§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. CREAN () Queen's County, Ossory
In asking the House to read this Bill a second time I know I am called on to produce new facts to show why the House should deal with the measure differently now from the way in which it dealt with it on the last occasion when it was considered. I believe I can give those new facts, and prove conclusively that none of the reasons assigned for rejecting the Bill last year can now apply. The evicted tenants in Ireland, so long as any of them are alive, will be to the members of the party to which I belong always a question of burning interest. In season and out of season, year in and year out, whenever we had the opportunity we have brought their ease before the House. If the existing state of things be continued, though I hope it will not, I can promise Hon. Members that while we may not be in this House, whoever shall sit on these benches representing the Irish nation, so burning is this question, and so much does it affect 706 the interests of the community at large, they will be compelled, whether they will or not, to bring the matter before, the House. It is scarcely necessary for me to say that we here are deeply interested in this measure, and it is our bounden I duty to press it on the Government, and, if possible, secure its passing into law. Under the old circumstances, when this Bill was brought forward, it was always asserted by its opponents that the measure was one to relieve the responsibility that rested on the shoulders of myself and of my hon. friends around me. Whether that charge was right or I wrong there is no use now in discussing, but there is use in dealing with the I question of evictions, and I hope to deal with it in a spirit that will not raise in the breasts of my opponents any feeling other than that of sympathy with the men who are the present victims. The justice or injustice of any cause can be viewed from two sides; there are two sides to every question. In this particular question we on this side believe that our view is the correct one, that our I case is the just, and right case, and that I therefore the grievance should be redressed. I know that it is contended that the organisation concerned was an illegal one, that the men were not justified in rebelling against the oppression under which they suffered. Those are mere 707 assertions, and those who advance them should give definite proof before they can be accepted as facts. Up to the present no such proof has been forthcoming. It is equally necessary for us to prove the justice of our case, if we wish to convince this House that the question should be dealt with as we desire. I believe it is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham who stated that if we had had no Land League we would have had no land reform. If we had had no plan of campaign we would not have had the seven or eight Bills passed since 1881, not by the Liberal Government, but by Governments of the same views as the one at present in office. They have had to pass Bills more radical and more searching in their effects on the land question than were ever passed by a Liberal Government. It is the Government now in office who passed an Act breaking what they considered to be the sacred bond of leases, breaking the agreements on both sides between landlord and tenant. It was this particular land war, in which the present unfortunate victims were the strongest fighters, that succeeded in wringing from this House such reforms. This in itself should be sufficient proof to convince the House that there was some justice at the root of the agitation. You have reduced the rents by 25 per cent., and often by more. There is not a single tenant in Ireland who has not received some reduction of his rent in consequence of the Land Acts which have been passed through this House, mainly in consequence of that agitation. So long as the tenants were peaceable and contented, so long did the majority of the landlords squeeze out the last cent possible in rent, and when a. tenant was evicted another was obtained to take his place. The only men who could hold their own for any length of time were those who had relatives whom they could send to the colonies to earn money which was remitted home to enrich the landlords. That is past history, and I do not raise these points in any contentious spirit, but as a conclusive, proof that the land war was justified by the exorbitant rents. The Bill which I propose for second reading to-day is simple in its construction. It does not introduce much novelty into the legislation of this House. The first clause is the famous 13th Clause of the Act of 1891, as amended by the Act of 1896. The Act of 1891 gave six months in 708 which to apply to the Land Commission, while the Act of 1896 gave twelve, and this Bill has adopted the latter period. In connection with that there is no occasion to argue, because the principle has already been adopted by the Government in a previous measure, and I see no reason why it should not be applied now. The second clause is also more or less non-contentious, because it has been embodied in many Acts. I might say that though many of our Bills dealing with evicted tenants have been rejected, one particular Bill, that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose in 1894, did get the assent of this House, but was defeated in another place. If that Bill had been allowed to pass there would have been very little difficulty in dealing with this question to-day. The second clause, of my Bill enables the present Land Commission to act as arbitrators in a case between landlord and tenant. It will be open for them to apply either jointly or separately to have a case tried. At first blush, this would convey to the House that this was a compulsory clause, and that it was unfair to-the landlord. In a sense it is compulsory, but the compulsion rests not on the tenant, not on the landlord, but on a special Commission appointed by the Government of the day. The Government will not say that the Land Commission will deal unfairly with, the landlords. We have always contended that the majority of the members of the Land Commission were rather unfriendly to the tenants; but, notwithstanding this fact, we are willing, in order to get these unfortunate men back in their holdings, to allow the question to rest in the hands of the Land Commission. Clauses 3 and 4 really deal with questions of money. We do not appeal to the Treasury we should have no right in our Bill for funds directly out of the pockets of the British taxpayers; we appeal distinctly to a fund which is particularly Irish. I notice that in connection with this fund there is legislation foreshadowed, giving a certain proportion of it to the landlords. If the Government can fore-shadow legislation giving the landlords a certain amount of money out of this fund as compensation for losses they have sustained through reductions in their rents,. I think we are equally justified in appealing to the fair play of the House to give the evicted tenants a chance of getting 709 back on fair terms into their holdings. Why do I say we have a greater claim to a portion of this fund than have the landlords? It would be very hard for the Government to prove that the landlords had suffered any injustice by their rents being reduced from an impossible standard. If the old rent was a just one, manifestly the Government have done wrong in reducing it, but the fact that by the action of this Government, which is a Government friendly to the landlords, rents were reduced, proves without further argument that those rents were unjust, and the reductions absolutely necessary. Therefore, no injustice was done. No person in the universe can question the rise and fall of markets. A man may gain twenty per cent, on certain goods to-day, but on those same goods, if he held over till to-morrow, he may lose twenty per cent. It is so in all trading communities, and I do not see why landlords should be made an exception to the general rule. If their land twenty years ago was worth twenty-five per cent, more than it is to-day, who is to blame for that? Legislation has a great deal to say to it, because it gave Free Trade to our country when we did not need it and did not want it. Goods were then imported that we were previously able to produce and sell at a fair price, but which we cannot now sell at a fair price. In a sense, therefore, the value of the land went down. On whose shoulders should that loss fall? Surely not on those of the unfortunate tenant. In past times, when this subject was dealt with by the House, recriminatory speeches were made on both sides, and probably there were causes then for those violent speeches. The heat of the agitation was on, but since then things have cooled down. The reasons for not accepting the Bill then were two-fold. First, that hon. Members hero were seeking to shift the load from their own shoulders on to the shoulders of the Government: and, secondly, that this was a political issue and so long as it remained a political issue it could only be dealt with by the House as such. It is no longer a political issue. You have at present a committee sitting in Dublin taken from the ranks of all sections of Irishmen, political and non-political. You have a right hon. Member sitting on the front bench opposite a member of this committee; the right hon. Member for South Dublin belongs to the 710 Evicted Tenants Restoration Committee. This is not the old Evicted Tenants Committee, which had to deal simply with the maintenances of those tenants who wore put out on the roadsides with no visible means of support. So long as the, question remained in the political arena, with the tight being waged around it, there was no hope of a final settlement in this House. But the matter has been taken out of that arena. Hon. Members on this side, of the House have no longer the responsibility of dealing with the question from the standpoint of a final settlement. We still assume the right, and we claim that right, to deal with these wounded soldiers of the land war, and to give them any assistance in our power. But the question before the House is not the question of the support of these tenants, but the question of their reinstatement. The committee to which I have referred has taken charge of this matter, and succeeded in doing some very good work in settling some of the most difficult cases. You have the Ponsonby tenants, the Clangory tenants, and the Massarene tenants all settled. Is it too much to ask, when reasonable landlords are dealing with this question, on the application and on the gentle pressure of gentlemen like Lord Plunket, his Eminence Cardinal Logue and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin, that the Government should assist by providing a means whereby unreasonable landlords should be induced to act in the same way? If reasonable landlords have considered it time to heal this wound, I think the Government, if they will not accept this Bill, should at least do something themselves to compel unreasonable landlords like Lord Clanricarde—who could not get a single hon. Member to defend him in this House to treat with their evicted tenants. No hon. Member had the hardihood to stand up in this House to defend Lord Clanricarde's treatment of his tenants, and why should not the Government employ compulsion against such a landlord as that? Your contention is that you are killing Home Rule by kindness. This is not a Home Rule question, but if you try to kill Home Rule by giving relief to the evicted tenants we will not object. We will tight you still, but we do not want to make victims such as the evicted tenants stepping stones to Home Rule. We are 711 capable of dealing with that question on its merits, and it is only on its merits we over expect to pass it through this House. But the evicted tenants question is entirely apart from Home Rule. While we were walking on the road to Home Rule we tried to obtain benefits for the labourer and the farmer from this House. There is no reason why a party of Members should not advocate a dozen different cases at the same time, but that is no reason why one Bill should be hinged on to another from which it differs. We never hinged Home Rule on the Evicted Tenants Bill. Hon. Members opposite say that we used these men as a means to an end. I deny that. We wish to separate them entirely from all other political questions. We are perfectly well aware that this Bill will meet the fate of its predecessors. We propose it with the full knowledge that if it is not favourably received by the Government it will be rejected. The Government can defy Irish Members both on this side and the other if it were possible to combine them. All we ask is justice, and I think your own acts entitle us to it from your hands. The Liberal Government recognised that they had a right to do justice to the wounded soldiers of the land war by the Bill of 1894, and even the present Government brought in a Bill which gave those evicted tenants the right, not however without the sanction of the landlord, to go back. Your Bill failed in getting the majority of those men back in their holdings, and I maintain you are now justified in going a step further, as the landlords have been given every opportunity of settling this question themselves. The question is not settled. Who is to blame? Is the tenant? I hold not, because every evicted tenant is most anxious to get back to his holding. It is not the reasonable landlords, because they have allowed the dead past to bury its dead, and by gentle pressure and in a reasonable spirit they have reinstated their evicted tenants, who will prove the best tenants they ever had. The block in the way is the unreasonable landlord. The Bill which I propose deals with certain grants to the evicted tenants from the Irish Church Fund. It provides that a sum not exceeding £100 shall be given to each reinstated tenant to enable him to repair his house if it is dilapidated, and to provide seed and other requisites for the farm. We are 712 perfectly well aware that these tenants would need more money, and in last year's Bill a total sum of £250,000 was proposed. This Bill only asks for £100,000, and for two reasons. In the first place the number of tenants reinstated has reduced materially the demand on the amount, and secondly the Evicted Tenants Committee, on which all shades of politics are represented, will be able to supplement the grant from the Irish Church Fund, and will make it possible for the tenants to go back under such conditions as will enable them to work their farms satisfactorily as regards, the payment of rent and their own support. The subscribers to the Evicted. Tenants Fund are not confined to any class; they include landlords as well as tenants. I noticed in yesterday's newspapers that a meeting in support of the fund was held in the Country Kildare, at which two letter's were read. One was from the high sheriff of the county, enclosing a subscription. He denounced the Plan of Campaign, and still believes it to have been immoral, and he stated that if it were in force he would not contribute a cent to the fund. Another landlord, Mr. Cooke-Trench, also contributed a sum of £5 to the county fund, although he had already contributed to the central fund in Dublin for general purposes. He had no sympathy with the land agitation. I will quote his own words—I strenuously opposed the conspiracy as long as it had a leg to stand upon, and should do so again, but there is no reason when the tight is over why I should not try to lessen the evils of the sufferers just as I would help, a wounded Boer on the Held of battle.Here is a letter from Mr. George Wolff, the high sheriff of the county—I think everybody must see the advantage of treating this long open wound by any available means, more especially as the question has now been removed from the political arena.I commend these two Unionist landlords to the other landlords in Ireland, and I hope that bygones will be bygones, and that the dispute will he settled once for all. I hold it is in the power of this House to settle it now. Indeed, it is in duty bound to do so. I know the charge has been made over and over again that these men struck, not against exorbitant rents, not because they were not able to pay their rents, but because they 713 belonged to a political organisation. Take it as granted they did. Take the trades unions in this country. Suppose a grievance existed in a particular workshop or factory, and that a particular workman was victimised, is it unusual to see all the men walk out? Why do they do it? Because one man's case to-day may be another man's case to-morrow. If a landlord victimises one tenant to-day, he may victimise another to-morrow, and the tenants for self-preservation were bound to combine. Most of these tenants were willing to risk their all, and left their comfortable farms, although they were able to pay their rents, in order to stand by their less fortunate brothers who were evicted because they were unable to pay the heavy rents asked from them. I hold that these men have a stronger ease for reinstatement than the men evicted because they could not pay the rent demanded from them. It was a self-sacrificing act, animated by a generous spirit, that self-same spirit which the Government are now trying to engender in the people when they ask for volunteers for South Africa. To give some idea of the impossible rents demanded I will quote from a local Irish newspaper an announcement of the sale of his interest in his holding by one of these planter: tenants. The rent which he was supposed to pay was £45 15s., and the notice of sale said that there had been a voluntary abatement of 58 per cent. I venture to; say that if the old tenant could have succeeded in getting an abatement, of 58 per cent, there would have been no sale of that holding to-day. What the planter tenant was really selling was the interest of the evicted tenant. Are the Government justified in allowing such transactions as that? It is in their power, and their power only, to stop them, and to take away one of the grievances which we have on this side of the House. The Government would be doing one of those acts of kindness which brought them into power in the present Parliament, and by which they hoped to kill Home Rule. Let the Government do us this one of these kindnesses, and any other kindness in addition. We will gladly accept them, and I tenants, never protest against them. I regret very much for the right hon. Gentleman's sake, as well as for the sake of the Bill which I ask to be read a second time, that the Chief Secretary is not in his place to-day. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman who 714 will speak for him will not prove himself the political retrogrator of the House. I trust that a ray of sunshine will be cast on this particular Bill to-day, and if the right hon. Gentleman does not accept it, that he will leave some impression on the House and on the unfortunate tenants outside the House, that then; are some germs of generosity and sympathy in the brain of the men who hold the reins of government in their hands. I know it is only with the goodwill and sanction of the present Government that we can get this Bill; but if it should not pass they may always expect that, year in and year out, in season and out of season, the Irish Members will be necessitated to bring the case of the evicted tenants before the House until their just claims are satisfied.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Crean.)
§ COLONS SAUNDERSON () Armagh, N.
The hon. Member who has just sat down appears to think that opposition to this Bill is to be found among the laud lord class in Ireland, because in his idea the Bill may be supposed to be injurious to them. I do not see how this Bill interferes with the landlords. From the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's speech one would imagine that the Bill dealt with rent. It does not deal with rent; it specially deals with the Irish tenants, and not with the Irish landlords. Anyone reading the Bill must be struck by its great extent. Every tenant, according to the Bill, who has been evicted since 1879 to the present day is to have the power of getting himself reinstated in his holding. I would have thought that the hon. Member would have; given some estimate of the number of tenants who had been evicted in Ireland since 1879, in order that the House might have some idea of the magnitude and scope of the Bill. I imagine that between 1879 and 1900 probably 30,000 or 40,000 Irish tenants have been evicted And during these twenty years their farms have been filled up by other The hon. Member says that he brought in this Bill with the idea of restoring peace to Ireland. I oppose it for exactly the same reason, because I believe that if passed it would do anything but conduce to the peace of Ireland. Let the House imagine for a moment 715 what the result would be if the, Bill passed into law. At a very moderate estimate the 30,000 planter tenants, with their families, numbering in all 180,000 men, women, and children, would have a sword of Damocles hanging over their head. They would none of them know at what moment the old tenants or their heirs or representatives might suddenly appear from America, Australia, and the ends of the earth, and say to the present tenant, "I guess you will have to leave this farm; it is mine, and I am coming in." Do you think there would be peace between the 30,000 or 40,000 tenants who now occupy the farms and the evicted tenants and their heirs and representatives? To evict something like 30,000 or 40,000 is a new way of creating peace in Ireland. I cannot conceive a more execrable Bill. Most of the tenants for whom the hon. Gentleman speaks were evicted because they would not pay their rent; they were evicted under the Plan of Campaign. He now proposes that they should be reinstated and tenants who have occupied the farms for ten or eleven years should be dispossessed whether they like or not. In order to do that the hon. Gentleman proposes to get money from the Irish Church. It is a most remarkable suggestion that money derived from the spoliation of the Protestant Church of Ireland should be devoted—first of all to the eviction of Protestant tenants because in nearly all cases the evicted tenants have been replaced by Protestants and to replace them by Roman Catholic tenants who were evicted because they refused to pay rent. So far as the Bill is concerned it does not require much examination. It is called by two names; in the first part it is called the Evicted Tenants Bill, and at the end the Irish Land Bill, 1900. I think and hope it will share the fate of many others of a like kind which have been brought before this House. The real question is what is the position of the tenants who excite the sympathy of hon. Gentlemen opposite. I have no word to say against them, because in many cases they left their farms under compulsion. But the result is that year after year measures have been brought in in this House for their relief. The House of Commons is not the authority to relieve these people. The persons who ought to relieve them are those who caused their ruin, and those are 716 the Gentlemen who forced them out of their farms. The hon. Gentleman does not suggest that they were forced out of their farms by the tyranny of their landlords.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
The hon. Gentleman would assert anything. The Plan of Campaign started in 1885, and the rent of the lands from which the tenants were evicted was settled by the land court. In the majority of cases the tenants had not to leave because they were rack-rented; their evictions were in the main the result of action taken for political purposes by the hon. Member for East Mayo. The leaders of the Plan of Campaign movement in their endeavour to get rid of the landlords chose an estate where they thought they would best succeed, and naturally under those circumstances looked about for an encumbered estate, and when they found one thought it was a good thing to bring the landlord to his knees, and, having got rid of him, get rid of the authority of Great Britain altogether. Among others they selected the Smith-Barry estate, the Clanricarde estate, and the Ponsonby estate. They had two plans for persuading a man to vacate his farm, one being to advise him that the road he had to take was a pleasant one, and the other, that if he did not take the way he was told he must look out for squalls. Agents were employed to persuade these men, and the Plan of Campaign naturally selected the men they thought best fitted for their purposes. The principal man so employed was the chancellor of the exchequer to the Plan of Campaign, Mr. T. P. Gill. He was chancellor of the exchequer to the Plan of Campaign when the hon. Member for East Mayo went to gaol.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
Yes; during one of the times that the hon. Member went to gaol for something or other Mr. Gill was a very important man.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Watorford)
On a point of order. Is it in order for the hon. Gentleman to make an attack upon an absent man simply because he has received an appointment?
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is entitled incidentally to refer to the conduct of Mr. Gill in these transactions, in referring to the way in which the Plan of Campaign was carried out.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
I was asking whether the hon. and gallant Gentleman would l>e entitled indirectly to make an attack on his appointment, because, if so, we surely should have a right of replying.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Of course, if it is in order for one it is in order for another, but I thought I had said the right hon. Gentleman would not be in order in pursuing the topic except so far as it related to the eviction of the evicted tenants.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
It is impossible to mention any specific case on any of these estates without bringing in the name of Mr. Gill.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
He was one of the men who started the Plan of Campaign which the courts of justice declared to be a criminal conspiracy. Bon. Members opposite do not agree with that, but is it not a record of mean and sordid conduct on the part of those who were at the head of the movement? What we had to confront ten years ago we may have to confront again, and it is therefore most important that the House and the country should be reminded of what occurred in 18S6 and 1897. I warn the Chief Secretary that he may carry his policy of killing Home Rule by kindness too far, if he allows these things to go on unchecked and does not put them down with a strong hand. T have here an extract from a speech by Mr. Gill, in which he said, in regard to Lord Salisbury's veracity—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The right hon. Gentleman is entitled to deal with the mode in which tenants were evicted, but for him to go out of his way to discuss the general conduct of Mr. T. P. Gill, and the speeches he made, hardly seems to be relevant to the Bill before the House.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I only wish to point out what Mr. Gill did and 718 how he acted in close alliance with the hon. Member for East Mayo; and how he urged the tenants to keep up the fight the Plan of Campaign—valiantly. In 1889, referring to the approaching general election, he said, "The time is fast approaching when we will sweep those miserable wretches from power." He further told his audience that it was patriotic be allow themselves to be turned out. The hon. Member for East Mayo used other means of persuasion; he did not take up the line of patriotism, but he declared that if a man broke down in the fight he would proclaim him by name on every platform. That was the threat used should a tenant refuse to go out under the Plan of Campaign. It meant that a man's life would be made, unhappy, that his cattle would be houghed, his ricks burned, and possibly himself injured, and an Irish farmer who lived in a thatched cottage in a wild district, knowing well the nature of these risks, thought it better to leave his holding than to place himself in opposition to the hon. Member for East Mayo and his friends. On a celebrated occasion the hon. Member for East Mayo said these men did not pay their rents, not because they could not, but because he ordered them not to do so.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
The hon. Member said there were instances of unfortunate men being put out of the farms on which they had lived on good terms with their landlords. He said they could pay, but did not because he told them not to.
§ MR. DILLON
I do not object to the right hon. and gallant Member quoting my speeches as often as he likes. They are very good speeches, but he has quoted this ad nauseam. What I did say was that I could show men in Ireland who could have paid their rent, but were heroic and self-sacrificing, and refused to pay in order to protect their poorer neighbours.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
There is a, speech made by the hon. Member in 719 Kerry in 1887, in which ho declared he could point to men who avowed they could pay, but refused to pay because they were in the Plan of Campaign.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
Yes, and the object of this Bill is to place these men back in their holdings. It is to put on the estates men who live in terror of the hon. Member, who may at some future time start a new Plan of Campaign. I think it is very unfair that Irish landlords should be saddled with tenants who are absolutely at the beck and call of the hon. Member for East Mayo. I do not know what is the feeling of the hon. Member, but I venture to say that if there is any man in Ireland whose conscience ought to be weighed down by the case of the evicted tenants it is the hon. Member himself. It is owing to him, and not to the Irish landlords, that all this suffering has taken place. And why? In order to carry out a political movement of which ho hoped to be the leader. Hon. Members opposite talk of Irish landlords as evictors, but I venture to say there is not an Irish landlord who has so many evictions to answer for as the hon. Member himself. Irish tenants were persuaded to go out in this way. First they were told they would be all right, as the money, instead of falling into the pockets of the bloated landlords, would be placed in the chest of the Plan of Campaign. I suppose they hoped that some day they would get the benefit of the money. We are told that at one place £70,000 was collected by the hon. Members chancellor of the exchequer—Mr. Gill—the largest sum ever collected in the course of a year or two. What was done with it? The landlords never had it, and I do not think the tenants got it. The only man who can tell us is Mr. Gill. We ought to have some account of how these sums were expended. The hon. Member for East Mayo thoroughly understood how to work Irish tenants. The Plan of Campaign was worked out thoroughly well. On the 26th November the hon. Member made a speech at Ballyhaulnis, in which he said—When we get an application for aid from any evicted tenant, we ask, (1) Are the people standing together? (2) Is the farm boycotted? And unless these questions are answered in the affirmative we refuse the aid.720 So the unfortunate man who is evicted not only has to camp out and look on the farm at which he used to live so happily in days gone by, but he is also turned into a sort of policeman by the hon. Member for Mayo and told that he shall not have a farthing of his own money back unless he undertakes that the incoming tenant is boycotted. In other words, if a man can show the hon. Member for East Mayo that he has killed a certain amount of cattle, or set fire to a roof—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The right hon. Gentleman had not finished his sentence, but, so far as he has gone, he certainly appears to be going beyond the rules of debate.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I withdraw the association of the hon. Member for East Mayo with it. But I point out that these things wore of very constant occurrence on boycotted farm; and here we have the hon. Member for East Mayo saying that unless the farm was boycotted the evicted tenant should not be paid. These are not the sort of tenants we want to have back again. We do not want to have men who are liable to be influenced by threats to take a course which we believe destructive to the best interests of Ireland. Hon. Members opposite ask the House to do a great deal. What do they offer in return? Do they offer us peace? Do they offer us loyalty? Do they make any offer in order to induce the House of Commons to an act of great generosity? When the expression "twenty years of resolute Government" was first used thirteen years ago, no one would have believed that to-day Irish soldiers would show the way to English and Scotch soldiers in South Africa, that Irish Militia regiments would volunteer to go to the front, and that we should have in Ireland as peaceful a country as you can find in Europe.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I do not understand Scotch. We have this peace, 721 and it will be the duty of the Government to maintain it. But I find our old friend is started again. They have started a new plan of campaign called the "United Irish League." The inducement held out to the people to join it is the division of grass farms amongst the smaller farmer's; and the method adopted is to invite the holders of these farms to surrender them next May, irrespective of their own wishes and convenience. If anything is to come of that invitation, it must be enforced in the way the Hon. Member for East Mayo so thoroughly understands. In a speech the other day Major M'Glynn said the United Irish League would unite the Irish people as they were in the days of the grand old Land League. The House, in considering tins Bill, will have to remember that at the present moment hon. Member's opposite and their friends in Ireland are starting a new agitation exactly on the old lines. Hon. Members opposite very naturally feel that the existence of these evicted tenants renders it infinitely more difficult than it otherwise would be for them to start an agitation of this kind. Each evicted tenant is a warning to the Irish people of the folly of following the advice of hon. Members opposite, and I think the starting of a new Plan of Campaign will be difficult. I oppose this Bill, and I move "That it be read this day six months, because I believe if it was passed it would take away from before the eyes of the Irish people those signposts that hon. Gentlemen opposite have set up, which are inscribed in letters so large that they who run may read, "This leads to ruin."
§ SIR JAMES HASLETT () Belfast, N.
I desire to second the motion for the rejection of the Bill. The Plan of Campaign has been compared to trade unionism. But there is a material difference between the two. A trade union, so far as I know, is an association of men for the mutual protection of their trade, their skill, and their right to work. Hut the moment that trade unionism goes beyond that, and says to men, "You may not work, you may not accept any wages, you may not enter into employment, you may not sell your skill and labour in the host market," it becomes a failure. The essential quality of the Plan of Campaign is to say to a man, "We will not allow you to discharge the very initial duties 722 that society demands, and we will prevent any other man from taking the property from which you are evicted." The man who takes such a farm is called a "grabber," and is boycotted. He is marked out for the special attention of the Plan of Campaign, and we who live in Ireland know, unfortunately, what that special attention is. I want to say a few words on the clauses of the Bill. In order to restore an evicted tenant, you are obliged to commit an injustice on the man who has taken the land. Surely the House will pause before it will do such a thing. In order to get an evicted tenant restored to his holding you are obliged to commit another eviction—to evict a man who for twenty years had discharged his duty to society in the treatment of his land and the payment of his taxes and rent, and in all that belongs to a good citizen. You are called upon by this Bill to dislodge that man, although in the time he has been there the land may have become, as dear to him as to the man previously evicted. You are face to face with the question of turning out a good, thrifty, honourable man, and restoring one who has failed to discharge his duty, though admittedly by the mover of the Bill he was able to do it. I draw a line here between the two classes of tenants. There were those who were evicted because they were not able to pay their rent. You will find that at all times. One merchant may take a concern in a street, carry on his business, and discharge all his obligations. He passes away and another merchant takes the same concern, but it turns out a hopeless failure. Is it the concern or the tenant that is at fault? The first class of tenant is the man who was unable to pay, and that man deserves, our most earnest sympathy. I will not yield to anyone in my sympathy for the tenants who are unable to make both ends meet, although they do their best. I know what farming is. I was reared on a farm. I know also what high rents are, and I suppose if I could get this Bill dated hack another thirty years I could come under it as heir to an evicted tenant. As, however, it only goes back twenty-one years, I should not lie able to have a share in the plunder.
§ SIR JAMES HASLETT
No. I rejoice to see the land from which I was evicted 723 improved. I go and look at it; I look at the trees upon which I carved my name, and at the stones on the land, every one of which I knew, but I do not grudge the man his success in carrying it on; I rejoice in that success and bear him no malice. But then there is the second class, who are to have a statue erected to them, the noblest of the noble, those; who could pay their rent, but did not, because, as the hon. Member says, their poor neighbours would thereby be prejudiced. Is that a business question? Is one man in a street to dishonour his bills at the hank because a neighbour in whom he is deeply interested is likely to fail and cannot meet his? I know what the state of things was. Men were called upon and obliged to pay their rent in the middle of the night for fear of a tyranny worse than death. If they did pay and discharged their obligations they were marked men of the Land League, and life was scarcely bearable. But the strangest part of this Bill is with regard to the funds. I suppose that part in based on the principle that the end justifies the means. We are asked to take from the Church Funds, which presumably are common to all Ireland, the sum of £100,000 and apply it to a circumscribed party in order, as I honestly believe, to relieve hon. Members opposite, who conscientiously feel that they are bound to keep these tenants from the workhouse and supply them with bread. The second clause of this Bill enacts that a former tenant of a holding may within twelve months apply in the prescribed manner to the Land Commission to act as arbitrators. The Land Commission deals exclusively with the question of rent as between landlord and tenant. There is no question of rent here. We should clearly keep before our minds the origin of this agitation. I have read very carefully everything that was uttered in connection with the Plan of Campaign on the Smith-Barry estate. What was the head and front of Mr. Smith-Barry's offending? It was that he found an old man, beyond the allotted span of life, being trodden upon and ground down by an institution, with nobody to help him. It was right for tenants and hon. Member's to combine, but it was unmitigated sin and rascality for two landlords to do the same, and when Mr. Smith-Barry comes forward and says, "I make common cause with this poor man," the Plan 724 of Campaign is at once set in motion against him. It was declared that Mr. Smith-Barry himself was not to blame: there was no fault to be found with Mr. Smith-Barry except that he had taken the part of another landlord, and for that offence he must suffer. The monument of the hon. Members in connection with that Plan of Campaign is still to be found in Tipperary. Business men were turned out of their houses if they did not join the Plan of Campaign; their windows were smashed; men were placed at the doors to prevent people entering the shop. I know what boycotting is. In business I have suffered from it. I know what it is when you send a traveller to a town; you have a messenger sent to the shopkeepers to say they are not to buy anything of the man. Hon. Members succeeded in destroying Tipperary. [An IRISH NATIONALIST MEMBER: No; it was never better than it is now.] I visited it in its prime, and I visited it in its ruin. I speak from personal observation when I say they succeeded in destroying Tipperary—["No!"]—one of the fairest towns in one of the best districts in Ireland. The men in the town were willing to discharge their obligations and to pay their rent, but they were not allowed to carry on their business, being told that if they supplied goods to any man who was marked by the Plan of Campaign, woe betide them! Ts that a business view to take? Is that likely to make Ireland more prosperous? So far as the prosperity of the country is concerned, a number of children playing in the streets would not be guilty of such folly. Any man can pull down a house, but it takes a skilled man to build it up, and if Irishmen and Irish patriots would exert themselves to build up in Ireland as they have exerted themselves to pull down they would have a better prospect before them. With regard to the reinstatement of these tenants, Sub-section 3 of Clause 3 is in these words—Where a holding is in possession of a now tenant or other occupier when the order for reinstatement or sale is made, the court may award to such new tenant or occupier such sum, if any, by way of compensation for disturbance as seems just to them, and such sum may he paid out of the money of the Church Fund.And with regard to the landlord they may award him a sum not exceeding two year's rent against all costs, all expenses, 725 and all losses. The landlord may have had his land on his hands for twenty years because of boycotting and the Plan of Campaign and the Land League; but all he is to get is two years rent, whereas if the boycott had been withdrawn he could have let his land in the open market to good tenants, and had his property cultivated. Just a word with regard to the general bearing of this Bill, and this I force home on the minds of Members of the House of Commons. The hon. Member who moved this Second Reading clearly stated that these men gave up their farms, went on the waysides, and have lived in tents and hovels for the last twenty years, at the bidding of the Land League, at the behest of hon. Members opposite; that they have done it on principle, and for the sake of a principle—namely,, that they should carry out the views of, and show their fealty to, the Land League. But he asks this House of Commons to abrogate all its rights as to principles, and to condone offences committed in relation to principles held by hon. Members opposite.
§ SIR JAMES HASLETT
We have had a war nearer home. When it comes to a debate on South Africa I shall be willing to take my share in it, but in the meantime I am speaking of the country in which I have lived all my life, and of circumstances with which I am thoroughly acquainted. We have never had the Plan of Campaign in the county in which I was reared; we never had the necessity for it. The tenants have agitated for land reform. Perhaps the hon. Member is not aware that the first effort for land reform was by a County Down man before the hon. Member was born. I remember it perfectly myself. It was the first effort, but it was not the last. All of us enjoyed the privileges and benefits, but we never shot our landlords. We paid our rent, I but we left our soil, and the place that was as dear to us as life itself—I make no boast of it—because of want of success. That was not the fault of the landlord. It was because of the difficulties with regard to proximity and the extreme price of labour. Hon. Members ask that their principles should be supreme in the House of Commons; that we should over- 726 ride every principle of common honesty in the discharge of common obligations. I do not wonder that these poor tenants look anxiously to hon. Gentlemen who have put them on the waysides. I can understand the feeling of the poor unfortunate man, within sight of his holding, seeing his children almost starving—not, in the majority of cases, because of his own inability to fulfil his obligations, but because he has become the slave and the tool of an organisation guided and supported and manned by hon. Members opposite. This Bill seeks to reinstate men by a dishonest means, and to divert funds from an object for which they were intended to an object for which they were never intended. After all, these tenants are few in number. I believe that at present throughout the length and breadth of Ireland there are not 2,500 farms vacant out of 600,000. This Bill seeks to drive out the struggling men who have paid their rent, and worked night and day to discharge their obligations, in order to reinstate men who have failed to discharge; those obligations by becoming the children and playthings of an organisation which is distasteful to society and demoralising to the country.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—(Colonel Saimderson.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
I do not think I would have intervened in this debate had it not been for the speech delivered by the light hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh. The House is pretty well accustomed to the characteristic speeches of the right hon. and gallant Member, and as a rule they are redeemed to some extent by little flashes of humour, but it must be admitted that the paltry and rancorous character of the speech to-day was not redeemed by any humour at all. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman commenced with a piece of buffoonery. He drew an imaginative picture of 35,000 tenants coming from America and the ends of the earth after-twenty years absence to evict the tenants at present in possession. The right hon. and gallant Member knows perfectly well that that is a piece of unmitigated 727 rubbish. The last speaker admitted that the number of people to whom this Bill could possibly apply is very limited. The last time this Bill was before the House the number was estimated at 600, and since then the number has considerably decreased. What was the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's next performance? On a Wednesday afternoon, when this land war is for the moment oxer, when there is peace in the country, and we want as reasonable and sensible men to discuss in an amicable spirit a proposal of this kind, he introduces the question of Catholic and Protestant. He is not ashamed to come down to this House and say as a reason why this Bill should not be read a second time that the men who would be turned out are Protestants and the men who would be put in are Catholics. I do not know whether that is true or not; I do not believe it is; but, whether or not, is it not a contemptible thing, when we want to discuss a measure of this kind in a business-like way, that the right Hon, and gallant Member should come down and try to introduce the old word "bigotry," which has done so much to injure Ireland in the past, and to bring discredit and disgrace upon that particular corner of the country which he represents? He then goes back over speeches of the last fifteen years, and he takes the opportunity of delivering, not a frontal attack, of which he is so fond of talking, but an indirect, paltry, and mean attack upon an absent man who has been appointed to an important position in Ireland. I am not going to defend the appointment of Mr. Gill; it would, no doubt, be out of order to do so at this moment. But nobody in the House misunderstood what the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was at. Nobody imagined for a moment that he was simply giving a passing and incidental illustration of his argument. For days past it has been openly boasted that the appointment would be indirectly attacked in the speech of the right hon. and gallant Member. That being so, I ask the indulgence of the House to say just two sentences upon this matter. The appointment in question has grown out of an Act of Parliament passed last year, which sprang from a united movement of all parties in Ireland, a movement called the Recess Committee, of which I was a member, and of which Irish Members of all sections of this 728 House were members. Mr. Gill was honorary secretary to that Recess Committee, and every Member will admit that he showed in the discharge of his duties an extraordinary grasp of his subject and the widest possible knowledge. I believe that to him is very largely due the successful issue of that committee. This appointment has given universal satisfaction to everybody interested, and if an appointment of this kind were to be indirectly attacked under cover of an argument against the Evicted Tenants Bill, and if this old word "bigotry" and political rancour were to be allowed to influence the Government in an appointment of this sort, I, for one, who did everything he possibly could both inside and outside this House to promote that Agricultural Bill of last year, would despair of its success, and tell the right hon. Member for South Dublin that if this political rancour and religious bigotry are allowed by him to influence his mind in the management of this department he may say good-bye to all hope of success. I will say no more on this point; it is only by the indulgence of the House I have been permitted to say so much; but when I heard a mean attack made upon a man who is a friend of mine, and who I believe is the best qualified man in Ireland for the position to which he has been appointed, I could not refrain from saying this much in answer to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. What is his argument against this Bill? He says that because some of these tenants went out in consequence of the plan of campaign, and because of certain speeches which he quoted, nothing should be done for these men. That is not the position of the Government. That cannot be the position of the Government, because in the Land Act of 1891, in Clause 13, the Government did introduce a proposal intended to apply to the case of these tenants. This Clause 13, which was enacted in the Act of 1891 for only a period of six months, was renewed in the Act of 1896 for a period of twelve months. Therefore, as far as the Government is concerned, it is all a question of degree. This Bill differs from Clause 13, because it introduces an element of compulsion. The argument of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman does not hold good for one moment. He says that because these tenants were plan of campaign tenants nothing must be done for them, while 729 the Government in the past have taken the position that something ought to be done to enable them to get back to their holdings, but they did not go to the length to which we go in this Bill. Very briefly let me recall the House from the rehash of old political speeches, and from the effort to rekindle the embers of religious bigotry and political rancour in Ireland, to what this Bill really provides. It provides that where one of these tenants, or the landlord and one of these tenants, apply to the Land Commission, the Land Commission may, after instituting such inquiry as they choose and I upon such terms as they may decide, restore that tenant to his holding. There is the element of compulsion, but that element of compulsion is vested in the Lund Commission. Everyone who knows anything about the Land Commission must admit that it is ridiculous to suppose that that body would exercise that power in an arbitrary or unjust manner against the landlords, and surely the Government will not take: up the position of saying they are afraid to place this power in the hands of the Commission. The Bill does not give the tenant power to compel the landlord to reinstate him; it only gives him power to apply to a State tribunal appointed by the Government, and this State I tribunal may, if it thinks the case a just one and upon terms which are fair, reinstate the tenant. Is not that a reason able thing? Does it not commend itself I to any man who desires to see the whole; of this question settled once and for all? The other provisions of the Bill are not compulsory at all; they are to enable the Land Commission to act between landlord and tenant and to carry out the purchase from the landlord by the tenant. I can understand that there may be cases in which a landlord would not like to have forced upon him tenants who had taken an active part in the Plan of Campaign years ago, and this Bill provides for a settlement on fair and reasonable terms, or for purchase if desired. At the present time landlords might be quite willing to sell their farms to evicted tenants, and the tenants might be willing to buy them, if the provisions of your Land Purchase Acts provided for such a case, and all this Bill asks is that where the landlord and tenant agree about the purchase of a farm, the Land Commission may be allowed to apply the provisions of 730 those Acts to it. Is it not ridiculous to hear the exaggerated accounts given of this Bill by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved this Amendment and the hon. Member who seconded it? If the Land Commission ordered, after proper inquiry, the restoration of an evicted tenant back to his holding, it is manifest to everybody that that tenant would be unable, owing to dilapidations and want of stock, to have, a fair chance of starting again without assistance. It is proposed under this Bill that a contribution may be given in the way of a small grant towards starting that man in life again. These are the provisions of the Bill, and I ask, do they justify the extraordinary language we have heard from the other side of the House? It will be lamentable if, after all the echoes of that time of stress, storm, and difficulty in Ireland have died away, the motives which animated the right hon. and gallant Member opposite should be allowed to stand between the Government and the restoration of these few evicted tenants back to their homes. Ireland, it is true, is in a peaceful state at this moment, but is that a reason for refusing this concession? We are so accustomed to be met with arguments drawn from two opposite sets of circumstances that we really find it difficult which to deal with in this House. If Ireland is in a state of revolution we are told no measure must be passed for our country. If Ireland is peaceful we are told that a concession might lead to a recrudescence of violence. I hope the House will be wise enough to take some action in this matter. My hon. friend who moved the Bill called attention to the fact that so completely have those feelings of political and religious rancour which the hon. and gallant Member tried to revive heir to-day disappeared, that there is at this moment a committee consisting of landlords and friends of the tenants, and amongst others the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin, sitting for the purpose of endeavouring to put an end to this sort of thing. That committee is a powerful and influential one, and already it has done some good; but I confess, considering tin' monetary demands which will be made upon that committee, I think myself that it will be impossible, unaided, for it to bring this; question to a close, and I do think it would be a most lamentable thing if, 731 when men in Ireland of different sections, different creeds, and different parties have come together to attempt to close this sore, the House were to to refuse its assistance, and shut the door in the face of any effort to restore the evicted tenants. I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who will no doubt reply on behalf of the Government, for a sympathetic reply. Probably he may take up the course which was taken last year, and say the Government cannot piss it as it stands. Is there anything that the, Government can do to assist this committee in facilitating the restoration of these tenants to their homes? It is not enough for the Government to take up a Bill of this kind and say it is defective and will not work well, and pick holes in it here and there. Their duty is something more. It is not enough to say that these tenants behaved badly ten or fifteen years ago. The Government are responsible for the peace, well-being, and prosperity of Ireland, and I say it is their duty, under the circumstances, to put before the House of Commons and the country some intelligible plan to assist in bringing about a state of things which they cannot deny is most desirable. I ask from the Government a sympathetic reply, and I cannot conceive of them taking up an absolute non possumus. I wish their decision were left solely in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin; if it were I am quite sure we should get a sympathetic answer. Possibly if it were left absolutely in the hands of the Attorney General for Ireland we might get a sympathetic answer, but we ask those Gentlemen responsible to realise their responsibilities and not allow outside influences to induce; them to give us an unsympathetic answer. Much of the continued growth of good feeling between the different classes in Ireland depends upon it. Your Agricultural Hoard is starting its operations under favourable circumstances, and it is a department where the control is largely in the hands of men elected by the people. Under those circumstances, you will facilitate your work of government enormously in Ireland if, at the commencement of the; work of this new-department, you are able to show to the; people of Ireland that you can, on this evicted tenants question, take up a sympathetic and reasonable attitude; and if you do so I believe you will reap the 732 benefit in the immediate future. I trust that, under these circumstances, the Bill will be allowed to pass its Second were, Reading at any rate to-day, and if the Government would allow its Second Reading to be passed it could be sent to a Committee, which might mould the different clauses so as to suit the wishes and views of the Government. The least we may ask is that the Second Reading may be allowed to pass, and I think those attempts to revive the dying embers of hatred in regarded both sides of the House.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
I rise, I must confess, with a feeling of considerable diffidence after the able speech of the hon. and learned Member who leads the Irish party, to support the motion for the Second Reading of this Bill. That diffidence arises from the fact that the hon. and learned Member has in my opinion so forcibly stated the Irish case and has given withal so temperately the arguments in favour of this Bill, that really very little more is necessary to be said on this side of the House. We have had two speeches from the other side of the House in opposition to this Bill. I am sorry neither of the hon. Gentlemen is in his place, because I intend to allude to their speeches, and I always wish on such occasions that the hon. Gentlemen to whose speeches I intend to allude were present. The speech of the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh was, in my opinion, devoted not so much to an attack on this Bill, or on the principles of the Bill, as to an attack on the Government for having made an appointment of which ho disapproves. In disputes of that sort between the Government and their supporters it is not, of course, for us Nationalists to interfere. I suppose they are very well able to settle their own differences, but I would point out to the House that in attacking the Government in this stab-in-the-back fashion the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has contributed to the debate a speech couched in the very worst spirit of bigotry and intolerance, and actuated with a desire to fan into flame those passions which unfortunately were so much in evidence in years gone by.
MR. J. P. FAREELL (continuing)
I regret that even the expedient of a count has not produced either of the distinguished Gentlemen to whom I desire to refer. The speech of the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh cannot be too strongly condemned from these benches. He was contradictory even in his own speech. At the end of it he praised the loyalty and devotion of the Irish soldiers in the present war, whereas in the earlier portion of it he held up the very people from whose, ranks these soldiers are drawn as being everything evil and vile in society and as a class of people who occupied their time in houghing cattle, burning houses and killing innocent persons. I say this style of speech is unworthy of the House of Commons, and his is even unworthy of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman himself. Then the second speech to which I wish to refer was delivered by an hon. Gentleman occupying the position of the representative of a, purely commercial community—I mean the hon. Member for North Belfast. He told us, almost with tears in his eyes, that he was the son of an evicted tenant, that his father in years gone by had kindly given up his land to the landlord, which he valued as dearly as his own life, and that therefore the hon. Member had some right to speak on behalf of the evicted tenants. But how did he speak on their behalf? He told us that this Bill contained provisions which would uproot all principle, and when I interjected a remark asking the hon. Member to explain for what principle this great Empire, had gone to war in South Africa he could make no other reply than that we were engaged in war nearer home. It seems to me that the hon. Gentleman having been made the victim, as he alleges, of some boycotting in Ireland—I do not know whether it is true or not—that fact has sunk into his mind and has placed therein such seeds of bitterness that he cannot approach the consideration of this measure with that feeling of sympathy and kindness which he desired to express in some portions of his speech, when he almost wept over the sufferings of the women and children whose husbands and fathers had been 734 evicted, and for whose reinstatement this Bill provides. I must confess it seems to me a most extraordinary way of showing sympathy with suffering people that when a Bill of a simple character is introduced to put an end to those sufferings the hon. Member should get up and vehemently denounce it. This Bill asks for two things. It asks, firstly, for the reinstatement of the tenants who have been evicted, and, secondly, for power to enable the holdings to be purchased through the Land Commission. There is nothing very drastic or very extraordinary in these proposals. In the Act of 1896 the Government actually embodied a clause which obtained considerable celebrity at the time, and under which it was expected that a great number of tenants would be restored to their holdings. Unfortunately it was a go-as-you-please kind of clause, and there was nothing compulsory about it, and the Chief Secretary, in answer to a question, had to inform the House that practically no advance was made in the direction of giving effect to that provision. We go a little further in the Bill which we now ask the House to accept. We I have adopted a modified form of compulsion. The two hon. Gentlemen who addressed the House from the other side were against every form of reinstatement; on these terms. The fact which forces itself on my mind with regard to this and similar measures promoted by the Irish party is that the Unionist and Tory farmers of Ireland are always ready and willing and anxious to take advantage of any legislation either for the reduction of rents or the compulsory sale of land which the agitation of the Nationalists of Ireland has compelled the Government to pass, but that their representatives in this House—gentlemen who in their election addresses talk of compulsory purchase, tenant right, free sale, and other grand things—when we bring forward a simple measure for the reinstatement of these poor tenants whose sufferings have led to land legislation, get up and use disgraceful arguments against it, such as we have heard from the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman seems to think that from every point of the compass people would come forward claiming to be restored to holdings as evicted tenants. The Act contemplates only the 735 restoration of such persons as have been evicted since 1879, and we know that by the Land Act of 1881 and by the subsequent amending Acts, every tenant who has been admitted to the occupation of a farm is a future tenant, Therefore there cannot be the trouble which the right hon. and gallant Gentle-man anticipates, and there cannot be that terrible uprising in the country against planter tenants being dispossessed in; order to make way for tenants who were evicted and who have since obtained a miserable subsistence in the vicinity of their farms. A constant argument on the other side is, that if you give any encouragement to those evicted tenants, if you take any steps to restore them to their holdings, you are assisting boycotting and intimidation, and inciting people who have been engaged in former times in these practices to return to them and continue them. Do you not know that boycotting is extensively practised in this country? For what purpose do the trades union organisations throughout of the country exist? Do they not exist; for the purpose of protecting the interests of their members, and do they not deal much more severely with blacklegs than we deal with landgrabbers in Ireland, and is not their action winked at by the law in this country? I think agriculturists in Ireland have as much right to combine in their own interests as trades unionists in England. That will not be denied by hon. Gentlemen opposite. What we have to complain of in this debate is that the speeches against the Bill are not based on fact, but on bigotry and intolerance. The hon. Gentlemen warned the Attorney General for Ireland in advance that our land agitation is being revived, that the United Irish League is the same organisation as the National League under another name, and that we intend to carry on the same work which the Land League and the National League so successfully carried on in Ireland. I ask the right hon. Gentleman in his reply to state whether it is not a fact that at every meeting held under the auspices of the United Irish League the doctrine has been expressly laid down that crime and outrage of every kind are to be condemned and that, to quote the words of O'Connell, "He who commits an offence against the law gives strength to the enemy." The whole secret of the discontent which at present exists in Ireland is that the 736 Government, having gone a certain distance, have not the moral courage to go the whole way. If the Government had the courage to enact compulsory land legislation—and it will come to that yet—I believe it would do more to heal the social sores which exist in Ireland, and to restore peace, contentment, and happiness, than a thousand such appeals as that we have heard from the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh, if given effect to by the Government. Your policy of twenty years resolute government for Ireland, which you claim has effected the pacification of the country, has thoroughly and absolutely failed. It is not because the people have been coerced; on the contrary, it cannot be denied that the more coercion you apply to us the more vigorous is our resistance to your rule. For my part I utterly repudiate and deny that any abatement in national fervour has been brought about by this so-called twenty years of resolute government. L believe that the Attorney General will not give us in this case very much hope, or reply directly to the arguments addressed from this side of the House. I have been in this House for nearly six years, and during that time I have seen Bill after Bill introduced with the same result. Practically the same old appeals were made from the opposite side of the House, and were listened to by the Government, and no effect was given to the case set up on this side of the House. I can only say, on my own behalf, that I will regret extremely if the right hon. Gentleman does not give effect to some provisions which will bring about a state of peace and happiness where misery now exists, and put an end to the sufferings of men who, whatever their faults, political or otherwise, are certainly suffering sorely and bitterly. We may surely demand this at the hands of a Government which professes to have in its keeping, and in the forefront of its political programme, the redress of our social grievances.
*THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR IRELAND (Mr. PLUNKKTT,) Dublin County, S.
The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland will, of course, reply for the Government, and I would not have intervened in the debate had I not been so frequently 737 referred to by hon. and right hon. Members who have preceded me. It is quite true, as hon. Members have said, that I have taken a great interest in this question of the evicted tenants, and on that account the hon. and learned Member for Waterford asked me to make a sympathetic speech. Well, if the hon. and learned Member desires me to say that I can support this Bill T fear that I cannot meet his wishes. Years ago I adopted the attitude that the time had come when it was no use looking back to the causes of these troubles. I felt that the condition of these men, these unhappy wrecks upon the sea of Irish politics, was, as it has often been described, a great social evil, and that it was the duty of every Irishman, so far as he could do so without the sacrifice of principle, to do his utmost to heal that sore. And with the same views, which have strengthened in subsequent years, I have joined an association composed of men of all classes and all creeds in Ireland, and so far as in us lies we hope to do some thing to improve this unhappy situation. I do not agree with everything that my right hon. and gallant friend the Member for North Armagh has said in this debate, but I did fully agree with him that immense difficulties would arise in dealing with the new tenants in the event of this Bill becoming law. The number of tenants affected by this Bill has been estimated in the debate at figures varying from 35,000 to 400—a rather bewildering margin to deal with; but I do not myself believe that the number approaches to anything like the estimate of my hon. and gallant friend. I hope that in the process of time the great majority of cases may be happily and successfully dealt with. But when it comes to dealing with a very considerable number of new tenants, and planters as some of them are called, I do not think that the Bill provides any practical or workable scheme. Ft seems to me that what would happen, if the Bill were to pass, would be that we should have history, and a very ugly history it is, repeating itself. We should have the old eviction drama acted over again, with this difference, that the place of the hon. Member for East Clare would be taken by the hon. Member for Smith Belfast, and the place of Mr. Gill would be taken by my hon. and gallant friend. That evictions would take place, grievous and unjust evictions, I do not 738 see how anybody can doubt. I know the Bill provides for "just compensation" for these evictions, but if you take the case of a man who has been twenty years in occupancy of his holding, and has raised a "long" and "weak" family in his home, what money compensation can possibly be adequate for forcibly removing that man from the home which had become his own? I do not wish to delay the House in discussing the details of the Bill, which will be fully dealt with by my right hon. friend behind me; but as regards the voluntary efforts which a large number of Irishmen, and myself among them, are making, I do not for a moment set them up as an alternative for legislative action, which I wholly disapprove of, for the two things are absolutely separate. Even supposing the House were to pass this legislation I believe that the work of the Committee would be just as essential as it is now. The difficulty of dealing with the question in a businesslike way, as we have been asked to do by the hon. Member for Water-ford, the immense difficulty that confronts the voluntary Committee, is to make such arrangements that tenants, who have been out of their holdings for a number of years, who have lost all their money capital and their stock, whose buildings have been destroyed, and what is still worse, who have gone out of the business and have lost the habits of fanners will be enabled to resume their business under favourable circumstances. So far as I understand it, apart from trying to make, wherever possible, friendly arrangements between tenant and landlord—and in some eases success has been attained and most hopeful negotiations have been entered upon—the chief difficulty will be to solve the economic problem, and to enable these tenants to prosper when they are reinstated. Now, as I have already said, I do not wish to delay the House at any length, or cover ground which will be covered shortly by more competent authority: but I must refer to that portion of the speech of my right hon. and gallant friend which dealt pretty sharply with Mr. Gill. I do not regret the action he took, although it is an ungenerous and somewhat unusual procedure, but I rejoiced when he saw his way to attack' the appointment of Mr. Gill in the way he did, because, as the hon. Member for Waterford said the attack has hitherto been conducted in 739 the lobby. I was told by a great many people that much indignation had been roused by this appointment, that all sorts of charges were going to be brought against Mr. Gill, and I longed for an opportunity when I might hear what these charges were, in order that I might answer them. Well, so far as I understand them, the charges against Mr. Gill sire that thirteen years ago he was an active member of the Irish party opposite: that he was, in fact, a lieutenant of the late Mr. Parnell.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I hardly think the right hon. Gentleman is at liberty to go into this matter in detail. I did allow the hon. Member for Waterford to refer briefly to the matter as it had been alluded to by the right hon. the Member for North Armagh, hut no debate can arise.
§ *MR. PLUNKETT
If I confine myself strictly to the actual attack which has been delivered I hope I shall not be exceeding the bounds of your ruling, Mr. Speaker.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I beg pardon. I absolutely deny that I made any attack whatever on Mr. Gill. [HON. MEMBERS on the Irish benches: Oh, oh!] I simply mentioned the fact that Mr. Gill was one of the leading organisers of the Plan of Campaign.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I do not think it would be regular to enter upon the question of the appointment of Mr. Gill, otherwise it might lead to a long discussion on what is quite irrelevant to the Second Reading of the Bill.
I only say, in obedience to your ruling, Mr. Speaker, that I hope another opportunity will be afforded me to give the reasons why Mr. Gill's appointment was made upon the responsibility of the Chief Secretary and myself. I might just say this much now, that the appointment was made in accordance with a pledge that was given by the Government last year, that these appointments should be filled with sole regard to the qualification of the officers for the work to be done. Of course, if anything had been 740 established against Mr. Gill's honour, or if any reason had been given for believing that what my right hon. and gallant friend considers his political misdoings in the past would influence his action in the future, or if it had been thought that he was not likely to discharge his duties with absolute impartiality, the appointment would not have been made. Having said this much, I will not further occupy the time of the House, but will hope on another occasion to give the whole reasons why Mr. Gill's appointment was made.
§ MR. DILLON
The opposition which I have always held to the politics with which the right hon. Gentleman is identified in Ireland does not preclude me from expressing the heartiness with which I greet, after the sad accident to which he was subject, his reappearance in the House, in whose proceedings he is so well able to take a part. The right hon. Gentleman addressed a few observations to the House as to the operations of the committee known in Ireland as "The Evicted Tenants Restoration Committee"—a committee recently formed, as is well known and acknowledged, of gentlemen from all parts of Ireland and of different politics. The only criticism I have to make on that committee is that I regret it did not got to work six or eight years ago. What did we hear from the right hon. Gentleman in the few sentences in which he addressed the House on the subject of this Bill? The effect and purport of these sentences was, that the operations of his committee were met with enormous difficulties. That has been our position from the beginning. We have always known that the difficulties surrounding this question of the reinstatement of the evicted tenants were of such a character that they could not properly and sufficiently be removed except by legislation and the intervention of the Executive Government. I desire to point out to the House the enormous difference which characterises the two distinct kinds of opposition with which this Bill has been met. The right hon. the Member for South Dublin admits that the object of the Bill is eminently desirable—that is, to restore the evicted tenants to their holdings. He admits that according to his knowledge of Ireland that is an object 741 exceedingly desirable in the interests of peace. Housed these words—which are honourable to himself—that he had long ago come to the conclusion that there was no use in looking back to the causes of these troubles, and that co-operation ought to be invited from all classes for the purpose of reinstating the evicted tenants. That was not the position taken up by the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh. He desired to keep these tenants out of their holdings because, he said, they were useful as scarecrows, or as warnings to Irish agitators, and in order to show what would he the fate of evicted tenants. I allude to this to illustrate the totally irreconcilable attitude of hon. Gentlemen opposite to this Bill. The right hon. Member for South Dublin admits that the object of the Bill is desirable. Why then does he oppose it? He says that it is not a fit subject for legislation, but he gives us no reason for that statement. I would suppose that if an hon. Member admits that an object is desirable in the interests of peace, good order, and good feeling in Ireland, and furthermore admits that the difficulties of achieving that object by private effort are all but insuperable, that was a prima facie, an almost irresistible, argument in favour of legislation.
§ *MR. PLUNKETT
I do not want to interrupt the hon. Member, but what I informed the House Has that I object altogether to compulsion in this matter, because I believe that if voluntary effort were generally adopted and properly organised, the difficulties, which are great but not insuperable, might be overcome.
§ MR. DILLON
What have we been doing for eight or nine years past but using voluntary effort? We were told by the landlords in 1891 and 1896, that voluntary effort would bring this evil to an end; but voluntary effort has been a failure. The very existence of the Evicted Tenants Restoration Committee is a confession by the right hon. Gentleman that the previous voluntary proposals have been a failure. Now let me examine for a few moments the difficulties which the right hon. Gentleman said are likely to impede any attempt at voluntary 742 effort to restore the evicted tenants. The last difficulty on which the right hon. Gentleman dwelt was the want of money. He knows perfectly well that if this problem is to be effectually settled a considerable sum of money must be provided for that purpose—a sum largely, I fear, in excess of anything that can be raised by contributions even by the influential committee of which he is a member. No doubt money is required, and the proposals in the Bill introduced to-day will be admitted by everyone to be of a fair and reasonable character. I noticed that the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh even did not say that the proposals are hard on the landlords. Under Clause 3 two years rent is to be given to the landlords, in the event of the Land Commission considering that to be just, by way of arrears; and full compensation is also to be given to any planter tenant who may be dispossessed; while a sum not exceeding £100 is to be given to assist the incoming tenant in cases where the buildings have become dilapidated, or where the farms have been allowed to run out of cultivation. Will anybody say that that clause of the Bill is drafted with the purpose or intention, or would have the effect, of inflicting hardships on any person? I venture to say, without fear of contradiction, that under this Bill landlords who are unhappy enough to be possessors of evicted farms will get more money if this Bill is passed than if it is not. Then the planter tenants would be better off', and the evicted tenants, instead of being an object of sympathy and compassion and great irritation in the neighbourhood in which they reside, would be restored to their holdings, and that would undoubtedly, by the generosity of Parliament, bring peace and goodwill to the neighbourhood. I have said a much larger sum of money is required than I fear there is any prospect of raising by voluntary effort. That is provided for in the Bill in a manner which takes it nut of the mouth of the light hon. and gallant Member to take exception to it, for it is to come out of the fund specially set apart from the relief of suffering and distress, and for education. I come to the second objection of the right hon. Gentleman, who drew an alarming picture of the evictions which would be caused by any such legislation as that proposed 743 by this Bill—the evictions of the planter tenants. I have never listened to a more grotesque and monstrous argument than that of the right hon. Gentleman. He speaks of a case of a man who had lived for twenty years as a planter tenant, and had reared a large and weak family. It is all very well to drop tears of compassion over these planter tenants, of whom it is said there are not to-day in Ireland more than thirty who have been fifteen years in possession of their holdings; but I wonder how it is that those Hon. Members who express sympathy with possible evicted planters have been so easily able to suppress their feelings in regard to the sufferings of the non-planter tenants. We have it on the authority of Government returns that during the last twenty-five years a hundred thousand families had been evicted in Ireland. Where is all the compassion and sympathy, which is so ready to flow over the possible imaginary woes of a. few planters, for the hundreds of thousands of tenants who had been not only twenty years in possession of their holdings, but had inherited them for generations before them? But even if a few planters are to be, forcibly removed, provision is made for ample compensation to be given them. Besides, not one in a hundred of these planters has spent a penny on his holding. They go by the name, among the agents of Ireland, of "pet cats," and it is a common saying amongst these agents that they very rarely got any rent from a "pet cat." The fact is that the planters, as a rule, came in as a favour to the landlords, and paid no rent. Half of them have already gone away without compensation, and would say that three-fourths of the planters would be the first to rejoice at the passing of this Bill, because they would clear out with compensation instead of without. Therefore, I say that this objection is purely imaginary—got up to justify opposition to the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin said that no doubt all, or nearly all, these cases would be settled by the lapse of time. Yes, Sir, they will all be settled by the lapse of time ! I recollect that argument being used by the Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1896, when a previous Bill was introduced. I asked him, How are they being settled? Some have died, some have gone into the work- 744 house, some have gone to America or Australia; and that is the kind of settlement which has given birth to the bitterness of feeling which exists in Ireland! I can tell the right hon Gentleman that the great policy of killing Home-Rule by kindness and reconciling the Irish people to the present Unionist system of administration, which we used to hear much of, but of which we rarely hear anything now, is certainly, so far as I can observe, making very little progress, and will not, so long as the policy of the Government towards the evicted tenants is to allow the question to settle itself by degrees, by the death' or exile of these evicted tenants. Now I come to the observations of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite. He objects to this Bill, in the first place, on account of its enormous scope, and because it would involve turning out a large number of planter tenants in order to make room for the original tenants. But he forgets that some of the old tenants have gone to America and Australia, and that others are in the grave.
§ MR. DILLON
Would the right hon. and gallant Member be surprised to hear that one of the main objections advanced against this Bill last year was that its scope was too narrow, that the class it affected was too small for legislation, and that the number of tenants to whom it would apply was so limited that it was not worth while to take up the time of the House of Commons in dealing with their case? Before I turn to the extent of the evil and the grounds on which we support this Bill, let me say a few words in reference to another part of the right hon. and gallant Member's speech. It was one of those speeches which he has delivered so frequently in this House that we have almost got it off by heart. We know the whole performance, and a very amusing one it is. But he said one thing to-day which he has never said before, and which it would have been much better if he had left unsaid from his own point of view. He said that the main objection to the eviction of the new planters was that they were Protestants and not Catholics.
§ MR. DILLON
What was the object of using these words? Was it to revive old memories? Was it to recall the days when, on estate after estate, the policy was adopted of exterminating the Catholic tenantry, and when agents gave it to be understood that "no Catholics need apply"? I think the observation of the right hon. and gallant Member will corner to the minds of many English Members some understanding of what is the real bitterness of feeling in Ireland. We have heard recently that there is a great future before Ireland, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Southern Division of Dublin County has made himself the prophet of a policy of the union of all classes for all kinds of good purposes, among them the recovery from the British Treasury of money which is claimed to have been overpaid by Ireland. I see very few symptoms in the speech of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman to-day of any desire to carry out that policy of union. On the contrary, the old spirit which was supposed by some sanguine natures to be asleep is proved by that speech to be still in all its pristine vigour. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman made, or rather insinuated, scandalous charges against myself and other Nationalist Members, He talked about boycott, intimidation, and pressure. But Ireland is peaceable! She was peaceable, too, in the days of the Plan of Campaign. Outrages are almost unknown, and when I hear these old charges dug up I cannot avoid alluding to the different spirit in which men approach these questions arising in times of popular excitement when they occur on one side of the Channel and when they occur on the other. Let me give an illustration to show how grossly unjust these charges arc. The other day, at Midhurst, in the county of Sussex, a certain number of individuals had their 746 windows broken because they were supposed to be Boer sympathisers, and the police were powerless to protect them.
§ MR. DILLON
That may be the view of the right hon. and gallant Member when the trouble occurs in England; but what would have been said had tins occurred in an Irish town and had traders who had given offence been left to the mercy of a mob? We should have had Members standing up here raging with denunciations of it as a disgrace to the whole country. I have told hon. Members on more than one occasion that if they pursue this policy of raking up old offences against law and order in Ireland, I shall feel it my duty to retaliate by examining the records of crime in England. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman objects to this Bill because he says its scope is too large, while the Chief Secretary says it is too small. But what is its scope, and what is the number of cases to which we may reasonably expect it to apply? Last year I estimated, and I admitted at the time that my estimate was very vague, that the total number of cases to which the Bill would apply was between 2,000 and 3,000.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
Does that include the Plan of Campaign tenants only, or the whole of the tenants evicted since 1879?
§ MR. DILLON
It includes the whole of the tenants. I do not think that there are now left 500 Plan of Campaign tenants. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman talks the wildest nonsense about the Plan of Campaign. In all there were 40,000 tenants enrolled in that movement, and of those only about 1,500 747 were evicted. The rest made terms with their landlords. Of the 1,500 fully 1,000 have since been reinstated, and, certainly, there are not more than 500 whose cases have yet to be dealt with. I again say that I estimate roughly (and I admit we have very insufficient means of getting information) that the total number of tenants to whom this Bill would apply is between 2,000 and 3,000. I base my estimate largely on what passed between myself and the Chief Secretary last year.* The right hon. Gentleman then, in the course of the debate, said that the total number of evicted farms in Ireland which were unlet on January 1st, 1899—that is to say, the total number of farms either in the hands of landlords or derelict—was 2,609. I had estimated the number at something under 3,000, but the Chief Secretary, speaking with the far greater knowledge at his command, put it at 2609. Now, would it not be to the advantage of every section of the community in Ireland, as well as to the advantage of the Executive Government, that at least to those farms on which there are no planters the evicted tenants should be restored? Surely that is a proposition which will meet with almost universal assent. No doubt there are a certain number of farms which had planters on them. But if you examine the figures you will find that the number of cases in which it would be necessary to disturb planter tenants is extremely limited. I very much doubt if there are more than 200 such cases, and it is very important to remember that in some cases as many as ten farms are held by one man. It is notorious, too, that farms have been given to men who have not sufficient capital to work them, and such men would undoubtedly be willing to quit for a small compensation. I think, therefore, the main objection which has been urged against this Bill—that it would lead to the eviction of a large number of new tenants—is absolutely without foundation. I do not believe that there are forty men in Ireland on these planter farms who could not be easily settled with and who would not gladly, cheerfully, and with the greatest possible relief, accept a moderate compensation to go out. And when I am told that injustice might be done under this Bill I reply that you have the most*See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxix., page 930.748 absolute security against any form of injustice, so far as the landlords and the planter tenants are concerned. Nothing can be done under the Bill except with the consent of the Land Commission, and I must say I think that we Irish Members in drafting the Bill made an enormous concession, seeing that, though we had so little confidence in the Land Commission, we entrusted the whole of the operation of the machinery to that body, and gave it power to refuse, without any reason assigned, any application made by a tenant. All the Land Commission has to do is to satisfy itself whether the application is just and right, and if it decides that it is, then it can proceed to adjudicate on it. It may refuse to do so and is not called upon to state the grounds of refusal. Surely all fair-minded men will admit that no injustice can be done to the landlord under the Bill. The hon. and gallant Gentleman dropped a sympathetic tear over the fate of the land-grabbers; but it must not be forgotten that these men are all future tenants and that they have no protection or security for the tenure of their land; they are liable to eviction at any time. I protest against the narrow and unconstitutional point of view which judges of the importance of a question by the number of the individuals it affects. That is not the principle on which this House should act. We have known cases in which great nations have gone to war over the sorrows and wrongs of individuals, and, indeed, before the present war in South Africa broke out this country was lashed into passion over the alleged grievances of Mr. Edgar. I repeat that it would be very wrong to estimate the importance of a proposal merely by the number of persons it affected. The sufferings of the evicted tenants enter into the very inmost soul of the Irish people. Every individual case is the centre of local irritation and exasperation, and of hostility to the Government which refuses to do an act of justice. We were told by the Chief Secretary last year that the effect of the Bill would be most demoralising. But I say that the claim of these people to their old holdings is based on exactly the same principles as lay beneath the whole of the Irish land legislation, and if it be immoral and demoralising to restore on fair terms the evicted tenants to their holdings, then the whole of the Irish land legislation is unjust and monstrous. We contend that 749 the evicted tenants are entitled to reinstatement because they are the victims of a system of excessive rack rents which has been admitted to be unjust by the land legislation of the past thirty years. It is said that the rents for the non-payment of which they were evicted were judicial rents. But wore not some of them reduced by special Act of Parliament, thus showing them to be unjust? And is the punishment for the non-payment of these unjust rents, in some cases through inability and in others through the desire to protect poorer neighbours, to be permanent? I have here the words of the Chief Secretary when he was rejecting a similar Bill to this last year. He said, "We have rejected this proposal on two broad grounds." The right hon. and gallant Gentleman has shown that the first objection does not apply. The second objection of the Chief Secretary was that some of these men were; dead and some had gone to America.
§ MR. DILLON
I think that that objection of the Chief Secretary was one of the silliest remarks over made by an Irish Minister who was "killing Home Rule with kindness." They now propose to dispose of those people in the same way by their starvation and ruin, or by transplanting them to America, where, in conjunction with the Germans, they are playing the devil with the Anglo-American alliance. The hon. and gallant Gentleman says that tin's Bill is intended rather "for the purpose of whitewashing and restoring the character of the Member for East Mayo." I think that is an unworthy argument, even in the hands of an enemy. This problem ought to be approached in a spirit more statesman like—I will not say more charitable—than is indicated by those words. I now come to the last point upon which I wish to dwell, and that is the source from which we propose to take this money. The Irish Church Fund is a well of surprise. It has boon frequently exhausted, but it still flows, and more money comes into it. The Irish landlords, being suddenly woke up to the fact that, in spite of the statement of the right hon.
750 Gentleman, there is still money in that fund, are introducing into this House one of the most audacious measures ever brought before it, the Irish Tithes Bill, for the purpose of scooping out all that remains: and now, with the usual spirit attendant on selfishness, when we attempt to take a small amount of this money in order to enable the evicted tenants to take up their holdings, they cry sacrilege. If this Bill is rejected we shall have some member of the Government advocating some such Bill as the Irish Tithes Bill; but I can promise that gentleman, whoever he may be, that if he does introduce such a measure, he will be met with a most ferocious opposition. We shall see what the Irish landlord will say about sacrilege when he is to get his £200 or £300 "out of the same fund. The respectable Irish landlord can put his hand into the plunder of the Irish Church with a clear conscience, but it becomes a monstrous outrage if any of us attempt to take this money for this purpose. I do not know what attitude the Government is going to take upon this Bill, but I judge from the speeches already made that they are not going to support it. I deeply regret it. I do not share the view of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh. I do not admit that these poor tenants in Ireland will prove a barrier to agitation. I think, on the contrary, it will prove a barrier to the existence and growth of any good feeling between the classes in Ireland, and I deliberately say the present treatment which is being meted out year after year in this House to these suffering people has been, and will in the future be, a root of bitterness in Ireland, and will confirm the faith which long years have engendered in the minds of our people that any appeal to reason, mercy, or justice falls in vain upon the ears of this House until it is backed up by firmness and determination.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON,) Londonderry, N.
I join in the regret expressed by hon. Gentlemen opposite that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland is not in his place, as well for the cause which necessitates his absence as for the inadequate 751 treatment which I am fully conscious this question will receive at my hands. But though apparently little sympathy is expected from me for the sufferings of Irish tenants and the peasants of Ireland, I may take this occasion of saying that I have as deeply at heart all that conduces to the peace, prosperity, and happiness of my native country as any of the hon. Gentlemen who sit opposite, though we differ as widely as men can as to what we believe will in the ultimate resort benefit our country. I think it is an invidious thing that they should arrogate to themselves the claim that they are the only persons who can have any sympathy with the promotion of the prosperity and peace of Ireland. I have deep sympathy with the Irish tenants, because I believe that they have been coerced and misled to their own ruin by those very Gentlemen. But I have no sympathy with the plan that would throw from the shoulders of those who were responsible for the position of these misguided men the burden of redressing their wrongs, and I have no sympathy with the mode that is adopted in this Bill to lend them help and succour. Hon. Members opposite expressed anxiety to discover what would be the attitude of the Government. The attitude of the Government to-day is what it always has been—
§ MR. ATKINSON
And that is, that while every facility should be given, as has been given, for voluntary arrangement between landlord and tenant, and while it is a case above all others for individual benevolence, it is not a ease for putting into force any coercive powers or relieving the distress of these; people from public funds. That is the reason; why the provision was introduced into the Bill of 1896 in order to lengthen the time in which the evicted tenants might still retain the status of tenants, so that they might come to friendly agreement with their landlords. But that is an absolutely different thing, not only in degree, but in kind, from conferring compulsory powers upon any tribunal to force back upon a landlord a tenant whom 752 he had evicted ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago, although the holding; might be to-day in the, possession of his successor. I do not wonder at the hon. and learned Gentleman, year after year, bringing this question forward, which ought to hold in the fetters of conscience the hon. Members opposite, who of all the world are, responsible for their misery. The hon. Member for East Mayo said the case fit the evicted tenants was due to harsh and oppressive landlords, and not to hon. Members. If that is so, it is difficult to account for the language which on many occasions the hon. Gentleman has used. He has admitted, again and again, that he is responsible for the present position.
§ MR. ATKINSON
I can, if necessary, give the quotations of speeches in which the hon. Gentleman said he was responsible, and would not shirk his responsibility, and if he had to act over again he, would do the same. Yet he now repudiates the responsibility.
§ MR. DILLON
I do not repudiate responsibility. If you mean in opposing cruel laws, I was responsible.
§ MR. ATKINSON
On the 13th of January, 1896, the hon. Gentleman is reported in the Freeman, which I believe is his cherished organ, to have, said—I was responsible, and I am proud of the, responsibility; and if I was in the same position, over again, I would face the same risks and the same responsibility.He has not only the consciousness of that to stimulate him to the effort of reinstating the tenants, but as a politician he has a thoroughly personal interest. Then, as reported in a speech on the 25th of November, 1891, he is reported to have said—I say further that the cause of the Irish tenants, although it is in a prosperous and: hopeful condition, is not won yet. We shall want struggles and sacrifices to bring that cause to a triumphant issue; and if these men who made sacrifices in the past, who left their 753 homes and faced the worst fate that an Irish tenant can be called upon to face for Ireland and the cause—if they were deserted and left in the lurch by the body of their countrymen, I say it would he hopeless for any Irish political leader again to call on Irish tenants to make sacrifices on behalf of their class.Therefore if that be the opinion of the landlords I cannot understand why the hon. Gentleman should have responsibility thrust upon him, or why these "wounded soldiers" of the Plan of Campaign should have put Ireland under this inexhaustible debt which no one in that country seems to have any disposition to pay. We are told that the Plan of Campaign of 1879 and 1880 brought the Land Acts of 1881 and 1887, the Land Purchase Act of 1885, and all the subsequent legislation which has been conferred upon the Irish tenantry. The Irish tenantry must be singularly ungrateful, because if the tenants of the 500,000 holdings in Ireland only contributed 6d. per annum (which does not seem a large pecuniary sacrifice) it would yield £12,500 a year, and if they contributed a penny a week it would yield £100,000, and if all these advantages have accrued from the attitude of the soldiers of the Plan of Campaign there is under Heaven no more ungrateful race than the Irish. I know from history that they are not so, because when there was real need they put the last penny of their wealth at the feet of the great agitator who was getting their grievances redressed. This is not merely a notion of mine—because I find in a speech by Mr. William O'Brien on the 13th September, 1897 the following language—There is no use in shirking any longer the fact that the miserable £2,000 that has been subscribed is of very little use to the evicted tenants. It is something very like a disgrace to the country. After six months appeal for the support of the men whom the country promised a thousand limes over to stand by, the sum subscribed by the whole country is less than the sum spent by any one county in Ireland on sports or amusements within the last year.The evicted tenants have great claims on Hon. Members who advised them in this course of evil, and on the people whom their sacrifices were supposed to serve, and every benevolent mans sympathy must go out to these suffering people in their time of misfortune, the more especially as they have been coerced and led astray. There is one thing which I had forgotten. There is the Paris Fund. The 754 hon. Gentleman who now leads the Nationalist party, on the 7th of September, said that a sum of about £25,000, part of the Paris Fund, had been handed over to Mr. M'Carthy on condition that it should be applied solely in the interests of these tenants. The hon. Member suggested that the evicted tenants should ask Mr. M'Carthy to expend it in re-building houses, re-stocking farms, and helping them and their families to get back to their holdings.
§ MR. DILLON
If the right hon. Gentleman asks me what has been done with the money, I can tell him. Every penny has been given to the tenants, and a large portion would have been used for restoring the holdings, but we could not get them.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
Every one in Ireland has been aware for several years past that £25,000 has been expended on the evicted tenants.
§ MR. ATKINSON
Then, on the 30th October, 1899, this editorial remarks—We have no desire to re-open old sorer when we say that the manner in which the evicted tenants have been treated in he past has been nothing short of a national disgrace. Tempted to forsake their homes by voluble, but hare-brained demagogues, whose lips were slavered with false promises, and who for the advancement of the immediate purpose which they had in view resorted to methods forbidden by the laws of God and man alike, they have been heartlessly and cruelly deserted. At the present moment a huge sum of money, forming a portion of the Paris Fund, lies uselessly in the coffers of a Dublin bank, which should have been long since applied to the securing of some such permanent settlement as that the accomplishment of which is now taken in hand by a number of patriotic and earnest Irishmen who realise how hopeless it is to expect that those who are primarily responsible for the ruin which was wrought will do anything to repair the effects of their own blunders.
§ MR. ATKINSON
The paper is, I believe, a well-known Nationalist organ 755 associated with a well-known and prominent leader of the Irish party; I might almost call him a general of division. It is from the Nation. I am not surprised at the line which my right hon. friend the Chief Secretary has taken. He felt that where good work could he done by individual effort it should be encouraged, and where reinstatement was brought about by agreement between the parties a much happier arrangement could be than where distrust was shown. Before I go into that it might be as well to put the returns before the House. In the twenty years from 1897 to 1899 12,831 evictions were actually carried out.
§ MR. ATKINSON
Of those 28,703 were carried out before the end of the year 1896. There were 20,000 from that date down to the end of 1899. At the present time there are only 2,509 holdings in the hands of either the landlords or other parties. Therefore there must have been 40,000 of those evicted during the last twenty years, the period covered by this Bill, who have been restored to their holdings. There, are at present only 2,519 holdings in Ireland which are either derelict or in the landlord's hands, and the total number of holdings in Ireland is 581,285. The actual number of evictions which took place last year down to December 31 was only 454, the lowest figure that has been reached for the last thirty years. As to the planter's, they are by no means a numerous body. They are men brought by a society to occupy farms from which tenants were evicted for having adopted the Plan of Campaign. On each side it is a war measure, but there must be thousands of tenants who were either readmitted or reinstated for the first time after those evictions. I therefore take exactly the position that my right hon. friend the Chief Secretary did upon a previous occasion. I say that this is a fast decreasing evil, and that it is not decreasing by death or emigration, as the hon. Member for East Mayo suggested. Although it is undoubtedly the truth that under the clause of the Bill of 1886 very few purchases have been effected, yet under the corresponding section of the 756 Act of 1891 numbers of holdings have been sold, and loans amounting to over £12,949 have been advanced. In addition to that, during the last two or three months amicable arrangements have been made between landlords and tenants on several Trish estates, and seventy-two advances have been made, amounting to £12,546. I say, therefore, it is a fast diminishing evil, which can be dealt with effected best by voluntary effort through societies such as that with which my light hon. friend is connected. There are several parties interested in the supplying of the money, and it would be an absolute departure from all precedent of past legislation to make it compulsory upon any man who owned land from which a tenant had been evicted to take back the tenant, whether he liked it or not, and to get rid of the tenant now in occupation. What is the claim made on behalf of the tenant who, it is suggested, should be reinstated? It is not because he has been evicted; it is not because he has not paid his rent on account of poverty: it is because he is a "wounded soldier" of the Plan of Campaign.
§ MR. ATKINSON
Yes. But in spirit I understood it was confined to the soldiers of the war—to the men who had gone out of their holdings for the purpose of carrying on this war.
§ MR. ATKINSON
That is exactly what I am endeavouring to convey. What I am endeavouring to convey is that the tenants who are supposed to have most claim of the consideration of the Government are those evicted, not by reason of poverty, but by reason of their refusal to pay. The hon. Member who introduced this Bill appealed to the generosity of the Government and called upon them to "heal old sores." If the wish of the hon. Member opposite were acceded to I am afraid that now, as heretofore, they would tell the people whom it was intended to benefit that they had nothing to expect 757 from the sense of justice of the Government or from its tenderness, but that their hon. Members had wrung from the fears and embarrassments of the Government what they could not get from their sense of justice. This would be held up as another instance of successful agitation. That is not a very good reason to press upon the Government. One of the reasons of the hon. Gentleman who moved the second reading of the Bill was that the war was over. He asked us to treat these evicted tenants as wounded soldiers in the campaign, and to begin by endeavouring to heal old sores. Is the war over? [An IRISH MEMBER: Do not ask me.] If it be true that the same gentlemen whose victims these tenants are are now instigating a war for the same object, with the same methods, and for the same ends, it is a strange time to appeal to the Government to legislate in an exceptional way for this class. I do not intend to trespass on the time of the House by quoting from the speeches of the hon. Member for East Mayo passages in which he exhorted the tenantry in different parts of Ireland to have recourse again to the methods of the plan of campaign, to boycott, to intimidate (for that is involved necessarily in boycotting), to efforts to drive out, destroy, and overcome the landlords. In that case it is the tenants who suffer—they are; the "wounded soldiers," as they are described, in that fight. Is it not strange to address an appeal to the Government on the ground that the war is over, at a time when it is raging in another part of the field? The hon. Member for Waterford appealed to me to consider that the Government are responsible for the peace of Ireland. Yes, Sir, we are responsible for the peace of Ireland, and we feel the full weight of that responsibility, but it would be impossible for any man who is responsible for the peace of Ireland not to think twice—however anxious he may be to benefit these men—of what would be the effect upon the existing agitation of passing such a measure as this. If, to use the words of the First Lord of the Treasury, we had turned down the last page in the history of agrarian legislation in Ireland, one might be disposed to look tenderly at propositions such as that embodied in this Bill. But at the very time another agitation is going on for the same end, I am afraid one 758 cannot help considering what would be the effect of legislation of this kind. One of the direct effects would be to show the people of Ireland how certain they were to find that the pledges hon. Members opposite had given would be redeemed, if not out of funds provided by them or by the Irish people, in the last resort by funds provided out of the Imperial exchequer. It would rehabilitate and consolidate the powers of hon. Members who have joined in the agitation, and would renew the very evils it was sought to remedy. The Government think, first of all, that legislation of this kind is a mistake; secondly, that there is no imperative necessity to justify it and thirdly, that if passed it would have a vicious and far-reaching and injurious effect. Much, therefore, as we sympathise with the evicted tenants, we cannot see our way to support legislation which would create again the difficulties which are in course of being solved.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL () Tyrone, N.
I confess I cannot say that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman has surprised or disappointed me, because my experience of Tory Governments is that while they express in words the greatest possible sympathy for the sufferings of people in Ireland, when they come into power, and can by legislation remedy the wrongs they have so eloquently pointed out in Opposition, they change their note altogether and their sympathy is converted into obdurate refusal. I do not suppose the caustic language of the right hon. Gentleman has inflicted pain on any of the hon. Members below the gangway. But if it has, I think they are themselves in some respects to blame, because, instead. of resting their case upon the solid foundation of justice to the evicted tenants, they try to appeal to the compassionate feelings of the Government in the hope of making them alter the traditions of Tory administration. It is perfectly vain, in my opinion, to appeal to the present Government, and, therefore, I shall merely call the attention of the House to what it has to determine—namely, whether this particular Bill is worthy of a Second Reading or not. The right hon. and learned Attorney General did not point out what the provisions of the; Bill were, nor did he condescend to criticise the substance or the form of the measure. There is nothing 759 new in this Bill. We have heard a great deal from him about the Paris Fund, about boycotting, about wounded soldiers, but we have heard nothing of the recognition of some right on the part of the evicted tenants of Ireland to be reinstated in their farms. My right hon. and learned friend has not told the House that this Bill does little more than embody the recommendations of the Mathew Commission, which was one of great weight, and which went fully into all the circumstances of the tenants' case in Ireland in 1893 and 1894. Sections of this Bill formulate the recommendations of that Committee. With a view of carrying out the recommendations of that Commission my right hon. friend the Member for Montrose Burghs in 1894 introduced a Bill which was read a third time by this House.
§ *SERJEANT HEMPHILL
I am going to state what that Bill was and contrast it with the present Bill. Both Bills recognise the justice of reinstatins the unfortunate evicted tenants. In the Bill of 1894 arbitration was not
§ compulsory, but a court of arbitration was set up. In. all other respects it was the same as this, with the distinction that this Bill substitutes the Land Commission—which is the favourite tribunal of the present Government, and on which they have built so much expectation in the way of regenerating Ireland—for arbitration and the Land Court will have the option to determine whether the powers of the Bill shall be put in force or not. If the tenant has been an unworthy object of consideration, if he has been houghing cattle or doing any of those terrible acts which some hon. Members of the House seem to glory in holding up to the view of this House for the purpose of degrading their country, the Land Commission will have the full power of taking them into account and giving effect to those circumstances. I do beg the House in common justice to give this Bill a Second Heading, and in Committee every blot and defect, so as to meet the ends of justice, can be amended.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 136: Noes, 232. (Division List No. 31.)761
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Priestley, Briggs (Yorks)||Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Maddison, Fred||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Mandeville, J. Francis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford||Tully, Jasper|
|Mellor, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Yorks.)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wallace, Robert|
|Molloy, Bernard Charles||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Wason, Eugene|
|Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Robson, William Snowdon||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Moulton, John Fletcher||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Shaw, Chas. K. (Stafford)||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Soames, Arthur Wellealey||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Souttar, Robinson||Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbrough|
|O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Steadman, William Charles||Woodhouse, Sir JT (Huddersf'd|
|O'Connor. T. P. (Liverpool)||Stevenson, Francis S.||Woods, Samuel|
|O'Malley, William||Stuart, James (Shoreditch)|
|Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Parnell, John Howard||Sullivan. T. D. (Donegal. W.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Philipps, John Wynford|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Tanner, Charles Kearns||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Tennant, Harold John||Captain Donelan and Mr.|
|Price, Robert John||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Patrick O'Brien.|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Crilly, Daniel||Hanmond, John (Carlow)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||Harwood, George|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Ambrose, Robert||Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Dalziel, James Henry||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.|
|Atherley, Jones, L.||Dillon, John||Hogan, James Francis|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Doogan, P. C.||Holland, William Henry|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Duckworth, James||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.|
|Barry, F. (Cork, S.)||Dunn, Sir William|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)|
|Billson, Alfred||Emmott, Alfred|
|Blake, Edward||Engledew, Charles John||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Evans, Sir Francis H. (South'ton||Kilbride, Dennis|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Lawson Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'land)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Farrell, James P. (Cavan, W.)||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)|
|Burns, John||Farrell, Thomas J. (Kerry, S.)||Leng, Sir John|
|Burt, Thomas||Fenwick, Charles||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Joyd-George, David|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Longh, Thomas|
|Caldwell, James||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Lyell, Sir Leonard|
|Carew, James Laurence||Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson|
|Carvill-Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Macaleese, Daniel|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Gold, Charles||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Gourley, Sir E. Temperley||McDermott Patrick|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||M'Ewan, William|
|Crean, Eugene||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||M'Ghee, Richard|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Collings. Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon|
|Aird, John||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden||Cooke, C. W. R. (Hereford)||Graham, Henry Robert|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cotton-Jodrell, Col. Edw. T. D.||Green, Walford D (Wednesbury|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Gretton, John|
|Arrol, Sir William||Cross, Herbert S. (Bolton)||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Currie, Sir Donald|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Curzon, Viscount||Hall, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord Geo.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Davis, Sir H. D. (Chatham)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Rbt. Wm.|
|Banbury, Fredk. George||Denny, Colonel||Hanson, Sir Reginald|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Donkin, Richard Sim||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Barry, Rt Hn AH. Smith-(Hunts||Dorington, Sir John E.||Heath, James|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Doughty, George||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Beach, Rt Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Doxford, Sir William T.||Helder, Augustus|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Duneombe, Hon. Hubert Y.||Hill, Rt. Hn. A. Staveley (Staffs|
|Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Bethell, Commander||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph D.||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Biddulph, Michael||Howard, Joseph|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Faber, George Denison||Howell, William Tudor|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Fardell, Sir T. George||Hozier, Hon. J. H. Cecil|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man.||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)|
|Brassey, Albert||Finch, George H.||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||Jenkins, Sir John Jones|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Fisher, William Hayes||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Butcher, John George||Flower, Ernest||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Forster, Henry William|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Kenyon, James|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Fry, Lewis||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. Wm.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Keswick, William|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Galloway, William Johnson||Kimber, Henry|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gedge, Sydney||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Knowles, Lees|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Wore'r)||Giles, Charles Tyrrell|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Gilliat, John Saunders||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Godson, Sir Augustus F.||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning (Corn)|
|Coddington, Sir William||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Gurdon, Hon. John Edward||Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry)|
Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.
|Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Shaw-Stewart, M.H. (Rnfrw.)|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Myers, William Henry||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Leighton, Stanley||Nicholson, William Graham||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn (Swansea||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Spencer, Ernest|
|Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Stanley, E. J. (Somerset)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Lorne, Marquess of||Parkes, Ebenezer||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Lowe, Francis William||Penn, John||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Pilkington, R. (Lancs., Newton)||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Plunkett, Rt. Hn. Horace C.|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J.G. (Oxf'd Uni.|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Pretyman, Ernest George||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Thornton, Percy M.|
|MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Purvis, Robert||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Maclure, Sir John William||Pym, C. Guy||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|M'Arthur, C. (Liverpool)|
|M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|M'Killop, James||Rentoul, James Alexander||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Maple, Sir John Blundell||Richards, Henry Charles||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Marks, Henry Hananel||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon|
|Martin, Richard Biddulpli||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hon W.F||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Robertson, H. (Hackney)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Middlemore, J. Throgtnorton||Robinson, Brooke||Wilson, J.W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas John||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Milner, Sir Frederick George||Rothschild, Hn. Lionel Walter||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E.R. (Bath|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Russell, Gen. F.S. (Cheltenham||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Monk, Charles James||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Wyndham, George|
|Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants)||Rutherford, John||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|More, R J. (Shropshire)||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thshire)||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Morrison, Walter||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Savory, Sir Joseph||Sir William Walrond and|
|Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Seely, Charles Hilton||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
§ Words added.
§ Second Reading put off for six months.