HC Deb 06 May 1897 vol 48 cc1618-97
* MR. VESEY KNOX (Londonderry)

proposed to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, in order to add instead thereof the words:— In the opinion of this House, the Agricultural Rating Act of last year, not having been extended to Ireland, operates as a bounty to the English fanner as against the Irish farmer who is competing with him in the same markets, and that it is the duty of Her Majesty's Government in the financial proposals of the year to remove this inequality, and to grant to the Irish farmer the same measure of relief from rates which has been given to the English farmer. He said he should make no apology for submitting the Motion on going into Committee of Ways and Means, though it was true that there was no precedent for some years past for such a Motion. He believed he could claim the unanimous assent of every single Member of the House of Commons representing an Irish constituency who was not a Member of the Government. On that ground he claimed somewhat more attention from the Government than had been habitually given to the demands of Irish Members. This was not a sectional demand. It was a national demand. It was not a request for generosity, but a demand for justice. ["Hear, hear!"] Irishmen were not prone to unanimity—["hear, hear!"]—but that fact, he thought, emphasised their unanimity on this occasion. It would; no doubt, be suggested that they were only unanimous now because they were all interested in this question, and because they had a demand to make for money on the British Exchequer. In one sense every Member of the House was interested in a question of this kind, and the vast majority, he frankly admitted, were interested in opposing the Motion; but he was sure that most English Members would regard it as an insult if they were told they were going to oppose the Motion because they were interested in opposing it. As far as he was himself concerned, he represented an urban constituency, and his constituents were not directly interested in the matter, and a whip signed by eight Members had been sent out, four Unionist and four Nationalist Members, only three of whom represented agricultural constituencies. The other live were not in any sense, nor were their constituents, interested in the question. They had signed the whip because they thought that Ireland had been badly treated in this matter, and had a right, as a nation, to demand redress. He would ask English Members, therefore, seeing that this demand came before them with such unanimity, not to vote down the Irish Members hastily or without consideration. His demand was that the Irish farmers should be given the same measure of relief as had been given to the English farmers by the Agricultural Hating Act. The object of that Act was, in the first place, to relieve the English farmers of half their rates; and, in the second place, to make up to the local authorities the loss so incurred. He knew that some of his hon. Friends above the Gangway held that the Bill was badly designed as a Measure of relief to the farmers, but he spoke of it as the Government designed it and defended it, and he believed that the description he had given of the Act was, in their view, correct. He turned now to the Report of the Royal Commission on Agricultural Depression, on which the English Act was founded. In that Report, three grounds were given why the agricultural industry should be relieved: first, that there was an undue pressure of Imperial taxation on land; secondly, that there was a very heavy pressure of rates on the farmer, a heavier pressure than that on the householder; and, thirdly, that agriculture was in a depressed condition, due to low prices and foreign competition. He would ask whether any one of those three reasons was not as much applicable to Ireland as to Great Britain? ["Hear, hear!"] He ventured to say that every one of them applied to Ireland as much as to Great Britain. It was true the Commission did not so report, but they could not have so reported. They had not got a Report of a Royal Commission in their favour, but the Report of the Royal Commission for England applied with greater force to Ireland. As to the taxation of land, there was only one tax which did not apply to Ireland; all the other taxes were the same in the two countries. This taxation was now less than a million a year, and the valuation of land in England was over 170 millions, so that the land tax over England averaged less than 1½d. in the pound. As compared with the vast mass of Imperial taxation, this particular tax was very small. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that Irish farmers paid less income tax than English farmers, but Sir A. Milner had declared that since the reduction in Sir W. Harcourt's Budget, the income tax on farmers in England was not worth the cost of collection. There were, on the other hand, some taxes on land which pressed more heavily on Ireland than on England, and that was especially true as to the Death Duties. In Ireland it was the earth hunger of the tenant which was taxed. He had carefully worked this out, and he thought it would be admitted that Ireland paid a larger proportion than England. The last figures available as to the Death Duties showed that the increase under the Act of the hon. Member for Monmouthshire was in England 22 per cent., and in Ireland it was over 30per cent. He was taking the total increase of the Death Duties.


May I remark here, I noticed some time ago a statement by the hon. Member, and I think it is clear he is mistaken? As a matter of fact, the increases in the total Death Duties are practically the same in Great Britain and Ireland. I have had the figures taken out.


said the right hon. Gentleman was, then, perhaps right; but, at any rate, he would not be able to show that land in Ireland was taxed less than land in England. He did not agree that the land in either country was especially over-pressed by Imperial taxation; but that was a matter of opinion. All he did say was, that if there was undue pressure in one country, there must be the same undue pressure in the other. What he therefore had to find was the relative amount of the rates in the two countries. Now, in England, the agricultural rate was generally estimated at, on the average, 2s. 2d. [Hon. MEMBERS: "2s. 4d."] Well, taking the average at 2s. 4d., he challenged the right hon. Gentleman to find a single farmer in Ireland whose rates were not higher than the highest average in England. ["Hear, hear!"] The valuation in Ireland was higher than it was in England. The valuation in Ireland had not been revised for 40 years, which was almost an incredible tiling in a civilised country. He believed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer 20 years ago, when Chief Secretary, brought in a Bill on the subject, and if he introduced his Bill now the Irish Members would not oppose it. He found the rents all fixed 27 per cent. below the valuation. Of course, it might be said that they were not fixing the rents fairly. ["Hear, hear!"] He on his side said the rents fixed were too high, and the Government would say the rents fixed were fair. Even proceeding on the basis that the valuation was about the same in the two countries, he found that, after a careful calculation, the average rural rate was about 3s. 3d. in the pound on agricultural land in Ireland; and for England the rate was 2s. 2d. in the pound. The Irish rate, therefore, was 50 per cent, higher. If the Irish valuation, was a great deal too high—10 to 20 per cent, too high at least, as he maintained—the Irish rate must proportionately Be a heavier burden on the land than, the English rate. ["Hear, hear!"] Furthermore, in considering how any burden pressed on the people, they had to consider whether it was spread equally over the whole country. It would Be generally admitted that if the rates of England had been the same in all parts of the country the burden would not have been complained of as much as it was; it was because in some parts the rates were higher than 2s. 2d. that they were so much complained of But the inequalities of the rates in Ireland were infinitely greater than anything of which there was any experience in England. In the Debate last year the President of the Local Government Board said it took his breath away to find that in Essex there were 15 farms, the rates of which were 6s. 8d. in the pound. That was a prize case which had been discovered by the right hon. Gentleman. [Cheers.] The Irish poor rate was not assessed by the union as the English rate was, but the greater part of if was assessed for the electoral division, which had an area much smaller than the English parish, and the rate varied so much that in some electoral divisions it fell to 2d., and in others it rose to 5s. 11d. in the pound. The county cess went up in many eases to 10s. in the pound. [Cheers.] He was prepared to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer say that his official information did not tally with his information, but he found that in his evidence before the Royal Commission on Financial Relations Mr. Robinson, a Local Government Board Commissioner in Ireland, whose object, like that of all officials, was to minimise the sufferings under which the Irish laboured, said:— In the poorer unions; 11 round the western seaboard there is found considerable difficulty in levying rates, and, of course, the county cess is sometimes very oppressive. In the enmity of Kerry the county cess is extremely high. The average in the county of Kerry for the five years ended 1893 was in the barony of Clanmaurice 5s. 1d. in the pound and in Corkaguiny 6s. 4d. That only related to county cess. When he quoted some of the Kerry figures last year, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said he had omitted the allowance for light railways, but he found that Mr. Robinson said, "The averages I have given do not include light railways." In addition to the county cess there was the poor rate, and that varied on the average of five years in various parts of Kerry from 3s. 3d. to 3s. 10d. It was much under the mark, therefore, to say that the rates paid over the whole of County Kerry had averaged for five or six years more than 10s. in the pound. Where, in the face of I hose facts, were the 15 farms in Essex? It was not only in Kerry that this state of things prevailed. Mr. Robinson showed that the limit of taxation had been leached in Connaught, and five union workhouses had actually been seized for debt. [A laugh.] The rates in the Belmullet union, where the workhouse was seized, were 13s. 5d. in the pound. Mr. Robinson said there was much more difficulty in collecting such rates from the landlords than from, the tenants. [Cheers.] The reason of that was not that the landlords were dishonest, but because they were hard up. All classes, in fact, felt the pressure of local taxation. The Irish rates were not merely enormous, but they were increasing, and that was a matter in which Ireland's state compared in a most acute degree with England's. From the Report of the majority of the Royal Commission on Agricultural Depression it appeared that, according to Reports of Mr. Goschen and Sir Henry Fowler, the rural rates in England were lower than they were before the repeal of the Corn Laws, and that that was chiefly due to the great diminution in the cost of the relief of the poor. In Ireland the circumstances were quite different. The total local taxation there was a mere trine at the beginning of the century, but it rose 50 per cent, between 1866 and 1884, and it was still rising. He would be asked what was the cause of this pressure of local taxation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might point to speeches of Nationalists in which the increase was attributed to the unrepresentative character of local bodies, or to speeches of Unionists in which it was attributed to the wasteful expenditure of some Boards of Guardians. The causes of the increase were not to any considerable degree political at all—["hear, hear!"]—but the increased expenditure was due almost entirely to essential economic conditions. Last year the First Lord of the Admiralty, in drawing a comparison, between urban and rural rating, said that to a great extent the expenditure in the agricultural parts was a compulsory minimum expenditure, for which those who paid the rates were unable to see any single advantage to themselves. That was certainly true of Ireland. The greater part of the local taxation in Ireland really was a compulsory minimum expenditure which the people could not avoid, and for which they got little apparent benefit; it was expenditure on roads, the maintenance of pauper lunatics, and the relief of the poor. Could it be said there had been no agricultural depression in Ireland? The Chancellor of the Exchequer might say that the depression only affected wheat land, and, thanks to the repeal of the Corn Laws, Irish land was no longer suitable for wheat. But the President of the Local Government Board, speaking last year on the English Bill, said the suggestion that they ought to relieve arable land and not grass land was a most astounding one for Essex, which was the most depressed county in England, was over thousands of its acres nothing but grass land. Let the Government have it one way or the other. If grass land was not subject to depression, why did they relieve it in England? If it was subject to depression, why did they not also relieve it in Ireland? But it was not true to the extent some people supposed that Ireland was a country of pasture land. In the north-east corner of Ireland there was a larger proportion of tillage than in any other part of the United Kingdom, not excepting the Lothians. The people there were mostly Unionists, friends of the Government—their last friends in Ireland. Why had the Government carefully excepted them from the Measure of relief which they had extended to the other agricultural ratepayers of the United Kingdom? The same causes which had created agricultural depression in this country had applied to Ireland. Ireland had suffered from foreign competition in butter and bacon just as England had suffered from American and Russian competition in wheat. Ireland had suffered from the competition of bounty-fed flax growers in Belgium and France. It was a mere farce to say there was no agricultural depression in Ireland. They might be referred to the high price paid for tenant right. Nobody could regret more than he did the fact that Irish farmers were sometimes such fools as to pay absurd prices for the tenant right to patches of land. But that was not an economic price at all. The farms so bought were mostly small. Let anyone try to sell a farm of 40 or 50 acres in any county in Ulster, where tenant right was not a novelty. He would find that he would not be able to do so for a very long time. As a matter of fact, in Antrim and Down, tenant right brought considerably less than it did in the sixties, before it was protected by law at all. The fact was that the high prices paid for tenant right in Ireland were a proof, not of the value of the land, but of the poverty of the country in other industrial resources. At any rate, it did not sound very well for a Government which last Session rejected the argument with regard to tenant right, when it was urged by Irish Unionist Members, to use it this year to defend their own pockets and their own Treasury. He suspected that the real reason why the Government treated Ireland so shabbily was that they found that to do justice and give Ireland the same measure of relief that was given to England would be very expensive. They were always willing to be generous when they could be generous on the cheap. The agricultural land of Ireland was estimated last year by the Chief Secretary to be just under nine millions sterling. A reduction of the rates by one half would amount to £733,000, and, of course, if the Government could put Ireland off with £150,000 for a board in Dublin it would be much cheaper for the Treasury. The argument could be used in favour of the system of the Government that it was cheap; but it was also nasty. What defence could there be for giving Ireland relief for her agricultural depression, not in proportion to the amount of her laud, but in proportion to the amount of land in England. The excuse was that there was some solemn, sacred principle of 80, 11 and 9, which had an authority superior to most of the rules of arithmetic, and almost equal to that of the Binomial Theory—a thing which nobody could dispute, and which few could understand. It was invented not long ago by the ingenious mind of the First Lord of the Admiralty when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was making the Probate Duty grant in aid of rates. He found then, what the Treasury found now, that the rates in Ireland were very high, and that, if he made a grant to Ireland in proportion to the rates, he would have to give Ireland a very large sum; so he proposed to return the money to each of the three Kingdoms in proportion to the contribution of that Kingdom to Imperial taxation. Did anybody ever hear of a greater separatist? The right hon. Gentleman was the only man who had ever given effective legislative recognition to Irish nationality. He, however, noticed that the right hon. Gentleman only did this on those occasions on which he also gave a practical advantage to the British Treasury. He did not, for instance, as First Lord of the Admiralty, give Ireland nine-eightieths of the orders for shipbuilding which he gave to England.

THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN, St. George's, Hanover Square)

You should have them if you had the yards.


said they had a yard in Derry which was passed by the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a member as fit to do that work; but they refused to give it a single order, and the industry died. If the right hon. Gentleman made a firm offer to give Ireland 9 per cent, of the work they would have the yard there to-morrow. The Member for East Belfast could get along without the orders of the Government. He could build better ships than the Admiralty could obtain in the South of England if they tried till doomsday. The Government only applied the doctrine of 9–80ths where it suited the Treasury. They had a remarkable incident of that in the case of the grant for free Education. They decided to apply the principle of 9–80ths so long as it suited the Treasury, but changed it so soon as the balance went the other way. The First Lord of the Admiralty when, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he gave Free Education to England said he would give Ireland not 10s. per child, but 9–80ths of what England got. That principle had since been described by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer as a ridiculous principle. They might settle it between them. The Treasury at first thought they would be effecting a great saving by giving Ireland nine-eightieths. But owing to the decrease in the population of Ireland and the increase in the population of England, the time came when nine-eightieths would give Ireland more than 10s. per head, and thereupon the Treasury based the grant on 10s. per head.


Order, order! The only question before us is the alleged inequality in the treatment of Ireland in the matter of agricultural rating. It seems to me that the hon. Member is now arguing a much wider question.


said he would try to keep within the ruling of the Speaker. He would only say that as soon as the Treasury found that nine-eightieths did not suit them they changed the basis of the grant, and it was now based on 10s. per head.


It was based ever since the commencement of the Act on 10s. per head; precisely the same demand that was made by Mr. Sexton.


said that Mr. Sexton had made a demand for 10s. a head but it was refused because it was thought at the time it would give Ireland more than nine-eightieths. Years went on and the Treasury found that 10s. a head would be cheaper, and thereupon they based the grant on that calculation. The second argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer last year was that there was no desire in Ireland for a reduction of rates. The right hon. Gentleman now knew that there was a desire in Ireland for the reduction of rates. In fact they had just as great a desire in Ireland for a reduction of rates as any Englishman could have. The right hon. Gentleman had arrived at the idea that there was no desire for a reduction of rates in Ireland because some small equivalent grants that went to Ireland had not been applied to the relief of rates. The reason of that was that the grants were so small that they would not have made any appreciable effect on the rates in Ireland. But in the case of the large sum now at stake there was no purpose for which they would sooner have it applied in Ireland than for the reduction of rates. The third argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer last year was that half the rates in Ireland were paid by the landlords, and that that system would prevent the application of the Agricultural Hating Act to Ireland. But the Treasury got over that difficulty in the case of Scotland. It was only when they would have to spend a little more money in Ireland that this difficulty as between landlords and tenants occurred to their ingenious minds. He was sure the Treasury would be glad to see them fighting over the question whether the money should go to the landlords or the tenants while they kept the money in their own pockets. For his own part he would be glad to see some of this money given to the landlords, and he was sure that many hon. Members from Ireland who sat opposite would be glad to see some of it go to the tenants, because they knew it would be for the good of the landlords if the tenants were prosperous, for the better off the tenants were, the better the rents would be paid. He would not allude to the Report of the Financial Relation Commission, for the injustice of which he now complained had been created since that Commission reported. At the same time the Report of that Commission increased the force of the Irish demand for equal treatment with England. Ireland was overtaxed. They could not deny, however they might attempt to explain it, that Ireland paid more in proportion to its taxable capacity than England, and in the light of that fact how mean their action appeared. They gave to the people on whom taxation pressed least heavily, but they denied to the people on whom taxation pressed most heavily, and they had the additional gratification of feeling that the richest were their constituents, and the poorest were the constituents of Members from Ireland. He thought the only satisfactory relief from the overpressure of taxation was the reduction of taxation. He should be prepared to say that it would be an advantage to Ireland if she had a separate Custom House and separate taxes, but it was not necessary to do so for the present purpose. He admitted what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said in his Budget speech, that a grant in aid of rates was equivalent to a reduction of taxation. Therefore the Treasury, by giving Ireland this money in relief of their rates, would pro tanto relieve them from the burden of taxation. Of course it would not be a full equivalent. £500,000 a year was not an equivalent for three millions; but so far as it went it would be to the good, and he thought the people of Ireland would be glad to take the sum on account for the money which they were afterwards to receive. During the debate on the financial relations question, a good deal had been said as to the meaning of the words "exemptions and abatements" in the Act of Union. The clause in the Act of Union said the taxation in England and in Ireland was to be equal, subject to such exemptions and abatements in Ire-laud as circumstances might appear from time to time to demand. He had gone with care into the history of the words. They were not much discussed on the occasion of the Union between Ireland and Great Britain; but they wore fully discussed on the occasion of the Union between England and Scotland. As a matter of fact, the Irish did not think the words were of any great importance. Those exemptions and abatements were only to come into practice when the Exchequers of the two countries were united, and as the Irish people did not think it probable that the Exchequers would be united for a long period, they had not given much attention to the meaning of the words. For the origin of the words they should, therefore, go to the history of the Union of England and Scotland. The English Commissioners demanded that the subjects of both nations should be subjected to the same burdens, excises, and taxes. To this the Scotch Commissioners demurred, and they obtained some concessions. In the first place they obtained a provision that the Land Tax of Scotland should be limited to £45,000. That was the abatement. In the second place, after agreeing to certain equal duties, they obtained exemption from certain burdens and excises within Scotland for a competent time, to be adjusted in the course of its trade for certain articles. That was the exemption. They further agreed that if the exemption should be found impossible, owing to the prejudice to English trade and manufactures, Scotland should, in the alternative, receive as an equivalent an annual compensation for the inequality of taxation. He contended that although equal treatment in the matter of agricultural rates would not be, in the literal sense, exemption or abatement, it might be accepted pro tanto as an equivalent. They made an appeal to the spirit rather than to the words of the Act of Union; but nevertheless, if the Government gave them what they asked for they would be to some extent carrying out the express provision of the Act of Union as to exemptions and abatements. There were some people who did not like to regard Ireland as a separate entity, and to those he would point out that the burden of which they complained affected not merely the country but the individual farmer in Ireland. Let them take the peasant in Donegal, who was employed chiefly in raising store cattle, which he sold in Scotland or England in competition with English and Scotch farmers, who also raised store cattle. The rates in Donegal averaged 5s. 6d. in the pound—perhaps a little more. If the Donegal farmer had the advantage of living in England he would get from the State 2s. 9d. in the pound to help him in the work of producing store cattle. The English farmers with whom he was competing got half their rates paid, but he did not. This Donegal peasant who competed with the English and Scotch farmers was farther from the markets, and lived in a worse climate than they did, and yet the Government added to his difficulties by making a grant of half the rates to the English fanner and refusing to give any relief to the Donegal peasant. He had in be content with what little satisfaction he could derive from knowing that a Board was to be set up in Dublin. [Ironical Irish cheers.] Was it not an inequality without parallel in the civilised world that they should give to one class of producer in one part of the country out of the joint Exchequer a grant to encourage him in his industry while refusing to give the same been to another producer who paid the same taxes? Was there a parallel in Turkey itself to that injustice. [Laughter, and Irish cheers.] After making careful inquiries, he had arrived at the conclusion that the farmer in Donegal could not produce each year more than one head of cattle fit for the market to a valuation of £5. He was handicapped by not getting a relief which the English farmer got to the extent of 13s. 9d. on every store beast. Could it be said that the Government were meting out equal treatment to all parts of the United Kingdom? They refused to make any distinction in matters of taxation. Why were they not entitled to the same relief in Ireland as was given to English farmers and landlords? He ventured to say that they might search the records of history in vain to find any moaner action than this. The Government did not put off the relief of the English farmer until the Commission on the Incidence of Rates in Great Britain had reported. Why, then, should they put off the relief of the Irish farmer until the new Commission on the Financial Relations had reported? He could only understand one reason for this injustice, namely, that it suited the pockets of the Government; but if it suited their consciences as well as it suited their pockets, he would not give much, for their consciences. [Ironical Irish cheers.] He begged to move the Motion.

* MR. HORACE PLUNKETT (Dublin Co., S.)

said that, in his opinion, the speech of the hon. and learned Member had not been one bit too long. He particularly desired to endorse the view that English Members should pay due regard to the absolute unity among Irish representatives upon this occasion. He did not fear that English Members would attribute that unity to mere greed for money from the British Exchequer. So bitter, unfortunately, had been the antagonism between the Irish representatives on the two sides of the House that they would be hardly likely to come together on a purely fiscal matter unless they had the honest conviction that those on the other side were right in their contention. This was the second time that this question had been raised, and, as on the former occasion, the Government now seemed to take refuge in a doubt as to whether their Measure of last year was for the relief of agriculture or for the reform of local taxation. The words of the Queen's Speech of last year absolutely decided the matter. That Speech read:— I regret to say that the condition of agriculture is disastrous beyond any recent experience. Measures will be laid before you, of which the object will be to mitigate the distress under which the classes labour who are engaged in that industry. He would point out that in these words there was no question of the relief of countries; there was to be relief of certain classes who were suffering from an economic crisis in a specified industry. If the Government honestly desired the Hating Act of last year to apply to Ireland they could adjust every difference there might be between the conditions of the two islands. It was not necessary to fall back upon the proportions of 80, 11, and 9. The result of that proportion was that Ireland received the one-tenth of her rates as against one-half paid in England. The hon. Member for Deny had clearly made out his ease, that this was giving a bonus to English farmers, but he had omitted to say that there was a specific clause in the Act of Union which absolutely prohibited any bonuses being given in any of the three countries which would act disadvantageously as against the others He would not now refer to the attitude of the Government with regard to the financial relations, as he was anxious that the present question should be considered on its merits, but he would like to say a word with regard to the proposed allocation of whatever money was coming to them through the Agriculture and Industries Bill. In the Queen's Speech last year it was admitted that the interests of agriculture in Ireland were of paramount importance, and they were told that a Bill would be introduced in order to assist that industry; but would it be believed that the Government had diverted the money provided in accordance with the promise given in the Queen's Speech of last year, so that it should this year march round again like a stage army, and appear as a new gift to Irish industries. He should be glad to see a sum given to Ireland equivalent to that given to England and Scotland for educational facilities. He appealed to English Members to take the matter before the House seriously to heart. The relations between England and Ireland were very much concerned in the decision which might be come to that night. He had been at variance with the majority of the representatives of Ireland on the nature of those relations, and during the short time that he had been connected with public affairs in Ireland he had done his best to bring about a better state of feeling between the two countries. He had not, he admitted, been, successful, and, in. fact, it was borne in upon him every day that there seemed to be a hopeless incapacity on the part of Englishmen—[Nationalist cheers]—to understand Ireland or the Irish question, or for Irishmen to understand Englishmen. [Ministerial cheers.] He had done his utmost to assure his own countrymen that if there was one quality that Englishmen might boast of it was a desire to do justice. [Nationalist laughter.] It was not necessary for hon. Members opposite to laugh. He had already admitted that they disagreed on that point, and he was afraid that they would continue to do so. At the same time he was extremely anxious that the present Government should have an opportunity of backing up their supporters in Ireland, who were assiduously endeavouring to persuade their fellow-countrymen that not only were Englishmen endeavouring to do justice to Ireland, but intended to do it. A Nationalist friend told him the other day that they could never get justice from England unless they went with a landlord's head in one hand and a cow's tail in the other.—[Nationalist cheers and laughter]—but he still held that after all the Irish race was not incapable of coming to a better understanding with England, and he sincerely hoped that English Members of all Parties would assist them in enabling the English Government, and their supporters in Ireland to prove the justice of the position he had taken up. [Cheers.]


Sir, there is one sentence in the Motion of the hon. Member for Derry to which I should like to call attention in passing, and that is the statement that the Agricultural Hating Act for England has given a benefit to the English farmer. We have not been accustomed to hear that language from the opposite side of the House; on the contrary, we have had definite statements on the other side from right hon. Gentlemen and many other speakers who addressed us last year—I am not quite sure I could not quote some expressions from the hon. Member for Derry himself, or at any rate from one of his leaders—[Ministerial laughter]—to the effect that the Act would not benefit the English farmer. The hon. Member now holds out that Act as a been to the English farmer, and has founded on that statement a remarkable argument that if the same Act is not applied to Ireland the result will be that a bounty will be given to the English farmer as against the Irish farmer in the markets in which they compete. Well, I do not think I can go quite as far as the hon. Member in his view of the Act of last year. In unbelief—and I have always said so—it will be a benefit to the English farmer certainly at first, probably for the whole time of its operation; but when fresh tenancies and created, especially if there should be a change in the present state of the market as between landlord and tenant in favour of the landlord, then, no doubt—I think it is admitted—the owner of the land will have an advantage. But at present I admit the hon. Member is justified in claiming that Act as a benefit to the English farmer. Is it a bounty? That argument would lead us to this, that we should never do anything for the advantage of any class of persons in England, Scotland, or Ireland, without doing precisely the same thing—quite apart from the fact whether the circumstances were different or not—for the same class of persons over the whole of the United Kingdom. Our contention is, and in that I am afraid I must differ from the hon. Member, that in this matter the circumstances of Ireland are different from those of England, and to my mind it would really be as absurd to hold out the Agricultural Rating Act of last year as a bounty to English as against Irish farmers as to say, for example, that the freedom of Irish farmers from rates for education or police and from land tax where a man occupies his own land, and matters of that kind, are a bounty to the Irish as against the English fanner. ["Hear, hear!"] You might almost go on at that rate to argue that to give the advantages which have been undoubtedly given by our whole code of Irish land legislation to the occupier of land in Ireland as compared with the occupier of land in the rest of the United Kingdom is a bounty to Irish farmers. ["Hear, hear!"] I do not think it necessary to dwell upon that part of the hon. Member's argument. He has discussed at great length the question he has brought before the House, though not at too great length, for I admit the ability of his speech. I wish he had not marred it by imputing to me—not personally, but to the Government—


The system.


And to the office I have the honour to hold, mean and other discreditable motives which I am sure do not enter into the matter in the least. If I could have seen last year that it was a fair thing, having regard to the past and having regard to the present, to propose for Ireland precisely the same kind of relief in agricultural rating as was proposed for England, I certainly should have done it irrespectively of the cost. ["Hear, hear!"] But what happened? The hon. Member himself has raised this matter before. When the Agricultural Rating Act was passing through this House, the hon. Member moved an Instruction to the Committee asking that the Act might be extended to Ireland. That was debated at considerable length. Several hon. Members from Ireland spoke in the Debate, and, after hearing the arguments, the House rejected the proposal by a very large majority. Why? Because, in the opinion of the great majority of the House, the hon. Member had entirely failed to prove that the circumstances were identical to which he wished to apply identical remedies. I think he has equally failed to-night. Let the House consider what has been the history of this question of local taxation. It has been a question which, since the day I entered Parliament, has been year after year brought before this House by representatives of agricultural constituencies in England. There was a very strong feeling in the English agricultural constituencies that the agricultural ratepayers, whether owners or occupiers, were unfairly assessed to local taxation as compared with their real ability to pay, and that the immunity of personal property was a great grievance. That matter was brought before the House year after year, and stops were taken, one after the other, to meet the demands that were made. In the meantime, the amount of personal wealth in this country largely increased, and the value of agricultural hind largely diminished, and when the late Government assumed office the depression of agriculture in Great-Britain was such, that they appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into that particular matter. The reference to that Royal Commission was not extended to Ireland. Why was it not extended to Ireland? Because, of course, in the opinion of the late Government agricultural depression did not exist in Ireland—[Irish laughter]—in the sense that it existed in England. Of course, if they had felt that the contrary was the case, they would have included Ireland in the reference. They did not; that is the simple fact. The Commission, was appointed and reported, as hon. Members will recollect, in favour of relief to the occupiers of agricultural land in Great Britain from rates to an extent larger than was granted to them by the Agricultural Rating Act of last year; and Parliament acted upon that recommendation, on the ground that the occupiers of agricultural land, on account of the depressed condition of agriculture, ought to be relieved from the incidence of rating before any other ratepayer; and the case of other ratepayers was remitted for inquiry to the Royal Commission. Now what had been the previous practice in Parliament in regard to cases where relief had been given to English ratepayers? My right hon. Friend, as the hon. Member observed, introduced that practice in the year 1888. It was held by Parliament, and repeatedly acted upon, that when a certain proportion of Imperial revenue was intercepted from the common purposes of the United Kingdom and handed over to England, for the relief of local ratepayers, that an equivalent grant should be made to Scotland and to Ireland in the proportion of 80, 11, and 9, which should be expended for local purposes in those parts of the United Kingdom. The hon. Member now seems rather to group the cases of England and Scotland together, as if Ireland had equally a grievance against both of them in this matter. What happened in the case of Scotland? An equivalent grant in the old proportion of eleven-hundredths was given to Scotland under the Act which was passed lust year for Scotland, and in the same way a grant of nine-hundredths was given to Ireland for Irish purposes. That was precisely the course that had been followed in previous years. Is that, assuming the practice of equivalent grants to be a fair one, an unfair course? I can show that the proportion of nine-hundredths, at any rate, is favourable to Ireland. Of course, the calculation was based upon the respective contributions of the three parts of the United Kingdom to the joint revenue. The proportion of the total revenue of the United Kingdom contributed by Ireland in the years 1895–96. was only 7.34 per cent., and therefore, on that basis, Ireland was a considerable gainer; and, again, if you were to take the sources of revenue which were diverted from Imperial to local purposes you would find that Ireland was even a greater gainer in that way. The sources of revenue were three—namely, a part of the probate or estate duty, on personalty, and a surtax, upon spirits and beer. In the year 1895–96, whereas Ireland only contributed 4.8 per cent, of the total probate duty on personalty, she received 9 per cent.—nearly double. She contributed 6.47 per cent, of the surtax upon beer, and received 9 per cent. She contributed 12.5 of the surtax upon spirits, and received 9 per cent., making a total receipt in 1895–96 for local purposes for Ireland f no less than £89,000 more than her contribution to these sources of revenue. I do not wish to attach too much importance to this, because the whole 9 per cent, was based on the total revenue of the country, of which, as I have shown, Ireland contributed only 7.34 per cent. But the gist of the hon. Member's Motion is this—he objects to equivalent grants altogether; he is not considering whether they are fair or not. He says that we ought not to have dealt with this matter by equivalent grants, but that we should have given to Irish farmers precisely the same form of relief we gave to English agricultural ratepayers. ["Hear, hear!"] Let mo say on that, in the first place, that I demur to his view that there have been the same complaints with regard to local taxation in Ireland on agricultural land as there have been in England. The whole history of our Parliamentary Debates upon that subject, I believe, will show the contrary. The hon. Member himself admitted that whereas certain grants had been given to Ireland from the Imperial revenue for local purposes, some of those grants had, with the consent of the Irish Members, not been devoted to the relief of ratepayers, but had been devoted to other purposes altogether.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

We were never consulted.


You were here.


We protested, and you would not listen to us.


That is not my recollection. My recollection is that the purposes to which these grants were devoted were assented to by the Irish Members.


We continually kicked against the £10,000 for horse-breeding.


At any rate, the fact is this—that in the year 1887, when a grant was made to the local authorities in Great Britain for the maintenance of highways in relief of ratepayers, a corresponding grant to Ireland was devoted to certain local industries and certain local public works. In 1888 the grant of £40,000 was not devoted to the relief of ratepayers, but was used, in the first place, as a reserve to meet the requirements of the Land Purchase Acts, and now is to go to the building of labourers' cottages. In 1890 the Irish share of the surtax on the beer and spirit duties was given directly for the purposes of elementary and intermediate education. That, at any rate, I think, shows that the claims of Irish ratepayers have not been in past years pressed upon Parliament in the same way as the claims of English ratepayers. Why is that? I cannot, answer that question, though I confess it occurs to me that it may have been the case in the past that the rates of Ireland were not so high as the rates in England, or, possibly, the attention of Irish Members was directed to other matters. I merely refer to a fact. But now, it is said, there is another state of things, and in the view of the hon. Member, the most necessary purpose to which any grant from the Imperial funds can be devoted in Ireland is the relief of the agricultural ratepayer. I do not know whether that view is assented to or not by hon. Members from Ireland generally. If that be so, then, of course, that view will be very carefully considered by the Irish Government. I do not know what course the Irish Government may propose to take with regard to the £150,000 which has been allocated for Irish purposes.


The Irish Government will say that that is a Treasury matter.


No, that is not a Treasury matter. The system of equivalent grants is a Treasury matter, but the mode in which the amount is to be dealt with is not a Treasury matter at all. It is a matter in which I imagine the Irish Government would be practically free from Treasury control and would desire to consider the wishes of the representatives for Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] But that, of course, is not what the hon. Member wants. What he wants is a good deal more. ["Hear, hear!"] He wants that £150,000 to be largely increased—[Nationalist cheers]— and that is the whole object of his Motion. Why should it be increased? The hon. Member spoke of the pressure of rates in Ireland. He made light of the English land tax, which is a very severe burden in many of the poorest agricultural parts of England, but with which I will not deal, as it does not fall upon the occupier, but upon the owner. But he went on to compare the valuation of Ireland with the valuation of England, and he said that the valuation of property for the purposes of rating was too high in Ireland and too low in England. I am quite confident of this—that when I had a special connection with the Irish Government, which now is some years ago, the valuation of property in Ireland was considerably below the real value.


That was in 1875.


And in 1886. Of course, things may have changed. It may be that in some parts, perhaps in many parts, of Ireland, Griffith's valuation, as it is called, is at present higher than the value as fixed by the Land Commissioners. ["Hear, hear!"] But I do not think that if there be any real desire on the part of hon. Members for Ireland that the valuation of that country should be revised, they will find Her Majesty's Government at all backward in associating themselves with that request. [Cheers.]


It would cost a quarter of a million to do it.


Yes, but it might be worth a quarter of a million to have a revision of the valuation. [Cheers.] At any rate, I am perfectly prepared to take the matter into consideration with a real desire to carry something out, if we had any understanding that it would be favourably received by the Members for Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] It can be, so far as I can see, no object to anybody, and certainly no object to the Treasury, that the taxes and rates of Ireland should be levied upon an unfair valuation. ["Hear, hear!"] But with regard to the valuation in England, it is not my experience, and I have some little experience in that matter, that the valu- ation for rating purposes in agricultural districts is at present too low. ["Hear, hear!"] I have known many cases where it is too high—[cheers]—and where it has been found impossible to induce the assessment committees to take what I may call a fair view of the real value of agricultural property in its present depreciated condition. I do not think, therefore, that on that basis the hon. Member can make out any case for Ireland. But he has compared the rate in the pound which is paid by ratepayers in Ireland and in England, and he has put on one side the 2s. 4d. in the pound which was calculated as the average rate on agricultural land to which the Agricultural Rating Act applied, and compared that with the 3s. 3d. in the pound which he has calculated as the average amount of rates paid by ratepayers in Ireland. I would submit that that comparison is entirely fallacious.


I did not say as the total amount. The average would be very much larger. I have taken the average paid by agricultural ratepayers.


I do not think the hon. Member has any real basis for arriving at that conclusion. ["Hear, hear!"] I do not know how he has separated the portion of the poor rate which is paid by the landlord from the portion which is paid by the occupier, because his Motion only refers to that portion of the poor rate which in Ireland is paid by the occupier? How has he separated, with regard to the grand jury cess, the rate in the pound on purely agricultural lands from the rate in the pound on buildings, on houses in towns, to which the grand jury cess, of course, applies, and on other property which is not agricultural land at all.


The cess only applies in a very partial degree to the towns.


I think the grand jury cess applies very largely to the towns. ["Hear, hear!"] That is my recollection. I have been quite unable myself to arrive at any real estimate of the average rate in the pound on agricultural land in Ireland which could fairly be compared with the 2s. 4d., which was the average estimated rate on agricultural land in England. I do not think the House can conclude anything from the 3s. 3d. in the pound or the figures of 1s. 5½d. for the average poor rate and 2s. 1d. for the average grand jury rate to which the hon. Member has referred. Then, again, he has referred to the specially high rates, in certain baronies or electoral divisions in the poorest parts of Ireland, and he asserted that those high rates were in no ease due to the rates levied under the Light Railways Act or other corresponding legislation. I think the hon. Member is mistaken.


I am sorry to again interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but I did not say so. I said that the particular figures, which I gave on the authority of Mr. Robinson, who is a Local Government Board official in Ireland, did not include the light railway rates as Mr. Robinson himself said. I did not make the general statement.


I am quite sure, having looked through the return obtained by the hon. Member for East Mayo a year or two ago, that I could put my finger on baronies or electoral divisions in Ireland where the rates are heaviest, the greater part of which would be due to the cost of light railways or something of that kind. The hon. Member spoke of the Belmullet Union and other unions in the West. I am afraid it would be found that the excessive rates in those unions are directly due to mismanagement which would not be tolerated on this side of the Channel—[Cheers and Nationalist cries of "No!"]—and I do not think we can fairly be expected to give relief in cases of that kind. [Cheers, and an IRISH MEMBER: "That is not so."] I contend, as I have already said, that the circumstances of Ireland with regard to agricultural depression cannot be compared with those of England. I do not say for a moment that there have not been bad seasons in Ireland, when the occupiers have suffered. I do not say for a moment that there have not been fluctuations in the prices of stock, which, when low, they have also suffered from. Hut what has been the real cause of what we call agricultural depression in England—that agricultural depression into which the late Government found it necessary to institute a special inquiry? Why, unquestionably, the low price of wheat, and England is a wheat-growing country, and Ireland is not. ["Hear, hear!"] That is really at the bottom of the whole matter. I know, with regard to farms in several parts of England, it is no easy matter when a farm is vacant to obtain a new tenant. At any rate, it is not an easy matter to obtain a tenant who is prepared to pay, not a high tenant-right, but the ordinary payments for acts of husbandly and compensation for unexhausted improvements which, under any proper system of agriculture, must be paid by an incoming tenant to the outgoing tenant. What is the cause of the high price of tenant-right in Ireland I must leave to those better acquainted with Ireland than myself to determine; but, at any rate, the occupation of a farm in that country must be worth something if sensible people like Irishmen are willing to pay great prices for those rights. [Laughter and cheers.] Could you find anybody to do it in England? I do not believe you could. ["Hear, hear!"] In England, again, we settle the rents by agreement between landlord and tenant in what is ordinarily known as the bargaining of the market, and the result is, as we have seen, that rents practically every where, have gone down, and in many parts have gone down enormously. ["Hear, hear!"] In Ireland you have to maintain a special system of land legislation in order to protect the tenant against the bargaining of the market and to prevent the landlord getting from him a higher rent than Parliament has considered he ought in fairness to pay. The circumstances of the two countries in this matter are as different as could by any possibility be conceived—[cheers]—and, that being so, I fail to understand how the hon. Member can with fairness argue that identical remedies ought to be applied to them. ["Hear, hear!"] If it be the case that the incidence of local taxation on the ratepayers generally, or on the agricultural ratepayers specially, in Ireland has become a greater grievance than it was in the years to which I have alluded, there is an opening of which Irishmen can avail themselves. There is a Royal Commission now sitting—[ironical laughter]— to inquire into the incidence of local taxation. That inquiry extends to Ireland. Ireland is ably represented on that Commission, and if they make any recommendations with regard to local taxation in Ireland, those recommendations will come with great weight to Her Majesty's Government and to Parliament. But at present what I feel is this—


Cannot you appoint another to upset it?


We have appointed that Commission ourselves, and the remark of the hon. Member is hardly to the point. ["Hear, hear!"] It is not asked that we should really give identical treatment to Ireland in this case. My right hon. Friend the Member for County Dublin referred to the Bill of the Chief Secretary for establishing a Board of Agriculture and handing over to that Board the sum of £150,000 a year which was allocated to Ireland as an equivalent grant by the Act of last Session. My hon. Friend desires, I believe, that much larger funds should be handed over to the Board of Agriculture. His desire is that Ireland should have identical treatment with regard to the relief of farmers from agricultural rating, but should not have identical treatment with regard to the funds to be expended in Ireland by the Board of Agriculture. The Imperial Treasury is to pay with both hands.


Give us back our own money. [Laughter.]


Why is this request made? It is made, as the hon. Member's speech shows, because of the report of the majority of the Financial Relations Commission. He believes, as the majority of the Commission assert, that a large debt is due from Great Britain to Ireland in order to remedy overtaxation. He believes, contrary to all the Irish Members of that Commission, that it would be a set-off to overtaxation if additional grants were made in this way to Ireland. That is a view which he is perfectly entitled to hold, but we have not been able to admit the correctness of that view. We have not been able to accept the finding of the majority of the Royal Commission as to the over taxation of Ireland. We have not been I able to admit that Great Britain owes a debt in this matter to Ireland. On the contrary we propose that the subject should be further inquired into, and we do not stand in this matter on the same ground as hon. Members opposite. We are asked not merely to give to Irish agricultural ratepayers the same treatment as is given to English agricultural ratepayers in other circumstances, but also to give to Ireland grants for other purposes, of a much larger amount, which would never have been required or asked for in England. We are unable to adopt that course. My contention is that this Motion which has been moved as an Amendment to the Budget, is contrary to the past practice of Parliament in dealing with these matters of local taxation as between the three countries. It is not based on any proved necessity, but is based on the view that there is a great debt due by Great Britain to Ireland—a view which has not been accepted by the House of Commons. [Cheers.]

MR. E. CARSON (Dublin University)

said that when the Motion with reference to the Financial Relations Commission was before the House he supported the Government. ["Hear, hear!"] He did so for the same reason as he intended to oppose them that evening. On that occasion it was argued that Ireland was a separate entity—that Ireland was entitled to separate financial treatment. As a Unionist, he could not, and would not, accept that view. He was well aware that there had been many occasions during recent years upon which the House had treated Ireland as a separate entity. It was to that he attributed the isolated position which Irish Unionists held in Ireland, because if they looked back at the past history of this Parliament in relation to Ireland they found that it was whenever Ireland was so treated Irish Unionists were deserted by English Members who otherwise sympathised with them. It was also because they had been so treated that many of the fundamental principles of the Act of Union had been set at naught. By that treatment they had been robbed of their Church, and now day by day they were robbing their landlords of their property. So far as he was concerned, he would be no party to the Separatist doctrines which had been laid down with such force by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. [Opposition cheers.] Nor would he any longer be prepared to submit to being treated at one moment as a member of this great country, and at another moment as a member of something entirely different. All they asked in this case was that they should be treated exactly as if they were a part of this country—that the County Kerry should receive exactly the same treatment as Essex or Norfolk. He had listened with great disappointment to the arguments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had not refuted a single argument put forward by the Mover of the Resolution. Was it disputed that there were baronies in Kerry which paid 10s. in the pound on the valuation of the agricultural rating and something like 13s. in Mayo? The poorer the district the higher the rates, and the proofs adduced by the hon. and learned Member had not been challenged. The answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was twofold; he said that the circumstances of Ireland and England were different. Their only difference was in the amount of the aggravated distress existing in Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] Then it was said that there was not the same amount of agricultural distress in Ireland as in England; but if this was so, what did the Government intend to do in relation to their own Sub-Commissioners, who were daily cutting down rents 60 to 70 per cent, under Acts to which the Government were a party? It was further said, "Look at the large sums being paid for tenant right in Ireland." What was the reason? The reason was because land in Ireland was the sole employment of the people. [Nationalist cheers.] The second argument employed was their old friend the equivalent grant. The meaning of this was that they were not to consider the circumstances or the wants of the country, but the amount of contribution to certain matters of Imperial revenue. If that argument held good—if they were still a United Kingdom, which he was beginning to doubt—[Opposition cheers]—what became of the statement constantly being made as to the great advantages to the poorer country forming a portion of the wealthier? [Nationalist cheers.] The argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer had a separatist tendency. The question was really a simple one. Local taxation on agricultural land was higher in Ireland than in England; but the grievance was not to be met. The argument had been used that in course of time the grant under the Agricultural Rating Act of last year might find its way into the pockets of the English landlords. There would, however, be no chance of anything of that kind occurring in Ireland, because there the rents were fixed by the Land Courts, which would intervene to prevent the money from going into the landlords' pockets. Both sides in that House were always professing to be the friends of Ireland, but when it came to a question of pounds, shillings, and pence, each side endeavoured to take as much as it could from that country. [Nationalist cheers.] The policy of both sides for relieving the occupiers of land in Ireland was simply to take another slice off the interest of the landlords. That was a policy which cost the British. Exchequer nothing. He should certainly support this Resolution. The refusal of the Government to entertain the claim advanced unanimously by the representatives of Irish constituencies would cause grave disappointment in Ireland. He was anxious to hear what the Chief Secretary for Ireland and the Irishmen who had the honour of being associated with him as Members of the Government had to say on this subject. ["Hear, hear!"] He had watched the flow of public opinion" in Ireland, and everywhere, even in newspapers which were avowedly supporters of the Government, the same language of disapprobation was used with regard to their conduct in not extending to Ireland the benefits of the English Rating Act. Since this Government had come into power, the position of Unionism in Ireland had not improved—[Nationalist cheers]—and the attitude of the Chancellor of the Exchequer would render that position worse. There was only one way to maintain the union between the two countries, and that was by doing absolute justice to Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"]

MR. GRANT LAWSON (York, N. R., Thirsk)

observed that the reductions of rent in Ireland, which his right hon. and learned Friend had always stoutly opposed, ought to be viewed by him as bounties to the Irish farmers as against the English farmers. The right hon. and learned Gentleman contended that Kerry, for example, ought to be treated in precisely the same way as Essex was. But was Kerry prepared to give up the special advantages which it possessed in common with other Irish counties in connection with local taxation? Was Kerry prepared to pay half the cost of its own police, and proportionately as much as Essex did for education? The hon. Member who had proposed this Resolution had referred to the unanimity among the Irish Members who were making this attack upon the British Exchequer, but he wanted to know whether the regular Opposition were similarly unanimous on the subject. Were they anxious that the operation of a Measure which they denounced last year as wrong and vicious in principle should be extended to Ireland? There was a certain want of authentic facts and figures on which to argue this question out. The Financial Relations Commission ought to have inquired into the subject of local taxation as well as into that of Imperial taxation. But they did not do so because they knew that England had a good case. Sir E. Hamilton, however, tried to force the subject upon their attention, and one or two questions were asked about the advantages enjoyed by ratepayers in Ireland. Mr. Sexton, referring to local taxation revenue, said:— No doubt, according to the Treasury calculation, Ireland contributes £250,000 and gets £320,000, so that there would appear to be an advantage to Ireland of £70,000 a year. Sir E. Hamilton replied, "I think those are the figures." The Motion presented to the Exchequer a little Bill of between £500,000 and £600,000 a year. Its supporters overlooked the fact that there was a good set-off against that. The Irish police cost £1,500,000, and if that expense were incurred in England half of it would be defrayed by the local ratepayers. [Mr. LOUGH: "The English ratepayers would appoint them, but the Irish do not!"] Taking the figure agreed by the Financial Relations Commission as the figure which ought to be charged to Ireland for police, if paid for on the same basis as in England, he found that it was £600,000, and of that the ratepayers would have had to pay one-half, or £300,000. Then as to education, the ratepayers of England and Wales paid nearly £4,000,000 annually in rates for elementary education on a population of 30¾ millions. On the same basis the Irish ratepayers, on their population of 4½ millions, ought to have paid £569,000. They actually paid £7,287, or about £562,000 short. He thought that these items showed a sufficient set-off against the claim now made. ["Hear, hear!"] The whole system of rating in Ireland was entirely different to that in England. In the case of small tenancies under £4 the whole of the rates were paid by the owner, and in many cases of tenancies above that amount the rates were divided. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had shown that when it came to a question of paying, the share of Ireland was 7 2–3rds per cent., but when it came to receiving, Ireland drew 9 per cent, of the money distributed. To anyone but an Irishman that would be a good bargain. ["Hear, hear!"] It had been stated that the rates in Ireland were going up. The statistical abstract showed that in 1889–90, the first year after the new arrangement of local taxation made by the present First Lord of the Admiralty, the rates in England and Wales amounted to £27,720,000, and that they rose in 1893–4 to £31,228,000, an increase of £4,500,000. The rates in Ireland in 1889–90 amounted to £2,991,062, and in 1893–4 to £2,993,032, or an increase of about £2,000. That surely disposed of the idea that the rates in Ireland were rising in an alarming way. If any farmer at all had a bounty operating in his favour, it was the Irish farmer, who had all the advantages conferred on him by the Land Acts. The truth of the matter was that the Irish farmer wanted to keep all the advantages he possessed at present, and also to come in for a share of the little advantage the English farmer might get. They wanted to keep all the preferential treatment they received in the matters of police and education, and also to share any crumb of assistance the English farmer received. ["Hear, hear!"] A very quaint objection was raised that the £40,000 a year given to Ireland under the County Councils Act was used to set in motion the Irish Land Acts. This motion was made in favour of the Irish farmer. That £40,000 was intended to help all the ratepayers in Ireland, but the agricultural population got hold of it and used it for their own purposes. For the reasons he had stated he should cer- tainly oppose this Motion, and he hoped that all English Members, not only on account of the interest of which the hon. Member for Londonderry had spoken, but also from a desire to do justice to Ireland and some little justice to England, would join him in his opposition. ["Hear, hear!"]

MR. J. A. RENTOUL (Down, E.)

said that the three Irish Members who had already spoken had all got some particular grievance in connection with the action of the Government. The mover of the Motion objected, of course, to the very existence of the Government, and to everything the Government did. The hon. Member for the County of Dublin had also a grievance of his own, and he was followed by the Member for Dublin University, who had a great grievance with regard to the shocking treatment the Government meted out to his friends and protegés, the Irish landlords. The hon. Member also referred to the ancient grievance of the disestablishment of the Irish Church. He was himself in the position of being an Irish Member without a grievance as far as the Government was concerned up to the present. He came to the House anxious to hear all that could be said on both sides of this question. He naturally expected to hear a powerful and complete reply from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the hon. Member for Londonderry; but as far as he could judge, the right hon. Gentleman gave no answer to any single portion of the speech of the hon. Member. The hon. Member who had just sat down had used a considerable number of arguments they were accustomed to hear in reference to this matter. He had himself used some of those arguments when speaking on a platform in his constituency of a Member of the present Government. He was trying to show the excellent financial position of Ireland, and the excellent treatment Ireland was receiving in this matter. He was satisfied with the speech himself, but whether that satisfaction extended to the bulk of the audience or not he did not know. It certainly did not extend to the hon. Member for the division—[laughter]—because he took him to task and told him he was all wrong. The hon. Member was interested in this matter, although a Member of the pre- sent Government, and he pointed out a number of matters which set him thinking, and he had not used the same arguments again. [laughter.] The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his reply to the hon. Member for Londonderry, said that the Act of last year would not be a boon to the tenant, because when present tenancies ended, it would be a boon to the landlords. The contention of the supporters of the Motion was that it was a boon to the Englishman, and they were not concerned with the question whether it was a boon to the landlord or the tenants. They contended that an Act on the same lines should be passed for Ireland. The Chancellor of the Exchequer went on to say that the hon. Member for Londonderry might as well argue that the benefits the Irish farmer enjoyed under the Land Acts were a bounty to the Irish farmer against the English farmer. Those who represented agricultural constituencies in Ireland did not look upon this at all as a bounty to the Irish farmer, but merely as a provision to force Irish landlords to do towards their tenants what English landlords had done and were doing with regard to their tenants. The Chancellor of the Exchequer denied that there had been the same complaints with regard to local taxation in Ireland as there had been in England. But what did it matter whether there had been the same volume of complaint or not? The question was, where did justice lie? Where was the right in this question? Seeing that all the Irish leaders and all their followers of every party, creed, and class, were at one in this matter, the reference of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to a disunited Irish Nationalist Party recoiled upon himself. It showed that there was some justice in the claim they made. The depression in England, it was said, was owing to the fall in the price of wheat, but if that circumstance demanded special and exceptional treatment, surely the fact of the entire disappearance in Ireland of the flax crop, which 15 or 20 years ago was the great sheet-anchor of the Irish fanner, pointed no less forcibly to the extending of similar treatment to the farmers of Ireland. The old argument had again been trotted out—the price that Irish farmers were foolish enough to give for small pieces of land here and there. In Ireland there was not merely land hunger, but the strong desire on the part of the farmer to "square" his farm, and if a bit of land had been taken out of his farm, and proved an eyesore, he would give almost any price in order to get it back. But this did not apply to good-sized farms. They were almost unsaleable. He knew dozens of farms of that character that had been put up again and again, and were at this moment unsaleable. [Nationalist cheers.] He knew the case of a farm where the buildings cost £1,500, all in the finest state of repair, and £300 was the largest price that could be got for the entire farm, buildings and all. It might as well be said, because hundreds of men were found giving good rents for chambers in the Temple, when they would get perhaps only one brief in three years, that, therefore, the whole legal profession were earning an enormous income amongst every one of its members. No; the notorious fact was that Irish farmers were barely existing at all throughout the country.—[Nationalist cheers]—and were it not that they lived in a way that no Englishman of any class could possibly live, they would disappear from the country altogether. So he would earnestly request the Government to put aside once for all the argument drawn from the price given for odd patches of land here and there. It was a piece of insanity, a craze, and could not be justified. The Chancellor of the Exchequer further said he could not find that the rating of Ireland was unfair. Well, the speech of the hon. Member for Londonderry was still unanswered. There had not been one single sentence or argument to it from beginning to end of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech. If it could be and was answered, no one would be more delighted to follow the Government into the lobby. If the speech of the hon. and learned Member had contained but one sentence it would require a wry elaborate answer indeed. It was this, that while Mayo and Kerry were paying 10s. and 13s. respectively in the pound, Essex was considered to be paying far too large an amount when paying 4s., 5s., and 6s. They needed from the Government an answer to that statement. When they showed that the rate paid in poor Irish counties was 10s. in the pound, and in the worst English county, Essex, the rate was 4s. 6d., they could not continue to say that it was all talk that came from Ireland. They had not on this occasion Irishmen set against Irishmen, but they had all the Irish Members and all the Irish people speaking with one voice. Here they had the landlords' representatives and the tenants' representatives saying the same thing. He asked the English Members around him to look into this matter, and not follow the Government blindly into the Lobby—a Government which he admired and respected—but to judge the matter on its merits. He believed that the Government were taking a wrong view on this question. No one could doubt his loyalty to the Unionist cause. He asked his hon. Friends to consider the fact that ten or twelve Unionist Members who had spoken for the English Members at the Election, joined in supporting this Motion. There had been money demands made from Ireland that were foolish, and they were laughed out of the House, but this was not a case of that kind. He said to his hon. Friends: "If you are satisfied that the Government have answered the speech of the Member for Derry, by all means vote with the Government; but unless you think that that has been done, then do not follow the Government into the Lobby on a matter of this sort." The President of the Local Government Board said last year that he was afraid the income of the farmers was either nothing or inadequate. This far more than applied to the Irish farmers, who were many of them, near the verge of starvation. ["Hear, hear!"] Therefore, these words of the President of the Local Government Board applied with ten-fold greater force to Ireland. The Member for Derry quoted three reasons for the Bill of last year: the first was under pressure of Imperial taxation; secondly, the heavy pressure of rates on farmers; and thirdly, that agriculture was in a depressed condition. Could the right hon. Gentleman show that these conditions did not apply to Ireland? It was said that a large number of people were desirous for a University, but a large number did not want a University; therefore, speaking as one of the Unionist Members, he said, "Keep your University for the present, at any rate, and apply the money to this matter of taxation which is pressed upon you." As to the proposed Board of Agriculture, he failed to see how a Board in Dublin, however good it might be, or however much money they placed at its disposal, could deal with the most pressing difficulties that existed in many parts of Ireland. He did not agree with the wholesale denunciation of the Government by the Member for Dublin University, for many of the Unionists considered that the Land Act was on the right lines. He hoped the Government would back up that Act by a generous treatment of this question. ["Hear, hear!"]

MR. C. A. CRIPPS (Gloucester, Stroud)

assured his hon. and learned Friend that the English Members were anxious to do equal justice to Ireland. Were the conditions as to rates in Ireland constituted on the same basis as the rates in England, and were they so constituted that they could fairly compare the rating of the two countries? There was a crucial difference between them, and this was the fallacy which underlay the speech of the hon. Member for Londonderry. Speaking as a Member of the Royal Commission on this subject, he cordially hoped that when their labours came to a conclusion they should be able to advise a system which would operate equally over every part of the United Kingdom. If they could do that, then it would be possible, instead of adopting the principle of the equivalent grant, they could adopt the principle advocated by the hon. Member for Londonderry for every part of the three Kingdoms. If the amount of the equivalent grant for Ireland was not sufficient, then he would say let it be adjusted and enlarged. ["Hear, hear!"] But what was the complaint on the present occasion? It was not a complaint of the injustice of the equivalent grant as regarded the rating question. He reminded hon. Members from Ireland that the Rating Act was passed for a limited time. [An HON. MEMBER: "It was promised that it should be continued!"] He regarded that Act,! not as a matter of relief to the tenant or the landlord, but as the first step of reform dealing with an industry which had been subjected to a particular strain. They, the English Unionists, had taken great trouble to make themselves acquainted with this rating question in Ireland, fully determined that there should be a fair adjustment between the two countries. In England the rate was adjusted from year to year, except in London; but there was no such system in Ireland, where Griffiths' valuation, carried out gradually between 1850 and 1865, prevailed. No doubt the system operated in favour of the South of Ireland as compared with the North, owing to the change of prices during the years which intervened. He did not think his hon. Friend would say they should apply to Griffith's system the same principle which they applied to the system here, where the rate was adjusted every year. He denied that the amount of the rate in the pound was a fair test as to the burden of local taxation unless they associated with that the basis on which the rate was made. What were the items considered in connection with Griffiths' valuation? Wheat, oats, barley, beef, mutton, bacon and flax. Wheat was not now cultivated to any considerable extent in Ireland; but all the rest of the articles he had mentioned were worth per cwt. more now than when Griffiths' valuation was made. That was a complete answer to the statement of the hon. and learned Member for Londonderry that the mere fact that rates were 13s. in the pound was sufficient to establish, his case. The basis of valuation in Ireland had not been reformed since 1850, when prices on which the valuation was made were all lower than they were now. As to the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for Dublin University, to whom every Unionist Member listened with respect on all Irish questions, the right hon. and learned Member had overstated his case on one point. No doubt, the Irish landlords had been treated somewhat harshly and ungenerously; but the right hon. and learned Member forgot that while in England rents had fallen rapidly between 1882 and 1897, in Ireland the operation of the Land Act of 1881 had been to keep rents at a level which they would not have maintained if ordinary economic conditions had come into play. The unfortunate result was, that having been so kept up for 15 years, a readjustment naturally involved a very large reduction, which bore hardly on the landlord, though previously to the adjustment it was the tenant who suffered. It was a great pity that land in Ireland was not treated, as in England, on an economic basis. The fact that by the Act of 1881 Irish rents had been kept up while English rents had fallen, in some cases from 70 to 90 per cent., was the severest satire on the passing of an Act which did away with the ordinary economic considerations. The right hon. Member for Dublin University, however, had dwelt only on those effects of the Act which dad been harsh to the landlords; he had left out of account what was favourable to the landlords. Assuming that the agricultural depression had been as severe in Ireland as in England—and he did not think that was the case, because Irish agriculture depended less on arable land—that did not make it fair to apply the same Rating Act to both countries, until the basis of valuation was made the same in both countries. When that was done, he hoped that there would be one rating law for the whole of the United Kingdom. But at present there was no reason why the principle of equivalent grants should be departed from on the present occasion. If justice were to be done, there must not be a pretence of similarity where none actually existed. The differences of the conditions obtaining in the two countries must be taken into account. He had not heard it said that the equivalent grant was too small; and, on behalf of Unionist Members, he protested against the assertion that in supporting the Government on this occasion they were doing anything but obtaining equal justice and equal treatment for England and Ireland. [Cheers.]


said that the vote of the House on this Resolution would be a test vote. If the majority voted against the Resolution of the hon. and learned Member for Londonderry, it would show how vain it was for the Irish representatives of all opinions to agree in order to obtain what they believed to be a measure of simple justice. In every part of Ireland there had been meetings pressing upon the Government the extension to Ireland of the English Agricultural Rating Bill. Almost every grand jury passed a resolution to that effect at the last assizes, and almost every municipal body of importance had passed a similar resolution. On April 30th a great meeting was held at the Dublin Mansion House, at which prominent men of every shade of opinion were present, and a resolution was passed urging the Government to extend the Rating Bill to Ireland, and calling upon every Irish representative to support the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Londonderry. Pronounced Unionist Members of the House had supported this claim, and, with the exception of the official Members, every Irish Member supported it. The whole case of the hon. and learned Member for Stroud was that the basis of valuation was different in England and in Ireland. He assumed that Griffith's valuation was an under-valuation, but anyone who had any experience of Irish affairs knew that, whatever that valuation might have been from 1850 up to 1800, it was now considerably higher than the actual value of the land. There was another fallacy in the hon. and learned Member's contention. The very fact that the valuation in England was being constantly revised made that valuation a better test of the actual rating power of a farm. In Ireland, however, Griffiths' valuation was made a standard of taxation, so that the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman was really opposed to the view he put forward. There was one thing in the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech, however, which he heard with considerable satisfaction, and it was the first time he had heard it proclaimed by an hon. Member opposite that the rents fixed under the Act of 1881 were excessive. It was generally contended that they were ruinous to the landlords, but now they had it admitted that these rents were excessive. Passing from the speech to which they had just listened, he said that to wander into the question of the financial relations of England and Ireland, or into that of whether Ireland ought to be treated as a separate entity, only confused the issue. The effect of this Resolution being carried and made a basis of legislation would be to assist all classes in Ireland, and that was the reason there was such singular unanimity amongst all the Irish Members on this subject. The more important local taxes in Ireland were the poor rate and the county cess. The poor rate was payable in equal moieties by the landlord and tenants. In cases where the valuation was under £4 the whole of the poor rate fell upon the landlord. The whole of the county cess, prima facie, fell on the tenant; there might be rare cases in which the county cess was divided, but speaking generally, it fell on the tenant, and it would be an enormous boon to the tenants if they were placed on the same footing as their fellow-tenants in England, and if the consolidated funds or the Exchequer were to relieve them of half the rates. The question was not whether the sum to be allocated should be £7,33,000 or £120,000. It was vain for any person knowing Ireland to argue that there was not the greatest possible depression in that country—there was much greater depression there than in England. Anyone who drove through that country, anyone who dealt with the people, whether as a professional man or otherwise, knew that the struggle for existence in Ireland by the farmers was painful to witness; and in a great assembly, in that, the greatest Council of the world, it was simply vain to have it questioned that there was greater distress in Ireland now, find had been for many years, than in any part of England. The standard of living in Ireland was so low that the people were able to exist upon what the English tenant would starve upon. Were these people always to continue to live in that way? If English representatives were satisfied of that which they should be satisfied, viz., that the depression in Ireland was a growing evil, let them do simple justice to Ireland by giving the same relief to tenants in Ireland that was extended last year to England, and to some extent to the tenants in Scotland. The rates in the County Kerry, exclusive of the railway rates, were 7s. or 8s. in the pound, and was it proposed to give to Kerry tenants and to the tenants of Mayo, whose rates were as high as 12s. in the pound, relief by setting up a mockery of a Board of Agriculture in Ireland. Were the poor creatures who were hardly able to scrape out of the worn-out soil an existence to be put off by having professors and lecturers going through the country preaching how they could get a means of livelihood from the wretched soil and bogs where they lived? Admit the principle, that the tenant, or whoever paid the rates, should be relieved of a moiety of those rates, and let it afterwards be discussed what was a proper standard of relief.

On the return of Mr. SPEAKER, after the usual interval,

MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)

said the hon. and learned Member for Londonderry had made an unanswerable speech, and those who had followed him on the opposite side had evaded the main points at issue. He had never heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer to worse advantage than on the present occasion, and the reason was that he had a very bad case. It might be imagined from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that, although there was admittedly great depression in this country, that depression did not extend to Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman expressed, moreover, an opinion that there was no particular grievance in Ireland with regard to over-taxation, because the Irish people had not made their voices heard in any remarkable wav on the subject. The inference to be drawn from that was that, no matter what grievance Ireland might have, it would not be recognised and taken into account until there was a vigorous agitation in the country on the subject, as was the case when rents were not acknowledged to be unreasonable until the country was almost convulsed with agitation. He did not think a very much worse lesson could be given to the people of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman said that no claim had ever been made, and he cited sums of money that had been allocated to Ireland. they had very many wants in Ireland, and it was true that when money had been allocated they had endeavoured to meet the most pressing want of the moment, such as the education of the people, or the erection of cottages for labourers. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman, with his knowledge of Ireland, would acknowledge that the people of their country had been housed in a condition not seen in any other civilised country, and that they could not have put the wretched, paltry sum given to them from Imperial sources to better use than by alleviating the condition of these people and giving them decent houses to live in. It could not surely be argued that over-taxation was not felt as a grievance in Ireland, because they had assisted these people in their desperate plight. The right hon. Gentleman said that the cases of Great Britain and Ireland were dissimilar, and quoted in proof the absence of the cultivation of wheat in the latter country. But what were the facts? Exclusive of woods and plantations, they had in Great Britain at present about 30; millions of acres under cultivation, while the cultivated area in Ireland at present, exclusive of woods and plantations, was 14,852,000 acres. The assessment valuation of great Britain was 39 millions for agricultural purposes, in Scotland it wan six millions, and in Ireland ten millions. If they took the actual acreage, Ireland was entitled to 50 per cent. of the remission that was made in Great Britain; and if they took the assessable value, Ireland was entitled to a remission of from 18 to 20 per cent. And yet, although they were entitled to a sum of £750,000, they were only to get £150,000, with which sum it was proposed to found a Board in Ireland. Many of them thought that they had too many Boards in Ireland already. All acknowledged that these Boards were utterly unrepresentative, and did not possess the confidence of the people. When, some years ago, it was found necessary to found a Board in this country, they did not look to the local rates in order to effect their purpose. But when Ireland was concerned, it was said that the local rates should bear the cost of founding and equipping this Board. He pointed out that, although the population of Ireland was steadily decreasing, the local taxation was increasing. That was an unhappy state of things, but it existed nevertheless. Various causes had been assigned for it, amongst them emigration. Agriculture in Ireland was in a far worse condition than in England. Large towns, which in England were such an advantage to a large radius of country round, were few in Ireland. The bulk of the people were poor and led an existence few English people could understand. In England there were large industries which did not exist in Ireland, and more than 65 per cent, of the population lived solely by agriculture. The Members from Ireland maintained that they had an unanswerable case. They did not ask for any particular favour, but merely for their rights. It used to be said that Ireland was "the spoiled child of the Treasury." But he considered that she had been the "despoiled child." Ireland was taxed in every way and given little in return. It was a happy omen that all sections of Irish Parliamentary representation were united on this subject. They put the case of Ireland before the House. If they did not grant it they would play into their hands in Ireland; if they granted it they would be doing a simple act of justice. ["Hear, hear!"]


said that if the strength of a case was to be judged by the weakness of the reply made to it then the case that had been presented by the hon. and learned Member for Deny was a very strong one. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was second to no one in the House in his power of framing an argument, and in his lucidity in expressing it, but it was the opinion, not confined to one side of the House, that he had completely failed to answer the case put forward by the Member for Deny. What were the extraordinary assumptions they were asked to make? One was that it was questionable whether the rebate of half the rate was a boon to the English occupier.


I said it was not a bounty.


But a boon given to the English agriculturist which was not given to the Irish agriculturists, who worked under parallel circumstances, must be a bounty. It was a boon to the English agriculturist, and was intended when the Bill was introduced to be so. The President of the Board of Agriculture, when introducing the Bill, used these words:— This is a Bill to give relief from agricultural depression. We trust and believe the proposal may and will do something to arrest the progress and lessen the load of that depression which is crushing the very life out of the chief industry of the country, and give some measure of encouragement to those who against hope are still gallantly struggling against that depression. This and many other quotations which he could give showed that it was the deliberate intention of the Government to put this money straight into the pocket of the English agricultural occupier. But, then, the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked them seriously to believe that while the agricultural depression in England and Scotland warranted the Agricultural Rating Act there was no corresponding depression m Ireland. He agreed with his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dublin University that if that argument was to be maintained the operations of the Land Commission in Ireland were more doubly damned than he believed them to be. Every day they were assenting parties to the reduction of agricultural rents in Ireland, on the ground that the value of land had declined, and that agricultural depression in the United Kingdom had spread over Ireland. That was the only basis on which the so-called Judges could honourably lower rents in Ireland. To ask him to believe that agricultural depression, which had done so much damage in England and Scotland, was an unknown factor in Ireland was asking him to believe more than his conscience would permit him to do. Granting that there was ground for differentiation, what had that to do with it? The hon. and learned Member for Stroud tried in convince them that Griffiths' valuation had a varying standard in different parts of Ireland, and was lower in the smith than in the north, and the standard of rating and valuation was different in Ireland from England. But what on earth this bad to do with the question whether the Agricultural Rating Act should be applied to Ireland he could not understand. It bad been said that we ought always to follow the principle of distribution which had commended itself to the House—a division according to fixed proportions—and when we had a certain amount set aside from the revenue of the country fur the local purposes of the United Kingdom they ought to allot that amount according to agreed proportions. There might be good reason for that course in certain circumstance, but those circumstances had not arisen in this case. They had a certain definite principle laid down for the relief of a distressed industry, and the whole object of the Agricultural Rating Bill was the relief of a definite specified industry. Why in the world should that principle be scattered to the winds as far as Ireland was concerned? Differentiation was made on a totally different ground. In Scotland it was found that allocation on the principle of arithmetical proportion did not involve a largo expenditure on the part of the Exchequer, but that in Ireland it would. It was said that the expenditure was too large, and that they ought not to incur it. Why, it was on the ground that agriculture was the largest and most important industry in England that Parliament was asked to give it assistance. But if that was true of England, was it not infinitely more so of Ireland? ["Hear, hear!"] It was the largest and, indeed, with a few exceptions, the only industry of Ireland; and surely it was common sense to say that if the largest industry in England, being agriculture, was to be benefited in this way, it was equally fair to grant the same relief to that industry which was far the largest in Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] He was unable to see on what logical grounds the Chancellor of the Exchequer could support his opposition to the motion of the hon. Member for Derry City. For the first time since the Union there was absolute unanimity on the part of the representatives of Irish constituencies, and, while in other matters he differed very largely from them, on this question he was no whit behind his colleagues in the representation of Belfast or from Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] He had been for six or seven years trying to convince his constituents that the only salvation for them politically was by adhering to the principle of equal treatment for all parts of the United Kingdom. He had been recently endeavouring to enforce the view of the Government with regard to the financial relations question, and to convince his constituents that England, Ireland and Scotland were not to be regarded as separate entities in financial treatment. He should be adopting an attitude not, only in conflict with that, but should also be taking up a position which was absolutely contemptible and ridiculous from his own point of view, if he were now to go to Belfast and try to unteach his constituents everything he had been striving to teach them, and, in a case where there was a slight pecuniary advantage to the Exchequer, induce them to reverse the judgment he had asked them to form and regard as false the opinions he had formerly expounded to them. [Cheers.] Unless stronger reasons were given to the House for rejecting this Motion than had been advanced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, hon. Members from Ireland would be justified in saying they had not been met fairly in this matter, and there would be what he had always urged was one of the greatest dangers that could possibly overtake the Unionist Party and the country at large—a real, unredressed grievance which had been temperately stated in the House of Commons, and which had not received proper attention from a Unionist Government. ["Hear, hear!"]

MR. G. C. T. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

observed that it seemed to him that the real issue was not so much whether Ireland would get an advantage out of this, or whether England would; but the real question was on what basis had they at the last rive elections acted concerning the legislation between Great Britain and Ireland? It had been his lot to be a candidate in the elections of 1880, 1885, 1886, 1892, and 1895, and at every one of these elections, especially in the heated times of 1880, 1885, and I886, he pledged himself, in opposing all idea of Home Rule, that they should go in for a systematic arrangement, by which the legislation of the two islands should be, as far as possible, practically the same. No doubt it was true that there were great differences in the position of the land in Ireland and the land in England. But since the year 1885, and especially in the present Parliament, it seemed to him they had been doing their utmost to increase rather than reduce those differences, and he asked himself, in considering a matter such as this, why could they not continue on the principles which they so emphatically laid down in the elections to which he referred? In 1886 Lord Randolph Churchill, who was certainly one of the leading members of the Unionist Party, spoke continually all over the country, and he had a good deal to do with him on many occasions, for, the Conservative Party not being then so flourishing as now, the services of many people were gladly received. Speaking as Leader of the House concerning various questions connected with local government and other matters in Ireland, Lord Randolph Churchill said:— The signposts of our policy were at that time (January 1886), and are still, equality and similarity, and, if I may use such a word, simultaneity of treatment so far as practicable. He regarded the statement that was then made as the key-note of their policy, namely, the doing away with differences; and whether it cut against their financial interest or tended in the other direction, he considered they should adopt the principle that in all these Measures they should have one law for both countries. In this particular case it was possible that the Irish Members had somewhat exaggerated the circumstances, and the amount they might get if there was an alteration. But, whether that was so or not, it seemed to him that they did not do away with the feeling of discontent, and they could not meet their constituents fairly if they passed a law giving a large amount to the agricultural interest in England, and denied it to the same interest in Ireland. He himself was not enamoured with the Act passed last year. He should have much preferred to have taken the subject of local taxation as a whole and dealt with it properly while they were about it. But it was passed on the very plausible and reasonable idea that English agriculture was in a very depressed state. But the last Laud Bill they passed for Ireland was based on the idea that Irish agriculture was worse than the English, and on that ground they consented to do what many of them thought was an unfair act to those Irish landlords who had always been loyal to the Union for generations past, and from whom a large slice of their property was taken simply because agriculture in Ireland was then said to be even more depressed than it was in England. They could not blow hot and cold, they must do one thing or the other; and if it was true that the condition of Irish agriculture justified the passing of the Act of last year in connection with land, all he had to say was that that cut away the ground from the Government asserting that they ought not to give the same measure of justice to Ireland which they gave to England last year. Ever since he had been in the House he had endeavoured to be uniform and consistent in his policy, and for that, reason he should vote for the Resolution, believing that the right principle must be that similar laws and similar justice must be meted out to Ireland as to England if they were to maintain the Union, as he sincerely trusted they should.

MR J. P. FARRELL (Cavan. W.)

commented on the unity which prevailed among all the Irish representatives on this question, remarking that the position taken up by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was becoming more and more untenable as speech succeeded speech. He was considerably surprised that the hon. and learned Member for Stroud should have invited them to leave the agricultural aspect of this question out of sight altogether. But it was utterly impossible to approach the consideration of the question as far as Ireland was concerned without taking the agricultural aspect of the case into account. The cardinal point of the case was that they had but one main industry in Ireland, and that was agriculture, and there could be no proper appreciation of the question if this was left out of consideration. The Chancellor of the Exchequer referred to a union, that of Belmullet, with the conditions of which he was personally very well acquainted. The right hon. Gentleman charged the high rating of that union with having been brought about by mismanagement on the part of the Guardians. He was present in that House during the Debate when the hon. Member for North Mayo—in which constituency this union was situated—brought forward the most alarming and distressed conditions of the people of that union, and he was surprised to hear the Chief Secretary get up on that occasion and tell them that the remedy for the state of things that existed in the union was to provide for the large number of outdoor and indoor relief cases out of the rates of the union. Did the right hon. Gentleman know what the rates of the union were? It would scarcely be believed that that union, covering an area of 130 square miles, was only valued at something like £10,000, and that the poor rate went so high as 10s, in the pound. He could compare the argument of the Chief Secretary to nothing so much as to feeding a dog off its own tail, and in this case there was very little of the tail left. The argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the conditions of taxation in Ireland were different to those in England, and that they had no land tax and no school tax to pay, did not tally with the Report of the Financial Relations Commission. Considerable stress had been laid on the question as to the method in which relief should be given. He was not particularly enamoured with mine of the systems under which taxation was managed. For instance, he thought they required a very radical change as regarded the system of grand jury management. With regard to the administration of the poor law, he could say that, when the ordinary Irish Poor Law Guardian went: into the board room and had to take charge of his own money and see how it was laid out, there was no harder individual to be found and none who was less generous, he was sorry to say. in many cases, to the poor. The charge of extravagance and mismanagement against the Poor Law Guardians of the money entrusted to them utterly broke down. As regarded the county cess, while he disapproved strongly of the system under which the county cess was collected and distributed, nevertheless there was this consolation about it, that it was collected and distributed in Ireland. It did not find its way into other channels: and they were, of course, hopeful that at some future date there would be some change in the system. The case that presented itself to their minds was, that while the Government had taken pains to relieve the pressing wants of the agricultural population in England by giving them half the rates, m Ireland, with its declining and poorer population, there was no effort made to relieve the condition of the people or to stanch any of the wounds from which they suffered as a result of their grievances. He thought there never was a more unanswerable case made out from both sides of the House than had been made out in that Debate, and he should not be greatly surprised—indeed he should hopefully look forward to it—if the Government were defeated unless they put before the House a better case than they had up to the present time.

* MR. LECKY (Dublin University)

, who was received with Nationalist cheers, said it seined to him that the real arguments on which this whole controversy turned, and on which, they should vote, might be compressed into very few words. Last year they passed a Measure paying halt the local taxes of the agricultural part of England. They excluded from the operation of the Act the portion of the Empire which was the poorest, which was the most purely agricultural, and in which local rates were the most heavy, both absolutely and in proportion to the population. [Nationalist cheers.] The Government put them off by apportioning to them a sum which was somewhere about £600,000 less than they should have had if they had been treated on the same footing as England. [Nationalist cheers.] They did this at a time when a Commission, including some of the very best financial experts that England possessed, had been pronouncing that the taxable capacity of Ireland was certainly not more than 1–20th part of the taxable capacity of the Empire, while the taxation of Ireland was about 1–11th or 1–12th part. That was the case they put forward, and what were the arguments which had been given in answer to it? In the first place, the Chancellor of I he Exchequer had apparently denied the existence of agricultural depression in Ireland. If that were true the Government must be strangely misled which allowed a tribunal to go on in Ireland reducing Irish rents at the rate of somewhere about 60 per cent. [Nationalist cheers.] If it were true that these immense reductions had taken place without any real agricultural depression, he could only say that the robbery which had been going on under the form of a judicial Land Court was far greater than even he, who held no very undecided views about the propriety or the honesty of their Land Act, would venture to assert. [Nationalist cheers.] It was quite true that pasture land was, on the whole, less depreciated than wheat land, but at the same time the depreciation was undoubted and real. ["Hear, hear!"] A considerable portion of Irish agriculture was of just the same kind as that of England, and if, over the rest of the country, the depression was less intense than in England, it extended over a far wider area and had a far greater influence upon the well being of the country. Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer told them that relief to Ireland ought to be proportionate, not to the agricultural area of the country, not to the distress of the country, but to the sums which Ireland paid to Imperial taxation. He could only repeat what was said by his right hon. Friend and learned colleague—was this a principle which they would ever dream of applying to Wiltshire or Norfolk? Why, then, should they apply it to Mayo and Connemara? [Nationalist Cheers.] Then it was said that the conditions of Ireland were such that they could not apply precisely the same Measures to Ireland that they could apply to England. It was perfectly true that in many waves there were immense differences between England and Ireland, but he would appeal to the candour of English Members whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given one single reason why the process of paying half the agricultural rates of Ireland was different from paying half the agricultural rates of England. [Nationalist cheers.] Perhaps some hon. Members disagreed. If they did so, at all events the Irish case was invincible for asking, if not for a precisely similar remedy, for an equivalent one. ["Hear, hear!"] Could they say that they were treated in an equivalent manner when they were put off with about £600,000 a year less than was paid to England? But it did not seem to him really to signify at all whether they accepted the view which was generally adopted by English Members, who said that Ireland ought to be treated simply as a portion of England, and ought not to be treated as a separate entity, or whether they adopted the view that Ireland was a separate entity, entitled by the Act of Union and the Consolidating Act of 1816, and by all the precedents of Irish legislation, to separate treatment. Take the first of these alternatives. If there was no distinction between the two countries, what was Ireland but a group of counties rather poorer and rather more purely agricultural than the poorest and most agricultural parts of England? Take the other alternative. They then found that, according to the verdict of this Commission, on which so many distinguished English authorities sat, Ireland was already taxed much in excess of her proportionate resources, and was, therefore, pre-eminently entitled to some relief from the Exchequer. He knew the conclusions of this Commission were repudiatcd—[Nationalist cheers]—by the Government. They were going to form another Commission—[Irish laughter]—to inquire into certain points which he did not say might not be very properly investigated by a Commission. but he did say that the reference in this new Commission was so deceptive that it would carry no weight in the country. [Nationalist cheers.] It absolutely omitted from the determining influences, in deciding what was the proper proportion of taxation between the two countries, their comparative wealth and the comparative degrees of their progress. At all events, whatever might come from the second Commission, up to the present moment the verdict was in their favour—[Nationalist cheers]—and it only strengthened, instead of weakened, their claim to be treated in tins matter of rating exactly in the same manner as the other portions of the Empire. [Nationalist cheers.] The Government were at present practically omnipotent. Never in our generation had there been a Government so powerful; never, he supposed, in any generation had an English Government commanded such unlimited resources. [Opposition cheers.] If the Government acted shabbily in this matter to Ireland, and availed themselves of this opportunity to try and diminish that to which the Irish people were justly entitled, could they be surprised that such action should produce among their followers discontent and disgust? [Opposition cheers.] Ireland was now perfectly quiet; agitation had gone down and had become discredited: the whole country was looking up to this great, omnipotent Unionist Government to act fairly towards Ireland. But no one who knew anything of Ireland could fail to see that there was spreading through all classes and all sections of opinion a belief That this great Government was not going to treat Ireland in money matters fairly and honourably. [Nationalist cheers.] He could hardly imagine any conviction more ominous for the future of Ireland, and it filled him personally with alarm. [Cheers.] Of all times this was the time when just and even liberal Measures ought to be carried for Ireland, and this was the Government to take the work in hand. They might to be carried, even though the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his next Budget was not able to boast that he had paid off quite so much as 7½ millions of the National Debt. [Nationalist cheers.] He confessed that what was taking place that evening reminded him painfully of a passage in one of the great speeches of Speaker Forster against the Union. One of his predictions was that the time might come when the whole body of Irish representatives might say that the system of taxation in Ireland was unfair, and when the whole body of Irish representatives would be overridden and defeated by an English and Scottish majority. [Nationalist cheers.]


also submitted that the words of Speaker Forster in 1800 were perfectly applicable to the present Debate. The time, however, had now come when a Chancellor of the Exchequer, with all the authority of the Government behind him, said, in effect, that he in money matters despised the united voice of a united Ireland. Not a Member from Ireland had defended the view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because they would not and dared not do so. Where was the Secretary to the Admiralty? Where was the Irish Solicitor General? The hon. and learned Member would never get returned again for the St. Stephen's Green Division, nor would his successor—[laughter]—he meant his successor in the same Unionist policy. The game of the Unionists in Ireland was up, and all Irishmen at the present moment were united against the Government in order to obtain just benefits for their own country. He maintained that the policy of the Government was contrary to the Sixth Article of the Act of Union, and that for one reason or another their policy had been a tissue of barbarity, fraud, and robbery.

CAPTAIN PRETYMAN (Suffolk, Woodbridge)

said that the question appeared to him to be this. A certain grant had been made on the Report of a Royal Commission, which, rightly or wrongly, dealt only with the grievances of the English farmer. On that Report the majority of the House decided that it would be to the advantage of England that a contribution should be made to the impoverished local ratepayer in England from the Imperial taxation contributed by Englishmen as apart from Scotchmen and Irishmen. ["No, no!"] This grant was occasioned by the necessities of England alone. There were two distinct questions of taxation—Imperial and local. Imperial taxation was governed by the Act of Union—that the most impartial treatment should be meted out to every individual taxpayer or recipient of money from the taxes. But in the question of local taxation, wherein the three countries had been separated, each country had to find its own contribution for its own purposes. When England decided that it would be to her advantage to make a grant from the Imperial taxes contributed by Englishmen to the local taxation, this could only be taken from the bulk which was contributed by the three countries alike. But, in order to arrive at the sum to be paid to the English local taxpayer, a sum was taken in excess of what was paid by the English local taxpayer and in excess of the needs of the English farmer alone, and the excess represented, not the necessity of the Scotch or Irish farmer, but the contribution of the Scotch and Irish peoples to the Imperial Exchequer. That excess had been returned to Scotland and Ireland rather, if anything, in excess of the amount of their individual contribution. The money which had been paid to the English farmer came solely out of the English Imperial taxpayer's pocket, and not a farthing had come out of the pocket of the Scottish or Irish taxpayer. Now the Irish representatives asked that the assistance to the Irish local ratepayer should not, as in England, be taken from the contribution of the Irish to the Imperial Exchequer. They ignored the contribution of the Irish Imperial taxpayer, and, while basing their claim for relief on the necessities of the Irish farmer, they did not take that relief from the Irish contribution only. If the Irish Members could prove that one penny of Irish money had been taken for the benefit of the English farmer, they would have a right to ask that English money should be applied for the benefit of the Irish farmer.

* SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

I have heard in the course of my Parliamentary experience a great many Separatist speeches, specially favouring the views of hon. Members below the gangway, but I have never heard a more frank and candid Separatist speech than the one we have just listened to. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Member has given the Union away altogether, and has laid down the doctrine of separate financial entity with exceptional force. I am not going to discuss the various points raised in this Debate, which although germane to the Resolution, do not exactly bear upon it. To-night we ought to confine our attention to the Act which we passed last year for the relief of agricultural distress. I must demur to the account which the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave of its origin, and especially to his view that the chief clement in the agricultural depression was the way in which this country had been affected as a wheat-growing country. The Report of the Royal Commission stated that the severity of the depression varied greatly in different districts, and that from no part of Great Britain could it be said to be altogether absent. That showed that the depression was not confined to wheat-growing counties, and the Commissioners also said that the chief cause of the calamity was the heavy and progressive fall in agricultural prices. The evidence was not confined to cereals, but extended over the whole range of agricultural produce. Well, the Act of last year gave the occupiers of agricultural land in England a present of half their rates, and separate provision was made for Scotland. Now, what were the objects of this grant? The President of the Local Government Board told us that the two objects were relief from excessive taxation and aid to agricultural distress, and the whole argument of the Government was that the grant would relieve the farmer, the landowner, and the labourer—that it would relieve the industry of agriculture as a whole. My first point is that Ireland also needs relief from excessive taxation and aid to agricultural distress. The Chancellor of the Exchequer contests that. He denies that local taxation in Ireland is any higher than in England, but we can only take the figures. The hon. Member for Thirsk, I know, told the House that there had been a heavy increase in the rates in England and a very small increase in Ireland, and he cited some very large figures purporting to show that in the last few years the amount of local taxation in England had advanced by leaps and bounds. But the increase in England was not in agricultural taxation, but in the taxation of the Metropolis, and in the taxation of the large towns, and the increase in rural taxation has been a mere bagatelle. If the right hon. Gentleman would refer to the Report of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the present First Lord of the Admiralty, and to my supplement of it, bringing it up to date, he would sec that during the last 50 years there has been a decrease in agricultural rates. The increase has been in the education rate, and that has been very partial in its operation. I have always put the amount of rural taxation in this country at 2s. 4d. in the pound, including the education rate. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech informed us that the Estimates of the Local Government Board were considerably in excess of what the real amount turned out to be, and I think he said the amount required now for the relief of rates in England and Wales was £1,330,000. The President of the Local Government Board told us to-night that the value of agricultural land in England was 24½ millions, so that you will see that the agricultural rate is not 2s. 4d. It is not 2s. 2d., not 2s. 1d. It is rather under that figure. My right hon. Friend the Member for Derry put the Irish rate at 3s. 3d., and I think he put it too low. ["Hear, hear!"] We have no complete figures with reference to Ireland, but taking the amount of taxation as a whole, it is very heavy; but at all events, whether you put it at 3s. 6d., or 3s., or 2s. 6d., you cannot contend that there is any distinction. If in the one case the rate is a pressure on agriculture in England, the same rate must be a pressure on agriculture in Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] Whatever theory you may hold on the financial relations of the two countries, nobody can got up and say Ireland is a lightly-taxed country. Having regard to the poverty of Ireland, having regard to the fact that it does not possess any minerals, and that it relies in the main on its agricultural produce and trade, the pressure on Ireland is very considerable. That being so, there being this local taxation, which is a great pressure on the one country and is an equal or greater pressure on the other country, then comes the question as to whether there is agri- cultural distress. The Chancellor of the Exchequer disputed the existence of distress, but no Irish Member disputes it—["hear, hear!"]—and the Government is not without its supporters from Ireland. It has, in fact, a very staunch band of supporters from that country, and not one of them has got up and supported the Chancellor of the Exchequer. ["Hear, hear!"] There was one English Member who discovered that there was great discrepancy between the modes of valuation adopted in England and in Ireland, but that was irrelevant. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has evidently not read the evidence given before the Financial Relations Commission. The evidence given by all the witnesses from Ireland—not partisan witnesses, but independent witnesses—proved that there has been an enormous decrease in the value of agricultural produce in Ireland, and an hon. Friend of mine behind me gave conclusive personal evidence of the existence of distress in Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] But there is one thing that: must come home to English Members. If agriculture in Ireland is not depressed, what was the raison d'être of the Land Act of last year? ["Hear, hear!"] It was that there was a crisis in Ireland, owing to the fall in the price of produce, and that the tenants could not pay their rents. There is a deep-rooted opinion in the minds of authorities in Ireland, and certainly among the tenant farmers, that agricultural depression exists, or they would not ask for, and they certainly ought not to receive, the enormous reductions in rent that are now being made. ["Hear, hear!"] There could be no sounder test as to the fall in prices. I am, therefore, obliged to reject the contention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there is not in Ireland, as there is in England and Scotland, that general fall, in some articles greater, in some articles less, which has produced a different rate of agricultural depression. So far as this country is concerned, there is not the same depression in Devonshire as there is in Essex, but there is a widespread depression over the whole Kingdom, and there is a widespread depression over Ireland. Here was a calamity; the phrase used in the gracious Speech from the Throne was, I believe, "grievous disaster." I cannot think anyone can maintain that in the midst of that agricultural depression which has spread over the greater part of Europe, and which England and Scotland have both suffered from, Ireland alone is a sort of oasis in the desert. [Nationalist cheer.] Where did the money come from out of which that rant was made? [Cheers.] It came from the Imperial Exchequer of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Inland. It came from the taxes to which every subject of the Queen in England, Scotland and Ireland contributes his full share. Out of the taxation of the United Kingdom 1¾ millions was appropriated for the purpose of the relief of a national calamity—that calamity being the depressed state of agriculture in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Scotland has had her share, England has had her share, and the object of this Motion is that Ireland also should have her share. [Cheers.] But, says the hon. Member opposite, you must measure her share by her proportionate contribution to the Imperial Exchequer. Every penny that Scotland has got Scotland has paid. Why stop there? Why do not you go to the counties? Has Lincolnshire paid as much to the National Exchequer as Lancashire? I think Essex will have a great deal more than Middlesex. Is the contribution to Essex to be in proportion to her contribution to the Imperial Exchequer? No; the ground is a united nation paying into a common fund and all being treated alike. The Government would not even listen to anything else. We did not say, you must give more to Lancashire and less to Essex because Lancashire contributes so largely to Imperial funds. No; we said, you must give more to Essex and less to Lancashire, because the need is so much greater. The Government said, we can draw no such distinction; all must be treated alike; and, although in Lancashire they are getting £2 an acre, and in Essex not 10s. an acre, and although for market gardens round London they are getting £10 an acre rent where others are getting £1, you must all be treated alike. The one burden is upon all in the rates: all must have precisely the same share in. the fund which is being devoted to relief of rates. Well, but that is the Irish case. [Nationalist cheers.] You ought to deal with Ireland upon your own principles—Unionist principles. You cannot sever Ireland from Middlesex or Lancashire. Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, but this relief is not given to individuals, to a class, to an industry. That is exactly where I join issue with him. It is given to an industry—to the agricultural industry. You use the word manufacture as different from agriculture. Agriculture is as much a manufacture as either cotton or iron. The agriculturist manufactures commodities—beef and bread, mutton and butter. Ireland is a great manufacturing country in that respect. It competes in the same market with this country. The fanner's case in England is this—you are not rating me as a professional man or an ordinary tradesman; you are rating me upon my whole capital and the means by which that capital is employed: you are putting me at a disadvantage with every foreign competitor. You relieve the English agriculturist, and you do not relieve the Irish. [Nationalist cheers.] That is a bounty, the Chancellor of the Exchequer notwithstanding. It is a bounty to the English agricultural interest as compared with the Irish. The English agricultural interest and the Irish both meet in the market of Bristol, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer represents, to sell their butter. One conies there with an impost upon his butter, and the other with the same impost reduced by one-half out of the Imperial Exchequer. [Nationalist cheers.] I should like to appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite. The symbol of their faith and the watchword of their Party have been complete union, complete equality, identity of treatment as between the two countries. The hon. Member for Islington has quoted his own election pledges, and he quoted a still higher authority—namely, that of the late Lord Randolph Churchill in a memorable passage. But he did not recall to the House the fact that two or three years afterwards the noble Lord repeated that declaration, and he gave us at that time an interesting piece of information. That statement was not only submitted to the Cabinet, it was submitted to the leaders of the Unionist Party, three of whom, are now Members of the Government and one of whom is sitting opposite. They expressed their full approval of that statement—["hear, hear!"]—as having been made on behalf of the Unionist Party in the House of Commons. ["Hear, hear!"] And that statement has not been fulfilled by one jot or one tittle. [Cheers.] Killing Howe Rule with kindness! Is that the way in which it is being killed? And you have hon. Members on the other side of the House whose political career and status are bound up with their indomitable opposition to Home Rule, which they denounced as unjust, denouncing the action of the Government in this matter of treating Ireland! Well, now, I put it to you as Unionists, how yon can justify as fair treatment for Ireland what you could not resist if the demand came from Yorkshire, Somerset, or Cornwall. [Cheers.] 1 have heard some remarks made about the justice of the House of Commons. I was sorry to hear it said t hat the House would not act justly. I believe that the House, though it might be temporarily misled—["hear, hear!"]—would not, whatever Party was in power, give an unfair decision on the whole. I believe in the justice of the House of Commons. I believe hon. Members will endeavour to do justice in this matter. I put one point to you of a very exceptional nature. The oldest man in this House cannot remember an instance where all the representatives of Ireland—except those who are Members of the Government—[laughter]— have been united. [Cheers.] Now, just take the speeches. There were the two Members for Dublin University, there was the Member for Belfast, there was the Member for the County of Dublin—all representative men, all Unionist Members. I do not know whether the Member for Armagh will speak, but I believe he is in sympathy with those of his Friends who have addressed the House. [Colonel SAUNDERSON: "Heal, hear!"] Can we shut our eves, I will not say merely as Members of the House, but as men of common sense, to this significant, this unparalleled, this unprecedented occurrence as to a question which has arisen between the two countries in which the poor country is all on one side, and a majority, I fear, of the richer country on the other? Is this wise? Whether you be Unionists or not, whether you believe this claim to be just or unjust, is it not wise to have regard to the significant attitude of the people of Ireland as a people speaking through their representatives? Is it wise to pay no heed to the speeches of the Members for the University, who have no need to court popular applause? If Irish Members can be independent, they can be independent. After their significant-speeches I put it to the House—I wish I could put it to the Government—is it wise to adopt a non possumus attitude, always remembering this, there is no want of money? [Irish cheers.] The money is there; there is no question about that. It is a question whether you will do justice to the weaker and poorer country, whether you will treat it as you have done the richer; and in the interests of the Union, the true Union, which I for one believe in and as ardently desire as any man opposite—in the interests of true union and having regard to the reputation for good faith of the people of Great Britain—I ask why we are to treat Ireland differently from the wav in which we have treated England? [Cheers.]

THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN, St. George's, Hanover Square)

The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down was perfectly right in one thing he said—that if is not from any want of money that Her Majesty's Government oppose this Motion. It was put somewhat offensively earlier in the Debate that it was from a kind of meanness—[loud Irish cheers]—it was being refused. [Renewed, demonstrations on the Irish. Benches.] I am quite sure my hon. Friends from Ireland, whatever they may think on this Motion, will not credit the suggestion that we are influenced by motives of that kind.


No cheers now, [Laughter and Irish cheers.]


Whether there are cheers or not, my hon. Friends will not think that of us—[Ministerial cheers]—that it is any want of generosity to Ireland that makes us take this step. [Some. Ministerial cheers and Irish laughter.] I think this is too serious a matter for laughter. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said this is not a party question. We do not treat it as a party question. We have had a very interesting Debate, because it has been a Debate in which an entirely new subject has been discussed, and that is the incidence of Irish rates. One would have thought if there was this Irish grievance we should have heard before now of the intolerable burden on land as regards rates; but during the 25 years in which I have heard Debates upon the incidence of rates as a grievance of English ratepayers, I never heard the subject of Irish rates raised in any serious manner. [Loud cries of "Oh, oh!"] I maintain that the Irish grievance as regards rates has not been before this House in the same manner as English rates. That is absolutely true, and there are good reasons for it. There was first the topic of reducing rents. Then there are many holdings in Ireland so very small that the incidence of rates comes very light indeed. Under £4 the landlord pays the rate. [Cries of "No, no! not the cess!"] I did not say the cess. I said the poor rates.


The right hon. Gentleman is quite mistaken. Under £4 the owner pays the whole of the rates.


I am perfectly right. Under £4 the landlord pays the whole of the rates; and above £4 the landlord pays half and the occupier pays half. That is not so in England; and the difference accounts for the undoubted fact that there has not been in Ireland the same rating grievance as in England. [Nationalist cries of "Oh!"] I particularly call the attention of the House to this fact—that among all the proposals made in the Financial Relations Commission for the redress of the alleged inequality of treatment between England and Ireland the relief of Irish rates had no place. ["Hear, hear!"] if this grievance is so great, is not that a singular fact? The question is only raised now, after relief has been given to the English ratepayers. [Cheers.] I do not wish to say that it is not a genuine grievance, but I do say that, as far as the House of Commons is concerned, it is a comparatively new grievance. ["No!" from Mr. T. M. HEALT.] My experience of the House is even longer than that of the hon. and learned Member, and I have followed the question of rating closely. I say that such Motions as we have repeatedly had declaring that the burden of the rates in England is intolerable, we have not had with respect to Ireland.


There was one as far back as 1881, and the question was raised long before then. [Nationalist cheers.]


The question may have been raised incidentally, but not in the same way as the English rating question. But hon. Members have still to account for the fact that the Financial Relations Commission gave no guidance to the Government with regard to rating; and, supposing that we had accepted all the recommendations of that Commission and given effect to them, nothing would have been done for the rates. ["Hear, hear!"] All this which is now demanded from us, as if it were a scandal that it should not be conceded, was never considered by the representatives of Ireland who sat on the Financial Relations Commission. [Cheers.] I will go back to 1888, when the question of the equivalent grant first came to be considered. One question is whether Ireland ought to have money; and the other is, if she ought to have more money, in what direction that money ought to be given. The hon. and learned Member, in introducing this Resolution, spoke of the origin of the equivalent grant as if it had been conceived in a spirit hostile to Ireland. [Nationalist cheers.] That is entirely unhistorical. What was the origin of it? We were handing over to the relief of English taxation a portion of the Death Duties, and at that time no demand was made from Ireland in regard to relief of rates.


County Councils had not then been established in Ireland as in England.


I am explaining the posit ion historically; I am not arguing. But County Councils had not been established in Ireland, says the right hon. Gentleman. [Nationalist cheers.] Well, if you have not the same local authorities, it is a question whether you can make the same rating arrangements. [Ironical Nationalist. cheers and interruption.] Hon. Members opposite have been listened to with attention, and I must ask for the same indulgence. [Cheer.] These financial matters require careful treatment. This equivalent grant was originally conceived in order to save Ireland and Scotland from a disadvantage under which they would otherwise have lain. From that time certain proportions have been set aside as the contribution to England, Scotland, and Ireland. The ratio of those contributions has proved, on the whole, to be singularly fair, and has not been shaken in any degree by the examination of the Financial Isolations Commission. From that time forth Ireland and Scotland have always been indemnified when any particular relief has been given to England. Now the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton says that is a Separatist doctrine. If it is, I am responsible for it. [Cheers.] If that was a Separatist doctrine it was conceived in the interest of Ireland itself. We thought that what Ireland received should be put on precisely the same footing; but now it is that this is a Separatist action to resist this Motion. It would be true if we were starting afresh, if there were no separate legislation us regards poor law, education, and payment of the police. ["Hear, hear!"] We are to be called Separatists because, having given Ireland separate treatment to her advantage, we follow the same principle upon this occasion. It cannot be denied that there are separate arrangements in Ireland to those in England. Ireland pays no school rate al all; but the hon. Gentleman opposite said it is not enough to state the case in this way—the Irish ratepayer has not been relieved, and the English ratepayer has been relieved. I ask, is it not. monstrously unjust that an inmate of Bethnal Green should have to pay a school rate out of his poor earnings, while in Ireland 1 he school rate is paid from the Imperial funds? [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] I am arguing about principles.


I am talking about money.


I hope the hon. Gentleman thinks there is some connection between principled and money. [Laughter.] The real difference between us and our Irish friends and opponents, who are both against us on this occasion, is that they refuse the doctrine of set-off. [Cries of "No!"] Well, if you accept the doctrine of set-off, Ireland owes England at this moment a million. [Ironical laughter, and A VOICE: "Good old England!"] The whole matter lies in a nutshell. If you do not accept the doctrine of Net-off, Ireland is overtaxed: if you accept the doctrine of set-off, Ireland is not over-taxed.


That is not the finding of the Royal Commission.


No; because the Royal Commission would not accept the doctrine of set-off, and did not go into the question; and that is why it is necessary to have another Commission. [Ironical laughter.] It is very well to have one side of the account examined and reported upon, and to accept the conclusions of the Commission, without the expenditure side—the side where Ireland receives more money in proportion than either of the two other parts of the United Kingdom—being accepted. That is the issue upon the present occasion. If you consider that that which is given locally is to be taken into account, Ireland is not paying too much. I wonder to what extent hon. Members from Ireland are satisfied with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton. They cheered that speech spasmodically—occasionally tentatively, if I may say so. ["Hear, hear!"] Their shrewd instincts may have told them the right hon. Gentleman was shattering the whole basis of the Financial Relations Commission. ["Hear, hear!"] I wonder whether they are prepared to take the right hon. Gentleman as their leader and their organ upon this matter. The right hon. Gentleman has not the slightest sympathy with hon. Members in claiming any reduction for Ireland as a whole. He evidently thinks that every taxpayer in Ireland ought to pay precisely the same as every taxpayer in England, and with those Unionist sentiments of the right hon. Gentleman I thoroughly agree. I welcome his sentiments as showing that the proper principle is to treat every county in England and Ireland upon the same footing.


I said that was your principle.


That was the basis of the right hon. Gentleman's argument. The right hon. Gentleman was so eloquent upon it that I thought he was expressing his own sentiments; and what is more, I believe he was. [Cheers.] Now, in putting forward isolated cases and asking the House to come to certain conclusions upon them I think he was more oratorical than logical. An hon. Member behind me put the case in this way: If we can prove there are a few cases when the rates in Ireland are 10s., whereas in Essex not more than 6s, is paid, the whole question is settled. We cannot treat the question upon any given special and exceptional cases, but the matter must be regarded as a whole. Let me ask the House to consider a further difference in the situation between England and Ireland. What was the system which both parties followed before the time when the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends introduced Home Rule? It was that it was not considered Separatist that Ireland should be exempt from certain taxation. Is it not natural, if the rating systems are different in the two countries, that the Government should hesitate before applying the same rules to both? I quite admit that it is a perfectly fair argument to say, if it should be proved that these two systems are sufficiently alike to admit of equality of treatment, then the question of the relief of the Irish ratepayer ought to be considered. But what we have first to do is to consider whether the two systems are alike. I maintain that they are not. We went pretty far in England when we allowed the State to pay one-half of the poor rate, which is administered by a popularly-elected local body. If in Ireland we were to give relief to the extent of one-half of the rates, you would come to this, that the State would pay one-half of the poor rate, the landlord would pay a quarter, and the occupier, in whose hands the entire power of the expenditure of these rates would be—[cries of "No, no," and "Ex officio Guardians"]— would only pay one quarter of the rates. [Cheers.] The time may come when different arrangements will be made in Ireland with regard to local authorities, and I say again, we would not wish to shut the door upon the question of rates as regards Ireland. The fact of the matter is that it is already being inquired into by a Royal Commission. The late Royal Commission recommended, as has been pointed out before, that relief should be given to British agriculture in the sense of the relief of the rates, and it was done. The Financial Relations Commission did not recommend that—

An HON. MEMBER: It was not referred to them.


Nor was it referred to them to say in what sense taxation should be reduced; nor as to what special recommendations they should make with re- gard to the spending of money which belonged to Ireland. The whole field was open to them, and the one idea that never struck any single member of the Commission was that it should go in relief of rates. [Cheers.]

MR. G. W. WOLFF (Belfast, E.)

As a member of the Commission, I desire to say that it was appointed to inquire into Imperial taxation, and not into local rates. ["Hear, hear!"]


If, instead of recommending a remission of the spirit and tobacco duties, they had recommended that the money should be applied in the relief of rates, it would doubtless have been a very wise provision; and I am not at all sure, if the Royal Commission should report that Ireland pays too much, this would not be as good a form of applying the money as many of the others of which we hear. I have read a good deal on the subject in the Press, and have seen a good many proposals, but the question of the money being applied in the relief of rates was taken up within very narrow limits. I hope hon. Members from Ireland will understand the spirit in which I make this remark. I do not at all say that, if it should be proved that under a general system of taxation Ireland is overtaxed, this Motion does not show the best method of applying a remedy. But then, what has got to be proved is that Ireland is paying too much; and there I must come buck to the point which I know my hon. Friends from Ireland do not like—namely, the question of the set-off.


On this side of the House Irish Members agree on that question.


If that question of the set-off is considered, then Ireland is not being unduly taxed. Let mo deal once more with the question of our being treated as Separatists if we do not on this occasion follow the principle of equal treatment. In considering that point every item—education, police, and others—must be looked upon; and you cannot fairly single out a certain item, such as rates, and say: "if you do not deal with that in a certain way you are Separatists." I repeat, with all the force I can command, that our financial arrangements as between the two countries are not influenced by a desire to assist our own constituencies at the expense of our Irish friends. ["Hear, hear!"] That is a charge that cannot be brought against this Government. I do not think it is a charge that ran be brought against the previous Government. Except in the case of the Home Rule Bill — and there would be no money whatever left under that Bill for the relief of Irish rates—["Hear, hear!" and laughter]—except in that particular both sides of the House have been anxious to deal with Ireland in a fair and generous spirit. {Cheers.]

MR. J. J. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)

said the right hon. Gentleman had commenced his speech by repudiating the suggestion that the present Government was actuated by any desire not to deal fairly with Ireland in this matter. He never heard that statement made in the House at any time without doubting it. His experience was that not only was the charge just as regarded the present Government, but as regarded every Government. The right hon. Gentleman began by saving this was a new grievance. It was a very old one. The grievance was before him now, and the question was, what answer was he going to make to it. The right hon. Gentleman gave an interesting account of how these grants are made to Ireland. He (Mr. Clancy) thought as he was listening to him he must have been a Separatist Chancellor of the Exchequer. His account was a curious one, coming from a Unionist Chancellor of the Exchequer. He had said these grants were given in the proportion in which Ireland paid to the Imperial Exchequer. He attempted to explain that this principle was adopted because there were no County Councils in Ireland, and that she had a different system of rating. Whose fault was it that they hail not County Councils in Ireland? The right hon. Gentleman had been a Member of a Unionist Government twice during the last six years. His Government had an opportunity, with a majority of 100 at its back, and it failed to establish County Councils. In the present Parliament it had a majority of l50, and no proposals to establish County Councils came from the Government Benches, and never would. The Chancellor of the Exchequer alluded to the difficult system of rating and valuation which existed in Ireland and England. The right hon. Gentleman had heard this argument answered in advance by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton. The answer was that, whether the system in Ireland was different from that in England was nothing to the purpose. The question was whether they had to raise a certain sum of money or not. Having to raise that sum, they in Ireland were entitled to relief in respect to it, and, if so, what did it matter whether they had a different system of rating from England? ["Hear, hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman alluded to the speech of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton as a Unionist performance. He was not concerned to defend any Member on the Liberal side of the House, but it was within the recollection of the House that the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton argued from the Unionist standpoint. The right hon. Gentleman said:— These are not my principles, they are yours, and I contend that in your present proceedings you are acting, not on your principles, but on ours. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had asked whether they intended to give up their claim to the three millions if they got the £600,000. As far as he was concerned, he answered frankly he was not going to give up that claim. As soon as he got this £600,000 he would go for the three millions besides. [Cheers.] He was now arguing this on Unionist principles. He took his stand on the Act of Union, and he called on the Unionist Government to apply Unionist principles to Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman did not regard Ireland as a separate entity. In all the discussions that had taken place on the question the Government adopted the same view. Was the right hon. Gentleman going to treat Ireland as a separate entity or not? The sure and simple way to state the Unionist principle in this matter was that Ireland was to be treated as a separate entity when England could make money out of her by that means, and that she was to be treated as a part of the United Kingdom when it suited England's purpose. He regarded argument on this subject absolutely thrown away. The Debate on the subject had been one of the most one-sided he had ever heard in the House. ["Hear, hear!"] The speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been one of the most pitiable he had heard. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had wandered off into irrelevancies, and attacked his predecessors for following the policy which he himself now followed. Everyone knew that both Parties in that country had equally sinned against Ireland in this matter. With all his ability the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not advanced a single argument against the powerful ease that had been made out for Ireland. For his part he believed there was no use speaking in the House of Commons on an Irish question until they made it uncomfortable for them in Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton was a believer in the justice of the House of Commons. He (Mr. Clancy) did not believe in the justice of the House of Commons, and he did not think that any Irish Member believed in it. The House of Commons of Great Britain was incapable of justice to Ireland. ["Hear, hear!"] Not a single Measure they had passed for Ireland had been passed through a sense of justice, or because the balance of argument was in its favour. One would imagine that on this occasion, at all events, some sense of English justice might be displayed, because on this occasion they had the representatives of the Unionist Party in Ireland supporting this Motion. He would tell the House frankly what he thought should be done. Arguments and speeches might be of use when this question came within the range of practical politics, and when the Government came down with some practical proposal to do justice to Ireland. What should be done was, by some means or other, to produce something like a rebellion in Ireland against this system of taxation. If they could, by growing tobacco, and failing to pay duty on it, or some moans of that kind—the Chancellor of the Exchequer laughed at that idea—if such a plan could be carried out the right hon. Gentleman would not laugh then. ["Hear, hear! "J On the contrary, it would have more effect than any speeches in the House. He counselled his countrymen who could effectively resist the payment of taxation to do so. He regarded with gratitude and respect the recent action of the Grand Jury of Galway, Unionists to a man, who refused to present for certain moneys which had hitherto been paid without demur. If the 31 other Grand Juries in Ireland took a similar course at every Assizes that gave the Government every possible trouble in the collection of taxes. Different speeches from those they had heard would come from the Treasury Bench. Reason and justice were of no account. Action in Ireland would alone be of any use.


said this was a remarkable occasion, the only one he remembered since he had been in the House of Commons, which now extended over a good many years, on which Irish Members of all sections were absolutely united. He left it to any man of candid mind whether any valid argument had been offered against the Motion before the House. They might have thought that the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who was supposed to know all about that country—[Nationalist laughter]—would have expressed his views on this Motion. But the First Lord of the Admiralty had spoken instead. The right hon. Gentleman said that what struck him with astonishment was that for many years the question of rating had never been prominently brought forward by Irish Members, and he could not make out why that was. He would tell the right hon. Gentleman. The Irish Members had been so much engaged in reducing rents that they had never thought about rates. [Laughter.] Reducing rents was the most popular subject on which to discourse to an Irish audience, or on which to make an Irish reputation in the House of Commons. Now the Irish people were beginning to see finality in rent. [Laughter.] If Parliament went on steadily reducing rents 30, 40 and 50 per cent. it did not require a far-seeing man to foretell the day when it would not be possible to claim further reduction. The reduction of rates had now assumed in the Irish mind a prominence it had never had before. When the Chief Secretary brought in his Land Bill one of the great reasons he gave for bringing it in was the great fall in agricultural produce in Ireland, and the distress that had ensued.


I am not aware that I said that.


remembered most distinctly his right hon. Friend said in his speech that there had been a great fall in agricultural produce, and, Ireland being an agricultural country, that would naturally produce great distress. That was one of the reasons why the right hon. Gentleman brought in his Bill. But that was a question of reducing rents; and now, when it came to a question of the Irish people asking for something from the British pockets which they helped to fill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer got up and said it was quite a mistake to say there had been any great fall in agricultural produce in Ireland, and that the position of the Irish tenant was infinitely superior to that of the English tenant. He was at a loss to reconcile the state of mind of his two right hon. Friends. [laughter] All the Irish Members asked for was equal treatment with the rest of the Empire. In the Debates on the financial relations question the argument brought forward by the Treasury Bench was that Ireland could not be treated as a separate entity, yet in opposing this Motion they declared that Ireland was to be treated as a separate entity. ["Hear, hear!"] The object of the House of Commons ought to be to strive to satisfy as far as possible the wishes and fair demands of the Irish people. The First Lord of the Admiralty told them the Government had taken half the rates off the English farmer, but that they refused to do it for the Irish fanner. Why? One of the reasons was because the Government subsidised Ireland in the matter of education, and because they supported the Irish police. He wondered, when the Irish fanner read that, what he would think! Was it wonderful that an Irishman should take a lop-sided view of their policy when he looked at the heifer that he could not sell because he was undersold by the English farmer? His right hon. Friend told the Irishman to keep one eye on the heifer and the other on the nearest policeman, and then feel he was governed by a just Government and Parliament. [laughter.] The Irishman would not look upon it in that light, and would not be satisfied when he found that, because of the bounty given to the producer in England, he could not sell his butter on equal terms, and would ask to be treated on the same footing as the English farmer. ["Hear, hear!"] No argument had been adduced which ought to cause the House of Commons to decide against the Motion. The rates in Ireland had been clearly shown to be higher than the rates in England; Ireland had been shown to be the poorer country, and the Government having paid half the rates of the agricultural interest in England, with what justice could they refuse to adopt the same course with regard to Ireland? ["Hear, hear!"] He knew the Government were desirous of doing justice to Ireland, and they could not evince this desire better than by devoting some of the surplus money at their disposal in placing Ireland on an equality with the rest of the Empire, which was all that the Irish Members were asking for. He ridiculed the idea that, even if Ireland was dealt with hardly in this matter, it would shake her Unionist principles. Unionism was born in their blood, and they would stick to it to the end. At the same time, and hoping that Unionist principles would ultimately dominate Nationalist and Separatist principles in Ireland, it ought to be the object and effort of statesmen now, in this time of peace, when agitation had sunk out of Slight, to prove that, without pressure, without threat, without danger, and without difficulty, they were willing to do open-handed justice to the Irish people. [Cheers.]

* MR. R. M. DANE (Fermanagh, N.)

had no hesitation in saying that the speeches of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Lord of the Admiralty would cause much heartburning among supporters of the Government in Ireland. He believed that they would deplore the present action of the Government, and would look to the future of their country with alarm and despair. If there was one thing more than another that he deplored it was the want of knowledge that he found existing amongst English Members on both sides of the House with regard to Ireland and Irish matters, and, though he firmly believed the finding of the Royal Commission was a just finding in respect to which no new trial should be asked for, still, for the mere purpose of endeavouring to instil knowledge of Ireland among English Members, he would, if he had had the opportunity of explaining his position, have supported the Government in opposing the recent Motion of the hon. Member for Longford. As he did not have that opportunity, his only course was to support that Motion. That want of knowledge was also apparent in the speeches they had heard that night from the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Lord of the Admiralty. The Chancellor of the Exchequer based his opposition to the present Motion principally on the ground that there was no such agricultural depression in Ireland as existed in England. He could only regret that the right hon. Gentleman's knowledge of Ireland fell so far short. If he had consulted the Attorney General for Ireland, who represented a northern agricultural constituency, or the Under Secretary for the Local Government Board, who also represented au agricultural constituency in Ireland, or the Chief Secretary, whose Commissioners in Ireland were reducing judicial rents by, in some instances, as much as 60 per cent., he would not have made the statement that the agricultural depression in Ireland did not require that aid which Irishmen said the local rates ought to get under the Agricultural Rating Bill. He could not but think that the action of the Government in regard to this matter would be connected in Ireland with their recent action in regard to the Financial Relations Commission Report. He could not but feel that it would be considered that, though that Report showed how deeply wronged Ireland had been in the past by Imperial taxation, the Government, with the iron hand of the Treasury at their back, had held back this money, whereas, in all honour, as in all conscience, it ought to have been devoted to the relief of both landlords and tenants in respect of local rates. He trusted that the position pointed out by his kinsman Speaker Foster as possible, so gracefully alluded to by the junior representative of Dublin University, was not about to become an accomplished fact; that Great Britain, having secured the Union, would use her vast majority of votes to refuse justice to the weaker partner. He regretted, as a supporter of the Government, the attitude they had taken up on this occasion, and he hoped that better counsels would prevail among their ranks.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

said that Whately once expressed his doubts about the existence of Napoleon Bonaparte, and, having listened to two financial Debates without hearing: the voice of the Irish Office, he was inclined to ask, "Have we a Chief Secretary for Ireland?" [Cheers.] Was it not a remarkable fact that, on a question affecting the welfare and the well-being of Ireland, not a Minister connected with Ireland—the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, or the Chief Secretary, or even the Member for South Tyrone—was allowed to open his mouth? He denounced this system. Had they an dish Government, or had they not? Were they governed by the First Lord of the Admiralty? What had the Navy to do with Ireland? [Laughter.] There was a time when Ireland was represented by statesmen of Cabinet rank in the Irish Office; but in two cardinal Debates affecting Ireland the English Ministers kept their Irish Ministers muzzled. [Laughter.] Who issued the muzzling order to the Irish Office? [Laughter and cheers.] Had the supporters of a Government sat so silent behind a Minister as the great Unionist Party that evening behind the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Lord of the Admiralty? [Cheers.] So far as cheering went, neither spokesman of the Government had the backing of a

Acland-Hood, Capt, Sir A. F Brodrick, Rt. Hon. SI. John Darling, Charles John
Allhuson, Augustus Henry Eden Brookfield, A. Montagu Denny, Colonel
Arnold, Alfred Bullard, Sir Harry Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.
Arrol, Sir William Butcher, John George Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Carlile, William Walter Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph
Baden-Powell, Sir Geo. Smyth Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.) Dorington, Sir John Edward
Bagot, Capt. Joceline FitzRoy Cecil, Lord Hugh Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Bailey, James (Walworth) Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.
Baird, John George Alexander Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J.(Birm.) Doxford, William Theodore
Balcarres, Lord Chamberlain. J. Austen (Worc'r) Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.
Baldwin, Alfred Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart
Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds) Charrington, Spencer Fardell, Thomas George
Banbury, Frederick George Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward
Barry, Francis Tress (Windsor) Coghill, Douglas Harry Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M.H.(Brstol) Cohen, Benjamin Louis Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)
Beach, W. W. Bramston (Hants) Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Fielden, Thomas
Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Finch, George H.
Bigham, John Charles Compton, Lord Alwyne (Beds) Finlay, Sir Robert. Bannatyne
Blundell, Colonel Henry Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth) Fisher, William Hayes
Bolitho, Thomas Bedford Cox, Robert FitzWygram, General Sir F.
Bond, Edward Cripps, Charles Alfred Flannery, Fortescue
Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme Cubitt, Hon. Henry Fletcher, Sir Henry
Roscawen, Arthur Griffith- Curzon, Rt. Hn. G. N. (Lanc. S.W.) Folkestone, Viscount
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex) Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) Forster, Henry William
Brassey, Albert Dalkeith, Earl of Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)

single man of their own Party. [Cries of "Oh, oh!" and Cheers.] It was curious that the officials of the Irish Office, who drew largo salaries for looking after Irish affairs, should have remained silent, and that Englishmen concerned with English Departments should alone have been allowed to speak upon tins question. And yet the Colonial Secretary once referred to "alien Hoards and foreigners!" ["Hear, hear!"] Surely they were entitled to know what was the opinion of Dublin Castle upon this subject. He warned the Government that this question would crop up again and again, and dog them throughout their existence as a Ministry. The First Lord of the Admiralty had pleaded for more time, saying that they should wait for the result of the deliberations of the Royal Commission charged with the investigation of the topic of local rates. Why should they wait? The Government did not wait for the Report of the Commission when it was proposed to give England something. ["Hear, hear!"]

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided—Aves, 219; Noes, 127.—(Division List—No. 191—appended.)

Fry, Lewis Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson
Garfit, William Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.) Round, James
Gedge, Sydney Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Royds, Clement Molyncux
Giles, Charles Tyrrell Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Russell, Gen. F.S. (Cheltenham)
Gilliat, John Saunders Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swans'a) Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Godson, Augustus Frederick Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A.R. (Essex) Seely, Charles Hilton
Goldsworthy, Major-General Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Sharpe, William Edward T.
Gordon, John Edward Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool) Sidebottom, William (Derbysh.)
Goschen, Rt. Hn. G.J.(St. G'rg's) Loyd, Archie Kirkman Simeon, Sir Barrington
Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Lucas-Shadwell, William Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)
Graham, Henry Robert Macartney, W. G. Ellison Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry) Macdona, John Cumming Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Maclure, John William Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs) M'Calmont, H.L.B. (Cambs.) Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Gretton, John McKillop, James Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Greville, Captain Malcolm, Ian Strauss, Arthur
Gull, Sir Cameron Mellor Colonel (Lancashire) Talbot, John G. (Oxford Univ.)
Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George Mildmay, Francis Bingham Taylor, Francis
Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Milward, Colonel Victor Thorburn, Walter
Hardy, Laurence Monckton, Edward Philip Thornton, Percy M.
Helder, Augustus Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.) Tollemache, Henry James
Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord Arthur (Down) More, Robert Jasper Tomlinson. Wm. Edw. Murray
Hill, Sir Edward Stock (Bristol) Morgan, Hn. Fred. (Monm'thsh.) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampstead) Morrell, George Herbert Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard
Hornby, William Henry Morrison, Walter Warde, Lt.-Col. E. (Kent)
Howard, Joseph Mount, William George Warkworth, Lord
Howell, William Tudor Muntz, Philip A. Warr, Augustus Frederick
Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Murdoch, Charles Townshend Webster, Sir R.E. (Isle of Wight)
Hudson, George Bickersteth Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute) Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice- Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Wentworth, Bruce C. Venon-
Hutton, John (Yorks. N.R.) Myles, William Henry Wharton, John Lloyd
Isaacson, Frederick Wootton Newdigate, Francis Alexander Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)
Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies Nicol, Donald Ninian Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Northcote, Hon. Sir H. Stafford Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm.)
Jenkins, Sir John Jones Parkes, Ebenezer Willox, John Archibald
Johnstone, John H. (Sussex) Pease, Arthur (Darlington) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Jolliffe, Hon. H. George Perm, John Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)
Kemp, George Phillpotts, Captain Arthur Wodehouse, Edmond R. (Bath)
Kennaway, Rt. Hon Sir John H. Pierpoint, Robert Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Kenny, William Pollock, Harry Frederick Wylie, Alexander
Kenrick, William Pretyman, Capt. Ernest George Wyndham, George
Kenyon, James Pryce-Jones, Edward Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arey
Kimber, Henry Purvis, Robert
King, Sir Henry Seymour Pym, C. Guy TELLERS FOR THE AYES, Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther
Knowles, Lees Renshaw, Charles Bine
Lafone, Alfred Richardson, Thomas
Laurie, Lieut.-General Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir Matthew W.
Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Carew, James Laurence Drage, Geoffrey
Allan, William (Gateshead) Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson- Ellis, Thos. Edw. (Merionethsh.)
Ambrose, Robert (Mayo, W.) Carson, Edward Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Causton, Richard Knight Farrell, James P. (Cavan, W.)
Asher, Alexander Cawley, Frederick Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)
Asquith Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Clancy, John Joseph Flavin, Michael Joseph
Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire) Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.) Flower, Ernest
Austin, M. (Limerick W.) Colville, John Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. J. Blair (Clakm) Condon, Thomas Joseph Fowler, Rt. Hn. Sir Hy.(Wol'tn)
Barlow, John Emmott Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis
Bartley George C. T. Cozens-Hardy, Herbert Hardy Galloway, William Johnson
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Crilly, Daniel Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John
Billson, Alfred Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal) Gourley, Sir Edward Temperley
Blake, Edward Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.) Griffith, Ellis J.
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Daly, James Haldane, Richard Burdon
Brigg, John Dane, Richard M. Harrison, Charles
Broadhurst, Henry Davies, W. Rees-(Pembrokesh.) Harwood, George
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Dillon, John Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-
Caldwell, James Donelan, Captain A. Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth)
Cameron, Robert (Durham) Doughty, George Hodderwick, Thomas Chas. H.
Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. M'Hugh, E. (Armagh, S.) Roche, Hon. James (East Kerry)
Hobhouse, Henry McKenna, Reginald Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Hogan, James Francis Milton, Viscount Saunderson, Col. Edw. James
Holburn, J. G. Molloy, Bernard Charles Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Holden, Angus Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose) Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Holland, Hon. Lionel Raleigh Morton, Edward John Chalmers Spicer, Albert
Jameson, Major J. Eustace Norton, Capt. Cecil William Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.
Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez Edw. Nussey, Thomas Willans Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Joicey, Sir James O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal. W.)
Kearley, Hudson E. O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal) Tanner, Charles Kearns
Kilbride, Denis O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.) Ure, Alexander
Kinloch, Sir. John George Smyth O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Wallace, Robert (Perth)
Langley, Batty O'Kelly, James Waring, Col. Thomas
Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry) O'Malley, William Wedderburn, Sir William
Lecky, William Edward H. O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Williams, John Carvell (Notts)
Leuty, Thomas Richmond Owen, Thomas Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)
Lough, Thomas Parnell, John Howard Wilson, John (Govan)
Macaleese, Daniel Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland) Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Pickersgill, Edward Hare Woodhouse, Sir. J.T (Hudd'rsf'ld)
McArthur, William Power, Patrick Joseph Younger, William
McCalmont, M j.-Gen.(Ant'm. N) Price, Robert John
McCalmont, Col. J.(Antrim, E.) Redmond, John E. (Waterford) TELLERS FOR THE NOES, Mr. Knox and Mr. Plunkett
McDermott, Patrick Rentoul, James Alexander-
McDonnell, Dr. M.A. (Queen's C.) Rickett, J. Compton

Ways and Means considered in Committee.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.