§ [FIFTH 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."
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. W. AMBROSE (Middlesex, Harrow)
said, that it had been stated by the Solicitor General for England, in his speech the preceding night, that the loyalty of Ulster was conditional—that was to say, that as long as the Government or Sovereign pursued the policy of which Ulster approved so long Ulster would be loyal, but that when a different policy was adopted Ulster immediately turned disloyal, and was prepared to rebel against the Government, But he would like to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman whether there was no ground for the complaint which Ulster was making with reference to the proposals of this Bill? Had the hon. and learned Gentleman forgotten that the Act of Union was the result of a Treaty made between the Irish Parliament representing the Irish people on the one hand and the British Parliament representing the British people on the other hand? At the time of the Union the Protestants of Ireland, chiefly resident in Ulster, were in the ascendency, but they were quite prepared to give up that ascendency on the condition that it was not transferred to their opponents the Roman Catholics, and that for all time they should be subject to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. That provision was not the ordinary provision of an Act of Parliament. It was part of the bargain by which the Union was effected; by which the Ulster Protestants gave up their ascendency, and it was a protection against the possibility of the ascendency being transferred to the Roman Catholics. And now, in defiance of that compact, they were to be handed over to the tender mercies of those who had always been and were still recognised as their enemies. He would raise no question as to the sovereignity or, as it was sometimes called, "the omnipotence" of the Imperial Parliament. It might be that, Parliament had sufficient authority to pass this Bill, and to establish in Ireland and even in Ulster a Government de facto which would have 120 power to deal with Ulstermen as it thought proper. But when the Imperial Parliament did that, Ulstermen would have at least a ground of complaint, and it could not be done without leaving an indelible stain on the honour of the British nation and, indeed, of the British Parliament. There had been a great deal of discussion about matters of history—the history of Grattan's Parliament, the history of the Union, and the history of the incorporating Unions of States throughout Europe, but he thought they might come to closer quarters with the Bill before the House. He would endeavour to reduce the issue as much as possible. Both Parties were agreed that it was desirable, if possible and as far as possible, to give Local Government to Ireland, provided it were Local Government, although there might be a difference of opinion as to the amount. He had no doubt that many gentlemen opposite had at the General Election obtained votes in the belief that the Home Rule which they supported was only a measure of Local Government. Both Parties were also agreed that whenever Local Government was given to Ireland cure must be taken to preserve the unity of the Empire and the authority and power of the Imperial Parliament. With regard to the first proposition as to Local Government. He, for his part, saw very little objection to the amount of Local Government which was about to be conferred by this Bill. If there was to be any criticism whatever on the Bill as to the powers which it expressly gave to the proposed new Irish Government, the only wonder to him was that the Irish Members should be prepared to accept a measure which was so scanty in its provisions. Almost every conceivable subject, upon which the Irish Members might be supposed to exercise their talents and statesmanship was carefully withdrawn from the control of the Irish Parliament. He agreed with the Solicitor General that it came to this: That where the Irish Legislature was excluded from dealing with matters, nevertheless, power was given to the Irish Members in the British Parliament of dealing with the very same questions, so that exclusion from the Irish Parliament meant that the Irish Members would exercise their powers in the English Parliament. They would thus prac- 121 tically obtain an enormous control over British and Imperial affairs, while, at the same time, the British people wore denied the right of interference in Irish affairs. The Solicitor General had given them an elaborate description of the various safeguards that were contained in the Home Rule Bill. He gave them the history of one of the clauses, which had come down from Magna Charta; but when that clause was obtained in Magna Charta it was obtained by the Barons of England acting in concert with the people of England. But when they got that safeguard from the Sovereign they took care to reserve to themselves the power of the purse, and to provide that there should not be the power to abrogate the clause at any time the Crown might think proper. But in this case what were they doing? They were giving to the Irish Parliament in general terms all the powers of government, with what were called certain safeguards, and in the same Bill, in almost the next clause, they were giving that power of sovereignty, in the form of an Executive, which enabled them to abrogate the safeguards at any time that they might think proper so to do. The mistake of the Bill was that while they were giving small powers to the Irish Legislature, they were giving to that Legislature sovereign powers, so far as the Executive Government was concerned. There were no boundaries by which the power of the Irish Government could be restrained. The next question that arose was, would this Bill, if it were carried, destroy the authority of the Imperial Parliament? The effect of the fifth clause was to establish for Ireland a miniature of the Constitution of Great Britain, but the Lord Lieutenant was to exercise the veto of the Sovereign upon the advice of the Executive Committee of the Privy Council of Ireland. There was just, this difference between the Irish Constitution -and the British Constitution as it at present stood, that, according to the new Constitution given by the Bill, the veto, which was to vest in the Lord Lieutenant, was intended to be a living veto, whereas in the Imperial Constitution of Great Britain the veto was already dead and had been dead for at least 100 years. The veto of the Sovereign in Great Britain was dead because it had fallen into desuetude, but it had so fallen into desuetude because 122 it had been found utterly impracticable and impossible for any Sovereign to place his will against the will of the Lords and Commons. Exactly the same thing would go on in Ireland. Supposing the Irish Legislature proposed to abolish the restrictions which were imposed by the 3rd and 4th clauses of this Bill, supposing they proposed to deal with a question of religion or of the laud laws, if they had the power to get rid of those clauses they would do it. Supposing both branches of the Legislature passed a Bill for abolishing the restrictions contained in the 3rd and 4th clauses, and that such Bill came before the Lord Lieutenant for his approval, and he vetoed it in the exercise of instructions from the Imperial Parliament or the Sovereign herself. The Ministers would resign and would be succeeded by others, who would have the confidence of the Legislative Assembly, and the Lord Lieutenant would be obliged to dissolve Parliament and go to the country. Ministers would come back again, in all probability, strengthened in their hostility to the Lord Lieutenant or the Sovereign, and in their strong determination to pass the obnoxious Bill. Under those circumstances, either the Lord Lieutenant must give way and assent to the Bill, or there would be a deadlock resulting in anarchy. It might be said that that was a thing that might occur at any time in Great Britain. Yes, but in Great Britain they had this important difference, that it would have been a question between the Sovereign on the one hand and the Parliament and the people on the other, and the unity of the Empire would be preserved. There would be no disunion of the United Kingdom, one part of the country supporting one view, and another part another view. But if the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland should get into collision with the Irish Parliament, the case would be otherwise. You would, in that case, have the Irish Parliament pulling one way and the Lord Lieutenant, representing the British Parliament and the British people, pulling another and a very different way. Under such circumstances, I would, Sir, ask what will have become of the unity of the Empire, and the answer must be that it will be gone. The right hon. Gentleman the Member 123 for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) dealt with this point of unity so far as regards the feelings and sentiments of the two peoples, and what was the answer of the Chief Secretary? The right hon. Gentleman said that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) was confounding unity with centralisation, and that it was centralisation that was intended to be destroyed by the Bill by, Sir, centralisation of Government, whether in Downing Street or elsewhere, is one thing and the unity of two peoples in their sentiments and legislative purposes is another and a very different thing. However, the question arose not only of what would become of the unity of the Empire, but what was to be done under the circumstances he had described. What could the Imperial Parliament do to maintain or assert its authority? It might be said that there was an Appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England. They might make that appeal, and the decision might be against the Irish Parliament, but what better position would they be in? How was the authority of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to be enforced as against the Irish Parliament, who would carry out their will by simply refusing supplies? The Irish Parliament would have the command of the Police, and the Imperial Parliament could do just about as much in Ireland as the Irish Parliament could do in regard to England. Supposing there was a conflict as we have seen that very afternoon, the Home Secretary could give orders to the military; but could the Lord Lieutenant give any orders to the military except through the Irish Executive? I submit not. The Solicitor General seemed not to have appreciated the point of the hon. Member for Mid Armagh, which was that the Sovereign could not alone do an act of State; the Sovereign can do no wrong, and, that being so, somebody other than the Sovereign must be made responsible for every act of State which the Sovereign does. So far as the military were concerned, it was a principle of our Constitution that they were always subject to the Civil power. There was not an officer stationed in Ireland who dare give a single order to a soldier to take part in any question that might arise between the Legislature of Ireland and 124 the Lord Lieutenant, except so far as he might be authorised by the Civil power, and even then he would take upon himself the responsibility of judging whether or not that Civil officer had authority to give the order, or he might run the risk of being indicted for murder. The House will see what a helpless position the Lord Lieutenant will be in as regards the military. He will have a quarrel with the Irish Executive; but if he wants to use the military or the police for the purpose of supporting his own, or what may be described as the Imperial, authority, he can only give the requisite order through the very Executive against whom he may desire the military or police to act. It must be borne in mind, in connection with this matter, that the Irish Members would, upon any question that might arise, have a voice in the Imperial Parliament. When the Government of Great Britain attempted to take any measures whatever, they would be impeded by the action of the Irish Members in this House. It might be said that the views he was putting to the House were all based upon distrust of the Irish people. He had not assumed that they were influenced by any wrong motives, or that they would be acting in any other way than any other set of people would act under similar circumstances. All writers upon Government or Constitutional Law had dealt with the point that there was always a disposition on the part of the stronger estate in a Constitutional Government to encroach on the weaker estate, and in process of time practically to absorb it. Those were the views he was putting before the House. He was not saying anything against the Irish people from this point of view, but when they were asked to give this sovereign power to the Irish Parliament were they to ignore the facts which had been proved before their eyes in recent years? Could they ignore the facts disclosed by the Report of the Special Commission? They would be criminally foolish if they were to do so—if they were to fail to recognise the importance of the facts brought out by the Special Commission. What were those facts? First, that there was a conspiracy, wide in its effects, comprising a large number of people on this and the other side of the Atlantic. For 125 what purpose? To secure the independence of Ireland. For the maintenance of that conspiracy large sums of money had been subscribed in America and sent to Ireland, and it was recorded that there was to be a new departure, combining with the scheme of land and other agitation Parliamentary action, and accordingly they found no less than 44 Members of the last Parliament were charged with being privy to that conspiracy. The Commissioners negatived the charge so far as it was a collective charge. They said that they were not guilty collectively in conspiring to secure the independence of Ireland, but the Commissioners found that there was a conspiracy, and that no less than eight Members, including the most able of the Members below the Gangway, were guilty of conspiracy. Those Members were now supporting the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, those who were exonerated from the graver charge were found guilty of a conspiracy illegal in its objects, the intention being to impoverish the Irish landlords and expel what was called the English garrison from the country—the first step towards securing the independence of Ireland. If they looked to the way in which it was proposed to carry this out, if they examined the motives of the action of the Laud League and the Plan of Campaign, he thought there was the strongest possible reason given to them for being most careful in giving powers to an Irish Parliament—powers which would be capable of being abused. These were most important considerations when you found that the Bill before the House, which was intended to settle Irish questions, left this important Land Question unsettled. He would like to cite a passage from a well-known writer, who wrote in 1848, and which is quoted by Mr. Lecky—The land question contains and the legislative question does not contain the materials from which victory is manufactured. You can never count again on the support of the country peasantry in any shape or degree on the question of Repeal. Their interest in it was never ardent nor was it native and spontaneous, but forced and factitious. In Ireland, unluckily, there is no direct and general State tax payment of which might be refused and resisted. Rent is the one impost which can be so resisted; a struggle against it is the one means of enlisting the great mass of the farming classes in the 126 army of sedition, and kindling in them a strain of genuine passion.In 1880 Mr. Parnell said at Cincinnati—When we have given Ireland to the people of Ireland we shall have laid the foundation upon which to build up our Irish nation. The feudal tenure and the rule of the minority have been the corner stone of English misrule; pull out that corner stone, break it up, destroy it, and you undermine English misgovernment, when we have underminded English misgovernment we have paved the way for Ireland to take her place amongst the nations of the earth, and let us not forget that is the ultimate goal at which all we Irishmen aim—none of us, whether we are in America or Ireland, or wherever we may be will be satisfied until we have destroyed the last link which keeps Ireland bound to England.Such was the teaching of the hon. Gentlemen who were now going to support the present Prime Minister. He would give one more quotation from a speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. Davitt), who was one of the most straightforward of men, and one whom they could not help feeling considerable sympathy with. But the higher the character of the man the more dangerous did he become when he entertained views such as he was about to quote. Speaking at Kansas City on the 11th September, 1880, the hon. Member for North-East Cork said—In addition to that we have, as you have already been told, declared an unceasing war against landlordism, not a war to call on our people to shoulder the rifle and go out in open field and settle the question that is now agitating Ireland, although I am not opposed to a settlement of that nature, providing I could see a chance of success, but for the fourth time during the present century we have tried a physical struggle with England, and instead of hurting England we have generally hurt ourselves. Now, I believe it is far better to meet on different ground, and to do battle in a different mode. And in declaring this war against Irish landlords, in not paying rent in order to bring down their garrison in Ireland, we know we are doing a proper work. We are preparing the way for that independence which you enjoy in this great American Republic. At present, however, we are engaged in a peaceful revolution.He would give one more quotation which put in language far more forcible than any he could use the views of those on the other side of the Atlantic. He did not for a moment mean to impute that they were the views of the right hon. Gentleman who had introduced the Bill, but he maintained that the right hon. Gentleman was the mere iustru- 127 ment of those who pulled the strings from the other side of the Atlantic. A letter from the Clan-na-Gael in America was published in the Report of the Parnell Commission. This letter was dated the 18th December, 1885, and about the date that this letter would arrive in England they began to hear whisperings from Hawarden of the new departure about to be taken by the right hon. Gentleman with the view of conciliating a large section of the Home Rule Party. When they heard from the Member for North-East Cork that he was prepared to accept this Bill as a settlement, they had to consider not only what that hon. Member accepted, but they had also to consider what those behind him, who supplied the sinews of war, would do and say on the matter. The letter in question stated—While our objects lie far beyond what may be obtained by agitation, a National Parliament is an object which we are bound to attain by any means offered. The achievement of a National Parliament gives us a footing upon Irish soil; it gives us the agencies and instrumentalities of a government He facto at the very commencement of the Irish struggle. It places the Government of the land in the hands of our friends and brothers. It removes the Castle's rings, and gives us what we may well express as the plant of an armed revolution. From this standpoint the restoration of Parliament is part of our programme. When that is attained, if agitation will not go further, we will still go on with our forces unimpaired and strengthened.He (Mr. Ambrose) put upon himself in his speech the duty of establishing two propositions. The first was that this Bill would destroy the unity of the two Kingdoms and the power of the Imperial Parliament, and would practically make Ireland a separate Kingdom, and that this would follow as the result of the ordinary principles of human action without imputing any special tendencies whatever to the Irish people; hut his second proposition was that there was in this case a special danger that the powers to be entrusted to an Irish Parliament would be used for the purpose of establishing complete separation. He was aware that hon. Gentlemen opposite were pledged to support Home Rule. But they were also pledged to support such a scheme of Home Rule only as should secure the unity and independence of the Empire. If he was right in his argument, this 128 Bill would not preserve either the unity of the Empire or the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, and, therefore, hon. Gentlemen opposite would not only be at liberty, but it would be their duty to vote against the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ *MR. CHARLES ROUNDELL (York, W.R., Skipton)
said, that perhaps, as an English Member, he could claim to himself a slight ad vantage in addressing the House on this question. He had had some experience of the working of the Government at Dublin Castle, for when Lord Spencer first went to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant he accompanied him as private secretary. He was in Ireland during a very interesting and important time, and he hoped he had not lost sight of the impressions he then formed. The one issue which he desired to put before the House and to rest his case on was the absolute necessity for some change in the relations between Ireland and this country. If that change should be a great organic and Constitutional change he should he the last to attempt to minimise the gravity or importance of it, but he said that it was a change that was called for, and he should endeavour to make good that point. If he succeeded in showing that the change was absolutely necessary, then he would submit that the attitude of non possumus which was maintained by the Party opposite could no longer be properly maintained. Although he knew it was a desire which was not practicable, he could have hoped that the same course would have been taken by the Leaders of the Conservative Party which they took for the settlement of the Reform question in 1884, and that they would do their best in concert with the Government to bring about a settlement of the Irish Question which would secure that unity and independence which the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just spoken desired. His (Mr. Roundell's) position was this: that the existing state of things in Ireland could not be maintained. The old policy of alternate coercion and conciliation could no longer be maintained, and a new policy which would be the antithesis of the old was inevitably called for. The old policy had broken down. It broke down under Lord Spencer in 1885, and it broke down in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman the present Leader of the Opposition 129 during the last six years. When he said that he made no impeachment of the right hon. Gentleman. Far from that, he said that if the right hon. Gentleman, with his ability and his majority in both Houses, was unable to carry out his policy of resolute government, then the attempts to govern Ireland by coercion passed the wits of the ablest men. If that were so they were in a dilemma, and they could not possibly stand still. A few years ago, with the full consent of the Party opposite, the Liberals gave to the people of Ireland an extended franchise and the protection of the Ballot. Considering that, they must do one thing or another; they must either go forward or go backward. Either they must withdraw that boon which they had given to the people of Ireland—they must constitute Ireland a Crown Colony—or they must do what the Liberal Party asked them to do—namely, to go forward and put reasonable trust in the people of Ireland. He would quote a high authority for showing that it was impossible to go back upon that liberal administration which they had already followed. Lord Salisbury, in his Newport speech in 1885, said—You had passed an Act of Parliament giving supreme power to the great mass of the Irish people. To my mind, the renewal of exceptional legislation against a population whom you had treated legislatively to this marked confidence was so gross in its inconsistency that you could not possibly hope … to renew any legislation which expressed on one side a distrust of what on the other side your former legislation had so strongly emphasized.The words of Lord Salisbury would apply distinctly to the ease he wished to make out as to the impossibility of going back upon this liberal policy of granting the franchise to the people of Ireland which both Parties had agreed upon. But if, on the other hand, hon. Gentlemen opposite said they would not do that, but would go back upon the evil old sytem of resolute government, then he said that there was nothing to be looked forward to but a recrudescence of that miserable state of trouble, of outrage, and of outbreak which had been a disgrace to our relations with Ireland in the past. The hon. and learned Member for North Louth had used words which summed up pithily and most pathetically the story of our long connection with Ireland— 130Seven hundred years of union with the richest country in the world and Ireland remains the poorest; seven hundred years of union with the freest country in the world and Ireland remains the most oppressed.He wished now to make good the point which he had so far put by coming to the Imperial aspect of the question, and to show how the existing state of things constituted a weakness to the Empire. We had in Ireland on the 1st February last a body of over 26,000 troops; that was to say more than one-fourth of the whole number of troops at home. He asked the House to compare this state of things with that which prevailed in Scotland. In Scotland we had 3,500 of our troops. That was to say that in Ireland, which was not much larger in population than Scotland, there were seven times as many troops. There was a time, some 60 years ago, at the time of Catholic Emancipation when the Conservative Party had to deal with a similar state of things. In 1829 Sir R. Peel, referring to the large number of troops then in Ireland, said, in a Memorandum sent to the Duke of Wellington—In the course of the last six months England, being at peace with the whole world, has had five-sixths of the Infantry force of the United Kingdom occupied in maintaining the peace, and in police duties in Ireland. I consider the state of things which requires such an application of military force much worse than open rebellion,Surely it was a strange union that was thus maintained by force, and the continued presence of this largo body of Infantry in Ireland constituted a curious commentary on the Speech delivered from the Throne to the first Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in which Speech the King congratulated Parliament upon the Act of Union on the ground that it was a measure "calculated to consolidate and augment the strength and resources of the Empire, and to cement more closely the interests and affections of his subjects." Were these times when they could afford to use a considerable part of their small military force in unnecessarily and shamefully holding down the people of Ireland? In 1829 Sir R. Peel wrote—Let me implore you to consider what would be the condition of England in the event of war. Would an English Parliament tolerate for one moment a state of things in Ireland which would compel the appropriation of half 131 our military force to protect, or rather to control, that exposed part of our Empire?No; let this country no longer trust to military force in its relations with Ireland. Let them do justice to the people of Ireland, and they would realise the truth of what was said by a late President of the United States—namely—That the attachment of a people to their Government was the strongest national defence that human wisdom could devise.By doing justice to Ireland they would render easier the settlement of diplomatic questions between this country and the United States, where the Irish vote was predominant, and where, in the case of the Fisheries Commission, there had been a complete breakdown because of the attitude of a member of the Commission, the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain), on the Home Rule question. Further than that, they would enlist on their side the sympathies of Europe and America. They would also transform the feeling of the Irish people—a feeling of hostility, not against the English people, but against the English Government—into a feeling of respect and friendship, and in times of storm and stress that friendship would stand them in greater stead than many regiments of soldiers. Then also would disappear the extreme Party that advocated the use of dynamite, and which must cease to exist as soon as there was an end to the discontent engendered by a false, a vicious, system of government. The attitude of the Ulster Members led him to ask whether the minority in Ireland or the majority should rule. That was the main issue. That, shortly put, was the Ulster question. He was not going to say a word about the violent denunciations with which their ears had been ringing in the last few weeks, except to express his wonder as a moderate and sober man that such childish nonsense should be indulged in on so grave a question. He would remind the House that when Catholic Emancipation was passed the same kind of denunciations were heard from the same quarters, and when the Church was disestablished the same thing again occurred. These were two most just and righteous measures, the justice and righteousness of which were not denied now even by gentlemen 132 opposite. What did the Ulster claim amount to? A moiety of a province claimed to ride roughshod over the other moiety of the province and over the great majority of the people of Ireland. That minority cried out against a change which would place the government in the hands of the majority, in which case it was said persecution of the Protestant minority would follow. Sir M. Hicks-Beach, in moving the rejection of the Bill, asked, where were the safeguards for our Protestant fellow-countrymen? Let him remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that they on that side were Protestants, and that the interests of their fellow-countrymen in Ireland were no less dear to them than to hon. Gentlemen opposite. In England clerical influence could not prevail against the influence of the nation, and he maintained that the same state of things would subsist in Ireland. But he would rather make his appeal on wider and broader considerations. He would ask his Protestant fellow-countrymen whether a Party, even though it be in a minority, which possessed the wealth and education and enterprise of the Protestants of Ireland must not be wholly unlike any other Party if it failed to secure for itself a full share in the control of the future government of Ireland. He had one more remark to address to the House. Some 25 years ago he went to Jamaica as Secretary of the Royal Commission sent out to that island at the time of the outbreak. There he witnessed government by the minority, government by a party of ascendancy on a large scale, and what he saw and heard there made a deep impression upon him. Two or three years later he went to Ireland in the capacity of private secretary. He was there at the time of the Disestablishment of the Irish Church, and whilst at Dublin Castle he formed an opinion on the state of things in Ireland, of the relation between the English minority and the Irish majority, and of the traditional tone of the official class in Ireland. There again he saw the baneful rule of ascendency in full force. That was the prime cause of Irish discontent, and what the House had to do was to put an end to that inversion of the ordinary principles of government, to trust to the natural order of things, to do, in fact, what was never better put than by the present Prime Minister at Nottingham, in 1887, when he said— 133The English administrative system in Ireland must be altered from one that is English and anti-national in spirit to one that is Irish and national in spirit.
§ That was, to his mind, the Irish Question in a nutshell.
§ *MR. J. F. HOGAN (Tipperary, Mid)
, said, as the Bill for the Better Government of Ireland now under discussion was avowedly modelled on Colonial Constitutional lines, as colonial analogies had largely entered into the speeches and arguments that had been addressed to hon. Members, and as he stood in the peculiar position of an Irish Representative whose life had been passed in a great self-governing British Colony, he might be pardoned for entertaining the hope that he would be able to throw some useful side lights on the vast and important question at issue, derived from personal knowledge and practical experience of the working of Home Rule. The Prime Minister, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, quoted a singularly weighty and thoroughly convincing letter from an eminent New Zealand colonist (Mr. Fitzgerald, Auditor General of the Colony). In that very opportune letter the immense and permanent advantages that accrued to Australia and New Zealand from the concession of self-governing institutions were indicated with irresistible force, and no less irresistibly was the conclusion brought home to all unprejudiced minds in that Chamber that Ireland could only be permanently pacified by the same methods and the same concessions that transformed once chronically-agitated and at times dangerously-exasperated Colonies into loyal, peaceful, and contented communities. The Prime Minister prefaced his reading of Mr. Fitzgerald's letter by describing that gentleman as an Imperialist as well as a Home Ruler. With that description he, in common with the vast majority of thinking colonists, gladly associated himself. They were all Imperial Home Riders in the sense that they were firmly convinced that Home Rule would not only achieve its direct and immediate object of inaugurating a new era of peace, progress, and prosperity in Ireland, but that it would also materially conduce to the welfare and harmony of the Empire at large. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) stigmatised this measure as a Bill 134 for the weakening of Great Britain. He (Mr. Hogan) called it a Bill for the strengthening of the British Empire, for was it not a notorious fact that Ireland was now and had been for years the weakest link in the Imperial chain? And how could a measure framed and constituted for the express purpose of substituting permanent strength for chronic weakness in the Sister Isle be justly characterised as a Bill for the weakening of Great Britain? The fact was, that the right hon. Gentleman was content to survey this great question from the miserable molehill of the provincial—he had almost said the parochial—politician, who knows little or nothing of the practical working of Home Rule in the great British Colonies. The right hon. Gentleman had not yet taken the trouble to comply with what Lord Rosebery bad very properly laid down as an indispensable qualification for membership of the Imperial Cabinet—a tour of the Empire. His travels in the great English-speaking communities beyond the seas had been confined within the narrow limits of a pilgrimage to the shrine of American beauty—a pilgrimage that they were all pleased to recall, did not go without its reward, but which obviously could not have appreciably added to his political knowledge in general or his information on Home Rule in particular, unless in the literally domestic sense of the phrase. What was the fundamental objection lying at the root of the organised opposition to this Bill? Was it not that the great bulk of the Irish in Ireland were not fit to receive or to exercise legislative and executive powers? In reply to that objection he would say—"Go and visit those vigorous and flourishing British Colonies where Irishmen have had a fail-field and no favour. See them by sheer force of inherent ability and unaided merit achieving distinction as Speakers of Legislative Assemblies, Ministers of the Crown, heads of State Departments, and holders of the highest positions that the Colonies can confer, and then ask yourselves how comes it, that Irishmen, though in a minority, can thus excel as leaders and administrators in the Colonies if, as you allege, they are unfit to exercise legislative and administrative functions in the land of their birth." The suggestion was utterly baseless and 135 absurd. Irishmen at home were quite as fit to exercise all the privileges of self-government as Irishmen abroad had proved themselves to be. All they wanted was the opportunity to demonstrate their political and administrative capacity—an opportunity that the Bill now before the House would happily bring within their reach. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. A. J. Balfour). in opposing the Bill, did not venture to assert that be represented the wishes and sentiments of the Englishmen of Greater Britain in the hostility he was offering to the Bill. He knew well that any such claim could not stand for a moment the test of the authoritative facts. He knew that all the leading English statesmen of the Colonies had publicly identified themselves with the advocacy of Home Rule for Ireland, and that, whereas countless colonial meetings had endorsed the Irish policy of the present Prime Minister, not one of the slightest weight or influence had beer held in condemnation of that policy. Into the details of the evidence he might adduce in ample corroboration of that statement it was unnecessary for him to enter, as they had already been published at length in articles contributed to the Reviews by his hon. Friend the Member for Devonport (Mr. E. J. C. Morton) and himself. He asserted without fear of contradition that the moral force and the public opinion of the Greater Britain beyond the seas were overwhelmingly ranged on the side of the supporters of this Bill. If there was one particular fallacy more than another that was sedulously propagated by the opponents of this Bill, and reiterated in season and out of season, it was that Home Rule was synonymous with a sacrilegious assault on the most venerable of their legislative institutions. Lord Salisbury had repeatedly represented the policy embodied in this measure as being on a par in political insanity with a proposal for the restoration of the Heptarchy, and from the wild and lurid harangues recently addressed to provincial audiences by the noble Lord the Member for Paddington, one might almost fancy that the promoters of this Bill were engaged in the furtherance of some diabolical design to tear up the British Constitution by 136 the roots or to undermine the historic national temple of legislation. What were the historical facts of the case? So far from the Constitutional situation brought about by the Act of Union which this Bill sought to modify having any time-honoured or venerable characteristics, it was comparatively but a thing of yesterday. There were men now walking this earth whose fathers sat in an Irish Parliament. One of them, the Protestant Dean of Melbourne, in the Colony of Victoria, was actually born while his father, Sir John Macartney, was a Member of the last, Irish Parliament. Sir John Macartney opposed the Act of Union from first to last, showing conclusively that Ireland had prospered under what he described as "a resident and enlightened Parliament," and refusing to believe that the Irish people would ever—Willingly submit themselves to be totally governed by a Parliament in which they will not form one-sixth part of the representation, by a country of about twice their population, and having more than 23 times their debt.The son of the man who thus strongly and patriotically protested, from his place in the Irish House of Commons, against the extinction of the local Legislature of his country happily survived to witness the re-establishment of that Legislature under the provisions of the Bill they were now discussing. Surely it could not be seriously contended that a Constitutional change effected during the lives of men still walking this earth, and holding high offices in Church and State, was of so sacred and venerable a character that it must not be touched or amended or re-adjusted in the slightest degree. A word or two about that formidable lion in the path—Ulster. He had some experience of Orangemen in the Australian Colonies, and and he was certainly loth to believe that the hon. and belligerent Member for North Armagh represented any considerable or important section of his Orange brethren in the reckless, unreasoning attitude he and his Parliamentary followers had assumed towards this measure. In Australia he (Mr. Hogan) had always found the Orangemen ready and willing to co-operate with their fellow-citizens in all movements calculated to promote the welfare of their 137 common country. At the present moment the Colony of Victoria exhibited an admirable object-lesson in this connection which he would earnestly commend to the thoughtful consideration and the early imitation of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh. The present Prime Minister of that Colony was a leading Orangeman—Grand Master of the Melbourne Lodge, if he remembered aright—but that circumstance did not prevent him, when he was engaged in forming his Ministry, seeking the friendly co-operation of Sir Bryan O'Loghlen, the local Chief of the Irish Home Rulers, who immediately consented to serve under this Orange Leader as Attorney General. If the Ulster Leaders would only cultivate similar good, friendly, and sympathetic relations with the rest of their fellow-countrymen, what was called the Ulster difficulty would very speedily disappear. There was, in point of fact, no real Ulster difficulty. It was a difficulty manufactured and paraded for purely political purposes. If only the representative men of Ulster would make up their minds to join hands with the rest of their fellow-countrymen, and take their proper and legitimate share in the honest and harmonious working of the new Constitution for Ireland that this measure proposed to call into being, they would assuredly find that their weight, authority, and influence would, so far from suffering any diminution, be appreciably increased by the transfer of their legislative activities from London to Dublin. Without discussing the various details of the measure, ample opportunities for which would no doubt occur in Committee, he might be permitted to express his satisfaction that provision was made in the 9th clause for continued Irish representation in the Imperial Parliament. Considering the very active, important, and influential part that Irishmen had played in the building up of the British Empire, nothing could be more fitting or natural than that Irishmen should continue to legislate for the Empire at large as well as for their own local requirements. The noble Lord the Member for South Paddington, amongst, the many rhetorical indiscretions into which he had recently been betrayed, rashly flew in the face of history by describing the Bill before the House as an attempt to destroy the Em- 138 pire which Englishmen by their own energy and strength had created and maintained. That was a monstrous, astounding, and most unworthy suggestion. Anyone who would look down the honour roll of the Empire-builders would recognise many a famous and familiar Irish name—names of Irish governors, Irish voyagers, Irish explorers, Irish pioneers in every department of Imperial progress. Irishmen had loyally co-operated with their English and Scottish brethren in making the British Empire what it was to-day, and the record of their honourable achievements and administrative successes in all quarters of Greater Britain constituted one of the surest guarantees that they would well and wisely, faithfully and impartially, perform the fresh functions and the new duties that under the provisions of this Bill would be entrusted to their care. In conclusion, he would gladly vote for the Second Reading of this Bill in the firm and confident belief that it was an honest, and in every way honourable effort to right a great historic wrong, and to undo as far as possible the mischief that had been engendered in Ireland by long years of stupid and disastrous misgovernment. He would vote for it because he was convinced it contained all the essential elements of a sound and satisfactory Constitution for Ireland, and whatever imperfections of detail it might present to the critical eye could without much difficulty be rectified in Committee. He would vote for it because he believed it dealt out equal justice to all classes and sections of the Irish people, and interfered with none save those who would wish to perpetuate the evil traditions of an odious ascendancy. He would vote for it because he believed it would breathe a new industrial life into Ireland, stem the long-flowing tide of emigration from her shores, keep the people on the soil, and inaugurate a new era of national prosperity. He would also gladly vote for it because he shared the feeling that he knew was entertained by the great bulk of British Colonists, that the concession of Home Rule to Ireland was the first practical step towards the creation of a genuine Imperial Parliament, one really—and not nominally as at present—representative of the Empire at large. For when Ireland was invested with the right to manage her own local affairs, 139 and at the same time to send Representatives to London to assist in managing the affairs of the Empire, the principle was sure to extend, the practice was sure to grow, the leaven would he placed in the lump, and they would he within measurable distance of that Imperial Federation which, in the opinion of all thoughtful and far-seeing Colonists, was absolutely essential to the compacting and cementing of this great world-wide Empire of theirs into one permanent and harmonious whole. The reign of Her present Gracious Majesty would be known and characterised in history as the era of British Colonial expansion. It had witnessed the building-up of the Empire's greatness from modest, almost microscopical, limits, into the massive, comprehensive, stately, and enviable edifice that now filled so large a space on the horizon of humanity. And he was sure they would all, irrespective of Party or political considerations, join in the fervent hope and aspiration that, as the crowning glory of Her long and memorable reign, Her Majesty would be spared to rule over a pacified, self - governing Ireland, and a powerful, federated, invulnerable Empire.
§ MR. LODER (Brighton)
said, that amongst the many merits of the speech the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had so ably delivered to the House, there was one merit which he thought would undoubtedly be appreciated by many Members of the House who, like himself, had been anxious to address it—namely, that it was brief. So he should endeavour, in the few remarks which he should venture to offer to the House, to be as brief as the hon. Member was. Those of them who had followed the course of this Debate with some attention would, he thought, be ready to admit there were many more hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House anxious to discuss this measure than on the other side. However earnest hon. Members opposite might be in their support of the Bill, they had been wonderfully successful in concealing their zeal both inside the House and outside of it. He did not doubt that there were many hon. Members opposite who would have been glad if there had never been the necessity for bringing in this Bill at all. At any rate, he might say this—that outside Ireland there were very 140 few supporters of the Government who were really earnest in their support of the Bill on its merits. They might be anxious that it might pass, in order that that they might get on with those measures on the promise of which they were returned to the House, and on the fulfilment of which promises they feared their future existence there might depend. But, whatever the feeling of hon. Members opposite might be, there was no mistaking the earnestness of hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House against the Bill. For every meeting which had been held in the country in favour of the Bill, there had been held five against it. For every Petition presented to the House in favour of it, how many had there been against it? Where was this burning desire for Home Rule on the part of the people of this country which they heard so much about at the time of the General Election? Sir, Gentlemen opposite and their supporters seemed to look upon this measure with light-heartedness, as an interesting experiment, where other experiments had failed. The Opposition looked on it as a step which was not only dangerous, which was not only unjust, but which was irrevocable. And it was because they looked upon it as a step which was irrevocable that they felt justified in putting forward every power they possessed to prevent it becoming law. It was for this reason he felt justified in taking up the time of the House for a short time to discuss the Bill. He did not feel he should be doing justice to those whom he was proud to represent in that House if he gave nothing but a silent vote on this important measure. The Solicitor General (Sir John Rigby) last night found fault with hon. Members, because their speeches had been directed against the general principle of the Bill, and because they did not deal with the details. Why, on the Second Reading of a Bill it was the principle of the Bill to which remarks should be directed, and it was against the principle of the Bill that the few remarks he proposed to offer to the House would be directed. He would, first of all, ask the attention of the House to the staple argument of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury and those who supported him, and which was so frequently brought 141 forward by them as one of their chief contentious for the necessity of the introduction of the Home Rule Bill. It had been put by the right hon. Gentleman in this form. He had said—"You cannot govern a country for the purposes of law and order without some regard to the sympathies, the convictions, and the traditions of the people." Well, as a broad principle, that was a sentiment with which many of them—most of them, in fact—would be prepared to agree. But there arose with it several questions. Firstly, what was the country with which they were dealing? What were the sympathies and who the people in that country? Was Ireland a country which could be dealt with on these principles? In this Bill, by all the safeguards which the right hon. Gentleman had put into it he admitted and really showed that Ireland was not a country which could be dealt with by itself. Ireland was part of our Empire. It was part of the United Kingdom, and it was to the feelings of the people of the whole of that United Kingdom that they must look in dealing with Constitutional questions connected with it. Then what were the sympathies, and the aspirations, and the traditions of the people? They had been variously stated in the course of this Debate, and it was, no doubt, somewhat difficult to ascertain in the many conflicting statements exactly what it was that the Irish people did want and what they would be content with. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had left no room for uncertainty on this point. Speaking very shortly before his conversion to Home Rule, the right hon. Gentleman said—There can be no doubt, whatever as to what the ultimate policy of the Irish Party was—namely, a policy of absolute separation between the two countries.The right hon. Gentleman had changed his opinions since then; but hon. Members from Ireland had not. The hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. Michael Davitt), in the course of his able and interesting speech, had declared he was now prepared to accept this Bill as an absolute and as a final settlement. He had said the same thing about the Bill of 1886; but shortly after that the hon. Member was examined before the Parnell Commission. Here were the 142 words from the Report of the Commission—He avowed in the witness-box before us that the principle on which he had always acted was to make the Land Question the stepping-stone to complete national independence, and he concluded with, 'I wish to God I could get it to-morrow.'That hon. Gentleman now came down to that House, and asked them to trust him when he said he would accept the Bill as an absolute and final settlement. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. John Dillon) had gone even further than that. He had not only declared himself in favour of the national independence of Ireland; he had expressed the wish that she might join some friendly nation. These were the words of the hon. Member on October 14, 1881—When I saw Mr. Parnell before the representatives of the American people, an old wish presented itself that the time might come when it will be the fate of Ireland to shake off the Union of England, and to seek some kind of a Union with a nation which loves us and whom we love.He would not trouble the House with an endless number of quotations which it would be in his power to bring forward to show that the sympathies and traditions and aspirations of the Irish people were in the direction of separation from the United Kingdom. It was all very well for hon. Members who represented Ireland now to say they were prepared to accept the Bill as final. But they were not the masters of the situation. They were in this Parliament by the grace of others who ruled them in Ireland and in America. He would only make one further quotation on this subject, and it would be from the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond), who, as lately as March 9 last, made this statement in regard to this particular Bill when addressing the Parnellite Convention at. Dublin—It was the utmost folly to speak of finality in connection with this Bill.He further spoke in favour of a resolution, which, amongst other things, said—That no measure of Home Rule would be regarded as final and satisfactory by the Irish people which does not fulfil the conditions laid down by Mr. Parnell in the great National Convention of July, 1891—namely, that the Parliament of Ireland shall have full powers over all the affairs of Ireland, including the laws relating to the occupation and ownership of land 143 as well as the appointment of the Judges, and we view with distrust and alarm certain leading features of the Home Rule Bill which are calculated to deprive the proposed Legislature for Ireland of any effective powers in improving the impoverished condition of the country.They knew what was the opinion of those who sat with the hon. Member for North-East Cork of the other section of the Nationalist Party. The hon. Member for North Louth had said "there is no man of intellect on the Parnellite side," and he added—At the present time generousness of temper, breadth of view, and statesmanlike policy are wanting in Ireland in a degree in which she never wanted them before.Surely that was sufficient to show what were the real sympathies and traditions of the people of Ireland. He hoped he might be allowed to say one word as to who the people of Ireland were. He would quote the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury in that somewhat memorable speech at Knowsley which had given rise during the last few days to so much discussion. On October 27, 1881, the right hon. Gentleman said the Irish Party "are not the people of Ireland. We are endeavouring to relieve the people of Ireland from the weight of a tyrannical yoke." That was so. The people of Ireland were not only composed of hon. Members from Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland said this about Ireland—If you want to get at the truth you must never forget there are two Irelands. There is one Ireland in which the policy of men of all creeds and rank is to keep the law and order so that every citizen may go about his business in peace and safety. And there is another Ireland—the smaller Ireland, as I firmly believe—of men who have condoned and sympathised with crime.Yes, there were two Irelands; there were two races; there were two religions in Ireland. There was one Ireland, which was the greatest he admitted in numbers, but there was also an Ireland, in a minority, but which it would be admitted was the greatest in intelligence, in industry, and in advancement. These the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade had not hesitated to call the most intolerant set of bigots he ever knew in his life. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had spoken of their arguments as "bluster." These were the people who would be in a minority if they 144 passed this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury had told them that a minority must not be put down by force. But it was an undoubted, and, he was afraid, a serious fact that minorities, if they resisted, must be put down by force; and he wanted to know if this Bill passed, and if the minority did resist, whether they were prepared to march an army into Ulster to knock the bluster out of the intolerant bigots of Belfast? He wanted to know whether, when they had done that, they would be prepared to march their army to Dublin to knock the spirit of nationality which they had done so much to foster out of another resisting minority? A great deal had been said about the financial clauses of the Bill. But, however unjust they might be to the people of England, they would also be unjust to the people of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, in the speech in which he introduced the Second Reading, referred to the Devon Commission. He spoke of the Report of that Commission, and said at that time there were 2,500,000 of people bordering on starvation in Ireland. He wanted to know, if that state of affairs occurred in Ireland again, in what way this Bill was going to help them? If Home Rule was a remedy for it, how was it that it took 42 years for the right hon. Gentleman to find it out? It was not the voice of the starving population of the people of Ireland that made the right hon. Gentleman turn his opinions. It was the voice of obstruction in that House and the voice of crime in Ireland that caused the right hon. Gentleman to turn his opinions on Home Rule. The hon. Member for South Edinburgh seemed to glory in the capacity of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury and his followers to change their minds. He said—"Show me the man who never changes his mind, and I will show you the man who had no mind to change." But he would rather hare no mind to change than have a mind which changed with every waft of public opinion. It had often been said, in regard to the right hon. Gentle-man's change of opinion in 1885, that it was not so much the matter on which he changed as the manner in which he changed. If he had changed simply 145 from being an anti-Home Ruler, and become a Home Ruler, many of them would have disagreed with him as they did now; but they would not have felt the same shame as they did feel as Englishmen with regard to that change. Although the right hon. Gentleman had changed his opinions many times, on no occasion had he disgusted the people of England so much as on that occasion. He might paraphrase a well-known quotation and say—We wept, we grieved, we sighed,But never blushed before.The right hon. Gentleman asked what alternative they had to offer to his policy of Home Rule. At the last Election he found it wiser to go to the country with an indefinite scheme rather than with a definite scheme, as in 1886, for fear a similar catastrophe would overtake him. The alternative in dealing with Ireland was that Ireland should be governed by the same laws, and by equal laws and equal justice as England and Scotland. If that had not been possible; if it had been necessary hitherto to pass exceptional repressive legislation in order to combat the exceptionally aggressive combination in Ireland, there was no man in the world who knew the reason why bettor than the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury himself. But whatever alternative was proposed—even if this Bill itself were passed—the success of it depended not on the people on this side of the Channel, but it depended on hon. Members from Ireland themselves. If hon. Members from Ireland would only lend their aid and their influence to govern Ireland in a way which would not conflict with the larger and more abiding interests of the Empire, then we might be able to hope for some solution of this great difficulty. Instead of that, what had they got before them? What were they going to be asked to make this enormous change, to make this rash experiment, to rush to this risk and expense, for? They were asked if there was any chance of finality? They had no chance of finality. The right hon. Gentleman had discredited it, as he had discredited consistency. It formed no part of, nor was it compatible with, his policy. Even for that he believed Great Britain would be ready to make great sacrifices, would be 146 ready to incur great expense, and to run great risks; but the language of hon. Members from Ireland left them no room for such a thought. They had told them plainly enough what they wanted, and if they were going to sell the hearts of one-third of the Irish people in order to gain the hearts of two-thirds, at least they ought to be able to show they were giving them what they wanted. But they could not, and they knew it. They hid from themselves the consequences, and they had no chance of finality; no chance, even, of a continuing settlement. What they had to look forward to was a continuance of this interminable struggle under more perilous conditions than before. Instead of these struggles, these conflicts, being carried on with the Irish Party at Westminster, they would be carried on with an Irish Party at Westminster and an Irish Parliament in Dublin. If they had been unable to resist the demands of the one, how would they be able to resist the demands of the other? The right hon. Gentleman scoffed at the gloomy predictions of hon. Members on that side of the House. He said we believed the Irish people would always do wrong and never do right. He said we called them inhuman. But they did not call them inhuman. They believed they were human, and it was because they believed they were human that they also believed these things would continue. It would be inhuman if, when they had the power to get more, they did not ask for it. The right hon. Gentleman might point to instances in history to show that the fears of the minority bad not been well-founded. But how often in the history of legislation in Ireland was it possible to point to the failure of the triumphant prophecies of those who had attempted to legislate for Ireland? It had all along been the same story—bright hopes and dismal failures. The right hon. Gentleman himself knew well enough that on each occasion on which he had attempted to legislate for Ireland his hopes had always been disappointed. Did they think now they would produce contentment in Ireland, when they were going to put the government of the country in the hands of two-thirds who were the bitter enemies of the remaining third? Did they think they were going 147 to produce contentment between England and Ireland, when at any moment the Irish contingent in this Parliament might make fresh demands? The right hon. Gentleman asked when was this great controversy going to end? He did not know, and could not tell. But there was one thing he could say which did not require the gift of prophecy to be able to assert, and that was that it would not end with this Bill. There was not the slightest attempt at finality in the Bill—not in the wildest hopes, not in the moist fantastic dreams of the right hon. Gentleman's most ardent supporters could any element of finality be found in it. If this Bill passed there would still be two races, two peoples, two religions, struggling with one another in Ireland, and all they would do would be to accentuate and aggravate their animosities and their differences. This heritage of discord which the right hon. Gentleman said had been the curse of this House in times gone by would, if this Bill passed, be the curse of this House and the curse of this country in generations and generations to come.
§ *MR. E. J. C. MORTON (Devonport)
said, he did not propose that day to touch upon the wrongs of Ireland; hon. Members for that country were more capable than he was of doing that, and of showing how these wrongs required a measure such as that now before the House in order to remedy them. There was one point in this question which he should have thought would have influenced the mind of every patriotic Englishman, and that was the far-reaching and determining effect the Bill would have for good or evil on the unity and strength of the British Empire. Hon. Members on the Ministerial side had, in speech after speech, impressed that upon the House, but there had been only two speeches on the Bill from the Opposition, in which this fact was recognised. When he listened to the wonderful speech of the Prime Minister—and it was wonderful even for him—in moving the Second Reading, he wondered how the right hon. Member for West Bristol would answer his arguments on that point. Instead of answering them, the right hon. Baronet made the arbitrary assertion that they were irrele- 148 vant, and then, wisely, no doubt, from his point of view, left them alone. The Leader of the Opposition, on the First Reading, briefly touched upon the effect the Bill would have on the strength and unity of the Empire, but the main burden of that speech was rent, rent, rent? Everyone who had ever seen with his own eyes what landlordism meant in Ireland from the days of Arthur Young to this moment had condemned it, and he, as an Englishman, protested against the vast interests of the greatest Empire which the world had ever seen, with its 300,000,000 of souls, being jeopardised or neglected for the sake of the smallest and most worthless class of its citizens. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition spoke of the bearings of this Bill on the unity of the Empire. He said that France, Spain, Italy, and Germany had all been formed out of a number of small States, and that the tendency was towards the abolition of small States and their fusion into large ones. He maintained that that argument was entirely irrelevant, because there was no question of Parliaments in connection with the formation of France, Spain, Italy, or Germany. The several parts which composed them were united, but that union was neither preceded nor even accompanied by a union of Parliaments. Within the past half century they had had a larger redistribution of populations of Christendom into States than had ever occurred in any previous half century of the world's history, and in the change which had taken place they must recognise a law which was not without interest for them in considering the question of Home Rule. It was that nations were not material mechanisms that could be arbitrarily pieced together, but they were like living men and women—living organisms which could not be constructed, but which must grow, and which could only he formed into strong and stable States if the individuals and the several parts which compose them are united by forces of mutual cohesion, and not by forces of external pressure. That was why force was no remedy in such cases. They could no more form populations into a strong and stable state by forces of external pressure than they could save a man's body from dissolution by encasing it in an iron coffin. 149 Ireland held down in the cast-iron casing of a military constabulary would dissolve and disintegrate and ultimately Would slough off like a withered limb of the Empire. If they did not want this they must cherish those vital forces of mutual cohesion, which alone could unite it as a living limb to the living-body of the Empire. He was sometimes amazed at the arguments used and the assertions made by the opponents of Home Rule. They amounted to this: that when the Prime Minister introduced the Home Rule Bill of 1886 he there and then incontinently sprang upon the country an entirely new policy—a policy of which no one had ever heard before; and the Leader of the Opposition used terms of vehement condemnation, and spoke of this Bill as a "bastard" and an "abortion." He wondered if the right hon. Gentleman was aware that the very first idea of Mr. Pitt, to overcome the difficulties which led to the passing of the unfortunate Act of Union was that he would take over from Grattan's Parliament all control over Imperial and foreign politics, and would leave it the control of purely Irish affairs. That that was a fact appeared from a letter of Mr. Pitt's to the then Duke of Rutland, dated the 6th January, l785. Home Rule was no new policy. It had been the traditional policy of the Liberal Party ever since the days of Charles James Fox, the founder of modern Liberalism. It was now rife in every corner of the British Empire; and when the Government were accused of starting some revolutionary policy, he might point out that there were at the present moment 21 free Parliaments throughout the British Empire, to each of 18 of which was responsible an Executive Government, the Parliament and the Executive having complete power to deal with the local affairs of the Colony to which they belonged. Those Parliaments and Executive Governments were granted originally to every one of these; Colonies at a time when they were more or less dissatisfied, and when they made no secret of the fact that they regarded complete separation from the Empire as their ultimate goal. And yet, such was the effect of allowing them to govern themselves that, while engaged in sweeping away the arrears of legislation that had accumulated during the years in which we re- 150 fused Home Rule to them, there gradually grew up in their minds a sense of loyalty to the Empire, and now the demand for Imperial Federation came first, not from the citizens of the old country, but from the citizens of those free, self-governing Colonies, to whose disaffection we once granted Home Rule. The effect of the Home Rule Constitution in every case had been to unite and strengthen the Empire. The answer given when these considerations were put, forward might be best summed up in a passage which occurred in Mr. Dicey's book, England's Case against Home Rule. Mr. Dicey took the Colony of Victoria as the type of a Colony, and the Constitution of Victoria as the type of a, Colonial Constitution, and pointed out that certain sources of irritation existed in every Colonial Constitution, and might produce complete separation from the Empire. He wont on to remark—To say that all those sources of irritation might embitter the relation between England and Victoria, and that as they do not habitually do so, one may infer that they will not embitter the relation between England and Ireland is to assert that institutions nominally the same will work in the same way when applied to totally different circumstances. Victoria is prosperous; Ireland is in distress. Victoria takes pride in the Imperial connection. The difficulty in dealing with Ireland consists in the fact that large bodies of Irishmen detest the British Empire. Victoria has never aspired to be a nation: the best side of Irish discontent consists in enthusiasm for Irish nationality. Above all this, there has never been any lasting feud between England and her Australian Dependencies. The main ground in favour of a fundamental change in the Constitutional relations of Ireland and England is the necessity of putting an end at almost any cost to traditional hatred and misunderstanding generated by centuries of misgovernment and misery.It was well to bear in mind that there was one Colony which at the time we granted Home Rule to it was, like Ireland, in distress, detested the British Empire, put its demand to be regarded as a separate nation in the very forefront of its demand for Home Rule, and had a feud with England from the time when it became a Colony of this Empire down to the time when it obtained Home Rule—a Colony inhabited not merely by men of English race and Protestant religion, but by men of Celtic race and Catholic religion. He was speaking of the Colony of Lower Canada. Before the granting of Home Rule to Canada in 1840 the Colony had a Consti- 151 tution, but it was a sham Constitution. There was a Legislative Assembly elected on a wide suffrage, a Legislative Council nominated by the Governor, an Executive Council and a Governor nominated by the Crown. Every single Member of the Legislative Council and of the Executive Council was a man of English race and in sympathy with the Protestant minority. This continued to be the case during the whole period between 1810 and 1837. Nine-tenths of the offices of emolument under the Government were filled by English Protestants, although four-fifths of the population were French Catholics. During the 27 years grievances grew up exactly similar to those of which Ireland now complained. The Canadians complained that the Judiciary and the Magistracy were removable at the will of the Executive, and were the bitter political enemies of the mass of the people; secondly, that the whole of the land in the Colony was in the hands of a very small number of men, mainly English Protestants, the result being that as the French Catholic population multiplied congested districts were created. In the third place, they complained that there was an Established Church of the minority, and one-seventh of the laud of the Colony was sot aside to support that Church; and, in the fourth place, that the educational system was carried out by English Protestants and against the desires of the French Catholics. Bills were introduced into the Legislative Assembly time after time, and passed there, but were always rejected by the Legislative Council, and the House of Assembly did not possess that great lever which had really made the House of Commons so powerful in the English Constitution—namely, the power of the purse, as all taxation was imposed by an Imperial Act passed in perpetuity. Mr. Mae Mullen, an English Protestant and a Tory, said in his History of Canada—A desire for a distinct nationality began to take firm hold of the minds of many among the French population owing to the intrigues chiefly of the popular leaders who saw in La Nation Canadienne an accession to the place and power denied them under existing circumstances. On the other hand, the British minority could not divest themselves of the idea that the French Canadians were a conquered people, that they alone had the right to govern, and chafed at their want of legislative influence.152 And, again—The Assembly regarded the Upper House as the embodiment of British intolerance, pride, and exclusiveness, as the standing evidence of their national subjugation. The Upper House looked upon the Assembly as the representatives of a conquered people, always prepared for revolution, and desirous to free themselves from a Dominion they detested. Both parties, to a certain extent, were correct in their opinions.The House of Commons, although it was importuned on behalf of Canada by Radicals of the period like Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Leader, and Mr. Hume, uniformly turned a deaf ear to Canada's demands. At last, in 1834, the Canadian House of Assembly passed 92 resolutions of grievances. The last throe of these resolutions were to the effect—(1) that the Imperial Act imposing taxation on Canada should be repealed, and that the House of Assembly should have the power of the purse; (2) that the Executive Council should be invariably chosen by the Governor from the Members of the House of Assembly, who possessed the confidence of the majority of that House; and (3) that the obstruction of the Legislative Council should be removed out of the way of the Legislative Assembly. In other words, they demanded a free Parliament and a responsible Executive. That amounted to a demand for Home Rule. How was that demand met? He would give a few typical quotations to show the spirit in which Canada's claims were met. The same arguments that we are hearing day after day and hour after hour in this House were used then. There was, first, the Separation bogey. Mr. Robinson, who was Chairman of the North American Land Company, speaking on the 9th March, 1835, said—The hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Roebuck) wished to do away with the Legislative Council, and govern the. Colony by means of the House of Assembly and the Governor. The adoption of such a course would lead to the severance of Lower Canada from the Crown of England.A great Whig nobleman, Lord John Russell, on the 6th March, 1837, said—It is proposed, in the next place, that the Executive Council should be made to resemble the Ministry in this country. I hold this proposition to be entirely incompatible with the relations between the Mother Country and the Colony. The relations between the Mother Country and the Colony require that His Majesty should be represented, not by a person removable by the I louse of Assembly, but by a Governor sent out by the King, responsible to the King, and 153 responsible to the Parliament of Great Britain. This was the necessary condition of a Colony, and if you have not these relations existing between the Mother Country and the Colony, you will soon have an end to the relations altogether. If the House were to concur in the views of the House of Assembly taken as a whole, what would be the consequences? Canada would cease to be a Colony, and would be regulated by an authority then independent and subversive of the power of the British Crown.Lord John Russell differed from some other great Whig nobleman in this respect that he learned by experience. Within 10 years of that time he became one of the warmest advocates of the extension of Home Rule to the British Colonies, and if one could judge from the present views of those who were nearest and dearest to him, and who are still alive, he would have been one of the warmest supporters of the present Bill. On the 8th March, 18,37, Lord Stanley said—This was no subject for half-and-half measures, no question of expediency, but a question of Empire—a question whether or no this Colony was to be held, or was to be given up. On this issue was the question to be tried. If it were proposed to give up the Colony, let that proposition be openly and plainly stated, and let the decision be frankly come to upon it. If the Colony was to be retained, let not the idea be for a moment entertained of permitting that to be done which would at once render all control on our part over the Province utterly nugatory, and even the imagination of it perfectly ludicrous; which would plunge us into difficulties which could, only be met with violence.It was interesting to note that the Radicals of the period who argued the case for Lower Canada rook precisely the opposite view. Mr. Leader said on the 6th of March, 1837—I beg leave to tell him (Lord John Russell) that if he perseveres in his opposition (that is, to a free Parliament and a responsible Executive for Canada), it will be in a very short time impossible for his, or any other, Government to rule Canada except by force of arms.During the whole of this time the principal organ in the Press of the Canadians who demanded Home Rule was, in article after article, saying that the only thing that could save them was complete separation from the Crown. In the next place, the persecution of the minority in Canada would, it was said by the opponents of the Canadian claims, be the result of acceding to those claims. Lord John Russell, in the speech already quoted, said— 154The case of Canada is such that if we yield to these demands a great portion of the King's subjects—namely, those of English descent, will be excluded altogether from a voice and representation in the two Assemblies; that portion, consisting of 120,000 of our fellow-subjects—persons of considerable wealth and intelligence, and who are engaged principally in commercial pursuits—would consider themselves so far abandoned, so far unprotected, that it was not likely that the peace of the Colony would be preserved, but that they would oppose and resist the Government, as a Government, from which they could expect no security for life and property.Lord Stanley, also in the speech already quoted, said—The concession of an elective Legislative Council would remove the only check to the tyrannical power of the dominant majority—a majority, he would remark, in numbers only, for in wealth, in education, in enterprise, it was greatly inferior to the minority of 150,000 settlers of British descent. One thing was certain—that if the British settlers found themselves deprived of the protection of the Government here they would protect themselves.… He would venture to say that in six months after the institution of an elective Legislative Council the British population of Lower Canada would have determined that, the protection of the Mother Country being withdrawn from them, they must take measures for protecting themselves."Ulster will fight, Ulster will be right." It was just the same argument as was now used with regard to Ireland. Apparently the Tory mind was incapable of learning anything. The argument had been falsified in every particular in past experience, and he ventured to predict that it would be falsified in future experience. Not only did the majority petition the House, but the minority petitioned. Here was an extract from one of these Petitions—Bound together by the endearing recollections of a common origin and the powerful sentiment of a common danger, we are prepared to resist to the utmost the efforts of a Party which, under the specious guise of popular institutions, would sever wisdom from power, respect from intelligence, and consign us to unendurable bondage.It might have been written by the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh. But the Radicals in the House of Commons realised the situation in Canada. Mr. Roebuck, speaking 9th March, said—The Official Party in Canada have chosen to take a title which they knew on this side of the water will be an attractive one; they call themselves, par excellence, English. They pretend to be the English interest, to care about England, to be loyal and obedient. The truth, in fact, is that they are a peculiarly selfish Party. 155 They care nothing for England and her interests, except in so far as England supports their abominable dominion; and the moment any English Minister shows an intention to listen fairly to all parties and do justice to all, they begin furiously to abuse that Minister and that England which supports him. They are loyal and English only when to be so is favourable to their little despicable and mischievous oligarchy.Of course, it was said that the whole movement was duo to the agitators, and if only the Government were strong enough to shut up the agitators in gaol all would be right. The Times—the leading organ of the Party opposite—appears to be invariably wrong. Discussing the matter on the 8th March, 1887, The Times wrote—It is clear, therefore, that what the clique of French Canadians clamour for is not a redress of grievances or a correction of abuses within the limits of administrative process—it is a system of organised change which shall establish entirely new relations between Great Britain and Lower Canada—the relations not of Mother Country and Colony, but of two independent States. The French Canadians mean separation, and nothing else, by their turbulence. For themselves alone they are not worth the keeping; but as a key to Upper Canada and as the medium of intercourse with 600,000 of our own brave emigrated countrymen in that tine country, we must prevent the perverse breed from tormenting us any longer by their audacity and extravagance. One line of an Act of Parliament will do it, without the aid of a single man or gun from Great Britain.A very remarkable speech was contributed to the Debate at, the time by Mr. O'Connell, in which that great Irishman pointed out that the cause of Ireland and the cause of Canada were identical. The Canadians themselves recognised that fact, for in an address issued by "the Sons of Freedom of Lower Canada," it was declared that—They were going to win their freedom happily because they were far removed from their tyrants; but unhappy Ireland, which was oppressed like them, was in the grasp and grip of the same tyrant.One of the chief complaints made by the people of Canada was that at the General Election of 1830 a political meeting at Montreal was attacked by the military unprovoked, and three men shot dead.
§ MR. E. J. C. MORTON
said, it was exactly like Mitchelstown, and Governor Aylmer—the prototype of the Leader of the Opposition—publicly commended the 156 military for their conduct. Jury-packing was also resorted to by the authorities, for in another address from "the Sons of Freedom" it was said—The trial by jury, which we have been taught to look upon as the palladium of our liberties, is made a vain illusion or instrument of despotism, inasmuch as Sheriffs, creatures of the Executive … can select and summon such persons as they please, and thereby become themselves the arbiters in State prosecutions instituted against the people by their oppressors.In another address the following passage occurred, which referred to another state of things not unknown in Ireland—Our citizens are deprived of the benefits of impartially chosen juries, and are arbitrarily persecuted by Crown officers, who, to suit the purposes of the vindictive Government of which they are the creatures, have revived proceedings of an obsolete character, precedents for which are to be found only in the darkest pages of British history; thus our Judiciary, being sullied by combined conspiracies of a wicked Executive, slavish Judges, partisan Law Officers, and political Sheriffs, the innocent and patriotic are exposed to be sacrificed, whilst the enemies of the country and the violators of all law are protected and patronised.He would like to refer to the condition of Canada in the summer of 1837. When the House of Commons, refused to accede to the prayer of the Resolutions of grievances of the people of Canada the people began to organise themselves for the purpose of rebellion, though not avowedly so. The meetings were called "anti-coercion meetings"—Ireland again—and by a curious coincidence one of the resolutions at the second of those meetings was proposed by a certain Mr. John Dillon, of Long Point. He should like to read some extracts from a Blue Book issued in 1837, containing the correspondence as to the affairs of Lower Canada, between the Earl of Gosford, who was Governor of the Colony, and Lord Glenelg, the Colonial Secretary of the time. The Governor was asked why he did not prosecute those who had used seditious language at the meetings, and his reply was that it would have been no use, as the juries would not convict. Writing to Lord Glenelg, under date 9th September, 1837, he says—Indeed, in two recent instances where the Attorney General preferred bills of indictment in the Court of King's Bench at Montreal, one against a Dr. Duchesnois, for publicly tearing and treating with contempt the Proclamation issued by me on the 15th of June last, and 157 another against certain individuals in the County of the Two Mountains, for a conspiracy to drive out of the county, by means of threats and acts of violence, several inhabitants, because they held opposite political opinions, the bills have been ignored by the Grand Jury in the face of the strongest evidence, and after the Attorney General had, at the request of their foreman (Mr. L. G. Beauharnois), laid before the panel most positive legal authority in support of both.Writing under date 11th July, 1837, the Earl of Gosford said—The greatest excitement and violence appears to have been displayed in the County of the Two Mountains, and this has gone to the length of injuring the property and discharging firearms into the houses of some who are loyally disposed, and refuse to join the ranks or participate in the opinions of their political opponents.In another Despatch, dated 6th November, 1837, the Earl of Gosford wrote—The object of the leaders appears now to be to put down the authority of the Government, by compelling those who held commissions under it. in the Magistracy or Militia, to throw them up. For this purpose large bodies of men in disguise visit at night those who are loyal or disapprove of their proceedings, and by threats of personal violence and destruction of property force them to send in their resignations and extort from them promises to join the ranks of the patriots, as they term themselves. By means of this system of terrorism and midnight, marauding, they have succeeded in overawing the well-disposed, so that several have forsaken their properties to seek refuge in the towns or in the neighbouring States; and many Magistrates and officers of Militia have requested me to accept their resignations, explaining that they took this step in order to save their lives and property.In a Despatch, dated 5th October, 1837, from the Earl of Gosford to Lord Glenelg, the following passage was quoted from the Report of the Attorney General of Lower Canada, who had been sent to investigate—In the County of Two Mountains, however, where many settlers of British origin are interspersed among the Canadian population, an attempt was made to carry the intrigues of the patriotic leaders into practical effect. A system of proscription based upon national distinctions and political prejudices was adopted and pursued. The British inhabitants and those loyal Canadians who adhered to the political principles of their British fellow-subjects perceived on a sudden that all intercourse between them and those of their neighbours who professed a different political opinion was studiously denied; all interchange of the ordinary offices, of the common necessaries of life had abruptly terminated; they had incurred the penalty of social excommunication.158 So that boycotting was known before the days of Captain Boycott.Nor was this process of political propagandism of a negative character only; depositions which were transmitted to me in my official capacity, copies of which I have the honour herewith to forward for your Excellency's perusal, will sufficiently show how soon this vexatious estrangement was succeeded by acts of unequivocal aggression. Mobs assembled by night, and with shouts of personal violence endeavoured to terrify the loyal inhabitants into an adoption of their principles. The house of one Jean Baptiste Cheval, a captain of Militia, and a man distinguished for his loyalty in that part of the district, was fired into, to the imminent danger of the lives of his family. Another person of the same name, one Toussaint Cheval, who from his opposition to the political principles of the conspirators had rendered himself equally obnoxious, was assaulted in his own house, and compelled to fly from his home and family and to secrete himself for some days in the neighbouring province of Upper Canada. The British subjects (settlers) were also subjected to a series of harassing annoyances, their fences were broken down, their cattle driven astray, their horses cropped and otherwise disfigured.There was a reference to depositions in that Despatch. One of these was sworn by Duncan McCall, of the parish of St. Benoit in the district of Montreal, from which the following was an extract—I have resided about 18 years in the said parish; my father, Duncan McCall, my brothers, Alexander, John, and Donald, have also resided there during the same period; we have always lived in the greatest peace and harmony with our Canadian neighbours, until the time when a certain political meeting took place at St. Scholastique, a neighbouring parish, about a month ago. Since that meeting our Canadian neighbours have ceased to have any communication with us, and with one Robert Walker and William Starkie, also residing in the said parish of St. Benoit, and, indeed, with all the inhabitants of British origin residing in our vicinity, and this because we and they, the said inhabitants of British origin, do not belong to the same political party with them—and those who call themselves patriots. My brother Donald is a blacksmith; he formerly, and up to the time of the above-mentioned meeting, had very good custom from the Canadian farmers. Since that meeting he has had only two jobs from two Canadians, and these two, for having employed him, have had the manes and tails of their horses shaved. This is an operation frequently performed by those calling themselves patriots upon the horses of those who do not belong to their party, and which renders the animal useless for six months, and disfigures them for nearly a year and a half.They all knew what followed in Canada. The rebellion broke out and it was crushed. Lord Durham was sent out to treat with the rebels, and the Conserva- 159 tive Party ran their policy against his life. On that occasion they succeeded; but it was the last time in English history that such tactics would be allowed to succeed. After Lord Durham's death the rebellion broke out again, and it was crushed again, and then the Imperial Parliament did what it might have done with a better grace 10 years previously—it granted Home Rule to Canada. It is true that Lower Canada, mainly French and Catholic, was united to Upper Canada, mainly British and Protestant, with the object of swamping the votes of the French Catholics, but it had not that result, and the French Catholics dominated the new Parliament and Executive, and continued to dominate the Dominion Parliament and Executive when it was established 27 years later. Did the anticipated persecutions of the English Protestants by the French Catholics in Lower Canada follow? An accusation was brought by an Orangeman in the Dominion Parliament in 1889 against the Catholics, and this was what Mr. Colby, the Protestant Representative of a Protestant district of Lower Canada, now called the Province of Quebec, said in reply—I believe there is nowhere in this Dominion a body of Protestants more willing to make sacrifices for the preservation of their rights than are the Protestants of the Province of Quebec. I do not believe they are disloyal to Protestant ideas. But the Protestants of the Province of Quebec have lived for many years in close relation and in close contact with their fellow-citizens of a different religion, and many prejudices which the one might otherwise feel against the other have been worn away by contact. The Protestants and the Catholics of the Province of Quebec, as far as I know their relations, live happily together upon mutually respecting terms, each respecting even the other's sensibilities and prejudices, and co-operating together, working together for what they believe to be for the common interest, without jealousy, without friction, without over-sensitiveness, recognising the good things in each other; if they differ, quietly differing, and not making themselves obnoxious to each other. These are the relations which have grown out of long years of personal contact, living together side by side, meeting and knowing each other. That is a happy condition of affairs, but it is an actual condition of affairs in those parts of the province with which I am perfectly acquainted. That is not a condition of affairs that the Protestants of Quebec desire to have disturbed. The Protestants of Quebec—and I think I fairly voice their sentiments—acknowledge the fact; if they do not acknowledge it to be so, it is a fact that there never was a minority in any country treated with more justice, with more 160 liberality, with more generosity than the Protestant minority in the Province of Quebec have been treated, irrespective of political Parties. They have always had the control of affairs that most concerned them, those matters connected with education, and other matters concerning which the Protestants were most interested as Protestants, and they have had as much control over such questions as if they had an entire Legislature of Protestants; they have not been meddled with, they have simply been permitted to manage their own affairs, and they have not felt that they were in a minority in any instance that I recollect.It was also said that the granting of Home Rule to Canada would impair the unity of the Empire and lead to separation. Speaking at Edinburgh in January, 1883, Sir Alexander Galt, then Agent General of Canada, said—There can be no question that the Colonies all desire to maintain the connection. That is their present feeling beyond doubt. They are loyal beyond all question, and, whenever an occasion arises when they can show their devotion to the interest of the country at large, they are always ready to do it. The self-government which has been granted to them has increased their attachment. We know, as a matter of history, that when they were governed as Crown Colonies, directed from Downing Street, there were constant differences arising, constant questions that tended to embitter their relations. But since they have had self-government, the Colonies have been marked by increased attachment to the Institutions of the British Empire.Indeed, since self-government had been granted to Canada men who had borne arms against the Queen in rebellion, had sung Te Deums in her honour on the occasion of her Jubilee. This address by Sir Alexander Galt was delivered expressly to advocate Imperial Federation, and he discusses in it what practical measure should be first adopted in order to secure the continued, unity of the Empire in the future; and after duly considering the question be comes to the conclusion that the first need is the reconciliation of Ireland by the same means as those by which the reconciliation of Canada has been achieved. He says—But, after all, I think that the Irish demand for self-government, or as it is called—though the term is one I hardly like to use—Home Rule, is really what this country will have to consider whether it is not possible to give to Ireland such a measure of self-government as will relieve this growing grievance—sentimental if you will, but still not the less real.And this was the universal opinion of the Colonies. The Dominion Parliament in 1882 passed a long series of Resolutions pointing out that Home Rule had made 161 Canada loyal to the Empire, and imploring the Imperial Parliament to adopt the same course towards Ireland. Those Resolutions were affirmed by the Dominion Parliament in 1886, when the first Homo Rule Bill was before the House of Commons. There was not a Colony in the Empire that had not declared itself through its Legislature or its leading statesmen in favour of Home Rule for Ireland on the ground of Imperial unity. The British Empire had now arrived at the parting of the ways. The strength of that Empire was to be found, not in its magnitude, but in its continued unity with her great self-governing Colonies, and by granting Home Rule to Ireland the Empire would win over to its side the Irish people who were settled in such large numbers in those Colonies. In all the Colonies there was a Party, dwindling, no doubt, but still in existence—a Party which aimed at separation. In every one of those Colonies there was a great Irish population. England's tyranny to Ireland had thrown that population into the scale of separation. They were going by this Bill to throw that Irish population into the opposite scale. Ireland was a nation. Ireland demanded that the dignity of her nationality should be recognised. Ireland would not be content with the right hon. Member for West Birmingham's municipality of gas and sewage. She demanded that that old House on College Green, round which her aspirations had gathered and had grown for a century past, should become once more the shrine of the national spirit, that has arisen from the tomb, and he declared that that nationality could be recognised to the full without jeopardising a single Imperial interest. The tyranny of the past had rendered the Irish people hinderers, and not helpers, in the progress of the Empire. The object of the supporters of the Bill was to make them helpers and not hinderers. Was it a hopeless task? National self-government had united Canada with the Empire, though 3,000 miles of ocean rolled between them, and though Canada was separated from America only by an imaginary line. Would it fail in the case of Ireland, which was separated from England only by the silver streak of 60 miles of Channel? He was convinced—for he knew the Irish people— 162 that once the British Empire no longer meant domination, the Irish people would regard the Empire with different eyes. They would see that Ireland was poor, and could not afford an Army and Navy of [her own. That her geographical position rendered it advisable that she should unite with us in Imperial affairs, and with us should face the world as one. But, deeper still, they would see that their national pride is bound up with the Empire: that it, was their fathers, as well as ours, that built up its mighty fabric. That it was they who taught our statesmen by the golden mouth of Burke. That it was they who saved our State by the steadfast strength of Wellington, and that wherever British arms had triumphed the world over, there Irish blood had been poured out to purchase victory. But, deeper yet the Irish people would remember that across the seas, in England's Colonies—in Australia, in Africa, in Canada—their Irish race lay scattered, and Ireland, whose sons have been so true to her, would never willingly sever herself from them. The Irish people were possessed with a sense and passion of unity, and he saw the dawn of day when the passage of that Bill into law should change that scattered Irish race from the pervading disease threatening with dissolution and death the Empire our fathers made, to the very nervous system which should unite it in a strength and majesty which our fathers never dreamed. During the whole of the present century down to 1886 the demand for Home Rule on the part of Ireland was a national demand, and its refusal on the part of England was a national refusal, and, therefore, during that period the Irish nation hated the English nation. But since that time the refusal of Home Rule on the part of England had ceased to be a national refusal, and had become the refusal of only one Party in the State, and that the Party of historic and universal defeat. The result was, that the Irish nation no longer hated the English nation, but it continued to hate that English Party which refused Home Rule. He was an Englishman first and a Liberal afterwards, and he earnestly desired to see that hatred obliterated and swallowed up in victory. The attitude of the two Parties on the Irish Question was indicated by that of the respective Leaders 163 of those Parties. The mutual distrust and hatred that existed between the minority that called itself loyal and the great mass of the Irish people was the curse of Ireland, but, bitter as it was, it was not bitter enough to suit the Party purposes of the Leader of the Opposition, and so he had recently gone over to Ulster to stir up and still further embitter that mutual distrust and hatred. Englishmen could sympathise with men who risked their lives in bearing arms against them, but they had no respect for a man who advised others to resort to methods which, according to law, would lead them to the scaffold, and who, at the same time, had not himself the slightest intention of risking his own skin. He wished that the hon. Members from Ulster who represented Loyalist constituencies, and who are themselves Loyalists, could be brought to remember that they are Irishmen too, and to act on that remembrance, and to see that they were now being made the cat's-paw of an English political Party for English Party purposes. He would contrast the conduct and tactics of the Prime Minister. After a period of time extending over two generations of human life spent in their service, with the weight of his more than 80 winters on his head, the right hon. Gentleman had come to them as a suppliant, asking for what? for rest from his labours? for honours in his well-earned repose?—nay, but for this, that they would permit him to consecrate the remaining years of his noble life to the holy endeavour to heal the breach between two nations, and to win for England forgiveness from Ireland for her seven centuries of suffering. But though to him belonged the glories of his 60 years of service, and though to him belonged the ordering of the future warfare, it, was to them of the rank-and-file that the clarions of the battle called. They would respond to their call, and whether the end were near or whether it were far, faithfully, steadfastly, unrestingly, hopefully, and confidently they would follow him through the fiery fight which lay before them to the final triumph of which they felt assured.
§ *MR. A. G. MURRAY (Buteshire)
said, he hoped the hon. Member who had just sat down would not think it any discourtesy on his part if he postponed to a subsequent part of his speech 164 any remarks he might have to make upon the observations, declamations, and panegyrics with which he had just favoured the House. It was with no slight diffidence that anyone who had not been long a Member of this House rose from that Bench upon an occasion like the present, and he had thought it right to leave to others the more obvious and cogent defects of the Bill, and would attempt to approach it from the Scotch point of view, as neither the hon. and learned Member for Haddingtonshire nor the Secretary for Scotland had done so. Claiming a considerable knowledge and experience of all classes in many parts of Scotland, he had endeavoured to analyse the motives which had given the Prime Minister the support he undoubtedly enjoyed in that country. The penalty which the right hon. Gentleman had to pay for keeping back so long the details of the Bill now before the House was that he could not claim that support upon the measure itself. A great deal of the support which he admitted the right hon. Gentleman got was a support unconnected with the question of Home Rule, and was rather to be attributed to the personal affection which many of the right hon. Gentleman's followers bore to him—and, speaking for himself, he could not condemn that sentiment or, under the circumstances, wonder at its expression—but so far as that support was bassd upon the merits of Home Rule, he thought it was chiefly in Scotland based upon the view, not that the measure was desirable in itself, but that it might somehow or other pave the way for a larger and wider settlement in which Scotland itself might be included. He admitted that that was not the line upon which the right hon. Gentleman had courted support; for, if he might say so, he had studiously snubbed the Scotch Home Rule movement, and his lieutenant, the right hon. Gentleman who represented Berwickshire, had entirely followed the instructions given to him by his chief, and he could not say that the right hon. Gentleman was wrong in that respect. Whether they viewed the Scotch Home Rule movement from the point of view of seeing whether it was an indigenous movement or not, or whether they regarded it with reference to the character and position of the men with whom it was associated, it was a 165 movement which perhaps did not deserve very much consideration. At the same time, there were occasions in the past when events had got the better of the right hon. Gentleman. After his declaration in the autumn of 1885 that he wished for support independent of the Irish question altogether, the right hon. Gentleman suddenly, in 1886, broached to an astonished Cabinet some of the details of his great surrender. Another illustration he would give was the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman on the eight hours for miners question at the time of the General Election. Events had been too much for him, and so they might be in the future. During the last week there was a Conference of the Liberal Association in Glasgow, at which the hon. Member for South Edinburgh moved a resolution in favour of Home Rule, and illuminated that Motion by a speech in which he described hon. Members who sat on the Opposition side of the House as dull boobies endowed with quasi-articulate speech. But that, Conference was hardly appeased by the passing of a tardy Motion upon Scotch Home Rule. Keeping those facts in view, what he proposed to do was to look at this Bill from that point of view, to see whether the arrangements in it were compatible with the development of some larger scheme in which the other portions of the United Kingdom should have a place. He could say this, further, that if that seemed too limited a reason for inquiry, he could give another. Perhaps the most obvious, from their point of view, of the many demerits of the Bill was the utter confusion and paralysis which would overtake the House of Commons if the provisions in Clause 9 were to remain as they were. If they banished the Irish Members they banished at the same time the idea of Imperial unity; if they retained the Irish Members on all matters they provided themselves with masters to dominate English and Scottish matters, although they had another Parliament at home, and if they took the scheme included in the Bill, then they had that paralysis of the House of Commons in the difficulty that would ensue in regard to votes on Motions of Confidence; so that the unworkableness of the situation at Westminster, if this Bill was passed into law in its present form, would be such as would certainly 166 demand a change. If there was to be any further movement, that movement must be obviously upon Federal lines. He was not one of those who thought it would be an advantage to have any Federal settlement. He held that re-constitution on Federal lines would be against our history, and would be retrogression and not progress; but still, looking at it from that point of view, what was the difficulty of the problem which confronted every Federal arrangement? The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in a work known to all, said that—The problem which all Federalised Millions have to solve is, how to secure an efficient Central Government and preserve national unity, while allowing free scope for their diversities to the Members of the Federation.To adopt astronomical language, the right hon. Gentleman said the difficulty was how to keep the centrifugal and centripetal forces in equilibrium. Surely those words were not an inapt description of the Scylla and Charybdis before the Government in the present Bill. He thought he was not representing the Irish Members wrongly, and especially the hon. Member for Waterford, if he said that more than once they had indicated that they would not accept any settlement which left the Irish Parliament anything but supreme control in its own dominion. By what device were these dangers to be avoided? The Chancellor of the Duchy, speaking of the success which had attended the arrangements in America, said that two devices were practised. One was to restrict the functions of the national Government to the irreducible minimum of functions absolutely needed for the national welfare, so that everything else should be left to the States. The other was to give that Government, as far as its functions extended, a direct and immediate relation to the citizens, so that, it should act on them, not, through the State, but of its own authority and by its own officers. Then the Chancellor of the Duchy added—These are the fundamental principles whose soundness experience has proved, and which well deserve to be considered by those who in the future time will have in other countries to frame Federal or quasi-Federal Constitutions.Did the present Bill restrict the functions of Imperial Parliament to the irreducible minimum? it did not. Why? They 167 dare not so restrict them; because they would seem thereby to impair the dignity of the House of Commons he was aware there was an extraordinary vagueness in the Bill as to how far it was or was not possible to have concurrent legislation by the Imperial and Irish Parliaments. Yet, if there was concurrent legislation, was there not necessarily collision? Would not that be a certain result of the ultimatum of the hon. Member for Waterford? They were told that difficulties would disappear in the light of an honourable understanding, but what guarantee had they that the two parties to an honourable understanding would take the same view as to its meaning? Different views might he taken by different men; and, therefore, with regard to arrangements based on an honourable understanding, there would always be a vox sub-audita which would have to be reckoned with. They had been told by the Member for South Edinburgh that the Bill was redolent of supremacy, and they had been told by others that there was a supremacy of the Imperial Parliament which was inalienable. What they had got to deal with was not a paper supremacy, nor a supremacy which was a sort of philosophical conception in an unwritten Constitution. They wanted a real supremacy, to be exercised by the officers of the Imperial Government. That was done in America principally by the constitution and the maintenance of the Federal Courts. There was nothing in the present Bill analogous to that except the provision as to the two Exchequer Judges, whose jurisdiction was of a far less wide-reaching scope than that of the American Federal Courts. In America the supremacy of the Federal Government was insured by the constitution and maintenance of the Federal Courts. There was no analogous provision in this Bill except the provision relating to the two Exchequer Judges. The Federal Courts had cognizance of all cases which arose between the citizens of one State and of another; but in this Bill there was nothing to provide that a Scotchman who sued an Irishman was necessarily to go before an Exchequer Judge. Then the Federal Courts had given to them the determination of all maritime causes and of contract cases arising out of maritime matters, but there 168 was no such provision in the Bill of the Government. The Solicitor General last night missed, to a great extent, the point of the criticism of the Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman was particularly strong upon the existence in the Bill of those words which prevent the depriving of any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law or without just compensation; and he argued that that was protection enough. The obvious interpretation, however, of the words in the Articles of the American Constitution was that they had to do with the executive power of the State and not the legislative power. The Solicitor General mentioned that there were decisions in America which had somewhat stretched that construction. But he took it that, although they had imported here an Article of the American Constitution, they had not imported the whole Rules, either of the American Courts or the American laws. They had, therefore, got to see how their own Courts would deal with it, and he would take a case going on at this very moment. Within the last few weeks there had been an arbitration on behalf of one Public Body in London as to the value of a certain tramway, and the price to be paid depended very much upon the interpretation that was to be put upon the words of the Statute. The words of the Statute were that the tramway was to be valued at the then value, irrespective of the future or past profit. No mention was made of present profits. He had been told that the Member for West Birmingham was the father of that clause, and if so he ought to bless the right hon. Gentleman, in the name of all indigent lawyers, because, if ever there was a clause in an Act of Parliament liable to give rise to litigation, it was that clause. The House would see that the whole point depended upon whether they were to be allowed to take account of present profits or not, and the decision—at present it had only been decided by an arbitrator—when the case was decided by the Courts of Law, would be determined by the view they took of that clause in the Act of Parliament. He would apply that to Irish affairs. Let them suppose that the Irish Legislature passed some Act whereby the tenants' or the landlords' interest was to be valued at, say, 10 years' purchase, or 169 in that picturesque, but savage phrase, at "prairie value." How would it be possible for the Privy Council to get at the standard of value? The property might be confiscated, but it would be confiscated by duo process of law. But the matter did not end there. If the right hon. Gentleman was going to the American Constitution, he might have gone not only to Article 14, which was a recent one, but to one of the provisions in the original Articles. Section 10 of Article 1 contained this:—No State shall pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts.That might be some protection, and he asked why it was absent from this Bill? Let him suppose that there was a foreign plaintiff, who sued in a local tribunal in Ireland a native defendant, and the Judgment was for the defendant; and let him suppose that an appeal was allowed to the Exchequer Judge, and the Judgment was reversed, he asked how, under this Bill, did they suppose the plaintiff was to obtain his Judgment? The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy described the Federal Courts and their staff', and then proceeded to say that they constituted a network of Federal authorities, covering the whole territory of the Union, independent of the officers of the States Court. Was there anything like that in the establishment of these two poor Exchequer Judges, sitting in Dublin, waiting for a gunboat to take them off, and only with the possibility of appointing some officer, no one knows who, to carry out their decrees, no one knows how? It reminded him of the old fable, and he asked "Who was to bell the cat?" As to the question of taxation, let him suppose that for war or other reasons there was a necessity on the part of the Imperial Parliament to have an increased contribution from Ireland. Under the scheme of this Bill, the only power which remained to this Parliament directly was the power over the Customs, and it was perfectly evident that there might come a point when any increase of the Customs could not reach the figure required. Whatever tax they chose must be gathered in by the Irish Executive, and became, so far as the Imperial Parliament was concerned, a requisition upon another country. Then, again, they had the 170 whole teaching of history, and the opinions of the writers, including Professor Freeman, who had pointed out that the invariable effect of requisition was to alienate the States upon which the requisition was made. When he looked at such results he was led to the conclusion, first, that as regarded the scope of the working of Imperial legislation concurrently with the legislation of the Irish Parliament, if the Imperial Parliament puts forth its powers, there must be collision, or otherwise its power was really a dead letter; and, as regarded Local Executive, if this Bill passed in its present form, the Local Executive of Ireland would be unfettered and untrammelled, and there was nothing to confront the ordinary Irish citizen with the existence of a Central Authority at all. The conclusion he drew from that was this: The very first step to a Federal relation was that they should have the presence of the Federal power always represented to the citizens by direct action through its own officers; and the very first thing in making a Federal system would be that they must withdraw much of the power they had given under this Bill. Was there anyone so foolish as to think such a thing possible? It might be possible in the future, as it was possible in the past, for the gentlemen on those Benches to say that they accepted the gifts pro tanto; but it was wholly impossible that they would ever get back from Ireland what they once gave her upon this occasion. Let him deal with another aspect of the question. It was quite evident, if there was to be any further arrangement—an arrangement so far as the other nations were concerned—it must be upon even terms; and if they came to that, they would find themselves hampered even by the restrictions they had put on this Bill. Take the question of Church Establishment. They had in this Bill provisions which dealt by way of prohibition with the erection of Church Establishments. Why were these provisions there? Those provisions were not there because they were defensible upon principle, nor did he think they were so defensible. He was not one of those naturally who would wish to establish the Roman Catholic religion; yet if he put himself in the position of hon. Gentlemen on those (the Irish) Benches who were 171 Roman Catholics, who enjoyed the confidence and gave, confidence to the priesthood, he could not understand why they should sit down in years to come and not wish to endow ministers in whom they trusted. But the provisions were put in for a totally different reason. They were put in because it they were not there the Bill would fail, inasmuch as it would offend—call it what they like—the Nonconformist conscience or the Protestant susceptibilities of many of the supporters of the right hon. Gentleman. What were they going to do when they came to deal with Scotland and England, where they had already Established Churches? What were they going to do with them? It was often said that the Scotch people would settle the question quick enough if it were left to them. [Mr. HERBERT PAUL: Hear, hear.] The hon. Member said "hear, hear." But there were two ways in which they could settle the question, and the Party the hon. Member represented had only been too grudging to put the matter straight before the Scotch people, and have it settled once and for all. If that was so, were they upon this matter of religion only to have the status quo ante, or was the now subordinate Parliament to have a mandate for destruction, and not for construction? Then there was the question of finance. That was a question on which probably, when the Bill reached the Committee stage, very different propositions would be made to those in the Bill. He noticed an article not long ago in one of the magazines, written by the hon. Member for North Longford, but which contained portion of an article said to be communicated by the Member for North Kerry, in which he formulated what he thought were not only the just demands but even the necessities of Ireland in this matter of financial arrangements. But the House did not know what the attitude of the Prime Minister would be on this matter. If the Prime Minister did not give way, it was not too much to say that hon. Members from Ireland would have to face taking a settlement which they knew meant certain bankruptcy; while, if he did give way, it was quite certain that the English and Scotch people would have to pay the more. What were they going to do when they moved on to 172 Scotland? Scotland, he supposed, would have her exigencies and Scotland would require to see that she got a just financial arrangement. And as to England, was England's share in the Homo Rule to be settled upon the principle of the residual quantity? If, then, this Bill failed as a step to any larger scheme, to what did it tend? It tended to separation, and why should it not? The hon. Member for North Longford reminded the House, when he took part in this Debate, that for many years Ireland had called for repeal. he would remind the hon. Member that many people in Ireland had called for separation for many years. No doubt in that House hon. Members from Ireland were bound to speak with bated breath, but the matter had been made very easy. The Prime Minister, in his speech in introducing the Bill, went out of his way to tell them that "finality" was a discarded word. What did he find the hon. Member for North Longford saying when he was in that genial frame of mind which became an Irishman with all the good qualities of his nation when he found himself at the end of a good dinner on Patrick's Day?" Was his toast "Imperial Unity?" No, it was "Ireland a Nation." Scotland was a nation, but did they toast Scotland as a nation No, because they thought that it was no disrespect to their nationality that they were at this moment, and hoped to remain, an integral part of the Empire. Why were they to be threatened with the danger which this Bill threatened? Was it because the old policy failed? The hon. Member for West Riding (Mr. Roundell) spoke of the system of government in Ireland having broken down. If that could be proved, it would go a long way towards the demonstration of his argument. But did it break down during the time that Ireland was under the con-trolling power of his right hon. Friend (Mr. A. J. Balfour)? They knew that it did not. The Government under his right hon. Friend had been strong, just in the way that a Government ought to be strong. They were face to face with this question because a few years ago the Prime Minister thought it necessary to force it down the throats of his Party. He was not able to force it down all their throats, as those (the Liberal Unionist) Benches opposite bore witness. But looking across the House, and seeing 173 hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, he said there was not one of them, with perhaps the exception of the Chief Secretary, who had had anything to do with the formation, and very little to do with the expression, of this question. When they felt as they did the dangers and the perils of the Bill, where did they go for words with which to condemn it? They went to the speeches of the Prime Minister. When he read the speeches of the Prime Minister, and thought of the dangers of the present Bill, he confessed he was reminded of that strange case which had been so beautifully presented in a work of modern fiction, and he wondered if somewhere, in some chamber apart, slumbered a statesmanship which reverenced Imperial unity, which was true to Loyalists, and which cherished the power and privileges of the House of Commons, and whether the present policy which stalked abroad was not the transient embodiment of all that was incendiary and destructive in the mind of an eager politician. When he turned from the right hon. Gentleman to his followers, what should he say? He said happy were the new men among them, who, having written no books and having no speeches to look back to, were enabled to declare with their hands upon their hearts that they were Home Rulers since they were born, secure that no one would be able to contradict them. Among that category was the hon. Member for Devonport, who wanted to make out that this cry for Home Rule was as old as the days of Pitt. That argument was bused entirely upon a minute inquiry into what happened in Canada some time ago, but the hon. Member dealt rather with the initiation and development of the arrangement in Canada than with the effects that flowed from it. But was there nothing to be said regarding the circumstances of Ireland and of Canada? Had geography nothing to do with the case? The hon. Member had talked of the wide Atlantic and the silver streak of the Irish Channel. When the Atlantic became commensurate with the Irish Channel he would acknowledge the justice of his analogy and the bearing of his argument. So much for the new Members. But there were other and older Members who had their past. He did not know which he pitied most.—those who by diligent burrowing am among their forgotten 174 speeches managed to find some clause by which they could persuade themselves by some stray words that they were Home Rulers before 1886, or those who, like the Secretary for War, with the effusive irreticence of the Army, proclaimed the exact day and hour on which they found salvation. The defects and the dangers of this Bill had been pointed out by the Opposition, and what they had been met with was not argument, but an unreasoning optimism which discarded at once the characteristics of human nature, the lessons of past history, and the circumstances of the present day. He and his friends were not satisfied with this cry of "Pence, peace," when there was no peace. They believed that if this Bill were passed into law it would sap to its foundations the structure of our Imperial greatness, and they would endeavour in the future, as in the past, to do all that in them lay to prevent such an untoward conclusion.
§ MR. STOREY (Sunderland)
said, he had listened with surprise to the speech which had just been delivered. The hon. and learned Member was, he believed, a Scotchman representing a Scotch constituency, and yet he came there and made a speech against giving Home Rule to Ireland: he who belonged to a country which, if it had not practically had Home Rule, would have taken care to force from that House long ago that which the hon. and learned Member refused to Ireland. He (Mr. Storey) was not one of those who would at all state that the matter they had to deal with was a small one, or that the difficulty was small; and it might be that, whilst be supported the principle of the measure, he should be able to say some disagreeable things about some parts of the measure, but in doing so he should not feel that he had wasted the time of the House. He said in a small Kingdom like this, comprised within two islands, every part of which was joined to the centre by railways and by the electric telegraph, every practical man knew that for the practical purposes of government four Parliaments were better than five, three than four, two than one, and one best of all. The Government proposed that there should be two Parliaments and two Executives. That was a proposition larger in itself; larger in the natural issues that flowed from it. He 175 did not envy the state of that man's mind who thought that, having once granted Home Rule to Ireland, we could pause there. Home Rule for Ireland naturally carried with it as a corollary Home Rule for Scotland, Home Rule for Wales, Home Rule for England, and an Imperial Parliament governing the whole in Imperial matters. In a word, the proposal of the Prime Minister was to transform our whole system from a unified Government to a Federal Government. That startled many minds. He was not ashamed to pay that years ago it startled his mind, because he looked at these things not from the point of view either of an Irishman or Scotchman, but from the point of view of an Englishman with nothing hut English blood in his veins. Time was when Parliament registered the decrees of Kings; now Kings registered the decrees of Parliament. There was a great change from submitting to the veto of a King and submitting to the veto of the House of Lords. The Imperial English race had learnt to adapt its political system to the needs of the time, and therefore he was not afraid to say that they were going to transform their system into a Federal system. It was a very curious fact that the light hon. Gentleman who had just spoken indulged in sneers at some who had found salvation on this subject. For himself, he had been a Home Ruler, and known to be so, both before he came to the House and since; in the old dark days his voice was raised on behalf of Ireland, and he put to the cynical gentleman who had just spoken whether his doctrines were not those of an honest person? He know scores of gentlemen, now Members of that House, who worked for Home Rule for years outside of it, and in asking for Home Rule they were speaking the voice of the people. Although he (Mr. Storey) had been a Home Ruler so long, he was sure the House would permit him to make a few observations on this measure. He would not make any prophecy, and he would not make quotations. Prophecy in that House was cheap, and quotations in the House were nasty. He would not refer to the Loader of the Opposition (Mr. A. J. Balfour)——
§ MR. STOREY
said, he would not quote the right hon. Gentleman, though if he should do so he would have nothing to quote that the right hon. Gentleman need be ashamed of. What did it matter what an hon. Gentleman or anybody else said 10 years ago? Quotations would not settle this matter. England remained and Ireland remained, and they had to look to the present facts and not to past speeches, and the position now was that if they could not get the question settled by the Prime Minister and his followers they would later on have it settled by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. J. Balfour) and his followers. Now, the present relations between England and Ireland could not continue. Now that the Liberal Party—by the voice of the greatest Minister, he was going to say, of any century, but certainly of this century—had brought forward a measure of Home Rule, some such policy was bound to be carried, for the Liberal Party had never yet during the past 60 years brought forward a great measure that did not in the end, after all opposition, reach the Statute Book. Well, something would have to be done. That being so, was there any alternative to Home Rule? They were told that the Prime Minister in 1886 changed his opinions, and that the Liberal Party went astray with him like a flock of sheep.
§ MR. STOREY
said, if they did not all go, the great majority of them did. The taunt that they did not all go came with a bad grace from the Tory Party; for what were the facts? Though a Radical he read history, and he found that the Tory Party opposed Catholic Emancipation and passed it: they opposed the suffrage and carried household suffrage; they opposed Free Trade, and now, with few exceptions, Members on the Benches opposite admitted it was a wise policy; they opposed land purchase and carried a Laud Purchase Bill; they opposed combination on the part of English workmen, and yet, according to one of their own newspapers, it was the Tory Party that first gave them the right to combine. The Party that had so changed had no great right to complain if all the Liberal Party should change their opinions. The 177 Prime Minister had changed; if was not discreditable to him that he should do so. They had it on the authority of a great American writer that it was only the foolish and the dead that did not change their minds. It was not, however, because the Prime Minister had changed that Homo Rule had become a necessity, nor because the Liberal Party had determined it would carry Homo Rule if not in this Parliament then in some Parliament to come. It was owing to the. Tories, and to them alone, that Home Rule had become a necessity. If that Party had been wise and understood the principles on which the government of a country like this should be carried on, Parliament would probably never have bad to meet the question of Home Rule. But this he would admit: If the Ton-Party were to blame, the Liberal Party were not without blame. Hut the difference between the two was this; the Tory Party proposed to continue in the old path; they were determined to try how near they could keep the ship of State to the rocks without suffering shipwreck; whereas the Liberal Party, grown wise by experience, had put about to the open sea, in the hope of by-and-by making a safe harbour. Having come face to face with Home Rule, the question for them now was whether there was any alternative. If there were, he would resort to it; but he did not believe there was one. One Parliament was bettor than two, but there was only one Constitutional way of making one Parliament and one Executive work well, and that was to legislate for each nation according to the desires of the majority of that nation, and to administer its affairs by men who approved themselves to the people of that nation. How had they administered Ireland? It was not possible for a young man who was a Catholic and a Nationalist to rise in the Public Service unless he would ally himself with the minority. ["Oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen questioned the suggestion. His answer was that those few Catholic young men who had attained positions in the Public Departments had done so foreswearing the principles that they should hold dear and sacred, and allying themselves with the loyal minority. The present Chief Secretary had found public positions almost monopolised by the minority, and 178 he had raised a great outcry by simply putting on some Boards a very few representatives of the majority. He had entertained hopes of the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord R. Churchill), who was not a Tory, and even of the present Leader of the Opposition, that they would legislate for Ireland according to the wishes of the people; but. that he had done so only showed how simple Radicals were. In the country Tories proclaimed that they did not intend to go for coercion; but in the House itself they did so under pressure. The Tories produced an abortive Local Government Hill; and, in spite of their own refusals, they were compelled to include leaseholders in the operation of the Land Act, to interfere with judicial rents, to deal with arrears, and to pass a clause—inoperative though it might be—for the restoration to their homes of evicted tenants. The Tories surrendered to force what they would not give to justice and right. Slowly, and after deep consideration, he came to the conclusion that Home Rule was necessary, and the House would by-and-by come to see that nothing else was possible. Even yet there was time for the Opposition to adopt a suggestion. They had indulged in diffuse discussion of the Bill; but when they came to the central point, they must see there was only one way of escape from their position. The Loader of the Opposition had not spoken yet. Well, he could tell him that if he wished to have Radical recruits, he had a chance of one, if not more, for there were a number of Radicals who looked at the matter from the point of view he was endeavouring to elucidate.
§ It being half-past Five of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed To-morrow.