§ Bill, as amended, further considered.
§ *MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)
moved the following new clause:—Upon an Address of both Houses of Parliament representing to Her Majesty that any Act passed by the Irish Legislature is, in their opinion, in contravention of Section 3 or Section of this Act, or is in excess of any powers conferred by this Act, or ought for any reason to be suspended or repealed wholly or in part, Her Majesty may suspend such Act either absolutely or temporarily, and either in whole or in part.He said, in proposing the Second Reading of this new clause, there were no fewer than 12 sections of the Bill, besides six or seven sub-sections, naming subjects on which the Irish Parliament could or could not legislate. Sections 3 and 4, after giving a list of the prohibited subjects, declared that if the Legislature did pass a law affecting any of them such law should be void. In Clause 2 there was a general power, with the limitation that any laws passed must relate exclusively to Ireland. But there was not, from the beginning to the end of the Bill, any provision against evils that might arise or mischiefs that might be done supposing the Irish Legislature chose not to recognise those declarations, or passed laws which they reasonably thought came within the purview of the Act, although we hold that they did not. Certainly Clause 20 gave power, in the event of the Secretary of State thinking an Act to he ultra vires, to certify that opinion to the Privy Council as a preliminary to securing a judicial opinion from that Body on the construction of the present Bill; but there wore points other than the mere construction of the law likely to arise, and it might be that this House, and the other House, might consider that whatever the construction placed, the Irish law was passed contrary to the intention of the Imperial Parliament. The law which he proposed to enact applied to three sets of cases—(1) where the general power conferred by the Act 248 to make laws for the government of Ireland should have been exceeded; (2) where laws were passed in specific contravention of any of those subjects which were categorised in Sections 3 or 4; and (3) where any law which for any reason in the opinion of Parliament might be considered so dangerous or so mischievous or not to have come within the provisions contemplated by the Bill that it should be suspended or repealed; and in regard to the third set he would point to the enormously wide range of subjects to which the Bill extended. It provided nothing less than a new Constitution for what had been called by some a separate Kingdom and Nationality, and that Constitution was supposed to last for all time. At any rate, it was to be a permanent law, and it would not be denied by any Member of the Government, or any one of their supporters, that there must arise in the future many eases which have not been, and could not have been, foreseen. The Prime Minister, with all his enormous talents, would not argue that the Bill covered every case that could possibly arise. He once said it passed the wit of man to find words which would do that, yet he had attempted the gigantic task of defining in words what it should be in the province of the Irish Legislature to pass laws upon. Surely he would recognise that he was fallible, and that it was probable that, in the lives of nations as of men, circumstances might arise which might not come under any specification now made, and, therefore, could not be dealt with under the general powers of the Act, and which ought not to be made merely the subject of judicial pronouncement simply on the point of the construction of the Act. It might be said that this power was not necessary, because there was a right given to go to the Privy Council; but this right was not only expensive and not open, consequently, to the poorer subjects of the Crown, but it took time to enforce it, and the mischief might meanwhile be going on under the supposed void law. They could not expect the Irish Legislature to admit that any law passed was void; they would, of course, insist that it was good and valid, and the Irish Executive would enforce it until it was proved by judicial decision to be otherwise. Hence mischief of an irremediable 249 character might be done before the decision of the Privy Council could be obtained, and no remedy was provided for that mischief. There was no provision in the Bill by which the Government reserved power to deal with or to prevent mischief of this character. It might he said that—the supremacy of this Parliament having been reserved—it would be competent for this House to join with the other House in passing a Bill to remedy the defective Irish law. That would not, however, meet a case of abuse of power, or some mischief which required prompt and immediate remedy. The process he proposed in the new clause required merely that the two Houses should pass a Resolution which, on being sent to Her Majesty, would afford an efficient, immediate, and prompt remedy, and would avoid all the delays attendant on getting a Bill through the two Houses of Parliament. He hoped the House would accept the clause
Clause (Suspension of Irish Act on Address from both Houses of Parliament,)—(Mr. Kimber,)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be road a second time."
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
I confess I did not expect to be called upon to discuss a clause of this nature; but, by stating in a few minutes the objections of the Government, I shall say quite as much as the merits of the clause warrant. The objections are these: The clause deals with Acts of the Irish Parliament which are ultra vires. The Bill provides carefully-adjusted judicial procedure of the most impartial character, and the highest authority to dispose of all these cases. The hon. Member proposes to takeaway these cases from that Judicial authority and to adopt a process which is in the highest degree summary; he proposes to hand them over to this Parliament, so that a political vote given on some one occasion in this House of Parliament, and still more easily in the other House of Parliament, is to take the place of the Judicial Committee, and is absolutely to cancel what the Irish Legislature has enacted in the form required by the Bill. But what follows is still more extra- 250 ordinary. If a majority of the House of Lords disapproves of an Irish Act which has been passed in due form, and on which the Irish Legislature may have spent—I will not say 80 or 90 days, but some ample period, and if the political majorities in the two Houses of the British Parliament happen to be of the same way of thinking, then by a single vote it will be possible totally to quash and cancel such legislative Act, although it has passed through the two Houses of the Irish Legislature and has been assented to by the Viceroy in the name of Her Majesty, upon the responsibility of his position as the Representative of Her Majesty. That appears to me to be a proposal which will not commend itself to any very considerable number of Members in this House. The third proposal is that, upon the strength of a single vote, not only may an Act of the Irish Parliament be quashed and cancelled, but any part of it which the Government of the day may think fit to quash and cancel may be separated from the rest and may be so dealt with, and the rest may be left to take effect as a law of the Irish Legislature. Such is the degree to which the hon. Member has perverted the fertility of his ingenuity that I doubt whether the hon. Member or any other gentleman can carry it further. The power to select any portion of the law to take effect and to cancel the rest of the law is a power in many cases to turn the law absolutely inside out and to make it, by a partial enactment, produce effects precisely the reverie of that which was intended. We object to the substitution of a political majority for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; we do not think there should be power to quash by one single vote the well-considered Legislative Act of the two Houses of the Irish Parliament, and we do not think there should be such a power of selection and of cancelling part of an Act as would be tantamount to allowing to operate as part of the Irish law passed by the Irish Legislature a portion of an Act so manipulated as to give effect to precisely the reverse of what was intended.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (Manchester, E.)
If my hon. Friend has been driven to make proposals which were open to objection, as no doubt they are, the fault lay, not with him, but with the Govern- 251 ment—[Mr. W. E. Gladstone: Of course]—who have upon this all-important question of the veto upon the Irish Acts refused at any single period of the discussion, so far as I recollect, either to answer the arguments of the Opposition or to make such alterations in the Bill as would meet their objections. I do not, however, wish to dwell upon this beyond saying that Ave have a right to bring forward any proposals we desire to improve the Hill. There is no doubt that the power of the veto as it stands in the Bill is eminently unsatisfactory, and undoubtedly the power of the Privy Council could not be exercised at periods and on occasions when its judicial authority would be most valuable. Unquestionably, as the Bill stands at present, an Act might be passed by the Irish Legislature, assented to by the Lord Lieutenant, and enforced for years. Gross injustice might be done under it, and yet, until some private suit was brought before the Privy Council, the question of its injustice could not be decided. Moreover, the Privy Council would be precluded, and rightly precluded, from dealing with the question of policy at all. It is said that it will be the duty of the Lord Lieutenant, in giving or withholding his veto, to exercise his discretion, on the advice of British Ministers, as to the policy and legality of the Act to which ho is called upon to give his assent. Yes; but the Lord Lieutenant is to give his assent to these Acts before they are enforced. But when ho is asked to give his veto he can only prophesy and conjecture as to what the effect of the legislation will bo. If the Government had not turned an absolutely deaf ear to our suggestion, but had agreed to adopt the colonial method by which the veto might be used after an interval, my hon. and learned Friend would, I admit, have had no primâ facie case for dealing with this question. The Government have, however, refused to accept the Amendment; and it is, therefore, 110 matter for surprise that the hon. Member, deeply conscious of the absurd position in which the question has been loft by the Government, should have brought forward his proposal. I admit that some of the criticisms of the Prime Minister are well founded, and I therefore suggest to my hon. Friend that he should not press his Amendment to a Division, but 252 that he should consider whether he cannot bring forward at a later stage some other Amendment to carry out his undoubtedly worthy object.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
I have no doubt the hon. Member will take the advice that has been tendered to him. But I must say that the point to which lie has called attention deserves a little more consideration than it has at present received. [Ironical Nationalist cheers.] I am glad to find that hon. Members opposite agree with me as to its importance. They will, no doubt, take part in the discussion—[Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!]—in some other than a purely inarticulate way. I am, at any rate, not to be debarred from discussing this matter by the ironical cheers of hon. Members, even when they are sustained by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. I do not think the answer of the Prime Minister is altogether conclusive. The right hon. Gentleman seems to lay great stress upon the fact that under this Amendment there will be substituted for the proceeding of a judicial tribunal what he has called a political vote in the Houses of Parliament. But that exists under the Bill at present. Supposing that, after the Bill passes, the Irish Legislature are to devote the 90 days of which my right hon. Friend has spoken to the passing of a measure which, the Lord Lieutenant is advised by the British Government, is ultra vires, what would happen? Why, according to the principle laid down by the Prime Minister himself, the Lord Lieutenant will veto that Bill. What is that veto? Not, indeed, a political vote of the House of Commons, but a political vote of a Ministry representing, perhaps, a very small majority of the House of Commons. I must say that seems to me a much stronger case; and if it be right to give this power to the Lord Lieutenant, representing the Government, I cannot conceive why the right hon. Gentleman should be so indignant when my hon. Friend proposes to give similar power to the House of Commons as a whole. Then the right hon. Gentleman refers to the words "wholly or in part"; and he seems to think that they make the proposal more objectionable than it would otherwise be. I suppose the words were introduced by way of qualification—
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
That is a better illustration than I was going to offer. There may he many cases in which an Act of the Irish Legislature, on the whole a useful Act, which it is quite right to propose and pass, may contain a clause or a section which is illegal and ultra vires. Under the Bill as it stands, it would be necessary to veto the whole of the Bill in order to deal with one irregular clause or section. I should have thought it would be a convenient thing that power should be given to deal with a section objected to, while leaving the whole of the rest of the Bill untouched. But the question I wanted to call attention to is this — Do not the Government see that, in the event of a Bill having passed which is ultra vires, it is desirable that it should he rendered innocuous with as little delay as possible? It is really a serious difficulty. I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. Bryce) is not here, for he would correct me if I am wrong. But I believe this is a difficulty which has given rise to serious trouble in the United States, where there is not the same sharp division of political opinion as in this country. But, even there, there have been cases in which an illegal Act has practically been operative for a considerable period after it has been decided to be illegal. There is the case of Virginia. The point arose in connection with a loan issued by the State of Virginia, the coupons being made receivable in lieu of taxes. For some reason or another the State of Virginia afterwards passed an Act declaring that the coupons would not be receivable, and the Supreme Court decided after a considerable interval that the State was wrong, and that the coupons must be received. But, in the meantime, the Legislature of Virginia passed another Act practically to the same effect, and by the time that the first Act was declared illegal the second Act came into force. They went on repeating that course for a considerable time; I do not know for how long, but I believe for some years. The coupons were not receivable for taxes, in spite of the decision of the Supreme Court. A similar case might easily occur in con- 254 nection with the Irish Legislature; and the hon. Member is not to blame for attempting to devise some system by which, in the event of recalcitrancy such as that shown by the State of Virginia, the Irish Legislature might be speedily brought to book.
§ MR. SEXTON
I cannot, admit that the case of the State of Virginia applies to the proposal before the House. The right hon. Gentleman says, with regard to certain Acts passed by the State of Virginia, that they wore brought before the Supreme Court and declared void, and that the State of Virginia did not thereby recognise certain coupons. The right hon. Gentleman leaves entirely out of view the fact that the Congress of the United States had no power to legislate for the State of Virginia in the matter that formed the subject of the judgments. That makes the case entirely inapplicable to this Debate, because by Clause 30 of the Bill, after the Home Rule system has come into force in Ireland, this Parliament will have the power to pass overruling Acts, and any Act passed by this Parliament for Ireland after the establishment of the Home Rule system cannot even be altered by the Irish Legislature; and, therefore, it will be apparent to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. Chamberlain) that he has misled the House, perhaps having previously misled himself. If any Act of the Irish Legislature were found to be inexpedient it would be open to this Parliament to pass a Bill nullifying the measure, which Bill, having been passed into law, could not be altered by the Irish Legislature; and, therefore, such a state of things as that which prevailed in Virginia could not arise in Ireland. I listened to the very weak apology made by the Leader of the Opposition for this Amendment. He says the power of veto is not satisfactory. Why is the power of veto not satisfactory? Because, he says, under this Constitution a period is not allowed to elapse after the passing of a Bill within which the question could be considered whether or not the veto should be applied. Surely, in the case of a country within four hours' sail of your shores, and seeing that the legislative proceedings would be reported in your Press, it is absurd to suggest that the time that will elapse in the passage of a Bill, especially of a contentious Bill, 255 will not be sufficient to enable you to become absolutely familiar with all its provisions and all its effects, and that you will not be in a position to say whether or not the veto should be applied at the time of its passing. The first part of this Amendment proposes, for the first time in your Parliamentary history, to make the interpretation of Statutes a Parliamentary and not a judicial function. Hon. Members suggest that this Imperial Parliament should take up the function of determining whether or not an Irish Act is beyond the powers of the Organic Statute. The absurd effects of such an arrangement as that have been pointed out already; but I may add that it might lead to conflict between Parliament and the Judicial Authorities, because, notwithstanding this Amendment, if it were adopted, the question whether an Irish Act was ultra vires or not might come before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; and at the very time that the two Houses passed an Act declaring it ultra vires, the Judicial Committee might come to a decision that the Act was within the powers of the Irish Parliament. How absurd would be such a consequence! With regard to the second part of the Amendment, the suggestion is that the due process of legislation of the Irish Parliament ought to be overcome by a simple Resolution of this and the other House. Of that I can only say it is a proposal, after a lapse of 400 years, to re-enact the Law of Poynings in a much more offensive and unjust form. That law, which was passed in 1494 at Drogheda, provided that the Irish Houses should not proceed with any Bill unless the heads of the Bill had first been submitted to an English authority, and they had been approved of. Such parts of the heads of the Bill which the English authorities struck out could not be proceeded with. The Law of Poynings had this advantage—that the Irish Houses knew how far they might proceed. They knew that the heads of a Bill struck out by the English authorities could not be proceeded with, and that they must limit the heads to those approved of by England. But what is this proposal? It is that after the two Houses have taken all the trouble of going through and discussing a Bill, that then the Law of Poynings shall come into operation, and such parts of a Bill passed 256 by the two Irish Houses as are not agreeable to the political Party that for the time dominated in England shall be struck out. Therefore, the difference between the Law of Poynings and the proposal of the hon. Gentleman is this—that the Law of Poynings gave us warning as to how far we might proceed; but this Amendment proposes that, after we have exerted ourselves by a laborious course of legislation to pass a particular Act, this House and the other House may, by a single Resolution, strike out such parts of the Bill as they disapprove of. It is a curious thing that when we are engaged in setting up au Irish Constitution a Tory Member should make a proposal more offensive and more injurious than that law which has been considered the most detestable of your Statutes in Ireland for the last 400 years.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON (Armagh, Mid.)
said, he did not think there could be anything more contrary to each other than the veto of Poynings Act and the veto of his hon. Friend. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) had reminded the House, the supremacy which the Government was giving throughout the Bill was a supremacy subject to a Party vote in the House of Commons. Unionists were of opinion that the supremacy should be exercised by legislation, and that the protection of a chance vote by which a majority might be turned out was not a sufficient protection.
§ *MR. BLAKE (Longford, S.)
thought nothing could be more important than to recognise the fact that, as stated by the Prime Minister, 99 cases of ultra vires legislation out of 100 it would be found convenient to leave to be disposed of by the Courts. Many Acts, useful in themselves, might contain per incuriam slight provisions transcending the power of the Legislature; but, as a rule, such provisions were utterly innocuous. They had no force, inasmuch as they were beyond the power of the Legislature, and they were also otherwise innocuous, while the Act itself would probably have many virtues, and the provisions he spoke of would be found in due course to be waste paper, as they really were. He quite admitted that there might be cases even of excess in which the power of the veto might be exercised. For 257 instance, there might be cases in which some immediate effect might be accomplished by legislation being placed upon the Statute Book, giving apparent Executive authority to the Government of the country, and there might be cases in which legislation might be in gross contempt of the Constitutional Act, and in flagrant abuse of the power of the power of the Legislature. Such a case would arise if the Legislature were to attempt to alter the succession to the Throne, or to create a Standing Army. One could understand that such a flagrant attempt to defy the fundamental law might be met by the use of the veto. But, generally' speaking, the Constitution would be best, and most peacefully, and usefully worked, by leaving cases of ultra vires to the tribunals with resort to the Judicial Committee.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The next clause, standing in the name of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Kimber) (Disqualification of persons found guilty of conspiracy), is, I think, out of Order, and was so ruled in Committee.
§ *MR. KIMBER
said, he did not understand it had been ruled out in Committee, and ho wished to know whether it would be in Order if ho left out the specific reference to the Commission and made it general?
§ MR. SPEAKER
The objections I have to the clause are that it is ipso facto legislation—that it is a disqualifying section sought to be introduced into a Bill which contains no other disqualification, and that it would require an Instruction to make it in Order.
§ *MR. GERALD BALFOUR (Leeds, Central)
moved the following Clause: —(Civil process against persons resident in Great Britain.)From and after the appointed day no writ of summons nor other civil process shall issue from any court in Ireland for service or substituted service outside of the jurisdiction of such court upon any person domiciled or ordinarily resident in England or Scotland.He said, that the general rule which guided the procedure in reference to the issue of writs of summons or other Civil process from any Court in Ireland for service outside the jurisdiction of such Court on persons domiciled or ordinarily resident in England or Scotland was the old legal maxim to the effect that the plaintiff 258 must sue in the country in which the defendant was domiciled or habitually resident. Until within a comparatively recent period, the rule had been absolute and admitted of no exceptions.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
, rising to Order, submitted that the new clause would, if adopted, alter the English Judicature Act, and could not, therefore, be moved.
§ SIR H. JAMES (Bury, Lancashire)
pointed out that the Amendment affected only the right of Irish Courts to issue writs.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I do not think the new clause requires an Instruction, or is out of Order. Had I thought so I should have stopped the hon. Member.
§ *MR. GERALD BALFOUR
said, that even as regarded writs of subpoena, it was only since 1854 that such writs had been valid outside the, jurisdiction. When Ireland had a Parliament of her own, the rule as between Ireland and England was absolute. His clause provided, so far as the Irish Courts were concerned, for a return to the state of things which existed before the Union, and for a considerable number of years after the Union. At that time the Irish Courts were, as regards this particular matter in the position of foreign Courts. So long as Ireland had an independent Parliament this was natural and inevitable. It was only the Act of Union which by fusing together the Executives and Legislatures of the two countries made a relaxation of the rule possible, even though the judicatures remained distinct. Even now the exceptions to the rule were confined to five or six special and well-defined classes of cases. He did not deny that there was considerable convenience in the existing system, nor would he suggest any change if the appointment of Judges in Ireland were to remain, as heretofore, in the hands of the Imperial Executive, if the Judges themselves were to continue responsible to the Imperial Parliament, and if the power to alter judicial procedure had been withheld from the competence of the Irish Legislature. Members from Ireland, however, could not eat their cake and have it. They could not expect to have a Legislature in Ireland which for domestic purposes was to be practically independent, and, at the same time, to enjoy all the advantages of the 259 present system of closer union. At the present time, the rules of judicial procedure were drawn up by the Judges of the High Court of each country, wore then laid upon the Table of both Houses of Parliament, and, after a certain period, ipso facto obtained the force of law. By this Bill the Irish Legislature would have the power to remodel the system of judicial procedure in Ireland. What could be more natural than that it should pass an Act providing that the rules drawn up by the Irish Judges should be laid on the Table of the two Houses of the Irish Legislature instead of on that of the Imperial Parliament? The Irish Legislature might go further and take into its own hands to determine the rules of procedure by legislative Act. Consider again the position of the Judges under the Bill. The existing Judicature Act directed them, in considering whether they should issue a writ of summons out of the jurisdiction, to take into consideration the amount of the claim and the convenience of the public and the parties to the action. These were clearly somewhat vague matters, in which there was plenty of room for difference of opinion. They were matters which must be left to the discretion of the Judges, who in Ireland were to be appointed by the Irish Legislature. In deciding such questions it was difficult for any man entirely to free himself from his personal leanings, or from such bias as the circumstances of the case might tend to give him. Therefore, without any desire to depreciate by anticipation the character of the gentlemen who might, under this Bill, be appointed Irish Judges, he could not help thinking that they would almost inevitably be prejudiced in favour of their own jurisdiction, and could not always be relied upon to hold the balance even between an Irish plaintiff and an English defendant. It was easy to see that the new order of things might result in very serious hardship to defendants domiciled in England or Scotland. He would give one example. At the present time the right to issue writs out of the jurisdiction did not extend to torts or civil wrongs. It did not extend, for instance, to the case of libel. Suppose the Irish Legislature were to extend it to the case of libel. Hon. Members below the Gangway had sometimes shown themselves extremely 260 sensitive as to what was said of them by public men speaking upon public platforms in this country. One well known Member of the Party had brought an action against a British statesman for libel. That action had, of course, been tried in Great Britain. But suppose the Irish Legislature were to extend the issuing of writs outside the jurisdiction to actions for libel, public speakers in this country might be sued in Ireland before Irish Judges and Irish juries for statements made on English platforms. He hoped that the Prime Minister or the Solicitor General, or whoever might speak on behalf of the Government, would not oppose this clause on small technical grounds, or insist on minor difficulties that might arise under its provisions. He admitted that the clause, as it stood, might have been drawn somewhat too widely. It might, for instance, be argued that, the Exchequer Judges being Imperial Judges, the Exchequer Court ought to form an exception to the operation of the clause, and he would not be averse to accept an Amendment of the clause in that direction. He would even be prepared to go further, and accept a proviso that writs of summons might issue from Irish Courts by leave of the Exchequer Judges previously obtained, those Judges acting, of course, in accordance with the principles laid down by English law. But, at present, he only asked the House to read this clause a second time on the broad ground that the Irish Courts could have no just claim to issue writs out of the jurisdiction on persons resident in Great Britain when the Irish Executive would appoint the Irish Judges, when the Irish Judges would be responsible to the Irish Parliament, and when the Irish Parliament would have power to remodel the whole system of judicial procedure in Ireland. It seemed to him the proper course for them to pursue at present was to withdraw all such powers from the Irish Judges, leaving it to the Imperial Parliament to deal with the whole question, if it should see fit to do so hereafter, unhampered by any terms of settlement contained or implied in this Bill.
Clause (Civil process against persons resident in Great Britain,)—(Mr. Gerald Balfour,)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir J. RIGBY,) Forfar
This proposed new clause has relation to a subject of very wide extent. It suggests a vital change between English and Irish Courts, and the only reason urged on behalf of it is that the Irish Courts cannot be trusted to act with reasonable judicial discretion in a matter of this kind, nor the Irish Legislature to make laws which will be in themselves reasonable. If they make unreasonable laws, we shall have it in our power to prevent them by a much simpler method than is suggested in the clause. The hon. Member who proposed this clause seemed to think that by accepting it we should get back to a state of things which existed when the two Kingdoms were absolutely distinct, and I think he rather put forward—
§ SIR J. RIGBY
He suggested that we were always to have the powers already given to us by the Judicature Acts and the Rules made under those Acts to servo our writs, but that the Irish Courts were not to have similar powers. That is a wholly one-sided proposal.
§ SIR J. RIGBY
The hon. Gentleman has a perfect right to say ho opposes the Bill on that ground; but I also have a right to use the same argument as a reason for opposing the clause, which, whatever the Bill may lie, is absolutely one-sided, and as an argument in favour of leaving the Judicature in both countries in exactly the same position. Even then we should not come to anything like the state of things which existed before the Judicature Acts were passed. The whole question of laud, for instance, will be in a totally different position. Our Courts in England cannot deal directly with matters affecting land in Ireland. If, therefore, a question of that kind arises, it will be impossible to deal with a person resident in Great Britain, according to the terms of this new clause. I will give credit to the hon. Member for any Amendment which he may possibly introduce into the clause; 262 but I still maintain that it is objectionable, mainly on the ground that it would be humiliating to the Irish Courts by placing them in a position of inferiority as regards the corresponding Courts in England and Scotland in this respect. This question of domicile, as it now stands, will be au entire alteration of the law, even as it existed before the Union. Domicile never has had, and never ought to have, anything to do with it. It has been pointed out in Committee that a man may be resident in Ireland and may carry on his business there, and yet be domiciled in England or Scotland. Such a man will be allowed, according to this clause, to escape the jurisdiction of the Irish Courts by leaving Ireland after passing years of his life and engaging in transactions of wide extent in that country. That it is expedient, and even necessary, that there should be a right to issue writs out of the jurisdiction is shown by the fact that actions are not necessarily by one plaintiff against a single defendant; but that numberless questions of ten arise in which a question cannot satisfactorily be settled between A and B without bringing in C and D, who may be domiciled, or habitually resident, out of Ireland. It has always been one of our special boasts in our dealings with foreign nations—and for this purpose alone I will argue as if Ireland were a foreign nation—that what we demand from them we also in our turn concede. I do not think that a single case in modern history can be cited in which we have said that we insist upon serving our writs in their country, but refuse to that other country similar advantages. It might take weeks, according to the progress already made with these Debates, if we were to try and introduce into the Bill a full and equitable and reasonable scheme which should comprise any important part of this clause; and I do not think the House would have proceeded far in that matter without its becoming apparent that it would be altogether inequitable to say to any portion of the nation that we demand to issue writs as against them, but that we are not prepared to concede that right to their Courts as against ourselves. Though we are by this Bill creating, with knowledge and full intention, a state of things which we think ought to exist in Ireland in the 263 future, it is proposed we should accompany that by an admission that we are thereby doing something so hazardous and dangerous to the proper administration of justice that there must be withdrawn from the Courts of the future that equality which they now enjoy, and they must be thrown back into the position of semi-barbarous nations, with whom we are bound, as a matter of policy, to impose some part of our law without giving them the same rights as against ourselves in return. I cannot conceive how such an Amendment can commend itself to the acceptance of the House, and I submit that it ought to be negatived.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON
said, the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General had entirely mistaken the grounds upon which the Amendment was brought forward. With some parts of the hon. and learned Gentleman's observations both he and the proposer of the clause agreed, especially those which were delivered from a lawyer's point of view. But his hon. Friend did not desire that any single power of serving the writ out of England into Ireland should exist without mutuality and reciprocity—all he said was that before they had such mutual and reciprocal service of writs they must make a tabula rasa, now that they were setting up a separate Judicature no longer appointed by, and responsible to, the British Parliament. The Judicature Act was liable to be changed in every detail by the Irish Parliament. The question was one that affected every English and Scotch citizen, whatever his politics. The clause said that in future any English or Scotch citizen, who was liable to be sued in any jurisdiction, might be brought over to Ireland—
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON
, continuing, said, an English or Scotch citizen would, in future, be liable to be called over to Dublin at the will of the Irish Courts, and under the jurisdiction of the Irish Legislature rules might be made enforcing that. It would be an outrageous thing that the Courts and Legislature in Ireland should not only have power to legislate for its own people, but that the Court should have power to issue writs 264 at its own sweet will and discretion against any Englishman or Scotchman in excess of the Judicature Act and the Scotch law. Experience taught them that Courts invariably tried to attract business to themselves, and it was only common sense to suppose that the Irish Courts would be placed under rules which would bring before them, when possible, English and Scotch litigants. He agreed there ought to be mutuality, but that should be set up by the Imperial Parliament—not by the Irish Legislature. The Solicitor General said this was an attempt to set up something only fit for a semi-barbarous State; but would he be surprised to hear that the very words of this Amendment were to be found in the Federation Act of Australasia of 1885, and were applied to the Australian Colonies with their consent by the Imperial Parliament? Was it not common sense that where any bodies of people formed together for a common purpose there should be mutuality. But if they allowed the Irish Judicature to do as it wished it would not be mutual—it would be non-reciprocal, and only afford it means of harassing and inconveniencing (hose over whom it should have no control. Before the Union there was no power of issuing writs out of the jurisdiction of Ireland in England, or out of the jurisdiction of England in Ireland; but in 1806 subpoenas were allowed to be issued in criminal cases, and in 1832, for the first time, writs were allowed to be issued in cases referring to the land. These powers were given under Common Law Procedure Acts which had been since repealed, and were now provided for in the Judicature Act. There was no objection to re-enacting them in an Imperial Act; but there was an objection to leaving the Judicature Act liable to be amended by the Irish Legislature, and by Irish Judges responsible only to that Legislature. The change proposed by the Amendment was the natural corollary of the Home Rule Bill. In the Colonies, under the rules as to service, a judgment obtained against a British subject at home could only be enforced by bringing a new action in England founded upon such judgment; but if the defendant could show he was out of the jurisdiction the whole of the judgment would go to pieces. But in Ireland the case was 265 very different, as, under the Judgments Extension Act, a judgment obtained in an Irish Court against an English or Scotch citizen could be brought over here and registered, and the following day placed in the hands of the Sheriff, and all his goods and chattels could be taken in execution of the judgment. An ex post facto law might be passed by the Irish Legislature, because by this Bill they were going to give the Irish Legislature that power, as an Amendment to prevent it had been rejected. Such a thing could not happen in the case of the Colonies. What would happen in Ireland—say in Ulster? A gentleman might bring an action for libel, as one of the Nationalist Members did against Lord Salisbury. The defendant might not appear, and although he was served out of jurisdiction, judgment might be entered for any amount against him, and that judgment might be registered in England, and immediately executed with very harsh consequences. This was a business question. It was not suggested that a man having business relations in Ireland should not be there liable; but he was endeavouring to show that no system of this kind could be set up in Ireland without some change being made such as was suggested in the Amendment. The fact was, that they could not eat their cake and have it. They could not throw their cake out of the window and want to have it at the same time. They could not give up the Union and retain its advantages. They might allow each part of the United Kingdom to have service for its processes in every other part, as at present, because they had control of the whole system. But once they parted with control of some part of the system, it became necessary that they should alter the state of things, and declare that the processes of the Irish Courts of Law should have no force outside their own jurisdiction. From the Irish point of view—and he was sure the Nationalist Members would admit this—it was most essential that in these matters, as in commercial matters, that there was a uniformity between the two Kingdoms, because if there was not uniformity between the two Kingdoms as to the procedure of the Law Courts, English and Scotch traders would be slow to deal with the Irish traders. If an English or Scotch merchant was aware 266 that the Civil procedure, as altered by the Irish Parliament, was most unfavourable to him as compared with an Irish suitor, he would be slow to treat with an Irish merchant, or to give that credit which was most essential to trade. Therefore, though this might seem a very small matter, it might have a very important effect on Irish trade; and he thought the Nationalist Members would be most unpatriotic and most unwise—though they might think they had sufficient reasons to justify the course they were taking—if they encouraged the chance or the possibility of any breach in the general uniformity of the Commercial Laws, without which there could lie no development of trade, which was a matter of great importance to Ireland. They must take Homo Rule for better or for worse. The Unionists believed it would be for the worse. If they took Home Rule they must take it accompanied with all its inconveniences to England and to Ireland. It was most unfair, too, that Irish Members should come to the Imperial Parliament, assist in the passing of rules affecting the procedure of the English Courts, and that the Imperial Parliament should have no voice in the Irish Parliament when it set itself to passing laws altering the procedure of the Irish Courts to the injury of the English and Scotch people.
§ SIR R. WEBSTER (Isle of Wight)
I hope this Amendment will receive some further consideration from the Government. I listened to the speech of the Solicitor General, and it did not appear to me that he really understood what was the change the passing of the Home Rule Bill will affect in this matter. The hon. and learned Gentleman was extremely angry because we ventured to point out what will be the condition of things when the Home Rule Bill is passed. The Members of the Government who speak against these Amendments seem to be unable to contemplate that the Bill will pass. They may take that view if they like, but at any rate we are justified in bringing home to their minds what will be the condition of things if the Bill is passed. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that at present there was a reciprocity between the two countries; that writs issued out of the High Court of Justice in England could be served in Ire- 267 land; and that writs issued out of the High Court of Justice in Ireland could be served in England. We have not the slightest objection to reciprocal relations of that kind between the two countries. But my hon. and learned Friend, in endeavouring to suggest a conclusive argument against the Amendment, will not bring himself to consider what the real condition of things will be if this Bill is passed. The power of altering the Law of Procedure, the Law of Evidence, and the Law of Execution will be in the hands of the Irish Parliament, and we shall not have the slightest right of interference except by causing a conflict between the two countries by passing an Act which would practically be a breach of faith so far as this Home Rule Bill is concerned. Why have the present mutual relations between the two countries for the service of writs been established? Because hitherto Acts have been passed for the two countries by the Imperial Parliament. A Judicature Act has been passed for England and a Judicature Act has been passed for Ireland by the Imperial Legislature. But if this Home Rule Bill becomes law, so far from there being reciprocity between the two countries, the condition of things will be altogether one-sided. Nothing can prevent the Irish Legislature from making a rule that in a case of libel the writ should not only be served out of England, but the action be tried in the Irish Courts. If that were done it may happen that a similar rule would be made in England, or an Act of Parliament passed with regard to the service of writs out of the jurisdiction in respect to cases in the High Court of Justice of England. But that would be an act of retaliation, which would not answer the injustice committed or the hardship inflicted on persons liable to be taken over to Ireland and sued there for actions brought against them in respect to matters entirely and solely connected with England. If you say that the Amendment as it stands is one-sided; if you think it to be unjust to prevent Irish writs being served in England, amend it by preventing English writs being served in Ireland. If that were done I would support any such Amendment. You must remember what the position will be after Home Rule is passed. British subjects are going to be made liable in actions taken against them 268 according to laws passed by an Irish Legislature over which this country has no control. We say that the Irish Legislature ought not to be allowed to inflict serious injury on persons in England who may have committed a breach of the Irish law. The action brought against Lord Salisbury was mentioned, whereupon the hon. Member for Louth said—"Where was the action tried?" It was tried in England. We do not object to that, but we object to be brought under the jurisdiction of the Irish. Courts. What we complained of is that laws may be passed and procedure enacted which will be unjust to persons who may in some way have offended the Irish Members. If there is to be reciprocity it ought to be established by the Imperia Parliament where the Members of the different parts of the Kingdom can be heard. I submit, therefore, that the Amendment is reasonable, and that it is necessary for the protection of the British subjects against vexatious and harassing litigation in Ireland.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
This Amendment differs from any others that have been yet proposed, in that it has not been proposed with the object of wasting time. It has been proposed out of pure malice; but not having been proposed with the object of wasting time, I think it is deserving of serious treatment. Apparently, it has been proposed by the hon. Gentleman because, he says, of actions having been brought by Irish Members against English statesmen.
§ *MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I gave that merely as an illustration. I did not say that the Amendment was proposed on that account.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
As I understand, it has been suggested, at any rate, as one of the advantages under this Amendment, that you could not in future bring actions against English statesmen.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
Exactly. No action has been brought in Ireland against any English statesman. There was, of course, the case of the midwife Peggy Dillon, who sued the Irish Secretary in Ireland. Does anybody suggest that the Irish Secretary may not be sued in Ireland? Therefore, what is the relevance of this Amendment? Lord Salisbury 269 was sued in England by an Irish Member, as he may still be sued in England by an Irish Member. How on earth does Lord Salisbury's action affect the matter? Lord Salisbury's libel—a very unfortunate libel it was—was a libel committed in England, and he was sued in England. What is the relevance of bringing in Lord Salisbury's case as an illustration? It has been said that we do not apply our minds to the question. I applied whatever mind I had to it. The suggestion now is that we may alter the law so as to sue the noble Lord in Ireland. It is said that there may be ex post facto legislation, which is so favourable to the Tory Party, for they moved two Amendments in favour of ex post facto legislation. Let us take that case. Let us assume that we commenced an action against Lord Salisbury in Ireland. Has Lord Salisbury any property in Ireland on which damages can be levied? The legal thing for you to do is to repeal the Judgments Extension Act. That is an Imperial Statute. You have it in your hands, and the moment the Irish proposed to bring over and implead a number of innocent English gentlemen in that country, it is quite clear that all you have to do is to repeal your Imperial Statute, the Judgments Extension Act. In the name of fortune what good would a Judgment for £1,000,000 in Dublin against Lord Salisbury be to any person? You could not levy it. He has no Irish property. It would be of no use to anybody, and it would be only when the Irish Court by its Judgment obtained the benefit of the Judgments Extension Act, and when you come across to Westminster and register your Judgment, it is only then that the thing would have force or effect. Is not the Judgments Extension Act an Imperial Statute? Are not the rules under it under Imperial authority? Cannot the English Courts make rules dealing with it? And what would be easier if you refused—with that scrupulous regard for Irish rights which this House has always recognised—if you refused to repeal the Judgments Extension Act, what is to prevent yon in the Courts making rules as to Judgments in Ireland? As far as we have had any experience of the Judges of the Commission Court, they are not violent Nationalists—Judge Hannen, Judge Day, and another gentleman whose name 270 I have forgotten. Judge Smith is not a name we usually forget. We have had experience of these gentlemen, and we did not find a great desire or anxiety to do us that perfect justice which we might have expected. These gentlemen could make a rule that if a Judgment of an Irish Court is attempted to be brought across to England they must be satisfied that it is a just Judgment. Therefore, it does seem to me that this is a most remarkable thing. To use a mining phrase, it is the very tailings of debate. But, furthermore, may I suggest to the hon. Member for Mid Armagh (Mr. Dunbar Barton) that it would be a very unfortunate thing for firms like Guinness's Brewery, which have very large relations in England, if you pass such a law; or take the English Insurance Companies, which have large mortgages upon Irish land. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Wight (Sir R. Webster) said that we should have reciprocity: that Englishmen should not have the run of our cupboard against us without our having the run of their cupboard against them. Take the case of a man who seeks to execute in England a mortgage on Irish property. There would be no power of process whatever from Westminster across to Dublin under the proposed suggestion of the ex-Attorney General. How are you going to get at this Irish property? The simple answer is, leave it alone. You have the power in your hands to make the basis of English laws apply to Ireland just the same as before. But, finally, the clause absolutely is inoperative. Supposing it was passed, it would make no difference whatever. I pointed out that without the benefit of the Judgments Extension Act such a process as is referred to in the proposed clause would be absolutely useless. You can repeal that Act. Suppose that it was the case of a gentleman who had Irish property. Very well. There is nothing to prevent the Irish Courts making a rule that service on that gentleman on his Irish property would be good service. There is no provision as to domicile. No doubt, the right hon. Member for Bury (Sir Henry James) will put down a domicile Amendment. I make that suggestion to him, to be considered in his leisure moments. I do not think that it would be at all unrea- 271 sonablc—Lord Clanricarde, for instance— that a person owning half a county might reasonably be served in Ireland at his castle at Portumna. As the question of domicile has not been touched let us assume that the Irish Courts held that any gentleman who owns half a county might fairly be considered to have a domicile in that county. That being so, you can easily come at any gentleman resident in England who had property in Ireland. But then, I suppose, there must be persons who have domiciles in both countries, and their case, unfortunately, is not provided for, so that absolutely you might have a man who might have English property and Irish property, and because he had an English domicile he could not be sued at all, which, as has been once observed in this House, is absurd.
§ *MR. BUTCHER (York)
said, the object of the Amendment was different from that of every other Amendment moved by the Opposition. Its object was to protect English and Scotch subjects from harassing litigation. The Irish Legislature might so alter the civil procedure of Ireland as to impose upon English and Scotch subjects an extremely unpleasant and harassing course of litigation. Take the case of a contract formed in England between an Englishman and an Irishman domiciled in Ireland. If the contract were broken in England, according to the existing law the Irishman would have to seek his remedy in the English Courts. But it would be quite in the competency of the Irish Legislature so to alter the rules of procedure as to place it in the power of the Irishman to inflict on the Englishman harassing litigation to which he could not now be subjected. Under the law as it stood, Judgment obtained in Ireland could be enforced in England. But, said the hon. and learned Member for North Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy), the Judgments Extension Act could be repealed by the English Judges. Ho should be surprised to hoar that a Committee of Judges could repeal an Act of Parliament; and until he was corrected by some authority, he would believe that the Judgments Extension Act would continue in force. The Solicitor General had offered only two arguments against the clause. One was that if the Irish Legislature tampered with the procedure 272 of the Courts an Imperial Act to checkmate it could always be passed. There were two answers to that argument. The Solicitor General might view with indifference the multiplying of causes of conflict between the Imperial Parliament and the Irish Legislature; but the object of the opponents of the Bill was to avoid these possible canses of difference. Then, again, if the argument that the Imperial Parliament could pass an over-riding Act of Parliament was a good one, it would make every single restriction in the Bill unnecessary. The object of these restrictions was to prevent possible causes of conflict between the Imperial and the Irish Parliaments by preventing the Irish Parliament from travelling into provinces which they had no right to travel upon. The Solicitor General gave another reason against the clause. He said—"I object to one sided dealing." The very reason why the clause was submitted was to prevent one-sided dealing. As the matter stood at present, the Imperial Parliament only made laws for the service of processes out of England in Ireland and out of Ireland in England. The Solicitor General proposed that the Irish Parliament, in which the English people would he unrepresented, should have the power to make laws for the service of processes in England out of Ireland. The opponents of the. Bill did not want that one-sided dealing. They desired to retain in the Imperial Parliament the power of making laws for the service of processes in Ireland out of England, and in England out of Ireland. What they objected to, and what they endeavoured to prevent by this clause, was that it should be left in the power of the Irish Legislature to harass English and Scotch subjects by a new procedure in litigation, differing from the procedure now in force between the two countries.
§ *MR. DODD (Essex, Maldon)
said, the object of the Amendment, as he understood it, was to degrade the Irish Courts, and the reason assigned was because of the antecedents of the Irish gentlemen who would probably constitute the Irish Judges. He ventured to think the object was not one of which this House would for a moment approve. It was perfectly true, as stated by the hon. and learned 273 Member for Mid Armagh (Mr. Dunbar Barton), that before the Union the Irish Courts did not exercise the power of sending their writs to England, and the same thing applied to foreign countries. The reason was that in those days there was not so much commercial enterprise or so many contracts of an International character made by British subjects. But as commerce grew it was found necessary for the Courts of the country to issue writs outside their actual territorial limits; and the general rule at present was, in most countries and most colonies, that wherever there was a contract made and broken within the jurisdiction, though the persons to be sued wore outside, for the Court to assume jurisdiction and send process outside. They did that with regard to France, and France did it with regard to this country, and it was the same with the Colonies. What the new clause proposed was to place the Irish Courts in a different position to that of the Courts of every other civilised country. He ventured to think the House would not for a moment assent to a clause that did that. It seemed to him that if the Irish Parliament or the Irish Executive were likely to appoint Judges who were not fit for their posts, the remedy was not to be sought by endeavouring to cripple the Courts by Amendments of this kind, but to deal with the matter under other clauses in the Bill—by keeping more control over the Courts. Whether that was wise or not he did not now propose to inquire, but lie submitted to the House that it could not be right to impose on the Irish Courts this limitation, placing them in a position inferior to those of the colonies and of foreign countries.
§ MR. ROSS (Londonderry)
could quite understand the vehemence of the hon. and learned Member for North Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) in opposing this Amendment, but he had great difficulty in understanding the strong expressions used by the hon. and loarnod Member who had just sat down (Mr. Dodd). The hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) took the whole matter as a personal affront; he had destined himself as one of the future Irish Judges; and in that capacity, as he would have to make rules, he thought it an affront to himself for any Englishman to imagine he would not make rules 274 perfectly fair for Englishmen and Scotchmen who might come under his jurisdiction. But as for the hon. and learned Member who had just sat down (Mr. Dodd), he had stated the intention of the Amendment was to degrade the Irish people, owing to the antecedents of the men who would be appointed. He (Mr. Ross) listened most carefully to the speech of his hon. Friend who introduced the Amendment, and he most carefully guarded himself against any such intention; he expressly stated it was not for that reason at all, but for a reason that must be patent to the mind of every commercial man, and that was that the Courts over whom the English and Scotch people had no control whatever should not be permitted to make these rules affecting their commercial position in the future. That was a plain, common-sense position to be taken up, and how had it been dealt with? The argument of the hon. and learned Solicitor General (Sir J. Rigby) had been dealt with by hon. Members who had preceded him, but the hon. and learned Member for North Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) said the first thing they should do was to repeal the Judgments Extension Act. That was a largo order; that was an Act that was most important with regard to both England and Ireland, and the first thing the hon. Member proposed was to repeal that Act. Not to give the Irish Legislature or the Irish Courts the power to issue writs for service out of the jurisdiction was comparatively a small matter in comparison to such an extreme step as the repeal of the Judgments Extension Act. What they said was that as this was a matter that dealt with their own commercial men, it should be dealt with by the Imperial Parliament, and he supported this Amendment, not maliciously as was insinuated by hon. Members on the other side, but in the sincere belief that if the Amendment were not carried it would very much tend to diminish legal business in Ireland. They all knew there was nothing so sensitive as commerce or capital; and if the great traders who sent over large quantities of capital and who dealt extensively with Ireland once got it into their minds that in case of litigation they were to be dealt with by Judges appointed by the Irish Legislature over whom they had no control, he had no doubt they would refuse to deal 275 at all with Ireland, and in that way great injury would be inflicted upon Ireland. He submitted the Amendment was one that ought to be carried, and he also believed that if it was not serious injury would result to Ireland.
§ MR. WADDY (Lincolnshire, Brigg)
said, that to him it seemed this was about the most extraordinary Amendment that had been put down in the whole course of the Bill. This was not a question as to any right of action, or as to any good and honest custom, but was purely a matter of procedure. The argument was that some person in Ireland, having a perfectly good cause of action against another person who would not come to Ireland to be served, and who avoided all service and avoided all action by the simple process of living at Birkenhead, Liverpool, or Holyhead for the matter of that, was to be prevented from calling upon his debtor to pay his debt, and that the debtor was to be protected by the simple process of remaining away. When they had done with these extremely fanciful notions that had been advanced that was what it came to. In order to obtain the debt the creditor in Ireland must go to Holyhead with his witnesses, and perhaps have to come to London to have the case tried. That was the suggestion, and he considered it was an exceedingly absurd one. It was one that found favour with them a good many years ago, but they had had the common sense to destroy all that. But having got rid of it now, what was proposed was tore-enact half of it for Ireland; that was really the calm proposition laid before the House of Commons at this day. When they came to consider what was wanted, he thought they would treat it—he said it good humouredly—with the contempt it deserved. It meant they were to introduce for the first time a permanent protection of the absentee landlords from being attacked on any contract they might make in Ireland. He hardly thought they should lend themselves to a scheme so simple, but at the same time so monstrous and so wrong.
§ *SIR A. ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
was glad to hear the hon. Member for Mid Armagh (Mr. Dunbar Barton), who moved the Amendment, say that this matter was not to be regarded as a 276 Party question. From his point of view, it was a question of equity. He did not hesitate to say, if the question were whether uniformity of procedure should ho maintained, the arguments on that point were complete; and when the question of uniformity of action with regard to bills of exchange was before the House, he took that view and supported the expression of opinion entertained on that (the Conservative) side of the House; but he could not see that this matter, at any rate in this Amendment, did involve any question of uniformity of procedure. He would like to ask those who advanced this point whether they realised that if this clause was carried it would put Ireland in a worse position legally for the assertion of her legal rights than any foreign country. If that could be answered in the negative he admitted that what he was going to advance might be capable of considerable answer; but if, on the other hand, the view he ventured to take—and he ventured to take it without presumption—was correct, there could be no worse precedent than a step of this character, which would be fatal to Imperial unity of feeling and action. What was the law on this subject? The late Attorney General (Sir R. Webster) had put it that if anyone went over to Ireland there could be no objection to his being sued. But this was a question of legal jurisdiction. Many facts might give jurisdiction. Residence was one, but the origin of the cause of action was another one; and that was probably the most important of all, because in the service of writs out of the jurisdiction the main point in the affidavit on which leave must be obtained was whether the cause of action originated within the jurisdiction. If a contract arose in Franco and was broken in France, the action could be taken in the French Courts; and if Judgment were so given against a domiciled Englishman, execution could be issued by an English Court without even going into the merits at all, by what was called the comity of nations. And now if this clause passed that which could be done daily with France and other countries, which did not divert commerce—a consideration which did not prevent their entering into commercial transactions—could not be done in Ireland. The clause said that— 277From and after the appointed day no writ of summons nor other civil process shall issue from any Court in Irelandagainst any British subject not resident in that country. In his opinion, that was not in accordance with the lines of modern jurisprudence—not in accordance with the development of Commercial Law which was becoming daily of a more International character, and which afforded more facilities for the serving of writs. After that, and in vindication of this clause, they were told that rules should be made by which such a Judgment should not be executed. There was one case where our Courts would not issue execution, and that was where it was contrary to natural equity; and if it were attempted to execute a Judgment on process which had never been served, or the like, in such a case, notwithstanding the Judgments Extension Act, they would refuse to take a course not founded on natural equity. If he was right in his view, lie could not vote for the clause. He could not place Ireland in a worse position than foreign countries; and if he was wrong, ho should regret having taken a view opposed to his Party, but which he believed, in justice to his own conscience and in his independent duty to his constituents, he was bound to take.
*SIR H.JAMES (Bury, Lancashire)
said, the speeches of the two learned Gentlemen on that side of the House (Mr. Waddy and Mr. Dodd) had filled him with astonishment, and he thought they must be labouring under forgetfulness of what was the law in this country. Under the law now, as established by the constituted authority, by Rule under the Judicature Act, they had no power to serve a writ upon a resident in Ireland if he were domiciled in Scotland or Ireland. By Rule 3, Order 11, it was provided that—Service out of the jurisdiction of a writ of summons or notice of a writ of summons may be allowed by the Court or a Judge whenever the action is founded on any breach or alleged breach within the jurisdiction of any contract which, according to the terms thereof, ought to be performed within the jurisdiction, unless the defendant is domiciled or ordinarily resident in Scotland or Ireland.That was the Rule which, by statutory authority, our Courts had laid down, so that they could not, if a person was domiciled in Scotland or Ireland, as distinguished from his being a passing visitor, 278 they could not, out of the English Courts, issue a writ in an action of contract against that person, although the contract had been made here and was to be performed here. The Amendment had followed those very words, that it should not issueUpon any person domiciled or ordinarily resident in England or Scotland.Now, might he ask where came in the indignation of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Lincolnshire (Mr. Waddy), who said it was monstrous to do what the Judges, under their statutory power, had thought it right to do in actions of contract as regarded Scotland and Ireland? This was not a question of one country extending its own jurisdiction and enforcing it upon another; the point of difficulty hero was that a person might be resident and domiciled here, but might have chattels and property in Ireland, and the Irish Courts might issue execution against the chattels in Ireland, even though the cause of action did not arise in Ireland. When his hon. and learned Friend expressed such indignation at Amendments such as these, perhaps it would be bettor if he recollected that they were now about to give to another country power to make laws and to appoint Judges, and we should have no power to control that country so as to rest the community existing between the two parts of the United Kingdom upon this Parliament and not upon the subordinate Parliament which would practically be free from the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. The proximity of this country to Ireland required safeguards more than was the case with our Colonies. The indignation of the hon. and learned Member for Lincolnshire (Mr. Waddy) was not justified either by the Amendment itself or the very able argument of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Mid Armagh (Mr. Dunbar Barton).
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (Manchester, E.)
I acknowledge some hesitation in intervening in these technical arguments. ["Oh, oh!"] No doubt the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Donegal (Mr. Mac Neill), who interrupts me, is eminently fitted to shine in them. I do not profess to have the same depth of learning he so often displays in the 279 Irish Courts; but I wish to explain why I shall vote for the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I shall vote for it on certain broad principles of equity, which seems to me to be involved in the proposition he has laid before the House. Before coming to the substance of the Amendment, I may say one word on the extraordinary argument submitted by the learned Member for Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) and entertained by other speakers who have spoken in this Debate. He said—" What harm can it do to bring an action against an Englishman, because he would have no Irish property over which the Irish Judges would have any jurisdiction? What is the use of condemning Lord Salisbury in costs if he has no Irish property on which the costs can be levied." Lord Salisbury may be in the happy position of having no Irish property; that I do not know; but it may also be the fact, and I say it will be, that after the passing of the Home Rule Bill everyone domiciled in England and Scotland will, with the utmost expedition and despatch on their part, remove all their property from Ireland; but for the unfortunate remainder who may not be able to realise some consideration should be extended, even by the hon. and learned Member for Louth. The learned Member for one of the Divisions of Lincolnshire said— "Is it not contrary to common sense to go back to a condition of things that may have been tolerable in the last century, but which is not tolerable now; is it not absurd to go back to a time when England and Ireland were treated for these purposes as different countries; is it not necessary to keep up that reciprocity that has existed for many years past?" I agree that common sense demands there should be intercommunication between England and Ireland, and common sense had its own way in 1800; but in 1893 common sense has gone to the wall in these matters, and we are only endeavouriug to fit details into the general principles of that measure which certainly are not inconsistent with common sense. We have got to face the fact that by this Bill Ireland is for many purposes—and for the most important purpose for which civil government exists—to be made a different country to England; and what we have got to do is to see that the English subjects of 280 Her Majesty shall be protected from oppression which may be attempted from Irish Courts and the Irish Executive over which the British Courts and Executive have no control whatever. My hon. Friend the Member for South Islington (Sir A. Rollit) said he could not support this Amendment, because it would put Ireland in a worse position, as against persons domiciled in England, than either France or any other Foreign State. Though that is a legal matter, still I do not think my hon. and learned Friend is rightly advised. There is, at all events, this fundamental distinction: that while, no doubt, the French Court may take what action it pleases with regard to a person domiciled in England when it has taken its action and brought in a verdict, it cannot enforce it upon English subjects.
§ *SIR A. ROLLIT
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will allow mo to repeat what I said, which was that, if a Judgment was brought over, it could be sued upon in an English Court without any inquiry whatever as to the facts, of the case, if the jurisdiction of the foreign Court was established.
MR. A. J. BALFOUK
I will not enter into a conflict in legal matters with my hon. and learned Friend, but I do understand, from those more learned than I, that it is easy to set up a defence which the English Courts would regard. But, at all events, my hon. and learned Friend will admit that, after Judgment, a British subject is not in the same helpless position as regards the Foreign Courts as be undoubtedly is with regard to the Irish Courts. There is a broad distinction between a British subject against whom a verdict is returned in a Foreign Court and that same British subject against whom a verdict is returned in an Irish Court; therefore, so far from the position of Ireland—if this Amendment be passed—being worse than France or Germany in respect of persons domiciled in England, really the very reverse is the case. The broad fact this House has got to consider is this: We are instituting in Ireland a Legislature and an Executive which will make the law and appoint the Judges without our control and without any effective power of interference on our part. In the course of this Bill we have endeavoured to protect, against I 281 what we regard as the injurious operation of that now system, subjects of Her Majesty resident in Ireland. We now want to protect subjects of Her Majesty not resident in Ireland but in England. Surely one of the most obvious and plain duties is for this House to see that if mischief should be done in Ireland by the new system, those mischiefs, at all events, shall not be permitted to extend to the subjects of Her Majesty domiciled in England or Scotland. That appears to me a question of plain justice, and I hope, Sir, through all the mists of technicalities with which inevitably this subject is shrouded and covered, the clear principles of justice and public policy which require an English subject to be safe in England against any oppressive practice in Courts over which we have no control should be maintained; and as no other suggestion than that of my hon. Friend has been brought forward for carrying out that undoubtedly desirable object, I say, unless further argument be urged by gentlemen opposite against the course I am about to pursue, that I shall certainly support the Amendment.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
The Debate, I believe, is to a large extent a technical Debate. Of course, so far as that is the case, I do not feel myself competent to take part in it. There is one practical point, I believe, which has not been touched upon, and which I think ought to be of great interest to politicians in this House, to whatever Party they belong, and especially to their Leaders. J say it ought to be of interest to politicians of both Parties, because although it is possible that one Party now may feel that at present, at all events, they are not likely to be subjected to any hostility on the part of the Irish Members opposite, no one can say that the circumstances may not entirely change in the course of a few years, and those who now are regarded with most friendship by hon. Members opposite may not, in a very short time, find themselves in a totally different situation. We have seen changes quite as remarkable. We could quote the case of very distinguished politicians who at one time, only a few years ago, accused them (the Irish Members) of almost the greatest crimes, and as to whom, a short time afterwards, 282 the same persons—their own accusers— expressed themselves as willing to black their boots. The point which I want to bring to the attention of the House—of the Government—is the position in which we shall be placed, if this Amendment is not carried, in regard to prosecutions for libel. There was, some time ago—I am not quite certain whether it happened between the years 1880 and 1885 or between 1886 and 1892—but in one of those periods there was a statement which appeared in all the Irish papers to the effect that the Nationalist Party had appointed a committee whose business it was to read with care all the English newspapers, and to see whether in these English papers, either in the articles or the reported speeches, there was anything which could by any possibility be construed into a libel upon any of the Irish Party or upon any Irishman, and I believe it was the duty of this committee in such cases to take the necessary proceedings. I remember when that announcement was made I thought it added a new terror to political life. At the same time, it was certainly done under these circumstances. Even if this committee thought that a libel had been uttered, they would have to try the case, whether in Ireland or in England, before Judges who were appointed by the Imperial Parliament, and who probably would act according to precedents and English law. Now that is to be entirely changed, I want to know what would be my position; for instance, suppose after the Home Rule Bill is passed, I go to Birmingham or Leeds and accuse certain Irish Members of marching through rapine to the dismemberment of the Empire? Suppose I were to say they were preaching the gospel of plunder? [Mr. T. M. HEALY: Ransom.] Suppose I were to say they were steeped to the lips in treason? All these are statements I should not hesitate to make at the present time, and I am perfectly willing to stand my chance of an action for libel in case I did say them, and in that case I should certainly justify them, and I should have no hesitation in anticipating a favourable verdict, whether from a Court in Ireland or Great Britain. But under this Bill the circumstances might be entirely changed. You might have a new lot of Judges, new laws, and, above 283 all, new procedure, and it certainly I would be rather an uncomfortable reflection in making a speech of that kind—which certainly does not go beyond legitimate criticism, which all politicians allow to themselves in regard to their opponents—if I was to have a libel action entered against me in Ireland and a verdict given against me according to the new views of Irishmen in regard to the Law of Libel, and that then if I had property in Ireland, to have that property attacked, and if I had not to have the Judgment brought over here, and, as the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Sir A. Rollit) said, to have the Courts here incapable of entering again into the facts of the case, but obliged only to see whether it is a legal Judgment; and if they hold the Judgment against me was legal, thou to enforce that Judgment against my property in this country. I really think I have contributed a practical illustration to the discussion, and Icannot help thinking there are even right hon. Gentlemen on that (the Government) Bench who would find their eloquence very seriously curtailed if they were liable to be brought to book in the way in which they can be brought to book unless an Amendment of this kind is adopted.
§ MR. JUSTIN McCARTHY (Longford, N.)
I do not intend to occupy the time of the House for more than two or three minutes, and I shall not go at all into the technical question just now under debate. I only want to reply, as far as I can, to one statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain), who has brought into this short discussion, into the few sentences he spoke, some of that remarkable imagination and some of that remarkable bitterness which, blended together, made up so many of his contributions to discussions on Irish questions. The right hon. Gentleman told us that there was some committee got up by the Irish Nationalist Party to investigate and discover and follow out actions and causes for libel against opposing Members of Parliament. I think if such a committee had been organised or got up or suggested or talked of at all it might have plenty of work before it. But I think also that the existence of a committee of that kind, or a suggestion of a 284 committee of that kind, would somehow or other have found its way into my knowledge and the knowledge of my hon. Friends around me. I have only to say that so far as I know—so far as my friends around me know—there never was such a committee suggested, there never was such a committee thought about, and that argument must go to the limbo of other arguments for which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham is mainly responsible.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 147; Noes 198.—(Division List, No. 266.)
§ *MR. HENEAGE (Great Grimsby)
proposed an Amendment to the effect that the Preamble should be omitted. He call attention, first, to the fact that the Preamble had never been discussed; and, secondly, that they were discussing an entirely new Bill. This Bill, when introduced by the Government, was introduced to set up an Irish Legislature, which was to be a subordinate Legislature, and also there was not to be full retention of the Irish Members. It had been alleged against the Unionists that the retention of the Irish Members in that House for all purposes was due to them. He had denied that before, and he denied it again. They had never been in favour of an Irish Legislature, or of Home Rule; but what they had always said was that they were willing to retain the Irish Members in that House and also to give local self-government to Ireland. It had been decided by the House that they were to retain the Irish Members there in full possession of all their powers. He objected, therefore, to their having an Irish Legislature in Ireland in addition, so that they would have power altogether in Ireland, and have power in England also. But that was not his only reason. He objected to the Bill, because it did not carry out the conditions which they were told were to be the conditions in which the Irish Legislature should be created. It was founded on these five conditions—First, that the Imperial unity was to be maintained; second, that there should be equality of all the Kingdoms; third, an equitable re-partition of Imperial charges; four, protection of minorities; and five, a real and a continuing settlement. Those, 285 they were told, were the principles upon which alone the granting to Ireland of a subordinate Legislature should be based. Had these conditions been supplied by this Bill? In the first place, they had not got a subordinate Legislature, and, in the second place, Imperial unity was not maintained. How could Imperial unity be maintained under the Bill as it stood? They had only discussed about one-fourth of the Bill, and of the rest of the Bill probably one-fourth was entirely new, and not only new, but entirely opposed to the clauses in regard to the Irish representation and finance which were in the Bill at the time and during the first part of the Committee stage. This Legislature in Ireland was not to be a subordinate Legislature; words wore moved to render it so, but the Government refused to accept them. They now knew the powers which the Government proposed to confer upon it; and they knew that it was the kind of legislation to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir W. Harcourt) said he would never be a party. [Laughter, and "Hoar, hear!"] Yes; for the Chancellor of the Exchequer was at that time in favour, he thought, of a subordinate Legislature, but the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. E. Redmond) told them he would have Parnellite Home Rule; and Parnellite Home Rule and the Fenian Home Rule which the right hon. Gentleman said he would never have, were one and the same thing. Then there was the question of equality between the two countries.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Mr. Speaker, upon a point of Order, I wish to ask you whether, in discussion upon the Preamble, it is competent to go into the subject of the policy of the Bill, and to make a Second Reading speech?
§ MR. SPEAKER
On Report the whole Bill is open to review. In what I say, I do not want to favour one side more than another; but I am bound to say that a Second Reading discussion upon the Report stage seems to me extending the limits of discussion upon Report to an unusual degree. But I cannot say that it is out of Order, because the whole Bill is open to review. I hope the discussion will be confined to those parts of the Bill which were not discussed 286 in Committee. In what I say I appeal to both sides of the House, without the least desire to interfere with freedom of discussion.
§ *MR. HENEAGE
said, he did not desire to go over the ground that had been covered by the discussion in Committee; but he thought he was entitled to point out on the Preamble the character of the Bill as it now stood. He, of course, accepted the ruling of the Chair, and he would not speak at much length, his desire being merely to show how different the Bill now was, as it was before the House, from the Bill as it had been introduced. He had mentioned one particular in which the difference was apparent. He would deal with others very briefly. In regard to the question of equality between England and Ireland, there was no longer any equality. They were setting up a Legislature in Ireland which would not only give the Irish uncontrolled power over everything in their own country, but would allow them to govern everything in this country also. If that wore the equality that they were promised they must have misunderstood the Prime Minister when ho introduced his Bill. One of the advantages promised from Home Rule was that the Irish would be given the management of their own affairs, and that they would no longer have those affairs disposed of in this House. That condition had not been complied with. Then there was the question of the equal re-partition of Imperial charges; if they were equal under the Financial Clauses as originally drafted under the undiscussed clauses now withdrawn, there was no such equality now. And if they were bad in one case, they were ten limes worse at present. The effect of the clauses would be that extra taxation would be imposed upon Great Britain equal to a rate of Id. in the £1 on the Income Tax, or 6s. 8d. per head of the British electors, or an average contribution of about £3,500 from each British constituency. He thought the constituencies would not be much in love with Home Rule when they found that they would have to pay this for the pleasure of allowing the Irish to govern their own affairs and those of England, Scotland, and Wales as well. The fourth condition laid down was with regard to the protection of 287 minorities. What had been done? Were minorities protected? They had given power to those who had not shown much tender mercy for the minority in Ireland in the past to suspend, the Habeas Corpus Act; to confiscate Dublin and Belfast Universities; to pass ex post facto legislation, to control all Criminal Law, and to administer the Land Laws. Yet they said there was protection for the minority! Where was the promise given on the introduction of the Bill? Then, again, they were told that there was to be finality of the Bill. They were to have that; but instead they had the subjugation of England, Scotland, and Wales to Ireland, and there was the only finality whatever under those circumstances; there was not even a pretence of finality, or of a real or continuing settlement, in regard either to the arrangements for Irish Members, the financial adjustment, the Judicial and Police arrangements, or the Land Question. All these questions were left over to be settled again, and it could not be said, therefore, that there was any finality. He, therefore, said that the promises upon which the Bill had been brought in had not been fulfilled, and on that ground he said the Preamble ought to be rejected. The Bill was practically a now one in all its most essential principles. What did a Radical writer say the other day. He said—The Bill which was read a first and second time is not the Bill which is now before the Committee. The abandonment of the Financial Clauses and the sacrifice of the 9th clause confront the House with what is practically a new Bill.That was the opinion of Mr. Stead. [Laughter] Well, if hon. Members did not now regard Mr. Stead as a Radical, his opinion was confirmed by the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) in his farewell letter to his constituents, and perhaps it would be allowed that that gentleman was a Radical. It was too late in the day, now that they had reached August, to commence de novo to break up the Constitution. He asked them, therefore, to reject the Preamble of a Bill which would not, at any rate, become law this Session.
§ Amendment proposed to the Bill, in page 1, line 1, to leave out the Preamble. —(Mr. Heneage.)288
§ Question proposed, "That the Preamble stand part of the Bill."
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
was understood to say that his right hon. Friend had undertaken, on the ruling of the Chair, that he would not go further in the discussion of the Bill at this stage.
§ MR. HENEAGE
said, he said that he would not go fully into the questions he wished to raise. If he said "further" it was a slip of the tongue.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
said, the question before them was a narrow one; but his right hon. Friend had delivered a Third Reading speech on his proposal to exclude the Preamble. Mr. Speaker had declared—and any declaration he made the House was ever ready to accept—that the making of such a speech at that stage could not be pronounced disorderly; but he also proceeded to say that it was unusual, and that it extended the limits of Parliamentary practice. Perhaps he (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) might be allowed to add a supplement to that declaration. He could not go back beyond 1832. He could not undertake to say what occurred before that year; but since that year 1832 no speech like that of the right hon. Gentleman had been delivered in that House in order at this stage of a Bill to continue debate on the lines of a Third Reading Debate. He did not think anyone was bound to follow the right hon. Gentleman's example. They (the Government) were in favour of the Bill, and the right hon. Gentleman opposed it; they thought it fulfilled the objects they had in view; and he (Mr. Gladstone) thought he was precluded by prudence, policy, and precedent—he was sorry he had lost any authority he might have possessed over the right hon. Gentleman—but he was precluded by these considerations from following him into a discussion of the merits of the measure, and he thought they should confine themselves to the simple proposition which was before them.
§ *MR. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square
said, the right hon. Gentleman told them that, so far as he could remember, no such speech as that of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Heneage) had been made on the Preamble of a Bill since 1832.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, the right hon. Gentleman had an extraordinary memory, and his experience ranged over the time to which lie alluded; but he would ask him whether, during those 60 years, he had ever approached the Report of a Bill under the conditions which now prevailed? The right hon. Gentleman always remembered the precedents on one side, and closed his eyes to the precedents on the other. He should like to know whether the great statesmen who, in the course of those 60 years, were associated with the right hon. Gentleman, would not be surprised to hear that the "guillotine" had been applied to the Bill? Notwithstanding the length of the Debates on the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman had never seemed to appreciate the enormous importance of the principle that underlaid the details of the Bill. Twice to-day before had he complained of the months that had been employed upon the Bill, and of the 90 days which might ultimately be employed upon it. But could he not bring himself to see, as the country saw, that this Bill was one introducing more vastly important changes than had ever been submitted—that this was not only a Bill for establishing a Legislature in Ireland, but a Bill which, when that Legislature was established, was to reconstitute the various points in which different interests of the two countries might touch, or clash, or harmonise. The country would say that the time given to such a Bill was none too much, as he did not think it was believed when the question was first approached that they would have to contend with all this machinery, all these changes, difficulties, and impossibilities they had dealt with during the time they had boon engaged upon it. The right hon. Gentleman was not, therefore, justified in expressing any surprise that opportunity should be taken to deal at this stage with matters which had not previously been discussed. He said that a Third Reading speech had been made. It was not a Third Reading speech, for they did not know what changes would yet be made before that stage was reached. They remembered the changes that the Government introduced in Committee, and a Third Reading speech might have to assume a different 290 form from that which his right hon. Friend had delivered. Nevertheless, putting aside the question of the fairness of this discussion and the question of precedent, and not wishing to make any Third Reading speech, he (Mr. Goschen) would refer to the wording of the Preamble, and ask whether the authority of Parliament was restricted by this Bill? Hon. Members below the Gangway (the Irish Members) would not vote for the Bill if it did not restrict that authority. The right hon. Gentleman told them that that authority remained—that the Preamble retained it. But the Preamble did nothing of the kind. It contained the words "without impairing or restricting the authority of Parliament"; but the whole Bill restricted that authority, and the Irish Members asserted an understanding that the authority was only to be exercised on certain occasions. Was that not restriction? The words of the Preamble were an attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the people. He said that the supremacy of Parliament was impaired and the authority of Parliament restricted, and he said it was wrong to put into the Preamble such statements as were contained in it as long as the Bill proceeded on other lines.
§ *MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said, he thought it reasonable that a few words should be said upon the Bill at this stage of the Debate. Nothing was more strongly urged by the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary when the Preamble was last before them than that it was to be the great protecting clause for Great Britain. They were always told—and it was repeatedly impressed upon them—that the Preamble of a Bill expressed in clearer terms the meaning of the measure. There were those who thought that a Preamble was merely a remnant of the past, and that it was not bound to affect the measure when it became a Statute. But in this case they wore told that there was no necessity for being alarmed upon this subject. In his opinion, posterity would say that the conduct of the Prime Minister in the Committee stage of the Bill was the greatest slur upon his memory, for they had had discussion closured upon four-fifths of a measure which proposed to alter the whole Constitution.
§ *MR. BARTLEY
said, if he was wandering from the Question Mr. Speaker would correct him. The great question now before the House was the Preamble of the Bill, which contained the words, "without impairing or restricting the supreme authority of Parliament," and he might say that that authority was impaired in every clause and section of the Bill. Could they possibly vote for the Preamble affirming so distinctly the supreme authority of Parliament whilst in the Bill almost every line impaired that authority? No one could complain of the length of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Heneage). It was very short, and touched upon a few points in which the Bill affected the supremacy of Parliament. There was the question of the retention of the Irish Members. It was the first time in the history of this country that it was proposed to allow men to come here who had no responsibility from their constituents to legislate upon the questions that would be dealt with by that House. That appeared to him to be undermining in the most serious manner the supremacy of Parliament, because it recognised the right of two distinct classes of Members to come to that House, one of whom, as he said, would have no responsibility. Another vital matter was that this was not a final measure. It did not settle this great question. As they had gone on, from week to week and month to mouth, they had learnt almost daily that there was some point or other that was not final. A most serious matter was that the Parliamentary balance was placed in the hands of the Irish Members. The Prime Minister said there would be a balance of about 50 Nationalist Members in that House from Ireland, and that, as there would be about 600 from Great Britain, it was impossible to think that those 50 would interfere with the working of the House to the detriment of Great Britain. That, however, seemed to him another way in which Parliament would be affected. In the history of Constitutional Government they always found two sides; and, as the Irish Members would be here, questions would be decided, not upon the strength of what Great Britain felt or upon the merits of 292 British questions, but upon the way in which the Irish balance chose to vote. The proposal struck at the root of the supreme authority of this Parliament; and he ventured to say that, having such a proposal, the Bill could not in fairness be said to be a Bill which carried a Government to Ireland without impairing or restricting the supreme authority of this Parliament. Then there was the question of finance. Would anyone say that, if the Bill became law as it now stood, there would be supremacy in regard to finance? He said there certainly would not be. These were matters of enormous importance to their constituents; and if the Bill should pass, the fact would remain that the whole finance of this country would be decided, not only by those who had to pay the taxation, and by their Representatives, but also by the Members from Ireland, who would not be called upon to pay their fair share. That seemed to him enormously to impair the supreme authority of Parliament. They had always considered that when financial matters were being decided by the House all Members were on a par—all Members had regard to the interests of their constituents and the country at large. But the superiority of Parliament was being undermined in this respect, for there would be a large number of Members present who would have to decide on questions of taxation without themselves being personally interested. Under these circumstances, the Preamble must be, to a great extent, a misnomer and out of place. He did not wish to discuss the various details of the Bill now. He only desired to raise a solemn protest at the supreme authority of this Parliament, which was a tradition of the country, and the backbone and mainstay of the Empire, and which had always been the envy of the whole world, being undermined and destroyed by this measure, and being subjected to an attack from which it could never recover if the present Bill passed. Therefore, though it might seem strange on the Report stage to consider the Preamble, they had a perfect right to do it. Indeed, it was their duty to draw these matters to the attention of the House. Some said that these matters should be left entirely to take their chance; but they who had inherited this great Empire—[Laughter]—was there anything to laugh 293 at in that? Were the Radical and Irish Members, who laughed at that, men who were likely to be anxious to maintain the supreme authority of Parliament? [Cries of "Divide!"] They cried "Divide!" The only notion some hon. Members had was to divide whenever there was any matter in dispute. This Bill might well be called a "Bill of Divisions." It was to divide thorn all and the Empire up.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The whole Bill is clearly not now before the House. The hon. Member has been within his right in discussing the Preamble; but if the whole Bill is considered it will be a violation of the Standing Order No. 40, which says that when a Bill is brought up on Report the House do proceed at once to consider the clauses of the Bill without general discussion of the Bill as a whole. The Preamble, is to all intents and purposes, a clause, and should be considered as such, and the discussion upon it should be as much confined to it as discussion on a clause.
§ *MR. BARTLEY
said, he had been led away by interruptions. He had been trying to deal with the supreme authority of Parliament, which was the great point in the Preamble. All he further wished to say on that was that the Bill as it stood, and as it had been modified from time to time in Committee, went in the direction of undermining the authority of Parliament. He hoped they would not put at the beginning of the Bill words which conveyed an absolutely false statement, and which practically threw dust in the eyes of the people, and all who read it superficially as to its real object and scope.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said, that the Prime Minister, in introducing the Bill, had said that the most important principle which must inform any measure of this kind was the supremacy of Parliament, and that that supremacy had not been put in what he called the mere enactments of the Bill, but had been placed reverentially in the Preamble, very much as one, after wearing a Court suit, placed it in the cupboard and said, "Thank God, that frippery is done with." The Hill had undergone enormous changes since it was originally introduced. To the measure, as originally proposed, five clauses and two Schedules had been added, making 54 clauses and 294 Schedules in all, and, of these, eight alone had been fully discussed.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is now proceeding as if it were customary on Report to consider the whole Bill as amended. That stage has been deliberately abolished by Parliament, and the hon. Member is only in Order in discussing the Preamble as if it wore a clause of the Bill.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said, he would proceed to discuss the question whether it was expedient to set up a Parliament in Ireland. ["Oh, oh!"] Yes; that was the effect of the Preamble. He desired to point out that the experiment of setting up an independent Parliament in Ireland had been tried before. It was tried in 1782, when Poynings' Act was repealed. Grattan, in an address on the opening of the new Irish Parliament, said—We have seen the Judges rendered independent of the Crown; the Mutiny Law abridged in duration; the jurisdiction of the hereditary Judges of the land restored; the vicious mode of passing laws in this land reformed; the sole and exclusive right of legislation, external as well as internal, in the Irish Parliament firmly asserted on the part of Ireland, and unequivocally acknowledged on the part of Great Britain. We have seen this great national arrangement established on a basis which secures the tranquillity of Ireland and unites the affections as well as the interests of both Kingdoms.That was the expectation with which the last Irish Parliament was set up. Well, did it "secure the tranquillity of Ireland" and unite the affections of the two Kingdoms? Its fourth year saw a French invasion; its 15th year saw Grattan and his Party secede from it: its 16th year witnessed one of the greatest rebellious these islands had ever seen; and in its 18th year it committed suicide and passed the Act of Union. What was the opinion of an Irish Nationalist on that Parliament? Wolfe Tone, in his Memoirs, said—I have now seen the Parliament of England, the Congress of the United States of America, the Corps Legislatif of France, and the Convention Batave; I have likewise seen our shabby Volunteer Convention in 1783, and the General Committee of the Catholics in 1793; so that I have seen, in the way of deliberative bodies, as many, I believe, as most men; and of all those 1 have mentioned, beyond all comparison the most shamelessly profligate and abandoned of all sense of virtue, principle, or even common decency, was the Legislature of my own unfortunate country.295 That being the opinion of an eminent Irishman of the last Irish Parliament, it behoved them seriously to consider what kind of Parliament it was they were now asked to set up, and whether or not it was "expedient" to establish it. If it were to be like Grattan's Parliament—coming to such an infamous end, and distinguished by such awful disasters—it would not be expedient to set it up, and the Preamble should be unhesitatingly negatived. The Bill was characterised by distrust of the men who were to be the Legislature and Government of Ireland.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The observations of the hon. Member are out of Order. He is entering upon a discussion of the whole Bill.
*MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said, he believed that if this Parliament were set up it would impair and restrict the authority of the Imperial Parliament. This Preamble was introduced by a statesman who, however much they might revere him, they could not disguise from themselves was acting in the capacity of a latter-day Samson. Beguiled by a latter-day Delilah beside him, he now put his hands to the pillars of the Constitution, careless of whom he involved in the catastrophe. The Preamble was an announcement of the right hon. Gentleman's intention, and seemed to him (Mr. Gibson Bowles) to invite its own rejection. Under the circumstances, and having regard to the fact that eight-tenths of the Bill had not been discussed, he thought they should reject the Preamble.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The temptation to deal with this question is one which one cannot blame the hon. Member for yielding to; but, at the same time, I hope that after the suggestion that has been made by you, Sir, the discussion may be brought to a close, and that the House may take a Division upon this question. I will not add a single word to what has been so powerfully stated by other gentlemen in regard to the Preamble. I may, perhaps, say that I give my entire assent to the view that has been suggested from the Chair that the more important work the House has to do on this Report stage is to deal with the clauses for reasons which it would be out of Order to refer to, which we were not allowed to discuss in Committee, and 296 with regard to the clauses that were considered in Committee to deal only with the more important points it may be desirable to raise upon those clauses.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 185; Noes 140.—(Division List, No. 267.)
§ MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
said, he asked to move to amend Clause 1 by striking out the words which provide for the creation of a Second Chamber in the Irish Legislature. The Amendment raised an issue which was the subject of an animated Debate in Committee, and which called forth expressions of opinion with regard to the principle of Second Chambers from all parts of the House. But the Division on that occasion took place on an issue as to whether or not a Second Chamber was desirable. A great many Members supported the Government on that occasion in the hope—the vain hope, as it had proved to be—that at a later stage in Committee an important modification would be made in the qualification with regard to that Chamber. The Committee had not had an opportunity of considering the £20 rating qualification, and the result was that what they had to consider on the present occasion was not the question that was considered in Committee, but whether or not there should be a Second Chamber representative of a class elected by only a small section of the Irish community. What was the proposal of the Government? They proposed to confer on the people of Ireland the right to legislate with regard to all matters of purely domestic concern; and the people of Ireland, so far as this House was concerned, were the Parliamentary electors — 740,000 in number. The additional proposal of the Government was that only £20 holders—162,000 in number — should have the power of electing Members of the Legislative Council. Thus the Second Chamber, which would have the power of reversing the decisions of the popularly-elected Chamber, was to be constituted by a limited class.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said, there were two questions to be considered—first, whether a Second Chamber was desirable or not; and secondly whether, if it was to be established, it should be elected on a £20 qualification or on a broad democratic franchise? He thought it pertinent to consider whether or not the Second Chamber should be representative of a particular class.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
In the interests of discussion and order, I would point out that this question was distinctly raised by a subsequent clause, and I would ask whether it is according to the Order of the House that we should import into Clause 1 the contents of another clause?
§ MR. SPEAKER
As I understand the hon. Member, he only alludes to the 162,000 electors as a very small number to elect the Second Chamber; but the only point before the House is the question of a Second Chamber, and the hon. Gentleman will not be in Order in discussing the qualification of the electors, or the sufficiency of their number.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said, he recognised the distinction, and ho certainly should not dwell upon the absurd claim made by the Government, providing that particular classes of persons alone should have the power of electing the Second Chamber. He would pass to the question of the desirability of establishing a Second Chamber. The question was one of great magnitude, and one on which men of all political Parties—and, indeed, the most advanced men—entertained very different opinions. he knew it was contended that it was possible to be a believer in ideal democratic government, and yet to support the establishment of a Second Chamber. He did not, he was bound to say, take that view himself. He thought that if they admitted the principle that the Parliamentary electors of this country were to have supreme power in sending Representatives to Parliament, they were departing from the real principle of democratic government in appointing any additional tribunal to sit in judgment upon the legislation that duly-elected Members might see fit to pass. He, therefore, would ask the Government whether they intended that this Second Chamber should 298 oppose the legislation which would be passed by the popularly-elected Chamber? If the intention was that the Legislative Council should act in opposition to the Legislative Assembly, it would be an intolerable nuisance, while if it was to approve of everything that passed the Lower Chamber, and not oppose at all, the Legislative Council would be entirely unnecessary. He could quite understand that the argument that would be used would be that this Chamber might act as a safeguard for the loyal minority, and he believed that was the real reason why it was originally put forward. But, whatever was in the mind of the Government when this proposal was put in the Bill, they had no longer any reason for believing that it was accepted by the minority in Ireland as a safeguard. One could only judge of the feelings of the minority in Ireland by the statements of their Representatives in the House of Commons. At an earlier stage of the Bill the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) said the Government were deceiving the English people when they held this out as a safeguard. Another hon. Member associated with the Irish minority appealed to the House toStamp with condemnation one of the greatest and most treacherous shams ever put forward.The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Mr. D. Plunket) said —Of all the delusive, misleading provisions with which the Bill is stuffed this is the most delusive.The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) said of the Second Chamber—It was an aristocracy of squalor elected and created by a Senate of the gutter.He (Mr. Dalziel) did not concur in this opinion, but he contended that the original reason for bringing the proposal forward — namely, that it would be accepted by the minority as a safeguard—no longer held good. He, therefore, appealed to the Government to consider whether it was wise to pursue a policy which he believed, if they had a fair and square vote on the subject, would certainly not be supported by a majority on the Ministerial side of the House. He objected to the Second Chamber, because, 299 in his opinion, it was bound to be a class Assembly, because it would be elected by men who would have additional political power, not because of their superior ability to discharge the duties of citizenship, not because they had any special claim upon the State, but because, forsooth, they lived in large houses or possessed a little land. If the House adopted this proposal, it would be setting itself against the whole tendency of modern democratic law. The whole reform agitation throughout the present century had been directed towards the breaking down of class ascendency. He urged upon the Government the desirability of giving the House some promise that if the Second Chamber were supported on the present occasion they would attempt, as far as possible, when the time arrived, to insert in the clause a rating qualification which would not carry with it additional political power, but would place all the electors of Ireland on the same footing.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 11, after the word "Queen," to leave out the words "and of two Houses, the Legislative Council."—(Mr. Dalziel.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I would draw the attention of the House to the exact nature of the question that is now before us. We are not discussing the particular conditions on which the Second Chamber should be constituted, but the question whether we shall have a Second Chamber at all. I may say with respect to that question that, even as to the existence of a Second Chamber, and especially as to the particular conditions of its existence—namely, with respect to its being chosen by a limited constituency, and the particular nature of that constituency as we propose it, although we think these important provisions from the nature of their subject-matter, we have never treated them as vital portions of the Bill. On the contrary, our desire has always been that those questions should be fully considered with serious impartiality by the House at large. Now, I am not going to make a polemical charge against gentlemen opposite; but it is manifest that the course taken by them, which was rather an extreme course on 300 the question, very much tended to prevent fair and impartial discussion. Those of my hon. Friends who object to a Second Chamber find themselves in strange company on this question, and may find themselves in a similar predicament again. It was a strong assertion, to say the least, for gentlemen opposite to make, that the Second Chamber was worse than no Second Chamber at all. I understand that to have been the ground taken. It was hardly to have been expected from the powerful Party that are in opposition, and I think it placed all of us on this side of the House in a position in which we had only a choice of difficulties. Certainly we could not attain the end we desired to attain, namely—fair, open, unprejudiced discussion of the question whether there should be a Second Chamber or not. We came to the question in the Cabinet with open minds. We were sensible there was a great deal to be said on both sides, and we took the view we conceived to be, under all the circumstances, our duty to take; but we did not attempt to incorporate that view into the vital conditions of the Bill, even under all the difficulties with which the question has since been surrounded. We have not now before us the question whether the Second Chamber should be elected by the same constituency as that which elects the other Chamber, but which differs from it in other conditions, which is, I think, a system not wholly without example. The simple question at this moment is—"Is it, on the whole, convenient that a Second Chamber should exist?" We have not seen any reason to depart from the resolution at which we have arrived. That resolution has been confirmed by a majority, although a small majority of the House, and it would require strong reasons to warrant our altering the position we have taken on this important provision of the Bill. I hope I shall not be regarded as discourteous to the minority if I say that I think many of them were induced to vote a Second Chamber much more as a part of what they thought it their duty to do—to offer a root-and-branch opposition to the scheme in all its provisions—rather than because they did not consider two Chambers preferable to one. We have to consider our duty to the public at large and to the public of Ireland on this subject. The Representatives of 301 Ireland in general I do not say desire this scheme, but have consented to make it part of the arrangement to which they look for the establishment of the future Government of their country. It is very difficult, Sir, not to be governed in some degree upon this question of having a Second Chamber by the nearly absolute universality of the practice of the civilised world. That certainly cannot be shut out from the impartial consideration of the question, and I think there is something to be said for the proposition that there is a prospective and probable advantage in having exactly the same subject, if you can secure it, handled by Bodies that will in a certain respect have distinctions and differences of view. Lot us recollect how hard it is for any man with the most comprehensive and impartial mind to be sure that ho has weighed and probed an important legislative proposal in all the lights and from all the points of view from which it ought to be considered so as to make it beneficial in the highest possible degree to the public interest. I do not say under what conditions the distinctions between the two Bodies are to be established, but I say that the presentation of difficult matters to two Chambers where they will not be approached from precisely the same point of view is probably more advantageous than their presentation to a single Chamber. If there is anything in these suppositions I do not deny that they have a somewhat special relation to Ireland. I am not disposed to follow the example set us on the opposite side, whereby the masses of the people in Ireland, instead of being treated as a nation, are treated as part of one, and I think it is too hastily assumed that they will certainly act as one Party. I will give no scope for varieties of opinion and sentiment and class. But then I do admit that the extraordinary, not altogether fortunate, and I hope to be hereafter considered and modified uniformity of view in Ireland must have some tendency to throw the choice of representatives into a groove narrower than would be desirable in the abstract; and if it be possible, without doing violence to the principles of liberty, to secure an examination of these questions with a greater variety of view than a single Chamber could possess, it might be somewhat advantageous. We have proposed 302 a Second Chamber under the belief that for the purpose of conducting Ireland out of the difficult and painful circumstances in which she has been involved for so many generations and so many centuries and of which difficulties large remainders have still unfortunately to be dealt with, wherever it was possible for us to find a provision unexceptional in itself and favourable in its character to the cause of reasonable and just protection against hasty acts—against rash and passionate acts which are committed in every Legislative Assembly, and from which we therefore cannot hope that the Irish Legislature will be specially and absolutely exempt—it was worth while availing ourselves of it. The hon. Member for Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) and others on that side of the House disclaim altogether the wish for a Second Chamber in connection with this Bill, and even go the length of saying that the provision we have inserted in the Bill, though we have never finally pledged ourselves to particulars, is worse than no Second Chamber at all. Therefore, my hon. Friend (Mr. Dalziel) is justified to a great extent in saying that the Opposition repudiate the whole of our proposalas far as it depends on the supposition that it is a proposal honestly intended to embrace the question of the interests of the Irish minority. I am entitled to say that we might fairly have expected the Members of the Opposition to say—"However shadowy your guarantee may be, we will vote for its principle, and try to make it as good as we can." But that course has not been adopted. I recognise the fact that we are not able to appeal to one single hon. Gentleman opposite in favonr of the Second Chamber which we propose. Hon. Gentlemen opposite seem, one and all, disposed at the present time to make themselves responsible for the total out-and-out rejection of the Second Chamber.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
But of the Second Chamber proposed in the clause—we deal subsequently with the details of the Second Chamber. I do not put that forward as an accusation, though I do consider it a heavy responsibility for the Opposition to assume. Our Parliamentary position has, therefore, not been strengthened in dealing with some of our friends as it would have been if gentle- 303 man opposite had been disposed to regard this provision as some security against rash and hasty legislation, which is to be more or less apprehended in all Legislative Assemblies. I should have thought that the Opposition would have been disposed to say that, though they consider the Second Chamber proposed by the Government, especially as it is au elective Chamber, a very questionable proposal, yet they deem that it in some degree, however small, mitigates what they consider to be the defects of the Bill. We, however, have not only to consider gentlemen opposite, but those whom they represent; and we should not be justified in the face of the loyal minority, whose rights within limits we have never denied or questioned, in saying—"You choose to send Members to Parliament who disapprove of the Second Chamber. We take them at their word, and we consider you and your interests as entirely bound up in their Parliamentary existence, and consequently we throw over the Second Chamber, too." There is no escaping from the disadvantages which the Opposition have imposed upon us by their line of action on this question, and I am not sure that we should be justified in abandoning the proposal for the Second Chamber if we believed it would establish some diversity of view upon public questions without disparagement to just national interests. While, therefore, pitching my argument in favour of a Second Chamber in a modest and moderate strain, and asserting no strong or rigid doctrine about it, I have endeavoured to set out the reasons which have led us to adhere to the decision of the House. Therefore, without the smallest imputation upon anyone, or the smallest disposition to lay down any doctrine, and looking merely to those considerations which approximate to the case, we do not feel ourselves justified in receding from the decision of the House, and, regretting to differ from my hon. Friend, we are, therefore, compelled to oppose his Amendment.
§ *MR. SAUNDERS (Newington, Walworth)
said, he was glad the Prime Minister deprecated discussing now the constitution of the Second Chamber. That question had not been discussed by the House, and he sincerely trusted it never would be discussed by the House. 304 He hoped it never would be necessary to form a Second Chamber for Ireland. He hoped they would not impose upon Ireland the difficulty which had been such a burden to themselves, and to every country where a Second Chamber existed. It was scarcely possible that the Second Chamber as it now stood in the Hill could be created, because it would involve the disfranchisement of three-fourths of the Irish people. With two Chambers, the slowest Chamber governed to stand the pace, and consequently the conditions of the franchise as regarded the Second Chamber would regulate the degree of popular power in Ireland. No such retrogressive measure as that proposed in the Bill had ever before been proposed to the House, for it disfranchised three-fourths of the population of Ireland. He was quite willing to discuss the question in the form in which it had been put by the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman asked the question—"Is it, upon the whole, convenient that a Second Chamber should exist?" That depended entirely upon the point on which they viewed the Second Chamber. If they belonged to the privileged classes and benefited by abuses, it was extremely convenient that a Second Chamber should exist. But if they did not happen to belong to the privileged classes and suffered from abuses, then it was extremely inconvenient that a Second Chamber should exist. Therefore, the point of view would regulate the answer that would be given to that question. That the Second Chamber was an obstruction to legislation was admitted on all hands. The Prime Minister himself had given the most conclusive evidence on that point-Speaking of the Government of the Colonies, the right hon. Gentleman said—The Second Chamber operated as a. very serious check upon the immediate action of the Representative Chamber.There stand a very great difference between deferring legislation, or, perhaps, altogether preventing legislation, and preventing haste in legislation. They all deprecated undue haste in legislation; but a Second Chamber, instead of preventing hasty legislation, actually created it. In how many instances had their Second Chamber been the cause of 305 haste? They spent weeks in the discussion of matters which were hastily dealt with in the Upper Chamber. The Second Chamber must of necessity lessen the time they had to do their legislation in. Nature did not pay any respect to Second Chambers. She only allowed 365 days in the year, whether there was a Second Chamber or not. They had to get through a certain amount of legislation in the year; and if they had a Second Chamber to do the same thing, the}' must get through their business in less time than would otherwise be available. The Second Chamber, therefore, was obviously the cause of hasty legislation. The hon. Member for Aberdeen, speaking on this proposed Legislative Council, said it would take away half the power which had been conferred on the people by the other portions of the Bill. That was an extremely moderate view. What the Second Chamber took away was three-fourths of the power of the people of Ireland. There was no country in the world that could afford to have its political privileges curtailed so badly as Ire-laud. No country in the world had suffered so much from unjust legislation as Ireland had suffered. It was quite true that the large farmers of Ireland had been relieved to a very considerable extent by the magnificent legislation introduced by the present Prime Minister. But the same thing could not be said of the small fanners of Ireland. They were still paying enormous rents, or, at least, rents altogether beyond their value, for almost worthless farms—farms which, in many cases, were nothing but bog and boulders, and which merely afforded a place for the houses the tenants themselves put up. They talked about judicial rents in the cases of these men. Why, if ever a man might be said to be between his Satanic Majesty and the deep sea it was these small farmers, who were between the lawyer and the landlord. Some hon. Members opposite smiled at the statement of the sufferings of the small farmers in Ireland. The very last man he had visited as a tenant in Ireland was in this condition: He was paying £5 a year—
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman will be good enough to remember that the constitution of the Second Chamber is what is before the House.
§ *MR. SAUNDERS
said, he would not refer further to the condition of the small tenant farmers in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Courtney) had spoken of the irritating bar that the Second Chamber had imposed to rapid legislation according to the wishes of the majority of the voters. Then why should they create a Second Chamber for the express purpose of producing such results as these? for these results were inevitably the effect of a Second Chamber. The hon. Member for Sheffield put it that those who were in favour of a Second Chamber avowed that their object was that the minority should rule, while those who were against a Second Chamber desired that the majority should rule. That really was the position of affairs. If they wanted the majority to rule, they must give them simple and effective means for doing it. What would have happened in London hail London been supplied with two Chambers instead of one; and supposing that one of those Councils had been elected, in the manner proposed in this Bill, by one-fourth of the existing constituencies in London? The whole condition of things as they now existed would have been reversed. The electors of London would have been prevented from expressing the wishes of the people of London; and the two Councils, even if desirous of doing something, would have so hampered each other that little or nothing would have been done. One would think that Governments were created for the express purpose of doing mischief. The Bill as it stood was one of the most remarkable pieces of legislation ever presented to the House. They had a First Chamber limited by a Second Chamber, and then the Second Chamber limited so that it should not over-much limit the First Chamber. Talk about five wheels to a coach! It was nothing to the complication introduced into this measure, lie disliked the idea of fear in connection with legislation. And yet this proposal was based upon apprehension—was based upon unjust and mistaken apprehension; safeguards introduced under the influence of fear invariably increased danger, as they would increase the danger in this instance. During the present century they had had many proposals for increasing the facilities for legislation—for giving additional power to the 307 people, and the result of advancing in that direction had been so beneficial that it would be repeated again and again. But the proposal that was now made was a proposal in the opposite direction. Why should they create a Second Chamber to bother the First Chamber—a Second Chamber which would be infinitely more powerful for mischief than the Second Chamber which gave them so much trouble in connection with legislation in this country? He did not think there ever was a contrivance more complete and effective for paralysing the will of a people than the contrivance proposed as a Second Chamber for Ireland. What would that Chamber be? It would be a combination of landlords, capitalists, and large farmers. What hope had the working classes of Ireland from that Chamber?—how would the grievances of the labourer be removed? As the matter stood in the Bill, not a single labourer or artizan or small farmer would have a vote for the Second Chamber. The slowest Chamber practically controlled the other Chamber, but what would happen with the operations for checking the Second Chamber in checking the First Chamber it was impossible to say. He did not think there was any value in the chocks proposed except to show the extreme unadvisability of having a Second Chamber at all. Let them give the greatest possible liberty to the Irish people, and ho had no fear of the result. If dangers and difficulties arose under Home Rule, they would arise because the people wore not allowed to give effect to their own wishes. No people under the sun desired disorder if they could obtain justice without it; and there would not be the slightest danger of disorder in Ireland if they gave the people the control of their own affairs. But to introduce a Second Chamber, and such a restricted Second Chamber, was very much like as if a farmer introduced a fox into the hen-roost. To place such a restriction on the expression of the popular will was destructive of Home Rule. He was extremely sorry for those who were in fear of the people, for they must be in a very unhappy and a very miserable condition. He had entire confidence in the people, and his desire was that the people should have full and free opportunity of expressing their will, and giving effect to it both in legislation and in administra 308 tion. He therefore sincerely hoped that the House would divide upon this question and would support the Amendment now before it.
§ *MR. BUCKNILL (Surrey, Epsom)
said, he thought that the anecdote of the fox in the hen-roost might be applied, not inappropriately, to the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken. It was a great pity that the speech of the hon. Gentleman had not been delivered on the Second Reading of the Bill, because he would then have felt bound to walk into the Lobby into which he did not walk on that occasion. He (Mr. Bucknill) could now understand why the Prime Minister had thought fit to rise to reply before the Seconder of the Amendment had been heard, for the difficulties of the right hon. Gentleman would have been considerably increased by the speech just uttered. The question before the House was an extremely simple one. It was whether or not there was to be a Second Chamber in Ireland? The question of the composition of the Second Chamber was not before them. But that would be discussed, if at all, at another time. They were now discussing the principle of a Second Chamber, and he ventured to say that that principle should be upheld, not only for the reasons given by the Prime Minister, but because, as a matter of fact, nearly the whole civilised world had acted upon it. When this matter was discussed on a prior occasion, the Prime Minister stated that a Second Chamber was especially necessary in the peculiar circumstances of Ireland. He (Mr. Bucknill) was prepared to argue this matter from the Irish point of view. The hon. Member for Waterford had on a previous occasion stated that in his opinion a Second Chamber would be an effective check on rash and ill-considered legislation. The Prime Minister had said that the Cabinet went into the question with open minds. The Home Secretary, however, on the 14th of April last, told the House that in his opinion, as a modern Democrat, Second Chambers were not successful or safe; and that he with reluctance consented to the introduction of a Second Chamber into this Bill as a concession to those who said it was not safe to leave the Ulster 309 people to the uncontrolled dominion of one Chamber. The Prime Minister had said that the principle of a Second Chamber was, in his opinion, one which could not be rejected; and he (Mr. Bucknill) trusted that if there were a Division it would show there were in the House very few superlative modern Democrats who would vote in that Lobby into which it was known the Prime Minister would not go.
§ MR. R. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
said, he had Amendments in this connection on the Paper which, from the uncompromising attitude adopted by the Government in reference to the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Dalziel), he clearly saw would have no opportunity of being considered. Ho was not at liberty, therefore, to argue this Amendment out; but perhaps he might be allowed simply to state his own attitude upon the question. If the Amendments he had on the Paper had had a chance, which they would not have, of being considered, his proposal would have run as follows:—That on and after the appointed day there shall be in Ireland a Legislature consisting of Her Majesty the Queen and the Legislative Assembly, with such Legislative Council, if any, as may be created by Irish Act,He would have started in Ireland with a Legislature, consisting simply of the Sovereign and a Legislative Assembly, but he would have endowed that initial Legislature with a limited prolific faculty of producing a supplement to itself in the form of such Legislative Council as it might create by legislation. In that way he would have desired to throw upon Ireland itself the responsibility and the duty, if it were a duty, of providing a Second Chamber for itself, and a Second Chamber of any kind that it chose to select for itself. Such an Amendment would not have required his arguing the abstract question of a Second Chamber at all. He would have desired to get rid of the abstract discussion; it would have been enough for him to say that on that article of their political faith he did not belong to the school of the Prime Minister, who, so far as he could learn, desired a Second Chamber, partly because experience appeared to have taught him that legislation proceeded too rapidly without one, and partly because 310 the right hon. Gentleman was attached to the hereditary principle for reasons which he had never been able to follow. He himself belonged rather to the school of the Chief Secretary for Ireland and the Home Secretary, who were avowed enders rather than menders of the House of Lords and similar Institutions. Such being his position, he, for one, had the greatest aversion to having anything to do with the construction of a Second Chamber, and especially in connection with new Institutions which were to be given to a newly-started country. But by his Amendment, if it had had a chance of being considered, he would have been able to get out of this difficulty. He admitted that Ireland had a perfect right to be governed as it chose; and as there was no accounting for tastes, if she desired to have a Second Chamber in addition to the primary Legislature, he, for one, was not in a position to deny that she had a right to her choice. But he thought he was in a position to deny that she had a right to compel him to take any personal concern or responsibility in creating such a Chamber. He said that if Ireland wanted this Institution, and especially in the peculiarly distasteful form offered in this Bill, by all means let her please herself; all he begged was that he should not be asked to put his hand to the unclean thing. He would not, and could not do it. His Amendment, if he could have moved it, would have enabled them to get rid entirely of the 6th clause, which was a distasteful provision, reserving as it did the iniquitous principle of property qualification, and conferring on a small body of landlords the power of vetoing the evident will of the people. He would have gone a considerable way further than his hon. Friends the Members for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Dalziel) and Walworth (Mr. Saunders), but only in the direction of making concession* to the will of the Irish people. As it was, he would have pleasure in going into the Lobby with them.
§ MR. RENTOUL (Down, E.)
said, the peculiarity of the clause was that it was brought forward by a Party the majority of whom did not believe in the principle of a Second Chamber at all. On every occasion on which this question had been before the House not one word had been said in favour of this Second Cham- 311 ber as a power of revision of legislation. The very purpose for which the House of Lords existed was entirely left out of sight. The whole tenour of the speeches made on the other side of the House was that this Second Chamber was a protection to the loyal minority in Ireland, while the constant argument of the Unionists was that it was a sham and delusion as a safeguard, and would be of no value to them. It was a strange thing that this principle was not embodied in the Bill of 1886. The Second Chamber provided in that Bill was something real; but the Second Chamber now under discussion could not, from any point of view, act as a safeguard. The Unionists wanted to see this Second Chamber negatived by the House simply because it had been presented to them as a safeguard, when it could not by any possibility act as such. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment did so because he opposed a Second Chamber altogether; but the Unionists opposed it because it was a sham and a caricature, and would be of no value to them. It would tend to make them ridiculous, and to damage them, and they hoped the Government would see their way to doing without the sham altogether. If they were to have any Second Chamber at all they should go back to the principle of 1886, which was a higher and bettor one from every possible point of view.
§ Mr. J. Morley
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"; but Mr. Speaker withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. H. HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)
said, that when this question was before the House on a previous occasion he gave a silent vote in favour of the Government; ho intended to vote in their favour now, and he thought those who separated themselves from their Party on this question were entitled to give their reasons for doing so. On the previous occasion he voted in favour of these two Chambers, because he had always felt it to be desirable there should be a second House, and because tie entertained a substantial hope that when they came to discuss the composition 312 of the Second House they should find that the Government had an open mind on the matter, and that they should be able to make this Chamber what they were told it was really intended to be—namely, a real safeguard for the minority in Ireland. His political friends had mostly voted against the Second Chamber because they entertained the hope that they would be able to reduce the proposed Parliament to a Body of an inferior kind—some local Governing Body with more restricted powers than those which were given to the Irish Legislature by the original Bill. Now they came to discuss the question again, they were in rather a different position, because they had endeavoured, on the whole without success, to introduce Amendments to restrict and reduce the legislative powers of the Irish Body; therefore those powers would be substantially what they were in the Bill as it stood; and those powers, he ventured to think, were powers which entitled it to be regarded as a Legislative Body, and not merely as a local Governing Body. But with regard to the constitution of the Second Chamber, they stood in a different position. They had had no opportunity yet of discussing the constitution of that Body and the nature of its duties; and, therefore, they might still continue in the hope which animated them on the last occasion, that when they proceeded to discuss its composition they should be able to improve that, Body considerably, even from the point of view of the hon. Gentleman who last spoke. There was no doubt the House was placed in a somewhat awkward position in this matter, because he was afraid they should not have an opportunity, after they had discussed the actual composition of the Second Chamber, of then recording their final judgment as to whether they should have a Second Chamber. That was the unfortunate result of the action of the Government on the Committee stage of the Bill, and for which the Government alone were responsible. The Prime Minister had spoken of the nearly absolute universality of the practice of the civilised world in having a Second Chamber in all their Legislatures. In the United States, both in Congress and in the great majority of States, they had recognised the need of a Second Chamber. In our Colonies again, as a rule, 313 they had a Second Chamber, though there were one or two exceptions. In the Dominion of Canada, he believed the Province of Ontario, and he thought one other Province, had only one Chamber. But there not only was the population smaller than in Ireland, but the matters committed to these Provincial Legislatures were considerably more restricted in character. Instead of having general powers in the Province of Ontario to preserve peace, order, and good government, they had only certain specifically enumerated matters entrusted to their care. If these specific matters on which they could legislate in Ontario were compared with the exceptions in this Bill, it would be found that in many important respects they were investing the Irish Legislature with far greater powers than the Legislature of Ontario had at the present time. The Irish Legislature, no doubt, would be restricted in certain respects, but within its own limits he was afraid it could not be said in any practical way to be a subordinate Legislature. He thought, therefore, they might well claim, in the circumstances of the case, that there should be two Houses. The desirability of a Second Chamber had been fully recognised by the Prime Minister. All who had sat in this House for some years would recognise that, however ably they might deliberate on public affairs, yet they sometimes owed something in their legislation to the other House. Even those who had most reason to complain of the composition of the other branch of the Legislature would surely recognise that on non-Party matters they owed a good deal of the soundness of their legislation to the other House; and he did not think anyone could deny there were advantages in having important matters of legislation carefully deliberated upon by two Bodies. The special application of this principle to Ireland must be recognised by everybody who had pursued the Debates on this Bill, and seen the strong divergences of opinion arising between the different Members and Parties in that country. On these general principles he wished to support the proposal of the Government. He was glad that, on this occasion at any rate, they had stuck to their guns, and he wished they had taken this line on yet more important matters.
§ SIR E. CLARKE (Plymouth)
I should have been very sorry to have been obliged to go into the Division Lobby on the question now before the House without explaining the reasons for which I intend to support the proposal of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, and I trust that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland may presently give us a more reasonable contribution to the proceedings of the evening than the suggestion which was made lately by him. The question is one of undoubted seriousness and gravity. It is one upon which different views are taken by gentlemen sitting on different sides of the House, and I am not speaking at this moment either as representing the Front Bench here or as I representing hon. Members on this side of the House. The question that has been now submitted to the House is a difficult one to solve, if it be discussed subject to the narrow limitations which were suggested by the Prime Minister. We are not at, liberty to discuss—and that is quite reasonable and right—the provisions of the 5th clause of the Bill, or to express our opinion as to the arrangements which are there provided for the election I of the Second Chamber in Ireland; but I take it that we are entitled to discuss this matter upon the hypothesis that the plan which is now in the Bill is the plan which is to be submitted to the House. This Bill has gone through Committee. It emerges from Committee, as amended in that Committee, with, upon the back of it, the names of the Prime Minister, the Chief Secretary, and of two of their I more important Colleagues. In that Bill Clause 6 defines the constitution of this Upper Chamber, and there is no I Amendment to that clause put down upon the Paper now by any Member of the Government, nor any Amendment which we have reason to believe the Government will support, so that I think the Prime Minister is not entitled to say he claims from the House that they should I discuss simply the abstract question of a Second Chamber. He is bound by his own Bill—which he has, in methods I do not stop to criticise, forced through Committee—and which stands now in the shape by which we are entitled to assume the Government will be bound throughout the further discussions on this Bill. The Prime Minister made in this regard a very significant distinction. He said 315 the Government did not look upon the details of the Bill as vital, and by that phrase he conveyed to us that the Government do look upon the establishment of a Second Chamber as a vital point of the Bill. And he asked the House to come to a decision on this matter, simply upon its general ideas as to whether Second Chambers were or were not reasonable and useful political Institutions. Now, of course, if we were discussing the question of the establishment of a Legislative Body which represented a self-contained country and of the whole of the interests of the people of that country, I should not have the slightest hesitation in saying that I should think a Second Chamber would be a most useful, admirable, and, indeed, necessary part of the political machine; and if we were dealing here with any such problem as that, of course I could not give a vote against the theory and idea of a Second Chamber. But that is by no means the case with which we are dealing. "We are not dealing with the establishment of a Legislature which is intended to represent in all their fulness and in all their force the interests of the people of a particular country. We are providing here for what is to be— although it is not in terms confessed—a subordinate Assembly, and when you are dealing with a subordinate Assembly, it appears to me that very different considerations come into play. I do not want to pass from any general declaration about Second Chambers without saying a word upon a matter which has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, as if no one would challenge or controvert his idea that the hereditary principle is a foolish and ridiculous principle. This is not the time for discussing it, but in my judgment the hereditary principle is the only safe and useful principle upon which a Second Chamber can be founded; and it is my belief that if wisdom came to the construction of a Constitution for a great country like ours at the present time, it would find its best groundwork and foundation for a Second Chamber in that feeling of hereditary influence—hereditary authority, and I will go on to add hereditary capacity for public service which is recognised by everybody in all classes of the community, and which, I believe, is the best groundwork and foundation 316 for a Second Assembly. So I am prepared on the proper occasion and at the proper time to defend the hereditary principle, subject, of course, to qualifications and additions which I have never denied the importance of. I say this by way of parenthesis, as I do not wish to be misunderstood. In the first place, in regard to this Second Chamber for Ireland, I propose to vote against the establishment of this Second Chamber for several very distinct and definite reasons. One reason for which I object to the establishment of this Second Chamber as proposed in the Bill is that, taking the Bill as it stands, with its definition and description of that Second Chamber, I believe that Second Chamber would be worse than useless. When the Prime Minister said that the idea on this side of the House which had prompted our opposition to the Second Chamber on the previous occasion was simply that the Second Chamber constructed in this Bill was a sham and was worse than useless, I do not think ho measured entirely the full meaning of the opposition which we gave to the proposal. My view is this: not only is the Second Chamber, as now described in the 6th clause of the Bill, a sham, and a mischievous sham, but my belief is that if we can get rid of this Second Chamber we should do a great deal to destroy the Legislative Assembly altogether. All our people in this country understand a Parliament to consist of two Chambers, and it will be a very long time before you can make the people of any part of this country understand a Parliament which has not two Houses—an Upper House and a Lower House. If you set up in Ireland your two Chambers with the appearance of a Parliament—an Upper and a Lower House—you give it the appearance, and not only the appearance, but you give it something of the authority and prestige of a Parliamentary Body. On the other hand, our people quite understand a single Body—like a County Council—which is dealing with the affairs of a locality, and they are used to have local affairs dealt with by a single Local Body; and I believe if we can strike out of this Bill the provision relating to the establishment of a Second Chamber, we should do more than we could by any other single change in the structure of the Bill to destroy the idea 317 of an Irish Parliament and to reduce it to the condition and authority of a Local or County or Provincial Council. But I have a further comment to make, and it is this: I believe that the establishment of a Second Chamber, unsatisfactory and inefficient as it would be, would also be mischievous in this way: it would prevent the prompt intervention of this House in controlling the action of the Legislative Body in Ireland. I should like just to illustrate that. Suppose the Home Rule Bill had passed. Suppose this experiment had been set on foot and the whole machinery established. Some Bill might thou pass through the Lower House in Ireland, and that Bill might be so immediately directed to injure a particular class of people in Ireland that the whole feeling of this House would be in revolt against the proposal. It is perfectly well known to everyone that legislation does mischief whilst it is passing. You do not have to wait until an Act is put upon the Statute Book; and whilst it was passing through the Lower House a particular scheme of legislation might have a very mischievous effect upon the rights and interests of a large class of people in Ireland. Now, suppose such a measure were proposed in the Assembly in Ireland, and were carried by a majority of that Assembly, and then suppose that a legitimate and strong appeal were made by the Representatives of Ireland in this House speaking in the name of the class which that legislation might injure—an appeal to this House to interfere and correct what was being done. What would the answer be? "Wait until you see whether the Second House throws it out." And thou you must wait—I think it is two years—for the two Houses to sit together on the Bill we passed again through the Lower House. Really, these things were passed in silence, so that one cannot be supposed to be familiar with the details of them, and I confess that for the moment I have lost recollection as to the details of many parts of the Bill. I hope right hon. Gentlemen opposite are more fortunate, and have better memories. But in that case there would be objection, and you must wait until the whole Parliamentary machine has been put in force in Ireland before this House could interfere. I believe that would be a mischievous thing, and I believe it would 318 be much more useful for the purpose of local government in Ireland and immeasurably more useful for the purpose of preserving the authority of that House that there should be but one Body in Ireland, and that that one Body should be subject to the immediate control and supervision of the Parliament in this country. There is another reason which I venture to put before the House with regard to this matter. Supposing this Home Rule Bill to pass and this machinery to be set on foot, of course it is a matter of interest and anxiety for all as to how these two Houses in Ireland would be constituted. Now, it is pretty clear that those who have been the active Parliamentarians in this House, so far as they take part in Irish politics at all or choose to enter into either House, would probably desire to take their places in the larger Assembly in Ireland, although the Lower House would undoubtedly have the distribution and determination of all official matters and the entire rule with regard to Irish finance. I think that if that were so, and if hon. Members who usually sit below the Gangway on this side found their places in the lower House, representing one element of Irish national life, you would find those who represent other parts of Irish national life—men stronger, perhaps, in local influence than many of those who come and sit in this House on those (the Irish) Benches—might be probably tempted to try and find their place in the Upper House of Parliament in Ireland, where they would have, perhaps, an easier task, but where the influence of their weight and strength would be to a great extent wasted, because they would not come into immediate contact and relation with those who have been leading the Irish cause in this House; and I confess it does seem to me, if you are to set up any Assembly in Ireland at all, which is to deal with matters so large as are given by this Bill, you had better, for the sake of Ireland itself, secure that those who are desirous to take part in her Parliamentary or local affairs shall meet in the same House. On these different grounds, I am in favour of doing away with this prospect for a Second Chamber in Ireland. I believe the effect of striking that out of the Bill would be to make the machinery simpler, more distinctly a 319 Local Government, and not a Parliament, and would be to secure the representation in one House in Ireland of the different influences and different forces of their national and popular life, and I believe it would have, above all, this immense advantage—that it would enable this House immediately, without hesitation and without delay, to interfere with, control, and correct what we fear may be the exuberance or vagaries of the Irish Parliament.
§ MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)
said, the first advantage derived from this Bill was that it had won Hereford to the Unionist cause. He hoped they would have many chances like it. On this question of a Second Chamber the House stood in a position different from that in which it stood when the Bill was in Committee. At that time he voted against a Second Chamber, because his object was so to reduce the functions of the Irish Legislature that a Second Chamber would be as unnecessary as it was for the London County Council. But they had gone further since then; they now knew what the powers of the Irish Legislature were to be—they knew that they would be extensive, more extensive than they had supposed they would be—and, under those circumstances, it was open to those who had opposed a Second Chamber before to reconsider their position and determine whether there should not be one. It seemed to him if they were to have a Legislature of the size of that proposed by the Bill as it now stood, they should have a Second Chamber—it should be an essential part of, it. Universal experience showed that wherever, abroad or in the Colonies, they had a Legislature of this kind, it had been found expedient to have two Chambers, and they must have that if they wished the new system they were setting up to work satisfactorily and successfully, and to correspond with the real strength of the nation which it governed. If they had a system that did not correspond to the strength of the nation they had always the danger before them of outbreaks of revolutionary violence. There were classes of men who wished to establish all sorts of institutions and all kinds of social conditions. He had a great admiration for the principle of representative government; but it never worked successfully unless it em- 320 braced people who were the mainstay of the nation. What had been the history of the British Government? It had changed its form from time to time; but it was because it embodied all the strongest forces in the nation that revolutionary reformers had not been tempted to assail it; and at present, being a democratic Government, it was only exposed to attack from the childish impatience of a certain number of Radicals, who were angry that there should be any delay in giving effect to their views. He differed entirely from those who said they should not have this Second Chamber at all. There would, of course, be some class in a majority in every part of Ireland. It was one of the difficulties in establishing a representative Government that there was the same class in a majority in almost every part of the country. No doubt, it ought to have predominance in legislative power; but, at the same time, there were other classes who ought to be represented, and who could exercise their due influence only through a Second Chamber. Nothing could be more dangerous than to exclude those classes from representation—from putting forward their views, arguing their case fairly. He believed that the scheme which he had sketched was essential in all schemes of Government that were to be satisfactory. He considered the circumstances had so entirely changed since that question was before them in Committee that he felt himself at liberty to support the Government.
§ Mr. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
said, this was one of the organic details in which the present proposals of the Government differed from those of 1886, and it was one of the proposals of the Government for the protection of the loyal minority in fulfilment of the pledges made during the course of this agitation. But there was another feature that rendered it worthy of consideration. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment told them that a great many of those who supported the Government generally would on this occasion vote for them against their own convictions.
§ MR. DALZIEL
said, what he did say was that a majority on that side of the House would be against a Second Chamber.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, he did not think that differed from what he had given as his account of the hon. Member's statement. The hon. Member and his friends were prepared to vote against their convictions. He would like to remind the House of the charge that had boon made by the Prime Minister against the Opposition. He told them, in a former Debate, that their arguments were formulated with an ingenuity which made out some case against a Second Chamber. He stated that the Cabinet had come to the question with an open mind. This proposal of a Second Chamber, having been agreed to by the Cabinet, was submitted to them with the object of conciliating the loyal minority; and the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Blake) spoke of it as a marked and distinct protection for them. He did not know how far the right hon. Gentleman might be justified in saying it was his intention to conciliate them; but almost immediately afterwards the Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. Bryce) said that was not the object with which the provision had been brought forward.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER (Mr. BRYCE,) Aberdeen, S.
was understood to express dissent.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, ho thought what he had said was to be found in The Times report of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. There was another report in The Parliamentary Debates, which certainly carried out the souse of the words ho had used, though the words differed. He would refer the right hon. Gentleman to The Debates. But what was their position upon this clause? The Prime Minister, on May 10th, acknowledged that they had a right to endeavour to alter the provisions of the clause, if they objected to it, when it had been reached. The Chancellor of the Duchy also agreed that that was a proper course. They wore told that the Government were willing to meet all reasonable apprehensions which might be felt with regard to the question. That was the position at that time. Well, Amendments were put on the Paper on various points from the point of view of the minority. Such Amendments had been invited, and they were anxious to discuss them, but they were precluded by the Closure on the 6th July, so that, 322 having invited them to put down Amendments, the Prime Minister deliberately precluded them from discussing them. That being so, they were perfectly justified, now that an opportunity offered itself, of following the Prime Minister's advice. In considering the subject he had to consider what they were considering to-night—whether what the Government offered was anything but what the Loyalists in Ireland said it was, a vain and shadowy pretence and not a reality. They must have some meaning in the provisions building up a Constitution. He presumed the Prime Minister meant by a Second Chamber an Assembly which would either arrest, delay, or, if necessary, avert, the proposals of the First Chamber. The Chancellor of the Duchy had given them the history of the development—
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I rise to Order. I beg to ask, Mr. Speaker, whether the hon. Gentleman is in Order in continuing the Debate which took place upon this question, and in now replying, step by stop, to the speech made on that occasion by my right hon. Friend?
§ MR. SPEAKER
The discussion is on Report; and I have no cognisance of the Debate which took place in Committee. The only restriction I can lay down for the hon. Member is that he should confine himself to the erection of a Second Chamber, showing the necessity in the present circumstances of Ireland of having a Second Chamber as a counterfoil to the other.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, he did not think he was going beyond the bounds of Order. The Prime Minister himself had already that evening referred to a speech made by an hon. Friend in Committee; and there were many important subjects which he and his hon. Friends had been precluded from discussing in consequence of the application of the Closure. The Chancellor of the Duchy told him that having looked all round the world he found that the reason of a Second Chamber in all countries, with the exception of two, was found in assent to the bicameral principle. The case of the Colonies had been brought in as an example; but the proposal of the Government had only a superficial and not a real resemblance in the existing facts connected with the institution of Second Chambers in Australasia or in Canada. 323 This clause had been drafted on a different basis from that of any clause relating to any other Constitution. They might be told that in voting against the proposal of the Government they were voting against the principle of a Second Chamber. For his part he was doing nothing of the kind. If the clause was framed in the form of that in the Act of 1852 or that in the British North America Act, then there would be some justification for saying he was voting against the principle of a Second Chamber. He was only going to vote against the proposal in this Bill. At a further stage, they would be entitled to discuss the composition of the Second Chamber. He would not go further tonight, but would content himself by entering his protest against the Government proposal for setting up a Chamber which was inadequate to the carrying out of the duties which they sought to impose upon it.
§ *MR. WHITTAKER (York, W.R., Spen Valley)
said, he should vote for the Amendment, because he disapproved of having specially-selected persons or bodies to supervise popularly elected Assemblies. Experience was against the idea that specially selected persons possessed superior judgment. The history of the Second Chamber in this country sustained that view. He considered that the action of the Aldermen in connection with our Municipal Corporations had not been satisfactory, and only recently the Government had reduced the qualification for members of Local Boards. Then, on our Boards of Guardians we had had some experience of ex officio members and a feeling was growing in the country that that kind of thing should be done away with. In connection with Ireland, would the Second Chamber endorse the opinion of the Assembly elected by the people? If it would, they did not need it; but if it was going to thwart the will of the people he and his friends were opposed to it, because they believed in government of the people by the people. It had been suggested by the hon. Member for the Partick Division (Mr. Parker Smith) that our Second Chamber had sometimes saved the country from revolution. That seemed to him to be a most extraordinary doctrine, for he was under the impression that in recent times that 324 Chamber had brought us nearly to the verge of revolution. Then it was said that a Second Chamber was required as a check on hasty legislation. He confessed he did not think that we needed any check on legislation. Our difficulty was that legislation was far too slow at present, and after there had been years of work in bringing questions to such a conclusion that they could command a majority in that House it was most objectionable that the will of the people should be thwarted in another place. The danger to the country was not in legislating too hastily, but in doing so too slowly, for delay dammed up public opinion until it became a flood which swept all before it. What had been their experience of a Second Chamber in this country in connection with Irish legislation? Was it not an acknowledged fact that some of the best Bills which had been passed through that House had been doctored by the superior wisdom of noble Lords elsewhere? Was it that property required protection? He was one of those who were not deeply concerned about the protection of property. It was quite capable of taking care of itself; but it was the poor, weak, and helpless that required to be protected in this country. If they looked at the condition of the landlords and noblemen of the country it would be seen that they were able to protect themselves; but if they went into the streets and saw there the crowds of poor, weak, and helpless people it would be admitted that it was they who wanted protection, and not the well-to-do. He did not believe in giving a man extra votes because he had more property than others. There was an old saying—"Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves." If they took care of the people who only had pence, the people who had pounds would take care of themselves. Did the minority in Ireland want protection? He was more concerned about the majority. The object of this Bill was to protect the majority in that country. The minority there had been specially protected far too long. Who were they? They were the cause of all the trouble which this Bill was intended to remedy. It was at their instigation and on their behalf that we had perpetrated the in- 325 justice and sustained the tyranny and class rule which had brought about the condition of things we now had to deal with. Those who were anxious for protection had uneasy consciences. They feared that the majority in Ireland in the future would do as they themselves had done in the past, and would be as unjust as they had been; but he hoped and believed the Irish people would act fairly. It was said that there was a consensus of feeling throughout the civilised world in favour of Second Chambers. That was because, when they were establishing a new form of Government in a country, they mostly had to conciliate those who wore possessed of property, privileges, and power, and the Second Chambers were the price that had been paid. Some Radical Members would have been willing to support a Second Chamber in Ireland if that concession would have conciliated the Opposition; but as they were not to be conciliated he would vote for the Amendment. He did not wish to see the Irish Legislature marred. He did not want to give a man two votes because he lived in a house of more than £20 rateable value. There were many who wished to see the principle of this Bill extended to England, Scotland, and Wales. Were they to have Second Chambers in those countries? He sincerely hoped not. They had tried class legislation long enough in Ireland. What was wanted was freedom and equality, to which the restrictions in the Bill were the greatest danger, and he would, therefore, prefer to see this particular restriction removed.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
said, he thought the position taken up by the hon. Member who had just sat down and by the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Dalziel), who had moved the Amendment, was perfectly logical. He could quite understand and appreciate their arguments and motives; but what he could not possibly conceive was any Member of the House who was opposed to the principle of Second Chambers under any conditions voting with the Government at the present moment. The hon. Member who had just sat down and the hon. Member who had moved the Amendment would both vote for the principle that they objected to a Second Chamber. Their position 326 was perfectly logical. He should vote with them on this occasion, not because he was opposed on principle to Second Chambers, but because he was opposed to the creation of a Second Chamber in Ireland. The Prime Minister had given a thoroughly free hand to his followers in a speech he made the other night which they all remembered with pleasure and admiration, and which, although he did not agree with it at all, he could not refrain from admiring. The right hon. Gentleman had moved the House to laughter by saying that it was the universal habit of Unionists who moved and spoke on Amendments which were proposed in Committee always to begin in the same way. They always began, he said, by saying—"This is the most important Amendment that has yet come under the notice of the House of Commons." Well, the Prime Minister invariably began his speeches in the same way. He always said—"This is not a vital question." But they had no vitals. The Opposition had been searching for them for the last three mouths. It was an eviscerated Government. The Opposition had imagined that, at any rate, the question of the Second Chamber would constitute a vital question. But no; although the Prime Minister informed them that in the civilised world ho could not find an instance of a successful Constitutional Government without a Second Chamber, he said that in the case of Ireland the establishment of a Second Chamber was not a vital question. Therefore, the Radical Party who were opposed to a Second Chamber had got practically a free hand from the right hon. Gentleman to vote against him on the present occasion. But why should he and his hon. Friends vote against a Second Chamber? The House was apt to forget that they were now discussing a practically dead Bill. Everybody knew that it would never become law. It a Homo Rule Bill ever did become law, the final decision would rest, not with the House of Commons, but with the electors of Great Britain, and from indications they had received to-night they were led to believe—
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said, he at once bowed to Mr. Speaker's ruling He had been about to say why he should 327 vote against a Second Chamber for Ireland, He should vote against that Second Chamber, because it was decking out a political monstrosity in the garish garb of Constitutional methods. A Second Chamber in Ireland was an absolute absurdity. Every one of the loyal minority regarded the Second Chamber as a sham and a delusion which would protect nobody. The First Chamber he could understand. It would be a Land League Parliament. The Prime Minister had informed them that in the civilised world he had not discovered any instance where a Second Chamber had not been adopted in framing a Constitution. But where, in the civilised world, was there an instance of a sane man proposing to settle a great question by placing the criminal population in supreme authority? [Cries of "Stale!"] Hon. Members said that was stale; but it was also true. That being so, it was proposed to modify the First Chamber by a second, which would, undoubtedly, harmonise in its general aspirations. The only thing would be that provision would be made for occasional differences, and he believed that on those occasions the two Chambers were to meet together. He would only say that on those occasions the 48 gentlemen who constituted the Second Chamber ought to be armour-plated, if they proposed seriously to resist the will of the Lower Chamber. So far as the minority in Ireland were concerned, they would reject this Second Chamber as anything like a protection to them, and in saying this he was speaking the opinion of every Ulster Unionist. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy opposed the Second Chamber on purely Radical grounds. The hon. Member imagined that it would be a class Assembly—an assembly of £20 aristocrats. [Laughter.] He had heard the hon. Member make use of that argument. He was very glad that any argument could induce the hon. Member to vote in the direction that he (Colonel Saunderson) was going to vote. He had come to the conclusion that the hon. Member had never been in Ireland.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
Then he ought to know better. He opposed this Second Chamber because it was 328 intended to make the English people believe that some security was provided against hasty and possibly criminal legislation. The Opposition proposed, if possible, to tear away from this measure all the shams by which it was surrounded, and which the Government would wish the country to swallow at the next Election. Already there were signs, however, that the people were becoming educated in this matter They had learnt about these shams, n Scotland. They were now learning about them in England—they were finding out that the measure would not give that security which every one of the subjects of the Crown had a right to expect. If a Second Chamber would give such security to the loyal minority he should certainly not feel justified in getting up in the House of Commons and opposing it. He was in favour of Second Chambers, but he was not in favour of a Second Chamber which was a delusion and which would simply be used as a bait to secure votes at the next Election—votes which never ought to be given to the Government by any man who desired that there should be fair play in dealing with the Irish people.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The question before us really divides itself into branches. We have to consider, in the first place, the principle of a Second Chamber; and, in the second place, we have to consider the Second Chamber proposed as a safeguard to the interests of the loyal minority in Ireland. As regards the principle of a Second Chamber, I confess I find myself unable to sympathise with the view of the hon. Member below mo who thinks it a part of democratic doctrine to be opposed to all Second Chambers. That is one of the most wonderful observations that I have ever heard from an hon. Member who professes to be a democrat, because by such an observation as that he would condemn even the Senate of the United States, which certainly is one of the greatest of Democratic Institutions. The question of a Second Chamber depends entirely on the constitution of the Second Chamber. It is not a part of democratic, or of Liberal, or of Conservative policy either to support or to object to Second Chambers as such, and, for my own part, I do not hesitate to say that if a Second Chamber is properly constituted it will give 329 a great strength to any Constitution. So far as this point is concerned, I regard the discussion as a purely domestic quarrel between the Government and some of their supporters, and I have ceased to take any interest in such quarrels, because I know that they are carried on only as long as it is safe to do so. Hon. Members are perfectly prepared in private or even in public, in dealing with their constituents, to express objection to many portions of the Bill itself; but when any Amendment of the Government scheme is moved these bold and courageous partisans always inquire of the Government Whips whether the Government is in any danger, and, if they find that they are in any danger, they vote for them, or they go out of the House by the back way. Therefore, as far as the Government and their supporters are concerned, I think that it is best to let them fight out the matter among themselves. On a previous occasion I voted against the Second Chamber proposed by the Government, because I thought that it had almost every vice that a Second Chamber could have, and that it had nothing whatever to recommend it. On the present occasion I do not think it will be worth while to take part in the Division; consequently, the supporters of the Government can safely assert their independence without fear of the consequences. Turning to the second branch of the subject, I would say that the Government are pledged to propound in this Bill some safeguard for the minority in Ireland. They put forward this provision for a Second Chamber in the front rank as being such a safeguard. The Government profess to have a mandate from the country to carry Home Rule into effect. I cannot help thinking that the position of the Government in that respect has been slightly altered since they first asserted that they had received that mandate. I can imagine if I sat on the Front Ministerial Bench that I should be thinking how it would be possible to gag the country. The writing is upon the wall, and the Government is beginning to be found out.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I bow to your ruling, Sir. The Government say that their mandate was coupled with the 330 condition that they provide adequate safeguards for the minority; and looking at this proposal from that point of view, I find that every Member of the minority in Ireland repudiates the provision that is made. Under the circumstances, I am inclined to give the advice to the Government which I gave to the hon. Gentleman below me. Let them take back the boon for which nobody is going to thank them. In any case, however, I regard the little incident which has arisen as a purely domestic squabble between the Government and some of their own supporters, and, for my own part, I do not intend to take any part in the Division.
§ MR. ADDISON (Ashton-under-Lyne)
desired to give his reasons for the vote he intended to give in support of the Amendment. The speech of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Sir E. Clarke) was a convincing answer to those who regarded it as inconsistent for Members who believed in the principle of Second Chambers lo support the Amendment. He (Mr. Addison), it was true, was a strong supporter of the principle of a Second Chamber in England, seeing that the veto of the Crown rested with the Ministry. There was no check on the Party in power, not even that of a two-thirds majority, outside the House of Lords, and a Second Chamber after the fashion of the American Senate could not be devised which would not come into conflict with this House. A check upon this House was necessary, and that, they possessed. But was the check of a Second House necessary in the case of Ireland? He held that the proper check for the proposed Irish Legislature would be the Imperial Parliament. There would be 80 Irish Representatives in that House; and if there was any hasty and ill-considered legislation in the Irish Legislature, that House, which would retain a hold upon some important Irish affairs, would be the proper place to correct it. Then, it must be remembered that Ireland was a very poor country. It ought not to be disturbed by too many elections. They all knew that friction and disturbance of trade resulted from General Elections in this country, and these evils would be intensified in Ireland if it were necessary to hold three sets of Parliamentary Elections there—to say nothing of the probability of elections being ignored in 331 the future for county government purposes. He denied that hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House were more deeply interested in the welfare of the poor and helpless than were the Conservative Party. In the interest of these people who would suffer by disturbance of trade they should avoid having too many elections in Ireland.
§ MR. WYNDHAM (Dover)
could not content himself with an absolutely silent vote. His difficulty was that neither the Prime Minister nor the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) had stated the problem before the House in terms to which he could yield assent. In his opinion, differing from the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, the question did not depend so much on the composition of the Second Chamber as on the authority and the status of the Legislature in which it was to play a part. Under the Bill they were asked to constitute a subordinate Parliament for Ireland. Under the 3rd section of the 5th clause of the Bill there was power given to the Lord Lieutenant to act as the instrument in this House of order to check hasty and ill-considered legislation. His (Mr. Wyndham's) wish was to build up and buttress that provision, and to do nothing to impair or blunt the important functions it had to perform in the eyes of the electorate of this country. They knew well that unnecessary complication of machinery only led to a dissipation of force; and if the Lord Lieutenant, acting as the mouthpiece of the House of Commons, could adequately perform the duties, imperative in any Constitution, of checking hasty and ill-considered legislation, they would do well not to countenance any proposition that was likely to draw public attention from his acts or weaken his responsibility in this matter.
§ MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
said, he had taken part in the discussion of this question in Committee, and though he must differ from the Chief Secretary that that constituted any disability to review the arguments then brought forward, he did not intend to go as fully into the matter as he had done on the previous occasion. The hon. Member for Armagh and the hon. Member for Tyrone had repudiated the Second Chamber contained in the Bill. The hon. Member for Tyrone certainly 332 guarded himself against being supposed to vote against Second Chambers in the abstract, and said that all he was voting against was the Second Chamber proposed in the Bill. Of course, it was impossible to fathom the motives which induced hon. Members to come to a special conclusion; but they could say, at any rate, in reference to the action of those hon. Gentlemen, that they were voting in direct violation of the principle laid down by Mr. Speaker as a guide to the House. They were not now asked to vote for the Special Chamber proposed in the Bill, but on the question whether, having regard to the condition of Ireland, the Legislature to be set up should consist of two Chambers. He must express his strong opinion as to the very perilous game which was being played by Members who, while thinking that a double Chamber was a judicious Institution generally, and would be an advisable thing to introduce into Ireland, were going to vote against the institution of a Second Chamber by this Bill. They were proposing to vote in that way because of the imperfections of the composition of the Second Chamber proposed. That, he conceived, was a policy fraught with extreme danger. But they appeared to distinguish between votes given and what might be the real meaning of the Members who took part in the Division. He had often had to criticise the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister for giving, as he thought, greater attention to form than to fact; but on the present occasion he felt bound to express his cordial admiration of the distinction he had drawn, and of his refusal to be led by the action taken on this subject in Committee into assuming that the votes there given expressed the deliberate and consistent opinion of the majority on the question of a Second Chamber. It was evident that hon. Members might now indulge in a line of action which at some future time might justify the Government in dropping this particular proposal. Therefore, he urged them to pause before voting against, or even abstaining from voting upon, the proposal to establish in Ireland a Second Chamber. The hon. Member for the Spen Valley (Mr. Whitaker), in supporting the Amendment, had repeated many phrases more or less familiar—more rather than less—with great fluency and con- 333 siderable force; but what, after all, did his speech amount to? The whole scope of his argument was prejudice against the House of Lords and against ex officio Guardians. It did not appear that the hon. Member had paid any attention to the general subject of Second Chambers, whether in the United States or in other Colonies; he had not evidently studied the results of their action upon legislation. He did warn hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite against the peril they were running into in adopting a course which in the future might prove most injurious to their own desires and their own aims. They had to consider whether, under the special circumstances of Ireland, they could set up a single Chamber which would so represent the power, the interests, and the ideas of all classes in that island as to command implicit confidence. Those who knew how society was constituted in Ireland, and were aware how a Representative Chamber would necessarily be constructed, would know that their single Chamber would be a most imperfect Chamber. It must not represent all classes; it would be pre-eminently the Chamber of Representatives of the tenant farmer class, and it would leave out from its composition all those other classes which they hoped would, in the future, increase in numbers and in power. A single Chamber by itself could not be trusted. How it was to be supplemented they were not prepared to say, but it was enough to know that the position in Ireland forbade the hope that a single Chamber would command confidence. It was well to take their minds away from the immediate circumstances in which they were living, and see whether they could not get light from other countries and other communities to guide them. If they looked across the Atlantic and observed what was going on in the United States, could anyone doubt as to the lesson they there learnt? Bearing in mind the problems of extreme delicacy and perplexity now undergoing solution in the House of Representatives there, could any one doubt that that Body, by itself, would be a most imperfect body had it to deal with those problems. They saw in the American Senate what was there regarded as the complement of the House of Representatives by the judgment and the opinion of the people of the 334 United States. It was vain to refuse the introduction of a Second Chamber in Ireland on the plea that they would be able to deal more effectively with a single Chamber, for they would not have that power. In the course of the Debates on that question they had been told there would be constant supervision by the Imperial Parliament, followed by continual interruption, suppression, and nullification. But let them not be led astray by that. The idea reminded him of the child who, having taken a dose of nauseous medicine, thought it the best way to improve matters by bringing it up again. If the House accepted the noxious dose of that Bill they would be free to rejoice in their freedom, and certainly they would not wish to indulge in a repetition of Irish Debates. For these reasons ho intended to repeat the vote he had given in Committee, and he would cordially support the Government in this proposal.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
My right hon. Friend who has just sat down and the Prime Minister have both alluded to the proceedings in Committee, and they have suggested that a large number of gentlemen on this side and some on the other side voted against the institution of a Second Chamber not so much on account of their own personal convictions as that they hoped by that vote to embarrass, if not to defeat, the Government. I am one of those who both spoke and voted against the Government on that occasion, and though I had not the slightest objection either to defeat or embarrass Her Majesty's Government—[Cheers]—certainly I and my hon. Friends were not animated at the time by either of the amiable motives attributed to us. The fact is that when the subject came before the Committee it was discussed, not as an abstract question between a Second Chamber and no Second Chamber, but as to the efficiency of that particular Second Chamber which the Government proposed to institute, and we hold then, as we hold now—at least, I hold—that the Second Chamber proposed in Clause 6 is a ludicrous sham, and is absolutely incapable of carrying out the most elementary of the important duties which we think ought to be handed over to a Second Chamber. We never thought, and we do not now think, that Second 335 Chambers are useless in general, or that in Ireland in particular they ought to be avoided. It is quite true that the argument has been advanced by my learned Friend the Member for Plymouth (Sir E. Clarke) and by other gentlemen that the proper check upon the rash and extravagant performances of a Chamber elected on a large suffrage is to be found in the case of Ireland not so much in a Second Chamber in that country as in the House of Commons. I think there was great force in that argument. If we could count upon acting as a constant check on every act of the Irish Legislature; if we could suppose that all the legislative measures of the Irish Legislature could be adequately supervised by the House of Commons, that check would be far more effectually exercised than could possibly be done by such a Second Chamber as is likely to be set up in Ireland. But if we have in Ireland a really effective Second Chamber, a Chamber which will not act as an occasional arbiter in great Irish controversies, but as a constant censor upon the measures of the other Chamber that will be far more effective than anything Parliament could hope to do, burdened as it is and as it must remain by great Imperial legislation. But when the time comes I will demonstrate that the Second Chamber, so far from being a check upon the tenant-farmer proclivities in the First Chamber, will entirely represent the tenant farmers to the total exclusion of the labourers and other classes in Ireland. We are precluded, however, by the ruling you, Sir, have given from the Chair, from treating the question in that broad spirit in which we were able to deal with it in Committee, for you have decided—and if I may presume so, rightly decided—that we must postpone until we come to Clause 6 the discussion on the character and functions of the proposed Second Chamber. Clause 6 is one of the 30 or 35 clauses on which we have not yet been allowed to say a word. The actual question now before us is very much of an academical character. It is not a question as to whether there should be the particular Second Chamber in Ireland proposed by the Bill, but whether Ireland is a country in which the check of a Second Chamber is or is not desirable. I think the particular check proposed by the Government is 336 an absurd one, and when we come to examine it we shall be able to show that it is a mere blind, barren worship of a principle, good in itself properly applied, but absolutely empty and vague as the Government propose to apply it. We shall be able to show when we deal with Clause 6 that the application of the principle of a Second Chamber as proposed in the Bill will do more harm than good to those whom the Government desires to protect. On the present occasion, however, I certainly shall not tie my own hands for the future, or the hands of any of those with whom I have to work, by committing myself to a proposition which appears to imply that Ireland is a country so incapable of any rash action through its Representatives, so steeped to the lips in a wise Conservatism, that in that country above all others we should abstain from a check which, in other circumstances, I myself might desire to impose.
ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
said, he desired to explain in a few sentences the vote he proposed to give. They had got into a fog. It was quite easy to steer a straight course if they were sure of their soundings, and he was sure of his in spite of the philosophic speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Courtney), who had done a great deal to get them into that fog. He himself had had a straightforward training, and he refused to have his eyes blinded by abstract propositions. He had no hesitation as to the vote he should give. He approved the principle of a Second Chamber, but the proposal of the Government was a sham, a fraud, and an hypocrisy. As an honest sailor he was opposed to all shams, and, therefore, he should vote against this fraud and against the Government.
§ MR. TOMLINSON (Preston)
said, he intended to vote for the Amendment, and for two reasons: In the first place, he would vote against anything which set up, or attempted to set up, an independent Parliament in Ireland; and the Amendment, if carried, would deprive that Parliament of one attribute of a Legislative Assembly. In the second place, the Government had shown that they did not intend to make this Second Chamber an effective Body. It was a pure 337 and perfect sham, and he could not vote for any such thing.
§ Question put.
§ The Housee divided:—Ayes 193; Noes 110.—(Division List, No. 268.)
§ Mr. AMBROSE (Middlesex, Harrow)
moved—In Clause 2, page 1, line 15, to leave out from "laws," to "Provided," in line 17, and insert "in respect of all matters as applied to Ireland now dealt with in England by the following authorities respectively—namely,The hon. and learned Member said, his proposal was to give the Irish people what he regarded as a complete system of Local Government, and one which avoided the difficulties surrounding the scheme now before the House. The proposal made by the Government broke both their pledges—namely, that they would enable the Irish people to manage their own affairs, and that they would not interfere with the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. He contended that if his Amendment were carried the Irish people would have complete power and authority to manage their own affairs, and, at the same time, the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament would not be interfered with. The House had now decided that the Irish Members should remain in the Imperial Parliament.
together with full power to constitute Local Authorities and to delegate all or any of the above matters to any Local Authority to be so constituted, and also full power to authorise the making, maintaining, and improving of railways, tramways, canals, waterworks, reservoirs, gas and lighting works, fisheries, and all other things which are the subject-matter of Bills known in either House of Parliament as local Bills.
- (a) the Board of Trade for England;
- (b) the Education Department for England;
- (c) the Local Government Board for England;
- (d) any County Council for England;
- (e) any Local Board of Health for England;
- (f) any Rural Sanitary Authority for England;
§ It being Midnight, Further Proceeding on Consideration, as amended, stood adjourned.
§ Bill, as amended, to be further considered To-morrow.