§ [SECOND NIGHT].
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 1.
The first Amendment upon the Paper, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Guildford, has for its object the insertion of words making the Irish Legislature "subject to the powers hereinafter reserved to the Imperial Parliament and all existing powers." This Amendment is not in Order in regard to Clause 1; but another Amendment of the hon. Member having reference to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament upon Clause 2, which deals with the powers of the Irish Legislature, will be in Order.
§ MR. BRODRICK (Surrey, Guildford)
Upon the point of Order, I wish to ask whether, if Clause 1, which contains at present no restriction upon the Irish Legislature, is passed without any such restriction being inserted, it will be competent for any hon. Member to move the insertion of other restrictions, in addition to the Amendments to which you have alluded?
I can, of course, only speak with regard to Amendments, which I have seen; but I am of opinion that it will be competent for the hon. Gentleman to move other Amendments.
§ *VISCOUNT CRANBORNE (Rochester)
Arising out of the point of Order, Mr. Mellor, with respect to your ruling, to which, of course, I entirely submit, I wish to know whether you will exclude any new clauses which may be proposed dealing with this subject?
My ruling will not exclude a new clause. The next Amendment, in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Hammersmith, to insert the words "whenever similar legislation has been passed for England, Scotland, and Wales," I must rule out 465 of Order as being vague and uncertain. I therefore call upon the hon. Member for East St. Pancras to move his Amendment, which is next on the Paper.
§ [Mr. WEBSTER was not present.]
The next Amendment, that of the right hon. Member for Grimsby, that—No Member shall be returned to the House of Commons for any Irish constituency save as hereinafter provided "—I must rule out of Order, as being applicable to Clause 9. The next Amendment, standing in the name of the hon. Member for North Islington, is in Order.
MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.) moved to insert after the word "Ireland," in Clause 1, the words "subordinate Parliament," so that the clause might read—
On and after the appointed time there shall be established in Ireland subordinate to Parliament a Legislature," &c.
The question raised by the Amendment was one about which they had heard something on the previous day. The Prime Minister especially referred to the words he proposed to insert in the clause, and said they were used by the late Mr. Parnell. They were very distinct words, though not more clear and emphatic than the words the right hon. Gentleman had himself used when describing the position the Irish Legislature would occupy towards the Imperial Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman had stated, not only in the House but in all parts of the country, that under no circumstances would this Imperial Parliament lose any of its predominant powers, and that an Irish Parliament, if created, would be a subordinate Parliament. He noticed that when the Prime Minister stated on the previous day that the Irish Legislature would be a subordinate Parliament, there were no enthusiastic cheers from the Irish Members;—he did not hear even the slightest indication of approval from those hon. Gentlemen; but his Amendment would really test the sincerity of the Government in the matter. The Government had stated completely and most fully that they held the doctrine that the Imperial Parliament was to be supreme, and that the Irish Legislature was to be a subordinate Parliament. The Government either agreed to that statement or they did not agree to it.
If they agreed to it, there could be no possible reason why the words he proposed should not be added to the clause; but if there was any fencing—if there was any compact between the two sides to avoid the use of words which would make clear and distinct the position of the Irish Legislature,—then, of course, the Amendment would be rejected. knowing the views of the hon. Member for Water-ford on this question, he thought it extremely likely that the hon. Member would object to the insertion of the words. But his object was to hold the Government to their words—to induce them to put their words into action. During the long discussion which took place on the point the previous day, the right hon. Gentleman stated distinctly that there was no question whatever that the Bill and every part of it showed clearly that the supremacy of Parliament was to be maintained. He was so struck by the emphatic statement of the right hon. Gentleman and by his frankness that he took down his words and included them in this Amendment, thinking that the right hon. Gentleman would at once accept them. If the right hon. Gentleman accepted the words, then they might fairly say that they had made some progress towards understanding the views of the right hon. Gentleman on this question. But he asserted that if they were simply to pass the measure on the basis of the statements of the right hon. Gentleman, they would be in endless trouble in the future. What the right hon. Gentleman meant was not always very clear; but, whether his meaning was clear or not, the Bill, if it became an Act of Parliament, would stand on its own words, and he was sure that the right hon. Gentleman would agree that there should be no doubt on this great question. No Nationalist Member had ever told his constituents that the Parliament proposed to be set up on College Green would be a subordinate Parliament. He had taken the trouble of reading a great many of the speeches made by those hon. Members; and he would candidly say that in no speech was there any indication that that Parliament was to be a subordinate Parliament, but that it was to be practically an independent Legislature, and that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament was not to be used at all. He therefore begged to move the
insertion of the proposed words in the clause.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 11, after the word "Ireland," to insert the words "subordinate to Parliament." —(Mr. Bartley.)
§ Question proposed, "That, those words be there inserted."
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE,) Edinburgh, Midlothian
The hon. Gentleman stood on the extremest verge of Parliamentary courtesy when, in describing his Amendment, he said it was to test the sincerity of the Government. [Cheers.] A large number of gentlemen opposite evidently agree with him. The declaration of the Government has been full and clear. They have said they wish the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament to remain perfectly absolute and unimpaired. The hon. Gentleman does not believe that declaration, and wishes to put into the Bill certain words which he says will test whether that declaration is true or false. The hon. Gentleman has thus gone to the extremest limits of Parliamentary courtesy, and has, in my opinion, overstepped them.
§ MR. BARTLEY
I wish to know whether the right hon. Gentleman is in Order in saying that I have overstepped the bounds of Parliamentary Rules when you, Mr. Mellor, have not called me to Order?
As I understood, the Prime Minister said the hon. Gentleman had gone to the extreme verge of Parliamentary courtesy. [Cries of "And overstepped them!"] I do not think any question of Order arises.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The hon. Gentleman did not interfere to call me to Order when I said that he had by the clearest implication stated that he disbelieved the declarations of the Government. It was only when I said the hon. Member had gone to the extremest limits of Parliamentary courtesy, and, in my opinion, overstepped them, that the hon. Gentleman interfered. I do not think that is a very immoderate objection to make to the conduct of an hon. Member who suggests that the declara- 468 tion of a Minister of the Crown, made from his place in Parliament, on behalf of his Colleagues and himself, is worthless, and requires to be tested by the application of certain rules. I say again that that is going to the extremest limits of Parliamentary courtesy, and, in my opinion, oversteps them. The hon. Gentleman must see that, by telling us his Amendment is intended to determine whether our words were used in truth or used in untruth, is not exactly the way to commend the Amendment to the acceptance of the Government. I do not like, however, to elevate the question of the personal honour of my Colleagues or myself, which is evidently involved, and to urge it as a reason for not accepting the Amendment, for I am quite prepared to deal with the Amendment on other grounds. The hon. Gentleman professes that the object he has in view is to maintain the supremacy of Parliament. He cannot have that object more distinctly in view than the Government have. Our desire is to leave the supremacy of Parliament exactly as we find it. We believe it to be in the Bill, and we believe it to be secure. The hon. Member will remember that yesterday I spoke of the word "subordinate" as used by Mr. Parnell. I am not prepared to deny the assertion that the Parliament in Dublin will be a subordinate Parliament; and undoubtedly it will be subject, like every other Parliament in the Empire, to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. I understand that some proposal will be made to express that supremacy by a clause rather than by the Preamble. I do not think there can be any objection in principle to such a mode of proceeding, if the proposal be made. It is a matter entirely for the consideration of the House whether the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament should be declared by the Preamble or by a clause. My sole interest is that we shall not, by bungling proceedings, weaken the supremacy when we seek to strengthen it. If we are to speak of supremacy by clause or by preamble, the proper way is to speak of it without attempting to define it. This word "subordinate" Parliament, however accurate a description it may be in a speech, is a mode of language entirely new to our legislation; and I am disinclined, whether by way of test- 469 ing my own sincerity or not, to agree to the introduction of this new-fangled language, which is not recommended as carrying with it any practical consequence whatever. If the Bill has these words introduced into it, the Bill will be the same as it is now. The declaration that the Irish Legislature is subordinate to Parliament will have nothing whatever of legal force. But why is this term to be introduced? This is not the first instrument by which subordinate Parliaments, if you like, or by which Parliaments, subject to the authority of the Imperial Legislature, has been made. We have a multitude of Colonies all over the world by which such Parliaments have been constituted. Some of these Colonies are great and some are small; their circumstances are as varied as their situation and climate: but, whether they are large or small, the Imperial Parliament, in giving them privileges larger than those which are proposed to be given under this Bill, has never recorded that the Parliaments so created were "subordinate" Parliaments. The intention of this Amendment is evident. It is intended to cast a slight upon the Irish Parliament, and for the first time this proposal comes from a Party which is supposed, and sometimes profess itself, to be indisposed to innovations. If adopted it will be an innovation of an entirely disparaging character; it will be, in fact, a bur sinister upon the Irish Legislature. The question of the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament is not at issue. The question is whether the word "subordinate" is to be introduced for the first time to disparage the Irish Legislature—to signify that the Imperial Parliament had a distrust of it, which it does not entertain towards the other Legislatures of the Empire, to place it on a distinctly lower level than the other Legislatures, so that it might know that it came into the world with a mark of disfavour. That is not the spirit in which we ought to approach a Bill of this kind. If we were to look forward, as we do look forward, to the loyalty of the Irish Parliament, we must clearly show some reasonable degree of trust in it compared with the measure of trust which we have shown in the case of all other Parliaments throughout the Empire, for Colonies like Newfoundland and Western 470 Australia, however small and insignificant, have received these Legislative Bodies without anything in the nature of a stigma upon them. I will not say a word now on the question whether the House is satisfied with the declaration of supremacy which the Government have made. I wish to leave that entirely open without prejudice. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham said last night he did not believe both sides were agreed in desiring to maintain the supremacy of Parliament in its large and unlimited form. Let the right hon. Gentleman speak for those with whom he acts. I speak for those with whom I act, and I affirm it to be their unquestionable, clear, deliberate, uniform, and unanimous intention that the supremacy of the Crown and of the Imperial Parliament should in no respect, manner, or degree be affected by the Bill, and that, their whole object, is that the best and most rational mode of giving effect to that view should be adopted.
§ LORD R. CHURCHILL (Paddington, S.)
The First Lord of the Treasury has been a little hard in describing the-character of the Amendment. I do not think it was brought forward with any such motive as the First Lord of the Treasury has understood. It was a Motion perfectly bonâ fide on his part, to arrive somehow or other at a practical and not a paper declaration of supremacy, and I should be inclined to complain of the treatment which the right hon. Gentleman has measured out to my hon. Friend, if it were not that we are so extremely rejoiced and surprised that the Prime Minister has set, the example to his Party of discussing in the most interesting manner the details of his own clause. It is not a question of I he sincerity or credit of the Government. We want to know certain practical details as to how the supremacy will work in actual practice, and in what way it differs, if it differs at all, from other supremacies over other Parliaments. The language of the Prime Minister in the discussions of the Bill does not assist us in arriving at any conclusion on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman, either on the First Reading or on the Second Reading, used the words "separate and independent Parliament." [Mr. GLADSTONE expressed dissent.] It was so reported in The Times. The right hon. Gentleman last night 471 talked of the Irish Parliament as subordinate. If the right hon. Gentleman applied the epithet "separate and independent" on the one occasion, and the epithet "subordinate" on the other, ordinary minds—I do not know whether it is owing to defective intelligence or to the superior discrimination of the Prime Minister—cannot reconcile them. The Amendment raises exactly the converse of the discussion last night, but it enables me to put before the House what is the real and practical argument on the question which the Government have not touched. The right hon. Gentleman has just said that by the Bill the Government leave the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament over Ireland exactly as they found it. But that is a large description that wants a great deal of explanation. What do we part with by constituting a Parliament in Ireland as regards the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament? We part with two great supports of Imperial supremacy—the control over the Executive in Irish matters and the whole power of controlling Supply as it may be raised or disposed of in the Irish Parliament. Neither of these powers is ever applied to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament over the Colonies, which are really self-governing. If it is to be a colonial supremacy we must give the whole of the Executive and the whole of Supply and more to the Irish Parliament. If it is to be a supremacy as you find it, you must introduce into the Bill practical provisions which will enable yon to control the acts of the Irish Executive in their administration of Ireland, and also the manner in which the Irish Parliament raise and dispose of the Supply which comes from the taxes of the country. The question is, Will the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament over Ireland so closely resemble the supremacy over the Colonial Parliaments that you can hardly draw a distinction between them, or will it be, as the right hon. Gentleman said, the Imperial supremacy as we now find it? I hold that on that point Parliament has a right to be informed. I would point out that the supremacy cannot be quite on the colonial model. What colony has to pay anything in the nature of tribute to England? And what machinery do you possess or would you set up to enforce a contribution towards Imperial expen- 472 diture from the Colonies? But by this Bill you take tribute from Ireland. [Mr. T. M. HEALY: That is not the question.] I am showing the utter want of analogy between the supremacy of Parliament over Colonial Legislatures, and the supremacy, as the Government profess to establish it, over Ireland under the Bill. I attach particular weight to the fact of our imposing a tax upon Ireland, and drawing what was called in 1886 a tribute from her; and I say if there is no practical supremacy in the Executive and in Supply, that would be attended with the utmost difficulty, and would in practice become almost impossible. I can dwell, also, on the effects in relation to that question of the provisions of the clause as to the veto, or, as I prefer to describe if, the refusal of the assent of the Crown to a measure on the advice of the Government. The proper phrase is, La Reine s'avisera. What I am saying is that the Royal Assent would not be the same as in the case of the colonies. I do not understand that the Government contemplate that the Royal Assent to measures passed by the Irish Parliament will be such a complete formality as it undoubtedly has been in the case of the colonies for a great number of years past. Undoubtedly there have been times when interference has taken place in colonial questions, but very rarely; and I think that in every case where the Government was sure that the Colonial Ministers possessed the confidence of the colony their wishes were carried out. The right hon. Gentleman said we are not to prejudge the case, but what I wish to submit to him is that we have not yet thoroughly grappled with the question of supremacy. We have not prejudged anything. We have tried to get a definite, concrete idea as to how this supremacy is to be worked. I do not press the Government to go closely into this matter now. There will be many opportunities of referring to this question. If my hon. Friend should go to a Division I shall vote with him. I am certain the course of the Government will be easier and their proceedings more harmonious if the right hon. Gentleman would give us a little information on this question, and so put us in a position to judge whether we must ourselves introduce a proposal to carry out practically this supremacy or whether the Government 473 themselves will curry it out under the Bill.
§ *MR. H. HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)
said, he had put a similar Amendment on the Paper, but with rather a different intention to that of the hon. Member opposite. His principal object was to try to reconcile, if he could, the very conflicting expressions of opinion on the subject which bad come from various parts of the House. There was no more favourite phrase amongst the supporters of the Government on the platforms of the country than that they were ready to vote for a "subordinate Parliament for Ireland"; and it must be a little astonishing to these gentlemen to hear their Leader rise and tell them that such an expression was a slight and an insult to the Irish people. From the constant use of such expressions the electors had, in many constituencies, come to the conclusion that the Home Rule that was intended was nothing more than a magnified County Council. He thought they were entitled to hear the views of the supporters of the Government on this point, and to know their reasons for voting against the insertion in this Bill of the phrase which they had found so popular in the country. There was Another party they should like to hear which supported Her Majesty's Government. The hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond), in an article in October last, speaking of the supremacy of Parliament, declared that—There must be a formal compact entered into, that while the Irish Parliament lasted it must be permitted sole and unfettered authority, free from interference by the Imperial Parliament, and subject only to the Constitutional veto of the Crown.Was that a subordinate Parliament? He asked the hon. and learned Gentleman if that compact had been entered into? If so, they knew nothing about it, and the House generally was not a party to it.
§ MR. J. REDMOND (Waterford)
I am reluctant to interrupt the hon. Gentleman; but he has quoted from an article I wrote in October last. Luckily, I have the volume in my hand containing the article, and I am able to supplement the very brief ((notation that he made. I asked the question, what was the meaning of the supremacy of Parliament, and I quoted a definition of it by the Chancellor of the Duchy, in which he said that this Parliament is 474 supreme, and that it is not a question as to how we can divest ourselves of this power, because we cannot do so. He added that there was only one limitation to the omnipotence of Parliament, and that was that we cannot bind our successors. I went on to say that I accepted this as a true description of the position from a Constitutional point of view. The rights of the Imperial Parliament after the constitution of the Irish Legislature would remain intact.
§ *MR. H. HOBHOUSE
said, he did not think there was anything in what the hon. Member had said that took away at all from the point he was making. They wanted to grapple with things rather than words in dealing with this Bill. They were not going to be satisfied simply by a refer-once to Colonial precedents, because the case of the Colonies was very different to that of Ireland. He did not question the sincerity of the Government, but. be maintained that they had no right to refuse to grapple with the difficulty that, the English portion of their supporters were only ready to give something very different from what the Irish portion of their supporters knew that they were going to receive and from what they insisted on having. One of the objections to this Amendment was that there was no practical value in inserting this word "subordinate." He contended, however, that if it was inserted in the beginning of the Bill it would show at once to the world at large, and to Ireland in particular, that what they were going to have was not a Parliament in our sense of the word, or in the Colonial sense of the word, but something very different oven from a Colonial Parliament. The First Lord of the Treasury said it was a slight to Ireland oven to use this word. But if that were so, was it not a much greater slight to Ireland and to the Legislature they were creating in Ireland to impose upon it any number of restrictions and exceptions which no Colonial Parliament would ever submit to? The Legislature which the Prime Minister proposed to create was something entirely different from the Legislature which existed in our great Colonies, so that they might, well give it a different name. And it was in no way insulting or slighting to the Irish people to show them from the beginning of this Bill that the Parliament they meant to 475 give them was something very different from the Parliaments which governed our great self-governing Colonies. He could not see any legitimate objection to the insertion of the word except one, and that objection did not appeal to any Member of the Unionist Party. That objection was, that if this word was inserted it would be impossible for Irishmen to represent that they were getting all their most extreme fellow-countrymen had demanded, whilst at the self-same time English speakers on English platforms could inform the electors that the Legislature they were going to grant was nothing more than a magnified County Council. It was with the object of clearing up all doubt on this matter and of making the Bill convey what was, he believed, the intention of its authors to the people of Great Britain and Ireland that he strongly pressed upon the House to insert the proposed word.
§ * VISCOUNT CRANBORNE (Rochester)
desired to clear up a point which had been left in some doubt, and that was as to the precise information they got from the Home Secretary on the Second Reading of this Bill. It was very necessary to clear it up, because there had been considerable difference of statement from various Members of the Government in the course of the Debate last night and that afternoon. The Home Secretary on the Second Reading Debate, speaking of a clause asserting the supremacy of Parliament, said—I think I can promise, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, that such a clause will not meet with the slightest opposition.He wanted to know whether the Government would repeat that pledge, and whether they might rely upon it that if they brought up a clause at the end of the Bill the Government would accept it? He observed no movement on the part of the Government. He knew the argument was used by the Home Secretary that this demand for a declaration of supremacy did not come well from them (the Opposition). The argument might be retorted that it was of the greatest importance, from the Government point of view, that there should be such a declaration. They (the Government) believed that a sort of treaty was to be made between England and Ireland by the passing of this Bill; they thought that both sides would loyally carry out 476 the policy entered into, and that that would be the guarantee for the success of Home Rule. They did not intend to proceed on the basis of express enactment, but upon the basis of a careful declaration, of what the terms wore to be which were to be carried out by the good faith of both sides. That was the view of the Home Secretary when addressing his constituents. The right hon. Gentleman then relied for the success of Home Rule not upon express enactment, but on the good faith of the parties to the bargain. He (Viscount Cranborne) did not question the good faith of the Irish Members, but let it be clear what was to be the bargain between the two Parties. The question of supremacy was an important part of the matter. Let them, therefore, make it clear what their conception of the Parliament in Ireland was and what its relations were to be towards the Parliament ill England. There were distinctively three views as to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. There was the dormant view of the hon. Member for Waterford. This supremacy would be all right if it was dormant. Then there was the view of the Prime Minister that the supremacy of Parliament was inalienable, and that it was not necessary to insert any provision to provide for it on the face of the Bill. And when they began to consider what the value of this inalienable supremacy was for them the Prime Minister quoted the Colonies, and be actually quoted Newfoundland, which had lately been distinguished by flouting the Imperial supremacy. The Prime Minister's kind of supremacy was, of course, of no value whatever. There was a third conception of it—the conception of what he might call the moderate Gladstonian Party. They believed that the supremacy ought to be a real supremacy. He thought even the Chief Secretary conceived, when he was at Newcastle, that the supremacy was not to be merely enshrined in a Preamble, but was to be definitely safeguarded. The Chief Secretary at that time spoke of a full reservation of the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, and he certainly would not have been satisfied with the inalienable supremacy. When the right hon. Gentleman stood before his constituents he proposed definitely to reserve the supremacy in the Bill. Then there was the right hon. Member for Wolver- 477 hampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler), who Hail always been a very moderate Home Ruler. That right hon. Gentleman proposed to pass Homo Rule subject to conditions for securing the unity of the Empire and the supreme authority of Parliament. He would not have been satisfied with the inalienable supremacy. He should like to know what the view of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton was now, because be was very emphatic a year or two ago as to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, which was not to be an inalienable supremacy, but was to be a definite supremacy. The right hon. Gentleman made a speech at Rossendale, when he used these words—The Irish Parliament might do foolish things; they probably will. They must work out their own salvation. If they did wrong things the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament became an effective force.He wanted to know whether the right hon. Gentleman still adhered to that form of supremacy, because if he did he could not be satisfied with inalienable supremacy. It was not treating the House of Commons fairly to treat it as the Prime Minister did, and to try and persuade two Parties who absolutely differed as to their conception of what the supremacy ought to be to vote for the Bill on these vague generalities of the inalienable supremacy of Parliament, and if for no other reason than the Prime Minister's speech, he should be prepared to vote for this Amendment.
§ *MR. BLAKE (Longford, S.)
It seems to me that the speech of the Mover of the Amendment sufficiently indicates the inutility of this particular Amendment as a means of solving the questions which those who bring it forward desire to solve. Because there can be no doubt from the speeches which have been delivered that what is wanted at this stage is to settle in debate, at any rate, if not by a clause, the precise nature and character of the subordination of the Irish Legislature and the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, while the proposed Amendment does no more than suggest the fact of subordination. The question which it is desired to know is, what is the degree and character of the subordination, the degree and character of the supremacy, and that will not be forwarded one stage 478 after the Amendment has been either adopted or rejected. The Amendment is utterly useless, therefore, for the purposes for which it is advanced, and it is also utterly useless for the purpose of establishing the general proposition of the subordination of the Irish Legislature, because I think all reasonable men must be absolutely satisfied that that Legislature, the creation of this Imperial Parliament (which is to remain clothed with all its former powers of Legislation) must be subject to its creator, must be susceptible of being remodelled, abolished even by the Parliament which has made it. That being so, we do not get any further by a general declaration of subordination, which is at the same time useless and insulting, for the reasons stated by the Prime Minister in those words which proved his statesmanship, in which he showed that it is not by giving slights and insults to a people that you can conciliate their confidence and achieve those good relations which contain the only clement that is valuable, and all that is valuable in the connection; and in which he declared that he would not put language into this Act absolutely useless for any good purpose, but which should mark the Legislature about to be created with a brand of inferiority over the smallest of the Colonies having Legislatures created by this Parliament. I have no right to speak for anyone but myself; but I say there is an unanimity of statement both public and private amongst the gentlemen who sit on this Bench upon the point to which this Amendment is addressed of the subordinate character of the Irish Legislature. They confess, acknowledge, and realise, and have ever since 1S86 confessed, acknowledged, and realised, that characteristic of the Legislature proposed to be given to their country; and as reference has been made more than once to the precise language in which that declaration was made by the Leader of the Irish Party, and the Irish people at the time, I think it is not useless to refresh the memory of the House as to the declaration which Mr. Parnell did in fact make in 1886 in the discussion upon the Second Reading of the Home Rule Bill, a Bill which contained no Preamble with reference to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. It was not thought neces- 479 sary; it was not necessary. What he declared was this—We have always known since the introduction of this Bill the difference between a coordinate and a subordinate Parliament, and we have recognised that the Legislature which the Prime Minister proposes to constitute is a subordinate Parliament; that it is not the same as Grattan's Parliament, which was co-equal with the Imperial Parliament, arising out of the same Constitution given to the Irish people by the Crown, just in the same way though not by the same means as Parliamentary Institutions were given to Great Britain by the Sovereign. We understand this perfectly well. Undoubtedly I should have preferred, as I stated in speeches which have been quoted against me as showing that I could not accept this proposed settlement as final—I should have preferred the restitution of Grattan's Parliament; it would have been more in accordance with the sentiments of the Irish people, whose sentiments in such matters it is most important to regard. But with reference to the argument that has been used against us, that I am precluded from accepting this solution as a final solution, because I have claimed the restitution of Grattan's Parliament, I would beg to say that I consider there are practical advantages connected with the proposed Statutory Body, limited and subordinate to this Imperial Parliament as it undoubtedly will be, which will render it much more useful and advantageous to the Irish people than was Grattan's Parliament, and that the Statutory Body which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to constitute is much more likely to be a final settlement than Grattan's Parliament.Many years have elapsed since that statement was made. There have been seven years of discussion with reference to the Home Rule Bill of 1886, with reference to its vital principles; and after those seven years we come back here to reiterate the declaration made in June, 1886, upon that subject. As to the character of the supremacy, I do not intend to enter just now in detail into that question, which, as I have already pointed out, would not be settled one way or the other by the insertion of the word "subordinate." As to the fact of subordination there is no doubt. I believe there is not a man in the ranks of those who support the Government, from whatever part of the United Kingdom he comes, whatever his special relations to this question may be, who does not freely and fully acknowledge the proposition that in truth and in fact the Legislature which is to be created is a subordinate Legislature. But about the supremacy, since reference has been made to it, let me road a few words more from the speech of the same Leader delivered upon the same occasion with reference 480 to his then understanding of supremacy. Mr. Parnell said—I understand the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament to be this—that they can interfere in the event of the powers which are conferred by this Bill being abused under certain circumstances. But the Nationalists in accepting this Bill go, as I think, under an honourable understanding not to abuse those powers, and we pledge ourselves in that respect for the Irish people, as far as we can pledge ourselves, not to abuse those powers, and to devote our energies and our influence which we may have with the Irish people to prevent those powers from being abused. But if those powers should be abused, the Imperial Parliament will have at its command the force which it reserves to itself, and it, will be ready to intervene, but only in the case of grave necessity arising. I believe that this is by far the best mode in which we can hope to settle this question. You will have the real power of force in your hands, and you ought to have it; and if abuses are committed and injustice be perpetrated you will always be able to use that force to put a stop to them. You will have the power and the supremacy of Parliament untouched and unimpaired just as though this Bill had never been brought forward. We fully recognise this to be the effect of the Bill.After seven years of discussion we come back here to-day to reiterate that statement also. With reference to the necessity of this Amendment, I say it is absolutely unnecessary. I say it is clear to demonstration that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament will remain just as strong, just as clear, just as capable of being used without this proposition as with it, and that it is dangerous to insert in any clauses in this Bill which have relation to a particular subject or to particular incidents of the question —it is dangerous to there insert these declarations unless you propose to insert them in almost every clause of the Bill one after another. You know not what result may follow from omission anywhere else, if you once begin to insert them with reference to particular clauses, and therefore it is that I have always been of opinion that if you act at all it is either by Preamble which affects the whole Bill or by some general declaratory, not by enacting, clause, that you should deal with the question of supremacy as dominating the whole, instead of trying to touch it with reference to any one clause. But I agree with the view that clauses or preambles are utterly unnecessary and perhaps weakening. I rather object to them, from that point of view, and from that point of view alone. I 481 believe that the substance of the wise is that the supremacy obviously remains unimpaired, and that was the view taken by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) when he suggested the possible danger that, at any rate, the moral supremacy of Parliament might be minimised or interfered with by the Bill of 1886 which excluded the Irish Members. When he proposed that the Irish Members should be retained, as they ought to be retained, he said this—But, Sir, that is a matter of first and cardinal importance. It is a matter to which I have always attached the greatest possible weight, because if the Irish Members are retained at Westminster, the Imperial Parliament remains the Imperial Parliament, and its supremacy would then lie an established fact. The Legislative Authority in Dublin —you may call it a Parliament—will be a subordinate and not a co-equal Authority.The right hon. Gentleman did not want a clause, or preamble, or declaration. He rested upon sounder and more solid ground. There it was. The facts were so. These results flowed inevitably from the circumstances which would exist when the Imperial Parliament remained with the Irish Members here. I believe he was wise and statesmanlike then. I am only sorry he does not remain so to-day.
§ *MR. GOSCHEN (St. George's, Hanover Square)
It has really been agreeable to hear an Irish voice intervening in this Debate, and to hear one of the Irish Leaders speaking with the full authority of those who sit around him. The hon. Member said there had been a uniformity of statement since 1886 with regard to the view of the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament; but in this Debate, at all events, there has been a uniformity of silence amongst the Irish Benches, and neither last night, when we were discussing the sovereignty, nor to-day, until the hon. Member rose when we were discussing the subordination of the Irish Parliament, have hon. Members below the Gangway thought it necessary to inform the House of Commons of their views upon this matter, and I think I may say their views are of deep interest to us with regard to this question, not of less interest even than that of the Government itself. Although the hon. Member who spoke last discussed the question, we were not clear whether he 482 was in favour of the dormant supremacy, the Prime Minister's supremacy, or of the supremacy of the Moderate Gladstonians. On the whole, I should gather his view is the inalienable right of Parliament to be enforced as suggested by Mr. Parnell, by the Forces of the Crown if it should be necessary. The hon. Member read out a passage from a speech of Mr. Parnell, which showed that this Parliament was always to be able to enforce its views owing to the possession of the Naval and Military Forces of the Crown, Now, that kind of supremacy is not the supremacy, I believe, which would satisfy those who sit upon this side of the House and the Unionist Party in general. Well, then, the hon. Member says this matter has been discussed for seven years. A particular statement was made in the year 1886; it is made again now in 1893, and the hon. Member spoke as if the discussion from 1886 had led up naturally to the present position. But there have been many interesting intervals, and a flood of light has been let in, and how hon. Members—either below the Gangway or hon. Members opposite—can attach any importance to the declarations of 1886 passes my understanding, considering that they have been repudiated by the Leader of the Irish Party—the trusted Leader of the Irish Party. He informed them, with frank cynicism, that the Bill was a Parliamentary bid, and he informed, practically, the British people that no reliance could be placed upon the declarations which were made at that time. And then the hon. Member below the Gangway thinks that these discussions have been continuous. Has he studied the Irish Press during the interval? [Mr. BLAKE: Yes.] Very well, I think he will find that what was said in 1887, 1888, and 1889 was very different from the sentiments he quoted. Whatever hon. Members may say in this House, I think the Irish Press also should be studied upon this question; and I would recommend that not only should hon. Members listen to the utterances of hon. Members in this House, but they should study the local Irish Press to see what views generally Irishmen are invited to take with regard to the supremacy of this Parliament and the subordination of an Irish Parliament. The Prime Minister said he 483 objected to the introduction of the word "subordinate" on two grounds. He thought it was a new-fangled word, and a word that would be insulting to the Irish people.
§ *MR. GOSCHEN
I will deal with the third argument as well as the other two. The first argument is that it is a new fangled-word, and that comes from the author of the most new-fangled Bill that has ever been submitted to Parliament. We shall have to invent a great many new Parliamentary terms before we have done with the discussions on this Bill. The author of such vast Constitutional—not only developments, but changes and revolutions, suggest that we are foolish in introducing a new-fangled word such as "subordinate" into this Bill. Then the right hon. Gentleman thought it would be insulting to the Irish people. Well, but the word "subordinate" has been used as the right hon. Gentleman has heard by the late Leader of the Irish Party himself. It has been used, as he has been reminded, by candidate after candidate at the last Election. Now, I never saw the rebuke come from headquarters "Avoid that term for fear it should hurt the sensitive feelings of the Irish people." Why is the word now to be scratched out from our Parliamentary proceedings when it has played so great and so successful a part during the late Election? But the right hon. Gentleman has given a reason. It-would discriminate this Irish Parliament from Colonial Parliaments. Here is a bar sinister to be put across the Irish Parliament. We have given Colonial Parliaments; we have not introduced these words in the Colonial Parliaments; and I see, for that very reason, a most important argument in favour of the introduction of "subordinate" in this matter, because it is a fair notice to Ireland that the Irish Parliament will not stand upon the same footing as the Colonial Parliaments. It is of great importance that this should be thoroughly understood; because afterwards there is always the danger of a charge of breach of faith. Now, if I may refer to last night's vote, I would ask what will be the impression of last night's vote upon Ireland? The Irish Members and the Ministerial Party voted 484 against the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. [Cries of "Oh!"] I am glad to know from the interruption that they only voted against the declaration of that supremacy—no doubt a totally different thing. The Government have declared the sentiments with which they are animated in their vote; but there is nothing to show what sentiments animated the Irish Party. They are not bound by the declarations of the Prime Minister. If the word "subordinate" be an insult, then all the restrictions which are placed on the Irish Parliament, and which are not placed on the Colonial Parliaments, are equally insults to the Irish people. Why not look the matter in the face, and be candid in the Bill itself? If the Parliament is to be subordinate, why not say so? The hon. Member who has last spoken maintains that if the Amendment were accepted, the principle would have to be re-asserted in every clause. The assertion of the principle is only necessary in those clauses which deal with the constitution of the Parliament; and it would be a great advantage for the future understanding of the bargain. We are told that, there can be no enacting force in this matter. Whether the words of the Amendment will have an enacting force or not, I urge their insertion on the ground that both the British people and the Irish people ought to know from the beginning that the subordination of the Irish Parliament is not only theoretical but practical. Honesty requires the insertion of the words. Hon. Gentlemen opposite did not take the same view they do now in their election speeches. I say we ought to have this principle in the forefront of the Bill, as every clause—the construction of every clause—may depend on it.
§ MR. R, B. HALDANE (Haddington)
said, that the supporters of the Government had some cause to complain of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, because he had made, in form, a forcible criticism, without saying what he wanted. First of all, when they declared themselves in favour of Home Rule they were asked what they meant. They said they meant a subordinate Parliament with an Executive responsible to that Parliament, reserving to the Imperial Parliament legislation on certain subjects. When a Bill was produced, objection was taken 485 on the ground that it did not preserve Imperial supremacy; and when they asked what was meant by supremacy, they received various answers. They had one in the very moderate and useful speech of the noble Lord the Member for Paddington (Lord R. Churchill); and early in the Debate there had been a most important statement from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. A. J. Balfour). The right hon. Gentleman said that he believed, on eminent legal authority, that this Bill completely preserved the paper supremacy—that was, the theoretical supremacy. If that were so, it relieved the Committee from a great deal of controversy. The noble Lord the Member for Paddington now asked whether the practical supremacy was maintained? The Committee were under great obligation to him for explaining what he meant. The two elements of practical supremacy to which the noble Lord attached most importance were the control of the Executive and the control of Supply. It was impossible to retain complete control of Supply if a subordinate Parliament were established. Every Local Board which had a discretionary power of rating was beyond central control. It was the very essence of Home Rule in every shape to leave the raising of ways and means to the delegated body. As to the Executive, under the Bill there was complete legal supremacy, because the Act of Union was not repealed; there was power to legislate on certain reserved subjects; in relation to certain matters —as, for instance, the Post Office—direct Executive control was retained; the power of veto implied a certain control over the Executive; and all Constitutional questions were to be tried by a supreme tribunal of appeal created by the Imperial Parliament. The extent to which a subordinate body was to be actually controlled by the Imperial Parliament was a question rather of practice than of theory. It was impossible to define it in a Bill. The Crown Colonies had been controlled in varying degrees at varying periods of their existence. But if the action of a subordinate body were justified by experience, then Imperial interference lapsed. And so it seemed to him that the demand that clauses should be put in the Bill declaring the extent of the practical supremacy to be exercised 486 by the Imperial Parliament was not a reasonable demand. As the Irish Parliament failed or succeeded in its mission, so would the control of the Imperial Parliament be greater or less. If the Irish Parliament were successful, there would be no need to interfere, except on the subjects reserved to the Imperial Parliament; and if the Irish Parliament failed, then the theoretical supremacy would become a real supremacy to be acted upon. If the Irish Legislature succeeded the Imperial supremacy would be exercised less and less; and if it failed that supremacy could easily be enforced under the powers contained in the Bill. It was, therefore, entirely dependent upon the degree and extent of the success of the Irish Legislature that the exercise of the Imperial supremacy would depend, and, consequently, it would be an abuse of the forms of Parliament if hon. Members were at that stage to vote for the insertion of the words proposed to be adopted by the hon. Member, which had no practical value at all, and which would not carry them a step further in regard to the supremacy of the Constitution.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
said, that it was always refreshing to him to hear a British lawyer speaking upon Irish affairs. The hon. and learned Member for Haddington, who had just sat down, had dealt with this subject from an academic point of view. The hon. and learned Gentleman contemplated the possibility of the success of the Irish Legislature, in which case he informed the Committee he was of opinion that the question of the supremacy need never be called into action. But, then, the hon. and learned Member went on, with perfect equanimity, to contemplate also the possibility of the failure of that Legislature. To the hon. and learned Member that meant nothing; to the North of Ireland it meant ruin. Therefore, the hon. and learned Member could not expect him and those who thought with him to contemplate that failure which the hon. and learned Member looked upon as possible, and which he and his friends regarded as absolutely certain from a mere academic point of view. The hon. and learned Member was fully persuaded that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament was absolute and complete under this Bill. But the 487 hon. and learned Member did not tell the Committee how that supremacy was to he put in force in Ireland if it was required to be exercised. Supposing, us the hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to think possible, and as he believed to be certain, that the Parliaments of Westminster and of Ireland should come to loggerheads, he should like to know what machinery had been provided that would enable the Imperial Parliament to enforce its supremacy. The supremacy of the Imperial Parliament could only be enforced through the Irish Executive, which would be under the entire control of the Irish Parliament. Such a supremacy would not be worth preserving. The hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Blake), who had had a somewhat long, a varied, and, he believed, a not altogether successful experience of Canadian politics, had given the Committee his view of the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. But had the hon. Member read the speeches of the Irish Nationalist Members during the last seven years? The hon. Member had referred to the speeches of Mr. Parnell on the subject; but was the hon. Member aware that not so very long ago the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir William Harcourt) had made the declaration that Mr. Parnell's Home Rule was a Fenian Home Rule. He imagined that a Fenian Home Rule would not contemplate the maintenance of the supremacy either of the Imperial Parliament or of the Crown. He accepted the statement of the hon. Member for Longford as an honest one, but he doubted whether it was of equal value upon this subject to those which had been made by the Leaders of the Irish Nationalist Party. Great strides had been made in the course of this Debate, and it was now known for the first time what sort of supremacy it was that the Government contemplated by this Bill. It was clear that the Government contemplated placing the Irish Legislature in a position analogous to that of a Colonial Parliament. He did not think that that proposal had been brought before the constituencies at the last Election with sufficient clearness. The Colonies were virtually and practically independent, and if they placed Ireland in a position analogous to that of Canada, for instance, 488 they would be placing her far on the road to a possible separation. What was meant by this supremacy of the Imperial Parliament? If it meant simply a hare statement in the Preamble, or even in a clause of the Bill, that such a supremacy existed, he should vote against it, because he should look upon such a statement as not worth the paper-it was printed upon, and as merely intended to throw dust in the eyes of the British people. Why had this statement in the Preamble been so cheerfully accepted by all sections of the Irish Nationalist Party? It was because, in their opinion, it meant nothing. It meant nothing as far as giving real power to the Imperial Parliament to prevent the Irish Parliament from committing various deeds of eccentric legislation was concerned, but it did mean something as far as it would enable the Irish Executive to crush down the Irish minority by means of the Imperial troops. If the Imperial Parliament was to treat Ireland like a Colony let the Imperial Army be withdrawn. The Irish minority were willing to be treated on the footing of a Colony, but they protested against a supremacy that would enable the gentlemen who would form the Irish Government to appeal to the Imperial Parliament for the assistance of the Army and Navy to compel the Irish minority to obey their behests. That was a form of supremacy that was absolutely abhorrent to the Irish minority. Of what use would such a supremacy be to this country? When would that supremacy be exercised? If it were no use the sooner it was got rid of the better. If it were of some use, to what use was it going to be put? One of the uses to which it might be put was to enforce the payment of the contributions which Ireland was to make to this country. If Ireland refused to hand over the Revenue derived from the Customs, as undoubtedly it would do, the supremacy might be resorted to in order to enforce that payment. The Imperial Parliament would then have to enforce the payment through the Irish Executive, and so require the latter to enforce payment of a tribute to the hated Saxon. That was a sort of supremacy that he could not contemplate without a shudder. It was only by means of the Imperial soldiers that the 489 payment could be exacted. The Imperial Parliament must capture the Irish Exchequer, and must take forcible possession of the person of the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer in order to enforce its supremacy, or else not a single shilling would be able to be extorted from the patriotic Irish people. Unless this could be accomplished, the so-called supremacy of the Imperial Parliament was a sham. In the view of the Irish minority, supremacy would be a good thing if it meant anything; but to the sort of supremacy he had referred they would offer the most uncompromising opposition. He could not help wondering why the hon. Member had moved this Amendment, because the term "subordinate" would be most inapplicable to an Irish Parliament. Had the word been "insubordinate" it would have been much more appropriate. Then it would convey the real meaning that the Homo Rule Bill had in the eyes of the Irish people. It would mean something. They would vote for the Amendment, because it would be a foundation stone upon which they could build further alterations in the Act. It would be the first step towards making British supremacy a reality instead of a sham. As he had already said, he was opposed to the Bill, amended or not amended; but, at the same time, they should endeavour to make the present Home Rule Bill better than the previous one. Their stand was that if there was to be Home Rule in Ireland it ought to be the least noxious kind of Home Rule that the House could devise. To render it to some extent innocuous, they had taken as a starting point the attempt to insert words to prevent Home Rule from being the utter ruin of Ireland and from working the destruction of this Empire. They ought to give the Imperial Parliament a right that could not be questioned to supervise all the Acts and all the deeds of the proposed Irish Executive. It was because he believed the Amendment recognised the importance of starting on the line of rendering the Irish Legislature subordinate that he should certainly support it.
§ *MR. R. G. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E.)
said, he could not agree with the hon. Member for Haddingtonshire (Mr. Haldane), except in the statement that when we first gave Governments to our Colonies we maintained a quasi authority 490 over them; but as they had grown older they had gradually become absolutely independent of the Mother Country. He ventured to say that if this Bill, or anything like it, was given to the Irish people gradually, the same condition of things would happen as that which prevailed in the Colonies. The hon. Member for Longford had referred to the fact that when Mr. Parnell was alive he had been quite agreeable to the Irish Parliament being subordinate but in Committee Room No. 15 Mr. Parnell went behind that statement, and said that he had declared himself agreeable to the Irish Parliament being subordinate merely as a piece of Parliamentary tactics. Before they went on with such an important measure as this, they ought to carefully draw a line of demarcation between the power of the Imperial Parliament and that of the subordinate Irish Legislature. The line of cleavage might be the cause of great difficulty and danger in the future. When the United States first obtained their independence one of their first acts in framing their Constitution was to carefully and definitely lay down the exact powers of the State Legislatures, and where that of the Federal Government was to commence, and yet difficulties had arisen from time to time; and unless in the present instance a line of demarcation were laid down the door would be open to great dangers, and perhaps to civil war such as that which had convulsed the United States. They could have two Executive powers and two mock Parliaments; but he denied that they could have two Executive powers and two co-ordinate Parliaments. No doubt there had been divergencies of opinion between Grattan's Parliament and the Parliament of Great Britain, and there was no doubt that Grattan's Parliament was kept subordinate by gross corruption. There were a number of Members in the Irish Parliament who were directly in the pay of the British Parliament—a state of things which nowadays they could hardly conceive possible. In the event of a difficulty now occurring with the House of Lords Members of the House of Commons either had to be sent back to the constituencies, or a number of new Peers had to be created; but if this Bill became law, and a difficulty arose with Ireland, these 491 steps could not be taken. What would have to be done? Why, as he read it, the sole judges in the event of a dispute arising were certain Exchequer Judges, who he held were an absolutely impossible and absolutely inadequate tribunal to refer such a dispute to. Were Irishmen to have the right of nominating their own Ministers, and also to have a controlling voice in the nomination of ours? Were Irish Members, who were not to have a right either to speak or vote on British questions In this House, still to have the right to sit and vote in British Ministries and British Cabinets? If that were so, as the Representative of a British constituency, he should strongly resent this interference of the Irish Members. Under the Bill the Prime Minister was placing the independence of England and Scotland under the power of a herd of Irishmen, and he ventured to say, speaking as a Scotchman, although representing an English constituency, that that was a thing which would powerfully affect the feelings of the Scottish people. If this or some similar measure was intended to become a living Act of Parliament, why should not the Prime Minister, in the first place, appoint a Royal Commission, or some Body of that sort, to consider and report upon the grave Constitutional questions involved? During the General Election—at any rate in many cases, if not universally—the supporters of the Government described the Parliament which it was proposed to establish in Ireland as a subordinate Parliament. Those Members did not know, any more than Members of the Opposition know, what form the Home Rule Bill would take. He supposed there were half-a-dozen Cabinet Councils held to consider all these proposals, and he supposed, also, that there were conferences with hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway; but, in dealing with such a grave Constitutional matter as this, he thought they should have followed the example of the Washington Government, and have appointed a Commission. There never could be supremacy of the Imperial Parliament if 80, or, as it now appeared, 103, Irish Members were allowed to come over and sit in that House. He believed the result of that policy would be a deadlock. If the Irish Parliament were not a subordinate one 492 it would bring about a deadlock, and practically become a ruling Parliament over Great Britain. Rather than assent to the proposed Siamese-twin arrangement, by which the two Parliaments would be joined together by an unnatural ligament, would suffer each other's misfortune, and die by each other's dissolution, he would prefer to say to the Irish Members, "Go in peace." This Bill, or anything like it, would be fraught with great danger to the Constitution; and he believed it was necessary for those on the Benches around him, and for certain steadfast and patriotic hon. Gentlemen on the Benches opposite, to do everything in their power to insert words securing the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, which had been handed down to us for 800 years.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (Manchester, E.)
I do not rise to prolong the Debate, which I think may now with very great advantage be brought to a conclusion. If we have not succeeded in eliciting from the Government their reasons for dissenting from this Amendment, we have, at all events, elicited very clearly the fact that, if they have any arguments at all, they are absolutely unable to give them to us. The only shadow of a ground, so far as I have learned from the single Member of the Government who has condescended to reply or deal with the subject at all—for there has been no reply at all to hon. Members who have spoken from these Benches and from the Benches below the Gangway opposite—the only shadow of an argument that I could detect in the speech of the Prime Minister is that he thinks that if the words were introduced they might hurt the tender susceptibilities of the Irish people. I suppose we must now finally give up all hope of extracting, at this stage of the Bill at all events, any more substantial argument from the Government. It must, therefore, go forth to the British people that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, about which so many assurances have been given during the late Election, cannot be embodied in the framework of the Bill, not because it is in itself an objectionable thing, but because the mere statement of supremacy will, as I say, hurt the feelings of gentlemen from Ireland. It is sufficient to thus briefly summarise the speech—the single speech—which has been given to us 493 from that Bench, and perhaps we might now express our opinion on the Amendment in the Division Lobbies.
[Cries of "Divide!"] said, that, as the Mover of the Amendment, he desired to be allowed to say one or two words as to the way in which the Prime Minister referred to him. The right hon. Gentleman had said that he had overstepped the limits of Parliamentary courtesy. He would be very sorry to do that to anyone, and, above all, to one whom they all admired and respected for his great powers; but he thought it a little unreasonable that it should be stated, in connection with such a matter as this Bill, that he had put his Amendment forward because he did not believe in the declaration of the Government. That was not a matter, as it seemed to him, of believing in the declaration of the Government. This was a great Constitutional measure. It was not a sort of confidence trick, in which they were to trust the Government. If he might say so without disrespect, he did not trust the Government at all, and Members on the Opposition side of the House had been saying that for a long time; but this was not a persona] matter in any sense, and he did not think the right hon. Gentleman need have been so indignant and have poured out the vials of his wrath on so humble a Member of the House. The Amendment was a substantial one, brought forward with a sense of responsibility, with a view to stating distinctly on the 1st clause of the Bill that the Irish Parliament should be subordinate.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
As the hon. Gentleman has frankly said that he did not intend to make any statement in the nature of a personal charge, I beg entirely to withdraw the expression I made use of.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 257; Noes 292.—(Division List, No. 74.)
§ MR. W. REDMOND
I beg to move, in page 1, line 12, to leave out the word "Legislature," and insert the word "Parliament."
§ *MR. DARLING (Deptford)
desired to ask if it was in Order to move to substitute the word "Parliament" fo "Legislature," seeing that the clause would then read— 494On and after the appointed day there shall be in Ireland a Parliament consisting of Her Majesty the Queen and of two Houses, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly.But the Queen was not a portion of Parliament at all. She was not a Member of Parliament. She summoned the Parliament, and there made laws by and with the advice of the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled.
I do not think it is necessary to go into the matter. I do not, think that, the hon. Gentleman is out of Order.
§ MR. W. REDMOND
said, he was obliged to the Chairman for his ruling. He should have thought, that the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Darling) would have known enough about the law to be aware of the fact that Parliament was always taken to include the Queen, Lords, and Commons. This was a matter which might seem small to hon. Members at first sight; but he could assure the Government and the Committee that it was a matter in which considerable interest was taken by the Irish people. He himself had received a very great number of communications from various portions of Ireland, advocating the substitution of the word "Parliament" for "Legislature." The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had pointed out very clearly and properly to-day that there was no intention of easting anything in the shape of a slight on the people of Ireland in connection with this Bill. He (Mr. Redmond) did not say that the Irish people would consider the word "Legislature" intended as a slight upon them; but he did say that, they would regard the measure with much greater favour if the word "Parliament" were in the Bill, seeing that that word was familiar to them in Irish history. He might be told that in none of the Acts establishing Colonial Parliaments did the word "Parliament" occur. That was true—though, indeed, He believed there was au exception in the case of the Dominion Parliament. The Amendment would not alter the Bill or its powers. It would simply satisfy the widespread sentiment of the Irish people; and, in dealing with a matter of this kind, it would be well to take sentiment into consideration. He did not believe 495 there was anyone representing a Nationalist constituency who would rise in his place and say that "Legislature" would be preferable to the old word "Parliament." It was for the restoration of a Parliament that the Irish people had longed so passionately, and worked so hard. A great many people in Ireland would accept the Bill much more readily if the word "Parliament" were used in the Bill. He appealed to the Prime Minister whether it would not be possible to accept the Amendment, even though the matter was only one of sentiment?
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 12, to leave out the word "Legislature," and insert the word "Parliament."—(Mr. W. Redmond.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'Legislature' stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The hon. Member has stated his case with great clearness and brevity, and it is one of considerable interest. The hon. Gentleman has a precedent for his proposal to which I do not propose that we should conform. The Canada Act says—There shall be one Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, the Upper House, styled the Senate, and the House of Commons.In the face of those words it would be difficult for me to say, what I otherwise should have been inclined to say, that a "Parliament" is complete, and does not include the Queen. I own that it is an infelicitous expression to use "Parliament," as was done in the Canada Act, as the grammatical equivalent to "Legislature," because the form of our Acts is this—that they are assented to and enacted by the Queen upon the advice of three Estates of the Realm represented in the two Houses of Parliament. It is certainly not according to common usage to speak of the Queen as a portion of Parliament. That is my opinion, but that is not a matter in which we are now interested. The whole question we have to consider is whether we shall call those Houses of Legislature a Parliament, as in Canada. I am of opinion that it would be better not to take that course, but to adhere to the words in the Bill. I think that even if the House should be disposed to treat the question as extraneous to Parliament we might provide for that in another way than by calling the two 496 Houses in Ireland by the name of Parliament. The Canadian case is an exceptional one. I ask myself why it is that the Imperial Parliament has constituted a Parliament for Canada and for nowhere else? Was it intended thereby to say that the Parliament in Canada was to be placed on a higher footing than any other Colonial Parliament? I do not think so. I do not think it was intended to constitute an essential distinction between the Parliament in Canada and the Parliament, say, in New South Wales. There was, however, a practical purpose in view. The Act was intended all through to carry out a double purpose—namely, the establishment of a Parliament for Canada as a whole, and likewise the determination of the form of the Legislative Houses in the Provinces. The common usage is not to use the phrase "Parliament," but to use the phrase "Legislature" or "House of Legislature." In the Canadian Act distinct phraseology was adopted in describing the different Legislative-Bodies, in order to prevent confusion. I do not, therefore, think we can use the case of Canada us a precedent, as no analogy exists between the state of things which prevails in Canada and the state of things we propose to set up in Ireland. It would be better, therefore, in my opinion, to use the phraseology of the Bill. I do not think we have affixed any mark of inferiority whatever to the Irish Legislature by the title we have given it. I do not think it would be wise to constitute by an Act of ours any ground for asserting that we object to give an essentially different character to the Parliament in Ireland from the character borne by other Parliaments, because for the purpose for which it is to be constituted it is to be exactly the same, inasmuch as it is to deal with local as distinct from Imperial affairs. That is the purpose for which Colonial Legislatures were constituted; and, that being so, it appears to me that it would be better to avoid ambiguity in matters of this kind, and not to constitute substantially a new precedent, but to adhere to established practice.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not know that I am disposed very much to disagree with the conclusion at which the right hon. Gentleman has arrived; but I have listened to the reasons he has given 497 for that conclusion with the utmost astonishment. I do not propose to go into the dispute as to the accuracy of the words proposed by the hon. Member for Clare (Mr. W. Redmond). For my own part, I should have said that it was quite as fitting to describe Her Majesty as a Member of Parliament as it would be to describe Her as a Member of the Legislature. Even in the case of the Canadian Parliament, I should not have been disposed to admit that the Amendment which has now been brought before us should have been rejected on linguistic or grammatical grounds. Let us compare the argument of the Prime Minister on this question with the argument delivered by the Prime Minister at considerable length on the question which the Committee has just determined. The question of the supremacy of Parliament is, at all events, a substantial question, and the right hon. Gentleman did not, as far as I can make out, profess very different views of the supremacy from those entertained on this side of the House. Yet he refused absolutely to introduce the words we proposed, because he said it would hurt the feelings of the Irish race.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
As far as I could understand, that was the chief reason given by the right hon. Gentleman. The words used by him were that it would be a bar sinister, that it would be a slight, and that it would be of a disparaging nature. I confess I should have thought that I was not misinterpreting, but was rather minimising, the meaning of those expressions when I said that the right hon. Gentleman's objection to the use of the word "subordinate" was that it would hurt the feelings of gentlemen below the Gangway. Now, when we come to the present Amendment, what becomes of the feelings of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway? I recollect the speech made by the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. E. Redmond) on the Second Reading. It was, undoubtedly, the ablest speech made in his quarter of the House in defence of this Bill. The hon. Member rested his defence of the Bill on what he called the inalienable and historic right of the Irish people to a Parliament. He said they possessed a Parliament in the last, century; that that 498 Parliament, by not illegal but immoral arts, had been suppressed for nine years; but that that suppression did not break the true and legitimate tradition which he claimed on behalf of the Parliament abolished in 1800. Let me tell the Prime Minister that words mean a great deal, and that if his object is, as he has often told us it is, to give satisfaction to the aspirations of the Irish race, there are, undoubtedly, no greater reasons for rejecting this Amendment than there were for the rejection of the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Deptford (Mr. Darling). If the right hon. Gentleman is influenced by sentimental considerations—and I do not use the term offensively—I should have thought there was no more important Amendment on the Notice Paper than this. While, therefore, I am unable to understand the reason why the right hon. Gentleman objects to the Amendment, I can easily state the reasons why I object to it. My reasons are that I do not wish the ancient tradition which the hon. Member for Waterford spoke of to be restored. I do not desire that either Grattan's Parliament, or the Parliament which preceded it should be restored; and I mean to propose, or support as far as I can, Amendments to this Bill limiting the sphere of the activity of the new Legislative Body which it is proposed to set up. Though I entirely appreciate the object of the hon. Member for Clare, and if, like him, I desired to revive the ancient tradition of Grattan's Parliament, I should move a similar Amendment, I cannot, under the circumstances, support his proposal. But, taking the other view, if I were to vote with the hon. Member for Clare, it appears to me that though I should not technically preclude myself from voting for other Amendments, I should morally prohibit myself from doing so, because by calling this new Assembly a Parliament I should by implication indicate that I wished to give it all the attributes, all the dignity, and all the importance which we are accustomed to associate with the name of Parliament. I think we shall, undoubtedly, be carrying out a sound policy if we decline to accept the Amendment. Therefore, if the Amendment comes to a Division, I should certainly be found voting against it.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir W. HARCOLUT,) Derby
I do not rise to take part in the discussion of this Amendment, but to refer to a statement made by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Darling) which I do not think ought to go uncontradicted. The statement was that the Queen is not a Member of Parliament. I am not going to make a speech, but I shall read some remarks from the best known authority on the subject. [The right hon. Gentleman then read a passage from Blackstone, to the effect that the constituent parts of Parliament are the Sovereign and the three Estates of the Realm—the Lords Spiritual, the Lords Temporal, and the Commons—and that the Sovereign and these three Estates together formed the great corporation or body politic of the Kingdom.] The right hon. Gentleman went on to say: This is a very elementary statement of the subject; but I think the hon. and learned Member for Deptford ought not to make statements like that for which he made himself responsible without having the attention of the House called to the real state of the facts.
MR. J. LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
thought the Committee was very much indebted to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for having, with the authority which everybody admitted he possessed on this subject, removed a misconception. The main objection to the Amendment before the Committee was that it would assign to the Legislature to be created in Ireland a position of importance which Members on the Opposition side of the House desired under no circumstances to confer upon it. If such a Legislature was to be created, it ought to be as a distinctly subordinate body, and it should not have an appellation conferred upon it which would leave any doubt existing upon the point. He desired that the Statute should indicate clearly that the Imperial Parliament reserved to itself the right, at any moment it thought fit, to resume any legislative power which was to be delegated to the Irish Legislature. That being so, he certainly could not support the Amendment.
§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
said, one of the most extraordinary things about the Debate was that the interest of Members of the Government was only raised on questions which related to the 500 merest verbal distinctions. When a question of high policy was raised the Front Bench was absolutely silent; but since the present question had been brought forward two Cabinet Ministers had already taken part in the Debate, and he still hoped the Solicitor General would give the Committee the benefit of his views. The Amendment was valuable as illustrating the action of the Party from Ireland to which the hon. Member for Clare belonged. That Party had arrogated to themselves for a year or two the privilege of defending the National aspirations of the Irish people. Their attitude during the present Debate had been most extraordinary, as that was the first feeble effort they had made to introduce into the Bill a single word which would gratify Irish Nationalist aspirations. The Prime Minister was now going to trample upon them; and he hoped that they would, in reply, justify in a more effective manner the line they had taken up in Ireland. He had always looked upon the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. E. Redmond) as a man of his word, and as a man who intended to carry into action in the House of Commons the grandiloquent phrases by which He had attempted to justify his claim to be the real Leader of the Irish people. But the heavenly twins turned out to be, after all, not real, but simply pasteboard knights. It was evident, however, that the Bill could not effect a final settlement of the question; because, after the statements of the Prime Minister, the hon. Members for Clare and Waterford would be obliged, if they intended to preserve their position in Irish politics, to say that the Government had failed in au essential although a sentimental view of Irish politics, and to maintain their opposition to the Bill. The hon. Member for Longford (Mr. M'Carthy) had said nothing about the Amendment, although one would have thought he would have expressed an opinion on one side or the other. Although the Amendment was important, it would have no practical effect whatever. But politics in Ireland were never practical—they were entirely sentimental. As the Government declined to accept the proposal, he (Mr. Macartney) doubted whether the hon. Member for Clare or his friends would dare to go into the Lobby with the Prime Minister again.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
said, the remark which suggested itself to his mind on hearing the speech of the hon. Member who bad just sat down was—"In vain is the net spread in sight of any bird" The hon. Member seemed to imagine that those who acted with the hon. Member for East Clare were Tories in disguise. If the Debate went on very long the hon. Member would be undeceived more and more every day on that point. The hon. Gentleman suggested that the Amendment was most important; but he also suggested that it was unimportant. Such a speech suggested the question whether, after all, the minority of Ulster was worth preserving. If they could not produce Gentlemen more representative of the intelligence of Ulster than the hon. Gentlemen and his Colleagues, he thought they had better cease talking about the monopoly of intelligence and education in Ireland. He (Mr. Clancy) had great satisfaction in thinking that the Amendment was opposed by the Leader of the Opposition. The fear he had had was that Members from Ireland would be embarrassed by the right hon. Gentleman's support. The right hon. Gentleman stated that his principal reason for opposing the Amendment was that the use of the word "Parliament" would give to the Legislative Body to be set up in Ireland attributes similar to those which the Parliament at Westminster possessed.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
No; what I said was that if I assented to the introduction of the word "Parliament," I should be taken as approving the application to Ireland of a word which implied all the attributes possessed by that Parliament.
§ MR. CLANCY
said, that the use of the word "Parliament" would not add, in the least, to the force or power of the Irish Legislature. The effect of adopting the Amendment would simply be to gratify the National sentiment of Ireland, with respect to which the Prime Minister had said nothing in the course of his reply. He (Mr. Clancy) certainly wished the right hon. Gentleman had done so. Inasmuch as the Amendment was intended merely to gratify the National sentiment, it was a matter for regret that the right hon. Gentleman had not seen his way to accept it.
§ *MR. DARLING
objected to the use of the word "Parliament," because he thought that word would be a very improper one to apply to the Irish Legislative Body; and his notion of the meaning of "Parliament" was derived from a book which dealt with the meaning of the word at a time when Parliaments were expressly got together to be a check upon the Angevin ancestors of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But it was absurd in this case to say that the Legislature in Ireland would be a Parliament consisting of Her Majesty the Queen, who, he thought, would not go to Ireland at all if this Bill passed—at least he hoped not—and two Houses, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly. What they desired was that whatever was set up in Ireland it should not be a thing which by any possibility could be considered on a level with what existed at Westminster, and was properly called a Parliament. The Irish Representatives were already Members of Parliament, and that ought to satisfy the ambition of the most ambitious. To be a Member of Parliament in one place ought to suffice them: and if they were Members of Parliament at Westminster they could not, by any possibility, be technically Members of Parliament anywhere else. The word "Parliament" was used throughout the Bill, and was taken to mean the Parliament at Westminster. If the Amendment were adopted there would be two Parliaments in the Bill, which would lead to great confusion; and he could not see anything that would better serve the purposes of those who would desire to see the Assembly in Ireland encroaching on the Parliament at, Westminster than to have both Bodies called, in the same Act of Parliament, a "Parliament." There would also be great difficulty in knowing which Body was referred to when Parliament was mentioned. ["No!"] Hon. Members said "No;" but-he knew when assurances were given in the House how easily they were withdrawn in Room 15.
§ *MR. DARLING
said, he did not know who of the Irish Members might be appointed a Judge, but he had no suggestion to make of any Irish Judge, except that he would be naturally dis- 503 posed to earn for himself the description of what was called a good Judge—namely, that he would wish by every means in his power to enlarge his jurisdiction. He was sure that if the Irish Assembly were called a Parliament it would do what this Parliament had done —encroach on the rights and privileges of everyone in the realm, until it had all those rights and privileges itself. That was said to be the glorious history of this Parliament, and if the Irish Parliament desired a glorious history it must do what this Parliament had done. He 'did not desire to put upon the Irish Legislative Body any greater insult than the Prime Minister had put upon them. He did not wish to call them anything worse than the Irish Legislature; but he did not desire to call them anything so high or noble as a Parliament. Therefore, he would accept the designation given to the Irish Legislature by the Prime Minister and vote against the Amendment.
§ MR. J. PARKER SMITH (Lanark, Partick)
said, it seemed to him that the Amendment which was now before the Committee was an example of the evil of uncertainty to which attention was called yesterday in Debate. If they knew exactly what scheme the Government meant to stick to when they got to Clause 9, they would be able to say a, great deal better than at present what name it ought to be called by. The proper appellation of the Assembly, or whatever it might be, might be quite different when the Assembly was constituted by no Irish Representatives being here at all, or 103 being here always and for all purposes. It was perfectly obvious, in the latter case, that an Assembly in Ireland would be a much less dignified affair than the other arrangement. But it seemed to him they were bound to go by steps in this matter, and were not allowed to look six inches in front of them. Instead of knowing what were the vital principles of the Bill, what they had to do was to take the Bill as they found it and work consistently with that. Though he had an Amendment on the Paper similar to that of the hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond), he need hardly say he did not wish to see in Ireland either a Parliament or a Legislature established; and he must say, with all deference to the Leader of the Opposition, that he did 504 not think his supporting the Amendment would, in any way, hamper him in taking any line he thought right, upon subsequent Amendments, to reduce the power of the Irish Legislature. For once, He was willing to take the advice given them last night by the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. R. T. Reid), and criticise this Bill from what was consistent with the provisions of the Bill as they stood. It seemed to him, according to the Bill as it stood now, what was proposed to be constituted in Ireland was properly called a Parliament and not merely a Legislative Assembly; and he should like to know—which, to some extent, would be shown by the result of a Division on the Bill—were Irishmen prepared to give up that name—Irish Nationalists, who in the past had made so much of that name—were they prepared to give up this sentiment which they had set so much store by? Distance lent a good deal of enchantment to Grattan's Parliament, and Grattan's Parliament was the ideal of many Nationalists inspirations, and a Parliament on College Green was that for which Irishmen had held out. The precedent that had been given, hitherto, on this matter had been the precedent of Canada, and in regard to Canada the provisions of the North American Act were—There must be one Parliament consisting of the Queen, the Upper House or Senate, and a House of Commons, and a Legislature for the different Provinces.There was a distinction drawn between a Parliament for Canada as a whole and a Legislative Assembly that took the place of various Bodies. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister drew a very ingenious but perfectly unsound course of argument as to the reason for that; he said it was to prevent confusion in the Act between Parliament in regard to the Colonies and this Parliament here; but certainly that was not the view taken in Canada. There the question had been discussed a great deal, and there, after the discussions, they had come to the conclusion, based on very good historical grounds, that "Parliament" was the proper name for such an Assembly as they had there. Here in this country they had not to discuss or consider what a Parliament was. Happily, they were here as a Parliament with no rival before them, but the result 505 of the historical—the numerous historical —discussions was that Constitutional historians drew a distinction between Assemblies summoned ad ardua negotia regni and Assemblies summoned to pass bye laws concerned with details. The real meaning of "Parliament" was, that it was a Council, summoned as the old Councils were, for the difficult business of the realm; and if this Irish Parliament should ever be summoned, it would be summoned for as difficult business as most Parliaments had ever been summoned for. Therefore, it seemed to him, according to the scheme of the Bill, it really ought to be called a Parliament. But there was another precedent. Not only the right hon. Gentleman, but the hon. Member who proposed the Amendment, seemed to be unaware how much more authority they had on their side. In nearly all the Colonies the Legislative Assembly was called a Parliament.
§ MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)
asked if the hon. Member could mention any Parliament, except that of Canada, called so in the Statute?
§ MR. PARKER SMITH
said, he would give the hon. Member a reference to which he was just coming to, one that seemed to him to have a bearing on the present course of events—namely, that of Victoria. The Act which gave the Constitution to Victoria, the 18 & 19 Vic, c. 55, provided there should be "one Legislative Council and one Legislative Assembly." But the next thing that happened was this: The first Act of the Session immediately ensuing upon Victoria obtaining that power—the first thing was "The Legislature of Victoria shall be and; is hereby enacted a Parliament." It was all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say he did not choose this to be called a Parliament, but he (Mr. Parker Smith) would be very much surprised if one of the first things the Irish Legislature did was not to bring in a Bill by which it would receive the full title of the Irish Parliament. And to quote Mr. Todd, the title of Parliament had been assumed by all the other Colonies where local self-government had been introduced. It was assumed by the Cape Colony; and if it did not occur in the Statutes, it was expressly adopted by the Imperial Government in Despatches issued to the Colony, and a good many marginal notes; and 506 a curious place where he had found the use of "Parliament," as applied to Ireland itself, was in the appendix of the authorised version of the speeches of the Prime Minister on the Irish Question, and there he found it called "a free Parliament." Those were authorities upon which it seemed to him that the use of the word "Parliament" was appropriate. If, as he rather gathered from the interruption of the hon. Member, he was opposed to the use of the word "Parliament," he would like to ask him whether he was prepared to assent to this being a permanent part of the arrangement; whether hon. Gentlemen would undertake, if they got to Dublin, they would not there do what was done by the Colony of Victoria, and at once assume the larger name?
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the hon. Gentleman was not entitled to draw any inference from what he said. What he asked was whether there was any Assembly, except Canada, where the word "Parliament" had been used?
§ MR. PARKER SMITH
was not surprised at being told he was not to draw an inference. As he could not draw the assurance from the hon. Member, if any Member of the Government had been present he should have liked to have asked whether, taking the lines they did take in regard to this matter, they were prepared to insert amongst the restrictions on the power of this Body—on the power of the Irish Assembly—a restriction that it should not assume the name of Parliament? But he must say it seemed to him that that restriction was one which, if they put it on, it would be impossible to enforce. How could they prevent any body of gentlemen from calling themselves exactly what they pleased? Whatever restriction they might introduce, the Irish Assembly would certainly call themselves a Parliament whatever might happen, and he thought substantially they would be a Parliament. He must say he thought, from the point of view of the Government, it was exceedingly unwise not to make a concession; it seemed to him to be spoiling the ship for a Haworth of tar. In declining this measure—in refusing to call a spade a spade—the Government were guilty of political cowardice; they were content to do the thing, but did not like to use the name; they 507 gave hon. Gentlemen opposite the substance of what they were desiring; but, at the same time, in order to be able to speak of it in two voices—to be able to re-assure their English supporters on this matter—they hid from view the name that more than another expressed the truth of the reality. The only reason for this attempt not to use the important name of Parliament seemed to him to show they were attempting to conceal from the country the real effect of their measure. He should support the Amendment.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
believed that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down was a Unionist, and, therefore, he was somewhat surprised to hear him advocating that the Legislature in Ireland should be called "a Parliament," but at the end of his speech he discovered why he had done so; it was for the pleasure of telling the Government they were guilty of political cowardice. He somewhat, agreed with the conclusions of the hon. Gentleman; he did not see why the term "Parliament" should not be given to that Legislature. After all, what was that Legislature? A Legislature in this case was to be a Legislature and a Legislative Assembly, and that, in the ordinary acceptance of the word, was a Parliament. Speaking as an Englishman, He stood to the idea, "What's in a name?" If it was a question of England, it would be a matter of indifference to him whether this ceased to be called a Parliament tomorrow but in Ireland they were of a sentimental nature, and looked a great deal to the question of a name. There was no doubt that during this long controversy that had taken place in regard to giving Home Rule to Ireland, they had always spoken about giving a Parliament to Ireland. The Irish people had got it strongly into their heads that what they meant by Home Rule was an Irish Parliament, and he could not see why they should not have it. There were two reasons which would induce him to vote with his hon. Friend opposite. One was that he was perfectly convinced that the vast mass of the Irish people would be greatly gratified were this Homo Rule scheme called a Parliament, and the other was that the Leader of the Opposition had declared himself against it. The Leader of the Opposition, though 508 ready to vote for any Amendment, would vote against this, because it would prevent him advocating certain Amendments of his own. The acceptance of the Amendment would result in a saving of time, and he trusted it would be agreed to.
§ MR. W. AMBROSE (Middlesex, Harrow)
was pleased that on this occasion he should be able to support the Prime Minister. He sympathised with the hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond) in his desire to have the word "Parliament" introduced, because that hon. Member, and some others who had been acting with him, had most zealously, industriously, and bravely been fighting for the achievement of what they called a National Parliament. Many of the funds remitted from America had been sent on the faith that they were for the purpose of achieving a National Parliament, and they knew that they regarded a National Parliament as giving the plant of an armed revolution. He therefore sympathised with the hon. Member for East Clare when, instead of getting a National Parliament, he got only a Legislative Assembly, which would figure and appear something like the London County Council. He sympathised with the Prime Minister also, and was very pleased to find in this matter he could agree with the right hon. Gentleman. He did not agree with the hon. Member for Northampton when he said "What's in a name"? There was a great deal in a name. He recollected that when the conversion of the old Law Courts into the High Court was proposed, the late Sir Alexander Cockburn wrote a tract upon it, in which he animadverted upon the proposed change, as it affected the Court of Queen's Bench, and said—There is everything in a name. There is all the prestige of the Court of Queen's Bench.He was right, and in the end it resulted in the name of the Queen's Bench being preserved. He (Mr. Ambrose) said there was everything in a name. The name of Parliament at, once represented a nation. It was an indication, and it spoke to the fact that the people who assembled and who were represented were in themselves a nation. Therefore, he quite sympathised with the views of the hon. Member for East Clare. That hon. Member desired that Ireland was to be a nation, and if Ireland was to be a nation Ireland should 509 have a Parliament. That was the true principle. But he (Mr. Ambrose) did not desire that Ireland should be a nation —that was to say, not a separate nation. He desired that Ireland should be maintained as an integral part of the United Kingdom; that Ireland should not have the plant of an armed revolution. It was really a most important matter, because if they had an Irish Legislative Assembly or this so-called Irish Parliament really governing Ireland, even within the narrow limits indicated by the provisions in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th clauses of the Bill, they might readily have questions arising between the National Assembly or the Local Parliament and the Imperial Parliament. Suppose the questions did arise, a quarrel ensued, and that force were resorted to. It seemed to him the Bill contemplated—and that was the only security he could see for the supremacy of the United Kingdom—an ultimate resort to force. If that were so, and if they gave the Irish Legislature the name of "Parliament," if there were to be a rebellion they could collect their forces, they would acquire belligerent rights all over the world. They would be recognised as the Representatives of a nation, and no nation could refuse to the Parliament of Ireland the recognition of belligerent rights; whereas with the name of a mere Legislative Assembly, it would stand upon the footing of our County Councils, and would neither command the confidence of the people of Ireland to the same extent nor the sympathies of their friends in America and among the other nations of Europe. Exactly on the same ground as he desired to have the word "subordinate" introduced into the Bill as required by the last Amendment, he should resist the present Amendment. It was a matter of prestige of reputation and of influence, and he should vote against this Amendment.
§ MR. MACFARLANE (Argyll)
had listened with some amazement to the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Ambrose), who, whilst he wished to extend the influence of this Irish Parliament to which he was so much opposed, proposed to vote for the insertion of the word "Parliament."
§ MR. MACFARLANE
had misunderstood the hon. Gentleman. One argument the hon. Member had used he did not think much of. He had told them that the late Sir Alexander Cockburn had written, a pamphlet to prove it would be to the serious detriment of the administration of justice in this country if the old-fashioned Law Courts were called the High Court of Justice. He would ask the hon. Gentleman, who was a member of the legal profession himself, if that result had followed?
§ MR. AMBROSE
I expressly mentioned that, in deference to Sir Alexander Cockburn, the name of Queen's Bench—the old name—was retained.
§ MR. MACFARLANE
said, that was so, but the Courts were all embraced under the one title of High Court, and he understood the hon. and learned Member to produce this as a precedent against any change of name here. But a change of name did occur here in calling this a Legislature instead of a Parliament, because the old Irish Legislature was a Parliament. For his part, he did not see any very material difference. He did not see any material question, and he did not think hon. Members from Ireland pressed the point. [Mr. W. REDMOND: We do.] At any rate, he did not think it was a matter which would interfere with the supremacy of this Parliament, which was the only point they had to consider. It would have neither influence on the supremacy of this Parliament, or on the subordinate Parliament, and, for his part, he was indifferent which word was used.
§ MR. FISHER (Fulham)
was afraid that the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken did not understand anybody. He had misunderstood his hon. and learned Friend, and he had entirely misapprehended the opinions of his own friends the Irish Representatives, who sat below the Gangway. For his part, he entirely sympathised with the views of the latter hon. Members. He could not understand 511 the position of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. They seemed to him to he straining at a gnat, whilst they swallowed a camel. They swallowed the whole subordinate camel, whilst they strained at this subordinate gnat. If they professed to trust the Irish people with all these powers, they should also satisfy their proper sentimental objection to having their Parliament called a Legislature, whilst the Imperial Parliament was called a Parliament. He was rather prepared to support the Amendment, but the speech of the Prime Minister had entirely changed his vote. They were asked what, after all, was there in a name? He recollected the case of the Borough of Slough. The inhabitants thought the Borough of Slough was becoming unpopular as a place of residence, and so they proposed to change the name to Upton Royal. Somebody went to the meeting and asked, "What's in a name?" but the people saw a great deal in a name in that case. Without desiring to insult hon. Members below the Gangway, he should desire to adhere to the name Legislature after the speech of the Prime Minister, because he had told them there was a" great deal in this name. He told them that if they called this a Legislature they were going to set up a Parliament. Irishmen would imagine they were to have much larger and extended powers than were given to any Colonial Legislature. Until he heard that speech he thought that as they were going to pass this Bill they might just as well allow the Assembly to be set up in Ireland to be called a Parliament. He hold the opposite view altogether as to the merits of this proposal. He should move in Committee to limit the powers given under Clauses 3 and 4; and if he did not wish to limit them, he should vote for this Amendment, and call this Irish Legislature a Parliament. He held that hon. Gentlemen opposite, who wished to give this Parliament the enormous powers contained in this Bill, ought in consistency to call it by the name of Parliament, which was the proper name for any Body that was to exercise the powers contained in this Bill. But as he wished to limit those powers he should vote for giving that Body such a name as to signify that he wished it to be a kind of 512 glorified County Council, a Body which dealt with gas and water, so as to carry out the pledges made in the Rossendale Election by the Liberal candidate for that constituency—backed up by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler)—who persuaded the electors that the Parliament to be given to Ireland would be a subordinate Parliament with very limited powers, chiefly restricted to dealing with gas and water. He congratulated hon. Members below the Gangway on the position they had taken up that night. They had voted against every single Amendment which had gone in the direction of dubbing their Parliament a subordinate Parliament, and now they had joined to that negative their positive attitude of claiming for the Assembly that was going to be set up in Dublin the name of Parliament, thereby for all time giving evidence that it was their intention to claim for this Body which they were setting up the possession of powers co-ordinate and not subordinate to the present Parliament. He was surprised at the ridiculous position which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite had taken up in that matter, and he really would support the argument of the Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond)—though not by his vote —and ask them to be a little consistent in this matter, and whilst willing to give the Irish people de facto powers, also to humour their natural and proper sentiment, and give them the name they desired for themselves.
§ MR. STOREY (Sunderland)
said, they were in a position in this Parliament they never were in before. An hon. Member had just spoken. He had spoken against an Amendment, and he said he was against it because the Prime Minister was against it, and the great majority of Members on that (the Liberal) side were against it. That being so, the two sides being perfectly agreed, might he ask the hon. Member why he wasted the time of the House? If he had intended to vote for the Amendment he could have understood it; but if the hon. Member's only object was to spend a little time, then he must come to the conclusion that, what- 513 ever other men might be, the hon. Member was not a serious politician. The hon. Member was not a Conservative politician, because the proud boast of the Conservatives in this country had been, amongst others, that by their speeches, their votes, and their conduct they had dignified that Imperial House; and the hon. Member's way of adding to the dignity of debate and efficiency of Parliament, when he was against a proposal which most of them were against, was to spend time in irrelevant trivialities. He (Mr. Storey) was one of those who would gladly vote for calling this House a Parliament, or anything else. It did matter to him what they called the thing. What he wanted to know was, What was the thing? The thing was this: It was a Body elected by the people which should control the local affairs of Ireland without interference from the | Imperial Parliament; and that being the thing, he did not trouble his head about what they called it. If his hon. Friend who moved the Amendment would prefer the term "Parliament," he also had no objection to say he preferred it. He found this was the position of affairs in the House—that the great majority of the Liberal Party were prepared to vote the thing with a certain name. The great majority of the Tory Party, upon the advice of their Leader, for other reasons were still prepared to adopt the name, and therefore they had three-fourths of the Members of the House who were prepared to adopt the name. And then he came to his friends from Ireland. What was their position? He had known them a great many years. He stood by their side in days when it was not the fashion of hon. Members opposite (the Opposition) to speak so respectfully of them as they were compelled to do now.
§ MR. STOREY
said, suppose they admitted that? His point was this: These hon. Members had compelled from both sides of the House attention to their views; and those hon. Members who had thus gone through the valley of humiliation and trouble year after year, until they had come into a triumphant 514 position in that House and could command attention, he always know to be men of sound sense who looked at the main point, and did not trouble themselves about trivialities. If he interpreted their view on this little matter it was this: that the House might call the thing by what name they liked. [Mr. W. REDMOND: "No, no."] His hon. Friend was not as accurate as he usually was. He wanted to distinguish between the hon. Member who had taken up a position behind the Tory Party and the hon. Members below the Gangway.
§ MR. STOREY
said, no, he must do the hon. Member the justice to say he never was the slave of any Party; but it was possible for a man, without being that and without knowing it, to be the cat's-paw of a Party. He would ask hon. Members from Ireland, below the Gangway, were they content to accept the Assembly under whatever name it was called? If they were, he was prepared to join with them, and to vote for the measure as it stood. The Liberal Party and the Tory Party were both agreed, but for different reasons, that "Legislature" was the proper word; and the Irish Members, speaking for their country, said they were content to take the measure with the word "Legislature" in it. [An hon. MEMBER: They have not spoken.] His hon. Friend behind him said they had not spoken yet, and he had no doubt the hon. Member would be very glad if everyone of them would get up and speak. But in that House they spoke in two ways: articulately sometimes and inarticulately, and by their votes, and other of his hon. Friends, though inarticulately, had intimated that they were content to accept this word "Legislature." That being so, what were they wasting the time of the House for? He was prepared, as an English Radical, to vote for this particular word "Legislature" and to Note against the word "Parliament," because he well knew that under whatever name they might chose to describe it when the Irish got the Bill and got the 515 Assembly, it would be the Parliament of the Irish people.
§ MR. V. GIBBS (Herts, St. Alban's)
commented on the fact that the lion. Member who had last spoken had complained of another hon. Member wasting the time of the House and had then proceeded to take precisely the same course which he criticised another for taking. The hon. Member (Mr. Storey) had also made reference to the hon. Member, perhaps he might say his hon. Friend, the hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond). Till the hon. Member asked him to withdraw the term "hon. Friend" he should not do so. He was entirely and absolutely opposed to the hon. Member for East Clare, who had done him the honour of interrupting him several times when he disapproved of his observations, but he did not see why the hon. Member should be represented by hon. Members opposite as being in any way connected with them (the Opposition) because he sat on those Benches. The House seemed to him entirely disarranged because of hon. Gentlemen sitting on one side and voting on the other. He did not see, therefore, why they should object to any isolated case that occurred.
Stanhope rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. V. GIBBS
said, he opposed the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond), for he could not help feeling that the substitution of the word "Parliament" for "Legislature" was only another step towards establishing still more firmly in the eyes of the Irish people the independence of the Irish Legislature, of the Imperial Parliament, which they on that side of the House would never agree to.
§ MR. JOHN E. REDMOND (Waterford, City)
said, he was one of those who thought that the Debate on this Amendment should not be prolonged very much. 516 But he was not disposed to agree that the matter was as trivial a one as it had been described to be by some hon. Members who had taken part in the discussion. He had listened, as it was his duty and his pleasure to listen, with the greatest attention to the speech made by the Prime Minister, and he had also listened to the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman earlier in the evening—a speech which was still ringing in his ears. Considering the sympathy for Ireland and Irish aspirations with which the first speech was imbued, he confessed to the disappointment which he felt at the second one. This Amendment, if carried, could not affect in any way the status or privileges of either the Imperial or the Irish Parliament. The Imperial Parliament would remain in possession of the same full and unimpaired supremacy. The Irish Assembly—call it what they would for the moment—would not have its powers increased or extended in the smallest degree. But there could be no question at all that in the word "Parliament" there was more to sensitive feelings of the Irish people —more comprehended —than in the word "Legislature." An hon. Member had said that this Amendment was intended to prolong and perpetuate the tradition of Grattan's Parliament. If by that it was conveyed that they intended to transform the new Assembly into an Assembly governed by analogy in principle with Grattan's Parliament, the hon. Member was utterly wrong; but if he meant that this was to be an expression of the desire of the Irish people in their future Government to perpetuate the tradition they had cherished for so long of the old Irish Parliament, then the hon. Member was right. By showing respect to that tradition they could not in the remotest degree weaken the power of England, and it was a respect which He claimed from every hon. Member who supported the Bill. He had listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey) with great interest. He remembered with the keenest gratitude that, as he had said that evening, he was on the side of Ireland when Ireland had few friends on either side of the House. The hon. Member expressed his preference for the word "Parliament" over "Legislature," 517 or as against it; and if that were his preference, be claimed the hon. Member's vote on this occasion. His argument was fallacious. He said that there were certain preferences for names on different sides of the House, and then he said that the Irish Members had a- certain preference for the Hill as it stood, and in favour of the name already given. Well, he (Mr. Redmond) was not going to pretend that he spoke in the name of the great body of the Nationalist Representatives of Ireland. He made no claim to that, but he did not hesitate to express his opinion that no Nationalist Member would rise in that House and say that the mass of the Irish people preferred the word "Legislature" to the word "Parliament." This was in one sense a small matter; but they were in Committee discussing the Bill, and he thought it was a matter that ought to command the sympathy and respectful attention of the gentlemen who wore Home Rulers in the House. They were only at the commencement of the Committee stage. It had been noticed by the House that the Irish Nationalists had placed very few Amendments indeed on the Notice Paper; and he thought it might be taken for granted by those who had brought the Bill forward that no section of Irish Nationalists would play into the hands of the deadly enemies of the measure either by prolonging discussion or by profitless discussion on trivial points. There were some Irish Nationalists in the House who, speaking for a great body of electors and non-electors in their country, did not believe this was such a trivial matter as it was represented to be. He put the claim on the ground of patriotism, believing that a large section of Irish Nationalists would take it as a gratification and as a most welcome concession if the Prime Minister were to act in the spirit, of the speech which he made early in the evening. He had listened to that speech with the greatest pride and gratitude. What they asked for could not, as he had said, lead to any curtailment of the rights of the Imperial Parliament or any extension of the rights of the Irish Parliament. To agree to the Amendment would be a small concession to a sentiment—a sentiment that no man living knew better than the Prime Minister. 518 It was a wholesome and a healthy sentiment which ought to be cultivated, which would continue to live, and which would inevitably be apparent —upon which would depend the success or failure of the government of Ireland by the Body they sought to create. He most respectfully asked the Government and the Prime Minister to adopt a more conciliatory attitude. He was securing no value to his own country by adhering to his present position; by yielding he would be making a concession which would be most valuable, and which would be received with gratitude, and which, granted as it would be at the commencement of the Committee proceedings, would augur well for the future progress of the Bill.
THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MOKLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
I can assure my hon. and learned Friend that the Government sympathise with the sentiment to which he has given expression. We agree that there ought to be the least possible curtailment of concession in matters obstructing or impeding the flow of wholesome and healthy National sentiment. I have never doubted that the foundation of the case for Home Rule is that we should provide a Constitutional Organisation through which that wholesome and healthy National sentiment could find expression. But, in considering this Amendment, we have to look at all the circumstances that surround it, and those circumstances are well-known, not only to my hon. Friend and the Mover of the Amendment, but to all hon. Members, wherever they might sit, who desire the success of the Bill. The hon. Gentleman has admitted that this change of name from "Legislature" to "Parliament" would not concede one single atom of power to an Irish Government, or alter the powers and prerogatives to this Parliament. It is clear, therefore, that this difference of opinion arises on no point of substance in the argument now being carried on. There is no point of substance or power lost to an Irish Legislature or Executive by calling it "Legislature" instead of "Parliament." The Government have to survey the whole range of circumstances that 519 affect the reception of the Bill. In order to satisfy a sentiment which I thoroughly respect, and which I should desire to satisfy even in matters of nomenclature alone, but not to gain anything substantial either in prerogative or privilege, the Government are asked to awaken jealousies and to arouse susceptibilities which would undoubtedly make the progress of our policy more difficult. [Opposition cheers.] Hon. Gentlemen sitting opposite, as they show by their demonstrations of opinion, do not understand the realities of the Irish Question. I will undertake to say that, with the exception of a few hon. Gentlemen whom I saw sitting on the Front Bench opposite—hon. Gentlemen there know nothing whatever about the matter, and I can say that I have never seen at Question time—[Cries of "Oh!"]—or upon Motions for Adjournment, or in any other part of the Proceedings of the House, any indication that those hon. Gentlemen have a real knowledge of what the right hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Courtney) calls the real facts of Irish life as contradistinguished from Parliamentary life. But I will return to the argument. The point is: whether, for the satisfaction of a sentiment which those on the Government side of the House respect, you are going, without any substantial gain in any point, to arouse jealousies and susceptibilities which, however unreason- able and foundationless they may be, would still interfere with the progress of the policy which would really concede to Ireland all those claims which her Representatives now demand. I would point out to hon. Gentlemen like the hon. and, learned Member who has just spoken that the word "Parliament" in Irish history, except from the point of view of Nationality—and I cordially recognise its importance from that point of view—the word "Parliament" does not convey the idea of a Legislative Body with anything like the powers which the Legislature constituted under this Bill will possess. Who in this House does not know that throughout the whole of the 18th century, until 1782, the Irish Parliament worked under the fetters of the famous Poyning's Act? That law enacted that no Bill should be brought before the Irish Parliament until it had received the sanction—first, of the Irish 520 Privy Council, and then of the Privy Council in London. The Legislature that is now proposed to be established will be under no such fetters. Then there was Grattan's Parliament; but will anybody contend that Grattan's Parliament gave the Irish people such control over their own laws and destinies as this Bill gave to them?
MR. J. MORLEY
The franchise of that day! What has the franchise to do with it? The noble Lord, unlike hon. Gentlemen behind him, really knows a great deal about Irish history, and I was quite astonished that the noble Lord should have fastened upon the point of the franchise as a point of difference between Grattan's Parliament and the Legislature now proposed to be constituted. Has he forgotten that under Grattan's Parliament Ministers were nominated and appointed, not by that Body, but by the British Ministers, and that they spoke and acted under the control and direction of the British Ministers, and that the Executive was to all intents and purposes a British Executive?
MR. J. MORLEY
Well, I will refer the noble Lord to a book with which, no doubt, he is well acquainted—Dr. Ball's book upon The Irish Legislative Assemblies, and he will find there that under Grattan's Parliament the Executive was not what the Bill proposed to constitute — namely, an Executive responsible to the Irish Legislative Body —but an Executive appointed by and entirely responsible to British Ministers.
§ LORD R. CHURCHILL
The condition referred to was that Irish Ministers, though appointed by the sanction of British Ministers, took the side of the Irish Parliament.
MR. J. MORLEY
I entirely doubted that, and I will submit this proposition on the authority of the former Lord Chancellor of Ireland (Dr. Ball), that the Irish Ministers spoke and acted 521 under the control of the British Ministers and went out of Office, not when they got a hostile vote from the Irish Chamber, but when the British Ministers disapproved. I will not, however, prolong the controversy; but I will challenge the noble Lord to meet me now or any period on that point. I submit to my hon. Friend that, in pressing this Amendment, he is pressing for language which would represent a sentiment that would convey erroneous ideas as to the true policy of this Bill, and in agreeing with him we should be possibly sacrificing the substance for something that was not far from being the shadow.
§ SIR E. CLARKE (Plymouth)
The hon. and learned Member for Waterford has put forward the first claim that, so far as I know, has been made on behalf of the Representatives of Ireland with respect to this Bill. He has claimed that the word "Legislature" should be struck out, and the word "Parliament" put in; and the Committee has heard from the Chief Secretary, following the Prime Minister, why it is that the Government are not prepared on this point to yield to the sentiments of the Irish Members. The Chief Secretary has said that the reason why the alteration is not accepted is that it would arouse jealousies and susceptibilities——
MR. J. MORLEY
The reasons for not accepting it were explained fully by the Prime Minister, and my speech was intended to supplement that speech.
§ SIR E. CLARKE
I, of course, accept the statement of the Chief Secretary that his reasons must be taken in connection with, and supplementary to, the reasons given by the Prime Minister. As to the reasons given as his own by the Chief Secretary why the Nationalist Members should not go to a Division upon this point, it is desirable that those reasons should be examined. The right hon. Gentleman said that to alter the words would be to arouse jealousies and susceptibilities. Whose jealousies and susceptibilities? In 1886, as in 1893, the cardinal proposition and the whole centre and scope of the Bill was to establish in Ireland a Parliament 522 with an Executive responsible to that Parliament. Why is it, that the Ministry has banished the word "Parliament" from every part of the Bill, and that they everywhere speak of Acts of Parliament as distinguished from Irish Acts? Why is there this careful abandonment of the idea of a Parliament? Is it historical, or is it because of Parliamentary convenience and of the necessities of the case? I do not think that the historical reason is a good one. I agree that up to 1782 the Parliament of Ireland, as it is called, was limited and controlled in such a fashion that it did not represent what we now take to be a Parliament, and I remember that in 1886 I exposed myself to the anger of hon. Members below the Gangway, because I said that up to 1782 Ireland practically had no Parliament at all. I do not call that a Parliament which requires to have every part of its work initiated by a power outside itself, and which could carry no measure into law without the concurrence of the officials of another country. But when Grattan's Parliament was established, surely the right hon. Gentleman has not forgotten the claims which Grattan made for his Parliament, and that memorable speech in which Grattan congratulated the Parliament of Ireland upon the triumph they had won. There were five points which Grattan enumerated in that great speech as the claims which he made and obtained on behalf of the Irish nation as privileges belonging to their Parliament—and not one of those privileges is given by the present Bill. I cannot enumerate them all just now; but you remember, I am sure, that one was to get rid of the perpetual Mutiny Bill, and another was to get rid of the appeal to the Privy Council in England. What I want to point out is this. I think the Government are right in calling the Body they propose to set up a Legislature, and not a Parliament, and I hope that we shall support them in that, because this body you are about to establish has not one of the five privileges which Grattan asserted for the Irish Parliament. It is limited and controlled in every direction; and we hope to be able to limit and control it still further. We agree with the Government, and will vote for them on this occasion, precisely because, if we were once to accept the 523 word "Parliament," we should be accepting that which we believe it would be our duty never to establish in Ireland —a Body having in itself the constituent parts, the faculties, and the power of a Legislative Assembly such as is generally understood. We should put it out of the power of Parliament to limit to any important extent the powers of this Body. But I come back to this point about the jealousies and susceptibilities, and I cannot understand what the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary has put before us. On that point I press one question—Whose jealousies and susceptibilities is it that, by calling this a Legislature instead of a Parliament, you will appease? There must be some object who is susceptible. The Irish Members I can quite understand are, or ought to be, susceptible in this matter. They want a Parliament, and they will doubt the goodwill of the Government when they decline to give to the Body they wish to establish the traditional designation. But the Chief Secretary for Ireland says that the Opposition do not understand what these jealousies and susceptibilities are, because—and this is a curious phrase—we do not understand "the realities of the Irish situation." Does that mean the Irish situation in Ireland, or the Irish situation in this House? It is possible that some of us do not properly understand the Irish situation in Ireland; but there are on this Front Opposition Bench hon. Gentlemen who, by their own responsibility in Ireland and by their own administration of affairs in Ireland, probably know almost as much about the Irish situation in Ireland as the Chief Secretary himself. I do not think that it is the Irish situation in Ireland that we do not know, but the Irish situation in the House. We are hoping, patiently hoping, to be able, at some time or other, to pierce the gloom in this matter, and to be able to see through the relations which are supposed now to exist between the Irish Party and the Government. The right hon. Gentleman gave a hint to his Irish friends, and suggested that they should not divide. It is possible that they will take that hint and obey that suggestion, and will not embarrass the Government at this point in the discussion. It will be very interesting to see how many of them will 524 have the courage in this House to stand by the declarations they have made outside, and to claim for the Irish people that they shall have a Parliament. We have given fair warning why it is we mean to vote against the Amendment. It is for this reason—that if we can prevent them from calling this a Parliament we shall conceive ourselves able, and shall try to limit in every direction the scope and the action of the Body in Ireland, so as to make it, in our view, even supposing the Bill should pass, as little harmful to the interests of this country as may possibly be. Probably the Irish Members will not approve of these reasons. It will probably induce them at the last moment to give way, and not to exhibit their weakness in the matter. At any rate, there is no ambiguity in our action; and we shall listen with curiosity to hear, on the later stages of the discussion, the explanations as to jealousies and susceptibilities which make at this moment the Government so anxious.
§ Mr. William Redmond rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ LORD R. CHURCHILL
As to the nature of Grattan's Parliament, and the substantial difference between that Parliament and the Legislature which the Bill proposes to constitute, may I read an extract from The Irish Legislative Assemblies of Dr. John Ball—Grattan at once rose to congratulate the House of Commons and the people of Ireland upon their recovered freedom, and to announce in the name of the nation the terms which were demanded in order to satisfy its requirements. These terms were:—(1) Repeal of the perpetual Mutiny Bill and dependence of the Irish Army on the Irish Parliament; (2) the abolition of the legislative power of the Council; (3) the abrogation of the claim of England to make laws for Ireland; (4) the exclusion of the English House of Peers and of the English King's Bench from any judicial authority in Ireland; (5) the restoration of the Irish Peers to their final judicature—the independence of the Irish Parliament in its sole and exclusive Legislature.In a foot-note Dr. Ball added—The speech regards the claim of the British Parliament to legislate for Ireland as withdrawn 'by operation of treaty, not of mere grace and condescension,' and the withdrawal as being, 525 therefore, irrevocable. 'England and Ireland,' Grattan says, 'treat as ex æquo.' Substantially Grattan's terms were afterwards conceded.
MR. J. MORLEY
The noble Lord has read out something which has absolutely no bearing whatever on the point of controversy. I was arguing that Grattan's Parliament did not receive the powers which this Bill will confer in a most vital respect—namely, the Executive. I referred the noble Lord to a certain volume, and I will read the passage he ought to have read to himself. This was the passage the noble Lord ought to have read to himself—When the legislation of this period is considered it is to be kept in mind that it did not extend to the administrative or executive departments of government in Ireland. The Irish Ministers were, and continued to be, appointed and liable to removal by the British Ministers, and spoke and acted subject to their control and direction. An adverse vote, even a Vote of Censure, of the Irish House of Commons did not necessarily remove the former from Office, while an adverse vote of the British House of Commons, if it led to the resignation of the British Ministers, was in most instances followed by the resignation of the Irish.Mr. William Redmond rose in his place, and claimed to move "That the Question be now put"; but the Chairman again withheld his assent, and declined to put that Question.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I am not going to keep the Committee from a Division, and I have no intention of taking part in the interesting discussion which has been going on, and which I think may be designated as "tossing the ball across the Table." But I rise to say that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary throws a very interesting light upon the policy of Her Majesty's Government with reference to the proceedings under this Bill. The Chief Secretary has told us that the Government sympathise with the national sentiment which is expressed in this Amendment, and thereupon they are going to vote against it. At an earlier period of the evening my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister appeared to sympathise with, and expressed his concurrence in, the views of those who 526 desire that this Parliament, in Ireland shall be a subordinate Legislature, and thereupon the Government voted against the insertion of words in the Bill to carry out that view. And so it goes on. It appears to me to be the policy of the Government that whenever they have in their inmost mind a clear conviction of a policy they vote against its expression in the Bill itself. I have only to say as to the Amendment before the Committee that I entirely concur in what has been said by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Plymouth and the hon. Member for the Partick Division. The latter has truly said that under the Bill the Legislature in Dublin will be a Parliament with practically all the powers 6f a Parliament, and is desirous that a spade should be called a spade, that what is a Parliament in fact should be called a. Parliament in name. But I must remind the hon. Member that we have not passed the Bill at present. The hon. Member for Dumfries has complained that the Opposition are not, apparently, inclined to join him and his hon. Friends in amending the Bill. That is an entire mistake. We are prepared to amend the Bill, and if we can only succeed in amending it according to our desires I am quite sure that after that proceeding has been completed no one in the House will pretend to call the body which will be created in Dublin a Parliament. I think that, under these circumstances, it would be premature to anticipate the discussion by accepting the present Amendment. I am hopeful of making converts in the course of the lengthy discussions that are about to take place; and, in the meantime, I should much prefer that this Parliament should be called a Legislature until we have settled whether it shall be a Parliament, a Legislature, or a Council.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 466; Noes 40.—(Division List, No. 75.)
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
begged to move the next Amendment, to omit the words "and of two Houses, the Legislative Council," the effect of which would be to withdraw from the Bill the provision for setting up a Second Chamber. They had to regard this in the light of 527 the fact, in the first place, that the Bill was proposed by a Government a large number of whom did not believe in a Second Chamber at all. That was certain, as far as the Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary for Ireland were concerned. He was forced to the conclusion, therefore, that the Government had inserted the Second Chamber in the Bill, not because they approved of it, but from the standpoint of its being a safeguard for the minority of the Irish people. A Second Chamber might be defended on the plea of revision, or on the ground that it insured delay in all doubtful legislation. Now, whatever claim a Second Chamber might have in theory, nobody imagined that the proposed Chamber could claim to be co-ordinate with 'the Representatives of the people directly elected to express the people's views. The Second Chamber proposed by the Bill did not seem to be proposed either for the purpose of revision or delaying doubtful legislation. It was sought to be created expressly to protect the Irish minority; and the question arose whether the protection afforded by the Chamber was a real or a sham protection, and on that question he proposed to join issue with the Government to-night. This brought him to the actual proposal of the Bill. The same idea was in the Bill of 1886, but expressed in different words. It was then proposed to establish separate Orders sitting and voting in the one Chamber. That idea was not original, as it had a place in the Constitution of the Irish Episcopal Church. But that idea apparently had been given up, and in this Bill they were to have two Chambers, one with 103 elected Members, and the other with 48 Members, elected on the restricted franchise of over £20 valuation. Now, he had looked very carefully into the Schedule under which the 48 Members of the Legislative Council were to be elected, and he was of opinion that the Unionist Party would not secure more than 20 votes. They would probably secure three in Antrim, two in the Borough of Belfast, one in County Carlow, one in County Cavan, one in the City of Cork, one in County Donegal, three in County Down, two in County Dublin, one in Fermanagh, one in Lon- 528 donderry, one in County Monaghan, one in County Tyrone, and one in County Wicklow. They were met by the argument that they ought not to look upon the Irish Legislature as consisting of two Parties —Unionists and Nationalists. They were constantly being told that the Irish Parliament would be split up into fragments, and that the Unionists would govern the whole thing. They were told that the hon. Member for North-East Cork would probably lead a Socialistic wing of the Irish Party. He supposed that the hon. Member for North Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) might be taken as representing the clerical wing of the Party. Probably the hon. Member for North Kerry (Mr. Sexton) would lead the Conservatives, and someone else would look after the interests of the Party of Plunder. Everyone knew that this was the kind of argument put forward almost every day on public platforms; but it was an argument which ignored the governing fact that Ireland was not a country of cities or towns. There were only 16 Members out of the 103 Representatives of Ireland who sat for urban constituencies. The remainder were elected solely by small tenant farmers. He believed, therefore, that the only Parties that would come to the front in an Irish Parliament would be one composed of agrarian Members. There would, under these circumstances, be no room for the differences that the Gladstonian Party frequently asserted would take place. He asked the Committee to look at the electorate and who would compose it.
MR. J. MORLEY
I am extremely sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but I rise to a point of Order. I wish to know, Mr. Mellor, whether it is right upon this Amendment to discuss the composition of the Chamber and the electorate? Is not that a question that will come up on a later clause?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
On the point of Order, Mr. Mellor, may I venture to point out to you before you give your ruling that the words of the clause are "the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly," distinctly implying that the Legislative Council contemplated is the one afterwards provided? 529 Therefore it is impossible to discuss the propriety of the Amendment without keeping in view what the Legislative Council as provided in the Bill can be.
I think it is impossible to discuss the expediency of a Legislative Council without considering what its composition is to be. At the same time, it is very undesirable to anticipate the discussion of another clause in the Bill. All I can say now is that I think it is quite in Order to refer to the composition of the Legislative Council.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, he was arguing the question from the safeguard standpoint; and unless he could show that the Legislative Council proposed in the Bill was not likely to be a proper safeguard, he did not see that there was any necessity for moving an Amendment at all upon the point. He was extremely sorry that the right hon. Gentleman should have intervened in a matter of that kind, as he (Mr. Russell) did not usually make long speeches and was very seldom ruled out of Order. He must ask the Committee, with reference to the question of the Second Chamber being a safeguard, to consider the character of the electorate. The qualification was to be a £20 valuation. He asked the Committee to take the counties of Clare, Kerry, Cork, and Limerick, and to observe that, as a simple matter of fact, the men who would be the constituency of the Legislative Council would be the very men who, by their cowardice in regard to juries, were now reducing those counties to absolute anarchy. It was absolute folly for the Government to expect the Committee to believe that a Council elected under such a qualification was at all likely to prove a safeguard to the Irish minority. By making a careful analysis of the Legislative Council, it would be seen that the Unionist Party would be in a minority in it as well as in the Lower Chamber. He was not against the principle of Second Chambers. One strong argument in their favour was given by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Bryce) in his book on The American Constitution. The right hon. Gentleman had there pointed out that every State of 530 the American Union had adopted such Chambers; and that, at all events, would go to show that they were considered essential institutions even in that democratic country. A Second Chamber was proposed by the Government, however, not on principle at all, for the men who had proposed it did not believe in Second Chambers. He was driven to the conclusion that it was inserted as a safeguard for the minority; and, as one of the Representatives of the minority, he told the Government that he did not consider it a safeguard at all. He regarded it as the very opposite, and he asserted that the Government were deceiving the English people when they held it out as a safeguard. Safeguards were not necessarily illusory. The supremacy, for instance, was one of the safeguards in the Bill, and if the Unionists had had their way they would have made it an effective safeguard. They had not had their way, and the result was that it remained entirely illusory and non-effective. "He was driven to inquire whether the Second Chamber was as illusory a safeguard as the supremacy. If he saw the slightest hope of amending the provisions with regard to it, if he saw any independence on the Ministerial side of the House, if he saw the slightest desire to make the safeguards effective, he should have a little more confidence in the proposal. As he saw no chance of this, he, as one of the Representatives of the Irish minority, told the Government that he did not look upon the Legislative Council as a safeguard. They considered 'that, instead of its being a safeguard, it would simply deceive the British people. Numbers of Englishmen would point to the Second Chamber as safeguarding the Irish minority when it really did nothing of the kind. Had any Member of the Irish minority ever asked for this illusory safeguard? He ventured to assert that no speech could be pointed to in which any such demand or request was made. They had always said that if hon. Gentlemen who were, under the Bill, to become their rulers were to be trusted, then the safeguards were an insult to them: while, if they were not to be trusted, then they might depend upon it that a mere paper safeguard would not control them. Hon. Members unions; the supporters of the 531 Government were against Second Chambers on principle, and yet they were going to vote for this clause. They were fighting against the House of Lords here, and saying it must be "ended," because it could not be "mended"; and, nevertheless, they proposed to set up a pinchbeck House of Lords in Ireland.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
A House elected by those jurors in Clare and Limerick who were visited by the mob before the Assizes, and intimidated from doing their duty. Nothing was more certain than that if the House of Lords was to be ended here a Second Chamber could not endure in Ireland. Therefore, hon. Members ought to have the responsibility of their convictions and vote against this proposition of the Bill. He was not arguing against Second Chambers on principle; but he was contending that this proposed Second Chamber would not prove a safeguard at all, and that the Bill would be better without it than with it.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 12, to leave out the words "and of two Houses, the Legislative Council and."—(Mr. T. W. Russell.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'two Houses' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said, it was difficult to understand what the hon. Member who last spoke required. At one moment he said he did not want this safeguard at all, and at another he said he did. According to him, they had been occupied discussing a paper safeguard for the last two nights. Now, if he really required a safeguard, would he be good enough to enlighten the Committee, and tell them precisely in what way he wished to arrange a Second Chamber which should be a guarantee for the minority? If his hon. Friend were consistent he would put forward Amendments not to destroy the Bill, but to benefit the Bill. But his hon. Friend was simply following the orders given him by the Leader of the Opposition. He had moved an Amendment simply with the object of destroying the 532 Bill or of obstructing its discussion. He had himself intended to propose an Amendment precisely similar. To superficial observers it might appear that there was inconsistency in putting down an Amendment and voting against it. But in this particular case it was only an alteration in the incidents of procedure with respect to the Bill. He was himself in favour of one Chamber. But that was not a principle; it was rather, he might say, an opinion—a perfectly unbiassed opinion. Neither one Chamber nor two Chambers were necessarily democratic. There were democratic countries in which there were two Chambers, and democratic countries in which there was one Chamber. In every State of the United States there were two Chambers. Would hon. Gentlemen deny that those States were under a democratic system of government? In Norway, which was a democratic country, they had practically one Chamber which divided itself into two. The Chamber was elected by the same franchise, and when it came together it elected 30 Members which formed the Upper Chamber, and when there was a difference of opinion between the two they met together. The plan of the Bill set up a Chamber which could be said to be neither two nor one, or it might be said to be both two and one. Therefore it seemed to him upon consideration that a person in favour of two Chambers or of one might equally vote in favour of either. A Legislative Assembly and a Legislative Council had to be elected. They would sit in separate rooms, and if they disagreed—and with his knowledge of his hon. Friends opposite he thought it possible that they would disagree—they at once ceased to be two Chambers, and the ultimate decision would be the result of equal voting in one Chamber. If that were proposed for England he would be against it, as he would regard it as a very cumbrous mode of legislation. But the majority of the Irish Members were in favour of it; if they thought that they were so impulsive that it would be better that a Bill should be read six times instead of three—namely, three times in one Chamber and three times in the other—well, then, let them have two Chambers. It was a matter which concerned the Irish Members; 533 it was not a matter of principle. But the real question which concerned Radicals was, how was this Second; Chamber to be elected? He certainly did hold the principle, not only as a pious opinion, but as a pious principle, that every legislator, if he had the right to legislate for his fellow-citizens, should be elected by the vote of his fellow-citizens. That was what Radicals had been struggling for during the last two years. They were in favour of one man one vote. If they agreed to the Legislative Council as proposed in the Bill they would give one man one vote and another man two votes. As a Radical, it would be impossible for him to vote in favour of the proposal that only persons with a £20 qualification should vote for a Member of the Legislative Council. The hon. Member said he moved his Amendment because he was afraid he should not be able to amend the Legislative Council. He trusted himself that he should be able to amend this particular clause. Some of them had hopes that this Bill would lead to Home Rule all round. They did not want this question of the absolute right of the individual to vote—one man one vote—to be prejudiced by giving to Ireland a Legislature in which the principle was laid down that one of its branches was to be elected by a high property qualification. They did not believe in any such safeguards. They did not wish to deprive the rich man of his vote, but they objected to giving a man a double vote. He had stated his views, and he believed he had given perfectly sound reasons why he intended to vote against the Amendment. He intended to vote as a matter of strategy. If he thought the House and the majority of the Irish Members were in favour of one House instead of the proposed arrangement, he should certainly have pushed forward his own Amendment. What the Amendment sought to establish could not be said to be an essentially democratic principle; but it was a democratic principle that, whether there were one or two Chambers, all the persons sitting in them should be elected by an equal popular vote.
§ *MR. DUNBAR BARTON (Armagh, Mid.)
said, that if he might quote the words of the last speaker he would say 534 that, as a superficial observer of modern Radical strategy, he had watched with interest the spectacle of the hon. Member for Northampton letting down buckets full of principle and drawing up buckets full of pious opinions from the inexhaustible wells of truth. With regard to the Amendment, he would appeal to his Unionist friends on both sides of the House to vote for it, and thus to stamp with their condemnation one of the grossest and most treacherous shams ever brought forward. Never before did a Government so determine to deceive the British people, or to humbug the electorate with false safeguards. Never was Parliament offered a more treacherous, deceptive measure. It was most unworthy treatment of the Irish Loyalists. In the Bill of 1886 an Upper Chamber was proposed in which the Irish Representative Peers were to sit. It was also proposed to require a property qualification for elected Members and a £25 franchise for electors. Why had the Peers and the property qualification been omitted in this Bill and the franchise reduced from £25 to £20? What was the reason of this rapid fall in so short a period of six years. If these things were to be regarded as safeguards, what had occurred during the past six years to make the Government less careful of the interests of the Irish Loyalists? The Committee had already been informed what the £20 franchise in Ireland meant. In 1871 the rating for common jurors was fixed at £20, but so disgraceful was their conduct——
MR. T. M. HEALY
I rise to a point of Order. I wish to ask you whether the hon. Member is in Order in referring to the common jurors in Ireland?
§ *MR. DUNBAR BARTON
said, he was only referring to it as an exemplification of what the franchise meant. It ought to be known that by the institution of this Second Chamber the Irish Loyalists would not be protected. The rating for common jurors in Ireland was fixed at £20, and so disgraceful was their discharge of their duties that Parliament found it necessary to raise the qualifica- 535 tion for common jurors to £30, and, subsequently, to £40. The very Government now in Office, when they were previously in power, found it necessary to substitute special for common juries in the case of criminal trials. If they could not trust the common jurors to give just verdicts in criminal cases, how could they trust them to elect this Second Chamber? The persons who possessed the £20 qualification were the small farmers in Ireland, who were the most under the control of the Irish priesthood, and the consequence would be that the Upper House would be a priest-ridden body, and the House would be a priests' House. He would sooner trust to the Irish democracy than to the priests. Such a House would be exclusive without being select, and it would not be a House of Lords, but a House of Snobs, as it had already been described in Ireland. It would have all the vices of an Upper House, and none of its usefulness. It was an insult to all the Upper Chambers in the world to compare them with such a House, because instead of being dignified, admirable, and useful, it would be creeping, mean, and contemptible. There was no comparison between the American Senate and this miserable House which it was proposed to set up. There were no limits of ago or of citizenship provided in the Bill as qualification for seats in this Upper House, as there were in the case of the American Senate; there was nothing to prevent an alien becoming a Member, and he believed and dreaded that, like the Lower House and Irish society generally, it might be overrun and overwhelmed by American adventurers and returned Fenians, who, having paid their money, would exact this in return.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON
said, he declined to look at Clause 5, or any other clause. He invited the hon. and learned Gentleman to rise at an early opportunity and take part in the Debate.
§ MR. DUNBAR BARTON
said, he could assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that no countryman of his would put him down for a fool. The hon. and learned Gentleman was the very man they wanted to hear speak on the Bill. He was not a fool—he knew what he meant; was careful about what he said, and therefore they were all anxious to hear his views—not on whether aliens could be Members of the Upper House or not, for that was but a small matter—but on the entire Bill. It had been laid down by a great writer, Hamilton, that the one thing which was desirable for a satisfactory Constitution was that there should be a dissimilarity of genius between the two Houses. In this country we had the hereditary principle in the House of Lords, and the elective principle in the House of Commons. In America, also, the mode of election of the two Houses was entirely different. But what was so deficient in the Upper House proposed in this Bill was that there was no dissimilarity of genius between it and the other House. What was the difference between the modes of election of the two Houses? The Lower House was to be elected on the household franchise, and the Upper House was to be elected, forsooth! on a £20 franchise. Who would regard the opinion of the £20 householder as of greater value than the opinion of the voter for the lower House? They were simply setting up a second elected Chamber, which was hardly different from the Lower Chamber, and whose only function would be to corroborate and to give a false strength to the unjust legislation of the Lower House. It would, therefore, give no protection to anybody in Ireland, and would be of no value to Great Britain. Where did this Council come from? Where did the right hon. Gentleman get this particular safeguard from? He had got safeguards from all parts of the world. He had taken the safeguard as to the supremacy from Canada, the financial safeguards from the Argentine Republic, and some of the safeguards for the loyal minority in Ireland were borrowed from the amendment of the American Constitution, which was applied to negroes. He believed that 537 the safeguard of the Second Chamber had been borrowed from some part of the Australian Colonies, and he had heard that in Australia they had already christened their Council the Kangaroo Council. It was called the Kangaroo Council, partly because of the country of its origin, and partly because it was supposed to have come over in the same steamboat as the boxing kangaroo. But there was this remarkable distinction between the Council and the kangaroo —that that sagacious animal was of some use to his owner, this Second Chamber was more ridiculous than the animal and of no use to anybody. The Irish Loyalists would have none of these fantastic safeguards from all parts of the world. They wanted British safeguards, and if they could not get them they would depend on themselves for protection. It had been said that they had no trust in the people. They trusted the people more than the Government trusted them, and they would rather trust the Irish people, as represented in the Lower Chamber, than this miserable, false Upper House. The Government were trying to humbug the British people. The hon. Member for South Tyrone had said that the Loyalists would obtain seats in the Upper House. He thought the hon. Gentlemen was an optimist. He would only undertake to say that they would gain 10 out of the 20 seats mentioned by the hon. Member. Ulster would gain nothing by the raising of the franchise, because in Ulster the lower they went the more loyal they were. [Laughter.] He meant lower in the social scale. The Radicals who proposed to set up this House of Snobs in Ireland now laughed at an allusion to people in a lower social scale. He challenged anyone to deny that in Ulster they could get more Representatives in the Upper House than in the Lower, because the population in the six counties which returned 19 Members out of 24 was concentrated. They could hardly return more on a higher franchise. Certainly, he did not believe that the men returned on a higher franchise would be one whit more loyal or more Conservative than the men returned on the lower franchise. Therefore, in Ulster they would not be better off on a higher than on a lower franchise. 538 They were, as he had said, concentrated in Ulster. The Loyalists in other parts of Ireland were scattered. They had no right to be reproached because they were scattered. Why were Loyalists in the other Provinces scattered? Because they had been for centuries England's scattered garrison. They had guarded British interests. What was England's strength then was their weakness now. They were now to be handed over to enemies whom they had made in England's cause. He did not know how the Radicals were going to vote on this Amendment. If they voted for this travesty of a Second Chamber, he did not know how they could reconcile such a vote to their consciences, except that it was intended to degrade the principle of a Second Chamber. Indeed, if the Radicals wanted to degrade the principle of the Second Chamber, they would vote for this miserable House. They could not justify their vote on any other ground whatever. The Second Chamber would be no safeguard for the Loyalists. On the contrary, it would be a sham safeguard, and a sham safeguard was a danger in disguise.
§ *MR. HENEAGE (Great Grimsby) moved to report Progress. The Prime Minister gave him a distinct pledge that progress would be made with the North Sea Fisheries Bill, which was the next Order on the Paper, and the ten minutes remaining before midnight was insufficient for another speech on the Amendment before the Committee.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Heneage.)
MR. J. MORLEY
I hope that the Motion will not be pressed. There is still time to continue this discussion on the Amendment, though I admit the importance of the Bill to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred.
§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
I trust the Government will accede to the Motion. They will practically lose no time by so doing, and they will be bringing on a Bill which is of far more importance to the country than the Home Rule Bill.
§ MR. VICARY GIBBS (Herts, St. Albans)
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that it will not be allowed to be taken after 12 o'clock.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
The Government surely cannot expect that the discussion on this Amendment should close this evening. Though an extremely important Amendment has been proposed, not a word has been said with reference to it by the Government. If the Government still resists the Motion to report Progress, I would urge my right hon. Friend to go to a Division.
§ MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)
I cannot understand the position of the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Adjournment of the Debate.
§ MR. ILLINGWORTH
The right hon. Gentleman said he could not finish his speech within the time. But why should he not commence it? I hope, especially after the threat of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, that we shall proceed to a Division on this Motion.
§ *MR. HENEAGE
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not force me to go to a Division. I will only repeat that I had a distinct promise from the Prime Minister that, on the first opportunity, the North Sea Fisheries Bill would be pushed forward.
MR. J. MORLEY
Under the circumstances, and considering the pledge of the Prime Minister with reference to the North Sea Fisheries Bill, as well as on the understanding that the House will make progress with that Bill, I consent to the Motion to report Progress.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.