§ Bill, as amended, further considered.
SIR H. JAMES (Bury, Lancashire) moved to insert after Clause 5 the following new Clause:—
(Transfer of certain powers and jurisdiction to the Lord Lieutenant.)
All the powers and jurisdiction to be exercised in accordance with the provisions of 'The Foreign Enlistment Act, 1870,' and 'The Fugitive Offenders Act, 1881,' by the Lord Lieutenant or Lord Justices, or other Chief Governor or Governors of Ireland, or the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, shall be exercised by the Lord Lieutenant in pursuance of instructions given by Her Majesty.
§ Clause brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ * THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir C. RUSSELL, Hackney, S.)
I have the authority of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to accept this new clause.
§ MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)
said, that in the eases referred to in the clause it was quite proper that the Lord Lieutenant should act as the Representative of Her Majesty: but he wished to ask whether, when the Lord Lieutenant was simply referred to, the Government had any objection to state in the Bill that on such case the Lord Lieutenant was acting on the advice of the Executive Committee of the Irish Privy Council?
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause added to the Bill.
§ SIR H. JAMES
rose to move the insertion of the following new Clause:—(Repeal of s. 16 of 21 & 22 Geo. 3, c. 11 (Irish Parliament).)That from and after the appointed day the powers conferred in the sixteenth section of the Act passed by the Irish Parliament in the Session held in the twenty-first and twenty-second years of the reign of George the Third, intituled 'An Act for the better securing the liberty of the subject,' shall not be exercised, and the said section shall be and is hereby repealed as and from the said appointed day.By the last clause of an Act passed by the Irish Parliament in 1781 power is given to the Lord Lieutenant by Proclamation to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland in cases of invasion or rebellion. That is a great power to be given to the Irish Executive. I do not wish to say anything of a controversial nature; but we have all gathered from these Debates that the protection of the Habeas Corpus Act is looked upon as most essential by the Loyalists of Ireland under Home Rule. Whenever we have suspended that Act in this country we always did it by the action of the Legislature, and not, so far as I know, by the action of the Executive. I do not know of any Statute of Great Britain which gives the Executive power to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act by Proclamation. The Executive Government in Ireland would be the judge whether there was an actual invasion or an actual rebellion. As regards the first, of course, there could be no doubt. Invasion could only happen in the case of war with a Foreign State. But rebellion is a different thing. Some may look upon a local riot as of great importance, and may conceive that it means rebellion. Then you may have a refusal to pay taxes, and it may be said that in that case also rebellion exists. We must contemplate the possibility of such things in Ireland; and if they did occur it would be the duty of the Lord Lieutenant to determine whether such a state of things amounted to rebellion, and, if so, to determine whether he would suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and so arrest any subject of the Queen he thinks proper. Though I speak of the Lord 1784 Lieutenant, inasmuch as such matters would be matters internal to Ireland, this power would really be in the hands of the Irish Executive alone. I presume that, constitutionally, the Lord Lieutenant would be bound to accept the advice of the Executive. We are, therefore, about to give to an Irish Ministry, which is at least untried, the power, if they think fit, to declare any part of Ireland in a state of rebellion, suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and arrest anyone they think proper. If this power does not exist in Great Britain, why should it exist in Ireland? [Nationalist cheers.] I know what that interruption means. But an Irish independent Parliament passed the Act in 1781.
MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)
It was not till 1782 that it became independent.
§ SIR H. JAMES
It was passed by the Irish Parliament. It was not the Parliament of the United Kingdom that passed it. I say it would be a dangerous thing to place this power in the hands of the Irish Executive. If it is necessary to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, the Irish Parliament will still have the power to suspend it by legislation. I do not object to its suspension, if good cause be shown; but I do most strongly object to giving to any Executive whatever the power to suspend it. I beg to move the Amendment.
§ Clause (Repeal of s. 16 of 21 & 22 Geo. 3, c. 11 (Irish Parliament,)—(Sir H. James,)—brought up, and road the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
I think the right hon. Gentleman is quite wrong in his Constitutional Law. He says that this Act can only be put in force by the Lord Lieutenant on the advice of the Irish Executive. Will that be so? Clearly not; because, at the time the Act was passed, the Irish Executive was not in existence, and the Lord Lieutenant can only have been advised in reference to it by the Imperial Executive. At the time the Act was passed the Imperial Executive alone advised the Lord Lieutenant. Is not 1785 that so? Am I to be told that there was an Irish Executive in 1781? The thing is absurd, and, therefore, it follows that the Lord Lieutenant acted under Imperial advice; and now the proposition is this: that this Bill is to be made the vehicle, in case of rebellion or invasion, of weakening the hands of the Imperial Executive, and that is the proposal of the Unionist Party! Let the country and the House understand this: Here is a power in the hands of the Imperial Executive—in the hands of the Imperial Parliament—in the case of open rebellion and open invasion; and the person who wants to weaken the hands of the Imperial Parliament in the case of rebellion and of the invasion of a Foreign Power is the ex-Attorney General of Her Majesty! It appears to me that a more remarkable proceeding has seldom emanated from that distinguished gentleman. I should have supposed that, in case of rebellion or invasion, the Party most anxious to come to the aid of Her Majesty's Government would have been the Unionist Party. No, Sir. The tables are suddenly turned. Who propose to be rebellious now? Do not we know very well the object which the right hon. Gentleman has in his mind? And what is it he says? he says that it might not amount to rebellion at all, and that the Lord Lieutenant might take it into his head that the loss of 50 or 60 lives only amounted to a riot and did nor amount to actual rebellion at all. What is rebellion? Is there any definition in the Books? Is it not a jury question? How is the matter to be decided? Let us assume that the Lord Lieutenant issues his Proclamation at a time when there is no rebellion in the country, and that some gentleman is taken up under the Proclamation. Am I to be told that that gentleman would lie stopped from pleading that there was no rebellion, and that he would not have his action? Really if such an extraordinary state of the law existed for over 100 years, what a pity it is that that abominable condition of the law was not called attention to before now! Is it to be contended that the Lord Lieutenant could issue his Warrant, and, there being no rebellion and no invasion, could put every member of the Orange Order into gaol, and that he would have a complete answer to an 1786 action? A more extraordinary and remarkable contention I have never heard, even from the Benches opposite, and it seems to me that this is the most remarkable Amendment which ever proceeded even from that quarter.
§ * MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
said, the lion, and learned Member was exceedingly confident in his knowledge of Constitutional Law; but his speech showed that he had not made any acquaintance with the wording of the Act of 1781. That Act, which was an Irish Act, used the words—The Chief Governor and the Privy Council of this Kingdom.and there was no question that the Privy Council referred to was the Privy Council of Ireland. The clause itself later on referred to "this Kingdom" and "Great Britain" as separate realms. The lion, and learned Member had not made himself in the slightest degree acquainted with the words of the section, and then expressed himself with the utmost contempt of his right lion, and learned Friend because he had. What would be the construction and meaning of those words supposing the Home Rule Bill were passed? What would be the "Privy Council of this Kingdom"? It would clearly be within the power of the Lord Lieutenant as the "Chief Governor" and the Privy Council of Ireland to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and, if that were done, no Judge or Justice, except on the authority of the Chief Governor, would be at liberty to release the person in custody. The Act of 1781 was a most absurd Act; nobody could defend it, and the question was whether such an absurd Act should remain on the Statute Book, with the possibility of its being put into operation. The same power did not exist in Great Britain; if the occasion arose, Parliament was summoned and the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended. Was there any greater need for maintaining such an Act in the case of Ireland? He-thought his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General and Her Majesty's Government would find great difficulty in defending its retention on the Statute Book.
MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)
said, he had not played into the hands of the Opposition by trespassing much in these Debates; but the ignorance of the right hon. Gentleman opposite was simply so 1787 amazing that he was bound to interfere. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir H. James), who was twice Attorney General for England, was so amazingly ignorant of the most ordinary facts of the Irish Constitutional Law that he told them with a flourish of trumpets that the Habeas Corpus Act was passed by an independent Irish Parliament. The independent Irish Parliament came into existence in 1782, and the Irish Habeas Corpus Act was passed in 1781. The Habeas Corpus Act was passed in England in 1679, and from 1679 till 1781 be believed there was not a single Session of the Irish Parliament in which the Irish Habeas Corpus Act was not proposed and negatived by the English Privy Council. In 1774 a Habeas Corpus Act precisely similar to the English Habeas Corpus Act was passed by the Irish Parliament, and sent over to the English Parliament, and it appeared from the letter sent with it by the Lord Lieutenant that it was at that time regarded as a solecism in polities to make the Constitution of a Colony the same as that of the Mother Country. The following words also appeared in the letter as showing the attitude towards the Catholics at the time:—The Catholics must be either admitted to the protection of the Habeas Corpus Act or excluded.At length in 1781, when the Irish Parliament was still a dependent Parliament, the Irish Habeas Corpus Act was passed, but the English Privy Council put into it this clause which was now being referred to. It was the work of the English Privy Council, and was simply put into the Act—as many such clauses were inserted in Bills—as an insult to the Irish Parliament. Once the Statute came back to Ireland the Irish Parliament had to take it or leave it. The Habeas Corpus Act as it was passed in England was nothing else than an exposition of the Common Law. If there was rebellion or invasion in the country, whether that Act existed or not, the Government would not be worth its salt which did not put down rebellion. Rebellion or treason or invasion were Imperial matters; and, therefore, under Home Rule the Irish Parliament would have nothing to do with this clause. It was not often that he spoke well or kindly of the Irish Judges, though perhaps 1788 sometimes he might feel kindly towards some of them; but in 1798 the Irish Judges withstood that Act. It was in the case of Mr. Wolfe Tone, to whom when he was arrested the Irish Judges granted the benefit of Habeas Corpus in spite of the Act. He could not congratulate the Opposition on having brought to their aid from the dark recesses of history a record of the iniquity of a past time.
§ MR. ROSS (Londonderry)
said, he was at a loss to understand what was the object of the hon. Member's fiery oration. The hon. Member had delivered a lecture on Irish Constitutional history, but what that had to do with the present serious question he failed to understand. This House was not a school for the enlightenment of hon. Members at the hands of learned Professors, but a Legislative Assembly. He failed to see how the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury (Sir H. James) was in error, because he gave the date of the Act, and the date or coming into existence of the Irish Parliament, which were exactly the same as the years given by the hon. and learned Member who had just sat down. Until this Act of Parliament was first mentioned by the right hon. Member for Bury, he, for one, was wholly unaware of it. Now he did know of it he was very much afraid of it, for it gave power by a stroke of the pen to suspend the liberties of every person in Ireland. The hon. and learned Member for Louth said that it would be a question for a jury as to whether an arrest under the Act in question was legal or not; but neither of the Law Officers on the Ministerial Bench had risen to corroborate the views of the hon. Member for Louth; and when the Act was looked at, it was clear that the Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council had an absolute discretion vested in them to see whether there existed a state of rebellion or invasion. It was equally clear that, as the Bill now stood, the Lord Lieutenant would be bound, in this matter, to act upon the advice of his Irish Ministers. This could not possibly be an Imperial matter. They had here an Act which, although it had never been used, the Irish Members were pressing hard to retain. They clung to it. They held on to every one of such woapons. Therefore, while the Irish Unionists still had an opportunity of making themselves 1789 heard, they emphatically expressed the opinion that this was a weapon which should not be intrusted to the hands of an Irish Executive. In his view the Amendment of his right hon. Friend was well founded and ought to be accepted by the Government.
§ MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)
said, he must submit that this Amendment limited the Imperial power in Ireland. It related to a matter of Executive power—namely, the authority of the Chief Governor of Ireland by Proclamation to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act in cases of invasion or rebellion. It was evident that when the Queen delegated the prerogative in Executive matters to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, there would be a distinction between Executive action arising out of Imperial questions and Executive action in the sense of the second clause, dealing with matters exclusively relating to Ireland or some part thereof. In the latter case the Executive authority would be exercised on the advice of the Committee of the Irish Privy Council, but in all other matters it was clear that the delegation to the Lord Lieutenant would instruct him to act upon the Imperial advice. Invasion was not a matter exclusively relating to "Ireland or some part thereof," nor was rebellion, because the effect of it might be to separate Ireland from the Imperial Crown, and, therefore, rebellion and invasion were so clearly Imperial matters that any Executive power delegated by the Queen to the Lord Lieutenant would be exercised upon the Imperial advice, notwithstanding the Statute of 1781. If the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman were carried, the effect of it would be that in the case of invasion or rebellion the prerogative would have disappeared, and the Lord Lieutenant would no longer have the power to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act by Proclamation. Instead of the Lord Lieutenant being able to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act on Imperial advice by Proclamation, the Imperial power to that extent would be limited in Ireland, and it would not be possible to deal with the subject of Habeas Corpus otherwise than by legislation.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON (Armagh, Mid)
thought the House did not realise what was the meaning of this extraordi- 1790 nary section, which certainly surprised those who found it still on the Statute Book. It was to be found in the last edition of the Revised Statutes—the edition of 1885. No such power as that given by the section existed in Great Britain, or would be tolerated in Great Britain, and no such power had been exercised; but they now knew from the attitude of hon. Members that they wished to keep the power. The hon. Member for North Kerry had, in his opinion, shown that it ought to be repealed. Mr. Grattan was called to Order in the Debate in the Irish Parliament for protesting against the section. The hon. Member said the tables wore turned; yes, and men who formerly shouted for liberty wore now shouting for coercion. Let not the Government say that this Statute had been repealed by implication. If it had been repealed, let the Government point out when and where. He appealed to the Government that an enactment which their own supporters said was an iniquity should not be allowed to remain on the Statute Book.
§ COLONEL WARING (Down, N.)
considered the House was entitled to some answer from the Government as to whether this Act was obsolete or not. Surely, if this Act was repealed it was right it should be distinctly stated. At any rate, they were entitled to know whether such an iniquitous Act was to remain in force or not.
§ * THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir RIGBY,) Forfar
I think, on the whole question of habeas corpus, there exists considerable misapprehension. In Ireland the liberty of the subject does not depend on the Irish Act in question alone; it depends, in a much wider degree, on the Imperial Statute of 1816, which preserves in all cases—at any rate, that are not of a criminal or of a supposed criminal nature—the absolute rights of all the inhabitants of Ireland, subjects of Her Majesty. True it is that this particular Act of 1781 corresponds to a great extent with our earlier Act of Charles II., passed in the 31st year of that King. It deals with criminal matters, and, among other things, the important criminal matters of rebellion and the state of things arising in the case of an invasion. Now, as regards the case of rebellion or the case of invasion it may be quite 1791 right and proper that there should be prompt means of dealing with such a state of things as might probably arise when there is a rebellion and when there is an invasion. A rebellion breaks out suddenly; invasion comes when you least expect it, and in these cases it may be desirable to act at once. At any rate, the retention of that Act of 1781 would leave to its full operation the Habeas Corpus Act of 1816, which is by far the most important of this series of Acts, and would not allow such an interference as is supposed with the case of the ordinary subject. The latter part of the clause, which the right hon. Member for Bury did not read to the House, goes on to say—No Judge shall admit to bail or try persons who are suspected of being concerned or are charged with being concerned in such invasion or rebellion,so that this Amendment is put forward on behalf of persons who are charged with rebellion and invasion and nothing else. Of course, I know the charge may afterwards be disproved, but it is only when a man is charged with rebellion or invasion that any harm can arise from this provision in the Act of 1781. It does appear to me that when the ordinary subjects of Her Majesty have the full protection of the Act of 1816, referring to all civil cases, the ordinary liberty of the subject being expressly reserved by that, there can be no hardship at all in leaving on the Statute Book a clause which simply deals with rebellion and invasion.
§ SIR E. WEBSTER (Isle of Wight)
I must say that I can understand the hesitation on the Treasury Bench. If my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General—for whose great learning and ability he knows I have the greatest admiration—had no other case than that he put before the House as a justification for the retention on the Statute Book of this section, I am not surprised that there was hesitation on the part of the Government in allowing that case to be put forward. There is much more importance in this matter than appears in the mere form of the question or discussion as it is treated on the Treasury Bench. Aye or no, do they say that this Statute is repealed? Is it repealed by implication or not? Is it repealed expressly or not? Neither 1792 of my hon. and learned Friends will say it is repealed expressly. If they do, there would be an end of the discussion. They have not been able to say it is repealed by implication; and if it had been it would be the strongest argument in favour of the right hon. Member for Bury (Sir H. James), because a repeal of this kind of Statute by implication is what the Courts disapprove of and what the Judges will say ought not to take place. I now come to a part of the Solicitor General's argument which strikes me as being most deplorable. He says the Act is of no account. Why? Because he says that the protection of the liberty of the subject is much better safeguarded by the Act of 1816—which for this purpose I will assume, of course, to apply to Ireland as well as to Great Britain—than it is by the Act we are now asked to deal with. Does my hon. and learned Friend suggest, having read the Act of 1816, that that Act either touched the present subject-matter, or purported to touch it? What happened is this: The Act of 1816 was passed for the simple reason which no lawyer will dispute when I have stated the point. Habeas corpus with regard to criminal proceedings was not touched; but it being found there was delay in the matter of issuing the writ of habeas corpus in civil proceedings, it was suggested that, notwithstanding the Vacation and the fact that the Courts were not sitting, the Judges should be ordered peremptorily and immediately to issue a writ of habeas corpus in civil proceedings, and I say, subject to correction from either of my learned Friends, that the Act of 1816 does not touch the subject-matter of the Act of 1781.
§ SIR J. RIGBY
said, he distinctly stated that the Act of 1781 dealt with criminal matters, whilst the other Act applied to civil cases, and he then went on to point out that the only people who could be affected by the existing clause would be those who were charged with rebellion, or with being concerned in rebellion or invasion.
§ SIR R. WEBSTER
I may not have expressed myself as clearly as I wished but accepting the lucid explanation of the Solicitor General, what was the object of referring to the Act of 1816 as affording protection to persons in respect of the Habeas Corpus Act? I under- 1793 stood his argument was this: "You need not mind about, this obsolete Statute standing in the Statute Book; there is no reason why it should not, because loyal subjects in Ireland have simple protection under the Act of 1816." If that argument had been sound, we might have had a case to meet. We have, at any rate, elicited this: that from the point of view of the discussion in which we are engaged, the Act of 1816 may be put out of the question. It does not touch the case of persons who would be charged with quasi-criminal offences, or criminal offences under the Act of 1781. I dismiss the Act of 1816 and the case made by the learned Solicitor General by saying it was frankly admitted it was applied and limited to civil proceedings. That being so, we come now to the terms of the Act itself, and I again ask the Law Officers of the Crown what justification they have got for retaining this particular section? That is the case we have got to consider. We have not got to consider the argument as to whether there be some loophole out of it. Solicitor General said that a man might be charged, but that afterwards the charge might be disproved. Yes, but the mischief is done. The unfortunate man has been kept in prison a fortnight or a month, or a much longer time, because he cannot get six Members of the Privy Council to direct a Judge to bail him. The answer the Solicitor General has given—namely, that, upon the facts and merits there may be a defence, shows the abuse the section may be put to in the hands of persons who were determined to use it, not for the purpose of dealing with cases of invasion or rebellion, properly so called, but in other cases in which it might be employed. The hon. Member for Kerry raised a point which I do not think the Members of the Government will be prepared to endorse. He said, for the purposes of this section, rebellion and invasion must be Imperial matters, and that there is amply sufficient protection under Clause 5 of the Bill, as it is now proposed; therefore, we need not discuss the matter further at all. But I cannot altogether assent to the view that rebellion, in the sense in which it would be understood by hon. Members below the Gangway, would necessarily be an Im- 1794 perial matter. It must be remembered that this kind of enactment would be made use of in times of excitement, when men's judgments would not, perhaps, be so calm and clear as the judgment of the Solicitor General, when he made the best defence he could make for the Government on the present Amendment. But I want to know, when we come to look at the real merits of this clause, does the Prime Minister think that if his view of the future of Ireland is right there could be the slightest possible justification for enacting such a clause as this? And I want to know if this clause is now being insisted upon, how is it they do not propose, either by some Act, or even in this Act, that this clause should be extended to the United Kingdom? for I must say I fail to observe why this particular engine—obsolete, it is admitted, and not used for 90 years—is to be kept in store for the possible claims of the Irish Executive and the Irish Privy Council. There must be a grave question if this Act passes as to who are the Chief Governors or Governors for the time being; but the right hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Courtney) absolutely disposed of the suggestion that "Kingdom" did not mean Ireland. It is perfectly plain in that section that "Kingdom" does there mean Ireland. I want to know what "Privy Council" means? I submit it is open to doubt; and if there is any doubt it is sufficient for our purpose, and this matter ought to be placed beyond the shadow of a doubt. I rely upon the latter part of the section as showing the paramount necessity for a repeal of this enactment. Granted that the question of invasion may possibly be a matter which must be so pronounced that it must be taken as an Imperial matter; it is not merely on the proclamation of rebellion, but after that event has taken place that—No Judge or Justice of the Peace shall bail or try any person or persons charged with being concerned in such invasion or rebellion, without the Order of the Lord Lieutenant or Deputy or Privy Council of this Kingdom.Hon. Members below the Gangway have not been slow to indicate what might be done in certain circumstances with reference to the Loyalists of Ulster, and I am quite unable to understand why this obsolete weapon is to be placed in the hands of the Irish Government to be em- 1795 ployed in all probability against the personal liberty of subjects in Ireland. I began by saying I was not surprised at the hesitation on the Government Bench. It may be, before this Debate is over, we may have some other defence; but I cannot help thinking that if there be no better case, the virtue of necessity may be accepted at once, and the repeal of this clause accepted also.
§ * SIR C. RUSSELL
In the speech of my hon. and learned Friend, as, indeed, in all the speeches—even the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Courtney)—there has been a great tone of exaggeration, and the importance of this question has been most unduly magnified. And, Sir, in reference to one concluding observation of my hon. and learned Friend who has just spoken, let me remind him that this is not a question of a new enactment, or of some fresh provision of stringency; but it is a question of whether an existing law, which is on the Statute Book and whose authority might at any moment by existing Governments be invoked, shall or shall not be repealed. It is not, therefore, a question of a provision of a restrictive character, but whether there are sufficient grounds for sweeping away an authority and power which, rightly used in a case of sudden emergency, may be of great importance in the preservation of the public peace. I say that the extent and importance of this question are greatly exaggerated. It does not touch the general protection that the Law of Habeas Corpus gives. It deals with two cases, and two cases only—namely, cases of rebellion and cases of invasion, and it provides that in such eases—[Mr. MATTHEWS dissented.] Does the right hon. Gentleman challenge that statement.
§ MR. MATTHEWS (Birmingham, E.)
Certainly I challenge it. The latter part refers to two cases only, but the suspension of the Act applies to all cases.
§ * SIR C. RUSSELL
The right hon. Gentleman, I am afraid, has only hastily read it. It provides that—It shall be lawful for the Chief Governors or Governor for the time being and the Privy Council of this Kingdom to suspend this (Habeas Corpus) Act by Proclamation under the Great Seal of this Kingdom during such time" (and during such time only); "as there shall be actual rebellion or invasion in this Kingdom or Great Britain.1796 Therefore, they cannot suspend it by Proclamation except in case of invasion or rebellion. Of course, if they suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, they suspend it. I am dealing with cases in which they could suspend it—namely, cases of rebellion and invasion; and, having suspended it, the result is this: That—No Judge or Justice of the Peace shall bail or try any persons or person" (that is, during such time only) "who is charged with being concerned in such invasion or rebellion.But even in such cases there may be an Order of the Lord Lieutenant or Deputy and Privy Council of the Kingdom, who may, notwithstanding that provision, admit the person so charged to bail; so that the authority of the Act can only be invoked in the two cases of actual invasion and rebellion. The suspension can only continue during the continuance of such invasion or rebellion, and persons charged with offences relating to invasion and rebellion may be bailed by the Order of the Lord Lieutenant, or Deputy, or Privy Council. I say, therefore, that the scope and extent of the section, and, therefore, the gravity and importance of the question, are from any point of view greatly exaggerated. Now I wish to turn to another point referred to, oddly enough I am surprised to say, by my learned Friend who has just spoken. He said that invasion would involve an offence against the Crown. Of course, no one can doubt that. My learned Friend went on to say that what hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway would consider rebellion would not be rebellion within the meaning of the Act.
§ SIR R. WEBSTER
I was dealing solely with the question of what were Imperial matters. I discussed it from the point of view whether it would be an Imperial matter.
§ * SIR C. RUSSELL
Does my right hon. Friend suggest that rebellion against the Crown is not an Imperial matter? Does he suggest that it can be anything but an Imperial matter, or that there can be any rebellion which is not against the Crown? I want to know, is there any lawyer or anyone else who can say there can be rebellion which is anything else but rebellion against the Crown? Very well, that being so we find that we are immediately face to face with subject-matters as to which the Irish Legislative Body have no power to legislate—either 1797 as to offences of treason or offences of that character. Then what are the steps that must be taken before the authority of this Act and the Proclamation itself can take place? The events are events of sudden emergency calling for prompt and specific and adequate remedy on the spot, and dealing with offences against the Crown. That being the state of the case, I do not stop to consider whether, according to the construction of this Act, the Lord Lieutenant could—I think he could—with the assent of the Irish Privy Council, issue a Proclamation suspending the Act—I do not stop to dwell upon that, but I say in practice and in fact it is impossible to consider that the Representative of the Crown in Ireland in such circumstances could act, or would act, except upon the responsibility of the Imperial Executive; therefore, I think the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for North Kerry (Mr. Sexton), was one which well merited, and ought to have, the attention of the House. I may remind hon. Members that the House has decided more than once that it leaves these matters of criminal procedure to be dealt with by the Irish Legislative Body subject to what we conceive to be sufficient checks and safeguards to be found in the Bill itself; therefore, it would be within the competence of the Irish Legislative Body, if so advised, and with the assent of the Lord Lieutenant, to pass a Bill in the sense in which this Act of 1781 now speaks, and speaks with the authority of a long existing Statute. I submit to the judgment of the House that, although it must be admitted that this is not a provision that exists in the law relating to England, and probably would not now be enacted in the case of Ireland by Parliament, the question is whether a sufficiently strong case is made out in the circumstances and in view of the suggestions I have made to justify the House in repealing that which is already on the Statute Book? In truth, the question raised by the Amendment is of small practical importance.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (Manchester, E.)
It is to be admitted that the gentlemen on the Treasury Bench are good men struggling with adversity. They have, I suppose, had many bad cases to defend in the course of this Bill, and they have been put to very strange shifts in defending them; but never till the pre- 1798 sent time have they had so bad a case, and never have the shifts to which they have been put been more eccentric and extraordinary. Let me remind the House that what we are dealing with at the present moment is a Statute which has never been put in force since the Union, which, by the confession of everybody, is an abridgment of liberty, or involves an abridgement of liberty, and which throws into the hands of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland the power to abrogate the Habeas Corpus Act for the whole of that country and for every inhabitant of that country. The learned Gentleman, I think, rather shifted his ground towards the end of his speech; but during the first part he appeared to suppose the Act was only suspended in the case of people who committed rebellion or abetted invasion, or who were charged with these two offences; and the learned Solicitor General, to whom I shall have to refer, turned round to us and said—"Do you mean to come forward and suggest an amendment of the law in favour of those who commit rebellion or who abet invasion?" The Habeas Corpus Act can, no doubt, only be suspended if, in the opinion of the Lord Lieutenant, there is rebellion or there is invasion; but that is to be judged by the Lord Lieutenant, and the Lord Lieutenant alone. The question now before us is whether we are to give to the new Government in Ireland, whose action we have thought it right, to fetter and to limit in every direction because we think it might abuse it, power which we ourselves have not got in Great Britain and which no Government would dare to ask this House for. I hope the House understands the position. Let us now see the defence of the policy of the Government, which has been put forward by various Members. To the hon. and learned Member for Louth I need not allude, because lie made his defence without having apparently read the Act. Then came the hon. and learned Member for North Kerry—not learned, though, indeed, he is ingenious enough to succeed in any Court of Law in the United Kingdom. The Member for North Kerry came forward to rescue the Government and to supply the Attorney General with an apology—the main apology—for the argument with which 1799 he has favoured the House on this occasion. The argument is that rebellion and invasion are Imperial matters, and that, because they are Imperial matters, they are outside the purview of the Irish Government.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
We are not now dealing with the Legislature. We are dealing with the Executive Government. For that reason it is argued that the power of putting this anomalous and antiquated Act in force would rest with the British, as distinguished from the Irish, Government. Is there any proof of that? We profess to be passing an Act for the peace, order, and good government of Ireland; but, apparently those who are to be responsible for the peace, order, and good government of Ireland are not to be responsible for rebellion. They are to have nothing to do with it; they must not legislate about it; they must not deal with it, either in their Legislative or Executive capacity. But let me remind the hon. Member for Kerry that his argument goes further than probably he supposes; for if what he says be true, in the case of a rising in Ulster the Irish Legislature would have nothing whatever to do with suspending the Habeas Corpus Act.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
But criminal procedure with regard to an Imperial matter is, according to the hon. Member, outside the power of the Irish Legislature. It is difficult enough to distinguish between Imperial affairs and purely Irish affairs; but if you are going to give to an Irish Executive the responsibility of looking after the peace, order, and good government of Ireland, and if you are not going to include within the peace, order, and good government of Ireland the power to deal with rebellion, I should like to know what power you do leave them? I pass with pleasure from the arguments of the hon. Member for Kerry to deal with the speech of the Solicitor General. I have had reason upon previous occasions rather to complain of that learned Gentleman for dealing with questions, and which I thought broad political matters, in the spirit of the learned lawyer, raising mere technical objections, when he might have dealt with the questions in the broad spirit of the states- 1800 man. But the present speech is quite different. There were no petty technicalities about it. There were no small legal objections taken to our suggestion that we should abolish this Irish Act of 1781. The hon. and learned Gentleman approached the question as a statesman and a politician. He said—"Don't abolish the Act. It is a good Act; I like it: keep it on the Statute Book." I suppose the learned Gentleman will bring in a Bill to extend this admirable Act to England and Scotland. The learned Gentleman likes it. It deals only with traitors and rebels. What mercy does the law allow to traitors and rebels? None. We have been accustomed to talk of the liberties and rights of the subject, but the man who is charged with rebellion and abetting invasion is outside the pale of English liberty and law, and must be treated as the most arbitrary Foreign Government treats the least loyal of its subject population. That may be very good policy, but I am surprised to hear it from the mouth of a gentleman of approved Radical convictions. I am surprised to hear it from the mouth of one of the spokesmen of an anti-Coercionist Government, and I should like to know, does the Prime Minister share the enthusiasm which burns and glows in the generous frame of the Solicitor General? I suppose the Government are going to adhere to the absurd position they have taken up. The only conjecture which I can throw out to the House as giving even a plausible explanation of their astonishing conduct is that this Act was passed when Ireland had an independent Parliament.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It was passed, at all events, before the Union. It was passed when there was a Legislative Assembly sitting in College Green, and when, therefore, some few of the blessings which the right hon. Gentleman hopes to confer on Ireland by this Bill were enjoyed by that unhappy country. Though the Act was not passed by Grattan's Parliament, I am not aware that Grattan's Parliament showed any special objection to it.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, they did not repeal it. The Act has never been put into operation since the Union; 1801 and, therefore, I am driven to the sap-position that the application of this Act is one of the grievances and injustices which the Union inflicted on Ireland, and which the right hon. Gentleman desires to restore. For 93 years Ireland has been deprived of the blessing of having her Habeas Corpus Act suspended at the will of the Executive Government. Let that state of things come to an end, and let us restore the happy condition of affairs before 1800. Let us give the Irish a Parliament to sit in College Green, and then these hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway can exercise in Ireland, or advise the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to exercise, powers which Ave in England would no more give to the Executive Government than we would abolish the Habeas Corpus Act itself. I think the Government must feel that the course they have pursued was the strongest commentary upon the limitations put upon the Irish Parliament. They have always complained of us for thinking it possible that the powers granted to Ireland might be abused. The Prime Minister has never been weary of informing us that we credit hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway with a double dose of original sin. Well, even take the other theory—what has been called the angelic theory—is it too much to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is willing to give them a power which he would not dare to ask for himself, or for the Executive authority, in this country; to give to the Irish Executive the right at any moment on their own judgment and on their own interpretation of the facts of the case, to deprive every single subject of Her Majesty in Ireland of that which we all believe to be the most precious birthright of Englishmen?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I am sorry that I was precluded from following the late Attorney General, because after hearing the speeches of my hon. Friend the Member for Kerry and my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General I had arrived at the point of view that there was no occasion to make this a matter of division between the two sides of the House. But the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in the remarks he has made has done nothing but try to throw difficulties in our way. He has done nothing but follow the 1802 course usual with those sitting on the opposite side of the House—I do not include the late Attorney General, whose whole argument was such as might properly be addressed to the House—the right hon. Gentleman has cast into the Debate every provocative and exasperating element. I admit no syllable of what the right hon. Gentleman has said about the position of the Government, and much less the extravagant and misrepresenting account he has given of the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General. I cast out of this discussion all considerations of an angry and controversial character which the right hon. Gentleman has done his best to introduce into it for the purpose of poisoning the Debate. I have done with the right hon. Gentleman and mean to address myself to the question, and therefore not the question as it has been treated by the right hon. Gentleman. To him it will seem strange and incredible, but it is nevertheless a fact, that the Government are anxious, in looking at the second Amendment of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bury, to treat it in the same spirit as we treated the first. The first was more easy to master than the second, and we accepted it, intercepting even the speech the right hon. and learned Gentleman would perhaps have been glad to deliver, and Ave, of course, ready to hear. That was the spirit in which Ave desired to approach the second Amendment. It was not easy, at any rate, for me, being the person greatly responsible for this Bill, and not having the advantage of a legal training and knowledge, to obtain the clear view of the law as it stands, for which I am indebted to the Law Officers of the Crown. I admit that there were in my mind two presumptions adverse to the Amendments. As to the first I thought—Here is a question on two Irish Acts not easy to master on its merits; are we, having been led for 70 odd days through the ambages of this Bill, by the ingenuity of the hon. Gentlemen who form the two sections of the Opposition, to be led into a fresh hopeless impasse—namely, this: that it is our duty to review the Statute Book of Ireland, and our duly to form an opinion upon the provisions found in that Statute Book, and our duty to repeal in this Act everything Ave are not prepared on principle to de- 1803 fend? I am not ashamed to say—and I do not think the House will be displeased to hear it—that, in my opinion, that was an absurd proposition; and I do not want, if I can avoid it, to be led into the defile of a new Thermopylæ. From day to day and week to week, in the course of these discussions, there have been raised, in the aggregate, scores of questions, always with the declaration on the part of the speaker that the point he was about to raise was, perhaps, the most important of all. It did not signify whether the point was the size of a mountain or the size of a mouse. This has been the habitual and invariable practice. On that ground, therefore, I had a presumption against the Amendment. These things come up rapidly, and we have not time for full consultation on the subject; but I admit that I had a presumption against the Amendment, and it will be admitted it was perhaps not unnatural. I had another difficulty. It was that the Amendment touched on a purely Irish matter, a matter which it would be most equitable and most considerate for this Parliament to leave to the Irish Parliament. I do not ask the Leader of the Opposition to accompany me in that statement. He is justified in looking at me as I look at him—under the influence of an inveterate and blinding prejudice. But I had that impression. It was my first impression that this was a matter that ought to be left to the judgment of the Irish Parliament. We have shown, I hope, that we intended to act loyally by that Parliament. We have debated the whole subject of the legislative power of that Parliament to deal even with the great and solemn subject of the habeas corpus. But as regards this question, applying all your magnifying glasses to it, you cannot extend it very much beyond the dimensions of what is called an animalcule. It was a small affair. It is a question of a particular provision existing on the Irish Statute Book, with regard to which, although, as my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General has most properly shown, it may be beneficially used on certain occasions, yet it is not defended on its merits in the sense of saying that if it did not exist, and if it was a question of passing it, we would be ready to support and defend it. It is a matter of some interest to consider what is the 1804 history of this Statute. I do not say that we know it exactly, but I know this: that during the last half of the last century—I do not speak to the right hon. Member for Bodmin, who said that I knew nothing about Ireland, so that I will beg my right hon. Friend to shut his ears.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The statement admits of little qualification. What was the history of the Irish Parliament during the latter half of the last century? No doubt it was a Body subject to enormous and almost enslaving influence, largely tainted, through English influence and through the incessant action of the English Executive, by pecuniary corruption. Yet such was the virtue of the representative principle that that Parliament was a patriotic Parliament, and it began in the time of Mr. Lucas, and it carried steadily forward, according to its limited means of operation, a crusade of liberty, partly against the influence of the aristocracy—which I admit had the national spirit—and, above all, against the crushing power of what was called the Protestant ascendency, with which I by no means identify the Irish aristocracy of the last century, and against the English Government which inspired and sustained that Protestant ascendency. Therefore came the long battle of the Octennial Bill. No better instance could be found in any piece of Parliamentary history of a gallant struggle, maintained and won with forces apparently slender, against an overwhelming host, in opposition. Long was the fight for the Septennial Bill. At last, when the English Government gave way, they had not the grace to give way without making a change, so the Septennial Bill, in a tyrannical and narrow spirit, was changed into an Octennial Bill. It is permissible to construe a later series of incidents by examining the character of a former series. Perhaps it cannot be demonstrated, but it is agreeable to all analogy, that the Act for introducing into Ireland the privilege of the habeas corpus in 1781, when Poyning's law was still in force, was duo to the same gallant national spirit that had carried the Octennial Act. That is how I read Irish history. But the power in the Irish Act is not one I am disposed to cling to. It 1805 was not the right hon. Gentleman the I Leader of the Opposition that converted me. I was converted by two speeches, one of which he censured, while of the other he took no notice at all—that of the hon. Member for North Kerry. [Opposition laughter.] What! will you not allow the hon. Member for North Kerry to convert me to your views? That is really most astonishing. Do allow the hon. Member for Kerry, at all events, that degree of liberty. I entertain a shrewd suspicion that if the hon. Member were to make a speech that entirely coincided with your views and feelings, you would give him just as enthusiastic cheers as you now awarded, not from inveterate love of the individual, to the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain). The hon. Member for North Kerry argued—and argued boldly—that this matter of exception from the right of habeas corpus made by the proclamation of the Executive Government is, and must be, an Imperial matter. I confess I think there is very great force in that statement. The Attorney General took particular notice of that statement, and he arrived at a conclusion which was not quite the same as that arrived at by the late Attorney General. I do not say it in a controversial spirit, but I think my hon. and learned Friend absolutely demonstrated that this is an Imperial matter; that foreign invasion is war, and as war it is shut out from the powers of the Irish Legislature; that rebellion is rebellion against the Crown; and that proclaimed rebellion striking at the very heart and centre of the Government is likewise war levied against the Queen, and is distinctly and indisputably an Imperial matter. As I listened to the argument of the Attorney General, I was confirmed in my acceptance of what has been said by the hon. Member for North Kerry. My hon. and learned Friend has so entirely cut the ground from beneath the feet of myself and the Chief Secretary that we feel we cannot carry out our desire to leave this matter to the Irish Legislature. The Government are now convinced that the matter is beyond the cognisance of the Irish Legislature, and I think the best course is to do what we have done in relation to the supremacy, and what we have done to the best of our ability upon every occasion 1806 without exception on every Amendment and every clause that has been proposed during the course of the Bill, and that is to accept it unless there is a good case against it. In that manner we wish to deal with the Amendment of my right hon. Friend, and we shall consequently not oppose it.
§ * MR. BLAKE (Longford, S.)
I heartily rejoice to hear the conclusion at which the right hon. Gentleman has arrived. I think there can be no doubt whatever as to the true interpretation of this clause which it is sought to have added to the Bill. There can lie no doubt whatever that the offences are Imperial offences, and that by one mode or the other, cither by the train of reasoning suggested by my hon. Friend beside me (Mr. Sexton) or that suggested by the Attorney General, it is plainly made impossible to conclude that, with reference to invasion or to rebellion, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland could, in his position under this Bill, act upon the advice of the Irish Executive. But, Sir, whether he acts upon the advice of the Irish Executive or not, or whether the question to be tried is a question of rebellion, or that minor question of Ulster resistance which has really given rise to this proposed clause, I equally resist, from my point of view, the maintenance upon the Statute Book of this authority, as opposed to the spirit of liberty, as putting Ireland in an inferior position to the Sister Island, and as imposing a mark of degradation on her which I do not believe she deserves. Sir, if from these Benches that proposition which has now been accepted by the Government had been made, if the proposal had been made which has fortunately been made from the opposite and unsuspected Benches, that the arbitrary power which has remained since before the Union in the hands of the Executive, capable of being used upon emergency, and which still so remains, should now be taken away, we should at once have been told that we wore anticipating the separatist tendencies of the Bill, that we wanted to pave the way for them to make it easier to rebel and to accept the embraces of the invader. I rejoice to receive this testimony from the Liberal Unionist and Conservative Benches that the security which has existed upon the Statute Book against rebellion in Ireland and 1807 against invasion in Ireland up to this date may be appropriately and with safety removed coincidently with the granting of self-government to Ireland.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause added to the Bill.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
The next new clause is out of Order—namely:—Lord George Hamilton—Page 2, after Clause 3, insert the following Clause;—"The Irish Legislature shall not have power to pass Resolutions, or discuss any question affecting the Navy, Army, Militia, Volunteers, and any other military force, permanent military force, permanent military camps, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings, unless the assent of the Lord Lieutenant has been previously obtained.The new clause following is outside the scope of the Bill—namely:—Mr. Maclure—Page 5, after Clause 8, insert the following Clause:—"In elections for the Irish Legislature, women who possess the qualifications which entitle men to vote shall be equally entitled with men to be registered and to vote.And the clause following would be more appropriately moved as an Amendment to Clause 3—namely;—Sir John Gorst—To insert the following Clause:—"Unless and until Parliament shall otherwise determine the Irish Legislature shall not have power to make laws in respect to the following matters:—The first new clause in Order is that in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury.
- (i.) The hours and conditions of labour of persons employed in factories, workshops, and mines;
- (ii.) Bills of exchange and promissory notes."
§ SIR H. JAMES
said, he rose to move in page o, after Clause 9, to insert the following Clause:—(Register of electors.)After the appointed day there shall in every constituency be a separate register—It was possible that the Government might have had their attention brought to 1808 this matter, and might be of opinion that this Amendment, too, might be a good addition to the Bill. His object in bringing forward the clause was to call attention to the great discrepancy that would exist if this Bill were passed as it stood between the power of voting which would be conferred by the Bill on the Irish electors, and that which would remain in the hands of the British electors. There were two points of view from which the Amendment could be considered:—In the first place, from the point of view of the right to vote of the British and Irish voter; and, in the second place, from the point of view of the effect it would have in Ireland, and on the different class of voters existing in that country. Of course, this Bill did not touch the British elector at all; and, therefore, he would remain possessed of his present power to vote for a Member of the Imperial Parliament in respect of one qualification. He understood there were many hon. Members in the House who desired equality as regarded voting power, and who thought that the possessor of one qualification and the possessor of many qualifications should each have only one vote. He was accepting the view of the Liberal Party for a moment, and was making a special appeal to Members of that Party to extend that principle of equality of voting power to every voter of the United Kingdom. This had been the principle that the Government had been urging during the whole conduct of the Bill. They had chided their opponents when they had asked for different electoral laws as between Ireland and Great Britain. The other night, on the subject of illiterate voters in Ireland, the Government told the Opposition—"You have made out a case for altering the privilege given to illiteracy in Ireland; but we cannot carry out the change unless it is applied to the United Kingdom, because there must be equality alike in the case of privilege and abolition of privilege throughout the Three Kingdoms." Well, let them carry that principle into effect now. Why should the Government refuse to give equality of voting power in Great Britain and Ireland? How could they defend proposals that would give an enormous preponderance of this voting power to the Irish elector as compared with the power exercised by the 1809 elector in Great Britain? Would the House mark what would be the voting power which would be exercised by the Irish elector? He would, in the first place, possess the same voting as that which the British elector would possess. He would record his vote for a Member of the Imperial Parliament, and in that respect England and Ireland would be on equal terms. But what voting power would the Irish elector possess besides? He would have a right to vote for the Irish Legislature, and in some constituencies he would vote for three Members for the Irish Assembly. He would, therefore, in those constituencies have the power of returning 1–34th of the whole Assembly, and if he had a £20 qualification he would get another vote, and would have power to return 1–48th of the Legislative Council. Consequently for one qualification he would have power to give three Parliamentary votes; and, instead of being allowed to vote for only one Member of Parliament, he would be allowed to vote for five Members. Was that equality? On what principle was this voting power given to Ireland and withheld from Great Britain? Was it on the ground of superior intelligence? That had already been met by the proof of the illiteracy in Ireland and the extent to which it existed. Was it on the ground of superior loyalty, or of greater interest in all that concerned this country and this Empire? He knew of no reason for giving this superiority to Irish voters unless it was the necessity of the Bill, and because the Government desired to carry Home Rule into effect. Well, if they wished to carry it into effect, they should do so on sound lines. They should not do it by creating anomalies, and an absurd superiority of one part of the United Kingdom over another. A great many who thought on those matters were of opinion that the end of attaining Home Rule did not justify the means in the shape of putting such powers as these into the hands of one body of men. There was no argument for had inequality, unless it was said that in Great Britain the elector had the right of voting at County Council elections. But a County Council was only a Local Body, and he assumed that the Irish Legislature would establish similar Local Bodies in Ireland for which the Irish elector would vote. 1810 If he was told that it was necessary to give this power to the Irish elector, in view of the fact that these Legislative Bodies were created, then he maintained that it demonstrated the absurdity of Home Rule altogether. When they came to consider the Irish aspect of the case he admitted that there was more difficulty in dealing with the clause: but the question of the effect of the proposal under the £20 qualification on Nationalists and Unionists he would leave to be discussed by the Irish Members, who would, naturally, be more qualified to speak on the matter than he was. It was upon the enormous superiority which would be given to the Irish elector that he desired to take his stand. It might be necessary to keep three registers, or to use three columns in the one register. The elector would be free to choose for which Assembly he would record his vote.
and no elector shall be entitled to be placed on more than one of such registers in respect of one and the same qualification: Provided that every elector may select the register which his name shall be placed.
- (1) of the electors of Councillors of the Legislative Council;
- (2) of the electors of the Members of Legislative Assembly; and
- (3) of the electors of Members of Parliament;
§ Clause (Register of Electors,)—(Sir H. James,)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ THE CHANCELLOR Of THE EXCHEQUER (Sir W. HARCOURT,) Derby
said, he confessed that when he saw the Amendment on the Paper he was at a loss to understand its object. He gathered from the right hon. and learned Gentleman that it was to exhibit the absurdity of Homo Rule. Well, he had no doubt that, from the right hon. Gentleman's point of view, that was an adequate object; but it was not an adequate object from the point of view of the Government. He regarded the proposal as absurd. The right hon. Gentleman proposed that an elector who voted for a Member of the Irish Parliament should not vote for a Representative at Westminster. That might be extremely convenient for the Irish Unionists, for the Nationalists would, naturally, vote for Members of the Irish Assembly; they would be disqualified, for voting for Members of the Imperial Parliament, and that would give the Unionists the opportunity of electing all the Irish Representatives at Westminster. That was hardly a proposal the right hon. and learned Member could expect the Government to accept. The right 1811 hon. Gentleman had said that to give the Irish elector the power to elect Members of the Irish House of Commons and for the Irish House of Lords would be to give him au enormous advantage over the elector of the United Kingdom. But, as a logical result of his proposition, why did he not say that au Englishman should vote for the House of Lords? He was glad to see the right hon. Gentleman entertaining such advanced views—because he considered it an enormous advantage to the Irish elector that he should be able to vote for a Second Chamber. But the Government could not accept the Amendment, which he could hardly treat as serious, when it proposed that, because an Irish elector had a vote for a Representative to look after his local and domestic interests, he should not have a voice in the election of a Member to look after his Imperial interests. He did not think it worth while occupying the time of the House in discussing the proposal.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
did not think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was justified in disposing of the Amendment so cavalierly as he had done. He confessed he shared a little the view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer which led him to object to the Irish elector being deprived of a vote for the Imperial Parliament because he had a vote for the Irish Parliament, because, so far as they had succeeded in distinguishing between the business which was to be carried on in the two Parliaments, undoubtedly there were two interests in which every individual ought to have a share. It was right that he should have a vote for the Imperial Parliament and for the Irish Chamber; but that did not touch the anomaly that the Bill would give him two votes for the Irish Parliament if he happened to be a £20 holder. He did not, however, feel that the matter was of very much importance; but when the Government were defending the proposal of a Second Chamber they did so on the ground that the Chamber was to be something different from the Lower Chamber—a Body which was to secure time for deliberation on all questions discussed. If anything like extreme or doubtful measures were proposed in the Lower Chamber, the object, as stated by the Government itself, was that the 1812 Upper Chamber should be a Conservative Body whose action would be likely to give time for the further discussion of those doubtful questions. That being so, they ought to have a separate constituency for that Body to secure "a conflict of interest"—which was one of the expressions used by the Government. This was one of the objects his right hon. Friend had in view, and it was one to which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not paid the slightest attention. This, however, was not one of those questions they need press at any length; therefore, if the Government would not accept the Amendment, he would ask his right hon. Friend to withdraw it.
§ MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)
said, he did not know whether the Unionist Members from Ireland would agree with the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman. What was that suggestion? It was that the voters who were qualified to vote for Members of the Upper Chamber should not vote for the Lower Camber. The result of that would be that if the 170,000 persons who voted for the Councillors of the Upper Chamber were not to vote also for Members of the Lower Chamber, the popular side with which the present Irish Party were supposed to be identified would be, undoubtedly, increased, and the strength of the loyal minority would exist in the Upper Chamber. He would like to ask any of the elected Representatives of the Unionists in Ireland whether the loyal minority in that country would agree to that suggestion? According to it the prospective minority, the 170,000 £20 electors, while having votes for the Upper Chamber, should be entirely excluded from elections for the popular and more powerful Body. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that the electors would exercise a choice, but the effect of the present Amendment would be that the £20 electors would vote for the House which would only have the power of veto, and would have no vote at all for the House which would have the final power of passing the Bill into law in the joint Session of the two Houses. He thought that no Member of the Unionist Party, no Loader of the Opposition, no English Member even would suggest that that would be a wise or considerate manner in which to deal 1813 with the question as regards the loyal minority. The Amendment seemed to him unintelligible. It was partly superfluous and partly nonsensical. The first part was nonsensical and the latter was superfluous. There would, in any case, be three registers. There would be a register for the Council, because the qualification was a £20 rating. There would also be a register for the Legislative Assembly and one for the Imperial Parliament, because the number of Members to be returned to each Body was different. The areas would be different, and there would of necessity be separate registers. Therefore it did not need the intervention of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment to secure that there would be three registers. The Amendment provided that each election should he only on one register, and he must select, therefore, which one he would be on. But, suppose an elector did not select a particular register, there was no power in anyone to make a choice for him, and he would be shut out altogether. Then, suppose the electors all selected to vote for the Irish Legislature, there would be none left to elect Members to the Imperial Parliament. Then, again, there might be some strong Imperial interest or some important Irish interest to be decided by the Imperial Parliament, and electors might choose to be on the Imperial register, so that there would be none loft to elect the Irish Legislature, which would then fall through. Considering the acute, plain-thinking intellect of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir H. James), he was surprised to find him responsible for this clause, which was the greatest piece of blundering that he had yet seen in connection with the Bill.
§ MR. ROSS
said, the hon. Member who had just sat down was anxious to know, what wore the views of the Ulster Conservative Members on the Amendment. Well, he (Mr. Ross) thought he was expressing the views of those Members when he said that, as they believed that the Legislative Council would afford them no protection whatever, they did not take the feeblest interest in the mode in which it was to be elected. They did not regard it as in any way distinct in point of character from the more popular Assembly; and, therefore, they eared very little about the manner in which the two Bodies were to be elected. But now that 1814 the Amendment was before the House he wished to point out the extraordinary condition to which Ireland would be reduced by the Bill. It seemed to him that the entire time of the population would be taken up with elections and by looking after the registers. They had just heard from the hon. Member for North Kerry the statement that there would be three registers in Ireland. He (Mr. Ross) agreed with that. But that would necessitate the holding of three Revision Sessions for the purpose of finding out who were the proper persons to be put on the lists. Considerable time would be taken up by this. They would have the Parliamentary franchise to elect 80 Members to the Imperial Parliament. In a short time, it was said, a system of Local County Government would be set up. A different register would be required, so that the Irish elector would have to spend the best part of his time in getting himself placed on the lists, and in exercising the privilege so conferred upon him. He thought it was perfectly clear that if they had no other objection to the Bill they had this one—that it was deficient in simplicity.
§ * MR. BLAKE
said, the hon. Member who had just sat down had announced that the Irish Unionist Members would take no interest at all in the question of the elections for the Legislative Council, not for the Irish Assembly. He noticed that yesterday, on the exclusion clause, the Irish Unionists showed, not only by speech but their votes, that they entirely repudiated all concern with the Imperial Parliament. Therefore, they might take it that the Irish Unionist Members were prepared to abnegate all political interest in the affairs not only of their own country, but of the Empire about which they talked so much.
§ Motion, and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
MR. MILDMAY (Devon, Totnes) moved, in page 4, after Clause 5, to insert the following Clause:—
(Protection of the subject in Ireland.)
(1.) Every subject of the Queen in Ireland shall be entitled receive full protection and assistance from the Executive Government, so as to enable him to do any act he has a legal right to do, or to abstain from doing any act he has a legal right to abstain from doing; and if any Executive officer, whose duty it shall be to afford such protection or assistance, shall neglect or refuse to afford it, the person injured thereby may sustain an action before the Exchequer Judges in respect of such injury, and may recover damages in consequence thereof.
He remarked that one of the principal points at issue between Government and Opposition speakers on the Second Reading of the Bill was whether the effective supremacy of the Imperial Parliament was safeguarded under the Bill or not. It was contended by some speakers that such supremacy involved control not only over the making of laws, hut over their enforcement; and, further, that the supremacy was not real under the Bill, because the Imperial Parliament I parted with its control over the Executive, and the Irish Nationalist Members would be in a position to enforce those laws, and those laws only, which they thought it desirable to enforce. The clause he asked the House to accept sought to guarantee to every individual in Ireland engaged in lawful pursuits the right to the protection and assistance which every subject of the Queen was entitled to claim. All the safeguards at present in the Bill had been inserted with the view of guarding against possible sins of commission. It was no less important to guard against sins of omission—omission to fulfil the obvious duty of an Executive to protect individuals in doing things they had a legal right to do, and to enable them to abstain from doing things they had a legal right to abstain from doing. In many districts in Ireland in times past the lives of men who fulfilled their legal obligations were not worth a day's purchase. If police protection had been removed from a man who had given evidence against a man guilty of agrarian crime, and he had been left to the tender mercies of those who vowed vengeance against him, everybody knew what his position would have been. This clause sought to insure protection to such a man, and it provided that if such protection was refused, he should have no action for damages against the Executive officer who was responsible. The Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. Bryce), in an
article in The Nineteenth Century, before the introduction of the Home Rule Bill, said that with the police of Ireland under the order of an Irish-elected authority, the landlord might whistle for his rent, and that his property would be gone without any need of confiscatory legislation. Would protection be afforded in future to landlords in Ireland. The Nationalist Members had made direct assertions to the contrary. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) had said it would be the duty of the Nationalists to break up the Irish Constabulary, and that then he would like to see the Irish landlord who would dare to face the Irish tenant. Until the hon. Member for Mayo had given a more satisfactory explanation of his speech than he had given on the Committee stage of the Bill Members could not afford to disregard his words. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: One individual.] An hon. Member said "one individual," but these speeches had been constantly made in Ireland. Members opposite waxed very indignant when their own speeches were quoted, and they seemed to take it almost as a personal insult that they were sometimes taken at their word. He had no doubt they now repudiated the policy advocated by the hon. Member for Mayo, and he quite accepted their repudiation; but it must be remembered that these doctrines had been preached throughout Ireland for the last six or seven years, and, therefore, the mischief had been done. Who knew how long these gentlemen would continue to represent Irish constituencies? There must be many who thought that, in view of the repeated declarations of the Irish Nationalist Members, some protection was necessary for men who had been true to the Imperial Parliament, trusting that the Imperial Parliament would be true to them. In the South and West of Ireland these men were in a very difficult position. They had trusted in Parliament, and Parliament was responsible for their safety. He maintained that Parliament would be guilty of a deliberate betrayal if they left these men without a shadow or shade of protection in the face of the repeated declarations of the Irish Nationalist Members, and in the face of the teaching of those Members that in the days of the Irish Parliament these men were to be remembered.
§ Clause (Protection of the subject in Ireland,)—(Mr. Mildmay)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
I could have wished that the lion. Member who has moved this clause had abstained from those incendiary references to which he devoted a large portion of his speech. He says he does not doubt the sincerity of the repudiation by gentlemen opposite of utterances which under certain circumstances wore, in my judgment, not unnatural. We need not, however, go into that, because the hon. Member does not question the sincerity of the repudiation. The point before the House is a very plain one. The clause moved by the hon. Gentleman is either in the law as it now exists, or it is not. If this provision is met by the existing law the hon. Member's new clause is not required.
MR. J. MORLEY
I mean the law of the land. If it is not provided for in the law of the land, then I submit that the clause is so vague in its terms as to be utterly unfit to be used as a ground for legislation. It cannot be denied that two Chief Secretaries have come more or less directly under the criticisms of the Courts of the land within the last six or seven years for failing to do exactly what the hon. Member, by his own clause, imposes upon them. The first case was that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bristol (Sir M. H. Beach), who was then Chief Secretary for Ireland, and his action was criticised by the Lord Chief Baron in a very well-known judgment. If that judgment is good, the provision which the hon. Member proposes to make in this new clause is entirely unnecessary. There has also been a case during the time of my Chief Secretary ship when the Court of Queen's Bench gave a decision founded on precisely the same principle as that laid down by the Lord Chief Baron. Therefore, I submit that, as the law now stands, there is ample security that the end which the hon. Member seeks to 1818 attain will be guaranteed. As to the first part of his new clause, I should, without disrespect to him, call it a mere platitude, as it declares nothing which no Member of this House would deny, while, as far as the latter part of the clause goes, it is entirely superfluous. The hon. Member seeks to secure protection in the shape of action against the Executive Government. But no lawyer will get up and say that the law as it now stands is not perfectly able to cope with the matter the hon. Member contemplates; and, that being so, we cannot assent to this new clause.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am rather glad that the audience is scanty, because I do not wish to appeal to passion or prejudices, but to the reason of right hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Treasury Bench, and for that purpose a small audience is best. The Chief Secretary has dealt with this matter, which has been raised by my hon. Friend in an extremely clear and able speech, with great fairness. He began, it is true, by regretting that my hon. Friend who proposed this clause had made incendiary references. The Chief Secretary, no doubt, meant that my hon. Friend had made reference to incendiary speeches. I do not regret the reference, but I do regret the speeches, and I think that really my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary will be inclined to agree with me in that. It is not possible to carry on discussion upon this Bill without some reference to these speeches—not, indeed, in order to condemn hon. Members opposite, about which I do not care two straws, but in order to indicate certain dangers of the situation. The Chief Secretary says that the early part of the present clause is mere platitude. It says that every subject of the Queen shall be entitled to receive protection and assistance from the Executive Government. My right hon. Friend says that not only is every subject of the Queen entitled to protection and assistance; but that it is the duty of the Legislature to secure that he shall have it. But will he have it under the Homo Rule Bill? My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary says that security is afforded by the law of the land. But the law of the land will very shortly give place in Ireland to the law of the Irish Legislature if the Home Rule Bill should pass. The Irish Legis- 1819 lature is to have power to repeal every law of the land, except those which it is specially precluded from touching. It will, moreover, have the right to make its own laws; and how can the Chief Secretary insure that the law of Ireland shall not be something very different from the law of the land as it at present exists? But this is not all. Granting for the moment that the law of the land is not alterable; granting that it will be the duty of the Executive in Ireland to maintain all the precautions for the security of the lives and property of all persons who are acting within the law, what security has my right hon. Friend that the Executive in Ireland will carry out the law? I would remind my right hon. Friend of the view which he himself formerly expressed, and which I think he has never changed, that the greatest difficulty and danger will exist in Ireland so long as the agrarian question remains unsettled. My right hon. Friend will not, I believe, say that he has changed his views on this subject. When my right hon. Friend first considered the question of Home Rule, he stated that it would not be sufficient to give a National Government to Ireland unless, at or about the same time, the Land Question was also dealt with. So even hon. Members opposite say that is not true. Do they not think that if the Irish Parliament is left without the power of dealing with the Land Question they will find it almost impossible to meet the difficulties in their way? The late Mr. Parnell said so in so many words on more than one occasion. Mr. Parnell said that the settlement of the Land Question must either precede Home Rule or else the Home Rule Parliament must be allowed a free hand in dealing with the Laud Question. Let us look at the facts as they stand at present. There have been three discussions as to the condition of County Clare.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member has made a foolish and irrelevant observation. No good can result from it. So long as there is a district in Ireland in a state of anarchy, in which murder and outrage stalk through the land unchecked, this Parliament will be entitled to discuss such questions. The interruption of the hon. Member opposite 1820 shows the spirit in which Nationalist Members even now, when they are on their best behaviour, regard these questions of agrarian outrage. I feel sure that no man regards with greater disgust and loathing the state of Clare than the Chief Secretary. I assume that my right hon. Friend is doing that which he himself believes to be best to alter that state of things, and I am sure also that the leaders of the Party opposite, not the rank and file, who sneer at those outrages—
§ MR. BODKIN
That observation applies to me. I did not sneer at outrage. I sneered at the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion that murder stalks unchecked through the land, inasmuch as no murder of an agrarian kind has been committed in Clare. I have just as little sympathy with crime as the right hon. Gentleman, who makes crime his stock-in-trade in this House.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I said that my right lion. Friend has done his very best to prevent the outrages in Clare. I was going on to remark that no doubt the Leaders of the Party opposite have done their best to stop crime in County Clare at the present time. It is their interest to do so. I take it for granted that all their energies and influence are directed to prevent those disgraceful scenes in Clare which are so hurtful to the Home Rule cause. But my point is that, in spite of that, crime goes on, and I desire to impress upon the House the seriousness of this as tending to show that, so long as the agrarian question remains unsettled, we will have outrages.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am surprised at that interruption, for, although the outrages are not technically described as agrarian, they undoubtedly arise from quarrels between owners of land and their tenants. If these quarrels did not exist nine-tenths of the crimes would not be committed. I have shown, what I think cannot be disputed, that every interest of hon. Gentlemen opposite now lies in the direction of preventing those outrages. Still, so long as this perennial quarrel exists, it will be impossible to stop them. The Chief Secretary has recognised this as clearly, more clearly, than any other Member on 1821 the Treasury Bench. Lord Spencer takes the same view, and says that there is an obligation of honour on this country to protect the landlords. The Chancellor of the Duchy and every man who has written or spoken intelligently on the subject has impressed upon the country the importance of settling the Land Question. We know that when the Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1886 it was made almost a condition by the Prime Minister that the Laud Question should be settled at or about the same time. The Government, for one reason or another—chiefly, I believe, because they did not carry the country with them on the point—have dropped that part of their plan. I am not saying whether they did right or wrong, but they must take the consequences. The Irish Parliament cannot touch the Land Question for throe years. The Government must anticipate that, by the necessity of the case, there will be disturbance of order and a conflict between the owners and the tenants of the laud even under Home Rule. How do they propose to deal with the matter? Is it the argument of the right hon. Gentleman that the Irish Members will do for the landlord what the British Government did for him? Will they protect him in doing what he has a legal right to do? Will they protect him from intimidation to force him to do things which he has a legal right not to do? That is what the British Government is doing to-day. Does the right hon. Gentleman pretend that the Government he is about to set up in Ireland will do the same thing. The Chief Secretary knows that the Government which he is going to set up will consist of men holding altogether different views in reference to agrarian questions from the occupants of the Treasury Bench—men who have been connected with the Laud League, the National League, and the Plan of Campaign; men who have expressed opinions which no Member of the Government will attempt to defend: and under these circumstances the Chief Secretary cannot pretend that in the Bill he has taken security that justice will be done. Hon. Gentlemen who are likely to form the Irish Government under the Home Rule scheme have been actively engaged in an agitation which treated as lepers men who had taken farms from which others had been evicted. How is 1822 it that the lives of such persons have been preserved? Does the Chief Secretary doubt that if he removed protection from some of these people their lives would not be worth a day's purchase? How are the Government going to protect these men, innocent according to law, in danger according to the statements of right hon. Gentlemen themselves, from the attacks that are almost certain to be made upon them? I have got quotations. [Ironical Nationalist laughter.] Why should that be the subject of ironical laughter? Am I disentitled to quote? [An hon. MEMBER: Read, read!] I should have thought the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) has had enough quotations. I ask why should exception be taken to these quotations? I will drop them at once if anything like a frank repudiation is made, or a frank declaration of change of opinion; but so long as lion. Gentlemen opposite, having put these views on record, abstain from an ample retractation and apology, I will continue to believe that they represent their real opinions, and as such are very important elements and factors in the controversy. The hon. Member for Mayo asks for a quotation.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
No; I did not. The right hon. Gentleman, speaking across the floor, insinuated, as I understood, that we were afraid of quotations. I do not wish to hear my own speeches re-read in this House; but if it amuses the right hon. Gentleman I have no objection to it.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I see the hon. Gentleman does not wish the quotation read, and I will not read it. But it is on record in many official documents that again and again threats have been used of what would be done to the police and the Resident Magistrates if power were placed in the hands of a National Government in Ireland; and it is perfectly certain, owing to the totally different sentiment that prevails in the two countries, that there will be no security for life and property so long as the Land Question is unsettled. In these circumstances the Government cannot fail to recognise the necessity for some such provision as is now proposed if they meant to keep their pledges. The object of the clause is to make it so essential a necessity of all concerned 1823 with the Executive in Ireland to carry out the law of the land that any failure would be almost impossible. It proposes that if a Sheriff in Ireland refuses to give necessary protection to a tenant on an evicted farm he will be liable in damages, and I cannot help thinking that a provision of that kind will probably be more efficient than such Court swords as the supremacy of the British Parliament and the veto of the British Crown. If the Government recognise their own responsibility and carry out their own promises, they will provide, in some shape or another, against what is the greatest danger of all under the new scheme—that of a conflict between the interests of the tenants and the interests of the landlords.
§ * MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Belfast, W.)
said, he desired to give his most earnest support to the Amendment. A protection of some kind was obviously necessary, and he pressed the proposal in the clause on the acceptance of the Government because it had an exact analogy in the existing law of the laud. There was the remedy of the Habeas Corpus. That remedy was assured to the subject by law, and the officer of the law who refused to give the relief of Habeas Corpus to the person seeking it was made to suffer for his conduct. That was exactly the kind of remedy that would be needed for the state of things in Ireland under the Home Rule Bill. The Chief Secretary had said that the Mover of the Amendment had introduced incendiary references. He would venture to say that this was not a question of mere incendiary references. Hon. Members opposite, and those who thought with them, might talk for ever in that House, and no one would be justified in taking serious notice of their speeches, if that were all that was concerned; but they had in their minds the recollection of 16,000 felonies and misdemeanours, which had been described by the responsible officers of the British Government as agrarian offences, and which they believed were rightly associated with those speeches which had been referred to as incendiary. It was because they know of those 16,000 felonies and misdemeanours taking place that they gave serious importance to the protection of British subjects in the future, and wished 1824 for something the poor and defenceless man could appeal to in order to get immediate and effective redress. Ostracism had advanced into a system which had obtained the approval of every Member opposite, and there was not the slightest reason to suppose that system of ostracism would be abandoned in the future. He had many cases in his mind—one a recent one, in which a man, who had abandoned a farm for five years, on his return from the United States of America claimed the right to re-possess himself, without compensation, of the farm, though it was another man's property, which had been bought and paid for. The tenant refused to give up possession, and a meeting was immediately summoned through the public papers in the district, and was held. At the meeting it was decided that the occupier should pay a compensation of £150 for the right to retain his own farm, and the only amendment moved to that resolution was that the penalty should be increased to £250. That was a thing done openly and in the face of all men; and what were the chances, supposing this Government was established and set up in Ireland, that this Government would institute a prosecution against those who issued this illegal decree? They wanted some plan by which a person so defrauded should be able to go to a properly constituted authority and say—"I have been wronged, and I ask you to give me my rights."
§ An hon. Member: How has he been wronged?
§ * MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
said, the lion. Member asked how the man had been wronged, when, without law, he was to be deprived of property he had bought and paid for, and that property was to be handed over to a man who had no more title to it than the hon. Member himself. He (Mr. Arnold-Forster) must say he could not explain the matter any differently to the hon. Member.
§ An hon. Member: But he cannot be deprived of his property.
§ * MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
said the remark of the lion. Member only showed him—what he had long been convinced of—how little the hon. Member knew of Ireland, how little he knew of the way in which men who had been driven out 1825 of their property by a process of law, perfectly well-known to anyone who was acquainted with the terrorism exercised in Ireland. Then there was the question of personal protection. He remembered when there were no less than 160 persons in Ireland under personal protection. Of these 160 persons he only knew of two whose lives were attempted, and in that case the person protected and the man who protected him were shot dead at the same time, lint the danger was there, and it had been one of the greatest characteristics of this agitation that to be dangerous was to be safe. The moment they deprived these men of the protection which alone preserved their lives, they were exposing them to the penalty which had invariably, in every county South of the Boyne, been inflicted upon such persons. Protection was given now because they had an Executive winch administered the law in accordance with the ideas entertained by the Executive of the United Kingdom; but would that protection be afforded by an Executive composed of the Members who took a diametrically opposite view of the obligations of the State towards its citizens to that which they, in this country, had been accustomed to take. It was said there was some legal remedy for this. He was no lawyer, but, he supposed it was meant that it was open to any person aggrieved to apply for a mandamus to compel the Courts to do their duty. What was the value of that remedy to any poor man in Ireland? Further, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary (Mr. J. Morley) had himself admitted there was a conflict at this moment between the legal authorities as to whether there was any such right given to the individual at all. But they had not got to contemplate the law as it stood only—they had to contemplate it under its changed circumstances, to look to the Courts when the whole procedure of those Courts should have been altered, when the Courts were occupied by Judges and appealed to by lawyers who had learned from the school of hon. Members opposite. They knew the kind of principles that commended themselves to hon. Members opposite. Already they had had some indication of the injustice that appeared to them to be justice. There were other very grave elements that were certain to arise. They had had this ques- 1826 tion argued by an hon. Member who had asked for a return of the nationality of the men employed in the Haul bowline Dockyard. It was an Admiralty Dockyard, supposed to be under the control of the Admiralty, and open to promotion by merit and seniority only, and the Secretary to the Admiralty (Sir U. Kay-Shuttle-worth) was asked if he would give the Return of the nationality of all employed in the Dockyard. What did that mean? It did not mean they were to be told whether these men were Frenchmen or Germans, but whether they were Irishmen, Scotchmen, or Englishmen, and he said the animus of this question was plain, and went to this—that there was an intention to distinguish between persons who were born or resident in England and persons born or resident in Ireland. Another question was put down on the Taper of the House—whether asked or not he did not know—but it illustrated the animus to which he had referred. The question was whether it was intended to appoint Roman Catholics and Irishmen, instead of Protestants and Englishmen, to the Post Office in Dublin? This was an Imperial service, and the only signification of a question like that was that there was an intention to differentiate between citizens of the United Kingdom—between the place in which they resided and that in which they happened to be born. They were in danger, if this Bill passed, of there being some attempt to differentiate, and if this differentiation were made it ought to be open to every one of Her Majesty's subjects who felt aggrieved to appeal to some tribunal which would give speedy and effective remedy under the compulsion of a large personal mulct if justice was not done. There had been, throughout the whole argument in support of the Bill, an attempt to degrade the citizenship of Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland, to put them on a subordinate footing, not upon an equality, with Her Majesty's subjects in England and Scotland. There were many persons in Ireland who believed one of the first things that would happen on the establishment of this Irish Parliament would be to realise the intensity of that degradation, and make them feel they were subject to that inferiority and deprived of the rights which the subjects of the 1827 Queen in England and Scotland could claim and exercise without danger; and it was for such persons as these, who would all belong to one Party, that the hon. Member below him moved this clause. Not long ago it was laid down as a doctrine to be accepted that it was the duty of debtors in Ireland so to fashion their debts that a certain class of creditors should be excluded. That was at variance with the law of the land, and yet it found favour with hon. Gentlemen opposite, was conceived by them, and was their settlement of a certain economic difficulty. If such a thing were done, surely the aggrieved were entitled to a remedy. They were told these remedies existed already, but they did not and could not exist under this Bill, and the proof of it was contained in the four corners of the Bill itself. A citizen in Ireland would enjoy divided liberty; part of that liberty they would enjoy under the Constitution, and part under the laws of the Irish Parliament. So far as the laws of the Irish Parliament were concerned, it might be said that the Irish Executive would properly enforce them; but when they came to the rights of the British citizen they required further Executive power which would guarantee to a British citizen in Connaught exactly the same redress that was obtainable by a man in Yorkshire or Middlesex. The fact that they had brought in the Exchequer Courts was proof that to the minds of the Government there was necessity for a tribunal of this sort. What was the need for this tribunal if the Irish Courts, as constituted by the Irish Legislature, would do all that could be required by the subject in Ireland? It was conceivable something still remained to be done. What his hon. Friend below him, wanted was that access to those Courts should be easy, that the remedy should be prompt and should be effective, and until that was granted there would be in the minds of a large number of people in Ireland, the feeling that they would be subject in the future, as in the past, to a differentiation of their just rights which in the past had been taken from them by the action of an irresponsible and illegal body; a body which, no doubt, had arrogated to itself immense and excessive powers, and in many cases, until its power was happily broken by the late 1828 Chief Secretary, was able to impose its will. That power would be exorcised by the same men acting on the same principle, and prosecuting the same ends under the warrant of enactments which they would have passed into law. What they wanted was some cheap and effective remedy whereby those who felt themselves to be affected might appeal to the broad sense of justice and the broad English law in its widest and best sense. He did not believe that security existed in the Bill as it stood. It was for the man on the hill-side, for the man in the cabin, who had no hope outside the protection given to him by that House, for whom he appealed. It was a presssing and an urgent necessity, and he had great pleasure in supporting the Amendment before the House.
§ * MR. D. PLUNKET (Dublin University)
I desire to support this Amendment, because I believe that it touches one of the most formidable consequences that must arise upon this Act taking effect, if it is possible to suppose this Bill coming into effect. I believe most confidently that great as are the dangers to which the minority in Ireland might and will be exposed from the unjust action of the Legislature, that the risks that they will run from the unjust action of the Executive will be far greater. This new clause was proposed in a very clear and, as I think, very persuasive speech by the hon. Member for the Totnes Division (Mr. Mildmay). How was it answered by the Chief Secretary (Mr. J. Morley)? In about three sentences. I always observe that any topic, any proposal in the discussions of this Bill which touch on the Irish Land Question are disposed of in the briefest possible way by whoever may be the spokesman of the Government. What did the Chief Secretary say? He said either the matter provided in this clause is provided for already in the law as it stands or it is not, and his second proposition was that if it was not provided for, then the clause proposed was far too vague for the purpose. How did the Chief Secretary test his proposition that the dangers suggested were already provided for? He cited two instances in which the head of the Executive for the time being had been brought to book for conduct on his part in not giving the protection that was required by the action 1829 of the Courts. Yes; but the question is what will be the Courts which, in the future, will have to deal with such questions as this if they should arise? and I observed the very strange circumstance that the Chief Secretary never referred at all to our desire to have speedy and prompt action of the Court of Exchequer in Ireland, which he must know was the whole operative part of the clause we propose. But his argument was carried a little further on a previous occasion by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Bryce). I remember that when I pressed him on an Amendment that was proposed by the lion. Member for Guildford (Mr. Brodrick), and I asked what was there in the Bill that provided any protection to the minority in Ireland against oppressive action on the part of the Irish Executive? The Chancellor of the Duchy said it was the belief of the Government that the reserictions which were placed by Clauses 3 and 4 on the action of the Legislature equally applied to the Executive, and by a roundabout kind of argument he seemed to contend that the Exchequer Judges would have the power of taking into consideration anything which touched upon matters which were reserved from the jurisdiction of the Irish Legislature. I think I can show in a minute that even that argument will, so far, at all events, as it effects the Land Question, very speedily break down. But what we desire by this Amendment is this: to have this benevolent belief on the part of the Government that the Executive will be controlled by the clauses of this Bill, distinctly declared; what Ave want is, that it should be made perfectly clear that those who may be, or who may consider themselves oppressed by the action of this Executive, should have prompt and speedy access to this Court of Exchequer. The Chief Secretary complained also of the wording of the clause being too vague. If that is so, that is a matter that can easily be remedied, and there are Amendments on the Paper standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Southern Division of County Dublin (Mr. H. Plunkett) which would make it plain. If the clause were read a second time, those Amendments could be introduced, and they would be necessary because, as we understand it, the police of the future are 1830 to be under the Local Authorities, and it would certainly be well to make provisions not only against the failure to carry out its duty by the Executive and by those officers immediately dependent on the Executive, but also against a like failure on the part of the Local Authorities. But, after all, this was more of a technical point. The Chief Secretary made no attempt whatever to deal with that which is the main purpose of the clause, the questions will there be danger to the minority in Ireland; will there be danger especially on questions connected with the land, against which it is necessary there should be provided for them some other protection to that they get from the Irish Legislature as it is proposed to be constituted by this Bill? The Government themselves have introduced this Court of Exchequer, clothed with special powers, as a kind of city of refuge to the oppressed minority of Ireland—fleeing for safety from the evils which are coming upon them. But what we want to know is this—Are means provided by which those who consider themselves thus oppressed will, in fact, be able to take advantage of the protection of that Court? Now, Sir, the first question is, will it be possible for the Irish Executive, if they were so disposed, easily to interfere with the property and freedom of the Queen's subjects in Ireland who might belong to an unpopular minority; and, secondly, is there reason to apprehend, if they should have that power, would they be likely to use it; is there reasonable ground for apprehension that danger will really exist for the minority of Ireland? It would be easy to cite cases; it would be easy to cite classes of cases in which individuals who belong to an unpopular minority in Ireland might suffer oppression. They were summed up in a well-known sentence by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland. When speaking in 1886 he declared—The poor, the helpless, the uninfluential, the farmers and labourers throughout the South and West of Ireland, who, at a terrible risk of life and limb, insisted on fulfilling their obligations, the smaller and humbler officers of the law who do their duty in the bad times, will now be left to the pity of those who have not concealed their intention of paying them out whenever they get the chance of doing so.That was spoken in 1886, and it applies with equal force to circumstances which 1831 surround the present Bill. But I desire this evening to occupy as much of the time as I may claim of the House in calling attention especially to the position of those connected with the land in Ireland, for it is a strange thing that all through these Debates the Government had never given any explanation whatever of the amazing change of front which they have displayed on this all-important question. Let me first ask, in passing, an answer to the point suggested in the Committee by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Bryce). Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the Exchequer Courts will he clothed under Clause 17 of this Bill with the power of interfering in questions connected with the land, because it is a matter which is withdrawn for three years from the authority of the Irish Legislature; supposing they bad that power at the time of the passing of this Bill, at the end of three years that restriction would be taken away, and then the only ground upon which, so far as I know, these questions could be brought under the cognisance of the Court of Exchequer would have disappeared. I wish for a moment or two to call attention to the extraordinary course that has been pursued by the Government on this question of the land.
MR. J. MORLEY
I really must interrupt my right hon. Friend and ask whether this is the proper place to raise the Land Question? There are other Amendments on which it can be raised.
§ MR. D. PLUNKET
I have no intention of raising the Land Question. But of all those who will be in danger, I believe that those connected with land in Ireland will most of all for many years to come require the protection of the Executive in their every-day dealings with their property, and I claim the right not only to call the attention of the House to this subject, hut to ask explanations from the Government upon it.
MR. J. MORLEY
On a point of Order. The right hon. Gentleman now says he wishes to ask for an explanation from the Government on the Land Question. [Cries of "No, no!"] Well, upon the action to be taken by the Executive in reference to landowners. Is this a proper time to put such questions to the Government?
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I understand the object of the right hon. Gentleman is to show that if any persons are likely to be oppressed in future by the action of the proposed Executive with reference to the land they have no proper and adequate protection under the Bill. He is in Order if he is about to show they are entitled to protection, and do not get it.
§ MR. D. PLUNKET
That is all I intend to discuss with your permission and the permission of the House. But I contend, apart from that argument, that there is a special danger to be apprehended by the landowners in Ireland and those who are dependent upon them from an Executive such as it is proposed to establish under the present Bill. I was about to call attention—but I shall not do so for fear I might trespass upon your ruling—to the way in which this question has been debated up to the present time. I pass away entirely from that part of the subject, and proceed to ask these two questions—Would the Executive easily have the power to oppress in the manner described in this clause—namely, by withholding protection and assistance from those who demanded it—and although that question is not by any means restricted to the owners of land, but applies to all the classes I have already mentioned, I propose at present to confine the observations I desire to submit to the House to that particular part of the subject. Now, Sir, I ask would the Executive have the power easily to oppress by withholding protection and assistance from the landowners of Ireland? When I refer to landowners, I speak not only of individuals who have their property invested in land, whether acquired by inheritance or purchased, under laws passed by this Imperial Parliament, but I speak also of those dependent for means of existence on the rents which landlords have a right to receive. I refer to the families of landlords and those who have charges on their property, and I contend that it would be easy for the Executive Government of Ireland, if it were so disposed, to practically ruin their property and deprive them of the means of existence by proceedings which it would be difficult to call in question in any other way if they had not an opportunity of making an appeal to the Exchequer Court, poor as that remedy would be, especially if an Irish jury were to have anything to do 1833 with the case! That is the only shred of protection provided for this unhappy class against impending dangers which were clearly pointed out by the Prime Minister in 1886. It would be easy to suggest instances in which this oppression might be suffered. The House remembers with what difficulty it was, even under the late Government, which did its best, impartially and justly, to sustain the rights and protect the property of the minority in Ireland, for the landlords to recover their rents, which had been fixed for them by the laws which were passed by the Imperial Parliament, but what would be the case under an Executive Government which was not only not in harmony with the interests of the minority in Ireland, but many of whose leading Members were pledged by their oft-repeated declarations in recent years against the very principle and basis upon which the lauded property in Ireland is held. I will not quote again the sentence, which has been already referred to, spoken by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy, about landlords having no chance of securing their property under an Irish Executive, and that it would be well for them if they escaped with a whole skin; but I call upon the House to remember that in the future, in all probability, every Executive officer, from the highest to the lowest, will not only be dependent on the heads of the Executive in Dublin, but in all probability will be greatly in sympathy with them, and have his sympathies excited against the minority, who will have to call upon him for protection. I ask, under such circumstances, what chance would a Member of the unpopular minority in the South or West of Ireland have of doing those things which he had a right to do, and of abstaining from those things he had a light to leave undone? Take the ease of a landlord desirous of recovering his just rent; the tenant who desired to sell the farm; the man who desired to sell his interest in a shop which had been boycotted owing to the prevailing opinion of the inhabitants of the district? What safety would a boycotted man have; in leaving and returning to his house, if he had to depend on appeals for protection and assistance to those who were not only not in sympathy with him, but who hail been excited against the exercise of the very right he desired to enforce? I ask, are 1834 not the minority so placed entitled to all the protection that can be given them? What other protection would they have in Ireland if they had it not through this solitary means of obtaining the inter ference on their behalf of the Exchequer Court? How idle it would be for any Representative of their own—if there were such a Representative in the Irish Legislature—to appeal for protection in such cases! Imagine the Representative of the landlords appealing to a Legislature, the leaders of the majority of whom would probably be such politicians as the hon. Members for East Mayo or Cork. Would it not be absurd to appeal to them to control the Executive in order to compel them to give just and sufficient protection for the purpose of carrying out, we will say an ejectment decree, or to protect some unfortunate man who might be the occupier of an evicted farm? It is not necessary for me to pursue further the cases in which it would be easy for a hostile Executive to practically prevent the Members of the minority in Ireland, who are interested in this question of land, from obtaining their just rights to which, as citizens and as subjects of the Queen, they are entitled. But I ask, in the second place, is it or is it not to be expected that such an Executive would act with impartial justice, would act fairly, or would be likely to oppress a minority so situated? It is not necessary for me to make any number of quotations from speeches of hon. Members, who would, in all probability, be the Leaders of the future Government in Ireland. I might refer to old speeches of Mr. Davitt, who, and, no doubt, properly from their point of view, would be one of the most influential Leaders of the Irish Legislature of the future. He has laid it down over and over again that, however he may consent to temporising measures, he does not admit that the Irish landlord is entitled even to a ticket which would take him to Holyhead. I will quote one instance, because it is a comparatively recent one—since the introduction of the Home Rule Bill in 1886. Here is what was said by an hon. Member of this House, who, I dare say, is in his place at the present time, and reported in The Sligo Champion of October 22nd, 1892. The hon. Member for North Leitrim said— 1835Before I say a word on the question of the reduction of rents, allow me to say I hold the opinion that there should be no rent paid to the landlords at all. I hold that the land of this country was created for the use and benefit of those who till it, and until this question is settled, as it must be settled soon, there can be no peace as between landlord and tenant in this country.That, I think, is a tolerably strong declaration of the principles which would he likely to actuate the leading Members of the majority in the Irish Legislature of the future. But, Sir, I do not desire to introduce what the Prime Minister calls poisonous matter into a Debate of this kind, and, therefore, I will go to a different class of authorities on this subject altogether. I am arguing now, Sir, that it is probable the minority in Ireland might suffer oppression from such an Executive as would be created under this Home Rule Bill, and here is what the right hon. Gentleman, who is now the Secretary for Scotland, said on the 30th of June, 1886, after the introduction of the first Home Rule Bill of that year. He said—There was another reason why he objected to handing over law and order to the new authorities it was proposed to set up. The Parliament in Ireland would be dependent upon the votes of the small farmers, who had been taught that rent was robbery. Again, an Executive would be set up in Ireland the Members of which had for years been preaching the same doctrine. Now, Mr. Gladstone and his Colleagues were just men. They were determined that the Irish landlords should not be ruined by being exposed to the action of the Irish Parliament and Irish Executive. They knew that under the proposals they were bringing before the country the Irish landlords would be ruined, and so they brought in the Land Purchase Bill.Well, will anybody contend after that that there is not a danger that the Irish landlords, unless protection be given, will be ruined by the Executive of the future, and if any argument to the contrary should be put forward, I will call upon the Secretary for Scotland to answer it. But, Sir, I will go to a higher authority still. What said the Prime Minister when introducing his Land Purchase Bill of 1886? The basis of his argument was that the scheme was to protect and do justice to the interests of those who depended on Irish land. I do not wish to adopt without protests, some of the views put forward by the right hon. Gentleman. Of course, it was no part of his purpose at the time 1836 to throw any doubt upon the way in which the Irish Members of the future would conduct their Parliament and their Executive, but he did use arguments gathered from a different point of view—namely, the results produced by the action of the landlords in order to strengthen his case, and I claim every word which was spoken by the Prime Minister on that occasion as part of my argument here to-night; and however inconvenient it may be for Ministers to answer and explain every word which I am now going to quote from the speech of the Prime Minister in introducing his Land Purchase Bill—
§ * MR. SPEAKER
(interposing) said, the right hon. Gentleman was not in Order in reviewing legislation with regard to Irish land. He would only be in. Order in showing that those connected with the land would be oppressed or were likely to be deprived of their rights without remedy or redress.
§ MR. D. PLUNKET
Of course, Sir, I bow to your ruling. I was going to refer to the observations not for the purpose of continuing the argument at all, but for the purpose of showing that the state of the Irish Land Question which the Prime Minister then reviewed was such as to produce danger to that minority which has to do with the ownership of land in Ireland, and for whom in his Land Purchase Bill the right hon. Gentleman proposed to provide a means of escape. Of course, Sir, as you have ruled that I cannot pursue that subject further on this clause I shall defer to a future occasion what I had proposed to say on that question, merely stating once more that we are placed in an extremely difficult position, from the fact that the Government at present have given no explanation whatever, but, as far as I can see, have done their best to avoid any explanation of their complete change of front on that subject. I will simply say in conclusion, that I believe that unless it is made clear that the minority in Ireland—landlords, tenants, or whoever they might be—who might be brought into collision with the predominating forces in the Irish Legislature are adequately protected through this Court of Exchequer and the Exchequer Judges, and not left to the tender mercies of the ordinary class of common jurors who try agrarian cases in Ireland, they will be 1837 left without a shred of protection under this Bill from the dangers which they firmly, and as I think justly, believe are sure to await them at the hands of an Executive from whom they cannot expect to receive fair and impartial treatment.
§ MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)
thought it would conduce to the more rapid progress of business if the Government would answer speeches like that which they had just heard. The Irish Chief Secretary said that this clause was a platitude in this country. [Mr. J. MOKLEY: The first half of it.] It was true that in this country it was a platitude. Every subject of the Queen here was entitled to receive full protection and assistance from the Executive, and did receive it, but it did not follow at all that everywhere and always that was a platitude. He would remind the House of the celebrated remark—"John Marshall has given judgment; let him put it in force if he can." That was the state of things in the United States where the Legislature and Judiciary declared its will, lint could not obtain the assistance of the Executive to carry it out, and it seemed to him that it was exceedingly probable, if this Home Rule Rill came into effect, there would be that same difficulty that there was in America. The Judiciary might declare the law as firmly, as fairly, and as justly as it chose, but it was likely to find a great deal of difficulty in inducing the Executive to use its power to carry that law into effect. There was an enormous amount of vis inertiœ in the Executive if it declined to back up the decision of the Judges, and that amount of vis inertiœ was what might have serious consequences to a large number of individuals in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman said the first half of this clause was in the law already. To a certain extent that was true. No doubt it was part of the Common Law, but thou this Bill must be taken as being a kind of declaration of rights—a Bill which laid down the main principles, whether they were Common Law or not, upon which they desired the Irish Parliament should go. What else was the meaning of the 3rd clause, and more especially of the 4th clause? Most of the declarations in the 4th clause were declarations in so many words of the principles at Common Law. But here in Great Britain it did not much matter 1838 whether any principle was part of the Common Law or part of the Statutes. This Parliament had equal power to modify any principle, whether it was a principle of Common Law, or whether it was a principle of the Statute; but it would not be the case with regard to the Irish Parliament. The Irish Parliament would have full power to alter the Common Law as much as it pleased, but it would not have power to alter this Statute, which would be the fundamental Statute on which they would be working, and, therefore, it was of the first importance that they should have embodied in this Act the great principles of the Common Law. The second half of the clause was no platitude, but the most important enacting part of the clause, and that was the part which referred these questions to the Exchequer Judges. It did not leave the remedy to any Judge in any Court in Ireland, but gave a special power to anyone aggrieved to go to the Exchequer Court and obtain his remedy from them. By the scheme of the Bill it was felt that the Exchequer Judges would administer the principles of the Common Law more in accordance with our British ideas than the ordinary Irish Judges, and that was a special reason why the clause should be added to the Act. The Prime Minister himself had declared in the most emphatic terms that there were no questions more important than questions of personal liberty. The questions dealt with in this clause were questions of personal liberty, of personal freedom to exercise rights given by the law of the land, and what, they asked was that those rights should be secured to their fellow-subjects in Ireland under the new Irish Parliament.
§ MR. CARSON (Dublin University)
said, he should not so far offend the susceptibilities of the right lion. Gentleman opposite as to describe the present Amendment as the most important introduced into the discussions on this Home Rule Bill. It was not so very important, because, after all, it only dealt with the liberties and properties of the Unionist minority in Ireland. But if it was not one of the most important Amendments that bad been brought forward, he ventured to think the conduct of the Government showed that it was one of the most unanswerable, because while argument after argument had been adduced 1839 in relation to this action that the Home Rule Government were likely to take upon certain questions affecting the property, and liberty, and privileges of Irish citizens, they had not had one single answer or one single reason put forward by gentlemen on the other side of the House as to why this Amendment should not be accepted. It was certainly a matter for reflection that for the purpose of withdrawing an Amendment the right hon. Gentleman took at least half-an-hour, whilst for the purpose of answering an Amendment which dealt with the preservation of the liberties and property of the Unionist minority in Ireland the right lion. Gentleman opposite did not deem it necessary to say one single word in answer to the arguments brought forward on those (the Opposition) Benches. The question seemed to him to be one they ought to press upon the Government, and it was certainly a question which those representing Unionist constituencies in Ireland were bound to press upon the Government. He wished to put the question in two ways. First, should the subjects of the Queen in Ireland have the rights which this Amendment proposed to give them? In other words, should the subject of the Queen in Ireland be entitled to receive full protection and assistance from the Government to enable him to do that which he had a legal right to do or abstain from doing that which he had a legal right to abstain from doing? Should he have that right or not? Would any hon. Member on the other side of the House get up and say he should not? The Chief Secretary who gave a perfunctory kind of argument during the dinner hour, got up and made use of a proposition which none of them would contradict. He said that this was either the law of the land as it at present stood or it was not. Then he went on to say that, assuming it was not, the Amendment was too vague. He (Mr. Carbon), as a lawyer given to taking technical views of words, could not see where the vagueness existed. The words had been taken from the Trade Union Acts and also from the Criminal Law Procedure Act, and even if they were vague surely the rights and liberties of the minority in Ireland were worth an attempt on the part of the Government to frame the clause in such a way as to 1840 secure the objects which they all wished to attain. To use the phrase of the Prime Minister, they were not wedded to the particular form of the Amendment. What they wanted was that the principle should be made clear that the liberties and properties of the loyal minority should be protected by such a provision as this. As regarded the contention that the citizens in Ireland ought to have these rights, no answer had been vouchsafed by the Government. There remained one other question, and that was—Was there any reason to fear that these rights would be infringed? Nationalist Members had declared time after time that when they came into power they would take care that those rights would be infringed. [Cries of "No, no!"] The right hon. Gentleman opposite said "No, no," but what was the meaning of the speech—When we come out of the struggle we will take care that our friends shall receive their reward and that we shall take vengeance upon our enemiesIt was all very well to pooh-pooh these matters, but he was prepared to put these questions to hon. Members below the Gangway. [Ironical laughter.] Yes; that was the way hon. Members treated arguments. They laughed and scoffed. Anything, they thought, was good enough for the followers of the Government. These hon. Members, when they went over to Ireland, made their serious speeches; in that House they made their perfunctory and performing speeches. He should like to ask the Irish Members below the Gangway this question—Would they got up in that House and withdraw all they had said as to boycotting evicted farms? Would any Irish Member get up and say that it was a proper and a light thing for the Irish Government, when it was formed, to give protection to those who had taken an evicted farm? Would any Member get up and say that? [An hon. MEMBER: To please you.] It was not a question of pleasing him. He did not want to be pleased, but what he wanted was an answer to the question as to whether they withdrew the speeches and renounced the doctrines they had been preaching in Ireland during the last 10 years? Would they now say that they would afford the protection of the law under an Irish Parliament to those who had taken 1841 evicted farms, and if they refused to give protection in such cases the Amendment was necessary. All that was asked by the clause was that some remedy should be left to an Irish citizen who, he supposed, had a right to take an evicted farm unless hon. Members opposite who supported the Government had adopted the theories of the Land League instead of the law of the laud. If the Irish Government did not give this protection, what was the remedy which the Irish citizen was to have? Was he to have the remedy contained in the clause or not? If not, then, he said, the Government were prepared to hand over to the Irish Executive the full power to abrogate the fundamental conditions of social life and property in Ireland. They were entitled to know what were the views of hon. Members below the Gangway as regarded the intimidation of those who had exercised their legal rights, whether in taking evicted farms or in other ways. Was it their view they should be protected from that intimidation? Every one of those Members—certainly the chief of them who would form the Government of Ireland—had been found guilty by a Special Commission. [Ironical cheers and laughter.] Yes; there it was again. The supporters of the great English Liberal and great English Radical Party took as arguments the ironical cheers of hon. Members below the Gangway. Was it a fact, or was it not, that they had been convicted, by a tribunal constituted by that House, of having themselves practised intimidation and encouraged intimidation to those who had taken evicted farms? The matter was upon record in that House. [An hon. MEMBER: What about Pigott?] Hon. Members below the Gangway always wished to go off on some irrelevant matter. They were always anxious to get away from the real question, and their English allies were always anxious to assist them in doing so. He had put a question in relation to the boycotting of evicted farms, and he had quoted the judgment of the Special Commission that had found Nationalist Members guilty of preaching and teaching intimidation. Would any Nationalist Members get up now and say when they were entrusted with the government of Ireland they would take care that no such cases should occur again, that they would pre- 1842 vent this intimidation? Not one of them could get up. They dare not. And why? Because they knew very well that, however they might repudiate these matters in that House, they would not for one moment hold the position they did as Members of that House were it not that they were prepared to carry on this doctrine of rapine and plunder by preaching this doctrine of intimidation in Ireland. If that was the case—and nobody could say it was not—[Mr. W. E. Gladstone (ironically): Hear, hear!] Hoes the right hon. Gentleman admit it is the case?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
No, no! I simply cheered ironically what appeared to me to be a most ridiculous statement.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I gave a cheer which was not loud or indecent, but which was drawn from me by sentiments which I thought required it. The hon. and learned Gentleman invited me to rise, and then finds fault with me for doing so.
§ MR. CARSON
said, he should be sorry in any way to charge the right hon. Gentleman with any indecency in relation to the proceedings of that House. All he could say was that when the right hon. Gentleman told him that his proposition was ridiculous he was going against every fact which he at one time had admitted, and which had subsequently been proved in a Court of Justice before the Special Commission. The right hon. Gentleman had been challenged that evening to disprove those facts, but he had not thought it worth while to do so. What did the right hon. Gentleman mean by saying that the Irish Members were marching through rapine and plunder to the dismemberment of the Empire? What was the meaning of that phrase? The meaning was this. The rapine and plunder was the rapine and plunder of Irish landlords by teaching people they need not pay rents; that no Government ought to compel rents to be paid, and that no Government ought to carry out evictions. That was the rapine and plunder, and these were the methods which the right hon. Gentleman said were adopted by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway for the purpose of getting him 1843 to adopt the policy of Home Rule. In these circumstances, he wanted to know, were not they, who represented the Unionists of Ireland, entitled to ask for protection against those doctrines of rapine and plunder when the men who preached them should have been put in power? That was the matter that was put forward by this clause, and it required an answer. The Solicitor General knew the law and the meaning of the clause. [The SOLICITOR GENERAL made an observation which was inaudible in the Gallery.] The hon. and learned Gentleman said he was hanged if he did. Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman would explain to the House why he had gone through that painful operation. He (Mr. Carson) contended that the meaning and object of the clause were perfectly clear. If the officers of the Executive Government in Ireland were not prepared to carry out the elementary functions of Government, the citizens of Ireland would, under the clause, have a remedy in the Court which the right hon. Gentleman had thought it necessary to set up for the protection of Imperial interests, and would be able to obtain such damages as be might have suffered by reason of not obtaining the ordinary protection which every citizen of this United Kingdom had hitherto been considered entitled to. What was the objection to this Amendment? They were entitled to some answer, and he invited one from the Secretary for Scotland. Why should a member of the Irish minority, who had been refused protection, or who had found the Irish Executive unwilling to give him that assistance which he had a right to expect, be driven into a Court which would be responsible to the Irish Government alone? He expressed the hope that this clause—which, in the first place, declared the elementary rights which must be the foundation of society in every civilised community, and, in the next place, gave the protection of the Courts which were established to deal with Imperial matters—would be added to this Bill, which proposed to create an entirely new Constitution for Ireland. He heartily supported the Amendment.
§ * THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir J. RIGBY,) Forfar
said, he had listened carefully to the speeches in this not very 1844 short Debate for some reference—some apt reference—to the Amendment before the Committee. He had, however, heard nothing that he could construe into such reference until two sentences fell from the lips of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down. Again, he was anxious to know what meaning was put upon the Amendment by any of its own supporters? True, he heard what they had heard 50 times before in the course of these Debates, of dangers to life and property. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) dwelt mostly upon the danger to life that was apprehended by the altered state of things in Ireland, and he supposed the right hon. Gentleman imagined that that had something to do with this Amendment; but he failed to point out what it had to do with it, nor was he able to see how he could have done so. They had got, at last, a sort of explanation from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University, and what was it? According to the hon. and learned Gentleman, the first part of the Amendment contained a statement of the most elementary rights. But if it were an Amendment of the Common Law it was an Amendment couched in terms so vague as to be utterly unfit to serve as the basis of legislation, and in terms so general as to include matters which ought not, in any system of legislation, to be included in any enactment. Let them see what the proposal really was. It was not that there should be the protection and assistance which the elementary rights of a subject of the Queen gave, but that there should be protection and assistance to a definite end and purpose, which was no less than this—to enable any man to do an act he had a legal right to do, or to abstain from doing an act which he bad a legal right to abstain from doing. [Sir H. JAMES: Hear, hear!] Would the right hon. Member for Bury (Sir H. James) undertake to say that it was through the action of the Executive Government that subjects in Great Britain or Ireland were now enabled to enjoy their legal rights? If so, he would entirely join issue with him, and deny it absolutely. The action of the Law Courts, which wore justly independent of the action of the Executive, afforded to the subject reasonable and 1845 fair protection; and he said without the slightest doubt upon the matter that the Amendment introduced a vague and at the same time a general and sweeping test of the action of the Executive Government which had never before been attempted or conceived by any legislation, or attempted by any Houses of Parliament that they had known of Undoubtedly the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University was well-founded in saying that the words of the Amendment were not absolutely new. They were taken from the Conspiracy Act of 1875, and from a more recent Act dealing with Ireland. But in those enactments the words were used in what context? They were Criminal Acts, and the sanction of them depended, not upon the assistance and protection of the Executive Government, but upon the due administration of the criminal and I other law in the Courts of Justice. What was there in that Amendment that had to do with the administration of the j law in the Courts of Justice? Absolutely nothing. For his part, he did not profess to know all the decisions that had been given, and his views might be utterly wrong; but he would be astounded indeed if anyone could bring forward a series of authorities in our law showing I that the protection and assistance of the Executive Government, not in an elementary manner, but so as to enable all the results set out in the Amendment to be achieved, ever had been the law of the laud. But that was the Amendment. They were told that there were great dangers. The Government considered that these fears were greatly exaggerated; but be would assume, for the sake of argument, that the dangers which were apprehended were real. What then? The existence of these difficulties and dangers was not before the House, but the remedy against them. It was quite an unprecedented remedy—namely, to apply to set aside or render unnecessary the action of the Courts of Law, and to throw new duties upon the Executive Government. To carry out the provision of the Amendment someone must be provided in some way with the means of knowing what the legal rights of an aggrieved subject were. How could that be determined in the absence of a decision of a Court of Law? Who gave jurisdiction to any officer of the Exe- 1846 cutive Government to determine what was a crime and what was not? Every Executive officer would be liable to afford protection and assistance. As he understood it, as a matter of English language—though he had already said that he did not know what the author of the Amendment was driving at—the words would imply that every Executive officer should afford such protection and assistance as would enable every subject of the Queen to enjoy every legal right that he possessed. "Elementary rights" indeed. Why, they were unheard of, unknown rights, which ought not to be given to individuals at the cost of Executive officers. If such a law were enacted the Government of the country could not be carried on. No one would be mad enough to become an Executive officer if he were required to become the guardian of the rights of every person with whom he might come into contact, lie would call attention to the words of the clause. It said—And if any Executive officer, whose duty it shall be to afford such protection or assistance, shall neglect or refuse to afford it, the person injured thereby may sustain an action before the. Exchequer Judges in respect of such injury, and may recover damages in consequence thereof.It came to this—that any individual who failed to procure his rights, if he thought that due assistance had not been rendered him, would have right of action against the Executive officer. A man might say—"I have not been assisted by the police; I have sustained loss; I am still alive, and am in possession of my faculties; I want compensation." What could he recover on? He ventured to say that hon. Members who had spoken on the clause had misunderstood it in divers ways, none of them agreeing with each other. The hon. and learued Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Carson) had actually persuaded himself that the clause recognised "elementary rights"—as though elementary rights could not be left to the ordinary law. The ordinary law was to t he effect that the Executive officer had certain duties cast on him, and that if he neglected to discharge them he was criminally responsible. Moreover, if by such neglect a citizen sustained injury, the Executive officer, he believed, could be held legally responsible. He believed the law extended to that, and if 1847 he were asked to give an opinion on the j point he should say that it did, though there would be vast difficulties in the way of proving any particular case. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes; but because difficulty might be in the way of giving proof it did not follow that the principle was not a sound one. Hon. Members were surely aware that there were many eases in which the difficulties in the way of arriving at a conclusion were insuperable, but in which, if the facts were once admitted, the remedy would immediately follow. He ventured to say that this clause was an absolute novelty, which would throw on the Executive Government, in language that was vague and general, a vast amount of duty which, so far as he knew, no Executive Government in any Constitutional country had ever before been expected to perform. The Opposition might say—"If you do not like the language in which this proposal is couched bring in a clause of your own." But the Opposition did not like the language, and they did not like the principle. [Opposition cheers.] Gentlemen who cheered so loudly should tell him what the principle of the Amendment was. Did they know anything at all about it? He, at any rate, knew this about it—that it contained a principle which the Government condemned and could not accept. They could not agree that from the ordinary Courts of the country should be taken the duty of insuring citizens in their rights—a duty which had hitherto been fulfilled in 99 cases out of 100, or in 999 cases out of 1,000 by the Law Courts as distinct from the Executive authority. They certainly could not agree that this should be done by an ill-considered clause which contained the germs of infinite litigation, and would put on the shoulders of Executive officers duties which they had never before had to perform.
§ SIR H. JAMES
said, that it had been difficult to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down through what seemed to be a rather involved argument. He (Sir H. James) admitted that he did not altogether appreciate the view the hon. and learned Gentleman took on the question. But one or two of the sentences which had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman he quite appreciated. A great many supporters of the Government said that 1848 they would never consent to any measure that would not sufficiently protect the minority in Ireland. What was the protection they were now affording in the Bill? From what source was it to come unless from an efficient and vigilant Executive ever ready and willing to protect the minority? It was with the desire that such protection should be afforded that this Amendment had been framed. They were told by the Chief Secretary that, though he had some doubt on the subject, he believed this clause was unnecessary. But the Solicitor General said that he objected to the principle of the clause, although it only declared the law as it now stood according to the Chief Secretary. According to the right hon. Gentleman, the law as it now stood afforded sufficient protection to the minority, and the Solicitor General objected to giving that protection. His hon. and learned Friend said he did not understand this language. He would tell the hon. and learned Gentleman what they intended it to mean. They did not intend that if a man was injured in his person or his property the clause should apply, for in that case civil damages could be obtained. It was an endeavour to prevent the commission of crime; not to punish it after it had been committed. What consolation was it to a man whose cattle were mutilated, whose property was destroyed, whose house was fired into, to tell him, "It is true there was no policeman on duty there, and no one to check the offender; but you can go to a Court and find your remedy?" That was not protection. To give protection care should be taken that there was sufficient police—a loyal police—and that the subjects of the Crown should see that there were those who would stand between them, when they conducted themselves properly, and the commission of crime. Did the Solicitor General object to that principle? Did he content himself with pointing out where compensation could be obtained for an evil, and had he no care to prevent that evil? Why should he say that he cared not if crime was committed, provided the man who was injured obtained compensation? That did not represent the peace and good government of a nation. That was I the view of a lawyer; it was not the view of a peaceable citizen. That was not the principle on which they could 1849 conduct the affairs of the State, saying—"We will not interfere to prevent crime." With regard to compensation for injury, it would not be given unless the tribunal—that was to say, the Exchequer Judges—were satisfied, first that there was injury, and, secondly, that the amount of compensation apportioned to it was a proper measure of compensation. The Solicitor General said that the Executive Government would not always be able to tell whether the claim for protection was rightly made or not. But suppose a subject of the Crown said he was in danger, and he asked the Chief Secretary for protection. The Chief Secretary might say—"I know you ask for protection, but I cannot give you what you desire." In consequence of the want of protection damage ensued. Why should not the responsibility fall on the Executive Government? They had the power to afford protection, and if they wilfully abstained from giving it they should be held responsible. What the clause proposed was a most proper right, and one which a person ought to be able to enforce. It was asking for nothing more in the shape of protection than was given in this country. The Solicitor General said it was neither in this country nor in Ireland that a citizen required protection to enable him to do a legal right. They did not see much of it in Great Britain, but in Ireland at this moment men were unable to do what was legally right without protection. They had been acting under protection, and their fate would have been sad if they had not received it.
§ MR. SEXTON
I do not think that what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury (Sir H. James) ventured to anticipate in his concluding remarks is likely to occur. The right hon. Gentleman misquoted my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I listened to every word of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and he said nothing like what has been imputed to him. The right hon. Gentleman put two alternatives. He said, either it is so or it is not, and he then proceeded to an argument in which he considered the two alternatives. This Amendment—I must be pardoned for saying so—is an absurd attempt to apply a provision in the Coercion Act of 1887, a provision intended to affect the relations between 1850 one individual and another in regard to wrong done and in regard to crime committed, to apply that provision to the relations between the Executive Government of the country and every individual in the community in regard, not to the acts done or crimes committed, but in regard to what any individual may be pleased to anticipate with regard to himself. Now, Sir, might I ask the House for a moment to attend to the terms of the Amendment—Every subject of the Queen shall be entitled to receive full protection and assistance from the Executive Government, so as to enable him to do any act he has a legal right to do.Well, a legal gentleman on this side of the House has just suggested that if a man desired to remove his furniture, a perfectly legal act which be has a right to do, he would be entitled under this Amendment, not only to claim the police to protect the furniture, but also porters to make the transfer, because he is entitled to receive not only protection, but "assistance to do any act that he has a legal right to do." Observe the effect of that Amendment. It covers every act of a man's life which is a legal act. The Government of Ireland is not unlikely to be harassed by persons disaffected to the system of Home Rule, and all any man in Ireland would have to do by the nature of this Amendment would be to go to the Executive Government, or, in the wide language of the lion. Gentleman, to any subordinate of that Government, and say, "I am about to do this, that, or the other thing which I have a legal right to do," and, without submitting any proof that he was in any danger, or that the legal act was likely to be impeded or hampered, he might claim protection; for it is not stated that he is bound to submit to the Executive Government any proof of the need for protection, and the Executive Government, on his application, would be obliged to afford it. I ask is the Executive Government to have any discretion? Evidently not, because, if they had discretion, and they in their discretion refused the assistance, then no action would lie; but clearly the intention is that the Executive Government of Ireland raises public moneys at the cost of the community to pay a public force to preserve the peace, to maintain good order, to secure good government for the whole community, yet any con- 1851 course of individuals scattered over the country might by requisition on the Government claim to have that force diverted from the service of the public and applied to their imaginary needs. No Government could be carried on under such circumstances. And not only that, but they might ask protection to enable them to abstain from doing any act they have a legal right to abstain from doing. Really, Sir, we have passed from the realms of actual life into the realms of imagination. Because any man has only to go to the Executive Government to imagine some act he wants to abstain from doing, and state that in that abstinence he wants to be protected. I do not see if this Amendment were carried what reply the Government would have to a demand like that. If they say, "We do not think anybody will prevent you," he says, "Well, I want the protection," and it appears to me it is his discretion and not the discretion of the Government that is final. If the Executive deny him that protection, they would be liable to be haled before the Exchequer Judges to answer for the refusal. This Amendment, then, is the most absurd of all the Amendments yet brought before the House; and then what happens when such a matter as I have referred to occurs? You give the Legislature of Ireland power to make laws for every matter exclusively Irish. You give them power to appoint an Executive Government, to appoint Judges for the administration of the law. You have determined that wherever Revenue is concerned, or any action arises in regard to an Imperial Statute which cannot be altered by the Irish Legislature, or with reference to any Act passed after Home Rule is granted, it shall be tried by two Exchequer Judges. But what extension is here proposed? That in regard to any matter whatever, even a matter within the power of the Irish Legislature to make laws upon, if any individual anywhere in Ireland chooses to allege he has suffered injury because of the refusal of any officer of the Government to place at his personal disposal the public forces, this complaint is not to be tried by any Judge in Ireland responsible to the Legislature, but by two Judges in no sense responsible to it. Even in regard to such an ordinary matter as a difference between 1852 an officer of the Government and a citizen, it cannot be tried by any Judge appointed by the Irish Government, but you must have two special Judges. When cases of this kind arise it simply means nothing more or less than this—that the whole of the forces provided to secure peace and good order to the whole community might be placed at the disposal of any congregation of individuals to supply and carry out their private purposes. Therefore, I say the Amendment should not pass.
MR. GOSCHEN (St. George's, Hanover Square)
I think the hon. Member for North Kerry has been stimulated by the compliment—the very fair compliment—paid to him by the Prime Minister with regard to his legal acumen in the earlier portion of the evening into giving a legal exposition of the clause which is now proposed to the House. The hon. Gentleman showed considerable eloquence, but he did not show any particular legal knowledge, for he omitted to notice the words—as also did the Solicitor General—And if any Executive officer, whose duty it shall be to afford such protection or assistance shall neglect or refuse to afford it, the person thereby injured may sustain an action before the Exchequer Judges in respect of such injury.
§ * SIR J. RIGBY
I said I did not agree with these words, and I answered the inquiry in the manner the hon. Member for North Kerry has adopted.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I do not thing that the ordinary common-souse person reading the paragraph would come to that conclusion. If the reading of the first part of the clause be objected to, a very slight change will put it right, and we have found the Government perfectly ready, when they were interested in a proposal, to assist in putting into proper language any such Amendments as have been moved. But the Government from the beginning of this discussion have shown that it does not interest them. The hon. Member for North Kerry (Mr. Sexton) says this is a dilatory clause. I think that anyone who has listened to the arguments will see that it is not a dilatory clause, but that the Opposition would not have done their duty unless they had submitted to the House some opportunity of affording protection in the 1853 direction indicated by the clause. We have to deal with a state of things in Ireland which was described by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. Bryce) when he said—With the police under elected Boards the landlord might whistle for his rent. He would be lucky if he kept a whole skin.That is the case with which we have to deal. The Irish Members were challenged by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Plunket) to take the opportunity of disclaiming the language they have used. I When the hon. Member for North Kerry rose I thought it was not to play the rôle of the lawyer, but to state that lie and his friends had abandoned the whole of those views with regard to evictions, land grabbers, and the protection which ought to be afforded to tenants who try to do their duty in Ireland.
§ MR. SEXTON
No, Sir. I think I am entitled to say I do not think that a gentleman who said in this House that he would be loyal to England only as long as England was loyal to him has any right to challenge us.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I thought the lion. Member for North Kerry was qualifying to be Chancellor of the Exchequer of the Irish Government. I see now that he has changed his rôle and intends to be the Attorney General. I must call his reply a simple quibble—that is not too strong a name—for getting out of a serious challenge. The public will not be deceived by it. A challenge has been given, and all the friends of the hon. Gentleman have sat silent around him. The challenge has been thrown down not only by my right hon. and learned Friend, but by several gentlemen opposite. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: They despise it. I Do they despise the words of the Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. Bryce)?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
These are interruptions, Mr. Speaker, which will not promote the Debate. I am perfectly entitled to put this as the argument which has mainly been before the House—that the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman opposite have shown the public that the Land Question is at the bottom of the Irish Question in many senses, and that until that question is 1854 settled special protection ought to be given to the loyal minority in Ireland. Declaration after declaration has been made by the Members of the Government to that effect. Of course those words were pronounced in a different state of circumstances, and before the angelic time had set in. We really do ask that we should hear from the angels, at all events, that they have repented. We say to the Government—"Are you satisfied to leave your declarations standing as they are, and yet, without explanation, to refuse to accept the protection we offer, or, if you dislike that, to suggest some other protection?" The Solicitor General (Sir J. Rigby) has returned the great service which the Prime Minister had rendered to him earlier in the evening, when he covered the defeat of the Solicitor General and the Attorney General (Sir C. Russell) in a cloud of words. The Solicitor General has returned the service by diverting the attack on the Prime Minister by producing a very foggy cloud of technicalities. He certainly had this ad vantage—that neither the Prime Minister nor the Secretary for Scotland, nor the Chancellor of the Duchy, nor any of these men who have held strong views in regard to the land, have stood up and said what they might say on the question. They leave us entirely without light, and put up the Solicitor General to answer with legal technicalities. All I can say is that this is quite of a piece with the whole method the Government have employed in dealing with the question of land since the First Reading stage, when the Prime Minister forgot to state that that question was to be withheld from the Irish Parliament for three years. Now that an opportunity is afforded for debating the question of protection for the minority the Government shirk it, and show no interest in it. We know with what charming eloquence and vigour the Prime Minister addresses us when his heart is in the subject before the House. On this question we have been kept studiously in the dark by the right hon. Gentleman, and no Member of the Government has thought it worth while to say why they no longer think it necessary to afford the protection we seek to give in this clause, not only to the landlords, but to the honest tenants and others who are engaged in agriculture.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: — Ayes 158; Noes 198.—(Division List, No. 261.)
MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin) moved to insert, after Clause 8, the following Clause:—
(Attendance of Member of Executive in Legislature.)
Any Member of the Executive Committee may attend and speak at any sitting of either House of the Legislature, but shall not be entitled to vote unless entitled as a Councillor, or as a Member of the Legislative Assembly.
He said this proposal was not intended to serve any Party purpose, and would excite no political passion. He did not know why the Government should not accept it at once, except that it was of a somewhat novel character. Its object was to facilitate the action of the Executive Government in connection with the Irish Legislature. The system he advocated was in vogue in France, and he thought it also prevailed in Germany. He need hardly explain to those who were familiar with the British practice that if such liberty of action prevailed at Westminster it would be attended with many advantages. A project of law which was thought needful by the Government was supported in one House by the Member of the Government who had elaborated it, who was familiar with all its details, and who knew the best arguments to be used in support of it. It was then sent to the other House, and, instead of being followed by its author, was handed over to someone who had only a secondary knowledge of it, and did not know how it hung together. This was a very inconvenient state of things, for it must be clear to everyone that the author of a measure was the best person to defend its provisions and to answer the arguments used against it. If, for example, the Home Rule Bill could be followed to the other House by its distinguished author the imagination would conceive what a very different result would be produced than was likely under present circumstances to be produced when a helpless and hopeless Peer addressed a strong Opposition with a feeble apology for an explanation of the measure. When a Bill was brought in by the Home Secretary he was obliged to get hold of some Lord of the Household or other person holding a purely
domestic appointment to explain his measure for him in another place.
§ It being Midnight, further Proceeding on Consideration, as amended, stood adjourned.
§ Bill, as amended, to be further considered To-morrow.