration of the antecedents and character of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who was to fill the post which was to be made. It was the usual custom, he understood, in transactions of this character, to bring in the measure before the person was nominated to fill the Office. The step taken in the present case had been most unusual, for the Government had first got the Gentleman appointed to the Office, and then they brought in the Bill. They appointed the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for 1713 the Isle of Thanet to a nominal—an unnecessary—Office without a salary; and, having made an appointment on that ground, they now, in another Session, introduced a Bill to enable thorn to give a salary to the person already occupying the position. That being so, the Government could not complain if the past career and the qualifications of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who already occupied the Office were discussed by the House when their Bill was brought forward. It was objected, the last time this question was before the House, that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet was a strong partizan. He (Mr. Dillon) must say that it appeared to him that the Government and the House had seriously underrated the importance of the step Her Majesty's Advisers were now taking in appointing this right hon. and gallant Gentleman Parliamentary Under Secretary to answer Irish Questions in the House, and thus to assume a responsibility which ought to devolve on the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, because if there were a hope—though he did not believe there was a hope—of carrying on the Unionist system of Government in Ireland successfully, it was to sail the ship on an even keel. That was a phrase used in a late Administration. But could the Government themselves say, in the face of Ireland and England, that they were endeavouring to sail the ship on an even keel when they put on the Front Bench, as a responsible Minister to reply to Irish Members, a man who had been a most outspoken and uproarious champion of the Orange Party, and who had recently denounced the Nationalists on many platforms, using language the very strongest which had been used by the partizans of the Orange Party? He (Mr. Dillon) had seen it stated recently that within the last 18 months the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had subscribed to some of the associations which were now struggling for the mastery in Ireland. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman would have an opportunity of denying that, if he could deny it. He had been appointed by the Orange Party as their champion and banner bearer at the time the Executive was obliged to interfere and put down meetings and agitations in which 1714 the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was one of the most prominent participants. This was the sort of man they were going to tell the people of England the Irish people were going to get equal justice from. Let him (Mr. Dillon) tell the Committee that people in England were getting too well instructed in Irish matters to swallow any such monstrous thing as that, no warned the Government that in taking the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet on board the Unionist ship they were taking in a cargo which would sink the craft before it had gone far on its journey. The Irish Members had struggled against this appointment, and would continue to do so so long as they possibly could, though, truth to tell, from the point of view of the danger to the Unionist Party, he was rejoiced at the Government having fallen into so great a blunder as to make the appointment. He should like the Government to consult the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell), and those who took that hon. Member's view of the matter, and see what they thought, from the Unionist point of view, of this appointment. He (Mr. Dillon) had pointed out that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet was a partizan. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman was a strong political partizan, as had been already shown—he was a man who, from the very nature of his position, was compelled to be a violent partizan on the questions which socially must tear asunder Irish society. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman was at this moment at war with his own tenants in Ireland, and it was only two or three months ago since a deputation of his tenants waited on one of his (Mr. Dillon's) friends in Ireland asking him to enable them to adopt the Plan of Campaign against the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. Was that the man who was to be put at the head of the Irish Local Government Board, and who was to administer justice evenly between contending parties in that country? Was an Irish landlord, and an Irish landlord who was a violent partizan, an Irish landlord whose rents had been reduced 20 per cent within the past six months, a man who was at war with his own tenants, a man who was threatened 1715 with the adoption of a combination on his estate—a combination which, whatever might be said about its legality or illegality, many Englishmen would thoroughly approve of if they went over to Ireland and examined into the circumstances of the case—was this the man to be appointed to such a post? These facts, he (Mr. Dillon) contended, were facts which ought—in the minds of any sensible Unionists who wished to carry on the government of Ireland decently and sensibly—to render the appointment of such a man as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman absolutely impossible. It was a monstrous thing to ask the taxpayers to pay £1,000 a-year in order that they might got an Orangeman to control an important part of the government of Ireland, and give unsatisfactory and misleading and monstrous answers to Questions put by the Irish Members in the House, thereby enormously increasing the difficulty of government in Ireland. He believed firmly that the curse of their government in Ireland all throughout this century had been the fact that they had allowed themselves—perhaps it was impossible to avoid it under the circumstances—to be dictated to by the very class whom the right hon. and gallant Gentleman represented. That had been the cause unvaryingly from the beginning. He could not look into the mind of the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland, and so far as he could judge he did not think very highly of the right hon. Gentleman's goodwill; but whether he was possessed with goodwill towards Ireland or not, it was the faction who were represented by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet who would ruin his Government even if they had gone to Ireland with good intentions. They had seen Minister after Minister who had been obliged to contend against the efforts of that faction—the late Mr. Forster, for instance. He (Mr. Dillon) had never said—and he challenged anyone to find anywhere in his speeches anything to the contrary—that he did not believe that Mr. Forster had gone to Ireland with the best intentions. But what was the result of the right hon. Gentleman's administration? He was seized on by the faction which was represented by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet—by 1716 the Castle and landlord faction—and in the course of a very short time even Mr. Forster, strong-willed man as he was, was made their tool. They blinded his eyes, and ultimately made him do their work. He (Mr. Dillon) did not know to what extent the right hon. Gentleman the present Irish Secretary was the willing tool or the unwilling tool of this faction; but he declared that the people of Ireland, and the more enlightened people of England, would hail this appointment as the outward sign of the process which had been the ruin of all the attempts of the British Government to rule Ireland in the past. They would take it as a sign that what Edmund Burke called the Junta in Dublin Castle had got firmly into the saddle. There sat—pointing to Front Ministerial Bench—the Representative of the Junta who had ruled since the time of Edmund Burke up to the present day. They were going to have the right and gallant Gentleman—the most unpopular man in Ireland—as their mouth piece in that House in order to insult the Representatives of the Irish people. He only desired further to say that it was perfectly true that they would object altogether to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet being mixed up with the government of Ireland on account of his Orangeism and partizanship; but they had another and a deeper objection, and if right hon. Gentlemen who were now Ministers of the Crown had any of that statesmanship which he could assure them it would take great deal to settle this question, they would at least, while denying to the people of Ireland the National rights they claimed, studiously avoid unnecessarily insulting their National sentiments and sympathies which were so deeply seated in the hearts of Irishmen. The Government of Ireland were not content with denying to the Irish people all National rights and liberties and that power to legislate which they might deem, dangerous to the Empire, but they added gratuitous injury and insult, which rankled in the minds of the Irish people. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet had not only his recent record, but he had his previous record; and they knew very well that if there was was one thing more offensive than another to the Irish people it was a turn- 1717 coat and a traitor. The Irish people could not forget that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had been one of the most vehement advocates of Home Rule or Repeal. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had stated, even in writing to the papers, that he did not care whether it was Home Rule or Repeal. When he (Mr. Dillon) was a boy he remembered going to hoar the right hon. and gallant Gentleman at certain great meetings in the Rotunda. He remembered hearing him and cheering him when he thundered out sentiments of Nationality that seemed rather in advance of his Loader, and at times he (Mr. Dillon) thought rather shocked his Leader, Writing to the Press on the 4th of June, 1870, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had said—Long before I addressed a word through your paper to the men of Ireland, long before I ventured to place myself, a young and nearly untried man, before the country as an advocate of Home Rule, I had considered not only the necessity but the possibility of obtaining for our Nation the only chance of prosperity—Irish Government in Irish affairs;and then the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had gone on to say that he agreed with a person whom he named—a person notorious for his extreme views—and went further than him in declaring that Associations of Nationalists, of advocates of Home Rule, of Repealers, call them what they would, but comprised in the phrase "lovers of our country," should join for this purpose. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had stated that what was wanted was a fusion of Catholics and Protestants, and a purer patriotism than they had. He had said that they should not only associate to promote the great object they had in view, but that each and all of them should cast aside personal ambition, and be content to work for the common weal, he, for one, having already fought, and being prepared to fight again. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman wrote—I think I have a claim upon the Nationalists of this country. If you can bring forward a better man he will have my support.He also wrote—Let none be for a Party, but all for the State;And later on, again—Let everyone who is for a free Ireland unite, for an Ireland united is an Ireland free.1718 Elsewhere the words written by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman were written for the instruction of such as himself (Mr. Dillon). He had read them when he was growing up, and they had done their part in instructing him in the path of Irish Nationality, and they were words which, if he (Mr. Dillon) were to write them in the present day, the Associations to which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman subscribed would print them and placard thorn all over the country, in the endeavour to show that he was something more than a Home Ruler. He did not know that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was as young when he wrote the words he had quoted as he (Mr. Dillon) was now, but certainly the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was not guarded in his expressions in those days. Was this the man the Irish people were now to have imposed upon them as a petty despot? The Orange Party in Ireland, who read the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's writings in days gone by, would now impose him as a potty despot upon people whom he had encouraged to go on in a course which, since he found that it on tailed self-abnegation, left them to go under the operation of the Coercion Act by themselves. He (Mr. Dillon) maintained that such a course would make the operations of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in Ireland, as the Representative of a Coercion Government, utterly and absolutely odious to the people of Ireland. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman would be called on to aid in administering in that House, and to justify the application of coercion to men whose only crime was that they followed the advice which he himself had given thorn—to men who had not turned tail, as had the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, but stood firm to their principles and utterances, and were prepared to take the consequences. He (Mr. Dillon) asked hon. Members whether it was to be expected that the people of Ireland would patiently submit to be ridden over by a turncoat Orangeman like this? He said they would not, and that by making this appointment the Government were merely pouring oil upon the fire, and that they could only expect it, as a consequence, to blaze higher and higher. He should oppose the Bill on every stage, and should point out its objectionable 1719 character to the people of England and the people of Ireland on every possible opportunity. At the same time, he made the Government a present of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. He was pleased to think that they had made what he considered a fatal blunder.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Colonel KING-HARMAN) (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
said, it was not his intention to follow the hon. Gentleman into the major part of the statement he had just made, and it was only the desire of self-preservation, or to make a personal explanation, which induced him to rise at all. The hon. Member had spoken tolerably coolly, and with a certain amount of accuracy, up to the latter part of his speech; but when he came to his (Colonel King-Harman's) connection with the Home Rule movement, he made a statement and a charge which were more important than his previous statements—he had made a suggestion which he (Colonel King-Harman) wag justified in making a very brief reply to. The hon. Member had said that he (Colonel King-Harman) had left the Home Rule Association when danger threatened its members. He threw that statement back in the hon. Gentleman's teeth with the scorn and contumely it deserved. The hon. Gentleman had said that he (Colonel King-Harman) had stuck to Home Rule when there were no Coercion Acts, but the hon. Member knew perfectly well when Coercion Acts were passed. The hon. Member said he had listened to his (Colonel King-Harman's) speeches when he professed to be an adherent to the policy of Home Rule. The hon. Member knew perfectly well that he was one of the few who had laid down money, and had sacrificed political and personal friendship in the hot days of his youth, on the altar of Home Rule, because he then believed that there was honesty among those men who were agitating for Home Rule, and that it was only when he found that there was no honesty among them that he found himself obliged to reconsider the ideas of his hot youth. It was no craven fear had made him leave the ranks of the Home Rule Party. He could honestly say that he had never gained a penny out of his adherence to Home Rule, and he had certainly never been paid a sixpence for sitting on the Benches below the 1720 Gangway opposite. The hon. Member and every man in Ireland, every honest Nationalist—aye, and every Fenian in Ireland, for there was more honourable feeling among Fenians than among those who sat below the Gangway opposite—knew what his sacrifices in the cause of Home Rule had been when he was a hot-headed young man, and that it was only when he found that it was best for his country to give up that cause that he ceased to be a Home Ruler. He had been tempted into speaking, perhaps, rather hotly in reference to this matter; but he confessed that, whatever other accusations might have been made against him. He had certainly not expected to be taunted with cowardice. He was satisfied that none of the hon. Members who sat on the Government side of the House, and that none of his countrymen in Ireland, would endorse the accusations which had been brought against him in the speech of the hon. Member.
§ MR. O'KELLY (Roscommon, N.)
said, he had been very glad to hear from the right hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel King-Harman) his confession that he had been something more than a Home Ruler. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had taken them into his confidence, and had made admissions as to facts which, without his confession, hon. Members might have had some difficulty in laying before this Assembly, for the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had accused himself of that which, if it had come from other quarters with any amount of force, might possibly have had the effect of causing him to occupy a different position than a seat on the Ministerial Bench. Personally, he (Mr. O'Kelly) had no objection to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman receiving this salary as a mere employé of the Government. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman was, unfortunately, one of his (Mr. O'Kelly's) constituents, which fact established a kind of freemasonry between them, and he certainly should not have opposed the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's receiving the salary. From his (Mr. O'Kelly's) personal point of view, he thought it very desirable that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman should receive a salary, for he was one of those Gentlemen whom they were obliged to support, and he would very much rather that the burden of supporting him should 1721 be transferred to the backs of the English ratepayers rather than that it should lie on the backs of the poor peasants of North Roscommon. But there was one aspect in which he did strongly object to the appointment of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, and to his position in connection with the Local Government Board of Ireland. As President of the Irish Local Government Board, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would have to deal, amongst other bodies, with a body in Ireland known as the Boyle Town Commissioners. Now, what had been the relations of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman with that body? For some years the Town Commissioners had had a great deal of difficulty in getting the right hon. and gallant Gentleman to pay his rates, and the whole force of the Government of Ireland had been brought into operation to protect the right hon. and gallant Gentleman from the necessity of paying his rates to the Town Council of Boyle.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
I may, perhaps, be allowed here to make a personal explanation. I have never refused to pay the Town Commissioners' rates, but there is a body in Boyle who call themselves Town Commissioners whom we do not recognize.
§ MR. O'KELLY
said, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had found it to his interest to gain over or subsidize a gentleman who was Town Clerk, and who defied the Town Commissioners of Boyle in a way which would never be permitted in any civilized society, and the whole authority of the British Government had been used to support this man in his shameful defiance of the Town Commissioners. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had supported that gentleman, who had claims upon him which went beyond those of Home Rule. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman knew what he (Mr. O'Kelly) was talking about.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
The Question before the Committee is that it is expedient to make provision with reference to the Office of Parliamentary Under Secretary for Ireland. Strictly speaking, the Question ought to be confined to the question of the expediency of making 1722 this provision, and ought not to be at all of a personal character. Considering, however, that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has de facto filled the Office hitherto, and may be considered as designated to fill it in the future, I have not thought it beyond the limits of Parliamentary discussion to allow discussion of the political antecedents of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. But I think it would be altogether an abuse of that liberty to allow it to go beyond what is described as the political antecedents of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman.
§ MR. O'KELLY
said, that he had not gone beyond the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's political antecedents, and he thought that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would admit that he had not even gone as far into his political antecedents as he could have done, because he know a great deal more about them than did the Chairman or the House. But that was not the point upon which he had been going to speak. He had passed from that point, and was simply about to deal with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's future position in relation to the Local Government Board of Ireland. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman's new position would bring him unquestionably into connection with, and give him considerable power over, the Boyle Town Commissioners, and he (Mr. O'Kelly) wished to explain to the House how it was that the exercise of that power might work evil to a few persons to whom the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was in political opposition. The Town Commission of Boyle was under the Local Government Board, and in his new position as President of the Local Government Board the right hon. and gallant Gentle man would have certain power and influence over that Town Commission. Now, he (Mr. O'Kelly) wanted—
§ THE CHAIRMAN
I entirely appreciate the line of argument which the hon. Member is pursuing, but I must rule it as quite out of Order.
§ MR. O'KELLY
said, he was sorry that that should be so, but it had struck him that he might be in Order in pointing out what use the right hon. and gallant Gentleman might make of the position for which the House was called upon to vote him a salary. But independent of that question, which, as the Chairman 1723 had ruled out of Order, he would not pursue, they had the fact that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had been connected in Irish politics not merely with the Home Rule Party, but with Gentlemen who held still stronger views than the Home Rulers. Consequently, the effect of the appointment of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would be to create in the minds of the Irish people a feeling and a conviction that the House was indifferent to the principles of the men they happened to employ, and that they were only anxious to buy men to servo them in Ireland. Now he thought that that would be a most unhappy impression to make on the minds of the people of Ireland. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had very well said that he had never been paid for any political service he had rendered, Well, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman posed as a rich man, and he (Mr. O'Kelly) saw no inconvenience in the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in that capacity as a rich man continuing in his voluntary service, as he now discharged it, without coming on the country for any payment. He (Mr. O'Kelly) was sure that the nobility of his views would be sufficient payment for the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in the future as it had been in the past. They—the Irish Nationalists—of course, could not free their minds from the reflection that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had been one of them.
§ MR. O'KELLY
Well, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had not been as respectable as most of them, but, at any rate, he was a man who had occupied a place in their ranks. He had occupied a place in their ranks in a way that a spy very often occupied a place in the ranks of an Army to which he did not belong. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had come to them pretending that he was a Nationalist, speaking the speech of Nationalism, giving voice to the sentiments of Nationality, and at the very first moment that he got an opportunity he betrayed them. Now they saw why he had betrayed them. He had been betraying them for pay. This Gentleman, who talked—
§ MR. O'KELLY
said, he was very sorry that he had felt called upon to use strong language. He was very sorry the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had betrayed the Nationalist Party, and would much rather that he had remained in the ranks to which he had allied himself. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman might still have continued to represent the county of Sligo. But there was this point to which he (Mr. O'Kelly) wished to call the attention of the English people. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman posed here as the Representative of the Unionist element in Ireland. Well, there was a certain Unionist element in Ireland which he (Mr. O'Kelly) respected—the men who honestly believed that the Union between the two countries was best preserved by that country remaining in a position of servitude and degradation. That was a stupid belief, perhaps, but still he held there were a certain number of people in Ireland stupid enough to believe that. But the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had not that excuse. He had had enlightenment; he had found salvation; he had had experience. Notwithstanding that, he had made this double turn, and had got back to the position in which the unconverted Orangeman stood. Now, one could respect the Orangemau—the man who from sheer belief was in the position in which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman stood—but he (Mr. O'Kelly) thought no one on either side of the House could have any respect for a man who, having been reared in the Orange faith, had announced himself as converted from that faith and had joined the Nationalist ranks, and had even fought in them, and had then gone back to Orangeism. He said the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had fought in the Nationalist ranks; and, as a matter of fact, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was a great cudgel man. He had broken a great number of heads in the cause of Home Rule. He thought the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had been in the Longford Election with himself.
§ Several hon. MEMBERS: He was; he was.1725
§ THE CHAIRMAN
The hon. and learned Member for North Longford must know that he is not entitled to use that language, and I must call upon him to withdraw it.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
Shall I be in Order in asking the right hon. and gallant Gentleman whether he voted for John Martin? It was open voting.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
Order, order ! No such question can be put, I have asked the hon. and learned Gentleman to withdraw the language he has used.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman says he did not vote for John Martin. I will withdraw the language I used.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
Order, order ! The hon. Member for North Roscommon (Mr. O'Kelly) made a statement which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet denied. The hon. and learned Member for North Longford has questioned the truth of that denial, and I ask him to withdraw the words he used.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
That is quite impermissible. I again call upon the hon. and learned Gentleman unequivocally to withdraw the language he used.
§ MR. O'KELLY
said, there had been a good deal of election fighting, and it was only to be expected that one would get confused as to who took part in it. He believed that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman did take part in the Longford Election in this sense—that he had subscribed to the funds.
§ MR. O'KELLY
said, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman denied it, and, of course, he would not persist in the statement, as he had no wish to accuse anyone wrongfully. There were a sufficient number of strong facts against the right hon. and gallant Gentleman without his desiring to place anything upon him which was unfair. He did 1726 say, however, that it was a very unfortunate thing for the Government of Ireland that a Gentleman who had occupied the position in Irish politics which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had occupied, and whom the Irish people had regarded as a political renegade—and in using that word he did not wish to give offence to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman—should be put into a position of power in Ireland. Renegades in all countries and at all times had been regarded as detestable creatures, and as persons not entitled to the honours of war. He was sorry to be obliged to say this of one of his own constituents, but truth compelled him to do so. From the point of view of the Irish people, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was certainly a renegade, and in that character they objected to his being put into power iii their country. Personally, he (Mr. O'Kelly) did not object to the bitterest Tory on the other side of the House being put into the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's position. He would rather see the hon. Member for Ballykilbeg, or the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson), put into the position. Of the two, he would prefer the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh. That hon. and gallant Member was a fighting man, and one might disagree with a fighting man, but, after all, one could arrange with him better; but he certainly objected, and objected strongly, and he thought all Ireland would object strongly, to the continuance in power of a right hon. and gallant Gentleman who had distinguished himself on many occasions as a most prominent and bellicose Home Ruler, and to his being put in Ireland to administer a Coercion Act. Such a thing was a disgrace to this country.
§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
said, he did not desire to detain the Committee at any length on this point, but the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) had challenged the opinion of Irish Members sitting on that (the Ministerial) side of the House—in regard to the appointment of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet. He (Mr. Macartney) regretted that the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) was not in his place to take up the challenge; but he (Mr. 1727 Macartney) knew that on this occasion he spoke the opinion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, and. not only his opinion, but that of all his hon. Friends from Ireland. They supported and approved the appointment of the right hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Thanet. They had no reason to believe that that appointment was uncongenial to their supporters, and they had had ample opportunities of ascertaining it if it had been so. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman was not now assuming the duties of his Office for the first time. As a matter of fact, he was appointed last year, and during the time he had been discharging his present Office they had, all of them, had opportunities of acquainting themselves with the opinions of their supporters; and he believed, as he said, that every one of his hon. Friends would say that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's appointment was one they agreed with. He admitted the argument of the hon. Member opposite that the Unionist Party were largely interested and very greatly concerned in the good government of Ireland; but, from that point of view, they saw no reason to object to the appointment of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. Having regard to the special duties the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would have to perform in connection with the Local Government Board of Ireland, they believed that the interests of the country would be efficiently served by the appointment. He (Mr. Macartney) only intervened in order to correct the false impression which might arise from the silence of himself and other hon. Gentlemen in the face of the accusation and complaint which had proceeded from the hon. Gentleman opposite.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
said, he was glad they had had the speech to which they had all just listened, as they knew now that the Orange Party was satisfied with the taste, tone, and manner of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. He wondered that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had not risen to answer the complaint which had been addressed to him from that (the Opposition) side of the House—that this Bill was a distinct violation of a solemn pledge made in the House by the right hon. Gentleman. On the 14th of April last the hon. Gentleman 1728 the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) put a Question with reference to the then recently created Parliamentary Under Secretary for Ireland, and after him the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) intervened with another Question. The hon. Member for West Belfast said—I wish to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether Notice of Motion No. 1, standing to-day in the name of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Colonel King-Harman) has been given by the hon. and gallant Gentleman as a Member of the Government; and, if so, under what law the Office he holds is constituted; and whether the acceptance of that Office vacates his seat?The First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) (Strand, Westminster) was about to rise—When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne said: May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman? I was going to ask him by what authority the Office of Parliamentary Secretary for Ireland is constituted; and whether he will lay on the Table of the House any document describing the nature of the duties of the new Office, and the conditions under which it is to be hold; whether it is proposed to attach any salary to the Office; and, if not, whether it is contended by Her Majesty's Government that there is a power without limit of constituting unpaid Parliamentary Offices?The Chief Secretary for Ireland said, in reply—I cannot give a full answer to the Question which involves some legal points; but I may say that there is no salary attached to the Office. The Government have taken every pains to see that the course they have adopted is legal, and they have taken the highest legal advice on the subject."—(3 Hansard  887–8.)That was to say, he had taken legal advice as to whether the appointment, if unpaid, would be a legal one, and they found that it would be legal if unpaid.
§ MR. CLANCY
The right hon. Gentleman seemed to admit that. He had given that solemn pledge in the face of the country, and had appointed the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet Under Secretary on the distinct understanding that he should not be paid. But the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), with his accustomed acuteness, suspected the existence of a suppressio veri in the glib utterance of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, and he put this question— 1729Is the seat to be vacated?Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: No, Sir.Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE: Will there be some statement laid before the House to show the grounds on which the seat is not to be vacated?Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: I believe the grounds are that it is not an Office of profit under the Crown.Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE: I can only say this—that I once had the honour of serving a Conservative Government as Commissioner for the Ionian Islands for a very few days; and under the advice of the Law Officers of the Government, though I received no salary, yet my seat for the University of Oxford was vacated, and I was re-elected. That was in 1859.Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: I would suggest that the best course would be to put a Question to the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for England."—(3 Hansard,  1887–8.)How the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary can have the face to come here after these declarations of last spring, and ask the House of Commons to pay the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Parliamentary Under Secretary a salary, when such a short time ago they would not have dared to appoint him at a salary, and as to whom they had obtained legal advice that such an appointment would be illegal, he (Mr. Clancy) was at a loss to imagine. On the day following that on which the Questions he had referred to had been put, another Question was put to the First Lord of the Treasury. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne asked—By what authority the Office of Parliamentary Under Secretary for Ireland has been constituted; whether any document will be laid before Parliament describing the nature and duties of the Office, and the conditions under which it is held; and whether it is contended that the Government has the power to create unpaid Parliamentary Offices without limit?And now he (Mr. Clancy) begged the attention of the House to the answer. The first Lord of the Treasury said—Mr. Speaker, the Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant has been appointed by virtue of the authority which exists in the Executive Government of the day to appoint Assistant Secretaries in order to carry out in an efficient manner the duties cast upon any Department of the State, subject, in certain cases, to statutory control, respecting the vacating of seats, the right to sit in Parliament, and the payment of salaries, if any. No document will be laid before Parliament describing the nature and duties of the Office, or the conditions under which it is held; but it is right to state distinctly that no salary or profit is attached to the Office. The last Question being one of abstract law, the right hon. Gentleman is perfectly able to form his own conclusion upon it.1730Mr. JOHN MORLEY: Well, Sir; but is the House, then, to have no means of knowing what are the functions, duties, and conditions of the appointment?Mr. W. H. SMITH: The right hon. Gentleman is well acquainted with the duties of Public Offices which have to be discharged by the Executive Government. He is also aware what are the duties which ordinarily fall to Under Secretaries in a Public Office."—(Ibid. 1002–3.)It seemed to him (Mr. Clancy), therefore, that the statement made last year amounted to a distinct pledge, as distinct as any pledge could be, that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet was to hold his Office without salary, and on that ground he would not be asked to vacate his seat; but now, in the face of that pledge, the Government came to the House of Commons and asked them to vote a salary to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, and did not give the slightest information as to whether the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would be called upon to vacate his seat if he were paid a salary. He (Mr. Clancy) did not pretend to be a Constitutional lawyer; but it seemed to him that the Gentleman who signed the cheque for the first quarter's salary for the Parliamentary Under Secretary would stand in danger of having an action brought against him, and probably might be obliged to pay back the money to the Treasury. He certainly hoped he would.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, the matter had been very fully discussed the last time it was brought before the House.
§ MR. CLANCY
Sir, it is very inconvenient for me to be interrupted before I have finished my speech.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I thought the hon. Member had come to the conclusion of his remarks, and that he had delivered the peroration of his eloquent speech. If he has anything further to say he will be able to continue after I have made a few remarks with; the view of clearing up the mistake into which the hon. Gentleman and many of his Friends appear to have fallen. He has quoted certain questions and answers which had been given in the House last Session with regard to the Office of Parliamentary Under Secretary. The questions related to the Office as it was then constituted; and what hon. Gentlemen 1731 wished to know was whether the Government had legal powers to appoint an Under Secretary, and whether, if they had such power, the Under Secretary had or had not to vacate his seat? The Government replied, speaking with such advice as they could command, that they had power to appoint an Under Secretary, and that as he would not be paid he would not vacate his scat. Had they provided out of the Votes a salary, without providing that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman should vacate his seat, they would have violated the law. But hon. Gentlemen opposite had, no doubt unintentionally, twisted the answer given as to the Parliamentary Under Secretary into a pledge that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet should give his unpaid services to the country indefinitely. That was a thing which the Government never conceived. They had never concealed from the House that their desire was, as soon as the state of Public Business would permit it, to bring in a Bill which would put his right hon. and gallant Friend into the position of every other Under Secretary. [An hon. MEMBER: You never said so.] Was there a single Member of the House who seriously supposed that the Government would ask any Gentleman to go on indefinitely fulfilling the duties of Under Secretary for Ireland, where the labour was far heavier than that of any other Under Secretary in the House, without giving him the salary which other Under Secretaries received? If hon. Members would look at what I said last Session, they would see that the answers I had given were simply with reference to the action the Government were then taking as to the Under Secretary. They showed that the action of the Government was perfectly legal.
§ MR. CLANCY
said, the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had made a statement which he thought the House must have listened to with the utmost possible astonishment—namely, that the Government had intended to bring in a Bill to pay this salary. Not a single word had ever been said in that House or out of it to that effect, and the person to be benefited by it himself understood that he was not to be paid so recently as two months ago. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman addressed the electors at Margate and said he was 1732 then working 18 hours a day for nothing that he was not paid like the Irish Members; that he gave his services to the public for nothing, and when, according to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, he must have known that there was a Bill in preparation to pay him a salary. He (Mr. Clancy) supposed that the next thing would be the introduction of the Bill to pay the salary from April last. [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: The Bill is not retrospective.] He thought he was correct in saying that, after all that had fallen from the First Lord of the Treasury.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I never said anything of the kind. Will the hon. Gentleman say when I said that?
§ MR. CLANCY
said, that the right hon. Gentleman had made so many speeches, short and long, and that he, not having a secretary to write them down, could not recollect the particular speech. He pointed to the significance of this appointment. It was said as an argument against Irish Members that under Home Rule they would commit the atrocity of handing over the minority to the will of the majority. He did not think that was very unusual in any country; but here they had the majority handed over to the rule of the minority. But he thought that was a fact on which they might reflect with some advantage in considering who were the rulers in Ireland at present—namely, that not one man in the Government of Ireland could be said to represent what could be fairly called the overwhelming majority of the people. Every single office in Ireland was filled up by men who would not be elected in any one of 86 constituencies in Ireland. The Parliamentary Under Secretary was an Orangeman. The Local Government Board was a nest of Orangemen, and the Board of Works was the same. They had listened to some of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's political antecedents, and the Chairman had ruled that these might be referred to. He asked the House to listen to some extracts from a speech of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman on the subject of Home Rule against which the Unionist Party would cry out anathema maranatha. In August, 1870, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman said— 1733That a man who would fight for the Opposition candidate on that election would fight and shout for the perpetuation of the Union which was forced by fraud upon the country; that he came forward neither as a Whig or Tory, and was of no political opinion whatever, but simply an Irishman; Ireland alone was his motto—the shamrock, the green immortal shamrock; with the green and the orange united they would win their glorious freedom; he believed that if a Parliament was established on College Green in which Irishmen could manage their own affairs, Ireland would become rich and prosperous.The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had contradicted the hon. Member for North Longford (Mr. T. M. Healy) when he said that he took part at the Longford election, but in the course of the speech the right hon. and gallant Gentleman said that he had fought the battle at Longford.
§ MR. CLANCY
said, he was quoting from a speech of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman himself, and he did not know to what else the right hon. and gallant Gentleman alluded. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman said—It did not matter a scrap to him personally whether he was returned or not, but if they returned a Nationalist to Parliament, the whole of Ireland would respond; that when Ireland claimed her just rights and claimed to manage their own affairs, he asked would England dare to refuse them; when the day came for them to vote, let them not vote for him, but for Ireland; let the green be over their head, and their cry be, God Save Ireland.Irish Members had been charged with preaching separation in the past, and when such expressions as these were quoted from the speeches of Irish Members they were set down as advocating rebellion in Ireland; but here was the right hon. and gallant Gentleman using the very language for which they would be condemned. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman, on the 13th of August, 1870, declared that he could not understand any man, knowing anything of his country, and knowing anything of the career of O'Connell and Grattan, doubting that Home Rule or some substitute for it was the only panacea for the evils of Ireland. Someone at the time said that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's promises were very fine, but insincere; and then he asked plainly what he had to gain by insincerity? He asked, if he were elected 1734 to-morrow, whether any Government, Conservative or Liberal, would give him any honour or place when he came to them as the avowed opponent of English rule; that whatever his connections were they been against the Union, and that his relatives had moved an Amendment to that infamous Act; that the Conservatives said he was abandoning his principles, and that he told them it was they who were abandoning their principles, and not he, for in former days the Conservatives were for the people, and now they were against them. And here he (Mr. Clancy) came to the point of his speech which had a most particular interest with reference to the matter they were discussing. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman on that occasion concluded his speech by saying that he would never, never take Office or pension from any Government. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had said that these things were uttered in the days of his hot youth. But he was then over 30 years of age; and he (Mr. Clancy) said that at that time of life men formed very deliberate opinions. The Irish people had made a mistake in thinking that he was sincere in making those statements, and they distrusted him now because he was a renegade, and because he was the champion of the Orange Party and gave that Constitutional advice to them to keep their hands on their triggers, who incited thorn, in other words, to civil war. Did the Committee think that this man, who was an inciter to violence and crime, and was engaged in the combination of landlords and Orangemen, was fitted for the Office to which he had been appointed? It was an insult which the Irish people would not forget—that he had been set over the rest of the Irish people to govern them.
§ COLONEL WARING (Down, N.)
said, he should like to make a few remarks with regard to this subject. Those who came from his part of the country had complete confidence in the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Ireland. They were all perfectly aware of the Home Rule antecedents of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, which had been made so much of in that House; and not only that, but they were aware of the circumstances which had led up to those views. At the time those opinions 1735 were expressed, they were smarting under what was considered to be the injustice of the Disestablishment of the Irish Church; and some of thorn took counsel together as to whether or not, after the breach of one of its most important provisions, the Union was to their advantage; for 10 minutes he had himself entered into that conspiricy. His conversion had come rather quicker than that of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, who was a younger man than himself by 10 years. On the occasion he referred to, he (Colonel Waring) said—"Gentlemen, nothing will induce me to row in this boat;" and he then left. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Ireland had taken a longer time to discover Ms position, but in the end arrived at the same conclusion. The people of the North of Ireland believed that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was performing his duty without favour or affection, and was doing good service to his Queen and country.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
said, that the other day the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury had stated, in reply to a Question he (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) himself had addressed to him, that there was a rule against any Member of the English Civil Service belonging to an Orange Lodge or Society. The right hon. Gentleman had also, on another occasion, stated that the same rule applied to all Departments of the Civil Service. He desired to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, whether the fact that the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Ireland was a notorious Orangeman, was or was not reconcilable with the view of the rule or understanding which prevailed in the Civil Service, and whether it would be necessary to modify the rule if the right hon. and gallant Gentleman remained in his present position?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I can hardly think the hon. Gentleman is speaking seriously; these; rules are held to apply to gentlemen who are not engaged in political controversy. Those Gentlemen who hold seats in this House are an exception, because they are unfortunately compelled to take part in political controversy.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
asked if he was to understand that there was no objection to a member of an Orange Lodge being the head of the Local Government Board in Ireland, while every other officer and member of the Inland Revenue as well, was prohibited by the rule enforced from belonging to that Society?
§ [No reply.]
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
said, he thought the point raised by his hon. Friend was one which needed a rather more serious answer than the right hon. Gentleman opposite had given it. They must remember that to belong to an Orange Lodge was to belong to a political organization compared with which none that they had in England possessed any weight or force. The Primrose League was mere pantomine as compared with an Orange Lodge, and it was a remarkable thing that the Government should have appointed to the Local Government Board in Ireland a Gentleman who was associated with that society. Therefore, he thought the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. H. Smith) would have taken a much more serious view of the point. The hon. and gallant Gentleman below the Gangway opposite (Colonel Waring) had shed a very curious light upon the breadth and depth of the Unionist sentiments of himself and Friends, when he said that they had turned towards Home Rule because they thought that the Disestablishment of the Irish Protestant Church was bad for them.
§ COLONEL WARING
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon; I said nothing of the kind. I said that in the indignation occasioned at the time by what we deemed an insult to our Church, we had for a moment considered whether Home Rule might not be for our advantage.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
said, he did not understand the hon. and gallant Gentleman to deny that in consequence of the Disestablishment of the Irish Church they had considered whether the Union would be good or bad for them.
§ COLONEL WARING
I said it was suggested that such was the case, and that after 10 minutes' consideration I came to the opposite conclusion.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
said, the hon. and gallant Gentleman could not deny 1737 that he and his Friends were prepared to throw over the Act of Union, just as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman himself (Colonel King-Harman) had been prepared to do.
§ THE CHAIRMAN
I ask the right hon. Gentleman to address his remarks to the subject before the Committee.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
said, he thought that as the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Waring) had been allowed to address himself to that subject, he was not out of Order in referring to it. Well, they had now at last from the Government a plain announcement, made for the first time, that the Bill was not to be retrospective. He could not help asking himself how far this decision on the part of the Government not to make the Bill retrospective was due to the action which Members on that side of the House had taken. The point he rose to press sprang from the answer of the Chief Secretary for Ireland as to the announcement which he and the First Lord of the Treasury made last year on the subject of salary. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland appeared to him to have put a most extraordinary construction upon what passed last year, and he (Mr. Morley) submitted that in his replies to his Questions on the 14th and 15th of April, he made a statement which was universally understood in that House to mean that this was to be an unpaid Office. The right hon. Gentleman said that when he (Mr. Morley) put his Question, he raised a legal point. No doubt, he did raise a legal point; but the right hon. Gentleman put aside and dismissed that legal point without an answer, and then he went on to say—"I may say that there is no salary attached to the Office." That answer distinctly dissevered the question of salary from that legal point the right hon. Gentleman now asserted was raised by the Question. He had every desire to speak respectfully of the right hon. Gentleman; but he must think that the answers he and his right hon. Colleague who now sat next him gave last year, in the light of what the right hon. Gentleman said a quarter of an hour ago, was nothing more or less than trifling with the House. [Laughter] The right hon. Gentleman might smile—"and smile"—[Laughter]—but he had placed the question now in a position 1738 from which it would become him to lose no time in extricating it and extricating himself.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
protested against the tone the right hon. Gentleman had adopted. He had never heard a speech delivered with more "sound and fury," and which signified less. The right hon. Gentleman, first of all, fastened upon one most extraordinary misunderstanding, and having done that and been called to Order by the Chairman, the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to insinuate that the Government had intended to make the Bill retrospective, but, alarmed by the eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends, the Government retired in terror from the position they had taken up. But, unfortunately for that theory, the Bill existed in its present shape long before those outbursts of eloquence to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred. It had never occurred to the Government, and, in fact, he had only discovered that night that any right hon. Gentleman entertained the idea that the Bill was to be retrospective. He should have thought they would never have entertained such a fantastic notion, for he should have thought they would have made themselves acquainted with the laws of England, and would have known that to make the Bill retrospective would be practically committing a fraud on the Statute. But as the Government never intended to do that, it never entered into his head in the wildest moment to attempt to give his right hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel King-Harman) a retrospective salary. They know perfectly well that his right hon. and gallant Friend, not receiving a salary, was not under the necessity of vacating his seat; but his right hon. and gallant Friend having occupied his seat all last year, for the Government to come to Parliament this year, and by a Bill give his right hon. and gallant Friend the salary for the year passed, thus enabling him to occupy a place of profit, and not to resign his seat, would be nothing less than a fraud upon the Statute. But such was the standard of morality that obtained among right hon. Gentlemen opposite that nothing seemed more natural than a manœuvre of that kind. The Government, however, had a somewhat different standard of morality to that which appeared naturally to 1739 suggest itself to the right hon. Gentleman, and never entertained such, an idea. He did not think it was necessary for him to go over the ground he had more than once traversed in regard to the Question and answer in reference to the salary of his right hon. and gallant Friend. They answered the Question with regard to the legal point, and never made any concealment; he could say that with confidence, and if right hon. Gentlemen would only consult their memories, they would find that the Government never entertained the extravagant, absurd, and ridiculous notion that they were going indefinitely to ask his right hon. and gallant Friend to come to the House, and bear the burden and heat of the day, that every man must boar who had a seat on that Bench, without receiving a single sixpence of salary. Such an idea never crossed his mind, and let hon. Members consult their recollections, and they would find they never credited the Government with entertaining any such notion. He was sorry the right hon. Gentleman had made accusations and insinuations such as appeared in his speech, and he felt sure that when cooler moments returned to him, the right hon. Gentleman would see they were not justified.
§ SIR CHARLES RUSSELL (Hackney, S.)
said, in his judgment this matter was much more serious than might be supposed from what he might almost call the flippant manner of the Chief Secretary in answering his right hon. Friend (Mr. John Morley). The House now learned that when on three several occasions, the 14th April, 15th April, and 12th May, this subject came up for reference in the House, and on each of those occasions the Representative of the Government assured the House that the question of election did not arise because it was not a paid Office—hon. Members were now informed they must be fools to suppose that when it suited the convenience of the Government, it was not to cease to remain an unpaid Office. All he could say was that if the Government intended to make this a paid Office, they took the most extraordinary pains to conceal their intention from the House. He would like to ask when the Government changed their minds? [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: Never.] Never ! Then at the very time that they were assuring the House that no election was neces- 1740 sary, because there was no salary attached to the Office to which the right hon. Gentleman was appointed, they had at that very time formed the intention of making it a paid Office ! Then he would ask, appealing to that high standard of morality, of which, forsooth! the right hon. Gentleman claimed for his Party the exclusive possession, he asked why did the Government on those three several occasions, by the mouths of two responsible Ministers, if they had that intention, employ such language as—and this he would say clearly and distinctly—misled a large portion of the House? Then a word or two on the appointment itself. He objected to it in the first place, because there was no proved necessity for it; in the next place because of the manner in which it had been attempted to be foisted on the House; and he objected to it lastly (and he regretted to introduce the personal element for a moment), because of the person who was designated to fill the post. As to the manner in which it had been brought about, he had indicated to the House his objection and as to the present necessity, he would say a word or two. When this matter was mentioned on April 14th, if hon. Members would refer to Hansard, they would see that a special reason was given why the services of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel King-Harman) were called in aid of the Chief Secretary, the reason being a pressure of work—but a pressure stated to be of a temporary nature—then supposed to be put upon the Chief Secretary. It would be seen also—and he called especial attention to this in connection with the intention from the first which the right hon. Gentleman had now avowed—that the language then pointed not to a permanent position of Assistant Secretary to the Chief Secretary, but merely to a temporary or passing necessity to relieve the Chief Secretary in his then work. Then, again, he asked the Chief Secretary to reconsider the statement he made interrupting him (Sir Charles Russell) when he said the Government always had the intention of making this a paid Office, for the language used so far from discovering that intention referred to a passing necessity for which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was for a certain undefined time to be called in aid. As to the necessity for the ap- 1741 pointment, he (Sir Charles Russell) utterly denied that the present Chief Secretary was worked to a greater degree than his Predecessors. In many respects, he was much better off than his Predecessors. It was quite true that his light hon. Friend (Mr. John Morley) had not the odious work of piloting a Coercion Bill through the House. Because he had some sympathy with Irish feeling, and treated Irish Members with some respect and decency, he was able to get through the duties of his Department without creating great obstruction, yet he was in the singular position that he had not a single Law Officer from Ireland to assist him, and was obliged to answer all the Questions put in the House to whatever branch of the Irish administrative system those questions referred. The post of Assistant Secretary, he repeated, was not necessary, and he more especially thought the Chief Secretary should not be relieved from the duty of answering Questions in the House. He thought it would much better become the right hon. Gentleman if he were to come up to the opinion he (Sir Charles Russell) once formed of him, when he occupied a seat below the Gangway as a Member of the Fourth Party, and desired really to inform his mind conscientiously and thoroughly about his duty to the Irish people, to go into these questions and inform his mind, instead of treating questions put from below the Gangway as merely so many incidents of a necessarily unpleasant character, to be met by official answers by anyone giving as little information as possible, and as little respectfully as possible. The right hon. Gentleman knew very little about Ireland. His position, unhappily—and it was not altogether his own fault, it was the position of most Irish Secretaries—isolated him from contact with National sympathies and National opinion, with no means of gauging the feelings of the people, getting his information from a purely official class dependent upon that class and upon that only. It would do the right hon. Gentleman good, if he had the desire honestly to discharge his duty to the Irish people in the Office he held, if he were to occupy his time in the useful work, drudgery though it might seem, of getting up the circumstances under which the Coercion Act was being put in force in many in- 1742 stances, and trying to realize that, after all, matters which seemed to him trivial and unimportant—[Cries of"Question !"]—he was speaking straight to the question—which seemed trivial and unimportant, were matters which touched closely the daily life of the Irish people and the public peace of the country. It would help the right hon. Gentleman to realize what ought to be his primary duty, to inform himself by personal inquiry and observation of the way in which the Act—odious as he (Sir Charles Russell) believed it to be—was being administered. This new Office, then, was not one to which the House should lend its sanction. And then as to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who was to fill the post. He hoped the House would believe him when he said he was exceedingly reluctant to make these personal references, and had they been avoidable he would gladly have avoided them. He sincerely regretted that he had to say even so much as he was about to say. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman said he had changed opinions formed and acted upon in his hot youth. Well, his youth, he must say, was not a very hot one, when in. 1877 he walked up the floor of the House introduced by Mr. Isaac Butt. He must have been about 40 years of age at that time.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
I beg the hon. and learned Gentleman's pardon. I was not introduced by Mr. Butt, but by Lord Claud Hamilton and Mr. Walter Spencer Stanhope.
§ SIR CHARLES RUSSELL
said, he accepted the correction; but his information was that on one occasion the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was introduced by Mr. Butt and the present Lord St. Oswald.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
Allow me to say that my statement is an absolute fact, and I stake my veracity against the information of the hon. and learned Gentleman.
§ SIR CHARLES RUSSELL
said, he of course accepted that statement at once. But though the right hon. and gallant Gentleman might not have had the companionship of Mr. Butt in walking up the floor, he certainly had the support of Mr. Butt when seeking election to a seat in the House. [Colonel KING-HARMAN assented.] Of course that was the point of his argument. 1743 [Laughter.] Of course it was the point of his argument, the question of who walked up the floor was comparatively trivial and unimportant. It could not be denied that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman seconded the Motion of Mr. Butt on the Home Rule Question. Well, he said he had changed the opinions of his hot youth, and he (Sir Charles Russell) would not dwell on that further. Accepting that, assuming that, did it make the right hon. and gallant Gentleman a less objectionable person for a high official Office in the eyes of the Irish people? It did not. Assuming that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had changed his opinions from thoroughly conscientious motives, accepting his statement, that was not the way in which he was regarded in Ireland. He was regarded there as a man who, having secured a seat in the House by the profession of political opinions in harmony with the aspirations of the Irish people, turned his back on those opinions, and he must not be astonished to find that he was looked upon in their eyes as a traitor to the National cause. More than that. He did not know how long the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had held a position, an important position in the Orange body, a body which had done more to keep asunder and divide the Irish people than any that had existed in the history of the country—not even excepting the landlord class—a society for which there may have been some pretence of reason years ago, but the existence of which in the Ireland of to-day was a standing insult to the Irish people, and a standing reflection on the government of Ireland.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman what position he alludes to as being held by me in the Orange body.
§ SIR CHARLES RUSSELL
said, member of an Orange Lodge, probably Master of an Orange Lodge; he was not acquainted with the degrees in the Society. Then take the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in another relation. He was a landlord. In that position he honestly believed, like a great many landlords in Ireland, he was suffering not for his own sins nearly so much as for the sins of those who had gone before him. He honestly believed that to be true of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman; but still he was a represen- 1744 tative of the landlord class, and had himself received rather rough treatment at the hands of the Irish Land Commission. Was this the man to be entrusted with, or to have a powerful voice in the nomination of, or selection of, men to administer the Land Act? It was impossible to think so. Further, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman took an influential part in other parts of the administrative system of government in Ireland to which the people so strongly objected, the nomination of magistrates, the Grand Jury system of which, no doubt, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in his county was a prominent member. Looking at it from any point of view, no candid man could deny that if it were desired to select a man emphatically a persona ingrata to the Irish people, this would be the man to select. Of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's personal qualities, he did not speak; he knew nothing of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, and speaking seriously, it was no pleasure to him to have to say what he had said. Finally, he had to say this. Not long since a speech was made by the right hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), the most recent acquisition to the ranks of the Government, and Member for West Bristol. He had never himself attached the great importance to that speech that some of his Friends did. A great many thought it was a new revelation, a declaration of a new policy on the part of the right hon. Baronet, but he never so regarded it; but that speech struck one healthy key-note—a note that until the present holder of the Office of Chief Secretary struck, he would never have the satisfaction, or deserve to have the satisfaction, of feeling that he was properly fulfilling the duties of his Office. The right hon. Baronet said that at least an attempt ought to be made to make the laws and to administer the laws and affairs of Ireland in sympathy with the just wants and wishes of the Irish people. He did not take that at all as a confession that the right hon. Baronet was going in for Home Rule; nothing of the kind. But it did mean this—that so far as the Party could, they would, if they were wise, consistently with their opinions upon Home Rule, do everything they could to convey to the world, to satisfy their own consciences and those of their followers, 1745 govern Ireland regardful of the wishes, mindful even of the prejudices, of the people, though withholding that self-government they desired. If he had any compensation for the strong feeling he had against the present tenant of the Office of Chief Secretary, it was that, in his heart, he believed that his action in administration, and in this his latest example, was making it clear to thoughtful minds that this system and policy in relation to Ireland, disregarding the wishes of the people, could not be persevered in. The appointment of unpopular persons to the government of the country could not be persisted in, though a majority might allow it to be pursued for a time. In the end, you must fall back on that which was the only true, solid, and abiding principle of popular government, reliance on the wishes, wants, support, and moral sanction of the people governed.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 159; Noes 103: Majority 56.—(Div. List, No. 44.)
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report these Resolutions to the House."
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
said, at this stage of the proceedings, he thought those who objected to the Bill should enforce their opposition, as they should at every stage. That was his own intention, and whatever stage offered opportunity of opposition he should avail himself of. The Irish Chief Secretary made at one stage of these proceedings a remarkable statement, one of the most remarkable he had made in his remarkable career. He said that every statement that had been made against the right hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel King-Harman) had been denied. But he (Mr. T. M. Healy) should like to know what had really been denied? Meanwhile he would make a further statement in reference to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in regard to a matter that had occurred since his connection with the Irish Local Government Board, and within the last ten days. He challenged a denial of this statement. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman was made President of the Local Government Board. Well, the Local Government Board was; called upon to submit two names to the 1746 Fairs and Markets Commission, which had to report on the question with regard to taking tolls and payments for the sale of cattle in Ireland at fairs. This demand was made to the Local Government Board, since the Chief Secretary said that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was made head of that department.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I never said that my right hon. and gallant Friend was appointed head of the Local Government Board. On the contrary, I said he was not, and that the Chief Secretary remained the President. The hon. and learned Member is raising this point in a particularly inconvenient way.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
said, these were inconvenient questions, and that was why they were raised. He could assure hon. Members that he deeply regretted that they were obliged to share this inconvenience. If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had not been made the head of the Local Government Board, had he been made the tail of it, or what was he. [An hon. MEMBER: Vice President.] What was the statement made about him? He was connected with the Local Government Board in some way. Vice President was suggested, and he adopted that. The specific statement he had to make was in regard to his position at the Local Government Board, and could be traced to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. The Fairs and Markets Commission asked for the names of two Commissioners to be sent over to Ireland, to inquire into the question of tolls at Fairs and Markets. This was a question that had been keenly agitating the public mind for some time and Lord Middleton had interested himself in the subject, and for seven years there had been contention on the point of the legality of fairs held by the people who wished to sell their cattle without putting money into the pockets of the landlords. A Royal Commission being appointed to inquire as to how far these tolls were legal or illegal, that Commission asked the Irish Local Government Board for the names of two Gentlemen, from which they would select one to go over to Ireland for purposes of inquiry. Who was the Gentleman recommended? One was a Mr. Kelly, from the West; but the other, the first of the two, was Colonel Caleb Robinson, 1747 J.P., the ex-agent of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. When did this Gentleman cease to be agent? Irish Members were told they must be careful, before they charged corruption or impeached the action of the Government, but here they found that within a few days, after the Chief Secretary had stated that his Colleague and coadjutor was appointed to the Local Government Board, while he was scarcely warm in his Office, came the nomination of Colonel Caleb Robinson, J.P., D.L., and all the rest of it of the County of Roscommon. Why was he selected for a Sub-Commissioner? Because he was the ex-agent of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, and he would become his mouthpiece on the Royal Commission in Ireland. When the Chief Secretary made his general, not to say flippant, denial the other day, it would have been well if the charges denied had been specified. Was it denied that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was an Orangeman? Here was a report of a speech of his made at Rathinines in 1884, in which, unlike others, such as the hon. Member for South Belfast (Mr. Johnston) who never made this a religious question, but said they were Orangemen for the defence of their country by force of arms, he imported religious animosity into his Orangeism. In his speech at Rathmines, as reported in The Daily Express, in reference to the removal of Lord Rossmore from the magistracy, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aaid—Their enemies were determined to spring a surprise on them, and at the present time it therefore behoved them to keep sentries on the watch, fires lighted, and cartridges in the rifles. It was not enough for the men of the North to stand together; the Orange Association, of which he was a Member, was a strong bond of union for men professing one faith in the country.There was not only a political complexion given to Orangcism, but a religious complexion also. He had read Orange speeches and Orange songs, some of them very good ones; but by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, for the first time, so far as he was aware, was religious faith imported into the higher branch of current politics by any noteworthy person. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman was put forward, probably, as a representative of the Irish landlords. But he was not a repre- 1748 sentative of tolerable Irish landlords, and his own words before a Committee of the House of Lords showed this. Replying to Question 7,522, on June 18th, 1882 (he was asked by the Chairman as to what were his relations with his tenants), he answered—"I do not think there is a man in Ireland on worse terms with his tenants." The right hon. and gallant Gentleman did not think there was a man in Ireland on worse terms ! Not oven excepting Lord Clanricarde, of pious memory ! And yet this man was selected to be Under Secretary for Ireland ! What statements had been denied? Was it denied that, avowing himself a Home Ruler, he was elected by the Home Rule Party? Was it denied that he pledged himself on the hustings at Sligo, before the parish priest, never to accept Office under the British Government? Was it denied that, on a particular occasion, he adopted the name of Wilkinson—
And it being Midnight, the Chairman rose to interrupt the Business:—
Whereupon Mr. WILLIAM HENRY SMITH rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put." [Cries of "Too late !"]
§ MR. PARNELL (Cork)
rose to Order. He submitted the fact that the Chairman had risen, the clock pointing to 12 before the right hon. Gentleman rose to make his Motion. Was it not the Rule that Opposed Business could not be taken after 12?
§ THE CHAIRMAN
The hon. Gentleman is evidently not acquainted with the Rule. The Rule provides that the Speaker or the Chairman interrupting the Business, the closure may then be moved. That is to say, that immediately on the interruption of Business by Speaker or Chairman, the closure may be moved and put.
§ Question put accordingly, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 146; Noes 86: Majority 60.—(Div. List, No. 45.)
§ Question put, "That the Chairman do report these Resolutions to the House."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 144; Noes 86: Majority 58.—(Div. List, No. 46.)1749
§ (1.) Resolved, That it is expedient to authorise the, payment, out of moneys to be provided by Parliament, of a Salary to the Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
§ (2.) Resolved, That it is expedient to make regulations for the office of Under Secretary and of Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at Two of the clock.