HC Deb 17 June 1895 vol 34 cc1339-64

On the Resolution— That a sum, not exceeding £74,000 (including a supplementary sum of £6,000) be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1896, for the royal parks and pleasure gardens,"——

*MR. DISRAELI (Cheshire, Altrincham)

said, that he desired to draw attention to the proposal to allow bicycling in Hyde Park at certain hours, to which proposal he very much objected. The proposal had been brought forward in a very surreptitious and secret manner, but he believed that after the rules had been laid upon the Table of the House for 40 days they were to have people caracolling around Hyde Park on bicycles. The fact was that the whole thing was a job between hon. Members and the ladies to whom they were permanently attached or hoped to be permanently attached. It appeared that bicycling was to be allowed in the Park only before Ten o'clock in the morning. For his part he objected to bicycling altogether in Hyde Park, but it was evident that this was class legislation. The richer classes who could perform on bicycles before Ten o'clock in the morning would be allowed to do so; but the poor man, who could only ride a bicycle after his day's work was over, was to be prevented from using it in the park. He objected to bicycles altogether in the Parks, but he thought that everybody ought to have the same opportunites of taking their amusement upon these horrible contrivances, and he therefore moved to reduce the Vote £500, and he hoped that he should meet with the support of all hon. Gentlemen who represented democratic constituencies.


seconded the Motion.


said, that he was not sure that this question, directly arose out of this Vote, but he must remind the hon. Gentleman that at the present moment bicycling was not allowed in Hyde Park, seeing that the rules by which they would be admitted had not yet been laid upon the Table of the House. He would suggest, therefore, to the hon. Gentleman that he should wait until the rules were laid upon the Table, when he might raise a discussion in reference to them.


said, that after what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman. he would ask leave to withdraw his Motion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Resolution agreed to.

On the Resolution— That a sum not exceeding £24,325 be granted to Her Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1896, for the Houses of Parliament Buildings,"—

[Mr. JUSTIN MCCARTHY, Mr. L. P. HAYDEN, and Mr. A. J. BALFOUR rose together. There were loud calls for Mr. Hayden and Mr. Justin McCarthy.]

MR. W. REDMOND rose to Order. He wished to ask whether, in a matter of this kind, the hon. Member who had moved the reduction of the Vote in Committee of Supply, and who had given notice of his intention to move a similar reduction on the Report, was not entitled to move the reduction of the Vote on the Report.


Of course the hon. Gentleman who has given notice of his intention to move a reduction of the Vote will be entitled to make his Motion, but the hon. Gentleman who first catches my eye has the right to speak first.


I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by £500 for the purpose of preventing the erection of a statue, by public money, in or about this House in memory of Oliver Cromwell. Now, even if I were an English Member of this House, and if I were a great admirer of the fame of Oliver Cromwell, I should still object to raise a statue as a national monument to his memory in defiance of the opinion of a large number of Members of this House, who are supposed and admitted to belong to the Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland. I can hardly imagine the possibility, if the Netherlands had continued under the rule of Spain, of the Netherlanders erecting a national monument to the Duke of Alva. The Duke of Alva represented to the population of the Netherlands just the same feelings and memories as Oliver Cromwell represented to the Irish people. He was our most unsympathetic, persistent, determined, and ruthless enemy; every fibre in his heart throbbed against the Irish people, and every fibre in the Irish national heart throbs against his memory. I cannot understand how a Liberal Government, and how above all a Home Rule Government, could find it in their minds to put what we could not help thinking an insult upon the Irish people, by pressing that we should out of our national resources help to erect a statue of Oliver Cromwell in or about the Imperial Chamber of this Parliament. I contend that it is not fair to ask Irish Members of Parliament to join in raising a monument of national recognition to a man, who, above all other men, was the enemy of the Irish race, and of Irish national feeling. I should like to know what would be thought of me if I were in this House—supposing it to be in my legal and constitutional power to do so—to propose that a statue should be erected within the precincts of the Houses of Parliament in the honour of some great Irish leader who fought against Cromwell. What would English Members think, if, for instance, I were to suggest the erection of a monument in or near the Houses of Parliament to Owen Roe O'Neill, who was elected Commander-in-Chief of the Irish national forces against Cromwell, who defeated Cromwell's lieutenants more than once, who, but for his sudden death, might have encountered Cromwell himself when he came over to Ireland, and who might then have changed the whole course of the history of the Irish people. I shall be curious to know how many Liberal Members are going to vote for this outlay of money for the statue of Cromwell, who, I repeat, was the most unsympathetic and the most relentless enemy the Irish race ever had to encounter; and I cannot understand how hon. Members of this House can fail to comprehend that it is a duty, and a sacred duty, for the Irish Members to strenuously oppose any national recognition of a man who was so bitter and so cruel towards the Irish people This question whether Cromwell should have a statue has been raised time after time in my recollection. Everyone must know who has followed the history of Parliament that it has met with opposition—incessant opposition from the Irish Members, and from other Members—Conservative Members of the House of Commons. I am surprised and sorry that the Government should now, in the days when we hope to carry a measure of Home Rule—I am surprised that any Liberal Ministry should have obtruded this Vote on the House, and I can only say that my Friends who act with me give it their strongest opposition. I, therefore move the reduction of the Vote.

*MR. L. P. HAYDEN (Roscommon, S.)

in rising to second the reduction, did not complain of not having been called upon by the Speaker in the first instance, as he took sufficient satisfaction to himself in having raised the question three months ago, and he was glad that he had brought the House together that night to resist the Vote. He believed that the opposition to it had been enormously increased since the Vote of Friday night. All the organs of the Press, with few exceptions, had expressed opposition to it. [Cries of "No!" from the Ministerial Benches] One exception had been the Daily News, which had said that it would be a disgrace to the House of Commons if it refused to vote the money for this statue. He believed, however, that the disgrace would be all the other way, and he believed that the House of Commons would reverse the decision which the Committee arrived at on Friday night, and would refuse a statue to one who behaved so cruelly in Ireland. He did not intend to discuss Cromwell's conduct in England, but if Englishmen insisted on making Irish Members discuss the business of spending the money of this country as well as their own, they would refuse to vote money to glorify the memory of a man whom they would always detest, and whom they had strong reasons for detesting. Although 250 years had passed away, they could not forget that Cromwell's one aim was to have cleared out the Irish people from the Island. He failed to do that. But as long as he left a remnant of that people they would fight English rule, and they would fight that night one of the worst symbols of it which could be suggested. He did not intend to postpone the Division. He only rose to Second the Motion for reduction of the Vote, and hoped that a strong majority would refuse to sanction the spending of this sum.


I have listened to both the speeches of the mover and seconder of this Motion, and considering my position in the Government, I have taken a not unnatural interest in them. My hon. Friend who moved the reduction of this Vote said that he wondered how we so little comprehended the sentiments and feelings of his countrymen as to put a Vote like this on the Table of the House. I think my hon. Friend and the Gentlemen who sit round him will not accuse me at all events of failing to sympathise even with the deepest emotions of his countrymen, but I frankly confess, though I have done my best to make myself at home with the sympathies, sentiments, and yearnings of Irishmen, I myself did not suppose that the fires of two-and-a-half centuries ago still burn with intense heat. That may have been my ignorance, but it is an ignorance I share with my colleagues, and I should say it is shared by hon. Gentlemen opposite. They are not, I presume, going to Vote, as they did the other night, out of sympathy with hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, for the policy of Cromwell, which both the hon. Gentlemen who have spoken to-night have denounced, is in effect the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite. [Loud Opposition cries of "No" and cheers.] I am anxious on this occasion not to make a controversial or polemical speech; but if that were my object I think I could show that Cromwell, the first great Unionist, was the man who closed the doors of the Irish Parliament. [Cheers and Opposition cries of "The English."] I agree with what was said by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House the other night—that, in proposing this Vote we hoped we were making a proposal upon which Members in all parts of the House might agree. Instead of that we find, and it is our duty to recognise, it that gentlemen from Ireland, whose representatives in Ireland, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House said, thought it right to redecorate and reinstitute the statue of King William III., who, I should have thought, was as determined an enemy of their ends as Oliver Cromwell. We supposed that we might look for the same magnanimous and conciliatory temper on this occasion as was shown by the Corporation of Dublin not many years ago in that proceeding. I have never been an admirer of the Irish policy of Cromwell. It was not only stained by what I regard as crime, but it was a political blunder—the greatest blot upon his illustrious name. History must deal with the doings of Cromwell in Ireland, and I cannot doubt that the verdict of history upon these doings will be a condemnation of all that Cromwell did and all that Cromwell aimed at in Ireland. They will remain a dark blot upon his great fame. I do not agree for a moment, however, in what my hon. Friend who moved the reduction of this Vote said when he declared that he thought Cromwell had burning in every fibre of his heart hatred of Ireland. I am bound to say I do not think he had anything of the kind. What Cromwell had in his mind when he was carrying out these ruthless measures of his was the incorporation of Ireland in the United Kingdom. He went the wrong way about it. As had been said, he either confiscated too much, or he exterminated too little. I understand perfectly well the point of view of Gentlemen from Ireland, though I do not sympathise with them. But this Vote is opposed not only by Gentlemen from Ireland, it is opposed by the Conservative Party. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said that he failed entirely to see upon what principle this Vote was proposed. He said— Is it because Cromwell was a great statesman, a figure and a character of great energy and great power? And he asked— Then why do they not propose a statue to Strafford? I will give the right hon. Gentleman the answer in a single expression, the force of which I do not think he or Gentlemen opposite will be able to deny. Cromwell was what Strafford never was, nor any other statesman. Cromwell was for years the head of the State. Cromwell, as the head of the State, was the founder of the naval greatness of the country. [Cries of "Lord Howard" and "Blake."] The foundation of the maritime greatness of the nation was laid in the time of the Commonwealth. [Cries of "Blake."] An hon. Member says "Blake," but Blake was a Cromwellian. Cromwell was not only the founder of the maritime greatness of England; he was the ruler, the titular ruler, and the real ruler, to whom foreign Courts had accredited their representatives and Ambassadors, and who in their turn were only too glad to receive and pay deference to the Ambassadors whom he sent. When the right hon. Gentleman talks of Strafford he entirely ignores the fact that for five years England had as the head of the realm a ruler and a prince who held the head of England higher, who made her power in Europe greater, than it ever was before, and as great as it has ever been since. But then the right hon. Gentleman will. Have you proposed a statue to Cromwell from the point of view of Jingoism? No, not at all, because Cromwell's desire was that the power and the strength of England should be exerted in Europe, not for mere aggrandisement or for mere territorial annexation, but for what he considered, rightly or wrongly, a great moral, political, and even spiritual cause. When the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and the powerful historic Party of all Parties in the world—when they repudiate the notion of recognising in this form of a statue one of the greatest rulers [Some Opposition cries of "Regicide!"] we ever had, one of the greatest statesmen we ever had, I think they are breaking furiously away from the traditions of their Party. [Opposition cries of "Oh!" and laughter.] When intelligent, cultivated, educated persons, whom hon. Gentlemen opposite somewhat pharisaically declare themselves to represent [Opposition, cries of "When?" and "Rosebery!"]—when they take up this position [Cries of "No; Rosebery!"] of refusing to recognise a name which is honoured and revered wherever the English language is spoken [Nationalist cries of "No!"]—leaving out Ireland—when educated, intelligent, cultivated persons who know what English history is, and who recognise the greatness of the greatest names in English history, hear of the attitude of hon. Gentleman opposite, they will, I think, feel very great amazement. But I know quite well what a storm we expose ourselves to, and, in face of the attitude taken up by hon. Gentlemen from Ireland, and in face of what surprises me still more, namely, the attitude taken up by the gentlemen from England. It is perfectly clear that the movement which we propose would not be, and could not be, under these rather surprising conditions, any tribute of a truly national character. Cromwell's is a name that is written in our history. The right hon. Gentleman opposite said the other night that Cromwell had left no traces behind him. This is not the occasion for an academic discussion between me and the right hon. Gentleman on that point, but, at any rate, Cromwell left behind him the freedom and the liberties of the people. It is quite true that Cromwell closed the doors of this House; but the England after Cromwell had departed was cast in a different mould from the England which he found. He moulded modern England ["Oh, oh," "No," and cheers]; but as I said, this is not the occasion for an academic discussion. We have other things to think about. The Government feel, however, that unless this monument were the expression of a national recognition ["Oh, oh"] of one of the greatest names—of one of the greatest princes and rulers who ever swayed the destinies of this realm—we shall miss the purpose for which the vote was proposed; and that being the case we shall not object to the withdrawal of it.

MR. A. J. BALFOUR (Manchester, E.)

While I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman and the Government upon the conclusion at which they have arrived, I cannot congratulate them on the manner in which it has been announced. The right hon. Gentleman told us that he did not intend or desire to make a controversial speech. I do not think it can be said that he has succeeded in carrying out that benevolent wish. Certainly, as far as I am concerned, had he not deliberately singled me out for attack in this matter I should not have thought it necessary to add a word to what I said the other night. But the speech which I made has had the result of producing some effect apparently on the minds of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman, in replying to the speakers from Ireland, told us that it was an unexpected surprise to the Government that the revived memories of 250 years still rankled in their breasts. Anyone who has not realised that the whole history of Ireland consists of memories, not only of 250 years old, but of 500 years old, has not yet begun, I venture to say, to understand Irish history. The Irish question does not deal with present realities—it deals with memories; it is based on memories, stimulated on memories, and fed on memories—and unless we realise that, whether we agree or do not agree, we fail to understand the position they occupy. I pass from that to what the right hon. Gentleman has observed about Cromwell as an English statesman as distinguished from a statesman dealing with the three kingdoms, and he has told us that the reason why Cromwell has been specially selected by the Government is—that Cromwell was, for some period, one of the rulers of England; and he was to be distinguished in that particular regard from Strafford, whom I mentioned incidentally on Friday night as one to whom no statue was proposed to be erected. I again ask: Are we to put up this statue to Cromwell as a man who succeeded, in a quasi-kingly way, the king whose head ha cut off? Is that the title he has to our regard, because if it is he does not bear it alone? We must increase the Vote by another £500 and put up a statue to Richard Cromwell. If you are going to complete the series—which may be a very proper thing to do—of men who have either been kings of England or held kingly office, call it by what name you like, then Richard Cromwell must be added to Oliver. But after all we know that is not the reason. There is a much more plausible, a much sounder, reason, and one with which an English Parliament can sympathise. They say he was a very eminent Englishman, to which we all agree. They also, apparently, say he founded the naval power of England. To that I do not agree. Are we really to suppose that the right hon. Gentleman never heard or has temporarily forgotten that such persons as Drake or Hawkins ever existed, or that the Armada had been successfully combated? I thought England had proved herself, at the end of the 16th century, to be the greatest Naval Power, as she most undoubtedly did; and though I give full honour to Cromwell as a statesman who had the most energetic and vigorous foreign policy of almost any of those who ever preceded or succeeded him, I should not think it right to say he was the founder of the naval power of England. I say distinctly, and all modern and most recent research, the recently published volume of the "Naval Record" series, all support the statement that at that time the English Navy was the greatest navy in the world; and let me add, the triumphs of Blake and the whole of the great Commonwealth sailors do not, on the whole, compare with the great Elizabethan sailors. Take them all in all, in point of discoveries and in deeds of national importance, there is no comparison between them. I only wish to traverse the contention of the right hon. Gentleman; but if he says he, as a Member of the Government especially animated by a desire to have a vigorous foreign policy—who wish to do honour to a great predecessor, if I am to regard Cromwell as a forerunner of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, then I think, though the parallel is an unexpected one, I do understand the motives which have animated the Government. When I am told that I am bound to admire Cromwell, not merely as the great author of the jingo policy, but as a man who, in the words of the right hon. Gentleman, did more than anybody else to maintain the freedom and liberties of this people, then I really am utterly staggered. Is it possible that history can be read so differently as it is evidently read by the right hon. Gentleman and myself? I had always understood that Cromwell was an able, a vigorous, and in many respects a beneficent, ruler, and certainly a very strong man. But I have always understood that he depended, and depended wholly, not upon the will of the people, not upon public opinion, but upon the Army alone. And I am to be told that the man who not only destroyed the Parliament which he found, but attempted in vain to set up every other Parliament in its place, and who was forced after every experiment to admit that his power and the Parliamentary power could not co-exist—and I am to be told that he is the founder of our liberties? The paradox is fatal, and is too glaring. Whatever else we can say of Cromwell—and we can say much in praise—we cannot say he was a constitutional statesman, we cannot say he was the founder of liberty, and we cannot say he was the author of any modern development of the English Constitution. If I am asked to do honour to Cromwell as a great man I will do it. If I am asked to vote money for his statue I can conceive circumstances under which I could do that also; but I do not see my way now—[ironical Ministerial cheers]—any more than I did on Friday last, to voting a sporadic £500 to encourage English art for the purpose of commemorating one single man, chosen on no principle—["Oh, oh!"]—chosen, at all events, on no principle we have yet heard stated from the Treasury Bench. Till I know whether the Government mean to carry out a great scheme of commemorating great Englishmen of the past, I certainly am not going to vote in favour of giving this particular commemoration to one individual who, whatever merits he possesses, does not possess the merit of being a national hero equally respected and equally remembered in every part of that United Kingdom whose citizens we are.

MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN, Worcestershire, E.)

would not have intervened in this Debate, but he was anxious to explain the reasons which governed him in the vote he was about to give. He had listened with amazement and regret to the speech of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. There were parts of it, containing many noble passages, which had his full sympathy, and which he thought would have pledged the right hon. Gentleman to go on with the Vote. He never would have supposed that a speech of that kind, and arguments of that force, were to lead up to such an impotent conclusion. Because his opinion was not the opinion of everyone else in the House, the right hon. Gentleman took his inarching orders, and gave up his convictions for the convictions of the Nationalist Party. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman, perhaps, answered the question of the Leader of the Opposition when he asked why there was not to be a statue of Strafford. The name of Strafford was inseparably associated with the policy of "thorough," and with a policy of "thorough" this Government could have nothing to do. He thought there were many reasons why they should erect a statue to Oliver Cromwell. One reason was that, as the question had been raised, it was necessary for the credit of the House of Commons that they should maintain the decision which had been already come to. He thought it unfortunate that the question should have been treated very largely from the Irish point of view, and he did not wish to add fuel to the fires of national animosity. But the speech of the hon. Member for Longford was a strange commentary on the doctrine of the "Union of Hearts," of which so much was heard, because it showed that the hon. Gentleman had forgotten nothing and forgiven nothing in Irish history. But, as he had said, there were many reasons why the House should vote a statue to Cromwell. In the House of Commons they had, in considering this question, to take into account other interests besides the interests of Ireland. He pleaded for a statue to Cromwell on the ground that Cromwell was one of the greatest rulers this country had ever had. If they took the names of the five greatest of our rulers the name of Cromwell would be found amongst them. Three of those rulers were represented by statues in the precincts of the House; and Cromwell and Elizabeth, whom he would put amongst the first of the group, were alone unrepresented. When Cromwell took over the management of the affairs of this country he found it in almost the lowest depths it had ever reached. He made it one of the proudest nations in Europe. While he lived and ruled the country Englishmen might carry their heads high, and might be proud to belong to this nation, for they were sure of their nation being respected amongst foreign powers. That alone was for him sufficient reason for voting for a statue to Cromwell. Even when they considered his dealings with the House of Commons there was more to be said for Cromwell than the Leader of the Opposition would allow.


I wish we had him now.


was inclined to agree with his hon. Friend. What was the House of Commons that Cromwell suppressed? It was a House of Commons that had long outstayed its welcome. It was a Party majority in the House of Commons which had ceased to represent the feelings of the country, and which knew it could not face an appeal to the country. It was a House that had abolished the other Chamber, and which, at the very moment that its deliberations were closed by Cromwell, was considering, by means very little creditable to it, how it might prolong its wretched existence. Cromwell came down to the House of Commons—one almost wished with his hon. Friend there was some man to do it to-day—to tell those who had lost the confidence of the country, and who yet would not quit the power which they were too weak to wield, to make place for better men, and to cease to make the business of the nation the plaything and tool of party. Even in those feelings of his which had been most censured they might find something to admire, and at any rate something which no House of Commons should forget. It was well they should have within these walls, or within the precincts of this House, a statue of the man who once taught the House of Commons that great lesson. He should vote for the erection of the statue in the hope that when it was placed within these walls it might call to mind this lesson to Gentlemen who sat on the Treasury Bench when they were in like circumstances, and that they might be cautioned by the fate that befell that House of Commons never to run the same risks again or degrade this great Assembly so far.


said, that at One o'clock in the morning he would not indulge in extremely interesting but somewhat unpractical criticisms upon what took place some 300 years ago. He was under the impression that the Government were rather short in the matter of time. It, therefore, seemed to him somewhat surprising that they, without considering what would be the view taken by Members of the House, should last Friday condemn them to a discussion of two hours upon a Vote for a statue of Oliver Cromwell, and when they had granted the money tell them that the whole time was absolutely wasted. The Irish Secretary now told them that, to his great and intense surprise, he found the Irish objected to a statue to Cromwell. The right hon. Gentleman had had an opportunity of living in Ireland and of governing Ireland, and yet he actually came down to the House and told them he was under the impression that Oliver Cromwell was loved in Ireland, and that the enthusiasm of the Irish members of all classes for the Government would be increased by the proposal to erect a statue to Oliver Cromwell. He sympathised to a very great extent with the feelings of his hon. Friends opposite. He could perfectly understand that they were opposed to a statue of Oliver Cromwell. Oliver Cromwell did nothing, certainly nothing in Ireland, to recommend himself to them. Cromwell most unquestionably acted with the greatest barbarity in his conduct towards the Irish, but hon. gentlemen must remember two things. Oliver Cromwell acted very much according to the spirit of his age. [Colonel NOLAN: "Raleigh."] His hon. Friend thought that Raleigh should have a statue as well. Surely Raleigh committed atrocities in Ireland as great as Oliver Cromwell, who only followed the example set by the leading men in the reign of Quean Elizabeth? But the other point which he asked hon. Members for Ireland to consider was this—that they were in London and not in Dublin. They were not asked to erect a statue to Cromwell in Dublin. He would remind them that those who proposed this vote were Englishmen who wished to erect a statue to Cromwell in London. The Leader of the Opposition had said that he could not conceive why Cromwell should have a statue and Strafford not. The reason was, that Strafford was one of the vilest instruments of the tyranny of Charles I., [Cheers and "Oh !"], while Cromwell avenged liberty on Charles I. To him Cromwell was the embodiment of successful resistance to arbitrary power. [Cries of "Oh!" and "Hear"], and though there might have been as great or greater rulers than Cromwell, yet he was, what they were not, as well as a man of genius, the greatest ruler which this nation had ever known. He could understand that in the present circumstances the Government would have bee a wiser not to bring this controversial Vote before the House, but having done so, it seemed a miserable thing to bring it in one day and back out of it two days later. He called upon every Member of this House who voted for the statue to Cromwell on Friday, to vote for it also on this occasion.


said, that as one of those instrumental in raising this question, he should wish to say a word. He heartily congratulated the hon. Member for North Roscommon—as all Irishmen worthy of the name in every part of the world would do—for having brought this matter to a successful issue. He hoped that he should not be wanting in courtesy if he added that he thought it would have been more magnanimous and fair on the part of the hon. Member for Longford if he had left this matter in the hands of the hon. Gentleman who raised it. All Irishmen would join in the wonder expressed by the hon. Member for Longford at the Government ever thinking of putting up a statue to Oliver Cromwell. That wonder would be increased tenfold when they read the speech of the Chief Secretary, who had been for the past three years in Ireland, who had twice occupied the position of Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, and who was still able to tell the House and the people of this country that he had not learnt with what loathing and horror the Irish nation regarded the memory and name of Oliver Cromwell. On Friday night the Chief Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer uttered a direct incitement to the excited Nationalists of Dublin to destroy a statue in that city. The right hon. Gentleman had put forward as a reason why Irish Members should not object to a statue of Cromwell, that there was a statue of William of Orange in Dublin. True, it was there, and an ugly one it was, but it was erected at a time when national feeling had no power in the country, when the smallest minority in the country controlled even the municipality of Dublin; and it was unreasonable to say that the people of Ireland should look with favour upon a statue of Cromwell because they tolerated in the interest of the minority a distasteful monument in a street of Dublin. The right hon. Gentleman would be lucky if, before he ceased to be Chief Secretary, he did not find himself prosecuting some people who considered themselves incited by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make war upon this statue. The Chief Secretary said that Cromwell's name was looked upon with reverence and admiration by intelligent and cultured people in every part of the world. It was true that, owing to our system of Government, the Irish people had been somewhat restricted in the matter of culture, but nothing the Government could do could interfere with the intelligence of the Irish people, which was at least equal to that of the Treasury Bench at the present time. The Chief Secretary said the name of Cromwell was revered wherever the Queen's English was spoken; but wherever it was spoken there there were found Irishmen by whom the name of Cromwell was despised as much as it was admired by some Englishmen. As a man said in Ireland the other day, after supporting the Government with a blind loyalty never equalled in the history of politics, all that the majority of Irish Members could take back to Ireland was a statue of Cromwell; it was bad enough to have nothing, but that was worse than nothing. Every Irish newspaper had condemned this proposal—including Conservative journals and Nationalist of every shade; and to carry it would be to put on the Irish people an insult which would be intolerable. Where was this statue-erecting to end? By-and-by he supposed that a proposal would be made that every person with Royal blood in their veins should have a statue, and on the Estimates they would find an item of £500 sterling to erect a statue to the last of the Plantagenets.


It cannot be denied that we have had an interesting and entertaining evening. At a quarter-past One in the morning I suggested to the House that the subject might drop. This is one of those occasions on which I remember Lord Palmerston's saying in this House it is desirable there should be considerable unanimity. When you are erecting a national monument you should have pretty general assent, and as it is obvious that there is not that general assent we should defeat the whole object we have in view if we attempted to press the matter on the attention of the House. I confess the same ignorance which my right hon. Friend has admitted. I was not aware we were treading on the smouldering ashes of these treacherous fires. Now they have burst forth it seems to me that the best thing that we can do in the interests of the House is to extinguish them as soon as we can. It is a reasonable and sensible course. I sympathise with the sentiment so well expressed by the hon. Member for East Worcestershire. I doubt very much whether by securing a considerable vote against Oliver Cromwell he would attain the object he has at heart. Therefore I cannot agree in the course he seems to favour. Oliver Cromwell is—like Mary Queen of Scots or Mary Tudor—an historical character upon whom a great number of people hold different opinions. As a great conflict of opinion has been raised it would be wasting the time and the temper of the House of Commons if the matter were pressed beyond the point which we have already attained. I do not regard it as a matter of first-rate importance, and so strong a feeling has been expressed by the Members from Ireland and the Leader of the Opposition that I think it is the duty of the Government to say they will not press this proposition, and therefore, when the Motion is put that this Vote be reduced by the sum appointed for the statue, we shall not oppose it. If the Government has misinterpreted the feeling of the House they must take the responsibility for it and bear the blame. They acknowledged that the Vote was one that it certainly would not be wise to press, reserving all our own opinions with reference to the character of the man to whom we desired to do honour. Under these circumstances, when the question that the Vote shall be reduced is put from the chair, we shall not oppose the Motion.


said, that it was not so easy to lay the ghost of Oliver Cromwell as some hon. Members appeared to suppose. This Vote had already been passed by a considerable majority in Committee, and now they were asked by Her Majesty's Government to stultify themselves by rescinding their previous Resolution. It was his intention, and he believed that there were a considerable number of hon. Members on both sides of the House who took the same view of the matter as he did, to back up the original intention of the Government, and to give the latter an opportunity of showing in the Division Lobby that their original intention was the one dearest to their hearts. He quite agreed with what the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had said—namely, that as far as Oliver Cromwell was concerned the Government did not know much about Ireland. He quite sympathised with hon. Members below the Gangway, because he knew that with them, at all events, Oliver Cromwell was not popular. The hon. Member who had seconded the Amendment had associated himself with those people whom he said Oliver Cromwell had persecuted because he held the same views with regard to the resistance to English rule that they did. Perhaps if he held the same views on that subject that the hon. Member did he should have adopted a similar course to what the hon. Gentleman had done. He shared the astonishment of the hon. Member that the Government should have thought of bringing such a Vote forward. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that no Vote had ever been brought forward in the House of Commons that could give more pleasure to the Nonconformists than this one, and it had evidently been a question with the Government whether they should give way to the opinion of the English Nonconformists or whether they should give way to the orders of their masters from Ireland. Whether such a course would succeed in the country or not was another question—and it had certainly not succeeded at Inverness. Before he sat down he should like to say that ho was no new convert to the idea of erecting a statue to Oliver Cromwell, but, on the other hand, he did not know why the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had so suddenly developed this admiration for that distinguished character, who, at all events, if reports were true, was not greatly in favour of a Local Veto Bill. He had always had a great admiration for a man whom he looked upon as one of the most distinguished rulers that over governed this country. As an Irishman, he admired Oliver Cromwell. ["Oh, oh!"] He did not admire the severity he used in Ireland, and he was certainly opposed to some of his methods. Oliver Cromwell came to Ireland in the years after the massacres of 1641, massacres which nothing short of a great vengeance could have satisfied. In those massacres between 40,000 and 50,000 Irish Protestant men, women, and children were killed, and under the circumstances they must excuse some of the severities of Oliver Cromwell. One thing that Cromwell did for Ireland was to revive her trade, and they found that shortly after he came to Ireland, so prosperous had she become that English landowners proposed protective measures to prevent the competition of Ireland in the English markets. He absolutely differed from the opinions expressed by his right hon. Friend below him; he believed that Oliver Cromwell did make the Navy of England, which he found in a helpless state. He made Great Britain what she had not been before, and made her respected among the nations of the world. The man who so distinguished himself deserved a statue. Oliver Cromwell rendered the Revolution of 1686 not only possible but inevitable, and founded the liberty which we enjoyed. He felt it his duty to Divide the House in order to show that he, at any rate, as an Irishman, was not ashamed—["Oh, oh!"]—nor afraid to state that, apart from some unfortunate circumstances in his history, he looked upon Oliver Cromwell on the whole as one of the greatest, finest, and noblest English rulers that they had ever seen in this country.

*MR. BURDETT-COUTTS (West minster)

said, that he voted with the Government in Committee on Friday night for the statue, and he thought it most unfortunate and discreditable that the Government had been led to desert their supporters on this question. If the Government would stick to their principles with half the tenacity they stuck to office they would be far more respected. He voted for the statue because he held, as had been stated over and over again by other hon. Members, that Cromwell was a great Englishman. It was because he felt that the Conservative Party was now the only depository of the liberties Cromwell did so much to develop, and because that Party had a monopoly of the Imperial foreign policy of which he was the greatest exponent, that, as a Conservative, he felt himself free to vote for the statue.

MR. A. BIRRELL (Fife, W.)

said, this was one of the most interesting questions that had engaged the attention of the House during the Session—a question in which most of them were personally interested, and one on which many hon. Members were well qualified to speak. The matter was one, therefore, which ought to be fairly discussed. He confessed he was surprised at the ferocious rhetoric of hon. Members from Ireland, because the question was not an Irish one, but one as to whether Cromwell was really a great man and a great ruler, and whether they should erect a statue to a public character. The question of the morals of that character had nothing to do with the matter of a statue. It was enough for them, as Englishmen and Scotchmen, to know that Cromwell was Lord Protector of these realms, and that for very many Sundays—and here he should have the sympathy of his hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight—was prayed for in Church by the Established clergy. Cromwell was our established head—our head of the Church and of the State, and, as some Members of the Opposition had acknowledged over and over again, he was a great and distinguished man. He vigorously represented the country abroad; ambassadors trembled at his frown; there were documents still in existence signed with his nervous handwriting as Oliver P., and that certainly meant quite as much as Charles R. The whole of our public statues were erected in our midst for the edification of intelligent foreigners and intelligent children. He was not aware that any grown man in the country took any particular interest in any of the statues which adorned their surroundings; but what would their children say—what would the intelligent foreigner say if they found that there was no tangible record of one of our greatest men, whose name and fame he had studied and was well acquainted with? The question was not at all one of Cromwell's behaviour in Ireland. He treated the inhabitants of Drogheda as they would have treated him and his followers. When a statue was raised to the memory of any man in recognition of any particular act or career, they always found it recorded on the pedestal, generally the prettiest part of the statue. He was looking at one that day erected on the Embankment to a man named Raikes, and if anyone wanted to know why it was erected, he would find on the pedestal that it was because he introduced Sunday Schools. Statues also had been erected to the memory of Jenner, and there again the reason was given on the pedestal—that this man introduced vaccination. He could understand that anyone who objected to vaccination or to Sunday schools, would object to such statues; but men of great public position and of great public character were not subjected to microscopic criticism on other matters than their public acts. Would any Englishman or Scotchman deny that Cromwell pre-eminently shone? Never mind his misdeeds. The question was, whether the historical records of this country would be complete without some honour were done to him? He dismissed from his mind the suggestion that Her Majesty's Ministers did not know of the unpopularity of Cromwell's memory in Ireland. No educated man could be ignorant of that fact. It might, perhaps, have been a foolish thing for the Government to bring this question forward; but he thought it would be a disgrace to the character of the House if they did not, all of them, take the opportunity of dividing upon it.

*MR. W. RATHBONE (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)

, as one of the oldest Members of the House, thought he might say a few serious words. He regretted to hear one of the parts of the Chief Secretary's speech, when he said that Cromwell had raised the greatness of this country in foreign lands to the highest pitch. So did Napoleon Buonaparte. Both used their power to crush out liberty, and degraded their countrymen. Cromwell prepared the way for the degrading reigns of the Stuarts, and England was never more corrupt than under Charles II. and James II. ["Oh!"] He considered that true greatness did not consist in using power to crush out the liberties of their country and corrupt its inhabitants.

*MR. R. G. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E.)

, whose rising was greeted with loud and prolonged cries of "Divide!" said, he wished to interpose for only a very few minutes betwixt the House and the Division; but he could not let go unchallenged the peculiarly unfair and unjust sneer of the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Birrell) at the clergy of the Church of England, more particularly as it was made whilst there was an attack being levelled against that Church by means of the Established Church (Wales) Bill. The hon. Member said that the clergy of the Church had, during the time of the Commonwealth, prayed for the Protector, and, therefore, he was entitled to a monument; and the hon. Member had inferred that they acted merely as time servers. He, however, totally forgot to add the historical fact that at that time hundreds of clergymen of the National Church threw up their livings, being in consequence reduced to a state of poverty, and did so rather than take the oath of allegiance to the Protector. It was a remarkable thing that at the present time the Government of the day should ask Parliament to pass a Vote for a statue to Cromwell, when it was recollected that for the last three years of his life Cromwell was doing everything in his power to reconstitute the House of Lords, and to abolish Representative Government in this country. Amongst other things which hon. Members for Irish constituencies, supporting the Ministerial Party, probably objected to in Cromwell was, that when he allowed Parliament to sit at all at Westminster, which was not often during his rule, it was essentially a Unionist Parliament, and contained representatives from both Ireland and Scotland, but only in the proportion of 400 from England, and 30 from Ireland and Scotland respectively. It was said that Cromwell's Parliament had, or was intended to have, representatives in it from the British Colonies, or, as they were then called, the British "Plantations." As hon. Members were impatient for a Division, he would not occupy the time of the House further than to say that the Government had, according to their own confession, apparently blundered into this mess—they had brought forward the Vote to provide funds to erect a statue to Cromwell without thought, and had abandoned the proposal without courage.

The House divided:— Ayes, 83; Noes, 220.—(Division List No. 130.)

MR. DAVID PLUNKET (Dublin University)

said, he wished to call attention to another question raised on Friday night—namely, the question of the official residences connected with the House of Lords. He might remind the House that only last year they obtained, after communications of a friendly character with the authorities of the House of Lords, the concession of a considerable number of rooms, of which the House of Commons was now in the enjoyment. He wished specially to refer to one of the officials of the House of Lords, with regard to whom statements were made, and to set right a misapprehension created in the House with reference to him—he meant Black Rod. It was stated by an hon. Member—he thought the hon. Member for Northampton—that Black Rod occupied 35 rooms, that it was a monstrous thing that 35 rooms should be occupied, that Black Rod shut up his rooms, and had not lived there for three or four years; and it was asked whether it was true that during the absence of Black Rod in the last three years the rooms had been sublet. The facts furnished to him showed that the size of Black Rod's House was exactly the same as that of the Serjeant-at-Arms—33 rooms—that there were three public rooms and 11 available bedrooms for family and servants. Black Rod had been in constant occupation of his house during the whole tenure of his office, and he had lived in in it continuously with his family, and had no other home.

MR. J. H. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)

said, the statement that Black Rod had at his disposal 35 rooms was founded on a Return by a Committee of which the right hon. Gentleman was a member. The right hon. Gentleman did not question the accuracy of the Return, and, therefore, they were bound to accept the statement as correct. As to the other point, whether the premises were sublet, he contended that it was not unreasonable in the circumstances such a question should be asked, seeing Black Rod had not been able to perform the duties for two years. The real reason why the question was raised was to secure, in the event of any change taking place in the office of Black Rod, that more accommodation should be placed at the disposal of Members of this House.


said, that during the whole evening the Conservative Benches were entirely empty, there not being more than seven or eight Members present; and if the House of Lords were attacked in this way hon. Members had themselves to blame.


said, it was very much to be regretted the right hon. Gentleman had not given notice of his intention to bring this matter forword at Two in the morning. He regretted the illness of Black Rod; but, seeing he had not discharged his duties for two years, surely it was his duty to resign and give up the rooms and his £2,000 a year to officials who would do the work. They wanted to know what he did with all these bedrooms and other rooms. But the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works could give them no information or help in the matter, which ho stated was not under his control. The Committee in the result decided that they would obtain possession of these rooms, and he hoped the House would uphold the decision of the Committee.


said, he could only speak again by the indulgence of the House. He asked to be permitted to say that he was present during the earlier part of the evening on which this Debate took place, and if he had had the smallest idea that this particular matter was to be raised he should have made an endeavour to be present. He was absent because he had to fulfil a long standing engagement, and this was the first opportunity he had had of giving the House the information which came into his possession a short time ago.

*MR. W. R. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

understood that during his absence the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Dublin University had challenged the accuracy of the figures he (Mr. Cremer) quoted in the recent Debate which took place in Committee of Supply on this question.


remarked that that was not so. What he did was to explain that a great number of these rooms were not really rooms in the strict sense of the word, but were sculleries and so on, and that the bedrooms were not more than enough for the accommodation of the household of the person who held the position in question.


was sorry that he was for the moment absent from the House when the right hon. Gentleman, who had given him no notice, again raised this very important question. He ventured to say, with all respect to the right hon. Gentleman, that the figures he (Mr. Cremer) quoted to the Committee on a previous occasion, were absolutely correct. When the return was submitted in manuscript to the Committee which considered the question of the accommodation in the House, he adopted the precaution of making a copy of it, and he repeated what he said the other night—that when that return reached them in the printed form, the mumber of rooms which, in the manuscript were given as 315, had been boiled down to 280 and the number of rooms at the disposal of the Speaker, instead of being 60 as originally was stated, were represented in the printed return as 50. Whether this alteration was made by somebody who was ashamed of the scandalous state of affairs the Report to the Committee brought to light he was unable to state, but the fact remained that while the number of rooms at the disposal of the Speaker was correctly given in the manuscript return, this number had been reduced or falsified in the printed form. It was because he considered it a scandalous state of affairs that 315 rooms should be placed at the disposal of officials, whilst Members of the House found it difficult even to get a room in which to receive deputations, that he moved the reduction of the Vote on Friday night. The rooms at the disposal of the Under Secretaries were also ill situated and altogether unsuitable for their purposes, and in face of such a state of affairs, and having regard to the large number of rooms available for officials, he considered hon. Members were perfectly justified in making the protest they made on Friday last. He did not think that even Members on the Treasury Bench were sorry they had made their protest, and that the Amendment had been carried.


said his hon. Friend had given the House to understand that a certain written return was presented to the Committee, which was subsequently withdrawn, and a printed return substituted, which differed from the written one, and his hon. Friend suggested that this was done for the purpose of misleading the Committee. His hon. Friend was altogether wrong. The Officers of the Board of Works were asked to make out a table showing the number of rooms occupied by Officers of the Houses of Parliament. In the written return, many closets and other spaces in the building were inserted as rooms, which were not rooms; and, as in his opinion the return was calculated to give the House a misleading idea of the number of rooms occupied by officers, he directed that the second, or printed return, which gave only the actual rooms in occupation, should be issued.


said there were no closets mentioned in the first return.

Resolution as amended, agreed to.

The other Resolutions adopted in Committee of Supply were agreed to.