§ SECOND NIGHT.
§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [6th April], proposed to Question [6th April], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ And which Amendment was, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—[Sir Michael Hicks-Beach.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the word ' now ' stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON (Armagh, Mid)
, whose speech had been interrupted the preceding night by the Twelve o'Clock Rule, continuing his remarks, said that the Prime Minister had more than once asked Irish Unionist Members—as the right hon. Gentleman was fully entitled to ask them—to follow him into a discussion upon the historical aspect of the question, and he had asked Irish Protestant Members, the descendants of those who sat in Grattan's Parliament, why they did not accept this Bill? He could not follow (he Prime Minister into that historical discussion with the great authority which the right hon. Gentleman gave to everything he said or wrote; but he did not think he would be charged with egotism, or that it would be denied he had some reason to be interested in the historical question, when he said that the right hon. Gentleman had been good enough to refer to four distinguished men in Grattan's Parliament, two of whom were ancestors of his (Mr. Barton's), one of whom sat in Grattan's Parliament for a constituency which he now represented in the Imperial Parliament. Perhaps the reason why they had never discussed this question with the right hon. Gentleman was supplied by Mr. Lecky, who had pointed out that there was no real analogy between Grattan's Parliament and the Parlia- 1718 mentary Constitution proposed in this Bill. Mr. Lecky had declared that "few things would be more grotesquely absurd "than any such attempted analogy. He would say that the merits and demerits of Grattan's Parliament arose from the same cause. No one wanted to revive a Protestant Ascendency Parliament. That it was a Protestant Ascendency Parliament was its demerit. Its merit was that it was a loyal Parliament, that it gave Great Britain very little trouble, and that it was composed of men devotedly British in principles and feelings. On the one hand, no one who loved the principles of modern freedom would wish to see an Ascendency Parliament revived in Ireland; on the other hand, it was impossible to argue that the peace and concord which prevailed between Grattan's Parliament and the Parliament of Great Britain afforded any guidance as to what might take place between the Imperial Parliament and any Irish Parliament which might be set up in future years. When the right hon. Gentleman asked Irish Protestant Members why they did not welcome a revival of Grattan's Parliament, their answer was that what was proposed in this Bill was a very different thing from Grattan's Parliament. It was not "The Queen, Lords, and Commons of Ireland" that this Bill would set up. He could understand an Irish Protestant being fascinated by that notion: he could understand him saying, "Yes, I will risk it. I will abandon my coreligionists; I will give up their cause and throw in my lot with the Queen. Lords, and Commons of Ireland;" but he could not conceive any Irish Protestant who desired to do his duty to his coreligionists accepting this Bill, which would give to an Irish majority more than the power of Grattan's Parliament, but would give to Ireland none of the dignity of a nation. The Bill was not a charter of national liberty. It was a bargain of provincial servitude —a servitude in which the majority of the slaves would have power of life and death over the minority. This servile Constitution would live for a brief period by private plunder, and would inevitably result in public bankruptcy. He ventured to think that the right hon. Gentleman had in this whole controversy, 1719 as well as in this Bill, struck a blow at the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, if not at the Throne itself, by the way in which he was dealing with the Act of Union. The right hon. Gentle-man had placed the assertion of the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament in the Preamble of the Bill. But a Preamble could not give more efficacy to any law than that law had before. If a Preamble stated a matter of law it strengthened the evidence in favour of that law, but it did no more. You must find what the law was aliunde. Where was the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament to be found aliunde? It was in the Act of Union and in nothing else. What was the history of the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament during the last century? They knew that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament had never been admitted in Ireland. It had been the historical claim of the Nationalists for centuries that there was no such supremacy. But in the sixth year of George I. there was a declaratory Act passed which declared the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. [Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE dissented.] The right hon. Gentleman did not agree with him, but he ventured to say it was so. That Act was repealed in 1782 as part of the Constitution of Grattan's Parliament. But that was not enough. Henry Flood very nearly overturned the popularity of Grattan by declaring that it was not enough to repeal the Act, but that the Parliament of Great Britain must solemnly renounce any claim to supremacy, and the Parliament of Great Britain, by a Statute of Renunciation in 1783, did solemnly renounce it. These two Statutes of Repeal and Renunciation regulated the relations of the two Parliaments until 1800. It was, therefore, on the Act of Union alone that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament depended. But the Prime Minister had done everything in his power to discredit the Act of Union by trying to prove that it was obtained by force and fraud, and by investing every circumstance which surrounded it with every mark of infamy which his eloquence could devise. The Prime Minister had done his utmost to render the Act of Union a tainted title-deed. The Prime Minister had done much to weaken the supremacy of the Imperial Parlia- 1720 ment, and this Bill in every clause conflicted with that supremacy and would destroy it if it ever became law. He came now to an argument on which the Prime Minister laid great stress. The right hon. Gentleman, in his various articles and speeches on the Home Rule question, took the period of 18 years from 1782 to 1800 — the period of Grattan's Parliament—and put forward four propositions with respect to it. The first was that it was a period of unexampled material progress, and he founded that statement on a speech of Lord Clare's; the second was that it was a period of harmony of sentiment between Great Britain and Ireland; the third that it was a period during which life and property were secure; and the fourth that it was a period of a perfect union of hearts between Roman Catholics and Protestants. The third and fourth propositions were usually limited by the right hon. Gentleman to the period between 1782 and 1794—that is to say, to the period of 12 years preceding Lord Fitzwilliam's Vice-Royalty and recall. Take the first of these pro-positions. It was that the material prosperity of Ireland had made unexampled progress during those 18 years, and that that was due to Grattan's Parliament. The passage from Lord Clare was in a most material matter misquoted—not intentionally—and did not, as he thought, support the argument of the right hon. Gentleman. He had himself read the passage in a contemporary pamphlet. Lord Clare said in 1798, speaking of the "preceding 20 years"—I am bold to say there is not a nation in the habitable globe which has advanced in cultivation and commerce, in agriculture, and in manufactures with the same rapidity in the same period.That was a statement on which the right hon. Gentleman relied, but it was material to point out that Lord Clare was speaking in 1798, and was referring to the preceding 20 years. Grattan's Parliament had been in existence for only 16 years. The words were not lightly used. He was not concerned to deny that the period was one of prosperity, but the 20 years brought them back to a starting point of 1778, before Grattan's Parliament began its work. That being so, he could show what Lord Clare referred to, and what 1721 was the main cause of the commercial prosperity during those 20 years. It was not what happened in 1782, hut what happened in the Session 1779–80. In that Session the Volunteers extorted from the British Parliament the right of commercial freedom and liberty of trade with the Colonies and Great Britain. The removal of these commercial restrictions which previously existed was a fruitful source of commercial progress and prosperity during the next 20 years. He would lay before the House one or two facts in support of this proposition. He would take first the removal of the restrictions which hampered trade with the Colonies. It was really humiliating to both Englishmen and Irishmen that such restrictions should have existed. What was the result of the removal of them? He would give a single striking illustration. The import of sugar rose from 7,000 cwt. in 1781 to 18,000 cwt. in 1782, and they must remember that that was before Grattan's Parliament and Constitution began to operate at all. Was not that a proof that one cause of the prosperity was duo, not to Grattan's Parliament, but to the Act of Parliament which gave unrestricted trade with the Colonies? So much for the first and most important cause. The second cause was the removal of restrictions upon the trade with Great Britain. The figures respecting this can be obtained from Grattan's Life, Vol. III., and were quoted by Dr. Ball, to whom the Prime Minister, although opposed to him in politics, had paid the high tribute of saying that he dealt with historical matters without bias. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!] These figures showed that in 1781 the exports from Ireland to Great Britain were estimated, in round numbers, at £2,180,000, and in 1782, the year immediately preceding legislation by Grattan's Parliament, they went up at one leap to £2,699,000, and this remarkable development of trade with Great Britain went on advancing afterwards. The third cause of the prosperity in the time of Grattan's Parliament was the rise in the price in agricultural produce which was taking place, quite irrespective of any special legislation, not merely in Great Britain, but all over Europe. He would take the figures representing the price of wheat in 1780, 1794, and 1800 from the 1722 Annual Register for those years. Wheat in Great Britain stood in 1780 at 4s. 5½d. per bushel; in 1794 it was 6s., and in 1800 it had risen to 14s. 1d. There was no country which was so sensitive as Ireland to a rise in agricultural produce. If such a rise could be witnessed now there would be very little of the Irish question heard in this House. In the period in which the price of wheat rose in this remarkable way Ireland was even more dependent on agriculture than now. At that time Belfast and other towns in Ulster had not obtained their present dimensions. He did not desire in the least, however, to deny that Grattan's Parliament also contributed to the prosperity of the country. He wished to state the case as fairly as he could. There were many things to be said in its favour. For a time it was the scene of flashing and brilliant eloquence, and it contained many public-spirited men. To his mind its greatest merit was that it was the natural and inevitable stepping-stone to the Legislative Union, and for that result he ventured to assert it deserved the gratitude of this Empire. He now came to the fourth cause of prosperity, which was undoubtedly due to Grattan's Parliament, and that was the Protectionist policy which it set up. From the time it obtained its freedom its legislation aimed at stimulating both manufactures and agriculture by bounties to reward exports from, and by duties to discourage imports into Ireland. In his opinion, a great deal could be said in favour of such a policy in Ireland, though it had been urged, on the other hand, that its Protectionist policy gave a mere artificial and not a permanent stimulus to Irish prosperity. On that point he would leave hon. Gentlemen opposite who were Free Traders to form their own judgment. With reference to that matter Lord Clare prophesied at the end of Grattan's Parliament—and if he was a witness on one point he might be cited on another—that it was within three years of public bankruptcy. Surely he had succeeded in establishing his proposition that of the four causes of the prosperity that existed in the period of the 20 years referred to, two were antecedent to Grattan's Parliament, one arose from a cause which was universal, and affected Great Britain and Europe alike, and the fourth was of doubtful 1723 advantage, and not attended with permanent results. The next point urged by the Prime Minister was that during the period from 1782 to 1800, and especially before 1795, there was perfect harmony of sentiment and feeling between England and Ireland. But was not that largely duo to the fact that it was a Protestant Parliament? Lecky had described it as a Parliament largely composed of men of the Grand Jury class, and no class more consciously possessed British instincts than that, class. Some people might think them British to a fault, but if it was a fault, it was a fault on the right side, and one for which Irishmen ought not to be reproached in a British Assembly. Only on two occasions during the period from 1782 to 1794 did there arise any occasion of conflict between the two Parliaments, one of these being upon commerce and the other upon the Crown. On the question of the commercial resolutions, the two Parliaments in 1785 failed to agree, and no agreement was arrived at as to the commercial relations of Great Britain and Ireland until the legislative Union. In 1789 came the difficulty about the question of the Regency, and the correspondence of that day seemed to show that the difficulty arose partly through intrigue with English Parties, Grattan having a year before been in England with Fox and the leaders of the Prince's Party discussing these matters. During that period, so far from the Union being a close and happy one, in spite of the fact that there was an exclusively Protestant and loyal Parliament, whenever oportunities of conflict occurred, jealousies arose, and there was anything but complete harmony between the two Parliaments.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The hon. and learned Member is under some misapprehension. I never stated there was complete harmony between England and Ireland in such a way as to include the Parliaments. I spoke of harmony between the people of England and the people of Ireland.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON
said, that now the right hon. Gentleman was distinguishing between the peoples and their Parliaments; but the whole argument was upon the Parliament, to which he would confine himself.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Lot me say that on both those occasions, in my opinion, the Irish Parliament were right and the English Parliament were wrong.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON
replied that nobody in the House could be more glad to hoar that than he was. The right hon. Gentleman was quite mistaken if he supposed that he was arguing against Grattan's Parliament, which contained three members of his family, of whom two had been mentioned by the Prime Minister.
MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)
Yes, and they voted against the Union.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON
Yes; they were among the unbribed ones, and if they were here now he had no doubt as to which side they would take in the present controversy. Another argument which the Prime Minister had used, if" not in his speech, at all events in his article in the North American Review, was that there was security for life and property between. 1782 and 1795. The right hon. Gentleman, in that article, wrote—Moreover, the Irish nation had between 1782 and 1795 the management of its own affairs. What was the effect on life and property, on industry and progressHo would attempt to answer the right hon. Gentleman's question. It was an entire delusion to suppose that that was a halcyon period for life and property. There wore no fewer than 17 Coercion Acts.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON
Yes; all before 1795, and he was well aware that the number went up after 1795. What occurred in those years? In 1783 there was hold in Dublin a Convention which rivalled in influence the Parliament. In 1786 it was necessary to introduce a Police Bill; in 1787 several Coercion Acts were passed. It was during this halcyon period that Whiteboyism revived, and that the feuds between the Defenders and the Peep o' Day Boys developed into a small civil war in one part of Ulster. It was in 1791 that Wolfe Tone started the rebellions conspiracy of the United Irishmen, one of the most serious in the history of Ireland. [Mr. W. REDMOND: Ulster.] Yes, some of them were Protestants of Ulster; but that did not affect the argument. It 1725 was one of the most serious conspiracies in Irish history; and its secretary, Hamilton Rowan, was in Newgate Prison for seditious libel in 1794, before Lord Fitzwilliam came to Ireland. Did that point to a state of peace and order! did that show that life and property were safe? He was only stating these things to show that it was impossible to argue that there were such peace, order, and security for life and property under Grattan's Parliament as should lead them to recommend this Bill to the attention of the House. He now came to what was, perhaps, the most important of all the right hon. Gentleman's arguments. The Prime Minister, in his speech introducing the Bill, referred to the enthusiastic reception in Belfast of the delegates from the Back Lane Parliament in Dublin, in the winter of 1792, as evidence of the good relations that existed between Catholics and Protestants a century ago. The Prime Minister invited the people of Ulster to reestablish such a state of feeling, and he suggested that they were degenerate because they did not do so. But what was the history of those days? Lecky recorded that in the winter of 1792 there were disturbances in certain parts of Ireland, and especially in Ulster, amounting to a state of civil war between Catholics and Protestants, arising out of the traditional animosity between them. He described how, on the borders of Meath and Cavan, disturbances broke out near the end of 1792. A body of well-armed Presbyterians went into County Cavan, accompanied by the resident gentry; there were pitched battles in broad daylight; soldiers were called out, and many persons were shot. It was a time marked by plunder, outrage, murder, and religious strife. It was to that condition that they did not want to go back, but to which the Bill would drive them, and all along the borders of Ulster, where Protestants would be face to face with Catholics, these scenes would be re-enacted, and the state of affairs would be even worse than it was at the time of the Act of Union—there would be a state approaching civil war. The incident of the reception in Belfast of the delegates from the Back Lane Parliament was not mentioned by Lecky, but he had found it, in Mitchel's History of Ireland, a book written by a well-known rebel and Fenian. ["No."'] Well, 1726 he was an extreme Nationalist, and it appeared from his account of this incident that Catholics in Dublin joined with United Irishmen in Belfast in sending a deputation to London to appeal to the Queen against Grattan's Parliament and Grattan's Constitution; and there was good reason to believe they were in communication with the French Envoy. Mitchel, in a note, writes of the incident of the reception in Belfast as "an extraordinary demonstration never exampled before and never imitated since." This was the incident which the Prime Minister had put forward as a type of the relations of Protestants and Catholics in 1782. This was the period and the state of affairs to which he advised the people of Ulster to return. Ulstermen did not wish to see that state of things renewed. They wished to encourage a different kind of reunion. At the Dublin Convention of last year, presided over by Lord Fingal, a Catholic nobleman, and attended by many Catholics, a deputation of Protestants from Belfast attended, and were welcomed with extraordinary cordiality. At Belfast the other day no sentiment was more wildly and enthusiastically cheered than the declaration that they wished to stand with their Catholic fellow-countrymen and fellow-Unionists in this crisis. The Prime Minister smiled, but surely reconciliation was no Party question. Would he deprive them of the means of bringing about that reconciliation? He had only one vote—it was in the City of Dublin—and he gave it to a Roman Catholic, whom he was glad to see sitting in the House. [Laughter.] What did that laughter mean? His hon. and learned Friend the Member for the St. Stephen's Division need not be afraid of the laughter of hon. Members. His hon. and learned Friend had lived all his life in Dublin; he had risen there to the eminent position he now occupied in the legal profession, and if any Member said it was not to his credit that he, a Catholic and a lawyer, should be returned to that House by a constituency which was mainly Protestant, such a Member was certainly taking a peculiar view of the situation. He would come to another point. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), in his speech the previous day, 1727 had cited three European illustrations—namely, Holland and Belgium, Russia and Poland, and Austria and Hungary. Surely Holland and Belgium was a strange illustration. Was this the horoscope of Home Rule? Was it the separation of two countries that they were to take as a model? Holland and Belgium had been separated, and he said the Bill now before the House would lead to the same result. What about Russia and Poland? What fair-minded man could say that Ireland was the Poland of this Empire now? [An hon. MEMBER: Chamberlain says it.] He was not bound by the statement of any right hon. Gentleman, and whoever said it he believed that Ireland had been the spoilt child of this Empire instead of being a Poland. No part of this country had received so much attention and legislation. If that Bill were passed they would have a Poland that would make not only that Empire, but the world ring with its wrongs and resistance, and that Poland would be Ulster. They would have a Poland in Ulster which would not lie so tamely as Poland had under its wrongs—a Poland which would have sympathisers all over the world. He would take the case of Austria-Hungary. He had had the advantage of reading the memoirs of Count Beust, who was himself the maker of this Constitution, and what did Count Beust say? Immediately after the Bill of 1886 was introduced Count Beust, in a letter published in his memoirs, stated that he was astonished that the Prime Minister should have drawn an analogy between Austria and Hungary and England and Ireland, the cases being entirely different in every way. They would find the origin of the Constitution was entirely different. It was when Austria was defeated and had an enemy knocking at the gate that they gave in to this particular form of Constitution. Count Beust pointed out several other respects in which the two cases were different, and he concluded thus—As a lover of England and her free institutions, I sincerely hope that an Irish Parliament may never be established.There they had the very author of this Constitution saying that, in his opinion, the conclusions drawn from that Constitution by the Prime Minister were 1728 wrong and unfounded, and expressing the earnest hope that an Irish Parliament might never be established. He (Mr. Barton) had had sent him a copy of the Neue Freie Presse, the great Liberal paper of Austria, containing an article on the Home Rule Bill, a translation of which he had also received. The article stated—From the first moment when the fundamental lines of the present Home Rule Bill were known, the danger with which it threatened Great Britain was recognised. These dangers increase and grow as the possibilities of its becoming law become less remote. The historian Hartpole Lecky declares that the day on which this happens will be the most fatal in English history. England will be weakened, Ireland ruined. The expression is not exaggerated, for the results of the Home Rule Bill will be terrible. The trembling hand which directs the helm of the ship of State leads it towards a steep, precipitous rock, and refuses, in spite of the warnings which come from all sides, to alter her course.He would not quote the concluding words, because they were more offensive than the preceding ones. How could the Prime Minister rely successfully on the case of Austro-Hungary, when his argument was condemned by the authors of the Hungarian Constitution, and by cotemporary public opinion in Austria? An hon. Member asked the previous night what they (the loyalists) were afraid of. He was not going to say at this stage what they were afraid of, but any Member who really wanted information on this subject had only got to read the speeches made in former years by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and the candid confessions and declarations of Irish Nationalist Members themselves. There was a saying, in vino veritas, and in the same way, in the intoxication of the General Election in Ireland the Parnellite Party in their newspapers and speeches indicated something of what they anticipated from Home Rule. He would read some extracts from the Dublin Parnellite paper which represented the views held at that time by nine of the not too numerous majority of the right hon. Gentleman. On July 9 it stated—If we had 50 Home Rules we would not have freedom while such scenes as we have witnessed here in Cork during the past few days are possible.1729 On July 11 it said—Under such an unfortunate, blighting, and despotic system, what is the sense of talking about liberty; where would Home Rule have any room for decent operation; what is the use of argument or the utility of discussion. In truth, the ecclesiastical body in Ireland has set itself to prove the substantial truth of the resolution of the Belfast Convention, which we all hitherto supposed to be founded on bogus fears. Home Rule, the Conservatives say, means Rome Rule. No; that is not quite correct. The M'Carthyites, and even the Bishops and priests themselves, have been opposed to Home Rule (ride the Flan of Campaign). But the Catholic Ecclesiastical Body is proving as recklessly and determinedly as possible that Home Rule would mean the rule of the 30 Archbishops and Bishops. Their directions and wishes would be enforced up to the hilt. Any man who dared to hold a contrary opinion and to express it either by word of mouth or vote would do so at the peril of his business, his body, and his soul. What is that but tyranny. It is worse than mere political tyranny, because the mere politician does not threaten religious pains and penalties.If he had time, he could quote scores of other passages to the same effect. He said, when they were asked what the people of Ulster were afraid of, he was entitled to take these articles written in moments of candour, and say, "There you will see what we are afraid of." He did not think there was any reason for despairing of a reconciliation between the Catholics and the Protestants in Ireland. He knew it was a matter of time, and would take long, but certainly it would not be brought about by that Bill, which, on the contrary, would accentuate the difference. Indeed, it had already clone so. Who would deny it? Ireland was drawing into two camps. The present Chief Secretary had hardly come into Office when the Parnellites enrolled the "Army of Independence." Its name indicated its object; largo numbers had joined it, and he thought the people of Ulster could not be blamed for taking similar precautions. They wore now enrolling themselves in a peaceable and Constitutional organisation, and he believed that by that organisation alone would order be preserved during the present crisis in Ireland. Some people thought Ulster was a vary small place, not larger than Wales, but that was not the case. The whole Province, with its nine counties, and between 1,600,000 and 1,700,000 people, was, roughly speaking, one-third of Ireland. It was larger than Wales by 500,000 acres, and more 1730 populous than Wales by 100,000 people. There were 33 Members from Ulster— nearly one-third of the entire number from Ireland—and 19 were against Home Rule and 14 for it. That was a majority of five in 33. Was that a small majority? Take a Rule of Three sum and compare it with the majority of that House. What was a majority of five out of 33 equal to in that House? It was equal to a majority of 100, equal to more than twice the majority of the right hon. Gentleman in favour of the Home Rule Bill. He ventured to appeal to the democratic principle of which hon. Members opposite were so fond, and taking the numbers of majorities, he said they were trying to force upon the majority of the people of Ulster a Government which they hated and repelled, by a Parliamentary majority of one-half the proportionate strength of the Ulster majority opposed to this measure. He asked, was that fair play or was it tyranny? He would go a little further, and, merely for the purpose of his argument, he would take from Ulster the three counties of Donegal, Cavan, and Monaghan, and the Border Burgh of Newry. If Ulster was ever called upon to draw itself within its frontiers and to act in this crisis, as he believed the people were prepared to do, they would find their concentrated strength in the six other counties. [An hon. MEMBER: It will be in the ditches.] No, not in the ditches. Whatever hon. Members might say for the purpose of an interruption, he did not believe they would, in serious argument, impute cowardice to Ulstermen. They were not likely to fail on account of cowardice; they know their strength, and he firmly believed Ulster would succeed in its resistance. He knew it was determined in its resistance, and knowing and believing that, he knew that this discussion was an academic and unreal one, and that this Bill would be a dead letter when it was placed upon the Statute Book. Taking oft' from Ulster the three counties he had named, together with the borough of Newry, that meant nine seats, leaving 24 seats to the remaining six counties of Antrim, Down, Londonderry, Armagh, Tyrone, and Fermanagh, in which the Protestants were more thickly concentrated than in other parts of Ireland. The population of these six counties was over 1731 1,200,000. There was not one of the Australian Colonies—not even Victoria or New South Wales—which had got such a large population. Nineteen out of the 24 Members who represented this district were against Home Rule, and only five in favour of it. That was the district which would resist, if resistance became necessary. It was within those frontiers they would draw themselves, and that was the place which would claim its rights. Was there any Government which would venture to propose such a proposition as that one of the Australian Colonies should be forced to take any form of Government which the majority of the people objected to in such overwhelming numbers? No Government would think of doing such a thing. How long would such a Colony remain part of the Empire if such an attempt were made? Would it remain part of the Empire for a month—aye, or for a week? What would be the feeling of the Colonies? What would be the verdict of the civilised world? There was not in the Kingdom such an unmixed race as that of Ulster. The bulk of the population of Ulster was descended from those who were planted there in 1611 from Scotland and England; and could anyone say that this was a new or modern population, or the people a new people? He knew that in the Nationalist papers they were described as modern settlers who had settled upon confiscated land; but were they to be called modern settlers who they settled in 1611? Why, what was the history of America, and when was the first New England State settled? Not until 1620, nine years after the settlement of Ulster, so that there was not one of the States of America whose people had such an old title to their lands or province as had the people of Ulster. If he was disposed to select an historical precedent for this Bill from the history of Irish Parliaments, it would be to the Parliament of 1689 he should go, and not to the Parliament of Grattan. He had not the time or wish to enter upon hateful subjects such as that, but he would tell the right hon. Gentleman of an historical parallel for the tyranny proposed to be perpetrated by this Bill. He was in an Ulster library the other day when he saw a number of men reading Bancroft's 1732 History of America. That was the book which was sinking into the minds of the people of Ulster. It was from its pages they would learn the rights of a country and of a free people, and from which they should drink in those lessons of liberty which a British Parliament would have disregarded when it abandoned and estranged a loyal people. Just before the War of American Independence Grenville and other British statesmen told the British people that "America will complain, but America will submit." That was the talk that was going around—that America would complain, but that America would submit —and that the loud murmurs of discontent and resistance would come to nothing. What was the grievance of the American Colonists? Nothing but taxation. And what was the grievance of the people of Ulster? Taxation was the least part of it. There had been revolutions in history founded and justified on questions of religion, upon questions of the defence of property, and on the sentiment of liberty, and upon the question of taxation. Every one of these was a motive in the case of the people of Ulster. When did ever tyranny and extortion go hand in hand as they did in this Bill? The Government went to the people of Ulster and said, "Against your will we are going to force this government upon you." They presumed largely on the love of the people of Ulster for England. What if Ulstermen were to say, "You shall not do that without a garrison such as has never been placed in any Dependency?" Did they not think that 100,000 Belfast men could make things very difficult for the Government? He trusted no such crisis would arise; but let Englishmen beware, lest, in endeavouring to conciliate the rest of Ireland, they estranged the best and most devoted of their fellow-subjects. What was the grievance of hon. Members below the Gangway? It was that the majority of Members from Ireland wanted Home Rule. Was that argument to be carried out to its logical conclusion? If it applied in one ease it applied in another. The majority of the Irish Members demanded the release of the dynamitards; but the Home Secretary, with the resolute air of a modern Cromwell, rose in his place and, stamping 1733 on the floor of the House, declared that never so long as he remained a Minister of the Crown, would these men he released. What became, then, of the argument as to the majority of Irish Members? If the Government would not apply it in that ease, why should they apply it in the case of Home Rule?. That one determination of the Government blew to pieces the argument that the majority of the Irish Members must have their way. What was the fault of the Ulster Members that they were to be treated with such insult? He did not complain of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman had always given, and he hoped he had received, courtesy. But the Chancellor of the Duchy notably had insulted the Ulster Members. The only fault of the Ulster Members was that they wished to remain members of the Constitution. What would hon. Gentlemen opposite say if they were asked to relinquish their position in the Constitution? He knew what steps the people of Ulster would take; but he asked the House not to blame them, because they knew that to the Imperial Parliament alone could they safely trust for protection—that, whatever were its faults, those faults could be remedied, and that it would still remain the greatest instrument for the protection of the liberty of the subject that the wit of man had ever devised.
§ MR. STANSFELD
said, the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just concluded a long and able speech had spoken from the point of view of the extreme Anti-Home Rule Ulster Protestant. He proposed, with the indulgence of the House, to address them for a limited space of time from a point of view the very antipodes of the point of view of the hon. and learned Gentleman, a point of view as wide from his as the poles asunder. He was a believer in the principle of nationality. He was a believer in Home Rule as based upon the principle and fact of nationality. He was sure there was not on the Bench below him a more convinced Home Ruler than himself. He did not believe even that upon the Benches occupied by the Nationalist Members there was a more convinced Home Ruler than he was. He desired distinctly from that point of view, and basing himself on that explicit declaration of faith, to address himself to the House. 1734 It appeared to him that there never was a case in which it was of more essential importance to deal in proper order with the questions involved in the Bill before them—to deal with them in that kind of order which the different stages of discussion of Bills in that House enabled them to do. He freely admitted that this was a great and novel measure, even of a revolutionary character. He admitted freely that the first question, and he would say the dominant question, as raised by the Leader of the Opposition and the Ulster Members in Debate, was whether there was any necessity whatever for any Home Rule measure. That question was discussed upon the First Reading of the Bill, and, as far as the majority of the House was concerned, it would not be denied that they had determined that, in their opinion, there was that need; and now they had come to the Second Reading they had to do with principles and essentials. The first question to which he had referred—namely, the necessity or non-necessity of any such measure, was the dominant question. The answer to it must be "Yes" or "No." If the answer was that there was no need, the whole contention fell to the ground and all subsequent discussions became entirely useless. It the answer was "Yes," then it became their duty on the Second Reading to deal with essentials, and with details in Committee, so as to thrash the measure into one fairly calculated to carry out the object affirmed on the First and Second Reading. There was another Leader of the combined Unionist Party who was not in the House that night—he referred to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. He was not going to say | anything whatever that the right hon. | Gentleman would object personally to hear or read. He desired to refer to him because of his position as Leader of one of the fragments of the Unionist Party, and because of the remarkable faculty of method and the remarkable facility and clearness of speech which had always distinguished him and made every speech of his a contribution to Debate useful to both sides. The hon. Member for West Fife, in his powerful and charming speech, referred to the right hon. Gentleman as one of the fathers of Home Rule. He would not 1735 go into the question of paternity, but he would simply refer to the position which the right hon. Gentleman took up in the Debate on the introduction of the Bill. On that occasion the right hon. Gentleman gave a formula which he said he had never been able to resist, that—The time had come to grant to Ireland the widest possible extension of local government consistent with the unity of the Empire, the supremacy of Parliament, and the protection of minorities.He claimed the right hon. Gentleman as a Home Ruler. That was the formula of the Home Rulers. They had only one addition. They said it must be satisfactory to the bulk of the Irish people, as otherwise they could not pass it, and it would not be worth while passing it if they could. But the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, though he started from that point of view, was a stalwart opponent of the Bill. He stated that the Home Rulers were encouraging the spirit of Irish nationality; that they recognised not that Ireland was part of a great nation, but that she was a separate and independent nation, and then that they deprived her of all the most important privileges of an independent nation—the management of her Foreign Affairs, of her Church, of Education, of Customs, and of Trade. And the right hon. Gentleman drew the conclusion that they were thus sowing the seeds of future discontent and further demands, and that the time when they would be made manifest would be the time of England's emergency, the moment of a struggle for existence—a war, for example, with Russia or with France. There was in that statement a very compact and definite mass of argument with which he would deal. In the first place, he asserted that they were not encouraging the spirit of Irish nationality. That had been done long since, largely, if not mainly, by the evil government of this country in the past. But they recognised the existence of that spirit as a fact, and they did not fear it. They accepted it as the truest, broadest, and safest basis for their policy. He had never put Ireland's claim to Home Rule upon a lower basis than the nationality of her people. The dominant geographical and political fact that Ireland was an island separated from Great Britain, together with the differ- 1736 ences in respect of religion and race, centuries of misrule, the confiscation of the lands, the deliberate legislative ruin of commerce and trade, and the starvation and emigration of the people—all had fed the growth of the national idea, which now it would be alike a crime and a folly to endeavour to extinguish. In his opinion, there was no principle or sentiment implanted in the human heart of a truer or higher conservative character than the principle and sentiment of nationality. It united and satisfied a people, whatever their differences were. They had heard a great deal about the differences between the Protestants of Ulster and the Catholics of the rest of Ireland, though he was delighted to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol that he had no apprehensions on that score. If they wanted to appease these differences there was nothing so calculated to do so as to grant the people a national existence. Ireland, save the British garrison in the North, had not prospered under British rule, nor was there a hope of her prosperity unless they found some solution of the difficulties in her way Those who opposed her desire for national self-government had shown' themselves to be fatally bound to a course of policy which was inconsistent with her prosperity and progress. They were bound to lean on the minority of the Irish people and to legislate to suit them, and the great bulk of the inhabitants knew that they had nothing to get from them. Thus they accentuated, exaggerated, and stimulated the differences and antagonism of the various sections of the people in Ireland—the Leaders of the Party opposite were doing so at that moment. That was Lord Salisbury's policy of "20 years of resolute government," and it did not consist with progress or with permanent content. There was, as he thought, a flaw in the logic of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham—namely, in a misapprehension on his part of the real character of what was called nationality. They recognised with the right hon. Gentleman that Ireland must remain part of a greater whole, and that her political condition must be controlled by her geographical position. The whole Bill was based upon that principle. Great Britain and 1737 Ireland were by Nature's decree inseparable. The problem was to find a reasonable and hopeful modus vivendi. There must be union, but it must not be a rigid one, as if the English and the Irish peoples were monotonously one. He had often marvelled that the lessons of the revolutionary period of 1848 in Europe appeared to have been forgotten by this country. One of these lessons was the necessity of recognising the sentiment of nationality. Every lesson which the experience of that time conveyed was that a minor nationality took its place with perfect ease and perfect content as part of a larger and a complex whole, if only its individuality were acknowledged and it were given some inner life of its own. That was the general experience of history, and he did not see why there should be any exception with regard to the Irish people. He would not discuss the cases of Austria or of Germany, as they had been discussed already; but he should have liked to put to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, if he had been here, an analogy drawn from the material world, which he (Mr. Stansfield) thought had considerable bearing upon this question. If they strove by force to reduce matter to a closer cohesion than the law of its character and parts permitted, what would be the result? The result would be not cohesion, but repulsion, and it might be explosion. And what was true in the material was also true in the moral and political world. In his opinion, the spirit of nationality in Ireland existed, had grown up through centuries of difficulty and oppression, and could be extinguished. He said with equal conviction that it did not want separation; it wanted only a subordinate national life of its own. If they rejected its moderate demands, what was the alternative? The alternative was 20 years of "resolute government," for there was nothing else to offer; and let him remind hon. and right hon. Members never to lose sight of that only alternative to some measure of the character of a Home Rule Bill. The alternative was 20 years of stereotyped coercion, of government against the will of the majority of the Irish people. Why 20 years?
§ MR. STANSFELD
Yes; why 20 years after centuries of failure? There were certain new conditions now compared with the past. Were those new conditions more, or were they less, favourable? There was a greater Ireland now beyond the seas —a modern creation. Would any of them venture to argue—would any of them pretend that that greater Ireland did not desire, almost as one man, the grant of free self-government to the Irish people on Irish subjects? It could hardly be questioned that the whole of the civilised world was with those of them who favoured the passing of some measure of self-government for Ireland. That method of coercive government was used in the past, when no English Party came to the front to back the Irish people and enter into an alliance with them. At this moment they had the Liberal Party solid in favour of the Home Rule measure, determined upon persistence in the alliance, convinced on the subject of Home Rule, bound in honour, and determined, as the Liberal Party ever had been determined, never to turn its back upon a course of reform. And then they had the coming Democracy You had heard people say that the Democracy thought only of the labour question, and that they did not care, and were not now caring, for Home Rule; but he (Mr. Stansfield) told them that, while they are deeply interested in matters affecting their own lives and interests, they had no fear of self-government in Ireland. If they imagined that they would ever succeed in persuading the Democracy to follow them to the polls in opposition to the Irish people, they would find yourselves terribly mistaken. For all those reasons he concluded with his first proposition, that they could go on upon the old lines. Some measure had become a political necessity— measure which would satisfy the bulk of the Irish people, maintain the Union of these islands and the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament; and the problem was to work out and pass this measure as soon as they could. Now he passed on to another consideration. He came to the Bill itself. What should be its essential principles? Well, the gift to Ireland must be an ungrudging gift. As far as purely Irish affairs were concerned, the wisest and safest policy, if they did this thing at all, was to do it courageously. There was no need or demand that they 1739 should give up a tittle of anything governmental or legislative that appertained to the United Kingdom. Minorities must be protected, but there was one method of protection which they could not undertake. They could not undertake to protect minorities at the cost of refusing the right of self-government to the majority of their fellow-countrymen. They would discuss safeguards, and he was sure he did not misrepresent the occupants of the Front Bench when he said they would listen to any suggestions consistent with their main idea and project, how ever unnecessary they might think them, if it was believed that they would assuage the fears which, he did not like to say the minority in Ireland entertained, but which they imagined they entertained. Whether the clauses of the Bill were sufficient for this and other similar purposes he did not propose now to discuss; that was a question for Committee. But he would say this: that whether the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, which must be maintained, was to be an effectual and an easily-working supremacy without friction must depend mainly on two points; first, on the satisfaction of the bulk of the Irish people with the liberality of the measure; and, secondly, on their having the common sense in that House to leave Ireland severely alone for sometime to manage her own affairs under the measures by which they conferred that power and privilege upon her. It meant, of course, giving Home Rule a fair trial and a fair chance; and in spite of many things that had been said and that were still being said, he believed that a fair trial and a fair chance would be given. He believed that if Home Rule passed and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition immediately afterwards became responsible for the Government of Ireland, Home Rule would receive a fair trial, because, after all, they had got some common sense. Then there was another point in the Bill on which he must say a word, as he regarded it as one of the essentials of the measure—he meant the retention of the Irish Members in the Imperial Parliament. He was aware that the Prime Minister said, and said truly, that their retention was not necessary to Imperial supremacy, but it was, in his (Mr. Stausfeld's) opinion, necessary to unity, for he did not know how to argue that unity was secured if Ireland was reduced to the condition of a Dependency. 1740 He would say this, further: Ireland might be, and he believed would be, contented with the limited Home Rule proposed if she remained an integral part of the United Kingdom, a sharer in all the glorias of their past and responsibilities of their present and their future; but if she was to be extruded and brought down from the position which she naturally should occupy of sharing that great responsibility, she would be perfectly justified in requiring a larger measure, and at least equal to the measure of emancipation of their self-governing Colonies. With regard to the question of the retention of the Irish Members they heard of inconveniences. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister himself had made a great deal of them—more than he (Mr. Stansfeld) was prepared at that moment to do; but whatever inconveniences arose would rather affect Irish Members than themselves; and whatever those inconveniences might be, he believed they had been enormously exaggerated. It was objected that the Irish Members could turn out a British Government—that they would manage their own affairs and would rule British affairs. That statement was inaccurate, and for this reason, that the Government would be an Imperial Government. At that moment they could turn out, and had turned out, Imperial Governments. They would possess no greater power than they had now; they would be in reduced numbers, they would have less motive; but, besides that, what had they in the Bill? As far as British questions were concerned, they were not to be entitled to vote. Well, if they wore not to be entitled to vote on British questions, how were they to rule on British questions? They would not be allowed to vote on British questions, because they chose to say that certain Party measures involved the question of confidence or want of confidence in the Imperial Government. The provisions of the Bill would prevent them from exercising that power. But he wanted to put this point to the House. The Imperial Government would be, at the same time, the only Government which governed Great Britain. It would not be British, it would be Imperial; but it would govern Great Britain, though, as he said, the Irish Members would not be allowed to vote on British questions. He wished any Conservative Member to tell him whether he 1741 thought that was not a reasonable and favourable arrangement as far as British questions and British interests were concerned. See how easily it would work. The Government would take care not to bring forward any British Bills unless it was assured of a British as well as an Imperial majority. Did not that Imperialise their status? It had done so in the past, and it would do so in the future. With regard to the practical inconvenience of this arrangement, let him point this out — that Parliamentary subjects were too numerous at present— far too numerous—for any one of them to attempt to deal with, or attend to, or even to vote intelligently upon every one of them. They made selections for themselves. What was this but a proposed selection made for them to their great comfort and advantage? Irishmen would manage Irish affairs in Dublin; we would manage British affairs here. The Irish Members would not interfere with them; but if anyone imagined that there would be too little to do he had little consciousness of the amount of Imperial and British work that was waiting to be dealt with, and which could not be dealt with until they relieved themselves of the incubus of this Irish Question. The only subject remaining for him to touch upon was that of Ulster. Let him, for a few moments, endeavour to compare her future under a Home Rule Bill with her past; and he would put this question to the people of Ulster, the anti-Home Rule people in Ulster. He asked them frankly, was there not, after all, something repugnant in occupying by choice the position of an Irish minority setting itself against the desires for national self-government of a large majority; refusing liberty to them; insisting upon that refusal, upheld and favoured against the great mass of the Irish people by the superior force of Great Britain? Whether the Ulster Members liked the idea of a Home Rule Parliament or not, did they not feel repugnance to being for ever a, party to a policy of divide and conquer? He asked the Ulster people if they cared—as he knew they did—for their greater unity, could they not sec that the unity and self-government and contentment of their own people might be necessary for the greater unity of the United Kingdom? Why should they believe Irish unity impossible? Let them look elsewhere in 1742 Europe, and what difficulty was there in Protestants and Catholics living in harmony together? And he asked the Ulster-man another question: Had he not sufficient confidence in himself to guard his own rights and his own interests? He talked of fighting; let him fight on the floor of the Chamber of the future Home Rule Parliament of Ireland. He would have a great place there. He would be welcomed there. He (Mr. Stansfeld) said that at that moment the great majority of the Irish people—his Catholic fellow-countrymen—claimed and invited him. They would give him front rank. They dreamed of a future which, with him, they hoped to create and to prosper in. Why could he not make up his mind to respond to that appeal of the natural and national instinct of every true-born Irishman? The idea was distasteful. He (Mr. Stansfeld) did not believe in the fears—it was a matter of taste and distaste. They would rather stand aloof and alone. He did not mean to criticise severely that attitude of Ulster, for the reason that it was we, the superior power in Great Britain, who were responsible for that condition of mind in men who considered themselves as the British garrison implanted in Ireland. But he declared that ten times over he would rather be a member of the minority of a nation holding itself together by its own self-reliant vigour than by the help of external and superior force. And yet they persistently refused to be a party to this grant of self-government to their fellow-countrymen. There were only two alternatives before Ulstermen, and they must make their choice between them before long—one, an unhappy one, to continue to play the part of an English garrison; to refuse, and to persist in refusing, self-government to the majority of their own people; and to hold their round not with but against their fellow-countrymen, aided for a time—but no more than for a time—by the Government of Great Britain; but that was a policy doomed to failure, for never again would Great Britain be united in favour of the evil policy of the past. And what was the other alternative? It was to abandon those unworthy and imaginary fears, to trust to themselves to hold their own, as they would easily hold their own, in their own Parliament, and to join and take, as they would take, the foremost rank with their fellow-countrymen with the great majority in 1743 the great and common work of grounding and forwarding a happier future for Ireland. That would be a noble, a wise, and patriotic part. The whole Irish people would appreciate it and those who took it. It would make to the credit of Protestant Ulster. It would make for the peace, the progress, and the unity of Ireland; it would stengthen and consolidate the union and power of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. BRODRICK (Surrey, Guildford)
said, the House always listened with great respect to the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. There was no subject on which the right hon. Gentleman—who too seldom interposed in their Debates—would not be listened to with interest, but he (Mr. Brodrick) doubted whether ever, until to-night, the House of Commons had had an opportunity of properly estimating the Parliamentary value of the right hon. Gentleman's speeches. He did not think that if it had been possible for the right hon. Gentleman to have represented the views of his Party and of the Front Opposition Bench, he could have exhibited in a more striking manner the attributes of the old Parliamentary hand. The right hon. Gentleman had urged the House to keep to the principles and essentials of the Bill, but he carefully drew their attention away from all considerations which upon the Second Reading of a Bill it was most necessary for them to discuss, and left them in the position that they were to deal with the details in Committee. He then proceeded to express strong views as to the supremacy of Parliament, which was to be maintained, and when he took up and proceeded to investigate it, he did not touch upon any one of the points by which it was said that supremacy was to be maintained. It was to be regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had not used his intellect and lent his great eloquence to the task of showing how the Bill carried out the principles he laid down as necessary. When they had regard to the Prime Minister's speech last night, in which they were told, that the supremacy of Parliament was to be coupled with regard for the minority and for the future working of the Irish Government, but in which they did not hear one word about the minority in Ulster and the rest of Ireland, about the rights of the landlords, and the 1744 financial clauses upon which the right hon. Gentleman adverted in introducing the Bill, he (Mr. Brodrick) must say for himself that he declined to be fettered, by the restrictions laid down by the last speaker as to postponing these matters for discussion to the Committee stage. He refused to assent to the view that they must not now discuss whether or not the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament is maintained in the Bill. He could point out one after another cases in which the supremacy of Parliament would be reduced to a nullity, and how the Irish Parliament would be able to snap their fingers at the Imperial Parliament, and he would show how the new Irish Ministry would be able to advise the Crown in opposition to the wishes of the people of this country. He did not propose to trouble the House with a disquisition upon past controversies, nor to discuss how wise counsels, if they had prevailed seven years ago, might have kept them out of the present deadlock. He would not go back to the methods—iniquitous as he considered them—by which agrarian agitation had been fostered until it had assumed national proportions, and he would not allude to the way in which personal objects and ambitious had been metamorphosed into the aspirations of a nation for national objects. They were not called upon, at the present moment, to exercise a sort of retributive justice upon hon. Members below the Gangway for speeches they had made in times past. Those hon. Members had given them many causes of irritation; they had given the House good reason to regret the paralysis of its business; but, if he might say so, that was no reason why they should proceed to give Ireland a Constitution that would be unworkable and to load the new Irish Parliament, if a new Irish Parliament there was to be, with restrictions that would make it impossible for business to be done. He (Mr. Brodrick) regretted that the declaration in the Bill as to the power of the Irish Parliament, instead of being made restrictive, had not been made permissive in the sense of showing what powers the Irish Parliament was to exercise. The Bill proceeded as though legislation would be the sole function of the Irish Parliament, and as though a veto upon legislation would be a sufficient safeguard for the Imperial Parliament. 1745 There were numerous eases where action had been taken by Resolution and not by Bill. There was nothing in the Bill that would prevent the Irish Parliament from proceeding by Resolution. He would give an instance which the Prime Minister if be were present would recognise as an important one. The House would remember that the Army Purchase Bill was passed by the House of Commons, but thrown out by the House of Lords, and that the Prime Minister then approached the Sovereign and effected by Royal Warrant what he had been unable to achieve by Bill. Well in like manner the Irish Government, though denied certain powers in the Bill, would approach the Viceroy with the support of Resolutions passed by both Houses of Parliament, with the moral support of a Constitutional position, and a mute appeal to probable disorder in three Provinces in Ireland in case of refusal. There was nothing in the Bill or in the veto provided that would prevent the Irish Parliament the first day of its meeting from passing a Resolution declaring that Ireland was independent, and that the poverty of the country was such that no more Customs Revenue ought to be paid to the Imperial Treasury, and that the Imperial troops should be withdrawn. Imagine what would be the position of the Military Forces of the Crown in Ireland in that case under a Ministry which could not supplant them by vote but could indict them by Resolution. The Irish Parliament might not be able to maintain military forces, but there was nothing to prevent them raising a police force, supplemented by 100,000 special constables, for whom they could buy arms, and whom they could drill until they became as useful and efficient as a Volunteer Army. As a matter of fact, every section of this measure could be riddled through and through, and, in his opinion, hon. Members below the Gangway would find no difficulty in driving a coach and six through any one of these restrictions. What could be more absurd than the provision which forbade the Irish Ministry from entering into Treaties with Foreign States, and from establishing diplomatic relations with them, when there was nothing in the Bill to prevent them turning out of the country every subject of any Foreign State with whom they might happen at the moment to be at issue? The Irish 1746 Parliament was not allowed to adopt a policy of Protection, but it would have the right of granting bounties in such a. way as might practically exclude foreign, goods from the Irish markets. Bounties, could be given so as to make Irish products more beneficial to the Irish producer than English products to the English, producer, and in this way our position in. the commercial world must be endangered, though Ireland would be a part of the British Empire and would subscribe to the maintenance of the Fleet and the Army. This point was most important, and he was sure it had escaped the attention of the Government. It was said that the Bill would give equal rights to all parties in regard to education and religion; but had it occurred to the Chief Secretary for Ireland that the Irish Parliament would only have to assimilate the law of the land to the law of the Catholic Church to bring about a most disastrous condition of affairs in connection with social relations in Ireland? He referred to the question of divorce. It was a canon of the Catholic Church, differing from the Protestant Church and the law of this country, that divorced persons could not intermarry with other people. Divorces were not recognised by the Catholic Church, and that was the law by which two out of three or three out of four people in Ireland were guided at the present moment, and there would lie under the Bill nothing to prevent the Irish Parliament making that the common law of the laud. By so doing they would make all divorced and re-married men and women adulterers and living in sin, and their children illegitimate. He had not forgotten what the Prime Minister, had said with regard to the protection of the rights and privileges of the various States of America, but why had not the right hon. Gentleman told them that in this Bill they would be carefully avoiding the restrictions which had made the States Legislatures what they were. The right hon. Gentleman knew what the 10th section of the American Constitution was which forbade all ex post facto legislation and also legislation which would vary or change existing contracts. It was left possible, however, under the Bill to apply ex post facto legislation to the law of divorce and to declare every man or woman who had been legally married in this country, but who had been 1747 divorced, to be living in sin in Ireland. To give an extremely ridiculous illustration, anybody succeeding to a title as an Irish Peer, if he were unfortunately the offspring of a man or woman who had been divorced, would be recognised by Her Majesty, and summoned as one entitled to vote for the Irish Representative Peers, but would be regarded in Ireland as a bastard and as incapable of voting for that purpose. The Bill contained a provision that no person was to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. He recognised that the Government fully intended to do justice in this matter; but, at the same time, they left to the Irish Parliament the power to create offences, to appoint the Judges, and to assign the venue. There was nothing whatever in the Bill to prevent a Protestant landlord in County Clare being tried by 12 Catholic tenant farmers in County Cork, and nothing to prevent an unpopular merchant of Belfast being arraigned before a jury in Dublin. The Irish Government would also have the power of enlarging every man who had been guilty of depriving his fellow of life, liberty, or property, and this power, be it remembered, was being bestowed at the very moment when the hon. Members who would form that Government were at issue with Her Majesty's Government on the question of enlarging men who had been guilty of some of the most atrocious crimes committed during the present century. He was not going to attribute any malign intentions to the Irish Members; but he thought that the silence of the Government with regard to the condition of the minority, in view of the appeals that had been made to them during the last few months, was one of the most remarkable features of the present controversy. On the previous evening the Prime Minister bad descanted on the condition of Rhodes and Samos under the Government of Turkey. The House would, however, have liked to hear him talk about the condition of Ulster and of the scattered Unionists in the South of Ireland, who were not to have one representative in the gerrymandered constituencies of the Southern Province. He called them gerrymandered constituencies, because they were constituencies in which a majority of the people might find themselves in a 1748 minority of the representation. The Government admitted the necessity for securities, but shrank from making them effective. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld) had abjured the Unionists to fight out their differences with the Nationalists on the floor of the Irish Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman had not, however, told the House that in that Parliament Ulster would be in a minority of one to five. The hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) had lately given the House in Debate an illustration of what would happen. The hon. Member had said, in effect: "Why do the Government listen to the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell)? He is in a minority. All they have to do is to vote him down. "This was the kind of spirit under which the proceedings of an Irish Parliament would be conducted. The Irish Unionists asked for bread and the Government gave them a stone. They asked Parliament to keep in its hands the Judicature, the Police, and the ancient laws and liberties of the country, and the Government answered them by offering trade marks, beacons, and quarantine. The Government securities were administered very much on the principle of parochial relief by Mr. Bumble, who gave the paupers everything they did not want so that they might get tired of asking; and yet the attitude and temper of the minority was not an inconsiderable factor in the success of the measure. He thought the House had a little too much forgotten the speech made by the late Mr. Parnell on the Bill of 1886. Mr. Parnell spoke in language which he thought he might describe as generous, and at the same time statesmanlike, about the condition of the Irish minority. He made it clear to the House that he looked forward with dismay to the prospect of manipulating the new Irish Government unless he could count upon the co-operation in the Legislature of all the men of greatest weight, greatest knowledge, and greatest political experience in Ireland. What prospect was there that the Government would get not merely the minority, but the most powerful items of the constituent body in favour of the administration of the Bill? It had not needed the eloquent speech of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Barton) to make 1749 it clear that in dealing with Ulster the Government had got one of the hardest nuts to crack that had ever been known. The Government, however, must have been astonished that in no place out of Ulster had the slightest enthusiasm been exhibited in favour of the Bill. The fact was that the other three Provinces of Ireland were seamed with divisions. For many years the House of Commons had been trying to accommodate the feelings of the Protestant and Catholic Parties to each other. The Government had now brought forward a Bill, which irrevocably ranged nine out of 10 Protestants on one side, and nine out of 10 Catholics on the other. Ireland needed more capital for the development of her resources. The bankers, the merchants, the Chambers of Commerce, the Steamship Companies, the Railway Companies, and the heads of the great linen industry had, nine out of 10 of them, approached the House with a protest against having their lives, their property, and their accumulated wealth handed over to a democracy of small farmers, petty traders, and struggling citizens of all kinds. For 13 years the House had been engaged in trying to accommodate the relations between the landlord and the tenant in Ireland. Under this Bill nine out of 10 landlords would be pitted against nine out of 10 tenants. How could it be supposed that under such circumstances the measure would be successful, simply because it appeared to the Government, and to the majority of the House, that it ought to be accepted in Ireland? There was one point which had not been much dealt with in these Debates, and was not popular in the House. He referred to the position of the landlords under the Bill. He himself was connected with the landlord class, and he thought that in justice to the very large number of men who were concerned, and the immense interests they possessed, and the great influence which, either for good or for evil, they could exert in Ireland, it would be well for the House to give some attention to their position. The House ought to have some tender feeling for the landlords of Ireland, inasmuch as their wealth had been employed to lubricate almost every measure that had been passed during recent years. The Irish landlords had been the recognised milch-cow of the House of Commons for the last 12 1750 years. The Coercion Act of 1881 was softened to the Irish people by a Laud Act which deprived the landlords of £5,000,000 a year. The Coercion Act of 1882 was accompanied by the Arrears Act, which wiped out £750,000 of arrears.
MR. J. MORLEY
The Arrears Act gave the landlords £800,000.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said, the Act no doubt gave them a sum of money, but under it they had to give up £3 for every £2 they received. The Coercion Act of 1887 was accompanied by a revision of judicial rents. The Irish landlords were now reduced to such a condition that they could not take a step without the approval of the Courts, the tenants had secured about one-third of the holdings for their own interest, and the landlords' share in the value of the property in the whole of Ireland had been reduced by nearly £60,000,000. These were enormous sacrifices. They had been exacted, of course, on public grounds, but as they had been exacted he thought that the wind might be tempered to the shorn lamb. That, however, was evidently not the view of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. J. Morley). The other day the right hon. Gentleman proposed, when the Evicted Tenants Bill was under discussion, that the landlord should be forced to take back a tenant who might be, and would in many cases be, a man who had already defrauded him, a man without capital or credit, without the power of paying a single year's rent, and who, having been provided by the National League with outdoor relief for five years, was, according to the measure which received the right hon. Gentleman's approval, to be provided permanently with indoor relief at the expense of the landlord. He only stated this to show what the landlords might expect under this Bill. The learned Attorney General had described the Irish landlords as unpatriotic. Well, the way to make a man patriotic was not to denude him of the greater portion of his livelihood step by step in order to lubricate legislation. He would not trouble the House by quoting the denunciations of the landlord class, which had been common during the last few years. But he would cite the hon. Member for East Mayo, because he recognised in the hon. Member the arbiter of the destinies 1751 of the landlords, and their worst and most violent enemy, and if there was an Irish Parliament he would be in the Irish Cabinet and control its policy. In November, 1886, at Limerick, the hon. Member explained that, in his mind, there was an irrevocable connection between the disappearance of the English Government and of the Irish landlords; it was their firm faith that when the struggle for Home Rule had been carried to a successful determination they would see in one and the same hour the disappearance of the landlords and of the power of a Foreign Government. Again, speaking in Dublin on February 22 last, the hon. Member said he could promise that if the Home Rule Bill passed, and a National Government were installed in Dublin, the eviction and oppression of the farmers in Ireland would come to an immediate end. That was a No-Rent Manifesto. They could not enforce the payment of rent unless they had behind them the power of eviction. What, under those circumstances, became of the three years' close time given to landlords under the Bill? Every landlord in Ireland could be ruined in those three years. The provision in the Bill was inserted simply to hoodwink the country. There were other Bills before the House, but he would draw attention to the way in which the landlord class were to be treated as compared with the other classes marked out by the Government for confiscation during the present Session. Three classes of malefactors had been singled out since the 1st February—the British publican, the Welsh ecclesiastic, and the Irish landlord. The Irish landlord was given three years' close time, and then he was to be dealt with, not by a majority of the United Kingdom, but by a majority in Ireland, which might be so gerrymandered that a minority of Representatives might represent a majority of the people. The Welsh Churchman was to have a little better treatment. He was given a life interest in the dignities and revenues which he held, and the remainder of the Church revenue was left to be dealt with, not by the majority in Wales, but by the majority in the United Kingdom—a protection which was invaluable to the people of Wales. The British publican, who, according to speakers on the Government side of the 1752 House on hundreds of platforms, had corrupted the morals of the country, had embittered many lives, and to whom half of our national iniquities was said to be due, was allowed three years' close time, and then he was to be dealt with by a two-thirds majority. Why was not the same consideration given to the other classes as to the publicans? Because they knew that, in the case of Wales, if a two-thirds majority were insisted on it would be found impossible to get one, and if a two-thirds majority were given in the case of Ireland the Irish landlords would not have to come to the House to claim assistance. He claimed for the Irish landlords, whose rents and whose actions were now regulated by Act of Parliament, that they deserved the consideration which was not denied to the humblest publican in Great Britain. There was one portion of the Bill of which no notice had hitherto been taken, and that was the financial portion. Nothing was duller than finance, and nobody knew that better than the Prime Minister, who alone had the magic power to make the financial portion of the Bill interesting. But he himself carefully kept away from that part of the Bill on the previous day and indulged in those sensational methods of vivid outlines and strongly-marked effects which he knew would rouse the sympathies of his followers. So he carefully kept away from the dull, prosaic facts of finance. The right hon. Gentleman had said that there would be a chronic plethora of money in Ireland, but he maintained that all the sacrifices which Englishmen were prepared to make—in the way of giving Ireland a clean Budget—would be made in vain, and if the Irish people were to accept the financial scheme in the Bill they could not carry it out, and Ireland would be unable to pay her way. The opinion of every Irishman who had spoken on the subject, whether he was a Catholic or a Protestant, and whether he had spoken in Ireland or in the House, was, that the financial clauses of the Bill could not work. Such were the opinions that, had been expressed at Dublin, Belfast, Cork, and Limerick. The Belfast Chamber of Commerce had reported that the fiscal arrangements of the Bill were altogether unsatisfactory, and that there would be under them no escape from the necessity of new taxation. 1753 The Dublin Municipal Authorities, while expressing approval of the Bill generally, criticised its financial proposals, and Mr. Pierce Mahony said that under them the new Parliament would be bankrupt in less than three years. They did not, he added, intend to set up a sham. At a National League meeting at Cork, Alderman O'Brien said the Parliament offered to the Irish people would simply be a constable to collect the revenues and enrich England; and at Limerick, at a meeting convened by the Mayor, one of the speakers said he looked on the financial arrangements of the Bill as disastrous to the country. The hon. Member for North Longford never made extravagant statements in the House, and yet he had said that he naturally had a strong objection to seeing Ireland start on her course of self-government with financial arrangements which threatened at the outset something very like national bankruptcy. That was a strong statement, and he proposed to investigate it. He hoped the Prime Minister would not be offended if he asserted that, in his opinion, the surplus of £500,000 was a sham and a delusion. He had given attention to the figures, and be had verified them from official sources. He had, too, taken the most recent dates, and he had ventured to draw up a statement of what the finances of Ireland would be under the circumstances, which he would submit to the House. His indictment of the Irish charges was that the Government had left out many most important charges which would be absolutely certain to fall upon the Irish Exchequer. The Bill said the surplus would amount to £500,000 sterling, but there was no provision in it for the establishment of the Government. We in Great Britain had a Government which cost nearly £150,000 a year. He did not suppose the Irish Ministry would cost so much as that; at any rate he hoped it would not. He would take as the cost for the Irish Government— and it was a very moderate estimate— £30,000. But how were the Members of Parliament to be paid? They had a Debate recently on the question of the payment of Members, and as a result they were pledged, by the Government and by the Irish Members, to pay £300 a year to Members of Parliament. The 151 Members for the two Houses to 1754 be established in Ireland would cost £45,000 a year. Then the Irish Government would have to spend a good sum in redeeming and buying houses for the Parliament, and would have to spend £50,000 a year in keeping them up and in remunerating the staff of officials which would have to be paid. As to the Constabulary, the right hon. Gentleman opposite put into a Schedule certain rates of pension at which the Constabulary, in case of their being dispensed with, were to be retired. There were three things which could be done. They could leave the Force as it now was, and in that case the cost would be £1,500,000 a year. They could substitute for it local forces, allowing all the men willing to do so to join those local bodies. In that case a burden of more than £1,000,000 a year would fall on the Irish Exchequer. United Ireland told them that the cost would be £700,000, and moderate papers like The Economist estimated it at £500,000 and less figures. He had endeavoured to estimate it according to what hon. Gentlemen might think a fair charge. Let the Constabulary be reduced by one-third, and suppose the remaining two-thirds were willing to join, the cost would be £1,164,000, instead of £1,000,000, as estimated by the Prime Minister. That was a difference of £164,000. That would have to come out of the surplus of £500,000. If the two-thirds were not willing to join the new Force, so much the worse for the British Exchequer. Then there were the Judges and the Civil Service which had to be provided for. The Schedule which the right hon. Gentleman opposite was to produce would provide for the retirement of the Civil servants. But that retirement would have to be paid for. The Judges' pensions he estimated at £40,000, and the Civil Service pensions at £125,000. The Prime Minister talked of economies in the Civil Service, and made the astounding statement that the Government of Ireland cost £1 a head while the Government of England cost only 10s. He could not understand the mental process by which the right hon. Gentleman arrived at that result. The Government of England cost 17s. 6d. for every man, woman, and child in the population, and to that was to be added the charge for the County Police, or 18d. per head, which brought up the cost to 19s., 1755 so that the difference of the cost of government for Ireland as compared with England was not as between £1 and 10s., but as the difference between 22s. and 19s. Everyone knew that you could effect economies on great transactions which could not be effected on small, and, therefore, he did not think that the cost of the Government of Ireland at 22s. a head compared so unfavourably with the cost of the Government of England at 19s. He did not deny that there was room for economy in the Irish Civil Service; but everyone knew that when great establishments were re-organised, the first result was a great increase of charge. It was so in the Admiralty and in the War Office, and it would be so in the Civil Service in Ireland, and the more Judges and Civil Service officials with high salaries that were dispensed with, the greater would be the charge for exaggerated pensions for the Judges and officials on the Irish Budget. Passing from that point, he regretted to say that the Bill made no provision whatever for many services which the House of Commons had so freely rendered to Ireland for the last 10 or 12 years: for the relief of distress, for example, for the light railways, for seed and drainage, and other such things which they were told were necessary for Ireland. The pinch of national dependence would be felt in every cabin in Ireland under the Bill. There was not a peasant who had gained by the different Acts of the Leader of the Opposition who would not curse a Bill which left him high and dry without a shilling. The Irish Budget receipts, as shown by the Prime Minister, were £5,660,000. The expenditure, as shown by the evidence of the last 10 years, would be £5,754,000—so that there would be a first deficit of £94,000. But that was not all. There was a certain amount of gerrymandering on the other side of the account. The income of Ireland had been taken in a manner in which no Chancellor of the Exchequer had ever taken the income of England. The large receipts in Ireland were from Excise, and these were put at £3,220,000. That was an absolutely delusive figure. The general Excise of the United Kingdom fell from 1882, when it was £14,000,000, to 1887, when it was only £12,800,000. Then it remained stationary for three years, but in 1890–1–2 1756 it advanced by leaps and bounds to £13,850,000 in 1890, £14,770,000 in 1891, and £15,690,000 in 1892. Would it be credited that, with these three leaping and bounding years before him, each exceeding the aggregate of the previous year to such an enormous extent—the right hon. Gentleman ignored the loss which had occurred in 1893—the Irish surplus was based on those three bounding years? To be fair and generous, he would take the last six years, leaving out 1893; the result of that was that, instead of Irish Excise amounting to £3,220,000, it was only £3,045,000, or a reduction of £175,000. That brought the balance on the wrong side up to £270,000. Either this must be accepted as a permanent condition of affairs—a permanent bankruptcy—or else Ireland would be at the door of that House, hat in hand, asking for more money before many months were over, and guiding her votes on Imperial questions, very properly, according to the Party which was willing to make the greater sacrifices of Imperial Revenue for her. The extraordinary part of the whole position was that, whilst it was unjust to Ireland, it was more than unjust to Great Britain. The fact was that Britain was going to pay through the nose in order to put Ireland into a state of bankruptcy. What ought Ireland to pay to the Imperial Exchequer? Going back to 1886, the Prime Minister then said that Ireland should pay 1–15th of the Imperial charges, and added that that was just and generous. Why did he now propose a payment of l–25th? He (Mr. Brodrick) had endeavoured to arrive at a fair basis of calculation on the most recent figures. The Death Duties paid by Ireland were 1–18th and the Income Tax 1–22 of the whole. Between these he would strike an average. He might have taken l–15th as Ireland's contribution; but the Opposition had got so good a case that they had got plenty to throw away, and therefore they should leave no opportunity for criticism to their opponents. He would on that account take l–20th as Ireland's share of Imperial expenditure—and that made a charge of £2,950,000, or £600,000 above the sum estimated as coming from Customs. But that was not all. There was the Lord Lieutenant's salary of £20,000 a year, which was to be a charge on the Imperial 1757 Exchequer. The Constabulary pensions would also be a permanent charge of £282,000 a year. But he was sorry to say that on this side of the account again the right hon. Gentleman had left out one of the main features in the relations between Great Britain and Ireland—he had taken no account of the extraordinary Army and Navy expenditure beyond the annual Estimates. He had had this looked up for the last 15 years, 1877–93, and he had found—this extraordinary expenditure, by the way, had mainly come from the misfortunes of Liberal Governments— that in 15 years we had spent in extraordinary expenditure on the Army and Navy £39,065,000. If Ireland was not to contribute to that, we should have to pay every single farthing of it in the future, and there had not been a single year since 1877 free from these extraordinary charges. Spread over the 15 years, this sum amounted to £2,444,000 a year, of which Ireland's share on the l–20th basis would be £122,000 a year. The result of all these figures was that the Government of Ireland Bill would cost the Imperial Revenue a sum altogether of £722,000 a year. The capital value of the deficit of £722,000 was £24,083,000, and adding the capitalised value of the £282,300 for Constabulary pensions, which amounted to £5,158,000, they had a total capital cost to the imperial Exchequer of £29,241,100. Hon. Members opposite might say that they were willing to pay that for the sake of getting rid of the job. But they did not get rid of it. In order to get rid of direct taxation it was proposed to take the Customs, and with a Foreign Power so collecting Customs there was no Irishman inside Ulster or outside it whose hand would not be against the Foreign Power and for the smuggler. Ireland had been made by nature, by habit, and by past history the best country in the world for smuggling. Their object, therefore, in holding the Customs would be defeated. And their object in establishing an indirect charge and not a direct charge was also defeated. For there was not only the indirect charge under Customs, but also £16,000,000 of loans to the Board of Works, and other public bodies, on which there was a first charge. Every time this country went to war they had to form a new first charge. How were they 1758 going to enforce it? It was said the Lord Lieutenant could stop it out of the Excise. The Lord Lieutenant, could "call spirits from the vasty deep," but would they come when he calls? The Irish Government could refuse it, and the Lord Lieutenant could not enforce it. If the officer of the Board obeyed the Lord Lieutenant the Irish Government could dismiss him, and the Lord Lieutenant could not reinstate him: while if the English Government objected to these proceedings on the part of the Irish Legislature, Irish Members would troop into the House of Commons and put the Government in a minority on the next Imperial question which arose. For of all the absurdities of the Bill the greatest was this, that the Irish people were to pay l–20th of the charge, and were to have one-eighth of the representation. He saw no reason why population should be the standard in this matter any more than the acreage of Ireland. The Imperial Parliament was not going to deal with social questions, with questions between rich and poor, with the franchise, with public burdens. They were going to deal with Foreign Treaties, Colonial policy, trade, and he defied the Prime Minister, with all his knowledge, to discover any case for an autonomous country in which, when it had been connected with a central Power for Imperial purposes, the representation was by population and was not based, as it ought to be, on contributions to Imperial charges. He believed the financial proposals of the Bill to be unworkable and unsound, giving the maximum of interference with the minimum of stability, endowing us with rights which we could not enforce, and claims which we could justify, but could not realise. Moreover, the financial relations between this country and Ireland had been the only comfortable relations in times past, but the Government were going to make them subjects of the greatest friction in the time to come. With regard to Ulster, he wished to ask the Government a direct question, and he was sorry that the Secretary for War was not in his place, as the question referred to the Department of that right hon. Gentleman. Nothing was easier than to brag and bluster about rebellion; but, on the other hand, nothing was so futile as to scoff' and deride a genuine feeling as 1759 if it were only senseless swagger, and to treat the desperation of determined men as the mere ebullition of temper. He wanted to know whether the Government really believed in apprehensions of trouble in Ulster under this Bill or not? Did they not really think there was danger of armed rebellion? Because there had come into his hands in the last few days a paper which made him strongly believe that the Government were not so free from apprehension on this score as they professed. The late Government decided many months before they left Office to offer a large number of Snider rifles to the public. They were new and very serviceable weapons, and there were between 20,000 and 30,000 of them in store. The late Government offered them to the public at £1 apiece, but got no offers for them. Now, he had been furnished with a statement by a gentleman who said he recently made application to the War Office to purchase Snider rifles at a low price, and the reply he received was that the Government had no Snider rifles at present which they desired to sell. In that case they could hardly escape from the dilemma that if they were afraid to sell that which the late Government were willing to sell, they felt they had created a state of feeling which made it unwise for them to allow arms to get into the hands of people, which was not unwise a few months ago. He should like to hear from the Secretary of State for War what were the grounds on which the Government had suddenly discovered it was necessary to preserve a large number of absolutely obsolete rifles. Connected with Ireland as he was, and desiring the good of Ireland as he did, he could not contemplate without dismay that unhappy country being reduced to the condition in which she would be under the Bill, even if all classes co-operated, as they would not, for the good of the country. It was unworthy of the Prime Minister to taunt the Opposition with having spoken of the Irish race as scarcely human, putting into their mouths words which no one had used, and sentiments which they all repudiated as strongly as they could. They held, on the contrary, that this change was proposed by the Government with the idea that a backward population, rich in intellectual and social virtues, but yet, as the Opposition thought, comparatively deficient in political attri- 1760 butes, would live more happily under the sympathetic government of their own race than under the sterner government imposed by this Parliament. But the same spirit which had prompted the Government to flatter this high-spirited people with the fiction of power should have prevented them from devising the restrictions they were prepared to impose. They were going either too far or too short a distance. Did they suppose they were going to satisfy Irish discontent with sops like this? A phrase had been used about dinner and supper; but the Government were not offering even half a breakfast, not half of what had been asked for during the last seven years. He objected to the Bill because there was no finality in it, because it was full of financial fallacies, because it amounted to a complete surrender, in spite of safeguards so shallow that they deceived nobody, and because it would plunge the whole of one Kingdom into disorder, without relieving this House of any of the difficulties which had paralysed it, and without abating one jot of its responsibility for the government of Ireland. He knew the Government desired to act for the best and hoped for the best, and if he believed that this Bill was going to add strength to the Crown, or preserve liberty to the subject, or add in any way to the social welfare of the people of Ireland, he declared that no prejudice, no past utterances, and no personal injury should stand in the way of his voting for it. But they must face facts as they were. It was not necessary for them to tell lies about the Bill; but they dare not dream dreams about the Bill. They could not chloroform their consciences with this fallacious finance and these spurious safeguards. It was for these reasons the Opposition would have no part or parcel in the matter. They could have no share in this policy, against which they had all along protested; and the Government must take the whole responsibility for the mischievous results that they had clearly foreseen.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddington)
said, it was obviously impossible to follow the hon. Member into the mass of figures he had presented or into the mysterious inferences to be drawn from the inability of the Secretary for War to sell Snider rifles. But of this he was 1761 certain—that so high was the reputation of the hon. Member for conscientious work and accuracy of statement that the materials he had submitted to the House in a convenient and precise form would receive the consideration to which they were entitled. The hon. Member criticised the assumption of the Prime Minister that there would be a plethora of money in Ireland under certain conditions; but it was an assumption acquiesced in by the deputation to whom it was made. Speaking to the Belfast deputation which waited on him on March 28, the Prime Minister said—Now, gentlemen, my allegation is that, instead of a chronic want of money, if there be political prudence in Ireland there will be a chronic plethora of money after the Home Rule Bill has passed. And why do I say that. Because all the purposes of Civil government—the ordinary purposes connected with the Civil Service in all its branches—are now supplied in Ireland; and on what terms are they supplied? —upon terms of enormous extravagance. ['Hear, hear!'] Do you question that assumption?Mr. A. DUFFIN: No; we quite admit that; we feel it,Mr. GLADSTONE: You admit it?Mr. A. DUFFIN: Yes.It was plain from that extract that the deputation agreed with the Prime Minister that a reduction in the Civil charges for the government of Ireland was a source from which a surplus might be expected, or, at all events, would provide some means to meet other expenditure. The right hon. Gentleman had invited Liberal Members to examine the Bill in detail, and endeavour to answer the question whether the Bill really gave effect to the mandate given them by the country to bring it in. He proposed, so far as he could, to meet that appeal. He was the more encouraged to take that course, because it did seem to him to be somewhat out of place for a Member on that side of the House to justify the Government in giving effect to the decision of a majority of the constituencies. In every conceivable form the general principle of Home Rule had been before the country for six years, and the country had given its decision upon it. The right hon. Baronet the Member for West Bristol said Ireland had accepted the contract, but Great Britain had not. What was meant by Great Britain? If they were 1762 going to deal with the country in parts, they had got as parties to the contract not only Ireland, but Scotland and Wales. If the decision rested with them, and if that decision were not affected by the votes of England— superior in point of numbers — it would be a decision by a large majority in favour of Home Rule. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol had made a speech of great ability, which had been listened to with the greatest attention on the Government Benches, because fairness and independence of judgment had always distinguished the right hon. Gentleman in his career as a Minister. The right hon. Gentleman said—I do not approach this question from the point of view of one who regards the present system of Irish government as perfection. I have often expressed a very contrary opinion. I have suggested amendments and improvements, though I am bound to say I have not been very successful in inducing others to agree with me: but I will add that if I could see in this Bill a real fulfilment of what the Nationalist Convention in Dublin recently said they could find in it, 'a certain and lasting bond of unity and concord between Great Britain and Ireland,' no private friendships and no Party ties would induce me to stand here and move its rejection.He thanked the right hon. Member for West Bristol for these passages of his speech, which came with peculiar weight from him as one who was associated with Lord Carnarvon at a critical time, and who had always shown a sympathy with Irish Nationalist demands. But the right hon. Baronet complained almost in the same breath that the Bill was not comprehensive enough to satisfy Irish claims, and yet that it did not maintain Imperial control over the Irish Executive.You must have," said the right hon. Gentleman, "an Executive independent of the Irish Legislative Body, and directly responsible to the Imperial Parliament.If they were dealing with a country like America, where the Executive was separate from the Legislature, the argument would be admissible; but here there was no such thing as an Executive apart from the Legislature. The Executive was, in fact, the creature of the Legislature. It derived its power from the approval which the Legislature gave to its Acts and from the control which the Legislature exercised over its functions. 1763 It was not proposed in the Bill to give Ireland a written Constitution which was exhaustive. What they sought to do was to give to the Irish people a Constitution which in large measure was unwritten, because it was imported into Ireland by a Bill which, in the main, reproduced features of the British Constitution, carrying with it those unwritten features which depended upon precedents which arose from time to time. When the Bill passed, there would be two Parliaments responsible for Irish affairs—the Irish Legislative Body and also the Imperial Parliament, which would deal with those matters specifically reserved to it, and also exercise a reserve power of controlling, and, if necessary, of interfering with the operations of the Irish Legislative Body. In the scheme of the Bill, they followed out the theory of the British Constitution, which was that they could not have an Executive apart from the Legislature; and, at the same time, they distributed the functions of that Executive between the two Legislative Bodies responsible for Irish administration. They could not have taken any other course. Consistently with the theory of the Constitution, and consistently with the plan on which local government had been delegated throughout the length and breadth of the British dominions, it would have been impossible to have adopted any other course. This matter was the subject of debate once before in the House—in February, 1833, upon the Motion of Mr. O'Connell, who desired to re-establish the state of things which existed before the Union. Lord Macaulay took part in that Debate, and said on Mr. O'Connell's Motion—His plan is that each of the two countries shall have an independent Legislature, but that both shall have the same Executive Government. How is it possible that a mind so acute and so well informed as his should not perceive that this plan involves an absurdity, a downright contradiction. Two independent Legislatures! One Executive Government! How can this thing be? No doubt if the legislative power were quite distinct from the executive power, England and Ireland might as easily have two Legislatures as two Chancellors and two Courts of King's Bench. But though in books written by theorists the executive power and the legislative power may be treated as things quite distinct, every man acquainted with the real working of our Constitution knows that the two powers are most closely connected, nay, intermingled with each other. Superficial observers have fancied that they had found cases on the other side. But as soon as you examine 1764 those cases, you will see either that they have no analogy to the case with which they have to deal, or else that they corroborate my argument. The ease of Ireland herself has been cited. Ireland, it is said, had an independent Legislature from 1782 to 1800; during 18 years there were two co-equal Parliaments under one Crown, and yet. there was no collision. Sir. the reason that there was not perpetual collision was, as we all know, that the Irish Parliament, though nominally independent, was generally kept in real dependence by means of the foulest corruption that ever existed in an Assembly.That criticism was one which had been kept in view by those who were responsible for the framing of this Bill, and they had adopted the plan of having an Executive responsible to the Irish Parliament in one aspect, and in another to the Imperial Parliament. Eleven years later Mr. Disraeli said that the duty of an English Minister was to effect by his policy all those changes which a revolution would do by force. That was the Irish question in its integrity. Preserving the Imperial supremacy and Imperial unity, it was proposed to delegate power to the Irish Legislative Council to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Ireland. The hon. Member opposite asked why the Government had not put the powers in what he called a permissive form. But the purpose of the Government had been, consistently with the preservation of Imperial supremacy and unity, to hand over to the Irish Government what should be in reality, in form, and in substance a measure of Home Rule which would enable them to control Irish affairs in the largest sense, and enable them to feel that their national idea was being realised. The Government thought they could not do the Irish people justice unless they followed the precedent of Home Rule Constitutions throughout other parts of the British Empire, and gave them power to make laws in the widest terms, such as they had given to Australasia, to Canada, and to the humbler Channel Islands, and to the Isle of Man. There was in those little places a system of Home Rule as complete as that proposed in this Bill—a system which worked satisfactorily, and which enabled the Local Governments to discharge the functions entrusted to them. There had been a great deal of talk, by Professor Dicey and others, about different forms of Home Rule that they might have adopted, but they had taken in the 1765 Bill the form in which Home Rule had generally been given—the form in which it had been given in Australasia, and Canada, and the Crown Colonies, where the nomination of the Legislative Councils had been reserved to the Crown itself—and had sought to proceed on the theory of making a delegation of a general power to the locality with which they wished to deal, fencing in that delegation with certain safeguards. That was the principle on which all Home Rule Constitutions had been granted, and the reason why there were differences in the Bill to differentiate the Irish Constitution from others was this. The Colonies, where the delegation had been made in its widest form, including Customs and Excise, had been places situate at a great distance, but in the case of Ireland they had to modify their application of the general principle so as to make it suit the geographical necessities of the case. If they had not given larger powers in the Bill, what Professor Dicey called Colonial Home Rule, it was because the Irish people had said they did not want those extra and wider powers. The Irish Members had said that, and he believed them, not only because he had respect for their word, but because it was to their interest. It was said for a long time that this Bill could not be drawn, but the Bill had been not only drawn, but, well drawn, and he wanted to examine one or two of the criticisms which had been made upon it. It was said that the Bill repealed the Union, and destroyed the legal and Constitutional supremacy of the country. That charge had been brought most prominently forward by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington, who had said—I have never called this, and I will never call it, by any other title than that of Repeal of the Union.And in connection with the Bill of 1886 the high authority of Lord Selborne had been quoted. But so far from repealing the Union the Government had proceeded on the basis of affirming it. Before 1800 there was a British Parliament and there was Grattan's Parliament. Afterwards there came the negotiations for the Act of Union, and this assumed the form of a bargain between the two Parliaments. Both bodies merged their existence in a larger and greater Parliament, which was to be the Imperial 1766 Parliament. That Parliament was in existence now, and it would be equally in existence after this Bill had become law. What was proposed to be made was a delegation by the sovereign body to a subordinate body which should be charged with the administration of a special set of affairs. Let them see in what way criticism could be brought against that argument. Of the Bill of 1886, owing to the drafting of the 37th and 39th clauses, it was said by the right hon. and learned Member for Bury, by Mr. Finlay, and by Mr. Dicey that the Bill created not one, but two new Parliaments, and temporarily extinguished the Parliament in which hon. Members now sat. But he maintained, that, under the new Bill, the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament would remain intact, while by the written terms of the Constitution it contained there was a complete reservation of supreme legislative authority. If their belief was well founded, and if this Irish Parliament should be created and should effect all they expected, then undoubtedly they would look forward to a time when they would not interfere on this side with the deliberations of the Irish Legislative Assembly. It would be true that in practice the British Parliament and the British Cabinet would not intermeddle with things that were going on well. But that would be a consequent, and not an antecedent, the resultary of success, and not the occasion of possible disaster. If it should turn out that things were not properly managed in Ireland, then under the Bill, both under the legislative and vetoing clauses, the supreme authority would remain. But there were one or two matters in the Bill itself on which there had been a certain amount of misunderstanding. The right hon. Baronet had said that they had established a Supreme Court of Appeal in the Privy Council, and an Exchequer Court in Ireland, but he asked how were the judgments of those Courts to be executed, and what power was there to enforce the decrees, if the Irish Legislative Body would not enforce them? He had partly answered that by anticipation, when he pointed out that the Executive under this Bill would be an Executive of a twofold aspect and responsibility—a responsibility to the Irish Parliament, and a responsibility to 1767 the British Parliament. The Executive was vested in the Queen, and the Queen delegated the control of it to the Lord Lieutenant, subject to certain conditions. He was going to point out that not only had they got a twofold control by the Imperial Parliament over the Lord Lieutenant and the Irish Executive, but they had got express provisions in the Bill to meet the very cases which the right hon. Baronet had put. The right hon. Baronet (Sir M. HicksBeach) had said that in the United States they understood how to do these things in a business-like fashion, and that to execute the decrees of the United States Federal Court there was a Federal Marshal. Now, what was that official? If hon. Members would turn to the Constitution of the United States they would find no mention of that high and mighty functionary. He was a bailiff or officer of the Court. He existed wherever there was a Federal Court, and his business was to execute the decrees of the Court. He had the same authority that a bailiff or Sheriff would have here, and he had the right to call on all good and peaceable citizens to assist him in enforcing the decrees, and, if necessary, he could appeal to Washington and obtain the assistance of the Federal troops. There wag a clause in the present Bill which would make a somewhat similar provision. Sub-section 5 of Clause 19 said—If it is made to appear to an Exchequer Judge that any decree or judgment in any such proceeding as aforesaid has not been duly enforced by the Sheriff or other officer whose duty it is to enforce the same, such Judge shall appoint some officer whose duty it shall be to enforce that judgment or decree; and for that purpose such officer and all persons employed by him shall be entitled to the same privileges, immunities, and powers as are by law conferred on a Sheriff and his officers.No doubt hon. Members opposite did not think much of the Sheriff", but a few weeks ago they had taken a very different view of the importance of this functionary when they attacked the Chief Secretary for Ireland unmercifully for, as they alleged, refusing to give sufficient protection to the officers of the Court. It was pointed out that the Sheriff was a high Constitutional functionary deserving, if necessary, the support of the military. So that it did not lie in the mouths of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to say that the provisions 1768 of the Bill in regard to the execution of the decrees of the Exchequer Court were not so good as those provided by the United States Constitution. Now, as to what seemed to him the greatest obstacle they had had to encounter in regard to this Bill. He was not one of those who had underrated the title of Ulster to consideration. He had always thought it a strong case, put forward as it was by men of earnestness and sincerity, who had played no unimportant part in the history of Ireland. But there were one or two considerations which seemed to him to balance the account in this matter. In the first place, it should be remembered that they were dealing with only half of Ulster, and that a considerable part of the Province was favourable to Home Rule; and, in the second place, it should be remembered that formerly, before men's minds were distorted by religious fury, Ulster was of all parts of Ireland the most strong in favour of what was called the Repeal agitation; and, in the third place, it must be remembered that when in 1886 some suggestion was made to exclude the two chief Ulster counties, Antrim and Down, from the operation of a Home Rule Bill, that suggestion was rejected, the Ulster people saying, "We do not want to be excluded; what we want is to exclude the rest of Ireland." When he bore that in mind, and also that the people of Ulster were favourable to a reform of the Land Laws and to economy in administration, he could not help thinking that the one ruling motive which made them take up a determinedly hostile attitude was their belief that the Bill would lead to the predominance of Popery and the ruin of their own religion. It had been found that of all controversies those inspired by religious considerations were the keenest, and yet it had been over and over again demonstrated that the threats which were used and the prophecies that were made which would result from certain lines of action were unfounded. In the present case it was significant that the cry of "No Popery" was not one that was put for-ward by the responsible representatives of the Unionist cause. The right hon. Baronet (Sir M. Hicks-Beach) had not put it forward yesterday. He had been careful to say that he did not think there would be persecution by the Roman Catholics. To get a statement of the 1769 views of the opponents of the Bill on that subject he would not turn to the Leaders of the Opposition, but he would turn elsewhere to a paper called The Baptist. He had turned to that paper with interest, because he knew that his right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham was an occasional contributor to it. In the first article, which was unsigned, the case of Ulster was put forward very forcibly. The writer held that the question was a purely religious one and must be decided on religious grounds, and he declared that the passing of the Bill would be the signal for a bloody war. These statements were not now heard for the first time, and the persons who spoke in that exaggerated language in Ulster were persons who ought to know better—who ought to know that the days of religious persecution had gone by. Over and over again these very arguments had been used by these very people, and they had been shown to be altogether groundless. The same argument had been used by Orange-men over 60 years ago against Catholic Emancipation. It had been used against the Irish Church Bill; and when it had been used twice without effect they now attended to it less. Although he would not say that he attached no importance to the things uttered by Ulster at the present time, he could not but come to the conclusion that the demand of Ulster was not a demand for their own freedom, but a demand to refuse freedom to their neighbours, and that being so, this House would do well to regard with a certain amount of suspicion the strength of the case put forward when they were told that if this Bill passed they would be plunged into war with Ulster, and that they would find peaceful and loyal people in rebellion. He was not one of those who thought that a Parliament was ruled by a bare majority. He thought they had got an able and independent section that would be capable of protecting itself from injustice. He had seen enough of the Ulster Members to enable him to appreciate their abilities to this extent, and to know that if ever they came to sit in an Irish Parliament they would be able to take care of themselves. The Liberals were told that they had gone back on the policy which they announced in favour of the Irish landlords in 1886. At that time 1770 the right hon. Member for Midlothian accompanied his Home Rule proposals with proposals enabling Irish landlords to be bought out. He (Mr. Haldane) was one of those who thought that these proposals were just, and he even went further, and voted with the late Government both for the extension of the Ashbourne Act and the Land Purchase Act of 1891, because he thought they were under an obligation to the Irish landlords. And if he thought the Irish landlords now were being treated with injustice, if he thought they were not having meted out to them that consideration which was their due, he for one should regard this Bill with a very different mind to the one in which he regarded it now. But he remembered this: that, notwithstanding that that policy of land purchase was repudiated by hon. Members opposite in 1886; notwithstanding that it was opposed by the Liberal Unionists in that House, and every taunt and obloquy thrown on every proposal which they (the Liberals) thought just; notwithstanding that the late Government came into power pledged not to impose even any possible burden on the British taxpayer in this respect, still that Government did introduce the extension of the Ashbourne Act and the Land Purchase Act of 1891; these two Acts had become law; the Irish land-lords had a means of getting out of Ireland; it was with themselves it rested, and he believed that in remaining they had exercised a wise discretion, as, so soon as they thought fit to do so, they would be able to take sides with the people of their own country, and cast in their lot with the general lot of their country. If hon. Members opposite succeeded in defeating this Bill their success would be but temporary. Such opposition had been attempted before, always to fail. They failed over Catholic Emancipation. Their opposition seemed to him hopeless unless conditions changed in Ireland, and he would tell them why. Because the question was determined when they accepted the principle of extending the franchise to the people of Ireland. It was then a question of the capacity of the Irish people for self-government; it was a question whether they should have extended to them the right of expressing an opinion on and determining their own affairs 1771 and the English Parliament rightly chose to pass a Bill enabling them to do this. They then determined that question of character and capacity, and from that decision they could not go back now. That Act remained upon the Statute Book, and it was a question of form, not of substance, whether they should grant Home Rule to Ireland. They had affirmed the principle that the Government was to be a Democratic Government by the people, through the people, and for the people; they had affirmed that of Ireland, and they had said that they wished to determine Irish matters in accordance with Irish opinion. He knew that hon. Members opposite felt strongly on this question. He could not influence them, but he could appeal from them as they were now, with their blood raised to passion heat, to them as they were in 1885. He could appeal from them as they were now to them as they were when Lord Salisbury made his famous Newport speech, when the Member for Paddington declared that the policy of coercion was gone for ever, and that they were going back to the policy of governing the Irish people in accordance with Irish opinion, and when Lord Carnarvon expressed those famous convictions on the subject of Home Rule which did him honour as a man and credit as a statesman. It was an issue, after all, of character. Violent things had been said by hon. Members who represented Nationalist constituencies. But violent things had also been said by some others to the people of Ulster, which, taking into consideration the grave responsibility attaching to the position of the speakers who uttered them, made their sayings more important, more striking, more violent, and more worthy to be condemned than anything which had fallen from Nationalist lips. As to the Irish landlords who came there and voted against every proposition which was brought forward in the name of the great majority of their fellow-countrymen, would it not be better for them to remember they were in the midst of a people capable of great devotion and affection, and who would welcome them even now, at the eleventh hour, and who would gladly see them take their place amongst the people and assisting in the development of the resources of their 1772 country? He was aware that some who were among their Leaders had separated from the Liberal Party on this question of Home Rule. Personally, he regretted that the right hon. Member for West Birmingham was not with them. They missed him, and he would have been a source of strength to them now, but he could not help saying that not even for the sake of unity, not even for the sake of having him back with his great capacity and power, could they take their hands from the plough to which they had put them. They came to a conclusion in 1886, they had deliberated upon that conclusion since, and they ratified it now. It was not to the Opposition, it was not to his own friends, but it was to those who were the chosen Representatives of what was, after all, the vast majority of the Irish people, whether they served under the hon. Member for Longford or under the hon. Member for Waterford, that he addressed his concluding words. Suppose the worst—suppose this Bill was defeated, even then their cause would not be a cause which had not made progress in the last seven years. They would have advanced one substantial stage forward to the attainment of the goal which they could not now be far from reaching. They would have witnessed a state of things in which the old tradition in regard to Ireland had been thrown overboard even by the Unionist Party. Their enemies might not concede Home Rule in form, but they had conceded it in substance. Ireland was now governed in a wholly different spirit to the spirit that prevailed in former days. The land system had been revolutionised and the landlord faction cast aside, and told even by their own friends that they could no longer be allowed to block up the highway of social reform in Ireland. Ireland was now governed far more for the Irish than it was seven years ago; and, whatever the fate of that Bill, even if it was delayed for another period, of this he was confident, that should a Unionist Government come into power they would vie with the Liberals in the profession of their desire to be at peace and goodwill with the people of Ireland, and to govern them in accordance with modern notions. That was a result they owed to the genius of two great men—to him who 18 months ago was laid to 1773 sleep in Glasnevin and to the right hon. Member for Midlothian. They had still to realise the National idea—the idea of Ireland as a nation, not separate, but a self-governing part of the Empire, but he believed that idea would be realised and realised speedily, and that, if there were any checks, they would be of a temporary character. He believed he spoke not only for himself, but for many others on that side of the House, when he said that some of them had made up their minds that, consistently with the principle of Government by majorities—of Government by the people, through the people, and for the people— in this great controversy they could take no other side but theirs (the Nationalists'). Things might alter, Ireland might cease to be Nationalist; but while it remained the same there were some of them who would serve in the British Parliament under no Leader who excluded from his policy the purpose of giving to that people of Ireland whom they held to be of a flesh and blood the equal of their own such a measure of self-government as they could accept consistently with their own sense of honour, and as would enable them to take their places as peaceful, contented citizens, and as loyal and Jaw-abiding subjects of the Queen.
§ MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)
said, he rose not for the purpose of discussing the merits or demerits of the Bill, but for the purpose of challenging the competence of the House as now constituted to entertain the Bill at all. It would not be necessary for him to evoke from the opposite Benches any intense feeling of hostility against himself. For the purpose of his argument the Bill might be a good one. He did not think it was a good Bill, and it would require a strong stretch of the imagination for him to admit it for any other purpose than that of mere argument. Logically, perhaps, a proposal of this kind, challenging the competence of the House to deal with the subject, ought to come before any discussion of the merits or demerits of the proposal now before; them. That would be the case in Courts of Law, and also in their own Committees upstairs, whore objection could be taken to locus standi before the merits of a erase 1774 were gone into. But, no doubt, the Motion to reject the Bill covered the objection that the House had no jurisdiction to deal with it, as well as all other objections which might be raised to the measure. Still this was not, to his mind, an entirely satisfactory answer to his objection to absence from the forms of the House of means by which the jurisdiction of the House could be challenged in the first instance. He had only been able to find as the probable reason that it was the supposed omnipotence of Parliament which would not allow its jurisdiction to be called in question, but it was precisely this supposed omnipotence that he challenged. He challenged it especially in regard to the particular Bill now before that House. What was that Bill? It was a Bill to alter the Constitutional relations for good or ill between two parts of the United Kingdom. Every time the House arrived at a decision it exercised two functions—the function of pleading and hearing—they were all pleaders and suppliants on behalf of their constituents, and they were all bound to listen to the supplications and petitions that were laid before them, and to the proposed laws submitted for their consideration—and the second function which the House had to perform, and the more decisive one, was that of a tribunal for the administration of justice in its highest form. If the House had any sort of claim, even humanly speaking, to omnipotence or unchallengeability, it made it all the more necessary that the tribunal should have the highest regard for strict principles of justice. It was an ill augury in regard to the first of the functions of the House of Commons— that of hearing before deciding—to find the supporters of the Government so conspicuous by their absence. The first duty of a tribunal which had any respect for itself was to see that it was properly constituted, and the second was to see that, as regarded any subject whatever that was brought before it, all parties interested were duly represented and heard. But doubtless the paramount duty of the Chamber was to see that its decisions were not only in accordance with the technical law and the power which hon. Members had had entrusted to them, but were in accordance with equity and the natural justice of the case. This House, ill-constituted as it was, and failing as it did to represent 1775 the people of the country, no doubt had technical power to deliver decisions according to its own will in regard to the Bill before it. But in the case he was about to make he should appeal from the power of the House to the conscience of the House—he should appeal from its will to its sense of right. He should appeal to the House not to carry into effect this law until they had fully ascertained that it represented the will of the people. All their power was derived from the people, but the machinery of representation was faulty and was not working fairly. The House was not properly representative of the people of the country, and the voice with which it would decide the Bill was not the voice of the people of the country. Sow, it happened that the object of this Bill, which was to alter the Constitutional relations between Great Britain on the one side and Ireland on the other, was probably of all other questions the one question on which the present state of the representation of those two parties in the House was most deranged. In a Debate which took place about six weeks ago on the disparities of the representation in the House, he (Mr. Kimber) had placed a great many figures before the House. At the end of the Debate, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was good enough to rise and say that the facts were not disputed nor the conclusions that the representation of England, and especially of London, was admittedly deficient, and that the representation of Ireland was in excess. That was a statement also contained in the speech of the Prime Minister on the First Beading of the present Bill. In the Act passed a few years ago, by which the Law Courts were fused together in what we called, and were proud to call, the High Court of Justice, there was a remarkable clause, which deserved to be inscribed on the portals of the House, and in effect it declared that where the principles of law and of equity were found to conflict, the latter, that was to say the law of natural justice, should prevail. He would implore hon. Members opposite and Irish Nationalist Members to consider, in delivering their votes, that they were in the position of Judges administering justice, and that upon their decision hung the destinies of millions of their fellow-subjects, and probably the destinies of 1776 this groat Empire. It had been said, he was aware, that the Empire was so great that it could bear a little irregularity—a mistake here or a mistake there—but it would be a new experience for him to be told or to realise that an Empire, be it ever so great, could not reach its culminating point, and that the commencement of its disintegration might not be the commencement of its decline and fall. Now, tested by the canons which he had ventured to submit, he asked was this House properly constituted—were the people equally represented by Members having equal voices here?—because that was the definition the Prime Minister had given of the manner in which the House should be constituted. The right hon. Gentleman had laid it down as one of his canons—and he was very proud of them— in the introduction of the Bill, that it was one of the greatest traditions of Parliament to recognise the absolute equality of every Member of the House. He proposed to show, first, that many of the people were not represented here at all, or, if represented for the purpose of making their cases heard, through the accident of having Members in Parliament of the same opinions as themselves, were not represented for the purpose of delivering decisions in proportion to their weight; and, secondly, that there were many here who ought not to be here, and their voices and votes nevertheless would be used by the Prime Minister in delivering the important judgment at which the House would soon arrive. He would prove that the two parties whose interests were most affected by the Bill were the two parties whoso misrepresentation in the House made it impossible for this tribunal as now constituted to deliver a decision according to the natural justice of the case. Those were the facts, and he took the question up from the point at which he concluded his argument in the recent Debate. It would not be denied that England's representation, and principally that of London, was 23 below its proportionate right; and he had proved that the representation of Ireland, as admitted by the Prime Minister, was too many by 20, and that of Scotland and Wales by three, making an excess from those parts of the United Kingdom of 23 and a deficiency from England of 23. Now, he appealed to the sense of justice of the House, 1777 whether those 23 Members in excess, whose votes would be recorded against the opponents of the Bill, ought in conscience to record their votes at all. Ought the Prime Minister to use these votes? He had the power, but had he the right, the conscientious right, to use them? On the other hand, how were the 23 Members in which England was deficient to record their votes? They all knew that if the 23 in excess wore removed, and the 23 deficient on the other side were supplied, there would be a difference of 46 in the Division. He admitted that it did not necessarily follow that those 46 votes would all be given against the Bill, but he was going to adduce facts which would make it at all events a matter of high probability that they would be so cast. The House would at all events admit that they might be east against the Bill, and the very fact that they might be cast against it was quite sufficient to entitle him to say that the House ought not to go to a Division upon the Bill. The very fact that there was danger to the Commonwealth—that they might violate natural justice—ought to be enough to cause them not to decide that the Bill was wrong, he did not ask that, but to resolve that they would not press the Bill forward until the defects in the tribunal were remedied. The first duty of the tribunal was to see itself properly constituted, and if it found that it was not, as he ventured to say he had proved that it was not, its next duty was to put itself right, and not to carry any measure which might do violence to the House when properly constituted or to the people when they were properly represented. These were the reasons why he ventured to show that there was a very high probability that the whole of the 46 votes would be cast against the Bill; and, as the Prime Minister only pretended to have a majority of 43, it was obvious that the decision which the House by its present constitution would deliver in the affirmative would, in the case of a proper constitution, be delivered in the negative. On this question of Home Rule—on the question of this Bill—it had been asserted, with only partial truth but, he would assume, with accuracy, that the proposal was before the constituencies at the last General Election, and that it was in fact the particular issue upon 1778 which the Election turned. Many of the elections, he was sure, did not turn on that issue at all; but he would assume that they all did. England's majority cast against the Bill was 77; but Scotland and Wales had a majority of 56 in favour of the measure, or, at all events, against the Unionists; and he would concede to the Government that these were votes which would be cast in the decision against the Unionists by the majority. This would reduce the English majority to 21. But still England, Scotland, and Wales—that was Great Britain united—would have a majority against the Bill of 21. Now, Ireland had a majority in favour of the Bill of 59, and if the 21 were deducted from that, it would leave 38, which was the majority at the time of the Election, though it had since been increased to 43. If the 23 votes, which it was admitted ought to come off the Irish vole, were so struck off, the great probability was that they would come off the Nationalist majority. There was, indeed, evidence of that in the Bill, for the Prime Minister, in the Schedule of Irish Members who were to represent Ireland in the future Imperial Parliament, had himself taken away no less than 23 Members out of 101, 20 being Nationalists and three Unionists. He (Mr. Kimber) had examined the particular constituencies which the Prime Minister had deprived of seats, and he found that, so far from their being the seats which naturally should come in for excision, the three smallest constituencies which were left untouched, and they were all Nationalist. The right hon. Gentleman had taken away nine seats from places where the electorate was above the highest of there three. If he had taken away seats from places with the lowest electorate, and which should, primâ facie, have been excluded first, the whole of the 23 would have been Nationalist scats. Take another fact: In the 1892 Election, the 80 Home Rulers from Ireland represented on an average 7,012 electors, and the 23 Unionists represented on an average 8,121 electors. That was about 1,100 more than the Home Rulers represented. If the Unionists in Ireland had been elected on the Home Rulers' scale, they would have 37 instead of 23 Members— that was to say, there would have been 15 more Liberal Unionists in the House 1779 than there were now. Now, take the converse position: Suppose the Home Rulers had been elected on the Unionists' scale, they would have only 48 Members instead of 80 Members as at present— that was to say, there would have been 32 Members less in the House to represent Home Rule. Therefore, taking it which way they would, there was a very high probability that all the votes that would be changed by rectification would be cast against the Bill. But he had more figures. Take the case of Great Britain. At that Election 1,892,000 electors elected 231 Conservatives by an average of 8,191 votes; but he would reduce that average because the Liberal Unionists came in by a much smaller average per se. The result of the Unionist representation, taking all the contested seats, was that 2,056,000 electors elected 271 Unionists by an average of 7,589 votes, while 2,293,000 Gladstonian and Nationalist Home Rulers elected 330 Home Rule Members by an average of only 6,948 votes. If the 2,000,000 odd Unionist electors had elected at the Home Rule rate of 6,948 per Member, there would have been 296 Unionist Members instead of 271, or an increase of 25!; but if, on the other hand, the 2,293,000 Home Rulers had been elected at the Unionist rate of 7,589, there would have been only 302 Home Rule Members instead of 330, making a decrease of 28. Take another test. If England's ratio were taken as the basis, she would have, as now, 465 Members; Wales would have five less than now— that was to say, 25 instead of 30; Scot-land would have four less—that was 68 instead of 72; and Ireland would have 24 less—that was 79 instead of, as now, 103, so that England would have 465 Members in a House of 637 Members. If Ireland's ratio were taken as the basis England would have 628 Members instead of 465, or 167 more—of course, in a larger House. [Laughter.] Hon. Members might laugh; and, of course, the troubles and woes of others were sometimes the sport of man. He did not, however, envy the feelings of those who could make the destinies of their country a matter of sport or laughter. It was not necessary that he should prove that the 46 rectified votes would all be cast against the Bill. It was sufficient for him that they might be, that the Tribunal 1780 of the House of Commons had not heard all the proper parties, and that 6,500,000 of the people of the country were not represented in the House of Commons— at all events, so far as voting power was concerned. He thought he had now proved the first proposition he had placed on the Notice Paper of the House —namely, that Ireland, in the present state of representation, was not entitled in equity or justice to alter the Constitutional relations between the two nations. His next proposition was that the House should decline to proceed with this Bill until these defects were rectified, first, by the reduction of the Irish representation, and, secondly, by giving 23 additional Representatives to the people of England. His third proposition was that no proposals of law for breaking the Parliamentary unity of the two countries ought fairly or properly to be entertained without the consent of the majority of the people of the two countries taken separately. For the purpose of the argument on this proposition, he would admit the jurisdiction of the present House. The Union was brought about by the separate votes of the two countries taken separately. Ireland voted by her Parliament, and Great Britain by her Parliament. An Act was passed by each country in similar terms, and the two countries became one. He might be told that his argument would go to give Home Rule to each of the four parts of the United Kingdom in order that votes on Constitutional questions might be taken separately. There was, however, a ready means of ascertaining the separate opinion of each part of the country—namely, by the votes cast in a General Election. The result of the last General Election was sufficiently pronounced. The decision of England was by a majority of 77 against the Bill. He appealed again to the consciences of his opponents, and asked them whether they thought it right to disregard the separate voice of England as expressed at the General Election. He submitted that if two parties entered into a contract it was necessary to have the assent of both of them before it could be broken. That was the spirit of all the laws of this country, and also of the Constitution of the country. Was England a small or insignificant factor in the commonwealth, and did she 1781 bear least of the burdens or most of them? An authority who would not be regarded as too much imbued with Tory doctrines and views, but who was justly considered a very high authority, was Dr. Giffen. In a paper which he read in March, 1890, before the Statistical Society Dr. Giffen said—Reckoning by wealth. England should have 86 per cent. of the Representatives of the United Kingdom, or 570 Members out of 071: Scotland by the same rule should have 64 only, and Ireland no more than 30.The United Kingdom had been described as three Kingdoms and four nations. If so, which of the nations was the most important? Were they to be reckoned by simply counting noses, or to be weighed in the balances of responsibility, influence, and power? There were one or two facts which showed the weight of England in the scale, and the reason why her absolute consent and not merely her vote in a pell-mell Division should be required before a measure of this kind were adopted. A Return that was recently issued showed that the proportion England bore in the taxation of the United Kingdom was 80 per cent. of the whole, while Ireland bore 8 per cent., and that whilst the taxation in England was 43s. 6d. per head, it was only 31s. 3d. per head in Ireland. As regarded education, enterprise, and commercial weight, the Prime Minister had himself admitted that the large majority of those whom he termed the "classes" were strongly opposed to this Bill. There were further facts and reasons apart from the merits of the Bill which ought to induce hon. Members opposite to refrain from supporting the Second Heading. The Union it was proposed to dissolve had already lasted 93 years, which had been the most prosperous and progressive in the history of Ireland. [Nationalist cries of "Oh!"] He asserted it without fear of contradiction. He knew it was pointed out that, although Ireland had increased in wealth, her population had been reduced. This simply proved that the people who remained were so much better off, inasmuch as they divided larger wealth amongst a smaller number. Those who had emigrated had done so very wisely, because 1782 the pursuits followed in Ireland did not give sufficient employment for the former large population. He had had occasion to travel round the Antipodes, and had found that Irishmen in our Australian Colonies were in a state of much greater prosperity than those who were left behind. In Ireland itself the money in the Savings Banks and Joint Stock Banks had increased threefold during a certain number of years, the flocks and herds had increased, and the people lived in better houses. This did not look as if the country were going back. It was all very well for Irish Members to say that the country was now in a deplorable condition. He asserted that during the last 93 years there had been large and solid advancement, whilst during the reign of our beloved Queen no other country could compare with Ireland in the progress that had been made. It was said that Ireland enjoyed prosperity during the existence of Grattan's Parliament. 'That prosperity, however, was not produced by the Irish Parliament, but was in spite of it. As a matter of fact, Grattan's Parliament reduced Ireland to a state of bankruptcy. The Prime Minister quoted Lord Clare the other day as having said that Ireland had immensely prospered and advanced during the existence of the Independent Parliament. As a matter of fact Lord Clare said just the opposite, having declared that Ireland at the time of the Union was on the verge of bankruptcy. Lord Clare said he felt a strong conviction that nothing but union could save the Kingdom from annihilation, adding that from critical and attentive observation of what had passed in Ireland during the last 20 years he was satisfied that the existence of her independent Parliament had gradually led to her recent calamities. So much for the accuracy of the Prime Minister. He was entitled, in legal phraseology, to bring forward evidence to the credit of his adversaries. If he had shown that, the principal author of the Bill was so untrustworthy in the evidence he gave in support of it as to make a statement which was diametrically opposed to that which was accurate, of what value could his other testimony be regarded in reference to the Bill? 'The next point he had to bring forward disposed of the Colonial argument. 1783 Ireland was 21 miles only from Great Britain, and it might be said that, with scientific communication under and over the water, it was practically the same land as our own, and therefore to quote the Colonies, the nearest of which was 6,000 miles off, as a reason for putting Ireland in the same position as the Colonies was altogether out of place. Another reason why the supporters of the Prime Minister should resolve in the negative was to be found in the nature of the Bill as described by the right hon. Gentleman himself. The Prime Minister had told the House and the country that to devise a working measure with such provisions as were contained in this Bill surpassed the wit of man. The natural and logical consequence of such an admission was that, unless the right hon. Gentleman's 350 supporters were so many Gladstones— and such a fate he hoped might never happen to this country—it was hopeless to try to put this Bill into good working order, and therefore the supporters of the right hon. Gentleman should bring their persuasive powers to bear upon him to withdraw the Bill. Any large minority ought not to be put down by force in such a matter. But in this case there was on the one side the voice of England, which represented 27,500,000, against the voice of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, representing 10,250,000. Or, to test the matter by the numbers represented by votes at the last Election, which was the most favourable way of putting the case for the Prime Minister, there were 18,000,000 against the Bill and 18,750,000 who were in favour of it-Was that a minority which ought to be forced to accept the Bill? Was it not a minority that might make the Prime Minister hesitate to push forward a measure that so many disapproved and regarded with disfavour? No doubt we had the power, irrespective of the right, of divorcing Ulster from the Union whether with or against her will. But there was one thing we could not do with any semblance of right—we could not marry Ulster to a new bride, or if she were a bride marry her to a new husband, against her will. If we chose to divorce Ulster from Great Britain we should, at all events, let her decide for herself what she should do, 1784 and not impose our own sweet will upon her. The weight of force in the affairs of Ireland was not, in the long run, to be measured by counting noses or heads. One of the Loyalist Members last year begged the House, if it intended to divorce Ireland, to let Irishmen settle the matter between themselves. It would be sharper, perhaps it would be more effective, but at any rate it would be more in consonance with that which was just and right than any paper Constitution they might choose to force on her. There was one other consideration, which was that the injustice that England was suffering from want of due representation would not be rectified merely by the throwing out of this Bill by the other House. No doubt the Bill might be rejected, and that an appeal might be made to the constituencies, but in that appeal they would be subject to the injustice of not being able to return a due number of votes to exercise a proper decision if the Bill came forward again. Therefore, in the Motion he had put upon the Paper, he not only protested against the House passing the Bill against the will of England, but he prayed the House to set to work at, once to give England her due proportion of Members and her due weight in the councils of the nation. He represented a great constituency, though he had only one voice and one vote to support the appeal which he made. [Laughter.] Hon. Members below the Gangway might laugh because they won, and there were five or six of them having as many voices against his one, but collectively they did not represent more of a population than he did. Not only had they six voices to appeal against his one—and God knows they used them enough—but they had six votes when they came to the final cast. Their constituencies represented an equality with his, but where was the equality of the numbers? Of those gentlemen who laughed three of them had in their constituencies not more than 16,000 of a population, and two of them were greatly under that number, whereas the electors in his constituency amounted to as many as 16,000 and the population was 120,000. In this House he represented one voice in 670, but amongst the population of the country he represented one in 340. He made his protest in their 1785 name, and he trusted he would not have to appeal in vain. He challenged anyone to say that the appeal he made on behalf of his constituency was not a just and honest one. But it was not only on their behalf he had to plead; he pleaded for those six and a half millions who had no voice in this decision. He appealed for England as a whole, which had returned 70 opposed to the Bill, and he asked them to listen to her voice, and not to act against her without her consent. He appealed for one-third of Ireland; for the third greatest city in the realm, for that which was admitted to represent the highest intelligence, the best education, and the greatest wealth and taxable value in that Island. On behalf of these, on behalf of themselves, in the name of justice, in the name of fair play, in the name of England, which had always boasted that "Britons never shall be slaves," he appealed to them not to put in slavery one-third of that fair island, but to do what was right to the people of this greater island—give them due representation in the councils of the nation.
§ MR. LEESE (Lancashire, N.E., Accrington)
did not propose to follow the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down into the question of proportional representation, but he wished to place before the House some evidence on a point which he thought had not been fully debated. The point he referred to was the present existence of a Protestant ascendant minority in Ireland. With regard to the Irish Protestant opposition to Home Rule, it consisted of three different classes—first, Episcopalians and Orangemen; second, Nonconformists, chiefly Presbyterians; and thirdly, landlords. Speaking broadly, they might say that on one side they had the Protestants, and on the other the Roman Catholics. No doubt there were exceptions on both sides, but they rather proved the rule than otherwise. He supposed it would be admitted that under Home Rule there would be no ascendency. They had heard a great deal about the minority being under the heel of the 1786 majority lately, but under the Bill there must be no heel for anybody, and no ascendency of any sort. If the figures and facts he hoped to bring to the attention of the House were accepted, he ventured to think they would furnish a key to much of the Irish opposition to Home Rule, and hon. Members would have grave suspicions that that opposition did not rest on the fears for Imperial unity, the supremacy of Parliament, or protection of minorities. There was not much danger to these things, but there was danger to the Protestant ascendency, and to privilege, and place, and pocket. It seemed to be almost intolerable to the Irish Protestant majority that the Irish Roman Catholics were soon to be their equals, and share in the emoluments and profits of place both local and Imperial, and also in the disposition of the rates to which all contributed. In that view he had endeavoured to get some evidence of the condition of things, and he had received, in answer to his inquiries, certain facts and figures—from highly-recommended and, he believed, trustworthy Irish correspondents—affecting five Irish counties—Donegal, Water-ford, Tipperary, Kerry, and Sligo. In Donegal the population was 185,000, of whom 142,000 were Roman Catholics, and 43,000 Protestants. They were governed by a Grand Jury of 23, nominated by the Sheriff, and in control of the county cess of £40,000 a year. The Grand Jury consisted for the most part of landlords and landlords' agents. Those were all Protestant Unionists. They had under them 16 collectors appointed by the Justices of the Peace, and paid by the Grand Jury 1s. in the £1 upon all they collected. Of these 13 were Protestant Unionists and three Roman Catholic Home Rulers. There were two County Surveyors, receiving £500 and £400 a year, both Protestant Unionists. The Secretary to the Grand Jury received a salary of £326.
§ MR. LEESE
said he should be sorry to quote anything that was not strictly accurate, and he hoped the House would acquit him of any intention to mislead or of any such feeling in the matter; he had taken the greatest care in obtaining the information, which he believed to be accurate. The Secretary to the Grand Jury was a Protestant Unionist; the Solicitor, the Clerk to the Crown, and the Sub-Sheriff were also Protestant Unionists. The Grand Jury had the control of the cess, which was obviously more contributed to by the Roman Catholics than the Protestants. He now came to the Poor Law Boards of the County of Donegal; there were eight of them altogether. These Boards were composed each of 20 members, who were elected on a £4 franchise, and also of ex-officio members. The result was that in five out of the eight Boards there was a Catholic minority, although there was a large difference in their favour in the population. The ex-officio members consisted of Justices of the Peace having property in the Union, and as 82 per cent. of those were Protestants and Unionists, so the vast majority of the ex-officio Guardians were Unionists. On five out of the eight there was a Protestant majority, and he proposed to take one of them, the Donegal Union, as an example. It consisted of 20 elected Guardians, only five of whom were Catholics, which was accounted for by the £4 qualification and the cumulative vote. The master was a Unionist, the matron, the nurses. [Cries of "Women."] Yes, they were women, but they were all Protestants. The relieving officer, the porter, the house doctor, and three of the five dispensary doctors were all Protestants. There were five poor rate collectors, three of whom were Protestants and two Catholics. In the three remaining Unions Roman Catholic majorities existed, and in all three the clerks of the Unions were Protestants. In one of them out of five dispensary doctors three were Catholics and two Protestants, in 1788 another where there were six dispensary doctors four were Catholics and two Protestants; and in the third, where there were five dispensary doctors, three were Catholics and two Protestants. This, he thought, was very significant in view of the anticipated tyranny of Catholics. Now he came to look at the appointment in the local Courts, the County and Local Law Courts. The County Court Judge, the Clerk of the Peace, the Crown Solicitor, the Registrar, the Sub-Sheriff, and three Resident Magistrates were all Protestants. Of 170 Justices of the Peace 140 were Protestant Unionists and 3C were Roman Catholics. And this number had been made up by recent appointments. Of 27 clerks to Petty Sessional Divisions, all but two were Protestants. One County Inspector and seven of the nine Visiting Inspectors were Protestants and Unionists. There were five Coroners, and this was significant, for they were all elected—[laughter]—it was very significant because they were all elected on the Parliamentary franchise, and of these three were Protestants and two were Catholics. Now what evidence was there of the intolerance of the Catholic majority, especially when they found sitting in the House of Commons, that embodiment of Protestantism, the hon. Member for South Donegal (Mr. Swift Mac Neill.) In Waterford there was a population of 98,000, of which 92,000 were Catholics and 6,000 Protestants. It was governed, like the other counties, by a Grand Jury of 23 Members, of whom 21 were Protestants, and two Catholics, and of those not one was a Unionist. All the officials, too, were Protestants, except several occupying minor positions. The Grand Juries exercised great patronage. They appointed a great many of their friends and co-religionists, and they excluded many of those who differed from them in creed and politics. They controlled the cesspayers' money, and they had charge of public works, lunatic asylums, court-houses, and other public buildings, and dispensed the patronage of these institutions. In this county, as he believed in all Irish counties, the High Sheriff was appointed by the Lord Lieutenant, and the High Sheriff appointed the Sub-Sheriff, who made 1789 out the Grand Jury panel. He was obliged by Act of Parliament, to select one Grand Juror from each of the baronies of the county—of which there were eight in Waterford—and he could then complete the number of 23 from other sources. The Grand Jury selected three names for High Sheriff', and those names were sent up to the Lord Lieutenant, who appointed one of the three. In 1887 the name of Sir Thomas Grattan Esmonde, M.P., occupied the first place of the three names submitted to the Lord Lieutenant by the Grand Jurors of Waterford. Apparently a blunder had been committed, but it was followed by a second, for Sir Thomas Grattan Esmonde was actually appointed High Sheriff. Then rumours were circulated that the new High Sheriff intended to revolutionise the Grand Jury by appointing members who would be in sympathy with the political and religious feelings of the majority of the cesspayers. No doubt the ascendency classes in the county feared for their "vested interests"; the Lord Lieutenant was moved to revoke the appointment of Sir Thomas Grattan Esmonde; a Conservative High Sheriff' and a Conservative Sub-Sheriff were appointed, and the fat things and the fat places were saved. But he did not wish to confine his remarks to the intolerance of the ascendency party: he wished to speak of the toleration of the Catholics. The previous Member for Waterford was a Protestant, and the present Member (Mr. Webb) was, he believed, also a Protestant. Protestants were returned to the Local Boards by Catholic votes, and many of the contractors to these Boards were Protestants. On March 16 the Board of Guardians met at Dungarvan. There were present one ex-officio Guardian, a Unionist, and eight elected Guardians, Home Killers. There were two contractors, one a Catholic and the other a Protestant. The contract was for wine, and the medical officer reported that the wines were equal in quality and price. It then became a question to which of the two men the contract should be given. Although there were eight Catholics and one Protestant, it was decided by these intolerant Catholics that they should draw lots between the two contractors, and the Protestant won, and 1790 is now the contractor. He passed to Tipperary County. There, there was a total population of 173,000, 162,000 being Catholics and 11,000 Protestants. There were two Grand Juries in the county—one for the North Hiding and the other for the South Riding—and nearly all the officials were Protestants and Unionists. The amount assessed in the South Riding of Tipperary in 1892 was £41,934, and in the spending of this money the ratepayers had very little voice. The Petty Sessions appointments seemed to be more liberal. There were 17 Petty Sessions Clerks in the county, and although they were appointed by the Justices of the Peace, seven were Protestants and 10 Catholics. That was the only bright spot he could find. The spirit of favouritism seemed to permeate, not only all the Local Government system of the county, but even such institutions as lunatic; asylums. In the government of the Clonmel Lunatic Asylum, the total income of which was £15,000 (consisting partly of a grant by the Grand Jury and partly of a Treasury grant in aid), there were 21 persons, half of whom were nominated by the Grand Jury and the other half by the Lord Lieutenant. Of these, up to January, 1893, 16 were Protestants, three were Catholics, who were Unionists, two were Catholics, who were Home Rulers. In January, 1893, however, six Catholic cesspayers were appointed on the Board of Governors by the Lord Lieutenant, so that now the constitution of that Board was 13 Unionists to eight Home Rulers. Nearly all the principal officers of the asylum were Protestants. In the asylum there were 630 inmates, of whom 30 were Protestants and 600 Catholics. The salary paid to the Protestant chaplain for attending the spiritual needs of 30 Protestants was £40, while the Catholic chaplain received £90 for attending to 600 Catholics. One was forced to the conclusion, in face of a fact like this, either that one of those reverend gentlemen was underpaid or that the other was overpaid. In County Kerry, with a population of 179,000 persons, 6,000 only of whom were Protestants and 173,000 Catholics, the story was nearly to the same effect; and also in Sligo, with 98,000 persons, 89,000 Catholics and 9,000 Protestants. The total population of the five counties was 1791 734,000, and of these 660,000 were Catholics and 73,000 were Protestants. How were these people governed? They were governed by Grand Juries; and the key to the present position in Ireland was the Grand Jury system. It practically chose its own members; it maintained its exclusive character; it possessed all the money and all the patronage; it controlled the Public Works, the Asylums, the Prisons, and the Court-houses. With the Grand Jury of one colour, what could they expect to be the colour of the persons who enjoyed that patronage? Nearly all the places were filled by friends of Grand Jurors, though possibly some of the officials were friends from mere bread and butter considerations. One hundred and sixteen Grand Jurors governed these five counties; and the Protestant Unionist interests of 73,000 persons were watched over by 114 Grand Jurors, while the interests of 660,000 Roman Catholic Home Rulers were protected only by two Grand Jurors of the same faith. The hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Ross), in a speech made on the First Reading of the Bill, gave utterance to a curious disclaimer in face of the present attitude of the Irish Presbyterians. The hon. Member said, with reference to the statement that the people of Ulster wished to maintain their ascendency, that the Presbyterians had never in any way sought for any ascendency and had never enjoyed any. Was that statement true historically? If it was, then the Presbyterians were at least trying to maintain things as they were. If they did not share the plunder, they were doing their best to support those who had got it all. If they were the friends of civil and religious equality, how did it happen that in Belfast, where the Presbyterians had much influence, there were 80,000 Catholics unrepresented on the Municipal Council of that city? Was all sense of justice and fair-play lost in this keen hankering after the flesh-pots?
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
The hon. Member asks why 80,000 Catholics are not represented in Belfast. They can be represented if they carry one of the seats.
§ MR. LEESE
said, it might be urged that his statement was rather in favour 1792 of a reform in local government than of Home Rule. But he maintained it was a statement in favour of Home Rule, because it was the shortest and best way to obtain a reform in local government. Surely the greater covered the less. Who were so fitted to decide on the quality of Irish local government as Irishmen themselves, and what Assembly could deal so fairly with the subject as the special representatives of those localities sitting at Dublin, unhampered by English interference and English ignorance? "Equality, similarity, and simultaneity" were the pregnant words uttered by an authorised spokesman of the Conservative Party; but the promise contained in them had come to nothing. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had enjoyed their chance, but they had delayed, and had missed it. A measure giving the people of Ireland full control over Local Authorities six years ago would have made the advocacy of Home Rule much more difficult to-day; but the Conservative Party had broken their promises, and it now remained for the Irish people to liberate themselves from the monopolies and privileges which had surrounded them, and those who sat on these Benches wished them heartily—God speed!
§ MR. H. W. FORSTER (Kent, Sevenoaks)
said, he rose to address the House for the first time, and therefore begged for some of that indulgence which the House so generously extended to every Member in such a position. It was impossible for anyone who felt strongly on the great question before the House to sit quietly by at a time of great national danger, and be, for one, felt that it was incumbent upon him to take a small share in the Debate. The hon. Member who had just spoken had stated in his speech, with frequent recurrence, that they might take it that all the Roman Catholics of Ireland were in favour of Home Rule, and all the Protestants against it.
§ MR. H. W. FORSTER
said, he believed there were very considerable exceptions on either side. Anyone who had paid attention to what had taken place in Ulster during the preceding few days must be convinced unless he were blind —and there wore none so blind as those who would not see—that there were a large number of Roman Catholics scattered all over Ireland who were totally, resolutely, and unalterably opposed to Home Rule. The hon. Member had also stated that the officials of certain counties in Ireland were nearly all Protestant and Unionist. But the hon. Gentleman had not been able to accuse these officials of any maladministration whatever; and all he had proved was the fact that there were a large number of Protestants scattered all over Ireland outside Ulster, though it had often been said by colleagues of the hon. Gentleman that the Protestant population of Ireland was almost exclusively confined to Ulster. The country had been assured by right hon. and hon. Members opposite that any scheme which had for its aim and object the satisfactory result of the Irish Question must be such a scheme as was acceptable wholly and entirely to hon. Members from Ireland. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a letter he wrote to The Times on December 3, 1890, said—I told Mr. McCarthy that the Irish Party and the Irish nation possessed a far higher and more lasting security than any secret negotiation or individual [dodges, in the unquestionable political fact that no Party and no leaders could ever propose or hope to carry any scheme of Home Rule which had not the cordial concurrence and the support of the Irish nation, as declared by their Representatives in Parliament.He wished to ask the House to consider whether the scheme of Home Rule had the entire concurrence and cordial support of the Irish people. He thought it was necessary to go into this question owing to a remark the Prime Minister let fall in his opening observations yesterday, when he said that the Government did not propose to make any alterations in this Bill. Did the Irish 1794 people and their Representatives accept this Bill as entirely satisfactory and final? He thought the House might take it at once that a very largo number of the Irish people were dissatisfied with the Bill. He referred to the population of Ulster, and also to the Protestants scattered over Ireland outside Ulster. He would have thought that the proceedings in Ulster during the last few days would carry weight to the mind of any man not blinded by bigotry. They had had a most solemn and emphatic declaration— [Laughter] Hon. Gentlemen opposite and hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway might believe it to be got up. He had no doubt they believed it, and they were welcome so to believe. History would prove whether they were right in laughing at it or whether the Unionists were right in believing it. He desired the House to remember that unless the people of Ireland were satisfied with this Bill the Debate was a farce. The hon. Member for West Fife, who made such a brilliant speech last night, to which he had listened with unbounded admiration, deprecated the fact that any question of religion had been imported into the matter. Who had imported the question of religion into Irish politics? Did the fault lie entirely with the Protestants? Did the fault lie entirely with those who were loyal to their Queen and country? Did not the fault lie, to some extent, with those who might be called the directors and controllers of public opinion in Ireland, with those who were responsible for the election of certain Members in the County of Meath? The Rev. Dr. Brown, a leading Baptist minister in Dublin, wrote to The Times on 1st April, 1893—Now, as an Irishman, born and bred in the Emerald Isle, around which all my ambitions and affections twine, not as an alien Orangeman. Tory, or 'Anti-Irish Irishman,' but as a patriot, Nationalist, and Radical, I feel constrained to utter a solemn protest against my Nonconformist brethren aiding and abetting a measure which, if carried, will embroil more than ever the British Parliament in continual strife concerning Irish matters, tend to the establishment of Ultramontane ascendency, emphasize the religious antagonisms so strained at present in Ireland, and necessitate increased taxation, if not, indeed, commercial bankruptcy, and, above all, lack that element of finality which can alone restore confidence to the minds of capitalists and employers.1795 He then goes on to say—In three vitally important particulars the Bill fails utterly. (1.) It will not free England from Irishmen and Irish measures in the House of Commons. (2.) It will not satisfy Irishmen. A mongrel scheme, giving to this country an enlarged County Council, hemmed in by restraint and vetoes which, if real, rob the Bill of any merit, and if unreal are not the production of an honourable statesman, cannot and will not satisfy our national aspirations.He would read one more extract from the letter—In many quarters an intolerant priesthood is still dominant …. Time alone can rectify this evil. Till then, however, that is no idle menace which echoes from Ulster Unionists, for, deplorable though such a conclusion be, bloodshed and sectarian bigotry postponing the healing of our national divisions and sorrows another century would be almost certain, in the present strained relationship of Parties; while thoughtful men, who review the future from a mere commercial standpoint, when they see Messrs. Healy, Sexton, and Dillon (Mr. Gladstone's three most loyal and leading Irish supporters) incapable of averting a daily paper from the rocks of social and financial failure, may surely awaken a measure of sympathy from English business men when they exclaim. 'Are these men capable of governing a nation.' No! Let, the Bill be rejected, and then, if you will, after a decade of education and enlightenment, when Ireland, like Italy and France, has shaken herself loose from clerical domination, give us no paltry provincial measure of Home (?) Rule. but out-and-out repeal, and we will gladly accept it as a final solution of all difficulties, worthy alike of England and our native isle.It was perfectly true that in that letter the Rev. Mr. Brown spoke for himself alone, but he was the leader of the Baptist Church in Dublin, and it was more than likely he would influence the decision of the members of his Church, or, at all events, some of them, with regard to this Bill. Surely some weight must be carried to the minds of hon. Members opposite by such utterances, which were not those of a man restricted by the exigencies of the moment, like some hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, and not bound to suppress some of his convictions in order to make others more tolerable to hon. Members of the Party opposite. They had there a bold pronouncement in favour of total and complete separation. He went now to another witness. A book entitled A Manual of Church History had been written by a certain Father Gilmartin, a Professor in Maynooth College. The 1796 statements contained in this book had been accepted and ratified by Dr. Walsh, who, under this Bill, would be the future Dictator of Ireland. They might, therefore, take it that the opinions he was about to read found favour with that eminent divine. When hon. Members talked about there being no fear of ascendency under this Bill, he would ask them to bear in mind these extracts. Father Gilmartin wrote—There should be a re-union between the Church and the State, as between the two great constituent elements of one moral Body, each working in its proper sphere for the moral good…. This union must be effected by the subordination of the one to the other, and not by co-ordination…. As one of the powers must, therefore, be subordinate to the other, it follows, as a matter of course, that the spiritual should rule—at least, so as to define the limit of authority, and direct the movements of the State according to the law of God, as the human soul directs the body.Surely some hon. Members opposite would pause in their determined support of this Bill in face of such declarations as that. He appealed to those hon. Members who belonged to the Nonconformist Body to say whether such pronouncements had no effect whatever on their minds. He supposed the mind of a British Radical was like a stone block, and he only wished any argument of his would be like a chisel, so as to cut a hole in the mind. The policy of Home Rule was tending in the direction of placing the population of Ireland under the direct dominion and control of the Irish Roman Catholic priests, and they on that side of the House could not allow such a state of things to go on without some protest. An article had been written in The Nineteenth Century for this month by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. E. Redmond), which was written in that honest, straightforward manner which characterised the speeches of the hon. Member in that House. As far as he could make out, the hon. Member was dissatisfied with every single one of the more important provisions contained in this Bill. He was dissatisfied with the provision as to the Imperial supremacy, and with the arrangement by which England took the Irish Customs; he objected to Ireland having to pay two-thirds of the funds for the Irish Constabulary, and to 1797 the Civil Service, and he objected to the provision as to the retention of the Irish Members. He concluded his article by saying—No one now talks of finality: it is a discredited word. But, for my part, after carefully studying the whole Bill, I am prepared to repeat what I said in the House of Commons on its First Heading—that it is the duty of Irish Nationalists to endeavour to so amend it in Committee that it may form a basis of settlement, which, not being final in its shape or in the powers it confers, will at any rate hold out a hope that the more acute phases of Irish misgovernment will immediately disappear, and that the future of Ireland will depend upon the steadiness, the constancy, and the courage of the Irish people themselves. All we desire is that it shall be so amended that we can accept it as an honest, honourable, and workable compromise.This Bill was being accepted by those Irish Members who had the honesty and the courage to speak their mind frankly as a basis of settlement,—as a compromise. They were accepting it as the basis upon which could be built up the fabric of that long-cherished ideal, and which would be used as the lever with which to wring further concessions from some future Parliament. He had endeavoured to show that the requirements laid down by right hon. Gentlemen opposite had not been fulfilled, and they were left face to face with the unquestionable political fact that no Party and no leaders could ever hope to carry this Home Rule Bill. The House would see from the quotations he had read that the demands of the Irish Nationalists went very greatly beyond the proposals that were contained in that Bill. It seemed to him, in face of these outspoken declarations, it was a farce to proceed with the Bill, and the sooner it, was buried in the oblivion from which it had been extracted the better. He could not help asking why this Bill had been laid before the House. Was it to remedy great evils and great wrongs? They could not undertake to redress evils and wrongs by a method which would entail still greater evils and wrongs upon a largo part of the population. Was it to do tardy justice to large numbers of peaceable and law-abiding citizens? That was a question which hardly required an answer. Were those who would be directly benefited the peaceable and law-abiding subjects of the Queen? 1798 Did the history of Irish crime and agitation during the last 10years justify their claim to this title? It was ridiculous to pretend either of these reasons; and they must find the reason in the largeness of the majority of the Irish Nationalist representation. The Bill had been introduced in accordance with a system which the Prime Minister practised in these days. The Bill had, in fact, been introduced pursuant to the "Ask and ye shall receive" system adopted by the Government, whenever the Party who asked were sufficiently powerful to enforce their demands. Wales asked, and got the Suspensory Bill; the Irish Nationalists asked for Home Rule, which was accordingly inserted in the Radical Programme. It was admitted that in these two cases of Wales and Ireland they were giving way to the expressed demands of the majority of the Representatives of the people. Then, why in Heaven's name was the voice of England declared as it was, by a great majority of English Members, to be the only voice that was to be disregarded? He really believed there were many hon. Gentlemen opposite who supported this Bill because they were perfectly certain it would be rejected by the House of Lords. But, he asked, was it, a manly or honest, or straightforward action to support a Bill in which they did not believe because they knew that, owing to the action of another part of our Imperial Parliament, the proposal could never be crowned with success. These proposals were only a farce, which were not believed in by the hon. Members opposite, and did not satisfy the Irish Members. They "play faintly round the ear, but mock the mind." And yet the Prime Minister was going to force them down their throats by means of a majority composed of three separate Parties bound together for the moment for the furtherance of the ends which they had in their own particular minds— namely, the English Radicals, the Welsh Disestablishes, and the Irish Home Rulers. The Prime Minister, in writing to a correspondent, assured him that discipline was urgently needed by, and would have a beneficial effect on, the English race.Under such discipline I believe they are capable of great elevation and of high performances.1799 The right hon. Gentleman was apparently subjecting them to a pretty severe test of this discipline. Did he await high performances? Did he expect they were capable of great elevation? If hon. Members opposite placed any value upon this pronouncement of their revered Leader, he would appeal to them to show some justification for it; to show by their action, by their speeches, and by their votes they were capable of high performances and great elevation in which the Prime Minister placed such faith, and that rising above Party ties, strong as they were, they would join with the hon. Members on that (the Opposition side) of the House in refusing to proceed further with a measure which must be to the great danger and detriment of the country.
§ MR. PAUL (Edinburgh, S.)
was sure the hon. Member for Sevenoaks would always be heard with pleasure, but he thought they would perhaps have heard him with even more delight if he had given them fewer extracts and more of his original style, for he (Mr. Paul) greatly preferred the structure of the hon. Member's own sentences, and he had a far greater regard for the value of his opinion than for the opinion and the sentences of the Rev. Hugh Brown. The hon. Member had proved to his own satisfaction that the Rev. Hugh Brown was a Repealer, but that that constituted any reason why he (Mr. Paul) should not be a Home Ruler was an acknowledgment he was scarcely prepared to make. He could assure the hon. Member he should not cast, the naked light of unseemly publicity on those dark days when Homo Rule was hidden in the womb of time. He did not know when those days began or when they ended. He was grateful to the hon. Member for having pointed out what indeed they knew before—that it was not all the Irish Protestants who were so-called Unionists, and it was not all the Irish Catholics who were in favour of Home Rule. For his own part, he could wish that the religious distinction was further separated than it was from the political distinction, for he could not think of anything more mischievous to a country than that 1800 religious should correspond closely with political differences. When the hon. Member, by uttering phrases of that sort, endeavoured to get rid of the closely-reasoned arguments of the hon. and learned Member for Accrington, he made a great mistake. The Member for Accrington succeeded in showing that if from the experience of the past they were entitled to make any prediction as to what would happen in the future, they were entitled to say that, so far from the Irish Catholics being disposed to oppress their Protestant fellow-countrymen, or subject them to disabilities, they wore disposed, and had shown their disposition, to give them every opportunity of serving their country in offices not only of trust and honour, but of profit and emolument. He listened with great pleasure to the most animated and interesting speech of the hon. and learned Member for Mid Armagh (Mr. Barton). He listened to that speech not only with great pleasure, but with intense relief, because he confessed that some utterances of his hon. and learned Friend the previous night, just before the Debate was adjourned, had filled him with considerable apprehension. His hon. and learned Friend drew a very dark picture of the future, especially so far as he was personally concerned. He said that if Home Rule were passed he looked forward—though he admitted he looked forward with courage and with endurance—to spending the rest of his days in penal servitude. He (Mr. Paul) was prepared to vote cheerfully for this Bill, because he believed it to be reasonable and just; but if he thought that its passing involved the indefinite incarceration of his hon. and learned Friend, his political principles would be subjected to a strain which he trusted they would never be called upon to bear. It was true that his hon. and learned Friend, having sentenced himself to penal servitude for life, proceeded to quash his own conviction on the ground that he had committed no offence. He also gave them his opinion as a lawyer, and he modestly reminded them, as one of Her Majesty's counsel, that such an offence could not be committed. That gave him momentary consolation; but he reflected that it was possible the legal opinion of his hon. and learned Friend, valuable as in ordinary circumstances it 1801 might be, might be tinged, and even lessened, by self-interest; therefore, he was not completely re-assured until he heard his hon. and learned Friend to-day, clothed and in his right mind, deliver his interesting historical argument to the House. Even in the course of that argument the hon. and learned Gentleman admitted that he might be called upon to resist this Bill if it became law. He did not say what sort of resistance he contemplated. There was an active and a passive resistance. He understood that passive resistance to this measure had been threatened in the shape of refusing to pay taxes, and that some of his hon. and learned Friend's compatriots had gone so far as to say they would drink only Scottish whisky rather than pay taxes to an Irish Parliament. That was an excellent liquor, and he could only advise those who contemplated taking this course to put plenty of water in it. The Member for Mid Armagh (Mr. Barton) read some very interesting and apposite quotations from Mr. Lecky, and the Member for South Donegal had previously quoted Mr. Lecky's remarkable assertion "that the whole of the unbribed intellect of Ireland was against the Union." That, he thought, was first quoted from Mr. Speaker Foster in that most powerful and eloquent work, Lenders of Irish Opinion, for which Mr. Lecky was accustomed in these days almost to apologise as the work of his early youth. In that respect he thought Mr. Lecky did himself less than justice. Mr. Leeky might not like to reflect now that he had been the cause of making more converts to Home Rule than probably any other living historian or writer. But though it was true that that most fascinating work was written when Mr. Lecky was a young man, it was also true—unless he was much mistaken— that Mr. Lecky revised and re-published it some 12 or 15 years later, when he had, to put it mildly, come to years of discretion. His hon. and learned Friend referred to the havoc this Bill made of the Act of Union. He did not admit that this Bill repealed the Act of Union, because to repeal the Act of Union would be to restore to Ireland what Ireland did not now ask, and what she was not about to receive—a Sovereign 1802 Parliament; but he admitted that it considerably modified the Act of Union, and so did the Irish Church Act, with which the Duke of Devonshire, the light hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bury (Sir Henry James), and most of the leading lights of the Unionist Party were concerned: and though be did not suggest that all the threats which were made by excited Episcopalians at that time were proof that the menaces of Ulster were not now to be considered genuine, yet he ventured to recall them for another purpose. One of the favourite arguments of that period against the Irish Church Act was that a fundamental Article of the Union having been by the Imperial Parliament repealed, the validity of the Union—and he thought the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin would remember the words— was impaired. It was Mr. Bright who said —it might, perhaps, be considered a truism, but nothing which came from Mr. Bright's lips was ever platitudinous—the Act of Union was a Statute "which Parliament has passed and which Parliament can repeal," and, he would add, an Act which Parliament had passed, and which the Imperial Parliament in 1869 had partially repealed. The Preamble of the Bill, which recited in terms the unaltered supremacy of Parliament, had been subjected to much criticism and much ridicule, and the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Sir E. Clarke) said that the Preamble was practically of no effect: he treated it as if it were the mere title of the Bill, which could have no legal force or validity. It was not for him to argue on legal points with the hon. and learned Gentleman, but he was always under the impression that the Preamble of a Statute governed the whole Statute, and though it could not prevail against express words in a clause, it was always consulted and employed as a guide to the interpretation of the Act, and that for that reason the Preamble in Committee was always postponed in order that it might be consistent with the Bill as finally agreed to. But it was not only the Preamble. Even if it were claimed that the supremacy of this Parliament could cease, that Parliament had the power to abandon its own supremacy, which involved the novel and unprecedented doctrine that this House of Commons could bind its successors, even sup- 1803 posing that to be admitted, there was besides the exceptions reserved the double veto, the veto exorcised by the advisers of Her Majesty in this country, as well as the veto exercised by Her Majesty's advisers in Ireland. There was running through the Bill, governing the Bill, a principle without which the Bill could not be construed—that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament would remain precisely as at the present moment. His hon. and learned Friend had referred, and others had referred, to the case of Austria and Hungary as constituting an analogy, and the opinion of Count Beust had been quoted, but that state of things would not apply to relations between Great Britain and Ireland. That analogy was not quoted by the Prime Minister with the object of showing that a similar relation could be established between Great Britain and Ireland, but it was so referred to by Lord Salisbury. Lord Salisbury, in October, 1885, said he had not then conceived a plan by which that result might be attained, but he uttered a pious aspiration that some such arrangement might be devised. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Bristol (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had twice been Chief Secretary for Ireland. His first administration was a peaceful one, and perhaps, in determining the history of Ireland, it might be said that, happy was the Chief Secretary who made no history. On the second occasion the right hon. Gentleman had not given universal satisfaction, for he did not satisfy the worst landlords or the best lawyers. He had irritated — and he (Mr. Paul) thought that was much to his honour— the delicate susceptibilities of Lord Clanricarde, and had fallen under the lash of a learned Judge (Chief Baron Palles). He believed that if the right hon. Gentleman had remained much longer at Dublin Castle, and if he had been allowed to make use of what was called "pressure within the law," it was possible that the House might not now be discussing this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had been succeeded by a more logical and less scrupulous Minister. There was no man, in his opinion, with the exception of the late Mr. Parnell and of the Prime Minister, who had done more to convince the people of England and Scotland of the necessity for Home Rule in Ireland than 1804 the present Leader of the Opposition. The right hon. Baronet had deprecated political analogies; he had protested against the government of Ireland by Great Britain being compared with that, of Poland by Russia. He entirely agreed with the right hon. Baronet, but he would point out that, the Prime Minister had quoted the government of Poland by Russia not as an analogy to the Government of Ireland by Great Britain, but as the one instance where an incorporating Union maintained by force had, from a physical and material point of view, succeeded, and where that success was a lasting shame and disgrace to the country which had carried it out. The Prime Minister had quoted it for that reason, and no other; but it had been quoted by another statesman for a very different reason. It was quoted by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) as an accurate comparison and parallel of the relations between Great Britain and Ireland. No one could admire more than he did the transcendent abilities of the right hon. Gentleman, but he thought that if he had a fault—and they all had faults— it was a slight tendency to occasional exaggeration. He remembered at the time thinking that was an exaggerated description, and he did not know what epithets the right hon. Gentleman would apply to it now. The right hon. Baronet told them, and they were continually being told, that they obtained support from their constituents in the country by telling them they would vote for any measure of Home Rule which the Prime Minister would introduce. If he had told the electors of South Edinburgh he would vote for any Bill the Prime Minister might introduce, he would have been hooted out of the constituency as more fit for Bedlam than Parliament. What he, and, no doubt, what the majority of the Liberal Party, told their constituents was, that they would vote for any Homo Rule Bill that preserved the supremacy of Parliament, giving to Ireland the proper and adequate control of her own affairs, and which also contained adequate safeguards for the rights of minorities. Because he thought this Bill did that, and not because it was introduced by the right hon. Gentleman, he was prepared to give his vote for it. The right hon. Baronet, who was the most acute critic 1805 of the Bill who had yet spoken, made a very curious remark upon it. He said that it went too far, and that it did not go far enough; that it imposed on the Irish nation a badge of servitude, and that it took away from the British nation their Imperial authority. He (Mr. Paul) found some difficulty in understanding how it could do both, and he should have more faith in the argument that the Bill contained a badge of servitude if it came from those upon whom the badge of servitude would be placed; but he did not hear from hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite who followed the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin McCarthy), or from those who followed the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. E. Redmond), any complaint that the Bill would impose upon them any badge of servitude. The right hon. Baronet was only doing his duty in pointing out, if he could, that this Bill destroyed the supremacy of Parliament; but when he came to point out the practical evils which would result from what he called this loss of supremacy, it seemed to him (Mr. Paul) they were reduced to an exceedingly small compass. The right hon. Gentleman said he had no fear of religious persecution, and it was somewhat remarkable that in saying that he only echoed the words of Mr. Bright shortly before his death. The right hon. Baronet confined the dangers he predicted to two: he thought the interests of education, of unsectarian and undenominational education, to which he was a very recent convert, might suffer loss. They had a very interesting Debate on that subject the other day. They had a Debate on a Bill intended to restrain the action of the Education Board in Ireland, to restrain the action not merely of the Roman Catholic members, but of the Protestant Episcopalians, to restrain them from doing what the Chief Secretary for Ireland had not allowed them to do. He observed that that Debate and the arguments used in it by no means gave pleasure to the English Conservatives, whom he might call the Clerical Wing of the Conservative Party, for they pointed out that the Conservatives of Ulster were playing a dangerous game; they were doing the work of the advocates of unsectarian or, as they called it, irreligious education; and it seemed to them that if the worst thing Home Rule could do was to give the blessing of 1806 denominational education, then, in their opinion, the sooner it came the better. But the more serious point of the right hon. Baronet's argument was the danger which the landlords of Ireland would incur. The right hon. Baronet pointed out that in the year 1886 the present Prime Minister introduced a Bill to secure special protection for the landlords. But the right hon. Baronet should bear in mind that a good deal had happened since 1886, to use words which were now historical, and that various Land Bills had been passed, including the measure carried by the present Leader of the Opposition in 1891, which, he had always understood, was to make the landlords perfectly safe. It was true that the sum to be advanced under that Bill was limited to about £40,000,000, but it was not finally limited; there was a self-acting process by which, when any part of that sum had done its work and the instalments had been paid, a fresh transaction could be entered into and the whole process could be begun over again. The right hon. Baronet said that the Legislative Council would be no protection to the minority, because, after two years, or after a Dissolution, by a majority of the two Chambers voting together, the measure in dispute would be carried over the head of the Legislative Council. But that meant that the Nationalist majority, as they knew it in this House, would in all cases vote together. A more extraordinary supposition never had been made. Was it credible, was it among the rational expectations of the future that, when they had got the control of affairs in their own country and had no longer any reason for voting together, the Nationalist Members would be unanimous upon every subject and give the Legislative Council, or the majority of that Body, no chance of making itself heard? The only conclusion to be drawn from such an argument as that must be that there could be no safeguard for the minority except to make the minority prevail. Such criticisms as were passed upon this proposed Irish Constitution would, if applied to the British Constitution, prove conclusively that no such arrangement could by any possibility last for a week. The right, hon. Gentleman the Member for the Ormskirk Division (Mr. Forwood) had claimed for every Member of this House what he called his absolute and indefeasible 1807 right of speaking upon every subject. If that right were exorcised, how long could the House of Commons or any representative Government exist? They must assume that Irishmen were reasonable people; if they were not, the House of Commons should have stopped making concessions to them in 1884. There were important Debates at that time, and hon. Members opposite, amongst them the late Mr. W. H. Smith, contended that the enlarged county franchise ought not to be extended to Ireland. These politicians were consistent, but they were ridiculed by hon. Gentlemen on their own side, and by none more than by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington, who was now going about the country using language that it was scarcely Parliamentary to repeat about that measure.
§ It being Midnight, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.