§ [ELEVENTH NIGHT.]
§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [6th April] proposed to Question [6th April], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ And which Amendment was, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."—(Sir Michael Hicks-Beach.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)
Mr. Speaker, some satisfaction has been expressed, I think prematurely, in Unionist speeches in this Debate, at the critical tone of three or four speeches from the Liberal side of the House. I notice that only one of these speeches indicated any 786 intention to abstain from voting, and that in that case the intention was founded upon a quite erroneous interpretation of a solitary detail of the Bill. But something more worthy of the attention of the Unionist Party has occurred on their own side of the House. Quite the most remarkable and singular incident of this Debate was the speech delivered yesterday by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the New Forest Division of Hampshire (Mr. Scott-Montagu), a speech, Sir, from which a lesson in statesmanship might be learned by his own Front Bench. The hon. Gentleman speaks what is now the opinion of a majority of the British people, and what will surely be the overwhelming, and, in my judgment, the almost unanimous, opinion of the people of England. The hon. Gentleman declared that decentralisation must come. He affirmed that whatever becomes of this Bill Home Rule will have to be faced, and well you know it; and speaking, I think, the language of a good citizen and a politician of some prescience, he declared that if this Bill passed into law he hopes that it may succeed. The importance of that speech lies in the consideration that the hope of the Unionist Party, and necessarily their sole hope, lies in a retrogressive movement of opinion amongst the people of England. The speech of the hon. Gentleman, on which I congratulate him, shows that not only amongst the people of England, but even in the ranks of the Unionist Party, the movement of opinion is quite the other way. Sir, the hopeless weakness of the case against this Bill is indicated by many facts. It is indicated not merely by the feeble attenuation of this weary Debate, but also by the bye-play by means of which the Unionist Party vainly endeavoured to eke out their chief performers. The House remembers that we had a fall in the Stocks in time for the First Reading of the Bill. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer addressed the House this week. Why was he silent about the falling Stocks? Sir, because it was a premature effect which led up to an anticlimax. What is the use of having a fall in Stocks for the First Reading of the Bill if these unsympathetic securities go up again before the Second Reading? And, Sir, the commercial community, or some ardent politicians in it, have been 787 pressed into the service of the Unionist Party. We have heard of the suspension of trade orders from Ireland. Sir, it was not a suspension. You could buy and sell in Ireland just the same as before. It was a transfer of trading orders. The ardent politicians in Belfast have transferred their orders for the moment from one house to another, and it is hoped by the intelligent Constitutional Party that this device may succeed. I have read of a watchmaker in Coventry who, speaking at a Unionist meeting, declares that he is not able to sell any watches in Ireland since this Bill was brought in. Well, whatever this wonder-working Bill may do, it will not stop the flight of time. A gentleman in the cricket and lawn tennis line in Belfast declares that the sale of bats and balls has been stopped by the introduction of this Bill. I have not the slightest doubt that after this Bill has passed, as it will pass, into law, even the young Orangemen will enjoy a game of cricket in Ireland; and I should not wonder if Primrose dames, or at any rate Primrose maids, should find consolation in a game of lawn tennis for their political disappointment. Sir, we have had Petitions, and we have had processions. One Petition deserving of mention has been presented to this House. Sir, there appeared at your Bar the other day, to present the Petition of the City of Dublin in favour of this Bill, the Lord Mayor of that ancient Corporation. The Lord Mayor of that Catholic capital of Ireland is a Protestant, and he is an Ulsterman. He appeared at that Bar to present a Petition which was heard by you, Sir, and by the House—a moderate, and just, and reasonable Petition, a Petition which reflected in this great affair what I claim to be the spirit of the Irish people. From what city in Ireland comes the cry of civil and religious liberty in danger? From the City of Belfast. When have they had, when will they have, a Catholic Lord Mayor in that city? The citizens of a city who maintain a system of ostracism of creed to rival which, to find a parallel to which, we should go back to the mediæval times, or, at any rate, to the penal days, raise this false, hollow, and absurd cry of civil and religious liberty in danger against a people with whom toleration is not only a matter of conscience but a point of honour against 788 a people whose capital appeared at your Bar the other day in the person of an Ulsterman and a Protestant. Sir, I do not understand the logic of the Unionist Party upon this question of Petitions. My hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow informed the House to-day that the Petitions hitherto signed—and you know how they have been worked—have been signed up to the present moment by only l–70th of the population. Was it 1–70th in Ireland as well as in Great Britain, and how do the Unionist Party—who, at any rate, at the General Election had more than l–70th of the electors of the country—how do they think they have improved their cases by obtaining the signatures of l–70th of the population? What benefit do they think they derive from touting for the signatures of boys and girls, and driving public schools to sign? Do they imagine that, having failed amongst the grown-up population, by the aid of the children they can defeat Home Rule? Sir, the question has been fairly and thoroughly fought out before the electors of the country, and the electors have decided that Home Rule shall be carried into effect. ["No, no!"] They have decided that Home Rule shall be carried into effect, and what is gained, I ask, by asking men and women and boys and girls to petition this House not to do what this House has been directed to do by the mandate of the electors? Sir, we do not trouble about Petitions. We speak to this House as four-fifths of the Representatives of Ireland. Ireland has unequivocally declared her desire, and a majority of the electors of the United Kingdom have declared in favour of the principle; and I submit that it is not logical, it is not reasonable, it is not quite respectable to present Petitions to tin's House beseeching it to be graciously pleased to do the contrary of what it has been directed to do by the mandate of the Kingdom. Sir, we have had processions against the Bill. There was a great procession the other day at Belfast, where the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition showed his respect for the House of Commons by countenancing and enjoying the burning of the Bill which stands upon the Orders of the House. Well, I take leave to say that is puerile and foolish, and that hon. Members will have to do more than burn that Bill before they can stop it in pass- 789 ing through this House. As to the Belfast procession, I speak of what I know when I say there are 70,000 Nationalists even in the City of Belfast, and 10 times as many in Ulster; and if it were worth our while we could have in Belfast to-morrow or in any part of Ulster a demonstration for this Bill as strong as any procession yon could produce against it. And if we had a plébiscite of Ulster to-morrow, and if Home Rule Protestants in Ulster were free to act in spite of the boycotting which the Unionist Party practices more skilfully, more scientifically, and less noisily than others, we should not only poll man for man in favour of this Bill, but should have a good majority over. I sat six years for a Division of Belfast, and I never paid a visit there but I was interviewed by Protestants, and many of them expressed their sympathy to me, but desired me to keep the fact secret, for fear it would ruin their trade. I pass from this bye-play of operating with stocks and the talk about trade orders and the deluging of this House with Petitions after the country has declared its will, and proceed to deal with the Bill. And first, I think it right that I should deal with two special questions in the Bill, which have been much debated, one of them very closely, and the other, I think, very loosely—I refer to the retention of the Irish Members here and to the financial scheme. With respect to the retention of the Irish Members, I have observed in the course of this Debate that an indispensable fact appeared to be dropped out of view altogether. It is proposed by the Bill that certain Irish questions shall be reserved. It is proponed to reserve for a term of three years legislation on the question of the land; in connection with that question to retain control of the Commissioners who administer the system of purchase of land and direct the fixing of rents. It is proposed to reserve for a term of six years the appointment of the Judges and the control of the police. I shall scarcely be contradicted from any part of the House when I say that during the prescribed term whilst this Imperial Parliament reserves legislation upon the land, the control of the purchase system, the fixing of rents, the appointment of Judges, the control and direction of the police, it must be evident 790 —I think it is undeniable—that Ireland may have—would have—a far deeper interest in what may happen here than in anything which can happen in the Irish Legislature. Her most vital interests are reserved. After Home Rule itself, beyond all doubt, the most momentous question is the question of the land. The fault of hon. Gentlemen above the Gang way is that they put the land before Home Rule. We take the contrary order. I say that next to Home Rule the question of the land is the all-important question, and in the sphere of administration the all-important question is the control of the police, or, in other words, the execution of the law. Whilst these questions are reserved to this Assembly our interests must centre here, and if within that term our numbers were reduced and our powers wore restricted, the fact would be that the concession of Home Rule, however invaluable in other respects, would lessen the influence of Ireland in her own affairs in matters of vital interest. That proposition cannot be questioned. From that proposition I deduce another—that it is necessary for the interest of Ireland that, while the gravest questions of legislation and of administration may be dealt with and can only be dealt with here, the power of Ireland to influence action upon them should remain an un-diminished power. I therefore say that the time has not come for a final arrangement. I ask the House to leave it open. I ask the House to leave the question of the Irish representation as it stands, whilst the House reserves to itself the power of dealing with the most important internal affairs of Ireland; and when the Irish Legislature at the end of six years conies into possession of the full jurisdiction that you assign to it then let the question of representation, the number of Irish Members, the limitation of their powers be dealt with; let the question be dealt with, either alone, or, if other questions should develop in the course of that term of years, then let the question of the representation of Ireland be dealt with in connection with those other questions relating to the local concerns of parts of the United Kingdom or to the relations between the United Kingdom itself and the other communities of it. I pass on to the question of finance, and I cannot touch 791 upon it without drawing the attention of the House to the financial disquistion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham; a disquisition so gorgeous in its imaginative power, so utterly remote from the fact that, though dealing with so dry a subject as finance, it may well form a supplementary narrative in the Arabian Nights. The right hon. Gentleman, with the air of a man who has just made some strange discovery, informed the House that, whilst Ireland contributes 1–12th to the whole Imperial Revenue, she only contributes l–26th to the Imperial charges. The House, I make no doubt, was already quite familiar with the fact, and with the reason for the fact. The right hon. Gentleman, with the air of a man communicating exclusive information, went on to say that this was because Ireland gets so much back, and, he was pleased to add, because the Imperial Exchequer was so generous to the poorer Kingdom. Where does the generosity come in; why is there so slight a surplus from the Revenue of Ireland? Because to suit the purposes of Imperial policy, against the will of the people of Ireland, against the will of her Representatives, you erected and maintained a system of Government there for the purpose of strengthening your interest, for the purpose of buying the adhesion of certain classes, for the purpose of repressing political action, for the purpose of endeavouring to mould the people to your will, you erected and maintained in Ireland a system of Government so expensive that three-fourths of the Revenue is consumed in the cost of administration. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham compared the case to the proposal for a consolidated rate for London, where the richer parish pays for the poorer. The comparison was inapt. The poor London parish would receive more than it paid, but Ireland pays more than she receives. The right hon. Gentleman, commenting on the fact that Ireland pays l–12th of the whole Revenue, and only l–26th of the Imperial charges, said—This generosity was just and right, so long as Ireland was an integral part of the Kingdom; but if Ireland is now to become an independent State, what then? You should ascertain her share, and she should pay her share and get nothing back.792 But I always thought that independent States collected their own Revenue for themselves and spent it on their own affairs. Who proposes, however, that Ireland should be anything else but an integral part of the United Kingdom—or rather the Empire? Ireland will be a more integral part of the Empire than any other part of it, because she will not only be subject to the law of the Imperial Parliament, to the veto of the Crown, and to the action of the final Court of Appeal, but she will he a contributor to the charges of the Empire and a partner in this Imperial Parliament itself. Ireland will continue an integral part of the Empire. There is no proposal to make Ireland an independent State. But the right hon. Gentleman said that if Ireland is to be made independent she should be set upon her own feet. And how did he propose to set Ireland upon her own feet? He took 1–15th as Ireland's quota of the Imperial charges. He divided that 1–loth upon £59,000,000, the total of the Imperial charges, and brought her proportion to £4,000,000, ignoring the interruption of the Prime Ministers, that 1–l5th was not a tolerable quota unless it were levied upon a fund into which the total revenues collected in Ireland were paid—ignoring also the declaration of the Prime Minister in 1886, that, though the total of the Imperial charges amounted to £59,000,000, yet the specific Imperial charges to which Ireland could be fairly asked to contribute amounted to only £48,000,000. I venture to tell the right hon. Gentleman that if he were to consult any expert at the Treasury he would be told that 1–l5th is a quota which could not be mentioned as a tolerable quota for Ireland. The Prime Minister, by applying 1–l5th to all the Revenue collected in Ireland, made it equivalent to a quota of l–26th, and by dividing it upon £48,000,000 instead of upon £59,000,000, he gave a quotient of £2,000,000 for Imperial charges instead of a quotient of £4,000,000. But the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham said that under the present system Ireland would contribute £4,000,000 a year to the charges of the Empire, while under the Bill she would only contribute £2,400,000, and that Great Britain, therefore, loses £1,500,000 a year.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Gentleman has misunderstood me. I stilted very much what the hon. Member has said—namely, that the Prime Minister declared that an equitable and even generous contribution would be 1–15th. I said that my right hon. Friend also stated that the present contribution to the total Imperial Exchequer was 1–12th, and I pointed out that the Prime Minister proposed to carry back to Ireland £1,400,000 for Excise and Customs collected in Ireland, but really upon goods consumed in this country. The net result would be what I represented—l–26th.
§ MR. SEXTON
I think the right hon. Gentleman misunderstands the case. He insisted upon a quota of 1–l5th. He divided the 15th upon £59,000,000 to arrive at his estimate of Ireland's contribution, entirely ignoring the argument of the Prime Minister.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I did not say that at the present moment Ireland contributes £4,000,000 towards Imperial Expenditure. I stated that if she contributed what my right hon. Friend declared she ought to do under a generous and equitable system, she would contribute £3,933,000, and that, therefore, the Bill would charge her with £1,500,000 less than what my right hon. Friend said would be generous and equitable.
§ MR. SEXTON
But what did the Prime Minister say was just and equitable? Did he say that 1-loth was just and equitable?
§ MR. SEXTON
He never said it. He said that in order to arrive at a generous and equitable contribution it should be calculated on the whole of the Exchequer receipts in Ireland. He said that the 1–15th should be levied on the whole of the Revenue collected in Ireland, which made a difference of £1,400,000 between the quota of 1–loth and the real quota of 1–26th, the latter being the quota adopted by the Prime Minister in 1886, as I can show in a moment. I am glad now that the right hon. Gentleman admits it.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I do not wish to be misunderstood. I do not admit that it is fair and equitable. What I admit is, that my right hon. Friend did propose to take that in 1886.
§ MR. SEXTON
The right hon. Gentleman will not improve the case by interruption. He attributed to the Prime Minister a view which the Prime Minister never expressed, that 1–15th? was an equitable and tolerable quota for Ireland. The Prime Minister declared expressly that the quota of 1–loth was inequitable, unless it was levied on the; whole Revenue collected in Ireland. What was the drift of the whole argument of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Chamberlain)? It was that Ireland, under the present system, would or could contribute £3,900,000. He contrasted that with the charge in the Bill, and he said that Ireland would pay £2,400,000; and not only that, but he said that Great Britain would lose £1,500,000 a year. Why did the right hon. Gentleman disregard the facts staring him in the face? Why did he make no mention of the present gain to the Imperial Exchequer from Ireland? I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the last audit for the year ending 31st March, 1893, and there he will find, firstly, that the Revenue of Ireland for that year was £8,1 49,000; and, secondly, that the charge for the Local Government of Ireland in that year was £6,021,000; and, finally, that the profit to the Imperial Exchequer out of Ireland for the year 1892 was not £3,900,000, the imaginary figure of the right hon. Gentleman, nor yet £2,400,000, the figure proposed in the Bill, but £2,128,000. And if you take into view, as you should take into view, the fact that the full charge for the free education grant was less than the usual charge by £120,000, and if you deduct that, as you must deduct it, from the surplus of that year, then we have before us the undeniable Treasury record that the annual surplus at present to the Imperial Exchequer is £2,000,000, and no more. The right hon. Gentleman, followed by a throng of other Members, has gone to the country, and has told the electors, misleading them as he misled them in 1886, that Great Britain by the Bill would lose £1,500,000 a year, the plain fact being—and I challenge him to make-good his position—that Great Britain by the Bill, considering what she now gets (£2,000,000), with what she would get (£2,430,000), heavily and inequitably gains at the expense of Ireland. Following the lead of their brains carriers, others 795 have gone to the country on this purely imaginary deficiency, and where the fact is a gain to Great Britain they have calculated a loss, and they have presented before the British mind a lurid and totally imaginary picture of a total loss of from £50,000,000 to £100,000,000. How did the right hon. Gentleman propose to set Ireland on her feet? He proposes that she should bear £4,000,000, a quarter of an Imperial charge. Her Revenue is £8,000,000, her local charges £6,000,000, and he proposes to take £4,000,000 out of £8,000,000, and leave her £4,000,000 to pay £6,000,000. That, certainly, is a masterpiece of finance. If that is the way to set Ireland on her feet, how would you go about knocking her oft' her feet? If the right hon. Gentleman had set Birmingham on her feet in such a manner, I do not think he would have won that municipal fame which some critics think is his most valid title to distinction. From a state of peace the right hon. Gentleman passes to a state of war. He says you will lose £1,500,000 in time of peace and another £1,000,000 in time of war. How does he prove the other £1,000,000 in time of war? He imagined a war that would cost £40,000,000, and he said that Ireland under the present system would pay 1–15th of that charge. He first said l–12th. He said both. What does the right hon. Gentleman mean? Does he not know that Ireland pays l–26th at present, and does he propose to get 1–12th in time of war? Is not war an Imperial charge? If even now when you have an Imperial administration, when you have the collection of every penny of the Revenue and the spending of every penny of it in your own hands—if now you get out of Ireland only £2,000,000 a year, how would the right hon. Gentleman propose, if he were Chancellor of the Exchequer, to get out of Ireland by a system of identical taxation 1–12th for the cost of a war? One-twelfth of the cost of a war costing £40,000,000 would be three and one-third millions. Do you know what the Income Tax would be? Has the right hon. Gentleman any idea at all? Does he know what the Income Tax would be? It would be 3s. 4d. in the £1. How would he get it? He can only get it under the present system by the Excise; and let me tell him that if you were to increase the Excise above 796 10s. 6d., the result would be a diminished yield. If the right hon. Gentleman were Chancellor of the Exchequer, under the present system he would be extremely fortunate if he could manage to get out of Ireland not l–12th, but one l–26th, or something like it for the cost of a war, because the House will see that with the present Revenue of £8,000,000, and £6,000,000 for local expenses, the difficulty of increasing the £2,000,000 would be a difficulty increasing in geometrical ratio as the charge for Revenue went up, and I greatly doubt if you could for any purpose increase the present Revenue in Ireland. I maintain that the right hon. Gentleman utterly failed to show how under the present Bill Great Britain could get out of Ireland for war even the small contribution which is now got for Imperial charges. He proceeded with his criticisms, and I think they will be placed in the records of history as the champion achievement of recklessness, spurred on by hostility, in so serious a matter as finance. He said that £2,500,000 a year was to be paid for settling this Irish controversy. How did he proceed? He assumed that every war would cost £40,000,000. And he assumed that the £40,000,000 would all be required in one year, and then he went on—and I think this is certainly unparalleled—by assuming that if the Home Rule Bill passed into law Great Britain would be intermittingly engaged in a £40,000,000 war every year for all future time. Now, Sir, is it not a curious comment upon the methods pursued in political life in England at the end of the 19th century that a right hon. Gentleman of distinctive position should go before the electors of this country and actually tell them that this Bill involves a loss to Great Britain of £2,500,000 in the year? or a capital loss of £100,000,000 sterling, when it is plain to demonstration and undeniably the fact that the proposal in the Bill would increase the contribution from Ireland to Great Britain by substantially £500,000 a year. We have all heard of cock-and-bull stories, but I venture to say that no homely metaphor of that kind could do justice to the magnificent and soaring fictions of the right hon. Gentleman. For me I cannot attempt to characterise them. I can only offer my decided tribute of amazement. I pass from 797 the fiction to the fact of the financial scheme, and I propose to state the principles which oblige me to urge that the interest of Ireland in the matter of finance is not adequately considered in the Bill. I have to lay down first that the terms are less favourable than were offered in the Bill of 1886. By the Bill of 1886 the right hon. Gentleman, by a nominal quota of 1–15th, but which was really a quota of l–26th, divided upon Imperial charges, amounting to £48,000,000, proposed that Ireland should pay an annual charge, including the Sinking Fund, of £2,200,000. The proposal in the present Bill is that the charge should be £2,430,000, and for the purposes of the satisfaction of that charge you appropriate that one fund of the Irish Revenue which is not likely to increase. I admit that the Revenue has increased since 1886, but the civil charges have undergone a corresponding increase, and whilst the increase of Revenue is abnormal within the last three years, and is certain to be transient, the increase of the Civil charges cannot be disposed of easily or soon. We objected to the scale of the Bill of 1886. Our objections were favourably entertained. We were assured that more favourable terms would be offered, and I think I am entitled to appeal to the Liberal Party and to the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, in whose spirit of equity I have the utmost confidence, to re-consider the case. I object, firstly, to the charge because it is greater than your present profit out of Ireland. I have referred to the accounts of 1892, and they disclose the fact that, taking into account the full education grant, the profit out of Ireland to the Imperial purse as tested by these accounts does not exceed £2,000,000 a year. By the Home Rule Bill Great Britain will be rid of the trouble and the toil of legislation and administration for Ireland, and can it possibly be contended that Great Britain should ask from Ireland under the Home Rule system a larger profit for the Imperial purse than Great Britain is able to derive at the present moment, leaving the whole of the collection and expenditure of the Revenue of Ireland in the hands of the Imperial Parliament? I submit that equity would not justify such a demand, and I also submit that you 798 should take into account not the figures of the single year, but the figures of a series of years; that you should remember that, owing to the condition of Ireland, Great Britain has had to remit loans amounting to £10,600,000. You should consider that within the last 20 years you have made grants from the Irish Church Fund for necessary purposes to the amount of £8,000,000. If the Irish Church Fund had not been available this amount would have had to be borne on the Public Exchequer. Grants of that kind will have to be made hereafter, and they will have to be borne by the Exchequer of Ireland, and I submit that the spirit of equity dictates that in measuring the amount of Ireland's contribution to the Imperial Revenue in future you should have regard to the amount of present profit, and you should measure that profit not simply by the account, of any one year, or of a few years, but by the average profit as decided by the amounts of the loans which you have charged ultimately on grants, and as decided by the amount of these grants from the Irish Church Fund, and also by the special military and civil expenditure which the maintenance of the Union entails upon you in times of excitement in Ireland. As to the surplus of £500,000, I say firstly that it is founded upon an estimate, and is, therefore, unreliable. But even if the surplus of £500,000 be maintained by the actual figures of the year, I would respectfully point out that in measuring the amount of the surplus you are bound to have regard to the fact that the Revenue of Ireland is a precarious Revenue; that it is mainly dependent upon a Liquor Tax amongst a diminishing population, and that the Revenue, therefore, may decrease. In the third place, I would point out that the surplus you propose is likely to be swamped by the incidence of charge for police. Because you put into the Irish Budget only £1,000,000 a year for the police; and if the cost of Ireland's Constabulary Force and Ireland's share of the cost of the Imperial Constabulary amounts in any year to more than £1,000,000, by the amount of such excess will the surplus be diminished. I have no doubt that in the early years the double charge for police—the charge for the local force and the proportion of the charge for 799 the Imperial Force—will come near £1,500,000. The surplus would, therefore, be almost swamped if it did not totally disappear; and I submit that the difficult task of the Irish Administration would be rendered additionally difficult if, in the early years of its existence, its Budget enabled it only to discharge the bare costs of administration. And then the Government may find it impossible to approach questions of remedial policy and questions of reproductive expenditure. It will be incumbent on the Irish Government to develop the system of primary education. They will have to attend to the condition of the labourers; they will have to foster the coast population, whose condition is the cause of recurrent distress; they will have to take up the Imperial system of loans, which will have ceased on the concession of Home Rule. The system of loans involves a sum of at least £500,000 lent to Public Boards in the country—Boards of Guardians, Town Councils, Grand Juries, Harbour Boards, to landlords, tenants, and purchasing occupiers for the improvement of land. Their services are indispensable—are imperative. The Irish Government would have to take them up the moment they came into existence, and what I plead for is simply this: an arrangement by which the Irish Government, upon whatever principle it may be based, an arrangement by which the Irish Government in its earliest years may be assured without any doubt of such a surplus—moderate it may be in amount—as will enable them at any rate to initiate those useful measures beyond the sphere of the pure administration of the Government, and will enable them to take up the system of loans which will have been laid down by the Imperial Government, and which will be an imperative obligation to the Government which succeeds them. I recognise the difficulty of fixing precisely the relative capacity of England and Ireland to bear the Imperial charges. It is a question of great complexity and great detail. It cannot be settled by the yield of a particular tax or a particular tax upon special transactions levied over a limited class of the people. If you wish to determine the relative capacity of Great Britain and Ireland to bear taxation you will have to investigate the evidences of accumulative wealth; you will have to 800 investigate the evidences of taxable income; you will have to take up and investigate Mr. Giffen's calculation that the taxable income of Ireland—that is to say, the earnings of the people after making a minimum allowance subsistence—is only £15,000,000 a year; whilst the taxable income of Great Britain is £800,000,000. That is to say, that the average income of every person in Great Britain is seven times the average income of every person in Ireland. If population were to be considered a test,. the basis of such a population would be that the relative capacity of both countries was the same. Population is a delusive test, because, as I have shown,. a scientist of the greatest eminence in this work of investigation came to the conclusion that the taxable capacity of the Irish people is only one-seventh of the taxable capacity of England. What I submit is this: It is impossible at the present moment to arrive at a final or precise conclusion. We could have arrived at it if the right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Exchequer had appointed the Commission which he promised to appoint in 1890. I think there must be either a Commission of the House or some competent Body to inquire. There might be a deliberate, formal, and full inquiry in the interests of Ireland, and, I believe, of other parts of the United Kingdom. Therefore, I will suggest a temporary arrangement to be provided for in the Bill. I would say, ascertain the present profits of Great Britain out of the Revenue of Ireland, ascertain it upon just principles, take a. series of years, make a fair allowance for the loans which you have treated as grants, make allowance, also, for the relief offered you by the transfer of administrative and legislative duties, and charge that annual sum as a quota upon the Revenues of Ireland. If the Revenues of Ireland improve you would benefit by the improvement; if the Revenues would decrease, you would bear a small portion of the loss. Then let that be the contribution of Ireland to the Imperial Exchequer, and let that charge be revised at the end of seven years, because then we could have ascertained what we never ascertained before—the residual charge for the Royal Irish Constabulary and the actual charge for the local police of Ireland. As to 801 the proportion in which the charge for the Imperial Police should be borne, I submit that it is not equitable that Ireland should have to pay two-thirds and Great Britain only one-third. The Prime Minister himself admitted that out, of the total charge of £1,500,000 the charge of £1,000,000 was not the proper charge to be laid on the Irish people. I rely upon that declaration, and I think it is clearly evident that as Ireland will have to bear the cost of her Local Force it would be inequitable to ask her also to bear two-thirds of the diminishing and expiring charge of the Imperial Police. The Prime Minister calculated that the cost of the normal police for Ireland would be £600,000 a year. Accepting that calculation, I submit that the partition of the expiring change for the Imperial Police between Great Britain and Ireland ought to be in this proportion: to levy upon Ireland the cost of the normal police, and on the Empire the difference between the cost of the Imperial Force and the Local Police Force. That proportion would be two-fifths and three-fifths—two-fifths upon Ireland and three-fifths upon the Empire. I have no doubt that me colleagues, in their eagerness to promote an equitable settlement, would be willing to agree to an equal division -of the charge, and in connection with the proposal for a temporary arrangement, to exist for seven years and afterwards to be subject to revision at the end of 15 years. I propose that the charge for the Imperial Force should be equally divided between Great Britain and Ireland. That is my proposal upon finance, which I think is dictated by equity; and it is a proposal which, without subjecting Great Britain to any loss upon the general scheme or to any but a slight loss upon the diminishing contribution, would prove satisfactory to the people of Ireland and enable her Government to have a fair prospect of success. Upon the general principles of Home Rule, so much has been said already about 1800 and 1893 that I greatly wonder that attention has not been drawn to the fundamental difference between the position of the principle of Home Rule and the position also of the Irish Question at the present time and in the year 1800. In the year 1800 centralisation was the one idea of this Empire, and I might say throughout the 802 world. The only great development of the principle of Home Rule had been in the United States. Centralisation was the idea of this Empire. It was by adhering to that idea and refusing Home Rule that you lost the great territory which became the United States. At the date of the destruction of the Irish Parliament it may be said that no Parliament but this existed within the British Empire. You had a rudimentary Legislature in Canada, but the Executive there was divorced from the Legislature and subject to Imperial control. How wonderful the contrast that has arisen since 1800! for whereas then the principle of centralisation was the ruling bond of this Empire, the principle of Home Rule has been the law of your evolution since. Yon have established between 20 and 30 Home Rule Parliaments within the British Empire, and it is the fact that at the present moment Ireland is the only considerable community in the British Empire beyond the shores of this Island to which Home Rule has not been extended. Home Rule has been found the universal solvent for the difficulty which has arisen in various countries and in various States, the difficulty of uniting communities in a common bond for the transaction of their common affairs, and of creating separate authorities for domestic concerns. That difficulty has been solved between the Sultan and his Provinces, between the Czar and one of his Provinces, between Denmark and Iceland. It has been solved between Norway and Sweden. ["No, no!"] Well, it prevented a war. It has been solved between the Cantons of the Swiss Republic, between Austria and Hungary, between Austria an I her many Provinces, between Hungary and her numerous Provinces, and the law of internal union for common purpose, and of Home Rule for domestic concerns, is the fundamental law of the great German Empire. So fast has been the change since 1800, when centralisation prevailed, that if you look around the world now, either to Europe or to America, you will see that Home Rule has been found the universal solvent of difficulties; that it has been the general practice of Europe and America, and, as I have said, the law of the evolution of the British Empire. I. make little doubt that if such had been the case in 1800, when Mr. Pitt and his 803 Colleagues had to deal with the case of Ireland, that instead of destroying the Irish Parliament they would have modified it; they would, no doubt, have ended its co-ordinate power; they would have ended those powers which caused Imperial anxiety and Imperial difficulty, but I humbly submit that it is extremely likely that if the principle of Home Rule had advanced in the days of Mr. Pitt to the position it now occupies, the cure of Ireland's difficulties would then have been found, as now, not in the destruction of her Parliament, but in the establishment of a Legislature for the care of her domestic affairs, while allowing her to continue to be a partner in the common affairs of the Empire. There has been another important change since 1800. In 1800 you were able to treat this question as one between Great Britain and Ireland. Great Britain had not then such extended interests as she has at the present moment, and Ireland had no friends. You were able to treat the question as a domestic question of these Islands. But how stands the matter now? It is a question, not between the people of Ireland and the Government of Great Britain, not even between the people of Ireland and the people of Great Britain; it is a question between this Empire and every part of this Empire, and a race not confined to the 5,000,000 who are living in Ireland, but the race of 25,000,000 of men who are. scattered over the globe. There are 2,000,000 of Irishmen in Great Britain, 1,000,000 in Australia, 500,000 in Canada, and 16,000,000 in the United States. Will anyone deny, looking at the state of Europe—Europe that has been called an armed camp—looking to the doubtful prospects of the future—will anyone deny that it is a matter of high and possibly of urgent necessity to establish friendly relations with the other great branch of the Anglo-Saxon race in the Republic of the United States? Of the 60,000,000 in the United States 16,000,000 are Irish. The Irish citizens of the United States are more numerous now than the citizens of British origin or of any other nationality whatever. The Irish vote, when it is united, is able to determine the composition and policy of the Government of the United States, and I need say no more to bring into the minds of everyone who hears me that policy as well as justice dictates the 804 measure before you, and that, even if there were no demand from Ireland for this Constitution, it would be a measure of judicious policy to invite the Irish people to accept it. The promoters of this Bill would have been entitled to say, in laying it on the Table, Ireland, by her Constitutional voice, has brought this-claim before us. This claim is only to confer upon Ireland what has been found effectual for domestic interests, and safe for common interests, not only throughout Europe, but throughout America, and in every other community in the British Empire, except Ireland alone. Home Rule has solved internal difficulties in Military Monarchies, in Constitutional Empires, in despotisms, and in Republics. It has dealt with the case of nations, of duchies, of kingdoms, and of cities. It has been found effectual for all races, all creeds, and all classes; and the onus lies upon the opponents of the Bill to show why the principle, effectual everywhere, should be ineffectual in Ireland. Why the principle which has quelled rebellion and removed disaffection in every Possession of the British Empire should be impotent in this territory only—why, in short, the people of Ireland, of all the people on earth in regard to their reasonable pleas for freedom, should be made a monstrous exception I cannot understand. The question has not been faced, the principles of this Bill have not been encountered, a cloud of false issues has been raised, whether Irishmen should honour the sentiment of Ireland as a nation, whether the conversion of the Prime Minister was too sudden, preceded, as it was, by at least the pretended conversion of the Tory Party. You should not give Home Rule to Ireland, forsooth, because Irishmen honour the sentiment of Ireland the nation! Why should they not? Ireland is a nation—Ireland, whatever you would do with it, will never be anything but a nation. She has every mark and token of a nation—the token of race, the token of creed, the token of special interest, the token, if you will, of mental distinction. You are in the habit of talking here about Irish bulls, and saying that something is very Irish. I think, though I may not concur in the sentiments of those observations, that they show the deeply-inveterate opinion in your minds that the Irish people are a 805 distinctive race, as distinctive as any race in Europe. This talk about Ireland as a nation argues a strange confusion of thought. A people may be a nation without being a Sovereign State, and a people may be a Sovereign State although they may not be a nation. Is Roumania a nation? Is Montenegro a nation? They are not Sovereign States, and Ireland, although not a Sovereign State, is unquestionably a nation. There is nothing in the condition of a nation; there is nothing in the self-respect, or in the honour, or in the reasonable aspirations of a nation to forbid Ireland from accepting what is now offered to her. There is nothing to prevent her from accepting reasonable freedom in her own domestic affairs, and an honourable and what will then become an esteemed position of a partner, admitted upon equal terms for the management of Imperial concerns. We are told that the sudden conversion of the Prime Minister is a reason against Home Rule. Well, it is a, story seven years old, at any rate, and, as I have said, the conversion of the Prime Minister was not the first conversion. It was not sudden. I have been in this House since 1880, and I know that the right hon. Gentleman gave notice fair and full. I know that he gave notice years before that, as soon as the demand of Ireland was shown to him to be reasonable for Ireland and safe for the Empire, and when it was presented to him by a majority of the Representatives of Ireland, Constitutionally elected, be would feel it to be his duty to Ireland and to the Empire to consider that demand. He made that promise, and he kept his word. But what about conversion. Who were converted? And why were they converted in the summer of 1885? They did not wait for the General Election. They wanted to get in before it. They did not wait for a majority of the Representatives of Ireland; they were content to treat with a fraction. Their conversion preceded the conversion of the Prime Minister. ["No, no!"] It is too late to contradict now. Whilst the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) gave notice of his intention and declared what he had to say in face of the whole world, their conversion was the sudden conversion of recognised 806 self-interest, and they transacted it in private.
§ MR. SEXTON
Lord Carnarvon. [Cries of "No!"] What is the meaning of the exclamations? Lord Carnarvon acted with the authority of his Party. [Cries of "No!"] Lord Carnarvon acted as your Irish Viceroy. He met the Irish Leader, and he arranged a plan of Home Rule. [Cries of "No!"]
§ MR. SEXTON
He offered a plan of Home Rule. He did not wait for it to be asked for; he did not treat with Ireland as a, whole; be was content to treat with Ireland as a fraction, and he arranged a plan of Home Rule which included a power to Ireland to make laws for the protection of trade, and I warn intellectual Free Trade Unionists like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin to be careful what they do about this Bill, because if it were possible that this Bill should be rejected he would find the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition not yet, of course, but some day by-and-bye, coming down to this House as Prime Minister and proposing a Home Rule Bill for Ireland, and it would include this power for making laws for the protection of her trade. The less that is said about the conversion of the Prime Minister the better for the Unionist Party. We hear a great deal about the country not being consulted, and about an English majority being against the Bill. Why, the country has been consulted to the point of exasperation. There never was a country so consulted. The country has been consulted adnauseam, and the idea is now to move for a new trial, the jury having returned a verdict after seven years' deliberation. Then there is the argument of the English majority against the Bill. The argument is a dangerous one. What was the majority against the Bill from England in 1886? From England—upon the English Returns—there was a majority of 213 against Home Rule in 1886. What was the majority from England at the late General Election. It was 71. What power has changed the situation? The Tory majority in the last Parliament was 807 120. The Liberal majority is over 40 now. What power has created the change? The power of England, and the power of England only. We lost five seats in Ireland. We shall gain them at the next General Election. They were lost owing to temporary internal differences, which certainly did not imply disagreement on the question of Home Rule. We lost five seats in Ireland. We won eight seats in Scotland and four in Wales. Therefore, the net gain for Home Rule at the late General Election was seven seats in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales; but to turn the Tory majority of 120 in the Parliament of 1886 into a Liberal majority of 40 or over in the present Parliament a transfer of 80 seats was needed. Seven were gained in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Where did we gain the other 70? In England; and let me add that if anyone will look at a political map of England, where the Parties are distinguished by colours, he will find that the English majority against Home Rule is not an English majority in any broad sense of the term, but it is a majority supplied by the limited districts of London and the home counties. The southern counties of England are against Home Rule. There is an English majority for Home Rule elsewhere, and I deny that either the vote of the southern counties of England, and, with all respect to them, some of the northern counties of Ireland, is any conclusive argument against the passing of Home Rule. So far from thinking that the electoral condition in regard to England should give us any cause for doubt, I say that the movement of opinion in England, the forward, irresistible movement of opinion in England in favour of Home Rule between 1886 and 1892, considering the novelty of the question and the prejudices naturally aroused—I say that that movement of opinion has been the most rapid, steady, sustained, remarkable, and, I will add, conclusive, recorded in the history of Parliamentary results. And if, instead of having a majority of 42 at the present moment in favour of this Bill, we were still in a minority, I would say in the presence of that fact—knowing that the English people go forward, and that they never go back—I would say in the presence of the fact that a majority of 808 213 against Home Rule seven years ago fell to a majority of 71 last year, that fact, to my mind, is conclusive as to the triumph of Home Rule; and that as the British majority of 15 against the Bill has already disappeared as shown by the bye-elections, if there be another appeal to the people it will be seen that the final third of your great majority of 1886 has followed the other two. Of course, we have had denunciations of the Land League and the Plan of Campaign. I do not fear to say that the Land League and the Plan of Campaign are the two events of contemporary Irish history which exclusively prove the incapacity of this Parliament to legislate for Ireland. What made the Land League formidable? The House of Lords. Famine was the parent of the Land League, the House of Lords was its foster parent. The Land League had barely more than a nominal existence until the Lords in 1880 rejected the Compensation for Disturbance Bill, a Bill which was only trivial compared to the Bill they were compelled to pass in a succeeding year. The Land League was necessary to produce the Laud Act.
§ MR. SEXTON
I am glad of that cheer from the Prime Minister. It is a cheer justified by history and experience. Why did you wait 30 years to act on the Report of the Devon Commission? These were the 30 years that saw 4,000,000 of the people of Ire-land driven out of their country amid unspeakable pangs of human agony. I say the Land League produced the Land Act. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham has confessed that but for the Land League the Land Act would not have been passed. We have heard hon. Members connecting the Land League with the idea of crime. I tell you that if the Land League had not sprung into existence, and if, consequently, the Land Act of 1881 had not been passed, that serious and deplorable as was the record of the crime committed in Ireland, it would but have been, I fear, as a drop in the ocean compared to the fever which would have arisen, and the agitation which would have followed, the violence which would have been indulged in, and the crime which would have been committed, if the people had to pass through that period of distress and famine 809 without receiving any assistance from the Government. If you want a parallel I can give it to you. Go back to the tithe period. Was the provocation as acute as in the Land League period? It was not. The question in the period of the tithe agitation was not a question of the subsistence of the people. It was not a question of starvation. It was not a question of their homes. It was simply a question of an obnoxious impost, a matter which was not of great interest to the masses at the time. Look at the records of crime. There was then no public; organisation to restrain the people, or to press upon Parliament for reform, and murders were counted by scores and crimes by thousands. The crimes of the Land League Party were only a minute fraction of the sum; and as to the Plan of Campaign, it was created by the Tory Party. They refused to do their duty in 1886, and they forced the Plan of Campaign into existence, and after one year of the Plan of Campaign the same men came down to this House, and having declared in 1886 that the judicial rents could never be touched and that leasehold contracts were sacred, brought in a Bill, and passed it, for the purpose of reducing judicial rents and breaking leasehold agreements. Some men are not thankful for discipline, however salutary it may be, and the right hon. Gentleman can never forgive the Plan of Campaign for compelling him to do his duty.
§ MR. SEXTON
Surely the right hon. Gentleman will not disown the head of the family. I paid the right hon. Gentleman the compliment which I thought he deserves, as being the most active and intellectual embodiment of the principles of his Party. Sir, I conclude that, so far from there being any success in your effort to make the Laud League or the Plan of Campaign an argument against Home Rule, it is a fatal argument against your competence to legislate for Ireland, because the Irish people suffered from extortion, from distress, in the earlier years from famine, and they appealed to you in vain; but by the agitation of the Laud League and the agitation of the Plan of Campaign 810 they procured the Act of 1881 and the Laud Act of 1887. And I lay it down without fear as a Constitutional axiom that when a Legislature is charged with the care of a people in another country, and when that Legislature shows by long experience that it cannot be driven to pass necessary laws until the people of that country resort to agitation, and by the violence of passion are driven into crime, that Legislature stands self-condemned, and it must give up the effort to maintain a function which it can no longer discharge. I have heard a good deal of old speeches. Some Irishman made some speech or another 12 years ago, and the intellectual Unionists come forward and say, "Such a man said such a thing 12 years ago, are you going to give Ireland Home Rule!'" I know a Unionist Gentleman complained here yesterday that he could find very few useful quotations in my speeches, but that he found some, for instance, on the day of Mr. Paruell's arrest in 1881, when the minds of Irishmen were convulsed by passion. I said that night at a public meeting something relating to the unchangeable hate between Great Britain and Ireland. That was the honest verdict of my experience. My experience has utterly changed since then; it is hate; no longer, but confidence, even affection. There never has been in the history of the world such a moral miracle as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian has wrought. There is confidence, even affection, between the great mass of the Irish people, not only in regard to the illustrious gentleman himself, but in regard to the democracy of Great Britain, and that confidence and affection, I believe, are now becoming mutual. But what is the meaning of raking up old speeches? What is the meaning of intellectual Unionists going about with wallet and hook raking up rags and scraps from the political dust, and trying to paste them into an argument? These speeches belong to the period of bad and bitter feelings, all of which are gone, and will never return; but if you could have your way, if 3011 could reject this Bill and return to your policy of coercion, then the state of things which has passed away would return. Hatred, instead of vanishing, would become perpetual. Now, Sir, if we were to talk of any old 811 speeches, shall we say nothing about some new ones? It is all very well to disinter old speeches from the dust-heap of 20 years, but what about speeches made in the country within the last 20 days? Is it intolerable in the Irish Member—the man whose heart beats in sympathy with his people, at the time of the speech, when hope of redress by legislative action is denied—is it to be intolerable that the earnestness of his soul should drive him into a passion, and are Privy Councilors to become firebrands, and are ex-Ministers of the Crown to be allowed to incite the people to rebellion in order that they may regain the reins of power? We have heard again of the Special Commission. I should have thought the Tory Party would not be anxious to refer to the Special Commission because if they had not drawn their Bill very carefully for the purpose of enabling the Irish Members to be harassed, and preventing the Irish Members from unearthing the conspiracy against ourselves, we should have found out who the politicians were whose money paid for the purchase of the perjury and forgery directed against us. The page that tells that story is a page of the most dastardly conduct recorded in the history of England. As to the charges, those of any moment disappeared, and the three learned Judges—gentlemen, I believe, of Unionist politics—were just as welcome to form their opinions on the course of the Irish movement as any other three gentlemen in England. I am not sorry that matter of the Special Commission has been revived, because when a Bill on the Orders of this House is burned in the presence of the ex-Leader of the House, who greatly enjoyed the spectacle, and when Privy Councilors, as I say, act as firebrands, and when ex-Ministers of the Crown endeavour for the purpose of personal ambition and the purposes of Party to excite to rebellion a reasonable people who only want to be let alone, I say the time has come, especially after tomorrow night, when the principle of this Bill will be affirmed by the House of Commons, to consider whether another Special Commission should not sit—this time not composed of three Judges, but more compactly for business purposes of two, and perhaps the least inconvenient consequence of such a Commission might 812 be to render it difficult for some right hon. Gentlemen to re-enter the Service of the Crown. Sir, the principles of this Bill, as I say, have been encountered by false issues, and the unanswerable facts in support of the Bill have been met, have been encountered, not by facts but by suppositions—wild, random, and untrue. What are the facts? I can state them in a few words. The first fact is that Ireland is deeply, profoundly discontented. Can anyone deny that? Can anyone assert that her discontent is not justified? How has she declined under your rule? She advanced under native rule. No matter how you may twist it—no matter to what causes you may attribute it, Ireland advanced by leaps and bounds under a native Legislature. How has she since declined? One-half of her population have fled from their native land. It is easy to sneer, as a learned Gentleman sneered here yesterday, but I say that the forcible transfer of the Irish people from their homes through the operation of your Land Laws was a chapter of human suffering, human agony, for which history affords no parallel. I am told that the population of other agricultural countries have declined. Show me any country, any civilised country in the world, agricultural or otherwise, where the population at the present day is less than it was in 1800. Show me any country where the population has diminished by one-half since 1846. And it is not merely that half the population have fled; it is also that the standard of life, the scale of living, the housing and clothing, and food amongst those that have remained is now the poorest, the hardest, and most meagre of the kind in the world". Are we not entitled to cry "Change" in the face of such a failure? Consider the waste of Ireland's Revenues. In that poor country £8,000,000 a year in taxes are raised, £6,000,000 a year are spent for the administration, and £2,000,000 go into the Imperial purse. Such is the cost of your civil government in Ireland, a government the motive, the cost, and the scale of which I have already indicated. Such is the cost of it that, after all that heavy Revenue is drawn from that poor country, there is very little indeed to be spent upon the improvement of the condition of the people, or in those remedial works 813 which the country so much wants. What, then, about coercion? Did the Legislative Union admit the Irish people to the Constitution? It did not. The Legislative Union which deprived the Irish people of their own Constitution has excluded them from yours. They have been treated as outlaws. Need I say more than that? Eighty-seven Coercion Acts have been passed in 93 years. This Legislature, as T have shown, is incompetent to give the needful care to the concerns of the people of Ireland: and, moreover, it has become a matter of Imperial necessity, a matter of Imperial urgency, that this he me Rule Bill should pass, because it is absolutely absurd that the greater part of the time of the Imperial Parliament of an Empire containing 3.50,000,000 of people, and covering 10,000,000 square miles, should he occupied by the concerns of a little island containing 4,000,000 of people. Against these facts what suppositions are placed? We are told that Ulster will fight. I think Ulster will be quiet. This is really not an Ulster question: it is a question of Belfast. I have shown he w fit Belfast is to be the cradle of the cry of civil and religious liberty. I ask every Member of this he use before we go into Committee, before he speaks again in the country, to read the evidence taken on oath before a Committee of the he use upon the Belfast Bill last year. The evidence was sworn: it was not contradicted. In that evidence you will find that Catholics are excluded us an inferior race from all the Public Bodies of Belfast; that they are excluded from public employment out of the rates to which they contribute; that it is made a matter of boast if a Catholic is allowed to be a scavenger; that Catholic boys are taken in childhood into the mills and factories, and when the age of apprenticeship arrives are taken out again because they will not be admitted to the trades; and that in this city of civil and religious liberty, the poor Catholic families, because of that system, are obliged to quit the City of Belfast, and to emigrate from Ireland. It was proved in evidence that Catholic paupers in the workhouses and Catholic patients in the other Public Institutions there have been allowed to die without the ministrations of their Church, because the spirit governing the Bodies would not allow 814 the appointment or presence of a Catholic nurse to send warning to the priest. Do I go too far when I say that to find a parallel for this state of things you would have to go back to mediæval times, or at least to the penal time? What are the elements of this outcry in Ulster? The main element is afforded by some ex-Ministers who want to get back to Office, and are willing to use even public disorder for that purpose. The next element is afforded by the landlords, who, of course, do not want to have any law in Ireland but such as pleases the he use of Lords. There are the Orangemen, the one body the reason for whose existence is ascendency over Catholics. There are a few Liberal Unionists who, in byegone days, were accustomed to treat the Catholics in Ulster as their political henchmen, and to whom the idea of Catholic equality is intolerable; and there are, finally, the greedy and sordid tribe of place hunters and wirepullers who have exploited Ireland. Call them your garrison. What have they ever done for you? What did they ever defend? Have they reconciled the people to your rule? They were the most fatal garrison you ever had to do with. A garrison is supposed to be able to defend something, or to he ld something; but in order to enable this precious garrison to maintain their position you had to keep two standing Armies in Ireland—a standing Army of 30,000 soldiers, and a standing Army of 12,000 police. This gang of place-hunters and wire-pullers, these people who, behind the scenes, appoint the Grand Juries, nominate the Sheriffs, administer the county funds, aye, and who even dip their hands into the coffers of the State, and control the appointments to the public offices—they are against the Bill. Of course they are against the Bill, because they do not want that Ireland should be removed from their grip, and because they want to treat Ireland still as a place designed by Providence for their convenience and their profit, and a place from the convenience and profit of which her people must be excluded. These are the elements of the Ulster movement. These are the people who, from personal interests, profess to speak for the people of Ulster. Of course, that pseudo-religious cry is raised, but I have not 815 the slightest doubt that the Protestants of Ireland will cheerfully accept from the first, and gratefully accept after a little time, the Constitution given to Ireland by the Imperial Parliament, because the Protestants of Ireland know as well as any Catholic that a native Legislature could not under nature or under reason do otherwise than benefit the Protestant as thoroughly and as well as the Catholic population. Yes; they will accept that and be thankful for it in a little time. But of this fight. The people of Ulster are a hard-headed race; they boast of it; they are entitled to the boast. Now, hard-headed Ulstermen will not resist Imperial law. It requires a head of a different consistency to engage in such a venture. Some excited politicians may imagine that they intend to fight some time or other, I suppose for some reason or other. But when they are to fight, with whom they are to fight, and upon what occasion they are to fight, and about what they are to fight, these matters of detail and of some importance are in no degree settled in their minds. The men of Ulster know very well that they do not intend to fight; but, apart from common sense, what is my reason for saying that though riots may be induced by incendiary speeches of distinguished politicians, and though heavy responsibility may be, and has been, incurred, there will be no fighting in Ulster? For the simple and conclusive reason that Ulstermen will not fight until there is something to fight about, and the Irish Legislature will never give them reason. The Irish Legislature will act in a spirit of justice and discretion, and even if they did not, there are powers in the Bill to prevent them from doing otherwise. in our speeches about each other we are apt to put the worst side out, but the he use should not hastily conclude that these feelings really exist. I see near me an hon. Gentleman—perhaps he will allow me to call him my hon. Friend—the Member for South Belfast (Mr. William Johnston). Well, he is the most formidable of the Orangemen, but I need not say that he is one of the most kindly-hearted of men. Well, a man is a man for all that, and not au Orangeman. I hope to be as near my hon. Friend, and to be on as good terms with him in the Parliament in College Green, as I am now here; and 816 all I can say is this: that if there were any fighting in Ulster—and it is absolutely impossible, because the occasion will never arise—but if any Member of the Irish Party were to meet my hon. Friend at that fight, his great anxiety would be to get the hon. Gentleman out of the fight, even if he had to parry him out of the fight, no matter he w wet the ditch might be. The preponderance of opinion in Ulster is in favour of he me Rule; and I have not the slightest doubt that when the Bill is passed, that the Unionists of Belfast—which used me for six years whilst the Nationalists made no demand on my time, who got me to interfere in their local concerns, to secure the extension of the municipal franchise, to establish local Courts, to secure a larger expenditure of the Imperial purse for local uses—they used me for six years, and were very thankful to me during these six years, but very silent about it afterwards—those shrewd and capable men will be very well able to turn the Irish Legislature, as soon as it is established, to their own advantage. We are told that Ireland will agitate. She will be too busy. She has had enough of agitation for our time. She will be too busy for our time in turning to account the advantage of this Constitution to think of further agitation. We are told she will try to separate from you. Why should she? She had some cause to separate in the past. Why should she now, if this Bill be passed? Why should she now, if this Bill be granted, pursue the shadow and throw away the substance? We are told that the Irish people will use oppression and extortion, and that there will be a general gaol delivery now and then, as if it would not be the interest of the Irish Government to have the law maintained. We are told that they will repudiate every obligation to you, though you have the power to revoke the Bill a good deal easier than to pass a Coercion Act. It is suggested that the Irish people will reduce their Revenue by smuggling. Such a people never existed out of Laputa. The suggestion really is that the Irish people, if you give them reasonable freedom, will do a great deal that they should not do, and will leave everything that they should do undone, and that they will behave very much more like a gang of 817 brigands than like civilised people, and that they will combine to present to the civilised world a spectacle, hitherto supposed to be impossible, of a combination of the peculiar tactics of the idiot and the peculiar characteristics of the rogue. The last suggestion is the most amusing of all—namely, that the Bill is not good enough for Ireland. The Tory Party have not allowed us our choice. The Bill is, perhaps, not perfect. No Act was ever perfect, and as to its finality I will say, that whilst the Irish people are determined to use the Constitution in this Bill in good faith, neither this nor any other Constitution was ever found to be so perfect as not to require amendment. But the Irish people do not take this Constitution with a view to seek amendment; they desire to use this power in good faith, and, believe me, they will use this power in such good faith and with such discretion, that hereafter if they come to you and ask for amendment you will be prepared to grant it. We are told that this Bill is not good enough for Ireland. May I ask the Tory Party, as a matter of curiosity, supposing we were to go into the Lobby with them to defeat this Bill, would they bring in the Bill of 1885 with provisions enabling Ireland to make trade protection laws? They are all silent, Mr. Speaker. Would they bring in that wonderful Bill of last year? [An hon. MEMBER: What Bill?] That ascendancy-made-easy-Bill, nicknamed a Local Government of Ireland Bill, with a patent snaplock clause in it for putting County Councils into the dock. No; we know what the alternative policy will he. If you criticise the safeguards of this Bill, let me point out that this is a safeguard that can be accomplished in Committee, and that if powers and safeguards are not used in a spirit of common sense the Constitution will fall to pieces. The British Constitution is a perfect work of its kind. But let me ask you if any of the Powers of the British Constitution, if any of the States of the British Constitution were to use their powers entirely without regard to the will of others, what would be the result? Suppose the Sovereign were to exorcise the veto, suppose the he use of Lords were to refuse to pass the Appropriation Bill, suppose this he use were to refuse Supply, or to refuse to pass the Mutiny 818 Bill, suppose the Cabinet refused to resign, and suppose Mr. Speaker, who is now one of the Estates of the Realm, were to make his eye available for only one side of the he use, and suppose he were to prevent all free debate or to make debate too free, either by giving the Closure whenever it was asked for or not giving it at all, what would become of the Constitution? Any Constitution in order to be successful must be worked in a spirit of accord, and the true guarantee for this Constitution does not lie in the technical safeguards of the Bill—numerous and ample and all-sufficient as I take them to be—it lies in safeguards which are not in the Bill, which cannot be in the Bill, but which are in human nature, and which cannot be expelled from human nature, which cannot be omitted by amendment nor voided by a Judge. What are these safeguards? To the friends of the Bill, to the friends of Ireland I would speak with gratitude and in good faith. You are dealing with a grateful people, a people whose gratitude is proverbial, who have a gratitude even for justice, very little of which they have received. They will be grateful for the gift of liberty; they will be grateful to you; they will be too grateful ever to misuse it, ever to allow the discretion of those who gave it to them to be successfully to be called into question. I spoke also of the good faith of the Irish people. The obligation of good faith is binding in all emergencies. They will recognise the obligation of this Bill is to respect the whole Constitution, and not merely any part of it. To gentlemen on this side of the he use I would say that the Irish Constitution will be guaranteed by self-interest. Perhaps they will give us credit for self-interest and common intelligence. What will be the interests of the Irish Legislature? Their interests will be to maintain their Constitution, to save intact the sphere of their Legislature by giving no cause for interference. he w will they do it? By maintaining the Constitution, by upholding the law, by the promotion of union among all classes of the Irish people, and by developing, not crippling, the resources of Ireland by the fair treatment of all interests. That is the guarantee which is final and conclusive, and that is the guarantee which I offer to you, which I do not 819 fear to offer to the people of England. If we do not receive the Bill what is the alternative? It is an alternative of perpetual coercion. You will not revive the Bill of last year, which you are ashamed to mention. A permanent Coercion Act is on the Statute Book. The weapon is ready in the scabbard if this Bill were rejected. Well, I have a telegram from a Belfast man to-day, and he is not a Catholic. He says—Sad as our history is, a sadder page has yet to be recorded should not Gladstone's Bill become law.If this Bill is rejected Ireland would pursue with the knowledge in her mind that her claim had been affirmed to be just by a majority of electors of the United Kingdom, by the progressive party in Imperial politics, with the greatest of English statesmen at its head, Ireland knowing that the justice of her cause had been so affirmed—would pursue her claim for justice, with a firmness, with an energy, aye, and with a vehemence on the floor of the he use and elsewhere which have never yet been equalled. Would you fall back upon coercion? Of course you would. The weapon is ready in the scabbard and you would speedily draw it, and the sequel of the situation would he that, instead of a settlement securing peace and he hour to both our nations, you would have a return to the régime of Mitchelstown and Tullamore. It is all very well for cynical politicians with tongue in cheek to tell us that the Bill is not good enough for Ireland. It is bettor than calling us he tentots. It is better than insulting us. It is better than procuring perjury and suborning forgery. It is better than asking politicians who happen also to be Judges to pronounce upon a political movement. It is better—I am certainly modest in pressing it now—it is better than the dispersal of meetings by force. It is better than the Star Chamber. It is better than the destruction of trial by jury. It is better than shooting men down in the streets and torturing men to death in prison. That is the alternative and the only alternative; and I must add something more, that the policy of coercion is not only detestable in its conception as applied to a people to whom you have given a free franchise, but it is impotent for its purpose as shown by the conduct of the 820 right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Balfour). He coerced Ireland for four years and expended his utmost energy upon it, and at the end of the four years he gave up his office, quitted the country, and put an inoffensive man of business in his place, and did his best to teach the electors of England that coercion had never existed. Coercion is detestable, coercion is impotent, coercion, therefore, is absurd; and when a people are not only lovers of liberty, but intelligent also, I think you supply a double reason for the condemnation of any policy when you show that it is absurd as well as detestable. The right he n Gentleman the Member for Bodmin spoke of patience and justice. It is all very well for England to be patient, but what about Ireland? he w long is she to be patient? Half of her people have fled in one generation from coercion to freedom. he w long will the other half remain? At the end of another generation or two the population would have so dwindled that the case would be beyond curing, and the Irish race all over the world be committed for ever, I fear, to the strongest and most unchangeable attitude. The right hon. Gentleman bids us hope for justice from the Imperial Legislature. What chance, I ask, can there be for a constant and careful attention to the wants of any people in any Legislature where no initiative is possessed by the Representatives of the country? What initiative have we here? We can ballot for a Wednesday. If we win a Wednesday we can have the Bill talked out at half-past 5 by a former Chancellor of the Exchequer. If we carry the Second Reading we can wait about for the rest of the Session after 12 o'clock at night in the hope to get another stage. If the Bill does pass through this he use—and in 13 years we have passed two or three out of 200 or 300—if the Bill pass, there is the he use of Lords, which is always ready for Ireland. They either kill the Bill or mutilate it beyond recognition. I ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin, whom I recognise as a man of philosophic mind, who desires to be impartial, but unfortunately manages to get he ld of the wrong facts—and unless he gets he ld of the right facts impartiality is no use—I ask him what is the Irish people with such experience— 821 and it is my experience, and I have spent one-third of my life in this he use—what is the use of asking us to have patience, and believe that a he use of English landlords will ever do justice to the tenant-farmers of Ireland? They refused to pass the Bill of 1880, and in one clause introduced by my hon. Friend beside me (Mr. T. M. Healy)—in the Bill of 1881—they made a change, and that change has been the principal cause of all the convulsions that have since occurred in Ire-land. That change is the cause of the monstrous fact that the tenant in Ireland is still charged rent on his own improvements. The right hon. Gentleman asks us with confidence to look to that Assembly. I remember painfully passing one little Bill through this he use after many years to amend the constitution of Boards of Poor Law Guardians, and the Lords returned it in such a shape that I was obliged to throw it into the waste-paper basket. It is useless to ask us to hope for redress or to have patience in future. When I clear away the false issues and brush aside the irrelevant suppositions and put away the potty arguments upon the details of this Bill, when I ask myself what is the real bottom of the argument, what do the Unionists wish to be understood by the people as the reason why the Bill should be rejected? I say it is, first, because we are Irish; and, secondly, because we are Catholics. If we were English, if we were men of English stock, although of the Catholic faith, you would give us credit for a sense of justice and for Constitutional principles, and you would give us this Bill if we wore Protestants, although I would wish you not to suppose that we would be guilty of illiberality in matters of religion; and, therefore, you are asked to reject this Bill because the people of Ireland belong to the race that inhabited that country before you came to it, and because they have adhered to the creed which was the creed of your forefathers as well as ours, and a creed endeared to them by ages of religious persecution. What do the Unionist Party ask? The Imperial Parliament of an Empire, whose greatest boast it is that it includes men of many races and creeds and gives liberty to all, is appealed to by this Unionist Party to pass a ban of perpetual outlawry—for coercion is nothing less—against the Irish people because of race 822 and creed. I tell them they will never persuade the people of England to do it. I tell them they have entered on a foolish course in avowing such a policy, because if such a policy could he carried into effect—it could no doubt be effectuated—you could drive the Irish people, or most of them, out of Ireland; in a generation or two you could plant the country with settlers of the type and temper of some of those whom we hear speak in this he use; but as long as the graves of Ire-hind contain the ashes of the dead, the memory of the dead would live, and the memory of their struggles and of their sufferings for Ireland, the memory of the principles they upheld—these memories would be cherished in the souls of 25,000,000 of men of the Irish race whom yon have driven from their native land. And I leave it to any rational man to consider for himself whether that policy is the policy to be considered by an Empire whose dominions are scattered over the world. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Courtney) seemed to think that the question might be settled by the taking of office by Irish Members. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman is a learned man. He has studied many books, but I venture to tell him that the primer of Irish politics is a sealed book to him. The Irish people will not tolerate dependence on the part of their Representatives, and if they did we would not accept it. Does the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind, when some differences arose in Ireland two years ago, some Irish Members were charged with being dependent on the Liberal Party. If that charge had been true, or if it had been believed, our influence would have been at an end, and rightly at an end. In the circumstances of Ireland, so often befooled and so often betrayed, independent action is essential. We are grateful ever for justice. We are faithful to our true friends; but we are independent of all Parties here, and we intend to remain so. In regard to the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman that the cause of Ireland might be served by Irishmen taking office, I ask what would the Irish people think of a relation between their Representatives and any Party here—an official relation, involving obedience, subordination, and subjection? They would not countenance it, and we could not accept it. If Irelaud 823 could have been saved by Irishmen taking office she would have been saved long ago. She has been saved, in my opinion, by Irishmen not taking office. We do not come here to administer or help to administer British laws for Ireland; we come here authorised to win for Ireland the right to make as well as administer the laws for our own land. We want no office here or elsewhere, now or hereafter, and when hon. Gentlemen think that they put an obstacle in the way of the Irish cause by insulting Irish Members, I have only to tell them that every man of this Party came into public; life for the purpose, and for the simple purpose, of assisting the Irish cause; and if the retirement of any one or the whole of us could remove any obstacle to the victory of Ireland, we would bid adieu without regret. We have borne our share of the toils of public life, and we have borne more than our share of the penalties and pains—more than our share of the calumnies. We have not sought for the ordinary rewards of political ambition. It has been our lot to sit hero and be taunted and sneered at by men who, to our knowledge, had made political principles the instrument of their personal ends, and the public cause the sport of their ambition. We have given, and freely given, the best years of our life to the service of our country. I am cheered somewhat by the thought that some day or another—I think sooner rather than later—Englishmen of all Parties will confess—what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian was the first to recognise—that no body of men has appeared in your Legislature in our time more simply and more sternly devoted to public duty than the poor, comparatively humble, and long-unfriended body of men who, amidst great difficulties, have pleaded in this Assembly for many years the cause of an ill-used race. We -will give the rest of our lives as freely to the cause of our country. We have found our reward already in the certainty that the mandate of the electors of this Kingdom, acting by the majority of this he use, will make a lasting settlement of this ancient story, a settlement—honourable to all concerned in it—honourable to Irishmen, because it will give peace and hope, the calm of peace and the energy of hope to their long-distracted country, honourable to 824 Englishmen, because it will remove from the name of England, noble in the annals of civilisation, a dishonouring stain, because it will sot this Imperial Parliament free for its Imperial and its domestic duties, for the direction of this Empire, and for the care of this great nation; and because it will end a feud of ages and secure by guaranteeing domestic union, by guaranteeing soundness at the heart, the foremost place which this Empire has obtained amidst the great Commonwealths of the world.
§ *MR. CARSON (Dublin University)
I think the he use will admit that it would be impossible for me, anxious as I am to grapple with some of the details of this Bill, to pursue the oft-repeated and oft-refuted inaccuracies and misstatements which have fallen in such abundance during the last two hours of the hon. Member's speech. Sir, we have very frequently heard in this he use these historical analogies that are no analogies, and we have heard, Sir, the facts of ancient history, which, upon examination, so frequently turn out to be the fictions of history, and we have over and over again been regaled with that same elaborate examination of electoral statistics with which the hon. Member indulged us for some three-quarters of an hour. But, Sir, there was one matter to which the hon. Member referred more than once. I mean the statement that the Tory Party in 1885 had formulated, and were prepared to bring in, a he me Rule Bill. And, Sir, I noticed that when the hon. Member was asked by my right hon. Friend who was the Minister who had formulated the Bill, and who it was who had pledged the Conservative Party to that policy, he mentioned the name of the one Minister who was dead (Lord Carnarvon). In justice to the noble Lord, I beg to give his explanation of the transaction. Speaking in 1886 upon this matter, which was then for the first time charged against the Tory Government, the noble Lord said—The only point which seemed to me important to bear in mind was, first of all, that I should make no promises, give no assurances, enter into no understandings; and, secondly, that whatever I did I should do it myself, for myself, and entirely apart from my Colleagues.What becomes of the reiterated fiction that a Bill was prepared by the Tory 825 Party? The noble Lord went on—Let me endeavour to say in the plainest language I can command that I was not acting for the Cabinet nor authorised by them; and, though I know well an I shall keep in mind that sound and wholesome doctrine that nothing is to be repeated that has passed in the Cabinet without the consent of Her Majesty, I may at least say this of what went on outside the Cabinet—that I had no communication on the subject, no authorisation, and that I never communicated to them even that which I had done.… I endeavoured to make myself equally explicit to Mr. Parnell, for the three conditions, as I stated to him, upon which I could enter into any conversation with him were, first of all, that, as I say, I was acting of myself, by myself, that the responsibility was mine, and that the communications were from me alone—that is, from my lips alone; secondly, that that conversation was with reference to information only, and that it must be understood that there was no agreement or understanding, however shadowy, between us.Sir, I claim no credit for that answer; it has been given over and over again. But no matter he w often it is given, yon will have the statement reiterated as if no answer had over been made. however, to come as quickly as I can to the more material parts of the speech of the hon. Member who has just addressed the he use, I shall pass over what he was pleased to call the bye-play of the argument with one observation. he seemed to take credit to himself—and I notice it brought down the cheers of the he use—that the Dublin Corporation had been so magnanimous and so tolerant that they had actually elected a Protestant Lord Mayor. The hon. Gentleman forgot to toll the he use that the Lord Mayor of Dublin was one of those rare birds they are so fond of exhibiting—a Protestant he me Ruler. I should like to ask the hon. Member, as he boasts of the great liberality of the Dublin Corporation on this question, when, since this controversy arose, has the Lord Mayor of Dublin, who draws a salary of £3,000 a year, mainly derived from the pockets of Unionist ratepayers, over been a Unionist? he wever, I pass away from things which, after all, are small matters in this great controversy. I must say that, as the hon. Member proceeded with his speech, I could not help thinking that those who looked for finality from this measure would take but slender comfort from it. Not only now have we got to finality as a discredited word, but it is evident we are not even to have a temporary abate- 826 ment. The hon. Member referred to the retention of the Irish Members. The question of the Irish Members has grown in importance since it was introduced as an organic detail of the Hill, for we have it now that the case of hon. Members below the Gangway is not only that they are to be retained, but retained in their present numbers, and the future settlement of this question of retention is to be put off for three or four years. I do not know whether hon. Members who wish to get rid of Irish Business and proceed with the Newcastle Programme imagine that the Irish Members when they come here will not engage in such matters as will take up the time of this he use, and will allow the he use to go on with the ordinary English business. I should like to quote the opinion of the right he u. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland as to the effect of retention, not merely in England, but also in Ireland, with which I am very much more concerned. I find tint the right hon. Gentleman was one of those who, in 188G, admitted that it passed the wit of mm to establish any system by which the Irish Members can be retained in this he use. Sir, he said this, and I commend it to those hon. Members who imagine they are going to proceed without delay to this long Newcastle Programing. Here is what he said—You would have the present block of your business, you would have all the exasperations—English work would not be done, Irish feelings would not be conciliated, but would be exasperated.That was the prospect the right hon. Gentleman held out for carrying on English Business in this he use. But there is a more serious aspect. The Prime Minister said the Irish Members would seldom come here, as they would be so engaged with their own affairs. What has the hon. Member for North Kerry just said?—Our most vital interests are reserves and our interests will centre here. We will have much more to do with this Parliament than with our own.What will be the case as to the settlement of Ireland? You will have this Land Question, which you have, through what I conceive to be a most unfortunate policy, reserved to this Imperial Parliament, carried out by a double force so as to irritate and exasperate Irish parties 827 in Ireland. You will have one force working in Ireland in the Parliament there, and another working in the British he use of Commons to sustain them, and who will have to keep faith with their Irish constituents, who will only elect them on the understanding that they will procure for them those extravagant results which they have promised them. he w are the Irish people going to work out this Land Question? Let me call your attention to a statement made by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down as to the way in which he suggests this Irish Land Question will be worked out. Speaking at a meeting of the Federation in Dublin last month, he said—I submit to you also that if the Irish landlords know that at the end of three yearn the Irish Legislature will have power to make a law upon the land the effect upon their conduct will be important if not conclusive, for there is no way for a landlord to get out of his position except by the sale of his lands to his tenants, and to no other persons, for no other persons will buy it. In that condition of things I think the prospect of legislation at the end of three years will induce the Irish landlords to be probably reasonable, possibly even liberal.That is the way in which the Irish Land Question, I suppose, will be settled. The hon. Member will, no doubt, be an ornament of the Irish Executive, and he will probably take care that the landlords should not get out of their position except by the sale of their lands to their tenants. [Mr. SEXTOX: I said there would be no other persons who would buy them.] No doubt it will be the policy of the Irish Government to see that such a result is attained. We always hear a great deal of the moderation of the Irish Members in the he use. I do not altogether believe in "death-bed repentances." The he me Secretary said the other evening that he was very much impressed by the moderate speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork. Did the right hon. Gentleman expect the hon. Member to proclaim himself still a rebel to the English Constitution, and to declare that there was still an undying hatred between the English and Irish people? The hon. Member made the only speech he could have made in that he use. The hon. Member said that everything was forgotten, that a new era had begun. The only thing he forgot to tell the he use was when that new era began. In 828 June, 1888, long after the union of hearts had been effected by the first he me Rule Bill, the hon. Gentleman said—The first duty which should devolve upon the first he me Rule Parliament ought to be the reinstatement of every family in its holding that has been evicted since the land agitation began. 10 years ago.And he added—Every man and woman who has been imprisoned during the same period for resisting eviction; or for refusing to become informers in Star Chamber Courts; or for lending soldierly service in this movement, ought to be entitled to a pension for life at the hands of a self-governed Ireland.All I can say is that if pensions were to be dealt out to these individuals I should like to know what would become of the chronic plethora of money? The hon. Member who has just spoken also stated that there were safeguards in this Bill. I. notice that he dealt very lightly with these safeguards. He said very little about his own opinion of them. he said, no doubt, that by all these safeguards we were kept as an integral part—not of the United Kingdom, he corrected that—but of the Empire. Two of those he referred to were the much-debated veto of the Crown and the power of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in matters referred to them. What does the hon. Member think of the validity or use of these safeguards? At the same meeting, from the report of which I have already quoted, the hon. Member said this—and, after all, it is well to look at the speeches of hon. Members in Ireland as well as in this he use. Here is the hon. Member's way of discrediting the safeguard of the veto—Now, the Royal veto is, in theory at least, a factor of the Imperial Parliament. It is a factor of every statutory Parliament established throughout the Empire. So practical politician would initiate a discussion on a question of the veto. And what I say is this: that I advise you not to trouble your minds about it.And what did he tell them as regards the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council?I have no apprehension that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council will determine any question which we believe to be within the power of Ireland. If any such determination is given it will be open to the Irish Members to move for an amendment of the Constitution.829 That means that every time the Judicial Committee were appealed to we might look for a Motion by Irish Members to amend the Constitution if the decision of the Judicial Committee happened to he against them. But the hon. Member also used these words—I say that any British Minister who either advices the Crown to act vexatiously, or who refuses a reasonable amendment if need he in the Irish Constitution, or who advises the Imperial Parliament to legislate for Ireland within the sphere of the Irish Legislature, will find that he has renewed acutely the trouble of the Irish Question, and will find that he has Ireland still to face, and will find that he has to render a heavy account to the people of Great Britain as well as to the people of Ireland.These are the opinions of the hon. Member as to the method in which in Ireland Irish Members are to receive and are to act with good faith upon these safeguards put into this Bill. The hon. Member proceeded with the question of finance. I must say that as regards the question of finance I approach the subject with somewhat different views and ideas to my hon. Friends around me, who regard it from an English standpoint. If the Bill should become law I should not, as an Irishman, give the slightest assistance in fixing any large contribution upon Ireland. I have with sorrow heard it stated that Ireland has been paying in the past, and that it is proposed that she should continue to pay in the future, more than her fair share towards Imperial expenditure; and I can assure the Prime Minister that if he will bring in a Bill to make compensation to Ireland for the wrongs he has inflicted upon her, I shall be willing to vote for the redress of that grievance. But even if wrongs have been done in the past, that is no reason for breaking up the British Constitution. The fact that there is such wide divergence of opinion between hon. Members on the subject of finance is a strong argument to show that this partnership cannot be broken up without grave injury to one side or to both. What safeguards does the Bill afford against Executive misgovernment? This is very important to the loyal minority. Safeguards against maladministration are more important to the loyal minority than safeguards against legislation in the Irish Chamber. The right hon. Gentleman nods approval. [Mr. J. MORLEY: I did not.] Then 830 the right hon. Gentleman does not think so. [Mr. J. MORLEY dissented.] Then the right hon. Gentleman will give no opinion one way or the other, and I must say that is following the example of every speaker on the Government Benches during the whole of the Debate. What is the position of this loyal minority in Ireland? As I am following the hon. Member for Kerry I should like to give it in his words. I am not talking of Ulster. I do not represent an Ulster constituency, and know little about it. I appear as a man who has lived in the Southern parts of Ireland nearly all my life, and who claims to know something about the South and West. Sir, the picture of the Loyalist minority there is depicted in what I am about to read to the he use by the hon. Member for North Kerry, in words which I certainly could not improve upon—The 300,000 people are in the midst of a Catholic population of 3,00,000. They would never exercise a vote; they would never have a single Member in Parliament: they could not form a constituency anywhere; they would be absolutely dumb in the hands of the Legislature.
§ MR. KNOX (interposing)
As the hon. Member is not here, may I state that I have authority for saying—[Cries of" Order!"]
§ *MR. CARSON
(who declined to give way): Of course, neither the hon. Member nor the Government can help the unfortunate position of these 300,000 Loyalist Irish Protestant people; but at least the he use ought, when framing a Legislature, to see, when they are not to have any voice in that Legislature, that., as regards Executive matters, they receive some protection at the hand's of the Imperial Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman the he me Secretary referred to the 19th section of the Bill as showing the Imperial power over such Executive Authority as is not delegated by the Bill to the Irish Legislature: but I do not think the right hon. Gentleman contended for one moment that, under that 19th section, there was the slightest safeguard proposed or intended for Executive maladministration, or for tyranny towards the Loyalist minority. Take again the question of the veto. The Lord Lieutenant may, at all events in theory, 831 veto a Bill, but can the Lord Lieutenant, even in theory, veto an Executive Act? Take a concrete case. Take a case that has arisen during the present Parliament. You have reserved to this Parliament for three years this Land Question. Take the case of the Executive Government refusing the police protection at night to the Sheriff to execute decrees. That is si subject with which the right hon. Gentleman is familiar. Is that a matter which is likely to happen? It has happened already! Assume you have got your decree from the Irish Courts that such protection should be given—because we all know-that in Ireland without such protection a judgment of the Courts would be absolutely fruitless and null and void. But you have your decree. he w would you carry it out? I think some of the learned Judges who heard the Motion in which my right hon. Friend was interested stated that if the unconstitutional action was persevered in it would be their duty to send to prison even the highest Executive Authority in the land. What do you think would happen in a he me Rule Parliament? Would there be any difficulty in opening the prison door? That, even, is a question with which the right hon. Gentleman is somewhat familiar. Examples could be multiplied by hundreds where, no matter what your safeguards against legislative action may be, you can devise no safeguard as regards Executive action which will prevent the Executive of the day, if they wish to pander to what are the majority in Ireland—I mean the tenant-farmers who will be the bulk of the constituencies—which will prevent the Executive from obliterating all those rights and all those protections which have been the foundation of society both in Ireland and this country. I was anxious to sec he w this matter is worked out in America, and I went to the work of that great specialist, the Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. J. Bryce), who, before he took to abusing the Ulster Members—
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER (Mr. BRYCE,) Aberdeen, S.
.I never abused the Ulster Members.
§ MR. CARSON
I am bound to accept the right hon. Gentleman's statements. Of course, it all depends on what we con- 832 sider abuse. What does the right hon. Gentleman say of Executive impropriety in America? It is said that the Constitution to be set up in Ireland has bee framed upon the American Constitution, but I will show that the safeguards that exists in the American Constitution is left out of the Constitution of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman says—Supposing contracts to be habitually broken and no redress to be obtainable in the State Courts. Suppose the police to be in league with the assassins. … Is the nation obliged to stand by with folded arms while it sees a meritorious minority oppressed, the prosperity of the State ruined, a pernicious example set to other States.' The answer is, Yes.And then the right hon. Gentleman goes on to say that that frequently happened.
§ MR. CARSON
That is all I have, but the right hon. Gentleman can read any more that he likes. My recollection, however, is that the next passage is that the only way in which they would learn to get rid of that state of things was by suffering, which would lead them into better ways.
§ MR. CARSON
I commend that statement to those who think we are pressing too strongly the claims of what the Prime Minister once called the wise and energetic minority of Ulster. If that is the only protection for Executive wrong that the Irish Loyalists and the Irish Protestants have, what becomes of the he me Secretary's statement that we are to haveAn Imperial Parliament whose unquestioned and unquestionable sovereignty over all persons and in all matters, local or Imperial, will remain intact and unimpaired?I notice that the Government are prepared to show the greatest possible trust in the Irish people where the interests of the Irish Loyalists alone are concerned, but when they want cash—what an Irish farmer once said was bona fides, not only do they preserve the collection to their own officers, but they will not oven trust the Irish Courts with the duty of enforcing payment. The Chief Secretary was very indignant with the noble Lord for the suggestion that the Government are going to abolish trial by jury in certain cases. On reading the 19th section of the Bill I am bound to say I came to the same conclusion as the noble Lord 833 the Member for South Paddington (Lord R. Churchill). I thought it was the greatest possible benefit that is conferred by the Bill. But what is the case now made? We have a special tribunal consisting of two Exchequer Judges. But they are to have a jury. Does that mean that they are to have the same jury before the Exchequer Judge that they are to have before the Queen's Bench Judge?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
The case put by the noble Lord was a case of treason or treason-felony, and, of course, there you will have a. jury. In civil cases you will have no jury, and will do as you do now.
§ *MR. CARSON
The right hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. For civil cases we have a jury where there is a disputed question of fact. I would like to know if it is to be laid down as regards civil cases that trial by jury is to be abolished? I will take, however, the example given by the right hon. Gentleman—eases of treason-felony. What would be the difference between the jury before the Exchequer Judge and the jury before the Queen's Bench Judge? And if there is no difference in the jury what is the use of a different Judge? And, further, who is to have the power to alter the Jury Laws? The Irish Parliament, for that is not a matter reserved. Who is to have the power to summon the jury? The Sheriff of the Irish Executive! The truth is, this safeguard, like every other in the Bill, is as absolutely illusory as the veto and the supremacy. Is it contemplated by this section to establish a Court of Criminal Appeal? That has been a moot question in England for a long time. Are we to have such a Court for Ireland? The decision of the Exchequer Judges is subject to an appeal to the Queen in Council. Is that an appeal on the facts, or on law, or on both, and is Her Majesty in Council going to sit with a jury? The whole section is put in as clap-trap for the purpose of enabling hon. Members to go upon platforms and say that you have stuffed the Bill with restrictions. I offer, if the right hon. Gentleman will move to strike out every restriction and safeguard, to vote with him, in order that we may have the Bill in its simple nakedness, and free from these fraudulent pretexts 834 of safeguards. I was amazed at the way in which the he me Secretary passed over the currying out of the Executive matters reserved to the Imperial Parliament. He said it would be the duty of every officer in Ireland—every Sheriff', every Sub-Sheriff, every bailiff', every policeman—a duly for the non-performance of which he would be liable to be indicted and convicted, to render assistance in the execution of the decrees of the Court. I entirely agree with that as an abstract proposition, but I object to legislating for Ireland in the abstract and not in the concrete. In Clare, for instance, if there is a collision between the Irish Executive and the English Executive, you may indict Sheriffs, bailiff's, and policemen: but who will convict them? We are told that this provision also was taken from the American Constitution. Again, I go to the fountain-head of knowledge in this matter, to the book written by the right hon. Gentleman on the American Constitution before he me Rule was dreamt of.
§ MR. CARSON
The right he n Gentleman is entitled to the distinction, whatever it may amount to. I said "written" not "published." Now, I ask the he use to note the distinction between the system in America and that proposed for Ireland. This is what the right hon. Gentleman wrote—The Judgments of Federal Courts are carried out by United States Marshals likewise dispersed over the county and supplied with a staff of assistants. This is a provision of the utmost importance, for it enables the Central National Government to keep its finger upon the people everywhere, and make its laws and the commands of its duly-constituted authorities respected, whether the State within whose territory it acts be heartily loyal or not, and whether the law which is being enforced be popular or obnoxious. The machine of the National Government ramifies over the whole Union as the nerves do over the human body, placing every point in direct connection with the Central Executive.Why is that principle omitted from this Bill?
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HE ME DEPARTMENT (Mr. ASOITH,) Fife, E.
There is no such provision in the American Constitution. The whole power of which the he u. and learned Gentleman speaks is the action 835 of the Executive authority, and it would be equally within the power of the Imperial Executive under this Bill.
§ *MR. CARSON
The Home Secretary told us that they did not contemplate setting up two Executives at all. Then he does not contemplate having this power at all. He said he could go to Parliament and get the powers that might be necessary; but he would have to confront 80 Irish Members here, who might be keeping him in Office, and, in the meantime, what would become of the Imperial Executive decrees? This and other provisions of the Bill show that while the Government are asking us to affirm a principle, they are not able to put that principle into a practical, working measure. I pass from these safeguards which are no safeguards at all, and come to one that is almost, moribund—I mean the Second Chamber. I refer to it because yesterday a Gladstonian Member (Mr. Saunders) was so affected by the constitution of this Second Chamber that he actually stated his intention of voting with us. I do not think the Second Chamber need trouble either the hon. Member or the Home Secretary, who apparently spent several sleepless nights in his efforts to avoid a Cabinet crisis over this matter. This is what I call legislation in the abstract, not in the concrete. My colleague in the representation of the Dublin University gave one example, derived from the jury qualification of the class of electorate you would have for this Second Chamber. I can give another. In the Poor Law Boards of Ireland we have a constitution which is an aristocratic bureaucracy compared with the Second Chamber under this Bill, the voting being graduated according to valuation, ranging from one vote up to £20 valuation to six votes (£200 valuation), and Magistrates of the county being ex officio members of the Board. Well, what is the condition of these Boards at the present time? Fifty are insolvent; 10 have been dissolved within the last 10 years. Some for giving each other "black eyes," and others for omitting to provide the necessaries of life for the inhabitants of the workhouses. This Chamber, which is to prevent unjust and hasty legislation, would be drawn from the same class, which has a preponderance in the Poor Law Boards—namely, the 836 tenant farmers. The Chamber to be elected from these people is to prevent tenants doing wrong to landlords and is to be a clog on hasty legislation. Well, I read the other day of a case in which, in the County Tipperary, a Board of Guardians met for the election of a medical officer, temporarily to fill the place of the ordinary doctor who was absent. The gentleman selected by the committee, and whose name was sent forward to the Board, was a Catholic, so that there can be no dispute as to religion. Yet when the name came before the Board, a resolution was proposed to deprive him of his appointment because his father some years ago evicted a tenant! I want to know what is the use of your Second Chamber? Would it not be more honest, instead of putting forward these illusory safeguards, to declare that as regards Irish Loyalists the Government cannot, or will not, provide any safeguards at all? There is one other matter to which I wish to refer—a matter in which my constituents are vitally interested. When safeguards were being put in the Bill, at least a, little time might have been devoted to them to show their value. Property is not to be confiscated except according to "due process of law." That expression vitally interests the University of Dublin. The question of property is one that affects many interests. I come to Sub-section 6; and I think it is a fair question to ask—What is the meaning of the Irish Parliament being prohibited from passing Acts dealing with property, and such Bodies as that of Trinity College, except it does so by "due process of law?" It cannot mean that the Parliament of Ireland is not to legislate on the subject. If it does—say so. It cannot mean that it will not be able to deprive people of their property. I want to know, may my University be attached by "duo process of law," and. if so, what "due process of law" means? The learned Solicitor General (Mr. Rigby) dealt with this question, and I have read over his words again and again; but I confess I can see nothing more in what he says than I see in the section itself. We are told that theunquestioned and unquestionable meaning of the words was that no law should be passed by the subordinate Legislature which would 837 enable any attack to be made effectually on life, or liberty, or property, unless it were done by a process of law properly described as a 'due' process, and for what was 'due' process resort must be had to the Common Law of England, or to any Statutory Law varying the Common Law.If there is no existing "due process of law "—I do not know any "due process of law" which would enable the Irish Parliament to take away our property—what is the use of this provision? And, on the other hand, if the Irish Act can define the process of Law, what is the alleged safeguard? I hope the Leader of the House will give some further explanation than that of the Solicitor General, who said thisclause entirely did away with the fear that was presented to the men of Ulster as an adequate motive for rising in rebellion.I am afraid if my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition had taken that argument over to Belfast he would not have found it effective in quieting the people there. These Ulster men are not easily roused, but, at the same time, they are not easily quieted, and it is remarkable that one who is now most sceptical about the fears of civil war in Ulster, the Secretary for Scotland (Sir G. Trevelyan), told the House in 1886 that his experience in Ireland taught him—and Lord Spencer stated the same—that but for the presence of British troops, British police, and British Resident Magistrates In Ireland, the revolts which he had seen would have speedily developed into a horrible civil war. I admit, however, that the right hon. Gentleman made that statement while he adhered to his original principles—to which he adhered until his constituents rejected them. The Prime Minister, in moving the SECOND READING of the Bill, asked when and how would this controversy end? That is a question for Irishmen of vast importance. I will not stop to inquire what is the cause, or who is the author of this great controversy, but I do not underrate the importance of the question. I am aware of the threats that have been used by the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. E. Redmond) and the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Sexton), of the serious results that may ensue if this Bill be thrown out. I can understand the attitude of the Member for Water-ford, who, although he has told us that 838 Ireland has been tranquil in consequence of the hopes excited in regard to Home Rule, was one of the first to go down to his constituents after the election of six-years ago, and to tell them it was their duty to make the government of Ireland by England impossible, in order that the prophecies of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister might be carried to fulfilment. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary upon the evening he spoke almost excused the cruel and detestable things done in the course of the Land League agitation, and gave a dangerous text to Irish agitators. It is unfortunately becoming the common creed of the Liberal Party that when once you have adopted a policy the best way to bring it to completion is by the commission of some terrible outrage. That, Sir, is now an old story since the Clerkenwell explosion brought within the region of practical politics the question of the Irish Church Disestablishment.
§ *MR. CARSON
Sir, I admit that the policy supported by the Government was nurtured and matured in crime, and I have no doubt that if this Bill is thrown out, as we all know it will be thrown out, it will undoubtedly be attempted to be sustained by crime. This great controversy, even if this Bill passed, would not be closed one iota. It would be the commencement of a vaster and a greater controversy; it would be the commencement of a controversy the extent of which, owing to a state of affairs in Ireland over which you will have no Executive control whatever, it is difficult to imagine. The right hon. Gentleman made a bold and very eloquent peroration to his speech. He said—Whatever you do with the Hill in this House, whatever they may do with it in another place, whatever even the constituencies may do with it—however all this may be, do not delude yourselves with the idea that the question is going to slumber.It appears to be another part of the creed of the new Liberal Party that the wishes of the constituencies are not to be complied with. The right hon. Gentleman also said—We will not desert the Irish Party; we will never betray them; your trust shall not be betrayed or deserted.839 Sir, the Irish Unionist Party also have a trust. Their trust is in the British people and in the great British and English Leaders. This is not a trust begotten of yesterday, nor is it a trust that needs apology for, or the whittling down of, crimes. I tell you that in vain will you attempt, as you propose to attempt, to coerce the British people, and you will find that, as on all other occasions so on this, they will with us carry their policy of honour and of liberty to a successful issue.
§ *MR. EVERETT (Suffolk, Woodbridge)
said, he felt it a great privilege to belong to a generation which appeared likely to settle the great Irish Question that had been a trouble to us for so many generations and so many centuries. He had the pleasure in the Parliament elected in 1885 of recording a vote in favour of one Bill for the better government of Ireland, and now, after an interval of seven years, he hoped to-morrow to have the pleasure for a second time of voting for another such a measure. The interval he spoke of had given the House and many of his countrymen the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the history of Ireland and the condition of Ireland as they were not acquainted with them before. He was sorry to say that in that field of inquiry increase of knowledge was increase of sorrow; but when the facts had once come before one's mind, it was impossible to forget them. The heart of England was, he believed, now stirred in regard to this question as it had never been stirred on any question affecting the British Islands in the present century. The question had rooted itself in the Englishman's heart in such a way that no consideration would induce him to forego carrying out measures of peace and goodwill towards Ireland any more than a previous generation could have been turned aside when their hearts were moved against the horrors of slavery.
Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present.
§ *MR. EVERETT
went on to say that he wished, first, to look at the condition of things as they were, then to the state of things as they had been, and then to glance at the future. How were things in regard to the Irish Question at the 840 present time? As inhabitants of a Constitutionally governed country, Englishmen naturally looked first to the Representatives of Ireland. From those Representatives they heard a demand for a great improvement in Irish Government. The Nationalist Members had not come to Westminster in their present number for the first time. They were 86 in the last Parliament and 85 in the Parliament before, whilst the diminished numbers in the present Parliament was owing not to any change of feeling on the part of the people they represented, but to a circumstance which had caused sharp internal strife. English people who insisted upon representation themselves expected that the voice of their Representatives would be listened to. Free institutions and votes were no good unless the votes of the Representatives were recorded. As large a majority of the Irish people now demanded a change of the system of government as had ever been seen in the House of Commons in regard to any English question. The Member for East Down (Mr. Rentoul) had advised English Members to go to Ireland to see the state of things for themselves. Many English Members had gone to Ireland, and had seen the state of things for themselves. One thing that had struck him very much in travelling up and down Ireland was the number of armed men to be seen there. The people themselves were forbidden to carry firearms not lest they should use them in the killing of game, but lest they should use them—he was going to say in self-defence—at any rate, to upset the form of government which, sorely against their will, had been imposed upon them. Amongst those unarmed people there were encamped, in the language of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain), as in a hostile country, an army of 30,000 soldiers and some 12,000 most efficient soldiers in the shape of armed constabulary. The constabulary were to be seen at almost every little wayside station one passed carrying deadly weapons in the form of rifles and sword-bayonets, and having pouches for revolvers in front of them. The places where the police were housed were not simply ordinary cottages, as was the case in England, but barracks with iron-barred windows and iron-lined doors. He had remarked to some of his 841 fellow-passengers in the train, natives of the land, that he could not understand how it was that in such a poor country as Ireland so many police were kept. The best clothed, best housed, and best fed men in their villages were policemen, and the reply he received was, "We call them rent collectors." From all he could lean;, he believed that the constabulary had been chiefly occupied in superintending evictions and collecting rents, rents which had too often been unjust. Another thing that had struck him was that, when passing through rich fat land in Ireland, one saw very few dwellings: but on coining to a barren, stoney, desolate part of the country, which looked hardly capable of yielding sufficient produce to make it worth while to till the land, one found the cabins and houses of the population crowded thickly together. He had asked the reason for this state of things, and had been told that the people had been evicted off the fat lands. The fact was, that men and women had been made to give place on the rich lands to cattle, sheep, and horses. With the knowledge of this fact one obtained a glimpse of the reason for the cruel practice of houghing cattle, which had prevailed in Ireland. He fancied cattle would be served the same in England if the English people were driven away from their homes and off the best lands to make room for cattle. Amongst the other places he visited was the City of Cork, where he had a conversation with the Mayor, who told him a circumstance that had occurred to him. There was a gathering of the Mayor and Corporation of the City to welcome the liberation of certain Members of Parliament from gaol—a kind of thing which people in England were not at all used to. The people of Cork felt that these Members were martyrs, and not criminals, so that they desired to celebrate their release. Whilst the Mayor was waiting to take his place in the procession the conduct of a certain policeman was brought to his attention, and he went out to remonstrate with the man, who was trying to take some banners away from some lads. The Mayor told the policeman that he (the Mayor) was responsible for the peace of the City, and requested him to leave the lads alone. He repeated this request a second time, but without effect. He then laid his hands on the 842 policeman's shoulders to gently take him away. The consequence was that he himself was charged with assaulting the policeman. He was tried, not by the ordinary Magistrates of the City, but by two Removables, and was by them sentenced to imprisonment, and sent to herd with the bad characters on whom he had sat in judgment on the Bench. Whilst he was in prison there was actually a meeting of the City Magistrates in his cell, he presiding. Now, he (Mr. Everett) wanted to know what City of 80,000 people in England would endure having its Chief Officer treated so, treated as of inferior rank, so to speak, in the administration of the City to a, police officer and seeing him cast into gaol in such a way as this? The Mayor had expressed to him the opinion that the Government of Ireland was a huge conspiracy on the part of the landed and official classes in Ireland to deprive the people of their liberties. This was a state of things which it was painful for free-born Englishmen to realise. Passing to his second point, he might say he had tried to make himself acquainted with the history of Ireland, and it was truly a most sorrowful history. He did not think an Englishman could sit down to an occupation which would cause him more grief and pain and shame than the reading of the sad history of the English in Ireland. We went to an Island which, at the time when England was a barbarous Province of the Roman Empire, was full of Christian teachers who were amongst the most illustrious in all the cities of Europe—an Island inhabited by a race possessing many estimable and good qualities, and who were described by Robert Payne, an English undertaker in Munster in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, as follows:—They are obedient to the laws. You may travel through all the land without any danger or injury offered by the worst of the Irish, and be greatly relieved of the best. As touching their government, in their corporations where they bear rule, it is done with such wisdom, equity, and justice as merits worthy commendation.Sir John Davis, in the next reign, said—There is no nation under the sun that doth love equal justice better than the Irish, or will rest better satisfied with the execution thereof, though it be against themselves, so as they may have the protection and benefit of law when upon just cause they do desire it.The description of the patience and docility of the Irish people given in much 843 more recent times by the Devon Commission corresponded very much with what was said in the days of Elizabeth and James I. The Devon Commission said—We cannot forbear expressing our strong sense of the patient endurance which the labouring class have generally exhibited under sufferings greater, we believe, than the people of any other country in Europe have to sustain.No one could read the history of Ireland without feeling that the connection with England had been an almost unmixed curse to the Irish people. The sufferings that had been endured in that unhappy country since the English went there exceeded in bitterness and woe almost anything to be found in the annals of the human race. One did not know where to look in the long course of the connection with England for a bright spot of more than a very few years' duration. They all knew what happened in the time of Elizabeth, and that time was not so long ago; it was only the other day that they had, near where he lived, the sale of a bed upon which the Queen rested upon her passage through Ipswich. The description of what occurred in Ireland during Elizabeth's reign exceeded in horror anything that was to be found in print. No mercy was shown to the Irish by the English at that time. The policy was to exterminate the Irish race as far as possible; and the end was that Queen Elizabeth was told by her commanders that she had nothing to reign over in a large part of Ireland but ashes and the graves of the dead. The time was, indeed, full of horror. The cruel injustice practised against the Irish justified, to his mind—certainly gave substantial reason for—the rising of 1641. They had only to read the record of the Cromwell period and the period of Charles I. to see what he meant when he spoke of the persecution of the Irish. The suppression of the 1641 outbreak was one of the bloodiest pages in the whole of history. And so, let them pass from Monarch to Monarch, and still they came to ever fresh misery of the Irish people. It was a horrible history, and surely they ought to be glad to have a chance of showing sympathy and kindness to a people who had been so cruelly oppressed. Let them come down to 844 their own times. Beginning with the year 1798, which was not far away from them, it was customary to look upon the rebellion of that year as due to the ferocity of the Irish race; but his reading of the history of the country taught him that it was a rebellion that was quite justified by the horrible cruelty practised upon the people during the disarmament which preceded it. The free quarters, the floggings, the half hangings, the pitch caps and other tortures used upon the Irish were frightful to read of. Let them look up and down the history of the country as they would, and what did they see? We took away the people's property and persecuted them because they were Catholics, although we (the English) were the great instrument of making them so. He had, up to his reading of Irish history, imagined that persecution belonged to the Catholic Church alone, but he had changed his mind since he had read of the persecution of Catholics by Protestants in Ireland; their churches had been confiscated and taken from them by violence, and they themselves had been pursued with fiendish cruelty by Penal Laws expressly designed to keep them in poverty, ignorance, and degradation. The purpose of the English in Ireland was selfish, and had not been for the benefit of the people, but the reverse. The Prime Minister a short time ago ably summed up the history of English rule in Ireland, when he said that the first four centuries of that rule were marked by a settled policy of extermination, then followed a century of confiscation of the land, next a century of cruel Penal Laws, and lastly came the present century of famines and evictions: these last resulting in hundreds of thousands crossing the seas with savage and righteous anger in their hearts. One of the worst injuries we ever did Ireland was to take away her Parliament in 1800. He sincerely believed that if that Parliament had been allowed to remain it would have been impossible to have inflicted upon Ireland the horrors and the injustices which she had been made to suffer during the present century, for the people would have had in it one source of protection at least. It was pleasant to remember, however, that Irishmen had never sat down tamely under this treatment. Every generation had furnished patriotic men among them who boldly 845 came forward to protest against the tyranny this nation so cruelly imposed upon them. To this tyranny was due all the trouble they had had with Ireland in the discontent, disloyalty, and violence of her people. The Whiteboys, the Ribbonmen, the Land League, and the Plan of Campaign, in more recent times, all had their origin in the intolerable condition of misery to which the people had been brought, and in their efforts to escape from it. These movements, in fact, were a kind of rough Lynch Law on the part of the Irish people, resorted to for the purpose of securing that justice which men everywhere craved for, and of which England had deprived them. They had, in fact, by recent legislation shown that they were conscious of having treated Ireland unjustly. Parliament had practically confessed it by the frequent efforts it had made to deal with Irish grievances, and he was glad to know that those efforts had been directed to raising the masses of the people to a higher and better position, especially in regard to the laud. They had all been against the landowners, and in favour of the so long oppressed tenants, and were a confession that the laws had been wrong to the tenants who formed the great bulk of the population of the country. They had now to look to the future. Englishmen were sorry for the wrongs that had been inflicted on Ireland; and he for one rejoiced, as he had said before, that he had been born in a generation which had seriously taken up the Irish Question with the hope of settling it and of procuring peace and amity between the two nations. The Irish people under present conditions were naturally dissatisfied, and they had sent an overwhelming majority of Representatives to that House to demand a change. He thought the history of the Irish people was more painful than the history of the Jews, and in some respects much like to it. The Irish had been scattered, as the Jews had scattered, into all English-speaking lands, yet in their exile had increased their strength. The Irish were now strong enough in numbers and in money to take their own part, as they had seen in that Parliament and in the last General Election. They were in this position—that in the United States, Australia, and England they now 846 virtually held the balance of power, and all this was the result of our cruel policy. He rejoiced that instead of destroying them they had been placed on fresh ground, where their race had become powerful in numbers, position, and wealth. No power on earth could crush out of the hearts of Irishmen the love of their country, and now what we had to do was to make the details of this Bill as perfect as we could for the purpose of effecting a permanent reconciliation with the Irish race. The great object before them was to make the inhabitants of the two Islands live together on the best possible terms, and it appeared to him that the Bill would do that. He hoped they would pass it, and that the other House would think better and not stand in the way. There was this difficulty—that there were two nations to a certain extent in Ireland. But they had the choice of two evils—whether they were to please the minority or the great majority. It was said to Nonconformists like himself—Will you abandon your brethren? The Nonconformists of Ireland wore the Catholics, who had suffered as the English Dissenters had suffered, only a thousand times more, and so they in England could work most heartily with and for them. He could not imagine that the Irish Parliament, would do anything to prevent the country flourishing. They would want to increase trade, so would not hurt Belfast, and they would not want to increase taxation on land, because the country was an agricultural one and could not bear heavy burdens upon its land. He hoped the Protestants of Ulster would join with their brethren, the Catholics, and with the freedom-loving people of England, and welcome local self-government. For his part, he should have the utmost pleasure in voting for the SECOND READING.
§ *MR. BUTCHER (York)
said, it seemed that the hon. Member who had just spoken had been on a personally-conducted tour through Ireland, and that he had commenced to dive into the pages of history. He hoped that the result of his last enterprise would be more satisfactory than that of the former. They had been asked by the hon. Member her for North Kerry (Mr. Sexton) to wipe out all the past acts and solemn declarations of the Irish Nationalist Members, and 847 assume that their acts in the future would bear no relation to their acts and declarations in the past. They could not draw the sponge over the past. The hon. Member characteristically exaggerated the Irish grievances and ignored the efforts of the Imperial Parliament to wipe out those grievances. He even attributed to the Tory Party the crime which disgraced the National movement; he attributed the success of the Land League to the House of Lords and that of the Plan of Campaign to the Leader of the Opposition. Empty declamation of that kind was unworthy of that House. The hon. Member referred to Belfast, and the benefits—he was sure they were benefits—which he had bestowed upon it; but the hon. Member had some reason to be dissatisfied with Belfast, for Belfast rejected him, and surely he ought to see how sincere Belfast was when it rejected the individual on account of the policy which he advocated. Belfast was a great working-class constituency, but in three out of the four Divisions the Nationalists could not nominate a candidate. The Member for Kerry complained of Belfast not having a Catholic Lord Mayor, whereas Dublin had a Protestant Home Rule Lord Mayor. That reminded him (Mr. Butcher) of the story of an argument between a Catholic clergyman and a Protestant clergyman which was wound up by the priest saying: "At any rate, there is the Bible, and you have an epistle to the Romans, and you cannot find an epistle to the Protestants." A similar irrelevance pervaded the hon. Member's argument. When Members below the Gangway spoke of religious toleration, they evidently forgot that the Meath elections were not so very remote. What toleration had been shown then—not towards Protestants, but towards men of their own Party? That was a fair example of the toleration of the Irish Nationalist Party. It was generally admitted that the Bill was a unique product, and that its authors had discovered a Constitution that had never been seen in the history of the civilised world. The problem, no doubt, was not a usual one: they proposed to confer upon Ireland a position which was neither that of a Colony, a Federal State, or an Independent Province. For this purpose every precedent was ransacked from Croatia to California. All the 848 philosophical ingenuity, all the Constitutional subtlety, which belonged to the Treasury Bench had been brought into play: and the result was this monumental budget of paradoxes. Zoologists said they were able from a few bones to construct skeletons of extinct animals. Her Majesty's Government had a more difficult task to perform: they had to piece together the disjecta membra of heterogeneous organisms, and they expected the resulting mechanism to live and work. Before the Government proceeded one step in the promotion of the Bill they had to establish the necessity for bringing it in. The hon. Member for East Cavan (Mr. Young) said the other night that anyone who did not see at once the necessity for this measure must have an opaque mind. He (Mr. Butcher) confessed that he had an opaque mind. He could not rise to the lofty altitude to which he was invited by the hon. Gentleman. The first argument-put forward as showing the necessity for the measure was the pretence that it was the only alternative to coercion. He would not insult the intelligence of the House by replying to that argument. Those who watched the successful administration of the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) would not repeat that unfounded fallacy. The hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. Davitt) had said that Home Rule was the universal solvent of all difficulties. He (Mr. Butcher) confessed that at first he thought the hon. Member wanted to advertise some quack medicine. The hon. Member spoke of the analogy of the Colonies. There was no such analogy. A Colony, before obtaining self-government, was wholly without Representative Institutions. Ireland had at present a Constitutional Government, and had even greater representation than she was entitled to in the House of Commons on any basis of population or taxation. Every other precedent that had been given, or could be given, was equally delusive. The hon. Member for North Kerry, with a certain amount of dramatic effect, produced out of his pocket a telegram he had just received from a Protestant Home Ruler of Belfast. The House, when they saw the telegram, expected to hear that the whole of the Orange Body had gone in for Home Rule, 849 or that the Catholics of Belfast had broken out in rebellion. Members were, therefore, somewhat surprised when they found the statement to be merely that this Protestant Home Ruler would feel very sad if the Bill did not pass. The only real argument for the Bill was the presence in Parliament of 81 Nationalist Members. It was proper to inquire what was the movement which they represented. The movement which the Irish Members represented had, as its sustaining force, a hunger for land and a thirst for National independence. There was at one time a strong National sentiment in Ireland—a sentiment founded, in a large measure, on hatred of this country. Although the sentiment existed still, it had decreased in volume and extent, and he had rejoiced to have the declaration of the hon. Member for North-East Cork that he was no longer animated by hatred for England, and that, except apparently as a theoretical dream, he had abandoned the idea of independence for Ireland. He (Mr. Butcher) wished he could say that men in Ireland, who had been stimulated and educated by the Nationalist Members into passionate hatred of England and a burning longing for independence, had felt the same moderating influences and undergone the same softening processes as the hon. Member for North-East Cork. He feared that it was not so. The Home Rude movement was founded, first upon an agrarian, and secondly upon a revolutionary movement. In 1879 hon. Members who were now asking for Home Rule denounced and ridiculed Home Rule as a sham, and declared that it would never satisfy Nationalist aspirations. A passage in a speech delivered by the hon. Member for North-East Cork at Balla, on the 15th of August, 1879, bore out this statement. The hon. Member said—It might have struck their notice that on this platform there was not one of their Parliamentary Representatives. It was far more to their taste to spend their time in England trying to educate the English public in their sham Nationalist scheme called Home Rule than to come and labour with the tenant-farmers of Mayo to benefit themselves and their country. The English public had been educated recently on the fallacies of Home Rule, but he said the greatest fallacy in connection with it was the supposition that the Irish people would ever care one jot for Home Rule or Federalism.850 The original programme of the Irish National League was the independence of Ireland and the abolition of landlordism. He asked the House whether that programme was altered after the so-called declaration of the "union of hearts"? On that point he wished to quote two leading Nationalists. The Member for the City of Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), speaking in December, 1886, at Killeagh, said—Together, please God, we will march on, shoulder to shoulder, until we shall have liberated this land from the two curses of landlordism and English rule.If this was not enough to show that the programme had not been altered, he would quote the words used by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) at Limerick in November, 1887. The hon. Member said—It was their firm faith that when the struggle for the land was carried to a successful termination, at the same hour with the disappearance of the landlords the power of foreign government would disappear also, and then the old nation and race would become free and independent again.When once it was recognised that the present movement was the direct apostolic succession of the movement founded on the two principles he had named, the ground was completely cut from under the demand for Home Rule, because it became at once apparent that it was founded on claims which the House and the country would never assent to. Passing to the objections against the Bill, one of the main objections to it was that the Unionists distrusted the proposed Irish Government. This was a point that was made the subject of much empty declamation by gentlemen opposite. The Unionists were told that they distrusted the people and preferred an indictment against a nation. The sober fact was that they believed Ireland could be more justly governed by the Imperial Parliament than by the mongrel institution proposed in the Bill. In justification of Unionist distrust, he might point to the past history of the agitation, to the fact that in the proposed Parliament the one preponderating class would be the tenant-farmers and labourers, and to the fact that large tracts of Ireland wore subject to terrible priestly intimidation with the full consent and concurrence of the Auti-Parnellite Members, and that the people living there were unable to 851 record a free and independent judgment when they were asked to give their votes on great questions. It had been said, the Bill bristled with safeguards. It would be truer to say, it bristled with distrust. When the question of obtaining British Revenue was concerned, the Government did not trust the Irish Executive to appoint their own Judges. No doubt, in the opinion of the Government, Irish Judges were good enough to decide on all questions affecting the lives and the properties of the Irish Loyalist population; but they were not good enough to decide any question affecting the Revenue—not even the question whether a barrel of rum had or had not paid its quota to the Imperial Revenue. An additional illustration of the Government's distrust of the proposed Irish Government was to be found in the mode provided for executing the decrees of the Exchequer Judges. The Home Secretary (Mr. Asquith) told the House the other night, with the conscious pride of the inventor, that the Bill provided a mode whereby, if the Irish Sheriff would not carry out the decrees, they might be enforced, and he pointed to Section 19, which provided that the Exchequer Judges should appoint a special Imperial officer for the purpose. That was their fundamental objection to the Bill. They did not trust this proposed Irish Government, and they had an excellent precedent and justification for that in the action of Her Majesty's Ministers themselves. But, turning from this general objection for a moment, he submitted that there were three special separate objections, every one of which was sufficient to kill the measure. In the first place there was the attitude of Ulster. Ulster had spoken and had recorded her unalterable determination to oppose the Bill. It was curious to observe the remarkable change which had taken place in the declarations of the supporters of the Bill on this point. The hon. Member for North Kerry (Mr. Sexton) had told them to-night that they were not to pay any attention to the utterances of Ulster, and the reason he advanced was a strange one. The reason given was that the hon. Member himself and his friends were given to exaggeration. Well, that was a statement that he (Mr. Butcher) did not dispute. The hon. Member and his friends, 852 no doubt, had often said things which they did not really mean; but when the hon. Member drew from that the conclusion that the great and prosperous community of industrial Ulster said what they did not mean, he (Mr. Butcher) absolutely repudiated the suggestion. As he had stated, the attitude of hon. Members opposite on this question of Ulster had of late been very considerably modified. They first heard the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy talking in a wild, random, unauthorised, and not very creditable manner, as to the "bluster" of Ulster men. But that did not now represent the view of Her Majesty's Government, for they found the Home Secretary saying the other night that the opposition of Ulster was a very serious question, and the Chief Secretary had also adopted a subdued and temperate tone on the question. The Home Secretary, indeed, had declared that, if Ulster demanded it, separate treatment should be accorded to her. Was that one of the Prime Minister's "obligations of honour and justice"? He (Mr. Butcher) did not himself believe that Ulster, loyal and true as she was to her fellow Loyalists in other parts of Ireland, would even for a moment accept the suggestion which had been made to her for separate treatment; but he would like to know whether the. Nationalist Members were favourable to the idea? What chance did they think there would be for the financial success of this Home Rule Parliament if Ulster were excluded? He had heard no statement on that point, and he trusted that before the Debate closed someone authorised to represent the Irish Nationalist Members would declare what their view was as to this proposed exclusion of Ulster. This question of the attitude of Ulster was an unanswerable objection to the Home Rule scheme. The second fatal objection was the financial objection. No doubt, although divided upon some points, the Nationalist Members were always united when there was a question of getting" more money from England. It was extraordinary to see how unanimous those gentlemen became when there was a prospect of securing a further draft of British gold. No doubt, as the hon. Member for Kerry had pointed out, there were a great many matters to be 853 dealt with in order to ensure the industrial progress of Ireland; but the question was, how were they to obtain the money for it? This House of Commons and the British nation were not prepared to give a million or two a year away to be squandered by this newfangled Irish Parliament. While Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom, no doubt, the Imperial Parliament would be prepared to advance money for the industrial improvement of that country. The Imperial Parliament would be worse than foolish to squander money by placing it in the hands of the promoters of the Plan of Campaign and of that magnificent commercial enterprise, "New Tipperary." So much for finance. There was a third unanswerable objection to the Bill, which was the question of the retention of the Irish Members. The Home Secretary said the other night that the retention of the Irish Members was vital to the Bill; and though the Prime Minister had seemed inclined to leave it an open question, yet, after what the Home Secretary had said, it appeared to him (Mr. Butcher) that the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean (Sir C. Dilke) would have some difficulty in carrying his Amendment in favour of the exclusion of the Irish Members. Then what were they left with? They were left with two impossible and ridiculous alternatives—namely, the "in and out" suggestion of the Hill and the almost equally ridiculous, and certainly equally impossible, suggestion of allowing the Irish Members to come hero and meddle with English affairs. This question alone was one which ought to wreck the Bill. He wished now for a moment to refer to an interesting speech delivered by the hon. Member for Cavan the other night. He was one of those somewhat rare specimens of Protestant Belfast Home Riders. This Belfast Protestant, with an innocence and candour which did him credit, proceeded to depreciate the industries of Belfast. He said, with reference to the shipbuilding industry, that so far as the shipbuilding trade was concerned, it might as well be carried on in the Sandwich Islands for all of Belfast there was about it. He (Mr. Butcher) listened with interest to one explanation of that somewhat startling paradox, He found, as the hon. Member went on, 854 there were two great blots, and the first terrible blot that overlay this industry was that the trade had to import its iron, timber, and coal for use in shipbuilding. He supposed the hon. Member would say that the great cotton industry of Lancashire was a blot on the civilisation of England because they did not grow their own cotton.
§ MR. YOUNG (Cavan, E.)
said, he only said that, so far as the interior of Ireland was concerned, the shipbuilding industry might as well be carried on in the Sandwich Islands.
§ MR. BUTCHER
was much obliged to the hon. Member for his explanation, but he could not see how that bore on the question. He understood that Ireland did not make ships with its own iron or timber, because there was none. Another blot on the shipbuilding industry of Belfast was interesting to note, and this terrible; second blot consisted in the fact that the shipbuilding industry of Belfast supplied the mercantile marine of the world with ships. What a terrible indictment! He supposed they ought to keep their ships for the pleasure of boating on the Liffey and in Dublin Bay. He had enumerated what, in his opinion, were some of the main objections to this Home Rule measure. Let him now, for a moment, look to the future, which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary (Mr. J. Morley) refused to face. He (Mr. Butcher) declined to accept the policy of ostrich-like optimism of the right hon. Gentleman. They were asked to adopt the greatest Constitutional change ever brought forward during this century; but he thought they would be neglecting their duty if they did not endeavour to form at least an estimate of what the result of this policy might be. What, would be the result on the Nationalists of Ireland? He was willing to accept the declarations of hon. Members that they accepted the Bill, not as final, but—if he might coin a phrase—temporarily final; he was willing to accept their declarations that their speeches, made in favour of independence, were meant to encourage, and not to deceive their followers. But, admitting all that, if the Bill should pass, the pressure of Nationalist opinion behind hon. Members would be too great for them to resist. The first result in Ireland would be bitter disappoint- 855 ment; capital would fly from the country, wages would go down, employment would become scarce, the deluded followers of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway would find that the millennium had not arrived; and, in their bitter disappointment, they would say this was the result of the restrictions the Bill had put upon them; they would say they were restrained from dealing with their own commerce; they were prevented from instituting protective duties, and from managing their own trade; and above all they would say they were hampered and held back by the contribution that they had to make to Imperial funds. Under these circumstances they would remember the teachings of the past that had been dinned into their ears, that Ire-land was a nation, and that they could not put bounds to the aspirations of a nation—observations that were repeated the other night, though with less distinctness, by the right hon. Member for North - East Cork (Mr. Davitt)—they would demand that those aspirations have full swing, and that the link uniting them to Great Britain should be severed. That would be the attitude of the Nationalist followers of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway; but what would be the attitude of the betrayed Loyalists of Ireland? They would rightly feel they had been rejected and scorned, that Great Britain had cast them off, and they would refuse any longer to be bound to their betrayers, considering that separation was the lesser of the two terrible evils. What would happen under the Bill? The majority of Ireland, acting by the aid of the British Army and Navy, would be able to enslave the minority in Ireland. ["No, no!"] They would have the power to do it, and would have the power to do it only by the means of the Army and Navy of England. Once remove the Imperial power, once refuse to allow the Army of England to intervene, and he said that in Ireland the loyal minority would be able to assert their rights, and be able, indeed, to make their voices heard against the mere numerical majority. And should it be matter of surprise if these Unionists, these cast-off Loyalists, said: "Remove this coercion by which you bound us down; take away the Army and Navy, and leave us to ourselves?" These were not imaginary 856 dangers. The Unionists of Ireland looked forward in a very different direction to the regeneration of Ireland. They hoped by the aid of the power, the resources, and the generosity of Great Britain to forward the industries of Ireland and to promote her industrial development; they hoped to bring in a scheme of local self-government, which would encourage a sense of responsibility; and, above all, now that many of the Nationalist Leaders had abandoned those vain and chimerical hopes of national independence, they hoped by the co-operation of all Irishmen, of whatever Party or whatever creed, to act together and to succeed in the noble work of creating a prosperous and contented Ireland.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
said, the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Sexton) suffered to-night from one of those long attacks of oratory to which he was subject, for he spent two hours and 40 minutes in discussing this Bill, but the last part of his speech, which he (Colonel Saunderson) thought lasted for three-quarters of an hour, was the only part in which he took any interest. He did not blame the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Sexton) for taking a deep interest in the financial condition of the future Government of Ireland. He concluded, if the Government was ever created, if it ever existed in Ireland, that with the experience the hon. Member had gained in financial management in The Freeman's Journal office, that he would be the first Chancellor of the Exchequer. The hon. Member desired to start, and he (Colonel Saunderson) thought it was very natural that he should, with a full exchequer, because the Irish Government would have large calls upon that exchequer. There would be the payment of Members, the payment of the Government, the restoration to their farms of the evicted tenants, and various other expenses, which would undoubtedly try their financial resources. Then the hon. Member went on and showed a considerable interest in the Irish police. The hon. Member said Ireland was a nation. Yes, it was a nation, but under police protection; for it was a remarkable fact that could not be denied that, had it not been for the great exertions of the Irish Constabulary, in all probability the right 857 hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister would not now have a majority in the House of Commons. He read the other day an account in a Nationalist paper of the visit of the Member for Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) to the city he represented, and it was described as a visit under police protection. Ireland was at present so fitted for self-government that there were two sections of the Nationalist Party which so loved one another and were so anxious to make common cause for the benefit of their country, that, were it not for the active exercise of the authority of the Crown, many of the hon. Members below the Gangway would now be absent from the House. If ever Home Rule were established, the question of the police would be one of a most critical character. The hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Sexton) said that they would establish a county police in Ireland. What would happen, he wondered, in a Nationalist county if a, Parnellite Member were to visit it? An illustration occurred at the last Election when the hon. and gallant Member for Galway (Colonel Nolan) visited the county which he now represented. The hon. and gallant, Member went to a village to canvass the inhabitants. He was met outside the village by the priest and 40 of the inhabitants, and unfortunately there were no police present. The hon. and gallant Member asked for the people's suffrages, and the reply came from the rev. gentleman, who, without, any warning, brought out a stick which he had concealed behind his back, struck the hon. and gallant Gentleman on the top of his head, and floored him. As the hon. and gallant Gentleman would allow, two handkerchiefs of his blood wore shod on that occasion. That they might take to be a specimen of the Church militant. Therefore, he should say that one of the anxieties of the future Parliament would be the manipulation of the Irish police. Then the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Sexton) went on to make some very remarkable statements, and gave some information of which he (Colonel Saunderson) was not previously aware, and from which the House and the public could judge the value of the remainder of his statements. The hon. Member said—and this was a most astounding fact—that the majority of the Ulster people, or of the 858 Ulster Protestants, were in favour of Home Rule. [An hon. MEMBER:: He did not say that.] The hon. Member said the opposition to Home Rule was confined to the landlords and to certain place-hunters in Dublin. ["Hear, hear! "] Hon. Members below the Gangway agreed with that, but it was a piece of information new to him, and he thought his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. A. J. Balfour), who had recently visited Ulster, would be astonished to be informed that the mighty multitude there assembled, mainly composed of the working classes of Ulster, were really in their hearts in favour of Home Rule. And then the hon. Gentleman went on to say that far more of the Protestants of Ulster would have come out on the side of Home Rule had it not been for a consistent and persistent system of Protestant boycotting. It was very easy to make a statement, but he should like proof of that statement, and he ventured to say there was as much truth in that statement as there would he if he were to say the main portion of the constituents of the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Sexton) had recently joined the Orange Organization. The hon. Member anticipated a happy state of things in Ireland if they were to act on what he said; they were not to remember the past—that was to be obliterated: the Irish minority were to hang all their hopes on the mellifluous flood of promises which the hon. Member emitted to-day in the House. They placed no value on the promises of the hon. Member, and he should not have alluded to the speech of the hon. Member—for the reason that he represented no Party whatever in Ireland except the clerical Party that, elected him—were it not for the fact that the hon. Member made these astounding statements, and as one of the Leaders of the Ulster Party he felt it his duty to meet those statements by a distinct and absolute denial. When he looked forward to this Debate he felt that there were, a any rate, at least three speeches that would be delivered in that House that would be eminently worthy of the consideration of the Party to which he belonged, and. that it would be their duty, as far as they could, to meet those speeches in debate and see if they wore capable of refutation. Naturally, the first speech was the 859 speech of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was the incarnation of Home Rule; without him Home Rule would he as dead as Julius Caesar. It was the Prime Minister of England who had made Home Rule a great political question, and at the outset he must say that he felt, and had felt all along, that there would he a very great difficulty in dealing with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. He thought that difficulty the House would now understand, because the right hon. Gentleman made use of language which he sometimes forgot, and which, if he remembered, he did not appear to understand. The House would remember that on a recent occasion in this Debate that the right hon. Gentleman gave them an exegesis of a speech he delivered some years ago. In that speech the right hon. Gentleman alluded to certain Irish gentlemen as "marching through rapine to the dismemberment of the Empire." That speech had been often quoted. [An hon. MEMBER: Twelve years old.] Very likely, but it was a very serious accusation to make against Members of that House. "Marching through rapine to the dismemberment of the Empire "meant treason with violent robbery. It now appeared the right hon. Gentleman the other day said that statement only alluded to one Member of the Nationalist Party, and he (Colonel Saunderson) must say he gave great credit to the hon. Member for Clare (Mr. W. Redmond) for taking the right hon. Gentleman up, and in honour of the Leader whose memory he revered to protest against the idea that the accusations should only fall on the head of the late Mr. Parnell. The right hon. Gentleman then gave them a further ex- planation, and that appeared to mean that when he said that Mr. Parnell and his colleagues were "marching through rapine to the dismemberment of the Empire," he meant they were in direct opposition to the Land Bill of 1881. Now, it never would have entered into his (Colonel Saunderson's) head to describe the opposition to a Laud Bill as "marching through rapine to the dismemberment of the Empire." He looked forward with anxiety to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman; it was a voluminous speech; but when that speech was dissected, and when they divested it of the oratorical garment which the right 860. hon. Gentleman could weave so deftly around nothing in particular, very little remained. It would appear from that speech the right hon. Gentleman had two objects in view. He had to reassure Great Britain as to the effect the Bill would have on Imperial affairs, and -he had to reassure the Irish people as to the effect it would have in Ireland. On the first point the right hon. Gentleman said that Great Britain ought to trust the Irish people. If the right hon. Gentleman asked him whether he trusted the Irish people, the Irish people, in the view of the right hon. Gentleman, and his friends (being the Nationalist Party), he would say frankly he did not trust them at all, not because he thought the Irish people worse than any other people, but because the Irish people had not got the power, had absolutely not got the right to make their own wishes known. Perhaps some hon. Members would remember that a good number of years ago, when it was proposed to bring in the Ballot Act, that the argument in favour of applying the Ballet Act to Ireland was that the vote of the Irish elector did not represent his own opinions, but owing to the coercion of the landlords, represented the landlords' opinions. He (Colonel Saunderson) happened to be a Member of the House at' Commons at that time; he was an Irish landlord, and feeling as he did there was a great deal of truth in that assertion, he voted for the Ballot Act. Well, the Ballot Act had been passed. Had it made the Irish people masters of their own vote and of their own political actions? For an answer he would simply refer the House to the late Elections, when 70 or 71 hon. Members had been returned absolutely by the action of the Roman Catholic priests in Ireland. In order to substantiate that assertion, he might appeal to the Parnellite Members, and the speeches which they made during the late elections. It was not, therefore, a question as to whether they would trust the Irish people or not, but whether they could trust the Roman Catholic priests and the leaders of the Land League. In this sense they did not trust the Irish people. The method adopted for trying to reassure the people of Great Britain was most extraordinary. The Prime Minister took a geographical tour around Europe, and in every case that he mentioned the adoption of a 861 similar policy had been a source of weakness rather than strength. He first spoke of Astria-Hungary. Was that a powerful Empire? If the right hon. Gentleman were to take the trouble to read the leading papers of Vienna, he would find that the view taken by the people of Austria was totally opposed to the policy which he now asked the House to adopt. The Neue Freie Presse said the other day—a copy had been forwarded to him (Colonel Saunderson)—that if the right hon. Gentleman had considered the effect of granting autonomy to the various portions of the Austrian Empire he never would have embarked upon such a policy. The right hon. Gentleman next referred to Norway and Sweden, but he did not derive much assistance in that quarter; while Italy and France had adopted policies diametrically opposed to that which he now invited the House to sanction. Spain was a country which had adopted the principle, with one exception—namely, Catalonia. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to a powerful resistance there—to the people resisting a French invasion. But if the right hon. Gentleman said, "Consider Catalonia," he would reply, "Consider Ballinamuck "—yes, Ballinamuck, which was a famous place in Irish history. In 1798 Ireland enjoyed Home Rule, under the beneficent and benign influence of Grattan's Parliament. But so different were the inhabitants of Ballinamuck from those of Catalonia that, instead of resisting the French, they received them with open arms, and at Ballinamuck the French auxiliaries and the Irish patriots surrendered to the Irish Yeomanry and the British troops. Catalonia, therefore, was not a happy illustration for the right hon. Gentleman to give. But he went on—and the hon. Member for North Kerry likewise caught up the refrain—to cite Turkey as a magnificent specimen of the success of Home Rule by granting autonomy to the Balkan States. Such arguments as those might be good enough for the Radical Party, but they could hardly lead astray any intelligent man. The right hon. Gentleman pointed out, as a culminating feature of the triumph of Turkey, Samos, the Island of Rhodes, and the Lebanon. If those were examples in favour of the right hon. Gentleman's proposals, he would give him up—he was past argu- 862 ment. He could not avoid an allusion to the right hon. Gentleman as Leader of the Home Rule Party. The hon. Member for Kerry pointed especially, and, he might add, ill-advisedly, to the sudden conversion of which the Prime Minister was accused, and the hon. Member tried to persuade the House that the conversion which took place in the political views of the Prime Minister was not a sudden conversion, but a gradual process of political evolution, and that the right hon. Gentleman had indicated, years before, that he had the idea in his head. He was afraid, however, that history was against the hon. Member for Kerry, and he now proposed to show the House that the conversion of the right hon. Gentleman was practically instantaneous. In the autumn of 1885 the Prime Minister appealed to the British constituencies and asked them to give him a sufficient majority to make him independent of the hon. Member for Kerry and his friends. Had that majority been given, no doubt the right hon. Gentleman would have been as staunch a Unionist as be (Colonel Saunderson) was to-day. But the right hon. Gentleman found himself in the position that unless he succeeded in buying the votes of the Nationalist Party—not by money, but by political concessions—he had no chance of sitting on the Treasury Bench. After all his affirmations at that Election, after his great appeal to the patriotism of the British people, when be found what was the result of the Election he turned and became what he was. What was it that changed the right hon. Gentleman? No new-born love for Ireland, no gradually-increasing desire to live on more friendly terms with her people; but an intense desire to get the votes of her Representatives. They could not, therefore, help recalling that when the right hon. Gentleman told them that his adoption of the Home Rule policy had been governed only by his innate love of justice and his love of the Irish people. The right, hon. Gentleman was enamoured of Grattan's Parliament. He was astonished how the right hon. Gentleman could be in love equally with Grattan's Parliament and with that which he proposed to create. There was no similarity of any sort or kind between them. Grattan's Parliament was composed entirely of Protes- 863 tants and almost entirely of landlords or their representatives. In the House of Commons which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to create, they would find none but Roman Catholics, and no Representative of the landlords. The right hon. Gentleman's speech, to his mind, gave no re-assurance to the Irish people, and no assurance to the British people, that the policy he proposed would be safe to the one or righteous to the other. Turning to the Home Secretary's speech, he had to say that when he read it he regretted that the right hon. Gentleman was not retained on the side of the Union to try to get a decree nisi in the divorce case between England and Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to believe that the British people were on his side; and he said of them that, deliberately and thoroughly understanding the circumstances of the case—though it was only the other day that he himself appealed to the Prime Minister to give him more information—they would not tolerate the Leader of the Opposition or any other person persisting in rendering the measure nugatory. That was a matter of opinion. His own experience of the British people was that day by day and hour by hour, as they realised the meaning and drift of the Bill, instead of following the lead of the right hon. Gentleman they were beginning to come round to the side of the Unionists. These, however, were questions which would be tried probably in the course of a year at a General Election, and until that took place one prophecy was as good as another. The Home Secretary took a lawyer's view of the Bill. He looked upon its success as depending upon the character of the machinery it supplied. No matter how admirably the new Constitution might be drawn, its success depended, not on the machinery, but on the men who put it- into operation. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the securities the Bill supplied. For his part, he repeated what his hon. and learned Friend had said earlier in the evening—that so far as the Irish minority were concerned they were willing that every clause that was believed to protect them should be wiped out. They were absolutely worthless. He would mention one. The Irish Parliament would not be allowed to pass any law which endangered life or property or 864 liberty without due process of law. That seemed fair enough, but it did not seem so fair when they asked—What process of law? The Statute Book, which would be the Irish law, would be drawn up by the Irish Parliament, and if they could not trust that Parliament how could they trust in its laws? But there were safeguards for the collection of British money. The collection of Excise and of Customs would be protected. He ventured to say that the Bill was a premium for smuggling. Every Irishman who smoked a pipeful of smuggled tobacco would feel a double delight when he realised that he was helping, at any rate, to prevent Irish money finding its way into the pockets of the hated Saxon. How were they going to prevent smuggling? They had the Coastguard; but if they were to prevent smuggling after this Bill was passed the Coastguard would have to be armour-plated. A coastguardsman who ventured under an Irish Parliament to interfere with a contraband cargo would have as much chance with the Irish people as would a landlord on a dark night in the County Clare. As to the two Exchequer Judges, he doubted whether there would be any man in the legal profession brave enough to accept the post of Exchequer Judge in Ireland, because those Judges would be looked upon as a common enemy by every patriotic Irishman. Paying a landlord his rent was not popular in Ireland; but paying tribute to the Saxon would be a thousand times more detestable, and it would lie with the Judges to put the machinery in motion. The Home Secretary, when he attacked the Leader of the Opposition for words he used the other day at Belfast, drew a parallel in which he imagined a Member of the Government—he mentioned the Chief Secretary—going to make a patriotic speech at Limerick or Clare. But the Chief Secretary was not the man to do that, after the lesson he had at Tipperary. If any enterprising Member of the Government did go to Limerick or Clare, it would have been the First Commissioner of Works. The Home Secretary drew a parallel of a Member of the Government using words like those employed by the Loader of the Opposition at Belfast, indicating to the Irish people what they ought to do in case the House rejected the Home Rule Bill. He denied that 865 there was any parallel at all. Had the right hon. Gentleman said that the House of Commons proposed to reinstate the Penal Laws, and to place the Catholic majority under the heel of the Protestant minority, the parallel would have been complete. This Bill was to the minority a re-enactment of the Penal Laws. It was placing them under the heel of their ancient foes. The Prime Minister said Home Rule had been before the country for seven years. So had the Home Rulers, and those seven years had been a period of probation. During that time they had had an opportunity of exhibiting to the world at large, and to Ireland in particular, that they had given up their old methods and become reformed characters; but their views remained precisely the same. And those seven years, far from removing any objection Loyalists might have have to be ruled and governed by them, had but stereotyped the absolute necessity which existed, if they would retain their freedom and security for their lives and property, of resisting to the bitter end, as they intended to do, any attempt—[A laugh.] They might laugh as they pleased; laughter would not kill the movement which had been started in Ireland; and that movement was to prevent, and it would prevent, any attempt being made in the future to place the liberties and the lives of the Irish minority under the heel of men who had proved their fitness to rule by the way they conducted the Laud League agitation, who had shown their capacity to manage the finances of the country by the way in which they managed and manipulated the fund of the Plan of Campaign, and whose performances as financiers culminated by bringing the most prosperous journal in Ireland, financially speaking, to the verge of ruin.
§ MR. SEXTON
I may say that, so far as the Members of the Parliamentary Party are concerned, they found The Freeman's Journal in a very shaky condition.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, that he was not a shareholder in the paper, but the very shaky condition of that journal showed the earthquake which had taken place in the Nationalist ranks. 866 It proved the so-called fitness of Ireland at the present time for Home Rule, because the Nationalist Party were only kept from destroying each other by the Irish Constabulary, while the most powerful section in Ireland, that of the Loyalists, was absolutely determined not to have the rule of either of them at any price. There was another speech—that of the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. E. Redmond)—to which he should like to refer. In his opinion, the hon. Member for Waterford was the only hon. Member in that House who really represented a powerful section of the Irish Nationalists. If any other hon. Member said that he represented a more powerful section of that Party his neighbour would contradict him. This Home Rule Bill was really a measure for the establishment of a Government of Walsh Removables. Archbishop Walsh, through his clergy, returned 70 Irish Members to that House, while the hon. Member for Waterford represented 70,000 Irish voters. The hon. Member for Waterford was a very able man, and his speeches made, and ought to make, a great impression in that House, and he had stated very clearly what his views were with regard to the requirements of the National Party in Ireland. The hon. Member began by saying that Ireland wanted the management of her own affairs, and the enjoyment of representative institutions. The hon. Member's idea of the enjoyment of representative institutions differed, perhaps, somewhat from those which he (Colonel Saunderson) entertained. The hon. Member went on to say that Ireland should have the management of her own affairs free from outside control—and in saying that, the hon. Member undoubtedly meant free from the control of the Imperial Parliament, and, no doubt, if he thought that the Bill would subject her affairs to the control of the Imperial Parliament he would reject it. The hon. Member then went on to express his feelings towards England. They had heard that night from the hon. Member for Kerry something about the new-born love which existed in the hearts of himself and his Colleagues for England; but the union of hearts had not been a strong enough magnet to draw those hon. Members across the floor of the House. They still remained in a 867 state of chronic opposition. Their love for the Government was evidently a conditional love, and if any of their demands met with a refusal that love would altogether change its character. The hon. Member for Waterford had said that the Irish people would sooner be badly governed by Irishmen than well governed by Englishmen. That showed how fond the hon. Member was of England, and so much did he like this country that he looked back with regret to the condition of Ireland under her own Parliament as compared with her present prosperous condition. They had heard a great deal of the Penal Laws. Irish Members forgot all the benefits England and that House had rendered to Ireland; they only remembered the evils of former days. But the Penal Laws were not inflicted by a British Parliament. They were the work of an Irish Parliament. The hon. Member looked back with pleasure to the time of the Irish Parliament, and yet all the Members of that Parliament were Protestants; not one of his co-religionists had a seat there. And then the hon. Member for Water-ford, like the hon. Member for Kerry, wound up with a threat—perhaps he should call it a warning. That warning of the hon. Member ought to be taken to heart by the House. The hon. Member admitted that with the advance of science armed insurrection against British rule in Ireland was practically impossible. That was almost repeating the words used by the hon. Member for North Louth, who said that the condition of Ireland was rebellion tempered by a want of guns.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, the hon. Member then went on to say that if the right hon. Gentleman meant that the spirit of insurrection in Ireland was extinct he was but a superficial observer, because there could be no question that the spirit of resistance to the Union by every honourable means was as much alive as at any period during the last century. There, then, they had it from the hon. Member that the spirit of resistance to the Union was as much alive as 868 it was even in 1798. Where, then, was the union of hearts? If the union of hearts was a reality the spirit of insurrection would be dead, and this detestation of the Act of Union would have ceased to exist. But here they found it in full force. Hon. Members below the Gangway ridiculed Unionists for the stand they made in Ulster, but still they said that the spirit of insurrection was alive, and that it was only interfered with by the fear of British breechloaders. Then the hon. Member went on to attack England, and his attack was very remarkable. The hon. Member said that since the Union there had been half-a-dozen famines, that there had been Coercion Acts for every year, and that coercion meant the abolition, more or less at times, of the benefits of the British Constitution. He joined issue with the hon. Gentleman. His idea of the Coercion Acts which the House had passed was that they wore to enable law-abiding men to enjoy the benefits of the British Constitution. But if Coercion Acts had been passed who was to blame for coercion? The hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Dillon) said the landlords. It was the hon. Member for Waterford and his friends who were the authors of those Coercion Acts. They caused them deliberately, for a political purpose—that purpose being to render it impossible for England to rule Ireland by means of the ordinary law; and the hon. Member for Waterford, in one of his speeches, said that they adopted that course in order not to give the lie to the prophecy of the present Prime Minister, who said that you could not govern Ireland by the ordinary law. Practically, therefore, the authorship of Irish Coercion Acts was a result of the prediction of the Prime Minister, and lay between him and hon. Members below the Gangway. Then hon. Members said that Great Britain had destroyed the prosperity of Ireland, but they never went on to prove it. Could any hon. Member prove conclusively that there was any foundation in fact for such a statement? He ventured to say without fear of contradiction that the Irish people were ten times as rich now as they were at the time of the Union. Take the capital which they possessed, take the deposits in the savings banks, and it would be seen that the Irish people had made a prodigious advance- 869 ment. It was said that the diminution of population was a proof of decay in the prosperity of Ireland. The famine of nearly. 50 years ago had a great effect in diminishing population, but the great factors in the case were two- fold. The first was education, and the second increased facilities of locomotion. The Irish people had learnt that there were other countries besides Ireland where Irishmen could thrive. He had no doubt hon. Members below the Gangway loved their country and desired her welfare—after their fashion; but could they say that Ireland would be in a more solvent condition if there were now 8,000,000 of population in the island instead of 5,000,000? Why, Ireland, in that case, would be one great congested district. Therefore the diminution of population was no proof whatever that the material prosperity of the country had decreased since the Union. Hon. Members, however, said—" Give us Home Rule; go out of Ireland; do not trouble us any more with the capital you have flooded us with; let us get capital of our own." Where on earth would they get it?
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, he should like to see the hon. Member who said "Plenty" start a loan. The loan which the hon. Member for Kerry succeeded in getting for Dublin on very easy terms was effected when there was a Unionist Government in power, and when Home Rule was not looming in the immediate distance. He should like to see the hon. Member start a loan to-day. He would not find the money now on any terms until it was seen what course the British Government intended to take with regard to the Home Rule Bill. If this was an Irish question alone, if Ireland could be severed altogether from England, perhaps hon. Gentlemen would have a better hope of seeing this Bill become law, but the British people realised more and more every day that it was a Bill to disintegrate the Empire—a Bill which affected Englishmen as much as it would the inhabitants of Ireland. He would repeat what he had said before—that the 870 minority in Ireland, consisting as they did of nearly one-third of the population, absolutely refused to accept this Bill. The Prime Minister referred to countries in which he said Home Rule had proved a success—a success, however, which was called in question; but where would he find a case in which autonomy had been forced on a parent State or a Province against the will of a large and powerful section of the people? In opposing the Bill they had the sanction of the Prime Minister himself, who, the other day, in reply to a deputation on the eight hours question, pointed out that in order to get legislation there must be union; "for" he said, "you can never force legislation on a determined minority." In Ireland there was a "determined minority" who believed they had an inheritance in the British Parliament, and who said:—" You have no right to cut us adrift and hand us over to another to which we have never consented to bow. Our allegiance is to the Queen, God bless her! We owe no allegiance to a priest-elected majority of the House of Commons." They proposed to break up an old Constitution and to erect a new one. They had even gone the length of bringing specimens (referring to the Irish Members) from various countries—even from the Argentine Republic. He could understand a man who was going to build a new house consulting his neighbours as to the plans they had adapted; but he could not conceive of people who lived in an old house, occupied by ancestors for hundreds of years, and altered from time to time to meet requirements, pulling it down in order to build a bran new one on some new pattern obtained from another country. The position assumed by the minority was supposed to be a treasonable—["Oh, oh!"]—well, a revolutionary one. The Secretary for War had spoken of something he (Colonel Saunderson) had said; but he had only followed what had been said by the right hon. Gentleman himself before he found salvation. In November, 1885, the right hon. Gentleman said—When we come to the question of giving them a separate Parliament and a separate Government, then I confess I see great difficulty. I do not think this is likely to be assented to by 871 any Government, either Whig or Tory, because it would not be consistent with the maintenance of the integrity of the Empire and duty to the Crown.This was in November, 1885; and in January, 1886, the right hon. Gentleman was a ferocious Home Ruler! It was as men who felt their duty to the Crown and who loved the integrity of the Empire that they took their stand, and they appealed to every man who did the same, to every soldier and every sailor, for sympathy in the cause of which they were the champions. They were called the "British garrison." Of course, the Premier held that the greatest man that ever lived was Daniel O'Connell. The Duke of Wellington lived before Daniel O'Connell And the Duke belonged to the British garrison. He would point out that every great Irishman who had taken part in the history of the country or of the Empire belonged to the British garrison——
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
He and his friends believed that the British people were on their side. They had now, at any rate, a majority in England of 71; and how did they propose to carry their Home Rule Bill? They proposed to do it by coercing the House of Lords, and through the House of Lords the Crown. But the supporters of the Bill would never coerce the House of Lords so long as there was an English majority against them. So long as there was a majority in England against Home Rule, so long the House of Lords would be warranted in offering a steady opposition to the passing of such a measure. He had not the least doubt that the outcome of this measure, far from weakening the State, would be to strengthen it. Every country, he believed, from time to time required to confront some danger to the State in order to kindle the patriotism of its people. In former times they had foreign foes; now they had traitors in the camp; but, for himself, he believed that the British people, who had faced Europe in arms, would be able to deal with such as they, and that as opinion grew this Home Rule Bill, which now stood as an obstacle in their path, would crumble into dust before the onward march of a still united people.
§ *MR. NAPIER (Roxburgh)
said, he had, in common with other new Members, to ask for the indulgence of the House while he made a few observations, and he did so with every confidence after his experience of the manner in which it had been already granted to fellow-freshmen during these Debates. He was bound to say that the indulgence which he hoped to receive was one which he trusted to repay with a similar indulgence to the House, because he did not propose to detain it any length of time. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who had just sat down had told them that there were traitors in the camp. Who were the traitors, and where was the camp? And what was the drift of the argument to which (hey had listened? Was it not a veiled incentive to barefaced rebellion? Was it not that these men came here to Parliament and said—"If you pass an Act displeasing to us, the small minority in the House and in Ireland, we will fight to the last gasp rather than obey this law? He did not know whether that was treason, but he knew that it was gross contempt of that House." [Cries of "No!"] Did they deny it? They had almost had the miserable editor of a miserable journal before them at the Bar recently for using contemptuous language. This was a serious question—such language constituted a. serious matter, and he would ask the House to consider one precedent. In a Petition by inhabitants of Gloucester against the Seamen's Bill in 1741, it was stated that "such a law could never be obeyed, or much blood would be shed in consequence of it." Now, what had been said by the wisest and wittiest Tory writer of the last century upon that contention? The Rules of the House would not permit of a Member reading his own speech, but he was happy to observe that these Rules were somewhat relaxed when it came to reading the speeches of others. He had, for instance, had the curiosity to listen to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University to-night, and that gentleman had used a vast sheaf of extracts from other Members' speeches—speeches of the past, of the present, and, he was about to say, to come—speeches dug out of the dust heap and from the Davey's locker of lost orations. He did not propose to dig about amongst these speeches, 873 but he would ask these firebrands from Ulster to listen to the words of this great Tory of the last century, who said that if people could renounce at their pleasure the laws which Parliament made this House was merely a Convention of empty phantoms whose determinations were nothing more than a mockery of State. He said—Every insult upon this House is a violation of our Constitution, and the Constitution, like every other fabric, being very often battered, must fall at last. It is, indeed, already destroyed, if there be in the nation any body of men who stall with impunity refuse to comply with the laws, plead the great charter of liberty against those powers that made it, and fix the limits of their own obedience.[Laughter.] Hon. Members might laugh. The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh and the hon. and learned, and, he ought to add, "gallant" Member for Mid Armagh (Mr. Barton) were "enrolled." He did not know in what force the latter was enrolled, but he remembered that that hon. Member was the first Member he had heard address the House. That hon. Gentleman was then dressed in the sober garb of one learned in the law. No one could have foretold from his suavity and smoothness the cruel fate that awaited him. There was then every prospect of a peaceful termination of his learned career. When he again heard the hon. Gentleman speak he was presenting to the House a sad and gloomy picture—death in arms against the law of his country, or a miserable pilgrimage through the gaols of Ireland. They pictured him now not as a prosperous barrister, but with a revolver in one hand and his life in the other: loyalty upon his lips, and at his feet the yawning chasm of the last ditch. What a future! What a termination of a career which promised so happily only last July! They had had a naval view of the question from an hon. and gallant Gentleman (Admiral Field), who, with his weather eye open, regarded hon. Members as his crew, and gave his directions to reef the topsails of the Constitution. He seemed to think that the only course open to them was to submit the future destinies of the country to him. That was the naval view. They had also had a military view. The hon. and gallant Member for Newport (Colonel Kenyon-Slaney) directed his batteries particularly upon the Scot- 874 tish nation. He "wondered how a people, with the characteristics of the Scottish, could support this measure." That assumed that Home Rule was bad. But the hon. and gallant Member had not included in his reflections a study of Scottish history or literature, or he would have seen why it was that the Scottish people were now banded in sympathy with their Irish fellow-subjects. There were three qualities which the Scottish people possessed in strong measure. The first was patience, the next faith, and the third loyalty. He believed he heard first of patience in this Debate from the right hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Courtney), and he could not help thinking that if the right hon. Gentleman had in 1886 been by the side of the Member for West Birmingham, and bad whispered that magic word "patience" into his ear, it might have saved all this hard work, all this turmoil, and all this waste of time. If only the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham had exercised a little patience, if he had reflected upon his past principles, if he had been satisfied to sit on the slopes of that mountain he so greatly admired, the political Parnassus whose greatness and splendour and glory he then said only increased as they receded, they would have been saved six years of hard work. But the further the right hon. Gentleman retreated—and God knew he was far enough—the less he now seemed to admire the qualities and the splendour of his old chief. Not so the Scottish people. They had had patience. They had fought through this fight. It was the Irish people who came over to the Scottish people—the Liberal Unionists were too busy, the Conservatives had their own affairs to attend to—but the Irish Members came among the Scottish people—those Protestants, he had almost said bigoted, but strict, strong, Calvinistic men, of strong Protestant faith, and great natural dislike of the Irish character and great natural dislike of Irish competition. These men had had the argument before them that, if Homo Rule were granted, the Irish labourers would come over; but it was the Scottish Presbyterian peasantry whom he had the honour to represent—hardly a single gentleman in his whole constituency was to be found 875 among his supporters. It was these people whom they found fighting for the Irish cause. These were the men who had to get over strong prejudices of race and religion. These were men who did not make up their minds readily; they thought over a question; and those were the men whom the hon. and gallant Gentleman wondered supported this policy. They had patience and faith in their principles, and they had loyalty to their chief. If the right hon. Member for West Birmingham had had those qualities and had helped the Radical Party instead of being satisfied with hating the name and the thing called coercion, he might have done much to remove the disgrace which attached to England as a Christian and a Constitutional country. He did not expect when he rose to move a single vote, but he trusted he had vindicated a nation. He appealed to his hon., learned, and gallant Friend (Mr. Barton) whether it was absolutely necessary for him to adopt the alternative to Home Rule which he had contemplated? Was there nothing else for it but the gallows? If he found himself in a hopeless minority, to-morrow, as he probably would, let him do this—let him join the majority. That was a course which was not found to be inexpedient by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had achieved the unique distinction among statesmen of having actually served the State in two successive and hostile Administrations. Let them consider the right hon. Gentleman's example and join the majority instead of landing themselves in gaol or ending their days in a premature grave. Let the Loyalists give a hand to their Catholic fellow-countrymen, lift them into loyalty, and help them to bring Ire- land, their common country, to a better and happier future.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Sir Henry James,)—put, and agreed to.
§ Debate further adjourned till Tomorrow.