§ COMMITTEE. [Progress, 23rd June.]
§ [TWENTY-EIGHTH NIGHT.]
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Executive Authority.
§ Clause 5 (Executive power in Ireland).
MR. STUART-WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam) rose to move to insert at the beginning of Sub-section 1 the words—
So far as not already vested by statute in the Treasury or in a Secretary of State, the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, or other Minister of the Crown.
It appeared to him that it was necessary to pass the first Amendment in order to complete the intention of the second Amendment standing in his name—that was to say, to add at the end of the clause:
In any Order in Council made in pursuance of Section 36, Sub-section 5, of this Act, and in any Irish Act whereby any powers now vested in the Treasury, or a Secretary of State, the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, or other such Minister as aforesaid, may in respect of matters exclusively relating to Ireland or some part thereof be vested in any Member of the Executive Committee of the Privy Council of Ireland as here in after defined, or in any other officer responsible to the Irish Legislature, provision shall be contained for restraining such exercise of those powers as would have the effect, direct or indirect, of imposing any differential disability or conferring any privilege, advantage, or benefit on account of religious belief, or of diverting the property of any religious body, abrogating or prejudicially affecting the right to establish or maintain any place of denominational education or any denominational institution or charity; and in the absence of such provision such Order in Council or Irish Act shall be wholly void.
I would point out to the hon. Member that, while the first Amendment would be in Order now, the consequential Amendment ought to be moved on Clause 36.
§ MR. STUART-WORTLEY
said, he wished to point out that the Amendment proposed a restriction not merely on the power of making Orders in Council, but on Irish legislation. He had no object in pursuing the first Amendment unless he were permitted to discuss the second, of which it was a necessary part. He understood that, though it related not merely to the making of Orders in Council, but to the passing of Irish Acts, his Amendment would be in Order on Clause 36.
If the hon. Member will submit his proposal in an amended form I will consider whether it is in Order. The next Amendment, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. Darling), is out of Order, as it would nullify the clause. He proposes to omit all the words from "Queen," in the second line of the clause, to the end of the 1st sub-section. The proper course for the hon. Member will be to vote against the clause itself.
§ MR. DARLING rose—
I have stated the reasons for ruling the Amendment out of Order. It is impossible to allow any discussion of these reasons.
§ MR. DARLING
said, he should not think of questioning the Chairman's ruling. What he wished to say had nothing to do with that—
§ MR. DARLING
said, he wished to move the first Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Sheffield.
The hon. Member for Sheffield himself abstained from moving that Amendment, because it is consequential on another, which is not in Order on this clause.
§ MR. DARLING
said, it was because he believed the Amendment to be intrinsically a very good one, and because he had grave reason to doubt whether they should ever have an opportunity of discussing the consequential Amendment, that he desired to move the insertion of the words standing in the name of the hon. Member for Sheffield at the beginning of the clause.
§ MR. FISHER (Fulham)
said, he wished to move—In page 3, line 6, after "Lieutenant," to insert "or other chief Executive officer or officers for the time being appointed in his place.He desired to call the attention of the Government to the great difference between the present Bill of 1893 and the measure of 1886 in regard to the Definition Clause. Everyone who had had anything to do with Irish administration knew that provision was made for the temporary absence of the Lord Lieutenant. If he could not attend to his duties through illness, or if, finding his position uncomfortable, he resigned his place, at the present time it would be filled by certain officials called "Lords Justices," amongst whom were included the Lord Chancellor and the Commander-in-Chief. The Committee would observe that in almost every Act that had been passed of an administrative character some Definition Clause occurred. Take the Criminal Law Procedure (Ireland) Act. In the Definition Clause of that Act occurred this provision—The expression 'Lord Lieutenant' means the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or other Chief Governor or Governors of Ireland for the time being.There was no such definition in the present Bill, and he wished to know what was in the mind of the Government as to who would fulfil the duties of the Lord Lieutenant during his absence. The 246 Lords Justices might be very proper persons to carry on the ordinary Executive work as Parliament was at present constituted; but under the new order of things the Lord Lieutenant was to be entrusted with the power of veto over the Acts of the Irish Legislature, and it therefore became important to know precisely who were to exercise his functions in his absence. It might be possible for the Irish Executive to appoint two or three ordinary Judges, placed on the Bench after the passing of the Bill and dependent on that Executive for their position and promotion, to take the place of the Lord Lieutenant. These Judges could be removed by an Address of both Houses of the Irish Legislature; and thus they would virtually be handing over the powers of vetoing Irish legislation in the interest of the loyal minority to a Body dependent on the Irish Executive. He had put the Amendment down not because he thought it was the best one which could be proposed to carry out his views, but because he believed that it would, at any rate, digit some information from the Government as to what was their intention in framing the Bill.
In page 3, line 6, after the words "Lord Lieutenant" to insert the words "or other chief Executive officer or officers for the time being appointed in his place."—(Mr. Fisher.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
So far as I am able to understand the matter, the case put before the Committee by the hon. Member is already provided for, because, by the Act of 1889, it is provided that the expression "Lord Lieutenant," with reference to Ireland, shall meanthe Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, or other Chief Governor or Governors of Ireland for the time being.Therefore, there is no legal addition to the force of the phrase by the Amendment proposed. If the duties of these temporary Governors are to be of a more important character than heretofore, that will have to be considered in the provisions made for their discharge. The Office of the Viceroy is an Office which will be strictly under the cognisance, and under the responsibility, of the Imperial 247 Parliament; and it will be for the Imperial Parliament to supply any want there may be in connection with it. I admit the contention that it is possible that the duties may be more important in the future; but if so, and any change is necessary, it will be considered on the responsibility of the Imperial Government, whose duty it will be to make adequate and satisfactory provision for the discharge of the duties of the Viceroy in his absence. The Amendment, if adopted, would be without effect; and that is the answer I have to give to the hon. Member.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman has thoroughly grasped the difficulty to which the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment has called attention. Under the existing system, as is well understood, there are certain Judges and Members of the Irish Privy Council who carry out, in the absence of the Lord Lieutenant, the purely formal functions resting on that officer. But the functions of the Lord Lieutenant under this Bill will be very far from formal. On the contrary, one of the great objections to the framework and machinery of the Bill is, that it throws upon the Lord Lieutenant duties at once difficult and inconsistent with each other, which will make his position almost intolerable; and that, what will be almost intolerable in the case of a single officer appointed ad hoc, will be absolutely and wholly intolerable when you are dealing with a kind of Committee who are to take his place—when, in fact, you put the Lord Lieutenancy into Commission, and place in the hands of a Committee the functions which you propose to intrust to the Lord Lieutenant. What the hon. Member desires by his Amendment to effect is a thing which, I believe, the right hon. Gentleman opposite really sympathises with. The Lord Lieutenant is to be appointed by the Queen, and, from time to time, to have such powers and duties delegated to him as the Queen, acting on the advice of Her Imperial Ministers, may determine. When you take away the Lord Lieutenant, his place will be filled by some one deriving power from the same source as the Lord Lieutenant. I do not know that the matter is of much practical importance at the present moment; but if 248 you are going to pass a Bill intended to work, and if this Committee is not merely to be a demonstration in force but a system under which Ireland is to be governed, this is just one of those details which it behoves the House to put right, and which, if not put right, will undoubtedly give rise to a great deal of difficulty and friction, and perhaps catastrophe, when you begin to work the machinery which you are endeavouring to set up. The fact is, that the position of the Lord Lieutenant, difficult and absurd as it is now, will become doubly difficult and absurd if you attempt to substitute for that official a Committee to perform his functions in his absence.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
It is the right hon. Gentleman who has misconceived the position. The question of what provision may be required if the case arises for discharging the Lord Lieutenant's duties in his absence is an important question, just as the question of the discharge of the duties of the. Sovereign in this country will be in the absence of the Sovereign; but the point is not in any way before the Committee at the present moment. It is a matter, however, which will be regulated by the Imperial Parliament, if the case arises, from time to time. Even if the case were before us at the present moment, the Amendment does nothing whatever towards a solution of it.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON (Armagh, Mid)
said, he could assure the Prime Minister that, to those who lived in Ireland and had seen the system under which the Lord Lieutenant worked, this was a matter of the greatest practical importance. They maintained that it should appear plainly in the Bill what was to be the state of affairs when the Lord Lieutenant was absent. In this sub-section they were vesting the Executive in Ireland in the Lord Lieutenant; and they were doing it in remarkably wide language, for he was to exercise the prerogatives and power that might be delegated to him by Her Majesty. All the prerogatives of Her Majesty might be delegated to him by Letters Patent. Where was the precedent for this? This question of the delegation of the prerogatives of the Crown was discussed at the Convention of Australasia; and some of the leading Repre- 249 sentatives there declared that it would be impossible to ask the Crown to delegate all its prerogatives even in the case of a federated Australasia. He (Mr. Barton) and his friends submitted that the Government were not alive to the importance of this matter, which might affect the Government of Ireland during a very large portion of the year. At some periods in the history of Ireland the Lords Justices practically governed Ireland; and even in the last few years the Lord Lieutenant was invariably absent from the country for a considerable portion of the year. Who, then, in the absence of the Lord Lieutenant, were to have vested in them the prerogatives of the Crown, the power of veto, and of protecting the loyal minority, and the Imperial interests?
§ MR. CARSON (Dublin University)
asked how the Commissioners who would act in the absence of the Lord Lieutenant were appointed? He apprehended that the existing method would still hold good when the Bill became law. If they were appointed as the Lord Lieutenant was, the point made by the Prime Minister would be a protection, for the Imperial Parliament would be responsible in the matter, and not the Irish Executive.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Whatever arrangement might be made for the discharge of the functions of the Lord Lieutenant in his absence—and assuredly it will be a sufficient one—would be made by the Imperial Parliament.
§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
said, the position of the Prime Minister was only to be explained on the ground that the Committee was no longer to look on the Bill as a serious legislative measure. They had been told that this was a Bill for the settlement of the Irish Question, yet when they came to consider the position of the most important Imperial officer in Ireland, and one of the most important phases of his duties there, the Prime Minister told them that each difficulty as it arose was to be left for the consideration of the Imperial Parliament. If there were to be friction between the Imperial and the Irish Executive at all, it would at once begin here. He could not believe that, in introducing a Bill of this character, any Government could be satisfied to tell the country that they were prepared to leave the question in its present position. The Prime Minister 250 told them that for the interpretation of "Lord Leiutenant" they were to look to another Act of Parliament. But could the particular words in the Interpretation Clause of one Act of Parliament be applied to an Act of a totally different character? He did not suppose the Solicitor General would support the Prime Minister in that contention. He thought they would rest content with the position in which the question now stood. The Prime Minister declined to give the slightest assurance to the Committee, but preferred to say that it would rest with the Imperial Parliament to settle this most difficult question.
§ MR. DANE (Fermanagh, N.)
said, the question under discussion was a most vital one. He should like to know from the Solicitor General whether he endorsed the view of the Prime Minister, that a definition in an Act of 1889 could be taken as applying to subsequent Acts? [Sir J. RIGBY assented.] He understood the hon. and learned Gentleman to nod his assent—then it was all the more incumbent on the House to see that the loyal majority in Ireland had a real and proper safeguard in this matter. If the Bill should become law, and the definition of "Lord Lieutenant" contained in the Act of 1889 were applicable, he agreed with everything said by the hon. Member for Mid Armagh that a great deal of difficulty and danger lay before the loyal classes in Ireland. They knew who would in future be the gentlemen who would occupy the Bench in Ireland. They had already, during the progress of the Bill, endeavoured to regulate the Executive in Ireland in regard to most of the appointments; but as the measure stood gentlemen who were opposed in every way to the loyal classes would be appointed to the Bench. They would owe their continuance on the Bench to the manner in which they discharged their duties to the satisfaction of the disaffected classes. So that he held that to leave the clause as it stood to enable gentlemen of this description to be appointed by the Executive to represent the Lord Lieutenant as Lords Justices would be to place the loyal classes in a position in which they ought not to be placed. Therefore, though he did not think that the Amendment covered the whole situation, as a protest against the legislation 251 proposed, he should vote for the Amendment if it were carried to a Division.
THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY, New-castle-upon-Tyne)
said, the Lords Justices were appointed in the same manner as the Lord Lieutenant—by Letters Patent. It was not correct to say that there was no precedent for the condition of affairs contemplated by the Bill. In New South Wales it was provided that if the Governor was temporarily absent he might appoint the Lieutenant Governor or some other person to exercise on his behalf all the power vested in him.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON
said, his point was that it was unusual to delegate prerogatives in the wide and general way in which they were delegated to the Lord Lieutenant in the Bill.
§ SIR H. JAMES (Bury, Lancashire)
asked on whose advice the Lord Lieutenant would act in appointing persons to represent him by Letters Patent?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
said, the right hon. Gentleman could not have heard his statement. He had said that the Office of the Viceroy would remain absolutely under the Crown and the Imperial Parliament, and that the provision for the discharge of the duties of the Office would be made on Imperial responsibility.
§ SIR H. JAMES
asked whether that would result from the inherent condition of things at present, or from anything that would appear in the Bill, because it appeared to him that the measure entirely changed the position of the Lord Lieutenant.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
said, that no doubt the function and duties of the Viceroy were affected by the Bill; but the Office of Viceroy would remain absolutely unchanged, and absolutely under the Crown and the Imperial Parliament.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. HANBURY
said, he desired to move—In page 3, line 0, after "Lord Lieutenant," to leave out "on behalf of Her Majesty," and to insert "with the approval of Her Majesty, signified by a Secretary of State.The object of the Amendment was to give greater significance to this part of the section. It was almost impossible to understand, by the Bill, what was the 252 intention of the Government—whether the Lord Lieutenant, representing Her Majesty, would act in a Constitutional way on the advice of the Irish, or whether he would act wholly on the advice of the English Ministers. The presumption would be that according to ordinary Constitutional principles the Lord Lieutenant would act under the advice of the Irish Ministers; but the position of the Lord Lieutenant would be altered from what it was at the present moment. At present he was a political officer appointed only for so long as the Government that appointed him was in power. In future the Lord Lieutenant would be much more a non-political official than he had been in the past. He would be appointed much as the Governor of a Colony was appointed; and, therefore, he would be all the more liable to act under the advice of the Irish Executive. In those circumstances, and with the Irish Members still sitting in the House as proposed, it would become very difficult—in some cases impossible—for the Imperial Government to exercise much influence over him. It was important, therefore, that the Executive authority should be clearly defined, because clearly the Executive power would be more important than the legislative power. The Executive power would be much more real than the power of the Irish Legislature; and if this power were to be given to the Executive, even though it was controlled by the Imperial Cabinet, one would never know exactly what powers had been delegated to it. It was quite possible that one Imperial Ministry might delegate certain powers, and a succeeding Ministry might withdraw or add to those powers. Either this would happen, or else the powers delegated would, as in the case of Colonial Executives, be never taken away again. It would surely be ridiculous that it should be left to the Government which happened to be in power on the appointed day to decide for ever and ever what the powers delegated were to be. An Irish Executive was a totally new thing. During the existence of Grattan's Parliament there was no Executive which was independent of the Imperial Government, and when O'Connell made his famous speech in 1834 he put forward no demand for an Irish Executive. He was content to ask that Grattan's Parliament should be 253 revived, with the same Executive powers as it formerly possessed. There were plenty of precedents for Executive independence of Legislatures. In the German Empire, for instance, the Executive was independent of the Legislature, whilst the Government of the United States was so also. Surely, what was good enough for the German Empire and the United States ought to be good enough for the Irish Legislature. He understood that the Government proposed for a time to take the whole taxing power out of the hands of the Irish Legislature; and it seemed to him that it would be ridiculous to give the Irish Executive the powers proposed if the Irish Legislature, by which it would be appointed, were not to exercise one of the principal functions of the Legislature. It might mean a very serious stretching of the prerogative of the Crown to give the Irish Executive these great powers. The Committee knew how the prerogative of the Crown had been used by the Prime Minister on previous occasions. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman's use of the prerogative had been checked by public opinion and by a strong House of Commons; but every stretch of the prerogative in Ireland would be supported by the whole Irish people, because it would mean an increase of the powers of the Irish Government. The prerogative might be stretched in Ireland in a manner which would form a very dangerous precedent if it were sought to do the same thing in England. The Government could not trust the Irish Legislature to deal with certain matters, because it was admitted that that Body was unfit to deal with them. Surely it would be a monstrous thing if an Executive which would be the creature of the Irish Legislature should be able to deal with the very matters which had been excluded from the purview of the Legislature. He, therefore, thought that some words ought to be put in which would explain clearly what was meant by "on behalf of Her Majesty."
In page 3, line 6, after the words "Lord Lieutenant," to leave out the words "on behalf of Her Majesty," and insert "with the approval of Her Majesty, signified by a Secretary of State."—(Mr. Hanbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. HENEAGE (Great Grimsby)
said, he had placed on the Paper an Amendment providing for the substitution of "subject to the directions of Her Majesty, signified through the Secretary of State," for the words "on behalf of Her Majesty." He was anxious to relieve the Irish Lord Lieutenant of the odium which might attach to him under the Bill as it stood if he came into collision with the Irish Legislature. The Lord Lieutenant was to be the head of the Government of Ireland as well as the great ceremonial officer, and he was also to be the representative of the Imperial Government on questions of veto. Of course, if he overrode some Act or Resolution of the Irish Legislature he would place himself in opposition to that Legislature, and it would be desirable that either his hon. Friend's Amendment or his own should be inserted so as to show that in such matters, he acted entirely on the responsibility and on the orders of the British Cabinet. The reasons why he had selected the word given in his Amendment was to be found in a speech made by the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. H. H.. Fowler) on the 17th May, when the right hon. Gentleman stated that if the Irish Parliament was guilty of great oppression or great wrong, or attempted to deprive any of Her Majesty's subjects of the Parliamentary rights of British citizens, the Imperial supremacy ought to be, could be, and would be brought into force. It was quite clear from this that whatever procedure was adopted the agent by whom it was to be put in force would be the Lord Lieutenant. He thought it most desirable that it should be made perfectly clear that when the Lord Lieutenant did exercise the power of voting he was acting merely as the agent of the Imperial Government.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER (Mr. BRYCE, Aberdeen, S.)
If I rightly understand the Amendment of the hon. Member for Preston and that of my right hon. Friend who has just spoken—and the Amendment of my right hon. Friend is somewhat more explicit than that of the hon. Member—their object is 255 practically to extinguish the system of responsible government in Ireland, which we consider to be the basis of this Bill. I can attach no meaning to the Amendment except this—that the Lord Lieutenant is to be the mere mouthpiece of the Imperial Government, and that he is to manage as well as he can to rub on with an Irish Executive, which would trace its action to a totally different source, and which might, and often would as far as we know, be in disagreement with him. The hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) has referred to the case of Grattan's Parliament. It is quite true that under Grattan's Parliament the Irish Executive was not responsible to the Irish Legislature in the same way as the British Cabinet is responsible to the British Parliament. It is very hard to say exactly what the position of the Irish Cabinet under Grattan's Parliament was; but it had a certain amount of Irish character about it. It was by no means such a mere organ of the Imperial Government as this Amendment would, if carried, make the Lord Lieutenant. The system of Grattan's Parliament worked extremely badly. One of the reasons why that system could not have lasted, although it need not have come to such an untimely end as in fact befel it, was that the Irish Executive was not necessarily in due sympathy with the Irish Legislature. If the Irish Executive had been in such sympathy and had been obliged to keep in sympathy with the Irish Legislature, Lord Fitzwilliam would not have been recalled. The terrible events which led up to the Rebellion of 1798 would not have taken place, and all that wretched episode of Irish history would not have occurred. So far, therefore, from the system of Grattan's Parliament being any justification for the Amendment, the events I have referred to seem to me to be a solemn warning against any attempt to introduce a similar system now. The hon. Member also adverted to the cases of the German Empire and the United States. There are only two systems under which an Executive and a Legislature can be worked in a democratic country. One is our Cabinet system which has been reproduced in our Colonies, and the other is the system of the United States, where the Execu- 256 tive is directly chosen by the people. In the case of the Federal Government of the United States the President is elected by the people, and he appoints his own Ministers. In the case of the State Governments, not only the Governor, but also the several chief officials, are elected by the people of the State. That is an intelligible system; because, although the Americans have thought it well to separate the Legislature from the Executive, the source of both powers is to be found in the people. The system conforms with democratic principles, and is found to work well, because the source of power in all cases is the popular will. There is no parallel between such a system and that which this Amendment seeks to introduce. The power would, under this Amendment, flow from the Imperial Government and not from the Irish people, and therefore it would have a totally different source from the power of the Legislature. It would be a source which would be necessarily regarded as a foreign source, which would not carry with it the moral weight which the popular will gives, and which would reproduce, and indeed exaggerate, all the worst features of the Irish Government before the Union. The case of Germany, which was also cited by the hon. Member, is, in many respects, a very special and peculiar case. In Germany, although the Monarch is not elected by the people, he has a very strong hold upon the people. He is in the highest degree the representative of national feeling and national life. German, and especially Prussian, history has given him a direct personal relation to the people, and his influence with the people counts for much. Therefore, he cannot be regarded as an extra-national or anti-national force such as an Executive directly appointed by the Imperial Government would probably often be in Ireland. I may, therefore, fairly say of the Executive of the German Empire that although it is not in so great a measure responsible to the Legislature as our Executive is responsible to our Parliament, and although it is not in the same direct sense the child of the popular will as is the Executive of the United States, it is, nevertheless, a National Executive, and one which in a large extra-parliamentary sense is responsible to the people of Germany. Therefore, it is not in the same position, 257 either morally or legally as an Executive in Ireland controlled by the Imperial Parliament must necessarily be. Now let me say a word or two as to the scheme of the Bill. That scheme is to reproduce as far as possible in Ireland the Cabinet system of Great Britain and the Cabinet system of the British Colonies. The Government have taken the British Colonies in the main for their model; but the system of the British Colonies requires to be varied in some respects, not so much in its legal structure as in its practical working. The fact that Ireland is so much nearer to us, and is so much more directly interwoven in all her concerns with our concerns, and the fact that there are a certain number of subjects reserved by Clause 3, which would not necessarily be reserved in the case of the British Colonies, all indicate that our relations must be more intimate with Ireland under a Home Rule scheme than they could be with the Colonies, and they suggest that the relations of the Lord Lieutenant with the Imperial Government will have to be in many respects closer and more intimate than has necessarily been found to be the case with the great self-governing Colonies. But these facts do not prevent the Colonial precedent from being a valuable and instructive precedent to follow. The Government conceive that it is quite impossible to predict to what extent it will be found necessary to give instructions to the Lord Lieutenant, though we hope and trust that comparatively few and general instructions will be necessary. These are matters which only experience can work out, and no words which can be devised now will suffice to anticipate the cases which must necessarily arise. We must trust not only to the light which Colonial experience sheds, but also to the wisdom and patriotism of successive Imperial Governments. My belief is that such liberty of administration as well as legislation as it may be found well to give, and as we propose to give, will not be refused by the Imperial Government, whichever Party may happen to be in power. We conceive that any Imperial Government will very gladly, when there has been a little experience of the working of a separate Irish Legislature, endeavour to avoid the necessity of intermeddling with Irish concerns; and whatever the Opposition may say now, we 258 think that when the passions of the moment have subsided, and when the relief to this Legislature has been experienced, any Imperial Ministry will be glad to be relieved of its Executive responsibility for purely Irish affairs—[Opposition laughter.] I do not expect hon. Members opposite to agree, but I believe the Government have lights which are not vouchsafed to them, or which they refuse to profit by. I believe that the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite are still blinded and clouded by prejudice. But that does not weaken the light which is shed on the question by the history of our Colonies. We believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite have imperfectly realised the meaning of democracy, as applied to the working of an Irish no less than of a British Government; and, therefore, these expressions of dissent or derision have no effect whatever on our minds. Had we not been persuaded that our views on Ireland were founded upon just and sound experience we should never have brought in this Bill. I have probably said enough to show that the Government cannot accept the Amendment, because it strikes at the root of the scheme of the Bill, and because it would maintain that resistance to the legitimate wish of Ireland to manage her own affairs which has prevailed in times past. I admit that we do expect to have in the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland one whose powers will be something more than ceremonial. He will have, no doubt, some delicate duties to discharge. Those duties have, on the whole, been discharged by conspicuous success by our Colonial Governors, who have often had to solve problems as intricate as those which will fall to the lot of the Lord Lieutenant; and they have not had the advantage which the Lord Lieutenant will possess, of being in close communication with the English Executive, and able, therefore, to obtain quickly valuable advice. I see, therefore, no reason why a system which has been found to work smoothly and harmoniously in the Colonies should not work equally well in Ireland. That, at any rate, is the scheme to which we have committed ourselves. It is the only scheme on which we conceive that an Irish Legislature can be worked. Such a Legislature must have an Executive responsible to it. It is entitled to have 259 the assistance of such an Executive in carrying out its wishes; but we conceive—and this is my concluding answer to one of the questions of my right hon. Friend—that the Executive will be subject within the sphere of its action to exactly the same restrictions as are, by Clauses 3 and 4, imposed, as respects legislation, on the Irish Legislature.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not know whether the speech of the right hon. Gentleman is a good commentary on the Amendment; but, at any rate, it is an interesting commentary on the Motion to be proposed to-morrow by the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, alone apparently among his Colleagues, appears to appreciate the gravity of the Constitutional changes which are proposed to be introduced; and he alone is prepared to go at full length into the grounds by which he thinks a Constitutional revolution may be justified. The right hon. Gentleman is quite righ; but it is a little hard that the Government should allow themselves this broad licenee in travelling over the whole earth inspecting the Constitutions of every self-governing country—from Germany to New Zealand—in laying down the broad philosophy of Constitutional Government, and that the Opposition, by Resolution of the House, are apparently to be deprived of the smallest right to discuss the practical working of a new Constitution for Ireland. I have been concerned, on either one side or the other, in the discussion in Committee of a very large number of Bills. I have heard proceedings which, although neither uncourteous nor disorderly, have been described as obstructive; but I never heard a speech more strongly marked with some of the best-known symptoms which usually attach to orations intended not to further business, but to expend the time of the House. The speech of the Chancellor of the Duchy was a most unusual proceeding from any Member of a Government in charge of a Bill. I have never heard it done before. Usually, the efforts of right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench are directed to saving time, not to spending it. Why, it would be unusual in ordinary circumstances; it is absolutely outrageous and scandalous on the eve of a Motion such as that with which we are threatened by the Prime 260 Minister to-morrow. With regard to the Amendment, I do not intend to imitate the right hon. Gentleman, and I will, therefore, only deal with that part of his speech which was addressed to the Amendment. I can do that in a very few words. Although I fully admit there would be friction and difficulty if the Irish Executive were dependent on the Imperial Ministry, the question is not whether that will or will not be convenient—because nothing can be convenient under this Bill—but whether there will not be worse difficulties and inconveniences by leaving the Lord Lieutenant in the ambiguous position proposed by the Bill. From that point of view, all the parallels and precedents so elaborately and uselessly examined by the right hon. Gentleman absolutely fail. What is the use of telling us about America or Germany or our own Colonial system? There is no resemblance at all between the system which this Government proposes to establish and the Colonial system or the American system. If the right hon. Gentleman dissents from this statement, I will refer hon. Members to the long statement just made by the Chancellor of the Duchy, who has told us that the Bill is framed broadly on the Colonial model. It is contemplated by the Bill that there will be a constant watch kept on the Irish Executive and Legislature by the Imperial Executive and Legislature. The Government have shown that under the Bill the Lord Lieutenant will not be in the position of an Executive power dependent on the Irish Parliament. He will, in fact, occupy a hybrid, an ambiguous, and an uncertain position, which at any moment may lead—and, I believe, will lead before many months have passed—to friction and serious difficulty between the Executives of the two countries. If the memory of the Chancellor of the Duchy goes back to the beginning of his speech, I will ask him does he recollect telling us there were only two systems under which a free country could be managed—one in which the Executive was independent, and the other in which it was dependent on the Legislature? But the system the Government have adopted is neither the one nor the other; and it is destined, if it ever gets into working order, to meet with disastrous 261 and humiliating results. I will not continue any longer my contribution to the Debate now that I have given my reasons for supporting this Amendment.
§ MR. SEXTON ( Kerry, N.)
said, he failed to discern on what ground the right hon. Gentleman held that, whilst the House was listening to a speech delivered by him, it was engaged in a useful expenditure of time, while it was wasting its time in listening to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Surely he took a very extraordinary view of his rights. He had little reason to complain of the Chancellor of the Duchy occupying a quarter of an hour in explaining a new clause admittedly important, seeing that the Opposition had occupied so many weeks in discussing the first four clauses. The right hon. Gentleman and his friends were extremely hard to satisfy, as he had found from following the course of these Debates. When Ministers failed to reply with closeness and in detail to Amendments proposed from the Unionist Benches their reticence was bitterly attacked; and yet when a Minister, who was one of the most eminent students of Constitutional history, applied himself directly to an Amendment described by its Mover as of the first importance he was blamed by the Leader of the Opposition for speaking just a quarter of an hour.
§ An hon. MEMBER: Twenty-five minutes.
§ MR. SEXTON
I say it was a quarter of an hour. The audacity of such a complaint transcended anything he had ever known before. It appeared to him that the question raised by the Amendment was disposed of in substance and in fact by the Second Reading of the Bill. It traversed the fundamental principle of the Bill, which had been already approved by the country and the House, that Ireland should have a Legislature to deal with exclusively Irish affairs, and an Executive responsible to that Legislature. The effect of the Amendment would be to prevent such Executive from coming into existence, because it would require the approval of a Secretary of State before any act of Executive power could be exercised. If the words of the Amendment were in- 262 serted the Lord Lieutenant would require to refer to a Secretary of State, and obtain his approval, in relation to each individual act or to each individual exercise of the prerogative of the Crown. This, it was obvious, would prevent Executive responsibility to the local Legislature, and reduce the Executive to a position of impotence and absurdity.
§ MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
said, he confessed he was a little puzzled at the course the Debate had taken for the last three-quarters of an hour; because in his judgment—and he said it with all respect—the Amendment was unnecessary, and the words would not effect the purpose the Mover had in view. The Lord Lieutenant under the clause would act on behalf of the Queen; he would exercise his functions as her representative; and, therefore, what he did would be with her consent and on the authority of her ministers.
§ MR. SEXTON
I suggest that under the wording of the Amendment the Lord Lieutenant would have to refer everything to England for decision.
§ MR. COURTNEY
said, he did not think that that it would be the effect. The 3rd sub-section of the clause clearly described what the situation of the Lord Lieutenant would be. He would act on behalf of Her Majesty when exercising—Any prerogatives or other Executive power of the Queen, the exercise of which may be delegated to him by Her Majesty.If the Amendment were introduced they would come again to the same position. He hoped the Amendment would not preclude them from discussing at the proper stage, which was the next subsection of the clause dealing with the appointment of an Executive Committee, the relations between the Lord Lieutenant and the Executive Committee. At present they were only considering the Lord Lieutenant in relation to the Crown.
§ MR. R. T. REID (Dumfries)
On a question of Order. In view of what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman, I wish to ask is it the case that this Amendment would preclude any further Amendment which would endeavour to place the Irish Executive under the Imperial Government?
I think that this Amendment, and the discussion which has taken place on it, would preclude an 263 Amendment involving the same principle.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
said, that, in the course of the discussions on the Bill, incapacity, ignorance, and prejudice had been attributed to Parliament, and particularly to Members who sat on the Opposition side of the House, while one of the arguments used for the erection of an Irish Parliament was that it would be wise, free from prejudice, and able beyond all Parliaments that had ever existed. But though Members of this Parliament had been accused of all sorts of shortcomings, no imputation had hitherto been cast upon the Crown. Indeed, they had been told that whatever links were snapped between England and Ireland, the golden link of the Crown would remain. It was reserved for a professor of the history of the American Constitution to make the first attack that had been made upon the Crown; and he was sorry to see that that attack had been rather endorsed by some of the Irish Members. What did the Amendment propose? It proposed that the Lord Lieutenant should act "with the approval of Her Majesty, signified by the Secretary of State." The only words of any importance in the Amendment were "with the approval of Her Majesty," because the approval of Her Majesty could only be conveyed by a Secretary of State. There was no other method of expressing the approval or disapproval of Her Majesty. If the Amendment were not accepted, the Lord Lieutenant might exercise the prerogatives or other Executive powers of the Queen, even though these Acts were disapproved of by Her Majesty. He regretted that the Chancellor of the Duchy should have made what was practically an attack upon the Sovereign, and he could not understand why the Amendment should be resisted, as the acquiescence of Her Majesty's Government in any policy could not be conveyed otherwise than by a Secretary of State. When the Chancellor of the Duchy spoke of anti-national action on the part of Her Majesty's Government he contemplated that which was impossible. The fact that Governors of Colonies exercised the prerogative with great success was an argument in favour of the Amendment, because they exercised the prerogative by direction of a 264 Secretary of State. How could instructions be conveyed except through a Secretary of State? It might be assumed that Sub-section 3 contemplated that the approval of Her Majesty should be conveyed by a Secretary of State, and if so it was on all fours with this Amendment. In this Bill there were two Sovereigns, the Queen and the Queen in Council; and the Queen in Council had the most enormous powers. The Queen in Council might substitute the Lord Lieutenant for Herself, and might say that confirmation by the Irish Legislature should be equal to confirmation by the Imperial Parliament. As such enormous powers were to be conferred on the Queen in Council, he could not see what grounds the Government had for objecting to the Amendment. The Amendment merely provided that the prerogative of the Crown should be exercised in a manner of which Her Majesty approved, but apparently the Government contemplated that Acts were to be done in Ireland of which the Sovereign disapproved.
§ MR. RENTOUL (Down, E.)
said, the Amendment before the House was one which he had imagined the Government would have accepted without a moment's hesitation till the House was informed by the Chancellor of the Duchy that such would not be the case. The speech of the Chancellor of the Duchy had been criticised as one in which he had given himself undue licence; but he (Mr. Rentoul) thought the right hon. Gentleman had exercised great self-restraint when it was remembered who he was and where he came from. The Chancellor of the Duchy was an Ulsterman, and he had told that House some weeks ago that all Ulster Protestants were such admirers of noise and bluster that they sent to this House noisy and blustering Members. But the Chancellor of the Duchy was himself an Ulster Protestant; therefore his noisy and blustering speech was only what, according to himself, was to be expected from an Ulster Protestant. But, leaving the right hon. Gentleman and coming to the Amendment, it was proposed that the following change should be made—namely, that the words "on behalf of Her Majesty" should be left out, and the words "with the approval of Her Majesty signified by a Secretary of State" should be 265 substituted. Now the clause at present read thus—The Executive power in Ireland shall continue vested in Her Majesty the Queen, and the Lord Lieutenant, on behalf of Her Majesty, shall exercise the prerogative or any Executive power of the Queen the exercise of which may be be delegated to him by the Queen.Now it proposed to say in the clause that the power to be exercised on behalf of the Queen should be exercised "with the approval of Her Majesty signified by a Secretary of State." If the Government intended that the power should be exercised on behalf of the Queen whether she approved or not, then the clause might stand as it was; but surely the contention was not that the power should be exercised in her name with or without her approval. If Her Majesty was to be the mere machine to confirm Acts done in her name of which she did not approve, if that was the view of the Government, then it should be known; but, if not, surely it was not any harm to say that the power to be exercised was to be so exercised, not merely in her name, but with her approval. Again, if that approval was to be obtained, surely it must be signified in some way, and in what way could it be signified except through a Secretary of State? The Amendment was intended to elicit an expression of opinion from the Government, and to have it known what part the Queen was to play in this clause. The Opposition, thinking that the Bill could not be amended, did not care whether this particular Amendment was accepted or not; but they did care to have the real state of the case known, for, in view of that appeal to the country which must be made before any such Bill became law, it was important that the British public should know the powers and position of the British Queen. This was the ground on which he supported the Amendment.
§ Mr. PARKER SMITH, Mr. SEXTOX, and Mr. REID put questions with regard to the effect the ruling of the Chairman just delivered would have upon subsequent Amendments.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, the Amendment was a very far-reaching one, and covered every Act done by the Executive. It might be objected that it went too far; but surely it would not be 266 possible, if it were negatived, to rule out of Order another Amendment which covered a smaller part of the field, and which might commend itself to the Committee.
said, that no Amendment involving the principle of this Amendment would be in Order if moved lower down the clause. With regard to any other Amendment, he should prefer to reserve his judgment until he saw it.
MR. PARKER SMITH
said, as he understood the view of the Government, it was that in all ordinary Executive affairs the Lord Lieutenant should act on the advice of his Irish Cabinet; but sometimes he would have to go against it. If he was of opinion that his Irish Cabinet were urging him to some act that was ultra vires, it would be his duty to decline to act in accordance with their advice. When he did that, on whose advice was he to act? Was he to have some kind of responsibility to Parliament, where the Irish Members would be able to call him to account? Or was the whole responsibility to rest on the shoulders of the Lord Lieutenant as practically a Constitutional Monarch, without a seat in this House, and accidentally with a seat in the other House? Would the Lord Lieutenant be sure that the Government would be prepared to defend him, unless there was someone whose duty it was to give him advice and whose advice it was his duty to follow? What form would the instructions to the Lord Lieutenant take? Was there to be a Minister definitely responsible whenever divergencies of opinion arose between the Irish Government and the Imperial Government and whenever the Lord Lieutenant had to act against the advice of the Irish Parliament, or was there to be merely the general responsibility of the Government? There was the greatest difference between the two kinds of responsibility; and the question was one that concerned Irish Members. What remedy would they have if there were no particular Minister responsible for the actions of the Lord Lieutenant? Would their only remedy be to take action against the Imperial Government?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR (Leeds, Central)
said, they had had an interesting speech on this subject from the Chan- 267 cellor of the Duchy (Mr. Bryce). The right hon. Gentleman informed the Committee that in his view there were only three possible systems open for adoption—the system of the United States, the system that now existed in Germany, and the system of the English Cabinet. The first two the right hon. Gentleman regarded as inapplicable to the case of Ireland; and he assured them that the only workable system, the only scheme on which the Irish Parliament could be worked, was that of an Executive in Ireland, responsible only to the Irish Parliament and not to the Imperial Parliament. Now, for his part, he should be perfectly content to accept the view the Chancellor of the Duchy expressed on the system in the United States and the German system; but when the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the English Cabinet system as the only workable system he had gone far to show that Home Rule itself was wholly unworkable. They were, as compared with the Chancellor of the Duchy, somewhat at a disadvantage. The right hon. Gentleman had told them he had lights which were not vouchsafed to them. If he was not mistaken, the lights—the superior lights—which the hon. Gentleman enjoyed had shone right upon him in comparatively late years. He did not know whether it was a light from heaven or elsewhere; but in any case the conversion was rapid enough to justify the supposition that it must have been caused by a miracle of some kind or other.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
said, the right hon. Gentleman began in 1882 and took the longest step very suddenly in 1886.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
said, that though he did not possess the advantage the right hon. Gentleman imagined he possessed, he was prepared to take him upon his own ground and argue this question. If the only system was that of the English Cabinet system, then he thought that Home Rule was unworkable altogether. There were many disadvantages to a Parliamentary Executive. Such a system tended, as they knew by their own experience, to convert the Parliament into a somewhat unwieldy Executive Body; it had also the effect of leaving the Government of the day to 268 consider, not so much the merits of the measures it proposed to Parliament, as their probable effect on its own Parliamentary position. The system had these and other disadvantages, but in this country they were content to accept all these drawbacks for the sake of one enormous advantage in this Cabinet system, the effect of maintaining harmony between the Legislative and Executive organs of Government. If at any moment the Cabinet found itself out of harmony with the Legislature it must resign or lose credit. He asked them to apply that to the case of Ireland. In this country they were content to accept all the disadvantages to secure the prospect of harmony. In the case of Ireland he submitted there was no such prospect of harmony. No doubt if they were prepared to concede to Ireland a real independence, if they were prepared to give Ireland not merely the name of a nation which English Members opposite were prepared to concede to Ireland, but also the attributes of a nation, then this system might work as well in the case of Ireland as in the case of England. But they did not do that; they dared not do that for the good reason that it would be impossible; that the constituencies would not allow it for a moment; and that fact—which had been adopted by what they had placed in Clause 3 and Clause 4 of the Bill—was sufficient to sweep away all these analogies of the English and Colonial systems. He would call the attention of the Committee to this—that the system worked smoothly for all cases in this country, and they could have no better illustration than under it the veto of the Crown had practically become inoperative through disuse. Was the veto to be inoperative in Ireland; was the power which this Parliament was to have of overriding by its legislation the Legislature of Ireland; was that also to be inoperative; was there any English Member opposite who would get up and say that the veto and the supremacy of this Parliament was to be inoperative? If not, what became of the harmony between the Executive in Ireland and the Irish Legislature? Why, if the Lord Lieutenant found it necessary, upon the advice of the Imperial Parliament, to veto any measure which came up to him from the Irish Legislature, the Executive was no longer the Lord Lieu- 269 tenant acting upon the advice of his Irish Cabinet—the Irish Executive was then the Lord Lieutenant alone, or acting only on the advice of the British Executive. In that case the harmony between the Executive and the Legislature was absolutely at an end. If the object of the Government, in recommending this English Cabinet system, was to maintain the relations of harmony between the Irish Executive and the Irish Legislature, all he could say was that it would be purchased at the expense of dividing the Irish Executive against itself every time the Lord Lieutenant found it necessary to exercise his powers on the advice of the Imperial Executive or of the Imperial Parliament. He must say he thought the position of the Lord Lieutenant would be a very unhappy one. The situation of an ass between two bundles of hay would not be more wretched. Let him ask the Committee to consider for a moment what was likely to happen if the Lord Lieutenant vetoed a Bill that was sent up to him. The Irish Cabinet would thereupon resign. Nothing would be more natural; it was exactly what they would expect them to do; but when the Lord Lieutenant endeavoured to form another Cabinet to take its place he would be unable to do so, and what was to happen in such a case? It was all very well for the Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. Bryce) to point out the difficulties that might arise from friction between the Executive and the Irish Parliament. He quite agreed with the right hon. Gentleman those difficulties would arise, that friction was certain to take place; but those were comparatively small difficulties as compared with the difficulties that would arise if the Lord Lieutenant found himself unable to form a Cabinet at all from the Irish Parliament. That would be the result if the Lord Lieutenant was, on instructions from this country, to veto a Bill passed by a large majority in the Irish Parliament, and which was popular in Ireland. They did not profess that any system would work smoothly, and, for his part, he was not prepared to say that any system would work at all; but he firmly believed that a system under which the Irish Executive was not responsible to the Irish Parliament would have the advantage of not being at work long before circumstances would 270 arise that would sweep away the whole of this insane structure.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Belfast, W.)
said, that if he correctly understood the ruling of the Chairman, he should not be in Order in moving the Proviso standing in his name; therefore, perhaps it would be desirable for him to say—
§ COMMANDER BETHELL (York, E.R., Holderness)
, on a point of Order, asked the Chairman to tell them the ruling he gave on this subject. One hon. Member had been discussing the Executive Committee; another hon. Member, who had down a later Amendment, was proposing to discuss that; and as he (Commander Bethell) could not understand the position at present, he should be glad if the Chairman would be good enough to explain.
I hardly know what the hon. Member wants. What I said before was that an Amendment involving the principle of this Amendment would not be in Order even lower down in the clause. With regard to other Amendments I will rule when the time comes.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
believed that that part of the prerogative concerned with the prerogative of mercy, if exercised under the conditions suggested, would result in a serious injury both to England and Ireland. It had been very logically said that a great many of those matters were such as concerned Ireland and Ireland alone; but the exercise of the prerogative to which he referred was one that very vitally concerned all parts of the United Kingdom. To this extent he thought it stood on a different footing from other portions of the prerogative.
§ MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
I rise to Order. It is really inconvenient that a discussion should arise on this general question. My hon. Friend behind me has an Amendment concerning the prerogative of mercy, and I imagine that would be still open for discussion after this question under consideration is disposed of.
§ SIR J. GORST (Cambridge University)
I do not know whether the Government will be angry with me, or consider me guilty of obstruction, if I endeavour for a short time to ask the 271 Committee to consider the principle of this Amendment and of this clause, because it certainly does seem to me it is worthy of the careful consideration and of the careful discussion of the Committee, inasmuch as the Executive Government it is proposed to establish in Ireland is certainly a most unique kind of Government; it is like nothing that has hitherto existed in the world; therefore it is even worth the while of hon. Members from Ireland to consider the proposition made by the Government. I quite agree with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Bryce) that neither America nor Germany affords us any light upon the subject. I have no object in prolonging the discussion; therefore I do not discuss the American or the German examples; but the right hon. Gentleman offered us another example which I think throws great light on this problem, and that is the example of our self-governing Colonies. In the case of our self-governing Colonies, it is undoubted that the Governors of those Colonies act exactly upon the principle which my hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) desires to incorporate into the clause by his Amendment. I understand this Amendment to be that the Viceroy is to act upon the responsibility of the Secretary of State, responsible to this House, and that for every act of the Viceroy of Ireland we shall have a Minister of the Crown here present who is responsible to this House for what he has done. That is exactly the position of the Colonial Governors. The Governor in the Colony acts entirely upon the advice and upon the responsibility of the Secretary of State—["No, no!"] It is quite true that he is instructed by the Secretary of State, in all matters belonging to the Colony, to take the advice of his Colonial Ministers; but he takes that, not because of an Act of Parliament, but because he is ordered to do so by the Secretary of State who is his master; and if any act were done by the Governor of one of our self-governing Colonies he could not shield himself under the authority of any Act of Parliament; he could not escape responsibility by any Act of Parliament; he is responsible for every act done by the Colonial Government, and has to account for it to this House. In this case the Irish Viceroy would be 272 in a totally different position, because by this clause he is instructed to act according to the advice of his Irish Executive, except in the one case of giving his assent to Bills; and in that case he is to act on the advice of the Irish Executive unless he has special and particular instructions from the Secretary of State; therefore you make the Viceroy, not a servant of the Imperial Government as the Governor of a Colony is, but a sort of Parliamentary official who has to act under the authority of an Act of Parliament, and whose power to act is restricted only in one particular, and only when he has special instructions from the Secretary of State. Then I think the Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. Bryce) will admit there is a great difference in the position which this Bill is going to assign to the Viceroy of Ireland and the position which the various Colonial Acts of Parliament assign to the Colonial Governor. I admit that is a technicality, and I do not wish to argue this question on a technicality, but upon broad grounds. It is quite true that the Governor of the Colony has a certain dual capacity; in some things he acts as a mere Executive officer of the Colonial Ministry responsible to the Colonial Parliament, and in some other respects he acts as an Imperial officer responsible to the Imperial Government, and that works very well in the self-governing Colonies. Why does it work? It works because the Governor, under the Colonial Constitutions, is never called on to interfere in any of the internal affairs of the Colony. The whole of the affairs of such Colonies as Victoria and New Zealand are managed by the Colonial Governments in harmony with the Colonial Legislature, without any practical interference whatever, either by the Colonial Governor or this Imperial Parliament. The matters in which the Colonial Governor has to interfere are extremely few; they relate almost entirely to affairs entirely external to the Colony, what are known as Imperial affairs, and they happen rarely, and do not interfere with the Colonial working of the interior. That is why it works in the Colonies. Why will not the same system work in Ireland? If you had given Ireland a Colonial Constitution, if you had simply removed 273 from the purview of the Irish Legislature Imperial affairs, and left the Irish Legislature entirely to manage its internal affairs exactly as the Ministry of the Irish Parliament pleases, I do not see why the Irish Executive would not have worked under those circumstances as smoothly as the Colonial Legislatures. But that is not the plan of this Bill. If the limitations of Clause 3 related to Imperial affairs only, Ireland might have the Colonial Constitution. If anyone will look at Clause 3 to see what subjects are reserved from the powers of the Irish Legislature, they will see that not only are there Imperial affairs, but a great number of purely local matters, which in the Colonies are managed by the Colonial Government, and, in Ireland, are not to be because England and Ireland are so intimately joined together.
§ SIR J. GORST
I did not know that that proposition was disputed, or I would have been prepared with the answer. This is the answer—"Trade with any place out of Ireland, or quarantine, or navigation." "Beacons, lighthouses, or sea marks," all within the purview of the Colonial Legislature. "Coinage, legal tender, or the standard of weights and measures"; "Trade marks, merchandise marks, copyright, or patent rights." Even the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Sexton) must admit these are things that the Irish Legislature cannot touch, and which are in the purview of the Colonial Legislature.
§ SIR J. GORST
An Imperial character that the Colonial Legislatures are constantly dealing with? What do you say to Section 4? Section 4 places on the Irish Legislature restrictions upon the questions which otherwise would be entirely within its powers, and restrictions which, I venture to say, no self-governing Colony would submit to for a single month. I must not now discuss Section 3 or Section 4; but I say the existence of Section 3 and Section 4 entirely removes the Executive of Ireland from the parallel of the Executives of 274 the Colonies. I noticed that at an earlier stage the Prime Minister referred to one Colonial Governor who was much more in the position of the Viceroy of Ireland than any other that had been referred to, and that was the High Commissioner of the Cape.
§ SIR J. GORST
I thought it was the right hon. Gentleman, but, at all events, it was one of his Colleagues. The High Commissioner at the Cape does exercise most important dual functions; he is the Governor of Cape Colony and the Imperial officer in the affairs of South Africa. But that is not an arrangement that has been found to work smoothly; was worked, but with a good deal of friction. But even that is not like Ireland, because the High Commissioner of the Cape, though he acts as an Imperial officer, has nothing to do with any interference in the internal affairs of the Cape Colony; and, therefore, even in that case, which is the strongest, but which does not work well, there is nothing like the same position as the Viceroy of Ireland. The Viceroy of Ireland will have to act in a dual capacity, one day acting according to the advice of his Irish Ministers and the same day, or the next, having to take an independent line of his own as an Imperial officer, and would have to say to the Irish Government—"That is beyond your powers under Section 3 or Section 4, and I shall exercise the veto." I venture to say that any system of that kind ought to be very carefully considered by this House before it is adopted. If one might prophecy, as the Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. Bryce) does about the future of these measures, I should be inclined to think they would not work. You once tried an experiment of this kind. The right hon. Gentleman likes the teaching of history, and contemporary history does not give an example. When the Government of New Zealand was first established the native affairs of New Zealand were taken out of the power of the Colonial Legislature and vested in the Governor of New Zealand as an Imperial officer. There was for some time in New 275 Zealand the same kind of internal government you are going to establish in Ireland. What was the result? This policy was enforced for three or four years. I happened to be in New Zealand, and connected with the Government of New Zealand at the time, and I remember well that the time of the Governor and of the Colonial Ministers was occupied almost entirely with discussions about what was and what was not within the scope of the powers of the Ministry and of the Governor respectively. The Governor, as representing the Imperial authority, and the Colonial Ministers as representing the will of the colonists, were in a state of perpetual contention. In fact, the dissension went so far that it was the cause of a bloody war in New Zealand 30 years ago, which cost us thousands of lives and millions of money. The Governor and the Colonial Ministers agreed that a certain thing should be done, but were unable to agree upon the question whether it was to be done by the Governor as an Imperial officer or by the Governor acting on the advice of his Colonial Ministers; and whilst the dispute was going on the war broke out, with the result that thousands of lives were sacrificed and millions of money spent. This chapter from the history of New Zealand supplies an object-lesson which we would do well to ponder over. It teaches us the necessity of careful discussion and very anxious consideration, before we set up a double Government in Ireland which must, undoubtedly, result in the confusion of the people of Ireland and the people of Great Britain.
§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
said, he wished to point out that in a colony every subject was protected against injustice and oppression by the fact that an action would lie against the Governor. In Ireland the Lord Lieutenant, as representing the Crown, would be irresponsible, and it would not be possible to take legal proceedings against him for oppressive or unjust Executive action.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, he challenged the right hon. Gentleman to 276 point out any clause in the Bill by which an opportunity would be afforded of attacking any Executive act of the Lord Lieutenant done under the powers inherent in the office, and not on the instructions of the Secretary of State. There were occasions when the Lord Lieutenant would act "on the advice of Her Majesty," when legal redress might be open to injured individuals; but he was taking a case where the Lord Lieutenant did something which he was not obliged to do under the advice of a British Minister. What remedy would any person have in that case against an act of oppression and injustice? The Lord Lieutenant could not be made responsible for his action. There would be no Minister in that House responsible for the exercise of the Executive power in Ireland, and consequently that House would be unable to control the Viceroy. The result would be that a subject injured by the action of the Irish Executive would not have the same remedy and redress as a subject injured by the action of a Governor of a Colony.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
There is no act done within the whole range of the Empire with respect to which this House has not ample power of interference if it thinks fit to exercise it. The House under this Bill, or any measure for Home Rule in Ireland, will have a legitimate power of interference, and even an illegitimate power of interference. It can interfere in cases where it ought to do so, and it can also interfere when properly it ought not to do so. The House will only be restrained from interfering in any transaction whatever by considerations of prudence and propriety. But I did not rise for the purpose of replying to the hon. Member. I rose to notice the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University, against whom no charge of obstruction during these Debates can be brought, and so long as he argues in the judicious and relevant manner in which he argued to-day I think there is no danger whatever of laying himself open to such a charge. The right hon. Gentleman made a most valuable admission. He said that if we could show that in regard to the business of legislation the position of the Viceroy under this Bill 277 and of a Colonial Governor wore essentially similar there was no reason why our plan should not succeed as well as the system established in the Colonies. The right hon. Gentleman, however, said that the position of the Viceroy would be totally different from that of a Colonial Governor. No doubt Clause 3 reserves for the Imperial Parliament some subjects which the geographical position of Ireland and our social and economical interests make it necessary to reserve; but I maintain that the essential business of the Viceroy, notwithstanding these reservations and exceptions, will, with respect, to legislation, be the very same as that of a Colonial Governor. The right hon. Gentleman said that a Colonial Governor hardly ever interfered with local legislation. I hope that the same rule will prevail in the case of Ireland; and the belief that it will and ought to prevail, and that the prudence of the Irish Legislature will enable Viceroys to act upon that rule as largely as it is acted upon in the Colonies, is a chief part of the basis of the Bill. I will test the argument of the right hon. Gentleman by the instance which he gave. Take the example of New Zealand. Whilst establishing an autonomous Government in New Zealand, to reserve in the hands of the Imperial Government the native affairs of the country was to reserve 19–20ths at least of the whole government of the Colony. There was no difficulty in New Zealand except the regulation of native affairs, and that difficulty was an incessantly recurring difficulty which, as the right hon. Gentleman said, caused costly wars, involving the sacrifice of many lives. But since the establishment of free self-government in New Zealand, since the time when the management of the native affairs was surrendered entirely to the Colony by a Government in which Lord Granville was Colonial Secretary and of which I had the honour to be the head, there have been no wars.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
At any rate, if there have been wars since then they have been wars the echo of which has not been loud enough to reach the 278 public ear. To set limitations on the power of the Irish Executive and Legislature, which must lead to constantly recurring difficulties, would be a grave mistake. There are subjects strictly Imperial which it is our absolute duty to reserve, and the reservation of some subjects not strictly Imperial is recommended by considerations of policy. Such subjects are trade legislation and the question of the establishment of religion, which would never have been introduced into the Bill if we had not had the free consent of the Irish Representatives to that course. But my contention is that the position of the Viceroy with regard to Irish affairs will be the same substantially as that of a Colonial Governor. The object of the Bill is not to limit but to advance Irish liberty, and we, therefore, cannot accept the Amendment.
§ MR. GOSCHEN (St. George's, Hanover Square)
The Prime Minister, arguing in reference to colonial analogies, stated that it was very natural that friction should arise when native affairs were withdrawn from the Colonial Parliaments, because native affairs constituted 19–20ths of the affairs of the Colonies.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
Not in bulk, but in difficulty. I accept the correction. But let us test it in regard to Ireland. What in point of difficulty native affairs are in the Colonies the Land Question, the Education Question, and the Religious Question are in Ireland. These are the questions which we contend will cause that very friction between the Lord Lieutenant and the Irish Government which has been caused in the Colonies. The Lord Lieutenant must be the organ for enforcing the safeguards in the Bill, and we can only judge the importance of the safeguards by the power possessed by the Lord Lieutenant. Under the Bill the Lord Lieutenant will be in this position—that one day, as regards the Land Question or education, he will represent the Imperial Parliament, and next day he will be the servant of the Irish Executive. Is it not patent that in that case friction is inevitable? There 279 is no escape from the dilemma. Either the safeguards are illusory or they must be carried out with the goodwill of the Lord Lieutenant, and then friction is certain. In the latter event what will be the position of the Lord Lieutenant? What pressure will be put upon him by the Irish Executive? There may be a kind of boycotting in order to secure his adhesion? It stands to reason that with all the reservations that have been created the position of the Lord Lieutenant would be intolerable in Ireland.
§ SIR G. BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
said, the Prime Minister, in asserting that the position of the Viceroy in respect of legislation would be exactly the same as that of a Colonial Governor, forgot two fundamental facts in colonial affairs. The first was that, wherever there had been duality in the power of the Governor, the system had signally failed. In the next place, the colonial system was a compromise, based on the fact that the Colonies could not be represented in the Imperial Parliament, and, therefore, until the right hon. Gentleman told the Committee that Ireland was not to be represented at Westminster, he could not logically argue that the Viceroy would be in the same position as the Colonial Governor.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 260; Noes 231.—(Division List, No. 172.)
§ MR. HANBURY
said, he wished to move to insert, in line 8, after "Queen," the words "other than the control of the land and sea forces." He had put the Amendment on the Paper with the object of eliciting from Her Majesty's Government a clear declaration as to what would be the precise position of Her Majesty's land and sea forces, supposing this Bill came into force. They had had two declarations on the subject. One was made to-day by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Bryce) when he said distinctly that the subjects excepted from the purview of the Irish Legislature would also be excepted from the action of the Irish Executive. That exception was not to be clearly read in the Bill at 280 the present moment. If the intention of the Chancellor of the Duchy were to be carried into effect it would be necessary to have some Amendment to deal not only with the Army and Navy, but with the whole of the subjects excluded from the Irish Legislature. But they had also had another statement made especially with regard to the Army by the Secretary of State for War himself. The right hon. Gentleman was questioned at the beginning of the Session as to what would be the exact position of the Army in the future, and he, at any rate, had spoken clearly and distinctly. He had said—Was it ever expected that that position would be altered—the position they now stand in? The position of the troops and militia will remain just as at present. They will remain under the supreme control of the Commander-in-Chief under the Queen.Looked at from the point of view of the military Government he did not know that Her Majesty's Government could go much further than that declaration. But when the Secretary of State talked of the position of the Army being the same in the future as it had been in the past they had to look at the question from another side, and they had to recollect that up to the present moment the Government of Ireland and the Imperial Government had been the same Body. But in the future that condition of things would be entirely altered. The Civil Government of Ireland would be an entirely different Body from the Imperial Government, and it would exercise the power now exercised by the Civil Authorities representing that Imperial Government. Well, in in some very important respects this would give the minor and subordinate officers of the Executive Government a large control over Her Majesty's troops. It was no use saying that the Commander-in-Chief would have control over Her Majesty's troops in Ireland if he was to be hampered at every step by subordinate officials of the Executive Government. In regard to billeting, for instance. Supposing the troops were ordered from the South to the North of Ireland, the billeting of troops was a matter which would be arranged entirely by the Civil Authority—by the Constabulary under the control of the 281 Irish Executive. Take the question of the punishment of innkeepers who might refuse to billet the troops on the line of inarch. The punishment of those men would naturally rest with the Magistrates appointed by the Irish Executive. And supposing the innkeepers throughout Ireland were to refuse to billet troops, what remedy would the Imperial Government have? Absolutely none. Who could they get to convict or punish for the offence? And supposing, as always was the case, carriages and other means of transport had to be requisitioned; they would have to be requisitioned by the Magistrates. But supposing the Magistrates who, again, would be appointed by the Irish Executive, were to refuse to requisition these means of transport, how would Her Majesty's Army be able to move from one portion of Ireland to another? There would be no means. It was all very well to say that the control of the Army was in the Imperial Government, but all the necessary means of moving it would lie with the subordinate officials of the Executive in Ireland. Then the civil power would have almost unlimited control in calling out the Army whenever it wanted to suppress what it might choose to call a riot. In England riots did not arise out of mere political considerations as a rule; but in Ireland, he ventured to say, it would be easy for the Executive to put down opposition on the part of political opponents or any ordinary meeting for a political object. It would be possible to call a meeting a riot and an unlawful assembly, and call out the troops to suppress it. That would be unfair to their political opponents. They ought to have some guarantee that liberty of speech and of meeting would be enjoyed in Ireland. But there was no guarantee that after six years there would be any proper police force in Ireland at all. The Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police would have disappeared, and what security had they that the Irish Government were not going to get a cheap police in Her Majesty's Army? The Irish Executive might say, "Our financial position is such that we have not the means of forming a national police, and what could be better and 282 more ready to our hand than to use Her Majesty's Army stationed in Ireland? We have so much control over it that we have no hesitation in saving our own pocket and, at the same time, manufacturing a suitable police." It was to put a stop to a possibility of that kind, and especially to get a clear and definite statement once for all from Her Majesty's Government as to what would be the position of the Army in Ireland, that he moved the Amendment. Directly, no doubt, the Army would be under the sole control of Her Majesty's Imperial Government—supposing the promise of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was clearly expressed in the Bill, which it was not at present. He was not, however, going to assume that the Government were not going to carry out their expressed intentions, or that they were going to leave the Bill vague on this point. The Government were not fond of being advised; but if they would allow themselves to be advised on any point, it should be as to how far the Imperial Government was to have the direct control of the Army in Ireland. None of the contingencies he had mentioned were impossible. He would go further and say they were probable; therefore, it was the bounden duty of the Government to recognise this probability and tell the Committee exactly what they were going to do.
In page 3, line 8, after the word "Queen," to insert the words "other than the control of the land and sea forces."—(Mr. Hanbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ GENERAL GOLDSWORTHY (Hammersmith)
said, he had several Amendments on the Paper, and his object in putting them down was to take the control of the Navy and the Army entirely away from the Irish Executive or the proposed Irish Legislature. In the event of war it would be absolutely necessary that the Military Commander should have the sole control of the Military Forces. But supposing there was no war, then he contended that the Naval and Military Forces of the Crown 283 ought not to be used in aid of the Irish Government. No duty was more hateful to the soldier—and he spoke with some knowledge on the matter—than attending evictions. He knew that the Solicitor General had said that when a thing became law it was binding on everyone. He agreed with that, but the force of the law was only according to the power that was behind it; and he maintained that, as they were practically separating Ireland from Great Britain, they should have a civil force to carry on all the internal affairs of that country, and that there was no reason whatever why the Imperial Forces should be employed there. It was said that a large force was kept in Ireland to overawe the country, but that was not the fact. Troops were kept in Ireland because it was much cheaper to keep them there than in England; but whether they were kept there because it was cheaper or not, with a divided Government he maintained that they had no right whatever to put Imperial troops under a local Executive. If there were disturbances in Ireland civil forces should be employed to put them down. No one had a right to enforce what was called "the union of hearts" at the point of the bayonet. Speaking as a soldier, he trusted they would not put upon the loyalty of the Army the enforcement of the Home Rule Bill. He hoped the Secretary for War would consult his military advisers on this question, and that having consulted them he would consider what should be done in regard to the feelings of both officers and men.
§ SIR G. CHESNEY (Oxford)
said, he should like to draw attention to the very remarkable conditions which would be set up in Ireland under the Home Rule Bill in regard to the relations between the Irish Government and the Army. They had had a distinct announcement that the Irish Government was to have no concern with the administration of the Army in Ireland; and, moreover, the Lord Lieutenant, as head of the Executive Government, was to have no concern in the Army. He wished to point out that there would consequently be a state of things which was absolutely unlike anything that was found in any other part of the 284 world. In every other country—in every Colony of England where British troops had been stationed—they had been at the complete disposal of the Executive Government. But as soon as we had given Representative Institutions to the Colonies, the troops had been entirely withdrawn, except, as in the case of the Cape and New Zealand, where they were for a time necessary to protect the colonists from aboriginal tribes. In Canada there was a strong force of Militia, which was entirely at the disposal of the Canadian Government. In all the Australian Colonies there were strong forces of Volunteers, and no Imperial troops save at the Cape and at Halifax, where forts had to be garrisoned. In Ireland it was proposed, as the Bill stood, to maintain a garrison of British troops over which the Irish Government was to have no authority, and he maintained that there was nothing like that in any part of the world. Something had been said about the United States of America—that there the State Legislatures had no control over the Forces of the Federal Government. That was quite true; but hon. Members would see that there was no sort of analogy between the two cases. The whole Federal Army comprised only, he believed, about 25,000 men, and they were for the most part distributed on the sea coast in fortresses, or on territory adjacent to the Indians. A great many of the States of America never saw a soldier. But, apart from the Army in America, they had a large and well-organised Militia. That Militia was entirely a State Force, under the orders of the Governors of the States, and quite independent of the Federal Government. But it was not proposed, in the present case, to allow any Militia, or even any Volunteers, to be raised by the Irish Government. He submitted to the Committee that they would by that means put the Irish Government into a most inferior and degrading position, and that, on the military aspect of the case alone, the impossibility of working the Home Rule Bill on the lines proposed was manifest. He could not conceive any executive body being placed in a more painful, disagreeable, and humiliating position than the Irish 285 Government would be placed in, when they saw their country garrisoned by troops over whom they had no control—troops who could be increased or diminished, and moved about from place to place, here concentrated for exercise, here withdrawn, without their being consulted. He submitted that if this Home Rule Bill were to he carried, the necessary consequence would be that the whole of the British garrison should be withdrawn. That was the only possible way of recognizing legislative independence. The Home Secretary had said that the Irish people would have no reason to complain, because Ireland would be represented in the Imperial Parliament. That might be, but the Irish Government would not be so represented. And it would, as he said, be necessary to withdraw the Imperial troops, as had been done in the case of the Colonies. In that opinion he was fortified by the language of the Prime Minister, who announced to the country last year that if Home Rule were granted the whole of the British troops, except those required for the purpose of recruiting, should be withdrawn from Ireland. The only difference between them was that he (Sir G. Chesney) would do it to avoid certain unpleasant consequences that might ensue, whereas the right hon. Gentleman proposed to withdraw them because, as he had said, they were a badge of the supremacy of England—a garrison maintained to keep down the Irish people. Upon that point he would observe that Ireland, when the present disposition of the troops was arranged, had less than her fair proportion of the troops maintained in the United Kingdom according to population. The right hon. Gentleman had further said that if these troops were withdrawn from Ireland there would be an annual saving to the extent of £3,000,000 sterling, by the reduction of these troops, but he denied that this would be the case. The troops withdrawn from Ireland would have to be maintained elsewhere, otherwise the Army would be reduced below the necessary numerical strength. Therefore, there would be no saving whatever. On the contrary, there would be a very considerable additional outlay to provide new barrack accommodation.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I do not think the hon. and gallant Member can 286 be serious in advising any Government to withdraw all troops from Ireland in anticipation of the passing of the Bill. But that has nothing to do with the proposal before us. As to the Amendment, I am in a difficulty that I have frequently experienced—namely, that I am unable to find the smallest connection between the Amendment proposed and the speech made in putting it before us. The hon. Member's remarks, however, were a departure from the common case; for whilst in the common case the Amendment is not touched by the speech, in the present instance the Amendment is directly in contrariety to the speech. The hon. Member mentioned some difficulties which he thought would arise, but which I cannot agree with him are likely to arise in regard to the billeting of soldiers and the punishment of those who refuse to billet. With regard to these matters the law will remain as it is. The hon. Member says it will not be enforced—the universal view taken by Unionists in regard to all laws for Imperial purposes in Ireland. We think that the provisions of the Bill hearing upon those laws will be effective—they think they will be ineffective. There is no more reason to think they will be ineffective in this case than in other cases. What is the Amendment?—for, after all, it is on that and not on the speech that we are going to vote. If there is any force in the arguments of the hon. Member, I should have thought that the natural inference would be this—"Keep your military force in Ireland as much as you can out of the hands of the civil Government, which will be a National—an Irish—Government, and keep it as far as possible in the hands of the Viceroy." Our desire is that the Army should to the utmost possible extent remain in the hands of the Viceroy. The Amendment is an Amendment that goes directly in the teeth of sound policy because the sound policy was to keep the Military Forces under the control of the Viceroy to enable him to exercise all the powers that the Queen delegates to him. The general subject may or may not require further debate; but this Amendment, it seems to me, requires no more debate, because it goes in opposition to the opinion which I think must be 287 held by every gentleman in this House who desires the maintenance of order, who sees that the Military Force must have some relation in extreme cases to the maintenance of order, and who, on that ground, desires to make as strong as possible the connection between the Military Force and the Viceroy, who is the Representative of Her Majesty as regards Imperial interest.
§ LORD G. HAMILTON (Middlesex, Ealing)
The speech of the right hon. Gentleman very clearly shows that he has not realised the very peculiar position which the Military Forces will occupy under this clause in its present shape. The clause enables the Government of the day to transfer to the Lord Lieutenant the prerogative or other Executive power of the Queen, the exercise of which may be delegated to him by Her Majesty. Amongst other prerogatives are those which relate to the Army and Navy. It would be in the power of the Imperial Executive under this clause, of their own motion and practically without the House being cognisant of what takes place, to transfer to the Lord Lieutenant any prerogative which Her Majesty may exercise in relation to the Naval and Military Forces. Everybody knows that the prerogatives of the Crown gradually become absorbed in the Executive Government to whom they are transferred; and the inevitable result of this clause will, therefore, be that the Executive Council, of which the Lord Lieutenant is the head, will gradually absorb the prerogatives delegated to them. What will be the position of the Army under this Bill? I know the right hon. Gentleman thinks we spent far too long a time in discussing Clause 3; but I will undertake to say that not six Members on the other side of the House have the slightest idea what the position of the Army will be under that clause. It will be in a most peculiar position, because the Irish Legislature will be able to pass any Resolution it chooses in connection with the Imperial Forces, and every Resolution so passed will have validity, although it may not be clothed in the full garb of legality. It would be easy for the Irish Legislature to pass Resolutions in relation to the Military and Naval Forces, 288 and to require the Executive Government to give effect to them. If the Executive Government decline to do so the Legislature might decline to support it. Under these circumstances, the Lord Lieutenant would find himself unable to form a Government. Will the great Party opposite, who have given many years to the elaboration of this scheme, like to be made ridiculous in the face of the civilised world because the Irish Legislature makes a legitimate use of the power which has been placed in their hands? In all probability the Lord Lieutenant will accede to the request of the Irish Legislature rather than make the Imperial Government look ridiculous, and it would therefore be possible for that Legislature to give effect to almost every one of the propositions which my hon. Friend has laid down in reference to the use of troops in times of riot or other matters. It will be possible for the Irish Parliament to deal with questions relating to desertion and recruiting by Resolutions which will, for all practical purposes, be binding from one end of Ireland to another. That being so, I think my hon. Friend is perfectly right in pressing the Government to define more clearly the position the Army will occupy. If they accept this Amendment no prerogative in connection with the Army and Navy could be transferred to the Lord Lieutenant. Is that an unreasonable proposition? We were distinctly told some time ago that the Army would be solely under the authority of the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland—that is to say, that it would remain as it is. But under this clause it will not remain as it is, because the Lord Lieutenant will be the head of an Executive which will be more or less under the control of the Irish Legislature, and therefore if you transfer these powers he will be bound to exercise them at the will of the Irish Legislature. The right hon. Gentleman expressed a hope that in time it might be possible largely to reduce the Army in Ireland. I suppose the right hon. Gentleman knows that we could when the late Government was in power have largely reduced the Army in Ireland but for the fact that there was not sufficient barrack accommodation in England. I will only say that if the Government want to make themselves 289 unpopular in Ireland all they have to do is to try and reduce the number of troops which are kept there. I think my hon. Friend has made out a good case for his Amendment.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, Stirling, &c.)
As the noble Lord and others have referred to certain answers I gave to a question that was addressed to me on this subject, I wish to say a few words. In the first place, the general control of the Military Forces in Ireland will remain exactly as it is. The Lord Lieutenant will be the representative in Ireland of the Imperial Authority, and it is under that authority that the troops in Ireland will remain. No other authority will be able to remove troops from one district to another, or to take any other administrative step with regard to the troops serving in Ireland. As to the power of the Irish Executive to call on the troops to assist the civil power in preserving the peace, that is the ordinary duty of the civil power, and it will continue in Ireland on the same footing as in this country. When a riot or any disorder occurs in this country the Magistrate representing the civil power is entitled to call for the assistance of any troops that happen to be present. He calls upon them, not in a military capacity, but in their capacity as citizens, who, being armed, are better equipped than other citizens to aid in preserving the peace. It is the duty of every citizen to aid the civil power to preserve the peace or to put down riot, tumult, or disorder. I believe it has been laid down again and again in the text-books and decisions that this is the case. There will be absolutely no difference in this respect in Ireland under this Bill. If, however, the Executive Government in Ireland were to call for the removal of a portion of the troops from one place to another for a larger purpose than that of putting down a riot, such a demand could not be complied with without the orders of the Lord Lieutenant and the General Officer commanding the troops, and the latter would be entitled, if they thought it necessary, to ask for instructions from the Imperial Government.
§ MR. PLUNKET (Dublin University)
said, the explanation given by 290 the Prime Minister, followed by that given by the Secretary for War, instead of clearing up the matter, confused it still more. Lord Spencer, speaking in another place, had stated what were the powers conferred upon him when he was appointed Lord Lieutenant. Lord Spencer read the Royal Warrant of appointment, from which it appeared that he receivedpower and authority to give such orders and directions to the Commander-in-Chief of our Forces for the time being in that part of the said United Kingdom called Ireland as we by our Lord Lieutenant and Governors General may think necessary for the support of our civil authority the collection of our Revenue, the protection of our loving subjects, and the defence and security of that part of our United Kingdom.He (Mr. Plunket) wished to know whether, if the Civil Authority failed to give the Imperial Authority the necessary assistance in collecting taxes under that Bill, the Lord Lieutenant was to be placed in the ridiculous position of getting two separate authorities or warrants—one telling him what he was to do in his capacity as servant of the Irish Legislature, and the other what he was to do in his capacity as the Representative of Her Majesty. What authority was the Lord Lieutenant to have to give orders to the Commander-in-Chief? That, of course, was where the difficulty arose. The Secretary for War said the troops would remain under the Commander-in-Chief, as at present; but a collision might arise between the two powers in reference to the collection of taxes. In such a case in what capacity was the Lord Lieutenant to use his authority? Was he to give his orders to the Commander-in-Chief in obedience to the behest of the Irish Legislature, or in obedience to the instructions he received from London?
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had now announced for the first time that if the Home Rule Bill passed it was to be followed by a large and rapid reduction of the Army now quartered in Ireland. This had certainly not been understood either in England or Ireland. were the Committee to take it for granted that such a reduction was to take place after 291 the establishment of the Irish Legislature?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I am of that opinion. It is only a matter of opinion, however, and I do not find that my opinions on Irish matters are usually taken for granted.
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY
said, the right hon. Gentleman's opinion would go far to carry a measure of that sort. He would point out that if such a reduction of the Army in Ireland took place the result would be that the taxpayers of England would have to provide the barracks that would be needed to quarter the 30,000 men now in Ireland. That might not be a very important point in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, but in the opinion of the taxpayers it was important; and if such an expenditure had to be added to the loss which was to fall upon Great Britain in consequence of the right hon. Gentleman's financial proposals, there were certainly many critics of the right hon. Gentleman who would pronounce adversely against his policy.
§ MR. GOSCHEN (St. George's, Hanover Square)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will not answer the remarks of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Plunket) with regard to the two Warrants to the Lord Lieutenant?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE, who was indistinctly heard, was understood to say: According to our view and intention, and according to the language of the Bill, there cannot be a question as to what will happen. The question would be raised in the Court of Exchequer, and tried by a Judge there. That Judge, who is practically an Imperial officer, will give judgment. Upon that decision the Sheriff, the properly-constituted authority, will act on that sentence of the Court of Exchequer according to every natural and rational presumption. But it is assumed in certain portions of the House that the Sheriff will always refuse to do what is right, and limit his activity to doing what is wrong. In that event the Exchequer Judge has under the Bill power to appoint an officer for the purpose of levying that money in default, and this officer will be invested with all 292 the powers of the Sheriff, and will, therefore, stand in his place. He is invested with every faculty that the Sheriff now possesses for the purpose of securing the execution of a Warrant.
§ MR. PLUNKET
With all due respect, I submit that that does not answer the question. The point is whether the Lord Lieutenant is to have the authority which was given in all previous Warrants, certainly in that of Lord Spencer, to call upon the Commander of the Forces to give his assistance or not as he may choose for the purpose of securing the raising of the Revenue? Is the Lord Lieutenant to exercise that authority as the servant of the Irish Legislature or as the servant of the Imperial Government? And, if he is not to exercise that authority as a servant of the Irish Legislature, what objection can there be to accepting the Amendment?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The Lord Lieutenant will exercise that authority, and I am aware of no reason why it should be withdrawn from him or limited in any way. In the collection of Imperial Revenue he will exercise his authority as the servant of the Imperial Government.
§ MR. AMBROSE (Middlesex, Harrow)
said, he hoped the Committee would realise the importance of this Amendment. No matter what might be the paper provisions in the Bill, 710 matter what Government might be established in Ireland, under this Bill the prerogatives of the Crown would pass to the Lord Lieutenant, and would, of course, become subject eventually to the control of the Irish Cabinet or the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council. Were the Government going to reserve the powers connected with the Land Forces or not? He would assume that that was their intention, and in that case he thought the Government ought to accept the Amendment he had down on the Paper providing for someone being in the Irish Government who should be able to put a check on the powers of the Irish Executive, so as to maintain the authority of the Imperial Parliament. The land forces in such a case would only be employed with the consent of the Representative of the Imperial 293 Parliament. If the Government had no such control as that, in what way, he asked, could they maintain the authority of the Imperial Parliament? There were, no doubt, the decisions of the Court of Exchequer to which the Prime Minister had referred. But somebody would have to carry into effect those decisions, and how could a Sheriff hope to enforce them unless he had at his back the power of the police and of the Army? What would be his position if the Irish Executive refused to give him the assistance of those Forces? The Government themselves had not realised the importance of this point. Supposing it was attempted by hon. Members below the Gangway to carry out the policy of restoring the evicted tenants to their holdings, and, in pursuit of that, possession was taken of the farms. How was order to be maintained, and how were the rights of the owners to be protected against an insurrectionary body if the Irish Cabinet refused to lend the Forces of the Crown for the purpose? It would require but little of the skill displayed in organising the Plan of Campaign to enable the people to set the landlords and owners of the property at defiance, and to establish and maintain a state of tyranny, and in such a case the Imperial Parliament would be absolutely helpless to do justice to those who were being wronged, if not by the connivance of the Irish Parliament, at any rate while that Legislature was looking on. Then, again, the use of the Forces of the Crown might be essential to the collection of the taxes, and the Committee would, therefore, see the importance of maintaining the authority in these matters of the Imperial Parliament. Had the Prime Minister and his Party been proposing absolute separation for Ireland he would have been the last to attempt to minimise the powers of the Government proposed; to be set up, but, the scheme being what it was, he felt bound to do his best to see that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament was not reduced to a sham.
§ SIR H. JAMES (Bury, Lancashire)
The importance of this discussion will 294 be more marked when we come to Subsection 2. I understand the Prime Minister to say that when orders are to be given in respect of the troops in connection with the collection of Imperial taxation the Lord Lieutenant will have to act by authority, or under directions given by someone in this country. The difficulty, however, is this: Although the Lord Lieutenant for the future is not to be an officer given up merely to ceremonial detail, I am sure that the Committee will not wish him to be an autocratic officer, but one who should act upon the advice of Constitutional Advisers. But, as far as the Committee know, the Lord Lieutenant will not have any Constitutional Advisers in Ireland except the Executive Committee. If, therefore, the Lord Lieutenant has to give orders to the troops as to the collection of Imperial taxation, who is to advise him? It may be he would be called on to send troops to Cork to assist in collecting both Imperial and Irish taxes. As to the Irish taxes, he would, of course, be advised by the Irish Executive, while his advice as to the collection of Imperial taxes would have to be derived from Westminster. That will raise a grave point, and when we come to consider Sub-section 2 I think we shall be justified in urging the Government to define, when creating a Lord Lieutenant acting in two capacities, the two sets of advisers, so that the Lord Lieutenant may not act independently of Constitutional advice.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 249; Noes 280.—(Division List, No. 173.)
§ It being half an hour after Five of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.